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5. Implications for Humans

 
 
 
“The hand that rocks the cradle / Is the hand that rules the world.” – W.R. Wallace

 

 

Our brains, nerves, muscles, sense and evaluative organs more or less biologically resemble those of other learning animals. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that ours work pretty much like theirs, but in the next section under the subheading, Approval we will explain how two of three uniquely human characteristics (naked face and upright posture) inevitably result in evaluative communications beyond the ability of any other animal. Mother and child naturally create feelings of pain or pleasure in each other that mirror their own feelings. This uniquely human communication develops a bond between parent and child, but we are not clones. We discuss personalities and the factors leading to our differences in bonding types, self-image, and worldview under the second subheading, Personality. The parental bonding component of personality not only determines our success with others, but our self-image and worldview that determines our psychological well-being and enjoyment of life. We will discuss the communicative effects of a third uniquely human characteristic (eclectic vocalization) under the third subheading, Language. Words empower us to continuously teach each other. We can pool our knowledge, and not just amongst those currently living; we also learn from past thinkers. The Epic of Gilgamesh, thought to be more than four thousand years old, and for that reason offers insights into the origins of our thought and social structures. Such past discoveries accumulate. Columbus did not sail off the edge of the world, so we know the world is round, and Newton has already discovered gravity; we need not do that again. Communication also invites cooperation between us allowing for specialized skills and richer lives from a varied economy. This kind of complete communication requires the creation of phenomenal, evaluating and behavioral feelings in one human prompted by another, and our three uniquely human characteristics have led us to develop a system of facial displays, body language, gestures, tone of voice and word sounds that in combination convey and teach those three components of homeostats somewhat imperfectly. Our visible emotional displays and vocal tones evaluate while word symbols paint the same scene, sound, taste, smell, touch or action in another's mind. Visual and audible symbols reflecting our feelings provoke feelings in others because, as has already been explained, their recognition process entails responding to our symbolized feelings by creating their own feelings from memory. When we say, "sphere" they remember the sight sensations of a ball. When we express anger, they feel fear. When we demonstrate an action, they can duplicate it. We communicate by triggering responses to our various feelings in others. They surmise what we feel by their feelings. We can also turn our communication ability inward, and under the forth subheading of Questions, our ability to analyze established knowledge, synthesizing new answers from it will be discussed. These communication advantages enable us to use our accumulating intelligence generation to generation to progressively better our standard of living, but it is not a perfect system, misunderstandings proliferate - leading to many personal tragedies.

 

 

Approval

 

In the end, human communication results from the initial provocation of a child's feelings of pleasure or pain in response to recognizing a parent's approval or disapproval because according to steps one and three of our algorithm that provocation teaches. As has already been stated, we recognize and identify current perceptions by remembering a specific homeostat of linked feelings from memory because one of them matches the current perception (steps two or four). We recognize cake because we have seen one before and remember it as food that tastes pleasurably sweet. At least one of those linked feelings must be the change in emotion that caused the learning of the cake homeostat's component perceptions in the first place because that change caused the learning of all the then current perceptions (step three). The same rules apply to the specific recognition of a parent's approval or disapproval. Recognizing a parent's approving smile or encouraging words normally provokes remembered feelings of pleasure and, by the rules of learning, re-experiencing such a change in emotion must cause learning of all the then current coincidental perceptions (three). This must include re-experiencing the change in emotion that caused the learning of the parental face and expressions. The parent's ability to trigger such a change in the child's feelings by approval allows them to control when and what the child learns. Such control is called teaching. While the following account for the creation of a bond that underlies the teaching process is consistent with the four-step 'hunting' or learning theory, we will see that the non-causal connection that sets the teaching and learning process in place is an inevitable accident, and our lives are all the richer for that mistake.

Learning through approval depends on a bit of science known for over a hundred years. In 1901, Ivan Pavlov (Lectures on Conditioned Reflexes, 1928) conditioned dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell by consistently ringing it when feeding them. We now call his process classical conditioning. Using the language of the 'hunting' theory already presented, we can say that food reflexively triggered pleasure thereby awakening the dogs' four-step hunting process that wired the bell’s sound with food by their consistent coincidence (one and three). As predicted, the four step-hunt will link all sensations consistently coincidental with a change in evaluation (like the bell sound and the pleasure provoked by food), irrespective of their causal connection or lack of it. By the same hunting process, babies mistakenly wire the pleasure of food and the pain of hunger to their mothers' coincidental approving smiles and disapproving frowns at the time of feeding. In reality, food and hunger cause the pleasure and pain felt by the baby. Classical conditioning, that is, coincidence, not cause, accidentally links mother's emotional displays to the child's pleasure and pain.

The baby starts to learn this teaching and learning by approval process when hunger reflexively triggers pain and a cry (one). Cries generated by hunger only state the problem; no learning capable newborn can feed itself. Survivors had mothers who reflexively felt pain at hearing those cries and made food available to stop those cries. Hunters have long used the distress cries of fawns to attract adult deer, taking advantage of the specific reflex in many mammals that draws them to the sound of a newborn's cry. Human mothers of childbearing age clearly signal their distressed evaluation because of a natural, uniquely human, biological characteristic - they lack any kind of facial hair, feathers or fur that would hide their reflexive frowning expression. This species wide-open expression of emotion constitutes an intercommunication advantage; no other animal expresses its feelings to its offspring so openly. No other animal's offspring can read its parent's emotions so easily. But even humans grow a hairy protection from sun, mosquitoes and wind spontaneously after menopause and puberty; perhaps because the need to teach and learn, and therefore, the advantage of a naked face stops with the end of child bearing years in women and physical maturity in men. The reflexive change in a baby's emotion from the pain of hunger to the pleasure of sweet mother's milk, prompted by feeding, also accidentally links (one and three) the baby's pleasure to mother's smile. The child's natural hunger normally links mother's frown with hunger pains and feeding normally links her smile with feeding pleasure. Mother's concerned pain at hearing her child's distressed cries causes the first coincidence because she frowns while her child feels the pain of illness, cold or hunger. Her, again uniquely human, upright standing and sitting posture forces the child to stare into her frown while picked up and held. Just as Pavlov's dogs associated food with the bell sound, consistent coincidence splices the sight of her concerned frown with the baby's pain by the hunting process, thereby misidentifying (four) the frown as the source of pain. Normally, mother's care ends the baby's painful cries and her facial expression reflexively changes noticeably - from a frown to a relieved smile. Again, her visible facial expression and upright posture mistakenly identifies (one, two, three, and four) the sight of her coincidental smile as the source of the baby's pleasure. These two mistaken learned connections may well be the baby’s first. The baby is less than a day old; it has been fed five or six times; no word has been spoken or understood, yet the four-step hunting process has inevitably formed and confirmed these learned links to pain and pleasure automatically on recognition of mother’s frown and smile. Neither party consciously acknowledges the source or effect, but these learned homeostats empower human mothers to provoke (three) the emotions in children necessary to communicate and teach or, as some would say, brainwash continuously. It seems a small beginning, but now these mistaken links have added two powerful, new sources of evaluation to the inherited genetic set; these two bonding links allow one human to provoke an emotion in another (four). That communication is the foundation of our civilization.

It is worth noting here, in an aside, that new mothers tend to be more nervous and express their emotions more dramatically that experienced mothers. This leads to a stronger bond between mother and her first-born child.

