The 4.1 Consensus-Aware Stage I

A Precedential Investigation in the Extremes of Isolation and Intimacy

General Considerations before Reading

The 4.1 Consensus-Aware Stage I – The Extremes of Intimacy and Isolation

The following stage description might be overwhelmingly complex however, it is no artificial creating of complexity but only representative of the respective complexity mind has reached at this stage. It is the consequence of integrating purely abstract observation with the self-description people at this altitude offer of their body, life, and mind, within their growing awareness of the absolute.

It is an attempt to resolve the paradox of map and territory that lies therein that an abstract description, through its seeming simplicity, can give us the feeling of understanding, but factually leaves us merely blind through superficiality. Simultaneously, remarks and quotes of the territory, through their individuality and the longing for transfer of abstraction, might easily give us the feeling of incomprehensibility – though the only way to understand and later apply the abstractions correctly.

Therefore consider the aspect of territory that is delivered through numerous quotes, too, as a transmission. Even if mental understanding seems unobtainable, each quote will suck you into the mind of someone at this stage. This can deeply reshape your inner understanding of development and nurture the very connection to this stage within yourself – without mental comprehension.

My attempt here, of course, might misrepresent some of the thinkers I mention, please forgive me.

Too, you might for better understanding consider to read the introduction into The Model of Homeostatic Hierarchical Integration through Communicative Action as well as The Farther Reaches of Human Development, where foundational considerations about these later stages in relation to other models are elucidated; since this essay draws on the descirption of the earlier stage, you might read the 3.4 Discoursive-Stage, too.

An Experimental Archeological Investigation into

The 4.1 Consensus-Aware Stage I – The Extremes of Intimacy and Isolation

The First as the Fifth – Turyatita

Like any first stage of a tier the 4.1 Consensus-Aware Person is discovering a new form of Turyatita. Turyatita means the Fifth that is the complete vision and apprehension of the earlier layer`s quadruplicate wholeness. For the sake of this wholeness, the nothingness, that rests behind any expression of body, mind, life, and spirit, brings itself forth into a new identical transformation. In this case it is the adaptation of the witnessing self or spirit, which is ruling the newly emerging stages of Fourthness, towards Thirdness, the transcended stages of the mind and its meaningful ideas. Ken Wilber (2017, p.221) in The Religion of Tomorrow states this new fifth when he writes that, at the Indigo altitude, there is no longer only “a recognition of how two separate realms affect each other but a direct experience of the underlying Whole that unites them both as correlative dimensions of the same Whole event, which can`t be separated into two realms in the first place”.

“It is at this level”, so Ken Wilber (2017, p.221), “that the gross realm must be conjoined with, or fully objectified, if development is to continue”. The Model of Homeostatic Hierarchical Integration likewise sees the gross reality or Firstness, as the body and its sensual being, as foundational for this stage – the first gets now in “communion, union, or identity” (ibid. p.221) with its fourth iteration, which is the manifestation of the sensual, adaptative aspect of spirit. Hence, we deal with a new perceptual mode that is twofold as much as at the 3.4 Discoursive Stage had two modes of degenerate Fourthness: self-reflection on the one hand and the “recognizant” way, presencing as the connection to illumination, on the other.

The Witness Aspect of the Fifth

Bernadette Roberts (2016, p.83) illustrates the maturation of the self-reflexive movement, when she writes 2016, in an essay on What is Self, while man previously “autonomously ‘knows himself’, he does not know he knows himself until he deliberately reflects on himself to realize he is always aware of himself – even when he is not aware of this”. For her in the advent of the 4.1 Consensus-Aware Stage “self-awareness is a function, and as such, it is the major faculty of the human soul” (ibid. p.p.83); furthermore, it is distinct from the earlier form of Firstness through what it objectifies, since “objects-of-perception are solely material sensory objects, whereas the sole object-of-awareness is self” (ibid. p.88). One can immediately perceive the difference to her earlier view in the 1989 book with the same title. Back then self-awareness was not yet a faculty but “on the contrary, consciousness or self is man’s faculty or medium for experiencing the divine” (Roberts 2005, p.58) – the earlier direction upward, consciousness as “the gradual return to the divine” (ibid. p.58), has now become reversed into the adaptation downward. A state opens, where by now solely “the Creator knows the true essence of man’s common human nature, only God can reveal its eternal oneness with God” (Roberts 2016, p.93); namely, in the moment when you “take away self-awareness with all its experiential effects, […] the real mystery of man and the real question he needs to have answered” (ibid. p.92) arise.

