= According to Mark Whitaker, there are 6 mutually exclusive definitions and usages of 'Trialectics'
Trialectics According to Oscar Ichazo
Detailed description of the evolution from formal logic, to dialectics, to trialectics, as developed by Oscar Ichazo.
by Tomislav Budak (1995):
"Trialectics is a synthesis of basically the same systems of thought that appeared in the 20th century under different names, such as "ecology of mind", "unitary thought", "general systems thinking", "cybernetics" or "synergetics". Trialectics is the third essential current of the logical thinking that evolved from Aristotle's formal logic and Hegel's dialectics. Therefore, we are first going to explore the basic axioms of formal logic and dialectics and then compare them with trialectics.
The three logics
FORMAL LOGIC AXIOMS
1. AXIOM OF IDENTITY
A = A - the thing is equal to itself
2. AXIOM OF DISTINCTION
A ¹ B - the thing can be distinguished from things other than itself
3. AXIOM OF THE EXCLUDED
MIDDLE - A ¹ A + B - nothing is equal to both of two different things
1. THE AXIOM OF QUANTITY AND QUALITY
- quantitative increase produces qualitative change
2. AXIOM OF INTERACTION OF OPPOSITES
- change results from the inevitable conflict between opposing forces
3. AXIOM OF THE NEGATION OF THE NEGATION
- any thesis together with its antithesis (or opposite) produces something different from the two - a synthesis
1. THERE IS A MUTATION FROM ONE MATERIAL MANIFESTATION POINT TO ANOTHER MATERIAL MANIFESTATION POINT (MMP)
a) The mutation is completed when inner equilibrium has been achieved.
b) MMP are neutral points of energy retention.
c) The energy moves in a universe with pre-established laws, pre-established MMP or within pre-established models.
2. INSIDE OF EVERYTHING THERE IS THE SEED OF ITS APPARENT OPPOSITE. THE EQUILIBRIUM BETWEEN THE TWO OPPOSITIONS DEPENDS ON THE BALANCED CIRCULATION ENERGY.
a) From the point of view of nature, opposites do not exist.
b) From the cosmic point of view, there are no random accidents, but process of circulation.
c) In nature there are no accidents.
3. THE PERPETUAL MOTION OF ALL CREATION IS DUE TO THE INTERCHANGE OF ENERGY BETWEEN MMP'S AND THERE IS, THEREFORE, AN INHERENT ATTRACTION TO EITHER A HIGHER OR LOWER MMP.
a) Higher MMP's are conformed by a smaller number of factors and elements.
b) Higher MMP's are responsive to the attraction of higher or lower correlating vibrations in a
c) One MMP's attraction to another can be ascending or descending.
Formal logic used to be the main viewpoint of the western world from the time of Aristotle until about 200 years ago. God was regarded as a big cosmic feudalist with clergy and religious dogmas as his unquestionable governors. The Earth was governed by the "the Sun Kings". They were God appointed absolutists, who took the privilege to decide what the truth, law and desirable way of life was and what was not. In those times people's attitude and ways of life hardly ever changed. Birth and the corresponding social status determined people for their entire lives. The Earth was thought to be flat and motionless and the Sun a choir of angels singing "Alleluia". The king was always right, women and children were second rate persons and the authors of texts like this one were burnt alive. People were stuck with these attitudes for a long time, thinking there was only one possible reality and that this reality must be the true one.
Ichazo and many others concluded that formal logic is rigid and inactive, not taking into account time and change as obvious elements of our everyday experience. When formal logic claims: something is, it cannot be anything else, and there is no possibility whatsoever for any change. Once a thief, always a thief, once a communist, always a communist. You are either for us or against us, either guilty or innocent. Formal logic was, however, necessary for making a communication sign system (words) and for creating consistency as the basic principle for all forms of communication. Consistency is essential when we want to say precisely what we have in mind (people, ideas, objects etc.). When we, for example, ask somebody to give us a glass of water, we do not mean a chair or something a glass can turn into in time. Formal logic is also important in science for naming, describing or classifying certain phenomena. The limitation of formal logic is that it sees the world as never changing, static objects, thus encouraging prejudices, self-control and self-restraint in people. The world is black or white, good or bad. The psychological reflection of such attitude is the feeling of guilt.