For reasons not yet understood, these two primordially learned approval and disapproval homeostats have an out of proportion effect. (We speculate that the imprinting of initial sensations identified by Konrad Lorenz in, King Solomon's Ring (1949), might be a fruitful avenue of investigation.) The learned pleasure and pain aroused by mother's approval or disapproval completely trumps DNA produced pleasures and pains. Mother's openly displayed evaluations normally teach obedience. Her ability to display and a child's ability to read emotional states will at any reasonable distance empower a mother’s disapproving glare (four) to freeze an obedient child running with scissors. This connection depends on the consistent link between emotional feeling and facial display. If mom smiled when her child felt pleasure and frowned every time she or he felt pain, pain would then evaluate mom's frown as bad, linked to something like hunger, and pleasure would then evaluate her smile as good, linked to something like sweet milk. When the child is happy, she is happy; when she is happy, the child is happy. They mirror each other's feelings and emotional displays. It pleases me to please you. It pains me to see you displeased. (As the connections are non-causal, the opposite connections are possible, and produce a disobedient child. We discuss this outcome next under the subheading, Personality.) An identified smile or frown from someone you care about (three) always affects your emotional state (four). We call this learned link between one person smiling or frowning and another feeling good or bad, bonding; it gives each the power to please or sadden the other by provoking each other’s current feelings and represents a big part of a child's worldview as the bond evaluates mother's approval as pleasurable or painful.

The temporary delay in hair growth, referred to above, allows mother to automatically and unconsciously teach when she smiles or frowns because, as we learned previously, emotions are an integral part of every homeostat, and therefore, must be reflexively felt and expressed at each one's learning and memory. We constantly switch between smiling, neutral, and frowning facial expressions according to our current perceptions and memories. Both current and remembered injuries and sweetness make us frown and smile. Bonding links the feelings of parent to child and child to parent by provoking one's emotions in the other. The biology of learning and remembering necessarily demands the presence of subjective approval or disapproval as a part of the process. Exposing this baby to mom’s facial expressions allows her or him to nearly perfectly read mom's evaluations, and that means, over time, he or she will learn all of mom's homeostats – naturally, automatically. As a result, we modern humans, learn most of our problem solving homeostats by means once removed from reality. That is, triggered by a proxy feeling (four) that will teach (one or three) what is pleasurable with no better reinforcing link than an automatically and freely given, but nearly priceless, smile (four) and teach (one or three) what is painful by a punishing frown (four). This system allows us to teach and learn abstract concepts like mathematics and art that are not naturally paired with reflexive feelings of pleasure or pain. No human needs to run off a cliff to learn to learn about the pain of falling; mother's frown causes that pain (four) without the physical harm, long before the edge is near. Since most of our learning comes from parents and other authorities, most of our behavior is due to their teaching. Other learning animals must depend on direct experience with reflexive pleasures and pains. Moreover, although it is impossible to measure, women’s focus on and enhanced abilities with emotions may be due to feeling them more strongly than men. Evolution may have selected to enhance the emotional feelings from learned homeostats in women to make them better teachers.

We can imagine how an accidental evolutionary loss of a mother's covering hair inherited through genes would have dramatically enhanced the learning prospects of her children. No doubt, there are many advantages to an upright posture, and that genetic modification would have had to come first. An upright female child born without the genetic code for hair growth would have been odd, but given the pleasure of sexual reproduction for men, this would not have stopped the reproductive cycle. As her mammary glands would have been on her chest all her children would have stared into her facial expression as they fed, and learned (one and three) the approval link that bonded them to their mother. They would have started life with mother's learned knowledge and that advantage would have multiplied the hairless gene. Interbreeding would have reintroduced hair growth in various combinations and the current pattern would have proved most effective. The advantages of learning by approval would have increased with the knowledge added by every succeeding generation, which would have eventually squeezed out their hairier relatives and started our accumulation of cultural knowledge.

Adulthood hides our parental bonds from us as because our algorithm operates according to its preset, editing rules, already explained in the first chapter as the cause of the stereoscopic illusion. The operations of our four-step algorithm (re-hunting) edit the suckling component out of the approval homeostat. Therefore, the homeostat matched by adults in recognition of a smile does not have the suckling component, in fact, time has relegated suckling to normally inaccessible, preverbal memories. We are left wondering why mother's smile alone provokes so much pleasure in us. So while it feels good to please some people, we did not notice and feel no need to justify our desire to please or displease another person, it just feels like the right thing to do. The evaluations of smiles and frowns are an automatic response, as unnoticed as the steps one and two calculations used in seeing, walking, balancing a hot cup of coffee for a sip, or breaking for a red light.

The approval homeostat is the foundation of a chain that includes nearly all future learned knowledge and behavior because the approximate matching characteristic of step two generalizes the power to teach from parents to other authorities like politicians, teachers, police and employers. Mothers and other authorities consistently and constantly smile or use signals like tone of voice, words, good grades or gifts when they feel pleasure. The genes of learning animals have designed their minds to be pleasure-seeking missiles, so the ability of one human being to create pleasure in another by smiles (four) means that warmth and a full stomach will no longer completely satisfy. When no current externally sourced sensation will produce pleasure, we have learned to search our internal memories for pleasurable sensations, and as smiles are what produced pleasure before, we crave the pleasure gotten from the attention of those around us. Learning from an approving teacher is fun for students who feel pleasure from approval. We will even defer genetically proscribed reflexive and other learned pleasures in favor of greater pleasure from cultural acceptance. American psychologist, Stanley Milgram, (Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View 1974), demonstrated the extreme power of this obedience link. His experiments found that people feel enough pleasure to follow the instructions of an approving authority, even when it conflicts with their strongly held moral values.  Subjects believing that they were administering life threatening electric shocks to an actor continued to ramp-up the power of those shocks over the subject's pleading and their own misgivings on the authority of an approving nod from a psychologist in a white coat. Any sign of approval allows us to teach abstract concepts like mathematics, science and art that have no immediate practical or obvious emotional reward beyond the teacher's approving regard. A good idea, a good investment or a job well done earns a smile of approval and admiration with little applause thrown in. That feels like the taste of mother’s milk and just makes most people's day. To that end, we mostly use our time to pursue the pleasure that evaluates human interactions. (Overdone, a demand for constant approval becomes the tiresome neediness that isolates insecure people from the affirmation they crave.) Most of what we say and do intends to please or upset others. In consequence, humans are not strictly speaking, self-interested; many of us would train for a career or bear children we do not want, work unreasonable hours or die a hero to gain another's approval.

