Setting the Scene
Q. You feel there is need for a radical new approach to development that interprets its nature in a more accurate dynamic manner. Can you briefly explain?
PC I strongly believe that a truly central issue for "Integral Studies" has scarcely yet been addressed. This relates to what constitutes an appropriate intellectual interpretation of the nature of integration in development.
As I see it integration is invariably reduced - in cognitive translation - to differentiation. Indeed the very term "Integral Studies" - as presently used - is therefore something of a misnomer and more properly represents Multidifferentiated (or Multidisciplinary) Studies.
Q So you are saying that "Integral Studies" as presently constituted is largely based on a reduced intellectual notion of integration!
PC Yes! it is so endemic that there is scarcely any realisation yet of the true nature of the problem.
Notwithstanding this difficulty, I accept that many good things are happening in the field and greatly welcome the move to a more comprehensive approach to understanding that attempts to embrace all stages of the Spectrum.
Also I accept that these efforts are often motivated by a genuine integral vision based on authentic spiritual practice that can inspire others with the desire for that same practice.
However a considerable unresolved discontinuity exists as between the integral vision and the conventional intellectual approach to translating integration. As we shall see this approach - which is heavily based on arbitrary asymmetrical type understanding - is properly suited solely for interpretation of the differentiated aspect of development.
When used however as an "integral" method it leads to considerable imbalance and inconsistency from an overall dynamic perspective.
Q You seem to be saying that differentiation and integration are distinct processes in development, which in turn require distinct intellectual methods of interpretation.
PC Precisely! However at present just one method is generally used to interpret both.
Of course there is also a sense in which the two aspects (i.e. differentiation and integration) are necessarily interdependent.
However before we can understand the dynamic nature of this interdependence we need to properly recognise their respective natures (using qualitatively distinct methods of intellectual interpretation). Otherwise we simply reduce one aspect to the other. (And at present it is the integral aspect that is reduced to differentiation).
Three Approaches to Development
I would broadly distinguish three approaches that are required for a satisfactory overall understanding of development.
1. The (static) analytic approach. This is the predominant method and is properly suited for the differentiated aspect of development where variables are treated in a relative independent manner. It is very much exemplified by Ken Wilber's holarchic model, which provides a somewhat unambiguous asymmetric type treatment of relationships.
However the extension of such an approach to integration leads to a merely reduced notion based on the multiple composite of partial asymmetric perspectives. Such understanding is always - by its very nature - unbalanced and inconsistent from an overall perspective.
2. The (dynamic) holistic approach. This arises from the inherent limitations of any asymmetrical explanation of development. It is based on paradoxical understanding of the complementarity of opposites (so that development always moves in two opposite directions simultaneously). This method is properly suited for interpretation of the integral aspect where variables are treated in a relatively interdependent manner. The first clear Western expression can be found in Heraclitus (who we will deal with later). However it can also be found in various ways in the writings of such influential figures as Hegel, Jung and Underhill.
However what is generally missing in the integral approach is any proper account of its precise relationship to asymmetric accounts of differentiation.
The establishment of the appropriate interface, that thereby enables consistent two-way interplay as between the twin aspects i.e. differentiation and integration, is the basis for the third method, which I am now proposing.
3. The (comprehensive) radial approach. This combines both the differentiated and integrated aspects of experience for every stage of development (while preserving their qualitatively distinct interpretations). Each stage can in fact be encoded in terms of a unique configuration of both these aspects. Indeed it is such a scientific configuration that now precisely defines the very nature of a stage!
The application of this approach leads basically to a redefinition of all key developmental concepts which I would maintain is much more accurate in terms of true experiential dynamics.
Q. You also maintain that these three approaches are associated with distinctive scientific meta-paradigms. Can you elaborate?
PC Conventional science is based on the first (static) analytic method, which is therefore properly suited for the differentiated appreciation of reality. However the application of conventional scientific interpretation leads to considerable fragmentation from an overall integral perspective.
What is not properly realised is that a fully coherent alternative scientific system is associated with the second (dynamic) holistic approach, that is inherently suited for integration.
Of special relevance here are the symbols of mathematics. In conventional terms the analytic interpretation of mathematical symbols provides an essential tool for science. Indeed modern science would be unthinkable without such mathematics.
However all the symbols of mathematics can be given an alternative interpretation in terms of the (dynamic) holistic approach.
I refer to this alternative interpretation - simply - as Holistic Mathematics and it provides the essential tool for a precise integral scientific appreciation of development.
Indeed in the most fundamental sense all key transformations are inherently mathematical (in this dynamic holistic sense).