The Illumination Aspect of the Fifth

The same reversal of direction can be found in Sri Aurobindo`s (2005) ideas on the Illumined Mind. “Experiences fall within the experiential boundaries of self or consciousness”, so Bernadette Roberts (2005, p.4) in her 1989 What is the Self; “the deepest experience of self IS the experience of the divine. But this realization or awareness is not outside the boundaries of self or consciousness” (ibid. p.4) as she presented it at the time in contrast to her later ideas, where “only the Creator knows the true essence of man’s common human nature, only God can reveal its eternal oneness with God” (Robertson 2016, p.93) – in descending. Accordingly, Aurobindo`s (2005, p.978) Higher Mind is there to make “a first change, a modification that will capacitate a higher ascent and a more powerful descent and further prepare an integration of the being in a greater Force of consciousness and knowledge”, but still the “higher forces are not in their descent immediately all-powerful as they would naturally be in their own plane of action and in their own medium” (ibid. p.978), rather everything spiritual is still inside the boundaries of self and thought. Its successor however, “illumines the thought-mind with a direct inner vision and inspiration, brings a spiritual sight into the heart and a spiritual light and energy into its feeling and emotion, imparts to the life-force a spiritual urge, a truth inspiration that dynamizes the action and exalts the life movements (Aurobindo 2005, p.980) – which simply means, that the Illumined Mind is a descending arrangement of informing divinized consciousness. The German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (2000) in his Essay on Spirit Seeing, elaborates on this capacity of illumination to infuse “into the sense a direct and total power of spiritual sensation so that our vital and physical being can contact and meet concretely, quite as intensely as the mind and emotion can conceive and perceive and feel, the Divine in all things” that Aurobindo (2005, p.981) points to. Schopenhauer (2000, p.303) specifically muses about the properties of “will” – his idea of a foundation- and aimless blind drive that constitutes our subjective reason, which “as thing-in-itself lies outside the principium individuationis (time and space) whereby individuals are separated; and so, the limits that result from that principle do not exist for the will”. In this idea the divine or will “is not impeded by any limits of individuation” (ibid. p.303) it can act on the dream-organ of others and through a vision “has acted on the will of another directly and in distance, […] [and] therefore, operated on the organism of the other man which is only his will itself intuitively perceived in space” (bid. p.303).

Ken Wilber (2017, p.224) correspondingly writes in The Religion of Tomorrow that the Indigo awareness is infused “with transpersonal elements that can be interpreted as multisystemic interconnections with virtually all beings in existence, an experience of the Great Web of Life as being interwoven with one`s own Indigo self as if it were the skin on one`s expanded body”. This realization that “one is not merely an individual person but part of an incredibly extended system or network”, as Wilber (2017, p.224) continuous, is only “thought at Turquoise but experienced at Indigo” (ibid. p.224). However, much of this interconnection and oneness at the 4.1 Consensus-Aware Stage is still the objectification of the 3.4 Discoursive Stage`s systems thinking, its ideas of a point omega or ideal community of discourse, the differentiation from and investigation of “collective consciousness”, as Emile Durkheim (1964, p.444) called it in The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life: “The highest form of the psychic life, since it is the consciousness of the consciousnesses. Being placed outside of and above individual and local contingencies, it sees things only in their permanent and essential aspects, which it crystallizes into communicable ideas” (ibid. p.444). One can see this objectification in Niklas Luhmann`s (2000, p.555) The Social System, where the sum of all systems is society “which constitutes the elementary units of communication, out of which it consists, and whatever is constituted this way, becomes society, becomes a moment of the constitution process itself”. For him, there is no possibility to avoid this consequence within that system. There is no escape from this oneness of society since it “is a self-substitutive order, wherein everything that has to be changed or replaced, has to be changed or replaced within it” (ibid. p.556) – the set of communications as self-referential unity that replaces the former idea of selective modes of intersubjectivity that constituted meaning. Though everything can now readily be perceived from the standpoint of oneness, oneness has nevertheless to gradually deepen towards the 4.3 Cosmotheantric Stage to be not only be experienced as a mutilated version within a “dream organ”. Only, when the further maturation of the integrative function into its unitive expression within fourthness starts, we can apprehend the mechanisms of introjection and projection of formed consciousness that is transferred from spirit to spirit to descend via mind and life into its physical being; a process Sri Aurobindo (2005, p.294) circumscribes as the Overmind releasing “a million Godheads into action, each empowered to create its own world, each world capable of relation, communication and interplay with the others”.

