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A New Integral Paradigm - Individual, Social, and Spiritual Development

It is our responsibility to take up the task of conscious evolution, on both the individual level of sadhana or yoga (sensu Sri Aurobindo's integral yoga; I don't mean Hatha yoga), and on the collective level of politico-socio-cultural evolution.

While Theogenesis itself is solely the work of sadhana, the requirements of saving the Earth from destruction through lower human greed, stupidity, short-sightedness, and hatred of sensitivity, is the task of Activism and Memetic Engineering.

An Interpretation of Human Knowledge

The basic "horizontal" (psychological) polarity

The polarity of the "Horizontal" Inner-Outer Axis has been described in detail by Stan Gooch in his book Total Man, although Gooch uses a physiological explanation, whereas I prose here a metaphysical one. Nevetheless, the following pairs of opposites provide a good starting point for the organisation of human knowledge, symbolism, and understanding along integral lines (remember that this is only one axis, not the whole picture). The table is shown below:

System B
System A
emotion, feeling
thought, thinking
magic (`illogic')
religion art
left-wing politics (Labour, Communism)
right-wing politics (Fascism)

[from Stan Gooch, Total Man, Abacus, 1972, pp.82-3]

State-Specific Sciences

In the 1970s, Charles T Tart proposed state-specific sciences as a way of studying non-ordinary states of consciousness in a scientific as opposed to a mystical manner (Tart 1972, Tart 1975a, etc; short summary here ). Every altered state of consciousness has its own characteristics, and people experiencing those states make certain statements or observations regarding their experiences or insights. These may seem nonsensical or even pathological from the perspective of ordinary physical consciousness, which by its very nature is unable to evaluate the altered states. In order to know if non-ordinary experiences have an inherent sense or truth in themselves, Dr Tart suggests training observers or scientists who enter the altered state in question, make observations and theorize while within those states, sharing these observations and theories with each other, and refining this process over time. the aim would be to see if trained observers can agree on things within the ASC, even if those in the ordinary state of consciousness cannot understand what they are doing.

The implication of SSSci methodology is that objectivist-physicalist science is ultimately just one SSSci among many possible SSScis. The fact that objectivist science is so successful in gathering and building upon knowledge does not mean it is the only "science". I would suggest that two examples of alternative but equally valid SSScis might be Lucid Dreaming and Astral Projection (these tend to shade into each other), and Hermetic Occultism.

Despite its potential, the SSSci initiative does not seem to have made much progress. There was also a mail list but this has not been recently added to (see external link State-Specific Sciences Home Page)

There is another problem (apart from just generating interest in the world of academia) with the concept of SSSci's. The aim of a SSSci is to distinguish between authentic insights pertaining to that d-ASC, and idiosyncratic ramblings, just as secular science distinguishes between genuine and spurious observation. My own phenomenological approach would be to treat all experiences equally. Even if one may pertain to a larger reality, and another simply to the state of consciousness or mental space of that person, they both are datums of consciousness; only one is "shared" and the other is not. Going beyond this, one may even ask whether this very methodology - even a meta-methodology of scientific thought as the distinguishing of Truth and validity from error - apply universally? Many extreme non-ordinary states of consciousness are by their very nature so different that it is not possible to translate them to verbal concepts (Mirra for example often refers to this in The Agenda, e.g. pp. xxx, xxx). One might say that the "closer" (in the sense of ontoclines, defined later) to the objective physical as mediated through the rational mind, the more that SSSci methodology applies; the further away, the less it does.

Although examples of non secular-objectivist State Specific Sciences seem to be rare, this is not the case with what Dr Tart refers to as State Specific Technologies (Tart 1975a pp.40-43), and perhaps many techniques such as Buddhist, Patanjalian, and Tantric Yoga/Meditation, Sufi dhikr, and so on are "State Specific Technologies" having as their goal the accomplishment of liberation. A baser use might be emotional manipulation at a revivalist meeting (ibid p.41-42)

Going further, one might also postulate State Specific Art, State Specific Worldviews, State Specific Paradigms, State Specific Point of views (an opinion or observation that makes sense within a d-SoC but not outside it. Unlike State Specific Science it does not have to be verified) and so on. The whole concept of something being State of Consciousness Specific opens up a whole vast series of methodologies and phenomenologies, and breaks the tyranny of naive physicalism.

