Friday 28 July 2017

Short Observations

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JMH International Essays — Announcement

Original Essays on the Psychology of Anger and/or Violence 

We thank all those who have submitted an essay to the JMH International Prize Essay Contest. As of now, February 1, 2017, we have decided not to continue with the contest.

For those who feel they have an important contribution to the subject of the Psychology of Anger and/or Violence, please feel free to submit your essay with the form provided here. If the judges agree that the essay is a significant contribution, we will publish it here (subject to agreement with the author).

We include here links related to past essays — For the 2014 contest, click here for the summary article and here for the list of winners; for the 2015 contest, click here for the summary article and the list of winners; and for the 2016 contest, click here.

Longer Observations

Inner & Outer

  • Bodily Sensations

  • Breathing Sensations

  • Dimensions

  • Heartbeat Sensations

  • I'm divided within

  • inner & outer

  • Key Concept: Delusions

    Errors, Illusions, Hallucinations, Delusions:

    A simple error or a mistake isn't always an illusion or hallucination or delusion. You can be tired and adding a series of numbers and make a mistake. Or you can hear it will rain today and believe it and be wrong.

  • Key Concept: Inward-Outward

    Inward-Outward: Introductory thoughts on the subject

    As a psychologist and philosopher there are not any words that seem more confusing to use in a psychological context than in and out. And yet these words are very important for people trying to understand themselves and who want to put their understanding into words they can use to communicate what they discover. The following list, taken as a whole, represents my latest and best attempt to illustrate and clarify the problem. The ideas in the list can be taken as a step by step exercise. (To me these opposite concepts are so important that I have written another article, Paradox 6: What is "In" & What is "Out"?, on a puzzle connected with inside and outside.)

  • Key Concept: Projection

    Projection:

    Psychologists who focus on the behavior of their patients do not have use for this idea, but it is useful for people who are trying to learn about themselves.

  • Longer Observation 009: Imagination & Reality

    Longer Observation (9): Imagination & Reality: Forgetting the difference between Imagination and Reality.

  • Longer Observation 010: Sound Location

    Longer observation (10): Experiences of the Location of Sounds, An introspective report: The following is a report of observations I made on four nights over a 3 week period.

  • my breath

  • my heartbeat

  • Myths and our Adaptation to our Environments

    Myths and Our Place in Our Environments

    To make the point I want to make here, I am going to approach myths from a different direction than I normally would. Normally, in analyzing a myth, I would start with the myth and try to figure out what led to it, what lay behind it, to work backward from the myth. For this article, I think it is more useful to start with the myth and to speculate how it might develop in the future if certain things were to happen to the people whose myth it is.

  • Paradox 6: What is "In" & What is "Out"?

    (Psychological Paradoxes & Puzzles — 6)

    "Inside" and "Outside": Paradox, Puzzle, Psychological Meditation?

  • Paradox 7: More "In" & "Out" Paradoxes

    (Psychological Paradoxes & Puzzles — 7)

    Still more "In-Out" Paradoxes

  • Psychological Exercise 01: Experiencing Opposites

    Psychological Exercise 1: Experiencing Opposites

    This exercise, like many that require introspection, is best done at night or in the evening when inactive and when it is quiet. The first part of the exercise is to pick something, anything, and then focus your attention on it.

  • Psychological Exercise 02: Inside—Outside

    Psychological Exercise 2: Inside—Outside

    The logic and geometry of experiences is different from the logic and geometry necessary to get through everyday life in public. Here is an experiment in introspection the reader can do to see what I mean: Focus on a sensation deep within your body. Now focus on one on the surface of your skin. Now focus on a visual sensation somewhere outside your body. Now focus on a far away sound, as far away as possible. Now try to focus on outer space, space past our Milky Way galaxy, the furthest part of space there is. Now ask yourself where this last experience took place. I think you will find that the experience of outer space, if you had it at all, was a combination of thoughts and images within your own head. So, typical of the laws of logic and geometry for experiences, outer space was outside your body, beyond sights you were seeing and sounds you were hearing, but, at the same time, it was inside your head. — If you want to explore your own experiences, you have to get used to this kind of twist. (this exercise is also found in Short Observation 96)

