Monday, April 13, 2009

The Four Cornerstones of Gap-DGB (Quantum-Dialectic) Philosophy-Psychology

The 'Hegelian dialectic style of logical reasoning' is associated with the philosophy of G.W. Hegel (1770-1831) and was/is one of the most important, revolutionary ideas in the history of Western Philosophy. It ranks right up there with the 'Copernican Revolution' and 'The Darwinian Revolution' -- indeed, The Hegelian Dialectic Revolution was a philosophical precursor to The Darwinian Revolution and far less biologically restrictive, rather, much more broadly and solidly based in all areas of 'living mutations' and 'human philosophical, biological, medical, cultural, political, legal, economic, psychological, mythological, spiritual, religious, and artistic revolution...and evolution...the idea being that it is through 'revolution' -- and this means 'philosophical' and 'conceptual' revolution as well as 'physical revolution' -- that you get 'evolution'...

Karl Marx would later 'turn Hegelian Dialectic Idealism on its head' -- or at least 'reduce' it to only one particular 'human spectrum' by emphasizing 'Socialist and Communist Idealism' as restricted to the realm of 'dialectic-materialistic-economic revolution and evolution' as opposed to Hegel's much more general, all-encompassing, and non-partisan idealistic form of revolution and evolution.

'Hegel's dialectic philosophy and logic was eventually captured in the famous 'dialectic formula': 1. 'thesis'; 2. 'anti-thesis'; and 3. 'synthesis' (which was never directly stated in this fashion by Hegel).

Indeed, if you combine Hegel's idea of the dialectic with Walter Bradford's idea of 'homeostasis', you have arguably the most powerful 'one-two' punch of ideas in the history of Western philosophy.

Now I have never seen Hegel's philosophy of the dialectic from 'The Phenomenology of Mind' (1807) combined in the same sentence with Cannon's concept and philosophy of 'homeostasis' found in his book 'The Wisdom of The Body' (1932). But to me, it is an obvious 'integrative fit'.

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Homeostasis
The concept of homeostasis was first articulated by the French scientist Claude Bernard (1813-1878) in his studies of the maintenance of stability in the milieu interior. The term itself was coined by American physiologist Walter Cannon, author of The Wisdom of the Body(1932).
"Homeostasis" is derived from the Greek words for "same" and "steady." The term refers to ways the body acts to maintain a stable internal environment in spite of environmental variations and disturbances. Both the mind/brain and the body are endowed with a multitude of automatic mechanisms of feedback-inhibition that counteract influences tending toward disequilibrium.

Homeostatic stability is advantageous in the realm of osmoregulation, temperature-control, and the regulation of blood sugar levels. (From the internet.)

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In the same manner, that the mind and body is controlled internally by homeostatic counter-balancing functions, the same thing can be witnessed to be true on a social and cultural level in every aspect of man's existence, and indeed, arguably on every level in the planet's existence.

'Homeostasis' or 'homeostatic balance' seems to be one of the lowest common denominator principles of life.

We can talk about the balance of politics, the balance of law, the balance of the market, the balance of power, the balance of nature, and in these different regards, distinguish between 'political homeostasis', 'legal homeostasis', 'economic and market homeostasis', 'power homeostasis', and 'ecological homeostasis'.

Furthermore, it can easily be argued, as Hegel mainly has (I am just putting a few more philosophical pieces together here and adding some exclamation marks onto the end of these philosophical pieces), that all of man's external, internal, social and cultural homeostatic functions (such as all of the ones listed above) are interconnected with both the idea and the phenomenon of the dialectic.

In short, it is through the methodology and/or process of the dialectic that homeostasis manages itself back and forth from thesis to anti-thesis to synthesis, and alternatively, from polar extremism to homeostatic (dialectic) balance.


Indeed, the Hegelian Philosophy of 'Dialectic Evolution' is every much as viable a theory of evolution as Darwin's Theory of Evolution. In fact, Hegel's theory of dialectic evolution: 1. preceded Darwin's theory of genetic evolution; 2. can be viewed as encompassing Darwin's theory of evolution; and 3. is intellectually, pragmatically, existentially, and generically superior to Darwin's theory of genetic evolution.

In short, Hegel's theory of evolution is a better theory of evolution than Darwin's mainly because: 1. it is much broader in its 'worldly, historical, and evolutionary scope'; and 2. it has much more general and specific functional application value.

Indeed, if there was an 'Intelligent Designer' ('God' if you will) who created the world, and/or even the entire universe, it would seem very, very possible and logical that He/She/It designed it according to, first and foremost, the principle of homeostasis, and secondly the principle of the dialectic as the 'cosmic homeostatic, thermostatic methodology of moving from polar extremism to homeostatic-dialectic balance as a means of maintaining optimal health and fitness on all levels of human, animal, plant, and ecological life'.

This has been a 'subconscious to conscious' 37 year project on my part getting philosophically to where I just brought you here. It started with one of the first books I read in high school that really excited me -- 'Psycho-Cybernetics' by Maxwell Maltz. Maltz preached many of the same ideas about 'balance'...shifting off balance towards one extreme or another...and then 'counter-balancing' to bring things 'back on the right track again'.

I have just broadened the scope of what Maltz was talking about and applied Maltz's principle 'psycho-cybernetics' which can be traced back to both Cannon's theory of homeostasis and, before that, to Hegel's principle of the dialectic which if we want to keep going back deeper and deeper into history, we can probably also trace back to Hegel's main German influences, Schelling perhaps, Fichte and Kant for sure, and if we really want to go back to both the beginning of Western and Eastern philosophy, we could definitely add the ideas of Heraclitus and Anaxamander from Greece, and Lao Tse and the creators of Daoism from China (specifically, the ideas of 'yin' (feminine energy) and 'yang' (masculine energy) providing the healthy balance of all mankind (and indeed, the whole cosmos).


To summarize, if you want to know what the 'four major cornerstones' of DGB Philosophy-Psychology...are, they are this: Hegel's dialectic philosophy integrated with Cannon's principle of 'homeostasis' such that we can talk about 'homeostatic-dialectic balance' which reaches back as far as both Ancient Greek philosophy (Anaxamander and Heraclitus) as well as ancient Chinese dialectic philosophy which arguably probably dates back earlier than the earliest Greek philosophy (Thales and Anaxamander are on record as being the earliest known Greek philosophers), and/or/but which likely includes such major Chinese philosophers as Confucius and Lao Tse (and/or whoever else was involved in the creation of the principles of 'yin' and 'yang' -- and the beginning of 'Daoism'. There is some historical uncertainty in the earliest beginnings of 'yin', 'yang', and 'Daoism').

Thus, we can identify the four major cornerstones of dialectic philosophy -- and in particular DGB Post-Hegelian Dialectic Philosophy as;

1. Pre-Socratic (Ancient Greek) Dialectic Philosophy;

2. Ancient Chinese Philosophy ('yin', 'yang', 'Daoism');

3. Hegel and the rest of German Idealistic (and 'Counter-Idealistic') Philosophy as most notably detailed in Hegel's 'The Phenomenology of Spirit';

4. Cannon's theory of 'homeostasis' and 'homeostatic balance' as most notably detailed in his most famous book, 'The Wisdom of The Body'.


-- DGB, Sept 26th, 2006, updated April 13th and Dec. 29th, 2009.

-- David Gordon Bain

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Purpose of Hegel's Hotel: DGB Philosophy (Democratic-Dialectics For The Mind, Body, and Soul)

The purpose of 'Hegel's Hotel' -- the integrated network of blogsites that comprises this philosophical forum and treatise -- is to provide a multi-integrative, dialectic-democratic, humanistic-existential approach to the study and practise of philosophy -- and all of its cultural and environmental extensions: psychology, politics, business and economics, law and order, equal rights, history, science, holistic health and medicine, hobbies, art, sports... and all other aspects of human culture -- that blends many of the best ideas from the past, and from a wide assortment of different schools of thought, with an equally wide assortment of innovative, new ideas from the present -- combined in such a fashion as to make them highly applicable in both the smaller, therapeutic setting, and in the larger, more general setting of life.

It is this integration of old and new ideas that makes Hegel's Hotel: DGB Philosophy (Dialectic-Democratics For The Mind, Body, and Soul) , a new experience, a new 'gestalt' to use the German expression -- and unique in the marketplace.

Hegel's Hotel is dedicated to all of my most important mentors -- both the mentors who I have found through the books that I have read, and the mentors who are always there for me in the 'ups and downs' of my personal life -- all of whom I view as my 'idols' and my 'shining beacons of light and warmth', especially on those coldest and/or darkest days of doom and/or gloom...including:

1. G.W.F. Hegel (1770-1831), the most important philosopher in Western History, in my view -- to him I thank for helping me create the 'paradigm' or 'architecture' for Hegel's Hotel; and to his classic book, 'The Phenomenology of Spirit' (1807), of which this philosophical work is written to be a 21st century continuation, modification, and expansion of...

2. Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) Nietzsche may have rejected Hegel and Hegelian Dialectic Philosophy but to me, Nietzsche remains a supreme 'dialectic philosopher' for two reasons: 1. His first work 'The Birth of Tragedy' was totally 'dialectic' in its structure (which Nietzsche asserted later was to the detriment of the book, as he began to move away from Hegel and the dialectic perspective -- Not so says this philosopher here: it was to Nietzsche's detriment and to the detriment of Nietzsche's philosophy that he moved away from Hegelian Dialectic Philosophy and 'The Birth of Tragedy (BT)' which can be viewed as a precursor to 'The Birth of Psychoanalysis' -- and indeed all of 20th Century Clinical Psychology in its emphasis on the principle of 'homeostatic or dialectic balance'. Nietzsche once wrote that: 'Extreme positions are not succeeded by moderate ones, but by contrary extreme positions.' This too, is a Hegelian (or post-Hegelian perspective) and Nietzsche proved this point in his own life and in his own philosophy. In philosophically walking away from BT, Nietzsche became obsessed with 'Dionysus' (The Greek God of wine, dancing, celebration, and pleasure) at the expense of ignoring 'Apollo' (The Greek God of law and order, justice, truth and reason...). He did the same thing in tearing down Christianity and Religion without being able to see and/or acknowledge that Christianity and Religion in general play important 'life-serving' functions in human society in terms of bringing people together in harmony under one roof with one essential united, integrated cause (family, community, roots, and mutual 'I-WE' support...). Instead, Nietzsche could only see the 'pathological-self-destructive' elements in Christianity and Religion -- and offered a 'counter-extremist philosophical position'. In essence, Nietzsche became 'The Anti-Christ' and in so doing he may have 'freed' many people from their religious chains but in so doing, Nietzsche was at least partly opening up a new 'Pandora's Box': The Pandora's Box of The Anti-Christ: live fast, die fast -- drugs, alcohol, partying, sex...party til you drop...the life and death of my ex-girlfriend's sister - 'the party queen', the life of the party: she got into 'crack' or 'coke' in her mid to late 20s and died like an AIDS patient in a coma, taken off life support, at 39. I could easily die in the bars myself in a year or two if I let 'my internal Dionyus' completely control my life; fortunately, I believe, I have the reins of 'my internal Apollo' -- and a solidly balanced 'Apollonian-Dionysian' girlfriend pulling me back to a life of better 'homeostatic balance'. Which was where Nietzsche started before he unfortunately abandoned the solid post-Hegelian, dialectic philosophical principles of -- BT.


The Gestalt Institute of Toronto which taught me the dialectic-democratics of mind, body, and soul for the greater part of ten years in the 1980s, and which ultimately led me back through the psychology of Jung and Freud -- to the philosophy of G.W.F. Hegel.

3. General Semantics (and my Grade 12 English teacher, Mr. Kress, who introduced me to General Semantics), as extrapolated by the founder of General Semantics, Alfred Korzybski, (Science and Sanity, 1933)and his number one student, S.I. Hayakawa, Language in Thought and Action, originally written in 1938, originally published in 1941, updated many times since) who in turn introduced me to the study of psychology -- and then philosophy.

