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Phenomenological Cartography: A Living Glossary
My online activities are associated with an evolving online scene. Names for this scene include sensemaking web, metatribe, liminal web, wisdom web, or what some call "the space." I do not identify with these scenes nor necessarily feel deep philosophical alignment. However, I view them and all the people within as fellow travelers.
The throughline with this protean scene is that the people attracted to it can be “transperspectival,” aka take multiple perspectives from radically different perspectives. Moreover, they enjoy doing so. Essentially, they have the capacity and desire to engage in a “dialectic between ideologies,” which Robert Kegan would classify as Stage 5 in his developmental stage theory.
I wrote about the challenges of engaging with multiple perspectives in my "transperspectival masturbation" entry. One challenge is using words differently across perspectives, leading to the "jingle-jangle problem," people using the same term when referring to different phenomena. This problem is especially prominent when people try to understand immaterial phenomena, non-ordinary states of consciousness, and various psychological and spiritual attractors, such as individuation and awakening.
Many also engage in advanced practices in the space, ranging from meditative, psychotherapeutic, and psychedelic, evoking different states of consciousness. A decentralized phenomenological cartography is collectively happening in the space. However, it is challenging to understand and communicate what people are experiencing because of the jingle-jangle problem.
Some words are overused, and people in the space are guilty of overusing words such as ego, shadow, trauma, embodiment, and masculine/feminine. I am bullish on defining words. To own one's philosophy, one needs to own one's words. I recommend a "base definition" practice to cultivate a bespoke glossary of tight and coherent definitions that resonate with one’s body.
I have asked the futurist philosopherto provide her definitions of difficult-to-understand words I see used in the space. Bonnitta is one of the most important living philosophers today. It is rare to know a living philosopher doing critical world-shaping work. It is even rarer to say you are friends with them. I am lucky to call Bonnitta a friend; she has been an invaluable source of wisdom on my journey to becoming less foolish.
I may ask other "scholarchs” to provide their definitions of the words listed below. I have asked Bonnitta first because her models on immaterial phenomena are highly fine-tuned, conceptually delineated, and backed by a wealth of experience and practice. To see an example of her definitional prowess, watch her unpacking of the word "self" at The Stoa.
I do not resonate with all her definitions, nor should you. View these definitions as a starting point for us to come to terms with what is happening with things impossible to measure with a microscope.
A LIVING GLOSSARY sourced by Bonnitta Roy
Archetypes. Psychological structures adopted in early childhood and reified by culture.
Awakening. Understanding experience from the vantage point of awareness.
Communitas. Intimate friendship.
Consciousness. Causal agency in a nexus of experience.
Daemon. Excess numinous energy.
Dialogos. Becoming increasingly porous to each other through gesture and speech.
Dharma. One's truth (what is wholly true for them) often gains greater reveal over time, becoming crisper, simpler, more direct, and less clouded by overthinking.
Egregore. When individuals are so massively coordinated by over-arching (monolithic, hegemonic) systemic geo-social, political, and epistemic constraints, it is as if there is a supersubject that is operating at a higher level of agency that supervenes individual subjectivity.
Ego. The psychological structure that simulates the self in mental space.
Embodiment. Full sensorimotor integration of the animal body.
Enlightenment. Being nature.
Eros. Excess intimacy energy.
Feminine. Receptivity – can be active or yielding.
Imaginal. A state wherein a person loses the sense of authorship of what the imagination is creating.
Individuation. Full psychological/psychic integration.
Karma. One's path or trajectory, not necessarily fixed, but often has a rhythm or periodicity. Karma is complete when one's path becomes one's truth (karma pursues dharma).
Felt-sense. The particular bio-marker of unconscious, pre-linguistic, non-conceptual, non-representational cognitive processing: natural intelligence.
God. Source nature.
Masculine. Penetrating - can be active or yielding.
Meaning. What matters.
Mind. Subthreshold bodily actions that virtualize the allocentric perceptual system.
Miracle. Reality as it is.
Non-duality. One hand clapping.
Parts. Reified subpersonalities.
Power. Who gets to move whom.
Psyche. Subthreshold bodily actions that virtualize the egocentric perceptual system.
Sacred. Everything is by virtue of its very existence.
Sagehood. Wu-wei, effortless right action attuned to the Dao.
Self. Assemblage point of experience.
Shadow. What you can’t see about yourself that directly influences your perception and drives your behavior.
Source. Universal creative impulse.
Soul. Ancestral life print carrying forward.
Sovereignty. Fully individuated.
Spirit. Universal life-giving essence.
Synchronicity. Sense of the causal manifold of reality.
The Good. Seeing, perfectly.
The True. Seeing, perfectly.
The Beautiful. Seeing perfectly.
Trauma. Pathological term for human precarity.
Love. Deep mutuality (one-bodiness).
Virtue. Presencing the Good, the True, and the Beautiful as one.
Void. Metaphysical inference of nothing(ness).
We space. Hypothesized collective state emerging in certain highly stylized intersubjective practices.
Wisdom. Abiding as nature.
This entry is an interactive one. If you require clarification, leave a comment. Also, comment if you agree, disagree, or are inspired to add to these definitions to enrich the whole. This glossary will be living. I will add an appendix if Bonnitta feels called to adjust any definition.
I am indifferent if this should/can be considered a developmental stage or simply a capacity and a proclivity people have.
I see Bonnitta consistently finding herself at the forefront of transperspectival philosophical movements with the most aliveness, whether Integral, metamodernism, Game B and most recently, The Stoa. She moves on when the aliveness leaves, and now she has settled into her school,.
See Bonnitta’s Origins of the Self Part 3: Individuation Beyond Identity presentation at The Stoa for an explanation of allocentric and egocentric perceptual systems.