Cognitive line of development – Blue Genes

Cognitive line of development – Blue Genes

Cognitive line of development.

For context a quick reminder that the cognitive line of development proceeds in all humans, cross-culturally, from sensory motor, to phantasmal-emotional, to representational mind, to concrete operational, to formal operational (or mature Reason) to Vision Logic and then on to the more transpersonal cognitions (psychic, subtle, causal and nondual). This happens in any individual lifetime, albeit a more spiral dynamic affair than a linier hierarchy. The general progression serves us well enough for this dialogue. It is also the general progression detected by most developmental anthropologists as the successive development of cognitive ability seen in each major epoch of historical development for humanity as a whole. There are many degrees of important distinction within each major level here. For a more detailed account of them please see the end notes and definitions.

Thoreau describes cognitive development in the average man, using his dialogues with the Canadian woodchopper that frequented the pine forest near him for a few seasons. After one conversation he noted: “…hearing Plato’s definition of a man, a biped without feathers, – and that one exhibited a cock plucked and called it Plato’s man, he [the Canadian] thought it was an important difference that the knees bent the wrong way.”

He concludes after illustrating many attempts to engage the man in intellectual or spiritual dialogue: “Yet never, by any manoeuvring , could I get him to take the spiritual view of things; the highest that he appeared to conceive of was a simple expediency, such as you might expect an animal to appreciate; and this, practically, is true of all men.”

This man was functional, responsible, gainfully employed, literate in two languages, carried and almanac and another practical work from which he regularity read.

What Thoreau here describes is the Concrete Operation level of cognition which dominated his generation as it does ours. It is a stage of development that legitimises coming to rest at its own stage with notions that thinking about thinking is dangerous – or that it is the special domain of the genius philosopher, the priest, the saint or the sage.

Not thinking about thinking is extolled as a virtue at this level. Industriousness and expediency are the virtue of the Concrete Operational levels. It does allow for some education though, but just enough to allow participation in the industrial, political, or religious activities of the era with efficiency. There is no consciousness introduced through the educational institutions of this phase.

It is the level that is so compatible with the dominant economic and political drivers: that we will find ourselves fulfilled through more; more of the same. It is a level of development that can be exploited by the machinations of those who do develop to higher cognitions but trail in the moral line of development or deliberately exclude it from their efforts. The sophistication of the economic and political system seems above analysis to the Concrete Operators, and it is considered humility to leave it to the more gifted in these matters.

“But the intellectual [thinking about thinking or Formal Operational] and what is called spiritual [contemplative] man in him were slumbering as an infant. He had been instructed only in that innocent and ineffectual way in which the Catholic priests teach the aborigines, by which the pupil is never educated to the degree of consciousness, but only to the degree of trust and reverence, [Concrete Operational] and a child is not made a man, but kept a child.” [Brackets mine]

Thoreau is alluding poetically to some important points here. One, that cognition is influenced through formal and informal education. Two that certain cultures do not emphasise cognitive development passed Concrete Operational, as the challenges of environmental, economic and geo-political factors do not necessitate it for legitimisation. He also implies the dominator hierarchies ( in this case the church and the imperialists), being aware of such an opportunity, and employing it in their education systems, are thus grooming a servant class and holding them there, immoral by almost all standards. Not immoral, however, cross- culturally, seen from the level of Magic, Magic- Mythic, Mythic membership, to Mythic Rational stages of development in worldview and the egocentrism and ethnocentrism that dominates them. All civilisations, without exception, across all continents, and all cultures had slavery at this stage of development. It is a stage of cognitive, worldview and moral development common to every epoch prior to the Modern, Rational one, which all allowed slavery and exploitation of weaker or ‘lower’ classes and cultural expressions in one form or another. Only with Rational worldcentric compassion was an end brought to slavery.

So the release form slavery comes with the cognitive development and the accompanying moral reflection available with Formal Operational thinking.

Freedom from our enslavement to consumption and finding ourselves fulfilled through more, similarly, has its liberation at higher stages of cognition and the correlated moral development and worldviews that slumber as potentials just above most of us.

Our ecological crisis is a crisis of arrested development. Education, transcendent education, not education in our employability and efficiency in the very system of politics and business that threatens us, is the solution we are avoiding. We are avoiding it through cultural taboos, false humility, religious shallowness, and the illusions of liberation through casting a democratic vote. We are denied it in public schools and the ‘best’ universities that now pride themselves on career specific courses, sponsored, of course, by the machinery of the dominator hierarchies. ‘Career specific’ by another name is ‘narrow’ and without context – Functional courses, with functional fit as their aim, that will make you efficient and unquestioning of the greater context of your life. This context only comes into view through a study of the great thinkers, mystics and explorers of human potential through the ages. All positioned as unnecessary encumbrances to a good education today (a concrete foundation) that will really serve your development and progress through the great modern hierarchy of moneyed men and power politics.

It is a hierarchy of more of the same. That is why we see no matter who runs the political scene for a term or two, more of the same. And Concrete Operational is not big on questions about the status quo. It does not reflect on things as they might be. It thinks about how to make what is more efficient. That is why there is so much emphasis even in the ‘green’ movement on efficiency. Not systemic change – just a more efficient version of what is. This ‘Concrete’ can understand and get behind

So our education now is focussed on being even more efficient that before. What could be wrong with that? Plenty! More of the same produced more efficiently, faster, cheaper… more consumption with the electric car and the cheap disposable car, so everyone can have one… Every one can’t have one! Our roads don’t need more cars, more fumes, more waste, more accidents, more oil, more components, more rubber, and more plastic. We don’t need more, more efficiently. We don’t need more delivered with cleaner energy. We need a system that delivers less. Everyone on earth today can’t even have a beer – because there is not enough hops and barley to make it. We need a system that delivers more through less. More height and less span. More depth and less span. More thinking and less mindless doing.

We need more depth in each person not more consumption by everyone.

 

Bjorn Heyerdahl

Blue Genes – the DNA of Our Transformation to Peace and Sustainability

Integral Education

Integral Education

Integral Education

How do we encourage Mature Reason or Post-Formal thought? What lies ahead of Formal Operational thought and Why is it important in education?

Integral Theory – The theory that multiple perspectives, integrated into a holistic panorama, is a requirement for a truly integral view of any subject or object under consideration. A theory that all perspectives have value but are partial and require more perspectives to make them whole or more complete and useful.

