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Edited for Virtual Tantra by Iona Miller, 2002
Keywords: tantra, trance, self-realization, self-actualization, archetype, art, biofeedback, chakras, collective unconscious, creativity, dream, drug effects, hypnosis, meditation, myth, mysticism, parapsychology, peak experience, ritual, siddhas, sexual spirituality, jhana states, sex, John Gowan
The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mystical. It is the sower of all true art and science. He to whom this  emotion is a stranger . . . is as good as dead. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms - this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center to true religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I belong to the ranks of devoutly religious men.
                                                                                                     --Albert Einstein
4.11 General Introduction

We come now to the culmination of our search, for if there is any fit vessel in the universe to receive the numinous element in propria persona it is the human consciousness in the syntaxic mode. All that has gone before, the trance miracles of the prototaxic, and the magical art of the parataxic, are like the dumb show and the music before the play - the mere overture to the cognitive powers and the affective glories of the syntaxic mode. Creativity is the popular name for the mode, as were trance and art for the earlier ones, but this mode is creative with a vengeance. For it displays besides creativity, escalation, emergent capacities undreamed or unheard of before, intuition, transcendence, ecstasy, metamorphosis, and salvation.

The syntaxic mode embraces three levels or stages. The first is the creative (including mediation) which we identified earlier (1972) as the sixth developmental stage, and the occultists call the third state of consciousness. This level generally involves the ordinary state of consciousness, although there may be momentary intuitive intimations of something higher. Siddhis (psychic powers) are generally absent, although a few are found in creative states, some in biofeedback and orthocognition, and perhaps more in meditation. We identify five procedures in this level:

     tantric sex- 6,
     and meditation-2.
     The numbers are the hierarchy of jhana states.

(page 246)

Originally applied as positive numbers to the highest eight procedures in the syntaxic mode, we have taken the liberty of extending them downwards into negative numbers so as to characterize as accurately as possible each procedure successively.  The affective thrill for tantric sex is, of course, orgasm, while for the rest of the procedures it is creative inspiration; all the procedures save tantric sex show an infusion of cognitive knowledge which comes from some other source than conscious accretion or rote learning.

The next level we have called earlier (1972) the psychedelic (for mind expansion), and have identified as developmental stage 7. (The occultists call it the fourth state of consciousness). This level has the property that those in it experience a transient altered state of consciousness known as an ecstasy in which there is loss of self, time, or space, the infusion of a special knowledge, and purification of self. Siddhis are often seen. There are six procedures in this level.

     a) Response Experience (Jhana -1) (nature-mystic, oceanic, or peak experience);
     b) Adamic Ecstasy (Jhana 0) ("cleansing of the doors of perception");
     c) Knowledge ecstasy (Jhana 1) (illumination through special instant knowledge);
     d) Knowledge-contact ecstasy (Jhana 2) (contact with numinous element);
     e) Knowledge-contact ecstasy (Jhana 3) (rapture ceases);
     f) Knowledge-contact ecstasy (Jhana 4) (all feelings cease).

This level is the purview of the mystic life.

Finally there exists a highest level which we now call the unitive (earlier we had called it the illuminative). It is development stage 8, and the 5th level of consciousness for the occultists. Words fail to be of much use in describing this high level and its four procedures (Table VIII.) Those few who may dwell here are in a permanent altered state of consciousness, with attendant siddhis (which they evidently disdain to use). Since there are very few of them, and they shun publicity, we know very little about this level. Goleman says there are four procedures, all involving self-transcendence, and the last two Union. They are:

     a) Ineffable Contact (Jhana 5) (consciousness of infinite space);
     b) Transcendental contact (Jhana 6) (objectless infinite consciousness);
     c) Ineffable Union (Jhana 7) (awareness of "no-thing-ness");
     d) Transcendental Union (Jhana 8) (neither perception nor nonperception)

The issue here is the conscious disposition of prana or psychic energy. Imagine that you are at a water pipe through which water is flowing under pressure (Figure IX). In front of you are several spigots; the pipe then ascends vertically and is open ended at the top where there is a shower head. What do you do to keep from getting soaked? Obviously you open one or more of the spigots in front of you. This is a fair analogy to the flow of pranic or psychic energy. The spigots available to you are (1) sexual outlet, (2) creative outlet, (3) orthocognition, (4) meditative outlet, or the shower- head (psychic tricks).

If you want to keep dry you must open one or more of the spigots, depending through which of them you wish to express psychic energy. If you shut them all off, the shower-head will overflow, which is why occult literature since time immemorial has prescribed sexual abstinence as a preparation for paranormal feats, (not because sex is bad, but because it discharges psychic energy). If psychic energy is discharged through creative or meditative spigots it can be used in individually or socially useful ways, and the more we open any of the spigots the less likely we are to get soaked by the shower head. This again shows why it is not a wise thing to get involved in occultism before one is creative or meditative.

We have hitherto described the individual units comprising a mode as "procedures" because they are choices by which men can proceed. Due to a remarkable emergent property of the syntaxic mode, we must (for clarity) change this nomenclature in the middle of the mode. For while the activities of the creative level are "procedures," the activities of the psychedelic and unitive levels are not, since they are not within the conscious choice of man but come to him in some sudden, adventitious, and transcendent manner as if (to revert to religious language), by the grace of God. We have accordingly called them "graces." Poulain called them "The Graces of Interior Prayer" in his book of the same title (1912).

There are fifteen procedures/ graces in the syntaxic mode. Unlike those in the earlier modes, these are developmental and form a hierarchy of mind expansion from formal operations to the infinite. They might therefore be called degrees of expansion or development, as each successive procedure/grace is likely to possess emergent qualities. Because of this aspect the procedures/graces are divided

(page 250)

into three stages - the lowest known as the creative, the middle as the psychedelic and the highest as the unitive. These stages as we have elsewhere indicated (1972) are also developmental, being the cognitive aspects of the Eriksonian intimacy, generativity, and ego integrity affective components.

