What seperates quadrants from stages? Can we smash state stage and quadrants into superstages?

The free-mason symbol is a compass and a straight edge, because with those two tools, you can create all geometry. With those two tools alone, the cathedrals can be designed.

You start with a point

1st dimension
Connect a string and a pen to the end of that point and you have a circle.

2nd dimension
Draw a circle from the edge of the first, and you have a vesica. Two things interacting, and the beginning of complexity.

3rd dimension.
What is it? And why isn’t it the same as 2D? We immediately think of 3D as “space” and Not “flat”, ignoring “flat” doesn’t actually exist except in our minds. 3D is objectivity. 3D Is physicality. Before 3D there exists only I you we, until there is a “they”, until there is conflict, until there is an it. In a way 3D consciousness comes when we grow up to the fact that God is real, and that you have free will to run away from the snake if you want. That mom and my tribe do not make my ultimate fate. “This” Is space. This conflict, this sense of there being objective nature.

So, is there any way that we can test for the differences between 3rd and 2nd consciousness? I would argue that the pre-frontal cortex allows for 3rd dimensional perspective. But How would this be tested? How could it be defined… quantified? How can we say definitively that humans perceive a whole layer of perspective over monkeys? Could this type of perception be shown as a brainwave? as a complexity of neural circuitry? What are the scientific pointers that show this difference definitively, numerically. Could this difference be shown mathematically? Other than just showing that yes it is more complex, are there ways of showing these exponential increase plateaus?

If indeed these stages or states are real then they should correlate in this manner, across math, logic, psychology etc. All these disciplines should show that it is true, and so it should shine through the disciplines. Else we are just intellectually masturbating and going nowhere.

4th Dimension
4th dimension, commonly referred to as time, is what integral is all about. It shows that growth happens, that there is dynamism. Things aren’t “just” existing, they are changing, they are “going” somewhere, they are in flux. This may be experienced as seeing that going against “destiny” or “your dharma” or accruing “bad karma” leads to entropy, and that listening to this inner knowing speeds up time, and increases probabilistic control and favorable outcomes. 4d begins to recognize a “self” that is beyond the objective universe. the “dynamic self”. the “flux self” or “soul self”, where 3d is the “static self”.

For any one of these to be meaningful though, I want to see symmetry. That the math and the psychology correlate. That the Brain data and the math correlate. etc.

Stages seem to be higher orders of consciousness just as these dimensions are (except there are more of them), but stages also go through 1st 2nd 3rd perspectives, and to me it seems that there is some redundancy with the quadrants and the stages. That this could be collapsed into a superstage, that may correlate to the mathematical concept of dimensions.

Hi Kensho,
Quite a bit to unpack here. Thoughtful, thought provoking, made me pause to think about if I might have much to offer here. So here is my attempt.

I believe the main question you are asking is whether or not the two aspects of integral, the quadrants and the stages can be condensed. In a way, they way they show up in our perspectives is that they do collapse, since they are all happening at the same time. So, yes, it is my understanding that these two components are partially and it is fair to state that they do combine into the present moment, the here and the now, as is your question, I believe. I would also point out that you are including states in your description as well. Again due to the fact that they are all arising in the present moment, they would most certainly appear together as one, because they are.

However, these aspects have been identified as separate in that this is what they break down into. They are irreducible. I believe this is an important distinction that we need to hold in our minds and take into account. The quadrants are looking at the four ways in which we can identify and interface with reality (and the stages and states do show up within the framework, the framework is composed of states and stages - as well as types and lines) but the stages and states can stand on their own when being looked at individually. The 4quads help us see how these elements link and work together. We need to be aware of one so that we do not attempt to reduce and then generalize as if the concept is THE concept (say it is all states, all stages, or all types). They are all partially true. This is one of the reasons why such distinctions are so important.

I hope this answer was useful to you. I hope i heard your voice well.

Yeah it’s true that states Are indeed different then stages, i mean, if a 20 year old nazi at an ethnocentric stage takes dmt, he’s probably going to be shot into the stars like everyone else. So i can see how it’s important to seperate them. But it does seem that the higher the stage you are the more Likely you are to enter into a higher state, almost like, in order to percieve those stages, the brainwaves must change. So, are they Really seperate?

