A NOTE TO FRANK VISSER
Ed. Note: Frank Visser is the editor of “Integral World”, an ezine focused on providing skeptical views of Integral philosophy. This note is a response to Frank’s article, “Why We Need a Secular Integral”.
I don’t really see anything new in your article except your attaching the word “secular” to yourself and those who think like you. I would like to see you explore this more deeply. What does meaning, purpose, and life look like to a “secular” like you? How do you face death differently than if you were “spiritual”?
There are well-known atheist writers who have tackled these questions before you, so what do you have to say that’s different from them, drawing on whatever good you see in Wilber’s work or any of the hundreds of other integrally informed writers? I would be interested in hearing more about that. How can Integral help atheism to evolve, and since atheism is a reaction against theism, is there any chance for it to arrive at a new synthesis?
I don’t know what you’ll find if you dive deep there, but perhaps it will be something like Ngevyaara, the Path of Doubt in the meta-religion of Integralism (as I define it). In his day, Nietzsche probably practiced something like it. Camus and Sartre, not so much. Ludwig Wittenstein — the later man — is the preeminent thinker of Ngevyaara. No one famous comes anywhere close, I think.
Let me explain Ngevyaara as simply as I would to any member of the Meusio. I’ll talk like I prefer to do, in a manner that is “Lingua-U informed”. Keep up, Frank, if you want to do so.
The essence of the entire Path of Doubt is contained simply by looking and fluidly interpreting the term Ngevyaara itself (formally spelt Ŋɛvyaarə). The term is interesting. It is located at a station of human language that virtually no other existing word occupied in any of many online language dictionaries I consulted. There was one and only one word at its station: Niewiara, the Polish term meaning Disbelief, Incredulity, Infidelity. (Ŋɛvyaarə is the phonetic transcription of the Polish.)
The fact that there’s a station on the Kalendar (Blue Castle 32 PM) and the Klock (6:06 PM) that is almost totally unexplored linguistically by any known language, so far as I know, is fascinating. It’s pretty darn uncommon in all my linguistic research. So what do you do when you’re trying to identify this Station of Life, but with little help? You take what help you can get — in this case, the Polish word for Disbelief — and intuit a special meaning for it, build it into the Lingua-U Lexicon, and allow interested Integralists to play with it to learn what it might mean when they “take it up” into a new vocabulary informed by Lingua-U.
When I did so, and it is not a perfect analysis (just my best effort), I intuited that Blue Castle 32 PM is Ngevyaara, the Path of Doubt. Not just any path of doubt (skepticism, atheism, disbelief, etc.), but a specifically very advanced form of doubt. Third-tier stuff, but there’s no need to go into specifics. In fact, it’s one of the most “evolved” and “sophisticated” forms of doubt that there is (makes Rene Descartes’s meditations look like child’s play, IMHO).
The follower of Ngevyaara isn’t necessarily a radical skeptic, philosophically-speaking. They are the skeptics of the Ngoongoong, spelt Ŋʊŋʊŋ formally, the New Fables made possible by Lingua-U, and creative critics of the Ngo (magical languages, which really means all languages when perceived from a certain point of view). What’s a New Fable, and what does the Path of Doubt have to do with them?
Lingua-U is a metalanguage that gives us new ways of telling stories about language — for example, the New Fable that the penultimate station of 𝍖𝌅 (yung yung yung yung yung yung) means “Yahweh”, the God of the Abrahamic Traditions, and therefore Lingua-U is a Gift of God; and that the first station of 𝌆⚌ (yang yang yang yang yang yang) means “Bible”, the Common Book of Revelation of the Abrahamic Traditions, and since the latter proceeds from the former, that the structure of the metalanguage reveals the very essence of God’s Revelation.
Now, since my own preference of Tradition is Abrahamic, I love this New Fable. I might build an elaborate theological story around it. I might make it the pillar of an entire teaching to carry with good intentions to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam on the nature of our mystical Sacred Words. I might do this with good intentions, but what am I leaving out? What perspectives might get marginalized? How might these new stories have shadows and blind spots? How might they become reified in ways that obscure the truth rather than liberate all persons into enlightenment?
The Path of Doubt — Ngevyaara — responds to the New Fables of this Super-Integral way of thinking with an awareness of all the positive virtues that are being left out by the story it is looking at. Its first achievement is the uncovering of Aeswishneis (a term that comes from Old English), all the ways that the new stories may produce disgracefulness, obscenity, filthiness, or shameful conduct. It isn’t so much concerned with “truth” in the way that scientific materialists conceive it; it is concerned with human conduct, “right and wrong” instead of “factually correct”. It’s needed to correct the potential misuses and abuses of Lingua-U that haven’t even arisen yet.
More broadly speaking the Path of Doubt is concerned with all language, not just Ŋʊŋʊŋ (Lingua-U Fables). It doubts that people really know what they’re talking about. It is incredulous when people use a word to solve a difficult problem instead of doing the hard work necessary to really solve that problem. It knows that words have evolved into common usage as much to hide as to reveal, as much to bear grudges as to build bridges, as much for the shadow’s end rather than shunyataa’s educations.
By doubting the way that language is being used, many hidden ignorances and shady motives are uncovered — not necessarily on an individual speaker’s part, but on the part of the corrupt language-systems themselves. With an approach of Ngevyaara, applied to conventional languages or even a metalanguage like Lingua-U, one can enjoy an “evolved” and “sophisticated” stance that is useful and reasonably satisfying.
But it is not an end in itself. It is fulfilled in the union of Meaning with Right Conduct, or Ngia (from the Vietnamese word Nghia meaning the same). Its ultimate end, so far as we are speaking of the intellectual force of an individual’s mentalizations, is Ngyong (from the Chinese word meaning “To Speak”).
In other words, The Path of Doubt of Integralism (as I see it), Ngevyaara, is all about these two things: putting Meaning with Right Conduct, and simply learning To Speak.
This is one of the highest, most subtle forms of doubt that I know anything about. It’s worthy of being called Third Tier Doubt. And my want for anyone predisposed to any Path of Doubt who is unwilling to let it go into a Path of Faith is that you will do what you do well and only in moderation so that you do not become consumed with your doubt. And then, if the urge to doubt is too great to resist, then put down lesser forms of doubt and pick up a higher form of doubt, Ngevyaara, and put it in the service of correcting the ways that Meaning has come unhinged from Right Conduct, so that one day we can all learn how to really Ngyong (“speak”).