Read "Climbing the Stairway to Heaven", my 7-part review of Wilber's The Religion of Tomorrow (2017).
INTEGRAL WORLD: EXPLORING THEORIES OF EVERYTHING
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Publication dates of essays (month/year) can be found under "Essays".
Giorgio Piacenza was born in Lima, Perü in 1961 and studied in Markham College. At an early age, he began to participate in Western esoteric and Indian mystical groups while attempting to maintain a critical perspective. After a clear group-witnessed UFO experience in 1975 in the coastal town of Chilca, Peru, befriended several alleged contactees, abductees, contact groups and research organizations and until today has been consistently researching many aspects of the UFO phenomenon trying to maintain integrative and an objective criteria. He earned a degree in Sociology from Georgetwon University and an Integral Theory Certificate from John F. Kennedy University and he currently writes essays on a variety of theories, paradigms and worldviews which he strives to reconcile exploring their common underlying patterns.
SEE MORE ESSAYS WRITTEN BY GIORGIO PIACENZA
Toward a Trans Metaphysical Approach
Possibly Needed for Contact with Civilizations
not Exceedingly Limited to Spacetime
Can science in general and astrobiology in particular (and even the until now not well-accepted disciplines of ufology and exopolitics) adequately serve humankind handle the news of a verified intelligent extraterrestrial species being able to arrive to Earth's shores? Can scientists and either orthodox or unorthodox cultural leaders in general become an suitable and ideologically updated social influence that will adequately motivate people and other cultural leaders to profoundly re-think who we are as a species and what “reality” (in an expanded multidimensional sense) is like? Part of the answer may depend on how science and philosophy have evolved to the point of being able to incorporate and begin to explain paranormal and “otherworldly” phenomena that also seem to challenge classical spacetime physics. A “trans metaphysical” approach refers to a Meta conceptual system that can bridge multiple metaphysical understandings of what “reality” must be like. This approach may be able to offer glimpses on principles that would allow for inter-realm and/or inter-reality interactions possibly involved in “anomalous” events and interventions or modification of conventional “3D” (or “4D” if Time is included in a continuum) physical reality. What follows is a reflection with the purpose of exploring basic integrative concepts that might be helpful for that goal. Throughout the essay, I'll bold and capitalize “LIFE” to recognize its all-inclusive dignity and mystery.
Toward a New Vision
Astrobiology is typically defined as “the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe: extraterrestrial life and life on Earth.” This is a broad definition generally accepted by NASA and SETI scientists, various philosophers and theologians as I heard it at the “NASA/Library of Congress Astrobiology Symposium: Preparing for Discovery,” held at the John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., in October, 2014. This definition goes beyond “exobiology” focused on the origins of biological life (particularly microorganisms) and includes an ample discussion about adequate ways for detecting and interacting with simple, complex and intelligent LIFE, including what “LIFE” itself may actually be and how humanity may respond to any form of LIFE detected beyond Earth.
However, the concept of “LIFE” normally used by most intellectuals in the symposium mostly referred to a difficult-to-precisely-define, physical and biological phenomenon but I posit that – in terms of non-physical, “transdimensional” connections - surprises may be in store for most academicians due to the unremitting advancement of science, philosophy, cybernetics, consciousness research and also much more unconventional, “outside of the box” research.
Astrobiology itself may be continually evolving and expanding its scope of influences so as to be progressively considered an “influential social actor” whose social practices act as socially influential permanent and unavoidable 'objects' with which we – as a species - must contend and to which we are forced to adapt.
Astrobiology's findings can be global in scope as it contains novel, objective and culturally-challenging constituents, compelling more individuals to think with renewed interest about their own species, questioning or forcing the expansion of certainties, values and premises in relation to a vaster living reality beyond Earth. In addition to this, at its core, astrobiology entails thinking about what LIFE itself may be, both philosophically and spiritually as well as biologically in accordance with the interstellar systems among which we are physically located. This will certainly affect how we collectively see ourselves as uniquely connected or disconnected beings and as responsible or irresponsible in the vast scheme of things.
Extrapolating from Gödel's theories of incompleteness and inconsistency, the discoveries of astrobiology would help us sense ourselves differently by intellectually, emotionally and maybe instinctively connecting us with a greater 'outside' in which other forms of intelligent sentience may also be teeming. Through an “us and them” contrast, this form of re-connection with the cosmos should help us to gradually transcend the secluded or parochial ways by which we perceive ourselves as a unique sentient species in a life-friendly but (from an orthodox perspective), culturally isolated planetary system. In other words, we might grow up by recognizing a relationship with living entities beyond Earth by effectively enhancing and completing what we know (or think we know) about ourselves. In fact, our increasingly complex, interwoven planetary social system dysfunctional under classical and competing, monological perspectives would need this greater trans-systemic connection in order to maintain internal coherence.
Thus, my understanding is that we need to start seeing ourselves as more than an Earth-adapted species or even only as physical biological entities with behavior patterns limited to Earth and its processes in evolutionary history. Instead, we need to see ourselves as evolving and existing under the same patterns which organize all intelligent living species including the cosmos itself. And we would need to discover that these patterns involving the cosmos may hold a greater evolutionary potential than what we normally think, perhaps a potential exceeding currently expressed bio sociological characteristics.
I think that the influence of astrobiology will surely become greater if the Principle of Mediocrity (that we do not exist in a fundamentally unique situation in the Universe), a principle extending the “Copernican Paradigm” continues to decentralize our unique quantitative position imagined to be that of the only relevant intelligent species. Besides, as said, astrobiology can also be about understanding how we relate as living beings with other life in the cosmos and, if we unequivocally discover (in conventional or unconventional ways) that we are not alone and that we can establish some form of intelligent exchange or dialogue with other beings, an unheard of “significant other” will come out of the realm of fantasy and of the “butt of jokes” and inescapably show up staring us in the face and establishing a foothold in what we collective imagine and contemplate as “real” amidst our cultural possibilities. Moreover, if this “significant other” were to be self-reflective or conscious about being conscious, an intelligence with a “soul” and purpose, our parochial politics (perhaps excessively embedded in Machiavellian self-interest paying homage to limiting thinking patterns instinctively absorbed on fear, self-assertion and short term gains) would have to evolve in order to more intelligently participate along with the necessary and emerging discipline of “exopolitics.”
In fact, detecting an unequivocal sign of a technologically capable extraterrestrial civilization and/or “intelligence” (even if due to an artifact as would be the case of a “Dyson Sphere”), or perhaps just by detecting by spectrographic patterns signs of simple and-or complex life forms, would probably also constitute what philosopher Timothy Morton calls a “Hyper Object,” or an inexorable and socially significant object acting as a reference point forcing us to reconsider our sense of reality through time and space. That is one of the major promises of astrobiology: Putting us in touch with a greater perspective through connecting us with something significant that belongs outside of our insularly perceived world. And, off course (even if due to biases and social pressures, the following perfectly reasonable assertion currently seems “crazy” to many orthodox cultural and institutional leaders) another way for this significant turning point to ensue would be if UFO research, the contactee-experiencer research and educational movement and the Disclosure Movement best efforts were to deliver a social “turning point” through such degree of evidence that Earth is already being “visited” that that “significant other” would have to be acknowledged.
Be as it may, there's a growing perception among intellectuals that the verified discovery of extraterrestrial LIFE will – in one way or another – come to pass and be culturally and politically significant in the long run. However, it is often thought that this event will also be shocking if found close to Earth and less shocking if found far away. But what will it be? Will it be a gradual discovery that takes time to settle in or will it suddenly call for emergency meetings at the UN? And can we collectively and psychologically process the news of a “too close for comfort” discovery in a calm, intelligent manner? And who will be assigned in charge of an official response to a verified, communicative extraterrestrial presence?
As stated, “astrobiology” has been basically defined as “the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe: extraterrestrial life and life on Earth” (mostly a NASA and SETI Institute definition) but at the “NASA/Library of Congress Astrobiology Symposium: Preparing for Discovery,” in which various philosophers and theologians participated along with natural scientists, it was also defined as “the INTERSECTION between the sciences and the humanities.” That is an important new emphasis that affects all academic disciplines. But what does this “intersection” mean? Might we come to understand it as a step previous to developing a more inclusive field of inquiry and of practical applications not only located between but also within and beyond the sciences and the humanities? I think we may come to that because the mystery of “LIFE” also central to “astrobiology” cannot be limited to a reductionist, materialist metaphysics, to dicey philosophical reflection or to a theological issue of faith all for which the humanities mostly serve as a reflective interphase between “LIFE” biologically and materialistically understood and the needs of society. Moreover, in order to explain the “paranormal” as part of LIFE there must be an integrated spiritual, socially meaningful and practical, objective-scientific way that does not exhaust “LIFE as mystery,” a mystery quite likely able to use its own extended intelligible cosmic structure that may be qualitatively and quantitatively deciphered. There must be principles and patterns providing mechanisms associating our physical experiences with “LIFE” also understood as consciousness, mind and being perhaps less restrictively experienced in more inclusive realms of existence.
And what about “exopolitics?” As of today (2016) exopolitics is still far from widespread conventional academic and social recognition, particularly because of its association with pioneers that hold that we are already being visited by extraterrestrial intelligence. But, in one way or another (even among individuals thinking about a possible discovery of intelligent extraterrestrial life), exopolitics is slowly, but surely, becoming a de facto emerging discipline for thinking about our political response to either the possibility of future interactions with intelligent extraterrestrial civilizations or to the less conventionally accepted but, nonetheless, quite likely (and eye-opening) actuality that such interactions are already taking place. The latter situation would be sufficiently obvious to most reasonable, sufficiently impartial, non-conventionally devoted observers especially after more than 70 years of accumulated “anomalous” findings along many lines of evidence, including personal accounts from professionals that have worked for officially unacknowledged “special access” projects (USAPS) who would have much to lose in terms of social standing by speaking out; findings which, taken together with a serious objective eye, make a strong case for such a reality however unlikely, unorthodox and astounding it might seem:
From the more credible, scientifically-tested ufology, leaked secret documents, government whistleblowers, credible witness testimonies and research based on thousands of mentally healthy and sincere citizen “experiencers” coming “out of the closet” lending credence to the emerging “Disclosure Movement.” In fact, various forms of “exopolitics” are in the works in preparation for multiple probable scenarios, from a conservative long-term evaluation of the possibilities, to direct contact efforts; from designing how to improve possible ongoing interactions with alleged physical extraterrestrial and simultaneously “transdimensional” beings to facilitating the rise of a cultural foundation capable of responding to the almost certain likelihood of a conventional discovery of technologically advanced, non-human, intelligent life 'elsewhere'. Thus, either from conventional and unconventional quarters, the issue is in general gradually becoming more REASONABLE or at least not so preposterous as to simply avoid it, perhaps with a giggle. However removed from our daily practical needs, the discovery of intelligent life beyond Earth should be an eye opener, whether enough members of our human family are psychologically prepared to its paradigm-busting surprise or not.
Basically, Exopolitics is the formal discipline that studies what extraterrestrial life implies in relation to public policies. According to former political scientist Professor from American University, Michael E. Salla, PhD, a key definition also is “the study of the key individuals (actors), institutions and political processes associated with extraterrestrial life.” Interestingly, (and in a gradually increasing manner), “exopolitics,” just like “astrobiology,” is - for the most - presently considered “INTERDISCIPLINARY.” Moreover, I have elsewhere strived for exopolitics to develop also as an “INTEGRAL” and therefore, also, “transdisciplinary” field of inquiry and praxis. Please read my “Integral Exopolitics” essay at http://www.exopoliticsjournal.com/vol-4/vol-4-2-Piacenza.htm and for a more complete exploration about what “exopolitics” is please go to http://exonews.org/overview-exopolitics/
As mentioned elsewhere, astrobiology is also obviously moving in the direction of more inclusion of qualitative aspects and - perhaps after its interdisciplinary phase – will gradually move towards the acceptance of an integrative multidimensional approach inclusive and preserving of previous approaches as a “discipline” and as “interdisciplinary.” The fact is that astrobiology is moving beyond reductionist materialism and has already complexified beyond its origins as “exobiology,” from concrete discoveries focused on astronomy, biology, geophysics, organic chemistry, cosmology (and other appropriate natural sciences), to a more social science-friendly interdisciplinary inquiry rooted in the natural sciences. In other words, its objective research still is conventionally scientific even as it is reaching to the social sciences and to the humanities in order to collectively decide on courses of action in terms of applications that can have human consequences.
But how far can this shift mostly initiated by natural scientists go? Can the epistemology underlying astrobiology's still central focus on natural science and its predominant materialist metaphysics find an integrative common ground with the epistemologies of the social sciences with which it is courting? We know that a promising interdisciplinary conversation is at least possible if maintaining respect of each other's academic premises, methodologies, areas of application and metaphysical domains as was demonstrated by the dialogues held at the Kluge Center of the Library of Congress in 2014. Also, please read my report and philosophical exploration on some of those conversations from the September 18-19, 2014 NASA-Library of Congress "Preparing for Discovery: A Rational Approach to the Impact of Finding Microbial, Complex or Intelligent Life Beyond Earth" There's a link at http://exopoliticsperu.pe/tag/giorgio-piacenza-en/
However, I think that - for a deeper rapprochement - we first need to conceive a deeper Meta conceptual structure capable of harmonizing aspects of LIFE as understood or dealt with in the social sciences and humanities along with LIFE as understood and dealt with in the natural sciences. By finding a shared pattern between these otherwise epistemological incommensurate fields of knowledge we might also discover that such pattern supersedes the physical realm and might even primordially include the psychic and the non-physical otherworldly, in addition allowing for a mechanism that connects the vast range of these differentiated phenomena with classical and with various interpretations of quantum physics. In that case, the concept of “LIFE” applicable to “science” would also greatly change along with a fundamental extension of what “science” might be.
For astrobiology to move beyond a gentile, educated conversation among social and natural scientists and become part (along with exopolitics) of the creation of a more comprehensive science of LIFE and existence, its underlying conventional, academic, and conceptual structures may have to rigorously transcend and include the monistic approaches of materialism and idealism as well as their dualisms and dualist combinations. In other words, as philosopher Ken Wilber points out, the singular and the plural of the subjective and the objective would have to be integrally recognized.
“LIFE,” Astrobiology, Metaphysics
While astrobiology is mostly centered upon the conventional premises and methodologies of the natural sciences (the singular and plural of the objective aspects of existence), but, if all that is, LIFE and existence expresses and is structured under a deeper underlying pattern in which biology and psychology independently but, also simultaneously, converge along with society and culture, LIFE forms which humanity may find across the universe would share these aspects. We need to discover the basic “alphabet” of how the Cosmos (as an organized - probably a living, evolving and contingent entity - and not just the physical universe) is constructed and, in this discovery, we are finding that the traditional subdivision of “body” “mind” and “spirit” remain, albeit in an interchange that also makes a vaster scientific understanding possible.