Dialectics, as more dynamic logic of Hegel and Marx, on the other hand leads to unavoidable conflicts and does not contain a limitation concept. It has introduced terms such as change and opposition into logical thinking, which has enabled most of the main social changes over the last 200 years. Unfortunately, lack of limitations in dialectical thinking brought us to the edge of ecological disaster and self-destruction. It happened because the dialectic attitude encourages accumulation of energy, money or political power as long as it can be used as the means of development of a person, family, company or nation. The idea that conflicts are the main generators of change can justify violence and wars. Projection mechanisms and suppression are a reflection of the dialectical viewpoint in psychology. People see the causes of their problems in the external world, and they try to function "normally" by aggressively suppressing their own negative characteristics.
Though it might seem strange to many people, Ichazo thinks that dialectics is the leading world viewpoint nowadays and that it has reached its climax not in the communist countries, but in the western, capitalistic world. Concepts characterizing the business politics of Wall Street in New York and other banking centers, as well as the state politics of the most powerful world countries are dialectical - pressure, competition, accumulation of material resources and political power needed for solving the world "conflicts" and realization of the future "breakthrough" (typical dialectic words). I would add that the formal-logic viewpoint, and not the dialectical one, characterizes some former and still existing communist countries. Hardly anything ever changes there, and the atmosphere is dominated by stagnation, inactivity, intangibility and general rigidity.
Trialectics is a more complex system of thought, encompassing and transcending formal logic and dialectics. It is possible to analyze any manifestation more thoroughly using trialectics. This is the reason why I am going to use this, currently the most complete logical viewpoint, to explain the basic characteristics of the manifested world and the meaning of human problems.
The first and the main principle we have to take into account while confronting our problems and solving them is the universal cosmic principle of change, which the very essence of the manifested universe. Ichazo does not say that everything changes and that change is the only stable thing in the universe like Heraclitus, Taoists, Buddhists or contemporary physicists. He defines a "material manifestation point" as any identifiable state of a system at a given time (people, groups of people, objects, plants, animals, thoughts, emotions, ideas etc.). He also says that "one MMP inevitably mutates into another MMP". Mutations, changes, transitions, movements, transformations, processes or operations are only different words for the same concept which is the central metaphor of the trialectic viewpoint. Ichazo clearly separates the trialectic viewpoint from formal logic where the identity principle strictly limits the way in which a person perceives reality. His goal is obviously to expand human ability of thinking and action in the constantly changing world by introducing the concept of change.
People do not notice many processes because they are either invisible or too slow for our eyes, or because of the limitations of human language. While describing a phenomenon, or during everyday communication, words classify processes into artificial groups and encourage static concepts in human consciousness. Processes take place all the time, they are always present. When we start describing or analyzing those using words, we turn processes into a sequence of static nouns. We can communicate with other people using such nouns, but words cannot reproduce real life authentically. The verbal, static concepts directly influence us while forming artificial attitudes, prejudices, judgments and beliefs about "what we are" or "what things should look like". We should, instead, perceive reality as it is, a sequence of neutral events that are neither good nor bad, but simply are.
People are MMP's at a certain level of consciousness and at a certain point of evolution, connected with all the other beings on the planet, as well as the environment around our planet. But, the very idea of manifestation stresses the temporary nature of every phase or a point in the process. The MMP is stable at the moment, but it will soon mutate into something else, then again into something different, until it returns to the non-manifested world. So, everything changes, but people live as though everything is to last forever. Problems occur when change starts happening and people continue living the old way, ignoring the natural process or even opposing them. Unless we change by our own free will and at the right time, the change will become more and more difficult for us later. Instead of allowing a harmonious mutation, we are then forced to solve problems dialectical way - using fight and pressure. Doctors, for that reason, claim that it is better to prevent an illness than to treat it, and that reacting at the right time will spare us great problems later. The essence of every problem is the fact that people are stuck in the formal-logic inactivity and intangibility. Resistance to change leads to dialectical conflicts, fights and pressure.
