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Re: PH Evolution (Rondinaro)
by Luke Rondinaro
30 September 2002 01:29 UTC
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Mike Alexander wrote: (response follows <>'s)

<I read some the discussion below about psychohistorical versus environment determinism in history.  Much deals with thousands of years ago.  It seems hard to me to study what happened thousands of years ago from a psychohistory viewpoint.  All the people involved are long dead and the cultural world they lived in has vanished. How can we know what they thought?  Why not study the enormous psychohistorical shift just 50-70 years ago as an example of psychohistory that is easier to study?  IMO its as big a shift as the rise of Agriculture or any of the other major shifts in human behavior.  And its easier to study being more recent.>

Very good questions & comments!  Why not 50-70 years ago?  … Let me venture to say, first of all, from what I’ve seen, PH is indeed a fairly difficult field to study and understand; difficult, yes, but not impossible. 

I'll start with a few basics.  The actual dynamics of it get a little more complicated. (it’s Chicken and the Egg type stuff here – does the macrosocial influence psyche or does the psyche give rise to and influence the macrosocial in human experience? … )  But according to the psychohistorical model, and the psychogenic theory of history, deep-structured mental activity via the subconscious determines social process and cultural activity in human experience.  Hence, we have a template [not in “cultures” as they “determine” the character of human psychology/(ies)] (but) in the basic types, drives, and emotional underpinnings of mental activity in the human condition; & this translates into our social existence in communities.

This is very impt. in PH theory.  The basic mental framework (our psychological tabula rasa as it were), shared by people from the dawn of our humanness, through the Neolithic and the rise of Civiliization, and up to today, is set in place and is all there in every period of human history & in every part of the world where people are and were.  It manifests under different forms at different times in the past; but the same “need” structure is present throughout all of human experience.  This template is translated to the social order when we (in our needs) accept social alters f/ ourselves (that are provided to us by our interaction with others & by our willing or non-cognizant internalization of those interactions + the effects, psych./behav., they create within us ) and are, hence, induced into social trance (& group fantasies) based on such results. 

GF is very important in the social dimension of human psychohistory.  When we look at social & cultural mechanisms, short term localized economic activities, and politics, and war, to some extent all of these things are shaped [among other factors] by group fantasy phenomena.  For a good definition of GF’s and examples please note Lloyd DeMause’s The Emotional Life of Nations at (http://www.psychohistory.com/) and also note these other links.



Now some GF’s are more mild than others, some are more outrageous, & some more/less ideologically-related; some GFs are more macro-social in scope.  {{ In fact, Lloyd DeMause & others have done some work on showing the connection between group fantasy phenomena/patterns/cycles and longwaves.  For reference to such, please see DeMause’s book and the following chapters in particular.


(http://www.psychohistory.com/htm/eln06_war.html) }}

Getting back to your points.  Why the long view of history and not 50-70 years ago instead?  In part, because the long view is where the more interesting developments of world history and human psychohist. turn up.  Questions of human evolution as it relates to the psyche, ancient mindsets, medieval and so on are all elements of PH’s commitment to the longer view of history.  How did we get from there to here?  How did we get from then to now, in terms of our mental and social/cultural state?  These questions can only be answered in reference to the long view of history.

But PH also studies the Modern and Contemporary in its research.  Take a look at the Psychohistory List at www.topica.com.  By and large, most of the list contributions pertain to modern issues, both domestic and foreign, rather than topics relating to events thousands of years ago.  I suppose it would be easier to study PH from a more present-day lens.  But both lenses – the long & the short term – are integral components of Psychohistory.

There’s a great deal more to psychohistorical research – relating to childbirth, childhood, trauma, abuse, and the like as all this shapes the structure of the psyche.  But others can explain that part of Psychohistory  far better than I can.  I’d suggest – if you or anybody else on WSN would like to – subscribe to the PH List and see this material for yourself and/or pose a question there.  Or if you wish to inquire about these matters in a more private email setting, contact Lloyd DeMause directly at psychhst@tiac.net.

Hope this proves useful.  Best!

Luke R.

p.s. subscription info.f/ PH List

“[Send] a blank email to: psychohistory-subscribe@topica.com I invite you all to join us and discover what psychohistory is all about.”

     - Lloyd DeMause from the Institute for Psychohistory site/Discussion List ref. page


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