This page is a version of a general outline of the model of how humans generate meaning. Thus outline was presented to the memetics list in a series of emails in June 2000 and encapsulates a number of years work, expressed on the internet since 1995 through http://www.ozemail.com.au/~ddiamond as well as this website, and continued in the page on IDM.
There are some fundamentals to deal with, axioms, universe of discourse etc. I have summarised these below with some references. What I will eventually show is the 'reason' for the finding of 'truth', meaning that 'makes a difference' to the individual, in such disciplines as Astrology, NLP, Mathematics etc etc and how you can apply science to verify this and how this process spans cultures and is species-wide at least.
My approach to meaning and its determination is to go back to 'first principles' in the form of an in-depth analysis of empirical research in neurosciences as well as psychology. I think we can agree that 'no brain-no mind-no maps'. My interest in the maps is simply what is behind all of the different disciplines we have that in some way or another describe, or claim to descibe, both 'in here' and 'out there' and all in-between; many disciplines describing the one reality.
I started this analysis with the human brain and in particular its architecture as well as that of the sensory systems. This analysis led to the 'fact' that, despite the influences of mid and hind brain processes, the neocortex, and in particular the hemispheres of that cortex, is the 'centre' for novel complex information processing, both in analysis and synthesis with previously experienced data acting as feedback.
Below are some particulars that when linked together (like a jigsaw puzzle) give us a model of information processing that seems to 'work' when we look at the many different expressions of brain-mind activity. Furthermore, the model helps to bring-out a pattern of meaning determination that is across the species (at least).
I address several sets of information and have numbered the assertions.
(1) The hemispheres of the neocortex function as high and low band information filters.
The left hemisphere (in most, there is a BIAS here as well as genetic diversity that allows for differences in the sameness) amplifies and process high frequency data. The right hemisphere processes low frequency data.
These processing biases are in spatial (visual) processing as well as auditory processing. Since these are the dominant ways in which we process information they are strongly emphasised.
(A good reference is: Ivry, R.B., & Robertson, L.C.,(1998) "The Two Sides of Perception" MITP It is mostly vision data with particular research by the authors as well as extensive reviews of other research in this area.Audition is limited to two chapters).
Further data covering the whole visual system is in: Hoffman, D.D., (1998) "Visual Intelligence: How we create what we see" Norton
For additional refs to cover the audition bias see: In general: McAdams, S., and Bigand, E., (Eds) (1993) "Thinking in Sound" OUP, and In particular: Levarie, S., (1980) "Music as a Structural Model" p236-239 IN Journal of Social Biol. Structure. 3)
The High/Low frequency processing has some interesting consequences namely:
(A) the differentiation of left/right visual FIELDS in the occipital lobes is split into the interdigitations of left-eye data/right-eye data.
(B) the frontal lobes, in those areas linked to planning and pre-expression formatting, manifest the same pattern
of interdigitations but at an abstract level with the interdigitation links being left hemisphere/right hemisphere.
(see P. Goldman-Rakic's work in these areas. The original paper being:
Goldman-Rakic, P.S., (1984) "Modular organization of the prefrontal cortex" IN Trends in Neurosciences Nove 1984 pp 419-424
(C) The primary auditory cortex reflects interdigitations to process audition-sourced wavelength/frequency data.
When you apply various dyes across the brain you see a pattern emerge that is like a fingerprint or the patterns you see in nature on zebras etc etc What seems to be happening is that nature 'completes' the general individual (bias to SAMENESS) and nurture (especially in infancy) act to particularise and so create the particular individual (DIFFERENCE).
What is noteworthy is that the dye process brings out a hierarchic developing of the neocortex where scrapping
away the surface of the neocortex shows a diffusion of the dye, unless you change scale. (see for example:
Grinvald, A., et al (1991)"Optical Imaging of Architecture and Function in the Living Brain" IN Squire, L.R., et al (Eds)(1991)"Memory :Organisation and Locus of Change" OUP.)
What this hierarchic format suggests is that the left-high/right-low distinctions are possibly applicable not only at the 'top'/'bottom' of the neocortex but also along the posterior-to-anterior of the whole brain, i.e. from the 'reptilian' brain upwards.
This arguement is reinforced by the tie of the basal ganglia to a sensitivity to CONTEXT, feedback processing and so LOW frequency, harmonics, data. The basal ganglia is just 'underneath' the six layers of the neocortex. These distinctions gives us at least a 3D format. (note that across the neocortex there are two 'paths', dorasal via the occipatal-through-pariatal lobes, and ventral via the occipital-through-temporal lobes. The dorsal is more sensitive to 'WHERE', the ventral to 'WHAT'.)
