We have now moved on to Band 5 in this account of the unfolding story of personal development. As with all the Bands, it is conveniently sub-divided into 3 major levels.
And the time spent involved on the "integral forums" would be representative of the first stage of Level 1 (Band 5).
Now again, while I refer to this in a discrete linear manner as just one - relatively - distinctive stage, it is important to bear in mind that this equally entails the realisation of how this stage is continuous (in circular fashion) with all other stages. So in my binary digital approach to development, one always must combine both the linear (1) aspect as the understanding of a differentiated stage with the circular (0) aspect of the corresponding nature of its integration with all other stages.
The culmination of Band 4 - which immediately precedes this stage - represents an extreme in terms of the nondual integral appreciation of stage development.
This entails appreciation of the close complementary (circular) links as between each of the "higher" and "lower" levels of both Bands 3 and Bands 1 respectively.
However this strong emphasis on the integral aspect, can lead in turn to a significant by-passing of the levels of Band 2 (where specialised dualistic understanding takes place).
Now on the contemplative ascent, one gradually achieves close complementarity in experience as between external and internal, then whole and part and finally as between form and emptiness. This then culminates in a nondual passive appreciation (largely lacking in phenomenal expression).
So the major task of this first major level on the contemplative descent (i.e. on the way back to full active engagement with the world) was to give an (indirect) objective expression, through clear separation of external and internal polarities, of the holistic integral worldview.
And I was very conscious from the very start that this was my to be my "vocation" on these forums, i.e. to provide a scientific intellectual means of dealing with the true dynamic nature of integration in development.
For it was clear to me that because of the predominance of the linear approach (based on Band 2 understanding) the continuous nature of the integral aspect of stages (throughout development) was substantially confused with the discrete nature of the differentiated aspect of each particular stage.
Put another way both coherent analytic and holistic aspects were required for the successful interpretation of development. However no clear notion of the holistic aspect was yet evident in the conventional treatment. Though holons were indeed recognised, the treatment of holonic development was strictly conducted in a hierarchical analytic manner!
Therefore I always felt that my fundamental message was indeed very important, even if at times there was considerable resistance to it being heard!
So through being engaged and frequently challenged on these forums, I was forced both to make my own thinking clearer on various issues, while giving additional attention to communicating more effectively to an audience with no previous exposure to my views.
And initially I found all this extremely fulfilling and stimulating. and - while not always necessarily in agreement - I came to greatly admire the rich range of abilities displayed by my fellow contributors to the forums.
And in some ways a lovely balance began to emerge. Therefore whereas my approach was invariable "scientific" on the public forum, increasingly in private e-mail correspondence the opportunity for more intimate personal disclosure arose, especially with two wonderful female cyber friends. So in this way, both the cognitive and affective functions were being amply employed.
However after two years or so of constant engagement, I gradually became more exposed to a significant problem with respect to my own development. Thus while this new "integral" cyber life was going from strength to strength, I was suffering increasing alienation with respect to my day to day work at college. So while I was free to initiate new paradigm thinking on the internet, here in my lecturing to students, I was firmly stuck in the old paradigm, in a manner that was becoming drained of all inspiration.
In a way this represented an accentuation of the old difficulties, whereby the middle levels had become substantially by-passed in development with daily experience predominantly representing the two-way dynamic interaction of "higher" and "lower" stages. And even this interaction was not yet properly balanced with more attention still being given to "higher" level stages that mistakenly were then viewed as - relatively - superior.
Indeed when I look back now at exchanges with fellow participants on the forums, I can readily acknowledge that I did indeed sometimes adopt a superior air (especially when challenged by criticism).
And of course the time demands that this engagement required meant that the "higher" self, in the desire to provide a holistic intellectual framework for development, became over-exercised.
Now one's customary style of adaptation to the general demands of life goes back to one's earliest years and can involve elaborate defence mechanisms to avoid dealing with deficiencies rooted in such development.
And then with "lower" level regeneration of the early stages having being placed on the back burner, this would go some way to explaining as to why I now was feeling powerless to change day to day behaviour in a creative fashion.
So as this problem intensified throughout my years on the forums, I eventually accepted that nothing less than a complete withdrawal for a lengthy period would be necessary (which occurred sometime in 2000). .