Fundamental Polarities

Q You lay great emphasis on the importance of three sets of polarities which condition all phenomenal development. Can you briefly elaborate?

PC The notion of fundamental polarities that condition all phenomenal experience is not new.

One mystical tradition where it is greatly emphasised is that of Taoism.

(A corresponding Western expression can be found in the writings of Nicholas of Cusa).

However they play an important role in all the major traditions where attachment to polar dualities is seen as a key barrier to pure spiritual awareness.

A particularly interesting example of their significance can be found in modern physics where in quantum mechanics the subject/object duality plays a key role.

More recently Ken Wilber's four-quadrant approach is based on the recognition of the universal significance of what are in effect two sets of fundamental polarities.However having said this, I would strongly maintain that the precise nature and interaction of these polarities - which serve as the basis for all dynamic transformation processes - has not yet been properly investigated in a scientific manner.

So the task that has inspired me for many years now has been to carry out this much needed investigation.The first set I refer to as the horizontal polarities, which fundamentally condition experience within a given level. They refer to the heterarchical aspects of development which always have both a Right-Hand (and Left-Hand) interpretation and are commonly referred to by the following terms: exterior and interior (and interior and exterior), outer and inner (and inner and outer); object and subjective (and subjective and objective). Thus when we look at a particular stage of development say of an atom - it can be given Right-Hand interpretation as an (exterior) object or alternatively a Left-Hand interpretation as - relatively - an (interior) perception.

Therefore, phenomenal existence at any level immediately presupposes opposite poles i.e. exterior and interior (and interior and exterior).

To identify phenomena in exterior (objective) terms, we need to place the corresponding interior (subjective) aspect in opposition; likewise to identify phenomena in interior (subjective) terms we need to place the exterior (objective) aspect in opposition.The second set I refer to as the vertical polarities, which fundamentally condition experience between levels. They refer to the holarchical (and partarchical) aspects of development and are commonly referred to by the following terms: whole and part (and part and whole), collective and individual (and individual and collective); or simply higher and lower (and lower and higher). Thus when we look at the stages of development in vertical terms they reveal themselves as an evolution towards ever more collective wholeness (holarchy) or alternatively as an evolution towards more individual or unique partness (partarchy).

Therefore to identify phenomena in whole (collective) terms we need to place the corresponding part (individual) aspect in opposition; likewise to identify phenomena in (individual) part terms we need to place the whole (collective) aspect in opposition.The third set I refer to as the diagonal polarities, which condition experience both within and between levels simultaneously. These are the most fundamental of all polarities referring to the combined heter-holarchical (and heter-partarchical) aspects of development and are commonly referred to by the following terms; form and emptiness (and emptiness and form); immanence and transcendence (and transcendence and immanence); finite and infinite (and infinite and finite).

When we look at stages in diagonal terms we realise that both the horizontal and vertical aspects are themselves complementary. Insufficient development in terms of the heterarchical aspect can set severe limitations on successful holarchical (or partarchical) development. Likewise insufficient development in holarchical (or partarchical) terms also sets limitations on successful heterarchical development (both Left-Hand and Right-Hand).

Thus the direction of transcendence (and immanence) is best represented by twin diagonal lines going from opposite quadrants (horizontal and vertical). Now if too much heterarchical development (Right-Hand or Left-Hand) occurs, the diagonal lines will be very flat (close to the horizontal). Here experience will tend to be unduly rigid, largely confined to a given stage, thus greatly limiting the possibility for holarchical (and partarchical) development.

So insofar as both transcendence (and immanence) take place, it will be largely confined to the unduly stable structures of a given stage of development with little interpenetration between various spiritual states.If on the other hand there is too much holarchical development, the diagonal lines will be very steep (close to the vertical). In this case experience will tend to be unduly dynamic rapidly fluctuating as between stages thereby limiting the possibility for sufficient heterachical development (at any given stage).

Here insofar as both transcendence (and immanence) take place, it will largely represent the continual unstable fluctuation of states as between stages with insufficient structural development at any given stage.Clearly the optimum strategy in terms of development is to equally balance heterarchical with holarchical (and partarchical) development so that the diagonal lines as between opposite quadrants, will be at the same distance from both horizontal and vertical lines. This maximises the possibility for pure nondual spiritual awareness through the fully balanced realisation of both the transcendent (and immanent) aspects of development.

As we shall see later these diagonal lines can be given a truly remarkable holistic mathematical interpretation.

Holistic Mathematics and Eight-Sectoral Approach

Q This emphasis on three fundamental sets of polarities leads to an eight-sectoral (rather than a four-quadrant approach). Can you explain?

PC It might help somewhat to say something regarding the context in which my approach developed.

At College in Dublin - the late 60's and early 70's - I studied Economics and Mathematics.

From an early stage I became somewhat disenchanted with the conventional treatment to Economics based on the use of unduly rigid analytic type models. So I started to develop a more holistic approach, which centred on the dynamic use of two sets of polarities.Economics has both external and internal aspects (with the internal psychological aspect greatly neglected in conventional terms). It also has - as in the standard breakdown - both an (individual) part aspect i.e. Microeconomics and a (collective) whole aspect i.e. Macroeconomics. The problem however was that the conventional understanding regarding the relationship as between these aspects was unduly static. So I started looking for a more satisfactory dynamic interpretation.

