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The "Rolling Mind"

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posted on Jul, 22 2016 @ 05:52 PM
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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 subordination.

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 reality. 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 one another 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)




posted on Jul, 22 2016 @ 07:28 PM
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a reply to: Astrocyte

It is intuitively plausible that humans - in real environments, and not the human created environments of our modern day world

As holistic, or wholeistic as most of these thoughts feel to me, this one point sticks out as different. There is a jump here, a gap of sorts that does not hold 'naturally for me.

Yes I can easily intuit the plausibility you suggest as being effective in real environments of say, the past. However the immediate denial that they are also effective in human constructed environments stumps me. What is it about these human created environments that to your mind make them not as effective. How is it that the more natural flow or rolling of the mind toward relaxing stresses towards paths of least resistance. For you, what is it, or rather, why is it that human created systems are not understood to be like more ancient times.

Is it due somehow to the 'negative restraints' you mentioned earlier?



posted on Jul, 22 2016 @ 09:09 PM
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a reply to: Astrocyte

I love philosophy. It's the love of wisdom. It is never bad to be wise but it is hard to love being wise.

Wisdom itself is easy to love just not the state of being wise. I depends on the circumstances too.



posted on Jul, 23 2016 @ 11:35 PM
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a reply to: TerryMcGuire

The difference is the difference between using subjects to relax your state, and using objects.

We really, really do not realize how structured our phenomenological and psychological dissociation is to the general lifeways structured by capitalism.

First - we already experience, all of us, in ourselves, constraints on the flow of feeling in our self-experience because our brains relfexively self-organize towards states that are 'paths of least resistance': ergo, in the presence of certain Others, we are unable to think or perceive in ways we would otherwise be able to in a relaxed, caring environment, or during meditation. The core theme here is: people exude a presence, about which we are already 'structurally entrained' to experience in a particular form - i.e. a scripted, form, structured through the structuring matrix of capitalisms labor-model.

Now remove this context. Try to imagine and intuit ancient environments, without what I call the "reflexively constituted affective referent" built in by the capitalistic matrix. In ancient environments, humans evolved forward - not by accident - but by achieving "relaxation" in relation to the various stresses on our phenomenological stream.

So the big theme here is stresses and how modern humans manage to avoid them by using objects - things - materials - or other people, as objects. You think this is the ancient mode - but I argue, based on the ubiquity and foundation of the relaxation of stresses from the origin of life - that humans resolves existential conflicts (something that, unfortunately, is terrifyingly dissociated from too many minds) by using one another - and the cultivation and pursuit of care/awe/fun - 3 different neurogenic affects that's permitted both an extension of what could be perceived phenomenologically - and also, at the same time, made its converse - suffering - even greater, and realer, as a consequence of an subject-within-subject interinclusion.

Culture - or the "convergent needs" of different organisms: this leads to an elaboration of external reality - as well as becoming embodied as physical biological structure. This point is fundamental to what we regard as our individuality: if "feeling real" i.e. enlivened, depends upon the Other responding to us in a positive way after we act, our sense of individuality and autonomy is functionally tethered to a preexisting symbiotic process of Self-and-Other.

My general theory is, some massive perturbation around 25,000 years ago led humans down a pathway that resulted in the widespread practice of agriculture (capitalization of land) 11,000 years ago. This theory helps make sense of the neural-devolution that has occurred in our species starting 25,000 years ago, which we may consider a beginning period that led to an increase in intra-tribal violence, leading to the proliferation of unstable affect states within the social-context - shame and pride (and not a "pride-pride" we ethic stabilized within a co-parenting - care attractor - , and nature worshipping - awe attractor - dynamic). Our brain reached 1,500 cc's! Before "falling" to the modern average of 1,350. It is not too implausible that perhaps a "garden of eden', describes a real evolutionary dynamic - indeed the ancient attractor of our species - of which some of us can be made aware, as the ancient Babylonians and Hebrews apparently sensed.

Pride - and shame - too, were intuited as relevant to this dynamic. Shame is precisely the feeling of being "less than" - something that is provoked in an interaction by the absence of the contingently required recognition - and care - that has established the human brain along a "self-world' attunement attractor. If humans can't attune or know one another properly, because their parents are preoccupied (entrained) by the structuring patterns of their existing lifeworld, then the lifeworld is epigenetically handed down. Pride - a pride based upon some implicit deficit in relating to the Other - is an energetic deficiency in the life-context - the tendency of evolutionary processes to "smooth out" stresses in the flow of energy through the biological system.

