Category Archives: Psychology

Perceptual Diversity?

What in the hell is Perceptual Diversity, and why is Polyphasic Consciousness Necessary for Global Survival?

Read all about it here: http://www.izilwane.org/assets/docs/PerceptualDiversity.pdf

“development will continue to destroy perceptual diversity because it exports the dominant cognitive process of ‘developed’ nations, i.e. monophasic consciousness. Destroying perceptual diversity, in turn, leads to the destruction of cultural diversity and biocomplexity.”

” . . . perceptual diversity, the whole, and the synergistic interrelationship between parts.”

“A growing number of psychologists and anthropologists have become interested in the value of perceptual diversity, seeing the use of multiple perceptual processes as positive rather than pathological.”

“According to Walsh, Western culture is monophasic, that is, its worldview is derived from a single state: the waking state. Walsh adds that in the Western world there is a need to ‘reduce this cultural myopia and to shift society, psychology and other disciplines from monophasic to polyphasic perspectives.'”

” . . . transrational states of consciousness are statistically normal.”

~~~

Why Polyphasic Consciousness is Necessary for Global Survival:

. . . when a culture restrains perceptual diversity, that same culture reduces human adaptability, which, in turn, leads to human beings living unsustainably. Unsustainable lifestyles result in ecological destruction, including destruction of biodiversity (or biocomplexity). In a feedback loop, degraded environments offer fewer choices to human beings for adaptability, and a downward spiral commences. If, indeed, perceptual diversity promotes human adaptability and indirectly promotes healthy environments, then perceptual diversity has a practical application in everyday life. Yet the value of perceptual diversity is not acknowledged by international development experts, who insist that only a monophasic worldview is valid. In fact, one of the steps to development is for a culture to jettison its perceptual diversity in favor of a specialized approach based on the scientific method and economic progress. The scientific method only acknowledges monophasic consciousness. The method is a specialized system that focuses on studying small and distinctive parts in isolation, which results in fragmented knowledge.

And:

. . . Systems theory emerged in the mid-twentieth century and takes a different approach from that of
the scientific method.

By contrast, the systems approach attempts to view the world in terms of irreducibly
integrated systems. It focuses attention on the whole, as well as on the complex
interrelationships among its constituent parts. This way of seeing is not an alternative,
but a complement, to the specialized way. It is more all-embracing and comprehensive, incorporating the specialized perspective as one aspect of a general conception (Lazlo and
Krippner 1998:54).

Furthermore, systems theory posits that when studying only the parts of something, one may be missing the value of the whole.

Structurally, a system is a divisible whole, but functionally it is an indivisible unity with
emergent properties. An emergent property is marked by the appearance of novel
characteristics exhibited on the level of the whole ensemble, but not by the components in
isolation.

There are two important aspects of emergent properties: First, they are lost when the
system breaks down to its components—the property of life, for example, does not
inhere in organs once they are removed from the body. Second, when a component is
removed from the whole, that component itself will lose its emergent properties—a hand
severed from the body, cannot write, nor can a severed eye see.

The notion of emergent properties leads to the concept of synergy, suggesting that, as we
say in everyday language, the system is more than the sum of its parts….(Lazlo and
Krippner 1998:53).

In the same way, I see monophasic consciousness as one part of perceptual diversity—the part based on waking, rational thought and the scientific method. But the entire system of consciousness is far more complex and, in breaking it down and valuing only one of its parts, waking rational consciousness, one loses the value of the whole. I propose that in disavowing polyphasic consciousness (perceptual diversity), we may be losing the emergent properties of polyphasic consciousness. Coming from developed, Western cultures, which highly value monophasic
consciousness and the scientific method, we may not even be aware of what we are losing. And it is altered states of consciousness, which speak through symbols and intuition, such as dreaming,
imagining, and meditating, that often allow us to grasp the whole in a way that the scientific method can never provide.

~~~

“Many of these perceptual processes are transrational, altered state of consciousness (meditation, trance, dreams,
imagination) and are not considered valid processes for accessing knowledge by science (which is based primarily upon quantification, reductionism, and the experimental method).”

More examples of perceptual processes that are transrational, altered states of consciousness not considered valid processes for accessing knowledge by science:

rich fantasy lives, intuition, emotion,

Five different categories of induction into altered states of consciousness:

(1) reduction of external stimulation and/or motor activity

(2) increase of external stimulation and/or motor activity and/or emotion

(3) increased alertness or mental awareness

(4) decreased alertness or mental awareness

(5) the presence of somatopsychological factors

Read all about it here:

http://www.izilwane.org/assets/docs/PerceptualDiversity.pdf

Advertisements

Storyboard: Inside the Battle to Define Mental Illness

Stick a fork in it: In the long term, the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is done for.

That’s according to Gary Greenberg, a practicing psychotherapist and author of “Inside the Battle to Define Mental Illness,” a feature story in Wired magazine’s January issue about the controversy surrounding the upcoming fifth edition of the DSM, which has been called psychiatry’s bible.

The DSM has been the definitive almanac of psychiatric disease for decades. But the effort to update the book has highlighted the challenge of categorizing slippery, subjective mental states with the same certainty as, say, high blood pressure.

