Multiplex: What's New | Site Map | Community | News My Multiplex Account | Sign In 
in Search

"An Introduction to Integral Science" & "Architecture of an Integral Science"

Last post 04-28-2007, 5:48 PM by mindfield. 17 replies.
Page 1 of 2 (18 items)   1 2 Next >
Sort Posts: Previous Next
  •  03-08-2007, 11:13 AM 20279

    "An Introduction to Integral Science" & "Architecture of an Integral Science"

    By Kurt Koller
    • Post Points: 20
    • Report abuse
  •  03-22-2007, 8:20 AM 20951 in reply to 20279

    • gerardy is not online. Last active: 11-27-2007, 10:46 PM gerardy
    • Top 200 Contributor
    • Joined on 01-16-2007
    • London, but soon moving to Tallahassee
    • Posts 21
    • Points 560

    Re: "An Introduction to Integral Science" & "Architecture of an Integral Science"

    OK... Well lets see if I can kick off a bit of dicsussion here. These articles are of particular interest to me as a practicing scientist, and I appreciate the work being done here to try and sketch out what an "integral science" will look like.

    I'm still working through the second article, but the first ("An Introduction to Integral Science") has already brought up an important issue, which is this: I'm just not certain to what extent it makes sense to worry about interiority in the so-called physical sciences.

    To take the case mentioned in the article, how exactly is particle physics supposed to remain open to interiority? What does it mean to study the interiors of quarks? I can sit on my zafu and meditate on the question of whether quarks have buddha-nature (to which the answer is presumably 'mu'). But what would I do with that realization? We have no way of intersubjecting with the interiors of quarks. They don't write poetry, or if they do, they don't publish in any way that we can read. Subatomic particles behave as if they are pure exteriors. They may have interiors, but if they don't show any signs of intention, why bother?

    Now we can extrapolate from our own interiors down to that level, and perhaps suggest that quarks have some sort of 'prehension' (Q: quarks have buddha nature? A: mu), but that's (a) really a large extrapolation of our own experience of consciousness, and I'm not at all sure that we understand that enough to extrapolate beyond humanity and (b) even granting this extrapolation it certainly seems like all the action in interiors is at a much higher stage of development.

    As far as we can tell, consciousness (at least interesting consciousness which is capable of interacting with the world) seems to be a thing of biology. On this planet at least, brains and nerves appear to be the vehicle of intent. Biology is where 'things' start acting like 'whos' and interiors become interesting.

    Biological holons appear to act with intent rather than just reacting to exterior circumstance, but this is not the case with quarks. Even very 'complex' objects like stars, planets and galaxies don't appear to show any significant interiority. On the inside they are presumably just heaps of quiescent and meaningless buddha-nature. If they have rich and meaningfull interior lives, they keep it to themselves.

    So in sum, I guess I just don't see what the content of a 'prehension physics' would be. What data is it going to bring to particle physics to be integrated into a larger truth?
    'Tis an ill wind that blows no minds -Principia Discordia
    • Post Points: 35
    • Report abuse
  •  03-22-2007, 8:14 PM 20967 in reply to 20951

    Re: "An Introduction to Integral Science" & "Architecture of an Integral Science"


    hi gerardy,

    as ken jokes, how can something have an exterior without an interior?

    another way to approach this: if quarks don't have interiors, then where did they first appear in evolution? only with humanity? or, first with animals? let's say they first appeared with X. that means that before X there were no interiors. but how could something completely without interior create interiors? how did this dirt suddenly become so frisky and get up and walk? was there some deus ex machina? maybe a magenta/purple ex machina?

    • Post Points: 20
    • Report abuse
  •  03-23-2007, 5:51 AM 20976 in reply to 20967

    • gerardy is not online. Last active: 11-27-2007, 10:46 PM gerardy
    • Top 200 Contributor
    • Joined on 01-16-2007
    • London, but soon moving to Tallahassee
    • Posts 21
    • Points 560

    Re: "An Introduction to Integral Science" & "Architecture of an Integral Science"

    I'm not saying that quarks don't have interiors, and I'm even perfectly willing to accecpt Ken's notion of prehension "going all the way down" as a working hypothesis. But what I am saying is that I don't think there is much convincing evidence that the interiors of quarks are very interesting. Indeed, the AQAL model would suggest that the interiors of quarks are very uninteresting, just a very tiny piece of the interior aspect of non-dual ground. If interior complexity tetra-evolves with external structures, then we should that interiors get simpler and less interesting as you decend toward more basic structures. When you are talking the basic structures out of which form is built, you are talking very simple indeed. All the action in interiority seems to be in consciousness, and that really does seem to be something associated with structural levels of biology. Certainly that's the level at which interiority seems to develop the capability to interact with the exterior world. Thats where the frisky dirt develops the capability to be the vehicle of interiority in the exterior world. How this magic happens is not solved by adding an interior world. How does prehension develop into aprehension and then into intention?

