Tuesday, February 22nd, 2010


Contextual Essays

Nick Consoletti

A. Introduction

This social action project examines a dialogue proposal by theoretical physicist Dr. David Bohm (1917 -- 1992) and his colleagues Donald Factor and Peter Garrett, who developed the approach of leaderless and agendaless participation in a large group. In a leaflet published in 1991, "Dialogue -- A Proposal," Bohm, Factor, and Garrett wrote: "We are proposing a kind of collective inquiry not only into the content of what each of us is, says, thinks, and feels but also into the underlying motivations, assumptions and beliefs that lead us to do so" (1). This constitutes my definition of dialogue throughout this essay.

I intend to explain my experience in a dialogue group I initiated and participated in from 1994 to 1999 at Eugene, Oregon. The group averaged twenty-three people during its first six months and around fifteen in its final six months. At this writing the group has met every other Thursday for approximately five years. Participants sit in a circle and pay attention to thought. I am defining thought as suggested by Lee Nichol in his foreword to Bohm’s Thought As A System (1992): "a process that includes intellect, emotions, reflexes and artifacts which interpenetrate systemically" (xi). Consequently, the active and the passive, concrete and abstract, collective and individual are all systemic as well. Bohm believed that humanity’s lack of understanding of the subtleties of thought is the essential dilemma of our time. Nichol writes: "[Bohm] suggests that collective thought and knowledge have become so automated that we are in large part controlled by them, with a subsequent loss of authenticity, freedom and order" (ix). Bohm proposed that we could learn about thought through the understanding of proprioception. He reasoned that since there is proprioception of the body, individuals should also have such an action for thought. He asked us to suspend our habit of defining and solving problems and attend to thought as if for the first time. Bohm said that proprioception is related to insight, which is a subtle intelligence he called active information, which is of a different order than ordinary mind/matter experiencing. In Bohm’s view, if we pay attention to thought we can dissipate the reflexes that have developed as habits of thought. An example of such a reflex is an explicated assumption, as illustrated by John Briggs, who was involved with a dialogue experiment originally initiated by Dr. David Shainberg. In the article "Can Lessons Learned from Subatomic Particles Solve Social Problems?" (The New Age Journal, Sept./Oct. 1989) Briggs wrote:

To create a situation where we can suspend our opinions and judgments in order to be able to listen to each other. The idea is that we might generate a kind of social superconductivity by having lots of energy in the interchange while keeping the temperature low. To do that you need a situation in which people can talk together freely without a specific agenda or purpose to guide the proceedings and you need a group large enough to develop a number of subcultures. If two people get together with different views, they will generally avoid the real issues. They will protect their separate information pools by avoiding connections that will agitate them. But there are bound to be subgroups wherein those deeper issue will come up. It is not controllable anymore. Eventually the dialogue is going to touch an individual’s non-negotiable assumptions which will liberate high energy. (112, 114)

Briggs recounted what happened when a Zionist and a non-Zionist had a conflict (in other words, a non-negotiable assumption) over their differences: the neutral sub-groups succeeded in cooling the extreme views. What is even more interesting, the Zionist and non-Zionist, who had radically differing views on the fate of Israel, stayed on and kept dialoguing. Some of Brigg’s work with Shainberg and Bohm is referred to in Paavo Pylkkanen’s The Search For Meaning (1989).

Shanta Ratayaka, in his article "David Bohm on ‘Consciousness and Insight,’" New Perspectives (August/September 1996), refers to Thought as a System (1992) in the following manner:

Bohm points out that thought has its own system. We have already seen that both matter and consciousness share a common ground. Therefore the psyche is not independent from the body; psychology is not independent from neurophysiology. (51)

When attentive individuals or groups are learning, proprioception and insight work together and contribute to the dissolution of the reflexes. It is the incoherent thought which is preventing humanity from both understanding its creative potential and developing the ability to meet challenges intelligently. The rationale for dialoguing in the large group is that the shared flow of meaning between the participants reveals the collective movement of thought and its consequential transformation, thus representing a collective intelligence that promises to change our current civilization.

