Arising from a 19th century German tradition, advent calendars count the 24 days leading up to Christmas day. Advent, from the Latin adventus for arrival, has been in the Christian spiritual tradition dating back at least to the 4th century CE, and marks a time of celebration of the birth of Christ, and also spiritual preparation for His second coming. In contemporary usage, an advent calendar has become a fun and meaningful ritual to count down wintry December days towards Christmas, a season to reflect on the year gone by, love and be loved with friends and family, take in wonderful meals, and spend evenings by the fireplace.
December is also a time to quietly prepare our soul for the coming year. It is in this spirit that I wanted to prepare this Integralist’s Intellectual Advent Calendar for you, 24 days of wide-ranging thoughts, insights, and soul snacks for your contemplation, consideration and maybe even consternation as you close out your year.
The real message of Jesus’s life
“Every verse and episode of the Jesus story is a metaphor for the human experience of awakening… As the Bible says, 'Be still, and know that I am God.' [Psalm 46:10, ESV] And when you reorient your life toward this realization, then you understand: you so loved the world, you had so much compassion, you had so much love that you poured yourself forth into life, and that pouring forth was your birth. You are here to redeem whatever you encounter in this life, to wake up within everything the deep reality of its divine existence… The truth, I would suggest, is that you poured yourself willingly into form out of infinite love in order to redeem the entirety of this life. When seen from that perspective, all of a sudden life looks very different. You stop holding back from life, your inner life or the life around you, because the kingdom of heaven is within and all around you. That’s the message of the Jesus story.”
— Resurrecting Jesus, Adyashanti, 2014
The evolutionary story is becoming more interesting
“To give just a sense of how different the emerging picture is: it is clear now that human societies before the advent of farming were not confined to small, egalitarian bands. On the contrary, the world of hunter-gatherers as it existed before the coming of agriculture was one of bold social experiments, resembling a carnival parade of political forms, far more than it does the drab abstractions of evolutionary theory. Agriculture, in turn, did not mean the inception of private property, nor did it mark an irreversible step towards inequality. In fact, many of the first farming communities were relatively free of ranks and hierarchies. And far from setting class differences in stone, a surprising number of the world’s earliest cities were organized on robustly egalitarian lines, with no need for authoritarian rulers, ambitious warrior-politicians, or even bossy administrators...
One thing that will quickly become clear is that the prevalent ‘big picture’ of history – shared by modern day followers of Hobbes and Rousseau alike — has almost nothing to do with the facts… [We must retrace] some of the initial steps that led to our modern notion of social evolution: the idea that human societies could be arranged according to stages of development, each with their own characteristic technologies and forms of organization (hunter-gatherers, farmers, urban-industrial society, and so on). As we will see, such notions have the roots in a conservative backlash against critiques of European civilization, which began to gain ground in the early decades of the 18th century.”
— The Dawn of Everything, David Graeber and David Wengrow, 2021
An airplane buzzes overhead while I type
Mind set free in the Dharma-realm,
I sit at the moon-filled window
Watching the mountains with my ears,
Hearing the stream with open eyes.
Each molecule preaches perfect law,
Each moment chants true sutra:
The most fleeting thought is timeless,
A single hair’s enough to stir the sea.
— Shutaku (1308-88)
In Let the Spring Breeze Enter, Zen Poetry, Lucien Stryk and Takashi Ikemoto, 1995
History tends to rhyme
“It is a truism that many who join a rising revolutionary movement are attracted by the prospect of sudden and spectacular change in their conditions of life. A revolutionary movement is a conspicuous instrument of change… in modern times nationalism is the most copious and durable source of mass enthusiasm, and that nationalist fervor must be tapped if the drastic changes projected and initiated by revolutionary enthusiasm are to be consummated…
For men to plunge headlong into an undertaking of vast change… they must have the feeling that by the possession of some potent doctrine, infallible leader or some new technique they have access to a source of irresistible power. They must also have an extravagant conception of the prospects and potentialities of the future…
Experience is a handicap. The men who started the French revolution were wholly without political experience. The same is true of the Bolsheviks, Nazis and the revolutionaries in Asia…
On the other hand, a mass movement, particularly in its active, revivalist phase, appeals not to those intent on bolstering and advancing a cherished self, but to those who crave to be rid of an unwanted self. A mass movement attracts and holds a following not because it can satisfy the desire for self-advancement, but because it can satisfy the passion for self-renunciation… Their innermost craving is for a new life—a rebirth—or, failing this, a chance to acquire new elements of pride, confidence, hope, a sense of purpose and worth by an identification with a holy cause… To the frustrated, a mass movement offers substitutes either for the whole self or for the elements which make life bearable and which they cannot evoke out of their own individual resources...
