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With this inaugural issue we bring you a collection of articles, writings and images which may detail and evoke the transpersonal field of modern psychology. This Journal will explore how spirituality, modern psychology and natural-sciences might come together.
The “oversoul” is “in” these days. Personal development is in style. It is fashionable to reflect ones lifehistory, participate in body/mind explorations, emotional workshops, self-actualization-summercamps, assertiontraining, transactionsanalysis, dream interpretation, perennial philosophy and the usual “oops” and what have you. Why is there something rather than nothing?
In the following I shall present some questions that goes beynd that, some notes, memes and memos, links, “sendebreve” concerning pschycologically connected fields of interests, how are we created and what is the nature of man role in the creative output (entaüsserung, Hegel), sublimation (Freud) in the evolutionary unfolding. A proces that is simultaneously a-changin the reproduction of mankind itself. I want to address some issues regarding identity, role-play, crisis connecting transitions between the phases of life. Partners, families, formation of groups, work as such in different social systems, habitats, work, sociotops, states and free-time. Personality disorders and antisocial behavior, the common nonsense, der Betrug und Selbst-betrug, the entertainment industry in its transformation of reality into markets and circus and design and ultimately “useful idiots.”
I shall try to map out some models and concepts, that might help enlighten some of the areas most difficult to reach with past, older models and concepts in psychology, clarify some areas in our selves and the social interaction and the “big picture”. We negotiate as presumed the formulations, definitions and motors and from these construct creative models, in order to make some schemes or designs, in order to fix some wholes or else forecasting the weather. What time is life.
I shall introduce a few stances (waves) and classical maps (particles) connecting the four larger mainstreams
Transpersonel psychology and existential-phenomenological.
Partly I am following Spinelli and partly Ken Wilber. Spinelli writes: “I have elected to distinguish four general models or “thematic stances” of therapy. Three of these, The psycho-analytic (e.g. Freudian psycho-analysis, Klenian psychoanalysis), the humanistic (e.g.person-centered therapy) and the cognitive-behavioral (e.g. Beck’s cognitive therapy, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy) are widely known and, together, cover the central emphases and divergeneces within the great majority of theories and approaches to therapy. The fourth model, the existential-phenomenological model, is far less well known (…)”. (Demystifying Therapy – page 26).
FIRST FORCE is the name for the psychoanalytic or psychopathological approach, which pulls from observations and therapy with sick people, and a lot of good came from that. It gave insights into the more ordinary conscious activities and interpersonal emotive relations.
Freud, Erikson, Klein, Mahler, Piaget, Winnicut, Kernberg, Kohut, Kohlberg,Vaillant.
SECOND FORCE in my approach the name of the more scientific and academic streams of interests, thematic stances, starting out with Wundt in Germany. Pavlov in Russia, Watson, Skinner in the USA. It groups streams of cognitive-behavioristic orientations, which insists on looking at outer, observable, material phenomenons, as ground for a science. Some good and some bad things resulted from this. The obstacle being that in order to avoid personal bias, you dismiss introspection, consciousness, thinking and logic as a legitimate fields of science.
Classical behaviorism is not that “come il faut” these days, partly because of it’s narrow-mindedness and implicit biases, partly because it is submerged into cognitive psychology.
Cognitive psychology were early on inspired by digital computers and the goal seemed to be to explain consciousness in somewhat more simple, non-conscious subsystems, to reduce it to informationsprocesses in a physical system – some digital or biological computer.
Behaviorism: Wundt, Pavlov, Watson, Skinner, Tolman, Beck.
Cognitive psychology: Norbert Wiener, Coterill, Meta Transition Theory, Principia Cybernetica.
The results of the two mentioned approaches are/were too shortsighted, that the individual is seen as a combination of a robot and animal instincts (triebe), which civilization barely can repress. Approaches that do not appeal neither to serious investigations of deeper levels in consciousness, nor serious studies of the social (trans)formation of society. Approaches that “as far as they go” correlates to the materialistic orientation of it’s time. You end up in “scientism”, that reminds you about fundamentalistic, dogmatic, religious orientations, unable to submerge new dates and ideas, a constant openness to new pfenomenons that serious scientific explorations must have.
THIRD FORCE sprang out of the fifties as a new type of patients and clients emerged at the therapeuts offices. People did not function as well any more. Stressproblems, unsatisfying personal relations, repressed anger and aggression etc.
You ought to be happy seen in correlation to the situated ordinary norms and criteria. You had work, money, good sex, good friends, leisure activities – and still something was lacking. The existential-neurotics, the first autistic intellectuals made by an autistic society showed up. What time is life.
It led to the formation of the “third force” – humanistic psychology 1972. E.g. Maslow was interested in “relatively healthy” individuals in stead of obvious mentally sick and this led new to new legitimate fields of explorations. Questions about autencity, peak-experiences, love and creativity came on the agenda. Normal folks were now labeled as neurotics in comparison to the potential every individual (Hegel: prägt and trägt) was carrying in their backpacks.
Self-actualization became the keyword, with heavy emphasis on the more practical approaches, a new body orientation, emotive therapies came to light. Relative normal people were able to attend courses and receive teaching in living a more rich and healthier life. A lot of self-help/man-improving literature emerged in the more gray scaled part of the spectrum. But as a whole the humanistic psychology did not infiltrate the main stream of materialistic, scientistic orientation – still we were nothing but material processes, without other ground for existence than to fulfill biological instincts, greedy machines laboring towards a meaningless death. Humanistic and existential and historical approaches pooled.
Humanistic psychology: Maslow, Beuler, Perls, Lowen,
Existential psychology: Frankl, Rollo May,
Action psychology: Leontjev, Elkonin, Vigotsky, Dewey, Bandura.
Critical psychology: Lukacs, Fromm, Marcuse, Helmholtz.
Symbolic Interactionism: Cooley, Mead, Blumer.
Psycho-semiotics – Myth and metaphor: Jung, Campell, Lakoff.
FOURTH FORCE or transpersonal psychology was an approach emerging in the sixties out of the humanistic wave. Spinelli writes: “In addition, the humanistic strand also contains subsidiary transpersonal approaches that focus on the spiritual or “over-self”, elements that influences both intra- and interpersonal relations”. (Demystifying Therapy – page 139).
Trans meaning in Latin something like “beyond”, through, behind the backs and over the heads, speech/sound through the mask (per sonar), personality and the overselves. The worldliterature has throughout recent history produced stories about men and women having extraordinary perceptions, that convinced them that something greater were at hand besides our ordinary selves. It overflows with testimonials, descriptions of “mystical experiences”, feelings of being part of something bigger with the individual acting as necessary situated instrument – “durchgangsinstrument” (Hegel).
Transpersonal psychology encompasses the study and use of experiences, which seems to take us beyond the ordinary, biological and materialistic self.
Grof, Murphy, Walsh, Harner and the psycho-historians e.g. Wilber.
Existential psychology: Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Spinelli, Habermas
A: Are you Doctor William Wilson?
B: Yes, I am. How can I help you?
A: I am Murphy. My stomach! I must have eaten something bad.
B: Does it hurt? Feel any pain?
A: Not really. Problems using the bathroom.
B: Diarrhoea? I can give you some fast-relief medication.
A: That would be great.
B: You are welcome.
A: Have a nice day, Dr. Wilson.