Center for Theory & Research

Volume V: Corps of Discovery

Table of Contents: Irreducible Mind

Esalen Team

Preface and Acknowledgments

Introduction (Edward F. Kelly)

Chapter 1: A View from the Mainstream: Contemporary Cognitive Neuroscience and the Consciousness Debates (Edward F. Kelly)

The History of Cognitive Psychology: A Thumbnail Sketch

From James B. Watson to the Cognitive Revolution
Problems in Classic Cognitivism
The Second Cognitive Revolution: Connectionism and Dynamic Systems
John Searle’s Critique of Computational Theories of the Mind
Biological Naturalism: The Final Frontier

Problems with Biological Naturalism

Psi Phenomena
Extreme Psychophysical Influence
Informational Capacity, Precision, and Depth
Psychological Automatisms and Secondary Centers of Consciousness
The Unity of Conscious Experience
Genius-Level Creativity
Mystical Experience
The Heart of the Mind


Chapter 2: F. W. H. Myers and the Empirical Study of the Mind-Body Problem (Emily Williams Kelly)
The Historical Context

The Roots of Scientific Psychology: Dualism, Mechanistic Determinism, and the Continuity of Nature
Psychology as Science: A Fundamental Conflict
The Naturalization of Mind: Limiting Psychology
The Unresolved Dilemmas of Psychology
An Attempted Solution: Methodological Parallelism

F. W. H. Myers: Purposes and Principles

Tertium Quid
Expanding Psychology
Psychophysiological Concomitance
The Study of Subliminal Phenomena
The New Physics
Mind and Matter
An Expanded Naturalism

Myers’s Theory of Human Personality

The Unity-Multiplicity Problem: “Unitary” versus “Colonial” Views of Mind
An Expanded View of Consciousness
A Jacksonian Model of Mind
An Evolutionary View of Mind
The Subliminal Self: A “Tertium Quid” Theory of Consciousness
The Permeable Boundary: A Psychological Mechanism
Evolutive and Dissolutive Phenomena
Automatisms and the Expression of Subliminal Functioning
A Law of Mental Causality

Methods for Psychology

Empirical Phenomena for the Study of Mind: An Introduction to Human Personality

Chapters 2 and 3 - Hysteria and Genius
Chapter 4 - Sleep
Chapter 5 - Hypnotism
Chapters 6 and 7 - Hallucinations: Sensory Automatisms and Phantasms of the Dead
Chapters 8, 9, and the Epilogue - Motor Automatisms, Trance, Possession, and Ecstasy


Chapter 3: Psychophysiological Influence (Emily Williams Kelly)
Psychosomatic Medicine
Mind and Disease

Bereavement and Mortality
Sudden and “Voodoo” Death
Possible Mechanisms Behind Psychological Factors in Mortality

Mind and Health

Postponement of Death
Religion and Health
Meditation and Healing
Faith Healing
Placebo and Nocebo

Specific Physiological Changes Appearing Spontaneously

Sudden Whitening of Hair or Skin
False Pregnancy

Phenomena Related to Stigmata
Specificity of the Wounds
Predisposing Characteristics

Multiple Personality and Dissociative Disorders

Specific Physiological Effects Induced Deliberately


Specific Physiological Changes Induced by Hypnosis

Autonomic Effects
Sensory Effects
Hypnotic Analgesia
Skin Conditions: Healing

Other Skin Diseases

Skin Conditions: Induction of Bleeding, Blisters, and Markings
Attempted Explanations of Hypnotic Skin Marking and Related Phenomena

Changes in Another Person’s Body

Spontaneously Occurring Phenomena

Sympathetic Symptoms
Maternal Impressions

Distant Mental Influence on Living Systems

Community of Sensation
Suggestion at Distance
Distant Intentionality Studies - Clinical
Distant Intentionality Studies - Experimental

Birthmarks and Birth Defects in Cases of the Reincarnation Type


Chapter 4: Memory (Alan Gauld)
Memory and the Brain

Trace Theories: General Issues
Modern Approaches: Cognitive
Modern Approaches: Neuroscientific

