In my first post I made the important point that differentiation and integration are two different processes in experience.
Differentiation is best translated through use of the (linear) either/or logic. By contrast however integration is best translated through the alternative (circular) both/and logic.
Since Ken Wilber effectively makes sole use of the first (linear) system, he thereby confuses the task of integration with that of differentiation. Thus though his book is very useful in terms of clarifying the nature of the problem (to be integrated) he spends little time actually dealing with the central task. Insofar as he does attempt this task (of integration), his views create inconsistency with strongly held customary positions.
We were still on Chapter 1 (The Challenge of Our Times) when I left off. Indeed I am in substantial agreement with Ken insofar as he concentrates on differentiating the precise nature of the problem.
Thus Ken identifies The Great Chain of Being (Great Nest) as the essential core of premodern religion which needs to be integrated with modernity. Now he points to the dignity of modernity as the successful differentiation of the three spheres of art, morals and science. Thus the task of integrating religion and science now requires the integration of the Great Chain (Great Nest) with the differentiations of modernity.
The second Chapter deals with five major stances that have arisen in relation to science and religion.
Two of these i.e. science denies any validity to religion and religion denies any validity to science would exclude any possibility of integration.
Another position is that science can offer plausibility arguments for the existence of spirit. However Ken dismisses this on the grounds that these plausibility arguments are themselves simply the expression of the "eye of mind" and cannot directly access the "higher" spiritual levels (based on the "eye of contemplation).
A fourth position is based on the postmodern view that science itself is an arbitrary interpretation of reality and therefore has no greater validity than other interpretations such as poetry and the arts. This in turn is leading to a plethora of "new paradigms" that promise this desired integration (of science and religion).
However again according to Ken these cannot succeed because they are invariably based on an attempt to reduce reality to the monological gaze of the "lowest" eye i.e. the eye of flesh and therefore cannot directly access the essential aspect of religion (revealed through "the eye of contemplation").
Ken has most sympathy with the fifth position i.e. that science is one of several valid modes of knowledge and thus can peacefully coexist with spiritual modes. He refers to this as epistemological pluralism which he takes as "the backbone" of the Great Chain".
However the major weakness of this viewpoint is that science is placed on the bottom rung of the hierarchy and that this would not be acceptable to the scientific community at large.
So Ken's solution to this dilemma is to divide each of the levels of the Great Chain in accordance with the differentiations of modernity (art, moral and science). Thus each level would then have its own particular expression (in artistic, moral and scientific terms).
So science would now have a role in accessing each of the levels of the Great Chain and that this would place (religious) premodernity and (scientific) modernity hand in hand.
Now this would represent my own position very closely. Indeed in my Introduction to Transforming Voyage (written some years ago) I specifically stated my intention to outline the development of each of the "higher" spiritual levels from the scientific, moral and artistic perspectives respectively.
However there are important problems with this approach which Ken does not address.
It is well known that Ken largely writes from the perspective of vision-logic (which is the rational expression of the centaur stage). However this centaur stage simply represents the most advanced of the rational stages i.e. the "eye of mind".
Ken's view of science is very much consistent with this perspective of the centaur stage. Though he is often critical of its monological reductionist tendencies, he always speaks of science in sensory-empirical terms.
Thus on P. 197 where has just introduced "The New Role of Science" he states
"With that prologue, we can look at the actual levels of sensory-empirical science. In one sense, of course there are no levels of sensory-empirical science: it simply registers the facts of the sensorimotor world, period".
What an impoverished view of science! Indeed it is quite inaccurate for the registration of facts is itself not possible without a corresponding framework of interpretation.
However worse still, it clearly shows that Ken does not really have any vision of different levels of science. What he really intends is that the one level of science can be applied to the exterior data of all levels. However this means continuing with the existing model (that is only suited for the differentiation (rather than the integration) of pheneomena.
However the science of the "higher" levels must be understood in terms of its appropriate eye which of course is the "eye of contemplation" whereas the model of science that Ken represents is based solely on the lower eyes i.e. the "eye of flesh" and the "eye of mind".
(Indeed - as we have seen - he often attempts to represent it solely in terms of the "eye of flesh" though strictly speaking the "eye of mind" is always required).