As my understanding of these two sets of polarities increased, I began to realise that they served as the basis for appreciation of all dynamic interactions. Indeed this vision of a new dynamic type of scientific understanding was to quickly form my earliest version of an integral TOE.

From the mathematical perspective, I realised that these polarities (horizontal and vertical) could be represented in terms of a very simple mathematical relationship, which quite literally is a reduced expression of unity.

In geometrical terms this is represented by the four quadrants of a circle.I believed this to be deeply significant and had a clear intuition that such symbols could be given an alternative holistic interpretation providing the precise scientific basis for understanding the nature of all dynamic transformations.

So I formed at this time an unshakeable conviction regarding the validity of this integral scientific quest (based on a new holistic interpretation of mathematical symbols).However it took a long time to translate the early vision into a coherent intellectual format.

Firstly I realised that a truly comprehensive approach required three rather than two sets of polarities.

Thus the inclusion of the third set of diagonal polarities leads, in holistic mathematical terms, to an eight-sectoral approach (which we will explain in detail later).

In a four-quadrant model there is a tendency for example to confuse the transcendent with the holarchical (or alternatively partarchical) direction of development whereas in experiential terms transcendence - and indeed immanence - have both heterarchical and hierarchical aspects.

Likewise in the four-quadrant approach there may be a tendency to confuse instinctive psycho-physical interactions with merely their horizontal physical manifestations (e.g. brain activity).

So more correctly, psycho-physical interactions are represented by the diagonal polarities.Also in understanding the relationship as between opposite polarities, it is necessary to preserve both the (linear) asymmetric interpretation (where they are separated) with the (circular) paradoxical treatment (where they are viewed as complementary).

Again the former approach is directly suited for interpretation of the differentiated aspect of experience; the latter approach is suited for interpretation of the integral aspect.

Now in my earlier enthusiasm to develop an integral approach, I tended to be somewhat dismissive of the corresponding need to preserve the differentiated aspect. In this sense my integral approach was thereby unbalanced.Most importantly it is necessary to develop the appropriate interface, which connects both the differentiated and integral aspects of experience. The preservation of both aspects together with this appropriate interface (which enables consistent conversion from one aspect to the other) is the basis now for what I term the radial approach.

So the radial is neither a differentiated nor integral approach (in isolation). Rather it attempts to combine both aspects (differentiation and integration) while preserving their unique qualitatively distinct natures.However by far the greatest difficulty I encountered was one that I did not properly envisage in the early days.

It is relatively easy to scientifically interpret the complementary relationship as between opposite polarities (horizontal, vertical or diagonal).

In geometrical terms these poles can be represented as lying at opposite ends of

a straight line (at an angle of 180 degrees to each other) which are positive (+) and negative (-) with respect to each other.However it is much more difficult to interpret the relationship as between horizontal and vertical polarities (and vertical and horizontal) which lie at right angles (i.e. 90 degrees) to each other.

Finally, it is especially difficult to interpret the relationship as between diagonal and either horizontal or vertical polarities (and horizontal or vertical and diagonal polarities), which lie at quarter the angle of the complementary polarities (i.e. 45 degrees) to each other.

Indeed it requires the refined phenomenal understanding associated with each of the "higher" spiritual levels (H1, H2 and H3) to properly interpret these dynamic relationships.

Thus the bi-directional phenomenal understanding of H1 (corresponding to the subtle realm) is necessary to properly interpret the complementary relationship as between straight-line polarities (180 degrees).

For simplicity we will refer to this as Type 1 complementarity.The very refined phenomenal understanding of H2 (the causal realm) - entailing the relationship between conscious and unconscious - is necessary to interpret the interaction as between horizontal and vertical (and vertical and horizontal) right-angled polarities (90 degrees).

We will refer to this as Type 2 complementarity.The extremely refined phenomenal understanding of H3 (nondual reality) - entailing the relationship between spiritual awareness and both conscious and unconscious phenomenal understanding - is necessary to interpret the interaction as between diagonal and horizontal (or vertical) and horizontal (or vertical) and diagonal polarities (45 degrees).

This is thereby Type 3 complementarity.

There are close affinities here with the quantum mechanical notion of spin.

Physicists recognise that three types of spin govern the rotation of all particles.

All matter particles have spin of 1/2; some force carriers such as photons and gluons have a spin of 1 and finally gravitons have a spin of 2.In like complementary manner, we are here recognising that all dynamic interactions between phenomena are subject to three kinds of "spin" in holistic mathematical terms.

If we designate the "straight line" spin of complementary polar opposites (horizontal, vertical and diagonal) as 2, then the spin representing the interaction as between horizontal and vertical (and vertical and horizontal) is 1; finally spin representing the interaction as between diagonal and horizontal (or vertical) and horizontal (or vertical) and diagonal is 1/2.It took me a long time to scientifically resolve these issues to my satisfaction. One crucial breakthrough - as I shall explain in detail later - was the realisation of how to interpret the notion of an imaginary quantity in holistic mathematical terms.

