What is integral methodological pluralism

Integral methodological pluralism

In the "Excerpts from Volume 2 of the Kosmos Trilogy" published in the summer of 2002 at www.shambhala.com, Wilber explains in "Part V. Integral Methodological Pluralism" (in Excerpt A) for all four quadrants as a methodological investigation for each every quadrant looks like.


I believe we now have enough background to take a quick look at some of the more popular methodologies that illuminate, orchestrate, and produce the various dimensions of holons. In each of these cases - from empiricism to phenomenology to hermeneutics to systems theory - we may ask, what is revealed or produced by the injection of this particular inquiry? That is, what will we find when we do this particular investigation? What does this investigation show us? And why is it important?

Various things are depicted and illuminated in the space created by a particular investigation, including past events, actual present events, and future possibilities:

1. We have already talked about some of the most important ones - namely, some of these studies (such as physics, biology, developmental psychology, systems theory, ecology) can reveal many of the preserved features of past facts that still operate in the present as factual givens, as facts which precede the interpretations of this moment (be they inevitably colored by the interpretations of this moment, and they themselves also had - when they were first established as facts - an intrinsic moment of interpretive freedom).

2. Some of these inquiries (such as hermeneutics, collaborative inquiry, meditation, artistic creativity) can also shed light on concrete events (or facts-and-interpretations) that in turn emerge at that moment.

3. And, equally important, some of them may reveal various future opportunities that are just emerging with their own wild creative bursts. These emergences are not givens - certainly not yet - they just come into being, right now, in this moment of playful indeterminacy. If any of these creative emergences survive the selection pressure in all quadrants and are then subsequently repeated by more and more holons of their category, then they can eventually settle down as depth patterns and thus firmly rooted cosmic habits, which will be shared with all members of this category in the future be passed on.

These are some of the opportunities open to our current forms of inquiry. In an important appendix, we will discuss some of the other things that can be discovered through human investigation (things like involutionary givens, or real archetypal patterns that can be assumed to have existed before evolution began). See basic concept "Involution (and Evolution). And let us remember that what we are exploring now are various forms of investigation, or ways in which we look for truth, meaning, information, feelings, insights, community participation, and so on In all forms of investigation, in all quadrants, we are looking for something. And so we ask the question: what kind of looking or investigation is there? And what does it bring about? Needless to say, investigation is not the only one The kind of human feeling, knowing, being, or striving is - it is simply that form which is most accessible for a reproducible methodology.

Let's look at the outline of some of these methodologies by taking a brief, general, simple account of some of the most widely used investigations and their recent development.

Examinations Top - Right (OR)

Perhaps the simplest kind of investigation is that of sensory empiricism
(which, theoretically exaggerated, as behaviorism appears, and, even more fluffy than positivism - I will generally treat them together). Sensory empiricism also has - based on a number of simple assumptions - the greatest attraction in naive terms: I see sensorimotor objects out there; these objects (and probably only these objects) are real; and therefore true knowledge consists in considering the behavior of these objects as carefully as possible: that is, true knowledge consists in an accurate map of a given objective territory.

It is not that these assumptions are absolutely wrong in every way. The fact is that even if we acknowledge their true aspects, they are only a very small piece of the Cosmic Pie. But the real aspects of this approach (which we will focus on now) revolve around the following:

In an attempt to take the standpoint of an impartial scientific view of objects, I illuminate the third-person dimension of being-in-the-world. These third person dimensions are there, they are real, they are relatively objective (i.e., many of the aspects of present events are presented to the present as Whiteheadic past events, factually inherited, or ingested through this moment. For this reason, a diamond will cut glass, and that was, is, and will be in a premodern, in a modern and in a postmodern culture: so much for cultural relativity) These facts are simply there, but they neither stand on their own nor do they constitute a reality separate from , or unchanged through, the other quadrants and dimensions of being-in-the-world. Disaster - and there is almost no need to emphasize - occurs when the investigation of this quadrant (the upper right quadrant) - or the investigation of the objective behavior of sensorimotor events - is viewed as the only type of investigation that provides true knowledge reveals (an immature assumption that occurs only when - contrary to the abundance of available evidence - I assume that the only real events are sensorimotor events - which leads to an absolutization of the naive standpoint of unreflected awareness.? The denial of reflection is positivism ? - J├╝rgen Habermas). This blindness is just another case of Quadrant absolutism.

Nonetheless, the third-person study of the behavior of the sensorimotor dimension of holons is an important tool in any integral toolkit. This empirical method of inquiry illuminates the third-person dimension of being-in-the-world. It therefore helps to reveal some of the factual aspects of this moment (i.e. the inherited forms of the quadrant past which are still active at this moment AND the objective or right-hand correlates of the left-sided consciousness and the interpretations which are currently active Pop up). The existence of this important quadrant is, of course, denied by the postmodernists, but only because, as we shall see, they themselves are embroiled in a quadrant absolutism.

