A NEW SYNTHETIC FRAMEWORK; THE WHOLIST PERSPECTIVE
The following is an updated summary of ideas presented in two books by the author. They are From Survival to Fulfillment; A Framework for the Life-Trauma Dialectic (1998), Philadelphia: Brunner/Mazel, and Trauma and Fulfillment Therapy; A Wholist Framework (1999), Philadelphia: Burner/Mazel.
The aim of this paper is to present a new synthetic perspective. The synthesis includes observations from a number of disciplines such as physiology, medicine psychiatry, and traumatology, underpinned by evolutionary biology. The framework, it is suggested, can help to reexamine and clarify important philosophical questions. They include old and new dichotomies such as those of mind-body, scientific-humanist, reductionist-whole, and linear-non-linear. Further, the framework affords perhaps for the first time, a logical basis for, and initial heuristic categorizations of specifically human qualities including emotions, morality, values, meanings and purpose. An innate language may parallel the logical base and categorizations. The perspective has practical clinical applications, but perhaps more importantly, it contributes to an overall view of humans.
It may seem foolhardy for a non-philosopher to enter philosophical arenas and I apologize for not following current philosophical concerns and language. Yet inevitably I was drawn to philosophical considerations through the deep philosophical concerns of those I was trying to help. Whether in disasters, emergency departments, or consulting rooms, people were not only concerned with survival, but even more so with reasons, morals, and existential meanings. Thus my base of observation is people who on the one hand under the threat of death needed to understand their lives, and on the other hand, those whose lives collapsed physically, psychologically and socially, when they no longer saw meaning or purpose to their lives. From this vantage point I was led to consider what gave life fulfillment and purpose, what strategies people used to survive and fulfill themselves, and what happened when these strategies were strained or they failed. Synthesizing my observations with those of many colleagues, and with a wide literature from different fields, led me to evolve a perspective which I call the wholist perspective.
The Wholist Perspective and The Life-Trauma Dialectic
The wholist perspective is a three dimensional view of biological, psychological and social fulfillments (happiness), strains (stresses, tensions), and disruptions (survival stresses, traumas, illnesses, unhappiness). Specifics are determined by specific means of survival and fulfillment, based on evolutionary survival strategies, and their various balances.
Survival strategies manifest in three dimensions (Figure 1). One axis (the depth axis, Axis 3 in the figure), reflects the evolution of the human brain and mind and ranges from instincts to spiritual levels. The process dimension (process axis or Axis 1) reflects the process of evocation of survival strategies. The final dimension (parameter axis) defines the parameters of the situation, such as the social system level (individual, family, group, etc).
To foreshadow what follows, collation of the various possible survival strategy manifestations at the intersections of the three dimensions enables specific categorizations at those points. Such categorizations may be of fulfilling, stressed or traumatized, biological, psychological or social manifestations. Such categorizations constitute an innate language (wholist language) which may be made manifest in ordinary language. Hence for the first time we have a possibility to locate, translate and categorize in a meaningful way the disparate, often contradictory, emotions, actions, morals and values which make up the human condition.
The term wholist in the wholist perspective was chosen to include ‘hol’ as in Koestler’s (1983) holon, wherein ‘hol’ indicates whole and ‘on’ the smallest particles such as electron. So in the wholist perspective survival strategies manifest from physiological survival responses through to existential meanings. The term also includes holistic (in the sense of biopsychosocial).
The wholist perspective subsumes some earlier views of different levels of happiness or fulfillment, such as of Aristotle (1988) and Maslow (1970). However, it goes further, perhaps answering to some degree the call by the modern biologist-philosopher Wilson (1998), who noted that the most important questions in life are unanswered because of the lack of a system of views which brings together many disciplines and which is sensibly based in the human condition and can be scientifically verified.
From time immemorial people have tried to integrate two opposing experiential streams in their lives. One stream included happiness, life itself , and creativity, the other destruction, sorrow and disintegration. The protagonists were variably labeledlabelled the forces of light and dark, good and evil, God and devil, life and death. Becker (1973) refers to concepts of death as the ‘worm at the core of human happiness’, ‘the skull at the banquet’ or ‘the rumble of panic below everything’.
