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Comments on IS Call on Chapter 2 'Stages': 4-Part 1

Last post 11-26-2006, 4:56 PM by ralphweidner. 35 replies.
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  •  10-20-2006, 7:57 PM 11835

    • perera is not online. Last active: 11-03-2007, 6:59 PM perera
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    Comments on IS Call on Chapter 2 'Stages': 4-Part 1

    From ralphweidner

    "not to be missed is the latest conference call with martin matustik. if i could just get up at 12:30, like ken is now doing, i would want to use some of the additional time to study kierkegaard. he was evidently looking at something, which martin refers to as the religious sphere, which was neither structure-developmental (through stages) nor a progression (like trained states). yet there appears to be a hierarchy, or at least an ordering of these spheres. unfortunately, part of the call appears to have been lost, in preparing it for our consumption.

    ralph"

    I hope everybody got a chance to listen to this dialogue. Please stay tuned for Part 2 soon...


    Nomali


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

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  •  10-21-2006, 12:20 PM 11913 in reply to 11835

    Re: Comments on IS Call on Chapter 2 'Stages': 4-Part 1

    thanks, nomali, for reposting this.  there's alot more i'd like to say, once i've relistened to it--and part 2--maybe that's what i thought was lost.  ken has talked in the past about the importance of not confusing the map with the territory.  with his books and other writings we tend to get only the map.  here we're getting a good taste of the territory.

    it would be so easy to take what martin had to say and simply locate it on the map, i.e. the aqal map.  you know:  existentialism, isn't that a part of the green stage of development?  but that's not at all what ken did.  martin had a wonderful story to tell, so he just let him talk, interjecting little bits it seemed to me--i'm going to have to listen to this again--from an integral perspective.

    more later,  ralph

     



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  •  10-21-2006, 9:30 PM 11964 in reply to 11913

    Re: Comments on IS Call on Chapter 2 'Stages': 4-Part 1

    ken's openmindedness is so refreshing ... he was thrilled that martin brought the religious sphere thing to the table as something to add to the model

    was it one of the folks on today's concall who said: u keep adding things! ?

     

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  •  10-22-2006, 8:47 PM 12054 in reply to 11913

    Re: Comments on IS Call on Chapter 2 'Stages': 4-Part 1

    it would be so easy to take what martin had to say and simply locate it on the map, i.e. the aqal map.  you know:  existentialism, isn't that a part of the green stage of development?  but that's not at all what ken did.  martin had a wonderful story to tell, so he just let him talk, interjecting little bits...


    I'd be quite surprised if he did! I've always felt that existentialism held some important truths about the nature of reality that are almost Buddhist and even integral in nature, especially the observation that self-identity is a mental construction. Here's another instructive paragraph:

    neither scientific nor moral inquiry can fully capture what it is that makes me myself, my "ownmost" self. Without denying the validity of scientific categories (governed by the norm of truth) or moral categories (governed by norms of the good and the right), "existentialism" may be defined as the philosophical theory which holds that a further set of categories, governed by the norm of authenticity, is necessary to grasp human existence.


    This paragraph, from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, seems to be in complete agreement with the integral perspective, and quite different from the postmodern view of knowledge that we usually associate with Green. And the emphasis placed by existentialism on the inquiry of human consciousness as a creator of meaning seems to be right along the lines of Zen. Of course, existentialism doesn't seem to offer much in the way of a positive practice, and this may account for its reputation as a nihilistic philosophy, but even there we find similarity with Buddhism, which shares existentialism's unfortunate tendency to be misread as nihilistic.

