Recap on Integral 1 Approach
Q We now come to the Integral 3 approach. Before clarifying its nature in holistic mathematical terms, perhaps it would be helpful to initially approach it in a more general manner.
Can you explain for example how Integral 3 understanding is distinct from the earlier types (Integral 1 and Integral 2)?
PC As I have previously stated each type of integral understanding is closely associated with a corresponding "higher" spiritual level of the Spectrum (with respect to self and reality).
Integral 1 corresponds directly with H1 (i.e. subtle realm).
Here conscious interpretation becomes increasingly refined, representing the dynamic interpenetration in experience of polar opposites (which are appreciated in a somewhat dualistic and unambiguous fashion at the "lower" rational level of H0).
Such understanding combines two aspects, which are closely intertwined in a dynamic manner.
From one perspective (of emptiness) H1 represents a considerable deepening in spiritual contemplative awareness. However equally from the other closely related perspective (of form) it represents the paradoxical appreciation of phenomena (where opposite poles are simultaneously reconciled).
I have explained in detail the precise nature of such paradox in previous discussions.
Unambiguous dualistic understanding always results from the attempt to separate polar opposites with one pole serving as a fixed reference frame for interpretation (though the other is equally valid).
So for example in the common understanding of objective phenomena, the exterior is separated from the interior pole and interpretation then based on this isolated exterior aspect (as reference frame).
Likewise in relation to subjective phenomena, interior is separated from exterior with understanding with respect to the self now based on the isolated interior pole.
Though this approach is initially necessary to successfully differentiate both aspects (i.e. reality and self) it can also greatly hamper subsequent integration (which requires the reconciliation of both poles).
The starting point for true integration is the subtle recognition that any dualistic interpretation (with respect to one isolated polar reference frame) has an equally valid opposite mirror interpretation (using the other pole as reference frame).
Though each of these asymmetric interpretations are unambiguous within their (own) isolated reference frames, in terms of each other (where both poles are viewed as interdependent) they are deeply paradoxical.
So the phenomenal understanding of form (or rather transformation) that is properly compatible with the subtle realm is of a refined bi-directional nature where opposite dualistic interpretations are paradoxical in terms of each other.
The very ability to appreciate such paradox is intimately related to the pure spiritual intuition of the level (that depends on strengthening contemplative awareness).
Likewise the keen appreciation of transformation (i.e. paradox of form) in phenomenal terms serves to deepen the quality of spiritual awareness. Thus in this sense emptiness and form (and form and emptiness) are dynamically interdependent.
The actual reconciliation of opposites (which properly defines integration) is of a direct spiritual nature. However it is intimately supported in dynamic terms by this refined form of bi-directional differentiation (i.e. where asymmetric interpretation is equally valid in terms of opposite directions of interpretation).
So in the Integral 1 Approach - which characterises cognitive understanding of the subtle realm - differentiated and integrated aspects are clearly distinguished yet closely related in dynamic manner.
As we have seen this represents a significant advance on Integral 0 understanding (based on the "lower" rational level of H0). Here integration is not properly distinguished - in intellectual terms - from differentiation and in effect is reduced to unambiguous dualistic interpretation (i.e. where asymmetric relationships are understood as moving solely in one direction).
Q Are you suggesting therefore that personality integration requires significant development of the "higher" spiritual levels?
PC Not necessarily! Indeed in most cases I believe that such integration can be achieved at the centaur stage.
However, because the centaur - as the "highest" of the middle stages of development - is still heavily biased in favour of specialised differentiated notions of understanding, implicitly it contains a great deal of dualistic inconsistency that cannot be properly reconciled at this stage.
As the very recognition of this problem requires "higher" spiritual awareness, the majority therefore can operate successfully at the centaur stage without need for radical resolution of such contradiction.
Here successful personality integration is largely defined in terms of creative adaptation to the world whose cultural assumptions are never seriously undermined.
In other words integration at the centaur level is still in many ways ego driven though often in a somewhat refined manner. Though one may be sincerely concerned with spiritual development, in effect this is accommodated to a considerable extent with worldly desires and ambitions.
Many of the most talented and productive people in our society e.g. enlightened political, business, social and intellectual leaders who are greatly admired and respected for their drive and creative vision operate at the centaur level of development.
Q Why does this level of integration not work for all?
PC It is difficult to give a short answer to this question. We can go into it in much greater detail when we discuss the various personality types that influence development. However in general terms, I would say that some people inherently have a mystical personality type and thereby are born with the potential for significant development at the "higher" spiritual levels. (Of course successful attainment is never guaranteed and when not realised severe psychological problems can emerge).
Perhaps it will help here to draw a medical analogy. As we know some people can be unusually sensitive - and thereby less immune - from damaging physical infection.
Likewise the mystical personal type - even from an early age - tends to be extremely sensitive to the potentially damaging psychological infection that results from the inconsistency of dualistic attachment.
Therefore ego drives that may prove a healthy source of inspiration for others, literally threaten the mystical type with disease (of a psychological kind).
This often leads to a profound existential crisis, which can only be resolved through a purer spiritual commitment that leads to significant development at the "higher" levels.
Q Can you say a little more about the nature of this crisis and how it leads to subsequent unfolding of the subtle realm?
PC Spiritual development unfolds in a unique manner for every individual. So we must not attempt to make it conform to any one pattern. What I am doing here is to suggest one possible outline that is consistent with the spiritual development of the intellectually oriented mystic and therefore relevant in terms of the dynamic approach I am proposing in these discussions.
Q Are you saying that some mystics are not intellectual?
PC Yes indeed! Just as there are a wide variety of gifts at the natural level, likewise also at the mystical levels!
However we need to make an important clarification. Though one may be naturally more gifted in one area than another (say intellectual as opposed to social abilities), for spiritual development to properly unfold it is vital that a certain balance be maintained as between all significant personality traits. Thus the caring social type needs to achieve a certain accommodation with intellectual abilities (for such social concern to successfully operate at the transformed spiritual level of expression). Likewise the keen intellectual type needs to achieve a similar accommodation with the development of social concern (if cognitive ability is to again attain the transformed spiritual level of expression). And the manner in which such balance can be maintained - thus enabling the proper spiritual development of one’s gifts - is unique for every person.
Q Let us get back to this existential crisis that is often the trigger for profound mystical development. What causes it?
PC In general the mystical personality type - even from an early age - is especially prone to spiritual promptings from the unconscious. This often leads to lucid moments of "transpersonal" realisation that one is somehow set apart from conventional pursuits.
However these moments tend to be short-lived and largely suppressed as one attempts to adapt to conventional worldly values and standards. And because this type is often especially gifted, the prospect of a successful life and career may beckon.
Then on the threshold of adulthood a deep existential crisis can suddenly loom that - depending on circumstances - may vary considerably in intensity. Sometimes it might lead to a temporary mental breakdown. More often however it will be experienced as a vague but persistent feeling of dissatisfaction with worldly norms and pursuits. Typically one will struggle for a while attempting to "fit in" with conventional expectations. However if the crisis is genuine this will not succeed and peace will only be restored through commitment to a "higher" spiritual principle.
Q This important level between H0 (rational) and H1 (subtle) bridges the personal and "transpersonal" stages. You refer to it as a transition level. What do you mean by a transition level and what intellectual changes precisely take place during this stage?
PC All the major levels (up to Radial Reality) are bridged by transition levels, where either a key differentiation or alternatively integration of structures occurs.
