Towards a transdisciplinary neuroscientific and hypnotherapeutic research under Zubiri´s concept of intelligence
by Nerea San JoseD. Hyp, M.Phil, MA, BSc (Hons), MBSCH
This article suggests the necessity for greater collaboration between neuroscience, hypnotherapy and philosophy. Scientific research is very specialised and isolated from the collaboration of other fields such hypnotherapy and philosophy. This article shows the importance of interdisciplinary research and how Zubiri´s ideas can be used as a tool for integrating all types of research and therefore we have a richer understanding of the world we live in.
Since Francis Crick (1962, Nobel Prize) stated that the human soul doesn´t exist as something metaphysical, but as an element on our DNA, there is the need for understanding what we call a “soul” in science. And now more than ever, we think that by understanding the way we behave to better ourselves, the closer we are to comprehending what a “soul” is. The studies on Emotional intelligence has brought the body, emotion and culture back together as important parts of ourselves and to be taken into account in any research. On the other hand, neuroscience doesn´t care about our “soul” or mind unless it is a biological mind which allows us to survive in our world, or at least, the world we perceive. In between those two research fields, we find hypnotherapy as the door to our understanding of our own emotions influencing the body and vice versa.
Hypnotherapy and other kind of therapy help us gain an inside of our deepest thoughts and desires. And because we have them, we are still trying to pin point where is our mental awareness. Mental awareness for some it is the soul, for others the mind. We haven´t got that far from Descartes´ Pineal gland (Lopez-Muño, 2011, p. 162). Neuroscience still thinks it holds the key to explain who we really are and why we are here. Some researchers are still ignoring the advised given by David, W. J. (1980, pp. 543-544) that neuroscience doesn´t have any clear bounds on their research and is forced to participate into a philosophical debate. Hypnotherapeutic research also needs to be part of this debate. Regardless we can name and locate every single neuron, we cannot give an unambiguous understanding of a network´s function still. One thing is for sure, Girolamo Fracastoro (1483-1553) (Lopez-Muño, 2011, p. 166) wasn´t that wrong in defending the idea of a cerebral organ, the Conarium, that integrated and coordinated all of our perceptions (exterior and interior). Maybe it is not an organ what we ought to seek, but an attitude of integration and a transdisciplinary approach in all the research done about the human being.
Taking into account the concept of integration not only for the body and mind but also for the scientific research, we propose Zubiri´s ideas of hyperformalization (2011) as a diagram. This diagram is a tool for interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research. The emotional intelligence research is going back to Darwin’s time by creating principles of behaviour out of our emotions (Rodriguez Valls, F., 2011, pp. 151-152), but it lacks a general view that helps unite all these specific and specialise knowledge. It is also happening to the neurological and hypnotherapeutic research done about behaviour and emotion. More than ever, thinking is an action (Gonzalez, 2010, p. 153) and as such, it can be observed and researched.
Zubiri´s unity of body and mind (in his philosophy) brought the answer to the debate about reality and knowledge. The reality that affects us is the reality that we should only be concerned about, and our knowledge is shaped by it, as much as reality is shaped by our knowledge (McGilchrist, 2012, p. 5). Nowadays, his ideas can be used to integrate any research and be closer to have a general picture of our specific and specialise knowledge done across the world. Three main concepts we need to understand from this philosopher: Primordial apprehension, Logos and Reason. These three fields of knowledge are the core of his Sentiente Intelligence or what I call Emociosentiente intelligence process. His innovative philosophy can be the perfect tool for creating an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary collaboration between scientific researches as he always supported the influence of science on philosophical theories. This collaboration brings with it as Ursua, N. (2011, p. 325) states, the importance of asking the right questions to the right field of research. And also it acknowledges the great advantages that bring with it, the transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary research. But all these specialise and partial scientific knowledge (Arana, J. 2010, p. 214) might not get us anywhere if we do not hold a general picture of these collaborations and shared paradigms. We should never forget that a neuron, on its own, doesn´t think, only transmits something. This something is what some people name the soul, other consciousness and many synapsis.
The aim of uniting neuroscience, psychology, hypnotherapy, biology and technology (human enhancement) without forgetting culture and education, has given me the chance to adapt the Next step diagram for autism into the Emociosentiente Intelligence diagram. This diagram can be also used as a tool for mapping the different research done and be able to work in a transdisciplinary manner without compromising the specific principles of each scientific research must follow to be considered science.
Zubiri´s Sentiente Intelligence provides a new paradigm to understand our knowledge about the world that affects us. For this philosopher to talk about the reality that it doesn´t affect us is pointless, and also impossible because we talk about in relation to our Sentiente Intelligence. I propose that these three fields of Emociosentiente Intelligence: Primordial apprehension, logo and Reason can be the new way of presenting our brain, knowledge and the interaction that we have with our reality. The paradigm conscious and unconscious (subconscious) is too general, and as Rodriguez Serón, A. (2002, p. 155) points out using too general concepts open the door to an endless debate about consciousness and the brain. The only solution is to be specific and specialised, but by doing so we might be focusing on a particular phenomenon or event that may not make sense when we interact with other scientific knowledge.
An example of this is Artificial Intelligence and the debate if we can produce a mind (mental awareness) from non –organic material. Here the scientific community with a humanistic view will say that we do not produce life, we simply re-produce some sort of results that some people might call it “life” (Murillo, J. I. 2010, p. 122), but from the technological point of view, the answer may be affirmative. To avoid this and never lose track of the real meaning of the research, this diagram allows us to be part a general debate and therefore to keep the scientific validity as an integrating part of it.
