Evolution of consciousness

The book by Kevin Kelly “What does technology want continues stimulate my thinking.

He is eloquent on the evolution of tech. To make his case he draws on parallels in biological evolution. He comes up with principle after principle that are deep insights into any change process. He reminds me constantly of Frederick Engles and on the dialectics of nature. There are principles of change that go beyond one sphere.

Today it is this S curve that grabbed me.

Evernote Snapshot 20121119 133549

You would need to read the chapter to fully get it, but take the example of rail road air as the three levels of technology that work together to ensure that transport increased at a constant level, of say miles, speed and lower costs.

What I do is relate this to the evolution of psychotherapy. Or lets call it conscious intimate relationships. A mere 40 years ago there were about 10 therapists/counsellors in Christchurch, now it is more like 400. What is that curve about? The psyche is on the move!

I imagine the three technologies are:

Analytical psych
Humanistic Psych
And now still in the lower reaches of its s curve, relationship psych

Small Graces: Mapping a Route of Beauty to the Heart of the World

Small Graces

Small Graces:

Mapping a Route of Beauty to the Heart of the World

by Jason Sugg

Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology

Pacifica Graduate Institute
14 February 2012

Has a whole section on Participation Mystique and I-Thou.

Well researched.

Below is an enticing quote. The reason I’m attracted to this work is that I think that the very relationships we are discussing here, participatory, with the ego dropped, with heightened awareness of self and other, are also the relationships that are needed between therapist and client, and not as well grasped: they are vital to knowing. We can’t know others at this level of consciousness without participating in it ourselves. Continue reading “Small Graces: Mapping a Route of Beauty to the Heart of the World”

PEP Web – The Origins and History of Consciousness: By Erich Neumann.

Another snippet, scouring the web without actually reading the book! (see last post)

PEP Web – The Origins and History of Consciousness: By Erich Neumann.:

“In his Introduction the author writes: ‘It is the task of this book to show that a series of archetypes is a main constituent of mythology, that they stand in an organic relation to one another, and that their stadial succession determines the growth of consciousness. In the course of its ontogenetic development, the individual ego consciousness has to pass through the same archetypal stages which determined the evolution of consciousness in the life of humanity’ (p. xvi). ‘The individualized conscious man of our era is a late man, whose structure is built on early, pre-individual human stages from which individual consciousness has only detached itself step by step’ (p. xx). Hence, Part I deals with ‘The Mythological Stages in the Evolution of Consciousness’ in three sections: A, ‘The Creation Myth’; B, ‘The Hero Myth’; C, ‘The Transform”

I’m thinking of my 18 month old granddaughter – she is certainly developing her own sense of self. Stages makes sense, but what is the sequence.

The relational paradigm is surely a higher stage, but it includes individuation, and can’t be attained without it.

The Origins and History of Consciousness: Erich Neumann

Further to my exploration of participation mystique in the last two posts I’m led – as some may expect – to:


The amazon page has excellent reviews, the description of the book is at the end of this post.

Below are a couple of quotes that give me the sense that he thinks the participation mystique is of a primitive or childlike state of unity that is lost.

This is interesting as it might relate to attachment theory and Moreno’s notion of the matrix of all identity. The idea that it is a primitive state (presumingly leading to individuation) might skip the importance of adult attachment as Susan Johnson talks about it.

Is adult attachment really a stage of not being quite grown up. Schnarch might say that?

Here is a quote by an anonymous reviewer on Amazon:

An interesting side effect of this view of consciousness is the resultant synthesis of linear and cyclical notions of Time. To Neumann, Time is an open-ended linear progression (development) which is recursively cyclical. The recursion occurring in the subject self’s perception of time: That the individual’s subjective perception of time in an early part of his development, corresponds with the Human’s perception of Time in a corresponding earlier point in history.

For example, using Neumann’s framework, one can see the ‘mythological’ persona and teachings of Jesus (and his semi-contemporary Buddha) as the collective expression of the coming ‘personal’ transcendence and autonomy of the Ego (as in: “The Kingdom is in You!”).

Perhaps we are moving forward (and backwards) to the relational paradigm?

