posted on Jul, 14 2015 @ 09:11 PM
I say multi-colored because I couldn't think of any other way to title this thread. Perhaps multi-colored makes sense, different colors all appearing
on the same jacket. Or, perhaps it exaggerates what I mean.
The self is NOT one. At least not in it's natural state. Although, of course, we all believe this and act like this is basically the truth: "I am
not deluded", we quietly, unconsciously tell ourselves, not in words, of course, but in actions that contain meanings that say something just like
that: "What I do is right".
We all more-or-less act in this basic fashion for a pretty good, albeit, severely impersonal, physiological purpose: to maintain homeostasis, which,
from a dynamic systems perspective, means maintaining a dynamic stable equilibrium that inclines to a certain state. The organism can handle, and even
grows by pulling away from dynamic equilibrium, yet, after every departure from equilibrium, equilibrium is sought again by the self-balancing
organism that we are - and yet experience ourselves so different from being.
This basically means that our conscious explicit meanings we tell ourselves are "stories" superimposed upon a dynamic process that occurs whether or
not we pay attention to it: the organism seeks "good" for itself - physically, and yes, my God, also psychologically and mentally.
Mentally..How can homeostasis pick things for us mentally? Armed with Damasio's neurological theory of the "somatic marker", acting in a world of
neural darwinism (different assemblies of neurons "fight" for expression in the brain i.e. the brain always inclines to activity, eating up any
information offered by the environment) means that what we humans feel with regard to the world we relate with emerges from the sub-personal
activities of hundreds of cells collectively performing homeostatic activities.
So if the self is multi-colored i.e. disconnected, disjunct, discontinuous, or in Edelmans language "degenerate", what does this mean in light of
the above? It simply means that the organism-environment connection is incredibly precise: the organism "matches" and dynamically "time locks"
particular organism-organism interactions with regard to major sense modalities (vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch) emotional experience (which
includes bodily affects) and homeostatic functioning i.e. autonomic activities, heart rate, respiration, and basic "repair" processes throughout the
body; together these 3 levels, beginning at the lowest (homeostatic) and rising to the highest, the entire goal of all our activities in the world can
1) We are very sensitive to the feedback we get from others 2) this is because we have evolved to pay attention to each others cues 3) because of this
minds are thus unconsciously 'linked' by unconscious 'co-regulation' between two right brain unconscious processing systems 4) while under the
influence of these systems, we can barely notice how ridiculous some of our beliefs are.
The mind you have and with which you are reading this post is a dynamic process created by your personal history and the environments you existed
within at every moment. Each meaning held in the same brain eventually forms a dynamic "network", with one meaning interacting with another meaning,
which creatives, recursively, an emergent meaning that only exists because of the contrasting effects of the earlier meaning.
If I experience love, and then one day, say, at 3 years old, I experience shame, what do you think will happen? Before, the brain was operating mostly
with a certain type of experience which involved a certain assembly of neurons with specific neurotransmitter concoctions. Lets say this was being
loved, held, played with, fed, etc. Then one day your mother raises her voice at you, and you stop; you now feel this incredible force acting upon you
- nay, WITHIN you: you freeze, at first, but then you feel shaking in your peripheral nervous system and a fear feeling in your stomach. The force is
the shock of shame. The child turns her head down because she feels exactly like that: she wants to hide, not me seen.
The "alchemy" comes into the picture when the child develops a "mastery" over life. Eventually, in relating with others and seeing, unconsciously,
the qualities of their emotional states, the developing person, mirroring them, develops more complex behavior. Shame can still be felt, but he has
unconsciously developed mechanisms of emotional regulation that transform shame experiences into projections of strength. This is an unconscious
"reaction against shame" - a feeling ABOUT a feeling - that indeed acts in our experiences all the time. This is what comes with meta-cognition:
because we KNOW that we KNOW, our brain also records and utilizes, nay, seems to specialize, in transforming our social experience with other selves
into "positive" depictions.
The Brain-Mind does this by having us experience ourselves in certain ways; absorbing cultures with agreement and seeking out meanings with others.
This is so processual that people don't even realize that this is happening: that they are living within the matrix of evolutionary processes. In any
case, every meaning we form from childhood onwards self-organizes into a "complex system" of 'self-states', ways we act to find 'equilibrium'
i.e. comfort, ease, good experience, pleasurable experience, with other selves.
This is funny because I see it so strongly in myself. One day I can feel utterly defeated and truly believe that I am ruined. My life will never get
better and I will never get what I need. Other days - such as today - I feel strong, goofy, curious, open, and all around excited about the world
around me. And besides these states there are paranoid states that ruminate about existential matters - consciousness, life, fear, suffering etc -
other times I am, well, very man-like, very salacious. Each of these characters are ALL me, and the presence and activity of one can act powerfully
against the meaningful actions of another. Shame is horrible, anxiety is horrible, negative feelings are horrible, thus, I must do x to delete the
power of y.
The real magic and mystery, the reason why consciousness amazes us, is that we can actually track this process, and do literally what nothing in
evolution has so far down: reverse the process, see the past; not just that, we can see the future too. We exist, literally, within the processes of
creation (a word that just seems to appropriate) repeating a dynamic from one level to the next, until we - this point of consciousness - can look
upon it and discover meaning, truly wonderful, incredible meaning, while alive.
That is cool.