Is integral a level?
January 28th, 2008 (posted by Edward Berge)
This is from an interview with Bill Torbert (2002) at Integral Leadership Review:
Q: When you speak of action logic what model are you referring to?
A: It’s the phrase that I’ve come to use for what other people call developmental stages. I think the notion of stages is very abstract and raises all sorts of problems about it, especially at the later developmental action logics. The latest action logics aren’t stage-like in their nature. They don’t capture you in the way the earlier ones do. In Kegan’s notion of subject and object, in each movement towards a later developmental position you take the action logic you were formerly subject to and turn it into object. You manipulate it by yourself. This moves us to a place where we can be so alert and awake that we recognize that our every thought is simply an expression of a particular action logic. We’re not caught by any of our action logics or we’re caught for shorter periods of time. We’re able to swim back upstream again. We experience that part of the problem we just created was by getting identified or stuck in a particular action logic.
Below are some quotes from other authors highlighting this. For example, this from Washburn (1988):
“The perspective of this book is dynamic in that the primary focus is on the ego’s interaction with dynamic life, the source of which is referred to as the Dynamic Ground.
“The perspective of this book is triphasic in that it divides human development into three principle stages. These are the pre-egoic, egoic and transegoic stages….the transegoic stage, which corresponds to later adulthood…is seen as a period in which a strong and mature ego is resubmitted to and integrated with the Dynamic Ground.
“Principle among the features or the transegoic, or integrated, stage are: transcendence of the major dualisms that plague the mental ego…and the transformation of these dualisms into harmonious dualities, higher syntheses of opposites.”
Goddard (2007) elaborates:
“While Wilber’s pre-trans distinction is valid in one sense, transcendence of the ego level actually implies a re-encounter with the original ground unconscious. Transformation beyond the dualistic mental-ego lies through a re-encounter with the original matrix, which is not so in Wilber’s model. Grof’s findings in particular suggest that there is no sharp distinction between these dimensions and that the transformational encounter with the unconscious is not restricted to the personal biographical level ‘this side’ of the transpersonal level. According to Grof (1985), Wilber’s emphasis on linearity and on the radical difference between pre-phenomena and trans-phenomena is too absolute a distinction. He writes:
‘The psyche has a multidimensional, holographic nature, and using a linear model to describe it will produce distortions and inaccuracies…My own observations suggest that, as consciousness evolution proceeds from the centauric to the subtle realms and beyond, it does not follow a linear trajectory, but in a sense enfolds into itself (my italics). In this process, the individual returns to earlier stages of development, but evaluates them from the point of view of a mature adult. At the same time, he or she becomes consciously aware of certain aspects and qualities of these stages that were implicit, but unrecognized when confronted in the context of linear evolution. Thus, the distinction between pre- and trans- has a paradoxical nature; they are neither identical, nor are they completely different from each other. When this understanding is then applied to the problems of psychopathology, the distinction between evolutionary and pathological states may lie more in the context, the style of approaching them and the ability to integrate them into everyday life than in the intrinsic nature of the experiences involved (p.137).’”
Hampson (2007) elaborates on this section of Grof used by Goddard above:
“The latter understanding-that Authentic and post-Authentic consciousness enfolds into itself-would specifically problematise Wilber’s theorizing of levels specifically for Green and beyond.”
Goddard, Gerry (2007). Transpersonal Theory and the Astrological Mandala: An Evolutionary Model. Chapter 3. From his site.
Hampson, Gary (2007). “Integral reviews postmodernism,” Integral Review 4, p. 144
Torbert, Bill (2002). Interview in Integral Leadership Review, Volume 2, Number 7, August
Washburn, Michael (1988). The Ego and the Dynamic Ground. New York: Suny Press, pp. 4-5