In this blog entry, I intend to deal with the important dynamic explanation as to why both peaks (of higher from - relatively - lower) and valleys (of lower from - relatively higher) stages are possible - and indeed common - with respect to development.
And it is important to bear in mind that as because both states and structures themselves bear a complementary relationship with respect to each other, that with suitable qualifications, peaks and valleys can apply in appropriate circumstances likewise with respect to stage structures!
To understand such dynamics properly, it is important to bear in mind that both linear and circular characteristics attach to the development of all stages.
It is perhaps unfortunate in this context that emphasis on the linear aspect tends to dominate the conventional treatment of stage development.
So using the deceptively simple terminology of pre and trans, development is essentially portrayed as moving in somewhat linear fashion from lower prepersonal through the middle personal then - all going well - on through the higher transpersonal stages.
However, though there is indeed a certain limited sense in which such linear progression is valid, it leads to many ambiguities - and indeed deep inconsistencies - from an overall integral perspective.
In fact the emphasis on linear progression through prepersonal, personal and transpersonal stages equates very well with corresponding undue emphasis on the merely transcendent aspect of development. This in turn allows for a merely "top-down" approach with respect to development, where previous stages are thereby transcended and included in the highest stage (yet attained).
However as repeated here on many occasions, balanced development requires an equal emphasis on both "top-down" and "bottom-up" integration. Therefore not alone, must the "lower" stages be continually integrated from above (in a transcendent fashion) but equally the "higher" stages must be continually integrated from below (in an immanent fashion).
In other words when the dynamics of development are properly recognised, true integration necessarily entails a continual two-way process of enhanced realisation with respect to all stages, where "higher" and "lower" are now understood ever more clearly in a strictly relative manner.
Thus, from this dynamic perspective, what is seen as "higher" from a transcendent, is - relatively - "lower" from the corresponding immanent perspective; likewise what is thereby seen, in reverse complementary fashion, as - relatively - "higher" from the immanent, is now "lower" from the corresponding transcendent perspective.
Using even simpler language from this two-way dynamic interactive perspective, what is "trans" with respect to the "higher" is thereby "pre" with respect to the corresponding "lower" stage; and in reverse what is "pre" with respect to the "higher" is thereby "trans" with respect to the corresponding "lower" stage.
Thus in terms of development, we need indeed to recognise discrete differentiation with respect to each (individual) stage. However, equally we also need to recognise the continual integration of all (collective) stages.
And whereas the linear sequential approach (of an analytic nature) is suited to the differentiation of (discrete) stages, the circular complementary approach (of a corresponding holistic nature) is likewise suited to the (continual) integration of all stages.
So from my perspective, I see fundamental confusion with the present so called "integral approach" in that it uses an analytic method, that is properly suited to interpret the discrete differentiation of stages, as the same means for interpreting the overall integration of these stages.
In particular this confusion is exemplified by drawing a somewhat absolute distinction as between the lower stages of development as "pre" and the corresponding higher stages as "trans".
Let me clarify therefore how to consistently maintain both linear (differentiated) and circular (integral) meaning with respect to both pre and trans!
Now from the transcendent direction, a one-directional hierarchical distinction is made as between the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of development.
From this perspective, the lower stages, of confused physical instinctive behaviour, are appropriately identified as prepersonal stages. Then the middle stages, where rational mental control now dominates, are identified as the personal stages. Finally, where spiritual contemplative awareness (as beyond all phenomenal form) unfolds, this leads to identification of the higher transpersonal stages.
However from the immanent perspective, a reverse hierarchy needs to be made regarding the relationship of physical, mental and spiritual aspects.
So here it is recognised that the earliest stages represent a state of deep spiritual confusion (identified largely with the holistic activity of the embryonic unconscious). This now represents the prepersonal stages. Again the middle stages lead to the attainment of rational control (of a conscious kind) which again represent the personal stages. Finally the higher stages represent the pure realisation of the - now - refined physical aspect with respect both to one's body and the world of nature (experienced as largely integrated with each other) . So this immanent perspective (as prior to all form) now identifies the transpersonal stages (i.e. where development reaches full maturity).
So just as the identification of left and right turns at a crossroads depends on the direction from which the crossroads is approached, likewise the identification of pre and trans depends on the direction (i.e. transcendent or immanent) from which they are likewise approached.
So what is trans from one perspective is pre from the other; likewise what is pre from one perspective is trans from the other.
Thus, because of these two complementary directions to development (i.e. transcendent and immanent respectively) the linear approach (on its own) leads inevitably to ambiguity and ultimately deep inconsistency with respect to both pre and trans.
Therefore we must keep balancing the linear aspect (emphasising one-way differentiation) with the circular aspect (emphasising two-way integration)
However this needs to be done while recognising that at certain stages, the differentiated aspect should appropriately dominate, while at the other stages the integral aspect should then likewise dominate.
So in general terms, development starts from a greatly confused state of integration (where neither pre nor trans can be properly differentiated). So the earliest stages (i.e. of Band 1) properly represent the confused interaction of both pre and trans elements! Then at the middle stages the conscious aspect now becomes largely separate from the unconscious, enabling unambiguous type understanding of a specialised rational linear kind. Not surprisingly because pre is now explicitly separated from trans, with neither existing in isolation, we thereby have the unfolding of the personal stages (that are neither pre nor trans).
Then at the higher stages the progressive two-way integration of both pre and trans (in a mature refined manner) increasingly takes place. Therefore the stages of Band 3 (and especially Band 4) now represent the dynamic two-way interaction of both pre and trans elements (in a mature integrated fashion)
So the goal of such "higher" contemplative development is the ultimate unity of both pre and trans in the corresponding union of both transcendent and immanent directions.
Then the final stages (of the Radial Bands i.e. Bands 5, 6 and 7)) enable both the relative independence (in differentiated linear manner) of both pre and trans, combined with their relative interdependence (in a two-way integral fashion).
Now the very reason why peak and valley experiences, with respect to both "higher" and "lower" stages, are possible in development is precisely because of the necessary dynamic interaction as between both the confused and mature relationship of pre and trans (i.e. immanent and transcendent directions).
So development starts from a state of total confusion with respect to these polarities. Therefore meaningful peak experience (of corresponding mature states) is not yet possible.
However as the differentiation of pre from trans gradually takes place during early development, the corresponding dynamic relationship between both aspects becomes less confused. This therefore enables occasional brief exposure (during one's better moments as it were) to the more mature experience (characteristic of the higher spiritual stages of development).
By the same token, because full maturity with respect to the refined interaction of pre and trans is never fully achieved, this means that occasional valley experiences (in one's weaker moments) are also possible, when one temporarily lapses back to a more confused understanding.
Finally, I have repeatedly made the point that the very specialisation of rational understanding with respect to the personal stages, which characterises our present culture, greatly limits access to refined spiritual experience (of either the transcendent or immanent variety).
In this way though our society has certainly reached a "higher" stage from the linear analytic, in many ways this represents a "lower" stage from the corresponding circular holistic perspective.
As I have repeatedly emphasised this is dramatically illustrated with respect to the extremely limited conventional interpretation of Mathematics, where the holistic aspect of appreciation is not even recognised.