Neuroscience, Hypnotherapy and any Philosophy of Mind are facing great transformations, since Churchland, P. S (1986) reduced philosophy to neuroscience and reality is a neurological chemical process. My diagram allows collaboration and reduces the risk of absorbing one discipline by another because of the excessive empowerment of technology. Every research related to the emotion, behaviour and morality will have a place as a cultural element or/ and a neurological one. We need to reduce the risk of missing out on new ideas and intuitive explanation. One example is Zubiri´s writings in which he describes his eleven senses. For many years, psychology assumed only five senses, and now we are recognising seven, integrating the eleven senses given by Zubiri 1980 in the first place (2011, pp. 100-103). We want to avoid missing out and increase the collaboration amongst disciplines without having a risk of elimination or absorption as Churchland suggested with philosophy and neuroscience.
Our neurological and cultural knowledge doesn´t need to be intrinsically complex as Ursua, N. (2011, p. 325) states, but it does need to be humanistic. In order to become humanistic, our research must be multidisciplinary to accomplish the right balance between the specific knowledge that technology brings with it and the cultural added value that each research brings with it from different countries. And therefore different cultures bring different points of view of importance. It is obvious that we need a multidisciplinary research, and at the same time we need to set limits to avoid eliminations and absorptions of paradigms from different sciences.
Multidisciplinary research happens when countries research a theme under several scientific disciplines. Transdisciplinary research occurs when a common problem brings together different disciplines with their problems in order to add a new point of view or rephrase the problem. And Interdisciplinary research tries to give answers to questions and themes with the specialised, independent and specific disciplines (Ursua, 2011, p. 327).
We seek in the present climax, interaction and relationship from different fields, and at the same time, the results from their independent research. We want from them to move forward without stopping in the life´s great debate; but at the same time, we need to show how all these specific knowledge better ourselves. It must show their transdisciplinary results focusing on the wellbeing of mankind.
The tendency for human enhancement and the new research based on the development of applied science (nanotechnology, biotechnology and techno-information) has the risk of ignoring two integrated elements of our science: culture and education. A new analysis is needed to create the right balance between the “human enhancement” and the philosophical debates. The answer may lay with Zubiri´s philosophy and Grunwald, A. futuristic epistemological evaluation (Ursua, N. 2011, p. 328). The diagram I propose facilitates the transdisciplinary research without forgetting the new trend of human enhancement and technology where the human body is less important as technology is allowing our brain to know, move and act through machines.
On the other hand, we tend to ignore the old philosophical debates because mental facts and the concept of consciousness are still difficult to explain. Nevertheless, we must ask ourselves, who make the decisions - my brain or I. And without a doubt with the transdisciplinary view, we can answer as Rodriguez Valss (2010, p. 90) does: as a brain, we are stimuli-response, but out of so many permutations, there is a judgement. This judgement can be conscious or unconscious but still, a judgement made by I. We are certained that our mind has a relationship body-mind and we can acknowledge these three statements (Rodriguez Serón, A., 2002, p. 150):
Mental facts are different from physical facts.
Mental facts have an effect on physical facts.
Nevertheless, physical facts can by itself cause a physical effect.
Neuroscientists, hypnotherapists and neurophilosophers (Arana, J. 2010, p. 205) cannot explain what the mind is with an ontological argument, but this doesn´t lead to closing the door to the debate. Neurophilosophy should use Imagination in a sophisticated manner and Reason with more resolution (Arana, J. 2010, p. 205). Thus this traditional debate can be integrated and resolved by the specific disciplines, and at the same time to be part of a greater debate where the multidisciplinary approach sets the limits to avoid the possible elimination of arguments, principles and positive results of any discipline. Zubiri´s new fields of knowledge bring the necessary freedom to move from causality explanations to just descriptions of an event without ignoring that technology is shaping not only our world but the way we think of it.
Every act of knowledge is an apprehension. We can state that Primordial apprehension is the pure form of knowledge; it is never wrong or right. We can access it as many time as we need. We can state that the human knowledge with mind-body interaction is in its pure form in this field. We feel our reality, we know it but we cannot speak of, or explain it, because we feel intelligence as reality (sentiente intelligence). Here we can place any microbiology research on a cell, a neuron as a description but a basic explanation of stimuli-response must be place in Reasons field. Thus, we need the constant approval of Reason for the causality´s demonstration.
The field of dual apprehension: Logos and Reason are those fields where science and technology are shaping our knowledge. We know things by judgement and this judgement is shaped by culture, education and technology. Principle of Reason and causal explanations are used in the field of Reason (Zubiri, X. 2008). This field is the part of agreed knowledge amongst institutions. Scientific, common sense and moral values are shaping the knowledge of the researcher because they have the scientific explanations as a form of reinforcement to justify their own knowledge of reality.
Logos field is the greatest contribution done by Zubiri (1982). This field gives the freedom of going back to the source (Primordial apprehension) or just foreseen possible connections, implications and judgements. As Zubiri (2011, p. 70) states there is a distance, the possibility of stepping back and judge differently. The core of this field is “possibilities” rather than the firm justification of a scientific principle as in Reason´s field. I suggest placing Neurology, Hypnotherapy and Neurophilosophy in this field because there is the freedom of rethinking the unthinkable, and place the unknown and error as the door for new explanations, while an error in the field of Reason is a failure that must be removed. A scientific statement must be proved and be able to be reproduced in the same conditions for the scientific community´s validity.
With these short explanations, I aim to invite any researcher to mind- mapping his/her research and place it together with other disciplines. I am sure that common paradigms will come out and new connections will see the light because for once, we will be able to touch the parts of the elephant and see the whole animal in 3D.
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Nerea San JoseD. Hyp, M.Phil, MA, BSc (Hons), MBSCH is a therapist in London, UK.