INTEGRAL WORLD: EXPLORING THEORIES OF EVERYTHING
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
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The Way Out Is Through
(As Key Fragments)
Gary P. Hampson
In June 2007, the academic journal, Integral Review: A Transdisciplinary and Transcultural Journal For New Thought, Research, and Praxis published (in issue 4) an extended work of mine entitled, Integral Re-views Postmodernism: The Way Out Is Through. Integral Review is a Creative Commons journal: my article is available for public viewing at http://integral-review.org/ in PDF format. The abstract is as follows:
“In this article I re-evaluate the potential contribution of postmodernism to integral theory via integrally-derived perspectives. I identify a premature foreclosure: the underappreciation of postformal modes of thinking (cognitive development beyond Piaget's formal operations). I then enact certain forms of postformal reasoning in relation to integral theory. This includes an engagement with such perspectives as complexity theory, conceptual ecology, vision-logic, dialectics, genealogy, critical theory, and construct-awareness. A major theme concerns the dialectical relationship between reconstruction and deconstruction—partly explored through a developmental assessment of contra-indicative discourse by both Wilber and Derrida. Although the territory is complex, the relationship between current Wilberian theory and postmodernism is clearly problematised. I posit that a deeper engagement with postmodernism can lead to an autopoietic deepening of integral theory.”
I have since engaged in one formal and one informal online discussion about it. The former was a forum dedicated to addressing my work, instigated by Integral Review—available for viewing at http://global-arina.org. The latter was a Zaadz thread, available for viewing at http://pods.zaadz.com.
Meanwhile, Frank Visser has asked whether I might write a summary or suchlike for Integral World. In response, I have produced something more akin to “suchlike” than “summary”: I have come up with a selection of fragments of the text which, when strung together, indicate, I hope, something of the whole. Although I am calling these key fragments, “key” should be read as, shall we say, an orienting generalization toward my article: a future revisiting may well elicit a different selection. In addition to the key fragments, I begin by presenting the conclusion in its entirety. We thus have the following table of contents:
- CONCLUSION (ENDS-IN-VIEW)
- Identification of problems
- Summary of Re-view
- A Forward View
- Toward an Explicitly Linguistically-Aware Integral Theory
- Toward an Explicitly Ecological (Dialogic-Critical-Contextual) Integral Theory
- Toward an Explicitly Dialectical Integral Theory
- Toward an Explicitly Complex-Aware Integral Theory
- Toward an Explicitly, Dynamically Creative Integral Theory
- 44 KEY FRAGMENTS
- 1 -8 - Introduction
- 9 -12 - Thinking Contextually About Integral Theory
- 13-18 - Thinking Dialectically About Integral theory
- 19-22 - Thinking Critically About Integral Theory
- 23-31 - Thinking Complexly About Integral theory
- 32-38 - Appendix A: The Green vMeme Attractor—Big Mind, Kind Heart, Healthy Hierarchy
- 39-44 - Appendix C: An AQAL Contextualisation
- THE PAPER'S REFERENCES
[I have removed footnotes, and have slightly altered formatting, including conflating both paragraphs and section/subsections differentials. Page numbers are in reference to the (sub)sections rather than to the quotations per se].
In earnest hermeneutic play,
Gary, December 2007
CONCLUSION—ENDS-IN-VIEW (pp. 148-152)
The soul sings of the glory of God inasmuch as it follows its own folds,
but without succeeding in entirely developing them, since 'this communication'
stretches out indefinitely (Deleuze, 1988/2006, p. 3).
An integral re-viewing of the developmental wave of postmodernism can highlight the current undervaluation of thinking postformally. Postformal cognition can be enacted in relation to a variety of concerns and interests including integral theory itself. Integral theory thus contains the means to develop itself—a participatory autopoiesis. In this way, the manifold contributions that Wilber has offered to integral theory and its panoramic horizons can be enhanced and reconfigured. The AQAL model maps contextualism, dialectics, and complexity as postformal features. Integral theory could more reflexively enact such ways of reasoning. By more consciously participating in the ecology of postformal modalities—including thinking contextually, thinking dialectically, thinking critically and thinking complexly—AQAL could be reconfigured, and its metasystematic or paradigmatic geist could be appropriately furthered in service of the dialogic evolution of integral theory. This article has demonstrated a few uses of such postformal cognitive modes. Regard for all dimensions of embodiment and the metaphoric nature of theorising also need to be duly considered, whilst shadow-work can be fruitfully brought into the fabric of integral theory via the dialectics of deconstruction. Below is a concluding elucidation and possible futuring of these ideas—ends-in-view.
Identification of Problems
In attempting to transcend postmodernism, Wilberian integral theory appears not to sufficiently include its contributions. AQAL's current theoretic status of the Green vMeme and its relationship to post-Green conceptualisations is substantively problematic. It would appear this has led to the memetic propagation of myths concerning integrality. The following points can be made.
- From a vMemetic theoretic perspective, the Green vMeme (postmodernism and postformal thinking) is accepted most strongly by the subsequent Yellow (Teal / integral) vMeme and is rejected most strongly by the Orange vMeme (including modernism and formal thinking), and is also substantively rejected by the Blue vMeme (absolutist thinking). The mean green meme can most adequately be identified developmentally as an Orange vMeme perspective. Blue vMeme attitudes can also be associated with the mean green meme meme.
- Gebser does not posit a structure of consciousness between the current mental-perspectival one and the emerging integral-aperspectival one; he does not identify a deconstructive postmodernism. He cannot therefore be legitimately used in service of AQAL theory in this regard.
- Uncontextualised association between relativism, deconstruction and Derrida is constituted by substantive mythic elements. Derrida and déconstruction can be legitimately identified as operating from an advanced developmental level. Derrida's potential contribution to integral theory needs to be digested. The developmental maturity and spirituality of postmodern philosophers such as Deleuze, Derrida and Lyotard need to be adequately addressed by integral theory.
- There is an anomaly in current integral theorising regarding, on the one hand, the strength of the Green vMeme in the U.S.A. in relation to Europe, and on the other, the strength of the pathology of the Green vMeme in the U.S.A in relation to Europe. This might be evidence of a more endemic theoretic problem. Nation-cultures need to be more adequately addressed.
Summary of Re-view
Integral theory itself can be used to address these points, thus effecting an autopoiesis. Specifically, the way to a respectful and internally consistent integral approach can be seen as being through the myriad features postmodernism offers, not in substantive antipathy to it. Re-viewing postmodernism from an integral perspective can enhance the adequacy of AQAL, leading to an integral theory which is more internally consistent and respectful.
Whilst appropriately including many and various contexts and dimensions with regard to formal reasoning, postformal reasoning includes substantively different types of cognition to formal thought, including—thinking complexly, contextually, creatively, critically, dialectically, dialogically, ecologically, “embodiedly,” linguistically and reflexively. The reflexive enactment of such modalities may consequently alter the conceptual template—the very fabric—upon which integral theory is based.
