Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 23

MODELS OF DEVELOPMENT IN ESOTERIC AND WESTERN THOUGHT: A BRIEF SUMMARY Stan V.

McDaniel
1. Background Over the period 1970-1985, I engaged in an intensive study of models of development found in eastern and esoteric religio-philosophical thought and at the same time, in the texts of several western thinkers including Aristotle, Kant, W. V. Quine, Pierre Teilhard (de Chardin) and John Dewey. I found that these systems rely to a greater or lesser degree upon a common paradigm of organization with respect to differing sets of contents. In eastern and esoteric doctrines the development is that of the spirit; in western philosophical systems it is the development of consciousness from organic life, or mind from matter. A common trait of such systems is that the logical or formal structure being utilized is never articulated or consciously acknowledged as such. The focus is not on the logic but on the system-specific contents being arranged according to that logic. Various metaphorical expressions, and particularly in the eastern or esoteric systems, symbolic diagrams, are used to represent the relationships between the contents of each system. In order to reveal the common underlying logic, it is necessary to adopt a perspective independent of the physical, biological or metaphysical claims about the specific contents of a system and instead to stand back and look at the system from a more objective standpoint. This requires detailed analysis and comparison of such materials with regard only to the logic of their relationships within the system.1 In eastern and esoteric doctrines the similarities between systems are sometimes cited as a kind of proof that they all represent a common reality. A step I have taken is to discount this questionable thesis and treat the underlying organizational paradigm from a purely descriptive viewpoint. But because the relevant texts represent a time span of millennia and are cross-cultural, and because the use of the implicit formal structure is unconscious, some sort of archetypal impulse may be involved. This possibility raises curious questions about psychology and its possible relation to cosmology. This paper summarizes the essential logical structure, followed by a brief speculation on its possible cosmological, psychological and physical suggestiveness. The model may be expressed discursively, as a set of rules or parameters, and also diagrammatically. Diagrammatic representation assists in making comparisons between systems. Diagrams involving specific content, in frequent use in eastern and esoteric systems, help in understanding the role of metaphorical expressions used in such texts. Below I list ten discursive requirements along with five diagrams that together express the essential features of the logic. The logic itself is content-free except for a few very general characteristics. No effort is being made to explain the model or to account for any of its peculiarities. The procedure here is descriptive, not explanatory. In the system put forth by John Dewey the chief aim is to explicate continuity of development over time. The term frequently used to characterize this philosophy is that it emphasizes transaction rather than interaction; that is to say, it is a transactional philosophy. Accordingly, and strictly for convenience in naming, I refer to the logical system as the transactional model of development. The five diagrams used to express this model in a visual way I call the five schemata of the transactional model.

2. The Transactional Model Schema One: The first diagram comprehends the first five of the ten parameters.
1. A group of functions is arranged in a sequence of stages. 2. Later stages in the sequence are said to develop out of earlier ones. 3. Early stages in the sequence are generally concrete (physically, biologically, etc.) 4. Later stages in the sequence are generally abstract (mentally, spiritually, etc.) 5. The developmental sequence moves from lesser to greater complexity.

The stages of development are termed functions.2 They are located at the small arrow-points. The number of functions is variable. COSMOS refers to the universe of discourse, or the region of interest covered by the content subject matter, whatever that may be in one or another system. The tree-like diagram above the arrow of development does not represent any hierarchy but is simply an organizational aid which classifies the various functions that lie along the line of development. The first defining function is the initial action of the dynamic of development, acting on the primitive or elementary function and continuing throughout the sequence. TELOS does not refer to some idealized goal or aim, but rather to the organizing factor, or rule, underlying the entire system of development. In other words, what we have is a diagram expressing a series of functions developing over time according to a rule.

Schema Two: The second diagram expresses the parameters that have to do with hierarchy. The corresponding discursive points are:
6. Hierarchy is expressed as levels, earlier stages being lower and later stages higher. 7. No stage is abandoned in the process of development, but is retained in such a way that the functional characteristics of all the stages are potentially available simultaneously in the maturity of the sequence.

Requirement (7) is represented diagrammatically by the continuation of the central line representing the Primitive Function from the bottom to the top of the hierarchy, and by the similar continuation of each successive stage. The first defining function embodies the telos of the system and as such bears a special relation to the complexifying functions (this is made explicit in Schema 4). 3

Schema Three: The third schema represents the functional complementarity that must hold among the successively developing stages. The discursive requirement is:
8. The resultant contemporaneous set of capacities is a functionally complementary set.

