Frank Visser, CLIMBING THE STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN: Reflections on Ken Wilber's “The Religion of Tomorrow”
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".
Giorgio Piacenza is a sociologist student in the Certificate program leading to a Master's degree in Integral Theory at JFK University.
The Ideal Ascent Thwarted
Why are 'Dominator' Hierarchies recreated with each Subsequent Developmental Hierarchy?
Giorgio Piacenza Cabrera
Developmental hierarchies should lead to greater degrees of freedom than what we continually experiencing in the world. Nonetheless, dominator hierarchies and pathologies are recreated again and again with each subsequent developmental hierarchy. These hierarchies are formed by individual subjective holons (by people) that de-emphasize communion in favor of control. Is it because they carry a deep fear and/or sense of incompletion and pending danger? I think so, but –because of their modern training and associated worldviews- psychologists, anthropologists, sociobiologists, sociologists don't notice a particular cause on this. Is it because politically influential individuals favoring control over communion do not recognize the Good, the Truth and Beautiful wholeheartedly enough to realize that they can live in a dynamic harmony? I think so, but why? Well, perhaps through a recurrent and incomplete transcendence and inclusion process supported by a blocked or atrophied (and normally unrecognized) line of development. This would be a 'line of development' associated with the natural recognition and interaction with non physical realities. Awareness of this 'intelligence' would also entail sensing a connection with and being 'informed' by different rules in the game of life. If we can rescue an important contribution from esoteric traditions, it may well be that we simultaneously exist and function in different 'planes' of being. We are here in the physical world and should not avoid it but…we also simultaneously exist in non physical worlds and our human experience is marked by all of them. We could call this the 'lost esoteric knowledge' without which interpreting the meaning of the Greek aphorism 'Man Know Thyself' (apparently inscribed at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi) wouldn't be complete. We are consciousness invested in matter and there are different degrees of the latter.
The 'otherworldly' is real. Needless to say, it has historically been experienced but (at least since the XIX Century (mostly first through the efforts of the British Society for Psychical research) scientific evidence for the 'otherworldly' (moreover, an interactive 'otherworldly') has been mounting. In their own (still physicalist) ways, the existence of 'other worlds' or, rather, 'other universes' is being posited by cosmologists as 'mathematically possible universes'. This kind of universe (a 'Level IV' Universe in Tegmark's terminology) might not even be described by physical equations as we know them (Tegmark, 2003-2009). Could some of these possess characteristics that we wouldn't recognize as 'physical'? Multiple realms are being posited by physicists like William A. Tiller PhD, whose model presents a higher dimensional framework accompanying the physical universe (which, in turn, may possess a regular, classical or 'direct' space and a conjugate, non-classic, 'etheric', 'reciprocal' space). A good description of the “Tiller Model” can be found at: http://tillerfoundation.com/science.php
In this universe, in our present-day world, the fact that there are other non-physical realities with physically-interactive entities living in them is being objectively verified by researchers working outside major institutions. These 'ghost hunters' and 'instrumental transcommunicators' operate with various degrees of objectivity and methodological care all over the world but, using a variety of electronic devices are gradually gathering a very consistent body of 'anomalous' data. Other non-physical realities 'housing' physically-interactive entities or displaying evidence they may interact with the known physical world are also being verified by scientists like Gary E. Schwartz, PhD (Professor of psychology at the University of Arizona), like Dean Radin, PhD (engineer, psychologist, parapsychologist and senior scientist working at the Institute of Noetic Sciences) and like Dutch cardiologist Dr. Pim van Lommel who is carefully researching Near Death Experiences weakening the strength of recurrent skeptical, materialist-only explanations (van Lommel, 2001). However (and generally speaking), even if our participation with otherworldly realities would be quite logical, the 'otherworldly' still elicits too much fear, denial, taboos, disdain, rejection, slanted opinions, discomfort, incredulity and even excessive acceptance, awe and attachment (consequently producing a loss of creative flexibility) to be incorporated in a healthy way into the integral human cultures that must be developed to sustain life in what Spanish philosopher Salvador Pániker would probably call the 'hyper complex and uncertain world' that has been generated along with the advent of postmodernity (Pániker, 1987).
