Psychophysics Essay, Research Paper
Sam Vaknin’s Psychology, Philosophy, Economics and Foreign Affairs Web SitesIt is impossible to rigorously prove or substantiate the existence of a Soul, a psyche.
Numerous explanations have been hitherto offered:
That what we, humans, call a soul is the way that we experience the workings of our brain (introspection experienced). This often
leads to infinite regressions.
That the soul is an epiphenomenon, the software result of a hardware complexity (much the same way as temperature, volume and
pressure are the epiphenomena of a large number of gas molecules).
That the soul does exist and that it is distinct from the body in substance (or lack of it), in form (or lack of it) and in the set of laws
that it obeys (”spiritual” rather than physical). The supporters of this camp say that correlation is not causation.In other words, the electrochemical activity in the brain, which corresponds to mental phenomena does not mean that it IS the mental phenomena. Mental phenomena do have brain (hardware) correlates ? but these correlates need not be confused with the mental phenomena themselves.
Still, very few will dispute the strong connection between body and soul. The psychic activity was attributed to the heart, the liver, even to some glands. Nowadays it is attributed to the brain, apparently with better reasons.
Since the body is a physical object, subject to physical laws, it follows that at least the connection between the two (body and soul) must obey the laws of physics.
Another question is what is the currency used by the two in their communication. Physical forces are mediated by subatomic particles. What serves to mediate between body and soul ?
Language could be the medium and the mediating currency. It has both an internal, psychic representation and an objective, external one. It serves as a bridge between our inner emotions and cognition and the outside, physical world. It originates almost non-physically (a mere thought) and has profound physical impacts and effects. It has quantum aspects combined with classical determinism.
We propose that what we call the Subconscious and the Pre-Conscious (Threshold of Consciousness) are but Fields of Potentials organized in Lattices.
Potentials of what?
To represent realities (internal and external alike), we use language. Language seems to be the only thing able to consistently link our internal world with our physical surroundings. Thus, the potentials ought to be Lingual Energy Potentials.
When one of the potentials is charged with Lingual Energy ? in Freud?s language, when cathexis happens ? it becomes a Structure. The “atoms” of the Structures, their most basic units, are the Clusters.
The Cluster constitutes a full cross cut of the soul : instinct, affect and cognition. It is hologramic and fractalic in that it reflects ? though only a part ? the whole. It is charged with the lingual energy which created it in the first place. The cluster is highly unstable (excited) and its lingual energy must be discharged.
This lingual energy can be released only in certain levels of energy (excitation) according to an Exclusion Principle. This is reminiscent of the rules governing the world of subatomic particles. The release of the lingual energy is Freud?s anti-cathexis.
The lingual energy being what it is ? it can be discharged only as language elements (its excitation levels are lingual). Put differently: the cluster will lose energy to the environment (=to the soul) in the shape of language (images, words, associations).
The defence mechanisms, known to us from classical psychology ? projection, identification, projective identification, regression, denial, conversion reaction, displacement, rationalization, intellectualization, sublimation, repression, inhibition, anxiety and a host of other defensive reactions ? are but sentences in the language (valid strings or theorems). Projection, for instance, is the sentence : “It is not my trait ? it is his trait”. Some mechanisms ? the notable examples are rationalization and intellectualization ? make conscious use of language.
Whereas the levels of excitation (lingual discharge) are discrete (highly specific) ? the discharged energy is limited to certain, specific, language representation. These are the “Allowed Representations”. They are the only ones allowed (or enabled, to borrow from computers) in the “Allowed Levels of Excitation”.
This is the reason for the principles of Disguise (camouflage) and Substitution.
An excitation is achieved only through specific (visual or verbal) representations (the Allowed Representations). If two potentials occupy the same Representational levels ? they will be interchangeable. Thus, one lingual potential will be able to assume the role of another.
Each cluster can be described by its own function (Eigenfunktion). This explains the variance between humans and among the intra-psychic representations. When a cluster is realized ? when its energy has been discharged in the form of an allowed lingual representation ? it reverts to the state of a lingual potential. This is a constant, bi-directional flow : from potential to cluster and from cluster to potential.
The initial source of energy, as we said, is what we absorbed together with lingual representations from the outside. Lingual representations ARE energy and they are thus assimilated by us. An exogenic event, for this purpose, is also a language element (consisting of a visual, three dimensional representation).
