Metaconsciousness: Mythology for a Post-Civilized World
II.6 | Contents | II.8
"The History of every major Galactic Civilization tends to pass through three distinct and recognizable phases, those of Survival, Inquiry and Sophistication, otherwise known as the How, Why and Where phases.
"For instance, the first phase is characterized by the question How can we eat? the second by the question Why do we eat? and the third by the question Where shall we have lunch?"
—Douglas Adams, 1952 – 2001
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Contents of this section:
The Integral Vision of Ken Wilber
In most of our discussions so far in prior sections, we have been giving our attention almost entirely to a segment of reality which philosopher Ken Wilber categorizes as at most only one-half, or two quadrants, of a four-quadrant map he presents of "What Is." Wilber's integral system is dense, multi-layered, and complex, and brings into much sharper focus a number of unexpected facets of what I have been pondering under the broad banner of metaconsciousness.
Whatever anyone may think of Ken Wilber – and responses vary widely – there's no getting away from the fact that he is definitely a piece of work. Wilber published his first book, The Spectrum of Consciousness, in 1977 at the age of 23; and with few interruptions has been publishing a book a year ever since. His accumulated works have been translated into more languages than the works of any other scholar, and he is the first philosopher to have had his Collected Works published during his own lifetime.
What Wilber seems to have accomplished is the formulation of a highly flexible system of thought in which every domain of human interest may be brought into juxtaposition with all the others, without engaging in controversies over which of them are "right," and which are "wrong." On the contrary, Wilber assumes that "Nobody is smart enough to be wrong all the time,"1 and therefore seeks to extract the core truth, or wisdom of each domain of human inquiry, and integrate it with those of all other domains. This, his "integral system," provides a forum2 to which seekers of deepened understanding may bring their discoveries, and share them with peers in diverse disciplines with whom they may otherwise have little or no commerce.
This appears to me to be a very important work – possibly even of vital importance to the ongoing evolution of genus Homo. As I hope will become clear by the end of this section, it seems quite plausible that the integration of our mythologies, and the elevation of our combined metaconsciousness, may be the two items potentially on the human agenda at this time most likely to "make matters better," or at worst, "not make matters worse" for contemporary humans, and for future humanity. For this reason, I would like to attempt a brief description of some aspects of Wilber's system – a formidable challenge, as it has taken me considerable effort to get a tenuous handle on it myself; and it has taken Wilber the past 30 years to articulate it in its present form. What follows is mostly in response to Wilber's recent book, Integral Spirituality.3
To begin, Wilber takes my modest observation that all views are partial to entirely new levels of refinement and discrimination, slicing, dicing, and integrating what he calls the AQAL matrix of "all quadrants, all levels, all lines, all states, all types" into a comprehensive system of interlocking concepts and nomenclature which may offer useful tools to those who, like me, are compelled to grapple with reality. One (partial) rendering of Wilber's four-quadrant multidimensional map comes out looking something like this:
One (partial) rendering of Ken Wilber's AQAL matrix.
Above are represented some, but not all, aspects of Wilber's matrix for giving rigorous analytical consideration to four fundamental dimensions of reality from all perspectives. The two upper quadrants of the AQAL matrix deal with singular items of various kinds, and the two lower quadrants deal with pluralities; while the two left-hand quadrants deal with the interiors of things, and the two right-hand quadrants deal with exteriors. Then again, everything which has a presence in any of the four quadrants may be considered either from the inside or the outside, giving rise to eight unique "zones," or what Wilber terms more fully, hori-zones.
Each view or perspective [Wilber writes], with its actions and injunctions, brings forth a world of phenomena; a worldspace that (tetra-)arises as a result; a worldspace with a horizon. The sum total of all of that we simply call a hori-zone, or zone for short. A zone is a view with its actions, its injunctions, its lifeworld, and the whole shebang called forth at that address. You can think of it as a life-zone, or a zone of awareness, or a living space – any number of terms will do.4
Everything that can be represented on Wilber's map, he calls a holon – a whole that is a part of a larger whole, and which is itself composed of holons; such as a cell that is part of a multicellular organism, and is composed of molecules, composed of atoms, composed of quarks. And every holon can be considered, or "viewed" from an inside, or outside perspective. The "I," for instance, in the Upper Left quadrant, experiences her or himself from the inside – yet can be considered with similar validity in his or her outside aspect, or presence, from the perspective of someone else.5 Similarly – or analogously – "it," that "thing," whatever it may be, residing in the Upper Right quadrant, has both an inside and an outside perspective through which it interacts with other holons. And so with every holon, no matter in which quadrant "it" ("I," "we," "they") reside. These zones, moreover, are actual worldspaces which arise from the perspective through which they are viewed or experienced.
This touches upon a matter to which Wilber devotes considerable attention: something he calls the myth of the given – as I understand it, the misconception that there is a single reality "out there," awaiting discovery by whoever or whatever happens to stumble across it. I discussed this illusion at some length in II.5. The Myth of Objective Reality. Wilber takes the matter further than I did, and his argument may have the effect of clarifying mine. We will follow up in greater depth on the myth of the given in due course.
Wilber's criticism of conventional science has been that in their protracted and often emotional clash with the titans of orthodox medieval religion, many of whose arguments have been exposed as irrational, contradictory, and absurd, the scientific institutions that emerged to take their place in many ways "threw the baby out with the bath water." That is, they dismissed everything that cannot be measured, weighed, or somehow quantified in physical terms, as not being as "real" – or real at all – as those objects and phenomena that can be so quantified. Thus as we have seen before, for example in Crick's Astonishing Hypothesis, they embraced the reality of "brain," but dismissed as "mystical" and "unreal" the phenomena associated with "mind." This had the effect of essentially denying the reality of everything with a presence anywhere in the left, or interior half of Wilber's matrix; and collapsing what he perceives as a complex, multidimensional landscape into what he calls "Flatland."
Wilber believes that the left-hand quadrants can be – and that the Upper-Left quadrant in particular has been, by Eastern mystical traditions, such as Buddhism – investigated and explored with as much "scientific rigor," or its Upper-Left equivalent, as have been the right-hand quadrants by Western science; but not through the sensory means, and their extensions, exclusively employed by Western scientists. Conversely, many of the Eastern disciplines have also erred by dismissing as "illusory" the contents of the right-hand quadrants. Each of the quadrants occupies its own dimension, none of which can be reduced – or "flattened" – into any of the others. Wilber seeks instead an integral view that embraces the validity of all four quadrants.
