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Citations related to PSYCHOLOGICAL INSIGHTS FROM HISTORY (works cited listed at bottom):


“With upright posture come major changes not only in the hand and arm but also in the head and face, and, with them, a reordering of the rank and relation of the senses. Sight replaces smell as the dominant sense, and in so doing is itself transformed, finally coming into its own as the sense which recognizes forms and wholes:

‘In every species, eye and ear respond to stimuli from remote objects, but the interest of animals is limited to the proximate. Their attention is caught by that which is within the confines of reaching or approaching. The relation of sight and bite distinguishes the human face from those of lower animals. Animal jaws, snoot, trunk, and beak–all of them organs acting in the direct contact of grasping and gripping–are placed in the "visor line" of the eyes. With upright posture, with the development of the arm, the mouth is no longer needed for catching and carrying or for attacking and defending. It sinks down from the "visor line" of the eyes, which now can be turned directly in a piercing, open look toward distant things and rest fully upon them, viewing them with the detached interest of wondering. Bite has become subordinated to sight.’"
Leon Kass, The Hungry Soul: Eating and the Perfecting of Our Nature, University of Chicago Press, 1999, pages 70-71 (The subquote is from Erwin Straus, "The Upright Posture," in "Phenomenological Psychology," 1966):


"Though man remains a nourishing being, we now see clearly that his being-in-the-world is oriented not solely or even primarily as eater. He is, by natural attitude, a being whose eyes are encouraged to be bigger than his stomach.

'Animals move in the direction of their digestive axis. Their bodies are expanded between mouth and anus as between an entrance and an exit, a beginning and an ending. The spatial orientation of the human body is different throughout. The mouth is still an inlet but no longer a beginning, the anus, an outlet but no longer the tail end. Man in upright posture, his feet on the ground and his head uplifted, does not move in the line of his digestive axis; he moves in the direction of his vision. He is surrounded by a world panorama, by a space divided into world regions joined together in the totality of the universe. Around him, the horizons retreat in an ever growing radius. Galaxy and diluvium, the infinite and the eternal, enter into the orbit of human interests.'

"As with upright posture itself, the contemplative gaze–or the transformation of seeing into beholding–requires maturation, and especially inner or psychic growth; small children do not have it and remain largely interested only in things that lie within their grasp. Eventually, as adults, we are able to organize the visible world into things near and far or, alternatively, into those visible and even remote things we are interested in prehending (by bringing them near) and those we are content to let be and to comprehend, at a distance and in their place, against a background totality, a world." Kass, Leon. The Hungry Soul: Eating and the Perfecting of Our Nature. University of Chicago Press. 1999. Pps 71-72 (The subquote is from Erwin Straus, "The Upright Posture," in "Phenomenological Psychology," 1966)


“Western love has been ambivalent from the start. As early as Sappho (600 B.C.) or even earlier in the epic legend of Helen of Troy, art records the push and pull of attraction and hostility in that perverse fascination we call love. There is a magnetics of eroticism in the west, due to the hardness of western personality: eroticism is an electric forcefield between masks. The modern pursuit of self-realization has not led to sexual happiness, because assertions of selfhood merely release the amoral chaos of libido. Freedom is the most overrated modern idea, originating in the Romantic rebellion against bourgeois society. But only in society can one be an individual. Nature is waiting at society’s gates to dissolve us in her chthonian bosom. Out with stereotypes, feminism proclaims. But stereotypes are the west’s stunning sexual personae, the vehicles of art’s assault against nature. The moment there is imagination, there is myth. We may have to accept an ethical cleavage between imagination and reality, tolerating horrors, rapes and mutilations in art that we would not tolerate in society. For art is our message from the beyond, telling us what nature is up to. Not sex but crelty is the great neglected or suppressed item on the modern humanistic agenda. We must honor the chthonian but not necessarily yield to it. In The Rape of the Lock, Pope counsels good humor as the only solution to sex war. So with our enslavement by chthonian nature. We must accept our pain, change what we can, and laugh at the rest. But let us see art for what it is and nature for what it is. From remotest antiquity, western art has been a parade of sexual personae, emanations of absolutist western mind. Western art is a cinema of sex and dreaming. Art is form struggling to wake from the nightmare of nature.” Paglia, Camille. Sexual Personae. Vintage Books. 1991. P. 38-9.


