Developmental Differences: Preliminary Thoughts

This post is a continuation of my thinking from a previous post.

Psychology and Parapsychology, Politics and Place

I’m feeling a bit uninspired in trying to organize my thoughts on this subject.  There are many factors… and, of course, many connections between them.  

There are the personality differences between people such as found in psychology and philosophy (in particular Jung’s typology as developed with MBTI, traits theory, and Hartmann’s boundary types).  There is William S. Burroughs distinction between the Johnsons and the Shits, and there is his idea about the One God Universe (OGU) and his criticisms of the Word God of Christianity.  Along with Burroughs, I’d be tempted to throw in Philip K. Dick’s division of the human from the robotic in terms of emotions and relationships.  So, questions of where humanity is heading would be essential.  In terms of the personality differences, I’d need to further discuss the basic distinctions between liberals and conservatives.  I could possibly add further context with the difference between Athenian and Spartan democracy and the differences between egalitarian and hierarchical social structures (especially as they relate to anti-structure, the trickster archetype and the paranormal).

These ideas touch upon the subject matter in George P. Hansen’s The Trickster and the Paranormal.  There is Max Weber’s theory of rationalization in terms of Western culture and there is the disenchantment of the world which many deep ecologists have written about (some books that come to mind are Sherry Weber Nicholsen’s The Love of Nature and the End of the World, David Abram’s The Spell of the Sensuous, and Leonard Shlain’s The Alphabet Versus the Goddess).  There is the idea of charisma as it relates to Victor Turner’s theories of liminality and anti-sturcture and as it relates to the paranormal and shamanistic religions.  Also, there is the philosophy of phenomenology and it’s relationship to existentialism… the being in the world and the direct experience of the world (in context of ontology and epistemology).  All of this would be contrasted to the mainstream attitude of academics.  Most significantly, I would include Hansen’s analysis of science and the paranormal.  In relationship to science, I’d bring up Hansen’s ideas about Hartmann’s boundary types.  I’d specifically detail the boundary types’ correlation with Jungian/MBTI types and detail the research that shows the type of person who is promoted to positions of power in hierarchical organizations.  In context of all of this, there is the conflict between the pre-modern and the modern and between the modern and the post-modern.

There is the article “Magic and Gnosticism” by  Will Parker from The Gnostic journal and the distinction between the attitudes of universalism and pluralism.  There is Karl Jasper’s theory of the Axial Age which I’m familiar with through Karen Armstrong.  There is Julian Jayne’s analysis of the primitive mind in his book The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (and his ideas supposedly influenced William S. Burroughs and Ken Wilber).  There have been many interesting theories of social development including spiral dynamics (which would clarify the issues of pre-modernism, modernism and post-modernism) which Ken Wilber heavily relies upon and, less optimistic than Wilber, the ideas of Paul Shepard.  In terms of the latter, other connected writers would be Derrick Jensen, Peter Wessel Zapffe and Thomas Ligotti, but I’m not sure how they’d fit in with the other writers I’ve mentioned… other than maybe how civilization has developed the way it has based on the human response to suffering  and thus development of the modern self-identity.  I would also add Terrence McKenna’s view on the relevance of psychedelics in the evolution of self-consciousness and Jungian ideas about ego development would also connect.

Related to Parker’s article and Karen Armstrong writings, I’d need to clarify the subject of religion in the Western world.  Gnosticism is very important in how it relates to both Hellenism and Christianity, and in how it has had a continuous impact on the development of Western thought.  To bring in Weber’s rationalization, I’d need to argue for the connection between the Christian tradition and science which is something Parker and many others have written about.  Furthermore, it could be helpful to bring up the subject of specialization that civilization has allowed.

A related issue would be of genetic evolution.  How has our evolutionary past influenced us?  Paul Shepard believed we essentially are the same genetically as we were before civilization and that this explains many of our problems.  As such, we simply weren’t designed to live this way.  However, has civilization itself irreversibly altered evolution itself?  Is the evolution of the human species slowing down or speeding up?  What are we becoming?  In terms of specialization, genetics might become specialized in terms of which people tend to procreate together.  There could be an intensification of certain genetic traits.

Anyways, those are the ideas that fit together.  The central idea around which all of this is ordered probably is Max Weber’s rationlization and the largest context that holds it all together would be George P. Hansen’s book.  In my previous post, I was discussing different types of people in terms of basic differences we’re born with.  In this post, I’m trying to clarify the issue of differences in people in terms of psychological, social and evolutionary development.  If I feel more inspired later, I’ll go into more detail.

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