Yksinäisyyden vähentäminen

Tein minikatsauksen yksinäisyyden vähentämiseen kohdistetuista interventiosta. Alla pääpointteja.

Laadukkaita tutkimuksia yksinäisyyttä vähentävistä interventioista ei ole vielä kovin paljoa. Interventiotutkimuksia on tehty eniten vanhemman väestön yksinäisyyteen liittyen. Erityyppisiä interventioita on tutkittu, mm. sosiaalisten taitojen parantaminen, sosiaalisen tuen lisääminen, sosiaalisen kanssakäymisen mahdollistavien tilaisuuksien lisääminen ja epäedullisten sosiaalisten kognitioiden muuttaminen (Masi et al., 2011).

Alustavan tutkimusnäytön mukaan tehokkaimmilta vaikuttavat sosiaaliseen kognitioiden muuttamiseen tähtäävät kognitiiviset ja kognitiivis-behavioraaliset interventiot (Mann et al., 2017; Masi et al., 2011; Pamela Qualter et al., 2015). Näitä ovat mm. sosiaalisen hyväksynnän virittämiseen (priming) tähtäävät interventiot ja kognitiivis-behavioraalinen terapia (CBT). Sosiaalisen hyväksynnän virittämiseen tähtäävssä interventioissa pyritään lisäämään tarkkaavuuden kohdistumista sosiaalisen ympäristön positiivisten seikkoihin ja mahdollisuuksiin (Pamela Qualter et al., 2015). Kognitiivs-behavioraalinen terapia pyrkii vaikuttamaan haitallisiin sosiaalisiin kognitioihin, joita ovat mm. negatiiviset asenteet, automaattiset negatiiviset ajatukset muista ja sosiaalisista interaktiosta, uskomukset siitä, että ei voi luottaa muihin, alhainen itsetunto, ulkoinen hallintakäsitys  (en voi itse vaikuttaa sosiaaliseen elämäni kehittymiseen tai yksinäisyyteeni) (Pamela Qualter et al., 2015; S. Cacioppo et al., 2015).

(Masi et al., 2011) ja (S. Cacioppo et al., 2015) mukaan näyttää siltä, että sosiaalisen kanssakäymisen mahdollisuuksien lisääminen ei auta yksinäisyyden vähentämisessä. Koska tutkimukset ovat keskittyneet pääasiassa vanhempaan väestöön, voi sosiaalisen kanssakäymisen mahdollisuuksien lisääminen olla tehokas interventio muissa kohderyhmissä (Pamela Qualter et al., 2015).

Yksinäisyyttä voidaan todennäköisesti vähentää myös hoitamalla paremmin terveys- ja mielenterveysongelmia, joihin usein liittyy yksinäisyyttä

(Pamela Qualter et al., 2015) mainitsevat, on ennaltaehkäisyn osalta otollisin ajankohta lapsuus ja nuoruus, jolloin koko ikäluokka on helposti saavutettavissa koulujen välityksellä.

Viiden vuoden iässä pitkittynyttä yksinäisyyttä myöhemmin lapsuudessa ja nuoruudessa (high stable -trajectory) ennustivat seuraavat tekijät: uskomukset liittyen epäluottamukseen, matala luottamus, matala vertaisten hyväksyntä, negatiivinen reaktiivisuus, internalisoiva attribuutiotyyli, matala itsetunto ja passiivisuus havainnoidussa leikkitilanteessa. (P. Qualter et al., 2013) Tutkimuksen mukaan heikommat sosiaaliset taidot, masennus ja aggressiivisuus seitsemän vuoden ikäisenä ennusti korkeampaa yksinäisyyttä ja yksinäisyyden kasvua ikävuoteen 15 mennessä. (Schinka, van Dulmen, Mata, Bossarte, & Swahn, 2013). Yllä oleviin kohdistuvat interventiot ja preventiot voivat ennaltaehkäistä pitkittynyttä yksinäisyyttä lapsuudessa ja nuoruudessa.

My lifeview

(based on the exercise in the book Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett)

We are here to explore ourselves and the universe, love, and create things of beauty and transcendence.

Meaning of life is to give my gifts as fully as possible with love and dissolve in the bliss of this process. And to enjoy life, have fun and love lots.

Each person is free and responsible for themselves. People come together to negotiate a society and cooperate to serve mutual interests.

Family is the root. And the leaves and fruits the tree bears. Finland, my homeland, is also a part of my roots. We all live in the spaceship Earth as for now.

Good is to help the potential to flourish and grow. Evil is the hindrance and blocking of potential.