We have hitherto described the individual units comprising a mode as "procedures" because they are choices by which men can proceed. Due to a remarkable emergent property of the syntaxic mode, we must (for clarity) change this nomenclature in the middle of the mode. For while the activities of the creative level are "procedures," the activities of the psychedelic and unitive levels are not, since they are not within the conscious choice of man but come to him in some sudden, adventitious, and transcendent manner as if (to revert to religious language), by the grace of God. We have accordingly called them "graces." Poulain called them "The Graces of Interior Prayer" in his book of the same title (1912).

There are fifteen procedures/ graces in the syntaxic mode. Unlike those in the earlier modes, these are developmental and form a hierarchy of mind expansion from formal operations to the infinite. They might therefore be called degrees of expansion or development, as each successive procedure/grace is likely to possess emergent qualities. Because of this aspect the procedures/graces are divided

(page 250)

into three stages - the lowest known as the creative, the middle as the psychedelic and the highest as the unitive. These stages as we have elsewhere indicated (1972) are also developmental, being the cognitive aspects of the Eriksonian intimacy, generativity, and ego integrity affective components.  Sri Aurobindo was very clear that time was one of the first aspects to unravel when one became "orientated" or enlightened. His biographer Satprem notes (1968:96) that as we become psychologically conscious "the most immediate" experience is that "of
always having been and of being forever." For this awakening, as he says elsewhere (1968:268) involves "global vision, undivided vision, and also eternal vision." It is therefore "the conquest of time." But language itself is so entangled in time that we cannot properly speak of the noumenon, for as he again declares, (1968:297):

     It is a perpetual beginning which is not anywhere in time; when we say 'first the eternal, then the becoming' we fall  into the illusion of spatio-temporal language. . . ."The three illusions" - space, time, and personality - constitute the prison wherein consciousness is incarcerated. And the Ego locked into this prison does not know at first that any other state is possible. But when through orthocognition2 these restrictions are perceived as the illusions which constitute and define our present normal state of consciousness, then this more accurate view of reality gives us the power to intuit what other, and more liberated states of consciousness, unknown to us previously, may be like. And this expanded understanding allows us to appreciate the freeing aspects of altered states of consciousness.

For whether in trance or meditation, their first effect is to free consciousness from space, free it from time, and free it from the little selfish ego.  Response leads to the next level: valuing, in which the affective aspect reaches its height in what may appear to be excesses of emotion and action. Such a stage is akin to being infatuated with love or fanatically obsessed by religion. The heart seems to be enflamed, and psychic epiphenomena may be noted. It may be time to cool the ardor of the affective domain by resort to more prosaic activities. This "cooling" should lead to the next level of conceptualization, where the new interest becomes somewhat integrated with older loyalties and some sort of a hierarchy of values begins to be established. This sorting out is completed in the final step where a value complex (or reconciliation between values) which results in a working philosophy of life, becomes evident.


4.151 General

In the process of mind-expansion man acquires, as a byproduct of his development, the possibility of some unusual powers.  These powers are known as siddhis, seldom seen naturally, but are said to be "developed" by yogis and others as a result of spiritual training. Indeed, the beginning of these matters may be seen in creativity, and are discussed in section 4.37; the siddhis also are related to the paranormal aspects of trance (section 2.4) except that in the syntaxic mode it is not necessary to go into trance to induce them. There is an almost universal feeling among those versed in these areas that while psychedelic mind expansion is desirable, psychic powers such as the siddhis are distractions and temptations on the road to development, and that their cultivation is not in one's best interest. Huxley (1945:260) reports that "The masters of Hindu spirituality urge their disciples to pay no attention to the siddhis, or psychic powers, which may come to them unsought, as a by-product of one-pointed contemplation. The cultivation of these powers distracts the soul from Reality. . . ."

One of the reasons for this injunction is that the cultivation of such powers serves to entrench the ego, whereas the process of deliverance from the triple prison of time, space, and personality involves the transcendence of the personal ego. One of the best reasons for the triple monastic vow is that the acquisition of power before one has lost the selfish ego may place one in a lotus land where, having acquired such powers, one never wishes to renounce them.

The siddhis can be looked upon as a transitional stage in the general process of rapid change which causes "unstressing."

Unstressing is caused by the beginning of an energy flow through the body of an individual who is not yet at a high enough level to accommodate to the pranic energy properly. It offers resistance, and this resistance is in the form of unstressing symptoms.

From what has been discussed in Chapter 2, we are now in a position to order the symptoms of rapid progress towards enlightenment starting from a base of unregeneracy and nearly total ill mental health as follows:

     1. the Boisen panic-reaction symptom of positive disintegration;
     2. severe somatic unstressing, bodily twitching and movement;
     3. moderate unstressing, generally confined to vocalization, such as the Jackins syndrome of yelling, crying, laughing, etc.;
     4. light unstressing (such as sighing); in meditation, distracting thoughts;
     5. access phenomena, momentary extended pure awareness siddhis;
     6. witnessing in sleep;
     7. pure awareness.

If siddhis are akin to the relativistic effects of speed on a moving body, it reinforces the psychic dictum that they are adventitious phenomena and should not be sought or paid attention to. Our interest in them is really almost as prurient as our fascination with the revealing of a female dancer's thighs as she whirls during a polka. But like those shapely thighs, the siddhis do reveal a fundamentalform - in their case the transcendence of the laws of physics by the more general laws of metaphysics.

According to Mookerje (1966:143), the kundalini power which in ordinary folk is absorbed in bodily function, can be released and transformed until its highest sublimation results in nirvanic bliss. As the kundalini current rises through each chakra center, the individual enters a new stage of consciousness. Intense heat is generated by the passage of the kundalini energy through the successive chakras. It is our guess that embarkation upon any procedure of the syntaxic mode begins this power release. We further hazard that one of the occult values of creative performance is that the kundalini power (prana) is absorbed by the creative outlet, and that hence the psychic heat and other psychic effects are not seen. This provides a rather safer route to enlightenment.

The flow of prana through an unregenerate and unenlightened person can be compared to the flow of electricity through a coil of high resistance. There is a common result: the generation of heat. Thus the bushman in trance perspires and says that his medicine is hot. George Fox takes off his boots in winter and wanders barefoot through Lichfield because of the heat in his feet.

