AN INSIGHT INTO THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE BODY AND THE MIND

Welcome from your host Philip Pocock

 

  Psychologyandthebody.com website reputation

 Psychologyandthebody.com Pagerank

  1. "Who can ever learn the will of God? Human reason is not adequate for the task, and our philosophies tend to mislead us, because our mortal bodies weigh our souls down. The body is a temporary structure made of earth, a burden to the active mind. All we can  do is make guesses about things on earth; we must struggle to learn about things that are close to us. Who, then, can ever hope to learn about heavenly things? No one has ever learned your will unless you first gave him  Wisdom, and sent your holy spirit down to him. In this way people on earth have been set on the right path and learned what pleases you, and have been kept safe by wisdom.". (Wisdom of Solomon  9:13-18)

  2. "It is because He knows you have broken your promise to the wife you married when you were young. She was your partner, and you have broken your promise to her, although you promised before God that you would be faithful to her.  Didn't God make you one body and spirit with her? What was his purpose in this? It was that you should have children who are truly God's people. So make sure that none of you breaks his promise to his wife, " I hate divorce", says the Lord God of Israel. "I hate it when one of you does such a cruel thing to his wife"". (Malachi 2 : 14-16)

  3. “Suppose a man marries and later decides he doesn’t want her, because he finds something about he that he doesn’t like. So he writes out divorce papers, gives them to her and sends her away from his home. Or suppose her second husband dies. In either case her first husband is not to marry her again; he is to consider her defiled. If he married her again it would be offensive to the Lord you are not to commit such a terrible sin”. Deuteronomy 24:1-4  (This is why prostitution takes such a terrible psychological toll on women}.

  4. "If a man divorces his wife, and she leaves him and becomes another man's wife he cannot take her back again". (Jeremiah 3 : 1)

  5. "But now I tell you: if a man divorces his wife FOR ANY CAUSE OTHER THAN HER UNFAITHFULNESS,  then he is guilty of making her commit adultery if she marries again; and the man who marries her commits adultery also".  (Matthew 5 : 31 - 32).

  6. "Now, mortal man, tell the Israelites that when a good man sins, the good he has done will not save him. If an evil man stops doing evil, he won't be punished, and if a good man starts sinning, his life will not be spared" --- (Ezekiel 33 : 12)

 

      The Church and State are both institutions under God with the common ground of the natural law, which reflects biological and psychological reality. "Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which  presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. they are contrary to the natural law". Quote from Catholic Catechism Item no 2357.

 

 

 

Psychology and the Body

 

Introduction & Update on Heterosexual Bonding and the Genetics of Homosexuality

Theory on the Formation of Society, Sexuality and the Need for Truth.

Consciousness

Schizophrenia and Attention: Cognitive and Neurobiological Aspects

Personal Profile

 

Custom Search

 

Introduction

This page provides  three papers concerned with the interaction between psychology and  biology. They are too long and unusual in their synthesis of the scientific  and the commonsense for journals to publish but are published here freely for those who are interested.

The first on sexuality and the family  was published  in 1987 and  has been  distributed to many people, including all Federal politicians prior to the election of that year, as well as a number of prominent people in different fields including US Vice President, Dan Quayle, Cardinal Ratzinger (current Pope Benedict XVI) and actresses and models such as Helena Bonham-Carter and Claudia Schiffer.  This paper was written before I was formally trained in psychology, biology and neuroscience and I would like to thank  Dr Joseph Rheinberger, Vicar-General of the  Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn, and Dr Peter McCullagh of the John Curtin School of Medical Research, both of whom reviewed this manuscript upon completion and verified it was free from any obvious doctrinal and technical errors, respectively. While my explanation would now be more sophisticated, my conclusions are much the same - including the claim that a men have natural authority over their wives and are more creative because, while explicit memory may be the same for both sexes and is dependent on the adrenalin- noradrenalin, dopamine system, implicit  memory is regulated by the sex hormones and men have superior visual implicit memory in comparison to women ie they are more in touch with "reality"- a claim that can be demonstrated from the neuropsychological literature eg "Implicit Memory Varies Across the Menstrual Cycle", Maki et al, Neuropsychologia, 40 (2002), 518–529,  and it  has been retained in it's present form as it is more readable than technical scientific papers. 

