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Engagements with the World (eBook)

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  • 59,578 Words
  • 156 Pages

After fi fty years of futile research on mind and behavior, trying to fi nd their causes in the brain,without success, psychiatrists and psychologists are turning their attention to the emotions, alsolooking for their causes in the brain, also without success. The problem is that there is no generally acceptedtheory or paradigm for understanding the emotions. William James suggested that such a paradigm mustmeet two criteria: (1) it must explain each individual emotion (i.e., anxiety, anger, depression, etc.), and (2)it must relate all the emotions to each other. This book presents such a paradigm. It is based on the acceptedbiological principle that all organisms from the lowest to the highest function in two biological motives,which I call bipolar reactivity. All organisms seek pleasure and/or that which sustains and promotes life, andall organisms seek to avoid pain and/or that which threatens or disables life. Interestingly, this biologicalprinciple corresponds to a basic principle of Buddhist psychology that the pain we cause to ourselves andto each other is caused by the Three Poisons: desire, aversion, and ego. Desire and aversion link humansto the great chain of being, and ego distinguishes humans from all other beings and recognizes our uniquecapacity for symbolic reactivity. I have used this paradigm for fi fty years in my practice of psychotherapy andhave found it very useful for understanding my patients mental and emotional pain and helping them tounderstand and heal themselves.

After fi fty years of futile research on mind and behavior, trying to fi nd their causes in the brain,without success, psychiatrists and psychologists are turning their attention to the emotions, alsolooking for their causes in the brain, also without success. The problem is that there is no generally acceptedtheory or paradigm for understanding the emotions. William James suggested that such a paradigm mustmeet two criteria: (1) it must explain each individual emotion (i.e., anxiety, anger, depression, etc.), and (2)it must relate all the emotions to each other. This book presents such a paradigm. It is based on the acceptedbiological principle that all organisms from the lowest to the highest function in two biological motives,which I call bipolar reactivity. All organisms seek pleasure and/or that which sustains and promotes life, andall organisms seek to avoid pain and/or that which threatens or disables life. Interestingly, this biologicalprinciple corresponds to a basic principle of Buddhist psychology that the pain we cause to ourselves andto each other is caused by the Three Poisons: desire, aversion, and ego. Desire and aversion link humansto the great chain of being, and ego distinguishes humans from all other beings and recognizes our uniquecapacity for symbolic reactivity. I have used this paradigm for fi fty years in my practice of psychotherapy andhave found it very useful for understanding my patients mental and emotional pain and helping them tounderstand and heal themselves.


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  • Released:
  • Categories: Science & Nature
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Xlibris US
  • ISBN-10: 148362000X
  • ISBN-13: 9781483620008

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