A Forward View
The primary intent in this article has been to open up particular conversations to further facilitate the appropriate evolution of integral theory. As such, the following could variously act as a guiding framework for further research.
1. Toward an Explicitly Linguistically-Aware Integral Theory
A central feature of the postmodern developmental wave regards the significance of languaging. Integral theory should take this contribution to heart, deepening its enactment. Notably, reflexive embrace could be given to the following understandings concerning the languaging of theoretic narrative:
- Its constructed qualities.
- Research could be undertaken, for example, with regard to possible relationships between the poststructuralist “linguistic turn,” constructivism, and Cook-Greuter's “construct-awareness.”
- Developmental constructs and theoretic topologies could themselves be addressed through differentiating between the linguistic signifiers (such as “developmental wave”) and the underlying topology or theoretic signifieds with which they are associated (for example, linear or non-complex topology).
- Its metaphorical qualities.
- Research could be undertaken regarding the relationship of integral theory to Lakoff and Johnson's work on conceptual metaphor and embodied philosophy.
- Its complex dialectical qualities.
- Research could be undertaken concerning the operation of complex dialectics at the micro-scale of concepts—“integral nanotextology.”
- Its poetic qualities.
- Further investigation could be undertaken with regard to the relevance of Gebser's poetic density of languaging for integral theory.
- Further exploration of the relevance of Gangadean's novel typological syntax to integral theory might assist in the evolution of integral theory.
Theoretic narrative can be deepened through its participants (co-creating users, including you and me!) becoming more linguistically-aware—as demonstrated or gestured by the deepening of vision-logic offered in this article.
2. Toward an Explicitly Ecological (Dialogic-Critical-Contextual) Integral Theory
Further research could be conducted in relation to the following various dimensioning contexts of ecological thinking:
- Critical contexts (contexts of compassionate imperatives), including
- Biospherical ecological contexts—at different scales of recursion, especially planetary.
- Social justice contexts—at different scales of recursion. For example, the criticality of integral theorising could be addressed in relation to such power imbalances as those involving the over-extensions of Western, American, Orange vMeme, Anglophone or other hegemonic domains.
- Other ethical, spiritual and futures contexts.
- Conceptual ecological contexts
- Space—geographies. Chinese integrals, Indian integrals, Spanish integrals, and so forth, could be identified as different types of integral, stemming from alternate genealogical threads.
- Conceptual space—regarding both the conceptual ecologies in which integral may be appropriately identified (such as amongst holism, integration, transformation, spirituality, planetary consciousness, etc.), and the (more local) ecology of interpretive uses of integral itself (as demonstrated in this article).
- Social ecological contexts—community-in-dialogue
- Voice-in-community—As part of acknowledging the potential role of my voice in this article in relation to the integral community, I have attempted to indicate certain openings to conversation and community dialogue. Further research here thus lies, in the next instance, beyond me.
- Community-in-voice—I also acknowledge the community already in my voice, so to speak. I have multiple subjectivities; no-one can logically speak from a position of absolute authority. Consequently, I have attempted to allow a range of languaging here whilst variously maintaining a certain tentativity of tenor. There will necessarily be flaws in this text, so a space has hopefully been left in the fabric of my text for the involvement of the Other (such as that you might variously identify).
As part of deepening critical awareness regarding integral theory, further research could be undertaken regarding a more comprehensive evaluation of the current situation than was within the scope of this article to conduct.
3. Toward an Explicitly Dialectical Integral Theory
Notions of construction and deconstruction as necessary adversaries can appropriately be seen to stem from an either/or mindset. Thinking dialectically, their relationship can fruitfully be rather understood as complexly interpenetrating. Deconstructive and reconstructive postmodernisms share one genealogy which itself has a dialectical underpinning. Hence contra-possibilities can be identified: that discourse under the mantle of deconstruction can be constructive and/or appropriate, whilst discourse under the guise of reconstruction can be destructive and/or inappropriate. Derrida's work should not be regarded as antipathetic to an integral approach. There is evidence regarding the maturity of Derrida's discourse; there is also evidence regarding a dissonance between the theoretic content of Wilberian theory and perspectives given toward that content by Wilber. Further research could be undertaken in these regards. Resultant conceptual bridges could further mutual understanding; and a greater, more cohesive (or paradoxically more stable) integral theory could result.
Paradoxical thinking is associated with dialectical thinking. For instance, other parts of my life are not directly congruent with the sensibility expressed in this article. I sit with the paradox contained within the ecology of these different “lines.”
4. Toward an Explicitly Complex-Aware Integral Theory
I have demonstrated a particular use of the complexity theory element, recursion—with respect to both content and nonduality in integral theory. Further research could be undertaken with regard to other elements of complexity theory such as emergence, bifurcation, hysterisis, sensitivity to initial conditions, indeterminacy, attractors, and dynamism.
Both differences and similarities could be identified between different fractal scales of construction, such as the construction of theories and the construction of terms; both differences and similarities can be identified between different fractal scales of deconstruction, such as Derridean déconstruction and the deconstruction of the ego.
A conceptual template based in part on complexity theory could facilitate an internally-congruent evolution of integral theory. Further research could explore, for example, in what appropriate ways pre- and trans- could be identified as distinct yet complexly interpenetrating.
5. Toward an Explicitly, Dynamically Creative Integral Theory
AQAL places the concept of creativity as a core generic driver (“healthy” transcendence as characterised as Eros) in holonic development-evolution. Numerous theoretic perspectives on creativity could be given. One such perspective is that offered by Arthur's Koestler's (1970) triad of the Sage, the Artist and the Jester.
- The Sage
- Research could be undertaken to facilitate a reflexively wise and compassionate integral theory.
- The Artist
- Research into the art of integral might investigate the artfulness involved in all dimensions of participation.
- Research could explore bringing more beauty into the good and true.
- The Jester
- i. Ludic research could explore the transition from boomeritis to bloomeritis!
As Wilber (2000a, p. 3) says, “choose your big pictures with care.
44 KEY FRAGMENTS
Introduction (pp. 110-111)
- AQAL is a powerful player in the integral terrain, and Wilber's theoretic contributions need to be duly considered to advance integral theory in general.
- The conceptual terrain AQAL broadly maps needs to be explored in careful detail (Roy, 2006a).
- Postmodernism is a highly contested term, such that it can even be seen to have contradictory meanings. I will not be using the term to infer certain features that might elsewhere be attributed to “late capitalism,” for instance. (Late capitalism is still capitalism and should therefore remain mapped within AQAL's Orange vMeme—modernism.) Instead, my use of the term in this article is intended at the outset to signify AQAL's Green vMeme, thus including both collective and individual dimensions.
The Logic of Integral Vision (pp. 111-112)
- A commonly held default understanding is that integral and postmodern signify very different beasts. In such a characterisation, postmodern connotes incredulity toward grand narratives (à la Lyotard), and a privileging of particularity, sensibility, nonlinearity, flux, liminality, and divergence (via Derrida's différance and déconstruction). In contrast, integral connotes the credibility of (certain) grand narratives, and a privileging of universality, content, linearity, structure, definition, and convergence (coherence and construction). Such a characterisation is reinforced by Wilber's foregounding of the decisive differentiation between AQAL's Green vMeme and those Wilberian vMemes which are theorised as transcending it.
