Guest Bog: Introducing the AQAL Cube (by Lexi Neale)
June 12, 2009 14:54

Introducing The AQAL Cube Perspectives:
Transcending and including the AQAL Square
Lexi Neale


“Introducing The AQAL Cube” addresses persisting “flat-land” and reductionism issues with Ken Wilber’s AQAL Square, where “two dimensional” interpretations of “three dimensional” processes have left us with many anomalies that may possibly be corrected by the AQAL Cube. First, the AQAL Cube differentiates two domains of Consciousness: The Empirical domain of our gross, mortal being with its 4 Quadrants below; and the Intuitive domain of our subtle, non-mortal being, which inhabits the Empirical domain, with its 4 Quadrants above. Second, each of the three persons is delegated with its own AQAL Cube of eight personal pronoun-perspectives, totaling 3 x 8 = 24. The resulting myriad of binary-perspective lattices generated by the all-person AQAL Cubes, of which the classic Wilber-Combs lattice is but one, is the tip of a vast “ice-cube” of permutations of Kosmic Address, and as such is a potential model for the Human Consciousness Project.


This is a difficult paper, because it calls for some key reforms to the AQAL Model. Most of us have no problem changing a bad thing for a good thing, but few would change a good thing for a better thing. Good as the existing AQAL Model is, there may be little need to change it. But like any other evolving entity, Integral Theory will itself periodically break out of outmoded forms into new and liberating dimensions.

In this paper I attempt to present an argument that Ken Wilber’s 4 Quadrant Model, which I here refer to as “The AQAL Square”, can be transcended and included by differentiating an additional dimension of four additional quadrants, as an 8 Quadrant Model, which I here refer to as “The AQAL Cube”. I propose the additional dimension that the AQAL Square fails to adequately differentiate is nevertheless differentiated cross-culturally by the possessive and non-possessive personal pronouns, as our material and non-material being respectively. I present the case that all our pronoun-perspectives, as aspects of our conscious awareness, can and should be integrated into the AQAL Model as the AQAL Cube. In so doing, the AQAL Cube may be able to offer many pragmatic advantages over the AQAL Square. For example, the AQAL Cube would be able to delegate State Stages and Structure Stages their own quadrants, by which to map more accurately their vastly different perspectives, rather than be lines in the same quadrant of the AQAL Square. In other words, my intention in presenting the AQAL Cube is to not detract from what is offered by the AQAL Square, but rather to add to its territory another dimension that has not yet been differentiated by the AQAL Square.

Expanding the AQAL domain from Square to Cube may also entail expanding existing definitions, and in the course of this paper I will make every effort to clarify how and why an existing definition could be expanded to embrace the new territory being described. I will also try to preserve existing definitions. For example, the two AQAL Squares of the AQAL Cube will not be given “upper” and “lower” designations, because in AQAL Theory these apply to the quadrants of any AQAL Square.  The two AQAL Squares of the AQAL Cube I will henceforth refer to as “below” and “above”; our possessive or material being below, and our non-possessive or non-material being above; or consciousness structures below, and the identity states inhabiting those structures above; or Empirical Consciousness quadrants below and Intuitive Consciousness quadrants above. These differentiations will be further clarified through the course of the paper.

The two central issues to be dealt with here, in the raising of the AQAL Square to AQAL Cube, inevitably have to do with reductionism and “flat-land” in the AQAL Square. First, I attempt to differentiate our gross “Being” from our subtle “Knowing”, or What we are from Who we are. The problem here is that our material Being is empirically self-evident, whereas our non-material Knowing is self-intuitive. In my developing the AQAL Cube model I used my own phenomenological experience to differentiate what I am from who I am. I therefore invite anyone to investigate this approach, especially in Second and Third Tier awareness where the differentiation becomes more and more apparent in both Upper Left quadrants (Empirical and Intuitive). I will go further into the Three Tiers later. I also observed that the Self as identity States is of a different order of consciousness from the Self-sense as cognitive Structures and intelligences, for which purpose I introduce the hypothesis that our awareness operates in two Domains of Consciousness – the Gross Domain of the Empirical Consciousness with its Structures, and the Subtle Domain of the Intuitive Consciousness with its identity States.

The second issue is that of differentiating the three persons as three octaves of personal pronoun perspectives, where each person has its own Cube of eight perspectives. For example, the Self  “I” is, by definition, a first person perspective. The first person Cube identifies eight categories of Self-perspectives. I propose that the first person Cube not only differentiates our Self system as identities that occupy corresponding structures, but that those identities and structures can be experientially differentiated further as having objective and subjective perspectives in individual and collective contexts. And translating our first person Cube experiences to the third person Cube, we can now study and analyze our first-person experiences from eight perspectives as the eight zones of Integral Methodological Pluralism. In other words, Wilber’s AQAL Eight Zones will be shown to satisfy most of the third person AQAL Cube Model, and that reductionism in this area of Integral Theory exists in the absence of the first and second person Cubes. 

The third and final issue to be covered here is how the AQAL Cube can serve as a means of mapping the territory itself. This addresses the integral calculus introduced by Wilber in Integral Spirituality (2006), expanding its scope to include the AQAL Cubes through the three or more persons to arrive at a more specific Kosmic address for any Kosmic event (phenomenon) or for the observer of that event. In that regard I attempt to show how the classic Wilber-Combs lattice, as a binary-perspective matrix, is merely one of a myriad of such lattices generated by the first, second and third person Cubes. In this multiplex of binary-perspective lattices we each establish our own unique configuration of perspectives, in the same way that we are a unique binary recombination of the human genome. For this reason, I propose that the AQAL Cube’s potential for binary-perspective permutations makes it a candidate for modeling the Human Consciousness Project, which was first mentioned by Wilber in his Theory Of Consciousness (1997), in developing a complete experiential map of human awareness. This will also be discussed later.

The scope of this paper, in elevating the AQAL Model from Square to Cube, is so great that space allows for only a superficial treatment of the issues raised here; but I do hope to explore each of them individually, and in academic depth, in future papers. All I am attempting to do in this paper is to define a broader arena for existing research; to point out an extra space, a cubicle if you will, an expandable modular closet for three or more persons, where everything can become more organized. Hats need no longer be hung on the shoe rack and socks need no longer be stuffed in the same drawer as underwear. In this regard, we begin with the mythic task of separating Earth from Sky – differentiating our gross from our subtle being.

