Pieces of this particular puzzle have been knocking around in my head for some time. In particular, those already familiar with my essay on Constructive Integralism
will encounter a familiar feel...but now it's in a simple infographic!
Actually the graphic is not-so-simple, and requires some further (and likely ongoing) clarification. However, most of the pieces are there, and perhaps the underlying concepts will gel more quickly for some folks in this format.
A couple of introductory notes:
1) The "realm of exclusionary bias or conditions" includes descriptions of widely researched conditions and characteristics - some clinical, some subclinical or forme fruste - that have a known impact on neuroplasticity, perceptive ability and general flexibility of thought. This is a deliberate effort to group similar cognitive tendencies into affinitive buckets for a given sector. However, they aren't intended to ascribe causality.
2) Please assume that all of the lines that divide the circle (and create the sectors) have arrows indicating the relationship between the "exclusionary barrier" and the realm of exclusionary bias - those go hand-in-hand.
3) Abbreviations are as follows: GOB = ground of being; PPD = Paranoid Personality Disorder; ICD = Impulse Control Disorder; NPD - Narcissistic Personality Disorder; OCPD = Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (not to be confused with OCD!)
4) Elaborating on the Omega Point at the center of the circle will be a project for a later time - though I suspect some folks will already intuit its meaning. Suffice it to say that the processes represented by the Sector model are akin to those discussed at length in the Constructive Integralism paper, but with ontological as well as epistemological implications.
5) My usage of specific terms is discussed in detail among my other works - primary drives
, for example, as well as ground of being
(also see Constructive Integralism
essay), rigidified associations
(or rigid "chained associations"
), memory field
, and so on. Please forgive my lack of detailed definitions here; instead, I have linked them to the source material in this paragraph - so you can simply follow the link and perform a search within that document on the linked term. Please note that, since the source material is in different formats, the search facility available to each also operates differently. For example, for the Publitas books, you will need to "open" the book and select the magnifying glass icon on the left, then enter the search term in the text window above it. For PDF files, you can open them in your browser viewer and use the browser search facility (command + F), or download them and use the search facility within Adobe Acrobat or other PDF viewer.
6) Implicit to Sector Theory is that all sectors must be included in the final integration
to approach a virtual approximation of what knowledge is true, reliable and cohesive. To exclude any sector completely is to initiate an unacceptable bias, and either muddy the truth or miss it altogether. It is of course understood that "truths" operating within a given sector do not necessarily require involvement from other sectors. But there's the rub, because over-reliance on any one sector inevitably results in Cartesian, reductionist distortions that exclude completeness and complexity,
even for what is perceived as basic, rudimentary information. This has been an understandable consequence of the specialization and separation of disciplines in the modern age, but it seems long overdue that we move beyond it to a more inclusive, integralizing understanding. In many ways this framework echoes Integral Lifework
itself, where all dimensions of being require attention and compassion in order for the whole to thrive.
7) I plan to add additional FAQs to the section after the graphic in the coming weeks...stay tuned....
Lastly, a special thanks to Ray Harris for challenging me to clarify my epistemological positions.
Okay...so here it is...enjoy.
SECTOR THEORY FAQ
Why Sectors in a Circle?
There are a number of aspects to this representation. One is the obvious allusion to Aristotle and the Tao. Another is a differentiation of the unique perception-cognition available to us in each sector - that is, multiple ways of knowing. Another is the principle I've promoted in much of my writing that we tend towards two orientations with respect to knowing, identity, morality, wisdom and so forth: one is to look within, concentrating and distilling our attention and perception, listening attentively and letting go of preconceptions, and then relying on that process to both inform and measure our progress; the other is to become dependent on resources and authorities outside of ourselves or our own judgment, to externalize and diffuse our points of reference as they become ordered and organized by someone or something else, and to avoid internal inquiry. The wedge shape of a circle's sector is an elegant representation of these two directions, with the wider end projecting into an homogenizing externalization of our consciousness (i.e. the "realm of exclusionary bias and conditions"), and the narrowing end refining, concentrating and distilling our consciousness into an eventual "single-pointedness" of clarity. You will also notice left-right distinctions that roughly mirror some neurological brain structures - though this is more to illustrate contrasts and dialectical tensions inherent to our cognitive input streams. Although each sector represents a unique perception-cognition processing space, their boundaries (both functional and structural) tend to be soft, flexible, permeable and interpenetrating rather than impermeable and fixed. All of this becomes important in appreciating balance between contrasting sectors and groups of sectors, and encouraging synthesis rather than excluding inputs - because all sectors have something to contribute. There is also the issue of temporal speed and orientation, which tends to be different within each sector, and which I cover in the "What is the Integral-Contextual Crucible?"