The further clarification of all development relationships in holistic mathematical fashion has the power to open up vast new areas of enquiry, that remain all but untouched at present.
Q. We will talk about this vital dimension of your work later. Can you give us at this stage just a brief glimpse of how you would use Holistic Mathematics in this novel scientific manner?
PC We are very much aware of the digital revolution and how it is so rapidly changing our lives. The digital revolution depends on the fact that all information processes, regardless of how complex, can be - at least potentially - encoded using the analytic interpretation of the two digits 1 and 0.
Now in like manner all transformation processes - and development in all its varied aspects is a transformation process - can be potentially encoded using the corresponding (dynamic) holistic interpretation of these same two digits.
This is not meant merely as an exciting speculative notion. My interpretation of development, to a considerable level of detail, is explicitly encoded as a binary system of transformation.
Q So we have briefly dealt with analytic (differential) and holistic (integral) science.
What exactly is radial science?
PC It combines both the analytic and holistic scientific interpretation of phenomena.
Q. Can you give an example?
PC String Theory - or more recently M-theory - is proposed as a possible TOE. The great paradox however is that the closer physicists come in the quest for a TOE the more incomprehensible it all seems in terms of our everyday intuitions (which are heavily based on analytic notions).
So what is greatly lacking with String Theory is any proper dynamic understanding of the reality inhabited by strings which requires a holistic interpretation. Therefore the analytic vision becomes increasingly counter-intuitive in terms of the most fundamental particles and indeed ultimately incomprehensible in any meaningful sense.
However a proper integral understanding of string - or membrane - reality would provide the appropriate intuitions to properly appreciate the analytic findings of string physicists.
Thus a comprehensive scientific understanding that is both rationally and intuitively satisfying must be radial.
Furthermore in this approach - as physical and psychological understanding are ultimately fully complementary - all physical structures at the "lowest" level of reality are mirrored by corresponding structures at the "highest" psychological level. Thus a radial understanding of strings would greatly help to clarify the most refined phenomenal interactions associated with advanced mystical awareness. Indeed - in this context - a proper understanding of strings is inseparable from advanced mystical development.
Q. I understand that - in terms of his intellectual methodology - you firmly identify Ken Wilber with the analytic approach. But does he not also frequently deal with the dualistic paradoxes revealed though nondual spiritual awareness?
PC Yes! He does and so often in a very moving and beautifully poetic manner. Also he undoubtedly has great knowledge of the Eastern mystical traditions. However unfortunately I find a marked discontinuity in his writings as between his treatment of the spiritual and intellectual domains.
Once again any asymmetrical treatment of development - which by its very nature is dualistic - is strictly incompatible with nondual spiritual awareness.
Thus - in dynamic integral terms - it is vital to show how the dual and nondual aspects of experience increasingly interpenetrate especially at the "higher" stages of development.
So one purpose of a proper integral approach is to clearly expose, in the context of development relationships, the arbitrary nature of all asymmetric interpretations. This serves as the means by which one can gradually become free of rigid attachment to such interpretations, which is necessary in preparing the mind for a transformation in nondual spiritual awareness.
So from a growing integral perspective, spiritual contemplation increasingly interpenetrates with refined intellectual inquiry and the very nature of an integral approach is to consistently demonstrate the nature of this dynamic interaction.
Fundamental Nature of Development: Illustration of Two Drivers
Q. You repeatedly use your illustration of the two drivers to demonstrate the key nature of the both differentiated and integrated notions of development respectively. Can you oblige once more?
PC Certainly! Though the illustration may appear deceptively simple it has however profound implications for the interpretation of development.
Imagine two drivers A and B who meet along a straight road.
Now if both, pointing in the same way designate this as up the road, then the opposite direction is thereby down the road.
Up and down constitute polar opposites. So what we have done in this context is to fix the notion of direction with an arbitrary polar reference frame (though the opposite pole - as reference frame - would have been equally valid).
By agreeing to this arbitrary designation we are thereby able to fix the notion of direction in an unambiguous manner
However if both drivers had pointed initially in the opposite way along the road designating it as up, then the other direction - in terms of this alternative referencing system - would thereby be down.
So once again by agreeing to this arbitrary designation (using the alternative polar reference frame) we are able to fix the notion of direction in an unambiguous manner.
However, though each of these reference frames in isolation leads to an unambiguous notion of direction, in terms of each other they are inherently paradoxical. So what was "up" in the first reference frame is "down" in the second and what was "down" in the first is "up" in the second.
