"To begin with we need to understand that Collins is proposing a cognitive process that he thinks Wilber is missing. This cognitive process is one that moves from holism to partism, from transcendence to immanence. And to confuse things totally Collins labels this cognitive process 'affective'."
Once more this truncated representation of my position is both inaccurate and misleading.
Ken Wilber of course recognizes the cognitive process in development. However he sets severe limits to its nature with his view that vision-logic (based on asymmetrical sequential relationships) represents the most advanced type of reason available.
I believe that this view is utterly mistaken.
A crucially important form of intuitively based reason, that is inherently dynamic and subtle in nature, is associated with the "higher" transpersonal levels of development. It only properly unfolds beyond the centaur and is directly suited to the translation of integration. This is what I call (circular) bi-directional understanding, where every asymmetrical connection is simultaneously paired with a mirror opposite relationship (that in dualistic terms has equal validity).
So with bi-directional understanding, integral truth does not reside in the multiple consideration of dualistic relationships. As these are defined in terms of unambiguous polar reference frames, overall inconsistency necessarily results in terms of their mutual interaction.
Rather, integral truth is approached through the simultaneous mutual pairing of opposite pairs. This creates paradox in terms of dualistic understanding, thus eroding rigid attachment. This in turn prepares the mind for a qualitative transformation through intuitive nondual realization (where these opposite poles are reconciled). This growth in intuition in turn greatly facilitates bi-directional appreciation at a reduced phenomenal level. So in terms of experiential dynamics, bi-directional understanding and spiritual intuitive realization mutually assist and enhance each other.
With reference to bi-directional cognitive understanding, it is quite inadequate and indeed inaccurate for Ray to say that it moves from holism to partism and transcendence to immanence.
Firstly, bi-directional understanding applies to all polar opposites. Taking some well known Wilberian terms, it thus applies to evolution and involution, to progression and regression, to prerational and transrational, to interior and exterior, to individual and collective etc.
So holism and partism (and transcendence and immanence) are just specific examples of a much more general application.
Secondly, Ray represents this relationship in a (linear) one-directional manner.
The very point about bi-directional understanding however is that all polar opposites have a purely relative meaning. So when we change our frame of reference, meanings thereby change to the opposite. However to appreciate this point we must actually experience these relationships in a sufficiently dynamic manner.
Let me illustrate in yet another way this difference as between linear and circular understanding.
Though Ken Wilber throws out the odd statement that might indeed seem consistent with circular appreciation, when one examines what he says closely, he typically reasons in a linear analytic fashion.
There is a Chapter in SES - where Ken deals with the approach of Plotinus -called "The Way up is the Way Down". It certainly at first glance seems consistent with circular bi-directional understanding and indeed Ken refers in it to "The Circle of Understanding".
However when one actually reads the relevant section on P. 337, one can see that Ken is still interpreting in a merely linear fashion.
"The Path of Ascent thus traces in reverse order the Path of Creation or Descent or Efflux, for, as Heraclitus had pointed out,
"the way up is the way down, the way down is the way up"
However this is employing a merely linear notion of direction and is not what Heraclitus means.
Take the example of the road. When we point in one direction, we can arbitrarily fix a direction as "up" with the opposite direction "down"
However this fixing of the polar frame (to define direction) is purely arbitrary.
We could equally point initially in the opposite direction and define that as "up" (in which case the other direction is "down").
Now experience is based on opposite poles. When it is very dynamic, one moves freely as between them so that the frame of reference continually changes in a rapid manner. Thus what is "up" in one reference frame is understood as "down" in the other and vice versa.
Now this is what Heraclitus means when he says "the way up is the way down; the way down is the way up".
He is pointing to the purely arbitrary - and necessarily relative - nature of all polar labeling.
Furthermore it is the keen realization of this in experience that lessens rigid attachment - which always entails a fixed reference frame - thus preparing experience for nondual realization.
This is a vitally important issue. True paradoxical appreciation is greatly missing from Ken Wilber's translation. Even when he seems to be talking about paradox he analytically translates it in a dualistic non-paradoxical fashion.
If you look at Ken 's treatment of Plotinus - where he perhaps comes closest to a true integral perspective - one can see that he is still defining Ascent and Descent in an unambiguous non-paradoxical manner.
He never to my mind sufficiently grasps the truly subtle nature of dynamic interactions (and certainly does not represent them in an appropriate circular manner).
Thirdly I certainly do not label the cognitive process as affective. Again this results from Ray's misrepresentation of what I say. So he needs to take responsibility here for causing unnecessary confusion.