So why is capitalism wrong? It leads to a chronic phenomenological condition of over-valuating the experience of agency (experiencing yourself, your action, your needs) while it undervaluates the perception of passivity - for instance, a passive perception which knows and attunes to the fact that Others enliven you - give you biological energy and orientation for your system. Indeed, your feeling of autonomy and strength is bounded by invisible umbilical chords to those people responsible for your enlivenment.

Yet - we chronically hurt, insult, exploit, and so come to mistrust, hate and become cynical. It's a horrendous feedback loop created by a species that has lost its way.

But it must be getting it back! If we can think and make clear to ourselves these principles - we can recreate it - our world - our minds. We just have to have trust in one another - and reflexively self-organize towards familiar affective referents, again and again!

In the end, we seem to be "products" of the ecology of relations that created us. Why fight your own nature?



posted on Jul, 23 2016 @ 11:39 PM
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Forgot to mention: when you are exposed to suffering in ancient environments, "organic" and ecological responses emerge. Going somewhere away from the group is not an option - as it is, for example, since the neolithic. In ancient environments, the "world" is the Other, and so when seeing suffering, identification is immediate, and so seeking an immediate solution - a path of least resistance in light of realistic options - and this, again and again, is provided by the affect of care, sympathy, empathy.

Where else did these "self-regulation' circuits that feed from the cortex to the brainstem come from - other than the need to process experiences in an ecological - and shared - way.

One may even wonder, in that ancient context, if the "ego" as we now experience even existed.



posted on Jul, 24 2016 @ 04:45 AM
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originally posted by: Astrocyte
Yet - we chronically hurt, insult, exploit, and so come to mistrust, hate and become cynical. It's a horrendous feedback loop created by a species that has lost its way.

But it must be getting it back! If we can think and make clear to ourselves these principles - we can recreate it - our world - our minds. We just have to have trust in one another - and reflexively self-organize towards familiar affective referents, again and again!

In the end, we seem to be "products" of the ecology of relations that created us. Why fight your own nature?


Who's nature is it anyway? And who is fighting what?
Only humans believe that they can be different than what they are - there is an awareness of the self. That 'self' that they are aware of becomes the prime interest - life is all about me. Life is not just life - it is 'my' life. There is an idea that 'I can do life right' - that 'I' am the manager of life - 'I' can make life better.
All of this analysing is about making me feel more comfortable because me feels uncomfortable. That feeling that is actually here is life - any story arising in mind is an attempt to remove oneself from the feeling - it is a denial of life - that is why you feel lost. Life is continually being denied (the actual feeling - non conceptual life) by going to the mind for relief - the mind will show you how it could be if............. But right here and right now life is appearing as sensation.
What is required is good feeling - not a good theory on how to make it better. How many people have a good feeling about them? If they all had a good feeling about them they would not be trying to escape and there would be no shame.
edit on 24-7-2016 by Itisnowagain because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 24 2016 @ 08:46 AM
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As long as you believe you are the body mind then you are going to have problems. It must be realised that the body mind are objects appearing ..............but to whom are they appearing, that is the question.
Who or what is seeing (whatever appears) is not what is appearing!

The real you, is the seeing of what you are not. Without the seeing, nothing could ever appear.
The seer will never be seen but it is the only reality there is.
edit on 24-7-2016 by Itisnowagain because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 24 2016 @ 10:05 AM
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a reply to: Astrocyte

What kind of speculation have you on a massive perturbation 25,000 years ago. Might this have been a world wide perturbation in weather patterns or maybe something more local that effected certain tribes which then 'rubbed off on others around them.

I often wonder might this perturbation have been the switch from matriarchal to patriarchal organizing of cultures. Of tracing blood lines through father oriented ancestral threads rather than the more simply retained knowledge of matriarchal lineage. This switch would seem to have entailed the emergence of a more nuclear family over a larger female oriented structure in that the father figure, now the prime figure, would need to be recognized specifically rather then generally as might be supposed to be the case in the female dominant culture. In the female dominant culture there is no doubt about who is the mother and grandmother down the line while prior to the more nuclear family, the male parentage might have been much more questionable and not as easily traced. This level of nurturing that you suggest we need might have been more pronounced in a female dominant culture than one of male domination.



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