The "lower" levels are characterised mainly by differentiation of structures and the corresponding "higher" levels by integration.
I will briefly go through these stages now to illustrate.
The earliest "lower" level is L3 (archaic) and characterised by the lack of any genuine development with respect to all three sets of polarities. Thus the first clear differentiation of diagonal polarities (i.e. separation of the body self) marks the transition from L3 to L2.
Now L2 (magical) is in turn characterised by the lack of sufficient differentiation of vertical polarities (i.e. whole and part) that would enable the clear identification of the personal (individual) and social (collective) aspects of personality.
So the transition from L2 to L1 is marked by the proper separation of the emotional self (i.e. vertical polarities).
However L1 (mythic) is still characterised by the lack of genuine differentiation of horizontal polarities i.e. interior and exterior.
So the transition from L1 to L0 (which is also H0) is marked by the clear separation of the mental self (i.e. horizontal polarities). This detachment of exterior from interior thus facilitates the capacity for abstract thought.
Therefore these differentiations are defined by the dualistic positing of phenomena (without corresponding negation).
In other words the earlier stages relate to the specialisation of conscious as opposed to unconscious abilities.
Though integration also necessarily takes place at each of the "lower" stages, it is in the context - certainly in our culture - of the development of specialised differentiated understanding.
In effect this is very unbalanced as such integration then largely serves to enable one to live in a society that is heavily dominated by dualistic phenomenal interpretation.
As we have seen the mystical type of personality is especially sensitive to this imbalance and is unable to properly adapt to conventional norms.
So the existential crisis that bridges H0 (rational) from H1 (subtle) - despite all appearances to the contrary - actually represents the first profound development of true integral capacity. Thus the generalised dissatisfaction that one feels entails the dynamic negation of dualistic phenomena.
When phenomena are posited in a dualistic fashion they inevitably feed possessive attachment. So in this context the existential malaise represents a significant weaning from rigid ego involvement and is associated with the rapid development of an unseen - though authentic - spiritual awareness incubating in the unconscious.
It is this growing spiritual awareness that ultimately enables the volitional capacity to surrender past hopes and ambitions so as to be continually guided by a "higher" spiritual motive.
With this radical surrender - which often happens in a dramatic fashion - the spiritual energy in the unconscious (directly pertaining to true integral capacity) is released into consciousness thereby transforming its very nature. This marks the onset of H1 (the subtle realm).
Thus from a dynamic perspective, the deepening of spiritual awareness is brought about by the negation of phenomena (that have been rigidly posited in a dualistic manner). However while the emphasis is on this negation, the spiritual process within, remains largely hidden in the unconscious (as darkness). The pain of the existential crisis (i.e. purgation) that one undergoes is therefore related to the considerable emptying of (rigid) conscious structures that occurs during this time.
As any unambiguous notion of direction is based on the (mere) positing of phenomena one is thereby - literally - left without a sense of direction. However when the conflict is sufficiently resolved the spiritual energy is released and now interpenetrates with conscious phenomena (as light).
So not surprisingly the onset of H1 (the subtle realm) is often associated with an intense experience of spiritual illumination.
Q How does this change the nature of phenomenal form?
PC Because of substantial development of the negative as well as the positive direction, one now can experience phenomena - through interpenetration with Spirit - in a dynamic bi-directional manner, where they become increasingly subtle radiating a mysterious ineffable quality. In other words phenomena are continually transformed through this process. The transformation of phenomena enhances awareness of their inherent nature (as pure Spirit). This spiritual awareness in turn enhances paradoxical bi-directional appreciation at the phenomenal level. In this way form gives way to emptiness (and emptiness in turn to form) in a substantially refined manner.
Q You identify this level H1 with integral development with respect to the horizontal polarities i.e. interior and exterior (and exterior and interior).
Why is this case?
PC To appreciate this point one needs to understand the dynamic way through which development unfolds.
Differentiation leads to the discrete interpretation of stages as distinct; integration however leads to their continuous interpretation as interdependent.
So from the differentiated perspective, each stage is distinct and separate; from the corresponding integrated perspective all stages are intimately linked (so that for example the last is thereby contained in the first and the first contained in the last stage).
The best way of looking at early experience is in terms of a confused state of integration. Because so little differentiation has taken place, development is literally all over the Spectrum (in a highly chaotic manner).
However as differentiation proceeds through the "lower" levels, the discrete identity of each stage becomes steadily more apparent. Therefore on reaching the middle level - where the specialisation of differentiated structures reaches an extreme - the discrete nature now dominates (largely to the exclusion of other stages both "lower" and "higher").
So the personal stages - by definition - are thereby neither "prepersonal" (lower) nor "transpersonal" (higher).
Therefore - because of this discrete bias in interpretation - with the unfolding of authentic spiritual development, the first task will be viewed as the attempt to achieve integration in horizontal terms (i.e. within a given level).
This does not of course exclude development (perhaps considerable) with respect to vertical and even diagonal polarities. However in general, integration will begin in heterarchical terms within a given level before extending vertically (and diagonally) to all levels.
Sub-levels of H1
Q How do you distinguish stages within H1 (the subtle realm)?
PC In my approach, within each major level we can distinguish three sub-levels. As we would expect these have their most discrete expression at the middle level (L0, H0) and then increasingly overlap in mature fashion at the "higher" levels (with complementary confused expressions at the corresponding "lower" levels).
At the middle level we can identify the three stages that are often referred to as concrete operational, formal operational and vision-logic (which for simplicity I will refer to as concrete, formal and vision respectively).
The concrete stage largely relates to the (linear) interpretation of sense phenomena of both an affective and cognitive kind.
The formal stage relates to more abstract interpretation in mental terms with respect to both aspects.
The vision stage then entails a more spiritually refined interpretation (entailing significant integration of both concrete and formal stages).
However in a qualified sense we can equally distinguish concrete, formal and vision stages with respect to H1 (which in my terminology constitute its three sub-levels).
Here the concrete stage relates to bi-directional appreciation of sense symbols, which through interaction with Spirit are continually transformed in experience. In other words they acquire an archetypal significance that radiates appreciation of their ultimate eternal nature.
The formal stage relates to a more abstract generalised mental appreciation of the bi-directional nature of phenomena (now largely denuded of natural sense activity).
Such understanding for example greatly facilitates holistic philosophical appreciation of the refined dynamic structure of the subtle realm.
The vision stage is then the most contemplative (i.e. spiritually empty) of the stages of this level (that are now largely denuded of both sense and mental symbols).
However this deeply contemplative stage can often coincide with an even more profound existential crisis (than previously experienced), which sharply reveals the limitations of merely subtle integration.
Q Are you suggesting that once one embarks on "higher" spiritual development (H1) that the need for development of more advanced stages (H2 and H3) becomes inevitable?
PC No I am not suggesting that at all. In fact I would say that though subtle level development is relatively common (at least with respect to some aspects) that remarkably few are destined for significant spiritual development at H2 and H3 (causal and nondual reality).
Though many spiritual masters would explain this as a lack of single-minded commitment among spiritual devotees I would provide an alternative explanation.
As I explained earlier, one will only be driven to seek "higher" development through an inability to achieve satisfactory integration at the centaur level. However the degree to which personalities are exposed to the fundamental dualistic disease can vary greatly. Therefore for the majority, limited exposure to the "higher" levels may be sufficient to acquire sufficient immunity from phenomenal attachment to enable satisfactory integration.
