of data, warranting a more holistic and multidisciplinary paradigm This paper is a theoretical analysis of the current paradigm, as well as the emerging one. The classical leading paradigm is reviewed in historical context. The shortcomings and limitations of the current paradigm are described. Various books, selected journal articles, and personal observations are used to validate the necessity for a shift from the current paradigm. The emerging paradigm unites modern physics and consciousness research with ancient wisdom traditions. Fritjof Capra and Lawrence LeShan describe parallels between modern psychics and ancient wisdom traditions of the East. The works of Rhea White, Michael Harner, and Stanislav Grof are used to confirm the ubiquity and validity of holotropic states of consciousness. Grof’s Holotropic model and Hutchins’ Gnosis model are described as two of the many holotropically oriented models of the psyche. The support from these contemporary intellectuals sustains the argument for a necessary paradigmatic shift taken by transpersonal psychology.
The last three centuries of scientific exploration have been based on a paradigm dominated
by the work of a British scientist named Isaac Newton, and a French philosopher named René Descartes . These two classical thinkers set the stage for most of the advancements in social science, natural science, and technology. The resulting framework of reality is one limited to (a) classical physics: three-dimensional space, absolute time, and matter reducible to fundamental building blocks; (b) physiologically based perception; and (c) biographically bound human psyche. In spite of all this, modern theorists and researchers are accumulating enough data to seriously question the foundation of all our scientific advancements. Their culminations call for a shifted paradigm of reality – one that is able to encompass Western science and Eastern wisdom.
Newton also defined an absolute Euclidian three-dimensional universe that is constant and always at rest. Here, matter and empty space are clearly distinct, and time is unconditional and independent of matter. Stanislav Grof (1985b) stated that, “According to Newton, all physical
The renowned and ground-breaking French philosopher, René Descartes, also made an essential contribution to the leading paradigm. He formulated a fixed dualism between mind and matter. According to these assumptions, everything in the material world can be described objectively. This perspective maintains that the human observer has no influence on the observation. Grof (1985b) states that although it was the basis of the development of the natural sciences, one of the setbacks of this notion “has been a serious neglect of a holistic approach to human beings, society, and life on this planet” (p. 19).
Scientists owe much to the revolutionary discoveries of these two classical thinkers. However, we also owe them an explanation for distorting their messages. According to Grof (1985b), the notion of God was an indispensable part of the philosophies and world views of both Newton and Descartes. But the Newtonian-Cartesian paradigm, which is the basic metaphysical assumption of common understanding, ignores all but the profane aspects of its originators. The models of many physicists from Newton to Albert Einstein included inherent implications about the nature of God, but they have never been mentioned in textbooks (Capra, 1985; Grof, 1985b). When taken out of context, entire models are skewed towards secularity.
(To be continued. Feel free to contact me for full citation of any works referenced)