I’ve been reading some lately about Ken Wilber’s ideas. He likes to compare some of his philosophical ideas to computer operating systems and apps. It occurred to me that open source software systems, like Linux, often go through revisions and can also lead to many derivatives that diverge from the original design in various ways.
In the spirit of open source software, I imagined a fork of Ken Wilber’s AQAL. The basic idea is to combine the Wilber-Combs Lattice with the Four Quadrants and to add a new perspective onto holons - things that are both wholes and parts of other wholes.
This construction is based on a few insights.
Perhaps conceptualizing should be thought of as something similar to turning your attention to very brief dreams.
Dreaming is related to the subtle realm, therefore, perhaps conceptualization is also an an expression of the subtle realm.
Waking is associated with the gross realm and waking is primarily distinguished by receiving sensory input through the sensory organs.
Holons can be viewed from three perspectives -
a. A standalone whole with emergent properties
b. A sub-part of another holon
c. A collection of sub-holons
Under the original Four Quadrants that Wilber proposes, we have a Left Hand side that is described as the “inside” or what a holon “feels like” subjectively. On the right hand side we have the “outside” or what a holon “looks like”. He then places most science in the right hand side, since most of science does not deal with the “subjective” but focus instead on features that “everyone” can observe with their sensory organs.
I propose that instead we could characterize the left hand side as focused on the “Gross” realm of observations made through the sensory organs. The left hand side could then be based on the “Subtle” realm, or observations of sensory phenomena that seem to occur within the stage of the imagination (e.g. dreams, conceptualizing). I would also include the “Causal” realm on the left hand side, since descriptions of it that I have seen also seem to place it on the stage of the imagination.
Going from the Causal to the Subtle to the Gross, it seems that, given our current understanding, it becomes increasingly easier for independent observers to correlate observations. This is perhaps why science focuses mostly on the Gross.
The Four Quadrants also seem to roll two different perspectives of holons into the upper part. They are, the stand alone holon with emergent properties and the holon as a collection of sub-holons. The lower part seems to be the holon as part of a larger holon. I propose that we unpack this and add an additional perspective for the holon as a collection of sub-holons.
It’s interesting to note that since Wilber and others teach that every phenomena is occurring at the causal, subtle, and gross realm all at the same time - and some Buddhist teach that all phenomena are an aggregate and part of an organic Absolute whole - then it follows that all phenomena should co-occur in all nine cells.
This decomposition perhaps suggests the possibility of disciplines that are not represented as explicitly in the existing AQAL system.
Much of Wilber’s use of the Quadrants seems to focus on a human being as the holon under inspection and it can be confusing when the holon is not a human - for instance what appears on the left hand side of the quadrants when the holon is a pet rock? The proposed Integral Matrix seems to work well when the holon is a human or not - since every phenomena is said to occur in all three realms and a human, including oneself, can serve as the holon under consideration.
“Non-Dual” is absent from this matrix since I’m not sure if this state of consciousness is of the same kind as the others or if it is a higher-level fusion of the the others. Perhaps when one has achieved non-dual awareness you experience the other states as unified in some way.
This “Stone Integral Matrix” may not be a replacement for the standard AQAL, however, it may complement it in some ways.
I’m interested in questions, comments and suggestions. I’ll consider updating this matrix if a suggestion convinces me to do so.