Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Modes of Development (6)

Let us now return to "musical" which as we have of seen is one of the seven multiple intelligences referred to by Gardner.

I am somewhat puzzled by the nature of this inclusion. Clearly music is very important in many people's lives (both in terms of performance and appreciation). But it refers to just one of many possible artistic talents. For example one could have a special gift e.g. as a painter, an actor, for fashion or interior design, for writing (e.g. plays, novels or poetry). And this by no means exhausts the possible list of artistic fields.

So clearly though music does indeed represent one important artistic domain, there are of course many others, where individuals can demonstrate a special ability.

Though one could perhaps, at a stretch provide a full spectrum model, especially in terms of different levels of appreciation of - say - a Wagner symphony, this perhaps remains a bit exaggerated.

Certainly the appreciation of music entails the affective dimension of sense and feelings. and as these can potentially undergo ever more refined development throughout the entire spectrum, then in a sense one would inevitably bring such enhanced affective development to one's appreciation of all music.

However this would not equally apply with respect to the great creators of music who - as history amply demonstrates -  often are full of human frailties, demonstrating considerable psychological immaturity.

Therefore though considerable work and dedication may be required to properly nurture an inherent musical gift, this may not require mature development beyond the customary levels normally applicable to human development (i.e. Bands 1 and Band 2).

However, this is where a true dynamic appreciation of the vertical nature of stage development is required to properly appreciate what is involved.

I have just finished an excellent biography of Johnny Cash (written by Robert Hilburn). Clearly Johnny Cash has had a great influence on 20th century popular music especially with respect to his unique blending of rock, country, folk and gospel influences.

Now I have mentioned many times before the dynamic manner in which both prepersonal and transpersonal aspects are related in experience!

What happens with many gifted musicians - and Johnny Cash is an excellent example here - is that they use the talent with which they are gifted,  as a vehicle to reach out for transcendent meaning in their lives.

Such a musician, when then successful is likely to be exposed to the experience of frequent "highs" where this desire for transcendence is momentarily fulfilled. This can come for example from the creative thrill of writing a new song, from the love and support of devoted fans, the magical rapport with an audience at a concert and so on. However this can all happen very suddenly, without the prolonged and disciplined spiritual preparation that mature transcendence requires.
Such "highs" then inevitably trigger conflict with the unreformed  shadow personality threatening corresponding  "lows".  However because of the many demands of this new successful lifestyle, the star is now induced to flee the "shadow" by attempting to convert these "lows" into the more acceptable "highs".

So quite early on, Cash resorted to amphetamines as the means for sustaining energy and dispelling tiredness and depression. Of course as the use of these pills reached epidemic proportions, he became more and more exposed to his unrecognised shadow with his life fast spinning out of control. And this is a pattern that we see repeated again and again in the lives of so many successful musical stars.

Thus what we are really seeing in such behaviour is an experience which, by its very nature, increasingly swings as between "higher" (trans) and "lower" (pre) stages of development.

In a way the very success which these artists initially experience opens up in a dramatic way the desire for  transcendental meaning (even though its true nature may not be properly realised).

However because they are not prepared to undergo the strict spiritual discipline that is required for permanent realisation, inevitably they become increasingly exposed to the unreformed shadow side of their personalities. However the very demands of their new success set severe limits on the extent to which this shadow can be faced. So typically we see an attempt to escape this shadow, e.g. through drugs, sex, overweening ambition and the increasing desire for power and control over everything in their lives.

So in psychological terms - instead of the stable experience of the middle stages of the spectrum - we have by contrast the increasingly unstable oscillation as between  "higher" and "lower" stages.

In other words such stars can become addicted to transcendent "peaks", which however because of gross identification with material phenomena, can only be sustained for very short periods.

Unfortunately they then unfortunately can become likewise addicted to avoiding painful "valleys" (through escaping recognition of the unreformed shadow).

Therefore this is a recipe for increasing instability, which can  lead to early death, or in more fortunate circumstances, a key crisis moment that finally enables a true "conversion" experience.

However this is a pattern that is likely to be repeated to a lesser degree by people who are born with a special talent.

In is only natural in such circumstances to seek to express one's personality through developing this talent thereby offering one the best route to success in life and recognition from others.

In effect one then often attempts to use one's gift as a means of achieving premature "peak" experience of meaning (which ultimately is of a transcendental nature).

However, easy success can lead to a postponement in developing other important abilities. Also the recognition achieved can then temporarily blind one as to the inevitable shadow side of one's personality.

Thus there is a danger that development - for people with special talents - may become unbalanced in many ways. In other words a significant task for anyone endowed with a unique gift is to learn how best to integrate this with overall development.

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Modes of Development (5)

I mentioned in yesterday's entry that the "multiple intelligences", as outlined by Gardner do not necessarily develop through the entire spectrum. Most do, but not necessarily all!

One especially interesting case here relates to logico-mathematical ability.

As conventionally understood, this attains full development through specialised rational structures that are associated with Band 2 (in my model of the spectrum). And this equates directly with linear (i.e.1-dimensional) interpretation. What this simply entails is that the fundamental polar opposites, which dynamically condition all phenomenal reality, are separated in an absolute manner.