 

 

Personality

 

The realization that we learn our homeostats one by one seems to rule out learning consistent personality traits, but we learn most of the basics from our mothers, and get our personality shaping self-image and worldview from her. This means that the individual characteristics of being aggressive, shy, loyal etc. are predictable behavior patterns forecast by a mother's habits and the child's bond with her. Those who had believed that personalities are a genetic, defining collection of immutable moods and behavior and that we inflict our personalities on others are mistaken on both counts. We assimilate our habits after birth, and should be glad of it, because genetically proscribed behavior would be like our blink reflex or the number of fingers on each hand - unchangeable biological facts. In this section we will show that because of the editing inherent in re-hunting, we have not noticed that parental bonds usually duplicate the parents' kind of interpersonal relationships in their children. As explained in the last section, approval motivates children to please parents, and later in this section, we will discuss how we can overcome this primary motivation moving us on from approval seeking to self-interested individuals. This need not result in a life of solitary selfishness. Life is not a zero sum game. The benefits of cooperation attract us to others because only together did our ancestors discover and create this human centered world. We need to get along. However, as my own experience with awkward and rude behavior demonstrated, we have been wrong to believe that we inflict our behavior on others. Rather it is us, not others, who are most affected by our personalities. Life can be precarious and lonely for those with unfriendly behavior, and their plight cries out for the simple remedy available. Yet one more reason compels us to examine our learning history: evaluation is not biologically neutral. While both pleasure and pain can teach recognition and action equally well, we cannot dispassionately evaluate; we experience all of our emotions as positive or negative effects on our well-being. Both discontent and delight immediately affect our disposition. Pleasure tastes of life; pain stings like death. Later we will discuss how learning to look for silver linings changes our well-being and enjoyment of life. Optimists really do have better health and more fun. We discuss personality here to explain the root of bad behavior, in others or ourselves.

The parental bonds at the root of our personalities depend on a purely coincidental link. In the same way that Pavlov's dogs coincidentally, not causally, learned to associate food with a bell sound, the link between a parent's facial expression and its child's emotional evaluation is also non-causal. For that reason, learning to connect smiling approval with pleasure also comes with the possibility of learning the opposite evaluation: pleasure produced by frowning disapproval. Most of us have formed the approving parental bond discussed in the last section. We crave and hunt for pleasure by gaining our parent's and society’s approval, and we earn it by choosing the right education, job, clothes, car, address and investments while trying to be knowledgeable, empathetic, witty and fashionable. Normally, overwhelmingly, a mother's smile couples with caring acts, and recognizing mother's smile will produce pleasure (four) based on the original coincidental pleasures of feeding, warmth, etc. (one or three), but whichever of mother's two possible emotion types displayed at feeding times will become linked (three) with the child's pleasure. As discussed, pleasure triggered by smiles (four) ensures that the child will be obedient - conforming to earn smiling approval, triggering more pleasure. However, because the connection is not causal, a small fraction of the population forms a different kind of bond. They learn to scorn our conformity, even to their own detriment, because their mothers frowned while feeding them. They will not seek approval, but through disobedience earn pleasure from disapproval and that motivation will define their personalities.

The type of bond formed determines how well we get along with others and enjoy life. Since linking the smile with pleasure and the frown with pain produces the desired obedient result, we wonder what causes the disapproval connection. Why would any mother consistently smile when her baby was in pain and frown when it felt pleasure?  Smiles and frowns are the variables that do not change; even hardened criminals reflexively smile when they feel pleasure. Only mom can know why she felt pain while caring for her baby. The guilt of mothering a bastard, disapproval of the child's sex, preoccupation with other things, drunkenness, madness, illness, constant pain, the baby's constant crying etc. can provoke the facial expression of mothers and produce mixed or opposite bonding. In these cases, mothers' smile will scare her baby like movie villains' treacherous smile. Initially linking the smile with pain will cause the child to frustrate mom to avoid her pain-inducing smile, thereby earning the frown and the relief it brings. We cannot easily correct this reversal because it perpetuates a devolving cycle of frown-provoking behavior that frustrates the mother, who (being unaware of the crossed bond) expects her child to respond obediently. The 'bad' behavior causes the mother to dislike and frown at the child. That reinforces the misbehave/pleasure connection by rewarding the child with a consistent series of reassuring frowns.

Anecdotal evidence suggests an innocent cause for learning the opposite evaluative valence with the resulting contrary behavior. A mother, while on maternity leave, still managed a team of computer programmers who badgered her with problem phone calls. Breast-feeding was the one chore possible while on the phone, so for nearly all that year she often picked up her little girl prompted by the ringing phone instead of its natural hunger cries and fed her while she gazed at her mother's concerned frown. The child's lack of distress caused the mother to smile when prematurely picking her up after the phone rang, and the programmer’s problems not the baby’s pleasure caused the mother’s concerned expression while feeding. Predictably, the child calculated every move to worry her mother by eliciting the pleasure wired with concerned frowns and breast-feeding. The mother reported that wishing this child a good day when sending her to school invariably elicited the response, "and you have a really bad day." Such a child feels out of step with the rest of the world and exhibits behavior labeled criminal or insane. Every attempt by others to encourage such a child will cause pain and provoke offense. Such behavior appears irrational to others because it results from feeling pleasure at the disapproval and criticism of others, but, as been explained, our minds seek pleasure, not truth, and so the attempts of the disobedient child to provoke frowns conform to the rules of the pleasure-seeking algorithm. Such an oppositely evaluated personality might block easy success, and such people often get labeled as losers, but it won’t make life impossible because modern universal education easily provides the knowledge needed to get food and shelter for modern first-world humans. The valence of emotional bonds determines the root and core of our self-image, worldview, and social relationships, and that would be obvious if only obedient and disobedient options were possible, but life experience intervenes with uncountable variations. Just as two identical sticks dropped into the same stream end up in different places at different times, chaos theory predicts that even identical twins will develop differences in their personalities.

Eric Berne used what he called transactional analysis (Games People Play, 1964) to analyze social interactions between personalities. The steps in the algorithm hypothesized above can give us a more detailed analysis of the process. Obviously, even superficial social interactions require an exchange of emotional displays, and the recognition process (four and two), will produce feelings of pleasure or pain (four) for both participants. Any recognition of speech that triggers a change in our emotions (steps one or three) draws our attention to the speaker. The speakers’ displayed evaluations (four) register on the listeners’ preverbal matching process (two). As listeners match and recognize the speaker's words (four), their parallel unconscious process (two and four) triggers, matches, and produces their own evaluations (four). Both parties to any conversation are aware of the degree of congruence because both automatically feel their evaluations and can see the other's facial expressions. Agreement with the evaluations expressed by the speaker triggers pleasure (four) based on congruence with the listener's previously learned, bond-based evaluations. The confirmation of the expected congruence triggers pleasure for the same reason a cured olive or a coriander leaf that tastes as expected triggers pleasure. That same reason again triggers an unwelcome surprise at the taste of sour milk or a moldy apple. We expect reality to match every aspect of our learned homeostats and feel threatened when it does not. (This reaction produces an obvious evolutionary asset. No advantage would accrue from learning unreliable homeostats.) The threat affronts our view of reality and drives curiosity and re-hunting for the correct perception, evaluation or action. While congruent emotions lead to agreement, mutual approval, and pleasure, conflicting evaluations offend implying disagreement and disapproval causing pain. For that reason, we automatically feel pain, and would strongly object to expressed definitions and evaluations that contradict our homeostats, (four) but, out of politeness, listeners normally ignore these contradictions publicly, while privately fuming at the discomfort arising out of what has been said. While obedient people look up and feel pleasure from identifying smiling approval, disobedient people will look up and feel pleasure from identifying frowning disapproval. This means that conversation provokes either discomfort or pleasure. Displayed evaluations consistently draw us to or repel us from others. Congruence with another's evaluations during the initial contact lead to acceptance and establishes friendly relations between those having the same parental bonds. The personality of the speaker generating either kind of emotion determines our reaction and, therefore, defines our personalities. Those with obedient bonds will mirror and enjoy parental like cultural evaluations. They expect good will triumph over evil, hard work will be rewarded, their children will be obedient, and spouses faithful. Those with disobedient bonds will reverse parent like and cultural evaluations - believing that they never need give a sucker an even break, if no one saw it, it didn't happen, only fools follow the rules, and everyone is out for themselves. Avoiding unpleasant company of those who contradict our beliefs while seeking the pleasant company of those who share our beliefs would separate us into only two classes: obedient and disobedient.