Important studies here include most of the natural sciences that focus on the behavior of individuals, such as physics, chemistry, molecular biology, biochemistry, evolutionary behaviorism / psychology, neurophysiology, neuroscience, and cognitive sciences. However limited they are in understanding the cosmos, they form an important cornerstone of any truly integral methodological pluralism.

Examinations Above - Left (OL)

The investigations above - left, or the investigations into the first-person modes of being-in-the-world, is the most directly available investigation method for any human being: I just look into my own mind, my own awareness. Of course, things then get complicated very quickly - what am I? My own mind? is in part the product of culture, social systems, some undigested food, and whatever else (which just means, once again, that no quadrant is separate from the others). Yet? Introspection? not entirely an illusionary game in any of its many forms; just as little as empiricism and all the methods of inquiry in the other quadrants are; it can reveal many important events - past givens, present events, and future potentials - which are not revealed or produced by any other approach.

The simple fact is that when I take the point of feeling inside myself, I am illuminating the first person dimension of being in the world. What I find out, of course, depends on a whole bunch of variables, including, most importantly, both the waves of consciousness and the currents of consciousness into which I am feeling. The general study of the first person, however, is behind a variety of important methodologies across the spectrum of consciousness - including various types of meditation and contemplation, introspective psychology, psychoanalytic pursuits, shamanic journeys, the phenomenology of attention, dream analysis, and bodywork.

Most of the conflict between approaches in this quadrant revolves around which of the many levels of consciousness is the only true level of consciousness - a case of - as we shall see - Wave absolutism, and not quadrant absolutism. And we will also find a heated debate among theorists who believe that only one stream in this quadrant is really real - e.g. those who believe that the Piagets cognitive stream or Graves? Value stream, or the Vipassana meditation stream is the only real deep stream, in contrast to all other streams only represent surface currents - an example of Electricity absolutism.

Regardless, first-person phenomenology in its many forms - spiritual, mental, physical - is entirely devoid of any kind of wave or current or state or type absolutism, it is clearly an important resource in any integral methodological pluralism. ..

Bottom-right examinations (UR)

Of course, both the top-left investigations and the top-right investigations are naive in one respect. They both tend to assume that individuals stand for themselves. I look into my own mind (OL), and nothing I see there tells me that this content was deeply shaped by my culture, and sometimes even created by it. And I look at objective things out there (OR), and they appear to me as real objects that exist on their own - nothing in my senses tells me that they are an intrinsic part of a larger whole.

The first step beyond the standpoint of naive individualism is generally (and historically) made by understanding that the visible organism (OR) is intrinsically linked to the visible environment (UR) in systems of mutual interaction. In other words, a differentiated understanding of the sensorimotor behavior of individual objects very soon shows (in a more comprehensive perception) that individual objects follow systematic behavioral patterns that are not given by anything in the individual objects themselves. Individual objects seem to belong to larger systems which to some extent regulate the behavior of these objects, which are components of the system. The evolution of an individual organism, for example, cannot be understood separately from the ecological system in which it is embedded. In a way, individual organisms do not exist by themselves; What actually exists is an organism-environment system, an ecological tissue - itself embedded in even larger tissues - and it is an understanding of these systems and tissues that creates significant knowledge. And so it's not that Behavior of objects, but rather the behavior of systems, which is the focus of this investigation method.

Historically, from this perspective, many things have resulted from the Developmental structuralism, to genealogical anthropology, to evolutionary systems theory, to the ecological sciences, and the Tissue-of-life theories up to the wide range of dynamic system theories (from cybernetics, to general systems theories, to functionalism, to chaos and complexity theories). All of these are still essentially important third-person studies, but now conducted with an emphasis on the plural and the collective rather than the singular and atomistic. Systems theory does not find any first-person accounts of desires, feelings, visions, poetry, dreams, satori, and so on (at least not in their own non-reductionist terms); and there are also no authentic (or non-reductionist) reports by the second person of mutual understanding, hermeneutics, shared perspectives; nor any internal account of states of consciousness, levels of consciousness, currents of consciousness and so on. Sometimes these things are recognized, but they are all reduced to their external appearance in dynamic systems of interwoven entities. Despite attempts to introduce a? Soft systems theory? The vast majority of the influential system approaches - starting with Bertalanffy and continuing through Parsons and Merton to Maturana, Luhmann, Prigogine, Goertzel, Warfield, Laszlo, Wolfram - all predominantly forms of the study of the third person plural, which, provided they are of any Form of quadrant absolutism are a crucial resource in any integral methodological pluralism. When I - in other words - engage in systems-theoretical investigations, I illuminate the third person plural dimension of being-in-the-world. These dimensions are real, they exist, and they represent - just as systems theory claims - relatively objective facts about systems in the world. They reveal the lower right quadrant, or the objective dimension of communal holons.

