More than anything else, I have created this site in order to address two questions:

Why do we, collectively, and to a lesser extent, individually, murder and maim each other in so many ways?

What if anything, can be done about that?

Read the “What This Site Is All About” for more information.


Note: This article originally appeared in Revision: A Journal of Consciousness and Transformation -- January 1983. The copywrite thieves got hold of it and now you would have to pay through your nose to get a copy of it on line. That's why I dictated it again from my own copy, and am putting it up here. I have made a few minor edits, and have probably introduced a few errors in the process, but it's the same article.  


Truth and Effectiveness in Revelatory Stories

By James Hunter


It is commonly understood now that there are at least two broad approaches we can take in our efforts to grasp the nature of human reality.¹ One of these is based upon positivistic presuppositions and is the general method of natural science. Here the object of study is a person other than oneself, the data is limited to what is given by sense impression and the primary organizing concepts are “organism” and “environment” (both understood as “systems” or “structures”). The other method could be called “existential anthropology” or the method of phenomenology. Here I have in mind the approach exemplified by such thinkers as Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, William James, Ludwig Binswanger, and Medard Boss (but not necessarily the particular formulations of any one of these.) It seems to me, for all their differences, these thinkers are held together by a general approach. The method of existential anthropology always focuses not just on the object of consciousness but upon the entire hyphenated reality “consciousness-of-object.” While natural science attempts to exclude consciousness as the unwanted “subjective” element, existential anthropology is equally concerned with the forms of consciousness and with the “objective” order that is disclosed in the light of consciousness. Data for existential anthropology is not just “sense impression” but the full range of human experience. Here, far from wishing to exclude consciousness as an unwanted “subjective” element, consciousness attempts to become immediately aware of itself as it constitutes the “objective” world. It seems to me that it is the general method and approach that justifies our lumping together a variety of thinkers who are rather different in many ways.

We have been cautioned by many about “scientism” or the exclusive reliance on the positivistic orientation to truth.² The inadequacy of the positivistic orientation to truth for purposes of the healing of persons is an issue of central importance in this regard.³ Yet regardless of glaring inadequacies, an exclusively positivistic or “scientistic” orientation that radically truncates our openness to the full range of our humanness still dominates the educated circles of most sections of our society today. In examining possible reasons for this state of affairs an important fact comes to light. Whatever inadequacies there may be in the positivistic orientation it retains two very real and important strengths that make it attractive:

1) It has fairly clearly delineated, and communally agreed upon, criteria for judging the “truth” of statements.

2) It has demonstrated itself to be, at least within limited spheres of endeavor, effective. Specifically it enables people to predict and control.

The phenomenological and existentialist movements have been unable, as a whole, to arrive at generally agreed-upon criteria of either truth or effectiveness. For this reason modern people seem to be caught between the Scylla of sterile positivism which doesn’t even have the vocabulary to talk about our deepest longings, and the Charybdis of a solipsistic subjectivism that leads only to impotence and anarchy. If we are to fend our way between these polar threats so that we might be able to continue our journey home, we must address this dilemma.

The truths of our spiritual tradition are not given to us and as mathematically definable propositions based on what is accessible to sense impression. Spiritual truths are accessible only to a whole person in his/her experience of the world. Natural science understands spirituality to be outside its range. The life of the spirit must be approached existentially and phenomenologically. As the stance of detached objectivity is inappropriate for the life of the spirit so is the depersonalized language of mathematics. Our spiritual tradition is transmitted to us primarily in the form of stories. The stories may be ancient myths, sacred history, parables told by religious teachers, folktales, or fictional narratives. But generally when we wish to communicate our faith we tell a story of some sort. These are revelatory stories which disclose to us the meaning of our existence and experience in new and regenerative ways. Story is the language of the spirit. If then we are to escape both the Scylla of sterile positivism and the Charybdis of solipsistic subjectivism we must address ourselves to the issues of the truth and the effectiveness (that is to say transformative power) of revelatory stories in a responsible manner. Thus, in a very tentative manner, this essay will attempt to address itself three related questions:

1. What is it that gives story transformative power?

2. By what criteria can we assess the truth of the story?

3. What does the transformative power of story tell us about the nature of our being and consequently suggest about the nature of Being in general.

Part One

The telling and hearing of stories can have transformative and healing power within the human personality. Bettelheim4 and von Franz5 both deal with this fact, the one from a Freudian and the other from a Jungian perspective, with regard to folktales. The Jungian archetypes almost always manifest themselves as images organized into dramatic structures – that is, as stories. The largest portion of the lifework of Carl Jung was devoted to demonstrating the transformative nature of the stories.6 Psychotherapists have long been aware that when we sleep, we dream stories, and when we awake we are different. Play therapists base much of their activity upon the fact that wakeful fantasizing is no less transformative than dreaming. The mutual storytelling techniques developed by Richard Gardner7 is just one example of a practical implementation of this basic fact. In this essay we will not set out to prove or demonstrate the transformative power of telling and hearing stories. That fact has, I believe, already been amply demonstrated by therapists and thinkers such as those already cited. Rather, we will use the established fact of the psychological efficacy of narrative as our point of departure to address our related questions. In attempting to answer the first question, we shall suggest that the transformative power of narrative derives from the fact that hearing a story can affect the manner in which we organize the plethora of our experience into an articulated hold in the context of which coherent action is possible. This “articulated whole” is our world. Our answer to the first question will be, then, that hearing narrative can be transformative because it can lead to a modification of our world. In order to understand this more precisely it is necessary to become as lucid as possible about the meaning of the term “world.” Then we will go on to examine the specific elements in narrative narrative to see what part they play in the transformation of “world.”

In the book of Genesis, the heavens and earth are described as first existing “without form and void.” What will become “world” exists at first as an obscure “thereness” which is swallowed up in darkness. Then God creates light and from that point on the world becomes articulated into form and structure. Persons are described as being created in God’s image – that is we are also world creating entities. The light which we bring to the “thereness,” to the thing-in-itself enveloped in darkness, consists of the forms of our consciousness. The world as we experience it is always, on all levels, this “thereness,” “Beingness,” or otherness (which asserts itself as a resistance), as interpreted , (or “luminated”) through the forms of consciousness that we bring to it.8 I can say how the “real” looks in terms of this or that form of perception. I could study the forms of perception themselves. But, beyond this I cannot go. World, uninterpreted by the forms of consciousness always remains enveloped in darkness. The “real,” as it is in-itself is always absolute Mystery. At the same time the real world does not come into existence unless the categories of consciousness are applied to the recalcitrant “thereness” which is what it is regardless of what we think about it. World is the outcome of a dialectical process between the ultimately unknowable objectivity “Real” and the categories and forms of consciousness.