However, parents insist that their child acknowledge the difference between the sexes, which may be, what Stephan Dawkins, (The Selfish Gene, 1976) called a learned 'meme' inherited though learning from previous generations or, considering the necessity of differentiation in reproductive success, a genetic reflex. The importance of the sexual distinction produces two possible emotional bonding results based on separate bonding links to mothers and fathers. As we have seen, step two of our algorithm recognizes near matches to step one learned perceptions. This generalizes the mother bond to other women who evaluate like her. Mother teaches the father bond by the same means as any lesson - by expressing evaluation in front of the child. Generalization also transfers the father bond to other men (two) who evaluate like him. Smiles and frowns from others of either sex, then, have the same emotional consequence as the facial expressions of the parent of that sex, and extends pleasures and pains to interactions with them. Parental bonds determine the self-image and worldview that control who among our contacts will conflict and who will agree, that is, the individual's membership in a class. Two parents, each with two possible bonds, so four emotional bonding types are mathematically possible. The four types are:

 

  1. obedient to both parents
  2. obedient to mother, disobedient to father
  3. obedient to father, disobedient to mother
  4. disobedient to both parents

 

We would expect, and the experience of anyone who has spent much time in a classroom seems to bear out, that most of us fall in the first category. Mom smiled when feeding us and she generally approved of dad. A smaller number of shiny keeners fit in the second group, congruently bonded to a mother who either disapproved of or was afraid of dad. The males form the union leader, male nurse and teacher category. As few of us could survive a mother who would deny or resent care as needed, even fewer fit into the third or fourth categories. The third group interprets mom's frowning evaluation of dad as a pleasurable sign. Males of the third class, because they take pleasure from men's approval and pain from women's approval, may well be gay men. If that were true, it makes equal sense to suspect that lesbians come from the second class. Both classifications make sense although no anecdotal or observational evidence yet confirms the hypothesis. The forth group would logically result from interpreting mom's smiling evaluation of dad as a painful evaluation. Criminals and hermits make up the forth class. They occupy a couple of desks at the back of the class and drop out as soon as practicable.

Wealth and status divides the first category into two subgroups - upper and lower. The characteristics that empower financial success in capitalist economic systems are well known. Inherited capital, successful and helpful parents with useful contacts to politicians, suppliers, and customers, delayed gratification, tenacity, good education from a prestigious school, ambition, good grooming, social graces, straitened teeth, and confidence do not guarantee success, but certainly help. The characteristics that thwart success are equally obvious. A background of poverty and poor parenting, a pattern of immediate consumption, easy capitulation, laziness, little or no education, rudeness, poor hygiene, and no teeth almost always guarantees a paycheck to paycheck existence. The difference in status within the first class does not depend on the bonds formed with parents, both enjoy pleasing others, it depends on what the parents teach.

The specific people filling the role of mothers and wives hold a mysterious authority over first and second-class men. Their natural authority flows from the mother/child bond, which is stronger than the father/child bond derived from it, and explains why sons and husbands normally have a more dependent emotional bond with mothers and wives than daughters and wives have with fathers and husbands. This explains the importance of status and power in society; those with high-status and power have more valuable smiles and frowns because mothers and other humans have a natural authority derived from their ability to produce pleasure or pain by their facial expressions. That power transfers to other authorities by a chain of learned admiration. Authority figures dress better; have better cars, jobs and homes – all things mom valued. Leadership gets its power from status, Veblen (The Theory of the Leisure Class, 1899). For most people, pleasing those in authority feels like pleasing mother and most people crave status and power for the admiring smiles they trigger. A smile from a high status, first class male will arouse pleasure in the low status, working sub-class giving rise to the classic officer/soldier or boss/worker relationship. This allows men with high status to lead workers in cooperative efforts like those needed to win a war or mass produce automobiles. As the pleasure felt depends on congruence with the sex, not the class of the smiler, the authority conferred by the pleasure of a smile works between classes and subgroups. Only males in the second and forth groups feel suspicion or anger at high status approval, which explains both the union leader and the crook.

Contacts from outside the family or culture complicate the situation. Congruence or incongruence with evaluative smiles and frowns (or other approving or disapproving signals) cause our comfort or discomfort with others. Cultural differences could logically cause unexpected congruencies and non-concurrences, and likely cause racial and cultural conflict. That aside, separate female and male bonding works to hide the bond's role in determining personality because generalized obedience to one sex and disobedience to the other can exist in the same personality. Neither always friendly nor unfriendly, second nor third class members exhibit a preference for one sex and simply avoid or ignore the other. This helps hide the behavioral motives of those with opposite valences based on sex. In addition, incongruence with the same sex parent does not result in disliking all members of that parent's sex. While we would expect individuals with a negative bond to their same sex parent to be self-loathing, they are not. Their own homeostats are definitionally congruent with them. A disobedient bond with father does not result in disliking all men, only those holding evaluations that conflict. Men who have a disobedient bond with their father will mirror the emotional displays of others with the same bond, while reversing the emotional display of those having an obedient bond. Congruent emotions please and incongruent evaluations offend so the same sex members from within each bonding group will interact pleasurably because they will normally feel and display congruent emotional evaluations. A male disobedient to his father will exhibit congruent emotions to others of the same father bond. For this reason, a male from the second group will evaluate incongruently with males from groups one, three, and four but congruently with other males from group two. Men who avoid men, will seek, as friends other men who also avoid men. Likewise, a woman from the third group will interact congruently with females from group three but incongruently with members from groups one, two, and four. For this reason, some people mirror the behavior of some of the same sex while opposing the behavior of others. If we could not account for this inconsistency, both liking and disliking the same sex whether men or women, we would discount sex as a personality and class dividing factor. As said before, because other people’s smiles or frowns supply us with pleasure, humans are social animals; we seek each other out as much as food, warmth or other pleasurable commodities and pursue the desired positive or negative relationship with women and men who will consistently provide the pleasure previously extracted from mom and dad. Annoying people enjoy the discomfort of others as much as cooperative people enjoy pleasing others.

Since we model our like or dislike for each sex on the bond formed with our own parents, we normally transfer this preference to our children depending on their sex. Liking mom means we will like daughters; liking dad will transfer to sons, and so on. Both parents will form bonds with each child depending on sex, usually resulting in inter-generational, stable, psychological and class types. However, as the emotional bond is non-causal, abnormal events, like those experienced by our programmer manager and her daughter, or birth order can vary the bonds formed with parents - even in the same family. Hence, the possibility of having a black sheep commonly exists.