In my experience there is no better way to elevate perspective and synergistic reasoning ability than to introduce a student to the eight perspectives required for an integral view. (Please see Diagram) This combined with the depth and height of all the potentials of consciousness provides a framework for a learner to contextualise any subject under consideration, and in fact their own thinking processes.

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The addition of perspectives and the elevation of perspective are the mechanisms for growth in cognitive ability and the transcendence of limiting Worldview’s.

Opportunities abound for those who, can not only formally reflect on their thinking or the thinking of others, but can ‘see’ with a pattern eye all the connections, relationships and possibilities between disparate ideas, in a synergistic way, to arrive at better conclusions and solutions in any field of study or any occupation. We need to be preparing future leaders with this ability, not some mystical visionary ability for the gifted few, but a process that equips young people with Vision Logic.

Most if not all of the challenges in contemporary education, social life, politics, economics and career possibilities are solved or met at the level of development with Vision Logic or Post-Post- Formal though.

The elevation of thinking ability is key.

With Paige’s work on developmental stages in cognitive development we know well that, cross culturally, we all go through many stages of rational development in a hierarchical fashion. We know from so many researchers that there are pre-rational stages of development in every child and every culture and that there are many levels of reasoning ability, once the rational level is initially attained (on average at about 11 years old), easily measurable and clearly discernible in child and adult development. Namely: pre-operational, operational, concrete operational, formal operational (Vision Logic being the fullest expression or highest expression of the formal operational level) So that Formal Operational cognition represents the ability to think about thinking, to envision multiple outcomes with scenario planning. The holding of multiple perspectives and reasoning ability on all potentials and possibilities at its most mature level. This level of cognitive development exists as a potential for all humankind but is not reached by many.

The words development and evolution both imply transcendence of one stage and the adaption to the next. Allude to development beyond reason (not the rejection of reason – the transcendence and inclusion of reason) and cries of heresy are heard through the corridors of conservative academia. There is not just one kind of reason or one level of development called Reason which once attained means the game is over and it’s all flat-lining from thereon. Research over thousands of years under the most scientifically controlled and rigorously reviewed conditions across almost all major cultures shows that the limits placed on cognitive development by modern and post-modern paradigms are premature and immature.

Kant’s famous trilogy: a Critique of Pure Reason, a Critique of Morals and a Critique of Art; spoke of the same three types of truth ( or perspectives on truth) which Plato separated into, correlatively, the True, the Good and the Beautiful – Habermas’s objective truth, intersubjective truth and subjective truth. Integrating these truths into a coherent vision of any referent requires at least the level of cognitive development referred to in the beginning of this paper: the ‘Vision Logic’ level as we shall hereafter refer to it – also known as the Late Formal Operational level of cognitive development, to use Paige’s term, or Mature Reason. Vision logic is a high form of perspicacity, a penetrating discernment – a clarity of vision or intellect which provides a deep understanding and insight on an almost intuitive level. Disparate ideas are synergised into a whole or realisation simultaneously. This is beyond formal operational thinking – it is the seeing of wholes and the relationships between holon’s; an intuitive acuteness of perception, discernment or understanding of how things relate or can relate to one another as a whole.

“Such panoramic or vision-logic (the technical term I use to describe the cognitive operations of this level) apprehends a mass network of ideas, how they influence each other, what their relationships are. It is thus the beginning of truly higher- order synthesising capacity, of making connections, relating truths, coordinating ideas, integrating concepts.” [Wilber, a sociable god, 2005]

When the self-centre of gravity identifies with Vision Logic one lives from that level. It is highly integrated self – A self that actually inhabits the global perspective – not merely talking about it.

Aurobindo refers to the highest expression of Vision-Logic as the “higher mind”. The higher mind can: “freely express itself in single ideas, but its most characteristic movement is a mass ideation, a system or totality of truth-seeking at a single view. The relations of idea with idea, of truth with truth, self-seen in the integral whole.”

For the most part these three ‘truths’ or perspectives, identified by Plato, Kant, Habermas and many others, which Ken Wilber uses in his all quadrant approach in integral theory: IT, WE and I domains; which he further divides, for analysis and integration into the four quadrants: I ( subjective domain) We (inter-subjective domain) It (objective domain) and It’s ( interobjective domain)

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In our era the objective ‘It’ domain and the inter- objective ‘Its’ domain are given a weighting that imbalances our collective perspective and makes us selective form Plato and his peers, and yes he has a few, in terms of how they serve this objective, material view and the more subtle reductionist or inter-objective view seen in Systems Theory.

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The confidence and excitement for additional learning that a young person experiences when being introduced to the full spectrum of possibilities for personal growth in the various cognitions available to them is a wonderful thing to witness.

A basic introduction to these possibilities begins the process and experience of transcendence from the first session. It can be introduced with any subject as the entry point. We regularity use Public Speaking classes, Biology, Linguistic theory, Literature, History, Math, etc. as an entry point for this theory which contextualises any subject.

I would like to share the possibilities for your child, or you the young adult, through a process called the Integral Positioning System (IPS). This is a combination of group classes and workshops, assignments, therapeutic processes and private consultation.

This development process is designed for youth between the ages of 14 and 25. Its intention is to develop the whole being, the full expression of humanity and all its potentials in a young person. It specifically delivers a sense of identity, through self-knowledge. Also the confidence to express that identity into the world, socially, creatively and economically. The ability and confidence to present oneself and ideas in a variety of situations like school speaking assignments anddebate, job interviews, university interviews and presentations, social situations and many others. It builds a real foundation for such confidence in knowing and defining who you are, what you stand for, what you value, what you want and and what you are capable of. Whether your intentions are to express yourself socially, economically, creatively, career wise, politically, or to any other end, this process will assist you with your goals.

The true foundations of a confident, sincere, capable and contributory human being, moving toward human adulthood, are not found in the acquiring of knowledge alone. Many school/educational systems promise so much more, but are geared and measured through the transfer of knowledge and some encouragement toward formal operational thinking, critical thinking or reflective thought processes.

The integral approach exposes the youth to the entire spectrum of consciousness and all levels and modes of thinking available to mankind. It engages the student in a process of reflective, contextualised and truly integrated self development. First the entire spectrum is made available followed by a framework for integrating all the possible perspectives that are ‘true’ in themselves, or important, but partial. Eight methodologies or formal academic perspectives are shown in relation to one another, as a comprehensive model or framework to observe, in an inclusive, integrated way, any subject or object under consideration. The students ability to reflect, analyse and relate to information, people and situations is enhanced eight fold at least. This is a movement toward Vision Logic – a high order of formal operational thinking ability, synergistic ability or mature reason.