Joy and happy heart are the manifestations of a good life. Love is truth and together they are everything. Suffering, sorrow, letting go and dying are integral to life.

Peace is good because it leads to flourishing of potentials. Justice and righteousness are the very fabric of society and all cooperation among people. Without justice society will crumble like a house without a solid foundation. Strife is a dynamic in society because of people want the same things, have limited comprehension and many are self-righteous.

I don’t know if there is a god or something transcendent but life and existence itself is miraculous.

Prokrastinaatio on opittu tapa

Prokrastinaatio. Oon ollu flunssassa. Potiessani kävin tällaisen ilmaisen nettikurssin “Learning how to learn”, joka on yksi suositummista MOOC:sta netissä. Tykkäsin kurssilla esitetystä lähestymistavasta prorastinaatioon, joka meni suurin piirtein näin:

-Prokrastinaatio on opittu tapa
-Tapa koostuu kolmesta osioista (tapasilmukka): 1. aktivoiva tapahtuma (triggeri) -> 2. rutiini 3. palkinto (kurssilla itse asiassa mainittiin vielä neljäs osio: uskomus)
– Prokrastinaation tapauksessa esim. 1. väsyttää, istun tietokoneella ja tiedän että seuraavaksi pitäisi tehdä ärsyttävä homma X -> 2. meen facebookkiin -> 3. saan palkinnoksi hetkellisen hyvänolontunteen ja dopamiinipurskeen
– Tavan muuttaminen tapahtuu nykytietämyksen mukaan parhaiten (tässä on omaa tietoa – tätä ei ollut kurssilla) niin, että muutetaan rutiinia – korvataan se – muiden osioiden säilyessä mahdollisimman samantyyppisenä. Tavan muuttaminen vaatii toistoja, joka vie usein joku pari kk.
– mun mielestä jo pelkkä tietoisuus prokrastinaation triggereistä, rutiineista ja palkinnoista auttaa hallitsemaan asiaa : esim. voi minimoida triggereitä, korvata rutiineja paremmilla ja hakea vastaavia palkintoja paremmilla tavoilla

https://www.coursera.org/learn/learning-how-to-learn

Lahjakkuus vs. harjoitus (Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise)

Alla oleva perustuu Anders Ericssonin kirjaan Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise (Ericsson, Anders & Pool, Robert 2016)

– Harjoittelun määrä ja laatu ratkaisee pitkässä juoksussa kuinka taitava henkilöstä tulee (taidosta ja alasta riippumatta)

– “Luonnonlahjakkuus” (kuten korkea ÄO) auttaa kun taitoa opetellaan ensimmäisiä kertoja

– Tietyillä aloilla saattaa olla minimilahjakkuusraja, jotta voi kehittyä alansa huipuksi

– Havaitut korrelaatiot esim ÄO:n (yksi mittari “sisäsyntyiselle” lahjakkuudelle) ja tieteellisen menestyksen välillä voivat pääosin selittyä valintaefektillä – prosessit, joiden kautta porukkaa valikoituu tutkijapolulle suodattavat tietynlaiset ominaisuudet omaavia henkilöitä (mm. kannustus niille jotka oppiva nopeiten alussa, harjoittelun merkityksen vähättely, lasten erilaisista kulttuurillisista, ei biologisista, perhetaustoista seuraavat erilaiset motivationaaliset, kyvylliset, asenteelliset valmiudet) kuin sillä, että korkean ÄO:n taustalla olevat ominaisuudet mahdollistaisivat menestyksen tai taitavaksi tulemisen

“We do know— and this is important— that among those people who have practiced enough and have reached a certain level of skill in their chosen field, there is no evidence that any genetically determined abilities play a role in deciding who will be among the best. Once you get to the top, it isn’t natural talent that makes the difference, at least not “talent” in the way it is usually understood as an innate ability to excel at a particular activity. ”

“This is the dark side of believing in innate talent. It can beget a tendency to assume that some people have a talent for something and others don’t and that you can tell the difference early on. If you believe that, you encourage and support the “talented” ones and discourage the rest, creating the self-fulfilling prophecy. It is human nature to want to put effort— time, money, teaching, encouragement, support— where it will do the most good and also to try to protect kids from disappointment. There is usually nothing nefarious going on here, but the results can be incredibly damaging. ”

“…studies done in adults have generally found adult chess players to have no better visuospatial abilities than normal non-chess-playing adults. Research has also shown that skilled adult chess players— even grandmasters— do not have systematically higher IQs than other adults with similar levels of education. Nor is there any correlation between the IQs of highly skilled chess players and their chess ratings. ”

