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The research further uncovers the multiple layers of understanding that some Indigenous communities possess regarding consciousness. Credit: Neuroscience News

Indigenous Insights: A New Lens on Consciousness

Summary: A new study illuminates the profound depth and adaptability embedded within Indigenous interpretations of consciousness, offering fresh perspectives and adaptive solutions for contemporary scientific discourse.

Instead of adhering to a singular, individualistic viewpoint, Indigenous concepts of consciousness often intertwine with environmental, relational, and spiritual facets, providing a holistic perspective that balances individual and global consciousness.

The study emphasizes that embracing this ancient wisdom could forge pathways toward a more inclusive, interconnected scientific understanding of consciousness, merging the physical and metaphysical. The findings not only promote cross-cultural appreciation but also underscore the vital necessity of preserving and respecting Indigenous knowledge systems.

Key Facts:

  1. Beyond Individualism: Indigenous interpretations of consciousness tend to weave the individual into a broader, interconnected relationship with the environment and spiritual beliefs, offering a more relational perspective than typically explored in contemporary science.
  2. Harmony in Duality: Indigenous understandings promote a holistic view that doesn’t oppose local and global consciousness, but rather integrates them, providing a unified perspective of interconnectedness among all living entities.
  3. Potential Applications: Indigenous perspectives on consciousness could bring fresh insights to scientific debates on various aspects like material versus non-material sources of consciousness and the intertwining of consciousness with environmental aspects.

Source: Prague College of Psychosocial Studies

In a world where scientific advancements continually shape our understanding of the universe, a new study sheds light on the immense potential of Indigenous concepts and meanings for contemporary science.

The study explores how this ancient wisdom represents adaptive solutions in various environmental and social contexts, sparking inspiration for the scientific community.

The research, conducted by a team of cultural anthropologists and psychologists, delves into the vast diversity of Indigenous cultural understandings of consciousness. Past studies have previously shown significant variations in the conceptualizations of consciousness across different cultural groups from various geographical regions.

This present work takes a closer look at the rich tapestry of a few of the thousands of Indigenous cultural interpretations of consciousness.

One striking revelation from the study is that Indigenous concepts of consciousness often go beyond individualistic perspectives. Instead, they are intricately woven into relational and inseparable connections with the environment and religious beliefs. The profound interplay between consciousness and the external world opens up new avenues for understanding the human experience.

The research further uncovers the multiple layers of understanding that some Indigenous communities possess regarding consciousness. These diverse layers add depth and richness to their comprehension of the conscious experience of the world, illuminating alternative viewpoints for modern science to consider.

One of the most surprising findings is that Indigenous understandings of global consciousness do not necessarily oppose local consciousness. Instead, they offer a holistic perspective that harmonizes the individual with the broader interconnectedness of all living beings.

The study’s concluding section highlights potential applications of Indigenous concepts and meanings in recent scientific debates revolving around the nature of consciousness. Issues, such as the duality of material versus non-material sources of consciousness, the role of energy in shaping consciousness and the intricate interconnection between consciousness and the environment, emerge from this in-depth exploration.

Dr. Radek Trnka, the corresponding author, shared his thoughts on the implications of the study, “The knowledge held by Indigenous communities offers profound insights into the very fabric of consciousness. By incorporating this ancient wisdom into our contemporary scientific discourse, we open up new vistas of understanding and pave the way for a more holistic and interconnected perspective on consciousness.”

The research not only fosters cross-cultural appreciation but also highlights the importance of preserving and respecting Indigenous knowledge systems. It serves as a call to action for the scientific community to recognize and integrate these valuable perspectives, fostering a more inclusive and diverse approach to understanding consciousness.

“Experiencing and using collective effervescence (collective consciousness), altered states of consciousness, and synchronization is also widespread in Indigenous cultures, mostly for healing purposes and maintaining relationships with other beings and entities. Research of consciousness in this area is still limited in Western science. Thus, Indigenous psychology and Indigenous science could be valuable sources of inspiration for Western science,” Trnka concluded.

As the world continues to seek answers to profound questions about the human mind and its connection to the universe, this study serves as a beacon of hope, bridging the gap between traditional wisdom and modern scientific exploration.

About this consciousness research news

Author: Radek Trnka
Source: Prague College of Psychosocial Studies
Contact: Radek Trnka – Prague College of Psychosocial Studies
Image: The image is credited to Neuroscience News

Original Research: Closed access.
Variability in Cultural Understandings of Consciousness: A Call for Dialogue with Native Psychologies” by Radek Trnka et al. Journal of Consciousness Studies


Variability in Cultural Understandings of Consciousness: A Call for Dialogue with Native Psychologies

Investigation of Indigenous concepts and their meanings is highly inspirational for contemporary science because these concepts represent adaptive solutions in various environmental and social milieus.

