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".
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
GNOSIS VS EPISTEME
The perspective missed in the AQAL model
Reflections on the place of the Absolute wisdom
in the Integral model, on the ontology, Russian soul,
Eastern and Western wisdom and the situation in Ukraine
Presentation on the First European Integral Conference,
Budapest, May 2014. Full version.
First of all, I'd like to express my sincere gratitude to you for your aspiration to see deeper and embrace more reality. To all of you who has greater respect to different dimensions of manifestation, more sensitivity and depth of perception. I feel deep resonance with you. We really miss this kind of communication in Ukraine. I am also grateful to the organizers of the conference and especially to Ken Wilber for a wonderful trip in the development of human consciousness.
With that I am deeply indignant at Ken Wilber for excluding the absolute truth, voice of the heart and the genuine wisdom from the Integral model. I appreciate and committed to the Integral ideas, but I cannot betray the ultimate wisdom of my Dzogchen tradition, in a favor of such conceptions as evolutionary spirituality or evolutionary wisdom.
I spent over 20 years for spiritual search and traveled a lot in the East and West. I lived in Buddhist monasteries, Hindu ashrams and in Amazon jungles with shamans; learned both Eastern and Western philosophy teachings; practiced mysticism for a long time. It helped me to learn the nature of the mind and the heart. I learnt what are pain and pleasure, fear and joy, the absolute truth and spiritual wisdom. I speak here today primarily as an advocate of the Eastern wisdom.
I work with experiences of people and frankly saying I don't use the AQAL model as it's suggested in books on integral psychotherapy. From my experience, eastern people do not use the kind of reasoning offered by Ken Wilber when making their decisions. They are guided by feelings, conscience and wisdom of the heart much more than by rational thinking and taking multiple perspectives. In many ways such guidance distinguishes East and West, which are in fact still very far from integration. Actually, we can make statements about their integration when the East agrees to their rightfulness as well. The reason, as I suppose, is that: Western philosophy still hasn't understood the mystery of the heart; Eastern philosophy – the power of the human's intention.
I live in Ukraine. It is obvious today that Ukraine is one of the boundaries between Europe and Asia, the bridge between Eastern and Western civilizations. We have a chance to absorb both mentalities here. My father was born in Uzbekistan during the occupation of Ukraine in the World War II. My mother grew up in an orphanage in Siberia, in exile, because her parents were repressed. European and Asian cultures coexist inside of me and this allows me to see a situation from different perspectives.
In the West, especially in the U.S., people meet challenges in terms of science and development. In the East they meet challenges in terms of soul and inner knowledge. If we want to achieve peace and harmony in the world, these approaches have to be integrated, and this is my personal concern as we are here on the verge of 3rd World War.
As you know Ukraine is involved today in an undeclared war with Russia. Europe pulls the Ukraine to the West; Russia pulls it to the East. From the outside it may look like aggression of imperious and irrational Vladimir Putin against the entire civilized Western world. I am convinced that his methods are medieval and treacherous, indeed. However, from his point of view, it makes certain sense. Let me quote:
"The West is not merely expanding its sphere of influence in the East, but also it attempts on the Russian soul... I'm convinced there is some higher moral principle, about which they forget in the West thinking only about success and prosperity."
I bet many of western people don't understand him, but for Putin it may look like jihad, crusade or ideological war for the faith. He intuitively protects some specific Russian and Asian values, which we definitely cannot find in the AQAL model or in the Spiral dynamics. These values are of a different nature. In a certain sense, this aggression is natural and can intensify if we don't understand its message. If someone defends from you, perhaps, you may not realize how exactly you disturb him. Whatever Putin defends, it is important to understand the causes of the confrontation between the East and the West; patterns and forces that speak and act through people; to separate deep causes from painful effects.
Unfortunately, evolutionary and epistemological approaches in this regard are part of the problem, not a solution! Putin's frequent references to Russian existentialists are a vivid proof of that. The belief that this is just a fight between blue and orange values looks naive, oversimplified and even arrogant.
It is not a secret that Ken Wilber was asked to help with a project for the new Ukraine, and he decided to take part in it. On the one hand I am sincerely glad that Ken is not indifferent to our country and the Integral model will be able to demonstrate its power at the forefront of evolution. At critical moments in history people need wise leadership, cooperation and assistance. On the other hand, I am concerned about success of this project as the application of the Integral framework in its current state might worsen the situation.