The 3.4`s Identity Conflict

As much as the growth out of the 2.4 Conformist into the 3.1 Self-Aware Stage led to a replacement of the identity conflict by that for intimacy, as depicted by Eric Erikson (1982) in The Life Cycle Completed, the origin of a perception finetuned for oneness can move the trajectory of body, life, mind, and spirit into a reiteration here at the 4.1 Consensus-Aware Stage; we must face the thread of isolation in difference and unity with a longing for love and connection in a manner that is twofold as the expression of this stage described above. One side of this movement is depicted quite granular when Terri O`Fallon (2020, p.30), in States and STAGES: Waking up Developmentally, points out that the 5.0 Construct-Aware person asks again “Who am I” – as did the 2.4 Conformist – since they “confuse their authentic identity with their newly forming identity: conscious awareness” (ibid. p.30); correspondingly, the 5.5 Transpersonal Stage “confuses one’s individual constructions with reified reality”. The persons here see “that their constructions are a story but does not see how acting on their own constructions becomes a reified reality” (ibid. p30) – which is conceptually close to our 3.4 Discoursive Stage and the confusion of one`s universal with being the universal of everyone that is to a degree dependent on mistaking others particularity or interpretations as making up this universal oneness e.g., it is not universal but a discourse. Therefore, where identity conflict meant the playing through of “selective affirmation and repudiation of an individual’s […] identifications [….] [as well as] the way the social process of the times identifies” oneself, from which Erikson’s (1982, p.74) “process of identity formation emerges as an evolving configuration” (ibid. p.74), embraces now a third component: the modes of integration of both affirmed or repudiated identifications and the social processes` given zeitgeist, as the self-thematization of meaningful ideas. This identity conflict then is self-expressive in the Higher Mind`s structure that “can constantly expand into a larger structure or several of them combine themselves into a provisional greater whole on the way to a yet unachieved integrality”, using Aurobindo`s (2005, p.975) memorization of this structure, which in the end “is a great totality of truth known and experienced but still a totality capable of infinite enlargement” (ibid. p.975).

The 4.1`s Extreme of Isolation

In the same way as within the identity conflict, the question for intimacy and isolation expands from including two layers, that of Firstness and that of Secondness, into embracing the Third, which is mind and meaningful ideas. “The infinite Presence” of the Illumined Mind, so Aurobindo (2006, p.476) in The Syntheses of Yoga, “may be there in status, but the dynamism of the operations of nature […] must follow its triple modes of working” (ibid. p.476), the processes of body, life, and mind, here at the 4.1 Consensus-Aware Stage. Isolation for Erikson (1982, p.70f) meant “a fear of remaining separate and ‘unrecognized’ – which provides a deep motivation for the entranced ritualization of a, now genitally mature, ‘I-you’ experience such as marked the beginning of one’s existence”. This isolation, when one uses Terri O`Fallon`s (2020, p.30) words, might spring from “Confusing witnessing as a location with non-dual awakening” with increasing consensus-awareness, i.e., the 6.5 Illumined Stage; more precisely within the apprehension of the lower triple nature of spirit: “the concrete senses, subtle senses and meta-conscious evolutionary trajectory of matter, life, and mind” (ibid. p.33). Whether or not Adi Da Samraj (2000) in his The Seven Stages of Life, is considered as an example for this confusion by Terri O`Fallon herself, he anyways seems to be expressive of tending towards a form of isolation at our late 4.1 Consensus-Aware Stage through a transcendental manner, when he writes “that there is an only by him revealed and given seventh stage of life” (Samraj 2000, p.127) and the main goal of an adept is to fuse with this stage – become an image of the “most-perfect realization of his ’bright’ divine self-condition” (ibid. p.126). Explicitly this means for Adi Da (2000, p.127) that “the only-by-him revealed and given way of the heart is not to progressively or otherwise, eventually realize his avatarically self-revealed transcendental, inherently spiritual, and self-evidently divine self-condition, but only to be that – simply divinely or inherently, and most perfectly self-recognizing whatever arises to be only that”, the identity that shines through him and anyone must become. Translated into our terminology, he speaks of the sensual aspect within his spirit as something that is “always already the position and condition of existence” (ibid. p.126), a confusion that is a mode of isolation that then can give rise to “dissociation i.e., the readiness to repudiate, to ignore, or to destroy those forces and people whose essence seems dangerous to one`s own” (Erikson 1980, p.135).