The mature development of our cultural and subjective interiors has fallen behind the requirements of the age: Our interior quadrants have developed less intensely than our profuse generation of socially binding exteriors because we are too unaware or disconnected from the influence of exteriors from other realms. This means that we normally tend to worship or despise these exteriors confounded with a transcendental other best understood as interior meaning. This probably means that our collective difficulties with the 'otherworldly' possess our subjectivity and that we cannot enlighten ourselves by recognizing it as an 'object' of inquiry. Ken Wilber suggests that “normal hierarchy, or the holism between levels, goes pathological when there's a breakdown between levels and a particular holon assumes a repressive, oppressive, arrogant role of dominance over other holons (whether in individual or social development)” (Wilber, 1995, p.23). Now, while thinking why would an individual suffer a breakdown between his or her own levels of development so as to become repressive against others (and his or her communing relations) and exchange his or her actualizations for a façade or pseudo actualization, it occurred to me that the reason would have to be extremely fundamental. Also, thinking about how recurrent and prevalent this phenomenon manifests (albeit to a greater or lesser extent) in most individuals and –regardless of cultural stage- in the collective human world at large, I came up with the concept that the fundamental instinctive attachment to fear at what could be called developmental 'level cero' can't ever be embraced, soften, enlightened and integrated without other equally (or surpassingly) fundamental instinctive perceptions given by higher bodies.
For reasons perhaps secret to the human soul we hold on to the incomplete affirmation as human beings supported by 'the uneasiness'. Our continuous, incomplete self-awakening as human beings relies on 'the uneasiness' with our own otherworldliness. Nonetheless, becoming more comfortable with the 'otherworldly' has to be accomplished as this lack of clarity within us is a crucial impediment to healthy living and to integral progress in the human community. Furthermore, rationally recognizing that there is a plurality of levels of being seems to be eventually inevitable as these derive from three main 'ontological tiers' and-or types of (dual, kosmic) manifestation which, in turn, derive from three central universal principles. Nevertheless, I won't abound on this issue right now, but simply assert that -historically speaking- as humans we've predominantly felt that non physical realities are –in one way or another- separate from us or not sufficiently part of our own inner life and constitution. Furthermore, I think that this split has also manifested (under different guises) even in tribal, animistic cultures and across cultures informed by mythic, rational and by (allegedly) post rational construct-stages.
My view is that without a clearer, natural, and direct acquaintance with non physical realities, we'll always revert to physical biological motivators and to structurally protecting, fear-related animal 'instincts' programmed into our physical experiential bodies. Now, I do not exactly think about 'instincts' as programs that we blindly follow, or as pulsions or motivations that may always override any possible free choice outside their influence. Nonetheless, after sociobiologists, etologists, geneticists and researchers like Noam Chomsky, for me it is clear that we are not simply born as 'blank slates' but with strong tendencies, motivations and-or pulsions that influence how we interpret experiences. Upon being gestated and born in an environment in which exterior structures are rigid, the most fundamental of these intrinsic motivators, instincts and-or pulsions may be the ones related with our structural biological preservation as living holons. They may also relate with what Freud's termed the 'It' (or 'Id' in German) a psychological motivator through which we may irrationally objectify other subjects against the opposite motivations of what could be the more empathic and communing pulsions of the 'superego'. The intensity of these motivations and-or pulsions would be influenced by the need to preserve ourselves according to how we pre-verbally feel as separate and distinct in a physical world and to how we pre-verbally understand the primary world of our experience as 'classic' (or continuous but causally connected through local external forces). Again, this preverbal understanding originates in the natural intelligence of the physical body influencing our minds and our experientially-embedded consciousnesses even all the way through our interactive connections with higher, non physical bodies. In physical, human condition, the pre-verbal understanding that predominates is the physical rather than the subtle and the causal. However, it is one fundamental understanding among three which with healthy, integrative self-development, the concurring complexification of form or 'evolution' and with what Wilber may refer to as “kosmic habits” or “morphogenetic grooves” (Wilber, 2003), may possibly become more permeable to each other. Also, perhaps (as biologist Rupert Sheldrake might concur) experiencing the more inclusive instincts of the Subtle and Causal bodies would become easier as more members of the species discover them and as the human community at large recognizes and theorizes about them. For this to happen, the integral modeling of continuous scientific discoveries on the 'paranormal', Near Death Experiences, Out of Body Experiences, Instrumental Transcommunication, Mediumship, Ghost Research, Parapsychology, Quantum Neurology, Consciousness Research and other Meta Paradigm-challenging fields may be necessary.