My personal encounter with Bohm’s project began in 1969 when I read The Commentaries On Living by Jiddu Krishnamurt. After several years of examining Krishnamurti’s contentions, I began traveling to Ojai, California, for two or three weeks each year between 1976 and 1985. There I listened to Krishnamurti give what were called "The Talks." These meetings were designed so that there was plenty of time to meet others and ponder over what was being said. Dwelling in the beautiful surroundings of Ojai gave people a sense of natures harmony. Many people met to see videos at The Pavilion, a building that was designed by an architect whose aim was to represent a sense of nature’s enduring beauty and meant to last 100 years. It was there, for the first time, that I saw Dr. David Bohm dialoguing with Krishnamurti. Previously, I read their interview published in Krishnamurti’s The Awakening Of Intelligence (1976). They discussed the limitations of thought, conditioning, and consciousness -- which is its content -- and the vast order in the cosmos that human beings can realize through intelligence and by paying attention "choicelessly" in the moment. Dr. Arundhati Sardesai’s presentation "The Epistemology of J. Krishnamurti’s Philosophy," delivered at the Krishnamurti Centennial Conference, May 18-21, 1995, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, will clarify Krishnamurti’s use of terminology.

Krishnamurti’s view is that intuition or choiceless awareness is Supreme Intelligence, which is spontaneous, effortless and "Sui generis." not a product of evolution. In Krishnamurti’s philosophy sumum bonum is the oneness of observation, observer and observed: the ontology, the epistemology, and the metaphysics. (7)

Krishnamurti and David Bohm had many fruitful conversations through the years and in December, 1998, The Limits of Thought: Discussions between J. Krishnamurti and David Bohm was published by Routledge, extending the spirit of their inquiry. Among the other scientists interviewed during video sessions at The Pavilion were Jonas Salk, Rupert Sheldrake, and psychotherapist David Shainberg.

I attended the Science and Mysticism conference at Harvard University in 1984 where Rupert Sheldrake, Huston Smith, Renee Weber and David Bohm were panelists. Bohm spoke briefly about wholeness and parts and articulated a rationale for the wisdom of valuing the whole without throwing out the parts. He made a careful distinction between fragments (in which similarities are confused for differences and vice versa) and parts (which have a relationship to each other and the whole). Bohm stressed that a lack of understanding of the subtleties of thought caused the fragmentary worldview through the inability to reveal a sense of order (e. g., beauty). This fragmentation contributed to the pollution of humanity’s consciousness. Although I had learned that Bohm had taken a new direction in his thinking, I didn’t know the specifics until 1986 when I was introduced to the notion of group dialogue in Bohm’s Unfolding Meaning (1985), edited by Don Factor. Bohm had arrived in the English countryside to deliver a proposal in which he aspired to unify some of the anomalies in quantum theory that had remained unclarified for 70 years. The title of his proposal was "Soma Significance: A New Notion of the Relationship Between the Physical and the Mental," and his intent was to describe the interrelationship of mind, matter and energy as different aspects of wholeness. Bohm called this wholeness the "implicate order" which is enfolded in space and the "explicate order" which unfolds into space. Originally the meeting was to feature Bohm talking about his views on wholeness, but the 45 people attending spontaneously started to dialogue and Bohm dropped his agenda.