My goal here today is to point out the truth of the heart which East is guided by and which the West misses in many respects. I am convinced that recognition and integration of the Soul Truth and Absolute morality can reduce the tension between Western-European and Eastern-Asian cultures and even to prevent the 3d World War as philosophies legitimize opposing ideologies thus being responsible for the integration of different worldviews.
My thesis is that not all knowledge can be simply reduced to a scientific episteme in the AQAL's 8 zones! Absolute wisdom is also accessible to us in everyday life. We have conscience, heart's excitement and the feeling of balance that cannot be simply attributed to the UL quadrant. YET we can find its place in the Integral model. So I'd like to share with you the non-evolutionary non-conceptual wisdom available to all of us; the wisdom that Vladimir Putin feels he must defend from the West in general and people like Ken Wilber in particular.
This specific type of knowledge doesn't belong to any quadrant or any specific level of development. In Western mystical tradition it's known as Gnosis – the inmost mystical knowledge. In Eastern tradition it is the very essence of Tantra teaching that is encrypted in Vajra symbol. In integral framework it's related to the boundaries that I want to pay a particular attention to.
It is also worth noting that Vajrayana is literally the path of VAJRA (a diamond) and hardly anyone can ever respectfully speak about Buddhism without understanding the meaning of the Vajra and Ghanta, the five poisons and the five skandhas. Yet Vajra and the five Buddha wisdoms were not integrally reinterpreted and seem to be undeservedly discarded.
Let's get back to the AQAL. Facing a pressing problem, the Integral approach suggests considering all elements of the integral map. It's implied that if we take into consideration aspects of the AQAL model, our decisions are going to be more wise and holistic. To some extent it's true since the AQAL takes into account most of the known scientific methodologies. However, it doesn't guarantee either harmony or wise decisions. There is no distinct criterion of wisdom and harmony, which is why it is not clear how it helps in situations of uncertainty and moral dilemmas, especially when it comes to shadows and self-deception.
I've been studying the Integral framework for about 8 years. Unfortunately I haven't found any reliable moral guide there. It doesn't show distinct understanding of suffering and pain, joy and harmony. I translated hundreds of Wilber's videos and audios into Russian yet I haven't heard anything on the nature of conscience, penance and remorse. The inner wisdom is replaced by the Basic Moral Intuition, which is supposed to "protect and promote the greatest depth for the greatest span".
This kind of synthetic conceptual morality sounds like confession of the moral disability, a sentence to integral philosophy! Ken Wilber renounces genuine spirituality, absolute morality, purity of motivation and exalts development theory over them. We keep our focus on our heads and lose a contact with our hearts. We remain with conceptions and not within the present moment.
Let's be honest: many of us do not live like that, especially in Slavic, Vedic and Arab cultures. Do you seriously believe that eastern mentality can accept that kind of morality? I suppose that if Ken Wilber had lived in Russia, Iran or India for a while and wanted to really understand and feel these people, not just attribute them on the blue or purple level of development (based on speculative concepts of western scholars from books) his discrimination would have been more adequate and integral.
This is the very essence of any Eastern esoteric teachings, perennial philosophy and even European religious existentialism. If the ground of your morality is a mental conception then you are in trouble. You are enchained by delusions, no matter how complex and evolved they are.
In the 'Integral Spirituality' Wilber writes:
"Reality is not a perception, but a conception; at least in part. Ontology [or what IS in real before interpretations] per se just does not exist…"
"…objects come into being only at various developmental levels of complexity. Whether they exist in some other way CANNOT BE KNOWN in any event, and assuming that they exist independently of a knowing mind is nothing but the myth of the given and another type of metaphysical thinking…"
Sounds like an ode to rationalism. This statement is valid if by objects we exclusively mean something that we get by means of rational mind only, like apples, smells, attitudes, thoughts, wishes and so on. Even in European philosophy existentialists examined in detail the very 'existence' – A particular type of an object when the object and subject merge, when Being touches Nothingness.
Thus Ken Wilber concludes that wisdom is also conception that can be determined by valid science and ascribed to some quadrant/level. Conscience and morality become a mere function of development! All possible knowledge is equated to scientific cognition or rational episteme (in a philosophical meaning, as pre-rational, rational and trans-rational altogether, in opposition to the irrational).
