I’m pretty much in love with interdisciplinary perspectives. Quite simply, this perspective allows for a variety ways or theories to understand a given phenomenon. By gazing at the curious object from a variety of angles and through a selection of lenses, one can get a better idea of the whole of the thing rather than just one narrow perspective.
When it comes to human beings, it’s particularly important. You need a physician to show you have everything in the body fits together and a biologist to explain how all the bodily systems work in unison. A variety of other professionals can also weigh in, including organic chemists, pathologists, anatomists, in order to help give us the whole picture. This would work pretty well on the physical level, but does that tell you what a human being is?
You might suggest we add a neurologist and the help of a PET and CAT scanner to get a better idea of the brain of the patient, and you’ll get that insight – but that still won’t give you much detail into that person’s actual mind. So, we bring on board a psychologist to help with that, and again we ask if that’s enough? No, not really. To really get in the head of that human being we may also need to bring on board a sociologist to help us understand their links to others, an anthropologist to help us understand their relationship to culture, and then a philosopher to help us understand their links to, well, the bigger things. I think you probably get the idea, and this analogy has now run itself to ground.
Though I write mostly about psychoanalysis, I am actually an “integrative” psychotherapist, which means I’ve always believed that a whole variety of theories inform the meanings we make about our psychological environment. Sure, I have found that contemporary psychoanalytic perspectives can tell us a lot about our internal world, but at the same time, the cognitive behavioural tradition can still teach us a lot about consciousness and behaviour, while systemic theory helps us better understand how we operate in family and social systems. My perspective is that the more different kinds of minds you have looking at the same object of enquiry, the fuller (though of course more complex) idea you will have of that object.
Last spring I had the pleasure of working with the Josephine Shaw Partnership in a multi-disciplinary activity that was aimed at understanding what marketers call “The Tinderisation of Everyday Life.” In this exercise I met with an anthropologist, a semeotician, an anthropologist, an entrepreneur, a cultural strategist,shar and a brand strategist to try to understand, from each of our perspectives, this notion of “Tinderisation.” I ed my thoughts with you in this post
Now, the Josephine Shaw Partnership has put all of our thoughts together in this great document that is free to view for all. You can chat about it under the hashtag #dontswipeleft. Hope you enjoy!
More on the psychodynamics of online life in my book, The Psychodynamics of Social Networking: connected-up instantaneous culture and the self.
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