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Comments on Integral Spirituality - Ch.1: Integral Methodological Pluralism

Last post 04-01-2007, 9:59 AM by gfjrbarr. 154 replies.
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  •  07-17-2006, 2:03 PM 1526 in reply to 1421

    Re: It's all about perspectives

    Peter,

    Thank you for a very helpful reply.

    I think the challenges to explaining "when and how entities suddenly got an interior" are surmountable. Again, I think the Dennett argument I linked to is helpful for that.

    The explanation about why is helpful. I've been thinking about it quite a bit, and I really appreciate it. But that still doesn't have the necessity to it that Dennett's explanation of human interiors does. I may just have to live with my disappointment in this matter.

    One of the guys at the office here, Marco Morelli, was explaining it to me like this. He said that with more complexity and more evolution comes more freedom from Karma - there's more flexibility in action, and less predictability. Atoms, then, are pretty bound by their Karma. So it seems to me that with a human being, you often need to look at their interiors more to understand that part of them which is more bound by Karma and pattern, the part that can be used to predict them. The fact that one isn't forced as immediately to recognize atoms' interiors just corresponds to their relative simplicity as holons.

    I hadn't realized how the speaker participates in Integral Math, also. You've made the whole subject much more palatable to me.

    Yotam

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  •  07-17-2006, 7:37 PM 1542 in reply to 1526

    • mikeginn is not online. Last active: 04-12-2008, 10:04 AM mikeginn
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    integral methodological pluralism

    I’ve just reread the last few pages of chapter one, and I’m surprised that we haven’t yet talked much about the potential usefulness of Integral Methodological Pluralism in addressing the manifold violence that is occurring between contemplative traditions, modern science, and postmodern movements that dominate today’s social sciences.

     

    There’s some juicy stuff here!

     

    The problem for the contemplative traditions is not so much the taboo of subjectivity inherent in modern empirical science; it is rather their own taboo of intersubjectivity that makes it impossible for them to defend themselves against the vicious attacks of postmodernity (and Foucault’s big target was Husserl’s phenomenology, not the physical sciences).

     

    All of the contemplative traditions are monological, subscribing to the philosophy of consciousness. The postmodernist critique is that meditation is not conducted in dialogue but in interior monologue of pure “presence” and “bare attention” that doesn’t liberate somebody, but “merely cements their ignorance of their cultural embeddedness, their intersubjectivity…Satori is therefore just a big cement job on intersubjective ignorance, allowing oppression and marginalization of dialogical realities: so much for the paths of liberation in the eyes of postmodernity.”

     

    The intent of Integral Spirituality is nothing short of proposing the first workable way to handle these difficult issues, to take each truth more or less as it finds them, less claims to absolute truth and any metaphysical assumptions needed to justify that claim. Integral Methodological Pluralism (or AQAL) “is one way to proceed to integrate the best elements of premodern, modern, and postmodern currents of humanity’s and spirit’s self understanding.”

     

    This, I gotta see…

     

    Mike

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  •  07-18-2006, 1:48 AM 1549 in reply to 1420

    • SimonM is not online. Last active: 29 Apr 2007, 6:22 PM SimonM
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    Re: It's all about perspectives

    balder:

    It is clear that, from our perspective, we can perceive elemental holons quadratically: we can see them as individual units, as units involved in systemic relationships, as "points" of feeling or sentience, and as points which may have the potential for subjective resonance.  Where I have been seeking clarity is whether these holons can also "view" their worlds through these four perspectives, and if so, what that would involve.



    In Integral Spirituality, kw is going to a lot of trouble to free discussion of spiritual reality from the need to assert metaphysical entities as ontological givens.  IMO, if we insist that non-sentient holons "view" their reality via (?) perspectives, we are presupposing that these perspectives are independent realities and more than a model through which this particular group of sentient beings choses to parse reality.  That is, we presuppose the raw, ontological reality of perspectives and, once again, drown the baby as the bathwater leaps back out of the plughole!  :-)  (I've always wanted to reverse that metaphor!)
    Let us, so to speak, keep perspectives in perspective.

    :-D
    Simon

    Simon M.
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  •  07-18-2006, 7:33 AM 1552 in reply to 1549

    Re: It's all about perspectives

    Hi, Simon,

    I've been referring only to sentient holons, not non-sentient ones.  KW does ascribe some degree of sentience to atoms and quarks, which is why I've been dealing with those holons as examples.