The diagonal gray arrows in each of Wilber's quadrants are derived from a different representation of the same ground, and illustrate lines of evolutionary development in the four simultaneous dimensions represented in the matrix. I have added colors to Wilber's monochrome chart, giving a premonition of how developmental lines in the Spectrum of Consciousness chart below evolve through stages and states; and also suggesting correlations among corresponding addresses in each quadrant.
The line in the Upper-Left (UL) quadrant, which represents interior conditions of the individual, passes through such personal mileposts as "prehension," "irritability," "sensation," "perception," ... "emotion," ... on out to "vision-logic," and beyond. The corresponding line in the Upper-Right (UR) quadrant, representing all those individual items in the cosmic inventory which manifest physically, and may be apprehended by the physical senses, and their artificial extensions, passes through such evolutionary mileposts as "atoms," "molecules," "prokaryotes," "eukaryotes," "neuronal organisms," ... on out to "limbic system," "neocortex," and beyond. The line in the Lower-Right (LR) quadrant passes along the social-evolutionary axis through "galaxies," "planets," Gaea system, "heterotrophic ecosystems," "societies with division of labor," "groups / families," "tribes," ... on out to empires, nations, "planetary," and beyond. And closing the square, the line in the Lower Left quadrant, which traces the vector of cultural evolution, passes through such mileposts as "physical-pleromatic," "protoplasmic," "vegetative," ... on out to "archaic," "magic," "mythic," "rational," and beyond.
Wilber perceives that the interior evolution of individuals and cultures traverses a spectrum of stages which can be symbolically represented – borrowing from Eastern traditions describing the system of human chakras – as a corresponding spectrum of colors; and that at each stage of evolutionary development an individual can achieve, at least momentarily, or episodically, any of a corresponding spectrum of states of consciousness.
Spectrum of Consciousness
Spectrum of Consciousness, after Ken Wilber.6
That is, someone whose developmental "center of gravity" hovers around the rational orange stage, may have an "altered state" experience of, say, turquoise illumination, or insight. The episode will be temporary, however, and will be experienced and interpreted from an orange, not a turquoise perspective. This illustrates the distinction Wilber makes between stages and states of consciousness. In general, all levels of consciousness are accessible from every stage – but only as transitory states of consciousness. Further, not everyone ascends to the highest levels of consciousness during the course of their life journey; but everyone "starts out at square one" as infants at the infrared stage of development, and progresses through ascending levels, or "waves of development," in the order represented in the chart. Before attaining orange, one must first comprehend, include, and transcend the magenta, red, and amber levels in turn. There are no shortcuts, and one may in the course of one's life progress swiftly, slowly, or come essentially to rest at any level of consciousness.
Additionally, in Wilber's view, there are numerous lines of development (four of which, residing in the UL quadrant, are schematically illustrated above) which evolve through the various levels more or less independently of one another; with the result that one may be highly developed cognitively, for instance, and yet have a much less developed sense of values, or of self-identity. Wilber has used the analogy of different routes ascending a single mountain to illustrate the distinction among different developmental lines. Any line of ascent can pass through the same altitude, yet the ascent of the "north face" will have little in common in other respects with the approach from the "west," or "south." Various researchers have tracked various developmental lines, each assuming initially that human development was a more or less monolithic process, and that each of them was investigating its main trunk. In time it became clearer that we humans develop multiple "intelligences" along many different but simultaneous lines.
The idea of multiple developmental lines [Wilber writes] has become popular with the notion of multiple intelligences – cognitive intelligence, emotional intelligence, musical intelligence, kinesthetic intelligence, and so on. Research has continued to confirm that these multiple lines do indeed develop in a relatively independent fashion. A person can evidence very high development in some lines (e.g., cognitive), medium development in others (e.g. interpersonal), and low in yet still others (e.g. moral).7
If reality corresponds even approximately to the rough map Wilber has sketched out, then the manifold confusion of those passing through it may be less perplexing than it would otherwise appear. An example is the frequent error Wilber perceives in the so-called "New Age" movement's failure to distinguish between the prerational stages below the rational orange stage of development, and the transrational stages above and beyond orange. One's healthy ascent to each successive stage comprehends, includes, and transcends the prior stages; so it is an error to confound those who have achieved any of the transrational stages beyond orange with those who have not yet achieved orange rationality.
Wilber observes that in recent years, many have erred in casting our gaze back to "pre-civilized" tribal cultures in our attempts to grope our way forward to visions of a more enlightened future. If Wilber is right, the path of onward human evolution does not lie in the direction of the prerational infrared, magenta, and red cultures of our racial childhood, but onward and upward to transrational levels of green, turquoise, violet, and beyond. Not having been sensitized to this distinction before, I can now perceive that I may have fallen into this error in earlier sections of this work – which upon further consideration may illuminate my perplexity over the indigenous tribal people's universal failure to cope effectively with the advance of dominator civilization.8
A related and widespread error Wilber's integral system illuminates is what he calls the Level / Line Fallacy, which is responsible for the failure of modern and postmodern thinkers to recognize the entire left-hand side of the AQAL matrix. Briefly, the traditional religions, particularly in the West, espouse mythological traditions which arose at and below the prerational amber level of consciousness; and these have been categorically rejected by modern and postmodern thinkers at the rational orange and transrational green levels. Then, mistaking the prerational levels representative of Western religious thought for the entire line of spiritual intelligence, these modern and postmodern orange and green thinkers have categorically dismissed the entire spiritual line as bogus, and will have nothing further to do with it. Meanwhile, various Eastern traditions have advanced along the spiritual line to 2nd and 3rd tier levels, and have explored these realms with highly disciplined rigor. But the Western moderns and postmoderns are closed to all such advances, having mistaken prerational levels for the entire line of spiritual intelligence.9
It gets worse; because contemporary religions, particularly in the West, have hardened their dogmas around their prerational mythological traditions, and have essentially "outlawed" as heresy the higher tiers of spiritual development. This is a critical problem today, because the ideas, beliefs and myths of 70% of the world's population are "owned" by the world's major religions.10
These circumstances combine in a peculiarly poisonous cocktail, whereby young people propelled by the ceaseless impulse to evolve and develop along all available lines find themselves squeezed in a merciless vise between their orange and above academic authorities, who have categorically rejected the validity of the entire line of spiritual development, and their culturally inherited amber and below religious doctrines, which have condemned as heresy all higher-tier spiritual development above amber. Taken together, it is little wonder that many of today's young people find themselves in difficulties.11
Bringing this into perhaps even more alarming focus, Wilber observes that a large percentage (50 to 70%) of the contemporary human population are in effect "Nazis."12 That is, half or more of the contemporary human population are at amber or below in all lines of development. Calling them "Nazis" is simply Wilber's metaphorical way of bringing this circumstance to our attention.
