Helios Psychology: A New Paradigm for Consciousness Studies
The finest emotion of which we are capable is the mystic emotion.
The heavens are a moving image of eternity, moving according to number, while eternity itself rests in unity .
This is a summary of the nine blogs on Helios Psychology that came before this one, where the parameters of the proposed new paradigm have been laid out in some detail. What I’ve written is not yet complete, but the fundamentals of the theoretical framework are here.
I think people may be having trouble following the theory and that’s probably because I’m not explaining it very well. My writing has been analytical and pedantic, somewhat dry for such a far-ranging and challening subject. To a certain extent, however, I feel this detached approach is necessary. Interested researchers should clear their minds of preconceptions about New Age spirituality, Eastern Religions, Jungian Psychology, etc, and try to be open to a new framework that encompasses all of these and yet goes beyond all of them.
In the future I will be seeking opportunities to discuss these concepts in a podcast or some verbal format. I feel the ideas will be much more accessible that way.
I’m pleased to quote Albert Einstein (above) as he was a free-thinking pioneer that brought an entirely new world-view to physics. His quote summarizes what the Helios paradigm is all about, as does the quote by Plato.
AREA OF STUDY
Helios Psychology is the study of consciousness with a focus on higher states of awareness that are not usually studied in mainstream psychology. The goal is to present a model or framework that allows the field of psychology to explore phenomena usually considered beyond its reach.
Consciousness as we know it is a restricted form of consciousness. There are other realms of consciousness that provide for a greater understanding of human psychology and, in turn, our place in the universe.
The Helios Realm (First Realm) is defined as the highest form of consciousness and has been accessed by mystics and other people during life-altering moments that Abraham Maslow called peak experiences. According to the Helios model, thought as we know it does not operate on this level.
The Second Realm of consciousness is a stage higher than our usual consciousness and operates on a different frequency than the Helios Realm and Third Realm. It is defined as consciousness dominated by intuition, symbols, and nonlinear processes, such as dreams, creativity, and art. By definition, thought, when defined as linear cognition, does not operate on this level either.
The Third Realm of consciousness is the frequency we typically inhabit. It is defined by a focal point of action or movement called the Directing Force, which is equivalent to concepts of the Self (and is in fact mistaken for the Self) and this force operates within the constraints of Thought Patterns, which organize reality in such a way as to aid in survival. The Directing Force is conceptually equivalent to what is typically called the Will. When the Will absorbs much content as result of life experiences it extends itself beyond its beginnings as a “movement of thought” to a systematic cognitive organization that becomes roughly equivalent to the Self.
Resonance refers to knowledge from the Second Realm (and higher) which enter Third Realm consciousness. Resonance cannot be comprehended in pure form by the Directing Force due to mismatch between the two and therefore can only be understood through Inference.
The Observer (as compared to the Directing Force) is another aspect of consciousness which resides in the “background” and exists at all levels of awareness, all three realms. In contrast, the Directing Force primarily operates in the Third Realm and loses its ability to assimilate knowledge at higher realms. The Observer aspect of consciousness is passive, hence the name, Observer. It experiences and watches. When consciousness operates in a willful manner, this is the action of the Directing Force, a separate aspect of consciousness than the Observer. By definition, the Directing Force is unable to comprehend or recognize the Observer due to the limitations of its structure and function. Both however form a unified whole so that humans can traverse different frequencies and levels of awareness, a perfect combination, Yin and Yang. The Directing Force may be seen as a masculine, active principle of the mind, and the Observer as a passive, transcendent principle of the mind.
The Directing Force is diminished to the point of being devoid of content at the Helios level, with its willpower receding into the distance. Helios consciousness has been expressed by many throughout history as “full consciousness” or “cosmic consciousness” or “oneness with all things.” Helios Psychology posits a model of consciousness where human beings in essence are inhabited by two minds, the Directing Force and the Observer. Both engage in “reality” but from different points of view and it is possible to mistake both for the core self. Most people identify the Directing Force as the “self,” in what could be called the Fundamental Existential Error. The “true self” (if such a thing can be assumed to exist) is a free-flowing interaction of the Directing Force and the Observer. Most of this interaction is unconscious i.e., beyond purposeful awareness.
The conscious experience of the Self is experienced primarily via the Directing Force, which exists in the Third Realm field of energy.
THEORY OF APPARENT PARADOXES
Physicist Niels Bohr theorized that a given quantum object will exhibit alternating characteristics of waves and particles rather than being one or the other. He insisted upon the renunciation of cause-effect relation in quantum mechanics.
Helios Psychology operates in a similar manner. Whereas typical cause-effect relations are applicable to the Third Realm, these assumptions no longer operate in the Second Realm and beyond. Psychological constructs merge and become what appear as paradox at the higher realms, meaning psychology must expand the typical research model to include alternate modes of discovery, such as self-reports of mystics, dream analysis, and studies of phenomena such as synchronicity, peak experiences, and Second Realm symbolism.
