Saturday, March 2, 2013

More on kennilingus, critical realism and metaphysics

Continuing from this previous post, more commentary on the above:

As I mentioned above, the Lingam is explicit at the end of p. 2, in that he sees CR as very subtly reducing the ontic to the right hand quadrants. As I said, I'm not familiar with Bhaskar other than through Bryant and some cursory reading of Bhaskar himself, but I know Bryant is certainly not guilty of this.

P. 3 uses endnote 7 of Excerpt B on the difference between existence and subsistence. His first point is that pre-hension goes all the way down, which is consistent with OOO. And his claim that a suobject's interpretation "contributes" to its ontic being is also acceptable. But per Bryant the ontic is never fully determinable by the epistemic. As I've said above, the Lingam doesn't think so either because his Causal is beyond the relative. But the difference is that his Causal is fully knowable through the intentional evocation of the nirodha state, at least for humanity. So this is consistent with his claim that "neither being nor consciousness can be separated from the other, at any level." But for an amoeba? It certainly pre-hends something, but does it apprehend ultimate enlightenment. I'm sure the Lingam wouldn't make this claim but it seems implicit to the no separation of episto-ontological.

Again, I appreciate when he says that different levels of consciousness enact and bring into existence different worlds, again consistent with OOO. It is one of my complaints with the likes of neuroscientists like Gazzaniga and countless others like him that reduce consciousness to brain studies. And do not do neuroscientific studies on meditators who have developed aspects of consciousness to a high degree, except for the likes of Thompson etc. who show marked differences in brain results from so doing. Sure, if you take the average Joe off the street with no mind training, of course their brains don't show much difference. Duh...

A couple of quotes at the end of p. 3:

Concerning methodological practices bringing phenomena into being: "I would say, 'partially' bring them into being."

"While we can say that the What subsists...we can’t say what those actually are (or what those intrinsic features are) without specifying the Who and the How (explicitly or implicitly)."
Taken together this leaves room for What subsists outside actuality, since we do not have to specify the Who or the How. What subsists will always exceed any particular Who or How. So I'm wondering how "ultimate Enlightenment" plays into this, since it seems to be the actual enactment of that which subsists, at least on the causal side in certain states of consciousness. As noted previously, it requires a kosmic address, whereas that which subsists does not?

I think the kennilingual response might be akin to what it was in SES, that since the relative side of the street is always evolving then so is ultimate enlightenment. But the causal side is not, it subsists beyond the relative and can never fully enter into the actual. And yet certain humans, at a certain kosmic address, can in actuality experience this causal subsistence so that it exists. At presumably only when one reaches a high enough level in actuality does this happen, so we're back around to the epistemic fallacy.

Perhaps p. 4 will address it?

Ah, near the end of p. 4 the following, in response to Edwards' criticism that IT cannot explain its own kosmic address. This speaks for itself:

"But Integral Theory has already stated this as the 'IOU tenet'—'every system is either incomplete or uncertain,' and that definitely includes Integral Theory.  But Integral Theory further claims that 'Emptiness redeems all IOU’s.'  That is, the relative world is forever incomplete or uncertain; only ultimate knowledge—given by prajna or nondual awareness, and not vijnana or dualistic awareness—can disclose ultimate reality (Spirit or Emptiness).  That reality is real; it is ultimate; it is unqualifiable (including that claim); but it can be 'known' in a certain sense via Enlightenment or Awakening, i.e., satori, sahaja, metanoia, gnosis, wu, moksha—which Integral Theory puts at the center of its framework.”

I linked to the following in the previous post but though it might be appropriate to post in toto here, given how ultimate knowledge discloses ultimate reality per kennilingus:

I'm going to transfer over some commentary from the IPN thread relevant to Wilber's views, with the page # of that thread in parentheses:

And we can find his dualistic nondualism again on display in page 2 of the series [Excerpt G] in his discussion of the Two Truths which he says "are of radically different orders." (2)

And lest we forget, Integral Spirituality is full of the same type of metaphysical descriptions. As one example of several see Appendix II, The sliding scale of enlightenment:

“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).” (3)

Wilber is certainly metaphysical in this way as well. To reiterate something I've posted numerous times before, from Integral Spirituality, Chapter 5, section "emptiness and view are not two":

"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."