But whether those are fundamentalist Southern Baptists in Georgia [Wilber writes], Shin Buddhists in Kyoto, al-Qaeda Muslims in Iran, or fundamentalist Marxists in China, they represent the vast majority of the world's population in terms of vertical development.13
Further, this is not a temporary circumstance, because...
Everybody is born at square one and must develop through the general waves of development. Put it this way: Every time somebody somewhere has sex, they are producing a fresh supply of Nazis.14
If so, then very little mystery remains about the contemporary human condition. The "state of the world" is simply an accurate reflection of the aggregate evolution of the human species to date; and "Houston, we've got a problem" aboard Spaceship Earth.
[Return to contents of this section.]
The Myth of the Given
In the context of the title of this subsection, Myth appears in its conventional construction, meaning a fundamentally false, discredited, or illusory belief, such as a "primitive superstition;" as opposed to the construction I have otherwise placed upon the word throughout this work, for instance in "The Edifice of Human Knowledge" in the previous section.
"The Myth of the Given," then, is the long-held, but recently (during the past century) discredited understanding, or expectation, that reality is "objectively" whatever it is, and those parts of it which have not yet been discovered are nevertheless "awaiting discovery" at such time and circumstance as "the advancing frontier of human knowledge" happens to overtake them, and convert them from "unknown" into "known" quantities. It is the (exploded) myth that reality, whether "known" or "unknown," is a "given," which we will fully understand, eventually, as soon as we "get around to it." One reason this is an exploded myth is that observer and observed, or discoverer and discovery, are inextricably entwined with each other; each of which occupies an "address" in the matrix of reality only – or at least partially – in terms of the other. This objection to the Myth of the Given I have explored fairly extensively in II.5. The Myth of Objective Reality.
For Wilber particularly, and I gather for postmodernist thinkers in general, reality is of a much more complex, multidimensional, and intersubjective fabric than may be accommodated by a simple binary choice between either being or not being as it may "appear" to you or me. For one thing, expanding upon the principle of complementarity between observer and observed, the manifestation of reality really does depend upon the nature of the observer. In terms of the Spectrum of Consciousness chart, reality is different for different attainments of developmental altitude; as for instance for someone at red, as opposed to someone else at a green, or turquoise altitude. Moreover, as mentioned above, these different realities are not illusory artifacts of alternative perspectives upon a single "given" reality. Rather, each perspective, as Wilber puts it, "brings forth a world of phenomena; a worldspace that (tetra-)arises as a result"15 [of being experienced at a particular altitude.]
There is an infrared reality, in other words, a magenta reality, a red reality, an amber reality..., turquoise, teal, indigo realities, and so on, for those who attain those altitudes in their various lines of development; each of which is "visible," or may be experienced, only from its corresponding altitude. Also, the relationship between altitude and experience seems to be a two-way street; inasmuch as one's subjective experience, imperceptibly to oneself, unconsciously reflects one's developmental altitude.
Once you learn any developmental scheme [Wilber writes], such as [Spiral Dynamics], a peculiar fact starts to become apparent. You can be listening to somebody who is coming from, say, the multiplistic level (orange altitude), and it is obvious that this person is not thinking of these ideas himself; almost everything he says is completely predictable. He never studied Clare Graves or any other develpmentalist, and yet there it is, predictable value after predictable value. He has no idea that he is the mouthpiece of this structure, a structure he doesn't even know is there. It almost seems as if it is not he who is speaking, but the orange structure itself that is speaking through him – this vast intersubjective network is speaking through him.16
It is this unconscious direction of one's passionately held beliefs (myths) by one's developmental altitude that formed the basis of what Wilber calls "the Great Left-Hand War between modernism and postmodernism in the humanities."17 For it became apparent that subjectivity – introspective self-analysis, for example – is not capable of furnishing a reliable perception of one's own beliefs and motivations. For that, one must study and understand the "vast intersubjective network" which Wilber and others have pointed out is being given unconscious articulation by those who have attained a particular developmental altitude.
Consequently, it was the postmodern thinkers in the humanities – particularly in the Lower Left quadrant of the AQAL matrix – who ultimately rejected the validity of subjectivism, introspection, meditation, and finally, all forms of spirituality, in their approach to reality. The scientists and thinkers in the right-hand quadrants would have rejected spirituality too, and did, says Wilber; but in effect, they never really laid a glove on the Upper Left quadrant, because the job had already been done in the Lower Left.
Thus, "Houston, we've got a problem" aboard Spaceship Earth; which conceptually, in Wilber's view, could be easily solved – if only the academic and religious authorities could recognize and amend their complementary errors of, on the academic side, mistaking the prerational level of mythic religion for the entire line of spiritual intelligence; and on the religious side, of failing to recognize and give explicit legitimacy to the rational and transrational levels of spiritual evolution. Neither side would have to subtract anything significant, Wilber believes, from their traditional positions in repairing these faults; but need only add the little bit necessary to make possible a healthy integration of all views.
[Return to contents of this section.]
Of Parts and Wholes
Another matter Wilber addresses at some length is the issue of distinguishing between an individual and a group; or in Wilber's lexicon, an individual holon and a social holon.
In my accumulated discussions so far of the myth of metaconsciousness,18 I have doubtless implied that the daisy-chain of what Wilber calls holons – including their constituent holons, and the larger holons of which they are themselves constituents – is in effect seamless, endless, and non-hierarchical.19 These discussions may indeed be, as suggested above, the predictable "voice" of whatever developmental level I may so far have achieved, "speaking through me;" rather than, as I have habitually supposed, the product of "my own" creative introspections. (In fact, this suggests a thought for possible development elsewhere: that parts and wholes are metaconsciously joined in such a way that when an individual holon attains a particular level, then the metaconsciousness characteristic of that level expresses itself, or manifests, through individual holons that resonate at that frequency. Maybe. I'll have to give that idea some further thought.)
In any case, Wilber strongly objects to such confusion of individual and social holons, which he says is like adding apples and oranges,20 because individual holons and social holons are not the same, but are equivalent but different dimensions residing in different quadrants, and neither can be "flattened" into the other. In particular, individual holons line up in the Upper Right AQAL quadrant, and social holons line up in the Lower Right quadrant; and the two types cannot be combined, as in a single "daisy-chain," because they occupy different dimensions.