"What else is to be found in psychoanalysis, by those determined to find, about the one body, the mystical body? The truth, the healing truth, the wholesome truth, the truth that will make us whole, is not in individual psychology, not in the currently so fashionable ego psychology, but in what the later Freud called 'mass-psychology.' Freud said his last work, Moses and Monotheism, was an attempt 'to translate the concepts of individual psychology into mass-psychology.' 'Mass-psychology' is not mob psychology, but the psychology of mankind as a whole, as one mass, or one body." Brown, Norman O., Love's Body, Vintage, 1966, p. 85.


"We have also seen that the Devil, who did not become generally accepted as a popular figure until the thirteenth century, played no role in the accounts of the experiences of those who traveled by night or who sojourned in the mountain. His figure was apparently forced on these men and women, or the interrogator inserted it into the minutes of the trials.

"We have examined the origins of these night travelers and traced their guides back to the 'earth mothers', in whose wombs humans once dissolved their individuality, and 'died', in order to be born again from the place of generation as men and women of knowledge.

"In order for them to understand their own essence, they had to descend to that place, to return to the uterus of she who gave birth to everything, the place of origin not only of humans, but of all creatures of nature.

"The act of insight was at the same time also an act of love, which would have represented incest with the mother if at the place of origin incest itself had not dissolved together with the barriers to incest. There is no sin at the place of origin. Where there are no longer any norms, no norms can be violated. Knowledge of the place of origin means: dissolution of the separation of things from each other. What is involved is less seeing and experiencing that those things over there, which at first glance within the perspective of everyday life seem different, prove themselves to be really one; but rather it is the dissolution of seeing and experiencing in the place of origin.

"In later times, in the classical Greek period, people spoke of 'knowledge as memory'. This is actually a watered down form of what in archaic times was a factual leaving behind of the 'world of separation' and a return to the unifying womb of things, which knew no knowledge and no object of knowledge, no above and no below, no animals or people, no men and women." Duerr, Hans Peter, Dreamtime; Concerning the Boundary between Wilderness and Civilization, Basil Blackwell, 1985, p. 42.


“This joy that we could have, and renounce instead, is the later counterpart of the early carnal joy. It is not the original ecstatic union with the world, the early state of grace that later stands as religion’s prototype of divine presence and universal all-pervasive love. It is, rather, the joy of a creature who knows time and senses its own separateness, who has become familiar with striving and with the ebb and flow, the melting together and drawing apart, that form the living tie between its fragile individual existence and the existence of the hurtful, entrancing surround; it is the joy of a creature who remembers and anticipates less primitive ways of feeling and, suspending what it knows, what it remembers and anticipates, surrenders itself to the melting, flowing moment. So while this joy is not the lost pure euphoria of infancy, it does echo that euphoria clearly enough to offer us episodic, momentary recapture of its flavor; and it therefore also echoes it clearly enough to remind us of what we lost when we found our solitary mortal selves.

“We largely spurn this possibility of direct recapture, then, out of lack of strength to endure the pain that it carries. But what we give up in doing so is the only real means we have of supplementing the indirect and incomplete compensation that enterprise can legitimately, feasibly offer in exchange for the early magic of the body: the pleasure in exercising our talents for cerebration and complex effort, and in using our power to make at least some things happen, which in part does genuinely console us for out-growing the pre-mortal omnipotence of infancy. By spurning the direct access we still have to more primitive delights, we lean too heavily on this partial indirect consolation. We put too heavy a burden on successful effort’s modest capacity to make life feel worth living. This is what makes effort–the kind of effort we would be apt to engage in for its own sake anyway–feel like work.” Dinnerstein, Dorothy. The Mermaid and the Minotaur. Other Press. 1999. Originally Harper & Row, 1976. P. 144-5.