    The thing I really appreciate about Integral Post-Metaphysics is that it is capable of at least putting these kinds of questions on the same map as particle physics, but you have to be utterly honest about the perspectives and very careful about extrapolating conclusions beyond those perspectives. I can have an experience of being one with a quark. You can have an experience of being one with a quark. We can compare notes and come to a common ground. However, what we have is a human interior experience of being a quark. We don't have the interior experience of the quark itself. There is a massive 'selection effect' going on here. Unfortunately, pretty much all of the experience of interiority we have is limited to humanity, with some extrapolation based largely on the correlation of human interiority with its exterior aspects (brain, nerves, etc.)This is a massive challenge for consciousness studies, and the farther from human you want to project consiousness, the shakier that extrapolation is going to get. My claim would be that I don't think we understand consciousness enough to make that leap. Not yet at least.

    For example, lets take for a given that we have come to an agreement on the experience of being one with the quark. How do we interpret that? In particular how do we distinguish between (a) we have a true apprehension of the interior experience of a quark (b) we have the apprehension of projecting a human consciousness into a quark (c) we have a common apprehension of what our consciousness imagines the interior of a quark would feel like based on our common understanding of what the exterior of a quark is (which we would need to have a meaningful discussion to begin with). (a) might tell us something about quarks, (b) might tell us something about transpersonal consciousness (c) might tell us something interesting about human psychology and the cultural worldview in which the concept of a quark is meaningful. The problem is that we don't understand the tool used to perform the injuction well enough to discriminate these interpretations.

    To move beyond metaphysics (which I highly support) we need to be *very* careful about keeping our perspectives straight and being honest about what we just don't know how to stitch together. The beauty of an integral philosophy is that it tries to bring together disparate knowledge regimes, but we need to be very careful with that integration that we don't end up with meaningless muddle, and we need to be patient and accept that it is always going to be an imperfect and incomplete task. There will always be things we don't understand, and there will always be domains that we cannot reconcile.

    The perspectives language at least gives us a tool to help qualify that reconciliation and give some hints as to how to stitch things together. No 2 perspectives will ever be precicely the same, and the fact that we can have a meaningful conversation means that they don't have to be to reach common ground. There is some give, there is some cross-talk between perspectives, and thats where there is room for integration between disciplines. However, there has to be sufficient common ground to link the domains, or at least a sliding chain of common ground to link the perspectives. In this case, the chain breaks, particularly because of our necessary reliance on human data for consciousness studies. We may or may not find a way around that roadblock and bridge the gap, but for now at least, I don't see a way around it.
    'Tis an ill wind that blows no minds -Principia Discordia
    • Post Points: 5
    • Report abuse
  •  03-23-2007, 7:20 AM 20981 in reply to 20951

    Re: "An Introduction to Integral Science" & "Architecture of an Integral Science"

    One way that I see that interiority needs to be brough into science is fo scientists to realize that their perceptions affect the world, and therefore, their interiority affects not only the outcome of the studies they do, but also the way the results are disseminated into the culture.

    But this seems to be a different interiority than what the article talks about...

    Bicycle!
    -Turtle
    • Post Points: 20
    • Report abuse
  •  03-23-2007, 10:02 AM 20991 in reply to 20981

    • gerardy is not online. Last active: 11-27-2007, 10:46 PM gerardy
    • Top 200 Contributor
    • Joined on 01-16-2007
    • London, but soon moving to Tallahassee
    • Posts 21
    • Points 560

    Re: "An Introduction to Integral Science" & "Architecture of an Integral Science"

    Turtle,

    That's certainly true on several levels. There has been some movement in this direction, but certainly we need to be more aware of what we say and how it's taken.
    'Tis an ill wind that blows no minds -Principia Discordia
    • Post Points: 20
    • Report abuse
  •  03-23-2007, 8:42 PM 21005 in reply to 20991

    Re: "An Introduction to Integral Science" & "Architecture of an Integral Science"

    Christopher, Turil,

    Certainly it's not too late to bring both Heisenberg(sp?) and Nagarjuna into this descussion. Would an Integral Science include, irreducibly, the "ever present" UL ?

