Psychephysical

Introducing a Prefix to Capture the Relation of Intention and Physical Effect

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As science evolves we gain insight to the deep and mysterious interactions of focused human intention within physical systems and matter in general. We lack a single universally accepted reference for intentional mind/soul/spirit (insert your own favorite) interactions with the physical world. The contextually variable, second generation, passive prefixes of “psycho” and “psychic” are insufficient to account for intention and motive force. I suggest that we need not look far, or be excessively creative in our search for new terminology, nor should we rely on terms that are progeny of a particular metaphysical or religious worldview.

Appropriate nomenclature (terminology) exists to correct this and account for intentional mind-matter interaction but it has never found common use, or from my limited research, ever been formally paired, as a prefix-suffix. The word “Psyche” is from Greek mythology, she was a lover to Eros, and later became the personification of the soul. “Psycho” and “psychic” are distillations of this original form. The prefix psycho has, at least since Freud, been used by science to denote abnormal function and implies an aberrant, involuntary effect of our mind on our body that is result of unintentional or diseased process. Psychic refers to the capacity to observe metaphysical process; it would represent the perceptual systems of the larger psyche. Other attempts to define the mind body relationship consist of discipline or author-specific hyphenations and compound terms that have little interdisciplinary value.

Psyche does not have negative cultural connotations and is an integral part of many accepted psychological paradigms. The meaning of “Psyche” varies from its more common cousins “psycho” and “psychic” primarily in that its’ definition recognizes both conscious and unconscious “motive force” (and by default, intention). The concept of psyche is well defined by science; it is mapable, reproducible and in recent MRI studies is shown to exert a qualifiable effect on physiological process. All of this indicates an as-yet-to-be-understood physical medium for mind-matter interactions.

Adopting “psyche” as a common prefix “physical” indicating intention of the mind-soul complex offers three distinct advantages:

  1. Psyche categorically encompasses many phenomena now labeled with varying terminology across multiple disciplines in a cohesive manner.
  2. Psyche acknowledges motive force and intentional effect. It assumes and allows for intra- and inter-personal interaction that could not be anticipated as a result of physical contact alone. It also considers that mind or intention may act on a physical object or process, with or without direct physical contact.
  3. Psyche acknowledges and allows interrelation between consciousness and physical causality (a causal link that we will eventually be able to measure and possibly observe via instrumentation).

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