The Problem of Survival

Myers’s Approach to the Problem of Survival
Problems of Personal Identity
Myers’s “Broad Canvas” Revisited
Myers, Memory, and the Evidence for Survival


Chapter 5: Automatism and Secondary Centers of Consciousness (Adam Crabtree)
Historical Background
The Views of F. W. H. Myers
Related Views of Some Major Contemporaries

Pierre Janet
William James
Morton Prince
T. W. Mitchell
William McDougall

Psychological Automatism: More Recent Work

Ernest Hilgard
Stephen Braude

Unconscious Cerebration Revisited

Sociocognitive Theorists
The Cognitive Unconscious
Neurobiological Research

Automatism and Supernormal Phenomena

Automatism and Creativity
Sensory and Motor Automatisms and Mediumship
Automatism and Experimental Psi Research


Chapter 6: Near Death Experiences and Related Phenomena (Emily Williams Kelly, Bruce Greyson, and Edward F. Kelly)
Near-Death Experiences: An Introduction
Explanatory Models of Near-Death Experiences

Psychological and Cultural Theories

Birth Models
Personality Factors

Physiological Theories

Blood Gases
Neurochemical Theories
Neuroanatomical Models

“Transcendent” Aspects

Enhanced Mentation
Veridical Out-of-Body Perceptions
Visions of Deceased Acquaintances
Converging Lines of Evidence

The Larger Context

Out-of-Body Experiences

Lucid Dreams


Veridical Apparitions
Collective Apparitions
Deathbed Visions

Mystical and Conversion Experiences

A Psychological Theory?
The Challenge of Near-Death Experiences

General Anesthesia
Cardiac Arrest


Chapter 7: Genius (Edward F. Kelly and Michael Grosso)
Myers’s Theory of Genius: General Features and Scope
The Creative Process: A Descriptive Model
Myers’s Psychology of Creative Inspiration


Calculating Prodigies
Hallucinatory Syndromes
Automatisms in Genius
Genius in Automatists


Non-Linguistic Symbolisms
Associationism and Its Limits
Coleridge and the Theory of Imagination
Psychoanalytic Theory: Primary and Secondary Process
The Crucial Role of Analogy and Metaphor
The Failure of Computational Theories of Analogy
Implications for Cognitive Theory

The Creative Personality

Genius and Mental Illness
Genius as Personality in Transformation
The Creative Nisus: A Drive Toward Wholeness
Art as Transformative
Transpersonal Roots of Genius

Creativity and Psi
Genius and Mysticism


Chapter 8: Mystical Experience (Edward F. Kelly and Michael Grosso)
Phenomenology of Mystical Experience: An Introduction
The Problem of the Universal Core
Steven Katz and the Contructivist Backlash
The Problem of Objective Significance

Stace’s Philosophical Argument for Objective Significance
Empirical Arguments for Objective Significance

Mysticism and Genius
Mysticism and Supernormal Phenomena

Neurobiological Approaches to Mysticism

Mysticism and Temporal Lobe Epilepsy
Gellhorn and Ergotropic/Trophotropic Systems
The Model of d’Aquili and Newberg
James Austin’s Zen and the Brain (1999)
Mysticism and Psychedelics

Psychodynamic Approaches to Mysticism: Toward a Working Model

Freud and Jung
Myers and James

Opportunities for Further Research

General Considerations
Sources of Relevant Phenomena
Further Guidelines for Future Research and Theory


Chapter 9: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century (Edward F. Kelly)
Contemporary Reviews of Human Personality
A Re-assessment of Myers’s Theory of Personality

Myers’s Methodological Principles
Myers’s Natural History of the Mind
Myers’s General Theory of the Psyche – The Subliminal Self
Post-Mortem Survival
Myers’s Generalized Concept of Evolution

Myers/James Filter Theory and Contemporary Science: Toward Reconciliation

Non-Cartesian Dualist Models
Neutral-Monist Models

Summary and Prospectus

Appendix: An Introductory Bibliography of Psychical Research
About the Authors