    Kerry


    'takes all kinds.
    • Post Points: 20
    • Report abuse
  •  03-23-2007, 11:45 PM 21007 in reply to 21005

    • gerardy is not online. Last active: 11-27-2007, 10:46 PM gerardy
    • Top 200 Contributor
    • Joined on 01-16-2007
    • London, but soon moving to Tallahassee
    • Posts 21
    • Points 560

    Re: "An Introduction to Integral Science" & "Architecture of an Integral Science"

    jikishin:

    Certainly it's not too late to bring both Heisenberg(sp?) and Nagarjuna into this descussion. Would an Integral Science include, irreducibly, the "ever present" UL ?


    Kerry



    Well, that's really the question isn't it? To some extent it depends on what you call Integral Science. Ken Wilber's AQAL map certainly includes both domains and recognizes the existence of a sort of scientific process in both the UL and right hand quadrants. However, I don't see at the moment how to sensibly relate quantum physics to ever-present awareness. Both tend to use the language of describing the underlying nature of reality, but the relaities they are referring to are very different: one is the nature of the physics of the very small, the external behavior of the ground of the universe of form; while the other is dealing with the formless ground of human consciousness.

    To put the two together you need to build a path that gets you from one domain to the other. My contention is that we don't yet have that path, and in particular, that our understanding of consciousness is, understandably, too based on the human experience to extrapolate to the quantum physics domain. It remains to be seen if this is a surmountable problem or not.

    This is not to say that either domain should be ignored, or that one is less valid than the other. Indeed, I practice in both domains myself, but I don't try to mix the two in any 'scientific' sense. I can still integrate them in my own philosophy, and indeed I can even relate them in an artistic mode.

    This sense of incommensurate domains is not a new one to science. Indeed the long standing problem in physics of trying to integrate general relativity and quantum physics is still not satisfactorally 'solved'. That doesn't invalidate either domain, both of which are well tested. It's just an indication of where we don't yet have a deep enough understanding to put them together. In many ways the difficulty is again the distance from our own human experience of reality, a point that was originally pointed out to me by Kip Thorne many years ago when I took his class on relativity. The point being that where relativity and quantum theory meet is a domain that is very far from our own direct experience. Farther than either domain is on its own. Both quantum theory and relativity are founded on observations that aren't that far from our own human domain, but where they meet is a domain where the extraploations have moved well beyond those original observations and indeed, beyond most of the observable universe. Whether our human minds will have the imagination to merge these coherently remains to be seen.
    'Tis an ill wind that blows no minds -Principia Discordia
    • Post Points: 20
    • Report abuse
  •  03-24-2007, 7:54 AM 21020 in reply to 21007

    Re: "An Introduction to Integral Science" & "Architecture of an Integral Science"

    I've had a thought lately that everything does indeed have consciousness (awareness) simply because everything interacts with the external world and must have some ability to react to this exterior, and that ability could only come about from some sort of sensory "awareness" of the exterior.  This would be true for even the most infinitesimal particle, since it, too, must interact with other particles.   And the more complex the sensory organs are in a thing, the more complex (and obvious) it's awareness will seem to be.  So humans would seem to have "more" consciousness, than, say a plant, or a hydrogen atom. 

    It also seems to me that it's possible that consciousness may be an everpresent element of existence, similar to the dimention of time.  In which case things that expand more broadly into the dimention of consciousness would appear to have more consciousness, just like things that last longer in time, seem to have more time (though, ultimately, time and consciousness would be infinite, I think).

    Obviously, as you suggest, we humans may not be able to see the interior of a particle, but then we can't really even see the interior of another human, or even see the whole of our own interiors :-)  So, it makes sense to acknowldege that reality in our approach to investigating the universe, so that we can do our best to be realistic and fully aware of how our own interiors color our perceptions of everything else.  And that's why collaborative and peer reviewed science is so important!  Since the chance of being accurate/realistic gets higher as you have a more diverse range of perspectives looking at something.

    Bicycle!
    -Turtle
    • Post Points: 20
    • Report abuse
  •  03-27-2007, 4:32 AM 21115 in reply to 21020

    • gerardy is not online. Last active: 11-27-2007, 10:46 PM gerardy
    • Top 200 Contributor
    • Joined on 01-16-2007
    • London, but soon moving to Tallahassee
    • Posts 21
    • Points 560

    Re: "An Introduction to Integral Science" & "Architecture of an Integral Science"

    randomturtle:
    I've had a thought lately that everything does indeed have consciousness (awareness) simply because everything interacts with the external world and must have some ability to react to this exterior, and that ability could only come about from some sort of sensory "awareness" of the exterior.  This would be true for even the most infinitesimal particle, since it, too, must interact with other particles.   And the more complex the sensory organs are in a thing, the more complex (and obvious) it's awareness will seem to be.  So humans would seem to have "more" consciousness, than, say a plant, or a hydrogen atom. 


