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transpersonal differencing
May 1, 2011

1 | I’m drawn to thinking of “my” S/p difference as a transpersonal interest due to the way of thinking I’ve sketched, not because there’s a school of psychology (or psychoeducation) called “Transpersonal Psychology,” which I know nothing about (other than recalling the rubric). My guess is that it’s a latter-day version of humanistic psychology born from the human potential movement of earlier decades. I mention that because I’m very drawn to ‘transpersonal’ for my own purposes and don’t want reader association of what I’m doing with an old school of interest I know nothing about (for good reason, if I’m guessing above accurately, though I do presume that good folks were prospecting with good intentions toward understanding the potentials of lives).

2 | Heuristically distinguishing a “vertical” dimension of selfidentity (in terms of a futural lifetime having a past) and a “horizontal” dimension of so many [inter]personal relationships is important for understanding how intently-focused individuation (e.g., a creative fidelity or inquirial interest in psychality) does not have to imply marginalization of social life. But the history of “personality” theory (and cultural practices) are readily shown to be oriented by sociocentric issues of “having” personality relative to being seen, being known, and understanding oneself relative to others, clearly expressing other-orientedness as intrinsic to interest in “personality,” which is not helpful to my venture. Appreciation of individuation beyond sociocentric life just can’t be done relative to every sense of personality I’ve ever met. Moreover, I’ve provided ample explorations of notions of self, Self, and individuation that any reader would readily agree is quite unlike what “people” usually want to say about personality. Of course, I haven’t done that to assert some kind of uniqueness for its own sake, rather to share how I’m making sense of some interests which are quite worthwhile, I think. (I can easily “unpack”—as philosophical analysts like to say—the conceptualizations I’ve sketched, but I’m yielding to an audacity to share some aspects of how I enjoy writing psychologically and thinking about psychality.)

3 | I’m brimming with more to unpack which will likely remain unpacked, pending a reader’s own expressed interest (which can cause me to revise or/and “flesh out”—awful phrase, but apt, I guess—my discussions).

4 | Some weeks back I capsulated the above heuristic difference (horizontal/vertical) between one’s life (wholly drawn to mind) and bounded times as “life-orienting (selfidentical) telos prevailing over (framing) [inter]personal experience.” Now, I’ve elaborated that idea (years old, to my mind), but I want to emphasize my interest in furthering a notion of individuation, rather than focusing on interpersonal life, because I’m going to continue in the near term focusing on interpersonal life in order to leave that valuable concern behind, but emphatically not to be forgotten for later work (as I’ve already been very engaged with sociocentric prospecting—theory and philosophy—for many years).

5 | Given a high interest in individuation, interpersonal relations hold potential for supporting that with others (if one desires the time). This pertains to general teaching in the humanities and humanistic interest in psychology. But my interest here is interpersonal life (whatever the environment).

6 | I often refer to a continuum of interpersonal relations which involves interpsychal potential. A good life has a large degree of civility among strangers that has nothing to do with desiring to regard others (or keep them) as strangers. It’s just a matter of priorities, time, and energy (and so many people in one’s days—not counting getting around city streets, which can feel crazed, not counting the real crazies, “thank you,” National Debt). We give time to friends with whom we have regular commonalities and solidarities. We try to give more time to those friends who are like family or are part of our extended family—constructed, as well as natural—as well as immediate family, altogether those I call “kindreds.” A good life wants as much kindredness as possible, relative to available time. But intimacy is most important, in family, between friends, and most deeply with one or a few others, at best with an intimate partner, best of all long lasting.

7 | My sense of transpersonal interest includes an orienting value of having as much solidarity in one’s life as practicable, thus promoting that when good chance provides. Yet more valuable is having as much kindredness amid solidarities, thus promoting that when good chance provides. Most valuable is having as much intimacy as time and energy allows, especially special intimacy which is unique to a life (but easily rare in lives). Wonderful intimacy involves the time and energy for making and keeping that, come what may with kindredness and solidarities we balance and work to give fair time to. Equally valuable intimacies in one’s life may be very different. One intimacy may prevail over another in one era, the other in another era. One intimacy may wane, while another grows, meaning nothing about the inherent value of the intimacy waning.

