Despite what you were taught in English class, there are no exact synonyms. Words are not completely interchangeable with one another. Often the referents to the words are close enough — as with feline or cat, coffee or java, happy or glad — but the subtle significance of the words is different.
Songwriters and poets and yogis know this intuitively. Even if you aren’t a dedicated wordsmith or devotee of mantras, you probably have sensed this truth for yourself to a certain degree. You know well enough to be cautious about telling a beautiful woman that she’s handsome or pulchritudinous.
Linguists who concur with me on this claim tend to be those who have studied sound-meaning extensively through analysis of sound symbolism, phonosemantics, or linguistic iconism. These terms are pretty much interchangeable. They point out that the sounds of the words impact sound-meaning through connotation or evocation. In other words, every synonym contains a subtle difference from another, even if it’s difficult to spell out conceptually what that difference is.
Lingua-U offers a formal schema for analyzing linguistic subtleties in terms of a ternary set of principles: yang, yin, and yung. This allows us to map the sound of words to the territory of subtle energy in a way that often generates interesting insights that would otherwise be obscured. Words in most common languages can be described using Lingua-U’s principles and then compared with one another in terms of their relationships within a mandala in which millions of other words can also be arranged.
By looking at the words we use in terms of their subtle dynamics, we can begin to appreciate the subtle relationships between words we already use … and perhaps even think of ways that a few substitutions can result in more elegant or suggestive or impactful or poetic words.
If this sounds too airy, be patient. Let me show you an example of a practical application of Lingua-U in terms that integral theorists should be able to readily appreciate. I’ll discuss the Three Principles of Integral Thinking described in Ken Wilber’s essay “The Many Ways We Touch”, and I’ll suggest a new way of looking at their interconnectedness. As well, I will offer a proposed revision to one of the words in order to make it more harmonious in terms of its relations to the other words.
According to Ken, while developing his Integral Methodological Pluralism framework for integrating paradigms and methodologies together, he identified three principles that thought leaders were already using. By thinking in a certain way, they were advancing their disciplines of knowledge to make them more integrative and complete. But no one had quite set these principles alongside each other in order to highlight their mutual fructifying nature. When Wilber did so, he set them out like so:
Principle 1: Nonexclusion — “Everyone is right”
Nonexclusion means that we can accept the valid truth claims (i.e., the truth claims that pass the validity tests for their own paradigms in their own fields, whether in hermeneutics, spirituality, science, etc.) insofar as they make statements about the existence of their own enacted and disclosed phenomena, but not when they make statements about the existence of phenomena enacted by other paradigms. That is, one paradigm can competently pass judgments within its own worldspace, but not on those spaces enacted (and only seen) by other paradigms. -KW
Principle 2: Enfoldment — “Some are more right than others”
Everybody can be right because some views are more right than others. None are wrong; some are simply more inclusive, more encompassing, more holistic, more integrative, more depthed, more transcending-and-including—endlessly. But the fact that molecules are more inclusive than atoms does not mean that we can get rid of atoms, or that atoms can be jettisoned, or that atoms have no real truths to offer just as they are. To be a partial truth is still to be a truth. -KW
The nonexclusion principle goes a long way in helping us to integrate a plurality or multiplicity of paradigms (and thus develop a metatheory that is true to the phenomena enacted by the social practices of an integral methodological pluralism). But even within nonexclusion, numerous conflicts arise, and how to integrate those becomes a pressing issue. This is where the second integrative principle, that of unfoldment, can be of help. -KW
Principle 3: Enactment — “If you want to know this, do that”
Most “paradigm clashes” are usually deemed “incommensurable”—meaning there is no way for the two paradigms to fit together—but this is so only because people focus on the phenomena, not the practices. But if we realize that phenomena are enacted, brought forth, and disclosed by practices, then we realize that what appeared to be “conflicting phenomena” or experiences are simply different (and fully compatible) experiences brought forth by different practices. Adopt the different practices, and you will see the same phenomena that the adherents of the supposedly “incommensurable” paradigm are seeing. Hence, the “incommensurability” is not insurmountable, or even a significant barrier, to any sort of integral embrace. -KW
And Now… A Proposed Subtle Revision Inspired by Lingua-U
First, let’s look at the principles (energy markers) of the three terms via Lingua-U’s schema, up to six marks:
- Nonexclusion (??)
