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VII. Our Earthuman Ascent: A Major Evolutionary Transition in Individuality

6. Our Holosymbiotic Personal Selves

Burgess, Robert and Kevin MacDonald. Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Development. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2005. A multi-author document exploring how to life’s past course might effect our present body and mind.

Buss, David, ed. The Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2005. Over the past 15 years, this broad endeavor to connect our personal and social mores with the Metazoan origins they arose from has achieved a sufficiency of explanation, veracity, and acceptance. A prior factional, vitriolic debate seems to have run its course with evidence that human beings do indeed bear much primate baggage it would be helpful to understand and move beyond. The usual players cogently contribute to seven sections: Foundations, Survival, Mating, Parenting and Kinship, Group Living, Evolutionizing Traditional Psychology Disciplines, and Applications. What is notable, Buss comments, is that ancillary, cousin concerns such as cognition, development, and personality, have also adopted an evolutionary depth to their advantage.

Buss, David, David. The Great Struggles of Life: Darwin and the Emerge of Evolutionary Psychology. American Psychologist. February-March, 2009. The University of Texas at Austin pioneer advocate of this approach provides an updated summary, along with an extensive list of references.

Butz, Micheal. Chaos and Complexity. Washington, DC: Taylor & Francis, 1997. The nonlinear sciences of self-organization are bringing new insights to personality development and clinical psychotherapy.

Cambray, Joseph and Leslie Sawin, eds. Research in Analytical Psychology: Applications from Scientific, Historical, and Cross-Cultural Research. London: Routledge, 2018. Joseph Cambray (search), President of the Pacifica Graduate Institute and Leslie Swan, former director of the Jung Society of Washington, DC are Jungian analysts and philosophers. The collection goes on to consider complex systems as a path toward a lively, deeper nature with an integral consciousness. Chapters include Complexity, Ecological Systems, and Synchronicity, The Mathematics of Symbolic Structures, and The Difference in Therapeutic Process and Relationship in the West and East.

Caporael, Linnda. Evolutionary Psychology: Toward a Unifying Theory and a Hybrid Science. Annual Reviews of Psychology. 52/607, 2001. A synoptic survey of its origins, many facets and proponents, along with pathways to theoretical synthesis, which will involve joining many aspects from inclusive fitness to complex systems theory.

Cervone, Daniel and Yuichi Shoda, eds. The Coherence of Personality. New York: Guilford Press, 1999. Several contributions in this edition offer considerations of the integral person as an adaptive, dynamical, self-organizing system of modular elements. Accordingly, their symbiotic wholeness creates ones personal identity.

Chater, Nick and Gordon Brown. Scale-invariance as a Unifying Psychological Principle. Cognition. 69/B17, 1999. A hypothesis that self-similar, fractal phenomena on many behavioral scales can provide a universal theory.

Chen, Serena, et al. The Relational Self Revealed: Integrative Conceptualization and Implications for Interpersonal Life. Psychological Bulletin. 132/2, 2006. From a synthesis of recent advances, a better understanding of the reality and role interpersonal relations can now be gained.

Christoff, Kalina, et al. Specifying the Self for Cognitive Neuroscience. Trends in Cognitive Science. 15/3, 2011. A team of psychologists and philosophers from Canada, France, and Chile that includes Evan Thompson, as the Abstract notes, emphasize a person’s effective, “agental,” role as a prime distinction. One wonders how we might imagine a “self-specifying” universe, whereof we people might be the active selves to achieve this?

Cognitive neuroscience investigations of self-experience have mainly focused on the mental attribution of features to the self (self-related processing). In this paper, we highlight another fundamental, yet neglected, aspect of self-experience, that of being an agent. We propose that this aspect of self-experience depends on self-specifying processes, ones that implicitly specify the self by implementing a functional self/non-self distinction in perception, action, cognition and emotion. We describe two paradigmatic cases – sensorimotor integration and homeostatic regulation – and use the principles from these cases to show how cognitive control, including emotion regulation, is also self-specifying. We argue that externally directed, attention-demanding tasks, rather than suppressing self-experience, give rise to the self-experience of being a cognitive–affective agent. (104)

Churchland, Patricia. Self-Representation in Nervous Systems. Science. 296/308, 2002. A person’s self-concept is due to a ‘set of representational capacities of the physical brain’ or ‘organizational tools’ which bring a unified coherence. Evolution is then seen as the achievement of more coherent, informed states of retained knowledge, which facilitates an increased sentience.

On this hypothesis, the degrees or levels of conscious awareness are upgraded in tandem with the self-representational upgrades. (310)

Ciaunica, Anna. The Relational Self: Basic Forms of Self-Awareness. Topoi. 39/2, 2020. An introduction by the University of Porto cognitive philosopher to a special section with this title. Akin to Nathalie Gontier’s (University of Lisbon) 2020 view of reticulate evolutionary networks, the papers at long last converge on a dual reciprocity of a person’s own individuality as formed and maintained by way of many social interactions. See, for example, The We in Me: Minimal Relational Selfhood by Joe Higgins, An Ecological Perspective on the Relational Self in Autism by Axel Constant, et al, and I Interact Therefore I Am by Dimitris Bolis and Leonhard Schilbach, reviewed herein. So after decades of studying separate selves and groupings, on a planet beset by polarity of free me vs. social control, such a natural mutuality could become its resolve. A once and future ubuntu universe, golden mean balance of I am because We are might just save us in this elective, end/begin year.

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