Gross, Subtle and Causal Domains Of Consciousness

“Domains” usually refer to different fields of knowledge, and corresponding sites on the Internet. “Domains Of Consciousness” is how I propose to differentiate Consciousness into two separate fields of awareness that are interactive and yet autonomous. In so doing I attempt to pull the rug on some aspects of Integral Theory without spilling any bathwater or throwing any babies out.

 One of the tenets adopted by Integral Theory is how our awareness, in its various gross, subtle and causal vehicles, evolves through the Gross, Subtle and Causal Realms, or through the Spectrum Of Consciousness. The classic AQAL Square grid introduced by Ken Wilber in the 1990’s is a third person map of this entire dynamic. It is an Integral Theory given that our awareness evolves through all Quadrants and through all Levels back to undifferentiated Formlessness, as shown in Figure 1, Wilber’s classic Four Quadrant Model.

The above grid shows how the evolution of our awareness proceeds by means of gross vehicles, from the Big Body of the Kosmos all the way to the human body. And once in a human vehicle, how even then our awareness continues to evolve within that gross vehicle through structures of increasing complexity. It is postulated here that the entire AQAL Kosmos as portrayed in the above grid is itself, and self-evidently, the AQAL Gross Realm with its gross-energy Structures of increasing complexity and subtlety, wherein our awareness evolves. Which then begs the question, what and where is the corresponding Subtle Realm with its subtle States? The accepted AQAL Model has not yet differentiated this territory as equally AQAL.

Elevating the AQAL Square to the AQAL Cube ipso facto forces a massive re-evaluation of the evolutionary process of our awareness, as proceeding not simply through the Gross and then through the Subtle Realms, but also as Gross and Subtle Consciousness co-evolving through the Gross and Subtle arenas. In other words, I propose that the Subtle arena is mapped by its own AQAL Square, wherein a given subtle identity State co-inhabits and co-evolves with its corresponding gross Structure in the Gross arena as mapped by its own AQAL Square. The implication being that the evolving subtle awareness requires increasingly sophisticated but expendable gross vehicles by which to evolve, much like a driver evolves through faster cars before winning the Grand Prix of Consciousness – Enlightenment in a human vehicle. This further implies that Enlightenment per se, as the ultimate integral (AQAL) realization between Subtle consciousness States and Gross consciousness Structures, is by definition, a mutually inclusive or integral experience of “vertical Enlightenment” (Structures) with “horizontal Enlightenment” (States) as defined by Integral Theory; thereby making the differentiation of Enlightenment into a “vertical” realization as well as a “horizontal” realization redundant.

Because we have not yet had an AQAL Model capable of differentiating the Gross and Subtle Realms as two autonomous AQAL Domains of Consciousness, that are nevertheless co-existent, we have had no choice but to reduce the Gross and Subtle arenas to two holarchic levels of evolution in the AQAL Square, as shown in Figure 2. from the Introduction in Wilber’s Integral Spirituality (2006).

This model holds true in as far as it indicates the relative levels when Gross, Subtle and Causal structure/functions come “on line” in the context of a gross vehicle. In that context, I hold as valid the terms Gross and Subtle Levels and Realms as defined by Integral Theory. But the AQAL Square has no way of mapping the subtle conscious energies that actually occupy and drive those corresponding gross structure/functions in the Upper Right, which is why Wilber could only allude to them in Figure 1,7 in the Appendix of Integral Spirituality, (Figure 3).

However, I propose that the AQAL Cube can differentiate and map the Subtle arena of identity States, which inhabit their corresponding consciousness Structures in the Gross arena. In summary, in this hypothesis of a so-called AQAL Cube, I propose that those Gross and Subtle arenas, when differentiated as two AQAL Domains of Consciousness, be called the Gross and Subtle Domains of Consciousness, as distinct from the Gross and Subtle levels of the AQAL Square. Furthermore, I propose to clarify the distinction between the Gross and Subtle Domains by preferably naming them the Empirical and Intuitive Domains shown in Figure 4; where Empirical, meaning “quantifiably and qualifiably measurable”, pertains to phenomena arising in the Gross Domain; and Intuitive, meaning “inner knowing”, pertains to phenomena arising in the Subtle Domain. The AQAL Intuitive Domain of Consciousness is therefore also distinct from the Intuitive Mind located in the Upper Left of the AQAL Square at Violet. This will be dealt with in more detail later. Figure 4 shows the AQAL Cube as two AQAL Domains.

Defining The Empirical And Intuitive Domains

A simple and ancient Kosmogram will serve to demonstrate the proposed relationship between the Empirical and Intuitive Domains in terms of the undifferentiated Source Consciousness. In this context, the word Kosmos retains its original Greek meaning as “Orderly Arrangement”, as pertaining to how Form emerges from the Formless. All Gross, Subtle and Causal phenomena through the Spectrum Of Consciousness pertain to Kosmos. The Vesica itself is a potent image portraying the emergence of Form, a Vesica that indeed dilates as the birth of Form proceeds.

As Figure 5 suggests, the Intuitive (Subtle) Domain is not really an entity in itself but is an emerging overlap, a dilating field of reference between the Empirical (Gross) Domain and the Universal Consciousness (Causal) pervading it, or becoming involved in it. In the resulting expanding or evolving field of awareness we have the choice to either identify with the Empirical as our manifestation or with the Universal as our Source. Identifying with our gross manifestation provides us with limited identities such as Ego. Identifying universally expands our identity through Soul back to Spirit. In choosing to look either way, our Intuitive Consciousness either identifies with its material nature as Ego or its spiritual nature as Soul. In choosing the latter, the incarnate Soul identity begins to get the message that its Intuitive Consciousness is merely an illusory “overlap”, and the Enlightenment process then dilates our Intuitive identity at the rate we can surrender all our lesser identities back to our non-dual One True Being in Universal Consciousness. We now identify with the entire Spectrum Of Consciousness, wherein all differentiated Domains return to being One in the Eye of Spirit. Figure 6 shows how our individual Spectrum expands as an AQAL Cube.