Revisioning Integral Logic (pp. 112-113)
- Wilberian theory has foregrounded the locating of objects of inquiry rather than the developmental locating of modes of inquiry (epistemologies or methodologies).
- What new understandings of integral theory might arise from explicitly detailing and employing postformal modes of cognition upon itself? The territory envisaged is vast; hence, at this stage, I can seek only to open up this avenue of thought—to tentatively start to develop a conversation.
Reviewing Postformal Thinking (pp. 114-115)
- Various modes of cognition or operations, types of thinking, qualities, features and/or characteristics have been identified in this discourse as, or pertaining to, postformal. These include: complexity, dialectics, creativity, imagination, construct-awareness, problem-finding, reflexivity, dimensionality of systems thinking, contextualisation, holism, openness, unitary consciousness, dialogic consciousness, and wisdom. (Arlin, 1975a, 1975b, 1976; Basseches, 1980, 1984a, 1984b, 1986, 2005; Benack, Basseches, & Swan, 1989; Benack & Basseches, 1989; Broughton, 1984; Commons & Richards, 1984, 2002; Cook-Greuter, 1990, 2000, 2002; Demetriou, 1985; Kegan, 1982, 1994; Kohlberg, 1984; Koplowitz, 1984, 1990; Kramer & Woodruff, 1986; Labouvie-Vief, 1990; Loevinger, 1976; Marchand, 2001; Pascual-Leone, 1984; Powell, 1980; Riegel, 1973, 1975, 1976; Sinnott, 1998, 2003; Sternberg, 1998; Wade, 1996). The literature also demonstrates a wide variety of conceptualisations regarding the theoretic legitimacy, number, positioning and/or relationship among postformal developmental levels. The term postformal took on a somewhat different usage and meaning in 1993 within the field of education via Joe Kincheloe and Shirley Steinberg (1993) who posited a socio-cognitive theory regarding post-formal thinking, describing postformal thought as the socio-cognitive expression of postmodernism. In addition to features identified above with the developmental psychology discourse, they included: critical theory, genealogy, etymology, structuralism, metaphoric cognition, ecological thinking, deconstruction, nonlinearity, holistic causation, and power-awareness.
Developing Postformal Thinking (pp. 115-116)
- To facilitate explicit enactments of thinking postformally, I posit that a deepening and a cohering of postformal qualities might be helpful. Both moves (deepening and cohering) can be seen to have affective (embodied) and mental (intellectual) aspects. In terms of deepening postformal thinking—from an affective perspective, a relationship between self-sense and postformal concept could be developed through trust: an opening up to the postformal quality in question via affective embodiment (such as via intuition). The mental correlate of this would be to open up the postformal concept via the intellect. …In terms of cohering postformal cognitive qualities—a similar framework could be helpful. Conceptual cohering could be facilitated through systematic consideration of the possible ecology of / dialogue among postformal features.
Thinking Contextually About Integral Theory
Sharing Schelling: A Genealogy of Postmodernisms (pp. 119-120)
- A starting place to view a less adversarial relationship between integral and postmodern than that connoted by Wilber and some members of the integral community, is to consider their shared genealogy. Philosopher Arran Gare (2002) has done just that. He presents the following picture: As scientific materialism began to increase in societal power in late 18th Century Europe, a “postmodern” countertradition arose in the footsteps of Giambattista Vico and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Johann Herder led the way, identifying: suffering caused by abstractions; the need for self-realisation; an appreciation of cultural plurality; the importance of the particular, the sensory, the active; and a purposeful nature. This thread led—via Johann Wolfgang von Goethe—to Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling. Like Rudolf Steiner, Wilber (1995), and Jennifer Gidley (in press), Gare identifies Schelling as an inspiration, and a pivot in history. He highlights Schelling's dialectical method and also his understanding of that, that we are: an “unprethinkable Being” which precedes all thought and is presupposed by it. Gare then identifies a historical bifurcation stemming from Schelling. One branch leads to the poststructuralists (“poststructuralist postmodernism”), the other to a high-order quest for coherence (“cosmological postmodernism”). In addition to the dialectical nature of the philosophy that lies at the root of the two branches, the branches themselves can be seen as a dialectic between Schelling's alignment with Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel on the one hand, and his critique of Hegel, on the other. The branch that proceeds from Schelling's critique of Hegel includes Friedrich Wilhelm Neitzsche, Martin Heidegger, Michel Foucault (largely influenced by Neitzsche), Jacques Derrida (largely influenced by Heidegger) and Gilles Deleuze (who retains more influence from Schelling than the others). Somewhat resonant with Roland Benedikter's (2005) seminal work on postmodern spirituality, Gare proffers that, “poststructuralists require Schelling's earlier philosophy or developments of it to sustain their arguments” (Gare, 2002). The branch which is more aligned to Hegel leads to Henri Bergson and Alfred North Whitehead via Charles Peirce and also via Karl Ernst Von Baer's evolutionary theory of nature. Gare identifies this thread as a high-order quest for coherence. Such a quest for coherence is surely central for any integral theory. But surely a greater integral quest would be to attempt to respectfully honour both branches?
An Ecology of Integrals (pp. 120-125)
- Integral—meaning, “of or pertaining to a whole”—entered the English vocabulary from the Latin, integer (via the French, intégral) in 1471. In terms of integral theory and correspondent developments, Sri Aurobindo Ghose (1914/1960) used the term to describe a type of knowledge or yoga, as published in The Life Divine. Unaware of Aurobindo's usage, Jean Gebser (1949/1985, p. xxix) began using the term (as a conjunct to aperspectival) in 1940, culminating in its usage in The Ever-Present Origin in 1949. Meanwhile, Haridas Chaudhuri carried the term through from Aurobindo and founded the California Institute of Integral Studies (C.I.I.S) (n.d.) in 1968. Michael Murphy also brought through Aurobindo's integral theory when he co-founded the Esalen Institute (2005) in 1962. He has since adopted the term integral with George Leonard, in their Integral Transformative Practice (2007). The most popular(ist) integral theorist—Ken Wilber (1997, 2000a, 2000c)—had started using the term by 1997 to describe both his own writing, and thence his institutional frameworks, such as the Integral Institute (2007) including Integral Naked. Global-outreach tertiary institute, Pacific Integral (n.d.), was founded in reference to this genealogical branch, as well as to William Torbert's work.Wilber's genealogical branch entered futures studies via Richard Slaughter (1998). Ervin László (2004) started foregrounding the term in relation to integral science in 2003, competitively using with the same turn of phrase as Wilber—An Integral Theory of Everything—in 2004. Global philosopher Ashok Gangadean (2006a) incorporates László's work among others, to form his own dialogical integral approach. Gidley acknowledges Gangadean as part of her quest to “integrate the integrals,” notably an exploration of connections between Gebser, Wilber and Rudolf Steiner, the latter of whom she identifies as an integral pioneer (Gidley & Hampson, 2005). Meanwhile, others have furthered representations of C.I.I.S.'s mission, including Robert McDermott, Richard Tarnas (see, for example, 1991), and Jorge Ferrer, the latter of whom has identified a participatory integral approach along with Marina Romero and Ramon Albareda (Ferrer et al., 2005), directors of Estel, a centre for personal growth and integral studies in Barcelona (Albareda, n.d.). In addition, William Irwin Thompson (2003)—whilst acknowledging Aurobindo and Steiner—has, for some decades, been running with Gebser's interpretation to foreground a certain artistry: integral performances that seek to generate new horizons; such alignment with creativity parallels both Bernie Neville's (1989) Gebserian and archetypal educational approach, and, substantively, Alfonso Montuori's (1997) interpretation of integral as a form of disciplined improvisation, via the generative metaphor of jazz. From this particular ecological perspective, there are six intertwined genealogical branches of integral: those aligned with Aurobindo, Gebser, Wilber, Gangadean, László and Steiner (in respective chronological order of first usage), among which there are varying degrees of commonality and contestation in various dimensions. As such, we may regard the above as an outline of some “semiotic attractors” within a (necessarily complex and dynamic) hermeneutic ecosystem.
