Philosophy ETDs

Publication Date



The history of Western Philosophy was precipitated by the individualization of human experiencing. The Greek classical era, which produced the West's first 'philosophers,' was the cultural progeny of the first humans in our histor­ical record to perceive a world from the perspective of a consciousing aware of itself as a distinct entity. Prior to classical times, perception was a corporate phenomenon: in the Homeric world, the group, not the individual, was the matrix of thought and experience.

Plato did not want poets in his ideal polis-not because of what they had to say, but because of the way they said it. In the philosophers' eyes, exploration of man-in-Universe required a more private, analytical approach than that allowed by the communal field of tribal consciousing. For the same reason, and with the exception of Plutarch, the early philosophers were distrustful of the Mysteries, such as those at Eleusis. The Eleusinian Mysteries were Athens' intuitive compensation of the evolving process of individualization. As the Greek citizenry came to emphasize their differences and to value more and more their unique perspectives, Eleusis, according to the historian Zosimos, served to "hold the whole human race together." For hundreds of years, the annual days of "Mysteria" provided its initiates concrete experience of their relationship to a Life process greater than the individual, the spontaneous experience of which was growing dimmer as consciousing condensed to individualized focus.

Around 500 A.D., the psycho-experimental philosophy that sustained the Mysteries was forced underground by an antipathetic consensus-reality. At the beginning of this century, Carl Jung realized a psychological perspective that began to dis-occult the ancient tradition.

The Mysteries were originally designed to allow the proto-individual experience of a wider reality through the manipulation of a corporate reality-event. By Jung's time, 'individual' perception/cognition had become the social heredity and philosophical heritage of the West. So pervasive had this mode of experiencing become, so taken for granted as the ultimate basis of human consciousing, that it had become an invisible factor of environmental condition­ing.

Jung designed a Mystery appropriate to the intense individualism put forth as the ideal of his times. In the the process, he re-vitalized mythological consciousing as a method for navigating perceived Universe.

The individualization process, as we have historically known it, is today at an end, as the perceptual-conditioning technologies that fostered it (phonetic literacy and print) are giving way to electronic information technologies. Experiencing is converging towards corporate parameters, and the Mysteries are returning to a communal basis.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Paul F. Schmidt

Second Committee Member

Archie John Bahm

Third Committee Member

Wayne McEvilly



Document Type


Included in

Philosophy Commons