The opposite of State of Consciousness Specific is, obviously, State of Consciousness Generic: arts, sciences, philosophies, paradigms, etc which might apply across the board and hold regardless of the specific state of consciousness (d-SoC) of the subject. Then there are Multi State of Consciousness arts, sciences, philosophies, techniques, and so on, which why not being actually generic, are not limited to one specific d-SoC. They have a span or range that incorporates and includes a number of d-SoCs,

A "quadontological" map of knowledge and experience

The following diagram represents a theory of knowledge based on the quadontological model. (Universal-Individual is not represented here because it is accepted by both the physicalist and esoteric perspectives)

Almost all of the vast body of knowledge acquired by western secular civilisation, and which is currently increasing at an exponential rate, is clustered at the "outer-physical-objective" pole. Although this is balanced by non-western "perennial philosophy", this traditional corpus is being overwhelmed by the newer material, and moreover being interpreted as incorrect, myth and metaphor, premodern, and so on. This is where I differ very radically from the physicalist anti-metaphysical modernist/postmodernist position of Wilber (in the Integral movement) and Academia, and side with the traditionalist metaphysical stance of Huston Smith (Smith 1987), and its 19th and 20th century developments in Theonian Tradition, Theosophy, Hermeticism, Aurobindoan Integral Yoga, and so on. Not that science and literarily criticism are incorrect; in fact i believe that within their fields (outer-physical-objective) they are completely correct. The error arises when this validity is extended to apply to the whole field of reality, just as Anthroposophy etc goes wrong when it is used to explain the dense physical (as opposed to the subtle physical!) resonances of the universe and rejects the currently established planetological, geological and evolutionary knowledge.

Social/Collective Evolution and Praxis

The new networking

Information Systems - peer to peer software like Linux is the biggest threat that the Microsoft megacorporation faces. And similarly collaborative data building such as Wikipedia bypass and hence challenge the centralised nature of traditional encyclopedias. Of interest here is former Editor in Chief of the Encylopaedia Britannica Robert McHenry's attack on Wikipedia as "the faith-based encyclopedia" (McHenry 2004), and the devastating refutation of his arguments by Aaron Krowne (2005)

Ultimately a Wiki-everythingana will go beyond the Wikipedia and include literally everything, even facts about "boring" or "trivial" people or things, that the current wikipedia approach considers unworthy (indeed this "exclusiveness" I feel to be a limitation to the current wikipedia). It will also bypass the subtle physicalist bias one finds in Wikipedia (as observed by Goethean)

Tikkunics - Soteriology and Divinization

Paths of Transcendence

There are a number of paths of transcendence and spirituality. These include both traditional and revised Philosophy, Psychology, Religion, Occultism, and Spirituality

Philosophy - embracing metaphysics breaks the stranglehold of a century of positivism and analytical philosophy, and allows the return of the "perennial philosophy" (Smith 1977) and the Wisdom Traditions. This does not mean that positivism is not included in the grand synthesis, but only that it no longer dominates the entire understanding.

Psychology - psychological understanding is now based on quadontological parameters such as the dynamics of and between the - Individual and Environmental - Outer, Intermediate and Inner - astral and mental Physical - Buddhi, Ahamkara, and Manas, as well as an understanding of the subjective aspect of the ontological resonances or subtle bodies, and the interaction between occult forces and the human psyche - [see occult psychology, and Integral Psychology, Phenomenology, and Self-Analysis]

Religion - replacing the old "God"-concept - The idea of a monistic or monotheistic "God" - referring to the Godhead that is beyond Creation, but that can still enter into Creation to effect change here - has been a standard concept in both exoteric religion and religious esotericism for the last 3000-odd years. But old need not be better. We see today the god idea leading us to a dead end and the potential destruction of life on the planet; the exoteric "patriarchal" God of literalist religion; worshipped equally by the Christian fundamentalist Neocons in America, and the Islamic extremists and terrorists in the Moslem world, both equally convinced they have God on their side.

In the Western world this is especially tied in with American ahrimanic (Steiner) style materialism and cultural frameworks. It really is in the way language invokes a thought form. Because of the negative associations with the "God" word, and the related reality behind it (for according to The Mother this all comes from the negative psychic or astral (Sri Aurobindo - "vital") worlds) it may perhaps be better to find other thoughtforms, rather than try to redeem a thoughtform that is already captured by destructive powers.

