This an excerpt from this article discussing an academic paper titled “The Infrared Frequencies of DNA Bases, as Science and Art“. The paper is writtenby Susan Alexjander, an internationally known musical artist, who, in collaboration with Dr. David W. Deamer, professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California, Santa Cruz, actually recorded the music of DNA!
The following might be a tricky read, but pay attention – it’s awesome stuff!
“In 1988 the author and biologist Dr. David Deamer collaborated on a science/art project which consisted of measuring the vibrational frequencies of the four DNA base molecules, translating them into ‘sound,’ programming them into a Yamaha synthesizer and using this tuning system as the basis for original compositions entitled Sequencia (1990 and ’94 CD).
The realization of biological, infrared frequencies into sound has resulted in unusual insights into the harmonic fabric of DNA, and reactions from listeners suggest that our bodies may have a way of recognizing their own electromagnetic patterns through the resonance of tone.
The bases of DNA and RNA have certain resonance frequencies related to the absorption of infrared light. This is a common property of all organic molecules, and in fact infrared spectra are used as a primary diagnostic characteristic in analytical procedures.
As the light is passed through the sample, it is absorbed by the sample at specific frequencies and the instrument plots the absorption bands as a spectrum.
For reference, below (left) is what the electromagnetic spectrum looks like,and on the right you see an example of what the data from magnetic resonance spectroscopy looks like. This technique is also used in MRI scans (i.e. “Magnetic Resonance Imaging”).
(…) The problem of getting the frequencies within hearing range can be solved by recognizing that any hertz number divided in half or doubled will produce its corresponding lower or upper octave, respectively, whether it be sound or light. Thus, 8.7 x 1013 Hz can be divided in half, again and again, to create lower and lower octaves. Finally we derive, after dividing 36 times, a workable frequency which, if it were sound, would fall within the range of hearing. Thus we would have for the example above 1266, which is a very comfortable frequency for the ear, corresponding to a (slightly sharp) D#.
To clarify, what is being discussed here is simply taking the sound frequency and scaling it along octaves, much like moving up or down a piano. See this chart for reference of frequency scale on a piano.
The frequencies recorded are far outside the threshold of the human ear which is between 20 and 20,000 Hertz, and hence why the recordings had to be scaled to lower octaves. The sound of DNA is way off the scale on the right, beyond even the hearing of dolphins.
(…) Four base molecules were measured: adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine.
Each base molecule after being subjected to light yielded about 15 or 18 frequencies; 60 in all. Once this data was collected, it was iterized down into a hearing range and programmed into a Yamaha DX7 IID synthesizer which would create sound banks from any hertz numbers provided as input. A special electronic keyboard was needed because the tunings that were derived were almost all microtones, or tones smaller than a normal half-step (for instance any c to c#) on a piano.
For further information on how DNA is turned into music, or cymatics in general, this is a great place to start.
As explained here, Susan Alexjander and Dr. Deamer found that there were four fundamental frequencies that appear in DNA: F#, C#, A and D#.
Alexjander goes on to say:
“Are The Frequencies in DNA Bases Harmonically Ordered? They most certainly are. By comparing all 60 pitches one can find all of the precise ratios found in the first 16 harmonics of the overtone series: octaves, P5th, P4ths, Major and minor thirds, Major and minor 2nds and 7ths; even a ‘flat’ seventh. Mathematically, the odds of this happening at random are almost non-existent.
MATH makes processes visible. It decodes meanings. We can see the self-organizing power of the universe, and because the universe is a community it is constantly communicating. Are the sounds of DNA communicating anything to us?
Sequencia (Alexjander’s DNA-music album) first begins to communicate through its concept, that we can hear the hidden beauty of life. This helps to give us a perspective – to find our place in the “Great Tone.” …
… These particular DNA ratios, originating in light, are profoundly arresting to the ear. This first wakes up the nervous system, puts it on alert. What follows in sound is then allowed to enter our psyches on a deep level. People report feelings of connectedness, familiarity. “I feel right at home,” they say. It is tempting to speculate that the body is recognizing itself, and is communicating this to the psyche.”
Of all the superhero movies that came out or are about to come out this year, Marvel’s Doctor Strange is somewhat of a dark horse in the race for comic book film supremacy. While many casual and dedicated movie fans are still caught up with Deadpool’s breaking of the fourth wall, Batman v Superman’s polarizing effects, and DC’s underwhelming Suicide Squad, the upcoming Benedict Cumberbatch-starring picture flies under the radar.