One of the main tenets of this paper, that the 'two' become 'one' body, was confirmed in a paper published in New Scientist magazine, in Australia, on 9/2/2002, called "Gentle Persuasion". It was reported that persistent sex with the same man resulted in immune modulation as a result of an enzyme found in semen, called TGF-beta factor, and that this prevented a woman's immune system from destroying sperm cells and the sperm MHC proteins and that through the woman's lymph system, these proteins were immunologically accepted as part of her 'physical self '.  Later articles in New Scientist debunked the further speculation included in this article, that the same process occurred outside the vaginal environment (the rectum and mouth), on the grounds that  enzymes in the mouth and rectum rapidly destroy sperm and it's proteins and their incorporation  into a woman's or indeed a man's body does not occur. In addition the many hormones and other factors which comprise semen have been shown to pass through the squamous cell layer of the vagina into the blood stream. Either effect could be responsible for the finding that intercourse when condom's are used results in more depression in women. This confirms that the "myth" of a genetic basis to homosexuality, based on differences in a number of hypothalamic nucleii, is just that, a myth.  The nucleii mentioned are referred to as the collective interstitial nucleii of the anterior hypothalamus(INAH) and the suprachiasmatic nucleus(SCN) and when Simon Le Vay a NY neuroscientist discovered differences in these nucleii associated with homosexuals the world jumped at this biological difference as being the result of a genetic difference. However even le Vay himself, some years ago, went out of his was to state he had never said this was a genetic effect and it may well be a behavioural effect  They are differentiated from the sexually dimorphic nucleus(SDN), which differs in size according to levels of testosterone and oestrogen, and, in a general sense, is considered as a marker for the masculinity-femininity axis. Increases in the size of the INAH do appear to correlate with increased  levels of  vasopressin output and this may cause subjective feelings of psychological difference as well as the social isolation noted in a number of animal studies. However, sodomy and fellatio will always be recognised by the unconscious mind as an attack on the body, as the immune modulation process is not completed as it is in vaginal intercourse. Another New Scientist article refers to work by Stuart Brody published in (Biological Psychology, vol 71, p 214), which demonstrates that penile-vaginal sex has stress protective effects that last at least a week when compared to the very brief effects of orgasm from non penile-vaginal sex eg masturbation and fellatio. I wrote to Dr Brody and referred this website for his scrutiny after reading this article.  A later paper by Brody in the Journal Sexual Medicine 2010 Vol 7 :1336-1361, which reviews all the peer reviewed articles on sexual practices, begins to recognize the psychobiological effects of semen in the vagina and the negative psychological and health effects of semen in the rectum and alimentary canal. Similar negative effects are noted for masturbation.  This again supports the accuracy of behavioural observations made 15 years earlier in the paper below.  

Theory on the Formation of Society, Sexuality and the Need for Truth.

This paper argues that, while Christianity  is about being in union with God -  in 'Spirit and Truth' - , the tenets of the 'natural' law, with regard to sexuality and personality, result from our biological makeup and result in objective psychological realities. These aspects of  human nature are both universal and  independent of any particular religious framework but would expected to be part of any accurate moral framework that is based on truth and,while being independent of what we make, think or construct intellectually, they are consistent with unconscious experience. In particular the concept of 'Original Sin' reflects a flaw in human bodies that results in pleasure and pain being inevitable, as the soul no longer has perfect control over it's flawed body. Pain and pleasure states reflect a departure from the innately desired 'truth' or 'good' of the body.

The paper does not attempt to deal with the notion of "Original Sin" as, in spite of some interpretations, it is primarily meant to demonstrate natural law and  to place that in a religious context. Recent pronouncements by the Vatican abolishing the notion of "limbo", which was merely a popular construct to deal with the destiny of unbaptized babies, babies which Augustine had postulated would go to Hell, make this an ideal time to make some type of explanatory comment.

Actually the Catholic Church has always said that the mercy of God does not preclude the salvation of unbaptized babies. This is clearly stated in the Catholic Catechism where it is noted that God is not dependent on the Sacraments to grant salvation. I believe that the Gospel of John clearly confirms this and rather it is  the understanding of  Christ's words "One cannot see the Kingdom of Heaven, except through water and the Holy Spirit" that individuals misinterpret. So how should such an emphatic statement be interpreted.

