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What does Transrational mean?

Last post 08-04-2006, 11:57 AM by balder. 2 replies.
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  •  08-03-2006, 11:56 AM 3095

    What does Transrational mean?

    It occurred to me that I'm really not sure what Transrational means. Could someone explain, or at least give me an example of transrational thinking at work?

    The example that most of you would of course think of off hand would be Ken's work. But it seems like he's really just being reasonable. He has good evidence for the things he says, uses logic to combine premises and reach conclusions. What isn't rational about it?

    Or maybe I'm just dumb.


  •  08-04-2006, 8:34 AM 3211 in reply to 3095

    Re: What does Transrational mean?

    My impression is that it speaks of an ability to look at the bigger picture of reality than what we experience in our conscious, sensory input-based mind. Coming from a very logical and rational background, I like to think that transrational is what happens when you enbrace both your prefrontal lobes (high cognitive functions) and your primitive, emotional/intuitive/subconscious brain parts and somehow get them to work all together as a big, highly effective superbrain!

    But that's just me.

    Peace, Love, and Bicycles,
  •  08-04-2006, 11:57 AM 3236 in reply to 3095

    Re: What does Transrational mean?

    Hi, Yotam,

    Here's my take on "transrational."  As Wilber often points out, pre-rational and transrational thinking and awareness are often confused, simply because both are non-rational.  But transrational awareness is a non-rational form of cognition which transceds and encompasses rational thinking.  Transrational insights, when they are expressed, are often expressed in rational language; Wilber is masterful at this.  But of course some traditions may chose enigmatic forms of expression, to reveal the limits of and point past conventional rational thought.

    In pre-rational awareness, we may think affectively and by association, rather than through the use of inductive reasoning.  The pre-rational worldview may be coherent, but its coherence is on the level of resonance and reflection, meaningful correspondences, affective associations, and so on.  This field of "coherence" may appear seamless and holistic, but it is pre-rational.

    In transrational awareness, we may return to a holistic sense of things, but our holistic perspective now encompasses rationality and the ability to relate the items of our awareness through complex logical relationships.  In transrational awareness, while we can use logic, we can perceive the limitations of our logical constructs, as well as the limits of our pre-rational, affective associations.

    My understanding is that at the upper limits of rational awareness, we are capable of seeing and thinking from multiple perspectives at once.  We move from a somewhat linear perspective of cause and effect, to more open and decentered forms of reasoning.  We may be able to think things through using classical "excluded middle" logic, but we also have access to "included middle" logic (built on models of transcendence and inclusion).  I see this as the "vision logic" stage.

    In transrational awareness, we can become aware of connections that transcend or run deeper than normal causal chains, but in this case, the perspectives which disclose particular causal chains are seen as subsets of a more encompassing awareness.

    I expect my explanation here is not without its flaws, but this is my general understanding at this time.

    Best wishes,


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

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