The conversation within an astrobiology field already opening up to the social sciences, philosophy and theology could eventually lead to a useful, cross-fertilized, mutually enhanced, transdisciplinarian and cross-metaphysical view of what LIFE might be. And I believe that – as the human species matures and opens its eyes to vast new realities - this will occur; a truly integrative transdisciplinarity in addition to the current disciplinarity, multidisciplinarity and interdisciplinarity discussed in search of new methodological guidelines. This is why various kinds of integrative, post conventional, post postmodern, Meta theoretical means of modeling reality should gradually arise as highly important. Some open-ended Meta theoretical frameworks capable of growth, and open to self-correction may coalesce for some minds, allowing us to integrate the natural sciences and qualitative emphatic approaches. In fact, Ken Wilber's “Integral Theory,” Roy Bhaskar's “Critical Realism” and Edgar Morin's “Complex Thought” were independently developed and display important shared integrative concepts and particular emphases that supplement each other's deficiencies. Whether their philosopher-creators have an interest or not in extraterrestrials, exopolitics, paranormal “anomalies,” the “otherworldly” and the like is beside the point. Their Meta theories offer useful ingredients to understand the aforementioned.
The exposure to LIFE forms beyond Earth will force us (as an adaptive, self-organizing species) to think beyond conventions in search of a more connective theoretical framework beyond currently epistemologically distinct and compartmentalized academic boxes. Furthermore, by openly acknowledging contact with technologically advanced beings capable of “travelling” across the vast distances of spacetime perhaps by overcoming spacetime limitations through non-conventional quantum-informational, mind-interacting, non-local means operating under a more inclusive logic and a different scientific methodology, the definition of LIFE itself will probably shift from one focused upon physical, natural and biological characterizations in loose association with various (apparently disconnected) theological and metaphysical assumptions, towards all relevant means to appreciate it much more open-mindedly, under a shared integrating pattern. With the discovery of a genuine universal “pattern that connects” allowing us to develop a science and technology that usefully modifies spacetime, pet theories and perspectives for which we have been historically dismissing each other's plausible – but suspect - opinions and fighting each other about should come together allowing us to usher an unprecedented stage of greater insight and cooperation.
LIFE may come to be appreciated as that by which conventional theoretical perspectives can be subsumed by the “underlying pattern” itself produces and exploits even if its essence ultimately remains as an ever-unbounded, indefinable “mystery,” acting in the “cosmic theatre” as the central “coordinating force” of the quantitative, qualitative, the plural and singular; at the intersection (and beyond) of ontological existence and of epistemological, interpretive experience; a participatory and simultaneously transcending entity, inclusive of ontology and epistemology.
LIFE – embedded in material form across multiple levels - would be at the cross roads between the dual rationally intelligible and the non-dual rationally unintelligible manifesting (and this is not meant to be vitalism) as an intelligent striving to overcome the incompleteness proper of the structures of contingent reality. LIFE manifests as future-oriented by actualizing future possibilities, intelligently directed movement to overcome a congealed, structured past.
LIFE would be equivalent to the essence of being and conscious experience and it would be able to make use with a degree of spontaneity any freedom available when embedded in a particular structure and (in terms of quantum relativistic physics) it would be able to use retrocausal or “advanced waves” by actualizing them in connection with “retarded waves” making possible various degrees of negentropy and syntropy against exterior, physically structured entropic tendencies. And from an experiential perspective, the knowable and unknown past would be linked to established structures and to determinism and the probable future (linked more with LIFE'S ongoing “building project” and struggle against the past) to spontaneity, free will, constructive, intelligent movement and a personally meaningful, fluid content. Thus, experience and ontology as stability and movement, restriction and freedom, effort and possibility…
Inspired by Wilber's “quadrants” as ontological and interpretive-epistemological expressions of duality ultimately originating and grounded in the non-dual, LIFE itself – both embedded and free - would be at the intersection of the “quadrants” or material expression and subjective interpretive spaces formed by combining the primordial dimensions of mind and matter in singular and plural forms and this “LIFE” would “coordinate” or make use of these “QUADRANTS” and of other integrative organizing “elements” like those described in Ken Wilber's “AQAL” (STATES, LEVELS, LINES, TYPES), overcoming the dichotomy of the contingent acquiring the expression of “holons” or simultaneously complete and incomplete (whole and part) entities common to every distinct, contingent “thing.” Living experience under the limiting conditions of experience, primordial duality and contingency in any of its gradations, would thus be malleable while determined ontological structures like the “Quadrants” and their contents would limit (contain) and accompany (correlate) it.
The complementary Interior, Exterior, Plural (or Collective) and Singular (or Individual) primordial “dimensions” of contingent, relative reality derive from the distinction between Pure Consciousness-Being (Non-Dual 'God' in an ultimate sense) and an imaginary “non-being.” The combination of the Individual, Collective, Interior, Exterior “dimensions” produce the “quadrants” that can be understood as Intentional (or subjective), Cultural (or intersubjective), Behavioral (or objective) and Social (or systemic or interobjective).
LIFE would be like a force bridging the imaginary distinction between the Absolute and the finite… a force “enlivening” the apparent and, I mean “apparent” because – in fact - we would have never left the Absolute. LIFE would not just be limited to being either a “mental force” or a “physical force,” not just limited to a “vitalist” model or to an idealist-spiritualist one and/or to a spiritual-religious one devoid of a scientifically useful mechanism. LIFE and the mechanism are linked.
All actualizing of the apparent and possible would be due to LIFE. Thus, LIFE would have to be internal and simultaneously external to the node of the “dimensions” defining the “Quadrants” of Wilber's AQAL Meta Theoretical Model; not forcing but unifying each individuated striving under various degrees of volition, freedom and subjective sentience. LIFE would transcend rooted as the Absolute but actualize within evolving limited possibilities in individual sentient instances. LIFE would represent the capacity to exist and experience limited by what would ultimately be the façade of contingency.
LIFE would exemplify the persistence of that grounding Absolute in relation to its own manifested structures (of mind and form in all levels of existence) which – from a Buddhist point of view – would in themselves be ever incomplete; LIFE as an “empty of self-sustaining essence” if seen under the guise of structures of contingency and the unforeseen. Only the eternal, the ever-free, the Infinitely Transcendent, playing as if its creations were separate, would sustain this state of affairs.
Thus we would have to speak of a “Meta Absolute” as the highest and only LIFE (and, borrowing a term from Fritjoff Schuon, a “Being Beyond being”) in relation to LIFE as shared by all particular conscious beings. It would be an “Absolute” in relation to the LIFE of consciousnesses embedded in subjective experience and form. It would be LIFE as being and consciousness beyond particularity, in the sense of a “Fourth Wheel turning Buddhist teaching about the “Tathagathagarbha,” not only as a link with what really is, but as that which really is; the experiential reality-defining 'factor' coherently collapsing its own ever transcendental possibilities into particular meaningful experiences.
And a more complete applicable (and even engineerable) Science dealing with LIFE beyond reductionist parameters would therefore have to recognize the basic “dimensions” of individuality, multiplicity, subjective and objective exteriority at a minimum as understood in Wilber's “Integral Theory” which – as mentioned - is compatible with other integrative meta theories such as Roy Bhaskar's “ontological realism” and “meta reality” and Edgar Morin's “Complex Thought.”
(For an introduction to Wilber's ideas go to “A Primer on AQAL Integral Theory” at http://www.dailyevolver.com/a-primer-on-integral-theory/ or read Sex, Ecology, Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution.
Some of the same general distinctions in relation to the “quadrants” found in Wilber are found in Bhaskar and Morin and apparently also arise in other traditions derived from a logic of relationship and polar complementarity, such as in the thinking behind the so-called “Tawa Chakana” of the Andes, what can be appreciated as the four polar extremes of philosopher Archie J. Bahm's “Organicism” and even in the Carl Jung-Wolfgang Pauli's “Jung-Pauli Quaternio.” The finding might truly be a universal structure. In other words, the complementary combination of two fundamental metaphysical poles gives rise to what could be called four ontological expression and epistemological interpretation “spaces”, and, furthermore, these combinations of fundamental polar extremes (understood as subjectivity, objectivity, intersubjectivity and inter objectivity) would always be present in any contingent or partially complete and simultaneously incomplete quantitative or qualitative (mental and causal-spiritual) “thing” that exists (or comes to exist) in duality or, more precisely, under the appearance of duality.
Thus the four combinations of these four “dimensions” come up as four irreducible and inextricable “quadrants” or “spaces” of manifestation for anything relative and contingent that comes into existence but, surprisingly (or perhaps not so much so) they also represent THREE fundamental platonic value spheres from a previous (and more fundamental) metaphysical 'moment', stage or subdivision: The singular objective and the plural inter-objective (systemic, social) “quadrants” would represent the platonic value sphere of “the True” (when out theories or explanations match exterior objective patterns and structures). The singular subjective “quadrant” would represent the platonic value sphere called “the Beautiful” and the plural, intersubjective or cultural “quadrant” would represent the platonic value sphere of “the Good” (referring to communicational agreement, rules, culture, values striving for the “common good”).
Interestingly, several important metaphysical perspectives and their conceptually separate but correlated and consistent schools of thought, religions, philosophies and cultural premises once treated (under dichotomous thinking) as incompatible in a pre-integrative, reductionist and monological fashion, correspond to the different “dimensions” or “polar extremes” originating in the aforementioned metaphysical pattern and, after this comprehensive understanding, they don't need to be intuited and understood as essentially conflicting but, rather, as mutually necessary and as supplementing each other.
None of the positions their particular metaphysics occupy would exist without the other. None would stand alone as an allegedly independent rationale for an ideological system. And, besides a general ethical agreement on “The Golden Rule” and far-reaching living concepts like “Compassion”, besides a non-conceptual, recognized experiential foundation of the essential unity among the world's main spiritual traditions, a recognition of fundamental rational coherence essential to the metaphysical foundations behind formerly competing religions and philosophies is now possible and – at least partially - based on the logic of complementarity.
Therefore, an underlying INTEGRATIVE METAPHYSICS will logically include, transcend and integrate chief specific metaphysical positions previously deemed irreconcilable under classical, excluded-middle rational thinking. Here “Metaphysics” is classically understood as a fundamental interpretation and inquiry into what are (or may be) the central principles underlying reality and not - as is also commonly understood – as a useless, speculative theory of the 'otherworldly' with no basis in reality. It should not be a boring endeavor practiced by an outmoded elite as our predominantly practical, materialist society of entertainment and deconstructionism has turn it to be. It should be necessary to overcome cultural relativism, nihilism, needless conflict and – by finding how physical substance is connected with an underlying, structuring, causally interactive non-physical realm - it should have practical scientific and technological applications...just as advanced extraterrestrial civilizations may have found to overcome the limitations of operating within the constraints of spacetime.
Whether experienced-based or not, “metaphysics” should not be 'reduced' to beliefs, otherworldly experiences and issues such as karma, astrology, reincarnation, ghosts, esoteric revelations or magical spells. It should also (and perhaps centrally) be a rational exploration about the 'nature of reality' as this (consciously or unconsciously) underscores the ideologies we have inevitably assumed to guide our thinking, valuing and behavior. In fact, the specific “metaphysics” we hold would inform us on how to disclose and interpret our embedded experience of “the world,” whether we believe, think, feel or suspect that an insentient material substrate is all there is or if perhaps consciousness is independent and fundamental aside from matter or even co-equal with material substance. An integrative metaphysics (IM) should instead be compatible with all main metaphysical assumptions guiding humanity and should be the basis of a more complete practical (capital “S”) Science inclusive of consciousness and multiple levels of existence gradually becoming the basis for a major world-wide reassessment of culture and civilization.
This integrative metaphysics (IM) should not produce any loss of legitimate boundaries between specific metaphysical positions. Separation and distinction would remain as much as continuity and unity under a universal pattern originating under the same Source giving rise to the awareness able to gradually uncover more of that integrative metaphysics. It should not be yet another attempt at subsuming one perspective on “truth” under another. It should rather be an open-ended, inclusive structure, not impossibly or illogically contradicting any of its major metaphysical substructures. Thus, the dignity of each traditional metaphysical stance would remain and be appreciated as well as its compatibility and integration with other such stances under a more inclusive coherent logical whole. And we would probably need to learn think in this integrative manner in order to sustain a more balanced dialogue with civilizations that have overcome not only spacetime limitations but also an elementary (intuitive and rationally explicit) logical order more directly appropriate to crude and classical “win-lose” physical survival under simpler hierarchical patterns and less technologically connected social systems.
The God Principle
This ultimate integration of metaphysical positions would depend on what can be called the Absolute, Non-Dual Truth, a deep experiential-metaphorical-living and ever-deepening, relative “understanding” of the “Ultimate Source” or “God” as ultimately ever transcending our interpretations and indescribable; a Being or Spirit ever transcending nature but providing Being for nature's existence; that Sacred Will, Mind and Living Energy of Pure Compassion and Love and – as utterly distant from the finite mind – also known as “Allah” “The Father” “The Great Mystery,” “Waheguru” “Ain” “Nirguna Brahman” or “Parabrahm” in some mystical traditions or –metaphysically-speaking- as “Being beyond being” (as per Fritjoff Schuon) bringing together the realization of God interpreted within relativity in a unifying Third Person Order and Intelligence (as in Deism), God with Will and Purpose without which it wouldn't be an absolutely free Pure Being and Source (as in Theism) and God as Ultimate Being or as giver and sustainer of relative existence, the energies of Holy Spirit, the universal embrace of our Universal Mother or Living Matrix as found in traditions that recognize universally shared relationships.
This interpretive approximation would probably coincide with the less known (and once historically suppressed) “Zhengton” understanding of Buddhist thinking in which the Fourfold Negation illustrated by Nagarjuna only refutes all that is compounded, dependent, and impermanent; in fact not really the Absolute itself, which is not empty of its own self-refulgent essence. Here the “Dharmata,” the ultimate “Buddha Mind” is understood as 'ultimately real', a buddhist absolute becoming compatible with the Indian, Middle Eastern and Western concept which can also be called an “Absolute Essence” and-or an “Ultimate Absolute.” Only an irrational insistence on differentiating the religious or spiritual tradition we are more fond of (and personally derive more meaning from) and the insistence that the particular details in the doctrines of such religion or tradition over its fundamental metaphysical essence extricates us from ever coming to a more mature universal recognition that the non-dual Mystery at the heart (or pinnacle) of these religious, ideological and spiritual systems is One and the same, albeit (perhaps as Trappist monk Thomas Merton suggested) emphasized in different ways.
