Holistic Mathematics - Type 3 Integration (Part B)

Sub-levels of H3 (Null or Simple-Complex Level)

Q You believe that the holistic mathematical approach leads to the delineation of three distinct sub-levels. Also - due to its dynamic complementary nature - this throws light on the nature of earliest development. Can you briefly elaborate?

PC We have to remember that by the very nature of experience there is considerable overlap of stages at H3.

In basic terms the sub-levels achieve their most distinct (i.e. differentiated) form at the middle level (L0, H0).

Then at the higher levels (H1, H2 and H3) they increasingly interact with little division remaining between them at H3.

Yet a certain discrete level of interpretation still does exist and the structural nature is directly suggested by the diagonal lines in our circular diagram.

So there are in fact two diagonal lines. One is drawn from right to left i.e. k (1 + i) and k (- 1 - i) where k = 1/square root of 2. This bisects the UR and LL quadrants representing the holistic mathematical interpretation of the two roots of i (where i = the square root of - 1).

The other drawn from left to right i.e. k (- 1 + i) and k (1 - i) bisects the UL and LR quadrants and represents the corresponding holistic mathematical interpretation of the two roots of - i.

The distinctive structural nature of these two lines thereby leads to the interpretation of two sub-levels i.e. SL1 and SL2.

Finally when we take the interpretation of these two diagonal lines simultaneously we define the highest sub-level possible i.e. SL3 before the pure attainment of nondual reality.

Q So what do these complex mathematical formulations actually mean?

PC The polar extremities of each of the two diagonal lines (connecting the four quadrants) is made of both a "real" and an "imaginary" aspect (both of which are equal in magnitude).

What this entails in psychological terms is that H3 entails the very refined balancing of both conscious and unconscious aspects of experience with respect to the two primary modes i.e. cognitive and affective. (The third primary mode - volitional - serves as the central spiritual means through which the other modes are harmonised).

The cognitive and affective modes themselves represent two key paths to mystical union i.e. wisdom through knowledge and understanding and compassion through loving identification with all creation. The volitional mode - which is central - simply represents the desire to essentially be what is one's true nature (i.e. Spirit).

The effective harmonisation of these requires freedom from all secondary attachment to their phenomenal expressions.

Such attachment can be either of a direct (local) conscious nature i.e. "real" or alternatively of an indirect (holistic or archetypal) nature i.e. "imaginary".

However when the conscious and unconscious aspects are themselves closely united in experience, then we can readily combine the local "real" interpretation of objects with corresponding archetypal "imaginary" appreciation (with little attachment to either aspect).

So to briefly recap, H1 represents specialised training in the balancing of opposite complementary "real" poles - at a (horizontal) heterarchical level - with respect to the direct conscious interpretation of phenomena.

H2 in turn represents specialised training in the balancing of opposite "imaginary" poles - at a (vertical) hierarchical level - with respect to unconscious interpretation of phenomena (i.e. as the indirect conscious expression of the hidden unconscious).

So H3 now represents specialised training in the combined balancing of both opposite "real" and "imaginary" poles - at (diagonal) heterarchical and hierarchical levels - with respect to both the direct and indirect conscious interpretation of phenomena.

However even in terms of this most developed form of integral training there are three sub-divisions.

So the first sub-level (SL1) combines opposite polarities with respect to both their "real" and "imaginary" aspects that are of the same sign.

Therefore in the UR quadrant both the "real" (conscious) and "imaginary" (unconscious) aspects are defined in positive terms. Then in the LL quadrant both "real" and "imaginary" are defined in a negative manner.

However the second sub-level (SL2) is more demanding in that it combines opposite polarities - again in "real" and "imaginary" terms - which themselves differ in direction (in both diagonally opposite quadrants).

Therefore in the UL quadrant the "real" aspect is negative while the "imaginary" is positive. Then in the LR quadrant the "real" is positive while the "imaginary" is negative.

The third sub-level (SL3) is the most refined possible in that it now requires the ability to simultaneously combine diagonal opposites with respect to all four quadrants so that no rigid phenomenal distinction of either a "real" (conscious) or "imaginary" (unconscious) nature remains.

As St. John of the Cross might say, here all possessive attachment (both natural and spiritual) ceases.

This alone is compatible with the pure experience of nondual awareness.

Q A very subtle point here! You define your "complex" polarities with respect to just one mode. So for example if we define the UR quadrant with respect to the affective mode representing both its "real" (conscious) and "imaginary" (unconscious) aspects then the diagonally opposite LL quadrant will represent the complementary affective expression in opposite terms (again with respect to both aspects).

The problem then is where does the cognitive aspect fit in?

PC This is a good question for which there is fortunately a ready answer.

In the very dynamics of experience, the recognition of the "imaginary" aspect of one mode leads to the switch to the "real" mode of the other. Likewise the recognition of the "real" aspect of one mode is associated with the "imaginary" aspect of the other.

Therefore what represents both the "real" and "imaginary" aspects of the affective aspect, equally - in dynamic interactive terms - represents the "imaginary" and "real" aspects of the cognitive aspect.

Thus when the interaction as between the "real" (conscious) and "imaginary" (unconscious) aspects is especially refined, both affective and cognitive modes directly overlap with each other (losing all separate identity). In this way they are more readily seen as relative phenomenal expressions of nondual Spirit.

In fact the even deeper implications of all this is that space and time have a merely relative identity which are directly mediated in experience through the affective and cognitive modes.

Thus through the interaction of affective and cognitive we are enabled to switch from the experience of space to time (and in like manner time to space).

Quite literally therefore in pure dynamic interactive terms, "real" space is "imaginary" time; likewise "real" time is "imaginary" space.

So space and time have no ultimate meaning being - in holistic integral terms - relative circular (paradoxical) expressions of nondual Spirit (the correct formulation of which are directly mathematical in a holistic sense).