Q Can you give us some insight at this stage at to what all this might mean?

PC We are accustomed in scientific terms to look at phenomena merely in a conscious manner. Indeed it is this merely conscious interpretation that defines what is "real" in scientific terms.

However actual understanding always entails the interaction of conscious and unconscious.

Now just as the conscious aspect of understanding is "real", the unconscious aspect (which is indirectly projected into consciousness in archetypal terms) is "imaginary" in a precise holistic mathematical manner.

Thus in dynamic terms all phenomena are complex (with both "real" and "imaginary" aspects). We could say therefore that whereas the "real" aspect of a phenomenon embodies its actual localised existence, the "imaginary" aspect embodies its unlimited creative capacity, with the potential to become a pure archetype of Spirit.When we look at the interaction governing holons, the "imaginary" aspect of understanding plays a vital role. It explains how holons switch as between a whole/part status (where the whole aspect dominates) to their corresponding part/whole status (where the part aspect dominates) and vice versa. This for example underpins the manner in which perceptions and their corresponding concepts (and concepts and perceptions) continually interact.

Put another way it helps to explain how quantitative phenomena are transformed though qualitative interaction (or alternatively qualitative phenomena through quantitative interaction).

Thus the incorporation of the "imaginary" notion - given its correct dynamic holistic mathematical interpretation - has the capacity to fundamentally change the scientific manner in which we view all phenomena.Thus for proper understanding that avoids gross reductionism, transformations involving both horizontal and vertical polarities - which dynamically condition all phenomena - must be interpreted in both a "real" (conscious) and "imaginary" (unconscious) manner.

Now the third set of interactions, that incorporates diagonal as well as horizontal and vertical polarities, requires an even more subtle interpretation.

We now have the interaction of a directly spiritual aspect with both the "real" (conscious) and "imaginary" (unconscious) aspect of phenomena.

Remarkably the lines representing diagonal polarities can be given a holistic mathematical explanation that encodes both an interpretation in terms of form and of emptiness.

When approached from the perspective of form, the diagonal lines can be represented in terms of both "real" and "imaginary" components (that are equal). From the perspective of emptiness they can be represented as null lines = 0.

In dynamic terms this entails that the actual experience of spiritual emptiness (0) coincides with the very refined experience of phenomena, where "real" (conscious) and "imaginary" (unconscious) aspects are perfectly harmonised with each other.Thus the precondition for pure nondual awareness of reality is the complete harmonisation in spiritual terms of both conscious and unconscious aspects of experience.

Now I appreciate that this manner of expression may convey a limited amount of meaning at this stage. However its value should become more apparent as we proceed.

Basic Nature of TOE

Q. So if I attempt to summarise at this stage, your TOE is based on three fundamental sets of polarities that lead to a dynamic eight-sectoral approach to the study of all phenomena. How is this so far?

PC That's correct. However crucial to this TOE is the realisation that the three sets of polarities can be given both a linear (asymmetric) interpretation where polar opposites are treated in a relatively independent (separate) manner and a circular (paradoxical) interpretation where these same opposites are now treated in a relatively interdependent (complementary) fashion.

Q I see! And the differentiated aspect relates directly to the linear, whereas the integral aspect relates to the circular interpretation. Is that right?

PC Yes, but remember that as every stage of development necessarily entails both differentiation and integration, its accurate interpretation therefore requires the combined use of both approaches, which are each based on unique logical systems and therefore qualitatively distinct from each other.

Of course the accuracy of interpretation of the inherent dynamics of integration and differentiation varies greatly depending on the level of development. Indeed looked at from one important perspective, development is simply the process whereby one gradually disidentifies with inaccurate interpretations of its inherent nature. So continual nondual awareness requires the very refined precise interpretation of the inherent dynamics of development (which are universally similar)

Q This is what you refer to as the radial approach?

PC Yes! In the radial approach every stage is defined by a unique configuration of both differentiation and integration. The very distortion in the interpretation of the dynamics at "earlier" stages of development leads to the need for more advanced stages, so that sufficient accuracy - to sustain a stable equilibrium grounded in continual nondual awareness - only arrives with Radial Reality.

This leads on to what I consider as the most original aspect of my approach, which is the realisation that all the dynamic relationships as between polarities can be given a precise scientific treatment using a new holistic interpretation of mathematical symbols (which I refer to as Holistic Mathematics).

So all dynamic transformations are thereby inherently mathematical in this holistic sense.

However - apart from the direct relationships as between opposite polarities - the proper explanation of these is extremely subtle and complex and best left over to a later stage, by which time I will have had a chance to develop many holistic mathematical ideas in greater detail.

Illustration of approach to Development

Q. In the light of what you have said can you now illustrate how this eight-sectoral approach (with both linear and circular interpretations) can be applied to a specific aspect of development.

PC Let us return to our example: "The atom is transcended and included in the molecule; the molecule is transcended and included in the cell; the cell is transcended included in the organism etc."

Now in context of my approach this represents just one of eight equally valid asymmetrical approaches to development.

Also it is properly suited for interpretation of the differentiated rather than the integral aspect of development.

