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A Paradox We Live By

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posted on Jun, 19 2013 @ 07:09 PM
Sometimes the most banal things can be the most amazing, and startling even. Take for example your normal state of consciousness. If you developed normally, you will be used to something psychologists call embodied self awareness, which is different from conceptual self awareness. Embodied self awareness is, simply put, experiencing reality in the subjective emotional present. It is inherently chaotic, unpredictable. It comes upon you and BAM, you speak, you move your head this way or that, all without any conceptual awareness of your doing so. This awareness is feelingoriented. To be in the subjective emotional present, you have to feel yourself, because in such a state, it is emotion which generates movement, thought, and action. To just clarify: conceptual self awareness is the act of thinking - where attention is oriented towards a concept instead of a feeling. Everyone has to do this in order to deal with the complexities of life and self regulate, but more or less, a healthy minded person - a socially capable person - is able to spend most of their time in a state of embodied self awareness.

The paradox is this. Being embodied is being "IN" your body. Yet, when you're embodied, paradoxically, you are ABSORBED in some particular object of your thought (pre-conceptual, since your not actually thinking about a thought, but feeling it). Thus, being embodied also means your absorbed in something else. It is being in yourself in a feeling sense, yet outside yourself, in an ontological sense.

This is a paradox we daily live by.
edit on 19-6-2013 by Astrocyte because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 19 2013 @ 07:35 PM
reply to post by Astrocyte

Can you explain the difference again? I don't really get it.

posted on Jun, 19 2013 @ 07:59 PM
reply to post by Astrocyte

What paradox ? Emotions don't have to use the area for speech to form.

So you won't be able to know about it , because nothing came by the only place to identify anything yet.
Pretty simple actually.
edit on 6/19/2013 by Sinter Klaas because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 19 2013 @ 08:13 PM
reply to post by AfterInfinity

Granted, it can be a difficult concept to explain.

Do you understand the difference between embodied self awareness and conceptual self awareness? Basically, embodied self awareness is feeling. It can be feeling a physical sensation, heat, cold, an itch, a pain, or it can be feeling an emotion - happiness, sadness, etc. Easterners evidently understood the essential relationship between physical movement and emotion, as in Yoga, Tai Chi and the Martial Arts. In yoga, the student is instructed to be consciously involved in his movements, and oftentimes to describe any feeling tone he may have while stretching. With Rosen bodywork, the therapist/masseuse both massages a body part and asks you questions. When any tension arises, it indicates that the person has left an embodied self awareness state into a conceptual awareness state. This change in cognition causes tension in certain parts of the body, whether it be the shoulders, back, lower back, abdomen, etc.

Conceptual self awareness is thinking about thoughts. The sciences, humanities, culture, morality, requires conceptual self awareness. It is basic to self regulation: if were always in the subjective emotional present (embodied), we could easily run amok and spread havoc. These two states, ESA (embodied self awareness) and CSA (conceptual self awareness) always interact with one another. Ideally, ESA should be informing CSA. In the case of a pathology, PTSD, for example, it's the opposite. A thought - memory of the trauma - commandeers the individuals attention. He is no longer in his body, no longer "feeling" himself, but rather, thinking of the memory of the event. This takes him outside awareness of the feeling, and into (absorbed) ruminating on the thought. This is an intense state of sympathetic nervous system arousal. PTSD taxes the nervous system so greatly that the fight/flight mechanism is thrown into disorder. The periaqueductal grey secretes large amounts of endogenous opiates, and like an animal about to be killed by a predator, the sufferer feels dazed and withdrawn from himself, from feeling - a state called dissociation.

To return to the point: embodied self awareness is living in the subjective emotional present. In this state, your attention is oriented towards the feelings moving within you. Yet simultaneously, your attention is absorbed in some thought "out there". When you act within this state, you are completely "engaged" with your emotions. Lets say you see someone you knew from your high school days. Instinctively (if you're not in the habit of suppressing emotional arousal) you yell out "Hey, Mike!". You're feeling the emotion so fully that you just blurted the words out. But why did you do it? Because the object of your thought - the recognition of Mike - so absorbed your attention that you instantaneously engaged your emotion.

So, we have the feeling component of being "IN" your body, and we have the ontological component of being "IN" the thought which initiated the feeling. This is paradoxical. Your mind is feeling yourself in your body, while at the same time, absorbed in an object of it's thought.

posted on Jun, 19 2013 @ 08:25 PM
reply to post by Sinter Klaas

I guess you missed the point.

Neurologically, the brain has to map out both states: the emotion felt in the body (interoception) involves basic elements of the limbic system (amygdala, striatum, hypothalamus etc) and the object out there in the environment (even an abstract thought can be thought of as external) which involves ventromedial, dorsolateral and orbitofrontal part of the PFC.