Q What about the volitional mode?

PC The volitional mode relates directly to spiritual motivation i.e. the spiritual force.

Now, as we have seen the diagonal lines have dual interpretations in "complex" phenomenal and simple nondual terms (i.e. as null lines).

When the complex and null explanations fully coincide then we have the corresponding coincidence in experience of states and structures (in their most refined manner).

Thus in a direct sense, the volitional mode is represented by the alternative interpretation of the diagonal poles (as null lines) and manifests itself spiritually in either a transcendent or immanent manner with respect to both exterior and interior quadrants.

So if we fix the diagonal line in the UR quadrant with transcendence (with respect to the exterior aspect of reality), the complementary expression in the LL quadrant will thereby represent immanence (with respect to the interior aspect).

Then - in terms of this designation - the diagonal line in the UL quadrant will represent transcendence (with respect to the interior aspect) and the designation in the LR quadrant immanence (with respect to the exterior aspect).

However as demonstrated before - in dynamic terms - the fixing of quadrant designations is inherently paradoxical. Thus Right-Hand quadrants can equally represent interior and Left-Hand exterior aspects respectively. Also transcendence can equally be associated with the Lower and immanence with the Upper quadrants.

Therefore as the interaction between opposite polarities becomes especially refined, exterior and interior aspects with respect to transcendent and immanent directions greatly overlap with each other (losing any distinct identity).

Thus the spiritual "forces" - as the direct manifestation of the volitional mode in the four quadrants - thereby become unified in an ineffable manner (as emptiness) coinciding directly with the corresponding harmonisation of affective and cognitive modes in "complex" terms (as form).

Complementarity of Highest and Lowest Stages

Q You say that this subdivision of stages with respect to the "highest" level (H3) has complementary implications for interpretation of the "lowest" level (L3)?

PC In dynamic experiential terms, "higher" and "lower" stages are indeed complementary with each other. So the structural dynamics of the lowest level L3 represent in confused fashion the very same structural dynamics that find their mature integral expression at H3.

The diagonal lines in each of the quadrants at H3 represent the mature interpenetration of both conscious and unconscious aspects with respect to the primary affective and cognitive modes (i.e. where they are properly differentiated and then integrated with each other).

However at L3 these same diagonal lines represent the corresponding confusion of both modes (where they are neither properly differentiated nor integrated).

So just as the extremely refined bi-directional differentiation (and corresponding integration) of primary modes unfolds through three - relatively - distinct sub-levels (SL1, SL2 and SL3), likewise - in reverse manner - at L3 the confused primary modes unfold through three - relatively - distinct sub-levels (SL1, SL2 and SL3).

SL1 (of L3) refers to the very first physical differentiation, which occurs following conception in the womb. Thus the very primitive existence of the infant embryo can be characterised by the two diagonal polarities (which are not properly separated from each other).

SL2 then refers to the second physical differentiation, which occurs following birth. So the infant is now literally separated from the body of the mother.

This in turn is represented by the diagonal line (dividing UL and LR quadrants).

SL3 then refers to the third psychophysical differentiation - represented by the diagonal line dividing UR and LL quadrants - when the developing infant is now able to recognise (in psychological terms) the separate existence of his/her physical body.

Q You sometimes express the final stage of H3 as representing both an entombment and emwombment. What do you mean by this?

PC From the transcendent perspective, spiritual development is seen in terms of continually going beyond the limitations of restricted ego identity (i.e. literally without created phenomena) so as to discover one’s universal goal as Spirit.

In psychological terms this leads to a continual death of self through the gradual disidentification with all ego attachment and culminates with the advanced stages of H3.

So therefore complete transcendence of ego leads to an entombment of the old self in a psychological death prior to resurrection in new Spirit.

However from the complementary immanent perspective - and transcendence and immanence are merely relative terms with a necessarily arbitrary direction - spiritual development is seen in reverse terms as a continual going within in the uncovering of the "prepersonal" shadow self.

In psychological terms this entails a return to the womb in the unravelling of the most primitive instincts (where conscious and unconscious experience are confused).

This is referred to by St. John of the Cross when he alludes to the Biblical story of Jonah being swallowed up in the whale.

He also deals very well with the primitive fears associated with this final stage which he refers to as "watching fears of night".

Now "watching" leads to conscious awakening and the "fears of night" is identified with spiritual conflict in the unconscious.

So watching fears of night refer to fears that arise due to a failure to fully disentangle the conscious and unconscious aspects of primitive instincts.

So the final stage represents the overcoming of the deepest existential fear. This simultaneously relates to a primitive attachment to the body that coincides with a refined ego identification with Spirit.

The unravelling of this fear thereby leads to final detachment from the (limited) body thus enabling full freedom of Spirit.

So just as the first sub-level of L3 was defined in terms of the formation of the physical foetus in the womb, the last sub-level of H3 is defined - in reverse psychological terms - as the return to this foetus state in the womb in the disentangling of the most primitive "prepersonal" instincts.

So therefore the complete immanence of ego (in this relative context) leads to the psychological enwombment of the old self (which culminates at the point of conception).

However, transcendent and immanent aspects are themselves dynamically complementary in experience (and ultimately identical). This entails that the culmination of H3 (in nondual awareness) represents simultaneously the point where pure spiritual emptiness (in transcendent terms) directly coincides with rebirth (from an immanent perspective) in the emergence of a refined world of form that is free of ego attachment.

In mystical terms death and life are intimately associated in the same experience continually present.

"And each moment dies to live for all eternity

And all eternity dies so that each moment may live"

So in pure mystical ecstasy one expires at each moment only to be simultaneously inspired with new life (in what might be termed the conspiracy of love).

Thus with the rebirth of the physical self (at Radial 1) one breathes in and out - as it were - the life (and death) of the Kosmos.

In this way one’s physical body is thereby freely identified with the entire world of form.