There are other prejudices which can block change. One of the characteristics of the manifested universe is that everything existing in the world contains its own opposition. When changes start occurring people should take an active part in them instead of resisting them, especially if they want changes to be harmonious and swift, but the oppositions in the form of obstacles they have to overcome can seem insurmountable because of their prejudices. The existence of opposition was defined by dialectics a long time ago, but trialectics has quite a different view on oppositions, considering them mutually dependent and containing one another. They only seem antagonistic, because each opposing side contains a seed of its opposition. Antagonism exists only in human concepts and not in nature. The antagonism people see in the world is nothing but their own projection, resulting from the fact that people are programmed to make oppositions. When we, as children, saw a cat eating a mouse, we projected into the scene our belief that the cat must have hated the mouse. But that feeling is illusionary because animal species are parts of closely intertwined ecological systems, depending on one another. The dialectic fright does not exist from the cosmic point of view, especially not between animals.
Another important characteristic of the manifested world is that everything is not possible, but there are certain limitations. The first axiom of trialectics states that "energy moves in universe according to pre-established principles, MMP's or models". This means that whatever is possible at certain moment is determined by the processes and the material manifestation points that preceded it. It is not about determinism or lack of free will, but about consciousness that uses selection methods to choose between possible future directions. The eastern equivalent of this axiom is the principle of karma, of cause and effect or preceding events determining, to a certain extent, what is happening now. Although they leave an individual numerous possibilities of choice, those possibilities are not innumerable or without limits. Therefore, every human problem can be solved, and there are always at least a few positive solutions. Those solutions are not limitless, but there are enough of them to solve the problem in a satisfactory way. If there were none, then man would not be a free being, but a robot.
Many people would not mind changing if it could be done in their way, with the outcome they like. But, everything happening in the manifested universe occurs within previously determined models and people have to adjust to those models. Not everything is possible all the time, so people have to forget about their illusions and move within the limits of a given model. When we accept the model and the resulting limitations, and then do our best, we can change easily. That way we can also experience fulfillment and expansion of consciousness that a lesson which is successfully learnt always brings.
The second axiom of trialectics mentions the same principle stating that "there are no random accidents in the universe, but only processes of circulation". One of the big philosophical issues has always been the following question: "Is the world here accidentally or does it have meaning, significance and direction?" It turns out that it is much more productive and constructive to live with the thought that we are living in a meaningful world, and not in a world of accidents. People often blame unexpected events or luck for what is happening to them, but if we look closely at all such events, it is obvious that luck or accidents do not exist. They are also our projections. We fail to become aware of the processes behind those events only due to the slowness and limitations of our perception. Luck and accidents are only our excuses for not being aware of what is really happening.
A reflection of this statement is the fact that each individual is responsible for his/her own life. In the process of solving problems everybody must act from the position of the creator of his/her individual universe and everything happening in it. We are responsible for our problems, but we also play a crucial role in solving them. Trialectics leaves us no possibility for excuses, but it frees us from any guilt at the same time. Existing principles and MMP's determine our life at the present moment. All we can do is engage actively in clearing our own mind in order to achieve true freedom, to realize what we have chosen and why and what we want now.
We always have a few options and each of them will give some results. In that way, life looks similar to a chess game that has certain rules, but the moves we are going to make depend on our skill and knowledge of the game. We can play as an expert, or we can play as a dilettante. Some people define freedom as the absence of any rules, which they replace with free will, denying the very existence of the game. There are many cases, however, when "freedom" proves to be only a form of escapism and ignorance.
Many people refuse to take responsibility for the creations they are not aware of. They forget that psychology discovered long ago that the conscious mind makes up only one third of a person's whole being. Causes of many events in our lives can be found in our unconscious or higher conscious parts. Therefore, while solving problems it is essential to investigate, purify and then integrate those aspects of our soul. The concept of independently creating the circumstances in one's life can also be found in eastern religions and philosophies, which teach about the immortality of the soul and its numerous incarnations into physical bodies. In the period between two incarnations, while existing in the spiritual world, the soul chooses the direction of its future development, the experiences it is going to have and lessons it is going to learn. This means that the soul chooses its parents, body and country that it is going to live in. It also chooses many other circumstances in life, including how much free will it would have and the nature of problems it would solve.
