Subjectivity is a handy term which captures the complexity of our experience as individuals. It allows us to take into account our thoughts, our emotions, our perceptions and our sensations, all of which, collectively, constitute our moment to moment experience. It renders discussion of a mind-body duality moot. Subjectivity is an ‘emergent phenomena’ arising under particular conditions given the operation of entirely idiosyncratic processing systems in ever-changing contexts.
Patterns which have evolved from prior to birth drive potential responses to new stimuli. You enter a room and selectively note some things, not others. You selectively orient yourself towards (some) things, not others. This ‘noting of’ and ‘orientation to’ things is driven by the quality and character of past experience. You remain in the room and may engage some things directly or screen some things from your awareness as not worthy of note (do you really need to take note of the geometry of the grid holding ceiling tiles in place?)
From moment to moment as we navigate the environment within which we find ourselves we are aware only of the fruit of our personal processing system. Our personal processing includes the application of filters and the deployment of ‘templates for action’ ( a term coined by Henry Stapp, see Mind, Matter and Quantum Mechanics). Our filters constrain what we ‘consciously’ see, hear, taste, and otherwise sense. Our templates for action carry information and adaptive patterns that will assist our negotiation of the moment. We are not aware of the operation of our personal processing system, only the fruit of it’s application.
Psychology theory and practice must address itself to the wholly idiosyncratic system giving rise to the experience of every individual it would seek to understand and help.
The operation of our personal processing system is in-formed by potentials for action in play ‘in’ the implicate order ( re the ‘in’, there is no there there, see INFAQ-infrequently asked questions.) The existence of recognizable personality patterns is evidence of the ‘controlling’ influence of our own ‘implicate order’. The power to influence the structure of patterns exists in real time only.
All ‘mindfulness’ training exercises permit us to become hyperaware of the activity of ‘mind’, in the moment, apparently ‘running free’. In this model we are viewing this appearance of running free as, rather, free only of conscious control. Given dynamics in play in the implicate order it is not running free, in the common sense of the word, rather, we ourselves become witness to thoughts derived from patterns (predispositions to entertain particular thoughts.) We ourselves become witness to the fruit of our own processing system, the end game in a behind the scenes battle between potential thoughts (lines of thought); subjectivity emerging from the implicate order. More power rests with ‘free won’t’ than free will (see later posts).