So clearly if we are to identify appropriate scientific expressions of the "higher" levels then they must be in terms of a very different type of understanding (that is based on the "eye of contemplation").
Now there is no indication that Ken has any such "new" scientific understanding in mind. Rather he gives the strong impression that the existing sensory-empirical model would not be restricted to the right hand quadrants but could be used to equally to access data of the left hand (interior) quadrants.
However this would simply be reductionism and would involve nothing more that once again using the lower "eyes" (of flesh and of mind) to access the "higher" eyes.
What is needed - and which I have been developing over many years - is an entirely different vision of science that is qualitative (rather than quantitative) and based on the dynamic principle of complementarity. This type of science - by its very nature - depends on "the eye of contemplation" and is directly geared to the task of integration (rather than differentiation).
So once again there is a major unresolved problem in Ken's approach. Because he is using a translation that is based on the most advanced of the rational linear stages (i.e. vision-logic), he does not have a means of suggesting the type of science that would be truly consistent with the "higher" spiritual levels.
Quite simply one can only translate these levels accurately by using the appropriate understanding of these levels (which is circular rather than linear).
When properly translated this understanding leads to a new holistic vision of science that is qualitative (rather than quantitative) and which is directly consistent with true integration of reality.
The other problem that is apparent in Ken's approach is that he keeps talking in terms of differentiation (rather than integration). Now it is certainly correct that we must differentiate before we can integrate.
Thus it is helpful to outline carefully - as Ken admittedly does - the precise nature of the task in hand.
So now he is telling us that not alone must we preserve each of the various levels on the Great Chain, but that these levels must now also be divided in accordance with the differentiations of modernity (art, morals and science). Furthermore each of these differentiation (at each level) can be further subdivided in terms of the four quadrants.
However this once again is simply stating the problem in a multi-differentiated fashion. It does not directly help us with the prime task of how all these levels, the differentiations of modernity and the quadrants can themselves be integrated.
This task of integration requires looking at the problem in dynamic relative fashion.
Once again Ken is at his best in terms of differentiating the nature of the problem in question. However he has no means of properly translating the nature of this integration (which involves using a very different approach)..
The third Chaper is entitled Paradigms: A Wrong Turn.
In this Chapter Ken strongly attacks the post-modern concept of "new-paradigms" as a means of successfully integrating science and religion. Though there is a great deal of truth in much of what he says, I believe that Ken crucially over-states his argument, and ultimately distorts his own position.
Ken puts much of the problem down to a mis-interpretation of Kuhn's use of the word "paradigm" which requires strict adherence to recognised practices and procedures. However, now - according to Ken it is a case of anything goes with a lot of half-baked proposals promising to finally deliver the integration of science and religion.
Ken' basic argument is that as empirical science is monological to the core then any "new-paradigm" must necessarily reduce the "eye of contemplation" to the "eye of flesh" (and "eye of mind"). Therefore it can never succeed in its goal.
Though there is undoubtedly a great deal of truth in what he says here, he does overstate his case somewhat. One of the problems is this continued tendency (again illustrating differentiation) to clearly separate the three "eyes". However in practical terms this is not tenable and some overlap always takes place.
So let us take a field such as Quantum Mechanics as an illustration. Now it is the case that understanding here is still filtered through a rational paradigm of thought (which is not appropriate to the "eye of contemplation"). But this in itself creates a high level of paradox (in terms of the rational perspective).
Now I would maintain that this paradox can, and does in many cases, open up the mind to the great mystery underlying reality leading to spiritual insight. Indeed from one perspective the paradoxes of quantum mechanics can be looked on like the "koans" of Zen Buddhism and genuinely assist with meditative practice.
Thus though the translation might still be monolgical (and dialogical), we cannot deny that actual understanding might in some cases turn translogical.
So the big mistake that Ken makes is on insisting that understanding cannot surpass the mode of translation. Once again scientific understanding - as evidenced by great physicists - can greatly surpass the (scientific) mode of translation.
Thus though I would also be greatly critical of a lot of "new-paradigm" material I would recognise that it can play a definite - if often limited role - in raising the mind to the translogical domain.
