"Does anyone really understand Peter Collins' critique of Wilber?"

Yes! In fact I have been greatly heartened that a small - though significant - number have already grasped the fundamental nature of my critique of Ken Wilber's work. Furthermore this has been amply demonstrated through personal e-mail messages and thoughtful supportive contributions to the various Forums. I believe that it points to the coherence of my position that very informed readers of Wilber have already proved willing to embrace such criticism.

To understand an original approach requires true appreciation of the context from which it is written. Ray may well be sincerely concerned with many of the issues raised in the article. However I firmly believe that his piecemeal style of comment - which greatly ignores the perspective from which it is written - is especially unsuited to its proper comprehension.

To appreciate any new vision one has to attempt to understand reality - initially at any rate - from the perspective of its creator. Those who have demonstrated understanding of my work have in various ways been willing to make this effort. In stark contrast, Ray - without indicating proper comprehension - has from the very start been intent on its blanket dismissal. I believe that this reveals a certain prejudice on his part which does not contribute to its proper evaluation.

"I cannot see how as he presents a rather eccentric and in my opinion, confused and confusing interpretation of both Wilber and the process of transformation.

A major part of this confusion is caused by Collins unique interpretation of many common terms. If his usage has any antecedents then he fails to acknowledge them. Nor does he properly define his usage or provide clear examples of his meanings as they apply to actual cases. The reader has to struggle to understand just what he means."

Ray of course is entitled to his opinion but he knows quite well that it is strongly disputed by other participants to the Wilber Forums. For example here are some relevant quotes from one dissenting voice with which Ray has been in dialogue on the issue.

"i mean i read your debate with peter and it sure as hell seemed like you were more interested in knocking it down than to understand. and yes i feel you are missing the beauty of peter's system. and that beauty lies in the overall vision from which the language emanates. i feel that you would rather get stuck in definitions instead of entering the vision."

"Seems to me Ray that you have made similar attacks on Peter's model in the past and Peter graciously took the time to answer your critique point by point. Peter's model is actually remarkably consistent when using terms as he defines them. Sure you can complain that these definitions are not how particular schools of thought use them, and that still doesn't take away from the consistency of Peter's model. Farther, all models require a particular understanding of key terms."

The same person in reply to Ray has provided an excellent description of the dynamic nature of my approach.1

"More confusion is caused through the use of non-existent polarities such as affective/cognitive, qualitative/quantitative and transcendence/immanence, to name a few. I say non-existent because, as we shall see, many of these terms are not 'polarities' as Collins' defines them. He in fact creates a number of false dichotomies."

I would say in general that Ray significantly underestimates the importance of polar opposites in experience. These condition in the most fundamental manner possible our interpretation of reality. In his attempt to deny the importance of such polarities not alone is he out of synch with my own approach but also - I believe - that of Ken Wilber.2

The very basis of dualistic understanding is that polar opposites such as objective and subjective are separated. Thus for example, in conventional science the (objective) world is viewed as if it were independent of the (subjective) observer.

By contrast with more nondual understanding - such as unfolds with spiritual contemplation - polar opposites are experienced as increasingly complementary, then eventually united in the pure experience of mystery which is ineffable. So here object and subject have no meaning (as separate).

Of course in actual experience the degree to which poles are experienced as separate and complementary continually varies creating a very rich tapestry of meaning. However this in no way lessens the importance of the two fundamental polar processes as the dynamic basis of all such meaning.

One of the most fruitful contributions offered in my approach is the clarification as between three distinct types of polarities, explaining precisely in each case how dynamic interaction takes place.3

Now Ray tries to maintain that affective/cognitive, qualitative/quantitative and transcendence/immanence are non-existent polarities creating false dichotomies.4

I find this assertion quite untenable as they in fact represent extremely important examples (and this is generally recognized).

It is crucial to remember that all polar opposites can be experienced in linear fashion as separate, and in circular fashion as complementary. This then provides the fundamental basis for differentiation and integration respectively!

Affective pertains to the emotions and is commonly understood as opposed to cognitive (pertaining to reason) which is the sense in which I use the term. (I will illustrate their polar dynamics more precisely later in this reply!)

