Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Parables of a recovering self: Exploring the assimilation and psychological consequences of self
by Leighton, Trent James, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2008, 324; 3361021
Abstract (Summary)

The author's lifetime of active engagement in the fundamental questions of his identity, most specifically the nature of the self, has been based on an impulse and deep curiosity that have taken him on a long and winding road through many of the teachings and practices of self-inquiry typically associated with the perennial philosophy, the thread that runs through the world's wisdom traditions, a core teaching that is referred to as "the metaphysic that recognizes a divine Reality substantial to the world of things and lives and minds; the psychology that finds in the soul something similar to, or even identical with, divine reality" (Huxley, 1945, p. vii). This experiences, coupled with his current study of depth psychology, form the essence and primary source of data that looks at the historical belief in self from the premise of metanoesis, or nonduality.

This dissertation utilizes a unique extension of artistic and heuristic methodologies in opening up previously foreclosed approaches to the questions of self and identity that have become dominated by dualistic discourse and materialistic assumptions. Through a non-dual lens that views self and duality as a conditioned belief and activity supporting a much larger and silenced metaphysical game, this account penetrates and unearth the historic belief in self from the inside-out, through a unique series of interconnected parables.

Each parable presents a story of self and identity that is told from the metanoetic premise of what has been pejoratively relegated to mystics or the enlightened: men, women, and children in all cultures, secular and religious, who have tirelessly pointed out that humans do not generate consciousness, but rather, one consciousness generates humanity. Telling the story of self from the perspective of the absolute which lives in and as every apparent object and every apparent subject, this research extends depth psychological principles such as the unconscious, archetypes, and repression beyond the paradigm of real people with a literal self living a life to the orientation of extensions of one mind or dream being lived. In the process, a needed extension of depth psychology's suspicion and doubt toward the self finds a new interface in the perennial philosophy, illuminating the psychological ingestion and assimilation of belief in autonomous selfhood.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Denny, Mike
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 70/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Philosophy, Clinical psychology
Keywords: Depth psychology, Metanoesis, Metaphysical, Nonduality, Psychological, Self
Publication Number: 3361021
ISBN: 9781109191202
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