What I would always maintain is that experience consists of both cognitive and affective aspects (structures, modes). I would not directly identify these two aspects with each other except in a nondual ineffable sense (where polarized distinctions have no strict meaning).
"When one approaches development - in this context - from the (cognitive) scientific perspective, the whole includes the parts (in quantitative terms). In this sense, the atoms are (quantitatively) included in the molecule and given a collective impersonal identity. However from the corresponding (affective) aesthetic perspective, the position is (relatively) reversed whereby the part includes the whole (in qualitative terms). So here the molecule is qualitatively included in each
atom leading to a unique personal identity. The very recognition of any phenomenon requires both (personal) affective and (impersonal) cognitive interpretation. The unique aspect is conveyed through the affective senses, whereas (relatively) the collective is conveyed through cognitive reason."
Here again, Collins is using words in a unique manner, quite out of
context with their true meaning.
Ray is simply missing the important context in which these remarks are made.
Actual experience is dynamic entailing both cognitive and affective aspects.
However accepted scientific interpretation of reality is not dynamic and is based on a translation of experience where affective is reduced to cognitive interpretation.
Clearly this creates a distortion in terms of understanding. So the purpose of the quoted section, is to indicate the appropriate dynamic nature of the cognitive/affective interaction.
Now Ray may accuse me of using words in a unique manner out of context with their true meanings. However such meanings necessarily reflect the looseness - and often confusion - of everyday usage.
Clearly if we subscribe to several distinct levels of experience on the psychological Spectrum, then the meaning of such terms must necessarily vary as the nature of experience varies.
So there is not just one set correct interpretation of this relationship as between cognitive and affective as Ray seemingly implies, but rather a range of interpretations (reflecting the understanding of varying levels on the spectrum).
So I am starting from one specific translation i.e. the (linear) scientific approach, and indicating its inherent limitations from a dynamic experiential perspective.
As this issue is so important I will illustrate it at greater length.
In the experience of any phenomenon - say rose - affective, cognitive and indeed volitional aspects are dynamically involved in a manner intrinsic to the resulting experience.
To dualistically attempt to speak about this, we must fix our polar frame of reference and in conventional science this is with respect to the (exterior) world.
Affective experience of a rose then comes through the senses invoking an emotional (feeling) response. Through this response, we become aware in some measure of the unique (personal) identity of the rose (which thereby awakens our attention).
The very uniqueness of the rose in this context arises from a qualitative/quantitative interaction whereby the holistic quality of "rose" is seen to be contained in the individual (quantitative) rose.
So the "whole" here (as qualitative) is contained in the "part" (as quantitative).
However the cognitive aspect is also involved in this dynamic interaction in a complementary (opposite) fashion.
Thus whereas in this context, affective awareness operates as a response, cognitive awareness - relatively - operates in terms of control.
We here have a reverse of the quantitative/qualitative interaction, as the cognitive understanding of the rose is based on the ability to see the individual (quantitative) rose as collectively included in the conceptual recognition of "rose". With this type of awareness we are thereby enabled to take any individual rose and identify it as belonging to the (qualitative) holistic category of "rose" in a general impersonal manner.
So whereas with affective understanding - in this context - the (qualitative) "whole" is contained or included in the (quantitative) "part", in complementary fashion, with cognitive understanding the (quantitative) "part" is included in the (qualitative) "whole". 1
Put another way, here the cognitive understanding represents holism, whereas - relatively - the affective experience represents partism.
This is just one important illustration of the circle of understanding where the inherent bi-directional symmetry of all relationships is maintained.
So in circular bi-directional terms, holism must balance partism and partism balance holism (with the interpretation dependent on context).
Let us now extend this illustration to include the role of the volitional aspect.
The volitional aspect represents the ultimate desire for meaning, which cannot be identified with cognitive or affective aspects (as separate). In any context it implicitly represents the attempt to coordinate affective and cognitive so as to obtain overall meaning (which in its purest expression is spiritual).
So in actual experience, cognitive and affective interpretation is always imbued with a meaning that is properly volitional.
For example we use the word "love" so often in an affective sense as an emotion or feeling.
However in the deepest sense, love reflects the volitional aspect of the desire of the will for ultimate meaning. So actual phenomenal experience involves both aspects.
Likewise it is true in cognitive terms. For example in my own sphere of Economics the scientific quest for an "objective" approach itself reflects a volitional value judgement (that such a quest is desirable).
Now when bi-directional understanding grows, it entails the corresponding erosion of merely rigid asymmetrical interpretation, so that experience becomes increasingly spiritualized with phenomena operating as pure mediators of the divine light.
Thus from the affective aspect (in our example) the spiritual light is made immanent in the unique individual rose. In other words the rose in its phenomenal identity becomes highly transparent and serves to reflect the spiritual light as its ground (within).