Chiefly this entails the absolute separation of external and internal and whole and part polarities  with quantitative and qualitative poles, which in dynamic experiential terms are necessarily complementary with one another.

Thus with linear rational understanding, interpretation - in every context - takes place with respect to just one isolated pole of reference.

So for example, typically in Mathematics, objective truth is considered in absolute isolation from subjective considerations. Equally, this truth is considered in merely quantitative terms (where  the qualitative aspect in effect is completely ignored). This in effect leads to a basic form of reductionism, where the whole is reduced to its constituent parts. This is therefore associated with the analytic aspect of mathematical interpretation.

However, what is not at all properly recognised is that further development - entailing utterly distinctive multi-dimensional forms of "circular" paradoxical understanding - can unfold at the "higher" more intuitively inspired contemplative levels of understanding.

The simplest example is 2-dimensional,where both the external pole (as objective truth) and the internal pole (as mental interpretation) are considered in a bi-directional relative manner.

This leads to the direct unfolding of the qualitative aspect in what corresponds to the holistic aspect of mathematical interpretation.

And such holistic understanding reaches its specialised development  at Band 4 of the spectrum. This is dependent on a highly refined type of intuitive state that is then combined with dynamic paradoxical structures of a relative "circular" kind.

From a psychological perspective, the analytic aspect (of quantitative understanding) relates directly to the conscious interpretation of mathematical symbols. However the holistic aspect, relates by contrast, directly to unconscious appreciation, now brought fully into the conscious light, where it can be given a refined phenomenal expression.

So the startling realisation now dawns that all mathematical symbols can be given dual analytic and holistic interpretations (of equal importance).

However initially both the analytic and holistic interpretations unfold in a somewhat separate manner.

So the final stage of development entails the gradual merging  of both types of meaning in - what I refer to as - the radial aspect of mathematics. So this form of understanding entails the mature interpenetration of both conscious and unconscious aspects of appreciation.

And this would reach its specialised development at Band 6 (of the spectrum).

However even though logico-mathematical ability can be rightly extended in entirely new forms of appreciation to embrace the entire spectrum of development, it is not it itself necessary for full integrated development to take place.

So cognitive development can indeed unfold at all levels without necessarily being tied specifically to mathematical type ability.

Therefore I would accept that certain enlightened sages and spiritual leaders have indeed managed to attain to the most advanced levels of realisation (Bands 6 and 7) without displaying explicit recognition of their associated mathematical structures. However having said this, such logical structures would necessarily have been implicitly required in their actual experience!

With respect to the other "multiple intelligence, it would be meaningful, I believe, to accept that the entire spectrum of stage development potentially applies to interpersonal, intrapersonal and in a somewhat modified sense, linguistic and visual-spatial categories.

I would find it more difficult to apply all stages to musical and - especially - bodily-kinisthetic intelligence.

However, I certainly would see all stages as potentially applying to the "additional" intelligences" i.e. naturalistic, spiritual existential and moral.

However the central point remains that these essentially comprise "secondary modes" that already entail a certain unique configuration with respect to the primary "colours", as it were, represented by cognitive, affective and volitional modes.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Modes of Development (4)

So far, I have been content to deal with the primary modes i.e. cognitive, affective and volitional, which I believe are central with respect to the balanced integration of the psyche. Though personalities can indeed differ to a substantial degree, in the end, successful integration requires corresponding integration with respect to the three primary modes.

However the manner in which these modes are expressed remain unique for each personality.

However much attention has been placed in recent years on what Howard Gardner refers to as "multiple intelligences". Now Gardner identifies 7 key variants here in a manner that I would find somewhat arbitrary. These comprise linguistic (words and language), logical-mathematical (logic and numbers), musical (music, sound, rhythm), bodily-kinisthetic (body movement control), spatial-visual (images and space), interpersonal (other people's feelings) and intrapersonal (self awareness).

One could question whether these are indeed distinctive abilities for - certainly in terms of the primary modes - they involve inevitable overlap. For example linguistic would entail a mixture of overlap of cognitive and affective modes. Certainly logico-mathematical would represent a more exclusive cognitive type ability. However cognitive development in the more general sense would not necessarily require special logico-mathematical ability! And bodily kinisthetic would - from my perspective - represent a more purely instinctive use of both cognitive and affective modes!

Then in other respects, these categories may appear too general. For example there are many different expressions of musical ability. One for example could have a fine singing voice, without a demonstrated ability to play a musical instrument. And one could be gifted in playing just one instrument e.g. drums, without a special ability for any other. And then we would have to distinguish as between performance and appreciation. So many who greatly appreciate music (in at least some of its varied forms of expression) may not be equally gifted with respect to performance.

And bodily-kinisthetic ability - just again to give one more example - covers a very wide range.

For example the various sports require a particular type of kinisthetic ability which to a degree is exclusive to that sport. Therefore, someone who is a gifted golfer may not display a marked ability for other sports e.g. tennis. Though, there are many who display a general ability for participating successfully in a wide variety of sports, this may owe a lot to other factors such as peer support, opportunities for practice, personality characteristics etc.

Then, because of the arbitrariness of defining "multiple intelligences", additional abilities have been suggested e.g. naturalist (concern for the environment), spiritual/existential (religion and ultimate issues) and moral (ethics and values).

