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The Inter-Subjective Field

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posted on Nov, 21 2013 @ 11:46 PM
What is an inter-subjective field? It is a concept psychologist have developed to explain and describe the biopsychological dynamics that occur when human beings are socially engaging one another.

The physical level of whats happening is quite interesting, but I'd prefer to start off by proclaiming my intense feeling of awe in the beauty of an intersubjective field.

Maybe it's because I suffered a major trauma early on in life which broke me off from a healthy and happy experience of social engagement. Trauma - a theme of my last few posts, if you follow my posts - completely breaks down your nervous system. Your experience of things is "dissociated" - it acks fluidity, it lacks continuity; it is a breaking a part of cognitions from emotions. Cognitions blow up in the mind; when you speak or move, you experience a dearth of interest, but an acute awareness of self activity. The locus of your attention feels like it is in "your head", as opposed to the heart area where normal emotional experience situates our visceral sense of awareness.

Being stuck up here for such a long time can really make you understand and appreciate many different aspects of human emotion and how it works upon our thinking when we communicate.

The experience of intersubjective communication is IMMENSELY mystical, first off. Perhaps this word might bother some people, but for me, it feels very appropriate. Something incredible happens when two people "connect" with one another. Physically, each party in an intersubjective field is personally regulating the nervous systems of the others. What makes this amazing is that intersubjective fields take over our conscious perceptions. In a dissociated cognitive state, one thing you might be aware of is deliberative thought. You decide to think, or to move. The conscious experience of acting, or more aptly, being in this way, is utterly different from an emotional state.

When you're talking with someone, isn't it incredibly bizarre that words enter our minds with such incredible instancy? I am sometimes in awe in how "excluded" I can feel when I'm not consciously contributing to the words I will use as I describe something. All of it is unconscious, presumably performed by preconscious organizational mechanisms. In this way, we are subsumed in the "other". The intersubjective field effaces consciousness of the self and it's inner concerns.

Intersubjective fields literally sculpt how our nervous systems respond. If it is a strong field, the mind-body connection is strengthened. The stronger and more intense an emotion, consciously, the less aware we are of our own existence. We are so completely immersed in the "now"; entirely unstrung from temporal cognition.

Affective neuronscience has demonstrated that the bodies metabolic processes are very intimately tied into social engagement. When people are able to confidently and calmly engage other people in communication, the body's metabolism - regulated by brain stem, in particular the vagus nerve - is automatically changing heart rate, increasing breathing. In a situation where your boss is coming to scold you for not handing in that paper on time, that feeling of your heart dropping into your stomach is instantly mediated by the dorsal vagus. Your body reads this as a "threat" in the environment. The response is to spike heart rate, shorten breaths and hyperventilating. From her on out the bodies endocrine and neurobiological mechanisms produce hormones that promote hyper vigilance.

So in trauma, the body is in an extremely conservative "energy" mode. Intersubjective fields are interpreted as potential threats, as high energy emotions "swallow up" conscious awareness. When your traumatized, giving up control, loosening your guards, and becoming less vigilant, are incredibly difficult things. The dorsal vagus/PAG complex resists that connection; the right hemispheric areas in the frontal lobes and amygdala are alerting the body when "dangers" arise.

Aye. It's a vicious feedback loop whose only solution is to learn how to control the bodies processes. Understand how emotion affects cognition, and how it affects how you experience time and pace in being. It's like entering a different world in the most extreme way imaginable.

Intersubjective fields are beautiful to me. They are utterly amazing. To be able to sing in front of another human being, with a sense of comfort and safety; and from the perspective of the human being listening, to allow yourself to be moved by that singing. From these two and many different perspectives, an amazing give and take is occurring. We are sharing in each others uniqueness. We are courageously exposing ourselves to the eyes of others, giving them license to judge us. And yet, most of the time we do not judge. The intersubjective fields power is enormous: it draws us in, and binds as one.
edit on 21-11-2013 by Astrocyte because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 22 2013 @ 12:11 AM
I've given a lot of thought to the idea that the human heart gives off a much stronger EM field than does the brain. Also the idea of Teilhard de Chardin's Noosphere, and how biological entities are bound by a field of 'thought energy'.

