Notes from my Research
- Schore believes that shame experiences emerge as a function of stressing the ventral tegmental area (the dopaminergic pathway) and the activation
of the lateral tegmental area (a noradrenergic pathway). Pg. 214
- The orbitofrontal cortex regulates the motility of the proximal and distal parts of the gastrointestinal tract, which is innervated by the vagus
nerve and sent up to the nucleus of the solitary tract, which is itself a target of orbitofrontal axons. Pg. 220; vagal connections to an area
adjacent to the nucleus of the solitary tract – the area postrema – is involved in emesis (vomiting) – as well as experiences of disgust. The
closeness and similar circuitry of these two areas demonstrates the close relationship between disgust and shame affects. Disgust expressions, which
were originally evolved in relation to bad food, is enacted and displayed in relation to ‘bad relationships’. See quote
“The functional similarity of shame and dissmell-disgust in breaking attachment bonds is thus related to structural similarity of the
orbitofrontal-medullary mechanisms that underlie them.” – Allan Schore, Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self: The Neurobiology of
Emotional Development; pg. 221, Routledge, 1994 (2015)
“In the physiologically hyperactive state of shame, an affect that elicits greater awareness of the body than any other emotion (Izard, 1991), the
individual experiences an influx of autonomic proprioceptive and kinesthetic feedback into awareness.” – Allan Schore, Affect Regulation and the
Origin of the Self: The Neurobiology of Emotional Development; pg. 211, Routledge, 1994 (2015)
Touching the Divine
The divine is a part of our human condition. It is a level of consciousness which, in line with everything else in nature, constitutes a very
impressive phase shift into a form of relationship with nature where 'self' and 'other' are seen as they ultimately are: as a Singularity. That
said, logic and objectivity still exist even as we experience such a profound state of awareness and unity. Reality changes - the shaman can
'descend' into the depths, or 'ascend' to the heights. The general effect on consciousness is well demonstrated in by Bran in Game of Thrones:
dissociation of self from the "lower ego".
Is this the case though? Does the Deus ex Machina really become "god" when he merges with nature? Or do the scripts which make up his brain - the
imprintations of the interactions he's had with others - determine the content of the belief, and therefore, even as the state dominates
consciousness with its 'truth', it still, astonishingly, isn't yet the 'ultimate truth'. The universe, it appears, does not disclose itself in
one shot to anyone. Jesus, Moses, Zoroaster, and the Shamanic traditions of yore: every one of these people were constructed by their social
environment, and made to experinece a truth which was, again, astonishingly myopic in its sense of what does exist, or what could exist.
In the ancient mind - and in many minds today, speculative metaphysics is treated as fact, yet there are obvous epistemological problems with people
who make these claims - or who feel that "everything is settled". There is much of interest in ancient thinking, yet I do not think ancient thinking
offers the sort of liberation from suffering the way science can. Science can take us out of ourselves and OUT OF OUR NARCISSISM. A big way it has
done this in the last 50 years has been through the neurosciences, and in particular, the study of development, which includes knowledge from
neuroanatomy (mapping of parts), neurophysiology (mapping how the parts connect at the physical level), neuropsychology (mapping the regions of the
brain that interact to produce the phenomenological state it correlates with), developmental psychoanalysis (which studies how relations with the
environment affect brain development) genetics and epigenetics (mapping the way interactions affect gene expression).
My theory is that symmetry is the fundamental organizing schema for the brain. It is the basic organizing schema for all of reality - a belief which
makes much sense to many mathematicians and physicists, but for some reason is less interesting to biologists, psychologists, or philosophers.
So when the perceiving mind looks at reality, and experiences the highest level the human mind can attain, and the effect - or affect - produced is
negative - why is this? The notes I posted above explains this: the orbitofrontal cortex and the medulla oblongata have ascending and descending
connections built around dopamine and noradrenaline. The former produces 'desire', whereas the latter produces different states, such as disgust and
When someone looks at you - or when you were young, you may have been looked at by another with a facial expression of disgust.
“I argue that the process of socialization, usually conceptualized behaviorally or cognitively, is transmitted affectively, and that shame is the
essential affect that mediates this socializing function. Specifically, the mother utilizes facially expressed stress-inducing shame transactions
which engender a psychobiological misattunement within the dyad. Such visuoaffective communications trigger an inhibition of the infant states of
hyperarousal that support positive affect.” – Allan Schore, Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self: The Neurobiology of Emotional
Development; pg. 200, Routledge, 1994 (2015
If the organism is biosemiotics - as more and more biologists and psychologists are beginning to accept - than the inevitable result of a traumatized
mind, contemplating the beauty of nature and reality, is to feel alienated and disconnected
. The disgust circuitry (primarily the lateral
tegmental and orbitofrontal circuits) which evolved to alert an animal to a noxious substance, or when eaten, is activated to trigger vomiting. As
sociality evolved, it became integrated into social-relationships, and became a behavior that alerted an Other that something about them was
'disgusting', which produces a feeling of shame as a result.
Both these results are a function of past-experience. A past interaction arbitrarily 'informs' a present state - and if a contradiction is found -
A body which has been negative known - looked at with disgust because it did something that the observing other perceived as wrong, and therefore was
"disgusting" to them - will have a profound shame response, and this shame response, although 'not consciously known', is very much a semiotic
'holon' embedded within brain functioning that guides, or determines, the behavior of the idealizing conscious mind.
The above picture captures the feelings of distress the mind experiences when it experiences divinity: the contrast is absolutely grueling. The
attachments that have formed, the way of being that has been developed, and all the unconscious "semes" which lie buried in the person's past,
intervene from the bottom up - forming the embodied background, the 'unconscious known', and so the self that contemplates the ultimate truth, the
ultimate unity of the human self with the universe, experiences its existence, and in particular, the sheer INFINITY of TIME, as painful, motivating
the nihilistic mentality - motive - which is oftentimes linked with shamanism.....