“Recent studies of Go masters have found that their average IQ is, if anything, below average. Two separate studies of Korean Go experts found an average IQ of about 93, compared with control groups of non-Go-playing Koreans matched for age and sex, which had an average IQ around 100. While the numbers of Go masters in the two studies were small enough that the below-average IQs could have been just statistical flukes, it is clear that Go masters, on average, score no higher on IQ tests than people in the general population. ”

“Does a higher intelligence (that is, a higher IQ score) help one develop a better chess game or not? The researchers’ [Merim Bilalić and Peter McLeod of Oxford University and Fernand Gobet of Brunel University] plan was to do a study that took into account both intelligence and practice time.  …

The amount of chess practice that the children had done was the biggest factor in explaining how well they played chess, with more practice being correlated with better scores on the various measures of chess skill. A smaller but still significant factor was intelligence, with higher IQ being related to better chess skills. Surprisingly, visuospatial intelligence wasn’t the most important factor, but rather memory and processing speed were. Looking at all their evidence, the researchers concluded that in children of this age, practice is the key factor in success, although innate intelligence (or IQ) still plays a role….

The picture changed dramatically, however, when the researchers looked at only the “elite” players in the group…

Among these twenty-three elite players the amount of practice was still the major factor determining their chess skills, but intelligence played no noticeable role. While the elite group did have a somewhat higher average IQ than the average IQ for the entire group of fifty-seven, the players in the elite group with lower IQs were, on average, slightly better players than those in the elite group with higher IQs.”

“The results from the chess study provide a crucial insight into the interplay between “talent” and practice in the development of various skills. While people with certain innate characteristics— IQ, in the case of the chess study— may have an advantage when first learning a skill, that advantage gets smaller over time, and eventually the amount and the quality of practice take on a much larger role in determining how skilled a person becomes. “

Kommentaari: So Good That They Can’t Ignore You – Cal Newport

Kirja esittelee Cal Newportin reseptin siihen, kuinka löytää upea työ. Kirja on tosi hyvä.

Kirjan keskeiset pointit pähkinänkuoressa:

– Intohimohypoteesi on virheellinen ja mahdollisesti haitallinen. Intohimohypoteesin mukaan upea työ löytyy niin, että ensin mietit, mikä on intohimosi ja sitten etsit työn, joka vastaa sitä. Intohimohypoteesi ei kuitenkaan selitä sitä, miten ihmiset, jotka rakastavat työtään ovat päätyneet nykyiseen työhönsä

– Intohimon etsimisen asemesta kannattaa investoida “urapääomaan” eli kehittää harvinaisia ja arvokkaita taitoja. Sitten kun sinulla on näitä taitoja, voit vaihtaa niiden tuottavan arvon haluamaasi työn ominaisuuksiin (Newportin mukaan näitä unelmatyötä kuvaavia haluttavia ominaisuuksia on autonomia, luovuus ja vaikuttavuus)

– Kerätäksesi urapääomaa kannattaa omaksua “artesaanin asenne”: fokus siihen, mitä arvoa tuotat maailmalle sen sijaan mitä arvoa maailma (tai siis työ) tuottaa sinulle

– Kerätäksesi urapääomaa ja taitoja kannattaa käyttää tarkoituksellista harjoittelua (deliberate practice), jonka kaksi keskeistä piirrettä ovat:  1. Haastat taitojasi ja kykyjäsi jatkuvasti (teet sopivan vaikeita asioita) 2. Saat nopeasti rehellista palautetta tuotoksistasi

– Upean työn ehkä keskesin piirre, “ihme-eliksiiri”, on autonomia: kyky päättää mitä teet ja miten teet sen. Kun sinulla on urapääomaa riittävästi, käytä sitä saadaksesi autonomiaa

– Kun mietit urapääoman vaihtamista autonomiaan, kohtaat kaksi sudenkuoppaa 1) jos yrität saada autonomiaa ilman riittävää urapääomaa, autonomia ei ole kestävää (esim. rahat loppuu) 2) jos sinulla on paljon urapääomaa, työnantajat ja ympäristö vastustavat yrityksiäsi vaihtaa sitä autonomiaan

– Yksinkertainen nyrkkisääntö em. sudenkuoppien välttämiseksi: tee sitä, mistä ihmiset ovat valmiita maksamaan sinulle. Jos kukaan ei halua maksaa sinulle ideastasi, et ole valmis vielä toteuttamaan ideaasi

– Uramissio on yksi asia, minkä voit ostaa jos sinulla on paljon urapääomaa.

