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Understanding the Integral Universe
by James N. Rose

Original paper at
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The ancient Egyptians, prominent though not singularly unique among all our cultural forebears on this planet, gave us some wonderfully fundamental ideas and insights about life, existence and the nature of being.  <...>


There is indeed an underlying uniform pattern to the behavior of everything in the Universe regardless of what singular force or combination of forces we talk about. It is a quality of organization, impelled and acted out through the primal dynamic forces science has already identified.  It even appears in the ones we are not quite sure how to explain -- such as the "force" that motivates one person to work in concert with another. At the more complex levels we don't really talk about "forces" anymore (in the sense that physics describes them). Rather, we talk about: needs, concerns, social considerations, power, etc. In point of fact all these activities hover around the same singular ability of an organized form to maintain itself or not as it encounters the rest of existence.

I call this phenomenal dynamic: Integrity.

As I perceive it, the notion of Integrity is pertinent to every possible phenomenon, relationship and level of existence.   It is both cause and effect.  It permits us an understanding of behaviors which are at one moment in compliance with our current concepts, yet also may run counter to our traditional intuition about things.  It gives us a new framework for perceiving that a single activity can simultaneously embody constructive and destructive characteristics; or other types of opposites, because the defining context of an action is as equally crucial as an event itself, where we may or may not have complete information about the contexts involved, and, where we may or may not appreciate the diverse simultaneous impacts that are flavored or prioritized by the possible panorama of those contexts.

Personal foundation - Building the New Perspective

Very useful for understanding origin of such innovatiove ideas but additional infromation about educational background would be very useful.


I recognized that this would be a good stratagem to use, here and now, applicable on an even grander scale.  If we generally hold the technique as viable when we examine "other" places and events, then we can re-evaluate our own "world" the same way.  It is eminently possible to mentally assume the guise of a fully cognizant and sentient being, looking at our universe, our world, with all its behaviors and activities and forms, and see it as a distanced and un-compromised mind would see it.  No precognitions, assumptions or connections.   If two or more observed activities seem to exhibit some similar pattern of functioning, then we should look to correlate those similarities, no matter how otherwise disparate the activities initially seem.  We can even create new words and encompassing ideas to bring them into cohesion. Eventually, we will require that this technique itself be re-incorporated within the totality of understanding, as a most naturally consistent function - part and parcel of/with the complete schema. An activity that can explain itself or stand up to scrutiny as a representative sub-set function in the total order of things.  The goal: include everything ... without exception.

Whorf - Conceptual Progenitor

At that ceptual point in the late 1960's I came across the work of the Linguist, Benjamin Whorf (1897-1941), in a book titled "Language, Thought and Reality" - salient writings compiled posthumously by his student John Carroll in 1956. Whorf, in conjunction with his mentor Edward Sapir (1884-1939) had developed the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, which speaks to the belief that "language" molds and guides the way we think. They discovered so many differences in a spectrum of world wide languages, where the conceptual links and forms were at odds with what Western-Europeans had thought were "universal", that they deduced that language ... as each person is born into a very specific culture with a very specific pre-existing language environment ... is the most formidable molder of how people think. Literally: we learn "how" to think, relying on the words, symbols and conceptual assignments which were created before us. We experience the real and we experience the symbolic. But, no matter what, we always experience.

Our mental images and associations are to a great extent derived from symbols (auditory, visual, etc.) which we encounter and then use to stand for, replace and be the events and relationships we encounter.  Whether in daily conversation, mathematical equations, artistic designs, musical elaborations, et al., given symbols or patterns of them are used as the phenomena we mutually know and communally share. By tacit agreement, conscious deliberation, convention, or convenience of circumstantial historical habit, our words, our notations, most all of our expressings are used to efficiently evoke memories of events.  And, by long standing build up of a large assemblage of these associations, we become reliant on encounters with those patterns, symbols and associations, rather than the original events. All these factors - original and secondary - are still available to re-experience, but we find efficiency and accomplishment in using mainly the symbolic encounters.  Our thoughts and innately used mental connections are keyed by the symbols acquired and how we previously used them.

Whorf labeled this phenomena "Linguistic Relativity" because humanity displayed a broad diversity in concepts, grammar, unusual connections and interrelations.   (Einstein's concepts were exceptionally exciting and new in those days.    Indeed he, as I, latched on to relativity's alternative meaning: all things are relatives, vs., the universe has no primal observation base and therefore all frames of reference are relatively equal to each other.)   Needless to say, I think of Whorf as one of the most brilliant underrated thinkers of our age. His openness and ability to cross so many boundaries, to bring together the panorama of human thought and interaction, is extraordinary.  The sad part is that in his brief life, he focussed most of his energies stressing that "concepts arise from language" and never had a chance to respond (to professionals in his field who found merit in his paradigm) or clarify the rest of what he believed - that the process is openly bi-directional. Most evaluations of Linguistic Relativity limit it to "language first, ideas second". This is not entirely true. Yet, since the 1940's linguistics has gone off onto tangents and missed the broader cogency of Whorf and Sapir's work.

