Psychoanalysis is Quantum Mechanics

coberst

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Psychoanalysis is Quantum Mechanics

I use the metaphor Psychoanalysis is Quantum Mechanics as a linguistic means to convey to you my comprehension of PSA (psychoanalysis) is somewhat based upon my comprehension of QM (quantum mechanics). This is not to say that I know a lot about either of these domains of knowledge but that I think that you may know more about QM than you do about PSA. The linguistic metaphor and the conceptual metaphor are the means that we humans have for comprehending the “unknown” based upon our comprehension of the “known”.

The physicist is a scientist studying the inner reality of the atom and the psychoanalyst is a scientist studying the inner reality of our psyche. The inner reality of the atom is “weird” to our day-to-day comprehension of reality just as the inner reality of the psyche is also “weird” to our day-to-day comprehension of reality.

Richard Feynman, now deceased, was a theoretical physicist and professor of physics at MIT gave to his students the following description of what physics is all about:

“We can imagine that this complicated array of moving things which constitutes “the world” is something like a great chess game being played by the gods, and we are observers of the game. We do not know what the rules of the game are; all we are allowed to do is to watch the playing. Of course, if we watch long enough, we may eventually catch on to a few of the rules. The rules of the game are what we mean by fundamental physics. Even if we know every rule, however…what we really can explain in terms of those rules is very limited, because almost all situations are so enormously complicated that we cannot follow the plays of the game using the rules, much less tell what is going to happen next. We must, therefore, limit ourselves to the more basic question of the rules of the game. If we know the rules, we consider that we “understand” the world.”

The natural sciences, especially physics, have been very successful at learning the rules of the game. Our didactic (teaching by telling) educational system has been very successful at teaching these rules to their students. The students have been very successful at using these rules and the algorithms and paradigms developed from these rules in developing the high tech economy that we have.

I claim that, metaphorically speaking, Otto Rank is Richard Feynman.

Alois Riegl’s major work in art history Historical Grammar of the Visual Arts foreshadowed the direction that contemporary art history was to take. Riegl was a major figure for establishing art history as a self-sufficient university study as a means for understanding art.

Riegl’s concept of “art-will” contains a strong psychological element that dictates a focus upon the personality of the creative artist. The study of the growth of personality sponsored by the creative individual will is Otto Rank’s major contribution to psychoanalysis.

The individual will means the freedom of choice; with that will comes ethical responsibility and guilt, the footprint of freedom. Will psychology introduced by Rank represents the birth of individuality as it manifests it self in civilization and the accompanying art, literature, music, science, and the possibility of immortality. Rollo May, a well known exponent of existential psychotherapy was deeply influenced by Rank and commented “I have long considered Otto Rank to be the great unacknowledged genius in Freud’s circle”.

If you would like to learn more about Otto Rank's theory, his most important works are Art and Artist, Truth and Reality, and Will Therapy.

“The rules of the game are what we mean by fundamental physics.” This is Richard Feynman speaking and is quoted in his most remarkable book QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter.

This book is a masterful exposition by a master teacher and scientist of quantum mechanics; aimed not at teaching students to do calculations, but at teaching them to understand what's going on behind calculations. Reading this book helps students avoid "a false sophistication which emphasizes technique rather than understanding." Most important, in my estimation, is that it is a book that any lay person can read, understand and enjoy. It will give the rugged individual--undaunted by preconceived notions--an opportunity to appreciate the mysteries and marvels of modern physics.

Feynman, in my opinion as well as many others, is a master scientist, wonderful human being, and most of all a master teacher.

There is a layering quality in book publishing that works marvelously for the lay reader. Such individuals as Kant, Einstein, and Darwin write books explaining their original thoughts. A second layer of authors condense and clarify the thoughts of these original thinkers into a form more accessible to the learning student seeking to join the ranks of the experts. Then there is a third level where a person with fine writing skills takes this material and writes a book that is accurate, polished, and readable for the person looking to understand the general aspects of a domain of knowledge without too many complications.

Richard Feynman is one of those rare creatures who fit all three levels of authorship. Most important to us, who wish to understand without too many complications, Feynman has written a book “QED”, which makes it possible for us to accomplish this task with much pleasure and awe.
 

Bertrand_Russell

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The physicist is a scientist studying the inner reality of the atom and the psychoanalyst is a scientist studying the inner reality of our psyche. The inner reality of the atom is “weird” to our day-to-day comprehension of reality just as the inner reality of the psyche is also “weird” to our day-to-day comprehension of reality.

Nice analogy Coberst, it also cuts the other way. Physicists study the creation and present state of the universe and psychoanalysis studies our relationship to the universe around us.
 

coberst

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Nice analogy Coberst, it also cuts the other way. Physicists study the creation and present state of the universe and psychoanalysis studies our relationship to the universe around us.

I agree and the great sadness is that our (American) educational system produces specialist in both the natural sciences and the human sciences who are completely ignorant of the basics of the other science. Such ignorance leaves our society with insufficiently sophisticated thinkers qualified to prevent our quick extinction as a species.
 

Dogbrain

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Quantum mechanics is fully circumscribed within mathematics.
 

Bertrand_Russell

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I agree and the great sadness is that our (American) educational system produces specialist in both the natural sciences and the human sciences who are completely ignorant of the basics of the other science. Such ignorance leaves our society with insufficiently sophisticated thinkers qualified to prevent our quick extinction as a species.