The dialectical nature of world on the level of ordinary priest perception is described by Erin Gerber which in the equation, P=F(Xi,Xe).9 (P) = a function (F) of an external factor (Xe) and an internal factor (Xi). The parentheses cannot be broken open so that we can know what the Xe is, in itself. On the other hand we can never know what the Xi (form or structure of perception) will reveal until it is brought into relationship with the Xe (the object of perception). This equation can be expanded to give us a definition of “World”. W=(Xi, Xe). World is a function of an internal factor (the forms and structures of consciousness) and an external factor (the objectively “Real” which is the object of consciousness). As John Shay says, “meaning is not solely the product of mental imagining, but the outcome of interaction a person and environment.”10 The same dialectical structure can be seen in Heidegger’s concept of Dust sign as that which illumines the beings of the world. The sign is, in terms of our equation, theXi, and the beings illuminated by and encountered in the world are theXe. The luminating nature of conscious forms can be grasped only as they luminate. As boss says “not even so-called physical light can appear as light and less it encounters things which make it shine forth. This means that human being and that which appears in the light of human existence are mutually dependent on each other.”11

When world is thought of as the Xi by itself, one is led to an ungrounded subjectivism – to the idle web spinning of pure fantasy. When world is thought of as the Xe by itself one is led to a naive empiricism in which consciousness is unaware of its own contribution to the reality it encounters. World as we know it is, then, always the “real” as interpreted by the forms and categories of a finite consciousness. These forms and categories of consciousness are, on one level, the physical structures of the sense organs and the brain, and on other levels the cognitive, emotional, moral, and spiritual categories of understanding and meaning by means of which we organize our experience into a coherent fabric. While “World” is always a composite reality (Xi and Xe together) some relevant things can be said about the Xe by itself. The Xe is the objective reality, the object of consciousness not in the sense of the “phenomena” but the object encountered, the noumena which lies beyond the phenomena. While we must confess that the “Xe” as soon as we examine the notion, becomes a problematical and even hypothetical reality, nevertheless it is, I believe the universal conviction of humanity that a real something with an objective existence lies beyond, and is the ground for, all our perceptions. This Xe is the Real, as it is, in and of itself, independently of anything we might believe, think, or perceive about it.

Because we know the Real only as interpreted by the forms and categories of our consciousness, the Real, as it is in itself (the noumena) lies always beyond world. Another way of saying this is that theXe outside the parentheses, (Xi,Xe) is unknowable. Thus the Real, as it is in itself, is encountered only as Mystery. Mystery is always enveloped in a day of darkness too deep to be penetrated by our understanding, or a light to blinding for the finite eyes to tolerate. Mystery is. It is more real than any of the beings we encounter in the world we constitute. It is Being itself. It can be encountered but it always transcends any and all of the worlds we can ever create. It is encountered beyond the world – beyond the horizons created by the forms of understanding. John Shea in Stories of God: An Unauthorized Biography speaks most eloquently of our encounter with the Real as Mystery.

When we reach our limits, when we deeply dialogue, when our ordered worlds collapse, when we cannot enact our moral ideals, when we are disenchanted, we often enter into the awareness of Mystery. We are inescapably related to this mystery which is imminent and transcendent, which issues invitations we must respond to, which is ambiguous about its intentions, and which is real and important beyond all else. Our dwelling within Mystery is both menacing and promising, a relationship of exceeding darkness and undeserved light. In this situation and with this awareness we do a distinctively human thing. We gather together and tell stories of God to calm our terror and hold our hope on high.”18

This gives us our first suggestion about how storytelling and listening is transformative of human reality:

In the telling and listening to stories, world is created.

Narrative, whether found in dream, literature or myth, contains all the elements of world as it is lived by human beings. In this it differs from all scientific or abstract philosophical constructs which, to the extent that they deal with world elements, distort the phenomenological reality by abstraction. World given by narration is world as lived. World dealt with by natural science or by abstract philosophy is world treated as an object among other objects in the world of an objectifying and abstracting intellect. This distinction clarifies why narration is the preferred and irreducible media through which consciousness existence in the world attempts to become more self-aware. In the manner in which they objectify and abstract, the constructs of science and philosophy depersonalize human existence. Personal relatedness in terms of “subjective” meanings is the essence of the self/world dialectic. Therefore when we abstract out the personal and subjective in the process of trying to clarify the nature of world, we do not merely distort the nature world; rather we utterly and completely lose sight of the reality we are attempting to clarify. Narration is the indispensable and irreducible language of existential anthropology just as mathematics is the language of physics.

In Narrative Elements and Religious Meaning13 Wesley Court attempts to clarify how narration naturally lends itself to being a vehicle for religious meaning. In this context he discusses the four elements of narrative, which he terms atmosphere, character, plot, and tone. Atmosphere “leads to a consideration of otherness, of those conditions which the characters or narrator cannot change. Reflection or otherness leads to contemplation of what cannot be controlled, or even understood.”14 As such, court says, it is suggestive of “transcendence.”15 This corresponds to the “other” as ultimate mystery which is, as we have already discussed, the inescapable ground of all world activities.

Reflection on the second element of narration, character, “can naturally lead to consideration of human possibilities.”16 In this regard the functions of character in narration are of particular significance to us. First, identification with a character elicits a concernfull involvement in the narrative world. Until one is involved in a caring way, the world of narration does not come alive – it is not yet real. This stance of concernfull participation as opposed to detached observation is the hallmark of the existential approach to truth and reality. The second important aspect of character is that it can function as a paradigm. Paradigms suggest to us different, and at the same time new possibilities for how we can be in the world.

Court suggests that the third narrative element, plot, can “be suggestive of basic social, psychic, or natural processes.”17 One highly important aspect of any “World” is its understanding of just what types of social psychic, natural, and spiritual processes are effective in the ongoing self/world dialectic in which our existence is lived.

The fourth element that court deals with is tone. He says that “tone is taken now by many to be always the dominant narrative element; whether the “worldview” or “vision” or “sense of life” or even recently, “intention”.18 Under tone Kort includes choice of material, attitude, and language. All world Constitution involves choices – that is out of all of the full plethora of one’s experiences and possibilities, certain ones are selected and highlighted and others are ignored or neglected. These are choices of material, attitude (mood) and language. Out of the selected material, attitude and language, a coherent and integrated whole is constituted. Thus, the court sees “wholeness” as an aspect of tone.