    Best wishes,

    B.


    May the boundless knowledge that time presents and space allows illuminate the native perspectives of your original face.

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  •  07-18-2006, 7:58 AM 1554 in reply to 1552

    • mandala is not online. Last active: 15 Aug 2008, 4:07 PM mandala
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    Re: It's all about perspectives

    hi balder.
    if we equate "sentience" with interiority (as kw generously does) then there are no non-sentient holons as long as they possess all four quadrants. there are, of course, social holons, which are also sentient. as for non-sentient, there are artifacts and heaps, which do not posesss the "four drives" of sentient holons, nor the quadrants (instead, quadrivia). since interiority is native and irreducible, on the level of atom it becomes a question of language to decide whether it's "sentience" or "prehension" or whatever.

    hokai

    may all be well.
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  •  07-18-2006, 8:05 AM 1555 in reply to 1526

    Re: It's all about perspectives

    Hi Yotam,

    I'm never completely sure when you are 'just sparking debate', but I'll bite anyway.

    As far as I can see, Dennett does not explain interiors; he denies them.  He introduces a 'Joycean machine' instead, which seems to be an UR affair in terms of AQAL. I think Dennett is right, up to the point where he claims that science offers a superior stance to superstitution.  He rightly rejects animism, but then takes that rejection to the extreme in argueing that any consciousness we think to see in humans is an illusion as well.

    AQAL theory is not animistic, since it does not attribute consciousness to artifacts.

    What are you disappointed about, exactly?

    Peter



    "All nations should be like Amsterdam" -- Ken Wilber
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  •  07-18-2006, 8:09 AM 1556 in reply to 1554

    Re: It's all about perspectives

    Yes, well said, Hokai.  I agree.  I was thinking of heaps and artifacts (including things like words or sentences) when discussing non-sentient holons.  I understand the prehension of atoms to be the 'simplest' and perhaps dimmest manifestation or instance of sentience in the Kosmos.

    Would you be interested in discussing your understanding of the four-quadrant perspectives available to simple sentient/prehensive holons such as atoms?  (Bald speculation allowed!)


    May the boundless knowledge that time presents and space allows illuminate the native perspectives of your original face.

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  •  07-18-2006, 8:27 AM 1558 in reply to 1556

    Re: It's all about perspectives

    Hi Balder, Hokai,

    Sorry for interrupting, but on IOS, disc one, track 4, KW makes it explicitly clear that collective (social) holons are not sentient. Only individual holons (atoms, cells, deer, etc.) are sentient.

    The reason for the term collective holon (or social holon), is that these types of entities have a lot in common with individual holons, and they are not artifacts or heaps. Collective holons do not possess perspectives, but can be looked at from the inside and the outside.

    Peter


    "All nations should be like Amsterdam" -- Ken Wilber
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  •  07-18-2006, 11:36 AM 1565 in reply to 1542

    • slbrown is not online. Last active: 10-26-2006, 10:30 AM slbrown
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    Re: integral methodological pluralism

    The intent of Integral Spirituality is nothing short of proposing the first workable way to handle these difficult issues, to take each truth more or less as it finds them, less claims to absolute truth and any metaphysical assumptions needed to justify that claim. Integral Methodological Pluralism (or AQAL) “is one way to proceed to integrate the best elements of premodern, modern, and postmodern currents of humanity’s and spirit’s self understanding.”

     

    This, I gotta see…

    Hi Mike,

    I am with you on this one. A bugger about only one chapter being posted a week, is that we have to wait a week to get to the next chapter!

    Sue


    And right there was everything I knew and I could not say what that was. - Natalie Goldberg
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  •  07-18-2006, 12:06 PM 1567 in reply to 1558

    • mandala is not online. Last active: 15 Aug 2008, 4:07 PM mandala
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    Re: It's all about perspectives

    hi peter,

    you're excused for interrupting :-)))  social or collective holons are not individual organisms, nor "a sentient being", but they do have nexus agency, they are structured wholes etc. "the social holon does not have an I" says wilber. but this doesn't mean it's not sentient. it's not an individual sentient being, obviously. kw nowhere says that a social holon is not sentient, he only says that an individual holon is a sentient being. listen to the part again. it would be like saying a collective holon is not alive. again, what he says implies that a social/collective holon is not a-sentient-being, but of course - we don't need him to come up with that.:-) while not being a being, it's still sentient - it's a group of sentient beings, and without sentience it would never become a group of resonant individual holons, because sentience/subjectivity would never appear as intersentience/intersubjectivity. so sentience is at the very core of social holons. that's why we don't have a social holon made of artifacts (such as a community of dvd players), not a collective holon of heaps. no sentience, no holons - either individual or social. it's however important to not forget that sentience, just as agency, is derived from members.