The example I usually give [writes Wilber], of why individual holons are not the same as social holons (or why the Great Web is greatly confused), is that of my dog Isaac, who is definitely a single organism on most days. Single organisms have what Whitehead called a dominant monad, which simply means that it has an organizing or governing capacity that all of its subcomponents follow. For example, when Isaac gets up and walks across the room, all of his cells, molecules, and atoms get up and go with him. This isn't a democracy. Half of his cells don't go one way and the other half go another way. 100% of them get right up and follow the dominant monad. It doesn't matter whether we think this dominant monad is biochemistry or consciousness or a mini-soul or a material mechanism – or whether that nasty "dominant" part wouldn't be there if we were just all friends and cooperated – whatever it is, that dominant monad is there, and 100% of Isaac's cells and molecules and atoms get right up and move.
And there is not a single society [Wilber continues] or group or collective anywhere in the world that does that. A social holon simply does not have a dominant monad. If you and I are talking, we form a "we," or social holon, but that "we" does not have a central "I," or a dominant monad, that commands you and me to do things, so that you and I will 100% obey, as Isaac's cells do. That just doesn't happen in social holons, anywhere. You and I are definitely not related to this "we" in the same way that Isaac's cells are related to Isaac.21
This is an insight that had not occurred to me before, and therefore sheds an additional source of illumination upon the myth of metaconsciousness. However, to Wilber's statement that "You and I are definitely not related to this 'we' in the same way that Isaac's cells are related to Isaac," I must append the qualification – as I often feel compelled to do (at least privately) in response to any positive statement about "how it is, or is not" – that, "Yes, but that's still not the whole story, is it? Because anything that can be looked at in one way can just as easily be looked at in another.
For instance, every six months planet Earth swings half way around the Sun, and enters that region of the background vault of stars known, say, as Aries. Six months later, Earth is at the antipodes of her annual cycle, and enters, in this instance, Libra. In this motion, maybe Earth is performing the equivalent of the mindless ticking of a clock pendulum; or maybe she somehow "prefers" a change of scenery from time to time. Her dominant monad may be no more mysterious than her center of mass; or it may involve some form of metaconscious "intent;" or a richly complex amalgam of both. In any case, wherever Earth goes, everybody and everything; every continent and every ocean; every mountain and every tree; every cell, molecule, and atom "get up and go with [her]. This isn't a democracy." Meanwhile, the Solar System – along with the entire population of "nearby" stars visible every night with the naked eye from suitably remote regions of Earth – are cruising along our majestic course embedded in one of the spiral arms of the Galaxy. And wherever the Galaxy goes, we go. This isn't a democracy either.
I believe Wilber's integral system is a brilliantly conceived and profoundly useful tool for developing a (relatively) integrated and balanced view of reality. Relatively, that is, to prevailing views otherwise shared among most humans currently residing on this planet. It is nevertheless – as are all contrasting views, including mine – a myth. It is a mechanism of human invention designed with the purpose of peering into the inscrutable mystery in which we all find ourselves, and enabling some of us to enjoy an improved sense of what we imagine reality to be like. It is, like all human myths, a species of map, as distinguished from territory; and its value will ultimately prove itself, or not, by its effectiveness in helping us to navigate the boundless mystery through which we journey.
[Return to contents of this section.]
As mentioned a moment ago, every positive statement about "how something is, or is not," seems to invite in response a "yabut" – as in, "Ya, but there's more to it than that." Because there always seems to be "more to it than that," no matter what "that" happens to be. I imagine the preceding statement may even provoke a few "yabuts."
Am I being contrary, or unreasonably picky? I don't think so; anyway, I'm not trying to be. I just seem to have developed a peculiar appreciation of how partial everything is that can possibly be said about anything – even with the clearest and most honest intent, and the best will in the world. In trying to dig out "the truth" about anything, we seem to be held perpetually at arm's length. We can dance around it, and maybe draw incrementally nearer to it; yet it's mighty difficult, if not downright impossible, to nail a "truth" down, dead-center.
Is that true? Ya, but the circumference of a circle divided by its diameter is always 3.141592.... Ya, but that result can still be developed any number of decimal places further – none of which is ever exactly true. Ya, but 22 / 7 yields a result that is accurate enough, in most practical circumstances. Ya, but 2 + 2 = 4 is precisely true, just as it stands. And so on.
Simple truths, obvious truths, trivial truths, we can deal with fairly reliably, at least most of the time; or at least we think we can. But not every question we have can necessarily find a simple, obvious, or trivial solution; and there are good reasons why we have been arguing about many complex, obscure, and nontrivial proposed solutions for literally centuries, and millennia on end. This is another reason for my growing appreciation for myths. A myth doesn't (necessarily) pretend to have "the truth" solidly nailed down. A myth can still work, even if it is only approximately true, or bears some resemblance to "the truth," or is only an educated guess, or an extravagant metaphor. This is especially so, if the myth is explicitly understood to be a myth from the very beginning.
"What is the origin and nature of human consciousness?"
"We don't know, but we can share with you our myths about it."
Wouldn't that work, at least as well as the systems we employ today, with their spastic and often vicious jockeying for recognition among the would-be exclusive bearers of, in effect, "The Absolute and Final Truth?" Such self-acknowledged myths would naturally include the reasons those who hold them have for holding them. Then anyone could evaluate any myth for themselves, and decide whether to integrate a particular myth into their existing personal mythologies, or not.
In the present instance, Wilber's integral system embracing "all quadrants, all levels, all lines, all states, all types," has provoked in me a few "yabuts" along the way, and I would like to express one here. This isn't to be taken as a criticism, because there isn't anything Wilber or anyone else could have said about anything that wouldn't potentially provoke a blizzard of "yabuts." In fact, central to Wilber's whole integral system – the fount from which it springs, so to speak – is his own conviction that existing philosophical, religious, and scientific systems are not all "wrong," but are all partial; and he has sought to construct a comprehensive means of integrating the fundamental principles underlying all these partial truths.22 I would be surprised, therefore, if Wilber were to object to the suggestion that his comprehensive integral system is also partial – not in criticism, but simply because there is no way it, or any system of thought, can be anything but partial. And being partial doesn't imply that Wilber's integral system is any the less a significant and valuable illumination of the partial systems of thought it endeavors to integrate.
