Thursday, 3 December 2015

A New Integral Paradigm

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A New Integral Paradigm

still under construction
Please note this essay is still incomplete; it is being posted as a work in progress :-)

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  1. Introduction
  2. Basic Principles, Epistemology, and Methodology
  3. Metaphysics - the nature of Consciousness/Reality
  4. Theology = Paramology - The Study of the Absolute Reality
  5. The Metaphysics of Process - Ontodynamics
  6. An Interpretation of Human Knowledge
  7. State-Specific Sciences
  8. Cosmology, Involution, and Evolution - where we are, where we came from, and where we are going
  9. Individual, Social, and Spiritual Development


I originally tried writing up a metaphysical Theory of Everything as a series of rather technical pages. But this remained too heavy and difficult, and disjointed. Moreover, I was involved in my science fiction project Orion's Arm, so could not devote myself full time to the philosophical thesis. Recently, I have been dedicating myself more intensely to self-transformation, and in addition have been rethinking my Theory of Everything and the concept of an integral paradigm, and the role of integral (in the sense of the term used by Ken Wilber) philosophy and spirituality in contributing to a new civilization. The following therefore is a reworking of these various ideas. This essay itself has been transformed as it has been written, so that the current version is rather different to the original. Summing it up in a nutshell, the current thesis is concerned with the nature, dynamics, and evolution of Consciousness and Reality, which can be mapped according to a number of specicific parameters. Upon this grand canvas, all the more specific details about the nature of the individual and the cosmos, and the various fields of human knowledge, can be painted.

The need for a Universal Paradigm

The paradigm being presented here differs in many, if not most, of its assumptions so radically from the currently accepted "consensus reality" that the reader coming from that background may be inclined to reject it out of hand.
However, as Charles T Tart (Tart 1975b) points out, the current consensus paradigm (Tart uses the example of Western Psychology, but one might give very a similar illustration using Peer-Reviewed Science, Postmodernism, or any form of academia) there are a surprisingly large number of unquestioned assumptions or givens that are in the background and subtly influence the overall perspective. For example "We Can understand the physical universe without understanding ourselves" (p.69), "Each man is isolated from all others, locked within his nervous system" (p.74), "the physical body is the only body we have" (p.82), "reasoning is the highest skill possessed by man" (p.88) "Almost all important knowledge can be transmitted by the written word" (p.91) etc etc
Hence to adopt a secular scientistic/modernist/postmodernist perspective is to take an arbitrary perspective, which involves assumptions that are just as biased an irrational as any premodern worldview.
What is needed is a Universal Paradigm, one that includes everything, and excludes nothing. Such a Universal - or as Ken Wilber calls it, Integrative (2000b p.xv) or Integral (2000a pp.74ff) - approach can accommodate the physicalist paradigm without being limited by it; physicalism is just one part (or perspective) of a much larger whole. Only such an all-encompassing framework can unify the currently isolated fields of knowledge, and provide an answer to reductionist materiliasm on the one hand, and fundamentalist religion on the other.

What does "Integral" mean in this context?

The word "integral" was originally used by Sri Aurobindo to describe the Wikipedia link yoga he taught (integral or Purna ("Full") Yoga), which involves transformation of the entire being, rather than, as in most other teachings, a single faculty such as the head or the heart or the body. The term was adopted by Wikipedia link Jean Gebser who proposed that human consciousness evolves in a an ascending series from archaic through magical, mythical, mental, to the aperspective and finally the integral. These ideas were then incorporated by Ken Wilber, who also adopted Gebser's definition of "integral" to define his own philosophy. The current "integral movement" is very much the result of Wilber's tireless efforts at getting this larger paradigm accepted by the postmodernist and sceptical mainstream academia.
And, while identifying with the integral movement, I feel it is time for the next stage, a new metaphysic based on a more complete integration of phenomenological, esoteric, and scientific thought. The current essay is a proposal in that direction.
As a general reference point, Sri Aurobindo's yoga and philosophy is employed here. It is suggested that this as the most all encompassing (most integral) representative of the esoteric traditions.

The Changing Zeitgeist

Steven Guth suggests that we are in a phase where the old theories are seen to no longer work - even if you make them bigger and more complex. the parameters are changing. Ken Wilber's increasingly elaborate (with each successive phase) philosophy is an example of this.
A new language set is needed. But many find this disturbing; they access it because it lacks a thought form to find, connect and hold onto.
A few words about thought forms. Every philosophy and spiritual teaching is only comprehended by the established thought-form, the shared consensus understanding or concensus reality , which is definied in the canon of a particular writer or religion. Aurobindo works because he has established a thought form (in the form of his multi-volume collected writings, and his followers and their books and conversations and real and virtual community). Wilber works for the same reason (the Integral Instiutute, Integral Movement, his own voluminous literary output, and his followers). Steiner, Blavatsky, Harmonic Convergence, Western Science, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, they are each all the same (in Wilber's system this is the "worldspace" or Lower Left Quadrant)
If you don't have a thought form, words, and concepts, the mind cannot apprehend it.
And because a new thought form is needed, even this revision must utilise the thougfhtforms of those who have gone before, as a foundation stone or launch platform so to speak. And if this current integral paradigm is of value, it is only because we "stand on the shoulder's of giants", in Newton's famous phrase.

A note about these tables

In this essay you will find a lot of tables, along the manner of Wilber's tables at the back of several of his books (Wilber 1980, Wilber 2000a). The purpose of these is to show how everything fits together, and the same realities are being independently described and represented, albeit incompletely, and with various gaps and lacuna. It is very much like the situation of geological and paleontological stratigraphy. Of course care must be taken not to pigeon hole these other ideas so they fit to one's own preconceptions (e.g. Wilber's correlations of Kabbalah, Sri Aurobidno etc are completely off)
I first began drawing up these sort of tables when I was only about 21 or 22; I can't recall if it was after seeing similar tables in the back of Wilber 1977 or Wilber 1980; probably it was. I applied the tables to showing how different esoteric teachings all referred to the same ontological spectrum of being, abnd followed this premise for a long time. But more recently (especially when working on the current thesis) I have realised that there is not just a single parameter or axis, but a number, and that different esoteric, occult, and metaphysical teachings may be describing completely different realities and sequences. For this reason I have only tried to match up similar worldviews or theories, and not correlated completely unrelated ones.

Basic Principles, Epistemology, and Methodology

Inevitably, every worldview (no matter how widely held, or how eccentric) rests on certain assumptions. Since we are trying here to explain literally everything, in an Integral and consistent manner, and since we do not wish to begin from a pre-existent bias (scientism, religionism, whatever) , we need to find assumptions that are similarily universal.

What needs to be included

I propose that a truly integral (and hence all-encompassing and universal) paradigm should include the following essential points
  1. a methodology and epistemology based on phenomenological experience, a variety of states of consciousness, and empathetic awareness rather than only objectivist empiricism and depersonalisation (which is not to deny that objectivist empiricism has its place, even if depersonalisation never does). Such an epistemological methodology would take into account all experiences and phenomena, regardless of whether or not they fit one's preferred paradigm.
  2. a metaphysic or worldview that, in understanding reality, incorporates all approaches, science and esotericism, perennial philosophy and postmodernism, in a way that enhances each, while not being limited by the shortcomings of each. Such a worldview must encompass and build upon, rather than deny, misinterpret, or run away from (as Creationism and some forms of New Age woolly thinking do), the discoveries of science as far as the physical reality goes, and the insights of occultism as far as non-physical realities go. In other words, a cosmology that includes material, occult, and spiritual realities in a single grand and coherant whole
  3. A decentralised and collaborative approach, in the place of authoritarian dogmatism of centralised teachings
  4. A perspective based on spiritual receptivity and gnosis rather than physicalist scepticism, religious literalism, or cultic naivity
  5. a polity and society in which monolithic centralisation and authoritarian hierarchism is replaced by distributed networks in which any who have the ability to contribute may do so, if they so wish
  6. a moral insight that is empathetic and pancentric (taking into account all sentient beings) rather than anthropocentric
  7. a spiritual process that involves all the faculties of the being, rather than just one
  8. an evolutionary process of collective and global transformation
  9. Above all, fluidity and plasticity in all things - if something is shown to be in error, then it is either discarded or corrected
The first four are theoretical, the remaining four practical.
Regarding point 1, an epistemological methodology, I find only an empirical-phenomonological approach such as represented by (and combining and synthesising) Buddhist self-analysis, Jungian and Transpersonal Psychological openess to archetypal experiences, and a Cartesian-Husserlian radical revisioning of everything previously taken for granted, would be up to the task. Scientific method, while invaluable as a sub-methodology, doesn't work globally because it is too selective, due to its rigid exclusion of subjectivity. And pre-biased dogmatisms of rationalism, religionism, etc, are much worse. However, the scope of scientific method can be broadened (but not made completely universal) through the application of State-Specific Sciences
With point 2, Ken Wilber's philosophy (e.g. Wilber 2000) is the most complete attempt so far, but he is still much too bound to a postmodernist physicalism (as shown by his rejection of occultism and of metaphysics). In this essay I have proposed a much broader and more organic worldview, one that is not afraid to declare itself "metaphysical". What is required is a bringing together of many different "maps" of reality, including the vast canon of western scientific knowledge, the various esotericism traditions such as Neoplatonism, Tantra, Sufism, Kabbalah, Hermeticism, Theosophy, etc, the psychological insights of people like Freud, Jung, Assagioli, and Grof, the visionary insights of Teilhard, Sri Aurobindo, Edward Haskell, Erich Jantsch and others, and more, in a grand "hedgehog" theory. Such a project is not new, it is something already attempted (as mentioned) by Ken Wilber, and before him, by Hegel, although with not completely satisfactory results. This is because even the grandest theoretician of everything still has some a prior starting point or bias that shapes the way they put things together. For Hegel it was Christianity, for Wilber it is Adi Da, and - putting my own cards on the table here - for me it is Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Whether you the reader find my own attempt satisfactory or not is something you must decide. However this essay is not intended as a dogma, only as a starting point for further discussion and exploration.
Regarding point 3, Michel Bauwens (Bauwens 2005) has laid the foundation with his suggestion of peer-to-peer networking, which eliminates hierarchical authoritarianism. I would like to extend this methodology further, by applying it to the realm of spiritual, esoteric, and metaphysical enquiry
Previously, metaphysics and esoterics has been the work of a single philosopher or visionary or yogi, presenting their own experiences and understanding. The downside is that this had led to fixed religions and dogmas, mental rigidity and literalism (at its worst, fundamentalism), and in some cases (both traditional and modern) spiritual authoritarianism. The way to avoid this is through a collective approach, by a community of gnostics and esotericists. This might be the seen on the one hand as esoteric version of Wikipedia or Principia Cybernetica, but not limited to the physical or rational consciousness, and on the other the "virtual" equivalent of "new age" or spiritual centers while not limited to a single locality or orientation.
The collective or collaborative approach, as in the Principia project and the Wikipedia, can create consensus while at the same time avoiding the authoritarianism of old-style literalism and conformity. The problem is however that metaphysics and esotericism is a Visionary, experiential approach. This is the opposite of western secular science, history, etc which is based on objective verification of facts through scientific and literary critical approaches. How does one arrive at a visionary consenus, and avoid an integral philosophy being reduced to insipid "lowest common denominator" spirituality?
Michel Bauwens suggests (in an email) a wiki-style mega-structure, in which different people can add different perspectives. In this way integrity of the original version can be maintained, and a committee could be formed to validate the final version. This would involve a three-tiered structure: the master version (1), the collective draft (2), a communally validated version (3). 3 is akin to scientific peer review, a form of quality control.
An alternative approach would be to just put this paper on a wiki and see how it evolves from there; anyone who is interested could contribute there own insights and perspectives, as long as this does not try to inforce a limited, biased (whether cultic, religious, reductionist, hwatever) or sectarian perspective. The result would be an esoteric integral wikipedia type format, in which equal weight is given to both scientific-empirical and non-physicalist perspectives and insights.
Point 4 determines everything. If you look at the world through secular eyes, you will only accepot those things taht correspond to that paradigm, just as a fundamentalist, for example, will only accept those elements of science that agree with or do not threaten his own belief-system, but reject the rest. e.g. astronomy is fine because it shows the magnificence of God's handiwork, but evolutionary thought is verboten. In the same way, in order to create a truely integral worldview, we need a broader, wider, more receptive awareness.
Point 5, a new moral perspective, is shown by the environmental (Greens) movement, animal liberation (Singer 1990), the "alterglobalisation" movement, and consideration for the rights of all humans and non-humans, not just the ruling social class. John Heron's suggestion (Heron 1996) of co-operative inquiry and a "participative paradigm" (which asserts the participative relation between the knower and the known) is also important here; if you see the Other as an object, you can exploit him/her/it without qualms of consciense.
Point 6 is illustrated by the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo, in which all faculties of one's being - physicall, vital, mental, psychic, and spiritual, are developed. In this it is very similar to the Gurdjieff-Ouspensky Fourth Way (which develops simultaneously the "moving", emotional, and intellectual centers), except that it is explained more clearly, and involves a Divine Transformation absent in the Gurdjieff tradition.
The beginnings of point 7 might be said to be represented by various "new age" spiritual centers such as Auroville, Findhorn, and Lindisfarne, but this is still only the beginning. For ultimately the transformation has to go beyond these isolated centers to reach a wider consciousness, and this will never happen while information is centralised in the hands of monolithic media corporations, exoteric religious instiuitutions, and totalitarian regimes and lowest common denominator democracies. The Internet and the birth of decentralised virtual communities constitutes perhaps the best option in which this can take place.
Postmodern epistemological critiques argue that knowledge is relative to the individuals perspective. An integral theory of Reality has to incorporate various alternative modes of inquiry, each with their respective advantages and disadvantages. What one chooses to believe is usually a combination of cultural upbringing and other environmental factors, psychological type, personal experiences and states of consciousness, receptivity to other realities, and empathy or lack of empathy with the insights and exeriences of others. All of which makes for sectarian or ideological; differences. The best thing is to combine them, to emphasies the advantages and get rid of the disadvantages. What is required also is a special methodology based on phenomenology and mystic experience (just as science is based on empirical Popperian methodology).
I propose that all knowledge (which includes western secular scientific, literary critical, and postmodernist knowledge) begins from individual empirical and/or phenomenological experience. First, a definition of terms:
  • consciousness - individual awareness or "I-ness", and all the datums of experience it encompasses/illumines/experiences/contains
  • datum of experience - any observation, perception, sensation, thought, feeling, volition, intuition, experience, revelation, or anything else that occurs to, in and/or as (relative or absolute) consciousness. Kant's phenomena
  • explanation - any theory, hypothesis, belief, worldview, paradigm, doctrine, or dogma that creates a verified or an arbitary knowledge "map" of relative and/or absolute reality on the basis of one or more datums of experience. In the Zen parable (finger pointing at the moon) this is the "finger".
  • reality - that which is, the nature of things, either a small aspect of the whole ("reality"), or the entire whole ("Reality" - see "Absolute"). Kant's noumena. In the Zen parable (finger pointing at the moon) this is the "moon"
  • Expectation set- the set of expectations, preconceived biases and opinions, cultural background, and so on, that prejudice or distort a datum of experience so as to make it conform to the preconceived explanations of the individual who has the experience
  • confirmation/proved - when sufficient (which may be one or more, depending) datums of experience agree with an explanation (or that explanations predictions)
  • falsification/disproved - when sufficient datums of experience conflict with an explanation (or that explanations predictions)
  • consensus reality - a map or model or explanation of reality that is agreed upon by two or more (usually much more - e.g. a whole society or civilization) individuals. Consensus reality usually incorporates a combination of verified and arbitary knowledge. See also the Wikipedia link wiki page on this
  • verified knowledge - an explanation that has been confirmed or proved enough times by enough datums of experience to be considered reliable ("true") and taken on trust - e.g. "the Earth is round" or "fire requires oxygen" are examples of verified knowledge. Civilization and science rests on a body of verified knowledge (mixed with arbitary consensus reality)
  • arbitary knowledge - an explanation that cannot be considered reliable, either because it has not yet been confirmed by enough datums of experience, and/or because it has been falsified) e.g. "sex before marriage is a sin" is an example of arbitary knowledge
  • Absolute - the totality of reality in itself, or a perspective that embraces or corresponds to It.
  • relative - a (usually very small) part or aspect of the total reality, or a perspective that corresponds to it.
  • weighting - the amount of significance given to a datum of experience, as regards its value in formulating or contributing to or proving an explanation.


The following is suggested as basic methodological working principles or assumptions in formulating a new integral paradigm or Theory of Everything.
1. Every datum of experience is worthy of consideration, and should be considered without bias (phenomenology). In other words, to begin with, every datum of experience should be considered without "weighting" of the experience. i.e. a "hallucination" should not be considered "less real" than a physical sensation.
2. Because every datum of experience is coloured by earlier experiences, the experiencer's own worldview, and the general expectation setting, an experience that corresponds to those expectations is less remarkable (and hence requires negative "weighting") than one that doesn't. e.g. if an Evangelical Chrsitian experiences a vision of Jesus, that is not very unusual. But if a non-western Buddhist or Animist does, that is.
3. Where either the same or a similar datum of experience is independently reported by more than one individual or doctrine, without them both being biased by the same expectation set (point 2 above), that lends support to its significance (i.e. it can be "weighted" and considered "more reliable". e.g. if one person reports being followed by 2 meter long cockroach, this would have less credence then if several individuals indeprendently report the same experience).
4. Likewise, where a datum of individual experience corresponds to an event outside the sphere of that individual's consciousness, that also lends support to its significance (i.e. it can again be "weighted" and considered "more reliable". This does not have to refer to secular-materialistic, scientistic, or religionistically agreed upon facts; it could be something like an astrological event). (empiricism)
5. Every explanation (including this one) is to a greater or lesser degree partial or ideoscyncratic (it is biased by the individual or group that formulated it) and hence "imperfect" or non-Absolute
6. Where there is a contradiction between two explanations, the more inclusive one (i.e. the one that plausibly explains the largest amount and range of datums of individual experience and/or verified knowledge is to be preferred
7. Where there is a contradiction between an explanation, and either datums of individual experience and/or verified knowledge, the explanation should be considered in error (falsified) and either modified or discarded (i.e. change the theory to suit the facts, don't change the facts to suit the theory) (c.f. Karl Popper's theory of science (Falsification))
8. Where either the same or a similar explanation has arisen two or more times, that lends support to its significance (i.e. it can be "weighted" and considered "more reliable"). (Perennialism)
9. Adherence of an individual experience to a particular paradigm or fixed worldview that fits the expectation set should never be considered an argument for that experience's or explanation's validity. In fact we should look for experiences that conflict with the paradigm, these are the ones that tell us something about the universe and how reality works.
In addition to this we have the two secondary methodologies of Esotericism and Western Science (The latter can itself be classified as only one of a potentially inedifinite number of State Specific Sciences, albeit the largest and best established). Both depend on the primary epistemological phenomenology outlined above for their validity. e.g. scientific experiementation still occurs within the consciousness of the scientists doing the experiements or making the observations, even if the objects being observed exist in their own essence outside their consciousnesses, and their records and observations form part of a larger "noosphere" or memetic totality. And in the same way, the various esoteric teachings are generally the doctrinal - even the ossified - formulations of what were originally actual experiences by anonymous yogis and "psychonauts". The exceptions here are those like Rudolph Steiner and Sri Aurobindo who are actually recording their experiences. Even there we can only read about their experiences, their experiences are not real until we participate in the reality they are describing.