The 4.1`s Extreme of Intimacy

Right beside that confusion or pathological extreme which we saw in Adi Da however, as Wilber (2017) points out in a chapter on the Dysfunctions of 3rd Tier we have to be equally cautious of another extreme or confusion. Namely, when man is faced with a fundamental choice at the Indigo stage, it is rather an exclusive one; one either tends to “identify more with the increasingly obvious witnessing awareness or more with the increasingly unified field of objects of awareness” (Wilber 2017, p.372). While the earlier perspective, focused on awareness of awareness confused with nonduality, is elaborated by O`Fallon (2020) the later one is missing in her work. Like in Erikson’s (1982, p.71) depiction of the 3.1 Self-Aware Stage, “intimacy must […] provide an affiliative kind of ritualization that cultivates styles of ingroup living held together by often extremely idiosyncratic ways of behaving and speaking”. On the one hand, if intimacy is not well established “regression to earlier stages may occur either in the form of an obsessive need for pseudo-intimacy or of a compulsive kind of preoccupation with self-imagery” (ibid. p.67), while on the other hand “isolation, self-absorption, and despair, can be held in check only by the individual`s fitting participation in social endeavors which ‘invite opportunities for ego functions in spheres free from conflict’” (Erikson 1980, p.166) – an intimacy that is based on the mechanisms of integration and collective self-thematization of the earlier layer; at least unless the integrative functions of the newly emergent layer is no longer potentiality, but an actual realization within the 4.3 Cosmotheantric and the 4.4 Co-Gnostic Stage of full reciprocity.

The 4.1`s Seeing of Multiple Universals

Jacques Derrida (2007a) in Psyche: Invention of the Other illustrates the novelty that springs from recognizing the projection of one`s universal onto others within the identity conflict of the 3.4 Discoursive Stage. This recognition leads beautifully to a new sense of “’we’ that does not find itself anywhere does not invent itself” (Derrida 2007a, p.45), but is a creative, imaginative act, an invention of the other towards which “‘come’ appears the only invention that is desirable and worthy of interest” (ibid. p.45). Erikson (1982, p.71) defines the ideal state in the generation of a new intimacy as the need to balance “psychosocial evolution, the power of communal and personal style: which gives and demands conviction in the shared patterns of living; guarantees some individual identity even in in joint intimacy; and binds into a way of life the solidarity”. “It is at HU Experientialistic Level”, so Clare Graves (2005, p.396) in The Neverending Quest “where man must learn to fashion a life that honors and respects all the different levels of human being. Here again he adjusts to the world, to a world he will never really come to know” – a process that according to him is full of awe and wonder since “there is much he will never know about existence” (ibid. p.395). Likewise Derrida (2007a, p.46) asks “for allowing the adventure or the event of the entirely other to come” as much as reflections of this need shimmer through Bernadette Roberts’ (2016, p.92) earlier mentioned essay that says: “no man creates human nature, it is how he uses the faculties he has been given that creates or determines the person he becomes”, the liberty of the other who for Derrida (2007a, p.45) “is indeed what is not inventible, and it is therefore the only invention in the world, our invention, the invention that invents us. For the other is always another origin of the world and we are to be invented. And the being of the we, and being itself. Beyond being” (ibid. p.45) – “self, then, is obviously not a ‘being’, not just a ‘word’ or cognitive construct, and certainly not an ‘illusion’, rather self is every man’s experience ‘I exist’ — simple as that. It is this self-awareness or consciousness that causes individuation — i.e., the simple awareness of one’s own existence, of being one’s own person”, so Roberts (2016, p.92), that determines our inventions and enables to overcome transcendental isolation of spirit through a newly found and redefined intimacy within the earlier layer of mind and meaningful ideas. Within this split that appears, at the intersection of mind and spirit, when the mystery of conscious evolution raises itself towards the fifth, the reunification is implicit; as Immanuel Kant (2013, S.173) describes in his Metaphysics of Morals, man can see himself facing a new responsibility at the 4.1 Consensus-Aware Stage since he is no longer within one signification: “according to his personality, i.e., as a being thought as endowed with inner liberty, he is a being able of obligation towards himself, namely when viewed as human nature in his person, thus: that man, considered in two senses, without coming into contradiction with himself can recognize an obligation towards himself, because the concept of men is not conceived in one and the same sense”.

