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Liminality

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Forest, Mar 29, 2014.

  1. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi everyone.

    During the recent call-in event with Steve Ozanich, the topic of liminality came up. Coincidentally, it also came up in today's drop-in chat, and people seemed interested in it, so I thought I would do some research.

    Basically, Liminality means that you are at the threshold of something new, but you aren't quite there yet. Instead, you are in a "null-space," a special state in between the new state and the old state.

    The term originally came from anthropology, where it was used to describe rituals in tribal cultures. For example, adolescents might go through a rite of passage or ritual in which they transition from being viewed as a child to being viewed as an adult. Before the ritual they are children and after the ritual they are adults. But what are they during the ritual. During the the ritual, some anthropologists argue that they are neither children nor adults. Rather, they are in a special, liminal space of transition.

    We can see the same thing in TMS healing. Before we understand TMS, our life is one way. After we are healed, it is another. But how about while we are healing? This is a period of real upheaval that is wonderfully transformative, but can also be scary. It is a time when peer support and connecting with others is especially important, to provide us some stability while so much is unfamiliar and changing.

    Likewise, sometimes liminality can be what causes TMS. As we go through transitions, there can be a strong sense of disorientation and anomie (a weakening of social bonds and structure). This can cause a great deal of distress (dis=bad stress) and is a good example of the existential anxiety caused by freedom (for those who are keeping up with Dr. Zafirides' existential approach).

    With that background, here are some quotes from Wikipedia's article on Liminality:
    It says the following about Arnold van Gennep on liminality:
    The Wikipedia article also review's Victor Turner's contributions, which I find to be a bit technical, so I won't excerpt it. However, I thought it was interesting that it mentioned that "However, liminal situations can be, and in actual fact in modern era, rather quite different: periods of uncertainly, anguish, even existential fear: a facing of the abyss in void." Certainly, we see this on the forums among some people who are going through TMS healing! Managing this fear is, of course, an important thing that we can assist each other in doing.

    The Wikipedia article has a terrific list of examples of liminal spaces as well. It includes everything from puberty (between childhood and adulthood) to sudden events like divorce, family deaths, or illness (like TMS). For a society, it includes wars and other national tragedies like 9/11. You can see the whole list here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liminality#Types

    One final section that I thought was particularly interesting was one on the sense of community that can develop during liminal times. Distinctions that separate people can break down, allowing people from all walks of life to connect. This seems like a wonderful thing, and we definitely see it here at the wiki:
    In terms of applying this concept to TMS, Steve Ozanich was the first person to discuss the term in a TMS book, so it seems only fair to use his words to draw that connection. On pages 328-329 of The Great Pain Deception, he writes,
    He has an additional paragraph on the subject, but while I think it is good stuff, I won't quote it, in order to avoid pressing the boundaries of the "fair use" doctrine and irritating a valued member of this forum. :)

    Anyway I hope you all find it interesting. Good luck in your travels through your own personal liminal spaces!
     
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  2. njoy

    njoy aka Bugsy

    Fascinating, Forest. I remember Steve's: "Pain tells us that we are on the verge of change—coming face to face with what we know to be true deep within, yet won’t admit to. Faith is then necessary to move forward when the other side can’t be seen—and isn’t fully known." but didn't know much about liminality. In the wikipedia article there is quite a bit about the dangers of the "trickster" archetype. My understanding of how the trickster is viewed North American native cultures is more positive. Because he is always an outsider, he may see what we can't see which can help us to access new possibilities in the liminal situation. The downside being that we may mistake him for a real leader to help us through. That, he is not.
     
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  3. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    WOW, that's a lot of research Forest! I was an anthro major way back, Mazlow, Boaz, Margaret Mead and all that. I'll read it later when the Margarita's wear off, had a minor rite of passage myself this afternoon at ye' ol' club bar.
     
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