Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Modes of Development (9)

We have looked now briefly at the modes of development both with respect to the primary "colours" (cognitive, affective and volitional) and the many - and somewhat arbitrary - list of secondary modes (i.e. "multiple intelligences").

And we have seen that as far as successful integration of the personality, the primary modes are vital.

In fact the complete mature development of the personality requires that cognitive, affective and volitional be both differentiated successfully in a sequential manner with respect to each of the major bands (and accompanying levels) on the spectrum, while also being simultaneously integrated with each other.

Now, while imbalances are indeed possible with respect to development of the three primary modes (up to and including Band 5), the final two radial bands would however require a high degree of integration with respect to all three modes.

As we have seen, with respect to the secondary manifestations, a person may show special talent with respect to one just one mode.

When this is the case, a continual tendency to express on-going development through the development of this talent may be in evidence. Though in some respect this can more easily enable one to achieve worldly success, it can also be problematic in creating a certain imbalance in personality (with respect to other "multiple intelligences").

Rather than the secondary modes unfolding necessarily in a linear fashion, I have drawn attention to their frequent circular type behaviour where oscillation takes place as between - relatively - "higher" and "lower" stages. This leads then to temporary peaking with respect to "higher" stages, followed by "shadow" valley behaviour. Frequently in such circumstances, as one becomes addicted to these temporary "highs", artificial means may be used to avoid unwanted confrontation with the shadow, which can make developmental problems much worse.

And though each individual episode with respect to "highs" and "lows" may be of a temporary nature, a life-long pattern with respect to such behaviour can easily emerge.

And this behaviour is not just confined to states but equally involves the temporary experience of corresponding structures (as in experiential terms a necessary dynamic complementarity characterises the relationship between states and structures).

In my own approach there is an extremely close relationship as between the relationship between the three primary modes and personality types.

So a personality type basically entails a unique manner of attempting to configure the three primary modes.  Though proper integration entails that one gradually absorbs characteristics associated with all personality types, this still is generally uniquely mediated through a characteristic type.

In fact, full integration is always an open-ended notion that depends for its growth on incorporating what is not yet integrated. There can never be an end to this process. So true integration in a dynamic sense really implies that an appropriate balance can be maintained as between all three primary modes.

Of course as we have already seen, there are also very close links as between the primary modes (with associated personality types) and the experience of space and time.

And ultimately in my approach, this leads to an entirely new holistic appreciation of the true nature of space and time, which ultimately relates to the manner in which wholes and parts can be related to each other in both an external (physical) and internal (psychological) manner.

So the current asymmetrical interpretation of dimensions (i.e. 3 space and 1 time) that dominates conventional scientific understanding is based on the limiting static case with respect to this relationship.

And ultimately, this new appreciation of space and time, (and modes and personality types) is linked to a holistic interpretation of number where now number can be truly appreciated as providing a potentially extraordinary role with respect to the ordering of qualitative type experience.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Modes of Development (8)

An important omission from Howard Gardner's list of "multiple intelligences" is any mention of humour.

I have always found it significant that humour is generally omitted from the story of development, which is indeed very odd as it constitutes (in all its varied forms) a very important intelligence.

Some years ago I gave special attention to this neglected issue submitting an article to the "Integral World" site entitled "Humour and Related Experience".

I was subsequently gratified when it then later received unexpected attention from some very interesting correspondents.

Without attempting to properly summarise what I have already written in that article, I will make the following comments.

Just as I have been emphasising with respect to musical and kinisthetic intelligence the dynamic nature in which they can provide temporary "peak" experience (esp. with respect to emotional experience), this is even more true with respect to the intrinsic nature of humour!

So humour, for example in the reaction to a good joke can provide a discrete injection of joy that can temporarily light up the humdrum nature of one's normal experience.

In fact the very nature of humour is that it challenges a false sense of authority or transcendence (in whatever varied form this may become manifest). Then when successful it creates a sudden release in recognition of our immanent grounding in reality.
However there is a complementary side also to humour where one can be alerted to a false sense of immanence through realising a more genuine transcendence. For example one may come to believe that customary day to day activities lack intrinsic meaning. Then a person for example who can provide genuine affirmation can then lead one to  - literally - transcend this situation in a new found perspective.

So in the first case a situation that is too dark is suddenly lightened; in the second a situation that is too light and superficial is suddenly darkened (through being given a welcome gravity).

However, humour by its very nature tends to be a very fleeting experience that cannot be sustained on a permanent basis.

Indeed there can be a pathetic element to the lives of many well known comedians who exhibit a special gift for humour, where they often use it unsuccessfully to stave off the deeper burdens of life. And when this inevitably fails, they can quickly fall into depression. Indeed manic depressive tendencies are frequently associated with successful comedians.

Now in a real sense, humour can indeed undergo development through all the stages of development.

Indeed at its deepest level humour becomes inseparable from a special form of charm that is often especially evident with very spiritual people.

So whereas customary humour is very dependent on phenomenal circumstances (e.g. situation comedy), spiritual charm represents a more refined kind of appreciation that displays intimate knowledge of the paradoxical nature of the human condition, where a great contrast can exist as between ideals and actual behaviour.

And spiritual charm naturally tends to balance the two aspects of humour that I mentioned.
Thus in a formal social setting for example a person may become anxious (through a false sense of transcendence). So a charming person in this context can help one relax through injecting humour into the situation. Then in the opposite context where perhaps one is too frivolous, a charming person can naturally convey a sense of importance to the situation, again achieving balance.

So I have mentioned two complementary sides of humour here in the sudden realisation of both the immanent and transcendent dimensions of experience respectively.