In such cases backward (and forward) integration of the subtle and earlier levels will quickly take place without the need for further spiritual advancement of a radical nature.
However for a small minority the weight of possessive attachment will prove especially strong. In such cases an enormous spiritual thrust will be necessary to break free of phenomenal gravity. Therefore significant integration with the middle level will not be possible until all the "higher" stages have been successfully traversed.
Q So integration with all earlier stages does not necessarily take place at each stage?
PC No! We have to remember that in dynamic terms the very desire for integration intimately depends on the authentic existential experience of the lack of meaning.
Thus the capacity for deep integration cannot be divorced from the equal capacity to sustain for considerable periods of time the experiential lack of such integration.
Put another way if one was able to achieve satisfactory backward (and forward) integration with all earlier stages (after the completion of each stage) then the intense desire for further radical advances would not be sustained and development would then tend to plateau at a lower level.
It is all quite simple and logical (provided one uses in this context the appropriate circular form of logic!)
The "higher" stages are indeed complementary with the "lower" (and the "lower" with the "higher"). Therefore it is true for example that a significant degree of vertical integration will take place at this stage as between H1 (subtle) and its corresponding "lower" level L1 (mythic).
This will happen both in backward terms, where the mythic is integrated in top-down fashion from the perspective of the subtle, and likewise in forward terms, where the subtle is integrated in bottom-up fashion from the perspective of the mythic. (However this now represents the mature experience of the earlier "prepersonal" stage where primitive confusion has been successfully disentangled).
However the middle stage is - by definition - neither "higher" nor "lower".
What is neither "higher" nor "lower" is complementary with what is both "higher" and "lower". Thus the full integration of the middle with all other stages can only occur when the prepersonal "lower" and transpersonal "higher" stages have themselves been successfully integrated.
So for example in Christian mysticism the full flowering of the transformed active life (Radial Reality) only takes place after all the contemplative stages have been successfully negotiated.
However, for those who are not destined for sustained development of pure contemplation (nondual reality), significant integration with the middle and lower levels can occur at earlier stages.
States and Structures
Q In the context you have been discussing can you clarify briefly the dynamic relation between states and structures?
PC Every stage can be defined in terms of the dynamic interaction of states and structures (and structures and states)
So each stage is characterised by a state, which represents a primary manner of spiritual "seeing" and also a fundamental structure representing a characteristic holistic pattern of phenomenal organisation. Both of these aspects are interdependent. The quality of spiritual "seeing" intimately affects the corresponding pattern of organisation that defines the structure of the stage. Likewise the appropriate structuring of a stage can greatly enhance the quality of the spiritual state through which it is viewed.
Too much emphasis on either aspect (to the exclusion of the other) inevitably leads to a distortion in appreciation of true experiential dynamics.
In very general terms there is often a considerable discontinuity evident in the typical treatment of development, with too much emphasis on phenomenal structures of development with respect to lower and middle stages and a corresponding over-emphasis on spiritual states with respect to the higher stages. This in turn can reflect an attempt to splice together a dualistic Western analytic approach with respect to the former and a nondual Eastern esoteric treatment with respect to the latter stages.
However dual and nondual aspects necessarily interact at all stages of development and any coherent overall approach must strive to preserve this dynamic balance.
Q What is the state that characterises H1?
PC Customarily it is referred to as the dream state which is accurate enough (though not very precise). Likewise what is often forgotten is that we can have lucid and confused dream states. So if the lucid dream state typifies H1 (subtle), the confused dream state typifies the complementary "lower" level of L1 (mythic).
Basically this state (H1) combines the interaction of both mature linear (conscious) and circular (unconscious) understanding, which however are not yet capable of full reconciliation with each other.
In like manner the holistic configuration of structures for both H1 (subtle) and L1 (mythic) are complementary (with H1 representing the mature and L1 the confused interpretation of these structures respectively).
Some years ago in studying the dynamic manner in which the stages of H1 (the subtle realm) unfold I was struck by their marked cyclical wave pattern.
In holistic terms a wave literally reflects the way in which circular understanding unfolds in a linear manner.
At this level (H1) there is a considerable outpouring of spiritual illumination that interpenetrates with phenomenal symbols that still enjoy a conscious localised identity.
Therefore an inevitable conflict is evident as between the archetypal appreciation of these symbols (reflecting the spiritual light) and customary linear appreciation (reflecting dualistic notions of understanding). And because a significant degree of ego attachment still exists with respect to both localised and archetypal appreciation at H1, the full reconciliation of form with emptiness (and emptiness with form) cannot occur at this level.
So states and structures (and structures and states) are dynamically interdependent. In scientific terms both are most precisely encoded in terms of the binary language reflecting holistic mathematical appreciation.
Personality Traits: Introvert and Extrovert
Q It is customary now to define people in personality terms as introvert or extrovert.
In terms of the horizontal polarities therefore an introvert presumably would place emphasis on the interior aspect and the extrovert emphasis on the exterior aspect respectively. If integration requires the balanced reconciliation of both aspects (interior and exterior) how then can either introverts or extroverts hope to achieve proper integration?
PC This is indeed a very relevant issue. Of course every personality in dynamic terms necessarily combines both introvert and extrovert elements. Also the balance as between both aspects is not fixed and can shift - sometimes considerably - over time. However it is still true that one aspect can typically define personality orientation.
Thus many people clearly are natural extroverts while others equally are introverts (and sometimes to a very marked degree).
Such natural inclinations do have important implications for mystical development.
Let us illustrate with reference to the natural introvert (which disposition is typical of many contemplatives) where the interior will be more developed than the exterior direction of understanding.
Here ego attachment will tend to be positive with respect to the interior and negative with respect to the exterior aspect respectively. So one might naturally tend to enjoy individual privacy (with the opportunity for ample meditation) while tending to avoid social interaction (and consequent "messy" involvement in the lives of other people).
Therefore mystical development would require a significant effort to counteract these natural tendencies, through doing without what one prefers (i.e. individual privacy) while learning to do with what one tends to avoids (i.e. social involvement). These constitute the active purgations of Christian mysticism and when successfully undergone thereby lead to a greater balancing of both aspects (exterior and interior).
However the degree to which these counterbalancing tendencies should be embraced will be unique for each person and dependent on the ultimate degree of development that can be realistically attained.
Thus in a primary sense every true mystic is a centrovert (i.e. centred on ultimate spiritual reality). However in a secondary sense natural personality orientation is likely to remain either introvert or extrovert (though in a flexible manner).
However, though it may well be possible to scale each of the "higher" contemplative stages (say as a "modified" introvert), full development at the radial stages would require a much greater balancing of both extrovert and introvert tendencies.
So in general terms, "modified" mystical extroverts are suited for activity i.e. where practical engagement outweighs contemplative development.
By contrast "modified" mystical introverts are more suited for contemplation i.e. where "passive" spiritual development outweighs active commitment.
The most balanced - and frequently most gifted - mystics, who can achieve greater dynamic harmony as between introvert and extrovert tendencies, are potentially most suited for full participation in "Radial Reality" (where deep contemplative awareness and intense involvement in practical affairs are combined to a marked degree).
So to sum up though mystical development is certainly possible for the well-defined introvert or extrovert, such orientation - even when modified through spiritual development - will tend to lead to attenuated development in terms of Radial Reality.