The wholist perspective sees life and trauma as the essential human dialectic. Life includes the variety of human fulfillments which both promote evolutionary life and facilitate (reflecting Maslow’s term) actualization of life promoting potentials. Trauma is the disruption of life and its fulfillment.
This replaces the life-death dialectic with a purposeful as against purposeless life. This is because people are prepared to sacrifice their survival if in death their lives were purposeful, and they are only prepared to struggle survive, if their lives are existentially meaningful. If not, they may kill themselves. The life-trauma dialectic may be expressed thus:
The purpose of life is to survive and fulfill oneself according to the life cycle, and to help others do the same. Trauma disrupts this purpose.
Trauma is the worm at the core of human happiness. It not only attacks survival of the body, but of the whole fabric of fulfilment of highly prized singularly human qualities - morality, justice, values, principles, the sacred, connection to the universe (the soul),. Thus trauma threatens to make both body and soul absurd. Thus itIt is trauma which is the destructive part of the dialectic with fulfilment of life.
Let us now look more closely with the tools of the wholist perspective at the detailed structure of life and trauma.
Triaxial Framework and Survival Strategies as Tools of the Wholist Perspective
The two prongs of the wholist perspective will now be presented in greater detail. They are the three dimensional view of fulfillment trauma and survival strategies.
Three Dimensional View of Fulfillment and Trauma
The three dimensions of fulfillment and trauma (Figure 1) mentioned above will be looked at now in some more detail.
1. Process (Length) Dimension or Axis
Challenges to survival and fulfillment may be met or unmet. If met, they lead to specific forms of fulfillment or happiness. The process of this occurring has seldom been studied, except at the level of instinctive pleasures. On the other hand, the process in which challenges are not met, has been amply studied.
A summary of the latter process may include the following. An event which disrupts a life enhancing dynamic equilibrium is called a stressor. It evokes stress responses, which at a particular level are survival strategies (see below). When stress responses do not deal with the challenge, stress and strain develop. When irreversible disruption occurs in the life enhancing equilibrium, trauma has occurred. Defenses mitigate the disruption. Symptoms and illnesses include stress, trauma and defense manifestations. All stages include biological, psychological and social aspects.
2. Parameter (Breadth) Dimension or Axis
The quality (culture) of the process depends on a number of parameters. They include the nature of the stressor (fire, flood, assault), phase of observation (at the time of the occurrence, recovery period), age (baby, adult), and social system (individual, family, community).
3. Depth Dimension or Axis
This axis reflects the evolutionary levels of human achievement. This article takes survival strategies at the level of biopsychosocial drives as the starting point (see below). They subsume physiological and reflex levels of survival and fulfillment, and on the other hand inform more complex levels. It is suggested that each level is informed by lower ones and subsumes them, and has a bi-directional relationship with them.
Survival strategies inform ever higher levels. They include judgments and morality, basic meanings, ideals values and principles, codes dignity and rights, religion ideology and beliefs, identity, symbols, creativity and esthetics, sacredness, and ultimately wisdom, knowledge, truth, and existential meaning and purpose.
Various types of happiness and unhappiness may hypothesized at various depth axis levels. For instance, physiological and survival strategy level satisfactions may be called basic or simple pleasures of life. Their opposites are basic human nightmares. The pleasures and unpleasures of higher levels are felt ever more spiritual. Yet because they subsume the previous levels, they symbolize lower levels in a vital way. Therefore people may sacrifice themselves for instance for honor principles and beliefs as if they were essentials to survival and fulfillment.
Space does not permit here to describe three types of morality which feed into higher levels of fulfillment and trauma. Hierarchical morality deals with good and bad, and feelings of anger and guilt; morality of worth deals with worthiness and unworthiness, and feelings of self-esteem and shame; and morality of justice deals with right and wrong and feelings of righteousness and blame.
