by Shari S.
For my final contribution to the Generational Curriculum of the Community
classroom, Spring 1983, I chose to the Krupat reading report. One
of the chapters was of specific interest to me, the section on
"environment and City".
Before I proceed with my research gatherings, I feel it necessary to
explain briefly about the threefold self and the self-witnessing method.
Let's begin with self-witnessing. Self-witnessing is an objective report
on how you were involved in a particular event; it is not to be confused
with a detailed report on what happened as seen through your eyes. It
on your thought processes, causes of these thoughts, and the origin
of these causes which--and we go back to the beginning--were all triggered
that initial event. To make the picture clearer, imagine climbing up a
three rung ladder. On the first rung is the 'effect' where the particular
action, sensation, or outer dialogue takes place. Now as you move up one
more rung (also think of this as moving inward) you will find the 'cause'
of that 'effect'. A 'cause' is a rational evaluation or reasoning of the
event. Then at the inmost and top rung is the 'origin'. The 'origin'
things such as values, loves/hates, and wants, which all have
immediate influence on the two lower rungs or outer levels: the 'causes'
and 'effects'. These three levels are further classified by labeling them
A, B, and C: A (origin), B (causes), C (effects); which is why Dr. James-
calls this the "ABC's of Self-Witnessing".
The idea of the "ABC's" leads us directly into a discussion of the
threefold self. Briefly, when we refer to the threefold self we think of
the ennead matrix and the interrelation of internalization and
Internalizing processes go through the automatic self to the reflective
eventually leading to the spiritual self. Externalization
begins with the "Affective" (A levels), goes to the "Cognitive" (B level),
which ultimately appears in the "Sensorimotor" (C level).
The threefold self is continuously growing and improving. Growth is
associated with internalization; therefore, the more internalized a person
is, ;he more in touch he is with his true spiritual self. We can liken
this idea to being 'more you'. For example, the more you K° in
the more it's the real you coming out on the sensorimotor, reflective
Understanding the threefold self is really a key to better
understanding yourself. Personally, this has broadened my perspective.
One of the things I have found out is that many times I misattribute
the causes of my actions to negate a feeling of contradiction with my
values. In other words, I did a lot of rationalizing just to achieve
and temporary satisfaction. In sum, understanding the threefold
elf and practicing self-witnessing can become an important tool to a more
fulfilling and altruistic life.
Another point I would like to discuss is the positive and negative
bias in science. These biases are divisions of the threefold self. The
positive bias occurs in the spiritual self; whereas, negative bias is from
the automatic self. Let us begin with the positive bias because this is
the root of self-witnessing. The positive bias is an empirically
observational approach. This approach requires that you l) first assume
your hypothesis to be true and 2) utilize your internal self in
Therefore, you begin with a predetermined bias, and end with
confirmation (experimental results) that you, personally, have observed
to be true. Emanuel Swedenborg is responsible--through the experiment a.
method--for much of what we know of as the positive bias. Going back to
the positive bias, he says that I is not enough to just believe in
you must go further and confirm your beliefs. His work was in the
spiritual world which he called 'eternity'. As a proponent of his ideas,
he claimed to have visited the spiritual world, thereby confirming that
it did exist.
In review, the experimental method used by Swedenborg, was, for the
first time, used to probe the spiritual world through positive bias. Let
us briefly discuss the experimental method to tie in the negative bias
with the positive. Basically, the experimental method is used to promote
better understanding and control of human behavior. It is the reflective
world that you work through in experimental methodology. Here we have
the appearance of space/time? our pragmatism, and reasoning. Now what do
I mean by appearance of space/time? For example, let's consider dreams.
Dreams are in the reflective world because what we see in our dreams only
look like the natural world. They look like it, but laws in the dream
are entirely different. Also, most observations of the experimental
method depend upon a pragmatic approach.
Now shift your attention to the negative bias. In this case, you are
empirically objective. This is also referred to as a more pessimistic
method because you begin with the null hypothesis, meaning that prior to
observations, instead of assuming truth, you doubt the validity of the
Those who use the negative bias observe only what would be present in the
natural world of time and space. Unlike the positive bias
(confirming results by personal verification), the negative bias
can be confirmed on the basis of some ore else's authority.
* * * * * *
This introduction describes the theories which both directly and
indirectly have been used in my investigation of environmental psychology
through the context of my threefold self. And now on to the results of my
Results of Readings
Before I actually began reading he various texts I collected, I sat
down and tried to get a clear conception of what Dr. James wanted its
to focus on in this project- My understanding is that the purpose was
to concentrate almost solely on our reaction to the readings, rather than
our comprehension or interpretation oŁ them.
Our directions were to choose one chapter from the Krupat text
is Social") and additional books that applied to this chapter.
Then we were to read the material and record any of our reactions to the
readings. The aforesaid concept of the threefold self and ennead matrix
was the framework in which we reported our reactions. Initial responses
were put in the first box, called "low sensorimotor". From there it took
an unfolding process of deeper, more internal probing that filled the
other boxes. What you will see on my charts is how my reaction to what I
read is ultimately tied to my universal values, beliefs, affections, etc.
You will begin to understand the different approach used in this project
after reading the passages with their correlating ennead matrix tables.
Once again, the objective was to analyze our personal reactions.
Passages from Krupat Readings
1) ". . . concept of overload. This term...refers to
a system's inability to process inputs from the
environment because there are too many inputs for the
system to cope with, or because successive inputs
come so fast...hen overload is present, adaptation
2) 'Architectural and planning literature deals with
privacy in terms of windows, overlooks, site lines.
