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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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A Brief Kosmic History of Involution and Evolution
A love letter to Ken Wilber via
Sri Aurobindo and David Bohm
Enfolded within the unfolding of the Kosmos are the structure/states of Awareness that lead back to the Kosmic Source.
In order to fully understand the structure and nature of Consciousness, we need to go all the way back to before the Big Bang. Before the Big Bang there was Nothing, or No-thing. No manifestation, no dualities, and no existence in the material realm at all. The only thing we might say did exist was the potentia for manifestation and physical reality, the vast infinite landscape of possible quantum fluctuations that could emerge as inflationary pockets (like the innumerable opening eyes of Spirit), each with their own set of minimal parameters (perceptual constraints) that were undifferentiated (or unified) into a single non-dual Source of all yet to come.
The universe thus begins with essentially the same (or seemingly the same) structure/state that it ends with at its highest point of evolution, namely, Kosmic Supermind, or non-dual Awareness, when the Kosmos finally becomes fully Conscious of itself. But I'm getting a little ahead of myself here, because before the universe can evolutionarily come back to Itself in full rememberance, it must go forth in a full unfolding or involution of its potentia.
The next structure/state of the universe begins with the Big Bang proper, with the emergence into manifest existence of the dualities of subject and object (matter-antimatter, up and down quarks) as well as the singular (electrons, neutrinos, photons) and the plural (atomic nuclei). The universe is a formless hot plasma of chaotic particles whose recurring interactions establish patterns, grooves, or habits for how those particles will interact forever afterward, to the present day, when put under similar environmental conditions. This is the involutionary correlate of Kosmic Overmind, of causal Empty Formlessness, where the Kosmic storehouse of subquantum dark matter will begin to record all the morphic forms (along with their adjacent potentials) that come into existence from here on, right into the present day, in a deep formless Kosmic sleep.
Before we go further, a word about the nature of this subquantum storehouse, whether it actually resides in dark matter or not (which is my thesis). Empty space, or nothing (yes, That Nothing, from which everything emerged in the first place, otherwise known as dark energy) is filled to the brim with virtual particles fluctuating in and out of existence, constantly interacting with, even monitoring (or Witnessing, as in my hypothesized particle-antiparticle yin-yang condensate), regular particles. In fact, virtual particles from the vacuum of nothingness mediate all regular particle interactions. Let me repeat that. Virtual particles (from the subquantum realm) mediate all regular particle interactions. That means that an unmanifest subquantum realm governs the quantum realm, which in turn governs the atomic and molecular realms, and therefore an unmanifest reality governs all manifest reality. And this is standard quantum physics, not some New Age woo-woo.
Regular particle interactions are recorded in the Kosmic storehouse (Akashic field) by virtual particles at or near the planck scale, which is many orders of magnitude smaller than even the quantum realm, so there is plenty of space for storing all that information about particles and their interactions, which is essentially information about every thing and event that ever occurs in the manifest universe. For 150 million years particles and nuclei jostle about in formless plasma and hot gases, eventually forming the minimal patterns and shapes that would finally cause subtle weak atomic forces, under the influence of gross gravitational forces, to ignite the first stars and begin the process of creating ever more grossly complex forms of matter (maya) through atomic fusion.
The fusion of inner and outer forces, nuclear and electromagnetic, weak and gravitational, feeling and intellect, mind and body. Thus begins the era of the involutionary correlate that is subtle Kosmic Metamind, where radiant forms cascade one into another and begin proliferating into multiples of brilliant shapes like so many dancing deities. The colorful dreamworld of the Kosmos has begun, and its creative exuberance is now on display in full force under a luminous radiant vision. Truly, these are the dreams all worlds are made of, the creations inside the explosive melding visions of radiant stars.
This hotly active subtle realm of brilliant light will give birth and form to the gross realm to come (so you see, we really are the creation of the gods), to this cool planetary realm of matter that makes sentient life forms, which is the involutionary correlate of Kosmic Paramind. Here the Mother force, nature, nurture, Agape, the warm embrace of the involutionary Womb itself becomes concrete, having reached its final unfolding. For now the journey back to the beginning, back to the Source, begins. Evolution as we know it commences, Eros is born. And it begins in a psycho-physical realm of interconnection (Nature) that will make its ascent back to the Source through a series of interwoven and networked holarchies, wholes within wholes within wholes, interconnected within the Great Web of life.
But the ascent back to the source does not begin with Kosmic Paramind itself, although that is in fact the structure/state of Nature. Rather it begins with the lowest of the gross structure/states, inert (dead) matter. From there life-consciousness comes into being under the right circumstances, circumstances that habituate matter into its natural (innate) proclivities toward self-organizing self-transcendence, or precisely the transcend and include interwoven holarchies of Paramind, the (psycho-physical) panpsychism of Nature. Once instantiated, life begins at an Archaic survival structure/state, and must then work its way up the Great Chain of Being back to its Source in Supermind, or God Consciousness, the Face of Being we all had before we (the Kosmos) was born.
Thus, enfolded within the unfolding of the Kosmos are the structure/states of Awareness that lead back to the Kosmic Source. The history of the Kosmos outside of us is also the history of our own evolution, enfolded within us. And yet this is only the long-view of the history of the Kosmos and our own evolution within the structure/states of consciousness, for this same process is happening from moment to moment even as you read this.
Involution is the movement from the enfolded implicate order to the unfolded explicate order, from non-dual emptiness to causal formlessness to subtle entangled radiance to gross matter, whereas evolution is the reverse, from the gross (material) to subtle (quantum) to causal (dark matter/akashic field) to non-dual dark energy. And this is what is happening each and every moment as virtual particles pop in and out of existence, recording particle interactions into the Kosmic storehouse and then feeding that information back into the explicate order of material particles.
The dynamical feedback between them, the back and forth from the implicate order to the explicate order, is the holomovement, which is the mechanism for the process of transcend and include on a Kosmic scale, the subject of one moment becoming object to the next emergent subject, whereby a self-organizing self-transcendence of vibration between the umanifest and the manifest orders of Being evolves the Kosmos itself in a transcend and include Holarchy of complexity.
If there is Intelligent Design in the Kosmos, it is only because the Kosmos is Intelligence, a dynamical feedback system between an Unmanifest or Unconscious Mind and a Manifest or Conscious Mind. Just as humans and even lower life forms can be said to be structured in this way, so is the Kosmos at large. As above so below, and as within so without. Peace.
gross waking state
subtle realm of dreams
causal realm of archetypal Forms
dark energy vacuum