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Overview of Metabletics

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Overview of Metabletics

  1. 1. Metabletics Literally, the theory of changes is the psychology of historical change. It aims at grasping the intrinsic connection between present and past scientific and social phenomena.
  2. 2. Phenomenology and Metabletics J.H. Van Den Berg !   Newton and the phenomenon of dispersion: !   “a beam of light reduced to ‘one’ single ray” ≠ sunlight
  3. 3. The six principles of the metabletical method 1.  The principle of non-interference 2.  The principle of reality 3.  The principle of change, mutability 4.  The principle of simultaneity 5.  The principle of the unique incident 6.  The principle of emphasis, of prominency Theoretical principles Practical principles
  4. 4. 1. The Principle of Non-interference
  5. 5. 2. The Principle of Reality (aka the materialistic or anti-idealistic principle) !   Are the phenomena which you (the phenomenologist) are convinced one in no way interfere with real, that is, do they belong to a concrete, objective, material world of reality? !   The phenomenologist would prefer to bracket such a question because she is unable to free herself from the tenet of philosophical ideal (i.e. that the objects themselves cannot be reached in that which they are of their own). !   The metabletician would differ in that she, in describing phenomena, would call them reality, hard concrete reality in the first structure of everyday realism.
  6. 6. 3. The Principle of Change (Mutability) !   Discoveries simultaneously made by independently working scientists signifies a change in human beings as well as a change in the world. In other words, what’s discovered did not exist before the time of its discovery. Once discovered, it means a change has occurred. !   Could the atomic bomb have been invented in the Middle Ages? !   No. Medieval matter, even in the celestial world explosions, is not the same as modern matter. !   Is it permissible to transport to the past the scientific knowledge of the present? !   Nothing justifies this transplantation other than the unjustified and unjustifiable principle of constancy !   If we open a book written during the Middle Ages which contains stories about stars. We must take these stories seriously, if ever we expect future generations to take us and our words seriously. !   How does this principle affect the writing of history, in particular for that of the natural sciences?
  7. 7. 4. The Principle of Simultaneity !   How far has one particular discovery, attributed to one particular discoverer, not after all also been made by other scientists and at the same time? !   Re: these “riddles,” think ‘morphic resonance’ !   Two hearts, one understanding: William Harvey’s discovery of the circulation of the blood vs. Jean Eudes’s devotion to the Sacred Heart
  8. 8. 5. The Principle of the Unique Incident !   Metabletics is interested in the dog; just because the majority of people agree on something that does not mean they are right or that their opinion is significant!
  9. 9. 6. The Principle of Emphasis, Prominency !   When we interpret historical texts, we look at the facts through the lens of the present. More is disclosed than the event literally suggests. This can lead us to emphasize things out-of-context, which is certainly the road to error. Nonetheless, it is the investigator’s duty to make interpretations according to the Principle of Prominency by examining and exploring the discovered unique incident in an attempt to expose its innermost parts and to reveal the depth of its secrets lest we see it more clearly as it stands all by itself
  10. 10. The Despotic Eye: An Illustration of Metabletic Phenomenology and Its Implications Robert D. Romanyshyn The all- seeing eye The eye of Ra Big Brother The eye of the mind (aka the Third Eye)
  11. 11. Intro !   Reality is a reflection of human life !   The mirror relation between humanity and reality is one of participation !   Four psychological themes are identified in Van den Berg’s work: the character and place of psychological reality, as well as the therapeutic and ethical dimensions of metabletic psychology
  12. 12. The changing nature of reality: visibility & participation !   Natural science (explanation) vs. phenomenology (description): What reality is is inseparable from how humanity imagines or envisions it. Humanity’s psychological life is visible as the specific and concrete historical manifestations of an age. In other words, that we have split matter in the twentieth century is as much a matter of psychology as it is of physics. !   The atomic structure of matter is no more a mere discovery of what matter as a matter of fact is in itself, than it is a creation of the mind. This atomic structure of matter appears between humanity’s way of looking and what is there to be seen (i.e. participation). In other words, human life is the real-ization of the world, that is the activity of making the reality of the world real.