“The woman feels herself on the one hand a supernatural being, before whom the man bluffs, quails, struts, and turns stony for fear of melting; and she feels herself on the other hand a timid child, unable to locate in herself the full magic power which as a baby she felt in her mother.” Dinnerstein, Dorothy. The Mermaid and the Minotaur. Other Press. 1999. Originally Harper & Row, 1976. P. 85.


“Because the early mother’s boundaries are so indistinct, the non-human surround with which she merges takes on some of her own quasi-personal quality. In our failure to distinguish clearly between her and nature, we assign to each properties that belong to the other: We cannot believe how accidental, unconscious, unconcerned–i.e., unmotherly–nature really is; and we cannot believe how vulnerable, conscious, autonomously wishful–i.e., human–the early mother really was.” Dinnerstein, Dorothy. The Mermaid and the Minotaur. Other Press. 1999. Originally Harper & Row, 1976. P. 108.


“In sum, human ambivalence toward the body of woman arises from, and at the same time helps perpetuate, incompetence to reconcile our inevitable mix of feelings for the flesh itself. The unreconciled mix is projected onto the first parent. Worse still, much of the positive side of this ambivalence is suppressed and what has been suppressed is converted into an obscene preoccupation; this means that even the love that is part of the prevailing attitude toward woman’s body is to some degree a dirty love. The shame that for many people tinges carnal attraction is made possible by, and at the same time deepens, woman’s general human degradation.”

“Both this failure to integrate our feelings toward the flesh and this debasement of what is positive in these feelings express our helplessness to cope with carnality, a helplessness that has so far permeated the death-denying, and therefore death-dominated, life of our enterprising species. Woman’s status as scapegoat-idol is maintained by, and at the same time works to maintain, this helplessness. And what keeps her available for this status is her child rearing, not her child bearing, contribution.” Dinnerstein, Dorothy. The Mermaid and the Minotaur. Other Press. 1999. Originally Harper & Row, 1976. P. 148.


“The point is, humans are by nature unnatural. We do not yet walk ‘naturally’ on our hind legs, for example: such ills as fallen arches, lower back pain, and hernias testify that the body has not adapted itself completely to upright posture. Yet this unnatural posture, forced on the unwilling body by the project of tool-using, is precisely what has made possible the development of important aspects of our ‘nature’: the hand and the brain, and the complex system of skills, language, and social arrangements which were both effects and causes of hand and brain. Man-made and physiological structures have thus come to interpenetrate so thoroughly that to call a human project contrary to human biology is naive: we are what we have made ourselves, and we must continue to make ourselves as long as we exist at all.” Dinnerstein, Dorothy. The Mermaid and the Minotaur. Other Press. 1999. Originally Harper & Row, 1976. P. 22.


“They therefore make an implicit bargain with men: shakily posturing in the mother-goddess role that has been thrust upon them, and trying hard to persuade themselves that they can indeed fill it, they are in no position to quarel with men’s claim on a make-believe grown-up arena of their own. What we have worked out is a masquerade, in which generation after generation of childishly self-important men on the one hand, and childishly play-acting women on the other, solemnly recreate a child’s-eye view of what adult life must be like.” Dinnerstein, Dorothy. The Mermaid and the Minotaur. Other Press. 1999. Originally Harper & Row, 1976. P. 87.
 

"...we must now turn to the question of the words which Homer employed to speak of the body and the intellect. Aristarchus was the first to notice that in Homer the word soma which subsequently came to mean 'body' is never used with reference to a living being; soma is the corpse. But how does Homer refer to the body? Aristarchus expressed the opinion that for Homer demas was the live body. That is true in certain cases. 'His body was small' appears in Homer as ... demas, and 'his body resembled a god's' is demas.... Demas, however, is but a poor substitute for 'body', seeing that the word occurs only in the accusative of specification. It means 'in structure', 'in shape', and consequently its use is restricted to a mere handful of expressions, such as: 'to be small or large, to resemble someone', etc. And yet Aristarchus is right: in the vocabulary of Homer demas comes closest to playing the same role as the later soma.