As an emerging awareness, we begin in the “Infra Red” end of the Spectrum where our “present awareness” totally identifies with our gross body, and its senses, as our one true being. Our evolution ends up in the “Ultra Violet”, where our “present awareness” totally identifies with the entire Spectrum we have come to know and love as our One True Being. So the entire Spectrum is about an emerging relationship between our identity States and their corresponding vehicular Structures we have occupied on that journey of emergence. I propose that the evolution of our identity through form is about the co-evolution of our “present awareness” through the Empirical (Gross) and Intuitive (Subtle) AQAL Domains of Consciousness to where those Domains are “not-two” in Causal Reality.

The above example only alludes to the Empirical and Intuitive Upper Left Quadrants of the Cube, but all Eight Quadrants are really involved, as will be discussed later.

The Two Domains Of Consciousness In Cultural History

My hypothesis differentiating the Empirical and Intuitive Domains continues with an attempt to include other cultural references to their existence as autonomous Domains, as well as being levels in the Great Chain of Being. Without question the Taoist tradition regarded the two polarities of Life (Gross, Ming) and Consciousness (Subtle, Hsing) as equal opposites to be reconciled. In the ancient and anonymous Taoist treatise “The Secret Of The Golden Flower”, Ming and Hsing are given the polarities Earth and Heaven respectively. The same polar-equality is held by the Yaqui/Maya sorcerers, made famous by Carlos Castaneda. This Life plane, called the Tonal, if likened to a table, receives those who sit and feast at the table called the Nagual, those who have Consciousness. The more powerful the Nagual, the richer is their feast. And then, not so much acknowledging their polar equality, but a polar dynamic nevertheless, are the Buddhist Nirmanakaya and Sambhogakaya, the Hindu Jiva and Atman, the Greek Soma and Psyche, and the Christian Body and Soul, where in each pair the former is the vehicle of the latter; and where beyond each is their Source Consciousness in the Tao, Tonacatecuhtli, Dharmakaya, Brahman, Pneuma and Spirit respectively. The remembering of the two Domains in the Source is also the subject of the inner alchemical marriage (conjunctio), or eclipse between the Earth (Empirical), Moon (Intuitive) and Sun (Universal) in the experience of Enlightenment.

If this integral dynamic between the Empirical and Intuitive Consciousness could truly be the engine of our evolution, we would also expect to find overwhelming evidence of this in the most fundamental arenas of cultural awareness, such as in language, where our very awareness is catalogued as the personal pronoun perspectives through the first, second and third persons.

The Personal Pronouns As AQAL Cube Perspectives

I entered the Integral arena in the year 2000 as a result of my own research into consciousness perspectives. I was completing a book titled “The Cube Of Being – a cosmology of Enlightenment” in which I had come up with what may prove to be the first universal model (to my knowledge) to map the personal pronouns as consciousness perspectives for any language.

It is indeed strange that in linguistics there seems to be no model to show how the fundamental human perspectives are expressed as the personal pronouns, and that was where my work interfaced with Integral Theory. Any personal pronoun is a combination of three polarities: subjective or objective, singular or plural, and possessive or non-possessive.   In other words, a personal pronoun is a triplet combination through 2 x 2 x 2 = 8 such combinations. I found the hexagon or cube to be the best way to arrange these in their polarity orientations, and it is no coincidence that it led to the prototype AQAL Cube in Figure 8.

As a cosmological model, I placed the subjectives on the left face, objectives on the right, singulars ahead, plurals behind, possessives below and non-possessives above. Each of the eight corners of the cube is where three faces come together as a triplet, which locates that particular personal pronoun, shown in Figure 9.

There are eight personal pronouns per person, first, second and third, so each person has its own cube of personal pronouns, as in Figure 10.

These three cubes categorize the main 3 x 8 = 24 personal pronouns in languages throughout the world. The first person cube is the individual self in its subjective relationship with the Kosmos. The second person cube is the individual self in its personal objective relationship with the Kosmos. The third person cube is the most objective view of the individual self in its impersonal objective relationship with the Kosmos.

What is interesting is that, regardless of race or culture, the human consciousness differentiates 24 basic perspectives with which to view and identify with the Kosmos. However, not all languages differentiate all 24 personal pronouns, according to cultural biases. “Subjective” cultures tend not to differentiate as many objective personal pronouns as “objective” cultures; “collective” cultures tend not to differentiate as many “individual” personal pronouns as “individual” cultures; “empirical” cultures tend not to differentiate as many non-possessive personal pronouns as “intuitive” cultures. The result is various degrees of reductionism of certain perspectives varying from culture to culture. For example, Indo-European languages do not usually differentiate the possessive “I” and “We” from the non-possessive “I” and “We”; although in Hebrew “I” and “We” both come in two forms: one spiritual or non-material, and the other mundane or material. Russian differentiates “We” in an intimate “I-You” context from a culturally embodied “We”.

When I read Wilber’s “Integral Psychology” in the year 2000, I realized that my “Cube of Being” was a development of his AQAL Square. Where we agreed was profound, in the directional allocations to subjective and objective, singular/individual and plural/collective. In his “Integral Theory Of Consciousness” (1997) Wilber had also labeled the 4 Quadrants with “I” (Upper Left), “We” (Lower Left), “It” (Upper Right) and “Its” (Lower Right) personal pronouns, as shown in Figure 1. Then Mark Edwards called attention to the missing personal pronouns as additional perspectives in his on-line article “Through AQAL Eyes, Part 7” (2004). In their ensuing dialogue Wilber correctly pointed out that Edwards had not integrated them into the AQAL Model. Which then begs the question: what are the possessive and non-possessive personal pronouns, and how can they be integrated with the AQAL Model?

 Every time we use the possessives and non-possessives they invite the question: Who is the possessor, and What is being possessed? The Who and What, as we have already discussed, respectively differentiate the Intuitive and Empirical AQAL Domains. Therefore, I now submit that the first, second and third person Cubes do fulfill Wilber’s AQAL Model criterion with all the personal pronoun perspectives.

