extracts from a conversation on Jordan Peterson that veered into this discussion on levels of consciousness and their evolution:
My approach probably owes more to Steiner than Gebser in that I find it more helpful to think historically rather than classify people by memes and types. I won’t go into detail here, but one important point is what Owen Barfield used to point out about the whole meaning of the phrase “literal meaning”. It has changed dramatically since the middle ages, which had a much better understanding of the working of signs than the Modern philosophers did (See John Deely’s Four Ages of Understanding).
I think the “integral”scene tends to want to be inclusive of different perspectives but there is still the assumption of some developmental hierarchy that obfuscates all the important details one can see from a topological perspective rather than typological. Development is a complex process of unfolding and I think typological thinking really gets in the way. Some use of set theory/typal logic is necessary, especially as a crude map, but the topological thinking of Goethe, Steiner, and especially Deleuze, who Rocco Gangle models with Category Theory, is much better at getting at the infinite relationality of consciousness unfolding. Hierarchy then is embedded in the process of abstraction, rather than assumed as some distance from a literal base, an assumption which causes all kinds of problems that we see on display with Wilber and company.
I have been studying alternative science for many years and the best stuff has been developed by Dewey Larson and those who have followed him, especially Bruce Peret and Gopi Krishna who use some of Steiner’s insights on projective geometry to make Larson’s ideas more topological. Essential to Larson’s thinking is the idea of scalar motion, which Bruce, in a conversation we had recently, decided would be better labeled topological motion, for good reasons. With topological physics all that UFO stuff starts to make more sense. I think Wilcock and Greer mean well but they both have a very melodramatic, naive consciousness and are easily misled. I do actually find Corey Goode and the other secret space program whistleblowers very fascinating. I am very interested in the history of occultism and the progression from Theosophy to the New Age has taken an interesting turn with UFO mythology. It is there that all the new myths are being formed. I think Jungians are too typological and backwards orientated.
Myth is changing and we all live by signs; whether we develop a more philosophical understanding of them or not, they need to help us make sense out of a rapidly changing world. Peterson also means well. He just hasn’t thought things through, and is falling into his own melodramatic hero myth, just like Wilcock. I wish he would have thought things through and learned a little more about what he was talking about. I just wrote this to a friend who was suggesting Peterson was a necessary counterpoint to the SJW:
“Everything is counterpoint to something. Nothing in the universe is without value. It was inevitable some kind of opposite to the SJW force would arise. But counterpoints can be made in many ways. Ideally leading into some kind of harmony or compromise. Man it would have been nice if someone called out the Idpol Left without feeding into some of the worst misconceptions about socialism that the elite spent decades brainwashing people with. What Peterson calls a murderous ideology was used by authoritarians precisely because it had gained so much international respect for fighting the elite and winning for many decades until WW1. It is the so called “far” Left that drove the creation of the middle class, conservatives are so proud of, as if it sprouted from the graces of the founding fathers or the natural law of free market competition. Elites have been fighting a hard class war since the beginning, and we are losing now precisely because there is no more true Left to speak of, but it can reemerge with the progressive movement.
But nothing is going to work without a large majority of the public demanding a right to the commons We may not like some of the progressive views but the movement is important, however fledging… With the right environment, everyone will be less concerned about identity issues.
For now obviously the cultural politics are polarizing and dividing what should be a larger base, thereby leaving people hip to the con somewhere in the middle, but I don’t see it as being caught in the middle; there is no reason to feel adrift. Trump triggered a lot of identity issues with people. We need to keep focused on what matters. Identity politics isn’t the enemy, it’s just gotten out of hand because it’s all people have; everyone is adrift. They just need to be reorientated towards collective issues that we all know are important. Politics has always been dominated by lots of people trying to force their way; the real change takes time and it doesn’t come about through force but through leaders creating new possibilities, organizing those forces, forming new fields for all the fighters to hash it out. SJWs are ready to fight, they just happen to be in a political situation where they have no larger vision to fight for. The avantgarde need to educate and organize like they have done before, but this time it isn’t just industrial economy workers it needs to organize, but a large swathe of the public that can press for change.”
