Friday, February 26, 2016

Integral Studies (4)

Just as I had found substantial imbalance with respect to horizontal same stage integration, due to the predominant emphasis of the internal psychological aspect throughout the spectrum, equally I  found a similar imbalance with respect to vertical higher and lower stage integration.

This was due to the mistaken asymmetrical emphasis on development as the progressive movement to higher stages of a more collective holistic nature.

Indeed in this context, much use is made of the notion of a holon (i.e. literally a whole/part). A holon is then defined as a whole that is also part of another whole. So for example an atom would represent a holon where the (whole) atom is also part of a (whole) molecule.

However in dynamic interactive  terms, we need to stress the two-way movement of wholes and parts. So therefore counterbalancing the holon (whole/part) where each whole is part of another whole is the onhol (part/whole) where each part is also whole in the context of other parts.

When one merely stresses reality as comprised of holons, the emphasis is then unambiguously on  higher stages of development as representing increasing degrees of collective wholeness until eventually with pure nondual awareness, one reaches appreciation of the spiritual whole beyond all phenomenal representation.

This leads to an unbalanced - merely top-down - approach to development, where one seeks integration of all earlier stages from the latest to yet unfold.

However when one equally stresses onhols, the emphasis is also on lower (revisited) stages of development as representing progressive degrees of individual uniqueness, so that again with pure nondual awareness, one reaches awareness of spirit that is already prior to all phenomenal representation as parts.

So this latter emphasis enables a corresponding  bottom-up approach to integration ,where one seeks integration of later from the more refined appreciation of earlier stages (that have been continually enhanced through constant revisitation).

So balanced integration (in vertical terms) should be both top-down and bottom-up in nature with an equal emphasis on both transcendence and inclusion (top-down) and immanence and inclusion (bottom-up).

In this way, development is akin to one who travels up and down a road.
When one puts the emphasis on the "up" direction - as in holonic development - one can  identify in unambiguous terms both left and right turns. Likewise when puts emphasis on the "down" direction - as in "onholic" development - one can again unambiguously identify left and right turns.

However when one simultaneously tries to combine both "up" and "down" directions, all left and right distinctions are rendered paradoxical (for what is "left" from one reference frame is "right" from the other and what is "right" from one, is "left" from the other).

It is precisely similar with the dynamics of development, where all the carefully made asymmetrical distinctions that appear to be valid in terms of holonic development are rendered paradoxical when balanced with its counterpart onholic direction.

And this is the very means by which vertical integration takes place (i.e. through erosion - at least implicitly - of the dualistic distinctions that characterise the differentiated aspect of each stage)

Thus whereas differentiation in development corresponds to one-way linear type understanding, integration  implies two-way circular appreciation.

Therefore my key criticism of the entire thrust of Integral Studies at the time, was this continued failure through intellectual interpretation, to properly distinguish the nature of differentiation in development from that of integration.

Thus when one intellectually attempts to define integration in a linear asymmetrical manner, its very nature is fundamentally misrepresented.

So  from my perspective, what was referred to as "Integral Studies" more properly represented "Multidifferentiated Studies". So whereas this approach was indeed successful in identifying the many distinctive stages of development, it could not properly deal with the manner of their integration!

In this context I also found myself completely at odds with the so-called pre/trans fallacy (which in fact in itself represents a substantial fallacy with respect to the true dynamics of development).

The pre/trans fallacy essentially adopts  a one-way hierarchical (i.e. holonic) approach to development, whereby a clear distinction is drawn as between pre (prepersonal) and trans (transpersonal) with trans unambiguously considered more advanced and more developed .

From this perspective, the earlier stages are defined as pre, the middle personal and then the higher more advanced stages as trans respectively.

However this linear asymmetrical approach does not allow for the two-way dynamics of higher with lower (and lower with higher) stages that properly characterise development.

Thus from a dynamic perspective, the earlier stages represent the confused interaction of both pre and trans. When unconscious confusion has been significantly removed, the personal (conscious) stages unfold (that are neither pre nor trans). Then when the unconscious is gradually restored in a mature fashion, we have the more advanced stages (that again are both pre and trans in integral terms). However, mature from a proper interactive perspective, implies the balanced two-way integration of both "higher" "lower" stages that are - relatively - pre and trans with respect to each other.

So, pre and trans properly equate with the immanent and transcendent aspects of spirituality respectively.

This dynamic interpretation then enables one to properly explain why both "peak" and "valley" experiences are common in development.

Thus it is certainly possible for someone who is customarily at - say the mythic - to have a temporary peak experience of the subtle level.

This is due to the fact that both confused and mature experiences of pre and trans are necessarily complementary.

Thus one whose customary experience of this relationship is confused, can in one's better moments enjoy a temporary exposure of a mature nature. Likewise someone whose customary experience is of a mature subtle nature, can in one's weaker moments lapse back temporarily to the more confused experience of the mythic level.

Another major weakness that I outlined - again arising from the linear asymmetrical type approach - was the failure to properly relate the dynamics of states and structures with respect to each stage.

For example at the subtle level a dream state - representing a distinctive form of spiritual intuition - typifies the experience. However refined cognitive and affective structures (of a circular paradoxical nature) likewise unfold and successful progress entails that a certain balance be maintained as between the states and structures, which are again dynamically complementary.

In holistic mathematical terms, I found that structures and states are real and imaginary with respect to each other. And these can occur in both an external and internal manner. So the proper incorporation of both states and structures entails the 4-dimensional complex holistic mathematical approach that I outlined in the last blog entry.

Incidentally mathematics and science - as conventionally defined - relate solely to the linear type structures of the middle levels of development . Though these levels necessarily entail the waking state, the interaction as between this state and associated cognitive structures is not considered.

However at all other levels a dynamic relationship characterises the interaction of states and structures, which cannot be ignored.

Another important application of vertical integration relates directly to quantum mechanics.

Quantum mechanics appears highly non-intuitive when viewed through the lens of understanding of the middle levels.

However lower sub-atomic levels of reality bear a complementary relationship with the understanding of this same reality that occurs at the "higher" level.

So for example the "observer problem" with respect to recognition of a particle, simply reflects the fact that both external and internal polarities are now required. And this form of dynamic understanding naturally unfolds at the first of the "higher" levels.

The wave/particle duality of particles then reflects the additional  requirement that both real and imaginary aspects characterise  all phenomenal interactions. And this form of understanding naturally unfolds at the second of the "higher" levels.

So in effect the very behaviour of matter in quantum mechanical terms is clearly pointing to the inadequacy of the conventional scientific paradigm (which solely represents the middle levels).

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