Friday, July 7, 2017

Dual and Nondual Reality

In my latest model of development, I now include 8 bands - where a band represents the most general classification of stages - in total. And as each of these bands then contains three main levels, this leads to a model containing 24 major levels.

Then in my holistic binary approach to development, the nature of all these levels is dynamically defined in both linear (1) and circular (0) terms, allowing for unique configurations with respect to differentiation and integration respectively.

I also define sub-levels (usually 3 within each level).

Then a key distinction is made as between the 3 main polarities of experience, external/internal whole/part and form/emptiness. And again in dynamic interactive terms, these polarities combine notions of relative independence (where the poles are separated) and relative interdependence (where the poles are viewed in a complementary manner) respectively.

The first polarity set (external/internal) leads to the view of stages as relating internally to the psychological self and externally to the physical world respectively.

This means for example that at the higher levels one realises that each new stage not only represents a new understanding with respect to internal self but equally with respect to the external world.

So for example - as I have repeatedly emphasised, we do not have the existence of just one type of Mathematics, as is commonly believed (that is equated with the absolute nature of Band 2 understanding) but potentially infinite types of Mathematics (with each containing a certain limited relative validity).

The second polarity set (whole/part) leads to the view of stages as representing a dynamic relationship as between states and structures. In the "Stages of Development" I detail for the 21 levels (of the 7 bands that I defined at the time) the dynamic behaviour of both external/internal (as stages of self and reality) and likewise at even greater length the dynamic behaviour of whole/part (as states and structures).

The third polarity set (form/emptiness) leads to the recognition of the deepest psycho-physical interactions operating throughout development. Though I have delayed consideration of the various ways in which interactions take place through the major levels (because of other concerns) I may return to this important  topic in future.

I have also highlighted the importance of mirror stages of development, the explicit recognition of which occurs at the more advanced stages of development.

The mirror stages - referred to in Christian mysticism as purgation or "dark nights"- provide the essential link as between the differentiation and corresponding integration of stages.

Thus each stage of development must initially be posited in conscious terms for differentiation to take place. However it must then be equally negated (in an unconscious manner) for corresponding integration to occur.

I also place great emphasis on the importance of - what I refer to as - the primary modes, which are the cognitive, affective and volitional aspects of experience.

I then distinguish these from the secondary modes, such as linguistic, logico-mathematical, musical, kinisthetic, interpersonal abilities and so on, which all represent certain configurations with respect to the "primary colours" (i.e. primary modes).

So for successful integration - especially at the more advanced stages of development - a satisfactory balance must be maintained as between the three primary modes.

I also place emphasis on the distinctive personality types, which can have a considerable bearing on the precise dynamics through which development unfolds.

In all, I define 24 such types, based on a holistic mathematical rationale with each representing a unique configuration with respect to the 4 qualitative dimensions of experience (that indirectly can be expressed by the four roots of 1).

And I have been very conscious that my own particular development represents just one unique example (with all its inevitable idiosyncracies) of a particular personality type.

So I certainly would not wish to offer this as a blueprint for all possible development. However its special value lies I believe in providing the appropriate framework from which the holistic mathematical approach - which does indeed have a universal value - itself naturally evolved.


However, though recognising the extraordinary level of detail that must necessarily inform a comprehensive approach, it has never been my intention to attempt to pin down development through rigidly imposed definitions or classifications

Rather my key motivation has been to bring a truly dynamic rationale to the the understanding of development that intimately affects the very way we intellectually attempt to deal with the matter.

And certainly from my perspective, I would see deep issues with respect to the manner in which integration - as opposed to differentiation - is handled.

To put it bluntly, I see the very nature of integration - certainly in terms of intellectual translation - repeatedly reduced in terms of differentiated type understanding.

In fact to avoid such reductionism, the recognition of three distinct processes with respect to development are required.

Firstly, we have the differentiated aspect (conforming to linear asymmetric type understanding); secondly we have the integrated aspect (conforming to circular paradoxical type understanding that entails the dynamic complementarity of opposite poles); thirdly we have - what I refer to as - the radial aspect (conforming to the mature interpenetration of both linear and circular type understanding).

And my very approach with respect to an overall model of development reflects these distinctions.


So the first great task in development is the successful unfolding of the differentiated aspect (with dualistic understanding).

This task relates to Band 1 with specialisation of this differentiated aspect then taking place at Band 2. Though of course integration must also necessarily take place at this time, it is largely of an implicit nature, used to support the more dominant differentiated aspect.

The next great task is the radical unfolding of the holistic integral aspect. This is associated with spiritual contemplative type development and rarely takes place in a substantial manner in Western culture.

This mainly relates to Band 3, with specialisation of the integral aspect taking place at Band 4 (with nondual awareness).

However the final great task is the radical unfolding of both the differentiated (analytic) and the integral (holistic) aspects simultaneously in mutual interpenetration with each other.

Now this begins to commence with Band 5 (in what I refer to as pre-radial development).

Then it attains its mature expression during Bands 6, 7 and 8 (with the radial stages).

Now the great weakness as I see it with conventional approaches is that an attempt is made to graft on an Eastern style treatment of nondual awareness with a Western style treatment of dualistic understanding.

This leads to a dichotomy as between the conventional stages of Western psychology (that emphasise phenomenal structures) and the esoteric stages of Eastern mysticism (that emphasise spiritual states).