World is the articulated pattern of all four elements of narration. As Kort puts it “what fiction has in common with religion is a fund of resources to constitute an entire world. I would call “world” the organic relation of inclusive and potentially exhaustive elements or characteristics, such as those at which we have been looking.”19 Narration, then, is a way of increasing self-awareness with regard to world-possibilities.

Narrative is creative and transformative of human reality because of its capacity for destroying and creating world. This significant insight is made available to us through the studies of people like John Crosson20 and Norman Parrin21 have made of parables. It is, according to these authors, not all narration that has the power to change world. What they call simile has the capacity only to clarify or illustrate some aspect of already existing world. Metaphor, on the other hand, can actually alter a person’s fundamental world Constitution. Parent sums up the matter as follows:

The simile is essentially illustrative and hence the parable as simile teases the mind into recognition of new aspects of reality mediated by the myth of God active as King. The metaphor on the other hand, contrasts two fundamentally different categories of reality and hence produces a shock of the imagination. It produces a shock which induces a new vision of the world and new possibilities, therefore, for the functioning of the myth, new possibilities for the experiencing of the existential reality which the myth mediates.22

Using the terms “simile” and “metaphor,” these authors make the point that there is a profound distinction regarding two different ways poetic language can function. One form of poetic language, which they call “metaphore” has the capacity to alter world. This capacity distinguishes it from all perfectly valid but lesser forms of poetic language.”

As already suggested, in order to have world transformative power metaphor must have the capacity both to destroy and to create. Our dislocation from, and shattering of, our familiar world is the prerequisite for two different events in human existence. First it opens us to the experience of the “real” in new and radically altered ways. The old wineskins must be discarded before we can hold the new wine. Cresson says “the thesis is that metaphor can also articulate a reference so new and so alien to consciousness that this referent can only be grasped within the metaphor itself. The metaphor here contains a new possibility of world and of language so that any information one might wish to obtain from it can only be received after one has participated through the metaphor in its new and alien referential world.”23

John shales summarizes the “world altering” possibility of narration as follows:

When the parables and sayings of Jesus function as imaginative shop, they result in the hearers perceptual shift. What happens is that the person sees herself or her situation in a new way. This shift does not mean just one more option. It creates a different reality with different possibilities. The parables do not produce new input or better ideas. They do not change the context of thought but the framework with which one thinks. This framework is both continuous and discontinuous with the framework which structured consciousness previous to hearing the parable. What is continuous is the foundational elements of the situation (Samaritan-two). What is discontinuous is the configuration of the relationship. If the parables and sayings of Jesus are taken as a clue, perceptual shift is the Christian process of growth”24

Beyond the possibility of experiencing the Real in terms of new world however, there is another possibility open to us in the shattering of familiar world. That is the experience of the Real as unutterable mystery beyond all world possibilities. Crossan refers to this as the “wholly other” and says that the “holy other must always be radically new and one can experience it only with in its metaphors.”25 in this context the advent of the kingdom is understood as “that which undermines world so that we can experience God as distinct from world.” 26

All that needs to be added is that the narration functions in this world altering manner not just on the level of the parables and teachings of Jesus but on the level of the stories told about him taken as a whole dramatic structure. In “Mark’s story of Jesus”, were and are Kepler makes the point that “the meaning of Mark’s gospel is not encapsulated in a spoken message affecting the audience at the moment of hearing. The essence of his gospel is not even comprehended in a single saying such as one: 15, which features the central message preached by the Mark and Jesus. There is only one way to understand Mark’s gospel messages, and that is to read his whole story from one: 1 to 16:8.” 27 court emphasizes the expansion of the kingdom to include women, non-Jewish peoples, and the unrighteous as important features of Mark’s story. Also, the image of the Messiah as a person broken by the world and suffering from the experience of godforsaken this is surely of central importance. We are not here, however, concerned to examine the manner in which the story of Mark, taken as a whole is world shattering and re-creating. Our point is simply that the stories about Jesus function as metaphor in the sense defined by Crescent and parent, just a student do the stories told by Jesus.

We are, perhaps, now ready to summarize an answer to our first question. Human existence is organized in terms of world. The transformative power that is peculiar to narration derives from the simple fact that the elements of world as lived by a concrete human being and the elements of world that make up a narration are the same. For this reason narration is the media in which self-awareness with regard to world takes place. When the structures of the world in a story I am hearing with involvement are shattered, the corresponding structure of the world in terms of which I live my life are shaped shaken. This shaking of my world can have two important consequences: (1) it opens me to new possibilities for world construction and (2) it can disclose to me the Real as unalterable Mystery beyond all possible worlds. Narration, in short, challenges and modifies the “grand meaning context” (as Needleman28 calls it) in terms of which we organize our experience.

Unless I am lost in a schizoid mode mode of existence I do not live my life in terms of “forces,” “quantities of energy,” “mathematical equations,” “automatic responses to stimuli,” or any other of the mechanical constructs which are supplied by natural science. As a person I live in a world of other persons, of urgent moral issues, of problematical situations, and of conscious aims (motives). I experience myself as free and responsible for decisions about issues that vitally concern me. These are the elements of narration. In the simplest terms, then, my life is responsive to story and can be transformed by story because the transformations of world and world understanding that take place in relation to narration are immediately transferable to the world in terms of which my actual existence is organized.

In order to help us consider our second question, “by what criteria can we assess the truth of a story?” Let us begin with two examples of revelatory stories. The first is a narration from the Dead C Scrolls, and the second is the gospel of Mark.

In one section of the Dead See Scrolls there is described a humanity which is divided into the “sons of light” and the “sons of darkness.” The teacher of righteousness inspires his children to prepare for battle with the children of darkness. It is prophesies that the forces of darkness are to be overcome by virtue of the power of God and his angels and the millennium will then be ushered in. 29 stories and narrations with this basic structure (or parables to illustrate the same theme) are told by many groups all over the world as a means of consolidating group identity and establishing clear boundaries against the “enemy.” By the stories a social world is created that makes concerted action possible. The basic elements of the story can clearly be seen in the rhetoric of super patriots all over the world; it can be seen equally in capitalism, communism, and fascism as these become militant ideologies; it can equally be seen in the black Muslim movement and the Ku Klux Klan. The basic features are as follows:

  • Division of the world into two groups – the good (us) and the bad (they).

  • Prediction of and preparation for, the apocalypse.

  • The search for the charismatic leader.

  • The conviction that God (or history or Ultimate Reality) is on our side.

