Tuesday, March 24, 2015

States of Development (3)

In this blog entry, I intend to deal with the important dynamic explanation as to why both peaks (of higher from - relatively - lower) and valleys (of lower from - relatively higher) stages are possible - and indeed common - with respect to development.

And it is important to bear in mind that as because both states and structures themselves bear a complementary relationship with respect to each other, that with suitable qualifications, peaks and valleys can apply in appropriate circumstances likewise with respect to stage structures!

To understand such dynamics properly, it is important to bear in mind that both linear and circular characteristics attach to the development of all stages.

It is perhaps unfortunate in this context that emphasis on the linear aspect tends to dominate the conventional treatment of stage development.

So using the deceptively simple terminology of pre and trans, development is essentially portrayed as moving in somewhat linear fashion from lower prepersonal through the middle personal then - all going well - on through the higher transpersonal stages.

However, though there is indeed a certain limited sense in which such linear progression is valid, it leads to many ambiguities - and indeed deep inconsistencies - from an overall integral perspective.

In fact the emphasis on linear progression through prepersonal, personal and transpersonal stages equates very well with corresponding undue emphasis on the merely transcendent aspect of development. This in turn allows for a merely "top-down" approach with respect to development, where previous stages are thereby transcended and included in the highest stage (yet attained).

However as repeated here on many occasions, balanced development requires an equal emphasis on both "top-down" and "bottom-up" integration. Therefore not alone, must the "lower" stages be continually integrated from above (in a transcendent fashion) but equally the "higher" stages must be continually integrated from below (in an immanent fashion).

In other words when the dynamics of development are properly recognised, true integration necessarily entails a continual two-way process of enhanced realisation with respect to all stages, where "higher" and "lower" are now understood ever more clearly in a strictly relative manner.

Thus, from this dynamic perspective, what is seen as "higher" from a transcendent, is - relatively - "lower" from the corresponding immanent perspective; likewise what is thereby seen, in reverse complementary fashion,  as - relatively - "higher" from the immanent, is now "lower" from the corresponding transcendent perspective.

Using even simpler language from this two-way dynamic interactive perspective, what is "trans" with respect to the "higher" is thereby "pre" with respect to the corresponding "lower" stage; and in reverse what is "pre" with respect to the "higher" is thereby "trans" with respect to the corresponding "lower" stage.

Thus in terms of development, we need indeed to recognise discrete differentiation with respect to each (individual) stage. However, equally we also need to recognise the continual integration of all (collective) stages.

And whereas the linear sequential approach (of an analytic nature) is suited to the differentiation of (discrete) stages, the circular complementary approach (of a corresponding holistic nature) is likewise suited to the (continual) integration of all stages.

So from my perspective, I see fundamental confusion with the present so called "integral approach" in that it uses an analytic method, that is properly suited to interpret the discrete differentiation of stages, as the same means for interpreting the overall integration of these stages.

In particular this confusion is exemplified by drawing a somewhat absolute distinction as between the lower stages of development as "pre" and the corresponding higher stages as "trans".

Let me clarify therefore how to consistently maintain both linear (differentiated) and circular (integral) meaning with respect to both pre and trans!

Now from the transcendent direction, a one-directional hierarchical distinction is made as between the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of development.

From this perspective, the lower stages, of confused physical instinctive behaviour, are appropriately identified as prepersonal stages. Then the middle stages, where rational mental control now dominates, are identified as the personal stages. Finally, where spiritual contemplative awareness (as beyond all phenomenal form) unfolds, this leads to identification of the higher transpersonal stages.

However from the immanent perspective, a reverse hierarchy needs to be made regarding the relationship of physical, mental and spiritual aspects.

So here it is recognised that the earliest stages represent a state of deep spiritual confusion (identified largely with the holistic activity of the embryonic unconscious). This now represents the prepersonal stages. Again the middle stages lead to the attainment of rational control (of a conscious kind) which again represent the personal stages. Finally the higher stages represent the pure realisation of the - now - refined physical aspect with respect both to one's body and the world of nature (experienced as largely integrated with each other) . So this immanent perspective (as prior to all form) now identifies the transpersonal stages (i.e. where development reaches full maturity).

So just as the identification of left and right turns at a crossroads depends on the direction from which the crossroads is approached, likewise the identification of pre and trans depends on the direction (i.e. transcendent or immanent) from which they are likewise approached.

So what is trans from one perspective is pre from the other; likewise what is pre from one perspective is trans from the other.

Thus, because of these two complementary directions to development (i.e. transcendent and immanent respectively) the linear approach (on its own) leads inevitably to ambiguity and ultimately deep inconsistency with respect to both pre and trans.

