PSYC-1400.0: History of Transpersonal Psychology

PSYC-1400.0: History of Transpersonal Psychology

Course Syllabus
Sofia University

Course Code: PSYC 1400 Course Name: History of Transpersonal Psychology: James, Jung, and Vivekananda (Winter Term, 3.0 Units)

Meeting Time:
(Wednesdays 10:00 AM-1:00 PM, January 13-March 16, 2016)

Instructor Name: Steven Herrmann, Ph.D., MFT

Instructor office hours and location:
(1:00 PM-2 PM Wednesdays, at Sophia; or, via Zoom, time to be pre-arranged by Student & Instructor)

Contact information: steven.herrmann@sophia.edu

Course Description
In this History of Transpersonal Psychology course students at Sophia University will explore the roots of transpersonal research methods. The course will begin with readings from William James’s 1902 book The Varieties of Religious Experience. Students and the instructor will look together at the origins of a number of different concepts in James’s writings, including “the wonderful stream of our consciousness,” the “subliminal door,” “individuation,” as well as James’s ongoing battle with the notion of the “Absolute.” Students will learn about C. G. Jung’s three meetings with James, in 1909 and 1910. Writings by Eugene Taylor as well as writings by Sonu Shamdasani on William James will be reviewed to illuminate how a Freudocentric legend developed around Jung. The course will proceed to unpack the meanings of the German word überpersönlich in Jung’s writings to get at Jung’s precise definitions of the “transpersonal control-point,” or transcendent function, in the human psyche. Students will take a look at Jung’s published writing on William James and consider their implications. Readings will explain how Jung’s empirical attitude was shaped by Jamesian pragmatism. Another ancestor in the field of transpersonal studies that the course will consider is Swami Vivekananda, who met William James at Harvard University where James taught in 1896. Students will explore the concepts of the “subconscious self” in James, the “Self” in Jung, and the “Absolute” in Vivekananda’s writings, side-by-side. We will read about Jung’s travels to India and James’s and Jung’s views on Yoga. A further notion that will be explored in-depth is the superconscious in the writings of all three writers. A misunderstanding that Jung did not have a notion of the superconscious in his theory of the transpersonal psyche will be cleared up by the instructor. Students and the instructor will consider together whether the superconscious Self can be studied scientifically, and if so, how? The course will advocate for a non-dual phenomenological attitude to challenge misconceptions and look at some possible limitations of Jamesian pragmatism and analytical psychology vis a vis Vivekananda’s views on meditation and higher states of Yoga. Similarly, Eastern meditation practices will be looked at objectively for possible limitations through an empirical-psychological, Jamesian or Jungian lens. All in all, the aim of the course will be to promote a scientific exploration into the depths and vistas of the unconscious and superconscious Self, thereby forming a bridge between Eastern and Western viewpoints in modern psychology that is essentially non-dual. Weekly readings will illuminate how Jamesian pragmatism and Jungian empiricism have shaped our current methodological attitudes and psychological research into the nature of the Self. Students will be encouraged to develop an attitude of psychic objectivity, or objective cognition, towards the data of the Self under investigation. By looking at dreams and spiritual experiences as facts for scholarly hermeneutical analysis, dissertation writing, or future professional publications, avenues for possible research will be opened up through experiential soft-minded (journaling, fantasying, and dreaming) and critical tough-minded (final paper writing) thinking.

Core Required Texts

In this graduate seminar we will become familiar with portions of four texts that will help us explore the roots of transpersonal psychology and research methods: sections of William James's The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902), sections from James’s Pragmatism (1906), a few chapters from Carl Jung's Memories, Dreams, Reflections (1963), Swami Vivekananda’s Raja Yoga, and a portion of Steven Herrmann’s Spiritual Democracy: The Wisdom of Early American Visionaries for the Journey Forward (2014).