The basic psychological mechanism behind this way of organizing world would seem to be best understood in Jungian terms as a projection of one’s own shadow side onto the enemy. 30

Compare this with the story of Jesus as presented by Mark. Here the kingdom is portrayed as cutting across all the conventional boundaries of sex, race, nationality, and most importantly of moral merit. Even the unrighteous are included in the kingdom. In this story the child of darkness is always me – my actuality – while the child of light is my potential. The pivotal event is not the crushing of the children of darkness but the redemption of prodigal children (the return of the lost sheep to the shepherd). God’s interest is not in revenge but in redemption. Finally the kingdom is ushered in not by political and military power but by sacrificial love. A very different story indeed! And how different the behavior, the attitude, the thoughts and the entire existence of a person who lives in a world illuminated by the one story as opposed to the other – the difference between a Martin Luther King Jr. and a Hitler.

By such stories we receive our faith. When we incorporate the stories and their implied world into our existence we are concerned first with elucidating the meaning of the story. Each story provides us with a meaning framework (a set of perceptual categories) in terms of which we could encounter the Real. Schelling, in his Philosophy of Mythology articulates this point quite clearly. “The myth is not based on a thought, as the children of and artificial education suppose; but is itself a kind of thinking, which imparts a conception of the world, but imparts it in a sequence of events, backs, and sufferings.” 31

The first step toward incorporating a story is simply to understand it. Tillich suggests that this can be done by means of Husserl's rules phenomenological method. 32 This is essentially a descriptive process aimed at clarifying the meanings that are implicit in the given meaning framework. 33 This is to suggest that it is possible by careful analysis to elucidate the meaning of any given story in such a manner that most open-minded and rational people would say “yes, that in fact, it seems to be the meaning of the story,” regardless of whether they find that meaning to be helpful, beautiful, or in any other way useful or desirable. Even this first step can be problematic in that it requires a minimum level of intelligence, an appropriate degree of experience, and a certain openness. However, no person who is concerned fully engaged in the business of living is really willing to let the matter rest there, and certainly no religious person is content with mere understanding. We can understand the story that leads to Hitler as easily as we can understand the story that leads to Martin Luther King Jr. What we need is criteria to judge the truth of the story. It is to the task of elucidating such criteria that we now turn.

We concluded in answering our first question, that the effectiveness – that is to say the capacity to lead to personal transformation – of a story derives from the power of narrative to shatter and create world. We would now suggest that the truth of the story must be understood in terms of the truthfulness of these world shattering and creating procedures. In this analysis we shift our focus from the truth or falsity of a particular story to the truthfulness or falseness of world constituting processes. This shift corresponds to a similar shift in social and human sciences within “systems theory, or in Piaget’s terms, “structuralism.” To understand exactly how it is that we are attempting to frame an answer to the question of the truthfulness of stories a few observations about structuralism as the concept is developed by Piajet shape might be helpful.

In his book, Structuralism, Piaget says “a structure is a systematic whole of self regulating transformations.”34 he points out that an adequate understanding of systems, or to use his word, “structures” cannot be reduced to an understanding of the properties of the parts of the system. On the other hand neither does a description of the whole as a static organized pattern give us the essence of a structure. Operational structuralism, as defined by Piaget, assumes that neither the elements nor the whole is predominant. What is primary, rather, are the “ self-regulating transformations” by which the parts are continuously being articulated into an ever-changing hole. This shifts our central focus from specific entities, whether parts or holes, to processes.

Piaget attempts to stay within the framework of positive science. However, we can take his basic idea of structure as an ongoing process of “self-regulating transformations,” and observe that the world that is disclosed by the method of existential anthropology is a structure in precisely this sense. When examined in the light of reflexive consciousness the primary phenomenologically given structure of human existence is found to be the ongoing process of world-constitution. The invariant factor that gives coherence to our experience is not a fixed world, but an ongoing process of organizing all of the particular aspects and facts of our experience into an ever-changing articulated whole. Here then we have the necessary conceptual concept for asking a question about the truth of a story. The question of the truth of a story resolves into the question of the truthfulness of our ongoing world constituting processes.

Here, in our attempt to simply frame the question more adequately we have arrived at our first criterion for assessing the truthfulness of world constituting processes:

Truthful world constituting must be accompanied by an awareness that no world is a fixed or absolute entity which fully or finally discloses the nature of the Real.

A truthful world constituting process, therefore, does not become fixated on any particular worldview.

Every world is but one of many possibilities by which self organizes the dialectic between self and the real. Every world both discloses and hides dimensions and possibilities of the real. Other possibilities always lie before a person.

There are two primary ways in which we can fall into untruthfulness in relation to this first criterion.

The first is to confuse any finite world – and all worlds are finite – with the totality of the Real. The absolutising of world is the error which Robert Funk is determined to expose in his book Jesus as Precursor. 35 by way of driving this point home he brings to our attention a fairytale which is related in John Fowler’s The Marcus.

The tale tells of a young prince who did not believe in princesses, in islands, or in God, because his father, the king, told him that such things did not exist. One day the prince ran away and came to another land. There, from the shore, he saw islands, and on the islands strange and troubling creatures. A man in evening dress approached the prince and confirmed his suspicions: those were real islands and real princesses. The stranger announced that he himself was God.

The Prince returned home and reproached his father with his newly acquired truth. The king asked him how the man who claimed to be God was dressed. The Prince replied that the man wore full evening dress, and that the sleeves of his coat were rolled back. The king smiled. “That,” he said “is the uniform of a magician.”

The Prince hurried back to the strange shores. When the man in tales appeared, the Prince confronted him: “you deceived me last time, because you are a magician. But now I know the truth.” The man smiled and said: “in your father’s kingdom are many islands and princesses. But you are under his spell and you cannot see them.”

Back in the palace, the young prince found his father and looked him in the eye: “father is it true that you are not a real king, but only a magician?”

The king smiled and rolled back his sleeves. “Yes my son I am only a magician.”

Then the man on the shore was God.”

The man on the shore was another magician.”

I must know the real truth, the truth beyond magic.”

There is no truth beyond magic,” said the King.

In his discussion of Don Juan, Funk points out that “the world intended by the sorcerer… Is the world as perpetual mystery.”37 We would word it in a slightly different way – we would say that beyond all possible worlds, mystery is eternal and absolute, undiminished by any of our world constituting endeavors. As John Shay says in Stories of God, “to awaken to all it means to be human is to be aware of relationship to a More, a Whole, and Encompassing, a Transcendent, and Ultimate, a Mystery. Many paths, one clearing.”38 In short, the first error that we can make with regard to our world constituting efforts is the denial of Mystery.