  • Psychological Exercise 03: Picturing the Lord

    Psychological Exercise 3: Picturing the Lord

    "God is in the Heavens." If you are thinking about God, and you are thinking of Him in the Heavens, you are doing this in one of two ways: 1) you are outside under the sky, actually looking up into the sky, and picturing Him up in the sky. Or, 2) you are inside, picturing Him, picturing the sky, and picturing Him in this pictured sky. For 1) you have to be outside, with eyes open, looking up at the sky. For 2), you can be inside, sitting in an easy chair, eyes closed, imagining the sky with God in it. There is such a big difference between 1) and 2) that I think people who think about God in the heavens in the second way may not be able to picture Him in the heavens the first way. (this exercise is also found in Short Observation 92)

  • Sensations that Feel Deep Inside

  • Sensations that Feel Inside

  • Sensations that Feel on the Surface

  • Sensations that Feel Outside

  • Sense of Inner & Outer

  • Short idea 004

    Short idea (4): In the night: the eyes close, the outer recedes (but does not disappear completely), and the inner comes to the fore. In the morning: the eyes open, the inner recedes (but does not disappear completely), the outer comes to the front. The inner and the outer are in a relation, and, together, they make a whole.

  • Short idea 005

    Short idea (5): Some have, as the whole goal of their lives, to come out of their shells and to enter the world and to venture out and to live and experience and achieve. Others have, as their goal, to retreat from the world, to dampen and tone down their experience, to withdraw from new experiences, to filter out much of the incoming stimuli, to protect themselves. The same person can have the opposite goal at different times, even at different times of the same day.

  • Short idea 008

    Short idea (8): Everybody has to be inside sometimes and outside sometimes. There is a door that separates the inside from the outside. Some walk easily, back and forth, through the door. Others have to be dragged in and/or out, screaming. And, for others, the door is jammed, and, to get them in and out, a wall has to be broken down.

  • Short idea 020

    Short idea (20): The same door can look different from inside and from outside depending, in part, on our moods. However it looks at any given moment, it is important that it be well balanced, with oiled hinges, and with a strong lock.

  • Short idea 023

    Short idea (23): Mattress ads claim that the reason a person sleeps badly is because of the mattress, and, if you use their mattresses, you will sleep perfectly. It is the springs or the stuffing or whatever. This is a good example of an attempt to explain a psychological state of unrest or discomfort by reference to a thing or event in the external world.

  • Short idea 030

    Short idea (30): For whatever it's worth: I've come to believe that either there are two realities or one reality with two "faces." I prefer the second. If true, then one face appears in our dreams, and the other appears when we wake up.

  • Short idea 037

    Short idea (37): The trouble in describing the deeper levels of the psyche objectively is that there is a tendency either 1) to water them down (because the experiences are so dramatic you don't want to sound crazy) or 2) to over-dramatize them (in a desperate attempt to express how surprising and remarkable they feel) or 3) to fall under their spell and become subject to their ways of viewing things and of speaking (which is to give up all attempts at objectivity).

  • Short idea 039

    Short idea (39): We can find ourselves in unfamiliar territory such as in another state or a foreign country, but we can also find ourselves in an unfamiliar inner state of mind. There are unfamiliar thoughts and feelings and images and impulses and dreams.

  • Short idea 043

    Short idea (43): A good side of difficult experiences is how they peel off the surfaces of yourself. If you're a fan of self-knowledge, this is a plus. It creates a chance to catch a glimpse of things you don't and can't usually see. If the painful experiences are rooted deeply enough, they cast a new light on ordinary experience and behavior. This, in turn, can lead to the development of new adaptations.