A good analogy for these left-high/right-low distinctions is the consideration of a gene encoded in DNA vs the same gene encoded in mRNA. DNA coding manifests 'right hemisphere' processing where the gene is 'diffuse' in that it is spread-out through the DNA strand(s). The process leading to expression involves the cut'n'paste of different elements of the gene (i.e. summing of harmonics) into a single thread expressed in the form of a mRNA strand prior to ribosome processing.
Thus the DNA format manifests approximations and the mRNA format manifests precision. The benefit of this, storing the information in a split-up form, is that it allows for an ease in 'playing' with harmonics; e.g. viruses etc were we see sections of strand that are thousands of years old and others that change 'hourly'. (I recall that Bacterial DNA contains genes in a contiguous space which is too rigid, too all-or-nothing. Our format is more flexible.)
The above comments re RNA-DNA are I think 'interesting' in that later I get into a development path that is tracable back to the 'big bang' and with it the suggestion that, from the principles of evolution alone, it would be 'crazy' to suddenly change a system that works to another one. What I mean here is that we 'see' in the neocortex the same 'extraction' processes as we see at the microlevel of mRNA-DNA processes. This said, the METHOD of analysis can create this impression! This is discussed later.
With the above 'simple' left/right distinctions we then consider the next set of information:
(2) The sensory systems, although having unique areas for processing 'primary' data in the neocortex, SHARE neural networks both BEFORE birth and in association areas in developing into adulthood.
This sharing implies the presence of hybridisation in expressions, by this the frequency data from DIFFERENT senses can be combined to give an abstract ('virtual') waveform which captures the 'essence' of both senses and so a sense of 'meaning' that is 'outside' of either sense.
The differentiation at the PRIMARY level is strong such that the degrees of synesthesia we find in infants soon dissapears. How about secondary/tertiary areas? see below re emotions.
(Good ref: Stein, B.E., and Meredith, M.A., (1993) "The Merging of the Senses" MITP. There are a number of popular texts as well on synesthesia etc)
What is implied by the sharing is the use of complex, sensory-based dichotomisations in the form of vision-data/audition-data that are processed (a) in opposition (what I see is not what I hear) as well as (b) cooperation (what I see validates what I hear - congruency). I will 'refine' the dichotomisation concepts further on.
(3) The process of habituation at the sensory (and associations) level suggests a system that has evolved to sense DIFFERENCE and that once the difference has been categorised and experienced further to the degree of being 'common' it enters the realm of SAMENESS and is then ignored; we do not have to keep identifying the 'old', just the 'new' or variations on the 'old'.
(I recall this is covered to some degree in: Posner,M.I., Raichle, M.E., (1994) "Images of Mind" Scientific American Library )
This emphasis on DIFFERENCE suggests the presence of genetically-determined 'seeds' in the form of fundamental distinctions to 'something'. (1) above suggests SAMENESS in the form of an archetypal fundamental together with a set of archetypal harmonics.
Samness links to the concept of a local, a particular. The work discussed in (1) shows that locals do not explicitly influence/interfere with a non-local, generals, but non-locals can influence/interfere with locals. What this suggests is that a sameness can be 'modified' by a difference. What is of interest here is that at the *implicit* level, local distinctions can create general patterns but there is no 'intent'. E.g. the flocking of birds, neural network synchronisations etc; interactions of 'SAMES' lead to an expression, a DIFFERENCE that is not sourcable to any particular; the flock behavour continues even if a few of the flock wander off.(This data comes from complexity/chaos research and in particular simulators used in Artifical Life programs).
(4) The hemispheres of the neocortex manifest a fundamental dichotomy in the form of a 1:many distinction.
There is a LOT of references possible here, enough to make it an axiom. We can just stick 'local' and just use the data from (1) above, single, fundmental, harmonic to the left and multi frequences and so multi contexts to the right.
The 1:many format ties to the processing (extraction/fitting) of TEXT from/into CONTEXT. This has been demonstrated in rCBF studies on negation. In particular, the making of a request, where one wishes to satisfy a context (as in asking a parent/spouse etc "can I go to X's place for dinner") puts the individual in a 'single context' frame of mind. Approval of the request just satisfies the context and so a 'thank you' or 'great' and end of story. But a refusal actually elicits a change in 'dominance' where there is a switch from 'left' to 'right'. What is going on?
The original studies just noted an emotional bias to positive/neutral thinking to the left and negative and so critical thinking to the right.