Developing a new philosophical terminology doesn't mean one should also reject the Personal aspect of the Divine for the Impersonal. To reject a monotheistic deity for a monistic concept of Buddhist Sunyata, Vedantic Atman-Brahman or Chinese Tao (in the transcendent sense) is simply to replace one partial perspective with another. Sri Aurobindo says it best - The Supreme or Absolute Reality transcends both Personal ("Lord" "God", etc) and Impersonal (Sunyata, Atman-Brahman, Tao). But unfortunately people are so attached to either this image of an anthropomorphic deity, or a simple monistic "clear light".

Occultism - Occultism is the study and/or theoretical knowledge of and/or practical application of the forces and phenomena of non-Absolute states of existence other than the Outer Mundane-Physical. Occultism is sensationalised in popular culture because of fear and ignorance. A useful understanding can be had by identifying the various planes or universes of existence and their sublevels, branches, and aspects, and the various beings and laws and forces pertaining to each. Various examples of the "perennial philosophy" and different esoteric and occult doctrines each emphasise certain strata or harmonics and ignore or confuse others, depending on the psychological inclination and occult perceptions of the authors of those teachings, and the resulting entrenched thoughtforms. The goal should be a single unified system, based around a map of the various states of existence. Whilst systems like Tantra, Hermetic Kabbalah (ref Golden Dawn etc), Theosophy, and Anthroposophy represents a start, they are each bound by their own very elaborate conceptual limitations. The teachings of Theon and Mirra (who studied with him) represent a more sophisticated development.

Spirituality - Spirituality should always be a matter of individual choice and inner guidance (from the Higher Self) and never be enforced by some external church, creed, or cult. Today we see around us an abundance of gurus, teachers, religious sects and so on, each peddling their own brand of enlightenment or salvation. While some are indeed genuine and sincere, there are many others who, if not total fakes (complete charlatans are rare in this business) are powerful, charismatic, self-deluded individuals, who set up authoritarian systems of cultic spirituality (ref xxxx ), having become caught in the "Intermediate Zone" between the outer reality and the true realisation and thinking they have attained the Supreme. (Aurobindo ref). But instead they have become puppets of negative forces who manipulate them through their own puffed-up egos. If knowledge of these occult forces and psychodynamics were more widely available, it would provide greater insight to these various cultic movements, and help the unwary from falling into such traps.

Individual Spiritual Stages

Having attained our present level of consciousness, where do we go from here? The perennial philosophy teaches a return to the state of godhood or Absolutehood, a merger of the individual with the cosmic/universal Divine, or as the Mahatyana Buddhists put it, the realisation that you were Buddha all along. But ultimately this means an escape from the world-process into a transcendent nirvana, moksha, or fana (Sufism), not its continuation and perfection.

In contrast, esoteric, integralist, and other evolutionary paradigms are unanimous in their assertion that the current human condition is not the final attainment, but that there are higher states of consciousness and existence. As Sri Aurobindo famously said "Man is a transitional being." But where disagreement arises is on the nature of the posthuman state. Theosophists, Anthroposophists and Wilberians posit a single evolutionary line that confuses the aforementioned spiritual transcendence with physical (and in the case of the theosophical tradition, etheric, astral, etc) evolution. But Sri Aurobindo specifically distinguishes between the prerequisite Spiritualisation that corresponds to the perennial spiritual path, and a process of transitional spiritual mind and overmentalisation leading to Supermentalisation; this latter being the Divinisation process. And transhumanists postulate a purely secular, technological evolution leading to and beyond a Technological Singuilarity to a posthuman evolution.

There is no reason why the three perspectives - transcendence and liberation, technological singularity, and physical divinisation, cannot be correct. Even the Theosophical idea of a series of increasingly spiritualised stages may pertain to a future evolutionary option for those who wish to pursue it.

Wilber's post-egoic stages (Vision-Logic, Psychic, Subtle, Causal, and Ultimate) represent a popular synthesis of the stages of Spiritualisation, but unfortunately they don't distinguish the complexities of the process of spiritual growth and evolution, instead trying to force everything into a single linear physical evolution spectrum. A better understanding (although less well known) would be Sri Aurobindo's "Triple Transformation" (Sri Aurobindo 1977). The following is a list of stages of spiritualisation and divinisation, incorporating Kabbalistic, Aurobindonian, Wilberian, and other perspectives.

