Many thanks for David McLeod, Trevor Malkinson, Alia Aurami, and Marilyn Hamilton for contributing to this piece.
See http://integrallife.com/integral-post/yes-virginia-consciousness-does-go-all-way-down for Michael’s post and my full comment. First paragraph of my reply copied below.
This is a great piece and I found your treatment of recent developments in the study of consciousness really useful–especially the references to Christof Kotch, his work, and his recent turn to panpsychism.
This last item, Kotch’s move to a panpsychic view, I find especially interesting. I’ve been pondering the ‘consciousness all the way down’ view in Integral and its relationship to the implied panpsychic basis on which it rests. If as Wilber says ‘the meaning of a statement is the mode of its enactment’ then I’m not convinced any reference to, or reliance on, a panpsychic view can support a fully integral worldview. My concern, and it may be mostly a semantic one (but no less important for this) is that any reference to ‘psych’ or ‘mind’ or perhaps even ‘consciousness’ will always signify a kind of homuncular stance to modernists and postmodernists–that is, that we are sneaking in a metaphysical ‘spirit’ or all knowing mind that introduces a form of causality not reified through material existence. The mode of the meaning of ‘panpsychism’, in its essence, then will always be uncomfortable for modern (reductionists)/postmodern (subtle reductionists) types and therefore not meaningful enough to constitute the enactment of a practically effective Integral worldview–one that can get real and widespread traction in the formation of a planetary civilisation. The word ‘spirit’ has a similar and much stronger effect, and basing a view of spirit on even a ‘sophisticated’ panpsychism just seems to compound the problem. Shifting to Whiteheads concept of panexperientialism as a form of ‘weak’ panpsychism might help or even protopanexperientialism, but even these terms don’t seem to be quite right as signifiers of what we are trying to articulate as integralists to the modern and post modern levels.”
(See full comment and original post by Michael Zimmerman by clicking the link above.)
Note to the reader: I originally wrote this in 2009 at the request of the editors of a proposed book called Permaculture Pioneers. It was slated for inclusion, but I withdrew it after the publishing process dragged on. The book was eventually published without this chapter. You can find the book here.
An Integral Permaculture
I’ve practiced and taught permaculture, at times intensively, for most of the last fifteen years. In that time my perspective on permaculture has changed and evolved, as has permaculture itself. If at times in this article I am critical of elements of permaculture, it is not to be negative or to lessen the importance of the discipline, but to examine the points of pain and disappointment that that have lead me to new understandings and new directions. The same should be true for the movement itself, and I’m writing here with this in mind. Continue reading
In this blog I’ll be analysing news, current events and other cultural phenomenon as they relate to the sustainability and thriving of the human project using PatternDynamics™ (www.patterndynamics.com.au) an Integral Sustainability Pattern Language and elements of Integral Theory.
I’ll also post related material I’ve created previously and links to good resources that look at sustainability and complexity from similar perspectives.