Course Learning Outcomes
• Acquire knowledge of three pioneering thinkers and their influence on transpersonal studies;
• Become familiar with three texts that have had a major impact on the development of the field of transpersonal psychology and transpersonal research methodologies;
• Develop an appreciation for the history of ideas and phenomenology of psychic influence;
• Understand pragmatism, empirical psychology, and raja yoga through the practice of close reading, personal reflection, journaling, class discussion, and paper writing;
• Approach the course material with an attitude of objective cognition; through fantasy thinking, dream work, meditation, and directed thinking; and attempt this in a non-dual way;
• Demonstrate an ability to think critically about the materials of the course and generate a hypothesis about the Self;
• Practice Self-exploration and writing skills through journal method.

Required Reading Materials

William James, William James: Writings 1902–1910. (New York: The Library of America, 1987). [This edition is preferred because it corresponds to pagination listed in the syllabus. Other editions are workable.]
Carl Jung and Aniela Jaffé (ed.), Memories, Dreams, Reflections (New York: Vintage, 1989 [1961]).
Swami Vivekananda, Raja Yoga. (Any edition).
Steven Herrmann, Spiritual Democracy: The Wisdom of Early American Visionaries for the Journey Forward. (Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, Sacred Activism Series, 2014).

Grading Policy and Scale
Assignments 20% Journal (You will be asked to keep personal/transpersonal journal of your dreams, fantasies, automatic writing, and meditation experiences in the course; although you will not be required to reveal your dreams, the instructor will need to be able to confirm that you engaged in any of these activities at a Doctoral level of participation. The student may choose which of these four methods of Self-inquiry appeals most. Each entry will be approximately 1-2 pages per week). The Journal will be reviewed by the instructor twice, on week 4, and on week 9.

Term Project Research Paper 60% Final Paper (You will be required to write a 7 page paper describing your thoughts about a subject in the course, such as Jamesian pragmatism, Jungian empirical psychology, or Raja Yoga, which demonstrates your understanding of the history of transpersonal psychology and your personal views on the phenomenology of the Self).

Discussion Questions, Interactive Exercises, Discussions, Dialogue, and Class Participation 20% (You will be required to participate in class discussions each week). Class participation will be graded qualitatively, not necessarily quantitatively. The goal of these interactive exercises will be on "Transformative" learning.

Scale

A 95 – 100 C+ 77 – 79
A- 90 – 94 C 73 – 76
B+ 87 – 89 C- 70 – 72
B 83 – 86 D 60 – 69
B- 80 – 82 F 59 or <

Course Activities
Class ParticipationDiscussion Questions, Interactive Exercises, Discussions, Dialogue, and Personal Sharing.
Graduate Student Class Participation Requirement
The student is expected to participate in every class discussion and interactive exercise during the 10 week course. There will be 2 points counted during each weeks question, dialogue, and personal sharing periods. Participation will be measured by the quality of the sharing, not the quantity of the student’s activity. Fantasy thinking will be valued equally with directed thinking.

JournalDreams, fantasies, automatic writing, and meditation exercises.
Graduate Student Journal Exercise
The Student is expected to keep a personal journal of any dreams, fantasies, automatic writing, and meditation experiences that demonstrate an experimental attitude with Jamesian, Jungian, and Vedanta methods of Self-exploration during the outworking of the course. The journal is to be worked on each week and evidence of experimentation with any of the four techniques mentioned above will provide evidence of the basic requirement; the journals must be shown to the instructor twice, on class # 4, and class #9. The 10 weekly entries must be at least 1-2 pages in length. The instructor will be looking for original thinking in the entries.

Final Paper Research Paper
This class does not use a final exam. Instead, there is a final paper that each student must complete and submit during the last week of class at least 7 pages in length (class # 10). The instructor will be looking for the student’s ability to integrate fantasy thinking with directed thinking as a way to generate hypotheses about the phenomenology of the Self that might be used in dissertation writing, academic presentations, or future publications.