Critical Stage in Spiritual Development

Q It is generally accepted that the natural birth of an infant constitutes a critical transition in development (that is potentially fraught with danger). Now this would be identified with the commencement of the second sub-stage (SL2) of L3 in your approach.
Would this imply that the completion of the second sub-stage of H3 (in complementary terms) would be associated with a critical transition in spiritual development that could be equally fraught with danger?

PC This is indeed a fascinating question! I would be careful not to make any generalisations here as in many ways development takes a unique path for each individual. Thus critical transitions can be associated with a variety of stages.

However having said that I do believe that the transition to this final sub-stage could indeed be associated with a traumatic life-threatening event.

As I have defined it, the final sub-stage of H3 is associated with the direct return to the womb. This exposes one to the most deeply primitive existential fear (of both a spiritual and physical nature).

Therefore it may well be the case that a special trauma - where one is faced with the realistic prospect of losing one’s life - will be required in order to prepare one to accept the existential demands of this final stage (of H3).

For example, as psychological and physiological aspects are now intimately related, the psychic need for this new final level of acceptance may prompt a life threatening illness which is then mysteriously resolved once the required level of acceptance is reached.

Q Do you really believe that complete release from all existential fears is possible?

PC No! I would always caution against any absolute interpretation of development which - by its nature - is always subject to limitation.

So one can only approximate towards the pure attainment of nondual awareness.

Certainly it is true that the most advanced mystics achieve a considerable degree of mastery over their most primitive of instincts. But even here it is always of a relative degree with some restrictions remaining.

I would say that - in the nature of mystical development - each person has a capacity for a certain degree of attainment, which must be realised before integration in an appropriate manner (for that person) can arise. However in most cases this will be compatible with areas of conflict that are never fully resolved.

What is necessary in all cases however is the demonstration of a certain mastery of the dynamics of the stage.

So just as people who successfully traverse the middle levels can show varying levels of mastery in rational cognitive terms, it is likewise with those who traverse the "highest" level (i.e. H3).

And of course in experiential terms, the "highest" is dynamically inseparable from the "lowest" (L3) and in like manner the "lowest" (L3) is dynamically inseparable from the "highest" (H3).

In this way we can achieve both appropriate "top-down" integration (from "higher" to "lower") and "bottom-up" integration (from "lower" to "higher") stages.

Great confusion on this point can arise when one tries to look at such stages in a merely discrete (asymmetrical) fashion.

Though in a linear (differentiated) manner L3 - as the lowest prepersonal stage - logically precedes L2 (as the next lowest), in circular integral terms L3 is in continual development (throughout all stages) which only culminates when it is successfully integrated in two-way fashion with H3.

Psychophysical Aspects of Development

Q Let us now discuss a very important area where you feel your inclusion of diagonal polarities can play a vital role i.e. the psychophysical aspects of development.

You believe that it is important to distinguish such development from mere horizontal interpretation of quadrants (in exterior and interior terms)?

PC This in fact has a crucial significance with far-reaching consequences. Indeed - as we shall briefly see - the correct interpretation here has vital implications for string theory.

When development commences the most primitive instincts dominate where neither proper differentiation nor integration have yet taken place.

So with all instinctive behaviour there is a direct confusion of both the conscious and unconscious. Alternatively - because of the dynamic complementarity of both these aspects - there is likewise a direct confusion as between fundamental control and response patterns with respect to phenomena (i.e. cognitive and affective aspects).

So in terms of L3 (the first of the prepersonal stages) we can model experience in an exactly similar holistic mathematical fashion as at H3.

The "complex" co-ordinates (i.e. "real" and "imaginary") of the diagonal lines at H3 relate to the flexible balanced interplay of both conscious and unconscious aspects with respect to the primary phenomenal modes (cognitive and affective).

However at L3 the same co-ordinates relate to the greatly confused dynamic interplay with respect to these same modes.

Once again it is vital to appreciate the extremely close dynamic complementary link that exists between both levels.

Therefore from one perspective we can only spiritually transcend at H3 by going beyond the confusion that exists at L3.

Equally - in relative terms - we can only make spiritually immanent at L3 through unravelling remaining confusion with respect to H3.

So the relationship - as always in dynamic terms - is bi-directional and circular. We need to transcend so that we can make immanent; equally we need to make immanent so that we can transcend.

Thus, primitive instinctive behaviour is modelled in "complex" (diagonal) holistic mathematical terms where the "real" (conscious) and "imaginary" (unconscious) aspects of the primary modes (affective and cognitive) are directly confused.

That is why instinct is thereby of an involuntary nature as the conscious recognition of the trigger event cannot be properly separated from the unconscious stimulus with which it is associated.

Put another way insofar as an experiential event is purely instinctive, then freedom cannot meaningfully exist.

Interlude on Strings

Q How can you possibly link this up with String Theory?

PC By the very nature of my approach all levels have complementary interpretations in horizontal, vertical and diagonal terms.

Thus for example, if we start by looking from a psychological perspective at a "low" level such as L3, this thereby equally has a physical interpretation in horizontal terms.

It may help by remembering that the physical interpretations that we associate with our conventional scientific understanding of the world directly complement the psychological structures of the middle level.

So we have a psychological interpretation that is matched by a corresponding physical manifestation (with respect to the same level).

Now - though it is not yet properly recognised - it is similar with each of the other levels.

Thus associated with the psychological structures of each of the "lower" levels is a corresponding physical interpretation of reality (in horizontal terms).

So therefore the closer we probe the most fundamental phenomenal structures in psychological terms, we find physical structures that are - in holistic mathematical terms - directly complementary. (Once again the structures of all levels - psychological and physical - are mathematical in this holistic sense!)

We have already identified the "complex" nature of these structures with respect to L3. Therefore - because of horizontal complementarity (within a given level) - the associated physical structures are likewise "complex".

