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INTEGRAL WORLD: EXPLORING THEORIES OF EVERYTHING
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Publication dates of essays (month/year) can be found under "Essays".
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is 34 and lives in Odessa, Ukraine. He's got two high degrees in mathematics and psychology from Odessa State University where he has learned and worked. He's currently employed in high technologies and communications. For over the last 20 years he has studied and practiced mysticism. For a certain period of time he has traveled in India, Nepal, Tibet where he studied Buddhism and Advaita-Vedanta. He is founder and co-editor of the portal www.integralportal.ru
on the AQAL 2.0 article
Mainly about logical contradictions
of AQAL in more simple words
- Holons and Quadrants
- The Big Three
- The Objectivity Problem
- Correction of the Integral Methodological Pluralism
- Premises of Phase-6 and IMP 2.0
Holons and Quadrants
To begin with, let's ask ourselves a simple question. The 4 quadrants of AQAL reflect the interior, exterior, individual and collective aspects of WHAT? At first blush the question is quite simple. Of course, they reflect the aspects of us, of people. But then what is the Kosmic address of such human? As a view point do we specify all 4 perspectives or a particular one? Or a human being doesn't have his own address in Kosmos and is not capable to watch himself? The question is not that simple, as it seems at first.
Let's see a simple example, which is the one with apples. We are going to examine at greater length the relation of the metaphors interior/exterior and individual/collective. You want to pay your attention that interior/exterior expresses two aspects of the implied whole, while individual/collective expresses the relation of the implied whole to the group of the same wholes. In other words, the first pair is a dividing metaphor, and the second one is a multiplying metaphor. We cut something along one axis and we sew something together along the other. Isn't that amusing? For better illustrating of these relations look at the picture below. It reflects this notion precisely.
What wholeness do we get summing up the parts? That's right, - none. At the best, it's a basket of apples and seeds. With all the banality of this picture it reflects the principal problem of the AQAL quadrants – their non-coordination between themselves. In this case I see only one object that the quadrants reflect its interior/exterior and individual/collective. And this object – apple - represents the sum of two upper quadrants. It doesn't belong to a specific quadrant, but it's not the sum of all 4 quadrants as well.
Apple is wholeness. What's the problem then? The problem is that it is inappropriate to consider the characteristics of the left quadrants by the example of metaphors of the right quadrants, i.e. proceeding from the material thinking. But that's what exactly happens when we use the interior/exterior metaphors. I would rather agree that consciousness is a receptacle of body than the other way around, and that would be much much more correct. But who has the right to decide what includes what, body includes consciousness or consciousness does body (i.e. who is right, idealists or materialists)? We are not going to solve this senseless question. But we'll just refuse this pair of characteristics.
It's getting even more interesting then. Talking about individual and collective what exactly do we mean by that? If you really think about it, it appears that nothing in the lower quadrants is a plural of anything in the upper quadrants. Can we range the holons of UL and LL quadrants by any characteristic? Never! Each quadrant has only its own type of holons and its artifacts. These are irreducible categories with different languages and reliability criteria, as pointed out by Wilber. As I already indicated in the first article, the categories of part/whole can be marked out only within one certain quadrant. But it is worth touching upon this issue a little once again.
An individual holon of any quadrant is comprised of that he excelled and included. Organisms consist of cells, which consist of molecules, which consist of atoms and so on. We cannot say that organisms consist of consciousnesses and cultures. Similarly, Wilber spent quite a lot of time explaining that social holons do not consist of individual holons, but they consist of the excelled and included levels of the very social holons. A holarchy can be formed only within a specific quadrant! Otherwise, it will come to nothing. This is a simple task to examine. It is impossible to range the objects that have 4 types of irreducible characteristics. It is the same as to compare meters with kilograms. And so, since there are no holarchies outside the quadrants, then there are no holons there as well, by definition.
How can it be proven that atoms, molecules and other holons seen in UR quadrant have UL or LL dimensions? I also really want to believe very much that atoms have their types of consciousness, but post-metaphysics requires refusing from such statements, because this cannot be empirically established. The good news is that we can easily manage without these statements. Post-metaphysics is a new level of thinking and understanding and AQAL 2.0 demonstrates how everything seamlessly agrees.