Qualitative and quantitative are also generally understood as opposites. In his treatment of quadrants, Ken Wilber implicitly recognizes this polarity where he attempts to separate their meaning (with Right-Hand representing quantitative and Left-Hand quadrants representing qualitative meaning respectively). Ironically in his own explorations Ray later moves to accept their alternative complementary meaning (when he recognizes that quantitative necessarily implies qualitative notions!)

Transcendence and immanence are also defined as polar opposites. Once again when we look at the pair in linear analytic terms their meaning appears separate. From a nondual perspective their meaning is complementary and ultimately identical in ineffable Spirit.
So in transcendent terms, Spirit is beyond all created phenomena (i.e. without phenomena).
In immanent terms Spirit is - relatively - inherent in all phenomena (i.e. within phenomena).

Once again I will have a great deal more to say about this later in my reply. Of course in nondual terms within and without lose any phenomenal meaning so that transcendent and immanent are fully reconciled in Spirit.

"But, as we shall also see, like Don Quixote, Collins is creating dragons out of windmills".

I will quote once more from the same dissenting source.

"you feel that peter is trying to rationalize the transrational and is tilting at windmills. i feel peter is living his faith, a faith that is beautiful in its purity. and i feel that he is succeeding at immersing his sharings in his direct experience of divinity. this dance of deepening into life, into divinity is where i experience him as comrade. so in this affective way he has reached me.

definitions of cognitive and affective of whether his system will have applied value beyond a unique window into the dance do not really interest me. there are enough people out there who will grind his systems up in their shredders and distill whatever is useful in this regard out."

I would direct Ray to the last sentence, which I believe, is especially relevant. Unfortunately, I believe that in his attempt to grind my approach up in his own particular shredder he is simply distilling it of its essential value.

"The problems he ascribes to Wilber are simply not there. They are figments of his imagination, figments of his eccentric interpretation."

No! the problems I ascribe to Wilber - which are of a fundamental nature - are very much there. I will clarify these at considerable length in the course of this reply! As for accusations of eccentric interpretation I am not concerned.

I am attempting to deal comprehensively with fundamental intellectual issues relating to integral translation simply ignored in other accounts (including Ken Wilber's). If this is considered eccentric then so be it! From my perspective however, the marked tendency of many Wilberians (including Ray) to overlook obvious inconsistencies in Ken's model appears somewhat eccentric.



"Collins' claims Wilber's approach is multi-differential whereas his own approach is truly integral."

This statement is not sufficiently accurate. I would certainly except that Ken is inspired by an integral vision and that the purpose of his work is to likewise provide an integral approach to understanding.

However I strongly dispute that his stated means for intellectually translating this integral approach i.e. vision-logic, is adequate for the task.

Vision-logic as used by Ken Wilber, is based on establishing in a sequential manner (unambiguous) asymmetrical connections as between variables. As the very nature of such understanding requires fixing the polar frame of reference in an arbitrary manner, it inevitably leads to considerable inconsistency from an overall dynamic perspective (where reference frames continually switch).

Let me briefly illustrate this point by taking an illustration from Ken's work.

He maintains that if we destroy all molecules the atoms will still exist; however if we destroy all atoms the molecules will not exist.

Ken here is intent on illustrating the asymmetric nature as between atoms and molecules (which befits his approach).

However such an assertion requires that we fix - in an arbitrary manner - the polar frame of reference.

He tries therefore to view the observed (exterior) physical world as if it were somehow independent of the observing (interior) mind.5

However this conventional scientific way of looking at physical relationships is very dualistic and not tenable from an integral perspective. Here the purpose is to see that all such polar divisions (which form the basis for scientific analysis) are ultimately illusory.

Now healing this division leads us into the circle of understanding where all interactions are understood as bi-directional and symmetrical.

When we reflect on the issue, our experience of atoms and molecules can have no existence independent of our corresponding perceptions. What we identify as atoms and molecules therefore represent in dynamic terms bi-directional interactions where exterior "object" is related to interior "perception" and interior "object" related to exterior "perception".

In the experience of such phenomena, there is thus an essential mystery where both exterior and interior lose all fixed identity and only find meaning through dynamic interaction. As the realization of this central mystery of relationship grows through the increasingly flexible switching as between polarities, we are enabled to gradually enter into the contemplation of existence in its nondual spiritual essence.

