I'm trying to get a handle on the type of thinking that this crazy world is looking for. What is the nature of the type of thinking that "fits in nicely". Since it seems so alien to us, I'm trying to understand why it's so desirable by the world-at-large. What are it's characteristics? Why is it considered so valuable? How did it get this way?
The important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts, as to discover new ways of thinking about them.
(Sir William Bragg)
Tell me to be...
presentable, a vegetable
guess I'll always have to be
living in a fantasy
no it won't be really me
from now on
tell me with words
all I need to know, and where to go
to find the things I need
What's that, never let it be said?
We're better off dead, our tails untold.
Lettuce live in words beyond time;
let us live in time beyond words.
Peace. --TR =+= =+=
"There is no normal life, Wyatt.
There's just life. Get on with it."
Last edited by Stabile; 06-16-05 at 05:13 PM.. Reason: content...
What we experience consciously is the pressure to conform, but at the deepest levels the Social Impulse is all about our ability to use words, if that wasn't clear by now. (grin…)
That presents an interesting question: if we use words to cement our world of words, what does a thread like this one do to it?
--Tom & Kay
Peace. --TR =+= =+=
"There is no normal life, Wyatt.
There's just life. Get on with it."
Copied From Google 1:
The "Missing Link" has evaded science to date. The ultimate enigma in seeking the answer to mankind's most puzzling question: Who are we, and where did we come from? The orthodox explanation, largely derived from Charles Darwin is that humans evolved from apes by way of some intermediate species. But evolution cannot account for the appearance of *Homo sapiens*, which happened virtually overnight instead of the millions of years evolution requires and with no evidence of earlier stages that would indicate a gradual change from *Homo erectus*. The hominid of the genus *Homo* is a product of evolution. But *Homo sapiens* is the product of some sudden evolutionary event. He appeared inexplicably some 300,000 years ago, millions of years too soon.
This change, development, speciation event was notable for one thing.
OK then. Language developed. A logical form of thinking evolved that is obviously rooted in nature. From what I understand, Stabile has discussed 2 different logical systems. The meta level vs. flat, and flat being a subset of meta level. Are both systems considered a neurological "web"? One is 2D and the other is 3D? If so, then is the formation of the web what roots both systems in nature? If not, in what way is the first system rooted in nature? In what way is the second, an extension of the first?
In your long view of the development of logical systems, is it fair to say that the flat system developed first (approx. 300,000 years ago)? And is the development of the second a relatively recent phenomenon (around the time of the development of written language)? Or were both systems available 300,000 years ago, but only the first was used? Is there any relationship between the logical system of the "flat" and the way that animals think?
What are the characteristics of the flat (is there another word for that) system? Is it used to manage or solve a certain "class" of problems? What is the useful realm of it's activity? Is it fair to equate it with what is commonly known as a heirarchal model? In what ways is it the same or different?
If there is any way of knowing or supporting a theory; how old is the physical structure of the contemporary brain? Has the physical structure changed or developed in the last 300,000 years?
I'm aware that to answer some of questions may involve some speculation, but I'm just trying to understand the logic of the underlying framework.
I have more questions along these lines. I'm working my way towards questions on the social impulse. I'll stop here for now.
The important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts, as to discover new ways of thinking about them.
(Sir William Bragg)
A quick apology for peeking my thoughts into this thread, ou pas.
On the philosophical side (yes, I am fully aware of my logical fallibility)-----------------
The Cartesian question is "how do I know I exist?"
This question is not the one that I am trying to answer. Proving or not proving one's existence is futile in my estimation.
"I think therefore I am" "cogito ergo sum"...Is adequate for my purposes (don't think I am "rationalist" )...
The question "what am I?" is a bit more useful... "I am a human being" "I am ADHD" "I am a man"...it starts getting problematic when you answer with "Other people think I am...." This is "Ego" and it is where culture lays.
"How am I a member of a these social group (s)" is the question most people ask instead of "what am I?" again tricky... (right up there with "how do people see me?"
What I am trying to model is: "why am I?", "why are we?". The questions:"why do we?" "how do we?", "where do I?"... "what are we?" and...yes "Why do we exist" are subway stops on the line to the terminus at "why? station".
I am a language lover. But I do not agree that language is what distinguishes "humans from animals". Functionally language is simply a form of "communication". The biological world is filled with examples. It is part of the survival strategy for everything from the trees to the monkeys that swing in them.
Granted, human language is a "Rolls Royce" in communication. It is functional for what we are. Communication is not unique though. Human communication is so powerful because it supports another thing that humans are: social animals. Social animals that form groups. Social animals that form groups and have art and technology.