4. My son (Michael Bain) and daughter (Jennifer Bain) who are just starting their adult lives and who I hope continue to live happy, healthy lives.

5. My father, Gordon Bain, who has always been my number one source of idealistic, inspirational philosophical vision...

6. My mother, Viola Bain, and my long-time girlfriend of almost 10 years, Sharida Ali, both of whom are so easy to take for granted, because their presence is just always there, but both of whom have provided me with the type of family roots and grounding without which anything else would likely be meaningful -- and/or even talked about by me in any type of coherent, and reasonable fashion.


Question: Where do the best of the theologies of the respective Christian and Muslim (and probably all the most important) religions meet?

Answer: Within the core roots and boundaries of the family, the community -- and helping others (not trying to destroy them).



- dgb, October 18th, 2008.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A List of 21 Important Concepts in DGB Philosophy (To Be Defined and Described Later)

Most of the 'pieces' of what you will learn in DGB Philosophy can be found in different formats and renditions elsewhere: Anaxamander, Heraclitus, Daoism, The Han Philosophers, Spinoza, Bacon, Locke, Hume, Diderot, Adam Smith, Tom Paine, Jefferson, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Marx, Kirkegaard, Nietzsche, Freud, Adler, Jung, Fairbairn, Fromm, Korzybski, Hayakawa, Fritz Perls, Sartre, Betrand Russell, Foucault, Derrida...all have something to important to say that I have found different ways of 're-stating' and/or 'newly integrating' their respective philosophical and/or psychological messages into what I am calling DGB Philosophy.

Ideally speaking, I would like 'Hegel's Hotel: DGB Philosophy' to be the ultimate integative philosophy treatise of the 21st century. Now obviously, time will tell whether I ever come anywhere close to this lofty ambition or not. But I have confidence in my integrating abilities and continually evolving knowledge here. Every week I manage to add about two or three more essays to the evolving structure and process of Hegel's Hotel.

Most of the foundation of Hegel's Hotel has already been laid, and realistically speaking, I think I probably need about another 3 to 5 years to finish the entire structure of Hegel's Hotel. I expect that Hegel's Hotel will be my one and only philosophical accomplishment in my lifetime if for no other reason than the fact that Hegel's Hotel is big enough to contain my life's philosophical work.

A case could be made that Hegel's 'The Phenomenology of Spirit' is the most important influencing force on 'Hegel's Hotel: DGB Philosophy'. Indeed, I will make that case myself even though I have not come close yet to seriously reading it. If you have ever tried to pick up 'The Phenomenology' and read it, you will begin to understand why. Regardless, the two key messages in 'The Phenomenology' have be re-stated and re-interpreted in literally thousands and thousands of different books. Indeed, I would list Hegel's 'The Phenomenology' as the number 1 most important philosophical work in both Western and Eastern history. Perhaps Kant's 'The Critique of Pure Reason' deserves some consideration here -- but I would say secondary consideration for the sole reason that without Kant's influence on Hegel (and perhaps Fichte's) there might have been no 'Phenomenology of Spirit'. Anyways, I will leave this debate for those of you who may be so inclined as to pick it up.

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A/ The two key ideas in 'The Phenomenology of Spirit' that directly or indirectly turned the world upside down...


1. The 'Hegelian' evolutionary cycle of: 1. thesis; 2. anti-thesis; and 3. synthesis although as any knowledgeable Hegelian scholar will tell you, Hegel never used these exact words. Still, with or without the words attached to this theory of 'dialectic evolution', this is still the most important idea, the most important theory, in the history of Western Philosophy. At least from my DGB philosophy perspective. Indeed, it is more important than Darwin's theory of evolution for two reasons: 1. it pre-dates Darwin's theory of evolution by over 50 years (1807 vs. 1859); and 2. it encompasses Darwin's theory of evolution (1. testosterone and male sperm -- 'thesis'; 2. estrogen and female egg -- 'anti-thesis' -- or visa versa, I'm not sexist; 3. united testosterone and estrogen, sperm and egg, resulting in a genetically integrated or synthesized 'child' or 'offspring' -- 'synthesis).

2. The 'master/slave' relationship: Marx jumped all over this idea; and so did the 'existentialists'. Marx's philosophy revolutionized the Eastern world -- not necessarily for the better, as three of the most sociopathic leaders in the history of the East -- Lenin, Stalin, and Mao tse Tung -- unfortunately, liked what they read in Marx. In this regard, Hegelian dialectical philosophy 'bi-polarized the world' leading to both 'extreme political left' and 'extreme political right' interpretations and reactions. In the latter regard, Hegel was influenced by Fichte, and Fichte's personality and philosophy were both pathological, influencing the rise of German Nationalism, anti-semitism, and Nazism, whereas Hegel, to my knowledge, definitely didn't have any 'anti-semitic' qualitities in him, nor does his philosophy. The worst that you might say about Hegel was that he was 'pro-Napoleon', or 'a pre-German Nationalist', or that he was a 'fair weather political philosopher' who tried not to stir up any trouble with the government who he was close to, and at least partly supported by. Hegel's description of the 'master/slave' relationship also brought into discussion the concept of 'alienation' which opened up the door to what, through Kiekegaard, Nietzsche, Camus, Sartre, and others would become the philosophical 'school' or 'related but detached network of schools' known today as 'existentialism' and/or 'humanistic-existentialism'.

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B/ The 20 Most Influenctial Philosophers (or Sets Of Philosohers) Relative to DGB Philosophy...

1. Hegel
2. Nietzsche
3. Perls
4. Freud
5. Fromm
6. Korzybski and Hayakawa (General Semantics)
7. Spinoza
8. Adler
9. Jung
10. Derrida
11. Foucault
12. Nathaniel Branden, Adam Smith, Ayn Rand (The Spirit of Humanistic Capitalism)
13. Marx (The Spirit of Humanistic Socialism)
14. Bacon (The Spirit of Science and Rational-Empiricism)
15. Locke and Hume (Empiricism and Empirical-Extremism/Skepticism respectively)
16. Alexander and Heraclitus (The Earliest Western Dialectic philosophers)
17. Daoism, neo-Confucionism, and The Han Philosophers ('yin' and 'yang')
18. Plato and Aristotle (The Ultimate Idealist and The Ultimate Realist-Empiricist. Together, they make up much of the foundation of Western philosophy.)
19. The Post-Freudians: Klein, Fairbairn, Kohut, Berne...
20. Jeffrey Masson: The Ultimate anti-Classical Freudian.

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C/ The 12 Most Important Philosophical Works (or sets of Works) Relative to DGB Philosophy

1. Hegel, 'The Phenomenology of Spirit', 1807
2. Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy, 1872
3. Perls, Ego, Hunger and Aggression, 1947
4. Strachey's 24 volume collection of Freud's complete works, 1964
5. 'The Philosophy for Beginners' Series
6. Erich Fromm, 1947, Man For Himself, 1947
7. Hayakawa, 1949, 'Language in Thought and Action', 1949
8. W.B.Cannon, 1932, 'The Wisdom of The Body', 1932
9. Korzybski, 1933, 'Science and Sanity', 1933
10. Erich Fromm, 1955, 'The Sane Society', 1955
11. Nathaniel Branden, 'The Psychology of Self-Esteem', 1969
12. Maxwell Maltz, 'Pscyho-Cybernetics', 1960

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D/ 21 Important Concepts In DGB Philosophy-Psychology-Politics...

1. Bi-Polarity (Multi-Bi-Polarity, Bi-Partisan Agreement, Opposite Polarities, Paradoxes...)

2. The Dialectic (The dialectic process, dialectic-democracy, dialectic negotiating, dialectic dancing, dialectic agreement, dialectic balance, dialectic-democratic balance)

3. Gods, Idols, and Archetypes

4. Anti-gods, villains, and demons

5. Ego-States

6. Gaps, Voids, Abysses, Chasms

7. Superior and Inferior Power Functions (Processes, Organs, Ego-states, Power Dialectics...)

8. Homeostatic Balance (Dialectic Balance, Dialectic-Democratic Balance, Homeostatic Balance Dialectics, Win-Win Dialectics...)

9. Projection

10 Introjection and Identification

11. Distinction (differentation) and Association

12. 'Loose' and 'tight' associations

13. 'Positive' and 'negative' stereotyping

14. Transference ('Positive' and 'negative' transferences, Transference Complexes, Transference Memories, Transference Scenes...)

15. Compensation (Compensatory attitudes, beliefs, values, behaviors, lifestyles, philosophies, transferences...)

16. Narcissism and Altruism

17. Truth and Sophism

18. Empiricism and Rationalism

19. Concreteness and Abrstraction ('Being grounded' and 'flying high with words and abstractions')

20. Classifying, labelling, 'negative labelling', confusing a 'negative label' with the 'reality of the situation and/or the person'.

21. Reductionism and wholism

-- dgb, Sept. 30th, 2008, updated October 1st, 2008.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

About Me...and My Network of Philosophical-Psychological...Blogsites: Hegel's Hotel: DGB Philosophy (The Dialectics of Mind, Body, and Spirit)

Good day! My name is David Bain. I write about philosophy, psychology, politics, and more...I have an Honours B.A. in psychology. I live in Newmarket, Ontario, about 30 miles and minutes north of Toronto. I have a classy girlfriend of 9 years - Sharida - who works and lives in Toronto. I have two children from a previous relationship: Michael, 23, living in Newmarket, and Jennifer, 18, living in Nova Scotia.

My life mission is to finish a growing number of linked blogsites on philosophy, psychology, politics and other cultural topics. My perspective is mainly 'integrative, centralist, and multi-dialectical (Post-Hegelian, Humanistic-Existential)' drawing from a whole range of philosophical and psychological influences such as: Hegel, Nietzsche, Spinoza, Anaxamander, Heraclitus, The Han Philosophers, Locke, Hume, Adam Smith, Marx, Tom Paine, Diderot, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Sartre, Korzybski, Foucault, Derrida, Freud, Adler, Jung, Berne, Perls, and many more...The issues and subject matters are extensive as well - pretty well anything and everything is game for discussion.

My network of blogsites is called: 'Hegel's Hotel: DGB Philosophy-Psychology' and can be found by simply googling...DGB Philosophy...

- dgb, July 18th, 2008.
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Here are some commendations on Hegel's Hotel...and I thank the readers cited here, most appreciatively, for their most encouraging feedback. It is feeback like this that keeps me motivated, and re-vitalized, helping me to continue writing at a good pace in order to one day finally finish building the metaphorical 'skyscraper' I am calling 'Hegel's Hotel'...

- dgb, Sept. 21st, 2008.

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Hi David Gordon Bain,

That's a great great blog post. I especially like the quotes at the end. I especially like the unfortunately true one by Thomas Paine: "The greatest tyrannies are always perpetrated in the name of the noblest causes."

I also like your point about the benefit of balancing being strong-willed with being a good listener. I am especially interested with the mix of philosophy with social and political activism.

Also, I want to invite you to join my Philosophy Forum.

Thanks, Scott

May 8, 2008 4:04 AM

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What a wonderful view and expansion of Hegel you offer!

Please continue to unfold it for us.
Do your offer an E Mail notice lists of new posts? I signed up for the TSS feed,

Thanks
Forrest at// fateanalysis@wordpress.com
radical gene psychology@blogspot.com
December 22, 2007 8:50 AM
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Evan said...

Wow. What a fabulous post and project. Wishing you every possible success witht the building of Hegel's hotel.

I love gestalt, especially the theory. I think Perls, Hefferline and Goodman remains unsurpassed.

I've never trained in a formal course - I think I'm too independant and gestalt seems to have very much compromised with the powers that be and sold its birthright for a mess of recognition (and high salaries, let us not forget).

I think the big issue for gestalt to confront is professionalism. I'll be fascinated to see if this turns up in Hegel's hotel.

I also think you are doing what gestalt should be doing, assimilating, integrating and building. Gestalt is so stuck!

