Saturday, November 30, 2013

More interbeing

Continuing from the last post, the Faber quote also reminds me of some past posts, like this one:

Here's an excerpt from a relevant article by Evan Thompson called "From intersubjectivity to interbeing":


Human consciousness is not located in the head, but is immanent in the living body and the interpersonal social world. One’s consciousness of oneself as an embodied individual embedded in the world emerges through empathic cognition of others. Consciousness is not some peculiar qualitative aspect of private mental states, nor a property of the brain inside the skull; it is a relational mode of being of the whole person embedded in the natural environment and the human social world.

The purpose of this report is to present this perspective on human consciousness with an eye to its implications for the emerging field of consciousness studies. 

Guiding questions

Two main questions will guide this report:

How can recent research in cognitive science help us to understand intersubjective consciousness and empathy as part of our natural, evolutionary heritage?

How can phenomenological methods and contemplative practices deepen and guide scientific research on intersubjective consciousness? 

Conceptual architecture

The conceptual architecture of the report can be summarized in three main points: 

Individual human consciousness emerges from the dynamic interrelation of self and other, and is therefore inherently intersubjective.

Cognitive science and the philosophical tradition of Continental European Phenomenology* provide the main support for this point. 

A deep understanding of intersubjectivity requires an understanding of empathy as the basic mode of experience in which one relates to others and understands their experiences. Empathy is developmental and opens up pathways to self-transcendent or non-egocentric modes of "interbeing."

Phenomenology and the contemplative and meditative psychologies of the world’s wisdom traditions provide the main support for this point. 

Real progress in the understanding of intersubjectivity requires a "science of interbeing" that integrates the methods of cognitive science, Phenomenology, and contemplative and meditative psychologies.

The previous two points provide the main support for this conclusion."

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