Inspired by this spontaneous activity Bohm decided to pursue dialoguing at meetings where as many as 20-50 people would attempt to talk to each other in a manner that was seemingly aimless. Among other places, he talked at The Oak Grove School in Ojai, California every year until his death in 1992. Each subsequent year he elucidated some of the nuances in his ideas as they unfolded. Many of his presentations were taped and later transcribed. In Thought As A System (1994) one of Bohm’s finally published works, he described "the undue use of thought" systemically acting on humanity’s consciousness. Bohm argued that thought is a program of reflexes which works systemically to block the flourishing of creativity which normally emerges in relationship with conscious awareness. He got the idea of large group dialoguing from Patrick de Mare, a psychotherapist in England. As stated in Kreeger’s The Large Group (1975), de Mare had worked during World War II in Northfield Military Hospital with W. R. Bion, S. H. Foulkes and Lionel Kreeger. Subsequently, de Mare, Sheila Thomson, and Robin Piper conducted a median group dialogue with approximately 20 people for almost twenty years. (See Koinonia: From Hate, through Dialogue to Culture in the Large Group by de Mare [1991].) As of 1985, Bohm, with his colleagues Don and Anna Factor and Peter Garret, had been developing this approach of "Bohmian dialogue" for about 12 years. Eventually a form of psychotherapy and sociotherapy may emerge from their work; however, psychotherapy nor any other therapy is the intent of their approach to dialogue. (The concept of sociotherapy is developed in Edelson’s Sociotherapy and Psychotherapy [1970].) In On Dialogue, edited by Lee Nichol (1996), Bohm states:

In the dialogue group we are not going to decide what do about anything. This is crucial. Otherwise, we are not free. We must have an empty space where we are not obliged to do anything, nor to come to any conclusions, nor to say anything or not say anything. It’s open and free. It’s an empty space. The word ‘leisure’ has that meaning of a kind of empty space. ‘Occupied’ is the opposite of leisure; it’s full. So we have here a kind of empty space where anything may come in -- and after we finish, we just empty it. We are not trying to accumulate anything. That’s one of the points about a dialogue. As Krishnamurti used to say, "The cup has to be empty to hold something." (17)

Bohm contended that eventually the dialogue would touch an individual’s non-negotiable (unyielding) assumptions and liberate high energy (Science Order and Creativity, 1987).

With anthropologists Levy Bruhl and Paul Radin, David Bohm discussed the ability of hunting and gathering tribes to communicate as one mind. Bohm also met with Native Americans at a conference in Ontario, Canada sponsored by F. David Peat. Both David and his wife Saral were deeply moved by this experience.

In 1995 I participated in a seminar in Ojai organized with Saral Bohm, who is carrying on her husband’s work on dialogue, which was attended by Native Americans from the Blackfeet, Obijawa, Micmac, and Soto tribes. I was deeply moved by their presence. Looking back, it seems to me that the Native Americans were truly focused into the circle and with a great deal of humor addressed issues that kept the conversations going. The book The Sacred: Ways Of Knowledge, Sources Of Life by Anna Walters, Peggy V. Beck and Mia Francisco (1996) embodies many examples from indigenous cultures of the spirit and intent of dialogue. The book’s third chapter, "Learning the Way: Traditional Education, Not Asking Why," states:

In almost all cases learning the way for Native Americans in classic tribal times meant going directly to the source of the Mysteries. The People voyaged with their entire bodies and with all their senses including language and thought, in order to find the answer to these questions and to aid in their understandings of themselves and their world. (48)

Another example of indigenous cultures is found in No Foreign Land: The Biography of a North American Indian by Wilfred Pelletier and Ted Poole (1973). They stated (in Briggs and Peat’s Looking Glass Universe: The Emerging Science of Wholeness [1984]), as follows:

Let’s say the council hall in an Indian community needs a new roof . . . Well, everybody knows that. It’s been leaking here and there for quite a while and it’s getting worse. And people have been talking about it saying, "I guess the old hall needs a new roof." So all of a sudden one morning here’s a guy on the roof, tearing off the old shingles, and down on the ground there’s several bundles of new, hand-split shakes -- probably not enough to do the whole job. Then after a while another guy comes along and sees the first guy on the roof . . . Pretty soon he’s back with a hammer or shingle hatchet and maybe some shingle nails or a couple of rolls of tar paper. By afternoon here’s a whole crew working on the roof . . . The whole community is involved and there‘s a lot of fun and laughter . . . All that because one guy decided to put the new roof on the hall. Now who was that guy? Was he a single isolated individual? Or was he whole community? How can you tell? (276-277)

It is not clear what form(s) group dialogue assumed in the Medieval period, or even if there were "dialogue" per se. In Saving the Appearances (1965), Owen Barfield claims that Thomas Aquinas’ writings represent an ancient principle which Barfield called the "participatory imagination." Barfield’s Coleridgean view of imagination is similar to Bohm’s contention that creativity is harmonious and rational at the individual, sociocultural, and cosmological human dimension.