The second major error in relation to the relativity criterion for the truthfulness of world Constitution is encountered when we conclude that recognizing the finiteness and relativity of all world creating activities means that all criteria for this truthfulness of world must be given up entirely. When we come close to seeing the Real as the sorcerer would have us see it, we give up “the pretense of telling you illusion from reality,” According to Funk39 this amounts to positing that “all explanations, all views of reality, including those of the sorcerer, are merely descriptions. There is no truth beyond the description.”40 To be under the tutelage of a teacher with this orientation to reality is to have the old world, along with all possible worlds, brought into question. Funk points out that “insanity is the inevitable sensation.”41 I would go further and say that insanity becomes a persons reality when one considers all worlds as “illusions” rather than finite truth, and then tries to live beyond all worlds. I don’t mean to suggest by this in a romantic notion of divine madness, but simple and stark psychosis – dementedness if you will. The matter is brought home by Melville in his portrayal of Pippin. Abandoned in the middle of the ocean, the sheer immensity and “awful loneliness” of it overwhelms his capacity to maintain a reasonably constituted world. Having confronted the Real, alone and without defenses, he is from that day forth mad. There was a kind of wisdom in his madness, Melville suggests. “So man’s insanity is heavens sense.”42 Perhaps. But, the price we pay for this wisdom, if that is what it is, is the capacity to live as a centered, viable personality in a common world with our fellows. Perhaps the wisdom that we possess in our finite worlds constitutes a deeper, richer, and more balanced wisdom so long as we do not forget that beyond all worlds lies an un-utterable Mystery. Perhaps it is for good reason that when we are confronted with overwhelming Mystery we “gather together and tell stories of God to calm our terror and hold our hope on high,”43 as Shay puts it.

Human existence cannot tolerate the total dissolution of all worlds. Such an occurrence is a questionable doorway into direct perception of the real. It is hubris to think that we are truly capable of such direct perception. The dissolution of all worlds is a psychic catastrophe of enormous magnitude marked by a falling into the untruths of simple insanity.

We are by no means suggesting that one should deny or run from the recognition of the ultimate Mystery of all things. On the contrary the recognition of the finitude of all world constituting processes has as its corollary that Mystery is always the ground of our being. The relationship between the finite but truthful world which is necessary if human existence is to be anything at all, and the ultimate mystery which lies beyond anything we can conceive, or no, or be, is appropriately a dialectical one. We do, of course, need to live in the understanding that all our worlds are but small vessels sailing on a great ocean of Mystery. But if we sink all our boats we can expect nothing better than to drown. We must live within the myths and stories which “carry patterns which transform the stark structures of human existence into inhabitable worlds”44

It is a not enough as Funk would have it, simply to characterize all world constituting processes as mere web spinning and illusion. Some worlds are more true than others. Unless we can affirm meaningful criteria for assessing the truthfulness of world constituting processes, we are left with no way to evaluate the relative merits of a world offered by someone like Hitler as opposed to one suggested by Martin Luther King Jr. Without criteria for the truthfulness of world we have no protection against that individual and collective untruths that destroy all that is worth living for.

The second criterion for truthful world Constitution to which we now turn is based on the recognition that human existence is always purposeful, gold seeking and value affirming. As Richard Niebuhr states it, “the participant in life simply cannot escape thinking in terms of persons and values. It would be possible to do so only if he could depersonalize the self, become a body without an inner life, without joy and sorrows, loves and hates, without neighbors, without hope or fear – anything in a world of things. But in such a world no truth would ever need to be uttered; existence without worth or worthiness would be all in all.” What is needed is criteria for truth in this realm of value and persons. In Niebuhr’s words, “the heart must reason.”46

Our second criterion, then, is this:

Truthful world constituting processes facilitate the primary aim of persons to increase and seek fuller realization of the values they have known in actuality or imagination.

World Constitution is a revelatory process. It discloses or reveals to us something about the nature of our deepest, most authentic, and most essential wants and purposes and clarifies how these aims and purposes articulate with the rest of reality.

Our purposeful behavior is generally in the direction of trying to realize a value that we have it sometime experienced. It seems to be at least theoretically necessary to postulate the idea that inborn impulses or wishes may sometimes motivate behavior toward values one has not yet experienced. The first seeking and sucking behavior of an infant might be an example. As a rule, however, are purposeful behavior directs itself to the realization of values we have at some time experienced. Our aim may be simply to experience that value again or it may be to seek a fuller realization of that value. But the basic horizon of our aims is generally limited by our experience. This is not to suggest we can aspire for nothing more than exactly that which we have already known. But even our loftiest images of hope generally have with in them a kernel of actual experience which is then elaborated by the imagination.

To catalog and adequately discuss all the values that truthful world Constitution aims at realizing would take us far beyond the scope of this paper. However, it might be useful, for the purpose of illustration if nothing else, to mention four such values.

(1) Coherence. Perhaps the most obvious value achieved by truthful world Constitution is that it brings coherence to our experience. In this respect the revelatory event received through an historical or literary narrative functions in much the same manner as a scientific hypothesis. As Richard Neiber states “whatever else revelation means it does mean an event in our history which brings rationality and wholeness into the confused joys and sorrows of personal existence and allows us to discern order in the brawl of communal histories.” He goes on to say, “in this sense we may say that the revelatory moment is revelatory because it is rational, because it makes the understanding of order and meaning in personal history possible. Through it a pattern of dramatic unity becomes apparent with the aid of which the heart can understand what has happened, is happening, and will happen to selves in their community.”47 Compare this with the description N. M. Wildiers gives of De Chardins’ concept of how a scientific hypothesis is validated. “In the scientific manner, the hypothesis, according to Teilhard, derives its whole value and power from the harmony and coherence it supplies as soon as it is accepted.”48 The similarity in how revelatory stories and scientific hypotheses function, suggest to us that scientific inquiry is, itself, a specialized form of world-constitution which in its general functioning is not that different from the world constituting processes we have been considering. World-constituting processes, then, on whatever level and in whatever domain they operate, aim at increasing the coherence of our experience. However, a world based on the revelatory perspective in the children-of- light versus the children-of-darkness story is just as coherent as a world based on Mark's story of sacrificial love. Therefore we need additional criteria for assessing the truthfulness of the story, and the world constituting processes.

