Reading Integral Semiotics

While I’m taking a few days off, I recommend reading Ken Wilber’s “Integral Semiotics” before I return. We’ll be discussing how it relates to Lingua-U starting next week.

Ken Wilber begins:

The following deals with a topic I find essential: the nature of linguistic meaning—or semiotics—and how a truly Integral approach fundamentally changes how we understand this. One of the basic moves is to understand that the referent, or “real object,” being represented by any linguistic sign doesn’t exist “out there” in a single, pregiven, unchanging reality, but rather exists in a particular and specific worldspace—a particular quadrant, or level, or line, or state, or type—and can only be “seen” or “experienced” by yourself finding that particular worldspace and moving your consciousness to it.

Thus, a word like “dog” can be seen by virtually any sentient being with a brain and eyes, and it exists in the sensorimotor world. But what about “God” or “Buddha-nature” or “Spirit”? Those are simple signifiers like “dog”—that is, a material mark claiming to represent a reality. But that reality is not just lying around “out there” in a single, pregiven, sensorimotor world—and thus those referents have often been taken to be meaningless.

But my point is that they all, in fact, exist in a specific worldspace that can itself be discovered and experienced—such as the causal or formless state of consciousness, particular stages of meditation, specific peak experiences or altered states. When one is in those worldspaces—and not simply staring at the sensorimotor worldspace—then the actual referents (the “real phenomena” of each referent)—can be clearly seen or experienced. And this changes the nature and meaning of semiotics altogether, by asserting that any given referent of a particular signifier exists in a specific worldspace, and in order to experience that referent appropriately (if it exists at all), the subject must get itself into that particular worldspace, and only then look around for the referent.

Integral Semiotics offers a comprehensive map or framework of most of the known worldspaces available to humans, and thus offers a Map that allows us to understand the Kosmic Address of a particular referent, and hence know where to look for any referent indicated by a signifier. Since most of these worldspaces do not possess simple location or material form, they are likely to be denied reality by most realist, empirical, or behavioral schools—where in fact they are home of the vast majority of those things most humans hold valuable. Integral Semiotics is thus a matter, not just of linguistics, but of emancipation.

—Ken Wilber

Download the PDF or read it online.

The Word “Divine” In Lingua-U

I have said that Lingua-U is divine speech. Now let’s look closer at the word “divine”, and I will give you a sneak peek at how Lingua-U functions in an actual application. You  see, there is “divine” in English, and then there is “divine” in Lingua-U, and they both need to be considered.

A closer look at the dictionary reveals not just one commonly accepted definition; there are 18. As we have noted, it means something of or pertaining to a god. To go on, it means godlike; heavenly; celestial; as a noun, theologian or God; as a verb, to discover or declare or perceive or to practice divination.

In a common sense fashion, the definition for this English word is its meaning. Of course, in the real world meaning is indicated by more than the word’s sense, but by context and such factors as intonation. Uttered in a stinking cesspool, the adjective’s use would probably indicate sarcasm. Thus, the meaning of the word contains about 18 different definitions.

The word “divine” can be translated, however imperfectly, into dozens of languages spoken by many millions of people. Theoretically, the word could be translated into about 7,000 extant languages (a constantly dwindling number). In each language that the word can be translated into, there would surely be multiple definitions just as for English.

Thus, in this example, the definition for “divine” consists in a rather large set of specific definitions in many different languages. To divine the meaning of the word in a comprehensive fashion, one could consult hundreds of dictionaries. In each definition, there is an indication of how the word is used by actual speakers of the language. There was no government committee formed to set an artificial definition.

So what is “divine” in Lingua-U? [Read more…]

Addressing The Irreligious And Religious Alike

I will now address myself directly to everyone who noticed the religious language in my previous post, “The New Dharma Arrives Today”. Divine. Sacred. Logos. Tower of Babel.

Not to mention: Magic. Magick. Philosopher’s Stone.

