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New Age "Asiatic" thought ... is establishing itself as the
hegemonic ideology of global capitalism. (Zizek)

Wednesday, May 28

reading between the synapses

This post is a little demo of what I call "reading bookstores." The shelf is more than the sum of its books. The store more than the sum of its shelves. The supply chain more than the sum of its outlets. Synergy. The American Heritage Dictionary, 4th Edition defines it as: "The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects." Something like that, but in a context where you weren't expecting it.

I had half an hour to kill this afternoon. This is how I spent it at the Boulder Barnes & Noble. I had never seen any of these books before today.

  • Mirroring People: The New Science of How We Connect with Others
    by Marco Iacoboni

    Given the subtitle, I was surprised to find no entries for Attachment in the index. Lots for Autism, of course. I suppose it's naive of me to be shocked that the sales of so many science books these days are driven by the ever ongoing meme popularity contest. Perhaps attachment has nothing to do with autism, if the latter is a purely congenital aberration of neurophysiology. But it sure as hell has a lot to do with "How We Connect with Others."

    One Bruce Gregory writes a funny, less than enthusiastic review, including the parenthetic admonition: Don't anthropomorphize neurons; they hate it when you do that.

  • Relational Theory and the Practice of Psychotherapy
    by Paul L. Wachtel

    My Amazon.com Wish ListImportant! But unfortunately, at $38, also the most expensive of these three books. Informed by recent attachment studies and theory. Sadly, not much historical discussion, as far as I could see on brief inspection (aside from bib cites), of Steven Mitchell's work (e.g. Hope and Dread in Psychoanalysis and Relational Concepts in Psychoanalysis). Mitchell is well represented in the author index, however. This one is strictly for professionals (hot tip: refuse to be discouraged by such caveats; be a professional).

  • Quantum Mind: The Edge Between Physics and Psychology
    by Arnold Mindell

    This one is the comic-relief entry. Whenever I hear the word quantum, I reach for my devolver. Of course, as in so many such cases, Jung is prominently invoked.

    From Mindell's Wikipedia page: "While in Zurich, Mindell became aware of the work of psychiatrist C.G. Jung and shifted his emphasis to study Analytical Psychology at the C.G. Jung Institute, where he graduated as a Jungian analyst."

    From the Amy and Arny Mindell website: The video linked below must be seen to be believed. Finally! Proof positive of quantum entanglement!  

    The attached short video sent by Susan Cogan is a brilliant and organic example of one of the most mysterious and wonderful parts of process oriented psychology: namely, the mystery of quantum entanglement and role switching.

    Multi-species Role Switching Video. (WMV file 3.9MB)
    (do not be drinking anything)

    Plus (no surprise here), the Mindells are among the growing horde of I'm-not-really-New-Agers jumping on Jill Bolte Taylor's brandy-new brain-damage bandwagon.
    Listen to what she says about her right hemisphere, it sounds like what we have been calling, dreamland's nonlocality and essence levels.

    Your Brain's Left and Right Hemispheres
    (or) Your Consensus Reality and Dreamland Minds

    Dreamland's nonlocality and essence levels. Right. Check.

See also:

  • The Quark and the Jaguar: Adventures in the Simple and the Complex
    by Murray Gell-Mann.

    The author won the Nobel prize in physics in 1969 "for his contributions and discoveries concerning the classification of elementary particles and their interactions." The bit most relevant to Mindell's Quantum Mind is Gell-Mann's Chapter 12: "Quantum Mechanics and Flapdoodle." There he explains how many bogus New Age memes such as "nonlocality" -- (im)pressed into service to rationalize paranormal notions such as "remote viewing" -- are based on willfully brainless misreadings of Bell's Theorem.

and for
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