Epistemology - what do we know about knowing

Before we we can know anything, we have to know how we know. Hence Epistemology; the study or science of knowledge.
Where to begin? How about an appeal to authority, by considering the most respected and/or reliable sources? First off, we can leave out belief-systems based on denial of datums of experience. For example Scientism, Naive Naturalism and reductionism denies phenomenological facts of psychic and paranormal experiences, Creationism and Fundamentalism denies empirical facts in the fossil record, radiometric evidence of ancient Earth, etc; both deny mystical and pantheistic experiences. We can also leave out belief systems that are patently absurd - e.g. literal Judeo-Christianity says a supernatural God made Adam out of clay, and Eve out of his rib - or contain serious inconsistencies or historical biases. Some good candidates then are Western wisdom, embodied by Plato (respected as the main source of Western philosophy and even theology (via Augustine etc)), Eastern wisdom, represented by Nagarjuna, Shankara, etc (based on mystical experience rather than on religious dogma), and modern secular wisdom of Science (which has revealed amazing things about how the universe works; in a manner that none of the other systems of knowledge were able to do; hence it deserves our respect). What do each of these authorities say about knowledge? We find that according to Plato there are four types of knowledge, which from the least to the most reliable is: aesthesis (sense-knowledge), doxa (opinion), episteme (knowledge based on reason), and gnosis (spiritual knowledge) Obviously, Plato wasn't impressed with evidence of the senses. If we look at Eastern philosophy we find either the trilogy (again from least to the most reliable) of Illusion (Parikalpita or Pratibhasika), Empirical (Paratantra or Vyavaharika; this would be Plato's aesthesis and episteme perhaps), and Absolute (Paramartha or Paramarthika, which would seem equivalent to Plato's Gnosis), or at the very least the duality of Realative (Samvriti) and Absolute (Paramarthika). Finally, Western Science considers only observation from the senses and from instruments etc, which are confirmed or falsified through successive observation and/or experiment. Science in itself neither supports or denies metaphysics.
This gives us:
 PlatoEastern PhilosophySciencedatum of individual experienceexplanation
Absolute KnowledgeGnosisParamarthikan/aEnlightenment experiences and existence as Absolute Reality"Finger pointing at the moon"
Valid but Relative (Empirical) KnowledgeEpisteme / ReasonParatantra or VyavaharikaCurrent Scientific Knowledgevarious physical, psychic, and/or spiritual experiencesverified knowledge
Illusory KnowledgeOpinion

Parikalpita or PratibhasikaFalsified theoriesn/a*arbitary knowledge
* according to the strict phenomonological premises adopted by Moshe Kroy, every experience is valid. However one could say that the interpretation of that experience may be correct or incorrect.
Although the above is presented in a hierarchy, one could equally say that all forms of knowledge tell us something about reality, even if it is only about relkative reality, or, even more limited, about an incorrect understanding of relatiove reality. We will return to the subject of hierarchy (a dirty word in post-modernism and "politically correct" thinking, although Ken Wilber (Wilber 2000, pp.x-xi) provides a good argument in favour of some sort hierarchical framwork.)
Obviously, one can postulate many more than just three levels, in fact one could even say that every metaphysical reality (see following scetion) has its own form of knowledge that corresponds to it. But to keep things simple we'll keep it at just three. So, it is suggested here that every datum of experience is valid, but an explanation or belief system that is derived first or second or third or tenth hand from such datums, is either (a) illusiory, (b) relative but valid, (c) points to the Absolute (the Absolute itself cannot be conveyed in conceptual terms), or (d) a coombination of two or all three of the preceeding
What does it mean to say that every datum of experience is valid, but the explantion may or may not be? Ok, take Near Death Experience (NDE). According to one physicalist theory, this is a hallucination. The reasoning goes:
(a) when the brain is starved of oxygen it hallucinates.
(b) when heartbeat, breathing etc stop the brain is starved of oxygen
(c) therefore NDEs (which occur during outward cessation of vital signs) are hallucinations.
Not only is this theory bad logic (along the line of assuming that because A is an attribute of x and B is an attribute of x, therefore A must always equal B), but it is falsified by the fact that OBEs (out of Body Experience) are very similar to NDEs, but these are not triggered by cessation of oxygen supply to the brain. If we look more clearly at the above theory we see it is inspired by a preconceived bias or explanation, which is physicalism. The scientist or neurologist begins as a physicalist, and that prejudices everything (they also have the added hassle of trying to explain or explain away OBEs). So the NDE experience itself (as reported by survivors), is a valid experience. But the explanation may not be.
The above is an example where there is a clear dichotomy between experienceand explanation. But much more often there is cross contamination between the two (point (2) of the Basic Premises). e.g. When the born-again person claims to have experienced Jesus, it (the explanation) isnt necessarily Jesus, even though the experience itself is valid. But the experience is itself coloured by a prioor expectations and prejudices (e.g. reading the bible, talking to other evangelicals), which then (via the subconscious, or even the conscious) appear in the experience. This is then taken as "proof" that the experience is valid, the result being a feedback loop. And of course the fact that a Hindu will see Krishna and not Jesus falsifies the experience, but this is conveniently ignored by evangelicals themselves, as it would falsify their entire belief system.
In short, the one rule here should be: include every experience. Even if the experience is a subjective "hallucination" , it still needs to be explained. That is also why those teachings and worldviews that are based on negation - e.g. fundamentalist religionism rejects evolution and process, sceptical physicalism rejects psychic experiences - cannot be used as guides, the way that more embracing theories and explanations can. If there are facts that don't fit one's theory, it is necessary to expand and develop the theory so that they do, not misinterpret and distort or ignore the facts!.

A Definition of States of Consciousness

Because the terms "state of consciousness" and "altered state of consciousness" have come to be used so vaguely as to be almost meaningless, in the 1970s Charles T. Tart proposed two new terms, "discrete state of consciousness" (d-SoC) and "discrete altered state of consciousness" (d-ASC) as more precise scientific usage (Tart 1975, Tart 1975a, Tart 1978).
A d-SoC is a unique, dynamic pattern or functioning of consciousness, a configuration of psychological structures, an active system of psychological subsystems. Such sbsystems include exteroception, interoception, input-processing, memory, emotions, sense of identity, etc (Tart 1975). While this pattern will show some variation within a particular d-SoC, the overall pattern and properties remain recognizably the same. Thus an ordinary d-SoC (e.g. normal waking consciousness) refers to a whole range of experiences in functioning that has a familiar and recognizable "feel" to it. Dreaming, dreamless sleep, hypnosis, meditation, and alcohol and marijuana intoxication are examples of d-ASCs.
A d-ASC is any d-SoC that is sufficently different from the d-SoC which is taken as a baseline - usually our ordinary waking state - to have unique properties of its own. It represents a change of some of the component structures or subsystems of consciousness, so that awareness forms a new pattern. The term "Altered" is a descriptive term, with no connotations of being "better" or "worse."


Traditionally, Phenomenology is a branch of philosophy "that takes intuitive experience of phenomena (what presents itself to us in conscious experience) as its starting point and tries to extract the essential features of experiences and the essence of what we experience" (Wikipedia). It derives both from the Cartesian Method of Descartes (Descartes 1641) and the ideas of Franz Brentano and his school, as united in the work of Edmund Husserl, and was further developed by Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Martin Heidegger. Husserl replaced the dualism of subject and object with the act of consciousness (n. noesis adj. noetic) and the phenomena at which consciousness is directed (n. noema, noemata, adj. noematic). Coming from a western perspective, Husserl saw noesis in terms of the activity of everyday consciousness (believing, willing, loving, etc). However, Steve Odin (Odin 1982) has pointed out some interesting parallels with Hua-Yen Buddhism, in which the noetic or act of consciousness pole is related to prajna, and noematic or content of consciousness is the polarity of figure-ground, form and emptiness (see e.g. diagram ibid p.40)
Another eastern development, in this case a merger with Advaita Vedanta, was formulated by Moshe Kroy; there is a good presentation of this in Wilber 2002, although this is not part of the "official position regarding Phenomenology.
My own take on phenomenology is even less official. As defined here, Phenomenological Empiricism (the double barrelled name is to distinguish it from Husserlian-Heidegger-etc phenomenology) is the inquiry into the nature of things by taking all experiences as valid and worthy of study. This was also Jung's approach, when he followed through his patients experiences and fantasies and came upon the Collective Unconscious. And Moshe Kroy used phenomenology to study psychic phenomenon, as he considered empirical science and orthodox (Rhinian) parapsychology was totally unsuitable to this task. Indeed, we find that paraspychology is a good example of "the paradigm revolution that failed" (I remember reading an article of this name about 25 years ago, but have not been able to locate it using Google; maybe I have the title wrong), after interest and promising results it is no longer considered of any value by the acdemic community.
Instead of a statistical, objectivist-scientific-physicalist approach, a phenomenological-empirical approach can take experiences and states of consciousness as the objects of study. These are authentic items of experience even if the theory or dogma they depend on is obviously wrong. e.g. a fundamentalist has certain experiences which he or she understands to be the "God" of the Judeo-Christian Bible, and thence assumes the Bible is literally true and hence explains the physical universe as 6000 years old etc. The belief is wrong (since all evidence points to a much older universe), but the experience is valid. So, every experience, every item and element of any one's field of consciousness - be it a thought or emotion, dream, vision, hallucination, whatever - is worthy of consideration and study in itself. And as Charles T Tart points out (Tart 1975, Tart 1975a), altered states of consciousness are not necessarily better or worse than the familar baseline waking consciousness. So we have a sort of "democracy" of experiences, all are of equal validity (even if theories and dogmas based on them are not).

Participative Epistemology

By talking about experiences in this way, we are still looking at things from a somewhat solipsistic and "head"-orientated level. This needs to be complemented by a participative methodology, in which there is, as John Heron (Heron 1996) puts it:
"An epistemology that asserts the participative relation between the knower and the known, and, where the known is also a knower, between knower and knower. Knower and known are not separate in this interactive relation. They also transcend it, the degree of participation being partial and open to change. Participative knowing is bipolar: empathic communion with the inward experience of a being; and enactment of its form of appearing through the imaging and shaping process of perceiving it"
This enables a development of a Husserlian style phenomenology, in which every "noema" is itself a "noesis", and vice-versa. The mind-matter, subject-object, self-other cartesian dualism dissappears and is replaced by a monadology of interacting and interrelated consciousnesses.

A Metaphysical "Map" of Consciousness/Reality

  • Paramology - The Nature of the Absolute Reality (parame - which means the the Supreme reality in Sanskrit).
  • Ontodynamics - the Dynamics of Being
  • Quadontology - understanding the "map" of reality and consciousness (here defined as fourfold)

Metaphysics (literally "after (not "beyond") physics", pertaining to the arrangement of Aristotle's writings) is an often amorphous and misunderstood term that is used in various popular contextes to mean pertaining to non-physical or supra-physical reality. But in terms of Western Philosophy, Metaphysics deals with thorny questions like the relationship between mind or spirit and body (the "mind-body problem"), the problem of free will and determinism, the nature of God (Theology) and of the World (Cosmology), the nature of Being (Ontology), and so on. In other words, questions concerning the meaning of existence.
Of course, academic philosophers, no longer being part of the original "Wisdom Tradition" of Pythagoras and Plato and Plotinus, cannot really answer these questions, because these questions cannot be answered, proved, or disproved, by rational physical or physicalist means alone. However they do come up with interesting and diverse intellectual arguments, and these can certainly be incorporated into a larger integral worldview.
Conventional MetaphysicsCurrent Integral Paradigm
the study of being
understanding the "map" of reality (being) and consciousness (here defined as fourfold)
the Dynamics of Being
the study of God and questions about the divine reality)
The Nature of the Absolute Reality (parame - which means the the Supreme reality in Sanskrit).
Universal sciencen/a
It has also become trendy among academics of scientistic and post-modernist persuasion to debunk metaphysics, because it deals with things that cannot be "proved" by or to the Physical Mind. But, as already pointed out, so called rationalist physicalism itself rests on a number of unproved, irrational, and yes, metaphysical, assumptions (Tart 1975b).
The difference between the reductionistic (anti-metaphysical), holistic-physicalist (post-metaphysical - e.g. Wilberian), and esoteric-metaphysical positions can be illustrated by means of the following example:
A person reports experiencing transcendent states. While he or she does so, his/her brainwaves are recorded. The mystical experiences are associated with the same type of brain waves each time.
We thus have two items of data: the phenomenological report of the experience itself, and the scientific data of the accompanying neurological states. Form this there are three possible explanations.
  • The reductionist neurological explanation says that the experience is the result of a certain type of brain activity.
  • The holistic postmodern explanation says that the brain states and the mystic experience are two aspects of the same thing, both are necessary and valid, and neither is reducable to the other (Wilber 1997); in Wilberian terms, they represent the top right and top left quadrants respectively. Hence the holistic explanation encompasses and goes beyond the reductionistic.
  • The metaphysical phenomenological explanation presented here says that the brain states and the mystic experience are two different but interacting and interrealted "things"; the mystic experience is the primary consciousness which corresponds to its own non-objectivist-physicalist reality, but while in the physical body that experience is reflected in and has feedback from and with the physical brain activity. Neurology can understand the latter, but not the former (this is what external link David Chalmers calls the "hard problem" of mind-body consciousness studies (Chalmers 1995, Shear, ed. 1997)). It is suggested here that on the physical level mind and body are aspects of the same thing (see section on monadology), but on the higher level the experience itself is primary. Hence the metaphysical explanation encompasses and goes beyond the holistic.
Metaphysics traditionally is divided into the fields of Ontology (the study of being or existence as such), Theology (the study of God or Gods or the Absolute Reality and questions about the divine reality) and Universal science or the study of so-called first principles, which underlie all other inquiries.
Although esotericism and occultism are commonly referred to, or refer to themselves, as metaphysics, this is not strictly correct, because metaphysics is very much an intellectual, philosophical, theoretical discipline. This is not to deny there is some overlap, and most esoteric teachings do deal with at least some metaphysical issues.
Moreover, because this section does indeed deal with Ontology and Theology, it could be defined as metaphysics, albeit a very esotericy and occultic sort of metaphysics, which would be most unlikely to be accepted within current academia (but then, neither would most of this essay).

Theology = Paramology - The Study of the Absolute Reality

In formulating a new Metaphysical theory of Reality, there are a number of logical starting points . One can for example begin with the finite individual and explore from there, empirically, psychologically, phenomenologically, and logically, working upwards, downwards, inwards, and outwards. Or one can begin from the unitary Absolute Reality and proceed from that theological, metaphysical and ontological foundation to the world of multiplicity. Bercause the latter serves as the foundation of the former, I have chosen to present the Absolute first. But to begin with the relative world (see Quadontology) would be just as appropriate.
Traditionally, the study of the Absolute Reality (or Godhead or Absolute Consciousness or Enlightenment) in metaphysics falls under the rubric of Theology. However "Theology" refers more specifically to study of the God of a particular monotheistic religion (Aristotle's more philosophical use of the term would probably be better but is not widely known). And this does not apply to things like Enlightenment or Self-Realisation (e.g. when one attains states of enlightenment one doesn't see this anthropomorphic entity standing separate to oneself and to the universe). Therefore the word Paramology is here used to refer to the study of the nature of the Absolute Reality (parame - which means the the Supreme reality in Sanskrit). is used here instead . Hopefully not too clumsy neologism.
Of course, we can't really know conceptually and logically what the Absolute is, because the Absolute by its very nature transcends the mind and mental concepts; even though these mental concepts are themselves instruments of mystic teachings. The Absolute Reality, The Supreme, the Divine, the Godhead, transcends both "God" and "Void". The Reality Itself is beyond all concepts. But even though we can't understand conceptually, we can get some idea, in a Zen parable finger pointing at the moon sort of way.

The levels of Understanding

It is suggested that there are three levels of Understanding what the Absolute Reality is. These are (form the highest down) "that" or "suchness", "The Absolute", and anthropomorphic "God". These correspond to the three epistemological levels of monistic mysticism - Absolute Knowing, Valid Relative Knowing, and Invalid Relative Knowing.
At the highest level, words and concepts are left behind, there is only the ineffable, "thatness" or "isness" or "suchness". It can't even be called "that" because that implies something rather than something else; it can't be called the Absolute because that excludes the relative. This is the via negatia of western Theology and mysticism, the "middle way" of Madyamka Buddhsim (shunyata is not this and not its opposite), the paradox at the heart of the Zen koan. And while words and concepts can imperfectly indicate or hint at It, they can never truely describe it.
At the middle level (episteme), words and concepts can be used to describe the Absolute Reality. And these descriptions are good as long as we don't confuse them for the Reality in Itself. Hhere we are in the realm of metaphysics and esotericism.
Now, the various mystical and esoteric traditions of the world are (apart from a few dualistic traditions like Samkhya and Gnosticism) unanimous in affirming that behind and beyond, including but also transcending, these dualities and polarities, there is the Absolute Reality in Itself. The description of the Absolute however differs, according to the religion or esoteric tecahing one consults. Vaishvanites like Chaitanya and the Hare Krishna school of Prabhupada, and Sufis like Jili, consider the Personal Godhead higher than the impersonal. In contrast, Neoplatonism, Shankara and Wilber have the Impersonal or Nonpersonal as highest. Others like Ramanuja incorporate elements of both, or, as Sri Aurobindo perceptively suggest, say the the Supreme is beyond limitations of both Personal and Impersonal.
A further distinction is to refer to an Unmanifest Absolute on the one hand, and a Manifest or Noetic Absolute on the other. The former is the Nirguna (qualityless) Brahman of Vedanta, the Tao that cannot be spoken, the En Sof, the Shunyata ("void", "emptiness", "openness"), Forefather of Gnosticism, and Godhead of Dionysus and Eckhart. The latter is Saguna (with qualities) Brahman, the Logos of Philo and Sufism, the Manifest Godhead, or the Supermind of Sri Aurobindo.
At the lower level of understanding (doxa or mere opinion), the Reality in itself is completely lost and distorted by non-gnostic intellectual or religious philosophical, theological, or anthropomorphic and sectarian concepts of "God". While these may be fine and even useful as allegory and metaphor, it should not be taken literally. To do so means one is caught up with thoughtforms, and mostly outdated or limited ones at that.