The leading schools of dynamic systems theory recognize that the upper-right organism is not just simply its given lower-right environment reflected, but rather this one staged and with created (the staging paradigm). This is certainly true; but there is still a third person approach to these realities ... This does not invalidate autopoietic theories, it just puts them in the larger context of an integral methodological pluralism.

All of these interobjective approaches - there are literally dozens of others - tap into the fact that all holons have a lower right quadrant, a holistic web of interpenetrating patterns through time and space that can be described from a third person perspective - and which, though far from being the full story, is a crucial aspect of a more integral view.

Investigations Bottom Left (UL)

Viewed historically, and as a direct consequence of the realization that individual organisms exist only as inseparable aspects of a tissue of ecological interaction, it was discovered that such interobjective tissues actually also have an inwardness that cannot be reduced to the tissues themselves or explained by them can be. This means that social systems (ids of the third person) actually have inwardnesses of the first and second person, which elude discovery by the ecological and systems sciences. Worse still, the objective and inter-objective sciences themselves always appear only as an inseparable aspect of vast fields of cultural interpretation: intersubjectivity affects all other endeavors. And so modern systems theory made way for postmodern contextualism - both of which are now transcended and preserved in an avant-garde, integral theory.

But let's focus on the great postmodern discovery: every holon has an intersubjective dimension, every holon has a lower left quadrant. Moreover, this intersubjective field is truly irreducible; it is not some sort of product of the interaction of originally separate subjects who somehow come together, interact, and share a commonly shared, intersubjective horizon. It is more that intersubjectivity is there, from the start, than an intrinsic aspect of the tetra-unfolding of this and every moment.

Even evolutionary sciences support this conclusion by all agreeing on the fact (even if they cannot explain it themselves) that there are no prototypes in evolution. When a new species first appears - for example, the first mammals - it never appears alone; what first comes up is a whole population of mammals. And that makes sense when you think about it. Dozens of successful major mutations must occur for a new species to appear.The chances of this happening are, of course, astronomical; and worse, the same dozen mutations must also appear in another animal of the opposite sex; and then these two must find each other on this great planet, mate, and their offspring must then survive and mate - the chances of this happening, of course, are beyond imagination, let alone possibility. No, in a mysterious way Complete populations simply appear - and that means that the inner and outer of singular and plural appear together on the stage: the four quadrants appear simultaneously and tetra-evolve together, as we have been saying all along.

(How can complete populations emerge together? Which? Mechanism? Is behind it? The answer is: Eros ... But however we decide about the? How?, The factual? What? Consists in that the inside and the outside of the singular and the majority appear simultaneously on the stage: the quadrants tetra-evolve.)

At the same time as the intersubjective dimension below - left unfolds in self-reflective human beings, whole kinds of investigations have also arisen which help to stage, reveal and close this intrinsic dimension of being-in-the-world lighten up. Leading among these intersubjective research methods is hermeneutics - the art and science of interpretation - in its many forms. Of course there is Hermeneutics in their pre-reflexive modes? all the way down? - even holons on the subatomic level are busy with the interpretation of their environment. Signal systems and exchange of particles / energy / forces exist even on the most fundamental levels. Because the creative novelty of the most fundamental holons tends to zero (without ever being zero), it erroneously appears that interpretative freedom is completely absent on the lower levels, whereas, as Whitehead already knew, it is merely at its lowest point. The intersubjective dimension of evolution can be traced from its humble beginnings in the most fundamental holons (such as systems of proto-perception) to its refined forms in plant and animal signaling systems (chemical, biological, hormonal) - but none of them are just about one Exchange of signifiers in a system of syntax, but also about evoking and staging signifiers in a shared semantic: the four quadrants appear simultaneously on the stage and tetra-evolve ...

In human beings, these communally shared semantics appear as extensive networks of cultural backgrounds, pre-reflexive shared perceptions, mutual understanding, and overlapping horizons of intersubjectivity. These collectively shared interpretative moments constitute an essential part not only of mutual understanding between subjects, but of the emergence of subjectivity itself: that is the essence of the great postmodern discovery. Agent is always agent-in-communion, both in its external or ecological forms as well as in its internal or cultural forms.

Closely examining the many nuances of cultural intersubjectivity is the key factor in lower left quadrant methodologies. Hermeneutics, collaborative inquiries, participatory pluralism, and action inquiries are a few of the many modes of staging and revelation. The important point is that when I do hermeneutics and collaborative inquiry, I am illuminating the second person modes of being in the world. These modes are real, they are there, and they are a vital part of any integral methodological pluralism.

All of these intersubjective approaches - there are literally dozen more - tap into the fact that all holons have a lower left quadrant, a holistic web of interpenetrating perceptions of time and space that are viewed from a second-person (and first-person plural) perspective can be sensed and described - and which, though far from being the full story, are an essential aspect of a more integral view.