O.K. Picking up the thread again of Wilber's discussion of the difference between individual and social holons, I have another "yabut." Picture this... imaginary flight of fancy.
Opening Night at the Great Concert Hall; performance: Carmina burana by Carl Orff (just because I happen to like it). The young Musicians and Choral Singers are arriving backstage in their formal attire, unpacking their instruments, arranging their musical scores, tuning up. It's the usual hum and bustle preceding a major musical event; and the Artists are juiced, because day-before-yesterday, having practiced and rehearsed for endless weeks, forward and back over passage after passage, they held their final pre-performance rehearsal; and they by golly got it right, first to last, all the way through. Everything clicked, and fell into place perfectly, and there wasn't a Performer among them who didn't wish there had been a real Audience there to hear them.
But tonight, not day-before-yesterday, is Opening Night, and as the Timpanist puts his ear to his drum heads, and tunes them to perfection, and the First Violin sounds the notes for the rest of the section to tune to, and the Woodwinds run up and down their scales, and so on, each Performer knows they can do it again tonight, and even better; and each is intent upon doing exactly that.
As couples and groups find their way to their seats, and begin to fill the auditorium, the Chorus file onto the stage and take their places behind the Orchestra. At last, the House lights dim; the Maestro strides on stage, bows to the Audience applause, mounts the podium, and taps his music stand. The House subsides into an anticipatory hush, as he raises his baton... and Boom! the performance begins, with the majestic opening chords sounded by 200 instruments, and as many more Choral voices. From the first note, it is clear to the Performers that they've got it! They're in the groove, and this is going to be the performance of a lifetime. Everyone in the Audience feels it too, and from time to time catch the quick glances that pass from Performer to Performer which say, "We're doing it again – only this time even better!"
As the performance unwinds, young Performers are able to glimpse the momentary flash of tears on the cheeks of some of the front-row Audience, among whom a few of their Parents may be recognized. Each Soloist in turn performs to perfection, and each transition between passages is flawless.
As the last notes of the finale fade into silence, everyone in the Audience is aware that they have witnessed a magnificent rendering of a magnificent piece of music; and each Performer knows it too. The Audience rise to their feet, and the auditorium is filled with applause, cheers, and shouts, as our imaginary scene... dissolves.
Now in terms of Wilber's individual and social holons, what exactly happened here? An Orchestra / Chorus is obviously a social holon, composed of individual holons; and Wilber says that social holons do not include a dominant monad, and that individual holons do. Yet sometimes, as in the sequence just described, a social holon demonstrates the agility of a cat in motion, or the fluidity of a horse at full gallop. There is no question of all the cells "obeying" the dominant monad. For a given period of time, all the cells coordinate as a single organism; as an indivisible unit in which being and doing seem to merge into a single, seamless, breathtaking phenomenon that transcends with fluid grace all questions of "parts" and "wholes." Within an hour, perhaps, all the Audience and Performers will have dispersed, and returned to their individual lives; yet during this singular performance something extraordinary took place. Something transcendent was born, and lived for a time in the Great Concert Hall; and everybody present, whether of Audience, Orchestra, Chorus, or Maestro, was a part of it, united as one.
These kinds of things happen all the time – not every day, at every place, but frequently enough that we all experience them from time to time, even if rarely. The above description, although entirely fictional, is not entirely unbelievable, is it? Many of us, or most of us, have witnessed, participated in, or at least heard about events of various kinds which display this same transcendent quality. It actually does happen in "real life," does it not?
So, where does all this fit into Wilber's chart? And where does the Orchestra / Chorus holon go when all the musicians and singers go home? Maybe, "to sleep?" It doesn't cease to exist, because having had such a spectacularly successful performance, surely they will assemble another night, and do it all again. Perhaps they will have a performance run lasting years, or take their show on the road and tour the world; and perhaps before they're done, the Orchestra / Chorus will eventually not include a single member that performed on that memorable Opening Night.
Similarly, all the cells in Isaac's body are eventually replaced; yet Isaac carries on... for awhile – until his cells and molecules all disperse after his final performance, and never reconvene again. And so it is for you, and me, and Earth, and the Solar System, and the Galaxy... and for every holon, evidently, that ever was, or ever will be. Individual and social holons; atomic, molecular, and galactic holons, in addition to their attributes noted by Wilber, seem to be endowed with at least yet another dimension: that of being in a sense like a river, into which it is not possible to step, so to speak, twice. And neither is that even close to being the whole story.
Funny thing is, Wilber already understood all this 30 years ago, and I'm probably just wasting my breath. Thirty years ago, in his first book, Wilber wrote:
Physics and, for that matter, most Western intellectual disciplines were not dealing with "the world itself" because they were operating through the dualistic mode of knowing and hence were working with symbolic representations of that world. This dualistic and symbolic knowledge is at once the brilliance and the blind-spot of science and philosophy, for it allows a highly sophisticated and analytical picture of the world itself, but however illuminating and detailed these pictures may be, they remain just that – pictures. They therefore stand to reality just as a picture of the moon stands to the real moon. Korzybski, father of modern semantics, lucidly explained this insight by describing what he called the "map-territory" relationship. The "territory" is the world process in its actuality, while a "map" is any symbolic notation that represents or signifies some aspect of the territory. This is easily seen in the common road-map, for although it may be a highly accurate representation of the country-side itself, it nevertheless is not the actual territory, and no one would dream of taking a vacation to Miami by looking through a book of road-maps. There are, however, much more subtle forms of maps, as for instance our everyday language. ... Korzybski summed this up bluntly – "whatever you say a thing is, it isn't."23
As mentioned above, Wilber's integral system for considering "all quadrants, all levels, all lines, all states, all types" within a four-quadrant, four-dimensional matrix, is a species of map which appears to be very useful for analyzing and integrating numerous aspects of the territory of inscrutable reality. Just because every feature of the territory is not represented on a map does not invalidate the usefulness of the map for illustrating the features that are so represented. Conversely, it isn't necessarily so that every aspect of a territory can be represented on a particular map. For example, in relation to cartographic maps of geographical territories, it is certain that every map projection involves some distortion of the territory it endeavors to represent; and I suggest this probably applies comprehensively to all kinds of maps and corresponding territories. Thus, "whatever you say a thing is, it isn't."
Therefore again, I think it immensely useful to view our maps as myths, and note specifically that the integration of various myths does not require that they all must be rigidly consistent with one another, any more than a polar projection of North America invalidates a Mercator chart of Puget Sound, or Chesapeake Bay. Similarly, it may be that in one projection of Wilber's map, as he says, "You and I are definitely not related to this 'we' in the same way that Isaac's cells are related to Isaac." Yet in an alternative projection representing a superset or subset of the same territory, the statement may not apply.
