Celia Green

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Celia Elizabeth Green (born 26 November 1935) is a British writer on philosophical skepticism and psychology.

Biography[edit]

Green's parents were both primary school teachers, who together authored a series of geography textbooks which became known as The Green Geographies.[1]

She was educated first at the Ursuline Convent in Ilford, and later at the Woodford High School for Girls, a state school. In a book, Letters from Exile,[2] she compared these two schools and made conclusions that preferred parentally financed to state education. She won the Senior Open Scholarship to Somerville College, Oxford aged 17.

In 1960 she was awarded a B.Litt. degree from Oxford University's faculty of Literae Humaniores (Philosophy), for a thesis, supervised by H. H. Price, entitled An Enquiry into Some States of Consciousness and their Physiological Foundation.[3] From 1957 to 1960, Green held the post of Research Officer at the Society for Psychical Research in London.[4]

In 1961, Green founded and became the Director of the Institute of Psychophysical Research. The Institute's areas of interest were initially listed as philosophy, psychology, theoretical physics, and ESP.[5] However, its principal work during the sixties and seventies concerned hallucinations and other quasi-perceptual experiences in normal subjects. Its main benefactor, from 1963 to 1970, was Cecil Harmsworth King, then Chairman of the IPC group, which owned the Daily Mirror.

In 1996 Green was awarded a DPhil degree by the Oxford faculty of Literae Humaniores for a thesis on causation and the mind-body problem.[6] Green is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Department of Philosophy, University of Liverpool.[7]

Work[edit]

Green's basic philosophical position is radical scepticism, based on a perception of what she calls 'the total uncertainty'.[8] This perception leads her to agnostic positions, not just on traditional philosophical issues such as the nature of physical causation,[9] but also on current social arrangements, such as state education and the monopolistic power of the medical profession.[10]

There are also strong hereditarian and anti-feminist elements in her thinking.

Green has interest in the concepts of royalty and aristocracy.[11] Green developed a concept of 'centralisation', which is far removed from the 'Californian' concept of 'centredness', and has more to do with a heroic reaction to the perception that the human condition is intolerable, and that single-mindedness and urgency are the only appropriate responses.

Green endorses libertarianism. A pamphlet written by Green on education was published in the 1990s by the Libertarian Alliance.[12]

Green's philosophical book The Human Evasion has been translated into Dutch,[13] German,[14] Italian,[15] and Russian.[16] It is a critical analysis of twentieth century thinkers, from Wittgenstein to Tillich.

Ethics[edit]

Green proposed a distinction between tribal and territorial morality.[17] Tribal morality is prescriptive, contingent, culturally determined, and 'flexible', imposing the norms of a group on the individual. Whereas territorial morality attempts to set up rigid, universal, abstract principles (such as Kant's categorical imperative). Green links the rise of territorial morality to the development of the concept of private property, and eventually of market capitalism, including the primacy of contract over status.

Empirical research[edit]

Green's empirical work, some of it undertaken in collaboration with an Oxford psychologist, Charles McCreery, has focussed mainly on hallucinatory experiences in ostensibly normal people.

In 1968 Green published Lucid Dreams,[18] a study of dreams in which the subject is aware that he or she is asleep and dreaming. The possibility of conscious insight during dreams had previously been treated with scepticism by some philosophers[19] and psychologists.[20] However, Green collated both previously published first-hand accounts and the results of longitudinal studies of four subjects of her own. She predicted that lucid dreams would be found to be correlated with the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep, a prediction which was subsequently confirmed by experiment.[21][22][23]

In 1968 Green published an analysis of 400 first-hand accounts of out-of-body experiences.[24] In 1975 Green and McCreery published a similar taxonomy of 'apparitions', or hallucinations in which the viewpoint of the subject was not ostensibly displaced, based on a collection of 1500 first-hand accounts.[25]

Green has put forward the idea that lucid dreams, out-of-body experiences and apparitional experiences have something in common, namely that in all three types of case the subject's field of perception is entirely replaced by a hallucinatory one. In the first two types of case she considers this self-evident from the nature of the experience, but in the case of apparitional experiences in the waking state the idea is far from obvious. The hypothesis, and the evidence and arguments for it, were first put forward in her book Apparitions, and later developed in her book Lucid Dreaming, the Paradox of Consciousness during Sleep,[26] both of which she co-authored with McCreery.

Aphorisms[edit]

Her aphorisms have been published in The Decline and Fall of Science[27] and Advice to Clever Children.[28] Ten are included in the Penguin Dictionary of Epigrams,[29] and three in the Penguin Dictionary of Modern Quotations.[30]

Bibliography[edit]

Books

  • Lucid Dreams (1968) London: Hamish Hamilton. Reissued 1977, Oxford : Institute of Psychophysical Research .
  • Out-of-the-body Experiences (1968) London: Hamish Hamilton. Reissued 1977, Oxford : Institute of Psychophysical Research.
  • The Human Evasion (1969) London: Hamish Hamilton. Reissued 1977, Oxford: Institute of Psychophysical Research .
  • The Decline and Fall of Science (1976) London: Hamish Hamilton. Reissued 1977, Oxford: Institute of Psychophysical Research .
  • Advice to Clever Children (1981) Oxford : Institute of Psychophysical Research.
  • The Lost Cause: Causation and the Mind-Body Problem (2003) Oxford: Oxford Forum.
  • Letters from Exile: Observations on a Culture in Decline (2004) Oxford: Oxford Forum.

with Charles McCreery:

  • Apparitions (1975) London: Hamish Hamilton.
  • Lucid Dreaming: The Paradox of Consciousness During Sleep (1994) London: Routledge.

