Report 2: “Honey, Let’s Conjoin!”
Psy 409b, Spring 2008, Generation 27
Dr. Leon James, Instructor,
SECTION 1: Lecture Notes (Nicole Salviejo)
This week’s lecture focused on the differences between masculine and feminine intelligence, according to Dr. Emanuel Swedenborg, as well as how these differences affect a couple’s ability (or inability) to attain the highest level of marriage as described in the Unity Model of Marriage.
According to Dr. Swedenborg, each gender contributes a unique type of thinking and understanding. One way to understand the mental differences between men and women is that women act (S) from intelligence (C) by means of love, while men act (S) from love (A) by means of intelligence (C).
From this understanding, Dr. Swedenborg concluded that a woman’s intelligence comes from a more spiritual mindset (a higher intelligence) where she uses her intelligence to lovingly urge her unwilling and dominating partner to transcend his materialistic way of thinking and to adopt a higher more enlightened mindset.
According to Dr. James, “man is crated to achieve unity with a woman, and a woman is created to achieve unity with a man. Women are more aware of this regardless of their education, which they put around themselves like a cape but do not enter into their spiritual self. Men are more vulnerable to education, shaping their inner thinking according to its dictates and doctrines. They ingest the negative bias in science more deeply into their reasoning process”
From a very young age, boys are socialized to be strong, intimidating and dominating in their relationships and as these boys age into grown men, these same characteristics appear in their romantic relationships with the female sex. For example, when couples experience oppositional or negative feelings towards their partners, it is more likely that the male in the relationship is more likely to act upon these feelings by retaliating, exploiting, abusing, or injuring their female partner. According to Dr. Swedenborg, it is only until the man becomes spiritually enlightened and realizes with shame and guilt that engaging in such destructive behavior against women is contrary to the unity model of marriage, can he then discontinue their natural abusive mentality towards all females, thus transcending into a higher intelligence that values and appreciates women.
By choosing to continue with his destructive behavior, men weaken themselves from within, robbing themselves from reaching their ultimate potential and true self.
In order for men to reach the next level of intelligence, thus ending their destructive behaviors towards women, they must practice self-witnessing actions. In other words, men must monitor their mental organs and how they express their feelings (affective), thoughts (cognitive), and sensations and actions (sensorimotor). For example, men must retrain their socialized materialistic brains so that their private thoughts about women—about their motives, intelligence, their abilities, and physical appearances, are more positive and more respectful of women.
First Level of Conjunction:
Involves the sensorimotor portion of the couple’s three-fold self. In this stage the couple enjoys partaking in activities together such as eating, driving, dancing, etc. These external activities involve sensory, verbal, and motor interactions. The couple’s focus at this level is on the external activity of the other and self. There is less focus or concern for what the other is thinking or feeling, as long as it is favorable.
At this level, women tend to feel unfulfilled or hurt by their partners’ external behaviors, while men hold no concern for whatever unsatisfactory or hurt feelings their partner has for them. For example, a woman asks her husband why he didn’t wash the dishes, and the husband replies by yelling back at her for nagging him about chores in which he feels that she should be doing in the first place. The man’s refusal to comply with his wife is an example of sensorimotor disjunction in which his destructive behavior hinders him from bringing happiness and intimacy to the relationship.
Second Level of Conjunction:
The second level is much deeper and more intimate in that it involves the couple’s cognitive self. The couple’s cognitive self includes the way they think, how they reason, how they justify things, what they consider acceptable or not, what information or knowledge they have, and what values and religious beliefs they stand by. These cognitive behaviors and habits may not be totally shared by both partners, and may hinder their ability to have a reciprocal relationship.
For men, giving into their partner’s reasoning or beliefs is a means towards giving up their own selfhood, while women see it as the exact opposite. According to Dr. Swedenborg, achieving cognitive conjunction (the opposite of cognitive disjunction) is easier for women because they are spiritually oriented towards conjunction as a felt inner compulsion, while men experience great challenge because of their materialistic intelligence and negative-bias towards marriage and unity.
Cognitive intimacy is what creates cognitive conjunction. Men make it a challenge for the couple to achieve cognitive intimacy by withholding information from their partners as a means of staying independent and in control of the relationship. It is also a way of showing his partner that he does not want to work for cognitive intimacy with her—so the mostly likely solution for the woman is to wait for her husband to change.
