I could take many examples from Wilberís writings to illustrate this point.3 - Why Development Runs Backward!
The following is taken from Integral Psychology P. 142.
While speaking of the Romantic view of the deeper ground or potential he says
"this ground is said to be the same ground one regains in enlightenment , but if so why should anyone ever abandon it? If this ground is regained why does development do something it does in no other system, namely start running backwards? Would a chicken regress to an egg in order to find itself? If the ground is reunited with the ego, so that both together constitute full development, that means that the ground itself is not complete and how could something inherently not complete be the ground of full enlightenment?
Could a part ever be the ground of the whole? This view Ė which incidentally I once embraced Ė seems to be largely inadequate in theory and data."
This passage says a lot to me about Wilberís characteristic lack of a dynamic perspective (where both dual and nondual aspects interact). He seems intent throughout to reduce development to merely linear (i.e. asymmetrical) notions.
"this ground is said to be the same ground one regains in enlightenment , but if so why should anyone ever abandon it?
Well, from a nondual perspective it is the same ground. However the realisation of its nondual nature requires the dynamics of development to unfold (entailing both dual and nondual aspects).
Therefore in early development - where little differentiation of structures has yet taken place - we also have very little realisation of this nondual ground. However as we keep returning to the ground throughout development (by making Spirit immanent in phenomena), the realisation of its spiritual nature increases.
Though from an absolute nondual perspective it is the same ground (ever present), from the perspective of development, where dual and nondual aspects dynamically interact, the experiential realisation of the ground continually changes.
Thus if we wish to realise the ground in mature integral fashion (through the process of the full development of stages), we need to abandon the merely confused notions of earliest development (before differentiation of structures has occurred).
"If this ground is regained why does development do something it does in no other system, namely start running backwards? Would a chicken regress to an egg in order to find itself?"
Has Wilber forgotten the statement of Heraclitus?
"the way up is the way down; the way down is the way up."
In other words Heraclitus is saying that when properly understood - from a dynamic interactive perspective - all development processes necessarily run backward (as well as forward).
Providing the example of "the chicken and the "egg" that is interpreted in a merely (reduced) linear fashion only further compounds the confusion regarding the dynamic nature of transformation processes.
"If the ground is reunited with the ego, so that both together constitute full development, that means that the ground itself is not complete and how could something inherently not complete be the ground of full enlightenment?"
We have dealt with this point. Again Wilber is offering a reduced asymmetrical form of interpretation that is not appropriate to the dynamics of development (where dual and nondual interact).
So again - whereas from an absolute nondual perspective the nondual ground is necessarily complete Ė in terms of development the nature of its realisation continually changes.
"Could a part ever be the ground of the whole?"
Yes, in the appropriate context!
Once again - in dynamic terms - whole and part (and part and whole) necessarily interact.
Therefore from an appropriate bi-directional perspective, the whole is as much grounded in the part, as the part is in the whole.
The problem here is that Wilberís model over-emphasises the holarchic direction where the part is grounded in the whole i.e. treating holons as whole/parts where every whole is part of another whole.
However when we give equal emphasis - relatively - to the onarchic aspect the whole is thereby grounded in the part i.e. treating holons (or rather onhols) as part/wholes where every part is also whole - in the context - of other parts.
For example this latter onarchic emphasis is explicitly stated in Blakeís famous line
"To see a whole in a grain of sand"
"This view - which incidentally I once embraced - seems to be largely inadequate in theory and data."
Let me make a couple of comments here. The fact that Wilber once embraced the Romantic position (and then abandoned it) does not mean in itself that the position is wrong. I think we can see that Wilber gives a somewhat distorted version of the Romantic position (based on an undue emphasis on merely asymmetrical distinction) so it is this misinterpretation that he really has abandoned.
However - as is always the case where dualistic argument is used - the alternative position (as exemplified by his pre/trans fallacy) equally suffers distortions from a dynamic perspective.
I think Wilber would have been on more accurate ground vis-a vis the Romantic position if he recognised the dynamic nature of such a position but maintained that perhaps that it did not sufficiently distinguish the confused notions of early development from the more mature understanding of later years.
As regards the alleged inaccuracy of the data, it is a fact (with all of us) that we tend to see in data what suits our own argument. Also the scientific manner of research (based on asymmetrical distinction) is not really suited to do justice to positions that are based on more dynamic criteria (where dual and nondual aspects of experience interact).
Certainly for example, I find his argument in support of the bardo realms very unconvincing. I accept that it has a valid meaning within the appropriate spiritual tradition. However a general theory of development should not have to rely on the teaching of a particular tradition (especially when a more acceptable dynamic explanation can easily be provided).