The game of history is usually played by the best and the worst over the heads of the majority in the middle. The reason that the inferior elements of a nation can exert a marked influence on its course is that they are wholly without reverence for the present. They see their lives and the present as spoiled beyond remedy and they are ready to waste and wreck both: hence their recklessness and their will to chaos and anarchy…
Unless a man has the talents to make something of himself, freedom is an irksome burden. Of what avail is freedom to choose if the self be ineffectual? We join a mass movement to escape individual responsibility… So long as a movement is engaged in a desperate struggle with the prevailing order or must defend itself against enemies within or without, its chief preoccupation will be with unity and self-sacrifice, which require the surrender of the individual’s will, judgment and advantage… Fanatics, says Renan, fear liberty more than a fear of persecution…
They who clamber loudest for freedom are often the ones least likely to be happy in a free society. The frustrated, oppressed by their shortcomings, blame their failure on existing restraints. Actually their innermost desire is for an end to the ‘free-for-all’. They want to eliminate free competition and the ruthless testing to which the individual is continually subjected in a free society.”
—The True Believer, Eric Hoffer, 1951
All I desire is God's Holy Will
“Then, beside myself with joy, I cried out:
‘O Jesus, my Love, at last I have found my vocation. My vocation is love! Yes, I have found my place in the bosom of the Church, and this place, O my God, Thou hast Thyself given to me: in the heart of the Church, my Mother, I will be LOVE!’...
Thus I shall be all things: thus will my dream be realised…
I was in the choir, beginning the Way of the Cross, when I felt myself suddenly wounded by a dart of fire so ardent that I thought I should die. I do not know how to explain this transport; there is no comparison to describe the intensity of that flame. It seemed as though an invisible force plunged me wholly into fire... But oh! what fire! what sweetness!"
—Story of a Soul, The Autobiography of St. Therésé de Lisieux, 1899
There is only one infinite game
“There are at least two kinds of games. One could be called finite, the other infinite. A finite game is played for the purpose of winning, an infinite game for the purpose of continuing the play…
Your history does not belong to me. We live with each other in a common history.
Infinite players understand the inescapable likelihood of evil. They therefore do not attempt to eliminate evil in others, for to do so is the very impulse of evil itself, and therefore a contradiction. They only attempt paradoxically to recognize in themselves the evil that takes the form of attempting to eliminate evil elsewhere.
Evil is not the inclusion of finite games in an infinite game, but the restriction of all play to one or another finite game.”
–Finite and Infinite Games, James P Carse, 1986
Who am I?
Maharaj: “The common things of life: I experience them just as you do. The difference lies in what I do not experience. I do not experience fear or greed, hate or anger. I ask nothing, refuse nothing, keep nothing. In these matters I do not compromise. Maybe this is the outstanding difference between us. I will not compromise, I am true to myself, while you are afraid of reality.”
Questioner: “When you say clear and empty, what do you mean?”
Maharaj: “I mean free of all contents. To myself I am neither perceivable or conceivable; there is nothing I can point out and say: ‘this I am’. You identify yourself with everything so easily; I find it impossible. The feeling: ‘I am not this or that, nor is anything mine’ is so strong in me that as soon as a thing or a thought appears, there comes at once the sense ‘this I am not’.”