However, it seems that the choice of experiences and lessons is not completely free, but depends on three main conditions. The soul first looks at its past and experiences it has had. The soul has an entirely constructive attitude towards its past. It means that it is going to continue its development or finish what it has started. It will correct the mistakes it made using positive activities and it will free itself from the impressions or models of thought and behavior it has already fully experienced, but is still attached out of pure habit.
The soul also wants to have some completely new experiences, especially those it was deprived of in the past or it did not have a chance to get. According to Hinduism and Buddhism, our soul appeared a long time ago in this part of the universe in order to live and experience everything available on this planet's "menu". In different development phases it was attracted to different forms of life, sometimes "positive", desirable or pleasant, sometimes "negative", undesirable, or unpleasant. Therefore, the second basic condition includes unfulfilled wishes and experiences that seem especially interesting and attractive to the soul at a given moment. The soul must have all its wishes fulfilled or sooner or later it will return to the same spot. Unfulfilled desires, especially when they were suppressed by force, can create a soul's karma. While deciding about new experiences the soul is at liberty to choose from many different possibilities, the ones it finds most suitable.
The third element results from the main reason for our soul's appearing on this planet, which is its spiritual improvement and development towards higher and more conscious forms of existence, until it is finally united with God. It seems that the Earth is not a place only for fun or suffering. It is a place where we can acquire knowledge. The basis for a soul's spiritual improvement is gaining and developing spiritual qualities through different forms of both spiritual and earthly life. Spiritual development does not imply becoming a follower of a certain teaching or school. It is possible to develop spiritual qualities by living a natural, harmonious and fulfilled earthly life. Many people, especially atheists, never even dream that they will reach their spiritual goals (although they might not call them that) through a good emotional relationship with their partner, family or parents and through creative self-realization in their job.
Spiritual qualities are the most natural human qualities everybody likes and desires. Creativity, for example, is God's feature and it is obvious that creativity is one of the most important goals for the majority of people. A sense of humor and wittiness are also God's characteristics. Everybody knows witty people have always been popular and that humor has an important role in life. Being easy-going, simple, refined, charming, lucky, fulfilled, relaxed, patient and having inner peace are all God's qualities and everybody finds them desirable and interesting, although they do not seem to have anything to do with being religious. Souls choose to develop many of these qualities during their life in the material, dual world. Therefore, spiritual lessons seem to be the very essence of every experience in life. People enter different relationships with other people and the world around them through emotions, which act as attracting forces. These relationships help them in achieving different experiences, which are the basis for learning spiritual lessons. Therefore, spiritual lessons are the most important element of the plan our soul made for this incarnation.
However, what seemed easy and simple from the spiritual level becomes dependent on the principles that exist on the material level, once the soul comes here. In order to fulfill the chosen tasks successfully, we have to understand and respect these principles. When the soul comes to the material level it gets two new bodies - the physical and the ethereal one (so called "energy body"), and the ego as their psychological equivalent. Memories of the spiritual sphere are pushed into the subtle dimensions of our mind to enable us to centre ourselves in the here and now of the physical reality, so that we can focus on fulfilling new tasks.
Other causes for forgetting the spiritual sphere and past lives are civilizational. We have been brought up in a pan-rational civilization, which does not admit or believe in reincarnation and the spiritual world. This belief has been imprinted in our minds and forms our basic perception of reality. However, according to contemporary psychologists and sociologists, civilization and culture are a collective invention. If we agree with this, then the widely accepted or so called "consensus reality" does not necessarily have to be the "true reality". Our forced oblivion, therefore, reminds us of an ostrich hiding its head in the sand. We seem to think that denying some aspects of reality will free us from responsibility for it. A direct outcome of such an attitude and behavior are many difficult problems humanity is facing today, either at the individual or collective level. Although the subtle dimensions of our being do exist, they are not present constantly in our consciousness to avoid burdening us. However, from time to time it is necessary to contact those dimensions in order to expand our consciousness or to get the information we need for understanding our existence properly and for solving our problems.