In the summer of 1992 I attended a three week class at Schumacher college in England which included a component entitled "David Bohm: Dialogue and the Implicate Order: A Vision of a New Kind of Society." The participants began by asking "What were the relevant questions in relationship to Dialogue?" These questions were jotted in this fashion on the board in the seminar room:

Dialogue: -- What is it? Examples?
                              What is its value?

How many are needed and what part is played by facilitators?

Is Dialogue between cultures?
Where is it? What is it? Does It Help?
Is its plausibility based on physical science?
Just intellectual? A Mystery? A fashion?
A way to a better way of living?

What is its relationship to other concepts: For example, Mystical & Scientific?

Science Status role in Society? and Cultures?
Part of a holistic world view?
Bohm’s work & The role of love?
The meaning of unfolding?
The role of art in relation to dialogue and to science?
His definition of order? Phenomenology of mind?
Thinking -- How can we see fragmentary thinking?
-- The problem of thought pollution? 
Relationship between
          abstraction & concrete realities?
          thought and action?
          mind and matter?
          consciousness and time?
          time and now?
What varieties of ignorance are there?

Upon their arrival a few days later, Don and Anna Factor and Peter Garret briefed us on the rationale of Bohm’s approach. They construed dialogue to be more of an art form than group psychotherapy, and we viewed the video Dialogue Consideration (1990). During a break, the informal and vibrant discourse between people filled me with a sense of inspiration. They did an excellent job of illustrating how the exploration of thought via the process of dialogue also reveals the limitations of thought. Engaging with others in this circle made me aware that my view is only one view among many. Approximately twenty people participated, observing and fashioning analogies about the manner in which thought operates in preventing intelligence from allowing appropriate functioning -- e. g., a consequential relationship beneficial to humanity.

If indeed one of the confusions contributing to humanity’s malaise is the undue use of the thought process, it follows that the root causes of humanity’s suffering is our lack of understanding of the subtleties of "conditioned" thought. In Science Order and Creativity (1987), Bohm and Peat point out that the Latin root of the words illusion and delusion, is ludere, to play. They posit that the essence of thought is play and illusion. They say that illusion is false perception, delusion is false thought, and collusion is false togetherness (i.e., in order to support each other’s illusions and delusions). At the same time, they argue there is no word in the English language for "thought which plays true." They hold that creative play is responsible and that by opening up many ways to look at any issue, intelligence becomes sensitive to new orders of meaning and fresh perceptions. These in turn allow one to propose new perspectives, the implications of which are composed as the new understanding unfolds.

Eventually, Bohm and Peat said, supposition in the form of hypotheses emerges. Such hypotheses lead to the disposition by taking the perspective as "correct." They state that basic problems of science and societies originate due to a disposition of the human being to engage in a "false kind of play" in order to maintain an habitual sense of comfort and security. The implication is that these problems arise through current inadequacies in societies’ approach to creativity. Therefore, it is very important to inquire into the significance of creativity and its impediment. Improved insight into what is preventing creativity in one’s daily living can ultimately lead to a way of living that is harmonious (48-52).

As stated above, with these references in mind and my personal investment of time and travel behind me, I decided to start a dialogue group in Eugene, Oregon. After every meeting in Eugene, I made extensive notes of my impressions, making no claims to objectivity, and dutifully filed these notes on a computer disc. I soon learned that the content of the dialogue which continually shifted between the profane and the sublime (with hardly anyone agreeing on any issue), is not the most important issue. It is the process that seems to have the most important aspect of Bohmian Dialogue.