The most appropriate way of looking at "string reality" is as the physical counterpart of what is purely instinctive in psychological terms.

So strings represent "instinctive" matter (that directly complements instinctive psychological behaviour of the same level).

Q Are you thereby suggesting that the physical worldview of the baby infant is that of string reality? Surely this is an incredible suggestion!

PC In a certain sense - remarkable as it may seem - this is indeed true.

However because "lowest" and "highest" stages are complementary this means that it requires the understanding associated with the corresponding "highest" stage to properly decipher this primitive worldview. In other words we cannot intuitively appreciate the nature of string reality without considerable intellectual refinement in mystical type awareness.

Q Can you help - using your approach - to throw more light on the nature of strings?

PC With respect to instinctive behaviour, we can say that the conscious aspect of the event represents the "local" phenomenon, whereas the "imaginary" - relatively - represents the holistic (i.e. dimensional) aspect.

Thus by its very nature, an instinct entails the direct confusion of an object with its dimensional background (in space and time).

So when a reaction is purely instinctive, we cannot separate the object sufficiently to give it a location in space and time. The dimension is thereby collapsed in experience to be directly contained - as it were - in the object.

In other words both the dimension and object immediately co-arise (without proper differentiation) in the experience and are directly confused with each other.

Therefore the more purely instinctive a reaction to a phenomenon, the more short-lived it must necessarily be (as no stable dimensional background is yet available to contain the event).

In other words an instinct contains its own dimensional framework (within the local object) and the contradiction involved through this confusion entails that - in dynamic terms - its existence is short-lived (i.e. as a phenomenon perceived in space and time). Therefore the more purely instinctive a reaction is the less hold it can have over memory (as this requires placing it a background dimensional context).

Now it is exactly similar with respect to the nature of physical reality. The more fundamental such reality is i.e. physically instinctive, the less can we hope to separate "objects" from their dimensions in space and time. So "objects" then vibrate instantaneously in and out of existence in a manner that cannot be phenomenally detected (i.e. in space and time).

However whereas it may not be possible to detect a particular string "object", because of dynamic interdependence, the overall interaction of strings can create a more coherent and generally stable pattern.

As an analogy think of how our TV pictures can be made up through the continued oscillation of little dots (each one of which then quickly disappears)! So it is only at the level of the overall pattern established by these dots that the TV picture obtains coherence.

So though strings contain the potential for the establishment of - what we identify as - the four separate dimensions of space-time, in themselves they necessarily entail the confused mixing of these dimensions.

This is why I have been long suggesting a very distinct - yet simple - way of understanding the notion of dimensions in string theory.

In other words at the level of string theory, a "dimension" represents a confused configuration of the four dimensions (where each enjoys a different relative strength).

Therefore, because we can mix these four dimensions in a number of distinctive ways, we can thereby "generate" more than the standard four dimensions.

Q Can you say anything more about the holistic mathematical nature of space and time with respect to strings?

PC This is moving into radical new territory (which I propose to deal with in more detail later). However it may be helpful to introduce one relevant idea here.

As we know in conventional mathematics, there are many distinctive number types.

So starting with the real set we have the important binary numbers (1 and 0), the prime numbers, the natural numbers, rational numbers and the irrational numbers (of which we have two types algebraic and transcendental).

These numbers then have both positive and negative interpretations and can be defined also in imaginary (as well as real terms). As we have seen complex numbers combine both real and imaginary aspects.

Finally we have transfinite (as well as finite) numbers.

All of these number types have important holistic interpretations that have an immense contribution to make in the precise integral structuring of reality.

Now prime numbers have a special relevance to play in the holistic mathematical interpretation of strings.

You will perhaps remember that a prime number has no real factors (other than 1).

So 2, 3, 5, 7 and 11 for example are all prime numbers, as we cannot express them as the product of two or more factors.

In this context 4 is a composite number (i.e. the product of two or more prime numbers) which in this case is 2 * 2.

So 3 is one-dimensional (i.e. prime) whereas 4 is two-dimensional (i.e. composite).

In complementary holistic mathematical fashion, prime structures arise where we cannot meaningfully separate phenomenal objects (as quantities) from their dimensional (qualitative) background.

In this precise holistic mathematical sense, strings therefore represent prime structures (in physical terms).

Likewise instincts represent prime structures (in complementary psychological terms).

Therefore we cannot hope to properly understand the reality of strings (or indeed instinctive behaviour) while attempting to impose merely rational notions on objects and dimensions (as in conventional science). Rather we require the truly dynamic interactive understanding associated with the "higher" stages of the Spectrum to interpret the complementary "lower" stages (in physical and psychological terms).

So prime objects therefore cannot be dynamically disassociated from their corresponding space-time dimensions. In like manner prime dimensions cannot be dynamically disassociated from prime objects.

There is some indication of this thinking already in string theory (though without adequate dynamic understanding).

So for example the original definition of a string is as a one-dimensional object.

However if we try to understand such a notion by placing it against a background of space and time, then it loses its very meaning.

Also string theorists recognise that somehow dimensions are contained in string objects. However they cannot provide the dynamic perspective that would make intuitive sense of such findings.

However it is equally important to recognise that instinctive behaviour cannot be properly interpreted within a merely rational framework (i.e. as phenomena that are viewed within a space-time dimensional framework). So once again it requires the intellectual understanding of the "higher" levels to appropriately interpret findings (physical and psychological) at corresponding "lower" levels.

Q I take it from this that you would maintain that all the major levels are defined with respect to unique holistic mathematical number types?

PC Yes! We have to remember again that conventional science is defined in terms of - merely - rational understanding. However the rational numbers - in quantitative terms - represent but one small subset of the total number set.

So all the other main number types have equally important applications in defining the precise structures of the corresponding levels with which they are associated.

We have illustrated briefly just one example of this in the application of prime numbers to the interpretation of a "lower" level (in physical and psychological terms).