Directions (Dimensions) of Development
Q You seem to lay considerable emphasis on the direction of development. For example you distinguish exterior and interior from interior and exterior. Are these not the same?
PC Interesting point! Indeed from a linear perspective, direction is not relevant in many contexts.
So for example, 3 + 4 is the same as 4 + 3.
However from a circular perspective, direction is crucially important. Therefore the attempt to integrate the interior with the exterior aspect (from the perspective of the exterior) is distinct from the corresponding attempt to integrate the exterior with the interior aspect (from the perspective of the interior).
So far, in our classification of stages, we have identified the major levels, the transitions that bridge these levels and sub-levels.
So for example H1 (subtle) is defined as the first of the major "higher" levels and is preceded by an important transition level, where the dynamic negation of the phenomena of H0 (rational) occurs.
H1 is then further sub-divided - as we have seen - into three sub-levels (SL1, SL2 and SL3). These represent the concrete (sense), formal (mental) and vision (spiritual) stages of this level.
However each sub-level can in turn be further sub-divided into directions (or dimensions).
And the dynamic interaction as between these directions requires mirror (negative) as well as conventional (positive) stages.
Thus if we illustrate with respect to the opening concrete stage (i.e. SL1), typically it will commence with the positing of the exterior aspect (as illumination of the world). The attempt to integrate the interior with the exterior (from the perspective of the exterior) will require the corresponding negation - or purgation - of posited exterior phenomena (as the mirror stage).
This in turn will cause a switch in direction to the interior stage of this sub-level (as illumination of the self). However, now the attempt to integrate the exterior with the interior (from the perspective of this interior stage) will again require the negation - or purgation - of posited interior phenomena (as its mirror stage).
Once again such negation leads to a switch in direction (back to the exterior aspect).
However because of the significant erosion of sense content that takes place through this process, the exterior aspect will now be experienced from a more refined holistic mental perspective.
This marks the commencement of the second formal sub-level (i.e. SL2).
Q For those destined for experience of "higher" levels why cannot integration be successfully achieved at H1?
PC Integration is to a significant extent defined in a heterarchical context at H1 i.e. as the reconciliation of exterior and interior (and interior and exterior) polarities within that stage.
Also the focus is mainly on the integration of directly conscious phenomena.
However in dynamic terms, conscious and unconscious are interdependent. Therefore an over-emphasis on conscious dynamics can lead to significant unconscious repression (of a subtle nature).
A typical scenario in relation to the more intellectually inclined mystic might be as follows.
Initially, spiritual progress is conceived as a transcendence of "lower" physical phenomena. So mental structures, guided by the promptings of Spirit, are used to control "lower" physical impulses. Though such spiritual discipline plays a vitally important role, it can easily lead to subtle repression of the emotions (especially of an instinctive nature). Gradually as such repression accumulates, it can block psychological dynamics causing severe depression (especially during the arduous purgative stages of development).
So at the height of the H1, which in Christian terms is identified with "the dark night of the soul", a major crisis may develop which is only resolved through another fundamental change in orientation.
H2 (Causal Realm)
Q We now move on to H2 (the causal) realm. I understand that you are not very happy with the conventional manner in which this stage is represented?
PC I have mentioned many times before the discontinuity that I see in terms of the treatment of conventional ("lower" and middle) and "higher" stages of development. This in turn reflects the lack of a consistent treatment of dynamic interactions. In the former case the emphasis typically is on phenomenal structures (as form) whereas in the latter it is on spiritual states (as emptiness).
However form and emptiness (and emptiness and form) are dynamically interdependent at every stage of development and the key task with regard to interpretation is to preserve this essential balance.
Q So you would not describe H2 (the causal realm) as a formless spiritual state?
PC This indeed represents one important aspect. However it can only be properly understood through its dynamic interaction with very refined structures of form.
The very word formless implies its opposite (form) and has no meaning in the absence of the context in which both interact. So the formless spiritual state (or rather state that approaches formlessness) which characterises one aspect of the causal realm, necessarily interacts with refined phenomenal structures of form that characterise the equally important complementary aspect. So once again states are dynamically inseparable from structures (and structures from states) and every stage necessarily entails the interaction of both aspects.
Furthermore an appropriate integral - as opposed to differentiated - interpretation of development, requires proper clarification of the refined holistic structures of form associated with "higher" levels of development (such as causal) and these have been greatly neglected in conventional approaches.
It might help to briefly give an analogy to clarify the dynamic nature of the causal realm.
Physicists once believed that the vast spaces filling the Universe were formless (containing no matter). Now they accept that this apparently empty space is teeming with dynamic particle activity (mostly of a virtual nature).
It is quite similar in relation to the universal spiritual "space" that characterises the causal stage. Though apparently formless it continually resonates with refined phenomenal activity of a virtual (i.e. "imaginary") kind.
Q Briefly again how do virtual (i.e. "imaginary") differ from "real" phenomena.
PC "Real" phenomena tend to have an unambiguous local identity and are the product of directly conscious understanding.
"Imaginary" phenomena - by contrast - represent the indirect expression of the unconscious and have a paradoxical holistic meaning.
Once again the essence of direct conscious understanding is that opposite poles (e.g. exterior and interior) are separated and phenomena then posited with respect to just one pole (as with exterior "objects").
However unconscious understanding combines both poles (positive and negative). Therefore, though "imaginary" phenomena are indirectly posited in experience, they potentially represent the holistic meaning implicit in the combined union of opposite poles.
When such "imaginary" understanding is undeveloped it becomes largely expressed through unrecognised projections which are identified with consciously understood "real" phenomena.
However through the process of "higher" level spiritual development, the "imaginary" aspect gradually becomes disentangled to a marked extent from such "real" conscious identification and plays an extremely important role in the dynamic mediation of very subtle spiritual understanding.
So H2 - the causal realm - largely relates to this increasing refinement of spiritual awareness, that is dynamically mediated through pure "imaginary" rather than "real" conscious structures.
Q You say that H1 (subtle) often culminates in a severe crisis. Why does this arise and how is it resolved?
PC The possible ways, through which "higher" spiritual development unfolds are extremely varied and we must be careful therefore not to attempt to stereotype the process in a rigid manner. So what I am offering here is just one possible course of development, suited to the more "intellectual" type of mystic, that is designed to be accurate in terms of experiential dynamics.
As Evelyn Underhill in her classic work "Mysticism" remarked, initial mystical development unfolds largely with respect to just one spiritual direction i.e. transcendent or immanent.
For the more "impersonal" metaphysical type (which would broadly represent the intellectual) the typical direction is very often transcendent; however for the more "personal" devotional type (representing the romantic), the direction is more likely to be immanent.
Transcendent and Immanent Directions
Q How do we distinguish the transcendent and immanent directions?
PC Basically from the transcendent perspective, the spiritual emphasis is mainly on formlessness (i.e. as Spirit ultimately beyond all phenomenal manifestations); however from the immanent perspective the spiritual emphasis is mainly on form (the inherent nature of which is ultimately spiritual).
Therefore, whereas in the transcendent approach, Spirit is ultimately - literally - without created phenomena, from the immanent approach Spirit is within created phenomena (as their very essence).
When we look on stages of development from this context of the transcendent perspective, a distinct hierarchy, e.g. matter - mind - Spirit will emerge.
However from the corresponding immanent perspective it is subtly different. The hierarchy is now reversed with matter the "highest" stage. In other words it is now understood that Spirit fully depends on (refined) matter for its revelation.
