by Katherine Elizabeth Coder, Miami University

A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Transpersonal Psychology Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Palo Alto, California.

Review: This paper appears to present Reality as a “spiritually advanced social change agent”. My reading of the Abstract is that it’s suggesting “spiritually advanced social change agents (will) enable positive and healthy transformation” into selves. I presume this means as selves “in (an) increasingly integral epoch.” Ie: a world collective? That is, spirituality being politicised?

Nothing in my multiple yearly experiences of the Mystical Experience of Reality (MER) over 15 years suggests anything of the kind. This smacks of human politics, leftwing politics in particular.

This is at variance with the mystical experience of Reality, (MER).

Humans are in an individual process of development into Reality, not into a “socially engaged spirituality”. Reality is not socially engaged. Reality is going about its own ineffable business, not ours. This individual development is only by Reality, from outside the human condition. Reality’s development is not concocted by human brains or minds.

Is this development into Reality what leading physicist Dr. David Chalmers (‘Facing up to the hard problem of consciousness’) has described as “the hard question” that currently – and possibly infinitely – baffles scientific or political method?

There is an abyss of consciousness between the repeatable experimental methods of science and the individual but similar, at least 12,000 year old culturally non specific experiences of mystics.

Fortunately, if this paper is anything to go by, humans have not been trusted individually or collectively to have any say whatsoever in this process by Reality!  Reality is enough.

The following is the Abstract that comes with the paper. The full paper is available as a free PDF download at Academia.edu.

Abstract: “This dissertation is a qualitative study of socially engaged spirituality as practiced by spiritually advanced social change agents. The research question was “What is characteristic of social change agents identified as spiritually advanced?” This research came on the heels of the burgeoning movement of socially engaged spirituality and its many applications within an increasingly integral epoch.

As a growing phenomenon, socially engaged spirituality is discussed in lay and scholarly theoretical literature but little studied empirically. While advanced levels of spiritual development are theorized and proven to be beneficial to individuals, the combined study of advanced levels of spiritual development within socially engaged spirituality is evenless studied.

This phenomenon was investigated by conducting multiple case studies of 3 exemplar-networks from Buddhist, Christian, and Native American faith traditions. Two female exemplars and 1 male exemplar participated who ranged in ages from 37 to 79 years old and whooriginated from 3 different nations.

The data collected through in-depth semi-structured interviews, documents, and direct and participant observation were analyzed using a synthesis of case study and constructivist grounded theory. Cross case analysis determined the qualities of the phenomenon of spiritually advanced social change agency.

Results included 3 individual case narratives, a cross case report highlighting the major characteristics of spiritually advanced socialchange agency, and a theoretical model of its emergent dynamic. The findings suggested that spiritually advanced social change agents enabled positive and healthy transformation of self.”



  1. I have to say, the wording is very off putting for a start, and almost unintelligible. I find myself torn by this. On the one hand I very strongly believe that spirituality and spiritual experiences can make for better people. Once you have seen through the veil of pointless human activity you tend to view society with mild amusement. The futility of it all becomes very apparent – we are little more than ants on an anthill with all our ridiculous self serving politics and pointless accumulation of wealth and material goods.

    So I do believe that spiritually “awakened ” people tend to behave in a very different way. Although of course some of us fall back into old ways from times to time and have to keep up a disciplined guard.

    But let us consider for a moment what organised “spirituality” has achieved in the past. In the form of formal, organised religion. The honest answer has to be “not very much”. Even more honestly we would have to conclude that it has not worked and that organised formal religion has ended up being just as corrupt and venal as any other organised collection of people in society.

    It is undoubted that organised religion has engendered social change but it is equally hard to argue that mush of that change has been for the better.

    I think the problem is that “spirituality” is not an activity or state of being suited to group think. Or organisation. Or politicization. True spirituality is a movement of quite, or peace of individuality. It is not an activity like that of the peacock – some sort of mating ritual where people get together to show they are the best and most spiritual and to impose their faux-spirituality on others.

    So yes, Keith, I agree with you. The paper sounds to be absolute nonsense.

    I would feel very definitely about a quiet change in the world where more and more people saw reality as it is. .Where quite one by one “conversion” takes place and such people naturally act in a more enlightened manner.

    But politicized spirituality? Social change agents? The spiritual experience being organised and pursued for some sort of political change?

    No, I do not think so thank you very much. It would inevitable lead to crusade and jihad. To people using such an organisation for their own material ambition. More of the same grim human behavior we have always suffered from.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “Absolute nonsense” about sums it up. One wonders at Academia.edu’s scientific standards. Or is the present bullying trend of youthful university ignorance of scientific empiriscm becoming mainstream?

      Or is this just a failure of Academia.edu’s publishing algorithm?


      Liked by 1 person

    2. The paper fundamentally deals not so much with spiritual, metaphysical or individual cognitive reality as social reality, a phenomenological one created through “shared reality”, social interaction, social change and intergroup cohesiveness, thereby transcending individual motives and actions.


      1. Nothing can lastingly “transcend individual motives and actions”. The word “society” and ignorant words like it describe a spiritual irrelevance that goes to show mankind’s present primitive position in its evolutionary progress..

        Best wishes, Keith.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Thank you Sound Eagle. It’s kind of you to send me a prompt to look at Scriabin. Thank you..I try not to read too much on our subject in case secondhand views colour my experiences, but this is not the first time Scriabin’s name has arisen so I will now take a serious look at him. Thank you again.

            Best wishes, Keith.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Dear Keith,

              Later, if you were to decide to write a specific post regarding your view or take on any aspects of Scriabin after you “take a serious look at him”, please kindly inform me by leaving a comment anywhere on my blog, as I shall definitely like to read the post. Thank you in anticipation.


                1. Scriabin seems to have been impressed by humans — e.g. Plotinus, Blavatski, Gurdieff,. My annual experiences for over 15 years were not inspired by anyhing of this world, nor included anything of this world in them so I doubt Scriabin would speak to my situation.

                  Best wishes, Keith.


                2. Dear Keith,

                  I conducted some detailed research on him in the past, and then came to understand him by categorizing his mysticism in eight characteristics or dimensions. Perhaps I have already revealed too much here, as it is best that you can comfortably take your own time, space and discretion to avoid my colouring your understanding and experiences of Scriabin.


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