  Kabbalah - soul as stages of self-development Taoism - immortal spirit body Steiner - clairvoyant development Sri Aurobindo - the "triple transformation" Da Free John - "Seven stages of Life" Ken Wilber - "ascending arc"
Outer Consciousness: the unruly surface consciousness Nefesh "outward flowing" ch'i Ego Outer Being Physical
Emotional Sexual
Representational mind
Rule/role mind
Sadhana / Self-Transformation circulation of ch'i - tending to option 2. supersensible exercises - tending to option 1. Outer Being receptive and influenced by inner (Psychic) or higher opening Spiritualization Vision-logic
Generic Inner Experiences Ruah
Inner Being - tending to option 3 & 4. Yogic Experiences - tending to option 4. Psychic
Subtle - tending to option 4.
1. Subtle/Psychic Vision
(Inner/Subtle Physical) (poorly appreciated) (poorly appreciated)
2. Creation of Spirit Body (Merkavah???) Immortal Fetus
(hinted at but not necessary for Integral Yoga) (poorly appreciated) (poorly appreciated)
3. Inner Divine Neshomah
(Spirit of Form / Higher Etheric) Psychicisation - prerequisite of 5
(poorly appreciated)
4. Enlightenment Hayyah
Spiritualisation - prerequisite of 5 Subjective Enlightenment
7th Stage Enlightenment
5. Spiritual Evolution and Transformation, Divinising the Cosmos Messiah / Light of Adam Kadmon

still under construction


note - Amazon links are top the current edition, the edition cited may be out of print

Sri Aurobindo (1971), Letters on Yoga, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust

Sri Aurobindo (1977), The Life Divine, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust

Bauwens, Michel (2005) Peer to Peer and Human Evolution - an introduction here, also see P/I: Pluralities/Integration newsletter

Brennan, Barbara Ann, (1987) Hands of Light : A Guide to Healing Through the Human Energy Field, Bantam Books

Chic Cicero, Sandra Tabatha Cicero, Self-Initiation into the Golden Dawn Tradition: A Complete Curriculum of Study for Both the Solitary Magician and the Working Magical Group (Llewell)

Dozier, Rush W. (1992) Codes of Evolution - the Synaptic language Language revealing the Secrets of Matter, Life, and Thought, Crown Publishers Inc., New York

Harris, Ray, (2004), Left, Right or just plain wrong? - Politics in the integral movement, online article mirror

Harris, Ray, (2004b) Thoughts towards an Integral political economy online article

Edward Haskell, ed. (1972) Full Circle: The Moral Force of Unified Science, Gordon and Breach, New York on-line edition

Heron, John (1996) Co-operative Inquiry, London, Sage, (An extract from Chapter 1 - Co-operative inquiry and participative reality; this is also reprinted in P/I: Pluralities/Integration #67 (April 25, 2005))

Krowne, Aaron (2005) The FUD-based Encyclopedia Dismantling fear, uncertainty, and doubt, aimed at Wikipedia and other free knowledge resources online article

Leary, Timothy (1987) Info-Psychology, Falcon Press, Los Angeles and Phoenix

McHenry, Robert "The Faith-Based Encyclopedia," Tech Central Station, November 15, 2004. online article

The Mother (Mirra Alfassa) (1979- ) Mother's Agenda (Engl. transl) Institute for Evolutionary Research, New York, NY (13 vol set)

Ouspensky, P.D. 1977, In Search of the Miraculous, Harcourt Brace Jovanovitch, New York & London

Israel Regardie, Cris Monnastre, Carl Weschcke , The Golden Dawn: A Complete Course in Practical Ceremonial Magic (Llewellyn's Golden Dawn Series)

Singer, Peter (1990) Animal Liberation (New York Review/Random House, 1975; revised edition, New York Review/ Random House, 1990

Smith, Huston. (1977) Forgotten Truth: The Primordial Tradition. New York: Harper & Row.

Tart, Charles T (1972) States of Consciousness and State-Specific Sciences, Science 1972, Vol. 176, 1203-1210. online

_____ (1975) States of Consciousness. New York: Dutton. some points from the bookreview of new edition in American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, Jan 2004 by Claire Frederick.

_____ (1975a) Science, states of consciousness, and spiritual experiences: The need for state-specific sciences. In C. Tart (Ed.), Transpersonal Psychologies. New York: Harper & Row, pp. 11-58.

_____(no date) State-Specific Science, jcs-online debate. See also Inside the Mind of Charles T. Tart | The Daily Grail (interview)

Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre (1959) The Phenomenon of Man Collins Fontana Books, London


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