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Meanwhile, if it is so that most of humanity are right now at amber or below, then it may be so as well that the most urgent item on the human agenda is to nurture the evolution of higher levels of consciousness. If as Wilber claims, the majority of the contemporary human population are effectively "Nazis," with fresh replacements being born every minute, then the rest of us are already "out-voted," and the "tyranny of the majority" may continue to produce endless sequels to the Third Reich and the Gulag Archipelago – as indeed seems to be happening, "even as we speak."
However, I remain convinced (a conviction I am not at all sure Wilber shares) that the system which goes under the name of "civilization" fundamentally does not work, and is destined to run decisively aground and cease functioning altogether at a relatively early date. In that eventuality, it seems plausible to me that those at higher stages of consciousness development will enjoy significant survival advantages not accessible to those at lower stages of development; and so making choices intended to elevate one's consciousness emerges as not simply "a good thing to do," but as a possible or probable determinant between life and death.
In my way of thinking, this is not alarmist rhetoric, but simple recognition of the kinds of challenges that may be faced at any time by all living species: that is, evolve or perish. The dinosaurs living at the end of the Cretaceous Period, to recall a single example, having enjoyed a magnificently successful run of more than 178 million years, were not able to meet the conditions they faced at that particular moment. Their contemporaries, the obscure and mouse-like mammals, were able to overcome the challenges of the time – "and the rest," as they say, "is history." So far....
The human race, having thousands of years ago cleverly engineered for ourselves a "hothouse civilization" as a means of evading the normal pressures of evolution, may today stand at an analogous crossroads. My optimistic expectation, in other words, that "things will most probably continue to get 'better'"24 is definitely not the whole story; for I am keenly aware that we human residents of planet Earth have some high hurdles to clear in our immediate present and future. I suspect this has probably always been, and will likely always be so, at least at intervals; for periodic challenges and obstacles seem to be fundamentally necessary to evolutionary development.
There exists at large, however, a broad spectrum of views on all matters of probable impact upon human evolution. Skeptical ecologist Bjørn Lomborg doesn't think we have a whole lot to worry about in terms of our future on planet Earth; that ecologically speaking, things have in fact been "getting better" for the past several decades, and are likely to continue doing so.25 James Lovelock, on the other hand, originator of the Gaea Hypothesis, believes that planet Earth has already passed an irrevocable "tipping point," and that before the present century has run its course, more than six billion humans will have perished without replacements.26
If so, what, if anything, can we do about it? is a question that leaps immediately to mind. If you, or I, or any "wo/man in the street" would like to contribute somehow to elevating the human condition – and not, as so often happens, even with the best of intentions, make matters actually worse – then how might we most effectively invest our efforts? To what wheel, if so inclined, might we actually put our shoulders, with reasonable expectations of at least not making matters worse?
This is a question with which I have been grappling during most of my life so far; and the only plausible "answer" to it that I have been able to come up with is, basically, Nurture your own growth; or in other words, "Be the change you would like to see in the world." Or in terms of Wilber's Spectrum of Consciousness, Elevate the development of as many of your lines as possible into higher tiers of consciousness. Wilber's Integral Institute provides programs for integral development in and for "all quadrants, all levels, all lines, all states, all types," and he repeatedly advocates the adoption of the practice of one's choice for the deliberate purpose of pushing one's individual evolution in the direction of higher levels of consciousness.
Ya, but neither Wilber nor his Integral Institute, so far as I have been able to sense, address themselves to the so-called "wo/man in the street." Wilber seems to speak more or less exclusively to the higher academic strata, and if you do not happen to have read most of the books in the Philosophy section of the Harvard Library, or append a list of alphabet-soup honoraria to your name, as I haven't, and don't, you may find significant difficulties, as I have, understanding what in Sam Hill he's getting at.27 This strikes me as unfortunate, because Wilber does have some innovative insights, and has developed an associated vocabulary – analogous to the Aleuts' legendary many words for snow – of possibly sufficient richness to allow many more of us, potentially, to grapple with a complex tapestry of interrelated concepts entirely beyond the ken of "flatland science."
Unfortunately, Wilber's insights seem to me so embedded in a tangled thicket of academic jargon that it is like pulling teeth for "the wo/man in the street" to extract a clear idea of his intended meaning. I would be much happier with Wilber if he were to dismount his academic high horse, and get "down and dirty" where most of us actually live. For if conditions on Earth develop to a state in which the survival of large numbers of humans is at stake, I doubt that academic degrees, or book-erudition, will contribute significantly to anyone's survivability. Wilber's injunction, on the other hand, to elevate our consciousness, including approaches to doing so, might contribute decisively to the survivability of many – if only "normal people" could understand what the heck he's talking about.
Ya, but this may only reflect my personal bias against all things "civilized," which I doubt Wilber shares; so I'd might as well level with you (if I haven't already) that I have grown highly skeptical of the intellectual, spiritual, and "moral" integrity of practically all of our "civilized" institutions. In the case of academia in particular, I believe I have sound reasons – or at least reasons that are persuasive to me – for my skepticism.
Ya, but even at that, academic institutions are a mixed bag; and like most things, do not resolve neatly into unambiguously "black" and "white" strata. For one thing, academic institutions routinely attract the brightest, most creative minds in any population; and these, whether professors or students, can be very bright indeed. Academic institutions also provide rich environments for exploration, experimentation, and penetrating inquiry. It is a high-octane mixture of circumstances, and it would be surprising if quite a few brilliant insights and innovative discoveries were not hatched and nurtured within the precincts of academic institutions; as many have been, and continue to be.
Nevertheless, academic environments are artificially sequestered from the "real world" populated by "ordinary mortals," and possibly in spite of the best intentions of their inmates, often imbibe "cultish" characteristics beyond anyone's conscious awareness. That is, a species of "group-think" often arises spontaneously, invisibly, and surreptitiously among academics; and among other manifestations, as Wilber himself has pointed out, science sometimes insensibly morphs into "scientism."28
This is not necessarily an inevitable devolution, and it doubtless has a rich and complex mixture of causes. Yet there are abundant and consequential examples of it, for instance in the academic investigation of innumerable perplexing mysteries dotted here and there around the world, some of which I have discussed in II.2. Myth of a Golden Age.
