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Masters Thesis

Ecology to Cosmology: A Psychospiritual Inquiry into Human Evolution

Purpose of the Study: This thesis explores human evolution from a holistic, transpersonal, and psychospiritual perspective in attempt to answer a central question: What is necessary to restoring humanity’s relationship to nature amid our current ecological crisis? Humanity’s loss of interdependence with nature is examined within a context of trauma and an indigenous equivalent of soul loss at the individual, collective, planetary, and cosmic levels. Methods: This study utilizes peer-reviewed literature and triangulation from Jungian, indigenous, and transpersonal psychologies, which, as theoretical disciplines, offer insights that illustrate the importance of engagement with the sacred via the soul. An interdisciplinary approach is also used – drawing from the integral philosophy of Jean Gebser (1966/1986); the historical and cultural critique of Morris Berman (1981/1989); the mystery tradition of alchemy; somatic-based trauma literature; and contrasting views of traditional and contemporary science. Research methods of triangulation, reflexivity, phenomenology, and radical empiricism are used as means of measuring validity. Findings: Humanity’s lack of response to the ecological crisis may be the result of unrecognized individual and collective trauma, signified by a deepening separation from nature, loss of feeling, and symptoms of dissociation. These can be defined as traumatic conditions. When examined from an integral and psychospiritual perspective their interdependence and unconscious and transpersonal nature can be uncovered. Conclusions: This study sheds light on three areas: (1) the importance of psychospiritual and holistic considerations in human evolution, (2) a reexamination into the causes and remedies of our current ecological crisis, and (3) a reevaluation of the relevance of the psychospiritual interface, the interplay between psychological and spiritual phenomena and their involvement in the evolutionary process. The transpersonal and psychospiritual fields are often marginalized as unscientific but may be more relevant to true scientific inquiry than previously thought.