David Earl Johnson, LICSW

2 minute read

Here is an excerpt from Deric Bownds’ MindBlog titled “A New Description of Our Inner Lives.”

“Paul and Pat, realizing that the revolutionary neuroscience they dream of is still in its infancy, are nonetheless already preparing themselves for this future, making the appropriate adjustments in their everyday conversation. One afternoon recently, Paul says, he was home making dinner when Pat burst in the door, having come straight from a frustrating faculty meeting. “She said, ‘Paul, don’t speak to me, my serotonin levels have hit bottom, my brain is awash in glucocortocoids, my blood vessels are full of adrenaline, and if it weren’t for my endogenous opiates I’d have driven the car into a tree on the way home. My dopamine levels need lifting. Pour me a Chardonnay, and I’ll be down in a minute.’ ” Paul and Pat have noticed that it is not just they who talk this way – their students now talk of psychopharmacology as comfortably as of food.”” Deric is drawn to this article because of what he sees as a similar experience within himself.

“I rarely mention my internal experience and sensations on this blog – first, because I have viewed readers as “wanting the beef,” objective stuff on how minds work. Second and more important, because my experience of noting the flow of my brain products as emotion laced chunks of sensing/cognition/action – knowing the names of the neurotransmitters and hormones acting during desire, arousal, calming, or affiliation – strikes me as a process which would feel quite alien to most people.” Alien, yes. But it is also largely devoid of meaningful self-exploration as well. Science at it’s worst takes itself too seriously. New discoveries are considered automatically as an advance in understanding. A dialogue about the known facts of internal experience contains about as much meaning in moment to moment experience as reciting the letters in a bowl of alphabet soup! The so-called “objective” human sciences reduces people to parts and pieces so small that we can’t recognize commonality or identify our own experiences within the narrow concepts in the models espoused. Science has somehow become primarily inductive. The deep understanding of theoretical deduction seems to have fallen into disfavor. Could it be because it is so easy to pick apart the substance of theoretical systems? I suspect so. The more reductionistic the model, the less likely it can be criticized.

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