Past research has shown that conceptualizations of consciousness can vary widely between cultural groups from different geographical regions.

The present study explores variability among a few of the thousands of Indigenous cultural understandings of consciousness. Indigenous concepts of consciousness are often relational and inseparable from environmental and religious concepts.

Furthermore, this exploration of variability reveals the layers with which some Indigenous peoples understand their conscious experience of the world. Surprisingly, Indigenous understandings of global consciousness was found not to be in opposition to local consciousness.

The final concluding section of this study discusses the usability of Indigenous concepts and meanings for recent scientific debates

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  1. Catherine Murupaenga-Ikenn (Indigenous person of the peoples [commonly known as "Māori"] of Te Rarawa and Ngāti Kurī, Aotearoa New Zealand). says:

    I feel appreciation that scientists are mainstreaming the idea that Indigenous expert technical wisdom has value across a variety of fields, including metaphysics. Simultaneously, I feel extremely wary of the ongoing process of colonisation and the doctrine of discovery (which has expanded from affecting Indigenous Peoples lands, oceans, territories and resources, to knowledge) and its impacts (even if harm is not intended by scientists, unintended consequences still occur. Hell, for Indigenous Peoples, is paved with colonising forces’ good intentions). Holding two (or more) contrary perspectives in the same time/ space is an expression of a holistic, fractal Universe aware, belief system.

  2. Very interesting! Having spent A lot of time with the indigenous people (Yolngu) In Arnhemland listening to their song lines and Dreamtime stories, I’ve noticed how well they know their environment and how closely connected they are to it and to each other. Everything is interwoven and as you say it stretches across the globe.
    It’s often the case that science catches up with our inner knowings. We are amazing creatures living in an incredibly beautiful world. It’s sad to see a lot of people take it for granted Or don’t see it at all.
    Loved your article. Thank you.

  3. Wow, it seems a lot of minds are not open to the possibility that reductionist scientific materialism alone is not sufficient to explain the mystery of consciousness. One day we may have a complete scientific understanding of all dimensions of universal consciousness, and I suspect that discounting a holistic, even spiritual perspective out of hand is ultimately not going to get you there.

  4. As soon as you said spiritual and wisdom in adjoining sentences, I stopped. If you have evidence that “spiritual” has an actual definition, I’ll consider finishing the article. Until you win your Nobel prize, just file this under pseudoscientific nonsense.

  5. White people disgust me. They first eradicated these cultures to take land and now they take from these cultures for their knowledge. Some of these cultures lost so much written and oral history because of white people. As both a scientist and ethnic minority, I intuited what this article purports. But wow it just never ends. Now these indigenous frameworks will be studied, abstracted, and cited by and under white people names and popularized by white people.

    1. I agree 100%
      The atrocity colonialism inflicted on indigenous people’s only to then turn around and make out like they’re making these “discoveries” is insulting and a continuation of the barbarianism that they tried to say indigenous people displayed

    2. What are you talking about?

      The study isn’t specific to the indigenous groups that are native to America, if that’s what you’re assuming, or any geographically specific indigenous group. It regards various indigenous cultures from around the globe. Not to mention the source is Prague College of Psychosocial Studies, in the Czech Republic… where the researchers reside. You couldn’t be bothered to read the article in it’s entirety before making assumptions and you have the emotional maturity of a toddler. I’m doubtful you can even hold job, let alone endure the schooling and experience involved in becoming a “scientist”.

      Idiots disgust me.

    3. This is so ignorant, ‘White people’ are indigenous too, and different indigenous ‘white cultures’ had land, life, culture and language suppressed and taken. People of all colors subjugated and ‘colonized’ and ‘othered’. I agree 100% that the colonizers then mine the culture, and it is disgusting, but not bound in ‘colour’. This thinking is faulty…I hope you realize how you continue to perpetuate these structures by taking this opinion. I had to.

  6. This is embarrassing. Neuroscience News should not hop on the “pre-science perspective actually wise” bandwagon. Preserving and respecting indigenous “knowledge” systems is not worthwhile, neither is keeping spirituality. Cut it out.

  7. Every people on earth has these ideas in the period when they live close to the struggle with and against the natural world. As if we don’t already consider these ideas in our scientific inquiry. They’re just one set of the many unconfirmable hypotheses at this point in time. Not particularly novel. Kinda just the boilerplate we all start with before science begins to shine light on the dark spots covered by spiritualism.

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