Social animals that form groups and have art and technology is our special contribution that makes us "different" from animals. But what does that "difference" amount to? In the scheme of all things... not that much. Tons from our perspective...though
We are still animals...as shocking as that may sound. All animals have differences from each other. We may or may not be functional with technology. It could kill us all as well (4,000 years of it is a blink of the eye)....then we might as well have not "left the trees/or savana/or caves".
We are getting "smarter" (whatever that really means). Humans have bread dogs...there are many types. Humans also breed themselves. Smarter and smarter and less dependant on physical capability or senses. I sure hope our technology does not fail. What a risk! Maybe that is what separates us from the animals... we are amazing "risk takers". That must be the ADD in the human race...technology is an impulsive move.
I think therefore I am. I am therefore I think.
My biological imperatives are driven by pleasure and pain. Pleasure and pain drive my biological imperatives.
I am functional therefore my biological imperatives are met. My biological imperatives are met, therefore I am functional.
I lose my wallet therefore I am ADHD. I am ADHD therefore, I lose my wallet
'ou pas?' actually represents a compliment to you, for your comment on Ryle's Regress in an earlier thread :-).
And from General Google:
Cognitive scientists must be constantly aware of Ryle's regress as a potential problem with their theories, and must ensure that their theories include a principled account of how the (potentially) infinite regress that emerges can be stopped.
Origin of life.
Brain chemistry change.
'Theory of Mind' in the context of our most recent posts.
The mind as a reality model.
The mind as our internal representation of reality.
The reality model represented by a logical structure.
The logical structure physically represented by central neurones.
Does existentialism predicate reality (single and absolute)?
Does a proof of me, provide a proof of you?
And what does the Dice Man have to do with this?
Just an aside...
* * * * *
You’re out the door on your way to work one morning, reaching for the car door, when you spot a bird you’ve never seen before sitting on a nearby low hanging branch.
You look at it for a moment, wondering what it is. It is big; some kind of hawk, maybe? You resolve to ask a friend at work about it later, a guy you know to be an enthusiastic birder.
You climb in the car and take off, and the bird doesn’t seem to notice. On the way to work you wonder if it was migrating, became separated from the group and got lost, winding up in your yard, far off course.
An hour or two later you find yourself thinking about the bird, how big it was and how it didn’t seem to react to your presence. Feeling a stab of guilt, you pick up the phone and call the state Wildlife Bureau. A friendly voice listens to your story, thanks you for calling, and promises to check it out right away.
He can’t tell you what kind of bird it is, but he says it might be sick or injured, and might also be rare, a protected species, which might explain why you hadn’t seen one like it before.
At lunch you quickly find your friend and tell him the story. With every sentence he becomes more agitated, and when you tell him that the wildlife officer was going to investigate, he bursts out, “Those b******s!”
* * * * *
First some basics: logical structures and neural structures aren’t the same thing.
We have to be careful to differentiate between logical organization and physical organization. There are patterns in both, and in terms of neural structures one supports the other, so there is a possibility of a relationship in form as well as function.
In these discussions, though, what we’re usually talking about is how things are organized logically.
It’s the difference between asking for the fifth book from the left on the top shelf (implied physical structure) and asking for a particular book by its Dewey Decimal System number (implied logical structure), which may indeed be the same book.
Logic is intrinsic to nature, the details of which we’ll skip for a moment. It’s just there. So any possible logical structure is possible at any time, for all time. It’s just logic.
The real question is whether we can build that structure, whether we have the tools necessary, the opportunity, and the impulse to do so.
We can intuit some simple things about (human) language by thinking a bit about what we can know without too much doubt.
For example, we know what the bandwidth of the oral – aural channel is, roughly a few thousand Hertz or so. According to Shannon (the father of information theory) that number puts an upper limit on the amount of information that we can convey in any time period.
And that number is astonishingly small. I can say to you, “Quick! Get into the car!” in about one second, but at four kilohertz, that’s not enough time to communicate anything significant about what a car is, let alone the rest of the sentence taken in context.
Obviously, we all know what a car is already, and the sentence would be invalid for a person that (for some reason) had never seen or heard of a car. So it’s easy to see that we don’t waste our precious bandwidth communicating things we all already know.
Instead we simply refer to it, in this case by the short word ‘car’. In the same way we can build a logical ’dictionary’ of ever more complex and abstract concepts, and communicate an enormous amount of information with only a few carefully chosen sounds taken in context.
The key to language, then, is having the same logical ‘dictionary’ as another person, as well as a detailed understanding of the context in which it’s to be used.
