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Workshop

Workshop: Philosophy of Mind from an Experiential Perspective – Working With the Intention Method

Philosophy of science builds upon a conception of science. In part this holds also for philosophy of mind. Philosophy of mind can build upon a conception of the mind. On the other side the mind is not – only – a concept. One alternative regarding the mind in relation to philosophy is that we can have – or have – direct access to it via introspection.

The Intention method is a unique research tool that puts a new perspective on the dynamics of the mind. To its essence it shows that the mind is divisible and very sensitive, especially in its early phases.

In the workshop “Philosophy of mind from an experiential perspective – working with the intention method” we combine experiential observations with philosophical investigations of what we learn.

The Intention method is based on the continental psychologist Franz Ruppert’s empirical research and theory and is usually used in a group format.

The workshop is organized by Subrosa KB.

About Franz Ruppert.

About Subrosa KB.

Theory: The idea is that the mind from the beginning is a divisible integrated whole and that it can split if it is subjected to unbearable experiences. A unique feature of the theory is that the very splits are sustained actively and continuously.

Practice: The practical work centers around a sentence that is uttered and written down by an individual; the intention. The intention is something the individual wants and is therefore about something that the individual does not have. In the next phase a selected group of people works with the intention interacting with the individual having the intention. Theoretically and most often displayed in the work the sentence represents split off parts of the individual.

Clinically the work is lead by an experienced therapist and aims at reintegrating split off parts.

The Intention method exposes questions like What is a subject? Is a little angry split off part that just hates this or that a subject in its own right? Or must it qualify in some special sense beyond having the generic characteristics like having sensations, wanting things, and having intentions?

As noted in the workshop “Macro Psychology and the Foundation of Psychotherapy”, Macro Psychology, based in the concept of Biological Energy as described here, can offer a theoretically integrative perspective on central contemporary psychotherapies. Dealing with more profound splits, however, the Intention method offers a new opening for theoretical explanation and treatment. In this workshop we aim to examine how the learning from the Intention method affects the philosophy of mind. In the language of Macro Psychology a profound split energizes one part and leaves another part drained of energy. Theoretically, however, the case is worse. Given that some time passes the original integrated whole has been totally ignored and has no energy of its own. Integration is therefore very difficult. In the light of Macro Psychology the Intention method enables stepwise integration via investment in the Intention. Energetically drained parts are acknowledged as well as highly energized parts that have the role to keep the drained ones away.

Contact the organizer for a quote if you are interested in the workshop.

Workshop organizer

Subrosa KB

Postal address: Subrosa KB, Albatrossvägen 104, 13666, Vendelsö, Sweden

Visiting address: Kungsgatan 8, Stockholm, Sweden

Phone: +46-73-239 63 64

Website: karlpu.org

Questions are welcome to johan.gamper@karlpu.org.

Categories
Psychotherapy Workshop

Macro Psychology and the Foundation of Psychotherapy

Summary

The workshop builds upon the paper Biological Energy and the Experiencing Subject (Gamper, J, Axiomathes, 2020). The focus is to show how the idea of an experiencing subject can be conceived of within modern psychotherapy. We follow the track from conditioning for animals (without concern for an experiencing subject), via behavioral therapy for humans with an experiencing subject and cognitive behavioral therapy for humans with an experiencing subject where we give the subject a rational for the behavioral modification, to psychodynamically oriented therapy where we confront the very subject without going via her behavior. The three methods are explained within the context of macro psychology, a psychology extracted from the paper Biological Energy and the Experiencing Subject. Conditioning concerns therapeutic methods that does not address subjective experiences of the patient and neither address subjective experiences methodologically. For instance, you do not give the patient instructions since you do not rely on the patients ability to understand them. Behavioral therapy concerns methods that that are mediated by instructions. The patient is told to follow a procedure. Cognitive behavioral therapy adds explanations to the behavioral therapy. Psychodynamically oriented therapy concerns the subject’s tendency to repress difficult inner material to feel better. This material is focused in the therapy and the patient is informed about how the therapist understands the dynamic. The framework, thus, that is presented, encompasses the major psychotherapeutic methods of today.