Paramology glossary

This pertains to the "middle level" of understanding, since the higher obviously is beyond words and concepts :-)
The Absolute - the Absolute Reality. This term is used by Plotinus to describe the ultimate reality, which he also refers to as The One.
Absolute Consciousness - the same as The Absolute Reality; it is suggested here that the Absolute Reality by its very nature must also be Conscious(ness), but ina completely non-dual way. Likewise non-dual consciousness cannot be anything other than (an aspect of) the Absolute. more
Absolute Reality - all that is, the ultimate reality, the Absolute, the True nature of things, beyond the partial perspectives of "Godhead" and "Void" - more
Aspect - as defined here, a partial but still totally valid element of a larger Totality
Avatar - an incarnation or descent of the Supreme in physical (human or nonhuman) form
Consciousness (with a capital "C"), totally non-dual awareness, an attribute or aspect of Absolute Consciousness
Descent - the transformation of a lower hypostasis by a higher one
The Divine - term used by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother as an alternative to "God". As used here, the Divine refers to any quasipersonal aspect or activity of the Supreme. the reference is to the "religious" or "numinous" nature of the aspect or process, without the religious baggage of excluvism and judgmentalism that accompanies the lower understanding
Formless - lacking form or characteristics. May be either Impersonal or Quasipersonal, although, as explained in the Buddhist term shunyata, ultimately these terms are meaningless since the Absolute is beyond conceptiual characteristics
God - either (Lower Understanding) an allegorical term for the Absolute Reality, or a religious term for the Personal Aspect of the Divine, or else (Middle Understanding) any of the Gods or Archetypes of the Kosmos (manifest existence) worshipped to the exclusion of other Gods/Archetypes, or an ahrimanic thoughtform which is concerned with the negation or denial of higher spiritual realities. Because of the ambiguity resulting from these three very different definitions, it is recommended that other terms be used for philsophical precison is required
God(s) - any of the cosmic or Archetypal Personalities of the Supreme
Godhead - a term for the higher aspect of the Divine, which includes but also transcends the Personal
Hypostasis - (as defined here, in the Plotinian sense) underlying Divine or Absolute Reality, the Truth or Foundation or Essence or Support or Cause of a thing more
Immanent - pervading creation or the Kosmos. The opposite of transcendent (although ultimately the distinction between transcendent and immanent are transcended in the Supreme)
Impersonal - lacking characteristics or a Personality aspect, the Buddhist shunyata or Advaitin nirguna brahman
Logos - (as defined here) the intelligent activity of a higher hypostasis in or as the hypostasis immediately below it. (from Plotinus, but also in the sense of the dynamic aspect of the Absolute or Divine found in Philo and Sufism)
Manifest Absolute - term used here as an alternative to Sri Aurobindo's "Sat", "Chit-Tapas", "Ananda" and "Supermind" (the latter here is called the Noetic Absolute) ("Upper Hemisphere"). The aspect of the Absolute Reality that possesses qualities or attributes such as Sachchidananda. See also The Supreme. more
Noetic - of the nature of Mind or Consciousness, also, an aspect of the Noetic Absolute
Noetic Absolute - term used here as an alternative to Sri Aurobindo's "Supermind" (the latter being somewhat ambiguous in English). The dynamic aspect of the Manifest Absolute. Equivalent to "the Logos" in Sufi and some other theologies. May also be equivalent to the term "God" in the broader sense. See also The Supreme. more
Personal - relating to the Individual, having characteristics or a Personality aspect (in Vedanta - saguna), the opposite of formless, also the opposite of Impersonal
Personality - the Personal aspect of a Cosmic or Divine being.
Quasipersonal - having or taking on Personal aspects or attributes, but not limited or totally defined by them. May include elements of both Personal and Impersonal
Sachchidananda (also spelt Sacchidananda and Sat-Chit-Ananda): having the qualities of Reality, Non-dual Consciousness, and Bliss and Delight. In Indian philosophy, these are the qualities and attributes of the Absolute Reality. According to Sri Aurobindo, these are expressed in the planes of infinite Sat, infinite Chit-Tapas, and infinite Ananda (see Manifest Absolute)
Shakti - a or any dynamic or manifesting aspect or activity of Absolute Reality, the Supreme, or the Divine
Shunyata - variously translated as "void", "emptiness", or even "openness"; Buddhist term for that aspect of the Absolute Reality or the Divine that does not possess qualities, or it does these are not apparent to or accessable by the relative consciousness
The Supreme - term used by Sri Aurobindo to describe the ultimate reality. He used it both as a synonym for Absolute Reality and the Absolute in Manifestation or Supermind (here: the Noetic Absolute). As defined here, the Supreme refers to any quasipersonal aspect or activity of the Transcendent Manifest Absolute, and especially to the Noetic Absolute. The Supreme in manifestation or activity (see shakti) experienced in an immanent or personal way can be called the Divine
Thought Form - in this context, a human-created mental formation that is a collective response to the actrivity of a Personality. As to this personality aspect, it could be said that a thought form exists and can be created or plugged into - eg Mary, kwan Yin, the personality of God, The Supreme, the ongoing process of the creative aspect, or the void, or anything else.
Transcendent - totally beyond, or else descending into to transform, creation or the Kosmos. The opposite of immanent (although ultimately the distinction between transcendent and immanent are transcended in the Supreme)
Unmanifest Absolute - the aspect of the Absolute Reality that does not possesses qualities or attributes, and is transcendent in relation to the Kosmos. Note, this is not necessarily the same as Impersonal or Formless - more

The numerology of the Godhead

Pythagoras and his followers adopted a numerological cosmology, according to which the monad was the first thing that came into existence. The monad gave rise to the dyad, which in turn gave rise to numbers, and thence points, lines, surfaces, four elements, and finally the cosmos. A similar cosmology is found in the Tao te Ching, where we find that the Tao begat one, the one begat two, the two three, and the three the "ten thousand things". And in Kabbalah, beginning with and especicially in the Sefer Yetzirah, numerological speculations are central to elucidating the nature of the Divine reality.
Here I use this sort of numerology progression in a purely allegorical or symbolic way to refer to the hypostases of the Absolute. It should not be taken as a dogmatic fact, but rather can be used as a metaphor (or if not suitable for that, discarded).
The Zero/Infinite prior to the One is symbolic of the Unmanifest ineffable, inconceivable Transcendent Absolute.
The One is that same Absolute in which the two aspects (which are actually one) of Shiva and Shakti, I and This, Absolute Consciousness and Power of the Absolute Consciousness, are in a state of absolute unity and identity (incidentally, Plotinus uses the term The One to designate the Absolute)
The Two in this context symbolises that Unitary Absolute in which the two aspects of Shiva and Shakti are polarised (but still in a state of absolute unity) and manifest as the divine hypostases of infinite Being, Consciousness-Power, and Bliss/Delight (the Manifest Absolute).
The Three here refers metaphorically to that same Polarised but Unitary Absolute iwhich is now actively manifest (hence a third element, tending towards Creation) as the Noetic Absolute.
And the Four designates manifest reality, the Kosmos, and its four aspects as expressed in the four-fold ontology

The Nature of The Absolute and the Nature of Reality

The following pages present a more detailed comparative overview of the Absolute Reality in all its aspects. It is perhaps ultimately futile to try to "prove" this logically (I have made an attempt with this philosophical thesis, although it needs revision), and ultimately one has to rely on immediate gnosis and spiritual intuition to appreciate these concepts. The physical mind left to itself, without being transformed from above, can only appreciate its own ideas and turn around and around with its own proofs and disproves. Intellectually, one cannot prove anything that pertains to the esoteric. Which is why I say that a truely integral paradigm has to be grounded on spiritual receptivity and gnosis.

God is a Verb

Wikipedia link Buckminster Fuller famously said "God is a Verb". And apparently the united church now teaches its ministers that god is a process. This all comes from A.N. Whitheead's Process Theology. Concerning the Supreme as the cosmos (in conrtrast to the transcendent Absolute) there is an unfolding, doing, aspect to it.
Considering the transcendent we can say that "God" isn't a verb but an adjective (pointing to the unknowable in Itsef) - the Transcendent, the Supreme, The Absolute, the ineffable - rather like the Muslim 99 names of God. According to the Sufis they represent the original archetypes. But the Activity of these adjectivities, archetypes, godheads, in the world, constitutes the Verb. And all of these interactions are ultimately nothing but the Absolute Reality "I" experiencing Itself ("this").
And the way this process, or "verb", which is "God", works is through the dynamics of consciousness / being

The Metaphysics of Process - Ontodynamics

It is proposed that a truely integral Unified Map of Existence, which explains and (as Ken Wilber would say) honours all experiences, interpretations, perspectives, and aspects of Consciousness and the Cosmos, requires not one but four Parameters or States or gradations of consciousness and existence, each of which, it is suggested, has its own dynamic, or ontodynamic.
The term Ontodynamics has been independently coined by external link Stephen Harrison and myself. As I define it, it refers to the dynamic nature and interelations of being (ontos), as opposed to a simple static formulation of koshas, planes, atoms, or whatever. Reality, rather than being static, is a constant process, a "play of consciousness" (skt. lila), of involution and evolution, the working out of the infinite possibilities of the Unmanifest and Manifest Absolute within the infinite Kosmos.

The Hierarchical Ontology

Beginning with point (1) of the Basic Premises, every datum of experience should be considered without bias, and point (6), the more inclusive explanation is to be preferred, I have chosen what I feel to be the most inclusive explanation; something that can sympathetically explain every datum, without rejectiong any as "false". This is the hierarchical ontology (theory of being), which has been proposed by a number of universalists, such as Huston Smith (Smith 1977) and Ken Wilber (Wilber 2000, 2000b, etc).
Note that I certainly am not saying that hierarchy is all that is. Because the existence of hierarchy automatically assumes its complement/polarity/opposite - equality. But we can't just say "everything is equal" either, because some things are not equal. So we begin with hierarchy, more specifically, a Hierarchy of Being (note - it is fashionable nowadays in postmodernist academia to reject "hierarchy", along with "metaphysics". As Ken Wilber points out, even those who reject hierarchy still have their own hierarchical values (Wilber 2000, pp.x-xi).
However, when we look at various examples of the hierarchy or "spectrum" or "great chain" of being, we find there is a lot of disagreement regarding its component levels. For example Kashmir Shaivism gives a very different spectrum of being to Theosophy or Kabbalah. Clearly, this explanation is not sufficient to incorporate all datums of experience.
It might also be asked - hierarchy of what? The answer is Consciousness. This is a hierarchy of states of consciousness (d-SoC in Charles T. Tart's notation), which is the same as saying it is a hierarchy of states of existence, or of being (ontology), since it is suggested here that all these can be equated (Kashmir Shaivism (ref ), and Moshe Kroy's Advaitin Phenomenology (Wilber 2002))

Quadontology - the Fourfold Reality - A Metaphysical "Map" of Consciousness/Reality

It is suggested as a working hypothesis to have not one but four hierarchies of consciousness/being, each of which constitutes a particular process or dynamic of Consciousness (or Reality, or "God", whatever term you wish to use). These can be termed axiis, or ontoclines or gradiants of being. There may be more, but this seems to be the minimum required to explain things. Hence the neologism Quadontology - the study (logos) of the fourfold (quad) nature of being (ontos) to describe this particular mapping out of Reality. Note that this is (like the rest of this essay) not intended as any sort of dogmatic truth, but simply as a working hypothesis. Or more precisely: The study of being in terms of hypothesis of four fundamental interacting aspects/gradations/parameters of Existence). The four hierarchies or ontoclines I propose here are:

Each of these ontoclines correspond in a generic way (these things should never be taken dogmatically and turned into procrustean nonsense) to one of the primary fields of human endeavour:
The Levels of Selfhood corresponds to the Spiritual Path; not literalist or exoteric religion, but yoga, sadhana, and esoteric (mystical) religion; the essense of self-transformation, and the nature of the knowing Self (especially as elaborated in Eastern Philosophy). The science that deals with this can be called Noetics or (when consiodering the dynamics of this Monadology)
The "Vertical" Axis or Planes of Existence corresponds to Esotericism and Occultism with their understanding of the nature of gross and subtle realities, and the ascent of consciousness through levels of existence (and exoteric religion to some degree, although here there is a lot of false understanding due to literalism)
The "Horizontal" Inner-Outer Axis corresponds to Psychology and Mysticism which addresses the depths of the being, and also on a more superficial level to the Arts (and the Social Sciences in part) with its dicotomy of Mythos and Logos, Imagination and Reason, and to depth and transpersonal psychology. The term "Endopsychology" is here proposed to distinguish this more "inward" psychology from conventional psychology
The "Concentric" Universal-Individual Axis corresponds, on the physical level, to Science especially the systems sciences and natural and applied sciences, also the social sciences in part. On the supraphysical it becomes the domain of esotericism, but the basic principles of interaction, ecology, system dymnamics, chaos theory, and so on. The overall reality is the (esoteric) science of Cosmecology, which includes the experiential approach of Astrognosis.
One can even create a metaphorical table of correspondences, as follows:
Mandalic PositionOntological AxisQualityDynamicsmade up ofapproached throughsymbolic metaphors
psychological facultyspacetime orientationelement
CenterAbsoluteAbsolute RealityAbsolute RealityThe AbsoluteEnlightenmentNon-dual Consciousness
QuadrantLevels of SelfhoodActivityNoesis / MonadologyConsciousnessYogic spirituality, Noetics and Monadology, PhenomenologyField of Consciousness"Breadth""Air"
QuadrantPhysical-Spiritual AxisDensity (or Subtlty)EmanationOctavesEsotericism and Occultism (Occult Cosmology)Will"Height" / "Vertical""Fire"
QuadrantInner-OuterDirection (Orientation)Figure-GroundBeingMysticism and Psychology (Endopsychology)Feeling (empathy)"Depth" / "Concentric" "Water"
QuadrantUniversal-IndividualScale or OrganisationCoaction / Systems TheoryHolonsScience, systems theories, ecology (Cosmecology)Sensation (concrete)"Temporal""Earth"
It is important of course not to interpret this too literally; otherwise one becomes trapped by dogmatic thoughtforms. And of course, each of these fields of study can also be applied to the other hierarchies or parameters, which is why it is misleading to only assume a one on one equivalence.
Let us now consider each of these four metaphysical sequences/processes in turn:

Noetics - Monadology

In the century the philosopher Gottfried Leibniz came up with a metaphysical theory called Monadology (after his book of the same name - there are a number of copies on-line: e.g. here, here, here, and here) in which he posits that all that exist are an indefinite number of simple (by which he means without consisting of parts) entities called Monads (para.1). These are eternal, individual, mental or spiritual atoms so to speak. There is no such thing as physical space or external objects; rather, each monad experiences the world from its own point of view, and the totality of all those experiences is the universe. However the monads are unable to interact with each other (para. 7. "The monads have no windows through which anything may come in or go out") but all their respective experiences are synchronised through a Wikipedia link pre-established harmony (para.78). nterestingly Blavatsky refers to the higher spiritual Self in man (atma-buddhi) as a "monad", perhaps combining Leibnitz with Pythagoras, for whom the monad was the primal entity to come into being.
A monadology with similarities to that of Leibniz was independently developed by Ken Wilber, who of course calls his monads holons. For Wilber holons likewise are the only things that exist, are teleological, conscious, and so on. However unlike Leibnitz's monads, Wilber's holons do have "windows" in that they interact with other holons, and they are not "simple" because each holon consists of holons beneath it, and so on to infinity. And wheras Leibniz solves the problem of the interaction of mind and matter that bedevils Descartes' system, Wilber seems to take a step backwards by intrenching the Cartesian duality of of mind and body (interiors and exteriors) in his four-quadrant holons. (i will have more to say on this later)
I would like to propose a new monadology.
We begin with the monistic understanding that all that exists is the Absolute Reality, which is infinite, eternal, without boundaries (see this page for a philosophical thesis on this (still needs some work)). According to Kashmir Shaivism, this Absolute contemplates (or simply reflects upon, or experiences) itself, thus resulting in the thought "I am This" and creating the original duality of Absolute ("I") and its power of creation ("this), and hence all other polarities and dualities.
Everything that exists is a "self" or Aspect or reflection of the Absolute, and there is nothing that is not-Absolute and hence not-Self, then the not-Self includes all other selves apart from one's own Self. Because they are not one's own Self (but other selves), they are experienced as "Without" (Teilhard) or "exteriors" (Wilber - the right half of his diagram) rather than the "Within" or interior or subjectivity. This can be represented as follows:
Self A and B
This gives us the "participative paradigm" defined by John Heron (Heron 1996) and previously referred to.
I would extend this by saying that because everything that exists is a Self (and/or an aspect of the Supreme Self / Absolute Reality), this relation of Knower and Known extends even to so-called "inanimate" objects. This is the opposite of the depersonalisation and objectification of things that one finds in physicalist-materialist, naive postmodernist relativist, and exoteric religious literalist worldviews.

Noetics - Levels of Selfhood

Levels of Selfhood or the self-not-self axis constitutes a distinct ontological parameter, defined by subjectivity and the activity of consciousness (noesis-noemata). It is a central theme in Eastern Philosophy and Phenomenology. Consciousness is here distinguished from Mind and Psyche. Because of a lack of precision in understanding the various aspects and ontological axii, the self-not-self axis is very often usually confused or combined with either or both the "horizontal" inner-outer psychological series (psychology), or the physical-spiritual "vertical" series (occultism and theosophy). This confusion arises because the conventional current western religious and philosophical position involves a choice between Materialism (including variants such as Judeo-Christian resurrectionism - as they are unable to conceive of a soul apart from the body) and some sort of Cartesian, spiritualist, or natural-supernatural religious dualism. But these materialistic, holistic, or dualistic interpretations ignore all the manifold aspects and dimensions that human consciousness includes.
The much more sophisticated understanding of ancient India is based not on the dichotomy of soul/mind/spoirit and body/matter, but of Pure Consciousness or Witness and the Objects of Consciousness. This latter includes both mind and matter; in other words, thoughts are just as much non-self as the physical body. This simple yet profound observation can be confirmed or proved by any decent meditation practice. Thoughts are distinctly experienced as something different from the core-awareness, the "I" or "knower" or "witness" or Self (or "non-Self" - i.e., non-Ego - if you are a Buddhist, for the experience also proves to you that there is no persisting ego or outer personality self).
The study of consciousness is also considered in Husserlian phenomenology, where the static cartesian subject-object is replaced by the more dynamic polarity of noesis-noemata. In the following ontology, both eastern and phenomenological perspectives are integrated.
  • Paramatman / Buddha Mind - This is the Self that is infinite, eternal, all inclusive, one with the Supreme. In fact it is the Supreme Reality of all mystic teachings, according to which the essence of the Soul or individual being is the same as the Godhead of the Cosmos (monistic Vedanta, Eckhardt, see also chap.1 of Huxley's Perennial Philosophy). Of course, the nature of the Supreme varies according to the conceptual system one uses to approach and relate to it. Advaita Vedanta affirms the "Self" and Buddhism denies it, but both are describing two aspects or rather perspectives and ways of approaching the same thing. everything, the universe and beyond - that mode of the Absolute which is the universe (and the universe as the Absolute)
  • Purusha - an aspect of the Absolute as one of an infinite multiplicity of beings, the Atma or Monad of Theosophy; the Pneuma or Divine Spark of Gnosticism; Purusha of Samkhya, the Vijnanakala and Purusha of Kashmir Shaivism.
  • Noesis - the activity of Consciousness with a capital "c", which is consciousness witha small "c". Consciousness, no longer non-dual and tranquil, is now caught in an obsessive relationship with the objects (noemata) to which it is directed. It is here suggested - following the Samkhyan series of tattwas, that noesis involves three progressive stages of increasing involvement with its objects:
    • Buddhi - the reflection of the Absolute or the purusha in prakriti or non-self nature; the field of conscious; the Buddhi (Pure Intellect) of Samkhyan philosophy, Alayavijnana (in part) of Yogachara-Vijnanvada Buddhism, and witness consciousness (sakshi) of Advaita Vedanta. At this stage consciousness is still very clear, very similar to the purusha.
    • Ahamkara - the Ahamkara or "I-maker" of Samkhyan philosophy in part. and Kleishtomanas (or just Manas) of Yogachara. Root of the sense of separate "ego" or self that forms the nucleus of embodied existence; Da Free John refers to this as the original recoil or movement away from the Divine. This represents the sense of a separate self attached to the objects of consciousness
    • Manas - This is field of the conscious self, the Ego according to Freud and Jung (note this is not the ego of Indian philosophy, which belongs to the preceeding level of self), the Manas and Manovijnana of Samkhya and Yogachara respectively, the part of our being we identity with as "I" or "self" or "mind" or "soul", which is centered around the ahamakaric nucleus.
  • Noemata / Not-self / All Other Selves - To some extent this is the Prakriti of Samkhya and Advaita, but also everything that is not included in the individual Self. It is also, at least in its physical aspect, Objective reality according to science and secular thought. Husserl's Phenomenology replaces Object with Object of Consciousness (Noemata), and this can even be applied to Hwa Yen Buddhism (Odin 1982). Except in the most objective physical levels of being, the noemata are not separate from noesis, but constitute the "yin" pole; if noesis is willing, feeling, etc (or rather the energy of these things, because the details pertain to the other parameters), then the noemata are those phenomena that are willed, felt, etc