As stated in the Book of Esdras, there are two eternal worlds, light and dark, heaven and hell which are separate from the universe we experience. These worlds are populated by angels and devils respectively, spiritual beings who do not have power over the world in the ordinary course of events but can affect the souls of Men.  The souls of Men experience one or the other worlds when they are separated from the universe, a universe which reflects these spiritual worlds in some respect, but is separate from them, a playground for men as it were, that also can only be known accurately in faith, or mystical experience.  The notion of an ethereal spirit of Wisdom which penetrates and binds together all matter as one (found in the Book of Wisdom and Proverbs 8:), or the concept of the Anima Mundi or the 'ether' were rejected with the development of Newtonian and then Einsteinian physics. Nonetheless many concepts in modern physics, eg Bell's Interconnectedness Theorem and 'entanglement', are consistent with the notion of an 'ether' and this  rejection has been turned around today with a growing suspicion that some sort of 'ether' is the only way in which quantum theory and relativity theory can actually be unified. This world, which has a "material' and 'eternal' component as it were, was consistent with the mind of God and for Man to embrace this world in a spiritual faith sense was to desire to be in Heaven.

As only those with free will can be anything other than what they were designed to be, it was only the first man that could sin or reject the truth of the universe and affect the actual nature of the world in some manner so that it changed the form of the world in some permanent sense. When this happened, because the whole world is one, as described above, it meant the whole world  was no longer in harmony with the mind  of an eternal and unchanging God. As the spiritual soul of Man optimally chooses the life of  his flawed body what he knows is no longer in union with Him and no longer in harmony with Heaven. Then the soul of Man became subject to the other spiritual world, that of darkness or Hell and Man is then is forced to live in a world of spiritual darkness with the only light coming from his own body and the world it experiences, which is now flawed. As a result perfectly 'enlightened' conception of the next human body, which is not only a natural process but effected by the soul of parents, is no longer possible, without the intervention of God. This is not to say that human bodies are 'bad' but rather flawed in form, corruptible and not perfectly what they were meant to be in the mind of God. This flawed nature causes man to 'harden his heart' in fear, as, when he opens his heart, he experiences a glimmer of Hell. The light which man does experience, through the form of his body, is a 'pale reflection of eternal light', a light that St Paul describes as resulting from his experience of material being, as any material being that has form at all resembles God to some degree, as He is Being itself, and this is sufficient to enable man to love the 'concept' of light and make a choice for or against the light ie they can desire what is good, which is to love, while ever they still have some experience of material being.

It is only through Baptism, however, that an individual can be reinstated in the Light, in this life  although, as St Paul points out in his letter to the Colossians, the whole universe is reconciled to God through Christ's death. This is what I believe Christ means when he says no one can enter the Kingdom of God unless he is baptized (John : 3:4-6). Only then can an individual open his heart and be free because fear of hell is no longer present in spiritual sense (also in the Book of Esdras). It could be stated of course that if a person really loved the light he would want to embrace the Light, who is Christ, and he would seek to get baptized. Christ states this explicitly somewhere in the Gospels and in particular John: Chapters 3-6. He also states that when someone is baptized and believes in the Father ie has "fear of God" or faith, which is the practical demonstration of wanting more light or refusing to move away from the light, he has not only already passed through Judgement but will never die (John 8:35). This implies that slaves will still face Judgement but some of the slaves, those who are still subject to the darkness of Hell in this life, as they are unbaptized, could be judged as innocent and just, if they have not had the opportunity or Christ's spiritual invitation to baptism, before death. If they genuinely desired the light from their limited experience of a pale reflected light, they have not actually rejected Christ, and when He comes to them at the hour of death they can still go to Christ. This is consistent with many of the accounts of those who undergo 'near death experiences'. Christ does, however, also explicitly state that those who actually reject Him have already been judged and this is what judgement is, the rejection of an infinitely merciful God who is pure Love. Of course one is still free to reject the light through mortal sin, a rejection which can only be overcome through the Sacrament of Confession, but the child of God is safe. As Christ states elsewhere, "the heir's place is guaranteed but the slave's is not" and the final choice may not be made until death. Of course only God knows true interior states and no amount of external observance can fool Him. People are for Him or against Him and acceptance or rejection of the Holy Spirit is an eternal decision and final. Of course because God actually loves everyone absolutely, in His wisdom it is reasonable to conjecture that He would not invite someone to full union with Him on earth until the optimum time that would enable them to remain obedient to the Holy Spirit in this life, as other sins 'will be forgiven but not the sin against the Holy Spirit'. 

