Saturday, June 13, 2009

Ken Wilber Guest Blog: Introducing the AQAL Cube (by Lexi Neale)

As a cosmological model, I placed the subjectives on the left face, objectives on the right, singulars ahead, plurals behind, possessives below and non-possessives above. Each of the eight corners of the cube is where three faces come together as a triplet, which locates that particular personal pronoun, shown in Figure 9.

There are eight personal pronouns per person, first, second and third, so each person has its own cube of personal pronouns, as in Figure 10.

These three cubes categorize the main 3 x 8 = 24 personal pronouns in languages throughout the world. The first person cube is the individual self in its subjective relationship with the Kosmos. The second person cube is the individual self in its personal objective relationship with the Kosmos. The third person cube is the most objective view of the individual self in its impersonal objective relationship with the Kosmos.

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Wow, a whole new level of (unnecessary?) complexity for the AQAL model, three dimensions. As far as the first person cube is concerned, I think this is eminently useful - at least for me and my efforts to explicate an integral psychology in practice and not just theory. The second perosn cube also offers some unique perspective taking.

Here are a couple of sections of the post - I highly recommend checking out the whole thing.
Guest Blog: Introducing the AQAL Cube (by Lexi Neale)

Introducing The AQAL Cube Perspectives:
Transcending and including the AQAL Square
Lexi Neale


“Introducing The AQAL Cube” addresses persisting “flat-land” and reductionism issues with Ken Wilber’s AQAL Square, where “two dimensional” interpretations of “three dimensional” processes have left us with many anomalies that may possibly be corrected by the AQAL Cube. First, the AQAL Cube differentiates two domains of Consciousness: The Empirical domain of our gross, mortal being with its 4 Quadrants below; and the Intuitive domain of our subtle, non-mortal being, which inhabits the Empirical domain, with its 4 Quadrants above. Second, each of the three persons is delegated with its own AQAL Cube of eight personal pronoun-perspectives, totaling 3 x 8 = 24. The resulting myriad of binary-perspective lattices generated by the all-person AQAL Cubes, of which the classic Wilber-Combs lattice is but one, is the tip of a vast “ice-cube” of permutations of Kosmic Address, and as such is a potential model for the Human Consciousness Project.


This is a difficult paper, because it calls for some key reforms to the AQAL Model. Most of us have no problem changing a bad thing for a good thing, but few would change a good thing for a better thing. Good as the existing AQAL Model is, there may be little need to change it. But like any other evolving entity, Integral Theory will itself periodically break out of outmoded forms into new and liberating dimensions.

In this paper I attempt to present an argument that Ken Wilber’s 4 Quadrant Model, which I here refer to as “The AQAL Square”, can be transcended and included by differentiating an additional dimension of four additional quadrants, as an 8 Quadrant Model, which I here refer to as “The AQAL Cube”. I propose the additional dimension that the AQAL Square fails to adequately differentiate is nevertheless differentiated cross-culturally by the possessive and non-possessive personal pronouns, as our material and non-material being respectively. I present the case that all our pronoun-perspectives, as aspects of our conscious awareness, can and should be integrated into the AQAL Model as the AQAL Cube. In so doing, the AQAL Cube may be able to offer many pragmatic advantages over the AQAL Square. For example, the AQAL Cube would be able to delegate State Stages and Structure Stages their own quadrants, by which to map more accurately their vastly different perspectives, rather than be lines in the same quadrant of the AQAL Square. In other words, my intention in presenting the AQAL Cube is to not detract from what is offered by the AQAL Square, but rather to add to its territory another dimension that has not yet been differentiated by the AQAL Square.

Expanding the AQAL domain from Square to Cube may also entail expanding existing definitions, and in the course of this paper I will make every effort to clarify how and why an existing definition could be expanded to embrace the new territory being described. I will also try to preserve existing definitions. For example, the two AQAL Squares of the AQAL Cube will not be given “upper” and “lower” designations, because in AQAL Theory these apply to the quadrants of any AQAL Square. The two AQAL Squares of the AQAL Cube I will henceforth refer to as “below” and “above”; our possessive or material being below, and our non-possessive or non-material being above; or consciousness structures below, and the identity states inhabiting those structures above; or Empirical Consciousness quadrants below and Intuitive Consciousness quadrants above. These differentiations will be further clarified through the course of the paper.

The two central issues to be dealt with here, in the raising of the AQAL Square to AQAL Cube, inevitably have to do with reductionism and “flat-land” in the AQAL Square. First, I attempt to differentiate our gross “Being” from our subtle “Knowing”, or What we are from Who we are. The problem here is that our material Being is empirically self-evident, whereas our non-material Knowing is self-intuitive. In my developing the AQAL Cube model I used my own phenomenological experience to differentiate what I am from who I am. I therefore invite anyone to investigate this approach, especially in Second and Third Tier awareness where the differentiation becomes more and more apparent in both Upper Left quadrants (Empirical and Intuitive). I will go further into the Three Tiers later. I also observed that the Self as identity States is of a different order of consciousness from the Self-sense as cognitive Structures and intelligences, for which purpose I introduce the hypothesis that our awareness operates in two Domains of Consciousness – the Gross Domain of the Empirical Consciousness with its Structures, and the Subtle Domain of the Intuitive Consciousness with its identity States.

