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RE: RE: Trans-Personal Psychology

Jan 29, 1999 05:49 AM
by Peter Merriott

Dear Martin,

Thanks for mentioning Dr. Nelsons book and for including the qoute from Ken

You write in relation to transpersonal psychology and the recent lecture you

> There is no doubt in my mind that HPB
> would have loved to see this movement in her times.

I certainly hope so.  It would be quite amazing to have HPB's comments and
criticisms on this area of psychology.  I'm sure she would point out many of
its misconceptions in relation to Theosophical Principles, but how helpful
this would be!

Best wishes,


> I bought, Dr. Nelson's book: "Healing the Split, Integrating
> Spirit into our
> Understanding of the mentally Ill." published by State University of New
> York, 1994. I recommend it to all including getting the lecture (on
> cassette) from Krotona.
> I would like to share few paragraphs from the foreword of that
> book, written
> by Ken Wilbur to show the point that Peter was making.
> ========
> JOHN NELSON HAS written an enormously impressive, profound, and important
> book, which takes as its simple starting point the fact that
> Spirit exists.
> This might seem an utterly obvious place to begin, except for the
> fact that
> Dr. Nelson is a member in good standing of the mainstream psychiatric
> community. And modern psychiatry, for all the relative good it has managed
> to accomplish, is still by and large totally ignorant of the spiritual and
> transpersonal dimensions of human experience. This is all the more curious
> in that psychiatry, whatever else its mission, has been
> understood from its
> inception to be the science of the soul. And yet on the subject of' the
> human soul and spirit modern psychiatry has been strangely silent.
> Even worse, most of the genuine human experiences of transcendental spirit
> have been not merely ignored but rather violently pathologized by modern
> psychiatry. The easiest way to be labeled schizophrenic in our
> society is to
> let it be known that you feel that in the deepest part of your being you
> (and all sentient beings) are one with infinite Spirit, one with the
> universe, one with the All—an insight that every wisdom culture the world
> over has held to be not the depths of mental illness but the pinnacle of
> human understanding. This intuition of the Supreme Identity, shared by all
> beings, is for such cultures not the ultimate pathology but the ultimate
> liberation.
> The Supreme Identity of' the human soul and the transcendental
> Divine is the
> cornerstone of the perennial philosophy and the defining insight of the
> world's greatest mystics and philosophers.
> Erwin Schrodinger, the founder of modern quantum mechanics and himself a
> profound mystic, explained that if you carefully look through the world's
> great spiritual and mystical literature, you will find "many beautiful
> utterances of a similar kind. You are struck by the miraculous agreement
> between humans of' different race, different religion, knowing
> nothing about
> each other's existence, separated by centuries and millennia, and by the
> greatest distances that there are on our globe"
> The only major culture to ignore or devalue the perennial philosophy has
> been, alas, our own modern culture of secular materialism and brutish
> scientism, which has by and large, from the eighteenth century
> onward, been
> dominated by that which can be perceived by the senses and manipulated by
> measurement. The concept of the Great Chain of Being—according to
> which men
> and women have at least five major levels of being: matter, body, mind,
> soul, and spirit— was reduced to mere matter and body. First spirit, then
> soul, and then mind were rejected by modern psychology and
> psychiatry, with
> the disastrous result that men and women were held to be nothing more than
> sophisticated bundles of material atoms in vaguely animate
> bodies. Thus our
> modern "science of the soul," almost from the start, has been a science
> merely of the physical and bodily components of the entire human being—a
> reductionistic cultural catastrophe of the first magnitude.
> The aim of transpersonal psychology, then, is to give a psychological
> presentation of the perennial philosophy and the Great Chain of
> Being, fully
> updated and grounded in modern research and scientific developments. It
> fully acknowledges and incorporates the findings of modern psychiatry,
> behaviorism, and developmental psychology, and then adds, where necessary,
> the further insights and experiences of the existential and spiritual
> dimensions of the human being. We might say it starts with psychiatry and
> ends with mysticism.
> And that is exactly the value of Healing the Split. It presents
> one version
> of a full-spectrum model of human growth and development that incorporates
> the vast richness of modern psychiatry and neuroscience and then
> supplements
> it with transcendental and spiritual dimensions.
> Not all of his theoretical conclusions, of course, will be accepted by all
> transpersonal theorists. The field is young, and there is plenty
> of room for
> healthy disagreements. …
> =================

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