Hell is real in that, while it is a spiritual darkness which is devoid of all good, it will also, eventually, contain a fiery contracted material universe, a universe that has been corrupted, as a result of the Original sin. Those who choose to reject God  will remain in Hell and this will include not only their souls but also their corrupted material bodies, as God will not destroy what He has created and this fiery conflagration will last forever.  Meanwhile a new creation in harmony with God will also contain the recreated bodies of the faithful in the second eternal world or Heaven, that like Hell was created with the material world. (See Annette's Story)

This is why both the Jews, with their God given law, and the Muslims, with their own laws, commit folly in thinking that even adherence to material laws, including laws regarding sexual purity (eg laws indicating the invalidity of masturbation, fornication and homosexual practices), a purity that has been largely rejected by many so called Christians today, wrongly of course, can enable them to enter the Kingdom of Heaven in this life and they remain slaves to fear and darkness and must be judged at the hour of death, if they have not already condemned themselves by rejecting Christ in a real spiritual sense.

This is merely an attempt to put these concepts in a light more consistent with modern understanding and to concede that the world objectively contains a Heaven and a Hell and God does everything to ensure we get to Heaven but not only do we have free will but we will exercise it in a way that will result in heaven and or Hell despite of our intellectual intentions. This can of course still only be  looked upon as a metaphor, as the concepts of time and eternity and  local being and non-local being are not so easily separated and only the Catholic Church has the Divine authority to make a definitive assertion on this interpretation.

To return to the real subject of the paper, physiological pleasure is deceptive in that momentarily more being or energy is created during physiological stimulation or arousal but this may be at the cost of damaging the body's 'structure' or form, causing 'pain'. This is evidenced by the massive flood of endorphins, the bodies natural opiates, ie a pain response, that results when orgasm occurs confirming that orgasm effects the body in a negative way and is only a necessary side effect of sex not the desired end. Thus desire for physiological sexual pleasure is masochistic but addictive in a psychological sense (NB: seeking to stop sexual pleasure of course would lead to dysfunctional sex, purely from a physiological view, and it would be better seen as a necessary side effect of functional sexuality).  

The underlying processes of sexual stimulation and orgasm are not expounded in the paper but orgasm should not be seen as an aspiration any more than drug addiction should be seen as an aspiration and orgasm is actually an 'unwanted' side effect of intercourse, resulting from the flawed bodies of those subject to the effects of Original sin, and sex is really about the process of depositing sperm in the vagina, for both unitive and procreative effects. While many of the complex physiological and chemical interactions underlying orgasm are not fully understood I will outline a simplified but plausible physiological model that demonstrates that there are innate biological differences between individuals in terms of orgasmic response and seeking to change one's individual response or feeling the need to have a bigger or better orgasm is really folly. It is clear that many women are already aware of this when the speak of the difference between making love and having sex. Although this is of course a false dichotomy ( men do not separate the two in a real sense because for men ejaculation and orgasm, while involving different processes as shown below, are usually simultaneous), women clearly identify the 'selfish' nature of pursuing pleasure and orgasm (sex) and the increased sense of communication, emotional well-being and love that results when orgasm is not the focus (making love). For some women orgasm, due to highly reactive neurophysiology, is an explosive event easily achieved but still really a distraction to their experience of and desire for love. For most women orgasm is largely a non-event due to the more passive nature of their nervous systems and the various exhortations to the 'Big O" are not only unachievable but unnecessary for complete sexual satisfaction. Putting such pressure on women, especially to fake orgasms, so as to meet 'expectations', leads to increasing resistance to sex and making love (which are the same thing of course but orgasm results in shutting out some aspects of bodily awareness as a result of  endorphins and not having an orgasm also enables bodily awareness of a partners sperm which is experienced as love and communication). In this women are of course their own worst enemies, craving pleasure and needing love, they are seduced into thinking they are separate, both good and independently attainable. So how does this occur?