    I'm not a serious student of philosophy, but to my understanding, existentialism has much to recommend it, and I believe its more than just a Green diversion. I'd love to hear anyone else's interpretations or experiences with the topic, and its compatibility or incompatibility with integral theory.
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  •  10-23-2006, 7:02 PM 12227 in reply to 12054

    Re: Comments on IS Call on Chapter 2 'Stages': 4-Part 1


    Standard Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

    neither scientific nor moral inquiry can fully capture what it is that makes me myself, my "ownmost" self. Without denying the validity of scientific categories (governed by the norm of truth) or moral categories (governed by norms of the good and the right), "existentialism" may be defined as the philosophical theory which holds that a further set of categories, governed by the norm of authenticity, is necessary to grasp human existence.

    hi mr. teacup,

    i think the problem for me has been that in my enthusiasm for the map i sometimes neglect the territory, which is, after all, the end all and be all of the map. in your quote above, for example, it's easy to identify 'scientific' with modern, 'moral' with traditional and 'existential' with postmodern. this might be a good start in the way of an orienting generalization, a map of what might otherwise be confusing territory. but if we stop there, as you've, in effect, pointed out, then we lose what the brave pioneers of existentialism struggled to bring forth for us. after all, they are right, and it only makes sense to include what they've contributed in our integral fare.

    another problem is that we each have to choose what would be best to include in our own integral practices. for some that might include existentialism, for others, not. for the former, that might include kierkegaard, for others, not. for whatever reason, i was drawn to dostoevsky more than anyone else. in order to understand martin, it's important to ask why he was drawn to existentialism, and kierkegaard in particular.

    more later,

    ralph


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  •  10-23-2006, 10:12 PM 12285 in reply to 12227

    Re: Comments on IS Call on Chapter 2 'Stages': 4-Part 1

    in your quote above, for example, it's easy to identify 'scientific' with modern, 'moral' with traditional and 'existential' with postmodern.


    I guess that fits, but I was thinking more along the lines of I-WE-ITS integral epistemology. I see some broad agreements there, in addition to existential phenomenology's emphasis on the UL quadrants that doesn't really show up in the West very much up until then.

    I think this dialog is quite important, but its kind of dense and hard to follow, so I transcribed it. I'm including it here in case others find it helpful; I hope I'm not breaking any copyright rules. Wilber's reply beings at 24:26.


    "I agree with you entirely that we cannot jump the stages of consciousness. Whereas Habermas, following Hegel, Kant, Marx on this would say we cannot jump the stages of social evolution. I also agree with you and against Habermas here that modern enlightenment sort of reduced or translated all enlightenment to its own stage of development. So it treats all religious states as simply ego- or ethnocentric or traditional or precritical or simply requiring some translation of all spirituality to the secular modes of consciousness. And so the fundamentalist forms of that archaic consciousness then clash with the modern view represented for example by Habermas, and so we have events like the Iranian republic arresting its philosopher Ramin Jahanbegloo who liked to quote Habermas among others, and that's the case in point; there are simply conflicts of these stages.

        So my question is this: whether you don't need something besides the vertical axis of the stages which is chapter 2, and horizontal axis of states which is the next chapter, also something which called be called transversal, or genuinely vertical inward axis of existential self-transformation. And this is my reasoning: it is true one cannot jump those stages, even though one can begin in any stage available, at the historical state of development, if one gets[?] there, as an individual. But in an non-evolutionary sense, the spheres of existence as shown for example by Kirkegaard, the spheres of aesthetical, ethical, ethico-religious, religious spheres of existence, these are available to everyone at every stage of consciousness, but existence spheres are not exactly the same as what you would call the meditative states of consciousness, the dreaming, sleeping, waking and non-dual and so on. And it is Kirkegaard in particular who criticizes that entire tradition that you discuss earlier -- Kant, Hegel and so on -- for confusing something like evolutionary transition or development with what he would call transformation, existential transformation. Or the dialectic of both ends[?] were simply certain evolution happens historically for certain reasons, but its not the same as what Kirkegaard would call transformation from being an aesthetic individual to being an ethical individual to being ethico-religious or emphatically religious.