Functional complementarity is represented by distributing complementary functions around a circle, such that the common center indicates a coherent and simultaneous functional relationship. Additionally the structural (primitive/complexifying) and dynamic functions (defining/culminating) are placed as polar opposites united by their common relation to the center. Roughly the vertical polarity may be seen as unity/diversity and the horizontal polarity as initiation/completion. This schema is already presaged by the second schema at its highest level, where all the sequential functions are clustered together.

Schema Four: The discursive requirement for the fourth schema is:
9. The unique functional character of any particular stage bears a special relation to the unique functional character of any (and all) of the other stages. This relation is based on an assertion of analogy, and will be termed the Analogy of Patterning among functions.

The Analogy of Patterning serves also as the principle of complementarity, or unity, of the set. In Diagram 4 the analogical relationship is expressed by means of the crosses which characterize the individual functions as well as the whole. This schema represents in essence a unification of serial organization in the resultant system with structural (hierarchical) organization by means of a rule expressed as the Analogy of Patterning. This phrase is chosen because a relationship of pattern is often how the analogy is expressed in various texts. However the analogy is not one of static form, but one of dynamics or process, i.e. the dynamic of development (see Schema 1). The first defining function is the initial expression of this process, while the telos of the system is its governing directionality, or rule. This crucial element in the transactional model of development will be discussed in detail after presenting the fifth schema.3

Schema Five: The discursive requirement for the fifth schema is the following. 10. The governing dynamic that drives the resulting developmental system and serves as its organizing rule is an open teleology (purposive, but without final closure). In the vast majority of such systems (there are very few exceptions) the process of development is left open-ended, i.e. to continue ad infinitum, or to reach a condition of infinite potential. Because of this, the telos of a system is not deterministic but is always open to the possibility of adaptation.

The image I have chosen for the fifth schema is less geometrically formal than those for the previous schemata. The reasons for this are outlined in the subsequent text.

The symbolism of the arrow and the drawn bow as a catapult to liberation, or freedom, appears explicitly in this passage from the Upanishad: Having taken as a bow the great weapon of the secret teaching, one should fix in it the arrow sharpened by constant meditation...The OM is the bow; the arrow is the self; Brahman is said to be the mark. Here the OM is associated with liberation either as a means to it, or as a symbol of its attainment, leading to the experience of the infinite within us.4 In western systems one finds passages like the following from Pierre Teilhard, which likewise express the intent of the fifth Schema: Is not the end and aim of thought that still unimaginable farthest limit of a convergent sequence, propagating itself without end and ever higher? Does not the end or confine of thought consist precisely in not having a confine?... Every increase of internal vision is essentially the germ of a further vision that includes all the others and carries still farther on.5 The final sentence is also an expression of Schema 2. Each increase of internal vision corresponds to a complexifying stage in the developmental sequence which, as the schema indicates, includes all the others and carries still farther on. The phrase includes all the others expresses requirement 7 of Schema 2. A more detailed discussion of the choice of the arrow and drawn bow to represent the fifth schema will be found in the section below. 6

3. The Analogy of Patterning In schema 4 the analogical relationship is represented by crosses. The cross is not chosen arbitrarily. It is one of the two main ways that the relationship asserted by such systems takes diagrammatic form. The other most common diagrammatic representation of the analogy of patterning is the triangle. The analogy is not about similarity of form, but rather an assertion of a very specific kind of energetic process. It is the process of synthesis, or reconciliation of opposites. Because this is the central dynamic of any transactional system of development, the transactional model is fundamentally non-dualistic. In western philosophical texts, appeal to diagrams is rarely found. Instead, synthesis as the guiding analogy is expressed discursively and in the form of various metaphors. On the other hand, in an esoteric system such as that set out by Mouni Sadhu in his detailed analysis of the esoteric Tarot, triangular diagrams of synthesis, like that of Fig. 1 below are ubiquitous.6 Opposites, represented by Hebrew letters in this system, are characterized in numerous ways: as male and female, as positive and negative and so on. In each diagram the central item is the result of the reconciliation of the two opposites, a new term that transcends the divided status of the original pair. The third thing is the agent of reconciliation.

Figure 1. Kabbalistic Triangle

Examples of similar triangles of synthesis, represented in their respective texts discursively rather than diagrammatically, are the following taken from works by Aristotle and Dewey (Figs. 2 & 3). 7

Figure 2 Aristotelian Triangle

Figure 3 Deweyan Triangle

These diagrams are equally images of synthesis, with differing contents reflecting the specific set of contents referenced in each system. Diagram 6 below shows the full extent of the Aristotle and DeweyBentley systems relativized to Schema 2 and showing the dynamic factor at different levels.