Orgasm appears to result from the inability  to contain the increased temperature within the precapillary vascular network around the genitals. While it is true that the level of arousal in the central nervous system  is related to potency, eg excess serotonin in the brain prevents erection, and other sexual functions, the machinery for the orgasmic response appears to be peripheral. While increased genital blood flow results from acetylcholinestic effects on blood vessels, increased temperature or arousal resulting from sympathetic or pudendal adrenergic effects is caused by the intense stimulation of the genitals and the most intense stimulation, in the case of men, occurs when ejaculate passes through the ejaculatory duct. The ejaculation process also appears to be enhanced by sympathetic nervous system stimulation but orgasm and ejaculation are in fact two independent processes. This model also addresses current concerns about the concept of female ejaculation, as differentiated from the vaginal lubrication process that occurs with arousal.  Pornography has glorified this process, as a means of providing a clear visual response for the cameras, often via  input of fluid to the vagina offscreen, forced urination or involuntary stress induced incontinence. This is mainly a substitute for the lack of visual effects that the weak orgasmic response that most women, including many of the women who are involved in pornography, experience.

This is not to say that there is no female "ejaculation" however. Only about 5% of ejaculate in men comes from the testicles and the rest from the seminal vesicles and the prostate gland. These secretions also contain TGF- beta factor (from above) and other factors which enhance the viability and motility of sperm. There are three possible explanations for the clear feelings of ejaculation experienced by some females.

Firstly it appears that the vestigial prostate gland called the para-urethral or Skene's glands in women, are a homologues of the  male prostate gland, as the clitoris is a homologue of the penis. These glands vary in size in individual women and, as an enlarged clitoris is found  is found in women with increased testosterone levels from adrenal hyperplasia, the size may be dependent on testosterone. These glands may still be active and the source of ejaculate from the urethra, especially in women with high sympathetic nervous system reactivity  or at least the feeling of ejaculation when the threshold of the neural process for ejaculation is is reached. This response, as in men, is affected by levels of testosterone and sympathetic reactivity and may be suppressed in some women who believe it is urination .  Whether the amount of ejaculate is substantial or negligible, the feeling of ejaculation would be real and may trigger orgasm as it does in men although orgasm is a separate process. A simple test would be to sample any ejaculate for the prostate specific antigen (PSA), a simple pathology test. New Scientist magazine of 30 May 2009 claims this has been demonstrated and that the ejaculate also consists of bacteriocidal factors that would protect against urinary tract infections.

Secondly the work by Professor Erik Odeblad, who is an eminent scientist with 50 years of experience in female fertility and cervical mucus, work which can be found on the Billings Ovulation Method website manged by Dr John Smith from Canberra, gives great detail on the potential for the slow release of four types of cervical mucus at various stages of the female cycle. Briefly the amounts of mucus corresponds to the levels of estrogen or progesterone in the blood at different stages of the cycle but levels vary only slowly as a result of genetic transcription rates. They are stored in glands or crypts and while they are gradually disseminated into the cervix at various stages of the cycle they may be expelled almost instantaneously as a result of activation by noradrenaline from the sympathetic nervous system also giving an ejaculatory experience into the vagina. S mucus also contains TGF beta factor which, as mentioned earlier, enhances the immune system acceptance of sperm MHC proteins, is produced and released into the cervix at the peak fertile period of a woman's cycle and those with high estrogen levels produce more of this mucus and thus are more likely to fall pregnant. G mucus is released before and after the fertile period and is dependent on progesterone levels and prevents sperm and other microbiological organisms from entering the cervix. Excessive sympathetic reactivity and high oestrogen levels and an "ejaculation" from the S mucus gland, rather than slow seepage, is also likely to produce more S mucus at the right time i.e. during sexual intercourse. As in men this ejaculation while not dependent on orgasm may also result in orgasm, the strength of which is again modulated by various factors as noted below and the focus of the woman on achieving orgasm.

Thirdly the lubrication processes in the vagina occur when the capillary beds in the walls of the vagina all begin to increase in blood flow and transudation of plasma fluids enter the vagina. As arousal increases this lubrication increases and when the blood flow to the capillary beds is maximised prior to peak arousal or orgasm ie when the resistance of arteriorolar valves is least, a feeling of fluid expulsion may also occur.