As we have seen all dynamic interactions - which necessarily entail opposite poles - can be given two equally valid asymmetrical interpretations. Though each of these interpretations is unambiguous within its independent frame of reference, when polar frames are considered simultaneously (i.e. as interdependent), they are deeply paradoxical in terms of each other.

Integration comes from the simultaneous pairing of such interpretations based on opposite polar reference frames.Because there are three fundamental sets of polarities, these lead to eight asymmetrical interpretations.

Thus the horizontal exterior and interior (and interior and exterior) polarities lead to two equally valid opposite differentiated interpretations (i.e. Right-Hand and Left-Hand) of any event in heterarchical terms.The vertical whole and part (and part and whole) polarities likewise lead to two equally valid opposite differentiated hierarchical interpretations (i.e. holarchical and partarchical) of any event.

Finally the diagonal form and emptiness (and emptiness and form) polarities lead to twin sets of two equally valid opposite differentiated interpretations (i.e. transcendent and immanent) of any event. Remember whereas we have only one horizontal and one vertical line (in each case representing two opposite polarities) we have two diagonal lines (representing twin sets of opposite polarities).

Integration in horizontal terms comes from the paradoxical complementary pairing of Right-Hand and Left-Hand (and Left-Hand and Right-Hand) interpretations of the heterarchical polarities.

Integration in vertical terms comes from the paradoxical complementary pairing of holarchical and partarchical (and partarchical and holarchical) interpretations of the appropriate polarities.

Integration in diagonal terms (both sets) comes from the complementary pairing of transcendent and immanent (and immanent and transcendent) interpretations of the combined heter-holarchical (and heter-partarchical) polarities.

Horizontal Polarities: Differentiation and IntegrationNow we will illustrate these points in some detail with respect to the above example.

In horizontal (heterachical) terms the very recognition of the phenomena mentioned i.e. atom, molecule, cell and organism necessarily entails a mind/matter interaction in dynamic experiential terms with both an exterior aspect (in relation to a corresponding interior) and from the other perspective an interior (in relation to a corresponding exterior) aspect.

Now when we attempt to obtain a differentiated understanding of these phenomena we can do so in two ways.

First we can fix the polar frame of reference with the exterior aspect. This enables us therefore to obtain a differentiated understanding of these phenomena as "objects" (i.e. existing independently of mind). Thus though - in dynamic terms - the actual experience of a phenomenon such as an atom necessarily entails a two-way mind/matter interaction, in differentiated terms through fixing the polar reference frame with the exterior aspect, we thereby obtain an unambiguous interpretation of the phenomenon as an object (independent of mind).

Though clearly arbitrary, this is the customary differentiated interpretation (and indeed adopted by Ken Wilber in his treatment).Also very importantly, it is precisely because we now treat the phenomena in a polar independent fashion (i.e. in this case as exterior "objects") that we are able to make asymmetrical connections as between atom, molecule, cell and organism.

However we can equally fix the polar reference frame with the interior aspect. This time we obtain a differentiated understanding of these phenomena as corresponding mental perceptions.

Again when we treat the phenomena in a polar independent fashion (i.e. in this case as interior "perceptions") we are once again enabled to make asymmetrical connections as between atom, molecule, cell and organism.So in the first case the asymmetrical connection as between atom, molecule, cell and organism is viewed as a relationship between exterior "objects".

In the second case the asymmetrical connection as between atom, cell, molecule and organism is viewed as a relationship between interior "perceptions".However because - using isolated reference frames - the sequence seems identical in both cases, this leads to the double correspondence view, which typifies conventional science i.e. perceptions accurately represent corresponding objects; also objects accurately represent corresponding perceptions.

Thus from this point of view it matters little what polar reference frame is adopted as relationships will appear identical.However from a dynamic perspective it greatly matters. When we attempt to differentiate phenomena in this unambiguous manner, either as independent "objects" (using the exterior aspect as polar reference frame) or as independent "perceptions" (using the interior aspect as reference frame), this inevitably leads to phenomenal rigidity reflecting in turn an unbalanced form of ego attachment.

In other words because we are identifying - what is actually - a very arbitrary interpretation with the truth, this inevitably leads to a corresponding volitional assent which is the basis of ego attachment.

This in turn sets severe limitations to the quality of interaction as between both poles.Thus typically the rigid unambiguous interpretation of phenomena in terms of independent "objects" is associated with a corresponding rigid interpretation of phenomena in terms of independent "perceptions".

Thus, because both poles are viewed in independent terms, the information they provide regarding phenomena mutually confirm each other in unambiguous fashion.

This in turn sets severe limitations on the possibility for true integration of these poles (which depends on understanding them as mutually interdependent).Thus it is vital to properly distinguish integration from differentiation. Failure to do so inevitably leads to a very reduced understanding where it is largely confused with differentiation. In dynamic terms this tends to an unambiguous rigid type appreciation of phenomena whereby they become largely robbed of their inherent mystery.

It is not enough to suggest that such problems can be remedied through a sincere commitment to spiritual practice. Clearly if - in our customary intellectual understanding - we are trained to appreciate relationships in an unduly asymmetric fashion, this will inevitably set considerable limits on the possibility for balanced spiritual integration.