(2) Integrated wholeness. Kurt Goldstein among others has alerted us to the need to see the organism in terms of integrated wholeness.49 The invariant functions described by Piaget (assimilation and organization) are clearly motivated by the aim of achieving integrated wholeness both in relation to the environment (assimilation) and internally (organization). Piaget sees in these invariant functions a bridge from biological to psychological levels of inquiry. Psychotherapists of many theoretical orientations increasingly see their primary task as assisting their clients toward a more holistic and integrated existence.

Integrated wholeness is the outcome of being able to establish a coherent world. Psychotherapists of an existentialist orientation point toward the failure of the disturbed individual to achieve integrated wholeness because of personal fragmentation, impoverishment of world,50 and the unnecessary narrowing of the possibilities of existence.51

(3) Growth. All developmental theories are, of course, concerned with growth. Facilitating growth in individuals where it has been delayed or fixated is the whole business of psychotherapy. Therefore, it seems self-evident that facilitating growth must be one of the central criteria by which the truthfulness of world constituting processes must be assessed. The epigenetic and developmental theories of both Eric Erickson and Jean Piaget, as they deal with the emotional, interpersonal, moral and cognitive dimensions of growth, suggest to us that the achievement of new structures, behaviors, and capacities is always based on the successful completion of previous test. Each new stage of emotional or cognitive growth finds its necessary preconditions in earlier stage that was achieved with at least a minimal degree of adequacy. Growth is, therefore, always concerned with a person opening out into new possibilities which are assimilated and integrated into forms and structures that are in large part the outcome of past experiences. In this process the forms and structures developed in the past undergo gradual modification. But, never are they thrown away in their entirety so that a person begins again carte blanche. This suggests that growth has a dialectical nature – it takes place within the polarities of continuity with the past and openess to the new. Truthful world constituting processes, then, must operate within the dialectic of growth – the future building on the past. The dialectic of growth takes place between tradition and innovation; each must be given its due.

(4) Interdependence. Growth is a dialectical process not only in terms of the dialectic of established order and the challenge of the new, but also within the dialectic represented by the individual and the group. We are well cautioned against an excessive emphasis on individualism which affirms the individual against, or even in opposition to, the group52. On the other hand it also been pointed out (for example by most family therapist) that it is not healthy for the identity of the individual to be submerged or lost in the group. Again, a balanced dialectical process is the ideal. In their very fine article on this and related matters, David Olson, Douglas Sprenkle, and Candyce Russel make this point with some selections of poetry:

It is hypothesized that a balanced degree of family coherence is the most conducive to effective family functioning and to optimize individual development. These three points on the continuum can be represented conceptually by three different forms.

Family separateness (extreme)

I do my thing, and you do your thing

I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,

And you are not in this world to live up to mine,

You are you and I am I,

And if by chance we meet, it’s a beautiful

If not, it can’t be helped.

Fritz Perls, “Gestalt prayer”


Family connectedness (extreme)

We do our thing together

I am here to meet all your needs and expectations

And you are here to meet mine.

We had to me, and it was beautiful

I can’t imagine it turning out any other way.

Jerry Gillies, “Togetherness Prayer”


Separate/connectedness (balance)

Sing and dance together and be joyous,

but let each one of you be alone

Even as the strings of Aleut tour alone

though they quivered to the same music, and stand together

yet not to near together, for the pillars of the Temple stand apart,

In the Oaktree and the Cyprus grow

Not in each other’s shadow

But let there be spaces in your togetherness

And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

“About marriage,” –Kahil Gibran, The Prophet 53


The process of constituting truthful world facilitates reconciliation between persons in which the uniqueness of the individual is affirmed within the context of the oneness and harmony of the group.

(5 and 6) Love and understanding.

Truthful world constitution facilitates growth in love and understanding. That the heart and essence of personal growth means growth in love and understanding was clearly articulated by Plato (or Socrates) 2500 years ago (for example in The Symposium). The same orientation is, of course, found in the God of light and love in whom we seek to have our life and being as revealed to us by the life and teachings of Jesus. From the Eastern tradition Sri Aurobindo suggested two of the three elements that make up “Integral Yoga” are the “yoga of integral knowledge” and the “yoga of divine love.”54 The matter is perhaps as obvious in its basic truth as it is obscure in its ultimate meaning. A true story opens up the growth in love and understanding.

We suggested six values which truthful world Constitution sustains and supports:

  1. Coherence

  2. Wholeness

  3. Personal growth

  4. Interdependence

  5. Love

  6. Understanding


This list is not meant to be final or complete. Nor have we given adequate philosophical justification for affirming any objective validity for these values for giving them precedence over other values. I would suggest, however, that while these values cannot be validated either logically or empirically (in the positivistic sense of the term) they can be validated phenomenologically. By that I mean that when we turn to our experience of ourselves as self-conscious existing persons in the world, we know it to be self evident that coherence is preferable to chaos, that wholeness is superior to fragmentation, that growth is better (is better – doesn’t just feel better) than stagnation, that interdependence is preferable to either isolation or the loss of the self and the group, and love and understanding are preferable to their opposites.

It is time that we stop being intimidated by an outdated positivism that would reserve for statements that can be validated by sense impression the designation of “truth” and denigrate all other kinds of statements as being merely “emotive” or “subjective.” The fundamental issue is really quite simple – so simple that a mere child might discredit the lofty pretensions of positivism and scientism to be the sole avenue to truths: experience is neither exhausted by, nor fully reducible to, sense of experience. It is that simple. Everybody knows it. The king has no close on. Peter Koestenbaum stated the matter eloquently in ‘s article, “ Existential Psychiatry, Logical Positivism, and Phenomenology.”

If we adopt a truly empirical position, one that subscribes to the radical view that all knowledge that all scientific theories must be based on experience, we must likewise recognize that all events are a form of experience. Not only do we have experiences of sense data, of objects, and of measurements, but we also have experiences of freedom, aesthetic beauty, love, anxiety, guilt, certainty, and conviction. Some of these latter experiences play a far greater role in the development of worldviews that are what ordinarily termed “sense data.” It is altogether arbitrary to restrict the terms “experience” and “empiricism” to events that are “external sensations or objective characteristics of objects,” as is done by positivism and traditional empiricism. 56

The real is the luminated by our total experience of self in the world – by our moral, aesthetic, emotional, and even motor involvement as much as by our sensory and cognitive processes.

I would suggest that the values I have delineated have two important characteristics:

(1) They form a part of the actual experience of any more or less normal human being.

(2) Virtually no human being who experiences these values would doubt their essential validity.

If this is the case, then we do have, as a community of seekers, criteria for assessing the truthfulness of our various world constructions with a reasonable degree of objectivity. We can, in dialogue, begin to assess and discuss the truthfulness with which our stories and world constructions are revelatory of that which is real. A glance at the two stories which this section of the paper began should make this point clear.