So, we found that with all clearness (at first blush) of the relations between the quadrants, like interior/exterior and individual/collective, we cannot keep these characteristics, since they are not reliable from post-metaphysical point of view. No holon of one quadrant reveals the whole/part relations with holons of other quadrants. There are no methodologically justified methods to establish this fact. These are just stereotypes, illusions, which we shouldn't be afraid to refuse.
But the quadrants are somehow connected with each other? Of course, it cannot be otherwise. Existence of this connection is what we cognize from our direct experience. My Self has 2 types of relations with other quadrants – it is connected with organism and culture. As culture as organism, as even self are relatively autonomous holons in their quadrants. Each of them represents a wholeness that includes smaller holons in the same quadrants. They are structurally open and organizationally closed. The relations of self, culture and organism form in the following way. I(Self) perceive the world through my organism, which I can manage as whole. And I perceive the world through culture, which I can manage as a part of whole. In other words, my self has a correlate in UR quadrant and another one in LL quadrant.
This is one of the facts that cannot possibly be proven, and it doesn't need to. Every person has individual experience managing his organism and every person is capable to understand another person, or a cultural resonance. The nature of connections between the quadrants is out of cognition. We can only detect their presence and take advantage of the given potential.
Yet, it's interesting why it seems to us that LL quadrant represents the collective form of the UL quadrant. That's where the notion of WILL, without which any philosophical system cannot do, comes in the forefront. Will is exactly the ONE key element of UL quadrant, which is represented in plural in LL and UR quadrants. Indeed, as holons neither organism nor culture are managed entirely by our will. We depend a lot on the processes in our organism, and with all the progress in medicine we have the slightest idea about the diversity of connections and relations inside it. We also depend a lot on culture, in which we grew up and we are. Most of people, bearing and spreading their culture, can hardly imagine how they can influence it.
But our will acts as in culture as in organism, just it happens in different ways. Self can manage the organism behavior as a whole. In the case of culture our will acts as only one voice out of many. There is a mutual influence in both cases. Self is formed by both culture and organism, and at the same time it can partially influence as culture as organism.
Such understanding of quadrants reflects the deep intrinsic meaning of the universe. Each individual holon in UL quadrant has a dependent to its individual will organism in UR quadrant and at same time it is only an ordinary culture participant in LL quadrant. Out of birthright each individual holon is both king and pawn, commander and subordinate, small prince and big nation at the same time. In individual kosmos each of us is the very universe for our atoms, while in collective Kosmos we are all only specks. At the same time if there is a wish all collective can be turned to the right direction by means of will. But your own organism can be lost if its components are not taken into account! That is what a dual horizontal binding of an individual in samsara is.
As pointed out by Maturana and Varela, a living organism is not an independent wholeness, but an infinite web consisting of different inserting levels, each of which is operated by its own law and organizational pattern. Living web is always structurally open and organizationally closed. The same can be said about culture. Our “I” is a part of the organizational pattern of culture and simultaneously “I” is a part of the organizational pattern of organism. And “I” is conditioned on both culture and organism at the same time.
The Big Three
With such approach we will also have to reconsider the names of the quadrants. Don't you find it strange that our own body belongs to the quadrant named “It”, and culture belongs to the quadrant named “We”? Is culture really more ours than organism? I don't think so. Both UR and LL quadrants are in a sense multiple forms of UL quadrant aspects, and our intention can well influence on both UR forms and behaviors and LL forms and behaviors.
By saying “I” most often we mean UL quadrant. “We” commonly is referred to LL quadrant. Since UR is managed by UL intention, it is logical to assume that it is right to name this quadrant also “We” (e.i. “I” and my body, atoms, cells and so on). However, talking about organism strange as it may seem we use the pronoun “I” (for example, “I go to work”). Indeed, why should we consider the will of atoms, cells, organs and so on, if they obey us implicitly anyway? A high degree of identification of consciousness with body results in our using the pronoun “I” when we talk about UR quadrant.