  • Short idea 060

    Short idea (60): Success can serve as an anesthetic for the suffering that comes from peering into the deeper levels of reality.

  • Short idea 065

    Short idea (65): Even in a dream there is left and right, near and far, inside and outside, ordinary and awesome. When the dreamer wakes up, there is also a left and right, near and far, inside and outside, etc. It's difficult to describe the difference. This is partly because it's difficult to compare the two. And this is partly because it's difficult or impossible to be in both states at the same time.

  • Short idea 068

    Short idea (68): It is very important to Adapt. But to what? Definitely to other people, to the forces of nature, and so on. But also to our feelings, our thoughts, our pains, and to figures that appear in dreams and fantasies. What stands in the way of Adaptation? One thing is the denial of the existence of an experience, or, after recognizing its existence, the denial of its importance or significance.

  • Short idea 071

    Short idea (71): First come the explorers, then the map makers. Each child is an unexplored continent (or world or universe). A person who becomes interested in self-discovery and wants it to be useful has to become both explorer and map-maker.

  • Short idea 074

    Short idea (74): If you watch an horror movie and get anxious, and even feel some fear, this is real anxiety and real fear, but it is caused by events in the movie. What percent of all the anxiety and fear a person feels in life is caused by events in inner "movies"?

  • Short idea 078

    Short idea (78): There are two psychological states, A (withdrawn) and B (involved). One's self = A + B. It is only while in A that a person can learn about A, about B, and, therefore, about A + B. While in B there is too much activity, and so no time to look at B. Yet to know about oneself it is not enough to know only A. A has to look out at B and examine it as well. — Further, no one can be in A and B at the same time. It is probably impossible to be good without knowing oneself, which requires A. It is impossible to be good while in A. A good person must act in B based on what is learned in A.

  • Short idea 081

    Short idea (81): I was raised in an environment where it was considered a problem if a child preferred being alone. It was understood as a fear of others, and the child was encouraged to overcome the shyness and "be more social" and "try to make friends." Preferring to be alone was seen as an escape from others, from the natural inclination to be with others. But it also happens that being with others can be an escape from being with ones own thoughts and feelings and the figures that appear in ones dreams and fantasies. Not everything frightening lies without. Not everything good lies without.

  • Short idea 082

    Short idea (82): Certainly it can be cowardly to run away from someone you are afraid of. The psychologist recognizes that it can be just as cowardly to run away from someone in a dream you are afraid of.

  • Short idea 092

    Short idea (92): "God is in the Heavens." If you are thinking about God, and you are thinking of Him in the Heavens, you are doing this in one of two ways: 1) you are outside under the sky, actually looking up into the sky, and picturing Him up in the sky. Or, 2) you are inside, picturing Him, picturing the sky, and picturing Him in this pictured sky. For 1) you have to be outside, with eyes open, looking up at the sky. For 2), you can be inside, sitting in an easy chair, eyes closed, imagining the sky with God in it. There is such a big difference between 1) and 2) that I think people who think about God in the heavens in the second way may not be able to picture Him in the heavens the first way.

  • Short idea 093

    Short idea (93): To explore the idea of experience, it is useful, for a few minutes, to pretend that the following idea is true, even if it is false: Every experience you have is part of your body. Every sound you hear is part of your body. If you are driving a car and look out and see green grass and green and brown trees — and whatever you are currently looking at — this is all part of your body. Under this view, your body has different layers, to use an imperfect word. There is the visual layer, the sound layer, the skin layer, the muscle layer, the inner organ layers, the heart layer, the lung layer, and so on. Each embodies it's own unique type of experience. The central part of this idea is that there is a layer of sights and and a layer of sounds that are each part of your body but are experienced as outside of it — as outside the skin and what is inside the skin.