- In order to “effect an integration,” Gebser refers to three necessary qualities in regard to the other structures of consciousness (such as the mental/rational structure), namely: insight, maturity and balance. I posit that each of these can be fruitfully regarded as conceptual portals (linking philosophical and psychological dimensions) which can facilitate integral modes of engagement—thus linking Gebser's integral theory with Ferrer et al.'s participatory integral theory mentioned above. Moreover, insight, maturity and balance point to (or, perhaps, can be encapsulated as) the art of integrality. As Roy indicates, integration needs to be well-crafted: it needs to be artful; artful with a capital A.
- When Wilber refers to Gebser's model, he often correctly identifies Gebser's structures of consciousnes. However, at other times, especially when he refers to Gebser in a context of other authors, and also notably in his more recent work, his text and charts are often substantively misleading (if one wishes to explore the particular territory rather than operate at the level of “orienting generalisations”). Consider the following indicative statement: “Jean Gebser [amongst others]…believe[s] that the general waves of evolution or unfoldment have included archaic, magic-tribal, mythic-traditional, modern-rational, postmodern-pluralistic—all of which together are often called "first-tier" waves—and integral-aperspectival—which is often called "second tier" (Wilber, 2006a, p. 5, emphasis in original).” This statement is incorrect. Gebser has not posited a postmodern-pluralistic stage. Unfortunately, Wilber reinforces this error in various charts and tables frequently propagated at face value by a significant proportion of the integral community. In an iconically glossy insert in Integral Spirituality (Wilber, 2006b, between pp. 68-69) for example, he identifies Gebser's “pluralistic” stage as corresponding with the Wilberian Green vMeme. In an exacerbation of the situation, he also associates Gebser with a “super-integral” developmental level. Such errors also occur in the Wilber-Combs Lattice, a key feature in Wilber's latest work (2006b, p. 90). Gebser only elucidated five structures: archaic, magic, mythic, mental and integral. No postmodern pluralism, no “super” marked-up integral. Gebser's understanding instead is that the integral structure follows on, as it were, directly from the mental-perspectival (modern) one and that it has various unique attributes or characteristics which infer a “translucence” of—a certain (re)opening up to—previous structures rather than the theoretic construction of further stages beyond integral.
Thinking Dialectically About Integral Theory (p. 125)
- Dialectical operations can be used to both deepen and problematise integral theory. The former can be achieved via the concept of vision-logic and the interpenetrative play of the visionary logic embedded within the term; whilst the latter can be achieved through counterpointing the default (conventional / formal, non-dialectical) view of the concept of construction with a dialectical view regarding the concept of deconstruction.
Deepening Vision-Logic (pp. 125-127)
- Vision-logic is a neat term (in both senses) as it creatively embraces a number of postformal features simultaneously, evoking a “magic synthesis” (Wilber, 2000a, p. 259, n. 27). Gidley (2006) indicates that academic research often privileges logic over imaginative vision and consequently does not achieve such a “psychoactive” outcome. It's perhaps also a quintessentially postformal term in that it is a neologism constituted by a dialectic between two contrasting formal concepts—vision and logic. It is thus variously analogous to William Stern's (1938) unitas multiplex, Benedikter's (2005) productive void, Goethe's delicate empiricism (Seamon, 1998), Foucault's (2003) epistemologico-political, Dewey's (1919/2004) end-in-view, Bussey's (2006) critical spirituality, Gangadean's (1993) meditative reason, Steiner's (1910/1983) spiritual science, and also, perhaps—in more condensed or expanded forms—to Derrida's différance (as dialectic between difference and deference), Gebser's (1949/1985) integral-aperspectival, Hafiz's God in drag (1999) and Zhuangzi's (n.d.) Transformation of Things (as exemplified by Zhuangzi's dialectical narrative regarding a person's dream that they were a butterfly, in question with an alternate understanding that the butterfly was dreaming the person). The term is inherently “unstable” from a formal perspective, but paradoxically generative and vitalising from a postformal perspective in that it can facilitate a spark of cognitive transformation in the reader if the context of the reader is such that the concept is sufficiently trusted and given space to internally reside, so to speak.
- A characterisation might be to assign logic the role of Wilberian horizontal translation, the “flatland” of the plan view of ex-plan-ation; and, conversely, vision the role of Wilberian vertical transformation by means of identifying the (Erotic) creativity inherent in the image of imag-ination (see Wilber, 1995, pp. 59-61). From this perspective, the neologism is metaphorically holonic which adds to its generativity. Meanwhile, from a dialectically-oriented mode of cognition, vision-logic can deepen into a plurality of vision-logics (a plurality still encompassed by the term as genus). This could include such domains as: [a] Visions and versions of different logics—including: many-valued logics (Malinowski, 1993), including fuzzy logic (Novák, 1989; Zadeh, Klir, & Yuan, 1996), and the related: fuzziology & social fuzziology (Dimitrov & Hodge, 2002), and vagueness (Williamson, 1994), [and] dialectical logic (Adorno, 1990; Ilyenkov, 1977); [b] The logic of different visions—the rectitude of plural imaginations—including (post)modern imaginations (Kearney, 1998), the embodied imagination (Johnson, 1992), the theoretic imagination (Weick, 1989), the scientific imagination (Holton, 1998), the geometrical imagination (Hilbert & Cohn-Vossen, 1952), the sociological imagination (Mills, 1959/2000), [and] the philosophy of imagination (Warnock, 1976).