It is perhaps most necessary to first recognize some universally present categorical essentials that underscore how anything in existence expresses itself and is recognized under: the qualitative, quantitative, singular and plural “dimensions” (also understood as the interior, exterior, individual and plural “dimensions” which, on a subsequent metaphysical moment, also “combine” forming the subjective, intersubjective, objective and inter objective aspects or “spaces” and/or “quadrants” of expression and of understanding in Ken Wilber's terms).
And I posit that it is most necessary to recognize that both the categorical “dimensions” of existence (matter, spirit, the indivisible and plural) and their combinations as “quadrants” arise when the “Ultimate Absolute” by choice makes an imaginary distinction within “Himself,” a distinction that creates and manifests the simultaneous reality and illusion of contingent existence by allowing the organized emanation overflow of His (his, her, it, its, our, ours) Infinite Possibilities. Thus, creation, emanation, inseparability of the contingent and ever transcendence of the Absolute Source can all be true. Thus, “creation ex nihilo” or creation without the use of anything external (such as any substance or prime matter outside of God or Ultimate Source) would be compatible with other elaborated axial age cosmogonic accounts independently elaborated under a more classical way of thinking. In fact, we wouldn't need to strain one account against another as they could all be logically seen as compatible, supplementing each other's deficiencies and originating in the same Sacred Absolute Transcendence.
And, if we consider potentially existing realities sub species aeternitatis, we might harmonize with the Buddhist concept of there never being a beginning and thus a creation. And in this converging creation, emanation, congealing into illusion, multiplicity and quantitative distinction would be possible through the Ultimate Absolute's imagining the existence of an ultimately fictitious state of “non-being” or an “other” besides itself, this having the effect of generating a primordial form of duality or of distinction from which the previously mentioned “dimensions” follow since they are implicated in it. After the ever present, primordial metaphysical moment we can call “the distinction,” we can consider there being God as the one, undivided; God and an “other” or as two- the original plurality; God as sufficient unto itself (thus interior to Reality in relation to the “other”) and God as exterior to itself because of “the other.” Thus, from a primordial I – Though metaphysical distinction (or the is – is-not distinction), four essential “dimensions” would follow.
However, there would also be a metaphysically prior moment; prior to the four essential “dimensions,” the moment of a third relational distinction connecting that which is and the imaginary is-not. Whether, we are Christians believing in the Trinity or not, various forms of recognition of a connection between Reality and the Illusion ultimately derived from Reality occurs in multiple spiritual traditions. Perhaps what can be called “The Tri-unity” also expresses within contingency a reflection of its transcendental state: Three discontinuous/distinct finite realms akin to Body, Mind, Spirit worlds continuously unified by a subjacent infinity; each realm with a preponderant causal ontological principle and epistemological logic in operation.
Plotinus' concept of “the One,” inevitably emanating dependent (but possibly feedback looping) reality levels out of the necessity imposed by the power of an hyper abundance of infinite overflowing possibilities of Being, would constitute a metaphysical stage once the choice to create and the choice of how to organize that creation occurs in the supreme Act of making “the distinction.” Without the “personal” freedom to choose the ultimate Absolute/God would not be the “Being of whom nothing greater can be conceived” (here using a very logical idea reported by St. Anselm of Canterbury). It would be a force or perhaps a mechanical intelligence in abstract Third Person terms but too incomplete to be Absolute without the capacity to choose and, thus not perfect and supreme.
Furthermore, since contingent reality is not ultimately 'real' in itself but can be considered as a 'dream' of the Ultimate Absolute which remains infinitely transcendent to the contents of his 'dream', that Ultimate Absolute would always remain essentially unaffected by creation-emanation-manifestation of contingent existence even if sustaining it. This would amount to a Panentheistic approximation compatible with most metaphysical, theological and religious understandings that recognize a philosophical distinction between the contingent and the absolute. Moreover, both the concept of a contingent reality (in my current view as a “multidimensional” three-tiered or 'three-realm' multiverse with an indefinite number of simultaneously possible-actual levels in each realm) having a beginning (as a creation) or as always existing (perhaps in a cyclical fashion) would also be compatible if we consider that contingent reality as “ultimately unreal” from the perspective of the Ultimate Absolute 'dreaming' it. Furthermore, the contingent reality would be considered not just as “ultimately unreal” (a “Maya” in Advaita Vedanta terms) but also as having the nobility of being recognized as “real” because of the Majesty from which it derives and in which/whom it is eternally contained.
The Panentheistic Approximation and the Integrative Metaphysics sought is posited as necessary for the reconciliation of the metaphysical positions underlying major philosophies and religions and for the elaboration of a more magnificent science inclusive of consciousness, being, psychic events and multidimensional indefinite levels of physical-spiritual, mental-spiritual and causal-spiritual realms of existence.
Under pre-integrative thinking utilizing a basic excluded-middle logic, followers of any of the four main and apparently irreconcilable, metaphysical positions try to subsume (accompanied by their particular ideologies and doctrines) other positions about “reality” and-or “the real.” These eminent positions consider “reality” or “the real” as: 1) Existing beyond objective experience (as in Platonism – idealism and-or spiritualism); 2) Existing only as the objects of experience (as in extreme materialism, positivism and material determinism); 3) Consisting of one fundamental substance (for instance “mind” or “matter”) and the “real” as 4) Consisting of two or more fundamental substances (as in “dualism”). All of that discourse presenting valid but partial answers tends to be monological and reductionist and won't do to understand LIFE in a broader context beyond the limits of a way of thinking primarily adapted to experiencing reality in a physical-material manner, within the limits of what we consider to be the dimensions of space and time or (after Einstein's relativity) as “spacetime.”
However, the fact that we can have these considerations and come up with other than two-value logics may (in a Kantian sense) indicate that the natural capacity exists in our mental wherewithal – in our human potential – a capacity to experience LIFE under categories that transcend classical space and time. I think we are also capable of 'making sense' and understanding non-classically with our subtle, mental body correlated existence. My hypothesis is that functioning under these deeper categories of thought is necessary to understand intelligent extraterrestrial beings capable of operationalizing ways that overcome enormous spacetime physical separations since - in order to achieve this - they would probably have to mentally interact with a non-physical, mental realm of existence capable of modifying spacetime structures through an intermediate state, thus generating 'non-classical' physical effects.
Moreover, under this deeper, more inclusive understanding perhaps the associated philosophical question of whether “reality” is determined or undetermined, meaningful or meaningless will be seen in a less dichotomous way that might ultimately stem from an intuitive, non-dual appreciation of non-dual Identity, a connecting act of recognition which I call the Principle of Recognition of Identity.
In my view, this principle is based on the most basic recognition that in relation to anything which can be detected and related to by consciousness is the fact that – above all else - it simply “is”. And this simple, direct recognition is isness would allow us to recognize a core noumenical essence of anything by the simple fact that we recognize that such a thing exists, whether we meaningfully “make sense” of it or not.
There would be a most basic source for intuitively grasping any kind of experience, whether it be sensorial, emotional, conceptual or integrated trans-conceptual. That would be the Identity Principle understood as the immediate and obvious recognition of any “thing” as simply something that is. Furthermore, this principle (and its isness) would even be present in the negation of being or in its negation, for instance, under the form of the assertions “it is not” and “that is not” because even the negation IS a something. Thus, perhaps agreeing with Parmenides I'd say that being is and that even the conceptual negation of being is a form of affirmation of being. Thus, the affirmation of being is present even in the negation of being.
The “Principle of Recognition of Identity” would be at the root of thinking in every which way and –from a logical perspective - would accommodate all types of logics (for instance logics with an Excluded Middle, with an Included Middle, alternative 20th Century paraconsistent logics, flexible, experienced-based logics and also the highly significant four logical propositions found in the Indian Catuskoti and-or in the Western Tetralemma). In the latter two, under a positive or affirmative modality we can say that something is, that something either is or is not, that something both is and is not and that something neither is nor is not. These main logical possibilities are allowed and my view is that each corresponds to the prevalent logic expressed in the Physical, Mental and Causal realms which (in that sequential order) increasingly come to represent the preponderance of interior, ultimately self-sufficient Reality, increasingly denying the illusory 'isness' or reality of exterior objects (be they physical, mental or causal objects manifested under correspondingly subtler types of substance or matter).
Most of our modern and “rational” science and philosophy has been based upon our minds comfortably working with the adoption of the first “classical” logical proposition suitable for experiencing LIFE in a physical manner under space and time constraints. Again, contact with beings that quite likely transcend spacetime limitations would act as the presence of unavoidably, worldwide recognized “others” capable of manifesting in our physical reality under a more comprehensive science, thus forcing us to “catch up” by transcending classical logic.
The identity between the Principle of Recognition of Identity and the Identity Principle would be conjoined in LIFE as an Absolute probably allowing conscious embedded LIFE to coordinate the fundamental structuring expressions of the Cosmos in a participatory manner experiencing limitations but, simultaneously, from within the creative-manifesting “heart” of the Cosmos. It is itself Non-Dual Consciousness and Being allowing the relative existence of both epistemological and ontological aspects under the guises of subjectivity and objectivity, both in unity and difference or as “one” and “many.” As such, LIFE would rest at the hub or the center of all metaphysics, ever transcending distinction and form while allowing it.
To bring the premises, understandings an methodologies of objective natural science, qualitative socio-political discourse and processing, sentient subjective experience and metaphysical explanations into a coherent integrative synthesis under shared, subjacent patterns, the key rests in identifying the underlying basis offered by the four “dimensional” variables (interiority-subjectivity, exteriority-objectivity, indivisibility-individuality, plurality-collectivity) also articulated by the basic metaphysical position-concepts of Idealism, Materialism, Unity and Plurality. Those concepts arising from a previous metaphysical stage of existence closer to Non Duality need not exclude each other as when understood under two-value, excluded middle logic. I particularly insist on this because its importance would be essential to the possibility of a historical new phase of human existence as a freer and unified species, more coherently connective, integrative in thinking, feeling, being and acting necessary for the successful co-creation of a more harmonious and ecologically balanced, planetary culture capable of dealing as a single collective voice with more advanced (i.e. integrated) interstellar-transdimensional species. The call for all of us is of the highest order: None else but transcending our excessive attachments to our animalistic adaptations to an either-or physical world will succeed.
I do consider that in order to understand LIFE in a way that may be intelligently adaptive to how more advanced intelligent extraterrestrial civilizations overcoming the strictures of spacetime might understand it, we really need to awaken to this unique, integrative, synthesizing philosophical approach. The discovery of integralism and a more comprehensive and non-dual way of understanding LIFE must be a foundational search at the root of the eventual, gradual creation of a wiser planetary civilization capable of maturing as a respectable, independent-yet-collaborative species in the Cosmos. It would be a philosophical “turn” more fundamental than when seminal ideas were established during the Golden Age of Greek rationalist philosophers, during its preceding early start under the “pre-socratics” and during the germination of empirical natural science in the Greek realm of Ionia. It would bring together the core truths and ideas elicited during the “axial age” of religion and of universalist philosophies, including the math and sciences in the Middle East, China and India and it would reassert the foundational truth-seeking of the high rational Christian, Jewish and Muslim metaphysical theology of the Middle Ages. It would connect with the humanist, artistic and theological essences of the Italian-European Renaissance and with the methodological and critical thinking advances of the Enlightenment. It would appreciate the critical and egalitarian turn of post modernism (including its questioning of logoism's excesses, the “linguistic turn” and social constructionism) and it would be able not only to rescue the valid knowledge and discoveries of every previous age (including hat's been known as “magical thinking, shamanism and animistic contact with a “spirit world”) but also to distinguish its accompanying mistakes. In other, words, nothing but the appreciation of all accumulated valid, pragmatic and verifiable knowledge in order to integrate it and surpass it under non-reductionist principles would suffice.
Accompanying the 'momentous' discovery of sentient biological, sentient cybernetic and-or extremely intelligent, self-aware (perhaps transrational) expressions of LIFE outside the Earth reality system which is normally perceived would be the profound collective acknowledgement of a new way of thinking and being beyond simple-minded, judgmental, dichotomous duality. That would be crucial, historic and vital. It should have long-term repercussions at least as momentous as the discovery of how to cook our foods with fire or as the gradual adoption of spoken language. It would entail learning to think, feel and to socially organize in a much more coherent manner, emphasizing universally shared principles over differences. It would also entail recognizing that these same principles are applicable to other beings from realities outside Earth, being who would ostensibly have in many (perhaps in most) cases, a more profound and/or complex ethical understanding.
Exploring AQAL and Beyond
Among those thinkers that can be called “post-postmodern,” and, in spite of his breaking up with academic continuity and often criticized methodological course, Ken Wilber should be considered seminal. While not agreeing with everything he says, I think he offers some key integrative insights and organizing concepts useful to take to a more inclusive and logically reconciling stage philosophy and science and ideologies associated with spiritual traditions. Wilber developed a Meta Theoretical Framework or Model that attempts to understand all of reality and LIFE through what he calls the “FIVE ELEMENTS”. This framework or model is compatible with the natural and social sciences and other forms of “disclosing” knowledge according to method and what can be understood at various stages of development and (even if not widely recognized) it is currently pushing the boundaries of academic philosophical thought beyond stagnant circular discussions within modernity and post modernity. Moreover, his model (not being “totalizing” in a pre- postmodern sense) is in crucial ways compatible with that of other integrative thinkers and “meta theorists” (who also find similar underlying patterns) and coincides with them in planting the intellectual seeds of a post postmodern philosophy applicable to all forms of knowledge.
Wilber's Integral Meta Theory (or “Integral Theory” for short, also known as “AQAL”) has five “elements” named “quadrants,” “lines,” “stages,” “states” and “types.” And Wilber found that most of contingent reality as currently known (I would say, most things which our consciousness can decode, actualize and perceive) can be explained and expresses itself more comprehensively (without leaving out crucial aspects) by using these five “elements.” More “elements” (or another way of understanding and connecting them) might be forthcoming in the future since this Meta Theory is a work in progress and in conversation with other Meta theories and holistic and post-holistic approaches.
This “integral approach” would transcend holism and systems theory while acquiring from them key characteristic. It would include a non-reductionist way of thinking, a trans-systemic cognitive openness to self-transcending/self-organizing connectivity (neither privileging wholes or parts) and a respectful, inclusive, but also discriminating, corresponding moral-ethical intuitive sensibility. This “integral approach” (once again, a step beyond classical holism) can be theoretically and methodologically applied to any field of inquiry and academic research…including astrobiology and exopolitics.
Wilber's work is foundational and important even if (due to a possible self-centered, personal style), some methodological mistakes (like an excessive use of generalized assumptions), an (arguable) lack of understanding of the concept of biological evolution; and due to promoting (through an institute) a political-cultural movement perhaps with an “in-group” partially limiting conceptual exploration only to a range of leitmotifs with which they are comfortable does feel like an adequate fit with most of modern academic tradition.
