Converging Concepts

Transcendence (Transformation)

There are many ideas that we might come across that we might find contradictory with each other. Exploring and finding the ways in which both might be embraced, is Transcendence. Ken Wilber expresses it thus:

When an oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms are brought together under suitable circumstances, a new and in some ways unprecedented holon emerges, that of a water molecule. This is not just a communion, self-adaptation, or association of three atoms, it is transformation that results in something novel and emergent-different wholes have come together to form a new and different whole.
There is some sort of creative twist on what has gone before. This is what Whitehead referred to as creativity (which he called "the ultimate category"- the category necessary to understand any other category) and what Jantsch and Waddington call self-transcendence. )page 49 Sex Ecology & Spirituality by Ken Wilber)

In reference to Arthur Koestler, who coined the idea of Holons, he says this:

Some writers such as Koestler, lump together self-adaptation and self-transcendence and refer to them interchangeably, because both embody a type of "going beyond". But apart from that similarity, the two are different in degree and in kind. In self-adaptation or communion, one finds oneself to be part of a larger whole; in self-transformation one becomes a new whole, which has its own new forms of agency and communion. (page 50 SES)


Dissonance, Maladaptive Specialisation & Regeneration

Dissonance and Levels of Existence

Clare W. Graves research explored the development of human behaviour, and how it's development is linked and changed, according to the existential problems encountered at any stage of development. (for more information on Clare Graves see )

A significant insight with regards to Dissonance, Grave expresses the following:

" I had to hypothesize that if the person has potential, that is, the higher level structures are present in the brain, that is the first factor required in change to a higher system of behaviour. The second factor is the solution of the existential problems with which he is faced. But this is still not enough to bring about change. What brought about the change?
Additional studies showed that if a person seemed to have what he thought were problems of existence solved and then something came along that loused up his solution, this was absolutely necessary for change to occur. This is the old business of dissonance. Cognitive dissonance must come; noise must come into the field. Some knowledge must come into the field. Something must come in and stir this thing up when it is in a nice state of equilibrium.

My data indicated that this still did not produce the change. What it caused was that the person had to go back and try out his old solutions. He did not go forward. He went in a search for some other way, something that had worked before and might work again. He didn't find it. Then the student would get an idea. I had many experiments in which the student would report in the course of going over their modification the sort of, "Ah.ha! I'm starting to see this a little different. There is something here that I didn't see before" In other words, the student got insight." (page 58 Levels of Human Existence Clare W Graves)


A somewhat similar proposition can be found in the writing from Arthur Koestler where he refers to the process of Paedomorphosis (coined by Garstang 50 years earlier) as a process of  “Self-Repair” inherent in Nature.

In simple terms, paedomorphosis is Nature’s way of escaping from “blind Alleys” caused by over specialisation. Koesetler offers the idea that, extinction is the result of over specialisation. In the psychological frame of neurosis and other stuck states, he refers to “maladaptive specialisation”. This can be understood as a persons’ “limited map of the world” -Phobias, and other egoic perspectives. In Nature, paedomorphosis is seen in creatures such as certain worms or lizards that can grow back limbs etc. Also that at certain stages of human embryo development, parts can be cut off, or divided, yet the full forms continue to grow.

Paedomorphosis is also a creative act. It is a process of  “drawing back to leap forward” (page 207) Koestler talks of returning to a more infantile / juvenile stage of development (before the blind alley of specialisation)  that allows an expression forward into some new form or understanding. (page 191 The Ghost In the Machine, Arthur Koestlers 1967)


Regeneration Domains

From an Enneagram Perspective, we see how the Hornevian group of "Moving Away From People" allows time to reflect, consider and often pull away from others, and any initial attempt to move forward. From the perspective of aspect of the Fourth Domain and point Four personality behaviours, there can be a tendency to obsess over our past, and the story of how we are we we are.

From the ideas presented by Graves and Koestler above, such an approach is to be expected, and even fostered in order to transcend the dissonance.