A sensate connection with life

Continuing from this post, check out this article form the 2015 Integral Theory Conference: “Gebser’s structures of consciousness and somatic development.” It reinforces what I’ve discussed at length in the Ning IPS thread on the fold. We need to fully integrate previous structures but we don’t return to the original state in which they emerged. This is especially important since we entered the deficient  rational stage which has unbalanced the earlier structures. A large part of that deficiency is to “due to the introduction and solidification of perspectivity. The practice of arranging individual elements along a sequential line skews one’s view on reality. Any language arising from the rational structure will naturally describe a perspectival world” (28).

The emerging integral consciousness is an “integration of all structures of consciousness [and] is not to be confused with an ‘expansion of consciousness,’ which would indicate a quantification of consciousness” (29). It is more of an intensification and coherence of all existing structures. “This shift away from linear perspective requires a sensate connection with life” (29). How do we do that? While the paper didn’t go into detail on that, it die go into detail making the connections between structures of consciousness and the nervous system. The earliest archaic structure was related to the dorsal vagus complex. The magical structure is related to the sympathetic vagus complex. The mythic structure relates to the ventral vagus complex and the rational structure to the neo-cortex.


Therefore specific practices designed to engage each of these neural structures can keep them all functioning together in an integrated fashion, i.e., an integral transformative practice (ITP). But we must also be careful when using the rational neo-cortex for the purpose of healthy integration to not slip over to its deficient side, for that will indeed upset the delicate balance of all the structures from working in harmony. Then we get the type of disfigured metatheoretical monsters Joseph talks about in the forum. This is especially hazardous in one who is too top-heavy in metatheory without the grounding practices that induces the “sensate connection with life.”

And, as to the theme of this thread, this doesn’t necessitate that one engages in metatheory (or academia) to achieve such integration. To the contrary, those so engaged must take particular care to not fall into deficient rationality. I must personally heed this advice, being a brainiac that often flies into such abstract fancy that has lost a balanced touch with my own previous structures as well as with a felt connection with humanity. Just doing the sensate practices to activate the previous structures is not enough if I engage an ITP from a deficient rational orientation like Ferrer warns in this post, or continually engage in the deficient language of meta-perspectivity ad infinitum.

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About theurj

Also known as theurj. I've contributed some essays to Integral World and co-founded Open Integral blog, now defunct. I continue to participate in Integral Postmetaphysical Spirituality forum.
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