Here we can perhaps recognise a greater emphasis on volition (in the fundamental drive or motivation common to all human experience). However it is interesting that it is given here a somewhat secondary role, whereas I would rightly see volition in a very true sense as the most important of all!

For example one could be a passionate believer in the value of scientific truth. However this passion itself does not reflect the cognitive - but rather the volitional - capacity of the psyche. And without this prior underlying motivation for meaning (in whatever form) it is hard to see how any of the "multiple intelligences" can truly find expression.

One key issue that in fact clearly separates the primary modes (cognitive, affective and volitional) from the secondary modes ("multiple intelligences") is that full balanced integration of the personality (which can only be properly viewed in a dynamic - and necessarily approximate - open-ended manner) requires appropriate development of the primary modes through all major bands of the spectrum.

In other words balanced integration cannot entail - for example - Band 6 cognitive with Band 2 affective development.  Rather Band 6 integration  requires - though the precise manner that this is obtained is indeed unique for each individual personality - corresponding Band 6 development with respect to cognitive, affective and volitional modes respectively.

However, this requirement with respect to integration does not equally apply to the development of "multiple intelligences".

In fact, very often, marked development with respect to just one intelligence - enabling a recognised expertise - is associated with very limited development with respect to others.

Also in most cases -  even when one is especially gifted with a particular talent - development takes place over a very limited range of the spectrum.

This would seen especially the case with bodily-kinisthetic ability. For example a truly gifted footballer may be paid on a salary of over €100,000 per week for this unique talent. However it is not really meaningful to envisage that this talent requires development through all stages of the spectrum.

However, I would still caution very much against the view that these talents therefore represent unco-ordinated " lines of development". In fact a far more interesting scenario, I believe prevails, which I will return to in a future entry. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Modes of Development (3)

As I have stated, successful human development requires the corresponding successful differentiation and integration with respect to the three primary modes i.e. cognitive, affective and volitional respectively.

Sometimes I am tempted also to include a 4th primary mode with respect to instinctive psycho-physical ability.

For example this is vital in terms of co-ordination of physical movement, which is especially important in sport and athletics.

From another perspective, it is extremely important with respect to physical health.

Most illnesses, to a greater or lesser extent entail a complex interaction of both physical and psychological factors (which remain somewhat inaccessible to our conscious minds).

However, I have gradually come to the conclusion that - rather than representing a distinctive mode - the psycho-physical in fact represents the extremely close co-ordination of both affective and cognitive modes (where they typically operate on a largely unconscious i.e. purely instinctive level).

However in my approach, I place very strong emphasis on the complementarity in experience of both the physical and spiritual extremes of behaviour. Therefore spiritual integration is grounded in behaviour that necessarily remains to a degree physical and instinctive.

Thus the ability to continually refine spiritual understanding (in transcendent terms) always remains wedded to the corresponding task of refining instinctive behaviour (in an immanent manner).

And the more successful one becomes if such refining of psycho-physical impulses, the less involuntary (i.e. blindly unconscious)  they become!

This would entail for example that in future evolution, human beings will eventually acquire the ability to directly improve their health e.g. with respect to many illnesses through unravelling the complex interactions as between mind and body.

However this ability to experience both affective and cognitive aspects as fully complementary (with respect to psycho-physical impulses) will in turn require the purest form of volition i.e. where it is not confused with phenomena of a deeply instinctive kind.

So sticking with the primary modes (constituting "the big three" of cognitive, affective and volitional) we can perhaps readily see that there are intimate connections here with the three big cultural pursuits of science, the arts and religion respectively.

Now, all three modes are necessarily involved in a comprehensive understanding of each of these cultural pursuits.

For example, science as we know it would not be possible without the deep innate desire "to know". However this underlying motivation for knowledge itself properly represents the volitional mode.

Also interest in many fields of science e.g. biology cannot be divorced from a well developed aesthetic sense with respect to the beauty and diversity of nature, which would represent the affective mode.

However - certainly in terms of its formal presentation - present science is directly related to the cognitive mode (in its strict rational approach).

Though in direct terms, the arts are associated with the affective mode (in the capacity for evoking an emotional response), considerable use may also be made of cognitive understanding. For example, training to be a musician may entail prolonged exposure to formal modes of expression, while also entailing intense discipline (imposed by the cognitive mind).

Also the arts are often used (e.g. in painting) to give expression to the religious impulse.

So though the affective mode is essential. the arts are more loosely tied - than with the sciences - to exclusive identification with just one mode.

Then, when I refer to religion, I am referring directly to that mystical impulse (in the desire for ultimate meaning) that lies at the core of all the great religious traditions.

However in practice the other modes can also play a big role.

For example one valid criticism of the institutional approach to religion is that it tends to place undue emphasis on various rules and conventions (that are defined in strict rational terms).

Not surprisingly this then often sparks a reaction in the desire for a more personal devotional approach (where the affective mode is primary).

However, the ultimate core of religious meaning relates again to that innate desire for ultimate meaning (which is the expression of the volitional mode).

When one accepts that integration of the personality in individual human terms requires the corresponding integration of cognitive, affective and volitional modes, this entails that successful cultural development in society ultimately requires the corresponding integration of the sciences, the arts and religion respectively.