"But Homer has some further expressions at his disposal to designate the thing which is called 'body' by us, and soma by fifth century Greeks. Our phrase 'his body became feeble' would be the Homeric ... guia; 'his whole body trembled' would appear as guia.... Where we might say: 'sweat poured from his body', Homer has ... melea; 'his body was filled with strength' is ... melea.... Here we have plurals where our linguistic tradition would lead us to expect the singular. Instead of 'body' Homer says 'limbs'; guia are the limbs as moved by the joints, melea the limbs in their muscular strength....

"Let us continue with our game of translating our speech into the language of Homer, instead of the reverse which is the usual practice. We find that there are several other ways of rendering the word 'body'. How would we translate: 'He washed his body'? Homer says chros.... Or how would Homer say: 'The sword pierced his body'? Here again he uses the work chros:... On the basis of passages like these some scholars have contended that chros is the equivalent of 'body' rather than 'skin'. But there is no doubt whatever that chros is the skin, not the skin as an anatomical substance, the skin which can be peeled off--that is derma--but the skin as surface, as the outer border of the figure of man, as the foundation of colour, and so forth. In point of fact, however, chros is often used in the place of 'body':..., he place his armour about his body--or literally; about his skin.

"We find it difficult to conceive of a mentality which made no provision for the body as such. Among the early expressions designating what was later rendered as soma or 'body', only the plurals guia, melea, etc. refer to the physical nature of the body; for chros is merely the limit of the body, and demas represents the frame, the structure, and occurs only in the accusative of specification. As it is, early Greek art actually corroborates our impression that the physical body of man was comprehended, not as a unit but as an aggregate. Not until the classical art of the fifth century do we find attempts to depict the body as an organic unit whose parts are mutually correlated. In the preceding period the body is a mere construct of independent parts variously put together. Snell, Bruno. The Discovery of the Mind. Translated by Rosenmeyer, Dover, 1953, Pp. 5-6.

 

“Watts, for example, insists that these two systems of liberation and healing also lead to a kind of resurrection of the body, that is, to a type of polymorphous eroticism for which he cites both Asian Tantra and Norman O. Brown’s Life Against Death. For Watts, writers like Brown are more Freudian than Freud to the extent that they embrace the id as fundamentally good (the central thesis of the Freudian Left). We are not ill because of our illicit desires, as Freud is often understood to be saying. Rather, we are ill because our societies repress these energies in unhealthy and excessive ways. Sex doesn’t make people sick; society does.” Kripal, Jeffrey. Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion. 2007. University of Chicago Press. Pp. 146-7.


“In a fascinating move, Naranjo suggests instead that, ‘blasphemous as it may sound,’ the felt experiences of energy movements so common in so many types of psychospiritual experience (from Reichian therapy to the shakti-pat initiations of gurus) are in fact ‘an ever-shifting tonus dance that takes place in our muscle system in the situation of ego-dissolution.’ One might feel that there is a literal flow, but ‘the anatomical fact is one of coordinated volleys of nerve impulses that follow preestablished patterns (according to the organization of our nervous and muscle systems).’ But the key is not the metaphysical status of the subtle energies. It is the very real spiritual state of which all of this is a bodily response, that is, the spiritual state of surrender and ego-dissolution. In the end, then, there is no literal Tantric transmission. There is the enlightenment of the universal body through the surrender of the social self.” Kripal, Jeffrey. Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion. 2007. University of Chicago Press. Pp. 176-7.