As we embed ourselves in degrees of illusion, we must perhaps understand that our interiorities are invested into the exteriorities given by the bodies we use in a particularly illusory realm and that, therefore, we are bound to inevitably have subjectively real experiences through them as we have also actualized and empowered these exteriorities with our inner life. This 'inner life' is Consciousness, the one source of actualization, present behind the particular characteristics it may represent as our personal, subjective consciousness. In other words, our consciousnesses have extended or projected into exteriorities as if they were exterior. We have enlivened the illusion. As a result, even if we broadly transcend into a more mentally and spiritually inclusive 'paradigm', model, construct, and self identity, the fact that –while incarnated- we don't feel enough of the essential motivations and understandings of the instinctive wisdoms of the Subtle and Causal bodies, implies that we'll still radically sense a weighty disconnection ruled by flesh eating, competitive, survival imperatives derived from adaptation to a physical environment in which entropy (at macro scales) predominates. We instinctively know that, if the communion bonds break down in human social structures, other humans also will tend to hunt us down, steal from us and kill us. Without discovering inner states informed by our higher bodies, we'll continue to be primarily attached to the truths of the biological body, not tempered by the truths of the Subtle and Causal bodies. Through these partially correct truths we'll always tend to interpret the world as inherently lacking and dangerous, however far we may advance in varieties of self-development, in exterior manipulating technologies, in complex social organization or in more inclusive theoretical modeling. A 'negative daemon' -so to speak- will always whisper into our ears and even pull our puppet strings.
Recapitulating, I think that the intelligence of our main soul-expression vehicles provide us with unavoidable instinctive (and also interpretive) feelings about the 'nature of reality' and that, if we disconnect from the realm-dependent, engraved patterns of wisdom of any of these vehicles, we'll always keep crucial interior objects and-or meaningful reality representations hidden as they escort the levels of development we may achieve. By having the line of development for other realities blocked, forgotten or atrophied; by not recognizing that other experiential truths obey laws that subsume and encompass our physical universe, we won't unmistakably incorporate the particular healthy discoveries and essential teachings of each cultural and personal developmental stage. In essence, many esotericists and perennialists are probably correct about this: Without remembering that we are of a Cosmos possessing many levels of being we'll never fulfill our healthier potentials. Thus, 'liberation', 'salvation' and even 'knowing ourselves' wouldn't just be about recognizing and submitting our separate sense of beingness, our arrogance and extreme sense of existing (as 'separate egos') into the embrace of the main, universal Transcendental Essence, of the 'Parabrahman' and-or 'Buddha Nature' or even of the One, Absolute God, our Creator and sustainer of life. 'Liberation', 'salvation', 'knowing ourselves' would also be about being able to embrace all the levels of being in which we participate and (as states of consciousness) always have access to, including the levels we knew before being gestated and with which we'll become reacquainted after we 'transfer our selves' or physically die. Without this natural, interactive, fundamental understanding of our plural natures derived from the three main realms which, in turn, derive from three main universal principles (of which I have somewhere else referred to as the 'Maha Trinity') (Piacenza, 2011), we won't be able to fittingly disclose, transcend and include. Furthermore, all cultural and personal stages will be marked by more pathologies than might have otherwise been necessary.
Now let me acquaint you a little bit with my understanding of the 'realms'. Perhaps each major division of the Kosmos is formed by a different kind of 'Akasha'. 'Akasha' is like a universal (by itself chaotic) substance 'molded' or organized by 'Purusha' or Universal Consciousness with purpose, and mind (Logos) in order to establish structures, and to create worlds of expression. Organized Akasha creates the illusion of physical space and its corresponding Subtle and Causal 'spaces'. Conceivably, the 'Akasha' forming the illusion that there is an 'experiential space' with its accompanying 'substance' (according to Integral Theory, the quadratic the 'Exterior' of our experiential dualities), primarily responds to 'principial' or spiritual, 'seed' causes in the Causal Realm. Then again, the 'Akasha' of the Subtle Realm would primarily respond to 'interior' mental causes and the Akasha of the Physical Realm to 'exterior' causes (supporting the illusion of a distinct Time and Space). All 'akashas' would interpenetrate hierarchically but each realm-bound body, following the ways of its corresponding 'Akasha', would resonate with its own objective, constitutional truth. Thus, the egoic sense of danger, of fear or –more generally- of denial to Life would be differently transmitted by the bodies associated with each realm and variety of Akasha. The 'exterior-based' form of denial would be transmitted by experiential meaning patterns engraved in the physical organism. Nevertheless, since in the Subtle Realm, exteriors would more readily 'obey' or respond to interiors, its associated Subtle Body would transmit a less restrictive sense of exterior dangers dependent upon unforeseen exterior causes. Instead, it might transmit inherent, psychic, experiential dangers. Then again, the forms of Life-denying illusions transmitted by the Causal Body would be even more subtle indeed and perhaps related to a perceived danger of absolute non-differentiation.