It is not just an enhancement of logical thought process. It is a stimulation of all the cognitions that make up the full spectrum of conscious life that is the unique expression of a person.

This process, measurably enhances intelligence, emotional intelligence, synthesising ability, pattern recognition, and the ability to confidently express the same, in a variety of modalities, for the student.

It is the foundation for true leadership, entrepreneurship and functional fit in an evolving and increasingly complex global and local society.

This is a finishing school for young people. This is the process that will make relevant and usable all the hard earned knowledge and skills provided by main stream education. This is a programme that will equip your child with the identity and self-knowledge to make informed and motivated decisions about tertiary education. This is what will set your child apart for the career opportunities in an increasingly competitive job market. This is the process that will equip any young person for entrepreneurial participation on the local and global markets. This is the programme that will define true leadership ability. This is a framework on which an authentic, creative, full, successful and contributory life will be based.

Bjorn Heyerdahl – Cradle of Humankind

Such is Our Predicament  (Excerpt – Blue Genes)

Such is Our Predicament (Excerpt – Blue Genes)

Such is Our Predicament.

One thing that strikes any student of history is that we always seem to be starting over again… if you read Socrates dialogues or Heraclitus reasons for walking off into the mountains or Henry David Thoreau hurrying through the main street of Concord; it all seems the same story and the same time. When I read these men I always feel they were confronting the exact same issues we are. The same cities the same streets the same businessmen and the same politicians. But we rehash the same issues again and again. Here we are decades from the first earth summit and with a document like the Earth Charter clearly expressing the will and foundations of global citizens and we are asking the same questions for which we have had the answers all along.

Why is there no synthesis of the best of all the lessons that can be clearly seen in the panoramas available to even the casual student of the last 13.77 billion years of recorded history, and the contemplatives who study more broadly, deeply and much further back than that?

We have men of low intelligence and lower moral standing running economic power houses and holding political office because no one of real intelligence wants to spend their precious time here on earth organising life for the retarded masses and exploiting their naivety for short term power and the illusion of security or control.

As Socrates said, if a society wants to be ruled by someone who will act in their interests and truly do the best for the community served, then they will have to press into office someone of the intellectual ability, morality, integrative insight, and leadership ability who would otherwise never get involved in such a self-defeating and self-sacrificial office. A true servant of the people looks nothing like the pompous little upstarts, queuing up and jostling for the ‘honour and glory’ of public office and its material trappings – Currying favour from the most unscrupulous gangsters and harlots for the money to bribe their way through the halls of fame and to sell them to the hypnotised housewives and desperate factory workers hoping for a break in what they loosely term life.

The irony is, and always will be, that until the general global population reaches levels of cognitive, emotional and moral development to see the folly of the current system, they will not look for anyone who will actually act in their interests – they will continue to pick one of the players who will feed their pathologies and profit off their labour while promising to keep protecting ‘the dream’. And what a dream it is – an illusion, a promise perpetually unfulfilled. A promise to pay as baseless as the financial instruments that threaten to collapse the whole financial system today.

Everything in a finite system that has infinite growth as its goal is based on such a promise to pay – with no intention of honouring it. The cliché of the politician promising and then immediately, that he is in office, reneging on that promise, is completely accepted as reality by the voters… and so it is. The voters are undeterred by this reality and return again and again to the voting polls all the same. Even mathematics is based, in the finite empirical realm, on such promises to pay – IOU’s that will never be redeemed. Our economy is based that way and always will be as long as the illusion of infinite consumption and infinite growth are its drivers. Both illusions by definition in a given biosphere.

So if we approach a stage where some, even many, can see the lack of sustainability in the system, we approach the fearful awakening from the dream. Who will be the ones to awaken the masses, grim faced, serving Mammon, with work ethic, determination, reward, pensions, employee of the month, and that exciting holiday on the beach all ahead of them? These Mythic – rational workers all ‘living the dream’… who wants to tell them? Who wants to rouse them to the great lie they live while the lie keeps them docile? Who wants to see their anger unleashed upon awakening?

This is in part why the general awakening of mankind takes so long. Each epoch holding on to its view as long as it can to avoid the chaos of transition and the retribution against the ‘leaders’ – loved one day with flags waving as they go buy – and shot in the head the next, for not delivering on the dream, for not cashing the IOU’s.

No one ever will cash those IOU’s because they are the financial instruments and political instruments of the age of democracy of infants and infinite growth economies – a very obvious and necessary lie for the Mythic-Rational phase of development.

Although, phase specific and even necessary, if this illusion persists too long then it is not a matter of who will be the whistle blowers, it is a systemic collapse that will rouse the masses from this drowsy dreamlike state. Then the chaos will lead downward in a tribal regression as the last resources are fought over by the disillusioned that could not move through and upward; but now retreat away from the level of development that bewitched them and hurt them so.

Such is our predicament. How do we rouse the masses without further regression? How is the transformation that is now an imperative, also a transcendent step up and through not back and away from the ‘progress’ we have made as a species?

The UN seems after decades of asking this question, at a loss. And who can blame them. They are financially dependent on the member nations, one and all ethnocentric national states. All of them run by the politicians and the business men here described – who have not changed much since the two games were started. The games are flawed in themselves… So changing the rules and protocols for the games does nothing but give the naïve participants a moment of false hope and optimism for a meeting or a conference… but the games go on.

The game has as its intention a winner. It has progress, more of, bigger, growth and so on, inherent in its nature and it is played on the fields of planet earth. It cannot deliver, and so it sends IOU’s in the name of its children to redeem its debt. This has been the way of the world since the time of the dawn of civilisation and further back to the first lusting eye cast on the fruit of our planet and the belief that satisfaction will be found in more.