Only humans, horses and dogs feel approval as a basic need by learning this extra evaluative source. We search for love and approval with the same intensity that other animals search for food, shelter, and sex. Therefore, we limit our associations to those who mirror our evaluative expressions because they produce the most pleasure and no pain. We limit our social contact to those we know or those who know people of our class to avoid conflict. Interactions between members of different classes are formally proscribed and brief. Necessary business transactions between individuals from different classes follow the proscribed formula called good manners. The pleasure that draws us to those who evaluate as we do and the pain repels us from those who evaluate oppositely creates pockets of social interaction in separate neighborhoods, churches, schools, clubs, and jobs. Everyone is either one of us or one of them. Class conformity ensures that members’ clothing, possessions, manners and preferences identify them. You would not expect to find class four people at the opera nor would you expect high status, class one or two people to attend the local bingo, roller derby or wrestling match. It is the difference between 'us' and 'them'. High-status, first-class members enjoy the company of men and women equally because the smiles of both sexes arouse pleasure. The second class prefers the company of women because their smiles arouse pleasure and will compete with and argue with men because their frowns arouse pleasure. The third class prefers men because men's approval arouses pleasure and fear women because their smiles arouse pain and the fourth class avoids both sexes to escape the pain response to any smile. Those who have attended sentencing hearings will note that often both the criminal and his mother smile at the judge's admonishments. Pure criminals avoid contact with others, tending to be loners both in and out of prison.

The fun in life depends on which bonding connection forms the child's self-image and worldview. Not only whom we socialize with, but also how much we enjoy life depends on class. Pleasure predominates the life experience of obedient personalities because individuals who learn a homeostat from a smile will remember it with pleasure (four), while pain prevails in the experience of those who have formed a disobedient parental bond because those with crossed evaluations will remember the identical lesson with pain (four). Any change in expression naturally triggers either kind of child to learn the evaluation triggered by the teacher's expression, which could be either pain or pleasure, because either represents the change in evaluative feeling necessary (three) to trigger learning. That is biology! If the parent or other teacher smiles while describing the uses of apples (three), the obedient child will evaluate them with a pleasure (four), confirmed by the apples sweetness (three). The disobedient child would learn to evaluate the same apple with pain (four) from the same smile (three), but find a confusing contradiction in the pleasure reflexively produced from the sweet taste (three). Imagine two groups of children, one learns the multiplication tables as a game with a laughing approving teacher, the other learns the same tables but under threat of corporal punishment from a glaring teacher who insults mistakes. Biologically speaking, pleasure and pain instill the tables equally well (three), but one group will constantly feel the pleasure feedback of approval when using them, while the other will feel the fearful feedback of pain. The evaluative trigger makes for a completely different experience of each remembered homeostat and the behavior it generates. Naturally, we expect that the group of students with the smiling teacher will learn and use mathematics with pleasure (four) and the group in the class of the frowning teacher would learn multiplication with pain (four), but it does not turn out that way for everyone. The majority in the first class will learn with pleasure and be comfortable with the smiling teacher, but children with crossed evaluations will learn in pain. It is the same way in the second class: the majority will learn in pain, but those with crossed evaluations will be comfortable with the frowning teacher. Obedient children learn quickly and easily, but, because the parent's smile arouses pain for disobedient children, they evaluate oppositely to their teacher and find school and learning disagreeable. Disobedient children experience misunderstanding and must challenge their teachers. There must be some evolutionary advantage to having, and this number is a pure guess, say seven per-cent of the population with a crossed connection. We can see why our genes would want the other ninety-three per cent to follow whatever has proved successful in the past, but there must be an advantage in disobedience. The answer, I suspect, is creativity. Picasso, was not the kind of guy who said, “O yeah, that’s the way to paint.” He said, “I don’t think so. There must be another way to express meaning.” While most with a crossed connection will be unsuccessful, just enough will come up with a better way of doing things to justify the trait. The theory predicts that while obedient children will learn more easily, disobedient children will ask more questions, try more options and think more creatively. Progress does not come from doing the same thing the same way every time.

 

 

Language

 

Verbalization is the upgrade that gives human thought its magic-like powers and civilization can only proceed in lockstep with improvements in language that allow ever better descriptions and understandings of reality. People who know better than I do have estimated that the ancient Greek language had a hundred-thousand words, Latin two hundred-thousand and modern English has half a million words to describe the knowledge of their and our respective periods.

Most animals can communicate on an emotional level. Snarls, murmurs, moos, bleats and purrs are obviously reflexive vocalizations expressing current emotional states - humans automatically cry and laugh. Animals with lungs have varying vocal abilities depending on their capacity to push breath through their mouths. Human larynxes open furthest down the throat, creating a sound modifying chamber between the epiglottis and soft pallet called a pharynx. Positioning our epiglottis at the bottom of the pharynx prevents it from sealing our gullets, so we have the advantage of pushing breath through the double chambers of our pharynxes and mouths where vocal-chords, tongue and jaw can shape sounds into speech. Only human beings can shape their reflexive emotional sounds into words that add a second communication channel to their emotional vocalization. We can inflect emotional expressions like crying, laughing or murmuring into the vowel, consonant and syllable sounds of words. A vocal symbol representing definitional sensory experience is contained within the sound of the emotional vocalization. A frightened scream shaped into the word; “Snake!” conveys two kinds of information: both the emotion felt and the subject of the speaker's concern. No other animal has the gymnastic verbal talent to produce the diverse variety of distinct sounds necessary for language combined with the parental bonding necessary to teach and use it. Only humans have the vocal capacity for a language that precisely communicates knowledge gained through their five senses and actions necessary to use that knowledge. Emotions provide the voice of speech, and because the reflexive utterance is still the main event, a word spoken in anger sounds different when compared with the same word spoken kindly, hopefully or joyfully. Some other animals, like whiny dogs with leashes in their mouths, can also indicate the cause of their emotion, but they do not have the vocal ability to shape snarls and barks into words. We have a word for ‘walk’ with unmistakable definitional meaning on top of its evaluative affirming, commanding or questioning tone (walk, walk! or walk?).

While airway biology and reflexive sounds are in our DNA, language must be taught. We know that because all babies can cry at birth but none knows how to talk and all learn the language of the parents who raised them regardless of the language of their birth parents. Yet, no matter how isolated or primitive, no example of a completely mute tribe exists, which leaves us wondering who taught the first words. The fact that every language uses different sounds leads us to believe that the connection between the sound-symbol and the thing it labels is accidental. That, along with the fact that every tribe has independently evolved some kind of language, supports the theory that language, like women and men left in a room together, is a collaboration waiting to happen. Language is a synergy between our reflexive sounds, our airway’s design, and the algorithm already described in chapter four.

We can guess that language developed from the reflexive vocal expression of an emotion: something like an exasperated grunt produced by the effort of lifting or pushing. We learn sounds because the first step in the mind’s hunting process is to learn action and identifying sensations provoked by a change in evaluation (one). Sound qualifies as both an action (for the speaker) and a sensation (for the listener) so must be included in both newly learned homeostats (one or three). Even normally unassociated sounds like grunts, roars and barks automatically get in on the first step. Repeating the situation will again elicit the spoken sound linked to lifting and any sound re-heard by others present at the first situation will be recognized (two and four). Anyone who has carelessly sworn in front of a two-year-old may well have been horrified on hearing the expletive repeated innocently. Provoked emotions trigger the learning (one and three) of coincidental actions like making the sounds of words. Such repeated sounds would match and recall the other sensations from the original learning moment (three). Words would have become labels and symbols defining the objects or events in question and remembered in recognition of the same circumstances (four). From then on, a grunt would define the need or invitation (four) to help lift or push. This inevitable accident makes cooperation more likely while organizing a hunt or building a shelter and the usefulness of such words would encourage the invention of more defining sounds.

