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A New Integral Paradigm - in a nutshell

(1) A Metaphysical Theory of Everything - This is not a scientific theory, not a theory with a capital "T", but rather a philosophical or esoteric theory, a theory small "T"; along the lines of the title of Ken Wilber's book Amazon com A Theory of Everything: An Integral Vision for Business, Politics, Science and Spirituality. It is (intended as) a new esoteric science, an integral explanation of all aspects of being within a single framework.

(2) Not a dogma - Who knows what the nature of reality is! The current explanation should not be taken as an absolute truth, or a cultic teaching! It is just something I have written, inspired by Sri Aurobindo, Kashmir Shaivism, Neoplatonism, Kabbalah, Sant Mat, and other great teachings. If you find it useful, that is good. If you don't, that is also good. Ultimately everyone should be free to arrive at their own truth. You can be inspired by and incorporate what others have written, but it is no good to just slavishly imitate. This is why things like guru cults (as opposed to True Gurus), exoteric religions, dogmatic ideologies and so on are bad. There should be a shift from slavish dependence on authority to peer-to-peer egalitarianism. It may well be, as John Heron and others have suggested, that a new peer-to-peer spirituality is emerging

(3) Methodology - there are many ways of arriving at understanding, and in an integral and comprehensive explanation, all have something to contribute. These include individual experience and phenomenological enquiry, the various esoteric traditions, authentic spiritual teachers (and they are authentic only inasmuch as in the core of your being (not the surface ego) you have a feeling about them) and perennial philosophy, philosophy and "thought experiments", the findings of physicalist science and other reliable elements of modern secular knowledge (but never those statements that deny or explain away authentic experiences). A few esoteric and integral science might take individual experiences as its basic data - an inward rather than an outward empiricism and phenomemology.

(4) Metaphysics - this is the most controversial (but also the central) element in this thesis. I have been working on a grand synthesis, an all-enclusive paradigm, for many years. I finally gave it up as ridiculous. But then I noticed Ken Wilber had attempted this very task in his more recent (from the 1980s on) work. That inspired me to go back and write this thesis, even if it is (and always should be nothing other than) a work in progress, not a dogma. Similar yet different to Wilber's AQAL cosmology, the metaphysical system suggested here proposes four parameters or axii or gradiants of being (ontoclines) ((a) "Vertical" Planes or Octaves of Existence, (b) "Concentric" / Inner and Outer being, (c) "Emanational" / Levels of Consciousness as Emanation, and (d) "Epistemic" / Levels of Insight of Consciousness), with the Absolute Reality in the symbolic center of the mandala. These five variables, it is suggested, can constitute a cartography of all possible states of consciousness and existence. Lest you think this whole thing - or maybe just my version - absurd, I refer you to point (2) above.

(5) Cosmology - the above metaphysic implies a cosmology. The, like being, cosmology is dynamic, not static, because it is based on both evolution and on the co-action compass of "Unified Science" (Haskell and others). And whilst evolution involves myriad branchs and possibilities, at least on this physical Earth (and in the observable universe) there would seem to be five stages - Spatiogenesis, Chemogenesis, Biogenesis, Sociogenesis, Noogenesis, and a future state of Theogenesis. Each stage is distinguished by a "singularity"; each brings to physical existence possibilities that were inconceivable and impossible to preceding stages.

(6) Praxis. The above is all theory. Theory without practical application cannot bring about physical, social, individual, and collective change. Practical application may involve physical, empathic, and/or intellectual activism, or it may involve individual transformation through sadhana (spiritual practice) and yoga (union with the Divine). Ultimately both are necessary: transforming society without changing oneself and others is futile and leads to tyranny (e.g. Marxism became Stalinism), whilst transforming oneself without helping others (the ideal of the Pratyekabuddha or "selfish buddha" who strives for nirvana only for him/her self) is good for a monk or ascetic living in a hermitage or ashram, but can't address larger issues. Each will gravitate towards what attracts them and what they are better suited for. But the ultimate change requires both. In this way, ultimately, the individual participates in the work of theogenesis (divinization)


Premises

  1. All that exists (Reality) is Consciousness and vice-versa
  2. For the sake of simplicity a distinction can be made between this non-dual Consciousness-Being in Itself (The Absolute Reality) and this same non-dual Consciousness-Being appearing as the infinite multiplicity of creation (Relative Reality)
  3. One can also posit a mediating principle or Manifest or Neotic Absolute between the unmanifest Absolute and the finite creation.
  4. Relative existence can be defined as change, duality (yin and yang), multiplicity and so on on. Absolute reality is the opposite
  5. Relative existence can be heuristically mapped in terms of a four-fold hierarchy, in one end of the spectrum is "Closer" to the Source (i.e. cosmic/universal whole, Noetic, Inner, self) or "Within" (of the nature of Consciousness), and the other "Further" from the Source (i.e. atomistic individual, Material, Outer, non-self) or "Without" (veiling of Consciousness)
  6. the fundamental unit of Relative or manifest existence is the dynamic co-action between two or more entities, each of which is itself a dynamic co-action between two or more entities ("dance of Shiva"). This dynamic co-action is what is also known as karma or dependent origination
  7. This karma is directional and teleological. This direction/teleos is what is called evolution
  8. Evolution can be defined as a series of metamorphoses of (and leading to) increasing "Within" or greater Consciousness, leading ultimately to Theosis (Divinisation/"Supramentalisation")



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text content and original diagrams by M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded 3 July 2005, last modified 27 November