Expanding Some Integral Theory Definitions To AQAL Cube

Just as Ken Wilber wanted to reestablish the definition of “Kosmos” as Manifestation in its AQAL entirety, so I would like to reestablish the definition of “Persona” (mask or self-projection) as no longer a mere Fulcrum 4 “role self” but as an AQAL behavioral expression of an AQAL subjective intention. This being the case, all Right Hand Quadrants of all three Cubes are the personae of all Left Hand Quadrants of all three Cubes. The Individual and Collective Selves manifest as the Individual and Collective Personae on all Levels. For example, on the first person Cube the Proximate Self “I” (Intuitive Upper Left) finds expression through its Distal Persona “Me” (Intuitive Upper Right) on all Levels; and the Inter-Proximate Self “We” (Intuitive Lower Left) is expressed through its Inter-Distal Persona (Intuitive Lower Right) on all Levels.

In Wilber’s AQAL Square, the Interior/Subjective Quadrants are on the Left, and the Exterior/Objective Quadrants are on the Right. Interiors are Intentional, where intent formulates an action; and Exteriors are Behavioral, where the action is performed according to the intent, in both Individual and Collective contexts. However, the moment we further differentiate these Quadrants as Intuitive and Empirical, where the Intuitive Consciousness inhabits and manipulates the Empirical Consciousness (driver and car), we realize a relativity issue arises between Subject/Object, or Interior/Exterior. I propose that in all three AQAL Cubes, all Intuitive Quadrants are the interiors of all Empirical Quadrants. And I venture the subsequent hypothesis that the first person Cube of Intuitive Quadrants, as our identity, are the true seat of interior intent – such as the intent to choose an incarnation; whereas the Empirical vehicle into which it incarnates is the true seat of exterior behavior, as the means of manifesting that intent through the incarnation itself. Implied is that the Intuitive Consciousness identifies and intends its experience; and the Empirical Consciousness interprets and enacts its experience.

Evidence Of The AQAL Cube In Integral Theory

There are two main areas where the AQAL Cube is implied as the underlying Model in Integral Theory. The first is Wilber’s “Eight Zones Model” as described in Integral Spirituality (2006). The “Zones” are inside and outside perspectives for each quadrant on the AQAL Square, and their subsequent eight fields of objective enquiry as Integral Methodological Pluralism. The AQAL Cube differentiates those “inside” and “outside” perspectives as third person derivatives of the Intuitive and Empirical Domains of Consciousness. In the next section, the third person AQAL Cube and its relationship to the eight Zones will be discussed in more detail.

The second area implied is the first person AQAL Cube, and it may come as no surprise that the Lines of the “Self-system”, as differentiated by Integral Theory in the Upper Left of the AQAL Square, are represented by all eight quadrants of the first person Cube. By definition, first person pertains to the Self-perspective, and there are eight personal pronoun perspectives in the first person Cube. Retaining the Zone numbers for those perspectives, the first person AQAL Cube and its proposed relationship to the Lines of the Self-system will also be discussed in more detail in the next section.

Defining The AQAL Cube Perspectives Through The Three Persons

I now briefly review all 24 personal pronoun perspectives of the three persons. Each one occupies its own quadrant, each quadrant going through four representative levels of the Spectrum Of Consciousness using Wilber’s color code of Red, Orange, Blue-as-Turquoise and Violet. (As a note in the interest of not alienating the scientific and artistic communities from Integral Theory any more than necessary, I suggest that the Integral spectrum be realigned with the Newtonian spectrum, where infra red becomes black, magenta becomes shades of brown through to red, amber becomes orange, orange becomes yellow, and turquoise becomes blue). 

1. Proximate Self (Intuitive “I”)
Core Intuitive Self-awareness witnessing through “color” levels of the Spectrum as levels of assumed identity States. Some Lines of the Self-system involved here are self-identity and spiritual. Levels of Intuitive identity States correspond to levels of Empirical Structures they identify with and inhabit during incarnation. The Proximate Self-identity “holds to” its level of identification on the Spectrum with a focus of intent called “Attention” (meaning “holding to”). Different levels demand different degrees of intent, or tenacity, which is greatest in Red as totally fused with Empirical Structures, and diminishing towards Violet in surrendering, or dis-identifying with, corresponding Structures. This relaxing hold of the Attention through the Spectrum gives the Proximate Self increasing fluidity to relocate itself according to its intent. I propose the representative Levels of Proximate Self identity as State Stages are: Red - Id as fused Fascination; Orange - Ego as First Attention; Turquoise – Soul as Second Attention; Violet – Intuitive Witness as Third Attention.

2. Empirical Self (Empirical “I”)
Core Empirical Self-awareness, as our material or incarnate identity, formed by experiences as consciousness Structures dispersed through various Lines and Levels of intelligence. Some Lines of the Self-system involved here are: cognitive, affective, psychosexual, needs, aesthetic. Experiential reality from the perspective of consciousness Structures is based on Levels of interpretation of experiences in various categories of processing, including cerebral - hence Lines of intelligence. Proximate Self-identification with these Structures is fused through green. The resulting Empirical identity, where the Empirical Self has its own material sense of identity, disintegrates on physical death. In Structure pathologies this is the home of the Proximate “I” as a compartmentalized or split-off Empirical Self-sense. Representative Levels of Empirical Self identity as experiential Structure Stages are: Red – feeling-sensing; Orange – rationalizing; Turquoise – visioning; Violet – intuiting.

3. Inter-Proximate Self (Intuitive “We”)
Even before our “We-awareness” comes on line as a differentiated inter-proximate identity in amber, the Inter-proximate Self is present as a fused “I-We” as soon as we differentiate sense-feeling Structures for Mama. Some Lines of the Self-system here are: worldview identities. The higher State Stages of the Inter-proximate Self are how our interior identifies with the cultural arena in which we live, and where we develop our own cultural perspective and altitude. Levels of the Inter-proximate Self, as cultural identities, go through representative State Stages: Red – fused Inter-Id; Orange – Inter-Ego; Turquoise – Inter-Soul; Violet – Inter-Intuitive Witness.

4. Cultural Self (Empirical “We”)
The Cultural Self’s Structure Stages track our own levels of capacity to communicate the information and intelligence contained in the Structures of the Empirical Self. Some Lines of the Self-system here are: aesthetics, worldview interpretation. The Cultural Self evolves communication skills through the representative Structure Stages: Red – shared feeling-sensing; Orange – shared rationalization; Turquoise – shared visions; Violet – shared intuition.

