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Biocognitive Philosophy

Cultural Coemergence

Dr. Mario E. Martinez, a clinical neuropsychologist, established the Biocognitive Science Institute™ in 1998. He developed a theory of mindbodyculture he calls Biocognition to suggest how cognition and biology coemerge with their cultural history in a bioinformational field that seeks maximum contextual relevance. His theory of Biocognitive Science is based on research that demonstrates how thoughts and their biological expression coemerge within a cultural history. Academic science continues to divide mind and body as well as ignore the influence cultural contexts have on the process of health, illness and aging. For example, cultures that support growing older as a positive development associated with increased wisdom and abilities have higher numbers of centenarians living healthier lives than cultures that view aging as a process of inevitable deterioration.

The Biocognitive model evolved from research in psychoneuroimmunology, cultural neuroscience, and cultural anthropology. It proposes that biocognitive interpretations are communicated linearly and locally through the immune, nervous and endocrine pathways and are expressed in manifest portals throughout the body. Concurrently, the biocognitive communication is impressed non-linearly with indeterminate locality in the totality of the bioinformational field (mindbodyculture). This concept of developmental biocognition, assumes that our cognition and our biology are dynamically interwoven with our cultural history and cannot be reduced to their components.

Consciousness is viewed as a coherent expression of inseparable cognitive, biological, and historical cultural processes that coemerge in bioinformational fields. In the biocognitive model, disease is defined as a learned conflict between our operative consciousness and incongruent behavior. When a conflict remains unresolved, it triggers a chronic stress response that compromises our biological functions at their most genetically vulnerable levels. Biocognitive theory refutes the concept that divides disease into organic and mental pathology. It proposes instead that both components are inseparable from their cultural contexts.

Dr. Martinez argues that the life sciences must transcend Newtonian reductionism and Cartesian dualism as well as their consequent upward and downward causalities where mind and body remain divided and one entity originates from the other. Biocognitive theory offers a paradigm of contextual coemergence as an alternative to attributing cause to the simplest level of the organism where cognition is explained microbiologically (upward ) or to the most complex where organic processes are attributed cause at the level of consciousness (downward).

Contextual coemergence attributes cause to the biocultural histories that are simultaneously exchanged between communicators in a shared bioinformational field that seeks maximum contextual relevance. This process of communication decontextualizes bioinformation into unstable fractals (biotic non-linearity) for storage, and recontextualizes the unstable traces, from indeterminate locality to determinate biocognitions (linear mindbody codes) during retrieval, based on the contextual relevance demanded by the bioinformational fields.

Contextual coemergence involves linear and non-linear pathways as well as determinate and indeterminate locality processes. Consequently, biocognition proposes a model of linearity and non-linearity, in bioinformational fields of determinate and indeterminate locality. Although these complementarities are extrapolated from research in complexity and neurophenomenology theories, they are only beginning to be explored in the cognitive and biological sciences.

In biocognitive theory, individuals are seen as an inseparable bioinformational field of mind, body and cultural history in constant search for contextual meaning. These fields define the known as inclusive and the unknown as exclusive. The fields (cultural perception) are contained within horizons that set off alarms when confronted with unknown or contradictory contexts. The operative consciousness that is constituted from our cultural history and our biological foundation, determines how we respond to novelty in a contextual coauthoring that ranges from curiosity to panic.

Dr. Martinez argues that current mechanical models of the life sciences study disease by reducing the body to pathological parts. He proposes that the healing process must include the cultural history that contextualizes the mind-body expression of health, and challenges the cultural beliefs that perpetuate genetic helplessness. 

Biocognitive theory integrates research in psychoneuroimmunology, neuroscience, and cultural anthropology to conceptualize and address the causes of health, the learning of illness, and the biocultural ingredients of longevity as integral bioinformational fields that cannot be reduced to their cognitive, biological or cultural components. Dr. Martinez offers a new model of PNI he calls cultural psychoneuroimmunology that takes research from the constraints of the  lab to natural settings in cultural contexts. While rat research can be productive, the results must be interpreted as responses from animals that do not have the capacity to find meaning in their actions and awareness of their mortality. Cultural anthropology is the missing link of psychoneuroimmunology. 

Our Biocognitive Science Institute™ offers workshops and seminars for personal and professional development. We also offer individual mentoring in biocognitive theory and practice for professionals in the healing arts and sciences. Workshops and training modules are conducted online as well as residentially, worldwide, for the general public and professional organizations. The training is offered in English or Spanish and it may qualify some professionals in the United States for continuing education credits. For more information on biocognitive training or how to coordinate an event in your city, please contact us.

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