FAQ answer below. Lastly, the size of any given sector will vary from one person to the next, based on native tendencies, learned habits and nurtured facilities. Their representation here is ad hoc.
What is the Exclusionary Barrier?
Now the "either
exclusionary barrier or
integrative faculties" ring within the circle is really a kind of semi-permeable cell wall around our innermost processing centers. It represents the ideas illustrated by the following belief/learning flow diagrams:
The first diagram illustrates how we can easily ignore, resist or exclude new information that does not conform to our current understanding; the second diagram illustrates how we can more thoughtfully evaluate and integrate such new information. Rigid exclusion or more fluid integration - sometimes these become a reflex, sometimes a choice...but always, eventually, they become part of our cultivated habits. It is simple to observe how confirmation bias, logical fallacies, cognitive dissonance and other impedances to learning and growth can be represented by these diagrams. It is also easy to observe how different sectors can have different permeability and flow for each of us.
How Does Sector Theory Compare With - Or Add To - Traditional Proposals?
This is an extensive topic that will need to be elaborated upon with additional detail, but the basic ideas are as follows....
Traditional Western epistemology would define "knowledge" as a) a sincere belief that is b) factually true and is c) justifiable, as applied primarily to a priori
and a posteriori
propositional knowledge. Although there is broad agreement regarding the first two components, over time there has been significant variability and discussion around approaches to the justification question, and Sector Theory tends to focus on this area along with some other unsettled challenges. For example, Sector Theory seeks to:
1) More comprehensively account for justification, inclusive of diverse perception-cognition processes (including those that are nonrational, non-discursive, preconceptual, etc.), different forms of evidence, moral (deontological) components and the impact of moral development, internalistic vs externalistic qualities, and testing for reliability and operational efficacy in the real world.
2)(a) Differentiate modes of introduction for all knowledge that account for interior and exterior emphases. For example, formal inculcation will usually arrive via exterior introduction, whereas deductive reasoning will arrive via interior introduction.
2)(b) In a similar way - though as a subtly different phenomenon - describe how the justification orientations of each sector will be either externalistic or internalistic. For example, the discursive sector will tend towards internalistic justifications, while the empirical observation sector will tend towards externalistic justifications.
3) Elevate the issue of exclusionary bias, and how that bias (as an over-reliance on one sector or another) can color the same evidence, perception, logic, justification, etc. - even for two different people confronted with precisely the same information (and even via the same modes of introduction) - which consequently leads them to different but equally justifiable conclusions.
4) Speak to the Gettier problem by providing additional avenues of exposing false beliefs and accounting for defeating propositions.
5) Include additional areas of knowledge in the mix, such as procedural knowledge, relational knowledge (i.e. knowledge by acquaintance), other forms of non-propositional knowledge...and indeed wisdom.
6) Address the issue of time, along with some intimately related phenomenological and ontological implications.
Why is any of this important? Because traditional Western models tend to reinforce and enable an atomistic, materialistic, mechanistic, Cartesian, reductionist intellectualism...to the point of disconnection with operational reality. This is not a new criticism of epistemology. In this sense, Sector Theory aims to introduce a dynamic, multipersepectival pragmatism that expands traditional proposals without obliterating them. Those proposals are, after all, limited only because they represent the perception-cognition processes of certain sectors, while inadvertently excluding others.
What Is The Role Of Language In Sector Theory?
Appreciating the role of language is a profound piece of this knowledge puzzle, because each sector relies on and effectively amplifies its own unique vocabulary, grammar, information organization style, communication style and even cultural-linguistic milieux - an often self-contained form of language that best facilitates that sector's inputs and perception-cognition. We can observe evidence of this fairly easily by examining the literature of specialized fields of study: Buddhist sutras that explore the gnosis sector
are grounded in language that is fairly inaccessible to many other sectors - just as mathematical proofs that inhabit the systematizing sector
are most appreciated in that sector, or poetry that navigates the somatic-aesthetic sector
has greatest utility there, or the tacit and unconscious understanding that inhabits the social sector
is most useful for social interactions, or the dense and interrelated data of the empirical observation sector
has greatest relevance to scientific study. In fact we can quickly recognize just how robust our own utilization of any sector is when we encounter new language that resonates with a flavor of perception-cognition that we routinely inhabit and integrate, or when we take stock of the vocabulary of our own experiences, perceptions and sensitivity in a given sector (for example, our emotional vocabulary
). By the same token, when we feel alienated by new language - or it seems strange or unfamiliar - this can indicate that the sectors such language is describing are inaccessible, challenging or uncomfortable for us.
