The following Questions and Answers pertain primarily to topics of this website and related issues.
What is health? How can we understand health?
According to Chinese medicine, health involves balance. It is also related to wholeness and holiness – health, wholeness, and holiness have the same etymological root. Thus, we could say that health implies balance in sacred wholeness (see also Health and Sanity of Body, Speech, and Mind and Quotes on Health and Healing).
What does healthy thinking mean?
Healthy thinking provides for greater sanity than harmful thinking that seems exclusively based on the Aristotelian laws of thought (see Healing Thinking and Being, Chapter 1).
What does healing thinking mean?
Healing thinking heals the wounds inflicted by an exclusive reliance on the Aristotelian laws of thought that we tend to take for granted (ibid.).
How do our ways of thinking relate to happiness?
The Dalai Lama said “Achieving genuine happiness may require bringing about a transformation in your outlook and way of thinking.” In order to transform our way of thinking, we first have to become aware of its presuppositions and its limitations. Then we can try to overcome them by more inclusive ways of thinking such as fuzzy logic (continuum logic in contrast to either/or logic) Yin-Yang thinking, both/and logic, Buddhist logic, and Jain logic. Finally we can transcend language based on logic and thinking to embrace the mysterious that cannot be thought and talked about. “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science" (Albert Einstein).
It is fun, healthy, healing, liberating, and much else (see Laughter Quotes). Whenever we are stuck in a thought or way of thinking, laughing can liberate us and thus open the doors to new possibilities.
Because, like laughter, it makes us unstuck. Often we do not even realize how stuck we are, how much this limits, and what misery it entails for ourselves and others. “Play is the highest form of research” (Albert Einstein).
Why do I consider Ken Wilber’s AQAL map very important?
For many reasons. Many people tend to lead one-dimensional lives and equate one level of consciousness with reality. Ken Wilber’s AQAL map reminds us of the many dimensions and levels of life and reality. It integrates “matter, body, mind, soul, and spirit as they appear in self, culture and nature” (Ken Wilber) (see AQAL Map by Ken Wilber integrates the Unnamable and Namable).
In which ways does Ken Wilber’s AQAL map appear limited?
In many ways (see, for example, the Integral World website and Wilber’s AQAL Map and Beyond: Summary and Conclusions). One of the most fundamental limitations involves its basically hierarchical (holarchical) structure, which means that “the Kosmos is a series of nests within nests within nests indefinitely” (Ken Wilber. 2001. A Theory of Everything. Boston: Shambala, p. 40). Besides the hierarchical (holarchical) view of the Kosmos, I can see other ways or other ordering principles that complement and enrich Ken Wilber's view (for a summary of these complementary views see Ken Wilber, Holarchy, and Beyond).
How can we overcome limitations of Ken Wilber’s AQAL map?
In two ways: 1. Incorporating constructive criticism presented by many critics including myself. 2. Recognizing the principle of complementarity, which means recognizing that different and even contradictory maps complement each other and thus together present a richer picture of reality than any one map alone. I know that Wilber endorses the principle of complementarity, but he applies is only to a rather limited extent. Although he says that everybody is right, he often rejects suggestions made by his critics (see Ken Wilber Quotes).
Dynamic mandala – what does it mean to me?
A mandala with many conceptual and artistic transformations, each of which presents a different perspective on reality. Ken Wilber’s AQAL map, which can be seen as a mandala, appears as one of the transformations of the dynamic mandala (see Complementarity of Different Maps and Mandalas and Wilber’s AQAL Map and Beyond, Chapter 5).
How do the major themes of this website: Ken Wilber’s AQAL map, health and laughter relate to each other?
Laughter enhances physical, emotional and mental health. Health enhances our ability to devise healthy maps of the Kosmos including human existence.
Ken Wilber’s AQAL map appears healthy, balanced to a great extent. However, it could benefit from still greater balance, that is, it could be rendered still healthier (see, for example, Healthy Thinking and Ken Wilber).
What do I mean by Mandalic Worldview?
See A Mandala/Mandalic Worldview - Integral Philosophy and Nonduality
Why do I consider Korzybski’s General Semantics so important?
For many reasons. It provides ways of thinking and linguistic devices that lead to greater sanity than our commonly accepted ways of thinking, writing and speaking that are often based on Aristotelian logic. Furthermore, it points beyond thinking to the ground of being, the unspeakable, the unnamable, the mysterious…(see Healing Thinking and Being, Chapter 4 and Healthy Language-Behavior and Spirituality).