Thus we have three processes that could possibly be subjectively interpreted as female ejaculation although only the first process described would correlate with male ejaculation.

This variability in intensity of response probably results from genetic differences in the rate and levels of   autonomic arousal with higher levels showing more sensory responsiveness but the interaction with thyroid hormone levels also mediates the type of response as this effects skeletal muscle reactivity, smooth muscle dilation in blood vessels and the genetic expression of α and β-adrenoreceptors for instance. Apart from these basic genetic differences in arousal, which can be the same in men and women, orgasmic responses appear to be positively correlated with the testosterone levels of individuals. Women with higher levels of testosterone have more physically intense orgasms and enduring physical responses to clitoral stimulation given that all else is equal, which of course it rarely is, eg women with higher oestrogen levels ie more feminine women - who men view as more desirable at a subconscious level - are more sexually receptive due to increased vaginal and cervical lubrication levels but less likely to have the intensity necessary for an explosive orgasm.  In summary there are a small group of people men and women who have heightened responses to sexual stimulation resulting from genetic differences. Most people are sexually functional but not as overtly responsive. The level of responsivity appears to positively correlate with sympathetic effects on the vascular system which are moderated by oestrogen and enhanced by testosterone. Peak intensity of response is at about the age of 20 but declines thereafter in both genders.

To simplify our  understanding we can use a system using an archetype of body shapes to demonstrate the point. Steroid sex hormones tend to make men and women heavier in skeletal frame and body. High levels of thyroid hormones (which occur in about 5% of people) make skeletal frames lighter and more slender. Higher testosterone levels result in shorter legs and longer bodies and higher oestrogen levels result in narrower waists and wider hips. These are permanent skeletal differences that occurred throughout development and neither obesity nor starvation changes this underlying reality. So women with long legs, short bodies, broad hips, moderately slender frames and ample flesh  are usually viewed as most desirable by men and men with short legs, long bodies, moderately slender frames and heavy musculature are most desirable to women. This is of course at an instinctive level but we have a level of rational control and what we really seek is someone who complements and matches us as individuals in other ways as well, particularly intelligence. Attempts by women to appear attractive with dieting to get thin, wearing high heels and body sculpting plastic surgery or men using steroids for instance will making it more difficult to get a matching partner as they are concealing their true personality and this may have a cascading effect for thinking and behaviour among all of us as a result of this misperception.

A woman with low thyroid and adrenal activity, high oestrogen and low testosterone (heavy frame, long legs, short body, narrow waist and wide hips) will have a low orgasmic response but be very sexually receptive and ideally be suited to a man with low thyroid and adrenal activity, high testosterone and low oestrogen (Heavy frame, short legs, long body, wide waist and narrow hips) who will always be potent but moderate in orgasmic response. This is an example of how physiological responses and mental approach to sex differ in a predictable way according to biology. Other examples can also be extrapolated from this model. 

Although ejaculation is pleasurable, it is not in itself synonymous with orgasm, as many think, as they both involve different neural processes,  but ejaculation will occur with sufficient stimulation of noradrenergic nerves and it is only an inability to resist the stimulating effect of ejaculation by maintaining closure of the precapillary arteriolar valves and/or limiting venal outflow that triggers orgasmic contractions, greater in those with more responsive sympathetic nervous systems. From this we can conclude that the primary reason for stimulation of the penis and the clitoris (indirectly via intercourse) is not pleasure or orgasm (which results from a lack of perfect control of the body) but ejaculation, thus enhancing the possibility of conception during the fertile period.  

