This new edition is a thorough revision of the first edition. Drawing on both psychoanalysis and analytical psychology and on both Eastern and Western spiritual sources, the book maps the course of human development from the earliest stages of ego development to the highest stages of ego transcendence. Washburn formulates an important paradigm for transpersonal psychology and clearly distinguishes it from the other major paradigm in the field, the structural-hierarchical paradigm of Ken Wilber.
In Washburn's view, human development is a spiral movement played out between the ego and its ultimate source: the Dynamic Ground. Ego development in the first half of life moves in a direction away from the Dynamic Ground; ego transcendence in the second half of life spirals back to the Ground on the way to a higher union with the Ground--whole-psyche integration.
Washburn's spiral paradigm helps explain why human development has the character of a journey of departure and higher return, of setting out into the world and then finding one's way "home."
This new edition more effectively integrates key psychoanalytic and Jungian ideas by placing them within a developmental framework that resolves their contradictions. Washburn's paradigm stresses both the biological roots and the spiritual potentialities of the psyche and is sensitive to the ambivalences, dualisms, transvaluations, and higher syntheses of life.