What is also quite fascinating is how some language is able to unify several sectors into a symphonic expression - here I'm thinking mainly of dance, instrumental music, graphic art, sculpture, poetry, song and other art forms; but indeed among humanity's greatest scientists we also find poetic, deeply felt sentiments in response to observations of the elegant order of Nature and the Universe. In other words, there is linguistic evidence of unitive movement across multiple sectors. In all of these instances, I think there is also a strong correlation between our language facility - even if that "language" is more of a felt sense or ineffable intuition - within and across multiple sectors, and our ability to utilize, integrate, and harmonize their input streams.
How Does "Faith" Play Into Any Of This?
Faith becomes part of the discussion for me because the variations of faith relevant to knowledge seem to be widely misunderstood. My approach to the question of faith is discussed in detail in this previous blog post: "Faith" as an Intentionally Cultivated Quality of Character
. In that essay I assert that associating "belief" with "faith" is an incorrect approach to spiritually authentic faith, which is much more an expression of trust
and one that is grounded in devotion, trustworthiness, and stick-to-itiveness inspired by love. Spiritually authentic faith is not dependent on a particular belief or dogma, but is a way of being and doing that honors relationship; that is, it is a carefully cultivated prosocial character trait. In Sector Theory I would tentatively observe that spiritually authentic faith is a product of experiences, insights and knowledge that arises primarily from an intersection and synthesis of right-hemisphere sectors as they are currently defined - though the left-hemisphere sectors can be involved as well. So this is one way to approach spiritually authentic faith, and one we might say is not only independent of religious beliefs, but frequently contradicts them.
There is another kind of "faith," however, which is much more common in our daily vernacular, and that is the casual equating of faith
. This kind of faith has a spectrum of quality and depth, from irrational whimsy...to reflexive assumption...to carefully rationalized conviction...to assertion justified by unreliable evidence...to conclusion grounded in evidence that is continually revisited and tested, and remains persuasive. Eric Fromm would likely describe one end of this spectrum as "irrational faith," and other end of this spectrum as "rational faith." What I would assert in Sector Theory is that this spectrum of faith exists within all sectors.
In fact, the spectrum predictably traverses the axis in each sector between the realm of truth
and the realm of exclusionary bias
. When discussing faith in the more casual or conversational sense - the sense that equates it with belief - I think each sector evoking its own spectrum of faith has profound consequences. Why? Because it effectively means that we can drift into both rational and irrational faith, or belief that is justifiable and belief that is unjustifiable, regardless of the basis of our knowledge and the individual sectors involved. This should be substantial wake-up call for any of us who believe we are safe and secure in our knowledge and beliefs, simply because the sectors we prefer are reinforced by our chosen tribe, culturally favored, historically ascendent, or intellectually in vogue.
I would then take this one step further in saying that, unless as many sectors as possible harmonize around a given belief - unless the elements of a particular flavor of faith honor a healthy majority of sectors - then the resulting dissonance will tend to push a particular faith towards the unjustifiable end of the spectrum. That is, the end of the spectrum that revels in exclusionary bias. So this is yet one more reason why respectful and compassionate integration of all sectors is the aim of Sector Theory...to avoid the calamities of irrational faith.
What is the Integral-Contextual Crucible?
Explaining this concept is challenging. The essay Managing Complexity with Constructive Integralism
begins to wrangle together many of the ideas I've introduced in writing over the years that speak to the essence of this concept. But, frankly, even that essay and all of the other writing it references are still not the full picture
. My goal here will be to distill and refine the main idea just a little bit more...and to do so as briefly and concisely as possible. I suspect this will still be just one more step in an ongoing process.
I've called this a crucible because it can perform several unique functions. For example, it can separate out desirable elements from less desirable ones, or extract a rare essence from an obscuring muddle of factors. It can also combine seemingly mundane ingredients (experiences, insights, sensations, perceptions, observations) in ways that create new substances and structures that have unusual properties. A crucible performs these functions under specific conditions as well; for example, with the application of extremely high energies, with just the right combination and proportions of ingredients, with just the right container materials, and so on. As a metaphor, the crucible is very useful.