    hokai

    may all be well.
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  •  07-18-2006, 12:06 PM 1568 in reply to 1555

    Re: It's all about perspectives

    I'm more antagonistic when I'm sparking debate. I was specifically trying to be nice in this thread 'cause apparently folks don't always want debate. I'm a 21 year old guy, so I'll happily debate anything and then go out for half-raw steak afterward, but I'm trying to restrain the testosterone a little bit for once.

    I really think there isn't much to disagree on here. I don't stick with Dennett in the details. I just think he makes the best version of the point that, since attributing interiors to something is a very good way of explaining it's exterior behavior, we might as well do it. And if the reasonable stance is to act as though interiors exist, that strikes me as pretty good evidence that they do exist - or, if you want to be picky, strikes me as a good reason to believe they exist. I think the rest of Dennett's nitpicking is basically just quadrant issues. He doesn't want to say things that he can only interpret in the UR and we interpret in the UL. So he says consciousness is an illusion because it isn't in the UR, but we're willing to just call that whole UL class of illusions real, so long as everyone knows we don't mean real-and-the-same-as-exteriors. AQAL generously lets "real" mean four or more mildly different things.

    What disappoints me is that attributing interiors to atoms doesn't help me predict their behavior the way doing so does for humans or geese. I have a pretty good method of predicting atomic behavior that doesn't reference their interiors, and no way of improving that method by referencing interiors. Thus with a Dennett-like argument, I can talk a skeptic into granting that I'm probably capable of thought, but I can't talk him into believing much of anything about an atom that he doesn't believe already. I like being able to talk skeptics into believing things, and I like having this sort of evidence for things I believe. Hence the disappointment, but I can live with it. I don't think a lot of AQAL rests on granting interiors to atoms, and Ken sort of nods at that a few times. In fact, Ken says occassionally that one can only fully grok the interiors of things like atoms in a satori experience, so I'm willing to wait.

    Are we cool?

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  •  07-18-2006, 1:33 PM 1577 in reply to 1567

    Re: It's all about perspectives


    Hi Hokai,

    mandala:
    kw nowhere says that a social holon is not sentient, he only says that an individual holon is a sentient being. listen to the part again.


    Indeed, he doesn't say that a social holon is not sentient. But he also doesn't say that social holons are sentient. Nowhere does he say that social holons have four quadrants. (Well, at least not on that disc. If anybody can come up with a quote from another publication, I'm interested.)

    [edit: On track 3 of the disc, KW says: "The four quadrants are, the way the're drawn, are four perspectives, or the big three, that every individual sentient holon has. I claim that a social holon does not have an 'I'." and then later on that same track, he continues "Only sentient holons have four actual perspectives."  ]

    I listened to [track 4] again, and there's one confusing sentence in what KW says, and that's this:

    Every collective holon has an interior and an exterior, can be looked at from the inside and can be looked at from the outside.


    To me 'having an interior' means having perspectives and being able to perceive, and therefore being sentient. But from the rest of the sentence, I deduce that social holons can only be looked at, and that they cannot do the looking (since they are not sentient). So I simply don't know if he uses 'has an interior' loosely here, or not.

    it would be like saying a collective holon is not alive. again, what he says implies that a social/collective holon is not a-sentient-being, but of course - we don't need him to come up with that.:-) while not being a being, it's still sentient - it's a group of sentient beings, and without sentience it would never become a group of resonant individual holons, because sentience/subjectivity would never appear as intersentience/intersubjectivity. so sentience is at the very core of social holons. that's why we don't have a social holon made of artifacts (such as a community of dvd players), not a collective holon of heaps. no sentience, no holons - either individual or social. it's however important to not forget that sentience, just as agency, is derived from members.


    I don't see social holons as being alive. That would mean that a society is alive, or 'a flock'  as in a flock of geese. Their members are alive, but not the social holons themselves. Similarly, any sentience in a social holon is in its members, but the social holon itself is not sentient.