    Well, but see what that sounds like to me is subtle reductionism. In this case not in the direction that Wilber usually discusses it, ie collapsing the left hand to the right and making everything just exteriors, but actually in the other direction. You've collapsed the exteriors into the interior. 'Everything must have an interior because it reacts to the exterior.' You've mapped physics into the interiors of everything and then you need a consciousness to be aware of those laws and follow them. What are the sense organs needed to react to the physical universe? Do you really need to be 'aware' of gravity to fall? Can you choose not to? If not then you have to create a new class of awareness which is utterly divorced from intent, because otherwise you could just decide to fly. That is an interesting perspective, and can even have some asthetic or philosphical merit. It might even be 'true' from a certain viewpoint. But it's certainly not a scientific perspective, integral or otherwise. There's no injunction or data, just a metaphysical assertion. I'll return to this below.

    randomturtle:
    It also seems to me that it's possible that consciousness may be an everpresent element of existence, similar to the dimention of time.  In which case things that expand more broadly into the dimention of consciousness would appear to have more consciousness, just like things that last longer in time, seem to have more time (though, ultimately, time and consciousness would be infinite, I think).


    It's interesting that you should choose time as an example of an 'everpresent element of existence' as, from the standpoint of modern physics, time is utterly relative. Einstein showed that in order to explain the apparent universal speed of light in vacuum (famously established by the Michelson-Morley experiement and now verified in numerous ways to very high accuracy), that you had to conclude that time and the three dimensions of space are not in any sense universal, but are in fact uniquely experienced by every 'observer' in the universe. Because you and I are not completely at rest relative to one another, your time direction (the way you would be moving if you were standing perfectly still) is a little bit my 'space direction. Indeed even the different components of your body see time and space ever so slightly different from one another. Worse, you can't even consider 'spacetime' to be an unchanging ground, because that too is relative and depends on where you are in relation to other bits of form (and the history of their movement). If you're standing, your feet are aging at a different rate than your head. The reason we don't notice these things is that the effects are very small on human scales. Alan Lightman wrote a book called "Einstein's Dreams" which has a bit of a poetic look at what our world might feel like if these sorts of effect were visable on a human scale. Inevitably, the answer is 'very weird indeed'.

    Now it turns out that you can still come up with 'universal facts' in relativity theory (usually called something like 'frame invariant quantities') but you have be very, very careful how you define them. It may be that there is a way to define consiousness in a way that is true for all perspectives, but we need to be very, very careful about how we do so or we will again find ourselves making metaphysical assumptions about the universe. Physics has already shown us that time is not infinite. Time, as far as we can understand it, is finite. History only goes back some 13 billion years before it reaches a point where we can no longer come up with a meaningful definition of time. That is the truth of time seen from an exterior, objective perspective. If I belive what I'm told from the interior subjective perspective of my chosen Zen practice, then the ultimate nature of time (and everything else) is both infinite and finite and non-existant. From this perspective the ultimate nature of time, consciousness (and anything) is ungraspable. I can integrate them to the extent that I can fit both ideas into my head without causing too much turbulence. But that is mostly because I'm not really trying to glue them together. I accept the truth of these things from radically different perspectives, and I let them be the kings of their own domains. But I don't write letters to TheAstrophysical Journal on the empty nature of form. They are effectively non-overlapping majesteria because I don't see the perspective that can bridge the gap. Maybe that's just becasue my own development is insufficient to see the necessary perspective, but I don't think I'm alone in this deficiency, and until there is a sufficient number of researchers working within that perspective, I think it is pointless and worse to try and integrate the two.

    randomturtle:
    Obviously, as you suggest, we humans may not be able to see the interior of a particle, but then we can't really even see the interior of another human, or even see the whole of our own interiors :-) 


    But the difference is we can talk directly to other humans. We can share a common intersubjective reality, and we can try to make objective observations of those subjective and intersubjective realites. We can objectively map out the things people say. We can objectively describe the way people interact with each other. We can even make purely subjective injuctions which bring forth purely subjective data and share these injunctions and data intersubjectively. In this respect psychology, cultural studies, and Zen can all be seen as a sort of generalized science of the form discussed in this article. However, until quarks start talking to us, we have no access to their interiors.

    randomturtle:
    So, it makes sense to acknowldege that reality in our approach to investigating the universe, so that we can do our best to be realistic and fully aware of how our own interiors color our perceptions of everything else.  And that's why collaborative and peer reviewed science is so important!  Since the chance of being accurate/realistic gets higher as you have a more diverse range of perspectives looking at something.