Even due to being inspired by Mahayana Vajrayana Buddhism and Vedanta as a mystic accepting the idea of self-transcendence as well as an evolutionary embrace of Non-Duality; due to positing an evolutionary, self-transcending force called “eros;” due to not being a conventionally accredited academic participant publishing and conversing in normal academic settings; due to possibly over-emphasizing the modern discovery of stages of human, biological and cultural development (and understanding) making him appear as elitist and-or erroneously dismissive of certain discoveries associated with previous cultural stages; due to being unfairly branded as a psychologist only and-or as a self-help, even “new age,” orientalist wisdom teacher, the main structural, philosophical contributions of Wilber 's work are just slowly being discovered by other contemporary seminal thinkers.
Moreover, recognition of his dialogical, post “either-or,” comprehensive understanding attempting to cover all forms of knowledge (and methodologies) rising in every region of the world and in every (so-called) 'stage of cultural and social development' seems to require a wider, much more inclusive (and still unusual) post-formal mind frame in the main unavailable (or - at best – incipient) in formal academia and in the world population in general. Thus, in spite of some conceptual mistakes and likely mistakes in his presentation style, Wilber's great achievements would be partly unrecognized because integrative approaches on the whole are still ordinarily unregistered in the mind as they would not just require cognitive capacity to think beyond reductionist “either-or” premises but an intersubjectively-based ethos and a first person sensibility accompanying a Meta conceptual third-person thinking.
And thinking about LIFE as an ecological organization in an integrative, post postmodern, truly inclusive manner (and as a way to be introduced to Ken Wilber's Integral Meta Theory), I recommend Sean Esbjorn-Hargens' highly didactic An Overview of Integral Ecology: A Comprehensive Approach to Today's Complex Planetary Issues which can be retrieved at http://www.integralakademia.hu/data/file/2013/05/28/integral_ecology_overview.pdf Furthermore, I'm quite certain that this integrative approach to ecology (and LIFE in general) can be quite useful if extended to Astrobiology.
Various Philosophical Roots Coincide
Here I'll have to re-state what I was mentioned before. Exploring what may be the root metaphysical origin of Ken Wilber's “AQAL model” (“AQAL” signifying the need to consider “All quadrants, all levels, alI states, all types, and all intelligences”) and –for now - focusing on the “quadrants” (perhaps the most crucial aspect of Wilber's AQAL model), I think that “what is” (in other words, simple and pure all inclusive, non-dual existence simply recognized as the “isness” of any recognized 'thing') can be conceptually considered as the only “foundational element” but that, under a dualistic, contingent, phenomenological way of thinking and being, it implies that there can apparently be that which is not and this also implies an exterior and an “other” adding up to a second “element.” Thus, under this dualistic thinking, we would end up with four fundamental “dimensions” (the singular/indivisible or one; the one and the “other” making two or what would essentially be the origin of plurality or multiplicity; that which by virtue of being one is sufficient to unto itself but in dualistic relation to that which is “other” or “exterior” is naturally considered to be “interior.”
Hence, we would have the “Interior,” “Exterior,” “Indivisible” and “Plural” dimensions essentially outlining four essential complementary, polar metaphysical opposites themselves necessarily derived from that which is (pure non-dual identity) treated under the associative-dissociative perceptions of duality and discriminative or comparative thinking. In these “dimensions” we have the analogues or other ways of representing the four polar opposite, recurrent, metaphysical positions just mentioned:
The “Interior” dimension would correspond to the Platonist, Idealist and Spiritualist forms of metaphysics; the “Exterior” dimension would correspond to Positivist and Material Determinist forms of metaphysics; the “Indivisible” dimension would correspond to some highly recognized Eastern forms of thinking like “Vedanta” (in which the indivisible exists but transcending and including both matter and spirit); the “Plural” dimension would correspond to “Dualism” or similar forms of metaphysics in which opposites of the “matter”-spirit” duality are both said to exist as equally fundamental. Here the importance lies in that we can now appreciate inevitably recurring metaphysical positions originating (after “the Distinction”) from the same undifferentiated Source and forming an integrated, pattern of mutually necessary, elements. We can now see that materialism and idealism need not attempt to subsume or to reduce each other.
I must add that these complementary metaphysical positions (and opposites) were also being consistently integrated before Ken Wilber by Emeritus professor of Philosophy and Comparative Religions Archie J. Bahm under a model which he called “Organicism”. However, Archie J. Bahm's “Organicism” (based on excluded middle distinction and included middle complementarity which can be combined forming a more powerful and complete logic and way of thinking) should NOT BE CONFUSED with Alfred North Whitehead's “Organicism” but should be considered as an original creation of another world-class thinker seeking to discover an integrative “world philosophy” perhaps ahead of his time. In fact, Bahm's work complements and supplements Wilber's and I also consider it as foundational to the project of developing a philosophy suitable to momentous astrobiological and serious exopolitical discoveries.
In Bahm's work several well-recognized metaphysics naturally occupy a symmetrical architecture and are seen as mutually necessary. Thus, none can be thought of a more primordial under this diagram based on complementary logic.
The following diagram is originally found in Archie J. Bahm's “Organicism: Origin and Development.”
I have written elsewhere about “Organicism” at http://www.integralworld.net/piacenza3.html and at https://www.integrallife.com/member/giorgio-piacenza/blog/integral-theory-complemented-archie-j-bahms-organicism
Interestingly, complementary polar positions and opposites (in my view, differently conveyed in the works of Ken Wilber and of Archie J. Bahm) have been historically intuited as fundamental in most doctrines and schools of thought (also giving rise to combined, reconciling, intermediate metaphysical understandings like Emanationism and Emergentism. In fact we need contrasting and reconciled opposites in order to think in a rational way either classically or not.
Most of discursive, rational philosophy and metaphysics has been a battle of fluctuating preferences among reconcilable opposites pitted against each other due to a pre-integrative form of “either-or,” exclusivist thinking, feeling and organizing in LIFE. The point here is that we can now begin to realize that at least eight basic metaphysical positions (including the four main positions and their four intermediate forms) are equally important, inextricable, necessary, and distinct but also simultaneously arising.
Now we can see that a more refined science and philosophy must equally include at least all of these metaphysical positions and their origins and it would not be a science limited to materialism or – as in pre-scientific times – to the Mind, or to One Spirit or spirits and-or to personal and collective transpersonal experiences and interpretations focusing in one way to elucidate this multifaceted (yet paradoxically) simple complexity. As differently mentioned, I consider that crucial for material Earth-based humanity to grow up culturally correlationally producing a more sophisticated, interconnected, mutually respectful planetary society based on an open-ended “integrative thinking;” a society in which particular differences (expressed in a healthy, non-exclusivist manner against other particular differences) are understood as compatible and supplementary to each other, not only in a “holistic” way (typically emphasizing the whole over the part) or perhaps “holographically” (sometimes emphasizing the part over the whole because parts can contain it, albeit with varying degrees of clearness) but - as Ken Wilber suggests – “holarchically” or under a way of thinking, being and feeling that recognizes that both part and whole (as part of a more inclusive whole) co-arise trying to complete themselves due to the very fact of their polar existence in contingency.
As already frequently mentioned, in my view, that integrative, holarchical thinking (reflected in corresponding forms of science, technology, cultural norms and social organization) would be central for humanity to be able to engage cosmic civilizations that would also enjoy more advanced and integrated forms of thinking and being as these would have probably discovered these (and other) integrative underlying patterns before us. This emerging stage of thinking, feeling and being could also be understood as “transdimensional” and “translogical” because underlying ontological-epistemological principles would permit traversing/cutting across levels of reality (physical spacetime and, possibly, other parallel universes) which otherwise would seem disconnected and incompatible.
In academia the concept of “transdisciplinarity” would be the natural correlate of aforementioned concepts and this would be an appropriate, necessary, and natural development beyond - but inclusive of - the current “interdisciplinarity” being sought in, for instance, astrobiology and exopolitics. “Disciplines” are conventionally based on different metaphysical and epistemological assumptions and become incommensurable but knowing that these assumptions simultaneously arise in an inextricable way with an underlying pattern and shared principles connecting the different assumptions would allow the “trans” aspect to be logically sustained, for example between quantitative only and qualitative-inclusive disciplines.
Thus the transition between interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity would be a transition from metaphysical and epistemological incommensurability to epistemological commensurability under a more inclusive kind of logic.
On Earth this would also be emerging as a more complex (and simultaneously simple) form of being, feeling and thinking accompanying various integrative scientific models and theories (like that of the “Quantum Hologram”) in which matter-energy and information, and information management, the objective and the qualitative are… co-extensive.
As per Wilber's “AQAL,” I'll restate that the four “dimensions” of reality combine giving rise to the four basic expressions of any contingent entity or event, of any aspect of existence and particular form of LIFE, terrestrial or extraterrestrial: The “Interior” and the “Indivisible” dimensions combine into the SUBJECTIVE QUADRANT; the “Exterior” and the “Indivisible” dimensions combine into the OBJECTIVE QUADRANT; the “Interior” and the “Plural” dimensions combine into the INTERSUBJECTIVE QUADRANT; the “Exterior” and “Plural” dimensions combine into the INTEROBJECTIVE QUADRANT. These “quadrants” would be both and simultaneously ontological expressions as well as epistemological-interpretive perspectives related to any entity or event (or an “eventity”) understood as Consciousness-Being-Life expressing as a simultaneous whole-part (or “holon”) in contingent existence based in duality, contrast, polarity, association and incompleteness. I think that an understanding of the “HOLON” (as a universal organizing ontological pattern and living epistemic perspective) is crucial to the creation of an integrative science useful to an advance astrobiology and exopolitics.
Duality would originate in One Source/One Reality. The four primordial “dimensions” would originate in implied, complementary relations. “Quadrants” would correlate in a manner unified by internal complementarity and ultimately by One Non-Dual Source/One Reality. In fact neither we nor the whole manifested and potential Cosmos would ever leave the One Source. Each primordial, a-cosmic metaphysical 'moment' would generate a realm, metaphysically beginning with the “Causal” (or seed) Realm privileging interiority to the Physical Realm privileging exteriority; each with its own predominant causality and logic. And the Subtle (mental) Realm would be in-between. And all types of causalities predominantly related with each realm would be unified in that they globally relate to this unbounded, coherent, contingent and dependent system.
The above diagram also depicts Wilber's “Quadrants” which simultaneously pattern ontology and epistemological ways of understanding contingent reality. They result from the combination of more fundamental Interior, Exterior, Individual (or Singular) and Collective (or Plural) “dimensions” Source: http://www.wisdompage.com/toe1.gif
As outstanding Meta Theorist Mark Edwards recounts, Arthur Koestler wrote a foundational essay on “holons” in his 1967 book The Ghost in the Machine and Ken Wilber proposed “20 Tenets” as an (evolving) attempt to extend the concept and characteristics of holons in his 1995 Magnus Opus Sex, Ecology, Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution. Please read more in “A Brief History of Holons” http://www.integralworld.net/edwards13.html
“Holons” express through “quadrants” and quadratic expressions may predominantly express particular types of holons. LIFE constrained under particular holonic relation would express varying amounts of agency. All entities would also manifest as holons and would both ontologically and epistemologically express and manifest through these quadrants and relate with other beings epistemologically interpreting reality through them. In this sense, even non-biological entities would have a form of intelligent self-organizing (and perhaps even sentience) in that relation and information exchange, self-preservation and communion with other entities is possible. The self-motivated activity of LIFE, more obvious in anti-entropically self-constructing and reproducing physical biological entities would remain (in non-biological entities normally considered as “non-living”) active and actualizing but situated in subtle non-physical levels of existence normally hidden from the empirical-physical sensorial grasp.
If we understand that these “quadrants” (four basic ontological and epistemological expressions of reality) correlate with the four main contending metaphysical positions about what reality is about, we will also grasp that they and these metaphysical positions have a deeper, integrating, and inextricable common origin. In my view that is a major practical philosophical discovery with profound implications for the future of cultural development at all levels and it can be appreciated in the fundamental writings of Ken Wilber, a self-taught philosopher whose valid insights have not been sufficiently acknowledged yet in orthodox academia due to his involvement with other themes like spiritual development, Buddhism, transpersonal psychology, the founding of an institute to spread his vision and attempts to influence emerging political thinking, and also due to receiving valid and invalid criticisms for some of his visionary-based excessive generalizations backing up the first steps of an integrative model ahead of his time.
But what kind of thinking would we need to develop IF we were to finally encounter intelligent “interstellar” civilizations that may easily bridge the theoretical and engineering gap that we now perceive between those scientific celebrities we call “General Relativity” and “Quantum Mechanics?” What if we were to make open contact with civilizations for which space and time (also “spacetime”) is but a secondary construct or a function of deeper transdimensional principles based on what (from our physicalist perspective) would be a causally potent information level of reality capable of – perhaps - manipulating the quantum potential, the passage of “time” and gravity? We would need to be able to think, act and feel in less dichotomous, tribal like, win-lose ways proper to a classical physical environment and lesser degrees of technological development. We would need to learn to speak the language of a “basic cosmic ABC,” perhaps illustrating a basic minimum shared understanding among interstellar civilizations of the vital integrative principles of mind, matter, unity and plurality.
Without (dangerous and dubious) genetic interventions or a concerted effort to modify child-rearing and life-long educational aspects, it would probably take centuries to gradually overcome the animalistic, survivalist, short-term, ethnocentric, status-seeking ways of being in the world so prevalent in humanity and in its group dynamics in spite of our growing “rational,” instrumental thinking capacity to modify nature through external means. But in a more integrative planetary culture based on underlying multi-cultural connective universal principles emphasizing complementarity and non-dichotomous thinking, we would probably learn to empathically enhance cooperation levels and learn to limit gross levels of conflict learning to deal with differences in more intelligent ways. In fact, as Steven Pinker has shown in his book “The Better Angels of our Nature” that, in spite of a penchant for bad news that sell in the media, already due to the modern stage development bringing with it more inclusive ethical values, worldwide shared agreements, greater tolerance, human rights and a steady decrease in poverty, illiteracy, pandemic diseases, food scarcity and other factors, in increasingly larger parts of the world smaller percentages of people are prone to dying violent deaths than how it was centuries ago.
Besides the “quadrants” and other elements of Ken Wilber's and Archie J. Bahm's integrative philosophical advances showing us the way toward a more comprehensive metaphysics in which science and spirituality are understood as arising together and in which the qualitative and quantitative aspects of LIFE are inextricable, yet distinguishably related, what else could be useful? Well, there are many other authors adding to these “foundational” insights. Some of them also present a ground-breaking and coherent way of relating to “logic.” Most seem to be getting little attention in conventional academic circles for the most part still operating under classical logical and conventional parameters supportive of continuity in the status quo.
