July 13, 2010

Reflections of an Integral Theory Student - Part 2

Reflections of an Integral Theory Student - Part 2

By Giorgio Piacenza Cabrera


Accompanying my undertaking of Integral Theory courses online through JFK University, I experienced insights, questions, and variations on the usual themes touched in those courses. If you already are conversant with Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory, you might find this collection of reflections intellectually provocative and productive.

On Involution…

Evolutionary “grooves” refer to the formation of exterior patterns. These exist even in the outside of interiorities as, for instance, as the objects of the mind. Nonetheless, they are more clearly visible in what AQAL visualizes as the UR and LR quadratic expressions. But as the AQAL Model and Ken Wilber almost teach, there isn’t just Interiority, there’s also Interiority without patterns or “grooves.” It’s likely in the inside of Interiors. It’s the felt experience, the root of the “hard problem.” So, in an Evolutionary sense, patterns or groove making matters but –perhaps- in an Involutionary sense, the transmission of pattern-less interiorities also matter in a complementary and unavoidable way that AQAL (as an “Integral” theory) should consider.

What if the “amount” of exteriority refers to how contingent or illusion-based reality can be; more or less as the traditional Metaphysics of neo-platonic, medieval Christian and Muslim mystical theology and the Sophia Perennis (of Fritjoff Schuon and others) generally speaking agree upon?

The priority of Interior awareness (deriving from the priority of essence over form, of the unconditioned over the conditioned and of intrinsic meaning over pattern) may direct its exterior patterns (perhaps causally) into lower realms in a simultaneous interface with the generation of external grooves in the lower realms. The greater degree of freedom embedded in the exteriority of the subtler realm may constitute like a probable future to yet unformed exterior grooves in the grosser realm. In general, the grosser realm may hold the greater potential for becoming while the subtler realm may express the greatest actuality and freedom as it is associated with less exteriority.

Perhaps Involution coincides with Evolution in this inter realm exchange between exteriorities and interiorities. Thus, even subtler realm exteriorities in the Great Chain of Being should be seen as changing and not as fixed, eternal, pre-givens ‘out there’ waiting to come down into the Gross. Being exteriorities, they are contingent, they can be patterns and evolving. Exteriorities change in the Inter-Realm conjunction.

Perhaps the higher or freer Interiority, the one that expresses more as act or is closer to Absolute Being as ‘Pure Act’, seeks to bring concreteness into more complexity to allow the manifestation of greater Interiority also in the Grosser realms. Perhaps the lower Interiority seeks or has a drive to become more inclusive and needs to receive seed patterns from subtler realms in order to evolve its corresponding exterior patterns and complexities. This idea partially coincides with Ken Wilber’s “Excerpt G” in which greater complexity of exterior patterns is seen as necessary to manifest greater Interiority.

On The Buddha Mind…A Bit More

For the self (understood as coordinating a self-system): It's not fixed, it's not a process. It is not being as structure, nor being as becoming. It is not definable and, even these 'not' definitions, are not -all the way- applicable. Nevertheless, all holonic and describable phenomena, all ontological and epistemic phenomena (phenomena described by reason/logos) are empty, except for the Essence of self, also called in Buddhist circles "Buddha Mind." (refer to the once suppressed "Maha Madhyamaka" not to better known versions of Madhyamaka). Thus, form is emptiness and emptiness is form, but I think that the Essence of self, is neither. As Maha Madhyamaka teaching states: The Buddha Mind is not empty of itself.

Well, I think that that can be validly said (in the limits of thought, at the frontiers between objectifying reason and non dual state-understanding) as a pointer toward self and also to what is Real. Also note that this kind of less known (Maha Madhyamaka) Buddhism is more compatible and “Integral” with Western mysticism and with Indian Vedanta. This is important to bring Buddhist understanding away from its accusations as a nihilistic philosophy. Also as a major proposal of Medieval philosophy states: Essence and existence coincide in this self, this Absolute Being, this God, which, under this view is not unlike... "BuddhaMind."

On Types And Systems In Every Quadrant…

I think that our relation to Types is not absolutely necessary (or necessary in an absolute sense) and that, therefore, in principle, the relation can change. I think that Types are patterns and that patterns can change. They can be erased and re-written. Some Types may be more established than others but -in principle- they are not eternal or absolute. Perhaps the most essential patterns originate in the Causal Realm that may be related to the Turiya state but also contain some very very subtle exterior forms. It may be related to the awareness of formlessness because the very very subtle forms cannot be distinguished from the Formless Ground.

In the AQAL framework, (and this is a question) there are suppose to be types of cultures, types of social economic systems, types of personalities, types of forests, types of specimens, types of every manifested holon-occasion-thing. Right? These are variations on larger categories. There are also suppose to be systems in every quadrant...and, moreover, I think that every quadrant can be understood as inside or immanent to every other quadrant. This is because quadrants express holons and holons express duality or the dialectics of polar relations, as can be visualized in the Yin/Yan symbol. Even if systems are associations of exterior objects, they are in every quadrant and being in every quadrant they also depend on their own immanent Interior intelligence.

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