The advantage of the three dimensional view is that it can be used like a satellite to pinpoint and orientate fulfillment and survival manifestations in three dimensional space. The contents of the space are filled by survival strategies. The triaxial framework is the orchestra, while survival strategies make up the symphony.
Survival Strategies - An Octave in the Symphony of Happiness and Unhappiness
Eight survival strategies (SSs) are like an octave in the music of survival and fulfillment. Recognizing SSs allows making sense of, and categorization the very variable, fluctuating, and at times contradictory manifestations of fulfillment and survival phenomena. The triaxial framework orientates the points at which SSs are active, and provides the route to their original contexts. The wholist perspective makes sense of symphonies of happiness and unhappiness by understanding individual notes and harmonics as well as their complex interactions.
In the past two SSs have been well recognized - fight and flight. Other SSs were difficult to conceptualize because the concept of competition for survival of the fittest could not encompass altruistic behavior. This was overcome in the recent shift of evolutionary theory, which saw not the individual, but the reproductive group, as the evolutionary unit. Now altruistic behavior for the sake of the group made evolutionary survival sense, and SSs which involved giving such as rescue, attachment and cooperation could now be included.
The expanded purpose of life from individual selfishness is reflected in the definition of the life-trauma dialectic above. Purpose involves as much furthering others’ lives as one’s own. In practice, the balance of living for oneself or others may fluctuate according to circumstances.
Features of SSs
Survival strategies are evolutionary templates whose function is to enhance survival of evolutionary social units. Their basic level of operation is on a level between reflexes and instincts on the one hand, and abstract functioning on the other. They have rich two way connections with both lower and higher levels. Anatomically they are intimately associated with MacLean’s (1973) "old mammalian" brain, that is the midbrain, limbic system and primitive cortex, whose role is to "..guide behavior with respect to the two basic life principles of self-preservation and preservation of the species." Each SS has unified biological, psychological and social features which act as functional units.
SSs may be successful and adaptive, or unsuccessful and maladaptive. Adaptive SSs contribute to fulfilment, while maladaptive SSs contribute to stresses, traumas, symptoms and illnesses. The adaptive and maladaptive aspects of SSs may be visualized as amino acid codes on a double DNA helix, with manifestations being the result of both the adaptive and maladaptive helices.
SSs may function individually or in a wide range of combinations. They ramify over the triaxial framework and are molded and shaped into the "culture" of specific triaxial points. However, their evolutionary sense may be traced back to their specific functions in their original contexts.
The appraisals and the SSs which they evoke in their original contexts are listed in Table 1.
Survival Strategies and the Appraisals Which Evoke Them
1. Must rescue others
2. Must be rescued by others
3. Must achieve goals
4. Must surrender goals
5. Must remove danger
6. Must move from danger
7. Must obtain scarce essentials
8. Must create scarce essentials
Table 2 expands on the adaptive and maladaptive biological, psychological and social manifestations of SSs. Two judgment columns denoting worthiness (see below) are added to give a sense of survival strategies interacting in higher level functions.
The first line under each SS in the second column refers to physical or bodily survival, while the second subtitle refers to resources. The first two lines in the psychological and social boxes of each adaptive and maladaptive SS also reflect body and resource aspects respectively. The third line in bold print and underlined in each box combines both body and resource aspects.
The eight survival strategies will now be briefly reviewed. While in other places (Valent, 1998a, b) I have expanded more on maladaptive clinical manifestations, here I will emphasize depth axis ramifications, as they relate more closely to philosophical concerns. The reader should remember that what is described below has different nuances as the depth axis points intersect with other axes. For instance, the manifestations to be described have different nuances at different social levels (in families, among friends, in communities, and so on). It is suggested that the reader refer to Table 2 as each SS is traced along the depth axis.
A mother holding a baby or a man hauling another one out of a river are typical pictures of this SS.