Contra-Indications of Construction (pp. 128)
- When we regard the terms, construction, reconstruction and deconstruction, what form of cognition are we using? From a pre-formal perspective we might feel a flood of emotive mythic resonances so that we conflate construction and reconstruction with salvation, and deconstruction with destruction. From a formal perspective, we might seek to carefully define exactly what the terms “actually” mean so that there is maximal differentiation; from the formal perspective, preformal conflations no longer apply, but construction and reconstruction still each stand in unequivocal semantic opposition to deconstruction. From a post-formal perspective, however, the situation may not (necessarily) be as clear-cut. A deeper understanding would beckon.
Deconstructive reconstruction (pp. 129-131)
- Connecting deconstruction with boomeritis, we can observe [Wilber's] following—potentially revolutionary but unfortunately unsubstantiated—cultural criticism of this developmental level—the Wilberian Green vMeme: “In green's admirable attempt to go postconventional—it has often inadvertently embraced anything nonconventional, and this includes much that is frankly preconventional, regressive, and narcissistic. This strange mixture of very high postconventional memes with preconventional narcissistic memes is boomeritis. A typical result is that the sensitive self, honestly trying to help, excitedly exaggerates its own significance. It will possess the new paradigm, which heralds the greatest transformation in the history of the world; it will completely revolutionize society as we know it; it will revision everything that came before it; it will save the planet and save Gaia and save the Goddess; it will be the most extraordinary.” Well, and off we go on some of the negative aspects of the last three decades of boomer cultural studies. … Boomeritis has significantly tilted and prejudiced academic studies; it is behind much of the culture wars; it haunts almost every corner of the New Age; it drives many of the games of deconstruction and identity politics; it authors new paradigms daily (p. 27).” What should be made of such heroic words which caution us against war, haunting, and games of deconstruction? A call, it would seem, for boomers to turn from The Dark Side and acquire Wilber's Brave New Paradigm. Yet in such an admirable attempt to “go integral,” certain shadow questions arise: Has Wilber unwittingly embraced the preconventional languaging of Cowboys and Indians? In what way is Wilber not claiming that AQAL will “revision everything that came before it”? and: In what way would the incongruence potentially identified here not significantly “tilt and prejudice” integral studies?
Constructive deconstruction (pp. 131-135)
- In consideration of the most mature of the postconventional stages (i.e. the stages under consideration here)—the construct-aware Magician—consider the Cook-Greuter identifiers of this stage—authenticity, vividness, playfulness and complexity—with regard to the following two Derridean (1997/2001) quotes—the first with particular regard to authenticity: “In principle, there is no limit to forgiveness, no measure, no moderation, no “to what point?”… Forgiveness is often confounded, sometimes in a calculated fashion, with related themes: excuse, regret, amnesty, prescription, etc…[but] forgiveness must in principle remain heterogeneous and irreducible (p. 27).” and the following single sentence with its complex structure: “For if, as I believe, the concept of a crime against the humanity is the main charge of this self-accusation, of this repenting and this asking forgiveness; if, on the other hand, only a sacredness of the human can, in the last resort, justify this concept (nothing is worse, in this logic, than a crime against the humanity of man and against human rights); if this sacredness finds its meaning in the Abrahamic memory of the religions of the Book, and in a Jewish but above all Christian interpretation of the 'neighbour' or the 'fellow man'; if, from this, the crime against humanity is a crime against what is most sacred in the living, and thus already against the divine in man, in God-made-man or man-made-God-by-God (the death of man and the death of God would here betray the same crime), then the 'globablisation' of forgiveness resembles an immense scene of confession in progress, thus a virtually Christian convulsion-conversion-confession, a process of Christianisation which has no more need for the Christian church (pp. 30-31).” Here, in addition to Derrida's vividness of language regarding concerns and insights into matters spiritual—with a sense of appropriate wordplay—we can also see Cook-Greuter's identification of the construct-aware Magician where “concerns, questions, insights and commentary cleverly united into one complex sentence structure.” A plausible hypothesis, then, would be to consider that these comments from Derrida centre around the perspective of The Magician—a level beyond Wilber's Teal / Integral / “post-postmodern” / Yellow vMeme. In short, this evidence supports the hypothesis that the above text from Derrida is operating from the construct-aware stage. But what does Derrida (1983/1985) himself say about reconstruction? Is deconstruction negative? The undoing, decomposing, and desedimenting of structures…[is] not a negative operation. Rather than destroying, it [is] also necessary to understand how an "ensemble" [is] constituted and to reconstruct it to this end (p. 3). Derrida rationally differentiates deconstruction from destruction and indicates that deconstruction is a constructive activity. He also explicitly reflexes upon its subtle dialectical quality. His writing demonstrates a high level of developmental maturity, in which deconstruction is recognised and reflexively enacted in a post-relativist, dialectical, construct-aware mode. Derrida and deconstruction are clearly something Other than that signified by Wilber in his use of the term, deconstructive postmodernism.
Thinking Critically About Integral Theory
Boomeritis: An (un)Critical Americanitis? (pp.136-137)
- Let's turn firstly to Derrida (1983/1985) for an insight into this question: “It is true that in certain circles (university or cultural, especially in the United States) the technical and methodological 'metaphor' that seems necessarily attached to the very word deconstruction has been able to seduce or lead astray” (p. 3). The suggestion here is that the U.S.A. constitutes a substantively special case of being “led astray” by the term. Referencing Curler (1982), Ben Agger (1991) continues that there is a distinction to be had—perhaps between Derrida's déconstruction and a certain metaphorical use of the term, or perhaps between Derrida's text and a “methodology” called deconstruction—and that this strongly affects the U.S.A.: “Literary critics prise out of Derrida a methodology of textual reading called deconstruction. This deconstructive method has spread like wildfire through American humanities departments” (p. 112). Wilber (1995) develops this line of reasoning regarding deconstruction.
American and Other Interpretations (pp. 137-139)
- Ben Agger's (1996) interpretation of the situation is both significantly convergent and significantly divergent from Wilber's. In terms of agreement, Agger reinforces the hypothesis that there is something singularly wayward with America's interpretation of postmodernism and deconstruction. In terms of difference, Agger suggests that, rather than being related to America's excess of radical politics, it is actually American culture's deficiency in radical politics that is the cause of wilful or careless “ignorance” regarding deconstruction.
- If integral theory, developmental theory or socio-cultural theory seeks to speak from a global rather than a local (i.e., American) perspective—and to a global rather than a provincial (i.e., American) audience—then note might be made that the rest of the world might not have substantively partaken of such a cultural fad as deconstructive postmodernism—or, at least, might not have substantively partaken of a “vulgar” interpretation of postmodernism. It would seem that the theoretic transition from modern to integral needs to take into account the importance of different cultural types—specifically addressing the 242 of the 243 nation-cultures that are not the U.S. of A. (regardless of how many subcultures the U.S.A. includes). If cultural type or state can skew the normalised theoretic structure of cultural development to the extent indicated above, then such straight linear interpretations of AQAL's default theoretic hierarchy of significance between levels of development and cultural type and state become problematic or untenable. Instead, a much subtler, more complex theoretic structure needs to be envisaged, where cultural variants (such as the identification of the AQAL state of neo-imperialism regarding the current U.S.) can be seen to be a major player amongst integral elements—the AQAL ecology of types, states, lines, levels and quadrants / native perspectives.