Now if the drivers travel off on their journeys in opposite directions each will interpret movement in a forward manner. So driver A interprets direction in terms of the forward movement of his/her car. Likewise driver B likewise interprets movement in terms of the forward movement of his/her car.
So each driver by arbitrarily fixing the polar reference frame (in an isolated independent manner) is able to give an unambiguous interpretation of direction (as forward).
Furthermore when we combine the information from these independent reference frames, again an unambiguous notion of direction is evident (as forward).
So both drivers now are deemed to be moving in a forward direction.
However, when we simultaneously attempt to combine reference frames (viewing them as interdependent) an entirely distinctive notion of direction operates.
Thus if A is moves forward (with respect to B), then B thereby - relatively - moves backward with respect to A.
Equally from the other perspective if B moves forward with respect to A, then A thereby moves backward with respect to B.
Thus the notion of direction is now inherently paradoxical so that A and B move in both a positive and backward manner with respect to each other (depending on the arbitrary context).
This illustration is deeply relevant for understanding the nature of development, which is always phenomenally conditioned by opposite poles e.g. objective and subjective (and subjective and objective). It is the very nature of experience that these poles continually interact in a dynamic manner entailing both notions of direction outlined in the illustration.
Differentiation in development always results from the arbitrary fixing of experience with an isolated polar reference frame (thereby treating is as independent).
For example conventionally in science phenomenal observations are fixed with the objective pole. So in effect we give these phenomena an external existence (independent of mind). Indeed we refer to them literally as "objects".
In this manner such phenomena are thereby clearly differentiated (as objective) in experience.
This in turn is associated with an unambiguous asymmetrical notion of direction.
So if we maintain for example that evolution proceeds forward from atoms to molecules (with atoms included in molecules), this thereby excludes - within this context - the opposite interpretation (i.e. that molecules are included in atoms).
However it is important to appreciate that all unambiguous rankings of variables apply solely to the differentiated aspect of development.
Thus when we attempt to embrace integration within any unambiguous asymmetrical interpretation we thereby reduce it to differentiation.
So likewise when we attempt to approach integration by combining multiple interpretations (each based on an isolated polar reference frame) then we reduce integration to multi-differentiation.
I would clearly see Ken Wilber's AQAL approach as falling into this category.
His interpretation of the four quadrants is heavily based on the multiple use of fragmented isolated polar reference frames where he attempts to treat them in a relatively independent discrete manner e.g. all "Its" belong to the Right-Hand Quadrants.
Likewise his levels are based on the same type of interpretation where they are defined again in a largely discrete fashion whereby for example transpersonal stages are sharply distinguished from prepersonal.
Furthermore though immanence and transcendence constitute two opposite poles, Ken arbitrarily fixes the forward direction of development with the transcendent aspect again leading to unambiguous asymmetric interpretation.
The same problem is very much evident in the extension of this approach to lines and modes of development.
I greatly admire Ken's intellectual achievements.
However I would be deeply concerned if his AQAL approach - as it stands - comes to serve as a blueprint for Integral Studies.
Whatever its merits it offers - at best - a somewhat reduced notion of integration (which is intellectually confused with multi-differentiation).
The key point to grasp is integration in development always results from the simultaneous viewing of polar reference frames (thereby treating them as interdependent).
Thus advanced spiritual awareness, which represents a mature form of integral understanding, requires the significant erosion of rigid dualistic distinctions based on isolated polar reference frames. One thereby gradually moves from viewing such poles as largely independent to being increasingly interdependent (and ultimately identical). Thus pure integral understanding coincides with nondual awareness (that dynamically co-exists with extremely refined appreciation of form). This subtle appreciation of form itself results from the inevitable paradox associated with any dualistic referencing system.
Therefore from a formal intellectual perspective a proper integral approach demonstrates the appropriate movement from rigid dualistic understanding (on which differentiation is initially based) to an increasingly more refined paradoxical appreciation. Such awareness inevitably lessens attachment to rigid differentiation (based on the arbitrary fixing of polar reference frames) preparing the mind for a qualitative transformation in nondual spiritual awareness. This in turn facilitates the more ready appreciation of paradox at the dualistic level.
Thus in this manner spiritual awareness and refined paradoxical understanding are themselves dynamically interdependent as form increasingly interpenetrates with emptiness (and emptiness with form).
So opposite interpretations based on the fixing of the polar frame of reference - though unambiguous in isolation - are deeply paradoxical in terms of each other. Thus, as we move from treating development variables as relatively independent to being - ultimately - interdependent, this paradoxical appreciation of dualistic perspectives is enhanced facilitating a transformation to nondual spiritual awareness (where opposite poles are intuitively reconciled).
