Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What are postformal operations anyway?

Continuing discussion from this FB IPS thread on metatheory.

Me: A few questions. Does one have to speak AQALingus to be considered integral? Or even frame things with metatheories? Can someone or something be integral without this framing? Does metatheory = integrality? Or even postformal cognition?

Mark:  Thank you for those questions, Edwyrd (I was starting to feel alienated without them ). I've engaged in some debate with David and others around these questions - since David's a patient and very thoughtful advocate of aqal, and probably would say, yes, at least implicitly aqal growth and understanding will accompany integral calibration, though I don't agree (not to suggest I have an alternative, so in this sense I don't really disagree either, particularly if we read aqal more as spiritually robust metaphor grounded in substantive potentials via (meta)pragrmatic reflection on psychospiritual enactment). I don't feel one needs to use explicitly or implicitly aqal to be integral, yet the meaning of integral is historically (in the past few decades) linked to Wilber and also the key anthropocentric framing of evolution in Wilber - which is linked problematically to pscyhological development and these are in turn even more problematically linked to cultural and material development - is axiomatic/fundamental to his approach to what integral means. So if that goes, what's left, and how to make sense of it as integral? Others like Aurobindu could have nonhuman conceptions of evolution, but those would bust the linear presupposition of progress and also wouldn't necessarily pertain to immanent emergence (perhaps some weird transcendent eruption that has little to do with what's fathomable and orienting for our meta lenses). I think if we situate aqal as its own stream that may be not only complimented but fundamentally challenged by other models (without breeding ill regard and Earp-like responses that claim the other is dumb (not quite developed enough) to challenge aqal altogether) and best case scenario a profound radically different heterogeneous non-Wilber or even non-humancentric understanding of what's to-come may co-exist with aqal (and bring about changes to the latter, too), all in service to the building and refining of justice, goodness, truth, beauty, and creative surplus.

Me: Jennifer Gidley talks about the difference between research that identifies postformal operations (PFO) from examples of those that enact PFO. And that much of the research identifying PFO has itself "been framed and presented from a formal, mental-rational mode" (109). Plus those enacting PFO don’t "necessarily conceptualize it as such" (104), meaning the way those that identify it do, i.e., from a formal operational (FO) mode. Which is of course one of my key inquiries: Is the way PFO is identified through FO really just a FO worldview interpretation of what PFO might be? Especially since those enacting PFO disagree with the very premises of the FO worldview and its 'formally' dressed PFO? 

Mark: Hmm, are you/she saying here that the cognition line leads only up to a point (up to the identifying of PFO), at which time enactment leads/reveals and will retrospectively alter/reformulate those who initially identified PFO in such a way that the representation of PFO was but an anicipatory focalization (and not accurate map) of the territory?

Me: I go even further and assert that the FO methodology used to identify PFO is more an expression of what Gebser calls deficient-rational, or Lakoff calls false reason. Hence we indeed get more of a certain kind of formal complexity in such described PFO, but there are other kinds of PFO complexity that disagree with those premises. Here's Gidley again:

"For Gebser, integral-aperspectival consciousness is not experienced through expanded consciousness, more systematic conceptualizations, or greater quantities of perspectives. In his view, such approaches largely represent over-extended, rational characteristics. Rather, it involves an actual re-experiencing, re-embodying, and conscious re-integration of the living vitality of magic-interweaving, the imagination at the heart of mythic-feeling and the purposefulness of mental conceptual thinking, their presence raised to a higher resonance, in order for the integral transparency to shine through" (111).

Me: Also see this Ning IPS thread.   

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