Consciousness and Emotions as Interpersonal and Transpersonal Systems: This paper is dedicated to the living memory of May Buelna de Cardeña (1924-2008)
Emotions and consciousness are intimately linked and often conceived from a purely intrapersonal perspective. This paper explores the implications of considering emotions as not only intrapersonal but also as interpersonal and transpersonal heterarchical (i.e., every component has potentially equal importance) systems. It is telling that in contemplative traditions and contemporary research on hypnotic experience, deep 'inner' experience is pregnant with interpersonal and transpersonal meanings. Similarly, the propensity to have porous conscious experiences is paralleled by the tendency to be affected by the emotion of others. Anecdotal and experimental evidence on anomalous events clearly suggests that strong emotions can have non-local effects. That consciousness and emotions are embedded within interpersonal and transpersonal fields has important epistemological and ethical implications.