For now, the mathematics of sets upon sets, that can only be confirmed as true from without and thus never complete in themselves, is the way of the world and all of its sciences. The IOU’s do serve, however, to legitimise a stage of awakening and give us some privileged time to examine the entire display of the Kosmos, both inner and outer expressions, as a whole. It at least alleviates (for some) our labour for our daily bread. So in this temporary period, where we borrow on our children’s inheritance, and hire a fool or a nave to handle the plough for a while, we catch our breath and we educate ourselves with pause, reflection and maybe contemplation. In this way we might come to see, with an inward eye of self-reflection and an outward eye of discernment, that we must reengage with life on its essential terms and find ourselves as more than the sum of our possessions. We must find ourselves by being more. We must find ourselves in expanded definitions and identities not in expanded waistlines and dilutions of grandeur in the surface of things.

Now, we can look at all this as an ‘elite’ group, who knows more of the context of the real life and tut-tut about the ignorant masses, as if they were another group, but this is not our truth. They are one group and they are us at various stages of awakening. When the sleep is rubbed from the eyes of even the most earnest seekers among us we may all find a vista that leaves us smiling at our agonies here. Until then how do we collectively massage the sleeping parts of our collective body to life and action? Or do we simply get on with our own business of staying alive as long as we can with as little conflict and as much contemplation as we can muster?

Can we build the universities of life, which introduce the levels and panoramas that we so badly need? Can we, with existing budgets, better spend and integrate our efforts and resources to the end some of us can see and all of us can feel?

Yes we can. We can introduce transformative (transcendent education and injunctions to our current curriculums).

It has been my intention, and my occupation, to show the practical possibilities for not only legitimising our basic needs in our towns and communities more intelligently and sustainably. It has been my long held intention to show how, with the same financial spend on services and infrastructure, education and communication, we can also transform any of our towns, community projects, cities or rural communities into living universities that encourage and facilitate transformation and transcendence. The same municipal budgets that fragment our living, our community and our education can be used to synthesise them into a cohesive culture and functional society of value change and exchange. The loftiest and the lowliest (or most basic) intentions of our integrative leadership can be manifest now and here in the world as we find it and the world that we want can manifest from within them.

Special projects are not required to be separated out of community life. They can be integrated in through clever design. Design of integrated systems of learning, earning, doing, and functioning can serve all that we now focus on, more efficiently, and serve our collective transcendence and evolution to peace and sustainability.

It is thus that the co-evolution of our individual consciousness, our shared worldview and our inter-objective social institutions can be facilitated. It is thus that we break the loggerheads and the procrastination, the waiting for consciousness to grow first and then manifest. The design system exists, the perspectives are available, the research is done, the models are tested, the technologies are employed, the entire display is made available for those who would pay attention, the questions all answered. Only one question remains: who will act with integrity?

 

Excerpt – Blue Genes – By Bjorn Heyerdahl

The ways by which you get your money.

The ways by which you get your money.

Abstract

This presentation is an attempt to examine the dilemma encountered as one approaches Mature Reason, Late Formal Operational cognitive development or ‘Vision Logic’ in one’s individual cognitive development line, in respect of its influence on career choice. This level of development is defined, then the potential ‘pathologies’ of this privileged advance in development are examined alongside its benefits and finally the career potentials and their inhibitors are discussed with conclusions drawn from historical and contemporary personage’s correlative struggles and transcendences.

‘Those services which the community will most readily pay for…’

Maybe the most famous person to epitomise and so eloquently demonstrate this level of development, and its inherent influences on societal connections in general and its influence on how our daily bread is earned in particular, is Henry David Thoreau. His words on the subject, not so often quoted by the popular psychologists, business consultants or academics, for obvious reasons where: “The ways by which you may get money almost without exception lead downward. If you get your money as a writer or lecturer, you must be popular, which is to go downward perpendicularly. Those services which the community will most readily pay for, it is most disagreeable to render “.

In fact, like so many great thinkers and most of the philosopher sages throughout recorded history, only the surfaces of their writings and those parts of their work that can be whipped into service of the industrious age ( not a misspelling) , are quoted by anyone ‘popular’ or ‘successful’ in the ‘American Dream’ sense of those terms.

Heraclitus, Socrates, Plato, Jesus, Plotinus, St Augustine, Buddha, Newton, Hegel, Thoreau and so many in-between have been partially quoted for the obvious reason that their recorded life’s work, taken as a whole, exposes the partiality and extreme shallowness of the ‘scholarly’ plagiarists and pseudo-philosophers (who never have an original thought, or if they have never share it in their published work) who do not appear love knowledge and understanding or to seek truth but seek to make it (the partial truth of true transcendent thinkers before them) the servant of their own egocentric machinations for base financial gain and coveted notoriety, or at least acceptance.

We marvel at the skill with which this is done, again and again, in almost every successive epoch, and its correlative development paradigm – the selective quoting of great minds to support fashionable modes of viewing the world – with the not too subtle, and very understandable, personal motive by the author, of getting published while he is alive. While I opened with Henry David Thoreau, Plato must win the prize, of whom it is said all subsequent western philosophy is merely footnotes. I must add that these footnotes over the last 2500 years are almost without exception fractured footnotes and very partial reflections and shadows on the famous cave walls of Plato himself.

The general worldview today might seem quite liberal and thus the least restrictive in all history and that might be accurate in the public domain at a certain level. Our censorship today though has the same roots in various forms and causes the same reaction in authors and potential authors with similar percentages of truth, and in some cases much less truth, being distilled from these perennial and seminal giants in our recorded history.

For example, and to stay with Plato for a moment, Neo-Platonism, in its many forms, is strongly weighted toward the ascendant or egocentric aspect (both to be defined later) which represents at best one third of his ‘truth’ – that not just being the three kinds of truth ‘the Beautiful’, ‘the Good’ and ‘the True’ for which he is well known – but also for his non-dual awareness achieved through ‘injunctions in a community of contemplative adepts’ that points to the realities of transpersonal experience; for which he correctly has no words. He is one of the few Non-Dual adepts that do not try to reduce a transpersonal experiential adaption, which is post-rational, to rational signs or signifiers that have no meaning, no ontological referent, to any but other adepts; and are unnecessary to those adepts once experienced. Such incredible confidence and sound reasoning being only the estate of a philosopher Sage of his stature.

The contemplative sciences and injunctions and validity claims that present evidence of cognitive development beyond Formal Operational, and in some communities simply beyond Concrete Operational thinking, are not currently in vogue. The rigor with which they meet modern and post-modern scientific paradigms for validity claims and verification or peer review does not seen to be taken into account; they are dismissed often as regressions a la Freudian denial of anything developmentally awaiting us beyond Reason. The call for realities of simple location, by the shallow minded, still dominates much of academia. ‘Shallow minded’ and depth as opposed to span will be clarified later for anyone who thinks the author is employing polemic here.