Again in complementary terms with the cognitive aspect, the spiritual light - relatively - is made transcendent in the collective quality of "roseness" (now fully understood as formless). In other words the collective quality of "roseness" (which in its purest expression is Spirit) is now seen beyond any merely phenomenal identification (and therefore not confused with such identification). It is therefore literally without phenomenon.
So when we take Blake's famous line "to see a world in a grain of sand", it represents - in this context - a pure immanent appreciation where the unique particle of sand is seen in its most complete expression as Spirit. So Spirit is seen as contained in the grain of sand (as its very ground).
However for balance we would need to point to complementary transcendent appreciation.
Here the collective notion of "sandness" is seen as fully transcended by Spirit (and therefore not confused with it). So we have in this pure transparent experience the paradox of transcending each phenomenon to reveal Spirit while equally making Spirit immanent as the ground of such a phenomenon.
However once again, the true basis of this paradoxical appreciation requires the circle of understanding in the symmetry of properly balanced bi-directional interpretation.
Now to conclude this part of the response we need to appreciate how scientific interpretation distorts the true dynamics of interaction.
Once again, though actual scientific experience necessarily requires a cognitive (rational) aspect, in formal terms the affective is screened out of interpretation. As always, asymmetrical analysis requires fixing the polar reference frame, and in science it is with respect to the cognitive aspect.
So in formal interpretation, feelings are considered irrelevant to the nature of scientific truth. Thus if I say the atom is contained in the molecule (but the molecule is not contained in the atom), the truth of this is deemed to be rationally verifiable (independent of any emotional interaction).
This requires in turn breaking the dynamic symmetry of quantitative and qualitative (and qualitative and quantitative).
Thus the apparent truth of the asymmetrical statement that the atom is contained in the molecule (and the molecule not contained in the atom), is due to defining the relationship in (reduced) quantitative terms.
Thus because in this context, the molecule appears quantitatively "bigger" than the atom we draw the seemingly unambiguous conclusion.
However there is a huge problem with such interpretation as it is based on the fallacy that the "lower" part - in this case "the atom" - enjoys a self-contained existence. The logic of this approach is that there are fundamental self-contained particles that can be discovered and this search has been a major quest in Physics.
However in dynamic terms this is untenable as "parts" only obtain meaning in terms of "wholes" (and "wholes" in terms of "parts").
So once again in the circle of understanding, "parts" find meaning in terms of "wholes" and "wholes" in terms of "parts". Thus there is a fundamental mystery inherent in any relationship which cannot be identified in merely phenomenal terms.
This implies that holism (where the "lower" holon is transcended and included in the "higher") needs to be balanced by partism (where the "higher" is - relatively - made immanent and included in the "lower" holon). And both of these processes take place simultaneously in the dynamics of experience.
However Ken Wilber's holarchical model certainly does not correspond to this circle of understanding as it is built on a merely (linear) asymmetrical interpretation of sequential relationships.
So Ken maintains that the lower holon is transcended and included in the higher holon. However he seems to forget that the lower holon has no pre-determined meaning and that the higher is necessarily likewise included in immanent terms in the lower holon.
In other words, in dynamic terms the nature of what is "whole" and what is "part" results from bi-directional interaction.
So immanence as well as transcendence is necessarily involved and holism has no means of adequately incorporating the equally important immanent context.
Thus in the circle of understanding the meaning of "wholes" and "parts" are co-determined.
Holarchy based on linear asymmetrical connections, is thus not consistent with the circle of understanding.
"Cognitive and affective are terms used in psychology to describe our response to stimuli, they are complimentary to a third term, volition (they are not polarised). Affectation is the emotional response (ie happy, sad, fearful, peaceful) to stimuli, volition is the active response, and cognition is the mental response. In other words, we experience (either internal or external) stimuli (which can be spiritual as well as mundane) and we respond by feeling a certain way, by having certain thoughts and by acting a certain way. And we respond using all three modes simultaneously. It simply is not the case that we respond by only using either affective or cognitive modes."
I would strongly dispute Ray's interpretation here.
For example he tries to speak of emotion and cognition as responses. However in the dynamics of experience, this is not the case. If we fix our frame of reference and deem the affective aspect as response, then the cognitive aspect will operate in complementary manner as control. Thus a dialectical control/response (and response/control) interaction arises.
This indeed is in keeping with the common interpretation. Science - which is defined in terms of the cognitive aspect - is seen as a means of controlling reality. Though up to a point this is very desirable, when carried to extremes it becomes unbalanced deadening our very (emotional) responses to reality. So modern culture, which is based so much on scientific interpretation, often leads to fragmentation and alienation.