Esoteric Cosmology - Emanation

If noetics shows how enties interact with each other, emanation shows how these entities come about in the first place. I argue for the of the Emanation hypothesis on two grounds: firstly it is a central element in much of the "perennial philosophy" and secondly it provides the only explanation for how things came to be that is not nonsensical (craetio ex hihilo) or reductionist. Assuming then taht emanation is a fact (much as it contradicts the current physicalist consensus paradigm of the secular West), a number of specific ontological laws or principles would seem to follow.  These are listed as follows:
Principle of Authentic Reality
Principle of Distinct Hypostases
Principle of Qualitativeness
Principle of Downward Causation
Principle of nondifferentiated ground
Principle of non-diminishment
Principle of Reflection
Principle of Proximity
Principle of Fractalisation
In no way should the above be considered a definitive statement or final explanation. These principles are suggested soley to encourage further thought and debate. We have a long way to go before a truely axiomatic integral theory of everything can be formulated.
Essay on Principles of Emanation | The emanationist worldview

Esoteric Cosmology - The "Vertical" Axis - Octaves of Existence

The "Vertical" Axis consists of a hierarchy of Planes or Octaves of Existence, an ontological gradation, according to which the Cosmos can be divided "vertically" into a number of worlds or states or gradations of being. This is the conventional "great chain of being" which - while rejected by the contemporary western physicalist consensus reality - forms the basis of most esoteric cosmologies, from Neoplatonism to the present day. But the concept of a vertical cosmology goes even beyond that, in the universal theme of the vertical world-axis, a cosmic mountain or tree or pole, is a common theme, which is found in Siberian Shamanism, Nordic paganism, and Traditional Hindu and Buddhist cosmography (Mt Meru), as well as in sacred architecture (such as the Buddhist stupa). Again, we find the theme, in Tantric iconography and subtle physiology, of the seven chakras, as an ascending series of states of consciousness.
With the occult revolution of the 19th Century, the concept of Seven "Planes" of existence was codified by a H.P. Blavatsky and Max Theon, and further developed by Sri Aurobindo, Alice Bailey, Gurdjieff (the "ray of creation") Sant Mat, and the New Age movement. Following Blavatsky, Aurobindo, and other esoteric teachers, the term "Plane" (originally derived from Proclus) or "Universe" is here used to designate each of these "vertical" divisions of reality, although this is used interchangably with "reality" and "octave" (popularised in this context by Gurdjieff (Ouspensky 1977 pp.124-137 etc).
Yet for all this, the concept of chakras remains today the archetypal example of the "vertical" ontocline in the minds of most people, because very few, even in the world of transpersonal psychology, integral studies and alternative academia, are aware of or familar with occult cosmologies as such. But because "chakras" have been popularised by the New Age movement, and there is an abundance of books on the subject, mostly of a practical exercise manual type, whilst occult cosmology is known to only to those few who study these subjects in greater depth.
The following tabulation presents a view of the "perennial philosophy" in terms of ontic gradations or planes or octaves; each representing very distinct States of Consciousness/Existence. As an "orientating generalisation" (Wilber) we can say that the various esoteric teachings all describing the same realities, although in different terms and from a different standpoint (Kabbalah for example is theological, Late Neoplatonism and Theosophy are both intellectual and to some degree abstract, and Sri Aurobindo is yogic and practical).
Very Provisional Table of Planes of Existence
Plane Proclus
(Late Neoplatonism)
Lurianic Kabbalah
(tentative - pending closer research)
Theosophy and Alice Bailey
Sri Aurobindo
Noetic Absolute Henads Lahut Keter of Atzilut / Adam Kadmon Etherisms Higher Logoic Hierarchies Supermind
a, Higher Noetic / Divine Being Jabarut Atzilut Free Intelligence Adi/ Divine/ Logoic Overmind
b. Higher Noetic / Divine-Intuitive Life Beriah Spirit Anupadaka/Monadic Intuition
c. Middle Noetic / Illumined Mind Nous Light Atmic Illumined Mind
d. Middle Noetic / Higher Mind Essence Buddhic Higher Mind
e. Lower Noetic / Mental Rational Soul Malakut Yetzirah Mind Higher Manas/Mental (Abstract Mind)
Lower Manas/Mental (Concrete Mind)
Astral / Psychic Irrational Soul Soul Kama/Astral Vital
Mithal Asiyah Nervo
Physical Nutritive / Vegetative Soul Physical Linga Sthula / Etheric Subtle Physical
Body Mulk Malkut of Asiyah Dense Physical Physical (Terrestrial evolution)

This ontological series is proposed to designate the primary hypostases of the vertical gradation. I have mostly followed, but in no way simply restricted myself to, the teachings of Sri Aurobindo. Because most people obviously are more familar with the physical reality, I begin there and progress up. Note that each of these "planes" - actually octaves or harmonics might be a better term, because "planes" implies a sort of material concept that is inapplicable here - can not only be divided into innumerable subplanes, but also a near infite number of fractal divisions and subharmonics.
Physical: The familiar universe of Form and Matter and energy, physical and mundane consciousness, and embodied existence as well as the more subtle blueprints that reside in the etheric or formative regions. Western knowledge and the physical mind pertain only to the lower or mundane level of the physical, and the "outer aspect of the outer being" of that "dense physical" at that. In this thin slice of reality, all the vast ramifications of modern secular knowledge and the fruits of the physical intellect may be found. Of course, because each Plane or Octave can be subdivided, fractally, into subplanes and subsubplanes (as illustrated in the esoterics of Kabbalah, Theon, and Blavatsky, and the psychology of Gurdjieff and Sri Aurobindo), one can still classify modern knowledge esoterically; in fact this would be a similar but, to my mind superior, system to the Four Quadrants of Wilber, and the vMEMES (neo- Spiral Dynamics) of Wilber and Beck. The etheric and formative regions meanwhile correspond to paraphysics, alternative healing modalities, auras and the etheric or subtle bodies, orgone energy, Earth energies, Anthroposophy, and other phenomena on the fringes of science, or considered quackery because they don't fit within the secular-reductionistic paradigm that recognises only the material-physical.
The following diagram represents a more fine-scale analysis of the Physical, looking at occult realities that are near to the physical, as well as subdivisions of the physical reality itself. Just as stratiography matches up rock strata from all over the world on the basis of similiar geological and mineral composition, fossils, magnetostratigraphy, radiometric dating, and so on, in the same way we can correlate different occult teachings, looking for similarities in sequences, descriptions, type of experiences, and so on. And as always, these realities should not be thought of as spatial planes, but rather as octaves or resonances repeating fundamental archetypal patterns of conscisousness, modified according to the degree of density or involution.

Provisional Table of Physical Octaves
Major Reality Plane or Octave SubPlane or Resonance Theon Blavatsky (Theosophy) Leadbeater
(Adyar Theosophy)
[Steiner 1969]
Ann Ree Colton
[Colton & Murro 1984 p.91]
Barbara Ann Brennan
[Brennan 1987]

higher octaves and resonances representing transhhuman and posthuman archetypes higher°physical
Higher spiritual hierarchies Fifth klosha (sic)
Spiritual Physical octaves and resonances representing spiritual archetypes and blueprints Mental°Physical
Devachenic / Spiritland Higher Etheric body Keteric
Etheric templ.
Astral Physical octaves and resonances representing a gradation of light and dark Nervo°Physical
Astral / Soul
Dense Physical Higher spiritual resonances Physical°Physical Atma and Buddhi in part
Mental/Ideational resonance Lower manas (in part) Mental Body (in part) Intellectual Soul Mental Body Mental Body
Emotional Resonance Kama (in part) Emotional/Astral Body (in part) Sentient Soul /
Soul Body
Emotional Body Emotional Body
Etheric-Physical resonance Linga Sthula Etheric body Etheric body Etheric body Etheric body
Sthula Sthula Dense Physical Physical Physical body Physical body
Etheric-Material resonance
"Fallen" Etheric Ego
chthonic / subconscient - octaves and resonances
"Fallen" Etheric & "8th Sphere" Undersoul
Hylic / inconscient - octaves and resonances

The reasons for the correlations are too detailed to go into here, and will have to be considered separately.
Briefly now reviewing the above strata of consciousness (this time from the non-physical to the dense material):
The Spiritual Physical Reality represents a higher octave of the physical. This is referred to by Steiner in great detail, under terms like "Devachen" (Steiner 1970) and "Spiritland" (Steiner 1969). It also includes the higher three of Barbara Brennan's human energy fields (Brennan 1987), and Rupert Sheldrake's morphogenetic fields ()
The Astral Physical Reality is often confused with the larger astral universe, but is a more restricted octave of it, the astral in the physical. Once again we find (see the above table) various correspondences in different occult teachings.
The Physical Consciousness represents the various aspects of the physical proper. Again we find here various subtle bodies (taking Brennan 1987 as a guide in this matter). This is like the objective physical, but larger and more fluid, more multifaceted.
The above three realities or octaves would seem to be waht are referred to by Sri Aurobindo as the "Subtle Physical" (ref). In esoteric Islam this is the Imaginal Realm, the Barzakh or the Intermediate World, in which "bodies are spiritualitised and spirits corporalised". (ref)
Physical, Chthonic, and Hylic It is also suggested that what most occult teachings call the "physical" is not a level beneath the "etheric", but rather the "outer" aspect or perspective of it, incorporating also the outer perspective of the chthonic and hylic. And while occult and esoteric philosophies often explore those realities above the ordinary physical consciousness, they very rarely consider the levels below the ordinary physical. Exceptions are the Mother's yoga of the transformation of the body (Mother's Agenda), Timothy Leary's psychedelic psychocosmology (Leary 1987), Kenneth Grant's Maatian occultism, and (although this isn't esotericism) depth psychology. However traditional mythocosmologies (shamanic, buddhist, etc) all speak of levels of existence below the physical world as well as above. But this insight was lost in the western wisdom traditions due to Platonic dualism and Gnostic world-negating spirituality which emphasised only ascent and not descent.
Psychic/Astral: Beyond the physical, according to occult and esoteric knowledge, is the psychic reality or realities, which include various psychic and occult phenomena, forces, formations, and planes, worlds, and octaves of existence. This includes the Astral plane, and above that the Angelic Universes (Sri Aurobindo uses the term "Vital", but this is confusing as it can also be applied to the subtle etheric). Many psychic experiences, revelations, religious experiences, and so on, come from here. When we take into account all the fractal and dynamic combinations of the various sub-(sub- etc) planes and vertical gradautions, and the other three ontological axii we find this is a truely vast region, far more diverse than physical reality. This is the realm of study of occultism and esotericism. The esoterics give explanations that it can be suggested are either correct or, if false in a literal sense, are at least symbolically true. Theosophy, Shamanism, Hermeticism, and other teachings all present either the theory or the practice of interacting with these realities. Others, like mediumistic spiritualism, are not recommended because they do not provide safeguards or correct understanding (see critiques by Blavatsky). Others again, like exoteric religions, give only distorted or fundamentalist understandings.
The following diagram represents a more fine-scale comparison of the Astral Reality. It is suggested that popular concepts like "the Astral Plane" (and earlier analyses like Blavatsky's "kama-rupa") only pertain to the lowest subzone, the one closest the physical. The higher regions represent worlds of light and darkness, and eventually higher heavens, as described in mythologies and religions. These regions can also be explored, and communication attained with the beings that inhabit them, by the techniques of Hermetic Kabbalah (Regardie et al ****, Cicero & Cicero ****, Bardon **** )

Provisional Table of Astral Octaves
Major Reality Plane or Octave SubPlane or Resonance Theon Blavatsky (Theosophy) Hermetic Kabbalah Ann Ree Colton
[Colton & Murro 1984 p.91]

Higher Worlds of Light octaves and resonances Soul
Higher/Intellectual Triad Realm of Light
Middle Worlds of Light octaves and resonances Mental°Nervo Psychic°Nervo
Middle/Moral Triad Second Heaven
Lower Worlds of Light octaves and resonances Nervo°Nervo
Lower Triad (in part) First Heaven
Worlds of Lower Light and Darkness octaves and resonances Physical°Nervo
Qlippot Abyss
Physical Astral octaves and resonances Kama/Astral Lower Triad / Malkuth
Lower Astral

Lower (epsilon) Ideational / Mind: Beyond the psychic worlds is the universe of Pure Intellect or pure Ideas, the Angelic or Archangelic Universe, the World of Beriah (Creation) of Kabbalah, the Manasic Plane of Theosophy. This is the region from which rational (and rational-intuitive) thought and intellect derive. One might postulate here spiritual archetypes which eventually manifest in the Physical universe. This is the macrocosmic equivalemnt of the indidvidual mind or intellect (not the emotions, desires, and passions, these pertain to the psychic reality). Because this region is more remote than the everyday consciousness, it is less often acessed or understood. In spiritualist and New Age teachings this seems to be considered a higher visionary region of light (find refs?). In the Life Divine Sri Aurobindo says that in its own sphere Mind is still an instrument of truth, it is only when it becomes a vehicle for falsehood and ignorance.
Middle (delta) Ideational / Higher Mind : If Sri Aurobindo is to be believed, the Higher Mind (which he equates with the Sahasrara or Crown chakra above the head (Aurobindo 1971, vol.1 p.365) is the lowest level of pure truth, free from the ignorance and half-truths of the lower levels. So once we rise beyond even the pure conceptual mind we arrive at the region of archetypal or Higher Angelic hierarchies. This universe can be considered a realm of Integral spiritual intuition, the higher mind that can comprehend things intuitively, derive from here. The description that Sri Aurobindo gives of the Higher Mind pertains to the Higher Mind-ised embodied consciousness, the Higher Mind in itself woulfd be a region of almost inconceivable (to the limited physical consciousness) light and knowledge. Visionary references to higher spiritualk regions and angelogical hierarchies would pertain to this hypostasis.
Middle (gamma) Ideational / Illumined Mind: Sri Aurobindo refers to the Illumined Mind which corresponds to the higher part of the Sahasrara or Crown chakra, and which is beyond even the Higher Mind. We should see this as the region or enlightened state of Spiritual Illumination, and hierarchies of Light. This universe also corresponds to the Sahasrara.
Higher (beta) Ideational / (Divine-)Intuitive Mind: (Higher Enlightenment). It would seem (still using Sri Aurobindo as a guide here, although equivalences can be had in Theosophy, Sant Mat, and the cosmology of Max Theon) that Spiritual Illumination derives from the even more subblime Divine-Spiritual World of emanated hierarchies - further Gods and Archangels; this is experienced as a great Enlightenment, and those who have attained this state are regarded as great saints or avatars.
Higher (alpha) Ideational / Overmind / Divine or Cosmic Consciousness: - at the summit of creation are the Divine Worlds, Cosmic Gods and Godheads; intermediate between the Infinite Noetic Godhead (Logos) and the Manifest Temporal Cosmos. Here is where the One Light of the Logos or Transcendent Nous becomes a prism of many radiances, archetypes, gods, sefirot, or lights, which in turn supervise the creation below. The most detailed descriptions are found in Kabbalah (the World of Atzilut or Divine Emanation) and Sri Aurobindo (the Overmind). This is a region of profound cosmic and esoteric mysteries, in which there is no distinction between oneself and the cosmos [Sri Aurobindo].
This particular map of reality provides a good starting point for formulating an integral classification of all possible states of consciousness, although it needs to be integrated with the other three parameters and the representation of hypostases of the Absolute for this to be so. For one thing this "Vertical" ontocline is fractal in nature, so taht each division includes innumerable subdivisions; for another it can just as easily (and perhaps more profoundly) be shown in the form of a branching tree of possibilities. Then there is the problem, as always in metaphysics of the "patchiness" of the overall map in different esoteric teachings, with some emphasising one reality and ignoring others, and other systems taking a different approach.
It is suggested here that, in addition to their existence as worlds, universes, and phenomena in their own right, these various planes, octaves, and resonances exert occult influences on physical evolution; and that emergent physical evolution involves the embodiment and physicalisation of successive resonances or ocatves from the "vertical" ontocline.
Often also one finds in esoteric and New Age literature and teachings that this "vertical" scale is confused with the inner-outer series (e.g. Advaita and pop gurus), or with the noetic/monadological levels of self (Theosophical and theosophical based (e.g. Alice Bailey 1925) diagrams). Just as - with the Age of Enlightenment and birth of Western science - mythopoeisis and esotericism had to be distinguished from natural philosophy to get a true scientific understanding (and for that matter a true occult understanding, although this latter has lagged uptil now), so the various intertwined parameters of consciousness and reality have to be teased apart, in order to formulate a universal map of reality.

The "Horizontal" Inner-Outer Axis

The "Horizontal" Inner-Outer Axis is not so much a hierarchy as a "polarity" is the familar dichotomy of subject-object, inner-outer, mind-matter, conscious-unconscious, yin-yang. This has been described in detail by Stan Gooch in his book Total Man. The table is shown below:
System B
System A
emotion, feeling
thought, thinking
magic (`illogic')
religion art
left-wing politics (Labour, Communism)
right-wing politics (Fascism)

