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WISDOM

MIND, PSYCHE, SPIRIT

Dan Siegel at
Climate, Mind & Behaviour 2012


Mind, Brain, Human Relationships...& Climate

It is a fact, says neurological psychologist Dr Dan Siegel, that the mind can change the structure of the brain. When you teach people to use awareness to intentionally focus attention, you not only change the function of the brain, you change its structure. That is the phenomenon of neuroplasticity.

Neurological integration in the brain is the linkage of differentiated parts. Social relationships that honor differences while promoting linkages also cause the brain to become more integrated. The growth of integrating fibres is stimulated. Integration looks a lot like harmony. The opposite (unintegrated) state has twin charactristics of chaos and rigidity. And this is a principle that could apply across the whole spectrum of psychiatry, psychology and communication. It is very relevant for our response to climate change.

There is a key distinction for addressing the climate crisis and improving the effectiveness of our communication in this area. If the self is distinguished as a singular noun, a separate self, we have what Einstein called "the optical illusion of separateness", and the planet is cooked. If the self is, in fact, a plurality, then I am more than me...I am connected to you and I am a member of we. If the self is a plurality we can have integration, quality relationships and authentic meaning in life.

 

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