Whether we think of ourselves (or actually behave) as postmodern-egalitarians, relativist-deconstructionists, fundamentalists, modern rationalists, primal ecologists, kantians, humeans, transcendentalists, materialists, holists, idealists, “new agers” or something else altogether and, whether we misunderstand “metaphysics” as “mere speculation” or perhaps as a “superstition of a bygone era” or – possibly – confuse it with those “things otherworldly,” METAPHYSICS well-understood in its own right is really much more than that since it will hold the root assumptions that legitimize our belief systems, ideologies, values, social contract and self-identities.
Metaphysics is about what we think is real. Thus, metaphysics is a permanent feature in our minds and it makes 'sense' to try to refine it, for instance, by trying to find out if the main metaphysical stances can all in some way be “true and “valid” and compatible with a under a more universal Science through which we can better relate (and also perhaps with more advanced extraterrestrial civilizations). But what kind of metaphysics do we need to develop now if –under postmodern post structuralist post-metaphysics challenging the logical “ratio” of classical, rational thinking, all fundamental assertions and competing ideas which be undermined or deconstructed (under an “either-or” logic always requiring an explanation to be supported by another)? I'd say that we need a more dependable, internally connective logic that will revitalize and bring back credibility and practical interest in that unavoidable thinking practice known as “metaphysics.” It may do this by its capacity to integrate otherwise irreconcilable but, nonetheless, reasonable philosophical positions while assisting in formulating answers (or at least a general direction) to solve to some vexing questions currently eluding science.
Toward a Suitable Type of Logic
What if our “common sense” attitudinal attachment to binary, “either-or,” bivalent, classical logic (more directly applicable to a living experience almost exclusively limited to a classical material world) were the obstacle that we would need to outstrip in order to understand how to “travel” among the stars, unify quantum mechanics with relativity, and reprogram spacetime beyond the (classical) constraints of the speed of light? I think it would be possible if we can activate a deeper kind of “common sense” also perhaps potentially available to us based on our less recognized embeddedness and participation in the existence of non-physical subtle bodies, which would non-locally connect us to the realm of mind including other set of instincts related to it. I think that (beyond the “either-or” logic also suitable to a range of phenomena) we do need to advance into a post “either-or” way of thinking, feeling and being, leading us to nothing less than a long-term re-creation of humanity in its subjective, material, behavioral, cultural and social output.
I think that the “TETRALEMMA” (known in India as the “Catuskoti”) gives four fundamental possibilities on how to consider “X” (what exists, can be recognized, known or thought of). I think it illustrates four possible logics allowed by the recognition of what is (the basis of what is known as the “Principle of Identity”) based on the most fundamental/primitive/intuitive recognition of presence, being or what is. The four possibilities are 1) X is 2) X either is or is not 3) X both is and is not 4) X neither is nor is not. Modern society works mostly with the bivalent “either is or is not” and limits us to a pre integrative, pre holistic, atomized (albeit partially adequate for a range of experiences and realities) way of perceiving and constructing our social lives and cultures. If we were capable of moving into a “both-and” stage of thinking (still including “either-or” as a necessary subset) we may create a more integrated, healthier society become less of an atomized collection of individuals excessively separated into competing-conflicting identity and interest-based groups.
An affective (even engineerable), “both-and” logic would require more than a practical, realistic tolerance for ambiguity (useful in many real life situations) as for instance reflected in “paraconsistent” logic: Classical logic would have been transcended and included into a higher form of logic, and this done not only maintaining coherence but also non-contradiction. Perhaps (as we will see further on when reviewing physicist-philosopher Stephane Lupasco's and Basarab Nicolescu's variety of “both-and” logic with an included middle), it is possible to apply this logic to practical ends and I think that we still are bound to find its useful applications not only for quantum physics but for inter-reality scientific research.
A third term “T” can exist at a “higher,” more inclusive level of reality reconciling A with not-A according to the transdisciplinary theories of Nicolescu and Lupasco. This would be compatible with the idea of of a “HOLON” also reconciling the fact of simultaneously being part and whole. The reconciliation would occur on a more inclusive level of thinking (with a third, included middle term “T”), a “both-and” logic of which there would be a corresponding ontological level (the Subtle Realm) even surpassing the quantum level.
When we think in complementary terms using complementary opposites we may be thinking in similar ways but emphasizing epistemology without necessarily positing a higher, more inclusive, ontological level. However, the “both-and” logic of complementarities with its own kind of third term T or included middle is compatible with the ontological T used by Nicolescu in Transdisciplinarity proposals. I think that both approaches are aspects of an integrative way of thinking.
Source: Integral Leadership Review http://integralleadershipreview.com/1746-demystifying-transdisciplinary-ontology-multiple-levels-of-reality-and-the-hidden-third/
The following chart shows Nicolescu's reworking of logic, epistemological concepts and ontology as per the emerging non-classical science in contrast to classical science.
Professor Emeritus Archie J. Bahm gave in some of his books (especially in “Organicism”) many discursive examples of a rigorous logic of complementary polarities (another way of expressing a “both-and” logic) commonly intuited and used in philosophy. By giving many examples of the many reasonable ways in which these (experientially intuited and assumed) complementary polarities can be understood (both as irreconcilable and as reconcilable) he showed that “both-and”/complementary logic maintains non-contradiction and include, as a subset, “either-or,” bivalent logic. I think that that is very important since an integrative way of thinking should not dismiss the valid findings of previous stages of development. His “Organicism” supports an organic (mostly physical) view of existence as contingent nature is experienced and/or intuited as an evolving whole with internal relationships (a perfectly valid outcome of his logic overcoming reductionism). I don't think he incorporated multiple levels of reality but his logic inclusive of complementarity and difference would be useful for that matter. It is the use of complementarity that connects his thinking with other transdisciplinarity and integrationist efforts.
Perhaps, if Bahm had also moved on to develop a “neither-nor” type of (even more inclusive) logic he might have found a way to even transcend this level of recognition of being limited to natural contingent existents and come to a point of recognition in which contingency stops and non-duality is. Nonetheless (even if little recognized), I think that his work is of tremendous importance, especially for showing that an organic, holistic and integrative way of thinking can be consistent and rigorous.
Moreover, Bahm – like Wilber - also implicitly showed (without emphasizing it) that there are four basic complementary polarities giving rise to the main metaphysical positions which have to be considered as simultaneous and equally valid and – as mentioned - (if this were seriously admitted by philosophers and other thinkers at the forefront) it would assist in the creation of a culture of cultural meta level of mutual respect since currently these metaphysical positions underlie doctrines understood as mutually incompatible under a classical, bivalent way of thinking.
Whether we already have in our genetic potential the basis to actually live (to feel, think and organize) under this “both-and” logic, or whether an amenable enhancement of our genetic wherewithal can be safely and wisely done without the loss of our best human qualities, would also be a key question to seriously undertake. Are we excessively trapped in an ancient mammalian-reptilian way of processing, responding and assessing a “reality” experienced only within the three-dimensional parameters of space plus linear time or can we transcend and include this under another non-spatial, higher 'dimensional' “operating system” connected to a higher level of experiential integration. And can we do it with self-determination, activating dormant potentials, without losing key aspects of our humanity that may still serve as a most unique example to other beings?
The more inclusive ontological level of being in which a reconciling third term “T” is allowed (as recognized in Nicolescu's logical treatment of quantum theory) is – in spite of being non-classical- also fine-tuned to the classical world in terms of quantum probabilities allowed to coherently harmonize with classical world more rigidly established structures. But the Subtle Realm predominantly operating with a “both-and” logic to relate as causally co-equal its subjective + intersubjective aspects with its objective + inter objective aspects would be free to express all possible experiential-ontological arrangements in a non-physical way utilizing complementarity of mutually necessary opposites. It would be the higher symmetry source of information and energy for any subset universe in the Physical Realm. But Nicolescu also posits a plurality of levels of reality and perhaps this may admit more levels than the classical physical and the quantum. The quantum level of reality would act as an included third term “T” (the included middle) to reconcile otherwise true opposites in the physical level of reality but it would be an intermediate, connective, partly fluid and variable “level,” a product of the intersection of two distinct levels with their own logics and causality, a “level” whose interactions are still limited to maintaining the coherence of a particular physical universe. It would include experientially hidden, retrocausal, or “advanced,” cohering, information waves that connect the physical realm with various degrees of negentropy in self-organizing open systems and it would allow the possibility of novelty and, upon canceling out with their complementary retarded, causal, time-forward waves, Physical Realm “reality” itself would cancel out 'returning' to its more interior and fundamental source in the non-physical, Subtle Realm. The meeting (or hand shaking) of causal and retrocausal waves allowed by the Klein-Gordon Equation and other quantum-relativistic understandings, would occur during the experience of every physical occasion and in it there might be a detected, outwardly manifested cycle and an unaccounted-for, inwardly manifested cycle of experience and reality outside of time.
Achieving this next stage of THINKING and BEING (for instance, capable of simplifying a more powerful and coherent dialogue between qualitative and quantitative disciplines) would at the very least (a necessary start) require refining and redefining the type of logic which we normally use to reason, to investigate and to classify disciplines and that which is seriously (and common sensically) considered as “valid knowledge” under prevailing silently assumed social agreements. It will require finding underlying patterns which the main forms of knowledge acquisition - in particular - the formal social sciences and the formal natural sciences may have in common. To achieve this, the concept of “HOLON” by Arthur Koestler and also found in the Integral Theory of Ken Wilber and a logic with a third term (an “included middle”), for instance as substantiated by Stéphane Lupasco and Basarab Nicolescu may be particularly useful. These ideas challenging the dominant consensus (excessively based on our ordinary dichotomous thinking separating us more fundamentally than what would our otherwise less essentially incompatible ideologies and doctrines reflect) may also be compatible and complementary with each other besides supplementing each other's insufficiencies.
But, for humans to behave in a more intelligent and coherent way on this Earth and in relation to a more intimately interconnected Cosmos (most likely also a “holographic kind of Cosmos”), these more integrative ways of thinking would have to be accompanied by equivalent ways of being and feeling in our pre-verbal, subconscious, first-person subjective life, as embodied conscious entities subsuming (but not replacing) the more easily accepted “either-or” ways of thinking, being and feeling which perhaps coincide more directly with our natural, instinctive and impulsive adaptations under the guise of material animals in a classical material world. If our minds can naturally accept that our understanding of logic can be superseded by a more inclusive type WITHOUT logical CONTRADICTION then, perhaps, we may be able to understand the Cosmos, not only as a material entity and system but also as Living Cosmos in such a way that an intelligent dialogue with advanced civilizations capable of easily manipulating spacetime would be possible.
After reading some works by philosopher and physicist Basarab Nicolescu, I'd say that the multidisciplinarity already accepted in many astrobiology circles would consist in enriching a discipline by incorporating the perspectives of many disciplines. Also, Inter-disciplinarity (which, with regard to astrobiology, is also accepted by institutions such as NASA), would consist of the dialogue between disciplines and the transfer of methods from one discipline to another. This would also entail finding ways to improve communication between disciplines so as to benefit a subject of study more than a particular discipline.
In some academic quarters there is progress in terms of connectivity in terms of astrobiology. For example, at Stanford University, astrobiology is considered a “Meta Discipline,” combining astronomy, biology, chemistry, physics and philosophy. More specifically, a “Meta Discipline” would be the creation of a discipline based on the integration of various disciplines within a new totally new construct which would be inconsistent at lower logical level. That would be a development beyond “inter-disciplinarity” and might be such that the demands of interdisciplinarity itself would force us to develop it. It would entail an ever “open integration” in which knowledge can continuously expand, respecting each discipline's independence, applicability and range of action and methods within a “matrix” that facilitates communication between disciplines and beyond disciplines; a very general but, nonetheless, essential matrix organized under post-classical logical guidelines. It would be logically connective of the social and natural sciences allowing them to be commensurable from a more inclusive logical perspective and would transcend and combine the epistemological differences dichotomously perceived when a logic based on the concept of an excluded middle and environment is utilized. In this way, we can further expand upon the concept of a “disciplinary matrix” within the scientific practice referred to by Thomas Kuhn.
Metaphysical assumptions and values would perhaps be adapted first to that more integrative logic. Then, imaginably, symbolic generalizations and exemplars could be found to correspond to these under a more integrative logic. In other words, both working theories and practical methods to work with this matrix would be found.
To communicate more effectively, not just interdisciplinarily but transdisciplinarily, disciplines in the social sciences and/or humanities and the natural sciences must be increasingly understood as commensurable by finding how they coincide under common patterns beyond the differences perceived under a classical, excluded middle logic. Learning to facilitate inter-disciplinarity also within a transdisciplinary perspective not limited to specific disciplines appears to be the next step to strengthen fields of inquiry that include many aspects of reality and LIFE.
As mentioned, NASA and the SETI Institute have begun a robust dialogue between natural and social scientists given that discoveries of extraterrestrial life will quite likely generate a major long-term social impact and lead to questions relevant to modify current astrobiology: Are we looking for intelligent life based on erroneous premises? Are we projecting our conventional cultural expectations of what we believe extraterrestrial life must be like? Through what political process can we reveal to humanity that we have received an intelligent extraterrestrial signal? Who represents humanity and organizes a response? Since we fundamentally originate in the Cosmos, can we always find a way to decipher and understand every form of intelligent signal? And what if extraterrestrial intelligence is already with us (perhaps as nano technological entities (as asked by Jill Tarter, a recognized astronomer seriously involved with SETI) but we cannot detect it? Is the evidence already available in the data that we have but is it there yet to be recognized? Is evidence of extraterrestrial life found in our genes or in some extremophile organisms? Is our binary logic satisfactory to communicate with more socially integrated, older and presumably less dichotomous, space-faring civilizations?
Quite likely the challenge of finding simple, complex and intelligent life will lead us to overhaul many of our assumptions and extrapolations based upon Earth-based, classical perceptions. I believe that we must explore transdisciplinary connections based on Meta-theoretical explorations that include an included middle term in logic: an astrobiology that can address the subject of LIFE as an open question that surpasses conventional biology and other natural sciences, LIFE as relating to an intense coordinating expression of the main patterns of existence beyond the traditional materialistic and biological definitions conflicting with the spiritual, social, philosophical and theological definitions. Besides, by simply accepting a transdisciplinary direction, we become bound to trans-epistemological approaches which, in turn, inextricably imply trans-ontological ones. This means inevitably toying with other levels of reality.
