Saturday, May 19, 2007

Joe P. on Agape/Involution

The piece has been circulating (on KW blog) and here on IntegralChristian (IC from now on).

His work fleshing out involution/grace is a major contribution to integral theory. All of us who consider ourselves somehow or other in this line, are in his debt. I'm glad that it was put up on the wilber blog.

When I wrote the earlier piece on integralisms I don't think I ever really followed that up with my own outlook. I don't want to push this too far because overall I agree with Joe that while there are disagreements/differences within the integral crowd over points both insubstantial and (fairly) substantial, overall it's better to stress the commonality.

The base for me of course is Wilber.

With Wilber is not just useful frames like quadrants or for me the more radical foray into post-metaphysics, it is the narrative of Western Wisdom Tradition and Intellectual History (SES). His understanding of the Dual Oneness that is the Ascent/Descent Energies-Traditions. His criticism of the New Paradigm as deeply caught in the myth of the given (holistic modernism as opposed to atomistic modernism but all still modernism).

And then additions--and not additions in a syncretistic way but in the integral way a la Jack Crittenden's Introduction. That I see these as extensions/applications of not critiques on the model.

--Joe P.'s writings on Involution/Grace. This comes from his Christian background over the more agentic American Buddhism route.

--MD's writings on canon-integral humanities. I see his work, in the speak, as 1st person perspective. Hermeneutics, closeness to texts, History of Great Ideas, dialogue, etc. Our disagreements (from my pov) are always over whether there is value to a 3rd person pov other than in the realm of science. He sees it our disagreement differently of course.

--Edward Berge has pushed a Habermasian angle into asking how deeply shaped the Vedanta-Vajrayana schema (or more correctly Wilber's interpretation of that....) is by human linguistic patterns and history.

--Mark Edwards has taken more seriously than anyone else the feeling from within of the We and its development. His notion of seeing the communal as primary over the individual is an interesting addition qua perspective not as final truth. The tendency in integral thought has been more to emphasize the individual as primary over the collective. Particularly among the Americans. Relatedly, his emphasis of the second person point of view over the 1st/3rd predominance in Wilber's system.

--Alan Kazlev. While I disagree with his over-arching theory he has added (along with Mike Murphy) an Aurobindian vision of nonduality plus embodiment. Wilber comes more from the Da/Zen/Ramana line which is more ambiguous towards manifestation I would say.

Other avenues/nuances:
--A more process view within the AQAL frame of experience.
--Critical Theory/Marxian view of which integral frame one holds relative to political-social identifications. (See here).

I have to confess to repeatedly trying to get Andy Smith's writings and I just for whatever reason can't seem to crack the code and get what he is up to. Not for lack of brilliance on his part--the lack is on my part.

All the others fit (by my lights) within the basic AQAL frame. Others don't see it that way, fair enough. That puts me in a moderate position. Not a Wilberian fundamentalist as it were. But neither someone who has thrown the whole thing out either. What I would call anti-Wilber fundamentalism.

The reason I can do this is because I see AQAL as a platform. I don't see it as the final truth/end point (Wilberian fundamentalist). The reason the platform is still important though is not that it is necessary for delving into greater detail into specific areas. It isn't. It's because it allows one to come back after such an adventure and link up with others going in their directions. It creates a platform, a meeting place. I think that is vitally important. Otherwise from experience I would argue people become intellectually isolated or absolutist.

Whatever they discover in their own trajectory they either have the humility to recognize is not the final arbiter for many others and therefore stay away (isolationism) or they do begin to colonize other disciplines and assume theirs is the proper context for evaluating all others (absolutist).

With only those two options the choices are continue to fragment and Balkanize or continue unnecessary and boring food fights. Say between humanities and science. Strategists and problem solvers, etc.

The additions are held fluidly in the mind, perspectivally. I'm not advocating an uber-mega-integral. But it would be fair to call this a wide-wide angle lens.

It's like in Minority Report, when Cruise has his computer module that he opens up the multiple screens. He grabs one (think quadrant for example) and then that one comes into focus and for the moment the others fade away. Then within that box, there is infinite room to change the viewpoint, zoom in/zoom out, expand/decrease etc. These are the perspectives, the feelings of life (including mental life). When appropriate all of the above are possible modes.

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At 9:36 PM, Blogger MD said...

Our disagreements (from my pov) are always over whether there is value to a 3rd person pov other than in the realm of science. He sees it our disagreement differently of course.

We don't have a "disagreement" that "always over" any one thing; we have many. These contain multitudes. I roll my eyes when you reduce things so noxiously. Please stop.



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