Quotes I found from the book follow:

This integration was not necessarily anything mysti-
cal, as the rather nebulous term participation mystique might
lead one to suppose. All it means is that, in the original group,
the solidarity of the group members is to be conceived more on
the analogy of an organ in relation to the body, or of a part in
relation to the whole, than of a part in relation to the sum, and
that the whole exercised a paramount effect, so that the ego
could only free itself very slowly from the tyranny of the group.
This late birth of the ego, consciousness, and the individual is
an incontestable fact.



Originally it was impossible for the ego
to distinguish the source of these images, for at the stage of
participation mystique an outside could not be perceived as distinct from an inside; the two sets of images overlapped, so
that experience of the world coincided with inner experience.

This original phase, when consciousness was a sense organ,
is marked by the functions of sensation and intuition, i.e., the
perceptive functions 84 which are the first to appear both in the
development of primitives and in that of the child.


The Origins and History of Consciousness (Bollingen Series,42): Erich Neumann,R. F. C. Hull,C. G. Jung: 9780691017617: Amazon.com: Books: “Book Description
Publication Date: 1970
The first of Erich Neumann’s works to be translated into English, this eloquent book draws on a full range of world mythology to show that individual consciousness undergoes the same archetypal stages of development as has human consciousness as a whole. Neumann, one of Jung’s most creative students and a renowned practitioner of analytical psychology in his own right, shows how the stages begin and end with the symbol of the Uroboros, or tail-eating serpent. The intermediate stages are projected in the universal myths of the World Creation, Great Mother, Separation of the World Parents, Birth of the Hero, Slaying of the Dragon, Rescue of the Captive, and Transformation and Deification of the Hero. Throughout the sequence the Hero is the evolving ego consciousness.”

History of the Relational Paradigm

It occurred to me that before Imago therapists came up with the idea of the relationship paradigm there were earlier attempts at the formulation.

I’ve mentioned Moreno and ‘tele’, Martin Buber and I-Thou today it occurred to me that Jung also had a concept for something similar: participation mystique. [Turns out I’ve written on this earlier in this post.]

Sure enough, I’m not the first to notice this.

Bridge to Unity – By MD Wilford W. Spradlin, Susan Renee Amazon

The connection between I-Thou and participation mystique is mentioned at least twice in this novel. I’ve also found thesis and other comments I’ll add in later posts.

Page 60:

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Page 96:

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Psychological Eclecticism and Nothing

I recall being advised by my then supervisor, about 30 years ago, to look around for a psychotherapy modality that grabbed me and then to learn it thoroughly and not become prematurely eclectic. I followed that advice. Psychodrama was that modality for me and I am steeped in its traditions and have practiced it for decades and hope to do that for a few more.

However I have more than a passing familiarity with a some other fields of practice, I have a grasp of Archetypal Psychology and I am qualified in Imago Relationship Therapy. I have grappled with my multiple perspectives, and have written a paper about my tension with Imago for the AANZPA Psychodrama Journal: The Imago Affair. I’ve been thinking about this more of late.

Continue reading “Psychological Eclecticism and Nothing”

Zerka Moreno on Doubling, Tele, inter-psyche, relationship

Still thinking about the interpsyche – and found this passage from Zerka Moreno in the Psychodrama Network News from the American Society of group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama 2005  I now see the difference between empathy and doubling. Doubling in its conception includes the relationship, it is not the intuition of the therapist directly but the voice of the interpsyche – the relationship between two people.

But there is another, more important, aspect of McGaw’s presentation. When he speaks about how his doubling with a protagonist is so often correct, he interprets this as due to his intuitive ability. When pressed by Rogers to explain it more specifically while speaking of his own power in that respect, he refers to it as his “empathy.” Unfortunately, he overlooks the contribution to the process by the protagonist, as if it all comes out of the therapist’s psyche, that of a single mind. By unfortunate I mean that this is just the area of Moreno’s contribution, namely to have pointed out that it is the interaction between people – tele – resulting in the “inter-psyche,” the space between people, that is the foundation of his and our work. This observation, more than anything else McGaw speaks of, tells me he has not really grasped Moreno’s message. It is our emphasis on the moment, the here and now, the spontaneity of the protagonist, the interaction of minds, that distinguishes our own field from that of individual psychology, a lesson we must never overlook.