We should also avoid reducing knowledge to the point that it be understood as solely representing a relativistic cultural construct. Some new paradigm-challenging, serious scientific research on the nature of physical reality, non-locality and information (the quantum hologram theorem) points that in all-probability, material and energy-based “things” (normally appreciated under a classical logic of intrinsically separate “parts”) are inextricably complemented by information and consciousness. Why can't we earnestly conceive of a realm precursor of spacetime in which this connectivity is the fundamentally obvious state?
How can a logic that includes a third term help us to better and more rigorously understand the set of experiences, methods and knowledge that surrounds the phenomenon of “LIFE?” I think that related to this option we also need to develop coordinating explanatory models based on the complementarity of opposites to jointly understand the mutually necessary “fit” between qualitative and quantitative aspects of knowledge. This would represent a fundamental revolution in knowledge for the natural and social sciences, philosophy and theology, particularly if the results strengthen practical applications and become robust.
What follows may simply feel unscientific, too “philosophical” for comfort or an unwarranted return to an ontological search that doesn't apply to the modern empirical ethos in science. It may feel “dense” or appear to be “irrelevant” but I consider it a philosophically necessary foundation for seeking to establish transdisciplinarity among and beyond the academic, fields, disciplines and sciences, including the already overarching “astrobiology.”
Think about the most basic kind of recognition we make before building any type of knowledge, discipline, method or 'science'. When we perceive and think about something or when we simply recognize something as “real,” there's always a basic component in it, denoting being itself which is conceptually related with the “Principle of Identity” (that that which is is equal to itself). We can recognize and, thus, state that that which is or appears to our consciousness in one way or another and more fundamentally than its qualities, form and other characteristics has a most basic property; that of BEING itself, a property which we may call “isness.”
Attempting to integrating the social sciences and the natural sciences at a higher level of understanding (without subsuming one into the other) could begin with a more extensive exploration of what this Principle of Identity (A = A) may entail as it would represent the basis of all possibilities for understanding, including experience, existence and any meaning of existence suitable to improve our understanding of LIFE. For instance, besides clear-cut, bivalent logical uses, A = A also allows us to think in terms of complementary relations, even if - still following a classical logic – these are often understood in an excessively restrictive sense. Under this classic, binary way of working with A=A, no term “T” can be simultaneously equal to A and not-A. This limits us to an exclusionary vision with incompatible epistemologies. But this would be under an attitude and understanding that emphasizes “A” as “thing” in relation to other external entities that can also be called “A.” But if we take “A” to simply represent “that which is,” the essence in that which is and is recognizable, including its negation, a third term between A and not-A can exist.
“A” can be implicitly and explicitly understood as a “thing” and that would be the most primitive kind of understanding producing exclusions. “A” can also be implicitly and explicitly intuited and understood as an essence based on relations and, finally, it can be explicitly or implicitly intuited and suggested (perhaps by metaphor) without being limited to any “thing,” relation or specific attribution or description exterior to itself. How we intuit and understand “A” would reflect whether we prioritize an “either-or” logic with an excluded middle, a “both-and” logic with an included relational middle or a “neither-nor” logic by which “A” cannot be defined by anything exterior, including objects, ideas and relations.
According to the associated logical systems of Stéphane Lupasco and Basarab Nicolescu, there are ways of having a non-contradictory relation between A and not-A. For example, according to Lupasco, A and not-A can co-exist at the same 'time' but only when A is actual and not-A is potential and vice versa. This concept also applies to the idea that there exist various “levels of reality” and how they might relate with each other and, in my view as per ontological levels, this is not just limited to a relationship between the classical and quantum “worlds,” but also applies to interconnected physical and non-physical ontological levels which not only interact (maintaining their uniqueness, separation and distinctiveness), but also complement and, moreover, interpenetrate or “mutually immanesce” in each other.
Also, if I understood physicist and philosopher Nicolescu sufficiently well, the contradiction between A and not-A is also resolved at the level of a more inclusive reality that simultaneously includes A and not-A in their potential and actual states (going a step further on how Hegel achieves a dialectical relation between A and not-A contending that the contradiction is overcome with a dynamic becoming within the same level but linearly into the future).
Furthermore, the development of polar analysis and polar dialectics in the “Organicism” proposed by Emeritus Professor Archie J. Bahm, also allows for the overcoming of excluded middle opposites by his dynamic treatment of complementary opposites experientially perceived within existence. Additionally, the way in which self-taught psychologist-philosopher Ken Wilber builds upon Arthur Koestler's notion of the “HOLON” (a simultaneous part of a larger whole as well as a whole containing parts) reflects a logic which in my mind is highly compatible with what was just previously mentioned. These and other thinkers coinciding along a similar vein supplement each other's' thinking becoming foundational to guide us into developing a transdisciplinary approach because – as Wilber shows through the origin of the “quadrants” of his AQAL Meta Theory - the QUALITATIVE and QUANTITATIVE expressions of existence simultaneously arise through the complementarity of opposites and the included middle associated with the “holon.” This would at the very least mean that the epistemologies behind the natural sciences and the social sciences would have a common origin making them commensurable within a more integrative level. Understanding that “integrative level” would be crucial to develop a viable, coherent and practical form of transdisciplinarity.
Nicolescu defines “reality” as “that which resists our experiences and representations, descriptions, images or mathematical formalizations” and defines “level of reality” as an ensemble of systems which are invariant under the action of certain general laws. For instance the classical macro physical world and the world where quantum activities predominate would be two distinct levels of reality. What I contend is that the “quantum world” (with its retrocausal advanced waves included in a more potential state in comparison with retarded waves) is (also in connection with other aspects of what can be called the “etheric level”) an intermediary level between the classical physical realm and the mental, non-physical realm which transcends and includes the dimensions of space and time.
According to Basarab Nicolescu, discontinuities exist from one level of reality to the next but that doesn't prevent two adjacent discontinuous worlds from coexisting. As a physicist Nicolescu is also fond to mention similar concepts from outstanding physicists like Werner Heisenberg and Wolfgang Pauli.
There's an interesting link about some of Nicolescu's ideas at http://ciret-transdisciplinarity.org/bulletin/b15c4.php
An Intelligently Organized Cosmic Matrix
Perhaps “reality” would be what entities arising as holons or occasions (within larger holons or occasions) would have to deal with or be limited by. “Reality” would refer to structural wholes maintaining consistency and experience would refer to the particulate, incomplete (and therefore changing) aspect of holons seeking to relate or extend themselves to achieve completion.
Emphasizing epistemology (in a Cosmos in which “onto” is truly inextricable from “episteme”), “reality” (as providing limitations and as resisting the fluidity of unrestrained experience) would be akin to the structural patterns inherited from past habits (as Wilber might say) and, at any rate, akin to horizontal separations (between holons located on a shared holarchical level) and to their vertical, holarchical levels. Their discontinuity as reality and as the structural pattern of wholes would also represent a discontinuity in forms of experience, incompleteness and association. And this would apply not only to physical universes as holons but to their relations as parts of the non-physical realm from which they spring and their holons.
Amidst classical forms of rational thinking, the modern, mechanicist-materialist scientist and the more post-modern, emergentist-materialist scientist operating under intuitively acknowledged (and probably actualized) local space-time, empirical perceptions of separate objects exhibiting stable patterns which can be disclosed under the scientific method demanding repeatability, will discover many things but, nonetheless, limit the epistemological possibilities knowledge allowed by “A” in the Principle of Identity by representing something as “real” without including a third term that associates opposites.
As classical scientists they eagerly operate in search of exterior and stable physical world patterns, reveling against any form of “otherworldly metaphysics” perhaps reminiscent of a religion-dominated past often riddled with superstition and in which dogmatism attempted to authoritatively enclose and provide answers for almost every aspect of existence, including the natural world. And they miss that - by dualistic implication - we must also conceive of a material and non-material “reality” a reality defined by “relation” and, thus, constituted by complementary opposites which are both discrete and distinct and much as continuous and inseparable.
In other words, they work under valid but partial scientific assumptions (best applicable to a not excessively novelty-producing classical or “causally local,” material world) and, holding on to these assumptions, does not easily reveal a more foundational epistemological and ontological level of complementary opposites. The complexity and self-productive dynamism of LIFE striving against entropy and decomposition into lower information-holding forms quite likely requires a more inclusive, logical understanding and it may well be that many advanced civilizations that have not self-destroyed by maintaining a classic physicalist way of being accompanied by privileging dichotomous, excluded middle thinking when they needed to complexify their perspectives are at a minimum operating under both an included middle and an excluded middle logic; the latter subsumed by the former.
Aristotle´s logic and practical, physical common sense have indeed served as guideposts to practically organize ourselves beyond nature-subservient modes, providing grounds for science and philosophy with techniques that successfully apply to a vast but specific range of natural phenomena. It has served not to confound faith-based explanations with explanations needed for how the natural world works but, in order not to destroy our environment (and any other extra-planetary environment we me move into) now is the time to acquire greater skills deepening into the subtle mechanisms that allow LIFE to persist.
There's a growing sense that classical materialist view is neither complete nor adequate, leading to banality, meaninglessness and nihilism or to hold on to clearly established revelations which, along with competing religions becomes inadequate to guide humanity beyond strife. We could say that the intellectual, cultural methodological revolutions against faith being the main arbiter of truth in pre-scientific worlds are coming to a halt also under the growing realization of the limits of thinking in classical ways. And, in order not to become stagnant and regress into tribally divided blindly self-affirming, competing ideological camps, we need to start by realizing the complementary way of thinking and being (not separate from the natural world but neither necessarily devoid of a sense of the sacred and a recognition of the transcendental) that was present in pre axial age, sacred spiritual traditions.
With the advent of quantum physics also calling us to transcend either-or logic and with the growing need to behave ourselves collectively in a less conflictive manner (in a world that for practical purposes has become far more reduced and more sensitively inter-connected), this is an urgent requirement that goes along with the need to link disciplines - in fact all of our sources of knowledge and understanding - in a trans-disciplinary way. However, the practical applications would have to be more powerful than classic, natural science. They may include not only distorting spacetime but obtaining energy from what may constitute its very fabric, an effervescent “sea” of unorganized virtual energies striding between “real” particles and potentially actual forms of “Subtle Realm,” non-physical substance.
Once again, astrobiology is typically defined as “the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of LIFE in the universe: extraterrestrial LIFE and LIFE on Earth”, but by implicitly having in its central tenet the need to better understand LIFE in ever more complete ways, the next step beyond its current pro-interdisciplinary phase could well be a trans-disciplinary approach that (with a little bit more openness) may be compatible with a “trans-reality” “trans-realm” or “transdimensional” approach. Thus, we must go beyond our methods and current state of thinking without necessarily replacing and leaving behind any binary thinking applied where it is most useful. We must, nonetheless, place the development of transdisciplinarity within a more inclusive logical construct that can also make specific and practical use of that binary thinking when necessary.
As differently said, the four fundamental expressions and ways of understanding (or “quadrants”) of contingent existence are the “spaces” or “areas” of expression of LIFE articulating itself as contingency (while ultimately not being definable either as an object or as a thought, as one or as many), thus retaining an intrinsic level of freedom to actualize its own possibilities. These quadrants as expressive aspects of LIFE within limitation could also be more appropriately defined as: 1) The subjective-psychological, 2) The inter-subjective or cultural, 3) The exterior empirical objective and 4) The systemic, inter-objective and social. Every event in the Cosmos of relative, contingent existence would manifest these four aspects and as these four aspects and – in my view - LIFE (whether choosing to express itself in a dense, physical material form or not) would coordinate the display content of these “quadrants”, including their dynamism in association to a lesser or greater degree of subjectivity, intelligence and inter subjectivity. Non-contingent LIFE itself would be defined from our contingent perspective as consciousness, intelligence and being. These definitions would correspond to the Triunity previously discussed. The perfect and actual freedom of non-contingent LIFE would not be intensely expressed when embedded in outer physical material form (biological or otherwise); would be more intensely expressed in the non-physical, mental realm and even more so in the non-physical and non-mental causal realm. While embedded in physical form it would, nonetheless, remain subconsciously active “behind the scenes,” so to speak, in the last two mentioned subtler levels not just interacting but also interpenetrating each other and the physical level.
In other words, a redefinition of the question of LIFE applicable not only to astrobiology and exopolitics but to all of the Cosmos would accompany a Meta conceptual framework in which qualitative and quantitative aspects are simultaneous and co-equal but in which an increase in complexity or expression of one in a particular realm would be accompanied by a correlated decrease of complexity or expression of the other in an associated realm.
LIFE as most essential entity unhindered by any form and externalization or “matter” is not only the Pure Actuality referred to by Thomas Aquinas but the actualizer of all possibilities of expression contained under the illusion of differences within itself. Said differently, any comparative recognition of what Pure Being is imposes a false dichotomy and limitations with an imaginary “is not” implying something (and things) exterior to it or an alleged an opposite and this means that what was one or undivided now becomes as if two or plural and this first metaphysical divisions give rise to the four “pre-quadratic” “dimensions” of the individual, the plural, the interior and the exterior which give rise to the (in another metaphysical moment of what is implied ) the four “quadrants.” As I see it, all of this also arises from inevitably experiencing (even when embedded in a dualist expression) the most intimate “noumenon” of what anything is.
Now, a bit of a long-winded, repeated, explanation: The Principle of Identity (“Identity” using at its semantic root the Latin word “idem”) refers to that which remains the same or unchanging, perhaps not unlike Heraclitus' law-like “Logos” remaining as a stable, organizing entity behind anything else experiencing a flux made of opposites. The Principle of Identity represented as A = A (what is is) remains a logical fundamental item behind any recognition or its negation and the self-contained relation with an implied “non-A” would allow for the existence of three entities: “A,” “non-A” and a connecting third relational term, expressed in what could be called the “three primordial dimensions,” forming a Tri-Unity also understood as the “three platonic value spheres.” Also, the indivisibility of “A” and its (implied but imagined) relation with “non-A” would (as previously mentioned) also imply (always within Identity itself) four polar “dimensions” (the indivisible, the plural, the interior and the exterior) themselves capable of combining to generate the four “quadrants” which (also under the Principle of Identity) can be understood as distinct, as interactive, as interrelated and as mutually implied.
The three platonic value spheres: “Beauty” corresponds to the Subjective Quadrant, “Goodness” to the Intersubjective Quadrant and “Truth” to the Objective and Inter Objective quadrants. In my view, these also correspond to the primordial relationship between the initial duality of “one Being and the illusory “other.” This forms three main metaphysical and ontological expressions outside contingency but which – within contingency or creation, manifestation, emanation and existence - the Cosmos reflects as the corresponding three realms: The Causal Realm, reflects Beauty-Subjectivity as Consciousness-Being predominant over ultimately illusory exterior objects; the Subtle Realm reflects Goodness-Intersubjectivity as Consciousness-Being co-equal with ultimately illusory exterior objects; the Physical Realm reflects Truth as Consciousness-Being limited by a necessary correspondence between Subjective assessments and ultimately illusory exterior objects.