(See Gainotti, G., and Caltagirone, C., (eds) (1989) "Emotions and the Dual Brain" Springer-Verlag for papers on processing negation etc)
However I find this general interpretation 'weak'. I would suggest that the switch more manifests the use of abductive processes where in one form of abduction the individual switches to trying to find a context that can be introduced to change the refusal to an approval (e.g. "But last time it was OK" or the initial "But why not?") IOW you go through harmonics to find one that can be accentuated to get what you want.
This methodology, abduction, is common in us as a species where we hold a LOCAL text constant (the 1) and scan through *different* contexts (the many) to get a match. (the difference of abduction from induction is that abduction has, or assumes there is, a context that 'fits' the text. Induction starts local with no initial assumptions of there being a contextual, general, link. For example, mathematical induction stays 'local' by simply emphasising 'if N is the case, consider N + 1.." This emphasises a more 'within' perspective, there is no need to step outside of the local box other than perhaps 'a little'.)
(5) Emotion is the general response system to all sensory inputs, internally derived or externally derived.
As (4) has shown there seems to be an emotional 'tie' to left and right hemispheres. This has been supported over more recent times through the work of such people as A. Demasio and J. Ledoux. In (4) there is also some work by Doty, R.W., (1989) "Some anatomical substrates of emotion, and their bihemispheric coordination" IN "Emotions and the Dual Brain" p57-82
This work links to the limbic system etc and leads to the realisation that it is sensory harmonics, colour from vision and multi-frequencies (chords) from music that elicit 'refined' emotions and these harmonics are of course in the form of frequencies. These 'refined' emotions, being 'many' linked tie to right hemisphere processing biases and there is ample evidence to show that musical chords, colours etc, being SECONDARY+ and not fundamentals (black/white) elicit a more right hemisphere response.
It is only with musical training do you get a more 'left' oriented response to music, especially when reading since the 'dots' are very 'fundamental' in interpretations!; the dots are like words.
Combined with the information from (1) and (4) we can see how the left side is more often linked to 'single
context' expressions of emotion whereas the right is more 'multi-context'; there seems to be a degree of 'finess'
to the right since the expressions of emotions other than as pure forms (all hate, all love, single colour (?), single note etc) require multi-frequency data; the entanglement of harmonics to give more subtle expressions and this is low, multi-frequency data, something the right does 'better' with than the left.(Perhaps we need to make the distinctions of emotions (raw) from feelings (refined) but then this 'containment' of expression is not 'precise', it needs decoding, interpretation. M. Gazzaniga links interpretation (extracting the one from the many) to the left.).
There has been strong links in various texts to the right being 'better' at processing emotions/feelings and the data from the other references above suggest that, other than extreme expressions of emotions, there is more of a bias to emotions being 'in the background' to a communications and so more 'low' in format and so more favouring of the right hemisphere. As we saw from (4) this includes the concept of negation where negation is 'NOT' left, it is considered a harmonic in that to express negation you need a fundamental first.
(See the reviews on hemispheres and emotion in such texts as: Springer, S.P., & Deutsch, G., (1998) "Left Brain, Right Brain : Perspectives from Cognitive Neuroscience (5th Edition)" Freeman, or the ref in (4) above, or any of Ledoux or Demasio books).
To summarise things so far I think we can say that:
The analysis and synthesis of information is done through a set of filters that act to distinguish 'precise' data from 'approximations'; to make 'clear' identifications as well as allow for RE-identification.
This analysis/synthesis process lead to the use of set of fundamental filters expressed in the form of 1:many dichotomies:
SAMENESS : DIFFERENCE
PARTICULAR, LOCAL : GENERAL, NON-LOCAL
TEXT : CONTEXT
PRECISE : APPROXIMATE
POSITIVE/NEUTRAL : NEGATIVE-CRITICAL (dichotomies of emotion. These distinctions are already one level passed the base dichotomy of positive/negative emotion. I will cover this later.)
I suggest that these are 'collapsable' into the dichotomy of
OBJECT : RELATIONSHIPS
and the locational dichotomy of
WITHIN/BEHIND : BETWEEN
Other sources (not needed but useful) verify the general form of these dichotomies with the neurology showing
a general bias to the WHAT/WHERE dichotomy, with the WHAT having within it the WHO and the WHICH
(categorical) and the WHERE having within it the HOW and the WHEN (coordinal).
At first you may think that these dichotomisations seem intuitively 'weak', too 'EITHER/OR', however in the next part I will show you the results of applying dichotomies recursively such that the A/~A becomes a continuum and that becomes the basis for determining meaning to a degree where all disciplines seem to serve as metaphors for the particular describing of object/relationships data in a particular context. Those metaphors that are close to the 'real' have a more associative emphasis (1:1) but are in fact metaphors in that the lexicons involved contain words that link to the summing of sensory data and as such, these words 'transfer' or 'carry' the meanings.