Zerka Moreno makes it so clear psychodrama is a relational not an individual method.

Recently while teaching doubling it was clear the person was trying to think what the other person was thinking. Close, but not quite it. I said… let yourself be him, become him, breathe like him, sit like him, look at the world through his eyes and then voice what comes up, you won’t be guessing, you don’t have a choice about what comes up.

The doubling was then noticeably different even though not always exactly right.


Later: Saturday, 6 October, 2012

I’m now (post the Dan Wile workshop) thinking the phrase above, “you don’t have a choice about what comes up” is right, but not enough.

Many things will come up and it is useful to choose to voice those things that are progressive for the protagonist, such things as empathy for another person, declaring an inner struggle, claiming the validity of experience.

Judgement of others, blaming and self righteous anger may also come up. They could be ignored, but if they feature strongly they could be moderated with such phrases as: I know this is might not be easy for you to hear. I wish I had a way of expressing this more constructively. I have been sitting on this for a long time and my intention is to bring it out to improve the relationship.

Later: Sunday, 29 November 2015

…this is just the area of Moreno’s contribution, namely to have pointed out that it is the interaction between people – tele – resulting in the “inter-psyche,” the space between people, that is the foundation of his and our work.

This makes it so clear that Moreno had the relational paradigm, he did not call it that and he often slips into thinking of individuals, yet he is so instrumental in this as an influence on Buber and then Harville Hendrix and Hedy Schleifer.

The Locus of Therapy – Moreno

When I was a social worker in the early ’80s and a person was waiting in the waiting room to see me, the receptionist would ring me and jokingly say your client system is here to see you.

Social Work has had a strong sense for a long time that the individual is always part of a system. This same systems theory was taught to me as being central to Psychodrama, specifically through an article by Lynette Clayton.

Recently I have read some good material in Imago Relationship Therapy : Perspectives on Theory, particularly by Randall C. Mason, Ph.D. who talks about the Relational Paradigm, and sees it as distinct from systems thinking.

I have been wanting to tie all this together, and Moreno’s contribution is significant. I love the way he sees the origin of our thinking of individual psyche ties in with the body as being the locus of treatment in medicine. What a fallacy it has been to continue to think like that in psychotherapy!

The opening of the Chapter on Sociometry in Psychodrama Volume one follows.

I’ve also added more notes on Sunday, 29 November 2015

Continue reading “The Locus of Therapy – Moreno”

Encounter, Buber & Moreno


Marineau, R. F. (1989). Jacob Levy Moreno, 1889-1974: Father of Psychodrama, Sociometry, and group psychotherapy. United Kingdom: Routledge.

The third idea is the notion of ‘meeting’. of ‘encounter’. Moreno has argued that Martin Buber, who wrote an article in the magazine Der Neue Daimon (see page 56) in 1919. was influenced by his own concept of ‘Begegnung’ (encounter) of 1914. It would be very interesting to establish the exact nature of the relationship between the two authors and clarify the extent of their mutual influence. There seems to be no historical basis for putting too much emphasis on direct influences. Buber’s thinking developed gradually, but can be traced back to his own childhood. His contribution to the journal Daimon was minimal. But Moreno and Buber did have common friends and relations in the persons of Max Brod and Franz Werfel.

The two men also had a lot of other things in common. Both read Socrates, Dante, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche. Both acknowledged the primacy of the original ‘encounter’: Moreno says that at the beginning was action and the group. while Buber says that at the beginning was the relationship. Both stress the necessity to alter the form taken by culture to arrive at a more ‘fruitful chaos’. Both also stress the importance of ‘experiencing’ reality as a means of change rather than just talking about it. Both were highly emotional people, giving prime importance to the body: Buber, still smarting from the loss of his friend and companion Landauer forty-five years after his murder, told Carl Rogers: ‘Now once more. I was compelled to imagine this killing, not only visually, but with my body.’ Moreno, equally sensitive to bodily experience, developed the concept of tele.

See also the post that confirms that Buber was influenced by Moreno.