Two more responses to the “Trinity” poem. Don on the SeattleIntegral email list writes:
Joe, I’ve always been a little uncomfortable with the involution part of KW’s integral theory since it is something that is inferred rather than observed. Note that in places he has said that involution did not happen in time. I guess I’m unclear how that could be. Also I would be happier if the theory were, at least in part, falsible, i.e. if it made predictions about things not yet known, which could then be tested and, if the experiment did not turn out as predicted, which would negate the theory. (Of course the idea of “falsibility” is not itself falsible, so that concept is a basic assumption, albeit one that pertains to everything within science.)
To which ralph opines:
don, read ‘soulfully gay’. it’ll give you a lot better idea, not only where he’s coming from, but what he is attempting to do with this addition to aqal. ralph
Ralph continues in another email to the list:
i wasn’t going to say anymore because i haven’t yet digested it myself, but how can one remain silent at the dawning of a new day, even if one has little idea what it may bring? wilber has described–i can’t remember where–telos as a certain tilt to the kosmos, also called eros, pulling us towards Unity, to use a term of joe’s. i’ve always felt uncomfortable about this because it seems to reduce our role in this kosmic play to wisely surrendering to this tilt, or foolishly resisting it. and i’m constantly having to ask myself ‘why am i being so foolish?’ after all, i know what the wise thing to do is. why do i have to be so perverse? having glimpsed joe’s answer, my first reaction is ‘of course! what he’s explicitly pointing out to us has been there all along in what ken has been saying and doing, but only implicitly.
i’m reminded of fred kofman’s going to wilber with a question about the twently tenets of SES. he was troubled by ‘thanatos’ being posited as the complement to ‘eros’. why not ‘agape’? excellent question, because, in fact, ‘agape’ does seem to me to play the role of the primary complement to ‘eros’ in SES. wilber just failed to make this explicit. same thing here, i believe.
both the guru and the pandit talk about a duty, a responsibility they have in regard to the evolution of the kosmos, i.e. to the workings of eros. but they are motivated, in carrying out this duty, in reaching out to all of us, by agape. there does indeed seem to be a telos at work here, and joe has explicitly identified it.
this is really huge. it means we are pulled, not by none, not by one, but by two teli (or whatever the plural of telos is). the integral approach is, of course, to include both in our reckoning. this is definitely a much more interesting kosmic play than heretofore imagined. and, as wilber indicates in the latest chapter from the terrorist trilogy, the negative complements, ‘thanatos’ and ‘phobos’, of ‘eros’and ‘agape’ also need to be taken into account. our view of the play is only getting more interesting, more inclusive of what was already going on, anyway.
Here’s a dictionary that says the plural of telos is teloi, so I’m going with it.
“Trinity” is offered not as a falsifiable theory, but as a prose poem. It is an invitation to imagination and exploration and wonder. If you feel comfortable doing so, write about it. Create a responsive poem. Create a falsifiable theory of it, or explore what a falsibiable theory might look like. As the poet, I cannot offer any one definitive interpretation. The poem’s meaning is multifaceted, and includes the response of the community of readers.
I will say, however, that Ralph is correct that there is a connection between the twin teloi of Spirit–involution and evolution–and the explorations in my book, Soulfully Gay. I won’t say any more at this time so as not to spoil any plot points, but I will note that in my opinion the last 19 pages of the book begin to spell out what involution looks like. And yes, like Wilber, I would concur that involution cannot really be perceived within the continuum of time. That part’s in the book, too.
Unfortunately, I am not able to provide a falsifiable injunction for involution such as “Step 1. Step outside of space and time. Step 2. Look about you.” It just wouldn’t be wise to do so, even if I thought it was that simple. Instead, I have offered my book as an account of my own experiences, and those who read the book and are comfortable drawing parallels to their own experience can begin asking some fruitful questions and, perhaps, imagining what the proper set of injunctions might be to falsify the notion that involution has a telos, if such a thing is imaginable.
One possible set of injunctions for confirming the truth of “Trinity” leaps to mind immediately! “Step 1. Be born as Joe Perez in September, 1969. Step 2. Write a journal called ‘Soulfully Gay’ in 2003 and 2004. Step 3. Have the experiences resulting in “Trinity” in 2004 and describe them as they happened. Step 4. Send the manuscript of your journal to Ken Wilber.” etc., etc. LOL.
Warning: asking “How can I falsify a theory of involution?” is a difficult inquiry. The answers to such a question might be as troublesome, and the explorations as uncomfortable, as attempting to answer such a hypothetical question as, “Why would God send his only begotten son to be crucified on a Cross? How can I prove that such an act was necessary or unnecessary?” We are really treading into the realm of the great stories and great symbols and mysteries here.