I offended everyone with an agnostic or atheist ear before I even commenced to tell you all about the chief topic of the discourse, Lingua-U. Oh, the unbelievers might be too polite to say they were offended. They might simply be puzzled, confused, bored, or simply aware of a feeling like contempt or a self-superiority coming over themselves as their convictions about religion were seemingly reinforced.

I did this without even using the most ostensibly religious words: God. Gods. Goddess. Jesus Christ. Qur’an. Bible. Buddha. And so on. Irreligious persons noticed my use of religious language with a negative sentiment, while religious persons surely noticed my use of vague spiritual language with a similarly negative sentiment.

Even with carefully chosen language, it is difficult to gain credibility with a wide audience of believers and unbelievers these days. Fortunately, there is no need to appeal merely to one camp or the other. There is a place where the religious and irreligious can meet with common cause: awareness that religious and spiritual language is the source of great and seemingly interminable debate by believer and unbelievers alike.

[Read more…]

Start Here: The New Dharma Arrives Today

I am ready to announce something wonderful the likes of which is more exciting than anything I have previously blogged about in over a decade of online writing, with a few possible exceptions. The New Dharma that I have referred to begins today.

What I am about to begin today is unlike anything I have ever previously done. It could very well be the first time that you have seen something quite like it. I for one am not aware of anyone else doing a project online of this nature. If you do, let me know!

Before I begin, I have a few words targeted to my current readership. As you are no doubt aware, Joe-Perez.com has served as a hub for my writings since November 2003. For more than a decade, I wrote well over 1,000 posts. Recently I have chosen to retire several hundred of those, not because they were embarrassingly immature (which is also true in some cases), but because I felt they would be distractions from the New Dharma that I have to offer. I left over 300 posts from half a dozen distinct blogs online, perhaps more than I ought to have, but I feel it’s important to give my readers a sense of where I have come from. I just don’t want you to get hung up on the many shifts in my perspective over the years. Down the road it may not be important to keep them online at all.

So today I have made an editorial move to help simplify my Web presence. Every post prior to today I have labelled with the category “Legacy Post”, and I have eliminated other descriptions. Moving forward, my posts will have the category “New Writings”. This will make no difference to many of you, but it is important for me to say it properly. Like the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein in mid-life, I find myself with the need to re-invent myself in order that I may speak more clearly and be heard.

So now … what is it that is so important for me to say that I need to preface it with a declaration that my old writings are of a constitutionally different category than this one and others to come?

[Read more…]

Two New Blogs Plus New Dharma Coming Soon, And Why I’m Asking You To Pay For Them

Dear Friend,

I would like to give you an overview of some key changes in my Web presence that you can expect between now and the end of the year. Within a matter of weeks I will have completed re-organizing my past writings into three categories: writings on Integral philosophy and spirituality which reflect my current views, writings directed specifically for the gay/LGBT community, and everything else. Some of my past writings in these two categories will be moved to one of these two websites: Gay Spirituality (basically launched for the first time) and Integral Blog. Everything else will remain on Joe-Perez.com. All three of these sites have Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, and I will do the best I can to stay socially plugged in.

Integral Blog is live on the Web and will be taking the shape I am envisioning in the next few weeks. It is the beginning of a new chapter in my Integral writings. For the first time, I am creating a site exclusively devoted to Integral philosophy and spirituality, wisdom and folly. My writings on this site will explicitly use the AQAL Framework and other tools in the Integralist’s toolbox such as the concepts of True Self and Unique Self. I very much want to create a site that builds connections within the Integral community, provides a source of news and views, and encourages education and dialogue. For the Integral revolution in consciousness to advance, it simply must have a healthy ecosystem in the blogosphere, and there is an opening for a site to play a critical role as a hub. Did I mention that I want to write daily? It’s a fine goal to strive for. I also want to see the site expand to include multiple authors over time.