The UL intention can influence UR and LL quadrants; however it cannot influence the LR without their help. This quadrant is beyond our direct influence. It is possible only indirectly, through UR, LL and thinking. That's why we cannot witness from LR in any way; we can only point it out as IT. However, similarly we can specify any other quadrant. We can talk about emotions and feelings, language and ideas, physical sensations and our organism as about IT. So, the common spectrum of pronouns to point out to “other” (he, she, it, its) is located in all 4 quadrants!
But how to be with the perspectives of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd person after all? A whole decade Wilber has been criticized for the groundlessness of UR and LR turning into one 3rd person perspective. And there is a reason for that. How can the Big Three turn into 4 quadrants, if affirmatively none of the quadrants can be turned to another and each of them is described by a different language?
The problem is that pronouns came out from language, it is a linguistic product. But the quadrants resulted from experience. So it is not going to work if we just lay one on another. To clarify, language is an organizational form of cultural community and it is present only in three quadrants – UL, LL, LR. There is no speech in the UR quadrant, we are not communicating with our cells and organs by means of speech, we feel them – and that is another language. We cannot talk from LR quadrant as well, because our intentionality is not there. Thereby we can use language only from I (1st person) and from WE (2nd person).
Any object of any quadrant can stand for IT – self, culture, body or whatever you want. When I say: “I observe my thoughts”, I don't go beyond the UL quadrant. But this is a view of the 1st person at the 3rd person, and not the view of the 1st person at the 1st person, as Wilber points out.
“Using the shorthand of 1st person (for the inside in general) and 3rd person (for the outside in general), then introspection, lets say, which is a type of phenomenology (or zone #1activity), is when “I look into my mind” – or, I have a 1st person experience of my 1st person awareness, which we would write as 1-p x 1-p.”(IS, 40)
A serious linguistic error is obvious here. It is still not late to correct it though. Pronouns in language correspond to the 1st, 2nd or 3rd person in relation to speech act only. That's why UL quadrant can represent both 1st person (subject, I) and 3rd person (object, content of consciousness). 1st person is the one who is speaking, 2nd person is the addressee of talking, and 3rd person represents something that they speak about or somebody/something that is not involved in the speech act. And it doesn't mean at all that UL quadrant has the prerogative to be named 1st person and that everything spoken about can refer only to the right quadrants. In this case we have a shadow of the same false understanding about wholeness of I. Using the perspectives of 1st, 2nd and 3rd person to point out the perspectives (view points) is quite incorrect. And the criticism of laying the Big Three in the quadrants can be acknowledged as legitimate. To indicate the perspectives it is easier to use numbers of quadrants, or even better – numbers of methodology types.
The Objectivity Problem
Where are the perspectives of 1st, 2nd and 3rd person used and why did they appear in the theory at all? In “Integral Spirituality” Wilber uses the perspectives from 1st and 3rd person to specify the interior and exterior aspects of holons in all quadrants (2nd person is not used anywhere). But Wilber made an inaccuracy that was travelling through the entire book. He equates the interior and exterior view at a phenomenon to the subjective and objective. Although, earlier he defined the subjective and objective quite differently, that is consciousness and matter. As a result we get 2 completely different definitions of objectivity!
“Some of these features refer to subjective realities in you, some refer to objective realities out there in the world, and others refer to collective or communal realities shared with others.”(IS, 3-4)
We get a serious contradiction, because both the exterior view at UL and entire UR become objective at the same time (and we also get 2 new types of reality that are intersubjective and interobjective).
“But I can also approach this “I” from the outside, in a stance of an objective or “scientific” observer. I can do so in my own awareness (when I try to be “objective” about myself, or try to “see myself as others see me”)… The most famous of these scientific approaches to I-consciousness have included systems theory and structuralism.”(IS, 36)
“For example, in the Upper-Left quadrant (the interior of the individual), you find your own immediate thoughts, feelings, sensations, and so on... But if you look at your individual being from the outside, in the terms not of subjective awareness but objective science, you find neurotransmitters, a limbic system, the neocortex, cells, DNA and so on – all described in 3rd person objective terms (it and its). The Upper-Right quadrant is therefore what any individual event looks like from the outside.” (IS, 21)
This terminological but principled oversight is shown in the picture below, where we see the whole five different “objective” perspectives.