So, everything around us infuses us with energy which is converted into allowed representations. On the other hand, language potentials are charged with energy, become clusters, discharge the lingual energy through an allowed representation of the specific lingual energy that they possess and become potentials once more.
When a potential materializes ? that is, when it becomes a cluster after being charged with lingual energy ? a “Potential Singularity” remains where once the materialized potential “existed”.
The person experiences this singularity as an anxiety and does his utmost to convert the cluster back into a potential. This effort is the Repression Defence Mechanism.
So, the energy used during repression is also the lingual kind.
When the energy with which the cluster is charged is discharged, at the allowed levels of representation (that is to say, through the allowed lingual representations), the cluster is turned back into a potential. This, in effect, is repression. The anxiety signifies a state of schism in the field of potentials. It, therefore, deserves the name :
Signal Anxiety, used in the professional literature.
The signal anxiety designates not only a hole in the field of potentials but also a Conflict. How come ?
The materialization of the potential (its transformation into a cluster) creates a change in the Language Field. Such a change can lead to a conflict with a social norm, for instance, or with a norm, a personal value, or with an inhibition ? all being lingual representations. Such a conflict ostensibly violates the conditions of the field and leads to anxiety and to repression.
Freud?s Id, Ego and Superego are now easily recognizable as various states of the language field.
The Id represents all the potentials in the field. It is the principle by which the potentials are charged with lingual energy. Id is, in other words, a field equation which dictates the potential in every point of the field.
The Ego is the interaction between the language field and the world. This interaction sometimes assumes the form of a conscious dialogue.
The Superego is the interaction between the language field and the representations of the world in the language field (that is to say, the consequences of repression).
All three are, therefore, Activation Modes.
Each act of repression leaves traces in its wake. The field is altered by the act of repression and, this way, preserves the information related to it. The sum of all repressions creates a representation of the world (both internal and external) in the field. This is the Superego, the functional pattern of the field of potentials (the subconscious or the regulatory system).
The field plays constant host to materializing potentials (=the intrusion of content upon consciousness), excitation of allowed lingual (=representational) levels (=allowed representations) and realization of structures (their reversal to a state of being potentials). It is reality which determines which excitation and representation levels are the allowed ones.
The complex of these processes is Consciousness and all these functions together constitute the Ego or the Administrative System. The Ego is the functional mode of consciousness. The activities in reality are dictated both by the field of potentials and by the materializing structures ? but the materialization of a structure is not a prerequisite for action.
The Id is a wave function, the equation describing the state of the field. It details the location of the potentials that can materialize into structures. It also lists the anxiety producing “potential singularities” into which a structure can be realized and revert to being a potential.
An Association is the reconstruction of all the allowed levels of excitation (=the allowed representations of the lingual energy) of a specific structure. Different structures will have common excitation levels at disparate times. Once structures are realized and thus become potentials ? they go through the excitation level common to them and to other structures. This way they alter the field (stamp it) in an identical manner. In other words : the field will “remember” similarly those structures which pass through a common excitation level in an identical manner. The next time that the potential materializes and becomes one of these structures ? all the other “twin” structures will be charged with an identical lingual energy. They will all be evoked together as a Hypercluster.
Another angle: when a structure is realized and comes back to being a potential, the field is “stamped”. When the same Stamp is shared by a few structures ? they form a Potential Hypercluster. From then on, whenever one of the potentials, which is a member in the Potential Hypercluster, materializes and becomes a structures ? it “drags” with it all the other potentials which also become structures (simultaneously).
Potential Hyperclusters materialize into Hyperclusters whereas single Potentials materialize into Clusters.
The next phase of complexity is the Network (a few Hyperclusters together). This is what we call the Memory operations.
Memorizing is really the stamping of the field with the specific stamps of the structures (actually, with the specific stamps of their levels of excitation).
Our memory uses lingual representations. When we read or see something, we absorb it into the Field of Potentials (the Language Field).
The absorbed energy amalgamates, out of the Field of Potentials, a structure or a hypercluster.
This is the process of Imprinting.
The resultant structure is realized in our brain through the allowed levels of excitation (=using the allowed lingual representations), is repressed, stamps the field (=creates a memory) and rejoins the field as a potential. The levels of excitation are like Strings that tie the potentials to each other. All the potentials that participate in a given level of excitation (=of representation) of the language -?will become a hypercluster during the phase of materialization.