Also volition is not the opposite of either the cognitive or affective aspect as it is central to both, as the means by which they are coordinated in the pursuit of meaning.
The upper part of a line is opposite the lower part (not the center). In this context, cognitive and affective are vertically opposite aspects of experience with respect to each other.
Also I would not characterize volition solely in active terms. Indeed with spiritual contemplation, the will plays an increasingly passive role (in dynamic terms). So will can have both active and passive aspects.
Of course I would accept that in the dynamics of experience, affective, cognitive and volitional aspects are involved. However I am concentrating here on what I define as (vertically) complementary opposites, and as volition is central (rather than opposite) it is not directly relevant to the context I have defined.
"Furthermore, for some reason Collins wants to ascribe the cognitive to what he calls the scientific perspective and the affective to what he calls the aesthetic perspective. My objection here is that affectation/cognition/volition is used in both the scientific and the aesthetic domains. Let's take the aesthetic to begin with. And let's take poetry as a particular example (although absolutely any aesthetic endeavour will do). The poet is actually expressing his/her thoughts and maybe (but not necessarily) their feelings.
No, let's be more precise. Words are cognitive constructs. When a poet writes about feelings s/he is actually 'thinking' about feeling, so the expression is purely cognitive. When we read the poem we will most likely be stimulated in both thought and feeling - and perhaps volitionally."
Again Ray is very much missing the context of my remarks.
As my very approach is strongly experiential, I of course accept that in the dynamics of experience - whether in the scientific or aesthetic domains - affective, cognitive and volitional aspects are necessarily involved.
However in formal scientific translation this dynamic interactivity is not recognized.
So the truth of scientific interpretation is formally based on mere cognitive criteria.
Thus scientific data are interpreted without reference to emotional or volitional aspects. (Both are reduced to a merely rational reference frame).
So Ray is failing to distinguish here the actual experience, which is inherently dynamic and interactive, from formal scientific interpretation, which is static and absolute (based on merely cognitive interpretation). Thus it is the scientific community itself that ascribes - in terms of formal translation - the cognitive to the scientific perspective.
Furthermore - as should be evident from my remarks - I am speaking about aesthetic appreciation here from the context of this formal scientific perspective. Therefore if the scientific interpretation is polarized in cognitive terms, then this necessarily excludes the aesthetic dimension (likewise in polarized fashion). So the truth of a scientific proposition is not formally based on aesthetic criteria (though of course in dynamic terms, aesthetic considerations could be indirectly valuable in deriving scientific truth).
Again I would fully accept that in the dynamics of experience, an activity such as poetry necessarily involves cognitive, affective and volitional aspects. However this is strictly not relevant to my comments regarding the manner in which formal scientific translation excludes other related aspects (i.e. affective and volitional).
In any case I find Ray's description of the poetic process unbalanced. I suggest that when a poet writes about feelings that the affective response is primary, though cognitive activity and volitional aspects will also be involved. However to say that the process is purely cognitive is untenable.
"The difference between the scientific and aesthetic domains is the type of cognitive discipline preferred. Science uses empirical evidence and applies a strict methodology. The aesthetic domain, in general, uses both subjective and objective material in a wide variety of creative ways; there is no strict methodology (1)."
I would not fully accept this description.
Following Ken Wilber, Ray identifies (narrow) science with empirical data; however this is somewhat one-sided as it is equally about theoretical constructs. 2
So in quadrant terms it has both Right-Hand and Left-Hand aspects.
The conventional methodology that is applied is one of double correspondence. In other words, theoretical constructs are deemed to directly correspond (in a static manner) to the relevant empirical data; equally empirical data are deemed to correspond to the relevant theoretical constructs. So the disaster of modernity - as Ken Wilber refers to it - is not strictly, as he characterizes, the collapse of Left-Hand to Right-Hand quadrants, but rather the attempt to relate both in a non-interactive fashion. And unfortunately Ken's unduly asymmetrical intellectual approach suffers very much from this malaise.
I would accept that the aesthetic domain is inherently more dynamic with a looser methodology applying.
However this is not really relevant to the actual issue I am dealing with in the article, which relates to the polarized exclusion of the aesthetic aspect in terms of formal scientific translation.
"So, if Collins' 'affective' isn't simply emotional response, then what is it?"
Again this questions reveals a basic problem with Ray's piecemeal approach. If he had grasped what I was saying in relation to the Spectrum of eight methods of translation, then he would realize that what is meant by affective in any context can vary considerably depending on the level of the Spectrum from which understanding takes place. If he is really interested he should consult my personal account "Transforming Voyage" where I attempt to outline in detail the development of spiritual, cognitive and affective aspects of understanding through the "higher" stages of development.