What meaning is right? Let's look up in the dictionary. We find the following meanings of the word “objectivity” in the explanatory dictionary of Ushakov:
- Objectivity – independent from human will and consciousness existence of world, objects, qualities and relations.
- Objectivity – perception of something without being influenced by prejudices and bias, a fair (just) attitude.
In other words, the right quadrants being independent from the consciousness correspond to the first meaning, and LL quadrant and collective agreement to the second meaning. Both meanings are acceptable. When Wilber talks about 1st, 2nd, 3rd person regarding quadrants, he means the first meaning. And when he describes the interior and exterior view in each quadrant, he means the second meaning. But those are different meanings! That's why it turns out that the 3rd person point of view on meditation is both (1) studies of neural impulses and (2) marking out the common stages of introspection at the same time.
What shall we do? Here what I think. Both definitions above are given through negation. That is something like – this can be anything you want, but NOT subjective. The first definition negates the subjectivity (UL) in favour of UR quadrant, while the second definition – in favour of LL quadrant. However, from the philosophical point of view of (post)modern there are no phenomena absolutely independent from human consciousness. Reality is not given from above, but at the same time it is not formed only by observing, as pointed out by some quantum physicists. As correctly noticed by Wilber:
“As for “pure physical objects” (or “sensorimotor objects”), they don't exist. The “physical world” is not a perception but an interpretation (or, we might say, the physical world is not a perception but a conceptual perception or “conperception”).” (IS, 260)
All this means that for purposes of a really integral theory none of these objectivity definitions reflects its correct meaning. That is when objectivity reflects intersubjectivity in relation to the established kosmic habit. We can all agree about the fact that the Earth is square, but that will not change its form. Somebody can sense geopathogenic zones, meet alien or see auras. But these things do not become objective phenomena without collective agreement.
Not only intersubjectivity by itself, not only belonging to the “exterior” world by itself doesn't make the phenomenon objective! Integral understanding of objectivity requires meeting both conditions simultaneously, or more exactly even three known to us conditions: injunctions, empirical data, collective confirmation. In other words, coming from the dictionary definition of objectivity, objectivity is validity! Whatever we read into validity notion then. (Here by the way we can see that objectivity always bears political shade and reflects interests of groups concerned.)
So, both understandings of objectivity used by Wilber (as a UR quadrant quality and 3rd person perspective) only partially reflect the real integral validity as a characteristic of objectivity. In addition, term “interobjective” also seems to be weird, because the difference between objectivity and interobjectivity is not clear. As a result, Wilber himself gives all the aces to criticized by him scientists determining their researches only as objective. Along with that he unfairly blames the right-side science for ignoring intersubjective truths. That seems preposterous for the latter, since collective agreement is the basis of science.
As we see, the perspective not only of right quadrants can be objective. Exterior aspect of a quadrant is objective only after social agreement. So I suggest to get rid of the terms subjective, intersubjective, objective and interobjective with regard to the quadrants and to leave objective/subjective pair solely for the description of any experience in any quadrant whether it satisfies or doesn't 3 criteria (strands) of validity. In this case the objective view at UL uncovers the truthfulness, at UR reveals the truth, at LL obtains justness, at LR reflects functional fit. Right away this solves lots of problems and discrepancies and it allows moving forward. Or Wilber clearly has to define the meaning that he actually puts into the word “objectivity” and to explain how it could yield the above-mentioned contradiction.
There is one more meaning in use of the term “objectivity”, that is absolute truth. However, no epistemology considers such context. And so, as a rule, it is not used in nowadays science and philosophy. There is one more ambiguity worth being paid attention to. It concerns the types of truths. In “The Eye of Spirit” Wilber writes:
«Each of these “four quadrants” in fact has its own validity claim [truthfulness, truth, justness, functional fit].» (SES)
But philosophy distinguishes two types of relative truth – objective and subjective. And that means that each quadrant includes 2 types of valid assertions, the one determined objectively (by 3 criteria of validity) and another one subjectively (by direct experience of observer). Both types of truth are significant and can be true. So we don't have right to refuse any of them. Our own experiences are not less real than the collective agreements in any way. Therefore, we have to take into account subjective and objective truthfulness in UL, subjective and objective truth in UR, subjective and objective justness in LL and subjective and objective functional fit in LR.