The phenomenal identification of circular relationships should of course not be confused with direct nondual realization (which is ineffable). However in the dynamics of experience it plays an essential - though necessarily indirect - role in preparing understanding for transformation in pure mystery. Likewise the growth in spiritual intuitive realization sharpens circular identification at a reduced phenomenal level, greatly facilitating flexibility in switching (without rigidity) between poles.

To attempt therefore to approach in intellectual terms the nondual - while attempting to maintain linear type understanding at an intellectual level - is quite inconsistent with true experiential dynamics and could indeed set severe limitations on the realization of spiritual mystery. So this is an extremely practical reason for voicing strong reservations regarding his "integral" approach.

Ken Wilber makes his assertion regarding the asymmetrical relationship as between atoms and molecules in somewhat rigid terms. However when we look at such a relationship from a dynamic interactive sense, this can be seen to be quite untenable.

He does not seem to recognize that his very statement regarding this relationship requires the existence of the noosphere (through his observing mind). So it is simply not accurate in this context for Ken to talk about relationships as if confined to the physiosphere, when every such statement he makes, necessarily involves - in dynamic terms - the noosphere in relation to the physiosphere (and the physiosphere in relation to the noosphere).

So if we were to destroy all molecules (as in Ken's example) this would necessarily entail human existence. It would therefore be impossible to experientially verify his statement (asserting that atoms would remain).

Though Ken mentions the circle of understanding in the context of integration, he never actually translates relationships in an appropriate bi-directional circular manner (which is what is required in an integral approach). His manner of dealing with empirical scientific observations - as I have shown - is in fact sharply at variance with such an approach!

The implications here are truly immense, for an integral translation (corresponding to the circle of understanding) would - quite simply - undermine the validity of every asymmetrical connection made at an analytic level (which of course includes the asymmetrical relationship as between atoms and molecules).

Quite literally therefore, the movement to a true integral approach requires the gradual undoing in intellectual terms of all dualistic interpretations (based on unambiguous asymmetrical distinctions). And I stress once more that vision-logic as used by Ken Wilber is very much based on such asymmetrical distinctions!

However the result of this intellectual undoing is not merely negative, for a new type of a spiritually intuitive appreciation of phenomenal relationships based on the dynamic complementarity of opposites unfolds. This greatly facilitates creative linkages between relationships (thereby further enhancing the integral vision).

Integral studies in my opinion should represent the direct expression of the understanding - spiritual, cognitive and affective - of the "higher" transpersonal levels where these aspects increasingly interpenetrate. Vision-logic - as used by Ken Wilber - is based on reduced and inconsistent notions of integration and therefore not suited to this task.

"In order to argue his point Collins makes a number of unique distinctions, for example, circular and linear logic, dynamic versus static, radial reality, and so on. He also proposes an eight sectorial system as an alternative to Wilber's quadrant system as well as proposing his own spectrum of consciousness."

Pardon me, but aren't these an example of differentiation? Isn't Collins simply adding a different set of differentiations to Wilber? Isn't Collins' system also multi-differential?

Ray gives himself the best answer to this question a little later (though he seemingly is unaware of the inconsistency in his position).

"Furthermore when have analytic and synthetic ever been irreconcilable opposites? The fact is that they are complimentary processes, one cannot synthesise without first analysing."

Quite Ray! As you say one cannot synthesize without first analyzing; likewise one cannot integrate without first differentiating.

However your big omission here is in failing to look beyond the differentiated aspect of experience to see what I actually mean by intellectual synthesis.

As always, context is so important.

For a number of years I was deeply influenced by the writings of the great Spanish mystic "St John of the Cross" who warned so strongly regarding the dangers of any phenomenal attachment in pursuit of true spiritual realization.

It struck me very forcibly at the time that the very manner in which we are intellectually trained to view reality, by its very nature, tends to create considerable rigid attachment.

While maintaining the view that spiritual experience should not necessarily exclude intellectual endeavor, I became passionately interested in the proper interface required as between intellect and Spirit so that they could mutually serve each other.

This led in turn to the vital importance of what I term mirror understanding in providing an appropriate bridge as between intellect and spirit.

Mirror understanding arises from the ability to negate attachment to fixed phenomenal frames of reference and greatly facilitates dynamic switching as between the opposite poles of experience.

