Intersubjectivity and Interpersonal Brighter Side Repost

Repost…
Intersubjectivity and Inerpersonal Bright Side” was origionally posted: dec 5, 2011.

 
Look upon other people and see that we are all  humans.  We  roughly appear to have the same forms and physics, the same sets of uniquely  human behaviors ( such as use of language). Upon deeper inspection, by biologists  who study DNA, There are traits and characteristics that are universally Homo Sapien or  human.
Meet and talk with other people and discover that people have cognitive differences of each person; Travel and note the cultural  differences of people.
If  you are one who has used medications and therapies for serious health problems, you will quickly learn the unwritten rule : “what works for one may not work for another, everyone is different“. One can infer each Homo Sapien is  biologically different from the next, Same  goes for their sum total of subjective  experiences. The individual  has characteristics that are unique.

I am  pretty sure  that a universal model does not apply when talking about all people, most of  the time. But we also, in talking about the human race per se , or groups… education  ,communication or interactions ..need to talk about more than just the individual. I certainly want to know more than the individual that is me.

Self and Other, Person to Person

As I am  a subject of my  own permeated world that I participate in,  other persons are the subject of their own. As  subjects we have considerable influence upon the world. a subject acts upon other things.  In  the shared circumstance, such as that  of  a  conversation, or any other interpersonal experience, Each must treat the  “other” as a subject of overlapping or joined existence– an intersubjective circumstance.  Intersubjectivity.

On the hand, a we appreciate, as it were, [another  persons]  otherness, and on the other hand we appreciate the humanness we have in common

Brighter Side of Human Nature. Alfie Kohn chapter titled The Self and Other
Kohn goes on the explain  intersubjectivity in a meeting  (conversation, circumstance, Dasein etc) .  After the two fold contrast of Self and Other arises; and two subjects recognize an intersubjective  meeting, A   twofold attitude with the contrasting  of  sameness and difference arises. This is not a state between sameness and difference, according to Kohn, rather a “dynamic tension of the two”.

One  who appreciates both dimensions of otherness and common humanness is able to appreciate a given individuals subjectivity […] a subject is an actor, a knower, a center of experience and while two individuals share  these features each is  also a different subject.

I would postulate  that one is  often comforted in the  sameness beyond humanness in a intersubjective moment.  A subject maybe comforted in the sameness of culture, age, gender, ethnicity, ideology.  Perhaps, for better or for worse,the  Sameness    we find in other people confirms ones own identity.
We are at the same time excited by the novelty of otherness, sometimes startled…. sometimes curious. If   man is  to reach  beyond his own hands grasp , it could be said one seeks  out  otherness beyond himself. In interpersonal relationships, we very often find another person’s Otherness, including the persons individual experiences and circumstances, compelling or alluring.

Beyond Objectification

Many Neuroscientists believe that they have located “Mirror neurons” in the human brain. These neurons are believed to activate when we observe   other people actions.  In certain developmental stages (the experts argue the exact ages)  one learns by observing others, an interpersonal  action.

The understanding  that: other people  that one contacts (meets and interacts with) in his/her  own experiences,  have  similar  experiences  of their own, more than any stone, tree , structure or object;
and that they impact and influence  as subjects within their own experiences… this is understanding  takes a practical leap of faith.
But this understanding, which requires assumptions supported by a subjects growing experiences, lifts one beyond dull  solipsism and egoism , to the richness of an intersubjective matrix, which is our human world.

Modern Physics may suggest a  “subject:object” or “I:it” outlook as impractical. All things  have influence on all other things in a field, whether the affect is grand or arbitrary.  Any subject acting on a body, whether a stone, tree, another person, earth, sun, is influenced by the other in return. Objects are not static or inert.
For the purpose of interpersonal subject:subject or intersubjective relationship We may  as, Martin Bubers suggest, choose “I:thou” interpretation over “I:it” .

The Brighter Side

The rich understanding of other people in their  Dasein beyond ones own existence is one thing and Learning from others another. We also have to live with each other in space and our societies.  If I am ” to treat others  in the manner I wish to be treated“, Wouldn’t I have to know what is it like to be in another circumstance?