Correction of the Integral Methodological Pluralism
Vague definition of the term “objectivity” and methodological negligence results in inaccuracies in the IMP scheme above. Wilber writes:
“If you imagine any of the phenomena (or holons) in the various quadrants, you can look at them from their own inside or outside. This gives you 8 primordial perspectives – the inside and outside view of a holon in any of the 4 quadrants.” (IS, 34)
“The outside view is how it looks, the inside view is how it feels.” (IS, 154)
If that is the case then in zone 5 we have to put our own sensations just like we put understanding in zone 3. Similarly, we have to consider organism in zone 6 just like we have culture in zone 4. Because phenomenology and hermeneutics study structures of subject, and autopoiesis studies the systems properties on a par with system theory. In order to avoid methodological errors in each case we must point out more precisely the subject of study and research method. Now though, the scheme contains different views on different subjects of study and looks incongruous. The expression “view from inside” doesn't describe the subject of study. That's why it is confusing. Exploring “society from inside” can imply anything, from people's attitude to genetically modified products to cultural preferences regarding burial.
We have 4 types of holons in 4 quadrants: individual, organism, cultural and social. View from outside of these holons is a view of a subject on the holons of these quadrants. Then outside in 4 quadrants we have the following subjects of study: self, organism, culture, social system. View from inside of these holons is a view of a subject not on these holons, but on the structures of perception by means of which we detect the existence of these holons. Therefore, inside in 4 quadrants we have the following subjects of study: awareness, sensations, understanding, and thinking. As you can see those are completely different subjects. On the picture below a more correct version of IMP is shown:
This illustration can be with certainty characterized as the one that really reflects the interior and exterior aspects of phenomena (holons) in different quadrants, because in each case subjects and methods of study are clearly determined. These subjects come out from fundamental injunctions inherent in each individual and given to him during his own subjective experience. Distributing the Big Three in quadrants is also ungrounded here and it only confuses the reader. That's why it is better to decline it while examining IMP.
It is important to take into consideration that autopoiesis and similar system theories (cognitivistics, synergetics, chaos theory, complexity theory and so on), they all refer only to LR quadrant. In the current IMP version autopoiesis is used to describe the interior aspect simultaneously in UR and LR quadrants. In relation to system theory Wilber points it out as acceptable methodology to study phenomena in UL quadrant. That already appears at least strange, because initially it is postulated that all the quadrants are irreducible. They have their own criteria of truth and subjects of study.
“The most famous of these scientific approaches to I-consciousness have included systems theory and structuralism.”(IS, 36)
It is obvious that system theories are not that simple as it may seem at first. And there is a reason for that. UL, UR and LL quadrants methodologies are based on the corresponding to these quadrants fundamental unjunctions of perception and they study the corresponding phenomena of perception, while LR quadrant does not have its own perception basis and its methodologies only organize the metaphors and laws of other three quadrants in models, which do not depend on the nature of perception. Mind operates with labels and the laws of logic are indifferent to what type of perception formed any facts. If a phenomenon can be represented as a certain system of interrelated elements, then the system theories can easily describe behavior and properties of such phenomenon. That is exactly why the system theory is perfectly suitable for the description of self, cultures and organisms.
But it is worth taking into account that methodologies of other three quadrants describe phenomena as a whole, and the system theory describes the same phenomena but already as products made up of parts. That is why in particular autopoiesis is a universal pattern of live systems successfully applied to UL, UR and LL quadrant. The system theory does not have anything in common either with empiricism or with the myth of the given. For an experienced systematist just as for Buddhist scholastic the world (creation) is empty and it represents only an infinite pattern of organization in all quadrants. In this sense the systematic theorists have the correct outlook, at the very least from madhyamika point of view.
