There’s a set of beliefs which states that we are progressively moving towards lighter, ‘higher’ states through a process of ‘transcending and including’ previous states, mostly disseminated by Ken Wilber advocates.
There is also a case to be made that life and history does not evolve through a process of “transcend and include”, nor is its purpose solely to evolve towards higher states of consciousness, nor is its purpose solely to ascend, nor are ‘higher’ states of consciousness any better than ‘lower’ states or ‘lighter’ states any better than ‘darker’ states.
Although the states designated as ‘lower’ are paid lip service to and valued insofar as they are integrated into the “higher” state, the “higher” state is still subtly seen as being of greater value from within the horizon of the integral schema.
The counterargument to all this is that lower states have great value, and are integrated at the top of the spiral, but clearly in practice there is still a subtle bias present that preferences the top.
The entire thing needs to be doubled and reversed upside down, then turned on its side, forming a horizontal double rhizomatic spiral.
It could be that the rush towards transcendence or and favouring of ‘higher states of consciousness’ implied by the ‘transcend and include’ schema is not evidence of a “higher consciousness” but also perhaps evidence of, and correlative to, subtle dysregulation of the nervous system and dissociation from the body and the earth caused by trauma
All this is confusing and disorienting for the main audience of integral theory, those of Northern european descent whose ancient ancestral practices often revolved around descent into the radiance of the hollow hill rather than purely ascent.
In other words consciousness and illumination was a phenomena found below as much as above. Of course this is a pattern common in many other cultures around the world too.
It’s not that one needs to run from or discard transcendence or detachment. Both can be very valuable. It’s not that one should live in a cave buried in the earth, like somatic therapists who interocept all day long, but rather that in the cave in the earth is found the sun, who descends into the underworld at night.
At the top of the mountain is found the cave. Consciousness, detachment, emptiness and sense perception itself are found in the sídhe.
Consciousness itself is a faery phenomena, granted by the most primordial ancestors at the root of ancestral lineages.
The light-skinned Northern europeans living in dark, misty, heavily forested low sunlight places found their sustenance and illumination in ritual descent into the underworld.
For these people to be cut off from their source of nourishing darkness through land clearances and heavenly ideologies caused great confusion and nervous system dysregulation.
When darkness is inaccessible and is deemed “bad” by the dominant ideology, then a life of fear of the “other”, of “blackness”, and fear of the very source ground of being ensues.
Theories that privilege higher more supposedly “evolved” stages are in some ways a continuation of the psychological logic of land clearances, where consciousness becomes increasingly cut off from its root in the local biosphere and the complex intraconnection patterns of the animals, plants and minerals present there.
So folks privileging “higher more evolved” stages can sometimes end up replicating the neo-feudalism, bro-colonialism, neo-mercantilism or personal growth of their wounded ancestors instead of the robust superabundant antifragile homeland of their ancient ancestors.
In privileging the top of the spiral, one ends up casting spells from wounded ancestors instead of thinking, acting and casting spells from the sentient intelligence of the local biosphere with mychorrizal fruiting bodies, ancient ancestors and Oak trees on caves in mountains in storms
By going backwards to the ancient ancestors and applying their design techniques and strategies there is the possibility to complete the spiral of time and gain the capacity, nervous system co-regulation and strategies to think, cast spells and act to bring into existence the regenerative abundant cosmo-local ecovillages and eco-civiums of the ancient future
Supplementing the Platonic theory of forms and the Kantian schematics of folk hypostatizing experience from a transcendental ding an sich is Gille Deleuze’s intuition that there is a vast reality not only transcendentally above our sense perceptions but also immanently below them.
Of course one should also “inscend and include” Ken Wilber, perceiving the treasure and gifts in his insights, and delivering him to ecstasy by thrusting him back into the abundant primordial mud where he belongs.
It may well be that life evolves through holonic integration or dialectical integration of opposing forces and tendencies; the techniques of progressive integration of opposing forces have been passed on from prehistorical times, appearing in the practices of multiple philosophers, magicians and mystics throughout Western world history.
Such a worldview appears in Eleusinian initiations, in Presocratics like Heraclitus, in Diotima ‘s viewpoint, in Neoplatonism, in Denys the Areopagite and in Hegel, Jung and James Joyce, to name a few.
They even turn up in modern psychology and systems theory, but there is no reason why holonic integration of opposites should be only a movement towards progressively ‘higher’ states.
In a sense holonic integration of opposites could be just as much be a movement downwards towards progressively lower or more immanent states, so it could just as well be ‘descend and include’ or ‘inscend and include.’
The idea that life evolves through ‘transcend and include’ subtly devalues all the levels designated as ‘lower’, such as the body, the earth, the indigenous, the ancestral, the Elizium underworld, and the other-than-human world.
There is no doubt it is extremely useful to think in a dialectical, via negativa or similar fashion, and whenever considering any concept, to also consider that it’s opposite is already there, hiding in the substrate of the original concept.
Wisdom can come through continuous integration of opposites, but the process does not necessarily infer an ascent to a higher level, rather it is a ALSO a DESCENT, an inscendence towards the land’s sentient intelligence and towards Annwn