IHCMD - Institute for Human Conceptual and Mental Development


 
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Conceptual Foundation

The conceptual foundation and framework of understanding guiding and directing the work of the Institute are provided by a study about the natural conditions, needs, demands and challenges of human existence and development, particularly of the mind and mental existence, our inner mental life, the role and responsibility in them that by nature are individually ours to understand and manage, and how to manage them.

It is a study moreover, about the human created socio-cultural reality and conditions; the conceptual foundation and mental practices that lie behind how we understand and manage existence and development, demands and challenges, problems and difficulties, change and changing conditions. It involves understanding how as a species we got to where we find ourselves today, the historical path and direction of human conceptual and mental self-development and growth. How through the ages human beings have understood and managed their existence and development, the understanding, mental powers and abilities, mental skills and practices they developed, on which they relied, how they developed and used them. The study looks at how today we understand and manage existence and development, demands and challenges, problems and difficulties, the understanding, mental powers and abilities, mental skills and practices we develop, on which we rely and how we develop them, limits and shortcomings, where, how and why they contradict, conflict with or fall short of the natural conditions, demands and challenges of existence. Understanding the results and consequences for the individual, society, the human species, future generations, nature and the natural environment.

The study includes considering the direction of the answers and solutions, the direction we need to take in conceptual and mental development and growth, individually, as societies and as a species. It involves considering the understanding, the mental powers and abilities, mental skills and practices we need to develop, how to develop and use them, to deal with the problems and difficulties, demands and challenges we face today, and to understand and manage existence and development in sustainable, equitable, secure and peaceful ways. Understanding and managing existence and development, the conditions, needs, demands and challenges, problems and difficulties of human existence and development within the natural parameters, the boundaries and limits of existence set by nature. The understanding, mental powers and abilities, mental skills and practices necessary to sustain an expanding global human population in equitable ways on the limited and finite natural material resources base of the Earth, without contributing further to the premature demise in the long term of the human species at its own hands.

The results and findings of the study are set out in a series of working papers (which currently are being translated into a book):

    1. The Mind, Mental Existence and Mental Development - The natural conditions of existence, particularly the mind and mental existence, our inner mental life. The nature, elements and processes, conditions, demands and challenges of the mind and mental existence, our role and responsibility in them, how to manage and deal with them. What takes place, what we face and have to deal with, what we do and need to do, what we must establish, develop and maintain in the mind and mental existence. Basic mental needs, mental faculties, natural mental powers and abilities, mental skills and practices. Awareness, knowledge and understanding, nature, purpose and development. Managing the mind and mental existence. Establishing and maintaining mental order and stability. Considering and making sense of experience, perceptions, sensations and feelings, the conditions that lie behind them, and how to deal with them. Developing the natural mental potential, mental powers and abilities, translating them into necessary mental skills and practices, and engaging in the required mental work and effort.

    2. Initial Conditions of Mental Existence, and Early Human Responses - Nature and levels of human-created development - conceptual, mental, cultural, social, spiritual-religious, political-organizational, economic-material, scientific and technological development, how they relate and affect one another. The beginnings of human conceptual and mental self-development, the conditions, demands and challenges of the mind and mental existence, and early human responses at the dawn of human consciousness. How human beings viewed the nature and conditions, and how they responded to the demands and challenges of their mind and mental existence. Early assumptions, approaches and practices of understanding and managing human existence and development: (1)understanding and managing existence and development in the collective; (2)conceptualizing and understanding the nature and conditions of existence in the abstract, beyond a detailed understanding of human experience; (3)defining a sense of the self, a sense of order and stability, clarity and coherence, certainty, security and confidence externally, beyond the mind and mental existence, in supernatural-spiritual, social-collective and physical-material terms; and (4)understanding and managing human existence and development through understanding and managing the world around them.