TWO MODES OF KNOWING
Those of you who have read most of Wilber might recognize this as the heading of Chapter 2 of 'Spectrum of Consciousness'. In this chapter Wilber discusses the limits of symbolic thinking and the existence of a second type of knowing, the direct knowledge of the Real. Wilber discusses the work of Alfred North Whitehead:
"…and therefore abstraction is nothing else than omission of part of the truth.' The symbolic mode of knowing also operates by bifurcation, by 'dividing the seamless coat of the universe,' and hence does violence to the very universe it seeks to understand.
Whitehead further pointed out that these errors have usually been compounded because 'we have mistaken our abstractions for concrete realities,' a mistake that Whitehead termed the Fallacy of Misplaced Concreteness….Opposed to this mode of knowing is what Whitehead called Prehension, which is intimate, direct, non-abstract, and non-dual 'feel of reality."(2)
"Could Collins' 'affective' be something like prehension?
If it is, why does he use the term 'affective' and why does he associate it with aesthetics? Why does he confuse prehension with emotion and creativity?"
Ray is engaging very much here, and in the next section on Imagination, on a solo run which has no direct relevance to the specific issue I raised. This again is related to the nature of formal scientific translation and the manner in which it excludes affective recognition.
Prehension, as used by Whitehead, in its developed form would correspond well with intuition.
However though the affective aspect can be imbued with intuitive awareness, it should not be confused with it. The cognitive aspect can likewise be inspired with intuitive insight. Holistic Mathematics for example entails a dynamic cognitive appreciation of mathematical symbols that is considerably inspired by intuition.
In general terms the capacity for mature prehension, in relation to both affective and cognitive aspects of understanding, would be somewhat limited at the gross level of recognition. Here emphasis would be mainly on the conscious recognition of symbols (in relation to both aspects) with rigid attachment limiting dynamic interactivity.
However with the unfolding of the "higher" levels, these aspects would tend to become increasingly inspired through spiritual intuition. This in turn would reflect the growing interpenetration in dynamic terms of the opposite polarities of experience entailing both aspects.
Again I have given an outline of eight translation methods which is designed to precisely identify the typical kind of interaction associated with each level.
So I rightly do not use prehension or its equivalents to define the affective aspect of experience.
I do not confuse prehension with emotion. Though they can of course be associated they are not synonymous.
However it would be correct to associate mature prehension with creativity, as the nondual aspect of experience is indeed the direct basis for creativity.
"And Collins' entire argument is a prime example of the symbolic mind 'rationalising' the transpersonal; his 'circular logic' is his attempt to cognitively 'capture' the transrational."
This is just patent nonsense and reflects Ray's utter ignorance of my actual position (repeatedly stated throughout the article).
So I will quote yet another relevant passage from the article which outlines clearly my motivation for writing.
"Rightly seen, the very purpose of an integral translation of reality is to ultimately lead to the dissolution of its own symbolic representations in the experience of pure mystery. From this mystery the symbols emerge and into this mystery they once again dissolve.
However when appropriately used, they can be invaluable for both facilitating and (indirectly) clarifying the awareness of mystery.
The translations of analytic science are not directly consistent with the contemplative experience.
Indeed, the very basis for this scientific approach is that the world exists independently of the self, whereas in contemplative terms it is precisely the reverse.
So when unchecked, analytic science itself can lead to patterns of understanding that pose a considerable barrier to authentic spiritual development.
The keen realization of this deep problem has filled me for the past 30 years with the desire to create a "new" integral science, that would be directly consistent with contemplation and in turn facilitate growth in that experience.
In other words with a true integral approach, science itself becomes naturally transformed into a unique form of spiritual meditation."
"In offering support for his model Wilber has done extensive research. Where is Collins' research? Where are the antecedents for his 'affective' mode? And if there are no antecedents,where is the evidence on which to base his discovery of a new process?"
I have always been quite clear regarding my position. I adopt a direct experiential approach. Furthermore, I believe that this is especially desirable in the transpersonal field where authenticity of belief is of paramount importance. Of course I will refer to other work where I consider it relevant but I never use references for their own sake.
Though research in its own way is very desirable, in the end it represents second hand information. Without some people being willing to speak directly from experience, second hand research becomes ultimately futile. Also I am not naïve enough to believe that such research will be used in an unbiased manner. It is only human, consciously or unconsciously, to choose the findings of others to support one's own position.
Almost by definition when an original approach is on offer, accepted evidence will not be around to support it. What accepted evidence had Einstein to cite in proposing his Special Theory of Relativity?
