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A Systems Approach to the Bimodal, Interactive Nature of Human Consciousness and the Reintegration of the Bicameral Mind Through Education

John D. Allen
Dissertation Abstracts International, June 1983, Vol. 43 (12-A): 3886.


In this study General System Theory (GST) is a theoretical framework used to analyze the "Bimodal, Interactive System of Human Consciousness (BISOHC)." GST, then, is the primary methodology employed, though the study also incorporates approaches similar to those sometimes used in philosophical and historical studies. The GST framework offers such tools for analysis as the development of hierarchical structures for systems and the location of structural isomorphisms among subsystems.

The "systems approach" to the subject of the "bimodal, interactive nature of human consciousness" is explored as a framework that educators can use. Before that takes place, the problems of describing the subsystems of consciousness, determining their hierarchical nature, and particularly the analysis of the functioning of BISOHC are addressed. The subsystems in this study are organized around a system of human consciousness bearing the acronym of BISOHC. BISOHC is composed of two subsystems: the Primary and Secondary Systems. These subsystems are broken down into three subsystems each and so on. The subsystems of the Primary and Secondary Systems are derived from: (1) biopsychological and neurophysiological research on the brain, (2) psychoanalytic theory dealing with Secondary and Primary Process, and (3) the work of researchers in the fields of cybernetics and artificial intelligence. The study comprises a report of the history and present status of each of the subsystems. A comparison of subsystems is the basis for discerning commonalities (structural isomorphisms) and differences among the various approaches.

The relationships and interactions of subsystems are important topics in the study. The significance of GST concepts, such as "spontaneous activity of the psychophysical organism," is probed. "States of arousal" of the organism is studied in an attempt to get at the dynamics of BISOHC.

Finally, the BISOHC hierarchy is mapped onto an educational framework. The idea that the educational system needs to be more concerned with the internal environment of students becomes more clear when the logical links between the hierarchy for BISOHC and corresponding educational goals are determined. Briefly, those resulting five educational goals are Education for Transcendence, Education for Integration, Education for Balance, Education for Autonomy, and Education for Technique. The study concludes that Education needs to concentrate not only on the goals of "technique" and "autonomy," but also on "balance," "integration," and "transcendence" goals.