Fulfillment. Care, nurture and preservation carry deep pleasures and joys. Saving and nurturing life provide moral satisfaction, providing special senses of virtue and worth through kindness, patience, pity and charity. Further satisfaction and pride may be derived from having fulfilled one’s role and identity (e.g., fire fighter, mother), along with the ideals and codes of such roles. Meanings may include, "I am a good mother." or on a community level, "Crises bring out the best in people." Spirituality of care may be augmented by ancestors, spirits, God, or ideologies and politics of welfare, in which those who can, must care for the needy. A sense of sacred is derived from life giving and perpetuating life, symbolized by Mary feeding Jesus. Wisdom understands the balance between giving life and being depleted oneself in the giving, and propagates knowledge which saves and nurtures ever more lives.
Trauma. Feeling burdened, depleted and threatened by others’ misfortunes leads to selfish preoccupation. This can lead to anguish and survivor guilt, shame, and crumbling of self-esteem and identity as parent or rescuer. "I am a selfish mother." and observations such as, "Bad times show up human selfishness." may result. Sacred perpetuation of life is replaced by barrenness and dead emptiness. Appraising that one’s irresponsibility causes deaths threatens the purposefulness of one’s life.
Being held by mother or rescued by a savior are complementary pictures to Rescue from the recipient’s point of view.
Fulfillment. Fulfillments of attachment, where one is held securely by an omniscient figure, who understands one’s needs perfectly and takes care of them, have been likened to paradise. Morally one feels deserving because of one’s innate lovableness and worth. Secure attachment lays the foundations for an integrated self-respecting identity. Rights to care, love and nurture may be included in laws and ideologies. Certainly perfect security and care are at the core of religions. The breastfed child is a symbol of the miracle of the sacred stream of life received from another. Religious art and esthetics is part of the eternal asking, and through being obedient, receiving the grace of God. Wisdom understands the dependence on others for life and the tenuousness of this dependence.
Trauma. Separation and abandonment, a sense of being cast out and judged to be unlovable and unworthy comprise some of the worst human sufferings and nightmares. In religious terms one’s badness has brought casting out of the universe. Such alienation and lack of connection make life purposeless.
Assertiveness (goal achievement)
Typical goals which assertiveness achieves include food, shelter, security, territory, and roles in the life cycle. Hunting, combat and work utilize this survival strategy.
Fulfillment. Potency, control and success are accompanied by moral satisfactions of pride, self-esteem and admiration by others. Society rewards achievements in many ways and protects rewards of wealth and territory in law. Values of independence, strength and self-sufficiency in protection and provision are cherished ideals. Hunting and combat have been historically associated with rituals and magic. To this day, and especially in holy wars, God was enlisted to one’s side. Work has had sacred associations in agriculture, building shrines, and in association with the Puritan work ethic. Creativity has been involved in science and technology, as well as adorning both tools and possessions.. Wisdom understands that even as one appropriates a link within the chain of life, one day one will be hunted down in this chain.
Trauma. Powerlessness, impotence and failure are accompanied by low self-esteem and shame for being inadequate. Along with loss of self-sufficiency, one loses independence, dignity and honor. One feels a failure in life.
Adaptation (Goal Surrender)
Typical goal surrenders include adaptation to the inevitable, and mourning loss. Together, they allow turning to new circumstances and loves.
Fulfillment. Grief and sorrow can be the most poignant expressions of love, and tears the weeping crying psychic wound which is slowly healed. The person bearing the wound is admired for the capacity to love, loyalty, yet fortitude and maintenance of hope. Both surrender and mourning are codified in rituals ensuring dignity and the right to not be hurt more. Magic and religion deny or mitigate the pain of loss, and indeed in heaven there are none. Indeed losses and surrenders may be reversed there. Back on earth, meanings of old and new are readjusted, identity is adapted, and lost love becomes the source of new creativity. Death and love are frequent counterpoints in art, while the universal cycles of life death and regeneration are viewed with sacred awe. Wisdom accepts the vicissitudes of loves and losses, including eventually of one’s own life.
