Allan Combs

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Allan Combs (born 1942) is an American psychologist and parapsychologist who attempts to combine his ideas of consciousness and systems theory.

Education and academic career[edit]

Combs attended Ohio University in the early 1960s, first studying physics and then switching to psychology. During these studies, he overcame impediments due to dyslexia, something he later noted would influence his thinking about psychology.[1]: 178 

He then restarted his graduate education in clinical psychology at the University of Georgia, and at the same time started taking courses and doing research on single-cell recordings of neurons, and mathematically modeled their activity on early versions of the computer.[1]: 179  Through this time he was reading Carl Jung, European phenomenology, Eastern spirituality Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, and John C. Lilly; he also participated in gestalt therapy and human potentials workshops.[1]: 179 

After graduating he taught biology and psychology for a year at Earlham College in Indiana, then for about a decade at a small college in Missouri. While he was there he read Charles Tart and was inspired by his application of systems theory to psychology. In the early 1980s he moved to a college in North Carolina.[1]: 180  In the mid-1990s he started corresponding and then collaborating with David Loye,[2] who invited Combs to join a group formed around the ideas of Ervin László.[1]: 183  Reading László furthered his interests in systems and consciousness and he was soon invited to join László's General Evolutionary Research Group. In 1989 Combs learned of the work of Frederick Abraham, who was beginning to meld chaos theory and psychology, and worked with him to found The Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology and the Life Sciences.[1]: 185 [3]

As of 2020 Combs held appointments at the California Institute of Integral Studies,[4] where he built the program in consciousness studies in 2015,[citation needed] and The Graduate Institute in Connecticut.[5] He also was Professor Emeritus at the University of North Carolina-Asheville.[6]

As of 2020 he had authored over 200 articles, chapters, and books on consciousness and the brain.[7] Much of his work has been accomplished in collaboration with colleagues Ervin Laszlo[8][9] and Stanley Krippner.[10][11] He is also known for his collaboration with Ken Wilber.[12][13]

He is the founder, Academic Advisor, and President Emeritus of The Society for Consciousness Studies,[citation needed] co-founder of The Laszlo Institute of New Paradigm Research[14] and a member of the one-hundred member Club of Budapest.[7] He is the Senior Editor of Consciousness: Ideas and Research for the Twenty First Century,[15] co-editor of the Journal of Conscious Evolution,[16] Associate Editor of Dynamical Psychology.[17]

Combs won the National Teaching Award of the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs for 2002/2003 and in the same year held the UNCA Honorary Ruth and Leon Feldman Professorship.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Combs, Allan Leslie (2016). "My Life in Chaos". In Montuori, Alfonso (ed.). Journeys in Complexity: Autobiographical Accounts by Leading Systems and Complexity Thinkers. Routledge. pp. 177ff. ISBN 9781317657248.
  2. ^ Montuori, A.; Combs, A. & Richards, R. (2004). Creativity, consciousness, and the direction of human development. In D. Loye, (Ed.), The great adventure: Toward a human theory of evolution. Albany, New York: SUNY Press.
  3. ^ Abraham, F.D. & Gilgen, A.R. (1995). Chaos theory in psychology. Westporet, CT: Praeger.
  4. ^ a b "Faculty and Staff Directory". California Institute of Integral Studies. 2017.
  5. ^ "Faculty". Consciousness Studies/ Transpersonal Psychology/ Master's Degree.
  6. ^ 2017 University of North Carolina at Asheville. "Faculty". University of North Carolina - Asheville.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ a b Campaign for Open Sciences. "Open Sciences - Allan Combs". Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  8. ^ Laszlo, E.; Artigiani, R. & Csányi, V. (1996). Combs, A. (ed.). Changing visions: Human cognitive maps, past, present and future. London: Adamantine Press; Westport, CT: Praeger.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  9. ^ Laszlo, E. & Combs, A. (2011). Dreamer of the Earth: The Relevance of Thomas Berry, prophetic visionary (1914-2009). Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions.
  10. ^ Krippner, S. & Combs, A. (2007). Chaos, complexity, and the self-organizing brain. In R. Kay and K.A. Richardson (Eds.), Building and sustaining resilience in complex organizations: Pre-proceedings of the 1st international workshop on complexity and organizational resilience first international workshop on complexity and organizational resilience. Mansfield, MA: ISCE Publishing.
  11. ^ Krippner, S. & Combs, A. (2002). "A systems approach to self-organization in the dreaming brain". Kybernetes. 21: 399–412.
  12. ^ Combs, Allan (1995). The Radiance of being: Complexity, chaos, and the evolution of consciousness. (Winner of the Scientific and Medical Network book of the year award.). Edinburgh: Floris Books; 1996, St Paul, MN: Paragon House. p. 153. ISBN 9781557787552.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  13. ^ Wilber, K. (2016). Integral Spirituality. Boston, MA: Shambhala.
  14. ^ The Laszlo Institute of New Paradigm Research Website Admin (2017). "Allan Combs". The Laszlo Institute of New Paradigm Research.
  15. ^ University of Arizona, Center for Consciousness Studies (2017). "The Science of Consciousness Conference". University of Arizona.
  16. ^ Saiter, Combs (2017). "Journal of Conscious Evolution". Journal of Conscious Evolution - A Journal of Transdisciplinary Scholarship. Archived from the original on 2017-07-20.
  17. ^ Hakim, Syahir (2017). "Dynamical Psychology - Editorial Board". Dynamical Psychology.

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