[from Stan Gooch, Total Man, Abacus, 1972, pp.82-3]
Also pertaining to this parameter is Sri Aurobindo's integral psychology, which incorporates a trichtomy of innermost, inner, and outer being (sometimes a fourth category, outermost, is mentioned [ref xxxx]) presents a more esoteric perspective than that of Gooch. So does Chabad Kabbalah, according to which each sefirah has two aspects: Pnimiyut, Inwardness, innermost point, essence or core, the Divine Light, Chitzoniyut, outwardness, externality, the lowest point (Schochet, 1979 pp.127-8)

diagram from Jung - Archetypes (author unknown)
The terminology used here is Kabbalistic, but one can equally use other concepts to convey this.
Depth Psychology and to a lesser extent Transpersonal Psychology represent other exploration of the Inner-Outer polarity. No one has studied this area better than Carl Jung. The following (right) represents a diagramatic representation of the Jungian system. Here we have the outer and the inner world, the latter consisting of progressively deeper layers of the unconscious. The collective unconscious - the deepest level of all - represents a whole world in itself.
In another diagram presented in a lecture Jung has even more layers. I don't have the reference (I came upon this many ytears ago) or a copy of the diagram, which showed concentric circles, but if I recall correctly it was (from outer to inner) sensation, thinking, feeling, intuition, affect, personal unconscious / shadow (these may have been distinguished), and collective unconscious.
The Mandukya Upanishad, which was the foundation for all later Indian (Hindu and to a lesser extent Tantric Buddhist) psychology, speaks of the Self having four "feet" or states of consciousness. These are Waking, Dreaming, Dreamless Sleep, and the Fourth (i.e. the Absolute). Waking and Dreaming are self explanatory, but Dreamless Sleep here refers to a very deep level of consciousness in which the awareness is near (but not quite at) the Absolute.
In Shankara's Advaita Vedanta and all subsequent thought, including all current gurus and pop gurus, and the New Age movement in general, along with integral thinkers like Ken Wilber (ref link), the first three states of the Mandukya are matched with the five self levels of the Taittiriya Upanishad, which have now been downgraded to "koshas" or sheaths. The pranic, manasic, and vijnanic koshas are identified with dreaming and the subtle body, and by implication with psychic experience. In this way they confuse the "horizontal" inner-outer with the "vertical" physical-spiritual ontocline. Only Sri Aurobindo presents a different, original, interpretation on the Taittiriya, and, for that matter, distinguishes these two parameters in his own integral psychology.
A very different, much more empirical-experiential approach, is taken by Buddhist and Patanjalian maps of meditative states. Here we have a distinction between form and formless dhyana or samadhi. The Buddhists have 8 or 9 samadhic levels or "jhanas" (Pali; = "dyana" in sanskrit), arranged in a linear manner, from the most "superficial" to the most self-absorbed. This roadmap of meditative states was also then equated with Buddhist cosmology (in the distinction between Desire Gods and Heavens, Gods and Heavens of Pure Form, and Formless Gods and Heavens). A further development is found in Yogachara Buddhism, with the concept of an Alaya-Vijnana or "Storehouse Consciousness" that has intriguing similarities with the Jungian Collective Unconscious. This collective or universal consciousness is the source of the individual Manas and Mano-vijnana consciousness, which correspond more to the Ego (conscious) of western psychology (not the "ego" of pop-guru-ist teachings).
Taking into account then the various references and teachings mentioned above, the following is a suggested series of hypostases of being from Inner to Outer:
  • Innermost - the essential core or essence of the being, the state of Dreamless Sleep of the Mandukya Upanishad, Pnimiyut (Kabbalah), or Innermost Being (Sri Aurobindo, this equates with the Psychic Being (Soul) which will be considered under the rubric of the evolving individual); Formless Samadhi might go here as well
  • Inner - the vast region of potentials and realities hidden from the narrow surface consciousness, but revealed through meditative and yogic practices, and studied by Depth and Transpersonal Psychology. This is the Collective Unconscious of Jung, the "inner planes" or "inner spheres" of occultism (in part), the "Inner Being" according to Sri Aurobindo; the Alayavijnana of the Yogachara and Vijnanavada school of Mahayana. Sri Aurobindo's Intermediate Zone and Da Free John's "5th Stage of Life" might be located here; Kundalini awakening, higher psychic experiences, contact with deities, etc
  • Middle or Intermediate - a transitional physical, psychic and spiritual region between the vast inner sphere and the outer consciousness; includes the personal unconscious, the dream state, hypnosis, trance, meditation, and drug induced, schizophrenic and natural-healthy altered states of consciousness. Of course these don't all occupy the same "mindspace", because the gradations and near infinite combinations an dsub-combinations of the other three axii have to be considered as well. Some examples of the Middle/Intermediate Being in psychology are the Unconscious of Freud, the Shadow or Personal Unconscious of Jung, the Lower, Middle, and Higher Unconscious of the Psychosynthesis of Roberto Assagioli, the "inner planes" (in part) and "pathworking" of occultism, and the perinatal matrixes and other such phenomena described by Grof. In part also the "System B" of Stan Gooch.
  • Outer - the surface physical and psychic consciousness and preconsciousness, the Ego or waking consciousness of Freud and Jung, the Field of Consciousness (as usually considered) of Assagioli. Can be itself divided into an Inner, Middle, and Outer as follows:
    • Inner part of Outer - the world of introversion, imagination, intuition, light meditation, mild altered state of consciousness (e.g. marijuana), mild trance. In part also the "System B" of Stan Gooch.
    • Middle part of Outer - ordinary waking consciousness.
    • Outer part of Outer - external physical reality or rationalising and externalising consciousness; the indriyas (senses) of Yogachara and senses, organs of action, and elements of Samkhya. Also the "System A" of Stan Gooch. Includes "objective" reality of western secular understanding, science, and academia; physical consciousness and objective raelity are here equated (since the "object" is nothing but another "self" - see monadological discussion)
  • Outermost - Chitzoniyut or outwardness, or Kelippot ("husks" of creation, the outermost aspect of the being) of Kabbalah, which seem to be the same as what Sri Aurobindo calls the "Outermost Being". The negative counterparts of the positive states of consciousness described by John Lilly. In other words, just as there is a reality that is more "inward" then the familar external reality, so there is a reality that is more "outward". It is experienced as the world and existence as being utter meaninglessness (ref Lilly]. Steiner's concept of "ahriman" and "the 8th sphere", and Gurdjieff's "moon" which has even more laws (restrictions) than "Earth" (see the Ray of Creation), would also seem to go here.
Although it seems like there is a progression from light to dark, spirit to matter, positiove to negative, etc etc, with the former being closest to Godhead or Absolute, the various esoteric monistic teachings are unanimous in asserting that opposite polarities or dualities emerge from an original unity (in Lurianic Kabbalah Hesed and Gevurah from the En Sof or Keter, in Tantra Shiva and Shakti from the Supreme principle (Parasamvit, Paramashiva, etc), in Taoism yin and yang from the original Tao). This can be shown as follows.

The Co-action Compass

The Co-action Compass is a universally applicable cybernetic diagram presented by Edward Haskell and his associates, which shows the interactions between any two entities or elements of the same entity.
Using a standard mandala as a cosmological "map" means a "static" timeless, or cyclic (like the famous "Wheel of Rebirth") diagram. But we also need something that can convey process and evolution as well. Hence the "Co-action Compass", a cybernetic feedback diagram that forms the basis of the Unified Science paradigm presented by Edward Haskell and his associates. An example of this diagram on the cover of their book Full Circle - The Moral Force of Unified Science is shown here:

This diagram (and Unified Science in general) is based on the premise that with any two interacting factors, one will have a controlling role (this is represented by the y axis, and can be considered "yang") and the other will be the "work component" (the x axis, corresponding to yin). These two elements can interact in a way that benefits, harms, or is neutral to, one, both, or neither. The result is a matrix of 9 possible interactions, which are represented graphically as the co-action compass. The following diagram shows how these 9 possible relationships determine the 9 fundamental states of the co-action compass:

The following diagram shows how even the co-action between the opposite poles of only one of the above axii can produce a whole range of situations.
co-action compass - spirit and matter

Looking at the The Co-action Compass, it seems that the fundamental principle is not Y or X, but the relation between the two. So we have again a participative paradigm, in which the interaction of Governor (Y) and Work Component (X) determines the outcome of the joint entity that the two comprise.
So the fundamental unit is not a spiritual atom or a holon, but rather the interaction between two (or more) entities (beings, systems, whatever(. And each entity is itself not a static unit but an interaction between other entities (which may simply be the Yin/X and Y/Yang components of its own make-up)?
The result of this "Tao of Physics"esque "dance of Shiva" type reasoning is that fundamentally everything that exists are a network of bootstrapped interactions of other interactions which in turn consist of other interactions (like the dance of virtual particles). Hence we have a "monadology" in which the monads are not entities but "processes". Being in the sense of a noun that is also a verb.

The "Concentric" Universal-Individual Axis

The Universal-Individual, or Universal-Atomistic Parameter is the easiest to understand, because it is the only hierarchy that Western secular consensus reality accepts. Atoms are made of subatomic particles, molocules of atoms, biological cells of molocules, and so on, upto the entire cosmos as a whole. Each higher level embraces and includes and serves as the environment or ecology of the lower, and each lower level is a subunit or subsystem or component of the one above it. This whole concept was nicely formalised at a biological and systems science level by Arthur Koestler, in his book Janus, a Summing Up. Each entity at each hierarchical level, each "holon" as Koestler termed them, is both a whole of the parts or entities of the level below, and a part of the whole above. More on this in the ontodynamics section. For now, this is one of the four hierarchies or dimensions or parameters of Being, the parameter of expanse or scale, or Universal-Atomistic. The following then is a suggested list of major scales of being:
  • Transcendental - everything, the universe and beyond - that mode of the Absolute which is the universe (and the universe as the Absolute)
  • Universal - everything in manifestation (at that "level" of reality", oertaining to the universe as a whole (but not to the Absolute; i.e. the Absolute includes the Universal but not (as superficial readings of Pantheism assume) the reverse) e.g. the laws of physics are universal (throughout this universe).
  • Cosmic - any large to very-large scale manifestation; metaphorically and/or esoterically, the "macrocosm" as opposed to the "microcosm". It may be interstellar or galactic or inter-galactic, or pertaining to the entire universe, but not invariant in the way that the "universal" phenomena are. Each of these of course can be divided and sub-divided into any number of degrees and subdegrees: e.g. "cosmic" proper, intergalactic, galactic, interstellar, solar systemic, etc (and any number of subdivisions between these)
  • Collective or Immediate Environment - the (physical and/or psychic and/or spiritual and/or whatever other ontic level is applicable) environment surrounding the individual (or "individual holon", with and through which it interacts with the cosmic forces (or holons), the "field of influence" or (in theosophical and New Age thought) the "aura" or "psychic (etheric, "astral", whatever) energy field around an individual. From a subjective reference point, every "holon" is the center of its own environment, and that environment is both a larger holon and also the aggregate of all the holons with which it is in contact at the time the "environment" is defined. Holons, like all things, are constantly changing). In Ken Wilber's 4 quadrant Integral philosophy, the Environmental Scale corresponds to the bottom half of the diagram.
  • Individual - the holon being referred to. In human psychology and occultism the "microcosm", the individual as a smaller (fractal) image of the cosmic or universal whole. The individual is both a part of its environment, and the totality of all the holons of which it is constituted. In Wilber's 4-quadrant Integral philosophy, the Individual Scale corresponds to the top half of the diagram.
  • Subsystem, Part - holons beneath the level of the individual. Here we have again a near infinite number of possible ranks, subdivisions, etc (in the human physical body holon we would say organs, tissues, cells, molocules, atoms, etc)
  • Paramanu - this Sanskrit term means the ultimate or most fundamental atom (anu or minuteness). I'm using it here because the Greek term (atomos, indivisible) is already used by science (atom). It is here used in a hypothetical or figurative sense, as I am not referring to a specific funndamental particle. The paramanu may be superstrings or supermembranes of speculative modern physics, or something else again or even smaller, or it may be a unit or quantum of consciousness. However I disagree with Ken Wilber's statement that "it's turtles all the way up and down" [ref xxxx] because that implies an infinite regress; moreover I am going on the assumption that reality is corpsucular (Teilhard's term), granular or quantumised (this is the evidence from modern physics and there is nothing in immediate experience or occultism to disprove it.)
As with the four hierarchies in general, each of these holarchic levels might be said to be the sphere of analysis or understanding of one or another field of study or experience. So, just looking at things purely on the outer physical level (we'll examine the other metaphysical axii shortly), the Universal might be said to correspond to the laws of physics, chemistry, and mathematics, the Cosmic to astrophysics and astronomy, the Environmental to ecology, planetology, sociology, etc, the Individual to biology, psychology, and so on. Once again, these are only very crude generalisations, and should not be compiled into lists of rigid tables. Moroever, there are subjects like Astrology, which are discredited by both mainstream science and fundamentalist Christianity, but which are empirically valid (on the Cosmic and Environmental scales), sometimes astonishingly so (as someone who follows a scientific methodology I have been forced to accept the validity of astrology, despite my original scepticism).
This represents the Universal-Individual Axis on the Physical level. On the Psychic level it would be not science but esotericism and occultism that teaches these levels. But this is jumping ahead to the vertical axis; we will defer discussion regarding this a little first.
Ultimately, each end of the holarchy represents a particular polarity or aspect of the Absolute, and both the Universal and the "Paramanu" are united in the Transcendent, as shown below in the "quantitative scale":
These divisions seem - and are - pretty arbitary. Where does Environment/Collective end and Cosmic begin? And since an Individual may be a Part of a larger totality, isn't the distinction between these two superfluous? Wouldn't it be better to say atom - molocule - cell - tissue - organism - ecosystem - etc?
My reply is that what is important is not the details here, but the dynamic. A "cosmic" entity would function (manifest, be conscious, whatever...) in a completely different way to an individual entity. It would have a "distributed" rather than a "localised" existence. And even if and though a part of a larger whole, an individual entity would be an autonomous unit. So a person is an individual entity, a society is a distributed or collective entity. Or an ant is an individual entity, while the hive is a distributed or collective consciousness. The parts of an individual, on the other hand, are not autonomous. If you take a cell from your body, it won't survive on its own. Whereas a bacterium or a protozoan is an individual entity. Furthermore to have a spectrum like cell-organism, or individual-society, is anthropocentric, because what about worlds and regions of interstellar space. And obviously what is being discussed here is not simply (and usually not even) size, but complexity, organisation, and inclusiveness. Size in the sense of physical dimensions of length, width, and breadth, are qualities of the dense physical subplane of the vertical axis or ontocline, which is considered later in this essay.

The Mandala

The review of the above four gradations or polarities of being may imply that in order to explain everything, a four dimensional cartesian grid would be required. So for example a physical object might be considered as (from "least" to "most" ontologically significant):
Individual (holonic) - Outer aspect of Outer Being (being) - Dense Physical (plane) - Not-Self (self)
But while this may work in some instances, it may not in all. We find for example that Sri Aurobindo says that the Psychic / Innermost Being does not pertain to any of the conventional planes ("vertical" hierarchy) like Physical, Vital, or Mental (ref. xxxx) . Rather it supports the outer being. In Kabbalah, in Samkhya and Kashmir Shaivism, in Procline neoplatonism, and in Gnosticism, we find a sort of tree-like phylogeny of being, in which emanation from the original Godhead or Absolute branches out into a number of channels or worlds, aeons, tattwas, or sefirot, which then converge or alternatively further multiply. Sometimes there is a final convergence to represent the physical or material world (e.g. Malkhut in Kabbalah) as the "furthest point" from the Absolute. But this sort of dualism is probably too simplistic, especially since many more esoteric teachings speak about the Absolute or Godhead being beyond and giving rise to all polarities, dualities and opposites, all of which are reconciled and transcendend in the Source.
It may well be (although this is speculation) that the original polarity or divergence or Coming Into Being (by which the One becomes Many) is in the form of that most universal of glyphs and diagrams, the mandala.
MandalaThe image on the left is a typical Buddhist mandala. We have the four quarters, representing the four primary archetypes, four deities (with the fifth in the center), four elements, four Jungian ego-functions, four worlds, four colours, whatever. And you have a series of layers, leading to and focussing on the center.
When meditating upon the mandala, the consciousness is guided through the various layers or rings from the periphery representing the outer consciousness to the center representing the Buddha Mind at the core of one's being (shown by whatever deity the mandala addresses or embodies, in Buddhism all deities are aspects of the void (shunya) or Absolute Reality)

Yin and Yang

In a traditional mandala there are four such variables (one for each quarter or quadrant) plus a fifth as the Source otr Origin in the center. Alternatively, these can be seen as a doubled duality (as in the "bigrams" of the yin yang series of lines in the I Ching). The dynamic mandala applies the interrelationships between any two of these parameters or variables, or any two points on the same axis. One of these points or variables or modes will be "yang" and one will be "yin", because in any manifestation there is always a polarity (in the Absolute itself, this polarity - Yin and Yang (Chinese philosophy), Shiva and Shakti (Tantra), Hesed and Gevurah ( Kabbalah), whatever term one may wish to give to it - is considered latent and unmanifest), and indeed it is this polartity or difference in potential that not only causes but is manifestation.
The following is a suggestion of the polarity of the four parameters of existence (which - iof each is derived from an archetype or godhead, would fit nicely with the four points of the mandala:
  • Levels of Selfhood - orientation to the True Self / "I" or "Within" is the "yang" / Controller polarity; orientation to the Non-Self / "This" / "Without" or Phenomena is the "yin" / Work Component
  • The "Vertical" Axis / Planes of Existence - orientation to the Higher Nous = "yang" / Controller; orientation to Physical Matter is the "yin" / Work Component
  • The "concentric" Inner-Outer Axis - orientation to the Innermost Being is the "yang" / Controller polarity; ("subjective") to orientation to the Outermost (most external or "objective") Being is the "yin" / Work Component
  • The "horizontal" "Holarchy" Axis: orientation to the "Atomistic" Individuality is the "yang" / Controller polarity; while orientation to the larger Cosmic or Universal dimension is the "yin" / Work Component
It is important to understand that neither of these is more important than the other; both are complementary and necessary polarities of manifestation. This is not a moral cosmology of "good" and "evil".
The following diagram represents the various parameters as a sort of multi-dimensional grid.
Simple Integral Matrix
Each axis or parameter consitutes a distinct spectrum of consciousness (or "chain of being"). So the "vertical parameter" from physical matter to noetic planes consists of many subplanes.
Moreover each of these gradations is not a simple spectrum or series, but rather a fractal with numerous aspects and ramifications, each of which has a "yin" and a "yang" polarity. So matter is yin, spirit is yang; cosmic or universal is yin, individual is yang.
more More on trhese parameters here

The problem of Cartesian dualism

Cartesian dualism, the philosophy that mind/soul/consciousness/spirit and body/matter constitute an irreducable dichotomy, has characterised much of the ontology and metaphysics of western philosophy since the 17th century - both in its influence on those who support it and on those who oppose it. In fact it goes back before Descartes hismelf, all the way to Pythagoras, who spoke of the transmigration of souls (an idea he may have gotten from Brahmanism). From Pythagoras, dusalism was adopted by Plato, and from Plato it made its way - always modified but still with the same basic dichotomy, to Gnosticism and Christianity (especially Catholicism, literalist Christianity (e.g. Protestantism) denies the concept of a soul apart from the body), and thence to Descartes
Whilst philosophers like Spinoza and Liebnitz came up with creative attempts around the mind-body dualism, many of Descartes's later successors simply dropped the concept of spirit or mind altogether, and hence philosophical materialism and naive physicalism was born. With the rise of logical positivism and analytical p[hilsoophy, the fall of metaphysics, and the inability of rational-objectivist thought to solve the mind-body conundrum, Cartesian dualism fell totally out of favour in mainstream academia.
Early in the 20th century Teilhard de Chardin's evolutionary philosophy, and more recently Ken Wilber's Integral Philosophy, attempt a resolution of the original Cartesian (Mind-Body) dualism by replacing mind and matter with a single holistic reality that has a mind and matter or interior and exterior aspect (in Ken Wilber's Four Quadrant map, in which the left half of the diagram pertains to "interiors" or subjectivity, the right half to "exteriors" or objectivity (consisting of objects / "it" (Upper) and systems / "its" (Lower) quadrants).
The four axiis and Cartesian dualismThe quadontological approach to Cartesian dualism is rather different. This is shown on the left.
Quadontology (this present essay) argues that there is not a simple duality but rather four distinct polarities or gradations (ontoclines) of being, each witha "yin" (matter" so to speak) and a "yang") ("spirit" polarity. In Cartesian dualism the "Yang" polarity of three of the parameters are confused and jumbled together. This constitutes the mind or spirit member of the duality. However as far as everyday physical mundane reality goes, the "Yin" polarity of these three parameters do indeed merge, in what is usually considered "physical reality". This constitutes the "matter" or "body" element. There is also no "duality" between the two polarities of each ontological axis, simply a sequence or gradation.

The Absolute Reality as the Center

Like the center of the mandala which unites the four quarters, the Absolute can be said to constitute a fifth or unifying principle behind and at the heart of the other four. As Ken Wilber says about Spirit, it is both the highest member of the hierarchy and the underlying reality of the entire hierarchy {ABHOE p. xxx, etc]. But this is not entirely correct, because it is not only the highest member of each hierarchical spectrum, but also the lowest. I would follow Tantra and Taoism in saying that it is what preceds the original polarisation of each ontocline into purusha and prakriti, yin and yang. It is neither yin nor yang, higher or lower, self or non-self, but equally beyond both alone.
Parameters of Reality
Unmanifest Absolute

Reality in Itself
beyond Absolute and Phenomena
is the Ultimate Reality of
is the Ultimate Reality of
is the Ultimate Reality of
(The Manifest Absolute)
The One
Absolute Unity
The Many within One:
These aspects within and of Unity, expressing absolute Harmony and Perfection
Aspects that are polarised (yin-yang) and dualistic.
These constitute the dimensions of Kosmic and phenomenal, dualistic, involtionary-evolutionary existence

Perhaps each of these sequences begins from a different aspect of the Absolute. Or maybe from the same aspect expressed in different ways.  Whilst still within the Absolute, all these dimension/parameters are unitary.  Within the Absolute Reality things are simple (Absolute Unity, Inifite, timeless spaceless consciousness, etc). But when they are projected down into and as finite or relative existence, distinction appears, and separation, and complexity. It seems to be a common esoteric teaching (and one that makes a lot of sense) that the purpose of the ever-unfolding Kosmos, of phenomenal existence, is for the infinite possibilities within the Absolute Itself to be allowed individual expression.

