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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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  •  06-21-2006, 2:46 PM 307

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

    Please join our discussion of Integral Spirituality - Ch.1: Integral Methodological Pluralism. All members of ISC are invited to join the conversation. If you are an ISC member, simply reply to this post with your comments. Not a member of ISC? Visit us and join now!
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  •  06-22-2006, 9:18 AM 321 in reply to 307

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

    I would be happy to, but the chapter has not been posted yet.  Do you know or does anyone else know when that will be made available.  I'm chomping at the bit.  And as my wife has gotten interested since this dovetails with her newly acquired interest in spirituality, I'm eager to discuss it with her.
    One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time. --Andre Gide

    Hope is as hollow as fear. --Lao-tzu
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  •  06-23-2006, 1:33 AM 351 in reply to 321

    • perera is not online. Last active: 11-03-2007, 6:59 PM perera
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    Re: Comments on Integral Spirituality - Ch.1: Integral Methodological Pluralism

    Hi,

    I am glad you are waiting for this...Please keep an eye out for it in the next day or so...

    Thanks!


    Nomali


    ~Save the Earth- it's the only planet with Chocolate.

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  •  06-26-2006, 5:25 AM 473 in reply to 351

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

    It's there now.

    22 pages of "'Integral Methodological Pluralism' for beginners"... a little light reading for the train journey home!  :)

    Good to see the distinctions between Quadrant and Quadrivia (and "Domains" in general).

    I've lost count, is this Wilber-V or WIlber-VI?

    (I love the way AQAL theory is evolving and emerging)

    I'm SO looking forward to home time.

    \/

    "May the sufferings and negativites of living beings ripen upon me,
    And may my happiness and virtue ripen upon them" - Nagarjuna
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  •  06-26-2006, 10:51 AM 480 in reply to 307

    It's all about perspectives

    This post is primarily reflections and applications of some of the concepts in Chapter 1 of Integral Spirituality (Indeed, it is simply my Upper Left Stick out tongue [:P]).

    "It's all about perspectives."  Perspectives is one of my key words for the year (and a profound year it has been!).  Other key words: attachment, suffering, delusion.  Put into actual experience: When I become attached to a perspective, I am deluded about the nature of reality, and I am likely to suffer. 

    Often, in the context of a conversation with a friend that involves his or her judgments of another person ( 2p(1p) x 1-p x 3p?... don't think I'm quite getting integral math after 15 mins), I bring in the idea of perspectives.  "You don't approve of what that person is doing; though, I'm sure that looking at it from his perspective, it makes sense why he would do that."  I am nearly always doing that these days.  An integral perspective is a beautiful thing.  Though sometimes I think it annoys my friends (certainly my wife) because people often just want to complain and have you agree with them.  Sorry, not playing that game anymore (well, trying not to play it).

    There are a hundred different perspectives on any given subject, though, and each perspective just is.  We could get into conjecture on the events (internal and external) that lead up to a perspective; that doesn't change the fact that it just is.  I don't have to judge someone because of his or her perspective, or feel threatened by it, because it just is.  Of course, if that perspective gets translated into an action that has a negative impact on me or others directly, I will probably have something to say about it, and I will probably do something in an attempt to counteract the deluded action.  And then there's the possibility that, as outlined above, I will try to provide additional information that may result in my friend changing his or her perspective, perhaps inching that perspective a little closer to an integral perspective.  And there's the always-fun possibility for projection as a result of my Parent (Superego) or Child (Id) being hooked, driven by my faulty interpretation of someone else's perspective based on my personal baggage (or a faulty  or inefficient neuronal network, I often say).  And if that person then reacts, off we go into madness (as happened this weekend between my wife and I...fun!).

    It seems to me that many human conflicts (including postmodern vs modern vs premodern) could be prevented if people were more aware of the reality of perspectives and each person owned that their own is constrained by their experience.  This is part of why I see AQAL as such a potentially powerful tool, in a broad sense.  I am way more interested in application of the general concepts (such as perspective and quadrants, level, lines, types, etc) to facilitate people moving up the developmental spiral than I am in theory and academic discourse (though I think those are very important as well).  Our world is in such a crisis that, the more people buy into a model like Spiral Dynamics, the better off our society would be.  (I'm continuing conjecture when I say...).  If all of our business leaders, spiritual leaders, and political leaders (a bit of an oxymoron at this time in our country) started using AQAL and SD language, it seems there would be pressure due to our competitive nature to move up the spiral more quicky, or at the very least for people to pretend that they are at a higher (second-tier) level.  Wouldn't "act as if" trigger a quicker ascent?


