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1997 - Volume 18, Number 4, Autumn

A Neuromuscular Model of Mind With Clinical and Educational Applications
F.J. McGuigan, Institute for Stress Management, United States International University.
Journal of Mind and Behavior,
 Vol. 18, No. 4, Pages 351–370, ISSN 0271–0137

This paper is a summary and extension of almost four decades of research directed toward an explication of the human mind. To achieve a precise, testable proposition that defines mind, I follow a historically rich tradition of materialism. First, an empirical basis is established wherein electropsychologically measured events from the brain, eyes, somatic and speech musculature occur almost simultaneously during a variety of cognitions. The inference is that these covert reactions form components of neuromuscular circuits governed by cybernetic principles. Conversely, when the striated musculature is totally inactive, cognitions are absent. The conclusion is that muscular components of the circuits are necessary for cognitions. An explication of the human mind emerges as the selective interaction of bodily systems to (1) generate contents of mind (cognitions) and (2) to program covert and overt behavior. Clinical and educational applications follow.

Requests for reprints should be sent to F.J. McGuigan, Ph.D., Institute for Stress Management, United States International University, 10455 Pomerado Road, San Diego, California 92131.

The Presence of Environmental Objects to Perceptual Consciousness: An Integrative, Ecological and Phenomenological Approach
Thomas Natsoulas, University of California, Davis.
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, 
Vol. 18, No. 4, Pages 371–390, ISSN 0271–0137

This article is the promised sequel to a recently published article in this journal (Natsoulas, 1996b), in which I sought to make more available to psychologists Edmund Husserl’s attempted explanation of how perceptual mental acts succeed in presenting to consciousness their external, environmental objects themselves, as opposed to some kind of representation of them. Here, I continue my exposition of Husserl’s effort and, as well, I begin a project of seeking to bridge the gap between his phenomenological account of perceptual presence to consciousness and James J. Gibson’s ecological conception of direct perception. I am concerned, with what happens at the juncture of (a) the perceptual system’s resonance to the stimulus energy flux and (b) the perceiver’s awareness of those environmental objects, events, properties, and relations which are specified by the informational variables that the picked-up stimulus flux instantiates. I believe that simultaneously considering the environment’s phenomenological perceptual presence from both sides of the great epistemic divide – from the ecological outside and from the phenomenological inside – is worth a serious try. In the case of both these perspectives, we fortunately can draw upon a lifetime of intensive work by a major theorist operating at the highest level, work directly relevant to the general phenomenon of special interest here.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Thomas Natsoulas, Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis, California 95616-8686. Email: tnatsoulas@ucdavis.edu.

Wholeness as the Body of Paradox
Steven M. Rosen, College of Staten Island/CUNY.
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, 
Vol. 18, No. 4, Pages 391–424, ISSN 0271–0137

This essay is written at the crossroads of intuitive holism, as typified in Eastern thought, and the discursive reflectiveness more characteristic of the West. The point of departure is the age-old human need to overcome fragmentation and realize wholeness. Three basic tasks are set forth: to provide some new insight into the underlying obstacle to wholeness, to show what would be necessary for surmounting this blockage, and to take a concrete step in that direction. At the outset, the question of paradox is addressed, examined in relation to Zen meditation, the problem of language, and the thinking of Heidegger. Wholeness is to be realized through paradox, and it is shown that a complete realization requires that paradox be embodied. Drawing from the fields of visual geometry and qualitative mathematics, three concrete models of paradox are offered: the Necker cube, the Moebius surface, and the Klein bottle. In attempting to model wholeness, an important limitation is recognized: a model is a symbolic representation that maintains the division between the reality represented and the act of symbolizing that reality. It is demonstrated that while the first two models are subject to this limitation, the Klein bottle, possessing higher dimensionality, can express wholeness more completely, provided that it is approached in a radically nonclassical way. The final question of this essay concerns its own capability as an essay. It is asked whether the present text is restricted to affording a mere abstract reflection on wholeness, or whether wholeness can tangibly be delivered.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Steven M. Rosen, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, The College of Staten Island, 2800 Victory Blvd., Staten Island, New York 10314.

