Re: Psychogenesis and the VOS
Sep 07, 1996 09:32 AM
>I hadn't heard of psychogenesis either, until coming across Richard
>Ihle's ideas on it.
Richard Ihle writes>
Thanks to Murray for generous words.
I was also very interested that his computer search for ~psychogenesis~
turned up some instances of its earlier use. As I mentioned some time back,
the term seems like such a natural and obvious complement to HPB's
~Cosmogenesis~ and ~Anthropogenesis~ that it is highly unlikely that I would
have been the first one to use it to describe the idea that "psyche" may not
be an unchanging static "entity" but that it functions as a sort of
"perpetually travelling mirror" which can at least to some degree reflect the
animating, physical, desire-feeling, desire-mental, mental, Spirit-mental,
and Spiritual (Atma-Buddhic) components of a human incarnation and thus
become "egoically deluded" about its more fundamental and divine nature.
The "Levels" may be seven (or five or whatever), but since each instance of
temporary, partial "Self-forgetting" counts as an "ego-formation" in its own
right, the psyche has countless potential "costumes"--a central feature of
Gurdjieff's work, I believe. "I am my objective knowledge of the proper
procedure for changing a tire," and "I am my dispassionate understanding of
what HPB probably meant by Fohat" are both examples of the same Fifth-Level
psyche even though they involve different-seeming ego-formations.
Now, the idea that I in my youth once thought I could become famous for was
not psychogenesis itself but rather the "Doctrine of the Seven-Year Cycles."
That sufficient experience as one type of psyche encourages the "generation"
of the next, higher type of psyche seems to be obvious. For example, the
"Fourth Level vegetarian" ("I am my non-meat-eating idea which has been
formed because of sympathy for the animals etc.") may naturally progress into
a "Fifth-Level vegetarian" ("I am my non-meat-eating idea which has been
formed by the desire-free logic, science, or personal experience that eating
meat is unhealthy").
No, I thought I could make it big not with psychogenesis, which seems to be
the standard notion underlying all systems of "Spiritual evolution," but
rather, with the "psychological analog" of HPB's Cosmogenesis and
Anthropogenesis--namely, that utilization of all potential psyches is not
possible from the earliest age; there must first be a "psychomaturation" or
"generating" according to a sequential, age-related pattern.
The Breath becomes a stone; the stone, a plant; the plant an animal; the
animal, a man; the man, an angel; the angel, God. Age 1-7, Animating Cycle;
age 7-14, Physical Cycle; age 14-21, Desire-Feeling Cycle; age 21-28,
Desire-Mental Cycle; age 28-35, Mental Cycle; age 35-42 Spirit-Mental Cycle;
age 42-49, Spiritual Cycle.
The basic idea is that there is a "hidden" psychological maturation
proceeding pari passu the physical and that the full range of egoic delusions
is not available to an individual until it is completed. For example, a
sixteen-year-old may have the same dispassionate knowledge about the proper
procedure for changing a tire; however, he or she could not ~be~ that
knowledge in the same deluded identity sense as a thirty-year-old (i.e., he
or she would not have psychomatured enough to make a psyche out of the
Unfortunately, there are at least two problems with the septenary package.
First, if it were really so cleanly demarked and tidy, everyone would be
able to notice it. This is not the case, alas, because characteristics of
the next cycle start appearing at the midpoint of the present one (this
"midpoint insight" is though the courtesy of HPB and an exact analog of a
similar feature in her Anthropogenesis). At age 3 1/2 (theoretically
"Animating Cycle") or even earlier, for example, one can sometimes see the
first signs of a child's "experimental use" use of a physical
psyche--asserting himself or herself as a physically deluded identity--and
thus perhaps suggesting an occasional modification in parenting from simple
"energy re-channelling" to "natural authority of the big over the small."
Secondly, modern dietary or other hormonal-affecting aberrations may have
screwed up the significance of precise ages altogether. I have read that
around age 14 used to be a quite common time for the onset of menses; now,
one hears about even 8- and 9-year old girls getting their periods. I have
no idea what is going on, but it certainly diminishes any predictive value of
the Doctrine of Seven-Year Cycles based on strict age-related considerations.
Still, I am convinced that the ~same sequence~ of development remains despite
possible unreliability of the "age thresholds." I feel that nothing has
contributed more to my success with young people than getting into the habit
of looking at them from the psychogenetic perspective. I take nothing they
say or do at face value; I am only interested in whether they can--or indeed
are doing so at the moment--be deluded that they ~actually are~ what they are
saying or doing.
With adults, it is the same thing. Even a little understanding of the
possible processes of psychogenesis enables one to make some pretty accurate
guesses about who is indulging what psyche at what Level and to what
Well, psychogenesis and the Doctrine of the Seven-Year Cycles has never made
me famous and undoubtedly never will make me famous.
On the other hand, fame is usually not to a Spy's advantage, anyway. . . .
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