Language is the first intentionally taught lesson and consists of linking a sensory perception with a word sound. The sight of a dog linked with the word, 'dog'. Words are not naturally a part of sensory experience, but usage by parents automatically teaches invented words to human children (one, two, three, and four). As was said in the fourth chapter, when voiced emotionally, words communicate and teach the combination of definition and evaluation by triggering feelings in the listener. Mothers with babies often make a special effort to repeat ‘mommy’ many times over while smiling and laughing or repeat ‘bad’ many times over in a stern voice while frowning, and by that process teach the connection between facial expression, tone of voice and word. Mother's extra effort is unnecessary because, as has already been said, reflex biologically connects her emotions, facial expressions and tone of voice. Our current emotion automatically, and often unconsciously, sets our emotional tone as we speak revealing our evaluation of those words to the listener. For those who have formed a parental bond, vocal tone provokes the change in evaluation necessary for the listener to learn (three) the word. Mother’s spoken word is the action component that completes her three-part homeostat. She will not be satisfied until the child has learned the whole homeostat, and first encourages, and then uses frowns to demand confirmation by the child’s spoken repetition (four). This verbalization then becomes the action component of the child’s newly learned verbal homeostat to be, at first expressed out-loud, and later on, in a more socially acceptable, silent, internal, running monologue sometimes called thought. "Children should be seen and not heard!" We use words as symbols to communicate our feelings of perception, action, and evaluation.

The light that reflects from a thing into our eyes is, obviously, not the thing itself but a symbol of the thing. All sensory perceptions are symbolic. For example, the revisualization of an object with closed eyes creates a perceptual symbol of the previously seen real object. All five kinds of external perceptions are symbols of the things that parent them, but we can only communicate sound symbols. We cannot recreate our other kinds of sense perceptions. For example, we cannot shoot pictures from our eyes to show what we have seen. Words make communication possible because we can both hear and speak the same sounds. Consistently matching descriptive word symbols to sensory perceptions, marks the complete mastery of the verbalization procedure, and has prepared the child to communicate. From then on, the matching process produces word sounds (four) that form the action component of learned verbal homeostats. Words have the effect of a sixth, identifying sensation; each word is a heard sensation that automatically searches our brains for matching words. Saying, "car keys" while looking for them puts the symbol in the ear and brain of anyone overhearing. Should that overheard symbol match and trigger a homeostat that includes the revisualization of your car keys in a specific location; that over-hearer can share that location with you. We also overhear our own words, and match and trigger our own memories of where we last saw things. Words not only communicate the verbalized content of our sensory perceptions to others, but overhearing our own words matches and triggers homeostats from within our own brains.

Silent voicing, speed-dials matching words, and sets the stage for assembling original knowledge by associating two already learned homeostats together. There is no new thing under the sun, but we can combine old concepts in new ways. Combinations can produce something more useful, like a horse and carriage. One common characteristic will match the two homeostats, like a load too heavy for the horse, but not too heavy for pulling in a carriage. The words we say aloud or generate silently in our ears provoke the mirror neuron matching like any other sound (three). Common characteristics link homeostats together. Therefore, we have things made of wood. Things made of steel. Red things, soft things, useful things, kitchen things and art link to each other by their matching flavors, natures, styles, temperaments, locations, colors, virtues and tones. Other animals see individual objects or classes of objects; none of them interconnects everything in one way or another, like we do. A dog sees a bone to chew; we see a soup bone, an anatomy lesson, a weapon, a tool, an ornament and a construction material. Each link to another category offers an option. Only language allows us to symbolize the imperceptible. Words have the flexibility to describe the meaning of something not obviously perceptible, like the difference between a load on a horse and a load pulled by a horse. Take relationships, for instance. We do not see or hear relationships as much as we understand them. Words describe what we sense and, in combination, add to what we understand. Using words as the matching, common-characteristic of homeostats makes hunting for causes easier. A word in common, like 'load', sometimes usefully matches and connects (three) two concepts, like horse and carriage. Extending our childhood to learn language streamlines homeostats allowing us to sift through options faster. Stripping down such three component word homeostats to visual and word symbols, plus evaluation generalizes the matching process. These short cuts make matching the relevant identities, calculating the emotional running total, and eventual decisive sum so much faster. Second channel meaning allows us to objectify anything we can name, which exponentially expands our potential for dealing with our environment. Objectifying perception provides an intermediate pause between perceiving and physical action. It provides a matching junction or switching point where we can weigh options, seek advice or postpone actions. It does not allow for the unimpassioned, disinterested examination of the facts recommended by Plato; no homeostat can exist unevaluated. Without language other animals cannot ponder (match) the alternatives or speculate about intangibles. They cannot ask about freewill or sift through options. We replace immediate emotional evaluation with the emotions generalized from approval and disapproval. “You can’t do just whatever you want; you have to do as you’re told.” You cannot act in your own immediate best interest; you must consider cultural values and the future impact of your actions. Words can be a harmless, pre-action, self-correcting trial run. That is, matching several previously learned homeostats makes us aware of options and can change our minds before taking irrevocable action. Other learning animals are unquestioning slaves to the most highly evaluated homeostat currently produced from their memories. They do not hesitate; they are only aware of one solution. We can hesitate, using the pause to query several options.

The four-step algorithm creates, teaches, and edits word homeostats by the same rules as other homeostats. While language eventually improves our thought, its benefits initially come at a price, and later it comes with yet another unlooked for bill. First, because the four-step learning algorithm freezes all sensations from a moment, adding the word, 'banana' to other components, like the visual characteristics of elongated and yellow, and the tactile characteristic of smooth, adds another sensation to be learned in the hunt’s first step, which makes it more cumbersome to remember and use in thought. However, as has been explained, re-hunting edits, thus updating our software, each time we use it. We soon forget an unused name, and after Pavlov’s mealtime bell stopped ringing, his dogs quickly stopped salivating. Re-hunting quickly peels our homeostats down to the essentials. The type of sensation associated with the strongest emotion determines the remaining elements in consciousness. In humans, the identifying sensation is nearly always visual and symbolizes all the other component sensations from other recognition sense organs. Sighted humans use eyes to recognize, but dogs appear to use their noses and it makes sense to believe that animals use their most discriminating recognition sense organ. When we talk about bananas without their being in the room, only the identifying word and the remembered vision will be relearned (three). Verbal relearning reduces all those recognition sensations to two components: a single word and a visual identifying sensation. Words become efficient shorthand for the much larger and complex, sensation loaded homeostats used by nonverbal animals. (Again, the other animals are not talking, and it is likely that dogs reduce most of their homeostats to eatable and uneatable smells.) The word symbol ‘banana’ alone produces the sight that triggers pleasure. This aerodynamic redesign makes verbal homeostats the speed demons we use in matching.

Edited homeostats still work like a multi-sensation filled homeostat because each has a history where it was fully defined and evaluated, and we can still be aware that the details exist behind the consciousness firewall, without being currently conscious of the exact content. "I know the answer to this question, but I can’t think of it right now." "I know this person’s name but I can’t remember it right now." "I’ve seen this before, but I can’t remember where." When needed, the homeostat that includes the other sensory characteristics of bananas still exists, still accessible, further back in the time line of the same matching memory category. You just have to wait for your brain to retrieve it. The original descriptive and evaluative elements remain in the original homeostat, and while, unless strongly evaluated, they become less and less available with passing time, if someone asks the question, “What's that smell?” you can usually still wait for the match to the word banana in the same identifying category as the smell sensation.