1. Introduction

The paper Biological Energy and the Experiencing Subject (Gamper, 2020) contains a definition of biological energy that permits a purely mental energy that should be accounted for in its own right. Here we will look at some fundamental psychotherapeutic principles that can be drawn from that standpoint.

2. Macro psychology

Macro psychology is built upon the notion of biological energy as suggested in Gamper (2020). Biological energy is construed as the organisms ability to recover from the load it is exposed to. That load entails a need of recovery that grows with the load. The available energy has a maximum and when that is reached as far as the ongoing recovery is concerned, the available amount of energy is decreased if the load continues to grow. This is illustrated in figure 1.

For experiencing subjects it is conjectured that the need of recovery on the one hand is mediated by signals thereof, and on the other hand that the subject has a lower ability to perceive those very signals, the stronger they are, as illustrated in figure 2.

This dynamic for experiencing subjects has the odd consequence that even though the energy level lowers when load is increasing at high levels of load (compare figure 3) the subject tends to put pressure on herself to avoid the troublesome signals of need of recovery in order not to perceive them (compare figures 4-6).

3. The experiencing subject

The introduction of the experiencing subject allows for new possibilities for the organism to cope with load. We need to disentangle first, though, the biological object from the experiencing subject. For the biological object as such there is no dynamic to talk of. The object recovers if it needs to and can. When the organism is exposed to signals of need of recovery there is an experiencing subject that perceives them. Whereas the need of recovery is an abstract feature of organisms the signals of need of recovery are a reality for the experiencing subject. As depicted in figure 4 the signals can be attended to as they are perceived. This means that the biological needs of recovery are met via the experiencing subject. This, of course by assumption, is to say that the biological very needs of recovery are not perceived directly. The dynamic, however, is one dimensional — the organism recovers more or less.

The experiencing subject, on its side, can cope with its signals in other ways. To look at those possibilities we first have to focus on the the very subject. For the biological object the need of recovery is an abstract feature. The subject on the other hand has real signals of need of recovery so it is something that has the experiences of the signals. This something, the subject, has its parts. We will assume that the subject is composed of some parts as illustrated in figure 7.

3.1. Repression

The disentangling now comes to work. Whereas the biological object has need of recovery as an abstract but absolute feature the experiencing subject has its signals of need of recovery as real but with degrees of freedom to engage with them. The suggestion here is that the subject can project troublesome signals onto a single part and then repress it. This leaves the repressed part emptied of energy while the remaining parts are energized. This process can be reiterated (compare figures 8-12).

4. Psychotherapeutic principles

The psychotherapeutic processes that are interesting are the reversed ones as compared to the ones previously mentioned. Those were concerned with avoiding difficult signals of need of recovery. Whereas conditioning concerned non subjective features of the biological organism behavioral therapy (BT), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and psychodynamically oriented therapy (PDT) concerns processes related to the experiencing subject.

4.1 BT

The psychotherapeutic principle of BT in the context of macro psychology is that the therapist instructs the patient to take explicit recovery measures. The patient by following the instructions recovers and by doing so has to endure the previously withheld difficult signals of need of recovery. A typical example is behavioral activation for depression where the therapist may instruct the patient to take daily walks.

4.2 CBT

The psychotherapeutic principle of CBT in the context of macro psychology is that the therapist instructs the patient to take explicit recovery measures and explains why (according to some model). In the CBT variant of macro psychology the rational would be that the patient avoids recovery to avoid the signals of need of recovery. Therefore she should try to recover even though it hurts in order to gain energy. A typical example is to accept sick leave in cases of exhaustion.

4.3 PDT

The psychotherapeutic principle of PDT in the context of macro psychology is that the therapist tries to emphasize with the patient in order to identify aspects of the patient that she has repressed. If the patient can acknowledge repressed contents she is instructed to try to endure the associated difficult signals of need of recovery that comes with it in order to regain access to to her own repressed parts.

5. Applications

Scenarios with a maltreated dog, its owner, and a therapist.

