I. CHAOS AND POSTMODERN PSYCHOTHERAPY
An Imaginal Perspective on the Nature of Reality,
Consciousness, Experience, and Perception;
Iona Miller, 1993
ABSTRACT: Our notions about ourselves and
the nature of the world (worldview) around us are filtered through our
prejudices about "the way things work". We never apprehend reality
directly--only our world-simulation which is congealed from the convergence
of our sensory input channels and the information-creating processes of
chaotic neural activity. The brain filters and creates reality.
Brains are chaotic systems which create internal
perceptual patterns that substitute directly for sensory stimuli.
These stimuli are evoked potentials or evoked fields--standing waves in
the brain. Imagination has the ability to induce real-time changes
in the psychophysical being.
Imagination embodies the power of transformation.
It may be accessed through obvious imagery, such as dreams, vision, and
other sensory analogs, or viewed directly in symptoms, behavior patterns,
emotional patterns, mental concepts, and spiritual beliefs.
The imaginal process is our primary experience
and it permeates and conditions all facets of human life. During
experiential psychotherapy, the sensory-motor cortex system is influenced
through imagination. Psyche affects substance at the most fundamental
level, through chaotic neural activity.
CHAOS CONSCIOUSNESS IN PSYCHOTHERAPY:
An Experiential Approach and Application to Dreamwork,
Creativity, and Healing;
Graywolf Fred Swinney and Iona Miller, 1991
ABSTRACT: Experiential therapy sessions
and mysticism demonstrate that as we journey deeper and deeper into the
psyche we eventually encounter a state characterized either as "chaotic"
or void of images. In a therapeutic context, chaos is experienced
as a consciousness state--the ground state. This state is related
to healing, dreams, and creativity. Shamanic approaches to healing
involve co-consciousness states which lead to restructuring both physical
and emotional-mental senses of self.
Dreams, creativity, and healing arise from this
undifferentiated "chaotic consciousness." Dreamhealing uses images
as portals for consciousness journeys to facilitate transformations ranging
from mood alteration to profound physiological changes. Imagery (virtual
experience) affects the immune system, activating psychosomatic forces,
such as the placebo effect. Chaos-oriented consciousness journeys
suggest these states reflect complex phase space, fractal patterns, strange
attractors, "the butterfly effect," sensitivity, complex feedback loops,
intermittency, and other general dynamical aspects suggested by chaos theory.
More than an experiential process, this is a philosophy of treatment--"Chaosophy."
CHAOS AS THE UNIVERSAL SOLVENT:
Re-Creational Ego Death in Psychedelic Consciousness;
Iona Miller, 1992
ABSTRACT: There is a generic process in
nature and consciousness which dissolves and regenerates all forms.
The essence of this transformative, morphological process is chaotic--purposeful
yet inherently unpredictable holistic repatterning. The Great Work
of the art of alchemy is the creation of the Philosopher's Stone, a symbol
of wholeness and integration. The liquid form of the Stone, called
the Universal Solvent, dissolves all old forms like a rushing stream, and
is the self-organizing matrix for the rebirth of new forms. It is
thus a metaphor or model for the dynamic process of transformation, ego
death and re-creation.
The alchemical operation SOLUTIO, called "the
root of alchemy," corresponds with the element water. It implies
a flowing state of consciousness, "liquification" of consciousness, a return
to the womb for rebirth, a baptism or healing immersion in the vast ocean
of deep consciousness. It facilitates feedback via creative regression:
de-structuring, or destratification by immersion in the flow of psychic
imagery through identification with more and more primal forms or patterns--a
psychedelic, expanded state. Chaos Theory provides a metaphorical
language for describing the flowing dynamics of the chaotic process of
AND PSYCHOLOGICAL COMPLEXES:
Jung's Notion of the Complex as "Strange Attractor"
Iona Miller, 1991
That people should succumb to these eternal
images is entirely normal, in fact it is what these images are for.
They are meant to ATTRACT, to convince, to fascinate, and to overpower.
They are created out of the primal stuff of revelation.