And this is where we have a huge problem for at the moment the three are hugely compartmentalised.

This is especially the case with respect to the sciences and religion. Rather than these been seen ultimately as complementary and fully necessary for each other's right development, they are largely treated as being sharply opposed.

Indeed to a significant extent, present science is being used to usurp the very role of true religion (by becoming the religion of the modern age).

The great issues of life lead to the experience of utter mystery and therefore cannot be grasped in a cognitive manner (which attempts to encapsulate such meaning in unambiguous rational terms).

Rightly understood, appreciation of science should lead on to the growing experience of mystery.

However, this will require that understanding of the very nature of science be considerably modifed.

As I have repeatedly stated, current accepted science represents but the limited specialised rational understanding of just one band of the spectrum (i.e. Band 2). This is analytic science (that is geared to quantitative type appreciation of reality).

However a very different appreciation unfolds at more advanced bands.

So associated with the contemplative intuitive awareness of Band 4 is the specialised understanding of holistic science (that is geared to corresponding qualitative type appreciation). Then later at Band 6 with the growing interpenetration of both rational and contemplative, we have the specialised understanding of radial science (that is geared to the mature interaction of both quantitative and quantitative type understanding).  And it is only with Band 6 appreciation that the proper integration of science and religion can take place (where they can mutually serve each other).

Because of its more fluid nature, the divide does not appear to be as great as between the arts and the sciences on one hand and the arts and religion on the other.

However proper integration again will require recognition that different types of artistic appreciation (and indeed expression) are likewise associated with the different bands on the spectrum.

Paradoxically though the arts may initially be seen as directly related to the qualitative aspect of human experience (in contrast to the sciences), artistic appreciation in modern society has become defined by a mass market of collective consumerism (where tasted are considerably manipulated for commercial gain). Thus the very capacity to experience a "unique response" is becoming increasingly limited in modern times.

Digital technology, itself is an expression of the scientific aspect. Not surprisngly therefore - though the purposes of such technology may allegedly be to enhance aesthetic appreciation at many levels - in effect it is threatening to significantly rob society of the qualitative capacity that defines the very nature of true artistic appreciation.

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Modes of Development (2)

We have identified the three main modes of development as cognitive, affective and volitional respectively.

Once again the cognitive mode is directly identified with (rational) thinking in the desire for ultimate knowledge regarding reality.

The affective  mode is then directly identified with (emotional) feeling in the desire for the ultimate recognition of beauty with respect to this reality.

Finally the volitional mode is directly identified with (spiritual) longing in the innate desire to literally become one with this reality (through love). 

Successful development - especially - at "higher" levels of the spectrum, requires that an appropriate balance be maintained as between the three modes.

However having said this, development however generally does not proceed in a balanced manner.

So typically one mode - which is initially dominant in personality - leads the way with respect to "higher" development. Then the imbalances caused by this accelerated development, gradually require the strengthening of the other two modes (initially is a somewhat separate manner) before eventually overall integration can be obtained.

I have always been especially interested in the dynamics of the mystical personality type (where the volitional mode - in the desire for spiritual union - is especially strong).

When this is the case, one is likely to undergo a radical conversion - or indeed a series of conversions - where this innate spiritual impulse acts to dramatically change the course of one's development.

In my own case this then became initially consolidated through the cognitive function, as I attempted to develop a holistic intellectual map that would help me chart my way through this new developmental landscape.

However gradually the continual use of "higher" intuitively inspired reason led to imbalances with respect to the "lower" primitive self.

So the next major stage then led to the attempt to address this imbalance in the continual exposure to "primitive" instinctive desire (in what related directly to the affective mode).

Then the third stage was concerned with the attempt to achieve balance as between both the "higher" cognitive and "lower" affective self.

However, so far this development constituted mainly the "ascent", whereby the linear levels of dualistic type understanding became substantially by-passed.  So this led to increasing difficulties in dealing with everyday activities on their own terms.

So the next major phase of development was then devoted to the descent whereby cognitive, affective and - most of all - volitional modes could be gradually enabled to relate both dual and nondual reality in a more balanced manner.

So even though volitional, cognitive and affective modes can indeed - and typically do - develop initially in a somewhat separate manner, they can only do so in a necessarily unbalanced fashion.

Put another way, the mature development of each mode - with respect to both its differentiated and integral aspects - requires that all modes be properly balanced with each other.

So the ultimate purpose of both the cognitive and affective modes through (rational) knowledge and (emotional) feeling respectively is to enable the volitional mode, through the pure light of spirit, express itself fully without hindrance i.e. without undue attachment to the phenomenal symbols through which it is mediated.

What I found greatly missing from conventional accounts of the "higher" stages of development was proper emphasis on - what I refer to as - mirror structures.

For example, following spiritual illumination, it would be typical for many male mystics to undergo substantial development with respect to a more refined form of cognitive understanding (where intellectual structures become directly expressive of an enhanced spiritual intuition).

However this inevitably breeds a new form of passive cognitive attachment (where they can over identify with the "higher" self).

Addressing this problem requires from my experience - two distinct transitions.

Firstly, there must be a lengthy period of withdrawal from identification with cognitive type activity (which inevitably entails a spiritual "purgation" or "dark night" immersing one in the depths of the unconscious).