So once again heart-felt thanks and wishes for your success.

June 12, 2007 2:57 AM

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Dave, you do an excellent job of helping the layperson understand your
philosophies and the historical philosophies that you support or disagree with. - Noreen

Finding Truth.

Wow..You trigger thought and reflection on past and present, personal views.
I guess that is a large part of your intention or maybe your responsibility as a true philosopher.

It's interesting, at some point in the journey, regardless of your upbringing , life forces you to choose your beliefs. The universal question:
Does God and heaven really exist? What is the truth?

Thank you for suggesting that I plough my way through it.

- Noreen

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David Gordon Bain is a modern day philosopher with his finger on the integrative, dialectic pulse of life, both past and present! - Noreen

(Noreen, incidently, has become a good friend of mine, and in the relatively short time that I have known her - the last year or so - she has made many,many important contributions to my writing, and to the ongoing 'dialectical evolution' of Hegel's Hotel. - dgb, Aug. 22nd, 2008.)

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Here is an example of one of my latest essays...written on September 11th, updated Sept. 21st, 2008.

DGB 'Sun-Planet Theory', Homeostatic Balance, and Sixteen 'Mythological Idol Fixations' of Extremist Living

1. Introduction

This is brand new DGB Philosophy-Psychology although the ideas have been perculating in my head for a while now...

Think of the sun with the planets revolving around it; in order for people to survive on earth, the earth needs to be situated - and revolving around the sun just rightly - not too far from the sun (or we freeze to death) and not too close to the sun (or we burn to death) - which comes back to the main principle of the creation and/or evolution of life in the universe and on earth: the principle of 'homeostatic balance'.

Once you get this image in your mind - of the sun and planets model and the principle of homestatic balance - you are starting to get a picture of my latest perculating model of the human psyche - a model that borrows from philosophy, psychology, biology, chemistry, and physics, and mythology. There is some Freud in it (projecting and introjecting), some Jung in it (archetypes and Greek Gods), lots of philosophy in it (such as the different 'eras' or 'periods' of philosophy), and running right through the middle of this model are the priniciples of: 1. 'multi-dialectic exchange, interchange, negotiation, power and control maneuvers'; and 2. 'homeostatic (or multi-dialectic) balance.

I remember reading a book a long time ago - perhaps when I was in university (1974-1979) called, 'Man The Manipulator'. I will research the book and come back to you with the author shortly. I believe the author(s) had some training in both Gestalt Therapy and Jungian Psychology.

Anyways, my present model here reminds me somewhat of what the author(s)in that book were also trying to get at which was basically that (and I will paraphrase in my own words here and now): any 'particualar style of interconnected thought, feeling, impulse, restraint and/or behavior' or what Jung would call a 'complex' or Alfred Adler would call a person's 'lifestyle' has a combination of both positive and negative attributes attached to it (strengths and weaknesses). It's like perhaps the most important statement that Hegel ever made (and again I am both paraphrasing and extending his thought): Every thought, impulse, characteristic, restraint, theory, perspective, lifestyle...carries with it the seeds of its own self-destruction...Or worded otherwise, anything taken too far, will eventually explode, implode, self-destruct, poison, and/or take you off the deep end with it...Any form of extremism will eventually lead to your self-destruction...

Which brings us back to the principle of 'homeostatic - and/or dialectical - balance'. Here is my post-Hegelian-extension of Hegel's famous formula: The life cycle follows the pattern of: 1. thesis; 2. anti-thesis; and 3 synthesis (which - my DGB extension - pulls man and all of evolutionary life back to the 'central position of homeostatic-dialectic-democratic balance'. 'Not too strong (eg. The Republicans), not too weak (eg. The Democrats) but just right...'The Republican-Democrats or the Democratic-Republicans'. This is the post-Hegelian, bi-polarity synthesizing goal of DGB Philosophy.

Here is my extension of the famous Hegelian formula:

Thesis plus anti-thesis or counter-thesis creatively negotiated together equals homeostatic and/or dialectical balance which in turn provides a compensatory form of psycho- and/or philosophical and/or bio-chemical therapy for all different forms of philosophical and psychological and bio-chemical extremism.

I don't have the technical capability within this blogsite to create the type of model I wish to create with a 'sun' or 'planet' in the centre with all of its revolving planets or moons. So you will have to imagine this.

I have already written a number of different papers that can be found below this essay on 'Gods, Myths, Archetypes, and Self-Energy Centres...' This essay only becomes the essay that starts to pull them all together into one model of the personality.

At centre stage is the 'main energy centre in the personality' - The Central Mediating Ego' (psychological model) which can also be called the 'Hegelian Ego' (philosophical model: thesis plus counter-thesis equal synthesis and homeostatic-dialectic-democratic balance) or Zeus (mythological model) or 'The Sun' (planetary model).

Here are some of the 'revolving planets in similar and/or different human lifestyles, complexes, and/or personalities'...

2. Sixteen 'Mythological Idol Fixations' of Extremist Living'

1. Idols of The Tribe or The Crowd: (Crowd Pleasers, victims of peer pressure...)Don't get caught up and lost in the ideas and behaviors of the crowd or the 'herd' as Nietcsche would put it - like lemmings you can be taken over a cliff. Think and feel and act independently as well as co-dependently;

2. Idols of The Cave (Hermits, Loners, Thinkers, Philosophers, Introverts, Shy People, Self-Infatuated People...): Don't get caught up and lost within yourself. You will suffocate there. If or when you do, come back out of yourself, and reach out to a person and/or people. This is your therapy;

3. Idols of The Sky (The Greek God, Uranus) (Idealists, Visionaries, Entepreneurs, Architects, pilots, astronauts, skydivers...): Come back to earth young man or woman, come back to earth and re-ground yourself. Your therapy consists of 'touching earth again and feeling the soil beneath your feet, the ground and trees all around you);

4. Idols of The Earth (in Greek mythology, the godesses Gaea): (Empiricists, people who are afraid to take a risk, people who need security above all else in their lives). Take a risk young man or woman, take a risk! This is your therapy. Fly high into the sky and see how high you can soar;

5. Idols of The Theatre (The Magician, The Sophist, The Actor, The Fraud...: Don't be fooled by others using sophistry, illusion, smoke and mirrors; and similarily, don't fool others using sophistry, illusion, smoke and mirrors. Be congruent, be honest, be yourself. Your therapy consists of re-finding your self and who you really are;

6. Idols of Zeus (Authority, Power, Title): Don't be fooled by, or fool others, using a mantle of exploitive authority, power, and/or title. The best leaders can both talk with wisdom and charisma while listening to the wisdom of others. The worst leaders have a self-inflated opinion of themselves and can talk, even act with power and/or violence but they can't listen, and they don't care about others. They are strictly for themselves. Your therapy here consists of 100 hours of community work to try to help cure your self-inflated narcissism. Helping others - altruism - is what you are trying to learn here, and truly caring about others;

7. Idols of The Word: Don't be fooled or fool others using a web of words that don't mean what they claim to mean, or you claim them to mean. If your words don't fit your meaning, then perhaps its time to go back to Grade 1, go back to 'the pointing game', or 'the fitting game', show that your words reflect your actions, and your actions reflect your words. To the extent that they don't - your words are fraudulent and the more you use them this way, the more of a fraud your whole person is. Your therapy consists of going back to square one and making your actions fit your words and visa versa;

8. Idols of Apollo: Don't spend your whole life following the God of Righteousness - i.e., Apollo - because it will create for you a one-sided life. You need to show tolerance and non-jugment at times also. This is your therapy - to practise being 'non-righteous';

9. Idols of Dionysus: Don't get lost in the pursuit of hedonism, narcissism, pleasure, sex, alcohol, drugs, gambling, partying, the fast life (Your therapy - maybe practise Budhism or abstinence for a while, see what it is like to live without your addiction, what you are scared of, and how you can overcome this;

10. Idols of Aphrodite: Don't get lost in - or consumed by - love. It will throw everything else in your life out of balance and leave you weak and vulnerable to loss, betrayal, abandonment, rejection - if you fall in love too easily with the person who is going to create a self-fulling prophecy and your worst nightmare for you. You need to stay grounded, develop your own strengths and not 'project Gods' onto everyone you meet. Your therapy is to imagine that you yourself are the God for a while...;

11. Idols of War (The Greek God, Aries): Don't get caught up in - and consumed by war. It will eat you up and destroy you. You think that you can destroy your enemies but for every new person who you kill, you are probably creating at least a handful of new enemies. Your therapy lies in developing 'creative ways of negotiating towards win-win solutions', not seeing everyone as your potential enemy - and treating him or her like it, making your world a more dangerous place than it needs to be;

12. Idols of Hades (God of The Underworld): Don't get caught up and lost in illicit and/or illegal activities. It will bring on your self-destruction perhaps faster than anything else, particularly if you are nurturing hate, power, revenge, and violence. What goes around will eventually come around. You will get yours in the end...What was that Martin Luther King quote that Obama liked so much - something like...'The cosmic arc is long but bends towards justice'.;

13. Idols of Speed (The Greek God, Hermes): Don't get caught up in, and consumed by speed. Live in the fast lane, die in the fast lane.

14. Idols of Athena (Goddess of Patriotism): Patriotism can be a dangerous thing if you get too caught up, and consumed by it. It breeds righteosness and intolerance - 'It's my way or the highway'. You will eventually distance yourself, alienate, and/or be subsumed by more powerful groups than you that don't buy your 'patriotic lines';

15. Idols of Hera (Goddess and Protector of Marriage): Marriage can be a beautiful thing but it can also be a strifeful thing. Don't completely lose yourself - and your identity - in marriage. Be the person you always were. Develop your own talents and potential even as the two of you seek to evolve together in the relationship. Flexibility and tolerance is important - and not 'couping each other up in tight boxes that you both suffocate in' (or one person suffocates in by submitting to the other's domination). Win-win negotiatins in marriage are essential;

16. Idols of Narcissus (God of Self-Idolation): Don't become so absorbed in yourself that you can't see the people around you and their own trials and tribulations. In the myth of Narcissus, Narcissus looked into a pool of water, saw his reflection, and fell in love with himself. Be sensitive to the needs, want, feelings, thoughts, and problems of others. This is your therapy.

These are 'The DGB 16 Mythological Idols of Lifestyle and Personaliy Extremism' (we can find many others), and DGB Philosophy-Psychology seeks to pull every one of these 'idol fixations' away from their 'orbit of extremism' and back into 'the homeostatic balance of the personality-as-a-whole'.

'Health' is generally half-way between bi-polar forms of psycho, physio, and/or philosophical pathology on each opposite exteme side. Generally, the more extreme, the more pathological.

- dgb, Sept. 11th, 2008, modified Sept. 21st, 2008.

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Hegel's Hotel: DGB Philosophy (The Phenomenology of Mind, Body, and Spirit)

...Table of Contents

Floor(Blog)1: Table of Contents, Commendations, Links

Floor(Blog)2: Introductory Essays

Floor(Blog)3: More On The Dynamics of The Dialectic Perspective

Floor(Blog)4: Most Recent Essays

FLoor(Blog)5: Anaxamander vs. Heraclitus (Power vs. Balance)

Floor(Blog)6: Early Eastern Philosophy ('Yin/Yang')

Floor(Blog)7: Heraclitus vs. Parmenides (Change vs. Permanence)

Floor(Blog)8: The Sophists vs. Socrates (Narcissistic Rhetorical Sophism vs. Rhetorical Integrity)

Floor(Blog)9: Plato vs. Aristotle (Idealism vs. Realism)

Floor(Blog)10: Roman Narcissistic Hedonism and The Fall of Rome

Floor(Blog)11: Early Religious (Scholastic) Philosophy (Anti-Narcissism)

Floor(Blog)12: Early Scientific (Rational-Empirical) Philosophy (Bacon)

Floor(Blog)14: Rationalism, Pantheism, Wholism (Spinoza)

And many more floor (blogs) still to be built, about 50 'floors' in total when it is finished...with about 25 floors dedicated to the history and evolution of dialectical philosophy, and another 25 floors dedicated to current DGB Philosophy...I am aiming for about 500 essays plus in total by the time I can say 'Hegel's Hotel' is more or less finished...