Amit Goswami’s The Self Aware Universe: How Consciousness Creates the Material World, (1995) discusses the concept of Monist Idealism (10-11); in dialoguing it appears as if consciousness itself, be it Monist Idealism or Monist Realism (ch. 9), is calling the proceedings. The dialogues begin in silence, return to silence in the middle, and return again to silence at the end. Movement in this group setting is very difficult to describe. The silence that we lapse into is not necessarily one of absolute quietness but more like a brief respite in a turbulent wind storm. It seems as if in this eye of the storm, a new direction for the dialogue is being poised. The main way we approach this inquiry towards the proprioception of thought, is through the use of words, yet the silences affect the participants’ utterances in often very frustrating ways. No two people seem to think alike in this setting.

The temporary illusion that one may have found a few others who think alike can quickly run into complications. It could be that, upon the next "go-around", people with whom one has just "colluded" have suddenly taken a different view, and one finds oneself siding with the views of someone who was despised only a few minutes ago. Thought can be deceptive to say the least, and the dialogues always proceeded through many ironic twists as the various dramas unfolded.

One of the main inspirations of these meetings was the possibility that what we learned might be useful in daily life. That something which often seems quite ineffectual -- talking with other people -- might somehow lead to insights that could help avert humanity’s (arguable) headlong dash towards extinction, is a recurring theme and hope of this report.

The plight of humanity is embodied in the title of systems theorist Ervin Laszlo’s last book, The Choice: Evolution or Extinction (1994). Laszlo mentions four "shock waves" that the human community has experienced this century: the Bolshevik revolution, the rise of Hitler and the Third Reich, the liberation of Europe’s colonies and the dissolution of the Communist system after glasnost. Laszlo says we can anticipate a fifth wave arising from overpopulation, the increasing gap between rich and poor, large scale migrations in all parts of the globe, large scale disparities in investment, ecological crises, and so on. The dialogue experience is one approach toward releasing insight. Other creative capacities will be required to not only avoid extinction but to inquire into many other issues of life which lead to the appropriate action(s) needed to understand life’s conundrums or paradoxes.

In Science, Order and Creativity (1987), Bohm and Peat discuss the growth and decay cycles of historical civilizations, as well as the role of creativity in releasing civilizations from the decay phase. They contend that evidence shows civilizations of the late 20th century are in a decay cycle and that our culture does not currently have a cohesive meaning; we have lost the art of dialogue in the West. The dialogue approach described in this paper is one possible way of transforming the decay and arriving at a sane and caring culture.

Bohm and his colleagues define dialogue as "a going through together." Some of the details about this rationale are developed by de Mare, who, in a chapter entitled "The Politics of the Large Group" in Lionel Kreeger’s book The Large Group (1975), claims that the Greeks dialogued with as many as one hundred people sitting in concentric circles, often in theatrical performances. Contemporary Greek philosopher Emilous Bourotinous makes a similar claim regarding the early Greeks (see Danah Zohar’s Quantum Society [1994]). In Patrick de Mare’s most recent book, Koinonia: From Hate, through Dialogue, to Culture in the Large Group, one of the definitions of the Greek word koinonia is "an impersonal fellowship between people," implied as an aim of Bohmian dialogue (2).

In Changing Consciousness: Exploring the Hidden Source of the Social, Political, and Environmental Crises Facing Our World: A Dialogue of Words and Images by David Bohm and Mark Edwards (1991), many issues are raised which relate to the rationale of the dialogue experience. In part, the book comments on the subject matter of Edward’s black and white photographs taken in order to portray great wealth and poverty around the planet. One of the greatest ironies of humanity is that the mobilization for war has historically given people a sense of fellowship. In Changing Consciousness, Bohm and Edwards suggest that through dialogue people can learn a sense of fellowship without the tragic consequences of war.