My personal practice is very much influenced by Sri Aurobindo, whose yoga practice, despite his Eastern terminology has a lot more in common with Western esotericism. I even go as far as to say kundalini yoga is dangerous and misleading in a modern or western context. This was part of why Steiner broke with Theosophy and emphasized a Western path for our age…because manipulating energy without a grounding in the intuitive thinking, clairvoyance, or “psychic change” as Aurobindo called it, mostly leads to big problems, as we see with most Eastern gurus. I have much more respect for Chinese “yoga”, because it avoids the kundalini sickness and the power abuse it often enables, through emphasis on grounding in the lower tan tien. I practice tai chi and chi kung but I think by themselves they seldom lead to higher illuminations in a Western context without a more extensive and esoteric psychology.
As far as psychology goes, my main recommendation as a therapist is Peter Wilberg who gets all the basic perspectives and critiques I think are important, right across the board, and integrates them well into a good model for treating and counseling people. Like me, he critiques the New Age but draws heavily from my favorite books, Jane Roberts’ Seth books, and combines postmodern philosophy with Tantric and Western esoteric principles. He has lots of books and several websites, which can cover a lot of similar basic material, but he is doing good work. This is a little known or referenced short ebook of his on The source of the “Reptilian” symbolism that I really like: http://www.thenewyoga.org/NAGAS.pdf
Other people in the conspiracy genre I recommend are Catherine Austin Fitts, Richard Dolan, and Joseph Farrell. I especially recommend this talk of Catherine’s I saw in person at the one conspiracy conference I attended: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0mimIp8mr8
I met them all there, all very smart, very nice people
Dark Journalist, a friend of all theirs, has been doing good work as well. Much different than people like Wilcock and Greer who are caught up in alien religion. But I should say, even though they all dismiss Corey Goode and all the other people at his level (William Thompkins, Emery Smith, and many others on Gaia tv’s Cosmic Disclosure), I find Corey and company to be very important as the occult mythmakers of our time. Wilcock deserves credit for bringing them all out. Debate rages over what the agenda is with them, but as a philosopher I am less mesmerized by true/false claims than I am interested in meaning and ideas. Corey Goode’s narrative is packed full of more ideas than all the science fiction of the last couple decades I have seen. Which is why I like the Seth books as well as the RA Material. I don’t care what mask or name, what sign or camouflage(as Seth calls it), an entity clothes itself in, its the quality of the force that matters.
Struggle and force are not the way to go. In tai chi, it is not about pacifism or inaction but a way of redirecting forces. In a fight with a real master, any resistance will spell your defeat. This essential truth is at the heart of postmodern philosophy which comes right out of Nietzsche. What is so funny about Peterson is that he gets this so wrong. He equates postmodernism with Marxism and equates his own position with Nietzsche. Postmodern thinkers distance themselves from Marxist grand narratives of class struggle in favor of more Nietzschean forms of action where direct struggle against the negative is displaced towards a creative redirection and appropriation.
Deleuze especially sets his whole philosophy as an alternative to the dialectic. This is where a lot of the Modern and late Modernist philosophy that the Integral scene is into goes wrong too. Deleuze critiques dialectic as a process where opposites struggling with each other merely give way to higher scale entrapments, not the new creative possibilities of Nietzschean transvaluation. This entrapment in scaled sets of qualities taken as given, is inherent in set theory/ typological thinking where everything is structured according to qualities given to it by its scale, by its coding through the sign regime that defines it rather than by its possible connections, as you could in the logical modelling system called category theory. This formal modeling of Deleuze in Category Theory is a move that Professor Rocco Gangle has recently made, but it follows from Deleuze and I think the whole course of postwar thought.
Postmodern thought recognized what Nietzsche was getting at and followed Heidegger in applying it to fundamental ontology, where instead of looking to classify everything for what it is, in some absolute metaphysical way, instead we look to understand what it may mean in a web of relations of possible value. I think Jung has many good insights, so I hope I didn’t sound too dismissive with my off hand comment. But archetypal thinking is a similar thing here. It leads one to think in types, to look for similarity to pre established patterns rather than tease out the infinite context that is the real journey of creative discovery. It is backwards looking because it can make it difficult to think the new, the singular. It tends to find order through comparison to past patterns and collective symbols, which can not only trap one in habitual patterns of identification, but it can totally misidentify even those because the general qualities of an object or sign can hide quite different meaning that would arise with a sensitivity to new contexts and “lines of flight”.
