For the past two semesters at Colorado Mountain College I have been studying Arthur Young’s ideas from his book ‘The Reflexive Universe. My instructor, Dr. Bob Whitehouse in his course “Exploring Human Potential” challenged us to compare different evolutionary thinkers with Young, and I chose as my term paper to relate Dr. Rolf’s work to Arthur Youngs. In the following summary I offer to the membership of the Rolf Institute a glimpse of what is to come when Arthur Young speaks to us at the August annual meeting.
Young’s new paradigm is still in the stages of unfolding and seeking wide range acceptance among physicists and scholars. The applications are written but there is not a tangeable practice that has emerged within his lifetime. Dr Rolf, in contrast, developed and refined and taught her method of structural intecgration during her lifetime and the theoretical base is still being explored. Peter Melchior describes us as ?a school of inquiry into unanswered questions regarding the nature of human life on earth. We are finding out what a body is.?
Arthur Young has discovered an underlying pattern in the universe and in evolution. He is attempting with his theories to shift the old paradgm (world view) of Cartesian and Newtonian physics (reduction of matter into its smallest components) to a breakthrough vision appropriate to the new age. This expansive view incorporates the pro¬jective aspects of the universe i.e. purpose, goals, values and motiv¬ation. To arrive at this understanding, Young has gathered the find¬ings of modern science with the teachings of ancient wisdom.
Going beyond where reductionist physics leaves off, Young maintains that light photons (the quantum of action) is the fundamental unit of the universe. His writings and teachings about the “theory of process” is a multi-level description of how the universe works. According to his theory the universe was put into motion by PURPOSE and is guided toward a forseeable GOAL. Process has a DIRECTION; it builds on itself. It uses a MEANS and to be effective it must be DETERMINATE.
His student John Saloma states in his “White Paper” that “teleological purpose created and uses a 4-fold structure of the universe to generate a 7-Stage Arc Like Process which served as the under¬pinnings for all off evolution. The universe is a process that generates MEANS (a fall or involution into matter) to achieve its GOAL. (God seeking to realize Himself).
At the 4th stage (solid material body, determined life) living matter having been created, makes a right angle turn or reawakening. This turning point in the arc is necessary and requires conscious control in order to make its re-turn or evolution from matter back home to spitit. The right (evolutional) side of the ARC mirrors the left (involutional) side but is experienced with the awakened level of consciousness gained at the TURN.
Mankind in general is at level IV consciousness, identified with the material world as primary reality. As we enter the age of enlighenment more people are accomplishing the Turn toward further evolution. A few individuals including Rolf and Young are contribut¬ing Level V awareness (creative genius) with methods for following them. Young refers to “the need to throw off compulsive embodiment, to disconnect from specific function, to become universal, a total being is the role of man. The challenge is to achieve self-control, to attain the responsibility for stewardship over life on earth. The dominion kingdom (Level VII) has as its ultimate goal the evolution of unlimited being, ultimately of God.”
Shifting the focus to Dr. Ida Rolf’s work, let us look at how her system fits with Young’s theory of process. Dr. Rolf’s life’s PURPOSE was restoring order to random bodies. The MEANS is by a manual manipulation of the fascial network of the body. The DIRECTION she takes disorganized structures is toward symmetry and bal¬ance around a vertical line. It is DETERMINED by the pattern of ideally efficient anatomy. Rolfers have a FORM – a series of sessions to achieve their DETERMINATE GOAL. Dr Rolf seems to be describing the conditions necessary for the TURN at Level IV when she says: “True verticality, the goal of Structural Integration, is indeed very real; it is a functional phenomenon, a line aroung which the body’s energy force fields balance. These energy forces…manifest in real myofascial material structures. Through its vertical stance the organism is no longer earth-bound; the vertical expresses an energy relation between earth and sun. Whenever life differentiates toward a greater, more complex degree of order, the upward thrust becomes more apparent and more significant.”
Newtonian physics describes evolution as proceeding along a horizontal axis: START > FINISH.
Rolf elevated the line to a vertical axis reaching from earth to heaven through the structure of the biped man.
If we cross these lines we get what anatomists refer to as a cross section through a solid body (Young’s level IV). The 90 degree angle represents the TURN at level IV. Interestingly, in astrology this is also the symbol for the earth.
To illustrate the similarities between Rolf and Young I have taken the first 7 sessions of Rolfing and graphed them on Young?s Arc of Process. The symbols on his model represent units from single light photon to the multidimensional possible human.
Another way of looking at the two theories is to super¬impose Rolfers’ program on Young?s 7 Stage foremat as follows:
I. “The Universe (body) is a process, put in motion by purpose.” (goal of verticality and integration)
II. The development of process occurs in stages. (growth and aging)
III. There are 7 stages. (Rolfing uses 7 to open body parts, 3 to integrate into a functional whole)
IV. Each stage develops a new power. (Each session sets the body up to receive the next).
V. Powers are cumulative; each one returns the powers developed in previous stages. (fascial manipulation surface to deep, too to bottom, front to back)
VI. Powers are evolved sequentially in what are called kingdoms. (spinal chakras / energy centers)
VII. Arc of Process: The early stages of Process (sessions 1 – 7) take on increasing constraint (focus on areas) until it becomes maximal (depth levels of organization) at which point there is a turn (session 7). The later stages of process (sessions 8 – 10 see the conquest of constraint and development of freedom. (move to appendages, surface, broader sheaths, integration).
Rolfing instructor Emmett Hutchins gave the following explana¬tion in a 6-Day intensive and graphed Rolfing sessions with Young’s model. “The goals of the first seven hours are to establish the core unencumbered by the appendages and extrinsics. At #10 we have established an open channel and unobstructed movement. The 10th session stabilizes a condition and gives maximum options for a person to evolve. We build a structure in #9 and #10 that introduces to the Self its responsibilities for what must be done at Home.”
Without having been aware of Dr. Rolf work until recently, Arthur Young expressed a concern which is being answered by Dr. Rolf’s vision for the future of humanity. He says:
“The most comprehensive shortcoming of the current theory of evolution is that it does not account for jumps to a higher level of organization.”
Toward the end of her life and teaching Dr. Rolf leaves us with the following responsibility to carry on her work:
“The appropriate integration of the bodies of man in the gravity field is a long-term evolutionary project. It is possible that we are seeing the first conscious attempt at evolution that any species has ever evidenced.”
I invite any Rolfers who have read Young’s books or articles or who have had questions stimulated by this summary to bring your thoughts to the seminar being given by Arthur Young at our annual meeting. My hope is that I have done justice to these two master teachers in attempting to summarize the depth and breadth of their philosophies in this short paper. There is much more to discover.
Dia Lynn Weidner
NOTE: Arthur Young is the keynote speaker at our Annual MeetingRolfing Structural Integration