Bohm’s Thought as a System, published in 1994, is a very good introduction to the proposal of the "proprioception of thought" (thought that is aware of its own actions). I remember that he said that thought is a program that, by definition, conceals itself. Bohm describes the systemic process of thought, which includes body, emotions, feelings, neurophysiology, reflexes, etc. Since the totality of these phenomena can stifle creativity, Bohm posits that a deep understanding on the part of a few could mark the beginning of a compassionate culture.

In Science, Order, And Creativity (1987), Bohm and F. David Peat discuss the "false play of mind" as an attribute of thought. Thought presents illusory issues to us as if they were reality. In other words, thought, without knowing it, separates the "me" from what is happening, which leads to illusory perceptions. This twistedness reveals itself in the exploration of the dialogue group, suggesting that a deeper understanding of one’s makeup could lead to cooperation between people in practical matters of survival.

The Eugene dialogue group, which as of this writing has existed for five years, meets bi-monthly. Everyone sits in a circle, and language becomes the means used to explore thought and its limitations. One reason for this is that people inevitably want to understand and be understood, and communication through language is the essence of understanding (See the work of Henri Bortoft as well as Bohm’s Thought As a System [1992]). The Eugene group has no formal agenda, leader, or facilitator. Bohm proposed that as a result, the events ensuing from a dialogue process would analogously touch and reveal fragmentation, thus contributing to the harmonization of the individual, social, and cosmic human dimensions. Since meaning, which is the content of consciousness, is related to the harmonization of these three dimensions, a proprioception or self awareness would emerge or emanate between the participants. Understandings of the collective proprioception would be an awakened attentiveness to the undue use of thought, which to Bohm is the main causation of the fragmented human world.

To date, On Dialogue (ed. Nichol 1996) is the most comprehensive single documentation of the process. "Perhaps most importantly, dialogue explores the manner in which thought -- viewed by Bohm as an inherently limited medium, rather than an objective representation of reality -- is generated and sustained at the collective level" (vi). Bohm introduces the value of sustaining this dialogue experience:

To my knowledge experience has shown that if such a group continues to meet regularly, social conventions begin to wear thin, and the content of sub-cultural differences begins to assert itself, regardless of the topic du jour. This emergent friction between contrasting values is at the heart of dialogue, in that it allows the participants to notice the assumptions that are active in the group, including one’s own personal assumptions. (ix)

Bohm proceeds to talk about the dialogue experience as moving in a nonlinear and recursive manner:

Even then, the creative potential of the dialogue -- its capacity to reveal the deeper structures of consciousness -- depends upon sustained, serious application by the participants themselves. We find here a pivotal definition: dialogue is aimed at the understanding of consciousness per se, as well as exploring the problematic nature of today’s relationship and communication. This definition provides a foundation, a reference point if you will, for the key components of dialogue: shared meaning; the nature of collective thought; the persuasiveness of fragmentation; the function of awareness; the microcultural context; undirected inquiry; impersonal fellowship; and the paradox of observer and observed. (ix)

Another important point about Bohmian Dialogue is stressed by Nichol:

As Bohm himself emphasized, however, dialogue is a process of direct, face to face encounter, not to be confused with endless theorizing and speculation. In a time of accelerating abstractions and seamless digital representations, it is this insistence on facing the inconvenient messiness of daily, corporeal experience that is perhaps most radical of all . . . As the very nature of thought is to select limited abstractions from the world, it can never really approach the ‘ground of our being’ -- that which is unlimited. Yet at the same time, human beings have an intrinsic need to understand and relate to the ‘cosmic dimension’ of existence.’ To address this apparent disjuncture in our experience, Bohm proposes that attention, unlike thought, is potentially unrestricted and therefore capable of apprehending the subtle nature of the ‘unlimited.’ While the language of such exploration is necessarily metaphorical and inferential, Bohm nonetheless insisted that sustained inquiry into the nature of consciousness and the ‘ground of being’ is essential if we are to have some prospect of bringing an end to fragmentation in the world. It was his firm belief that this fragmentation is rooted in the incoherence of our thought processes, not in immutable laws of nature. (xvii)

The psychological dimension of consciousness, as it relates to the study of psyches, is addressed more thoroughly and specifically in the conclusion of this paper. The notion of a self cast in the multidimensional setting of the Bohmian circle must now be briefly acknowledged.