I think the energy that we share is actually spirit energy. A literal, but subtle energy that transcends at least the bounds of our five senses, and possibly an energy that exists a perpetually trans-dimensional state. Neither here, nor there, but also everywhere.

posted on Nov, 22 2013 @ 12:37 AM
reply to post by Astrocyte

"understand how emotional states affect cognition"

this is particularly important i think. There are many specific "personality traits" that people can take on when in various emotional states. someone feels anger they act angry......or sad, it varies but we normally tend to show changes in our actual cognition that reflect the emotional state itself

posted on Nov, 22 2013 @ 02:13 AM
at the risk of causing you to become overly self-conscious, I wish to state that your thoughts from yesterday's post have been with me all day today. this was another marvelous read which speaks deeply to me. it is unfortunately so rare these days to come across information (casually) that is actually worth reading.

while reading this, I am wondering if our modern culture does not stimulate a chronic low-level traumatic response among the masses? could this be the reason for the ever diminishing observation of rational thought?

I am also wondering if it is not possible for a similar, but less visceral, form of mystical interpersonal connection is possible? ... one which involves only the thinking? is the thinking always empty without the feeling? can not being 'stuck in your head' also be satisfying and rewarding? I average around one genuinely emotional exchange ....ummmm.... say, every few years or so. but I do not miss it. I see the mess it creates in people's lives and I am happy to not be subject to the bondage of feelings.

but, on the other hand, I am very body aware and know exactly what you're referring to regarding the deliberate activation of the poly-vagal response system. I didn't realize it had a name(affective neuropsych), but I have a self-designed workout routine which targets the alignment of the systems you're talking about. I get a lot of strange looks (which are rather easy to 'tune out'), but it feels amazing. I only once had someone ask what I am doing. I told him "you know that incredible feeling of stretching out your body and breathing DEEP right first thing when you wake up in the morning?... that's what I aim for."

thanks for your posts.

posted on Nov, 22 2013 @ 11:23 AM
I don't think you can have a thought independent from emotion. Thoughts are part of a process.

From emotions, attitudes are derived, from attitudes, thoughts. Thoughts precede behavior.

There is interplay between attitude and thought, because your thoughts can change your attitude, it's a feedback loop. Your thoughts can be spontaneous, but they're based on your attitudes, which form over time as a result of all of your experiences.

Your personal world is very small in comparison to all of the experiences of every living thing. The more experience you have, the more round and encompassing your attitudes will be, allowing you to access a greater range of emotion, and in turn a wider thought process.

You don't even have to have your own experiences. That is what empathy is for. Humans have the ability to learn from other's mistakes, an ability that most of us do not employ. What I mean to say is that we have the ability to see a situation from other points of view. Maybe not completely, as if we were the object of the experience, but we can undertake the thought experiment of 'putting ourselves in someone else's shoes'.

Another thought experiment we can use is small picture/big picture. We live on several planes of existence simultaneously, whether we know it or not. We live in a small picture, but there is a big picture in which things happen that makes things in the small picture seem to make no sense. Understanding the big picture (especially in the workplace) can lead to a more correct attitude, as the big picture usually relates more to cooperative effort rather than individual achievement, which now more than ever, we need.

In all this process of experience, emotion, attitude, thought, and behavior, I believe attitude is the most misunderstood and under-represented. People say, "He has a bad attitude." What they mean is that he has bad behavior, as a result of attitude and emotion.

I usually use a concept of attitude that was given to me in a previous life. It was told to me, "There are no good attitudes or bad attitudes, just correct and incorrect attitudes. The incorrect attitude will cause you to fail, and the correct attitude will lead you to success."

And this makes a lot of sense, from the point of view of my experience, because I've had the pleasure of working with some of the biggest assholes in the world, but they always made mission, never missed movement, and I'm still alive today as a result of their correct attitudes. And for that I"m grateful.

posted on Nov, 22 2013 @ 02:48 PM
"It is my attitude, not my aptitude that determines my altitude." -Rev. Jesse Jackson

posted on Dec, 3 2013 @ 12:13 AM
reply to post by victhebutcher

It's like clock-works. The emotional changes activate thinking patterns that wholly correspond to the feeling.