By the looks of Doctor Strange’s first trailer, it seems like Marvel and director Scott Derrickson are laser focused on the task at hand. The whole Marvel Cinematic Universe landscape, in a way, is headed to new dimensions of reality, teetering the lines of quantum theory and metaphysics. Derrickson delves into this in detail by highlighting Strange’s fascination with anywhere from magic and supernatural powers, to alternate dimensions and scientific-defying explanations. In short, the forthcoming movie plays with the different perceptions of reality.
On the surface, Marvel has long been exploring every area or topic known to man. If they’re not bending the laws of realism, the comic book giants are leaving their mark on other popular media ventures. For one, the company has successful video game titles such as The Punisher, Spiderman, and the LEGO Marvel Super Heroes franchise. They even penetrated , which is being hosted on the . The aforementioned company initiated a change from offering table games their player base when they realised the immense popularity the Marvel brand could bring to their online operations, thus incorporating more pop culture referenced games to its roster.
All in all, this mirrors and takes advantage of the world of possibilities for Marvel – more so when it comes to on-screen narratives.
For Doctor Strange, the key is to successfully introduce the audience – casual and diehard comic book fans alike – to a new kind of storytelling, one that involves various branches of science and the supernatural. The likes of Deadpool, Spiderman, as well as the bevy of DC favorites have enjoyed mainstream commercial film success because they’ve been easily recognizable for quite some time now. Many of today’s modern storytellers, film directors, and bigwig producers explore different areas of each character’s psyche to offer a fresh take on these classics. It’s also why, for instance, Netflix’s Daredevil series is better received (critically) than its older film counterpart.
Indeed, it’ll be a tall order for Scott Derrickson to translate Marvel’s box office achievement into a relatively unknown (to many) character like Doctor Strange. However, if Derrickson, along with the upcoming movie’s actors and crew, find an effective way of familiarizing the audience to the character’s metaphysical storyline and features, then the future looks bright for future tie-ups and sequels. Here’s to hoping for Doctor Strange’s success – whether in films, or comic books, or possible video game adaptations.
In my last two articles The Wounded Healer, Part 1 and Part 2, I point out the importance of consciously stepping into the archetypal figure of the “wounded healer” for the healing of our planetary situation. The wounded healer receives the gifts encoded in their ordeal when they are able to alchemically transform the seemingly obscuring energies of their wound into fuel for their fire of realization. Wounded healers access their gifts when they realize that their wound is itself the source of divine creativity, as well as the portal through which the highest, most individualized form of this creativity can manifest. The archetype of the wounded healer is intimately related to the archetypal figure of the artist, as both are able to creatively express and thereby be in-formed by, while simultaneously transforming, the deeper archetypal energies operating within both their own psyche, as well as the collective unconscious of humanity at large.
In alignment with their mythic identity as would-be hero or heroine, the artist (arche)typically has to wrestle with their inner “demons.” The artist’s inner demons are internalized, personalized reflections of the very same “demons” that are being played out collectively on the world stage. Like all of us, the artist suffers from the spirit of the age. Having permeable boundaries and being by nature highly empathic, sensitive and intuitive, an artist is able to introject into themselves and creatively “out-picture” and express what is happening both within themselves and the world in which they live. The artist’s inner process, like that of all of us, is a manifestation of the field around them, in which they are inseparably contained and of which they are an expression.
The “daemonic” is an archetypal, transpersonal energy, greater than the merely personal, which nonlocally pervades the entire field and can literally take us over, compelling us to unconsciously act it out so as to give shape and form to itself. The daemonic is a reflection of the part of ourselves that is split-off from itself, which is to say separated from our unity with all things. This dissociated part of ourselves develops a seemingly quasi-independent, autonomous life and will of its own, appearing as an alien “other,” not under the control of the ego. In having it out with and coming to terms with the daemonic within themselves, the artist is able to translate these energies into something useful, both for themselves and the world around them. Encoded in the daemonic is everything we need for our self-realization, as if the daemonic is a compensation of the deeper unified and unifying field, offering us exactly what is required for us to wake up.
