Friday, March 11, 2016

The Modes of Development (1)

With respect to the sustained integral aspect of development, I have always placed special emphasis on the need to maintain appropriate balance as between the "big three" i.e. the cognitive, affective and volitional (conative) modes respectively.

And in this conspiracy of the "big three", I have seen the volitional aspect (relating directly to will) in a primary sense as crucial, whereby it serves - when employed appropriately - as the essential means through which the cognitive and affective modes can be harmoniously balanced with each other.

This the will, in this overall developmental context, expresses the innate desire for ultimate meaning (which is directly of a spiritual nature). Therefore, when this instinct is especially strong, it can to a considerable degree enable one to unravel many of the barriers - often set in early life - that prevent both cognitive and affective modes from operating effectively with each other.

From a dynamic perspective, cognitive and affective modes are designed to operate in a complementary manner.

Thus the cognitive (rational) mode represents the impersonal pole with respect to meaning in the attempt to exercise (independent) control over one's environment.

Then the affective (emotional) mode represents the personal pole in the corresponding attempt to exercise (interdependent) response with respect to the same environment.

And an important discovery, I earlier made, along Jungian lines, is that when one mode - say cognitive - operates in a conscious manner, then the complementary mode - in this case affective - is thereby necessarily involved in an unconscious fashion.

Indeed I could further recognise that the very way in which we experience space and time is intimately dependent on the manner in which the interaction as between cognitive and affective takes place.

So each personality type - as I pointed out with respect to my delineation of 24 fundamental types in early blog entries - thereby represents a unique configuration with respect to the manner in which space and time are configured (and therefore equally with respect to the manner in which both cognitive and affective functions are configured).

Therefore the importance of the volitional aspect of will - as the direct spiritual centre of personality -  is to successfully navigate, as it were, with respect to the development of both cognitive and affective modes (i.e. reason and emotion) so that they can be at once successfully differentiated from each other, and yet also successfully integrated with each other throughout development.

In this context, it is again very important to stress the binary approach to development.

Put simply, with respect to this binary approach, the linear (1) relates to the differentiated aspect; however the circular (0) represents the corresponding integral aspect.
Now admittedly, emphasis on both of these varies considerably throughout development.

Earlier development (i.e. Band 1 "lower" levels) is characterised mainly by the movement away from the confused (unconscious) circular nature of  early integration towards the  more differentiated (conscious) linear appreciation of stage structures. And this linear appreciation then achieves considerable specialisation - especially with respect to the cognitive mode - at Band 2.

However when one then attempts to intellectually apply the mature understanding (of  Band 2) to the whole spectrum, it leads to the misleading characterisation of the various modes i.e. cognitive, affective and volitional (i.e. directly spiritual) as constituting various "lines" of development.

The fact is that these modes operate in an increasingly circular fashion at Band 3 (where authentic contemplative type development unfolds). Then the specialisation of this circular (paradoxical) type appreciation takes place at Band 4.

Finally, with the remaining Bands (5, 6 and 7) we move increasingly to the mature balanced interaction of both linear and circular aspects with respect to the three modes. In other words, these modes can now be both productively and creatively engaged with respect to both (linear) differentiation and (circular) integration respectively.

This again highlights why I considered that the standard approach to integral studies - with its misplaced emphasis on "lines" of development - considerably misrepresented the very nature of integration.

Once again the linear aspect is only properly suited to the differentiated aspect of stage development.

The circular aspect (in terms of complementary paradoxical polar pairings) is then properly related to the integral aspect. And the proper dynamic interaction as between differentiated and integral aspects entails the binary approach of both linear (1) and circular (0) aspects.

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