I think that in the material in part A there is enough to demonstrate that there is a strong use of dichotomisation as we try to map both 'out there' as well as 'in here' and all 'in-between'.
The 1:many structure of our neocortex (as well as limbic system etc but not as well defined) points to our using this structure in the gathering and dissemination of data with the 1 being static, serving as an 'anchor' and the many being dynamic allowing us to focus on the particular (where the many is reduced to a 1) and/or the general; thus I can hold the text constant and change the context or hold the context constant and change the text.
The above being the case, to refine our analysis of this method we need to zoom-in on any noticable properties of 1:many data processing.
Firstly we note that in forming a dichotomy of ANY type (1:1, 1:many, many:1, many:many) the initial method utilises the concept of opposition (e.g. vision_data/audition_data) in that the elements within the dichotomy are interpreted as being unique, independent of each other, and opposite in form. The dichotomy is thus symbolised in the form of A/~A. The ~A is more often given a name, thus positive/NOT positive is re-interpreted as positive/negative.
However, what we also note at this basic level of dichotomisation is that things in reality are not necessarly so white/black; we come across distinctions where we easily note that a 'better' picture emerges from the middle of the rigid EITHER/OR nature of A/~A. This 'better' picture emerges when, in analysis of the distinction we note that 'things are not that black/white. From a vision perspective this is like discovering the harmonics that 'fit' inbetween white-black i.e. colour.
(note that there is a subtle levels issue here in that white is all light and black is no light. Shift to colour and you change levels to a cooperative process that EXCLUDES black. We will see that this 'simple' distinction has some interesting consequences in interpretation of abstract concepts. This also touches on the dichotomy created by expressions of colour, the RGB additive format used in TV screens and the CMYK subtractive format in use in pigments (printing))
At the point of determining that 'there is more to this than A/~A' we actually apply the original dichotomy to itself in that we:
We can symbolise these mappings thus:
The first symbol asserts a context (which is often missing in the original distinctions as in A/~A is always made within a 'universe of discourse'). The second symbol (+) emphasises linkage and the third symbol manifest a particular; that particular functions within the context.
These four states manifest
IF we zoom-in to either of (c) these distinctions can be RE-indentified as a whole and NOT whole and further refinements allow us to make the mappings where NOT whole is re-identified as parts. (This process of re-identification manifests the 'many' element in any 1:many dichotomy). At this point, the distinction of Parts is 'nebulous' in that it contains objects as well as processes where:
Static relationships act to
Dynamic relationships act to:
These sorts of patterns emerge when we apply the second level results (whole+parts) to itself where the distinctions of statics and dynamics emerge as the only possible interpretations since wholes and parts (objects) are already defined we have *cut-off* the objects that are parts and so the whole+parts covers all objects. In relationships we are talking linkage in some way where the emphasis shifts to the spaces in-between the objects, whether whole or parts.
Symbolically we get the following 8 states:
From an interpretive aspect, (b) reflects a 'pure' form of A with a touch of ~A. Since (c) is a repeat of the 'parts' distinction but from an objects basis, so (b) reflects a relational process between parts and whole that is unchanging; static relationships. (d) is the refinement of the relational distinctions in that it symbolises dynamic relationships where seemingly independent forms are seen, over time, to have some sort of 'contract' between them such that one does X and the other does something complementary (that includes copying X's behaviour).
Since the above eight states are in fact symmetric in form through the A/~A axis, so (e) and (g) also manifest relational concepts where there are two sets of four:
Within the A description:
Static Relationships (b)
Dynamic Relationships (d)
Within the ~A description:
Static Relationships (g)
Dynamic Relationships (e)
The 'going-past' of the initial EITHER/OR dichotomy introduces us to the inclusion of cooperation of the elements of a dichotomy as well as the consideration of 'what could be' aka potentials.
IN logic the concept of A + ~A is called the excluded middle where for this form of logic to 'work' there are no 'in-betweens', however the recursive use of dichotomisations does not have to be 'overnight' and as such we see emerge within the discipline of logic (over a few centuries :-)), and from the 'middle' of the excluded middle, such concepts as fuzzy logic where there are no more EITHER/ORs but a set of probabilites.
The other behaviour we note from 1.A and 1.B is the use of feedback processes (e.g. amplifications, process of abduction etc) such that the set of eight states can be used on each other, we can have descriptions that reflect the 'mixing' of text and context such that we can have a dynamic relationships context within which operates wholes, and the entanglement of (d) and (a). (This process of recursive dichotomisation forms the 'basics' of complexity/chaos in that the OVER supply of feedback leads to 'emergence' etc)
How could all of this be communicated? The answer to that comes from considering the above processes (basic EITHER/OR taken to two+ levels of recursion) in the context of the universal 'responder' in our species -- emotion.