Although there is a rough (but reasonable) similarity in these two cases between the two different sets of functions, there is no necessity that they should be considered as expressing the same thing. It is the logic of the arrangement as revealed in the texts, not the contents, that is our focus. Note the situation of the first defining function in each case. For Aristotle, it is the faculty of nutrition which as a process extends analogically upward through the levels as a reconciliation of like with unlike at each level. The situation is strictly similar in the Dewey-Bentley case, where sign-process is the first defining function and is a reconciliation of settled and unsettled situations by means of activities 8

of inquiry (search and exploration at increasingly complex levels). As symbols of synthesis, the triangle includes a central or fourth factor which represents a move beyond the dualistic state in which the opposites are separate. In esoteric symbolism various forms are found such as those below. I have adopted the convention of placing the third or dynamic factor at the top of the triangle, with the opposites at each side.

Figure 4 Various representations of synthesis

Fig. 5 to the right is an analysis in diagram form of the corresponding text in Teilhard, illustrating the symbolic idea of the fourth factor by the addition of an arrow, as in the lower right of Fig. 4. This representation of synthesis (triangle with an arrow) is the additional basis on which the image of the arrow and drawn bow has been chosen to represent Schema 5, the Schema of Adaptation.8

Figure 5 Teilhardian Triangle of Synthesis

The triangle of synthesis, as a symbol, embodies the idea of qualitative change, adaptation, creativity and liberation. Especially important in the selection of the bow-and-arrow image for Schema 5 is the fact that the drawn bow expresses dynamic tension or potential force, which is coordinate with the active character of the first defining function. With these ideas in mind, a triangle of synthesis (Fig. 6) may be drawn in relation to Schema 3 and Schema 5.

Figure 6 Schema 3 as Triangle

Because there are four factors in these representations of synthesis, an alternative diagrammatic form is the cross (Fig. 7). This is the reason for the use of crosses to represent the Analogy of Patterning in the case of Schema 4. In the configuration of Schema 4 the central cross corresponds to the fourfold up-down right-left arrangement shown in the diagram of complementarity (Schema 3). For example, in Schema 3 the culminating function is on the right, corresponding to the position and symbolic meaning of the number 4 in Fig. 7. Because of this diagrammatic relation between the cross and the triangle as representations of synthesis, the Schema of Analogy may also be represented using triangles, as shown on the following page (Fig. 8). In this case the fourth factor is understood to occupy the centers of the triangles.

Figure 7 Cross Representation of Synthesis

10

In esoteric treatises and in eastern religio-philosophical traditions, variations of Schema 4 and Figure 8 can be seen repeatedly, using both geometric forms and representations using other symbolic images to represent a dynamic relation of opposites . These are termed mandalas. In western transactional thought, the same logic is regularly used but without distillation of the underlying concept in diagrammatic or fanciful symbolic form. For example, in Kants Critique of Pure Reason we find the list of four categories of pure reason, each of which has a triple expression. This appears in his Table of Categories. The Kantian structure below matches that of the alternative view of Schema 4 shown in Figure 8. Here we encounter the contents specific to the Kantian system.9
Figure 8 Alternative Schema 4

Of Quality Reality Negation Limitation

Of Relation Inherence & Subsistence Causality & Dependence Community (Reciprocity)

Of Modality Possibility Impossibility Existence Non-existence Necessity Contingency

Of Quantity Unity Plurality Totality

Kants Table of Categories

11

Regarding the triple (i.e. triangular) structure attending each category, Kant makes the following comment: For the combination of the first and second concepts, in order that the third may be produced, requires a special act of the understanding. That act is synthesis, which is for Kant the fundamental creative act of the understanding. Thus in the Kantian case, the third listed factor is actually the fourth, which is the result of the creative act, as illustrated in Fig. 9. Kant is dealing only with questions regarding the possibility of knowledge in a pre-existing conscious knowing self having the capacity for understanding and judgement. Because his work is pre-Darwin, concerns regarding a Figure 9 possible developmental origin of consciousness are not Kantian Synthesis, present. For similar reasons Kant is not here concerned with Category of Quantity issues of biology or any relation between the continuity of animal behavior and the continuity of human consciousness. Thus although there are non-dualistic and transactional aspects to Kants construction, the developmental schemata (schema 1 and 2) do not appear in any obvious way in Kant. One of the rare cases in western texts where diagrams occur showing the unconscious influence of the transactional logic of development is to be found in the theoretical edifice set forth by biologist Rupert Sheldrake. Among the few diagrams he uses to illustrate this concept is that shown at the left in Fig. 10 below.