The Missing Aspect
When 'dominator hierarchies' are reborn accompanying successive (but interactively blended) personal and cultural stages of development, as Harvard Professor Robert Kegan would probably say (Kegan, 1994), objects of previous levels remain hidden as unrecognized subjects in the psyche even if other associated objects from those previous levels become recognized objects to the self in his or her next more inclusive level. In other words, we may not move towards inclusion with a particular fundamental aspect: The aspect through which we would naturally understand ourselves as experiential entities transcending ordinary physical ways. This aspect barely 'informs' us at a deeply sensed, pre-verbal, emotionally self-evident level and, thus, we don't remember what we have constituted (the embodiments we have enlivened and projected into) in relation to who we (spiritually or non dually) are. Therefore, we are absorbed into a false indistinction and remain fused with the physical world even as we make progress in other lines of development. In other words, we do not become aware of all relevant suppressed objects that unconsciously possess us and carry along from less inclusive levels into more inclusive ones, levels which would have otherwise been more liberating. These objects remain hidden and not informing our self identities because their effect and force is unremittingly bound with our most basic felt natures as physically incarnate souls. Thus, unless we discover the essentials of the exterior aspects of the spirit world, overcoming fear, attachment and dismissal and, unless we become familiar with the bodies or vehicles we 'inhabit' and experience our meaningful lives through, we'll not free ourselves from the inherent self centeredness associated with the (however complex, and highly adaptable) animal organism. It is not just that (as Buddhist traditions might say) we don't recognize the impermanence of 'things' or (as Vedanta or Vedanta-like traditions might say) we don't recognize 'our true nature'. It is not just that we do not recognize God as always reigning supreme, but that we are almost exclusively 'informed' by the 'voice' of the physical body in exclusion of the knowledge also 'spoken' by the other bodies. God is supreme but His structures, patterns and laws teach us about His ways.
We may even need the feelings, energies and sensations of the Subtle and Causal bodies to modify the complexity in our brains and to modify or, perhaps, activate and deactivate various dormant genes required to re-pattern and complexify our bodies to more readily respond beyond imperative short term fear and dichotomic reactions and thus be more structurally able to respond to the intention of creating a wiser, caring, transformational civilization within the physical environment. For an 'Integral Project' to succeed we still need to collect a body of the clearest, most lucid esoteric knowledge which can be associated with the clearest, Non Dual teachings and experiences and theoretical models including a renewed and deeper kind of 'metaphysics' holding the possibility of providing general guidelines to the scientific endeavor. We need to open up to ordinarily avoided evidence by personally, scientifically and collectively attempting to explore our own non-physical lives, other actual worlds currently connecting and interacting with the physical one we are most familiar with. Off course, without a dynamic or non atrophied line of development for otherworldly matters, these prescriptions sound preposterous, unnecessary, lame and boring but, unless we integrally explore other levels of reality which already are part of our structural make up, which we'll meet (soon enough) upon death and which seem to be necessary to explain some scientific 'anomalies', our philosophical and scientific models of reality may also reflect the deficiency. Recognizing this inherent and 'always available' knowledge (always available as 'states' of consciousness also seem to be) would mean to instinctively reconnect with the peace and certainty provided when consciously experiencing the fundamentals of Life in our Subtle and Causal bodies which (in terms of their exteriors) are naturally nourished in their own environments, informing us of higher truths unlike the always inherently endangered, physical-animal body which –by nature- is exteriorly forced to distrust, cajole, hoard, hunt and kill.