The term "integral-contextual" has a specific meaning here as well: to integrate and harmonize within a broadening comprehension of context, inclusive of all apparent paradoxes. Now because every sector has its own inherent contexts, and because the relationships between sectors often introduce additional contexts, we are already brushing up against orders of magnitude in contextual complexity. For example, the mimetic-semantic sector
alone has cascading memeplexes of context, some of which seem to operate entirely independently of each other. When these intersect in any way with, say, contexts that evolve in the social sector
, the result is a snowballing tug-of-war over which contexts have primacy in which environments and situations, over which evidence is reliable or applicable in each context, how all contexts integrate with or revise an existing values hierarchy...the snowball can quickly can get out of hand. On top of this, we could throw in the tensions between interior and exterior justifications - that is, between the realm of truth
that inhabits our interiority, and the external authorities and influences that pull us toward the realm of exclusionary bias
. And the incredible human being - with all its intrinsic intelligences and vast capacity for perception, experience, learning and memory - somehow navigates all of this while performing countless other tasks and maintaining myriad relationships. Even as the contextual storm approaches an infinite number of often competing combinations, we somehow manage to manage it - and often in a fairly unconscious way. It is an awe-inspiring feat.
But the main point here is that the integral-contextual process is occurring whether we intend it to or not. And so the question becomes one of conscious, active engagement: how can we participate in our own integral-contextual journey in the most fruitful and skillful way?
First let's touch upon the concept of a neutral holding field
. In order to navigate complexity - and indeed fully integrate all the sectors in this model - we need to cultivate some safe interior spaciousness. The neutral holding field is just that: a place where all contradictory and competing concepts, information, experience, insights, observations, etc. can peacefully coexist...without favoritism or exclusion. In the chart, that is effectively the space between the inner ring and the outer ring around all sectors. We can think of it as the workbench where we have set all of our ingredients in preparation for adding them to the crucible; they are all on the same plane of consideration.
Remembering that we will require high levels of energy to "heat up" our crucible, where will that energy come from? Thankfully, we have a number of sources to choose from - human beings are superb at generating immense interior and exterior energies from next to nothing. But which ones will work best for us here...? Will power, because it is most concerned with immediate action, reification and operationalization, tends to magnetize anything floating around in a neutral holding field, causing them to crash into each other or quickly clump into amorphous blobs. So we need to relax our will a bit, and allow that to be at rest. And this means that the many of the more petulant offspring of our will also need to take a nap: anger, egoic cravings, acquisitiveness, jealousy...these sorts of critters. And how can we accomplish this? Most often this will be a consequence of the mental, emotional and physical self-discipline that emerge from consistent meditation practices. There are other roads to a neutral holding field, but meditation has proven to be quite reliable when it is engaged with the right intention
. I discuss this "letting go" in more detail in other writings (such as Essential Mysticism
), but the basic idea is that a neutral holding field is a cultivated condition.
Which leads us back to the question of which energy will work to energize the crucible. In short, the ideal energy source also happens to tie neatly into the ideal intentionality behind meditation practice: a compassionate affection that aims for the good of All. This is the primary unitive engine for our crucible, and a critical filtering mechanism as well (in terms of discernment and skillfulness). And although we sometimes think of compassion, love or agape
as quiet, soft, caring, quiet, generous gentleness, the reality is that these have high-octane, explosive, exponentially amplifying characteristics as well. In fact, I would say that the only energy equal to the task of integrating infinite complexity is infinite love-consciousness. It can integrate, harmonize and unify just about anything. But where does that unitive energy come from? Ah...well that is a topic I'd like to explore in another section of this FAQ, but suffice it to say, for now, that it can be unleashed through the same process that creates the stillness of a neutral holding field: meditation.
There is also another kindred energy in play, and although I believe it issues from a similar Source, its characteristics are quite different. It is the energy of a tidal zone, or of changing seasons, or the tension between dialectic components, or of a musical progression that yearns for resolution, or indeed of emergent complexity itself. It is the energy of evolution, synergy and synthesis. As such, this energy is not really a conscious choice. We can encourage circumstances (in our environment, in our relationships, in our minds) to allow this energy to emerge and play itself out in a co-creative fashion...but we have no real control or influence over it. It was before us, and remains beyond us. And although we might also associate this continually emerging force with agape
, it is not really the same vocabulary of experience as our embracing charitable love-consciousness. It is, perhaps, a different order of the same energy, but again it is outside our realm of choice, intention and volition. Nevertheless, this force plays a critical role in generating interior and exterior momentum and growth - and in supercharging the integral-contextual crucible.