Indeed, I will go one step further, and say that it is not just the paucity of thinkers but it is the breadth of thinkers that is tragic as well. For humankind to evolve to a significantly higher level will take a majority of humankind to know the fundamentals of ethical and moral behavior, we are far from this achievement. Failure in this respect led to the downfall of European society in the 20th century. I am currently writing a book about this topic and will share it with you when it is completed. It is called "Existentialism in 20th Century Europe". It includes perspectives from Sartre, Nietzsche, Kierkagaard, Kafka, Dostoyevsky, Heidegger, Camus, Mercel, Jaspers, Simeon de Beauvoir, Tillich, Fanon, Merleau-Ponty, Wilson, Bultmann and other existentialist writers.
 

coberst

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Indeed, I will go one step further, and say that it is not just the paucity of thinkers but it is the breadth of thinkers that is tragic as well. For humankind to evolve to a significantly higher level will take a majority of humankind to know the fundamentals of ethical and moral behavior, we are far from this achievement. Failure in this respect led to the downfall of European society in the 20th century. I am currently writing a book about this topic and will share it with you when it is completed. It is called "Existentialism in 20th Century Europe". It includes perspectives from Sartre, Nietzsche, Kierkagaard, Kafka, Dostoyevsky, Heidegger, Camus, Mercel, Jaspers, Simeon de Beauvoir, Tillich, Fanon, Merleau-Ponty, Wilson, Bultmann and other existentialist writers.

That is interesting! I congratulate you and wish you good luck.
 

Dogbrain

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Math is a good example of what is not natural but is artificial.

What makes it artificial? What is the specific quality it has that is artificial? What is the specific quality is lacks that would have been natural?

I can say that math is a good example of what is not zignleblargie but is foogapaziggo.

Until a good, SUCCINCT, working definition of "natural" vs. "artificial" is elucidated--one that is valid INDEPENDENT of any specific example used to explain it, one might as well transcribe fart sounds and present them as if they were "philosophy".
 

coberst

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It is a hypothesis of SGCS (Second Generation Cognitive Science) that the sensorimotor activity of collecting objects by a child constitute a conceptual metaphor at the neural level leading to a primary metaphor that ‘arithmetic is object collection’. The arithmetic teacher attempting to teach the child at a later time depends upon this already accumulated knowledge. Of course, all of this is known to the child without the symbolization or the conscious awareness of the child.

The pile of objects became ‘bigger’ when the child added more objects and became ‘smaller’ when objects were removed. The child easily recognizes while being taught arithmetic that 5 is bigger than 3 and 3 is littler than 7. The child knows many entailments, many ‘truths’, resulting from playing with objects. The teacher has little difficulty convincing the child that two collections A and B are increased when another collection C is added, or that if A is bigger than B then A+C is bigger than B+C.

At birth an infant has a minimal innate arithmetic ability. This ability to add and subtract small numbers is called subitizing. (I am speaking of a cardinal number—a number that specifies how many objects there are in a collection, don’t confuse this with numeral—a symbol). Many animals display this subitizing ability.

In addition to subitizing the child, while playing with objects, develops other cognitive capacities such as grouping, ordering, pairing, memory, exhaustion-detection, cardinal-number assignment, and independent order.


Subitizing ability is limited to quantities 1 to 4. As a child grows s/he learns to count beyond 4 objects. This capacity is dependent upon 1) Combinatorial-grouping—a cognitive mechanism that allows you to put together perceived or imagined groups to form larger groups. 2) Symbolizing capacity—capacity to associate physical symbols or words with numbers (quantities).

“Metaphorizing capacity: You need to be able to conceptualize cardinal numbers and arithmetic operations in terms of your experience of various kinds—experiences with groups of objects, with the part-whole structure of objects, with distances, with movement and location, and so on.”

“Conceptual-blending capacity. You need to be able to form correspondences across conceptual domains (e.g., combining subitizing with counting) and put together different conceptual metaphors to form complex metaphors.”

Primary metaphors function somewhat like atoms that can be joined into molecules and these into a compound neural network. On the back cover of “Where Mathematics Comes From” is written “In this acclaimed study of cognitive science of mathematical ideas, renowned linguist George Lakoff pairs with psychologist Rafael Nunez to offer a new understanding of how we conceive and understand mathematical concepts.”

“Abstract ideas, for the most part, arise via conceptual metaphor—a cognitive mechanism that derives abstract thinking from the way we function in the everyday physical world. Conceptual metaphor plays a central and defining role in the formation of mathematical ideas within the cognitive unconscious—from arithmetic and algebra to sets and logic to infinity in all of its forms. The brains mathematics is mathematics, the only mathematics we know or can know.”

We are acculturated to recognize that a useful life is a life with purpose. The complex metaphor ‘A Purposeful Life Is a Journey’ is constructed from primary metaphors: ‘purpose is destination’ and ‘action is motion’; and a cultural belief that ‘people should have a purpose’.

A Purposeful Life Is A Journey Metaphor
A purposeful life is a journey.
A person living a life is a traveler.
Life goals are destinations
A life plan is an itinerary.

This metaphor has strong influence on how we conduct our lives. This influence arises from the complex metaphor’s entailments: A journey, with its accompanying complications, requires planning, and the necessary means.

Primary metaphors ‘ground’ concepts to sensorimotor experience. Is this grounding lost in a complex metaphor? ‘Not by the hair of your chiney-chin-chin’. Complex metaphors are composed of primary metaphors and the whole is grounded by its parts. “The grounding of A Purposeful Life Is A Journey is given by individual groundings of each component primary metaphor.”


The ideas for this post come from Philosophy in the Flesh. The quotes are from Where Mathematics Comes From by Lakoff and Nunez

 

Dogbrain

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Very florid, also irrelevant.

Verbose regurgitation is a smoke-screen for fundamental incompetence.
 
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