Simply recognizing and experiencing the fundamentals of higher realms and bodies would remind us that our deepest spirit nature (one with and stemming from God) manifests more inclusive principles capable of overriding less inclusive ones. Higher instinctive feelings would support the conceptual gains attained in each successive level of development. This, in turn, would help us to assimilate the intense limitations of a physical life with the proper perspective as we would also learn to embody the wisdom of the more inclusive and more interiorly actual (closer to the Source) Subtle Realm manifestation.
We cannot pragmatically implement in the physical world the wisdom leading to 'enlightenment', 'awakening' and 'salvation' unless we experientially know what the Gross, Subtle and Causal basics of manifestation are so as to recognize the one God Essence in relation with them and then -gradually- embrace all of it. We wouldn't know about the Subtle and Causal principles interpenetrating our physical world and we wouldn't know how to make them come to fruition through our own lives. If we either think or wordlessly, intimately, feel that what matters for our growth in awareness is only to know how to deal or relate with the physical manifest world and with Non Dual Spirit, we'll not know how to integrally relate the physical world with the wisdoms stemming from the other necessary, interactive and interpenetrating higher worlds.
Ken Wilber (Wilber, 2003) mentions how pathologies can occur at the major turning points called “fulcrums:”
“Most psychopathology (on the interior domains) seems to involve some sort of failure in the self's capacity of differentiation and integration--a failure that occurs during what can be called a fulcrum of self-development (Blanck and Blanck, 1974, 1979; Kegan, 1983; Wilber, 1986, 2000b). A fulcrum occurs each time the self encounters a new level of consciousness. The self must first identify with that new level (embed at that level, be in fusion with that level); it eventually disidentifies with (or transcends) that level so as to move to a yet higher wave; then it ideally integrates the previous wave with the higher wave.
A miscarriage at any of those points in the particular fulcrum (failed identification, failed differentiation, failed integration) will generate a pathology; and the type of the pathology depends upon both the level of consciousness that the fulcrum occurs and the phase within the fulcrum that the miscarriage occurs (Wilber et al, 1986). If we have nine general levels or waves of consciousness (each of which has a corresponding fulcrum that occurs when the self identifies with that level), and each fulcrum has these three basic subphases (fusion, transcendence, integration), then that gives us a typology of around twenty-seven major self pathologies (which range from psychotic to borderline to neurotic to existential to transpersonal). Far from being a mere abstract typology, there are abundant examples of each of these types (Rowan, 1998; Walsh and Vaughan, 1993; Wilber, 1986, 2000b).”
Ken Wilber's idea that, after becoming “Second Tier” or 'integrally aware' at the “Vision Logic” stage (Wilber, 1995, pp. 184-186), we may move into more integral 'fulcrums' (or significant developmental 'forks', path changes, and-or divergences) (Wilber, 1995, pp.584-589) may probably not come to pass as our transcendence and inclusion for this particularly momentous shift would still remain deficient. Moreover, subsequent 'fulcrums' (in fact, Wilber refers to fulcrum 7 as 'psychic', fulcrum 8 as 'subtle', and fulcrum 9 as 'Causal') would remain deficiently experienced and (even with the blessing of a partial 'Non Dual awareness' or an awareness unwilling to embrace all of reality), if we were not to recognize, explore and experience in a conscious, relaxed way, the exterior and objective truths related to our psychic, subtle and causal aspects.
With all Eyes
If we don't ever explore all realms with the simultaneous use in each realm of (according to St. Bonaventure) our three 'organs' of knowledge (i.e. the 'eye of the flesh', the 'eye of the mind' and, the 'eye of the spirit') we will remain as 'metaphysical dilettantes'. In fact, exploring, disclosing, enacting and re-cognizing the three realms by experientially applying in each one these three basic 'eyes' or ways of knowing would entail a more mature and 'integral' metaphysical exploration and not a non-ontological, “post metaphysical” one as Wilber seems to suggest (Wilber, 2003). Since these realms ontologically exist within the 'manifestations of duality' and-or of 'dual perspectives', they are both etymologically disclosed and ontologically understood and they should all possess (according to apriori and a posteriori ways of enacting) Interior and Exterior aspects as well as those of Unity and Multiplicity (or 'quadrants'), along with an organization which originates in mutually immanent three-fold spiritual principles which originate in Non Duality, beyond 'perspectives'.