Knowing integratively about all of this (which can be simultaneously simple and unwieldy) would be necessary to develop a non-reductionist model in which the qualitative (social sciences) aspects are understood as crucially important as the quantitative (natural sciences) aspects across qualitatively different levels of existence. This would prepare the cultural mindset to work with a more inclusive Science and technologies that connect the Physical and Subtle realms allowing us to come to develop a transdimensional planetary civilization/culture capable of openly interacting more adequately with advanced extraterrestrial societies in their own terms.
Besides the simultaneous arising of correlated quadrants do quadrants (or their contents) relate diagonally? And how do they relate across realms? Something to be explored (both in relation to quadrants in the same Physical Realm level and to quadrants between the Physical and the Subtle realms) could be if particular expressions of reality and forms of knowledge primarily located in the subjective quadrant (a combination of the “interior” and the “individual” dimensions) would be more directly complementary particular expressions of reality and forms of knowledge primarily located in the interobjective quadrant (a combination of the “exterior” and “plural” dimensions). Then again, perhaps forms of knowledge primarily located in the objective expression quadrant (a combination of the “exterior” and “individual” dimensions) would be more directly complementary to sciences primarily located in the intersubjective expression quadrant (a combination of the “interior” and “plural” dimensions). The usefulness between the diagonal relations among the quadrants will have to be elucidated but for now what seems to be clear is that the various forms of knowledge (including their respective methods) should be understood as part of a unified, but openly growing structure ultimately defined by the Non-Dual or Indefinable.
Another way to put it would be to say that the noumenic (essential but indeterminable) pre-dual core of the Principle of Identity (associated with the recognition of anything as something that first of all is) seems to divide itself first into “dimensions” or fundamental complementary aspects which can be understood as combining generating a transfinite, open knowledge, universal matrix permanently available to change, development, further knowledge and self-correction. This matrix (an evolving, Cosmos but also a dependent reflection of Absolute, Pure and Actual Being as a permanent, non-dual, noumenic reality) would be the necessary structure accompanying the becoming and dynamism within contingency. This intelligently organized cosmic matrix would not be a totalizing construct in a rigid reductionist manner as it would also be partially complete and incomplete, like a HOLON representing both the dynamics and structure of existence.
As stated, my emphasis on the Principle of Identity in relation with the Non-Dual is based on the logical features also present in Ken Wilber's work. The logic of Stéphane Lupasco (expanded by Nicolescu), with a “Third Term included” between A and not-A, reconciling these opposites at a superior level would also be perfectly compatible with this idea and with the idea of “holons” naturally tending to complete themselves and, thus, to evolve, complexify (or disaggregate in the attempt). As stated Nicolescu also posits that A can reconcile with not-A when one represents an actual state and its complementary opposite represents a potential state. The higher or more inclusive integration level (with less distinction between the interior and exterior the single and the multiple) would allow the inclusion of a third term between A and not-A. It would include and transcend the reciprocal potential and actual states of A and not-A located at a lower level.
I have also explored the “HOLON” which (for lack of better terms other than simultaneously defining all occasions as “whole-parts”) might also be partially understood as a universal, structuring, relating principle of contingency, simultaneously expressing incompletion and unity. This was done under the following components: (1) As a complete unto itself unit, (3) As its sub-division into four basic quadratic parts and (2) as its relation, polar tension, connectedness or connective link between (1) and (3). Coinciding with Wilber and McIntosh, I think that these 3 components (or aspects) of the “holon” remind us of the Platonic Values of “Beauty” (described in the grammatical first person “I”), “Truth” (in the grammatical 3rd person “It”), and “Goodness” (or “The Good”) or the relationship born from recognizing the subjective “other” (described in the grammatical 2nd person “you” implying a “we”). The connective link (2) coincides with the concept of the included middle or third logical term between A and not-A when integrating parts in a more inclusive whole.
I think that these (the subjective, inter-subjective, objective and inter-objective “quadrants”) should apply to all scales of complexity and – particularly – to levels of existence, connecting with the possible existence of the gross physical, the subtle-information and the causal (a.k.a. “principial”) levels of existence that were also intimated through what could have been forms of ancient empirical exploration by particular mystics, for instance by 'pre-modern' yogis and Vedanta sages from India.
Both Ken Wilber and Edgar Morin and other emerging integrative-transdisciplinarian scholars (besides some scientists, perennialists, exopoliticians, systems thinkers, holists, holographic paradigm promoters, religious ecumenists, critical thinkers, some survival of bodily death researchers, parapsychologists and others) appear to respond to an understanding inspired by the rediscovery and privileging of RELATIONS in a way that not only questions modern objectivism and reductionism to restore the qualitative aspects of the human experience (for instance qualitative self-determination or non-dual, mystical spirituality) but each in their own field of interest appear to intuit deeper patterns that make those relations possible. In their search for post-formal thinking and ways of being, all seem to use some expression of a BOTH-AND relational logic of mutual definitions in which the opposites are complementary and equally necessary. I think that all of these efforts (if sustained by critical thinking, evidence, coherence and empirical evidence) may offer to an emerging Integral Civilization (after societies become adapted to also emerging postmodern, egalitarian legal, political and economic systems) crucial aspects that have to be integrated. It is a Meta integration of integralist truths.
Morin's embrace of the "chaosmos" is open-ended. He seems to seek this embrace because he probably senses a higher order; the source of his own kind of transdisciplinarity. The chaos seems to relate to our limited and feeble "rational" attempts to try to reduce every human experience to a hard, excluded middle "either-or" logic or related metaphysics but the order that lies on a deeper level (at least as an experiential embrace for Morin) may exist in the logical and energetic LIFE realm that coordinates the correlated simultaneity of irreducibly arising quadrants. This would be what is almost related as the taboo realm of the Subtle with its different, lesser known causal rules, lack of space and time for the manifestation of its exteriors and operating under a more inclusive logic: the relational both-and logic in which the "dimensions" that connect in two pairs to give rise to the quadrants exist: two pairs as equal and mutually necessary to each other (the Interior-Exterior/Singular-Plural). These pairs combine to generate DISTINCT correlated, simultaneously arising, but independent (either-or) quadrants that may relate inside through the non spacetime variety of "dimensions" ruling the Subtle Realm.
Wilber introduced a further distinction in the “quadrants”: the “insides” and “outsides” of each quadrant (depicted by drawing circles in each quadrant). We can notice that – even in the Physical Realm- the insides are more mental-like. Some of the known methods related with each “inside” and “outside” zone in each quadrant are also shown. The contents of the “insides” relate much more directly with the overall functioning of the Subtle Realm and may represent intermediate connective states between the Physical and Subtle realms.
As integral philosopher Lexi Neale and I seem to agree, the autopoietic and non-local insides of the physical quadrants (a further distinction within the model as shown in the diagram depicting some of the methods corresponding to each quadrant) should be connections with the with Subtle Realm quadrants, perhaps with its more comprehensive outsides. Furthermore, these deeper level “one-to-one” "relations" among “quadrants” located between different realm of existence might also take place in a MIRROR-LIKE manner if they correspond to the manifestation spaces or "enclosed spaces" called "CANCHAS" in the Quechua-Andean people who also developed a cosmology based on complementary dualities. They perhaps related manner of entities and levels of being (albeit in a less analytical, abstract, discursive way) probably not emphasizing distinctions between physical and non-physical but connecting as “living” all that came to their awareness through the practical concepts of "RECIPROCITY" and what could be called “constructive, non-forceful, “civilized” ENCOUNTER.” Their “canchas” (akin to Wilber's "quadrants") may also relate DIAGONALLY as complementary opposites and – if this is correct and useful - it might also be useful not only to visualize a deeper connecting level as per Integral Theory's “quadrants” but perhaps an understanding of how these “quadrants” may also relate in the Subtle Realm.
Emerging integrative scholars, scientists and visionaries (including some perennialists, exopoliticians, systems thinkers, holists, holographic paradigm promoters, religious ecumenists, some survival of bodily death researchers, parapsychologists and others) appear to respond to the excessive fragmentation of today's knowledge with an inspiration for privileging once again RELATIONS, their complementarity, supplementarity, reciprocity and other features. Perhaps the voluntary coming together (or “encounter”) of complementary pairs for which - according to classic Andean wisdom - everything that appears to our awareness comes to exist as something inherently unique, will also be considered as appropriate by these thinkers. Each working within their own fields of interest seems to be intuiting the same general deeper patterns that make those relations possible. These creative thinkers will have been part of a civilization that also learned to differentiate (albeit to an excess) the qualitative from the quantitative, discovered its inadequacies through the postmodern period and may now be ripe to work with a higher level of integrative understanding.
I think that all of these efforts (if sustained without abandoning critical thinking, coherence and empirical evidence) may offer an emerging Integral Civilization, different post-conventional aspects which also have to be integrated. In fact, I think that the next stage of this intellectual and civilizational Integral Movement and conscious awakening to a more cosmically-aware existence is in the convergence of all valid discoveries made; an integration of all the bounties of the Beautiful, the Good and the True.
However, let's not forget that a rational Third Person, objective recognition of the AQAL Model is only one type of recognition. Besides, it is a distant, uninvolved, type of recognition; less risky, less personally dangerous and engaging. We need a more personal form of recognition that involves our emotions, self-identities and values and a more advanced kind of recognition would be when the Integral call for awareness is recognized without fanaticism as an open-ended, cognitive, ethical and personal experience that subsumes and balances our experience of Truth, Beauty and the Good in relation to all beings however disagreeable they might be. Indeed that would be a rare but excellent realization at this point in the integral rising of consciousness.
While, recognition of a form of post-formal thinking and being is a sign of some degree of integral awareness, it is not a sign that our embedded consciousness is willing to (or capable) of recognizing other integralist's discoveries. Integrating all truths (even if one is already attracted to a particular integralist model or ideology) requires a deeper kind of integral opening even seldom experienced among most current integralists. Personal preferences and their cultural context may have impinged strong pre conceptions on people's psyche or personality and their incipient degree of overall integral awareness may not be sufficient or really inclusive enough (even if engaging in meditation and contemplation practices) to recognize other integralists' findings or the validity of their work. The result can be not just hubris but the authoritarian delay or suppression of the coming together of many other adequately balanced good, beautiful and true integralist developments.
As mentioned when referring to Edgar Morin, his embrace of the "CHAOSMOS" is open-ended. The chaotic aspect seems to relate to our limited and feeble classical "rational" attempts of trying to reduce every human experience to a hard, excluded middle, "either-or" logic but the deeper order that organizes the Cosmos on a deeper level (at least as an experiential embrace for Morin) may be of the logical and energetic LIFE Realm that coordinates the (otherwise simply correlated) simultaneity of mutually irreducible arising quadrants. We would have to find HOW what is normally experienced as the taboo theme of the “Subtle Realm,” the realm of the imaginal and of meaningful, ”a-causal,” synchronous connections beyond-space-time, actually operates with different causal rules, as per the manifestation of its (still locally objective) exteriors, all of it under a more inclusive logic, the relational both-and logic in which the "dimensions" that connect in pairs giving rise to the quadrants exist: two sets of dimensional pairs equal and mutually necessary to each other (the Interior-Exterior/Singular-Plural).
The relation among Andean expression spaces or “canchas” might pertain to Physical and Subtle Realm relations. Their types of similar "quadrants" would relate DIAGONALLY (Interior-Singular or "subjective" relating diagonally with Exterior-Plural or "systemic" AND Interior-Plural or "cultural" relating diagonally with Exterior-Individual or "objective singular") and – if this is an expression of how the insides of Physical Realm quadrants connect with Subtle realm quadrants - this order might also be useful to advance an Inter-Realm, Integrative Meta Theory.
Please read my essay “The Inca “TAWA CHAKANA” and Integral Theory's “Four Quadrants”: Can They Jointly Improve a Scientific and Metaphysical Understanding Needed for Exopolitical Thinking?” found at http://peruexopolitics.blogspot.pe/2013/05/the-inca-tawa-chakana-and-integral.html
Recognizing that the quadrants of a less inclusive realm (like the Physical Realm) may be coordinated by a deeper realm (like the Subtle or Mental Realm) in which the BOTH-AND logic predominates may be very useful. Not exploring why the insides of, for instance, the objective and inter-objective physical quadrants may behave non-locally (even if statistically regulated under a specified pattern) might also prevent this Meta theoretical construction to be more applicable to quantum mechanics, complexity theory and self-organization. Exploring such things may give us hints on how psychic phenomena and other alleged inter-reality events occur (something thus far not of great interest to most in the “Integral Theory Community”) occur.
This may have to do with how the REALMS essentially relate with each other in the three following ways: Interactively (through exteriors), interdependently (including exteriors as equal to interiors), mutually inside each other (overcoming exteriors). While the first way would be predominant in the Physical Realm, the second in the Subtle Realm and the third in the Causal Realm, all three would also occur in all three realms.
Not recognizing that quadrants may be causally related or coordinated by a deeper level of being situated in a more inclusive realm may be a mistake slowing down the physical application of integrative Meta theories. Not exploring why the insides of quadrants may behave non-locally (even if statistically regulated under a specified pattern) would not allow Wilber's and other compatible Meta theories to become more useful for the understanding quantum mechanics.
Part of the next scientific, philosophical and developmental stage beyond Morin, Wilber and other current integralists may have to do with finding how ontologically distinct levels of reality (or “REALMS”) combine to produce the “paranormal,” the “psychic,” or the “transdimensional” basically as “inter-realm” phenomena by initially understanding how three main existential activities following three different causal principles operate: 1) Interactively by privileging exteriors (disclosed using classical, “either-or” logic); 2) Interdependently or equally including exteriors and interiors (disclosed using “both-and” logic) and 3) Mutually inside each other, privileging interiors as overcoming exteriors (disclosed through “neither-nor” logic).
Can these ideas be a first “rung in the ladder” useful for a more complete “Science of Reality” or are they simply “pie in the sky?” Could it be that the outsides of Subtle Realm Interior (subjective and intersubjective) quadrants can produce relational causal effects on the insides of Exterior Physical Realm quadrants and, not only in a parallel relation across realms but also in a diagonal one (as the Andean “canchas” probably modeled after Subtle Realm relations seem to relate)?
In general terms, will this inter-realm functioning be required for humanity to stabilize in a stage of planetary-integral development and even in a post planetary, “cosmic stage” possibly required to adequately interact with more advanced extraterrestrial beings? I think so especially since not only empathy but greater social coherence based on telepathy seem to be typical contactee-experiencer observations of most of the physical otherworldly beings they report encounters with.