Wherever integration is involved in nature or in human development, the same basic dynamics - at least implicitly - are at work. So in the precise moment of integral transformation, dualistic polarised identity is in some measure dissolved (though subsequently a reduced differentiated interpretation of the process may well be given).
Integration and Transformation
Q What is the relationship between integration as you define it and transformation?
PC Integration relates essentially to the nondual aspect of development (where opposite polarities in some measure coincide as emptiness). However as emptiness always interpenetrates with form, this interaction leads to the transformation of form. Unfortunately in conventional scientific terms a reduced interpretation of this relationship is given merely in terms of form.
So for example a transformation occurs whereby a grouping of atoms leads to a molecule (entailing the interaction of form with emptiness). Though one may recognise that a certain transformation of the atoms has indeed taken place, the integral aspect of the relationship is subsequently accommodated - and thereby reduced - to the differentiated interpretation of the resulting new form (i.e. molecule).
Thus the dynamic interpenetration of form with emptiness (and emptiness with form) is largely explained in terms of the asymmetrical identification of separate forms.
In effect any asymmetric interpretation of development - by its nature - leads to the reduction of the integral in terms of the differentiated aspect. This can thereby impede the very process of spiritual transformation.
Q Can you explain a little further?
PC Asymmetric type understanding is based on an unambiguous interpretation of development relationships. This leads inevitably to dualistic attachment and a loss in the sense of mystery. We think in a certain sense that we properly understand reality when in fact we are identifying a somewhat limited interpretation with the truth.
Of course we must differentiate before we can integrate. However the actual process of integration entails the undoing of (rigid) asymmetrical understanding. Paradoxically this leads initially to an enhanced form of bi-directional asymmetrical understanding.
Q How can this be the case?
PC As we have seen, whenever we attempt to explain the dynamic interdependence of a relationship involving opposite poles, two equally valid (opposite) interpretations are always possible in dualistic terms.
However when we arbitrarily fix the frame of reference with just one pole, this automatically excludes appreciation of the equal validity of the opposite interpretation.
I will briefly illustrate this point with reference to the statement
"The atom is transcended and included in the molecule; the molecule is transcended included in the cell; the cell is transcended and included in the organism etc."
Though in experiential terms exterior and interior aspects must necessarily interact in the recognition of phenomena, here in conventional terms the frame of reference is fixed with the exterior pole.
We can then interpret the relationship between these (exterior) phenomena unambiguously in an asymmetrical holarchical fashion. This thereby tends to exclude appreciation of the equally valid opposite interpretation (based on fixing the reference frame with the interior pole)
So in effect we look on the various phenomena (atom, molecule, cell organism etc.) as having an objective existence (independent of mind).
However we could equally interpret this relationship as representing the mental perceptions that we identify with the atom, molecule, cell, organism etc.
Again from this opposite interior perspective, we generate a seemingly unambiguous interpretation of the relationship between phenomena (with mental perceptions taking the place of objects).
Indeed it seems identical to the first explanation.
This leads in science to the double correspondence view. Because - using isolated reference frames - exterior and interior rankings appear identical, they are assumed to correspond with each other. So interior (mental) constructs are assumed to correspond to related (exterior) phenomena; likewise exterior phenomena are assumed to correspond to (interior) mental constructs.
However once we view these poles simultaneously, paradox results.
Now the interior dynamically excludes the exterior aspect; likewise the exterior dynamically excludes the interior aspect.
Q But what does this actually entail?
PC Well it means that the process of understanding changes the very nature of the relationship. As Heraclitus said
"You can never step in the same river twice".
So as our reference frames i.e. interior and exterior (and exterior and interior) are increasingly experienced as interdependent, both poles - to a degree - dynamically negate each other. So just as matter and anti-matter fuse in physical energy, likewise complementary opposite poles fuse as spiritual energy. So spiritual emptiness can now interpenetrate with form thereby causing a transformation in the very nature of this form. And of course the deeper the experience of spiritual emptiness, the deeper is the transformation in the understanding of form that thereby takes place.
Q. What happens to our asymmetrical understanding of the relationship between the atom, molecule, cell and organism ?
PC It becomes increasingly refined. Dualistic distinctions are still made but there is a growing appreciation of their merely arbitrary nature i.e. reflecting the interaction of two reference frames that are inconsistent in terms of each other.
