Compassion for Schizophrenia

Today I was reading my class readings in my Masters of Arts in Environmental Education and Communication, for EECO 504 Course, Systems with Pille Bunnell.

Her website is and this week the topic is

Cognition as Coordination 

Closed Nervous system 

Relational domains


Boy are these ever striking a painful cord in my heart.  Cognition.  Nervous Systems.  Relation/Relating.  Emotions.  And then when I read this section, I cried.  Then I wondered… “What is to know?”

Bunnell writes:

Though the various relational domains that we live are each lived as if separate (for example you don’t confuse your interactions with one person with those of another, and you don’t confuse what pertains to cooking dinner to the thoughts and actions that pertain to playing music) … we don’t live a schizophrenic existence.  Our experience feels continuous, and what we learn when doing one thing easily penetrates to how we act in some other domain.  Our nervous systems, or better, our cognitive systems are systemic unities.  I like to refer to some of the processes that enables integration between different domains of action as “structural intersection.”

When I read that “we don’t live a schizophrenic existence.”  Right away, I thought… but I know someone who does.  Then I felt sorry for that person, which lead me to passionately writing about what I don’t know… The nervous system, that person’s world, and why I feel so detached.

Here’s the thing… take a look at this video to see this structure that we are being asked to build upon in my class:


Well… I started making a connection between this structure and my dilemma of not knowing what to do and how to proceed with this person… then paid attention to the road block feeling I have with this person and proceeding in our relationship… how to relate to this person.  AND reflecting on the assignment I have right now from my Inside Passage course that I took last weekend with I came to realize:

1. I am so privileged to live in a cognitive and capable reality.

2. I don’t understand this person, and therefor find that I hold resentment against this person and don’t want to put energy into the relationship.

3. I didn’t want to put energy into doing things for this person, and showing up, which felt fake and superficial. Although I am excited about understanding how this person works, what makes this person tick… which I hope will result in me having more compassion and love for this person in all facets.

Maturana says that the nervous system is a detector of configurations within itself, it does not sense the outside world.  We sense ourselves to interpret the world.  Bunnell puts it like this

We do not see the world, we sense ourselves; but the self we sense is richly composed in a manner that is intricately and beautifully connected to our highly complex circumstances.

Things that make you say hmmm


“Everything is co-drifting as a whim through a world that is perceived by only you.”

I am excited about this journey, and look forward to sharing more soon!

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