– Parhaat missioideat löytyvät sieltä, missä oman alasi huippuosaamisen raja kulkee juuri nyt. Tarvitset paljon urapääomaa, jotta kohtaisit näitä ideoita

– Jos olet identifioinut yleistason mission, kannattaa protoilla sitä tekemällä systemaattisesti pieniä kokeiluprojekteja. Näiden projektien kannatta olla sellaisia, jotka huomataan: 1) ne ovat huomoita herättäviä 2) projektit kannattaa toteuttaa alustalla tai yhteisössä jotka tukevat huomion leviämistä

Seuraavaksi muutamia laajempia huomiota kirjasta.

Argumentoidessaan intohimohypoteesia vastaaan Newport käyttää mielestäni muutamia hieman heikkoja argumentteja:

“This result deals another blow to the passion hypothesis. In Wrzesniewski’s research, the happiest, most passionate employees are not those who followed their passion into a position, but instead those who have been around long enough to become good at what they do. On reflection, this makes sense. If you have many years’ experience, then you’ve had time to get better at what you do and develop a feeling of efficacy. It also gives you time to develop strong relationships with your coworkers and to see many examples of your work benefiting others. What’s important here, however, is that this explanation, though reasonable, contradicts the passion hypothesis, which instead emphasizes the immediate happiness that comes from matching your job to a true passion.”

Nämä kuvatut tulokset voivat selittyä valintaharhalla (selection bias): ne, jotka ovat olleet tietyssä työssä pisimpään, ovat todennäköisesti juuri ne, jotka myös pitävät siitä eniten. Ne, jotka eivät diganneet työstä, vaihtoivat toiseen, kun aika oli kypsä

Newport argumentoi intohimohypoteesia vastaan myös itseohjautuvuusteoriaan pohjautuen:

“Of equal interest is what this list of basic psychological needs does not include. Notice, scientists did not find “matching work to pre-existing passions” as being important for motivation. The traits they did find, by contrast, are more general and are agnostic to the specific type of work in question. Competence and autonomy, for example, are achievable by most people in a wide variety of jobs— assuming they’re willing to put in the hard work required for mastery. This message is not as inspiring as “follow your passion and you’ll immediately be happy,” but it certainly has a ring of truth. In other words, working right trumps finding the right work.”

Mun ymmäryksen mukaan itseohjautuvuusteorian autonomia-tarpeeseen kuuluu se, että tekee jotain omasta vapaasta tahdostaan. Autonomia toteutuu työssä parhaiten silloin, kun teet jotain ihan vaan tekemisen ilosta – eli tekisit sitä, vaikka et saisi siitä rahaakaan. Tältä osin autonomia ei nähdäkseni voi yhtä helposti yhden yksilön tapauksessa toteutua hyvin erilaisissa töissä sen takia, että ihmisillä on yksilölliset mieltymykset, jotka rajaavat potentiaalisten huippuduunien määrää. Autonomian suppeampi versio – se että saat ison vapauden päättää kuinka teet työtä ja milloin – voi taas toteutua hyvinkin monissa erinlaisissa duuneissa.

Urapääoman osalta ei ole vain tärkeää, se, että kehität taitojasi, vaan myös se, että sinulla luotettavaa näyttöä siitä, että taitotasosi on hyvin korkea.

Milloin ei kannata luottaa “artesaanin asenteeseen” (siis fokusoida siihen mitä arvoa tuottaa maailmalle):

“Three disqualifiers for applying the craftsman mindset:

1) The job presents few opportunities to distinguish yourself by developing relevant skills that are rare and valuable.

2) The job focuses on something you think is useless or perhaps even actively bad for the world.

3) The job forces you to work with people you really dislike. “

Pidän Newportin esille tuomasta jaottelusta: productivity mindset vs. deliberate practice mindset. Eli keskitytkö tekemisessä tuottamaan (saamaan asioita aikaiseksi) vai tarkoitukselliseen harjoitteluun. Newport suosittelee jälkimmäiseen keskittymistä. Olen samaa mieltä: pitkällä aikavälillä osaamisinvestoinnit auttavat saamaan aikaan paljon enemmän asioita.

Notes: Brief History of Everything by Ken Wilber – Chapter 5

This post is about the chapter 5 Four corners of the cosmos.

Wilber argues that we need to move from “modernity” (rational-industrial) to “postmodernity”. In terms of transcend:

“(1) be open to modes of consciousness that move beyond mere rationality (2) embed them in modes of techno-economic structures that move beyond industrialization. In other words, a change of consciousness embedded in a change of institutions. Either one alone will probably not work. “

In terms of inclusion:

“both rationality and industry will be included as well, but now as mere components in a more balanced, more inclusive, more integrated stance that will incorporate—and limit—rationality and industry”

The four quadrants: four perspectives to reality

In this chapter, Wilber introduces the concept of four quadrants, the four different ways perspectives to reality, which I think is one of the biggest contributions Wilber’s Integral theory. It has helped me to look at reality in a clear and more complete manner. The four quadrants are: individual-interior (I), collective-interior (WE), individual-exterior (IT) and collective-exterior (ITS).