—I Am That, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, 1973
Race, postmodernity, and pervasive spiritual impoverishment
“Our truncated public discussions of race suppress the best of who and what we are as a people because they fail to confront the complexity of the issue in a candid and critical manner…
Hence, for liberals, Black people are to be ‘included’ and ‘integrated’ into ‘our’ society and culture, while for conservatives they are to be ‘well-behaved’ and ‘worthy of acceptance’ by ‘our’ way of life. Both fail to see that the presence and predicaments of black people are neither additions to nor defections from American life, but rather constitutive elements of that life…
And a pervasive spiritual impoverishment grows. The collapse of meaning in life—the eclipse of hope and absence of love of self and others, the breakdown of family and neighborhood bonds—that leads to the social deracination and cultural denudement of urban dwellers, especially children. We have created ruthless, dangling people with little link to the supportive networks—family, friends, school—that sustain some sense of purpose in life.…
The result is lives of what we might call ‘random nows’ of fortuitous and fleeting moments preoccupied with ‘getting over’—with acquiring pleasure, property, and power by any means necessary. Postmodern culture is more and more a market culture dominated by gangster mentalities and self-destructive wantonness… [and] fueled by a political atmosphere in which images, not ideas, dominate, where politicians spend more time raising money than debating issues...
As in the ages of Lincoln, Roosevelt, and King, we must look to new frameworks and languages to understand our multilayered crisis and overcome our deep malaise.”
—Race Matters, Cornel West, 1994
Sensing futures, dissolving problems
“When we talk about ‘solving a problem’, we imply that we stand apart from the problem and can study it objectively and control it mechanically, with cause producing effect, as we would with a broken down car. But this isn’t a good model of our increasingly complex and interdependent and rapidly-changing world. There is not ‘a’ problem out there that we can react to and fix. There is a ‘problem situation’ of which each of us is a part, the way an organ is part of a body. We can’t see the situation objectively: we can just appreciate it subjectively. We affect the situation and it affects us. The best we can do is to engage with it from multiple perspectives, and try, in action-learning mode, to improve it. It’s more like unfolding a marriage than it is like fixing a car.
But this way of understanding the world has serious consequences. If we admit that we are part of co-creating the way things are, then we are also co-responsible for the way things are… And this way of understanding the world has another implication that is even more deeply challenging. This world is too complex and interdependent and rapidly changing for us to be able to reason through everything that’s going on. We can no longer rely only on making sense of the whole of what is going on: we also have to sense it. It requires us to access a deeper, non-rational, more ancient kind of knowing.”
—Solving Tough Problems, Adam Kahane, 2004
Make a dent in the universe
“To do great work, you need to feel that you’re making a difference. That you’re putting a meaningful dent in the universe. That you’re part of something important…
As you get going, keep in mind why you’re doing what you’re doing. Great businesses have a point of view, not just a product or service. You have to believe in something. You need to have a backbone. You need to know what you’re willing to fight for. And then you need to show the world…
If no one’s upset by what you’re saying, you’re probably not pushing hard enough. (And you’re probably boring, too.)”
—Rework, Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson, 2010
Drink feverishly from the cup of joy
“Simplicity is not grinding poverty: it is not the polar opposite of wealth. To live simply is to pursue a quiet path of moderation. In a life of balance between opposite extremes lies inner happiness.
True lovers, at peace with themselves and with the world around them, accepting happily whatever comes their way, are justified in pitying the very lot of kings.
Happiness is mankind’s true and native state of being. A few people find it, for most of them live at their periphery; they extend themselves as far as possible from their center within. The richer and more powerful they become, the emptier they feel inwardly...
People everywhere, in their quest for happiness outside themselves, discover in the end that they’ve been seeking it in an empty cornucopia, and sucking feverishly at the rim of a crystal glass into which was never poured the wine of joy.”
—How to Be Happy All the Time, Paramhansa Yogananda, 2006
Are we just alienated pawns of capitalism? (or Instagram?)