This also is the field?s organizational principle:
The potentials are aligned along the field lines (=the levels of excitation specific to these potentials). The connection between them is through the lingual energy but it is devoid of any specific formal logic (mechanic or algorithmic). Thus, if potential P1 and potential P2 pass through the same excitation level on their way to becoming structures, they will organize themselves along the same line in the field and will become a hypercluster or a network when materializing. They can, however, relate to each other a-logically (negation or contradiction) ? and still constitute a part of the same hypercluster.
Memory is the stamping of the excitation levels upon the language field. It is complex and contains lingual representations which are the only correct representations (=the only correct solutions or the only allowed levels of excitation) of a certain structure. It can be, therefore, said that the process of stamping the field (=memory) represents a “registration” or a “catalogue” of the allowed levels of excitation.
The field equations are non-temporal and non-local. The field has no time or space characteristics. The Id (=the field state function or the wave function) has solutions which do not entail the use of spatial or temporal language elements.
The asymmetry of the time arrow is derived from the Superego, which preserves the representations of the outside world. It thus eternalizes an informational asymmetry of the field itself (=memory). We possess access to past information ? and no access to information pertaining to the future. The Superego is strongly related to data processing (=representations of reality) and, as a result, to informational (=time) asymmetries.
The feeling of the present, on the other hand, is yielded by the Ego. It surveys the activities in the field which, by definition, take place “concurrently”. The Ego must feel simultaneous.
We could envisage a situation of partial repression of a structure. Certain elements in a structure (let?s say, only the ideas) will degrade into potentials ? while others (the affect, for instance) ? will remain in the form of a structure. This situation could lead to pathologies ? and often does.
Pathologies and Symptoms A schism is formed in the transition from potential to structure (=in the materialization process). It is a hole in the field of language which provokes anxiety. The realization of the structure brings about a structural change in the field and conflicts with other representations (=parts) of the field. This conflict in itself is anxiety provoking.
This combined anxiety forces the individual to use lingual energy for purposes of repression.
A pathology occurs when only partial repression s achieved and a part structure-part potential hybrid results. This happens when the wrong levels of excitation were selected because of previous deformations in the language field. In classical psychology, the terms : “complexes” or “primary repression” are used.
The selection of wrong (=forbidden) excitation levels will have two effects:
Partial repression and the materialization of other potentials into structures which are linked by the same (wrong) levels of excitation. Put differently : a Pathological Hypercluster is thus formed. The members in such cluster will be all the structures that are aligned along a field line (=the mistakenly selected level of excitation) plus the partial structure whose realization was blocked because of the wrong selection. This will make it difficult for the hypercluster to be realized and a Repetition Complex or an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) will take place.
These obsessive-compulsive behaviours are an effort to use lingual representations to consummate the realization of a pathological, “stuck”, hypercluster.
A structure can occupy only one level of excitation at a time. This is why our attention span is limited and why we have to concentrate on one event or subject at a time. But there is no limit on the number of simultaneously materialized and realized clusters.
Sometimes, there are events possessed of such tremendous amounts of energy that no corresponding levels of excitation (=of language) can be found for them. This energy will remain trapped in the field of potentials and separate (Dissociation) the part of the field in which it is trapped from the field itself. This is a variety of Stamping (=the memory of the event) which is wide (it incorporates strong affective elements), direct and irreversible. Only an outside lingual (=energetic) manipulation ? such as therapy ? can patch such tear. The longer the time that passed, the more the dissociation turns into a permanent trait of an ever changing field. In cases of multiple personality, the dissociation can become a “field to its own”, or a pole of the field.
Stamping of the field is achieved also by a long repetition of an external event.
A relevant hypercluster is materialized, is realized through predetermined levels of excitation and returns to be a collection of potentials, thus enhancing previous, identical stampings. Finally, no mediation of a structure would be needed between the field and the outside event. Automatic activities ? such as driving ? are prime examples of this mechanism.
Hypnosis similarly involves numerous repetitions of external events ? yet, here the whole field of potentials (=of language) is dissociated. The reason is that all the levels of excitation are occupied by the hypnotist. To achieve this, he uses a full concentration of attention and a calculated choice of vocabulary and intonation.
Structures cannot be realized during hypnosis and the energy of the event (in this case, unadulterated lingual energy) remains confined and creates dissociations which are orchestrated by the hypnotist and correspond to his instructions. A structure cannot be materialized when its level of excitation is occupied. This is why no conscious memory of the hypnotic session is available. Such a memory, however, is available in the field of potentials. This is a process of Direct Stamping, without going through the a structure and without the materialization process.