My writings on gay spirituality have evolved considerably over the years. At this time, I have a new dharma related to Gay Spirituality which I will soon begin to elaborate. Building on the AQAL Framework described in my eBook Gay Spirituality 101, I will expound for the first time an Integral Gay Enlightenment teaching. The dharma will make it clear that I am articulating an Integral Gay Spirituality, not a variation of the postmodern school of thought by the same name which is very enmeshed in affirming gayness as part of the separateness of the personal self, but an evolution of it. Furthermore, I will make it clear that by “enlightenment” I do not mean any variety of spiritual individualism with its navel gazing and deification of the present moment. My own view is strongly Evolutionary and Integral, so I will be showing how gay identity is a source of wisdom at all levels of identity from the shadow to the personal self to the Supreme Identity. In my teaching, enlightenment carries a definite sense of integration into nature, culture, and society … accordingly, the new Integral Gay Spirituality site will include diverse commentary.

Finally, after certain Integral writings of mine are re-posted on the new Integral Blog and other writings of mine for a gay audience moved to Gay Spirituality, much of what is left is worth preserving. Some of these posts are six, seven, or eight years old. My “legacy” writings are what they are; they are markers on my journey. But of course I cannot continue to write as I did eight years ago. I have been working on new stuff — which I’m calling a new dharma — for more than four years. I have previewed glimpses of the poetry and language mysticism and calendary and esoteric thoughts on occasion, but the time simply wasn’t right for me to take the next step. I have shown you fragments of a mystifying variety, but there is a comprehensive vision with new spiritual literature, art, and technology ready to emerge. For the uninitiated, I am speaking of my poetry and thought influenced by the T’ai Hsuan Ching (the ancient Chinese esoteric classic known as The Canon of Supreme Mystery), and Lingua-U, the Language of Subtle Energy, among other projects. The new stuff is going to begin to come out slowly starting on December 22 of this year, a date picked to coincide with the solstice and the beginning of the Kalendar (a new Integral calendar of Sacred Time, one of the technologies in my toolbox). The new writings will show you how my contemplation and theorizing have evolved beyond the Integral framework into a style which helps me to be more at home in the world. However imperfectly, I am envisioning technologies and linguistic tools that can help humanity to evolve over the next 1,000 years … because we owe it to future generations. The writings have exerted a personal toll and inflicted deep spiritual wounds as well as gifts. If I could have abandon these writings, I probably would have. But I am stuck with them. They need to see the light of day, and I say let those souls who are likewise drawn to them come along for the ride.

There is one other thing I want to talk about. For the first time ever, I am going to begin to put some content behind a paywall, restricting its access to paid subscribers. My intention is to allow a certain number of free articles to be read every week, and additional page views would require a subscription for access. If you are interested in seeing the new dharma emerge on any of these three new or re-launched websites, I will ask that you contribute to my work in the world. The funds are needed to support this work for sure, but I don’t feel a need to justify wanting a source of income to pay the rent or medical bills. I have come to believe that there are many readers who are interested in my work (and future readers who haven’t discovered it yet) who are willing to support its author in bringing it forth into the world. If I don’t ask, I won’t receive.

I know I can do so much, much more good in the world with a paid subscriber base than without one. Two of my books are available in libraries throughout the US and I expect eventually my new writings will become books which will become freely available, so I am not preturbed at the thought of depriving anyone of knowledge on account of their inability to pay. All the content will be available to those who wait. At most freeloaders desiring everything all at once without restriction will be inconvenienced and discouraged from tackling my new writings, and I feel that is a necessary and therefore acceptable price to pay so that my work can continue to evolve. Although I am sure to lose some Web traffic, what good is mere traffic? I honestly don’t know that it does me any good or that I am doing any good simply by attracting more eyeballs to the pixels on my Web pages. I don’t want hits or clicks; I want readers who are committed to learning about and exploring the original dharma and literature and spiritual technologies that I am bringing into the world. I want deeper transmission and dialogue and relationships and fewer uninterested lookee-loos. If you’re moved by the dharma or the mystery or the Light or the Love or all of these things, let’s move forward together.

It feels good to get this off my chest. I’ve resisted asking readers to become paid subscribers for years.

I will be in touch with you again when each of the new websites launch or re-launch over the next several weeks.

Much love and many blessings,

Joe