Secondly, with the cognitive aspect now somewhat subdued, only then can one become sufficiently free to properly address the "lower" self on its own terms i.e. in an affective manner.

So this initial withdrawal, which is always very difficult, relates to mirror structure development.

Whereas the initial positive development of structures (during periods of illumination) constitutes the differentiated aspect of new stage development, the secondary negative development (i.e. mirror structures during periods of purgation) directly represent the corresponding integral aspect.

And the three modes, cognitive, affective and volitional, ultimately require both appropriate "positive" and "negative" development.  

I have stated before on many occasions that my own development has been very much influenced by the writings of St. John of the Cross.

Interestingly, St. John places far more emphasis on the importance of the "via negativa" (which in my terms represents mirror structure development) in his spiritual account.

In other words, he is directly concerned with the overall task of how spiritual integration of the psyche is obtained.

Expressed in yet another way, balanced development at each level requires that equal emphasis be given to both the (spiritual) state appropriate to that stage and the corresponding structures (cognitive affective and volitional) that express the phenomena of form, rightly associated with the stage.

If there is too much emphasis on mere states, an undue degree of instability is likely to arise, without one being able to properly consolidate the understanding of any given stage.

On the other hand if there is too much emphasis on structures, understanding is likely to become too rigidly identified with just one stage considerably blocking access to all other stages.

In this regard we can perhaps appreciate the great limitations of the present mathematical and scientific approach.

This approach is rigidly identified with the mere (cognitive) structures of the middle level of the spectrum. It is so successful then in blocking out access to the other levels on the spectrum that their very existence - for mathematical and scientific purposes - is not even recognised.

Friday, March 11, 2016

The Modes of Development (1)

With respect to the sustained integral aspect of development, I have always placed special emphasis on the need to maintain appropriate balance as between the "big three" i.e. the cognitive, affective and volitional (conative) modes respectively.

And in this conspiracy of the "big three", I have seen the volitional aspect (relating directly to will) in a primary sense as crucial, whereby it serves - when employed appropriately - as the essential means through which the cognitive and affective modes can be harmoniously balanced with each other.

This the will, in this overall developmental context, expresses the innate desire for ultimate meaning (which is directly of a spiritual nature). Therefore, when this instinct is especially strong, it can to a considerable degree enable one to unravel many of the barriers - often set in early life - that prevent both cognitive and affective modes from operating effectively with each other.

From a dynamic perspective, cognitive and affective modes are designed to operate in a complementary manner.

Thus the cognitive (rational) mode represents the impersonal pole with respect to meaning in the attempt to exercise (independent) control over one's environment.

Then the affective (emotional) mode represents the personal pole in the corresponding attempt to exercise (interdependent) response with respect to the same environment.

And an important discovery, I earlier made, along Jungian lines, is that when one mode - say cognitive - operates in a conscious manner, then the complementary mode - in this case affective - is thereby necessarily involved in an unconscious fashion.

Indeed I could further recognise that the very way in which we experience space and time is intimately dependent on the manner in which the interaction as between cognitive and affective takes place.

So each personality type - as I pointed out with respect to my delineation of 24 fundamental types in early blog entries - thereby represents a unique configuration with respect to the manner in which space and time are configured (and therefore equally with respect to the manner in which both cognitive and affective functions are configured).

Therefore the importance of the volitional aspect of will - as the direct spiritual centre of personality -  is to successfully navigate, as it were, with respect to the development of both cognitive and affective modes (i.e. reason and emotion) so that they can be at once successfully differentiated from each other, and yet also successfully integrated with each other throughout development.

In this context, it is again very important to stress the binary approach to development.

Put simply, with respect to this binary approach, the linear (1) relates to the differentiated aspect of development; however the circular (0) represents the corresponding integral aspect.
Now admittedly, emphasis on both of these varies considerably throughout development.

Earlier development (i.e. Band 1 "lower" levels) is characterised mainly by the movement away from the confused (unconscious) circular nature of  early integration towards the  more differentiated (conscious) linear appreciation of stage structures. And this linear appreciation then achieves considerable specialisation - especially with respect to the cognitive mode - at Band 2.

However when one then attempts to intellectually apply the mature understanding (of  Band 2) to the whole spectrum, it leads to the misleading characterisation of the various modes i.e. cognitive, affective and volitional (i.e. directly spiritual) as constituting various "lines" of development.

The fact is that these modes operate in an increasingly circular fashion at Band 3 (where authentic contemplative type development unfolds). Then the specialisation of this circular (paradoxical) type appreciation takes place at Band 4.

Finally, with the remaining Bands (5, 6 and 7) we move increasingly to the mature balanced interaction of both linear and circular aspects with respect to the three modes. In other words, these modes can now be both productively and creatively engaged with respect to both (linear) differentiation and (circular) integration respectively.

This again highlights why I considered that the standard approach to integral studies - with its misplaced emphasis on "lines" of development - considerably misrepresented the very nature of integration.

Once again the linear aspect is only properly suited to the differentiated aspect of stage development.

The circular aspect (in terms of complementary paradoxical polar pairings) is then properly related to the integral aspect. And the proper dynamic interaction as between differentiated and integral aspects entails the binary approach of both linear (1) and circular (0) aspects.