Trauma. In traumatic loss a sense of too much loss and damage may lead to hopelessness, despair and giving up. Morally one may be blamed and stigmatized, and one may despise oneself as victim. Lost too are love, dignity, ideals, rights. God is lost to one, as are meanings of life. Sacredness is replaced by absurdity and there is no place for regenerative grief. Knowledge and truth are too painful.
Fight is appraised as necessary defense against enemies typified by the phrase "kill or be killed".
Fulfillment. Defense against and ridding of life threatening enemies is a deeply satisfying imperative, and is judged heroic and noble. Riddance may be achieved by driving enemies away by teaching them a lesson, using principles of revenge, "an eye for an eye". If this does not work, the principle of "kill or be killed" may supervene. Slaughter may still be regulated by warrior codes. Warriors have always had supportive connections to the spiritual and religious world. The enemy is its antithesis. The world is divided among the human "us" and dehumanized "them". Defense is highly meaningful in preservation of life, territory, property, values, beliefs and culture. Warriors have been revered with awe because they risked their lives, and they have knowledge of taking life. Wisdom is to judge defense needs against empathy for humans who may be afraid like ourselves.
Trauma. When killing turns out to not have been imperative self-defense, the killing is of innocent people and is judged as horrible wicked murder, and the values ideals and ideologies which led to this are seen as abhorrent, fanatical. In this case the killers are stigmatized and dehumanized. Addicted killers are viewed as especially abhorrent and non-human. They have reached the depths of sacrilegeousness. They have lost the knowledge of life.
Flight is complementary to fight, and is used to escape predators, enemies, and natural disasters.
Fulfillment. Deliverance from danger is accompanied by great relief, and escapees may be much admired for their courage and ingenuity. Those who provide sanctuary have also maintain the dignity and humanity of refugees. Escape is a common theme in hide and seek games, Tom and Jerry cartoons and heroic stories. Escape is the other side of the fare in violence on television. Hiding or escape from danger is often aided by magical amulets, rituals, prayers and sacrifices. Heaven is the ultimate haven and death is in this sense a sacred sanctuary. While derivative meanings include being always prepared to leave a dangerous world, knowledge involves reading objectively signals of danger. Wisdom includes heedfulness and prudence and knowing when to hide or leave to preserve most life.
Trauma. Premature flight in panic may be judged as cowardly. On the other hand, being cornered and trapped without means of escape is an ultimate human nightmare. As one is about to be killed no ideals have any meaning, no magic works.
Struggle for resources is typified by two individuals scrambling for the same bit of food. Competition for hierarchical position in a pecking order is a more adaptive organization of distribution.
Fulfillment. Winning positions in hierarchies provides a sense of power, prestige, superiority and comfort. Moral satisfaction is associated with the principle that superiority and excellence deserve to be preferentially rewarded, and status should be accorded respect and honor. Ideology is conservative, reinforced by laws protecting order, property and privilege, though ambition and competition in trade may be encouraged. Peace is maintained by everyone knowing their place. Hierarchical positions (both secular and priestly) may be imbued with religious links to divinity, and tyrannies may draw on benevolent models of family and God. Status symbols may become important in their own right. Higher status is associated with comfort and luxury, with further emphasis on esthetics, elegance, wit and etiquette. A sacred dimension of hierarchy and order sees earthly and divine hierarchies converge. Wisdom sees status as temporary good fortune to be enjoyed and shared.
Trauma. Defeat may lead to abuse of power and an oppressive, exploitative hierarchy. Pecking order distribution is replaced by avarice and greed, and power is maintained by unjust laws and force. Well earned respect is replaced by vanity and extraction of reverence, through degradation and humiliation. Religion and ideology are used as means for venality and corruption leading to sacrilegious assumption of the mantle of God. Revolution leads to struggle for power, which may deteriorate to "dog eat dog" contests for resources and new hierarchies. Human nature seems to be ruled by so called "jungle mentality".
Cooperation involves giving for mutual creative benefit. This is typified by love and sexuality.