In psychological terms this entails that Spirit must be fully integrated with the body before it can be properly experienced.
Though both aspects are necessarily complementary, initially undue emphasis will tend to be placed on just one, leading to damaging imbalances in experiential terms.
So a typical pattern for the "intellectual" mystic during H1 is the subtle attempt to achieve spiritual discipline through control of "lower" physical instincts.
As we have seen, though such discipline is indeed a necessary component of authentic spiritual development, when over-emphasised it can lead to the gradual repression of physical desires. This can eventually lead to the blocking of spiritual dynamics and a growing depression (especially during the purgative stages).
So the psychological crisis of the "dark night of the soul" in this key respect may reflect a fundamental imbalance with respect to the spiritual direction of development (i.e. over-emphasis on the transcendent aspect).
Therefore the resolution of this crisis requires a significant switching in spiritual focus. For the "intellectual" type this may entail far greater attention to the (neglected) immanent direction; likewise in corresponding terms for the devotional type it may entail greater emphasis on the (neglected) transcendent direction.
Q So what happens during the transition between H1 (subtle) and H2 (causal)?
PC Associated with a profound deepening of contemplative awareness, considerable erosion of conscious phenomena will occur during H1.
However as we have seen, this contemplative state can be associated with the significant repression of unconscious desires (due to the refined rational attempt to maintain spiritual discipline).
So the resolution of the problem essentially relates to a gradual switching in spiritual direction (to immanent) and a consequent relaxation of control. This thereby enables unconscious repressed elements of personality to be freely projected into consciousness.
Though initially these will be confused to a degree with remaining (directly) conscious aspects, through continuing (conscious) negation this will be reduced.
This then sets the scene for the unfolding of H2 (causal realm).
Just as H1 is largely associated with the integration of (horizontal) heterarchical polarities i.e. interior and exterior (and exterior and interior), H2 is largely associated with the integration of (vertical) hierarchical polarities i.e. whole and part (and part and whole).
We have gone into detail in previous discussions on the precise nature of the very subtle dynamic interaction as between whole and part (and part and whole).
Basically the interpretation of a holon (as a whole/part) or alternatively onhol (as a part/whole) occurs in directly conscious terms i.e. from a holistic mathematical perspective in "real" terms.
The decisive dynamic intervention enabling the switch from holon to onhol (and alternatively onhol to holon) comes from "imaginary" understanding.
Now because at the causal level, "imaginary" understanding is freely released, highly creative interaction with "real" phenomena consequently takes place.
Therefore holons and onhols are in a continual state of refined dynamic transformation in experience thus enabling the ever more pure mediation of spiritual awareness.
When the experience becomes especially refined, the "real" nature of phenomena - due to continual switching of holon and onhol structures - becomes less and less apparent in experience. Emphasis therefore is more on the dynamic process of continual switching (rather than any resultant products from this process).
Consciousness then increasingly resonates with very short-lived virtual i.e. "imaginary" phenomena that mediate (and in turn are mediated by) a continual state of purely centred spiritual awareness.
Such awareness may indeed appear formless. However, in fact it reflects the incredibly refined dynamic interaction of short-lived "imaginary" phenomenal structures.
Q This state of awareness seems to have strong correlations with virtual particle activity in physical terms?
PC Yes! The similarities are more than accidental and indeed reflect common structural similarities. Therefore the appropriate holistic (philosophical) appreciation of "lower" virtual particle activity in physical terms, requires the corresponding holistic (philosophical) appreciation of "higher" "imaginary" activity (i.e. the structural phenomenal activity of the causal realm).
Physicists recognise that with virtual particles opposite polarities (matter and anti-matter) are very closely associated. So the phenomenal nature of these particles only arises in the exceptionally brief moment where the polarities temporarily separate.
It is structurally similar in psychological terms. With refined "imaginary" phenomena - which typify H2 - opposite polarities are extremely closely associated reflecting the deeply refined spiritual unconscious. Thus phenomenal representation, whereby they achieve an indirect conscious identity, requires the momentary separation of poles and tends to be extremely short-lived.
Therefore with very pure causal awareness they are eroded so quickly from memory, that they do not even appear to arise in consciousness.
However it is vitally important to recognise the nature of such refined structures of form if we are to properly appreciate the experiential nature of the causal realm.
Q How does the interaction of whole and part (and part and whole) lead to the vertical integration of stages?
PC As always the relationship as between whole and part (and part and whole) can be viewed in two vertical hierarchical directions (which are opposite in terms of each other).
Thus from a holarchical perspective, where every holon is defined as a whole/part (and ultimately viewed from its whole aspect), each higher stage of development will appear to reveal a more collective whole nature.
However from the corresponding partarchical perspective, where every holon (or rather onhol) is defined as a part/whole (and ultimately viewed from its part aspect), each higher stage of development will tend to reveal a more individual (unique) part nature.
Now when holons (and onhols) are understood in a solely "real" conscious manner - as at the middle (rational) stages of the Spectrum - the dynamic nature of interaction as between structures (as form) and states (as emptiness) becomes largely frozen leading to rigid appreciation within a discretely defined level.
Thus the middle (rational) level - which by definition is neither prepersonal nor transpersonal - is thereby not properly geared for vertical integration with either "higher" or "lower" levels.
However as conscious and unconscious become more properly differentiated (and then integrated) in experience, both the "real" and the "imaginary" aspects of phenomenal appreciation are enabled to develop.
This leads to considerably greater interaction as between structures and states (and states and structures) thus enabling the proper disentanglement of the whole and part aspects of phenomena. This in turn leads to much greater dynamic movement as between "prepersonal" and "transpersonal" levels of the Spectrum thus enabling vertical integration in both a top-down and bottom-up fashion.
Thus though H2 (causal) has a certain discrete (differentiated) identity as distinct from other levels, it has perhaps a more important continuous (integral) identity. This enables substantial two-way integration of the "higher" levels (H2 and H1) and also the "lower" levels (L2 and L1). Finally "higher" and "lower" are mutually integrated with each in complementary two-way fashion (i.e. H2 and L2 and H1 and L1).
Personality Traits: Rational and Intuitive
Q You distinguished two types of personality orientation i.e. extrovert and introvert at H1. Can we likewise distinguish personality orientation in this way at H2?
PC Indeed we can! The facets of personality that are most relevant in terms of vertical integration relate to linear (rational) and circular (intuitive) capacities.
In fact these facets are very closely related to the Myers-Briggs Personality Types (that are based on Jungian notions).
So the Myers-Briggs first distinguishes personalities in terms of extrovert (E) and introvert (I) orientation. It next distinguishes in terms of sense (S) and intuition (N) (which mirrors very closely my own identification of linear and circular capacities).
Once again every personality will combine both of these capacities in some measure. However typically one will tend to dominate so that a personality will be labelled clearly in either sense (S) or intuition (N) terms.
Now I would say that largely because our culture is defined in linear S terms, that an inherently strong N capacity is certainly necessary for anyone who is destined for substantial development at the "higher" levels.
Therefore though spiritual development may well play an important role for S types, integration here is unlikely to require significant development beyond the centaur stage.
So these two personality tendencies manifest themselves in opposite ways.
The linear (S) orientation tends to anchor one firmly in the phenomenal structures of a given level (as discretely defined). This entails indeed that development for most S types will inevitably tend to plateau at the middle level in the extended heterachical development of the structures of that level.