5. Distal Persona (Intuitive “Me”)
As objectively differentiated from the Proximate Self identity, the Distal Persona is how the Self sees itself. Some Lines of the Self-system here are: essential states pertaining to A.H. Almaas’ and Faisal Muqaddam’s Essence, and the Enneagram classification of intentional personae. As the objective Intuitive Self identity, the Distal Persona it is the identifier of State and Structure identities, and their evaluator, in terms of how one sees oneself. This is why different levels of Proximate “I” shell off their differentiated levels of Distal “Me” as objective Intuitive identities, in evolving a first person overview of Who (States) and What (Structures) I am. To have this personal overview of the Self-system is essential in terms of the choices we make to navigate our evolution. We are our own judge in intending and identifying our manifestation. In the after death state, our Distal Persona is the repository of these Intuitive objectives and agendas, which the Tibetans call Levels/States of Bardo experience, that will manifest the next Empirical incarnation. In judging ourselves, the Distal Persona is also the seat of the superego when fused with corresponding Empirical Structures. Its representative State Stages are: Red – Id-centered (4th Bardo bodyego); Orange – Ego-centered (3rd Bardo); Turquoise – Soul-centered (2nd Bardo); Violet – Pneumo-centered (1st Bardo).

6. Empirical Persona (Empirical “My”)
Our Empirical Self Structures also embody the objective expression of those Structures as our behavioral Persona or personality. Some Lines of the Self-system involved here are: ego stages as behavior, personality and types as per the Enneagram. This quadrant is also the arena where most data is obtained in behavioral psychology. The compartmentalization of sub-personality Structures, as Structure Stage fulcrum splits, are also to be found in this quadrant, and where the fused Intuitive Persona superego finds its voice. The representative Empirical Persona’s behavioral Structure Stages here are: Red – Body-centric; Orange – Egocentric; Turquoise – Soulcentric; Violet – Pneumocentric.

7. Inter-Distal Persona (Intuitive “Us”)
Here, beginning in the ethnocentric altitude of amber, is where we identify with the social arena in which we live and develop a social identity. Some Lines of the Self-system involved here are moral, interpersonal. In aligning ourselves with others out there, we develop a personal social identity with its own social perspective and altitude, wherein our peers recognize that “you are one of us”. The Inter-Distal Persona’s representative State Stages are: Red – symbiont; Orange – conformer; Turquoise – integrator; Violet – utopian.

8. Social Persona (Empirical “Our”)
The Social Persona’s Structure Stages track the levels of cooperative behavior. Some Lines of the Self-system involved here are sociocultural behavior, relational exchange. The world in action makes its own demands, resulting in cooperative needs for survival and growth. The Social Persona evolves cooperative behavioral skills. Representative Structure Stages: Red – familial-tribal; Orange – national; Turquoise – global; Violet – Utopian.


1. Second Person Proximate Self (Intuitive “You/Thou”)
An Individual Intuitive relationship implies a level of intimacy. In times gone by to address someone as “Thou” implied levels of confidence and trust reserved for intimacy and recognition of true identity all the way to God Itself. Again, in a second person context, representative State Stages are: Red – Fascination (you fascinate me); Orange – Attention (you have my attention); Turquoise – 2nd Attention (you are my soul-mate); Violet – 3rd Attention (you and I are one).

2.Second Person Empirical Self (Empirical “Your/Thy”)
This is an individual, empirical relationship with another Self. Representative Structure Stages: Red – senses-feelings; Orange – rationalization; Turquoise – visions; Violet – intuition.

3. Inter-Subjective Relationship (Intuitive “You/Ye”)
Inter-subjective identification is the affiliation of the self with other selves. Representative State Stages: Red – Inter-Id identification; Orange – Inter-Ego; Turquoise - Inter-Soul; Violet – Inter-Intuitive identification.

4. Cultural Relationship (Empirical “Your” plural)
Culturally relating through communication of shared worldviews. Representative Structure Stages: Red – sense-feeling; Orange – rationale; Turquoise – vision; Violet – intuition.

5. Second Person Distal Persona (Intuitive “You/Thee”)
This is how one sees, evaluates and relates to another person as an objective identity. Representative State Stages: Red – body-centered, Orange – Ego-centered; Turquoise – Soul-centered; Violet – Pneumo-centered.

6. Second Person Empirical Persona (Empirical “Your/Thy”)
Although not linguistically differentiated from the Second Person Empirical Self, it implies relating to the behavior of another person. Representative Structure Stages: Red - body-centric; Orange – egocentric; Turquoise – soul-centric; Violet – pneumo-centric.

7. Inter-Objective Relationship (Intuitive “You” plural)
Linguistically differentiated in Old English from Inter-Subjective Relationship “Ye”, it implies Social identification and affiliation with others. Representative State Stages: Red – symbiotic; Orange – conforming; Turquoise – integrating; Violet – utopian.

8. Social Relationship (Empirical “Your” plural)
Although not linguistically differentiated from Cultural Relationship, it implies socially relating in the arena of shared exteriors such as organizations. Representative Structure Stages: Red – family-tribes; Orange – nations; Turquoise – global village; Violet – utopia.

1. Intuitive Self  (“He/She”)
The phenomenological State Stages in this quadrant include waking/sleeping experiential States; Gross, Subtle, Causal and Non-dual experiential States; meditative State Stages and the Chakras. Representative State Stages: Red – Subconscious; Orange – Conscious; Turquoise – Superconscious; Violet – Enlightened.

2. Empirical Self (“He/She”)
The cognitive Structure Stages in this quadrant also correlate to third person levels of cognitive operation, or Mind. Representative Structure Stages: Red – Bodymind; Orange – Low Mind; Turquoise – High Mind; Violet – Intuitive Mind.

3. Cultural Self {Intuitive “They”)
Our hermeneutic capacity to communicate, and interpret each other’s interior, gives us a cultural identity that includes moral and aesthetic values. Representative State Stages: Red - Egocentric; Orange – Ethnocentric; Turquoise – Worldcentric; Violet – Theocentric.

4. Cultural Community (Empirical “Their”)
The ethnomethodology of cultural community shows how worldviews emerge and take form. Representative Structure Stages: Red – Magical; Orange – Rational; Turquoise – Integral; Violet – Intuitive. 