The appreciation of the nature of this mirror aspect requires a keen appreciation of the basic nature of customary dualistic understanding, which always involves an arbitrary fixing of the polar frame of reference.

I have already illustrated this in relation to the customary asymmetrical interpretation of the relationship as between atoms and molecules. The validity of this viewpoint requires that we fix our frame of reference with respect to the (exterior) world thereby screening out the role of the (interior) mind.

When we do this we form - as we have seen - an unambiguous view of relationships (without mystery). Because this view then "appears" to be obvious it thereby encourages rigid intellectual attachment.

However in the dynamics of experience, polar frames of reference continually change. The crucial insight, in terms of the unfolding of mirror understanding, is the realization that whenever this happens the viewpoint based on the opposite reference frame is thereby invalidated.

We can illustrate this again if we find ourselves without direction on a straight and level road. To unambiguously define directions "up" and "down" we must arbitrarily fix our reference frame. So If I point in one direction and define it as "up" then I can then define the opposite direction as "down" (with reference to this frame).

However I could equally have pointed initially in the other direction defining it as "up" the road. In terms of this (opposite) reference frame, what was formerly termed as "up" would now be "down".

So when we switch our polar reference frames we negate our former understanding of direction.

The point about all of this is that actual experience involves a continual switching as between polar reference frames (e.g. from exterior to interior and interior to exterior). Therefore the validity of asymmetrical connections in terms of one reference frame, say exterior, is always negated in terms of the opposite interior frame.

The implication of this is that every asymmetrical relationship (defined in terms of one fixed polar reference frame) has an equally valid opposite interpretation (from the alternative reference frame).6

This mirror understanding establishing the equal validity of diametrically opposite asymmetric sequences corresponds to my definition of Analytic 3 understanding.

It is more advanced than vision-logic (Analytic 2) and serves the appropriate basis for true integral interpretation.

The growth of mirror understanding naturally facilitates growth also in the appreciation of the dynamic complementarity of opposites in terms of all relationships.

This synthetic approach is inherently experiential and can only be properly appreciated in dynamic terms.

It incorporates the (circular) bi-directional identification of opposite (dualistic) polarities (at a phenomenal level) with the growing emergence of (nondual) spiritual intuition.

It is the keen appreciation of paradox at a phenomenal level that erodes rigid intellectual identification of relationships. This then acts as a considerable catalyst for the qualitative transformation in spiritual realization (where opposites are truly reconciled).

In turn, the growth in spiritual intuition facilitates even keener appreciation of intellectual paradox at a (reduced) phenomenal level further facilitating the erosion of intellectual attachment.

I would consider it utterly mistaken to identify such a synthetic approach as just another form of analysis, as its very purpose is to erode identification with the dualistic distinctions fostered by analytic understanding. It leads to a radically new interpretation of science that is ideal for the fostering of creative linkages both within and between disciplines that greatly enhances the pursuit of the integral vision.7

Furthermore, though naturally related to dualistic understanding - as we have seen - a special refined form of understanding (mirror understanding) is required to properly facilitate the transition as between dual and nondual reality. (Neither this refined synthetic approach nor its necessary mirror analytic interface is developed in Ken Wilber's work!)

"Of course Collins will claim that what makes his system truly 'integral' is the inclusion of his dynamic approach. But integral, in the sense that Wilber uses it, simply means 'the integration of various parts'. And Wilber is attempting to integrate previously separate ideas and disciplines. The inclusion of a so-called 'dynamic' approach' is not what defines something as being integral."

Again, this is a very unsatisfactory representation of my actual position.

The basis of my dynamic approach is that dual and nondual are necessarily interrelated at all levels of the Spectrum, and most importantly, that this interaction should be reflected in the manner of intellectual translation. This is why I define the levels of my Spectrum in terms of unique binary configurations (of linear and circular logic).

Also I certainly do not confine myself to the integral aspects of understanding (though in terms of criticism of Ken Wilber I often emphasize this aspect).

My Spectrum of Translation Methods is based on defining analytic, integral and radial approaches.

Ken defines integral in ways that are not properly consistent with each other.

Thus - as I have mentioned in the context of his integral vision in "The Eye of Spirit" - he refers to "The Circle of Understanding".