The second issue is that of differentiating the three persons as three octaves of personal pronoun perspectives, where each person has its own Cube of eight perspectives. For example, the Self “I” is, by definition, a first person perspective. The first person Cube identifies eight categories of Self-perspectives. I propose that the first person Cube not only differentiates our Self system as identities that occupy corresponding structures, but that those identities and structures can be experientially differentiated further as having objective and subjective perspectives in individual and collective contexts. And translating our first person Cube experiences to the third person Cube, we can now study and analyze our first-person experiences from eight perspectives as the eight zones of Integral Methodological Pluralism. In other words, Wilber’s AQAL Eight Zones will be shown to satisfy most of the third person AQAL Cube Model, and that reductionism in this area of Integral Theory exists in the absence of the first and second person Cubes.

The third and final issue to be covered here is how the AQAL Cube can serve as a means of mapping the territory itself. This addresses the integral calculus introduced by Wilber in Integral Spirituality (2006), expanding its scope to include the AQAL Cubes through the three or more persons to arrive at a more specific Kosmic address for any Kosmic event (phenomenon) or for the observer of that event. In that regard I attempt to show how the classic Wilber-Combs lattice, as a binary-perspective matrix, is merely one of a myriad of such lattices generated by the first, second and third person Cubes. In this multiplex of binary-perspective lattices we each establish our own unique configuration of perspectives, in the same way that we are a unique binary recombination of the human genome. For this reason, I propose that the AQAL Cube’s potential for binary-perspective permutations makes it a candidate for modeling the Human Consciousness Project, which was first mentioned by Wilber in his Theory Of Consciousness (1997), in developing a complete experiential map of human awareness. This will also be discussed later.

The scope of this paper, in elevating the AQAL Model from Square to Cube, is so great that space allows for only a superficial treatment of the issues raised here; but I do hope to explore each of them individually, and in academic depth, in future papers. All I am attempting to do in this paper is to define a broader arena for existing research; to point out an extra space, a cubicle if you will, an expandable modular closet for three or more persons, where everything can become more organized. Hats need no longer be hung on the shoe rack and socks need no longer be stuffed in the same drawer as underwear. In this regard, we begin with the mythic task of separating Earth from Sky – differentiating our gross from our subtle being.

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Defining The AQAL Cube Perspectives Through The Three Persons

I now briefly review all 24 personal pronoun perspectives of the three persons. Each one occupies its own quadrant, each quadrant going through four representative levels of the Spectrum Of Consciousness using Wilber’s color code of Red, Orange, Blue-as-Turquoise and Violet. (As a note in the interest of not alienating the scientific and artistic communities from Integral Theory any more than necessary, I suggest that the Integral spectrum be realigned with the Newtonian spectrum, where infra red becomes black, magenta becomes shades of brown through to red, amber becomes orange, orange becomes yellow, and turquoise becomes blue).

1. Proximate Self (Intuitive “I”)
Core Intuitive Self-awareness witnessing through “color” levels of the Spectrum as levels of assumed identity States. Some Lines of the Self-system involved here are self-identity and spiritual. Levels of Intuitive identity States correspond to levels of Empirical Structures they identify with and inhabit during incarnation. The Proximate Self-identity “holds to” its level of identification on the Spectrum with a focus of intent called “Attention” (meaning “holding to”). Different levels demand different degrees of intent, or tenacity, which is greatest in Red as totally fused with Empirical Structures, and diminishing towards Violet in surrendering, or dis-identifying with, corresponding Structures. This relaxing hold of the Attention through the Spectrum gives the Proximate Self increasing fluidity to relocate itself according to its intent. I propose the representative Levels of Proximate Self identity as State Stages are: Red - Id as fused Fascination; Orange - Ego as First Attention; Turquoise – Soul as Second Attention; Violet – Intuitive Witness as Third Attention.

2. Empirical Self (Empirical “I”)
Core Empirical Self-awareness, as our material or incarnate identity, formed by experiences as consciousness Structures dispersed through various Lines and Levels of intelligence. Some Lines of the Self-system involved here are: cognitive, affective, psychosexual, needs, aesthetic. Experiential reality from the perspective of consciousness Structures is based on Levels of interpretation of experiences in various categories of processing, including cerebral - hence Lines of intelligence. Proximate Self-identification with these Structures is fused through green. The resulting Empirical identity, where the Empirical Self has its own material sense of identity, disintegrates on physical death. In Structure pathologies this is the home of the Proximate “I” as a compartmentalized or split-off Empirical Self-sense. Representative Levels of Empirical Self identity as experiential Structure Stages are: Red – feeling-sensing; Orange – rationalizing; Turquoise – visioning; Violet – intuiting.

