ENACTIVISM, INTEGRAL THEORY, AND 21st CENTURY SPIRITUALITY

ENACTIVISM, INTEGRAL THEORY, AND 21st CENTURY SPIRITUALITY

Posted on Aug 21st, 2008 by Marmalade : Gaia Child Marmalade

There are three aspects to the symposium.  I can’t say much about 21st century spirituality, but I am a 21st century person with an interest in spirituality and so that should count for something.  As for integral theory, even though I’ve studied it off and on for years, I can’t say I’m an expert — just another one of my many interests.  Now for the last… I hadn’t even heard about enactivism until a couple of weeks ago.  Researching about it, I realized that I already understood the basic concept and had a passing familiarity with some of the authors who came up.

Others have already given useful intros to all of this, and so I’ll skip the basics.  Instead, I’m going to try to connect these ideas to my own understandings.

I was reading Philosophy in the Flesh by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson.  In it, they describe basic-level categories which seem quite similar to some explanations of archetypes.  What enactivism seems to bring to the table is a deeper understanding of biology.  Jung saw archetypes as having an instinctual component, but biological understanding was pretty limited at that time.  Some more recent theoreticians have looked at archetypes in terms of science and there does seem to be an evolutionary component to archetypes (e.g. Anthony Stevens).  The ideas of enactivism and autopoiesis seem particularly relevant to understanding archetypes.

Related to archetypes are Jung’s personality types which were systematized with the MBTI.  Several different theories have been put forth in how typology correlates to brain function.  Furthermore, MBTI has been correlated with the Five Factor Model (FFM) which is a traits theory (i.e. behavioral).  Traits theory has been shown to be partly based on genetics.  All in all, this seems to fit into the whole body-mind viewpoint, that evolution created these basic structures of the mind which determine how we perceive and relate to external reality.

A recent discovery of mine is research showing that the MBTI correlates with Ernest Hartmann’s boundary types.  Let me go into more detail here because this is an important part of my viewpoint.  There are four components to the MBTI: Introversion vs Extraversion (E/I), Sensation vs Intuition (S/N), Thinking vs Feeling (T/F), Judging vs Perceiving (J/P).

(1) Introversion and Extroversion seem to have the least correlation to boundary types, but there were some aspects to it that seemed to fit.  Introverts tend to have more of an ability to focus intensely and for long periods of time, and they tend to be more territorial about personal space.  Extraverts, on the other hand, are drawn outwards and so are more easily distracted by their environment.  Here is a relevant quote from Hartmann’s book Dreams and Nightmares:

“Those who have taken psychedelic drugs, such as LSD, report that under the drug’s influence they have thinner boundaries in a number of senses.  On the other hand, taking stimulants such as amphetamines, or for some people, antidepressants, definitely produces a thickening of boundaries.  In the most extreme case, people given large doses of amphetamines first become intensely focused; they are the opposite of distractible, keeping their thoughts entire on one line of thought.”

(2) Sensation and Intuition have the highest correlation to boundary types according to the studies.  Simply put, you can think of the difference here being between those who tend towards the concrete and those who tend towards the abstract, but there are many other dimensions to it.  Another interesting aspect is that Sensors tend to be more conservative basing their decisions on past experience, whereas Intuitives are more innovative because they can more easily see future possibilities.  Obviously, Sensors (and in particular the SJ temperament) are the practical sort of person who sees reality for what it is (based on what it was).  Some Intuitives, on the other hand, may seem like daydreamers, but Intuives also tend to be the innovators.

The concrete preference of Sensors is what makes them thick boundary types.  Things are clearly what they are and each thing is clearly distinct from other things.  Sensors have commonsense.  The abstract preference of Intuitives lends them to thin boundaries.  Distinctions are more blurred.  Because they can more easily shift distinctions, they can see new relationships between things.

In this symposium, I’ve definitely noticed the contrast between the practical-minded realists and those drawn to more theoretical understandings and far-reaching (or over-reaching if you prefer) possibilities.  As I believe, its not a matter of either style being more correct.  To speak from a green vmeme perspective, it takes all types.

(3) Thinking and Feeling are slightly less correlated to boundary types, but there are some important connections.  Thinking is about principles and rules with a focus on autonomy.  Feeling is about values and morality with a focus on relationships.

There is a fairly strong split with most Thinking types being male and most Feeling types being female.  This same division comes up with boundary types.  Thick boundary types tend to be male and thin boundary types tend to be female.  To understand this archetypally, this relates to the animus and the anima.  To understand this in the real world, this relates to the conflict between Integralists and New Agers.  It has been pointed by others how the Integral movement is dominated by men.  Also, you could think of this division in terms of Ken Wilber’s Grace and Grit or the movie The Fountain.

(4) Judging and Perceiving are an interesting division that was origial to Jung’s typology.  Studies have shown that J/P doesn’t test as separate from S/N with young children, and so there is some developmental aspect to this (whether biological or psychological).  In MBTI, J/P simply determines which function you Extravert, but it can be looked at as its own category and there is some correlation to boundary types.  Judging types like order and conclusiveness.  Perceiving types are more about creative chaos and they prefer to keep their options open.

With J/P, I sense a similarity to a division between two kinds of thinkers which brings me back closer to this symposium.  I’ve seen distinctions (here and here) made between Ken Wilber and William Irwin Thompson.  This partly seems like a difference between a systematizer and a bricoleur.  Interestingly, William Irwin Thompson’s son (Evan Thompson) co-wrote some books with the enactivist crowd.  So, this made me think of the possible differences between enactivism and tetra-enactivism.  From what I’ve read, Varela seems to have intentionally avoided systematizing his ideas, but then Wilber took Varela’s ideas and systematized them for him.

The bricoleur is a term I’m using in its relationship to the George P. Hansen’s book The Trickster and the Paranormal(2001).  Hansen uses the term bricoleur as one way of describing the Trickster archetype.  Hansen also brings up Victor Turner’s ideas of liminality, anti-structure, and communitas.  Enactivism questions the traditional assumptions of science and so blurs the boundaries somewhat.  Varela was influenced by phenomenology, and Hansen says that ethnomethodology was similarly influenced.  Ethnomethodology (along with sociology of scientific knowledge and studies of experiment expectancy effects) puts the scientific endeavor into a very different context.

p. 280: “Ethnomethodologists took as their subject matter the interactions of everyday social life and how people make sense of them. That sounds innocuous enough, but ethnomethodologists probed foundations.  They recognized that for orderly common activity, people must share a large body of assumptions, meanings, and expectations, though these are not consciously recognized.  In order to make them explicit (i.e., bring them to conscious awareness), breaching experiments were invented, and those involved violating, in some way, typical patterns of behavior.” … “These breaching experiments have commonalities with anti-structure and the trickster; they all violate boundaries that frame experience.”

p. 281: “Ethnomethodologists pointed out that one is part of that which one observes, i.e., one participates in processes of observation.  The issue of participation has some intriguing connections.  At least since Levy-Bruhl’s How Natives Think (1910) it has been associated with the non-rational.”

p.282: “Mehan and Wood say that their theoretical perspective “within ethnomethodology commits me to the study of concrete scenes and to the recognition that I am always a part of those scenes.  Social science is committed to avoiding both of those involvements.”  They are correct, but few social scientists wish to acknowledge the consequences.  The abstraction and distancing found in all science endow a certain status and privilege from which to judge and comment on others.  In order to maintain that position, scientists must not get too “dirty,” too closely associated with their objects of study.  Ethnomethodologists understand they necessarily participate in the phenomena they observe.  Mehan and Wood comment that “Ethnomethodology can be seen as an activity of destratification.”  This destratification is a leveling of status, and that is also associated with limimal conditions (a.k.a., anti-structure).  Thus social leveling via participation and reflexivity has been recognized by theorists from entirely separate disciplines, demonstrating its validity.”

The last part about the leveling of status directly relates to the Trickster archetype, and status relates to hierarchy.  Scientists often are seen as final arbiters in many matters, and traditionally science saw itself opposed to nature, above the object it studied.  This, of course, relates to the problematic relationship of body and mind in Western thought.  Varela mentions Cartesian anxiety, a desire for a clear ground to our knowledge.  Cartesian anxiety is a condition that most of us have experienced, but it would be felt most acutely by a thick boundary type.

Where did this Cartesian anxiety originate?  I think its part of Max Weber’s theory about rationalization and the disenchantment of the world.  My knowledge of Weber is limited, but I suspect his theory relates to Karl Jasper’s theory on the Axial Age.  Several centuries before Christianity, the oral tradition was in decline and alphabetic literacy was becoming more common.  This created an increased ability of reflexivity by allowing someone to see words objectively on a page and also it gave people the ability to think abstractly (become more conscious of basic-level categories?).

The oral tradition was based on specific memorized sayings that were connected to whole systems of mythology, and mythology itself was grounded in the specific places in the world.  This brings to mind Julian Jayne’s theory that early myths show that man didn’t have a single sense of self, but that the self was more fluid and embedded in the culture.  An ancient person didn’t just remember what a mythological character said but actually heard that character speaking.  The world was alive with mythology.

Animism is no longer a respectable philosophy, but there is something to the animistic experience of the world.  From a phenomenological standpoint, there is an animistic sense to our relationship with the world which isn’t just our mind projecting (maybe something more like the imaginal).  We are a part of the world in a very fundamental way.  In The Spell of the Sensuous, David Abram says:

P. 56: “Merleau-Ponty writes of the prereived things as entities, of sensible qualities as powers , and of the sensible itself as a field of animate presences, in order to acknowledge and underscore their active, dynamic contribution to perceptual experience.  To describe the animate life of particular things is simply the most precise and parsimonious way to articulate the things as we spontaneously experience them, prior to all our conceptualizations and definitions.
  Our most immediate experience of things, according to Merleau-Ponty, is necessarily an experience of reciprocal encounter — of tension, communication, and commingling.  From within the depths of this encounter, we know the thing or phenomenon only as our interlocutor — as a dynamic presence that confronts us and draws us into relation.  We conceptually immobilize or objectify the phenomenon only by mentally absenting ourselves form this relation, by forgetting or repressing our sensuous involvement.  To define another being as an inert or passive object is to deny its ability to actively engage us an to provoke our senses; we thus block our perceptual reciprocity with that being.  By linguistically defining the surrounding world as a determinate set of objects, we cut our conscious, speaking selves off from the spontaneous life of our sensing bodies”

This participatory relationship to the world one is immersed in can be carried forward when we consider how the earth is a co-evolution rather than species being separate groups fighting for their respective niches.  For instance, plants form a very tightly woven community such that plants of different species communicate with one another through chemicals given off in the air and in the soil.  Research has shown that other plants will respond when something happens to a plant nearby (such as it being eaten).  Even though we don’t see it, plants respond to us.  Also, plants have a very powerful influence on us as they are the chemical factories of nature.  There is some truth to the notion that we are what we eat.  The chemicals that we take in through plants (or through animals that ate plants) effects our minds and our perception.

