link: study of psychology                                                                                                                            

 

              THE STUDY OF HUMAN PSYCHOLOGY

theme: The new paradigm for teaching depends on a new paradigm for the study of human psychology.

 "Our classical science wisely tossed out of its study of the physical universe the projection of purposes, whether of a God or of man himself. ..In the physical sciences the projection of purpose ...is harmful to full understanding. But the case is completely different with human beings. They have purposes and goals...This simple fact makes classical science less appropriate for studying human behavior. It does not differentiate between means and ends. ...the puroposes can be unknown to the person himself." (Bronowski, The Values of Science in New Knowledge in Human Values, ed. A.H. Maslow, New York: Harper & Row, 1959. p.18)  

What is a paradigm? In the world of science and scientific research, the theoretical framework which provides a working model or theory is a 'paradigm'. A paradigm can be likened to spectacles which colour one's perception of the world. Different perceptions are determined by the different worldviews which are represented by different paradigms. In scientific research, the theory supplies a general framework or paradigm - an outline and direction for scientific activity. Experiments are designed within the theoretical framework of the paradigm. Experimental data and observations are analysed within the context of the same paradigm. Data which cannot be explained by its theoretical structure and do not fit are considered to be 'paradigm anomalies'. Paradigm anomalies are anomalous observations which bring about a 'paradigm crisis'. The paradigm crisis makes it necessary to formulate a new theoretical framework. Gradually the theoretical framework of the new paradigm replaces that of the old one and the result is a 'paradigm shift'.

 A paradigm shift is presently taking place in the study of human psychology.

 Psychology in the paradigm of behaviorism   The Western model of human psychology is useful when applied to human behaviour which is related to the paradigm of the behavioural sciences. According to the reductionist view of the behavioural sciences, matter is considered to be the primary constituent of 'reality' and consciousness the product of material brain processes. The behavioural sciences define 'psychology' as the 'mental or behavioural characteristics of an individual or group' and in this way behavioural science becomes only one of the many 'psychologies' described by different peoples and cultures of the world.

 The paradigm of the behavioural sciences is too limited when applied to human behaviour

 "One trouble with classical science applied to psychology is that all it knows how to do well is to study people as objects, when what we need is to be able to study them also as subjects." (Maslow, A. The Psychology of Science: A Reconaissance. New York and London: Harper and Row 1966 54)

Psychology in the cognitive paradigm.... 

(consciousness disciplines) According to the consciousness disciplines, there is a broad range of mental states or 'states of consciousness' representing the different levels of expression of the human consciousness. The levels are (in order from  'lower'' to 'higher'): the 'mind level', the 'ego level', the 'existential level' and the so-called 'shadow level'. The shadow level represents those facets of the personality which are not accepted or acknowledged at the ego level. This the source of human tendencies for wickedness or 'evil'. The existential level represents the level of identity as a psychophysical organism existing in space and time and is influenced by the familial and cultural context of the individual's experience. This level is the source of rational thought processes and personal will. The ego level represents the state of mind and body separation and the individual's identification with a self-image. This level is the source of egocentric desires. The mind level is the most profound... the state of expanded awareness beyond the ego-level and represents the transpersonal dimensions of human psychology... the innermost consciousness or 'supreme identity of humaness'. This level is the most effective for adaptability of the human organism as a social organism ... 'social intelligence'. Every individual has the potential for expressing the different levels of consciousness.

The multipe-states-of-consciousness model of human psychology involves a wider range of states of consciousness and modes of perception than that of Western behavioural science or 'behaviourism'.

Behaviourism ignores the consciousness disciplines  Behaviourism ignores the consciousness disciplines as 'psychologies' which present too many difficulties for objective study. They apply the assumptions of the behavioural sciences to the Eastern paradigms. They view the mental phenomena which are described by the consciousness disciplines from the limited perspective of the behavioural sciences and find them incomprehensible and nonsensical. They describe practices of the consciousness disciplines as pathological, delirious, psychotic, of limited intelligence and even regressing to infantilism. They discredit the 'higher' states of consciousness and fail to understand the idea that reality is a product of consciousness... 'perception'.

Western scientists who examine the Eastern consciousness disciplines from their own point of view deny the credibility of other states of consciousness and their perceptions of reality. All these observations can be considered as anomalous data resulting from a clash of paradigms - the paradigm of the behavioural sciences with that of the consciousness disciplines. The paradigm clash leads to a paradigm crisis.

Human psychology as described by the consciousness disciplines and studied from the viewpoint of Western behavioural science is obscured by the psychological viewpoint of the scientists themselves.

 The individual who lives within the context of the paradigm of Western psychology is unaware of its limitations and of the mental distortions which affect his perception of reality. Without the mental training prescribed by the doctrines of the consciousness disciplines, an individual can be completely unaware of any fixation to the Western 'psychology' paradigm, in itself psychotic behaviour, defined by the behavioural sciences as the lack of recognition of a distorted perception of reality. In order for Western behavioural scientists to fully understand human psychology and human behaviour, they need to acknowledge the validity of perceiving the Eastern 'psychologies' as alternative 'lenses' for gaining further insights into human psychology. In order to investigate human psychology and human behaviour described by the consciousness disciplines, Western behavioural scientists must first recognize that such investigations involve a clash of paradigms. The beliefs and models of the paradigm within which they carry out the investigations should be examined and new research paradigms should be adopted. Behavioural scientists should be trained in the consciousness disciplines as well as in the behavioural sciences. They should then be able to shift their viewpoint from the paradigm of the behavioural sciences to the paradigm of the consciousness disciplines. Only then can they apply methods of behavioural science in their attempt to clarify the consciousness disciplines and subsequently describe a truly objective study of human psychology. Scientists can have access to knowledge about human psychology through the various methods and techniques of the different 'psychologies'.

Transpersonal psychology  Western scientists known as 'transpersonal psychologists' are interested in formulating a synthesis of the Eastern 'psychologies' - the 'consciousness disciplines' - with the empirical methods of Western psychology - 'behavioural science'. For this reason they consider that the different 'psychologies' are complementary and not contradictory. They acknowledge the broad range of consciousness states which extends from pathological states through normal healthy waking states and includes the so-called 'higher' states which go beyond or 'transcend' the usual limits of awareness and identity of the 'ego level' on the spectrum of consciousness states. They are interested in research involving the altered consciousness states which are brought about by psychedilic drugs, meditation, yoga, and biofeedback techniques. They hope that acknowledgment of the limitations of the behavioural sciences and recognition of the possible limitations of the consciousness disciplines will bring about new paradigms which incorporate both Eastern and Western perspectives. The aim of research efforts would be to formulate a universal theory of the nature of human consciousness.... a 'transpersonal psychology'.

The resulting implications are profound and far-reaching for mental health, psychological growth and for educational theory as well.

Implications for education  An understanding of human psychology is basic to the clarification of a universal theory of education. Insights from transpersonal psychology can be incorporated in a new theoretical framework for a new paradigm for teaching. links: behavioural sciences, consciousness disciplines behavioural sciences... The Western model of human psychology is useful when applied to human behaviour which is related to the paradigm of the behavioural sciences. consciousness disciplines... But it is too limited when applied to human behaviour related to the paradigm of the consciousness disciplines.

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notes:

 "One trouble with classical science applied to psychology is that all it knows how to do well is to study people as objects, when what we need is to be able to study them also as subjects."