Graduate Student Final Paper Topic
The final paper may be written on a topic to be chosen by the student relating to the course materials on the history of Transpersonal Psychology. The written paper (minimum 7 pages) is expected at the end of the term by class #10 with no exceptions. An ideal project would be one that demonstrates some creativity, attempts to answer some interesting research question(s), or offers an interesting solution to a problem of practical interest and importance to the student and the emergent questions that arise during the classes. The topic for the paper must be agreed upon by the student and instructor by class #7.

Academic Dishonesty
Your Class Participation, Journal, and Final Paper are expected to be original in nature.

Late Assignments
Late assignments will not be accepted unless prior arrangements are made with the instructor in the case of unexpected illness or unanticipated misfortune.

Course Schedule
This week-by-week syllabus presents a general outline and a list of some supplementary resources that we will be drawing upon in our examination of three important thinkers in the history of transpersonal psychology. Each week a portion of one of the primary source texts will be assigned. Resources that offer greater depth into our subject area of phenomenological research will also be added to facilitate fantasy thinking and directed thinking techniques to promote research into the exploration of the Self. I approach each seminar session in a lecture format to begin. This is followed by questions and answers and class participation, discussions, and sharing. I emphasize close reading of texts and participation in whatever discussion that ensues, as well as evidence of journaling and final paper writing.


Week One: January 13 to January 19
Details                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Objectives

1.1 Course Overview and Introduction to William James, C. G. Jung, and Swami Vivekananda.
1.2 Introduction to C. G. Jung’s Red Book (Provided by instructor).
1.3 Begin keeping a journal (this method will be explained in detail in class).
1.4 Getting to know each other (a group go around sharing to become acquainted by name, place in program at Sophia, and areas of research interests)

Course Preparation:

Read The course description and objectives.
Read The instructor’s biography at stevenherrmann.com, and post your own biography for the class to read.  
Read “Fantasy Thinking” and “Vocational Dreams” at stevenherrmann.com  
Read Student Requirements and Expectations located in the course resources section.

Participation: Participate in class discussion (see description of expectations above). 

Discussion Questions: Ask weekly discussion questions, . 

 

Week Two: January 20 to January 26
Details 
Objectives

1.1 James on Religious Experience and Science
1.2 James on automatic writing

Reading

Read William James, William James: Writings 1902–1910. (New York: The Library of America, 1987). The Varieties of Religious Experience, Lectures 1-2, pp. 11-54; Lecture IV, pp. 77–89; Lectures XVI and XVII, pp. 342-386; Lecture XX, pp. 435-463.
Read See chronology in William James: Writings 1902-1910, pp. 1321–1349. 

Participation

Participate in class discussion. 

Discussion Questions Ask weekly discussion questions. 

Individual Assignment 1: Description: Continue to write 1-2 pages per week in journal.

Due date journal 1: class # 4


Week Three: January 27 to February 2
Details 
Objectives

1.1 James on Religious Experience & Vedanta

Reading

Read William James, William James: Writings 1902–1910. (New York: The Library of America, 1987). Pragmatism, Lecture 1, pp. 487-504; Lecture IV, pp. 541–557; Lecture VIII, pp. 606-619.
Instructor will review for class: Eugene Taylor, William James and C. G. Jung (in Spring: An Annual of Archetypal Psychology and Jungian Thought, 1980): pp. 157-167. 

Participation

Participate in class discussion. 

Discussion Questions Ask weekly discussion questions. Class # 3 1

Individual Assignment 2: Description: Continue writing 1-2 pages in journal. (See above)


Week Four: February 3 to February 9
Details
Objectives

1.1 Vivekananda on Spiritual Experience and Yoga

Reading

Read Swami Vivekananda, Raja Yoga. Preface and Chapters 1-IV.

Watch YouTube Video: “Belur Math” 

Participation

Participate in class discussion. 

Discussion Questions Ask weekly discussion questions. 

Individual Assignment 3: Description: Turn journals into instructor for review. Journals are due for mid-term evaluation. 

 

Week Five: February 10 to February 16
Details 
Objectives

1.1 Vivekananda, Raja Yoga Continued

Reading

Read Swami Vivekananda, Raja Yoga. Chapters V-VIII.

