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International Journal of Transpersonal Studies

Abstract

Although transpersonal psychologies of self realization emphasize individual

development, earlier shamanic traditions also showed a central societal aspect and group based

consciousness. Indeed, many have understood the transpersonal movement as developing

towards an abstract globalized neo-shamanism. That altered states of consciousness, whether

as integrative realizations of the numinous or as dissociative “hypnoid” states, could be felt

and shared collectively was a familiar concept to the first generation of sociologists, who saw

all consciousness as social and dialogic in form. Durkheim, in particular, foresaw a globalized

spirituality of the future, his “cult of man,” in which modern individuation would progress

to the point where all we would have in common for the collective representations of

spiritual awareness would be our shared sense of human beingness. This view foreshadowed

De Chardin, and is presented explicitly or implicitly in Jung, Gurdjieff, Heidegger, Maslow,

and Almaas. The implications of a societal, collective face of transpersonalism for a future

planetary spirituality are pursued in terms of both a global ecological consciousness and

the potential transpersonal significance of SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence).

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