So advancing spiritual awareness must be reflected in the way we intellectually interpret reality and central to this is a keen appreciation of how the nature of integration differs from differentiation.However once we view our two poles exterior and interior (and interior and exterior) in simultaneous terms - as befits integration - our interpretation of direction becomes deeply paradoxical. As in the example of our two drivers what is forward from one perspective is backward from the other and vice versa.

Thus if we identify the direction of differentiation as forward with respect to the exterior aspect, then it is - relatively backward - with respect to the interior. Likewise if we now identify the direction of differentiation as forward with respect to the interior aspect, then it is - relatively - backward with respect to the exterior.

Thus in dynamic relative terms, forward differentiation with respect to the exterior aspect implies backward differentiation with respect to the interior.

Likewise backward differentiation with respect to the exterior implies forward differentiation with respect to the interior.Putting this another way, we can only differentiate and include with respect to one polarity by differentiating and excluding with respect to the other.

Thus we differentiate and include our interpretation of the atom, molecule, cell and organism as exterior "objects" by dynamically excluding the corresponding interpretation as interior "perceptions".

Likewise we differentiate and include our interpretation of the atom, molecule, cell and organism as interior "perceptions" by dynamically excluding the corresponding interpretation as exterior "objects".Now we can perhaps see the inevitable reductionism involved in all differentiated understanding.

Though - from a dynamic perspective - we can only include one pole by excluding the other, in differentiated terms our subsequent interpretation ignores the role of this dynamic exclusion.

Therefore, though the very understanding of phenomena as independent "objects" requires that we dynamically exclude the corresponding understanding as interior "perceptions", in our actual differentiated interpretation we identify the phenomena solely in terms of polar inclusion.This is why any asymmetric interpretation of development in terms of inclusion is quite unbalanced.

In horizontal heterarchical terms, inclusion always implies exclusion and exclusion implies inclusion.However to appreciate this we must define all phenomena in both Right-Hand and Left-Hand heterarchical terms.

Thus our phenomenal recognition of the atom, molecule, cell and organism has both Right-Hand and Left-Hand differentiated interpretations as exterior "objects" and interior "perceptions" respectively.

Inclusion in respect to one pole - whereby we unambiguously differentiate a phenomenon (in exterior or interior terms) - requires that we exclude with respect to the other.

Thus the forward differentiation (i.e. inclusion) of atom, molecule, cell organism etc. as exterior objects implies the corresponding backward differentiation (i.e. exclusion) of atom, molecule, cell, organism as interior "perceptions".Likewise the forward differentiation (i.e. inclusion) of atom, molecule, cell, organism etc. as interior perceptions implies the corresponding backward differentiation (i.e. exclusion) of atom, molecule cell, and organism as exterior "objects".

Thus when we come to view the atom, molecule, cell and organism at each stage we can do so in differentiated terms either as inclusion or exclusion.

So in horizontal heterachical terms we have two aspects in terms of inclusion (forward differentiation) or exclusion (backward differentiation).

Now - as we have seen in dynamic terms - forward and backward have a purely relative meaning depending on the polar frame of reference. So what is forward from an exterior is - relatively - backward from an interior frame; likewise what is forward from an interior is - relatively - backward from an exterior frame.

To sum up, differentiation is based on notions of inclusion and exclusion (considered relatively independent of each other).

However integration requires that we consider both polar frames of reference in simultaneous relationship to each other.

Thus in our example an integral - as opposed to a differentiated - appreciation of the various phenomena atom, molecule, cell and organism entail mutual inclusion and exclusion in relationship to each other.

In terms of direction this requires the paradoxical appreciation of movement that is simultaneously both forward and backward (and backward and forward) with respect to each other.

Now such appreciation can only be reconciled in spiritual intuitive terms through a transformation of the appreciation of dual (differentiated) form to nondual (integral) emptiness.So the integral aspect of development processes is by its very nature inherently empty and nondual. However because this necessarily interpenetrates in reduced phenomenal terms with the dualistic identification of form, this invariably leads to a reduction of the integral in terms of its merely differentiated aspects. Thus though a transformation in phenomena occurs in all development processes, the integral aspect (essential to such transformation) is largely confused in intellectual interpretation with the subsequent identification of (differentiated) form.

Q You say that integration is based on mutual inclusion and exclusion of interpretations based on opposite reference frames. But what does this actually mean in terms of our understanding of the atom, molecule, cell and organism?

PC Well it means that such understanding continually changes. The paradoxical appreciation of mutual inclusion and exclusion (which dynamically cancel each other) in formal terms leads to a growing appreciation of the spiritual emptiness inherent in all phenomenal forms.

Thus as this awareness of spiritual (nondual) emptiness grows, our interpretation of the various phenomena is transformed.Where we initially understood them in a somewhat rigid unambiguous manner, we gradually begin to appreciate the great mystery inherent in such forms. So now phenomenal appreciation thereby becomes much more flexible and transparent increasingly serving to radiate the inherent spiritual nature of all forms. This in turn is associated with a much greater degree of interaction as between opposite poles, which continually enhances the paradoxical appreciation of the differentiated interpretations (based on opposite polar reference frames).

