The Mattering Map: A New Model for 21 Century Psychology
their usefulness if they do not change with the times and the development of
knowledge. I would assert that one goal of knowledge is to dissolve illusory
All too often, these metaphorical markers are taken to be materially real and, in
that moment, they occlude the complexly intertwined nature of all human and
non-human experience. That is, the existence of boundaries and disciplines are
an invention of the human senses and the human neurological system. It is
perhaps a necessary convenience for Western epistemologies to make
incremental sense of the material world, but it is only that. No theorist or
practitioner should marry a metaphor.
Each of us appears to reside materially inside our own skin; not only is that skin
porous, but our influence on others and the surroundings far exceeds the
seeming boundary known as skin. Nowhere is this influence more apparent than
in the field named psychology. Psychotherapy, in particular, can engender
profound change in an individual using the tools of verbal and body language.
While there is extensive research being conducted on neuroscience, or what is
going on in each individual’s brain and nervous system, we are only in the early
stages of connecting these neurological events to the complexity of experience.
While the discovery of mirror neurons (Rizzolati, Sinigaglia, and Anderson,
2008), for example, advances this area, there is little being said about the so-
called empty space between speakers.
It is primarily vision that not only separates, but creates the illusion of empty
space. No space is empty; it is filled in a way that our human senses do not
perceive. Nothing demonstrates this more clearly than my own recent work with
blind people and the epistemology of vision (Kaschak, in press). Without sight,
they do not perceive separation except through the presence or absence of
sound. Touch can signify presence to the human senses, but not emptiness.
The Western mind cannot easily understand that the space between them is far
from empty. Think of a jazz composition without the space between the notes or
the difficulty of decoding early writing, which did not contain spaces between
words. Even in the visual arts, the use of space is a significant aspect of any
The Western mind has had to divide to conquer. If conquest is no longer the