Friday, March 02, 2007

Meaningful Enlightenment II

What I didn't get to say and should have from the first meaningful enlightenment post is that these measurables in regards to enlightenment, consciousness, intersubjectivity, stages, whatever words one prefers---no one, to my mind, has any idea what they are. Or where even to begin looking into the matter.

The thought alone that such a matter should be considered and can be thought of at all is to me profoundly shocking. That alone is a massive step. Beyond that for me--and from what I can tell of others--is fog.

As far as I understand, metrics like that of Suzanne Cook-Greuter are about how to decipher already in existence stages of development--in that case self-identity. What can certainly I imagine take what are the principle patterns of a higher level (magician, alchemist), learn them, talk to such people, observe them, try to put them into practice.

But if understand Cohen right he is talking about something else entirely: namely the very source of transformation. That would truly alchemical perhaps. Again I want to stress that development/transformation is only one of a series of issues involved. For the moment I'm only considering this one dynamic and by Cohen's own admission it (transformation) is the only thing he is really and truly passionate about.

Going back to the self-identity line example, what would mean instead to investigate the process whereby those higher stages emerge. We can recognize patterns/structures after they have congealed in the Kosmos, but what about that initial or as close to that moment of the new emerging?

Otherwise we have references to Creativity and Emergence which act as covers or I guess beg the question, simply move it back one step more. Creativity/Emergence are (according to Wilber anyway) metaphysical elements of his so-called post-metaphysical construct.

I think this is possibly the central IOU to the Kosmos written by the integral wave: it understands that the Kosmos is (in part) developmental-evolutionary to the core (as well as other things) but can't define what that means, what development is, how it occurs.

This is a really key point for me. I see too many criticisms of integral (developmentalist ones anyway) that say, "it doesn't define development" "it doesn't know what it is", therefore throw the whole notion out---I'm exaggerating of course but you get the point. I'm saying that assumes it can answer such a question and that if it can't then therefore the entire notion is bunk. I'm agreeing that it can't (or at least hasn't to date) but that it also is incapable of doing so and yet is still correct in its inscription of (an aspect of) developmentalism and holarchy- however one parses that 4,6,8,12 inside/outside sg./collective I don't really care--to the Kosmos, as reconstructed from this vantage point that is, not for all times and places for all beings in existence.

Those criticisms I'm discussing then are answered post-integral not pre-integral as I see it. This links back to my disagreement with using the word integral around Cohen and his teaching. I think at its peak elements of it are post-integral including where best to situate the idea of a measurables.

Just as a political point because I assumed it in the last post and previous discussions but to make certain it is clear. The discussion is about behaviors of, levels in, attitudes of, consciousness-es around, human beings. Not levels of humans. I'm not advocating crypto or full on totalitarianism here. I'm a major proponent of (classical) liberal rights of separation of powers, independent judiciaries, free-r information flows, etc. I'm not talking about enforcing development--persuading, advocating for in many circumstances yet, not political enforcement.

Humans are not, as I understand it, defined solely by their actions, attitudes, thoughts, etc. I believe humans are in their essence children of God. There is no judgment there of the person's inherent dignity. Judgments concern only, as the Confession states, "things done and left undone."

But the key point to follow is what tentative hypotheses as how even to begin this quest are offered. Where does this process begin? I draw a blank every time I get here.

What has been discovered, still quite new but strong enough to say it will last at this point I believe, is intersubjective nonduality (enlightened communication or should it be enlightening communication?) and that individuals can begin to negate and extricate themselves from an exclusive frontal personality sense. [What emerges, it is argued by those with some taste of this, is an identity akin but not the same as traditional ascriptions of the Soul]. Interesting things happen no doubt, profound insights made, energy created, but then what?

The great question: What next?

At this point in my life that is a more important inquiry than Who am I? (What/Who is God?---same question asked differently.)

Or does all that (intersubj., new self sense) more or less just expand the traditional state model to a wider quasi-collective sense plus in an evolutionary context? Which in AQAL integral language is again the koan: what actually is the relationship (or is there one) between states and stages? Even when you add in state-stages, does that work here? What is the relationship between state-stages and (structure) stages?

By this point, you see, you are well down the rabbit's hole if you get where (I think) I am pointing.

What is a structure-stage when its not in third person language and not a traditional state path? Life, events, spaces, sure. But how really and what kinds?

Stages only exist in the minds of those who make the maps. That is not to say they are therefore unreal. It does mean activity, reflection, and exploration go first. But if those are not in some way stabilized, then they come and go and not much, if anything is truly changed.

What next does not necessarily mean what is the next edge. It might mean what next in order to make sense of, inhabit, invite others in, and establish the new territory discovered. If the momentum shifts to the second--as I think it always eventually must otherwise it burns itself out--then the first recedes. I wonder if this is what is going on?

I might be way off base here, just peering in. As I said before, I think this call to measurables could work on a few different levels as well as different contexts. If such a shift is occurring I think it's a generally good thing. Of course an element of the fire is tempered, but people have ot make decisions in this world, all of us have to make compromises (which isn't inherently bad in my mind). There is an argument, even I would say a prejudice towards, burning every moment all the time, full steam ahead in the spiritual traditions, but I am not entirely sure that is always the best. Or perhaps I am just promoting my own fear and contraction--that would be the pro-fire counter to me.

EC and the rest has been around long enough that it is a stable enough pattern and Cohen claims (and for the moment I'll work under the assumption he is right, I have no evidence to prove or disprove that claim for the record) that it is in a way more permanently stabilized in his community. But again is it a more permanent state? This maybe be what is behind his new meditations and phase 3. How do we actually decide what is going on and by what standards--ergo the call for measurables.

I'm intrigued by the call but have no idea where to start. For now I guess that is enough.


At 1:36 PM, Blogger Durwin said...

very interesting as usual -- where do i find these critiques of integral from developmentalists that you mention?

and, looking forward to my taste of enlightening communication, although I sense perhaps a bit of the flavour comes through from your posts. please let me know when your schedule frees up.

For myself, I feel focusing on healthy translation is as important as transformation, and helps to temper my otherwise bias towards ascent.

At 1:39 PM, Blogger Durwin said...

and, what sort of practice to you suggest for those of us who sense that we need to be asking both questions at the same time: i.e. who am I? What next? For those apparently not as stabilized in horizontal freedom as you seem confident you are are, this is also an important question. One hint from Ken was this line: "What is discipline without seeking?"

At 2:04 PM, Blogger CJ Smith said...


thanks for the note. I realize the language in my post was ambiguous. the criticisms were not be developmentalists but rather criticisms of integral that focus on the developmental aspects of integral. edward berge at integralworld is a good example.

The practice is itself asking "Who am I?" Sitting in relaxation and just looking into what is, and then as the mind wanders, focus it back to the emptiness and just looking.

The other practice is similarly to ask "Avoiding relationship?"

Discipline without seeking is the same freedom question. Meditation as true M, pure meditation, the natural state.


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