Q:- How does ‘natural inclusion’ differ from other theories of reality, like Ken Wilber’s ‘Integral Theory’?




First of all, it’s important to appreciate that ‘natural inclusion’ is no more a theory than ‘rock’ or ‘water’ is a theory. ‘Natural inclusion’ is the name given to an actual occurrence – the mutual inclusion of space and energy as receptive and informative presences in all phenomena. This occurrence can be inferred simply from the recognition that natural, locally occurring forms like rocks and water bodies can be distinguished from their surroundings.

What we generally think of as ‘theories’, however, are abstract representations – maps or models – of reality based on assuming that reality can logically be defined into mutually exclusive categories, and that what cannot be defined as separate must belong to one and the same category.

Such theorizing – and ‘Integral Theory’ is no exception – arises from SURVEYING reality SOLEY FROM OUTSIDE, as a detached observer, much in the same way that a photographer instantaneously entraps a natural scene within a static frame by taking a snapshot of it. Whatever resides outside the frame (including the observer) is discounted from consideration, such that the content of the frame becomes regarded as a ‘whole’ object – a complete entity in its own right. In the process both the spatial and dynamic continuity of reality are irrecoverably removed from the abstracted image. Trying to understand reality through analysis of the abstracted image alone will then inevitably result in misrepresentation of reality. It is like trying to understand the flow of a river by analysing the contents of a set of cups dipped into the river: contrivances intended to restore the original continuity and dynamic – such as pouring out the contents of the many cups into one big cup and inventing an external force to do the pouring cannot and do not work.

The INADEQUACY of such theoretical representation as an explanatory device does not, of course, remove its UTILITY as a navigation aid. For example, the ‘four quadrants’ of Integral Theory are helpful ways of locating viewpoint – whether this is within or without local individual or collective. But they have nothing to say regarding the actual dynamic experience of being situated within any one of those localities in relation to the others because the localities are treated as mutually exclusive and the observer is displaced from them. The ‘map’ is not the ‘territory’.

Natural inclusional perception does not displace the observer from the observed in this way, nor does it define what is observed into mutually exclusive categories or combine these all into one exclusive category. Hence the observer is dynamically included within the neighbourhood of the observed, space is acknowledged as a continuous, receptive omnipresence and all natural form is recognised intrinsically to be in continuous motion.

Abstract theory is to natural inclusion as the map is to the territory. The two cannot be compared as equally comprehensive claimants for our attention.