12

Sheldrake refers to his position regarding the development of organic forms as organismic and states that according to the organismic theory, systems or organisms are hierarchically arranged at all levels of complexity.10 On the right of the figure is an analysis in terms of the underlying logic involving the Analogy of Patterning. This figure should be compared with Diagrams 2, 6, 4 and Fig. 8 above. Sheldrake represents the analogous relation between the levels of complexity by a triangular pattern (three circles arranged as triangles), but this is evidently an unconscious choice. Sheldrake calls each successive structure a morphic unit Any morphic unit may serve as a morphogenetic germ around which a more complex unit may form. Each more complex unit is related to the morphogenetic germ by similarity of form, i.e. by analogy of pattern. However for Sheldrake, forms are analogous because of their structure, not because of a common dynamic. Using the formal transactional model as a standard, we would say that on this basis Sheldrakes construction fails to conform to the model. Nevertheless, Sheldrakes morphogenetic germ for any given developmental series serves approximately as a first defining function and his model invokes increase in complexity combined with association by analogy. 4. Possible Cosmological Implications In general, the transactional model of development as it occurs over historical time and across cultures tends to be occupied with describing the relation between matter, consciousness, and spirit. That is to say, it often takes the form of a cosmological thesis relating the physical universe to the universe of mind. An example of this is to be found in the doctrine of the evolution of spirit from matter in relation to Akasha, Space, as shown in this transactional analysis (Diagram 7).11

13

In this cosmological system the role of the first defining function is the initial manifestation of prana or universal rhythm also translated as breath. This is the originating dynamic of development, parallel to the concept of soul (anima = breath) in Aristotles system. Here the progressive syntheses are represented as the movement of psychic energy or kundalini, through the functions by reconciliation of opposing channels by means of a third (sushumna). Diagram 8 below shows the same system under Schema 2.

14

The evolving functions in Diagrams 7 and 8 are the chakras, or psychic centers. The diagrams also relate the chakra sequence to the sequence of skandhas, or five aggregates of consciousness, and the elements associated with them in this system of symbolism.12 In Diagram 8, we see the triangles of synthesis where the opposing channels of energy are symbolically represented as solar and lunar. The geometric symbols on the right side are associated with each element but are not images of synthesis. However the triangles of synthesis are implicate in this sequence also: not shown are the yab-yum (male-female embrace) images of synthesis that are associated in this system with each of the meditation buddhas named there (Aksobhya, Ratna-Sambhava, etc.). It is of considerable interest now to compare this eastern cosmological system with the developmental system of Teilhard. The governing ideas of the Teilhardian concept include the following: All energy in the universe is ultimately psychic energy. This fundamental energy has two aspects, tangential and radial. These two aspects of energy refer respectively to the without which is the subject of study by the physical sciences, and the within which represents the various manifestations of consciousness at all levels of existence. The fundamental category of psychic energy is an energy in which consciousness and matter are undifferentiated.13 (See also Fig. 5.) Diagram 9 is an analysis of the Teilhardian system in terms of Schema 1.

Teilhards radial energy is defined as the energy of centreity, that is, energy that draws material complexity toward a center or unification of form and action. The ideas of functional relationship and telic organization are embodied in this concept. Drawing toward a center is quite clearly comparable to synthesis, where the fourth factor is the unified result corresponding to the within. In the Akasha diagram, the corresponding factor is that of prana, having its first manifestation in the muladhara (root) chakra, whose principle of energy is the triangle of synthesis as shown in Diagram 8. At the level of the first defining function, under the influence of radial energy, Teilhard most remarkably places the force of gravity.14 The very provocative suggestion is that gravitational force is the 15