Quadrants however, i don’t understand why we must stop at 4 and how they aren’t actually stages. In a way, quadrants are added dimensions of perspective, except the 4th is not.
And, the stages are also added dimensions of perspective.
Can a todler see Anything from the upper right quadrant before he has grown past the rational stage? And can you see the upper right world without developing that cognition? In essence the “outside world” is inside before it can be cognized as outside. And then someone has an enlightenment experience and says the ”rock and I are one”. So after enlightenment, are there new “quadrants” a “being” quadrant?
Why stop at four quadrants?
I like how you say that in the present moment they all one. That’s not exactly what I meant but it’s almost as if you are saying the map is not the territory.
Integral theory, it needs to be robust, it needs to be smashed around and sculpted because there is obviously reality to it’s idea of growth. If you think about it, all other ideas of growth are individual lines, limited. So, we do need a map, better than the contenplative traditions and better than the developmental theorists.
If aliens, 2 groups, from starsystem a and b came here and spoke to us, would there be a map of growth independently reached by those two species? I believe there would be. Maybe that’s my problem. But if there is reality to these ideas then they would be agreed upon by alien A and alien B. They would be universal ideas.
How can integral theory be proven universal understanding?
Anyways i may have strayed there but I wanted to explain the reasons for wanting to collapse the quadrants and states. The reason is to find those universal stages.
… I’m so confused.
I think im going to look solely at “the territory” for now.

Ok. i think I am following you… consider this:

Quadrants are simply the four aspects of identifiable reality. Internal/external of Individual/collective. You could also stack the four quads upon themselves via states similar to the Wilber/Combs Matrix. Gross, subtle, causal, non-dual. Things become hazy here - since even attempting to identify “non-dual” automatically creates a state of “not non-dual”. Hope this makes sense. I have found it best, since I am constantly applying this both in my personal as well as professional/clinical life, to use it as a data gathering point, an anchoring point, and a starting point. There is also an inner and outer for each quadrant, as well as perspectives beyond those two. Go to far and the map becomes far to detailed and complex to be useful (at least in my experience and opinion). We do not need to stop at 4, but a map with to much detail then becomes less useful when your trying to read it while driving (driving being life/time)

As for the toddler seeing anything from the upper right quadrant, I would argue that the toddler would see all of it, but would interpret it from the stage of development (physiological, cognitive and consciousness) that the toddler is at.

Enlightenment is a whole other can of worms and one that moves away from a representation defined within the four quadrants (which would naturally tetra-arise) and I think moves away from the concept of four quadrants and more into lines of development and stages.
What is enlightenment but simply moving from (transcend and integrate) one stage to the next - so there is no final state of “enlightenment” that can be achieved, given the understanding of how conspicuousness unfolds right? Also - enlightenment on which LINE of development? How many would need to be considered before “enlightenment” could be awarded? I personally, don’t think this is a useful term, or perhaps is simply a value like strength, knowledge or wisdom. The concept of enlightenment gives us a direction, but like strength, knowledge or wisdom, can never be achieved. Right? Better yet, we could use our word growth - I think your using it as a value - can you ever achieve growth? I don’t believe so, but you can use it as a direction to set goals so that you can know that you are moving in the desired direction. None of this which accounts for places at any of the stages or lines of development where there has been shadow development. Schemas, developmental trauma, unconscious rules, tools, and beliefs that are running the show with us being completely unaware.

As for being proven - well - there is research which all tends to show us trends which unfold in each line of development (often illustrated in the four quadrants) and denote stages. This has occurred and been documented long enough and strong enough that it appears to provide a strong correlation. 100% proof that this is all true? not at all, which falls back on the notion that no one can be 100% wrong all the time and therefore not 100% right all the time. That is the beauty of the unfolding process and the dialectic process, gather data, observe, and adjust.

Again, I hope I am hearing you correctly and that I have given you something worth pondering. I know I am walking away with a few things to think about myself. I loved the notion of alien races coming here and what they might “stage” they might be operating within and would they agree with the integral model. I suspect the would, but I will have to mull that over in my mind further.


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Aw, crumbs, I’m seeing Star Trek everywhere now. Star Trek has been looking at alien cultures, their developmental lines, their stages, their states, what impact they might have on our culture.
I seem to remember somewhere a discussion about what would be integral art. The initial idea was to put all quadrants into the art, banging in the states and stages. It ended up an unholy mess. It did clarify - for me anyway - that Integral is about perspectives and that trying to put every perspective into any aspect of your life creates an unholy mess. I think if anyone had some kind of overmind that allowed it to perceive all perspectives, you would still need to drill down into the detail for it to be of any value in your day to day life. So it appeared to me that you make your art and then you look at it from the perspective that is of value/interest to you and then tweak remodel or whatever from the info that provides.

Which brings me back to Star Trek. There is some wonderful stuff you can access here about the integral values of Star Trek. I’m sure Corey would be able to give a link to them. (please?)

Which episode are you thinking of, and from what series?