William James and the Challenge of Methodological Pluralism
Stephen C. Yanchar, Brigham Young University.
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Vol. 18, No. 4, Pages 425–442, ISSN 0271–0137

Psychologists increasingly support the development of a methodological pluralism for research applications. Methodological pluralism, particularly as conceptualized by William James, can provide important benefits, such as a shift away from the totalizing hegemony of the received view of science and the formulation of deeper, more clear accounts of psychological life. Before such a methodological pluralism can be viable, however, psychologists must secure a theoretically coherent set of methods and an indigenous epistemology. Failure to address these concerns not only decreases the likelihood that psychologists will formulate a coherent account of psychological life, but also increases the likelihood that psychology will suffer from increased fragmentation and perhaps dissolution as an autonomous discipline.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Stephen Yanchar, now at the Department of Psychology, Morningside College, 1501 Morningside Avenue, Sioux City, Iowa 51106.

Ideas About a New Psychophysiology of Consciousness: The Syntergic Theory
Jacobo Grinberg-Zylberbaum, National Autonomous University of Mexico and National Institute for the Study of Consciousness.
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Vol. 18, No. 4, Pages 443–458, ISSN 0271–0137

A series of ideas are presented about a new psychophysiology of consciousness called “The Syntergic theory.” The theory postulates that the human brain is able to create a hypercomplex field of interactions that are the result of the activation of all its neuronal elements. This interaction matrix is called the “neuronal field.” One of the effects of its activation is the unification of neuronal activity. It is postulated that the neuronal field produces a distortion in the basic space-time structure and the reality of our percepts is the perception of this distortion. For the neuronal field to be activated a structure as complex as the brain is needed. This field is responsible for the interactions between brains produced in emphatic non-verbal communication. Consciousness is closely connected to the neuronal field. The postulates discussed are supported by the evidence from neuro an psychophysiology and new physics.

Requests for reprints should be sent to: Dra. Leah B. Attie. Ahuehuetes Nte. 855, B. de las Lomas, 11700, México, D. F. México.

Book Reviews

Comte After Positivism
Book Author: Robert C. Scharff. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1995
Reviewed by Laurence D. Smith, University of Maine.
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Vol. 18, No. 4, Pages 459–464, ISSN 0271–0137

[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] The French philosopher Auguste Comte is known to most of us as a somewhat obscure figure of modest historical significance. We are likely to know that he was the founder of positivism, that he propounded the influential doctrine of the hierarchy of the sciences, and that he held some peculiar views about humanity passing through stages of theological, metaphysical, and scientific thought. The more historically informed among us might also be aware that he founded a secular alternative to the Catholic Church (designating himself as its high priest, to the embarrassment of later positivists), and that he clashed with his younger and better-known contemporary John Stuart Mill over the feasibility of a science of psychology. An interesting life, one thinks, but surely Comte is not a philosopher to warrant renewed interest during a postmodern era when the positivist tradition has finally been laid to rest a failed venture.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Laurence D. Smith, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Maine, 5742 Little Hall, Orono, Maine 04469-5742.

The Wing of Madness: The Life and Work of R.D. Laing
Book Author: Daniel Burston. Cambridge/London: Harvard University Press, 1996.
Reviewed by Duff Waring, Toronto, Canada.
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Vol. 18, No. 4, Pages 465–472, ISSN 0271–0137

[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] By the time of his death in 1989, R.D. Laing was already history. His status as a countercultural legend remained intact, but he had gone from icon to relic. His intellectual and political credibility reached a peak in the late 1960s that he never regained. For many, the publication of The Politics of Experience and The Bird of Paradise in 1967 presaged his critical demise into bad poetry and bellicose shamanism. Laing himself was keenly aware of his fall from popular grace.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Duff Waring, LL.B., 195 St. Patrick St., Suite 301B, Toronto Ontario, M5T 2Y8.

 


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