Of course, 'quantity' is only as good as the intrinsic value of the 'quality' contained within the 'quantity'...otherwise, 'quantity' is 'birdfeed'...and I like my birds too much in my backyard to feed them 'crap'; similarily, I value your readership and my integrity too much to sit here and waste thousands of hours of my life writing 'crap' that is a waste of both my time and yours...'

Thus, I want each and every one of my essays to say something meaningful before I leave it as finished...otherwise, it will eventually be rejected and go the way of the dinosaur...Evolution extinguishes that which is meaningless and non-functional...Everything that exists in nature has a meaningful function and is an important part of the 'rational-pantheistic-whole(God, man, and Nature linked together ideally, in cosmic, spiritual, differential harmony. (Spinoza taught me that.)

- david gordon bain, updated Sept. 21st, 2008.


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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Classification Systems, Mythological Entities, Post-Hegelian Ideas - and 'The Multi-Dialectic Force of God'

Sometimes it can be rather amusing to look at the supposed 'differences' between philosophy and psychology. Philosophy - at least 'Deconstructive, Post-Modern' Philosophy' - often seeks to 'deconstruct' what psychology has 'constructed'. I am thinking mainly of the type of Deconstructive Philosophy that David Hume 'created for himself' and other radical philosophical skeptics to follow in his footsteps - where, for example, he denied the 'existence' of what is usually taken for granted in the realm of psychology - 'The Self'. What's with this?

Well, Hume's 'deconstructive logic' - as much as you (I) may feel like strangling him at times - does carry some epistemological weight although if you follow it where Hume took it, then you will be left with very little 'epistemological knowledge' left to carry in your mind. Indeed, in Humean philosophy, not even the 'mind' would likely exist. In effect, all generalizations are to be distrusted and disbanded because 'if you can't see them, then they don't exist'. Essentially, Humean Philosophy - as well as being the logical extension and application of 'empiricism taken to the limit and beyond...('radical empiricism) - was basically also the philosophical bridge between Heraclites' brand of pre-Socratic ancient Greek Philosophy ('You can't step into the same river twice') and the radical empirical philosophy-psychology of 'Behaviorism' that was to follow Hume into the 20th century as developed mainly by B.F. Skinner.

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From the internet...(Google: Greek Philosophy, Heraclitus...)

Heraclitus, along with Parmenides, is probably the most significant philosopher of ancient Greece until Socrates and Plato; in fact, Heraclitus's philosophy is perhaps even more fundamental in the formation of the European mind than any other thinker in European history, including Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Why? Heraclitus, like Parmenides, postulated a model of nature and the universe which created the foundation for all other speculation on physics and metaphysics. The ideas that the universe is in constant change and that there is an underlying order or reason to this changethe Logosform the essential foundation of the European world view. Everytime you walk into a science, economics, or political science course, to some extent everything you do in that class originates with Heraclitus's speculations on change and the Logos.

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From Wikipedia (Google: B.F.Skinner)

Burrhus Frederic Skinner (March 20, 1904 August 18, 1990) was an influential American psychologist, author, inventor, advocate for social reform [1][2]and poet.[3] He was the Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology at Harvard University from 1958 until his retirement in 1974.[4] He invented the operant conditioning chamber, innovated his own philosophy of science called Radical Behaviorism,[5] and founded his own school of experimental research psychology the experimental analysis of behavior. His analysis of human behavior culminated in his work Verbal Behavior, which has recently seen enormous increase in interest experimentally and in applied settings.[6] He discovered and advanced the rate of response as a dependent variable in psychological research. He invented the cumulative recorder to measure rate of responding as part of his highly influential work on schedules of reinforcement.[7] [8] In a recent survey, Skinner was listed as the most influential psychologist of the 20th century.[9] He was a prolific author, publishing 21 books and 180 articles.[10] [11]

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Following 'Humean-Skinnerian logic' - You may be able to see your 'phyisical, empirical self' if you look at a mirror but if you look at the same mirror you are not going to see your 'Psychological Self' - therefore - empirically speaking at least - it does not exist.

The same goes for such Freudian concepts as 'Ego' and 'Id' and 'Superego'. If you can't see them, then they don't exist. (Of course back in Hume's day, they couldn't see 'bacteria' and 'viruses' but that was not to say that they didn't exist. Things and living entities that you don't see can still kill you - indeed, they are probably more dangerous such as 'the car you don't see'.)

In philosophy, you learn about 'epistemology' (the study of knowledge) whereas in Freudian - or Post-Freudian - Psychology, you learn about 'Central Ego Function' -and then you would probably proceed to start studying 'epistemology' as one of the main 'ego functions or processes' within the confines of 'The Central Ego'.

In other words, in psychology, it is almost like we 'need' to 'invent internal structural systems' - kind of like 'organs in the mind' - except that there is no, physical empirical basis on which to believe that these 'ego structures' actually exist except as 'mythological entities' much like 'Gods' - with the same intended purpose: to explain things which are otherwise difficult if not downright impossible to explain.

It would be easy to argue - and I will take up this argument again on behalf of David Hume - that this is one of man's central 'mental features or characteristics': making up 'things' or 'structures' that don't exist - or worded another way - 'turning physical or psychological processes (Would Hume even accept the existence of 'psychological and/or epistemological processes? - you can't see them!) into non-existent, and totally man-made 'conceptual structures or constructions' - and calling them 'real'!

In fact, this is one of the main problems with 'classification systems' in general: they 'conceptually funnel' knowledge into particular categories that may or may not exist - 'phenomenomologically', 'biologically', 'physically', 'chemically', and so on...

'Black and white man-made categories or classification systems' don't allow for the existence of 'hybrids' - or anything that exists outside of the mind of the classifyer and the classifyer's 'classification system' until someone pipes up and says: 'I don't like this particular classification system; I'm going to make a new one up that is much better...(We can read on the internet this morning about the first man to 'have a baby'! Life doesn't believe in always following nice, neat, clean, man-made classification systems or categories...)

Thus, for anyone who has set about the task of learning a particular branch of knowledge, it is important to know that you are basically at the mercy - and the power - of the particular person or organization 'who has structured and classified in the knowledge in a particular way' so that you only get to learn about the type of knowledge that is 'inside the classification box'; not outside. This is why you often here the cry - 'Think outside the box'. That is, 'think outside the 'Classification Box' - or you might miss some important types of knowledge that otherwise will not be taught to you.

Thus, there is value in constantly changing up any 'Classificaiton Box' - or 'flexibly being able to smoothly move from one Classification Box to another - such as Psychoanalysis, Jungian Psychology, Adlerian Psychology, Behavorial Psychology, Gestalt Therapy, Transactional Analysis, and so on - just as there is value in being able to speak and understand different languages - each language making up another different type of 'Classification Box'.

This is why 'DGB Philosophy' uses a lot of 'hyphenated words' - like 'DGB Philosophy-Psychology'. 'DGB' not only narcissistically stands for my name - David Gordon Bain - it also, stands for what I philosophically do - which is 'dialectically bridge gaps (dgb)' between different phiilosophical systems, different psychological systems, bringing philosophical and psychological systems together...and every other type of system dialectically together in an effort to create a different type of 'hybrid-classification system' that has its own unique form of 'funtionality and value' like dialectically integrating a 'normal gas car with a propane or natural gas or hydrogen or electrical car' so that you improve energy efficiency, reduce your dependency on normal gas but still have normal gas if you can't find a propane or natural gas station or can't run your car on hydrogen or electricity until you take it home and 're-charge' it for a night...

In the case of cars, we can say that our classification system is 'physically or empirically grounded' because you can see the 'gas tank' or the 'propane tank' or the 'natural gas tank' or the 'electical outlet' where you might have to plug your car into another electrical outlet on the wall of your house when you get your car home at night...

However, we can't say the same things about 'The Central Mediating Ego' or 'The Righteous-Ethical Topdog' or 'The Narcissistic Topdog (or Underdog)' or 'The Nurturing-Supportive Topdog' - or 'The Soul' - or 'God'...

These last types of 'classification systems' are 'metaphysical systems' and may even deserve to be called 'Mythological Systems' - meaning not that they may or may not have functional value - but rather, that their 'physical-empirical' basis cannot be proven or verified without a doubt; and on this basis, is subject to 'legitmate epistemological dispute and controversy' - if not downright 'skepticism'. Remember: 'Metaphysics' means basically - 'above and beyond physics' as first categorized by Aristotle.

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From the internet...(Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Aristotle's Metaphysics

First published Sun Oct 8, 2000; substantive revision Mon Jun 9, 2008
The first major work in the history of philosophy to bear the title "Metaphysics" was the treatise by Aristotle that we have come to know by that name. But Aristotle himself did not use that title or even describe his field of study as metaphysics'; the name was evidently coined by the first century C.E. editor who assembled the treatise we know as Aristotle's Metaphysics out of various smaller selections of Aristotle's works. The title metaphysics' literally, after the Physics' very likely indicated the place the topics discussed therein were intended to occupy in the philosophical curriculum. They were to be studied after the treatises dealing with nature (ta phusika). In this entry, we discuss the ideas that are developed in Aristotle's treatise.

1. The Subject Matter of Aristotle's Metaphysics
2. The Categories
3. The Role of Substance in the Study of Being Qua Being
4. The Fundamental Principles: Axioms
5. What is Substance?
6. Substance, Matter, and Subject
7. Substance and Essence
8. Substances as Hylomorphic Compounds
9. Substance and Definition
10. Substances and Universals
11. Substance as Cause of Being
12. Actuality and Potentiality
13. Unity Reconsidered
14. Glossary of Aristotelian Terminology

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It must be made absolutely clear that unlike Hume and Skinner, I am not saything that metaphysical and mythological systems have no value - because oftentimes I believe they do - rather, what I am saying is that there value may not be in their 'epistemological reality' but rather in their 'Projected-Self-Idealism' and their 'Projected Philosophical Idealism'. As long as we are willing to call a spade a spade - and not say that it is something else, as long as we are willing to admit and own up to the fact that our 'Metaphysical/Mythological Structure or Construction' is exactly that and not necessarily an 'epistmeological reality', that it is our own form of 'projected self-idealism' - then we cannot be accused of being 'epistemologically fraudulent', of trying to propogate some sort of Mythologcial Entity onto the world in the name of 'Epistemological Truth'.

Thus, when I use the term 'God' - I do so 'mythologically' as a 'projected form of self-idealism and philosopohical idealism; nothing more, nothing less. I do not use the term 'God' as an 'epistemological reality' - although admittedly, often it is tempting to go here. Mainly, I use the term 'God', philosophically,metaphysically, mythologically, and spiritually, as a 'projected form of self and philosophical idealism' - although, epistemolgicallly, I will jump one step further...

'Nature' is a physical reality; so too, are 'natural processes' which can be either 'physically (empirically) watched and/or 'reasonably/logically inferred' by 'scientific, and/or rationally-empirical minds'...

It does not take too much 'rational-empirical logic/reason' to jump to the theory of 'intelligent design' - that nature is 'intelligently designed'. Furthermore, it does not take too much more 'rational-empirical logic/reason' to jump to the assumption that if 'nature is intelligently designed', then that possibly/probably? means that somewhere out there, there is - or at least was at one time -an 'intelligent designer'. Dare we call this inferred 'intelligent designer' - 'God' - and if so, does the name 'God' stand on the basis of 'reasonable empirical (natural, physical) evidence - even if there are at least one or more 'metaphysical jumps in logic' that take us from 'Nature' to 'God'?