Since the pattern of A/~A applied recursively leads to the ability to differentiate wholes and parts etc so when applied to the basic dichotomy of positive_emotions/negative-emotions we should get some sort of emotional states that 'map' to wholes, parts etc.
But how? I mean how can we link emotions in this way, where do we start? We start by reflecting on the nature of the method, i.e. dichotomisations, and in particular what is happening when we go 'past' the initial EITHER/OR with its emphasis on independence of the elements of the dichotomy.
This movement from first level to second level and beyond requires us to MIX the basic elements of the dichotomy and then RE-identify to enable a degree of clarity in distinctions.
Thus the distinctions of wholes, parts, statics, dynamics are linked to expressions that at a base level reflect the MIXING of the original elements of the dichotomy and this is applied at all levels.
From a very basic viewpoint, how can I express the different ways of mixing two elements of a dichotomy?
Firstly we note that the concept of a whole elicits a *feeling* of blending (or unblending if it is falling apart). The term 'blend' capture the total intergration of two elements but ALSO captures the 'purity' of each element. Thus A and ~A are 'pure' but so is their product (in this case, from a 'pure' mathematics perspective, A + ~A = 0.)
With the use of Roget's Thesarus, reflecting on the basic structure of the parts, statics, dynamics distinctions with a 'mixing' perspective, I came up with the following:
Word -- feeling
Whole -- BLEND
Parts -- BOUND
Statics -- BOND
Dynamics -- BIND
To these you add the negation (UN-) but note that at a particular level negation has MANY forms of expression as in UN or in CONTRACTION over EXPANSION or in RELATIONSHIPS over OBJECTS or DIFFERENCE over SAMENESS etc etc etc. Thus the template of eight basic states allows us to develop a set of feelings that map to words, words that are mappable to our basic neurological distinctions re processing information, objects (the whats) and relationships (the wheres).
Furthermore, the eight are *basic* and applying them to each other, and the results of those interactions to each other and so on, so we move from eight states to sixty-four states to four thousand and ninety-six states to sixteen million states. IOW for ANY dichotomy we can create over sixteen million different feelings, each of which gives us a sense of 'meaning'!
However, the ability to do this requires WHAT (or WHERE) we are analysing as having enough difference such that we can make these sorts of distinctions and in most cases, when communicating something at the general level, we do not need to go so 'deep', sixty-four or four thousand and ninety-six are 'good enough' to give us a sense of depth and at a 'casual' level even eight is 'useful' in that the individual can fill in the 'deep' parts on their own experiences.
Up to now we have been very abstract in that I have been describing a model of the method we use as a species to 'map' out there. I have emphasised:
From the above there are some fundamental properties that emerge when we make the distinctions of oppositional dichotomies (objects bias) and cooperative dichotomies (relationships bias) where in the latter we note that they MUST have a awareness of the complement when compared to the oppositional form of dichotomy that does not require either element to have any 'awareness' of the other but will be sensitive to the other.
What I will show later is that since all of these patterns, templates etc are GENERAL, we particularise by the creation of specifics in the form of metaphors that stand for the general patterns applied within a particular context.
Given that the human brain seems to utilise a method of information aquisition and information dissemination that favours the use of sets of meanings derived from recursive dichotomisation, let us look a little closer at this method together with a number of disciplines that, based on what has been said so far, should reflect the method in their structure and expression.
At the fundamental level, with some refinement to enable a suitable degree of differentiation, we have eight 'states' that serve as windows onto a continuum of 'meaning'. These windows are large enough to enable the 'clear' identification of patterns of meaning and small enough such that each pattern is qualitatively identical with the other patterns and as such does not dominate.
There is however one bias and that is the bias imposed by the brain's bias to 1:many processing (discussed below). Thus in the original distinctions we have:
Note I have used the expand/contract dichotomy to capture the dynamics of positive/negative elements, this is favoured as the e/c terms have a dynamics about them that is not clear when using the more static expression 'positive/negative' and I wish to emphasise some dynamics in the above list later. Also note that the positive/negative emphasis presented is centered, text bias, thus the negative 'end' has a positive element but this 'resides' in the CONTEXT, not the text which is seen as more 'negative'.
