"This is truly a major contribution—brilliant, beguiling, and as broad in concept as it is deep." — Jean Houston, PhD, author of The Possible Human Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D., an award-winning educator and expert on human development, offers a cross-cultural view of life's entire journey, from before birth to death to the possibilities of an afterlife. Dr. Armstrong cites both clinical research and anecdotal evidence in a comprehensive view of the challenges and opportunities we face at every stage of our development. His accessible narrative incorporates elements of history, literature, psychology, spirituality, and science in a fascinating guide to understanding our past as well as our future. "I loved the tone, the pacing, the sense of audience, and especially the richness of the associations . . . It's a book that one would like to keep around — a guidebook even." — John Kotre Ph.D., co-author of Seasons of Life: The Dramatic Journey from Birth to Death "The Human Odyssey is superb, magnificent, astonishing, unique, engrossing, eminently readable, informative, enjoyable, entertaining, profound. What else? I could go on. I hadn't expected anything like so remarkable a book." — Joseph Chilton Pearce, author of The Crack in the Cosmic Egg and Magical Child "I have read through The Human Odyssey. It is in many ways impressive. I also think that it has great commercial potential. Many people will find attractive your dual focus on the scientific and the soul/spiritual dimensions." — Howard Gardner, Ph.D., The John H. and Elizabeth A. Hobbs Professor in Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, author of Frames of Mind "I extend my congratulations to you for this monumental undertaking and wish you the very best for your impressive efforts." — Marian Diamond, Ph.D. Professor, Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley; co-author of Magic Trees of the Mind; pioneer researcher into the effect of the environment on brain development; dissected Einstein's brain "I very much enjoyed The Human Odyssey. Your breadth of sources is remarkable, and you have put them all together in a smooth and integrative way. I think it will be informative for people, and also inspiring for them to make their stages of life more meaningful. Overall, this is an impressive tour de force." — Arthur Hastings, Ph.D., Professor and Director, William James Center for Consciousness Studies, Institute of Transpersonal Psychology; Past President, Association of Transpersonal Psychology "Extraordinary. I hope that it is read by many people." — Laura Huxley, widow of Aldous Huxley, founder of Children: Our Ultimate Investment, and author of This Timeless Moment, and The Child of Your Dreams "A wonderful and encyclopedic summary of human development." — Allan B. Chinen, M.D., Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco; author of Once Upon a Mid-Life: Classic Stories and Mythic Tales to Illuminate the Middle Years and In the Ever After: Fairy Tales and the Second Half of Life "Absolutely remarkable. The Human Odyssey is written with lively scholarship and contains great depth and breadth, a wide range of fascinating materials, and many useful resources. It's a kind of 'everything book.'" — George Leonard, "the granddaddy of the consciousness movement" (Newsweek) and author of The Transformation and The Ultimate Athlete "The Human Odyssey provides readers with a fresh approach to developmental psychology. Dr. Armstrong has included a spiritual dimension of human growth that is lacking from most accounts but which is essential for a complete understanding of the human condition. It is a splendid, brilliant work." — Stanley Krippner, Ph.D., former president of the Association for Humanistic Psychology, author of Personal Mythology: The Psychology of Your Evolving Self, and co-editor of The Psychological Impact of War Trauma on Civilians: An International Perspective "An integral approach to human development, from birth to death, that provides practical information for all who see spirit interpenetrating all of life." — Michael Murphy, co-founder of the Esalen Institute and author of The Future of the Body, The Life We Are Given, and God and the Evolving Universe "This is a thoroughly researched and beautifully written account of the story of human development. Drawing on the most recent scientific studies, as well as literature and films, mythology and major spiritual traditions, Armstrong shows the way to a truly integrated understanding of the complexities of the human life cycle." — Ralph Metzner, Ph.D., author of Maps of Consciousness and The Unfolding Self, co-author (with Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert) of The Psychedelic Experience, which was the inspiration for the Beatles' song "Tomorrow Never Knows" "I loved this book. What a vast terrain it covers! I enjoyed the