  13. 13. Linear Perspective: The Eye of Distant Vision and the Eclipse of the Human Body Image of Florence, circa 1359
  14. 14. “Map with a Chain” Image of Florence, 1480
  15. 15. What’s the difference? !   Linear perspective: developed by Filippo Brunelleschi and descrived in Leon Battista Alberti’s treatise on painting, De pictura (1435-36) !   Linear perspective, which pre-supposes that space is infinite and homogenous, relies on the notion of a vanishing point (aka the centric point, the punto di fuga, or the point of light). It fixes in pictorial space the point toward which parallel lines converge !   The result is a change in the relation between the see-er and the seen, between humanity and the world, or a correlation between distance and knowledge !   That relation which the fifteenth century artist newly imagines and makes visible before the scientist, will turn into a method, and the philosopher will transform this relation into an epistemological principle; making the body, as a vehicle of knowledge and as humanity’s ground in the world, dispensable !   The fourteenth century illustration of Florence seems primitive and confusing because it is an uncentralized representation (i.e. there is no center) !   The confusion which we see reflects or mirrors the eye with which we see. The artist was trying to represent what it felt like to walk about, experiencing structure, almost tactilely… In other words, a see-er whose eyes are embodied
  16. 16. The screen, or Leonardo’s window Alberti in 1435 described this screen (aka velo or a veil) as a “means for organizing the visible world itself into a geometric composition, structured on evenly space grid coordinates.” The seeing eye (the detached eye, the disincarnated eye, and the eye of singular vision) is always veiled. Humanity sees the world through a veil of symbols or meanings. Albrecht Dürer woodcut, 1525
  17. 17. What’s the problem? !   The symbolic veil has become a literal fact. It has become an object actually placed between the see-er and the world. !   The mind as a symbolic veil? !   The veil has become literal in a specific way, as a window and as such it has invited the see-er to gaze upon the world as if he were now an outside looking in. !   Alberti’s velo is not as a window a transparent piece of glass, but rather it is a grid which is mathematical and as such it invites the see-er to look at it rather than through it. So it’s more like a magic glass which projects a world to be seen. We may even call this magic window the first ‘movie projector’ !   The velo, portrayed in Dürer’s woodcut, intends to squeeze the world into the eye and in this respect the artist already anticipates that narrowing of vision by which Newton will squeeze color out of the light of day (and out of the life of things). !   Due to the veil of separation, distance, and reduction… the eye has now become the measure of the world.
  18. 18. Aesthetics, the Rule of Third, and the Golden Ratio Phi (φ):1.61803398875…
  19. 19. The World Grid
  20. 20. Two peculiar features of this eye, and the psychology of infinite distance !   It is an eye, a singular eye, a seeing which is a monocular vision !   It is an eye which is fixed, a static eye !   This inaugurates a psychology of infinite distance, whose precondition is a denial of the body !   In 1543, Copernicus will ask us to see a moving earth with this eye of distant vision !   Vesalius in the same year will portray for us what this discarded body has become: a corpse, itself an object of vision !   Brunelleschi will father that eye, but after him Galileo and a Descartes will become inevitable. Brunelleschi will inaugurate that vision, but after him Copernicus and Vesalius, Harvey and Newton, will become psychological necessities. !   The living eye will be studied by Descartes from the distance of death !   The fixed and singular eye of distant vision with its eclipse of the body is anticipated in the canvas of linear perspective in the 15th century
  21. 21. Tension between the eye of distant vision and the body The background space is not executed in linear perspective style even though the painting dates from same year as Brunelleschi’s experiment (1425). The Virgin’s body appears too large (an index of her importance) but it is not accurate in terms of its size and ratio in relation the background, if we are to think mathematically & geometrically Jan Van Eyck’s Maddona in the Church, 1430
  22. 22. Horizon Line Isocephaly (HLI): body-less heads; detached distant eyes “Aligning the heads of all standing figures both in the foreground and far distance along a common horizon line…” The vanishing point is the point at an infinite distance where all parallel lines meet. As figures are placed closer to the vanishing point, the body except for the head shrinks in importance Linear perspective drawing with horizon line isocephaly
  23. 23. “Men without chests” – C.S. Lewis !   This principle of HLI places us upon the path which leads to the Cartesian cogito !   Leonardo da Vinci’s praise of the eye in the context of movement: “This eye carries men to different parts of the world.” The eye now carries the body; the body no longer carries the eyes !   Since the 15th century, we have increasingly moved over the face of the earth, going farther and faster, but as we have done so, we have increasingly lost touch with the earth over which we have moved
  24. 24. Two reflections of the despotic eye of distant vision in 15th century life !   1400: the arrival in Florence of Ptolemy’s Geographia changed the art of map making (i.e. good angle, direction and distance vs. Giotto’s art and portolan charts)
  25. 25. Two reflections (cont’d) !   1454: the appearance of the Gutenberg Bible, the first book printed in the West by the process of moveable type that offers a form of communication which is predominantly visual and it makes possible and even demands a fixed point of view. !   The printed page tended to increase silent reading fostering the new sense of distance and isolation !   The typographic man is an “outsider” according to McLuhan. The silent reader is like the artist on the hill above and beyond the city (i.e. bird’s-eye view) !   The artist and the reader share silence, which is the condition. The consequence of that new vision is increase in the distance between humanity and the world. !   What are the implications of this in the context of capitalism and our current relationship as human beings with nature and with one another worldwide?