Currently the field of psychology is focused almost entirely on Third Realm consciousness. This would be like studying astronomy but only focusing on the Milky Way. There is much more beyond the Milky Way galaxy and studying the farthest reaches of the universe provides a much more comprehensive view of the cosmos and our place in it. Similarly, exploring Second Realm and Helios Realm consciousness allows for the study of the farther reaches of consciousness, and yet still remains grounded in what is known and experienced, not just mere speculation. It is the view of this author that the farthest reaches of consciousness must be embraced as essential to understanding human psychology.
THE DIRECTING FORCE CAN BE A DIRECT LINK TO ALL LEVELS
The Directing Force (or Will) forms a connection with all three levels, although to a much lesser degree as one ascends to the Helios Realm. The Directing Force can be utilized as a tool for studying the higher realms and as a bridge to accessing and experiencing these realms.
THE OBSERVER IS AN INDIRECT LINK TO ALL LEVELS
The Observer aspect of consciousness is passive and cannot be tapped directly, but exists on all levels and is a defining feature of Second Realm and Helios consciousness, which is proportional in its expansiveness to the diminishing of the impact of the Directing Force. This aspect of consciousness cannot be studied in a typical scientific manner and as a first step must be properly identified as a psychological study worthy of examination.
HOW DOES THE HELIOS REALM DIFFER FROM THE SECOND REALM?
The Helios Realm by definition is beyond the capabilities of direct comprehension by the Directing Force and Thought Patterns. The Helios Realm manifests to people only at times when the Directing Force is absent or void of content. Knowledge of the highest realm of awareness can be available to researchers from reports by intuitive persons currently and throughout history that have had peak experiences. Knowledge about the Helios Realm only comes in the form of negation and paradox, for example that the “Ego disappears” or “There is transcendence of time” or “The concept of space becomes irrelevant.” By Third Realm definition, the Helios Realm is unknowable. The paradox is: by process of negation, much can be known, shedding enormous light on Third Realm psychological principles and the laws governing conscious thought.
The Second Realm interacts with Third Realm consciousness, but in a manner that is also outside the screening power of the Directing Force. This is the realm of creativity, dreams, archetypes, and intuition. The Second Realm is understood in terms of symbols, or nonlinear cognitive processes, and this land of symbols falls midway between Third Realm consciousness and the higher Helios Realm, where even symbols are transcended.
Symbols and knowledge from the Second Realm are knowable, but this process is challenging since the content is not compatible with the Directing Force and Thought Patterns. A broader definition of “science” is necessary for studying the Second Realm. In psychology the areas of study for the Second Realm would be dreams, art, intuition, archetypes, etc.
By contrast, the Third Realm provides the appearance of being knowable to the extent that physical phenomena can be labeled and measured, although in psychology operational definitions and constructs must be used to study nonphysical concepts such as intelligence, personality, and social behavior. In psychology this represents what would be included in an Introductory Psychology college text and the accumulated knowledge from all sub-fields of psychology including child psychology, abnormal behavior, social psychology, biological, and others.
Helios psychology seeks to expand the study of psychology beyond the narrow focus on Third Realm cognitive processes to other modes of consciousness, thereby providing a broader and more accurate representation of human psychology. Just as physicists explore subject matter that are difficult to measure and quantify (particle physics on a small scale and black holes on a large scale) these sciences move forward in an unwavering manner. Psychologists must become as bold as physicists. The Helios model may provide a framework for doing so.
THE EMOTIONAL STRIVINGS OF THE DIRECTING FORCE
The Directing Force has been discussed mainly in terms of its filtering properties and the constriction of perception and thought. But the engine that drives it is based on emotion.
On the most fundamental level, the Directing Force is compelled to fulfill basic human/animal needs such as for food, water, and sex, as well as being equipped with an adaptive aggression response. The Directing Force is motivated by self-preservation on a physical level and is analogous to Arthur Schopenhauer’s Will to Life and Nietzsche’s Will to Power. These forces of “Will” become filtered through the Directing Force and Thought Patterns.
There are three psychological drives that emanate from the Directing Force and are in fact its essence. They are:
1. Self-preservation – the need for this force to remain at the center of mental life and to maintain continuity. This focused attention is at the heart of evolutionary survival. Historically, this is the reason why the Directing Force is so difficult to transcend.
2. Mastery – the drive to feel powerful and efficacious.
3. Control – the drive for security through knowing and manipulating.
These psychological strivings are inherent aspects of the Directing Force and have aided humans in survival on this planet. All other emotions are an outgrowth of interactions between these fundamental drives, thought patterns, and the environment (learning).