An Interpretation of Human Knowledge

The following diagram represents a theory of knowledge based on the quadontological model. (Universal-Individual is not represented here because it is accepted by both the physicalist and esoteric perspectives)
Almost all of the vast body of knowledge acquired by western secular cvilization, and which is currently increasing at an exponential rate, is clustered at the "outer-physical-objective" pole. Although this is balanced by non-western "perennial philosophy", this traditional corpus is being overwhelmed by the newer material, and moreover being interptreted as incorrect, myth and metaphor, premodern, and so on. This is where I differ very radically from the physicalist anti-metaphysical modernist/postmodernist position of Wilber (in the Integral movement) and Academia, and side with the traditionalist metaphysical stance of Huston Smith (Smith 1987), and its 19th and 20th century deveolpments in Theonian Tradition, Theosophy, Hermeticism, Aurobindoan Integral Yoga, and so on. Not that scfience and literalry criticism are incorrect; in fact i believe that within their fields (outer-physical-objective) they are completely correct. The error arises when this validity is extended to apply to the whole field of reality, just as Anthroposophy etc goes wrong when it is used to explain the dense physical (as opposed to the subtle physical!) resonances of the universe and rejects the currently established planetological, geological and evolutionary knowledge.

State-Specific Sciences

In the 1970s, Charles T Tart proposed state-specific sciences as a way of studying non-ordinary states of consciousness in a scientific as opposed to a mystical manner (Tart 1972, Tart 1975a, etc; short summary here ). Every altered state of consciousness has its own characteristics, and people experiencing those states make certain statements or observations regarding their experiences or insights. These may seem non-sensical or even pathological from the perspective of ordinary physical consciousness, which by its very nature is unable to evaluate the altered states. In order to know if non-ordinary experiences have an inherent sense or truth in themselves, Dr Tart suggests training observers or scientists who enter the altered state in question, make observations and theorize while within those states, sharing these observations and theories with each other, and refining this process over time. the aim would be to see if trained observers can agree on things within the ASC, even if those in the ordinary state of consciousness cannot understand what they are doing.
The implication of SSSci methodology is that objectivist-physicalist science is ultimately just one SSSci among many possible SSScis. The fact that objectivist science is so successful in gathering and building upon knowledge does not mean it is the only "science". I would suggest that two examples of alternative but equally valid SSScis might be Lucid Dreaming and Astral Projection (these tend to shade into each other), and Hermetic Occultism.
Despite its potential, the SSSci initiative does not seem to have made much progress. There was also a mail list but this has not been recently added to (see external link State-Specific Sciences Home Page)
There is another problem (apart from just generating interest in the world of academia) with the concept of SSSci's. The aim of a SSSci is to distinguish between authentic insights pertaining to that d-ASC, and idiosyncratic ramblings, just as secular science distinguishes between genuine and spurious observation. My own phenomenbological approach would be to treat all experiences equally. Even if one may pertain to a larger reality, and another simply to the state of consciousness or mental space of that person, they both are datums of consciousness; only one is "shared" and the other is not. Going beyond this, one may even ask whether this very methodology - even a meta-methodology of scienctific thought as the distinguishing of Truth and validilty from error - apply universally? Many extreme non-ordinary states of consciousness are by their very nature so different that it is not possible to translate them to verbal concepts (Mirra for example often refers to this in The Agenda, e.g. pp. xxx, xxx). One might say that the "closer" (in the sense of ontoclines, defined later) to the objective physical as mediated through the rational mind, the more that SSSci methodology applies; the further away, the less it does.
Although examples of non secular-objectivist State Specific Sciences seem to be rare, this is not the case with what Dr Tart refers to as State Specific Technologies (Tart 1975a pp.40-43), and perhaps many techniques such as Buddhist, Patanjalian, and Tantric Yoga/Meditation, Sufi dhikr, and so on are "State Specific Technologies" having as their goal the accomplishment of liberation. A baser use might be emotional manipulation at a revivalist meeting (ibid p.41-42)
Going further, one might also postulate State Specific Art, State Specific Worldviews, State Specific Paradigms, State Specific Point of views (an opinion or observation that makes sense within a d-SoC but not outside it. Unlike State Specific Science it does not have to be verified) and so on. The whole concept of something being State of Consciousness Specific opens up a whole vast series of methodologies and phenomenologies, and breaks the tyranny of naive physicalism.
The opposite of State of Consciousness Specific is, obviously, State of Consciousness Generic: arts, sciences, philosophies, paradigms, etc which might apply across the board and hold regardless of the specific state of consciousness (d-SoC) of the subject. Then there are Multi State of Consciousness arts, sciences, philosophies, techniques, and so on, which why not being actually generic, are not limited to one specific d-SoC. They have a span or range that incorporates and includes a number of d-SoCs,

Cosmology, Involution, and Evolution

Reality is not static. There is however a disagreement among various religions, philosophies, and esoteric systems as regards the way in which the cosmos came about, and where it is heading. Some insist on a timeless metaphysical sequence of emanation (e.g. Neoplatonism, pre-Lurianic Kabbalah), or an indefinite or endless series of cycles of creation/emanation and withdrawl/dissolution (Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism), whilst others propose a dramaturgic sequence of fall and restitution (Gnosticism, Christianity, Lurianic Kabbalah), others again a cyclic series of evolutionary descents into matter and return to spirit (Theosophy, Anthroposophy), or an evolutionary ascent (Darwinism) involving a series of quantum stages (Teilhard 1957, Haskell, Jantsch), or a descent and an ascent (Hegel, Sri Aurobindo 1977, Wilber 2005)


By "Involution" is meant the descent or transformation of "spirit" into "matter". This is usually associated with the theory of Emanation. Since "spirit" (or the Absolute, or "God" if you want to use that religious term) comes first, there must be some way to explain how this original Transcendent Reality and Consciousness becomes the universe of multiplicity and finite existence. In Neoplatonism and Kashmir Shaivism this is explained in terms of the mechanics of emanation, which is a timeless ahistorical process. Some esoteric cosmologies go further, and introduce a historical element. In this, the creation or formation of the Physical Universe was preceeded by a number of previous non-physical, psychic or spiritual stages; for example the elaborate Theosophical and Anthroposophic concept of prior Rounds and Root Races, and the fascinating imaginative accounts of pre-creation fall and restitution that are central to the Gnostic and Lurianic Kabbalistic dramaturgies.
In all these instances, there is generally just a single parameter or dimension of being. But as the present thesis presumes the existence of four ontological gradations, emanation cannot be a simple linear process. It is suggested therefore that as far as the creation or coming into being of the physical universe is ccncerned, involution/emanation is fourfold. Or rather, there are four distinct processes, all of which come together to constitute objective physical reality. Physical reality is thus a sort of maximum involution stage, but also the point of greatest stability (hence the positive interepretation of the Samkhyan guna (quality) of tamas as "stability"). In the Lurianic Kabbalistic conception this is the "central point" ("Malkhut of Assiah" - the lowest sefirah of the lowest world) because it is furthest from the Godhead . This is perhaps based on the medieval worldview which is - as Arthur Lovejoy points out, not so much geocentric as hadocentric (ref
Four-fold involutionAs indicated in the diagram on the left, the mundane physical reality comes about through the Involution of Consciousness, the Descent of Mind (and Astral and Etheric), the Exteriorisation of the Inner Being, and the Individualisation or atomistic focus of Universal and Cosmic Being.
We see this symbolically indicated in the Kabbalistic tree of life, where three sephirot (Netzah (lowest sefirah of the pillar of mercy), Hod (lowest sefirah of the pillar of severity), and Yesod (pillar of balance)) all converge on a fourth one, Malkhut or Kingdom (also pillar of balance, lowest sefirah of it), which represents mundane reality. (This is however in the modern hermetic Kabbalistic tree (e.g. in the Golden Dawn system); early versions of the tree and Malkhut connected only to Yesod). This could be thought of to represenet different worlds and parameters, although as analogies only, the three pillars do not easily correspond to the four axii of being presented here.
Of course, there can still be, and often is, involution and emanation along only one of these lines of manifestation. There can be an exteriorisation of Inner Being on the Mental or Astral level, or an involution of consciousness so it identifies with its objects on a subtle level of existence. But it wouldn't be correct to have a simple 4-dimensional cartesian fractal grid, since not all combinations are valid. For example at the higher noetic levels there is no identification with objects or outer being, as the beings on this level are fully conscious of their own divine natures. At least this is what the perennial philosophy would seem to indicate, referring to the higher worlds or realms of Light. This is why the Tree is equally valid as a metaphor as the Grid. But even a partial Map of reality is still to be worked out, the suggestions here are just the barest hints and tentative musings.

Evolution - the whole picture

Current accounts of evolution, both scentific and esoteric, tend to be limited and one-sided. Either they only describe the physical side of thngs, with the higher faculties (life, mind, etc) explained in a holistic way and in terms of emergent evolution, and the occult elements ignored (the evolutionary cosmology of Teilhard, the systems theory synthesis of Jantsch, and the integralist position of Gebser and Wilber), or they describe things only from a psychic perspective (e.g. Theosophy and Anthroposophy, with their detailed accounts of rounds and root races) but get the science completely wrong (19th century concepts of Lemuria and Atlantis don't fit with modern archeology, biogeography, and plate tectonic theories (although the Theosophists argue that Lemuria = Gondwana)).
In fact both sides are right, but each side fails to incorporate the other, and so each remains partial.
The only way to understand the whole picture is through a truely integralist perspective that doesnt run away from occultism and metaphysics on the one hand, and the findings of science on the other. This means a paradigm that both sides are likely to reject as being too way out or diverging too much from their own preferred worldview. And this is what I have attempted to do here.

Evolution and Physical Reality

A number of esoteric and spiritual teachings assert that it is necessary to come down to the physical plane and take on a human incarnation or some physical form to achieve enlightenment or liberation, For instance Buddhism refers to the "precious Human Rebirth"; the idea that even the gods would hav eto incarnate in physical form to progress was held by Blavatsky and apparently Theon as well, and Sai Baba also mentions something like this in one of his talks. Sri Aurobindo makes the intriging suggestion that evolution is only possible in a physical existence, because the other realms and beings are "typal" and hence unchanging.
If these ideas are correct, it suggests why physical reality exists. It is only in the outer physical being that the original Consciousness is solid enough to enable the interaction and synergy of dynamic systems. More, if we assume the merit of Sri Aurobindo's concept of Supramentalisation: it is only in this physical mode that existence is dense and stable enough to form the foundation for structures that can be perfected; that is, that can be the vehicle of, and take on the consciousness of, the Noetic Absolute ("supermind").

Evolutionary Stages - Six Singularities

Teilhard's Evolutionary Spiral
Teilhard's Evolutionary Spiral - from Higher Ground by Ann K Elliott
The idea of goal-directed evolution (teleology) goes all the way back to Aristotle, who taught that God (Theos) is the examplar or final cause (teleos) to which the whole Cosmois is moving.
This idea was taken up again by Jesuit priest and paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, who developed a theory of spiritual evolution, according to which evolution is a process of ever-increasing "interiorisation", complexity, and psychicisation or spiritualisation of a single squence from basic (atomic or subatomic) matter to humanity and beyond. At every stage the same basic processes apply, which lead to the evolution is both an upward and forward movement through space and time, leading to the arising of larger and more complex forms, from cosmogenesis (Matter) through biogenesis (Life) to noogenesis (Mind). According to Teilhard, humanity's evolutionary path is converging towards the "Omega Point" of Christogenesis, leading to the Consummation or Christing of creation. (Teilhard de Chardin, 1959)
Teilhard's ideas have been very influential, and contrinuted to subsequent teleological or spiritual theories of evolution, such as those of Oliver Reiser (Cosmic Humanism), and Edward Haskell (Universal Science). At the same time as Teilhard was developing his cosmology, Sri Aurobindo was working on his Integral Yoga and doctrine of Supermind, and there are a number of similar elements in both teachings.
General Co-Action Compass
Haskell 1972 p. xxx
Incorporating Unified Science (Haskell et al) with Aristotle, Teilhard de Chardin, and Wikipedia link Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky we could say that Evolution is that upward teleological progression, determined by synergy, in which the Supreme is the Archetype to which everything is striving. This is shown as the omega at the top right of the diagram on the left. Speaking process-wise (or pantheistically) it could be said that the Divine activity is revealed synergetically in the syntropic ascent, each of which leads to the emergance of new possibilities, a new singularity, and a new evolutionary attainment. In this diagram three evolutionary levels are shown - abiotic, biotic, and cultural (corresponding to Matter, Life, and Mind). (Dozier, 1992)
A more complex representation of these same three levels is provided by Erich Jantsch:
Despite the different format, both diagrams are saying pretty much the same thing, although each emphasises and different details.
It seems that three "kingdoms" (or singularity jumps) seems to be a common schema (Sri Aurobindo refers to Matter, Life and Mind, the same triad), both Arthur M Young, and the Unified Science team, also refer to sub-atomic particles, atoms and molocules as separate "kingdoms" so to speak. Ultimately there's any number of ways to divide things up, according to how you rank the singularities (e.g. sub-atomic particles, atoms and molocules can all be included under "matter"). Werner Schwemmler for example destinguishes between Cosmogensis (matter - physics: sub-atomic particles and atoms) and Chemogenesis (molocules), and in addition has Biogenesis (Life) and Sociogenesis (Mind or Culture, represented by Man) (Schwemmler 1989). And as we have seen Ken Wilber presents a universal classification ("AQAL") in terms of evolution expressed in terms of four quadrants (interior and exterior, individual and collective) rather than a single sequence (Wilber 2000, 2000a, 2000b, etc). These stages are shown below:
Here instead of the detailed dynamics of three or four major singularity stages, there is a sequence representing a larger number of finer stages, in the above diagram numbered 1 to 13. The early stages in the right half of the diagram is based on Erich Jantsch's stages, whilst the the left half corresponds to Wilber's own theory of personal psychological development and collective cultural evolution. Another representation of this diagram are the series of tables at the back of Wilber's book Integral Psychology.
The following table compares the different viewpoints.
Teilhard de ChardinSri AurobindoUnified ScienceErich JantschWerner SchwemmlerKen WilberCurrent thesis
Omega PointSupermind------higher stagesTheogenesis
NoosphereMindHuman kingdomsociocultural evolutionSociogenesis9 to 13Noogenesis
BiosphereLifeAnimalsBiogenesis5 to 8Psychogensis (Metazoa etc)
Plants (incl. prokaryotes)Biosphere / ecological /
sociobiological evolution
3 to 4Biogenesis (Prokaryotes, etc)

MatterGeoidsCosmic EvolutionChemogenesis2Chemogenesis
(chemical evolution, dynamic systems)
Reviewing the evolution of the cosmos, it seems that the early stages follow each other through a mechanical process of self-emergence (i.e. given the laws of the universe and the expanding cosmos), the early stages like the Lepton Era, the Hadron Era etc follow each other mechanically, and are almost totally of the nature of "exteriors" and hence amenable to scientific method with little or no distrortion. But the later stages, the formation of primitive life, and then more advanced life, which involve increasing complexity and organisation, require and imply more "interior" or "within" as Teilhard would say. And it is here where objectivist science completely breaks down, because it can only study life by dehumanising it, by the very opposite of empathy, as shown with the laboratory animal, trapped and experimented upon with little or no consideration for its welfare.
So even though the early stages represent singularity breaks and leaps of physical organisation, they constiutute a more negligable progression or gradation as regards the spiritual facet, whereas the latter stages such as Biogenesis and Psychogenesis do not differ as much externally as the difference between atoms and molocules say, there is more difference consciousness wise, in the within or noetic pole of things. One could also postulate a future stage of Theogenesis or Divinisation (corresponding to Teilhard's Omega Point), in which there is an even greater degree of development of the Interiors.
The six evolutionary singularities, and primary evolutionary phases, postulated here can be listed as follows:
Evolution from Material Physical to Divinised Physical - diagram by M Alan Kazlev
Cosmogenesis, the birth or coming into being of the physical universe - what Ken Wilber calls the Physiosphere, and Mark Edwards seems to refer to as the "Spatiosphere", see external link Through AQAL Eyes) - via the Big Bang and supermembranes or whatever was the factor that preceeded it )hence we can posit an earlier stage of Physiogenesis, which is the result of emanation). There is only one "Spatiosphere" or "Physiosphere" in and as our universe, and it pertains to the maximum involution of consciousness, and the lower levels of what Sri Aurobindo calls the Inconscient (French for "Unconscious")
Chemogenesis, the birth or coming into being of dynamic systems, enabling chemical evolution and the development of nebula, planets and the evolution of inanimate matter which nevertheless constitutes basic physical and chemical levels of organisation. These stages have been ably categorised by scientific universalists like Erich Jantsch and Werner Schwemmler. While matter is not conscious in terms of sentience, at the Inner levels it is experienced as the involved and hidden consciousness of matter, the "earth mind", which pertains to the Inconscient.
Biogenesis, the birth or coming into being of organic life, through the descent and incarnation of etheric principles and non-physical life-forms. I would suggest examples of this can be found in the "First Root Race" described by Blavatsky and equivalent concepts presented by Trevor James Constable. This enables completely new levels of organisation, expressed on Earth with the origin of life during the Archean or even the late Hadean era. No doubt similar evolutionary developments have occured on other worlds as well; in fact prokaryote organisms may well be ubiquitous. Biogenesis pertains to the cellular level of consciousness, the "water mind" or what Wilber calls the "Uroboric" stage.
Psychogenesis, the birth or coming into being of feeling, psyche and inward life, and the descent and incarnation of astral and astral-etheric principles. Examples of this might be found in concepts of lemurian and atlantean root races described by Steiner, and similar ideas (uroboric, magical thinking etc) in the evolutionary philosophy of Ken Wilber (more on parallels between Wilber and Steiner here). Empathy indicates that animals have a fully developed psychic faculty, as advanced or more advanced than that of man. On Earth I would associate psychogenesis with the development of the nervous system, this puts it at the time of the Cambrian explosion and the origin of metazoa. Again, Psychogensis would have occured on all worlds in the universe where complex life is found, although this is not likely to have been anywhere as common as biogensis. If it was there would be a lot of planets where intelligent technological beings evolved, and hence the Earth would have been colonised by aliens long ago. This is what is known as the Fermi Paradox. Psychogenesis pertains to the overall somatic and conscious intentional-behavioural level of consciousness, and its shadow "the double"
Noogenesis (a useful word coined by Teilhard), the birth or coming into being of higher cognitive thought, mental or intellectual understanding, the descent into physical embodiment of mind, associated here on Earth with the "head consciousness" and the brain. Th result has been mental organsiation of matter, in other words, civilization and the newtwork of knowlefdge (the noosphere). If this has occured elsewhere (which it probably has), it has not happened often, because otherwise at least one race out of all those thousands or millions would have develped interstellar space craft (or even self-replicating nano-pribes) Fermi Paradox again.
Theogenesis, the birth or coming into being of the Divine reality, the transformation and divinisation of the lower creation by the noetic Absolute. This is the consumamtion of evolution as currentkly understood (but not the end of evolutionas such). It will give rise to new divine levels of organisation in matter, the Life Divine in Sri Aurobindo's turn of phrase, and the spiritualisation (but not the dissolving) of Earth. This is somethng that has been variously described by different phsilosophies, religions, and teachings.