  • Short idea 096

    Short idea (96): The logic and geometry of experiences is different from the logic and geometry necessary to get through everyday life in public. Here is an experiment in introspection the reader can do to see what I mean: Focus on a sensation deep within your body. Now focus on one on the surface of your skin. Now focus on a visual sensation somewhere outside your body. Now focus on a far away sound, as far away as possible. Now try to focus on outer space, space past our Milky Way galaxy, the furthest part of space there is. Now ask yourself where this last experience took place. I think you will find that the experience of outer space, if you had it at all, was a combination of thoughts and images within your own head. So, typical of the laws of logic and geometry for experiences, outer space was outside your body, beyond sights you were seeing and sounds you were hearing, but, at the same time, it was inside your head. — If you want to explore your own experiences, you have to get used to this kind of twist.

  • Short idea 101

    Short idea (101): Psychologically speaking, sometimes the only way out is in. At other times, the only way to penetrate deep inside oneself is to go outside and get lost in the world.

  • Short idea 135

    Short idea (135): It is correct to say that, at any moment, we have five senses (some say six or seven) that are functioning to get information about the environment in which we live. It is equally true that, at any moment, we have one overall sensibility or sensorium which we can, if we want, analyze into sights and sounds and tastes and feelings which we can label as inside us or outside.

  • Short idea 139

    Short idea (139): I am sympathetic with those who speak of an inner and an outer world, but this way of speaking leads to needless complications. I think it is less confusing to say there are two ways to experience the world: inner and outer. — There is an inner way of experiencing something and an outer way.

  • Short idea 140

    Short idea (140): Usually people see myths as attempts to explain and understand processes in nature such as the cycle of day and night. Even if true sometimes, at other times they may be attempts to explain or describe and stay conscious of internal processes and cycles such as the cycle of emotions (from elation to depression). Inner and outer are both pieces of nature and the same processes and cycles are found in both. So an outer cycle can be used to bring attention to a parallel process that goes on inside.

  • Short idea 170

    Short idea (170): Asthma, emphysema, and COPD are physical problems, but there is also a psychological side which is experienced as dissatisfaction and desperation in the deepest, most central, most personal spot in the ego. 

  • Short idea 171

    Short idea (171): Derived from my own introspection and understanding of Freud's and Jung's dream theories: If you are heavily caught up in the external world and intent on succeeding and feeling you have a good chance of succeeding, then Freud's theory applies. If you are withdrawn from the world or are pursuing private and personal goals, then Jung's applies. For Freud, dreams reminded you of your inner goals that were overshadowed by you concentration on externals. For Jung, archetypal dreams drew you into deeper and deeper places in yourself and in the world as it appears to you when you feel alone. 

  • Sound Sensations

  • the center

  • the inner drama

  • the inner-outer cycle

  • the soul

  • Touch Sensations

  • Two Approaches to Understanding Psychology

    Two Approaches to Understanding Psychology

    We live in a world full of things and forces. Throughout history, thinkers have tried to organize all this according to some system that comes into their minds. For example, Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) invented a way of organizing living things that has remained useful to this day. Another example is the Periodic Table for organizing the elements which was invented by Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev (1834-1907), the Russian chemist Today it is taught to every high-school chemistry student. At some point in history, it became evident to certain people that, besides the external world, there is an inner world that has been called the Psyche or the Mind. Not every thinker believes that there is such a thing, but among those who do, some have tried to organize the vast array of inner things and forces according to various systems that have occurred to them. For the last six years or so, it has been an interest of mine, an hobby, to try to figure out a useful system for organizing human experience.

  • Visual Sensations

  • what's innermost

Two Approaches to Understanding Psychology

via reflection on the world
via reflection on one's immediate experience
Close




   the One   the Whole
the Sacred
the Ordinary
People
Action
Experience
Consciousness
Universals
feeling stuck
feelings of failing,        of dying
waiting
 waking up — feeling reborn
   focusing   on the self
confronting the   unconscious
the whole person
living in multiple       worlds
learning about     the world
feelings of success,     of the good life