    To be nobody-but-yourself -- in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else -- means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. - E.E.Cummings
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  •  06-26-2006, 12:43 PM 492 in reply to 307

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

    I love the concept of perspectives!  And Ken's AQAL breakdown of premodern (UL), modern (Right) and postmodern (LL) is delicious.  Call me a minion: I will be forever seduced by AQAL and its "everyone is right (in some way)" paradigm.  It speaks in a language that my green meme self can feel all warm and fuzzy about.  Yet it allows for the discerning wisdom to keep the baby and throw out the murky bathwater, making my yellow and turquoise meme selves stand up and cheer.  Big Smile [:D]
    To be nobody-but-yourself -- in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else -- means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. - E.E.Cummings
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  •  06-26-2006, 1:06 PM 495 in reply to 480

    Re: It's all about perspectives

    Thats why I love being married - there always seems to be a light coming from "somewhere" that gracefully allows me to view my shadow without interruption.... Thank's "honey"....Big Smile [:D]
    "Life is like stepping onto a boat that is about to sail out to sea and sink".

    SHUNRYU SUZUKI
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  •  06-26-2006, 1:13 PM 496 in reply to 495

    Re: It's all about perspectives

    I've been reading Chapter 1 to Wilber's forthcoming book, Integral Spirituality.  The chapter is mostly a beginner's introduction to Integral Methodological Pluralism and Integral Math.  In it, he argues -- as he has elsewhere -- that the universe is composed, first and foremost, of perspectives.  Before you have any particular perception, you have a perspective, a first-, second-, or third-person view in which particular objects "show up" or disclose themselves. 

    He also argues in his recent writings that the universe is composed of sentient beings ... that any holon is, at some level, a "sentient occasion" and a perspectivizing being.

    How solid are these claims?  Do they really take us beyond metaphysics?  What would postmodernists make of the argument that the universe consists of eternally existent sentient beings?  I am hoping Wilber will provide a more sustained defense of his thesis, fleshing out his use of Whitehead's ideas (for instance) and tying together the various strands of his arguments (which he is presenting in a very simplified fashion at this point, as conclusions).

    Here are some questions I have:

    Is a sentient being ultimately reducible, also, to a perspective?  He refers to sentient holons, at one point, as events (again using Whitehead's model, though presumably in quadratic form).  What is the relation of "event" to perspective?  Do perspectives demand a space-time matrix in order to "eventuate"?

    If everything is a perspective before it is anything else, what accounts for the myriad perceptions that arise within perspectives?  Whence form?   

    Do you find, phenomenologically, that everything is first a perspective?  There is a conceptual dimension to the distinctions which appears to be acquired, and which can be compromised to some degree (such that an individual cannot properly differentiate first- and third-person perceptions, for instance).  Daniel Stern's work with infants appears to show an early-emergent but still acquired ability to "take perspectives" and make sense of myriad perceptions, through processes of entrainment and generalization of imprints.  Differentiation of the body and the "subjective self" from the world and its external objects unfolds progressively, after which time the person-distinctions seem natural and obvious...almost instinctive.  If this is the case, then it appears that, phenomenologically, perspectives are conceptually dependent structures which arise in the context of an inchoate sea of already-present (or at least already-co-present) perceptions.

    What do you think?  I'm not arguing this is necessarily the case; I'm just trying to present an alternative view, in the interest of exploring this further.

    Best wishes,

    Balder


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

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  •  06-26-2006, 2:55 PM 503 in reply to 496

    Re: It's all about perspectives

    Hey Balder, great post

    *adds to Favourites*

    I've always been inspired by your postings on IN and it's good to see you here too.

    I've got lots of questions for ya. For Ken too, but you're nearest! :) Maybe you can help me flesh this out a bit and then I'll take it up in my conference (looking forward to THAT I can tell ya)

    "[Ken] argues in his recent writings that the universe is composed of sentient beings"

    Where is this? I've not read this. I'm kind picking up a whiff of it in dialogues, with Mark Edwards and perhap the 'JFK sessions' - but I've not seen it in print.

    Is he really saying that
    "the universe consists of eternally existent sentient beings"?

    I don't personally have a problem with that, Tibetan Buddhists in the tradition of Atisha/
    Nagarjuna/Tsongskhapa say "there is no place where there is no Buddha" - what else could they mean?

    But is Ken really saying this? I'd like to read it. Couldn't he simply Tongue Tied [:S] be saying that "the knowable universere is only knowable as/via/through sentience?"

    - or am I missing your point?

    Probably... I always have to read you a couple of timea, not because of any lack on your part... I just lose the thread pretty quick and most of what you write is beyond me.