Therefore we must keep balancing the linear aspect (emphasising one-way differentiation) with the circular aspect (emphasising two-way integration)

However this needs to be done while recognising that at certain stages, the differentiated aspect should appropriately dominate, while at the other stages the integral aspect should then likewise dominate.

So in general terms, development starts from a greatly confused state of integration (where neither pre nor trans can be properly differentiated). So the earliest stages (i.e. of Band 1) properly represent the confused interaction of both pre and trans elements! Then at the middle stages the conscious aspect now becomes largely separate from the unconscious, enabling unambiguous type understanding of a specialised rational linear kind. Not surprisingly because pre is now explicitly separated from trans, with neither existing in isolation, we thereby have the unfolding of the personal stages (that are neither pre nor trans).

Then at the higher stages the progressive two-way integration of both pre and trans (in a mature refined manner) increasingly takes place. Therefore the stages of Band 3 (and especially Band 4) now represent the dynamic two-way interaction of both pre and trans elements (in a mature integrated fashion)

So the goal of such "higher" contemplative development is the ultimate unity of both pre and trans in the corresponding union of both transcendent and immanent directions.

Then the final stages (of the Radial Bands i.e. Bands 5, 6 and 7)) enable both the relative independence (in differentiated linear manner) of both pre and trans, combined with their relative interdependence (in a two-way integral fashion).    

Now the very reason why peak and valley experiences, with respect to both "higher" and "lower" stages, are possible in development is precisely because of the necessary dynamic interaction as between both the confused and mature relationship of pre and trans (i.e. immanent and transcendent directions).

So development starts from a state of total confusion with respect to these polarities. Therefore meaningful peak experience (of corresponding mature states) is not yet possible.

However as the differentiation of pre from trans gradually takes place during early development, the corresponding dynamic relationship between both aspects becomes less confused. This therefore enables occasional brief exposure (during one's better moments as it were) to the more mature experience (characteristic of the higher spiritual stages of development).

By the same token, because full maturity with respect to the refined interaction of pre and trans is never fully achieved, this means that occasional valley experiences (in one's weaker moments) are also possible, when one temporarily lapses back to a more confused understanding.

Finally, I have repeatedly made the point that the very specialisation of rational understanding with respect to the personal stages, which characterises our present culture, greatly limits access to refined spiritual experience (of either the transcendent or immanent variety).

In this way though our society has certainly reached a "higher" stage from the linear analytic, in many ways this represents a "lower" stage from the corresponding circular holistic perspective.

As I have repeatedly emphasised this is dramatically illustrated with respect to the extremely limited conventional interpretation of Mathematics, where the holistic aspect of appreciation is not even recognised.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

States of Development (2)

As we have seen, a distinctive state is associated with each stage of development.

Though initially, the terminology of waking, dreaming and deep sleep may serve of general use, more precise terminology is required.

And this is provided through the holistic appreciation of number, whereby each distinctive state is characterised by a unique dimension, which in turn represents a dynamic configuration with respect to the way the opposite polarities (external/internal and whole/part) dynamically interact in experience. 

So the default waking state is here characterised by 1 (representing the holistic mathematical interpretation of this number). This represents absolute type experience that is characterised by non-interacting poles. So for example the external is abstracted from the corresponding internal pole; likewise the quantitative notion of parts is abstracted from the corresponding qualitative notion of wholeness (with wholes thereby understood in reduced terms as merely the sum of parts).

Conventional understanding of Band 2, especially with respect to the accepted understanding of Mathematics and the related sciences, is heavily characterised by such 1-dimensional understanding.

So with this understanding, merely the conscious aspect of interpretation is emphasised in a somewhat fixed manner as corresponding to structures (of form).

Now as we have seen, such scientific understanding is clearly related to the waking state (as the home of conscious awareness).

However it would seem somewhat irrelevant in scientific terms to mention this fact.
In other words, the waking state would be considered strictly neutral with respect to scientific theories and data, which constitute the structural aspects of the stages (associated with Band 2).

So therefore the unique feature of this band (again especially where Mathematics and Science is concerned) is that the dynamic interaction as between states and structures, which characterises in various degrees all the other bands, is here completely ignored, with perceived truth thereby acquiring an absolute rigid type validity.

However, as all other Bands, necessarily entail both states and structures (in dynamic interaction with each other), perceived truth is here of a strictly relative nature!