Monday, March 7, 2016


The great barrier to authentic spiritual enlightenment is excessive ego attachment.

Though a certain degree of such attachment is in fact necessary, as the spirit must necessarily be mediated through phenomenal means, my personality has always tended to show an unusual degree of sensitivity in this regard.

Thus in my adult life periods of illumination - though intuitively rich, fuelling intense bouts of activity in cognitive and affective terms - inevitably burned themselves quickly out in disillusionment, as undue attachment to phenomena gradually came to impede the pure spiritual light.

So in reverse fashion at Band 5, I was now journeying through the 3 major levels.

And just as at Band 3, Level 1 was directly concerned with the cognitive aspect, likewise it was true again with respect to Band 5. However whereas, earlier, the main thrust of such development was away from dualistic towards more paradoxical nondual appreciation, now in reverse fashion it was turning back from nondual towards its eventual integration with dualistic reality, 

So the initial positive phase of intellectually illuminated activity on the forums was now followed by a lengthier negative phase of withdrawal in the deep felt need to replenish the unconscious wells within.

Because of male identity has always been so strongly identified with such intellectual abilities, the prolonged withdrawal required, proved (as with the "dark night" at Band 3) very difficult.

What I missed most of all was the - now - complete lack of recognition of others for my efforts, for I always firmly believed that I had indeed a valuable contribution to make.

However the unconscious desire for such recognition was itself now the main barrier in terms of the purer development of an intellectual vision (that was intimately dependent on spiritual intuition).

And there is no easy way of dealing with such ego desire other than letting it die slowly on a day to day basis (without substitution of other gratification).

Initially I would protest inwardly at this stifling of my intellectual voice (just when I felt that it was having an impact). However then I would realise that this very desire to have an impact - that betrayed the still untamed ego - was itself the main problem. So the desire for authentic truth requires the foregoing of ego desire, even to the extent of giving up all intellectual ambition for one's ideas to be recognised by others.

And so I found that this surrender would have to be made again and again on a daily basis for some considerable time before any genuine peace of mind could be obtained.

During these periods of withdrawal, outward life seemed increasingly monotonous and uneventful where I now melted anonymously into an amorphous background, with other players attracting notice on the stage of life.

In fact when I look back at this period from about 2000 - 2007, memories do not readily come to mind. It is as if I was not really awake at the time, which in a certain important sense was true as I remained deeply immersed in the sleep state of the unconscious. And this is literally how one learns to let the ego die i.e. through becoming immersed in the deep sleep state of self-forgetfulness!

After a few years, I started writing again, though not is the sustained interactive manner of earlier forum activity. During this time I tested the water as it were by submitting a number of articles to the Integral World forum. However, while welcoming the opportunity to contribute, I now felt more like an outsider looking in, without enjoying the rapport of old with forum participants.

My main energy was now being devoted to a private effort to give a full statement of the binary model of development (i.e. based on the holistic mathematical interpretation of 1 and  0).

I had already made a few preliminary attempts before eventually settling on a discussion type format. And of course I was filling the role of both contributors to this discussion! However it thereby allowed me to raise issues which I felt especially relevant in a more informal manner (hopefully thereby better facilitating comprehension of my overall approach). This can be found at "The Stages of Development". The "Update" and "Brief Further Update" provide an overall outline. It is based on 7 major Bands on the overall Spectrum (with 3 major levels in each band). And this still remains my approach (with only minor modifications) today!

The Levels of Self:: Levels of Reality goes through the 21 levels (based on the "horizontal" external/internal polarities that are positive and negative with respect to each other). Thus each stage of development from a psychological perspective is mirrored by a corresponding stage in physical terms (with the dynamic relationship as between both, complementary).  The Levels as States: Levels as Structures then again proceeds through the same 21 levels (based on the "vertical" whole/part polarities that are real and imaginary with respect to each other). Thus the structural nature of each stage (as form) is properly mirrored by a corresponding state (as empty of phenomena). Healthy development therefore requires that an appropriate balance be maintained at each stage (and between all stages) as between distinctive states and their corresponding structures.

I had initially intended  to then proceed through the more intricate investigation of the 21 levels based on the diagonal form/emptiness polarities, relating to the most intimate psycho physical interactions (of body and mind). However my attention was soon to be become completely absorbed in the radial mathematical appreciation of the Riemann Hypothesis, which in a deeply mysterious manner came to represent the "holy grail" of everything that I had been attempting to achieve.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Familiar Problem

We have now moved on to Band 5 in this account of the unfolding story of personal development. As with all the Bands, it is conveniently sub-divided into 3 major levels.

And the time spent involved on the "integral forums" would be representative of the first stage of Level 1 (Band 5).

Now again, while I refer to this in a discrete linear manner as just one - relatively - distinctive stage, it is important to bear in mind that this equally entails the realisation of how this stage is continuous (in circular fashion) with all other stages. So in my binary digital approach to development, one always must combine both the linear (1) aspect as the understanding of a differentiated stage with the circular (0) aspect of the corresponding nature of its integration with all other stages.

The culmination of Band 4 - which immediately precedes this stage - represents an extreme in terms of the nondual integral appreciation of stage development.

