PSYCHE AND PSYCHOLOGY
ANIL MITRA, © June 2014—August 2014
PSYCHE AND PSYCHOLOGY
this document is very much in process. target date for completion is august 1, 2014 or earlier.
PSYCHE AND PSYCHOLOGY
This is a temporary section that designs development of this document:
Develop the document in a sequence from general to particular, i.e. from premise to consequence (a) metaphysics (b) principles of psychology (c) nature and dimensions of psychology (c) psychology of the realizations (d) mesh and integration with the final sections of the template (e) specifics of the path.
The metaphysics shows the nature of the ultimate and the necessity of its realization. Yet the bare metaphysics does not show how to engage fully—with enjoyment—and efficiently.
What is the attitude that facilitates full engagement? Together with the metaphysics the realization of such attitude is central among the ways, mechanics, and elements of realization.
A psychology founded in practical metaphysics (fusion of the pure metaphysics, valid tradition, and their principles) that is optimal with regard to realization.
The aim of this document is to serve the realizations by developing specifics of a path of realization.
Explicit statement and development of the aim above derives template for realizations, specifically its aim and metaphysics.
The statement of the aim of the realizations is:
The AIM of the realizations is, as far as it is good, to know the range of being and to realize the highest immediate and ultimate forms.
Though stated as a goal, the aim allows that the goal—to know… to realize—may be more process, perhaps eternal process, than a final and perhaps timeless state of being.
Note: the aim already anticipates the metaphysics—that the ultimate and immediate mesh; the way to the ultimate is living well in both: living wholly in the present so as to realize the ultimate in the immediate while also being on the way to the ultimate.
The essence of the metaphysics is that the universe and so the individual is the realization of possibility. This implies that the individual is the ultimate but that while in limited form realization is most effective and enjoyed when undertaken in the light of the mesh of the metaphysics with tradition (the practical metaphysics) as intelligent engagement in an incremental mechanics of becoming (inclusive of ways, catalysts, disciplines, elements, etc).
The essential conclusion of the metaphysics is stated above. The important aspects of the metaphysics here are
Psychology is a modern western term. Academic psychology emphasizes a narrow instrumental range of concerns and is grounded significantly in a secular and instrumental world view. This is rather characteristic of western psychology generally. However, these limits are precisely some of the limits to be overcome.
Eastern systems have their ‘psychologies’ as well. They tend to emphasize holism of mind-heart-body and individual-nature-community (civilization). There is a tendency to grounding trans-secular and intrinsic (transformation of being over transformation of external form via technology).
This description is perhaps clichéd in its comparison of east and west but it points to some distinctions that we want to avoid. These distinctions include those just noted as well as emphasis primarily on the individual vs. civilization, the instrumental vs. the intrinsic (being), and holism vs. compartmentalization (e.g. cognition separate from emotion, percept from concept, mind from body, and individual from community).
These principles are recognized:
What does this mean?
While we are the ultimate, the immediate adaptations of our being have particularities. It is not intrinsically separate from the ultimate but ‘political economics’ (and perhaps other factors such as inadequate understanding of our life and death) tend to conservatism and narrowness. This narrowness is not merely intellectual and perceptual but is woven organically with feeling as much as words into our bodies and selves (this includes the various stories we have about our world, our selves). One goal of the psychology is liberation from these constraints without violating what is real in the secular side of our being. Therefore the practice of the psychology will not be merely intellectual but shall also be active as in the Tibetan practice of realizing self in remote nature (‘Beyul’) which is an amalgam of action and ritual (ritual is significant but not merely the formula of ritual).
Therefore it should be progressive (while recognizing the ultimate truth seen in the metaphysics and while adopting traditional including modern understanding and practice).
Even among the best of our traditional and modern ways we find a formulaic approach to a limited realization. In the better ways the goal of formula is not formula itself but transformation. But realization tends to be limited due to limited understanding.
A progressive approach requires that any way be supplemented by experimental action and reflection.
The approach will be equally for ‘leaders’ and ‘followers’, ‘teachers’ and ‘pupils’
While a disinterested psychology is useful, the metaphysics is in a sense ultimate in its inclusion of all being and of neutrality and engagement. Therefore, regardless of the approach to psychology it will benefit in learning from and orientation toward the real revealed in the metaphysics.