    And so don't we need to posit in contrast to Hegel, to Kant, to Marx, to Habermas, to Piaget, Kohlberg, Gilligan and so on, and there sort of evolutionary model of the stages of consciousness something similar to Kirkegaard's existential spheres of existence, that is aesthetic, ethical, ethico-religious and so on, as the motivational or inward prerequisite for the very possibility or condition of possibility of evolutionary change or developmental change. And states are not conditions of the emergence of stages as you say right? You can meditate and meditate and meditate and the change doesn't happen, because... well, I meditate badly, or I'm a fundamentalist Christian, or fundamentalist Jew or Muslim and really do not meditate. And do something else. And since the states are not the conditions for the emergence of higher stages, then we cannot speak of spheres of existence as Kirkegaard has simply in terms of states either. Don't we need a three prong axis? Stages, states of consciousness and spheres of existence. And then I kept reading and re-reading your book and I came up with an answer that you might offer, then I said "Maybe the answer is already there, its just there is no chart in chapter 6." There is absolutely no chart or no table in chapter 6 of your Integral Spirituality, and so if you were to introduce something, like your Wilber-Combs lattice of stages and states into that chapter, then it would have this transversal line going from Lower Left to Upper Right, or maybe from the bottom up if it were a holographic thing, you know, four dimensional, that would go from aesthetic to ethical to ethico-religious to religious, or from being unconsciously repressed, nonconscious self, unconscious of my despair then being conscious of being in despair, then being simply depressed or dissociated -- what Kirkegaard calls the despair of weakness -- and then being demonic despair of defiance, and then faith which is the response, the model of healthy self. So really, its the shadow self. The transversal axis really would map what you call the shadow self in chapter 6.

    If that were done, then we would have minimally the following spheres of existence: aesthetic relation to self, others and the world, that's I-II-III, ethico-religious and religious. And these spheres would provide another look at what you call the depth altitudes of the past leading to the mountain peak, so they would be available to every individual in every stage of consciousness, but of course, they would be differently appropriated. So there would be aesthetical archaic individuals and aesthetical magic and religious mythic, or ethical rational. But there would be some kind of shift from traditional conventional to post-conventional, and that would go along with it.

        Then I came up with some kind of description of how this could look. The aesthetic individual would have repressed consciousness of despair, repressed self, there really would be no self, and yet this would not be called a Buddhist non-self. Then the ethical sphere of existence would have normative, even ethical religous self, and other world relations, but would have no consciousness of God as a requirement for self-transformation. So it would be an extremely moral individual, but not really religious in a genuine sense. It would suffer conscious despair, it would suffer general cultural neuroses as described in psycho-analysis and so on. Then the generic religious person -- sort of an introvert, philosopher, adolescent -- would have guilt-consciousness of finitude, would suffer time, would suffer [?], it would experience forms of despair such as weakness, perhaps suicidal tendency, not willing to be a self, or dissocative disorders studied in therapy, but would have no consciousness of this despair as existing before God, so the consciousness would not be religious in a full sense, it would be only kind of like a generic drug.

        So what Kirkegaard calls religious be, for him, that's Christianity, but on your model, it could be applied to any form of religious awakening, it would offer the greatest and most intense expansion of consciousness, because it would know that it despairs before God, or before the mind, the Cosmic mind. And so its forms of individual and cultural neuroses would be recognized now as sin-consciousness, what Otto Rank and Becker called it, after Kirkegaard. Forms of defiance and despair, Promethean rebellion, what Kant calls radical evil, cruelty, demonic anger, even terrorism, would all arise here. Terrorism is a religious consciousness, it acts in defiance with the consciousness of God right? The suicide bomber and so on. And so the heathy self then would be capable of all four quadrants at their greater intensity at any historical point of time available to it, whatever the stage would be. And it would be the self who knows itself as Spirit, relating to itself and willing to be itself, owning all shadow parts of itself in truth and resting transparently in the power of the one who posits it."

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  •  10-25-2006, 2:14 PM 12539 in reply to 12285

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    Re: Comments on IS Call on Chapter 2 'Stages': 4-Part 1

    Hi Mr. Teacup,

    Just wanted to say thank you for transcribing the above portion of the phone call.  I personally found all this very dense to listen to and so the reading of this portion of the call has made it much more available to me for understanding.  Without a background in Kerkigaard and /or his spheres of existence i have definently being struggling with this call.  I am looking forward to the second part where  I am hoping to reach further understanding. 

    Taking the easy road.....is there anyone who can post a brief exposition of existentialism and/or the spheres of existence? Smile [:)]  If so, HUGH THANKS !
    susann

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  •  10-25-2006, 6:45 PM 12592 in reply to 12539

    Re: Comments on IS Call on Chapter 2 'Stages': 4-Part 1

    I agree with this too (and thanks for the trascription).