(Figure 5-1 from Ken Wilber’s Brief History of Everything)

Wilber describes that he came up with the four quadrant concept when went through different developmental theories (psychology, sociology, ecology, systems theory, physics, mysticism, philosophy, etc) and made lists various holarchical maps in there. He says he first thought all the maps refer to the same territory but later it came evident that there are four very different territories the collected maps refer to: hence the four quadrants.

Four quadrant map fits nicely with the holon theory: Interior dimensions look at insides of holon (holon from inside) and exterior dimensions look at outsides of holon (holon from outside). Individual dimensions look at holon individually and collective dimensions look at holon as part of collective or community. Results we get when using these four ways of studying a holon are correlated because what seen inside is correlated with what is seen outside and what happens on individual level is correlated with what happens in collective level.

Below is a more detailed map of different correlated developmental holarchies in the four quadrants (from Brief History of Everything):

A good example of a correlated findings in the two individual quadrants is consciousness/experience <-> brain/nervous system. Consciousness is how things look from inside, brain activity is how things look from outside. More specific example of the correlates is: emotions (interior-individual) <-> limbic system. I guess this is still bit simplistic because emotions are not represented exclusively by the limbic system – though the limbic system is the primary brain structure representing basic emotions.

Wilber argues invidividual holons exist only in communities (or collectives) of similar depth holons. By looking at these communities it is possible to map the collective holons (lower right and left quadrants in the above figure). In human context, we get: interior-collective: “cultural, i.e. the interior meanings and values and identities that we share with those of similar communities” and exterior-collective: “social, i.e all exterior, material, institutional forms of the community, from its tecno-economic base to architectural styles to its written codes to its population size.”

In the more general case, including also nonhuman holons, interior-collective or culture means worldspace or all the things that holons of similar depth can respond to:

“By the culture or worldspace of holons, I simply mean a shared space of what they can respond to: quarks do not respond to all stimuli in the environment, because they register a very narrow range of what will have meaning to them, what will affect them. Quarks (and all holons) respond only to that which fits their worldspace: everything else is a foreign language, and they are outsiders. The study of what holons can respond to is the study of shared worldspaces. It’s the common world that all holons of a similar depth will respond to. That is their shared culture. “

Wilber gives a great nonhuman example of interior-collective or worldspace of wolves:

“Nonhuman cultures can be very sophisticated. Wolves, for example, share an emotional worldspace. They possess a limbic system, the interior correlate of which is certain basic emotions. And thus a wolf orients itself and its fellow wolves to the world through the use of these basic emotional cognitions—not just reptilian and sensorimotor, but affective. They can hunt and coordinate in packs through a very sophisticated emotional signal system. They share this emotional worldspace. Yet anything outside that worldspace is not registered. I mean, you can read Hamlet to them, but no luck. What you are, with that book, is basically dinner plus a few things that will have to be spat out. The point is that a holon responds, and can respond, only to those stimuli that fall within its worldspace, its worldview. Everything else is nonexistent. “

Espacially, in the context of human societies, interior-collective relates to worldviews.

As in the case of individual quadrants, what we find when looking at interior-collective and exterior-collective are correlated. The worldviews are correlated with exterior forms of social structures that support them.

Wilber gives an example of looking at reality through the intercorrelated four quadrants. Holon = ‘The thought of going to the grocery store’

  • Interior-individual: When one has that thought, what is experienced is the thought itself, the meaning – the symbols, the images, the idea of going to the grocery store
  • Exterior-individual: changes in brain: dopamine increases, acetylcholne jumps the synapses, beta brainwaves increases etc
  • Interior-collective: the internal thought makes only sense in the terms of ones cultural background. In primal tribal society milloin years ago, one would not even be able to have the thought “going to the grocery store”. Thoughts arise in a cultural background that gives texture and meaning. The thought “going to the grocery store” can only exists against a vast background of cultural practices, languages and meanings, without which one could not form virtually no individual thoughts at all. This vast background is the culture, the cultural worldview, the person’s worldspace. So in the case of the thought “going to the grocery store”, interior collective are all the shared meanings, language, culture that enables one to have this thought
  • Exterior-collective: [my own thinking here] the external correlates of the shared meanings, language, culture that enable one to have the thought “going to the grocery store”: actual grocery store(s) existing in the society, social system (grocery store in market economy?)