By contrast the circular (N) orientation tends to potential interaction with the structures of all levels through a ready identification with the spiritual states (appropriate to these levels).
Putting it simply the S type is structures led (in heterarchical terms); the N type - in the context of authentic mystical development - is states led (in hierarchical terms).
So once again success in terms of development depends on the extent to which these two complementary tendencies (Type 2) - which are both vitally necessary - can be successfully reconciled.
Thus where the N tendency is too strong, considerable oscillation as between the various hierarchical spiritual states (associated with both "higher" transpersonal and "lower" prepersonal levels) is likely to take place. Development will tend to be unduly unstable with insufficient structural development in heterarchical terms taking place at any level.
Again Evelyn Underhill gives a very good account of one such personality i.e. Madame Guyon in her classic work (though she did eventually achieve sufficient balance to enable an attenuated form of Radial Reality to unfold).
However if the S tendency is very strong then too much heterarchical development will take place at an earlier stage thus preventing sufficient dynamic interaction as between all of "higher" and "lower" levels in hierarchical fashion.
The philosopher Hegel has always struck me as a good example of this tendency.
Though his philosophical thinking is in many ways representative of the phenomenal structures associated with the "higher" levels (especially H1), in his work, structural development in heterarchical terms tended to increasingly dominate over spiritual states at a hierarchical level. This unfortunately led therefore to the gradual reductionism of pure contemplative awareness in terms of philosophical concepts (through admittedly structurally representative of "higher" levels).
Once again appropriate purgation is extremely important at H1 as at H2.
So for example the intellectual type who might glory in the immense possibilities for creative thinking at a new spiritual level may have to substantially curb this tendency in the interests of developing a purer state of contemplative awareness (free of ego attachment). This in turn will inevitably open deeper "shadow" areas of personality for healing stemming from earlier prepersonal development.
Likewise for the hyper sensitive type who might naturally tend to get absorbed by emotions induced through the continual fluctuation of spiritual states ("high" and "low"), an alternative form of purgation would be required e.g. in a willingness to deeply commit to practical activities (irrespective of feelings).
So in the first case one seeks a greater freedom from structures to embrace (spiritual) states; in the second case one seeks a greater freedom from such states to properly embrace (phenomenal) structures.
Sub-levels of H2
Q Can you say a little about the nature of the sub-levels and directions (dimensions) of development that unfold at H2 (the causal level)?
PC Once again we can - in a qualified sense - distinguish as before concrete, formal and vision sub-levels (i.e. SL1, SL2 and SL3).
Again the earlier stage (SL1) tends to be more sense oriented (though this time referring to the largely refined "imaginary" phenomena springing from the unconscious).
SL2 tends to be more holistic and generalised, providing for example the appropriate holistic philosophical basis for understanding the dynamic interactive activity that characterises H2.
SL3 again is the most spiritually contemplative of the stages of the level (where a greater degree of balance is maintained as between both the transcendent and immanent aspects of Spirit).
As we have seen, stages as directions were largely confined at H1 to horizontal exterior and interior aspects (where one first attempt to integrate from the perspective of the exterior and then the interior aspect respectively).
Because of substantial integration of these polarities at H1, the understanding of H2 at all sub-levels entails very flexible interchange as between exterior and interior aspects.
So for example physical (exterior) and psychological (interior) reality are naturally understood as interdependent in a new dynamic psycho-physical understanding (where physical and psychological structures are spontaneously understood as complementary).
However there is now substantial development with respect to the vertical polarities i.e. whole and part (and part and whole).
What this means in effect is that each "higher" sub-level of H2 (in transpersonal terms) is intimately associated with a corresponding "lower" sub-level of L2 (in prepersonal terms) and also vice versa so that every "lower" sub-level of L2 is intimately associated with a corresponding "higher" sub-level of H2.
This of course entails that transpersonal and prepersonal (and prepersonal and transpersonal) stages are dynamically complementary in vertical terms, thereby enabling the integration of both aspects with each other.
Once again - as in heterarchical terms - vertical integration takes place in two directions.
So from one perspective we can attempt to integrate the corresponding "lower" prepersonal stage of L2 from the perspective of the "higher" transpersonal stage of H2 (representing top-down integration). Equally we can attempt to integrate the corresponding "higher" stage of H2 from the perspective of the "lower" stage of L2 (representing bottom-up integration).
Clearly both types are vitally necessary.
For example when the transcendent direction of development is solely recognised the emphasis will be on top-down integration (i.e. from the higher to the lower). However proper incorporation of the immanent with the transcendent leads to the realisation that "higher" and "lower" (and "lower" and "higher") are purely relative terms (depending on context). Only such flexible paradoxical understanding with respect to phenomenal structures (from a dualistic perspective) is dynamically consistent with a formless spiritual state (in nondual terms).
Q Why cannot full integration be achieved at H2?
PC At H1 one attempts to achieve two-way heterarchical integration (within a given level) through conscious reconciliation of horizontal "real" polarities i.e. exterior and interior (and interior and exterior).
However because the conscious is not yet fully reconciled with the unconscious aspect, there are inherent limits at this level to the integration of (mere) conscious phenomena.
At H2 one now attempts to achieve two-way hierarchical integration (between levels) through the indirect conscious reconciliation of vertical "imaginary" polarities i.e. whole and part (and part and whole).
However now - in reverse fashion - the unconscious is not yet fully reconciled with the conscious aspect (due to the failure to achieve full conscious integration at the earlier level).
So full integration in both (horizontal) heterarchical and (vertical) hierarchical terms requires the simultaneous reconciliation of both "real" (conscious) and "imaginary" (unconscious) understanding.
This balanced simultaneous combination of both "real" and "imaginary" understanding constitutes the reconciliation of the fundamental diagonal polarities which defines
Integral 3 understanding of H3.
Q Briefly can you summarise the nature of Integral 2 understanding appropriate to H2 (causal level)?
In some respects it is similar to Integral 1 though - literally - of a more "complex" nature.
It is now recognised that consciousness itself represents the interaction of two aspects.
From a direct conscious (i.e. "real") perspective, based on the separation of opposite poles, phenomena have an actual unambiguous identity.
However from an indirect conscious (i.e. "imaginary") perspective, through which unconscious meaning is mediated in experience, phenomena have a potential holistic (or archetypal) identity ultimately expressive of their essential spiritual nature.
Integration is experience - which is again dynamically supported by bi-directional differentiation - now takes place with respect to both "real" (conscious) and "imaginary" (indirect conscious) polarities.
Furthermore, holonic interactions (in all circumstances) are intimately based on the dynamic interaction of both "real" (actual) and "imaginary" (potential) aspects. In "real" terms, phenomena manifest themselves either as holons (whole/parts) or onhols (part/wholes). The intervention of the "imaginary" aspect then enables dynamic switching of phenomena from holons to onhols (or alternatively onhols to holons).
So we have Type 1 complementarity with respect to the reconciliation of opposite poles (horizontal and vertical) in both "real" and "imaginary" terms (considered separately).
We have Type 2 complementarity with respect to the reconciliation of horizontal and vertical poles, which are "real" and "imaginary" in terms of each other (considered simultaneously).
Nature of H3 (Null Level)
Q So we now reach the "highest" of the contemplative spiritual stages H3 (which is the home of the Integral 3 approach). Do you use other terminology to refer to this level?
PC I sometimes refer to it as the null level (reflecting the holistic mathematical interpretation of the "diagonal" null lines, which characterise the level).