(page 266)

As we shall see in the section on orthocognition (4.5), there is a moral question involved in whether man should make any use of these powers, or whether there should be a delicate balance between a sparing use of them and a corresponding advance toward deliverance from the triple prison. The fact that they are often seen in advanced persons, who, however, are cautious in their employment, results in the fact that there is very little public display of these syntaxic effects, in contrast to the paranormal aspects of trance (section 2.4). In keeping with this policy, we shall downplay emphasis on this feature, particularly on the more spectacular aspects, and content ourselves with a mere enumeration and some citing. These categories are as follows:

     1. (general);
     2. ESP: telepathy (space); precognition, psychometry, and accelerated mental process (time);
     3. auras, Kirlian photography;
     4. healing and the anesthesia of pain;
     5. psychic heat and control over fire;
     6. clairvoyance, levitation, magical flight, OBE;
     7. psychokinesis;
     8. physiological aspects: breathing, kundalini, psychic sound; change in autonomic processes;
     9. miscellaneous effects.

It is interesting to note that 5 represents power over fire and water (psychic heat), 6 represents power over earth, and 8 represents power over air (the four elements of ancient times). One can also look upon the siddhis as liberation from the strictures of time and space.

4.152 ESP

(a) Telepathy. Telepathy is a kind of intuition, a "direct knowledge of distant facts." It seems to be an evolutionary step which is gradually being acquired by man. (Prince, 1963:13, 55,119); (Myers, 1903:261ff); Sinclair (1971:128); (Weil, 1972:187); Gowan (1974:24).

(b) Precognition. Ability to foresee the future. One of the most compelling powers, because it clearly reveals that the numinous element is outside time. Hard for most to accept, although evidence is very universal. (Prince, 1963:68, 70, 73, 98, 101, 108, 110, 114, 121, 134-6, 190, 201, 202, 216, 255, 251) which contains the precognitions of some very famous people; (Fodor, 1964:21); (Gowan, 1974:25). Riviere (1973:53) declares that it is by the awakening of the heart chakra center that the liberation "which enables one to see the three forms of time, past, present, and future" comes about.  There may well be a difference between precognition of the future and determinism of that future. For as Huxley (1945:185) points out "Knowledge of what is happening now does not determine the event."

(page  267)

Precognition of future events may be an invitation from the numinous to intervene in those events if they are untoward.  Precognition seems to be a siddhi particularly applicable to jhana 0 and above, with the "de-clutching" of the ego from time. It may also be experienced in drug-induced psychedelia (Masters and Houston 1966:165).

(c) Psychometry. The ability to tell about an object's past upon handling it (Gowan 1974:25-6).

(d) Accelerated Mental Process (AMP). (See section 2.44),

4.153 Human Aura, Kirlian Photography

If indeed this subject is a siddhi, it is one which appears more easily explainable on physical principles, and also one which is more common than many others. We have placed it here because of the fact that the ability to see the human aura has in the past been said to be a sign of advancement either in the agent or the percipient. (The aura around the heads of saints would be an example.)

Physiological aspects: Breathing, Autonomic Processes, Kundalini, Psychic Sound

The common element here has to do with control of the body, particularly its autonomic nervous processes, until recently thought to be independent of man's conscious control. The Hindus tell us that this is accomplished through breathing exercises which start the kundalini power on its ascent of the spinal column. (Satprem, 1968:313) declares that it is pranic energy which is released, and there are many correspondences with acupuncture.

Recently there has been independent confirmation in the West of many of these processes (Houston, 1973; Green and others, 1971b; Wallace and others, 1971, 1972).

Laski (1962:79) notes: "The impression given by mention of changes in breathing seems to be . . . of a deep breath before the ecstasy, a holding of the breath at or up to the time of climax, and a need to take deep breaths afterwards."

Suso is cited as "heaving great sighs from depths of his soul." St. Augustine says, "We sighed and there we leave bound the first fruits of the spirit and returned to vocal expression."

Laski (1962:281) notes that the definition of inspiration is: a breathing in or infusion into the mind of some suggestion, idea, or creation.

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Psychic sound

Esoterically, sound seems to have some of the generating qualities of radiant light. The Hindus are very emphatic about the importance of basic sounds, such as AUM as generating entities; in particular the mantras are composed of such sounds. The prevalence of the "AM" sound in Sanscrit (as seen in the names of many letters of the alphabet) suggests that there is some kind of basic hum (perhaps associated with various frequencies), which represents some kind of "carrier frequency."

Westerners know very little about these matters, but "toning" (section 2.44) is one western example. It is also true that during developmental process, perhaps as the result of unstressing, one hears psychic sound. Laski (1962:84) points out that mystics very occasionally experience involuntary speech or cries during mystic tumescence (possibly a parallel to the involuntary cries of sexual tumescence). Speaking further of the noises heard during ecstasy, Laski (1962:218) notes that they are compared with water, wind, or thunder, or they may figure as voices in muffled communication as at a distance. Tennyson says that at this time he was hearing "the hum of men or other things talking in unknown tongues." 8

4.159 Miscellaneous Effects

Among the more notable are the creation of apparitions (David-Neel, 1970:60-2). This is known as a "tulpa" (see also Pearce, 1971:27), the power of invisibility (by stopping the sensory percepts of others) (David-Neel, 1971:303); the accelerated motion (lom-gom-pa) which allows yogis to traverse vast distances.

The eight major siddhis (Sivananda, 1971:152-3) involve diminution in size, increase in size, levitation and magical flight, increase in specific gravity, clairvoyance, telepathy, precognition and healing, invisibility, taming wild animals, and controlling others, and resurrection of the dead. There are also twenty-six minor siddhis, some repetitions of the eight major ones, and some (like turning base metal into gold, and finding hidden treasure) scarcely what one would expect from an enlightened person.

