This is the map that was introduced in the FB page. It is basically derived from Gebser’s description of the different types of reasoning within the Mental structure of consciousness. They appear chronologically in phases – Oceanic (or latent phase), Pyramidal (or efficient phase) Perspectival (or deficient stage) and then also Paradoxical which is a late-stage variant of Perspectival. Gebser scholars should note that although Gebser saw much of the emerging Integral structure of consciousness in Heidegger, in expanding his map, I have located Heidegger along the paradoxical, not the onto-logical, because of Heidegger’s late philosophy (which violated his earlier process of thinking) and also because how Heidegger’s philosophy has been actually conceived as it has been carried forward into recent times.
Summarily it illustrates a picture of “flows”, whose roots lay in oceanic and then pyramidal thinking. Before I describe what those entail, I would like the reader to get an overall gestalt of the flow pattern that is arising. Oceanic thinking was carried forward into the modern age through east-Asian philosophies such as Ha-Yen Buddhism (and by extension modern Chinese fusion of Daoism and Buddhism which results in the world view of Traditional Chinese Medicine and its philosophical foundations in modern Daoist thought.
In the western world, Plato and Plotinus represent the beginning of what we now recognize as rational thinking. Plotinus’ legacy moves toward the soteriological, while Plato is generally seen to be a point from which the modern intellectual, scientific worldview arose. In the middle we have Kant — who represents a kind of apotheosis to the modern mind. Here we have a dramatic divergence in the wake of Kant. There is a strong scientific/empirical track to a materialist kind of ontology to the right, supported by the dialectic methodology of scientific revolution, and the exchange of scientific paradigms in the way that Kuhn described.
This is counterpoised by the perspectival trajectory, toward the humanistic philosophers of the post-war, post-modern movement, in which the dialectical movement becomes perspectival when the “dialectic” is no longer primarily between self and world, but inside rational discourse within a community of others. When seen from this way, “perspectivalism” is akin to an intersubjective “dialecticism”, of alternatively, “dilaecticalism” is an ontological kind of “perspectivalism”. There are interesting implications to this… but we need to move on to the bigger picture. [Note, however, that Critical Realism represent an attempt to bring the two back into the same "ball park" as it were, whereas Speculative Realism represents more of a complete rejection of perspectivalism.
So we have one major divergence from Kant, on the one hand toward dialectical materialism, and on the other hand toward perspectival humanism.
Now I want to look at the trajectory that goes straight up toward the paradoxical. This is a trajectory that is tending toward post-rational thinking, and bumps up against irrational elements. It is here where the splitting into parts -- the making of distinctions -- reaches an extreme form. The difference here is in a sense all movement between dialectical or perspectival pairs is stopped -- primarily because the fundamental duality that is driving this "movement" (which tends toward complexity) is revealed, and the mind turns to trying to understand this basic underlying duality, rather than moving toward continuous reconciliation of prior polarities into new, more complex forms.
In other words, there is a sense that of claiming "the jig is up" -- that the mind intends to find the "root cause" of things. Nargarjuna's tetrallema represents the earliest and perhaps severest example of this -- which of course was succeeded by a thousand years of Buddhist scholastics on the implications of his thinking. In the west, Derrida's pursuit of the ontological singularity that resists deconstruction, beneath everything else that peels away under analysis -- parallels Nargarjuna's efforts.
Today we see the results of paradoxical thinking in the explosion of mental theories, models and maps that identify what are taken to be "root categories" -- or "primary abstractions" upon which the dualistic world is built.
The pathological aspect of the paradoxical mind is when the categories of mind are considered to be aspects of reality. Basically, this happens when the mental consciousness turns inward on itself, and discovers its own basic dualistic nature, and then projects this a fundamental ontological structures of reality. Nargarjuna, for example, reveals the basic dualistic structure of mental consciousness through his tetrallema argument, and finds subject pole and object pole (for Nargarjuna, the single and multiple poles were derivatives of the subject-object pole) and then suggests that there is an underlying ontological structure to reality, i.e. that of emptiness/form.