Conventionally we identify the interior aspect unambiguously with the "self " and exterior with the "outside" world. Indeed this is the very basis of ego identity where we see the self as somehow separate from the world. However when we appreciate the inevitable paradoxical nature of polar reference frames, we realise that neither the self nor the world can have any fixed unambiguous meaning. And in losing this (limited) identity we gradually become free to embrace spiritual emptiness in all its fullness.
So this refined appreciation coincides with the lessening of possessive rigid attachment (which always reflects unambiguous absolute type understanding).
Also because of the growing interaction as between the appreciation of opposite polar reference frames, a much greater degree of spiritual fusion becomes possible i.e. as spiritual emptiness. This greatly enhances the deepening sense of mystery of the transformed nature of phenomena, which now come to serve as eternal archetypes of the Divine Spirit. Thus as phenomena become increasingly refined and transparent, they can better reflect eternal Spirit in both its immanent and transcendent aspects.
So in this manner we move from rigid scientific type understanding based on asymmetric differentiation of forms, to flexible mystical type appreciation reflecting the wonderful rich mystery of the spiritual emptiness within and without these forms.
Dynamic Understanding: Clarification of Heraclitus
Q Let us come back to Heraclitus for moment. Can you comment further - in the light of what you have been saying - on "The way up is the way down; the way down is the way up"?
PC The implications of what Heraclitus is saying here are truly fundamental and - to my mind - rarely properly appreciated.
It is important to note that he is using a circular rather than a linear notion of direction. He therefore is not saying that the way up is the reverse of the way down and the way down is the reverse of the way up.
Thus if I go up a ladder (the Ascent), the way down is clearly the reverse of the way up (The Descent). But this is to give a merely unambiguous linear notion of direction and is not at all what Heraclitus means.
No! What he is saying is that - because the dynamic interaction of opposite poles fundamentally conditions all development relationships - we can only attempt to define direction through an arbitrary fixing of these poles (where the alternative fixing of direction in terms of the opposite pole is equally valid).
So once again if two drivers meet on a straight road - say in a desert - the notion of direction can only be fixed through an arbitrary fixing of the polar reference frame.
So if pointing in the same direction on the road both drivers agree that this is up the road, then the other direction is unambiguously down the road.
However they could equally have initially pointed in the opposite direction (on the road) defining this is up so that the other direction is now unambiguously down. Though both of these systems for defining direction are unambiguous in terms of their independent polar reference frames, they are deeply paradoxical when we attempt to view both poles as interdependent.
So what was "up" in terms of the first referencing system is "down" in terms of the second; likewise what was "down" in terms of the first is "up" in terms of the second.
However Heraclitus is just using this specific example to imply that all polar referencing frames are inherently paradoxical in dynamic interactive terms.
And remember that polar reference frames always necessarily condition development relationships!
Now the very way one comes to realise this in experience is though frequent switching in experience as between opposite poles. So as the interaction increases one steadily becomes aware - in any context - of the inherent paradox of dualistic distinction (where direction is unambiguously defined).
However when we attempt to define reference frames rigidly, it greatly lessens the capacity for this dynamic interaction (i.e. integral interdependence) so that the appreciation of paradox in terms of our intellectual understanding of relationships (based on asymmetrical type understanding) is greatly reduced.
So by intellectually reducing integral, where poles are viewed as relatively interdependent, to differentiated understanding where they are viewed as relatively independent, the very capacity for dynamic interaction in experience is thereby significantly reduced.
So once again at a certain stage of development, the very attempt to understand development relationships in unambiguous asymmetrical terms could set considerable limits to the capacity for authentic spiritual transformation.
Q I know you frequently use another illustration to explain the important distinction as between linear and circular notions of direction! Can you repeat it again as it is very relevant in this context?
PC Imagine taking a journey from - say - New York to Boston! In this partial localised context an (unambiguous) linear notion of direction is appropriate with an asymmetric interpretation applying. Thus as I move further away from New York (as my starting point), I thereby move closer to Boston (as my destination).
However if we now attempt to understand in an overall holistic context with reference to a global journey around the world (i.e. starting and ending in New York) a very distinct (paradoxical) circular notion of direction applies. So now as I move further away from New York, I thereby also move closer to New York.
Thus in this context forward and backward notions of movement are purely relative.
Thus if I move forward (with respect to New York as my starting point), I thereby move backward (with respect to New York as destination). Likewise if I move forward (with respect to New York as destination), I thereby move backward with respect to New York (as starting point). So as Heraclitus understood so well, from a circular perspective what is "forward" in terms of one reference frame is "backward" in terms of the other; likewise from the opposite perspective what is "backward" in terms of one frame is "forward" in terms of the other.