Levels of consciousness
Another principle of the manifested world is that the universe is structured in levels. The biggest and most obvious sections of the universe are galaxies, star systems, planets, people, animals and plants. All these forms undergo the evolution process, different aggregate states and events in the time and space continuum. The third axiom of trialectics states that "one MMP is attracted to either a higher or a lower MMP", and that "one MMP's attraction to another can be ascending or descending". This means that the mutation processes that different forms of the manifested universe go through can have two directions, going through certain levels or degrees of development. The same is valid for consciousness, because it is obvious that everybody is not at the same level of consciousness. It is also clear that, in the manifested universe, human consciousness undergoes different forms and degrees through transformation processes.
Ichazo sees each change as either an increase or a decrease in rigidity of MMP (in structure, form, inner complexity, and the number of inner principles). At the psychological level, change can be defined as either a greater or smaller openness towards the external world or other people, or a higher or lower awareness of one's inner conditions and processes. Therefore, a higher level theory is able to explain more using fewer devices. A higher level of consciousness will enable an individual to have more knowledge, wider horizons and better quality activities using less energy (effort). The higher level a viewpoint, the fewer limitations it contains. The higher the level of consciousness, the fewer illusions there are, less mental and emotional structures which limit a person's awareness and activities.
When there is a time for change we are free to choose consciously the direction we want to take - downwards, towards more limitations, deeper illusions and loss of awareness, or upwards, towards higher awareness, simplicity, freedom, flexibility and openness. It is natural for people to move upwards, because we develop in the direction of more perfect forms of life inside the cosmic hierarchy. In time, everybody will, therefore, be attracted to the self-realization level. According to Ichazo, by its very nature consciousness allows no formal definition, but it is possible to give a functional definition, which states that "consciousness is that which recognizes itself". Self-recognition has its own pre-established MMP's which represent previous levels of consciousness. These levels vary from a very partial recognition to complete integration. Trialectics admits people act through specific and recognizable levels of consciousness at every moment.
Here are the four essential levels:
1. THE LEVEL OF MENTAL ILLNESS
Psychoses and other forms of mental and emotional disorders.
2. THE LEVEL OF SUBJECTIVE STATE
The level in which most people find themselves. It is the level of social and cultural norms and attitudes.
3. THE LEVEL OF REALIZATION
A series of transitional levels of growing clarity and experiences of higher states of consciousness are found at this level. These levels are of prime importance for eastern spiritual disciplines, modern self-realization methods and humanistic and transpersonal psychology.
4. THE LEVEL OF A REALIZED INDIVIDUAL
These are levels of self-realization reached by Buddha, Christ and other highly developed spiritual beings. An individual at this level "already lives in unity with God, completely knowing his/her psychic territory".
Moving through the levels of consciousness
To be able to move upward through the levels of consciousness in order to reach the level of self-realization, an individual has to go through the process of disillusionment. Illusions, together with certain parts of social predisposition, create a person's mind structure, convictions, prejudices and suppressed negative emotions. At any moment we are able to choose whether we are going to move upwards of downwards. If we are not moving upwards, it is absolutely certain we are moving downwards, because there is no third direction.
Moving downwards seems easier because it is the result of the present actions, conditions and levels of consciousness. Moving upwards means putting more effort in it, cleansing and widening one's consciousness, which is not always easy.
While purifying and expanding their mind, people can feel as though they are jumping into an abyss, not knowing what awaits them and not being unable to see the final goal of their voyage. This feeling is caused by the fact that an old, familiar and worn out part of our being must symbolically die in the transformation process which enables moving to a higher level of consciousness. An old, familiar and safe mind structure has to be replaced by a new, not fully known and not entirely shaped structure. To our ego, this looks like death. When we pass through levels of disillusionment, a characteristic resistance, fear and suppression urges appear. Our ego will do anything to drag us away from the process, just to defend its power over us. We shall feel resistance towards letting go of our illusions, questioning our mistakes, traumas, negative emotions or worn out thought models. Unless we move towards the higher levels, we will be attracted to the lower levels that bring us apparent safety and comfort and protect us from unpleasant confrontation with ourselves. However, we will have to confront ourselves sooner or later. Luckily, there are numerous training systems speeding up and shortening this process.
Disillusionment is a necessary process we have to go through in order to move towards the higher levels of consciousness. We can find self-observation very helpful here, because it is the essential and crucial aspect of the process. It helps us to avoid sticking to the prejudices we have about ourselves, the outer world and the expected results. Such prejudices create antagonisms leading towards a lower level MMP. Unless we have an objective observer in ourselves, we will be dragged by the outer world and our inner subjective conditions. Each struggle will make us feel exhausted and we will find ourselves at a lower MMP.