Selected papers

  • 'Waking dreams and other metachoric experiences', Psychiatric Journal of the University of Ottawa, 15, 1990, pp. 123–128.
  • 'Are mental events preceded by their physical causes?' (with Grant Gillett), Philosophical Psychology, 8, 1995, pp. 333–340.
  • 'Freedom and the exceptional child', Educational Notes, No. 26, Libertarian Alliance, 1993. Available as an Online PDF
  • 'Hindrances to the progress of medical and scientific research', in Medical Science and the Advancement of World Health, ed. R. Lanza, Praeger, New York, 1985.

Translations

  • René Sudre. Traité de Parapsychologie, published as Treatise on Parapsychology (1960)[31]

CDs[edit]

In 1995 the CD titled Lucid Dreams 0096,[32] narrated by Green for the label Em:t was released. Earlier Green had contributed a nine-minute track to a compilation CD put out by the same recording label.[33] The track was entitled 'In the Extreme' and consisted of readings by the author from her books, The Human Evasion, and Advice to Clever Children.

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ The Oxford Times, 8 September 1989, Obituary: Mr William Green, Headmaster and author.
  2. ^ Green, C., Letters from Exile, Observations on a Culture in Decline. Oxford: Oxford Forum, 2004.
  3. ^ Green, C., An Enquiry into Some States of Consciousness and their Physiological Foundation, B. Litt thesis, University of Oxford, 1960.
  4. ^ Renée Haynes, The Society for Psychical Research 1882-1982, London: McDonald, 1982, p.52.
  5. ^ The Psychophysical Research Unit, Oxford: undated pamphlet of 3 pages, in circulation ca 1962-1965
  6. ^ Green, C., Causation and the Mind-Body Problem, D. Phil thesis, University of Oxford, 1996.
  7. ^ Staff page[permanent dead link] of the Department of Philosophy, Liverpool University.
  8. ^ Green, C., The Human Evasion. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1969, p.12.
  9. ^ Green, C., The Lost Cause, Causation and the Mind-Body Problem. Oxford: Oxford Forum, 2003.
  10. ^ Green, C., Letters from Exile, Observations on a Culture in Decline. Oxford: Oxford Forum, 2004, passim.
  11. ^ Cf.Green, C., Advice to Clever Children. Oxford: Institute of Psychophysical Research, 1981, Ch.29.
  12. ^ Green, C.,'Freedom and the exceptional child', Educational Notes, No. 26, Libertarian Alliance, 1993.
  13. ^ Green, C., Vlucht en de Medemens. Meppel: Boom. 1970.
  14. ^ Green, C., Die Flucht ins Humane. Stuttgart: Ernst Klett Verlag. 1974.
  15. ^ Green, C., L'Evasione dell' Umanita. Roma: Ubaldini Editore. 1970.
  16. ^ The Human Evasion Человеческое Уклонение» Силия Грин.
  17. ^ Green, C., Letters from Exile, Observations on a Culture in Decline. Oxford: Oxford Forum, 2004, pp. 3–51.
  18. ^ Green, C., Lucid Dreams, London: Hamish Hamilton, 1968.
  19. ^ Cf. Malcolm, N., Dreaming. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1959, pp.48–50.
  20. ^ See, e.g., Hartmann, E., 'Dreams and other hallucinations: an approach to the underlying mechanism,' in Siegal, R.K. and West, L.J., eds., Hallucinations. New York: Wiley, 1975.
  21. ^ Laberge, S., Nagel, L., Taylor, W., Dement, W.C. & Narcone, V. (1981): 'Psychophysiological correlates of the initiation of lucid dreaming.' Sleep Research, 10, 149.
  22. ^ Ogilvie, R., Hunt, H., Kushniruk, A. & Newman, J. (1983): 'Lucid dreams and the arousal continuum.' Sleep Research, 12, 182.
  23. ^ Fenwick, P., Schatzmann, M., Worsley, A., Adams, J., Stone, S., & Backer, A., (1984): 'Lucid dreaming: correspondence between dreamed and actual events in one subject during REM sleep.' Biological Psychology, 18, 243–252.
  24. ^ Green, C., Out-of-the-body Experiences, London: Hamish Hamilton, 1968.
  25. ^ Green, C., and McCreery, C., Apparitions, London: Hamish Hamilton, 1975.
  26. ^ Green, C., and McCreery, C., Lucid Dreaming, the Paradox of Consciousness during Sleep, London: Routledge, 1994.
  27. ^ Cf. Green, C., The Decline and Fall of Science. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1976.
  28. ^ Cf. Green, C., Advice to Clever Children. Oxford: Institute of Psychophysical Research, 1981.
  29. ^ M.J. Cohen, ed., The Penguin Dictionary of Epigrams, London: Penguin Books, 2001.
  30. ^ J.M. and M.J. Cohen, eds., The Penguin Dictionary of Modern Quotations, London: Penguin Books, 2nd edition 1980.
  31. ^ Celia Elizabeth Green. Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  32. ^ Lucid Dreams 0096. Nottingham: Em:t, 1995. 5025989 960027.
  33. ^ Em:t 2295. Nottingham: Em:t, 1995. 5025989 229520.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]