There are many more subtle examples, but the most well known examples are psychedelics.  A chemical in many ritually-used plants is DMT and its very common in nature.  What is interesting is that our brains produce this in small doses.  Our brains are designed to make use of this chemical, and people under the influence of higher doses of DMT have very similar experiences.  DMT is a component of the co-evolution of life on earth.

Psychedelics, along with other methods, have been used by humans longer than recorded history.  In fact, animals also are drawn to consuming psychedelics and they show signs of being similarly effected (Animals and Psychedelics, Giorgio Samorino).  Why is their a biological drive to alter consciousness?  Possibly its because it thins boundaries and thus opens the mind to new possibilities which might translate into real-world advantages for survival.  How might this thinning occur?  One possibility is that the brain structures used to categorize our experience are altered or even suppressed.

Of course, there are many different ways of altering the mind and modern man has become quite adept at this.  We have a whole field that is dedicated to researching how chemicals effect people’s minds.  A very large portion of people nowadays are on some psychiatric drug or another, and certainly plenty more people are self-medicated in various ways.  On top of this, we’ve begun to do more direct alterations of our biology by putting technology into the body (such as for heart conditions or for epilepsy).  We’ve learned a lot about the body-mind by messing around with it, but in the process the questioning of our sense of self-identity has become more pertinent.

The issues of the body-mind became more personal to Varela towards the end of his life after he had a liver transplant.  In a paper he wrote about his experiences, he confronted his own mortaliy but in a very peculiar light.  My sense is that he was trying to bridge the gap between his personal experience and the ideas he spent his whole life writing about.  In the last paragraph, he spoke of the future but ends in saying: “Somewhere we need to give death back its rights.”  What did he mean by this?  What are the rights of death?

I can’t speak for him, but I’ll add some of my own thoughts.  Its at boundaries that we find the liminal, where things become unclear, where new possibilities present themselves.  This symposium is partly about enactivism which speaks to the boundary of body and mind.  The body-mind is this life we know… even if only imperfectly.  We strive in life to understand, to make a difference.  Yet, we all shall face death, the final boundary which science can’t probe beyond.

To contemplate our place in the larger world is to come face to face with the closeness of life and death.  We are embodied in a world where life arises (autopoietically one could say) out of seemingly inanimate matter and then returns to it just as easily.  That is an insight I often catch hold of when I’m walking alone through the woods.  Life and death seem to blend into each other… plants luxuriously growing out of billions of years worth of decay.  Even dead matter is dynamically animate.

Notes and more notes for this blog.
(theoretical context, background info, related ideas)

Access_public Access: Public 57 Comments Print Post this!views (993)  

Balder : Kosmonaut

about 2 hours later

Balder said

A wonderful contribution, Ben!  I really enjoyed this.  What I especially appreciated was the self-reflectiveness it encourages for all of us, inviting us to consider some of the factors at play in the very intersubjective space we have enacted here in this symposium.  You’ve also woven together a number of interesting voices, some of whom I am familiar with and similarly appreciate, such as Abram and Merleau-Ponty. 
Your highlighting of animism is also interesting to me, because, while enactivism doesn’t involve or lead to an animistic belief in tree-spirits or whatever, there is still a strong sense, for me – when I am more fully immersed in the enactive perspective – of an intimate and dynamic vitality which is “flesh of my flesh” and “flesh of the world.”  A feeling both of intimacy and dynamic involvement or relation.
There’s more I’d like to write but I wanted to check in first with this acknowledgement, and to thank you for this beautiful offering.
Best wishes,
Bruce

Julian : integral healer

about 2 hours later

Julian said

ooooh so glad to see you bringing in typology ben – very cool. i’ll have to get salima over here tout suite!

Marmalade : Gaia Child

about 2 hours later

Marmalade said

My goal wasn’t to argue for the validity of the ideas based on rational argument.  Instead, I wanted to find the ground of experience that makes sense of enactivism from a more personal view.  Also, I wanted to include the divergent psychological tendencies that predispose people to view the world in divergent ways.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

about 2 hours later

Marmalade said

Hey Julian!  Nice to have you for a visit.

The typology summary is kinda simplified for the purposes of the symposium.  I was just using it to show some broad tendencies.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

about 3 hours later

Marmalade said

There is one thing that would be useful to clear up.  Types (both personality and boundary) are just general categories.  MBTI and Hansen both agree that everyone has access that which lies outside of their supposed type. 

Hansen wrote about the difference between boundaries as experiences versus as more permanent structures.  Also, he wrote of two aspects of how boundaries play out in individuals.  People can have one kind of boundary for their internal experience and another kind for their external experience.  He hypothesized that internal boundaries probably are those that we are born with or develop when very young, and that the external boundaries have more to do with the development of social relationships later on in life.

buddhacious : Human Being

about 3 hours later

buddhacious said

Thanks for bringing a different angle to this symposium, Ben. I really enjoyed the non-rational way you attempted to approach the ideas we’ve been discussing. I especially enjoyed the mention of Merleau-Ponty’s work, when Abram discussed how our immediate sensory experience reveals a “field of animate presences,” and that if we “linguistically define them as a set of determinate objects” we get cut off from the “spontaneous life of our sensing bodies.” This simple realization of the power language has over our experience goes a long way toward solving (or rather, dissolving) the mind-body problem, doesn’t it? I mean that it almost makes the problem appear to be purely a conceptual confusion, whereas on the level of embodied experience, everything fits rather nicely.

Much thanks, Ben!

-Matt

adam : revolution

about 3 hours later

adam said

perfect : )

the psychology of predisposition and typology angle was one i’ve only been hinting at, and without it the symposium wasn’t complete. nice one ben : )

the enneagram personality type model is also one i’ve found devastatingly useful for self-observation and awareness of strategies and tendencies in myself and clients.
i relate to animism as well, especially in the way that animism can encourage honouring environment as self in some ways. strong pantheism may also encourage this kind of honouring awareness, in contrast to the detached victorian scientific view of man reigning supreme over mother nature.

there’s plenty to chew on here… cool!

take a bow mister marmalade : )

Marmalade : Gaia Child

about 3 hours later

Marmalade said

Hello Adam,

Feel free to speak about the enneagram if you wish.  I don’t know a whole lot about the enneagram, but it is another useful factor to consider.

With animism, I see it as an experience and as an attitude.  It doesn’t precisely matter if its true in an objective sense.  I think of animism in a more practical way.  When I have this animistic sense of the world, I act very differently.  It brings me to an alert awareness of my being-in-the-world.  As such, I’m more conscious of my actions and their results.  Conversely, when I experience the world as an external environment of objects, I start treating people more like objects and my personal subjectivity feels cut off, isolated.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

about 3 hours later

Marmalade said

Yeah, Matt, the power of language is something I wanted to clarify.  Its a difficult subject because we use a particular language and a particular style in discussing it.  I’d like to read more of the writings of phenomenologists so that I can a better sense of this.

This is a very personally important subject for me.  My experience of the world has much to do with my sense of depression.  I’ve dealt with depression for many years now and it has made me very sensitive to my experience.

adam : revolution

about 3 hours later

adam said

the enneagram is just a set of potentials, covering the full range of health and pathology, to reflect aspects of psychology and personality back at one.

i relate to the experiential/attitudinal aspect of relation-to-being via conscious concept usage. it’s a similar experience to adopting the enactivist bodymindset in some ways.

in the integrative orientation that we’re exploring, i’m looking at ways in which all the aspects and apparent conflicts raised can be resolved and integrated. your piece is a grounding and profound reminder to me personally, and a great way to round out the symposium.

respect.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

about 3 hours later

Marmalade said

I need to get to work here shortly, but I’ll be back tomorrow.  I just want to add one last thing.  My understanding of enactivism is very much incomplete and so I’d love to hear what others have to say about examples of enactivism that might apply to the subjects I brought up. 

Based on my general comprehension of enactivism, I was trying to weave in many elements.  I don’t know how successful I was.  I wanted to show further directions in which enactivism could lead.

Anyways, have a lovely evening everyone!

adam : revolution

about 4 hours later

adam said

and if one of our senior number isn’t an enneagram nine, i may need to change career… ; )

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

about 6 hours later

Marmalade said

I forgot that this is one of the later work nights for me.  Let me add one last last thing before I go.

I appreciate both integralism and typology for the same basic reason.  They both allow me to see the differences in people in a less judgmental way.  In particular, learning about typology has been immensely helpful to me.  I do feel that I have more genuine understanding of people than I did before learning about it.  I don’t try to type every person I meet, but its useful being able to discern such things as a background context.  Typology gives me a language to understand my own experience and how my experience relates to the experience of others.

I think enactivism could potentially be helpful in this way.  If we remember how we are part of the world we are enacting, then it gives us pause before judging others.  It gives us the opportunity to ask ourselves what we are bringing to the situation, how our perceptions are coloring our perceptions.

Julian : integral healer

about 6 hours later

Julian said

oh shit!

look at your notes post dude – how fun and impressive!

also – nice pic of dionysus…

Balder : Kosmonaut

about 10 hours later

Balder said

Yeah, I wonder who might be a 9 around here…

sandy : Activist and Ambassador

about 11 hours later

sandy said

All I can do is to praise the quality and depth of your writing-
it is immense,thankyou.

David : ~

about 11 hours later

David said

Great blog, Ben. I especially liked the part about introversion and extroversion and how they relate to boundary types, LSD, gender, etc. That’s really interesting.