I am Reading Alfie Kohn’s The Brighter side of Human Nature“. Which postulates an individual’s existence is ideally positioned somewhere between the poles of  Egoism and Altruism, and the motivations of an individual lies somewhere between self-interest and pro-social selflessness.
He writes about the importance of  “Perspective  taking” including Empathy (or feeling into)
three types of perspective taking:

  • Spatial and perceptive:  imagining what its like to be in someone else’s physical circumstance.
  • Cognitive:  imaging how another people (and organisms) think,feel and act from their perspective including strengths, limitations
  • Empathetic: Being affected by another’s circumstance.

Perspective taking is understanding another’s perspective, while Empathy is “feeling into”, or being affected by another persons perspective or circumstance. In quoting by Robert Salmon Perspective taking and Empathy…”Are  form[s] of social cognition intermediate between logical or moral thought ”

Cohn synthesizes the work of scientist(including doctors , biologists) , psychologist, educators, and  philosophers and the book is   heavily annotated.  Cohen further illustrates the importance of  understanding intersubectivity in interpersonal relationships, to promote the pro- social(or altruistic) and motivations and actions of individuals. He makes a strong case for an the Altruistic interests of the individual beyond self interest. I would recommend the book for all, but especially humanists, individualists and existentialists.

To be a subject in Existence is  moral participation. To act upon and with others requires Dignity, Reciprocity, and Tolerance, (Ethics) in addition to subjects self -interests and mutual interests with others.

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Intersubjectivity and Interpersonal Brighter Side

Look upon other people and see that we are all  humans.  We  roughly appear to have the same forms and physics, the same sets of uniquely  human behaviors ( such as use of language). Upon deeper inspection, by biologists  who study DNA, There are traits and characteristics that are universally Homo Sapien or  human.
Meet and talk with other people and discover that people have cognitive differences of each person; Travel and note the cultural  differences of people.
If  you are one who has used medications and therapies for serious health problems, you will quickly learn the unwritten rule : “what works for one may not work for another, everyone is different“. One can infer each Homo Sapien is  biologically different from the next, Same  goes for their sum total of subjective  experiences. The individual  has characteristics that are unique.

I am  pretty sure  that a universal model does not apply when talking about all people, most of  the time. But we also, in talking about the human race per se , or groups… education  ,communication or interactions ..need to talk about more than just the individual. I certainly want to know more than the individual that is me.
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pessimism to optimism.

When I look at the world I am a pessimist, when I look at people I am an optimist“.  –Carl Rogers.

If one is to try to comprehend large structured ideas such as “The Universe”, “The World” or “Life“, without buying into organized religion, one may find these structures as meaningless, incomprehensible , or absurd.

Many see Existentialism, Atheism, Zen or the works of  early post modern philosophers  such as Kierkegaard and Heidegger as intellectually Pessimistic.

This is true for most people who follow these philosophic view points at first.
The first stage of “freedom”,  according to Camus, is to accept the absurdity in ones thinking … especially when one tries to grasp these large structures (universe, the meaning of all life).

Whether compared with faith or reason …life is best  learned in small details by living our human lives…. analyzing the small details our human contact with other people or environment.

Life is not a problem to be solved,[…] but a lesson to be experience.” — Soren Kierkegaard

I don’t believe that I have ever needed to dismiss science , technology , economics or studies subjects such as history and politics, philosophy and theology, because these things feed my strong sense of curiosity and wonder. And they are fun to investigate and talk about with others :).

However for my own personal health and wellness and personal philosophies I have explored the Humanistic  psychology and human potential movements.
With the aid of Gestalt therapy, I’ve learned to replace self judging and over- analyzing  with  healthier self regulation.

An intellectual is someone whose mind watches itself“.. Albert Camus.

Self regulation is process that requires “contact” and “metabolism“… Its contact with environment and other people and analyzing in small bits what is  healthy and unhealthy  or meaningful or not meaningful for me to take in
the whole of me. I  have been learning to “take life with a grain of salt“.

