July 14, 2010

Organicism, AQAL and Integral Theory

By Giorgio Piacenza Cabrera
Abstract: This paper presents Archie J. Bahm’s “Organicism” as a Second Tier Metatheory based upon the analysis of intuited polarity . It shows that AQAL (or Integral Metatheory) can benefit from a more deductive (and Metaphysical) approach that relates with the logical-relational aspects inhering at the core of Integral concepts such as “hierarchy” “inclusiveness” and the central “holon,” aspects whose continued development were somewhat forgotten due to AQAL’s current emphasis on experientially verifiable external patterns.
Organicism complements Integral Theory and has fundamental divisions mirroring Ken Wilber’s quadratic holon aspects. Interestingly, unlike Wilber discovering universal holon patterns through observation of piles of answers of methods and theories visibly displayed before him during a brainstorming retreat, the a priori rational patterns in Organicism were discovered mostly by analytic exercise through the method of polar analysis. In this sense we can affirm that Organicism shows that deduction can indeed complement induction in the creation of Integral Theories (which are also theories of theories or metatheories). In my view, this has important consequences in relation to giving priority to the work of uncovering Exterior-based patterns through Integral Methodological Pluralism vs. giving priority to pattern forming essences that are prior to exteriority but can be disclosed by the use of reason. What is certain for me is that the patterns coincide and complement each other and this in itself is important to explore and inspect much further.

In another paper (“Integral Quadrants in History”) I show that some modern era individuals and -quite possible- a pre-hispanic culture also arrived to similar (and complementary) discoveries in relation to the quadratic aspects which seem to be discoverable through keen dialectic intellectual processes which are also available to mystery, deduction and reflection.

Organicim is a 2nd Tier philosophy developed before the early 1950’s by the late emeritus professor Archie J. Bahm. It makes use of the experienced, dynamic, polar relations of existence which are mapped along 2 axes defined by 4 extreme polar values. The fact that polar relations come naturally to the intuitive mind and that, thereafter, these can be carefully analyzed eventually leading us the discovery of patterns that complement Integral Theory’s quadrants, needs also to be observed.

As I understand and extrapolate from Organicim, the origin of holons is tied with the dynamic of complementary poles and two of any complementary pair gives rise to 4 extreme polar values basically corresponding to Integral Theory’s “Four Corners of the Kosmos.” These 4 extreme polar values (called by Archie J. Bahm extreme one pole-ism, extreme other pole-ism, extreme aspectism and extreme duality) express 4 basic polar and holon-associated relations which match AQAL’s “Interior” “Exterior” “Individual” and Collective” observed dimensions of existence. The ultimate result is a conceptual method for complexly dealing with complex existence.

I think that, essentially, Bahm’s Organicism was developed through a thorough logical analysis of the intuited polarities that become apparent when reflecting upon experience. In a sense we could call Organicism a Theory that came about through a priori deduction. In contrast, -if I understood Ken Wilber’s explanation adequately- the quadratic aspects of AQAL Theory were discovered by observing already formed patterns that grouped various theories. In other words, generally speaking, AQAL (and more in relation to quadrants) was discovered more through an a posteriori observation of the facts or through induction. Since Organicism is based on a more thorough logical analysis that begins with the inextricable relations of fundamental polarities, it seems to complement the pattern-recognition procedures involving AQAL Theory.

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