Third Level of Conjunction:
This level involves the partner’s affective self, which includes their feelings, motivations, and goals of happiness and togetherness. According to Dr. Swedenborg, affective conjunction is the basis of the inmost level of intimacy between husband and wife when they are thinking of themselves as a permanent couple. The goal of this level involves both partners to give up any former feelings, loyalties, goals, or involvements that are not conjoint and exclude the other partner in some way. For example, if a husband continues to exclude his wife from activities he shares with his friends, this will weaken their affective conjunction, thus make it harder for the couple to reach a more intimate level in their relationship. A solution to this problem is for the man to seek out his partner’s perspective on the people he hangs around with—or at least include his partner in any aspect of his choices.
According to Dr. Swedenborg, there are three principles in the unity model of “conjugial love”, which include:
1. 1. Differentiation: no spiritual or mental part of a woman is like any part of a man and vice versa. Men and women are biologically and spiritually different.
2. 2. Reciprocity: the perfection of unity in marriage increases with the diversity of its composing elements when integrated into a conjoint self. In order to achieve a reciprocal relationship, a woman’s traits must “harmonize” or fit together with the traits of her partner and vice versa.
3. 3. Eternity: the unity marriage relationship is eternal, continuing in the afterlife of heaven. Marriage is a spiritual union of mind and spirit and does not end “till death do us part”. It is eternal, since a person’s spirit or mental self is immortal.
For me, I am torn between having a positive-bias for the class material, and realizing that material such as this is historically a way for men to control women, as well as a way to describe them as social deviants in comparison to men. Dr. Swedenborg blankets all women as self-sacrificing beings whose ultimate goal in life is to get their men to want more intimacy in their heterosexual relationships. He describes women as having no sense of agency and who are subject to men’s abuse until the man chooses to stop. In other words, women must wait lovingly for their partners to change their destructive behavior.
I realize that there are some women who are able to gain some sense of empowerment from the unity model of marriage in that Dr. Swedenborg describes them as having a higher more spiritual intelligence in comparison to men, but I can’t help but feel that this material denies any variety that society has among its people. It doesn’t empower men in a positive way, especially in his description of the equity or male dominant phases of the unity model of marriage. Not all men want to be dominating figures in a relationship and not all women are willing to just wait for their husbands to love them. There are women who do not want to achieve conjugial love and whose partners are the ones who push them to become more intimate. I also find this material very exclusive towards heterosexual couples only. It doesn’t seem applicable to the lesbian/gay community as well as people from different religious backgrounds such as Buddhism.
For me personally, while I acknowledge people’s rights and freedom to follow Dr. Swedenborg’s teachings, in the end I would like to walk away from this class each week with my own values still intact without being told that I am being “materialistic” or closed-minded.
Section 2: Team Presentation on
Gender & Discourse
Chapter 3 “Gender Differences in Conversational Coherence – Physical Alignment and Topical Cohesion”
(By: Caitlin Botelho)
During lecture five, there was no presentation for chapter three of Gender and Discourse, so I will cover what I read in the chapter.
Deborah Tannen conducted a study about gender differences in conversational coherence of best friends in four different age groups; second graders, sixth graders, tenth graders, and twenty-five year old adults. Tannen coined two terms in this chapter to express differences in male and female between different age groups: physical alignment (the ways that speakers position their heads and bodies in relation to each other) and topical cohesion (how speakers introduce and develop topics in relation to their own and others previous talk). This chapter focuses on 20-minute video tapes of eight groups: one male pair and one male pair for each age group.
The videotapes were made by Bruce
Dorval. He invited students to talk to
their best friends for 20 minutes in his office. The pairs were left alone for five minutes,
At each age level, girls sit closer to each other than boys and align themselves to face one another. Girl’s gazes are fixed on each other with occasional glances away. Every once in a while, the girls will touch one another, but for the most part sit still. Boys on the other hand, at every age level, compose themselves very differently. Their chairs are at angles to each other and their gaze is everywhere in the room, with occasional glances at one another. The two younger pairs of boys, second grade and sixth grade, give the impression that the chairs cannot contain them. The tenth grade boys sprawl out in their chairs rather than sit nicely in them, and the oldest pair of boys sit rather still but parallel to each other. Below are some illustrations from Gender and Discourse that show the way both genders (second and sixth graders) align themselves.