The interesting questions are:
-- How detailed must our dictionary and understanding of the context of its use be?
-- How do we build the dictionary? How do we come to understand the context of its use?
-- How much range can we expect, i.e., how large a group can be expected to share the same dictionary and context to a certain level of detail?
-- And lastly, once we get everything in sync, how do we maintain it?
Is any of this rooted in nature? Of course it is. The first language almost certainly addressed nature itself. If we want to start to build a common dictionary, it only makes sense that we start with the simple things we can all see around us, and build from there.
The logic we use to do that is intrinsic to nature itself, as we said, so the result must also be rooted there in important ways.
The process of building ever more complex logical abstractions on the shoulders of simpler concepts implies hierarchy. And the hierarchical organization of our abstract representations of nature impresses the pattern of that structure on every aspect of our perception.
The logical organizing principle of hierarchy thus arises naturally from logic itself and the way that we apply it to our perception of nature. Everywhere we look in reality, we see patterns implying hierarchy. But is it actually there?
That is a difficult question to answer, not because there’s any doubt about it being there, but doubt about where there is.
In the logical structures in our brains, where the hierarchical knowledge of nature is stored, the pattern of hierarchy certainly exists.
Could we find the pattern in actual physical neural structures, if we knew where to look and what to look for? Perhaps, but that in itself isn’t particularly significant; it’s comparable to the shadow we cast on a sunny day.
It moves when we do, and we can draw certain valid conclusions about the thing that is casting the shadow. But it isn’t the thing at all. The patterns we might find in physical neural structures aren’t what we’re looking for; everything real we know about our world is in the logic represented there.
Is it possible that the sum of all that we know, stored in logical structures, might actually be what we mean when we talk about reality? If it is, then we know where there is, and the hierarchy we perceive in nature actually does exist.
But if we assume that we mean an actual physical universe when we talk about reality the hierarchy is an illusion, because it only exists in the organization of the logical structures in our brains.
Note that as a logical organizing principle hierarchy does exist independently of our perception of nature, as does logic. It just is, implicit in nature itself. But that thing in nature is only a logical principle, not a pattern organized by that principle.
As confusing as this may seem, the resolution is relatively simple. Remember, we’re only talking about how we build a dictionary of common logical objects, and knowledge of the context in which it may be applied: language.
The hierarchical pattern implicit in how these two logical objects are represented in our brains is an integral part of what is represented. We depend on that pattern as a fundamental property of reality itself, a key attribute by which we navigate our inner logical landscape.
When we see a pattern and store a memory of it, we can utilize it later to predict what might be expected in a similar situation. Hierarchy is a ‘meta’ pattern, a prototype that serves as a basis of many of the patterns we depend upon to analyze and understand reality.
So the existence of real hierarchical patterns is a requirement of our reality, if we expect to interact and deal with it in ordinary ways, by communicating with each other using language, analyzing what we perceive in nature and trying to anticipate what nature has in store for us.
To be clear, we’re not talking about anything particularly mystical. All we’re saying is that almost everything we care about and associate with reality exists in the logical representations stored away in out brains, the same logical gestalt that allows us to communicate effectively.
Once in a while we actually want to look out there where it all started, out in the ‘real’ reality, mainly for scientific purposes. If we manage to find a way to strip our perception of the residual patterns with which we guide our daily lives, the view there is extremely harsh and empty, exquisitely strange. Quantum mechanics is a great example of that.
* * * * *
We’ve described how language and logic are related, and how the rise of our ability to communicate about complex abstract concepts naturally leads to a complex abstract interpretation of reality that for almost all purposes actually is real.
So what we’ve discussed so far is nothing more than the original event that gave rise to Homo sapiens as a distinct species.
The distinguishing feature of that transition will never be found in the archeological record; it’s entirely in the logical structures in the brains of the first humans to adopt the inner logical reality, and speak.
With that background, we’re ready to talk about the different forms of the logical structures we use to store knowledge, and how they impact our experience of using it.
We’ve already described how hierarchy exists as a logical organizing principle reflected in patterns impressed on what we observe in nature. There are other patterns that we can observe in our internal logical representations, in particular those representing the logical property relationship.
As a logical property, relationship is independent of context; it merely describes how two things are similar or dissimilar. Relationships can be hierarchical, and they also closely reflect an underlying property of neural structures, as hierarchy does.
The implied logical operation comparison underlies all relationships. But what do we compare? Since these are logical operations, what we compare are logical properties.
Most of these logical properties arise as a feature of the logical definition of a thing in context: higher, lower, brighter, dimmer, and so on. All of these support an apparent absolute form, in which the comparison is obscured: high, low, bright, dim.