Anything we are not in conscious relationship with “possesses” us from behind, affecting us beneath our conscious awareness. If we don’t consciously relate with these split-off parts of ourselves, they constellate negatively and become “demonic,” in that they manifest, whether it be inwardly or outwardly, in a destructive manner. If in our avoidance of consciously relating with these energies we allow ourselves to become unconsciously possessed by them, we become their unwitting minion, their agent of incarnation into our three dimensional world, creating destruction in life, whether individually, in our personal lives, or collectively, on the world stage. The artist, on the other hand, by creatively expressing and thereby liberating their experience, is able to extract from the daemonic a blessing which imbues their work with a corresponding numinous power, which in-fluences (and “in-flows” into) others.
The “daemonic,” like any archetypal energy, has both a positive or negative potentiality. Etymologically speaking, the word “daemon” is related to our inner voice and guiding spirit, an “entity” called by various names such as our genius, jinn (or genie), and guardian angel. Speaking of this animated and animating being, Jung said, “This living spirit is eternally renewed and pursues its goal in manifold and inconceivable ways throughout the history of mankind. Measured against it, the names and forms which men have given it mean very little; they are only the changing leaves and blossoms on the stem of the eternal tree.” The daemonic energy that is in-forming events in our world is an archetypal recurrence of an atemporal, eternal pattern which has been irrupting into our world since the beginning of human history.
Jung pointed out that, “the tragedy is that the daemon of the inner voice is at once our greatest danger and an indispensable help. It is tragic, but logical, for it is the nature of things to be so.” Paradoxically, encoded in the daemonic is “our greatest danger” as well as “an indispensable help,” as the daemonic, being a non-dual power, contains both of these opposites inseparably co-joined as one. Alchemists express this same idea: their “God” is Hermes-Mercury, who symbolizes the highest divinity as well as the deepest evil combined in one being. This is expressing the realization that the opposites are ultimately not in opposition to each other, but rather are intimately and inseparably co-related to each other. The opposites always appear together, mutually relativizing and conditioning each other, turning into each other so as to ultimately appear indistinguishable from each other.
Bringing the opposites together is to access and activate symbolic awareness. When we recognize the inseparability and interpenetration of all things, we recognize that our universe is a living oracle, a continually unfolding revelation that, just like a dream, is constantly speaking to us symbolically. Tapping into symbolic awareness, we can’t help but to naturally express our experience symbolically, as we ourselves have become a living, embodied symbol of our realization. Being able to “symbolize” our experience to ourselves and by extension the outside world, we ourselves step into the role of the creative artist.
The inner voice of the daemon is making itself known to us, which is to say that a living, creative spirit, with both destructive and constructive potentiality, is revealing itself to us. This spirit will continue to manifest “demonically” and destructively, however, as long as we lack the courage to engage with it. The inner voice of the daemon can potentially become our ally, however, if we get into conscious relationship with what it triggers in ourselves. If we do not become “touched” by the daemon, to quote Jung, “no regeneration or healing can take place‚Ä¶if by self-assertion the ego can save itself from being completely swallowed, then it can assimilate the voice [of the daemon], and we realize that the evil was, after all, only a semblance of evil, but in reality a bringer of healing and illumination. In fact, the inner voice is a ‘Lucifer’ in the strictest and most unequivocal sense of the word.” Lucifer, the morning star, is the “bringer of the light.” If we have a strongly enough developed sense of self, we are able to objectify and enter into conscious relationship with the daemon, thereby saving ourselves from being swallowed and possessed by it. Paradoxically, relating to our daemon as a separate, autonomous “other” – an actual living being – is the very way we integrate the daemon into ourselves. We are then able to metabolize and assimilate the daemon so as to receive its blessing in support of our spiritual unfoldment. When consciously embraced and related to, instead of manifesting as a destructive demon or devil obscuring our path, our daemon introduces us to our calling and helps us find our true vocation, which is what we are here to do. Thus, hidden in the daemonic is our creative genius. This is why Jung said, “the daemonic is the not yet realized creative.”
The word diabolical, etymologically speaking, means that which separates and divides. The antonym and antidote to the diabolic is the symbolic, which means that which brings together and unites. As the artist wrestles with their “demons,” they are able to “symbolize” their experience in the form of their creative art. Symbols bring together conflicting energies in a way where something new is created. A symbol partakes of both sides of the conflict at the same time that it transcends and reconciles the underlying polarity. Symbols, which are the language of dreams, are a revelation of the deeper unified and unifying field, simultaneously reflecting and effecting an expansion of consciousness. In wrestling with their demons, an artist is like a sorcerer and magician in that they are able to constructively channel, transmute and express these “demons” in a form which takes away their spell-binding power over themselves, while at the same time helps to dis-spell the collective enchantment which pervades the entire field of consciousness.
