Freud, Jung & the Hard Problem of Consciousness
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Freud, Jung & the Hard Problem of Consciousness

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  • 1. Freud, Jung, and the Hard Problem of Consciousness : An Introduction to the Human “Networking” System Author: A. Robochild
  • 2. I: Definition (from 2 angles)
    • Objective (third person) : If brains can be modeled on computers, then let ψ (psi) be the networking system of this computer model
    • Subjective: first person methods
  • 3. I, Robots (2004)
  • 4. A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001)
  • 5. The Objective Approach
    • In Computer Science:
      • Communicative Systems : video sharing, conference call, chat rooms, ICQ...
      • Networking Systems : cabling, routing of data packets per straight rules, data volume/traffic control (usually refer to the hardware aspects)
    • (There is no clear definition to differentiate these two terms. Sometimes they are the same system just being looked at from different perspectives.)
  • 6. The Objective Approach (cont.)
    • In Biological Sciences
      • Communication Systems: Have been extensively studied in humans, animals and insects
      • Networking Systems: (Hardware aspects e.g. neurons and pathways) - “Neural network” : a network of biological neurons
        • The hardware aspect is rarely applied to human social ( brain to brain) networking
  • 7. The “Subjective” Approach
    • There are many studies on the subjective or the first person method of approach
    • The work of Freud and Jung
    • “ Freud himself has pointed out on more than one occasion how much unconscious motives are grounded on instinct, which is certainly an objective fact.”
        • Jung: Symbols of transformation
  • 8. Michelangelo: The Creation of Adam
  • 9. The Matrix (1999)
  • 10. Freud Asked a Question
    • “ Without the assumption of a collective mind, which makes it possible to neglect the interruptions of mental acts caused by the extinction of the individual, social psychology in general cannot exist. Unless psychical processes were continued from one generation to another, if each generation were obliged to acquire its attitude to life anew, there would be no progress in this field and next to no development. This gives rise to two further questions: how much can we attribute to psychical continuity in the sequence of generations? and what are the ways and means employed by one generation in order to hand on its mental states to the
    • next one?”
    • Freud, S: The Return of Totemism in Childhood
  • 11.
    • The intention is to furnish a psychology that shall be a natural science: that is, to represent psychical processes as quantitatively determinate states ... subject to the general laws of motion.
    • Project for a Scientific Psychology
    • I was trained to employ local diagnoses and electro-prognosis and it still strikes me myself as strange that the case histories I write should read like short stories and that, as one might say, they lack the serious stamp of science.
    • Studies on Hysteria
    • Since we cannot wait for another science to present us with the final conclusions ... it is far more to the purpose that we should try to see what light may be thrown upon this basic problem of biology by a synthesis of the psychological phenomena. (italics original)
    • On Narcissism: An Introduction
  • 12. Freud and Jung as Scientific Researchers
    • They described:
      • A hardwired structure : inherited, in the newborn brain
      • A process of “ psychical continuity” : between humans brains
      • (Freud limited his research to the father-son situation. Jung generalized to a broader context)
  • 13. Freud’s Own Answer
    • A part of the problem seems to be met by the inheritance of psychical dispositions which, however, need to be given some sort of impetus in the life of the individual before they can be roused into actual operation. This may be the
    • meaning of the poet's words:
    • Was du ererbt von deinen Vatern hast, Erwirb es, um es zu besitzen.
        • ([i] What thou hast inherited from thy fathers
        • [ii] Acquire it to make it thine
        • Goethe, Faust, Part I, Scene 1)
          • Freud, S.: The Return of Totemism in Childhood
  • 14.
    • Freud described … archaic tendencies and motives as “elements with a phylogenetic origin,” that is, “things that were innately present in him [the individual] at his birth.”
    • Moses and Monotheism: Three Essays
    • To the oldest of these psychical provinces or agencies we give the name of id. It contains everything that is inherited , that is present at birth … which originate from the somatic organization.
    • The Psychical Apparatus
  • 15.
    • We shall probably get nearest to the truth if we think of the conscious and personal psych as resting upon the broad basis of an inherited and universal psychic disposition which is as such unconscious, and that our personal psyche bears the same relation to the collective psyche as the individual to society.
    • Jung, C. G.: The Spiritual Problem of Modern Man
  • 16.
