There seems to be a battle within our culture between cosmology and sociology: between people who think the universe spontaneously organizes towards
'truth', and between people who think that, despite the intensity and meaningfulness of a human beings experience, we should also attempt to obtain
3rd person knowledge - knowledge from the outside - to see and verify what we internally believe.
I know we are all more or less afraid, and more or less embodying an animal type response to a feeling that understandably terrifies us: the idea of
being able to 'transcend nature'. This feeling, or experience, is based on the idea that 'love is everything'. The idea is so simple, yet it is a
difficult one for the modern brain-mind to tolerate: it considers it more a fable than a scientific reality.
But the simple developmental logic of where you are now, plus the series of interactions and the sets of responses that were developed from gestation
to the present, of you and the Other, means your awareness and sense of self is really the 'gestalt' of your relational history.
There is a strange melding of cosmology and sociology in this fact: nothing we do happens without some motivational dynamic behind it deriving from a
past interaction. Some feeling - some need, animates our engagement with the physical world. There are many different types of 'feelings'; there are
physiological ones like urination and defecation and the feelings which precede these actions; there is also the the feelings of hunger and thirst,
and the acts of eating and drinking; there is also the need for sleep - 8 hours worth at night being the average needed. But these sorts of feelings
'rest' in the background.
There are other motivations. This chart lists some of them, and also describes the relationship between the ontological stages which operate in
between the 'ipseity' of our observer mind, and the physical interactions we actually have with our environments. In between lies 7 'motivational
systems' posited by developmental theorists, and the long-history of your development which has 'shaped' these various responses.
All that myelination in your brain - all those axons formed between neurons - is the purple part of the diagram. The green part is the 7 various
systems described by Lichtenberg and others. These aren't meant to be 'ontological' distinctions, just useful heuristics. Three of these
motivations, caregiving, attachment and affiliation could be described as 'gradations' of the same affective process: care, or love. When you're
born, an Other shows you love, and in doing so, motivates the positive feeling of wanting to love others in return. So caregiving is a reflection of
being shown care. Affiliation, on the other hand, appears to be an effect of living in a world with copious amounts of strangers; we love to interact
and socialize; but the degree of feeling we feel with others we don't know will never be as relaxed as it can be with our most intimate relationships
i.e. family. This situation, the one we live today, is a big reason why ancient humans must have lived with a very different sense of reality. What we
call "technology", and what we evidently enjoy playing with, requires a certain motivation to focus on 'things' and 'objects' other than our
particular relationships with others.
So, throughout the fossil record, we find evidence of humans and an interest in various sorts of physical things. A big obsession appears to be
red-ochre, an iron oxide which could be ground down and used for art purposes or as makeup. Flutes, and other things, also periodically emerge, in and
out, depending on where we're looking. Around 45,000 years ago, we find lots of evidence of art, and images of bison, aurochs, mammoths, woolly
rhino, deer, bears, and horses. These finds are always in rather 'dead' looking areas. And so, we find fixation on animals and creatures which
On the other hand, we find human figurines dating to 30,000 or more years ago. Some depict a large voluptuous woman, others don't. Most are female,
but some others are males. Such figurines and depictions and could have been motivated for reasons metaphysical and not.
Yet there are also forests, and a history of the world which may have produced a type of human consciousness that underwent the "final' phase
transition - the omega point. Such an enlightened state may have transformed the humans experience, but paradoxically, it apparently couldn't do
anything about the potential effect and impacts of a planet - it couldn't control asteroids or meteors. No person living in point A could know of a
person elsewhere at point B, very far away. It doesn't, in other words, grant omniscience, although it evidently does increase the information-load
of the conscious mind to a point where it can very well feel like omniscience.
There is Mystery Still
Is mystery wondrous? If we can say, "the functioning of the human being is based on the principle of love", which said otherwise could be described
as the "search for safety", then we more or less understand that our biodynamical functioning is deeply dependent on a 'top-down' influence:
whether or not other humans show us care or love, and whether or not we can be spared the morbid effects of shame and anger on our psyche, and the way
this affect undermines the coherency of all states of human perception:
“The ability to consciously experience the psychobiological state marked by shame is essential, since overt acknowledged shame allows for
experiencing, dissipating, and transitioning out of the negative state, while bypassed shame avoids this state – which still exists and affects the
self even if it is not consciously attended to – and does not allow the individual the opportunity to take action to relieve this painful state.”
– Allan Schore, Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self: The Neurobiology of Emotional Development; pg. 362, Routledge, 1994 (2015)
The reason this happens is because shame and cognitive 'movement' are underlined by different physiological circuitry: the former is mediated by the
orbital-medullary circuit which involves the lateral tegmental system, as well as the locus coeruleus, and relies upon the neurotransmitter
noradrenaline. This is the parasympathetic response of the brain on psychological experience, and so is the pathway that shame moves through.
Conversely, the cholinergic descending circuits from the right orbitofrontal cortex to the hippocampus allows for the 'inhibition' of the awareness
of the state in question - shame - while dopamine circuits in the ventral tegmental area and nucleus accumbens allows the mind to 'move towards
It's this duality of systems within the brain which allows for suppression of unwanted feelings and thoughts, and yet since the shame response is its
own circuitry, suppression doesn't eliminate the energy of the response, but actually engenders other processes such as aggression and agitation.
Anger is dialectically related to shame. It becomes 'trapped' in the mind when the mind doesn't want to acknowledge the shame.
Neuroscientists have noticed an asymmetry between the two hemispheres of the brain, it is larger in the right frontal lobe, and in the right visual
cortex. It is as if something 'implicitly known', is not being converted into the left, explicit hemisphere.