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
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Scott Preston is a Canadian citizen living in the province of Saskatchewan; a graduate (with “high honours” and “President’s Mention”) of the University of Regina, Saskatchewan where he studied “communications”, specializing in propaganda analysis and infomatics. He also studied briefly at Tubingen, in Germany. His working career has been in computer programme design and systems analysis. He have also been an organic farmer. He is presently semi-retired and living in the lovely Prairie town and oasis of Indian Head, Saskatchewan where his scholarly interests have turned to the study of the origins and history of consciousness.
Reposted from longsworde.wordpress.com with permission of the author.
My Beef With
|I love||We love|
|You love||You love|
|He, She It loves||They love|
In this paradigm, there are three persons of grammar (called first, second, third) in singular and plural aspects. “We” is, however, mistakenly interpreted as the plural of “I”, and “I” is called “the first person”, whereas, in experiential terms, “I” is never the first person. “You” or “Thou” is, and precisely this personal form is omitted from Wilber’s model. Similarly, “We” is not plural “I’s”. “We” is a separate person altogether. It is the collective person — a singular where “the two shall become one flesh”. That We is a separate person altogether and not pluralised “I” is confirmed by research into universal grammar. All languages inventoried so far all have at least a minimum four person system — You, I, He, We. Some languages have more persons of grammar, but they are variants of these four, just as English has four persons of the third person — He, She, It, They. Rosenstock-Huessy has corrected the paradigm recognising a four person system of grammar as
|He, She, It, They||(indicative form)|
This is a superior arrangement because it is more inclusive of our full experience.
Moreover, it is completely unconscionable that Wilber would include “It” (or even “Its”) as a dominating aspect of the model. This is only the persistence of the subject-object dichotomy. “It” is not normal form. It seems to be derived from Latin “id”. In antiquity (and in many contemporary languages too) “it” does not exist as a person. In antiquity, you could only say the name. As Rosenstock-Huessy pointed out, “it is raining” was an impossible form in antiquity. You could only say “Zeus rains” or “Zeus is raining”. And apparently, in Korean, it is impossible to refer to anything as “it”. Everything is “he” or a “thou”. It would be interesting to trace the beginnings of the use of “it” to refer to things that were once named. I haven’t done that, yet, but I suspect the use of “it” instead of the name coincides with the emergence of the mental-rational consciousness structure. If “it” was impossible, the “its” is even more ridiculous for being so arbitrary and contrived.
OK. Let's compare Wilber's quadrant model with Rosenstock-Huessy's quadrilateral model.
Rosenstock-Huessy's model doesn't omit the "you" or "thou" dimension, where the persons of grammar correspond to the actual structure of our complete reality, correspondingly.
We see immediately from this schema why the persons of grammar are minimally four and not three. It’s because we are fourfold beings and our reality is a fourfold structure, too, being constituted of two times and two spaces — past and future, inner and outer. The fourfold human and the fourfold cosmos grew up together. Wilber’s model can’t account for that at all.
So, what’s the problem here? Wilber seems to have omitted time and our experience of time as an irrelevancy. Time isn’t even represented in Wilber’s AQAL model. Only subject and object spaces. Therefore, the human form cannot be properly interpreted, for we have four faces, like some representations of the god Janus, that face backwards, forwards, inwards, and outwards, and we have attendant faculties and consciousness functions organised accordingly for mastery of these dimensions — Jung’s feeling, thinking, sensing, willing functions are attuned to a reality that is fourfold in terms of two times and two spaces. And the four basic persons of grammar — You, I, We, He or She — are the representation in grammar of that reality and that consciousness, that we are fourfold beings just as our reality is a fourfold cosmos.
Comparing Wilber’s model to Rosenstock-Huessy’s, I would have to conclude that Wilber’s model is “deficient integral” owing to its apparent omission of time and subsequently of the “I-thou” relationship in which the time factor is really pronounced. For the “I-It” (or “We-Its”) relation is a relation of spaces — inner and outer, while the “I-Thou” (or “We-thou”) relation is a relation of times.
It is perhaps not so apparent to English speakers especially that the “thou” or “you” form is connected with time future. Other languages, like German, still preserve the formal aspects of this. In old English you had to say “go thou!” or “be thou loving!”, and so on. In other words, the “thou” or “you” is most closely associated with the imperative form and that is the future addressing the past. It is a call to change one’s personal or collective state — what we call the “vocation” or “calling” is time future in dialogue with time past.
Time past is represented in the “we” form. We is not plural “I’s”. It is constituted by some historical act, like a marriage or union or congregation of peoples or the sexes in which “the two shall become one flesh”. We is the collective person, historically established by some act. The people in “We the People” is a singularity and a unity, an historically constituted entity called “nation”. A bunch of autonomous “I’s” or egos never yet formed a tribe or a nation — or a commune for that matter. Nor a successful marriage.
Though “I-It” (or “We-Its”) might be permissible in referring to the relation of subject and object spaces, “we-thou” is the relation in which the time element is outstanding.
So much for my beef with Wilber.