Now once again the crucial point to grasp is that both these notions of direction (linear and circular) are intimately involved in the very dynamics of experience, which are always necessarily conditioned by arbitrary polar reference frames.
The linear (asymmetric) notion implicitly applies whenever we differentiate in experience; the circular (paradoxical) notion applies whenever we integrate.
However if - in explicit terms - we attempt to interpret the integral aspect through (linear) asymmetric notions, we thereby misrepresent the very nature of development. This thereby sets severe limitations to the actual process of integration in experience.
Quite simply we cannot approach circular (integral) through an extension of linear (differentiated) notions of understanding. They are qualitively distinct and thereby require distinctive methods of intellectual interpretation.
Q. You have already expressed reservations regarding Ken Wilber's integral approach. But does he not sincerely advocate authentic spiritual practice!
PC Oh yes! But I find a considerable discontinuity as between the boundaries of the integral practice he advocates and his characteristic intellectual treatment of development. In other words he does not deal adequately with the nature of the dynamic interpenetration of both domains especially at the "higher" levels of development. Therefore I would say that beyond the understanding of a certain stage (i.e. the centaur) Ken's intellectual translations of development are in fact inconsistent with authentic nondual spiritual awareness.
For example an integral nondual appreciation leads to the realisation - in line with Heraclitus - that all development processes are dynamically bi-directional i.e. simultaneously move forward and backward in opposite directions.
Now clearly any asymmetric interpretation is not consistent with this view. So - from an intellectual perspective - the task of a true integral approach is to show how one's understanding of development - as it increasingly interpenetrates with growing spiritual awareness - moves from (dual) asymmetric to paradoxical bi-directional appreciation. As we will show later how this broadly unfolds in three major stages!
In other words this appreciation of paradox is not just something that relates to meditative practice (as somehow compartmentalised from normal cognitive appreciation). Rather we need to show clearly how spiritual contemplation gradually interpenetrates with intellectual understanding thereby transforming its very nature.
Q So in a proper integral approach, as you define it, intellectual understanding cannot be divorced from growing spiritual awareness?
PC Yes! They continually interpenetrate as form with emptiness (and emptiness with form) and being complementary, mutually serve each other's growth. So associated with each of the higher levels is a characteristic type of bi-directional understanding, which both depends on and equally assists a corresponding level of spiritual awareness. Integral understanding - as I define it - is based on the dynamic interaction of both and should not be identified with the vision-logic type understanding of the centaur stage, that operates in a very different fashion.
Mirror Asymmetrical Models of Development
Q Can you elaborate on these points in more depth?
PC Let's take the standard presentation of Ken's holarchical approach to development!
"In development each junior holon is transcended and included in a senior holon"
On examination one can see that this statement is based on the arbitrary fixing of several polar reference frames.
Firstly junior and senior constitute opposites (which in dynamic interdependent terms are purely relative). So Ken is attempting to fix the forward direction of development unambiguously with movement from junior to senior holon.
Now in Ken's approach this forward direction is defined in terms of "holism" where the movement in development to a more collective whole identity. So a senior holon in this sense has more "wholeness" than the junior.
However when we shift polar reference frames - which continually occurs in the very dynamics of experience - the forward direction is again from junior to senior holon.
However this direction is now defined in terms of "partism" and the opposite movement in development to a more unique part identity. So the senior holon in this context is the one with more "partness".
Now, though both of these polar reference frames provide unambiguous rankings of junior and senior (in their own isolated contexts), when viewed in simultaneous relationship to each other they are deeply paradoxical.
So what was "senior" in the context of "holism" is "junior in the context of "partism"; likewise what was junior" in the context of "partism" is "senior" in the context of "holism".
So in dynamic interactive terms junior and senior rankings in development are purely relative (depending on context). So forward movement in development from the perspective of holism implies - relatively - backward movement from the opposite perspective of "partism". Likewise backward movement from the perspective of "holism" implies "forward" movement from the perspective of "partism".
And once again it is vital to recognise that in the dynamics of experience both of these interpretations are necessarily involved and continually interact.
Thus when we try to understand development in an unambiguous fashion portraying its forward direction merely in terms of greater "wholeness" we thereby provide an unbalanced interpretation of the very nature of experience setting severe limitations on its balanced growth.
Now we can perhaps see more clearly the limitations of Ken's asymmetrical approach.
He arbitrarily fixes his polar reference frame with holism through identifying the forward direction in development with movement to a more collective whole identity. However he does so without equal recognition of the validity of the opposite reference frame (i.e. partism).