The story of the children of light and the children of darkness justifies the absolutising of the experience and world-constitution of a particular finite historical group. Therefore, by this criterion, we would have to suggest that the Angels of light – angels of darkness motive (under whatever guise it is found) tends not to lead to truthful world constituting processes.

In a like manner one could assess the story of the children of light and the children of darkness in terms of the degree to which it supports the values I have listed. Does it, for example, tend to facilitate reconciliation between persons (and thus interdependence). Does it tend to lead to openness to new experience? I feel that such evaluation would find the story of the children of light and the children of darkness to be wanting on more than a few points as a useful and truthful revelatory story. The story of Jesus, in Mark would, I think, fare much better. Specific analysis of stories is, however, not the purpose of this essay so I leave such evaluation to the reader. The point I wish to make here is simply that it is possible to define practical criteria that would be supported by a community of seekers, for ascertaining the truthfulness of stories, and the truthfulness of world constituting processes in general.

Our third question is “what does the transformative power of story suggest about the nature of being?” This question can be answered on two levels. First we can ask, what does the transformative power of story suggest about the nature of the being of the one who is the teller and hear the stories.” Second we can ask “what does it suggest about being in general?” In considering the first question we can remain a little closer to our immediate experience and, I feel, we can therefore have a considerable degree of confidence in our answer. The second question leads us into areas where our answer must necessarily be somewhat more speculative.

In formulating our answer to the question, – What is it that gives story transformative power? – we found that this could be understood only in terms of the power of narrative to destroy and create world. We can make sense of the transformative power of story, in other words, only on the basis of understanding that human beings as world constituting entities. To be world constituting is to be conscious, purposeful, value affirming and luminating. In the words of Medard Boss human existence is “a light which illuminates whatever particular being comes into the realm of its rays.”56 Thus, the transformative power of story has disclosed to us that a being which is a human being is luminating, purposeful, value affirming. It has agency and consciousness.

As soon as we leave this phenomenologically given understanding of human existence and turn instead to any of the explanatory constructs of natural science, all explanatory and predictive power with regard to understanding the psychological efficacy of narrative is lost. Are we, for example, to understand the action of a parable is occurring directly on the synapses of the brain, or in the chemical balances within the endocrine system by some heretofore undiscovered direct physical action? Can the differences between different stories be reduced and understood in terms of their physical and chemical properties? Clearly, in order to understand the efficacy of story we must stay with human experience as the consciousness which it experiences itself as being, and not reduce this consciousness to a set of mechanistic abstractions which exist only in the mind (consciousness) of the observer. How simple, yet because of our indoctrination in the positivistic worldview, how difficult. Medard Boss says that “analysis of Dasein urges all those who deal with human beings to start seeing and thinking from the beginning so that they can remain with what they immediately perceive and do not get lost in “scientific” abstractions, derivations, explanations, and calculations estranged from the immediate reality of the given phenomenal. It is of paramount importance to realize from the start that the fundamental difference which separates the natural sciences from theDaseinanalysis or existential science of man is to be found right here.”57

Although our understanding of the efficacy of story must be in terms of the structure of consciousness, and never reduced the abstractions of natural science, the changes affected by stories are quite real and ultimately observable as changes in the world disclosed by the senses. When we organize our world differently, we are different also in the ways that are empirically observable; our brains pursue different synaptic paths, our chemistry is different and we behave differently. At least on the level of human reality the consciously apprehended meanings by which world is constituted are causative and yield real and empirically perceptible changes. This means, among other things, that at least on the level of human existence purpose is causally effective. Being, as we apprehended it on the level of human beings, operates at least partly in terms of teleological forms of causality. The effectiveness of story in human existence, in short, is intelligible only on the basis of our understanding of being as irreducibly conscious, purposeful, and luminating.

What, now, can we say the transformative power of story suggests about the nature of Being in general? On the level of the being who is the teller and the hearer of stories we concluded that the effectiveness of story was intelligible only on the basis of a being who is a conscious self which purposefully constitutes the world on the basis of complex structures of meaning. In a word, the effectiveness of story makes sense only in relation to a being which is personal. Our question now is to what extent are we justified in generalizing our findings about the being disclosed to us in human existence to Being in general?

In his essay “the spirit of the earth,” Chardin argues that we must seriously and logically explore the ramifications of what science tells us – namely “that man was born from the earth.”58 The basic fact here to be considered (and this, it seems to me, is the cornerstone of Chardin’s thought) is the essential continuity of all reality. The primary conclusion made by Chardin (but by few other natural scientists) is that if human reality is continuous with the rest of reality then any valid knowledge we obtain about the nature of human reality will be in some sense suggestive of the nature of the rest of reality. The only alternative is to see in human reality (as the nominal logically understood) some sort of discontinuous or accidental aberration superimposed over the rest of the natural order. Chardin insists that the scientist as a conscious, thinking, world constituting entity is continuous with the world he/she perceives. “Man ‘ the thinker’ generally regarded as an ‘irregularity’ in the universe, is precisely one of those special phenomena by which one of the most basic aspects of the cosmos is revealed to us with a degree of intensity that renders it immediately recognizable.”59 Chardin defines this “basic aspect” which is revealed “life” or “spirit” and describes it in terms of freedom, consciousness, and purpose. He suggested only by understanding the “primal stuff” (being in our terms) of the universe as “spiritual” (we are using the term “personal”) can we understand both evolution and involution.60 Only by starting with the assumption that the basic stuff of reality is in some primordial sense personal (conscious, purposeful) can we bring the findings of natural science into harmony with the findings of disciplines that are phenomenological in their methodology (e.g.: literature, religion) in a manner that does justice to the fundamental continuity of all that is.

Let us then states of matter boldly. Being is personal. This being which is the “stuff” of our existence and the home which is our final destination is of the same nature or substance that we are. Our evolution then becomes our journey home. In the schizoid intellectualism manifest in positivistic mentality we have argued ourselves out of the simple recognition of our basic kinship with all that is.

Being itself is conscious and purposeful. In it receipt reflected “the law of progressive complexity and increasing consciousness.”81 Being constitutes a universe which sustains us in our truest and deepest purpose because these purposes are its purposes. But it does not indefinitely sustain us in any given finite form. Every form that we know of is always cast aside in order to make room for a new one that more adequately manifests the purposes of Being. Being constitutes a universe in which meanings actually inhere, and which are not mere projections of an absurd passion. The being which is the primal stuff of existence is world creating and purposefully strives toward creating world which embodies and sustains the values of love and understanding in evermore adequate ways. Chardin says “the most telling and profound way of describing the evolution of the universe is undoubtedly to trace the evolution of love.62 This is the universe and the nature of Being suggested to us by Chardin in the Western tradition and by thinkers like Sri Aurobindo in the Eastern tradition.

