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Psychological polarities - "Total Man"

Total Man
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A very comprehensive psychological theory of polarity and symbolism, explaining such polarity in consciousness in terms of the different parts of the brain and nervous system, has been propounded by the English psychologist Stan Gooch, beginning in his book Total Man.


System B
System A
Self
Ego
Unconscious
Conscious
Dream
Waking
Dark
Light
Female
Male
subjective
objective
personal
impersonal
emotion, feeling
thought, thinking
irrational
rational
faith
fact
belief
proof
magic (`illogic')
logic
religion
art
science
involvement
detachment
sexual
asexual
left-wing politics
(Labour, Communism) 
right-wing politics
(Fascism)
 
[from Stan Gooch, Total Man, Abacus, 1972, pp.82-3]

One of the most fascinating things about Gooch's list is his identification of the political spectrum with his polarities.  The left-wing, with it's more "feminine" (nuturing) ideals of compassion and equality, really does belong to the feminine (left-hand) polarity.

Further symbolism is suggested on the following page with the following pairs of archetypes:


System B
System A
night
day
earth
sky
hairy
smooth
sexual
a-sexual
dark
light
devil
angel

Of course it doesnt take much effort to see here the Chinese polar opposites of Yin and Yang!

The B-system can in turn be divided into a "good" or light asexual side and a "bad" or dark sexual sensual side (which brings in religious symbolism as well):



sub-system B2
sub-system B1
bad
good
cruel
kind
black
white
hate
fear
love
aggressive
active
passive
Devil
God
tense
relaxed
cold
warm
rejecting
affectionate
pessimistic
optimistic

Once again, paralells with Yin and Yang (I Ching and Taoism), Shakti and Shiva (Tantra), Gevurah and Hesed (Kabbalah)

Gooch argues that this polarity can be traced back to the structure of the brain and nervous system.  According to him, the brain and central nervous system generates the A polarity, and the Cerebellum (part of the "old brain") and the Autonomous nervous system generates the B-consciousness.






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page by M.Alan Kazlev
photo of Stan Gooch and Total Man cover from Stan Gooch home page, copyright xxxx
page first uploaded 2 November 1999, last modified 7 November 2009