    3. Historical Path and Direction of Human Conceptual and Mental Development - The historical path and direction of human conceptual and mental self-development; how through the ages human beings have understood and managed their existence and development. The understanding, the mental powers and abilities, mental skills and practices they developed, on which they relied, how they developed and used them. The path and direction of human conceptual and mental self-development are traced from the speculative beliefs of early animism and polytheism to the pure reason of Greek metaphysics and philosophy, the reasoned beliefs of monotheist religion, and the analytic and experimental approach of science. The development through the ages of the early assumptions, approaches and practices of understanding and managing existence and development is considered and discussed. Their development is considered as reflected in human socio-cultural development, the development of Western, Greco-Roman, Judeo-Islamic-Christian and scientific culture, which is the dominant culture today, defining and directing understanding and managing human existence and development more than any other culture globally. The development of early human assumptions, approaches and practices is traced from early hunting and gathering existence through subsistence agriculture, early civilized-urban existence, the Greek and Roman period, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, Reformation and the Age of Enlightenment, the Scientific and Industrial Revolution, and the scientific culture of the 20th century. The limits, shortcomings and contradictions, the problematic results and consequences of the historical path and direction of human conceptual and mental self-development are considered and discussed. Where, why and how they contradict, conflict with and fall short of the natural conditions, demands and challenges of existence, the problematic results and consequences, for the individual, society, the human species, nature and the natural environment.

    4. Scientific Culture - How today, in scientific culture we understand and manage existence and development, demands and challenges, problems and difficulties, change and changing conditions. Discussed are the conceptual framework, the beliefs, views, values, conventions and practices of scientific culture. How in scientific culture we understand and manage existence and development, the understanding, the mental powers and abilities, mental skills and practices we develop, on which we rely, how we develop and use them. Identified in scientific culture are the early human assumptions, approaches and practices that go back and which have their roots and beginnings at the dawn of human consciousness, which lie behind and which have defined and governed the historical path of human conceptual and mental self-development: (1) understanding and managing existence and development in the collective; (2) conceptualizing and understanding the condition of existence and development in the abstract, beyond a detailed and understanding of human experience; (3) establishing a sense of the self, a sense of order and stability, clarity and coherence, certainty, security and confidence externally, beyond the human mind and mental existence in socio-cultural and physical-material terms; and (4) understanding and managing human existence and development through understanding and managing, controlling and directing external conditions, nature, the natural environment, natural processes, development and change. It is shown how today in scientific culture they still define and govern how we understand and manage existence and development.

    5. Limits and Consequences of Scientific Culture - The limits, shortcomings and contradictions of the beliefs, views, values, conventions and practices of scientific culture. How, where and why they contradict, conflict with and fall short of the natural conditions of existence, that lie behind and that are reflected in human experience. The results and consequences, of how in scientific culture we understand and manage existence and development, for the human individual, society, the human species, nature and the natural environment.

    6. Conditions and Developments at the Turn of the 21st Century - The conditions of existence and the direction of development today at the turn of the 21st century are considered and discussed. Where as a species we are heading in conceptual and mental self-development. Considered are changing natural conditions of existence and problems and difficulties in socio-cultural development. An expanding global human population, narrowing natural parameters, shrinking margins for human errors and mistakes, and a narrowing range of options and choices understanding and managing human existence and development. A shift in primary focus in scientific culture, in response to persisting and growing individual, social and environmental problems and difficulties, from social-collective to material existence. Rising human material demands and expectations on the finite and limited natural material resources base of the Earth. Growing problems and difficulties for the human individual, society, future generations, the human species, nature and the natural environment.