“Grof’s system, however, should not be confused with Freud’s or Jung’s. It certainly incorporates both, but it also goes way beyond them, particularly in its metaphysical conclusions. Grof draws a number of these from his years of research with both LSD and Holotropic Breathwork, which we might summarize as follows:
• ‘Consciousness is not a product of the brain, but a primary principle of existence,’ and ‘it plays a critical role in the creation of the phenomenal world.’
• ‘The psyche of each of us is essentially commensurate with all of existence and ultimately identical with the cosmic creative principle itself.’
• The material universe is ‘a virtual reality created by Absolute Consciousness through an infinitely complex orchestration of experiences.’
• As a virtual reality, akin to a kind of cosmic movie or theater, the universe is ‘a cosmic game’ that we should delight in playing in the spirit of the Tantric branches of Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism, all of which have ‘a distinctly life-affirming and life-celebrating orientation.’
• As these same ancient Tantric texts suggest, ‘the human body literally is a microcosm that reflects and contains the entire macrocosm,’ thus ‘if one could thoroughly explore one’s own body and psyche, this would bring the knowledge of all the phenomenal worlds.’
• Finally, the universe is not moral in any normal social sense of that term; rather, it is, to use a Nietzschean phrase (itself reflective of the Indian Upanishads), ‘beyond good and evil,’ hence ‘aggression is woven into the natural order and ... it is not possible to be alive except at the expense of other living creatures’; this in turn forces us to acknowledge that ‘the creative cosmic principle ... is directly responsible for all the suffering and horrors of existence.’
Kripal, Jeffrey. Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion. 2007. University of Chicago Press. P. 260.


“Heider is not particularly impressed with the sexual solutions of his own generation, which he frankly admits have not led to sexual bliss but to ‘a floating world in which many people, relentlessly aging, drift from pseudo-spouse to pseudo-spouse. What Heider hopes for, then, is not a return to the sexual revolution of the 1960s, but a ‘new covenant,’ ‘a new Law’ derived not from Paul or Christianity, which has always more or less ‘regretted that we [have] bodies with carnal impulses,’ but from the Asian Tantric traditions and their use of sex ‘to help people become increasingly married to one another and to the cosmic whole.’ Heider points out that this Tantric turn was anticipated in the West by Reich, who ‘specifically said that when sexual union is free from blocks, the energy fields of the two partners become one unified energy field.’” Kripal, Jeffrey. Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion. 2007. University of Chicago Press. Pp. 362-3. [Referring to John Heider and some essays from Life on the Group Room Floor: An Introduction to Human Potential Theory and Practice]


“History is ‘the shock wave of eschatology.’ Something at the end of time is acting as an attractor, drawing us all toward its final galactic wisdom and our ‘ingression of the novel into the plenum of being.’” Kripal, Jeffrey. Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion. 2007. University of Chicago Press. P. 374. [Quoting Terence McKenna]


“Corporately and ideally speaking, then, the religion of no religion promises a sexual orientation of no sexual orientation, a gender of no gender, that is, a polyamorous eroticism, a culture ‘beyond gender’ that refuses to be dogmatic about desire. And this is an enlightenment of the body that goes well beyond anything that ever existed in Asia or the West. This is an enlightenment that depends directly on Western history and critical theory, on Freud, Foucault, and feminism, that is, on the enlightenment of reason, liberty and equality.”

“Such an egalitarianism, of course, is never perfect, never complete. Gender imbalances, socioeconomic injustices, and essentialist assumptions of all sorts remain. Men and women in this history disagree, fight, and divorce. Women are abused and taken advantage of by powerful charismatic men. Women picket and debunk symposia featuring only men. Race and class remain troubling categories. Colored bodies are not well represented on the grounds, and most bodies simply cannot afford an Esalen massage or a trip to Big Sur.” Kripal, Jeffrey. Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion. 2007. University of Chicago Press. Pp. 462-3.


“To turn to another curious feature of human hair, when did you last see a chimpanzee getting a haircut? Human head hair differs from that of apes in that it never stops growing. If the hair follicles on the human head behaved like those on chimpanzees, they would follow an orderly cycle in which each would grow a hair for several weeks; the hair, after reaching a certain length, would then be shed, and the follicle would grow another hair. With people, this cycle has been lengthened from weeks to years.