In Whorf's enunciation of general "Linguistic Relativity", it was assumed that he only referred to the idea that "language molds and defines experience".   On the contrary.  He was well aware that experience precedes language.   It was his belief (and the perspective I champion) that we incorporate external experience which then re-emerges as language, and after that, "language" exists as part of the experiential environment! We "experience" our own thoughts and words even at the very instant that we are "creating" them.

Whorf's concept is fully encompassing: experience creates language which reintegrates as experience, creating more ideas, more connections, more language, which makes more experience, and so on. This extraordinary repertoire, this recognition, can open up infinite horizons for us. At the core of our language and thought are the experiences which evoked them. In the exposition that follows this introduction, I will explore mathematics, psychology, sociology, economics, physics, biochemistry and a mélange of interconnected subjects.   All re-evaluated in new ways, looking behind terminology, behind language and grammar, to recognize the processes that other original investigators -- including the founders of humanity's cultures -- saw and created new words to label and describe.  I will discuss how those labels and descriptions might have over simplified and rigidified what we have come to appreciate about those phenomena.  Impressively organized within each subject category, yet partially deficient in exploring or expressing the overwhelming similarities between and among them en mass.  I hope to expound on and enlarge what Whorf started, and show the true extent to which all this is expressed in human-universal behavior.

To quote briefly from his writings:

"The familiar saying that the exception proves the rule contains a good deal of wisdom, though from the standpoint of formal logic it became an absurdity as soon as "prove" no longer meant "put on trial." The old saw began to be profound psychology from the time it ceased to have standing in logic. What it might well suggest to us today is that, if a rule has absolutely no exceptions, it is not recognized as a rule or as anything else; it is then part of the background of experience of which we tend to remain unconscious. Never having experienced anything to contrast to it, we cannot isolate it and formulate it as a rule until we enlarge our experience and expand our base of reference that we encounter an interruption of its regularity."

"For instance, if a race of people had the physiological defect {ed. note: "limitation"} of being able to see only the color blue, they would hardly be able to formulate the rule that they saw only blue. The term blue would convey no meaning to them, their language would lack color terms, and their words denoting various sensations of blue would answer to, and translate, our words "light, dark, white, black", and so on, not our word "blue". ... The phenomenon of gravitation forms a rule without exceptions; needless to say, the untutored person is utterly unaware of any law of gravitation, for it would never enter his head to conceive of a universe in which bodies behaved otherwise than they do at the earth's surface. ... The law could not be formulated until bodies which always fell were seen in terms of a wider astronomical world in which bodies moved in orbits or went this way and that." ...

... "When linguists became able to examine critically and scientifically a large number of languages of widely different patterns, their base of reference was expanded; they experienced an interruption of phenomena hitherto held universal, and a whole new order of significances came into their ken. It was found that the background linguistic system (in other words, the grammar) of each language is not merely a reproducing instrument for voicing ideas but ... is itself the shaper of ideas, the program and guide for the individual's mental activity, for his analysis of impressions, for his synthesis of his mental stock in trade." ...

... "This fact is very significant for modern science, for it means that no individual is free to describe nature with absolute impartiality but is constrained to certain modes of interpretation even while he thinks himself most free. The person most nearly free in such respects would be ... familiar with very many widely different ... systems. ... We are thus introduced to a new principle of "relativity", which holds that all observers are not led by the same physical evidence to the same picture of the universe .... unless their linguistic backgrounds are similar, or can in someway be calibrated."

I take the liberty of highlighting the above remark, and especially Whorf's casual closing phrase, because it is the single most crucial concept Whorf shares with us.  What he probably saw as simply a technique for evaluating languages and ideas together is, superiorly, the fundamental key for appreciating the reality of holism.  Things can only be calibrated vis a vis each other if there is some pre-extant quality that permits information encounters and translation in the first place, enabling relational possibilities to even occur.  That is, ideas can be cross topically translated only when an underlying mutuality exists, strongly links the events, the analogues, the terms!