Fulfillment. Love, sex and generativity provide much human pleasure and happiness. The morality of love comes from giving, yet generosity is fairly traded in the give and take of the relationship. Love is protected by values of loyalty, honesty, reliability, and decency, and is supported by laws of contract. Magic and myth abound around love and fertility, and in religion faith and sacrifices are traded for heavenly favors. Socialist and communist ideology see give and take according to needs and means, which presumably over the long term equalize among individuals. Roles such as mother, husband, friend, trading partner, predicate identity and types of love bonds, and nuances of morality and spirituality expected in the relationship. Love has a sacred dimension as a cohesive and creative force of life, and its generativity ranges from the biological to the spiritual. Love creates beauty, and arts. Wisdom ensures that all love is given its place.
Trauma. Love, trust and giving are exploited, and are replaced by lying, cheating, disloyalty and betrayal. Sex is dirty, vulgar, and abusive. Meanings develop that love is an illusion which is best avoided. Religion also betrays, for instance in exacting lives in holy wars. Sacred connections in the universe are lost. The world appears unconnected, barren and ugly. Knowledge is of the perversion of trust and spirit. This may breed on itself, or even bred down the generations.
This completes the description of the tools of the wholist perspective. The reader is once again reminded that each manifestation described above has different attributes according to parameters and processes in train at the moment of observation. We now turn to applications of the wholist perspective.
Contributions of the wholist perspective to some philosophical and practical questions will now be considered.
Contributions to bridging philosophical dichotomies or conundrums
Mind-Body Dichotomy is subsumed in the biopsychosocial (or triadic) view. Biological, psychological and social phenomena are seen to be aspects of a functional unity, even if one may be able to measure scientifically only one aspect at a time.
Reductionist-Whole Dichotomy. The triaxial framework provides possibilities to observe a range of points, lines or volumes within a three dimensional sphere. Various biological, psychological and social fulfillment or trauma combinations may be observed at those points, volumes or lines. The wholist perspective provides a framework for denoting which of a range of whole or part entities are being observed.
Linear-Non-Linear. Point and line observations may favor linear approaches, in which two variables can be measured against each other. For instance, anger leading to elevation of blood pressure; and such elevated blood pressure leading to the illness hypertension may be measured in simple linear ways. Volume observations require system analysis and non-linear thinking akin to quantum mechanics and chaos theory in physics (e.g., Stapp, 1993). For instance, one may ask which SSs and angers were evoked by which stressors and appraisals, and in what biological, psychological and social circumstances did such angers lead to high blood pressure and then hypertension?
Science-Humanist Dichotomy is subsumed in the triaxial framework. Again, process, parameters and depth axis functions may need to be observed separately, but analogously to quantum mechanics, they are like time, space, and movement, having frozen out of the same energy ferment.
The Nature and Categorizations of Emotions, Morality, Values, Meanings, etc.
The wholist perspective allows for the first time a means of categorization of manifestations which have absorbed much thought. Whereas in the past questions such as "What is pleasure and unpleasure?" "What physiological responses accompany each?" "What is the good?" "How can evil be replaced by good?" "What is original sin?" "What is the ideal way of distributing resources?" could only be approached through introspection or observation of particular events by particular philosophers, the wholist perspective allows a higher level overview of categories of answers at the triaxial points at which the questions are asked.
For instance, the vertical columns Psychological in Table 2 categorize adaptive and maladaptive emotions at survival levels of functioning, and hence basic pleasures and unpleasures. (The listed traumas represent human nightmares.) Emotions may be similarly categorized at each higher level (see Judgments columns for judgments of worth), and thus one may develop a sophisticated taxonomy of emotions. The same may be done for social actions, and physiological responses (Table 2).
Basic meanings, and the sacred are now categorized to indicate how SSs may be used to categorize any triaxial point.
Basic meanings in order of the survival strategies (adaptive / maladaptive) listed in table 2 is as follows. Hard times bring out the best in people. / In hard times everyone looks after themselves. If you do the right thing, things go well. / Bad things happen to good people. (The good die young.) One can achieve anything if one sets one’s mind to it. (Just do it.) / There is no point breaking your head against a brick wall. It is better to have loved and lost than not to have loved at all. / Love is dangerous because you only get hurt. You have to show strength not be attacked. / To be safe you have to kill them all. Ensure safety in a zone of security. / There is no safety in the world. One needs to accept one’s place in the world. / The world is a jungle where dog eats dog. To love and be loved is the most precious thing in the world. / To love is to be vulnerable and to be abused.
