Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
David Christopher LaneDavid Christopher Lane, Ph.D, is a Professor of Philosophy at Mt. San Antonio College and Founder of the MSAC Philosophy Group. He is the author of several books, including The Sound Current Tradition (Cambridge University Press, 2022) and the graphic novel, The Cult of the Seven Sages, translated into Tamil (Kannadhasan Pathippagam, 2024). His website is

Radiance without An Edge

The Mystical Way of Onenes

David Lane



We live in a world that is ever more synthetic, even if we wish it were otherwise.

Back in the early 1980s I used to write articles and book reviews for several magazines including FATE Magazine, Laughing Man, Movement Newspaper, and a few academic journals. I recall being asked by to write a short essay on what the future of communication would look like in a few decades. I thought long and hard about the subject and I became convinced that our language would evolve to where we would be comfortable and increasingly conversant employing pictograms without words. I essentially argued that as film in the 20th century became the lingua franca for many (replacing novels as the medium of common discussion and debate), I imagined that photographs, paintings, pictures, and other visual cues would serve as a powerful means to convey a host of simple and complicated ideas without needing long-winded elaborations.

Today, we are awash with Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Vimeo, and A.I. produced content. Because of all things becoming visual, we are developing a grammar of what I term pictorial positioning. How and where we arrange a photograph, a video, an icon, an emoji (and when exactly we post the same) is a narrative structure all its own.

Just as ChatGPT has transformed us from logical and syntaxial coders into natural language prompters (old school computer programming be damned!), so too has A.I. image generators turned us from graphic designers with genuine art skills into sentence feeders using Dalle-3, MidJourney, Stable Diffusion, and more.

Of course, this doesn't eliminate graphic designers, computer programmers, and skilled novelists, but it does democratize these activities in ways that were unimaginable just a decade prior.

We live in a world that is ever more synthetic, even if we wish it were otherwise.

I bring this up because I have noticed a significant change in how I view writing and how I approach producing articles and books.

During the past few years, I have deeply immersed myself into the latest developments in artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and augmented reality. It has changed me in ways I never expected. Perhaps that change can be best summarized by the forthcoming title of a book I am working on, The Future is Mixed: Why Digital Simulations are the New Reality.

Today, for example, before I write anything I spend hours creating images using the latest iterations of Dalle-3 and Midjourney which serve as imaginative prompts for me to expand my thinking about the most arcane of subjects.

The A.I. image has become my digital guru. This is no accident since I have no doubt whatsoever that synthentic intelligences will eventually transform and guide almost every facet of our lives. Undoubtedly, we are already aware of how and why this is happening, since we are so tethered to the electronic grid and GPS that we tend never to go anywhere without our computational assistants. Which gives me pause to contemplate the strange factoid that Steve Jobs (via Apple) may be one of the greatest disruptors of human activity in world history (Genghis Khan, notwithstanding).

The following visual booklet is but the most recent example of how A.I. imagery can alter the course of what one writes.

I suspect that what prompted a large Indian publishing house to buy the translation rights to one of my most recent forays into this area had more to do with the A.I. images that were generated and much less to do with any of my proffered text.

Interestingly, the courts have ruled that synthetic pictures created by OpenAI and other systems cannot be copyrighted because they are not the product of a living human being, but rather a computational algorithm.

This is a good development. But this is only a first measure. The fakery of people and voices and more is the most pressing danger we face right now with A.I., as Professor Daniel Dennett from Tufts University has warned.

My hope is that we can use A.I. for a better world, where we expand (and not derange) human capabilities and potentials.

On this issue, I hate to confess that I am a pessimist and a realist. Hopefully, we can co-evolve with our digital offspring, but only if their interests align with our own.

Here is the latest offering of fusing A.I. with humanly chosen writing.

Radiance without an Edge: The Mystical Way of Oneness

Comment Form is loading comments...