Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Sound as a gateway to a personal relationship with nature
by Nelson, Paul Thelin, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2008, 206; 3302069
Abstract (Summary)

The significant challenge of the twenty-first century is for humans to establish an intention of engaging nature in a relationship of mutuality. As the wounding of nature proliferates and the severity of the wounds increase, humans may recognize that the wounds of nature are simultaneously inflicted on the self. This understanding has the potential to change the way of being in the world. This study explores how sound opens the conscious mind to an engagement with nature. It is an engagement of mutuality where one not only speaks but listens. In The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche, Jung writes, “... we need a method of inquiry which imposes the fewest possible conditions, or if possible no conditions at all, and then leave Nature to answer out of her fullness” (CW 8: 864). This study uses a theoretical method of inquiry to examine evidence of the power of sound to engage nature in the mythologies of Hinduism, mystical Islam, depth psychology, and modern science.

The context in which the relationship with nature is described is diverse and depends on the culture and the uniqueness of the individual. However, underneath the surface description sound and its precursor vibration appear. Sound manifests in the context of its attributes of tone and timbre, and its extensions of rhythm and harmony. Sound then returns to the unitary reality of vibration resonating within and without the body. This experience awakens the potential for a higher order of union with the unus mundus or nature.

In modern Western societies, where story has replaced myth, mythologies no longer exist in a vibrant unifying form. In this circumstance story has replaced myth. Story often behaves as myth and has the potential to lead the way to a mythology that encompasses a personal relationship with nature. For stories to perform this mythological role, they need to reflect a mythological core. Nature is waiting to serve as this core. The ineffable quality of nature lends itself to a host of entry points to a relationship. Rather than a monolithic strategy, each individual is invited to follow his or her own unique path to a relationship.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Mahaffey, Patrick
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 69/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Philosophy
Keywords: Nature, Relating to nature, Sound, Sound and nature
Publication Number: 3302069
ISBN: 978-0-549-47488-3
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