    "What accounts for the myriad perceptions that arise within perspectives?
    "


    Isn't he saying that the myriad perceptions are also simply Wink [;)] perspectives? Perspective all the way down perhaps?

    I recall (JFK again?) that he wishes to avoid an infinite regress but I'm not sure why, I've always been drawn to fractal/self-similar models so, here, the perceptions are just perspectives within perspectives? No?

    Do you find, phenomenologically, that everything is first a perspective?


    What else is there? Before you get to non-duality you have to be either 1p 2p or 3p - non dual would be 0p I guess, or np perhaps.


    "Already present" versus "co-present" is an interesting one to ponder... I'll meditate on that for the next 5 years and get back to ya! :D

    My inital thought is that the former sounds like metaphysics again whereas the latter is rooted in dependent-arising, Nararjuna/Tsongkhapa again. Maybe it's just that the former is on the ultimate side of the street and the latter is the relative?

    Thanks for sparking me off... hope this adds to the debate? If not give me some references and I'll do some catching up.

    Thanks again Balder

    \/









    "May the sufferings and negativites of living beings ripen upon me,
    And may my happiness and virtue ripen upon them" - Nagarjuna
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  •  06-26-2006, 3:55 PM 515 in reply to 496

    Re: It's all about perspectives

    I just wanted to second the perspective that Balder submitted a thoughtful and thought-provoking post.  Thanks!  I'll leave this type of discussion for the serious integral scholars at this point.  I have a lot of catching up to do until I can chime in at this level, as I just came to an integral perspective a mere 6 months ago, and I've only read 2 of kw's books.  My posts are more in line with how this type of thinking might be translated to bring the herd up to a higher, more integral level.  I love being in the same virtual room, though.  Keep it going!  Wink [;)]
    To be nobody-but-yourself -- in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else -- means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. - E.E.Cummings
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  •  06-26-2006, 9:33 PM 525 in reply to 515

    Re: It's all about perspectives

    Hi, Vajrayogini,

    I wrote: [Ken] argues in his recent writings that the universe is composed of sentient beings...

    You replied: Where is this? I've not read this. I'm kind picking up a whiff of it in dialogues, with Mark Edwards and perhap the 'JFK sessions' - but I've not seen it in print.

    Here's a sample:

    "An integral approach recognizes a Kosmos composed of sentient beings, and sentient beings do not have awareness or feelings or perceptions, they have perspectives, within whose horizons those other features arise and outside of which nothing can believably be said to exist. I am not suggesting that there isn't a universe outside of human perspectives, only that there isn't a universe outside of sentient beings' perspectives, since the universe is composed of sentient beings (holons), all the way up, all the way down, and therefore the universe is, top to bottom, composed of perspectives.  ~ Wilber, Excerpt C: The Ways We Are in This Together

    Vajrayogini:
    Is he really saying that "the universe consists of eternally existent sentient beings"?

    Well...I'm not sure.  I confess I made a leap with that statement.  He clearly says that the universe is composed of sentient beings, all the way down.  It is Buddhism that argues that individual streams of consciousness are beginningless; I'm not sure if Wilber really takes that on board or not.  If he doesn't, or really even if he does, I think the question still remains where sentient beings "come from."  If the answer is Spirit, that borders on the spiritual "metaphysics" that I think he is at pains to avoid.  If he doesn't put Spirit "under" perspectives, as a substantial substratum, but argues instead for the emptiness of all sentient beings and perspective-occasions and perceptions, then while I welcome that (as a Buddhist), I am also left wondering how his "post-metaphysics" really differs that much from the finest strains of Buddhist thought (particularly Dzogchen/Mahamudra/Ati Yoga)....

    Dizzy yet?  I am!

    I asked: What accounts for the myriad perceptions that arise within perspectives?

    You replied: Isn't he saying that the myriad perceptions are also simply  perspectives? Perspective all the way down perhaps?

    Yes, he does say that.  But he also specifically uses language like the following:

    But even in the human domain, I am not saying that there is no reality outside of human perspectives, only that those realities are prehended within a matrix of perspectives that always already arrive with whatever else it is that arrives. It is not that the human mind has a priori categories that pre-structure perception (although it does), it is that the Kosmos itself has a structure that pre-structures the relation of sentient beings: namely, as Leibniz pointed out (but did not pursue), each sentient being occupies a different locale in spacetime, and therefore each has a different perspective of/on the others. Human beings can deduce that there are realities on the other side of their perspectives, but those deductions themselves are third-person objects in first-person minds, which does not mean they (or their referents) aren't there, only that they are perceptions that arrive within perspectives.  ~ Wilber, Excerpt C

    He seems to prioritize perspectives, saying that perceptions arise within them, as if they form some kind of "field" in which perceptions happen.  Maybe he doesn't mean this, but the language suggests this.  This is a bit different, it appears, from the idea that perceptions are perspectives.  It might be clearer to suggest that perspectives and perceptions are dependently originated, and thus both ultimately empty (in the Buddhist sense).