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Q Let us come back to the psychophysical nature of development. Would one implication of this be that all stages have a physiological as well as psychological interpretation?

PC Precisely! This is an issue, which is greatly neglected in most conventional interpretations of development.

Unfortunately when the emphasis is on transcendence, the physiological aspect is overlooked. Here the mind is seen as transcending the body (in hierarchical terms) and the Spirit in turn as transcending mind, which often leads to significant repression of body instincts.

So in correct dynamic terms, each level of the Spectrum is associated with a unique body/mind configuration. In other words the balanced development at each level must be understood in psychophysical terms (and this is especially true of the "higher" spiritual levels).

For example the intense change in a psychological manner of say a major "dark night" experience usually is associated with physiological symptoms (sometimes of a very distressing nature). Indeed it can then be impossible to properly distinguish the physiological from the psychological manifestations of the stage.

Q This has led you to - I understand - to interesting observations regarding the growing prevalence of ME (chronic fatigue syndrome) in our culture.

PC The ways in which "higher" stages of growth impact on an individual - in psychological and physical terms - can vary greatly (depending on circumstances).

Some while being deeply sensitive to the psychological manifestations of the various stages of "higher" development may suffer few physical symptoms.

Others may prove sensitive to physical symptoms only at certain stages of the process. (I have already stated why this might occur during the transition from SL2 to SL3 of H3!)

However there are individuals who I believe are especially sensitive to the physiological symptoms of spiritual development. Then with an undue emphasis on transcendence (which unfortunately typifies most spiritual approaches), these can then be greatly compounded reflecting insufficient attention to "bottom-up" spiritual integration of the body with Spirit.

Q Are you saying therefore that chronic fatigue syndrome is simply the physical manifestation of an unbalanced approach to integration?

PC We have to be very careful here! Some who pursue an unbalanced approach to spiritual integration may never suffer from such maladies. Others who are comparatively very well balanced may suffer greatly.

What I am saying however is that chronic fatigue syndrome can in certain cases reflect a "dark night" that is manifested chiefly in a physiological (rather than psychological) manner and that a long-term solution to such a situation may require a fundamental readjustment in one’s characteristic orientation to life.

Q You believe that this syndrome (and its many related variants) is likely to become more common in our culture. Why!

PC In many ways modern life is very unbalanced and heavily influenced by the fragmented type understanding associated with the middle level of the Spectrum. This leads to a notion of progress (individually and socially) largely based on the proliferation of activities through the application of differentiated intellectual notions.

Not surprisingly this is unsuitable in terms of overall integration. In particular the sustained emphasis on cognitive control can lead to significant repression of the complementary affective aspect with a consequent failure to properly read the instinctive signals of the physical body.

So chronic fatigue syndrome - as when for example it suddenly hits a talented and conventionally successful person - can represent a dramatic protest by nature arising from an unrecognised imbalance in the overall quest for meaning.

Indeed - when properly understood - it may then be seen as an authentic invitation to "higher" stages of development in the cultivation of a deeper more contemplative lifestyle.

However if one tries to deal with this syndrome by readapting to the same life that gave rise to the problem then it is likely to remain for a considerable time.

Indeed even when one genuinely strives to heed the spiritual message it may take a while to resolve the issue as radical change is always very difficult.

Therefore though chronic fatigue syndrome can indeed be very real and distressing in physiological terms, its roots may well be of a deeper psychological nature.

Dark Nights and Depression

Q Can we have a complementary problem in the spiritual life with too little emphasis on physiological symptoms?

PC Certainly! Perhaps it would be helpful here to offer one profile of "higher" development, which again is designed to be consistent with the intellectually orientated mystic.

Now illness - both physiological and psychological - is more likely to occur during the purgative periods of such development.

When purgation is associated directly with the senses (i.e. the affective aspect) physiological symptoms are likely to be prevalent.

Because typically the purgation of the (immanent) senses is the first to take place, this would explain why this stage often manifests itself initially in largely physiological terms (i.e. flu-like illness such as chronic fatigue syndrome).

However if one gets over this initial stage to appreciate its authentic spiritual nature, then development may take a strongly transcendent turn where cognitive control is used in a refined manner to overcome the "lower" body in the interests of "higher" spiritual growth.

Thus the "dark night of the soul" - which properly relates to the deep-rooted cleansing of the cognitive and volitional aspects of personality - is typically understood in transcendent terms (with little attention placed on distressing physical symptoms).

In other words one may attempt - at least initially - to understand the process from a merely psychospiritual (rather than physical) perspective.

Unfortunately the continued neglect of the body can lead to subtle repression of "lower" affective impulses eventually culminating in severe symptoms of depression (especially when the "dark night" is of an extremely intense prolonged nature).

Interestingly endogenous depression (which could be quite typical at this time) has a physical biological explanation in terms of an alteration in brain chemistry.

And the medical profession attempts to treat this physical cause (being unable to provide any specific psychological explanation).

Of course the actual nature of endogenous depression is much more complex entailing an interaction of psychological and physiological factors. From a psychological perspective it is related to the loss of an overall holistic sense of purpose in life to which some individuals are especially sensitive. Thus though the very rationale of the "dark night" is to fill one with a deep authentic spiritual meaning, temporary problems can arise die to the prolonged absence of any phenomenal indication of such meaning! This in turn has biological repercussions in an alteration of brain chemistry.

From the other perspective individuals who are susceptible to this particular chemical lack are also likely to develop endogenous depression (as a psychological consequence).

Now in the case of a very severe "dark night of the soul", though the main trigger for such depression is of a psychospiritual nature (representing too much transcendence) the correct approach may be to treat it - initially - in largely physiological terms accepting medical intervention. In other words there can be a need now to lessen mental discipline and relax somewhat in order to become attuned again to the needs of the body. Given a sufficient "conversion" in this regard one could then recover spiritual equilibrium (with a greater balance as between transcendence and immanence).