You know, I understand the need for lines. I understand the need for stages. I understand the need for states. Quadrants, a bit confusing why those are necessary. All things are all four at the same time though, sure. I mean it all makes sense. I guess practically speaking, “state-stages” seem to be concrete steps in development, and that the “enlightenment experience”, seems to be a graduation point in development. And I just wonder if the Tiers perhaps could be represented as more holistic than simply interpretive models, because often with the changes in these higher stages, there comes a sea change in state as well, and they seem to be connected, and so I wonder if there is some truth to that. I have heard wilber say that supermind is a statestage, which speaks to this hypothesis.

Hi Kensho,
As regards Star Trek, for me the whole of it has been putting questions about values out there and, to be honest, I’ve no real idea which episodes or which series are best at putting those questions out there.
Integral theory. It’s a tool. By its very nature to ask whether it is true, good or beautiful is to get into an ever recursive spiral. It’s like asking a ruler to measure itself. Either it cannot do it, or that is the only thing it does, depending on your view.
For you Kensho, what would be the benefit if you found that you could, or couldn’t smash stages and states and lines and all the rest of it together? Or to put it in another way, what is the importance to you of asking this question?

“For you Kensho, what would be the benefit if you found that you could, or couldn’t smash stages and states and lines and all the rest of it together? Or to put it in another way, what is the importance to you of asking this question?”

Integral theory is a mental model, it is a lens to see reality in a specific way. We use lenses all of the time to see reality. Sometimes it is a political position, some times it is a religion, sometimes it is a body of literature, and we use those models to interpret everything we come across. Some of these models are better than others. They allow us to interpret the world in a way that provides to us, greater agency and control.
If a model does not stand up to science, then, it remains ethnocentric. Ken is making a specific claim here, namely that a multiple lines, have some relationship to each other, and that unit of measurement is called a Stage. What is the difference between a Stage, and a ‘blurry line’, and what is the evidence to prove that a stage is more meaningful than a line?
OK, now, secondly. What is a tier?
It seems to me that tiers are the measurement that I am intuitively looking for, and that tiers are definers where states and stages intermix. It seems that there are physiological dimensions of being, or knowing… shifts that the enlightenment experience points to, and that these are more akin to state stages. And that, often times, these shifts are more dramatic than a new understanding, because there is usually a state change that happens as well, and sometimes a dramatic one.
I come to integral theory from a “spiritual seeker” background, and from what I can tell, the states that ken outlines, and some of the higher stages, they seem akin to what is described by people that I have met, that have gone through enlightenment experiences. The problem is, is that states are temporary, where stages have nothing to do with states at all. So this phenomena of enlightenment seems to be one that is intermixed with state and stage. I guess this observation leads me to be a bit confused when I try to align it with integral theory, and I’m looking for coherence, where there does not seem to be clear delineations of what that mechanism is, except , maybe in what ken calls tiers, which could be, in my mind at least, intermixed with state changes.
Anyways, does this make sense?
I think I would call these superstages, or dimensions, but I wonder if this is already accounted for within integral theory.

Also why aren’t state/stages just the upper right version of a stage? Why even have states in the theory and not just have four quadrants of stage, (the upper right of which would be the state)? … and if the answer is because states can be momentary, well so can interpretive structures… right?

Hi Kensho,
I can give some ideas from where I’m coming from. However there are people out there who know and understand more than I do. But in the hope that it may provide some markers along the way…
You wonder if there is any kind of relationship between lines. My example would be this. I have an intellectual line of development and a parenting line of development. My intellectual development allows me to access a particular level of complexity along my parenting line. Then my showing up line of development will indicate whether I’m going to make use of that understanding in my day to day life as a parent. So that’s one type of relationship. As to whether there are deeper connections - for example each individual one of Newton’s laws of motion can be used with the other to send a man to the moon, and they also have a deeper connection that explains that the rules are each simply one aspect of one underlying reality. My understanding runs out here.
States and stages have different meanings dependent on the perspective taken. The trick here is to make sure we don’t try to tie in one from one perspective with the other from another perspective. Don’t try to run a gas oven on electricity, it isn’t going to work.
A stage can be a crystallisation of a third person perspective. Where is the person that I’m looking at? Their Kosmic coordinates identify a stage. Those coordinates might be looking at the whole of the person, (my take on my mate Bill) or a single particular aspect (where was Bill when he chose to do that act in response to that trigger?)
More generally a stage can be the default position of a person in their everyday life. e.g. when I meet a gay person, depending on my stage of development, I may think “abomination in the face of god” or perhaps I may think “another of god’s children”. So if my stage is the former, then a state here would be a peak experience. For example, my default position is abomination. But I might have a peak experience which allows me to see that person as a child of god. I then go back to my default position of gays being abominations but I’ve had sight of them as a children of god. So, having had that insight, I can now choose to develop a little until my stage of development has become that gays are children of god. Now this is my default state, I might then have a peak experience and experience a state where I recognise gays as a true manifestation of god. And so on and so on.
Is a stage more meaningful that a line? I think that depends on the context. Is a wheel more meaningful than an axle? They each have their role but are useless one without the other.
Personally I’m ok with calling a tier that perspective of where we look at something where we hold stages and states together. It’s helpful if those we communicate with have the same vocabulary for what we are talking about. But if by tier, you mean that circumstance where stages and states are somehow smashed together into one thing then I guess we’re getting into a similar discussion that theologians have about the nature of the Christian Trinity.
Ken has dealt with the issue of whether the enlightenment of a person who is at red is the same enlightenment of a person at green and if not, does that undermine the nature of enlightenment. Again, never having been enlightened, I’ll let others deal with that.
Certainly it is possible to do away with stages and look at everything from a state perspective. I just think it takes less explaining of the perspective we’re coming from if we do separate the two. For example if I’m developing a piece of work for publication, I can talk about the state it is at. However I can give more information about it with fewer words about it by separating my discussions into the state it’s in and the stage its at.
Lots of words there. Hope its been of some use.