In order to justify his position Ken Wilber refers to the eastern doctrine of the two truths, giving his personal agnostic-style interpretation of impossibility to access the absolute truth in every moment and giving rise to a huge separateness. In Excerpt G Wilber writes:
"There exists absolute or nondual truth and relative or conventional truth, and they are of radically different orders. Truth in the relative realm is a search for those conditions under which relative assertions are true… Not so absolute truth, about which literally NOTHING may be accurately said in a noncontradictory fashion (including that one)… Conventional truths are known by science; absolute truth is known by satori... The absolute is known by a direct realization involving a transformation in consciousness (satori, sahaj, metanoia)…"
Accordingly to Wilber we have only two options. Total spiritual awakening or rational theories. Either I cognize something through 8 types of methodologies, or I just dissolve in non-dual oneness. No other way of knowing is allowed. Thus Absolute truth seems to not be accessible in everyday life! We can only rely on epistemological pluralism and evolutionary theories. There are only lies which vary in their depth. Wisdom and morality are based on statistics, which is approved by reliable science. It sounds like explaining to me why I cannot breathe, while I keep on breathing.
So, we are alone, abandoned, we have nothing to rely on and have to survive without the divine support. There is no higher guidance in life. It's nothing but the voice of Jean-Paul Sartre! Thus spiritual practice is only needed to improve mental abilities, relations, health and quality of life. We feel anguish and despair and we have to be content with the scientific evolutionary conceptions in the absence of more accurate moral orientations. This attitude is widely known in western philosophy as atheistic existentialism!
Wilber managed to include in his model everything except for God and the live contact with the Spirit through the heart! He created a perfect western agnostic philosophy for a crusade against it. The more people support such philosophy in the West, the more people feel irrational inexplicable anger in the East (because it doesn't supplement absolute wisdom with evolutionary one, but completely replaces it). The AQAL in fact supports and legitimizes the separation of gnostics and agnostics, of East and West, of science and genuine spirituality. Ken Wilber with Andrew Cohen, Marc Gafni and others even record dialogs like "The future is up to us", "God needs our help" and similar. Neither Vladimir Putin nor Islam, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu or other faithful Eastern people can stand this kind of spiritual extremism. In particular it deprives the Integral framework of impartiality and tightly closes the way for it to the East.
This is only partly related to the stages of development. It is more profound contradiction between atheistic and theistic attitude to existentialism on any stage! It is the abyss between Sartre and Camus on one side and Solovyov, Berdyaev and Shestov on the other. These are two different interpretations of primary anxiety. Two different answers on the fundamental question "Who is present? ME or THAT?"
I want you to notice the very moment of spiritual betrayal. In the moment of choice and doubt you are supposed to rely not on your heart, soul and feelings, but on artificial theories in a head and calculate your 'evolutionary moral' decision! Wilber denies the possibility of direct comprehension of the absolute wisdom (different from non-dual oneness), depriving us of the live wisdom of the heart!
Fortunately, the situation can be easily amended if we pay attention to the boundaries.
I've been wondering why we need philosophies at all. I believe they are supposed to help us act wisely in situations of challenges, complications, moral dilemmas and conflicts in everyday life. Philosophy should be able to solve the real ideological problems people face. Genuine philosophy affirms the power of wisdom and paves the way to reconciliation. Especially, if it pretends to be all-inclusive and claims to be the world philosophy. Quality of philosophy is largely determined by the answer to the question about its moral theory. What does the Integral Approach offer except for the intellectual morality?
How do we know that something is wrong and there is any problem? Because we feel tension, pain and anxiety. We are concerned. As famous Russian writer Anton Chekhov wrote:
"Soul is an inexplicable thing. Nobody knows where it is, but everyone knows how it hurts."
So what is the reliable criterion for moral decision or wise interpretation? It should bring RELIEF or relaxation. We feel it! We need philosophies to get rid of discomfort and anxiety in life. So why do we focus on levels and zones only and forget about the nature of tensions and harmony?
Pain is not a conception. Suffering is not a theory (at least in part). They are felt. So we have to explicitly specify the point of connection between reason and feelings, pain and conceptions, choice and suffering, the heart and the mind at last! Otherwise, we remain in our heads.