    The big issue for me, is that any sentient holon would need the four quadrants in order to have person-perspectives, and it needs those to be sentient. In track 6 of the disc, KW talks about quadrants in relation to a flock of geese, but he uses the quadrants of a goose, not the quadrants of a flock.

    Am I missing something? Could anybody explain what any kind of social holon would be aware of in any sense, if it is sentient?

    Damn, just when I thought I was starting to understand it all... :-)

    Peter

    "All nations should be like Amsterdam" -- Ken Wilber
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  •  07-18-2006, 1:45 PM 1578 in reply to 1568

    Re: It's all about perspectives

    Hi Yotam,

    Yes, we're cool. Cool [H]

    At first, I had the impression that you were disappointed about Dennett being wrong, and I couldn't really imagine that, so that's why I asked. That's also where the 'sparking' thing originated from, sorry in case that put you off, wasn't intended that way at all. I'm up for debate, by the way. Not for a fight, though.

    Peter





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  •  07-18-2006, 3:59 PM 1588 in reply to 1577

    • mandala is not online. Last active: 15 Aug 2008, 4:07 PM mandala
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    Re: It's all about perspectives

    Attachment: kofman1a.gif
    hi peter (and others, of course)

    it obviously all depends on the definition of being sentient and being alive. a social holon is a collective holon, and its members are individual holons. they are not parts of a whole, but members of a group. the quad-dimensionality of a collective holon is derived from its members, therefore a collective holon does not have 4Q. however, it has interiority i.e. the very LLQ of its members, and it has externality, the LRQ of its members. a collective holon would not be "aware" on its own, in any sense. but saying it is "not sentient" limits sentience to the ULQ, whilst sentience clearly spans all interiority.

    a collective may exhibit some features of individual holons, hence we talk of things like "collective intelligence", while certainly that intelligence doesn't have a nervous system of its own in the right-hand quadrants - instead it relies on the intelligences and nervous systems of its members. however, a social holon is much more than a sum of its members. fred kofman has also presented sentience in this general way that i'm using it here (see below or illustration nr. 1 in the article).

    it's good to remember that "sentience" is not defined as evolutionary arising from gross levels as "having sensory perception", but rather as involutionary descended from causal and subtle as an intrinsic capacity of cognizance then revealed in degrees depending on the complexity of an individual sentient holon. that complexity is realized in individuals holons but sustained through collective holons. an example is language and linguistic capacity. so the whole manifest universe is saturated in sentience, as it preceedes even life and matter itself (involutionary, that is). i mean, even when we look at the collective holon from the outside, what we see are life-forms, not artifacts and heaps.

    yotam quoted kw on interiors of atoms becoming limpid in satori. exactly my point. the whole universe is sentient, though not in a conventional sense of sentience as sensory awareness or feeling awareness.

    hokai


    may all be well.
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  •  07-19-2006, 2:53 PM 1634 in reply to 1588

    Re: It's all about perspectives

    Hi,

    I have done some more thinking about the sentience issue, and I'm simply not going along with calling collective holons sentient. I mean that in a strict sense here; I've put too much effort in understanding AQAL theory to be satisfied with such loose definitions. If that does not match what Fred Kofman wrote, then so be it. Figure 1 of his article also suggests that  artifacts and heaps are holons, which is not really helpful. The text of the article contradicts itself on this point.

    Not every entity is a holon, and not every holon is sentient. If every holon was sentient, there would be no need to talk about sentient holons. As far as I've seen or heard, KW uses 'sentient' in relation to individual holons, and never in relation to social holons (which in itself doesn't prove much).

    I don't see any difference between the "we" that a collective holon 'has', and the "we" of an individual holon. I understand that there is such a thing as collective consciousness, but that is a result of the four inseparable quadrants which each member of a group of holons possesses, and equating that collective consciousness with the LLQ is inaccurate. I also don't equate the UL with either individual consciousness or sentience. The collective consciousness cannot be separated from the individual geese, and assigned to the flock. If they could talk, the sentient members would refer to the group as "we", and not the social holon itself.

    Unless somebody would be so kind to explain to me how an entity can have interior dimensions without possessing the four quadrants, I'm not going to take it literaly that a collective holon has an interior.

    Wishing you well,
    Peter
    "All nations should be like Amsterdam" -- Ken Wilber
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