It can be noticed that on the docket we never touched upon levels of altitude and scales of development. It is connected with the fact that the ground-nature of human and his cognitive structures does not depend on the level of development. We can observe the growth of holons externally, we can study the development of cognitive abilities internally, but their relation and interconnection do not depend at all on the developness of individual and society. The relations inside and between the quadrants are unchangeable either a person is on the blue or purple level. The structure of cognition is set by the very human nature. The content of particular sciences and approaches entirely depends on the level of development of a researcher. That's why it is quite appropriate to talk about different levels or paradigms of cognition.
As we can see, the categories inside the circles (above picture on the left) are the developing structures of perception of a subject. Thus, we can point out 4 major and irreducible groups of developmental lines and therefore solve another important issue. Those are self-development line, cognitive, line of understanding and line of mastering bodies (gross, subtle and causal). All the rest can be put into any of these groups according to their property. For example, interpersonal, moral and values lines can be referred to the group of the studied lines of understanding.
In the current AQAL model all these categories (awareness, sensations, understanding and thinking) belong to the UL quadrant and to a certain degree this is right. However, IMP goal by itself requires pointing out the basic injunctions or structures of perception, which connect other quadrants with UL, and revealing methodologies based on those structures. For these purposes, such kind of presentation of these structures and corresponding to them developmental lines is quite reasonable. Outside the circles the corresponding holons of quadrants are found. Later I will show how to represent the methodological matrix more precise.
The categories outside of circles (picture on the right) are the description of our metaphors of different quadrants reality, i.e. science. With the course of time not only holons and structures of their cognition in all the quadrants (4 left quadrants on the picture) evolve, but also our descriptions of these holons and structures (4 right quadrants on the picture). Therefore, integral approach can well consider the possibility of introducing the levels of altitude in science and cognition (altitude of paradigm) depending on how high (or subtle) level of phenomena they recognize.
Thus, we accomplish the goal correctly defined by Ken Wilber:
“Authentic philosophy – is not just a question of objective world pictures creation, but investigation of structures in subject that provide possibility itself of these pictures creation.” (EoS, reverse translation from Russian)
Premises for Phase-6 and IMP 2.0
Any theory reflects the relations between the metaphors and doesn't deal with the actual reality. Its value is defined by the explanatory and predictive capability in the given field of subject and problem. Ultimately, any theory gets spoiled from its blending with reality in the consciousness of its authors and apologists. Thereupon the former innovator is identified with his theories, he loses the lucidity and becomes their blind defender. Right now AQAL is on the threshold of a significant transformation. What is the point to switch the theory of “real dharma” or “real monad” to the theory of “real holons having 4 quadrants”? Why in the post-metaphysical epoch does the humanity need a new metaphysics?
Moreover, Ashvaghosha, Vasubandhu and even Nagarjuna never admitted the existence of individual real dharma explaining that this is only a way to interpret the relations in the relative world.
“Meditation is still hobbled by the myth of the given because it is still monological; it still assumes that what I see in meditation or contemplative prayer is actually real… Meditators think that they actually ARE SEEING dharmas…” (IS, 289, note)
Almost 1500 years later Wilber jumps on Abhidharma only for the purpose of enunciating his own metaphysical holons? The worst that can be done today with AQAL is to give the humanity another utopia or dogmatic theory. Not long ago Wilber himself wrote in “The Eye of Spirit”:
“Old paradigms die only when believers in them die… knowledge search moves forward from burial to burial. All agree with that, and you just have to be sincere as for a question whose burial you are waiting for.” (EoS, reverse translation from Russian)
That is what happened with most of fully recognized geniuses. Why to create the situation when somebody will expect Wilber's funeral? Wilber already went through 4 periods of breaking his own ideas. He can continue wrestling with himself. But Wilber can first go down in history as a philosopher who didn't just surpass himself every time but who will be able to make use of such experience. Nowadays the very structure of working with knowledge needs to be changed. Heroism and tension in this matter are rather a drawback than an advantage.
Even from common sense point of view theory of cognition belongs and serves to all the humanity and it cannot be a theory of one person. There is no such a person who would be always right. And this is not because there cannot be such person, but because the actual truth implies not only experiment and its interpretation but also the collective agreement, which means that episteme is a social knowledge and it cannot and must not be developed by the efforts of one person! When this somebody pulls ahead he makes mistakes without fail, because society goes its own way, which is far from the most optimum.