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I love the idea of finding a minimum common denominator from which to derive the entire model.

My personal take is that the Male/Female Types could be used to re-contruct the entire integral model:

  • a) The original separation
    Female - Causal (formless)
    Male - Form

  • b) The quadrants + form states
    Form can be subdivided into again:
    Male: Phisical/Objective/Waking
    Female: Sutble/Subjective/Deambody
    (The collective part of the model simply reflects the other dualisms but we could still identify Individual as the Male principle and Female as the collective principle.
    The evolution across levels is in a way also given by the changes in relationship tot he collective, see below.)

  • c) The levels
    Each incremental level comes as opposition to the previous one which embodies one or the other typology while including all previous ones:
    Magic: Male (the ego is arising and differenciating)
    Mythical-order: Female (the self is being subdued to norms and collective “care”)
    Logical: Male, comes as a drive to subdue nature and satisfy egoic principles
    Pluralist: Female, comes as a desire to re-include

Integral comes thus as the ultimate union of Female and Male principle across all pieces of their evolution.

This is consistent with the model because Types are believed to be differentiations that remain across all levels. Using the basic male female types they can be applied also to the larger variables (states/quadrants). (Nothing prevents other types from emerging as we enter the TL quadrant but they al come specular to some kind of opposite such as in the enneagram)

This is fairly simple and it can be also replicated as 0 and 1 form the initial split of form and formlessness.
This is in line with the idea of a computational universe that arises out of a simple dualism and grow in increasing complexity spontaneously.

The internal structure (subtle) has the purpose of exploring the objective reality and create a mental picture that is as coherent (congruent) as possible with objective reality. The mental evolution is therefore that of testing mental images against reality (It IS VS It is NOT).
When assessing the boundaries of the internal self and external world, the work of testing comes as I AM (this thing is me) VS IAM NOT (this thing is not me).
The process takes place also internally transcending parts of the self.

One could therefore summarise any practice as the process of a very simple “test”
True VS Not True or IAM vs IAM NOT
that is applied to each element based on its caratheristic.

Anything which is not tested against an opposite option has been perceived as “absolute” by the mind and its therefore a blindspot.
For this reason when something is “tested” it is made an object and not a subject.

Accepting both options (I am vs I am not, True vs False) for each individual element allows the mind to

  • detach from each possibility
  • re-own any possibility

The mind that spontaneously “falls” on the most accurate interpretation that is gained from having conceived each possible option. The integral mind is thus the mind that would provide the most accurate perception of reality having all the “files” and all the options to compare to objective reality.

The goal of the Integral map in my opinion should thus be that of helping people understand what concepts were not “tested” as true/untrue to make ones own development more whole.

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“The integral mind is thus the mind that would provide the most accurate perception of reality having all the “files” and all the options to compare to objective reality.”
Is it right that we then then need to make sense of that “accurate perception” which we do through contextualising what we have perceived? I see a table, you see a bunch of wood, my child sees a place to work, which of our perceptions is the most accurate?

In this case yours, because in the scenario you described you can acknowledge both your own point of view and that of your child and mine, and engage with the situation with a wider range of perspectives.
That is in itself an “integral” perspective.
In this sense accuracy is the result of having an increased amount of options to choose from that all represent a partial relative representation of reality.

Try telling that to my son when he wants to get his homework done! :grinning:

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