8 | Transpersonal interest loves to see one’s relationship enriching itself, relative to time and energy. Self enhancement may belong to a relationship with just as much potential value as self enhancement belongs to oneself. The appeal of self enhancement in a life exemplifies the appeal a relationship may feel for enhancement of itself. Taking self enhancement into itself, relative to one life, is not as such taking enhancement away from the potential of relationship, except inasmuch as boundaries of a relationship (e.g., waning interest in another’s ownmost path) can cause need for differences between self and relational enhancement which can either [i] become part of each others’ lives (including “our” life) as a more differential relationship; or [ii] cause changes in each’s engagement with the relationship which remains nonetheless valuable in its own way.

9 | If I may say so, that’s a good sense of relationship (though I’m oversimplifying how lives go). However, I’m more interested here in conceptual prospecting of individuation relative to itself, whether or not this is relative to the individuation of a relationship, as there is nothing about individuation (to my mind) that prevents what I’m exploring from belonging to relationships, especially intimate ones (interpsychal relations, beyond interpersonal relations). However, individuation is embodied paradigmatically by a (singular) embodied mindality in time, which may pertain to “us” (a Romantic idea—more than romantic, by the way), but unlikely, though more likely via textual intimacy (somewhere in or across time, Rainer Marie, Virginia, etc).

10 | Conceptual prospecting.... Living, as we all do, in real time, let me exhibit that by saying: The weekend is ending, what can I say....

11 | An immanent s/p difference (presence/present) belongs to the transpersonal differencing of a selfidentical life more than to interpersonal life unto itself. Creative life especially is transenvironmental, if not trans-eraic (“stage of life” changing), in its basic self understanding (typically expressed by artists and writers talking about their work apart from or beyond particular works). Selfness or selfidentity can be understood (and analyzed—or biographed or autobiographed) as an eraic multi-environmentality, genuinely engaged with each mode of one’s life, yet relativized to a telic cohering that’s, relatively speaking, transpersonal, in an existential, at best creative (selformative), sense. Of course, no one ever talks that way (in the terms I’m prospecting), but it’s not counterintuitive to think of one’s life as having eras and separate domains. My interest (and brief point) is that such differencing is integral to the transpersonalness, then the selformativity, of creative life—a self reflectivity of the so-called art of living—which I’m pursuing to heights (eventually).

12 | Giving primacy to higher individuation might be usefully considered historically as a “traveler’s” self, in the Odyssean, then modern/Romantic, sense of Belonging to one’s path through life, rather than to a particular era that advances the life nonetheless, in being authentically open to (and engaged with) what belongs to an era, yet also open to and engaged with what belongs with moving on, while genuinely engaged in the interpersonalities (with valued others—kindreds and intimates) of the time. Marriage, too, can be so understood.

13 | So, I’m not claiming/saying that highly individuated selfidentity has no long-term commitment! One can live in the same place for decades (as I have), but still have a transenvironmental sense of belonging in “my” world, associable with distinct spheres of one’s life (e.g., academic, corporate, community, and family), genuinely dwelling in various ways. Lasting marriages go through eras. Marriages which don’t last (which happens to be most marriages in modern life) likely end because developing lives couldn’t create the new era that each as both desired or needed. Marriages which don’t last are not necessarily failed marriages! The era of entwined lives—the self formation, the Project, the careers—may be unquestionably enriched by what was. Friendship may transcend partnership (which applies to career environments, too).

14 | The manifold environmentality of long-lived eras of one’s life can usefully come to be understood (to my mind, at least) as a mirroring figure (or trOpism) of s/p differencing (based in an ontogenic-Self/selfidentical difference of individuation), especially for high individuation. Categorial differencing can be fruitful for understanding higher individuation—psychal complexification, if you will. A plural genuineness—a happy one—is a part, I will “argue” (explore), of happily authentic fidelity to one’s creativity. I especially want to do that exploring, eventually, in terms of a sense of “plural psyche” (which Jungians first prospected—I’m no longer really Jungian) or a sense of “protean self” (which some psychologists have prospected).