The positive 'end' is the expansive end and that has a bias to the 'one' especially in the distinction of expansive blending. The other members of the set of expansives are not as positive in that they all require an increasing exposure to context in their descriptions. Thus the pure expansion of blending, where the 'one' just spreads out, does not require the 'one' to be aware of the context, there is present a very strong 'push', a drive, that is so singleminded that all else is not even recognised as being in any way 'meaningful' or else is seen as secondary, inferior etc the drive is to assert a context, or the 'self' and so no real distinction between ME and NOT ME but an emphasis on asserting identity.
The negative sides, in the form of contracting, capture the identification, or re-identification, of something by what it IS NOT. This side works with harmonics and so context where particulars in the context are used to 'shine light' on the text, the context is seen as positive when compared to the text that is interpreted as 'in the dark' and so 'faint' at best. This bias to harmonics introduces us to the 'many' in that any harmonic (or set of) can be used to re-identify or assert some aspect of the fundamental. (When refined further this all ties into NOT ME, aka OTHERS).
Overall there is an imposition of a bias onto the basic eight states of meaning where at one 'pole', the positive pole, there is strong intensity, an EXPLICIT feeling of 'one', whereas at the other 'pole' there is a diffuse feeling of 'many'. However this diffuse feeling has an IMPLICIT sense of oneness in that all of the harmonics, when summed, make the 'one'. This implicitness ties us to the experience of intuition where the summing of harmonics (in the form of particular feelings gained from past experiences as well as some hard-wiring) allows us to have intuitions about things that we then 'zoom-in' on through particularisations, to come to a 'point', the recognition, the *identification* of something/someone.
In general, these states (and their more complex forms) form a set of meanings that are contained within the method of analysis/synthesis, i.e. recursive dichotomisations.
Of note is that the fundamental state, present in the base dichotomy, is of the form 1/Many where 'many' is a variable. Furthermore, due to the discovered nature of the brain (to date) so the Many is tied to relational space.
Considering all of what we have covered so far in mind, let us look at one particular discipline that is used in our species to map reality and so allow for predictions to be made. That discipline is Mathematics.
I want to particularly focus on (a) the FEELINGS linked to the types of numbers we use and (b) the development paths within particular methods, e.g. that of Calculus differentiation.
(a) Taking our four basic 'feelings', blend, bond, bound, bind, some interesting associations develop when we reflect on types of numbers. In particular the following:
Thus all relational perspectives that spring up later are seen with 'object' eyes etc. These perspectives, when written down, RETAIN these biases such that the biases are passed on in education.
This setting of a fundamental determines all harmonics that are of 'value' such that the characteristics of what is discovered in the analysis are predictable since the METHOD has properties that are 'seen' in the information, there or not.
Over time feedback from model to actual can help to 'refine' our perspectives but this can take centuries unless you have an understanding of the METHOD we use to process information, what is BEHIND the words.
These distinctions, the four Bs (add positive/negative or expand/contract etc etc giving 8) are 'in here' across the species. They are tied to each other but can also serve as the 'base context' for mapping 'out there' as well as 'in here'. Thus there are as many points of view as there are emotional states since the emotional states 'colour' our perspectives. However, IN GENERAL, all of these states are to some degree reducable to one
of the 4 Bs (or to at least a simple composite or set of composites).
In the analysis of Astrology we find two fundamental dichotomies being used and so only at level 2 (four types) rather than 3 (eight types)). These dichotomies are:
From these have emerged all of the 'meanings' in Astrology and in general these meanings map to:
expansive blending - AIR
contractive blending - EARTH
expansive bounding - FIRE
contractive bounding - WATER
These 'meanings' are then refined through associations with various internal and external (!) elements to make up the set of meanings in Astrology. (See my essay "The Logic of the Esoteric" for a more detailed mapping).
EVERYTIME you make a distinction the template of emotional states opens-up. It is this template that is generally invariant and allows us to find meanings and express them in an infinite number of ways.
Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) is founded on the making of dichotomies and as such is guaranteed to elicit a sense of 'value' regardless of any 'facts'. For example, the particularisation of sensory data into Visual vs Others is the formation of a 1:many dichotomy and that process alone will 'create' a template waiting to be filled out.
ALL objects (disciplines, 'universe of discourse', whatever..) have the template as a source of meanings. Experiences, expectations, predictions etc, favour the development of a particular path through the template (e.g. a bind emphasis or a bond emphasis etc).
Words act to particularise, they act to point to a specific meaning but that relationship is NOT 1:1, it is more many:1 where MANY words point to the one feeling. This allows for the use of analogy across disciplines as well as the creation of metaphors.