Some of Korzybski’s most famous quotes?
“Whatever you say it is, it isn’t.”
“The map is not the territory.”
“The word is not the thing.”
“Whatever you say it is, it isn’t.” Why does this quote mean so much to me? Why do I consider it of utmost importance?
It means that whatever you say about a person, a group, a nation, a situation, a thing, etc., it isn’t. For example, if I say 'He is bad,” he isn’t, if I say 'She is good,” she isn’t, if I say ‘This nation is poor,” it isn’t, if I say 'This situation is hopeless,” it isn’t, if I say 'This thing is awful,' it isn’t, etc. Whatever I say, it isn’t. It isn’t because anything is infinitely more than can be said about it. For example, nobody is only bad. Even someone who appears very bad has countless other qualities and some or all of these qualities including the badness may change as time passes. Thus, one cannot really say what he 'is.' He is the unspeakable, the unnamable, mysterious. If, however, we want to underline the badness, it appears more appropriate to say 'He appears bad, etc,' whereby the 'etc' refers to all the other qualities that may also include goodness as the Yang includes Yin and vice versa. When we recognize that there is also goodness in a person we call bad, then we can relate to the goodness in that person through our own goodness, and we can relate to the badness through our own badness. Hermann Hesse, in his “Siddharta” wrote “never is a man wholly a saint or a sinner.”
Recognizing that whatever we say he or she or it is, isn’t, appears liberating because we seem no longer trapped in any statement that implies an identification such as, for example, the identification of that person or that nation or that situation with badness. We can see that that person, nation, or situation is infinitely more than just badness, that it cannot be fully represented through thought and language as has been amply pointed out by Korzybski .
What does E-Prime mean?
E-Prime (short for English-Prime) refers to a form of the English language that avoids the verb ‘to be.’ Thus, for example, instead of saying ‘His idea is bad,’ one would say ‘I find his idea bad’ or ‘I dislike his idea.’ This expression indicates that I am involved with regard to his idea and I express what I think or feel. What his idea really ‘is’, we don’t know. We can argue about it, but it finally boils down to our personal view or opinions. So why not use a form of language that indicates this directly instead of pretending that we know what it ‘is.’
D. David Bourland, Jr., who studied with Korzybski, objected to all forms of the verb ‘to be’ in all situations. Korzybski, however, emphasized only two kinds of problematic usages of the verb ‘to be,’ which he referred to as the ‘is’ of identity and the ‘is’ of predication. The ‘is’ of identity links two nouns such as ‘This politician is a liar,’ whereas the ‘is’ of predication links a noun with an adjective as in the above example ‘His idea is bad.’
Instead of saying ‘This politician is a liar,’ one could say ‘This politician seems a liar,’ or ‘I consider this politician a liar.’ If one does not want to eliminate the ‘is’ as advocated in E-Prime, one could at least say ‘This politician is a liar, etc’ as Korzybski suggested.
Whichever strategy we use, being aware of the two problematic usages of the verb ‘to be’ could lead to a saner society (as pointed out by Korzybski) because a "great deal of human problems, confusions, conflicts, and violence, at diverse levels - personal, interpersonal, societal, and international - can be attributed to our use of "is" in the identification and predication mode" (Milton Dawes. 2010. Clearer thinking through practicing E-Prime. ETC: Review of General Semantics 67(4), p. 451).
My book Wilber's AQAL Map and Beyond as well as several sections of this website were written before I became fully aware of the problematic uses of the verb 'to be' and therefore the above alternatives unfortunately are not always incorporated. However, I am working on improving my language and in this list of Q & A I have mostly avoided the ‘is’ of identity and predication, or I have used Korzybski’s "etc" qualification. In the question on health, I used a formulation with ‘is’ and another without it. In the answer to the following question on the kosmic joke, I used ‘are’ because it does not refer to any limited reality but to all-embracing kosmic reality.
How can we grasp the kosmic joke?
We grasp it by recognizing that we are already what we are seeking. It seems like noticing that we already wear the glassing we are searching (see The Cosmic Joke. Interview with Chuck Hillig, In: Jan Kersschot.2004. This is It. Dialogues on th Nature of Oneness. London: Watkins Publishing, p. 164).