But some logical properties are prototypical, or ‘meta’ properties, like hierarchy and relationship. When we apply the metaproperty relationship a new metaproperty arises, related to class: the metalevel.
When we observe that two logical objects are related by class, we mean that each is an example of the same type of object. This implies that there might be more examples of the same type, and also the existence of a master definition of the type itself, a prototype.
What is the relationship of each object to the prototype? The prototype is also a logical object, but it’s more abstract than examples of the type; it’s more general. That suggests a hierarchy based on the abstract property generality, in which our two objects sit on a different level than the prototype that defines their logical form.
It’s easy to see that we might have an even more general prototype that defines the general form of the prototype of our example, and so on. Each prototype is a logical ‘meta’ object, in the same way that hierarchy and relationship are prototypical metaproperties.
So the levels of our hierarchy based on generality are metalevels, representing the relationship implied by the idea of ‘class’.
It’s easy to see why the ideas of hierarchy, relationship, and metalevel can become confused. They’re intimately related, and in a sense they might be thought of as different reflections of the same underlying thing, some greater property intrinsic to logic and nature itself.
* * * * *
Let’s return now to our original brief discussion of the difference between logical and neural structures.
We said that logic is intrinsic in nature, and it has always been possible to build a valid logical structure of any type. The question is whether we have the tools necessary, the opportunity and impulse to do so.
Neurons associate, and store information in the resulting networks of associations. But what drives the process? It’s nothing more than the behavior we described in acquiring language, observing nature and forming memories of the patterns we observe there.
So the impulse that drives us to form logical structures in our minds seems obvious, the same impulse that drives us to examine and try to understand our circumstances and context.
Whether or not we have the opportunity depends on our circumstances, which have varied throughout human history. We certainly have more free time to devote to abstract tasks than the first humans, but this isn’t necessarily the only consideration.
The only tool necessary is observation. The process of perception naturally results in stored memories of those perceptions. On the neural level, the logical representations of these memories are encoded in the associations of the network that holds the memory.
Imagine for a moment how this works in an ordinary experience:
You notice a bird as you walk to your car, perhaps one you’ve never seen before, and you wonder if it’s been separated from its migratory group and gotten lost. Later that day, you see a friend who is also interested in birds at lunch, and ask him whether he knows what kind of bird it was, and whether he knows here it normally ranges.
When you observe the bird, you begin to form a complex pattern of relationships between the raw visual information of the observation and your stored information about the world.
You identify it as an object of the class ‘bird’, and immediately note that it forms a new subclass: you ‘observe’ in your internal world that you have never seen this type of bird before.
You begin to form hypotheses explaining the fact that the bird is new to your experience, each hypothesis a potential pattern that might be observed were it to prove true.
The entire pattern of relationships and observed objects (themselves assembled from relationships to stored knowledge of classes of objects) are then encoded in a complex set of associations in some neural structure, and off you go to work.
Is it possible to know what logical form those stored memories take? It’s certainly possible to observe patterns in those stored logical representations, the prototypical form of the logic encoded in those neural associations.
In the example we can construct the entire logical structure by iterating the relationships serially, one at a time, and storing the gestalt of those observed relationships and associated logical objects until we need them at lunchtime.
Some of the relationships arise out of a direct comparison of types; that’s how we know that the bird is different, something new. And some of the relationships are metarelationships, the comparison to a prototype that allowed us to identify a thing that we’ve never seen before as a bird.
Our memories of the metarelationships are stored in the same way as any other relationship, encoded in the associations and connections that form the stored logical representation of the experience.
This is a sort of recipe for observing nature and storing knowledge about what we perceive, based on well-understood principles of neural function.
This recipe dictates the logical form of the information we store when it is applied, and it has two notable features: we encode two types of relationships, and all relationships of the same type are peers. Relationships are relationships, and metarelationships are metarelationships.
A logical map of information stored with this logical form can be drawn on a single sheet of paper, if it’s large enough.
We can represent objects with some arbitrary shape, and the relationships by lines connecting the shapes. We can use a different color to signify metarelationships if we want, and though some lines will obviously cross others, there isn’t anything about the information stored that can’t be represented in just two dimensions.
This is the ‘flat’ logical form, the same form used by early humans to store their first logical ‘dictionary’, and knowledge of its appropriate context. How can we know that? Because it’s dictated by the recipe, the process that drives the organization of neural structures to hold logical representations of what we know.
Given the obviously natural character of that process, is it even possible that a different logical form could arise? The answer is yes, as long as we can imagine a different recipe built from the same fundamental ingredients, and producing a reasonably compatible result.