Read Frederick Norris, "William James and Swami Vivekananda: Religious Experience and Vedanta/Yoga in America" in William James Studies, 2012, Vol. 9, pp. 37-55. (Can be downloaded or read on the Internet. Google it). 

Participation

Participate in class discussion. 

Discussion Questions: Ask weekly discussion questions. 

Individual Assignment 4 Description: Instructor’s return of student’s journals for 0-10 points. 


Week Six: February 17 to February 23
Details 
Objectives

1.1 Jung on William James

Reading

Read Instructor’s hand out “C. G. Jung on William James” (instructor will distribute handout during Class # 5).
Read Sonu Shamdasani, Jung Stripped Bare by His Biographers, Even” pp. 28-33 (no need to read it; instructor will read this material to class for discussion).

Watch You Tube Video: “Carl Gustav Jung & the Red Book, Part 1”) 

Participation

Participate in class discussion. 

Discussion Questions: Ask weekly discussion questions. 

Individual Assignment 5 Description: Continue writing 1-2 pages in weekly journal. 

 

Week Seven: February 24 to March 1
Details 
Objectives

1.1 Jung on Religious Experience & Scientific Facts

Reading

Read C. G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections (New York: Vintage Books, 1989 [1961], 3–5; 170-199.
Read Eugene Taylor, “William James and C. G. Jung” 1980 (no need to read it; instructor will go over this material in class).

Watch View You Tube Video: (Carl Jung Documentary, search for “The World Within: C. G. Jung in his own Words, 1 hr.). 

Participation

Participate in class discussion. 

Discussion Questions Ask weekly discussion questions. 

Individual Assignment 6 Description: Continue writing 1-2 pages in journal. (See above)


Week Eight: March 2 to March 8
Details 
Objectives

1.1 Jung and India

Reading

Read C. G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections (New York: Vintage Books, 1989 [1961], pp. 274-284; 289-298; 327-359.

Read Jung and India, in Spring: A Journal of Archetype and Culture, Vol. 90, Fall 2013: pp. 1-63; pp. 155-172. (Instructor will read/review this material in class; no need to buy).  

Participation

Participate in class discussion. 

Discussion Questions Ask weekly discussion questions. 

Individual Assignment 7 Description: Continue writing 1-2 pages in journal. (Journals due in class # 9).


Week Nine: March 9 to March 15
Details
Objectives

1.1 James, Vivekananda, and Jung on Spiritual Democracy

Reading

Read Steven Herrmann, Spiritual Democracy: The Wisdom of Early American Visionaries for the Journey Forward. (Berkeley: North Atlantic Books Sacred Activism Series, 2014): pp. xiii-20; pp. 21-58.

Read Jung and India, in Spring: A Journal of Archetype and Culture, Vol. 90, Fall 2013: pp. 273-284. (Instructor will review this material in class; no need to buy).

Watch You Tube Video at visionsofspiritualdemocracy.com: “Spiritual Democracy in Contemporary Jungian Thought and Practice.” 

Participation

Participate in class discussion. 

Discussion Questions Ask weekly discussion questions. 

Individual Assignment 8 Description: Turn journals into instructor for review. Journals are due for final evaluation. 

 

Week Ten: March 16 to March 22
Details
Objectives

1.1 Integrative Review, Research Hypotheses, and Research Conclusions.

Reading

Read There will be very light reading in this class to promote student focus on final paper. Read “Vocational Archetypes” at stevenherrmann.com
Reflect on how this relates to your own vocational interest and calling.  

Participation

Participate in class discussion. Sharing of experiences in course. 

Discussion Questions Ask weekly discussion questions. 

Individual Assignment 9
Description: Instructor’s return of student’s journals for 0-10 points. 

Research Project Paper
Description: Submission of final paper. Must be turned in on class # 10 to receive a letter grade. 
(No exceptions) 60

 

 

 

Course Summary:

Date Details