Alternatively I refer to it as the simple-complex level which though inelegant more accurately conveys its nature. This reflects the fact that it can be given two alternative interpretations that are dynamically interdependent. As a spiritual state it is ultimately purely simple; however from the perspective of phenomenal structure it is - literally - "complex" in a holistic mathematical sense (representing the equal balance of "real" and "imaginary" aspects). In this way we can maintain the dynamic experiential equivalence of emptiness and form (and form and emptiness).
Of course the notion of a level here has largely lost any remaining discrete interpretation (i.e. as a separate level). Rather now it must be understood in largely continuous terms as the interdependence (i.e. integration) of all levels.
So H3 in discrete terms only has meaning (as a separate level) while the process of integration - with which it is chiefly concerned - remains incomplete.
Q I understand that you have considerable reservations regarding the use of the term nondual reality to refer to this level?
PC Once again this terminology is unsatisfactory from a dynamic experiential perspective.
Nondual literally means not-two. Therefore nondual in dynamic terms necessarily entails dual.
So in static terms, nondual actually entails the use of one-sided dualistic terminology.
Indeed from this perspective it is equally valid - though of course equally unbalanced - to refer to ultimate spiritual reality as dual reality (which implies nondual as its opposite).
Once again in dynamic experiential terms we cannot avoid dualism.
We can however attempt to keep a balance or golden mean as between opposite dualisms (which is the phenomenal aspect of integration).
Thus in experience we move to nondual experience through dynamic negation of what is dual (in phenomenal terms). Likewise we move to dual experience through dynamic negation of what is nondual (in spiritual terms).
So in dynamic experiential terms there is no reality that is strictly nondual.
Rather we have the dynamic interaction of extremely refined "complex" phenomenal structures (that are dual) with a pure and simple continual state of spiritual awareness (that is nondual). In the absence of such refined phenomenal interaction of structures (form) the nondual spiritual state (emptiness) has no experiential meaning.
I would have even greater reservations regarding the use of the term nondual reality to refer to - what I term - Radial Reality.
H3 relates to an extreme in terms of contemplative activity (as integration) that is dynamically supported by refined bi-directional activity in phenomenal terms (as differentiation).
However Radial Reality now combines phenomenal duality in both uni-directional (active) and bi-directional (contemplative) terms with a continuous nondual spiritual state.
So it is basically inaccurate to refer to the experience of the great mystics, combining both deep contemplation and commited active involvement in equal measure, as nondual reality.
Certainly the underlying spiritual state enabling such involvement is nondual. However the actual activity is dual (and often to a very marked extent). It is precisely the deep quality of the underlying spiritual state of such mystics that enabled them to embrace so much phenomenal duality with equanimity!
Q How would you briefly define the nature of integration at H3?
At H1, two-way integration takes place mainly in heterarchical terms (within a given level) with respect to the horizontal polarities i.e. exterior and interior (and interior and exterior).
At H2 the focus for such integration is mainly in hierarchical terms (between levels) with respect to the vertical polarities i.e. whole and part (and part and whole).
At H3, integration takes place in combined heterarchical and hierarchical fashion (both within and between levels) with respect to the fundamental diagonal polarities i.e. form and emptiness (and emptiness and form).
In horizontal terms "Right-Hand" is complementary with "Left-Hand" (and "Left-Hand" with "Right-Hand") within a given level.
In vertical terms "higher" is complementary with "lower" (and "lower" with "higher") between levels.
So in diagonal terms the "Right-Hand" aspect of a given "higher" level is complementary with the "Left-Hand" aspect of the corresponding "lower" level. (In reverse fashion the "Left-Hand" aspect of a given "lower" level is complementary with the "Right-Hand" aspect of the corresponding "higher" level).
From the alternative diagonal perspective the "Left-Hand" aspect of a given "higher" level is complementary with the "Right-Hand" aspect of the corresponding "lower" level. (In reverse fashion the "Right-Hand" aspect of a given "lower" level is complementary with the "Left-Hand" aspect of the corresponding "higher" level).
Put another way we could explain the diagonal integration of H3 by saying that the transpersonal aspect of a given level of reality is reconciled with the prepersonal aspect of the corresponding level of self and likewise in reverse fashion. (Also the transpersonal aspect of a given level of self is reconciled with the prepersonal aspect of the corresponding level of reality and likewise in reverse fashion).
Q Does this in turn represent the combined attempt to integrate extrovert and introvert and rational and intuitive traits of personality?
PC Actually it involves more! Though one may indeed achieve a considerable degree of success in reconciling these traits at H1 and H2, certain imbalances are likely to remain.
Let us illustrate this by returning to a typical development scenario with respect to the mystically gifted intellectual introvert.
Though considerable modification of dominant introvert tendencies may have transpired there is still likely to be undue emphasis on the interior pole of experience.
With respect to the overall Spectrum, for example, greater development in terms of stages of self (rather that stages of reality) will typically have occurred.
Likewise though again considerable modification of rational tendencies may have been achieved there will probably still be an undue emphasis on the "higher" transpersonal stages of development.
This in turn is likely to be associated with a measure of repression of the corresponding "lower" prepersonal stages thereby preventing full emotional integration with the Spirit.
So we now need to make a further refinement in the way dynamic switching as between poles takes place.
We first explained the nature of switching as between interior and exterior (and exterior and interior).
We then explained how the vitally important interaction as between whole and part (and part and whole) always entails both "real" conscious and "imaginary" unconscious understanding.
We now combine these two aspects by introducing another key distinction.
Understanding of phenomena always occurs in both a personal and impersonal manner.
If we initially identify in any context the personal with the affective aspect, then - in relative terms - the impersonal will be thereby associated with the cognitive aspect.
Therefore the most refined appreciation of dynamic switching in experience - which characterises H3 - is diagonal.
So for example, if experience of the exterior aspect of a "higher" stage is of an (impersonal) cognitive form, then in complementary diagonal terms, the experience of the interior aspect of the corresponding "lower" stage will be of a (personal) affective nature.
Put another way, one cannot hope to satisfactorily harmonise introvert and extrovert and rational and intuitive traits of personality without corresponding harmonisation of the vitally important affective and cognitive aspects.
Once again we have a very close correlation with the Myers-Briggs system as the third type of personality designation relates to the distinction as between feeling and thinking types.
Q What is the role of volition in this process?
PC Volition (i.e. the will for meaning) is indeed primary and the direct source of spiritual motivation throughout development. Thus it is central to the entire process of achieving unity with ultimate reality.
So the important personality traits, which we have identified, represent the direct means through which phenomenal structures are developed.
However though volition is central it bears an important relationship with the secondary personality traits.
Therefore unbalanced development with respect to these structures will tend to distort - often to a significant degree - the volitional desire for ultimate meaning.
For example in our materialistic culture, the will for meaning is greatly confused with rigid phenomenal representations.
However the closer one comes to full integration, likewise the closer the relationship that will exist as between the primary volitional desire for pure spiritual meaning and the secondary phenomenal structures mediated through the major personality traits.
Put another way both states and structures then become dynamically interdependent to a very marked extent.
Q What is the precise nature of the cognitive and affective aspects of personality as you define them?
PC In the most fundamental way they relate to the manner in which we are enabled to both control and respond to reality.
As always in a dynamic context they do not have a fixed unambiguous meaning. However if we define control with respect to one aspect then response will relate to the other.
