This work brings the new information of
pre- and perinatal psychology to bear upon basic spiritual and philosophical
constructs regarding the nature of consciousness, child development, personal
growth, and transpersonal "evolution."
It utilizes the results of the phenomenon of re-experience
of events surrounding and preceding one's birth, as well as the more empirically
rooted findings concerning our origins and our earliest experiences, into
a coherent structure for understanding their implications. This structure
is a devolutional model, meaning that the normal process of development is
seen as a regression from or "forgetting" of prior, more aware states.
After an initial overview of the field
of pre- and perinatal psychology presented in Chapter One, that review of
the current understanding and findings in this area is built upon in making
a case, in Chapter Two, for the legitimacy of "prenatal spirituality."
This means basically two things: (1) that regression to pre-
and perinatal states represents a spiritual progression and a proximity
to and increased access of spiritual states and awareness; and (2) that these
earliest events themselves, as they originally occurred, were characterized
by a similar heightened spiritual proximity and awareness.
Making this case is important for two reasons:
For one, there is a strong tradition in the field of re-experience
that reduces all spirituality and spiritual experiences to early traumas and
neurosis. This is the dominant
attitude in psychoanalysis, articulated initially by Freud.
However it has been carried and promulgated forcefully into
the field of re-experience by Arthur Janov -- one of the field's leading theorists.
This idea that all spirituality is derivative of underlying
primal pain, as Janov contends, is addressed and disputed in Chapter Two.
Second, just as spirituality and spiritual
experience are denigrated in the light of primal experience by Arthur Janov,
from the other end of the spectrum Ken Wilber denigrates primal and prenatal
experience in the light of spiritual experience.
Wilber -- the dominant theoretician in the field of transpersonal
studies -- claims that preverbal states (like primal and prenatal re-experience)
are the opposite of transverbal states (what he considers to be true spiritual
experience). I focus on and dispute
this aspect of Wilber's thinking beginning in Chapter Two, but also throughout
the rest of this work. That
prenatal states are identical to, akin to, or at least leading to transpersonal
states and that Ken Wilber has made a major mistake in contending the contrary
is a central theme in this work.
Thus, the idea, presented initially in
Chapter Two, that there exists prenatal and cellular consciousness as well
as an inherent spirituality or proximity to the numinous and transpersonal,
if not also divinity, at these levels of development is a crucial idea in
all that follows. This case
is made, in Chapter Two, on the basis of the available evidence in relevant
fields and in particular from the viewpoint of findings in primal therapy.
Chapter Three follows up on this analysis
of the case for prenatal spirituality with examples of it from my own re-experience
through the modality of holotropic breathwork -- a technique of transpersonal
access and reliving developed by Stanislav and Christina Grof.
The chapter should be seen as providing a sample of the sorts
of experiences, insights, and perspectives that can occur through the phenomenon
of re-experience. Though no
sample could possibly represent the essence, expanse, or necessary outline
of this highly individual and vastly diverse level of experience, Chapter
Three demonstrates clearly the overlap between the personal and transpersonal
-- between the biographical/biological and the spiritual/numinous -- that
characterizes this arena of experience.
Part 2, following immediately afterwards,
represents the ontogenetic model of consciousness and "devolutional" (the
opposite of evolution) development based on such inquiry.
It is the heart of this work.
Titled "Falls From Grace," it details a process of removal
from divinity or a higher state during the process of coming into this world
as a series of stages -- focused on the events of conception, birth, the primal
scene, and puberty -- which happen to correspond to Wilber's (1977) levels
of consciousness in his "spectrum of consciousness."
Part 3 follows this in presenting the implications
of this model for child development and parenting, for psychotherapy and personal
growth, and for spiritual evolution and higher consciousness.
This part carries forward some of the themes from Parts 1
and 2 to their logical conclusions in terms of their effects on current models
and thinking and on society and culture.
The earliest indications are that the implications from
including the prenatal and primal perspective are vast.