- Even where this cultural stage is identified in other countries, it would still appear to be the case that the “virulent” memetic strain of postmodernism seemingly constituted by the term deconstructive postmodernism is found in the U.S. in an unusually high ratio. According to Wilberian theory, this would suggest that the Green vMeme is significantly more prevalent in the States than elsewhere. Yet, Wilber (2000c) indicates that Europe's memetic centre of gravity is more advanced than the U.S. and that it has a significantly stronger Green vMeme presence than in the U.S. (p. 119, fig. 6-2). But then, if this is so, why doesn't Europe apparently suffer as much “boomeritis”? What might explain this anomaly, this inconsistency between the two features: 1. The difference between Europe and The States with regard to the strength of the Green vMeme and 2. The difference between Europe and The States with regard to the strength of the Green vMeme pathology of “boomeritis”?
Thinking Complexly About Integral Theory (p. 139)
- Perhaps if Jean Gebser and Sri Aurobindo were alive today, they might advance integral theory via complexity theory as an integral part of the artful science of the future, and not only validate such an opening into Mystery, but reflexively realize their participation in it through such theoretic evolution.
Nanotextology (A Recursion of Content) (pp. 140-142)
- Throughout his seminal work, The Ever Present Origin, integral theorist Jean Gebser (1949/1985) also refers to the impossibility of fully realising the integral structure of consciousness unless there is a close scrutiny of current concepts, attitudes and modes of thinking—languaging emanating from the mental (modern) structure. From such considerations as these, we can readily ascertain that in order to embody integral understanding, we need to be linguistically-aware. The formal semantic characterisations of the concepts, style and content, can evolve into a postformal conceptualisation which might not only view them as a dialectically interpenetrating pair, but also as in reference to different recursive scales of substantive “content transmission.”
- The complex clarity of integrality is perhaps offered when Gebser (1949/1985) states, “Whenever the linguistic structure is freed from the perspectival fixity without reverting to linguistic chaos, initial aperspectival, no-longer-rational but arational manifestations are visible. Where the stylistic inversion of rational syntax transforms the sentence…The achronon shines forth and its sustaining-in-truth presupposes that the rational is not just negated but overdetermined, whereby it necessarily foregoes its claim to exclusivity… The mental is reduced to its proper sphere of the conceptual, visible, palpable, and demonstrable, and can no longer function obtrusively, but must open the path, the leap towards verition... (pp. 503-504).” Here, neologisms include: aperspectivality, overdetermination, achronon, and verition. The rational can only go so far and should not be overused but rather be appropriately used as part of communication at an integral level. It could be said that his neologism, verition, is a vertiginous turn on the conventional, mental structure's verity—“being in accordance with reality.” One could further “note” that accordance—from accordare—literally means “being of one heart” (noting two semantic harmonics of being) whilst an aphesis of such accord is a musical “chord.” “Verition” might suggest we should not (merely) quest “truth,” but rather, a heartfelt accordion of truth. Habits of our heart, harmonics of our text, de-/re-constructed. Gebser's words are beautiful but, to many, they are also dense and difficult. Yet, as Agger (1991) says of Derrida: “[he] would defend his own density by arguing that difficulty educates. He would also say that simplicity brings false clarity” (p. 114). Such are the dialectics of clarity. It would appear Gebser might very well agree with him.
- Another unorthodox languaging is that offered by integral-global philosopher, Ashok Gangadean (2002, 2006b). He distinguishes between two orders or “technologies” of perceiving, thinking, speaking, being: firstly, an egocentric one, and, secondly, an integral-holistic-dialogic one, and differentiates between these through novel typographical syntax. Namely, he uses “/…/” for egocentric languaging—as in /mind/—and “((…))” for dialogic-global-integral languaging—as in ((mind)). In this way, these textual marks can be used as a micro-integral transformative practice, a startling ((wake-up call)) to partake of an integral spirituality which can be identified in the ((logic)) of each ((word)). Moreover, Gangadean's work explicitly connects integrality with urgent global concerns and spirituality, thus congruently aligning with worldcentric perspectives.
- There is no doubt a plethora of postformal-postconventional-postmodern-integral languaging options. But to generalise, one might say that we need tools for our Wilberian left hand quadrants as well-crafted and powerful as those currently in operation—and those being exponentially developed—for our Wilberian right hand quadrants. We urgently need the linguistic equivalent of nanotechnology: we need an integral nanotextology.
Holonomic Nonduality (A Dialectical Recursion) (p. 143-147)
- Nonduality might not only be “found” at the final stage of individual development, but could permeate the whole integral model. And it would do so via a holonomic paradigm (holonomic signifying the generic conceptual template from which hologram is linguistically constructed). Holonomy can be seen to be in familial relationship with a non-Euclidean geometric principle found in complexity theory—namely, recursion: the production of fractals. In this way, a type of nonduality could be theorized at any developmental level of integral theory, including postmodernism. This would open a way to exploring, among other things, the theoretic relationship between Derrida's déconstruction and the spiritual deconstruction of the ego. Such a theoretic venture would resonate with the seminal work on postmodern spirituality by integral philosopher, Roland Benedikter (2005), in which the spirituality of poststructuralists—notably, Derrida, Deleuze, Feyerabend, Foucault, and Lyotard is identified, explored and valorised. Wade also elicits transpersonal researcher, Stanislav Grof (1985), as applying “holonomic metaphysics to developmental theory, beginning with a criticism of Wilber's emphasis on linearity”—quoting Grof as saying, “As much as I agree with [Wilber] in principle, the absoluteness of his statements seems to me too extreme. The psyche has a multidimensional, holographic nature, and using a linear model to describe it will produce distortions and inaccuracies. … My own observations suggest that, as consciousness evolution proceeds [from Authentic to Transcendent consciousness] and beyond, it does not follow a linear trajectory, but in a sense enfolds into itself (Grof, 1985, p. 137, cited in Wade, 1996, pp. 201-202).” Grof seems to making two points here, both concerning holonomy. The first concerns “the absoluteness of…statements.” The second concerns the nature of consciousness evolution from and beyond Authentic consciousness. The latter understanding—that Authentic and post-Authentic consciousness enfolds into itself—would specifically problematise Wilber's theorizing of levels specifically for Green and beyond.
- Using nanotextology in this instance, the framing of concepts or statements as absolute could possibly be seen as a type of Blue vMeme (conformist, technicist or mythic) manoeuvre (a prioritisation of conceptual fundamentalism or conceptual technology) or as a type of Orange (formal) manoeuvre (a prioritisation of conceptual definition), in contrast to, say a post-Orange (postformal) manoeuvre (a prioritisation of conceptual ecology).
- From this postformal theorizing perspective, other features of Wilber's theorising could be problematised. An example would be his framing of the “Pre/Trans Fallacy” (Wilber, 1980) which sharply distinguishes between the pre-formal and the post-formal.