All three 'eyes' could be used in all three realms because both realms and epistemological instruments simultaneously originate as ontological realities and as perspectives. In what I call the “Maha Trinity,” each 'eye' is a manifestation of a defined trinitarian perspective that can also be understood as mutually immanent with the other two defined trinitarian perspectives. Moreover, in this foundational level in which duality is almost indistinguishable from oneness, these fundamental trinitarian perspectives also are fundamental ontological realities of Being.
Integration of Ontology and Perspectives
As Wilber tells us in Sex, Ecology, Spirituality (Wilber, 1995, p. 255), going 'within', expanding our awareness, and moving into the 'transpersonal' would also mean 'going beyond' and 'embracing more of reality'. I think that, to be consistent, this should really mean, all of reality: Reality as indefinable or ineffable (Non Dual) and as definable or intelligible. Holons should be both ontological and epistemological within duality and in all realms). Recognizing all realms (including the importance of non physical realms for 'our' physical realm) would be a serious, responsible development, not escapism. Furthermore, any development beyond 'Fulcrum 6', and into 'vision logic' or the beginning 'integral stage' shouldn't just mean functioning with the 'transpersonal' as the 'Non Dual', but with how that 'transpersonal' also manifests as objectively real and more ontologically inclusive, non physical realms. I think that this should also denote recognizing the Subtle and Causal realms, not as more illusory (as many mystical traditions have seemed to suggest for enlightenment seekers in order to avoid the pitfalls of Subtle realm entrapments, such as a fascination with the 'Siddhis') than the physical world but in actual fact as less illusory: Consciousness prevails more in higher realms as their projected, ultimately apparent exteriors respond more readily to interiors. This would eventually mean that a 'realm' without exteriors is one of pure actuality and one of pure oneness without appearances. Off course it wouldn't be a 'realm' anymore, but Pure Spirit.
At least in his 'Wilber IV' stage and, in relation to the self, Wilber recognized that in “the further reaches of human nature” there are major turning points that include the experience and integration of psychic, subtle and causal experiential elements besides the guiding recognition of a non dual awareness (Wilber, 2005, pp. 255-316). What I suggest once again is that the conscious recognition and embrace of the objective aspects of the subtle and causal (including the 'psychic' fulcrum) must also accompany pre-integral and post-integral degrees of human development in order to lessen the incessant recreation of dominator hierarchies and holons.
I think that cultures of the world at large (also directly impinging upon the psychological meaning, elements, and symbols individuals use to develop) have continually expressed the continuation of dominator hierarchies because of a limited and self-perpetuating relation with the otherworldly. A shift in this relation could truly signify a major departure from the way we have personally and collectively developed, surpassing an emergence to an 'Integral Age' without this recognition. To achieve this, a better 'fit' between instinct(s) and conceptual forms of understanding is crucial. Integrally speaking (and leaving taboos behind), we could learn from Vedanta and from other serious esoteric traditions that refer to other realms of being as, apparently in the past, 'explorers of the soul' and its constitution have privately and collectively enacted results that share patterns which even today are capable of contributing to science, philosophy and an overall understanding. Integrally speaking, we could explore ourselves and learn even more.
Now, turning a bit more speculative (but in line with the idea that we constantly function in a variety of realms), I'll say that, carrying tendencies from other lifetimes may also impinge upon why some individuals develop more readily while others (not even when raised under similar circumstances) remain behind. Furthermore, the possibility of being at least partially involved in the conformation of our genetic make-up during the reincarnation process may also have to be considered. The serious, long term, pioneering work of psychiatrist Ian Stevenson from the University of Virginia comes to mind. Some of his books suggested a link between reincarnation and biology (Stevenson, 1997). An interesting video presentation can be seen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbWMEWubrk0
After reading the Scientific American article “Hidden Switches in the Mind” (Nestler, 2011, pp.78-83) and learning that, not only physical, but societal-psychological conditions, can impose “epigenetic tags” or “marks” that suppress or activate the genetic expression of organisms, I think that the interaction between the Subtle Realm (that should primarily respond forming patterns based on semantic mental causes) and the Physical Realm (that should have corresponding information-based organization patterns) could also be evidenced by these biochemical, psychosomatic responses. Moreover, I wonder whether there might be psychological and community-related stimuli that (utilizing Subtle Realm substance) may activate genes that would increase the dynamism of my posited 'line of development' associated with the natural recognition and interaction with non physical realities. The 'line' would be 'dynamized' by an increase in our energetic detection and-or transduction of otherworldly influences.
