A new vision of the mind, built out of systems theory, called the "predictive processing model" in modern day cognitive science, has brought humankind
forward in it's self-understanding. For the first time, we can see how we "roll forward" as neurons active in perception and active in action "roll
upon one another" as we generate a world of need.
Philosophy without an openness to empirical scientific studies is idle and idolistic - a pointless game played by the thinker as he makes love to his
own image. I make this point, basically, as I see such a powerful difference in analysis and understanding - the type of knowledge gained - when a
person can recognize that "observing the world and its patterns" holds our greatest hope for self-understanding.
Feelings - in this new philosophical world - are subject to developmental factors in the shaping of your phenomenology - and psychology. You cannot
consider yourself anymore an individual that is closed off from a network of relations at multiple emergent levels. In truth, we are a
thermodynamically held together biochemical dynamical system that somehow maintains an intense unity between trillions of parts in a state of "quantum
coherence" between its various subsystems.
It's not very deeply recognized that we are story-tellers who are continuously playing a story
. This is a biological phenomenon - your brain is
changed by each new and different thought, even as most thoughts are held together by a dialectical field of categorical meaning - sensitive to the
goods and bads of how humans construct meaning in symbolic systems. But symbols - as Terrence Deacons analysis in his book "The Symbolic Species", has
made clear, are rather like "spaces" or constraints", created within each persons phenomenology (brain) as it relates to the dynamics experienced
in Other minds
. Our minds not only "roll forward" - it rolls towards what will make it feel good
. Affect is not simply "feeling", but the
dynamical expression in consciousness of the biophysical systems dynamical stability. In other words, good feelings register a state of biochemical
"exuberance", and bad feelings, the reverse. Given the extent, range and subtly of the feelings humans can have, each type must be part of our
present-day biological structure. But the structure, paradoxically, is held together by a series of invisible "tensions" that exist between human
beings. In other words, humans are fundamentally sensitive to the Presences exuded by Human Others, and as such, are already "crunched" by the nature
of the soon-to-be-interacted-with-Other in what they can perceive and what they can know.
Perception and action are the main coordinates in modern day cognitive science, with neurons involved in visual perception (for example), located in
the V1 area of the occipital lobe (back of the head) interacting with neurons in the more dorsal (top) area of the visual cortex, which communicates
automatic prediction mechanisms that our phenomenology presumes whenever it interacts with the world. The philosopher Andy Clark describes this
dynamic as a "precision weighting" between top-down and down-Up informational flows, providing us with an 'attuned sense' of what were interacting
with (bringing about coherency). This "narrow middle" is the direction of stability and relaxation and dynamical efficiency. From biology to cognitive
science, life shows one curious feature: it chooses paths of least resistance.
Our minds roll forward with each new act of perception. And every perception relates in some way to the conditions of its immediate dynamical reality.
Humans are multi-dimensional being, interfacing at broadly two scales - the psychosocial and the biophysical. We therefore "integrate" two sorts of
information flow: 1) the flow of the food we eat into our bodies. 2) the flow of the feelings we feel in relation to Others. Evolutionary scientists
would typically interpret the latter as being for the purpose of the former, and no doubt, I agree that that dynamic can certainly be made out.
However, it would be phenomenologically wrong - and thus, not self-aware - to imagine that the directionality of our "total bodily flow" (brain and
body) is not
directed by the way we feel when we interact with other humans.
All of human phenomenology pivots about whether or not the dynamical emergent attractor of "being positively known by the Other" is present in any
interaction. Notice how this focus is "Other oriented". Somehow, interfacing with the products of the self - our own egos and our defensive need to
maintain a feeling of pride - separates the human being from the source of its most stable dynamical enlivenment. The attractor that organized our
biological dynamic being for over 200,000 years is fundamentally Other oriented. This Other orientation - hard to imagine in todays capitalized world
- would probably produce a different phenomenology - a phenomenology, that, being constructed in a different way from todays brains (different network
connections) may have produced a very, very different consciousness, inasmuch as the Ego we modern day capitalocene (the age of modern humans since
the beginning of agriculture in the neolithic 11,000 years ago) humans experience is fundamentally constructed in terms of negative constraints: to
strenuously avoid feelings of weakness, which are amply produced day after day; and the wishful and idealized self-image, made out of impressions of
being excited by perceptions of certain powerful Others - whose presence brought Others and self into a particular relation of phenomenological
Human minds roll, as all minds in nature roll. Ours just rolled into a complexity that involved Self-Self relations of mutual enlivenment, built
around relations of care, play and religious awe, stably "at one" with the environments they "rolled through" in their hunter-gatherer mode of living.
Eventually, complexity at the level described by the neuroscientist Guilio Tononi, generated a mind that was in dynamic attunement with existential
What does this strange idea mean? It means, while humans "increased their consciousness", via experiencing interactions with Others as
fundamentally "rewarding", the world itself - in its presence and wonder-inducing forms - drew the mind of ancient man into attunement and engagement.
However this understanding was communicated between humans - by spoken language, or by a more intuitive mode of knowing - we should never lose contact
with the pragmatic realities of day to day survival. This idea of kindness, compassion, does not grow out of an empty wishful thinking - quite the
contrary! It assumes the form of the basic evolutionary metaphor of all organic dynamic systems: "relaxing stresses towards paths of least
resistance". It is intuitively plausible that humans - in real environments, and not the human created environments of our modern day world - used
to stabilize their affective realities, and so had come to process disputes - when they occurred - in a reparative way that
emphasized the inter-connectedness of themselves and life. Indeed, the human brain implies an evolutionary period of impressive self-regulation,
whereby ancient humans processed within their phenomenology
the complexities of their existential relations with Others. Again and again, each
human mind invariably inclined towards the "path of least resistance.
edit on 22-7-2016 by Astrocyte because: (no reason given)