    Drawing on Leibniz, he states that sentient beings occupy unique space-time locales, which implies (in my opinion) that perspectives in some sense demand or at least always entail a space-time matrix.  I made similar arguments to this effect in a study on TSK and Integral I did last year, in which I suggested that perspectives can be understood (in TSK language) as "focal settings in time and space."  But if perspectives "arrive on the scene" along with a host of other "things," from space-time matrices or sentient holons to other unspecified phenomena, then how "fundamental" are perspectives really?

    Please look at my questions here, not as a challenge to Wilber's model (which I'm deeply interested in), but as an earnest inquiry on my part.  I expect that there are aspects of his argument that are not clear to me yet, and which he also may not have made clear -- so I'm asking these things for two reasons: 1) to explore them with all of you, and 2) to publically express my hope that he will give a little more rigorous philosophical attention to these things, for those of us who are interested in them.

    Best wishes,

    Balder


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

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  •  06-27-2006, 11:18 AM 546 in reply to 525

    Re: It's all about perspectives

    Just a brief note to add.  This inquiry may be a sideline from what was already unfolding on this thread, and if that is the case, I apologize; I can take this discussion elsewhere if it is detracting from the overall study of Chapter 1.

    What I wanted to add is this:  Wilber is making an incredibly important statement with this new book.  It is a bold statement.  He is saying that no traditional religious model has passed the modern and post-modern tests, and that he is offering something which does meet them.  It is a perspective which goes beyond anything Buddhism, Hinduism, Sufism, etc, has said before, and heals all of them from the crippling slashes of modern and postmodern critics.  Because this is such a bold claim, I hope that he will provide a sustained philosophical argument for his position, not just the assertion that he has the answer.  I look forward to reading the rest of this book to see if he does this, either in the chapters or in footnotes.


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

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  •  06-27-2006, 1:33 PM 555 in reply to 525

    Re: It's all about perspectives

    balder:

    Yes, he does say that.  But he also specifically uses language like the following:

    But even in the human domain, I am not saying that there is no reality outside of human perspectives, only that those realities are prehended within a matrix of perspectives that always already arrive with whatever else it is that arrives. It is not that the human mind has a priori categories that pre-structure perception (although it does), it is that the Kosmos itself has a structure that pre-structures the relation of sentient beings: namely, as Leibniz pointed out (but did not pursue), each sentient being occupies a different locale in spacetime, and therefore each has a different perspective of/on the others. Human beings can deduce that there are realities on the other side of their perspectives, but those deductions themselves are third-person objects in first-person minds, which does not mean they (or their referents) aren't there, only that they are perceptions that arrive within perspectives.  ~ Wilber, Excerpt C

    He seems to prioritize perspectives, saying that perceptions arise within them, as if they form some kind of "field" in which perceptions happen.  Maybe he doesn't mean this, but the language suggests this.  This is a bit different, it appears, from the idea that perceptions are perspectives.  It might be clearer to suggest that perspectives and perceptions are dependently originated, and thus both ultimately empty (in the Buddhist sense).


    My take is that both options are not mutually exclusive, and that both can be true.  Since everything is a perspective, and since perspectives cascade, everything is a perspective within another perspective. It is therefore correct to say that perceptions are perspectives, and  that they arise within (other)  perspectives.

    It is also true that perspectives and perceptions originate dependently: by definition, you have to be a sentient being (a holon, which is itself a perspective) to perceive something. Taking a perspective, accompanied by an injunction, results in a perception (again a perspective), arising in the worldspace of the sentient being. There has to be another subject or object present as well, for it is its presence that is perceived. This 'other' can also be the interior of the observing holon, its own UL-quadrant, which is a perspective.

    Or, well, something like that, anyway. I notice (perceive!) that it is not easy to be clear about perspectives...

    Not sure what you mean by ultimately empty, though. Could you please 'enlighten' me?

    Okay, this is my first post on these forums, so be gentle with me...


    Peter






    "All nations should be like Amsterdam" -- Ken Wilber
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  •  06-27-2006, 2:25 PM 560 in reply to 555

    Re: It's all about perspectives


    Peter,

    I think what you wrote is very clear.  A nice start on these forums!