An important point to note is that because the four quadrants are interrelated, evolution happens in all of them in a correlated manner. For sustainable evolution in one quadrant, evolution is needed in all of them. In practice, if you want to create sustainable change for the better, four quadrant approach will help you.

In conclusion, the four quadrant map is one of the big insights of Integral theory, at least for me.

Kolme harjoitetta kielteisten tunteiden ja huolien käsittelyyn

Kirjoitimme Kaj’n kanssa Kehitystön blogissa siitä, kuinka paremmin kohdata ja käsitellä kielteisiä tunteita ja erilaisia huolia elämässä.

Kolme harjoitetta kielteisten tunteiden ja huolien käsittelyyn

Itselleni on ollut tekstissä kuvatuista lähestymistavoista apua: kielteiset tunteet tai huolet ovat helpottaneet ja lisäksi olen saanut itseeni yhteyttä syvemmällä tasolla ja sekä oppinut tarpeistani ja uskomuksistani.

Are you one with that beer can? – an argument for nondual perception of reality

I had came up with this idea when reading the Brief history of everything by Ken Wilber.

Firstly, I am going to introduce an hierarchical (or holarchical, holarchy is a nested hierarcy) “core self -environment continuum model” (couldn’t come up with a better name, sorry!)  which is a rough model of how reality is organized in the individual-interior (see Wilber’s four quadrant model of reality). The model is about individual-interior, i.e. relates primarily to the subjective experienced reality that is phenomenological, not empirical in nature. In other words, it attempts the describe the things a subject experiences them as opposed to things that can be observed from outside. So this is more a philosophical text than a neuroscience text.

Secondly, in the context of this model, I am going to argue for nondual perception of reality (there is no distinction between the self and the “outer” reality).

Core self – environment continuum model

In this model, there is a continuum from our core self to the “outer” reality or environment. In the order of increasing distance to the core of the self, the components of the model are:

observing self <-> mind <-> body <-> environment

In this model, at the core of reality experience is the observing self (the witness, the Buddha nature, etc etc). This is in accordance with the teachings of most of the ancient and modern spiritual teachers. For example, Tolle writes:

“I am not my thoughts, emotions, sense perceptions, and experiences. I am not the content of my life. I am Life. I am the space in which all things happen. I am consciousness”, from Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks (2003)

The idea in the model is that the four components – observing self, mind, body, environment – interact and interface hierarchically (or holarchically).

Observing self has an input-output relationship (an interface) only with the mind. This means observing self can interact with the body only via the mind. Example: if I want to raise my hand, I need to activate some processes (plan the motor sequence and give order for execution etc) in the mind to enable me to actually raise the hand. The idea is that the observing self cannot directly interface with the body.

Similarly, mind has input-output relationship (an interface) with the body (but not directly with the environment) and the body has an interface with the environment.

I am not sure if I can make a good argument for the four categories, observing self – mind – body – environment, based on solely phenomenological subjective experience (individual-interior), that is, in this case introspection. From the view point of empirically observable correlates of observing self – mind – body – environment, the argument for these categories and the interfaces in-between could be probably made easier. In any case, here is the argument for the four categories based on phenomenological subjective experience: Observing self is the part of reality-experience that does not change. Mind is all the experiences and forms that appear. Body is something I experience with either or both of two qualities 1) I can control it (interact with) directly 2) it can directly affect my experience (i.e. sensations). Environment is something I experience conditional to my body.

Argument for nondual perception of reality

The common view of reality is dual in the sense that there is me and then there is the outer reality. Me is usually composed of body and the mind. “I have this body that I can move and feel. I also have a mind where some emotions, experiences, meanings, thoughts come and go.” In this view reality, the self-sense has not yet differentiated mind and observing self, in the sense of the above Tolle quote. If we differentiate them we get: me = body + mind + observing self.

In the dual model of reality, in addition to “me”, there is the “outer” reality, the environment. There is a dividing line between me and the environment. It seems to me that this is arbitrary.

In the context of the “core self – environment continuum model” here, dual perception of reality means that there is something special in the interface that separates body from environment that is not found in the other interfaces.

Let’s take an object in the environment, for example a can of beer. The dual perception of reality says I am separate from that can of beer. The only reason I can think why somebody would state that the can of beer separate from me is that I cannot directly influence or interact with the can in the same way I can directly influence or interact with my hand for example. In other words, I need to use my body to interact with that can.

But in the same way, I need to use my mind to interface with my body. So by the same logic, in the context of the model here

observing self <-> mind <-> body <-> environment,

it follows that I am separate from my body.