We have now come to the end of analyzing the basic principles and rules of the manifested universe through trialectic axioms and viewpoints. We have seen that Ichazo expressed his holistic viewpoint through a special system of axioms, synthesizing similar ideas of many modern authors and using simple, meaningful and economic formulations. We already know that the modern scientific world considers phenomena and processes as events in the space and time continuum. Trialectics adds that they are conscious phenomena taking place at a certain place and time. It gives us a complete model for interpretation and analysis of different events, within and outside of us. Trialectics also defines the terms of self-observation and observer, allowing for the possibility that a transformation and transcending processes take place inside him.
What is, then, the real meaning of problems? You cannot avoid problems in life, but a correct attitude and good technology can help in solving them. Crises and problems quite naturally appear at the moment when an individual is ready to move to a higher level of consciousness, to abandon the old way of thinking and behavior and acquire a new one. Problems do not occur to destroy us or spoil our plans. They are a way for of our personal development, a medium we use to climb the evolution ladder towards higher levels of consciousness to reach final enlightenment and self-realization.
Problems and crises are messages from higher dimensions of our being giving us a chance to free ourselves, expand our minds and change our life. We should by all means use such a chance, because there might not be another one. Even if there were, we get more and more rigid each time and transformation gets more and more difficult. Problems are natural elements of the human experience. They help us, as the old alchemists put it, "turn rough materials into gold". According to them, metals do not exist to be lead, iron or copper, but gold or silver. Carbon does not exist to be just a piece of black, sooty coal, but a shining diamond. As diamonds are cut with materials tougher than they are, so are crises and problems the tools of human development.
During the transformation process and substitution of the old models with new and more perfect ones our ego will resist, create problems and obstacles while presenting them as real. But, "whatever a thinker thinks, a prover proves", says Dr. Leonard Orr, the author of rebirthing. Our ego is our thinker and prover. It can even organize external events to prove and convince us that our prejudices are correct and justified. However, we have seen that opposition does not exist - it is an illusion, which needs to be recognized and disintegrated. This process can sometimes be painful, but it is necessary and impossible to avoid. Unfortunately, there is no other way out of it, but modern spiritual science, however, helps us shorten the process.
People have accomplished many civilizational achievements, adjusted and conquered nature, gained knowledge of our planet and achieved high levels of technological and cultural development. But, all of that has not given them real and complete freedom, inner peace or satisfaction. After having established order in the external world and gained a certain level of material safety, it is time to start examining our inner world and influence our inner states and processes, which are the real source of our problems and, at the same time, the source of solutions." (http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=196366483711&ref=nf)
Trialectics According to Mark Whitaker
"The elevator pitch for the term 'trialectics' for me would be simply "tripartite positions and alliances in interaction in history” or a "sociology of plural jurisdictions." After what you said about Eichberg, I think now the term trialectics has about six different and mutually exclusive meanings. My specific meaning is closer to Simmel from 1905. However, Simmel did not continue analysis because for him history was not what he was interested in in his sociology (closer to timeless theory for him, so he was uninterested in the historical spatial/jurisdictional trialectics I am describing below.).
Quoting my book manuscript's appendix on this term 'trialectics,' that I just updated with Eichberg (so thanks):
For the fifth point, slightly in the inverse, the concept of trialectics is used in views of three specific elements in ongoing interactions with a clear spatial dynamic and yet without intent to critique dialectical views of history and Marxism, and without using the term per se. Such was the meaning of Georg Simmel from 1905 in his short essay entitled “The Nobility.” Simmel’s essay is the only mention in the classical sociological canon of a spatial and strategic trialectics in history. However, Simmel left it undeveloped because its social dynamics implied history, and history was outside of sociological interest for Simmel in how he defined what was an important social form, unfortunately, since in his introduced dichotomy, history was employed in his analysis of cultural forms only instead of social forms. If Simmel could have gotten over his false dichotomy here, and could have considered that sociology and social forms had to have history in their dynamics, then trialectics would have been one of Simmel’s social forms or he would have developed an ontology of mixed social/cultural forms of jurisdictions as is done in this work. Then, such ongoing planned and unplanned social interactions of jurisdictions strategically in space and in history would have been popularized as an idea about historical dynamics, and Simmel and others would have discovered historical trialectics over 100 years ago and ended Marx’s hegemony on critical theory right there. However, Simmel ignored his own comment per the limited goals for what his ahistorical sociology was. He continued that essay only to explain his smaller topic of “the nobility.”