ARTIST AS ORACLE
Art-making is a process in which the artist is continually articulating, refining, and creating an ever-evolving form of symbolic language. In being a conduit for the formation of a new language, the artist is shedding light on and participating in the creation of language itself. How language gets created invariably leads us right back to the psyche, which is simultaneously the subject and the object of the new language. The psyche is both source and recipient of the creatively emerging new form of language, just like in a dream the psyche might produce a written text for another part of itself to read. In its crafting of a new symbolic language, the psyche is literally building a bridge so as to telepathically communicate with itself. The shaping and re-shaping of ever-new forms of expression is the psyche’s continually evolving way of knowing itself and deepening its – and our – realization.
As the newly created language clothes and animates itself in its novel forms, it is as if the “Word” becomes flesh. Interestingly, we make a word by “spell”-ing it. Discovering novel iterations of language is itself a “spell-casting” activity, in that it serves to dis-spell the veil of illusion which seemingly obstructs us from our own experience. In unveiling novel forms of language, the artist conjures up a more coherent state of consciousness within themselves as a result of their creative act. Because we are all connected, their state of integration instantaneously, in no time whatsoever, gets registered in the collective unconscious of each one of us, where it nonlocally impacts the entire field.
The very act of verbally or nonverbally language-ing our experience, of giving creative shape and form to what is happening both inside and outside of us is itself the process through which we, as artists, deepen our realization of what we are trying to express. The fact that our realization of what we are expressing deepens through the act of creatively expressing it is the litmus test which certifies our act of creation to be worthy of the name “art.” In creating a new form of communication, the work of art is both an expression of a more expanded consciousness, as well as being its initiator, which is to say that the act of artistic creation is simultaneously a means to an end and the end itself, both journey and goal.
To quote Jung, an artist is “a vehicle and moulder of the unconscious psychic life of mankind.” The archetypal figure of the artist is a deeper role that each of us is being asked by the universe to consciously incarnate in our personal lives as a way of being of service to both ourselves and the world around us. When I use the term “artist,” I am not using it in a traditional, limited way of meaning someone who is solely painting, drawing, or using some other particular-ized medium; this is too circumscribed and flat-land of a conception of what an artist is. When I use the term “artist” I am alluding to the fact that we are all creative, multi-dimensional visionary artists (and dreamers) whose canvas is life itself.
As more of us wake up to our true nature as creative beings, we can connect with each other and co-operatively create what I call an “Art-Happening Called Global Awakening“. In this work of collaborative, visionary, living art, we can put our lucid awareness together and “conspire to co-inspire” to wake ourselves up and activate our collective genius so as to dream a more grace-filled universe into materialization. This is nothing less than an exponential quantum leap in human consciousness. We are being invited by the universe to actively participate in our own evolution.
Jung had great insight into the primary role that the human psyche plays in the creative process (or lack thereof) of humankind, both in individuals and collectively as a species. As Jung reminds us, “the human psyche is the womb of all the arts.” He recognized the significance of the creative artist as an archetypal figure existing within the collective unconscious of humanity which literally is the conduit for and revelation of the creative spirit existing within all of us. Being an archetypal figure, the artist is a role that exists outside of time while simultaneously continuing to re-present itself in infinitely creative guises and unique iterations in, through, and over time. Talking about how a new idea, a creative way of looking at the world comes into existence, Jung says “Although they come into being at a definite time, they are and have always been timeless. They arise from that realm of creative psychic life out of which the ephemeral mind of the single human being grows like a plant that blossoms, bears fruit and seed, and then withers and dies.” Human beings are the conduits through which the timeless creative process that underlies and in-forms the human psyche as well as the world at large becomes actualized in linear time. The inner, archetypal figure of the artist facilitates and is the vehicle for the continual unfoldment of our psychological and spiritual self-realization, as in this figure the creative spirit realizes itself through us, while at the same time we reciprocally realize ourselves through it.