- A template based on complexity rather than duality could have incisive repercussions for AQAL. Consider, for example, the following constitutional AQAL point of departure: “If the Kosmos is not holistic, not integral, not holonic—if it is a fragmented and jumbled affair, with no common context or linkings or joinings or communions—then fine, the world is a jumbled mess the various specialities take it to be. But if the world is holistic and holonic, then why do not more people see this? And why do many academic specialities actively deny it? If the world is whole, why do so many people see it as broken? And why, in a sense, is the world broken, fragmented, alienated, divided? (Wilber, 2000c, p.41).” Here, Wilber constructs two opposing camps: (a) the camp of fragments, jumble, mess, breakage, alienation, division; and (b) the camp of holism, integrality, holons, linkages, joinings, communions, wholeness. This construction is dualistic: no interpenetration between the two camps is allowed for. But why does it necessarily have to be either/or? A complex-aware theoretic template could embrace both camps. Through this, the world could be identified as: whole and jumbled, holonic and entangled, broken and linked—in varying ways. Differentiation could then be identified between contexts where Wilber's general argument is valid and those contexts where it is not. For example, whilst a panoramic perspective might display the suitability of various AQAL orienting generalisations, a local (detailed) perspective—with its specific requirements—might even display the very inversion of these same generalisations.
Appendix A: The Green vMeme Attractor—Big Mind, Kind Heart, Healthy Hierarchy (p. 160)
- [Wilber's] explicit foregrounding of association between the worst U.S. tertiary education massacre in history on the one hand, and Derrida on the other—via a (metaphorical) inference that Derrida blows up roads—perhaps indicates something of the nature of the propagation of the mean green meme.
Is the Mean Green Meme Construction a Mythic Meme? (pp.160-163)
- A significant feature I have noticed in my ten or more years of research into Wilber's work is that there is a significant emotive dissonance between, on the one hand, Wilber's substantive focus on the negative aspects of the Wilberian Green vMeme (substantive in the sense that there is significant repetition and intensity of theme, and that such repetition-and-intensity is not given to any other vMeme by name) and, on the other, the emotive void caused by theoretic over-generalisation—in Wilber, in certain other texts, and in the integral community at large. An example of such text is evident from two quotes from an article in a new journal grounded in Wilberian philosophy. The first: “One of the main reasons why there is such a thing as Integral Studies, Integral Theory, Integral Psychology, Integral Business, Integral Consciousness Studies, and Integral Art can be understood in terms of multidimensional, multi-level thinking and, furthermore, being. As already mentioned, this is what Gebser calls integral-aperspectival, what Wilber calls vision-logic and what Beck calls Second-Tier (Saiter, 2005, ¶ 10).” And the second, regarding, “a 'higher' order of thinking (as in Wilber's vision-logic). As already mentioned, Jean Gebser uses the term(s) 'integral/aperspectival' to refer to a similar state of high comprehension. Don Beck follows suit when he describes the manifestation of Second Tier thinking starting with the Yellow vMeme” (Saiter, 2005, ¶ 14).” In both these quotes, the Green vMeme is ignored. Is vision-logic partly constituted by the Green vMeme? Is aperspectivality partly constituted by the Green vMeme? Is Second-tier partly constituted by the Green vMeme? If the answers are equivalent, this question might be of minor consequence. But the answers are not equivalent. Wilber's vision-logic is partly constituted by the Green vMeme; Spiral Dynamics' second-tier is not; whilst the Green vMeme is not addressed in Gebser's aperspectivality (Gebser's work predates Spiral Dynamics). If the Green vMeme had not been given special treatment by Wilber, then such lack of care as exemplified by these statements might, again, be of minor consequence. But Wilber has emotively set up a deep conceptual division precisely in this liminal territory, a division which is magnified by his popular appeal in the community—and power base (see Appendix C)—so that such a device could divisively begin to assume a mythic (dismissively-defended, under-analysed) status.
- Following on from the parting of company between Beck and Cowan, Cowan has been a keen supporter of maintaining the authenticity of Clare Graves' work, on which Spiral Dynamics was originally based. He has furthered this work with new colleague, Natasha Todorovic. Her (2002) research into the Wilberian Green vMeme reinforces this suspicion. She statistically analysed data from over 600 profiles and found the following. 1. “Blue/Orange tends to avoid ambiguity by simplifying interactions into narrow categories” (p. 5). 2. “Individuals centralized in Blue, Orange and the Blue/Orange pairing appear to have a stronger tendency than other systems to reject the Green vMeme” (p. 2). 3. “It is those with high Orange scores who reject Green most strongly” (p. 3). 4. “Those centralized in the Yellow system reject statements describing the D-Q (Blue) system most strongly—NOT Green” (p. 3). 5. “Yellow accepts green more than any other system” (p.3). She also notes that 6. Clare Graves had modified his view from “monumentous leap” between Green and Yellow to seeing them as more alike than he had previously realized (p. 3). 7. There is no evidence of substantive Green/Red pairing. In fact, “the data shows that when Green increases so does the rejection of Red” (p. 6). 8. There was a significant “yellow false positive” whereby “Selection of statements intended to elicit Yellow appear to be reflecting a more sophisticated form of Orange instead” (p. 3), and that, 9. “The dominant profile for those pegging falsely on Yellow came from the Blue/Orange pairing and from Nodal Orange” (p. 3). In regards to this, she says that, “this might explain much of the 'second tier' elitism coming from MGM [mean green meme] advocates. The Blue need to rank order combined with classism and right thinking minds at Orange, results in a drive to convince self, and others, of living at 'second tier' (if such a thing actually exists!)” (p. 3). I think it is notable that a scholarly researcher investigating Clare Graves' original data should doubt whether “second tier” actually exists. What justification could there be in the propagation of myths concerning second tier when detailed research problematises such type of propagation? Coining the term, “Meme-ism”, as a form of spiral classism, Todorovic comments that, “the spread of terminology like MGM has weaponized the previously neutral SD colors and opened the door to prejudice, even hatreds…” (p. 10). She concludes that, “the most objectionable example of the MGM label in action has been as a capricious stereotyping tool. … This results in intimidation and promotes a habit of labelling then dismissing detractors with negative words wrapped in spiral dressing. MGM artificially closes doors to understanding. Inquisitors wield MGM as a coercive tool, forcing critics into defensive positions where they must either recant or be diminished through cheap name-calling. It diverts focus from the object or idea under investigation and shuts down important debate (p. 10),”…such debate as this article seeks to facilitate. In so doing, my intention would in no way be to problematise all problematisations against the Green vMeme—whether as an entire construct or in terms of its possible constituents—but to draw attention to its problematic use in a non-contextualised, and non-construct-aware fashion, and specifically to point to some—potentially—major theoretic obstacles to its employment as an “orienting generalisation.”
A Discourse Analysis (p. 163-164)
- The following discourse analysis below addresses the contents of the three pages constituting the last section of the first chapter of A Theory of Everything, entitled, “The jump to second-tier consciousness” (Wilber, 2000c, pp. 13-16).