Are males disengaged because they aligned themselves away from each other? No, this is not necessarily the case. Different cultures have different ways of expressing engagement with one another. For example, many cultures show respect by avoiding eye contact and never looking their superior in the face. Tannen says that if you were to watch the videotapes of the tenth-grade boys with the sound turned off you would think these boys were disengaged. However, with the volume turned up, these boys had the most “intimate” conversations of any group.
Among all age groups of females, there has been no problem finding something to talk about. Among all ages except the tenth-grade boys, however, there is very much difficulty finding something to talk about. I will discuss in short, each pair and the things they experienced in this situation.
Second-grade boys vs. Second-grade girls
With second-grade boys, no topic is elaborated. Instead, there are small amounts of talk about many different topics. Boys in this pair do not stick with one topic for more than a few turns of talk. Because the boys in this pair have a hard time sitting still, and a hard time talking about serious/intimate things, it shows that sitting and talking with a friend is not something natural for these boys. On the other hand, girls have no problem deciding on a topic to talk about, and even seem comfortable engaging in this talk.
Sixth-grade boys vs. Sixth-grade girls
The sixth-grade boys, like the second-grade boys, touched on many topics, but only for short periods of time. Of the 55 topics they touched on, no topic extended more than a few turns of talk, and only two of those topics were more than a few utterances. Most of the sixth-grade girls talk about intimacy and fights. There are two recognizable aspects of talk with sixth-grade girls: (1) their talk is highly stylized in a sing-song way and (2) their talk is made up of “constructed dialogue.” Constructed dialogue is when someone uses reported speech or direct quotations in conversation. For example, Julia says (Tannen 1994, 110):
I hate for my parents to be divorced.
That’s what happens when they get in fights.
I think that they’re just gonna say,
“Well, I’m gonna get a divorce.”
Tenth-grade boys vs. Tenth-grade girls
With tenth-grade girls, the most frequent verb introduction is “go” (“I go ‘What?’”). Another frequent introduction in conversation is “be + like” followed by what someone was feeling, more than what someone said (‘I’d be like ‘no way’”). Tenth-grade boys do not look around the room aimlessly, nor do they look at each other. Unlike the younger boys, his pair is able to talk at length on each topic. The boys of this age group talk a lot about other people, but spend quite a bit of time putting people down.
Twenty-five year old men vs. Twenty-five year old women
Men in this group find it very difficult to find things to talk about, seen by cerebral effort and strain. When they talk, they made broad and abstract statements rather than personal ones, which they stress, are only personal opinions. Women in this group on the other hand, seem to talk to each other in terms of “getting the lower hand” as described by William Beeman. Each girl competes for the distinction of having little self confidence, low grades, lack of ability, and poor communication skills.
Dr. Laura Schessinger
Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage
Chapter 3 “The Good the Bad and the Ugly”
(By: Josie Garcia)
The first presenter on the readings was Angela. She spoke about Chapter 3, titled The Good the Bad and the Ugly, of Dr. Laura’s book The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage. She first gave a quick overview of the book, and touched on some main topics. In this chapter Dr. Laura writes about unrealistic expectations of marriage, and the problems caused by those expectations. “Advanced dating” replaces courtship and traditional dating where couples used to get to know each other. More people are “shacking up” and acting married when they are not. She also calls this “playing house.” The couples have fun together, party together, and believe this to be the reality of marriage when it isn’t. Often times when the couple begin to have bills, children, and other responsibilities they begin to have trouble in the relationship.
Angela found Dr. Laura offensive. She believes husband and wife should have equal power in a relationship, while Dr. Laura seems to have a Male Dominance perspective on marriage. Angela wants equal satisfaction in a relationship; this is known as affective conjunction in the Unity Model of Marriage. She does believe marriage has more to offer, and shared a personal perspective with us. She was in a “playing house” situation without the commitment of marriage. She found that without spiritual intimacy there is less satisfaction in love sex and intimacy. In a disjunctive relationship there is one person who is more controlling, selfish and dominant. There is also a lack of respect for each other’s emotions which can cause more fighting and arguing. This led to a discussion on hellish vs. heavenly thoughts on marriage and relationships.