So the growing awareness of spiritual emptiness and paradoxical appreciation of form are themselves dynamically interdependent serving to mutually enhance each other.

Q So you are saying that as integration is itself a bi-directional process (entailing the two way complementarity of opposite polarities) that the first step in moving towards this appreciation is a bi-directional interpretation of differentiation.

PC Yes! And this in turn requires the realisation that when we attempt to interpret any dynamic interaction in dualistic asymmetrical terms, that two equally valid opposite interpretations (which are unambiguous within their own frames of reference) are always possible.

This leads in turn to the realisation that inclusion (in differentiated terms) always implies exclusion.Alternatively it means in development that forward differentiation (with respect to one polarity) always implies backward differentiation (with respect to the other polarity).

Unfortunately when one attempts to concentrate on development processes as either Right-Hand or Left-Hand e.g. all Its belong to the Right-Hand quadrants, this appreciation is thereby lost. Development is then defined in terms of inclusion (without equal emphasis on exclusion). Alternatively development is then defined in terms of forward differentiation (with respect to one polar frame of reference) without equal emphasis on backward differentiation (with respect to the other).

Q You say that differentiation has both forward and backward interpretations. Does this equally apply to integration? Do we have forward and backward integration?

PC In a qualified sense the answer is yes. Integration - as we have seen - is ultimately nondual. However we must always necessarily approach integration from the dualistic perspective of form. So we can only attempt to eliminate polar opposites from an initial recognition of their (differentiated) existence.

Thus if we identify the forward direction in heterarchical terms with the exterior aspect, forward integration would thereby represent the attempt to recognise exclusion of the related interior aspect (from this initial standpoint). In other words by recognising that the exterior aspect can have no meaning in dynamic terms (without reference to the corresponding interior aspect) we gradually let go of attachment to differentiated interpretation (based on treating the exterior pole as independent).

Thus mutual inclusion and exclusion takes place initially from emphasis on the exterior pole (as merely inclusive).

In this context i.e. of initial emphasis on the exterior, backward integration would be defined in terms of the attempt to balance interpretation based on the interior pole (as initially independent and inclusive) with corresponding exclusion of the exterior pole.However these terms are purely relative (depending on context).

If we initially defined forward direction with respect to the interpretation based on the interior reference frame, then forward integration would represent the attempt to gradually recognise the dynamic exclusion of the interior pole (from this standpoint).

Backward integration would then represent the corresponding attempt to recognise the dynamic exclusion of the interior frame (from the standpoint of the exterior).

Discrete and Continuous Interpretation of StagesThe deeper implication of what I am saying here is that we need to redefine the very nature of stages in development to properly reflect both differentiated and integral appreciation.

In other words there is a sense - though necessarily defined by an arbitrary polar frame of reference - in which stages are discrete and defined in a relatively independent manner. This is suited for appreciation of the differentiated aspect.

However there is equally a sense - through complementary recognition of both polar frames - in which stages are continuous and defined in a relatively interdependent manner (with every stage linked to every other stage throughout development).

This latter interpretation is directly suited for appreciation of the integral aspect.However before we can reconcile the discrete and continuous interpretations we need to realise that every asymmetrical discrete interpretation of stages has an equally valid opposite interpretation.

Clearly in a radial approach - which recognises the distinction as between differentiated and integral aspects at every stage of development - the combined use of the discrete and continuous definition of stages is necessary for accurate interpretation of appropriate experiential dynamics.

Horizontal Polarities: Differentiation and IntegrationWe will illustrate these points in some detail with respect to the above example.

In horizontal (heterachical) terms the very recognition of the phenomena mentioned i.e. atom, molecule, cell and organism necessarily entails a mind/matter interaction in dynamic experiential terms with both an exterior aspect (in relation to a corresponding interior) and from the other perspective an interior (in relation to a corresponding exterior) aspect.

When we attempt to obtain a differentiated understanding of these phenomena we can do so in two ways.

First we can fix the polar frame of reference with the exterior aspect. This enables us therefore to obtain a differentiated understanding of these phenomena as "objects" (i.e. existing independently of mind). Thus though - in dynamic terms - the actual experience of a phenomenon such as an atom necessarily entails a two-way mind/matter interaction, in differentiated terms through fixing the polar reference frame with the exterior aspect, we thereby obtain an unambiguous interpretation of the phenomenon as an object (independent of mind).

Though clearly arbitrary, this is the customary differentiated interpretation (and indeed adopted by Ken Wilber in his treatment).Also very importantly, it is precisely because we now treat the phenomena in a polar independent fashion (i.e. in this case as exterior "objects") that we are able to make asymmetrical connections as between atom, molecule, cell and organism.

However we can equally fix the polar reference frame with the interior aspect. This time we obtain a differentiated understanding of these phenomena as corresponding mental perceptions.

Again when we treat the phenomena in a polar independent fashion (i.e. in this case as interior "perceptions") we are once again enabled to make asymmetrical connections as between atom, molecule, cell and organism.So in the first case the asymmetrical connection as between atom, molecule, cell and organism is viewed as a relationship between exterior "objects".

