Functional Fundamentals – Fundamental Nature of Self & Other Experiencing in the World


& the Functional Fundamentals of Humanity

Without a theory of human beings there can be no theory of psychotherapy.

Lapworth & Sills, 2010

Fundamental Nature of Self &
Other Experiencing in the World

Whilst I share my fundamental belief in the Divine herein, I do not subscribe to inflicting my views or perspectives on Others – we each have the choice to believe as we desire.

Imago Dei: Created in Divine Image

You (and every other created thing) begins with a divine DNA, an inner destiny as it were, an absolute core that knows the truth about you, a blue print tucked away in the cellar of your being, an Imago Dei that begs to be allowed, to be fulfilled, and to show itself. Rohr, 2012

It is my foundational belief that we inherently reflect a Divine nature and I hold close to my heart the intrinsic worth of all beings together with their innate capacity to move toward growth and integrated well-being; when there is a rich soil in which seeds are planted and tended to with loving kindness, foliage shall bloom – if only we trust. 

Such trust respects that we are Self’s born into and from relationship, unique yet unified beings who are:

  • Valued, Valuing, valuable

  • Received, receiving, receivable

  • Acquired, acquiring, acquirable

  • known, knowing, knowable

Such trust also respects that we are Self’s that are neither good nor bad, neither right nor wrong, neither all sinner nor all saint … rather we are born into a realm where true connections of meaning are scarce, and where misinterpretation, misperception, and mis-attunement permeate our societies, our cultures, and thus our very ways of being and doing. 

Thus, such trust also respects that we are Self’s that that are innately designed to SEEK and to find those who reflect our Divine nature and those who can remind us of Who we are. 

Thus we are:

Patterned & Paradoxical always in Continuum:

Affective & Adaptive, Dispositional & Dynamic, Neuroplastic & Epigenetic

Even emotional traits and personality dimensions are solidified by our experience in the world. There are many strengths and weaknesses that we inherit directly from our parents, but much also emerges from the genetic changes, after birth, from how we are reared – namely the epigenetic mouldings of brain networks that result in various patterns of sensitisation and desensitisation in the primary-process emotional and motivational networks of the brain.  Panksepp and Biven, 2014

Affective: The way an emotional-motivational state arises and is expressed or revealed.

Adaptive: Arising as a result of a process of modification that makes it more fit for existence under the conditions of its context: a heritable trait that serves a specific function and improves fitness for survival.

Dispositional: Propensity to “be” or ”do” in a certain manner under given circumstances – such is without intentional effort.

Dynamic: A force or factor that controls or influences a process of growth, change, interaction, or activity; Marked by usually continuous and productive activity or change.

Neuroplastic: The capacity for continuous alteration of the neural pathways and synapses in response to experience

Epigenetic: Relating to, being, or involving changes in gene function that do not involve changes in DNA sequencing – experiences alter the way genes are expressed

Thus we are:


Emergent, Self-Organising, & Recursive

Self-organisation reveals that the most probable pathway of a complex system is to move toward “maximising complexity”. As this is not necessarily intuitive for most people, the feeling of maximising complexity is often best revealed by hearing members of a choir sing a song in harmony. With the differentiation of the voices of each singer, singling in harmonic intervals, along with the linkage of their voices through verse and chorus, the listener can feel the vitality and thrill of the harmonious emergence of the song. Harmony is the outcome of integration. The harmony, in turn, influences the flow of the song and creates even more harmony. This is the nature of a self-organising system that is freely able to move toward maximising complexity by linking its differentiated elements. Siegel, 2012

Complex System: A collection of elements that (a) is open to influences from outside itself, (b) changes in a nonlinear way such that small inputs lead to large and unpredictable long-term changes, and (c) is capable of entering chaotic states.  Complex systems can be influenced by an emergent, self-organising process the recursively shapes the flow of the system as it changes across time. Siegel, 2012, p. AI.17

Emergence: An ongoing process arising from the interactions of a complex system’s basic parts.  Emergence is a property of certain systems that makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts. Siegel, 2012, p. AI.27

Self-Organising: An emergent process of a complex system that shapes its unfolding across time.  This is a fundamental property of complex systems that arises from the interaction of elements of the system, not something that is programmed into the systems functioning.  Self-organisation moves the system to “maximise complexity” which can be viewed as arising from the linkage of differentiated aspects of a system.  Self-organisation toward integration is experienced as harmony and coherence: it is the flexible, adaptive, coherent, energised, and stable movement of the system across time. Siegel, 2012, pp. AI.72-73

Recursive: The quality by which processes feedback o themselves to reinforce their own patterns of activation. Siegel, 2012, p. AI.66

Thus we are:

Embodied & Embedded in Context:

Relational, Dyadic, Systematic

From macro to micro perspectives our societies can be viewed as functioning by way of the sharing of energy and information flow. We call these cultures and can understand them as how this sharing is patterned in the form of communication between and among people through symbolic elements and methods of interaction within various groupings. Various cultures directly shape our mind as each is form of relational process fundamental to how the mind functions and how the brain develops. Siegel, 2012

Embodied: The energy and information that exists within and between the physical, psychological, relational, and phenomenal aspects of the body and brain.  Our minds are not unto themselves as our brains are our bodies and our bodies are shaped by and in relationship.

Embedded: This is the knowing and the known of reality that acknowledges that there is an interconnectedness to all of life that is a complexly fractalated phenomena.  We are an embodied representation of all the intergeneration interactions that came before us and an embodied configuration for all the intergenerational interactions that will follow us.

Context: Factors that constitute the internal and external situational/structural constraints, or the circumstances, that shape how a flow of energy and information emerges within and between Self, Other, and World.