[As a side note: Those familiar with Ken Wilber's work will recognize echoes of his definitions of "eros" and "agape" amid my descriptions of these multiple facets of agape
. However, I don't divide the "transcending to unify" from the "reaching down to include" forms of love in the same way; in fact I think it is an error to make that division or use these descriptions. Instead, I tend to refer to the difference as an intrinsically emergent (an immanence
, if you will) vs. a conscious response or choice of love-consciousness (as a component of growth and moral development). This latter formulation is as much a cooperative mechanism for transcendence as it is a recognition of what is already here, now.]
The terms a friend recently used in exploring this territory are emission
, and I think those are excellent descriptors. The convergence and integralization of all sectors (and all the seemingly disparate material and energy produced within those sectors) that occurs within the crucible is a product of attraction, of unitive power. At the same time, emission is also simultaneously occurring - from within the crucible into all other sectors. Truth is radiating outward and modifying all information it encounters. And yet...when those emissions "forget" where they came from - when they disconnect from the integral realm of truth
entirely - they can revert back to a state of incompleteness, of partial truths, in which they appear to operate within each sector. And so the process begins again...as a byproduct of the tidal currents of existence. In this sense questions about absolute truths vs. relative ones, or interior vs. exterior justifications, or qualities of logic and evidence, or transcending and including each realm of conception...all of these distinctions begin to dissolve. There is an ebb-and-flow, a relinquishment and recapitulation, a cycle of apprehension and actualization that is in constant flux. We might call it the pneuma
of wisdom; the breath of truth
As a final note, there is also the issue of time - both processing rates and time orientation or context - that extends from each sector into the crucible. Each of the sectors represented tends to operate at a unique processing rate, and with a unique orientation to past, present and future. Some can process very quickly...seemingly instantaneously...and may be primarily future-oriented. Others are very slow...glacial even...and preoccupied with the past. Some hum along at a more conversational processing rate, and are quite comfortable in the present. And in some of them time does not seem to exist at all, or seem to operate with past, present and future as concurrent contexts. Previously (in the book True Love
) I had organized these processing speeds into just five spacetime designations: mental, emotional, somatic, spiritual
. But as the Sector Theory chart illustrates, there are at least twice that number of sectors...and possibly more that I have failed to include. And all of them can operate at their own unique processing speed. Why is this important? Because, just as we can become biased about the sector within which we prefer to operate, excluding one or more of the others, we can also become biased about the processing speed we prefer
. And this is a fairly counterproductive tendency when it comes to the many nuances, insights, connections and conclusions among different kinds of knowledge. So, both within the neutral holding field that surrounds the crucible, and within the crucible itself, our expectations and operations regarding time will also require suspension.
To summarize, then: the formula - if we can call it that - for activating the crucible is mainly a product of interior discipline. And, like various forms of meditation, this interior discipline is not simply a metacognitive process, or felt experience, or intellectual intuition, or anything that could be confined to one sector. It is, instead, an opening up of a particular quality of interior space and time that welcomes the input streams of all sectors into convergence. The specifics of the practice are not the focus of this FAQ, but they are amply covered in the writings referenced throughout my elaborations here. Now...how did I arrive at any of these conclusions? Well I bet you can probably guess by now: via meditation and mystical practice; in other words, through a slow and difficult opening to sectors that have often been neglected in the scientific era (gnosis, somatic-aesthetic, intuitive-empathic
), a gradual application of that understanding and awareness in the integration of multiple sectors, which in turn stimulated a modicum of discernment, and eventually a clearer appreciation for my own responsibility to actively introduce and refine that synthesis. This is what led me to the conclusion that consciously engaging the integral-contextual crucible was necessary. I hope I have conveyed some spark of illumination as to why.
What Importance Do Ethics and Moral Development Hold in This Model?
Here we can again find a parallel between Integral Lifework's nourishment dimensions and sectors of knowledge. Our moral maturity will act as a clarifying and focusing lens for all sectors, changing how we view and weigh the information in each sector prior to integration, the quality and sophistication of integrative capacity we bring to bear on that information over time, and how we apply our most distilled and integral understandings in real world environments, relationships and situations as we mature. One of the more pronounced aspects of this moral development is the importance and role of morality itself - that is, its involvement in various ethical systems and our willingness to consistently apply those ethics. Moral sensitivity and ethical frameworks will also have a strong influence on how we view various sectors outside of our habitual comfort zone: Can we tolerate them? Can we accept them? Can we value and trust them? Can we actively expand them? Can we appreciate them as equal contributors? Can we openly and eagerly integrate their information? In this sense the habits of externalizing, exclusionary bias are either a consequence of moral immaturity, or can become a substantive barrier to moral growth. The more calcified and reflexive our rejection of any sector becomes, and the more deeply ingrained our habit of over-reliance on preferred input streams, the more suppressed our interior evolution and moral sensitivities will be. In contrast, if we cultivate multiple sectors and consciously reinforce their unitive synthesis in the realm of truth
, a natural byproduct of this effort is an encouragement of moral development and operationalization.