Wilber re-presents this map, by expanding it into a matrix across two dualities, subject-object and singular-plural, and likewise, suggests that this is not a map of the Mental structure of consciousness, but rather a map of some deep structures in the ontological territory. His latest influence/collaboration with Clint Fuchs and Core Integral actually offers an argument that the 4 quadrants are primoridal givens!
There has been an explosion of this kind of thinking across the Wilber-centric integral community. There is an explosion of maps that reiterate the fundamental components of the dualistic mind. Wilber's map is a "theory of everything" because it reveals the fundamental criteria through which "everything" arises within the Mental consciousness -- within a dualistic framework of interior/exterior and whole/part. "Everything" can be shown to be derived from these dualistic pairs, not because "everything" is derived from deep dualistic dynamics in the cosmos -- but because "everything" is derived by the Mental structure.
Not a few individuals have attempted to map ever more complicated versions of the matrices that complexify from the root dualisms in the Mental consciousness. It is common to illustrate a flow chart of transtions, from one category or state to another. This is a false process theory, because process or onto-logics as we are describing it, prescribes a processural field that is whole, and remains whole, through transformations in genertive order. In other words, it would not be possible to "reverse engineer" a true, onto-logically- reasoned process exegesis, into a matrix of one or more opposites. The relations in an onto-logically reasoned process are not dualistic, but onto-genetic.
Although it may be harsh to say so, at the end of the day, paradoxical thinking has nothing to say about "the world", and in a sense it rejects the world in lieu of a type of infinite recursivity of mind-looking at mind-looking at mind. This is not to trivialize the real suffering that this usually brings to the individual, so locked into this prison. The suffering comes from the case that existential being-in-the-world is vast and infinite, and cannot be fit into any container, much less one that is merely an iterative process stemming from one or two, or four, or a dozen categorical abstractions.
So lets go on.. Both modern, secular Buddhist Dialectics (as it veers away from Nargarjuna's deconstruction) and Process Metaphysics in a sense by-pass all these streams, and represent different streams evolving from the earlier, oceanic way of thinking. These are the two streams we are most interested in, with respect to an emergent structure of consciousness, and the new kinds of reasoning that it may bring.
So here is Gebser's example of oceanic thinking (if you have a copy of Ever-Present Origin you can read more in chapter 7, and see where I have altered some of the detail to make easier distinctions for this course):
For souls it is death to become water; for water it is death to become earth. But from earth comes water and from water, soul.
You can immediately see that the terms are not related in a dualistic way. In fact Oceanic thinking allows for logics such as A>B>C>A<B .. because the sequence, or "onto-genetically related series" transforms the terms by the time they re-appear or cycle in the thinking. The "B" that is less than "A" is not the "same B" that by then end of the cycle, is greater than "A" (but neither is this the "same" "A"). Those of you familiar with Daoist 5-element theory and/or the organ system of TCM on which it is based will immediately see how oceanic thinking is the foundation of these systems of thought and forms the basic "science" of acupuncture, Medical Qigong, among other practices.
Of course, the entire system of Traditional Chinese Medicine, is derived from complex iterations of these fundamental relationships between elements. [Note: naive westerners tend to interpret and emphasize Daoist philosophy in terms of discrete polarities, i.e. yin, yang -- but this is antithetical to the Daoist mentality.]
Christopher Alexander’s pattern language is a modern attempt to create a taxonomy of pattern from which the naturally ordering processes are generated. Unlike what has come before, Alexander begins with a very large constellation of patterns in his pattern language — and never seems to fall into a metal construction of dualistic pairs. In his later work, he attempts to whittle them down to some more fundamental elements.
Oceanic thinking recurs in the pre-Buddhist Tibetan Bon systems which, with their verb-based languages and deeply processural understanding of “mind-nature” and probably reaches it highest forms in the more processural schools of Dzogchen which reject the two-truths doctrine and the false dichotomy of epistemic and ontological categories.
In the west, oceanic type tendencies crystallize with Whitehead’s process approach, and the incorporation of this kind of process thinking to re-imagine in process ways various inquiries into psychology, for example, as in the case of Jason Brown.
So I hope this gives you some orienting generalizations about the course, and helps you mine the authors in new ways, that prove to be rich and fertile places for your own genius to explore!