With Paige’s work on developmental stages in cognitive development we know well that, cross culturally, we all go through many stages of rational development in a hierarchical fashion. We know from so many researchers that there are pre-rational stages of development in every child and every culture and that there are many levels of reasoning ability, once the rational level is initially attained (on average at about 11 years old), easily measurable and clearly discernible in child and adult development. Namely: pre-operational, operational, concrete operational, formal operational (Vision Logic being the fullest expression or highest expression of the formal operational level) So that Formal Operational cognition represents the ability to think about thinking, to envision multiple outcomes with scenario planning. The holding of multiple perspectives and reasoning ability on all potentials and possibilities at its most mature level. This level of cognitive development exists as a potential for all humankind but is not reached by many.

The words development and evolution both imply transcendence of one stage and the adaption to the next. Allude to development beyond reason (not the rejection of reason – the transcendence and inclusion of reason) and cries of heresy are heard through the corridors of conservative academia. There is not just one kind of reason or one level of development called Reason which once attained means the game is over and it’s all flat-lining from thereon. Research over thousands of years under the most scientifically controlled and rigorously reviewed conditions across almost all major cultures shows that the limits placed on cognitive development by modern and post-modern paradigms are premature and immature.

Kant’s famous trilogy: a Critique of Pure Reason, a Critique of Morals and a Critique of Art; spoke of the same three types of truth ( or perspectives on truth) which Plato separated into, correlatively, the True, the Good and the Beautiful – Habermas’s objective truth, inter-subjective truth and subjective truth. Integrating these truths into a coherent vision of any referent requires at least the level of cognitive development referred to in the beginning of this paper: the ‘Vision Logic’ level as we shall hereafter refer to it – also known as the Late Formal Operational level of cognitive development, to use Paige’s term, or Mature Reason.

Vision logic is a high form of perspicacity, a penetrating discernment – a clarity of vision or intellect which provides a deep understanding and insight on an almost intuitive level. Disparate ideas are synergised into a whole or realisation simultaneously21. This is beyond formal operational thinking – it is the seeing of wholes and the relationships between holon’s; an intuitive acuteness of perception, discernment or understanding of how things relate or can relate to one another as a whole.

“Such panoramic or vision-logic (the technical term I use to describe the cognitive operations of this level) apprehends a mass network of ideas, how they influence each other, what their relationships are. It is thus the beginning of truly higher- order synthesising capacity, of making connections, relating truths, coordinating ideas, integrating concepts.”22[Wilber, a sociable god, 2005]

When the self-centre of gravity identifies with Vision Logic one lives from that level. It is highly integrated self – A self that actually inhabits the global perspective – not merely talking about it.

Aurobindo refers to the highest expression of Vision-Logic as the “higher mind”23. The higher mind can: “freely express itself in single ideas, but its most characteristic movement is a mass ideation, a system or totality of truth-seeking at a single view. The relations of idea with idea, of truth with truth, self-seen in the integral whole.”

For the most part these three ‘truths’ or perspectives, identified by Plato, Kant, Habermas and many others, which Ken Wilber uses in his all quadrant approach in integral theory: IT, WE and I domains; which he further divides, for analysis and integration into the four quadrants: I ( subjective domain) We (inter-subjective domain) It (objective domain) and It’s ( inter-objective domain)

In our era the objective ‘It’ domain and the inter- objective ‘Its’ domain are given a weighting that imbalances our collective perspective and makes us selective form Plato and his peers, and yes he has a few, in terms of how they serve this objective, material view and the more subtle reductionist or inter-objective view seen in Systems Theory.

But even this four quadrant view of the world, of the cosmos or anything in it, lacks a depth and dynamism, observable, and currently in motion. This depth and any concept of hierarchy are not very popular or politically correct in our pluralistic age of guilt driven previous dominator hierarchies gone horribly overboard. All hierarchy is thrown out, with the dominator hierarchies, and so are a lot of the philosophers that got labelled along with the culprits who quoted them out of context – Plato being one.

If anyone’s theory was used to prop up a now out dated view that has cause pain in the past or present then out they go in their totality. It is time for a fully integral view of the whole display with each of the players and thinkers reflected in as balance way as possible – each given his or her full voice back before judiciousness, of what a contemporary integral view might include and what it might not, is exercised.

Thank goodness for Ken Wilber. On this account the world owes him a bi-millennium debt – For a concise overview of the last 2500 years of the evolution of consciousness and the resolution of the dualistic, divergent approach and irreconcilable perspectives of the interior camp and the exterior camp.

“The evolution of consciousness (seen also in the development of the human mind) is as evident and subject to the same processes as the evolution of the physiosphere or biosphere precisely because the former is simply the interior of the latter and they are thus not two but one. There are three parts (or whole/parts that cannot be separated other than theoretically) of the One – that make up the real ‘holy trinity’ – the interiors of the cosmos, the exteriors of the cosmos and the Kosmos with a K. (The Kosmos being the resolution of the duality presented by attachment to either the interiors or exteriors of itself) – The Kosmos being the cosmos (cosmic material exteriors) seen also with its interior reality (autopoietic nature/ consciousness or spirit).

If you are in the interior camp you will be at war with the exterior camp (God versus Evolution being one common expression of this perspective) if you are in the exterior camp you will be a war with the interior camp (Evolution or Scientific Materialism versus Spirituality and the Contemplative Sciences being a common expression of this camp). In non-dual awareness you will be at peace as both camps and as the Ground on which they all pitch their tents.”- Blue Genes – the DNA of our Transformation to Peace and Sustainability – Bjorn Heyerdahl

Despite Wilber’s monumental body of work, his depth of understanding and encyclopaedic knowledge with his obvious Vision Logic; seeing wholes and synergies and distilling the essence of the evolution of humankinds consciousness: introspective, scientific and social; across millennia and from eight different academic disciplines and perspectives. Despite the integration of this into the first really representative cross cultural academic treatment of the entire display of our Kosmos, interior, exteriors and non-dual oneness – Ken Wilber chose to wash dishes for a living for over a decade.

Why would he do this? Eccentricity or necessity?

Henry David Thoreau chose to work on road gangs, as a manual labourer, and rated it the most agreeable of alternatives to sustain his lifestyle. What was his rationale?