Well, here's the problem here. Actually, there is more one of them. Firstly, what if 'Nature' - from 'The Earth' to 'Life on Earth' to possibly even 'Life in the rest of the Universe' was simply created by a 'Very Superior Being' who is now dead - like all other forms of life eventually die over time - or a 'Superior Race of Beings' that are/were vastly more intelligent than man, and much further along the 'evolution route'...Are we going to believe in perhaps a different way than Nietzsche meant it, that 'God is dead!', and/or that 'God is/was a Superior Race of Beings'? Secondly, the idea of 'God' is so emotionally laden for most people who believe in 'God' that it is rather obvious that there is much more psychologicallly and philosophically at stake than believing that 'God' is/was simply a 'More Intelligent Being than Man' and/or a 'More Intelligent Race of Beings than God' and/or that if 'God' ever existed at one point in time, it is also quite possible/probable that God is now dead - having died like all of the rest of us will one day...No...this is not why 'God' - and religion - exists for most people who believe in God. Epistemologically, most people believe in God firstly, out of 'purely assumptive Faith' - this is the rather shaky assumptive foundation for their belief in 'God'. But more than this, 'God' exists for most people because they cannot see their own 'projected Idol(s), their own projected 'Self-Energy', and their own 'projected form of Self and Philosophical Idealism' hidden, even buried, beneath their religious beliefs...

To properly understand God and Religion, man has to have the courage to look at his own 'Self-Projected Energy and Philosophical Idealism as a 'compensatory measure' usually taken to alleviate 'underlying psychological-philosophical anxiety' such as 'the fear of death and/or the fear of freedom and/or the fear of being essentially alone in a warm or cold universe of his or her own personal, phenomenonological-existential making...

In essence, the belief in God as an 'epistemological reality' - for the most part (and I can hear millions of angry people wanting to get a piece of me here...) is a 'smoke and mirrors, dog and pony show' for underlying 'existential anxiety'. Still, metaphysically and mythologically, the belief in God can still serve a valuable, functional purpose (like helping us to feel less alone in the world, and helping us to help others in need of help...).

Personally, as a philosophical, metaphysical, mythological, and spiritual entity, I view 'God as 'The Master Dialectical Integrating, Unifying - and Separating -Force' behind all of Nature, Evolution, and Creation...Life for me, is primarily the accidental and/or purposeful 'collision' of similar and/or opposing forces to 'create new chemical and psychological bonds - and to destroy (deconstruct) old ones that are no longer functional...

This is starting to sound like 'Star Wars' here (let the 'Force' be with you! - and we are definitely not talking about Schopenhauer's (or 'Hobbes') philosophical type of 'narcissistic, nasty, brutish killing Life and Death Force here' - although both the world and man can encompass all of this; nor are we talking about Nietzsche's 'Will to Power' or the more humanistic (feminist?) Nietzschean rendition of the 'The Will to Self-Empowerment' although man can show both of these features as well - both in their positive and negative aspects; nor are we totally talking about the types of forces entailed in Freud's metaphysical concepts of 'Life and Death Instinct' playing off against each other although I like parts of this classification system as well but again, this is not completely what I am talking about.

Rather, the metaphysical-mythological-spiritual classification system that I use is more of a combination of: Anaxamander, Heraclitus, the Han Philosophers, Spinoza, Hegel, and Perls...with backup support from Schopenhauer - The world can be, and often is. 'brutish and nasty'!, Nietzsche (The Birth of Tragedy, Apollo and Dionysus), Freud (Ego, Superego, and Id, life and death instinct, traumacy, seduction, assault, and narcissism), Jung (the Persona, The Shadow, and the Archetypes, and Berne (Nurturing Parent, Righteous Parent, Adult, Adaptive Child, Rebellious Child, Natural Child...), and Perls (Topdog and Underdog), hotseat and empty chair work...)

What I am talking about in terms of the number one 'philosophical and spiritual force' in DGB Philosophy-Psychology supersedes everything that we have talked about in the last paragraph. I am talking about a force that unites Western and Eastern Philosophy - at its best; a force that integrates and unites many of the similar but different philosophical systems that make up the history of Western philosophy - from Thales, Anixamander, Heraclitus, and the Han Philosophers to present day philosophical processes and/or systems such as DGB Philosophy-Psychology.

I am talking about what I consider to be the 'master key stroke of God' - and here I am talking about my own projective ideal system - but also moving beyond this because I am integrating much of Western philosophical and psychological history - not to mention Chinese 'yin' and 'yang' theory. Perhaps I am moving into 'Intelligent Design' Theory - into the realm of theology, the realm of metaphysics and mythology, and who knows - maybe even into the realm of epistemology and 'epistemological truth' on a 'natural basis' at least - because the 'force' I am talking about is so prevalent, so dominating, so all-encompassing, so potentially tied into evolution and creation theory, that it is hard not to believe that there wasn't at least at some point in time an 'Incredibly Intelligent and Sophisticated Designer or Creator' - to which I give the name 'God' behind this Creation. The force that I call the 'master key stroke of God' - is 'The Force of The Dialectic'... This Force is neither good nor bad - it is 'Beyond Good and Evil' (but not in the Nietzschean sense), indeed, often it brings good and evil into the same physical and psychological space...It is 'beyond life and death' and indeed, often encompasses elements of life and death in the same physical and psychological space.

The Force of the Dialectic is largely unpredictable - at work in the 'hot seat and empty chair technique' in Gestalt Therapy; at work in a different way between the Analyst and the client on the 'Psychoanalytic couch situation', at work in any human encounter, any encounter where two or more objects, two or more processes, two or more living entitities, come together, collide together, make love together, make hate together, randomly or on purpose, chaoticallly or with intended purpose, integratively or with no resulting integration...Postives and negatives coming together, positives and positives coming together, negatives and negatives coming together - and either 'finding a chemical fit' - or not. I'm talking about the coming together and breaking apart of 'chemical molecules' on every microscopic and macroscopic level of existence...a dog and a cat coming together and...well...fighting like cats and dogs...or a cat and a dog coming together...and somebody snaps a picture of them 'cuddling together on the same couch'...

This is 'The Dialectical Force' that I am trying to describe here in DGB Philosophy-Psychology-Politics-Medicine...Others have been here before me...many, many others...but I am just trying to put it altogether in one 'muliti-dialectical-integrative package'. Hegel, was the ultimate 'dialectical mastermind' but he basically only touched on 'epistemology' - he spoke of 'The Absolute' in terms of 'Absolute Knowledge'. Others - Nietzsche, Freud, Jung, Perls, Sartre, Foucault, Derrida, have extrapolated in some 'post-Hegelian' way on what Hegel wrote - improving on some of his largest weaknesses.

When I speak of 'The Dialectical Force', I speak not only of the evolution of knowledge but also of the evolution of existence and life - of being and becoming, of life and death. This to me, is the full extent of The Mystical, Metaphysical, partly Mythological Dialectical Force.

For me, The Dialectical Force is the key Creative and Working Force of God.

And that is where I will leave things today on this fine Sunday morning...

- dgb, June 8th, 2008, modified and updated, July 5th, 2008.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Wittgenstein vs. DGB Philosophy -- Part 1: What is Philosophy?

Here we go again. I spent 3 or 4 hours writing this essay yesterday, to my reasonable satisfaction -- I think it was a good paper -- and then committed the most grievious of errors among bloggers, writers, and web-site owners...I blew it away into cyber-space. I hit the 'paste' button rather than the 'copy' button...A message of warning to any writer/blogger who may not be completely focused on what they are doing...

Anyway, a new day and a new paper. I spent last night kicking myself and mourning the loss of the last one -- now its time to give my head a shake and move on to the next one. And obviously, make sure I don't commit the same mistake again.

I changed the title a bit for this essay. Yesterday's paper was called 'Deconstructing Wittgenstein' whereas this one is called 'Faceoff: Wittgenstein vs. DGB Philosophy. If anyone finds the first essay in your cyber-travels, please let me know. In the meantime, on with the business at hand.

Philosophy, in my opinion, has a bad rap, a bad steretype -- both inside and outside the universities. The stereotype as I see it is of bearded professors, snoring students -- and 'mind games' -- i.e., let's see what kind of logical contortions we can put your mind through today.

I remember five years back or so I went into downtown Toronto to check out a 'School of Philosophy' around Spadina and Bloor. I met with the receptionist and asked what kind of philosophy they taught there. They reinforced the stereotype -- or at least my stereotype of the way philosophy is often taught and presented to students and the general public. I can't remember exactly what the receptionist said, but the gist of it ran something like this. They taught a 'philosophy of soothing stressed out souls' -- kind of like an Eastern, Budhist style of philosophy, a philosophy of meditation, taking your brain to soothing places to relieve it from the day's stressful 'rat race'.

I said that's fine -- but do you teach any Hegel or Nietzsche? What about 'social activist, post-modern, deconstructive' philosophy -- do you teach any of that?

Paraphrasing the receptionist: 'No, we don't teach that kind of philosophy. You have to go somewhere else for that type of philosophy.'

DGB: 'Okay. Thank you.'

Now, 'meditative philosophy' is not where this brain wants to go to...I'm a social activist deep down at heart, even though I've never spent a minute in a social activist group -- other than in the board room of the 'Progressive Canadian Party' here in Newmarket, Ontario. I spent about a year attending their meetings -- a squashed version of the old Progressive Conservative Party that didn't want to merge with The Reform Party. They continue to practise 'PWP' -- Politics Without Power' -- and I decided I could practise 'PWMP' -- Politics With More Power' -- right here at my computer chair without moving a leg from my living room. It's not that I'm lazy or that I didn't like part of the process of being involved in a 'political-social-activist' group; it's just that I hated the group's decision-making inefficiency and felt like i could move my own philosophical and political agenda along faster within the confines of my own blogsite than listen to a group of people that couldn't get their heads together and move together with any kind of quality and efficieny -- in the same direction. Call it one of the drawbacks of 'democracy' if you will, but call it also a lesson in 'group inefficiency'. Regardless, I wanted to move in a different direction. Today, the direction is Ludwig Wittgenstein:

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From Wikipedia...

Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein (April 26, 1889 – April 29, 1951) was an Austrian philosopher who worked primarily in the foundations of logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language.[1] His influence has been wide-ranging and he is generally regarded as one of the twentieth century's most important philosophers.

Before his death at the age of 62,[2] the only book-length work Wittgenstein had published was the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. Philosophical Investigations, which Wittgenstein worked on in his later years, was published shortly after he died. Both of these works are regarded as highly influential in analytic philosophy.[3][4]

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DGB: Now I am not here to 'bust egos and intellects' -- well, partly I am -- with allegedly one of the greatest intellects of the 20th century. I fancy myself as having a good, healthy intellect but nothing up around the '160 IQ' range -- to the extent that 'IQ measurements' say anything meaningful about intelligence. (You can be the most intelligent guy or girl in the room but if you don't do anything meaningful with it -- for yourself and/or others -- then what good is it? A gift from God, un-utilized?)

My self-stated job as a philosopher is to ground philosophy in clarity, common sense, rational-empiricism, integration, humanistic-existentialism (compassion, freedom, assertiveness, personal/social/group accountability...), and functional practicality (utility).

Relative to Mr. Ludwig Wittgenstein, my self-stated job is to bring the reins in on him to some extent, to catch him in his own philosopohical hypocrisies, and to in effect say: 'Woah, Mr Wittgenstein -- slow down here. I don't care how much mind-bending logic you throw at me, you are not going to convince me -- like you did Bertrand Russell, according to at least one source (John Heaton, Introducing Wittgenstein, 1994, 2005, Penguin Books, Canada, Totem (Icon) Books, the USA) that 'there is a hippo in my living room'... There is a point at which philosophy needs to come back to earth and meet common sense -- even defer to common sense -- and that point is here and now.'

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DGB: I am going to use John Heaton as my 'interpreting guide' to Wittgenstein. We are going to aim to teach and practise 'DGB KISS Philosophy' here -- Keep It Simple, Stupid.

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Wittgenstein: The purpose of philosophy is the logical clarification of thoughts. (Introducing Wittgenstein, pg. 40).