Mooney (1896:948ff), crediting Brown's Dervishes, discusses Sufi mysticism. He tells that through various spiritual and meditative exercises the dervish gains an internal spiritual power:

     Among the practices of these powers is the faculty of foreseeing coming events; of predicting their occurrence; of  preserving individuals from the harm and evil which would otherwise certainly result for them; of assuring to one
     person success over the machinations of another, so that he may freely attack him and prevail over him; of restoring  harmony of sentiment between those who would otherwise be relentless enemies; of knowing when others devised      harm against themselves, and through certain spells of preserving themselves and causing harm to befall the evil minded, and even of causing the death of anyone against whom they wish to proceed. All this is done as well from a distance as when near.

(page 274)

     Dramatic powers such as the siddhis are very spectacular exhibitions of the regnancy of the numinous, but like other spectacular exhibitions, one may ask if all this is really necessary had there been better planning in the first place.  One of the advantages of psychedelic control in the syntaxic mode is that one avoids problems and untoward circumstances rather than reacting to crises in a spectacular manner. It is certainly more foresighted to prevent the onset of problems than to resort to heroics as a last resort. One is reminded of the considered judgment concerning  the charge of the Light Brigade. "It is magnificent, but is it war?"

What's New with My Subject?

4.2 TANTRIC SEX (Jhana -6)

Discussion of the prototaxic mode ended with an anchor point of "higher" trance. Symmetry demands that discussion of the syntaxic mode begin with a prototaxic anchor point which we identify as tantric sex. While Easterners might deny that ritualized sexual intercourse is a major or even important part of tantricism, it seems otherwise to Westerners. For us there is no simpler or clearer way to explain tantric sex than to say that it refers to those aspects of sexual union which are beyond the modern9 meaning of the verb "to fuck." These aspects are explained by Donath (1971:85) as "the loss of oneself in the unity of love.. . a prototype of the ineffable spiritual experience of union with the Divine."

In a meaningful discussion of this subject, any Westerner must recognize that culture has prejudiced his mind in subtle ways that make difficult the more realistic Eastern view of sex. Honesty, therefore, requires the author to acknowledge cultural bias. His background and culture has not sufficiently prepared him for the concept that sexual intercourse can have spiritual significance.  Christian teaching generally denigrates sex, at best as messy business necessary for human propagation, and at worst as sins of the flesh.

The ritualized tantric sexual act, even permitted to monks, involved the quiet union of male and female in an opposite sitting position

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in which, after entry, there is little if any motion, no ejaculation, and the position is sustained for long periods until the male loses his erection. There is thus no orgasm for the male - (Hindu writers never bothered to consider the female) - but there is continued communion of closeness and love. (A very similar practice, known as "karezza" was one of Noyes' directives to the Oneida, New York, utopian community). Since the woman is "consecrated" by ritual, and the man in effect worships her, the activity is essentially sacramental, that is "an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace." The East does not regard sexual orgasm as unworthy, but they do regard it as a primitive use of kundalini power better reserved for the ascent of the kundalini up the spine with attendant siddhis.

Underhill (1930:367)says it well "As enfolded in the darkness with one we love, we obtain a knowledge far more complete than is conferred by the sharpest sight" so "The transcendent is perceived by contact not by vision," This is "to know" in the Biblical sense.

Harding (1966:112)puts the same idea:

     There is a corresponding idea in Hindu marriage where the union of husband and wife accompanies, almost
     produces, a simultaneous union of the god Shiva with his consort, Shakti, on which the continuous creation of the universe depends.

She continues quoting the prayer in the Anglican marriage service:

     Oh God who has consecrated the state of matrimony to such an excellent mystery that in it is signified and
     represented the spiritual union betwixt Christ and His Church.

She concludes:

     From these examples it is obvious that the projection of the animus and anima is of the greatest importance . . . for
     through it the union of a man and a woman on earth is accompanied by or even brings about the union of the
     masculine and feminine potencies or principles in heaven.

Tantra teaches a conceptualization of the universe as a fundamental dualism of male and f emale, person-hood and object-hood. The personal element is considered male and is called purusha; the apersonal (female) principle is known as prakriti (nature).  The Jaina Sutra declares that atoms are formed by the union of a minute amount of purusha (proton), surrounded by many small parts of prakriti (electrons). Thus in the microcosm we have a model of mutual attraction typified by sexual love at the human level. Accordingly, the union of purusha and prakriti creates the ultimate monad of pure

(page 276)

consciousness. (Swedenborg says: "Sexual love is the purest energy of the divine state, for lovers in their embrace form one angel.") The tantric view, hence, is that sex is sacred and holy, being a prefiguration of the union of the personal and apersonal elements in the universe, (see Table X), or as a Christian mystic would say "the union of the soul with God."

Tantra is an entire religious philosophy of which sexuality is only a small part. It is also concerned with the release of the kundalini serpent force, which it avers is coiled three and one half times around the lowest chakra center in the genitals. When liberated by suitable techniques (dangerous without a guru), this pranic energy ascends the spinal column, producing psychic heat and siddhisas it passes through each higher chakra center. This upward journey continues until it reaches the highest chakra center in the head (the lotus), which allows the individual to shed his ego and unite with divinity.10

What is really being described here stripped of unconscious male chauvinism and the flowery language of the East is the onward course of the procedures and graces of this chapter of which tantric sex is the initial example. Each of the chakras represents a successive step in this ascent towards the re-integration of duality in the transcendent union of jhana 8 (section 4.84) in which time, space, and personality disappear in a final at-one-ment with divinity which is both transpersonal and trans-a-personal, and in which knowledge transmutes into being. This integration is the converse of the differentiation of creation, for when the All shall perceive the All, the All shall become the All.

Haich (1972:55) in a sensible discussion of these matters, puts the case clearly when she says:

     Those who set out on the path of Yoga with the intention of renouncing(i.o.) sexual activity and suddenly want to lead an abstemious life betray that they are not only ignorant of the divine origin of this energy, but even of the energy itself.

Westerners who have been miseducated by cultural denial of the growth-facilitating aspects of sexual activity, need to surmount prejudices and recognize sex as an aspect of development toward self-actualization. For sexual activity, accompanied by love, is of all ordinary acts the one most likely to contribute to the adult's progression to higher stages.

