Friday, August 25, 2006

Depth and Complexity

I was listening to Steve Paulson's interview with Wilber (featured on Integral Naked as "To the Best of Our Knowledge", part 2), where Wilber explains that complexity and consciousness seem to co-arise.

However, he then compares the perennial view with current, integral insight. In the perennial view, he says, mind, soul and spirit are seen as "higher" then the body. The feelings of a dog, for example, are seen as "higher" then the complex, human brain. This view he calles "totally screwed up". In earlier writings, he called this perennial view "goofy", and used the example of the feelings of a worm -- but you get the idea.

As is well known by now, in the integral view mind, soul and spirit are not seen as meta-physical, but intra-physical, as Wilber tirelessly repeats in his recent writings. Looks all very modern and up to date -- until you think it through. Looks to me Wilber is comparing conscious apples and complex pears.

First, the human brain is more complex then the brain of a dog. And the feelings of a human being is deeper, more conscious, then the feelings of a dog. Comparing the feelings of a dog to the complex human brain is comparing apples and pears.

But even then, the feelings of a dog, or a worm for that matter, are infinitely more mysterious then the most complex physical mechanism, human or artificial -- because there's an awareness involved no physical mechanism has ever displayed. So there seems to be depth involved.

Calling this intra-physical instead of meta-physical, doesn't explain anything. It's a clever change of metaphor for something we don't really understand. "Intra-physical" is not a concept science can handle, it is deeply metaphysical.

True, modernity knows more on the role the brain processes involved in consciousness then premoderns did. But modernity is clueless as to the essential nature of interiority (beyond mere descriptions). So why set up perennialism and modernity against each other?

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi frank!

what kind of conceptual explanation does the perennial philosophy give concerning the question of interiority or consciousness?

I always thought NONE, because - and this I thought to be the insight of the PP - consciousness is immediate, the most immediate phanomenon ever, so immediate that it is ultimate. Its the "prima materia", if you wish.

But this is neither explanation of consciousness (giving reasons WHY it exists) nor mystification (claiming the reasons are mystery) but the realization that the attempt to explain consciousness itself is fallacious...

where do I err?

greet you...

1:26 PM  
Blogger cees de groot said...

reading this contribution of frank initiated my blog http://integraldemocracy.blogspot.com/

which i started up in order to get some structure and pace in my intention to build up a presentation on the subject integral democracy. This constellation is meant to invite people interested in dialoging a new manner of thinking in the core of politics, or the core of instrumentalizing cosmic science based living together (states or no states).

on the matter of conscious apples and complex pears, i sense that those fruittype are in a continious dialogue of remembering what we've got to achieve here on our planet in togetherness.

9:28 PM  
Anonymous Kyösti Tufalipessi said...

This blog doesn't seem to be too active. Looks like there's not much substance after declaring Wilber narcissistic. Integral World website looks quite dead too. Have you run out of fuel?

Quote of the day: "Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people." - Eleanor Roosevelt

6:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have the members of Wilber's dysfunctional family gone into hiding in shame after daddy's public outburst? It looks like the
Wilber movement has run out of fuel. Maybe the price of gas was too high for them.

10:18 AM  
Blogger m alan kazlev said...

Kyösti Tufalipessi said:

Looks like there's not much substance after declaring Wilber narcissistic.

Wrong. Look at Open Integral

7:34 PM  
Blogger Come Start an Evolution said...

I am not sure what the deal is with all this integral stuff. I just read Wilber's "The Theory of Everything" and saw a lot of similarities to the work I am trying to do. I am trying to find people who want to work on developing an new economic structure that needs to incorporate a lot of the elements of the ideas outlined by Wilber. The idea is to write a constitution for a landless economic nation that people at all levels (memes?) can participate in in order to move our global society in a direction that is capable of handling any myriad of pending crisi of evolution. We have in our power to start the world anew.
www.interdependenceday.com.
Come start an evolution.

10:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi all,

Quite franlky it seems like a power struggle is going on in the integral commons where everyone wants to make waves and have a slice of the pie that they already are. Well, while no one is immune to criticisms and questioning (i.e. Wilber), it seems that integral in and of itself is more important than these petty squabbles I hear voiced around here. I frankly also believe from what I have seen to this point in my journey that Wilber's work so far is the pinnacle of what integral has to offer. He has defined the movement-like it or not. And besides, who has contributed as much as he in terms of getting these ideas out there? All the minuscule details will be ironed out in due time but for the moment it would seem like attempting to destroy Wilber's credibility in the mean-green-meme-time is like shooting oneself in the Kosmic foot. Anyhow, I'm just a spectater in this matter as I have less important things to do than contemplate such nuanced philsophical debates. All my love to both Frank and Ken. I've got to get back to my studies but one last note...Ken Wilber is an extraordinary human being as they come. At least that's how this slice of the Kosmos sees it. And Frank, all the best, I think you are cool too.

2:30 PM  
Anonymous Tom said...

Kyösti Tufalipessi said:
[...]
"Quote of the day: "Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people." - Eleanor Roosevelt"

Hmmm, and, Mrs. Roosevelt might well have added, integral minds discuss anything they like!

Our friend Kyösti Tufalipessi does have a point, though, in my opinion.

The whole spiel on integralworld.net, which, inevitably, men are playing out, reminds me very much of a true-grit macho scene in a good old Western I saw years ago. One of lead actors was Lee Marvin. I forget who the other one was. The two men were fighting over the favours of a woman (what else worthwhile would they be doing?). To end the fight conclusively, one of the machos proposed the ultimate test: "Let's just drop our pants and see who's the bigger man!" (With the lady present, of course.)

And that's the feeling I get from the endless Wilber-bashing featured on Frank's site. Y'all want to find out who's the biggest man.

When y'all are done measuring each others peckers, why don't you check out the works of a true integral genius, Carl Huter, a guy whose works scared the hell out of Hitler and his goons, and shrink yourselves down a size or two in humble admiration.

3:19 AM  

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