“In societies dominated by modern conditions of production, life is presented as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has receded into a representation. The images detached from every aspect of life merge into a common stream in which the unity of that life can no longer be recovered. Fragmented views of reality regroup themselves into a new unity as a separate pseudoworld that can only be looked at…
The spectacle is not a collection of images; it is a social relation between people mediated by images… The spectacle obliterates the boundaries between self and world by crushing the self besieged by the presence-absence of the world and it obliterates the boundaries between true and false by driving all lived truth below the real presence of fraud ensured by the organization of appearance. One who passively accepts his alien daily fate is thus pushed toward a madness that reacts in an illusory way to this fate by resorting to magical techniques. The acceptance and consumption of commodities are at the heart of this pseudo-response to a communication without response. The need to imitate which is felt by the consumer is precisely the infantile need conditioned by all the aspects of his fundamental dispossession.”
—Society of the Spectacle, Guy DeBord, 1967
Persia, 3rd century CE. History’s first integralist?
“In one respect Mani’s ‘catholicity’ went beyond the Christian model: whether for the sake of universal appeal or because of his own many-sided affinities, he made the doctrinal basis of his church as syncretistic as was compatible with the unity of the central gnostic idea. In principle he recognized the genuineness and provisional validity of the great earlier revelations; in practice, in the first attempt of this kind in recorded history, he deliberately fused Buddhist, Zoroastrian, and Christian elements with his own teaching, so that not only could he declare himself to be the fourth and concluding prophet in a historical series and his teaching the epitome and consummation of that of his predecessors, but his mission could in each of the three areas dominated by the respective religious traditions emphasize that aspect of the Manichaean synthesis which was familiar to the mind of the hearers. The success seemed at first to vindicate this eclectic approach.”
—The Gnostic Religion, Hans Jonas, 1958
The Transformation Age demands Adventurers
“We see here the first stage of the introduction of great ideas. They start as speculative suggestions in the minds of a small, gifted group. They acquire a limited application to human life at the hands of various sets of leaders with special functions in the social structure. A whole literature arises which explains how inspiring is the general idea, and how slight need be its effect in disturbing a comfortable society. Some transition has been produced by the agency of the new idea. But on the whole the social system has been inoculated against the full infection of the new principle. It takes its place among the interesting notions which have a restricted application. But a general idea is always a danger to the existing order…
The foundation of all understanding of sociological theory—that is to say, of all understanding of human life—is that no static maintenance of perfection is possible. This axiom is rooted in the nature of things. Advance or Decadence are the only choices offered to mankind. A pure conservative is fighting against the essence of the universe.…
Thus in every civilization at its culmination we should find a large measure of realization of a certain type of perfection. This type will be complex and will admit a variation of detail, this way or that. The culmination can maintain itself at its height so long as long as fresh experimentation within the type is possible. But when these minor variations are exhausted one of two things must happen. Perhaps the society in question lacks imaginative force. Stillness then sets in. Repetition produces a gradual lowering of vivid appreciation. Convention dominates. A learned orthodoxy suppresses adventure... Satire is the last flicker of originality in a passing epoch as it faces the onroad of stillness and boredom. Freshness has gone: bitterness remains. The prolongation of outworn forms of life means a slow decadence in which there is repetition without any fruit in the reaping of value.…
There is an alternative to this slow decline. A race may exhaust a form of civilization without having exhausted its own creative springs of originality. In that case, a quick period of transition may set in, which may or may not be accompanied by dislocations involving widespread unhappiness… These quick transitions to new types of civilization are only possible when thought has run ahead of realization. The vigour of the race has been pushed forward into the adventure of imagination, so as to anticipate the physical adventures of exploration. The world dreams of things to come, and then in due season arouses itself to their realization...
But, given the vigour of adventure, sooner or later the leap of imagination reaches beyond the safe limits of the epoch, and beyond the safe limits of learned rules of taste. It then produces the dislocations and confusions marking the advent of new ideals for civilized effort…
Without adventure, civilization is in full decay.”