--C.G. Jung, COLLECTED WORKS, Vol. 9
If the charge of one (or more) of the "nodal
points" becomes so powerful that it "magnetically" (acting as a nuclear
cell") ATTRACTS everything to itself and so confronts the ego with an alien
entity...that has become autonomous
--then we have a complex.
--Jolande Jacobi, COMPLEX, ARCHETYPE, AND SYMBOL
THE CREATIVE FLOW OF MEANING:
An Introduction to Nonunitarian Philosophy;
Iona Miller, 1993
ABSTRACT: In nonunitarian, discontinuous
transformations, a system opens itself to novelty and potentiality by dissolving
into a state of nonlocal communion with the whole and reforms unconditioned
by the past. Nonunitary transformation is based in the dissolution
of all forms and structures, and creative emergence of unconditioned creativity--metamorphosis.
In this organic model of multiple universes and states of consciousness,
everything is involved in a pattern of continuous rebirth, and everything
is the manifestation of the underlying creative potential, transcending
physical and spiritual boundaries.
II. POLYPHASIC CONSCIOUSNESS
THE UN-NAMED DREAM
AND PARALLEL UNIVERSES:
A Multistate Paradigm;
Iona Miller, 1993
ABSTRACT: In the Creative Consciousness Process
(CCP), participants frequently encounter typical archetypal imagery at
the threshold of chaotic consciousness. One of these reiterating
images is that of grayness, black/whiteness, amorphousness. There
are analogous reports from mystics and physicists about a fundamental cloudiness
to the perception of ultimate realities. Relevant associations include
parallel universes, the scientific notion of "observer effect", and the
mystical notion of "the witness" or observer self.
THE VARIETIES OF VIRTUAL EXPERIENCE:
Virtual Realities Beyond the Dialogical Self;
Iona Miller, 1993
ABSTRACT: The basis of the human psyche seems
to be a collective of selves--a multimind in a multiverse. Independent
and autonomous, they relate with one another mostly unknown to the outer
awareness. The extreme form of splintering seen in Multiple Personality
Disorder (MPD) simply reflects an extreme form of multiplicity with conflicting
perspectives. The "multistate paradigm" of human nature extends toward
a psychology and spirituality that is polytheistic, even pantheistic.
Dialogue is a form of imagery which creates and
sustains a worldview through the means of imaginal conversations.
Within the fabric of multiple centers or vortices within the psyche, an
on-going dialogue emerges which ranges from selftalk (ego to ego), through
"group" discussion (ego with subpersonalities), to spiritual dialogue (ego
with transpersonal entities). Beyond the dialogical realm lies the
unspeakable experience (untranslatable) of the Void or Clear Light, the
realm of archetypal light and sound as pure consciousness.
The "Word" helps us create and define reality.
Conversation as well as observation defines our reality. Dialogue
of the self with its various conscious and unconscious forms creates a
series of "virtual realities" which form the basis of self-simulation and
world-simulation. These forms are limitless in number, far beyond
the classic archetypes such as persona, anima/animus, etc, suggesting the
notion of "radical pluralism."
Primal Imagery in the Creative Consciousness Process;
Iona Miller, 1993
ABSTRACT: Consciousness appears as the urge
toward manifestation or embodiment and an equal but opposite urge toward
formlessness. This interplay creates the imaginal flux of representational
and nonrepresentational perception. These clashing currents in the
stream of consciousness create "standing waves" of informational content
which may be unfolded from their implicate to explicate state through direct
participation in that stream.
The premise of the consciousness journey is that
this "dream wave" may be followed backward/forward toward more primal representations
into the nonrepresentational mode of perception. Certain typical,
recurrent patterns occur at the further limits of these journeys.
Particular phenomena are reiterated at the threshold of chaos--the threshold
of dissolution--including amorphous clouds, black holes in psychic space,
spirals and vortices, as well as dead and fertile voids.
THE UNBORN DREAM: Thriving on Chaos
Iona Miller, 1993
ABSTRACT: If the implicate order is analogous
to the frequency domain, as Bohm-Pribram have shown, the image/object domain
unfolds from this invisible reality. That which is enfolded within
the undivided whole is the "Bornless One," the unborn dream of our infinite
possibilities. Unity-in-diversity is the direct experiential/existential
goal of the Creative Consciousness Process in its experimental form.