Of course these also have their negative counterparts. A hurtful remark - even when unintentional - can suddenly for a moment lessen one's immanent grounding in reality (which has the opposite effect to humour). Interestingly where tears of laughter can result from (positive) humour, tears of sorrow can be associated with its opposite.

Likewise there is the negative to the transcendent sense of affirmation that a kind remark  may bring. This could result for example from an unexpected request in a work situation, where the characteristic response is stress (representing a temporary loss of control over one's destiny).

Therefore the integrated development of humour requires the harmonious balancing of both transcendent and immanent poles from both their positive and negative directions.

In the end this requires the development of a resilient personality that can remain suitably detached from identification with the mere phenomenal circumstances of life.

Though this cannot be directly identified with the other "multiple intelligences" in many respects their successful development would not be possible in the absence of this wider capacity for humour (in both its positive and negative aspects).

In other words, the key role of humour in this more generalised context is to facilitate the successful balancing of the other key intelligences.

Humour therefore has a special potential creative capacity both in its own right (in generating humorous material) and also in facilitating new ways of approaching problems (through its ability to debunk conventional type responses).

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Modes of Development (7)

We return now to bodily-kinisthetic intelligence.

With regards to this intelligence it is especially difficult to see how it might develop though all the major bands (and accompanying levels) of development.

There is a sense in which the overall perspective with which one views kinisthetic intelligence  can itself undergo change. However, as we all know special proficiency in this regard is not itself a necessary prerequisite for full development.

However directly and indirectly it is indeed very significant in our culture.

As we have seen sporting success in any field requires a special form of kinisthetic intelligence (that is in a sense unique to that sport).

This is probably the first intelligence to properly unfold in development, where it is tied to early infant sensori-motor ability. This then can later blossom into a special talent for particular sports.

Now it is certainly true that the existence of the mere raw ability for a particular sport does not guarantee success (especially at a highly competitive level)!

So, even for the most gifted, considerable discipline and dedication is required in order to properly nurture an inherent talent.

In this regard it is not dissimilar to the same demands that are placed on one with a special spiritual gift, which again may require many years of disciplined practice before it can be properly brought to fruition.

However there is also an important distinction. Whereas the motivation for sporting achievement can - and generally is - somewhat ego-based in nature, genuine spiritual training requires a considerable refinement with respect to such desire before it can be properly attained.

Thus the physical and mental training that is associated with the various sports rarely requires development beyond the first two bands on the spectrum.

Now indirectly - as exemplified by its super stars - great success can create enormous personal demands on character that may then indeed require much further psychic development.

However even here, appropriate integration would rarely require progress beyond the centaur.

Now it is indeed possible that in some cases, when sporting achievement - even at the highest level - fails to provide appropriate fulfilment, this can lead to considerable disillusionment and the search for a truly spiritual path to life.

However, even when this occurs, the resulting growth that then later unfolds is unlikely to bear any direct relationship to kinisthetic ability, though indirectly it could do so (in for example dedicating oneself to helping others achieve their own sporting potential).

However sport, from so many perspectives, plays an increasing important role in modern culture.

In fact it would not be going too far to suggest that for its followers it operates in important ways as a secular form of religion.

Of course having a great interest in sport does not itself require kinisthetic type ability (though the most avid followers frequently will have also participated in the sports they follow at some level)!

However increasingly - largely facilitated through media involvement - it is acting as a substitute for religious experience.

I remember listening once to a radio programme which invited Irish fans of - often - obscure soccer clubs in Britain to come on air to speak about their interest. I found it very touching hearing then about the life-long commitment that so many had maintained to the club of their choosing, which was generally made at a young age.

In fact I would say that for the "true" fan, loyalty to the football club can come even before loyalty to a marriage partner or religious denomination!

And here I believe there are important lessons to be learnt. Unfortunately in modern society, the official churches are fast losing hold over their members. This reflects an unduly transcendent approach to spiritual truth, which no longer resonates with the modern generation.

What does truly resonate however are the intense emotional feelings that can be experienced through following ones chosen team, when surrounded by a community of like-minded believers.

So every weekend one can experience again - condensed into a very short period of time - the "highs" and lows" associated with a primitive battle for victory (that in many ways encapsulates the journey of life itself).

Sport therefore has this remarkable capacity to ground experience in this most basic search for emotional meaning. This is then directly related to kinisthetic intelligence displayed on the field of play which strictly operates at the most instinctive level of personality.

So in many ways, the following of team sports acts to provide that immanent dimension of experience - in the desire for immediate felt experience - that so often seems greatly missing from conventional spiritual life.

However for both participants and followers, kinisthetic intelligence does not properly represent merely a line of development. Rather like musical intelligence - which we dealt with in the last entry - it tends to keep switching one's experience as between prepersonal and transpersonal domains.

Thus in sport, "peak" moments are common e.g. when one's team scores an important goal. So then for a brief moment, one experiences an ecstasy of joy. However this can be very short- lived with a corresponding "valley" experienced, when the opposing team scores.

With genuine mature development, both "peaks" and "valleys" can be endured on a much more permanent fashion, where one's disposition is not unduly tied to phenomenal events. However, sporting achievement (both for participants and followers) generally links both domains in a less integrated fashion that can create an unhealthy form of dependence. So for example a footballer may feel utterly lost when the sporting career is over and seek to maintain the need for frequent temporary "highs" through some substitute form of addiction such as sex, alcohol or gambling.
This can likewise apply to followers, who often invest mere sporting success with an undue amount of emotional energy.