    This is true only to the extent that you can integrate those perspectives into a coherent whole. Trying to integrate disparate truths without a sufficiently integrative perspective just produces noise and confusion and muddies the truths you are trying to integrate.

    We have many gifted mystics on this planet and I'm not trying to deny any of their insights. But all of them are human, and not a single one is a quark. I'm not even sure if any of them have a deep understanding of the human activity of particle physics, though I won't say that none do. But none of them can deny that their realizations are manifested through a human animal which will inevitably color their 'results'.

    In experimental science we call this an intrumental effect, and to remove the signatures of this from your data requires a deep understanding of your instrument. In the case of the subjective and intersubjective sciences, our instrument is the human consciousness and we do not sufficiently understand that instrument to remove the instrumental signatures.

    This means that all of our left-hand truths have to come with the caveat that we are considering a human perspective. This limits the extent to which we can have a meaningful interior science. We can discuss human interiors extensively, and we should do so. If we are careful we can make some extrapolations beyond the human, but we need to be very mindful that we are extrapolating blindly from a rather narrow range of experience, and we need to be humble about how far that truth is really going to stretch. We are blind because there are no injuctions that can be performed, and so we quickly fade from the domain of a science to one of art, or perhaps religion.

    Your notion of mapping the laws of physics onto the interiors of quarks is an artistic one. Indeed there is a sort of elegence to the idea which makes it appealing. This gives the idea an asthetic truth and makes it beautiful, but it is not science. There is no injunction you can perform to bring forth an apprehension of the sensory organs the quark needs to 'feel' the strong nuclear force. You can perform an injuction to imagine these things, but that is an act of human imagination, and nothing to do with quarks.
    'Tis an ill wind that blows no minds -Principia Discordia
    • Post Points: 20
    • Report abuse
  •  03-27-2007, 4:54 AM 21116 in reply to 21115

    Re: "An Introduction to Integral Science" & "Architecture of an Integral Science"

    I obviously wasn't very precice in my initial comment, and I do apologise for misleading you, Garardy!  I definitely wasn't saying that there are only interiors in things (other than humans).  To me, there are clearly both interiors and exteriors to things, since you really can't have one without the other, at least not in a Universe where things interact with other things.

    Also, when I talk of consciousness possibly being an "everpresent element of the Universe", I do indeed mean just like the element of time, which is everpresent from our experience, while also being relative (and possibly non-existent outside of our Universe).  By everpresent I didn't mean that it was unchanging, I simply meant that it was always there in some aspect, just like time is, for us.

    So, yeah, I'm sorry I wasn't clear about that right from the start.

    And on another note, I highly recommend the latest issue of Seed magazine, the March issue with "Truth" on the cover.  It has a couple of really Integral articles about science that are well worth reading!  Particularly relevant to this thread is the dialogue between Jonathan Letham and Janna Levin, which literally goes from talking about the good, to the true, to the beautiful (and back to the true).  I also really liked the article by Douglas Hoffstedter (author of Gödel, Escher, Bach) on consciousness.  It might be a bit much for Ken Wilber literalists, since he believes that consciousness does indeed arise in the brain, but he believes that it does so in a very non-traditional way that I think will satisfy open-minded Integral types as being non-reductionistic.  Regardless, it's a very thought provoking article, and he specifically addresses the idea of I am-ness, which was fun.

    Bicycle!
    -Turtle


    • Post Points: 20
    • Report abuse
  •  03-27-2007, 7:23 AM 21121 in reply to 21116

    • gerardy is not online. Last active: 11-27-2007, 10:46 PM gerardy
    • Top 200 Contributor
    • Joined on 01-16-2007
    • London, but soon moving to Tallahassee
    • Posts 21
    • Points 560

    Re: "An Introduction to Integral Science" & "Architecture of an Integral Science"

    Turtle,
    Thanks for the link to the Seed article. I hadn't heard of that magazine before. Looks like it could be interesting.

    It's an interesting article. I think I have a slightly different experience of "science" than Levin does but perhaps that's to be expected. She's a pretty hard-core theorist, and so she works from a perspective of precision and logic (though obviously she's not limited to that). As an observer (that's "experimentalist" to non-astronomers) my experience of science has always been that its fuzzy, murky and often inconclusive, particularly at the leading edge. Indeed, the practice I was taught was when I think I've discovered something, the first thing I should do is try and make it go away. It's the results that I can't destroy that I have the most faith in.

    I had to smile at her discussion of ego in the sciences. That certainly rings true. It's amuzing how willfully blind we are as a community (at least in public) to the human aspects of our own practice. Indeed there is an element of pathology in the scientific community there which manifests in some truely unfortunate ways.