One metaphor in particular is symbolically very useful - The I Ching (Book of Changes) in that whoever wrote it did a good job in capturing the subtle patterns of emotion 'behind' the words. Thus over the centuries people have seen so much 'in' the I Ching, not because it is there but because what they have seen is the PATTERNS OF EMOTION tied to the template. Thus people 'see' mathematics, physics, complexity/chaos etc 'in' the I Ching but it is the ties to dichotomisations that creates these 'resonances', all of these discplines/subjects are founded on the use of recursive dichotomisations and that method has with it a set of meanings, apply the method to ANYTHING and when comparing things you will pick up on the properties of the method encoded in the words.
The disadvantage of the method at the 'base' level is of course its generality -- we cannot communicate information when limited to describing 'objects' and 'relationships', we need to differentiate one object from the next and it is with language and the process of particularisation that we do this, WADE is different to CHRIS at the particular level, but not at the species level and at this latter level is where we get general 'meaning'.
One of the other problems is that of taking a metaphor literally. I think this is due to the underlying patterns of emotion that are identical to the feelings we get from mathematics/science compared to Astrology/Tarot etc and so this can elicit a sense of 'value' that is equivalent! Feedback from the environment goes to support the 'value' and in Astrology there IS positive feedback in that as a TYPOLOGY it works but the original associations to planets as metaphors have been taken literally and so we have 'problems'; thus Moon in Cancer in reality is not the same as Moon in Cancer 'in here'.
What these sorts of typologies manifest are a lack in precision such that you use whatever you can to describe something, thus these sorts of systems when used as predictions ASSUME there is meaning present, they cannot deal
with 'randomness' since they are sourced in harmonics analysis, the general, and as such, no matter how particular they can get, will always have an approximation about them (as well as dismissing a false prediction by suggesting 'external' forces were at hand etc. This gets more into the prediction/prophecy dichotomy where prediction is 'pointed' and so definite and I can prove it wrong but prophecy allows for relational dynamics and so can never be wrong, after all the goalposts are dynamic as well!)
I hope this perhaps too intense page has aided the reader in getting an idea of what I am talking about re meaning and how ANY discipline that uses dichotomisations as a root will find the same set of meanings as other disciplines but will label them, create its own lexicon, and in doing so seem to create the impression that the meanings discovered are unique. I have not come across any disciplines that do not have dichotomies as roots but then that is to be expected based on analysis of how our brain seems to work.
Overall there IS an 'in here' and an 'out there' which forms a dichotomy such that the method 'in here' seems to 'work' when applied to 'out there'. We will always be able to find meaning in anything once we pass our analysis beyond the initial dichotomy. By this I mean that once we think something is 'of value' or could be 'of value' we shift in to dichotomous analysis and that part of our brain assumes there is meaning as a fundamental!
It is feedback that acts to refine our sense of value beyond the genetic basics of the template such that at the initial level we can learn to reject something as 'meaningless'. An infant knows little about 'NOT', it has to learn.
Many religions (Taoism, Zen, even some christian fundamentalists) favour not going past the original dichotomy, live in the moment; reflection, feedback processing, takes you 'away' from reality; remove you from the experience of the 'absolute', the 'one'. The emphasis is sticking to making simple, local distinctions. This favours an object oriented mode of existence however to do this requires some learning and so some feedback processing and that includes exposure to 'other' perspectives and this allows for comparisons of perspectives, but rather than 'allow' for having to map all of these expressions we have adapted to map patterns BEHIND the expressions.
Mathematics, the Sciences, the Occult etc are all particular expressions of the SAME general patterns. Understand these generals and you can refine your understanding of the particulars and this includes seeing them as metaphors
of varying degrees. ALL of these disciplines are 'self-contained' and the more 'precise' ones maintain a sense of 'purity' and so try to develop in 'asexual/adrogyne' manners and so keep 'pure'. However they ALL share a common lexicon 'behind' the ones they create and this is in the form of patterns of emotion tied to object/relationship distinctions.
We often think that a dichotomy is a 'basic' expression that we then expand upon, this expansion is an illusion in that what we do is apply the same dichotomy (or others that fit 'within' the base one) to themselves and so we contract from a general to and increasing number of particulars. Thus the original distinctions always continue to influence unless you get to the point of emergence...(this is all complexity/chaos based).
ANY dichotomy has within it a set of properties linkable to each element in the dichotomy REGARDLESS of level of analysis or discipline, thus when you create a dichotomy it 'maps' to neurological/psychological characteristics such that in a 1:many type the '1' is usually mapped to fundamentalist, object thinking (more 'left' brained) and the 'many' to relativist,\ relational thinking (more 'right' brained).
