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A Relational Mind

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posted on Nov, 25 2016 @ 12:12 AM
Sometimes I see the world from the perspective of chaos. Emptiness - a void - with me, a nothingness peering out upon an emptiness, and compelled to ask: why? Why? WHY?

I now think about the signature below my post, from Robert Frost.

We dance round in a ring and suppose, But the Secret sits in the middle and knows.

I'm not sure I can find a more pithy yet meaningful sentence in the English language than this.

When things aren't right, and reality seems off, I think in the mode above. Round and round I go, thinking, fretting, worrying, reflecting - knowing - knowing in a way I sometimes wish I didn't know. Round and round my mind goes, chasing thoughts, chasing ideas - seeking coherency, yet the coherency, it seems - at least for me, at this time, not in the mode of reflecting.

You see, we all have a relational mind - yet we don't quite know it yet. We live in a civilization, culture and time period that messes our thinking up.

The video below offers a useful and truthful way of thinking, but I'd like to add a caveat that the maker of the video is not apparently aware of.

This idea of there being a "mismatch" between people emerges as a function of each of us assuming radically different developmental pathways, and so, assuming a different form-of-knowing and making coherent our experience of reality. In the simplest terms, this is explicable on the grounds of developmental neurobiology.

In the first 3 years of life, the brain undergoes tremendous growth - but growth which happens with reference to the emotional enlivenment of the people the baby is psychosocially exposed to. For example: in the very earliest parts of life, a mother connects and bonds with her baby through touch and love. We mostly conceptualize this process in terms of behaviors, but recent study into the dynamics of the heart beat show that the heart is largely responsive to the electromagnetic radiation coming off from other human bodies up to 3 feet. Thus, a close, intimate encounter between a mother and her infant entrains the biodynamical ontogenesis (physical development) of the baby's brainstem growth with the enlivening experience of the love felt by the mother. That is - the mothers consciousness experience - her neurodynamics - radiates out from her heart, to the baby's heart, thus tying in a very literal way the nervous systems of two different bodies.

Furthermore, and is well known to pediatricians and infant researchers, mothers intuitively nurse their children so that the child's right side will be drawn towards her heart - thus, the child's right brain, itself being the organ which grows most in the first few 2 years of life, is essentially being emotionally entrained and - at the same time, neurologically constructed. It's wiring is very much being correlated with the sorts of emotional experiences it shares with its mother.

Why is the above important? It is crucial, but so hard to understand or accept if you do not "feel" it in you. If you experienced chronic negative experience in your early life development - primarily during the early spurt in right hemispheric development in the first 2 years - your brain became entrained to experiencing and processing relational stimuli in a way that "dampened" or "controlled" the impact of a negative encounter.

Dissociation exists because Human experience is naturally and normally kind, loving, playful, and curious. But when there's intense infighting - aggression - your brain literally becomes the embodiment of those processes, and so, your thinking and the philosophy you develop, nothing more than a "husk of self-explanation" for the feelings you feel and your intrinsic need to make those feelings coherent.

Some people here, to my sense - and with reference to the realities of human development - have a philosophy that grants them a certain "license" to ignore the needs of others - or even to trample upon them, aggress upon them, and beat them up - just because they themselves underwent a traumatic development - and to which they "made the trauma coherent" by assuming a particular philosophy - already afforded by the culture and time-period they lived in, and so, equipped them with a powerful narrative to make sense of all the relation information they encounter during their living.

Yet - make no mistake, we are all fundamentally governed by our brain-biology, and so, our real-life lived experiences - recorded in our brain, and to which our brain will never lose, because it literally holds the dynamics of our development and evolution of our selfhood. In effect, cause and effect live inside of us, modelling the world we encounter on the outside.

This brings me to the latter part of Frosts poem. But the secret sits in the middle and knows. What is the secret, but movement, being, and living in the now, yet with a goal related to an immediate or distant future? The psychologist Viktor Frankl, in his book "Man's Ultimate search for meaning", saw man's search in this world in the little projects we carry out with one another - both personal and social - in areas of science, philosophy, spirituality, and technology.

This cheerful, optimistic frame - a relational vantage point that references goals and collective activity - sits inside me in the sense decribed by Frosts poem: it seems like what were supposed to do. It is inherently happy - relaxed - and at ease, and doesn't experience its existence as a "mistake" or an error, ala Schoepenhaur. I truly believe that we have yet to realize the power of brain science as a tool for self-understanding, and not just that, but for self-enhancement, through neurofeedback machines which give us greater and greater control over certain processes within us, whatever they may be.

To summarize: I think we all assume that life is "this" way, or "that way", when in reality, its usually one way - the way inclined by the natural flux of the organizational structure i.e. symmetry in social relations, which means kind, loving, playful, and curious relations - but traumas, real, dysregulating trauma - entrains the nervous system in dark directions that oftentimes succeeds in convincing the linguistic mind that reality is evil, dark, demented and meaningless.

I think everyone here should reflect on this reality: you are your brain - your brain is a network of 86 billion neurons, wired into specific sorts of configurations that itself models all the feelings and thoughts you have. Your feelings and thoughts, of course, are in some sense "in" the quantum dynamics operating within each of the atoms of your brain-body, and yet, as a paradoxical and dynamical feedback loop, the dynamics of the brain incline the processes of consciousness to perceive in certain ways. This is clearly a body-mind feedback, between attentional and reflective processes and reflexive and automatic processes. In brain language - its the relationship between higher level cortical dynamics and lower level brainstem dynamics - the latter always prioritizing the more ancient circuitry of our brain which gives precedence to basic organismal needs i.e. temperature, hunger, physical exhaustion etc.