However we never get any demonstration subsequently of how this "Circle of Understanding" should be actually applied to his intellectual translation (which is very linear and asymmetrical throughout).

Now his characteristic way of treating the integral is - as Ray suggests - in terms of combining the various parts.

However this implies simply a multi-differentiated approach (where whole notions are in effect reduced to their parts).

For example if I divide a cake into five slices, I could say that the (whole) cake represents a synthesis of the (part) slices. However this is simply a reduced notion of integration (where the whole is quantitatively identified in terms of its parts).

Science is based through and through on such reduced notions of integration and Ken's overall intellectual approach is very much infected by the same reductionism.8

This is exactly what we would expect, as vision-logic is simply a product of the Centaur. In our society the integration of the Centaur is within a context largely defined in terms of differentiated - and thereby fragmented - notions.

Clearly transpersonal development is designed to lead to a more authentic view of integration. If integration could be achieved with the Centaur why bother with the pains of transpersonal growth?

Once again vision-logic leads inevitably to reduced notions of integration.

True integral translation requires the intellectual understanding of the "higher" levels where reason and spiritual intuition increasingly interpenetrate in refined manner.

I would agree that Ken is attempting to integrate various ideas and disciplines. However I would see his methodological approach as flawed as it is based on reduced notions of integration (that lead to considerable inconsistency from an overall perspective).

"No, Collins is merely proposing a different multi-differential approach. In fact, Wilber's approach is much more integral simply because he has applied his ideas to many disciplines. Collins' model is purely theoretical and confines itself almost entirely to a structural criticism of Wilber's model. It's focus is much narrower, much more specialist in orientation."

I must stress again that to confuse - what I define as - a synthetic approach with the common use of analytic methods is very mistaken. The very purpose and nature of my synthetic approach is to achieve proper consistency with contemplative experience. The premises of analytic understanding (based on separation of polar opposites) by contrast are quite incompatible with the contemplative vision and potentially, if not addressed, a major barrier in terms of realizing this vision.

Of course I have no objections to multi-differentiation per se. The problem arises from confusing multi-differentiation with integration. The fact that Ken Wilber has applied his approach to many disciplines does not make it more integral. This once more is confusing multi-differentiation with integration.

It would indeed be possible to have a multi-differentiated approach that is also integral (what I would call radial). But this would require the kind of balanced mix of circular and linear understanding that is greatly missing from Ken's work.

To claim that my work is purely theoretical is quite mistaken. I have been applying its ideas to criticism of Ken's work. So I have not confined myself to a general methodological critique (though that is very important). I have also examined many of his key concepts in detail, identifying inconsistencies and suggesting more appropriate solutions.

Also I would strongly dispute that is much narrower. The "Spectrum of Translation Methods" has, I believe, the potential to greatly enlarge the range of valid intellectual discourse (and I have been using them for that very purpose).

When properly appreciated, the implications here are truly enormous.

For example, in terms of this vision - what we refer to as - Mathematics represents simply the understanding of one narrow band of the Spectrum.

I would allow for at least eight distinct translations of Mathematics where its symbols would acquire a different interpretation and corresponding application (at each level). Some of these translations would be ideally suited for analytic interpretation, others for integral application and finally the most comprehensive, which would combine both analytic and integral appreciation.

This is not just a speculative idea. In fact my greatest intellectual excitement has come from gradually realizing the truly amazing integral significance of the most important mathematical symbols and then learning to apply them in my work.9


Collins says:

"Once again, the (linear) analytic approach separates poles and treats movement in an unambiguous one-directional fashion. This is suitable for the differentiation of separate aspects of experience. However, the (circular) synthetic approach integrates these poles by treating movement in a simultaneous bi-directional manner. Its rationale is thus very different from the analytic.

"The key difficulties with Ken Wilber's approach stem from attempting to use a sophisticated analytic rather than a true synthetic approach to translate the overall nature of development."

Here we again encounter some of Collins' unique distinctions and contradictions. For what Collins has presented us with so far is also simply another analytical system. It just happens to be that his analysis is different to Wilber's. It is an analysis that has the peculiarity of denying it is an analysis."

This is a good example of Ray's truncated style of representation (which distorts my actual position).