    I can recognize all of those things and certainly believe they are important to include-especially in an integral model. And transversal is the perfect word.

    Exciting.


    "With whom or with what are you in communion at this moment?"
    . . ."I?" he replied, almost mechanically. "Why not with anyone or anything."
    "You must be a marvel . . . if you are able to continue in that state for long."
    -Constantin Stanislavsky
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  •  10-26-2006, 12:00 AM 12613 in reply to 12539

    Re: Comments on IS Call on Chapter 2 'Stages': 4-Part 1

    Kierkegaard posited that humans go through three spheres of existence:

    1. Aesthetic Sphere - this sphere is characterized by the pursuit of pleasure, sexuality, hedonism, living in a fantasy world, narcissism, egotism, short attention span, low tolerance for boredom, voyeurism. A person in this sphere is described as self-serving and selfish, unaware of higher obligations and duties, and the prime motivation is the transformation of boredom into excitement and interest. The aesthetic person will eventually find themselves in despair due to the limitations of this lifestyle, and Kierkegaard coins the phrase "leap of faith" to describe the transition to the next sphere.

    2. Ethical Sphere - this sphere is characterized by obedience to social norms, good vs. evil, doing one's duty, etc. Kierkegaard thought that the highest form of this sphere was marriage.

    3. Religious Sphere - this sphere is where a true relationship to the divine occurs, and Kierkegaard believed that there were two types: Awareness that the individual is the source of sin (sin-consciousness), and one type exemplified by Socrates -- a relentless pursuit of the truth, even when it brings one into conflict with society.

    If you're like me, you're thinking this all sounds very much like the standard Preconventional, Conventional and Post-Conventional stages that we all know and love -- Kierkegaard even had the notion of "transcend and include" between the stages, which is pretty impressive considering that he wrote this all before Freud and Western psychology got its feet wet.

    But Martin seems to say that Kierkegaard's spheres does not correspond to the stages axis of the Wilber-Combs Lattice, but it is its own third axis corresponding to the development of the shadow. I don't know that I really agree with that, it seems much more likely that Kierkegaard just identified the stages. Does development of the shadow really follow a fixed pattern? I would think that what parts of ourselves we choose to surpress are highly dependent on circumstances.

    Venerable integral thinkers, I leave the question to you.
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  •  10-26-2006, 2:22 PM 12684 in reply to 12613

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    Re: Comments on IS Call on Chapter 2 'Stages': 4-Part 1



    Thanks !

    I agree that it does sound very much like the three stages pre-post.  If Martin is relegating these stages to the shadow it still doesn't jib with what I understand to be the pattern of supression that becomes the shadow.  If I understood Ken correctly, he once spoke of shadow repression happening at any stage of development, ie. discarding a piece at survival, or during the terrible twos, or at any point of growth from infancy to adulthood. And each one of those pieces stay at that point of development as shadow. It would seem to me that that is more complex as possible shadow repression than just the three phases of Kierkegaard's spheres of existence, though I can also get a glimpse of why Martin would think in these terms. Again, if I understood Ken correctly, it would then mean that we would have all of Kierkegaard's spheres operating, and  according to the level of the shadow that is showing up in projection that sphere would then show up.

    Martin, if you are out there, can you jump in and explain more?
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  •  10-27-2006, 12:06 PM 12786 in reply to 12684

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    from Martin Beck Matustik: hallo and thank you

    Dear Friends,

    first, thanks very much for the discussion, second for transcribing part of my question (I do have some of it in writing, as I sent it to Ken in the first place). When I have written a full essay on this, I will try to make it public, perhaps send it to ISC for a publication there.