It is customary to start in terms of identifying response with the affective aspect.
Thus the very recognition of external phenomena requires that we are enabled to respond to them in an affective manner (i.e. through the senses and emotions).
Put another way the affective aspect in this context provides a means of personal response to reality.
However in dynamic experiential terms response must always - to a degree - be balanced with control.
So the cognitive aspect operates through the attempt to control phenomena in a more abstract mental fashion.
Thus the cognitive aspect here provides a means of impersonal control of reality (as exemplified by science).
All notions of individual and social identity intimately relate to the manner in which affective and cognitive aspects interact in experience.
Ultimately both are fully interdependent and this becomes the key focus of integration at H3.
Dualistic attachment in conscious terms with respect to either aspect, leads to unconscious repression of the (unrecognised) alternative aspect.
Putting it another way when the "real" conscious aspect is over-emphasised, its "imaginary" unconscious aspect is thereby (to a degree) inevitably repressed.
As the "imaginary" aspect is vital for smooth dynamic switching with respect to all holonic interactions, this unconscious repression therefore serves to block experiential dynamics (sometimes to a considerable extent) and inevitably impedes integration.
Therefore for full integration, both affective and cognitive aspects of personality must be developed in fairly equal balance (though the ways in which these aspects are expressed can vary enormously).
Likewise ego attachment with respect to either aspect must be eroded to a very considerable degree.
Thus there can be considerable problems in practice when one aspect tends to be dominant.
Let us come back to the gifted intellectual! Here undue conscious attachment with respect to the superior "higher" use of cognitive ability is likely to coincide with undue unconscious attachment with respect to "inferior" affective response. In other words such a person is likely to find it very difficult - especially at the "highest" levels - to properly integrate intellectual capacity with physical instinctive behaviour (which will still be projected into consciousness in an involuntary manner).
Q Is there any solution to this dilemma?
PC Yes, though not necessarily welcome! Basically the more dominant one aspect, the greater the degree of purgation that is required with respect to its use. So the intellectual in this case may have to learn to greatly curb intellectual expression through a considerable amount of dynamic negation.
The increasingly refined use of intellect then leads to the more unobstructed "inferior" expression of repressed physical instincts greatly lessening their involuntary nature. So ultimately in this manner "higher" cognitive and "lower" affective behaviour can be brought into balance through purifying spiritual awareness (that refines the use of both capacities).
Q How would you define H3?
PC In terms of a spiritual state it represents the culmination of a deep sleep. Thus enormous spiritual reserves of energy may incubate for lengthy periods in the unconscious (while remaining refinement of ego attachment takes place).
One tends to - as it were - to sleepwalk through daily activities. These are carried out with a minimum of fuss (thereby attaching very little attention to self) and tend to be forgotten once completed. Because phenomena tend to be dynamically negated as soon as they arise, very little traces are left in memory and one characteristically feels as if "doing nothing". However on acceptance of this state even such awareness goes. (Thus with the slow transition to spiritual rebirth, former states are now forgotten!)
However paradoxically it also represents a period of extremely disciplined - though equally relaxed - awareness (which is now an automatic consequence of the development acquired).
This represents a continual balancing act so that structures - with respect to any quadrant - continually arise (and are thereby posited) to be quickly negated leading to the diagonally complementary opposite quadrant.
So for example if we commence with "higher" understanding with respect to the "Right-Hand" quadrant, this quickly invites its opposite diagonal expression ("lower" understanding with respect to the "Left-Hand" quadrant).
And - as we have seen - if the former is mediated - through the cognitive, the latter will be mediated though its corresponding affective expression.
In this way one is unable to (rigidly) rest within any stage (identified in exterior or interior terms) or between stages (in higher or lower terms).
In other words the horizontal or vertical identification of a level becomes purely relative.
Not surprisingly the implication of this is that the very notion of a level (in discrete terms) ultimately largely disappears (representing the experience of the pure integration of opposite polarities both within and between levels).
Q How would you describe the structures of H3?
PC We will have a chance to look at this in more detail in the next discussions.
In holistic mathematical terms they are "complex" (with an equal balance as between “real” and “imaginary” aspects).
What this implies is that conscious and unconscious aspects now interpenetrate to a very marked degree in harmonious fashion. This equally implies considerable freedom from any remaining possessive attachment to phenomena (direct or indirect).
Thus the conscious “real” aspect enables phenomena to be successfully posited (with respect to either cognitive or affective aspects). The unconscious “imaginary” aspect then enables continual flexible switching as between both aspects.
Though normal activity with respect to phenomena can continue, one no longer seeks rest in them. Therefore because of this substantial lack of ego attachment, phenomena lose their remaining rigidity and become highly transparent as superconductors of Spirit.
So the refined “complex” nature of phenomena at a structural level, are associated with the purest expression of spiritual awareness with respect to both its transcendent and immanent aspects (which are now integrated to a considerable extent).
Therefore the fluid interchange of structures at a phenomenal level as between personal and impersonal aspects (affective and cognitive) is associated with the equal fluidity at a spiritual level as between transcendent and immanent states.
Q Do separate sub-levels exist at H3?
PC Because of the interpenetration with respect to all three sets of polarities we now have considerable overlap with respect to sub-levels.
However an important alternative distinction can be made - which is based on the fact that we have two diagonal lines of direction with respect to H3 - so that, in a qualified sense, development is more likely to occur initially with respect to one (rather than the other). However we will deal with this more fully in the a future discussion when we will specifically focus on the holistic mathematical rationale of the level.
Q Briefly what is the Integral 3 approach?
PC The Integral 3 approach - from the holistic mathematical perspective that I have adopted - is designed as an appropriate philosophical scientific account of the dynamic nature of the fundamental structural pattern that governs relationships at H3. And because H3 dynamically entails the integration of all other "prepersonal" and "transpersonal" levels it provides therefore the appropriate basis for an integral “Theory of Everything”.
However though - in representation - it focuses on the phenomenal aspects, for proper appreciation, it necessarily entails full interaction with the appropriate spiritual states of the level.
Also - though expressed in cognitive terms - as we have seen, it indirectly requires proper integration with the affective aspect (for such cognitive expressions to be properly appreciated).
In other words one cannot divorce the intellectual attempt to interpret the nature of H3 from the corresponding need for authentic spiritual development at that level.
Q Finally, you do not believe that full integration can be achieved at H3. Why is this the case?
PC In the context in which I discuss it, H3 represents an extreme in terms of pure contemplative type development. Here, pure spiritual states are supported by bi-directional phenomenal structures.
However full committed involvement in the world additionally requires the more dualistic - though now considerably refined - one-directional appreciation of phenomena.
From a proper dynamic perspective it is the deep continual awareness of nondual reality (as a spiritual state) that enables one to sustain considerable conflict in terms of intense dualistic involvement in the world.
So in the fullest expression of mystical involvement (Radial Reality) the attainment of a pure and sustained spiritual level of awareness is not an end in itself, but rather a preparation for re-immersion in the world so that it can be transformed by the spiritual light one has already experienced.
Thus Radial Reality entails the gradual incorporation of the middle level with all of the previous stages (both “high” and “low”). This leads with the great mystics to the finest expression of a life that is both fully contemplative and also fully active.
From an experiential perspective integration does not exist in any absolute sense. It only has meaning in relative terms where the degree to which it is experienced dynamically entails a corresponding realisation of its lack always requiring therefore the need for further growth and development.