    It's interesting that they characterize the discussion in terms of looking for 'truth'. Perhaps this is where I'm getting hung up on this notion of an Integral Science. Wilber's writing claims at least three different 'truth criteria' or validity measures: the good, the true and the beautiful. I already accept as a perfectly 'beautiful' idea the notion of writing the laws of physics into the interiors of quarks, but I balk at calling such a notion 'science', and I do so mostly on the grounds that we have no access to that notion from an objective measure. It seems that I want to require a degree of objectivity in anything to be labelled as a true 'science.' Otherwise, what is the difference between Integral Science and Integral Art?

    I didn't see the Hoffsteader article, though I've been considering getting his latest book which is on the same subject. I don't know quite what to make of him. I found GEB to be a bit of a grab-bag, parts of it were marvelous, and parts of it were just, well a bit of a mess really. Interestingly (or maybe not), I followed up Gödel, Escher & Bach with Sex, Ecology and Spirituality, and I'm still a bit ambivalent about that author as well. :)

    -Chris
    'Tis an ill wind that blows no minds -Principia Discordia
    • Post Points: 20
    • Report abuse
  •  03-29-2007, 7:16 PM 21211 in reply to 21121

    Re: "An Introduction to Integral Science" & "Architecture of an Integral Science"

    Chris,

    I'd like to throw my 2 cents in here.

    Since the UR Quad has upward and downward influences, and since the UL Quad also has upward and downward influences, then it seems pretty important to me that UR Science "look within."

    I remember being amazed in my science program at all of the completely NON-scientific ways in which illumination occurs for empiricists and researchers. For heaven's sake, the Benzene ring was discovered in a dream of a snake biting its own tail!

    Everything tetra-arises, so maybe those dreams are the four major aspects of ourselves moving about the perspectives that we have, trying to integrate and influence us.

    Just a thought.

    cheers
    david z.
    Gregarious Curmudgeon
    • Post Points: 20
    • Report abuse
  •  03-30-2007, 3:58 AM 21227 in reply to 21211

    • gerardy is not online. Last active: 11-27-2007, 10:46 PM gerardy
    • Top 200 Contributor
    • Joined on 01-16-2007
    • London, but soon moving to Tallahassee
    • Posts 21
    • Points 560

    Re: "An Introduction to Integral Science" & "Architecture of an Integral Science"

    David,

    I'm beginning to see there are actually two different things being discussed here as Integral Science, and they are really distinct but are blurred a bit by the articles. There is science as some sort of attempt to understand the "System of the World" and science as a human activity, a practice, an art. Both are important and they do interact to some extent, but they are also distinct.

    Let me try to elaborate: You mention the discovery of the Benzene ring as being illuminated by a dream. Well, sure that sort of thing is possible, and probably even common. Inspiration in any human activity is still a somewhat myserious process, and if you want to understand that then you should certainly be looking at the UL and probably UR in some sort of integrated fashion. However, the source of the inspiration was meaningless to the scientific breakthrough. The snake dream was a metaphor that led to a model for the structure of Benzene which was then put forward and justified purely in terms of the language, injunctions, and data of physical and organic chemistry. The snake metaphor was a means to an end, and is not science. Benzene is not a snake, does not behave like a snake, etc. This is why the metaphor is dropped and not included in the scientific discussion of Benzene. It's interesting from a standpoint of understanding the story of the human being inventing the idea of a Benzene ring, but it is not relevant to the science itself.

    Wilber's quadrants make a great deal of sense when you look at the human process of doing somthing. I am sold that there are four aspects of everything that humans do. However, I'm not convinced that his AQAL model is a satisfactory model of 'the world', to whatever extent it exists.

    Now his point about Integral Post Metaphysics is, I think, that 'the world' doesn't exist, or at least if it does, we never have direct access to it. That is the lesson of postmodernism and I think I agree. But to me the lesson Integral Post-Metaphysics is one of differentiation, not integration. Like Zen it's a subtractive process, at least in terms of 'ultimate' or 'absolute' reality. It limits the validity of ALL truth regimes. If you adopt a post-metaphysical view, you will have firm belief only in those things that are true in many many different perspectives, and clearly that is going to be a smaller set of truth than is apparent in any given set. So if science is truely the search for the 'ultimate truth' of reality, then it's going to be a very small field indeed.

    And here is where we again run into the sticky question of what is a science. If you define science as "a search for truth" then just about *any* discipline with communal agreement is a science. If you define it as "a search for an objective truth" (my personal take on science as a practitioner) then you are limiting yourself to strands of human knowledge that include some sort of right-hand (objective) perspective. That doesn't rule out things like Spiral Dynamics and the like, but will tend to limit what you can say about purely interior UL activities such as meditative realization. Certainly it's going to limit what you can take out of such realization and apply to the objective world.