I also loved the part about the oral tradition and the emergence of the written word and how that enabled additional perspectives. I think we can see the 4-quadrant aspect of enactivism right there: without the emergence of the writing implement, the “paper,” and such those new perspectives couldn’t have been enacted.

Great symposium, everyone! Bruce, James, Matt, Adam, Julian, Ben—I enjoyed everyone’s contributions. Quite an interesting, challenging subject. I was a little late getting involved, thought I might be like one of those marathon runners who crosses the finish line in darkness, after everyone else has left. But I ran really fast, and here I am.  🙂

A couple of things from Bruce’s blog come back to me (please forgive me if my timing is wrong here):

I am aware that whatever I write today will not be the “truth,” in the sense of simple correspondence; it is not simply an uncovering of “what is there,” but an evocation of “what can be.”

The “what can be” part is especially cool. That really brings the evolutionary perspective into it and also the importance of individual and collective choice and development in terms of “what is there.”

Also:

Just reflecting on this subject this morning had me inhabiting my body differently.  There is a feeling of opening which does not erase boundaries or render them meaningless, but which nevertheless leaves them translucent and calls attention to the creative enactment of experience which echoes and embodies a particular lineage of appearance while also opening into the novel, the new.

It’s funny—I was thinking something very similar to that as I read the opening paragraphs of your blog. It seems to me that enactivism enables a kind of vertical liberation. Once you understand something very simple such as “the sky isn’t necessarily blue,” the whole visual field has less of a hold on you. You take the whole thing less seriously in a certain way. Perhaps it can also be an aid to horizontal liberation, but I feel that if I really downloaded enactivism into my blood and bones I would be a different, more vertically liberated person. The effect that would have on language would also be interesting to look into.
 

David

adam : revolution

about 18 hours later

adam said

thing about healthy 9’s is they can be so uppity…

Daate : Cheerio

about 23 hours later

Daate said

where has this been all my life? 🙂

this is very cool, thanks so much. i admit to not having completely finished your post yet ben, but i will. a fascinating angle and one right up my alley….i use myers briggs all the time, and like to cross-pollinate it with the enneagram sometimes. many NT’s seem to be 5’s, for example. i bet there are a lot of 5’s around here.

adam, are you by any chance a 5? and in what sense do you mean “clients?” are you a therapist or do you mean that some other way?

also, ben, i’m interested in your comments about gender. would you consider that the enthusiasm for this kind type categorization is primarily a feminine thing? i’ve been curious as to why on many of these previous posts and blogs (especially the heated ones) simple things like typology weren’t taken into perspective—i often feel two people mean the same thing and are coming from within very obvious typlogical mindsets that, if brought into the light, would illuminate a common ground more easily. and that often objective opinions that seem absolute and inflexible are all coming from within a distinct personality that has a unique way of processing input. how can we miss things like that? i guess in the search for the growth of critical thinking, which is also important, and which in these blogs has been the domain of the autonomous NT’s?

 i’ve noticed that the women in my life seem much quicker to catch on to and utilize things like enneagram and myers briggs, for whatever reason. do you think it’s because it’s biologically natural for women to be hunting for understanding of perspectives in the first place? 

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

1 day later

Marmalade said

Thanks Sandy, David, and Daate!

Daate, MBTI was created by two women.  I’m sure such systems favor certain views (like, for instance, the views of women) more than others.  That said, there is an INTP forum that is extremely popular.  The other extremely popular forum is an INFP forum.  Going by that, it would seem that IXNPs favor MBTI… at least online.  In general, I think your observation is correct.  Women do seem to be more focused on relationships than men or focused on relationships in a more obvious way.

debyemm : Tree Hugging Dirt Worshiper

1 day later

debyemm said

Ben,
 

I really appreciate the approach you took for this topic and found your information to be helpful to understanding other areas of my life not directly related to this symposium but also, to issues I’ve noticed there as well.
I found your essay very readable and easily understood.  I share with you the awe of the forest cycles.

Deborah

1Vector3 : "Relentless Wisdom"

1 day later

1Vector3 said

Late to the party and can verbalize only a smattering of my responses right now.

Howsomever, I do win our non-bet, Ben !!!! 🙂 (Inside joke from Gaia Networking pod.)

The weaving you have done is awesome and exciting and worth much more exploring, and the perspectives offered FEEL great !!!! You’ve taken a lot of the ideas being discussed here, and polished different facets of them, really really admirable and valuable !!

I would need a glossary to understand the first half completely, perhaps combined with 3 readings…. But I got the gist. You really do use a lot of terms like liminal and some other terms I don’t know, though of course some I do. Perhaps these were all defined on previous symposium contributions, but if not, it would help future readers understand and appreciate what you are saying, to do a little glossary.

As others have said, you opened up a lot of interesting perspectives. The relationship to nature or external world you describe so beautifully is awesome, and your characterization of what takes us away from it seems right on.

I would like to clarify re the Ennegram that it most fundamentally is NOT a personality typology but a SOUL typology. Its historical roots seem to point to that, and Sandra Maitri and Almaas have done well in clearly laying out how the Spirit-level choices and decisions flow down into personality. Without that basic level, the ennegram just doesn’t make much sense, seems arbitrary. [I say Spirit, they say soul, they mean Spirit, in MY jargon !!!]

Sandra Maitri, The Spiritual Dimension of the the Enneagram. It’s in our book database here. But even she stops shy of the deepest (or highest) level of characterization. In a word, one’s Ennegram type flows from the (incorrect) answer one’s Spirit makes up after it first goes (voluntarily, but it’s forgotten that) into the illusion of Separation from All That Is. To the Spirit, the current unpleasant state of affairs demands an explanation. The Ennegram types each have a different “story” about what that explanation is: God is bad, or I am bad, or I am defective, or I have been abandoned, etc. And there is a healed version of each type, as well as an unhealed version. The “story” can become a truth, a wisdom, from another perspective.

As I said on the other blog, Enneagram One, the Perfectionist/Improver at your service.

I am moved toward trying to post my looooong paper The Healing of Enneagram One, my own personal journey’s summary, as a blog. Don’t know if blogs can cope with something 12 pages long…..

I believe there’s a fair amount of research done by many different kinds of sciences and folks, not to mention lots of our personal experiences, haha, whose findings have the effect of backing up Ken’s characterizations of women as naturally focused on, expert in, what he calls communion, and men as naturally focused on, expert in, what he calls “agency” which we might call the power of action. And of course he’s not the first to note those differences…..
I just love all the positive things said about your blog by the commenters above, and I vociferously underline and echo them, said more eloquently than I could.

I won’t have more than a few moments in the community til maybe Monday, so won’t be able to read Julian’s contribution til then.

Thank you for this, from the bottom of my heart, I am inspired and uplifted,
OM Bastet

~Kes : be cause

1 day later

~Kes said

Thanks for your Blog Ben.  
When you commented: “I appreciate both integralism and typology for the same basic reason.  They both allow me to see the differences in people in a less judgmental way.  In particular, learning about typology has been immensely helpful to me.  I do feel that I have more genuine understanding of people than I did before learning about it.  I don’t try to type every person I meet, but its useful being able to discern such things as a background context.  Typology gives me a language to understand my own experience and how my experience relates to the experience of others.

I think enactivism could potentially be helpful in this way.  If we remember how we are part of the world we are enacting, then it gives us pause before judging others.  It gives us the opportunity to ask ourselves what we are bringing to the situation, how our perceptions are coloring our perceptions.”  

I could think with this and like a great poem could see underneath a depth of understanding.  I have been following you and out of respect and admiration for the way you write, I read this part of the symposium because I do want to understand the concepts – so this is from the outsider that had no clue of what this subject was about, and decided to give this write up to help other new people have a greater understanding grasping these concepts.  The new words I listed below were the ones I had to look up.  I recommend reading this symposium and use the dictionary and Wiki… which does bring about a clearer picture of helping all to help change things if that is what is wanted or to help with what is the intention behind the blog.  

I name what I hope is a help flow to new readers:
Athena (n.) – Glossary for reading the blogs about Enactivism in the computing environment; appropriately named after the Greek goddess of wisdom.

Almost every time I read a blog of an in depth interaction like this, I find myself mentally translating certain Enactivism concepts or words when I’m learning a new subject with friends. Things like “I just read about the aspects to the symposium on Enactivism, Integral Theory, & 21st Century Spirituality ” (Enactivism
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enactivism_(psychology)) 
or “I have just learned more about Dionysus” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dionysus 
or even 
“I’m doing a MBTI research in “ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myers-Briggs_Type_Indicator
or I’m mid learning the translation o what an Enneagram Type Nine is.” (http://www.enneagraminstitute.com/typeNine.asp

These technical names don’t mean much to people who’ve never been exposed to Integral or Enactivism studies. To Integral studies, those words and abbreviations and numbers are part and parcel of our culture, with unambiguous and precise meanings. But to my friends and even, to some extent, to my family, it’s like I’m talking a foreign language – speaking in Enactivism-ese or Integral-ese.

But what else would you expect from a subject where virtually everything, is from so many different sources?  Hence a symposium where newbies and those that have read and can apply the theory in practice can offer hyperlinks which define what the concepts are all about. The hyperlinks and words I had to look up to have this enlightenment are below and I hope help others to be able to understand and find something within the subject to relate to and apply to any area of survival and application.

One reason I’m writing this entry is to help bridge the gap between Enactivism-ese and “regular” English. And beyond that, I also want to showcase this phenomenon of “speaking in Enactivism-ese,” because I personally feel it’s one of Gaia’s more interesting – and yet also most understated and sometimes not – features. (no glossary)

Keep in mind that this guide is just an introduction; I chose to focus on the aspects of Enactivism-ese that are (in my opinion) universal across Gaia and of particular interest to prospective students of Integral Theory, and incoming friends that would like to be able to interact such as me.

More comprehensive guides do exist from viewing tags and those that have been involved in this symposium, where a new glossary could now be built upon to help more interact while online.