But this wasn't my point. The paradox is how our mind is absorbed with something "out there" (in an ontological sense) yet also completely feeling itself while in its body. These are two basic aspects of normal engagement.

posted on Jun, 19 2013 @ 08:59 PM
Is it paradoxical for a computer to both register what its hardware is doing and open a web page at the same time?

posted on Jun, 20 2013 @ 01:22 AM
reply to post by Astrocyte

Yes I got what you mean. It's because the brain. Basically we've got 2, a left and a right hemisphere.
One can work without the other. Only the right hemisphere is the part, that is able to produce rational thoughts.
It's because it holds the region in the brain where we can define ourselves with language. Without it language we also lose the ability to access the means for understanding, cause we are not able to even come up with anything to think of without language.

This will explains it all. It's about a neurologist that had a stroke.

posted on Jun, 20 2013 @ 09:42 AM
reply to post by Astrocyte

The paradox is this. Being embodied is being "IN" your body. Yet, when you're embodied, paradoxically, you are ABSORBED in some particular object of your thought (pre-conceptual, since your not actually thinking about a thought, but feeling it). Thus, being embodied also means your absorbed in something else. It is being in yourself in a feeling sense, yet outside yourself, in an ontological sense.

Very interesting.

In order to untwist the paradox back to reality, we must realize that thoughts occur in the body and are about how we ourselves experienced certain objects. For instance, when I think about the White House, I think of my experience of it, rather than the actual white house. My thoughts are then absorbed or focused on myself and my own memory rather than something outside me.

Great thinking.

posted on Jun, 20 2013 @ 10:16 AM
reply to post by AfterInfinity

I guess the directional contradiction eludes you.

Being felt "IN" the body is body oriented. You could use an arrow like this one this way.

To put it another way, since clearly you aren't registering this. Some philosophers, like Soren Kiekegaard, as well as the psychologist Viktor Frankl, made much of the fact that human beings are only happy when they are "outside" themselves. Kierkagaard famously said "The door to happiness opens outward". The outward direction is to objects that lie beyond the self. When were thinking about ourselves, happiness typically eludes us. So, when our attention is oriented to external things, such as another person, a purpose, an external activity, paradoxically, this external orientation puts us into our closest contact with our actual feelings.

Modern psychologists distinguish between attention that is oriented towards thoughts (conceptual self awareness) and attention which is oriented towards feelings (embodied self awareness). These are two fundamentally different states. Even the nervous system processes these two functions differently. If I'm "feeling" my body, such as the pain in my toe, the nociceptor sends its signals up the dorsal horn pathway in the spinal chord. When it comes to the brain, it's processed by regions in the brain stem, cerebellum, amygdala, etc, and in the PFC(prefrontal cortex), by the ventromedial and orbitofrontal parts. When your THINKING about the pain in your toe, as opposed to feeling it, the nociceptors send the signals up the ventral horn of the spinal chord, which goes up to the brain to be processed by the dorsolateral and dorsomedial parts of the PFC.

So again, there is a definite "embodied" component to this mode of being. But simultaneously, the "self" is completely immersed in the object of it's attention. These are to halves which up the whole of embodied self awareness. There also appears to be a symmetry. Just as embodiment entails absorption in something else, worrying about some thought ABOUT yourself, such as finances, health, etc, takes you OUT of your body. When the thought is on yourself, the mind is outside the body. When the thought is on something outside the self, the mind is in the body.

It's a funny state of affairs.

Edit: To just clarify a bit further. These two states don't share the same "real estate" in consciousness. There's clearly a stacking. What the mind is attending to in an embodied state of awareness is the feeling content. So feeling > Object absorption. Yet, paradoxically, it is the object which initiates the engagement with the feeling.

On the opposite side, when were worrying, stressed, i.e. involved in a conceptual self awareness state, the thought is in the focus, while the feeling, the worry, is in the background. Thought > awareness of feeling.

I don't want you to get the idea that I'm a sloppy thinker. There IS a paradox between the fact that it takes something "out there" beyond myself in order for me to feel IN myself. And this is made more apparent by the fact that when I'm cogitating about myself, I'm no longer aware of my feelings (although, of course, there feelings beneath the absorption in the thought content; the point is, the mind is attending to its thought, as opposed to its feelings)
edit on 20-6-2013 by Astrocyte because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 20 2013 @ 10:17 AM
reply to post by Sinter Klaas

Yes, my stroke of insight is on my book shelf. I don't see how any of this is relevant to what I've been writing about.

posted on Jun, 20 2013 @ 10:23 AM
reply to post by LesMisanthrope

For instance, when I think about the White House, I think of my experience of it, rather than the actual white house.