The reasons for these very important choices, of which we are beneficiaries, should not be reduced to any glib answer or one liner. Both these men found a lack of ‘functional fit’ because of the academic paradigms of the day on the one hand and a lack of ‘cultural fit’ or mutual understanding on the other. This is not about ‘not fitting in’ because you lack inter-personal skill or cannot express yourself clearly in dialogue or writing. This is not a lack of understanding of culture, or people, or an inherent dislike of either. It is ironically the desire of these, and many other transcendent individuals, to commune and contribute, that drives their tireless efforts to produce literature, art or oral presentations that share the new vistas that come into focus at Vision Logic levels of development and are not seen at previous levels; other than as flashes of inspiration or short peek experiences with music or art or nature or with human connections. Lower or earlier levels of development see this as exceptional, rare and somewhat disruptive – absurd in everyday life.

New cognitive holon’s, whole new types of development, come with correlates in all four quadrants. Those at one level of development in order to stabilise and legitimise a worldview with the cognitive capacities they have developed, create these correlates in their social sphere and their inter-objective spheres. Political systems, economic systems, social systems, educational systems, techno-economic systems all arise at an average level of human development, for any given time or epoch, to support it. Thus in the last 300 years or so we see Concrete Operational (cognitive development), Mythic/Rational (worldviews) structures dominating generally in the popular public domain.

We see all sorts of Rational/Pluralistic liberal improvements in the integrative institutions, at this same time, in official politics and academia, science and art at the higher levels. In the main stream we still see mythic/rational, conformist, consumerism and so much concrete operational thinking struggling to keep it all afloat. We also see growing numbers of those who have been thinking about thinking – about their own thinking and world view and about many others views around them.

To place these developments in chronological order for context all humans develop through stages: Archaic, Magic, Magic/Mythic, Mythic, Mythic/Rational, Rational, Pluralistic, Integral and so on. Every individual and whole epochs of human development come to rest at one of these levels.

We see many more individuals now questioning thought and perspective and experimenting with taking on the perspective of others. People growing in an understanding that many perspectives may be held on any one subject, that they all have validity claims and are true albeit partial. Some have seen that they benefit, not only seeing the other perspectives, but including them as their own. They are finding that even the seeming irreconcilable differences of some obviously opposing views are reconciled when transcended and included in a contextual and compassionate embrace. These ‘opposing’ views can be seen to be legitimate and appropriate for those who hold them or for a specific era or developmental phase. Parts of these views can remain foundational to higher or newer developments, which would never have occurred without these earlier foundations having been there in the first place.

So many of our cognitions develop healthfully like this. In child development walking awaits higher cognition and adaption and more complex muscular skeletal coordination than crawling – but developmental psychologists will emphasize the importance of crawling as foundational and stage appropriate before walking. Then comes the various developments that lead to the use of symbols and signs that evolve or develop toward speech in the child and so on, toward the higher levels of problem solving, sensory motor issues first, linguistic issues next and existential issues later on. All these are stage appropriate cognitions and developments.

History shows that in our collective development we have come to rest, in average development, at any one of these points in the past. Gebser labels some of the major stages of various epochs as Archaic, Magic, Mythic, Rational and Pluralistic. Integral is the next level of average development with a cognitive correlate of at least Vision Logic to support it. Throughout recorded history we find those of transcendent cognitive ability and we read of their struggle with lack of functional fit as well as the opposition they receive from the cultures they are born into – often with violent ends to their otherwise peaceful lives and benevolent intentions.

Plato was most skilful in avoiding the end his mentor Socrates experienced, in drinking the hemlock offered him, for his thinking ahead of the curve. Plato maybe the best example of this diplomatic tactic in surviving his generations limited view and its intolerance of real change in perspective. He is also among the foremost examples of not only dealing with the cultural diplomacies for personal survival, but how to engage and build within such a system, models of highly elevated integrative institutions that simultaneously serve all the levels present, transcending and including all. He lived till he was 80 years old.

By far his most important triumph was, not just transcending in these practical ways, but in transcending also the existential dilemmas and ‘pathologies’ often associated with the Vision Logic level of development. Many die a psychological death of sorts here or of loneliness and alienation. Plato found, as Einstein well knew, that at every developmental level there are correlative issues, problems and such, that are introduced buy the development that never existed before. Not all the problems brought into being at a given level are solved at that level – a level is often concerned with solving the issues of the last levels – that in part motivate the need for transcendence in the first place. (Please note when I say ‘before’ I don’t mean in another epoch necessarily but at a previous stage of development in a person or people in the same time, development through levels and stages is a constant continuum. A person stopping at one stage is also arrested development, when other higher potentials exist for them – not ahead of them in a future time but above or within them at any time)

The solutions to problems and potential pathologies of the Vision Logic level are not only to be found in adaption to that level – they are to found above that level – like all development and creative evolutionary emergence their ‘solutions’ lie as potentials above. History, anthropology and the like are all panoramas of this exact progression (a vertical progression not in time but in depth and altitude; with intermittent periods of stabilisation and horizontal legitimisation).

Plato found an estate of the noosphere that transcended the purest reason, (an introduction to the transpersonal domain) and then in his development through it, without leaving Reason behind, included it in a compassionate embrace and allowed cognitions that quiet its angst and still all its cravings in a dignified unity of seeming opposites that is the unique consciousness of the Sagely stage of development. This is the least talked about aspect of Plato’s life and contribution because in words he only dedicated one line to it. It was this ‘attainment’ or attunement introduced through Vision Logic, but not only of its level, that enabled a functional fit to be effortless for him and is the main reason we all know his name.

He, like so many other ‘geniuses’ having not transcended their genius in time, would have otherwise been ignored, faded away, walk away disillusioned, starved to death or been put to death. So what was resolved in this Philosopher Sage? What did Henry David Thoreau (who was largely ignored by his generation) and Teslor (who died alone and unrewarded) and so many others ‘not get’ with so much intelligence at their disposal.

Plato recorded dialogues with Socrates 9quite bold and potentially dangerous since Socrates had been killed for his ‘subversive’ dialogues), established the first western university hundreds of years before Christ, critically analysed every form of political expression, wrote on ethics, and became the foundational father of western philosophy – and lived to old age. He is an example worth examining on more levels than one in respect of surviving and transcending Vision Logic.