The only way to succeed in working on the universal cognitive theory is not to call for defense of intersubjective truths of LL quadrant, but to learn using them in the own life and by that to go down in epoch of open collaboration, group wisdom and social webs. Today the pattern of mass collaboration is already working in all spheres of global economy. Who doesn't know the projects of Linux, Wikipedia, YouTube, eBay, Amazon, InnoCentive, Firefox and others, which opened the world the advantages of collaboration in peering networks?
IBM being in considerable decline made a choice in favor of supporting the open OS Linux. That allowed it to save more than 1 billion dollars a year and rapidly outrun such competitors as Sun and Microsoft, which created their own commercial OS. For over 15 years Bill Gates tried to struggle against peer production and open source software, but he turned out to be powerless against the worldwide tendency for collaboration. As is very obvious from the example of internet, culture of participation forces out Internet like “travelling on pages created by somebody else”. The new web makes you to collaborate and not to use somebody else's decision. The modern books on economy all over declare the new business law “collaborate or disappear” and the new principles of living, which are openness, peering, sharing and global participation. Platforms for the joint collaboration are becoming the main tendency.
Sooner or later the theory of knowledge will become open just like Wikipedia or Linux. If not by Wilber and I-I, then very soon this is going to be done by others. There are enough intelligent and active people even on integralworld.net. Times of Vienna circles and salons de Madame de Stael are far in the past. Truth is not the prerogative of the selected few anymore. It is time to open the AQAL model to those for who it is created. To open means to show the bounds of the current and future paradigms, but NOT to solve the routine problems of cognition on your own. For his life Ludwig Wittgenstein revolutionized twice in philosophy. Tomas Kuhn did not do that even once, but his “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” is much more well-known than Wittgenstein's Treatise, because it gives people the real instrument for developing their own ideas.
It won't be too much to say that today I-I is a closed club practically consisting of Wilber's followers that are sincerely puzzled why the world doesn't accept his remarkable ideas. (Already over a year Multiplex I-I doesn't let the users to leave their own message. The activity on integralworld.net is tens times higher than on integrallife.com.) The answer is simple. Because for the last decade the world dramatically changed! The answer is people don't need just somebody else's answers or practices. They need creative participation. They want to know that the common product includes their share of creativity and making. Everybody wants his own ringtone. People want their contribution to be respected. In case with AQAL there is no space for people's participation, collaboration and intersubjectivity-in-action. This is an excellent complete model of its time that doesn't attract either scientists or practitioners, because there is no space for them in it. Truths declared by Ken are integral truths. Form they are covered with is the form of modernism – one person conveys the great truth to many.
Open theory of knowledge needs a framework, within which all interested people will be able to reveal their creativity, and an open group of competent specialists will regulate this process. Such platform has to be based on participation, but not passive obtaining information from pundit. A correct framework leaves space for participation of other people and this is not a problem at all for the questions of cognition. Such work has to be voluntary and ultimately it has to become the basis of stimulating, self-organizing, open community of competent specialists being passionate about what they are doing and absorbing all the wisdom of humanity. A live model of human knowledge can be done by thousands of competent in their fields people from different parts of the world, this to be done with instant feedback and a thousand times more effective than anybody acting alone. People are always willing to spend their time and efforts on purposes which they consider worthy. This power cannot be possibly ignored. I recommend reading this book that appeared more than 10 years ago http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_cathedral_and_the_bazaar.
Metatheory is a theory of theories. The value of theory in science is determined by its predictive capability. Therefore, if AQAL claims to take the place of metatheory, it has to operate not only with existing theories, but also to predict the new ones! Either AQAL 2.0 or the open integral theory of cognition (OITC) has to become a model of developing new models and a mechanism of creating space and criteria for formatting a new knowledge derived by other people. Subject studies have to be done by experts in their fields. Metatheory has to be able to give the projections of development. Falsificality only points out the bounds of theory applicability, whereas OITC has to anticipate the new paradigms and coordinate existing and new knowledge by efforts of those who already reached the new levels of their own cognition. Since new knowledge appears with developing of perception structures of a subject, metatheory has to take into account both the information about the very cognitive structures and the knowledge obtained through these structures.