Looked at in this perspective humankind is no longer the pinnacle of all creation. We need to be disabused of our vain conceit that by a mere fluke or accident Being produced a child greater than herself. Being has undoubtedly produced other worlds more conscious and loving than our own, and hopefully it is not yet done with us. In our conceit we are prodigal sons, eating the pig slop of our vain delusions of grandeur. In our highest potential we are stories told by God.


1. See, for example, Kostenbaum, Peter, “ Existential Psychiatry, Logical Positivism, and Phenomenology, “the Journal of existential psychiatry (winter – spring, 1961), I, 4.

2. The following two books are excellent summaries of this point. Smith, Houston: The Rhyme ordeal Tradition, (New York: Harper and Row), 1976. Schumacher, E. F., A Guide for the Perplexed (New York: Harper & Row), 1977.

3. See, Hunter, James, “Natural Science and the Healing of Persons,” Journal of Religion and Health, 20, 2 (summer 1981), pp. 124-132.

4. Bettelheim, Bruno, The Uses of Enchantment. (New York: Alfred A. Kropf), 1976.

5. Von Franz, Marie Louise, Interpretation of Fairytales. (Irving, Texas: Spring publications in parenthesis, 1976.

6. For example, young, Carl G., Symbols of Transformation (two volumes). (New York: Harper and Brothers), 1956. This citation is just an example. The idea is a cornerstone of all his thought.

7. Gardner, Richard A., Therapeutic Communication with Children: The Mutual Story Telling Techniques. (New York, Jason Aronson, Inc.), 1971.

8. Anyone familiar with the work of Medard will be aware of my indebtedness to him at this point of the discussion – especially for the notion of consciousness as “illuminating.” See, for example: Boss,, Medard, Psychoanalysis and Daseinanalysis. (New York: Basic Books, Inc., Publishers), 1963, ch. 2.

9. Gurwitsch, Aaron, The Field of Consciousness. (Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press), 1964, pp. 92-96.

10. Shea, John, Stories of God: an unauthorized biography. (Chicago: the Thomas Moore press), 1978, p. 42.

11. Boss, page 42.

12. Shea, p. 39.

13. Kort, Wesley A., Narrative Elements and Religious Meaning. (Philadelphia: Fortress press), 1975.

14. Ibid., p. 109.

15. Ibid.

16. Ibid., p. 110.

17. Ibid.

18. Ibid., p. 86.

19. Ibid., p. 111.

20. Crossan, John Dominic, In Parables. (New York: Harper and Roe, Publishers), 1973.

21. Parrin, Norman, Jesus and the Language of the Kingdom. (Philadelphia: Fortress press), 1976.

22. Ibid., p. 202.

23. Crossan, p. 13.

24. Shea, p. 186.

25. Crossan, p. 13.

26 ibid., p. 32.

27. Kebler, Werner H., Marks Story of Jesus. (Philadelphia: Fortress press), 1979, p. 16.

28. Needleman, Jacob, In his introduction to Being-in-the-World: Selected Papers of Ludwig Binswanger. (New York: Harper & Row in parenthesis, 1976, p. 90.

29. Dupont=Sommer, A., The Essene Writings From Qumron. (Cleveland: the World Publishing Co.), 1962.

30. For a summary of Young’s concept of the “Shadow” see your own, Carl, Man and His Symbols. (New York: Doubleday and Company. Incorporated), 1964, pp 168-176. Also Young, Carl, Aion. ( Part I I of Vol. 9, Collected Works). New York: Pantheon books), 1959, pp. 8-10.

31. As quoted in D’Arcy, M. C., The Mind and Part of Love. (New York: Henry Holt and Company), 1947, pp. 127, 128.

32. Tillich, Paul, Systematic Theology (Vol. I). (Chicago: University of Chicago press), 1967, p. 106.

33. Her comments here apply specifically to Husserl’s phenomenology. The term, phenomenology, is used in a broader set sense elsewhere in this paper.

34. Piaget, Jean, Structuralism, (New York: Harper torch books), 1970, p. 44.

35. Funk, Robert W. Jesus as Precursor. (Philadelphia: Fortress press), p. 32.

36. As quoted in Funk, Op. Cit., p.72.

37. Funk, p. 48.

38. Shea, p. 37.

39. Funk, p. 50.

40. Ibid.

41. Ibid., p. 51

42.Melville, Herman, Moby Dick. (New York: the modern library), p. 413.

43. Shea, p. 42.

44. Ibid., p. 80.

45. Niebuhr, H. Richard, The Meaning of Revelation. (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, Inc.) p. 73.

46. Ibid., p. 79.

47. Ibid., p. 80.

48. De Chardin,Pierre Teillard, Human Energy. (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc.), p. 12.

49. Goldstein, Kurt. The Organism: A Holistic Approach to Biology Derived from Pathological Data In Man. (New York: American book company), 1939.

50. The term “impoverishment of world” is used by Needleman to suggest the state of existence when one is delivered over to an unnecessarily narrow and constricted world-design whether that is the world of the psychotic or the overly reduced design of natural science. See Needleman, op. Cit. P. 142.

51. Boss uses the concept of the unnecessary narrowing of our possibilities to suggest what it is that is dysfunctional in a number of disorders. For example, “to suffer from hysteria or from an organ-neurosis means that one gives up the freedom to be open to the world and all the ways available.” Boss, op. Cit., p. 143.

52. Falk, Ponds, “individualism and communalism: two or one? Social Thought, (Summer, 1970).

53 Olson, David H.; Sprenkle, Douglas H.; Russell, Candyce S; “ Circumplex Model of Marital and Family Systems: one. Cohesion and Adaptability Dimensions, Family Types, and Clinical Applications, “family process,” (April, 1979, 18, 1), p. 6.

54. Aurobindo, Sri, The Synthesis of Yoga. (Pondicherry, India: All India Press), 1973.

55. Kostenbaum OpCit., p. 205.

56. Boss, p. 37.

57. Ibid., p. 30.

58. Chardin, p. 20.

59. Ibid., p. 21.

60. Ibid., p. 23.

61. Ibid., p. 33.

62. Ibid.

63. Aurobindo, OpCit.






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