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Living at the Edge of Chaos [Paperback]

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Item description for Living at the Edge of Chaos by Helene Shulman...

Helene Shulman integrates experiences of synchronicity, altered states of consciousness, trance, ritual, Buddhist meditation practice and creativity into a broad perspective on cross-cultural psychology. What emerges is a comprehensive way to understand psychological illness and healing as a perpetual work-in-progress near "the edge of chaos," where the seeds for new models of reality lie.

With mental illness as the focus, she leads us on a fascinating interdisciplinary exploration, linking such areas as cultural studies, anthropology, evolutionary science and new work in mathematics and computer science -- known as complexity theory -- to Jungian psychology.

A new paradigm for postmodern psychology emerges as the author presents a dynamic theoretical model containing rational and irrational aspects of individual and collective life.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   252
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9" Width: 6.46" Height: 0.66"
Weight:   0.96 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 1997
Publisher   Daimon Verlag
ISBN  3856305610  
ISBN13  9783856305611  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > General
2Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > Psychology & Counseling > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Living at the Edge of Chaos?

chaos theory meets psyche  Aug 24, 2001
There is a push within depth psychology to stay within its boundaries and walk its own phenomenological-mythical walk. For that reason I've been suspicious of supposed parallels between, say, quantum physics and psychodynamics (e.g., referring to insights as collapsing wave packets). Psyche we can feel and breathe; physics remains "experience-distant," to use Kohut's term.

This book convinced me that complexity (or "chaos") theory affords a workable bridge between these two realms. The author ably translates concepts not only from psychology, but from ecology, politics, and even shamanism into a non-reductive systems framework with which we can grasp the interface between mind and milieu, the while avoiding the EITHER experience-distant OR experience-near split that runs through so much postmodern thought. For that alone I would rate this book highly.

Moreover, these theoretical discoveries and speculations are applied to urgent contemporary crises like warfare, poverty, and social injustice, framing them as our unconscious attempt to push an overly rigid, "high-grid" civilization closer to the edge of chaos, where new channels of information can open and correct systemic imbalances.

Even biology plays its part in this coevolutionary swirl. Why, for instance, does an illness like schizophrenia, widely and accurately linked to brain dysfunction, nevertheless have such a low recovery rate in the West compared to "undeveloped" nations where the mentally ill are the focus of healing ceremonies performed by the entire community? Why in the West do we reduce mental life to brain instead of emphasizing that neural tissue is also transformed by our experiences? To what degree are affective disorders a symptom of the repressed urge to connect, an urge that when frustrated for too long surfaces in distorted guises like widespread mood disorders, mass movements, ideologies, isms?

Be aware that this isn't a book for readers new to science. You'll encounter fairly lengthy quotations by leading complexity theorists and various technical terms (a glossary might have been helpful; I kept forgetting the definitions and having to consult the index).

Freud talked about "regression in the service of the ego." By the end of this book the reader should have a new appreciation of how chaos can erupt in the service of higher levels of order.

Complexity Theory and Psychology  Apr 22, 2000
Helene Shulman has done some amazing work in Jungian psychology, especially with regards to Complexity theory. This book is an amazing integration of ritual, shamanism, and meditation in many cultures. A complicated understanding of mental illness and the healing process are the focus of this book. Shulman constantly remindes the readear that because individual is both rational and irrational the process of psychotherapy can be aided by using cross-cultural techniques. The most facinating chapeter are the connections the author makes to the mathematical idea of complexity and psychology. If this idea is interesting perhaps Warren Ashby's "A Comprehensive History of Western Ethics" would also be a book to read.


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