  26. 26. Eurocentrism and Mapping Mercator projection (inaccurate) Gall-Peters projection (more accurate)
  27. 27. Psychological reality is a metaphorical reality !   Reality is mutable: between man and world reality changes. !   The Florence of 1359 and that of 1480 are different cities. The city has changed. And yet, it is the same city. It is Florence. !   The principle of mutability presents a paradoxical picture of reality: a thing is both what it is and not what it is. !   The real is a relation between the see-er and the seen. If we change the way we see (e.g. the fixed eye of distant vision), what we see changes, too. !   Metabletics leads to metaphorics. The changing nature of reality and humanity rests upon the participatory relation between them. !   The key is non-interference or non-judgment. In other words, pure experience.
  28. 28. Psychological reality is visible as world !   If the character of psychological experience is metaphorical, its place is the changing world. !   Psychopathology is an illness of not only the mind, but also of the world and of the body. !   Psychology as a natural science is historical and psychological and not purely empirical. !   Metabletics is a meta-psychology: a psychology of psychology or a psychotherapy of modern psychology and a psychotherapy of modern culture as a whole. In other words, a cultural therapeutics.
  29. 29. Metabletic phenomenology as a cultural therapeutics !   After Brunelleschi’s experiment with LP in the 15th century, a Galileo and a Descartes became psychologically necessary. !   “At the moment that history comes into being, everything is certain.” “Nothing is certain.” Or everything is at that moment open. Metabletic phenomenology situates itself between these two moments of the uncertain or the open and the necessary. !   In the movement between these two moments, MP remembers that what we experience as the world is also how we experience the world. The recognition that the visible is also a vision. !   MP in its reflections on the cultural-historical world as the field of human psychological life recovers the reflections of the see-er in the seen. This work of recovery, of re- membering, of de-literalizing; this work of restoring the how to the what is the work of therapy, of cultural therapeutics. !   The cultural world from which we seem to be apart is in fact a part of us, a visible expression of a story originated by us and continuing today. !   The psychotherapist hears the patient speaking of himself in speaking of his world. !   Neuroses as “socioses” because human life is radically social. The social-cultural world is the field of human psychological life.
  30. 30. Metabletic phenomenology as an ethical psychology !   We are responsible for what we see and what we say. !   We are responsible for our visions which become incarnated as the visible cultural world. !   We are responsible for the ways in which we imagine, dream, envision, and build the world. !   Frankenstein as a prophetic warning. The creature created by Frankenstein is a monster precisely because he has been abandoned by his creators. What are the effects of the vision of the despotic eye in the context of our current technological world?
  31. 31. Mirror and Metaphor Images and Stories of Psychological Life Robert D. Romanyshyn
  32. 32. Psychology and the Metaphor of Science “In the Middle of Things” !   The term psychology is born in the 16th century. Philipp Melanchthon [1497-1560] is the first one to use the word to describe a separate field of study. Something as old as humanity is first named in modern times. !   The multiplicity of psychological life (as studied through metaphysics, logic, and physics) gives way to the unity of psychology. It becomes a study of mind vs. that of soul. Psychology becomes free from the clutches of philosophy. !   In the language of alchemy, which [James] Hillman regards as “the depth psychology of an earlier age,” psychological life is essentially a mass of confusion, a “mass confusa.” In this context, it is a positive confusion. !   Confusion has a place in psychological life. Psychological life is confusion. It is not an error to be corrected (or explained), but a madness to be cured (or treated). !   Confusion means “to our together.” It suggests a blending or mixing of things.
  33. 33. What’s in a name? !   The science of psychology becomes a historical appearance of psychological life, the way in which psychological life appears in modern times. Psychology becomes the modern name, and face, of human psychological life. !   In the 16th century a positive confusion of studies pertaining to the soul becomes a study of mind, and with this change a new dream of human existence is born. The brief history of psychology as a science is a continuation of this dream. It is a cultural dream tied up with the modern history of things and the human body. The Faustian character of this cultural dream made psychological life bargain away its soul to become a science of mental life then a science of behavior then through the skepticism of Locke and Hume it loses its mind (in addition to its lost soul) till it finally loses its consciousness in a consulting room in Vienna in the 19th century.
  34. 34. Three issues !   The long past of confusion is indicative of the indirect character of psychological life. !   Psychology as a science is a historical appearance of psychological life. It is the reflection of psychological life in modern time. !   The short history of psychology tends to conceal more than reveal the long past of psychological life. !   What does it mean to understand psychological life as a reality of reflection? !   What are the specific features of psychological life in psychology? !   What does the discipline of psychology conceal of psychological life?