Having common definitions of words wrongly convinces us that meaning inheres in the object - the 'inherent meaning illusion'. Speakers of English call a shallow bowl of a certain size with a handle, a cup.  A cup is only a cup to English speakers. It has no inherent identity. It appears to have inherent meaning because the editing process of our algorithm removes all memory of the defining process and directly pairs our conscious stream components, like the sight of a cup, to the meanings of words, like cup, or the actions dictated by those meanings, like using it to drink from. The sight, sound or other sensation symbolizing 'cup' immediately produces a matching meaning. Our common agreement as to the meaning convinces us that "cupness" inheres in the object, when in fact only the definition of cup pairs "cupness" with cups. A part of the last section discussed this same illusion as a factor that leads us to believe that pleasure is inherent in smiles and pain is inherent in frowns, rather than both being learned associations (parental bonds). Re-hunting pares language down from five component homeostats of perception, evaluation, word, word meaning, and action to a three component homeostat of perception, evaluation, and either action or meaning. We start out learning to link perceptions with words and words to their meanings, and meanings to actions. At that time, the steps in the connections are obvious, but re-hunting quickly edits five components to three with a resulting speed in action. The close combination also leads us to insist that an absolute meaning inheres in objects, and that rigidity causes much strife.

We see a red light, feel fear, and our foot touches the break. That is all there is. There is no unconscious process that links red light, the words "red light" the meaning of red lights, the options (it may turn green), and put the brakes on. The meaning of the light once determined the action, but now the four-step process automatically jumps past the word symbol and its meaning - from actual sight or sound etc. to its meaning or action. Re-hunting edits the homeostat down to red light, fear, and break. Nothing links red light with break in reality, but being joined in the homeostat gives the appearance of connection in reality. Meaning only exists with the object in our learned homeostats, no object has the intrinsic identity, purpose, or value, that is, the meanings that words represent.  An electric multi-meter is only useful to someone with the learning to use it. It has no inherent use. A twenty-dollar bill is only valuable, if you and others will value it. Nothing has inherent value in reality. Our pleasure seeking algorithm pairs our previously learned meanings with our current perceptions (step four), so seamlessly that we do not notice the subtraction of the words. Drivers break for a red light and resume for a green light without consciousness of the words: red, stop, green, go. We act as if definition and evaluation did not come from us at all; that they had been in objects all along for us to discover. We believe that red means stop and green means go because re-hunting and recognition automatically produces meaning from the matching homeostat without a record of the steps that put it there. Our conscious experience misleads us about inherent meaning for the same pleasure of efficiency provided by the stereoscopic illusion revealed in the first chapter. Protagoras, the ancient Greek Sophist and rival of Socrates, stated the same insight when he said, "Man is the measure of all things." He had deduced that nothing has an intrinsic or inherent meaning.

 

 

 

Questions

 

 

Stripped down homeostats allow us drive all the way to work guided by unconscious autopilot, stopping at red lights and turning corners with no awareness or memories of those sensations or our responses to them. Who has not arisen early on a holiday intending to go somewhere only to find themselves well on their way to work? Such unverbalized, autopilot activity is the norm for us. We are on autopilot until something unforeseen or unexpected happens. As discussed in the Personality section, conflicts with the content of our homeostats cause irritation and curiosity. Curiosity kicks us off our autopilot control system, and we start to verbalize by describing the situation. The silent sounds of words heard in our ears symbolize meaning, and draw the same kind matching response that other perceptions, like sight, touch, taste, or smell, elicit. We call verbal matching 'thinking'. Thinking has no end in itself, but provides a means of finding another action based on matching some component of the troublesome situation that will produce the desired end. The belief that other animals think like verbal humans is pure anthropomorphism. If their minds biologically work as ours would without language, non-verbal animals must act immediately and physically (four) prompted by recognition because the action instructions were stored (three) in the same homeostat as the learned perceptual touchstone for recognition. Recognition immediately prompts every action. Without words, they have no way to reduce the unexpected to its essential elements and match similar situations. Their experience of life must be much like our unverbalized trip to work.

Understanding that our best choice or any answer may not, yet, be known to us, we have learned to ask questions in search of options. We educate children to ask questions. The Socratic teaching method poses questions to the student, but teachers who have not read Plato’s works often miss the purpose. Socrates posed questions for which he had no answers because he was not teaching answers; he taught a process for generating and comparing answers. The worst of today’s teachers demand memorized answers to stock questions and the student with the highest marks confidently regurgitates without risking the emotional self-examination needed for better answers. Regurgitating memorized answers duplicates the thought process of non-verbal animals; they also act on the first matching homeostat. Upon facing the unknown, other animals would automatically resort to the only kind of original thought process discussed so far: the four-steps that test for cause and response by interacting with reality. Other learning animals must accept the one and only action response dictated by the highest evaluation, but humans no longer need to be slaves to automatic first responses. Our ability to 'hear' remembered words turns our ears into the stage where 'thinking' takes place. While stock answers to indisputable knowledge must be taught (there is no creative version of the three times table) the best teachers encourage generating and considering new solutions where possible. Knowing the answer is not the point; the point is knowing the question that will provide options. Educated people hunt for cause and response in this second kind of thought process by questioning themselves. Just as the four-step process mined our environment for causes of pain and pleasure, questions allow those who have learned how to mine their memories for original answers. Language not only makes the external four-step hunting process faster by streamlining homeostats, but questions also allow us to create new knowledge based on past experience remembered from within our brains.

Storing memories behind an unconscious firewall makes questioning necessary. (By the way, the other option, being conscious of all our knowledge all the time, would render it overwhelmingly useless.) Education connects frustration, surprise and curiosity to specialized questions. This greatly expands options, by defining answers in terms of our goals. Teachers impart fixed basic knowledge but also teach questions by asking them. Students must learn the fundamental common knowledge of the three Rs, but they will not get far without a method of finding new or uncommon knowledge. Teachers often seem to be asking questions to find out if students have mastered basic knowledge, but their questions prompt usable new answer from those not paying attention. Teachers who insult and punish the student’s new answer have missed an opportunity to teach the thinking ability. Education accidentally teaches us to pursue our goals by questioning ourselves. We do not know, what we know, until it is made conscious by matching either the current environment, as in the identification or four-step processes, or as directed by some question we have learned to ask.

Like words, questions provide a switching junction where several matches to the current query can come into consciousness, but questions focus the search by qualifying the answer. Not, "What is a key?", but, "Where are my keys?" Questions define the unknown solution in terms of our goal's known characteristics allowing us to search our brains for new solutions without the necessity of waiting for the right current external circumstances to interact with the real world. Even without a wolf in sight, we can search for something to keep the pack away. We would define it as something big, loud, threatening, shielding and lethal; the identification process automatically spits out matches to these characteristics based on previously learned common characteristics. Questions can also free us from the present tense. As a result, our modern homeostatic response to some situations is to anticipate the future. No other animal has the calculated foresight to catch a particular train expecting to arrive at a specific place and time, yet we, moment to moment, act to bring about events occurring hours, days, months and years into the future. We use questions to quiz others and ourselves by predicting the consequences of manipulating the environment to suit our goals. Unlike other animals, we can speculate theoretical knowledge and predict the future with uncanny precision by using, "What would happen if?" questions. They match and trigger the efferent half of the identification process (four) to imagine various scenarios in our sense organs. Thus making them virtual laboratories for dry run, thought experiments that further refine the search for more positive emotional change options. As a result, we do not just look for eggs; we raise chickens.