Of course consolidation of this insight requires authentic spiritual practice but the initial task of awakening interest is important and can be facilitated by "new-paradigm" approaches. This is not to deny Ken's point that these can also hinder authentic spiritual development (due to their false and easy promises). However for balance we should recognise both possibilities.
There is also a major inconsistency in Ken's stated position. Throughout this Chapter he is maintaining that science by its very nature cannot access the "eye of contemplation" (which is the essential core of religion).
Yet in his previous chapter he was maintaining that each of the levels of the Great Chain has its own particular scientific expression.
If this is the case then it is inconsistent to maintain that sensory-empirical science is necessarily "monological" to the core. Even if Ken feels impelled to strongly criticise existing "new-paradigms" he should at least hold open the possibility that truly adequate expressions of science (appropriate to the "higher" levels) are indeed possible. Indeed this is the logic of his argument at the end of the previous chapter.
I must also say that Ken to me gives quite a selective interpretation of Kuhn's influential book.
It may well be true that paradigm is now used in so many different senses as to be confusing. However to go from this difficulty with the word to the denying the validity of any possible "new-paradigm" is to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
The very implication of what Ken says in Chapter 2 is that certainly a new vision of science is needed (as adequate expressions of the spiritual levels). However as Ken does not provide such a vision I have to conclude that his own position is confused. Thus even though he talks of the scientific expressions of the different levels, it is clear however that is still thinking in terms of the sensory-empirical science of the "lower" levels.
So the paradox is that though he is highly critical of the reductionist tendencies of sensory-empirical science, his own interpretation of science is very reduced and does not really extend beyond the monological vision.
"In one sense, of course there are no levels of sensory-empirical science: it simply registers the facts of the sensorimotor world, period".
I have suggested myself in a previous post that we need to distinguish as between paradigms and meta-paradigms.
Now a paradigm would relate to a specific set of practical and social injunctions, affirmations and verification procedures. These would be interpreted within an existing meta-paradigm (which would be based on the understanding appropriate to that level).
Now as the conventional methods of science are well established and belong to just one level (of the Great Chain) in what I refer to as the rational linear level (L0). This overall understanding of science therefore constitutes a distinctive meta-paradigm.
For example all the paradigm changes that Kuhn talks about take place within this one meta-paradigm. So even radical developments in physics such as Relativity Theory and Quantum Mechanics constitute paradigm change within a given meta-paradigm.
However once we talk about science at different levels then we need different meta-paradigms.
So what is really required in order to integrate science with religion is the development of new meta-paradigms which appropriately express the scientific understanding of the "higher" spiritual levels.
In this context therefore I have offered my own "Holistic Mathematics" (HM1, HM2 and HM3) as an appropriate set of new meta-paradigms (and the basis for the appropriate scientific expressions of the "higher" levels (which I refer to as Holoscience).
Thus the subtle realm (HL1) has its own meta-paradigm of science. The causal level (HL2) and nondual reality (HL3) have of course further meta-paradigms.
I will briefly outline the nature of this meta-paradigm as it applies to HL1 (the subtle realm).
Whereas exterior and interior poles (i.e. Ken's RH and LH quadrants) are separated at L0, at HL1 they become dynamically complementary (in horizontal terms).
This leads to a new vision of science where every physical relationship is understood to have a psychological equivalent (that is exactly complementary).
So the task now is to identify these complementary pairings (with exactly matching structures).
Some time ago, I demonstrated this in relation to 6 of the major findings in quantum physics demonstrating in each case exactly matching psychological interpretations.
The establishment of this complementarity then serves as the key to integration. So from a starting point where we understand exterior and interior reality as separate we now understand them as identical.
So at this level of understanding science itself dynamically assists in the task of integration of experience. Unfortunately Ken Wilber has no such vision to offer.
Thus when understood in this sense what is now greatly needed are - not "new-paradigms" - but rather "new meta-paradigms". In this view each major level has its own appropriate meta-paradigm.
Given that science - as we know it - is almost exclusively associated with just one met-paradigm (of L0) one can appreciate how vast is the work that needs to be done.
One of the great virtues of Holistic Mathematics is that it can precisely clarify the structure of these levels and the basic nature of the meta-paradigms required.
To be continued …