With that said, enjoy this glimpse into the wonderful if sometimes confusing world of understanding a new (to me) subject Enactivism-ese!
Below are sites I visited to better understand the blog:

The Essentials Start of Glossary from this blog…

Animism: is derived from the Latin word anima meaning breath or soul. The belief of animism is probably one of man’s oldest beliefs, with its origin.  Animism commonly refers to the belief systems that attribute souls or spirits to animals, plants and other entities, …en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
ar·bi·ter  (ärb-tr) n. 1. One chosen or appointed to judge or decide a disputed issue; an arbitrator. 2. One who has the power to judge or ordain at will: an 

arbiter of fashion. See Synonyms at judge.

archetype |ˈärk(i)ˌtīp| noun a very typical example of a certain person or thing : the book is a perfect archetype of the genre. See note at model .• an original that has been imitated : the archetype of faith is Abraham.• a recurrent symbol or motif in literature, art, or mythology : mythological archetypes of good and evil. • Psychoanalysis (in Jungian psychology) a primitive mental image inherited from the earliest human ancestors, and supposed to be present in the collective unconscious.

Body schema is a system of processes that constantly regulate posture and movement– sensory-motor processes that function without reflective awareness or the necessity of perceptual monitoring.

Bricolage, pronounced /ˌbriːkoʊˈlɑːʒ/, /ˌbrɪkoʊˈlɑːʒ/[1] is a term used in several disciplines, among them the visual arts and literature, to refer to:The construction or creation of a work from a diverse range of things which happen to be available; a work created by such a process.It is borrowed from the French word bricolage, from the verb bricoler – equivalent to the English “do-it-yourself”, the core meaning in French being, however, “fiddle, tinker” and, by extension, “make creative and resourceful use of whatever materials are to hand (regardless of their original purpose)”. The original engineering meaning of hacker is a similar American term.  Bricolage as a design approach – in the sense of building by trial and error – is often contrasted to engineering: theory-based construction. A person who engages in bricolage is a bricoleur: someone who invents his or her own strategies for using existing materials in a creative, resourceful, and original way.

Cartesian anxiety named after Descartes because of his well-known emphasis on “mind” as different from “body”, “self” as different from “other” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cartesian_anxiety

Cognitive Sciences:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_scienceEcological. Paradigm. Big words, but don’t let them intimidate you.  “Ecology” is a branch of science that is concerned with the relationships between organisms and their environments. In our case, we are trying to place agriculture in balance with its environment.  “Paradigm” is simply an example, pattern, or model.

Empathy (Not to be confused with Pity, Sympathy, or Compassion,) is the capacity to recognize or understand another’s state of mind or emotion. It is often characterized as the ability to “put oneself into another’s shoes”, or to in some way experience the outlook or emotions of another being within oneself.  It is important to note that empathy does not necessarily imply compassion. Empathy can be ‘used’ for compassionate or cruel behavior.

Enactivism:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enactivism

Ennagram of personality:  The Enneagram system describes nine distinct personality types and their interrelationships, mapped around an ancient symbol of perpetual motion.  The term “enneagram” derives from two Greek words, ennea (nine) and grammos (something written or drawn). The Enneagram is a nine-pointed figure inscribed in a circle. The meaning of the symbol itself, together with the personality types organized around the nine points, convey a system of knowledge about nine distinct but interrelated personality types, or nine ways of seeing and experiencing the world.  The Enneagram of Personality is generally presented as a psycho-spiritual system for mapping the nine possible personalities, like nine facets of a stone that develop through the natural growth of the human psyche.
eth·no·meth·od·ol·o·gy  (thn-mth-dl-j)n. The branch of sociology that deals with the codes and conventions that underlie everyday social interactions and activities.

Integral – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integral_movement  – Integral theory seeks a comprehensive understanding of humans and the universe by combining scientific and spiritual insights  [http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&client=safari&rls=en&q=related:integralwiki.net/index.php?title=Integral_theory]

Intersubjectivity is “The sharing of subjective states by two or more individuals.  The term is used in three ways.  1. in its weakest sense it is used to refer to agreement. There is said to be intersubjectivity between people if they agree on a given set of meanings or definition of the situation.    2.  and somewhat more subtly it has been used to refer to the “common-sense,” shared meanings constructed by people in their interactions with each other and used as an everyday resource to interpret the meaning of elements of social and cultural life.  3.  the term has been used to refer to shared (or partially shared) divergences of meaning. Self-presentation, lying, practical jokes, and social emotions, for example, all entail not a shared definition of the situation, but partially shared divergences of meaning. Language is viewed as communal rather than private. 

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator en.wiktionary.org/wiki/MBTI – The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment is a psychometric questionnaire designed to identify certain psychological differences according to the typological theories of Carl Jung as published in  Psychological Type.

Phenomenological    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenomenology_ (philosophy)  The constructive contribution of phenomenology involves more than simply identifying correlations between experience and neuronal processes, since, in fact, correlations can only move us close to the precipice of the explanatory gap.  Body image is a (sometimes conscious) system of perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs pertaining to one’s own body.  “Philosophy In The Flesh”  A Talk With George Lakoff on google search is an interesting read.  http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/lakoff/lakoff_p1.html

PNAS – Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

Reciprocal altruism – considered is tit for tat, a strategy that involves being altruistic on the first encounter with another individual and doing whatever the other did on the previous encounter in subsequent encounters with the same individual.

Schism (religion), a division or a split.

Solipsism is a philosophical theory that everything is in the imagination, and there is no reality outside one’s own brain.

Trickster:  is a god, goddess, spirit, man, woman, or anthropomorphic animal who plays tricks or otherwise disobeys normal rules and norms of behavior.

“Typology” literally means the study of types. More specifically, it may refer to:  Typology (anthropology), division of culture by races, Typology (archaeology), classification of things according to their characteristicsTypology (theology), in Christian theology the interpretation of some characters and stories in the Old Testament as allegories foreshadowing the New Testament, Linguistic typology, study and classification of languages according to their structural features, Morphological typology, in linguistics, a method of classifying languages, Typology, in psychology, a model of personality types (see Carl Jung, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the Enneagram of Personality). 

I am so new to this subject that please feel free to delete if I am way off base in working to understand.  But I must say that after using the tools available on the web I can now reread your blog and talk about your write up.   Thanks for all of the research and blazing a trail for us. 

I see how enactivism goes with body and mind but I appreciate how Gaia takes the inter-active writings to include all three…body, mind and spirit.  

adam : revolution

2 days later

adam said

hi salima

yeah – i can behave in quite a 5ish way. the themes in my writing have some correspondence to one of the enneagram types in particular.

am i a therapist? u haven’t read my essay! ; ) i’m just starting out, having found a powerful synthesis of modalities which lets me incorporate all my other experience.

i use personality typology as a tool in psychotherapy work, but there are the usual caveats regarding forer effect, autosuggestion, subjective validation etc etc, which are important to remember both for self and others. i find the enneagram useful, but i try to hold it lightly, knowing that while it may suggest possible relationships between identified psychological aspects, and can inform approaches to individual clients, and may inform future patterns of potentialities, it’s not “reality”, and i don’t want it in the way of immediate experience, self-responsibility, or identification of atypical psychodynamics etc.

i’m developing my own flavour of integration therapy, focusing on trauma recovery/integration, the dynamics of belief, emotion, experience, cognition, peak states, and self-esteem.

and debating philosophy/psychology/consciousness on the web. yep – pretty 5ish ; )

best wishes

adam

Marmalade : Gaia Child

2 days later

Marmalade said

Deborah – Yeah, I thought it might be nice to speak about nature to balance out all of the abstractions.

OM – I am truly sorry that I didn’t provide appropriate definitions.  I was planning on adding hyperlinks, but certain circumstances made that difficult.  I finished the first draft and was going to work on it some more, but I wasn’t able to get on the computer much the last 2 days before I had to post this.  Also, I was just feeling tired out by the whole symposium.  However, I did post all of my notes for this blog (here and here)… which I just now added to the end of the above blog entry.

Kathy – Thanks for doing all that research and posting it.  I hope others find it helpful.

What looks like another good reference for the theories of enactivism and authopiesis is the Encyclopaedia Autopoietica which Matt linked to in his symposium entry.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

2 days later

Marmalade said

I was glad to be the last in the symposium as it gave me more time to prepare, but there were some disadvantages.  The symposium participants were mostly tired out by the time I presented.  The other thing is that the most active participants were already locked into a specific dialogue with eachother before I got a chance to add my voice in. 

This whole symposium was mostly about the debate between Julian and Bruce which is something I knew from the get-go.  Julian and Bruce made minor comments in this blog and then immediately went back to Julian’s blog to continue the exact same discussion as if nothing I said applied.  I was hoping to shift the energy of the debate between the Julian types and the Bruce types, but it seems I had no effect.  Julian and Bruce do seem to have come to a temporary truce probably motivated by the simple fact that both are feeling too tired to continue debating at the moment. 

My sense, though, is that nothing has fundamentally been resolved.  The point I was trying to bring up is that the disagreement as demonstrated in this symposium probably has very little to do with rationality or evidence.  Julian and Bruce seem locked into an interpersonal pattern and the medium of the internet makes it difficult for them to relate differently.  I’m sure this symposium would’ve been immensely different if it had been held in person while sipping coffee in someone’s living room.

I know that Bruce really wanted to try to resolve that fundamental conflict of views and he seemed quite determined.  Both Bruce and Julian put a lot of energy trying to relate differently and bridge the gap.  I applaud the effort.

Even if nothing has really been resolved, I think the symposium has been successful in the sense of it being an interesting debate of views.  The conflict may not be resolved, but maybe there is slightly more understanding of what the conflict is… I don’t know, maybe?

adam : revolution

3 days later

adam said

hi ben

i’m reluctant to agree with your observations entirely…

all the dynamics you mentioned i also think were there – pre-existing julian/bruce dynamics, fatigue.

i don’t think your entry had no effect at all – i think the processional effects of the intense focus of the symposium will continue for a good while, and i do think resolutions will occur out of it. all of the entries contain keys to unlock potentials i think.

in some ways, your entry and julian’s were the “quietest”, yet i think they hold two very important invitations for theoreticians – whether deadlocked or otherwise – possibly in the two most important areas for theorists to remember.