—Adventures of Ideas, A.N. Whitehead, 1933
The transformative purpose of gifts
“Economists don’t like gifts. Or to be more precise, they have a hard time making sense of gift giving as a rational social practice. From the standpoint of market reasoning, it is almost always better to give cash rather than a gift. If you assume that people generally know their own preferences best, and that the point of giving a gift is to make your friend or loved one happy, then it is hard to beat a monetary payment…
Joel Waldfogel, an economist at the University of Pennsylvania, has taken up the economic inefficiency of gift giving as a personal cause… In 1993, Waldfogel drew attention to the epidemic of squandered utility associated with holiday gift giving in an article called “The Deadweight Loss of Christmas“... His conclusion: ‘We value items we receive as gifts 20% less, per dollar spent, than items we buy for ourselves… Given the $65 billion in US holiday spending per year, that means we get $13 billion less than satisfaction then we would receive the usual way—carefully, on ourselves. Americans celebrate the holidays with an orgy of value destruction’...
If gift giving is a massively wasteful and inefficient activity, why do we persist in it? It isn’t easy to answer this question within standard economic assumptions…
To insist that the purpose of our gifts is to maximize utility is to assume, without argument, that the utility-maximizing conception of friendship is morally the most appropriate one, and that the right way to treat friends is to satisfy their preferences—not to challenge or deepen or complicate them...
A good gift not only aims to please, in the sense of satisfying the consumer preferences of the recipient. It also engages and connects with the recipient in a way that reflects a certain intimacy. This is why thoughtfulness matters… You might not be terribly happy if your lover gave you car tires for your birthday... We’d rather the gift giver buy us something less mundane, something we wouldn’t buy for ourselves. From our intimates at least, we’d rather receive a gift that speaks to the ‘the wild self, the passionate self, the romantic self’…
Some gifts are expressive of relationships that engage, challenge, and re-interpret our identities. This is because friendship is about being more than useful to one another. It is also about growing in character and self-knowledge in the company of others.
As Aristotle taught, friendship at its best has a formative, educative purpose.”
—What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets, Michael Sandel, 2012
Every heart a poet’s
“Nameless Spirit”, Rimas, Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, 1871
A nameless feeling,
an indefinable essence,
I live within the formless
life of the idea.
I swim in the void,
I tremble in the sun’s fire,
I shiver in the shadows
and I float in the mists.
I am the golden spark
of the distant star;
I am the pale and serene
light of the full moon.
I am the burning cloud
that floats in the sunset;
I am the luminous track
of the wandering star.
I am snow on the peaks,
I am fire in the sands,
a blue wave in the seas
and foam on the shores.
In the lute I am music,
aroma in the violet,
a fleeting light in the tombs
and ivy on the ruins.
I sing with the lark
and buzz with the bee,
I mimic the sounds
that are heard in the night.
I rumble in the torrent
and hiss in the spark,
and I flash in the lightning
and roar in the storm.
I laugh on the hillsides,
I whisper in the tall grass,
I sigh in the clear water
and cry on the dry leaf.
I ripple with the plumes
of smoke that slowly rise
and climb to the heavens
in an immense spiral.
In the golden threads
that spiders hang from trees,
I rock back and forth
in a fervent dream.
I run after the nymphs
that frolic naked
in the swift current
of the sparkling stream.
In the forests of coral
that shade the white pearls
in the Ocean, I pursue
the agile water nymphs.
In the hollow caverns
where the sun does not reach,
I mingle with the gnomes
and gaze on their riches.
I search for the traces
of forgotten centuries,
and I remember those empires
whose name is erased.
I follow the dizzy course
of the rotating worlds,
and my eye encompasses
the entire universe.
I perceive those regions
where no sound reaches,
and where unborn stars
await the breath of life.
I am the bridge
that spans the abyss;
I am the unknown ladder
connecting heaven and earth.
In short, I am that spirit,
the unknown essence,
the mysterious fragrance
whose receptacle is the poet.
(Translation by Armand F. Baker)
Yessir, indeed that would be useful.
“Consequently, in parallel with the quest for the Theory of Everything, we need to embark on a similar quest for a grand unified theory of complexity. The challenge of developing a quantitative, analytic, principled, predictive framework for understanding complex adaptive systems is surely one of the grand challenges for twenty-first-century science.