The sacred and the sacrilegious may be categorized similarly. The gift of life is passed from the strong to the weak and through the generations. / Life is empty and barren, feeding on itself. One is a precious part of the universe, one’s life and growth being important to parent-gods. / One is an unlovable burden cast out from the stream of life. Rites of passage mark achievements along one’s life cycle. / On is always thwarted and dehumanized. One is part of the natural rhythms of life, death and regeneration. / Life and death are profane, absurd, desecrated. Defense is sacred by preserving life. / Life is wickedly and senselessly murdered. Sacred sanctuaries such as cathedrals provide haven to troubled lives. / Debaucheries and massacres occur in sanctuaries, and the latter are destroyed too. Divine hierarchies extend to oneself. / Divine representatives on earth corrupt, oppress and exploit one’s faith. Finally, the creative force of love brings the universe together and expands it. / Love is betrayed and defiled. The universe is vulgar and shattered.
Because the wholist perspective is universal and innate, its waystations and their categories have an innate language. In other words, each triaxial point is a natural state which may have eight positive and eight negative biological, psychological and social descriptors. The wholist language is richer and more logical than common language. Therefore awareness of the former may expand and hone the latter.
Expansion may involve for instance development of different words to describe the various basic anxieties and pleasures, guilts and angers, and so on, pertaining to different SSs.
Honing and labeling with words on the other hand may be very useful in that experiences may be brought to conscious awareness, sense and control, from a world which is sensed otherwise only as experiential and lived, a "that’s how it is world". For instance, it may be that a word which labels maladaptive social fight and which includes all its implied misappraisals and their subsequent consequences, may raise awareness and control over the process leading to unnecessary social violence.
Clinical and Non-Clinical Diagnoses and Definitions
A very wide variety of clinical and non-clinical, fulfillment and survival manifestations can not only be oriented, categorized and labeled, but also traced back to their historical contextual and evolutionary origins. This allows to make sense of the manifestation through its known innate circuitry, when the conscious continuity has been disconnected for various reasons.
Orienting and making sense of maladaptive responses both enhances control over them, and relieves a sense of madness stemming from their apparent irrationality. This is already an important step in therapy. It is equivalent to making a presumptive diagnosis and explaining it to the sufferer of an illness.
Further resolution occurs through reworking past responses and beliefs suitable to prior situations by contrasting them with present situations and responses appropriate to them. Contrasting concurrently contexts and impulses associated with both allows new histories and meanings to emerge with adaptive responses developing to current situations. The wholist perspective thus enhances making sense of many otherwise confusing manifestations, and allows them to be reoriented from past survival modes to current fulfillment ones.
View of Humans
The wholist view allows expansion yet a unified refinement of human evolutionary progress. It also allows scientific study of what are otherwise sensed as numinous spiritual mysteries. Though demystification may be sensed as a loss, it is compensated by greater possibilities of controlling the otherwise equally mysterious maladaptive aspects of humanity. In actual life the wholist perspective does not take away any of our evolutionary heritage or naturally evoked responses to following life’s fulfillments or responses to traumatic situations. However, more sophisticated appraisals can help us to regulate them, and make choices which help us to move from survival to fulfillment at all evolutionary levels.
The wholist perspective provides a complex evolutionary perspective of humans in their aspirations to survive, fulfill their lives and help others and future generations to do the same. It provides a rationale for the different ways humans survive and fulfill their lives, and the numerous, often conflicting and confusing responses evoked in the process. The framework unifies and specifies the various biological, psychological and social human responses at various evolutionary levels of human function. The framework is itself part of the evolutionary progress of self-knowledge and symbolization of human phenomena, which makes humans ever more self-directed and fulfilled.
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