Let me give a simple analogy of what is involved. If I make a statement that "a water molecule represents a unique combination of hydrogen and oxygen atoms" and this is then reported as "Collins says that water is oxygen" we can readily appreciate how inaccurate is the truncated representation.

Well it is quite similar here with Ray's assertion.

I have stressed repeatedly in the article the true interactive nature of this understanding, where spiritual intuition and (indirect) phenomenal translation mutually interpenetrate. Yet Ray completely ignores this subtle dynamic context and attempts to represent my position solely in a reduced phenomenal manner (which he then misleadingly identifies as analysis).

Thus I make very clear in the article:

"The very purpose of this logic is to erode exclusive identification with the polarized distinctions of the linear method. This then serves as preparation for a qualitative transformation through intuitive insight (where paradoxical meaning can be directly apprehended in spiritual fashion)."

I also elaborate in footnote 4.

"In dynamic terms, circular (bi-directional) reason and intuition are very much interdependent.

In order to erode rigid rational attachment to dualistic understanding, we must first appreciate the limitations of such understanding through equal recognition of the opposite (excluded) pole. This creates paradox in terms of all dualistic statements and prepares the mind for a qualitative transformation in intuitive awareness (where such paradox is reconciled). This intuitive awareness in turn increases the facility to recognize paradox once again at the (reduced) linear level of understanding. So in dynamic terms bi-directional understanding serves as the essential bridge between dualistic reason and intuitive awareness.

In its mature form, this refined reason unfolds with the "higher" spiritual stages of development."

Just in case this has not been assimilated I repeat in footnote 8.

"Once again, reason and intuition operate in a dynamic complementary fashion.

The appreciation of paradox at the rational level prepares one for a qualitative transformation in intuitive insight (where opposite polarities are directly reconciled).

Intuition in turn facilitates a keener appreciation of paradox (at a reduced rational level)."

So what I am referring to is - most definitely - not just another type of analysis. Its very purpose is to erode rigid identification with phenomena (which inevitably arises through asymmetrical analysis).

Also, this dynamic approach is very distinct from that of Ken Wilber. Apart from somewhat vague general statements, Ken never properly employs circular bi-directional notions in his translation of development.

There is a marked discontinuity in Ken's work as between rational and transrational levels. This is why I find his work so lacking in dynamism. In experiential terms, one does not move directly from rational dualistic understanding to spiritual nondual awareness. In truth the "higher" levels are characterized by increasing interpenetration of cognitive, affective and spiritual understanding.

The purpose of a dynamic translation is therefore to show how such growing interpenetration unfolds.

However this crucial dimension of translation is greatly missing from Ken's work.

Vision-logic is certainly not the most advanced cognitive state. As I have said, the "higher" levels are characterized by a distinct type of subtle cognitive understanding where linear increasingly give way to circular notions of interpretation (until eventually linear and circular notions themselves lose any distinct meaning).10

"Ah, but Collins says 'true synthetic approach' - meaning of course that he includes a so-called 'dynamic' approach. And my objection here is that again Collins is defining words to suit his argument. Synthetic does not mean to 'integrate poles by treating them in a simultaneous bi-directional manner'. Synthesis is simply the combining of various components into a new whole and by this definition Wilber's system is in fact something of a grand synthesis."

I am quite entitled to define words to suit my argument, as standard translation provides a merely reduced notion of synthesis (where it is confused with analysis).

A dynamic experiential approach to true synthesis (leading to spiritual realization) does indeed entail integrating poles by treating them in a simultaneous bi-directional manner. Even Ken Wilber would subscribe to this in his rare poetic statements on "The Circle of Understanding". Again the real problem is that such notions are never properly incorporated into Ken's model of development.

Ray clearly subscribes to the merely reduced notion of intellectual synthesis (which is based on asymmetric analysis).

To say that my system is just as analytic and multi-differential as Wilber's is, for the reasons I have stated, totally inaccurate. Its very purpose is to use intellectual translation in a dynamic manner as a skillful means of undoing identification with the rigid asymmetrical notions (on which Ken's model is based). This in turn opens up an entirely distinctive and very creative type of phenomenal understanding based on the appreciation of all relationships as the complementarity of (polar) opposites. This subtle understanding, where bi-directional interpretation and spiritual intuition increasingly interpenetrate, is properly consistent with a true integral approach.