But why bother? Is there something useful not already represented, or flaws in the flat structures that we might improve upon? Without some obvious and useful difference that confers an advantage over the flat structure, it’s unlikely that a different structure would arise.
As it turns out, there is information that cannot be encoded in flat structures, and there are some problems with the structure itself in certain situations that we won’t cover here.
What flat structures fail to correctly encode is the hierarchy of metalevels, because metarelationships are considered to be a class, and all members are peers.
This isn’t really a flaw in the flat logical structure because the structure is correctly implemented according to the recipe. The problem is in how we make our observations serially, first observing one relationship and noting it, then the next, and so on.
We can correctly distinguish relationships that are metarelationships from those that are not, but we don’t have any way to make note of the metalevel that any particular metarelationship occupies.
To do that, we would need to be able to compare metarelationships as we observed them, and that is a second order operation. In math second order implies a derivative operation, but here it only means we need observe both metarelationships at the same time, so we can compare their respective metalevels and form a memory of that relationship as well.
The resulting logical structure is fundamentally different than the flat structure, although we can express any flat structure in terms of the new ‘meta’ structure, and it will be identical to the original flat version. But if that’s the case, where’s the advantage? What exactly is different about it, and what does it get us?
As you would expect, the difference only becomes apparent when we begin to store information related to the metalevel hierarchy in the structure. If we try to construct a map of the resulting stored logic, we can no longer use just two colors to draw lines between objects, one denoting relationship, and the other denoting metarelationship.
We would now require a different color for each metalevel represented, potentially an infinite number. This brings up another interesting question: what makes ordinary relationships stand out in a sea of metarelationships?
The answer to that begins to reveal the advantage of the new structure. Our differentiation of the two types relationship and metarelationship turns out to be an illusion, created when we don’t store information relating to metalevel.
The class of relationships we originally identified as metarelationships are simply relationships between objects occupying different metalevels. Those we identified as relationships are relationships between objects occupying the same metalevel.
It would be perfectly valid to simply describe all relationships, meta- or otherwise, as relationships. But we prefer to call them all metarelationships, to implicitly acknowledge the fact that all logical objects must occupy some metalevel.
If we try to map the new form on a 2-dimensional surface we will fail, even with an infinite number of colors at our disposal. The problem is that we can create maps of real logical structures that are similar to an M. C. Escher illusion; the information about dimension, in this case metalevel, can’t be unambiguously represented. We wind up with a map that leads nowhere, or a logical object that isn’t physically realizable.
* * * * *
None of this gives a sense of what the experience of using the new structural form might be like. In most ways, it’s almost exactly the same as the older flat form. And it’s a good thing it can recreate the flat form exactly, because all of the stored knowledge that we use to communicate about the experience, the shared dictionary and understanding of the context of its use, has to be identical regardless of the form of its internal logical representation.
Individual versions of those structures can’t be different, or we would lose our ability to speak; furthermore, their heritage is firmly rooted in the original forms, the first primitive logical representations that allowed language to arise a hundred thousand years or so ago.
But the chameleon-like nature of the newer model doesn’t prevent us from encoding information about metalevel, and how we do that is where the relationship to AD/HD first becomes evident.
Recall that observing and noting the relative metalevel of two relationships requires simultaneously making the comparisons that define the relationships. The serial nature of our original ‘recipe’ won’t work; we need to be able to have at least two threads of conscious awareness going at the same time, and perhaps three if we want to store the memory of all the relationships at the same time.
This ability to multitask, or multithread, is a distinguishing characteristic of the experience of having/being AD/HD. We believe that the details of this ability are at the heart of the rise of AD/HD in the general population, but we won’t go into that here.
Suffice it to say that we have the ability to make simultaneous observations of nature, the prerequisite for forming the new type of logical structure. And metalevels are certainly there to observe; it seems obvious that the new form must arise, at least in how we store some knowledge. But how could we tell? How would the difference affect our ordinary experience of being?
* * * * *
When those words burst out of your friend’s mouth, you aren’t really surprised. He’s occasionally displayed similar behavior, and you saw that he was becoming increasingly upset as you related you story about the bird.
Nevertheless, it isn’t at all obvious why he’s upset. You did all that you could, calling the Wildlife Bureau. Could he possibly be angry with that? Or maybe he’s distressed that you didn’t take the time to investigate more closely in the morning, perhaps thinking that the bird might have needed more urgent care.
But you’re friends, after all, and so you ask, “What’s wrong? What are you ticked off at?”