The acceptance of an original approach is usually based on the slow realization of fundamental problems associated with existing conventional explanations. This gradually creates openness - at least among some - to the need for a radical new solution.
I can see clearly that there are fundamental problems with Ken Wilber's intellectual treatment of integration. As others come to see likewise, they will be better able to appreciate what I am offering in this context.
However the major thrust of my own approach - for example the development and application of Holistic Mathematics - as a basis for a truly dynamic integral appreciation of science - bears no direct relationship to Ken Wilber's work (and was developed quite independent of it). Indeed strictly speaking, the very possibility of its existence is not even recognized in his work! So my own approach cannot be adequately understood from the Wilberian standpoint and therefore needs to be approached from the perspective of its author.
Quantity and Quality
"Collins ascribes quantity to cognition (and science) and quality to affectation (and aesthetics).
Again this is rather confusing."
I agree that this is confusing but of course it is not my position. If Ray had any proper appreciation of what I mean by circular bi-directional understanding, he would not make such an inaccurate statement. Also, I am very surprised that he has failed to view Ken's treatment of the quadrants in the light of his observation. Surely he must see that Ken does indeed ascribe here quantity to cognition (and science) with his destination of the Right-Hand quadrants to the "it" understanding of empirical science! Likewise he must see that he ascribes aesthetic beauty to the Upper Left-Hand quadrant (of qualitative "I" understanding)!
So what in fact Ray should more accurately be saying is
"Wilber ascribes quantity to cognition (and science) and quality to affectation (and aesthetics).
Again this is rather confusing."
I have repeatedly stressed the fact that science necessarily involves both empirical data and theoretical constructs which are quantitative and qualitative with respect to each other. So science clearly has both quantitative and qualitative aspects.
This is why I have stressed the double-correspondence nature of scientific truth.
"Analytic science is also based on the double correspondence model (though not to the same extent as Mathematics).
Certainly in the Newtonian worldview, direct correspondence is assumed as between scientific formulations and nature. Therefore a theoretical scientist will expect a "good" model of reality to subsequently explain the empirical data.
Likewise a research scientist will try to derive "good" theoretical explanations directly from a knowledge of the data."
"Both quality and quantity are purely cognitive distinctions."
As I have already stated I do not refer to affective experience as cognitive. This use of terminology is indeed confusing!
Rather I would say that from a dynamic perspective, cognitive and affective are both (complementary) aspects of our experience.
Quality and quantity are therefore not in this sense, both purely cognitive distinctions.
The affective and the cognitive have therefore quantitative and qualitative aspects (depending on context).
"Quantity itself is a quality."
I can see what Ray is getting at here but it is not expressed clearly enough.
It would be more accurate for him to say that all quantitative notions have - in dynamic terms - qualitative aspects.
However he is only seeing one side of the coin for it is equally true that all qualitative notions have quantitative aspects.
"And science is most definitely concerned with the empirical study of the 'qualities' of
things. A geologist for example, is concerned with the various qualities of
soils and rocks."
Yes, a geologist may indeed be confronted with the qualitative nature of phenomena under investigation. However what Ray seems to be missing here is that by the very nature of scientific investigation, such qualitative aspects e.g. of soils and rocks are treated in a reduced quantitative manner. So phenomena must be somehow be measured in quantitative terms to have empirical scientific meaning.
"It is perhaps only arithmetic that is solely concerned with pure quantity as such.
Strictly speaking no (from an experiential perspective)! The understanding of any particular number is meaningless in the absence of the corresponding number concept (which is - relatively - qualitative).
"Mathematics for example, investigates the qualities of number (quantity)."
Again this is a half truth!
All holons have quantitative and qualitative aspects. So as Mathematics is a holon it likewise has quantitative and qualitative aspects.
For example if one deals with the general theoretical concept of number one is concentrating on its qualitative aspect. Relatively therefore, when one switches to the investigation of particular numbers one is then dealing with its more quantitative aspect.
"(And the quantification of qualities, ie this rock is x cubic metres and weighs y kilos, is a valuable translative tool, but this does not mean by any account that science is purely quantitative)."
I agree! But of course it never was my position that science is purely quantitative.
However Ken Wilber can certainly be accused of this misleading and limited perspective in the way he attempts to associate Right-Hand quadrants with scientific "it" understanding. Has Ray already forgotten Ken's strong depictions of empirical science as necessarily "monological"?
"Aesthetics concerns itself with the creative study of the qualities of things (although it might explore quantity and empiricism as a subject)."
From a dynamic perspective Ray's assertion makes little sense. Again Aesthetics is a holon which necessarily has quantitative and qualitative aspects.