"But these are relatively minor points."

Certainly not! Given that the very contention in my article is that Ken provides a merely reduced intellectual notion of integration (where it is confused with multi-differentiation), this is of central importance.

Indeed Ray's apparent failure to appreciate the importance of what is involved here only confirms to my mind his fundamental lack of appreciation of the very nature of my approach.

Indeed I would consider that this intellectual confusion of integration with differentiation - which Ray amply confirms with his comments - is the critical issue.

The term "Integral Studies" as currently understood is a huge misnomer. Properly speaking it is Multidisciplinary Studies (based on reduced intellectual notions of integration).

  1 "you see the difficulty of playing piecemeal with peter's system is that to explain a seemingly simple concept, you have to put it in the context of the entire system. i feel this is the dilemma peter faces when trying to explain to a person with your perspective. that is, for him to explain a particular he feels the need to go universal and explicate his system, while you say keep to the particular. i also find it interesting how you differentiate ken from peter. its okay for ken to have definitions and theorems that one must accept to understand and critique his system while it is not okay for peter, because one is published and the other isn't. that seems like a pretty arbitrary line to me.

to understand affective one must understand that peter's system is based on core dynamic pairs that first differentiate and then integrate through levels of development. so one gets a structure similar to ken's. one of peter's critiques of ken is that ken's presentation works well to differentiate but falls short when integration is called for. this is what paul alludes to when he says that ken purposely speaks from the vision/logic level that necessarily has this limitation built in.

peter in this regard is saying why not speak from a more inclusive perspective from the beginning. instead of the vision/logic why not from a transpersonal perspective that enfolds the vision/logic as one perspective. i would say using spiral dynamics lingo, that peter says why not speak in second tier language instead of first tier language.

at the heart of this transpersonal language is experiencing seeming polar pairs as dynamically relative. some examples of these pairs are inner/outer, one/many, form/emptiness. that is instead of viewing the dynamic of these core pairs as static and/or a snapshot, one experiences them as dynamically interacting, and, realizes that how one delineates these core pairs depends on the initial perception of the perceiver. this is where peter critiques ken's quadrant model as too static.

cognitive and affective are another kind of dynamic polar pair. that is in a sense they coarise. meaning for every cognitive perspective there is an equally important affective perspective, that needs to be honored in every situation. and this is where it gets complex, the meanings of cognitive and affective are not static, rather they are derived from the initial perspective. so in general cognitive can mean seeing the world in its particularity and the general movement one of from particle to wave to whole. similarly in general affective can mean seeing the world in its waviness and the general movement one of wave to particle to whole. however, depending on perspective affective can also have the qualities of particularity, as it can also move from its waviness into wholeness. that is, since wholeness is more complete than waviness, waviness in this particular dynamic plays the role of particle to the whole playing that of wave.

this is where peter gives examples of science being not only a right two quadrant affair, rather depending on perspective it is also a left two quadrant affair. this is also why i say… you have to delve into his system. for he is offering a subtle vision and explicating a more subtle language that can allow this vision space to grow. imo the kind of critique you are using tries to force a transpersonal vision into a language of differentiation, or a second tier language into a first tier one. this is why peter says to understand my system you have to study it, not look at it in piecemeal fashion.

of course you don't have to study it, you don't have to enter his proposed language. and if one doesn't, then for me i find the kind of discussions that ensues to be tedious and a waste of both participants time."

I wish to express my appreciation to "eagle" (tim weidman) for this very impressive summary of the basic nature of my approach which was given directly in reply to Ray in discussion on "The Wilber Seminar".

2 For example in Chap. 5 of "The Spectrum of Consciousness" entitled "Evolution of the Spectrum", Ken deals at length with what he considers the four primary dualisms.

3 Holistic Mathematics has proven invaluable in terms of the precise understanding of the nature of these polarities.

In a way this should not be surprising. For example we look on number in analytic terms as a precise means of quantitative ordering. Indeed it is largely synonymous with such ordering. So once we accept that number equally has a more dynamic holistic significance, then it should equally be of use in terms of precise ordering of reality at an integral level.