    Now I fully appreciate that there is value in purely interior persuits, but I think it may be a mistake to try and apply them to science. Part of the problem is that western culture seems to have a bias toward science as the 'most valid' form of truth, and there is a reason for that. Science *is* the most valid form of truth for certain types of knowledge. If you want to know something about the empirical world, then science is the best tool. If you want to know if it's going to rain tomorrow, ask a meteorologist, not a diviner. That's not to say that there can't be any emperical objective truth about divining, but it hasn't been demonstrated to be reliable, at least not to the extent that massive weather calculations are.

    If, however, you're looking for a way to face down your existential angst, then science is probably not going to offer you much help. It can be, which is why I was heartened to see Wilber espose atheism as a perfectly reasonable spiritual perspective, but I suspect it's not a generally appealing answer. My own take on things is that what appeals to the soul is 'beauty', not 'truth'. This is actually sort of in line with Wilber's three value spheres, where 'Beauty' is the validity criterion for the UL interior. If you find science beautiful, then it can be a spiritual practice. (See my blog entry here for a pseudo-zen take on the practice of Astronomy). However, if that's not your cup of tea, then there are many other practices. Find one that suits you. Just don't call it a science, because there is no need to. Just integrate it by holding it in your own consciousness.

    I was talking to a friend last night, a long time Zen practitioner and a student of psychology. He made a comment that really stuck out to me. He said that fields like psychology have a bit of 'science envy'. Because science is so successful with its rational, mathematical description of the empirical world, other disciplines feel obliged to try and play the same game, but usually with, at best, mixed results.

    If you go to a psychologist, you don't care about the 'reality' of your disorder, you just want to feel better. So that's fine. Use whatever metaphor works. Energy channels, chakras, nondual oneness, dream analysis, Jungian archetypes, healing prayer, whatever. It doesn't matter, because you're just concerned with your UL perception anyway. But when you come back down, make sure you can also see that the mountain is just the mountain again, or you're liable to just step out your window or walk in front of a bus.

    Now, as a practitioner of science, I can say that it would certainly benefit my community to think about their own practice in a more integral manner. To recognise the human aspect of our practice and to make allowences for it. But I can't see making a big push for looking at the interior of inanimate objects. That is the realm of philosophy and poetry, not science. And that's fine. Just practice your particle physics and write poetry about quarks if you want. Quark poetry doesn't have to be a science to be beautiful. Make it beautiful, and it doesn't even have to conform to our empircal knowledge of quarks to be valid. If you make it beautiful *and* still in agreement with empirical 'truth' then that's maybe even more valid, but I'd still hesitate to call it science. Scientfic, perhaps...

    Cheers,
    -Chris
    'Tis an ill wind that blows no minds -Principia Discordia
    • Post Points: 35
    • Report abuse
  •  03-31-2007, 11:28 AM 21317 in reply to 21227

    • KKIntegral is not online. Last active: 07-19-2008, 4:12 PM KKIntegral
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on 03-28-2007
    • Posts 1
    • Points 20

    Re: "An Introduction to Integral Science" & "Architecture of an Integral Science"

    As author of the papers, I'm thrilled to see that others are troubling themselves with these thorny issues--misery loving company and all :-)

    I apologize 1) for jumping into the discussion a little late and 2) (in advance) for what will likely be sporadic participation in this dialogue. Discussing things in this manner always bothers me a little as it is easy to lose rhythm and momentum to say nothing of tone and intention in staccato forum responses. But these things have a life of their own and that's just fine by me.

    There is already a great deal of material introduced and covered here, and some of it is reflective of my own concerns as I was trying to sketch out an Integral Science. I should note that I wrote all three papers about three years ago (the third one had some minor edits two years ago), and my thoughts have changed slightly from the time I wrote these things. Mainly, some of my early enthusiasms have waned or have been replaced by altogether new enthusiasms. And already in this nascent discussion, some of the early problems I faced of defining terms and scope are appearing.

    The biggest initial challenge is in the term Integral "Science". Science can end up meaning so many different things, we can easily trip up just as we are getting out of the gate if we don't bear this in mind in these discussions. My immediate concern was that "science" as commonly used isn't a discipline, per se. It acts as a catch all for several disciplines (physics, biology, chemistry, astronomy, psychology, sociology, etc.). And even a cursory glance at the history and philosophy of science reveals a tremendous difficulty in defining scientific method. Trying then to articulate a common practice/theory set for Integral Science ends up encompassing so many potentially different things, it can bewilder even the most intrepid soul.