 Thus Band 2 is uniquely based on the belief that the conscious aspect of understanding can be fully abstracted from its corresponding unconscious aspect, which in scientific terms, implies that rational understanding, of an analytic nature, can be fully abstracted from intuitive type understanding that is holistic.

Now a great scientist such as Albert Einstein would indeed have recognised the considerable importance of intuition in terms of achieving essential creative insights.

However this remained implicit, with subsequent formulation of theory conducted  in a merely rational manner.

Indeed the great paradox regarding Einstein is how he remained such a resolute "objective determinist" throughout his life. Thus he believed  that the deepest secrets of nature would ultimately yield to rational understanding (in an unambiguous conscious manner) when in fact his decisive breakthroughs depended considerably on intuitive insight of a qualitative holistic nature! 

Somehow Einstein could not face up to the fact that the dynamic interaction of reason and intuition  (with respect to understanding) is fully replicated in the very nature of physical reality itself (with respect to both its complementary analytic and holistic characteristics). 

What is remarkable therefore is that Band 2 understanding - which is untypical in a crucial manner of all other Bands on the spectrum - has become the accepted norm for truth in our society.

Though this is especially the case with respect to Mathematics and science, it deeply informs intellectual life generally and the conventional attitudes and practices on which modern society is built.

Thus the key feature of the more advanced bands is that increasingly further dimensions unfold, with dynamic interaction as between states and structures central.

So for example at Level 1 (Band 3), an enhanced intuitive "dream" state is reached, whereby the phenomenal dualistic features of reality increasing are seen to represent but an illusion (with respect to their absolute validity). 

Now this holistic state is inherently associated with the unconscious appreciation of the complementary (and ultimate identity) of external and internal polarities.

Then in the balanced development of this stage, the corresponding unfolding of new paradoxical structures (of a circular kind) unfold, giving appropriate conscious expression to the unconscious dynamics involved.

And, as I have repeatedly stated, these new refined structures are then associated with an entirely distinctive from of holistic mathematical (and scientific) understanding, that is inherently of a qualitative (rather than quantitative) nature.

Now in my approach, Level 2 is precisely defined in terms of the holistic mathematical interpretation of 2 (representing a dimension). Thus deep appreciation of the complementary nature of external and internal conscious poles (that are + 1 and – 1 with respect to each other) thereby constitutes 2-dimensional appreciation. And very importantly, full appreciation here entails the balanced interaction of both (unconscious) states in the form of refined intuition and (conscious) structures, in the form of appropriate paradoxical type rational understanding (that is circular in nature).  

So a dynamic relationship thereby characterises the relationship as between state and structure at this level. And this is true of all further levels and bands on the spectrum.

Indeed it is also true of all the stages of the earliest Band 1, where however a somewhat confused relationship as between (unconscious) states and (conscious) structures still exists. 

It is my own deep conviction that rarely - if ever - is sufficient attention given to the importance of maintaining dynamic balance as between states and structures with respect to the more advanced bands.

In general the esoteric contemplative traditions are characterised by an over-emphasis on mere states (with respect to varying refined degrees of spiritual intuition at the "higher" levels).

However - certainly from my perspective -  the scientific articulation of the corresponding appropriate structures, cognitive and affective, associated with such intuitive states, is greatly lacking.

Once again I stress that these "higher" structures provide the basis for new mathematical and scientific worlds (of a directly qualitative nature).

So, for example, every mathematical symbol, with an accepted analytic (quantitative) interpretation, equally possesses an unrecognised holistic (qualitative) identity! So vast territories of mathematical meaning remain completely unexplored!

Unfortunately, outside the contemplative traditions, where "higher" dimensions are recognised, it is generally with respect to their mere structural features.

I mentioned before while at University in Dublin, the philosophy of Hegel exercised a great influence on my development.

Now this philosophy could in many ways be identified with the articulation of the 2-dimensional approach (e.g. with respect to his dialectic).

However what is greatly missing from Hegel is the corresponding emphasis on development of the pure contemplative states (that can properly support such understanding).

Thus intellectual understanding - even of the global holistic variety of Hegel - should never become an end in itself. Thus the unique existential importance of each personal life must be balanced with the vast impersonal nature of historical developments. And this cannot be achieved through mere philosophy!  

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

States of Development (1)

Though frequently used with respect to development, the term "states" can be somewhat vague and unambiguous.

In common understanding, states would often refer directly to the emotions e.g. a state of joy, an anxiety state, a state of bewilderment, a state of confusion etc.

The term could equally carry a physical connotation as appearing for work in a tidy state, driving in  a drunken state, sitting down for a meal in a hungry state etc.

It could also refer to motivation as for example with a disciplined state or a state of concentration.