– firstly, being human in a human body, alive to the senses now, and the immediate experiential reality of that  

– secondly, being aware of the universe of subconscious psychological constellations exerting their gravitational pull on our thinking, feeling, and being, towards which psychology and typologies can help to point. this is why i was so glad you wrote about this.

i do think that there is much material for all concerned to draw from, taking a step back and looking for underlying dynamics and commonalities, and although it has been a draining exercise with disappointments and disillusionment, i think it has been – and continues to be – very valuable, with potential still for the kind of fundamental resolution that i think we’d all like to see.

best

adam

Balder : Kosmonaut

3 days later

Balder said

Hi, Ben,

I understand your concern about the dynamics between Julian and myself.  I personally do not think this symposium was just about “us,” though.  Julian and Matt have had differences of opinion around these issues as well, and I have dialogued at length with Adam on a number of different blog posts, so I think we (at least Julian, Adam, Matt, and myself) thought it might be worthwhile to try to approach this in a more systematic way, in order to arrive at a deeper understanding of each other’s positions and possibly also some common ground.  I also do not think I’m “locked” back into the “same old” exchange with Julian; I feel something has shifted.  And I hope it continues to.  I also intend to carry on conversations on several of the blogs.  I’ve started a post to Adam several times, for instance; I just haven’t finished one I’m ready to post yet.  I also expect James and I will possibly carry on our conversation once he gets back.  So, I don’t think it’s fair to characterize this whole event as a Bruce-Julian exchange – although I acknowledge that the “history” of our debates over several months probably does carry a distracting weight in the overall discussion.
For what it’s worth, I felt you responded rather coolly to my initial post here, which is one reason I haven’t been as engaged in this portion of the discussion.  (Admitting this could be projection on my part; it’s hard to tell when our communication is restricted to print.)  But a bigger reason is that I don’t know much about Myers-Briggs types and don’t have much to add, except to say that I think you are right that this also plays a role, both in individual “worldview” preferences and in our interpersonal exchanges here.  I resonated with your description of boundary types and thought it was both instructive and useful. 
About reaching a resolution or agreement out of this – I’m not sure we will.  An enactive view, which doesn’t presuppose “one right view of the world,” wouldn’t demand that identical agreement on all points be reached.  But being a 9, I do hope for an increase in mutual resonance and understanding.  🙂

Best wishes,

Balder

Marmalade : Gaia Child

3 days later

Marmalade said

Bruce,

It certainly wasn’t my intention that my first response would sound cold.  My first response was only slightly to you, but was more a general first post about my intention behind my entire entry.  I would’ve given you a more full and direct response if I realized how you might perceive it, and if I realized you weren’t going to post a second post immediately.  I was waiting for your second response that I assumed would be posted shortly after the first, and so I was somewhat waiting to give you a further response.

We seem to rub eachother strangely.  We have very different personality types.  You want to stay solely focused on a single idea or set of ideas, and I want to consider all possibilities.  Whenever I’ve brought up different viewpoints, I often don’t feel you respond with delight and wonder.  You’re a very focused person as if in these discussions you are in teacher mode with a pre-set class plan.  This is probably good for the symposium because you help to keep things focused, but it just ain’t my style. 

It can annoy me when I bring up some interesting idea and you say maybe this isn’t the right time (or worse you ignore it), and if my curiosity is thwarted enough I find the whole discussion boring.  If something is interesting, its always the right time.  I just want to consider all possibilities.  I don’t really care if they were on the original agenda. 

I’m sure I likewise annoy you for various reasons.  You seem to want to keep the personal out of the debates (Thinking type?) and I’m always making everything personal (Feeling type all the way!).  For me, there is no discussion without meta-discussion.  Its hard to read your emotions in a discussion, but mine are all too obvious.  You want to keep things simple and focused (Judging type?), and I want to continually make everything more complex and follow every divergent pathway (Perceiving type).  People like me make it diffiult for you to keep the discussion in line.  You seem to have a specific goal you want to accomplish and you seem to have a strong desire to stay on target.

As for characterizing this whole event as a Bruce-Julian exchange, all that I meant by that was the distracting weight of previous months that you mentioned.  The symposium wasn’t just about you two, but I felt that it constellated around the dynamic between you two if that makes sense.  In this way, I felt that the polarization of views (and psychic energy so to speak) was a major issue.  I agree that an enactive view wouldn’t presuppose one right view, but neither does it presuppose a polarized dynamic of social interaction.  How do we get beyond this polarizing tendency.  You and Julian may polarize somewhat, but definitely you and I have a polarizing effect on one another to maybe an even greater degree.

Its partly styles as I see it.  You and Julian seem to enjoy debate in a way that I don’t.  I prefer just considering possibilities, and debate is secondary to that.  I have a set of somewhat consistent interests, but I don’t particularly favor one view over any other.  Part of my problem was that I was in an integral symposium with people who value integral theory probably way more than I do.  I like integral theory as far as it goes, but its just another theory to me.  You and Julian may disagree about certain things, but you both highly value integral theory.

The main reason I have less interest in integral theory than some is because the people who like integral thoery tend to have a different focus than I do.  That was my struggle with this blog.  I went to great effort to understand enactivism, but most integralists only seem to have a vague interest in many of the subjects that excite me.  In discussions with integralists, I feel a lack of reciprocal interest… and understanding.  There is a gap and I don’t know how to bridge it. 

I’m not entirely sure what it is.  I’m sure it has a fair amount to do with personality types.  I became aware of the immense sway type has over our way of relating when I joined some type forums.  I totally meshed with other INFPs (on an INFP forum) in a way that was quite strange, and INTPs (on an INTP forum) would just rub me wrong no matter how hard I tried to connect with them.  I’ve suspected for a long time that many Integralists are NT types.  I find it much easier to talk with people on the God Pod.  Why might that be?  I started a thread there about MBTI and many who posted there said they were NFs.

This symposium was a Thinking type event.  I enjoy the debate because it challenges me with new possibilities, but the energy of it is hard for me to deal with in large doses.  I prefer more collaborative conversations where how things are being discussed is as important as what is being discussed.  At the INFP forum I belong to (globalchatter), almost every discussion involves the analysis of interpersonal dynamics.  INFPs love to make everything personal including abstract ideas.  In some ways, integralists are interested in the interpersonal, but to a much lesser degree in my experience.  The main tool that integralists use for discerning personal differences is developmental stages but that isn’t a very subtle tool when dealing with nuanced interpersonal relationships.

So, how do Thinking types and Feeling types relate well especially in an abstract discussion where the differences are magnified?  That is something I’ve been trying to figure out for years.

Thanks for listening anyhow,
Marmalade

Balder : Kosmonaut

3 days later

Balder said

Ben,
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for being frank with me.  We’ve had some misunderstandings in the past, and I haven’t found a way to get entirely past them.  You perceived me awhile back as intentionally ignoring you and looking down on you, for instance, and neither was the case, as I’ve tried to assure you, but I think it will take some time for us to develop more affinity and trust.  I am open to that – I value what you bring to these discussions, in spite of impressions to the contrary that I have apparently given you.
It is interesting to me – and useful feedback – that I come across as a teacherly thinking type in these discussions.  I think this voice comes across most strongly in my discussions with Julian, actually; because I don’t really relate to or identify with the single-track, thinking/judging, teacherly description.  This is a “voice” I have developed, as I’ve attempted to master philosophical and intellectual topics after having spent most of my writing life as a poet and short story writer (and reader).  It was actually a real change of gears for me to learn to communicate like this, and maybe it comes across as “heavy” here because it isn’t completely natural.  I don’t know.  I’ll sit with this some and see what emerges for me.  Is it possible for someone to change types in mid-life?
When I mentioned to you on the other blog that I didn’t think this was the place to discuss my dynamics with Julian, I was mostly trying to avoid focusing on the history of “Bruce and Julian,” since I thought this was a publically advertised event about a particular topic and I felt self-conscious about getting into personal issues that weren’t related to the theme of the symposium.  I do think personal dynamics are important, as are communication dynamics, types, etc.  So maybe I shouldn’t have tried to avoid the conversation at that point.  But honestly, I was feeling a little defensive too.  I had read both your and James’ characterizations of my interactions with Julian, and I picked up (rightly or wrongly) that both of you were more sympathetic to him than to me (I felt a little caricatured), so I was feeling vulnerable.  I was still willing to discuss and explore these things, but in a place that felt safer and more intimate to me.
In my experience of interacting with you, I do feel that some of the “psychic baggage” interfering with our communication comes from you – from your reactions to my voice (especially when in intellectual mode), and the stories you may have built out of it.  I think this actually goes directly to thr “enactivism” question, not only for you but for all of us.  Varela says we need hardly any excuse at all to start building worlds.  With even a little input, we start putting together a whole complexly layered, storeyed structure.  In this case, he’s talking about even minimal sensorimotor stimulation leading to world-building.  But it’s clear we do this psychologically, too – building stories, constructing worlds of meaning, out of a few verbal or gestural cues.  There’s nothing wrong with this, of course, as long as we remain open and stay in communication, instead of taking past enactments for a given reality.
Thank you for listening to me as well, and I hope we find ways to communicate more fully and richly.
Warm wishes,
Bruce

Marmalade : Gaia Child

3 days later

Marmalade said

Thanks for the reply.  I’m getting a better sense of all of this. 

I get the feeling that you present a more one-sided face when in these discussions.  Maybe, as you say, its because this is less natural to you which has interesting similarities to what Julian has said.  So, maybe both of you are using a less natural voice when in an intellectual debate.  You occasionally speak about another side of yourself, but I rarely see it in your recent blogs.  I’ll check out your older blogs sometime to see if I can get a better sense of the other aspects of your personality.

Maybe you aren’t a Thinking type, but have developed a Thinking persona.  Or maybe you have switched types… whatever that might mean. 

I know that I’ve developed a Thinking persona that I use sometimes, but even when I’m using the persona my Feeling nature shows through.  I know that my Thinking persona isn’t quite natural and it can be taxing.  As I was raised in a New Agey church, I have an inner green meme New Ager that is always trying to get out.  I’m an INFP which means that I’m good at hiding my idealism behind abstractions, but it also means that I’m in the category of being the most idealistic of idealists… I want to believe in something… damn practicality, full speed ahead!