Please note that I am not suggesting that the ‘necessary’ selfless sacrifice seen in many martyrs who realised these higher stages were not wise, necessary, important, sacred, and self-chosen as acts of incredible benevolence ( or that they could have or should have been avoided through resolving issues in and of themselves) – including Socrates , who chose the Hemlock, rather than an escape that was planned for him, and Jesus who had any number of alternatives, the list is long and includes contributions to our shared evolution of consciousness we find absolutely critical to our staged liberation of limiting perspectives. These are not sacrifices motivated by existential angst or alienation but rather motivated by selfless inclusion and benevolent contribution chosen in full consciousness, by many of them, issuing from a much more highly integrated identity than that of the Vision Logic level alone.

Perhaps one element of it (the former potential alienation pathology of Vision Logic) is best described by Herman Hesse in Steppenwolf.

“Ah, it is hard to find this track of the divine in the midst of this life we lead, in this besotted humdrum age of spiritual blindness, with its architecture, its business, its politics, its men! How could I fail to be a lone wolf, an uncouth hermit, as I did not share one of its aims, nor understand one of its pleasures? I cannot remain for long in either theatre or movie. I can scarcely read a paper, seldom a modern book. I cannot understand what pleasure and joys they are that drive people to the overcrowded railways and hotels, into the packed cafes with the suffocating and obtrusive music, to the bars and variety entertainments, to World Exhibitions, to the Corsos. I cannot understand nor share these joys, though they are within my reach, for which thousands of others strive. On the other hand, what happens to me in my rare hours of joy, what for me is bliss and life and ecstasy and exultation, the world in general seeks at most in works of fiction; in life it finds it absurd. And in fact, if the world is right, if the music of the cafes, these mass enjoyments and these Americanised men who are pleased with so little are right, then I am wrong, I am crazy. I am in truth the Steppenwolf that I often call myself; that beast astray that finds neither home nor joy nor nourishment in a world that is strange and incomprehensible to him.” [Herman Hesse, Steppenwolf, pg. 38 – 39]25.

The irony is that as we transcend we are most vulnerable, because of the chaos of change, the leaving of a stable level to climb the next mountain of development. We leave the pasture and familiarity of a home base and enter unchartered territory and its unknown perils. We often leave alone.

Fortunately, most times, others have gone before us and the basics are known for each level, the beautiful the good and the true as well as the bad the ugly and the partial untruth of each level have been mapped by the great wisdom traditions, the contemplative sciences and transcendent explorers throughout history. These levels of development, their correlates, the perils and privileges of each new level have been studied and peer reviewed and is available to us now. We are not lone travellers. We are not separate selves. We are not unsupported. We are not as rare an occurrence as we might feel at this stage.

“I form circles and holy boundaries around myself; fewer and fewer climb with me upon the higher and higher mountains: I build a mountain range out of holier and holier mountains. But wherever you would climb with me, O my brothers, see to it that no parasite climbs with you!

Parasite: that is a worm, a creeping supple worm, which wants to grow fat on your sick, sore places.

And it is its art to divine the weary spots in climbing souls: it builds its loathsome nest in your grief and dejection, in your tender modesty.

Where the strong man is weak, where the noble man is too gentle, there it builds its loathsome nest: the parasite dwells where the great man possesses little sore places.

Which is the highest type of being and which is the lowest? The parasite is the lowest type; but he who is of the highest type nourishes the most parasites.”

– Nietzsche17

 

Great minds like Nietzsche were not immune to the pathologies and crippling loneliness of the higher realms of cognitive development and the fears created by the exclusive identity with any stage of identity. It is never personal – it’s a stage that feels those things; and the stage will pass if we keep climbing.

It is important to know this as so much of our progress has been stunted or slowed down through ‘falling ill’, just as we are transcending, and dying there or regressing to previous levels to avoid the pain of adaption. The pain and exhaustion come from the belief that more of the horizontal journey is required into the future to find resolution. The solution is above you always not ahead through more of the same struggle.

In Vision Logic we can get stuck between and rock and a transpersonal place – quite literally.

Our whole system and our integrating institutions suffer the same maladies, fears and regressions as the inter-subjective and inter-objective dimensions of our growth are not immune to this dis – ease in transition.

Once we move through this transition and as we stabilise this level, we enter the dialogue of the world as we find it, we re-engage with society and its institutions, our institutions, where we find them, to influence and engage as our own Self all the levels we collectively are.

This work is part of that engagement process for me – To engage from the inside all the integrative potential in all our major institutions. To work with what we have and who we collectively are – toward higher expressions of the same impulse that has gotten us thus far.

Linier Time Distortions

When we wonder at people so long ago sharing the exact same cognitions as the most advanced practitioners, intellectuals and non-dual adepts today, cross culturally, it is because we think of time as linier, for all levels of consciousness when It is not.

Time and space are both subject to perspective and thus relative concepts. ‘Long ago’ exits as a concept for a limited identity and is part of the panorama up to and just above Vision Logic. It is only at the levels above Vision Logic, the transpersonal levels, for which it is the door, that eternality and presence as a continuum, as well as other always already present awareness’s and identities abide; outside of time but inclusive of it. So Plato exists and is available in this moment for dialogue and communion, comfort and compassionate exchange for those who will join him consciously – or his level of development and its panorama.

This is not a mythic resurrection concept; it is the referent, always already available to the Non-Dual adept. It is your current estate that lies above the time bound elements of your temporary identity with some stage of development. Its apparent absence, or secret nature , are illusions of attachment and false identity that is already resolved for you by your friend Plato and Rumi’s friend, and Jesus helper, and your own ordinary awareness as it already is. This whole ‘community’ of adepts exists only in this ever present moment as one dazzling display of your own original Self and every level of form imaginable by yourself.

You have been playing with yourself – and you might catch yourself at it as Plato, Socrates, or poor little me at the vision logic level – but you will always do it now – for you there is not past or future other than the perspectives you allow parts of yourself right now in this momentary continuum. Your issues of development are not resolved at a later stage of development, they are resolved in this moment of self-recognition, with an initial embarrassed smile greeted by the compassionate smile of your original face; both in this moment.

And so we do not await this moment or think about it or work on it. We cannot escape it and never have; other than in our dreams and perspectives within time and space, but even then, always anchored in ever-presence.