Take, for example, a state of dissociation. From time to time (less today than ever, thank God) I can find myself overly stressed and begin to feel a need to withdraw from social engagement. I don't know what it is, but all of a sudden I feel overwhelmed by social stimuli. I become aware, and BANG!, old thought patterns jut into focus. In these moments I struggle to maintain awareness, to maintain contact with the body, with calmness, an awareness situating consciousness in the chest area. But my body at these moments is flaring with heat, with fear, with panic; it is a part in me that is traumatized, than can be awakened at certain stressful moments. The awareness which emerges from this hyperactive emotional arousal is hyper focus: everything seems "slower"; so many things are taken in, not in keen analystical way, but in a neurotic, "im about to be eaten by a bear" sorta way. The threat system is a primitive mammalian response to danger in the environment. That's the evolutionary reason for this psychological experience. It can really help you appreciate the matter you are dealing with.

Normal and natural awareness, as opposed to dissociated awareness, is more unconscious, more fluid, less anticipatory, and more open and receptive to emotional arousal. In experiencing both states, it amazes me how "different" the world is. When you are "in the flow" of emotion, a continuous experience is emerging in the flow of time. If there is anything a human being needs to learn in life, its to stay with their emotions, to experience the integration flow induces in the body and between individuals.

Life in a flow state is strangely, both slow and fast. Slow, in the sense that you're relaxed and nothing is being forced out. Emotion is coherently and effectively being channeled into speech and body language. This gives the experience a very "slow" quality to it. To me, though, since I'm so introspective and spent so many years occupied with my own experience, to now be in the flow, feels like life is just "wisping" by. I think this perception is more keenly felt by someone who lived for a long time in a dissociated mental state.

posted on Dec, 3 2013 @ 12:44 AM
reply to post by tgidkp

while reading this, I am wondering if our modern culture does not stimulate a chronic low-level traumatic response among the masses? could this be the reason for the ever diminishing observation of rational thought?

You know what? I think society is getting better, albeit, slower.

As for trauma, I agree and disagree. I agree that people today experience chronic low-level emotional trauma. This may manifest as tendencies towards paranoia, neuroticism, obsessions, or unbridled emotional flareups, poor self control, etc. These are all breakdowns in the social engagement system, whose job is to promote integration between individuals, which is a consequence of integration between mind and body (emotion). So many people nowadays suffer from an anxiety or depression of some sort. They fear what others will think -even this, ubiquitous idea is a symptom of some "trauma". One could say the human experience involves experiencing trauma, and that one of lifes purposes and goals, is to overcome these traumas which sabotage connection with the self. After we've overcome our own "traumas", a natural consequence is loving-kindness. A feeling of tenderness, connection, a desire to become "integrated" with others, naturally follows.

But why do we have trauma? Historically speaking, people in earlier times had a better handle on their emotions then we did, not because they were more "enlightened" than us, rather, because they were so rigidly contained by Church dogma, so many of their emotions remained repressed and "dissociated" from their awareness. Since the "enlightenment", mankind has slowly but surely become more self aware. We have become more moral; we have begun to reflect on our past inequities, which has focused an alertness and need to protect ourselves from succumbing to the fury of unregulated emotions. The Nazis, Communists, Fascists and Islamists, all reveled in unbridled passions. The world saw what happens when we do that. Hundreds of millions dead. Traumatized populations.

Metaphysical theories about how "evil" supports good are of no use to todays leaders. I think there is a strong spirit of solidarity between leaders; not necessarily "good willed" in the cheery sense, but more oriented towards development, growth and prosperity. The world is an exciting place; the internet is a large reason for why this spirit of cooperation is growing. We are becoming more aware of each other; are becoming more exposed to each others worlds. Knowledge is breaking down the type of ignorance that fuels irrational hatreds between people. Knowledge, a free internet, is truly power.

one which involves only the thinking? is the thinking always empty without the feeling?

