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Stan Gooch

Psychological polarities, the double, and the Neanderthal Question

Cover of Link to Amazon com The Dream Culture of the Neanderthals (originally published in 1980 as Guardians of the Ancient Wisdom). I love this evocative image, which extends the sense of ancient shamanistic and magical consciousness portrayed by megalithic Stonehenge back to the Palaeos com Pleistocene Neanderthal. Regardless of what one may feel about the details of Gooch's theory (and like every other grand synthesiser his work open to criticism) I think his contrast between the rational, solar, consciousness and the lunar, intuitive, magical consciousness is a valid one.

Stan Gooch is an original universalist thinker who developed a theory of polarities that greatly fascinated me during my days at La Trobe University, when I read and was strongly influenced by what I still consider the best of of his books, his first one, Total Man.  His follow ups Personality and evolution : the biology of the divided self, and The double helix of the mind were along the same theme but nothing original that was not in Total Man (apart from his criticism of Roger Sperry's Right - Left brain theory).  Then he got into things like the paranormal and anomalies (The Paranormal, and Link to Amazon com Creatures from Inner Space - such phenomena pertaining to the or "system B"/"Self" consciousness ), and the Neanderthal question (arguing that Neanderthals represent the feminine or "system B" consciousness), which again is introduced in Total Man.  While these works did not influence me nearly as much as his original basic hypothesis regarding structure of the brain and nervous system, Colin Wilson speaks very highly of this work. Basically, it seems that he independently developed a theory of "the double" very similar to the one developed by my friend Steven Guth during the 1990s. The difference is that for Stan Gooch the polarity is between light and conscious ego and dark, instinctual and lunar Self; for Steven it is between lower Id-like doppleganger and a tarnscendent Higher Self. One might also add here the idea of the dualistic consciousness as Ego-Shadow with the "system B"/"Self"/"Neanderthal" as the Other, as well as the contrast between two evolutionary strata, the archaic mythic-magical and more recent rational-logical consciousness.

(arranged in order from most basic introductory to a little more advanced)
Stan Gooch - Wikipedia page, reproduced here
Total Man - Stan Gooch's theory of polarities - overview and a few comments
The achievements of Stan Gooch, good overvview by Colin Wilson
external link The Way We Are - short essay by Stan Gooch (external link)

Web links Links Web links

Web Site Stan Gooch home page

Web page  Stan Gooch myspace page

Web Site Stan Gooch, Acclaimed Author - website by Brent Logan, includes Book descriptions and reviews. Also An appeal for help regarding Stan Gooch's situation

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page by M.Alan Kazlev
page first uploaded 2 November 1999, last modified 7 November 2009