    7. Traditional and Contemporary Analyses and Responses - Traditional and conventional analyses and responses to changing conditions, demands and challenges, problems and difficulties of human existence and development are considered and discussed. Their ability or failure is considered and discussed to deal with the limits, shortcomings and contradictions of the traditional human assumptions, approaches and practices, the historical path of human conceptual and mental self-development, how today we understand and manage existence and development, and the problems, difficulties and crises we face and we create today. Traditional and conventional analyses and responses are considered and discussed in terms of their ability or failure to address persisting and growing conceptual-scientific, individual-mental, social-collective and natural-material problems, difficulties and crises.
Specifically, considered are traditional and conventional analyses and responses to growing conceptual-scientific uncertainty, problems and difficulties, such as: moving beyond the Cartesian scientific paradigm, to systems theory, quantum physics, chaos and complexity theories; the 'unity of knowledge'; "consilience" of natural sciences, social sciences and humanities; reconnecting science and religion; moving beyond reason, rationality and science, to non-rational, intuitive understanding; returning to traditional animist or theist understanding.
Next, conventional analyses and responses to persisting and growing individual mental disorder and instability, problems and difficulties are considered and discussed, including: psychology and behavioral science; brain research, neuroscience, cognitive science; education, socialization and mental conditioning; evolution of the human mind; consciousness research and transpersonal psychology.
Considered are conventional analyses and responses to growing social-collective disorder and instability, problems and difficulties, such as: social biology; cultural evolution; postmodernism; socialism; social engineering, structural change and structural adjustment; globalization; global governance; international development assistance; scientific-technological advances; public education reform; return to liberal arts education, the humanities and philosophy; return to theist and animist traditions and education; feminism, multiculturalism and political correctness; social movements, NGOs and social activism; popular education, participatory action and community development.
Finally, conventional analyses and responses to growing natural-material problems and difficulties are considered and discussed, such as: advances in natural sciences and engineering; sustainable development; environmental science and technology; managing the environment, ecological economics, environmental education; reconnecting with nature; ecopsychology; deep-ecology and voluntary simplicity.

    8. Beyond Scientific Culture: Changing the Focus and Direction in Conceptual and Mental Development - The direction of the answers and solutions, the direction we need to take in conceptual and mental development, individually, as societies and as a species, to address and move beyond the problems, difficulties and crises we face and we create around the world today. The direction we need to take in conceptual and mental development, individually, as societies and as a species, to sustain human existence in changing conditions within the natural parameters, the boundaries and limits of existence define by nature. The understanding, mental powers and abilities, mental skills and practices we need to develop to understand and manage existence and development in constructive, sustainable, equitable, secure and peaceful ways. In ways that do not contradict, conflict with or fall short of the natural conditions of existence, and do not cause persisting and growing problems and difficulties for the individual, society, future generations, the human species, nature and the natural environment. The understanding, mental powers and abilities, mental skills and practices we need to develop to address and move beyond the limits, shortcomings and contradictions, problematic results and consequences of scientific culture, the historical path of human development, and the traditional assumptions, approaches and practices that lie behind, define and govern them. To sustain an expanding global human population in equitable ways, on the finite and limited natural material resources base of the Earth, and not contribute further to the premature demise in the long term of the human species at its own hands.

    9. Looking Ahead: Potential and Possibilities - Considered are the potential and possibilities of understanding and managing human existence and development at a more fundamental level, in their essence, in depth and detail, in a differentiated, but integrated, connected and related way, from the ground up and from the inside out. Understanding and managing existence and development at the level of the natural conditions of existence, beginning with the individual, the mind and mental existence. Establishing and maintaining individually the necessary internal mental conditions, not collectively creating the ideal external conditions of an ordered, stable, secure and predictable world around us. Establishing and maintaining the necessary internal mental conditions, in everything we do and we engage in, before engaging and dealing with external conditions, with others and the world around us. How, as a result, understanding and managing existence and development, the understanding, mental powers and abilities, mental skills and practices we develop, the behaviour and actions in which we engage, the socio-cultural, political, economic-material and scientific-technological conditions and developments, how we relate and interact with each other and deal with the world around us, with nature and the natural environment will differ from those of today. How they will contradict, conflict with and fall short less of the natural conditions, demands and challenges of existence, causing fewer problems and difficulties for the individual, society, future generations, the human species, nature and the natural environment.



 

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2003 Institute for Human Conceptual and Mental Development. All rights reserved. No material from this site may be used in part or in whole by any other publication or web site without the written permission of the Institute for Human Conceptual and Mental Development.