In preparation for this chapter of her book, Dr. Laura asked three questions to married men and women then shared some of the typical answers. Angela gave her thoughts on these answers regarding them being hellish or heavenly. Here are the questions and a couple of the answers discussed in the oral presentation:
Question 1: What was your biggest surprise to learn about marriage?
Male hellish thought: “Your free time is cut by 80%”
Male heavenly thought: “That two can live as cheaply as one.”
Female hellish thought: “Marriage didn’t solve all my problems and it didn’t make me feel complete”
Female heavenly thought: “How amazing it is to belong to somebody.”
Question 2: “In what way(s) has marriage made you a better person?”
Male heavenly thought: “I have greater patience, reliability, stability, and happiness.”
Male heavenly thought: “She opened me up to sharing and caring about others”
Female heavenly thought: “Being with him makes me want to be a better person.”
Female heavenly thought: “I like myself more because I know that my husband loves me.”
Question 3: “What are the benefits of being married vs. single?”
Male hellish thought: “I eat better”
Male heavenly thought: “You have someone to build a history with.”
Female hellish thought: “safe happy and fulfilling sex life.”
Female heavenly thought: “I have someone who respects, supports, a loves me every day.”
The class and Dr. James agreed with Angela as far as whether the answers for questions one and two being ‘heavenly’ or hellish.’ However, there was some discussion on the answers to question three that Angela saw as hellish. Dr. James believed the responses could actually be a heavenly thought, depending on the context in which the man or woman meant it. I can see both sides of this argument. I do believe they were means as heavenly thoughts, because the speaker sees them as benefits of marriage.
Conclusion to Oral Presentation on Dr. Laura
In conclusion to this reading presentation Angela shared some of the answers she was given when she asked her friends the same questions Dr. Laura asked for her book. While her friends are not married, they answered the questions based on being in a relationship.
The male was surprised by “how crazy females are.”
The female was surprised to “learn about herself and the way she treats people.”
The male answered that he was “a good person before and after the relationship.”
The male answered that one benefit is “sex is better in a relationship.”
The female answered that she would “never know” the benefits of marriage.
As always with Dr. Laura, I struggle with her uncompromising belief in the male dominance stage of marriage. However, I do agree with some of the things she discusses in this chapter. I believe it is very important in order to make a relationship work to communicate expectations before marriage. I do think it is okay to live together before marriage, but you should approach it like a marriage and have the same discussions. It is important to really know the person you plan on sharing your life with! If you can’t ask each other the hard questions, and talk openly about your expectations of marriage, then you probably shouldn’t be getting married.
Unity Model of Marriage Generation 26, Report 1
In preparation for the oral report on readings Chloe read the following reports from The Unity Model of Marriage Generation 26:
Based on the following chart, Chloe gave us examples of each level in the chart from the movie Prime (used in both reports from the prior generation) as well as her own examples from the movie 50 First Dates.
With so many reports and each one having a different author, I think oral reports based on the prior generation reading assignments are a little harder. However, if you have watched both of these movies, they serve as good examples. I will explain each of the nine levels, and try to give clear examples from Chloe’s presentation and my own knowledge of the movies. First, here is a basic synopsis of each movie:
Prime: The main characters are Raffi and Dave. Raffi is an older woman dating a younger man. Their relationship is largely based on the physical aspect, and they are at very different places in life. To complicate matters, Raffi’s therapist is Dave’s mother.
50 First Dates: The main characters in this movie are Henry and Lucy. Lucy suffered severe head trauma in an auto accident and lost the ability to convert short-term memory to long-term memory. Henry falls in love with her, but has to make her fall in love with him every day, because she doesn’t remember him in the morning.
Level One: Sensory Motor Dominance- pleasure due to control over partner
Example: Raffi is in the mood for sex, so she puts on a sexy outfit and asks Dave if he is coming to bed. Dave continues playing his video game.
Level Two: Cognitive Dominance- thoughts on how to pressure partner to cooperate
Example: Henry uses Lucy’s condition to control her. He uses what he learns about her to win her over the next time they meet, but she doesn’t remember any prior meetings.