3. Inter-Proximate Self (Intuitive “We”)
Even before our “We-awareness” comes on line as a differentiated inter-proximate identity in amber, the Inter-proximate Self is present as a fused “I-We” as soon as we differentiate sense-feeling Structures for Mama. Some Lines of the Self-system here are: worldview identities. The higher State Stages of the Inter-proximate Self are how our interior identifies with the cultural arena in which we live, and where we develop our own cultural perspective and altitude. Levels of the Inter-proximate Self, as cultural identities, go through representative State Stages: Red – fused Inter-Id; Orange – Inter-Ego; Turquoise – Inter-Soul; Violet – Inter-Intuitive Witness.

4. Cultural Self (Empirical “We”)
The Cultural Self’s Structure Stages track our own levels of capacity to communicate the information and intelligence contained in the Structures of the Empirical Self. Some Lines of the Self-system here are: aesthetics, worldview interpretation. The Cultural Self evolves communication skills through the representative Structure Stages: Red – shared feeling-sensing; Orange – shared rationalization; Turquoise – shared visions; Violet – shared intuition.

5. Distal Persona (Intuitive “Me”)
As objectively differentiated from the Proximate Self identity, the Distal Persona is how the Self sees itself. Some Lines of the Self-system here are: essential states pertaining to A.H. Almaas’ and Faisal Muqaddam’s Essence, and the Enneagram classification of intentional personae. As the objective Intuitive Self identity, the Distal Persona it is the identifier of State and Structure identities, and their evaluator, in terms of how one sees oneself. This is why different levels of Proximate “I” shell off their differentiated levels of Distal “Me” as objective Intuitive identities, in evolving a first person overview of Who (States) and What (Structures) I am. To have this personal overview of the Self-system is essential in terms of the choices we make to navigate our evolution. We are our own judge in intending and identifying our manifestation. In the after death state, our Distal Persona is the repository of these Intuitive objectives and agendas, which the Tibetans call Levels/States of Bardo experience, that will manifest the next Empirical incarnation. In judging ourselves, the Distal Persona is also the seat of the superego when fused with corresponding Empirical Structures. Its representative State Stages are: Red – Id-centered (4th Bardo bodyego); Orange – Ego-centered (3rd Bardo); Turquoise – Soul-centered (2nd Bardo); Violet – Pneumo-centered (1st Bardo).

6. Empirical Persona (Empirical “My”)
Our Empirical Self Structures also embody the objective expression of those Structures as our behavioral Persona or personality. Some Lines of the Self-system involved here are: ego stages as behavior, personality and types as per the Enneagram. This quadrant is also the arena where most data is obtained in behavioral psychology. The compartmentalization of sub-personality Structures, as Structure Stage fulcrum splits, are also to be found in this quadrant, and where the fused Intuitive Persona superego finds its voice. The representative Empirical Persona’s behavioral Structure Stages here are: Red – Body-centric; Orange – Egocentric; Turquoise – Soulcentric; Violet – Pneumocentric.

7. Inter-Distal Persona (Intuitive “Us”)
Here, beginning in the ethnocentric altitude of amber, is where we identify with the social arena in which we live and develop a social identity. Some Lines of the Self-system involved here are moral, interpersonal. In aligning ourselves with others out there, we develop a personal social identity with its own social perspective and altitude, wherein our peers recognize that “you are one of us”. The Inter-Distal Persona’s representative State Stages are: Red – symbiont; Orange – conformer; Turquoise – integrator; Violet – utopian.

8. Social Persona (Empirical “Our”)
The Social Persona’s Structure Stages track the levels of cooperative behavior. Some Lines of the Self-system involved here are sociocultural behavior, relational exchange. The world in action makes its own demands, resulting in cooperative needs for survival and growth. The Social Persona evolves cooperative behavioral skills. Representative Structure Stages: Red – familial-tribal; Orange – national; Turquoise – global; Violet – Utopian.

Go read the whole article.

1 comment:

Karl Higley said...

To me, one interesting aspect of this is that certain pronouns start at certain developmental stages (e.g. first-person intuitive "us".)

I've been very curious about this lately, as Wilber's collective/shared LL "we" seems decidedly green, in contrast to the interactive LR "its", which seems farther along toward yellow in terms of conceptual structure. I've been pondering what an interactive (rather than shared) view of culture would look like.

I wonder too how much an analytical framework reflecting conceptual structures at a particular stage will tend to highlight or neglect facets of previous memes. (In the case of green, for example, focusing only on things that are shared tends to wash out some of the cultural features of previous memes, particularly imperial red and ethnocentric blue.) Of course, that begs the question:

What kind of conceptual structures are used to form the AQAL cube?