5. Intuitive Persona (“Him/Her”)
The inside, autopoietic or embedded observer, as the objective Intuitive Persona, is embodied through levels of increasing subtlety. These levels, as objective Subtle States, are counterpart to increasing levels of Structural complexity outside in the gross body of the Empirical Persona. Representative State Stages: Red – Pre-personal; Orange – Ego Persona; Turquoise – Integrated Persona; Violet – Transpersonal/Divine.

6. Empirical Persona (“His/Hers”)
The outside, empirical observer is embodied through levels of increasing gross complexity. As we consciously evolve in this physical body, increasingly subtle consciousness States (Intuitive) and Structures (Empirical) find expression through increasingly complex neuro-physical and neuro-physiological networks. Representative Structure Stages: Red – Limbic/Gross Body; Orange – Neocortex/Mental; Turquoise – SF3/Subtle; Violet – Pineal/Causal.

7. Social Persona (Intuitive “Them”)
The inside agenda or social autopoiesis behind our organized activities and organizations is according to their organizers, those who agree to a common agenda according to their level of communication. Representative State Stages: Red – Egocentric; Orange – Ethnocentric; Turquoise – Worldcentric; Violet – Theocentric.

8, Social Order – (Empirical “Their”)
The arenas of organized activity, as outside systems, are formed according to the arenas as conscious environments. Representative Structure Stages: Red – Biosphere/family tribes; Orange – Noosphere/industrial nations; Turquoise – World-sphere/global integration; Violet – Theosphere – intuitive autonomy.

We can now take a “Whole Cube” approach to any situation, where we can address the Four Quadrants on each of the six directional faces to take a more comprehensive directional bias:  Not only the Intuitive Identities Quadrants and Empirical Structures Quadrants, but also the Individual Quadrants, the Collective Quadrants, the Subjective Quadrants, and the Objective Quadrants, as shown in Figure 11.

Examples Of Perspective Integration On The First Person Cube
The Individual Quadrants pronoun perspectives “I” (Proximate Self), “I” (Empirical Self), “Me” (Distal Persona) and “My” (Empirical Persona) are where most consciousness issues are raised. Here is where States of the Intuitive Consciousness inhabit corresponding Structures of the Empirical Consciousness. In Wilber’s “Integral Psychology” (2000), he describes on page 92 Proximate Self as navigating through the basic waves or Structure Stages in a series of fulcrums where structural stability is attained (or otherwise) one level at a time. Developmental arrest at any one fulcrum results from a failure of the Proximate Self to stabilize that particular Structure Stage. I propose that the AQAL Cube is able to reveal more about this in showing that a fulcrum is really a more complex integration between a Structure Stage (below) and the corresponding identity State Stage (above) that inhabits it; and moreover, that the above/below integration is also All-Quadrant between “I” Intuitive, “I” Empirical, “Me” Intuitive and “My” Empirical. Figure 12. shows how identity shifts need to be balanced by stable personality shifts as well as fulcrum shifts.

I propose that when our Proximate Self (Intuitive “I”) transcends/includes its previous Structure (Empirical “I”) to the next level of identity, its previous level not only becomes objectified as the Distal Persona (“Me”), but that “Me” as an identity State Stage is then consolidated, and further objectified, as the next corresponding Structure Stage of the Empirical Persona (personality) “My”. This is a very tricky balancing act, especially in the early Stages, and little wonder there is many a slip between cup and lip. I propose this entire process needs to be reevaluated from the first person AQAL Cube perspectives.

A very simple example of how these first person horizontal (level specific) and above/below dynamics work is demonstrated by the breath cycle. In taking My breath (Empirical Upper Right), I have an experience (Empirical Upper Left), which I witness (Intuitive Upper Left) as transforming Me (Intuitive Upper Right). This is how the breath cycle can be analyzed as a transformative meditative practice into greater Self-awareness  (Proximate and Distal), and therefore a potential AQAL remedy for fulcrum blocks. This cycle applies to any Empirical Upper Right behavior, so that every self-aware act we make becomes potentially transformative. This very simple example indicates how all AQAL Square research can be rewardingly reevaluated through the AQAL Cube; and it also indicates an additional therapeutic territory to be included in the Integral Life Practice program.

An AQAL Cube Memo On Integral Life Practice

In the integration of our AQAL Cube perspectives, it is evident that the Empirical and Intuitive Quadrants need to evolve in balance, as an expanding Cube would suggest. This has been alluded to in many cultural contexts as a need to have the gross material leg in balance with the subtle spiritual leg if we are not to keep falling down. The tenets of Integral Life Practice, as the practice of Integral Theory, discuss this evolving state of equipoise as an AQAL Square endeavor. I would merely add that, in practicing an integral life from the AQAL Cube perspectives, it is through the Intuitive Quadrants that we intend, identify and inhabit the Empirical Quadrants as the true manifestation of our intent. In an integral life we learn more and more about how to co-evolve and fully integrate the Subtle and Gross halves of our wholeness, top down and bottom up through all 24 pronoun-perspectives. In other words, the more our AQAL Intuitive being gets consciously involved with our AQAL Empirical being to that end, as a “hand-in-glove” entity, the faster we can evolve our Empirical manifestation towards incarnate Enlightenment. We happen to be driving a potential Enlightenment vehicle, and we need to become aware of its potential to get us where we really need to go up that Spectral Highway.

The Three Tiers Of The Spectrum

Integral Theory proposes that the Spectrum of Consciousness is divided into three phases of evolution as three Tiers (Integral Spirituality, 2006, Fig. 2,4). Using the colors of the spectrum as per Wilber, the First Tier through green has materialist worldviews as seen from the colors in question; Second Tier through to indigo has holistic worldviews that grasp the entire spectrum; and Third Tier through ultra violet has worldviews that we are the entire spectrum.
 But what is behind these massive shifts in worldview through the three Tiers? I propose that they indicate shifts in the evolving dynamic between the Empirical and Intuitive Domains.

In the First Tier, the Intuitive identity States are fused with the Empirical Structures they inhabit, resulting in identifying with Gross Domain materiality, mortality and survival. In Second Tier the Intuitive awareness learns to differentiate from the Empirical Domain as Subtle awareness, resulting in differentiating a spiritual identity. Even though the Integral Level of awareness is indigo in Third Tier, the true integration of the Empirical and Intuitive Domains in Universal Consciousness is not completed until ultra violet in the Enlightenment process. I therefore propose that the three phases as the fusion, then the differentiation, and finally the integration of the two Domains define the three Tiers. This would suggest that one strategy to help nourish the entire Spectrum would be to encourage the discussion of the Intuitive Domain of Consciousness.

