ART & ORGANISM
ART & ORGANISM represents a radical undertaking: To reconceptualize and harmonize multiple disciplines in the pursuit of insight about consciousness and being. This is a goal only because its pursuit promises a unique level of satisfaction for organisms such as we are. Most of us are more-or-less (and sometimes highly) motivated to meet this apparent “need to know“. This is arguably highly adaptive and is in lockstep with the ancient and often reiterated precept: “Know Thyself.” It is not clear that that the goal itself even exists, but the sense of pleasure in approaching it, even by modest successive approximations is gratifying: Approaching the goal seems to mitigate the stress that always accompanies uncertainty about our ability to cope with a real or perceived need.
NEUROPHENOMENOLOGY: I like the way Tim CLACK Of The School Of Art History And Archaeology, University Of Manchester, pursuing a highly interdisciplinary approach go the archaeological study of religion, framed our concern nicely In His 2004 essay On “Neurophenomenology…”:
“Essentially what is presented here is a brief commentary intending to open-up for explicit consideration the philosophical foundation, the practicalities, and the potential of using neurophenomenology for archaeological purposes. This paper is not intended to rally practitioners … but rather to highlight a potentially promising research direction that deserves attention.”
“Neurophenomenology, [Clack writes, is] sometimes referred to as ‘naturalized phenomenology’ (Petitot et al 1999), the embodied mind (Lakoff and Johnson 1999), or experiential neuroscience (Varela 2001), is an embryonic research direction that provides an original stereoscopic focus upon issues inadequately dissected by phenomenology and cognitive science. In practice this is conducted with a co-determination of both accounts to become proactive partners in the exploration of the bridges, fabrics, insights, complementarities and contradictions between them (Varela 1999: 194). In essence neurophenomenology is the systematic exploration of the only link between mind and consciousness – the structure of human experience itself. Varela (1999) highlights that neurophenomenology is not simply a rearticulated or homomorphic form of identity theory. Identity theory notes the relationship between experience and neuroscientific accounts but only out of an adherence to philosophical commitment. Neurophenomenology, however, differs in its assertion that the correlates are causally active (1999: 194).”
“Phenomenology is critical of cognitive science due to its fundamental ignorance of immediate, direct experience. Neurophenomenology, in recognition of this investigative myopia, gives primacy to researching the structure of the lived human experience (Varela 1999:185). It must be recognised, however, that neurophysiological processes do not cause mental states, they are mental states at the neurophysiological level of description (Skarda 1990: 625).” (pp 51-52)
“Phenomenological accounts of the structure of experience and their counterparts in cognitive science relate to each other through reciprocal constraints”(Varela 1999: 194)
* Tim CLACK (of the School of Art History and Archaeology, University of Manchester) (2004). NEUROPHENOMENOLOGY: A WORTHWHILE RESEARCH DIRECTION FOR THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL STUDY OF RELIGION?. In: Belief in the Past: The Proceedings of the 2002 Manchester Conference on Archaeology and Religion. pp 51-61)