first form of synthesis and the originating dynamic of evolutionary development. In Diagrams 7 and 8 the sequence of functions begins later than that in Diagram 9. The position of the muladhara chakra would correspond more closely to that of the Biosphere in the Teilhard system. If physics were to accomplish the long-sought for ideal of a unified field theory in which gravitational force is unified with the other three forces of the universe (strong, weak and electromagnetic), the implication would be that the unified forces embody both radial and tangential energy, and are therefore initiating factors of synthesis leading eventually to the evolution of life and mind.15 5. Synthesis, Continuity and Teleology Synthesis, by its very definition, is an absolute denial of any form of substance-dualism. It follows, then, that the initiating and governing dynamic of any non-dualistic developmental system is synthesis, or unification of opposites. Images of synthesis (e.g. by triangle, cross, metaphor, and explicit discourse) are a constant factor in the transactional model of development regardless of the differing contents arranged according to the model in this or that philosophical system. This identifies the model as fundamentally nondualistic. That this is a common trait of certain western, eastern and esoteric systems has been shown in previous research.16 What is left to consider is whether, because the logic underlying this model appears to derive from some archetypal influence emerging in the psyches of various individuals and cultures over millennia, there may be a veridical component. A detailed discussion of this possibility is not to be attempted in this summary paper but I will conclude with a few hopefully relevant observations. A key factor in the logic of the developmental model is that of continuity. The functions which follow one another in a time-series (Schema 1) do not disappear into the past one after another as the series progresses, but are retained in such a way that the functional characteristics of all the stages are potentially available simultaneously in the maturity of the sequence. (Schemata 2 & 3). According to the model, what accomplishes this association, which is temporal continuity, is a process: the process of synthesis as expressed by the analogy of patterning (Schema 4). The developmental model therefore asserts a time-conception different from the concept of time as a series of discrete moments, following each of which all preceding moments are lost in the past. It is suggestive of a postDarwinian concept of biological time, in contrast to a Newtonian concept of absolute space and time in which each increment must have its own irretrievably separate and unique location. With regard to a full cosmological developmental sequence such as that shown in Diagrams 7, 8 and 9, which proceeds from matter to mind, what is represented by the combined five schemata might perhaps be represented as shown in Figure 11. Within the model continuity is expressed in two modes or aspects: the first is temporal continuity, by means of which past functions are incorporated into the ongoing present (Schema 1 & 2); the second is Figure 11 functional continuity, by means of which contemporaneous functions are Cosmological Triangle unified by complementarity (Schema 3 & 4). The assertion of temporal continuity is embodied in the summarizing principles I have associated with the first two schemata: Functions develop serially, and Serially developed functions reach pro16

gressively higher. It is an outcome of these two that functional complementarity arises: Serial/Hierarchical movement yields a polar system of complementary functions.17 The effect of these two modes of continuity, which are fundamentally expressions of synthesis, is teleology: the temporal sequence is given direction, while functional complementarity provides what Teilhard calls centreity, or motivation to maintain a center, with its implication of adaptive behavior. The above considerations impact the concept of memory. If time is a series of discrete instants that disappear into the past as soon as they occur, then the only way we have memory of past events is through impressions made upon some sort of physical recording of the events carried into the present. This is the basis for the memory trace theory according to which events in our past are encoded e.g. into brain cells, to be called up as memories when required. But it has been convincingly argued that this theory requires an infinite regress of such recallings and leads to logical absurdities.18 The theory maintains itself in the popular mind and in scientific dogma despite its faults, however, because of the fixed idea of time as an evanescent series of incidents lost in the past immediately upon their occurrence. If however the concept of continuity suggested by the transactional model of development is correct, a different view of memory in which the past and the present are continually in a kind of transactional relationship is the result. The general empirical category that would be applicable in this connection is the category of behavior. Living things are capable of engaging in activities that are not unrelated but instead occur in a series oriented toward some result. Behavior in this sense is a constant process of remembrance without having to remember what was just remembered in an infinite regress. Dewey refers to this character of the living organism as not a mere succession but a series. As long as life continues, its processes are such as continuously to maintain and restore the enduring relationship which is characteristic of the life-activities of a given organism. Each particular activity prepares the way for the activity that follows. These form not a mere succession but a series....living may be regarded as a continual rhythm of disequilibrations and recoveries of equilibrium. 19 On this premise memory or remembrance is inherent in the manifestation of organic life at whatever level. It is inherent in behavior itself, not just in those self-conscious moments of articulated thought which we as humans, possessing language, focus on as acts of remembering. The difference between merely bringing up one memory after another as isolated or disconnected occurrences, and remembrance as involved in carrying out a course of behavior, is crucial to Kants discussion of the unity of consciousness in the Critique of Pure Reason. Robert Paul Wolf puts the issue succinctly: If I kept forgetting the last representation of the manifold every time I came to a new one in the temporal order, I would not be thinking them together in one consciousness. There would be merely a succession of unitary and disjoint apprehensions, not a unity.20 This issue has often been put in terms of simple actions, such as that of counting. When one counts a series of objects, let us say for example four tennis balls, looking at the first and saying one, then looking at another and saying two is not even a case of counting unless upon saying two there is (a) an awareness of having just previously said one, and (b) knowing that this is a step in carrying forward a course of action 17

