Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Recreating a Realistic Lifestage

The book we are discussing -- the Pocket Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology -- although suitable for lay readers, is not plagued by the usual agenda-driven PC activism masquerading as psychology. I would dock the author a few points for excessive use of liberal dog whistles such as empowerment, honor, impactful, and healing the planet, but overall it's an excellent summary of what I would consider to be the state of the art of what science can say about the art of human development.

In other words, back off man, he's a psychiatrist.

The book is interdisciplinary, but only up to a point. For example, these ideas are metapsychological but not metaphysical, so no consideration is given to the wider context in which the mind is situated.

Rather, the cosmos is assumed, as if just any cosmic conditions could give rise to something as strange as persons. I would say that Siegel stays within the boundaries of science, but that in so doing, greatly expands those boundaries by including the subject in an irreducible way. I mean, we've been doing the same thing for years, but we are obviously not sanctioned by the Conspiracy.

As alluded to a few days ago, while I have some issues with the field of IPNB, these are going to inevitable, if only because of the limitations of the scientific perspective. While Siegel does actually venture into quasi-religious territory, as a scientist he can only do so in a generic manner that is compatible with such mindfulness practices as Buddhism, yoga, centering prayer, etc., each of which has a real and measurable effect on the brain. He can't deal with such realities as grace, prayer, sin, rebirth, etc.

Which is fine. IPNB is about as interdisciplinary as one can get and still dwell among the tenured. A Raccoon is not dragged down by such terrestrial considerations, by virtue of his multi-undisciplinary orthoparadoxy.

For example, read the following, and I'll bet you're thinking what I'm thinking. The triad of mind, brain, and relationships composes "one reality with three independent facets."

As the council of Nicea Siegel describes it, "This is not splitting the three aspects." Rather, they "are three aspects of one reality.... With this view, we have one reality with three facets -- not three distinct domains of separate realities."

Siegel is speaking of science, not theology. However, the Raccoon would like to know what kind of cosmos this must be in order for such an irreducibly trinitarian science to exist.

In any event, within this interpersonal trinity it is as if there are arrows of influence in all directions, such that "the mind is influenced by both relationships and the brain; relationships are influenced by both the mind and brain; the brain is influenced by both mind and relationships." From the IPNB point of view, "this triangle embraces our ground of being."

To which we naturally want to ask, "what came before that?," or "What is beneath that ground?" Which is like asking a physicist, "What came before the big bang?" The physicist cannot answer the question, not because there is no answer, but because his model cannot venture beyond its own horizon. Which is entirely appropriate. We are not the village atheist. We do not demand that science be religion, or that stones turn to bread.

Now, if man is an image of the ultimate reality, and vice versa, we would have to conclude that the Absolute is similarly a kind of dynamic process of one-in-threeness. Or, it is oneness with interior relations.

Don't worry, we haven't forgotten about music. If we were playing the Glass Bead Game, we might ask the question: what does all of this say about music? Or, how does the reality of music relate to interpersonal triobiology?

Zuckerkandl provides a clue in the form of another question: "If music does not belong in the external world, which physics investigates, nor yet in the inner world, which is the subject matter of psychology, where does it belong?"

Referring back to our interpersonal neurobiological trinity, I would say that it must belong to the same space in which relationship occurs, or between world and neurology.

"Whereas musical tone is always localized in outer space, the localization of sensations of vibration takes place in our own body" (ibid.).

In other words, there are the exterior vibrations that resonate with our own body, which are then seemingly re-projected into the space from which they originated, in a kind of circular movement. The same is true of vision, or of any sense, really.

Even with headphones one does not experience music as something coming from a localized source, nor from in between the ears. Rather, a field is perceived beyond the boundaries of the head.

In audiophile terms, this is referred to as the "soundstage." A good stereo set-up will recreate a wide and deep soundstage, whereas a mediocre one will sound more like it is merely coming from speakers. Or in other words, with a good system the speakers "disappear" into the image they reproduce.

Now, I wonder if life is the same way? Some people have a wide and deep lifestage, whereas others live in a cramped space whose ideological source can be easily identified. Looked at in this way, the purpose of a liberal university education, for example, would be to sell you a cheap stereo in which the higher dimensional image of the world collapses into a two-dimensional facsimile.

11 Comments:

Blogger mushroom said...

In audiophile terms, this is referred to as the "soundstage."

I didn't know there was term for that. I like to keep track of who is playing by where they are on "the stage". A good example is the Doc Watson/David Grisman "Doc & Dawg" CD where Jack Lawrence is also playing guitar. Even if you don't catch the difference in sound between Doc's guitar and Jack's, you know it's Jack because he is off the listener's right while Doc is on the left (I guess depending on how your headphones are on).

Same thing with Dicky Betts and Duane Allman. Once you pick up Betts' more metallic sound, you are oriented.

2/04/2015 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"...Now, I wonder if life is the same way? Some people have a wide and deep lifestage, whereas others live in a cramped space whose ideological source can be easily identified. Looked at in this way, the purpose of a liberal university education, for example, would be to sell you a cheap stereo in which the higher dimensional image of the world collapses into a two-dimensional facsimile."

That is really on target; you know immediately when you encounter a ideolog, they are so deliberatly scrunched into their boxes, there is no sense that their sounds come from anywhere else but from within the boxes they've deconstructed.

The person who casually goes whistling on by them seems like a portable amphitheaters by contrast.

2/04/2015 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger John Lien said...

"If music does not belong in the external world, which physics investigates, nor yet in the inner world, which is the subject matter of psychology, where does it belong?" Referring back to our interpersonal neurobiological trinity, I would say that it must belong to the same space in which relationship occurs, or between world and neurology.

That question should break the shell surrounding the materialist I would think.

2/04/2015 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

It should, but only if the materialist is open to truth.

2/04/2015 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger John Lien said...

Which got me thinking about communication in general.

Is there always meaning in communication? The meaning being in that non-material relationship space.

Is there communication so low-level that there is no "meaning" counterpart in the relationship space?

For example, female moth releases pheromones, male moth picks them up and heads towards higher concentrations of pheromones. Is there a "meaning" to that message out there in the relationship dimension, however moth-like and simple it may be?

"Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it...."

2/04/2015 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger John Lien said...

Good point julie. There is that willful ignorance in order to appear smart.

2/04/2015 12:21:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

John said "...Is there communication so low-level that there is no "meaning" counterpart in the relationship space?..."

I think the issue is less one of communication, than of depth. Even a moth is communicating some info, but the level of depth likely is little deeper than that of a chemical registry.

Communication between people can contain depth analogous to an exchange of chemicals or sensations, or as deep as the deepness can go.

2/04/2015 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Now, if man is an image of the ultimate reality, and vice versa, we would have to conclude that the Absolute is similarly a kind of dynamic process of one-in-threeness. Or, it is oneness with interior relations."

Makes sense go me. Might call it interior design.

2/05/2015 02:52:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Normal bloggery will resume Friday.

2/05/2015 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Trinitarian jazz.

2/05/2015 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Cool.

2/05/2015 12:28:00 PM  

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