In the second case the asymmetrical connection as between atom, cell, molecule and organism is viewed as a relationship between interior "perceptions".However because - using isolated reference frames - the sequence seems identical in both cases, this leads to the double correspondence view, which typifies conventional science i.e. perceptions accurately represent corresponding objects; also objects accurately represent corresponding perceptions.

Thus from this point of view it matters little what polar reference frame is adopted as relationships will appear identical.However from a dynamic perspective it greatly matters. When we attempt to differentiate phenomena in this unambiguous manner, either as independent "objects" (using the exterior aspect as polar reference frame) or as independent "perceptions" (using the interior aspect as reference frame), this inevitably leads to phenomenal rigidity reflecting in turn an unbalanced form of ego attachment.

In other words because we are identifying - what is actually - a very arbitrary interpretation with the truth, this inevitably leads to a corresponding volitional assent which is the basis of ego attachment.

This in turn sets severe limitations to the quality of interaction as between both poles.Thus typically the rigid unambiguous interpretation of phenomena in terms of independent "objects" is associated with a corresponding rigid interpretation of phenomena in terms of independent "perceptions".

Therefore, because both poles are viewed in independent terms, the information they provide regarding phenomena mutually confirm each other in unambiguous fashion.

This in turn sets severe limitations on the possibility for true integration of these poles (which depends on understanding them as mutually interdependent).So it is vital to properly distinguish integration from differentiation. Failure to do so inevitably leads to a very reduced understanding where it is largely confused with differentiation. In dynamic terms this tends to an unambiguous rigid type appreciation of phenomena whereby they become largely robbed of their inherent mystery.

It is not enough to suggest that such problems can be remedied through a sincere commitment to spiritual practice. Clearly if - in our customary intellectual understanding - we are trained to appreciate relationships in an unduly asymmetric fashion, this will inevitably set considerable limits on the possibility for balanced spiritual integration.

Thus advancing spiritual awareness must be reflected in the way we intellectually interpret reality and central to this is a keen appreciation of how the nature of integration differs from differentiation.However once we view our two poles exterior and interior (and interior and exterior) in simultaneous terms - as befits integration - our interpretation of direction becomes deeply paradoxical. As in the example of our two drivers what is forward from one perspective is backward from the other and vice versa.

So if we identify the direction of differentiation as forward with respect to the exterior aspect, then it is - relatively backward - with respect to the interior. Likewise if we now identify the direction of differentiation as forward with respect to the interior aspect, then it is - relatively - backward with respect to the exterior.

Thus in dynamic relative terms, forward differentiation with respect to the exterior aspect implies backward differentiation with respect to the interior.

Likewise backward differentiation with respect to the exterior implies forward differentiation with respect to the interior.Putting this another way, we can only differentiate and include with respect to one polarity by differentiating and excluding with respect to the other.

Thus we differentiate and include our interpretation of the atom, molecule, cell and organism as exterior "objects" by dynamically excluding the corresponding interpretation as interior "perceptions".

Likewise we differentiate and include our interpretation of the atom, molecule, cell and organism as interior "perceptions" by dynamically excluding the corresponding interpretation as exterior "objects".Now we can perhaps see the inevitable reductionism involved in all differentiated understanding.

Though - from a dynamic perspective - we can only include one pole by excluding the other, in differentiated terms our subsequent interpretation ignores the role of this dynamic exclusion.

Therefore, though the very understanding of phenomena as independent "objects" requires that we dynamically exclude the corresponding understanding as interior "perceptions", in our actual differentiated interpretation we identify the phenomena solely in terms of polar inclusion.This is why any asymmetric interpretation of development in terms of inclusion is quite unbalanced.

In horizontal heterarchical terms, inclusion always implies exclusion and exclusion implies inclusion.However to appreciate this we must define all phenomena in both Right-Hand and Left-Hand heterarchical terms.

Thus our phenomenal recognition of the atom, molecule, cell and organism has both Right-Hand and Left-Hand differentiated interpretations as exterior "objects" and interior "perceptions" respectively.

Inclusion in respect to one pole - whereby we unambiguously differentiate a phenomenon (in exterior or interior terms) - requires that we exclude with respect to the other.

Therefore the forward differentiation (i.e. inclusion) of atom, molecule, cell organism etc. as exterior objects implies the corresponding backward differentiation (i.e. exclusion) of atom, molecule, cell, organism as interior "perceptions".Likewise the forward differentiation (i.e. inclusion) of atom, molecule, cell, organism etc. as interior perceptions implies the corresponding backward differentiation (i.e. exclusion) of atom, molecule cell, and organism as exterior "objects".

Thus when we come to view the atom, molecule, cell and organism at each stage we can do so in differentiated terms either as inclusion or exclusion.

So in horizontal heterachical terms we have two aspects in terms of inclusion (forward differentiation) or exclusion (backward differentiation).

As we have seen - in dynamic terms - forward and backward have a purely relative meaning depending on the polar frame of reference. So what is forward from an exterior is - relatively - backward from an interior frame; likewise what is forward from an interior is - relatively - backward from an exterior frame.

To sum up, differentiation is based on notions of inclusion and exclusion (considered relatively independent of each other).

However integration requires that we consider both polar frames of reference in simultaneous relationship to each other.