The holistic interpretation of polarities is based directly on the dynamic appreciation of the complex number system. So just as numbers - on the horizontal x axis - can be positive or negative, likewise in dynamic terms, horizontal polarities can be positive or negative. Equally just as numbers on the vertical y axis are imaginary, likewise the translation of vertical polarities in dynamic terms is imaginary.
Finally just as a number on the diagonal lines equidistant from both x and y axes is complex (with equal real and imaginary parts) likewise the translation of diagonal polarities is exactly similar (with a dynamic interactive interpretation).
There is a deep - perhaps unsuspected - connection here with some of the most common geometrical mandala patterns. Jung rightly saw these as powerful symbols of integration. We now can see a wonderfully coherent (holistic) mathematical explanation for this fact.
So when given the appropriate holistic dynamic interpretation, mathematical symbols provide the precise scientific means for translating the integral aspect of experience.

4. Defining affection this is what my Oxford Dictionary states

"a mental state, an emotion a feeling esp. as opposed to cognition".
affective is then defined as "of or pertaining to the affections; emotional" while
cognitive is likewise defined as "of or pertaining to cognition"
So therefore in this sense the Oxford Dictionary defines affective as opposed to cognitive.

As regards quantitative and qualitative they are commonly treated as opposites which indeed
is specifically mentioned for example in the New Encarta Dictionary (which I have attached to
my word processor).
"qualitative - relating to quality: relating to or based on the character or quality of something, often
as opposed to its size or quantity"
Somewhat ironically, Ray himself strongly argues for the complementary nature of quantitative and
qualitative later in his comments when he maintains that quantitative necessarily imply qualitative

Transcendence and immanence are commonly understood as opposites. For
example my Fontana Dictionary of Modern thought defines transcendence as follows:
"the state of being beyond the reach or apprehension of experience; its opposite is immanence"

I will however make two points here.
Though the Dictionary definitions do in fact support my position, it is not appropriate to
attempt to rely on these alone as it is not really valid to use pre-existing definitions - as a basis for
assessing a new philosophical approach - where the meaning of terms depends so much on the
precise context in which they are used.
As I am ultimately adopting a holistic mathematical approach, the very ability to appreciate
my meaning requires the willingness to adopt what really is a new - and potentially very powerful
tool - for precise integral appreciation of a scientific kind.

Secondly Ray seems to me confused all along as to the two ways in which polar opposites are
(a) where they are considered as largely separate and (b) where they are considered as dynamically
complementary. All polar opposites can be considered from both contexts.

5. Ken has made several extreme statements regarding the monological nature of empirical science.
He has also made other statements regarding the nature of empirical science which are quite
inconsistent with a strict monological interpretation.
To claim that such science is monological is simply to hold to the "myth of the given" where one strives to maintain that (exterior) perceptions can have meaning without the need for corresponding (interior) interpretation.
When one accepts that (exterior) perceptions can have no meaning independent of (interior) interpretation, then science is no longer strictly monological.

6. The realization of this point is fundamental as it serves as the intellectual basis for the emptying of all (rigid) polarized distinctions in understanding, thus paving the way for a true integral approach.

7. I have in fact been working for many years on translating this vision into an effective integral approach (using the principles that I have identified).
The most important - and I believe creative - work has been in the field of Holistic Mathematics which I see as the basis for a truly integral scientific basis in all disciplines.
A brief outline in discussion format of the Integral 1, Integral 2 and Integral 3 approaches to Mathematics is given in "The Science of Integration" at

8. I accept that Ken would recognize that "qualitative" emergent qualities are entailed in evolution, which cannot be identified in merely quantitative terms. However my point is simply that the analytic method of identification of unambiguous asymmetric type relationships - by its very nature - reduces the qualitative to the quantitative aspect (or alternatively the quantitative to the qualitative). In other words it is not properly suited for exploration of the dynamic nature of interaction as between qualitative and quantitative (and quantitative and qualitative) at all levels of reality.

9. My site "Holistic Mathematics" is largely geared to translation of mathematical symbols at the integral levels of understanding.

10. With the culmination of the causal level, this takes place as a non-dimensional point concentrated at the center of being (where line and circle are reconciled).
However the very identification of a point at a particular center entails phenomenal limitation. So with the culmination of nondual reality - leading to transformation in radiant light - the point itself disappears (or in dualistic language now exists nowhere yet everywhere).