Generalized Co-Presence

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Contextual Citation

Roy Bhaskar:

"The starry skies are above me, but they are also within me, enfolded within me, like everything else in the universe. I contain the totality. But on this theory externality does not collapse. For just as the whole world is enfolded within me, I am enfolded within the whole world, more particularly within every object in the world." (, p. 13, quote from Bhaskar)


Bruce Alderman:

"The concept of generalized co-presence is a central one in the grammar of Bhaskar’s metaRealist metaphysics. As a term denoting the radical relationality and mutual indwelling of beings in the cosmos, generalized copresence finds analogues in the holographic principle of Morin’s Complex Thought, Wilber’s nondual inflection of holarchy, as well as multiple religious archetypes of divine interindependence. " (


Bruce Alderman:


"The concept of co-presence, you will recall, was developed by Bhaskar (2002) as part of his broader model of nonduality. It represents the deepest level or form of nonduality, and is the necessary precondition for the operation of the other mechanisms of nonduality that he outlines. Theologically, the principle of co-presence is akin to a generalized form of the Catholic Trinitarian doctrine of circumincession, which is the doctrine of the reciprocal in-dwelling within one another of each of the Three Persons of the Godhead.

But in Bhaskar’s (2002) formulation, circumincession or co-presence is not a truth pertaining only to God; it is a truth about all things, that all things in-dwell each thing. On this view, each religious practitioner, and each tradition, can be seen to enfold the totality, or the potential for the realization of any aspect of the totality." (


"Both nonduality and the holographic metaphor involve the concept of the interpenetration of mutual enfoldment of beings in the universe, but they differ in their scope and (prepositional) intensity, as the table below makes clear:

Paradigmatic Stance: Prepositional Relation

  • Pantheistic: One-is-All, Each-in-All
  • Holographic: Each-in-All, All-in-Each
  • Nondual: One-in-Each, Each-is-One, Each-in-All, All-in Each, One-in-All

Roy Bhaskar on the evolutionary potential of the theory of co-presence

Bruce Alderman:

"Bhaskar (2002) contends that the theory of co-presence has profound evolutionary and soteriological implications, for if the alethic potential of all beings is enfolded in each being, then “there are enormous possibilities of awakening, unfolding, and consolidating or in-building new powers in the evolutionary process” (p. 79). He sees the developmental trajectory for all beings as necessarily open-ended and entangled, with the evolutionary process itself likely undergoing its own evolutionary development, and this is true soteriologically as well: by virtue of our copresence to each other, any of the spiritual realizations sought or enacted by a particular tradition become part of the implicit possibilities for all beings. This does not mean, however, that all beings are equally able to actualize these potentials at any given point in their development."

More Information

* Article: Alderman, B., Integral in-dwelling: A prepositional theology of religions. Consciousness: Ideas and Research for the Twenty First Century | Fall 2016 | Vol 1 | Issue 4


"In this paper, I will explore the potential of this concept for framing a “deep participatory,” Complex Integral Realist model of interreligious relationship that can amplify the integrative potential of the metaRealist, Integral, and participatory approaches to this topic that have been articulated to date. To facilitate this inquiry, and to situate it in a context that I believe will be most fruitful, I will first broadly outline the contours of two related metaphysical projects which I believe are highly relevant for integral metatheorizing: prepositional philosophy and theology."