I don't think thats possible. In terms of neurobiology, subcortical (emotional) circuits are always linking up, even partially, with cortical areas, during thought, speech, basically any willed action.

We are so often stirred by emotion without realizing it. This is the job of the brains implicit memory areas. Were always "continuing off" from the personality we have become. We can't escape or completely eliminate subconscious biases. Yet strangely enough, we appear to have an ability to become aware of that, and to consciously choose what we want to cultivate, what kind of person we want to become.

What we can do, it seems, is slow down emotions; tone them down, analyze them, and see for ourselves what would be the best way to act. Its impossible to prove that this is free will - just as it is impossible to prove that it isn't. The fact that with awareness I can choose to change myself, to mindfully decide how I want to develop, and to consciously cultivate those feelings, seems incredibly powerful. And it feels like free will.

I average around one genuinely emotional exchange ....ummmm.... say, every few years or so. but I do not miss it. I see the mess it creates in people's lives and I am happy to not be subject to the bondage of feelings.

So does that mean you're a hermit? Life and living involves continuous emotions. Being connect and at one with other minds requiring interacting and engaging a subjective emotional present, which integrates mind with body and binds you in contact with other minds via an intersubjective field.

In fact, if you're properly integrated, intersubject engagements are LIBERATING.

I used to resent and look down upon "emotions", primarily because I dissociated and acrimonious. My own antisocial feeling tones prevented me from connecting. Most of my experiences felt "painful', so I retreated. A natural pride-based reaction to this fact is "I dont like emotions, too messy"

posted on Dec, 3 2013 @ 02:40 AM
The way my own life has enfolded, experience of intersubjectivity has been repeatedly obstructed. At least on a larger (collective) scale.

Abuse of all sorts happened as I was young- but I am not sure that is as significant in this as you feel. A certain intersubjectivity takes places between abuser and victim as well. It is perhaps non-verbal, but an underlying understanding between the two happens- a abuser/victim relation is still relating.

But very young, I lived in an area in which I was considered very different, being white, and in which I didn't speak the same language. So this kept me out of the collective meanings and world view of those around me.
Then I moved to an area in which I was different because those around me were from a vastly different economic class- the perceptions and values were beyond my grasp to comprehend.
Then as an adult, I moved to a foreign country, in which I didn't speak the language, and the culture is very different.

These environments nurtured my sense of self as individual, my tendancy to be introspective, and to be self aware. Because I don't share the same emotional triggers and subcontexts as those around me, I do not trust my emotions as any sort of guide or aid in interacting with others.
I am capable of laughing when someone is being very serious, or getting very upset when they are joking.
This causes terrible conflicts and misunderstandings, so I tend to remain in a non-emotional analytical state, which makes me seem "cold" to others and hinders relationships.
But I am not disconnected from my emotional flows- I observe and experience them, and identify with them to an extent. I just consider them a subjective experience, mine only, and not having anything to do with anyone else (however important they are for me).

But within these contexts and environments, relations still happen. Even if I could not play with other children, or take part in group situations in class (I was sent out, so they could be taught english), I had a sibling- a sister, who was retarded. She could not speak like the rest of us, but had her own ways of expressing herself and a very individual view of the world and meaning, which I could enter and share with her.

I have had my children, who I could relate with, my spouse, and even my animals. I consider that it just meant less quantity, but more quality in inter- subjectivity.

I too watch the inter-subjectiveness of others which is of a cultural or collective type, and am in awe at how easy it seems to be! It doesn't require any thought or calculation, and so many can take part at a time! But If you have one or two people in your life with which you can have that flow, that is pretty damned cool too!

posted on Dec, 4 2013 @ 05:55 PM
reply to post by Bluesma

Abuse of all sorts happened as I was young- but I am not sure that is as significant in this as you feel.