“The reason that uncontrolled hair growth was favored by natural selection may have been that it offered a means of signaling copious amounts of social information. In every society in the world, people spend an inordinate amount of time in cutting, shaping, braiding, plaiting, curling, straightening, decorating and otherwise gussying up the appearance of their hair. Much the same is true of men’s beards and mustaches. To let one’s hair grow unkempt is a sign of the outcast, or that one is in deep mourning. Trimmed hair sends a variety of important signals about the wearer’s health, wealth and social status. But for all this social signaling activity to occur, humans had first to abandon the self-maintaining hairdos of other apes and acquire hair that required continual attention.” Wade, Nicholas. Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors. 2006. Penguin. P. 26.


“The excursus upon the origin of Odysseus’ scar is not basically different from the many passages in which a newly introduced character, or even a newly appearing character, or even a newly appearing object or implement, though it be in the thick of a battle, is described as to its nature and origin; or in which, upon the appearance of a god, we are told where he last was, what he was doing there, and by what road he reached the scene; indeed, even the Homeric epithets seem to me in the final analysis to be traceable to the same need for an externalization of phenomena in terms perceptible to the senses....”

“... the basic impulse of the Homeric style: to represent phenomena in a fully externalized form, visible and palpable in all their parts, and completely fixed in their spatial and temporal relations.” Auerbach, Erich. Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature. 1953. Translated by Willard Trask. Princeton University Press. Anchor Books Edition. 1957. Pp. 3-4.


“But any such subjectivistic-perspectivistic procedure, creating a foreground and background, resulting in the present lying open to the depths of the past, is entirely foreign to the Homeric style; the Homeric style knows only a foreground, only a uniformly illuminated, uniformly objective present.” Auerbach, Erich. Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature. 1953. Translated by Willard Trask. Princeton University Press. Anchor Books Edition. 1957. P. 5.


“God gives his command in direct discourse, but he leaves his motives and his purpose unexpressed; Abraham, receiving the command, says nothing and does what he has been told to do. The conversation between Abraham and Isaac on the way to the place of sacrifice is only an interruption of the heavy silence and makes it all the more burdensome. The two of them, Isaac carrying the wood and Abraham with fire and a knife, ‘went together.’ Hesitantly, Isaac ventures to ask about the ram, and Abraham gives the well-known answer. Then the text repeats: ‘So they went both of them together.’ Everything remains unexpressed.

“It would be difficult, then, to imagine styles more contrasted than those of these two equally ancient and equally epic texts. On the one hand, externalized, uniformly illuminated phenomena, at a definite time and in a definite place, connected together without lacunae in a perpetual foreground; thoughts and feeling completely expressed; events taking place in leisurely fashion and with very little of suspense. On the other hand, the externalization of only so much of the phenomena as is necessary for the purpose of the narrative, all else left in obscurity; the decisive points of the narrative alone are emphasized, what lies between is nonexistent; time and place are undefined and call for interpretation; thoughts and feeling remain unexpressed, are only suggested by the silence and the fragmentary speeches; the whole, permeated with the most unrelieved suspense and directed toward a single goal, remains mysterious and ‘fraught with background.’” Auerbach, Erich. Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature. 1953. Translated by Willard Trask. Princeton University Press. Anchor Books Edition. 1957. Pp. 8-9.


Authors & Works cited in this section; bolded entries have extensive citations:

Auerbach, Erich. Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature
Brown, Norman O., Love's Body
Dinnerstein, Dorothy. The Mermaid and the Minotaur
Duerr, Hans Peter. Dreamtime; Concerning the Boundary between Wildness
Kass, Leon. The Hungry Soul: Eating and the Perfecting of Our Nature
Kripal, Jeffrey. Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion.
Paglia, Camille. Sexual Personae
Snell, Bruno. The Discovery of the Mind
Wade, Nicholas. Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors

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