Consciousness States In The Empirical And Intuitive Domains

I am now in a position to give some brief examples of how the changing dynamic between the two Domains through the three Tiers results in various States of awareness. The following is based on my own phenomenological experiences, and needs verification from Second and Third Tier witnessing. The various States of awareness appear to be the result of various levels and degrees of engagement and disengagement between the Empirical and Intuitive Consciousness. Some of these States include waking consciousness, dreaming sleep, deep sleep, deep absorption meditation, death and near-death, and delusional states.

1. In waking consciousness, the Empirical Self is in full awareness. In First Tier, it assumes itself as the witness of phenomena as a result of being fused with the Intuitive Self; but in Second Tier, when it becomes differentiated from the Intuitive Self, the assumption accordingly shifts to the Intuitive Self as witness.

2. In dreaming sleep, the Empirical Self is in partial shutdown to allow its Structures metabolize its waking state experiences. However, the Intuitive Self never shuts down. If it is fused or over-identified with the Empirical Self (First Tier) then it plays no part in dreaming sleep other than as a fused Witness. If there is Empirical-Intuitive differentiation (Second Tier), then the Intuitive Self begins to consciously witness and even participate in the dream in a state called lucid dreaming, and also remember the experience on waking.                                                                                                                                   

3. In deep sleep there is total shutdown of the Empirical Self. Again, with a fused or over-identified Intuitive Self (First Tier) the result is total unconsciousness. But if there is differentiation while the Empirical Self is in deep sleep, the Intuitive Self can consciously enter states of deep absorption into Universal Consciousness, because total unconsciousness made conscious is total Consciousness.

4. Deep absorption may also be entered in the waking state of the Empirical Self through meditation. Here the Empirical Self is shut down intentionally by the Intuitive Self. The Intuitive Self then surrenders its hold/attention on all its lesser identities, as the self- assumed knower, to the true Knower in merging with Universal Consciousness.

5. In physical death the Empirical Self disintegrates along with all other Empirical Structures. As in deep sleep, if the Intuitive Self is fused/over-identified with the Empirical, then death is experienced as a temporary swoon into unconsciousness. “Awakening” from the death swoon, the Intuitive Self then becomes aware of the after-death state and near-death experiences, in which it can either surrender to Universal Consciousness or resist It. Resistance results in “Dream” or Bardo states of near-death or after-death experiences located in the Intuitive Upper Right. In the latter, those experiences determine the circumstances of subsequent reincarnation; and a return to unconsciousness during reincarnation leaves no memory of this process, or of the previous life. On the other hand, surrender to Universal Consciousness results in post-mortem Enlightenment, and continuous Intuitive Consciousness throughout the reincarnation process into the Empirical Quadrants. The Buddha called this Continuous Consciousness.

6. There are also delusional states. Schizophrenia, or multiple personalities, happens at an early Fulcrum arrest in the Empirical Self due to trauma, which the Intuitive Self safely compartmentalizes as another “Me” in the Intuitive Persona, and then splits off alternative personalities through the Empirical Persona, which have no knowledge of the trauma. Bipolarism, with its brain-chemistry imbalance in the Third Person Empirical Upper Right, is a roller-coaster ride between the First Person Empirical Persona and Empirical Self caught at an emotional Fulcrum. Autism is also an early Fulcrum arrest, where there is shutdown between the Empirical Self and Empirical Persona with diminished personality expression of the Empirical Self’s consciousness structures.

7. There are also Structure-States and State-Structures. Structure-States are our affect felt-states and associated emotional behaviors of the Empirical Self and Persona at all Levels. State-Structures (Subtle States) form the intentional core of the Intuitive Consciousness, as the desire-fear-inertia complex of the Intuitive Self and Persona at all Levels.

I propose that to define and explain consciousness States, as a dynamic between the two Domains of consciousness, the AQAL Cube is essential. We now discuss the AQAL Cube’s capacity to accurately map the phenomena discussed so far, as Kosmic Events with Kosmic Addresses, for the purposes of diagnosis and understanding.
Octant Perspectives Of A Kosmic Event

Any phenomenon in the Kosmos is a Kosmic event. A quadrivium is a four-quadrant view of any Kosmic event. A quadrivium simply means a crossroads where four roads, or quadrivia, converge at a point, or where four perspectives converge at a point; and this point is the location of any specified Kosmic event. This point can be located on the AQAL Cube by establishing the coordinates. To join in Ken Wilber’s game of Roman Emperors (Integral Spirituality, page 254), I propose that the eight quadrants of the AQAL Cube form an octad (a set of eight), each of which is an octant (an eighth part of a cube when equally divided by three planes mutually at right angles). The event as viewed by the eight octants (or octad) of the AQAL Cube is an octavium. So, an octavium is the event as seen from the eight octants of the AQAL Cube as octavia. Because each octant and quadrant of the AQAL Cube and Square are in fact comprised of bundles of numerous separate Lines of development, each of those specified Lines viewing a specified Kosmic event are themselves octavia/quadrivia.

Any two octavia viewing an event establish a binary perspective, and an All-Level binary perspective forms a lattice of perspective permutations, like the classic Wilber-Combs lattice formed between two Lines (Structure Stages and State Stages) as quadrivia in the Upper Left Quadrant of the AQAL Square. In Figure 13 we see how it features on the third person Cube, where “vertical” (Structures) and “horizontal” (States) designations become meaningless.

But there are more lattices. In the AQAL Cube there are 32 such binary-octant lattices, or 96 through the three persons. At every intersection between two lines is a binary perspective.


It is clear that our eight perspectives are not isolated windows of awareness, but work together like a compound eye, which sees via the totality we have called an octavium. We can now see how, via the 32 x 3 octant-lattices, our total awareness is a vastly more complex but seamless interplay between our Intuitive and Empirical Consciousness.