He replies, “I’m not mad at you. It’s those b******s at the Wildlife Bureau.”
“They know that the new developments along the coast have destroyed habitat that has been a migration stopover for thousands of years. Birds are forced to forage inland, and when they find food on farms, the farmers either shoot them or poison them, or the chemicals they spray on their crops do the job.”
“Those b******s know that, but they only do something if someone reports something, like you did. Why don’t they address the real problem? They have the authority. Lots of the birds that are dying are on the endangered species list. They had the authority to stop the development in the first place!”
You blink at this tirade, and say, “But I thought I was helping. They seemed genuinely concerned.”
“Right,” he snaps. “About one d*** bird!”
* * * * *
To your friend, there’s a clear difference between the individual issue of the bird, the larger problem of the hostile and apparently uncaring farmers, and the big picture of a social structure that allows the several thousand-year-old habitat to be destroyed to make way for luxury homes.
It’s ironic that the process of constructing them destroys the very character that originally made the property attractive, that gives the homes luxury status. Their value is diminished by their very existence.
But at every turn it seems that someone in a key position missed that irony, or overlooked it in pursuit of a buck. There are apparently as many opinions about what the correct behavior should be as there are interests, and self-interest seems to dominate in almost every case.
Most of us live a life replete with characters that act unconscionably, people that do bad things for obvious low motives. Perhaps the head of the Wildlife Bureau was bribed, or maybe he’s a political appointee, in league with the uncaring immoral businessmen that want to rape the land to line their pockets.
Or perhaps the really bad guy was his predecessor, but this one grew up on a farm that his family still owns. He understands the problem from the farmer’s view, again a profit motive but in a different segment of the economy.
There’s a contradiction here, an apparent violation of Kay’s first rule, Always seek the benevolent view, especially of yourself. Does it really make sense that these characters are just bad, so alien that they’re able to act in ways that out consciences wouldn’t allow?
We’re certain that’s not the case. As different as we are, in some important fundamental ways we are truly all alike. What we need to do is resolve that difference by pinning down how we can be both different and alike at the same time.
* * * * *
To understand how benevolence leads us into an apparent contradiction, we need to return for a moment to neural structures and the logical structures they support.
Both neural and logical structures display functional asymmetry, although it’s seldom recognized for reasons that should soon be clear.
Neurons associate, the key mechanism of their basic logical behavior. But they don’t have a complementary mechanism, i.e., dissociation. Symmetrical operations are of the same class, with opposite effect. The absence of the mechanism isn’t an operation of any class; it has no effect.
On a slightly higher logical level, neural network function can be interpreted as pattern recognition. A certain pattern in the input vector causes a response, a firing pattern that represents positive recognition of the pattern stored in the structure of the network.
Again we have functional asymmetry; there’s a positive response signifying recognition, but no complimentary response that says a thing has not been recognized.
At the highest levels the logical mechanisms supported by these lower level structures function to allow us to evaluate a situation and choose an optimal strategy for dealing with it.
Functional asymmetry also arises here; we have no way to apply a mechanism that drives to an optimum solution in a way that arrives at the wrong choice. The mechanism itself depends on seeking the optimal, and the only alternative is making no choice at all.
So in terms of function we’re all pretty close to identical. The form of a particular logical mechanism is dictated by the form of the mechanisms that support it, or the limited function implicit in the possibilities of the physical structures themselves.
We all have the same toolkit, and what it does is surprisingly restricted. If we make choices, they’ll always be optimal given the information we have to work with. Thus, when there are differences in how two people view the same situation, they must be related to differences in the information they’re operating on.
* * * * *
We need to introduce one more term, operation, in order to finally bring everything together.
Operation implies function applied to specific information to arrive at a particular result. When we talk about function, we’re really describing a general mechanism, which must be applied to generate the overt behavior we observe in any given circumstance.
Thus function exists on a general prototypical logical level, while operation exists on the metalevel below. Operation is function instantiated, and all function requires something to operate on: the information associated with each unique situation to which the function may be validly applied.
Some differences are due to content, in the sense that if you have better or more complete information about a thing than I do, your analysis will be more accurate, different by degree.
Other differences are due to form. They cause a more dramatic shift in how a person analyzes a thing, because differences in form allow entirely different classes of abstract relationships to be represented. The effect is that large chunks of information may be missing entirely, not just represented differently.
Let’s apply these concepts to our example of the unusual bird, and see what it tells us about everybody’s behavior.
First, we list the information each of the actors possesses:
Wildlife officer: knowledge of the sick bird; the farmers’ treatment of the displaced birds; the destruction of the habitat by the developers.