I find this way of thinking to be very useful. Whenever I am feeling off, it is, in fact, my body that is off - with my mind, or consciousness, feeling "outside the loop", and so feeling dissociated and derealized, and, so, subject to morbid thinking and feeling.

posted on Nov, 25 2016 @ 12:55 AM
a reply to: Astrocyte

We dance round in a ring and suppose, But the Secret sits in the middle and knows.

Well I suppose you and the video makes a point. But if we all were sitting in the middle and knowing. Then who would be dancing around in a ring and supposing? It would get boring after a while you know, and maybe we all like to think were as original as snowflakes. But even snowflakes fall into the category of a few basic shapes.

Quite literally falling creates and distinguishes there looks and characteristics and even then there either columns or plate and variations of more intricate patterns there in. From this site.

Even though two snowflakes may form in the same cloud, their different journeys to the ground will affect their shape and size, giving each snowflake its own unique identity. You may never find an identical pair of snowflakes, but they can be grouped by similarities in their patterns.

Here is graph that shows at what temperatures and supersaturation the basic forms fall into.

posted on Nov, 25 2016 @ 07:02 AM
a reply to: Astrocyte

But the secret sits in the middle and knows. What is the secret, but movement, being, and living in the now, yet with a goal related to an immediate or distant future? The psychologist Viktor Frankl, in his book "Man's Ultimate search for meaning", saw man's search in this world in the little projects we carry out with one another - both personal and social - in areas of science, philosophy, spirituality, and technology.

That which sits in the middle and knows does not move - it is in the middle and everything moves around it.
That which is knowing there is text appearing , That which knows there is sounds happening and That which knows a thought or any sensation will never appear so gets overlooked but it is what is looking.

Saint Francis of Assisi spoke of the secret you are talking about when he said -'We are looking for what is looking'.

That which knows has no goal - it is already what it is. It can only know what is appearing.

posted on Nov, 26 2016 @ 02:43 AM
a reply to: Itisnowagain
He who knows not, and knows not he knows not, He is a fool - Shun him.
He who knows not, and knows he knows not, He is a child - Teach him.
He who knows and knows not he knows, he is asleep - Awaken him.
He who knows and knows that he knows, He is wise - Follow him.

Some saying, forgot were it originally came from, likely like all sayings a bit from here and there.

I think we all like to think that we know a bit more then we really know. There is not single state of matter in all environments or circumstances, that is true for humans even the human mind. Its kind of pointless to make a big deal about one or the other, the middle, the edge, the cliff, and the fall. In time and in all eventualities all will happen, though even that people make a big deal about, they like to call it experience.

They have a point I suppose. But I can also not suppose.

posted on Nov, 26 2016 @ 02:54 AM
The problem is the assumption that people know.

The only people that claim to know are the one's who lie, or the one's lied to.

posted on Feb, 20 2017 @ 06:53 AM
a reply to: Astrocyte

Astrocyte, your sentence is indeed meaningful. Bless you for posting on this subject. I am older, in my mid 40s and though I doubt I could as succinctly describe how the awareness of your relational mind feels and the methods you use to not only handle but process it (emotional response versus logical), I can sincerely and truthfully say that I completely understand what you are saying.

I realize that this post is several months old but only tonight, after searching for something completely unrelated, did I find it. I recently watched a documentary called "Inn Saei: The Power of Intuition" written and directed by Hrund Gunnsteinsdottir. Inn Saei is Icelandic and my phone will not allow me to properly type the title. The a & e are pushed together but I digress. In it, a professor and spiritual advisor named Marti Spiegelman said this about the relational mind and I found it so poignant & so brilliant that I have to share it with you.

"It's awareness, here and now, of the world. That's everything.
We have let our awareness drift from the world around us to the world we have made. The world of our forms, the world of our maps, the world of going to A to B to C. The world of strategy, the world of milestones and deadlines and we have forgotten how to be aware of the world around us; Forgotten the sensory data of the many dimensions (layers) of life.

Imagine our beautiful, average, three pound brain. 98% of our brain does not use language, logic, belief or strategy. It creates those things for us but it doesn't use them. The other 2% receives what the 98% creates and goes out into the world and does an action. Goes to the grocery store or goes to work and comes home. That sort of thing. That's what neuroscientists call our relational mind. It's in relation, creating relationships between bits of data. The linear mind is the 2% left over. 2% of 3lbs is .96 ounces which is barely two tablespoons of brain tissue...I give this to my students. Consider this people: You are awake in a scant two tablespoons of brain matter. What about the rest of it?"

See Astrocyte, I have struggled with a much stronger connection to my relational mind than well, 99% of the people I have met in my 44 years of life. You are the first person I have met that has listed it and described it so well. Perhaps you could understand that for so long, I worried that something was wrong with me which is how I came across that documentary, actually. It's part of a lifelong quest for understanding why and understanding myself. Would it be presumptive of me to suggest that your intuition is off the charts? Because trust me when I say that I completely understand that. I live it. Everyday.
Anyway. Star and flag for you. You impacted me in a beautiful way. Thank you.

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