Spiritual traditions all over the world do maintain that Absolute Truth is available for our hearts as tensions, revelations, gnosis or simply boundaries, which are disrespectfully ignored in the AQAL. Through the feelings of the heart we have immediate access to the absolute morality and the existence! As Immanuel Kant said,
"Two things awe me most, the starry sky above me and the moral law within me".
Let's take a simple example of a real life situation. I'd like to tell you a story that happened to me more than 20 years ago, when I was going about to go to university. The world was my oyster since I had finished the school with a golden medal. My mother dreamed that I would become a doctor. The father saw me as a lawyer. As for me, I wanted to study psychology or philosophy. My parents were shocked to know that, because in Ukraine you can hardly make a living from psychology or teaching. Perhaps, you are familiar with this kind of situations.
I was feeling a serious tension and confusion. What was the reason of that tension and what kind of decision could relieve the tension?
- If I hadn't valued the relationships, I would've simply ignored parent's opinion and got my own way. However, I felt myself uncomfortable while even thinking about such behavior, which indicates the importance of relationships for me.
- If I myself hadn't cared what profession to study, I would've simply done what they wanted. However, while thinking about law or medicine I felt depressed, that indicates the importance of my own self-realization.
Both factors are significant. The tension I feel is related to the conflict of the individual and collective interests in a space of my awareness.
I was feeling confusion, anxiety, vulnerability, incomprehension and uncertainty.
- Is that me who ignores my parents' care and knowledge, or do they ignore my individuality?
- Is that me who is overly romantic or are my parents overly pragmatic? How do I know?
The point is that tension doesn't have only one reason. Both interests contribute to its maintenance. I call it double causality. It is the connection and separation of the different interests at same time. If you take only one side, the tension wouldn't go, it just transforms into tensed condemnation. As a result, we project the reason of a tension and discomfort to the other side.
- If I do just what my parents want, I will feel myself offended and consider their persistence as the reason of my tension and discomfort.
- If I ignore them, I will feel myself guilty and consider my Ego as a reason of the tension.
So where is the absolute moral truth in that particular situation? It's in the balance of both sides' interests! I do not want to experience THAT neither as the aggression of my parents at me nor as my own aggression at the parents. I do not want to live in the tension/pain of guilt or resentment! The key question arises: to what extent should we take into consideration individual and collective interests, selecting a specific interpretation? And this is to be felt, not to be thought of! We are instantly tuning at something beyond the mind in order to feel that sense of measure. We feel when some sediment of arrogance or humiliation is left.
A wise decision brings RELIEF or liberation from the tension! The balance is achieved when you have no complains to any of the sides. I have to find such a solution, thinking of which I would feel respect and dignity. I acknowledge parents' care and interests of our community, and along with that I acknowledge my personal interests. I anticipate solution which would reconcile both interests!
We have 3 perspectives there: individual, collective and the perspective of their mutual concordance.
Wise interpretation implies that neither personality nor community is fully responsible for the discomfort. Our own beloved interests just sometimes conflict with each other. The tension is an impulse towards development and expansion. As long as there is no aversion to any side of the boundary, the interpretation of a tension is wise enough. We do not project the reason of the tension but look for a way of its harmonious expression with respect for the interests of both sides.
By what means do we cognize a boundary and feel tension? We call it our heart. The feeling of balance between our own interests – that is something different from both, personal and interpersonal. But with our heart, we can feel a degree of the rupture and the tension between own interests and thus being able to harmonize them.
This kind of wisdom is of a radically different order than any evolutionary wisdom! This is ability to feel with the heart, in resonance with the whole being. Ken Wilber sometimes speaks about necessity to balance quadrants, but never explains what that means in the terms of his model. I didn't know the AQAL 20 years ago, but I felt the source of this wisdom intuitively, by soul. All of us do the same very often.
Is that a special methodology? Definitely! We make an experiment, obtain a result and compare it with our desired state. And we don't know beforehand what ratio between the interests we would feel as harmonious, but we fully trust this source! This is the GNOSIS – the heart measure of things, revelation from above in the midst of everyday life.
