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Human Development/Consciousness Evolution
Record Type: Review   ID: 156

Changes of Mind: A Holonomic Theory of the Evolution of Consciousness

Wade, Jenny

 Psychologist Jenny Wade presents a theory of the developmental stages in the unfolding of human individual consciousness. She points out that one’s worldview is implicated in any theory of consciousness, but she feels that a new paradigm, based on "quantum physics, field and chaos theory, and holography" (p. 2) is now in place which she calls the post-Newtonian paradigm. It offers a cosmology that accounts for consciousness itself, and as such, is an especially appropriate paradigm for psychology, unlike the Newtonian one. She singles out four basic essentials of consciousness and attempts to "show how post-Newtonian thought and perennial mysticism can be brought together to deepen our understanding of noetic development" (p. 7). She adapts David Bohm’s version of a post-Newtonian paradigm for her purpose, and thinks perspective can be best characterized by being called "the holonomic paradigm," and explains why this nondual concept of a unitive reality may be relatively new to physics but has long been present in various mystical traditions. She builds on data which indicate that "consciousness can exist without the brain" and suggest that "an individual’s mature consciousness predates birth—in some cases, even conception—and survives death" (p. 19). She proposes two different individual streams of consciousness, one arising from the brain and the other "pre-dating a well-developed neurological system" (p. 19) and that survives the death of the brain. In this book she "traces both tracks of awareness as they arise, disappear, and converge during development" (p. 19), and she "discusses how one or the other of these tracks dominate subjective experience during different developmental stages" (p. 19). These stages she keys into concepts of time, space, motivation, and personhood at various developmental stages. In mapping the stages of consciousness, she follows the traditional method of "tracing the chronological evolution of consciousness over an individual life in the material plane" (p. 22). Chapters 2-12 present the stages of consciousness she posits. For each, in tabular forms she presents the primary motivation, ultimate values, attitude toward life, perception of death, self boundaries, perception of temporality, concept of other, locus of control, level of abstraction, options for action, and correct option. The chapter titles indicate the various stages: pre- and Perinatal Consciousness, Reactive Consciousness, Naive Consciousness, Egocentric Consciousness, Conformist Consciousness, Achievement Consciousness, Affiliative Consciousness, Authentic Consciousness, Transcendent Consciousness, Unity Consciousness, and After-Death Consciousness. In the final chapter she presents the holonomic theory of consciousness. This is a ground-breaking book that pays heed to both existing empirical data as well as human conscious narratives, presenting a theory that encompasses both and that is consonant with both post-Newtonian physics and the full range of human conscious experience. In the various stages of consciousness it mirrors and fully develops what we have called the EHE process.
Publisher Information:Albany: State University of New York Press, 1996. 341p. Bibl: 299-320; Chap. notes: 277-297; 15 figs; Person Ind: 321-328; Subject Ind: 329-341; 13 tables
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