DGB: Philosophy -- at least DGB Philosophy -- is about much, much more than the logical clarification of thoughts. The clarification of thoughts is very important but philosophy is also about 'putting good thoughts into action': it is about demonstrating passion and compassion towards people (humanism); it is about being accountable for our own freedom -- or perceived lack of it -- and at least partly accountable for the effect that our actions have on others (humanistic-existentialism). Furthermore, relative to logic, logic can be a useless and/or even dangerous tool in the mind of the wrong person -- just like 'statistics' that can be used to support or denounce any thesis and/or brand of ideology. Again, logic needs to be grounded in common sense, rational-empiricism, humanistic-existentialism, pragmatism and functionality, dialectic-democracy, and divorced from the context of narcissistic, malicious, dictatorial people in order to be worth giving any degree of philosophical credibility to it. And again, logic should not be used to play 'non-sensical mind games' -- unless that is the explicit, agreed upon goal of the 'mental exercise' -- with all due respect, it should not be used to try to convince anyone -- Bertrand Russell, I'm a bit disappointed in you -- that 'there is a hippo in anyone's room' unless someone can empirically (observationally) verify it, and/or the room is in a 'zoo', and/or the room is large enough -- including the door -- to actually contain a hippo, and/or the room is actually in a country where hippos are known to exist...You get my drift...

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Wittgenstein: Philosophy is not a teaching but an activity.


DGB: Then why did Wittgenstein teach? Because he was hired to help students learn the dynamics of the types of cerebral activities that he did very well -- and was being paid to pass on to them. Having said this, additional clarification is needed relative to the goals of DGB Philosophy. Philosophy is a 'multi-dialectic integrative activity' that can be constructed in the shape of a 'six-sided figure': 1. sensual-empirical activity (primarily observation and personal experience); 2. cerebral activity (involving a combination of language, meaning, epistemology, and ethics); 3. emotional activity (involving hopefully a combination of passion and compassion for your own creative, self-assertiveness, as well as a passion and compassion for the well-being of other people); 4. behavioral activity (involving putting all your 'good' thoughts into action -- with lots of room to argue over the meaning of the word 'good'), with the evolving support functions of: 5. teaching (someone knowing what they are doing and being excited about the opportunity of passing what they know onto others); and 6. learning ('You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.' Similarily, you can lead a student to a philosophy class but you can't make him or her learn unless he or she wants to learn.)

That makes this six-sided figure a 'sexagon' -- which I am sure will wake students up and make them quite happy -- or, I guess that should be 'hexagon' -- having corrected myself from the internet; previously snoring philosophy students can go back to sleep again.

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Wittgenstein: A philosophical work consists mainly of elucidations.

DGB: When Wittgenstein wrote: 'Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus', I'm not sure who he thought he was elucidating -- except himself. I get stuck on the title (which I believe I read was named in reference to a work by Spinoza). Essentially, no-one could understand him. He couldn't get a publisher without the credibility and help of Bertrand Russell. And I'm not sure how much he understood the book. Wittgenstein himself wrote in his preference: 'It's purpose would be achieved if it gave pleasure to one person who read and understood it.' This hardly seems like a work that is aimed at 'elucidating' and 'clarifying' ideas for readers. This seems to make up a good part of the paradox -- dare I say 'elucidating hypocrisy' -- that makes up Wittgenstein and his philosophy.

When I first started writing DGB Philosophy, my dad used to complain that he couldn't understand a thing I was writing -- and my dad is an intelligent man. Way too much 'techno-garble'. This was a few years ago. I have since tried to simplify my writing, eliminate much of my own techno-garble, and make my work more reader-friendly. I still wanted/want my work to be academically important and of a scholarly nature but with some educational and entertainment compromises for my intelligent lay readers and beginning philosophy students in the name of trying to make my work feel less dry than the Sahara desert.

All philosophical works could/can use a little -- if not a lot -- of Nietzschean fire, excitement, and passion. I like Fritz Perls as a writer who in my opinion was a modern day version of Nietzsche.

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fritz Perls
Born July 8, 1893(1893-07-08)
Berlin, Germany
Died March 14, 1970 (aged 76)
Chicago
Occupation psychiatrist and psychotherapist
Spouse(s) Laura Perls
Friedrich (Frederick) Salomon Perls (July 8 1893, Berlin – March 14, 1970, Chicago), better known as Fritz Perls, was a noted German-born psychiatrist and psychotherapist of Jewish descent.

He coined the term 'Gestalt Therapy' for the approach to therapy he developed with his wife Laura Perls from the 1940s, and he became associated with the Esalen Institute in California in 1964. His approach is related but not identical to Gestalt psychology and the Gestalt Theoretical Psychotherapy of Hans-J├╝rgen Walter.

At Gestalt Therapy's core is the promotion of awareness, the awareness of the unity of all present feelings and behaviors, and the contact between the self and its environment.

Perls has been widely evoked outside the realm of psychotherapy for a quotation often described as the "Gestalt prayer". This was especially true in the 1960s, when the version of individualism it expresses received great attention.

Gestalt prayer
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The "Gestalt prayer" is a 56-word statement by psychotherapist Fritz Perls that is taken as a classic expression of Gestalt therapy as way of life model of which Dr. Perls was a founder.

The key idea of the statement is the focus on living in response to one's own needs, without projecting onto or taking introjects from others. It also expresses the idea that it is by fulfilling their own needs that people can help others do the same and create space for genuine contact; that is, when they "find each other, it's beautiful".


Text of "prayer"

I do my thing and you do your thing.
I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,
And you are not in this world to live up to mine.
You are you, and I am I, and if by chance we find each other, it's beautiful.
If not, it can't be helped.
(Fritz Perls, 1969)

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Wittgenstein: The result of philosophy is not 'philosophical propositions, but the clarification of propositions. Philosophy should take thoughts that are otherwise turbid and blurred, so to speak, and make them clear and sharp. (Tractatus, 4.112; Introducing Wittgenstein, pg 40).

DGB: I would argue -- I am arguing -- that, in Tractatus, Wittgenstein took a host of intertwined ideas that had the potential to be stated clearly and sharply -- and made them turbid and blurred. DGB Philosophy aims to cut through the smoke and mirrors of the Tractatus and get to what has the potential to be stated more simply, more clearly, and more functionally usefully (i.e., importantly). My main mentor here is Alfred Korzybski, author of 'Science and Sanity', and founder of 'General Semantics'. Personally, I believe that Korzybski was the better linguist, semanticist, and epistemologist -- in fact, I would argue that Korzybski was the best -- and, at the same time, most under-rated -- epistemologist in the history of Western philosophy. The two -- Wittgenstein and Korzybski -- were philosophizing and writing during almost the same period, they wrote about many of the same things -- i.e., the relationship between words, ideas, meaning, and 'things' (existential phenomena), but when you get right down to the nitty-gritty of their respective work in this area, I think you will see -- or at least I will do my best to show you -- that Korzybski was by far the more lucid, down-to-earth, thinker. Wittgenstein's Tractatus was written significantly before Korzybski's Science and Sanity even though Korzybski was ten years the older man. Tractatus was first published in 1922, Science and Sanity in 1933. I need to do more research on a proper comparison and contrast between these two linguistic-semantic-epistemologists, but as of right now, the only thing I can see that is similar between their respective ideas on this subject is that pointing is the main means of teaching language and connecting language with 'existential reality'.

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From Wikipedia...

Alfred Habdank Skarbek Korzybski (July 3, 1879 – March 1, 1950), was called, among many labels, a Polish-American, philosopher and scientist. He is most remembered for developing the theory of general semantics.

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DGB: ...I could do a better introduction on Korzybski than this...and will do so at a future time. The Wikipedia introduction only underscores my point that Korzybski deserves more philosophical attention and recognition than he is currently getting. Korzybski influenced the development of a number of significant psychotherapies today including Gestalt Therapy and various forms of Cognitive Therapy such as NLP -- Neuro-Linguistic-Programming... General Semantics itself is a form of 'Linguistic-Semantic-Epistemological Psychotherapy...or let us just say -- Cognitive Therapy.)

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We will come back to Wittgenstein again shortly and discuss/critique his ideas concerning:

1. The relationship between philosophy and science;

2. His theory of the relationship between: words, meaning, phenomena, and epistemology.

I think we have accomplished enough for today. I'm not sure if this essay is better or worse than the one I wrote yesterday but it shares the same basic focus and theme.

Don't talk about clarity -- and leave us chasing the moon.

(Or looking for phantom hippos in our room -- although we, as independent philosophers, need to take at least half the responsibility here if we are actually so stupid as to allow ourselves to get caught up in this type of nonsense and seriously start looking for them.)

If the argument defies both our empirical senses and our common sense -- then exit the argument. Someone's playing with our head. It's a 'mind game' designed to drive us to drink and/or shake your very sanity. I still can't believe Russell let Wittgenstein take him there.

Shame on you, Bertrand! You were a great philosopher -- you have many, many things to feel very proud of -- but Ludwig must have been slipping you some funny stuff in your coffee on this one. How else could he have taken you for such a magic carpet ride?

For everyone else, alive and ticking, have yourselves all a clear and sharp, rational-empirical, humanistic-existential, common-sense day!

-- dgb, July 19th, 2008.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Conceptual Narcissism vs. Conceptual Integrationism

On 'Hegel's Hotel: DGB Philosophy-Psychology-Politics...'

Introduction: On The Difference Between Conceptual Narcissism and Conceptual Integrationism

Good day! My name is David Bain. For those of you who are not familiar with either me or my work here -- my essays are focused primarily within the integrative realm of philosophy-psychology. Knowledge-wise, I am supported by an Honours degree in psychology from many years back (1974-79), as well as a two year relationship with The Adlerian Institute of Ontario (1980-81) and an on again-off again relationship with The Gestalt Istitute of Toronto (1979-1991) -- this combined with about 20 years of self-education (reading and writing within the confines of my own personal library, bookstores, and/or the internet).

I am in the process of writing a very large integrative philosophy-psychology work consisting of a network of some 50 plus blogsites in various stages of development from almost finished to not started yet. The project is called 'Hegel's Hotel: DGB Philosophy-Psychology...'. Each 'floor' of Hegel's Hotel (blogsite) will have a varying number of essays on/in it -- ranging from about 10 to 30 essays. Using simple multiplication, that means I am shooting to finish about 1000 philosophical and psychological essays -- let us say by the time I reach 60 years old, touch wood, God willing. Each essay on each floor-blogsite will metaphorically be considered to make up a 'room' in Hegel's Hotel. Thus, I am shooting to finish 'construction' on a thousand rooms in Hegel's Hotel. (So far, I've probably completed between 100 and 200 full essays -- not including Floor 5 which has a growing number of 'DGB Aphorisms' to the tune of some 50 so far. The link here -- through Google -- is DGB Philosophy, Aphorisms.)

Within the confines of these some 50 plus different blogsites or floors of Hegel's Hotel, I will be -- and/or have been -- writing on a wide assortment of different topics from introductions to dialectical philosophy to freedom vs. determinism to awareness and contact to narcissism to the study of Ancient Greek and Chinese philosophy to the study of epistemology, the study of humanistic-existentialism, the study of ethics, the study of business and economics, the study of politics, the study of law, the study of the Enlightenment, the study of science and medicine, the study of romanticism and the arts, the study of spirituality and religion, and the study of psychology.

Obviously, I don't have enough time in my life to go hugely in depth into each and everyone of these different areas. However, within each realm, I will bring my unique, post-Hegelian, integrative approach to what I want to write about and connect each essay, each blogsite, to my overall thesis which is that 'integrative dialectical evolution' is a process that can be taught and applied to all areas of human culture, living, and activity in a way that is often if not usually superior to an 'adversarial form of righteous-either/or philosophy and lifestyle'.

This may not seem like a profoundly new or provocative thesis but I think that if you have the patience and perseverence -- fueled hopefully by more of my good writing than bad -- you will see that I have some unique contributions to offer the study of philosophy, psychology, politics, business, law, medicine, and more. I hope -- indeed expect -- that there will be good reading and value for both introductory and advanced philosophy and psychology students and professionals alike.