Whorf exposed a totally new way to see the universe and ourselves.  He stood at a doorway, beckoning us through.  I have been there, and am awed and overwhelmed by what I have seen.  So, I ask you too, come with us on this great adventure exploring humanity and knowledge and experience.  Participate, add your own insights.  I'm sure you will find all these ideas interesting.  Doubtless, you'll find them challenging.  But best of all, with what you bring to these readings, you'll experience the exhilaration of personal creation.  "Understanding the Integral Universe" is only a framework. You bring to it embellishments, knowledge and feelings and connections which I can infer but not know.   You make the ideas fuller and richer and meaningful - as viable as you desire.

Integrity - Its History and Future

In the spring of 1973 I wrote an initial concept paper while attending the State University of NY at Stonybrook, titled "A Discussion of the Four-Plane Universe Conundrum".  The ideas and premises presented there were the distillation of everything I had learned and observed about complex systems and multi-directional gradients displayed in the interactions of those processes.


<Can not be reduced to only mathematical discription. Particulary gradients serve the scientific vision but not explore it.>

Please keep in mind that this is a true attempt at a T.O.E. ....a Theory Of Everything.  <...>


Regardless, each of us brings to life our human behavioral desire (and need) to learn, and, the capacity to learn, to incorporate more knowledge, thereby maintaining secure safe and continuing lives - individually and connectedly.  We pursue this process at each moment of our lives regardless of the specific social groups or organizations we happen to be born into, or even, "create" by extension of gained "realized understandings" of who we are on this planet and in this universe.  We may live our lives within a basically uniform environmental collage that we find experientially comfortable, but, we always remain open to non-typical life experiences ... and here perhaps, open to another way of perceiving and understanding the universe we share.  The goal is a holistic synergetic ceptualization of Being.  Definable in mathematics, and most certainly, experiencible without it.  I will reference mathematics time and again, but please don't be miss led. I am concerned with imparting a sense of existence more than anything else.  Fluid and free interpretations about how the parts of existence dance with one another -- in every way that you can think of.

Ancient pundits and visionaries have been sharing that perception with us for thousands of years.  Modern science and mathematics are struggling to prove it.  The one-ness of existence.  It is more than something we simply experience, it might now be consciously definable and consciously conceivable - an active conception via an act-of conception.


<...>   The hypothesis being that: a single set of formulae will be applicable for every level or topic of existence, whether simple or complex.

The undeniable logical conclusion of such a tenet is: Even the simplest cognitions we can think of must be uniform with the most complicated.    Therefore, even the humblest and least "educated" of us will be able to relate to these ideas... on some level... no matter what our own personal experiential net or knowledge or frames of reference may be.

I urge you not to feel overwhelmed by the scope of discussions. Even new or strange topics will eventually feel familiar for you. The "Integrity" paradigm is merely another valid way of exploring these topics and proposing answers to humanity's questions.  An alternative way to understand and evaluate mathematical/phenomenal dynamics from the point of view of perceptive sentience .. us .. who are capable of experiencing and conceptually organizing all of these awarenesses and knowledge into a cohesive Thema.  We have the capacity to evaluate ourselves not just in regard to the processes we accustomedly participate in - language, commerce, physiology, ecology, etc. - but also in regard to micro and macroscopic behaviors of everything else that exists. Everything we are capable of acknowledging and conceiving.

The word "concept" especially exemplifies the idea and intent of the active process that we do via all this "thinking" "perceiving" and "pondering". It is a fine representative, as well as descriptive label, of the processes which we use in order to assure our own "Integrity" ... stable dynamic continuation.  "Con-" is a Latin word root meaning "with" or "together". "Cept" (and its variation: "ceive") comes from root word ideas meaning "to take in, to gather" (a dynamic active process). Re-ception, in-ception, de-ception, con-ception, per-ception, ex-ception, ac-cepting, etc., are all related to the activity of "taking inside", where we literally take in and internalize ideas and experiences and synthesize them for our survival and behavioral benefit.  We make ideas part of "us"... of each of our own "me".   Familiarity becomes identity.

I challenge you now to think about things in a slightly different way, from a slightly different perspective than what you are used to. Bring to these readings everything you've personally learned throughout your life, but allow yourself to look at, re-view and re-examine familiar ideas, perceptions, events, understandings and belief cognitions in possibly new ways. <...>


And in the end...this is how it should be:

The experiences of your own life - crossing with a whole new set of words and ideas - effecting a response, that will make you a subtly different person than you were before. You are not required to agree with everything, but just by learning even one new fact, you will be more than you were before.
James N Rose
Minden, Nevada
(March 28, 1992; Sept 19,1994)
Stonybrook, New York
(Winter 1972-Spring 1973)