Friday, April 20, 2012

Some responses to the Magellan course

Bonnie is doing an online course called Magellan at this link. She notified the IPS forum of it in this blog post. Therein and elsewhere I made some comments, following:

After listening to that lengthy tutorial I'm in agreement with much of Bonnie's presentation. Even up to the point where the transition between deficient rational and latent integral turns to paradoxical reasoning.* I too have used Gebser earlier in this thread and elsewhere, and combined with Levin, Goddard, Lakoff, Derrida (and more) have a different idea of what integral-aperspectival might mean. That's where we part ways for the most part, though still in partial agreement.

* Though as Hampson has noted (earlier in the thread), Gebser himself apparently did not have such a transition, which transition is typically labelled "postmodern." His life ended at the beginning of what might be called the pomo movement so many of its important insights were not incorporated into his oeuvre. Hence his own burgeoning ideas of the latent integral structure are deficient and would have benefited therefrom. Defining this latent integral structure is currently a proving ground where various theorists are struggling to legitimate their notions, vying for supremacy as to better paradigms.

In Bonnie's video 4e she asks: “What is it for an object to be for a subject?” She correctly notes that the developmental models don't ask this question, instead taking for granted how the subject of one level becomes the object of the next, i.e., the epistemic fallacy. This is exactly the focus of OOO. She further asks: “What is ego?” Again noting how the developmentalists avoid the issue. This forum of course has examined this in detail. Another of her points is that instead of continuing complexification perhaps development requires us instead to go deeper into ontological simplicity. Again something we've explored extensively here. The same with her other points, including non-symbolic (re)presentation (clarified below).

In the following video about Cook-Greuter she touches upon the highest levels of ego development. These do not come from the highest levels of earlier developments, as in the complexification model, but rather originates from branching out of earlier levels. Again something explored in this forum. This includes finding the deeper ground of opposites, not their higher synthesis.

I'm in much agreement about the construct aware stage, but CG's here reinstitutes a dichotomy between language and phenomenon. Whereas we saw with Loy, for example, the nondual after one has obtained language doesn't result in a return to a supposed pre-linguistic or pure state of awareness of the one reality but rather it expresses through language. This sees the multiplicity of views generated by language while attaching to none of them, but it doesn't posit an underlying pre- or overlying trans-linguistic reality as such; reality is in language and thought, the map as performance of the territory. (Also see the many posts about Lakoff's work.) Again, a very different way of seeing nonduality.

Where things further diverge is in the unitive stage, which presupposes that there is “one underlying reality.” Many of the other characteristics of this stage seem consistent with our explorations except for the one reality. Or rather, that the one reality is One instead of multiplicity. But again, not in terms of duality in opposing the one, but in terms of the multiplicity being the ground of the one-many duality. There is a distinctly different flavor in the multiple or polydox ground versus the so-called unitive ground.

Another difference is the presumption that we can have “immediate experience” of this One which “frees us from duality.” We've seen this time and again, how both arise from a metaphysical view that support each other. This was explored in depth in the Two Truths Debate with Gorampa and Tsongkhapa, which is still playing out in the ongoing integral debate about nondual ontology.

This also has to do with the withdrawn nature of the ontological, certainly withdrawn from our experience of it. This refutes the notion that there is a pure Witness that directly experiences a unified reality, a notion we also see in kennilingus and with which CG agrees. Ironically enough, it is more a return to metaphysical dualism rather than its transcendence. This is not “totally different” but a reconceptualization (again ironically enough) of the metaphysical systems of Gorampa's descendents up to and including Guenther.

The end of the CG video notes the unitive person is comfortable with “not knowing.” This seems to suggest the withdrawn, and could get there if only if wasn't for the metaphysical presupposition of a direct perception of reality “as it is.” There is indeed an underlying reality that the likes of OOO asserts, but it is not directly experienced. And this is a difference that makes all the differance in terms of the legitimation battle for defining the next (non)stage of evolution, which is not particularly human but transhuman.

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