Paradoxically - in the context of this type of development - one may again become especially prone to direct physical symptoms with the unfolding of the final "higher" stages.

The reason for this is interesting. Though the senses are first to be purged in conscious terms they are - in complementary fashion - the last to be cleansed in an unconscious manner. Thus a typical path to spiritual development would entail emphasis initially on immanence then switching to transcendence and finally becoming more immanent again in the final stages (as preparation for full integration of the body with Spirit).

Thus one can become especially sensitive to physiological symptoms at this time associated with the uncovering of the deepest affective regions of the psyche.

I have already suggested why a life threatening physical event (as preparation for the final surrender of self) may be a necessary component of this overall process.


Q Are there any other interesting psychophysical connections?

PC I believe that memory is especially important. When one reflects on it, ego attachment of all forms is heavily related to memory capacity. Therefore successful reform of the ego entails substantial erosion of all (rigid) memory contents.

One distressing feature of the "dark night of the soul" is that when the contemplative process is especially intense one can suffer considerable short-term memory loss.

Very often the onset of such episodes is as one having been internally struck by lightning. This is very true in the sense that at these times there is a great increase in electrical activity in the brain which in turn profoundly alters the chemical contents through which memories are stored. Thus the temporary experience of loss of memory is associated directly with important electrochemical changes in the brain.

Indeed this would provide one possible explanation of the effect of electric shock therapy in cases of severe depression.

Once again such depression is closely associated with the continued repetition of strongly negative subjective memory contents which keep the victim trapped in inner terms. However the administration of an increased dose of electricity can significantly change the chemical contents in which these memories are encoded enabling their erosion. Thus due to this memory loss the patient can to a degree be liberated from this inner prison enabling recovery to take place.

Therefore in this important respect electric shock therapy can artificially replicate the effects of intense contemplation (with both leading to temporary memory loss).

However it is important to remember that there are various types of memory. Indeed we can say that corresponding to each structure - or more correctly structure/state - of development there is associated a characteristic form of memory with a corresponding neurobiological process. So any satisfactory theory must be able to explain all types of memory.

Unfortunately at present the available explanations are of a very reduced nature and still quite speculative.

Q How is memory stored?

PC Just as we have linear (differentiated) and circular (integrated) understanding which continually interact in experience, this is replicated in the manner of memory operation. Therefore from one perspective there is evidence that memory is stored in a local manner. However equally there is evidence for an overall holistic manner of storage so that the mind can often creatively adapt with respect to damage to certain aspects of the brain.

I was referring earlier to the manner in which the contemplation process can significantly erode "rigid" memory contents. More accurately we can say that it erodes local memory contents. However this is associated with a great increase in holistic memory capacity i.e. the ability to establish interdependence as between seemingly unrelated sets of data. And the erosion of local memory contents (in their rigid sense) is the precondition for the strengthening of the other (in integral terms). Also it would seem evident to me that this process itself is directly supported by considerable growth in the brain's wiring (e.g. an increase in synapse connections).

So in other words there is an underlying physiological basis for the changes that take place in psychological terms.

Q Briefly how does memory work at the radial level of development?

PC It operates in a very flexible transparent manner in close co-operation with Spirit.

Computer analogies may help. In conventional terms the mind is treated very much like a computer hard disk for the storage of somewhat rigid memory contents in a local manner. And just as a hard disk can become overloaded likewise it is true with the mind. This in turn is associated with a great deal of stress and tension as one literally tries to maintain selfish possession of one’s knowledge, achievements and skills stored in memory contents on the brain. Not surprisingly this leaves little energy free for true creative endeavour.

Now in radial terms though memory contents are still stored, because of considerable erosion of their rigid nature little space is actually required.

We know in computer terms how a zip file can considerable reduce the space required for storage by getting rid of redundant data. It is somewhat similar in radial terms. Because one gives up selfish possession over memory contents much greater creative interaction is possible (in holistic terms). This thereby renders redundant all but the most essential traces of data, which through refinement require very little chemical storage material. Thus the mind can now have potential access to a much greater level of data while actually needing very little space for its accumulation.

Thus facts, skills etc. in memory tend to be activated only in the present moment when they are seen to serve the central spiritual purpose. Then when no longer required they then pass out of memory seemingly leaving no trace.

Therefore at the most advanced radial stages one can be intensely "busy" in active affairs with considerable energy freely available that is directly motivated by Spirit.

Q You know how it is often said that meditation can reduce stress, blood pressure, heart disease, cancer risk etc. Do you go along with all this!

PC Only in a qualified sense! Many health conditions are of genetic origin and to a considerable extent outside one’s control.

For example a predisposition towards high blood pressure may run in families.

Thus if a contemplative suffers from hypertension, this does not necessarily imply that meditation practice has failed.

However having said this, meditation could then assist the treatment process so that less medical intervention would be required (than would otherwise be the case).

Then in cases where health conditions cannot be fully controlled it could be very helpful in enabling the patient to treat the maladies with a greater level of equanimity.

It is a feature of modern life that everyone suffers from stress to some degree. While contemplation does not remove stress it does indeed provide a deeper spiritual basis with which to endure its effects.

However paradoxically - because contemplation opens the self to a more naked and intense examination - some stages of the spiritual journey e.g. "the dark night of the soul" may prove hugely stressful before their considerable benefits are made manifest.

Breath Control

Q Are there any other psychophysical processes that you wish to comment on at this stage?

PC Perhaps the most natural is breathing. This combines both the voluntary and involuntary nervous system thus entails in terms of our diagonal approach both "real" (conscious) and "imaginary" (unconscious) elements.

Breath control (pranayama) is very important in Yoga meditation practice where it is largely approached from the physiological perspective.

As mystical union can be understood in terms of the complementarity (and ultimate identity) of opposite poles this implies that in terms of breathing the inner (inflowing) breath must be perfectly neutralised by the outer (outflowing) breath which only occurs when breathing is almost totally suspended (in natural terms).