Interestingly, a sense of peace and well-being seems to be psychologically associated with an experience of time passing quickly. As suggested in his The Unified Theory of the Physical and Biological World by analytical mathematician Luigi Fantappie (originator of the de Sitter Invariant Special Relativity idea) our sympathetic nervous system indeed perceives the 'advanced waves' from the future posited by the Klein-Gordon relativistic solution to Schrodinger's Wave Equation. These advanced waves are anti-entropic physical possibilities and would, thus, favor the “syntropic” sustenance and development of life, alleviating organisms from established structures and entropy and –generally speaking - giving them a sense of calm and safety. Profuse information regarding this exciting development is given by Antonella Vannini, PhD (Vannini, 2009). Now, since in my gradually developing view (and in practical terms), the Subtle Realm's exterior-objective components correspond to potential probabilities in relation to Physical Realm exterior-objective components, we could also say that (similarly to detecting negentropic waves from future potentials) a sense of calm, safety and well-being may also accompany detecting this realm in a fundamental, instinctive manner. Both detecting negentropic, advanced waves and the fundamentally safe exterior sense of the Subtle Realm would correlate with a subjective instinctive (Vannini would probably call it 'intuitive') feeling or pre-verbal understanding that 'experiential', physical conditions (the 'experiential present' in which our enactments and disclosures and –perhaps even- probability wave function collapses occur) do not hold us back within excessively restrictive structures. Accordingly, we wouldn't need to defend ourselves as 'dominator wholes' if we perceived that our continuity and safety is also intimately related with continued fluidity and changes. Likewise, we would also feel more comfortable with uncertainty and tend to develop less fundamentally rigid interpretive constructs.
We need to know in a more in-depth manner what is going on within us as beings with multiple bodies. This is not a futile, speculative exercise. Without discovering the instinctual safety also transmitted to us by the natural intelligence of our higher bodies we will always remain implicitly 'suspicious' when extending into any form of communion and into more inclusive levels of self-identity and understanding. Without discovering instinctual safety at what Don Beck (creator of “Spiral Dynamics Integral”) would call a “Beige: Archaic-Instinctual” stage (Wilber, 2000, p.48), the original source of fear will never be rediscovered as an 'object' and the self will never be able to heal or to fully incorporate the full meaning of going beyond his own limited sense. The attachment to physical instinct at this 'level cero' would remain insufficiently challenged at every subsequent developmental level unless, even at this primary, ever-present, 'level cero', higher instincts were also experienced.
It is true that –besides the flexibility and potential of our nervous systems- we all share the animal basis of further development, but what anthropologists, biosociologists and others studying the natural basis of 'human nature' have not considered is that –along with our higher 'bodies'- we might also possess other sources of instinct. Without integration between level cero and level one every subsequent stage would be accompanied by a 'perversion' (a 'turning away' from a healthier and more balanced course). It would be accompanied by a hidden (often unrecognized) split in favor of a self recurrently entrenched against others, a process tantamount to an always incomplete identification with each more complex, spiritually aware and inclusive or 'civilized' stage. As humans we may never be able to get rid of our basic fear but we can subsume and enlighten it by connecting with our other higher instinctual truths. If cultures supported this connection the other instincts would probably come through much more easily. Furthermore, even perhaps a small amount of this re-cognition would go a long way to transform the traditional pattern.
I know that these ideas sound preposterous because traditional scientists have not found a role for spirit or for our spirit bodies in human development. Holding on to their historical rejection of a society controlled by dogmas they still think that every assertion about non physical realities is balderdash. Nonetheless, the evidence is mounting against that kind of ignorance and I don't think that it would be impossible to start exploring ways in which scientists can (in theory and method) expand their reach and start exploring these fundamental issues. Clearly the main nemesis is attachment to previous paradigms and a time-honored negative attitude towards…natural things 'otherworldly', a time-honored practice for which we remain continuously unaware and trapped.
How can it (we) be Different?