way it wove into each developmental stage a rich array of materials from Greek myths, Martin Buber, psychology, rituals, spirituality, and so many wonderful stories. As people read this book, they will be much more aware of the different stages of life and how they impact all of us personally and collectively." — Barbara Findeisen, President, The Association for Pre- & Perinatal Psychology and Health and creator of the documentary film, The Journey to Be Born, featured on Oprah - "I'm awestruck! This looks like the most important book of the century." — Jan Hunt, author of The Natural Child: Parenting from the Heart; member of the board of directors of the Canadian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children "The Human Odyssey is just that: a tour de force by one of the leading experts in whole person development. I've never before seen such a comprehensive and readable work on the many stages that we humans go through on our journey through this life." — John W. Travis, M.D., founder of the first wellness center in the United States in 1975, co-author of Wellness Workbook, and co-founder of Alliance for Transforming the Lives of Children. - "Thomas Armstrong's The Human Odyssey is an extraordinary book; an intellectual feast. Armstrong has amassed and integrated an amazing amount of information from developmental and transpersonal psychology, modern consciousness research, biology, anthropology, mythology, and art, and created an extraordinary guide through all the stages of the adventure of human life. While the rich content of this book will impress professional audiences, it's clear and easy style makes it quite accessible to the general public." — Stanislav Grof, M.D., former Chief of Psychiatric Research, Maryland Psychiatric Research Center; author of Realms of the Human Unconscious, Beyond the Brain: Birth, Death, and Transcendence in Psychotherapy and Adventures in Self-Discovery "Thomas Armstrong has written a brilliant, caring and beautiful book on the human lifecycle. Such an all-inclusive book is rare and adds a sense of the wholeness of life, into and beyond death, in the mere reading of it." — Stuart Sovatsky, Ph.D., author of Words From the Soul, Your Perfect Lips and Eros, Consciousness and Kundalini, and co-President of the Association of Transpersonal Psychology. "I cannot imagine anyone who will not benefit from this wise, beautifully written description of life's journey. If you are looking for encouragement, understanding, and strength, this is your book." — Larry Dossey, M.D., author of The Extraordinary Power of Ordinary Things and Healing Words "A beautiful compilation of world wisdom. Well written and inspiring." — James Fadiman, Ph.D., co-Founder, Institute for Transpersonal Psychology and author of The Other Side of Haight "Armstrong synthesizes an enormous amount of material from many fields and wisdom traditions to create a book that is fresh, provocative, and important. His holistic approach presents us with the largest possible map as we navigate across our own lives. Bravo, captain." — Mary Pipher, author of Writing to Change the World and Reviving Ophelia "Thomas Armstrong is an original thinker whose perceptions broaden our understanding of children, education and society. In The Human Odyssey, Armstrong provides a comprehensive framework for human development with characteristic depth and optimism." — Peggy O'Mara, Editor and Publisher of Mothering Magazine "This is truly a major contribution — brilliant, beguiling, and as broad in concept as it is deep." — Jean Houston, Ph.D. author of The Possible Human
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About the Author
Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D., is the author of 13 books that have garnered numerous awards and been translated into 20 languages, including the bestselling The Myth of the ADHD Child. He has appeared on national TV shows, and his articles have been featured in many popular and professional publications around the world. His website is www.institute4learning.com.
Table of Contents
Contents Preface Acknowledgments Introduction Starting Your Incredible Odyssey Chapter 1 Prebirth: The Undiscovered Continent Chapter 2 Birth: Through the Tunnel Chapter 3 Infancy: Legends of the Fall Chapter 4 Early Childhood: The Magical Mystery Years Chapter 5 Middle Childhood: Entering the Civilized World Chapter 6 Late Childhood: Becoming a Part of the Crowd Chapter 7 Adolescence: Adventures in the Twilight Zone Chapter 8 Early Adulthood: Building an Independent Life Chapter 9 Midlife: Through Muddy Waters Chapter 10 Mature Adulthood: Scaling the Peaks Chapter 11 Late Adulthood: Approaching the Horizon Chapter 12 Death and Dying: Crossing the Bridge Chapter 13 Beyond Death: Travel to the Other Lands Conclusion Planting Your Oar in the Sand Appendix A Appendix B Appendix C Notes Permissions Index