I am that I am (present always as the One and the Many) I have never left you because I am you. I am your interior and you exterior and your separation from me, your return is resolved in this moment at a level of awakening above you not to the left or the right – not in the past or the future – Right here- always right now.

The Tenth Zen painting of the stages of development is a simple image of the Zen master in Non- Dual awareness walking into the market with open hands. Henry David Thoreau did not walk so openly into the market. He describes himself hurrying down the main street lest he be lured into its world space never to be seen again. He said he could tolerate the market space in homeopathic doses… Herman Hesse’s protagonist in Steppenwolf certainly did not feel comfort there either. Neither gainfully employed or doing what they loved and being financially rewarded for it. Why not? How could a literary work like Walden not sell in the late 1800’s? What drove Wilber to dishwashing for more than a decade while he produced a book a year? What drove Thoreau to a hut in the woods while he produced the material for Walden? Why is it labour, or subsistence farming, or the kindness of strangers for the Geniuses, Mystics, Saints and Sages more often than not. Why was Plato an exception and exemplar?

The answers to these questions are as complex as the personalities and cultural contexts, social contexts concerned.

One factor is key – the higher stages of formal operational cognitive development, give us our first insights, in any stable way into the transpersonal domains – these are glimpses though, and the stable panorama that comes into view is that of the gross realm. This seeing the whole picture of the material and outer, behavioural domains, systems, cultural contexts and so on… leads to one conclusion by those who can see it in context. – Meaningless disaster. Pointless vanity. From the wise king Solomon all the way through to Thoreau all those at the Vision Logic level saw the futility and egocentricity ( vanity) in the fretting about on the stage for a while, propping up illusions of immortality for our egos form Pharaohs to Freemen, all illusions and mistaken identity and all not sustainable, economically, politically, socially or personally. Once you really see this and contemplate the situation, many possibilities exist for the way you choose to spend your life or earn your bread – but the drivers are different. The illusions of magic and myth serve to legitimise existence and quite existential angst. Once that veil is lifted and before the transpersonal identity possibilities are available, or come into view clearly, you are stuck between the rock and a transpersonal place, a very lonely space with only yourself and your reason to guide you.

Withdrawal from what you see as senseless self-distraction, alcohol, drugs, loud music, materialistic pursuits and various immortality projects is a natural and logical step at first. One can get so stuck though, in reason, even such evolved reasoning ability, and the beauty of the view, that one stays there, withdrawn from the blind crowds, and material purists, in self-congratulatory isolation. It is then stagnation and unhealthy. Here you are unable to share your view without insult and injury to others. You find Thoreau and Emerson and Hesse good company but you feel a tangible loneliness; a tactile need for communion that makes you feel other to most of the world around you.

If you do not push through to the transpersonal, then staying there in arrogant separation from the lesser expressions of humanity seems the only alternative to regression. Regression back down the illusions and superficial ego serving connections and communions is only possible with some kind of drug, like alcohol, to numb the elevated senses and allow daily self-deception and participation in a system of seeing the world that does not bare proper scrutiny.

In Steppenwolf Herman Hesse seems to urge his protagonist to regress in order to find balance. The injunctions to push through are the property of the contemplative sciences and post rational movements.

One of the reasons that higher cognitive development resists the next stages of its own unfolding and the resolution of its dualistic dilemmas, no matter how they cause it to suffer and despair, is that it, in transcending a mythological world view, develops such a distaste for the oppressive elements of Mythic and Romantic elevationist attempts at the Mythic – Rational transition’ that it associates spirit or transpersonal cognitions, of any kind, with this Mythic illusion and false identity. Like all previous development it feels it has now finally attained a clear identity and knows the truth. Like all previous levels this is understandable but ultimately unsustainable and further yearnings from deep within drive further development.

All stages can be seen as stage appropriate. All transcendence, in context, can be seen as worth the struggle in our collective history. Every level improves on the previous level and answers questions more clearly in retrospect. Every new perspective also introduces new questions and potential pathologies that are unique to its horizontal panorama. The solutions to some of these dilemmas are to be found above it in vertical transcendence rather than in horizontal legitimisation. Our current worldview can be seen healthfully as part of this continuum. Agape and Eros in a mutual dynamic embrace of encouragement to transcend and the creation of stable building platforms. Any stagnation, other than a necessary period of stabilisation, can be seen as a pathological oppression of the Eros inherent in us. If the need for legitimisation of our current perspective persists too long, we can deny ourselves the solutions that lie just above.

The solutions to the alienation and angst and nihilism that can plague Vision Logic do not lie in a future event or in linier progression in the Rational paradigm on the horizontal plain. The resolution of these pathologies of perspective lie just above it, already accomplished, already resolved by Plato, Plotinus, Wilber and many others. This is not an abandonment of the level of Reason. It is a transcendence of it limitations and an awakening to higher cognitions and panoramas. Just as reason gave a liberating context to the Mythic worldviews, so relief and resolution is given to Reason and its isolated disconnected angst, in the embrace of the transpersonal and the integration of the lonely one, into the ever-present One.

Each worldview imagines it alone is real. Vision Logic imagines it is more real, allows for all other views, but cannot sustain personal identity with them. It finds them limiting and self-defeating. Vision Logic, although having expanded its identity to worldcentric compassion and even cosmocentric compassion, cannot move beyond that compassion to a full embrace of the totality of being as its own precisely because it is still a personal perspective.

It is a cognition of the experiential, contemplative domains that reaches final resolution in Non-Dual awareness. In Non-Dual awareness there is no longer any ‘other’. There are no longer baffling perspectives, or levels that cannot be reconciled. There is no right and wrong place to be in the space and time. There is just this dynamic display of all possibilities, all stage specific and understandable, a synthesis of the entire spectrum into a holarchy, in this one moment and its compassionate embrace with its moment of recognition and inclusive identity.

Until that resolution and recognition Vision Logic hurries through the world markets fearful of infection and compromise. In Non-Dual awareness it walks in to the market with open hands and chooses in freedom any level of participation and contribution. You are as likely to find those who transcend the personal phases of development in a road gang or a vegetable garden as you are in a university, social services, public office or simply gone fishing… With passionate equanimity it participates with a smile of Self-recognition in anything. Internal conflict and seeking is resolved as external forms are embraced as Self-expression.

All expressions of the Kosmos are of One Taste.

 

Bjorn Heyerdahl

Cradle of Humankind

The ways by which you get your money – By Bjorn Heyerdahl (July 2013)