So Ken unambiguously attempts to portray evolution as the progressive movement to more collective "wholeness". However in asymmetrical terms it can be equally portrayed as the progressive movement to more unique "partness".
Clearly in dynamic interactive terms, the whole has no meaning without the parts; equally the parts have no meaning without the whole. However holism provides a merely one-sided - and thereby unbalanced - view of this relationship.
So in moving to a dynamic integral appreciation we need to balance the one-sided asymmetric interpretation provided by holism with the equally one-sided interpretation provided by partism. Though both of these provide consistent rankings (within their own isolated polar reference frames) when simultaneously combined they lead to dynamic symmetry based on the paradoxical complementarity of opposites. This leads to the clear realisation that development processes always move simultaneously in both directions. Such paradoxical appreciation at an intellectual level is fully consistent with a nondual appreciation at a spiritual (intuitive) level. So paradox (in dualistic terms) is transformed into the experience of mystery at a spiritual level (before giving way to an even keener appreciation of dualistic paradox),
We again see the arbitrary fixing of polar reference frames in relation to Ken's emphasis on transcendence. Now transcendence and immanence in this context are polar opposites. Therefore in fixing direction in development we can equally choose the immanent (as well as the transcendent) direction. Put another way as immanence and transcendence (and transcendence and immanence) are fully complementary and ultimately identical in nondual terms, it makes no sense to try and fix the forward direction of evolution with (merely) transcendence. It is equally valid to fix the forward direction with immanence.
Again, though again we can get consistent ranking in terms of either polar reference system taken separately, in simultaneous relationship to each other these reference systems are deeply paradoxical. What is forward in terms of transcendence is backward in terms of immanence; likewise what is forward in terms of immanence is backward in terms of transcendence.
So once again in dynamic integral terms, development is bi-directional and purely relative i.e. moving both forward and backward simultaneously in both transcendent and immanent terms.
Thus the clear appreciation of this process greatly facilitates the transformation to nondual spiritual awareness, which in turn provides an ever-deepening appreciation of the dynamic bi-directional nature of both complementary aspects in development.
Finally inclusion and exclusion are opposite poles. Again Ken fixes his reference frame with just one pole (i.e. inclusion). So each junior is included in the senior holon.
However it would be equally valid to fix the polar reference frame with exclusion so that - from this perspective - each junior is excluded in the senior holon.
Once more we get unambiguous rankings within each polar reference frame (taken separately).
However when viewed in simultaneous relationship to each other they are deeply paradoxical.
Thus inclusion and exclusion are purely relative in dynamic terms.
Therefore junior and senior (and senior and junior) holons mutually include and exclude each other from an integral viewpoint.
So the first step toward moving toward a dynamic integral approach is to balance each interpretation of development (taken from one arbitrary polar reference frame) with the corresponding opposite interpretation (taken from the alternative reference frame).
Thus in terms of junior and senior we need to balance holism with partism
(a) Each junior holon is transcended and included in the senior in holarchical terms (holism)
(b) Each junior holon is transcended and included in partarchical terms (partism)
Next we need to balance the transcendent direction of development with the immanent.
(a) Each junior holon is transcended and included in the senior. This in turn has two separate interpretations in terms of holism and partism.
(b) Each junior holon is made immanent and included in the senior. This likewise has two separate interpretations in terms of holism and partism.
Finally we need to balance inclusion with exclusion.
(a) Each junior holon is included in the senior. This in turn has four separate interpretations (holism and partism; transcendence and immanence)
Each junior holon is excluded in the senior. Again this has four separate interpretations (holism and partism; transcendence and immanence).
So combining these three sets of polarities (which in each case generate two directions of development) we have eight equally valid asymmetrical interpretations of the nature of development.
1) Each junior holon is transcended and included in the senior in holarchical terms.
2) Each junior holon is transcended and included in the senior in partarchical terms.
3) Each junior holon is made immanent and included in the senior in holarchical terms
4) Each junior holon is made immanent and included in the senior in partarchical terms.
5) Each junior holon is transcended and excluded in the senior in holarchical terms.
6) Each junior holon is transcended and excluded in the senior in partarchical terms.
7) Each junior holon is made immanent and excluded in the senior in holarchical terms.
8) Each junior holon is made immanent and excluded in the senior in partarchical terms.
Moving From Differentiation to Integration
Instead of just one asymmetrical interpretation (based on an arbitrary fixing with respect to three polar reference frames) we now have - through the recognition of the equal validity of the opposite frame - eight distinctive interpretations of the differentiated aspect of development.