    • [The] whole psychic organism corresponds exactly to the body, which, though individually varied, is in all essential features the specifically human body which all men have.
    • The collective unconscious contains the whole spiritual heritage of mankind's evolution, born anew in the brain structure of every individual .
    • Jung, C. G.: The Structure of the Psyche
  • 17.
    • In so doing he raised it out of its sub-terranean beginnings into the clear light of collective consciousness .... A man is a philosopher of genius only when he succeeds in transmuting the primitive and merely natural vision into an abstract idea belonging to the common stock of consciousness . ... To the philosopher as well this vision comes as so much increment, and is simply a part of the common property of mankind, in which, in principle, everyone has a share .
    • Jung, C. G.: The Spiritual Problem of Modern Man
  • 18.
    • Consciousness makes each of us aware only of his own states of mind; that other people, too, possess a consciousness is an inference which we draw by analogy from their observable utterances and actions, in order to make this behavior of theirs intelligible to us (… we attribute to everyone else our own constitution and therefore our consciousness as well, and that this identification is a sine qua non of our understanding.) This inference (or this identification ) was formerly extended … to other human beings, to animals, plants, inanimate objects and to the world at large, and proved serviceable so long as their similarity to the individual ego was overwhelmingly great; but it became more untrustworthy in proportion as the difference between the ego and these “others” widened.
    • Freud: Justification for the Concept of the Unconscious
  • 19. “ Inference” & “Identification”
    • This “inference” mechanism allows a firm line to be drawn between our ancestors and other species, because we became aware of our own mortality through “identification” when we saw death in others
    • The human practice of burial dating from prehistory is thus a manifestation of this characteristic human trait
  • 20.
    • In Darwin's primal horde ... there is a violent and jealous father who keeps all the females for himself and drives away his sons as they grow up.... One day the brothers who had been driven out came together , killed and devoured their father and so made an end of this patriarchal horde. United , they had the courage to do and succeeded in doing what would have been impossible for them individually. (highlighted words suggest a network of
    • some sort)
    • Freud, S.: The Return of Totemism in Childhood
  • 21. Section II Practical Applications
    • Psychiatry: Disorders (Diseases) of the Human Networking System
    • Other Fields: e.g. Education, Philosophy
  • 22. ( i ) Disorders of the Human “Networking” System
    • Obvious examples are the psychotic mental disorders , such as autism and schizophrenia
    • The etiologies are those that also affects other bodily system: congenital, hereditary, alcohol & drug-induced, metabolic, degenerative, infective …
    • Jasper: “Non-understandability” as the feature of psychosis
  • 23. ( ii ) Conflicts with Sex and Aggression
    • Does this unique human networking mechanism (likely newer in evolution) conflict with other more basic instincts viz: sex and aggression?
    • Both Freud and Jung warned against the dangers of civilization and repression of basic instincts
  • 24. ( iii ) “Creative Illness”:
    • In 1836, Lelut … claimed Socrates was mentally ill .... A similar conclusion about Blaise Pascal appeared in 1846…. another French psychiatrist, Moreau, depicted over 180 men of genius as being diseased. Soon signs of "nervous degeneration" were being discovered among most of the world's leading artists, scientists, writers, and musicians.
      • Ostwald, P.F.: Schumann: Music and Madness
  • 25. Creative Illness ( a working definition) :
      • “ Great artists and others distinguished by creative gifts ... enjoy ... the permeability of the partition separating the conscious and the unconscious”.
        • Jung, 1916:The Transcendent Function
  • 26. The Davidsbündler ( League of David )
    • An imaginary music society created by Schumann
    • Members included:
      • Schumann himself, the musician Karl Banck, Besieger; the fictitious Florestan and Eusebius; Mendelssohn (= Meritis ),
      • former engaged Ernestine of Fricken (= Estrella ),
      • Clara Wieck, Schumanns wife (= Zilia or Chiara and/or. Chiarina ),
      • Clara’s father Friedrich Wieck (= master Raro )
      • the Pianist Sophie Kaskel (= Sarah ),
      • Other Distinguished Composers
  • 27. Creativity & Loneliness
    • As Schumann put it to Clara several years later, "With so much hustle and bustle around you, I'm not surprised you cannot compose. To create something and be successful at it requires happiness and deep loneliness .”