The prototypical example of the academic mishandling (in my opinion) of perhaps the most persistent and perplexing mystery on the planet involves the Great Pyramid at Giza. To the academic fraternity within whose province this artifact lies, no "mystery" exists; and if one ever did, it has long since been "solved" and laid to rest. The Great Pyramid is plainly and simply the ruin of the tomb of the Fourth Dynasty Pharaoh Khufu, or Cheops, who raised it around the year 2700 BCE, full stop. Any suggestion that there is significantly more to the story than that is filed in the "lunatic fringe" basket, and ignored. Any tenured scholar with the cheek to persist in such folly is summarily relegated to the "lunatic fringe" as well; which is not considered to be a "happy ending" for an otherwise successful academic career.
"Ja, und ve heff our vays of dealing mit ze töricht akademiker, vat schtick ze schnauze vere it ist nicht belongen."
Yet more than casual examination of what physically remains of the Great Pyramid makes a shambles of the academic consensus of its nature and purpose, and raises controversies over which tempers rise on all sides, and heat is vastly more abundant than light – and one wonders what ever happened to the spirit of so-called "free academic inquiry."
If the "mystery of the Pyramid" were a solitary anomaly, it would be much easier than it is to dismiss with a shrug. The waters round the Pyramid, so to speak, have been muddy and obscure for centuries, and what is visible today lends itself to many interpretations besides the one found in textbooks. The implications may be somewhat clearer when it comes to a number of uncanny maps of known provenance drawn by 15th and 16th century navigators and cartographers, bearing geographic information beyond all contemporaneous human knowledge. During those times, European and Levantine navigators were still in the early stages of exploring the planet, presumedly for the very first time in human history; yet they were equipped with charts representing regions of the planet – such as the western coasts of North and South America, and Antarctica – where no one from 15th century Eurasia had ever been. These charts were carefully investigated for seven years during the 1960s by Charles Hapgood and his students at Keene Teachers College, Keene, New Hampshire, and their findings were published in Hapgood's book, Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings,29 in 1966.
The implications Hapgood drew from these investigations are that "someone" in possession of advanced geographical, mathematical, and cartographic sophistication had evidently mapped virtually the entire planet thousands of years before the 15th century; and that the surviving 15th and 16th century maps Hapgood studied were drawn from no longer extant cartographic sources originated by unknown "prehistoric" cartographers.
Startling and fascinating as these implications are, the response to them by the academic community at large may in its way be equally surprising: essentially, deafening silence. Hapgood by no means exhausted all the questions suggested by the presence of maps evidently bearing more geographical information than was known when they were drawn. He basically opened a previously overlooked field of inquiry, and he did it with a careful, conservative approach that clearly invited follow-up investigation and research. To date, however, particularly from the mainstream academic community, no such follow-up has been forthcoming.30
In addition to the Great Pyramid, there are numerous megalithic artifacts dotted around the planet, such as the temple at Baalbek, Lebanon; or the cyclopean wall of Sacsayhuaman, near Cuzco, Peru; to mention only two out of many, which seem to defy explanation in conventional archaeological terms. That is, straightforward, plausible answers to the straightforward question, How were they built? are not suggested by conventional archeology.
And in addition to all these, we have our own contemporary mysteries, such as the astonishing phenomenon of crop circles – yet another taboo topic for anyone husbanding conventional academic aspirations.31
One possible implication of these various items of enduring mystery is that the course of human "prehistory" may be strikingly different from the consensus myths agreed upon by mainstream academic scholarship; and in particular, that there may at one time have resided upon this planet a human civilization (or civilizations) rivaling our own in cultural and technical sophistication, which disappeared without a trace – except for their enduring monuments, such as pyramids, residual maps, cyclopean walls, etc. which remain without satisfactory explanation today. Such possibilities are dismissed out of hand by the academic scholars; yet the monuments and unexplained artifacts linger as mute "yabuts" in the recesses of many inquiring minds.
The myth that this planet has borne unknown "advanced civilizations" within the folds of its uncharted past is highly disturbing and unwelcome to those who adhere to the more "conventional" myth that human evolution has been a steady and uninterrupted climb out of "savagery" and "barbarism," and into its present sublime achievement of "civilization;" because among other things, it clearly implies the possibility that our revered "civilization" may be vulnerable to a similar fate.
My bias, of course, is that whether or not comparable civilizations have risen and fallen during our "prehistoric" past, and "vanished without a trace," our so-called "civilization" is indeed vulnerable to a similar fate; upon the cusp of which it is teetering precariously at this very moment. To me, this is a highly plausible scenario, and the fact that much of the voluminous evidence that it may have happened in prior ages is dismissed so summarily by mainstream academia raises my skepticism of the fundamental reliability or integrity of academia.
Therefore, I recommend that the interested "wo/man in the street" take the initiative of seeking and / or establishing alternatives to existing "civilized" institutions, including but not limited to academic institutions, in which explorations in all imaginable directions are encouraged, instead of being selectively inhibited. This, in a sense, Ken Wilber has done with his Integral Institute – which strikes me as a generally "Good Thing."
Ya, but Wilber addresses mainstream academia almost exclusively, evidently with the objective of persuading at least some of their elements to his insights; and particularly of persuading the rational orange academics to overcome their Level / Line Fallacy and admit the validity of the higher levels potentially accessible along the line of spiritual intelligence; and of persuading the clerics of the world's religions – the "owners," according to Wilber, of the ideas, beliefs and myths of 70% of the world's population – to legitimize for their congregations the higher (than red) levels attainable along the same line of development.
As far as it goes all this is very fine, and I hope Wilber's voice is heard, and listened to, within academic and clerical circles. I am skeptical that very many of them will be swiftly persuaded, however, because as Wilber has shown, until one has attained to higher levels of consciousness, their perspectives do not exist for those of lower attainments; which suggests to me that Wilber is in effect trying to describe or impart vision to the congenitally blind. I wish therefore that Wilber would make his insights more accessible to the "Great Unwashed" multitudes, among whom might be found at least some who, individually, may have achieved higher levels of consciousness, and are consequently in more favorable positions to benefit from his approach to achieving higher levels still.
