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Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Joe Corbett has been living in Shanghai and Beijing since 2001. He has taught at American and Chinese universities using the AQAL model as an analytical tool in Western Literature, Sociology and Anthropology, Environmental Science, and Communications. He has a BA in Philosophy and Religion as well as an MA in Interdisciplinary Social Science, and did his PhD work on modern and postmodern discourses of self-development, all at public universities in San Francisco and Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at [email protected]
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Part 1 |
Myth, ritual, and narrative (or ideological) forms of communication more generally invoke archetypes, embodied feelings, habits, and worldviews that are necessary for us to navigate our environment with meaningful guidance and stable regularity. They provide us with the probability forms, the more and less likely outcomes, for our survival and thriving among the many potential pathways we could take. They help to bring order, reason, and purpose to the chaos and random occurrence of events and things we experience. Culture provides persistence (and programming) through repetition and by adding depth to the wide, variable, often random, and novel creativity of Mind.
The organizing structure for myth, ritual, and narrative meanings are the sum total of the relations between kin, ranks, classes, tribal totems, ethnicities, and nations, as well as the relations between and among animals and plants, and perhaps most importantly and fundamentally of all between the moon, earth, sun, stars and planets. These relations provide the organizing rules or syntax for the in-depth semantic meanings that are generated by myths, rituals, and narrative ideologies. These Societal forms, these interobjective relations, provide the hierarchical and horizontal organizing principles for the meaningful depth and embodied stability of Culture.
Likewise, any molecule in a living system, like any word in a language, derives its meaning and has its potential realized only within a range of probabilities for what it could mean in relation to other molecules, and to other words, with which it interacts. The potential meaning of molecules and words comes from their relation to one another within a larger system of contrasting distinctions and rules that organizes and constrains their relations in very specific ways, limiting their nearly infinite potential of meanings to a very narrow range of probabilities for functional fit within the system of meaning they are part of. The Genome/Semantics provides persistence (and programming) to the variable and novel creativity of genetic Mutations/Signifieds, and these signified meanings are organized and selected by the Eco-environment/Syntax in which they occur.
The Body, like any behavioral, cultural, or societal trait, indeed, like any particle of matter in the universe, derives its form from the self-organized accumulation of memories that were creatively generated literally out of nowhere, from the depths of the void as a fluctuating whisp of the wind to be either repeated into manifest existence in resonance with past and future potential forms, or to be completely forgotten to time as a potential that never potentiated into a higher probability, and from that probability into an actuality. Such is our life (and life itself), and such is human history, as well as the history of the entire Kosmos.