Friday, June 23, 2017

Revision of Bands (3)

In the binary approach to development, equal emphasis is given to the discrete aspect of the unfolding of new stages of development and the continuous aspect, whereby one - because all stages are necessarily related in some respect to each other - thereby enjoys access to all stages.

And whereas the discrete relates directly to the differentiated aspect of stage development, the continuous relates to the integral aspect.

So for example, though from a discrete perspective, the radial stages would be the last to properly unfold in development, there is a certain valid sense in which everyone already has access to these stages.

The radial stages in effect represent the interpenetration of all stages with respect to their specialised differentiation and integration respectively.

However, because by definition, in dynamic terms all stage development represents a certain configuration with respect to differentiation and integration, one thereby already enjoys a certain access to the radial levels.

However in practice, this is likely to represent a severely attenuated experience due to insufficient  development with respect to both aspects.

However it is important to emphasise the dynamic interactive nature of stage development (where differentiation and integration are both necessarily involved).

Thus stage development becomes continually modified through integration with other stages. For example one might maintain that Band 2 development typically occurs relatively early in life and is generally consolidated by early adulthood.

However when one returns to Band 2 from the perspective of a higher band (say Band 3) a new enhanced integral perspective is thereby possible (through the additional context provided through this later development).

However equally - as I was to reluctantly discover - a new diminished differentiated perspective is also likely. In other words when the focus is strongly on the development of holistic intuitive awareness (as at Band 3) one can thereby temporarily suffer a considerable diminution in former analytic type ability (associated with Band 2).

Thus I refer to the typical understanding of a stage at the time of its initial unfolding as the default understanding.

Thus the understanding associated with Band 2 when it first properly unfolds in development represents its default understanding.

Thus again when one later views Band 2 from the perspective of the default understanding of  Band 3, one will likely obtain an enhanced appreciation in integral terms (due to the enlarged context); however when one in reverse now views Band 3 (from the default understanding of Band 2) it represents a diminished appreciation in differentiated terms (due to an erosion of analytic ability).

Now this represents one of the key reasons why I have such difficulties with the customary hierarchical view of stage development, where Band 3 somewhat unambiguously would be viewed as higher than Band 2.

However as we have seen, this is strictly only true in a qualified sense.

Ultimately, when one allows for the proper differentiation and integration with respect to all stages (which occurs with the radial bands), one can indeed form an enhanced perspective with respect to previous bands. However this can only be achieved comparatively late in development and is never achieved in a complete manner.

Therefore until the radial stages are reached, which in a mature developed sense occurs but rarely, what seems progress from one perspective (e.g. integration) may seem like a regress with respect to the alternative perspective (i.e. differentiation) and vice versa.

Therefore though once again there is a certain valid sense in specifically marking the differentiation (in default terms) of the various stages on the spectrum of development, these stages then undergo continual change due to constantly emerging new linkages with other stages (relating to both earlier and later periods of development).

And it is in the bi-directional establishment of complementary linkages that the true integral aspect of stage development is expressed.

So once again we have bi-directional horizontal linkages within each stage, where the (external) physical aspect is related to the (internal) psychological aspect and vice versa.

Then we have bi-directional vertical linkages between appropriate stages where the "higher" is related to the "lower" (and the "lower" in turn to the "higher"). So once again balanced integration must be of both a "top down" and "bottom up" variety.

This probably remains the most widely misunderstood aspect of development, with merely the "top-down" aspect of vertical integration typically emphasised.

It ultimately reflects an unbalanced emphasis on the very notion of holons where, in terms of development, "higher" holons are viewed merely with respect to an increase in collective wholeness. However the very notion of "wholeness" entails two complementary meanings.
Thus from a transcendent perspective all "lower" stages are transcended in a "higher" collective whole stage. However equally, the "higher" stage is made uniquely immanent in each "lower" part stage.

Therefore, one needs to equally emphasise in reverse "onhols", where "higher" development represents a corresponding increase with respect to individual uniqueness.

And of course in this dynamic interactive context, both "holons" (whole/parts) and "onhols" (part/wholes) play a directly complementary role as relatively "higher and "lower" (and "lower" and "higher") with respect to each other.

Finally, we have bi-directional diagonal linkages that simultaneously entail both horizontal integration within each stage and vertical integration between appropriate stages.

In other words, when the complementary nature of integration in both horizontal and vertical terms is simultaneously understood, the very notion of distinct (unrelated) stages loses any residual meaning.

Therefore, one can now successfully maintain the relative distinction of each stage (in differentiated terms) with the relative interdependence of all stages (in an integral manner).

And this enlightened understanding is eventually achieved with radial development.

So what we have dealt with so far with respect to band development serves but as a preparation for the radial bands, which entails the mature balanced interaction of both specialised differentiated and integrated aspects of development.

In my model, I outline three relatively distinct bands, which would now be designated as Bands 6, 7 and 8 respectively.

I caution to add however that I can only hope to offer a diminished perspective on the radial bands.

However, having said this there has been for some time a consistency in my position with respect to the main features that I wish to outline.

In general terms, though I have found that the Eastern mystical traditions offer a much purer and more detailed account of the spiritual contemplative states of development, that the Western traditions offer a more satisfying dynamic account of the radial aspects.

For example in my own Roman Catholic tradition, the great exemplars of radial development (in what Evelyn Underhill refers to as "The Unitive life) have been major spiritual reformers such as St. Paul, Francis of Assisi, Catherine of Sienna, Ignatius of Loyola, Teresa of Avila and in more modern times Padre Pio and Mother Teresa.

Typically in these cases, following conversion to a dedicated spiritual life, an intense incubation period follows as the future saint seeks to throw off the old self in a total commitment to God.