For an overview of the phases of moral orientation that I believe roughly track a progressing maturity, check out my Integral Lifework Developmental Correlations
What Is The Realm of Truth?
In an Hegelian sense this would be where Absolute Knowledge comes to fruition - where subjective and objective conceptions are reconciled; where the external object and internal subject become more intimate. But, across all sectors, this process of de-alienation is occurring iteratively - in higher and higher orders of resolution throughout a gradual embrace by the integral-contextual crucible. Are there subordinate, "less complete" truths? Of course, that would be the isolated, still differentiated knowledge within each sector and time-space - where subject-object relations remain less intimate and more alienated.
Another way of describing the realm of truth
is as the outer courtyards of the residence of suchness
, where the phenomenological foundations of perception-cognition begin to intersect with the ontological foundations of existence. Here words and concepts begin to fall away from integrated material, hinting at their unitive essences. Differentiation and non-differentiation comfortably coexist in this space, as do structure and structurelessness, content and contentlessness, infinite time and its collapsed finitudes, and the spontaneous arising of inter-paradigmatic and rhizomatic interactions with new information.
What is the Omega Point?
As I began to summarize my thoughts about this, I realized a full elucidation of the Omega Point will be a much larger undertaking; so I will be writing another blog post or essay and linking to it here. In brief, however, I have come to accept the proposal that the Source of all sectors of knowledge and all modes of experience is the same as the Source of all strata of existence and being, which in turn has been mirrored and amplified in the perceptions, structures and processes of consciousness itself (at a quantum level). Consciousness, then, in conjunction with spirit, helps synergize a reflective, participatory interplay between the unmanifest and manifest, so that the Universe may become aware, the Source be able to understand itself more fully, this teleios
can express itself with spontaneously creative freedom, and the Perfect, Absolute Unity
return to itself as a single point in spacetime. These are all facets of the Omega Point.
Much of this isn't new - as those who have studied mysticism, the history of philosophy, and the physical nature of our Universe will recognize - but my aim has been to cobble together some clearer phenomenological, developmental and metaphysical models to encompass the whole.
Understandably, there are a lot of different components to this proposal that will be covered in more detail later on, but only a few central conclusions that impact the sector model, so I'll touch on those here. The first is that love-consciousness is the carrier frequency throughout every phase of origination, differentiation, integration and unity; it is a fundamental constant and cofactor, energizing and shaping every process - both observable and unobservable. The second is that our primary drives (to exist, explore, affect
) both manifest and construct an evolutionary impulse across all dimensions of existence
; they are our persisting co-creative instruments, and thus deserve special attention as they generate enduring artifacts of will
. And lastly, the reason there is such beautiful symmetry between origination and unification is that the manifest has never been orphaned from the unmanifest - the Omega Point is the beginning, the end, and everything in-between. It is merely our finite understanding - our small part in the forgetting, reflecting and remembering - that fractures that continuity in being and time.
However - and this is a departure from variations of the anthropic principle
- I believe there is an important caveat to keep in mind: we cannot assume humanity is a particularly accurate, artful or necessary representation of any of this.
Making such a characterization leads us into an anthropocentric trap, where humanity retains an inflated significance that may in fact need to be earned...if it is valid at all. Copernicus revisited. Instead, I would say homo sapiens is much more likely to be one of many expressions of evolutionary energy across many variations of spacetime - and perhaps we are even particularly limited, flawed or ultimately vestigial with respect to an emergent self-awareness of the Source. The humans of this Universe may not even be the best representations of ourselves. And, surely, consciousness and complexity have found additional vessels, and likely ones more suited to the journey than we are. So the outcome of the Universe may be a given, but humanity's role and destiny are not. Which implies, I think, the necessity of conscious and continuous engagement. As I have written before regarding what I feel is an imperative reciprocation: "Because the Universe has conspired in favor of my consciousness, my consciousness conspires in favor of the Universe."
More FAQs to come....