Wilber's definition of "postmetaphysical" in IS is described in Appendix II, section "what is the address of an object in the kosmos?" where he notes that there is no fundamental, pregiven world apart from all perception of it. There are only perspectives in relation to each other. Thus we need to establish this relation via a kosmic address, which includes the altitude and perspective (aka quadrant or quadrivium) of both the subject and the object. Although he does slip up in this section and admit this only refers to the "manifest world." Which goes with what he said above about the radically different realms of emptiness and form.

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. (4)

I think Wilber definitely does provide the basis of his kosmic addressing system in his definition of enlightenment as the combination of the highest state and stage present at any particular time in history. For now that it indigo altitude with a nondual state. (Which is our course his own personal kosmic address so he decides.) And his descriptions of both of those are highly problematic, aka metaphysical. So while the actual statement that one has to be enlightened to be postmetaphyhsical isn't contained in IS (that I can find) the implication is clear. And we know who is enlightened in IS, don't we?

Some of you might find this ancient (started 3/23/07) Lightmind discussion on this topic will provide a lot of context. kela participated in this one.

Take a look at the above referenced section in IS on consciousness per se. He notes that it is the contentless measuring stick of altitude, using the metaphor* of inches. The difference is that inches are a "relative" convention constructed to provide useful grids to accomplish practical functions. Which is of course how L&J describe basic metaphors in their relation to and applicability with the environment. But note that for Wilber CPS is not a convention, i.e., it is the absolute from which the relative depends. In itself (yes, the thing in itself) it has no qualities, being formless. And this ultimate realm is directly contacted-experienced in nirvikalpa samadhi practice. This is laid out plainly in IS. So the problem is how to relate this metaphysically derived model of two realms from a "completely different order." Somehow (magically? but it seems such a skyhook is required) the unqualifiable becomes qualified inches. (How many inches in your CPS-dick?) Whereas the cogsciprago postmeta (re)solution is that there aren't two radically different orders to begin with, i.e., an alternative, postmetaphysical nondualism, integral to boot.

* The key is that CPS is indeed a conventional metaphor, not a thing in itself. Same for the AQAL holon of everything. Just this realization goes a long way toward making Wilber's whole edifice postmetaphysical and puts it into useful context, like inches.

Copied from the Dennett thread, as it applies here. In Appendix II of IS, in talking about kosmic addressing, Wilber says this:

"Thus, we cannot make any ontic or assertic statement...without being able to specify the Kosmic address of the subject, which also means the injunctions that the subject must perform in order to enact and access the worldspace of the object....if I want to know if there is a referent to the signifier Ayin or Godhead, then one among the necessary routes is to take a concentrative form of meditation....a clear majority of those who complete the experiment report that the signifier Ayin or Emptiness...can be said that, among other things, that Spirit is a vast infinite abyss or emptiness out of which all thing arise" (267-68).

Now it would be fine if Wilber keeps this in the "state" category, as in this state will then be interpreted by the level. But as we saw this state is interpreted as the measure of altitude level in the kosmic address! I guess it takes an indigo level, combined with this state, to make that interpretation (aka enlightenment)? All of which plays right into kela's thesis of privileged access.

For you see, when you are of the highest absolute state and relative stage, i.e., enlightened, the distinction between states and stages dissolves into the nondual... Glory be unto God, amen. (5)


  1. By the way, could somebody (you or Balder?) approve my account on IPN? I'd love to take part in discussions with you.

    I tend to feel similarly re: Wilber, and I am drawn to recall the difference between Schopenhauer/Nietzsche on this one -- perhaps this will clarify things. Best wishes, David.

  2. I've notified Balder of your request.


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