Thus in our example an integral - as opposed to a differentiated - appreciation of the various phenomena atom, molecule, cell and organism entail mutual inclusion and exclusion in relationship to each other.

In terms of direction this requires the paradoxical appreciation of movement that is simultaneously both forward and backward (and backward and forward) with respect to each other.

Such appreciation can only be reconciled in spiritual intuitive terms through a transformation of the appreciation of dual (differentiated) form to nondual (integral) emptiness.So the integral aspect of development processes is by its very nature inherently empty and nondual. However because this necessarily interpenetrates in reduced phenomenal terms with the dualistic identification of form, this invariably leads to a reduction of the integral in terms of its merely differentiated aspects. Therefore though a transformation in phenomena occurs in all development processes, the integral aspect (essential to such transformation) is largely confused in intellectual interpretation with the subsequent identification of (differentiated) form.

Q You say that integration is based on mutual inclusion and exclusion of interpretations based on opposite reference frames. But what does this actually mean in terms of our understanding of the atom, molecule, cell and organism?

PC It means that such understanding continually changes. The paradoxical appreciation of mutual inclusion and exclusion (which dynamically cancel each other) in formal terms leads to a growing appreciation of the spiritual emptiness inherent in all phenomenal forms.

Thus as this awareness of spiritual (nondual) emptiness grows, our interpretation of the various phenomena is transformed.Where we initially understood them in a somewhat rigid unambiguous manner, we gradually begin to appreciate the great mystery inherent in such forms. So now phenomenal appreciation thereby becomes much more flexible and transparent increasingly serving to radiate the inherent spiritual nature of all forms. This in turn is associated with a much greater degree of interaction as between opposite poles, which continually enhances the paradoxical appreciation of the differentiated interpretations (based on opposite polar reference frames).

So the growing awareness of spiritual emptiness and paradoxical appreciation of form are themselves dynamically interdependent serving to mutually enhance each other.

Q So you are saying that as integration is itself a bi-directional process (entailing the two way complementarity of opposite polarities) that the first step in moving towards this appreciation is a bi-directional interpretation of differentiation.

PC Yes! And this in turn requires the realisation that when we attempt to interpret any dynamic interaction in dualistic asymmetrical terms, that two equally valid opposite interpretations (which are unambiguous within their own frames of reference) are always possible.

This leads in turn to the realisation that inclusion (in differentiated terms) always implies exclusion.Alternatively it means in development that forward differentiation (with respect to one polarity) always implies backward differentiation (with respect to the other polarity).

Unfortunately when one attempts to concentrate on development processes as either Right-Hand or Left-Hand e.g. all Its belong to the Right-Hand quadrants, this appreciation is thereby lost. Development is then defined in terms of inclusion (without equal emphasis on exclusion). This leads to a focus on forward differentiation (with respect to one polar frame of reference) without equal emphasis on backward differentiation (with respect to the other).

Q You say that differentiation has both forward and backward interpretations. Does this equally apply to integration? Do we have forward and backward integration?

PC In a qualified sense the answer is yes. Integration - as we have seen - is ultimately nondual. However we must always necessarily approach integration from the dualistic perspective of form. So we can only attempt to eliminate polar opposites from an initial recognition of their (differentiated) existence.

If we identify the forward direction in heterarchical terms with the exterior aspect, forward integration would thereby represent the attempt to recognise exclusion of the related interior aspect (from this initial standpoint). In other words by recognising that the exterior aspect can have no meaning in dynamic terms (without reference to the corresponding interior aspect) we gradually let go of attachment to differentiated interpretation (based on treating the exterior pole as independent).

Thus mutual inclusion and exclusion takes place initially from emphasis on the exterior pole (as merely inclusive).

In this context i.e. of initial emphasis on the exterior, backward integration would be defined in terms of the attempt to balance interpretation based on the interior pole (as initially independent and inclusive) with corresponding exclusion of the exterior pole.However these terms are purely relative (depending on context).

If we initially defined forward direction with respect to the interpretation based on the interior reference frame, then forward integration would represent the attempt to gradually recognise the dynamic exclusion of the interior pole (from this standpoint).

Backward integration would then represent the corresponding attempt to recognise the dynamic exclusion of the interior frame (from the standpoint of the exterior).

Discrete and Continuous Interpretation of StagesThe deeper implication of what I am saying here is that we need to redefine the very nature of stages in development to properly reflect both differentiated and integral appreciation.

In other words there is a sense - though necessarily defined by an arbitrary polar frame of reference - in which stages are discrete and defined in a relatively independent manner. This is suited for appreciation of the differentiated aspect.

However there is equally a sense - through complementary recognition of both polar frames - in which stages are continuous and defined in a relatively interdependent manner (with every stage linked to every other stage throughout development).

This latter interpretation is directly suited for appreciation of the integral aspect.Before we can reconcile the discrete and continuous interpretations we need to realise that every asymmetrical discrete interpretation of stages has an equally valid opposite interpretation.

Clearly in a radial approach - which recognises the distinction as between differentiated and integral aspects at every stage of development - the combined use of the discrete and continuous definition of stages is necessary for accurate interpretation of appropriate experiential dynamics.