Integral Review

A Transdisciplinary and Transcultural Journal For New Thought, Research, and Praxis

Posts Tagged ‘postformal’

Global Knowledge Futures: Articulating the Emergence of a New Meta-level Field

Jennifer M. Gidley

Abstract: In this paper I articulate a new meta-level field of studies that I call global knowledge futures—a field through which other emerging transdisciplinary fields can be integrated to cohere knowledge at a higher level. I contrast this with the current dominant knowledge paradigm of the global knowledge economy with its fragmentation, commodification and instrumentalism based on neoliberal knowledge capitalism. I take a big-picture, macrohistorical lens to the new thinking and new knowledge patterns that are emerging within the evolution of consciousness discourse. I explore three discourses: postformal studies, integral studies and planetary studies—using a fourth discourse, futures studies, to provide a macro-temporal framing. By extending the meta-fields of postformal, integral and planetary studies into a prospective future dimension, I locate areas of development where these leading-edge discourses can be brought into closer dialogue with each other. In this meeting point of four boundary-spanning discourses I identify the new meta-level field of global knowledge futures, grounded in human thinking capacities, such as creativity, imagination, dialogue and collaboration.

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The Evolution of Consciousness as a Planetary Imperative: An Integration of Integral Views

Jennifer Gidley

Abstract: In this article I aim to broaden and deepen the evolution of consciousness discourse by integrating the integral theoretic narratives of Rudolf Steiner, Jean Gebser, and Ken Wilber, who each point to the emergence of new ways of thinking that could address the complex, critical challenges of our planetary moment. I undertake a wide scan of the evolution discourse, noting it is dominantly limited to biology-based notions of human origins that are grounded in scientific materialism. I then broaden the discourse by introducing integral evolutionary theories using a transdisciplinary epistemology to work between, across and beyond diverse disciplines. I note the conceptual breadth of Wilber’s integral evolutionary narrative in transcending both scientism and epistemological isolationism. I also draw attention to some limitations of Wilber’s integral project, notably his undervaluing of Gebser’s actual text, and the substantial omission of the pioneering contribution of Steiner, who, as early as 1904 wrote extensively about the evolution of consciousness, including the imminent emergence of a new stage. I enact a deepening of integral evolutionary theory by honoring the significant yet undervalued theoretic components of participation/enactment and aesthetics/artistry via Steiner and Gebser, as a complement to Wilber. To this end, I undertake an in-depth hermeneutic dialogue between their writings utilizing theoretic bricolage, a multi-mode methodology that weaves between and within diverse and overlapping perspectives. The hermeneutic methodology emphasizes interpretive textual analysis with the aim of deepening understanding of the individual works and the relationships among them. This analysis is embedded in an epic but pluralistic narrative that spans the entire human story through various previous movements of consciousness, arriving at a new emergence at the present time. I also discuss the relationship between these narratives and contemporary academic literature, culminating in a substantial consideration of research that identifies and/or enacts new stage(s) or movements of consciousness. In particular, I highlight the extensive adult developmental psychology research that identifies several stages of postformal thinking, and recent critical, ecological and philosophical literature that identifies an emerging planetary consciousness. In summary, my research reveals an interpretation of scientific and other evidence that points beyond the formal, modernist worldview to an emerging postformal-integral-planetary consciousness. I posit that a broader academic consideration of such an integration of integral theoretic narratives could potentially broaden the general evolution discourse beyond its current biological bias. The article concludes with a rewinding of narrative threads, reflecting on the narrators, the journey, and the language of the discourse. Appendixes A and B explore the theoretical implications of the emergence of postformal-integral-planetary consciousness for a reframing of modernist conceptions of time and space. Appendix C holds an aesthetic lens to the evolution of consciousness through examples from the genealogy of writing.

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Integral Re-views Postmodernism: The Way Out Is Through

Gary P. Hampson

Abstract: In this article I re-evaluate the potential contribution of postmodernism to integral theory via integrally-derived perspectives. I identify a premature foreclosure: the underappreciation of postformal modes of thinking (cognitive development beyond Piaget’s formal operations). I then enact certain forms of postformal reasoning in relation to integral theory. This includes an engagement with such perspectives as complexity theory, conceptual ecology, vision-logic, dialectics, genealogy, critical theory, and construct-awareness. A major theme concerns the dialectical relationship between reconstruction and deconstruction—partly explored through a developmental assessment of contra-indicative discourse by both Wilber and Derrida. Although the territory is complex, the relationship between current Wilberian theory and postmodernism is clearly problematised. I posit that a deeper engagement with postmodernism can lead to an autopoietic deepening of integral theory.

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