As a vital corollary to this and of greater urgency is the need to develop a grand unified theory of sustainability in order to come to terms with the extraordinary threats we now face. Like all grand syntheses, these will almost certainly remain incomplete, and very likely unattainable, but they will nevertheless inspire significant, possibly revolutionary new ideas, concepts, and techniques with implications for how we move forward and whether what we have thus far achieved can survive.”
—Scale, Geoffrey West, 2017
“When a true genius appears in the world...
“‘You amaze me.’ The young man stared at Ignatius’ outfit. ‘To think they’re letting you run around loose. In a way, I respect you.’
‘Thank you very much.’ Ignatius’ voice was smooth, pleased. ‘Most fools don’t comprehend my worldview at all.’
‘I wouldn’t imagine so.’
‘I suspect beneath your offensively and vulgarly effeminate facade there may be a soul of sorts. Have you read widely in Boethius?’
‘Who? Oh, heavens, no. I never even read newspapers.’
‘Then you must begin a reading program immediately so that you may understand the crises of our age,’ Ignatius said solemnly. ‘Begin with the late Romans, including Boethius, of course. Then you should dip rather extensively into early Medieval. You may skip the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. That is mostly dangerous propaganda. Now that I think of it, you had better skip the Romantics and the Victorians, too. For the contemporary period, you should study some selected comic books.’
‘I recommend Batman especially, for he tends to transcend the abysmal society in which he's found himself. His morality is rather rigid, also. I rather respect Batman.’"
—A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole, 1980
The only guardian of true liberty
“To be culturally literate is to possess the basic information needed to thrive in the modern world. The breadth of that information is great, extending over the major domains of human activity from sports to science. It is by no means confined to ‘culture’ narrowly understood as an acquaintance with the arts… The educational goal advocated is that of mature literacy for all our citizens…
Why is literacy so important in the modern world?…
No modern society can hope to become a just society without a high level of universal literacy… [let us contemplate the] basic principle that underlies our national system of education in the first place — that people in a democracy can be in trusted to decide all important matters for themselves because they can deliberate and communicate with one another. Universal literacy is inseparable from democracy… and the only available ticket to full citizenship…
The claim that universal cultural literacy would have the effect of preserving the political and social status quo is paradoxical because in fact the traditional forms of literate culture are precisely the most effective instruments for political and social change. All political discourse at the national level must use the stable forms of the national language and its associated culture.”
—Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know, E.D. Hirsch, Jr., 1987
“Honey, gonna need more whiskey in this nog”
“I want to suggest that each of these movements [Critical Realism and Integral Theory] have substantial relevance for the iterative and reflexive process of envisaging and enacting an integral (or post-postmodern) philosophy. Rather than a singular approach or particular philosophical theory (e.g. Ken Wilber’s articulation of the AQAL model), I argue that integral philosophy might be better understood as a broad and pluralistic movement (i.e., inclusive of multiple schools or streams) defined largely as an emergent structural formation arising in the wake of the philosophical discourse of both modernity and postmodernity and characterized by the key motif of a resurgence of ontology, or ‘the new realism.’ In this way, I am suggesting that we may indeed be in the early phases of integral philosophy’s rise as a definitive alternative to postmodernism and its marked limitations—but of course, only time will tell. Yet if integral philosophy is to constitute an authentically novel movement within the geo-historical trajectory of Western philosophy, rather than a mere recapitulation or variant of postmodernism (or regressive championing of [pre]modern approaches under the guise of the new), then it must be more than an alternative—it must actually go beyond or transcend both modernism and postmodernism while simultaneously including their most important enduring contributions. That is, integral philosophy, I want to suggest, should forge a higher-order sublation (synthesis and transcendence) of the philosophical discourse of both modernity and postmodernity. Thus, rather than a mere recapitulation or re-iteration of the core tenets of modern or postmodern philosophy, I argue that a definitive signature of integral philosophy is its fundamental break or asymmetry in relation to the ontological and epistemic foundations of its antecedent philosophical formations concomitant with their enfoldment. It thereby must be an emergent dialectical synthesis that modifies and re-patterns aspects of them, catalyzing their integration in the process of birthing an emergent holistic pattern or structure. In short, integral philosophy, defined as such, should strive to enact a kind of post-postmodernism worthy of such a designation in a definitive structural sense, as opposed to the all too common rhetorical ‘post-’holing that often seems to reflect trivial academic fence building more than a substantive differentiation or break from antecedent approaches.