    Perspectives are very slippery, aren't they?  Which I think is their purpose in a post-metaphysical model: they don't give you anything substantial or self-existent to grab on to. 

    When I said that perceptions and perspectives might better be described as mutually empty, I was using empty in the Buddhist sense: lacking inherent self-existence, arising interdependently with everything else.  I believe I have a feeling for the utility of using perspectives as the "ultimate building block" (which is how Wilber is using them now, employing the language of "composition"), but it seems that perspectives also depend on other "things" for their functionality and expression -- on time, space, and knowingness (of higher or lower orders), on sentient holons, etc.  In other words, perspectives seem to be part of the overall "net" of dependent existence, and that raises the question (for me, at this stage of my un-clarity) of whether or not it makes sense to privilege them in the way that Wilber is doing.  And I mean question here, not necessarily doubt; I'm interested in exploring this and trying to get a clearer understanding.

    Here are a few open questions:

    * To what degree are perspectives dependent on conceptuality?
    * What things, at a minimum, does the notion of perspective imply (and entail) for its coherence?
    * Can a perspective perceive a perspective?

    In response to the middle question, I have already suggested that perspective implies knowingness/basic awareness and some level of spacetime.  Perspective means "to look (at) through," which suggests a baseline in time and/or space, and a consciousness or presence of some sort to do (or be) the looking.

    I'd be interested in your thoughts. 

    Best wishes,

    Balder


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

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  •  06-27-2006, 3:39 PM 562 in reply to 560

    Re: It's all about perspectives

    balder:

    Here are a few open questions:

    1) To what degree are perspectives dependent on conceptuality?
    2) What things, at a minimum, does the notion of perspective imply (and entail) for its coherence?
    3) Can a perspective perceive a perspective?



    I struggling with some of the issues just as much as you, but I find that trying to answer questions  is a great way of  enforcing understanding.  So let's  keep on walking this road together (and anybody else heading in that general direction).

    1+2) As I understand it now, perspectives are defined recursively, and do not rely on other givens (unless I'm missing something). This is quite subtle: saying that perspectives cascade, is saying that perspectives are inside perspectives, so here you implicitly introduce inside and outside. Also, perspectives only make sense if there is a notion of singular and plural since you need at the very least two of something in order to perceive each other, or otherwise there would be nothing to perceive. Now, since inside/outside and singular/plural are already different perspectives, the definition of perspective relies on nothing but perspectives.

    As to concepts: a concept is itself a perception Smile [:)]

    A perspective rests on other perspectives, indefinitely. As Wilber claims: "... it requires none of the traditional baggage of metaphysics (such as  postulating  the  existence of pre-existing ontological structures..."

    I've been thinking about spacetime as well, and I'm not sure if that is a holon itself, and therefore a perspective. I'm also not sure about what Wilber means by the pre-structure, and if this is somehow related to the spacetime continuum.

    Wilber:

    Since space is often taken to be ontological and time epistemological, then in third-person terms this amounts to saying that space and time are not separate but are rather a spacetime continuum. Fleshing that out with AQAL metatheory, we say that the exteriors of spacetime appear topographically as chains of mass-energy interlinked in various networks and systems, while the interiors appear as feelings and awareness interlinked in various cascades of intimacy. But they all arise together as perspective-occasions of the self-reflexive Kosmos (an assertion which is itself a third-person claim arising in this first-person space, but hopefully an assertion that is to some degree arising in a space of mutual understanding, such that my understanding of this and your understanding of this resonate with similar signification).


    Can we conclude out of this that the spacetime continuum is a holon, which is perceived by the Kosmos? We can perceive spacetime, after all. I'm not able to take a perspective that takes me outside of spacetime, I'm afraid...

    3) Yes, a perspective can perceive a perspective. In fact, as I see it, that is one of the most important points Wilber tries to make:  that's all that happens:

    Wilber:

    ...notice that the 8 methodologies are really giving us perspectives on perspectives on perspectives. For example, meditation involves the inside view of an interior view of an individual view.


    And a view is just a synonym for perspective. It is not possible to observe an object or subject directly (Krishnamurti?), but we still can deduce their existence from what we perceive of it.The beauty of this, is that neither consiousness nor matter/energy is prior or causative. They are both perspectives, before they are anything else, and they arise simultaneously, co-creating each other.

    Okay, that's it for today, it's bedtime in this corner of Samsara.

    Thanks for the reply, and for and your sharp questions,

    Peter
     

    "All nations should be like Amsterdam" -- Ken Wilber
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