In other words in reaching perfect stillness in passive contemplative terms, breathing in either direction can no longer be clearly discerned.

However in my opinion too much emphasis is placed on merely physiological attempts to influence breathing (as an aid to meditation) which may only have limited effects. In other words if one has not already made considerable progress in psychological contemplative terms, then breath control will inevitably become marred through undue conscious effort.

What is not sufficiently emphasised is the reverse procedure whereby the psychological process of contemplative development in itself can have a considerable influence on one’s (physiological) breathing pattern.

In my own case I never found the practice of breath control particularly useful as a meditation technique. Yet coming from the other (largely psychological) perspective I became very much aware of how my breathing pattern was considerably changed through development.

For brevity we can divide spiritual development into the "real" conscious stages of transformation (H1 or subtle), the "imaginary" unconscious stages associated with the very refined indirect conscious transformation of phenomena (H2 or causal) and the purely volitional "complex" stages combining the harmonious interaction of both "real" (conscious) and "imaginary" (unconscious) transformed phenomena (H3 or nondual).

With respect to the first group of stages I found that breathing out (the outflow) was gradually suspended while the inflow - though moderated to an extent - still continued especially during the more intense purgative period ("dark night").

Indeed this provides a physiological basis for the hugely suffocating psychological gravity that is experienced during this time. Like - with a Black Hole - one keeps internally assimilating phenomenal material from outside. However because of an inability to expel it through the outflowing breath, eventually it seems as if the whole (exterior) world has become compressed within one’s inner psyche.

Now with the second group of stages, an extremely refined outflow is found through
conversion to "imaginary" (unconsciously emitted) material.

This then gradually relieves the inner density and with the great reduction in conscious assimilation of phenomena, the inflowing breath likewise becomes greatly suspended. So with the culmination of H2, little active breathing (either inward or outward) takes place. This corresponds with a great reduction in any rigid activity (of either a conscious or unconscious kind).

With the third group of stages, breathing becomes almost entirely suspended as one achieves a deeper level of contemplative stillness (directed by the pure volitional desire for spiritual union).

So the death of the old self (i.e. the possessive ego) is mirrored by a form of natural death (i.e. where breathing us suspended). However this death is the very basis for rebirth in the Spirit when - as it were - the life of the entire Kosmos is now free to breathe through the reformed self.

Q There seems to be some analogy here with high altitude mountaineering where the air becomes very rarefied (short of oxygen) so that to survive one must greatly conserve one’s physical energy. Is this the case?

PC Very much so though this perhaps represents an unduly transcendent view of the spiritual journey. However in a certain context it is indeed true that the spiritual air becomes considerably more rarefied as one ascends the contemplative mountain through the rungs of increasingly higher stages.

Thus in order to survive, one must learn to greatly economise on any undue conscious effort. In one way - though it may not seem apparent at the time - this is very liberating for it requires that one concentrate in any situation only on what is essential (i.e. directly inspired by Spirit). This in turn is the very means by which one gets rid of all that redundancy which - as we discussed earlier - clogs up the memory (as conventionally experienced).

Therefore though one may appear to be very inactive during the "highest" levels of contemplative development, one is actually undergoing a very valuable training which can then greatly enhance productive efficiency during the radial stages.

In other words one develops the capability - through being deprived of natural light - to continually "see" only what is (spiritually) essential. And this is what best facilitates creativity in all its many forms.

So the suspension of physical breathing at H3 is the physiological counterpart to the need to avoid all "rigid" attachment to phenomena, so that one only acts in any circumstance when directly inspired to do so through a dim intuitive signal.

In fact if one - as occasionally may still happen - tries to resolve some issue (through a conscious forcing of the will) one will experience a "winded" effect (like receiving a strong punch in the stomach).

Summary of Body/Mind Development

Q Can you briefly describe how - in dynamic terms - the body/mind interacts in development?

In the very earliest stages body and mind are extremely closely associated (but however in a very confused manner). The baby infant therefore does not distinguish as between physical and psychological stimuli as both largely coincide in experience. Psychological development for the infant is still a body (i.e. physical) event.

Gradually with development, body and mind are clearly separated and differentiated from each other with the process reaching its zenith at the middle (personal) stages.

Though such differentiation does represent a considerable achievement it is bought at a price. In other words conscious differentiation can only take place with corresponding (unconscious) repression of primitive instincts.

Therefore the personal stages often represent a considerable amount of dissociation of the mind from the body.

Though a certain degree of integration of body and mind does indeed take place at the centaur i.e. the "highest middle stage, of necessity it is of a very reduced nature i.e. where integration is largely defined in a context suited to differentiated (dualistic) understanding. Put another way if proper integration of the mind and body could take place at the centaur, there would be no need for the "higher" levels of spiritual development!

Therefore in this context, the "higher" stages can be seen as the gradual attempt to achieve appropriate body/mind (i.e. psychophysical) integration. As we have seen this culminates with the "highest" level H3 where once again every psychological event is also clearly experienced in complementary physiological terms.

In other words the body now becomes extremely sensitive to any psychological changes (of an affective or cognitive kind).

As we have discussed at the beginning of this Chapter this entails the four-way integration of quadrants in diagonal terms.

Here for example the "exterior" aspect of a "higher" stage of H3 (understood in conscious cognitive terms) is directly integrated in experience in "top-down" fashion with the "interior" aspect of the corresponding "lower" stage L3 (understood in unconscious affective terms).

However in corresponding terms the "interior" aspect of the "lower" stage of L3 now having switched to conscious understanding is directly integrated in "bottom-up" fashion with the "exterior" aspect of the higher stage of H3 (now understood in an unconscious fashion).