    One thing about the existential spheres on one's life's way is unlike transitions in the stages of consciousness: One always begins at the beginning and yet one can skip and move up and down the scale. There is no necessity of going from unconscious cultural philistine to reflective aesthete to conventional ethicist or communitarian or Moral Majoritarian, to deontic moralist or liberal (Kant), to postconventional moralist (Kohlberg, Gilligan, Piaget, Habermas), to ethico-religious (existential awakening, introvert, nihilism), to religiousness proper (e.g., Christian faith or Buddhist satori). These existential spheres seem more like intensities of awareness than like developmental stages of consciousness or experience, and yet spheres are not like the states of consciousness either (one can be a dreaming aesthete or dreaming religious, meditating moralist or meditating religious, etc.). In this latter sense spheres are more like stages, and so one is tempting to say that all is ok with the model, but in the other sense that existential self-transformation is required of every individual in every age or epoch, spheres of existence are not a direct result of social or cultural evolution (archaic, mythic, feudal, modern, green, etc.) and they are not achieved by picking up at the highets level where the previous generation left off. With stages of consciousness one can begin where previous historical evolution left off, or one can regress all the way to archaic level, though one cannot outdo prior holons of development. With spheres of existence, there are no holons or cosmic memories to inhabit, as the self is more like an integer (intensity of awareness) than a level of development (stage or state of experience or consciosuenss), and so one always begins at the beginning. Though one's beginning can be like that of a Boddhisatva.

    Paradise [ip]The reason why I suggested spheres of existence could run transversally in the model of states and stages is that they affects all stages and all states of the Wilber-Combs Lattice. Permit me than to say that a "Wilber-Combs-Matustik Lattice" would have a lower left to upper right line of existential spheres, or on a holographic 3-D model of the AQAL quadrant, in a cube or sphere, the existential spheres would run through the inside-center: Kierkegaardian movement is an intensification on the spot, into inwardness or spirit (and do not confuse soul with spirit, this is not dualism of mind-body), they do not run like the social or psychological evolution of consciousness. Spiritual awareness is not the same as experiencing consciousness. The latter detects social development, evolution, maturation, and once acheieved, it stays there for all newcomers into the world as their possible beginning. The former (spheres of awareness or existence) is more like always beginning at the beginning, though one could begin right away religiously (Adam/Eve before the fall, a Buddha, or Jesus baby on all high-Christology paintings, or Boddhisatva), and one could also fall even from the highest stage of consciousness and the highest non-dual state of mind (the Lucifer, or the fallen angels myths speak about this, but one could be more humble and say that this is the human beginning of fall as well). Spheres of existence are about spiritual freedom, hence they are not the same as the developmental or transitional statges and states of consiousness.

    In fact, if all this is true, then the existentrial spheres are the condition of the possibility of any change occuring in stages and states. Again, the self is the integer even when one lets it go, gives it up, when the self becomes non-self. To get no non-self, one has to become the most intense self, the great paradox of spiritual journeys.

    I proposed to Ken quite humbly by rediscovering his shadow model as a way to answer my own question to him. That is, I sent first the question, about three pages, and then a week later I wrote to Ken that after reading again some of his stuff, I found a possible answer from within his model. The shadow self is about freedom or self-repression of self. Kierkegaard is not the only one who writes about dissociative self, but despairing spheres of existence do explain how one can be at a high level of stages and even in non-dual conscious states and yet act as a demon, in Promethean defiance. The self is spirit, freedom, and in this sense in the task of becoming human as well as becoming sober one always begins at the beginning.

    Thank you again

    Martin Beck Matustik

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  •  10-27-2006, 4:49 PM 12815 in reply to 11964

    Re: Comments on IS Call on Chapter 2 'Stages': 4-Part 1


    fairyfaye:
    was it one of the folks on today's concall who said: u keep adding things! ?


    i wouldn't be surprised. tami simon (?) made a similar point in interviewing ken for the kosmic consciousness tapes. but isn't that what integral is about? of course, it needs to be done with care, especially something as fundamental as what martin matustik is proposing.

    my thought, anyway,

    ralph



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  •  10-27-2006, 5:15 PM 12819 in reply to 12592

    Re: Comments on IS Call on Chapter 2 'Stages': 4-Part 1


    hi tim,

    i agree: exciting! it sounds as if there might be yet another dimension to consider besides that of states and structures. the difficulty i think is that, even though you already recognize the need to include this additional dimension, there are few others who do, and aqal, as i understand it, only includes what has already been well established. it seems to me that substantial work needs to be done before 'spheres' can be given the same status as 'states' and 'structures' (but i love the alliteration: the 3 s's could become the 4 s's).

    i'm definitely going to be watching for what you and others have to contribute to this thread,

    ralph

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  •  10-27-2006, 5:30 PM 12822 in reply to 12786

    Re: from Martin Beck Matustik: hallo and thank you

    Hi Martin, thanks so much for joining the conversation!