In sum, I suspect with less than perfect certainty, and with considerable reluctance as well, that Lovelock's pessimistic scenario of an impending massive die-off among humans is at least plausible; and that if it does materialize, the survival and future evolution of humanity will be matters of individual responsibility and concern. And I imagine that the ability to form and participate in socially functional cooperative structures will be of crucial importance to each individual survivor. In that eventuality, I further suspect that the evolutionary development of human consciousness, or metaconsciousness, will be of decisive importance to the way the line is drawn among those who perish and those who survive. In particular, I submit that those who are the owners of their own mythologies, whatever their mythologies' content, will enjoy significant survival advantages over those whose mythologies are "owned" by anyone other than themselves. The numbers of survivors, in that eventuality, will be of far less significance than the the quality of the metaconscious evolution of those who do survive. At the end of the Cretaceous Period, I imagine tyrannosaurs may have been more numerous than mice; yet the tyrannosaurs all perished, and the mice, according to some contemporary mythologies, evolved into cave bears, saber-toothed tigers, mastodons, whales, and humans – and the tyrannosaurs may have been the ancestors of today's chickens.
However the momentum of contemporary human events plays out, I think it probable that elevated consciousness will be a survival asset, not a liability, and that Wilber's encouragement of its deliberate cultivation is sound, and likely to maximize favorable, and minimize unfavorable consequences for those who act accordingly. The details of how this play-out may actually unfold seem to be thoroughly shrouded in mystery, and so the consequences of more specific strategies and lines of action are equally difficult to predict. Perhaps those who somehow succeed in meeting current and pending challenges will in the process nurture the emergence of a level of consciousness at which living with mystery will become far more comfortable than it seems to be for most contemporary humans; and consequently that tolerance for and integration of widely divergent myths will substantially defuse the chronic tensions and strife in which multitudes struggle today.
If those who survive really get it that for biological beings with sensory systems and local points of view, life in the universe of "What Is" is swept along on vast and inscrutable currents of mystery and uncertainty, no matter how "smart," or "evolved" any such may deem themselves; and that the nearest anybody ever gets to understanding "what it's all about," and how it "really" works, are a limitless variety of (sometimes) more or less plausible myths; then maybe the children of some of our children's children may actually reach the stage of sophistication, wherein anxieties over questions of how and why they eat will have given way to much more relaxed and engaging issues such as, Where shall we have lunch?
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1. Quoted by Jack Crittenden, What is the Meaning of "Integral"?, Integral Institute, 2004, p. 5.
2. Accessible on the Net as the Integral Institute.
3. Ken Wilber, Integral Spirituality: A Startling New Role for Religion in the Modern and Postmodern World, Integral Books, Boston & London, 2006.
4. Wilber, 2006, p. 38.
5. I have touched on this briefly in discussing the imaginary case of "Pat and Mike" in Infinity and Complementarity, Again, section II.5.
6. Adapted from Wilber, 2006, Figure 2.4. Some Major Developmental Lines, and Figure 2.5. Gebser, Fowler, Loevinger / Cook-Greuter, between pp. 68 and 69. Wilber's charts include the names of the principal researchers who have investigated the various lines included; mine omits the names of the researchers, as their work is not specifically mentioned in this section.
7. Wilber, 2006, p. 59, Wilber's emphasis.
8. See What I Mean by Tribe, and The Parable of the Tribes in the Prologue of this work, for early discussions of this conundrum; and Learning to Live Within Our Means, Conditions for Social Success, The Wider Dimensions of Warfare, Warfare and Predation, and The Games of Life, and "Win all the Marbles" in II.3. The Myth of Human Destiny, for subsequent efforts at grappling with it. I am still not entirely satisfied with these arguments, and expect to return to some of them, eventually.
9. Wilber, 2006, pp. 183-5.
10. Ibid., p. 180.
11. Ibid., pp. 181-2.
12. Ibid., pp. 179-183.
13. Loc. cit., p. 179.
14. Loc. cit., p. 180, Wilber's emphasis.
15. See footnote 4, my emphasis, in this instance.
16. Wilber, 2006, p. 277, Wilber's emphasis.
17. Loc. cit.
18. Summarized at Elements of the Myth of Metaconsciousness in section I.11.
19. See II.4. The Myths of Infinity and Hierarchy for elaboration.
20. Wilber, 2006, p. 144.
21. Ibid., p. 145, Wilber's emphasis.
22. Crittenden, 2004, p. 5.
23. Ken Wilber, The Spectrum of Consciousness, A Quest Book, The Theosophical Publishing House, Wheaton, Illinois, U.S.A., Madras, Inda / London, England, 1977, pp.41-2, Wilber's emphasis.
24. See subsections Emergent Behaviors, and Inconclusion of II.6. The Myth of Metaconscious Evolution for the comments to which this remark refers.
25. Bjørn Lomborg, The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom, 2001.
26. Jeff Goodell, The Prophet, Rolling Stone #1038, November 1, 2007, p. 59.
27. This may not be an entirely fair statement, as I have not read the entire corpus of Wilber's work. It certainly applies to Integral Spirituality, 2006, which prompted this section; but does not apply to A Brief History of Everything, 1996, which I found accessible, and a valuable orienting introduction to Wilber's work. Additionally, Frank Visser's Ken Wilber: Thought as Passion, 2003, provides a valuable overview of Wilber's life course, joined with the development of his accumulating work. I was also fortunate to have been given copy of Peter Brooker's A Glossary of Cultural Theory, 2nd Edition, 2003, which served as a Rosetta Stone for translating some of Wilber's denser passages into terms I could at least partially understand.
28. Wilber, 2006, pp. 188-9. See also The F-word in section II.5 for a brief discussion of some of the economic pressures that sometimes bear upon the conduct of research at contemporary academic institutions.
29. Hapgood, 1966, 1996.
30. There have been follow-on works which draw upon Hapgood's research, but none to my knowledge which either extend or refute it. A search of the Internet did turn up what seemed to me to be a well balanced commentary by Paul F. Hoye with Paul Lunde, titled "Piri Reis and the Hapgood Hypotheses" which was credited as having been published in Aramco World Magazine, Jan-Feb 1980. Hoye and Lunde's article is prepended to a larger work, I MISTERI DELLA MAPPA DI PIRI REIS © di Diego Cuoghi, in Italian, with English translation, which seems to be skeptical of Hapgood's findings. Whether the latter work would be embraced as "scholarship" by the mainstream academic community, it seems to me considerably more than a "casual" follow-on treatment of Hapgood's work; and confirms for me that "yabuts" – or even "nobuts" – can proliforate endlessly in response to virtually any interpretation of "how things are."
31. For a comprehensive overview of the phenomena, visit Freddy Silva's history reports on crop circle phenomena between 1890 and 2007.
Metaconsciousness: Mythology for a Post-Civilized World
II.6 | Contents | II.8