Thus, because there is no difference in the quality of the interface mind<->body and body<->environment, there is no reason to arbitrary draw the line of self between the body and the environment.

In conclusion, if the “core self – environment continuum model” is any good description of reality experience in the individual-interior (the subjective reality experience), there is no grounds for having a dual self-sense which separates me from my surroundings.

Notes: Brief History of Everything by Ken Wilber – chapters 3 and 4

This post is about the chapters 3 All too Human and 4 Great Postmodern revolution.

Previous chapters covered evolution up to the emergence of human beings (evolution from physiospher to biosphere to noosphere). This chapter starts to discuss the evolution of human consciousness (noosphere). By this Wilber means evolution in “worldviews”.

Wilber outlines predominant “worldviews” in epochs of human development and correlates them with major stages of technological/economic development. Wilber defines worldview as a way of looking at the world. Later in the book: “A worldview, as we were saying, is what the Kosmos looks like from a particular rung of consciousness. ”

He argues and carefully states that there is not a single pregiven world, and we simply look at it differently but actually as worldviews change and emerge actually new worlds are created:

“This might seem to be splitting hairs, but it really is very important: it’s not that there is a single, pregiven world, and we simply look at it differently. Rather, as the Kosmos comes to know itself more fully, different worlds emerge. It’s like an acorn growing to an oak. An oak isn’t a different picture of the same unchanging world present in the acorn. The oak has components in its own being that are quite new and different from anything found in the acorn. The oak has leaves, branches, roots, and so on, none of which are present in the acorn’s actual “worldview” or “worldspace.” Different worldviews create different worlds, enact different worlds, they aren’t just the same world seen differently. “

I like this point. It emphasizes evolution, development or change in noosphere (or in the realm of ideas) in addition to physiosphere and biosphere. It points to the evolution in interior reality, conciousness, realm of experiences, shared realities and culture (left-hand quadrants in AQAL model).

worldview ”rung” of consciousness Economic/technological stage of society
archaic Sensations and impulses foraging: hunting and gathering, small foraging tribes

 

magic Images and symbols horticultural: farming culture based on hoe/simple digging stick

 

mythic rules and roles agrarian: farming culture based on animal-drawn plow, 4000-2000BCE onwards, some specialization

 

rational formal operational thinking industrial
existential “vision-logic” informational

I find value in the Wilber’s assesment of development of worldviews. It is harder to assess the validity of the various claims about the correlation to “rungs” of consciousness or stages of economic/technological development. My hunch at this point would be that they are overarching generalizations painted with a broad brush which have some value.

Wilber writes about the fundamental paradigm in Enlightment which he states is the representation paradigm which has basically two axioms

  1. Separation between self/subject and empirical/sensory world
  2. All valid knowledge consists in making maps of the empirical/sensory/objective world

Wilber argues this is very limited because the paradigm leaves out the mapmaker. Post-enlightenment or postmodern scholars (Heidigger, Focault, Derrida etc) were the ones who assaulted the representation paradigm. According to Wilber, mapmaker is important to take in to account because it has own characteristics and history affect the mapmaking (what is seen, can be seen). Mapmaker/subject is situated in contexts and currents of its own development, its history. The map depends as much on the “empirical world” as much on this history.

The representation paradigm underlies scientific method. Three most important general principles of scientific method are 1) systematic empiricism or structured observations, 2) knowledge is publicly verifiable, replication, peer review (community of mapmakers, not just one individual and one history) and 3) seek problems that are empirically solvable and that yield testable theories, i.e. theories must be falsifiable (study only maps that can be tested by empirical observation). [1]

I am not sure how the mapmaker affects research in hard sciences, for example in physics. I would imagine an alien species would develop very much the same theories of physics as us. In qualitative research, the mapmaker has a more important role I think. The fact that there is a community of mapmakers (the scientific community) decreases the effect of single mapmaker history/perspective to the map. But community history and context still affects the research: how research is done, the results of research and what is researched.

“Yes. And the overall idea that worldviews develop—that neither the world nor the self is simply pregiven—that is the great postmodern discovery. ”

“And at each stage of development the world looks different because the world is different—and there is the great postmodern revelation. “

In my understanding ,the advance from representation paradigm (neutral mapmaker makes maps out of empirical world) is that mapmaker with a perspective and history (worldview) maps out the empirical world.

There is development both in maps and perspectives. Map is affected by the perspective and perspective is affected by the map. Also what is mapped is greatly influenced by the history and the perspective of the mapmaker.

