Sunday, December 8, 2013

Circle-jerk postformalities

Recall this recent post on Morin's supposed limitation to horizontal complexity. I asked for some explanation for this in the adult development forum but none was forthcoming, presumably being beneath the obvious for anyone so inculcated into the dogma. A new discussion there about political levels led me to Ross' paper on the topic. A brief excerpt:

"Regardless of form, the unifying feature is the unidimensional measure of hierarchical complexity of
tasks. It enables content-free and culture-independent measures in any domain in which tasks are performed. [...] It is a Metasystematic stage 12 task to see patterns that are free of content and context and to generalize from them" (482-83).

It's the same circle-jerk, representational epistemology I've been discussing above and elsewhere. It presumes a "content-free and culture-independent" mathematical measure, the math itself being a Platonic ideal free from embodiment. And it jerks around this premise into being a characteristic of the metasystemic level itself. Yes, we can indeed make provisional and evaluative generalizations across contents and cultures, but they are not 'free' of those embodied constraints. The very notion that a (meta)system can be completely free, objective and independent of them is the very definition of a modernist and metaphysical (aka formal operational) premise. Which metaphysical premise is carried over into their  higher levels, thus supporting Gidley's (2007, p. 111) contention that it is just more of the deficient rational structure according to Gebser (see here for reference).

So the question becomes how can we still make universal claims limited by particular embodiments (from individual to social bodies)? That's where Lakoff et al's embodied realism comes in, which seems to me to be at the very least an alternative meta-systemic or higher example. It should be even higher on the MHC scale, if creating a new field altogether is any measure--and it is in the MHC. From this article, describing cross-paradigmatic:

"Fits paradigms together to form new fields.  Integrate paradigms into a new field or profoundly transform an old one" (10).

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