Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Biblical Perspectives

Each sentient being (or individual holon) registers other sentient beings (or individual holons) in its own experiential or proto-experiential fashion--but none of them can register their existence in any way other than as a perspective. There is never a subject that sees an object. There is no actual perception in which one entity sees another entity, for that is already a first-person perspective on a second or third person. Thus, there is no real space that is not always already a space-arising-as-a-perspective; therefore we cannot say that occasions (or holons or beings) come into existence and then see each other, because the "seeing each other" and the "existence" cannot be asserted apart from one another. To say that the quadrants arise simultaneously is to say that ontological dimensions and epistemological perspectives are one and the same thing, which is why we often call them dimension-perspectives (and further say that they tetra-arise or tetra-enact, simultaneously and together: to say the quadrants arise simultaneously is to say that first and second and third persons arrive on the scene together).

An integral approach recognizes a Kosmos composed of sentient beings, and sentient beings do not have awareness or feelings or perceptions, they have perspectives, within whose horizons those other features arise and outside of which nothing can believably be said to exist. I am not suggesting that there isn't a universe outside of human perspectives, only that there isn't a universe outside of sentient beings' perspectives, since the universe is composed of sentient beings (holons), all the way up, all the way down, and therefore the universe is, top to bottom, composed of perspectives.

The four quadrants (and 8 indigenous perspectives) are simply some of the different ways to look at the perspectives that seem inherent in the universe. These perspectives are not so much a priori (prior to existence), but a simultori, if you will forgive the corrupted Latin--they simply arrive simultaneously with whatever else arrives. If so, then the overall array of their arrival (traces and hints of which are deposited in natural languages) gives us a new way to understand the universe, a way that focuses on sentient beings instead of third-person notions like systems, particles, webs, processes, or monological subjects prehending objects, feelings, awareness, etc.--all of which are abstractions away from the actual form of sentience. --Ken Wilber, Excerpt C vol2 Kosmos Trilogy

So much to cover from that one quotation. What I am doing in these passages is the beginning outlines of an integral systematic Biblical theology. Emphasis on the systematic.

The systematic here means for me, an overall Biblical theology that integrates all current and historically valid approaches (from ancient lectio divina to postmodern poststructuralist, to form criticism, etc.).

Also systematic means that through this theological system/overlay there is a place that simply points to the different perspectives/methodologies, biblical theologies....what methods bring forth what data.

But it does not in and of itself substitute for the actual reading, interpretation of either the Bible nor the scholarship/interpretation of Christian history. It just creates a venue in which these otherwise dis-connected--at times even mutually hostile--schools can converse. There is no point re-inventing the wheel, nor necessarily getting entangled in highly detailed debates about specific points within the larger frame. Others can and are doing that. What is needed is for others to offer vistas, to open the cluttered cramped space of the field.

The key element I find in integral philosophical terms is the notion of perspectives, as I've mentioned previously.

Postmodernism brought the insight that the modern philsophical world had neglected the social-linguistic construction of reality. Saw that in the post referencing Bultmann-Heidegger. Hermeneutics of course started out as branch of Biblical studies (William Dilthey). The Bible is the most translated, the most interpreted text in history--along with the Quran I surmise.

So postmodernism focused attention on social groupings, communities, cultures, interpretation, and so forth. But what it did not recognize was its own fallacies--its own reifications to use philosophical-ese.

It did not have an understanding of whence the notions of interpretation, communities, cultures, and the like arose in the first place. Where did interpretation come from? What is interpretation? It is for this reason postmodernism was "subject" to interpretation and social systems, and why collectives only fragmented in the postmodern sphere. Why no one could truly come together beyond gross forms of contraction into deep emotional cores.

What integral realizes is that these are not concepts/things but rather actions--being in the world. At act of incarnation as a first person and therefore with other persons.

This integral vision is deeply relational. There is no arising without relation. No first person without other persons. A space deeper (prior ground that embraces) culture, science, and the psyche.

It is living in that empty space out of which the perspectives arise and feeling those perspectives arise from the Empty Ground that is the practice of this way. It undercuts certain egoic patterns by in every moment living into the fact that the sense of you only arises in concert with communal-social-biological realities. Again, not as a metahpor or a nice thought but as an actual felt understanding.

Once you have thus objectified and see both yourself and your social links arising within a greater space, the question immediately opens up--who is aware of my self/society dimensions arising?

Integral then, all of perspectives, Wilber-5, postmetaphysics is simply, for me, a platform, a new plateau. It is only, in other words, the beginning not end, ground not ceiling. The confusion of these two has been the primary reason, to my mind, why the "revolution" has not gained steam.
Perspectives of course will fail, but not until they succeed. No one will learn from an integral space what a perspective is. It will become the new (and best) Kosmic IOU. It has to happen. I'm deeply convinced that with the continued globalization of economies and cultures, with the rise of bio, nano, and robotic technologies, the existence of terrorism/gap/lower memes/pockets of tribalized resistance, leaders in thought-religion-military-science-politics-art have to come to something like this realization.


Post a Comment

<< Home