True, but that's outside my discussion of there being two 'opposite' vectors to an embodied state of awareness.

What you're talking about is how our mind (or unconscious) biases us towards aspects which make up the thing were looking at or involved in. It's never the objective reality itself, but a subjective interpretation of that reality. And try as we might, we can't escape our biases; our unconscious has us focusing on "this" while someone elses unconscious has them focusing on "that".

posted on Jun, 20 2013 @ 12:09 PM
reply to post by Astrocyte

I see what you're saying now. Yes, that is very interesting; reminiscent, in fact, of the Taoist philosophy. The outside word stimulates the inside world. Without the outside world, we're stagnant. There is nothing except what is already there, and what is there was put there through the outside world.

I would say what you have described is the very tip of the relationship we have with the world - inside vs outside. One cannot exist without the other. The outside cannot exist without the inside to observe it, and the inside cannot exist without the outside to cultivate it.

It may seem paradoxical to some, but I see it as one act of the most beautiful musical in existence.

edit on 20-6-2013 by AfterInfinity because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 20 2013 @ 12:26 PM
reply to post by Astrocyte

What about your brain, that can do same thing double, but only your right hemisphere is able to identify what your left makes you feel ?

For it to do so, the emotion has to be formed first.

I don't see what's the paradox here. It would be nice though, if we were a little bit more in touch with the left side.

posted on Jul, 6 2013 @ 12:48 PM
reply to post by Astrocyte

Is this related to introvert and extrovert in any way?

It makes me feel that the difference between the two terms and subsequently kinds of people, are the ways and thoroughness and creativity in which they store information, memories, feelings, concepts in their mind. Someone who does this more loosely and laizsez fairre, I can imagine melding into surrounding events as they come more easily. While the other type of person, may do more intellectual comparing and analyzing of situations for the sake of understanding, or habit, or anything.

I may be off the mark regarding what you were explaining but yea. I personally dont see the paradox. I imagine the totality of peoples minds as a gradient regarding the quantity and quality of information stored. (think of the abilities of a fine artist to draw a person compared to someone who can just draw stick figures, certainly there must be similar discrepancies and freedoms related to the way information is processed and stored in the brain), So I would imagine someone who spends more time working on the variety of ones knowledge and internal depiction of oneself, ones surrounding world, and the constant passage of events, would be the ying to the other end of the gradients yang, which is someone who spends little time perfecting and molding the potential information of their minds, and live more in the moment, content with what they are and know, trusting the situation, themselves, their environment, and those they are with. just my 2 cents.

posted on Jul, 6 2013 @ 01:56 PM
reply to post by ImaFungi

Introvert and extrovert are short hand abstractions for types of people. What are we referring to when we call someone "extroverted" or "introverted", or "shy" and "outgoing"? Really, were referring to their nervous systems. Some people are more sensitive to external stimuli than other people, and this affects the way their personality develops, what they enjoy, and how they relate with others.

Take psychopaths, for example, an extreme example of the extrovert personality. Psychopaths are renown for having slower than average heart rates; they also score low on skin conductance tests (it takes a lot for them to stress). In other words, psychopaths don't respond to external stimuli as sensitively as other people do. Their powers of deduction are intact, but their ability to interoceptively feel the feelings of others is highly under-developed. Interestingly, psychopaths and astronauts (and jetfighter pilots) have seem to have very similar nervous systems. The astronaut John Glen is famous for having a normal heart rate when going up into space. Imagine that. The G-force itself should be enough to cause the heart to start racing. But for people like John Glen, it takes A LOT to get him nervously aroused. This emphasizes the importance of role models for people like this. Without a positive role model to imitate, psychopaths will seek unhealthy outlets for their under-stimulated nervous systems (called social personality disorder by the DSM), which tends to be socially taboo things i.e. theft, crime, murder, violence, rape, etc.

There does seem to be a relationship between extroversion/introversion and embodied self awareness/conceptual self awareness. Someone who doesn't feel overwhelmed by the forces around them (an extrovert) would be more able to maintain a state of embodied self awareness. Conversely, someone highly sensitive to external stimuli - to the presence of many faces around you, for example - would likely go outside himself, and begin ruminating over the feelings he's experiencing. I.E he will feel emotionally exposed in front of others, and enter a state of conceptual self awareness.

I personally dont see the paradox.

The paradox is related to the source - the external stimulus, or external idea - and the feeling of being embodied. When you most feel inside yourself, it's due to some "idea", concept, activity, or person, that has caused you to truly "feel" yourself. The Paradox is that it takes something "outside" for you to feel "inside" yourself.

edit on 6-7-2013 by Astrocyte because: (no reason given)

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