“What you find in nature is what works. It wouldn’t be there if it didn’t. Boundless wisdom awaits.”
Bill Plotkin PhD
In his book Nature and the Human Soul Bill Plotkin writes a groundbreaking blueprint about authentic human development that he calls the Eight Soul-centric/Eco-centric Stages of Human Development. Part psychology, part philosophy, the book is an amazing treatise on the human condition, revealing the healthiest path toward authentic elder-hood and genuine wisdom. Through an eco-centric lens, as opposed to the egocentric one of mass culture, Plotkin reveals an elegant way to individuate the ego and self-actualize the soul through eight amazing stages of life.
The Eco-Soulcentric Developmental Wheel is a model of what the stages of human life look like when we mature in full resonance with both nature (“eco”) and soul — when we are in a continuous process of becoming fully human throughout the lifespan. There are eight life stages on the Wheel, two each of childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and elderhood.
The eco-soulcentric stages contrast with the egocentric stages in which most contemporary people are encumbered. Egocentrism — living as if the ego is the core of our psyche and that it should or can decide what’s most important in life — is a disorder due in part to the loss of effective rites of passage but more generally due to the loss of healthy cultures and the resulting erosion or disappearance of the practices and perspectives that support optimal human development.
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Bill Plotkin, Ph.D., is a depth psychologist, wilderness guide, and agent of cultural evolution. As founder of southwest Colorado’s Animas Valley Institute, he has, since 1980, guided thousands of women and men through nature-based initiatory passages, including a contemporary, Western adaptation of the pan-cultural vision fast. He’s also been a research psychologist (studying nonordinary states of consciousness), professor of psychology, rock musician, and whitewater river guide. In 1979, on a solo winter ascent of an Adirondack mountain, Bill experienced a “call to spiritual adventure,” leading him to abandon academia in search of his true calling.
Bill is the author of Soulcraft: Crossing into the Mysteries of Nature and Psyche (an experiential guidebook), Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World (a nature-based stage model of human development), and Wild Mind: A Field Guide to the Human Psyche (an ecocentric map of the psyche — for healing, growing whole, and cultural transformation). He holds a doctorate in psychology from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
To learn more about Bill Plotkin and the Animas Valley Institute, visit http://www.animas.org.
Ego-centric life and the challenges of modern society
- The Great Turning
- Crisis and Opportunity
- The Wheel of Life
- Summary of Soul-centric/ Eco-centric Development – the stages of eco-centric development
- Becoming Fully Human
- Five Facets of the Wheel
- 1. A map or story of optimal human development
- 2. A Set of Guidelines for Individual Psychological Healing and Wholing
- 3. A Design Tool for Creating Healthy Human Communities and Life-Sustaining Societies
- 4. A Deep Cultural Therapy — A Way to Heal and Transform
- 5. A Portrait of the Emerging Stage of Human Evolution
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