    Before listening to part 2 of the phone call today, I was thinking exactly what you said at the end; this-or the existential in general-is indeed one of the unique and important contributions of the west. I still feel it is important to say, and maybe keep saying, that it's not just that we just dump Christianity (for example) and look only to the east for a better knowledge of spirituality (and then, say, come back and reinterpret Christianity etc.), but realize that even outside of contemplative practices there are some jewels within western spirituality that must be recognized, preserved, included, integrated, etc.

    I am unfortunately not enough of an authority on Kierkegaard but all of this and how you describe it resonates with me as extremely true. Aside from or along with states and stages there are these spheres of existence and they are just not synonymous or exactly the same thing. One can be in any of the spheres at any of the levels, states, etc -even though there is that fuller progression.

    Are you familiar with Howard Gardner's more recent "1/2" addition of a possible "existential intelligence?" He is still unsure but there is a connection because of the way that he defines it-an ability to "situate oneself within the cosmos." This is somewhat different than ultimate concern or Fowler's stages of faith also, mainly because, being in alignment with all of Gadner's other intelligences, although there is development, even at the earliest, say, Piagetian stages, such an intelligence might show quite advanced (like a musical prodigy etc.)

    All of this, to me, is related again to just what you say (or Kierkegaard), it is an intensity of consciousness. I feel this is very true and have felt so for a very long time. One could be even at magenta or red or preoperational or three years old (even younger) but the intensity of consciousness that is deeper, fuller more intense that normal. (So, perhaps at religious a or b). I also think this could be one of the very important pieces of the overall developmental puzzle, in the sense that an intensity of consciousness drives the self throught the stages to perhaps well beyond th norm. That may be unrelated, but I have had that thought, and it does seem to align at least to some degree with various existential crsis. (i.e. I could be having a crisis and not really be conscious of it? And thus, not grow from it or be forced to becasue of it. I really think that could be true!)

    Anyhow, just a few thoughts for now.

    Thanks once again for your contribution!

    Peace, Tim

     

    Oh, PS - Martin, if you get the chance to answer: I have been thinking very heavily lately that so much of what causes shadws to occur is "survival" or very simply, existential crisis. The shadow is so often a literal survival mechanism when the self experiences something which it just can't handle, process, "survive," digest, integrate etc. and this immeidatley causes the shadow phenomenon. Is this what you mean by these spheres of existence going along with the shadow? What an important insight if this is so.


    "With whom or with what are you in communion at this moment?"
    . . ."I?" he replied, almost mechanically. "Why not with anyone or anything."
    "You must be a marvel . . . if you are able to continue in that state for long."
    -Constantin Stanislavsky
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  •  10-27-2006, 5:37 PM 12823 in reply to 12819

    Re: Comments on IS Call on Chapter 2 'Stages': 4-Part 1

    Hi Ralph,

    We posted at nearly the same time. My brief response to Martin above is my small contribution for now. It sounds like Kierkegaard has already done the work, at least to an extent. (Martin also mentioned Kierkegarrd beleiveing i was divine providence that taught him this-a notion I am inclined to take seriously as well.) I included some thoughts of Howard Gardner's because I do think his proposal of a spiritual intelligence as an "existential intelligence" is not only similar to this, but a unique and, I believe, important way to look at spirituality, spiritual development, experience, etc. Gardner's criteria for an "intelligence" might also help a great deal in perhps the further investigation for more evidence. (i.e. that we could show this as a cross-cultural phenomena, etc.)

    I do find this excitng. It's just a whole other important angle . . . or should I say, perspective.Smile [:)] Be sure to listen to part 2 of the phne call if yu haven't already.

    Peace, Tim


    "With whom or with what are you in communion at this moment?"
    . . ."I?" he replied, almost mechanically. "Why not with anyone or anything."
    "You must be a marvel . . . if you are able to continue in that state for long."
    -Constantin Stanislavsky
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