Passivity and Fusion with Horror

Yet this dichotomy can become a possible enshrinement of the earlier layer, and one therefore can “find not merely a communion/union/identity with the community of all being but a fusion, a meltdown, a collapse into it” when turning back towards the mind, so Wilber (2017, p. 373); one poetically expressed “loses one`s unique awareness of awareness in a faceless, unending, overwhelming community of all things, events, beings, and phenomena, cascading wildly over each other, invading awareness with a jacked little pill of multiple ‘relatives’, all ‘totally loved and embraced’ in an unending horror-story family holiday” (ibid. p.373). This fusion that then appears can spring from the passivity that developmental theorists tend to see here. Susanne Cook-Greuter (2013a, p.) states that Unitive persons “are no longer driven by desires to be one way or another, to achieve one state or another. Instead, they can let go of the unattainable and rest in the experience of being”, Sri Aurobindo (2006, p.147) writes that there “will be less and less individual choice, opinion, preference, less and less of intellectualization, mental weaving, cerebral galley-slave labor; a Light within will see all that has to be seen, know all that has to be known, develop, create, organize”, and Terri O`Fallon (2010, p.65) in The Evolution of the Human Soul classifies the first half of this stage as the 6.0 Universal person, who is stepping “out of the hurricane of the 5.5 Transpersonal`s complex mind and sit in the eye of the storm even as it whirls about them, letting go of the complexity even as they are living within it. It is at this place that a deep peace, acceptance, and interior silence seem to permeate every part of one’s being and life”.

However, “this passive adjustment seems to be chosen rather than determined”, when we believe Clare Graves (2005, p.398) in The Neverending Quest. In this book he highlights that the HU Experientialistic “men, operating at this eighth level, seem more able to choose – far less determined – than at lower levels of human existence” (ibid. p.398). The danger for the regression in this view springs from the eighth-level values that one can “also call impressionistic” according to Graves (ibid. p.396); their essential core “values wonder, awe, reverence, humility, fusion, integration, unity, simplicity, the poetic perception of reality – non-interfering perception versus active controlling perception, enlarging consciousness, and the ineffable experience” (ibid. 396). To avoid this regression and no longer “act from his nature of the Ignorance with its three modes of confused and imperfect activity, but from a diviner nature of spiritual calm, light, power and bliss”, so Aurobindo (2006, p.231) we have to “be ready to make, not only with an aspiration and intention and an initial and progressive self-abandonment, but with the most intense actuality of dynamic self-giving, the complete renunciation of our works to the Supreme Will” (ibid. p.231), or otherwise strengthen the witness or observing self and transcend the communion through a “‘Right View’ reduction process focusing on a […] felt awareness training”, when we follow Wilber (2017, p.373); both of  this basically means an awareness practice of the earlier three tiers, as they life within and throughout the body and the cosmos in their connection to the genuine fourth.

Holos and Tribalism

When we are living more within the earlier Tier, we can become soaked with the possible scenarios that are sufficient for a thousand and one nights of nightmares – or Wilber`s horror-story holiday – that are wonderfully illustrated by what Ervin Laszlo presents throughout his writings at this 4.1 Consensus-Aware Stage, but especially expressed in the fourth quarter culmination Macroshift. There he writes that his message is “that ours is an era of total-range-evolutionary transformation that could, and ultimately will, go beyond economic globalization to pave the way towards a shift in civilization” (Laszlo 2001, p.XV). He calls this era “macroshift: a shift that is all-embracing, rapid, and irreversible, extending to the far corners of the globe and involving practically all aspects of life” (bid. p.XV). It is a view from the inside of what Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (2011, §555) describes, when he says, “that the subjective consciousness of absolute spirit is essentially in itself a process, whose immediate and substantial unity is faith in the witness of spirit as certainty about objective truth”. For Laszlo (2001, p.110) this faith within subjective consciousness and the resulting objective truth is that “steering by the road that took us to where we are would lead to a rapid encounter with a ditch” – since the road is bifurcating between different states caused by humans immature handling of his achievements. This means for him that we have to start to life a new kind of evolution that no longer focuses on extension but is intensive: “It reaches to greater heights in the development of mind and consciousness and greater depth in the grounding of community life and intercommunity relations” (Ibid. p.111). It might be that Graves (2005, p.394) had especially this downward focused expression of the intuitive existence, the HU Stage, in mind, when he said that humans here “are most like the tribalistic, second-level people. In fact, they think in many respects in a higher order magical superstitious way about the world of which they are a part”. This magic idea rings in Laszlo`s (p.111f) work, when he describes the possible overcoming of “conquest, colonization, and consumption […] [by] connection, communication, and consciousness” through the “quiet dawn of holos consciousness […] [that] can swell into a mighty tide that will change the world” (ibid. p.120 & p.145).


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