Part of this growth would be like returning to using the principles of complementarity and reciprocity from Andean societies and other pre-axial age societies while upholding the critical thinking capacity to avoid confounding different aspects of reality as if they were indistinguishable from one another. Many areas of knowledge would also be integrated without generating reductions. The modern scientific method would be preserved listening to post-modern historic criticism and going beyond it.
Some Exploratory Scientific Conjectures
Is a more quantitative-based scientific approach possible? For instance, can a self-contained energy loop created by rotating and counter-rotating energy fields in the self-organizing insides of the Exterior quadrants of the Physical Realm cause a greater connection with the outsides of Interior quadrants' in the Subtle Realm through transdimensionally connecting energy, form and information by means of an intermediate quantum-etheric state? Have such patterned fields been discovered but also suppressed by powers representing a continuing exploitation of the classical system? Would this artificially generated capacity to relate with reality across realms (acting in potential and actual states in relation to each other) be enhanced by individuals able to experience positive, non-conventional, fluid, inter-realm psychological states with which they could gradually identify with in a stable manner?
As previously stated in the section “Various Philosophical Roots Coincide”, the more inclusive ontological level of being in which a reconciling third term “T” is allowed (as recognized in Nicolescu's logical treatment of quantum theory) is – in spite of being non-classical- also fine-tuned to the classical world in terms of quantum probabilities allowed to coherently harmonize with classical world more rigidly established structures. But the Subtle Realm predominantly operating with a “both-and” logic to relate as causally co-equal its subjective + intersubjective aspects with its objective + inter objective aspects would be free to express all possible experiential-ontological arrangements in a non-physical way utilizing complementarity of mutually necessary opposites. It would be the higher symmetry source of information and energy for any subset universe in the Physical Realm. But Nicolescu also posits a plurality of levels of reality and perhaps this may admit more levels than the classical physical and the quantum. The quantum level of reality would act as an included third term “T” (the included middle) to reconcile otherwise true opposites in the physical level of reality but it would be an intermediate, connective, partly fluid and variable “level,” a product of the intersection of two distinct levels with their own logics and causality, a “level” whose interactions are still limited to maintaining the coherence of a particular physical universe. It would include experientially hidden, retrocausal, or “advanced,” cohering, information waves that connect the physical realm with various degrees of negentropy in self-organizing open systems and it would allow the possibility of novelty and, upon canceling out with their complementary retarded, causal, time-forward waves, Physical Realm “reality” itself would cancel out 'returning' to its more interior and fundamental source in the non-physical, Subtle Realm. The meeting (or hand shaking) of causal and retrocausal waves allowed by the Klein-Gordon and other quantum-relativistic understandings, would occur during the experience of every physical occasion and in it there might be a detected, outwardly manifested cycle and an unaccounted-for, inwardly manifested cycle of experience and reality outside of time.
To work in ways that might match how advanced extraterrestrials procede to overcome classic physics limitations we would have to extend our definitions of “science” to include all the quadratic expressions of reality also across ontological levels the reflect the body, mind, spirit ontological and epistemological tri-unity.
The zero-point energy of potential energies available to sustain physical universes (but also an active pulsation of virtual particles and frequencies) appears chaotic to us from our classical entropic perspective probably because the retrocausal advanced waves which also exist in the quantum realm remain hidden from our perspective. Achieving greater coherence in the chaotically agitated, “bubbly,” zero-point quantum vacuum would imply being able to tap into its retrocausal aspect. This would connect our physical universe (one of an indefinite many in the Physical Realm) with new information patterns proper to the Subtle Realm outside spacetime. Experientially speaking (actualizing possibilities), advanced waves and retarded waves would be included in a third term “T” located in the non-physical, Subtle Realm while in the Physical Realm, under ordinary conscious experience they would exist in a potential state. That potential state might become provisionally actual by the use of self-reinforcing toroidal loops artificially creating coherence in the insides of the interobjective (or systemic) physical quadrant.
A way to tap and manipulate “advanced waves” actualizing them through technological means from their potential state (in relation to our perspective) into our actually-perceived retarded-wave experienced, past-based-structured, classical physical reality level may be through manipulating fields or types of plasma substance into particular, resonant, self-reinforcing geometric loops. Maybe three-phased, toroid coils that can make fields and plasma resonate with gravity waves in a particular self-reinforcing cancellation pattern could be helpful to do this. Advanced waves would become actual in our normally experienced, classic reality level and, by doing so, cancel out with their complementary retarded waves. Accompanying this, segments spacetime would provisionally cancel out to various degrees, returning to their energy source origin as non-physical information in the Subtle Realm, also becoming amenable to mental programming. Reduced, inertia, entropy and gravity would be possible, along with the stimulated production of more “negative energy states” making feasible spacetime distortion technologies such as the Alcubierre Warp Drive (now being sought at Eagle Works Lab by utilizing toroidal rings).
“LIFE” embedded in contingency as an entity simultaneously containing and transcending it would be able (under different degrees of connectivity) to intensely coordinate the expression of the physical quadrants utilizing the negentropic potential or, better said, the “syntropic,” constructive and convergent causal influences, for instance according to the model of “syntropy” developed by Ulisse di Corpo and Antonella Vannini. An informative source about the role of “advanced waves” in relation to physical life's ability to counteract classical entropy is the work by Ulisse di Corpo and Antonella Vannini is found at http://www.alice.id.tue.nl/references/vannini-di_corpo-2011.pdf
I suppose that this “COORDINATION” would be based on regulating the connection with the more inclusive Subtle Realm (and, therefore, pre-physical, quantum-etheric) levels of contingent reality from which physical reality (a particular physical universe) originates and obtains its energies as it becomes particularly congealed and coherent from a vast array of information possibilities. Physically embedded LIFE would participate in the classical limitations of inertia and entropy but, since it is also (mostly unconsciously) embedded in a more inclusive realm that include and transcend the Physical Realm and its quantum mechanical interphase with the Subtle Realm, the use of advanced and retarded waves proper to the active quantum realm, LIFE would also be able to locally overcome the entropy of the previously actualized potentials (and now pattern-congealed potentials) provided by Subtle Realm possibilities. In this way, LIFE would be able to simultaneously experience and overcome classical Physical Realm limits and evolutionarily construct greater levels of local material complexity and self-organization simultaneously allowing for greater degrees of self-agency to be enfolded (or in-folded) in physical matter. In other words, evolution and its correlated involution would be allowed by regulating inter-realm connectivity.
In the Subtle Realm, the more internally connected dimensions making the distinct quadratic expressions would manifest to experience as a greater degree of causal connectivity among the quadrants. Multiple and Exterior objects would still exists but would instantly accommodate to subjective and inter subjective requirements without the otherwise necessary physical causal separation of time lapse (duration) or space (distance). Thus, we would have an effective co-causal complementarity of interior and exterior causes and the complementary metaphysical categories of initia and inertia, levity and gravity would be equivalent. And knowing about this and how the insides and outsides of “quadrants” across realms relate would not be mere metaphysical speculation because it would be necessary to learn in order to manipulate physical spacetime whose possibilities would originate in the Subtle Realm.
With these trial concepts applicable to an extended concept about LIFE as an embedded but also transcendental factor, I also want to preliminarily define “Transdisciplinary Astrobiology” as the “continually evolving empirical, conceptual and normative study that integrates, under a more inclusive “both-and” included middle logic, epistemologies and methods as well as the specific objective and agreed-upon findings of scientific-natural, cultural, psychological and systemic disciplines, doing this to allow understanding and a more practical relation (under subjacent, universal, integrative principles) with the origin, distribution and future of LIFE in the Cosmos relative to humanity and to LIFE on Earth.”
This definition would obviously have an effect on Exopolitics and with how Humanity will understand itself and relate in a more conscious manner with intelligent LIFE from elsewhere.
Perhaps the relation between time and space as a unified “spacetime” will have to be modified to accommodate the relation of time forward causality and retrocausality as that between reciprocal, complementary opposites which stem from a higher degree of symmetry that can also cancel them out. Moreover, perhaps (as alleged contactee Eric Julien proposes) the more of space, the less of time and the more of useful time available to which space and objective restrictions of distance, inertia and entropy become less challenging, perhaps the more retrocausal influences become manifest.
Are we embedded in a matrix information environment according to our perceptions of that which today can be called “the quantum hologram.” Each perception is a system like fishing net and fishing nets have different open squares and designs which capture different fish.
If at least an aspect of “reality” can be understood as a “quantum hologram” whose instantly connected information can be read as phases in Fourier Transform type of waves, perhaps from a physical-technological point of view the harmonic relations of toroidally rotating and anti-rotating (inwardly and outwardly spiraling) virtual particle modifying fields (based on 5D Kaluza-Klein particles) can be calibrated to represent and resonate with the information patterns of gravitational space-time waves in a way equivalent to the Fourier phases corresponding to these waves.
If we are to cancel gravity and modify space time we may modify the information phases corresponding to gravity. Perhaps even super imposing the Fourier derived frequency to a Fibonacci spiral pattern may be useful due to the fractal and universal appearance of this pattern in nature. However, since the Fourier Transform (even while converting objects to information) still uses the concept of “frequency” (cycles per unit of conventional time s), it remains locked within a particular interpretation of physical reality represented by our conventional “second.” Thus, it may still have to be modified to accommodate a variety of time units, perhaps as controversial, alleged contactee Eric Julien/Jean Ederman's proposal of an absolute time and of time units that can exist with different densities (variable time) at different fractal levels. He also claims that moving fields can accumulate quantum time or event/experience units (chronons) taking us to higher time densities operating under less restricting spatial conditions. I understand that in these higher time densities the measurement and-or observer effect on quantum wave collapse would be greater. Also, the effect of higher time densities on less dense time densities would be negentropic.
Could there be a way – through the generation of specifically configured moving/torsion fields - to increase the degree of quantum uncertainty (and thus the Quantum Zeno and observation effect) on quantum states? Could these fields (besides having electromagnetic components) be related with Kaluza-Klein particles and mini black holes and – specifically - gravitons moving into the 5D “bulk” as per String Theory's “Randall-Sundrum RS-1 Model” (placed in a warped anti-deSitter space containing two branes)? Please read my article on the issue at http://exonews.org/worthy-attempt-solve-enigma-extraterrestrial-ufo-propulsion/
Would operating through all information configurations/possibilities in “mental space” under a more inclusive “both-and” logic (more adequate to the a non-local, pre-physical, subtle information realm related to physical probabilities through the quantum potential) help us to actualize and/or define quantum possibilities as allowed by specifically constructed torsion fields?
The Self as LIVING Coordinator
An initial dissertation on how LIFE embedded as “Anterior,” “Distal” and “Proximal” experiencing selves (each correspondingly focused in the Causal, Subtle and Physical realms subdividing the Cosmos) may simultaneously actualize objects of experience is available in my essay “Interdimensional Contacts” found at http://www.integralworld.net/piacenza32.html
The actualizing “force” would be greatest in the “Anterior” (higher) self about which we are normally less aware of and weakest actualizing “force” would be in the “Proximal” self about which we are more aware of and embedded in physical LIFE we experience as our normal consciousness. In the Causal Realm, interiorities (the subjective and intersubjective) would be more influential over exteriors that would be properly understood as illusory. In that realm, the influence of exteriors would be minimal, as illusory, limiting objects would almost be completely incorporated into the ontological and epistemological reality of Interiorities. This “self” would be closer (but not equivalent) to the concept of “Pure Actuality” reserved to God as Non-Duality. In the Subtle Realm (which can also be seen as a creative “encounter” (“Tinkuy” in Andean terms) of the Causal and Physical realms), the dominance of interiors and exteriors would be essential equal. Finally, in the Physical Realm, exterior objects would predominate.
Our actualizing selves would be embedded LIFE and LIFE itself (ultimately as the One Non-Dual Source or 'God') would infinitely transcend the actualizing selves of all sentient beings.
We need to find out how plausible principles connecting what may actually be three realms of cosmic existence also connect with known and speculative (but reasonable) physical models explaining the so called “paranormal.” And we may be able to operationalize this into the voluntary production of “anomalous effects.” This should also be crucial to being able to understand advanced extraterrestrial civilizations not exceedingly limited to spacetime.
We need to find out how LIFE as a possible “actualizing force” is reduced in the production of its own exteriorized physical matter; how in less inclusive or less 'actual' levels (from the perspective of non-dual reality) it has essentially extended itself as substance or experientially projected itself into it and, vice versa, how it becomes freer in higher levels. Moreover, we need to understand how retrocausality may be used applied to the Physical Realm by the force of actualization most of which would be essentially unconsciously located in a higher, non-physical realm while highly experientially limited (under entropic time-forward experiences) to the lower physical realm.
We need to understand how the infinite may be continuously subjacent to the finite which itself may be fractalized into indefinite multiple levels while also subdivided into three main forms of expression.
We need to understand how to modify an intermediate state existing between the Physical and Subtle (mental) realms by interacting with quantum mechanical phenomena.
A physical civilization not as rigidly bound to spacetime as ours and capable of manipulating it by re-connecting it to a higher realm, would likely engineer practical expressions, a social system and a culture under a more inclusive logic related to that higher realm and to the complementarity of opposites, for instance, knowing how to naturally integrate both energy and information in an ontologically superior level. Its participants would have learned to think more coherently and in unison, be more empathic or at least telepathic overcoming extreme external differences sociologically connected to a sense of separation under the practical experiences of distance and duration.
After transcending and including the “either-or” logic and its separation-based LIFE-style, individuals operating under an Included Middle (or Included Third) Logic, complementarity, holons and multiple levels of reality, would reunite both the subjective and the objective as causally equivalent and would be able to work with the Subtle or Mental Realm in which this predominates. We could say that this realm functions under “a higher level of symmetry” in which the equivalence between mind as providing information and exterior energy forms would be more experientially obvious. By “a higher level of symmetry” I also mean that the expression of objective exteriors in the exterior quadrants correspond more closely and with less resistance to experiential interiors, thus expressing a state or organization closer to what could be called “The One Subject Object” or “Non-Dual Source” or the Perfectly Actual Consciousness-Being from whom all contingent reality manifests and that – from a contingent perspective – would be devoid of exteriors and of any substantial comparisons.
By working with the assumption that the Non-Dual Source manifests an imaginary second “other” as if that “other” were exterior to itself, we would have a ball-park idea on how duality is produced and, from it, the Triune or Tri-unity associated with the platonic value spheres, the four metaphysical polar extremes and their combinations as four “quadratic” ontological and epistemological expressions of contingent things. This would not only verify the internal inextricability of qualitative and quantitative expressions but also provide for a conceptual basis to integrate disciplines that emphasize the quantitative with disciplines that emphasize the qualitative. Thus, a more comprehensive “Transdisciplinary Science” could arise.
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