    • Robert Schumann, Jugendbriefe
    • When [Mendelssohn] was playing his own music for Schumann, [Clara] once commented, "Robert's eyes radiate joy, and it is very painful for me to have to feel I can never offer Robert anything like that."
    • Gesammelte Schriften über Musik und Musiker
  • 28. Loneliness & Network Problems
    • Joachim said, "He is constantly so filled up with music that I really don't blame the man for preferring not to be disturbed by the sounds of the outer world."
    • … it appears that Schumann depended on music more than conversation to reconstitute a social network.
    • Ostwald, P.F.: Schumann: Music and Madness
  • 29.
    • Schumann was silent and reserved all evening, as usual. He only mumbled, unintelligibly, when asked questions.... mostly sat in a corner next to the piano ... his head bowed down, hair hanging in his face... Clara ... answered all the questions for her husband.
    • Eismann: Robert Schumann, Ein Quellenwerk über Sein Leben und Schaffen
    • Schumann ... [when being introduced] mutely took a bow without speaking to the assembled musicians and singers.... Within twenty-four hours the musicians were so dissatisfied and hostile that some of the soloists tried to back out. 
    • Berthold Litzmann: Clara Schumann, Ein K(u:)nstlerleben
  • 30.
    • [Schumann's mother referred to him] as "a young, inexperienced person who only lives in the higher spheres and does not want to go into a practical life."
    • Eismann: Robert Schumann, Ein Quellenwerküber Sein Leben und Schaffen
    • Schumann ... lacked the ... capacity to establish a close rapport with others ... because he either said nothing or spoke so softly that he would only rarely be understood.
    • Wasielewski: Robert Schumann, Eine Biographie .
  • 31.
    • … Schumann's chances of finding work again - had he been released from Endenich - probably would have been very limited. His experience and ability as a teacher were meager, and as a conductor he had failed. Surely Wasielewski, who lived in Bonn, told Richarz that no city in Germany would want to have Schumann as a music director. Neither would Schumann play the piano ... [he] had not been a virtuoso for many years. He might have continued to do some music criticism....
    • Ostwald, P.F.: Schumann: Music and Madness
  • 32. ( 2:i ) Infant development of the human ‘networking’ system
    • According to Freud, in the first years of life when speech and consciousness develop, both sex and aggression play definitive roles. How do these various instincts interact?
  • 33. (2 :ii ) On Education
    • Can education be conceived of as a process of sorting brains into different networks (like the Sorting Hat in Harry Potter)?
    • “ A close study of Freud's work together with psychoanalyses conducted by ourselves convinced us that faulty education is … the source of serious illness.”
    • Ferenczi: Psychoanalysis and Education
  • 34. ( 2:iii ) On Human Epistemology
    • Are “ identification ” and “ inference ” the sole mechanisms that allow humans to understand other people and things? If so, human understanding has limitation and will become untrustworthy “as the difference between the ego and these 'others' [is] widened.” (Freud)
  • 35. ( 2:iv ) On the Hard Problem of Consciousness
    • Perhaps consciousness is the subjective “what it’s like” (Nagel, 1974)
    • of an objective phenomenon
    • (a “networking” system functioning within our brains)
  • 36. Conclusions
    • Freud, Jung, and their associates have examined a function in humans analogous that of “networking” in computers
    • The "Mirror System Hypothesis" ( Rizzolatti & Arbib 1998) might be describing this same mechanisms, as it closely matches the dynamics of Freud’s “ inference ” and “ identification ”, and of Lacan’s (1977) “ mirror stage ”.
  • 37. Conclusions (continue)
    • Perhaps there is no “networking” mechanism, as such, for humans
      • “ They walked along, two continents of experience and feeling, unable to communicate.”
      • (Lord of the Flies, William Golding)
    • M ore work is necessary to substantiate the existence of the system
  • 38. Two Further Questions:
    • If human consciousness has nothing to do with the human soul (but surely soul ≠ consciousness), then where is the soul?
    • If the phenomenon of consciousness arises from some human networking mechanism, would it be theoretically possible to communicate with non-human forms of life, e.g. extraterrestrials , God ?
  • 39. Q & A SECTION