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THE SEARCH FOR EXPANDED CONSCIOUSNESS With the person-centered approach - page 6 / 14





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consciousness we are discussing anyway. I am just putting something here so that you

will not be tempted to discount the entire discussion. It is easy to find more information

in the books, articles and websites at the end of the paper.

Pioneers in systems, quantum, and chaos theories have an entirely different world

view than the Cartesian or Newtonian model on which many of us model our lives. They

believe that all life and all change is composed of oscillating energy rather than the

shifting or reordering of separate components or building blocks. If such a world view is

correct, it makes sense that when the usual barriers (authoritarianism, objectivity, rules of

behavior, ‘me-ness and you-ness’, etc.) that our society has relied on to curtail (control)

chaos and disorder, energy will heat up and intensify. It is in the accelerated exchanges of

energy (Illyia Prigogine calls them perturbations) that living systems can eventually

explode and transform into a higher order. Change, according to this world-view, is not a

linear process but rather depends on the dynamic stability of energy; living systems

derive their essential properties from the exchange of energy within and between all

systems rather than from the properties of their parts. Wholes are greater than the sum of

the parts, and the ‘wholes’ bear little resemblance to the parts. (For example, in

describing an important happening in a person-centered group, describing the behavior of

individuals involved throws no light at all on the identity of the whole group at the

outcome of that event. Something more than the participation of each individual is

happening all the time—something that is difficult to identify by dissecting the process).

The environment, say these theorists, is critical to the sustenance and development of

the group. It, too, is a living system within and around which energy is constantly

exchanged. Thus, the crucial role played by climate (to which person-centered facilitators


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