Indeed I would say that one of the great problems in materialistic culture is that aesthetic appreciation is identified unduly with the merely quantitative aspects of phenomena, leading to the desire to accumulate goods as a means of achieving fulfillment.
"So, according to Collins there is a mysterious affective/aesthetic/qualitative
mode that is opposite to a cognitive/scientific/quantitative mode."
I would not want to rob experience of its essential mystery (which is revealed in dynamic interactive terms). The problem about the reduced translation of conventional science is that it attempts to freeze such interaction so as to treat relationships in unambiguous terms (which largely eliminates mystery).
I believe that Ray is confused all along as between the two senses in which polar opposites can be used.
Such opposites can on the one hand be understood as separate leading quite understandably to distinct unambiguous interpretation. Again this approach typifies formal scientific translation of a conventional kind.
Therefore in terms of such translation the affective/aesthetic/qualitative mode is indeed sharply distinguished from the cognitive/scientific quantitative mode.
However opposites can equally be understood in a dynamic complementary fashion where in any context, one pole is understood to ultimately include in interpretation its opposite.
So clearly here cognitive includes affective (and affective cognitive); aesthetic includes scientific and scientific aesthetic and qualitative includes quantitative (and quantitative qualitative).
Surely Ray can see that the very point of my article is to distinguish as between differentiated notions of understanding (where polar opposites are clearly separated) and integral notions (where they are ultimately identical).
This is why I have outlined eight different translation methods to deal with all possible issues of interpretation so as to encompass differential, integral and radial appreciation.
"Except that this affective mode is in fact itself a cognitive distinction, a different kind of cognition. Furthermore, it is a type of cognition that has the peculiar property of making the transcendent immanent and a whole a part."
I find this statement very muddled. First of all Ray is again defining affective as cognitive distinction (which is most confusing). I treat affective and cognitive as complementary experiential distinctions.
As regards his second statement it is not clear as to whether he is outlining his own view or his alleged interpretation of my own position.
Either way the statement is very unsatisfactory. It illustrates once more how an unduly truncated style of representation gravely distorts interpretation (which is only meaningful when appreciated in a proper dynamic context).
As I have already illustrated in my example of the rose, I do see the interaction of affective and cognitive aspects (and cognitive and affective) as crucial in explaining how we move from whole to part understanding (and part to whole). Also, when imbued with a pure volitional aspect their interaction equally explains how experience switches dynamically as between transcendent and immanent appreciation of Spirit (and likewise immanent and transcendent).
"The very recognition of any phenomenon requires both (personal) affective and (impersonal) cognitive interpretation."
So here we now have the addition of the terms personal and impersonal, or in other words subjective and objective (is there any other interpretation?).
And here's an important clue. The affective/aesthetic mode is subjective and the cognitive/scientific is objective."
Again this reveals to my mind a basic lack of understanding as to the two ways in which polarities can be understood.
In a dynamic experiential context, both dual and nondual aspects are necessarily involved. When I say that the very recognition of any phenomenon requires both (personal) affective and (impersonal) cognitive interpretation this requires both linear and circular appreciation.
The linear translation interprets the means by which these poles are differentiated and separated; the circular translation (indirectly) translates the means by which they are integrated.
Differentiating literally implies positing of phenomena in experience; thus from an analytic perspective both cognitive and affective would imply the addition of both aspects.
However integration requires the dynamic negation of phenomena.
Therefore both affective and cognitive in this sense would lead to their cancellation (in phenomenal terms) which is the very basis for empty nondual experience.
Again if Ray had any real appreciation of my basic rationale he would not make such statements.
"If the 'affective' mode is subjective then how do we come to a common understanding of our unique, personal, affective experiences? Except by accepting common, impersonal and cognitive descriptions of our experiences? What if we each had a unique/subjective language, not a common/objective language?my both affective and cognitive"
Here we go again!
First of all the affective mode is not just subjective. As a holon it necessarily has both exterior and interior and also personal and impersonal aspects.
Clearly from a dynamic perspective, one pole necessarily implies its opposite. Thus what is unique has complementary common aspects: what is personal has impersonal aspects; what is subjective has objective aspects; what is affective has cognitive aspects (and vice versa in all cases).
Thus we need a language that enables us to move from static dualistic interpretation (where meaning is unambiguous) to an inherently dynamic framework where polar references keep switching.
This is precisely what I am providing in my approach with its mirror understanding and the circular bi-directional language of interpretation.
"In any case, the unique aspect is not conveyed by the 'affective senses' (what are affective senses anyway?) at all."