The approach is not intrinsically against atomism or compartmentalization (i.e. a structural approach). However, the aim is understanding of individuals and community (civilization) in the world (universe). What emerges will derive from this more than it will inform it. If a structural approach is employed, we anticipate holism:
Soul and its forms (body); death—its reality but non absolute character.
The dimensions of experience: experience-body-world; cognition-emotion (and, particularly, concept-percept and emotion-feeling); and attitude-action.
Secular vs. trans-secular grounding and function
The following are to be revised for later use. They require extensive editing.
Pure psychology is said to be uninterested in application. However, psychology would not study human being only in isolation but also and especially in interaction with the world which includes the individual. Therefore pure psychology is uninterested in any particular specific application but interested in the general situation—i.e. in all applications. Pure psychology is vast.
There are different aspects of psychology—emotion versus cognition, feeling versus perception. However in the organism these occur significantly in interaction. The issue is not of holism versus atomism or compartmentalization but of structural or functional or other markers of difference within an interactive whole.
The interest is in function as much as structure (‘atoms of psyche’).
Mind and body are fundamentally indistinct (see the section Mind)
Cognition and emotion are at least functionally integral. Which has preferred status (re: issues such as rationality is king vs. honor your feelings)? Neither—and this follows from function. In certain conventional senses, perception is of the world while ‘feeling’ is of the interior—the body, the person. Emotion is binding to our nature, to others, to the world; but so is the freedom of thought (concept formation and manipulation) for if we do not know the entire world then free concept formation (and of course, experiment and exploration) enable us to ‘bind’ to the unknown.
To use various sources (see the archive and site) such as dynamics, catalysts and catalytic states, system of human knowledge, categories in metaphysics, central statements, journey in being-detail (see, especially, the section Dimensions of mind), and dreams and vision.
The answer is that we are in some ways but not others.
Freedom of concept formation is at the root of the metaphysics itself—and at the root of ongoing adaptation in this life and after.
However, the metaphysics also reveals that for limited forms realization is ever a process. Thus adaptation is incomplete—but when we recognize this it is a form of adaptation to non-adaptation.
Here the interest is primarily in the aspects of psychology that enable the aim of the realizations—that of living in all worlds as one… of being on the way to the ultimate in and from the immediate. Therefore there will be focus on some aspects over others.
Note: there is of course one world and the phrase ‘all worlds’ refers to divisions such as the immediate vs. the ultimate or process vs. being as though they were real (this note is repeated below).
Focus on the whole being
Break down of limiting world views—not a merely intellectual exercise for these world views form part of the not consciously held but well integrated background, emotive and cognitive.
Overcoming specific limiting factors—‘vikalpas’.
Approaches to overcoming—spiritual openness, intellectual, ritual, ways and catalysts
Being in community (civilization) and openness to small and significant increments in knowledge and being—explicit and integrated, heart and mind.
However, there is ignorance regarding psychology and what aspects will be needed and so there should be balance between the ‘pure’ and the application. In so far as the pure is kept general there will be room for overlap and grounding for development.
No doubt psychology is adapted to our immediate natural (physical including physicochemical and geographical; and biological) and social (including civilization). However, psychology is not merely the mechanical product of environment and this is trivially obvious from differences among species. The history of species affects their differences that, once they begin, small differences are magnified in interaction with different environments and in self-interaction. Via its characteristics of concept formation-manipulation and communication including language, our species has two further aspects—on the one hand its social and cultural systems and on the other what may be called ‘adaptation to the adaptive process’—i.e., human individuals and cultures are especially though not exclusively adaptable as a result of but over and above biological change.
JOURNEY IN BEING-DETAIL lists the following dimensions:
Separation of free concept formation and feeling and perception (below) would be artificial.
Potent cognition (creativity) is invariably associated with intuition (for efficiency) and feeling (for relevance).
Personality refers to enduring characteristic patterns of cognition, emotion, and action. For realization the dimension of ‘openness’ is perhaps the most significant among the factors of a common five factor model (the five which I mention as an example are openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism; which may be compared with the Jungian personality dimensions: perceiving vs. judging—which refers to openness, thinking vs. feeling—modes of inferring, intuition vs. sensing—modes of information accumulation, and extraversion vs. introversion—of focus).