- Enfoldment (?⚍)
- Enactment (??)
Do you notice anything peculiar? Enfoldment and Enactment are identical to each other up to five marks of energy, up to the point where Enfoldment turns yang at the sixth mark and Enactment turns yung (unitive).
What do we know about the meaning of these particular symbols in Lingua-U? Enfoldment is also known as the The Yang Master at the Seat of Interiority at the Throne of Empathy at the Letter of Enfolding; Enactment is also known as The Majestic (or Yung Master) at the Seat of Interiority at the Throne of Empathy at the Letter of Enfolding. Through a complex tapestry of adjacent stations on the mandala, these words are the interior essence of the station associated with many other words including the yang of Embodiment, the yin of Enlightenment, and the yung of Zhdërvjell, an Albanian term for development, unwinding, and untangling. There are few stations on the entire construct of such fascinating importance as this one, the yang to the yin of the Treasure in the Month of The Golden Egg.
What’s more, these coordinates are both linked to the Inside Zones at the Integrated Objective Quadrants of the 4th-Person Perspective. As the Throne of Empathy is aligned to the beginning of “Teal” in The Kalendar, rising out of the dissolution of “Green” at the end of the previous Throne, what we are looking at here are the actual phonemes that Lingua-U tells us are associated with thinking (getting Objective in perspective) and interiority (Inside Zones) at the foundation of “Teal” consciousness. (See “The Shift to the Second Tier Isn’t What You Think It Is” for more information about the relationship between Green and Teal in my artistic model of consciousness.)
That probably looks like magic to some of you (and specious false pattern matching to others). I’ll take “Integral Magic” if that suits your fancy. Whatever your initial thoughts may be, I suggest keeping an open mind and recognize that Lingua-U is a way of looking at language which is attempting to put meaningful coincidences to use. If we can use these overlapping patterns, then we can see a deep hidden harmony connecting these particular sound symbols and the foundations of Integral thinking. Among other things, this allows us to begin to use words in our theories which align to the Lingua-U map in this fashion as a way of creating new mantras that can help to ground us in the subtleties of speech.
Returning to the three principles of Integral thinking, let’s try this instead:
- Enfoldment (?⚍)
- Enclusion (?⚏)
- Enactment (??)
So, quite literally, these three words are closely connected to each other in a dialectical process in the manner shown. Commenting on the difference in the words at the sixth mark, we can literally say that Enfoldment is the yang to the yin of Enclusion, and these two words are met at the yung of Enactment.
Principle 1. Enfoldment (?⚍) is now listed first of the three because as yang it is associated with initiating novelty. The /f/ consonant relates to the friction of different factions, and divisions of friends and foes into functional relationships. With yang energy it insists: “Some are more right than others.”
Principle 2. Enclusion (?⚏) is now listed second because it responds to the yang. It embraces all that it can from different paradigms, as yin likes to do, up until it reaches the limits of its extension. The /k/ consonant wants to keep and contain and bring to closure. As Wilber says, “Everyone is right.” (Note: The word “enclusion” is a synonym in English to “inclusion”. However, if we revise our language use to make “enclusion” the equivalent to Wilber’s Principle 1 (above), then we will be adding a new, technical sense to the customary definition.
Principle 3. Enactment (??) is the synthesis, and so it fits right at home at yung. The /ae/ vowel actualizes the yin and the yang, sending them into action. Wilber says, “If you want to know this, do that”.
And so, in the spirit of an exercise in Integral thinking, I would like to suggest that you evaluate the usefulness of these revisions for yourself. Does the logic of yang to yin to yung help you to conceive, feel, or imagine the relationships between these words as you attempt to actualize them? Does it help you to understand that all of these activities are related to the en- prefix, and its role in language (or its significance within the Lingua-U and The Kalendar constructs)? Do these changes modify in any way your understanding of the concepts that Wilber has defined by use of these thee terms, or just the superficial sounds?
I believe there is a clear difference between Wilber’s Three Principles and the slightly revised version offered today. One is based on an explicit consideration of the subtle energy of language as filtered through the Lingua-U construct, and one isn’t. Nonexclusion works conceptually just as well, but enclusion turns Integral thinking into a process that coheres subtly with greater power. By attending in a more conscious way to the subtleties of our speech, we have the possibility available to us today as never before to become more refined alchemists.