Structuralism and the Plant Kingdom

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Frodsham (Chester), Cheshire, United Kingdom
Interests: Philosophy, Homeopathy, Ayurveda, Buddhism, Psychosynthesis, Hypnotherapy and R.E.B.T.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

The Periods and Integral Psychology (Intro).

Stage 10 - The Crown of Creation.

1. Theory

Thesis - impermanance : Is it desirable to define a set of static personality traits? If so where would you start? Perhpas by considering Evolutionary Stable Strategies such as Hawks and Doves (Richard Dawkins), which are derived from our genes, or maybe from the twelve archetypes which derived from the unconscious mind (Jung)? Some psychologists describe Type A individuals as being impatient, hurried, competetive and insecure about their status or self-esteem, whilst Type B are courteous and easy-going. The enneagram, Big Five and the M.B.T.I. convincingly describe several other possibly static personality types. All these personality types may simply be the product of Nature vs. Nurture. Since we are subject to new experience every moment it is actually very difficult to imagine 'personality' as fixed. On the other hand it looks like we can soon get traumatised and then stuck into fixed responses and energy patterns ...

On safer gound perhaps, emotional intelligence (E.Q.). is certainly adaptive and dynamic. E.Q. measures intrapersonal parameters (Ken Wilbers "I" quadrant) such as self-awarness, assertiveness, independence and self-regard. It also measure interpersonal parameters in the realm of empathy and relationships (the "We" quadrant).
These dynamic skills have the potential to mature and evolve. E.Q. is just one way to measure some of the myriad aspects of our nature, as shown in this adaptation of Ken Wilber's Four Quadrants diagram ...
I - Individual
- Fire.
  • Sensation
  • Emotion/E.Q.
  • Concept/I.Q.
  • Stage/Series
IT - Empirical
- Earth.
  • Rubrics
  • Sensation
  • Physiology
  • Behaviour
WE - Situational
- Water.
  • Culture/Art
  • Myth/Rationale
  • Superstition
  • Philosophy
  • Series/Stage
ITS - Collective
- Air.
  • Stage
  • Series
  • Family
  • Order
  • Kingdom

Dawkins described a Meme as an evolutionary stage in the spread of cultural ideas and phenomena. Clare Graves elaborated the concept and described several levels (Memes), which tie in with Jean Gebser's concept of phase transitions, or mutations, in the development of conciousness, from archaic and superstitious structures to excessivley rational structures, and ultimatly towards a spiral-like integral structure which encompasses all the previous structures (Holons). The provenance may possibly hark back to Michel Foucault's notion of epistemes, which has some similarities to the concept of "Varna" described in Rig Veda ... the Purusha (Self) manifests as four main types: the intellectual, the warrier, the acquisitor and the labourer ... hence the Caste System. Ref: Jean Gebser.

Fig.1 The Spiral, from Homeopathy and the Elements.

Jan Scholten's amazing work with the mineral remedies shows a developmental spiral starting with Hydrogen that progresses through the whole of the periodic table.
In Ken Wilber's view each new stage of biological evolution, and spiritual development from Homeo Erectus to Homo Sapiens involves transitions which force the abandonment of our identification with our existing view of self, and the irrational beliefs that support that view. Complete transition entails developing and subsequently identifying with, a new view of self based on more carefully considered beliefs (compare this with the Baldwin Effect and Positive Disintigration).

These are the stage of separation, a liminal stage, and a stage of reaggregation (Turner)*

Typically, after this transition we look down upon our previous self as immature (and in the school playground we cruelly identify other people who are still in that prior stage as immature). He suggests that trauma during transition can result in fragmented, Jungian, shadow-selves, that remain unresolved as we move on through life, and suggests specific therapies for each level, e.g. Gestalt Therapy for transition blocked at level 2 - Purple to Red.

Transpersonal psychologists (Assagioli 1957) see the spiritual "Self" as a separate development line from that of the ego structures that form the sense of "I". Ken Wilber also describes development along relatively independent lines or streams, such as morals, affect, cognition, and spritiuality. They evolve at different times and with different dynamics ... we can produce many examples of highly intellingent criminals, and also stories of simple but virtuous monks realising emptiness - these are the two extreems of the lines of congnitve and moral development.

Fig. 2 Kohlbergs division of stages of moral development into pre and post conventional corresponds quite well to Dr. Scholtens view of lines of development across the rows (or round the spiral) of the Periodic Table.

Level 1 (Pre-Conventional)
1. Obedience and punishment orientation (How can I avoid punishment?)
2. Self-interest orientation (What's in it for me?)
Level 2 (Conventional)
3. Interpersonal accord and conformity (The good boy/good girl attitude)
4. Authority and social-order maintaining orientation (Law and order morality)
Level 3 (Post-Conventional)
5. Social contract orientation
6. Universal ethical principles (Principled conscience)
Kohlbergs levels express development in both "I" and "We" quadrants, but these can be separated by a change of emphasis or perspective. In Scholtens model there is a progression down the columns, the Series, which corresponds to new lines of development into higher and higher waves or Memes. The Series primarily plots the individuals expression of ideology, responsibility and purpose in the "We" quadrant.
The first two rows (Series) of the Periodic Table relate to birth and to the babies survival, in row 3 there is emotional and conceptual development within the family and home. In row 4 the child takes on some responsiblity for fending for itself and in row 5 imagination and creativity are being explored. At row 6 we are getting ready to assert our powers of leadership and in row 7 we are becoming autonomous and wise. In this model the earlier streams of development emotional appear to evolve sequentially from childhood to maturity, that is, Emotional > Conceptual > Functional. The sense of Will Power and Spirituality may be more variable, as Ken suggests.

