posted on Dec, 28 2014 @ 07:38 PM
Reality can be presented as a concatenation of 'fields' which the human mind and body work within. This is not some trite and baseless theory that
relies upon speculative spiritual worlds, but phenomenological zones of activity which shape the human mind and human body in different ways.
In presenting this viewpoint I am concentrating on how each 'level' in this superordinate system contributes something to the overall regulation of
the system. What we eat, what we watch, what we think, has the potential to influence the overall system - which is to say, the systems within the
'overall system'. These systems are, from the most 'mental' to the most physical:
2) Object Relations
Each of these systems makes up its 'own world', while at the same time interpenetrates the other parts of the system. Not all elements are always
present in their fullness. Intersubjectivity means 'shared awareness', and although it can exist as two or more people being aware of the same
thing, it is most alive and apparent when two minds mutually feel and understand the mental experience of the other. Intersubjectivity is a state of
knowing where 'i know that you know that I know'. For example, there is a subtle peace and joy in knowing that someone else knows and understands
what I experience. To know that "I am consciously existing in their mind" as a choice of the other person, can feel like a powerful revelation of
our existential connectedness as two beings living apart yet feeling the deepest mystery of existence together.
Intersubjectivity lives well above most peoples and only comes into the foreground at special times. Mindfulness is a way to bring it more to the
fore. So by practicing it daily, the experience of intersubjectivity widens to become a 'fuller world' in itself.
But beneath intersubjectivity lies a world of our own: object relations. Object relations is a psychoanalytical concept that is being validated by
modern neuroscience. Ultimately, it is about cognitive associations and the emotional meaning they have for us.
Self and Other are basic concepts which neuroscience has tried to explain, and in doing so, it has given us some interesting ways of thinking about
it. For instance, self and other seem to be fundamentally tied to sensory and motor feedbacks. The brain at a fundamental level needs to distinguish
the actions of the organism - motor activity - from the environments it interacts with - sensory activity. It does this by feeding afferent with
efferent information; sensory activity is felt as coming 'without', as the physical movement of the body sustains a bottom up 'feeling of
But moving is not the only thing we do. Ultimately, what we do is evaluate things. This is the level of "affect". While object relations provides
the grist for our fantasizing and splitting tendencies, affect, or the emotional fields of experience, subsume our everyday awareness. Emotion is the
reality we reflect upon: it is the background upon which the object-relational world of thinking happens. Affect is so powerful and so basic that even
Freud and his contemporaries failed to give its credit. Affect (the behavioral science way of saying feeling or emotion) is literally the first thing
we know about the world. When were born, were born to feel. And how we feel is determined and structured by our earliest relationships with other
The developmental neuroscientist Steven Porges discovery of the 'polyvagal system' reveals how the autonomic nervous system structures
'self-other' relations by anticipating and structuring orientation - or how we attend - before we even know that we've become aware of something.
HOW we become aware is an unconscious activity mediating by implicit relational systems. The body KNOWS when it sees threat and when it sees safety;
its just very unfortunate that what it knows doesn't have to be objectively true. A child born to a mother with emotion regulation issues is going to
have the same issues; and although her or his particular complexes will have their own intrapsychic flavor, it'll be causally related to its primary
relationships with its immediate others (mom, dad, siblings).
But, ultimately, what do we know about others are than what we see? While I can reflect on how I know that you know something about me
(intersubjectivity), become involved with my own psychic dynamics (as thinking; object relations) or simply feel the movement and flow of emotions
(affect), what we see with our eyes constitutes another level of 'knowing'. This is behavior. This is what is actually perceived, the superficial
'outside' which yet contains so much information for whats inside - both the others and ourselves.
Thus far, I have only spoken of the psychological areas which the mind can become involved with. But simultaneous to our thinking, feeling and
unconscious structuring of the world outside us and inside of us, is the realm of biology: the world of biochemistry.
What does it mean biologically, to reflect upon an object-relation tendency, for example, to feel structured emotionally to 'need' other people so
that you can feel your sense of self-agency, and to decide to 'open yourself up' to what your object relation habits have unconsciously foreclosed?
Every moment that we are alive - hundreds of thousands of chemical events are happening inside of us. It is wondrous, for example, that are DNA can
replicate itself 10 billion times before it encounters 'errors' in transcription. At all times that we think and feel ourselves, we are also having
an effect on the micro-chemical events in our bodies; by choosing to think differently (ordering my object relations differently) I change my affect
from a negative one to a positive one, which leads to a perceptual change in my behavior (as could be seen by others). On the inside, the events
associated with a dissociated or depressed state are rearranged to support a new chemical-electrical pattern in the brain, and the stimulation of
different chemicals in the entire-body complex.
What happens so simply, or, so existentially, painfully, or happily, within our minds, is paralleled by a dimension of baffling complexity where
processes directed from 'within' - by a centralized consciousness - initiate changes within cells that induce epigenetic regulatory functions over
genetic expression, so that, instead of working to synthesize neuorochemicals that subtend a depressed state of consciousness, cells restructure
themselves at every relevant level (mitochondria, enzymes, protein structure, etc) to support a state of consciousness like relaxation and joy.
How we think and feel from moment to moment not only 'directs' how our bodies organize themselves, but if we are with other people, by doing or not
doing, we are always involved in creating effects inour body or in the minds and body's of other people.
Culture, the superordinate system which reifies ways of being with other people - a virtual meta object relation universe - seems to be the most
powerful system of all, at least in terms of how the rest of the world around us can be affected by our unconsciously agreed upon enactments of what
we collectively agree to be meaningful and valuable. Even nature, although on a deeper level more basic to our survival, can be absorbed into the web
of cultures power.