Friday, 27 May 2011

Luhmann, Beer, Harré and Jungian Individuation

I did a presentation on agent-based modelling on Tuesday. I think Luhmann can provide an adequate description of the 'outer world' and there is a broad description of how it arises from the inner world, but my work has concentrated on trying to use the distinctions of Beer's Viable System Model to get a deeper understanding of the 'inner world'. But in the model as it stands, there is significant lack of richness, although there is at least a simple way of differentiating people and the communications they make.

The challenge of describing the inner world has led me to think about what Jung says of individuation processes. Briefly, Jung makes a series of distinctions concerning the elements of the unconscious and conscious world. At the bottom of the unconscious world lie the 'shadow' (all that we are but are not consciously aware), and the anima (in men) or animus (in women), or the 'soul image' which is associated with the image of the opposite sex. Having confronted the 'soul image', the soul-image of the collective is encountered: what Jung characterises as the 'wise old man/great mother'. From the recognition of the collective shadow a deeper realisation of self is achieved.

Relating this to the work of Harré, Luhmann and Beer is what's fascinating me. Positioning Theory would situate the individuation process as some sort of adaptation of the 'storyline' of an individual. Individuation is usually performed with an analyst, so there may be some requirement for illocutionary acts (talking). Individuation might be seen as a particular activity dynamic where the analyst positions the patient in a way which is focused on their examination of their storylines.

With Luhmann, the psychic system is simply there to make selections about meaning, utterance and interpretation. But these depend on the state of the individual. Luhmann does say very much about how the structuring of the individual can affect these selections. Although common sense would suggest that the structuring of the individual, the storylines are a key determiner of the utterances that are made.

Beer provides distinctions about the inner world of the individual which might help here. Within systems 1-5, can we find the shadow or the anima? I wonder if both of those are about entropy in some way. Maybe by combining the distinctions about the 'emotion machine' ( we can see that perhaps the shadow might be a combination of system 5 (loss of identity) and system 2 (fear and anxiety). The anima might be a combination of system 4 (idealisation), System 5 (identity) and system 2 (intuition). The wise old man, the collective soul, might be a combination of system 4 and system 5 (reidentifying with the collective). The self is the totality: it is a system 5 which embraces the tension between systems 3 and 4 and is able to position the communications and viability of the whole system most effectively.

I'm not sure.. but it's interesting. Thinking through the individuation process might help in understanding how our experience is wave-like, with motion through us from one regulating system to another. How might I implement this as a model?

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