Level Three: Affective Dominance-compel partner to be submissive
Example: Raffi holds and shows a child to Dave, to try to entice him want to have a child with her.
Level Four: Sensory Motor Equity-action as part of a give and take system
Example: Dave gets his own apartment, and Raffi gives him a second chance as her boyfriend.
Level Five: Cognitive Equity-thoughts and evaluations of each other
Example: Lucy wishes she met Henry the day before the accident, so she would remember him, but Henry says it’s okay, he’ll make her fall in love with him every day.
Level Six: Affective Equity-gain more from partner
Example: Lucy feels she is holding Henry back from living his dream, because he spends his time making her fall for him every day, so she erases him from her journals and lets him go. She just wants him to be happy.
Level Seven: Sensory Motor Unity- unity as a whole
Example: Henry and Lucy have sex for the first time, even though it’s still like a first date for Lucy.
Level Eight: Cognitive Unity- thoughts about being spiritually connected.
Example: Lucy wants to help Henry win him over the next day, so she tells him she’s “a sucker for Lilies.”
Level Nine: Affective Unity- conjunction on feelings
Example: Lucy doesn’t remember Henry, but she dreams about him, and paints pictures of him.
The ultimate goal for a Unity Model of Marriage is to reach level nine, to have affective conjunction in complete unity. This is easier for the female, and something the male usually has to work hard to achieve.
SECTION 3: Team Presentation on Exercises (Rebecca Alexander)
main ideas presented by the team.
The team for exercises presented Lecture 3 which discussed the Unity Model of Marriage; reciprocity, self-witnessing and conjugial love.
Reciprocity: Traits of a couple are interconnected with one another; woman’s traits must complete man’s traits and vice versa.
Self-Witnessing: To reach the goal of unity in marriage, you must practice self-witnessing. You must monitor what your mental organs are doing: your feelings (A-Affective), Thoughts (C-Cognitive) and sensations and actions (S-Sensorimotor). By practicing this you will not feel angry (Affective) (your feelings), you will not think biased thoughts of men (Cognitive) (your thinking) you will never do these actions again (Sensorimotor) (your actions).
Conjugial Love: This is Spiritual Marriage, “until eternity.” Couples reach this spiritual intimacy through steps and phases which include male dominance, equity and finally unity. Couples must master reciprocity and self witnessing together to reach the ultimate in marital bliss, which is working together to be married on earth as well as in heaven.
(b) Describe what they did and how they interpreted it.
Each member of the team had their own section of Lecture 3, allowing them to
develop and discuss the lecture material in greater detail. Each did well in examining the 3 stages of unity, introducing self-witnessing, and how men in the male dominance phase put down woman and how they have learned to do so in society since birth. Our underlying theme in this lecture is still ultimately how to work through these demises in life and to proceed to climb up the ladder to reach the unity phase with our soul mates.
(c) Describe some of the ideas that needed a better justification or greater amplification.
The group that presented exercises did well in their discussion and delivery of the lecture material. They were concise and to the point, addressing the issues that Professor James was interested in having us understand in greater detail. An idea in the lecture presentation that I felt needed to be addressed more clearly was the idea of self-witnessing. I understand the fact that you must think heavenly thoughts of others and yourself and not act upon them, and in turn you will feel differently and more heavenly. I am unaware of how you are able to change your thoughts, how to not allow oneself to ponder ideas of hellishness. Is it okay to think of them for a moment, but try to push them aside and not act upon them? That is a question in which I feel should be clarified more in future lectures.
(d) What was the success of the approach they used?
The success of the approach that this team used for their presentation was, they incorporated their own life experiences into their presentation by relating them to the lecture material. By doing so they were able to connect with audience by sharing how they felt about certain issues, setting up a rapport to gain common ground so that the audience was able to relate to them. Such an example was relating woman’s affective self to arguing with her boyfriend; that she should not worry about getting mad or speaking her mind, because women are allowed to voice their opinions.
(e) What improvements are needed in the procedures or in the instructions?
I feel as though the instructions are very clear and do not need much improvement. If a person who was not in this class stumbled upon our website, I believe that they would have no trouble accessing and understanding our information. My only criticism might be that the text often is redundant; I feel that the explanations could be summarized in shorter, concise phrases so that students are able to clearly focus on what the tasks calls for.