From moment to moment on any binary-perspective lattice, one of the two octants can be preferentially dominant; meaning that we can also take a reversed perspective, including a reversed Self perspective, when the dominant pole as witnessing “subject” becomes the recessive pole as witnessed “object”. For example, Soul-as-witness (first person Intuitive Upper Left, turquoise altitude) prehending or engaging a recessive pole such as Lower Mind (first person Empirical Upper Left, red altitude), while selflessly chopping wood, can be reversed as Lower Mind prehending Soul in a sudden insight of awesome power. For that same lattice-coordinate the two reversed perspectives produce a totally different experience.

Similarly, the 32 x 3 octant lattices provide 64 x 3 reversed-perspective lattices through the three persons. Remembering that each of the 8 x 3 octants are themselves “telephone cables” of Lines to be singled out as octant perspectives, the resulting lattice permutations grow exponentially.

Furthermore, just as each lattice is a permutation of binary perspectives between two octants, so two adjoining lattices produce binary-lattice perspectives, either in the same Cube or between Cubes. For example, if one lattice is a first person Cube binary perspective, the second lattice can be a bridge to a second person Cube perspective, as in “I” relating to “You”. This is “bi-angulation”; and if a third person is brought in as a trinary-lattice perspective, it becomes “triangulation”, then “quadrangulation” and so on.

This is the tip of another vast “ice cube” of inter-lattice perspectives that simply provides our normal capacity of being able to take on the multiple perspectives of others. Now the recombinant permutations of perspective go truly exponential, like the possible recombinant permutations of the human genome go into the billions. If an octant is a specific field of phenomena, and an octavia is a specific view of the phenomena in that field, we are no longer talking about a mere octavium of evaluations here, but about a “convivium”, a veritable feast of evaluations with which we can form a clear picture like the high definition pixels of a TV.

Determining The Kosmic Address Of A Perspective Coordinate

A Kosmic event and a perspective of that event have lattice coordinates that provide the Kosmic addresses of both. The eight pronouns perspectives per Cube generate the coordinates of a Kosmic address in a very similar way to how the Global Positioning Satellites deliver a longitude, latitude and altitude for any location on Earth. If we compare our entire Sphere (or Cube) of Consciousness with our planet Earth, divided into Northern (Intuitive) and Southern (Empirical) Hemispheres, each one of the eight stationary satellites has a different perspective of our present location, even as it changes, and our GPS coordinates are the octavium of the satellite octad. How, then, do we accurately define that location, define the latitude/longitude/altitude coordinates in terms of the AQAL Cube? 

I propose that the accurate interpretation of a specified Kosmic event depends on the accurate identification of the observer of that event through comprehensive binary-perspective lattices, and through multiple-lattice perspectives, as a “convivium”, through specified Lines, Levels and resulting Types.

Here I propose three very basic coordinates whereby we may define a Kosmic Address, both of an event and the witness of that event, with greater accuracy.
1. Specify first, second and third person Cubes for witness and event.
2. Specify binary-perspective octant numbers, with Lines, and dominant pole-perspective.
3. Specify relative altitudes for Lines on each lattice, and resulting types.

All this fits quite easily into Wilber’s established calculus given in Integral Spirituality (2006). As a simplified example, the three person Cubes are 1-p, 2-p, and 3-p. The “Zone” numbers are those of the octants, so a 1-p lattice can be designated by its two octants, such as 1-p2/3. If 3 is the dominant pole, it becomes 1-p3/2. Relative altitudes are also as designated by Wilber with the initial letter of the color in the spectrum inserted after each octant number. For example, Tarzan’s famous injunction “Me Tarzan”, who self-identifies red, becomes a 1-p1r/5r lattice. “You Jane”, whom Tarzan also identifies as red (though she is more likely orange), becomes a  1-p1r/2-p1r lattice.

Where I see the real work to be done, in order to implement a comprehensive Kosmic address system, is in the differentiation of the “telephone cable” of Lines to be had in each octant. In the Integral arena we occasionally hear of new Lines of development being differentiated that include more of the alienated and marginalized. And like adding zeroes to a one, the AQAL Cubes will multiply as person-perspectives shift towards Ultra Violet.

As a final note I would like to say that my true aspiration for the AQAL Cube, with its potential for perspective permutations, is that it may become the mapping Model for the Human Consciousness Project, which is a scientific body engaged in researching the after-death experience. A remarkably high number of people, having undergone clinical death by all standard definitions, nevertheless return with full conscious recall of their after-death experiences, implying the existence a conscious domain that is not empirically demonstrable. Perhaps for the first time, the AQAL Cube differentiates such an AQAL Domain, here named the Intuitive Consciousness, which I propose does provide the much-needed map to chart the unknown terrain of Subtle State awareness and after-death experience in the first person Cube, Intuitive Upper Right. But from an Integral standpoint, I propose the real value of the AQAL Cube is in its capacity to integrate the Subtle with the Gross Domains, where identity States occupy corresponding consciousness Structures. It is my belief that the AQAL Cube lays the foundations for Wilber 6. I further propose that the complexity of the human consciousness can be mapped relatively simply by establishing a perspectival calculus for the proposed binary perspective lattices of the AQAL Cube, and I look forward to work with any interested parties in the Integral arena to that end.


Wilber, K. (2000).  Integral Psychology. Boston, MA. Shambhala. Wilber, K. (1997). An Integral Theory Of Consciousness. Journal Of Consciousness Studies 4. Mark Edwards (2004). Through AQAL Eyes, Part 7. Integral World. Human Consciousness Project.

LEXI NEALE.  1966 -1969 reading B.Sc. Zoology and Psychology at London University. In 1972 he met his Enlightenment teacher Prem Rawat in India, and is still with him doing Integral Practice. He is now completing an interactive, self-evaluating Enlightenment Kosmology called The Seed Game, at the core of which is his Kosmological model called the AQAL Cube of Being and Knowing, a.k.a. Integral Cube or I-Cube. With its potential permutations of perspectives through three or more persons, it is a potential model for the Human Consciousness Project. Please contact him at
Address: Lexi Neale, 130 Mono Avenue, Fairfax, CA 94930, USA

AFFILIATE: The Prem Rawat Foundation, or TPRF, founded by Prem Rawat. A registered charity and disaster relief organization providing funds, volunteers and all means necessary for the relief of human suffering. Contact TPRF at


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