Once again this is simply misinterpreting my position. We can only associate the unique aspect with affective sense by fixing our polar frame of reference (as I have repeatedly stated). Then when we switch this frame of reference the (unambiguous) opposite meaning applies (in dualistic terms).
Affective sense in this context is simply the experience by which a phenomenal object awakens emotional response (feeling).
"But becoming conscious of them implies cognitive awareness, the labelling of the sensation. In other words, the stimulation of our senses leads to a cognitive process. Any uniqueness arises simply because no one else experiences exactly what we experience."
Once more, Ray is only seeing one side of the coin as it were.
Yes, in dynamic terms all affective awareness will necessarily entail cognitive recognition (as they are complementary).
However equally, all cognitive awareness will necessarily entail affective recognition. (Thus thinking is accompanied by emotional reactions).
Experience always has both unique and common aspects. Whereas no one can exactly understand how another experiences reality, yet there is clearly much common ground (which enables communication to take place).
The paradox of all this section is that it indicates that Ray is looking for a more dynamic way of interpreting experience (which I applaud).
However he seems to me to be very much choosing the wrong target for criticism. If he examines Ken's treatment of the four quadrants closely, he will find that it very much inconsistent with so much of what he has raised here.
I actually agree with a lot of what Ray has said. However it does not go far enough (as he keeps seeing one side of a dynamically rotating coin!)
Also he is utterly mistaken throughout in his interpretation of my actual position.
However having said this I would say that his expressed views here are perhaps closer to my true position than those of Ken Wilber.
1 This interpretation is necessarily based on an arbitrary fixing of the polar frame of reference, which in this case is defined with respect to the (exterior) aspect. Once we fix this frame we can give a consistent interpretation to all terms (cognitive and affective, quantitative and qualitative) which are true in relative terms.
However we can equally start from the opposite frame of reference so that all meanings are reversed.
In this circle of understanding all (dualistic) meaning is thus rendered paradoxical.
For example in the given interpretation, the affective aspect is defined in terms of response and the cognitive in terms of control.
However the affective can also be defined in terms of control in which case the cognitive is now - relatively - defined in terms of response.
So in affective terms we would exercise control when our reactions to the environment result from the imposition of the (interior) affective aspect. For example if we approach experience with an inner feeling of confidence that will tend to subsequently control the nature of our reaction to the environment in a positive manner. Also the cognitive aspect would operate as response when we primarily allow the affective disposition to determine the nature of our subsequent thinking.
However in terms of empirical scientific interpretation, the experience is defined with respect to the exterior aspect. Also the cognitive aspect is primary, operating in terms of control (with the affective aspect of response thereby reduced to the cognitive).
The implications of this bi-directional understanding is to create a keen intellectual appreciation that the lack of nondual realization is due to the misinterpretation of circular dynamics in experience. When this happens, understanding based on the arbitrary fixing of polar reference frames is unduly emphasized. This in turn creates imbalance and phenomenal rigidity. When we truly realize that all dualistic explanations are - by their very nature - paradoxical from a dynamic perspective, then it becomes much easier to erode phenomenal attachment through gradual nondual spiritual transformation.
2 If one reads Ken's "The Marriage of Sense and Soul" it can be seen to be full of somewhat inconsistent statements regarding the nature of empirical science.
First Ken puts forward an extreme monological perspective implying that sense objects can be "seen" without the need for interpretation. Then perhaps realizing that this is simply stating "the myth of the given" he admits the need for interpretative conceptual constructs but tries to tie them directly to the empirical data. However this flies in the face of so much theoretical work in science which is often developed largely independent of empirical considerations. Einstein for example was so sure regarding the correctness of his General Theory of Relativity that he was not unduly concerned about the need for subsequent empirical testing!
Also String theory that lies at the leading edge of modern physics is mainly of a theoretical mathematical nature and is therefore not directly tied to empirical observations.
So in terms of Ken's criteria, neither The Theory of Relativity nor Superstring Theory can be deemed as strictly monological.
Yet Ken tries to unconvincingly argue that modern scientific developments such as quantum mechanics, chaos theory etc. are "monological to the core" which is simply ridiculous.
Even in his statements where he admits the need for interpretation of empirical data, he still tries to argue for intrinsic objective patterns to reality (independent of such need for interpretation).
Ken says that " a diamond will cut a piece of glass no matter what cultural words or concepts we use for "diamond", "cut" and "glass"
But the point is that we must use interpretative concepts (whatever language is used) for the experience to be meaningful. Really the naïve attempt by Ken to argue that sense data can have "objective" meaning without interpretation seems to me to be quite incredible.
This points to a deeper problem, which is his inadequate treatment of the four quadrants (that is quite untenable from a dynamic perspective).