This entails appreciation of the close complementary (circular) links as between each of the "higher" and "lower" levels of both Bands 3 and Bands 1 respectively.

However this strong emphasis on the integral aspect, can lead in turn to a significant by-passing of the levels of Band 2 (where specialised dualistic understanding takes place).

Now on the contemplative ascent, one gradually achieves close complementarity in experience as between external and internal, then whole and part and finally as between form and emptiness. This then culminates in a nondual passive appreciation (largely lacking in phenomenal expression).

So the major task of this first major level on the contemplative descent (i.e. on the way back to full active engagement with the world) was to give an (indirect) objective expression, through clear separation of external and internal polarities, of the holistic integral worldview.

And I was very conscious from the very start that this was my to be my "vocation" on these forums, i.e. to provide a scientific intellectual means of dealing with the true dynamic nature of integration in development.

For it was clear to me that because of the predominance of the linear approach (based on Band 2 understanding) the continuous nature of  the integral aspect of stages (throughout development) was substantially confused with the discrete nature of the differentiated aspect of each particular stage.

Put another way both coherent analytic and holistic aspects were required for the successful interpretation of development. However no clear notion of the holistic aspect was yet evident in the conventional treatment. Though holons were indeed recognised, the treatment of holonic development was strictly conducted in a hierarchical analytic manner!

Therefore I always felt that my fundamental message was indeed very important, even if at times there was considerable resistance to it being heard!

So through being engaged and frequently challenged on these forums, I was forced both to make my own thinking clearer on various issues, while giving additional attention to communicating more effectively to an audience with no previous exposure to my views.

And initially I found all this extremely fulfilling and stimulating. and - while not always necessarily in agreement - I came to greatly admire the rich range of abilities displayed by my fellow contributors to the forums.

And in some ways a lovely balance began to emerge. Therefore whereas my approach was invariable "scientific" on the public forum, increasingly in private e-mail correspondence the opportunity for more intimate personal disclosure arose, especially with two wonderful female cyber friends. So in this way, both the cognitive and affective functions were being amply employed.

However after two years or so of constant engagement, I gradually became more exposed to a significant problem with respect to my own development. Thus while this new "integral" cyber life was going from strength to strength, I was suffering increasing alienation with respect to my day to day work at college. So while I was free to initiate new paradigm thinking on the internet, here in my lecturing to students, I was firmly stuck in the old paradigm, in a manner that was becoming drained of all inspiration.

In a way this represented an accentuation of the old difficulties, whereby the middle levels had become substantially by-passed in development with daily experience predominantly representing the two-way dynamic interaction of "higher" and "lower" stages. And even this interaction was not yet properly balanced with more attention still being given to "higher" level stages that mistakenly were then viewed as - relatively - superior.

Indeed when I look back now at exchanges with fellow participants on the forums, I can readily acknowledge that I did indeed sometimes adopt a superior air (especially when challenged by criticism).

And of course the time demands that this engagement required  meant that the "higher" self,  in the desire to provide a holistic intellectual framework for development, became over-exercised.

Now one's customary style of adaptation to the general demands of life goes back to one's earliest years and can involve elaborate defence mechanisms to avoid dealing with deficiencies rooted in such development.

And then with "lower" level regeneration of the early stages having being placed on the back burner, this would go some way to explaining as to why I now was feeling powerless to change day to day behaviour in a creative fashion.

So as this problem intensified throughout my years on the forums, I eventually accepted that nothing less than a complete withdrawal for a lengthy period would be necessary (which occurred sometime in 2000). .

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Gradual Withdrawal

In all I spent four to five years entailing intense interactive engagement on the "integral" forums (1997 - 2000).

When I look back now, 1 find it hard to believe that I contributed so much - mostly relating to difficult material - during this time.

Overall, between forum contributions and e-mails it would have been somewhere, I imagine, in the region of 2 million words.

And as I was full-time employed (as an Economics lecturer) all this output necessarily had to be contributed in my spare time.

Inevitably however a price had to be paid.

It has always been a characteristic of my development that "illuminative stages" would burn very brightly for a short period of time, where intellectual activity would reach a feverish pitch of intensity. And then inevitably the intuitive insight fuelling this activity would become depleted necessitating a major withdrawal, with the need then to replenish the unconscious wells within, very keenly experienced.

Indeed at an earlier stage, I had drawn strong parallels as between this psychological process and the physical phenomenon of a black hole.

When they burn up their energy, stars of a certain critical size can collapse into black holes which exercise an intense gravitational pull within their immediate environment

In like manner "spiritual stars", whose activity is especially expressive of intuition springing from the holistic unconscious, can likewise burn up this energy to such a degree that they become plunged into a "dark night" episode, with an immense burden of  grief (i.e. psychological gravity) experienced for many years. During this time one remains continually immersed in a tightly compressed dark inner space, which acts as a powerful attractor drawing all external phenomena inwards.

Though in subsequent development, these illuminative episodes had been  moderated to a substantial extent, so that I could now endure the withdrawal phase with greater equanimity, the basic pattern was still clear.

So to put it in the old ascetic language, drawn from the contemplative mystical literature, illumination was always followed by purgation.

And in my case the purgative tended to last far longer than the corresponding illuminative stages.