Jung said, “The unborn work in the psyche of the artist is a force of nature‚Ä¶We would do well, therefore, to think of the creative process as a living thing implanted in the human psyche.” This “living thing implanted in the human psyche” is a creative and creating spirit, an inspiring wind that blows where it wills. Speaking of this living spirit, Jung commented that, “it freely chooses the men [and women] who proclaim it and in whom it lives.” This is to say that the creative spirit is autonomous and not under the control of our ego. To quote Jung, this spirit is like “a hush that follows the storm, a reconciling light in the darkness of man’s mind, secretly bringing order into the chaos of his soul.” The creative spirit is a holy and whole-making spirit, a living spiritual being that literally animates and potentially, depending upon how we relate to it, either destroys or heals us. Speaking of this same sacred spirit, Christ said in the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas, “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”
As if a living oracle, the figure of the artist is a mouthpiece for the time in which they live. Like a psychic scribe, they are able to outwardly express and explicate the emerging zeitgeist, the implicate spirit of the age, while simultaneously giving shape to the deeper, archetypal, time-less, and unconscious process which in-forms all ages. For Jung, the artist “‚Ä¶lifts the idea he is seeking to express out of the occasional and the transitory into the realm of the ever-enduring. He transmutes our personal destiny into the destiny of mankind, and evokes in us all those beneficent forces that ever and anon have enabled humanity to find a refuge from every peril and to outlive the longest night.”
The artist allows themselves to get “dreamed up” by the field to become the “medium” through which the spirit of the age moves and inspires them to creatively express itself. Speaking about this process, Jung said, “At such moments we are no longer individuals, but the race; the voice of all mankind resounds in us.” The artist is an open, receptive instrument through which a living creative spirit gives shape to and reveals itself. In this process, the artist becomes an ongoing revelation to themselves, while at the same time their art is a revelation of the creative spirit to the world. Their art is both a manifestation of, as well as a gateway through which we become introduced to the creative spirit which lives within all of us.
Book of the Transcendence Cosmic History Chronicles, Volume VI
1. Every living dynamic has ever aspired to surpass itself. In this aspiration lies the key to transcendence. The need to transcend is often the function of a crisis in which we find ourselves, individually or collectively.
2. The planet has a cosmic life program apart from the external chaos and disturbances that affect the world today. At this stage in the evolutionary cycle, the biopsychic field is in a state of maximum turbulence, to such a degree that even the DNA is in a state of agitation.
3. The theater of psychic activity on this planet is interplanetary—beyond the scale of what most of us can presently imagine. The consciousness horizon that we have been operating on has been set at a low frequency and is continually lowering.
4. The average person today is so involved in technological gadgets, sporting events, movies and social networking that it is hard for most to conceive what it is to consciously function as a cosmic impulse receiver and transmitter. We have traded in the keys of higher consciousness and transcendence for online personas that have little to do with our essence.
5. To gain a wider view of cosmos it is important to develop the capacity to withdraw our mind from the chaos of the world and look down on the whole Earth from above. We must leave our conditioned world-view behind and find the thread of light within that connects us to the Divine Source.
6. The divine calls upon the human in order to realize itself. Only a few at this time can penetrate that barrier of consciousness and realize themselves as interplanetary vortex transmitter-receivers within the solar system, and ultimately in other parts of the universe.
7. The urge to transcend is a natural dynamic built into the cosmic principle of the involution and evolution of consciousness. It is the duty of those who hear the call to surrender and merge with the cosmic energies that are currently working for the liberation of the Earth.
“A mood of universal destruction and renewal…has set its mark on our age. This mood makes itself felt everywhere, politically, socially, and philosophically. We are living in what the Greeks called the kairos – the right momentfor a “metamorphosis of the gods,” of the fundamental principles and symbols. This peculiarity of our time, which is certainly not of our conscious choosing, is the expression of the unconscious human within us who is changing. Coming generations will have to take account of this momentous transformation if humanity is not to destroy itself through the might of its own technology and science….So much is at stake and so much depends on the psychological constitution of the modern human.” – C. G. Jung
What are the deep stirrings in the collective psyche of the West? Can we discern any larger patterns in the immensely complex and seemingly chaotic flux and flow of our age? Influenced by the depth psychology tradition founded a century ago by Freud and Jung, and especially since the 1960s and the radical increase in psychological selfconsciousness that era helped mediate, the cultural ethos of recent decades has made us well aware how important is the psychological task of understanding our personal histories. We have sought ever deeper insight into our individual biographies, seeking to recover the often hidden sources of our present condition, to render conscious those unconscious forces and complexes that shape our lives. Many now recognize that same task as critical for our entire civilization.