Green vMeme Features Identified (p. 164-165)
- Wilber's Green vMeme identifiers (based on the text analysed): Pluralism (28), Narcissism (10), Competitiveness (7), Compassion (4), Inefficiency (3), Worthy text (2), Civil Rights (1), Environmentalism (1), Other (7).
A Constrasting Perspective on the Green vMeme (p. 165-167)
- Noting that the Green vMeme denotes a memetic attractor regarding “green values,” it would seem to be an adequate “orienting generalisation” to employ a similar methodological tenor to that of Wilber (as previously described in this article). I thus turn to the Wikipedia for an “ordinary-yet-informed” perspective on what green values might signify. Searching Wikipedia for “green values” produces 4 main results, each of which refer to the values of Green political parties. From this, two main sets of values are readily apparent—one from the U.S. Green Party (2000), and the other from general guidelines from European Green Parties. The ten key values of the U.S. Green Party are Grassroots democracy, Social Justice and Equal Opportunity, Ecological Wisdom, Non-violence, Decentralization, Community-based economics and economic justice, Feminism and gender equity, Respect for diversity, Personal and global responsibility, Future Focus and sustainability (Green Party of the U.S., 2000). The “four pillars” of (many of) the European (and other) Green Parties are Ecology, Social Justice, Grassroots Democracy, Non-violence (Wikipedia, 2007b). It is clear from this presentation that there is no significant correlation between the two sets of articulations of Green values—those by Wilber and those by Green parties. Whilst Green parties would obviously not intentionally present any negative aspect of Green values (and therefore, a discussion regarding Wilber's critical hypothesis regarding narcissism and inefficiency, for example, could not be directly contextualised here), the contrast to the Wilberian Green vMeme is nonetheless striking.
- Wilber's “orienting generalisation” toward the Green value-Meme attractor is substantively different from the orienting generalisation of the Wikipedia public's perspective on green values. The Green value-Meme attractor can, instead, be seen to be constituted by a philosophic vision of planetary wisdom (which could be characterised as “big mind,”), a substantive spirit of compassion (“kind heart”) and a hierarchy of values which clearly prioritises ethical considerations above egocentric financial gain and other vanities (“healthy hierarchy”).
Appendix C: An AQAL Contextualisation (p. 171)
- I offer the following contextualisation to indicate my particular address of…AQAL dimensions.
Eight Native Perspectives (in Quadrants) (pp. 171-172)
- As follows:
- Upper Left Inside—I have foregrounded somewhat the concept of reflexivity (and its connotations of “know thyself”) in this article. I have also offered some personal self-reflections—see, for instance, Appendix B, and the current Appendix. I have attempted, however, not to fall prey to the Wilberian critique of (Green) subjectivism.
- Upper Left Outside—(a) It could be argued that a main object of inquiry in this article—namely, AQAL—is a form of structuralism. (b) Could poststructuralism be fruitfully regarded as sublating (transcending and including) structuralism?
- Upper Right Inside—I have attempted to enact an autopoiesis.
- Upper Right Outside—An important marker of objectivity is careful attention to the details of the phenomena under investigation. With regard to physical phenomena, the procedures and particularities of scientific experiments facilitate such rigour. With regard to noospheric phenomena or noospheric signifiers of physical phenomena, the rigour concerning the discussion of ideas is facilitated in part by the procedures and particularities of scholarly conduct, including referencing. In this regard, I have attempted to reference adequately. I have also attempted to indicate where Wilber has potentially suffered through not employing such evidential rigour.
- Lower Left Inside—I have attempted to weave hermeneutic considerations into the very fabric of this text.
- Lower Left Outside—Further research could be undertaken regarding the propagation of mythic memes within the integral community.
- Lower Right Inside—I am attempting to facilitate a social autopoiesis within the integral community.
- Lower Right Outside—(a) If we regard global power structures, then we need to substantively address such identifications as (i) hegemonic / homogenous globalisation (ii) the critical (and shadow-forming) overextension of the Orange vMeme; capitalism; instrumental rationality; the United States' current unique global positioning. (b) If we regard the current global influence of ideations, then we could regard both integral and postmodernism as underdogs, (c) If we regard integral theory, then we should address the dominant power position of AQAL across many contexts. In this regard, I note the following: Power base of the six major genealogical memes whose identity is in substantive relationship with the term, integral—as identified by the following analysis which shows number of texts (articles, etc.) which cite the first 20 pertinent listings identified by Google Scholar via the following phrase: Integral “Rudolf Steiner”: 21; Integral “Ashok Gangadean” 39; Integral “Jean Gebser”: 71; Integral "Ervin Laszlo": 72; Integral “Sri Aurobindo: 100; Integral "Ken Wilber": 577.
Levels (p. 172)
- I have taken AQAL developmental levels as a substantive object of inquiry—notably Orange, Green and Yellow/Teal, and have adopted a developmental approach with regard to them. I have also demonstrated a particular usage of developmentalism toward (a) discourse (b) conceptual templates regarding theoretic narrative. To this degree, I have valorised developmentalism. I have also inferred particular value in the construct of holarchy. I have made use of numerous AQAL-identified postformal modes of cognition, such as dialectical operations and complex-aware thinking, in addition to formal reasoning. I have also made substantive use of text from the following authors—some of whose research form important aspects of AQAL theory (including Wilber V AQAL), namely, (a) the cultural theoretic narrative of Jean Gebser; and (b) the developmental models of Susanne Cook-Greuter, Jenny Wade, and Spiral Dynamics (the latter with regard to e.g., (i) “memes” and (ii) “first-tier” / “second-tier” distinction). I have valorised vision-logic. I have also valorised certain postformal developmental perspectives—including those of theoretic narratives Wilber calls upon with regard to post-Orange levels. I have nevertheless substantively problematised (from different angles) AQAL theory regarding that which lies beyond Orange, notably regarding the theoretic narrative around the Green / Teal (a.k.a. Yellow) transition.
Lines (pp. 172-173)
- Could the following be fruitfully regarded as lines: Perspectives on postmodernism? Methodologies? Postformal cognitive modes? Nonduality? Deconstruction? How might interrelationships between lines be adequately conceptualised? As conceptual ecologies? What might the relationship be between lines and poststructuralist subjectivities (if we consider the bridging concept of subpersonalities, for example)?
States (p. 173)
- I have identified neo-imperialism as a possible cultural state (from a lower right perspective). What other states might be identified in the lower quadrants? The research process necessarily involves a host of gross, subtle and affective states. I particularly note entering creative zones; and also the alternation of active and passive states—such as in Otto Scharmer's (2005) Theory U—across surprising timescales. Passion is a major mover for me. So is intuition.
Types (p. 173)
- It might be helpful to regard global language regions—such as the Anglophone world—as a form of lower left types. Perhaps postformal cognition modes can be regarded as types of cognition (at the postformal level). I type the following: I suspect I might be the type of person that loves to type. ;-)
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