Your friend: same as wildlife officer
You: knowledge of the sick bird.
Next, we list how each actor interprets the relative importance of each bit of information, judging by his expressed behavior:
You: one concern (the bird).
Wildlife officer: three concerns (the bird, the farmers, and the developers).
Your friend: three concerns, of three different levels of importance (the developers, the farmers, and lastly, the bird).
How do we know that the wildlife officer treats the three problems as if they were of the same level of concern? We assume he must be aware of them, because it’s his job, and we can certainly take a clue from his behavior, as well as your friend’s reaction to it.
But all we really need to do is note that his response to the sick bird was nearly identical to yours. It’s apparent that he acted in the same way that you did with only one piece of information, despite the certainty that he had access to at least the same information that your friend possessed.
Everybody involved has essentially identical functional tools, but we get three different results when they’re applied. Your analysis was different than your friend’s because you had different information, a difference in content.
But the wildlife officer certainly had access to the same information your friend did, or perhaps even better. We can only assume that there must be a difference in the form in which the information was stored, resulting in the dramatic difference in analysis when similar functional tools are applied.
The important clue is in the relative priority each applied to the problem(s) presented. Your friend could see a clear hierarchy, as revealed in his comments. The wildlife officer apparently couldn’t, also judged by his comments.
His priorities were dominated by his view of the most immediate problem, the bird, just as yours were. In his view the other problems weren’t more significant, or he would have communicated the context of the bird’s appearance in your yard differently.
This was the information that your story conveyed to your friend, the thing that caused him to burst out in anger. He was listening for evidence that the wildlife officer grasped the relative priorities in the same way that they were obvious to him.
But nothing in what you said led him to believe that the wildlife officer understood the origins of the problem correctly, or would ever take positive steps to correct it, or prevent another similar occurrence in the future.
Most ADDers know that can be tremendously frustrating, especially when the big picture of the problem seems so obvious. To your friend, the people in control seemed utterly incompetent.
* * * * *
The difference in your friend’s internal representation of the information is an artifact of the hierarchical pattern that he saw impressed upon it, giving him a sense that there are different relative levels of importance intrinsic to each particular concern.
The logical property that defines such a hierarchy is the metalevel, of course. We can be reasonably certain that the differences in your friend’s reaction as compared the wildlife officer’s are due to fundamental differences in form. They’re not functional differences, and the wildlife officer isn’t an alien after all.
We can also be certain that such differences in form are due to stored information about the relative metalevel associated with each bit of knowledge. The logical connections that we make to form associations representing metarelationships dictate the logical form of the stored knowledge. There is a formal definition of that form which we won’t present here.
But we will mention two significant features: one, the form evolves into a web-like structure, which we’ve termed a ‘metamodel web’; and two, including information about metalevels in the logical representation of some particular information creates an implied connection between it and all other knowledge stored in the same way.
As a result, every piece of information stored with this web-like form must be consistent with every other piece. In contrast, information stored in the older flat form is relatively isolated, and there is no guarantee of consistency.
That difference turns out to be a very significant contributor to the common experience of having/being AD/HD.
* * * * *
Finally, to return to the original questions:
Both logical forms are supported by neurological structures, systems of hierarchically related networks of neurons. But the dimension of those physical structures and the dimension of the logical structures aren’t directly related.
The 2D flat structures is instantiated in a 3D neural structure, and the newer web-like structures are N-dimensional.
The flat structures are the simplest way to organize information with neural structures. They were certainly used by the first humans to store the knowledge that allowed them to develop complex language. It’s also certain to be the structure in use by animals to store information, because it arises directly out of the way that neurons associate hierarchically to encode information.
The physical structures of interest in the human brain are those that support our experience of conscious awareness and being, and these are also very similar to those in higher animals. The thing that differentiates human use from animal use is what they’re used for, and the complex nature of that.
At a very low logical level, it’s not too hard to imagine how neural function gives rise to most of the ordinary interaction with the environment that all animals exhibit. The last little bit on top of all of that is conscious awareness, and experimental data seems to support that view.
Most of what we do during the day is carried out by these structures without any direct need for conscious awareness, even things as complex as deciding to pick up your coffee and go out the door to work. The complex context in which this occurs is generated and maintained by the conscious process, of course, but its role is largely interpretive.
There are differences in the brains of animals and human brains, of course, reflecting differences in the logical structures they support. The single biggest difference is likely to be associated with the creation and maintenance of the conscious context, which is so closely related to the development language that some linguists mistakenly believe language to be the key to consciousness.
