Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2022

Abstract

Theories of psychological energy have a rich history going back to the beginning of the field of psychology, employing concepts such as "libido," "psychic energy," "orgone energy," "bioenergetics," "psycho-energetics," "life energy," "organizing field," and "living-matrix." There has been a recent effort to find neural correlates with these concepts, but these data may not capture the fullness of the phenomenon. Because psychological energy is an elusive concept with many interpretations, research into this phenomenon faces the most basic questions regarding where and how to start. To address these questions, this paper explores several theories of ontology that could apply to psychological energy in the ways that major theorists have described it: the metaphysical foundationalist ontologies of Alfred North Whitehead, Ken Wilber, and Roy Bhaskar; the existentialist ontologies of Martin Heidegger and Maurice Merleau-Ponty; and extensions of existentialist ontology from Eugene Gendlin and Jorge N. Ferrer. It is argued that epistemological approaches based on existentialist ontology offer a more fruitful starting point for developing research methods in the study of psychological energy than methods grounded in metaphysical foundationalist ontologies. Grounds for ontological and epistemological dialog between these perspectives are explored

Share

COinS