Looking Across Cultures and World-Views:
from Philosophy to Feminism in Psychology

Randal G. Tonks
Department of Psychology
Simon Fraser University

Moving towards a broader perspective takes time. Having to juggle the roles of editor, graduate student, sessional instructor and family man, I have been challenged to get this issue completed along with my dissertation proposal. It does appear, however, that I will finally get both of these done only a few months beyond my initial expectations. Like other students who are pressed for time, I also found it difficult to produce the critical essay on language use in academia and in our journal for this issue. Although I hope to corral our associate editor Leslie Morgan into helping me write this piece for an upcoming issue, Sven van de Wettering currently makes the best of our "Taking Aim" section where he takes an a few amusing shots in his contribution to this issue. Here, he not only pokes fun at his favorite psychological perspectives, he also makes slanderous comments about my request for contributions to this issue, along with our study group SFCFTSOTACP (Simon Fraser Centre For The Study Of Theoretical And Cultural Psychology), and everyone else who doesn't "submit" to Psybernetika.

While the first issue had the job of providing an introductory set of articles dealing with virtual reality, the self and identity, this second issue of Psybernetika has taken to task the jobs of being critical, interdisciplinary, gender and culture sensitive, and even humorous. It also might be noted that the venerable professor Anand C. Paranjpe has been instrumental in the creation of the SFCFTSOTACP as well as being tremendously influential on the activities and the development of ideas for all of this issue's contributors. Anand has been teaching and writing books about theoretical psychology, the self, identity, cultural and indigenous approaches to psychology for almost thirty years now and has acquired quite a reputation both nationally and internationally. He has also contributed significantly to the proceedings of the Western Society for Theoretical Psychology which meets annually at or near Banff Alberta; a society whose members have published a wealth of their own works and are also largely responsible for the publication of the new journal Theory and Psychology .

This issues' "Articles" section is where we attempt to provide the reader with a broader perspective on psychology than one might expect in most North American psychological publications. Through our collection of papers we have psychological ideas from Russia to Tibet, Zurich to Edinburgh, Poona to Vancouver. Beginning with Shabnam Ziabkhsh's critical history of The Dogma of Psychology we are challenged to think about David Bakan's Mystery-Mastery complex against the backdrop Cartesian dualism and the rise of contemporary social constructionism. In addition to providing a critical discussion of the historical roots and difficulties of empiricism in science and psychology, Shabnam finishes with a discussion of Kurt Danziger's (recently retired from York University) landmark analysis of the origins of scientific research in psychology.

Dana Brunanski follows the lead set by many other feminists with her elaboration on the themes of Feminism and philosophy of science. Here she examines Feminism as an ideology which principally is concerned with a critical appraisal of the logical positivist orientation to science. Dana also points out that much of psychology and personality theory has been born out of the context of androcentrism and the kind of objective dualism that Shabnam also pointed out. Finally, with her discussion of decontextualism and the social construction of Euro-American psychology, Dana's paper provides a nice context to examine this issues' contributions made by Linda Reid and Sharon Belfer.

Linda Reid's article on Jung and Tantric Buddhism (Vajrayana) provides a rich comparison between Jung's hybrid "Euro-Asian" psychology with some classical concepts from Buddhist thought such as atta (self) and anatta (non-self). Here she provides valuable discussion of these two cultural wordviews which emphasize the transformation of consciousness and the attainment of wisdom. In addition to her discussion of archetypes and eternal bliss, Linda's paper provides a smooth transition into the world of Buddhism as outlined by Sharon Belfer's account of the curative value of egolessness in Buddhist thought.

Sharon's essay is a very clear articulation of one area of potential growth for much of western psychology (and perhaps psychologists too). Presenting a discussion of the four noble truths and the trilogy of the mind (cognition, conation & affect) against a backdrop of the psychology of the person as outlined by Anand Paranjpe, Sharon provides the reader with an enjoyable journey into the peaceful world of compassion and care.

While Buddhism is a long standing tradition of self enlightenment, it is rarely referred to as "primitive" ideology involving rituals of the body. Linda Klann's contribution does examine the emergence of "Modern Primitives" and various contemporary "rituals" of body piercing, burning and tattooing in her truly interesting contribution. Linda has provided a somewhat provocative account of the rituals of identity and the life cycle in Erik Erikson's conceptual scheme in considering these ritual of the body as expressions of the need to re- integrate the three spheres of identity (soma, psyche, ethos) which have become divorced through the rise of modern industrial society.

Finally, Jarkko Jalava's contribution rounds up the collection of critical essays on the concepts of personality from the perspectives of Hume, Sartre, and Dostoyevsky. As such, he provides the diagnoses of these philosophers for the concept of personality as ranging from being merely a habit of the mind, through to a form of inauthentic personhood, and finally to an inhibition to moral existence. With each of these perspectives, as with the Buddhist perspectives outlined by Linda Reid and Sharon Belfer, the understanding of personhood is more important than explaining personality.

These two perspectives, of personhood and personality are clearly exemplary of the more global worldviews of geisteswissenschaft( (human science) and naturwissenschaft (natural science) that were outlined in my paper in the first issue of Psybernetika. It is expected that in the next issue we will have some further contributions which make use of this dichotomy between scientific perspectives as applied to issues of the soul and cross-cultural research.

In closing, I feel that this issue does provide a broadening of the horizons of psychology with these diverse perspectives on theories of personality and the study of historical and theoretical issues in psychological practice. In the next issue, which is due at the end of September 1995, we are preparing a special collection of historical reviews of the three major journals of the Canadian Psychological Association. Attempting to integrate my roles as editor and teacher I have over the past three months been getting my psychology 308 (history of modern psychology) students to prepare reviews of the published papers of these journals from the mid 1960s through to the 1990s. I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of these contributions so that the associate editors and myself can begin our secondary interpretations of these reports as we attempt to provide an exemplar of a hermeneutical enquiry of the history of psychology in Canada.

Randal G. Tonks
Simon Fraser University
August 2, 1995