There is a sense in which I could very easily be called a 'Gestalt philosopher'. For a period of 12 years -- from 1979 to 1991 with 'gaps of non-involvement' at different times, I was very intensely and intimately tied up to what I was learning at the Gestalt Institute in Toronto. I had good contacts with a lot of friends I met there, and had/have a lot of respect for the teachings of Gestalt therapists Jorge Rosner (now deceased), Joanne Greenham (present head of the Institute to my last knowledge), Tony Key, and others.

However, there is a sense in which I am kind of like the Gestaltist 'prodigal son' if you will -- I left my involvement with them in 1991, and I haven't been back except, I believe, for one open house, since. So that is about 16 years now that I have not been involved with the Gestalt Institute in Toronto -- although I carry the knowledge I learned at the Institute in everything I write.

Now here I am writing a philosophical treatise and forum called 'Hegel's Hotel: DGB Philosophy-Psychology...'. The treatise and forum is being written entirely on the internet as I write, and consists of the growing number of associated blogsites I have already mentioned above.

Now, yes there is a heavy Gestalt influence in the work as a whole, and in each and every essay that I have written. However, there are many other influences as well: Hegel, Nietzsche, Freud, Jung, Adler, Korzybski, Hayakawa, Erich Fromm, Nathaniel Branden, Ayn Rand, Schopenhauer, Foucault, Derrida, Sartre, Kierkegaard, Jefferson, Diderot, Montasquieu, Kant, Fichte, Locke, Spinoza, the Han Philosophers, Heraclitus, Anaxamander...

So this is not all about Gestalt Therapy applied to philosophy. And yet in a partial sense -- a good size partial sense -- it is. It is not entirely by accident that many of my ..philosophical influences are the same ones who influenced Perls and the evolution of Gestalt Therapy -- for example, Freud, Jung, Korzybski, Hegel, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Heraclitus...

It was through studying Gestalt Therapy that I first became seriously connected to Hegel's philosophical work -- and it was this connection, this bridge if you will, that led me backwards from the study of psychology into the study of philosophy. I largely left behind my study of psychology in 1991, and have been studying philosophy -- through books and the internet -- from 1991 to the present (May, 2008), still continuing.

There is a sense in which almost everything I have developed in this network of blogsites, in each essay, I learned either from watching or experiencing the 'hotseat' in Gestalt Therapy. However, the hotseat was a therapeutic invention by Perls that combined the Hegelian dialectic (thesis, anti-thesis, and synthesis) with Nietzschean urgency and Kierkgaardian immediacy. The purpose of the hotseat and empty chair technique -- one chair with the therapeutic client in it, the other seat facing him, empty -- was to help a person to gain better contact with a person who wasn't present, or to gain better contact within the client's own personality between a dominant side and an opposing more suppressed and neglected side. Through this process, a person 'dialectically alienated' from either someone else (eg., husbqand, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, son, daughter, parent, employer, employee...)and/or within his or her own personality could work hard in the hotseat with openess, honesty, and immediacy to become more 'dialectically integrated' through the therapeutic synthesis of opposing parts in his or her personality in conjunction with finding better 'integrative closure' with 'the alienated other person' in the hot-seat person's outside life (and/or for that matter, someone inside the therapeutic group).

DGB Philosophy does not generally include the raw immediacy of a hot seat but it does contain the process of 'dialectical opposition, contact, negotiation, and integration'.

In DGB Philosophy, we are stepping away from the dynamics of the human psche in the rawest immediacy of the hot seat and empty chair work. However, we are expanding this process to each and every part of human culture and activity -- and then we will come back and connect what we have learned from this philosophical adventure into such areas as narcissism, epistemology, ethics, business and economics, politics, law, science and medicine, spirituality and religion with the DGB perspective (model, theory) on the structure and dynamics of the human psyche.

What goes around comes around. What is projected (viewed as if it is a 'movie' out there in the social world) is then introjected (identified with, internalized) within the 'projector's' own personality (and/or visa versa). The movie or 'psycho-drama' -- both external and internal -- is us.

How narcissistic can we get? The world -- and particularly man's culture both collectively and privately -- is very much a reflection of a man's character, and in both a good and a bad sense, at the same time, his or her personal narcissism.

Personal and collective narcissism very much dominates the human psyche and the human world. Which is not to say that there isn't an important place and a need for the balance and equillibrium of the opposite of human narcissism which includes such things as: altruism, generosity, caring, love, social sensitivity, empathy, helping one's friends and neighbours, caring about the state of the environment, and so on...

There is an important place for a good balance of both narcissism and altruism in both man's psyche, and in the projections of his or her psyche into his private and collective culture, including the structure and process of any human philosophy, psychology, politics, and the rest of culture that he or she may invent.

But still, looking around us for the most part, one cannot help to think and feel that human narcissism dominates -- both in and beyond our Canadian and American culture.

I watch politicians fight with each other in parliament, treat each other disrespectfully, as each and everyone of them chases after a narcissistic, either/or, right or wrong, ideology -- as if theirs was/is the only 'right' ideology on the face of the earth. Sometimes the 'game' they seem to be playing, the 'show' they seem to be putting on, reminds me of something I might see on television wrestling. But if it is not all 'game' and 'show' and politicians actually believe that they are being 'righteously real', then someone needs to show these politicians how to better work with each other, not always against each other -- and respectfully with an 'eye towards a common mutually influenceable gain that will be good for everyone involved, particularly the majority of civilians who are counting on their 'balanced, wholistic, leadership'.

The dialectic can be used righteously, manipulatively and maliciously --'narcissisticly' is the word I will generally use (see my essays on narcissism, google dgb philosophy, narcissism) -- or it can be used judiciously and integratively, utilizing a combination of reason, compassion, common sense, empathy, humanism, ethics, and a balance of personal assertiveness and social altruism(in this sense, is a positive factor in human growth and evolution to the extent that it is kept in line by giving room for the rights and wishes of others -- which is supposed to be what 'democracy' and 'equal rights' is all about.

The same goes for corporations vs. unions or non-union employees, natural health medicine vs. standard, orthodox Western medicine, sports owners vs. athletes taking into account the fans, indeed, any type of human conflict where people have a choice between acting reasonably with each other vs. going off ballistically with each other because they can't see past the noses on their own faces.

As for the issue of my 'classification' as a philosopher, and whether I can or should be called a 'Gestalt philosopher' -- someone who has learned from Gestalt Therapy and extrapolated on these lessons into the realm of philosophy, politics, medicine, religion, art, and the like -- well that is a dialect in its own right between me and members of The Gestalt Institute who I haven't really talked to since 1991. The prodigal son may one day return back to some of his main roots and foundations. Or not. As I learned back at The Gestalt Institute (which has philosophical roots back to the ancient Greek philosopher, Heraclitus (535-475 BC): 'Everything is subject to change.'

In the meantime, a lot of this 'labelling', 'conceptualization', 'classification' and 'boundary' business depends on where you want to draw the line, and why.
Property, money, narcissism, a personal belief in right and wrong -- or perhaps alternatively, an integrative, always expanding, vision of the enlightenment and evolution of mankind.

A distinction can be made between Gestalt Therapy the 'process' and Gestalt Therapy the 'structural content'.

Gestalt Therapy the process involves an unpredictable state of affairs, where nobody really knows what is going to happen or where it is going to end -- where the process of individual growth is going to 'dialectically evolve' to. 'Old boundaries' are constantly being broken down and 'new integrative boundaries' are constantly being formed. Call this life.

Now 'Gestalt Therapy, The School of Psychotherapy' as a network of systematic concepts, rules and directives (such as 'No interpretation or analysis please -- just here-and now, I and Thou, contact!' -- a good rule of thumb but partly restrictive when used without flexibility and context) is -- or at least can be -- quite a bit more 'anal-retentive' and 'narcissistically protective' than 'Gestalt Therapy as I view it as a 'Post-Hegelian, integrative, no school-based, narcissistic, restrictive concepts' process. Because, if for example, Hegel's Hotel: DGB Philosophy-Psychology starts to re-introduce other ideas from other schools of psychotherapy and/or visa versa, this may not please the 'hard-line Gestalt theorists' any more than it would likely please the hard-line Psychoanalysts, Adlerian Psychologists, Transactional Analysists, Jungian Psychologists, and/or whoever else it is that I plan to bring into this multi-integrative stew that I am calling Hegel's Hotel.

Gestalt Therapy has its own ideational space and boundaries which can be differentiated from Psychoanalysis or Jungian Psychology or Adlerian Therapy or Rational-Emotive Therapy or Behaviorism or any of a hundred different schools of psychology and psychotherapy.

Again, I make the distinction between 'either/or' evolution vs. 'integrative evolution'. Biologically speaking -- and here is where Hegel and Darwin start to meet -- When a man impregnates a woman and a baby is created there is a mixture of 'either/or' evolution and 'integrative evolution' going on here. The child may have the ears of the father, the nose of the mother. The child may look exactly like the mother or the father. This is 'either/or' evolution. Perhaps the father's genes dominate, or the mother's genes dominate and the child almost looks like a clone of the parent with the dominant genes. Or the child can be seen to have a mixture of both parents genes and here we can see the process of 'integrative evolution'. The concept of 'biological diversity' is very much tied up to what I am calling here dialectical integrative evolution -- or put another way -- 'conceptual diversity and a constant renewal of conceptually integrative processes'.

Now let us leave the world of biology and enter the world of philosophy, psychology, politics, law, business... The same two evolutionary processes in every domain of human culture that exist in biology and bio-chemistry -- with sometimes either/or evolution dominating, and other times integrative evolution dominating.

Indeed, the whole ideational evolution process becomes more complicated -- and unfortunately often strangulated into 'non-evolution' or 'negative evolution' -- when you introduce such factors as: capitalism, money, property, corporations, patencies, people's livlihoods, etc...

With the additions of such factors, people not only get narcissistic about their money and their property and their choices of what they want to do -- they also get narcissistic about their ideas. Somewhere back in the 1980s or 90s, I called this phenomenon 'conceptual narcissism'.

Now here is the point: often conceptual evolution and conceptual narcissism collide and conflict with each other, do battle with each other, and become a dialectic in its own particular right, either good or bad, or both. Metaphorically speaking, one might ask the question: 'Which ideational gene is going to dominate? -- the 'narcissitic-either/or gene' or the 'integrative-evolution' gene?

Example. In the 1970s Jeffrey Masson was a fast-rising psychoanalyst and writer. He worked his way up the steep ranks of the many different Psychoanalytic Institutes in both North America and Europe. He got right up to the top -- to Anna Freud -- and was given free access to the Freud Archives. But a funny thing happened on the way to the forum. Masson got into the Freud Archives and he didn't like what he was reading. The issue was Freud's abandonment of his 'traumacy and seduction theory' around 1896-1897. In its place, Freud developed his more (in)famous inter-related theories of distorted childhood memories, childhood sexuality and the Oedipal Complex.

Masson basically came to the conclusion that these latter three theories were garbage -- and that worse than that -- they tended to perpetuate the traumacy of female childhood sexual assault by 'non-legitimizing' them. That is, according to post-1900 Classical Psychoanalytic and Oedipal Theory, a woman's 'memory' of a childhood sexual assault and/or seduction would be taught by and to psychoanalysts to be generally and stereotpically 're-interpreted' as a 'childhood fantasy and distorted memory' due to the young girl's and/or later teenage girl's standard romantic and sexual infatuation with her father. Thus, very few female childhood sexual assaults were being interpreted as what they were -- real assaults. In Masson's words, they were basically being 'clinically suppressed -- and denied existence in the phenomenonology of the client'.

Thus, from a 'clinical interpretation' standpoint, there would be 'no more childhood sexual assaults' in Psychoanalysis because most, if not all, of them were being re-interpreted by psychoanalysts everywhere as 'distorted memories based on underlying female childhood sexuality fantasies'.