Based on these criteria for an integral philosophy (i.e., a post-postmodern philosophical formation sublative of the philosophical discourse of modernity and postmodernity; an epistemologically mature or post-critical championing of ontology) I argue that CR and IT appear to be among the most comprehensive and sophisticated expressions of a still yet to be fully consolidated integral, post-postmodern philosophy. Both CR and IT explicitly situate themselves not only as alternatives to postmodernism, but claim to go beyond both positivism and social constructivism while integrating key aspects of their respective philosophical discourses. In the face of radicalized forms of post-Kantian skepticism and anti-realism characteristic of postmodernism, both approaches champion a return to ontology at a higher turn of the spiral—a return to some form of realism that substantially integrates the epistemic advances of both (post)positivism and social constructivism and thus is not a regression to a form of pre-critical, first philosophy (prima philosophia) or dogmatic metaphysics. Both CR and IT articulate unique justifications for such a return to an ontology inclusive of the post- Kantian, postmodern principle of epistemic relativity in some form, to some degree. They both seem to acknowledge that philosophy can no longer be formulated from what Thomas Nagel (1986) calls the ‘view from nowhere,’ which characterizes most metaphysical projects. Rather, they both self-reflexively argue that philosophy should necessarily be situated in various important ways, be it in a geo-historical trajectory, cultural milieu, psychological structure, or otherwise. As such, they are both helping to fashion the emergent features of an integral philosophical discourse through an epistemologically sophisticated return to ontology or (neo-)realism, but do so in different, yet complementary ways.”
—“Rethinking the Intellectual Resources For Addressing Complex Twenty-First Century Challenges”, by Nicholas Hedlund, in Metatheory for the Twenty-First Century, 2016
Wherever you go, keep Pu-Tai on your shoulder
“‘Now, my dear Pangloss,’ said Candide, ‘tell me this. When you had been hanged, dissected, and beaten unmercifully, and while you were rowing at your bench, did you still think that everything in this world is for the best?’
‘I still hold my original views,’ replied Pangloss, ‘for I am still a philosopher. It would not be proper for me to recant…’
—Candide, Voltaire, 1759
This email is subjectless
“The ultimate metaphysical secret, if we dare to state it so simply, is that there are no boundaries in the universe. Boundaries are illusions, products not of reality but of the way we map and edit reality. And while it is fine to map out the territory, it is fatal to confuse the two.”
—No Boundary, Ken Wilber, 2001
It was a humbling privilege to have met him
“The fundamental goodness of human nature, like the mystery of the Trinity, Grace, and the Incarnation, is an essential element of Christian faith. This basic core of goodness is capable of unlimited development; indeed, becoming transformed into Christ and deified.
Our basic core of goodness is our true Self. Its center of gravity is God. The acceptance of our basic goodness is a quantum leap in the spiritual journey.
God and our true Self are not separate. Though we are not God, God and our true Self are the same thing...
The disintegrating and dying of our false self is our participation in the passion and death of Jesus. The building of our new self, based on the transforming power of divine love, is our participation in His risen life.”
—Foundations for Centering Prayer and the Christian Contemplative Life, Father Thomas Keating, 2004
Happy holidays everyone
“Ring out, wild bells”, In Memoriam, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1850
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Ring out the grief that saps the mind
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.
Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.
Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.
Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.
Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.
Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.
—“Ring out, wild bells”, In Memoriam, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1850
Happy holidays everyone, and thank you for taking part in our integral advent calendar.
From all of us at Integral Life, we’re sending you and your family warm holiday blessings.
As we bring this year to a close, and face the various complex challenges of the era, may we constantly open our minds with new knowledge, with the wisdom of the past, and with the emerging visions of the future. May we laugh regularly, never taking our selves too seriously. May we celebrate every moment for the gift that it is. And may we be still, extending love and compassion to all beings from the core of our peaceful, radiant hearts.