Certainly - from my perspective - any attempt to define an integral approach within the context of just one arbitrarily defined asymmetric interpretation of development is quite inadequate.
We have in fact defined here eight equally valid asymmetrical models that are all suited for appreciation of the differentiated aspect of development.
However the process of integration - as opposed to differentiation - relates to the paradoxical notion of direction that arises from simultaneously viewing opposite polar reference frames (in dynamic relation to each other). All polarised distinctions now have a purely relative interpretation (depending on context).
Thus what is "senior" in terms of one reference frame (holism) is "junior" in terms of its opposite (partism).
Likewise what is "junior" in terms of one reference frame (holism) is "senior" in terms of its opposite (partism).
What is "transcendent" in terms of one reference frame (i.e. where the forward direction of development is identified with the transcendent aspect) is "immanent" in terms of its opposite frame (i.e. where the forward direction is identified with the immanent aspect).
Likewise what is "immanent" in terms of one reference frame is "transcendent" in terms of the other.
Finally what is "inclusion" in terms of one reference frame is "exclusion" in terms of its opposite e.g. Thus in dynamic terms we always include with respect to one polarity by correspondingly excluding with respect to the opposite polarity (and vice versa).
Likewise what is "exclusion" in terms of one reference frame is "inclusion" in terms of the other frame.
Thus integration in dynamic experiential terms relates essentially to the movement from (linear) asymmetrical understanding (i.e. based on unambiguous sequential relationships) to (circular) symmetrical understanding (i.e. based on the paradoxical appreciation of simultaneous relationships).
Likewise an appropriate integral approach attempts to demonstrate the very nature of this process.
However the first step is the provision of a more refined approach to differentiation, where every interpretation based on the arbitrary fixing of one reference frame, is balanced by an alternative "mirror" interpretation (based on the opposite frame).
Q I hope we can return to this later. I think it would help us greatly to appreciate the relevance of these ideas if you could illustrate them all in much more detail through a specific application to development.
PC I very much agree and would be delighted to do so.
The Radial Approach
Q You have now explained the difference between differentiation and integration. Can you say a little bit more about the radial. You say it combines both differentiated and integrated aspects, but it dynamic terms - from the way you describe it - the integral approach also entails differentiation. So how is the radial distinct from the integral approach?
PC Good question! The integral does indeed dynamically involve differentiated understanding but as the interdependence of development variables steadily increases it does so in a somewhat specialised manner.
I will explain later in more precise manner - in the context of my holistic mathematical approach - what I mean by radial. However for the moment we can say that it has very close association with the notion of rays (i.e. as rays of light) and radiance (as the state of spiritual light).
So just as we can speak of differentiation and integration we can equally speak of the radiation - or more properly - irradiation. This relates directly to spiritual illumination that arises directly from the pure dynamic interaction of both differentiated and integrated elements of personality.
Now it is important to realise that as some capacity for differentiation and integration defines all developmental experience, the capacity for irradiation is thereby associated with every stage.
Thus in a certain sense one always has access to Radial Reality though typically in a somewhat attenuated fashion.
However, when I speak of Radial Reality and the radial approach I am typically referring to its mature expression when the specialised development of both the capacity for differentiation and integration in experience operates at an advanced level.
Integration - especially at the pure contemplative level of experience - is directly associated with bi-directional differentiated activity (where switching between opposite polar reference frames takes place almost instantaneously in a balanced and highly refined flexible manner).
However while this capacity is undergoing development, limited one-directional activity (which is necessarily required through engagement in practical affairs) takes place.
So typically specialisation in contemplative development is associated with - at least temporary - withdrawal from everyday activities. However once the capacity for sustained contemplation has been obtained there often follows a re-emergence into the world entailing considerable creative involvement in practical activity, now sustained through the capacity for maintaining continual nondual awareness.
Thus the radial approach - as I define it - combines not alone the manner through which one gradually moves from one-directional dualistic understanding ultimately to nondual (contemplative) understanding but also the reverse process by which one fully moves from nondual understanding back to one-directional differentiated understanding (through intimate involvement in practical activity).
In Christian terms Radial Reality would be described as involving the mature interplay of both contemplation and activity and it is amply demonstrated in the lives of many of the great saints.
In my own work I am concentrating more narrowly on an area that I believe has been greatly neglected. This relates to the spiritual vision with its accompanying intellectual framework, appropriate for a scientific interpretation of the dynamic understanding that characterises Radial Reality.