governed by a rule: the rule of counting with its aim of arriving at a sum. This process requires continuity of behavior and is inherently an expression of teleological being. The transactional model of development as represented above argues for a particular organizational scheme applied to the development of functions, that is to say stages of development of organisms, increasing capacities for actions, and levels of mental or spiritual accomplishment. Following the suggestion just made regarding memory and the concept of time, it seems that the model may be applied as well to the general category of behavior at any level of complexity. In applying the model to individual actions in carrying out a course of behavior, it becomes evident that restriction of the concept of development to Schema One is a severe limitation. Schema Two must be taken into consideration. Schemata Three, Four and Five are implicit in the first two taken together. Thus one might represent an action such as counting a set of four objects in the following manner, which is in effect a combination of Schemata One and Two (Diagram 10).

The overlaying structure represented here by the overlapping (interpenetrating) channels is understood in terms of the model as a result of a continuing process of synthesis in which each stage includes and builds from the earlier stages according to a rule.21 Such a model must view the progression of time as cumulative and telic in character rather than consisting of a sequence of discrete and disconnected, thus fleeting and purposeless, moments. We might call this individual act of counting a microcosm of behavior, because it is enmeshed in a larger more complex system of organic and mental functions that constitutes the total functioning individual and may extend beyond the individual to the communicative environment within which the individual behaves.22 Thus one may later on remember that there are four tennis balls in the box, not because he or 18

she must retrieve some sort of stored data image from the brain, but simply because the totaling of the tennis balls has become an ongoing functioning element of the individual consciousness and is continually available for expanding and enriching the range of behavior.23 The brain may have a role to play in this capability, because it is an organ of the total behaving system, but the brain must work in transaction with the organs and actions of the entire body as well as with the demands of the physical, social and cultural environment. Finally, the potential for adaptation and freedom is inherent in the process of synthesis and is expressed in Schema 5, whose principle is: continuity generates infinite potential. It may be, then, that this process itself is the source of our experience of time and freedom. 6. Synthesis, Experience and Aesthetics What has not been addressed above in any detail is the question of the nature of synthesis. It has been roughly described as a process, as the reconciliation of opposites, and as some form of activity. Kant did not speak of synthesis as a biological function but only as an action performed by an unexplained, but inferred, faculty of the mind. Rather than explaining the source of synthesis, this amounts simply to pointing at the fact of synthesis, seen as a necessary way of speaking about what happens when, e.g., one conceptualizes, makes judgments or, as in the example of Fig. 10, performs actions involving overlay of memory; that is to say it is a necessary presupposition when accounting for continuity of thought and behavior. To make the point, synthesis is a necessary and sufficient condition for continuity. A universe without synthesis (and therefore without continuity) would be a mechanism. From this perspective we would have to conclude that attempts at mechanistic reductionism to account for the characteristics of living organisms are doomed to failure because of the absence of the factor of synthesis and its associated characteristics of continuity and teleology. Features of the above summary discussion, and of the related papers previously mentioned, bear on the issue of the nature of synthesis.24 The Aristotelian case is similar to that of Kant, in that it is the faculties of nutrition, sensation and thinking that bring about the synthesis of like with unlike. But in Aristotles case nutrition, and perhaps sensation as well, may include biological rather than only mental activity. Teilhards division of the fundamental unified energy of the universe into two aspects, one tangential and the other radial, would indicate that radial energy is the energy of synthesis (Diagram 9). In this respect Teilhards provocative identification of gravitation as the first defining function of radial energy argues for gravitation as the first form of synthesis, giving synthesis a cosmological interpretation that argues against a mechanistic conception of the physical universe. In this connection one is compelled to note the relation between the idea of gravity as an elemental form of synthesis and Aristotles compelling metaphor for synthesis as taking a stand. 25 With gravitation, the curvature of material upon itself toward the development and persistence of structural forms constitutes a kind of taking a stand against the dissipation of matter that would otherwise result. In a mechanistic universe nothing takes a stand. There is no teleological factor and hence no action ever, to the very end of time, may have a point (assuming that time in any meaningful sense would even exist) 26 In a more familiar context, Deweys assertion of activities of search and exploration in a hierarchy of levels (See Fig. 3 and Diagram 6) suggests that synthesis is brought about not by the operation of some mysterious intellectual faculty but by activities of engagement with the natural world on the part of organisms, even to the level of conceptualization and judgment. However any such activity in its very nature 19

