The Transpersonal Dimension
The platonic soul brings to the mind organizing principles elaborated during her voyages to the land of Ideas. She conveys a body of knowledge developed beyond the human species that cannot be created by individuals. These Truths have been set before an individual’s birth, and the individual’s thoughts have no impact on their content. For a number of psychotherapists who are Idealists, Plato’s interpretation of the soul is a metaphor that has permitted humans to become more conscious of the fact that their mind has transpersonal35 or supra-ordinate36 content. This is the content that led Jung to the notion of the collective unconscious.37 Ervin Laszlo38 even goes so far as to speak of a panmind, or pan-psyche, that is, a global knowledge that is rooted in every cell.
A more academic vision of the transpersonal mechanisms defines them as elaborations that influence an individual psyche but have not been created or elaborated by it. At most, a person can only add a nuance to the general structure. Once this definition is accepted, one can distinguish several forms of transpersonalâ contents:
1. The innate mechanisms, like the way that the eyes transform light to create the perception of the color red.
2. The systems created by culture (language, ethical systems, morality, religions, etc.).
3. The academic disciplines suggest the construction of transpersonal truths. Scientific research is perhaps influenced in a prominent way by particular personalities (like Aristotle and Newton), but it is built on the themes studied by thousands of research teams over the centuries.39
4. These days, the term transpersonal is mostly used by authors like Ken Wilber40 in a spiritual context to designate the forces that enliven an individual without his understanding of it, and that are deeply felt as an experience of transcendence, such as the Buddhist state of illumination.