Michael Reddy, Ph.D, CPC
           Healer  Trainer  Author   610 469 7588

Monday August 21, 2017
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Constellations and the Evolution of Worldviews--Part 2 Time Space & Consciousness

Table of contents

Special Note

This is Part Two of a three part article, originally published in an international, peer-reviewed journal (The Knowing Field) addressed to the worldwide community of family constellation practitioners. Though each article stands somewhat on its own, it is not possible to repeat previous expositions in each one. Clickable references to the relevant sections of previous articles as published in this journal are given to you as needed. Please feel to click on them for quick refreshers or updates if you haven't read the Part One.

The term "phenomenology" is also used here as it has been adopted in the constellation community, and means "to see freshly only what is." I have argued in Part One that this is not possible, namely that subjectivity is always present (Reddy, ijhca). Still that is what this term means in the original context of these articles—even though it has different, even opposite meanings in other contexts.

Synopsis of Part One

Part One of this series (Reddy, ijhca) began with a short introduction of the Family Constellation transgenerational healing modality. The constellation perspective is that descendants can inherit and suffer from unprocessed trauma of their ancestors (Reddy, ijhca2). This is different from personal trauma in that those suffering did not actually have the experiences from which that suffering arises.

The process of doing a group constellation to reveal and relieve these inherited ancestral traumas is a focused kind of unscripted psychodrama (Reddy, ijhca1). Part One also sketches the origins of this whole-systems oriented healing modal (Reddy, ijhca3)

To focus the discussion, it singled out five effects we observe regularly in constellations (repeated here for your convenience in Figure 1).


Figure 1. Observed Constellation Effects

The scientific mainstream prejudges this work and these effects as "impossible." The historical and social origins of this judgment were identified, and contrasts were made with an emerging, also empirical perspective, that is far more supportive.

Part One points out that scientific materialism is a paradigm that organized vast growth in human knowledge. It created a cohesive social system designed to maximize its explanatory power. As a result, it marginalizes whatever it cannot explain (Reddy, ijhca4, and following). Historically, however, findings that challenge such paradigms always accumulate. Eventually, an intellectual and social upheaval gives rise to a new, more inclusive integration of the current knowledge of that time period (Kuhn, 1962).

In the upheaval leading to the current scientific paradigm, a feminine, organic, deeply interrelated view of Nature was replaced by the mathematical, mechanical, "clockwork universe" (Reddy, ijhca5, and following). Blind adherence to its seven core assumptions, however, creates not science but "scientism" (Reddy, ijhca6, and following) [new reference]). Dialogues the family constellation community needs to have about the validity and implications of the five effects must be with genuine scientists, not "scientism-ists."

In constellation work itself, Part One goes on to say, there are similar tensions between paradigm (the perspective consisting of accumulated knowledge about the typical behavior of transgenerational trauma) and the strong pressure in teaching the process to remain "phenomenological," namely in this context meaning to "see freshly only what is". Yet studies of cognition point out that all our perceptions are highly structured by culture, language, and individual experience—before we even become conscious of them (Reddy, ijhca7, and following).

In essence, whether it is science, the growth of constellation's own systemic perspective, or the carrying out of individual constellations — success involves the same process — careful application of top-down generalities balanced by open-minded, fluid, bottom-up attention to particularities (Reddy, ijhca8, Figure One). Whether in immediate cognition or historical shifts in larger paradigms, mind and intuition work best by "zig-zaging" up and down between these two poles. 

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