Individual and collective evolution

Emergent evolutionist and Wilberian integralist cosmologies describe the process of evolution on a collective or planetary (and even cosmic) level, but ignore the role of the individual. This is because, obviously, evolution requires millions or billions of years, whereas a single human lifetime is only 70 or 80 years, and that of an insect or a worm a lot less. And for the cosmos to attain godhood is not much comfort if you have long ago become dust. However, Theosophical, Anthroposophical, and other occult cosmologies, and Indian-based teachings such as those of Sri Aurobindo and Meher Baba, present a far grander view of the individual, who evolves through progressive transmigration or rebirth through sucessive lifetimes. And in an oft-quoted poem, the great Sufi Rumi seems to talk about this sort of evolution, when he says
I died as a mineral and became a plant,
I died as plant and rose to animal,
I died as animal and I was Man....
Yet once more I shall die as Man,
to soar With angels blest;
but even from angelhood I must pass on:
all except God doth perish.
-Translated by A. J. Arberry
Of course, it is not clear if he is talking literally or, more likely, figuratively, because Sufism does not admit a belief in reincarnation.
And not all occult theories of reincarnation and evolution are tenable. Rudolph Steiner taught a sort of clockwork absurdity in which every person reincarnates once every 1,240 (or however many) years, alternating as male and female with each incarnation, and evolving exact time to the evolution of the Earth and the Solar System. Steiner does not speak of any evolution beyond the "Saturn sphere", and says that in 14 thousand years the present Earth will have completely spiritualised (and similarily 14,000 years ago the Earth did not exist). This sort of creationist perception show that esotericism alone cannot be provide a history of the physical universe.
A more flexible and integral perspectie can acknowledge both planetary and cosmic evolution of nature on the one hand, and individual spiritual evolution. This might be shown as follows:
UniverseCosmic Universal evolution, Big Bang formative events, large-scale structures (galactic superclusters etc), entropy and omega, cosmic divinizationseveral or many cosmic cycles of emanation and withdrawl (kalpas)
CosmicGalactic, Interstellar, and stellar evolution, heavy element formation (nuclear synthesis), nebula and star formation and decay, posthuman/post-singularitan "swarming", cosmic divinizationComing into and passing out of embodiment of cosmic occult entities
EnvironmentalProtoplanetary, chemical, geological, biological, ecological, and planetological evolution, progressive development and phylogeny atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, sociosphere, technosphere, noosphere, and theosphere, posthuman singularity, an "swarming", cosmic divinization
IndividualIndividual psycho-physical development / ontogenyRebirth and spiritual growth and development to perfection through successive psychophysical rebirths
Part or Cell or SubsystemIndividual physical or psycho-physical development / ontogenyComing into and passing out of existence
It may be argued that a concept like reincarnation is "unscientific:" or "eastern". But in fact it simply is something that is treated sceptically in the West because it is not part of the exoteric materialistic-Judeo-Christiuan canon. If moreover one accepts a concept like an immortal evolving divine indidividual consciousness, the concept of successive rebirth naturally follows.
Although both Theosophy and Ken Wilber's Holonomic cosmology assert that "everything evolves", and so don't discriminate between a rock or galaxy and an insect or a person, this is a minority view in terms of the perennial philosophy. I have decided to follow the Aurobindonian position which has the spiritual evolution of physical beings as central in evolutionary terms. The gods may be far vaster and more powerful, but they don't evolve in the same way as physical entities do.
Evolution of the Subtle Body:
If we adopt this teleological perspective of physical evolution, it suggests taht evolution involves progressive individualisations of "octaves" of the gross and subtle physical reality. In terms of occult planes and resonances, the Dense Physical plane or octave is "psychicised" and "spiritualised" by a number of resonances representing the embodiment of higher realities within the physical. In Theosophy and the New Age, these are called the Etheric, Emotional, and Mental bodies. These are the densest of the "subtle bodies", and constitute progressive developments of emergement evolution, as an expression of the increasing degree of "within" or interiorisation that is associated with each evolutionary stage. And while it would be wrong to state things dogmatically, we could speak in terms of generalities or symbolic associations. So chemogenesis means the first activity of the etheric, biogenesis means etheric individualisation and the first activity in the physical of the emotional / psyche / sentience (the embodied astral - scaled down from Greater Astral Reality to Astral Physical to Emotional Body), psychogenesis means emotional/psychic individualisation and the first activity in the mental physical (or mental body, which is likewise scaled down from the State or universe of Pure Mind). And noogenesis means both the full individualisation of the mental body (hence man the "thinking being") and the first activity in the spiritual mental levels, which only appear in a few visionary thinkers, philosophers, and sages, while most of the masses are caught in a mentalised emotionalism / emotionalised intellect. However, if Sri Aurobindo is to believed, then the gradual evolution from mental to higher mental to illumined mental and so on is to be bypassed by the supramental process (or Theogenesis)
Evolution and Subtle Bodies
Each individualisation is also accompanied by / generates / is caused by a collective etheric, emotional, mental, and supramental transformation, itself initiated by the activity of occult and higher spiritual hierarchies
In addition to the lower subtle bodies there are higher and more occult ones pertaining to the Astral Physical, Spiritual Physical, Greater Astral, and Greater Ideational-Mental. These don't necessarily follow the evolutionary sequence of the Dense Physical; indeed the further from the oputer physical reality one goes, the less that physical laws - and equivalent current holistic-integralistic ones based on them - make sense, and new understanding is required (for example one can learn about the Astral Reality through a study of Hermetic Kabbalah).
This why any attempt at a total knowledge, an integral knowledge that embraces everything, that remains shackled to modernist or postmodernist anti-metaphysical prejudices, will always be partial attempts. To explore and understand Reality in its fullness it is necessary to incorporate metaphysical, esoteric, and occult teachings and systems of knowledge and practice.

Occult factors in Evolution

We have seen that Theosophical and Anthroposophical cosmologies present evolution in terms of the progressive individuation of successive metaphysical principles by a reincarnating monad. This is really just the temporalisation of the standard Graeco-Medieval "Great Chain of Being". So minerals have a physical body only, plants both a physical and an etheric, animals add an astral body, and humanity a mental body (Theosophy) or Ego/Soul (Anthroposophy).
While this insight is probably basically correct, it is far too simplistic as presented above as literalist esotericism. A better hypothesis would be a two-way interaction in which emergent evolution results in the individuation of etheric, emoptional, and mental resonances in the physical, and that these resonances in turn shape emergent evolution, but that it is not a simplistic one on correspondence in that the mental faculty only appears in human evolution. In fact rudimentary mental bodies would seem to have appeared along with primitive invertebrates, as higher invertebrates like cephalopods, and higher vertebrates, both have sophisticated mental bodies. And the principle that drives this evolution is both the inner striving of the divine soul/monad/higher self, and the dynamic environment shaped by larger physical and occult cosmecological (astrognostic) forces and beings.
Earlier it has been suggested that involution involves the convergence of four distinct but interrelated ontoclines. The same could be said for evolution.
We begin with the understanding - suggested by Steven Guth several years ago - that the Earth, rather than being an isolated bubble in the empty void of space, is an open system which is constantly receiving forces or "beings" from elsewhere in the cosmos, and these influence the evolution of life, consciousness, and civilisation here. Early thoughts on this hypothesis are in these essays (Considering Islam and Cosmogenic evolution)
Now this hypothesis can be extended.
Evolution works on a number of levels, influenced by a number of factors, the boundaries between which may not always be clear or distinct. What we experience and what science understands as physical processes, physical evolution, human history, and so on, is only the most visible focal point of a much vaster gestalt, and that influences from the cosmos and from higher dimensions of consciousness ray in constantly. And conversely, that the Earth itself - at its present stage of evolution - serves as a beacon, radiating out in turn, and attracting more influences.
Moreover, evolution is not constant, but proceeds through a series of sudden leaps or saltations, through which a completely new form of existence emerges. Following Vernor Vinge, I use the term "Singularity" to describe this event. An alternative term would be "novelty", these are points at which there is a radical new development on Earth. Terence McKenna used the I Ching (or at least one interpretation thereof) to formulate a "timewave" [ref The Invisible Landscape], on which can be he mapped various events in history and the evolution of the Earth [link]. Unfortunately, McKenna insists on ending his 60 billion year timewave in 2012 (to fit it with the Mayan Calender), and this arbitrary date (once again the ahrimanic belief in "God" and apocalypse and what not) wrecks any objective validity such a system may have.
Now let us tie the above two insights together. Each time a new force or impetus rays into the earth, the result is a singularity, and the larger the force or impetus, the greater the Singularity or Novelty
But what is the nature of that new force or impetus? Here we have to consider the occult and esoteric dimensions and ontoclines. One might suggest a number of different "cosmic" factors that act upon the evolution of the planet. These hidden or occult ("occult" means hidden, invisible to the external senses) forces and factors and beings and personalities act upon the external (i.e. what is visible to the sense and to scientific instruments) physical reality, and determine astrophysical, planetological, Darwinian (natural selection, and variation through seemingly random genetic mutations - the response of life on the most physical level to its environment), and historical processes.
And all this is not to deny the physical mechanism of evolution known to science, and explained in every textbook on this subject. But Darwinian and sociohistorical processes are like the tip of the iceberg, that part of biological and social evolution we can see and observe and measure and study physically. Beneath or behind the surface there are many other forces and factors at work, shaping and determining things behind the scenes, and what science and history calls "chance" or "random" only appears to be. Carl Jung touches on this with his concept of Synchronicity, but the I Ching explains it much better. This, it is suggested, works through the expression of consciousness on a quantum level, causing both tiny and, occasionally, large singularities or burst of novelty, leading to the unfolding and development of consciousness and a greater range of potential expression for embodied existence and life.
The Formative/Morphogenetic - Immediately beyond, behind, and within the objective physical are the matrix or blueprints of the external. Rupert Sheldrake decsribed this best as the process of formative causation. It is not the mundane physical but pertains to the etheric (subtle physical) body and to environmental and perhaps even to larger cosmic etheric forces (But not universal because it changes through time), and to the inner rather than the outer being. And related to this there are samskaras or impressions from the past, from past lives and so on, as well as whatever else is carried over from individual past lives or from the collective evolution of the planet from its earlier stages. In the table of occult planes and resonances, the Morphogenetic derives from the Spiritual Physical.
The Ecodevic - In addition to - and further removed from the material physical than - the above are a whole host of forces: subtle physical, etheric, and physico-astral elementals, astral-mental (or orecto-ideational) group minds, devas (sensu New Age definition) of various kinds. We can call them ecodevas and in fact the nature hierarchies as a whole. They seem to correspond to the environmental intermediate (between inner and outer) or inner level of being of the Subtle Physical (Astral Physical and Spiritual Physical) and Physical Astral. More on them here
The Astrodevic - Then there are beings - here termed astrodevas to distinguish them from the terrestrial or ecodevas - that come in from elsewhere in the physical universe. One might think of the Earth at its present stage in evolution with such vibrant activity of biological life forms and human thought as radiating out into the cosmos and attracting these things. More on one such being here. These forces seem to correspond to the same strata as the Ecodevic, but on the cosmic level of being.
The Interdimensional - Then there are also beings, like the above, but which come from other physical or etheric universes than our own.
The Supraphysical - Then there is the descent of spiritual or occult forces from totally supraphysical dimensions of being - from the Astral or possibly even the Ideational universe. But because we might assume that the higher the universe the harder to express, so most of these phenomena are from the Astral Plane. This is also the kingdom of beings that often come through genuine (as opposed to physical astral) channelled communications. These astral forces might sometimes be seen to be tied with the astrodevic forces from space, at other times they are purely universal. These forces and principles and gods and daimons may come from any of the supraphysical planes or universes, and the nature of the descent and what the new hierarchy or kingdom or revelation or divine or non-divine or anti-divine manifestation brings varies accordingly.
The Divine - And finally there are specific avataric descents from the highest levels, from the Divine or the Supreme Consciousness and the infinite higher possibilities of the Noetic Absolute. According to Sri Aurobindo (don't have the actual ref on me) every major evolutionary ascension of consciousness involves a divine descent. And Teilhard de Chardin [ref] refers to evolution moving or drawn towards a consummate point or goal, the omega point.
All these influences, each of which is not single but itself includes whole "kingdoms" or "hierarchies" of "beings" or forces, are not distinct in their influences, but often overlap.

Evolution of the Individuality

Behind the various subtle bodies is The Soul, the indwelling Divine principle, the Higher Self, the spiritual Soul or "psychic Being" which evolves to perfecton through successive rebirths (Aurobindo Life Divine, and Theosophy ref) and provides the inner spiritual motivation or orientation for the outer personality, especially when it is sufficiently developed. In developing an empathetic cosmology, one shouldn't just think that only humans have a soul, but rather acknowledge that all sentient beings, or even, as animism asserts, all things, have a soul. The Soul corresponds to the Innermost Purushic level of being. But things are not so simple.
Earlier the trinity of Self, Non-Self, and the Overlap between the two was described as the Self-not-self sequence. Eastern philosophies like Samkhya and Advaita Vedanta refer to the buddhi (Samkhya) or "witness" (Advaita) as the reflection of Pure Consciousness or Self (purusha, atman) upon non-conscious nature (prakriti). In the same way, there is a polarity between the Higher Self and the Double) No dubt there are further transitional levels of self as well. The following sequence of hypostases follows in part Sri Aurobindo in distinguishing between a prakritic being, an inner being, and a transcendent higher self; Assagioli (left), as well as Freudian psychology. The diagram on the left, and the following list, shows the sequence sugggested here:
Theosophical concept of the levels of Self
  • Paramatman / Buddha Mind - This has already been described
  • Transcendent Higher Self - This is the "Celestial" Higher Self, the "Man of Light", Heavenly Twin, the Angelic Spirit, the Guide of Light, etc in Hermetic, Sufi, Gnostic, and other such traditions, Ar-Ruh al-Qudsi/Supreme Spirit, Christ in Christian mysticism and esoteric Christianity, the Transcendent "Central being" (Jivatam) guiding incarnations (Aurobindo), Higher or Spiritual Self (Assagioli), and the Monad of Theosophy (right). At least one experience [link xxxx] indicates a Matrix of Higher Selves.
  • Immanent/Evolving Higher Self - This is the Divine Soul or Purusha as immanent Divine Soul; the Pneuma or Divine Spark of Gnosticism, Sri Aurobindo's Chaitya Purusha or "Psychic Being", perhaps also Kashmir Shaivism Purusha, the Immortal Personality evolving to perfection, the Divine Soul or Higher Triad or Immortal Ego (right) of Theosophy and Alice Bailey's teachings. Many teachings confuse the two higher selves, but I am here following Sri Aurobindo in considering them separate but in relation to each other. This is just like the Heavenly Twins of ancient Hermetic, Gnostic, Ishraqi, and Sufi thought.
  • Essential Being - True Being or purushas of each level, according to Sri Aurobindo (perhaps Samkhya seems to refer here to the mental purusha). These are part of the Inner Being that supports the prakritic nature (It is unclear whether Sri Aurobindo considers the Inner Being and the True Bewing as one or two principles). Also the Antakarana or "Inner Being" (especially Buddhi and Ahamkara) of Samkhyan philosophy in part. This is equivalent in part to the "Divine Soul".
  • Ego - Conscious Self - This is the conscious personality or conscious self, the Ego according to Freud and Jung, the Manas and Manovijnana of Samkhya and Yogachara respectively, the "field of consciousness", the part of our being we identity with as "I" or "self" or "mind" or "soul". Normally it corresponds to the Outer or Surface Consciousness, but with spiritual development the field of consciosuness expands and is elevated to include more of the inner being. The Ego or I corresponds also to the Upper Left Quadrant in Wilber's Integral map.
  • Double / "It" / Unconscious - The "Double" or "Id" (literally, "It") is that part of the self that is experienced as "other", as a sort of Double or Doppleganger to the Ego. It can be understood as a transitional or intermediate reality between the complete Not-Self, which is specifically not a part of the individual, and the ego. In other words, it is intermediate between Within and Without, Subjectivity and Objectivity, Interiors and Exteriors. It lies outside the field of consciousness, but it still connected to the psyche, although it has a large degree of autonomy. A review of the Double in folktales and elsewhere (including Steiner's teachings) can be found here
  • Not-self / All Other Selves - To some extent this is the Prakriti of Samkhya and Advaita, but also everything that is not included in the individual Self. It is also, at least in its physical aspect, Objective reality according to science and secular thought.
As part of their development, and to maintain an "equilibrium", all these souls (or rather, the actions and reactions of their psychophysical vehicles and instruments in which they are incarnated) weave a "karmic pattern" or "karmic web", as the New Age people would say, and this individual and collective karma is a determining factor in world events as well as in the lives of individual beings.
All of which can be shown diagrammatically as follows:

Glossary of Evolution Ontodynamic terms

I originally intended to formulate an ontodynamic theory in terms of a number of well organized fundamental principles, like the axiis of manifestation in the quadontology section. But instead this section became a sort of mini-encyclopaedia, and in the end I merged the ontodynamics and quadontology, and ontodynamics and evolution. The result was the following an alphabetical listing and glossary.
Anagenesis evolutionary change in a single lineage that does not result in a new evolutionary branch or clade
Axial Evolution - evolution that represents an ascent from a lesser to a greater state of physical existence - e.g. the evolution of life from inanimate matter. The term is identical to what Teilhard de Chardin calls "Radial Evolution".
Clade - a monophyletic group, a group of organisms consisting of a common ancestor and all that ancestor's descendants. "Class Reptilia" is not a clade because some reptiles (dinosaurs) evolved into birds (non-reptiles). Sci Fi writer Bruce Stirling [Stirling, ***], and following him Orion's Arm, also use the term to refer to the evolutionary divergence of humanity or posthumanity. e.g. a race of genetically engineered space adapted humans would constitute a distinct clade from baseline humanity (technically, a Daughter Clade of the Human Parent Clade)
Emergent Evolution - the evolutionary appearance of qualitive phenomena that cannot be explained in terms of their component parts, and which appear in physical reality with each higher or larger level of complexity. e.g. chemistry emerges at the level of atoms amd molocules, and cannot be explaine din terms of quantum phenomena alone. Life emerges at the level of cells, and cannot be explained simply in terms of the chemistry of molocules. At the same time, aspects of the lower are lost - quantum physics pertians only to the smallest scales, biochemistry doesnt work on the level of planets, and so on.
Cladogenesis evolutionary change that results in the splitting of a lineage and a new branch or clade of the phylogenetic tree
Co-action Compass - universally applicable cybernetic diagram presented by Edward Haskell and his associates, which shows the interactions between any two entities or elements of the same entity. more
Compound - consisting of parts; not simple. These parts may or may not be holons
Cosmos - creation, the totality; everything. Also spelt "Kosmos". From the Greek "ornament". There are also indidual cosmoses or worlds which make up elements or nodes or aspects of the larger Cosmos as a whole.
Emanation - the effect that any entity, system, and/or being has on its environment. The Absolute Reality, being infinite, generates cosmos-creating emanation, through which all manifest existence comes about. Of course, the Absolute is also all that is, so it only affects Itself; even so this still includes creation, the totality; everything. Gods and other hierarchies of beings produce emanations of entire autonomous beings, even worlds. Humans, as physically embodied beings, produce a constant stream of mental and astral thought-forms, an etheric aura, and physical molocules, skin flakes, and a weak electromagnetic field, as "emanation". A sub-atomic [particle produces its own "emanation" of virtual particles. More
Entropy. The progression from more complex to simpler structures through through lose-lose (-/-) co-action. The reverse of evolution.
Evolution - linear, branching, or converging change or succession or series from an original (usually although not always simpler) state or ancestor or group to another (usually although not always more complex) state or descendents or group. Evolution may occur anywhere along the holarchy or universal-individual axis, using many or few elements of the holarchy. So there can be individual evolution, collective evolution, cosmic evolution, and so on. Evolution may be physical, psychic, spiritual, or of any pother nature. In fact evolution is a fundamental law or principle of the Cosmos. Evolution is only possible in an open system; in other words, either or both X / Work Component and Y / Controller (see Co-action Compass) must include at some elements outside the individual being. These elements may pertain to any axis or parameter of reality, and/or to the Absolute which is beyond all such dualities.
Evolutionary Radiation - the sudden emergence of a large number of novel evolutionary forms (organisms or systems), as the result of a new adaptation or adaptations (e.g. Cambrian Explosion), or sudden vacant ecological niches following a mass extinction (e.f. placental Mammals).
Feedback and Feedforth - the flow of being (which may be energy, matter, information, ch'i, consciosuness, or anything else) between components within an individual system, as well as from the individual itself to other (equivalent, larger, or smaller) individuals or systems
Cybernetics understands feedback (within a system), but not feedforth (beyond a system). In the Unified Science paradigm of Edward Haskell and his co-workers, the various levels or systems, develop and relate through a feedback and feedforth both within and between each level, which is as follows:
Edward Haskell (ed.) Full Circle - The Moral Force of Unified Science, p. xxx