Many writers on tantracism, (e.g. Blofeld 1970), while stressing other aspects, do not even mention maithuna(sexual union). But while this omission may be a concession to Western sensibilities, it is significant that even the most exalted mystics speak of their union with God in an undeniably sexual vocabulary. Consider the following from St. Marguerite Marie, (Leuba 1925:112-3):

     One day as the bridegroom was crushing her by the weight of his love and she was remonstrating, He said: Let me do my pleasure; There is a time for everything. Now I want you to be the plaything of my love, and you must live thus without resistance, surrendered to my desires, allowing me to gratify myself at your expense.

Leuba (1925:143-155) devotes a number of pages to a pejorative examination of alleged Freudian interpretation of such mystic love. It is not surprising that the good professor was offended by such language in his day. But in a time of greater sexual enlightenment it is possible to ask if all this is the mere expression of sexual frustration, or is sexual intercourse the clearest simile of complete and pervasive spiritual union that most mortals understand? If this be true, then the sexual aspect of tantracism is prefiguration of undifferentiated union, and its ecstasy is an earnest of mystic rapture.


                                     4.3 CREATIVITY (Jhana -5)

4.31 Introduction

If there is one entrance for Western scientific man into the arcana of developmental progress and self-actualization, that entrance is creativity. For it allows him, while still retaining his respectability as a cognitive thinker, to have intuitive brushes with the numinous element through creative outpourings from the preconscious. And it is heuristic, for it prepares him for the mind-expansion into psychedelic realms which inevitably follows. Creativity, therefore, in addition to importance in its own right for the individual, and its social value in products for society, is also the sine qua non for effective syntaxic relationship with the numinous element in the conscious state. Without its discipline, our relationship with the numinous is only found in the altered state of consciousness of the prototaxic or parataxic modes (with the single exception of art, which is a kind of non-verbal creativity).  The great importance of this subject is therefore evident; it has concerned scholars such as Guilford, Osborn, Maslow, Jung, Rogers, to name only a few; it has been the subject of our own investigations (1972, 1974), and it deserves careful attention here.

The last section of the parataxic mode was devoted to non-verbal creativity in art. It is fitting that one of the first procedures of the syntaxic mode should be verbal creativity. In this section without

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retracing theory more fully explicated in the Development of the Creative Individual(Gowan, 1972), it is important to make three points in a rather summary fashion:

(1) Creativity is developmental (Gowan, 1972:53-70; Gowan, 1974:48-95): Creativity itself is an emergent and characteristic outcome of the theory of developmental stages. When the requisite degree of mental health is present, creativity is an inevitable outcome of developmental process. Maslow (Anderson, 1968:84) speaks of creativity as a "universal heritage of every human" and one which "covaries with psychological health." The individual who gains mental health as he goes through the developmental process exhibits increasing creativeness. An individual who experiences strain and anxiety evidences diminished creativity.

(2) Creativity represents an intuitive relationship between the conscious ego and the collective preconscious which not only conduces to mental health, but is very desirable for psychedelic progress (Gowan, 1972:60-67; Gowan, 1974:80-95).

While there will be more detailed exploration of this concept in section 4.39 shortly to follow, it may be helpful to say a few words about it here.

Creativity is the intuitive form of psychedelia. Since creativity is the junior cognitive stage, creative production results from leaks (as if by osmosis through a permeable membrane) between the preconscious and the conscious. In psychedelic production, doors between the two swing open, and the conscious mind is awed by suddenly finding itself master in a new and vastly enlarged domain.

It should therefore come as no surprise to us that creative people are often psychedelic, and psychedelic people are often creative.  The only difference is that frequently the creative person cannot tell you how it happens and the more advanced individual can.  Creative people are like children in the enactive stage where "the learning is in the muscles"; they therefore have often adopted a ritual for going into a relaxed state which will induce creativity. Some methods for accomplishing this are detailed elsewhere (Gowan, 1972:ch. 7).

In any hierarchy of developmental process, creativity has its place (Maslow, 1954:199-259' ), (Erikson 1963:247-274), (Anderson, 1954:84 88, (Jung, Singer 1972:140).  Elsewhere (1972:54) we say:

     The amount of creativity, other things being equal, is a barometer of one's mental health. Maslow (Anderson, 1959, p. 88) elaborates this idea further when he says: "The creativity of my subjects seemed to be an epiphenomenon of their  greater wholeness and integration, which is what self-actualized implies." It is as

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     natural to express creativity under conditions of high mental health as it is for a heated black object to radiate
     electromagnetic waves. At first there is no emanation, then with increasing temperature there is first heat, then light, and finally ultraviolet rays. Here the increase of temperature corresponds to expanded mental health, and the
     appearance of electromagnetic waves corresponds to creative production.

Singer (1972:137) notes:

     There is a process in which all men are engaged and which is a developmental process. It has been called many
     names; Jung called it the Way of Individuation.

Singer (1972:140) analyzes the individuation process thus:

     The individuation process, in the Jungian sense, means the conscious realization and integration of all the possibilities immanent in the individual. It is opposed to any kind of conformity with the collective and, as a therapeutic factor in analytical work, it also demands the rejection of those prefabricated psychic matrices - the conventional attitudes - with which most people would like to live. It offers the possibility that everyone can have his own direction, his special purpose, and it can attach a sense of value to the lives of those who suffer from the feeling that they are unable to measure up to collective norms and collective ideals. To those who are not recognized by the collective, who are rejected and even despised, this process offers the potentiality of restoring faith in themselves. It may give them back their human dignity and assure them of their place in the world.

Jung (1964:xi) states:

     Man becomes whole when and only when the process of individuation is complete, when the conscious and the
     unconscious have learned to live at peace and to complement one another.

(3) Verbal creativity, as distinct from non-verbal creativity, is a most important component in this process. The chief creative virtue of the verbal aspect is that it gives to man (even with the imperfections of language) a kind of calculus for the commencement of the expressing of his relationship to the numinous element syntaxically. This ability of expression, allows for intellectual negotiability of constructs, and therefore, for consensual validation of percepts. If we can test out our thoughts and feelings with others, we gain first in mental health,

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and then in the cognitive ability to categorize, and to discriminate between symbol and object. As Bruner (1966:6) sagely observes of language:

     (it) ends up by being not only the medium for exchange but the instrument that the learner can then use himself in bringing about order into the environment.