Conditioning

The therapist takes the dog to a safe environment.

Behavioral therapy

The therapist instructs the owner to take regular long walks with the dog, to feed it regularly, to let it have access to fresh water and to stop hitting it.

Cognitive behavioral therapy

The therapist instructs the owner to take regular long walks with the dog, to feed it regularly, to let it have access to fresh water and to stop hitting it. The therapist also tells the owner why.

Psychodynamically oriented therapy

The therapist tries to help the owner to reconnect to repressed parts that cares for the dog.

6. Reference: Gamper J (2020) Biological energy and the experiencing subject. Axiomathes.

© 2022 Johan Gamper

Subrosa KB

Albatrossvägen 104, 13666, Vendelsö, Sweden

+46-73-239 63 64

karlpu.org

johan.gamper@karlpu.org.

Categories
On demand Workshop

The Experiencing Subject

Our scientific paradigm is so consolidated that it in many camps functions as a whirlpool that drags everything into it. Since presumably nothing can explain everything this leaves the door open for exploitation of the cracks between the paradigmatic world view and the reality (given that the reality cannot be explained in its totality). This creates tension that cannot be monitored from within the paradigm.

Plan B

Michael Cain’s character Professor John Brand in the movie Interstellar has a Plan A for the survival of mankind. If that doesn’t work he has a backup Plan B. Plan A is the wanted one whereas Plan B saves some astronauts and a lot of fertilized eggs.

Today we have a scientific culture that functions as our Plan A. That culture states that everything in one way or the other is physical. A recent shift in our language is the move from “my thoughts are in my mind” to “my thoughts are in my brain”. If we have thoughts and everything in the end is physical it is natural to think that one’s thoughts are in one’s brain.

In preparation for the defense of my master thesis (Gamper 2019) I played with an application of it and found that it provided an ontologically neutral view of the scientific object. I had introduced the concept of causal objects and it applied for any kind of object (with a causal background). In my preparation I saw that separate ontological fields could be joined by something I called interfaces (2017). Accordingly, everything in the end may be physical – or not. I thought this eventuality was very interesting.

Plan B is to investigate this possibility and see where it may lead. One thing is established, though, and that is that the mind can be a substance of its own. Provided that there can be interfaces between ontological domains.

Variation 2

Deep down, if everything is physical, our sense of self, our dreams, our wandering thoughts, simply are illusions, they don’t exist as sense of self, as dreams, as wandering thoughts. This idea is neatly captured in the descriptive operational definition. The belief in the operational definition guaranties that you only can know what you can measure. And you can only measure what is physical. In Gamper (2021) I looked at this from the point of view of biology. According to this view we only can know of measurable features of biological objects. At closer inspection, however, this leaves biology in the hands of chemistry. This may be as it should be but I introduced a non-chemical biological kind of energy that challenges the Plan A scenario. Purely biological energy may be irreducible to chemical and/or physical energy but that would take something concrete to be accounted for. In Gamper (2021) it is pictured that a non-physical subject has non-biological energy that is dependent upon the described non-chemical biological energy. The conceptual template for this undertaking is the “unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in the natural sciences” (Wigner 1960) put on the potential interface between the body and the mind. This is the variation, that physical things are in mathematical dimensions and in non-mathematical physical dimensions and that the subject is in biological (/physical) dimensions as well in as non-biological/physical mental dimensions.

References

Gamper, J. Biological Energy and the Experiencing Subject. Axiomathes 31, 497–506 (2021).

Gamper, J. Blocking the Vagueness Block – A New Restricted Answer to the Special Composition Question. Philosophia 47, 425–428 (2019).

Gamper, J. On a Loophole in Causal Closure. Philosophia 45, 631–636 (2017).

Wigner EP (1960) The unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in the natural sciences. Commun Pure Appl Math 13:1–14.

/Johan Gamper

Categories
Workshop

Literature and Creative Arts: a multi subjective narrative. On demand.