The idea that if no one from outside can peek into
where you live--behold, privacy. This is simple-
minded. window privacy is the easiest commodity in
he world to get... The privacy of keeping one's
personal affairs to those selected to know them,
and the privacy of having reasonable control over
who shall make inroads on your time and when, are
rare commodities in most of this world, however, and
they have nothing to do with the orientation of windows." 3
3) "But let the mishap of disorientation once occur,
and the sense of anxiety and even terror that accompanies
it reveals to us how closely it is linked to our sense of balance
and well-being. The very
word 'lost' in our language means much more than
simple geographical uncertainty; it carries overtones
of utter disaster."4
Passages from Related Readings
1) "People who remain in public areas for long periods--
whether at a habitual chair at a weekly conference or
on a commuter train--can establish a form of tenure.
Their rights to this space will be supported by theirs
neighbors even when they are not physically present."
2) "Goffin’s Presentation of Self in Everyday Life is
a detailed, sensitive record of observations on the
relationship of the facade that people present to the
world and the self they hide behind it. The use of the
term facade is in itself revealing. It signifies recognition
of levels to be penetrated and hints at the
functions performed by architectural features which
provide screens behind which to retire from time to
time. The strain of keeping up a facade can be great.
Architecture can and does take over this burden for
people. It can also provide a refuge where the individual
can 'let his hair down' and be himself."6
3) "But architects and planners have another kind of
almost endemic conceptual weakness--that is, they
tend to regard space as a purely visual construct.
Intellectually, of course, they may know better;
but the consequence of this basic attitude is that
the environment is largely thought of from a visual
point of view and its organization, therefore, is
regarded as being largely a problem in visual aesthetics.
All the other environmental attributes of
architectural space--thermal, sonic, olfactory, tactile,
etc.--are insufficiently understood or attended to.
The result is a high degree of environmental
malfunction in even some of our most prestigious new
Results of Readings
Now I would like to discuss the two tables in comparison. First of
all, I noticed that my later reactions became much more critical of the
authors and their ideas. It seemed as if I altered my reactions to a
scope, focusing on tiny details in the passages. This subsequent change
may have had something to do with the first set of reactions I made. While
filling out the tables for my first reaction, I felt I was blindly
internalizing everything I read without question.
Secondly, something that interested me was that when I traced my second
reaction to the Krupat readings I found a transformation of original
assumptions. After I realized this, I thought about how moldable my
self still is. This is probably why I had such a hard time trying to fill
these upper boxes. Now I can see why Dr. James told us that it is not
until one nears middle age that his spiritual self really begins to
In regards to the topics of the readings, their similarity lies in the
fact that they are all fragments of studies done in environmental
My tendency was to stress their utilization in the area of architecture
(my educational emphasis). More specifically, I found--through the topics
I responded to--that I became very fascinated with space and it's relation
to human behavior. But I also realized that the more information I
accumulated, the more I felt I needed to know about these topics.
in the future we will see more research being done in this area of
The final point I would like discuss is a comparison of the texts
used in my research. Krupat's text was a good condensed compilation of
he vas; regions of study in social psychology. Therefore, here were
many duplicate research results with the various texts that I used.
Earlier in this paper I summarized the experimental method. It appears
to me that of the four texts I retrieved information from, each employed
this procedure and this procedure only.
"An enlightening experiment"
Prior to working on this paper, I must admit I could not see he usefulness
of it. It wasn’t until I let myself get fully involved in what I
was doing that I understood the relevance and yes, usefulness, of the
There are so many things I learned from this report. However, I
cannot say if they would be of any interest to someone else who may be
reading this. I feel I found little slits of insight to my internal self.
Realizing this gave me such joy! It opened me up to a part of my reality
which I never knew I could explore. This then, is why I said I did not
if someone else would get any enjoyment or understanding from my
because of the intangibility of the knowledge I gained. But let's not
linger on this point any longer.
The uses of the ennead matrix are Ear reaching. It is not only applicable
to studies of the self, but can be used for numerous other purposes,
such as: critiques, scientific experiments, and analyses of all sorts.
This theory that Dr. James origin aced, is very carefully thought out.
In some ways, it seems to be a summation o. the best of the 'self'
to this ate, with additional concepts primal to Dr. James teaching.
I hope no one would be offended by my calling it somewhat 'eclectic'.
At this time I now have a clear picture of the threefold self. In time
I hope I can become much more familiar with all the material contained in
report, and use this knowledge as an integral part of my everyday life.
1)Emanuel Swedenborg studies psychology as an occult/spiritual science
through the Christian religion.
2)The experience of Living, in Cities, by Stanley Milgram, ed.
Krupat (Glenview Illinois: Scott, .-Foresman and Co., 192, 1975), p. 351
"Psychology is Social':
3)The Use of Sidewalks: Contact, by Jane Jacobs, ed. Edward Krupat
Glenview, Illinois: Scott, Foresman and Co., 1982, 1975), p. 371
4)The Image of the Environment, by Kevin Lynch, ed. Edward Krupat
(Glen view. Illinois: Scott, Foresman and Co., 1932, 1975), p. 365
5)Robert Sommer, Personal Space (New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc.,
169, p. 52.
6)Edward T. Hall, The Hidden Dimension (New York: Doubleday and
Inc., 1969) p. 104.
7)Behavior and Environment, discussion by J.. Fitch, ed. Aristide
Esser (New York: Plenum Press, 1971), p. 258.
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