The capstone of this process is the verbal analogy, a literary proportion which bridges the gulf between two pairs of incommensurables by showing that they have the same ratio.11 This is the start of verbal creativity. The greatest thing (said Aristotle, Poetics:xxiii) "is to be a master of metaphor, since metaphor implies an intuitive perception of the similarities of the dissimilar." And J.W. N. Sullivan in his biography of Beethoven carried the idea even further: "A great work of art is a new and higher organization of experience."

Lama Govinda (1960:17) points out that since the syntaxic mode embraces the lower modes as well that

     ... the essential nature of words is neither exhausted by their present meaning nor is their importance confined to their usefulness as transmitters of thought - they express at the same time qualities which are not translatable into concepts. . . .

He concludes that it is precisely this parataxic quality (of the undefined image) in poetry which stirs us so deeply, and concludes:

     If art can be called the formal expression of reality, then the creation of language may be called the greates achievement of art.

But there are further virtues of verbal creativity, if by verbal we adjoin the entire alpha-numeric symbol system. The development of the "if-then" hypothesis, and the Aristotelian syllogism allow for the cognitive exploration of nature in an order which is amenable to measurement and validation. Thus is the scientific method born with its constant swing between intuition and validation, between hypothesis and measurement. This proving ground for creativity in the verbal mode is a necessary condition for any kind of rigorous investigation such as this book embarks on, for otherwise it would become a mere recounting of superstition, or a fearful, halting exploration in a dark cavern without a light.

     Considering the individual differences among one's fellows with regard to most aspects of physique or personality, one is immediately struck with the fact that (a) the variance is real and

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(b) its magnitude is ordinarily measured in percentages. Henry may be 20 percent taller than Edward, 30 percent heavier than Jack, and 25 percent brighter than Clyde; but he is unlikely to be twice as tall, as heavy, or as bright as anyone else.

Surprisingly enough this situation does not hold in regard to creativity. On any kind of creative scale used (and creative production of adults is as reliable as any), some individuals are found whose creative production exceeds that of their fellows, not by percentages, or even simple magnitudes; but it is more likely ten, fifty, or a hundred times as great. Obviously these fortunately creative persons are not that much different. Something has happened to turn them on. Creativity is a "threshold" variable. The nature of what that "something" is - the analysis of that threshold - is the task of this chapter.

Of all the powers of man, that of creativity seems unique. The generally accepted custom among the ancients was to ascribe divine origin, inspiration, or direction to any great creative work so that the poet became the prophet. Even the aspects of initiation and selection, which are universally found in creative function, appear somewhat mysterious, and many of our greater artists and scientists seem to receive inspiration rather than to develop it.

To create, mind must withdraw upon itself for a time to focus its forces and then project an image of itself onto an external medium. Psychologically this introspection and focusing takes the form of heightened awareness of the peripheral asymmetries of a situation and a subtle settling into consciousness of concepts at the boundaries of rationality or in the preconscious. This is the incubation period in the famous Wallas explication of the four components of creative process: preparation, incubation, illumination, and verification. It is understandable then that the hour of creation is a "tender time" when man wishes to draw apart from his fellows, whether up the mountain, into the desert, or away to his closet, but always into a solitary silence. Creative withdrawal and return, as Toynbee has pointed out, is a characteristic of creative acts of groups as well as of individuals.

Because creativity is a word which has recently been taken over by psychology from religion, it is almost impossible to discover it in a dictionary more than a decade old. It is still a new concept, recently attributed to the personality of man, and still to some fraught with mystical connotations. For this reason, care should be taken in defining it and in distinguishing it from other mental functions, as well as to note its possible varieties.

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Hallman (1963, pp, 18-19) gave a comprehensive definition:

     ... the creative act can be analyzed into five major components:

          (1) it is a whole act, a unitary instance of behavior;
          (2) it terminates in the production of objects or of forms of living which are distinctive;
          (3) it evolves out of certain mental processes;
          (4) it co-varies with specific personality transformations; and
          (5) it occurs within a particular kind of environment.

A demonstration of the necessary features of each of these factors can employ both descriptive and logical procedures; it can refer to the relevance of empirical evidence, and can infer what grounds are logically necessary in order to explain certain facts.12

Following this introduction (1), we enumerate the powers and virtues of verbal creativity (2), then discuss five theories about creativity, as cognitive, rational and semantic (3), as personal and environmental (4), as psychological openness (5), as mediated by the preconscious (6), as evidence of mental health and self-actualization (7). Two final sections concern creative organization, especially general systems theory, and the conclusion.

4.32 The Importance of Symbolization in Verbal Creativity

As we have seen in the previous chapter, non-verbal creativity comes to its highest outlet in art, in the parataxic mode. But there is a further explication of creativity in the syntaxic mode, namely verbal creativity, which is less intuitive and more cognitive in that the connotation and signification becomes categorical. Or to put it another way, the symbol, which was an image in the parataxic mode, now becomes a component of language in the syntaxic, so that what was formerly ill-defined and susceptible of several meanings, now becomes clear and definite, with only one meaning.

This clarification of the image, as a zoom lens clarifies an object in an optical field, is part of the process of differentiation. It differentiates first between symbol and object referent, between a map of and the experience of reality. This clarification helps the cause of truth, for it allows us to specify with far more precision the exact properties and characteristics of nature. It reaches its zenith in the language of mathematics, which is the most precise tool of all.

While the symbol separates man from reality, it is a necessary aspect of knowing reality with the conscious mind. For symbolization of reality seems to be a necessary stage of development in the mind, and the increasing order which mathematics and science find in the universe appear to be examples of this congruence between the human mind and the constitution of the universe. Some mathematical illustrations would include:

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                                epii + 1 = 0,   e = mc2, and lg lg 10  (approx.=) sq. rt. 3

Ernst Cassirer, in An Essay on Man (Hayakawa 1953:131), says:13

         . . . man lives in a symbolic universe. . . . No longer can man confront reality immediately; he cannot see it, as it      were face-to-face.... He has so enveloped himself in linguistic forms ... that he cannot see or know anything except      by the interposition of this artificial medium.