The incompleteness (ignorance) above probably holds for all systems of psychology—western and eastern. The west tends to distinguish mind and body and within mind to compartmentalize—mind and heart or cognition and feeling and within mind to separate cognition and emotion. The east has a tendency to holism but some of its systems are very elaborate. Thus relative to grounding eastern and western systems are over-elaborate. Still, each system can learn from others and all can learn from general principles. Importantly, I can learn from all.
The vision from the practical metaphysics—the ultimate is given, we find ourselves bound in normality, but there are ways from the normal to the ultimate; and these involve mind-heart-body-community (civilization).
The modes of knowledge, especially myth-holism and its containment of and particularization into literal-atomism-analytical… and capacities for these… and their roles in process.
Particularly important is the fact that the universe is not one of good or evil or love or matter or mind. It is there for realization and realization is creation as much as it is passive becoming. The greater population of significant forms is one for which the created ‘universe’ is good; we can align ourselves with this world but should not think it is the entire universe. This is empowering (but may be thought disempowering—as though real truth could be disempowering and must bow before ideology).
We must live in the immediate—including the normal (it is ground to the way). We do live in the way and perhaps too much. We do so in terms of world view, thought, and emotion. Catalysts, ways, rituals that free us from the excess of such binding but also recognize its significance are essential.
Then there is the mechanics, the ways, and the catalysts themselves. There are disciplines and teachers but the ‘way’ is in process—at root all disciplines are experimental, there are no final masters. Science (not understood to exclude metaphysics and philosophy) of the west are ‘external’, ‘yoga’ is the internal established discipline.
Civilization and individual are mutually enhancing.
The practices from the disciplines are significant—catalysts, ways, and mindfulness and so on.
Ways out of the traps of personality.
Motivation derived from (a) knowledge—especially of the real, of death and its real but relative nature, and of the ways to proceed from the local good to the universal and from (b) being in ’being’.
The importance of thought and action, of experiment and ritual, of engagement of the entire world, of seeing us as authors of and authored by creation.
Dzogchen—a central teaching of Bön and the Tibetan Buddhist Nyingma school
Tibetan Buddhism (esp. Beyul)
Technology (phase: artifact)
The elements and so on.
Note: there is of course one world and the phrase ‘all worlds’ refers to divisions such as the immediate vs. the ultimate or process vs. being as though they were real (this note is first stated above).
The aims are (a) creation of a psychic space in which all worlds are as one which amounts to the identity of individual discrete psyche limited in what is experienced as real and time and space and that of universal psyche including discrete and diffuse cases and (b) limited form on the way to the ultimate.
The WAYS are grounded in a MECHANICS OF TRANSFORMATION and being which employ the RISK of EXPERIMENT, REFLECTION on outcomes, and re-experiment in the INCREMENTAL and SINGULAR process of realization (at root the process is not a priori and therefore A-RATIONAL—neither rational nor irrational—which is empowering because there is no dependence on some more fundamental principle). The ways included ESTABLISHED WAYS which in turn include DISCIPLINES and CATALYSTS. Simultaneous to—as part of—process, the mechanics initiates, establishes and enhances the disciplines, ways, and catalysts: the mechanics is simultaneously a discipline of action-practice and a DISCIPLINE OF DISCIPLINES.
The ELEMENTS of transformation include: VEHICLES (individual and civilization), MEANS (ideas and action), MODES (intrinsic and external to identity—e.g., the focus of YOGA and the focus of science), DISCIPLINES (accumulated-formal and oral-mythic—and their mechanics; also classed as conceptual and active which includes technology and ritual), and PLACES (intrinsic: psyche, and external: nature and civilization—i.e., society). These suggest PHASES: IDEAS, transformation—INDIVIDUAL-CIVILIZATION, and ARTIFACT-TECHNOLOGY.
The following template for practice and action incorporates the above considerations and more. The template is designed to be as complete as is reasonable and so for any particular instance some entries may be omitted. In the template the vertical stroke | distinguishes practice from development of practice and may be omitted when the focus is one or the other.
The template is now in template.html.
A path or program of realization may employ a set of instances of the template that is designed to adequately cover aspects of life and phases of development. A typical set would cover a way / practice for all times and places and phases on the way to the ultimate.
I list the instances; the actual instances are now in template.html.