For indeed this new perspective, this new information seems
to call for an overthrow, or at least a reversal, of many of the aspects of
the dominant paradigms in parenting, child development, psychotherapy, and
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction: The Transpersonal Perspective:
Experience Is Divine; Cognition
(1) Reality Is Something Directly Experienced
Rationalism as egoistic self-abuse
From Solipsism to Transpersonal Reality
We are All
We are God
How "Within" Can Also Be "Outside"
From Transpersonal Reality to the Fall From Grace
Invisible others exist
Devolution From Grace
(2) Reality Is Not the Interpretation of That Experience
Interpretation brings metaphor
Time is an abstraction as well
Experience Is Divine
The Uses of Normal Knowledge
The Best Possible Map: Both Kinds of Knowledge Combined
PART 1: LITERATURE REVIEW
One: Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and
Re-Experience and Reliving
My Relationship to the Phenomenon of Re-Experience
Pre- and Perinatal Re-Experience
Overview of This Book
Overview of the Pre- and Perinatal Psychology Field
Donald W. Winnicott
David Cheek and Leslie LeCron
S. Giora Shoham
The Importance of the Intrauterine and
the Goal of this Book
Case for the Legitimacy of Prenatal Spirituality
Primal Therapy and the Legitimacy of Spiritual Experience
An Alternative Explanation
Brain correlates (wave and structure)
Differences in Pain
Unclean mysticism (cerebral distortion)
A Foray Into Cellular/ Transpersonal Consciousness
Just a Membrane Away (February 8, 1992)
A Juicy Glowing Blastocyst on the Rise (February 8, 1992)
A Ball of Experience, or Sidling Up
to the Implicate Order (February
The Implicate Order As Uterine Wall (February 9, 1992)
The Vast Hole of the "Not the Tribal" (April 27, 1992)
The Sound of Creation, or "'Tis Bliss to Exist"
(April 28, 1992)
More Nestling Up with the Implicate Order, or Before and After
Western Fall (Split) (June 19, 1992)
PART 2: FALLS FROM GRACE: A DEVOLUTIONAL MODEL OF CONSCIOUSNESS INCORPORATING
PRE- AND PERINATAL PSYCHOLOGY
Chapter Four: Biology As Metaphor and Mythology
The Stuff of the World Is Mind-Stuff
Biology As Metaphor
Biological phases as levels of consciousness
The charge of reductionism
The legitimacy of heuristic inquiry into form
The Legitimacy of Cellular Memory
Morphogenetic fields and morphic resonance
Mytho-Empiricism and Biology As Mythology
Relative universality of myths correlated with importance
Separant-fusion personality dialectic
Stages beginning at conception, not birth
Chapter Five: The First Fall From Grace: Sperm/Egg and
First Fall From Grace
The Breaking of the Vessels and the Scattering of the Divine
The thin pipe from infinity
The scattering of the divine sparks
The breaking of the vessels
Mending the Catastrophe
Transpersonal Bands: Womb With a View
Chapter Six: The Second Fall From Grace: Birth
Second Fall From Grace
Expulsion from Pantheistic togetherness
Biosocial Bands: The Cultural Veil
Chapter Seven: The Third Fall From Grace: Primal Scene/
Third Fall From Grace
Philosophic Bands: Who to Be?
Chapter Eight: The Fourth Fall From Grace: Puberty
Fourth Fall From Grace
Kitty-Drowners and Butterfly-Mashers
PART 3: IMPLICATIONS FOR CHILD
"DEVELOPMENT," SPIRITUALITY, AND
PERSONAL GROWTH: EGO
AND HIGHER CONSCIOUSNESS AND "CAN IT BE
Chapter Nine: Can It Be Otherwise?
Can It Be Otherwise?
Return to Grace, Birth
Return to Grace, Primal Scene
Return to Grace, Puberty
Return to Grace
Chapter Ten: Is a "Fully Functioning Ego" a Prerequisite
to Higher Consciousness?
The Way Forward Is Down
Ego-Weak Mystics and Shamans
The "Fully Functioning Ego"
Control Versus Surrender
An example of this mistake
Inconsistency—dualism—matter and spirit
Not a new-paradigm view
Critique of Homo Noeticus
Beware of Skinhead Spirituality