Complex dynamics is implicated in the energetic
translation of the "waves of unborn nothingness" which constitute the unborn
dream, the relentless flow of consciousness in search of embodiment and
formlessness. Consciousness journeys are the "reading" or explication
of the formless domain of Spirit. Following Nature to whatever abysses
she leads, they reveal a way of thriving on chaos.
HAVE YOU BEEN TO THE PARADOX?
Chaos Theory and Fuzzy Philosophy;
Iona Miller, 1993
ABSTRACT: The notion of paradox comes from a consciousness
conditioned to think in terms of opposites, dualistic paradox. Self-referential
paradox feeds back and annihilates itself. Such bivalence (binary
logic: this or that; true or false; black or white) can be superceded by
multivalent consciousness which perceives in terms of degrees. Multivalence
more accurately reflects the complex dynamics of consciousness. As
in the case of fractal generation, solutions are not found in terms of
this or that, but in terms of degrees of fractional transformation, relationships.
Fuzzy philosophy is based on acceptance of degrees of truth, the "grayness"
of most propositions (truth values), the fractional solutions of fuzzy
logic. Human consciousness is a self-referential system which embodies
this principle of a connection between logic and chaos, in holistic ("whole
III. THE HOLOGRAPHIC PARADIGM
THE HOLOGRAPHIC PARADIGM AND CCP:
Explication, Ego Death, and Emptiness;
Iona Miller, 1993
ABSTRACT: David Bohm suggests psychological "atom-smashing"
as a way of radically destructuring the ego, opening it to wider experience
of the undivided whole. The holographic paradigm is one of reciprocal
enfolding and unfolding of patterns of information (explication).
The stream of images in CCP functions analogously to the unfolding of the
stream of consciousness and the enfolding and de-structuring of the ego
(ego death). Consciousness and matter share the same essence; their
difference is one of degree of subtlety or density. "Emptiness" is
an integral aspect of mind/matter. Chaos theory links all these elements
as aspects of the archetypal healing process, which is facilitated by CCP.
Information Theory and the Vortex of Internal
Iona Miller, 1993
ABSTRACT: Because of its very nature a chaotic
system cannot be decomposed. If consciousness is pure information
it is not limited to physical form; its patterning may emerge from chaotic
dynamics operating at the quantum level, where the "no-thing" of pure information
becomes a structured "some-thing," through intentionality coupled with
chaotic determinism (self-organized emergent order). The so-called
"software of consciousness" is unlike the matter and energy of classical
understanding, but exerts a measureable effect on the physical world, apparently
through quantum chaos.
Fractal therapy allows us to penetrate deeply
into the psyche--into the vortex of the internal structuring process--through
progressively de-structuring patterns of organization. The undecomposable
level of chaotic consciousness is experienced as the pure, unconditioned
imprint of the whole, resulting in a new primal self image and sense of
relationship to the greater whole which emerges through nonunitary transformation.
A HOLOGRAPHIC CONCEPT OF REALITY
Richard Alan Miller, Burt Webb, Darden Dickson,
ABSTRACT: The organization of any biological system
is established by a complex electrodynamic field which is, in part, determined
by its atomic physiochemical components and which, in part, determines
the behavior and orientation of these components. The holographic
model of reality emerging from this principle may provide a scientific
explanation of psychoenergetic phenomena.
An Application of the Holographic Concept of Reality;
Richard Alan Miller and Burt Webb, 1973-1993
[Presented at the Omniversal Symposium, California
State College at Sonoma, Saturday, September 29, 1973. Reprinted
in the journal Psychedelic Monographs and Essays, Vol. 6, 1993. 137-156.
Boynton Beach, FL.]
IN BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS:
The Holistic Patterning Process of Chaos and Antichaos
Iona Miller, 1993
ABSTRACT: Self-organization is an emergent
property of systems and organisms, including human beings. Chaotic
dynamics governs the emergence of this new order from apparent randomness.
