4 - States and Structures

Of course interpretation works both ways.

Just as we can have an enhanced interpretation of a previous from a more advanced stage (e.g. a H1 interpretation of vision-logic) equally we can have a reduced interpretation of a more advanced from the previous stage (e.g. a vision-logic interpretation of H1).

If we are to accurately characterise the nature of Ken Wilber's approach we need to distinguish carefully his treatment of structures from states.

Though he communicates very well - from the appropriate standpoint of Eastern mystical traditions - the nature of the states associated with the "higher" stages he offers a somewhat reduced interpretation of "higher" structures. Indeed in strict terms he does not even recognise the existence of "higher" structures (such as cognitive) that are properly distinct from the asymmetrical nature of the vision-logic (of the centaur).

Now Wilber might criticise with some justification a writer such as Jung for not properly distinguishing - in Ken's terms - transpersonal from prepersonal stages. However Jung clearly recognises that there is a necessary complementarity between both aspects thus enabling him to maintain an inherently more correct dynamic approach to development.

Therefore though Jung's approach - relative to Wilber's - is greatly lacking in detail on higher contemplative states implicitly it properly recognises the existence of higher level structures (that are distinct from the middle level) in a manner that is not at all evident in Wilber.

Though Wilber's model - in its own right - is undoubtedly superb - it represents in effect a sophisticated mechanical approach that never - to my mind - properly gets to grips with the nature of dynamic processes. Of course he recognises that development is inherently dynamic. However instead of stressing the complementary (and ultimately paradoxical) nature of all development processes he tends to deal with them though the ever more detailed application of (merely) asymmetric type distinctions.

Thus Jung (as with for example Hegel and Underhill) - whatever their limitations - deal with reality in an inherently dynamic manner.

They may well - at times be dealing with higher level bi-directional structures in a reduced manner (though at least they implicitly recognise their existence).

Wilber - with the hardening of his position around the pre/trans fallacy - essentially abandoned the possibility of appropriate dynamic understanding .

He saw correctly that - in explicit terms - the Romantics were reducing differentiated understanding to (confused) integral understanding.

However in trying to deal with this problem in a somewhat absolute fashion he fell into the opposite trap of reducing - in explicit terms - integral understanding to mere differentiated notions.

So once again the essence of integral appreciation of pre and trans - on which the Romantic position is explicitly based - is that they are complementary.

The essence of differentiated appreciation of pre and trans - on which Ken Wilber's counter position is explicitly based - is that are quite distinct.

Indeed we can fruitfully use Jungian notions of personality types to clarify an essential difference as between the Romantic and (subsequent) Wilberian positions.
The Romantic position essentially corresponds to the holistic type interpretation of the N (intuitive) type of personality. However when such an interpretation is based on (mere) understanding of the middle stages, this leads to a failure to properly differentiate pre and trans (and trans and pre) in a consistent asymmetric manner. Ken Wilber's pre/trans fallacy is essentially based on such a weakness.
The Wilberian position - by contrast - in its explicit intellectual formulation corresponds to the analytic type interpretation of the S (sense) type of personality. Once again however when such an interpretation is based on (mere) structural understanding of the middle stages, this leads to a corresponding failure to properly integrate pre and trans (as truly complementary notions throughout development).

Ken Wilber certainly displays marked N (intuitive) abilities. However since his formulation of the pre/trans fallacy, a marked discontinity has become apparent as between S capacities (which are largely iconfined to analytic structures of the middle levels) and N capacities (which are in turn largely confined to spiritual states of the higher levels). In other words no true eveidence of the important dynamic interaction of structures and states (and states and structures) is eveident in his writing.

It is my firm belief therefore that a consistent radial approach - which incorporates both the differentiated and integral aspects of understanding - is necessary to place both the Romantic and Wilberian positions in their proper dynamic context.