is already a manifestation of synthesis because of the necessary qualities of continuity and teleology that anything like search and exploration must require. On the other hand, we have in the esoteric models a presentation of synthesis as essentially a mode of concentration as required in the process of meditative exercise aimed, for example, at engaging the third force or kundalini (Diagram 8). Although in the heavily symbolic and esoteric contexts in which these concepts occur concentration is often misunderstood as strictly a mental exercise, in fact there are many forms of meditative concentration seen as spiritual exercise that are actions in the world rather than contemplative withdrawal. Restrictions of behavior and austerities are modes of focus and concentration as well as silent internal processes. In a wider sense of meditative concentration, active processes such as search and exploration all the way up to persistent focus on a problem including the carrying out of scientific inquiry may be understood as meditative practices and hence embodiments of synthesis.27 What we are returned to by this consideration is again the wider concept of continuity and what is associated with continuity, namely teleology. Focusing requires continual returning to a point of desire. (It is a premise of yoga that intense desire for union with the goal is a condition for advancement. There must be a great love for the aim. In the Rig-Veda we read Thereafter rose desire in the beginning: desire, the seed and germ of spirit.)28 The upshot of this is that we try in vain to locate synthesis as some form of process to be accessed, externally or internally, as a tool. The existence of any tool presupposes continuity and thereby synthesis. We are brought to a simple and inevitable conclusion: Synthesis is Experience. A disembodied brain, or a computer, or for that matter a stone, has no experience. But a bee, or a snake, or a bird in flight, or ourselves, must have experience, because these things engage time so as to allow continuity of behavior. There are, however, according to the transactional model of development, levels of Experience. The critical change in level as far as human experience is concerned is the advent of language. There are clearly linguistic behaviors among life-forms other than human. Biological research is discovering an increasing number of communicative activities across a wide range of animal interactions. Nevertheless the human level of linguistic complexity represents a major transition in the developmental sequence.29 It is here that two outstanding characteristics of human experience appear to me to be significant developmental ramifications of the action of synthesis that is to say, ramifications of Experience. These two are aesthetics and empathy, along with their correlate, ethics. Prana, the first defining function in Diagram 7, is universal rhythm exemplified at a physical level by breath. The experience of rhythm requires synthesis in exactly the same way as counting to four requires synthesis. Two pulses only form a rhythm when the second pulse is brought into organization with the first according to a rule. The same applies to the experience of melody. Two tones heard one after another are a portion of a melody only in a context of antecedents and expectations. To imagine that in order to experience a melody, upon hearing the second of two tones this activates a stored memory of the previous tone, and so on with each subsequently heard tone, in such a way as to yield melody, is absurd. Among other features of this absurdity is that no subsequent tone would be heard as the conclusion of the melodic line. Furthermore there is nothing inherent in, say, C# that necessarily dictates calling up the memory of B, or E, or any other note in particular.30 Temporal continuity as exemplified by our experience of music has been compellingly represented by philosopher Victor Zuckerkandl: True time is not the succession of instants that rise out of the future and descend into the past; true time is a duration that, however, never stands still, survival of the no-longerexistent in the existent, growth of the existent by constant addition of the not-yet-existent, continuous 20

process. 31 What these considerations very strongly suggest, in my view, is that synthesis lies at the heart of aesthetic experience, where relationships and rhythms may present new potential for enhanced modes of experience. I would wish to argue that aesthetics and ethics are related in this potential; and that because all of experience is a mode of synthesis, within the deepest centers of human consciousness lies the ecstasy of unity. But that remains for another discussion.
Original drafts 1970-1980 This revision Jan. 3, 2010

ENDNOTES 1. The required analyses are carried out in a number of unpublished papers. A portion of the background research is in the two papers The Transactional Developmental Model: Part One and The Transactional Developmental Model: Part Twofound at http://www.stanmcdaniel.com/pubs/development/development.html. 2. For example, in the eastern system of the five, or seven, chakras, the chakras clearly play the role of functions
distributed sequentially and hierarchically..

3. In a separate paper, Form of Life, I analyze the concept of a life-form as a structural/dynamic unity in relation
to a telos or rule. (Location cited in endnote 1).