The deep coherence of the overall process implies hidden or missing information
for holistic patterning within the apparent "noise" or randomness of chaotic
IV. CHAOS CULTURE
DISRUPTION: LIFE BEYOND THE CIRCLE;
THE EMPTY MEDICINE BAG;
RELATIVITY OF BODY AND SOUL;
Iona Miller, 1992
...we are not concerned here with a philosophical,
much less a religious, concept of the soul, but with the psychological
recognition of the existence of a semiconscious psychic complex, having
partial autonomy of function, [anima].
C.G. Jung, TWO ESSAYS
The soul loses its psychological vision in
the abstract literalisms of the spirit as well as in the concrete literalisms
of the body.
James Hillman, RE-VISIONING PSYCHOLOGY
Psychic and somatic symptoms express the soul's
painful wounds and obstructions. The rational mind is incapable of
deciding what is bet for the soul. The mind can discover what is
needed only by listening to and reflecting upon the subtle movement of
the soul as it expresses itself in bodily sensations, feelings, emotions,
images, ideas, and dreams.
Robert M. Stein, "BODY AND PSYCHE"
Speculations on a New Modality
Iona Miller and Burt Webb, 1992
ABSTRACT: The advent of virtual reality
technology opens up a whole new dimension for therapy. Psychotherapist
and client may enter an electronic simulation which allows them both to
occupy a shared imaginal space. The parameters of the system and environment
can be programmed to display specific archetypal imagery which is known
to influence the deep psyche. The ability to interact with the system provides
a means of intervention and transformation.
The therapist, as electronic shaman, either guides
or follows the client's process. He chooses from a repertoire of archetypal
encounters those images which fit most closely, thus amplifying the "cybernaut's"
imagery experience. Distinctions of inner vs. outer become experientially
moot. Therapeutic interventions, impossible in consensus reality, become
readily available without standard ethical considerations.
The shaman's flight into the netherworld to retrieve
a "lost" soul becomes a literal reality experienced as a co-conscious journey.
The discernment and non directive attitude of the therapist insures that
the client will not be traumatized. The perception of universal and personal
metaphors is enhanced and amplified, rather than imposed. As in hypnosis,
the client maintains the possibility of "escape" back into consensus reality,
simply by closing their eyes.
THE GUIDE WAVE:
Synchronized Chaos and Co-Consciousness
by Iona Miller, 1993
ABSTRACT: In a Bohm/de Broglie theory, the
guide wave (or pilot wave) governs or patterns the whole quantum experiment--the
observer as well as the observed. This nonlocal guiding principle
also acts as a morphogenetic field for the structuring of atoms and cells.
An analogous structuring of free flowing energy appears in the stream of
The on-going stream of imagery manifests the process
of co-evolution which is not distinct from our psychophysical being.
Imagery and the entity it shapes are not separate. They are different
dimensions of the same energy. The guide wave is something of a cosmic
memory which holistically conditions the present moment through complex
feedback and feedforward phenomena. The guide wave maintains specific
forms as new moments unfold.
Research shows that synchronized chaos may be
engineered through perturbation and operational amplification, creating
flexibility among many different behaviors. Isolated chaotic systems
cannot synchronize, but parts can synchronize through supporting subsystems,
like a phase-locked loop. Thus, chaotic signals are generated which
drive stable periodic behavior. The presence of chaos appears to
be an advantage in controlling dynamic behavior, leading to flexibility
and stability. Just as small disturbances in chaotic systems radically
alter their behavior ("butterfly effect"), tiny adjustments can stabilize
V. INFORMATION THEORY
AN INFORMATION THEORY OF
THE UNIVERSE AND NEURODYNAMICS:
The Interface of Consciousness and Information
by Iona Miller, 1993.
ABSTRACT: Information Theory has been employed
to model dynamic processes ranging from the entire universe (Ed Fredkin,
1988) to human neurological functioning (Karl Pribram,1991). Pribram's
research on human perception has culminated in a theory of neurodynamics
based on nonlocal cortical processing--holonomy. According to Pribram,
"space-time and spectrum provide the dimensions within which information
occurs." The information theory of the universe models bits of information
as fundamental, while neurodynamics conceives of quanta of information.