If it could have been otherwise, how would it have been? If we had had a more active 'line for otherworldly matters' during all previous stages of cultural development (even in the so-called 'pre-rational', 'magic' stages) our indissociation with nature would have probably included more of nature at a higher level. Then, perhaps, in the agrarian, 'mythic' stages the dissociation between 'nature' and 'spirit' (in which 'spirit' is favored), might have still distinguished spirit from all realm levels of nature but without demonizing the physical (or any other of these realm levels) as 'evil'. Thereafter, our re-integration with nature (our re-integration of spirit as sublime reason and nature) would have also been more integral and complete.
I understand that -according to human experience- not losing some degree of contact with the instincts of the higher bodies is unrealistic as babies and then children go through a self-absorbed but undifferentiated stage leading to a discovery of self-centered distinctions. Nevertheless, (as states of consciousness) these 'instincts' should always be available, however poorly they might be interpreted. Thus, perhaps growing up in communities in which a more mature acceptance and exploration of other (more inclusive and, ultimately, 'Real') non physical worlds take place might encourage individuals not to lose too much contact with pre-verbal, 'it', non physical wisdoms. If culturally-established 'cosmic habits' weren't influential enough to override biologically established 'cosmic habits' during an individual's early developmental stages, the former 'habits', social interaction and cultural influences might be more effective at a later developmental stage. I think that even a small degree of reconnection with the instincts and wisdoms of higher bodies would go a long way to avoid long term cultural inadequacy and disaster, and to reduce the re-generation of 'dominator' hierarchies and holons. Candidly, I suggest that reaching the hypothetical 7th, 8th and 9th 'fulcrums' should also be about deepening our responsibilities toward the psychic, subtle and causal worlds; in fact, at least partially integrating our conscious lives with those worlds, even as we primarily live in the physical one we know (the 'Multiverse' may have as many 'levels' as Max Tegmark suggests but, to these possibilities I also posit that differently allowed combinations of the main Physical, Subtle and Causal realms may generate 'hybrids' or gradated varieties of 'universes' or 'realities' with less clearly defined Physical, Subtle and Causal characteristics).
The sense of safety is one of the first needs recognized by Maslow's in his hierarchy. What I propose is that without recognition of the safety involved in being a spiritual being with non physical bodies all human development will remain to some degree or another potentially thwarted. Empathy with 'concrete otherworldly realities' would probably be uniquely healing, life improving, and unlike the incomplete stage progressions humanity has known, truly starting a deeper 'Second Tier' evolution. We would stop furnishing our collective imaginations about the otherworldly with primitive images of horror and would recognize that that horror was our way to maintain ourselves 'out of the loop', in a permanently pathetic denial, ignoring most fundamental parts of our experiential natures. I call for studying the 'otherworldly'. I call to make peace with it and to integrate it with an evolving Integral Theory.
Kegan, Robert (1994). In Over our Heads: The Mental Demands of Modern Life. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Nestler, E. (December, 2011). Hidden Switches in the Mind. Scientific American, 305, 6, 78-83.
Pániker, S (1987). Ensayos Retroprogresivos. Barcelona: Kairós.
Piacenza, G. (2011). Integral Theology: The Maha Trinity. retrieved February 10, 2012, from Integral World Web Site: http://www.integralworld.net/piacenza13.html
Stevenson, I. (1997). Where reincarnation and Biology Intersect. Westport: Praeger Publishers.
Tegmark, M. (2003-2009). Parallel Universe Overview. retrieved February 11,2012, from The Universes of Max Tegmark Web Site: http://space.mit.edu/home/tegmark/crazy.html
Van Lommel P. (2001). Near-death experience in survivors of cardiac arrest: a. The Lancet. 351, 2039-2045.
Vannini, A. (2009). A Syntropic Model of Consciousness, retrieved June, 1, 2011, from http://www.sintropia.it/thesis.pdf
Wilber, K. (1995). Sex, Ecology, Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution. Boston: Shambhala.
Wilber, K. (2000). Integral Psychology: Consciousness, Spirit, Psychology, Therapy. Boston: Shambhala.
Wilber, K (2003). Excerpt A: An Integral Age at the Leading Edge, retrieved February 1, 2011, from http://www.kenwilber.com/Writings/PDF/ExcerptC_KOSMOS_2003.pdf
Wilber, K. (2003). Excerpt D: The Look of a Feeling: The Importance of Post/Structuralism, retrieved February 11, 2012, from http://www.kenwilber.com/Writings/PDF/excerptD_KOSMOS_2004.pdf