Karl Jung's typology, as well as the extentions into the MBTI, 'map' to the underlying template very well and my emphasis is on the typology in particular rather than his more general ideas re collective unconscious etc. However, to map archetypes you can make the dichotomy of
Freud's are 'rigid', black/white, oppositions oriented, Jungs side adds colour and cooperation. You cannot swap these elements due to the 1:many bias inherant in the declaration.
Go through their works and the above assertions are 'correct' since their works are words that reflect the underlying method we use for analysis and the biases that come out of that method.
Zoom-in on Skinner and you can make the dichotomy of behaviourism/other_psychologies and the SAME patterns will emerge as you categorise the differences between the two elements of the dichotomy. (and this includes for Behaviourism a fundamentalist approach).
My emphasis is NOT so much on the expressions, the names, expressed ideas etc of the individuals but more so the underlying generally invarient properties and methods linked to dichotomisation itself; the act of emphasising A/~A maps to a NEUROLOGICALLY determined 1:many type of information processing that has properties that we 'project' onto the expressions linked to the 1 or many.
(an aside: use recursive dichotomisation plus indeterminacy and you get patterns that suggest wave interferences as work. AT ALL SCALES. Quantum mechanics does this but most fail to see what is happening in that the structure of the experiements are dichotomous in form so the results map to patterns that demonstrate characteristics of the method and not necessarily characteristics of what is 'out there'. But then how many physicists get into how we process data...)
When we review psychoanalysis or analytical psychology at a 'higher', more general level they are more 'many' in that they assume there is always meaning (they dont deal with psychosis -- too random for them!). These disciplines reflect harmonics analysis and so *many* interpretations rather than the goal of Science that seeks 1 interpretation. Prediction is testable, but secondary analysis gets into prophecy etc and so a more qualitative precision, highly subjective, approximations that people *feel* as being 'right'.
The general properties discussed are linked to the METHOD of analysis, a method that 'maps' to our brain structure to such a degree that analysis of the method alone, the set of meanings that it can create, will give you an insight into the characteristics of what you are applying the method to. The set of meanings is GENERAL in form but can act as a guide to decode particular expressions and so quickly pick up the general 'flow' of a particular idea, personality, whatever...
> Second, the A/~A distinction sound remarkably like Wittgenstein's approach
> to logic and the formulation of knowledge, the distinction he
> makes is P/~P.
> Where do you stand on Wittgenstein's notion that meaning of words
> rest only
> in negation?
Dont recall this. Havent really read it (Tractus.?) since I have more or less started from first principles, i.e. what does the neurology tell us about how we analyse and determine meaning. However it is a good point in that the origin of words seems to emerge out of harmonics processing, right brain areas that the left then expresses (the left favouring precision etc in most, thus harmonics patterns are 'summed' by being labelled with a sound). In the previous emails on this subject I pointed out that it seems that negation is a property of the right brain (a gross representation but good enough for now), it is one of the harmonics of the fundamental. So for Wittgenstein (with little knowledge at that time of refined neurological processing), good call. rough, but good :-))
At the extreme level of 'left brained' there is a 'pure' yes state, all drive, no consideration/reflection on others and so little or no awareness of negation. Negation requires an object first and the development of the spoken word also requires it in that to express a particular you have to choose a word and so implicit reject (negate) all others. What this means is that the chosen word is foreground and all else background and background = context and context = NOT text and so the word, the text does 'rest' on negation.
The ability of Wittgenstein's work to 'stay around' is due to the insights that intuitively 'map' to the neurologically determined processes and their meanings; his work can generate a resonance, a feeling of 'correctness' --
template at work. Current work in neurology enables us to review these works and perhaps 'clean' them up a bit :-)
> Third, I don't like (:-)) this notion that meaning comes back to specific
> states of emotion, of which there are a finite number, and a finite number
> of associations between them- if that's what you're saying.
(1) I am sure you dont since you intuitively pick up on some consequences :-) but
(2) there is no finiteness other than at the level of general communications. You apply the recursions ad infinitum and the set of possible expressions becomes infinite but also too particular, too personal and so hard to communicate; the set of possible people who would understand diminishes. Thus to get a general point across 1 of 4096 or 16 Million is
That said, the set of possible expressions are perhaps finite in that as you approach infinity so you approach a problem in perception of distinguishing one state from the next; this is a resolution problem and to some degree is determined by education where higher education makes finer and finer distinctions but they can also make too many in that a few well chosen words describe something enough from others to get a 'resonance', the same feelings without too much subjective detail.
Each state reflects a general feeling as well as a particular, context will determine the degree and the words used to describe the state are many so we do not consciously 'see' the invariance but when analysed the general feeling is noticable.