According to Hayakawa "human beings live in a 'semantic environment,' which is the creation of their symbol system."  Edward Sapir went so far as to claim (Pearce 1969:4)

     .  . . the real world is to a large extent built up on the language habits of the group.

To say that a symbol belongs to a system of representation is to say that it is "governed by certain rules of signification" (Nagendra 1972:136)

     Of all the known systems of representation, language has the most clear-cut and definite rules of signification . .

The mathematical language is the most definite and clear-cut of all languages (Nagendra 1972:136) notes:

     The mathematical language is only a refined version of verbal symbolism.

The symbol is, as Susanne Langer says, the basic instrument of thought. Thought is a shaping force in reality. It has been noted that our minds screen out far more than we accept; we would live in a chaotic world if this was not so.

Of  "symbolization---as a universal process" Mukerjee sees it as "the generic creative process of Communication that makes man's life an endless quest." He says (Mukerjee 1959:19):

     The study of symbol and the symbolic process provides not only the central frame of reference for the functional analysis of society, but also a new starting point of Philosophy, freed from the Cartesian dualism of matter and spirit, inner and outer world.. . The symbol, both psychologically and epistemologically considered is not merely a mental construct but also a dynamic synthesis of self and its universe. Symbol, then, as Mukerjee concludes, "not only gives us a

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     representation of the process ... it enables us to share in or to live in retrospect the experience of the process. It is this ability to be the process and the result of the process which has caused great confusion in trying to analyze  ritual's nature. Being the process and the source of the process has also been the source of its power."

And so we have seen the symbol is a "bridging process," bridging the gap between outer existence (the world) and inner meaning. He who understands symbol participates in this bridging process and as Eliade states (Eliade 1959:103):

     not only "opens out" to the objective world, but at the same time succeeds in emerging from his particular situation and in attaining a comprehension of the universal. This is explained by the fact that symbols have a way of causing immediate reality, as well as particular situations, to "burst."

Symbols also possess three enormous consequences, according to Bertalanffy (Kepes 1966:275):

     "1) They replace biology with history;
       2) They replace trial and error by reasoning, and
       3) They make purposiveness possible."

Benjamin Lee Whorf and Edward Sapir, Susanne Langer, and Ernst Cassirer believe that thought and language are not independent processes. The traditional idea that thought comes first to be followed later by a linguistic formulation of that thought is no longer a prevalent one.

The process of transforming all direct experience into language, that supreme mode of symbolic expression, (Lee 1949:7), to quote Susanne Langer in her essay "The Phenomenon of Language"

     . . . has so completely taken possession of the human mind that it is not only a special talent but a dominant, organic need.

Langer sees in this all-important craving for expression the source of his powers and his weaknesses (Lee 1949:8).

     The special power of man's mind rests on the evolution of this special activity ...... his primitive mental function is not     judging reality, but dreaming his desires. ... man has a constant and crying need of expression. What he cannot
     express, he cannot conceive; what he cannot conceive is chaos and fills him with terror.

To Susanne Langer this process of symbolic transformation which all our experiences undergo (Lee 1949:8):

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     ... is nothing more nor less than the process of conception, which underlies the human faculties of abstraction and     imagination....     Language is the highest and most amazing achievement of the symbolistic human mind. The power it bestows is
     almost inestimable.

Both Cassirer and Langer conclude that names or naming are the essence of language. Cassirer in Language and A View of the World (Lee 1949:259) says:

     Without the help of the name every new advance made in the process of objectification would always run the risk of being lost again in the next moment.

Language is necessary and must be predictable if we are to function comfortably in this world.

According to Pearce (1969:143):

     Speech serves no adaptive purpose ... yet speech was developed by life, and its purpose can be understood from its real function, a function long championed by Langer.... It was a part of the development of a system of logical choice, of value judgment, and of projected symbol-making, through which new possibilities for reality could be consciously directed.

The creation of language, the facility whereby we communicate with our world and those in it, is according to Pearce, a case of the "cause of the need" becoming the "cause of the fulfillment of the need." Language is the means by which we become comfortable in our world. It is through language that we name our world, and through naming our world we create the world that
we name.

As Fischer 1974:32 reminds us:

     Symbols are capable of revealing a modality of the "real" or a condition of the World which is not evident on the     plane of immediate experience. Symbols, . . . point beyond themselves and open up levels of reality which otherwise     are closed. In this sense symbols have a sacred, religious quality. A man who understands a symbol not only "opens     himself" to the objective world, but at the same time succeeds in emerging from his personal situation and reaching a     comprehension of the universal.

Before leaving verbal creativity, there is another and very different benefit to be noted. One of the difficulties that many persons have with efforts to become creative is that such efforts seem to destroy

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their organizational posture. The effort to relax enough to be non-verbally creative seems to interfere with the time-competence, and other responsible aspects of being "organized." The notorious difficulties that artists have of dealing with mundane ego-tasks is well known. But as creativity becomes less affective and more cognitive, less parataxic and more syntaxic, less non-verbal and more verbal, it appears gradually to come free of this difficulty, so that in the higher reaches of verbal creativity (such as general semantics, general systems theory, or higher mathematics) one may simultaneously find high structure and high creativity.

4.33 Creativity as Cognitive, Rational, and Semantic14

Attention may now be given to an extremely important group of researchers who have regarded creativity in the main as little else than problem solving. It is a form of rational thought which connects things, which combines parts into new wholes and which (like Sherlock Holmes) performs seeming miracles through observation, insight, and meaningful analysis of semantic elements.