Masson broke this scandal open, first in the New York Times in the late 1970s, then in his hugely controversial book, 'The Assault on Truth: Freud's Suppression of the Seduction Theory'. (1984, 1985, 1992 by Jeffrey Masson)

Not unexpectedly, Masson's book didn't go over very well at all with the many different Psychoanalytic Institutes. He was evicted from some and resigned from others. And now he is living in New Zealand and writing books about emotions in animals. No real resolution -- no dialectic conclusion and/or integration -- to the controversy.

Psychoanalysts defended themselves saying that they had the freedom to interpret childhood assaults as being real if they believed that one happened. Aside from this 'real and/or bogus resolution', the conflict seems to have bascially gone underground again. I cannot say for sure because I have not followed the various evolutions and/or non-evolutions of various Psychoanalytic schools of thought. I think many of them have discarded classical Oedipal theory and moved on to different schools of Object Relations and Self Theory. Some -- I do not know what percentage -- have remained loyal to Freud's original Classical/Oedipal theory.

Obviously, if you are a woman who knows that you were sexually assaulted as a child or young teenager, then I would probalby be thinking twice about engaging in Classical Psychoanalysis. There is definitely, in my mind, some element of truth in Masson's book -- the 'proportion' of truth to my present knowledge is still the subject of significant controversy.

In my opinion, the many Psychoanalytic Institutes should not have pushed Masson's book and thoughts aside so quickly without a full and democratic playout of the dialectic controversy. Indeed, writing as a post-Hegelian philosopher, I believe that they should have embraced the dialectic and brought a stale, stagnant sexist Orthodox, 'Classical' Psychoanalysis out of the Victorian age -- and into the age of feminine equality.

Some may say this has happened. Others may say that the whole issue was swept under the carpet. I tend to believe the latter. I have nothing to believe that Orthodox, Classical Psychoanalysis didn't simply retreat to its chauvanistic, paternalistic chambers -- and pretend that Jeffrey Masson's re-awakening of 'The Seduction Theory Controversy' never happened. They acted like most guilty politicians act in the midst of a narcissistic political scandal. Using the 'wait til it blows away' tactic, they try/tried to pretend that nothing happened, avoid/ed all journalists and news reporters -- and hope/d that the scandal will/would blow away from the headlines of all media outlets and public attention.

It has been about 17 years or so since I read Masson's 'Final Analysis': The Making and Unmaking of a Psychoanalyst (1991)-- a great read in my opinion about Toronto trained Jeffrey Masson's hugely successful and then completed thwarted attempts to breath fire and oxygen into 'a stagnant old men's patriarchal club'. I'm not sure whether it was coincidence or not -- but I left The Gestalt Institute (1991) close to the same time that I finished reading Masson's book, 'Final Analysis'. For better or for worse, I was through with psychology (at least until now) and moving into philosophy. But I would be back -- I am back -- as I start to plough my way through the blogsite/section of Hegel's Hotel called: 'DGB Integrative Personality Theory'. (Google DGB Philosophy, Personality Theory)

Has 'dialectical determinism and/or freedom' led to any further evolution in Classical, Orthodox Psychoanalysis? I cannot tell you. It certainly needed to be 'feminized' in order to bring it into touch with the evolution of the female psyche, female philosophy, and equal rights in the latter part of the 20th century. I doubt very much that this happened which leaves me with the perhaps outdated impression that Classical Orthodox Psychoanalysis is going the same way as the dinosaur -- towards extinction. Left untouched, it was becoming more and more theoretically irrelevant -- if not downright toxic. This is a generalization to be sure -- perhaps an out of touch one if things have changed significantly since 1991 -- but as I said, I doubt if things have. Obviously, this depends on which 'sub-school' of Psychoanalysis we are talking about -- and/or whether we are talking about the evolution of Psychoanalsyis as a whole vs. the 'relative non-evolution' of the old school, hardline, anal-retentive, boundary protecting, Classical Psychoanalysts...If little had been done to revise the old school, Classic Psychoanalytic perspective on 'libido theory', 'The Oedipal Complex', 'childhood sexuality', and 'distorted unconscious memories' since Freud's death (1931), why would anything and/or anyone likely change Classical Psychoanalysis since 1991? If Masson couldn't do it, who else would?

It is important to make some distinctions here. I am certainly not saying that Psychoanalysis as a whole is irrelevant or toxic. There are many different divisions and sub-divisions of Psychoanalysis some of which are developing more meaningful lines of thought than others in my opinion. From a DGB Philosophy perspective, there are at least eight different divisions of Psychoanalysis that are worth talking about from 1. Traumacy Theory; to 2. Seduction Theory; to 3. Childhood Sexuality and Oedipal Complex Theory; to 4. Death Instinct Theory; to 5. Ego, Id, and Superego Theory; to 6. Melanie Klein Early Object Relations Theory; to 7. Ronald Fairbairn later Object Relations Theory, to 8. Kohut and the beginning of 'Narcissistic Transference' and 'Self-Object' Theory.

By 1897, Freud was starting the process of abanadoning Traumacy-Seduction-Sexual Assault Theory altogether -- or at least in main part. Was 'the kitchen getting too hot' for Freud -- as Masson has suggested. Or did Freud find worthy clinical evidence to suggest that these 'so-called female adult memories of childhood seductions and/or sexual assaults' were simply not true? Or elements of both? I believe in the latter. I believe that there was a series of human 'psycho-dramas' that were going down involving Freud and his female patients that contained a mixture of true and false memories, traumatic and narcissistic memories, traumatic and narcissistic adult encounters...in short, a snap shot of human life in general with all its myriad of intertwining complexities.

Life and nature do not believe in 'one-sided, compartmentalized, narcissitic theories' made up by any one man or woman -- even if the man's name was Sigmund Freud who is still idealized and worshipped by many unconditional, Classic, Orthodox Psychoanalytic followers today for the creative brilliance of his ideas, some of which are worthy of this degree of respect, others of which should be 'committed to flames' (to once again use David Hume's immortal words) before they propogate any more forms of toxic psychotherapy into our society today -- just as 'The Traumacy and Seduction Theory' taken too far can as well.

When I am talking about Classical, Orthodox Psychoanalysis then, I am talking about 'the oldest of the old, orthodox guardians of Freud'; I am not talking about Melanie Klein's brand of Psychoanalysis (Object Relations), nor Ronald Fairbairn's brand of Psycoanalysis (a second brand of Object Relations), nor Heinz Kohut's brand of Psychoanalysis (the beginning of Self Psychology in Psychoanalysis -- some of my present ideas on 'healthy' vs. 'unhealthy' narcissism were being developed in the mid to late 1980s just about the same time I first bumped into Kohut's work on narcissism. Kohut had already developed this line of thinking well before me -- he died in 1981 -- nevertheless, it was reinforcing that some of my ideas were going down the path of more 'liberated', current, rebellious psychoanalysts.

Once again I believe in the value of the dialectic and in smart theorists and therapists using the dialectic to full functional advantage. From my perspective -- and I am far from the first person to say this -- it seems that Classical Psychoanalysis if it wants to stay alive and to have any kind of credibility and trust with the general public, especially women, needs to 'feminize' itself and to discard all ideas and practices that discriminate against women in order to bring it into the 21st century. Today, Orthodox, Classical Psychoanalysis is about as culturally relevant as most strict, orhthodox forms of religion are. Living in a past that has long passed them by.


Another example. What would happen if a psychoanalyst ever decided to abandon his or her use of the 'therapeutic couch' and borrow instead the 'hotseat' from Gestalt Therapy? Would this psychoanalyst still be called a psychoanalyst? Probably not by his psychoanalytic peers and superiors. Would he or she more appropriately be called a 'Gestalt Psychoanalyst'? Perls went this direction -- trained originally I believe in Kleinian Psychoanalysis (the beginning of Object Relations) -- until he decided at some point to dump the 'couch' and develop the 'hotseat and empty chair technique. In doing this, Perls 'existentialized' Psychoanalysis. Soon he would call himself a 'Gestalt Therapist'.

Integrative evolutions have happed often enough in the psychotherapy business, as much as they are often discouraged, even blacklisted and scandalized. Some theorists and therapists have integrated Adlerian Psychology and Psychoanalysis. Some theorists and therapists have integrated various forms of Cognitive Therapy with Gestalt Therapy. Perls partly did this himself. He liked Korysbski and General Semantics.

Back in the 1980s, I was integrating Gestalt Therapy, Adlerian Psychology, and Psychoanalysis -- which is how I got 'GAP' Psychology. Cognitive Therapy, humanistic-existentialism, and Jungian psychology also eventually had an impact on my thinking.

Conceptualizations, classifications, and labels can be stretched or re-tightened according to our wishes and agenda. It could be argued that Freud was a Gestalt Therapist before he was a Psychoanalyst -- much of Freud's early work in the 1990s on traumacy theory could easily be viewed as the real foundation of Gestalt Therapy (before Freud decided to go a different theoretical direction). Freud's Traumacy Theory is just as relevant today as it was when he created back in the late 1880s and early to mid 1890s. It should not have been abandoned, just modified -- which many Psychoanalysts say is exactly what happened. I don't believe them. The 'modification' if that's what it was at the time, became a more or less 'fixed theoretical reality' over time. By the early 1900s, the traumacy was being left further and further behind. It shouldn't have been. Using the Hegelian dialectic, I would have developed a 'narcissistic-traumacy' theory. In fact, I will develop this theory as I move along here. Psychoanalysis needs to integrate; not 'compartmentalize' into a increasing number of 'either/or' theories.

What is the moral of everything that is being said in this essay. How about this?

When you are all ready to get your shorts tied tightly in a knot and turn purple with rage over protecting an idea, a concept, a theory, a philosophy, a paradigm, an ideology, a religous belief, ask yourself this: Can integrative evolution take me to a better place that is better for me and better for the people around me? And if so, then why am I holding on so tightly, so emotionaly, to an idea that may be a better idea once it is blended with other different and maybe even opposing ideas.

Every seen a parent and a child fighting over 'curfew'? Being a taxi driver at one time, I have seen or heard of some of the worst fights you can possibly imagine when it comes to teenage girls battling with parents over 'freedom vs. control and safety (curfew)' isues. 15 year old girls evicted from their homes. Come on, what's with this? Rage is probably usually the best personal indicator that it may be time to think 'negotiate, compromise, integrate'; not get stuck in the personal egotism and/or ethics of 'I am right, you are wrong'. If you want to save your relationship with your teenage son or daughter, maintain your ethical boundaries unless they are seriously outdated in which case you might want to re-think them. But regardless, be willing to negotiate without 'caving in' on your principles, and choose 'contact and immediacy' over maintaining your inflexible, righteous, 'either/or' pride.

A Post-Script: I initially wrote this paper almost a year ago. Now I feel at least partly like a hypocrite. Last August I got into a very stupid but severe argument on the internet with my 18 year old daughter over the end of my support payments to her mother because she was out of school and working. Not reaching any common ground on our beliefs and principles, the fight has left us more or less estranged since then. That's where pride takes you when two stubborn people -- or groups of people -- cannot negotiate and integrate any common ground between them.

The conflict is between holding on hard to your strongest beliefs and values vs. being open-minded enough to look for and find that place in the middle -- or conversely, simply to agree to disagree -- with someone who's ongoing relationship with you is important enough not to jeopardize and sabotage based on an unwillingness on the part of both of you to find some meeting ground in the middle.

On the other side of things, left unbridled by compassion, empathy, and ethical fairness, human righteousness and narcissism knows no boundaries. The irony is this: The tighter and harder a person's conceptual boundaries are, the more all-encompassing is likely to be the extent of his or her personal righteousness and narcissism -- and in this regard, his or her unwillingness to even listen to people, let alone meet them somewhere towards the middle.

-- dgb, originally written May 20th, 2007; modified and updated April 27-28th, 2008.
-- dgb, originally written May 20th, 2007; modified and updated April 27-28th, 2008.