The sympathetic nervous system activation is also necessary to prevent retrograde ejaculation  and the efficacy of sympathetic stimulation in shutting the arteriolar valves is also directly enhanced by testosterone and moderated by oestrogens. Those with higher levels of plasma testosterone or higher baseline sympathetic arousal are more easily able to contain increased arousal temperatures in the short term, as well as preventing retrograde ejaculation. However, the increased vascular resistance is eventually overcome and the abrupt total opening of the arteriolar valves and cessation of venule reistance causes an orgasm, the more initial resistance, the more intense the orgasm. This may result from a number of factors but the hypothalamus has separate nucleii for increasing and decreasing blood pressure via these valves in order to maintain body temperature. While generally the autonomic nervous system is automatic individuals can learn to exercise some control and this is why a virgin female who has never masturbated would find it very difficult to have an orgasm although she may well ejaculate cervical mucus. As elevated thyroid hormones increases the expression of adrenoreceptors and the velocity of muscle contraction it would be expected that those with high testosterone, low oestrogen, high adrenergic output and high thyroid output would have the most explosive orgasmic response. This causes 'damage' to the body resulting in a massive endorphin response. This in turn shuts out the somatic experience of the 'flawed' body, as with all opiates, and the addictive cycle of acceptance and denial is set in place. In particular the association between the good of sex, which is not pleasure, and pleasure, which is a side effect of functional sex resulting from 'flawed' bodies, is so powerful that many people believe that pleasure is the good of sex. From this they  conclude that  pleasure is a generic good, a good that should be obtained in any manner possible when actually, pleasure(orgasm) is  perceived by  the unconscious as an assault on the body. This assault is accepted because the actual good ,the bonding and knowing of each other, resulting from the deposition of sperm in the vagina, is a greater good, and it also results in conception. People with a  higher capacity for arousal, from above, are more likely to have pathological outcomes from indulging in aberrant sexual practices which are still pleasurable but as a counterbalance are also likely to bond more strongly and also produce more children. 

An important feature to note that using the contraceptive pill appears to interfere with natural feedback systems and rather that enhancing sexual responsiveness and many of the processes above interferes significantly. These effects are outlined in great detail on the female fertility site from above but consist of:

bullet

decreased labial sensitivity and lubrication

bullet

faster ageing of the cervix

bullet

decreased fertility

bullet

selection of immunologically unappealing partner

An interesting point emerges in that this explanation of sexuality confirms the Catholic Church's teaching on marriage and their claim that the union of a man and a woman in marriage is the one gift from God that was not lost by Original sin. The innate biological differences in men and women are also reflected in psychological reality and the recognition of this is especially important in regard to sexuality. I also suggest that this model of incorporation of sperm into the female body supports the pioneering psychologist William James' little ditty 'hogamus higamus  men are polygamous and higamus hogamus women are monogamous'. This is a reflection of the 'natural'  law ie a biological and thus objective psychological reality and women psychologically terminate their relationships by adultery whether they wish to or not.  There is not the same biological imperative for men, however, as while they experience ownership of the bodies of women they have sex with, through fornication and the rejection of their sexual partners they experience a self willed rejection of themselves and through adultery the theft of what belongs to them in an unconscious sense.

 While there is a spiritual imperative in seeing justice done for women and adultery on the part of a man a very serious sin, it is not terminal to the relationship in a psycho-biological sense.  Christianity with it's spiritual transcendence of, but not denial of, biology affirms the equal dignity of women and men by insisting on dual monogamy. While initially this view was based on behavioural observations, as mentioned above, some years after the initial publication of this view I came across a passage from scripture that appears to confirm this and my concerns for the ramifications of this statement were in some measure put to rest by the passages in Deuteronomy 24:1-4. and Jeremiah 3:1.

Consciousness

The second paper is an essay that started out as a discussion about the symbolic nature of mind. It digresses somewhat into  neurobiology and it's relation to thinking and claims that what the mind knows ie the 'form' of conscious thoughts are purely a result of neurological encoding. In this respect Fodor claims that symbolic representations and the relationship between them are all that is required to explain behaviour independently of whether the world exists or not. He notes the view of a distinction between rational psychology and natural psychology. I attribute this split to the differing roles of frontal processing and posterior processing in the brain. Frontal processing is involved in rationally constructing from the encoded  representations that were consciously and naturally experienced in 'real time' ie sensory experience that is encoded into long-term explicit memory and then used for construction at any time. There are therefore two levels of symbolism. A posterior neural correlate with the world which would not be solipsistic in the sense of which Fodor speaks but frontal processing is solipsistic in that it allows construction of conscious thoughts from representations that may have no relation to what is actually happening in the world ie 'methodological' solipsism.

By demonstrating that 'ideas' are the result of a neural state I am saying this may well be true if the mind knows only the body. This is consistent with the preliminary statements in my earlier paper and in a non pathological state this is true. After death and in an unconscious state the mind may well experience a different reality and indeed I believe it does but in a normal state conscious ideas are based on neural representations and may or may not represent the world. Indeed I believe it is only the formless 'voice' of the unconscious which can attest to reality. 