In a sense, any tension is the energy that we can use for fight or for searching a solution and harmonizing the interests. In case of the individual/collective boundary, it's the energy for communication. For the boundary of Internal and External this energy is aimed to correlation between material factors and one's own representations of reality, it is the energy for exploration.
The boundaries are the shadow of the Integral model. It seems that Ken Wilber cannot hear Roy Bhaskar just as Barrack Obama cannot hear Vladimir Putin. It seems to be the same type of deafness. Some people's (or even nations') personal resentments against God because of their abandonment can be costly to others. War is often an invitation to a dialogue for those who cannot see from a different perspective. Warfare for the faith is one of the worst and savage forms of war. Russian style of behavior teaches West to be more conscious, to respect the power of feelings, tensions, nothingness and uncertainty. To respect God in the end! And West, in turn, teaches Russia and Asia to respect the power of cultural and social development, to respect the Human!
This is a real war with human victims that is unfolding on many fields holographically. The war between epistemology and ontology, between episteme and gnosis, between evolution and spirituality, between faith in the Man and faith in God, between the mind and the heart.
It's quite arrogant to assume that everything absolute just belongs to the blue level and equivalent to metaphysical dogmas! That is a rational and atheistic worldview. It sounds like an insolence that induces reciprocal insolence. East can feel absolute wisdom as tensions, being, energy and the depth of presence. We have to learn nowadays to distinguish between mythical beliefs, prejudices, conceptions of God and divinity, and trust in the Absolute Truth, faith to conscience and existence on any stage. As Kant writes in the Preface to the Critique of Pure Reason, "I had to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith."
We have to rethink and reintegrate the absolute moral wisdom and the evolutionary wisdom. Differentiation and linking between mind and no-mind is one of the keys to integration of East and West, and still one of the most important challenges for philosophy. Fortunately, there is still hope!
The boundaries have a special meaning. They are the ontological gap that Ken Wilber persistently rejects in a dialog with Critical Realism. Roy Bhaskar also carries the message of the East and appeals to the eastern truth of presence. It's a special type of knowledge, ineffable and unverifiable, non-conceptual and distinct from any other methodology. All that we say about it can be attributed to the UL quadrant, indeed, but this knowledge itself is evanescent and inexpressible. It's not an individual and not collective, not external and internal by the definition of existence, anxiety or Heidegger's 'here-being' (dasein).
Although, in matters of ontology, fundamental ontology of Martin Heidegger and phenomenology of spirit of Karl Jaspers are closer to me. Let me quote "The Spiritual Condition of the Age" by Karl Jaspers:
"Spiritual condition of a man only arises when he finds himself in borderline situations. There he is present as himself in existence, when it is not contracted, but keeps on falling into antinomies again and again."
"A man without faith seeking to find in science a substitute for his faith on which to build his life; a man unsatisfied by philosophy seeking an all-embracing truth in science."
The entire cycle of Mahayana prajnaparamita sutras is permeated with the central idea of the non-linguistic, unnamable, non-conceptual gap between naming X and non-X, which points a pause of inaction. For instance, "That, what is called wisdom, is not wisdom therefore it is called wisdom." That is a great mystery of Tibetan letter "A": it indicates the ontologically real, but unsigned, boundary lumen between the opposing qualities. It's the same piercing howl of amazement at the moment of birth, the primary vibration in a gap between delight and suffering, pleasure and pain. It points to emptiness, to boundless wisdom of Nothingness. Here is the "Sutra of victorious perfect wisdom in one letter":
"Ananda, keep this perfection of wisdom in one letter for the benefit and happiness of sentient beings. It is thus, 'A'."
There is nothing about evolution or scientific validity in this wisdom.
The irony is that in the eastern environment I feel as an advocate of evolution, while in the western environment I feel the need to be an advocate of non-dogmatic faith just as a modern Christian missionary. In any case, it's time to make it clear that the highest ultimate wisdom in Eastern teachings and the subject of Christian faith is one and the same noumenon: the non-conceptual excitement or tension/relaxation, gnosis, sense of measure or balance, not included in the Integral map.