Choosing which question to ask and being mindful of the automatic learned response gives us the necessaries to improve our choices. Mindfulness seeks this kind of Zen moment.  Reconsidering the value of commonplace experiences offers a way to reconsider parental bonds, self-image, and worldview. In the same vein, if we define traumatic experience as unexpected consequences resulting from routine behavior, we can see that it too leaves us stunned and gasping, and stimulates reconsideration. Anytime we do not have an easily accessed homeostat with a ready answer, we have an opportunity to create answers for ourselves. It lets us ask questions that define the unknown in terms of the known allowing us to assume a free association mode - finding answers in already learned homeostats that match the unknown. Humans can bootstrap the known, using theoretical constructions (four) of reality to modify old solutions (three), to fit new problems.

It would appear that we learned the formal questioning method from philosophy. Many have wondered how five of the best minds the world has ever produced, Anaxagoras, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and Epicurus, happened to live in ancient Greece, twenty years apart in succession. It is impossible to know for sure, but we can speculate, for historical interest, that in spite of the biological similarities between the minds of average ancient pre-Greeks and modern minds, logic tells us that their thought process would have been primitive in comparison. Like other animals, they would have reacted to current events as they happened. May I suggest that Anaxagoras’s question, “What things are parts of other things and what things are whole in themselves?” (the analysis question) triggered the avalanche of thought that followed because everything forms a part of something bigger and thinking about a thing's place and relationship to other things tells us about systems. The smallest subatomic particles cannot exist by themselves. Everything is part of something bigger except the biggest thing and the universe encompasses all smaller things. Aristotle's scientific classification system is a response to Anaxagoras's question. “What caused this and what will result?” is the same inquiry in another form. This question points away from understanding reality as objects and towards understanding objects as parts of systems. When you read Plato with that context in mind you can see that questions were a new toy and that those guys just wanted to drive it as far and fast as they could in every direction at once. For perhaps the first time in history, humans were taking ownership and responsibility for controlling their own thoughts. Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and Epicurus analyzed every topic they could identify and their answers set the stage for the main body of world cultural knowledge.

Plato et al were on a mission to free the average Greeks from reflexive responses by teaching them to question those immediate, called by them emotional, responses and choose better solutions based on truth.  Thereafter education had four goals: to fill memory with basic accidentally learned knowledge, teach a questioning method for finding their parts (analysis), recombining those parts (synthesis) in response to current needs, and share the solution to get feedback from others. Later, Renaissance Europeans built on the ancient’s questioning process by teaching observation (What is going on?), measurement (How far, fast and much?) and experimentation (What would happen if?). The division of work demanded by our modern, complex society requires further specialized questions. Doctors ask different questions than homemakers and plumbers ask different questions than lawyers. Criminals ask different basic questions than working stiffs. The difference in questions justifies separate basic knowledge education streams. Questions along with inventions like clocks, schedules, numbers, measuring and laws, project the options on our consciousness as we go. So, while better brain was thought to produce the human intellect, as we have seen, language, with its ability to objectify while precisely defining things and situations, and the questioning technique also have much to do with it.

Again, we do not gain without losing. Words have an objective definitional meaning independent of their subjective evaluative meaning to the speaker, so we can reason evaluation based on principles beyond immediate self-interest by choosing something like delayed gratification, love of another or ethics for a standard by learning to ask ourselves different questions. We do not live in the moment doing whatever feels best at the time. Following Plato, our European-based, scientifically focused culture discounts the importance of the individual’s immediate evaluative feeling and discourages verbalizing it, preferring to spotlight the other kinds of meaning in knowledge, mainly the universal, definitional meaning used to predict the final profit of the action. By ignoring immediate emotions, we have maintained the option of superseding and contradicting the automatic, emotional evaluation implicit in reflexive utterances. No one wants to let our parents or the boss know what we really feel before we have had a chance to think about it. That might get us grounded or fired. We try to keep an emotional poker face while weighing our options - lest strangers judge us, tease us or take advantage of us. The habit becomes so ingrained that some of us even fool ourselves, but, we are talking about reflexes here, they still leak out in the vocal tone and body language and such individuals act confused when others easily notice and label their emotional state. As predicted by Johari's window. (J, Luft and H. Ingham, The Johari Window, a graphic model of interpersonal awareness, 1955) The reader may remember from the third chapter, that I said we could only understand how our minds work by peering through several layers of upgrades to see the basis for the basic mental homeostat. Language only objectifies the verbalized parts of our control system and, therefore, the verbal train of thought feels like our whole control system. Words have out-shouted our awareness of emotions and body language to the point where they can barely claim notice. These reflexive parts of our conscious stream often go unverbalized and unnoticed, but they are still there and so we have to work a little harder, periodically asking ourselves how we feel, to see their effects on our behavior.

We rely on a few goal directed questions to guide our decisions, and the goals we chose partially define our worldview. Adding or dropping one of the two to five basic questions, asked by individuals will significantly change behavior and personality. Adding or dropping a work related question would change professional competence. The main difference between competencies at various occupations and life itself is the goals defined by the specific questions asked and the store of knowledge available to match and answer. The kind of question asked directs the thought process. How do you feel? What happens next? What was I supposed to learn from this failure? How do I profit from this situation? Each question solicits a different kind of homeostat in response. The question, “How do you feel?” produces self-awareness and empathy. “What happens next?” produces scientific inquiry. "How do I profit?" produces wealth. These questions define a significant part of our personalities. The first gains a reputation for being touchy feely; the second is often labeled nerdy; and the third selfishly successful. A well-rounded personality has a general education and asks from a repertoire of questions to gain different perspectives and pursue various goals. Individuals can easily learn new questions, and the nerd; for instance, can enter therapy to learn self-awareness and empathy.

 

 

Conclusion

 

At the beginning of the first essay on The Concept of Consciousness, I said that this work represented a paradigm shift and being only one person with only one life it has only been possible for me to provide the barest of human behavior sketches. The rest is up to normal scientists. Evolution has designed a one size fits all control system for learning animals. The heuristic algorithms of learning and remembering automatically operate sense organs and mirror neurons as programmed by the four-step 'hunt'. Any number, type or combination of sense organs recognize data. We mainly use eyes; dogs apparently use their noses. Any number, type or combination of sensations can evaluate the useful or dangerous and while pleasure evaluates grass for cows, for lions it evaluates meat. In addition, any number, type or combination of muscles can respond, and while we walk upright on two, horses gallop on all four hooves and whales swim. The identical four-step control system promotes survival and reproduction for different species with a variety of assets and needs.

As has been said, we acquire the sensory content of our learned homeostats by chance, and now we can add that the triggering evaluation learned by the student depends on the relationship the mother or other teacher happens to feel with the particular child or student. So, it too is arbitrary, and if we are to take anything away from what has been revealed so far, we should realize that evaluations of our learned homeostats result from accidents. We bear no responsibility for our personalities, but if we do not like ourselves, we must grasp the obvious: no amount of blaming or criticizing will help; only we can fix our problem by changing our parental bonds, self-image, worldview, or questions we routinely ask of ourselves.

 
 
 

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