  35. 35. The Mirror Reflection !   Where is the reflection that I see? !   The reflection is not on the glass any more than it is in the mirror. !   The reflection (the explanation) vs. the experience of the reflection (the description)
  36. 36. Examples !   Taxi Driver. !   The confusion between the see-er and the seen, the touching and the touched, the listener and the speaker is a positive phenomenon according to MP, which he calls chiasm. !   Who is in the reflection? !   The reflection “de-realizes” the reflected. !   The mirror reflection as a double vs. as a figure in a story !   Thursday’s Child.
  37. 37. Tales !   The one who sees through the reflection only a duplicate of himself on this of the mirror is the one who tells the tale of science. !   The reflection as a figure in a story infects the reflected, and the one who sees the reflection is caught up in the story. The reflection “de-realizes” the reflected as it transforms the one who is on this side of the mirror into a character in the tale.
  38. 38. Two features about the reflection !   The mirror experience illustrates that the reflection matters. The image counts. It has weight. !   The example indicates that the reflection also transforms the reflected. The image de-realizes the reflected. It refigures it. !   The reflection is always in need of being recovered from the forgetfulness of habit and routine, but it is also always destined to be re-covered (covered over) again.
  39. 39. The Immaterial reflection matters !   What does it mean to refuse the placement of psychological life on the other side of the empirically real and to insist that psychological life shows itself through and is a deepening and re-figuring of the empirical world? !   What is the place of the reflection in relation to persons and things? !   What is the place of psychological life in relation to persons and things? !   Our psychological life is not in things, or because of them, it is given through them.
  40. 40. A paradox !   Psychological life is and is not the empirical world. !   In place of dualism (or reductionism), the paradox offers a difference. The relation of difference exists in physics as well, in addition to psychological life, between classical and modern physics. !   “Leibniz logic loop”: the analysis of the physical world, pursued to sufficient depth will lead back in some now-hidden way to man himself. !   The person (the life of the ego) in psychological life vs. a figure in a tale. Depth psychology recognizes that human psychological life is not identical to the life of the person. There are empirical reality and psychological reality, what should be their ideal relation? !   Psychological life is a third reality between persons and things, man and world, subject and object, a story appears. The story which appears is the appearance of psychological life. It is a reality of reflection, as an image, it is neither subjective nor objective. Perhaps, inter-subjective?
  41. 41. The reflection re-figures the person !   Person is a philosophical notion; figure is psychological. !   If person has a logical primacy, figure has a psycho-logical one. !   Psychological life lies between fact and fiction when it comes to autobiography. Influences and archetypes as figures. !   If psychology is to be psychological it must respect the difference between persons (empirical) and figures (psychological). It is a difference which the fantasy or dream of scientific psychology conceals. !   Recovered means only “found again” but also “hidden again.” The mirror reflection whose significance is recovered must eventually be abandoned in order that one may pursue the tasks of the day.
  42. 42. Summary !   Psychological life requires a discipline which is redone in every age. As the world changes, so does psychological life change. !   Things of the world and the human body changes and the way in which psychological life reveals and conceals itself changes. So it’s a dynamic process. !   What does it mean to understand psychological life as a reality of reflection? !   A recovery of how psychological dimension of human life matters by re-figuring the world of fact as story and the person as a figure in a tale
  43. 43. The Ponzo illusion, is it real or what?
  44. 44. Mona Lisa’s smile is the face of modern psychology
  45. 45. Can the visible spectrum be equated with the rainbow? Explanation (natural science) vs. description or experience (phenomenology)
  46. 46. Evelyn Glennie !   How to truly listen !   Embodiment and listening with one’s body as a whole and not just with one’s ears
  47. 47. Literalization and the psychology of nightmare !  The physiology of the nightmare does not equal the experience of it. !  The increased heart rate is not the dreaming figure’s panic. On the contrary, it is when the figure is fearful, when the dream is in a fearful world, that the heart rate increases. !  Psychology focuses on the events and (in)tends to see the experience in them. For psychology these events are the facts of the experience. They are the literal transcription of the experience. They are the date of psychology. They are psychology’s facts. The events are seen through the experience and not the other way around. !  Psychology’s focus on nightmare is originally metaphorical, and its date are not facts but metaphors. Focusing on what it sees, it forgets how it sees. And in this forgetfulness what originally matters metaphorically is taken literally. !  The physiological length of a nightmare is less than one minute vs. the psychological length !  Literalization and interiorization are concealments of psychological life which are revealed. !  If psychological life is revealed in psychology as interior, literal fact, then what is conceal in this revelation? What does the discipline of psychology conceal of psychology life?
  48. 48. Metabletics in the Light of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism Padmasambhava’s handprint in stone