Denial of the ontology is equivalent to the denial of the very life outside one's individual mind. However, life is kind enough to provide rebels with enough pain and tensions needed for them to understand that ontology does exist and precedes any ideas about evolution, "existence precedes essence". Being is capable to break down obstinacy of the arrogant. It can destroy family, health, relationships and peace of mind. It may also reward him with a destiny of a Man who changes the humanity. We enjoy our games. In one of his early works, 'No boundaries', Ken Wilber wrote:
"A person who is beginning to sense the suffering of life is, at the same time, beginning to awaken to deeper and truer realities. For suffering smashes to pieces the complacency of our normal fictions about reality, and forces us to become alive in a special sense—to see carefully, to feel deeply, to touch ourselves and our worlds in ways we have heretofore avoided. It has been said, and truly I think, that suffering is the first grace".
Nowadays, the majority of Western people do not understand why the undeveloped, uneducated, poor and violent East considers the West to be spiritless, godless, even though that care, creativity and respect of people in the West attain fantastic heights. From the East perspective, the respect for others and to the phenomenal world in general is not the same as the respect to existence.
In fact, a person may be very developed, yet still not be able to cope with the basic tension of uncertainty, to sustain the pause of not-knowing, when the conception suddenly stops working and the habitual pattern falls apart. The person appears to be perplexed and helpless. This is the typical spiritual condition of the West. At the same time, the person may sustain the incredible intensity of the situation without giving any particular preferences, and then simply suggest an absurd and absolutely primitive decision. This is the typical spiritual condition of the East.
We intuitively understand that wisdom is the ability to indicate the direction towards the relief in a situation, yet we see this wisdom in different ways. When it comes to the West, a wise person is the one who is more developed, knowing, the one who has a lot of experience, self-confidence and the ability to take into consideration numerous factors and various perspectives. In the East, however, a wise man is considered to be the one who is more sensitive, unprejudiced and impartial. The Eastern wisdom implies the ability to sustain deep pauses and stand the tensions, to feel intuitively, with all that is within you.
The evolutionary spirituality of the Western implies the ability to give more integrated, developed and considerate interpretations. Eastern timeless spirituality implies the ability to accumulate and retain more energy, feel the inner balance; it implies the ability to be peacefully present while being in a state of uncertainty. A Western leader should have a substantial width of worldview and the ability to practically express care and concern. An Eastern leader should have a ponderable inner power of presence.
The answer to the koan about the true face in Zen is finding you in the gap between the presence and absence, and actingbased uponthe tension ofthis dual state. The Wilber's answer to this koan is the attention to 'I am'-ness, the center of the self-contraction, and actingbased upon the personal will.
In the Western people's eyes, the Eastern people often seem to be dispassionate, leisurely, incredulous, evaluating, suspecting and state-oriented. In the Eastern people's eyes, the Western people often seem to be bustling, automatic, shallow, formal, insincere and presumptuous. An Eastern man's destiny reflects mostly the level of maturity of his own soul. A Western man's destiny to a greater extent reflects the level of development of the society.
The West is inclined towards the science, collects statistics and focuses on the past experience. The East weights everything on the inner scale of tension/relief! If a question about God is asked, a Western sage will carry out a survey with 100 people, make 100 quotations and describe the 5000-year evolution of the notion of God. In the meantime, an Eastern sage will fasten his attention towards the darkness of the non-existence and transmit the state of awe in the face of the unknown. The whole Vedic culture is permeated with the respect towards the mysterious power! Russian folklore is especially filled with numerous fairytales of the wish-fulfilling magical power that can punish for disrespect towards itself.
Very generally, the West interprets the fundamental anxiety, existence, natural state, tension as an urging impulse to act, a desire to take care of own world. The East interprets it as an informational message of the conscience, openness to the higher sense and trust to the universe. The former trust their desires and do everything they can in order to avoid the anxiety, while the latter turn their souls to the anxiety and correct their desires with its help. In the eastern atmosphere, there is a little bit more of a feeling of a hidden guilt (which provides the possibility of remorse). In the Western atmosphere, there is more of a hidden grievance (which provides the possibility of self-assertion). East may often be sincerely revengeful, while the West may often be artificially kind-hearted.
You can imagine how unconsciously difficult it is for the Ukrainian people to make a decision in favor of either of the sides. A viable way out implies the integration of Eastern and Western worldviews. Both, the evolutionary development and trust in feelings (such as being open to the presence, soul balance, absolute morality and conscience) are the values of high significance in our society. It's important to supplement Western discourse with references to the faith, to the wisdom of the heart, the irrational. Eastern discourse should be supplemented with some references to history, to the evolutionary wisdom and common sense, respectively.