Holonomy supercedes general systems theory and thermodynamics as models
ODE TO WHITE NOISE AND STRANGE LOOPS
The Concepts of Form and Intentionality
in Information Theory,
by Iona Miller, 1993
ABSTRACT: Physics deals with the
energetic aspect of the world. Information theory deals with the
communicational aspect, the message from the external world (universe)
to the individual and his reactions. Information is a quantity whose
value depends on its usability, what it adds to a representation--its originality,
unforeseeability. The general study of information theory can be
applied to perception in the human receptor.
The emergence of imagery from white
noise--the figure/ground distinction of Gestalt--is one implication relevant
to process-oriented therapy and certain philosophical considerations about
the nature of chaos and order in reality. Wave fronts exhibit a fractal
nature, including sound waves. Meaningful sound, such as music and
speech lies in between total white noise and the monotone of indefinitely
held pure notes
We tend to take the constant imaginal
flux of the stream of consciousness for granted, rarely focusing our conscious
awareness in that direction. But we can experientially "decode" the
universal "message" it contains for us in terms of potential holistic repatterning.
No universal message is really "transmitted" because it is a nonlocal quantum
phenomenon of consciousness. There is no channel or receiver, but
the classical ego interprets it that way--as information.
The Fractal Nature of Emergent Consciousness
by Iona Miller, 1993
ABSTRACT: Transformations can be effected within
the autonomous stream of imagery, through imagery processing via experiential
therapy. The essence of this transformative process is revealed in
the fractal nature of imagery and symbols--i.e. their ability to encode,
enfold, or compress the informational content of the whole. Strange
attractors condition and govern the transformative process through the
complexity of information in dynamic flow. Emergent consciousness
is not an epiphenomenon of the brain. Rather it is the transformational
process of non-manifest, undifferentiated consciousness emerging into manifestation.
THE SELF-AWARE UNIVERSE :
A Synopsis of Amit Goswami's
Theory of Physics and Psychic Phenomena,
by Iona Miller, 1993
SUMMARY: Amit Goswami, Ph.D. has proposed a theory
of consciousness, rather than atoms, as the fundamental reality of the
material world. Based in the philosophy of monistic idealism, he
claims to obtain a consistent paradox-free interpretation of the new physics.
He suggests a quantum mechanical, as well as classical nature for mind,
which accounts for nonlocal psychic phenomena.
The modern myths of our times are those scientific
theories which foster our sense of mystery and awe when we gaze into the
deep heart of Nature. The Anima Mundi--Soul of the World--the
soul of matter, is alive and well. All we need do to connect with
her is turn an imaginal eye on our relations with self, others, and world.
There is a therapeutic value in deliteralizing
our theories about the way things work. We can view theory poetically,
metaphorically to illuminate the natural process of creation and dissolution
of pattern and form. Nature repeats herself at all levels of organization.
Therefore insight on the fundamental nature of matter and the relationship
of interacting systems reveals analogies with human existence and behavior.
Whatever nature is, we are that.
As the ancient alchemists noticed, the transformation
of matter is analogous to transformation in the psyche. This is not
to say that consciousness cannot transcend its physical substratum.
If we concur with David Bohm, positing consciousness as pure information,
it not only transcends the human sphere but the entire domain of physical
Chaos theory provides an interesting philosophical
basis for exploring this relationship of psyche and matter--the interface
of mind and matter. Perhaps one of its primary virtues is that it
allows us to formulate a theory of consciousness and healing based on an
organic model of transformation, rather than a mechanistic or cybernetic
process, which form the basis of some other current theories.
Unfolding the analogies of the Creative Consciousness
Process with Chaos Theory is not intended to bind the two together as a
final picture of the way things are. CCP was not developed from nor
structured around Chaos Theory. It is just the best state-of-the-art
scientific metaphor we have to describe the transformative process in nature's
Most of the nuts and bolts "how to" of CCP is
covered in DREAMHEALING: CHAOS AND THE CREATIVE CONSCIOUSNESS PROCESS.