In that vein, I don’t think funding political “resistance” is wise. We need new lines of flight—new creative reorganizations of the forces at play in the political scene. The CIA is basically sponsoring what counts as resistance these days anyway, so you would be in bad company. I do think different elite factions are in intense struggle right now and I tend to think the nationalist faction is losing to the globalists. Trump conspiracy people disagree; they think Q anon is legit and its all a big game and Trump and his managers in military intelligence have it all under control. I don’t find much meaning in most of the daily political happenings, conspiracy level or otherwise. Whoever wins this Deep State struggle, the people are going to lose more or less depending on how awake and organized we are. A more nationalist direction would stall some of the globalist plans and maybe give us time to organize some local autonomy at different levels… so despite the environmental concerns that suggest a sped up process of globalization is the best way to go, I think the postcapitalist plan of the globalists is a bit frightening, and some prolonged capitalism might buy us some time for more regional sovereignty, like through public banking. That might be worth supporting. Ever read Ellen Brown’s Web of Debt? She’s the president of the Public Banking Institute. Public Banking (not the same as credit unions) is a very good strategy in my opinion.
But even with creative political thinking and organizing, I am more interested in seeding cultural evolution. As I said, political struggle is downstream from the real battle of power between creative, truly “active” forces organizing the “reactive” forces that actually do the struggling(Deleuze terms in his book on Nietzsche). If I had the funding I would build a think tank and facilitate media productions to educate and attract talent, and organize better research on applying the alternative physics research into the workable technology that is being kept from us by the military elite. We are figuring stuff out, building the cosmology, the physics, the theory, we just need better technology and better evidence to build a wider movement that attracts progressives to the bigger picture and bring the conspiracy people on the Right down from the paranoid big picture to the working communities of cultural change and political organizing. Like Catherine says in the video I posted in the last comment, “don’t worry if there is a conspiracy, make your own conspiracy”
There are different “types” of coherence/order/pattern. I emphasize creative coherence, my substitute for the more technical phrase “quantum coherence”. We can unhook from the collective trauma and find inner coherence, and that was the traditional path. It partly rests on a coherence through typal/archetypal/ essentialist thinking. But the West is driven to bring coherence to the outward collective and it is our destiny to help usher it in for the planet. To do that, however, with traditional essentialist thinking spells trouble.
As information theorist Paul Cilliers used to put it, postmodernism is just the discovery of complexity. Complexity and difference demand more context to flesh out the detail of every type of thing we are dealing with. People get lost in the complexity of infinite context and crave essentialism, which is what Peterson is giving them. The most rapidly growing trend in contemporary philosophy is a new Realism, which addresses this desire. People like Graham Harman make room for a type of essentialism, but without reverting to the old assumptions of absolute correspondence of sign with thing. For example, astrologers like to focus on archetypal patterns but there are people now who are starting to follow the path of complexity thinking and don’t necessarily eschew the archetypal patterns that define astrological correspondence but flesh out the geometrical and harmonic/ vibrational aspects that give rise to the essences and types we have built our associations around. Graham Harman’s friend Manuel Delanda, one of my favorite philosophers these days, makes the point that the only viable alternative to essences is Deleuze’s multiplicity, where everything is known not by its finished properties, like a chemical element’s atomic number, but through its topological descent from more abstract unified patterns into the more specific details we see, which helps us understand a chemical element’s potentials for combination— and which is not any finished essence but structure of possibilities.
We can find coherence in complexity without reverting back to romantic cliches that attempt to re–enchant the cosmos to a mind that has already moved on. It doesn’t reject the past but finds new context for it as it emerges out of the linear time of mental consciousness into the fractal complexity of virtual/abstract multidimensional time.
If all this sounds pretty abstract and pointless, let me briefly give my favorite practical example: AIDS. The creation of this multiplicity, this structure of relations, followed a very convoluted path to the essentialized illness that is thought of today. Current science with its causal/essentialist/ scapegoat model never questions the categories it creates, once they have become foundational dogma. The dialectic of negation merely ensures that the structure of knowledge is only questioned through transcendence, through accretion and revolution, so that old concepts are altered and recontextualized but increasingly never questioned or changed fundamentally. An honest philosophical look at AIDS reveals what many brave and esteemed scientists and journalists have been fighting to make people aware of for decades: the whole things is a tragic scam. So many lives are ruined and lost and a whole continent is getting fucked by what amounts to mindless application of essentialist assumptions. I put this on the philosophical negligence of our thinkers.