Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

In Search of the Holy Grail, Living in Neverland: An Autoethnographic Perspective of the Social Consequences of Imagination and Story of the Gifted Human
by Baroff, Caren J., Ph.D., Saybrook University, 2017, 354; 10684031
Abstract (Summary)

This investigation addresses five constituents—calling, social consequences, imagination, story, and the experience of being gifted. It is grounded in the fundamental human inquiry of identity and purpose and contains both personal and universal answers. Primarily, the author sought to answer one question: How did imagination and story reveal and develop my personal narrative? This led her to Hillman’s (1997) contention that our true biography—the destiny written into our metaphoric acorn—has been stolen. Three questions arose from the primary question used to organize the literature review: (a) How has the use of this knowledge affected my understanding of the evolution of the human story? (b) What evidence is there to identify when our species developed imagination? and (c) Why is imagination undervalued?

There were four sub-questions answered through the personal data: (a) How is a quest or calling revealed? (b) Why is the phenomenon of Neverland essential to human well-being? (c) How did social forces impede the expression of imagination and the process of the original human story? and (d) What does it mean to be gifted?

The method chosen for this work was autoethnography, which, according to Bochner and Ellis (2016), exists in a space between many apparent polarities including facts and meanings,objectivity and subjectivity, and art and science in what Reed-Danahay (1997) explained was how we come to know, name, and interpret personal and cultural experiences. The author was the only participant in this study; however, the meaning emerging from the inquiry could be relevant for many.

The rationale and significance of this study was based on the assumption that the quality of human lives often suffers when people remain disconnected from experiencing their authentic self. The key finding was that through claiming the state of Neverland, as represented by the Peter Pan story, the author was able to connect with who she is and why she is here. This research allowed the author to reclaim her calling, imagination, and story, and acknowledge her giftedness. The ultimate call is for a new paradigm that welcomes and supports the unfolding human destiny.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Laszlo, Kathia C.
Commitee: Henderson, Lenneal J., Krippner, Stanley C.
School: Saybrook University
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 80/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Developmental psychology, Psychology
Keywords: Autoethnography, Gifted human, Holy Grail, Imagination, Social consequences, Story
Publication Number: 10684031
ISBN: 9780438962187
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