So therefore we can see that cognitive and affective modes have both a "real" (conscious) and "imaginary" (unconscious) interpretation (the precise structure of which is explained by the holistic mathematical interpretation of the diagonal lines of the circle).

However if we temporarily fix the exterior aspect of the higher stage of H3 in both "real" (conscious) and "imaginary" (unconscious) cognitive terms with the UR quadrant then - in relative terms - the interior aspect (i.e. of the higher stage of H3 in "real" and "imaginary cognitive terms) will be in the UL quadrant.

Then the exterior aspect of the lower stage of L3 in "real" and "imaginary" affective terms will be in the LR quadrant; finally the interior aspect of L3 (again in "real" and "imaginary" affective terms) will be in the LL quadrant.

This then gives one consistent mapping of the quadrants (that is suited for the interpretation of diagonal psychophysical integration).

However, as all opposites are relative (with merely arbitrary locations) in circular integral terms, then we can come up with a variety of equally consistent quadrant mappings (all of which are actually involved in the dynamics of experience).

So we here literally attempting to express the most "complex" and subtle of dynamic interactions in a necessarily formalised and - thereby somewhat static - manner.

The important point is that we are now combining several important types of quadrant switching (corresponding to Integral 1, Integral 2 and Integral 3 understanding).

The first includes horizontal, vertical and diagonal switching of straight-line opposites (i.e. Type 1 complementarity).

Thus in - relative - horizontal terms, exterior is complementary with interior (and interior with exterior).

In corresponding vertical terms the whole (collective) is complementary with part (individual) and part with whole.

In diagonal terms form is complementary with emptiness (and emptiness with form).

The limitation with Type 1 complementarity (associated with H1) is that it is only suited for the conscious integration of phenomena (i.e. in "real" terms).

If we wish to incorporate the dynamics of both conscious and unconscious interactions (with respect to the three sets of poles) then we must include "imaginary" (unconscious) as well as "real" (conscious) interpretation.

Thus Type 2 complementarity is concerned in all quadrants with the horizontal/vertical (and vertical/horizontal) phenomena that are - relatively - "real" and "imaginary" with respect to each other.

The limitation of Type 2 complementarily (associated with H2) is that - as a structure - it is not yet directly related to a nondual spiritual state.

Thus if we wish to combine these intricate dynamic interactions directly with Spirit we require Type 3 complementarity. Here we have the inclusion (in all quadrants) of diagonal as well as horizontal and vertical lines.

The remarkable feature of these lines is that they have a dual interpretation corresponding in holistic mathematical terms to the ultimate integration of structures of "complex" form with a simple nondual spiritual state.

So we can equally interpret the diagonal lines directly - as state - in terms of the aspects of twin aspects of transcendence and immanence in each of the four quadrants.

Thus if - in the context of our original structural fixing of quadrants - we now identify the exterior expression of transcendence with the UR quadrant, then the corresponding interior aspect of transcendence will relate to the UL quadrant. Then the exterior expression of immanence will relate to the LR and the interior aspect (of immanence) to the LL quadrant respectively.

Therefore with the mature experience of H3 (which dynamically coincides with the equally mature experience of L3) the "complex" structures of form in refined "real" (conscious) and "imaginary" (unconscious) manner are dynamically identified - insofar as this can be approximated in development - with the simple nondual spiritual state of emptiness.

Then the harmonisation of cognitive and affective modes with each other in the four quadrants (consciously and unconsciously) as structures, coincides with the same harmonisation of the transcendent and immanent aspects of Spirit (directly related to the volitional mode).

Q Let me get this correctly. You are saying that the pure experience of spiritual awareness (as a state) where transcendent and immanent aspects are identified with each other, coincides - in dynamic experiential terms - with the phenomenal process of form whereby mental (psychological) and body (physiological) stimuli are experienced as identical (insofar as this can actually be approximated in development).

So the integration of the body with the mind (and the mind with the body) that then occurs in structural terms coincides with the same integration of the transcendent and immanent (and immanent and transcendent) directions of spiritual experience as state.

Thus when we combine both, we have the integration of the Spirit with the mature body/mind (top-down integration) and the corresponding integration of the body/mind with Spirit (bottom-up integration). And remarkably all of this has a precise holistic mathematical rationale providing an overall scientific coherence that would be otherwise impossible to properly translate!

PC Exactly! That’s it

Q From what you were saying earlier, as psychophysical integration can only properly take place at H3 (which is the home of diagonal type interactions) this would seem to suggest that imbalances in both psychological and physiological terms are inevitable at earlier stages. Is this in fact your position?

PC Very much so! Of course it is very difficult to generalise as the precise manner in which these occur depends very much on a number of factors e.g. personality type, genetic predisposition to certain conditions (physical and psychological), the depth and intensity of spiritual development involved and a wide host of environmental factors.

What I will say however is that even though imbalances - even of a severe nature - are inevitable at various stages of the spiritual journey, it may be crucial to address these in sufficient time so to prevent long-term damage arising.

For example it can - as we have seen - require a decisive change in spiritual orientation so as to deal with depression arising as the result of an authentic "dark night of the soul" episode.
Failure to do so at the appropriate time unfortunately could permanently derail spiritual development.

Radial Development

Q I am again puzzled with all of this integration as to why there is need for radial development? What is lacking then in terms of such integration?

PC If you observe correctly you may see that whereas we have mentioned H1 and H2 and H3 (which dynamically entail L1, L2 and L3 respectively) we have not specifically included L0,H0 (which is the home of the most differentiated type of understanding).

So the final Type of Complementarity entails the harmonisation of what is most integrated with what is most differentiated. This requires the relative independence of each separate level (as dual) with the interdependence of all levels (as nondual).

So the radial levels are concerned with the mature and creative development of both activity (as differentiated) with contemplation (as integrated).

Radial development is thereby concerned with the relative integration (and differentiation) of the "higher" and "lower" levels with the middle level.

We will turn to this in a future discussion.