Nowadays, the foundation of the Western democracy is based on the supremacy of the majority's opinion. The foundation of Eastern fairness, however, is based on the absolute truth of feelings and inner balance. Because of that, Western democracy is very often supported by neither Eastern government nor Eastern people, since those forms of governance are too rational and assume that people are supposed to agree on the social conventions, even when the latter aren't felt to be fair.
The natural democracy assumes the integration of the absolute and the relative: authentic feelings, yet not of a single leader, but a wide public in the person of the representatives of social groups — a conscious dynamic equilibrium of tensions. This means relying on the collective wisdom of the heart, not only on the conceptions and stereotypes of the majority. The process of such integration is already going.
I'd like to conclude all of the above with a few more thoughts. The founder of Phenomenology, Edmund Husserl distinguished two basic types of reductionism. Phenomenological reductionism and epistemological reductionism, that he also called naturalistic attitude.
Phenomenological attitude implies that everything arises in a space of awareness. Naturalistic attitude implies that separated objects exist in reality, that human exists in culture and nature. This is our common, naturalistic or scientific view.
For example, if you ask a Buddhist "when did the Universe emerge", he will reply "at the previous moment of perception". If you question a scientist, he'll say "at the Big Bang moment". The Universe of a Buddhist arises in his awareness. Whereas scientist's awareness exists in the objective Universe. Both approaches are equally true but partial, and can't be reduced to each other.
Ken Wilber's approach is entirely based on the epistemological reductionism, where phenomenology is seen as one of the UL methods only. And a significant part of wisdom is lost because of that. In a space of perception we also have all 4 quadrants, although they have a slightly different interpretation. Ken Wilber's quadrants are consciousness, matter, culture and systems. Phenomenological quadrants are notions, perceptions, relations and conventions.
Boundaries and tensions can be found in both cases, even though they don't belong to any particular quadrant. For us, the meaning of the boundaries might be easier to understand in the flow of perception. This is a degree of tension between our own interests that we feel with our heart. When it comes to the AQAL quadrants, boundaries are the tensions, which are examined by transdisciplinary studies.
In Excerpt A considering the question of crisis of legitimation and social revolutions, Wilber touches upon the issue of ruptures between the LR and LL quadrants in AQAL as one of the reasons of cultural wars.
Thus, cognition can't be reduced to scientific reliability in 4 quadrants and 8 zones. The absolute wisdom cannot be justified with validity criteria. We appeal to the heart every time when we feel tension and ask ourselves a question "to what extent should I take into consideration my personal and mutual interests", "my internal and external interests" and so on.
Today, the humanity is in an urgent need of a reliable world philosophy, which takes into consideration all the dimensions of the existence/non-existence and is able to reconcile conflicts in people's hearts and minds. It may not come either from the East or from the West, yet from the tension space between them. Throughout the course of history, existential ideas have been repressed with the Western mentality, especially in the US. However, they remind of themselves in the world wars. Russian existentialism emerged on the verge of the 1st World War, German existentialism – right after it, and the French one emerged during the World War 2. Do we really need to wait until the 3rd World War in order to finally integrate our natural (existential) state?
My point is that we can decrease tensions in the world, if we rethink and recognize their rightful place in the Integral framework and return back AQAL shadows. Our hearts have a full right to be represented in the all-inclusive philosophy. Ken Wilber can also affect the world situation if he can admit and correct his mistakes. By integrating the opposing worldviews in our minds we create preconditions for eliminating separation in the world. I believe together we can change the world to a better place.
In accordance with the tantric teaching of five elements, we introduce the nature of five borderline paradoxes, five fundamental tensions, five ontological ruptures, five great energies and Buddha wisdoms. We touched two of them in this presentation. They represent the map of our hearts, the alphabet of feelings and morality, and the language of perennial philosophy. We call it the Natural approach, in accordance with Dzogchen tradition. This is Annutara tantra essence presented in modern integral terms. You can find the Introduction to the Natural Approach in my articles. In particular, series of articles "The archeology of Truth and the return of philosophy". I invite you to exchange your thoughts and collaborate on this regard.
Thank you all!