Robert Ornstein in his "The Esoteric and Modern Psychologies of Awareness," from The Meeting of the Ways: Explorations in East/West Psychology, ed. John Welwood (1979), talks about the tendency of the brain to simplify by model-making. Ornstein writes:

Psychology is primarily the science of consciousness . . . . It is time once again to open the scope of psychology to areas of thought that have not been fully represented in contemporary research and to return to the primary source, to the analysis of consciousness. . . . How we make sense out of the world: First: we use our sensory systems to discard and simplify incoming information. Second: we filter out the amount of information out of which we construct our awareness. These dimensions have been called in psychology ‘unconscious inferences, personal constructs, category systems, efferent readiness or transactions,’ depending on the writers style or level of analysis. (136-140)

This essay concerning my experiences in Bohmian dialogue contains largely personal constructs based on my notes and interpretations.

In his book The Roots of Consciousness: Psychic Exploration Through, History, Science and Experience (1993), Jeffrey Mischlove makes some timely remarks about the return of psychology to the age old question of consciousness. Mischlove writes about the scientific exploration of consciousness:

It may seem ironic that a book titled The Roots of Consciousness has little to say about the field of psychology itself. The primary reasons for this situation is that in developing itself as a scientific discipline, psychology has moved away from the fundamental question of the human psyche in order to address more measurable, tangible issues that could probably be addressed by existing scientific methods. (276)

Mischlove also mentions a remark made by Karl Pribram that the recent interest in consciousness had rekindled age old issues concerning the mind/body -- largely due to the implications of research findings in cognitive science -- especially the findings from the work with split-brain patients of Roger Sperry and colleagues (which appeared as instrumental in closing the gap between the physicalists and mentalists). In the article "The Selfless Soul -- An Exploration into the Psychological Mutation of Man as proposed by J. Krishnamurti" presented at the Krishnamurti Centennial (1995), Manfred Mueller argues:

There currently is no well known psychological theory, no model of the human psyche, which maintains that the individual self and personality is based on a collective illusion of separation based on the erroneous notion of an agency of cognition. Psychology mirrors the popular view of personality as a fixed structure. (6)

Mueller therefore contends:

The most serious question of all remains: Can the mind, heart, and soul of humans change or mutate -- even inside their brain cells -- through insight . . . . There is probably no academic discipline that is as epistemologically fragmented and so full of fundamental methodological incongruities as the field of psychology was until about twenty years ago. There is in fact still no such thing as a single discipline called psychology. As recently as twenty years ago, the research methodologies and basic assumptions for the study of human behavior and experience within the so-called behavioral sciences were as dissimilar as the field of astronomy is from home economics.

In the last twenty years a dramatic paradigm shift has taken place. With increasing acceptance of cognition as a determining factor in behavior, the study of consciousness has become an acceptable object of scientific study, and has resulted in the virtual abandonment of the previous antagonism between the mentalists and physicalists. (7-8)

One of my rationales for placing my work concerning consciousness into a

"multidimensional" setting is stated by D.C. Mortenson in his book Communication, The Study of Human Interaction (1972).

A multidimensional framework eliminates the difficulties of trying to force all the complexities of communication behavior into a single, all-encompassing criterion that invariably ignores both the differences in constituent processes and the interactions among various clusters of factors. Also, a multi-dimensional framework does not force us to choose among competing theories (learning, cognitive balance, social exchange) or even theoretical orientations (functional versus structural, psychological versus anthropological. (24)

This multidimensional approach allows for many views to be probed. It is hoped that the heuristic value of such modeling will result in new insights toward the creation of a sane and viable world.


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