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ISC Editor's Weekly Blog

Creativity and AQAL

This Week on Integral Spiritual Center....

To Get a Universe Going - Janet O'Keeffe/Ken Wilber

Projection and Transmutation - Diane Hamilton

To Get a Universe Going (audio)

With the launch of Europe’s Large Hadron Collider this week, scientists are tantalized at the prospect of finding the Higgs boson, the elusive "God particle" which is purported to explain almost everything. From an AQAL perspective, of course, such a discovery would help to explain certain unsolved right-hand quadrant, objective questions, but would not necessarily do the same for the left-hand, subjective quadrants. It would be reductionism—whether gross or subtle—to suppose that the God particle can explain what I want for dessert. The AQAL map, with its quadrants, levels, lines, states, and types, is perhaps the most comprehensive approach to date toward understanding everything in the Kosmos.

But what about creativity itself? In this week’s featured audio, Janet O’Keeffe poses the captivating question to Ken Wilber: how does AQAL account for creativity? Given that the model makes space for so much of reality, what does it have to say about the mysterious force behind reality, fashioning this moment as none other than precisely the one that comes to us?

In fact, creativity could hardly play a more central role. Working with Arthur Koestler’s conception of holons (wholes which are also parts of greater wholes), Ken points out that time itself can be look upon as a holarchy, or a series of nested holons. Alfred North Whitehead spoke of every moment prehending the previous one, then adding its own novel emergent. Seen from Integral, this moment passes its AQAL matrix—the richness of fourteen billion years of evolution—onto the next. The next moment prehends this one, embraces it, and adds its own novel emergent, and so on….

There is a long tradition of such thought, of viewing time as a holarchy. In the words of Psalm 19, "Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge...." In his 1923 classic The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran wrote "On Time":

Yet the timeless in you is aware of life's timelessness,

And knows that yesterday is but today's memory and tomorrow is today's dream.

And that that which sings and contemplates in you is still dwelling within the bounds of that first moment which scattered the stars into space.

One of the injunctions of a post-metaphysical approach is to specify as few involutionary givens as possible. It was precisely the metaphysics (literally, that which was "beyond physics") of the world’s religious traditions that modernity and postmodernity so completely deconstructed. Modernity demanded evidence, which couldn’t be supplied, and postmodernity pointed out that, in any case, such metaphysics were inescapably context bound and culturally dependent. In Ken’s thought, creativity—the novel emergent in every moment—is in fact one of very few involutionary givens, one of the only things that you need "to get a universe going."

The concept of "time as holarchy" takes on added importance in our own time as—before our very eyes—consciousness becomes conscious of itself. The "novel emergent" that was mysteriously chosen through all of evolution’s history now rests in our hands, with our own intentionality. We are given in every moment the gift of that moment—and the choice in that moment. We can choose to come from our very highest selves, from a place in which there is nothing to do but to love. Love that cascades down from intentionality to actuality, and ripples out as the waves from a stone cast in a pond, to eternity and infinity in every direction, with results that are incalculable….

Projection and Transmutation (video)

Having re-owned the negative emotions we have projected from our 1st-person experience onto objects in our 2nd- and even 3rd-person perspectives, we can then begin the process of transmutation.  Transmutation involves simply being with what is, amidst the darkness and pain that it brings.  The key is to proceed with the light and the clarity of our awareness, without allowing our egos to get in the way, until the energies which animated the negative emotions are at last released.

Published Saturday, September 13, 2008 4:51 PM by rollie


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