A person asked God one day: the world is such a painful and scary place. Lots of bad things happen. I am so small, What can can I do about it?
and God said “Just build a better you.
” — anonymous.

When I look at the world at once or the universe sometimes, It seem like a really fucked up meaningless place. When I am contact with other people, see our resolve and potential in small places my optimism returns.

The goal of Existentialism and Zen, often explored by people who feel alienated, or lonely… think they are outsiders or intellectuals… is to learn to enjoy the smaller details of living,  and to be more social.

When I look at the world I am a pessimist, when I look at people I am an optimist.

The Gestalt Prayer by Fritz Perls

I do my thing and you do your thing.
I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,
And you are not in this world to live up to mine.
You are you, and I am I,
and if by chance we find each other, it’s beautiful.
If not, it can’t be helped.


(Fritz Perls, 1969)

This is the “Gestalt Prayer” stated by Fritz Perls and it is often argued as statement of independence in  a persons social life.

We humans are  all actively, changing organized phenomenons… or “gestalts“.
We, individually are in a fluid state of both independence and interdependence with our  physical surroundings and people in our lives.
Thus the Gestalt prayer is  philosophical statement of self- autonomy in ones personal relationships.

I have my own needs  and goals to  live up to… and not the expectations imposed on me by others, or the expectations I think others have of me.
Just the same, other people  do not live their lives to meet my expectations.

I have never cared for the “Gestalt Prayer” as a philosophy. We are in fact expected to meet commitments we make. We make commitments to take care of children or family members. Our Governments have expectations of us that we must meet.  So this “prayer” is  a bit misleading or a bit to rigid.

However,  our own self expectations and living to our own needs are most important.

So its good to say the Gestalt prayer out loud , every so often….Just to remind of us of our self autonomy.

love, Love, love

Happy Valentines Day!

The Beatles: “All You Need Is Love.”
posted at youtube by marlopez 85.

Love your environment.
Love your Neighbors.
Love your Lover.
Love your self
.

Christmas and the non-christian

Its Christmas season, here in Pennsylvania. Although there are many practiced religions in my home city, I live in a predominately Christian Region. I  consider myself an “Agnostic” so I do not join in in the Christian aspects of the holiday.
So I get the occasional question: Do you celebrate Christmas?
And my answers is yes. also:

  • I have a Christmas tree in my house.
  • I goto Christmas parties.
  • I receive and buy Christmas gifts (usually I am still shopping on Xmas eve)
  • I sing Christmas carols
  • I try to trap women under mistletoe toe (my favorite holiday tradition)

Christmas is wrapped up in nostalgia. I have fond memories of this time of year growing up in Pa. Its also a great diversion from the Mid Atlantic region dark days.Christmas s not my favorite cultural holiday, but its a pleasant one.(this is not the case for everyone. Many people find Christmas to be a very depressing time of year.)

I think of Christmas as a humanitarian holiday.   to  gift, to volunteer, or to donate to humanitarian causes.
This year will be the first year in a long time i am not volunteering  on Christmas. I am just to tired, this year. I will have to think of some other way to participate in this Humanitarian Holiday.

I wish  season greetings to everyone celebrating:
Christmas, Eid, Hanukkah, Saturnalia, Winter Solstice or Humanitarian Holiday.

white-christmas-tree

Happy Holidays!

The Golden Rule: the pan-moral principle

Action:

**Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. — Traditional
** Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.— book of Mathew, Christianity
** No one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” — traditional Islam
** “Every person has dignity and worth, and, therefore, should command the respect of every other person.”—Humanist Manefesto I.”
** “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” — Leviticus, Judiasm.
~

Abstention:

**“Hurt not others with that which pains yourself.” –Udanarga
**What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others” –Confusism
**“Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you.” –Farewell Sermon, Muhammad.
**”Avoid doing what you would blame others for doing. —Thales of Miletos

—This is the “ethic of reciprocity” in various forms through history, often forgotten .
It is both selfish and social. But it is the only contract between us i see fit to live in an integrated and peaceful world.

I’m posting it here to remind myself i am still an idealist some times. This kind of stuff certainly doesn’t get alot of props on the Internet these days.