Volume 16, Number 2, Spring
Some Developmental Issues in Transpersonal Experience
Harry T. Hunt, Brock University
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Spring 1995, Volume 16, Number 2, Pages 115-134, ISSN 0271-0137
Developmental understanding of transpersonal experience and its diverse impact on human life has been bedeviled by the opposed, monolithic extremes of Freud’s regression to infant “narcissism,” on the one hand, and more recent views of the transpersonal as the sole endpoint for any “higher” or “postformal operations” development of human intelligence, on the other. Here it is shown that “higher states of consciousness” can be more specifically understood as developments of a “presentational” intelli-gence, thereby constituting one line of adult development among the several open to our symbolic capacity. The demonstrated but relatively infrequent occurrence of transpersonal states in early childhood then becomes understandable as a developmental precocity akin to that shown in mathematical and musical prodigies. The overlap of this developmental line with some of the thematics and regressive states of psychoanalytic object relations theories of infancy follows from the experiential nature of pre-sentational intelligence. Early emotional traumata and deficits must reappear in transpersonal experience to the extent that they were internalized as part of the mother-infant dyad whose structure underlies our symbolic, dialogic consciousness.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Harry T. Hunt, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada L2S 3A1
Monistic Idealism May Provide Better Ontology for Cognitive Science: A Reply to Dyer
Amit Goswami, University of Oregon, Eugene
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Spring 1995, Volume 16, Number 2, Pages 135-150, ISSN 0271-0137
This is a response to Michael Dyer’s (1994) Commentary on Goswami’s Quantum-Based Theory of Consciousness and Free Will, a theory that I will call idealist science – a science based on the primacy of consciousness rather than matter. First, I review Dyer’s main points: (1) there is no need for idealist science since cognitive science can explain whatever human phenomena idealist science purports to explain; and (2) idealist science offers nothing new, such as, new methodology or experimental prediction. I then review some of the inadequacies of the cognitive science model of consciousness stemming in part from its impoverished ontology of physical realism. It is shown that cognitive science follows from the new idealist science (as classical physics follows from quantum physics) in the limit of a correspondence principle. In this way, idealist science is seen to support cognitive science (rather than replace it) while generalizing the scope of science itself to include the subjective aspects of reality. Next, I point out what idealist science gains for us: (1) treatment within science of the subjective aspects of creativity, ethics, free will, and spirituality (without the need to explain these away as epiphenomena); and (2) integration of all the forces of psychology, and also of physics and biology. Finally, I discuss possible experiments to distinguish between realist and idealist models of reality.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Amit Goswami, Ph.D., Department of Physics and the Institute of Theoretical Science, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon 97403
On the Quantum Mechanical Wave Function as a Link Between Cognition and the Physical World: A Role for Psychology
Douglas M. Snyder, Los Angeles, California
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Spring 1995, Volume 16, Number 2, Pages 151-180, ISSN 0271-0137
A straightforward explanation of fundamental tenets concerning the quantum mechanical wave function results in the thesis that the quantum mechanical wave function is a link between human cognition and the physical world. The way in which physicists have not accepted this explanation is discussed, and some of the roots of the problem are explored. The basis for an empirical test as to whether the wave function is a link between human cognition and the physical world is provided through developing an experiment incorporating methodology from psychology and physics. Research in psychology and physics that relied on this methodology indicates that it is likely that Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen’s theoretical result that mutually exclusive wave functions can simultaneously apply to the same concrete physical circumstances can be implemented on an empirical level.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Douglas M. Snyder, Ph.D., 459 North Spaulding Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90036
Consciousness and Commissurotomy: VI. Evidence for Normal Dual Consciousness?
Thomas Natsoulas, University of California, Davis
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Spring 1995, Volume 16, Number 2, Pages 181-206, ISSN 0271-0137
This article addresses the problem of evidence for Puccetti’s hypothesis of normal dual consciousness, i.e., the hypothesis that a stream of consciousness flows in each cerebral hemisphere when both are functioning normally in intact, healthy people. Evidence counts as supportive only if it is not explainable by a certain close alternative hypothesis that holds consciousness to proceed in the nondominant hemisphere only when the dominant hemisphere is unable to inhibit it (e.g., complete commissurotomy, dominant hemispherectomy, dominant anesthesia). From this perspective, I discuss (a) two experiments involving anesthesia of the dominant hemisphere that were proposed, respectively, by Wilson and Puccetti, (b) an actual experiment on normal, unanesthetized subjects reported by Landis, Graves, and Goodglass, as well as (c) a further kind of experiment which, I suggest, may discriminate between the hypotheses. Assuming Puccetti is right, this experiment should yield a distinct pattern of reports from the dominant hemisphere about its experiences of acting as the individual deals with different kinds of tasks (“nondominant” vs. “dominant”). Also considered is the common (negative) introspective evidence to the effect that we have only a single stream, never two distinct experiences at the same time. I argue, in support of Puccetti, that this is as it should be because introspection-at-a-distance is impossible; privileged access is internal to a stream, never occurs between streams.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Thomas Natsoulas, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis, California 95616
Evolving Ecological Universe
Book Author: Sally J. Goerner. Langhorne, Pennsylvania:Gordon and Breach, 1994
Reviewed by Larry Vandervert, American Nonlinear Systems
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Spring 1995, Volume 16, Number 2, Pages 207-210, ISSN 0271-0137
[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] “This book’s thesis is that our time marks the emergence of a new world hypothesis based on the root metaphor of an evolving ecology” (p. 4). Goerner makes a point of arguing that a world hypothesis is like a paradigm shift (Kuhnian); only it is broader. If this book is about anything, it is about world views. The ideas of paradigms and world views are so fundamental to the book’s thesis, broad-ranging implications, and conclusions, they deserve a separate discussion.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Larry Vandervert, Ph.D., American Nonlinear Systems, West 711 Waverly Place, Spokane, Washington 99205-3271
The Morals and Politics of Psychology: Psychological Discourse and the Status Quo
Book Author: Isaac Prilleltensky. Albany:State University of New York, 1994
Reviewed by Ken Barney, Cambridge, Massachusetts
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Spring 1995, Volume 16, Number 2, Pages 211-214, ISSN 0271-0137
[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] This critical overview of psychology calls for a radical transformation of both academic and applied psychology. The author, Isaac Prilleltensky, joins others who criticize psychology’s narrow focus and its repression of sociopolitical dimensions – specifically, the oppressive aspects of capitalist society, including its unrestrained individualism. In the preface to The Morals and Politics of Psychology: Psychological Discourse and the Status Quo, George Albee states that the book “will force its readers to reconsider the historic, slavish, ongoing preoccupation of psychology with attempts at changing the individual to the neglect of changing the social environment” (p. ix). The book ranges widely over various fields within psychology, describing the pervasiveness of the narrow focus. The author’s stated intention is to advance the understanding of “the mechanisms involved in the utilization of psychology in the maintenance or reproduction of the prevalent social system” (p. 11). The description is persuasive; however, the analysis suffers from certain limitations, highlighted in this review.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Ken Barney, M.D., 3 Soden Place, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139