Helios Psychology proposes a new area of inquiry which focuses on the study of intuition. This can be accomplished in several ways:
1. Scientific approach – Studies on peak experiences, psi phenomena, dreams, drug experiences, meditation, mindfulness, etc. New research models, such as the one based on research proposed by Daryl Bem to study anomalous retroactive influences (premonition), must continue to be explored and developed.
2. Case Study approach – Studies of individuals who experience Second Realm and Helios Realm consciousness, expanded to include those who provide evidence of meaningful insights about the nature of the Helios Realm.
3. Anecdotal approach – Study of extraordinary cases in history and around the world that may shed light on these issues.
4. Intuitive approach – Study of situations that are outside the typical realm of science, which means research that does not take place in a typical laboratory or experimental setting.
TWO TYPES OF RESEARCHERS
1. Scientist – In the mold that is known today. Noted for educational attainment, research record, publications.
2. Intuitivist – Those with conscious experiences of the Second Realm and Helios Realm. Noted for their personal awareness of other realms of consciousness. They must be identified (one of the primary goals of Helios Psychology) and brought into the field, which requires an expansion of the definition of a research field and an expansion of the definition of psychology and psychologists.
1. Experimental Studies: Experimental research on peak experiences and states of consciousness. Research on Helios Realm consciousness will be of a different type than research on the Second Realm. Helios Realm studies enter a stratosphere of negation (mentioned above) whereas Second Realm studies may involve for example the interpretation of symbols.
2. Intuitive Knowledge – Information or intuition that reveals knowledge of the Helios Realm and higher consciousness will be studied. The source of this information will be human beings with intuitive abilities and insight. Psychologists will view these individuals to be as valuable as astronomers consider a powerful new telescope or physicists a particle accelerator; human minds that can traverse great distances and be a “looking glass” to far away worlds.
3. Spontaneous Experience – Helios psychologists will study individual experiences of synchronicity, peak experiences, or psi abilities that do not take place in the laboratory, but occurring spontaneously “in the field,” or everyday life.
4. The Study of Symbols – For example, cross cultural comparisons of spiritual, artistic, and religious works will be an integral part of Helios Psychology, such as studying the similarities between the Bible and Native American Popol Vuh. These studies will provide a framework for understanding the Helios Realm based on Intuitive Knowledge communicated via Second Realm symbols and continues studies by researchers such as Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung.
DOES HELIOS PSYCHOLOGY REPLACE THE MAINSTREAM FIELD OF PSYCHOLOGY?
No. Helios Psychology becomes a larger umbrella that expands the definition and reach of the field of psychology. This has the potential to be a quiet paradigm shift, where more and more psychologists embrace the new direction and cite it in their work. I believe in many ways this is already happening, although not as an organized movement.
For example in the new paradigm Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development would remain an integral part of child psychology. These cognitive processes unfold as part of the Directing Force, which characterizes Third Realm consciousness. Social psychology remains the study of how social factors influence individual psychology, and so on.
Current research and theories in the field of psychology will (to varying degrees) expand to include the operational definitions of Second Realm and Helios Realm psychology. For example, as Abraham Maslow has already suggested, there are higher levels to be studied beyond self-actualization in his theory of a hierarchy of needs. These higher levels will include studies of Second Realm and Helios Realm psychology as they are integrated in Third Realm awareness.
There are precedents in traditional psychology for the movement to a new paradigm including the work of Abraham Maslow, Carl Jung, William James, and others.
Helios Psychology provides a general framework and direction for studying consciousness. As the field progresses new theories will emerge.
THE PROCESS OF STUDYING HELIOS PSYCHOLOGY ADVANCES THE SPECIES
As more light is shed on higher states of consciousness, these higher states become integrated into our own consciousness, a process Carl Jung referred to on a personal level as individuation. If the entire field of psychology is seeking to expand its study of consciousness then expanded consciousness becomes a force throughout the world, unleashing unseen potentials within humans as a species. Moving beyond individuation (personal level), this process of merging realms of consciousness in the human species will be called transcendation (collective level).
EVOLUTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS IS A PSYCHOLOGICAL PROCESS
The Helios Psychology paradigm proposes that evolution is not merely a physical process but also a psychological process. A central tenet of Helios psychology is that our species is ascending from lower fields of consciousness to higher ones; from Third Realm awareness to Second Realm and beyond. The Helios Psychology paradigm represents accelerated movement in this progression and evolution.
Tom Filsinger is an Associate Professor of Psychology who has taught at five colleges. He earned his M.S. in Personality/Social Psychology at Northern Illinois University and taught at Jamestown Community College in Jamestown, New York, for 25 years where he was the Director of Social Sciences and Coordinator of Psychology. He is currently teaching classes at Northern Arizona University.