A unique concoction of events conspired against me. That's ok. That human beings even possess the wherewithal to bring healing to their biologically mediated trauma, is amazing. Developmental Neuroscience and developmental psychology is bringing a level of insight that humankind has never possessed about it's own inner state. Attachment Theory, Regulation Theory, The Polyvagal theory, and the writings of thinkers like Pat Ogden, Diana Fosha, Daniel Siegel, Philip Brogman Jaak (weird last name, cant remeber) and others, they're absolutely revolutionizing the field of life sciences and providing new frameworks - non medicative frameworks - where mindfulness is used to transform negative affect states.

And yes. My state was pretty dysregulated, but I know for certain that it could be far worse that I had it. People who from their earliest years, who were severely abused, emotionally disorganized due to severely poor attachment, have gone through life dissociated. The personality that grew as an EXPRESSION of dissociation was and is extremely unstable, extremely fractured, anxious, tense, and experiences an enormous resistance to high intensity, socially emergent, emotional states.

Thank heavens, my trauma came later in life, around 12-13, reexperienced again AT 15-16, AND affected me for a good 12 years before I got some control on it and began to reverse the effects. So, my window of tolerance was much larger, and I had several memories, and indeed, a long history, of hanging out with friends, playing tennis, basketball, football, soccer, etc, at recess or after school.

Then as an adult, I moved to a foreign country, in which I didn't speak the language, and the culture is very different.

I can imagine. I live in Toronto which is known to be a very multicultural city. I was born in the eastern borough, but between ages 5 and 13, kept moving between here and a northern suburb. Shuttling between these two areas was like moving to different worlds. In one environment, all the kids are black, latino, middle eastern, indian, asian, greek, portuguese, italian, etc. The way we talk and relate to each other is different. It's hard to put into words, but back then, I experienced a culture shock. Moving to Aurora (the name of the Town north of Toronto), I felt a strange uneasiness which I couldn't name. It eventually occurred to me that others saw me as "different". What was it, you ask? I was tanned - portuguese background. I had curly hair. These two features were enough for them to call me "'n-word'". Ironically, the kid who started this was ALSO Portuguese. This showed me something intrinsic about children: they eagerly and instinctively look to exploit differences as a way to experience intense emotions. This is what Philip did. He noted I looked different, "funny" to him, and he made noise of it. Other kids caught on and ran with it. Unbeknownst to their still socially immature minds, they are causing a world of hurt and dysregulation to the individual nervous system they're doing this to.

This causes terrible conflicts and misunderstandings, so I tend to remain in a non-emotional analytical state, which makes me seem "cold" to others and hinders relationships.

That's one of the clinical definitions for dissociation. You do realize you can get a handle on that, correct?

A mixture of cognitive (talk) and affective (somatic mindfulness) therapy would do you a world of good.

In short, there is no good reason why you can't integrate happy states without feeling bad about it. The reason you begin to feel bad about it due to chaotic energy-information patterns that established themselves early in youth or perhaps later on. You know this is probably the truth.

All you need to do is: name it to tame it. Everytime I find myself engaging disordered thought patterns, thoughts that make me think poorly of myself, or delude me into believing there is something "intrinsically" awry in my mind, I bring myself to a center: my brain is doing this to me; it is repeating patterns that I typically use in situations like these. I need to recognize the objective fact of this occurrence, and recognize that I have an intrinsic ability to inspire myself to better regulate my emotional experience.

In a few years, within the decade, schools are going to be reformulated. In addition to the development of the left brain - reading, writing, math, etc - there will be brief periods of somatic introspection. This is essentially the trick to developing socially mature, wise and integrated individuals. This is how you make a more humane society and world.

People who become aware of their own emotions invariably come to reflect on the experiences of others. This is something calling "mentalization", where people "map" what they know from their own experience to the experience of others. Whether this is mediated by the brains strong association mechanisms, so called "mirror neurons", is unknown, but whenever we see someone crying or upset, we instinctively come to "feel" or absorb, some of their emotional state.

Imagine what a revolution this would be. Pretty amzing to think about.

I too watch the inter-subjectiveness of others which is of a cultural or collective type, and am in awe at how easy it seems to be! It doesn't require any thought or calculation, and so many can take part at a time! But If you have one or two people in your life with which you can have that flow, that is pretty damned cool too!


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