Networks of Meaning: A Bridge Between Mind and Matter
The generation of meaning is the most fundamental process of the mind. It underlies all major mental functions, such as intelligence, memory, perception, and communication. Not surprisingly, it has been one of the most difficult processes to understand and represent in a model of human cognition. Dr. Christine Hardy introduces two fundamental concepts to address the complexity and richness of meaning. First, she discusses Semantic Constellations, which constitute the basic transversal network organization of mental and neural processes. Second, she addresses a highly dynamic connective process that underlies conscious thought and constantly gives birth to novel emergents or meanings.
Taken together, Hardy asserts, the mind's network architecture and connective dynamics allow for self-organization, generativity, and creativity. They can also account for some of the most interesting facets of mental processes, in particular, nonlinear shifts and breakthroughs such as intuition, insights, and shifts in states of consciousness. This connective dynamic does not just take place within the mind. Rather, it involves a continuously evolving person-environment interaction: meaning is injected into the environment, and then retrojected, somewhat modified, back into the psyche. This means that, simultaneously, we are both perceiving reality and subtly influencing the very reality we perceive: objects, events, and other individuals. The way in which we think and feel, both individually and collectively, interacts with the physical world and directly shapes the society in which we live. The very same connective dynamic, Hardy shows, is the foundation for those rare yet striking transpersonal experiences known as synchronicity and psychic phenomena. We live in a world in which we interact with reality at a very fundamental level. Hardy's work is a major analysis for scholars and researchers in the cognitive sciences, psychology, and parapsychology.
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