Implications of the Differences Between Our Perceptual and Conceptual Views

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The aim of this theoretical article is to characterize the viewpoint of the “experiencing self,” as described in dual information processing theory, and apply it to a wide variety of diverse and important psychological and philosophical conundrums including stress and anxiety, identity, free will, duality, and the origins of insight. It first describes “two selves theory.” In it the rational-cognitive system relies on concepts, memory, and symbols as its raw materials. The experiential system relies on percepts, images, and present-moment experience. Because the experiential system intelligently processes percepts, and humans can only consciously understand concepts, its functioning has been hidden from our grasp. Using its defining characteristics, this paper will attempt to recreate and understand its view. Epstein’s “experiencing self” fits the characteristics of a self that only processes percepts. The reality it perceives meets criteria for a psychological unconscious. A fundamental cause of anxiety may originate from the stressful differences between what’s perceived and what’s conceived. The experiential information processing system may be inherently monist because perceptual reality has not yet been differentiated by language (conceptualized). Any considerations of stress must include comparison between perceptual and conceptual views; resolution of important psychological and philosophical conundrums may also be resolved using this approach. Psychological treatments and educational efforts aimed at uncovering, understanding, and accounting for the existence of both views may have beneficial effect on individuals and society.

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