However when used with respect to development, it generally carries a distinctive meaning, which initially would be identified in a physiological manner.

So here the three states of waking, dreaming and deep sleep are usually grouped together.

Now in psychological terms these relate closely to the relationship between conscious and unconscious.

Thus when one is awake this thereby implies direct consciousness of reality. By the same token, when one is in deep sleep, this implies that one is thereby unconscious with respect to phenomenal circumstances.

Dreaming then seems a little problematic being suspended somewhere between conscious and unconscious aspects. Conventionally it is associated with sleep. However one still relate to phenomena, though now more through a process of fantasy rather than the conscious manner of a waking state.

Thus in the broadest sense, states can be associated with the unfolding of corresponding stages, that entail varying degrees of exposure with respect to conscious and unconscious aspects of development.

Though some interesting connections can indeed be made through this terminology of states (in terms of waking, dreaming and deep sleep), I personally find it somewhat vague and imprecise.

Indeed I find the notion of the physical spectrum with its various bands of electro-magnetic energy more useful.

Thus each state is now seen as representing a characteristic type of psycho spiritual energy that is associated with each stage of development.  Put more simply, it represents a characteristic form of illumination or spiritual intuition that typifies each stage.

However in then end, the best scientific interpretation is provided in holistic mathematical terms through the notion of number. Each number is associated here with a characteristic dimension through which the world is viewed. And as the number system itself is unlimited, ultimately the possible variety of states (i.e. dimensions) that can be experienced is likewise unlimited.

Furthermore, I have always emphasised in my writings that a dynamic interaction necessarily characterises both the state and structure characteristics that typify each stage.

So the structures of a stage provide the appropriate phenomenal configurations through which affective, cognitive and volitional experience take place.  Thus associated with the typical intuitive state associated with each stage, is a unique structural configuration through which this intuition can be successfully mediated in a phenomenal manner.

Ideally a degree of harmony should be maintained as between states and structures. However frequently a marked imbalance may be apparent. So from one extreme, the experience of the state may dominate; from another extreme the experience of the corresponding structure will dominate.

Indeed as a generalisation, I think it is true to say that the traditional treatment of contemplative type development focuses unduly on the states associated with the more advanced spiritual stages.

Then it is perhaps even more true to say that the conventional treatment of science and indeed intellectual life generally, is characterised by undue concentration on the mere structures associated with the middle levels of development.

However coming back to the waking, dreaming, deep sleep portrayal of states, I think it is important to distinguish as between daytime and night time use.

Normally we associate waking with day-time time activity (when by definition we are conscious of the surrounding world).

However even here the dreaming state can intrude when for example one engages in fantasy. Indeed this as indicated by the term day dreaming! Also the deep sleep state can intrude when for example one performs activities from a profound contemplative disposition.
Therefore one is never in a pure waking state, as conscious and unconscious necessarily interact in experience. However it is true that work activity for example would normally be heavily dependent on the conscious activity associated with a clear waking state!

Likewise we normally associate night time activity (as rest) with sleep. However the deep sleep would be of comparatively short duration with most time given over to dreaming, where phenomenal interactions of various kinds occur. Thus through asleep, we can indeed at times feel keenly conscious of  events unfolding in out dreams. Occasionally it is also possible to have especially lucid dreams where one may for example resolve issues arising from waking life with much greater clarity.

Thus all three states can overlap with each other in varying degrees both with respect to day-time and night-time usage.

In recent blog entries I have been dealing with the the 3 main levels of Band 3 (representing the transcendent direction with respect to the "higher" spiritual contemplative stages of development).

Now each of these is characterised by a daytime dream state.
However it is necessary to clarify these further into - what I refer to as - real, virtual and original dream states respectively.

During Level 1, as the intensification of spiritual intuitive illumination occurs, one enters a dream state with respect to normal waking reality whereby one - literally - begins to experience the phenomenal world as illusionary. So this represents the "real" dream state, where the dualistic nature of conscious phenomena is eroded to a considerable extent.
Then the purgative stages especially with respect to the "dark night of the soul" often resemble a waking nightmare!

During Level 2 one enters a new dream state of a virtual nature, where "imaginary" phenomena, as indirect conscious phenomena (deeply expressive of the holistic unconscious) now likewise undergo intense erosion.

Then finally during Level 3 - approaching a deep sleep state - one enters an even more profound dream state of an original kind where the essential nature of life and death is confronted. This can culminate in a decisive near death type of experience (while awake) where existential fear regarding death is removed and the essential nature of spirit as the sole permanent reality directly revealed.