    So, what about that early matter of what it would mean to study the interiors of quarks? Frankly, I don't know what it would mean or how it would proceed. I have some ideas based on the practices of other scientists, but I'm not entirely sure (I'll pen some brief thoughts in the next paragraph). It may resemble the ways we study the interiors of other entitites, it may not. My feeling about an Integral Science though was not to restrict any given research program based on our current impotence of understanding, so I took a pretty extreme example of what might occur. As to whether or not there is any interest in the interiors of quarks, I don't know, but I don't want to stymie interest either. I know plenty of folks who have no interest in the interiors of humans, but I wouldn't want them stifling research along those lines :-) We (as a human community) have finite resources to pursue different research agendas--and I suspect this will always be so--and whether we attempt to study quark interiors will be driven by forces across the spectrum of human and post-human interests. I just didn't want to arbitrarily leave things out.

    So, as to quark interiors. I believe that if they are there, they are probably pretty foreign to our normal sense of interiors, much like the exteriors of quarks are foreign to our normal sense of exteriors. But, of course, our interiors are not solely our mental constructs, our emotions, our values, etc. And I can infer that quarks have some basic awareness of (at least) other quarks because they respond to each other. Now, one might assert that this responsiveness is the indubitable consequence of physical law and mathematical probability, or what have you, but that assertion is metaphysics, or, at best, perspectival provincialism. As I tried to indicate in part of my third paper, I think the things we are calling laws (e.g., of physics, chemistry, biology, etc.) are patterns of relational exchange, and these laws can and do exist all along the spectrum of growth. As Ken has mentioned, the older the established type of entity/holon, the less creative freedom enjoyed in these relational exchanges, and the more they tend to resemble fixed patterns.

    Now, on one level, what is not foreign is that my quarks interact with other quarks perfectly well. Insofar as I have quarks, that component of my being is in relational exchange with, resonates with other quarks, and so forth. How that relates to my mental/emotional/moral world is ??? But that it may hold insights into the subcomponents of awareness, and I find that intriguing. I also expect any understanding of interior dimensions, howsoever imperfect it may be, lends insight into exterior morphology, behavior, communal interaction, etc. And quark exteriors are still largely understood in mathematical terms, as I understand it, so we already have a murky, symbolically understood domain at play.

    Now, the worst thing that could happen is for Integral Science to come to a screeching halt because we don't have a handle on quark interiors. We study interiors in a number of different ways, and we should make room for those methods in seeking quark interiors. But not every method is science, or at least I don't think so. So, I'm going to throw out a tentative provision to the discussion and see if it makes sense or not. In order for Integral Science to occur, we would need to engage a 3rd person perspective somewhere along the way. So, any domain is open to investigation by 3rd person perspectives, but not all methods employ 3rd person perspectives--and those that don't I am not willing to call science--they might contribute to science, but they are not in and of themselves sciences. Integral Science tries to get at not what is ultimatley real, not "the" truth, but at what stands out, what ex-ists, when employing 3rd person perspectives. Or maybe not--chime in and let me know how that strikes you all.

    I'm going to end with a couple of quotes, because they come from Nobel Laureate scientists and I think they directly relate to what we are talking about. I won't discuss them at this point because I have to get going, but thought they would be nice to mull over:

    Former Caltech physicist and 1965 Nobel laureate Richard P. Feynman wrote in his Lectures on Physics: "The next great era of awakening of human intellect may well produce a method of understanding the qualitative content of equations. Today we cannot. Today we cannot see that the water flow equations contain such things as the barber pole structure of turbulence that one sees between rotating cylinders. Today we cannot see whether Schroedinger's equation contains frogs, musical composers, or morality - or whether it does not." [R.P. Feynman, R.B. Leighton and M. Sands, The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Vol. II, Addison-Wesley, Reading, Massachusetts, p. 41-12, 1964]

    Barbara McClintock, for her part, talked about developing a "feeling for the organism" quite like Einstein's feeling for a beam of light. She got to know every one of her corn plants so intimately that when she studied their chromosomes, she could truly identify with them: "I found that the more I worked with them the bigger and bigger [they] got, and when I was really working with them I wasn't outside, I was down there. I was part of the system. I even was able to see the internal parts of the chromosomes - actually everything was there. It surprised me because I actually felt as if I were right down there and these were my friends. . . . As you look at these things, they become part of you. And you forget yourself. The main thing about it is you forget yourself."

    Kurt

    • Post Points: 20
    • Report abuse
Page 1 of 2 (18 items)   1 2 Next >
View as RSS news feed in XML
 © Integral Institute, 2006. all rights reserved - powered by enlight™ email this page del.icio.us | terms of service | privacy policy | suggestion box | help