I don’t know about James, but I wasn’t meaning to caricaturize you.  I was going out of my way to be sympathetic to Julian.  However, the reason for this is because I agree with you more than Julian and so was trying to bridge the gap between myself and Julian.  I was trying to understand him and I was trying to be careful in how I described him.  Despite our difficulties of communicating, I get the sense that we have much in common.  Part of the problem is that I see you most often when you’re relating to Julian and so I tend to only see your debating face.  Or else I see you on your post-metaphysical pod and there you seem to be acting as the professional arbiter.  In all the places I interact with you here on Gaia, you seem to rarely let your hair down and show that other side of yourself that you speak of.  As my experience of you is under unusual circumstances, I’m sure my sense of you is quite distorted.  I’d love to clarify my distortions by getting to know that other side of yourself.

I know that I have much psychic baggage.  I’m very upfront about that.  Part of our difficulty is that I get the sense that your uncomfortable with my being so forward about my psychic baggage (dumping it like a pile of garbage on the table of discussion).  I have many messy emotions and I’ve become used to them.  I’ve realized its pointless pretending they’re not there.  I’m not always direct in dealing with them, but I’ve given up on trying to hide them.

I get the sense that you also have your own psychic baggage (who doesn’t?), but that you’re less willing to show it directly.  Maybe you’d prefer to process your issues privately in meditation or whatever, or maybe you think its a moral weakness to air one’s issues openly.  I get the sense that my style of processing emotions in my interactions grates upon you or somehow seems wrong to you. 

Whatever is the case, my style is somewhat typical for an INFP and so once again it might have a type component to it.  INFPs can come off very cold sometimes, but they can also come off as emotionally reactive (going on tirades isn’t uncommon).  To give a comparison, INFJs can be much more controlled in their emotions and more interpersonally subtle.

Do you think my analysis is somewhat correct?
Or do you think I’m still projecting?

Another thing… I’d love to bring this blog discussion back to the topic of enactivism and integralism.  I was hoping that there might be someone who could help me bridge the subjects I brought up here and the subjects of the symposium.  I see how it all connects in a general way, but I’d like to understand the details better. 

I realize, Bruce, that you may not understand typology well enough to say much about it, but what do you think about archetypes and how they relate to enactivism and integralism?  I appreciate your comments about the stories we tell and the worlds we build.  Are there any examples from Varela that would expand upon that?

Blessings,
Marmalade

Daate : Cheerio

3 days later

Daate said

hi ben,

i wanted to add a bit of a reply here. i’m grateful that you brought up these interpersonal differences and difficulties, because, as an INFP, that is what automatically interests me and gives me energy. 

first off, i think your entry has tremendous value, and would especially so if more people and feeling types were to see it. i know that the women who sometimes pop on here and end up exhausted because of all the theorizing would love the experiential visual feel that you and julian brought to your posts. you speak in a clear, poetic, very human style that comes across as embodied and rich, and can feel very refreshing for a feeling type amid what can often feel like too much “headspace”. that’s how i’ve felt before anyway, and before your entry, i once tried to point out the reality of myers briggs types in reference to debate difficulties. for NT’s, typology can (often, not always) seem like an interesting idea, something to muse about, whereas to me it seems absolutely central, especially in a debate. i’ve been amazed at some of the intense, heated discussions on these blogs without any thought of typology—it seems to be missing half the point, so i’m so glad you reminded us all.

a while back mr. teacup and i had a bit of a debate (if i figure out where it is and how to hyperlink it, i will) in which, if i recall, i believe we both had the same point of view—only i was scared of rational thinkers disregarding the compassion that a situation might require, and he (correct me if i’m wrong, teacup) was scared about feeling types within the new age climate making impetuous judgments and decisions without forethought. both are harmful, but because of our typology we had specific fears that polarized our discussion. i knew we were trying to say the same damn thing and that if, faced with any number of similar situations, we would have reacted in a very similar way—because our fundamental principles are the same. but because of language and the fact that on these blogs, we can’t even hear important things like voice inflections, it looked like a fight. the fears are superficial and related to types, and are what cause a reactionary climate.
i knew that if i met teacup in person i would really like him, we would agree on most things, and that any interpersonal differences could be addressed with humor and generosity.

honestly, if i didn’t understand typology i would think many NT’s are stubborn bastards (sorry boys—i do love you), but as it is, my strength is not theorizing with the same facility they do, so i’m grateful for the challenge and the backup in areas in which my thought process is often diffuse and filled with a sense of artistic meaning and portent which might create a damn good painting, but not much else, and which these boys articulate beautifully in a way to eventually concretize the abstract. that’s kind of how i see these symposiums—efforts to create a sustainable model of some kind from which people can benefit.

that being said, the language of theorizing still makes me tired, because i talk about it in a totally different way and have a feeling you do too. i’ve met so many NT’s who say talking about emotions makes them tired, and vice versa with NF’s.

without sounding condescending, i hope, i’m glad you’re taking your own typology into account here. i think that yes, NT’s do love debate in a way that exhausts me, and they derive energy from it. i think too that NF’s tend to internalize childhood trauma in a very different way from NT’s too. even the NF’s that were totally supported and encouraged in childhood can feel a sense of sadness when what they have to offer isn’t received the way they would like. in my experience, NT’s, even ones who have been traumatized, tend to think other people might be idiots for not getting their point of view. in your response to bruce and to the tension in the symposium, i sense a bit of emotional baggage in addition to being naturally sensitive.

i think what might have been perceived as tension between julian and bruce was, in my view, really just two intelligent guys with large capacities for emotion and an interest in theory making themselves vulnerable to possibly changing. both have genuine curiosity about the other’s perspectiv, and as far as i’ve seen they’ve been generous with each other even when completely disagreeing. as for bruce being methodical, i always actually saw him as emotional, sensitive, and responsive to others’ feelings. i think what you might mistake for “teaching mode” is actually his carefully trying to articulate his ideas in a way that is accessible and understandable. maybe this is what comes across as “teaching mode?” he’s usually the first to acquiesce or apologize if he thinks he’s hurt someone’s feelings, and the open and direct way in which he’s willing to address underlying emotional issues in his post above are not the mark of someone stuck in teaching mode, or that of an NT, for that matter.
i hope it’s in some way helpful to consider that what joys you might derive from the symposium are different from some of the other bloggers. i kind of see this place as others’ turf that i come to check out, but i understand that i can’t expect it to function in a way that would be completely rejuvenating to me in particular, because it wouldn’t be what it is, then. i think there is actually less stress and more genuine wonder in these blogs than you might be perceiving—-i think that amid all the arguing and debating these are a handful of intelligent people who are deeply concerned about the world and are bringing their subjective experiences to the posts, and are all the time trying to sift through what may be cloudy because of personal experience and what may be useful because of it.

and thank you for bringing up your concerns, this is the most open and honest way i’ve seen someone do it in a while, and gave us all the opportunity to think on it in a constructive way. and thanks again for your great posts, it was one of the most accessible and personable that i’ve read, without lacking any intelligence or capacity for theorizing at all.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

3 days later

Marmalade said

Hey Daate! 

Exactly, you understand what I’m attempting to do.  I’m not seeking agreement, but a common ground for discussion that allows both the personal and impersonal to merge.  The desire for this merging is more of an NF thing (N – abstraction and F – interpersonal), and maybe its unfair of me to want to force my style onto the discussion.  Really, though, I just want to be heard.  I know that I’m sensitive, but I also know its not all projection. 

This conflict between Bruce and I started with a blog where I brought up similar ideas as this blog and he completely ignored it, but gave lengthy responses to every other person who commented.  Bruce later admitted that he ignored my comment intentionally because he didn’t want the discussion to get derailed.  He could have acknowledged my comment, and it wasn’t as if he lacked time since he gave lengthy replies to everyone else.  Is that me being sensitive or is it me expecting common courtesy?  Maybe my perception of not being heard is me being overly sensitive, and maybe my complaining lacks tact.

I know that Bruce is a nice guy.  Part of his style of niceness is what annoys me.  It somewhat reminds me of FJ style behavior.  FJ types especially if they’re Introverts can be very sensitive to complaining and will play the mediator.  To an INFP, this can feel like a withholding because the IXFJ uses Feeling as a public way of relating rather than as a personal sense of self.  Another thing that might relate is that INFJs are the most intellectual of the NFs (because Intuition is their primary function and because Thinking is they’re tertiary function).  Maybe what felt like teacher mode wasn’t precisely Thinking and maybe more Extraverted Feeling (?).

I understand the others’ turf view of the situation.  That has been part of my wondering.  Is integral just a Thinking thing and that is just the way it is.  However, if that was the case, then it wouldn’t be very integral.  I know from dealing with many NTs that INFPs have a particular way of conflicting with Thinking types (at least on line).  INFJs always fit better into a Thinking forum.  Maybe the INFP style and integralism just aren’t all that compatible, and any INFP who wishes to be a part of integralism should curtail their natural style to fit in.

I don’t know about the stress, but I do perceive the genuine wonder in these blogs.  Oddly enough, its because of Bruce that I’ve become interested in integralism on Gaia.  I like Bruce as a person, but I don’t like the strange dynamic I feel between us which preceeded any complaining on my part.  I’d love to resolve it because otherwise I’ll just avoid the integral crowd around here entirely.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

4 days later

Marmalade said

I’m aware that some may think I put too much stock into typology, but I think it has been researched thoroughly enough to show that there is something fundamentally true to it.  My understanding of typology isn’t abstract, and I don’t limit myself to a type. 

I’m very clear in my knowledge of the INFP type.  I know what fits me and I know what doesn’t.  As I’ve spent much time on an INFP forum, I understand the nuances of INFPs… how they interact with eachother, how they interact with other types.  I know what has to do with my type and I know what is just my personal idiosynchrocies.  When I speak of INFPs, I’m referencing my actual experience of hundreds of INFPs and hours of detailed analysis of the INFP type.  I know more about typology than any other subject… which is saying a lot!

Even so, typology is just a subset of my larger interest in archetypes.  I do think that at least some parts of typology touch upon a deeper archetypal level.  This is where I see the connection to enactivism (and integralism). 

The problem here is that even though this connection seems extremely obvious to me, it doesn’t apparently seem all that obvious to others.  In my websearches, I haven’t found anyone who has made a direct connection between enactivism and archetypes.  Why?  Enactivism seems more focused on the cognitive-behavioral aspects of biology, and so doesn’t seem as interested in larger contexts of meaning. 

Integralism is more interested in these larger contexts, but even there its hard to find much info about Jungian archetypes.  Why?  Wilber claims its a matter of the pre/trans fallacy, but others have argued that Jung doesn’t fall into that and certainly many later Jungians don’t.