The science behind what Graywolf later called CRP (Consciousness Restructuring
Process) is in HOLOGRAPHIC HEALING, by Graywolf Swinney. Since
this journal is being developed essentially as a "house organ" for practitioners
of CCP or CRP, or dreamhealing, it refers to this foundational work as
the source of the basic theory and method of practice.
CHAOSOPHY '93 explores the philosophical implications
and assumptions underlying that practice. It is rooted in the notion
that imaginal representation is the fundamental experiential reality of
human existence, and that these representational systems can be radically
deconstructed and creatively repatterned holistically.
Psyche is not separate from matter. Consciousness
is not separate from matter. But this philosophy is neither dualist
nor materialist--it is functionalist; it works. Yet it also adheres
to the romantic traditions of shamanism, philosophy, the arts, and depth
Chaos is ubiquitous throughout nature, yet has
largely been ingnored by science in the past due to the overwhelming complexity
of detecting its underlying pattern and purpose. Much the same could
be said for its appearance in human psychology and philosophy.
Yet chaos has always been recognized as a primal
or fundamental condition from which all systems emerge and into which they
dissolve. This statement holds as true for the ego as it does for
the creation of any form of order.
Chaosophy, as a philosophy of treatment, is based
in the notion of following the creative flow of meaning which emerges continually
as the stream of consciousness--an upwelling river of imagery. When
there are blocks to this free flow of energy--frozen states of consciousness
obstructing the flow--they can be deconstructed, "liquified."
As the ego encounters the powerful flow of autonomous
imagery, consciousness can ride its waves back to their emergent source.
Creative regression into more fundamental (less-structured) states of consciousness
ranges from representational forms to nonrepresentational patterns, from
the phenomenological to the nonphenomenological.
In this process the ego is deconstructed--temporarily
dissolved--relieved of its fossilizations and rigidities, and prepared
for holistic repatterning by "chaotic consciousness," the holistic ground
This "RE-CREATIONAL EGO DEATH" paves the way for
the new emergent order which repatterns the whole person, radically altering
self image and relationship to the world at large. It is a direct
experience of an enlarged sense of self and participation in the greater
whole. It restructures the belief system and personal mythology.
Creativity and healing are emergent properties of self-organizing systems.
Several other scientific theories are relevant
to an amplification of the nature of this natural transformative process.
CCP just facilitates and follows nature's way. Other relevant concepts
include relativity and quantum mechanics, theories of the holographic nature
of mind and universe, parallel universes, virtual realities, nonunitarian
transformations, general systems theory, and information theory.
Part I, CHAOS AND POSTMODERN PSYCHOTHERAPY, introduces
a worldview which serves as a philosophical basis for experiential therapy
with an organic deconstructionist orientation.
Part II, POLYPHASIC CONSCIOUSNESS, presents the
case for a model of consciousness rooted in radical pluralism of infinite
states or phases of consciousness.
Part III, THE HOLOGRAPHIC PARADIGM, provides further
links from physics and cognitive sciences which embed CCP in holistic models
Part IV, CHAOS CULTURE, is meant to suggest applications
of this philosophy in daily life.
Part V, INFORMATION THEORY carries us into
even more arcane areas of applications in psychology and philosophy.
Though these articles build on one another, they
are not necessarily to be studied in a linear manner. They build
on one another in a reflective, recursive fashion. Therefore, they
may require more than one reading, as the later material illuminates notions
presented earlier in more cursory fashion. Like iterating fractals,
these articles present multiple views of the same self-similar process
over and over again from slightly different perspectives.
As poetic or metaphorical speculation they are
meant to provoke and evoke deep thought and awareness in the reader, helping
perhaps to clarify the reader's own worldview. We hope they will
shed some light on the nature of the archetypal healing process and creativity
as they emerge in therapeutic interaction.
Hopefully, those of you who are practitioners
or "armchair" philosophers may be moved to make your own contributions.
Chaos theory has been one of the most fertile
venues of interdisciplinary study of the nature of consciousness and reality,
and we welcome all comments for revue.
--Iona Miller, 1993
idea of psychotherapy grounded in philosophy is different from the idea
of psychotherapy grounded in healing, medicine, shamanism."
We've Had A Hundred Years of Psychotherapy
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