Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Modes of Development (3)

As I have stated, successful human development requires the corresponding successful differentiation and integration with respect to the three primary modes i.e. cognitive, affective and volitional respectively.

Sometimes I am tempted also to include a 4th primary mode with respect to instinctive psycho-physical ability.

For example this is vital in terms of co-ordination of physical movement, which is especially important in sport and athletics.

From another perspective, it is extremely important with respect to physical health.

Most illnesses, to a greater or lesser extent entail a complex interaction of both physical and psychological factors (which remain somewhat inaccessible to our conscious minds).

However, I have gradually come to the conclusion that - rather than representing a distinctive mode - the psycho-physical in fact represents the extremely close co-ordination of both affective and cognitive modes (where they typically operate on a largely unconscious i.e. purely instinctive level).

However in my approach, I place very strong emphasis on the complementarity in experience of both the physical and spiritual extremes of behaviour. Therefore spiritual integration is grounded in behaviour that necessarily remains to a degree physical and instinctive.

Thus the ability to continually refine spiritual understanding (in transcendent terms) always remains wedded to the corresponding task of refining instinctive behaviour (in an immanent manner).

And the more successful one becomes in such refining of psycho-physical impulses, the less involuntary (i.e. blindly unconscious)  they become!

This would entail for example that in future evolution, human beings will eventually acquire the ability to directly improve their health e.g. with respect to many illnesses through unravelling the complex interactions as between mind and body.

However this ability to experience both affective and cognitive aspects as fully complementary (with respect to psycho-physical impulses) will in turn require the purest form of volition i.e. where it is not confused with phenomena of a deeply instinctive kind.


So sticking with the primary modes (constituting "the big three" of cognitive, affective and volitional) we can perhaps readily see that there are intimate connections here with the three big cultural pursuits of science, the arts and religion respectively.

Now, all three modes are necessarily involved in a comprehensive understanding of each of these cultural pursuits.

For example, science as we know it would not be possible without the deep innate desire "to know". However this underlying motivation for knowledge itself properly represents the volitional mode.

Also interest in many fields of science e.g. biology cannot be divorced from a well developed aesthetic sense with respect to the beauty and diversity of nature, which would represent the affective mode.

However - certainly in terms of its formal presentation - present science is directly related to the cognitive mode (in its strict rational approach).


Though in direct terms, the arts are associated with the affective mode (in the capacity for evoking an emotional response), considerable use may also be made of cognitive understanding. For example, training to be a musician may entail prolonged exposure to formal modes of expression, while also entailing intense discipline (imposed by the cognitive mind).

Also the arts are often used (e.g. in painting) to give expression to the religious impulse.

So though the affective mode is essential. the arts are more loosely tied - than with the sciences - to exclusive identification with just one mode.

Then, when I refer to religion, I am referring directly to that mystical impulse (in the desire for ultimate meaning) that lies at the core of all the great religious traditions.

However in practice the other modes can also play a big role.

For example one valid criticism of the institutional approach to religion is that it tends to place undue emphasis on various rules and conventions (that are defined in strict rational terms).

Not surprisingly this then often sparks a reaction in the desire for a more personal devotional approach (where the affective mode is primary).

However, the ultimate core of religious meaning relates again to that innate desire for ultimate meaning (which is the expression of the volitional mode).


When one accepts that integration of the personality in individual human terms requires the corresponding integration of cognitive, affective and volitional modes, this entails that successful cultural development in society ultimately requires the corresponding integration of the sciences, the arts and religion respectively.

And this is where we have a huge problem for at the moment the three are hugely compartmentalised.

This is especially the case with respect to the sciences and religion. Rather than these been seen ultimately as complementary and fully necessary for each other's right development, they are largely treated as being sharply opposed.

Indeed to a significant extent, present science is being used to usurp the very role of true religion (by becoming the religion of the modern age).

The great issues of life lead to the experience of utter mystery and therefore cannot be grasped in a cognitive manner (which attempts to encapsulate such meaning in unambiguous rational terms).

Rightly understood, appreciation of science should lead on to the growing experience of mystery.

However, this will require that understanding of the very nature of science be considerably modifed.

As I have repeatedly stated, current accepted science represents but the limited specialised rational understanding of just one band of the spectrum (i.e. Band 2). This is analytic science (that is geared to quantitative type appreciation of reality).

However a very different appreciation unfolds at more advanced bands.

So associated with the contemplative intuitive awareness of Band 4 is the specialised understanding of holistic science (that is geared to corresponding qualitative type appreciation). Then later at Band 6 with the growing interpenetration of both rational and contemplative, we have the specialised understanding of radial science (that is geared to the mature interaction of both quantitative and quantitative type understanding).  And it is only with Band 6 appreciation that the proper integration of science and religion can take place (where they can mutually serve each other).

Because of its more fluid nature, the divide does not appear to be as great as between the arts and the sciences on one hand and the arts and religion on the other.

However proper integration again will require recognition that different types of artistic appreciation (and indeed expression) are likewise associated with the different bands on the spectrum.


Paradoxically though the arts may initially be seen as directly related to the qualitative aspect of human experience (in contrast to the sciences), artistic appreciation in modern society has become defined by a mass market of collective consumerism (where tasted are considerably manipulated for commercial gain). Thus the very capacity to experience a "unique response" is becoming increasingly limited in modern times.

Digital technology, itself is an expression of the scientific aspect. Not surprisngly therefore - though the purposes of such technology may allegedly be to enhance aesthetic appreciation at many levels - in effect it is threatening to significantly rob society of the qualitative capacity that defines the very nature of true artistic appreciation.

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