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Wilber IV - Developmental Levels

Ken Wilber - the Representative ConOp Mind or Realm

The following page is from a research notes page by external link Allan Combs which is no longer on line (original url ). - MAK

An informal 'phenomenological' narrative:

My father’s father descended from the Creator, whose abode is not here, but Heaven, and His ways we cannot know. In our city, the priests have means to contact our Father, but my family does not understand them. My father’s father understood the Father, for they were kin, but we have forgotten. It does not matter, our lives are in His hands. There are many gods and goddesses, and He is just the sometimes leader of them all, though we do not know how.
    The priests tell us that there was a time that our ancestors walked with the Creator, but then something terrible happened. We pray twice daily to be returned to before the mistake. I pray very hard, but the last time I prayed hard, my sister died anyway. My uncle said I must pray harder, so something must be wrong with me.
    I am being trained to be a potter, because I am very good with my hands, and I see things about making. My brother was a potter; my other brother plows. One of my sisters died; they will not tell me what happened to my other sister.
    We are fortunate, for we have a strong house. This is because my father’s father was descended from the Creator. Also, in the blood fight that took this city from the others, our family fought well, and so we have this house.
    The day of sacrifice is the best day, because everything comes from the Creator and we must give some of it back. My family sacrifices beau­tiful birds, which we raise for this. There are dark rumors about what goes on in the Temple, but I don’t believe them. We see the sacrifices here, with the birds. The blood of the bird returns to the earth. Blood is the life we are given, so we give it back. To eat a thing is to be that thing, so after the bird is blessed by the priest, we eat it, because now it is food . .. of the gods, and the gods are in it. So in this way we become strong, and the elements leave us alone. And yet, the last time I prayed for my sister, she died anyway, so there must be something wrong with me.

One Taste; p.144-145.

Membership Self 

“The emergence and acquisition of language…..brings in its broad wake a complex of interrelated and intermeshed phenomena, no the least of which are higher and higher cognitive styles, an extended notion of time, a new and more unified mode of self, a vastly extended emotional life, elementary forms of reflexive self-control and the beginnings of membership.  …Now the deep structure of any given language embodies a particular syntax of perception, and to the extent an individual develops the deep structure of his native language, he simultaneously learns to construct, and thus perceive, a particular type of descriptive reality, embedded, as it were in the language structure itself. From that momentous point on, as far as that Outward Arc goes, the structure of his language is the structure of his self and the “limits of his world.”
Pg. 25 Amazon com Atman Project

“Like the magical primary process, this paleologic thinking frequently operates on the basis of a whole/part equivalency and predicate identity; but unlike the pure primary process, which is strictly composed of non-verbal images, precausal thinking is largely verbal and auditory- it is constructed through linear word-and-name, with abstract and auditory symbols. Unlike the image of the primary process, it is true type of thinking-proper, operating with protoconcepts, verbal abstractions and elementary class formation. This is precisely why Sullivan said that this precausal thinking, which he called “autistic thinking or language,” is the verbal manifestation of the parataxic.
Pg. 26 Amazon com Atman Project

“I, however am reserving “magical” for the previous stage of “magic images” and the pure primary process. “ Mythical,” on the other hand, seems best to describe this present stage of paleologic- more refined than magic, but not quite capable of logical clarity: there is our mythic-membership stage. But I would like to add that mythic thinking, in its mature forms, is not at all pathological or distortive, but rather joins with the higher phantasy ( of vision-image) to disclose depths of reality and high modes of archetypal being quite beyond ordinary logic.”
Amazon com Atman Project pg. 27

“Precausal thinking is more or less abstract, but is of rudimentary abstractions shot through with mythical elements.”
Amazon com Atman Project pg.28

“Rudimentary language formation and precausal thinking infuse the entire consciousness of this early membership level. But the more language itself develops, the more paleologic sinks into the background….”the growth of speech gradually transforms prelogical thinking into logical, organized and adjusted thinking which is a decisive step towards the reality principle.” 
Amazon com Atman Project pg. 28

“The reason that most childhood experiences are forgotten is not so much that they are repressed ( some indeed are), as that they do not fit the structure of membership description and thus one doesn’t have the terms with which to recall them.”
Amazon com Atman Project Pg.28

“Through the use of language the child can, for the first time, construct a representation of a series or sequence of events, and thus he begins to construct a world of vast temporal extension. He constructs a solid notion of time - not just an extended present of imaged objects (as in the previous stage), but a linear chain of abstract representations running from past to future.”
Amazon com Atman Project Pg.29

“But as I tries to demonstrate in Up from Eden , there is a price to be paid for every increase in consciousness- as the child himself soon discovers. For notice immediately that language itself carries some sort of tense, in its verbs, and as the child looks at the world through the eyes of language, he not surprisingly sees a temporal or tensed world - and thus a world of tension, time and anxiety being synonymous ( as Kierkegaard knew). Likewise, he learns to construct and identify with a tensed self-sense- he gains a past and looks to a future. The price he pays for this growth in consciousness is an increased recognition of his own separateness and thus his own vulnerability. For a child is, to a greater and greater degree, beginning to awaken from his slumber in the subconscious- he is, so to speak, being ejected from that paradisiacal state of ignorance and thrust into the world of separation, isolation and mortality…….  On the positive side, however, as verbal seriality allows the binding of time and the construction of a tensed-membership world, so does it participate in the child’s increasing ability to delay, control, channel, and postpone his otherwise impulsive and uncontrollable activities…..  The child must conceive and recall the world of time- understand past, and future in abstract terms- if he is to actively gear his responses to that world.”
Amazon com Atman Project pg.30

“Not only does language help establish a higher-order membership reality and a higher-order self, it also serves as a major vehicle through which actions acceptable to this to this membership world may be communicated, generally by the parents. By means of word and thought, the child internalizes the early parental prohibitions and demands, and thus creates what has variously been called the “pre-conscience (Fenichel), “sphincter morality” (Ferenczi), the “early moral superego” (Rank), “pre-super ego,” “forerunners of superego,” “ visceral ethics,” or the “inner mother.” Note, however, that at this stage the “inner mother” is no longer just a nexus of images- as was the Great Mother if the image-body stage- but a nexus of verbal representations as well. It is not highly organized nor tightly bound, however, and thus tends to degenerate if the corresponding authority is not actually present.”
Amazon com Atman Project Pg.31

“Language and the emergent function of abstract thinking immensely extend the child’s affective and conative world, for emotions are now freed to run through the world of time, and to be evoked by time- specific temporal desires, as well as concrete temporal dislikes, can for the first time be entertained and vaguely articulated……”
Amazon com Atman Project Pg.31 

The Verbal-Membership Self

cognitive style- autistic language: paleologic and mythic thinking; membership cognition affective elements- temporal desires, extended and specific likes and dislikes motivational/conative factors- protovolition, roots of willpower and autonomous choice, belongingness mode of self- verbal, tensed-membership self
Amazon com Atman Project Pg.32

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this page uploaded 8 December 2005