The current prevailing theories of mind are largely materialist theories but they are based on the description of certain intellectual and psychological operations, including propositions 'masquerading' as free will. While I agree that these operations appear to be neurologically based this does not preclude a spiritual component, eg  Descartes' "ghost in the machine" or soul, and the capacity for free will that is contained in this component of mind. 

The clearest indicator supporting this position is the fact that only humans, of all the animals, 'choose' to kill to themselves as any ecologist will confirm ie they freely choose to reject their most innate biological 'truth', their own body.

It is this interpretation that enables both the 'automatism' associated with a materialist perspective and the free will that is associated with Christian theology to be harmonised. The materialist view is consistent with the view that God the Father created a material world complete and meant to be unchanging. This includes human bodies and brains and thus capacity for action is predetermined but individuals can freely reject the material or biological truth that is their body or encoded on their brain and to do so is 'sin'. 

Theologically it is also taught that individuals can win merit and according to the above would appear that this is so only in a negative sense ie refusing to reject the material reality experienced by sinning. Thomas Aquinas goes beyond this however and states that in fact we can only win merit through the agency of angels, myriad in number when compared to humans, who are messengers of God ie grace. For Christians who are in union with God direct access through the Holy Spirit is again experienced through the unconscious by having "Fear of God". While of course God can do anything, this would, in the normal course of events, be in an unconscious sense ie conscience is the voice of truth, reflecting both material and spiritual reality, and obedience to the formless voice of conscience is the only truly meritorious aspiration individuals can have. This understanding is very important in theoretical political  considerations as to how society and the resources of society are to be distributed.

Schizophrenia and Attention: Cognitive and Neurobiological Aspects

The third  paper on schizophrenia was written during a postgraduate course in applied psychology and is more a collection of information that I have not had time to edit and refine but the various references may be of use to some researchers. The thrust of this article is to explain that the while there are 'abnormalities' in cognition and attention in schizophrenia, the underlying  neurobiological differences are not necessarily pathological or inferior. Instead many problems occur because  the resultant differences in cognitive skills and information processing create friction between a small minority of the population and the vast majority including many clinicians.

This failure to consider individual differences leads to both treatment failures and behavioural psychopathology. These result from either extreme arousal levels maintaining frontal-temporal control of information processing, even when hippocampal transfer is impaired, and the resultant delusions and hallucinations or deliberate refusal to use frontal processing as a self treatment option, which results in passivity and faulty reasoning. Antipsychotic drugs cause neural damage and other treatment possibilities need to be examined. It appears that one method of inactivating the ventral stream of visual processing and frontal-temporal control is cerebral vasodilation and/or the genetic down regulation of adrenal gland production  using blood pressure medications like Micardis. The downregulation of the neurotransmitters that drive hippocampal processing and cause vasoconstriction, especially in the hippocampus, may have the same effect that the recent mice studies of simulated psychosis have shown. This approach fully repaired damaged pathways with physical and mental exercise programs and these also increase the limited cerebral blood flow found in many of those with schizophrenia.  Micardis  may therefore be useful in dealing with the negative symptoms of schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress, without causing cerebral neural damage.

I have also heard of a trial  using the amino acid glycine, a major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system.   The increased inhibition caused by glycine would be likely to ensure that the threshold for a distortion of hippocampal processing due to sensory overload is less likely to occur although glycine is also indicated in increasing NMDA activation in the hippocampus, a process essential to memory creation.

Cognitive Behaviour therapy for psychosis, consistent with the idea  that many of the symptoms associated  with schizophrenia are on the extreme of a continuum of normal information processing, rather than resulting from a biological pathogen, is also increasingly being utilised and studied as a treatment for psychosis.

 

Personal Profile

bulletName: Philip Robert Pocock
bulletDOB : 27.2.56
bulletEldest of 12 children
bullet Education: Bachelor of Science(ANU) - 1996, Graduate Diploma in Applied Psychology - 1998.
bulletProfession: Psychologist (ACT and NSW Registration)
bulletPostal Address: GPO Box 1086, Canberra City, ACT, 2601. Australia
bulletPhone : 02 62477960

 

 

 

 

© Philip Pocock  1999

  <a