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Johnboy January 30, 2012 at 3:10 pm # Wilbers integral approach could be improved by becoming even more integral, I think.

Epistemologically, when we transcend but include all quadrants [AQ] and all levels [AL], it would be best to do that at all times [AT]. And by time I mean kairos not chronos, which is to say not at every moment in time, temporally, but every time we fully realize a value, axiologically. This distinction is subtle but important. What it means is that a truly integral interplay of quadrants and levels is required for all optimal human value realizations. No quadrant or level, alone, is sufficient and all are necessary for every significant value realization. Wilber, contrastingly, tells us that there are different realms of knowledge and different modes of knowing, each realm or mode both necessary and sufficient for yielding valid knowledge. Thats not true integrality, just a mere inclusivity. Ill provide an example. We could divide human knowledge up into 4 methods or types of questions: 1) descriptive What is that? 2) evaluative Whats that to us? 3) normative Whats the best way to acquire (or avoid) that? 4) interpretive How do we tie all of this back together (re-ligate)? Each method is distinct, hence autonomous. But all are necessary to complete the picture and fully realize a value. We could say, then, that these questions (probes) are methodologicallyautonomous but axiologically-integral. We might more broadly conceive the descriptive as our sciences, the evaluative as our cultures, the normative as our philosophies and the interpretive as our great traditions. We could describe their integral relationship thus: The normative mediates between the descriptive and the interpretive to effect the evaluative. Whats the difference? Without this important nuance, religion can claim a special gnosis not just interpreting reality, but describing reality. This isnt new; its fideism. Science, for its part, would not only describe but also interpret reality, which is not a new conflation but a tired old scientism. Theyre suggesting, then, that each of these these different methods are both methodologically and axiologically autonomous. The nondual, epistemically, entails the robustly relational aspect of human value-realization. It describes the enjoyment of fellowship, of simple awareness. It goes beyond our dualistic problem-solving epistemic suite (empirical, logical, practical, moral, etc) but not without it. For example, we could conceive of a nondual value-realization in terms of a spousal mysticism, which is caught up in the throes of ecstasy with our Bride (lets not be coy, were talking about knowledge OF in the Biblical sense). Sticking with that 1

particular example of the nondual, one dualistic value-added contribution might be realized in terms of some knowledge ABOUT our love-partner; for example, we could suggest that that knowledge about our love-partner came about as we determined beforehand that it was not, rather, our wifes identical twin sister to whom we were going to be making love (persistent & seductive as she had been over the years, the little devil). Ill return with a few comments on the nondual from an ontological perspective. Reply Johnboy January 30, 2012 at 4:47 pm # As we consider the nondual realizations of the East, we must be clear in distinguishing between epistemology (how do we know what we know?) and ontology (whats the basic stuff of reality?). The nondual realization, itself, speaks to neither epistemology nor ontology but, instead, of an ineffable phenomenal experience (which characteristically leaves one with little of which to effable). The take-away is practical more so than theoretical, existential more so than metaphysical and conveys a sense of radical solidarity, which then produces the fruit of an immense compassion. If you meet the metaphysical Buddha on the road, kill her, I say. The West has a tendency to process Eastern experiences through metaphysical lenses. Now, the nondual experience does arise in the context of practices, which are epistemically fraught. But those practices have implications much more so dealing with how it is we SEE reality and much less so dealing with how it is we PROCESS reality. Those practices gift us with perceptual purity and conceptual clarity but do not otherwise involve conceptual map-making. They help us fruitfully engage our participatory imaginations (or hometown knowledge that skillset that gets us around town while meeting our needs with great ease but which may not, with equal facility, otherwise allow us to provide an out-of-towner with a clear set of directions to this or that destination, notwithstanding our own long familiarity with same). Wilbers nondual theology/theodicy has undeniable ontological implications and its no better (really worse in some ways) than many other onto-theology projects, as I see it. The chief problem that I have with mixing metaphysics and theology is that we come off proving too much, saying more than we can possibly know, telling untellable stories. Thats not living with paradox; its trying to banish mystery because we cannot bear the anxiety of realitys ambivalence toward us and ambiguity for us. Dont get me wrong; I say we should let a thousand metaphysical blossoms bloom. But their value-added take-away is in framing up our most pressing questions and most insistent longings, orienting us existentially to Whomever it is that might answer them -not academically & theoretically with formulaic answers, but relationally & compassionately 2

with a consoling Presence. So, of course, we will have our sneaking suspicions metaphysically but we best leave them in the form of vague questions and not definitive answers (even those answers conveyed allegorically): 1) How can the Creator interact with creatures if we do not together participate in some type of Divine Matrix of the same STUFF (forget the root metaphors: being, substance, process, experience, etc)? The placemarker I use for this question is intra-objective identity. 2) How is it that the Creator and creatures dance together in an inter-subjective intimacy? 3) How can each of us best grow integrally with intrasubjective integrity? 4) If there is something wholly transcendent, ontologically, certainly, we cannot successfully DESCRIBE it (even though we might successfully REFER to it) due to its inter-objective indeterminacy? Now, there is truly something to Moltmanns tzitzum and Simone Weils divine delimitation and the Kabbalistic shrinking of God that also appeals to me in Wilbers creation theology/theodicy. But we can improve this account, I believe, with a healthy dose of apophatic theology, such as can be found in Robert Cummings Nevilles approach to the One (indeterminate) & the Many (determinate vis a vis the act of creation). Theodicy problems arise from the presumption that we know more about Gods essential nature/divine attributes than we could possibly know, especially vis a vis Her supposed moral character (a truly anthropomorphic move). The problem of human suffering, even when supposedly dismissed on theoretical grounds, will always perdure practically. Even a workable academic solution will not ever be existentially satisfying? In the end, most come across as cruel, anyway? Ultimately, we just do not know WHY things are wrong or exactly HOW they will be set right but can only live our lives with hope because of WHO it is who told us THAT everything will be alright? Finally, there is nothing magical about preserving paradox. We do not know ahead of time (a priori), in any given encounter of paradox, which we can 1) dissolve via a paradigm shift 2) resolve via some Hegelian dialectic 3) evade for all practical purposes 4) exploit by maintaining its creative tensions. This is to make the point that some dualistic realities are not illusory but real (good and evil) and, while we may not be able to satisfactorily account for their origin, theoretically, we definitely must approach them with the practical goal of evading them (through more than denial or wishful thinking). Even though explicitly asked, neither the Buddha nor Jesus satisfied our theodicy questions, 3

theoretically, but they did both offer practical prescriptions grounded in a new way of looking at reality: nondually. This assertion invites much nuance but