What individuals and psychologists have long been doing has now become the collective responsibility of our culture: to make the unconscious conscious. And for a civilization, to a crucial extent, history is the great unconscioushistory not so much as the external chronology of political and military milestones, but as the interior history of a civilization: that unfolding drama evidenced in a culture’s evolving cosmology, its philosophy and science, its religious consciousness, its art, its myths. For us to participate fully and creatively in shaping our future, we need to better understand the underlying patterns and influences of our collective past. Only then can we begin to grasp what forces move within us today, and perhaps glimpse what may be emerging on the new millennial horizon.
I focus my discussion here on the West, but not out of any triumphalist presumption that the West is somehow intrinsically superior to other civilizations and thus most worthy of our attention. I do so rather because it is the West that has brought forth the political, technological, intellectual, and spiritual currents that have been most decisive in constellating the contemporary world situation in all its problematic complexity. For better or worse, the character of the West has had a global impact, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Yet I also address the historical evolution of Western consciousness because, for most of us reading these words, this development represents our own tradition, our legacy, our ancestral cultural matrix. Attending carefully and critically to this tradition fulfills a certain responsibility to the past, to our ancestors, just as attempting to understand its deeper implications fulfills a responsibility to the future, to our children.
A paradox confronts every sensitive observer about the West: On the one hand, we cannot fail to recognize a certain dynamism, a brilliant, heroic impulse, even a nobility, at work in Western civilization and in Western thought. We see this in the great achievements of Greek philosophy and art, for example, or in the Sistine Chapel and other Renaissance masterpieces, in the plays of Shakespeare, in the music of Bach or Beethoven. We see it in the brilliance of the Copernican revolution, with the tremendous cosmological and even metaphysical transformation it has wrought in our civilization’s world view. We see it in the unprecedented space flights of a generation ago, landing men on the moon, or, more recently, in the spectacular images of the vast cosmos coming from the Hubbell telescope and the new data and new perspectives these images have brought forth. And of course the great democratic revolutions of modernity, and the powerful emancipatory movements of our own era, vividly reflect this extraordinary dynamism and even nobility of the West.
Yet at the same time we are forced to admit that this very same historical tradition has caused immense suffering and loss, for many other cultures and peoples, for many people within Western culture itself, and for many other forms of life on the planet. Moreover, the West has played the central role in bringing about a subtly growing and seemingly inexorable crisis on our planet, a crisis of multidimensional complexity: ecological, political, social, economic, intellectual, psychological, spiritual. To say our global civilization is becoming dysfunctional scarcely conveys the gravity of the situation. For humankind and the planet, we face the possibility of great catastrophe. For many forms of life on the Earth, that catastrophe has already taken place. How can we make sense of this tremendous paradox in the character and meaning of the West?
If we examine many of the intellectual and cultural debates of our time, particularly near the epicenter of the major paradigm battles today, it is possible to see looming behind them two fundamental interpretations, two archetypal stories or metanarratives, concerning the evolution of human consciousness and the history of the Western mind. In essence these two metanarratives reflect two deep myths in the collective psycheand let us define myths here not as mere falsehoods, nor as collective fantasies of an arbitrary sort, but rather as profound and enduring patterns of meaning that inform the human psyche and constellate its diverse realities. These two great myths in the collective psyche structure our historical selfunderstanding in very different ways. One could be called the myth of progress, the other the myth of the fall.
Richard Tarnas featured in the film ‘Time is Art’ and is the founding director of the graduate program in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, where he currently teaches. Born in 1950 in Geneva, Switzerland, of American parents, he grew up in Michigan, where he received a classical Jesuit education. In 1968 he entered Harvard, where he studied Western intellectual and cultural history and depth psychology, graduating with an A.B. cum laude in 1972. For ten years he lived and worked at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, studying with Stanislav Grof, Joseph Campbell, Gregory Bateson, Huston Smith, and James Hillman, later serving as Esalen’s director of programs and education. He received his Ph.D. from Saybrook Institute in 1976 with a dissertation on LSD psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, and spiritual transformation. From 1980 to 1990, he wrote The Passion of the Western Mind, a narrative history of Western thought from the ancient Greek to the postmodern which became a best seller and continues to be a widely used text in universities throughout the world. In 2006, he published Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View, which received the Book of the Year Prize from the Scientific and Medical Network in the UK. Formerly president of the International Transpersonal Association, he is on the Board of Governors of the C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco. In addition to his teaching at CIIS, he has been a frequent lecturer at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, and gives many public lectures and seminars in the U.S. and abroad.