For the sixth use of the term trialectics, it implies a view of three specific elements in ongoing historical interactions with a clear spatial dynamic and with an intent to critique dialectical views of history and Marxism, and with both a theoretical and a historical analysis and a direct use of the term itself (contra Simmel on three points). This is my meaning here of Historical Trialectics. I invented the term as an abbreviation out of frustration with my opaque yet more accurate or definitional phase that I used for years: “tripartite positions and alliances in interaction in history.” Instead, the term “trialectics” would become my word to signify that empirical reality of a tripartite dynamic of strategies of plural spatial actors in political, cultural, material relations in history. I would learn later that other people had used this term or something like its meaning for sometimes very different purposes, to my chagrin.
However, even though Simmel described historical trialectics in passing in 1905, no one since then had really theorized about it. Given my more comparative historical and inductive epistemology, open to finding social forms of dynamics in history, I started to deduce historical trialectics. I drew on Elias’s ideas of open-ended interactions of ‘game models’ for a while, because Elias had similar ontological ideas of ongoing social forms of dynamics in history, yet his ontological ideas of figurations seemed rather shallow to what I had seen in more open-ended strategic and tactical trialectical dynamics with human agency mattering for the ongoing dynamics in history (whereas Elias has little place for human individual agencies in his figurational concepts). Thus, there is a lack of history books describing what I have seen so far, except for one of my own, entitled Ecological Revolution (2009). However, I have come across particular historians writing well about trialectics even without using the name or without awareness of what they are theoretically describing. (For just four small examples, first, see Parenti, who ironically is attempting to foist a Marxist dialectical perspective in narrative on an ancient Roman Republican trialectical dynamics in data, yet the trialectical data that he describes is better than he analyzes [xxxx]. Three other examples of historians using concepts of trialectics tend to always be long-term historians [long, xxxx; roman army, xxxx; communities of discourse, xxxx]. However, they equally employ trialectics unawares, though they describe its dynamics very well. Since most historians are loathe to write sociological theory or loathe to question the whole false dichotomy between history and sociology, while most sociologists loathe to learn long term history, neither camp has described trialectics before—or decried it, as we will see by Chapter Eight. Trialectics became a slowly evolving method with many ongoing refinements and rejections along the way. Originally, beginning in the mid-1990s, I thought about its dynamics as I probed comparative fine-grained case analysis of urban political dynamics as their scales expanded in population and territory. Later, this branched into thinking of such trialectics in spatially wider territorial state/urban dynamics a few years later. Around the year 2000, this next led into thinking of longer-term civilizational dynamics of ongoing changes. The ideas of trialectics made it into my dissertation proposal in 2001. My (sociological and non-historian) committee was clueless about what I was talking about then—and perhaps understandably hostile because I wrote 2,000 pages about the comparative history of China, Japan, and Europe concerning it that they didn’t want to read or understand—except my adviser Dr. Joe Elder who is a comparative historical theorist as well. A compromise was achieved. I got my degree, removed trialectics from my book about Ecological Revolution, and yet trialectics was unable to be removed from my mind or from history so easily. I kept looking for exceptions to trialectics, and all I found myself doing was refining it, improving the perspective over the years, and assembling critiques of almost every assumption in the sociological canon in the process. This book about trialectics—its ontology, methods, epistemology, and its recommended ‘fixes’ (how it would solve various social and environmental problems differently)—is the result of almost 20 years of thought over many drafts in the attempt to make these dynamics more understandable."
(from a as yet unpublished manuscript by Mark Whitaker)
- Whitaker, Mark. D. 2020. “Chapter 1: Introduction,” in Trialectics, or a Green Theory of History. Manuscript. Quote as draft. [email protected] ; see: Interactive Degradative and Sustainable Patterns in World History