We are still dealing with Chap. 5 "The Four Corners of the Known Universe" and have reached the section "Interior and Exterior".
Ken makes the valid point that modern science has demonstrated clearly that mind and consciousness are anchored in the natural organism and that this has led to considerable reductionism in the interpretation of transcendent spiritual experience.
However in the manner he attempts to translate the modern problem as a battle between interior and exterior, I believe that he is gravely mistaken.
Later in the Chapter he summarise his position as follows
"Thus the Left-Hand or interior dimensions were reduced to their Right-Hand or exterior correlates which utterly collapsed the great Chain of Being, and with it the core claims of the great wisdom traditions."
He also refers a couple of pages earlier to the "disaster of modernity that denied reality to any of the interior dimensions at all."
Once again, strictly speaking this position is untenable. Ken Wilber in these earlier chapters misleadingly tries to identify modern science with merely "empirical science". However modern science equally incorporates "theoretical science".
In both cases there are important links as between exterior and interior poles of experience.
With empirical science, the emphasis is initially on exterior data. However, such data would be meaningless in the absence of interpretation (resulting from corresponding interior mental constructs).
By contrast the emphasis in theoretical science is initially on interior concepts. Again however, such concepts would be meaningless without corresponding perceptions (resulting from empirical sense data).
So there are really two complementary approaches in modern science.
In the first case we start with the exterior data (Right-Hand quadrants) and attempt to extract from this data interior general constructs (to meaningfully interpret the data).
Ken's discovery of the four quadrants ably demonstrates this approach. Ken collected a wealth of data on hierarchical structures and by examining it closely was able to formulate his four-quadrant approach (as a conceptual explanation).
So here the direction moves from exterior to interior. The interior constructs are seen as a reflection of the exterior data.
However in the second case we start with the interior concepts (Left-Hand quadrants) and attempt to apply these to exterior empirical data.
Albert Einstein's Theories of Relativity (Special and General) would ably represent this approach. Einstein was attempting to devise a coherent conceptual explanation of the working of the physical universe, which would provide a coherent (integrated) explanation for key empirical data.
(Ken Wilber misleadingly attempts to portray science in monological terms as pertaining to "the eye of flesh". However the irony is that Einstein's approach pertained more to the "eye of mind" and the "eye of contemplation" than the "eye of flesh").
So in this latter case the direction moves from interior to exterior. Here the (exterior) data are seen as a reflection of the (interior) constructs.
There is an important problem with Ken's formulation. Once again he refers "to the disaster of modernity that denied reality to any of the interior dimensions at all".
(Conventional) mathematics is part and parcel of modernity (and inseparable from the development of modern science). Now by Ken's own admission, mathematics belongs to the interior domain. So clearly in this context modernity does allow for an important interior dimension.
Again the root problem reflects the lack of a dynamic methodology.
Once again in dynamic terms, opposite poles (exterior and interior, interior and exterior) continually interact in experience. When we try to translate this interaction in (reduced) static terms, two opposite interpretations are equally valid.
1) We can explain the interior pole in terms of the exterior. This is what Ken Wilber persistently does. He tries to portray modern science as simply a reflection of (exterior) material phenomena.
2) We can explain the exterior pole in terms of the interior. Ken persistently overlooks this equally valid interpretation of science. Here the emphasis is on conceptual theoretical constructs of which (exterior) sense phenomena are assumed as a reflection.
So Ken Wilber - as is typical of a one-directional approach - keeps coming down in favour of just one side of a polarity (when the opposite interpretation is equally valid).
So the assumed correspondence in science as between exterior (and interior and exterior) domains works both ways.
When the empirical scientist collects data s/he assumes that subsequent conceptual interpretations will directly correspond with the data. So Ken Wilber believes that his (conceptual) four-quadrant model corresponds with his empirical data.
Likewise when the theoretical scientist formulates hypotheses, s/he assumes that subsequent research data will correspond with these hypotheses. Thus, Albert Einstein was very confident that experimental testing would verify the truth of his Theory of Relativity.
When one grasps this point then it is no longer valid to represent the collapse of modernity - as Ken Wilber does - as a reduction of interior to exterior domains. Equally it can be portrayed as a reduction of exterior to interior domains.
The real problem of modernity - which Ken never makes explicit - is the very use of a scientific approach, which is based on the polarised separation of both exterior and interior (interior and exterior) domains.
So Ken repeatedly fails to distinguish genuine dynamic (and interactive) notion of the relationship of exterior and interior from scientific reduced notions of this relationship.
The problem with reduced static notions of exterior and interior domains is that it robs them of any true intentionality and moral value.
Thus though (conventional) mathematics relates to the interior domain, it does not depend on intentionality. Thus "good" mathematics is viewed as independent of moral intention.
However, genuine interactive notions of interior and exterior very much depend on intention which gives the experience a deeper existential meaning.
Thus the horror that followed the recent senseless bombing in Northern Ireland gives rise to an interior meaning that resonates with intentionality and moral value.
This horror results from a dynamic interactive notion of meaning. Thus in this context interior meaning is very much existential meaning.
However the concepts of (conventional) mathematics represent a (reduced) static notion of meaning (where the interaction of opposite poles is frozen). Thus interior meaning in this context is one devoid of existential value.
Experience is dynamic (and interactive), incorporating elements that are differentiated and elements which are integrated in experience. All experience involves the combination of two logical systems (of form and emptiness).
Differentiation is based directly on an either/or logic of form (separation of opposites).
Integration is based directly on a both/and logic of emptiness (complementarity of opposites).
The disaster of modernity therefore is the attempt to translate this complex interaction (based on both logical systems) solely in terms of just one system.
Thus with the modern scientific approach we attempt to portray reality in differentiated polarised terms (based on logic of form and separation of opposites).
Thus the key element missing from scientific translations of reality is any method for portraying the nature of integration. Once again the scientific approach is geared to a differentiated (rather than an integrated) interpretation of reality.
This is why I would be so critical of Ken Wilber's own approach for it is very largely based on a translation that uses just one logical system i.e. the logic of form (when two are really required).
Thus though Ken talks about integration, his own logical approach esp. in "Marriage of Sense and Soul" is geared to differentiation.
Ultimately this leads to many internal inconsistencies (which I have been outlining in my posts).
The problem with premodern understanding is that the emphasis was more on integration (without proper differentiation of the separate aspects of experience).
However modern science has carried the differentiated aspect too far (so that there is too little emphasis on integration).
So the task now is to fully honour both approaches. This will require redressing the present imbalance. So the real problem is to distinguish genuine interactive notions of exterior and interior from (reduced) polarised notions.
However this truly interactive understanding requires the use of an alternative logical system (based on the complementarity of opposites) which Ken Wilber rarely employs.
To use an analogy Ken is wonderful at collecting all the various ingredients that we need to cook a great meal (differentiation).
However he has no means to show how these ingredients should be combined (integration). When we come to cook the meal he exhorts us to leave the ingredients just as they are.
(I will illustrate this problem further when dealing directly with his four-quadrant approach).
His own attempt to deal with the problem of modernity represents (in his differentiated logical method) a continuation of the approach that has caused the difficulties in the first place.
A radical new approach - geared to an integrated - rather than (solely) differentiated approach to science is required. However once again Ken Wilber not alone does not provide this approach. He stoutly denies even its possibility.
To be continued....