First of all it is very important to distinguish cognition of “the world in self”, i.e. gnosis, and cognition of “self in the world”, i.e. episteme. Episteme is objective (valid) knowledge fulfilling three validity criteria (injunction, data, corroboration). Gnosis is subjective (direct) knowledge, experience which is unverified, but for each subject it is the very reality. Often gnosis is associated only with mystical experiences and episteme - with rational cognition. This is a very limited view, but partially it is justified. Because peak experiences are always only gnosis and rational cognition are always based on objectivity. However, to wide extent any experience is gnosis (live knowledge) and any concerted truth is episteme (dead knowledge). None of these knowledge can be interchanged without reduction. Both types of knowledge (both worlds) are true in their own way and they will continue their parallel being as long as mankind exists.
Next, mastering the tools of cognition needs to be separated from the very knowledge obtained by means of these tools for each type of knowledge, gnosis and episteme. Thus, the ability to manage fine energies and to see aura is by no means the same as to manage the organism behavior and to see the cells under the microscope. To call this interior and exterior aspect is not quite correct, since this way we do not approximate to the question of studying the cognitive structures. A man learns the outside world as the own tools of cognition progress. A materialist doesn't understand mysticism, since he doesn't comprehend it. A businessman with formal operational level of mind cannot understand what an ecosystem is. Reaching a certain altitude of cognitive structures developing scientists cognize and organize new non-apparent earlier objects in theory. Globally studying the structures of cognition and the levels of their growth anticipates the development of any other sciences and knew knowledge.
On the picture below you can see the general scheme of cognition in AQAL 2.0. This structure is quite sufficient to contain technically all types of knowledge and it can serve as a prototype for building an open integral theory of knowledge.
Picture on the left shows that the ability to “see” objects of reality directly depends on training the corresponding instruments of cognition. We see as much of our own self as our awareness is developed. We can absorb as much of different cultures and love as many different people, as more our understanding is developed. We can as good manage our body as more levels of gross and subtle matter we can sense. It might be the most valuable knowledge for a human. For developing in UL quadrant we look for psychologists and guru, in LL – we participate in different social associations, for UR – we do sport, energetic meditations, dancing and so on. It is worth recalling Huston Smith diagram – “exterior” reality is cognized as “interior” reality is revealed, because this “interior reality” is actually no more than an instrument of cognition.
The left picture is practically each person's knowledge about themselves and available to them world. The right picture is society's objective knowledge about different instruments of cognition and regularities of their development, and also knowledge of reality available by means of these instruments of different people.
The suggested scheme allows approaching the main purpose of metatheory – anticipating and predicting of new paradigms in different fields of knowledge. The dialectical laws of cognition have been already well-known. The levels of mastering the instruments of cognition have to be described by individuals that reached the second and third tier. That is enough to make a picture not only of present cognition, but also postintegral level cognition. After falsificality of Popper and Lakatos a new type of falsificality has to appear, that is the ability of theory to describe a new type of data or logic (not just method of falsification), which will refute this theory in the future. This data has to be taken from matrix of cognition together with the characteristics of levels of scientists' structures that will be able to deal with such information.
What I want to say in the end is that Wilber is really thinker of genius and a great bodhisattva, but he's not that sophisticated in strict methodology. In order to make AQAL shining it has to be terminologically and epistemologically examined first that will definitely reveal unconformities and mistakes. I tried to draw attention on some in my papers. Secondly, if Wilber really wants AQAL to evolve he has to think about open framework that will allow AQAL to develop and become real metatheory that wide scientific, philosophical and spiritual community will collaboratively fill in.
Otherwise, even simply in concordance with Kurt Gödel incompleteness theorems AQAL will go out of date very soon. Episteme is always jointly evolving. Gnosis is always self-discovered. For integral metatheory it is too shallow to expose new temporary truths. But objective truths are always temporary and partial. Creating an open framework for present and near future knowledge is indeed worthy for integral consideration. And this task is a chance for practical realization of all truths discovered by integral approach till present moment.