However, whereas Western psychology is very weak on successfully integrating spiritual states with phenomenal structures, equally Eastern mysticism is equally somewhat weak in integrating phenomenal structures (at the advanced stages of development) with spiritual contemplative states.

So for example - as I repeatedly emphasise - the advanced stages do not lead solely to the emergence of increasingly refined spiritual states (though indeed these constitute an element of primary importance) but also increasingly dynamic phenomenal structures in both cognitive and affective terms.

Therefore when one emphasises this latter aspect - say with respect to cognitive structures - then one quickly realises that associated with the advanced contemplative stages are new forms of holistic mathematical understanding (with potentially immense implications for the scientific understanding of all transformation processes).

Therefore though in "integral" accounts of development the importance of advanced spiritual development for true integration should indeed be emphasised, because of an unduly Eastern emphasis on states, insufficient recognition still exists that the very nature of integration requires a distinctive type of intellectual interpretation from that used to deal with differentiation.

In other words with respect to the translation of development the integral aspect is repeatedly reduced in a differentiated fashion.

So integration is typically dealt with by emphasising the multiple aspects in which differentiated development takes place, with integration supposedly then arising from the combination of these separate elements. However this is simply to confuse integration with the multi-differentiated aspect of development.

However in properly moving from the dual emphasis (that characterises differentiation) to the nondual emphasis (that characterises integration), one must coherently show how any dualistic asymmetric distinction,  with a partial limited validity in relative differentiated terms, is rendered fully paradoxical in a holistic integral context.

And then this equally requires in the proper preservation of the unique aspects of differentiation and integration with respect to development, that the simultaneous mix of both (where they mutually interpenetrate with each other in a harmonious manner) requires a new distinctive terminology, which I refer to as radial.

And properly speaking in a comprehensive model of development, allowing for the full potential of human understanding, pride of place must then be given to radial development, for it is only from this perspective that one can see both the differentiated and integral aspects (as considered in a relative separate manner) in the appropriate context.


So Western understanding places far too much emphasis on dualistic understanding (though strictly one cannot have such understanding without a nondual element).

However in the Eastern mystical traditions there is in turn too much emphasis on nondual awareness (though again strictly speaking one cannot have nondual awareness without a dualistic component).

Thus even at the most advanced levels of contemplative awareness, we do not just have the experience of emptiness, but rather the highly refined interaction of both dual and nondual. So what in fact happens is that experience now becomes so dynamic that phenomena of form do not even appear to arise. A similar situation is now recognised in physics whereby the "quantum vacuum" is in fact associated with the highly dynamic activity of virtual particles!

And radial development is certainly not just an expression of nondual awareness.

Now it might be maintained in the texts of - say a Zen master - that one now sees the world exactly as it is i.e. in a nondual fashion.

The simple point remains however that one cannot even register phenomena of form without a dualistic element arising.

So what happens is this! Say one looks at a flower with the most developed form of awareness!

Then to recognise the distinct phenomenal identity of the flower, one must momentarily separate the external from the internal pole of experience (with a dualistic element therefore involved).

However one then immediately recognises the complementary aspect of the self in the experience (thereby cancelling out this dualistic recognition). Therefore one is again momentarily aware in dualistic fashion of the internal self (in the experience of the flower) which is immediately cancelled out through the complementary recognition of the alternative external aspect.

So one keeps dynamically switching as between momentary dualistic recognition of both the external and internal aspects of flower recognition through the mutual complementary fusion of both as nondual spiritual awareness.

Thus the true experience of the flower now properly entails a highly refined supremely balanced  dynamic interplay of both dual (differentiated) and nondual (integrated) aspects i.e. radial understanding.

Therefore the - strictly - misleading emphasis on nondual awareness in Eastern mystical traditions has led I believe to an important imbalance where the value of pure contemplative awareness is often emphasised at the expense of commited dualistic action with respect to the world of form.

So properly understood, during the radial levels, nondual awareness is not only designed to interact with refined dualistic activity, but even the most rigid of such activity.

I often use the analogy of a fire to emphasise this point.

Eastern mysticism often reminds me of a fire where the material is already ablaze (with the flames representing nondual awareness).

However if we were content to leave it at this, the fire would eventually die out (reflecting a comparative lack of dualistic activity).

Therefore the most healthy situation reflects a fire where some material is already ablaze but where other material has not yet been set alight (reflecting a mixture of both nondual awareness and dualistic activity). And as the strength of the fire grows, this would enable the addition of ever more material (even that which is least flammable).

And this is exactly how I see radial development i.e. as the situation where both dual activity (entailing engagement at varying levels of refinement) and nondual awareness grow in a dynamically balanced manner with each other.

So it represents a continual on-going process with remarkable potential for dramatic evolutionary development.

However most Eastern accounts greatly ignore this dynamic evolutionary aspect through an undue emphasis on  (nondual) spiritual awarenesss. Western mystical accounts by contrast sometimes do deal with the (dualistic) dynamic aspect  but without sufficient emphasis on the pure nondual awareness properly required.

In particular from my own perspective I realise that the radial levels have potentially startling implications for a true revolution in understanding with respect to Mathematics and all the sciences.

However I can see scarcely any recognition whatsoever of such implications in either Eastern or Western traditions. 

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