 Fig.3 Placing Jan Scholtens Series within the broader spectrum of Psychological thinking, esp. Spiral Dynamics.
There can be a progression (or regression!) nested within the Series - the "Stages" in Dr. Scholtens model. The Stages describe a developmental series of inner attainments within each "Memetic" Period, or wave, such as observing, preparing, persevering, success, and holding on, through to collapse and letting go. (C.f. Karen Horney's Towards, Against, and Away From strategis. Ref: Pt1Ch1.)
The Stages primarily plot an individuals individuation and growth in the "I" quadrant, although this is by nature inseperable to development in the "We" quadrant as our state of being always has some repercussion in the outside world. Even a worm creates Karma!

2. Application

The horizontal developmental process peaks at Stage 10 and gradually starts degenerating. Stage 11, for example, starts to fear that their power and success will not last. These Stages are described fully in the Blue "Elements" Book.

The elements of Stage 10 are Carb., Sil., Nicc., Pall., Plat. and Gd. (Carb. and Sil. share some fundamental similarities with this stage). They all share the theme of Value and Worth (this is Ken's self-identity line). This arguably makes Stage 10 the most significant line in our lives. I visualise it as the mandala of self-perfection.
  • Carbon: Discovering Self esteem and Self worth.
  • Silica: Developing and expressing the value of Self through Self image.
  • Nickle: Asserting the value of Self through ethics and work ideals.
  • Palladium: Asserting the value of Self through ideas and creativity.
  • Platinum: Demonstrating the value of Self through power.
  • Gandolinium: Enjoying the Self through a sense of harmony.
Carbon is about discovering self-worth, in the masculine sphere as Graphites, and in the feminine sphere as Adamas. Silica is about worth in the family and consequently image. Niccolum works hard to be on top and to be respected. The situation reminds me of John Cleese in "Clockwise", the film captures the desparation of a schoolmaster trying to win a bit of respect for his down-beat secondary school.

In the next row, the realm of creativity and artistry, we find Palladium. Success brings appreciation, which brings Palladium to life (she has a delusion of being neglected). Palladium has an association with glamour, but glamour without spirituality can result in mere bafoonery (Saturday night at the Palladium)! Platinum radiates self confidence and natural authority. As in Palladium respect is important. She has such a sense of power that she can become egocentric and regard ordinary mortals as being beneath her contempt. Gandolinium has such a sense of harmony that he feels he has accomplished his quest for spiritual autonomy.

Stage 10 is the Central Pillar of life. However in every case, as in all mineral states there is a sense of something lacking. The sense of self-worth is imperfect - and where there is imperfection there is susceptibility. The remedies can restore this sense of value at each level and bring completion to the mandala.

Sometimes life gives us a gentle push and we topple over into Stage 11 for a while, but life can be cruel and send us crashing into any of the collapsing stages. A sudden death in the family, especially if it's the wage earner (Rubrics: Death of loved ones + Avarice) can cause an Arsenicum state, and that's Stage 15. A very deep state of decline, which if untreated might never resolve (an actual case). In this instance I referred to just two rubrics, those mentioned above, to locate the pathology. The client rebounded back to Stage 10 overnight.

The remedy can theoretically be derived by matching the Series with the pathology. If the prior level of life was Plat. the Rx would be Plat-Ars, etc, etc. More cases are being worked this way, especially with the relatively undocumented remedies, ... and with surprising results.

Scholten's simple model of rows and stages offers an attractive classification of the mineral kingdom, but there remains the problem of the remedies from Plant and Animal kingdoms. The pre-conventional level (above) may well correspond to several remedies from the animal kingdom, e.g. the well known impulsiveness and jumpiness of children who benfit fromTarantuala. A further example is of the remedies of the Solanaceae family where children are haunted by fears of the spirit realm.

The conventional (Level 2) seems to have more focus on structural relationships - the realm of social psychology. This may manifest as a mineral remedy in the Ferrum Series, but Level 2 and Level 3 (post-conventional) difficulties can appear in the collapsing stages of any of the mineral rows and in virtually any number of plant families, e.g. the Apiales where withdrawal is a strong theme (cicuta, conium), or the Rosids esp. the Sapindales where hatred is seen (Anac, Rhus-g, Rhus-t).

*For a cultural perspective see: "" Rites of Passage - Ritual, Performance, And Rites Of Passage
Check out the Plant Kingdom Database for further examples. See also: Sri Aurobindo's Psychology



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  2. Continued: See, The Periods and Integral Psychology (Contd) - "What is to be cured?"