(f) What are the limitations of these types of exercises?
There are few limitations that these exercises display. These exercise questions are open-ended allowing students not be restrained by certain boundaries. Students are able to relate their own experiences of their relationships with others, tying them into the represented models of the lecture. This allows students to be able to converse theories that they agree with, being able to talk freely and develop their ideas to establish a rapport with the audience. “Yes” or “No” questions simply do not apply to this type of exercise, because it does not allow the speaker to ponder their life in ways in which they would if they were given the freedom of open-ended questions. We are able to ask our friends, partners, neighbors, family what they feel in these issues, allowing us to connect to others, not only other students in our class in discussions of spiritual unity.
(g) Describe what happened when you did some of the steps of the exercises (don't forget this step!).
I approached these exercises with a positive bias, I tried to observe the lecture material from a position where I was not to make judgments of the material until I completed the text. When I asked my roommate what she thought and how she felt about the Unity Model of Marriage she thought that it was interesting, however it seemed a bit unreachable for her. She and her boyfriend have been together for five years, and they seem to be struggling in both the equity and male dominance phase. When they fight, he makes her feel that she has to do what he asks, or else he will leave her which leaves them in the male dominance phase. But when their relationship is good, it seems like they are equals in the equity phase of allowing one another to seek their opinions of how they feel in situations, and relate to one another as best friends. She said she would love it if her boyfriend and she could reach the Unity level in which he would comply with her wishes that were reasonable in the sense that they looked after both their best interests.
I agree with my roommate, I feel that this model is very appealing for couples to reach in their relationships, but when you have a job, schooling, family; it seems unfathomable to be able to reach common unity with your partner in today’s world. It is possible, however, to reach this phase if you strive to work it out with your partner, improve yourselves to honor one another, and edit and modify your behaviors so that your partner will appreciate you more. “Men see the conjoint self as giving up selfhood, while women see it as gaining togetherness.” I can not help but think that men will feel that they will be “told what to do” by their woman, but through consideration and thought, in this process men will learn to be caring, and act in ways in which will be helpful and appealing to his woman, which can only bring happiness to them both.
SECTION 4: Annotated Web Links
This is an overview of the movie “50 First Dates” mentioned in Section 2, regarding the relationship between Lucy and Henry.
2. Benefits of
Researchers have found that having a happy, healthy, and fulfilling marriage benefits all members of the family. Statistics show the positive effects of marriage on children, women, men and communities.
Comedian, Chris Rock, shares a comical perspective on love and relationships that relate towards Dr. Swedenborg’s description of men and their refusal to have conjoined intimacy with their female partners. In order to transcend to the next level of unity, a man must be more open and more flexible towards his partner.
website is the book “Conjugial Love” by Emmanuel
Swedenborg. If you ever wanted to read this book, but did not know where
to find it or did not want to buy it, it is at your hands online.
5. Dr. Laura
The following link is Dr. Laura’s official site. A chapter from her book ‘The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage’ was covered in section 2.
Talk Show host, Tyra Banks, interviews a woman whose fiancée is addicted to playing video games. The wife, like many women described by Dr. Swedenborg,
wishes to achieve all level of intimacy with her fiancée, but cannot because he is unwilling to let go of his independence and his own self-interests in order to please
7. Love and
Marriage Survey: Advice Before You Get Married
Do you want to know if marriage is right for you? This website informs its readers about the perfect marriage, the purpose of marriage, the importance of love, etc.
8. Marriage Stress
Busters: Don't Let Stress Tear You Apart
This website relates to the article in the lecture notes about marriage and stress. Here you can find some tips to combat stress and bring you and your partner closer
9. Nagging Wife
The “Nagging Wife” is a commercial that serves as an example of the first two levels of conjunction as described by Dr. Emanuel Swedenborg, in which the husband
displays cognitive disjunction by ignoring his wife and her needs. The husband in the commercial doesn’t wish to be bothered by his wife while he is working on his
laptop, so he presses a button on his computer to get “rid” of her.
These are scenes from the movie ‘Prime’, mentioned in Section 2, which show aspects of the relationship between Raffi and Dave.