4. Govinda, Lama Anagarika, Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism, Samuel Weiser N.Y. 1974, pp. 23-24. 5. Teilhard Pierre, Op. cit., page 231. also Govinda, op. cit., ...there must be an infinite series of dimensions in
the same way each further extension of our spiritual horizon hints at new, undreamt of dimensions. (p. 200.)

6. Sadhu, Mouni, The Tarot. George Allen & Unwin, 1962. 7. The expression of views on the part of Dewey and Aristotle as triangles of synthesis is explained in the papers
referenced in endnote 1.

8. Teilhard, Pierre (de Chardin), The Phenomenon of Man. Harper Torchbooks, 1959, pp. 60-66. 9. Kant, I., Critique of Pure Reason, Trans. N. K. Smith. MacMillan & Co., London, 1961, p. 113 (B106). I have
rearranged the order to correspond more closely to Diagram 3 and Fig. 7, and added the cross for obvious reasons.

10. Sheldrake, Rupert, A New Science of Life. Icon Books, Third Edition 2009, p. 95. Figure 10 is based on a diagram in his book The Presence of the Past, Vintage Books, 1988, page 95. 11. See also the discussion of Chakric Systems in Part Two, section 3 of The Transactional Developmental Model referenced in endnote 1. 12. This and the following diagram are taken from a more detailed analysis in a separate paper. The material on the right side of Diagram 8 is not discussed here. Cf. Also Govinda, Op. cit., pp. 137-154. 21

13. See OManique, John, Energy in Evolution, Humanities Press N.Y. 1969, pp. 44-45 (a study of Teilhards concept of Hyperphysics). The concept of Psychic Energy here bears a strong resemblance both to the notion of Akasha (Diagrams 7 & 8 ) and The Void or Sunyata in Buddhist thought 14. Teilhard, Pierre, Activation of Energy, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, N.Y. 1963, p. 168. 15. A recent study indicates that lifeless proteins called prions, which have neither DNA nor RNA, are capable of evolutionary change. Cf. http://www.physorg.com/news181466564.html 16. See note 1. 17. The text here describes the logic of the model. It is not making independent factual claims about the nature of
reality. We are analyzing the structure of the model. It is important not to misunderstand the procedure.

18. Cf. Braude, Stephen E., Memory Without a Trace, European Journal of Parapsychology, Vol. 21.2 Special Issue, pp. 182-202. 19. Dewey, John, Logic: The Theory of Inquiry, Henry Holt, 1938, p. 27. 20. Wolff, Robert Paul, Kants Theory of Mental Activity, Peter Smith, 1973, p. 128. 21. Cf. The Transactional Developmental Model: Part Two, Section 5, Dynamic Networks (Endnote 1). Also see Wolff, op. cit., pp. 129-130. 22. If mind or consciousness is localized not wholly within the body but includes a portion of the environment, as some have recently proposed, then the locus of remembrance may be thought of as inhering in such a field rather than as encoded in the brain. Cf. Rockwell, W. T., Neither Brain nor Ghost, MIT Press, 2005, Ch. 6. 23. Ibid., discussion of The Return on pages 5-6. 24. See note 1. 25. Cf. section 3 of The Transactional Developmental Model: Part One (ref. Endnote 1). 26. The focus of attention in physics presently is the search for the Higgs Boson and the Higgs Field, thought to confer mass (and hence gravitation) on elementary particles. Regarding teleology and having a point cf. my paper Form of Life at http://www.stanmcdaniel.com/pubs/development/development.html. 27. In the historical contexts within which esoteric and yogic practices were developed, the concept of powers
associated with such practices may have been the result of the contrast between a specially trained class of individuals (and the institutions for their training) and the general population. Reading and writing were, for centuries, seen as evidence of special powers and as the property of a specially trained class of individuals.

28. Cf. my text Yogasayings aphorisms 74 - 78 (available privately as an e-book). 29. Cf. sections 1 & 2 of The Transactional Developmental Model: Part One (ref. Endnote 1).

22

30. Cf. Braude, Stephen E., Memory Without a Trace, European Journal of Parapsychology, Volume 21.2, Special Issue, pages 182202 ISSN: 0168-7263. 31. Zuckerkandl, Victor, Sound and Symbol: Music and the External World, Princeton University Press, Bollingen
Series, 1956, paperback edition 1973, p. 243. Zuckerkandl cites Bergsons view of time as the result of analyses of psychological and biological processes.

23