In this edition of the Storyboard podcast, Greenberg and Wired senior editor Bill Wasik join regular host Adam Rogers for a mind-bending conversation about the drama behind the DSM-V and the quest to name our pain.

click to listen

Mindfulness Mediation Can Change Brain Structure

via: http://technoccult.net/archives/2011/02/06/study-mindfulness-mediation-can-change-brain-structure/

meditation Study: Mindfulness Mediation Can Change Brain StructureMeditation by oddsock

Yet another study on the effects of meditation on the brain, this one focused on mindfulness meditation:

Participating in an 8-week mindfulness meditation program appears to make measurable changes in brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress. In a study that will appear in the January 30 issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, a team led by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers report the results of their study, the first to document meditation-produced changes over time in the brain’s grey matter.

“Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day,” says Sara Lazar, PhD, of the MGH Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program, the study’s senior author. “This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing.”

PhysOrg: Mindfulness meditation training changes brain structure in 8 weeks

(via Boing Boing)

However, this study had a VERY small sample size: just 16 participants.

Previous coverage of meditation.

Photo by Odd Stock

Harm Reduction Guide To Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs & Withdrawal

The Icarus Project and Freedom Center’s 40-page guide gathers the best information we’ve come across and the most valuable lessons we’ve learned about reducing and coming off psychiatric medication. Includes info on mood stabilizers, anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs, risks, benefits, wellness tools, withdrawal, detailed Resource section, information for people staying on their medications, and much more. A ‘harm reduction’ approach means not being pro- or anti-medication, but supporting people to make their own decisions balancing the risks and benefits involved. Written by Will Hall, with a 14-member health professional Advisory board providing research assistance and 24 other collaborators involved in developing and editing. The guide has photographs and art throughout, and a beautiful original cover painting by Ashley McNamara. Download a .pdf to read or a ‘zine version to print and fold into a booklet (instructions included). Published copies also available through orders(at)theicarusproject(dot)net.

Click for downloads

Campus Icarus

Campus

Campus Icarus groups consist of students who see a need on their campus to organize a community committed to expanding the dialogue around student mental health, providing peer support alternatives to school counseling center services, developing activist campaigns, creating art, and engaging in nontraditional academic exploration of “psy”-subjects.

Click for Student Organizing Materials

~~~

. . . In the logic of our modern world, whether it’s in the farmer’s field or in the high school classroom, diversity is inefficient and hard to manage. Powerful people figured out awhile time ago that it’s a lot easier to control things if everyone’s eating the same foods, listening to the same music, reading the same books, watching the same TV shows, and speaking the same language. This is what we call the monocult, and while everyone is supposedly more and more connected by this new “global culture,” we’re more and more isolated from each other. Things feel more and more empty, and so many of us end up lonely and rootless, wondering why everything feels so wrong . . .

. . . We believe that people do not belong in grids and boxes of rootless lonely monocultures. Humans are adaptable creatures, and while a lot of people learn to adapt, some of us can’t handle the modern world no matter how many psych drugs or years of school or behavior modification programs we’ve been put through. Any realistic model of mental health has to begin by accepting that there is no standard model for a mind and that none of us are single units designed for convenience and efficiency. No matter how alienated you are by the world around you, no matter how out of step or depressed and disconnected you might feel: you are not alone. Your life is supported by the lives of countless other beings, from the microbes in your eyelashes to the men who paved your street. The world is so much more complicated and beautiful than it appears on the surface.

There are so many of us out here who feel the world with thin skin and heavy hearts, who get called crazy because we’re too full of fire and pain, who know that other worlds exist and aren’t comfortable in this version of reality. We’ve been busting up out of sidewalks and blooming all kind of misfit flowers for as long as people have been walking on this Earth. So many of us have access to secret layers of consciousness — you could think of us like dandelion roots that gather minerals from hidden layers of the soil that other plants don’t reach. If we’re lucky we share them with everyone on the surface – because we feel things stronger than the other people around us, a lot of us have visions about how things could be different, why they need to be different, and it’s painful to keep them silent. Sometimes we get called sick and sometimes we get called sacred, but no matter how they name us we are a vital part of making this planet whole.

from the Local Group organizing manual

Icarus Project

The Icarus Project envisions a new culture and language that resonates with our actual experiences of ‘mental illness’ rather than trying to fit our lives into a conventional framework.

We are a network of people living with and/or affected by experiences that are commonly diagnosed and labeled as psychiatric conditions. We believe these experiences are mad gifts needing cultivation and care, rather than diseases or disorders. By joining together as individuals and as a community, the intertwined threads of madness, creativity, and collaboration can inspire hope and transformation in an oppressive and damaged world. Participation in The Icarus Project helps us overcome alienation and tap into the true potential that lies between brilliance and madness.

The Icarus Project is a collaborative, participatory adventure fueled by inspiration and mutual aid. We bring the Icarus vision to reality through an Icarus national staff collective and a grassroots network of autonomous local support groups and Campus Icarus groups across the US and beyond.

To read more about our mission, vision, and work, check out the full text of our mission statement. We’re non-profit and donation driven; please consider making a donation if you can, even $10 helps keep us going.

Asylum Squad

http://asylumsquadsidestory.blogspot.com/

http://www.asylumsquad.com/index.php

 

Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy

Leadership Lessons learned from Dancing Guy. Read transcript at http://sivers.org/ff

Deconditioning the Mind

Vivid description of the gradual progress of wisdom by progressively more refined letting go.