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Primal Spirituality and the Onto/Phylo Fallacy: A Critique of the Claim that Primal Peoples Were/Are Less Spiritually and Socially Developed Than Modern Humans
Many theorists—including Freud, Habermas and Wilber—have suggested that there are strong
parallels between ontogeny and phylogeny, and that the development of the human species has
followed the same basic pattern as the development of the individual from birth to adulthood. I
discuss this view in relation to archaeological and anthropological knowledge of the world’s “primal
peoples.” I look at the spiritual, moral, and social development of primal peoples and find
that, in almost every instance, they are more advanced than these theorists suggest, possessing
characteristics which only occur—ontogenetically—at the higher “fulcrums” of development. I
argue that Wilber’s spectrum model cannot be applied to species development and suggest the
basis of a new (non-ontogenetic) model of phylogeny.
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Taylor, S. (2003). Taylor, S. (2003). Primal spirituality and the onto/phylo fallacy: A critique of the claim that primal peoples were/are less spiritually and socially developed than modern humans. International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 22(1), 61–76.. International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 22 (1). https://doi.org/10.24972/ijts.2003.22.1.61