There seems a disconnect of worldviews here.  I’ve tried to make some tentative connections on my own with this blog, but I’m working with limited info.  I was hoping others would contribute, but none of the commenters so far have shared any further possibilities about archetypes.  For instance, I know that Julian knows a fair amount about archetypes and knows as much if not more about enactivism than I at this point.  So, why hasn’t Julian followed this avenue of discussion that I’ve offered up?  I don’t mean to pick on Julian, but he was the most obvious example I could think of.

Maybe everyone was distracted by all of the discussion of typology.  I, however, consider the archetypal issue the more fundamental.  I only used typology as an example of how archetypes might relate to enactivism in the context of this symposium.  Maybe I need to start a second blog that clarifies this relationship.  I think this is important because I think its the archetypal angle that could help to bring enactivism into a larger integral viewpoint.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

4 days later

Marmalade said

There was another angle to this symposium that I hadn’t yet brought up.  I think enactivism gives a further understanding to a different view of integralism that I’ve been trying to figure out for a while now.  Integralism as its normally presented is a Theory of Everything (TOE), but this view interests me less in recent years.  Some time ago I came across the idea of a Theory for Anything (TFA). 

There are two ways a TFA could be considered. 

First, as a practical model of relating diverse information.  In this case, it doesn’t matter if the model correlates to reality but rather that its practically useful.  Even so, it has to be a very flexible model to work in all situations. 

Secondly, is more in line with what I’m trying to get at with the relationship between archetypes and enactivism… and also Wilber’s Kosmic habits.  The idea here is that there are fundamental structures in the mind that we use when categorizing or modelling any information no matter what it is.  Its not so much that the information needs to directly correlate to reality in a simple manner, but that the modelling process itself correlates to our very perception of reality.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

4 days later

Marmalade said

A mind-blowing aspect to enactivism is how fundamental are these body-mind structures we bring to our engagement to the world, and this is only looking at a small portion of what we filter reality through.  The psychological concept of projection is an understatement of immense proportions.  Even people who spend their whole life meditating and in therapy, barely are aware of all the factors that go into their sense of identity and their sense of reality.

The aspect of socially-constructed self and social roles brings and even more complex dynamic into the mix.  To what degree am I a specific type and to what degree have a learned various roles.  We engage eachother here, but we engage in a very one-sided way.  Authentic communication seems nearly impossible, and rational debate is mired in the process.

Bruce did affirm my sense that he was somewhat in teacher mode with his concern that students might read what he says here.  Julian has also said how he ends up playing the rationalist role.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m sure  the same goes for everyone.  It makes me wonder what role(s) am I playing?

To complexify this further, I can see where Arnold Mindell’s ideas about the dreambody fits in.  Mindell does work as a psychologist of sorts but also does work as a group mediator.  He has some very insightful theories about group dynamics.  He brings the idea of social roles to a whole new level.  His ideas fit into enactivism as he theorizes how our experience blends with the experience of those we interact with.

Balder : Kosmonaut

4 days later

Balder said

Bruce did affirm my sense that he was somewhat in teacher mode with his concern that students might read what he says here. 

What I meant by that was just that, because students in my classes (or my employers) might be likely to visit a site like this, I am a bit careful about how much personal material I disclose.  But not too careful … that would be boring!

I think your points about social roles and group dynamics are interesting and pertinent here too.  Not only are there individual “types” at play in our exchanges here, there are group-level roles we may unconsciously adopt.  I just went in the archives of an old Integral forum and dug up an old post on these issues that I wrote several years ago. 

I’d like to hear more of your thoughts on this.  According to the materials on this that I’ve studied, a number of recurrent roles have been identified by group process therapists and facilitators, which remain pretty constant even though the “faces” change.  Here is a list of some of the group roles identified by therapists such as Yalom, Agazarian, Beck, etc. 

TASK ORIENTED ROLES

Task Leader
Initiator
Doer
Information Seeker
Information Giver
Clarifier
Consensus Seeker
Summarizer
Recorder


CONTEXTUALIZED ROLES

(these are roles, which can serve to promote or
obstruct group development, depending on their
context)

Scapegoat
Shy One
Isolate
Clown
Monopolizer
Rival
Recognition Seeker
Obstructor


MAINTENANCE ORIENTED ROLES

Socio-Emotional Leader
Harmonizer
Supporter
Gate Keeper
Encourager
Compromiser
Observer
Historian
Follower
Agazarian, a prominent group process theorist, talks about groups “boundarying” – establishing and dissolving boundaries as a means of self-regulation.  The above roles are understood as each contributing to this living process.  When a person filling a particular role leaves, another will very likely find themselves consciously or unconsciously filling it.  From my perspective, awareness of the power of certain roles to polarize energy or bring forth shadow takes on alchemical significance if we can become cognizant, as a group, of these things on the level of process.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

5 days later

Marmalade said

That is very very interesting, Bruce.  I don’t think I’ve heard of Yalom, Agazarian, or Beck.

This reminds me of Mindell, but I don’t know if Mindell details specific roles like this.  Mindell does say how certain roles must be filled in a group for the dynamic to work effectively, and someone taking on an unrepresented role can shift the whole group energy.  Mindell also writes about how we can play out eachother’s unconscious aspects.  For instance, a therapist listening to a patient’s dream might find themselves starting to unintentionally acting out one of the characters of the dream.

To bring this back to archetypes, have you heard of Carol S. Pearson?  She wrote some books about how archetypes play out in terms of our sense of identity and our behavior.  There was a test that she helped to develop: the Pearson-Marr Archetype Indicator (PMAI).  She has also done work on how archetypes apply to organizations which would relate to group dynamics.  I haven’t studied her work carefully yet, but I have been meaning to. 

I’m still trying to figure out how this fits into an enactivist paradigm.  Do you know if any of the enactivist crowd (Varela, Maturana, Rosch, Lakoff, etc) has theorized about social roles and group dynamics?

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

5 days later

Marmalade said

I just wanted to add some side commentary.  I was at first reticent upon seeing Bruce’s comment because I worried that it might be a continuation of the conflict between us, but I was glad that it wasn’t.  Instead, he offers me intriguing info, and I was immediately excited.  Oh boy, new ideas, new names!  I’m easily frustrated, but I’m also easily excited when it comes to certain things.  Offering me another viewpoint is like throwing a dog a bone.  I’m happy and contented.  If I had the time, I could sit here for the rest of the day gnawing on the ideas that Bruce posted.

starlight : StarLight Dancing

5 days later

starlight said

Ben, this was a totally different perspective, with new ideas to consider…i found myself as i was reading trying to type me…LOL…no could do…maybe i am just to damn complex to be confined, but i noticed that you touched on this…

i liked especially the part about the plants; this gave a down to earth example of how plants, we, and everything else interacts whether we are aware of it or not, and of course, as you stated, most of it we are definitely not aware of…but it is cool, like you, while taking my walks, to contemplate this in a scientific way…i have always felt it strongly….and knew it intellectually, but your presentation brought it together even more…

i found myself laughing at all the references to lsd and chemicals…and also thankful that today any opening up of the mind that is done, is not done with any assistance from anything other than what is naturally ingested through what i eat…LOL…but then again, i imagine that we take them in even through our breathing…

anyways, you certainly took a diferent view…thnx for sharing it with us…good job! 

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

5 days later

Marmalade said

Howdy Starlight,

Some people fit more closely to a particular type than others.  I just see types as tendencies, but INFP does fit my tendencies pretty closely.  The other aspect that can confuse matters is that type isn’t static but allows for development into our non-preferences.  Still, there are particular ways that types will tend to develop.  Of course, real life makes everything more complex than any theory.

I liked the part about the plants too.  The example I mentioned about plants communicating through chemicals came from a book I read that utterly fascinated me, but I couldn’t remember which book it was.  Its somewhere at home.  I’ll find it eventually.

The reference to lsd wasn’t necessary, but I thought it was an easy example to use.  I haven’t used psychedelics in many years.  I do use plenty of other substances to alter my consciousness though.  I particularly like this one drug that is called caffeine.  Its good stuff!

starlight : StarLight Dancing

5 days later

starlight said

lol…you are funny…

what do you think constitutes our different experiences with say caffeine?  i mean i know a lot of people that can drink coffee all day long, and then go straight to bed…then there’s me…if i drink it past a certain time of day, or intake to much, b/c i have such a sensitivity to it, i’ll be up all night…and there are times, i have noticed that it really makes me nutty if i take in to much…do you think this has to do with our biological evolution and with enactivism indirectly?  i never did lsd, however, i knew lots who did, and some would have good trips, and then some would have bad trips…another thing that is interesting, at least to me, that if our evolution does, and i am convinced it does, have anything to do with it, the fact that my brain and body act differently to alcohol and drugs then ordinary people, would speak to that evolution…

i have a bit of Cherokee in me, and it is a known fact that early Americans traded alcohol to Native Americans for their goods…and Indians were known for their addiction to alcohol…and their tendency to alcoholism…i would think that to be relevant here…wouldn’t you?  just some thoughts…*

Daate : Cheerio

5 days later

Daate said

hey all,

ben i’m glad you feel “back in the game.” yeah, i find the archetype ideas intriguing too….and will have to read up on carol pearson.

Balder : Kosmonaut

5 days later

Balder said

Hi, Ben,

The individuals I mentioned in my last post (Yalom, Agazarian, and Beck) are all therapists, and they have written about these “roles” in the context of group therapy.  I am not aware of whether or not Varela or Maturana have explored social roles or group dynamics in any detail, but I believe Lakoff and Johnson have used their cognitive linguistic model to explain social patterns and dynamics (see Metaphors We Live By and Moral Politics). 

A central theme in Lakoff and Johnson’s work, as I expect you know, is that a great deal of our thought is metaphoric, much of which is rooted in metaphors provided uniquely by our form of embodiment, so I think their work is directly relevant to – and, in some ways, an extension of or complement to – Varela’s model of enactive cognition.

I have not thought through some of these questions in relation to typology, but intuitively, it seems that these approaches can be mutually informing – that typologies might be rooted in embodiment and embodied metaphors, as emergent patterns of cognition influenced by particular forms of embodied experience and the metaphors they provide; but once established, they are likely also contributors to the co-enactment of our individual and social meaning spaces.  What do you think?