In fact when later, following a lengthy period of withdrawal, I would reflect on the previous activity, it was like waking from a dream to wonder whether it had ever really happened!

So for me to have spent five years on the forums in this manner was quite unusual.

However towards the end, I could no longer escape the fact that I was showing the signs of increasing strain.

Whereas earlier I could bear opposition to me ideas with patience and good will, I now was becoming increasingly irritated.

And I was suffering a worrying disconnection with my daily work, where I felt I was just going through the motions without really feeling present.

Also the demands of responding to a growing circle of correspondents was making significant demands on my time and energy.

It finally cam to a head in late 1999 when I was prevailed upon by a fellow forum participant to engage in a 3-week Cyber Conference (in the US).

So to fruitfully engage in this Conference I needed to get online immediately on coming home from work and then engage with other contributors till 3 or 4 AM, before returning shortly afterwards to work to present morning lectures.

This above all signified for me a growing imbalance in my life that had been developing for some time. Though I had indeed become intensely motivated by "integral" issues, I had to face the fact that my own life was increasingly lacking such integration. Also the people I dealt with on a day to day basis, who had not the slightest interest in "integral studies" seemed at that time to be coping much better with the exigencies of daily life.

Therefore though I did not retire completely yet from the forums, a growing experience of disillusionment set in that would within a year lead to complete withdrawal for a lengthy period.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Integral Studies (6)

What excited me so much about discussion on the "integral" forums, is that I had strong conviction that I had found the underlying holistic mathematical rationale of integration.

Now, I must stress once more that this certainly does not represent the standard analytic mathematical approach applied to development (which would represent a gross form of reductionism), but rather an entirely distinctive mathematical appreciation that is primarily dependent on authentic intuitive insight before its concepts can become meaningful.

So undoubtedly this was the biggest problem I faced all the time on the forums, as even those participants with genuine good will for my endeavours tended to approach ideas with their conventional mathematical training still firmly in place.

So perhaps it always was somewhat ambitious in thinking that I could start some sort of intellectual revolution with these ideas (even though I think this will inevitably happen through someone else offering a somewhat similar approach in future).

For some considerable time in the 80's I shared a strong resonance with the works of C.J Jung.

As is well known, Jung had pointed to the importance of certain mandalas as important archetypes of integration.
The ones that he especially emphasised were those that involved the division of circular patterns - often in a highly artistic and ornate manner - into symmetrical four-fold and eight-fold patterns.

Now the 4  and 8 roots of unity are respectively represented in geometrical terms through a circle equally divided into four quadrants and eight sectors respectively.

So through exploring the true nature of these respective roots, I realised that I was in fact providing the deeper holistic mathematical rationale (artistically represented through the mandalas) that underlie integration with respect to all processes of development.

Therefore, though I was always ready to engage in any of the specific topics of interest on the forums, my real purpose was to use discussion of these issues to demonstrate the central importance of the holistic mathematical notions (underlying all integral processes). And this inevitably entailed the understanding of reality inherently in a dynamic interactive manner!

I have also frequently referred to the revealing quote by Marie-Louise Von Franz  "Jung devoted practically the whole of his life's work to demonstrating the vast psychological significance of the number four".

Now in this context she was clearly referring to the (circular) holistic - rather than the (linear) analytic - meaning of 4.

And just as 4 is so important in analytic terms in out understanding e.g. of a world existing in four dimensions of space and time, 4 is equally important in a holistic sense in leading to an entirely new appreciation of the dynamic interactive nature of these dimensions in experience.

So in dynamic interactive terms we now have two real and two imaginary dimensions (each with positive and negative directions) with respect to space and time that intimately underlie phenomenal experience of reality.

And these dimensions in turn reflect the very manner in which whole/part and internal/external interaction dynamically takes place with respect to all developmental processes.

However I would now be anxious to stress, while admitting the great central importance of the holistic notions of 2, 4 and 8 (with respect to integral development) that every number has its own unique holistic mathematical significance (with direct application to development).

Indeed it leads to an extremely important aspect of the holistic mathematical approach. Because it is directly based on the dynamics of experience, this means that every mathematical notion - when given its appropriate holistic interpretation - thereby has an important relevance for developmental processes (physical and psychological).

So the implications here are truly mind-boggling, as sometime in our future human evolution, we will be readily able to intuit the true significance of even the most arcane mathematical notions for the understanding of reality!

The great limitation of the conventional approach to Mathematics and Science - and indeed with respect to present intellectual discourse generally - is that - in holistic terms - it clearly represents a 1-dimensional approach (i.e. where unambiguous dualistic understanding occurs through adopting isolated polar reference frames). This inevitably leads therefore to gross reductionism, i.e. where the internal pole is reduced in terms of the external and where the whole pole is reduced in terms of the part.
This leads to the fallacy of truth expressed as mere objective enquiry (with the whole in any context quantitatively reduced to its parts).

Though this indeed is initially valuable in terms of the differentiated appreciation of the various aspects of development, it is totally unsuited to understanding of their corresponding integration.

We are living in a world which is fast becoming dangerously fragmented in social, political and economic terms.

No proper solution to this problem can emerge until we change the very nature of our thinking in a true holistic manner. This will however require the greatest revolution yet in our intellectual history.