This is an experiential workshop primarily for philosophers and practitioners of choreography (dance), drama (theater) and poetry, based on a development of Franz Ruppert’s Intention method made by the workshop organizer Johan Gamper. Ruppert’s psychotherapeutic Intention method is developed to integrate split off parts of a traumatized client. Structurally the work is done with a therapist, a supporting group, and a client. The client states their intention and writes it down on a whiteboard. Thereafter the client asks participants of the group one by one to represent a word in the intention sentence. When that is done the floor is open for the representatives to move and talk and interact and in due course also the client starts to interact with the representatives. In a variant of the method the therapist and the client do all the representation themselves (with markers). Gamper has developed this further by omitting also the external therapist, representing all roles himself. After many years of practicing this form of “auto constellation” he took the next step two years ago and dropped both the therapist and the client (he himself in the client’s role). The result was something he perceived as very near to drama and poetry. Working with several intentions he experienced dramas being played, poetry being read (by one or more voices), and in the dramas several choreographies being displayed.

The philosophical implications that could be seen concern matters as “could the ordinary self contain ‘sub-selves’ with their own integrity?” and “is art an expression without a central part of the individual (say, the ego)?”

We will go through the theory of the Intention method (IoPT) and work with it practically. The main focus is on the practical and theoretical link between the non-clinical application and the artistic expression.

Categories
Workshop

Causal Objects. On demand.

Interstellar variations: Plan B

Michael Cain’s character Professor John Brand in the movie Interstellar has a Plan A for the survival of mankind. If that doesn’t work he has a backup Plan B. Plan A is the wanted one whereas Plan B saves some astronauts and a lot of fertilized eggs.

Today we have a scientific culture that functions as our Plan A. That culture states that everything in one way or the other is physical. A recent shift in our language is the move from “my thoughts are in my mind” to “my thoughts are in my brain”. If we have thoughts and everything in the end is physical it is natural to think that one’s thoughts are in one’s brain.

In preparation for the defense of my master thesis (Gamper 2019) I played with an application of it and found that it provided an ontologically neutral view of the scientific object. I had introduced the concept of causal objects and it applied for any kind of object (with a causal background). In my preparation I saw that separate ontological fields could be joined by something I called interfaces (2017). Accordingly, everything in the end may not be physical. I thought this eventuality was interesting.

Plan B is to investigate this possibility and see where it may lead. One thing is established, though, and that is that the mind can be a substance of its own. Provided that there can be interfaces between ontological domains.

Variation 1

Descartes’ extended objects are not just extended. They are, just like all other ordinary objects, also continuous objects. Take a football for instance. It rolls over the football field when you kick it. It rolls and is itself as it rolls. Just like people going about doing their things being themselves as they go about. Any causes affecting such a continuous object affect the continuous object.

When we look at quantum sized objects we have the same basic understanding of them. They move about as continuous objects and are extended. The traditional dualistic view of the mind, however, is that the mind is something totally different. For one thing, it has no physical extension. And, of course, this disqualifies it from the list of possible objects.

When we move with plan A, therefore, we think that all things are continuous and that they belong to a specific set of dimensions, the physical dimensions. In a variation of this theme we must change something. We have three things to look at: the dimensionality, the continuity, and the extension of the object.

We can start with the extension of the object. Physical objects have extension. They have physical extension. If we in a variation assume non-physical objects to be without extension we are back in the Princess Elisabeth-Descartes dilemma. So let us say that all objects have extension. Given this, that all objects have extension, we can add the assumption that all objects are in some set of dimensions. They have some sort of dimensionality.

Now we have continuity left to consider. Without attacking footballs or creatures moving about let us just take a deep breath and pause with continuity for a while.

In my preparation to defend my master thesis I saw that separate ontological fields could be joined by interfaces – provided that all objects were causal objects. Essentially this is the variation since causal objects are discrete objects.

References

Gamper, J. Blocking the Vagueness Block – A New Restricted Answer to the Special Composition Question. Philosophia 47, 425–428 (2019). Full text via ResearchGate.

Gamper, J. On a Loophole in Causal Closure. Philosophia 45, 631–636 (2017). Open access.

© 2022 Johan Gamper