Best wishes,

B.

starlight : StarLight Dancing

5 days later

starlight said

bruce, i think it is also amazing to look at these metaphoric experiences through a culteral context too…it is systems theory…everything continuously has affected everything else…

Marmalade : Gaia Child

6 days later

Marmalade said

Starlight,

I don’t know what the cause of caffeine differences, but I could imagine there might be some evolutionary aspects.  Supposedly, people from cultures where agriculture was developed later tend to have wheat allergies and inability to easily digest milk.  But caffeine is a bit different than wheat and milk.

I’m of European stock, and I’m not sensitive to caffeine at all.  I can drink coffee and fall right to sleep.  My mom also isn’t sensitive to caffeine and she has German heritage. 

As for lsd, I never had any bad trips.  In fact, I had many nice trips, and I had nice trips with other substances too.  I took mushrooms once and went for a walk in nature.  I viscerally felt the whole world breathing with me in a single breath, no separation between internal and external, the world animistically alive.  Now, that is embodied perception.

starlight : StarLight Dancing

6 days later

starlight said

rotflmao…WOW…i have had similiar experiences, but most of mine surprisingly enough, given my history of chemical substance abuse, were without any outside stimulants…

seems that those mind-experiences are strongest, in my experience, because they are only limited by mind, and not chemicals…maybe the chemicals did break the initial barrier…but it is the mind that actually has no limits…i don’t have a clue if what i just said makes any sense to anyone but me…LOL

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

6 days later

Marmalade said

Daate,

If you find anything interesting about Pearson, please share it.  I’ll look at her theory again and see if any of it fits in with this symposium.

Bruce,

On Wikipedia, Lakoff and Johnson aren’t listed as enactivism philsophers, but they (along with the enactivists) are listed under embodied philosophy.  I’ve been somewhat aware of their ideas as I read Metaphors We Live By years ago (during a phase when I was interested in NLP).  The reason I brought them up in my above blog was because I owned one of their books and they kept coming up in my websearches for enactivism.

“intuitively, it seems that these approaches can be mutually informing – that typologies might be rooted in embodiment and embodied metaphors, as emergent patterns of cognition influenced by particular forms of embodied experience and the metaphors they provide; but once established, they are likely also contributors to the co-enactment of our individual and social meaning spaces.”

As typology seems to be cognitive-perceptual structures rooted in the body (ie genetics and brain structure), it made sense to me that there probably was a fairly direct link to enactivism which considers another type of cognitive-perceptual structure rooted in the body.  The difficulty in following this line of thought is that most typologists haven’t theorized in terms of embodiment, and embodied philosophers apparently haven’t theorized about types.

Jung was aware of a possible connection between typology and physiology, but he never pursued this.   

“The Significance of Constitution and Heredity on Psychology” (1929):
“I personally have the impression that some of Kretschmer’s main types are not so far removed from certain of the basic psychological types I have enumerated. It is conceivable that at these points a bridge might be established between the physiological constitution and the psychological attitude. That this has not been done already may be due to the fact that the physiological findings are still very recent while, on the other hand investigation from the psychological side is very much more difficult and therefore less easy to understand.” (Coll. Wks, 8, p. 108)

Tyra and James Arraj have explored this area.  They’ve written some books and have a nice website that goes into great detail.

Another MBTI theoretician is Jonathan P. Niednagel.  He developed the system called Brain Types.  He theorizes that type correlates to not only body type but also behavior and physical ability.

Socionics is the Russian version of MBTI, but it doesn’t directly correlate to MBTI even though it often uses the same letter code.  Socionics is a set of separate theories which includes what is called Visual Identification (VI).  VI is a theory that says that type can be observed by physiological appearance and behavior, but I don’t know if its similar to Niednagel’s Brain types.

I couldn’t begin to guess how such theories might correlate with enactivist notions of embodiment and the embodied metaphors of Lakoff and Johnson, but it would seem to fit into the general category of embodied philosophy.  Of course, the above theories are probably more hypothetical because I’m sure the scientific evidence is limited.

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

6 days later

Marmalade said

“seems that those mind-experiences are strongest, in my experience, because they are only limited by mind, and not chemicals…maybe the chemicals did break the initial barrier…but it is the mind that actually has no limits…i don’t have a clue if what i just said makes any sense to anyone but me…LOL”

I think I get what you’re saying.  In this context, I was considering how mind and chemicals interrelate. 

In my blog, I gave an explanation: “One possibility is that the brain structures used to categorize our experience are altered or even suppressed.”  I just was thinking of something opposite to this.  Instead of the cognitive-perceptual structures being altered or suppressed, maybe they’re more fully engaged and magnified.  As DMT already resides in the brain, there are already specific functions for DMT.  The increase of DMT wouldn’t change the brains functioning but simply increase the normal functioning of DMT.

However, this theory wouldn’t apply for other psychedelics which aren’t naturally produced by our own biology.

starlight : StarLight Dancing

6 days later

starlight said

ben…that is an excellent point…i was aware of that chemical that is similiar to heroin already being present in the brain, as it has been studied in relation to addiction for sometime now,  but i did not connect it till just now reading your post…so, the actual chemical in lsd is also present in the brain already…right?

Marmalade : Gaia Child

6 days later

Marmalade said

Yeah, Starlight, heroin would relate to endorphins.  They are named after morphine (endorphin: indwelling morphine).  I suppose a similar thing is true for other psychoactive drugs.  They can effect the brain so powerfully because there already are similarly structured chemical compounds in the brain.  What is interesting is that there is so much crossover between chemicals in our brain and chemicals in plants.

andrew : ~SmAsHInG dUaLiTy~

6 days later

andrew said

yes, i’ve had that trip too ben; in fact, the last time i did mushrooms i was taken on a guided tour of unconscious physiological processes at the nano level which were shown to me to be sentient and intelligent……hmmm…….certainly no credibility here…lol
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Randi

here is a link to the paranormal and as much as i admire david hawkins as a teacher i do think that when he claims that kinesiology is the way to discover truth and falsehood; well, that claim needs to be verified or falsified……my own feeling on that issue is if kinesiology is the way the universe has decided to enlighten us then we are in serious trouble, in my opinion……..
i liked your blog because it seemed to me to offer tons of info. on the complexities of horizontal type phenomenon. i find too much of the integral discussions overly concerned with altitude and coincidentally those people in those discussions always seem to imply that they are of high altitude……hmmm……
by the way, i made a comment on a recent blog about how i perceived a discussion between bruce and adam a while back and my perception was based on a general orientation, to borrow a method from wilber. was i correct? or are general orientations not all that useful in a a specified culture, especially in the sciences. now i didn’t mean to label adam or bruce, but at the time the labels did seem appropriate, to a point….did i just make a point?lol

Marmalade : Gaia Child

8 days later

Marmalade said

Hey Andrew,

So much for credibility.  Its overrated anyways.

I’ve looked into one of David Hawkin’s books about kinesiology.  I was left unconvinced.  If it were true though, it would be easy to test scientifically.

I’m more interested in the horizontal than the vertical.  Even human social development isn’t necessarily vertical.  There isn’t any particular reason to assume there is a telos to development nor that a later stage is hierarchically better than previous stages.  Yes, there is an order to development, but our value judgments of those stages can’t be scientifically proven.  They’re just beliefs.  To me, the horizontal is the more fundamental category and so it is the most relevant to our everyday experience.  The vertical is interesting but more speculative.

Balder : Kosmonaut

9 days later

Balder said

I would agree the higher end of the vertical spectrum is more speculative, but I think the “lower range” (pre-operational, concrete operational, formal operational) is well researched and well substantiated.

Marmalade : Gaia Child

11 days later

Marmalade said

Hey Balder, I hear what you’re saying.  I didn’t mean that the developmental spectrum isn’t substantiated by objective observations.  I was pointing out the subjective side of things, all of that which we project onto development: hopes and expectations, value judgments and hierarchies of experience. 

Most people turn to development schemas with some ideal or agenda in mind.  We want those models to explain more than they’re capable of.  We want them to tell us a grand narrative.  But all they can fundamentally tell us is that this comes after this, a set of behaviors that seemed to follow a predictable pattern.  The correlation is substantiated, but the causal speculations aren’t as strongly substantiated.  But most humans aren’t contented to stop at mere observation.  I know that I’m not.  🙂

I don’t see the vertical and horizontal as that clearly differentiated.  I suspect that much of what is attributed to the vertical is really just a subset of the horizontal.  Change can occur on the horizontal.  Change only becomes a vertical phenomenon when we attribute a causal schema to it, give it a story so to speak.  Most change in life is just change without a specific direction or purpose.  And some change that seems to have a direction probably could also be understood in non-hierarchical terms.

All of this isn’t to deny the vertical as a category, but I’m just a bit wary of all the projections that I see mixed into various explanations of it.  I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a Telos to the universe or at least many telai.  We do experience life as a one way trip and so we seem designd to perceive the world according to explanatory narratives.  Are we designed that way because there actually is a Telos?  Or are we designed that way because its just an accident of evolution that turned out to have some survival value for the species?

1Vector3 : "Relentless Wisdom"

19 days later

1Vector3 said

Ben, this comment isn’t necessarily about your particular contribution to the Symposium; it is a comment about the entire Symposium, so I am just adding it here at the latest official point of the whole thing.

I still haven’t read more than half of the whole, and I still owe a lot of responses, and sooner or later, I shall finish reading, and do them…..

But this little bugger would not be denied this morning, it shoved itself into my mind, into my fingers, onto my blog, very rudely cutting ahead of the rest of the items in the line of Pending and Underway Blog Entries.

It is very long so I am just going to put a link here. It is on the subject of “What is Reality?” and how I believe differing answers to that question interfered with this Symposium in some ways both emotionally and communicatively/cognitively.
 
http://adliac.gaia.com/blog/2008/9/what_is_reality_part_i

I prefer responses to it there rather than here, pretty please.

Blessings, OM Bastet

Marmalade : Gaia Child

19 days later

Marmalade said

Thanks, OM!  I’m really glad you brought this up.

2 thoughts on “ENACTIVISM, INTEGRAL THEORY, AND 21st CENTURY SPIRITUALITY

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