Wilber notes that in growth, in transcendence there is a possibility of repression of earlier levels of development, earlier truths instead of inclusion:

“Wherever there is the possibility of transcendence, there is, by the very same token, the possibility of repression. The higher might not just transcend and include, it might transcend and repress, exclude, alienate, dissociate. “

Wilber’s example is that in our rational-industrial societies many of us have become dissociated from or repressed the truths of earlier worldviews, like the fact that we are part of the biosphere and part of the nature on Earth which was more evident in earlier societies (e.g archaic-foraging).

[1] How to Think Straight About Psychology, Keith Stanovich

Notes: Brief History of Everything by Ken Wilber – Chapter 2 “The Secret Impulse”

This post is about the chapter 2 The secret impulse.

Wilber argues that evolution in holons proceeds by a process of transcend and include.

“A molecule transcends and includes atoms. Transcends, in that it has certain emergent or novel or creative properties that are not merely the sum of its components. This is the whole point of systems theory and holism in general, that new levels of organization come into being, and these new levels cannot be reduced in all ways to their junior dimensions—they transcend them. But they also include them, because the junior holons are nonetheless components of the new holon. So, transcends and includes.

….

Well, take any evolutionary development, say, atoms to molecules to cells to organisms. This is a sequence of increasing wholeness, increasing holons, each of which transcends and includes its predecessor. Now if, in a type of thought experiment, you “destroy” any particular type of holon, then all of the higher holons will also be destroyed, but none of the lower holons will be destroyed. “

According to Wilber evolution in whatever medium is a process where new (“higher” in the sense that they depend on their predecessors) holons emerge as in a process of inclusion of pre-existing set of holons to new holon which also transcends the subholons in some way.

I like this idea and perspective on evolution. I also like the emphasis on inclusion in addition to transcendence. I think evolution is often thought to mean transcendence, and what came before, the history, which enables the new thing/holon is often forgotten.

Wilber describes a sequence of evolution toward higher wholeness from physiosphere (matter) to biosphere (life) to noosphere (minds).

Depth, span and holarchies

Number of levels in any holarchy is referred to as its depth. Number of holons in any given level is referred to as its span.

Definition of levels is in part arbitrary – it depends on how you define levels. Despite this it is possible to make comparisons of depth: greater depth means greater depth in all possible definitions or scales of levels.

According to Wilber (and Ervin Laszlo who he is referring to), evolution produces greater depth and less span on succeeding levels. This means number of holons in higher levels is lower than in lower levels (tenet 8).

(Figure 2-2 from Ken Wilber’s Brief History of Everything)

Wilber argues that the highest level in holarchy is the spirit. It transcends all and includes all. I think the number of holons in that level needs to be one, because it is the highest level: i.e. has smallest span and greatest depth. Wilber says that “[spirit] is both the Goal and the Ground of the entire sequence”.

I think defining spirit as the ultimate whole contradicts with what Wilber said in earlier chapter “Pattern that connects”. There he says eveything is composed of holons, and:

“Q: And [Holons] all the way up, as you say. We never come to an ultimate Whole.

KW: That’s right. There is no whole that isn’t also simultaneously a part of some other whole, indefinitely,  unendingly. Time goes on, and today’s wholes are tomorrow’s parts…”

If spirit is the ultimate holon/whole and transcends all and includes all, what whole is it a part of? If it is not part also, it is not a holon, it is just a whole. One could try to postulate some circular structure – which I think Wilber, using poetic and imprecise language, could hint to here, for example he writes: “So Spirit is both the highest ‘level’ in the holarchy, but it’s also the paper on which the entire holarchy is written. ” So in this line of argument, the spirit, in addition to being the ultimate whole, is also the smallest constituent part of cosmos also, so everything from subatomic particles would be composed of spirit. In that case, spirit would both be highest level of holarchy and lowest level of holarchy. And thus it would have the smallest span (1?) and greatest span (infinity?) which would be contradiction. Doesn’t sound so convincing.

Wilber argues evolution has a direction: towards greater depth.

“Evolution has a direction, yes, a principle of order out of chaos, as it is commonly phrased. In other words, a drive toward greater depth. Chance is defeated, depth emerges—the intrinsic value of the Kosmos increases with each unfolding. “

Wilber also says greater the degree of depth, greater the degree of its consciousness. “Consciousness and depth are synonymous”. I think tying depth (number of levels in holarchy) is quite arbitrary. Molecules have more consciousness than atoms?

Wilber writes “Consciousness is simply what depth looks like from the inside, from within. ” I like this, even though the concept of consciousness is not very precisely defined here.

The chapter ends with pages of very poetic and inspiring text about how evolution in general and individual’s evolution is about touching the infinity, Kosmic consciousness, the spirit.