Then when, after much struggle, this task has been suitably achieved, our saint can then enter back into society ready to embrace the problems of humanity with a superhuman degree of energy.

Though I suspect that the depiction of the lives of  these saints has been unduly idealistic, there is undoubtedly a certain truth here, for in the most basic sense with radial development, one identifies with a new cosmic body, where everyone and everything in creation is seen as an extension of oneself. Thus in identifying with this new body, one does indeed take on in a sense the problems of the world. However it is the true existential dimensions of this new situation that I find specially interesting, for even the greatest saint can only respond in the most limited way to the enormity of human suffering (in all its multiple dimensions).

Also I think that the time has now come to alter this limited perspective on radial development as somehow identified - as in the past - with religious reformers inspired exclusively by their specific tradition.

As I see it, great changes are already taking place which will force us to substantially re-assess traditional approaches to the spiritual life.
A cultural revolution is now underway whereby young people are rejecting the right of the institutional churches to arbitrate on any aspect of morality.

And it is not that the desire for authentic spiritual truth is dying but rather that new means are now required to foster the quest for such truth.

In the past, I have devoted some considerable time to the belief that there is a great need to coherently integrate the three big cultural pursuits of religion, science and the arts.

In particular there are special problems in properly integrating religion and science.
I have expressed the view elsewhere in my blogs "Integrating Science and Religion" and "More on Science, Art and Religion" that two major developments are required to facilitate this task.

Firstly, established religions will have to free themselves from literal belief in the various myths used to express their teaching. However as this would be likely to severely undermine their authority among followers, I do not realistically see this taking place. Therefore an alternative type of universal religion will need to emerge - at least where the dialogue with science is concerned - not related to the specific teaching of any one tradition, but attempting however to preserve the primary truth that is deeply implicit in all.

Secondly the very nature of science will need to dramatically change.
In present science, the qualitative aspect of relationships is simply reduced in a quantitative manner.

So a new holistic science (that specifically concentrates on this qualitative aspect) requires to be developed, before eventual integration of both quantitative and qualitative aspects can then take place (as radial science).

And as I have been at pains to outline in recent blog entries, the emergence of this "new science" is intimately tied to the unfolding of the more advanced bands on the spectrum of development.   

So the integration of science and religion therefore properly awaits a much more advanced form of psychological development.

Now with much caution, I will to tentatively outline the various levels of Band 6 (which represent the first of the 3 radial bands)..
In the truest sense possible, entry into the radial bands concurs with a "born again" experience. So at last, one has sufficiently weaned oneself from a more narrow ego based identity to successfully awake to the startling realisation of one's true being as eternal.

So all the phenomena of everyday life act like transparent veils that can no longer hide one's essential being as always already existing in the continual present moment.

Now in many ways it may be helpful to recap on the earliest levels of Band 1 for these now again apply (in a greatly transformed sense).

So the first level in early childhood development is concerned with the unfolding of the body-self.
Likewise Level 1 (Band 6) is directly related to the emergence of a radial body-self.

In other words one now identifies with a universal cosmic body that embraces everything in nature.

So one no longer essentially feels the self as separate from the environment but rather experiences both fully merging as the centre of one's being. Then the breath of life (which had become almost entirely suspended during all the earlier privations) slowly returns, so that in breathing in and breathing out one feels truly inspired, as the life of the entire cosmos is mediated through one's very being.

However just as separation begins to threaten the original fusion of the infant foetus with the mother, this initial radial experience of unity quickly gives way - at least with the personality type with which I am identified - to a deepening existential dilemma.

For in the experience of this new universal identity is likewise born a responsibility for all creation.

However one begins to quickly discover the huge gap as between one's limited actions to serve the world and the universal vision inspiring such action. And this is especially likely to be the case with the more passive type, that formerly was confined to lengthy periods of contemplative solitude.

There is also a parallel here to the sensori-motor activity of infant development that is largely associated with instinctive physical reactions.

During level 1, this implies that one only acts, when inspired to do so directly by the spirit.

So one has no preconceived plans of how to act but rather practices discernment through being guided by a mixture of (physical) instinct and (spiritual) intuition i.e. the will of God. In this way, one is mysteriously led into activity which best expresses one's emerging spiritual potential to contribute to the world.

However once again, initially a huge gap is likely to persist as between the adequacy of such action in properly representing the universal holistic vision with which one is inspired. And this represents an existential dilemma that is keenly felt.

Level 2 is then concerned directly with the unfolding of the radial emotional self, which can best be described as a growing general feeling of compassion for everyone and everything in creation (with which one's very being is now directly identified).

However again coming from the passive contemplative direction, a considerable gap again is likely to be experienced with respect to this universal feeling of compassion and one's capacity to actively intervene on behalf of others. In other words, conscious ability to act will not yet properly serve one's unconscious holistic vision.

So again this existential dilemma will be keenly experienced.

Indeed there could well be a form of "radial magic" associated with this stage. Because of a limited ability to actively serve others, one may resort to a form of wish fulfilment in wanting the spirit to directly solve one's problems.

Now, of course it is good to pray for others. However it is unrealistic to expect prayer to resolve problems that properly require committed action. So in attempting at times to substitute prayer for  action, one thereby engages to a degree in magical belief!

Level 3 can then be identified with the unfolding of the radial mental self. This is likely to represent a major leap forward as one becomes much more skilled now in applying analytic type abilities to various tasks in a holistic integrated fashion.

And with the progressive development of this ability, a marked increase in committed action that best expresses an inherent potential to serve, is now likely to emerge.  However as always (based on this particular personality profile) one will remain acutely aware of how little is actually achieved(compared to the breadth of one's potential vision).

So there can be marked differences with respect to the degree of activity involved for the distinctive personality types that finally embrace the radial levels. We will return to this important point in the next entry.   

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