kela: I personally don't have that big a problem with the term "spirituality," as it has now come to encompass more than it originally did. For example, the series on "Western Spirituality" now has books on stoicism, skepticism, and kynicism -- philosopical regimens that do not necessarily require positing a ghostly essence. As Hadot points out, these are ways of life in the late ancient world. That, to me, more properly defines what a "spirituality" entails.
Balder: Agreed. That's how I interpret the word, as I indicated in my previous post. But calling the forum "Integral Postmetaphysical Ways of Life" is even more cumbersome than the current name!
I do like Ed's term, but to me that is a narrower focus than what this forum is about: it refers to a particular (interesting, promising, fruitful) philosophical perspective, while this forum (as I see it) allows for a range of (world)views and philosophical perspectives, as "ways of life" or "visions," to be gathered under the broader general umbrella of an "integrative" and "postmetaphysical" orientation.
theurj: On the other hand it seems Richard Dawkins sort of agrees with me, at least as the terms "God" and "religion" are used. I'm reading The God Delusion along with a reading group at the local UU "church."* Dawkins argues in Chapter 1 that many use such terms to denote a more general feeling of wonder or mystery, or to refer to a more generalized entity like nature or the universe. He says that such usuage though is so general as to be meaningless, and that we should stick to more specific language for such descriptions and limit those terms to belief in the supernatural, aka the metaphysical. He does make a good point, that if we are to find new modes of the postmetaphysical perhaps we need to "let go" of trying to fit new wine into old wineskins?
Granted the same case can be made for the term "nonduality" but not as convincingly, since that term seems to have arisen in the Buddhist context of no metaphysical self or reality. That others have misinterpreted such nonduality as metaphysical spirituality, including much later-day Buddhism (at least according to Batchelor), is not support enough to decry the terms usuage, especially in light of American pragmatism and 2nd gen cogsci, which expand and refine the postmeta aspects of at least a certain sect of Buddhism. (See for example The Center for Pragmatic Buddhism, on which Board Batchelor sits.)
*The same case can be made for calling UU a church, since it invites people of all persuasions, even atheists and secular humanists, to participate. In which case it is more of a community than the usual use of the word "church." The mission statement of the UU I'm attending is as follows, not particularly religious or spiritual:
"We gather in community to nourish souls, transform lives and do justice."
Although I am a bit squeamish about the word "soul" for the same reasons.
"Human thoughts and emotions emerge [his emphasis] from exceedingly complex interactions of physical entities in the brain" (14). But a kennilinguist might reply: "But see, he is reducing mind to a its physical correlate, reducing the left to the right hand quadrant." But again this is a fallacious argument hiding behind a dualistic separation of inner-outer. While it might be useful to speak of inner-outer quadrants it's another thing again to think there is a actual ontological separation. As I demonstrated elsewhere the cogscipragos, through the principle of continuity, show the continuous relation between the levels of mind from its bodily base and the inseparable relation between the inside and outside. There is no actual, dualistic separation. One consequence of this is that there is no mind without a body, which doesn't reduce the mind to a body, since a mind emerges from and out of a body; a matter of degree, not kind.
Wilber did discuss the different meanings of the term "body," which includes the above two usages, that of body as a level (body-emotion-mind-spirit) and between inner-outer (body as physical base for consciousness).* In both cases though to say that because one recognizes the continuous, nondual relation between them is reductive because it doesn't accept a supernatural (aka spiritual) agent apart from them is to me metaphysical elevationism.
* Also recall the cogscipragos noting other meanings of "body" beyond the physical, associated with an social and cultural body, a hermeneutic body, all of which are emergent, developmental aspects of, but never separate from, a physical body. Granted a societal culture exists in its artifacts, like books, so any particular physical body is not required to perpetuate it. But without some body around to embody it it's moot as to its inherent existence apart from it. And to be sure this cultural artifact was created by body-minds.
Also note that Mark Edwards has criticized Wilber for his own reduction of the so-called exterior quadrants as being "merely material" and lacking in exactly the kind of developmental "bodies" referenced above.
Now he does note that the subtle and causal bodies co-arise with more developed brain structures, which of course makes the case for them existing apriori via involution problematic. I think he's correct here but he's still interpreting them traditionally and metaphysically as subtle and causal. And we can find his dualistic nondualism again on display in page 2 of the series in his discussion of the Two Truths which he says "are of radically different orders."
* For example, from Part III: "I have incorporated those aspects, virtually unchanged, in my own model of Integral Psychology."
In the Levin thread I brought up Mark Johnson's book The Meaning of the Body in relation to Gendlin. From it I made a point relevant to this thread so I'm copying some of it here.
Structure-forms, as in language, are meaningless in themselves without the felt sense of a body-mind to provide that meaning based in its experience. So culture per se does not reside in the books alone. It requires an embodied person who has been embedded in and developed by a culture to re-embody the meaning back into the words of that book with each reading. Here's the relevant passage:
"The fateful error...is to overlook much of what goes into making something meaningful to us. Then we are seduced into mistaking the forms for that which they inform.... We think that if we have succeeding in abstracting a form...then we have captured the full meaning. Moreover, this exclusive attention to stable structures can entice us to succumb to the illusion of fixity, that is, the illusion that meanings are fixed, abstract entities that can float free of contexts and the ongoing flow of experience" (80).
Recall above, in reference to Wilber's excerpt G:
"And we can find his dualistic nondualism again on display in page 2 of the series in his discussion of the Two Truths which he says 'are of radically different orders'."
Compare and contrast with Johnson in the above referenced book:
"What must be avoided...is the Kantian view that an adequate account of human mind and thought requires the keeping of two sets of books--one for the phenomenal world of things as appearances to us, and the other for the mysterious, noumenal world of things in themselves" (113).
“Enlightenment is a union of both Emptiness and Form, or a union of Freedom and Fullness. To realize infinite Emptiness is to be free from all finite things, free from all pain, all suffering, all limitation, all qualities—the via negativa that soars to a transcendental freedom from the known, a nirvikalpa samadhi beyond desire and death, beyond pain and time, longing and remorse, fear and hope, a timeless Dharmakaya of the Unborn, the great Ayin or Abyss that is free from all finite qualities whatsoever (including that one).”
"When one is in deep meditation or contemplation, touching even that which is formless and unmanifest—the purest emptiness of cessation—there are of course no conceptual forms arising. This pure 'nonconceptual' mind—a causal state of formlessness—is an essential part of our liberation, realization, and enlightenment.... When it comes to the nature of enlightenment or realization, this means that a complete, full, or nondual realization has two components, absolute (emptiness) and relative (form). The 'nonconceptual mind' gives us the former, and the 'conceptual mind' gives us the latter."
And how do we determine altitude? He makes this clear in Chapter 2, section "the relation of the different lines to each other," discussing consciousness per se:
"This happens to fit nicely with the Madhyamaka-Yogachara* Buddhist view of consciousness as emptiness or openness. Consciousness is not anything itself, just the degree of openness or emptiness, the clearing in which the phenomena of the various lines appear (but consciousness is not itself a phenomena—it is the space in which phenomena arise)."
So the formless unmanifest consciousness experienced in nirvikalpa samadhi is the measure of the relative altitude in any kosmic address. Hello! This is "post" metaphysical?
* Here he slips again in admitting this as a Yogacara doctrine, and as I've said numerous times before, it is this type of "Vajrayana" Buddhism he equates with Vendanta, and rightly so.