Holarchy. A hierarchy of holons
In Janus, a Summing Up, Arthur Koestler presents the theory of holons, as a third way between atomism and holism. Each entity at each hierarchical level, each "holon" as Koestler termed them, is both a whole of the parts or entities of the level below, and a part of the whole above. Atoms are made of subatomic particles, molocules of atoms, biological cells of molocules, and so on, upto the entire cosmos as a whole. Koestler coined the term Holarchy ( Wikipedia link wikipedia page) to describe this particular hierarchy. This term was then adopted by Ken Wilber who added a lot of additional ideas, and created a sort of monadology based on the idea that all that exist are Holons and nothing else (Wilber 2000b pp.17f. etc). This, in my opinion, makes the concept of holarchy too amorphous (if everything is a holon, why even say "holon"?). Also, there may well be entities like the Samkhyan concept of purushas that are not a part of or made up of, other units.
Holon - a system that is itself a part of a larger system.
In interepreting holons I have taken a position opposite that of Ken Wilber, who reduces the entire cosmos to nothing but holons, each of which are made up of four quadrants and so on, and other integral theorists who present holons in too generic a sense of any a whole that is itself a part of a larger whole. As indicated in the following diagram, holons are not "atoms", but autonomous systems in the sense of the term used by Erich Jantsch.
Interaction - co-action between two or more beings
Karma - the effect a system's or a being's action on other systems or beings has on itself
Karma implies that all beings are actually co-essential, because by affecting another one also affects oneself.
Kingdom - in Linnean terms (biology), the largest category of living organisms (since superceded by the Domain). In esotericism, a major category of beings, usually defined by the level of consciousness and faculties of the soul.
Novelty the emergence ofa new caharcteristic that did not prevbiously exist in the physical universe
Omega - the final goal or state to which the Cosmos is proceeding (imples teleology) . The term Omega Point was coined by Teilhard de Chardin to refer to what is here called Theogenesis
Ontogeny - the developmental history of the individual, as opposed to the group (phylogeny)
Open System - A system that interacts with and is acted upon by its larger environment.
The laws of thermodynamics proved that for life (which builds up complex systems, in apparent violation of the second law of thermodynamics) to occur an open system is necessary, because entropy must be dumped outside the individual being. The only way you could have life in a closed system would be as a perpetual motion machine, a physical impossibility.
Note that this does not have to refer to only the dense physical dynamics of matter and energy; Steven Guth and I have proposed the concept of Astrognosis, whereby cosmic influences ray down on Earth. The Earth is not a closed system, a little bubble separate from everything else, but a holon that is part of a larger, galactic, ecology which incorporates "astrodevic" forces.
Orthogenesis evolutionary change which proceeds in a straight line; a single theme is carried on and developed through successive species.
Phylogeny - the history of the race or group or clade or even kingdom (Jantsch for example speaks of the "phylogeny of matter") as opposed to the individual (ontogeny). Phylogeny involves evolutionary ancestry and descent through time.
Simple - not made up of component parts.
Singularity - an axial ascent (emergant evolution) from one toposophic level to the next, such that it is impossible to understand the outcome or nature of the new evolution using only the understanding and experience of the previous or lower toposophic level. The concept was originally developed by sci fi writer Vernor Vinge [ref xxxx]. Every singularity event involves a radical degree of novelty.
Syntropy - evolution through win-win (+/+) co-action.
Whenever syntropy occurs, the result is progressive evolution, leading to novelty and higher order structures. Hence evolutionary developments are indicated at the top right of the co-action compass, as shown here
System - a dynamic compound being; consciousness in (usually but not necessarily) physical evolution.
The following list of Characteristics of Self-organizing systems is from the Self-Organising Syustems FAQs page (and is reproduced on Integrative Spirituality Org):
  • Absence of external control (autonomy)
  • Dynamic operation (time evolution)
  • Fluctuations (noise/searches through options)
  • Symmetry breaking (loss of freedom/heterogeneity)
  • Global order (emergence from local interactions)
  • Dissipation (energy usage/far-from-equilibrium)
  • Instability (self-reinforcing choices/nonlinearity)
  • Multiple equilibria (many possible attractors)
  • Criticality (threshold effects/phase changes)
  • Redundancy (insensitivity to damage)
  • Self-maintenance (repair/reproduction metabolisms)
  • Adaptation (functionality/tracking of external variations)
  • Complexity (multiple concurrent values or objectives)
  • Hierarchies (multiple nested self-organized levels)

Tangental Evolution - Teilhard de Chardin's term for evolution that does not involve progression to a new and greater state; evolutionary radiation.
Teleology - goal-directed evolutionary process, movement towards omega. Physicalist evolutionary science does not accept teleology
Toposophic Level - a singularity level, a quantum level of the physical evolution of consciousness. The term was originally coined for Orion's Arm

Individual, Social, and Spiritual Development

It is our responsibility to take up the task of conscious evolution, on both the indivdual level of sadhana or yoga (sensu Sri Aurobindo's integral yoga; I don't mean Hatha yoga), and on the collective level of politico-socio-cultural evolution.
While Theogenesis itself is solely the work of sadhana, the requirements of saving the Earth from destruction through lower human greed, stupidity, short-sitedness, and hatred of sensitivity, is the task of Activism and Memetic Engineering.

Social/Collective Evolution and Praxis

still under construction

Information Systems - peer to peer software like Linux is the biggest threat that the Microsoft megacorporation faces. And similarily collaborative data building such as Wikipedia bypass and hence challange the centralised nature of traditional encyclopedias. Of interest here is former Editor in Chief of the Encylopaedia Britannica Robert McHenry's attack on Wikipedia as "the faith-based encyclopedia" (McHenry 2004), and the devastating refutation of his arguments by Aaron Krowne (2005)
Ultimately a Wiki-everythingana will go beyond the Wikipedia and include literally everything, even facts about "boring" or "trivial" people or things, taht the current wikipedia approach considers unworthy (indeed this "exclusiveness" I feel to be a limitation to the current wikipedia). It will also bypass the subtle physicalist bias one finds in Wikipedia (as observed by Goethean)
Sciences (Mathematical and Natural Sciences)
Technology, Applied Arts and Sciences
Social sciences
Culture and Fine Arts
Philosophy - embracing metaphysics breaks the stranglehold of a century of positivism and analytical philosophy, and allows the return of the "perennial philosophy" (Smith 1977) and the Wisdom Traditions. This does not mean that positivism is not included in the grand synthesis, but only that it no longer dominates the entire understanding.
Psychology - psychological understanding is now based on quadontological parameters such as the dynamics of and between the - Individual and Environmental - Outer, Intermediate and Inner - astral and mental Physical - Buddhi, Ahamkara, and Manas - [add more]
Religion - replacing the old "God"-concept - The idea of a monistic or monotheistic "God" - referring to the Godhead that is beyond Creation, but that can still enter into Creation to effect change here - has been a standard concept in both exoteric religion and religious esotericism for the last 3000-odd years. But old need not be better. We see today the god idea leading us to a dead end and the potential destruction of life on the planet; the exoteric "patriarchal" God of literalist religion; worshipped equally by the Christian fundamentalist Neocons in America, and the Islamic extremists and terrorists in the Moslem world, both equally convinced they have God on their side.
In the Western world this is especially tied in with American ahrimanic (Steiner) style materialism and cultural frameworks. It really is in the way language invokes a thought form. Because of the negative associations with the "God" word, and the related reality behind it (for according to The Mother this all comes from the negative psychic or astral (Sri Aurobindo - "vital") worlds) it may perhaps be better to find other thoughtforms, rather than try to redeem a thoughtform that is already captured by destructive powers.
Developing a new philosophical terminology doesn't mean one should also reject the Personal aspect of the Divine for the Impersonal. To reject a monotheistic deity for a monistic concept of Buddhist Sunyata, Vedantic Atman-Brahman or Chinese Tao (in the transcendent sense) is simply to replace one partial perspective with another. Sri Aurobindo says it best - The Supreme or Absolute Reality transcends both Personal ("Lord" "God", etc) and Impersonal (Sunyata, Atman-Brahman, Tao). But unfortunately people are so attached to either this image of an anthropomophic deity, or a simple monistic "clear light".
Occultism - Occultism is the study and/or theoretical knowledge of and/or practical application of the forces and phenomena of non-Absolute states of existence other than the Outer Mundane-Physical. Occultism is sensationalised in popular culture because of fear and ignorance. A useful understanding can be had by identifying the various planes or universes of existence and their sublevels, branches, and aspects, and the various beings and laws and forces pertaining to each. Various examples of the "perennial philosophy" and different esoteric and occult doctrines each emphasise certain strata or harmonics and ignore or confuse others, depending on the psychological inclination and occult perceptions of the authors of those teachings, and the resulting entrenched thoughtforms. The goal should be a single unified system, based around a map of the various states of existence. Whilst systems like Tantra, Hermetic Kabbalah (ref Golden Dawn etc), Theosophy, and Anthroposophy represents a start, they are each bound by their own very elaborate conceptual limitations. The teachings of Theon and Mirra (who studied with him) represent a more sophisticated development.
Spirituality - Spirituality should always be a matter of individual choice and inner guidance (from the Higher Self) and never be enforced by some external church, creed, or cult. Today we see around us an abundance of gurus, teachers, religious sects and so on, each peddling their own brand of enlightenment or salvation. While some are indeed genuine and sincere, there are many others who, if not total fakes (complete charlatans are rare in this business) are powerful, charismatic, self-deluded indidivuals, who set up authoritarian systems of cultic spirituality (ref xxxx ), having become caught in the "Intermediate Zone" between the outer reality and the true realisation and thinking they have attained the Supreme. (Aurobindo ref). But instead they have become puppets of negative forces who manipulate them through their own puffed-up egos. If knowledge of these occult forces and psychodynamics were more widely available, it would provide greater insight to these various cultic movements, and help the unwary from falling into such traps.

still under construction

Tikkunics - Soteriology and Divinization

Individual Spiritual Stages

Having attained our present level of consciousness, where do we go from here? The perennial philosophy teaches a return to the state of godhood or Absolutehood, a merger of the individual with the cosmic/universal Divine, or as the Mahatyana Buddhists put it, the realisation that you were Buddha all along. But ultimately this means an escape from the world-process into a transcendent nirvana, moksha, or fana (Sufism), not its continuation and perfection.
In contrast, esoteric, integralist, and other evolutionary paradigms are unanimous in their assertion that the current human condition is not the final attainment, but that there are higher states of consciousness and existence. As Sri Aurobindo famously said "Man is a transitional being." But where disagreement arises is on the nature of the posthuman state. Theosophists, Anthroposophists and Wilberians posit a single evolutionary line that confuses the aforementioned spiritual transcendence with physical (and in the case of the theosophical tradition, etheric, astral, etc) evolution. But Sri Aurobindo specifically distinguishes between the prerequisite Spiritualisation that corresponds to the perennial spiritual path, and a process of transitional spiritual mind and overmentalisation leading to Supermentalisation; this latter being the Divinisation process. And transhumanists postulate a purely secular, technological evolution leading to and beyond a Technological Singuilarity to a posthuman evolution.
There is no reason why the three perspectives - transcendence and liberation, technological singularity, and physical divinisation, cannot be correct. Even the Theosophical idea of a series of increasingly spiritualised stages may pertaion to a future evolutionary option for those who wish to purseu it.
Wilber's post-egoic stages (Vision-Logic, Psychic, Subtle, Causal, and Ultimate) represent a popular synthesis of the stages of Spiritualisation, but unfortunately they don't diustingusih the complexities of the process of spiritual growth and evolution, instead trying to force everything into a single linear physical evolution spectrum. A better understannding (although less well known) would be Sri Aurobindo's "Triple Transformation" (Sri Aurobindo 1977). The following is a list of stages of spiritualisation and divinisation, incorporating Kabbalistic, Aurobindonian, Wilberian, and other perspectives.
 Kabbalah - soul as stages of self-developmentTaoism - immortal spirit bodySteiner - clairvoyant developmentSri Aurobindo - the "triple transformation"Da Free John - "Seven stages of Life"Ken Wilber - "ascending arc"
Outer Consciousness: the unruly surface consciousnessNefesh"outward flowing" ch'iEgoOuter BeingPhysical
Emotional Sexual
Representational mind
Rule/role mind
Sadhana / Self-Transformationcirculation of ch'i - tending to option 2.supersensible exercises - tending to option 1.Outer Being receptive and influenced by inner (Psychic) or higher openingSpiritualizationVision-logic
Generic Inner ExperiencesRuah
Inner Being - tending to option 3 & 4.Yogic Experiences - tending to option 4.Psychic
Subtle - tending to option 4.
1. Subtle/Psychic Vision
(Inner/Subtle Physical)(poorly appreciated)(poorly appreciated)
2. Creation of Spirit Body(Merkavah???)Immortal Fetus
(hinted at but not necessary for Integral Yoga)(poorly appreciated)(poorly appreciated)
3. Inner DivineNeshomah
(Spirit of Form / Higher Etheric)Psychicisation - prerequisite of 5
(poorly appreciated)
4. EnlightenmentHayyah
Spiritualisation - prerequisite of 5Subjective Enlightenment
7th Stage Enlightenment
5. Spiritual Evolution and Transformation, Divinising the CosmosMessiah / Light of Adam Kadmon

still under construction


note - Amazon links are top the current edition, the edition cited may be out of print
Sri Aurobindo (1971), Letters on Yoga, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust
Sri Aurobindo (1977), The Life Divine, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust
Bailey, Alice A., A Treatise on Cosmic Fire. New York: Lucis Trust, 1925
Bauwens, Michel (2005) Peer to Peer and Human Evolution - an introduction here, also see P/I: Pluralities/Integration newsletter
Brennan, Barbara Ann, (1987) Hands of Light : A Guide to Healing Through the Human Energy Field, Bantam Books
Chalmers, David (1995) The Puzzle of Conscious Experience, Scientific American, December 1995, pp. 62-68 - online version
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Colton, Ann Ree The Third Music, Ann Ree Colton Foundation of Niscience, Inc (external link)
Colton, Ann Ree & Murro, Jonathan Galaxy Gate II: The Angel Kingdom, Ann Ree Colton Foundation of Niscience, Inc, (external link)
Crittenden, Jack (1997) What Is the Meaning of "Integral"? foreword to Ken Wilber The Eye of Spirit - : An Integral Vision for a World Gone Slightly Mad Shambhala - online
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Harris, Ray, (2004b) Thoughts towards an Integral political economy online article
Edward Haskell, ed. (1972) Full Circle: The Moral Force of Unified Science, Gordon and Breach, New York on-line edition
Heron, John (1996) Co-operative Inquiry, London, Sage, (An extract from Chapter 1 - Co-operative inquiry and participative reality; this is also reprinted in P/I: Pluralities/Integration #67 (April 25, 2005))
Krowne, Aaron (2005) The FUD-based Encyclopedia Dismantling fear, uncertainty, and doubt, aimed at Wikipedia and other free knowledge resources online article
Leary, Timothy (1987) Info-Psychology, Falcon Press, Los Angeles and Phoenix
McHenry, Robert "The Faith-Based Encyclopedia," Tech Central Station, November 15, 2004. online article
The Mother (Mirra Alfassa) (1979- ) Mother's Agenda (Engl. transl) Institute for Evolutionary Research, New York, NY (13 vol set)
Odin, Steve (1982) Process Metaphysics and Hua-Yen Buddhism, State University of New York Press, Albany
Ouspensky, P.D. 1977, In Search of the Miraculous, Harcourt Brace Jovanovitch, New York & London
Israel Regardie, Cris Monnastre, Carl Weschcke , The Golden Dawn: A Complete Course in Practical Ceremonial Magic (Llewellyn's Golden Dawn Series)
Jacob Immanuel Schochet, (1979) Major Concepts in Hassidism.
Schwemmler, Werner (1989), Symbiogenesis : A MacRo-Mechanism of Evolution : Progress Towards a Unified Theory of Evolution Based on Studies in Cell Biology
Shear, Jonathan, ed. (1997) Explaining Consciousness: The Hard Problem, MIT Press
Singer, Peter (1990) Animal Liberation (New York Review/Random House, 1975; revised edition, New York Review/ Random House, 1990
Smith, Huston. (1977) Forgotten Truth: The Primordial Tradition. New York: Harper & Row.
Steiner, Rudolph. [1904] 1947. Knowledge of the higher worlds and its attainment. Trans. Henry B. and Lisa D. Monges. New York: Anthroposophic Press.
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_____ [1904] 1970. Theosophy: An introduction to the supersensible knowledge of the world and the destination of man. London: Rudolf Steiner Press.
Tart, Charles T (1972) States of Consciousness and State-Specific Sciences, Science 1972, Vol. 176, 1203-1210. online
_____ (1975) States of Consciousness. New York: Dutton. some points from the bookreview of new edition in American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, Jan 2004 by Claire Frederick.
_____ (1975a) Science, states of consciousness, and spiritual experiences: The need for state-specific sciences. In C. Tart (Ed.), Transpersonal Psychologies. New York: Harper & Row, pp. 11-58.
_____ (1975b) Some assumptions of orthodox, Western Psychology. In C. Tart (Ed.), Transpersonal Psychologies. New York: Harper & Row, pp. 61-111.
_____ (1978) Sex, Drugs and Altered States of Consciousness, unpublished book chapter, online
_____(no date) State-Specific Science, jcs-online debate. See also Inside the Mind of Charles T. Tart | The Daily Grail (interview)
Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre (1959) The Phenomenon of Man Collins Fontana Books, London
Wilber, Ken (1977) The Spectrum of Consciousness, Quest Books, Theosophical Publishing House, Wheaton
_____ (1980)
The Atman Project : A Transpersonal View of Human Development
, Quest Books Theosophical Publishing House, Wheaton
_____ (1981) Up from Eden : A Transpersonal View of Human Evolution Boston: Shambala Publications
_____ (1997) An integral theory of consciousness from Journal of Consciousness Studies, 4 (1), February 1997, pp.71-92 - online version
_____ (2000) Sex, Ecology, Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution, Shambhala Publications 1995, 2nd revised edition 2000
_____ (2000a) Integral Psychology: Consciousness, Spirit, Psychology, Therapy, 2000, Shambhala, Boston & London
_____ (2000b) A Brief History of Everything, Shambhala, Boston & London, 1996, 2nd edition 2000
_____ (2002) Boomeritis, Shambhala. For an excellent presentation of Moshe Kroy's methodology here, see online extract (scroll down) on this page
_____ 2005 Kosmic Karma, Shambhala Publications, online

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