Hallman (1963) calls this condition connectedness and says that it imposes on man

     . . . the need to create by bringing already existing elements into a distinctive relation to each other. The essence of      human creativeness is relational, and an analysis of its nature must refer to the connectedness of whatever elements      enter into the creative relationship. The analysis must demonstrate that though man does not create the components,      he can nevertheless produce new connections among them. It must prove that these connections are genuinely      original and not simply mechanical. Logically, this means that connectedness comprises relationships which are      neither symmetrical nor transitive; that is, the newly created connections as wholes are not equivalent to the parts      being connected. Neither side of the equation validly implies the other, for the relationship is neither inferential nor      causal; rather, it is metaphoric and transformational.

Hallman (1963) calls the roll of some of the writers who have called attention to this aspect of creative performance as follows: Bruner (1962) who states that creativity grows out of combinational activity; Taylor (1964) who points to new organizational patterns; Murray (Anderson, 1959, p. 96 ff.) who finds a compositional process; Ghiselin (1952) who abstracts a new constellation of meanings.

Creativity has also been considered as resulting from particular types of logical thought. This was indeed the view of Osborn (1953) in Applied Imagination, and the problem-solving methods he espoused.

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These go back to Dewey (1910), Rossman (1931), and Wallas (1926) and are found in the practice of the Buffalo Creative Problem-Solving Workshop15 which Osborn founded and which is carried on by his protege, Parnes (Gowan, Demos and Torrance, 1967, pp. 32f43). Edwards (1968) has supplied us with a survey of creative problem-solving courses.

While factor analysts did not discover creativity in the factors of intellect until Guilford's "Structure of Intellect," others were making earlier appraisals of creative process which separated it from intelligence. Some of these efforts tended to equate creativity with problem solving.

Dewey (1910) offered an initial attempt at a problem-solving model for creativity by suggesting the following steps:

     (1) awareness that a problem exists;
     (2) analysis of the problem;
     (3) an understanding of the nature of the problem;
     (4) suggestions for possible solutions; and
     (5) testing the alternative solutions and accepting or rejecting them.

Wallas (1926) suggested a somewhat similar model, but with more attempt to account for preconscious aspects:

     (1) preparation (assembling the information, a long rational process);
     (2) incubation (temporary relaxation, play, or turning the matter over to the preconscious);
     (3) inspiration (a brief moment of insight); and
     (4) evaluation (elaboration and testing of the completed process or product).

Rossman (1931) noted that an inventor goes through a similar process and decided on seven steps:

     (1) observed needs;
     (2) formulation of problem;
     (3) available information collected;
     (4) solution formulated;
     (5) solutions examined critically;
     (6) new ideas formulated; and
     (7) new ideas tested.

4.34 Creativity as Personal and Environmental16

The trait and environment theories about creativity have long received considerable attention. There are three main areas of interest:

     a. Creativity as a personality correlate, especially of originality, energy, humor, and high self-concept;
     b. Creativity as a result of environment, especially parental rearing practice;
     c. Creativity as a concomitant of age and stage and other auxiliary variables.

Creativity as a personality correlate has received the main attention. Hallman (1963), in his definitive review, says:

For example, a large body of evidence has accumulated in connection with the effort to identify the particular personality
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traits which make for creativity. The assumption is that the creative process can be fully accounted for by providing an exhaustive list of such traits.... Fromm speaks of four traits: capacity to be puzzled, ability to concentrate, capacity to accept conflict, and willingness to be reborn every day (1959). Rogers has a similar list: openness to experience, internal locus of evaluation, and ability to toy with elements (1959). Maslow has perhaps the most extensive list (1962); the creative personality, he says, is spontaneous, expressive, effortless, innocent, unfrightened by the unknown or ambiguous, able to accept tentativeness and uncertainty, able to tolerate bipolarity, able to integrate opposites. The creative person is the healthy, self-actualizing person Maslow believes. Others who have identified creative traits are Barron (1963), Meier (1939), Whiting (1958), Angyal (1956), Mooney (1956), Lowenfeld (1958), and Hilgard (1959).

Weisberg and Springer (Mooney and Razik, 1967) chose 50 of the most creative and gifted children out of 4000 in the Cincinnati schools and gave them tests and interviews. The five highest judgment categories (all significant at the 5 percent level) following the interview were (1) strength of self-image, (2) ease of early recall, (3) humor, (4) availability of oedipal anxiety and (5) uneven ego development.

Welsh (1967) used an adjective check list on Governor's School students which indicated that high creative adolescents are independent, nonconforming individuals who have change and variety in environment and also have active heterosexual interests.

Whelan (1965) used a theoretical key of seven scales with the following correlations with creativity:

     a. energy (r = .67): few illnesses, avid reader, early physical development, good grades, active in organizations
     b. autonomy (r = .60): values privacy, independent, early to leave home
     C. confidence (r = .68)
     d. openness to new experience (r = .37)
     e. preference for complexity (r = .13)
     f. lack of close emotional ties (r = .30)
     g. permissive value structure (r = .67).

Dellas and Gaier (1970) reviewed creativity research on five variables: (1) intellectual factors, (2) intelligence, (3) personality, (4) potential creativity and (5) motivational characteristics. Creative persons appear more distinguished by interests, attitudes, and drives rather than high intelligence. Creativity seems to be a synergic effect involving cognitive style, openness, and other personality variables.

Neither permissiveness, overindulgence, nor a great deal of love

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in the home appears to stimulate creative performance as had, in some quarters, been alleged; but a good deal of parental interaction with children, plus authoritative (not authoritarian) behavior on the part of the parents, appears helpful. The mixed results make it appear that parental rearing practices and other environmental influences are not central in producing creative persons, at least not so much so as individual personality dynamics. Some research results follow.

Arasteh (1968) concluded, after a careful survey of creativity in young children, that a loving, authoritative but somewhat permissive family structure was more productive of creative children than an autocratic or inflexible one.

Datta and Parloff (1967) attempted to determine the kind of family in which the creative individual is likely to develop. Previous studies indicated that the relevant dimension is autonomy control. Both creative scientists and their less creative controls described parents as moderately affectionate, nonrejecting and encouraging. The creatives were more likely to perceive parents as providing a "no rules" (PERMISSIVE) situation in which their integrity, autonomy, and responsibility were taken for granted.