To sum up: yes, animals use the same logic, no, they aren’t likely to use it the way we do to achieve conscious awareness, and yes, these structures have most likely evolved over the last several hundred thousand years, perhaps in response to the need to store increasing amounts of information.
The first evidence of the large-scale use of neural structures to store information about metalevels is the invention of written language. Although written language itself doesn’t require metalevels, the perspective necessary to see it as a solution to certain problems does.
That is a common feature of what we call innovation, the defining characteristic of modern civilization. It seems likely that the development of the ability to correctly store information about metalevels is directly reflected in the history of innovation.
And because that ability is directly related to the ability to observe our context and think in a multithreaded way, we believe it also reflects the history of the changes in our brains that lead to AD/HD.
--Tom and Kay
Peace. --TR =+= =+=
"There is no normal life, Wyatt.
There's just life. Get on with it."
It is not so much the language that is freaky but our points of reference. What do I know that makes up my assumptions and knowledge about the world that you don't know or do not have the same assumptions and vice versa...
Culture is the synchronizing of assumptions in order to form groups....language helps with the synchronization. Other things are vital in shaping "face to face" assumptions. Facial movements and body language are our core assumption synchronization elements. (Something ADDers are much better at than "processing" cultural assumptions...hence phone phobia)
Here is an "extremely super duper way over simplified" view of how we have and share assumptions.
1. Face to face assumptions are shaped by: (Least abstract)
2. Group assumptions are formed by: (Abstract)
Display (Markings, possessions, language)
3. Cultural assumptions are shaped on an "meta-group level" based on: (Highly abstract)
Cultural universals (common cultural strategies that "work")
Language is important but it is not "primary".
It helps us zoom in on whether what we are saying is shared assumption or not. We speak...watch the face of the other person...monitor intonations. Synchronization is signaled with a smile.
In ADHD (The largest subpopulation of ADHD is what I call IRCM+) 2 and 3 are too abstract.
Therefore when 1 is happening...if it is based on assumptions from 1 and 2... we often do not "synchronize". This is what I call "Internal Reference". In ADD it is caused by the degradation of *processing and storing* abstractions on a sub-aware level (in what I call "HM"). Context is the "crucible" in which we build our world view.
The "getting hotter/colder" game of childhood development:
Children start off as CM+. When sufficient context of body/facial/vocal information is built (i.e. That face says I am right on...that one says I am close...that one says I pooped myself)...the vessel is ready for culture. This vessel is what I call "HM". A very fast processor that takes in abstract assumptions and turns them into "complex cultural reality" at a sub-aware level.
I feel that "HM" is an extension of "spatial memory". I feel that *in most cases* ADHD is the eclipsing of HM by CM...In humans CM is primal...we actually do pretty well without HM...until we have to "synchronize" (This word is very apt because time is quite abstract)
In a nutshell:
CM+ = ADHD = inability to store abstractions = internal reference
IR+ = Autism Spectrum = inability to understand when they have synchronized due to lack of face reading = internal reference
In these forums, we communicate with little "shared" physical context and....2 and 3 are missing. We only have language in 1 I would argue that language is not abstract "in and of itself". That is why we actually are making sense to each other.
A very important caveat here: abstract concepts != abstractions (stored, shared, iconic, assumption)
So... communication is really freaky when you have two "Internal Referents" doing the communicating. (We both make assumptions that the other person has shared knowledge)
I like the "ou pas?" by the way. It is the hallmark of great reality building. And yes...it can overcome "Ryle's Regress".
Personally, I will put this stuff out there and try not to get too attached to it.
The goal is the journey.
This order forms based on chemical reaction
Genetic structure allows for types to copy themselves
Types respond to the environment changes (In the individual CM senses environment and HM moves individual to safe environments)
Types that do not respond fast enough or do not have a sub-type that has adapted... disappear
Types that respond or have a type that is adapted to the new environment... survive
Types in highly dynamic environments with competition for resources become more complex (In the individual CM stores environmental information and HM stores spatial orientation that allows individual to find its way back to optimal conditions: learning is born)
These forms are functional
Functionality = survival
As forms become more complex...they branch and differ based on functional survival strategies (Foragers, Herd/Pack Dwellers, Parasitic, Predators)
Cognition becomes more complex to deal with a more complex environment (competition leads to more advanced learning strategies. CM adapts to process and store more sensory input and HM continues to store spatial memory...in predatory animals it becomes vital for storing strategies for catching prey)
Procreation becomes more important the more complex the forms get (more genetic information means more chance for error)
Procreation is one of the main facilitators in creating diversity (Procreators have more "pre-adapted types that survive)
Proto-Humans appear with a survival strategy based on group "protection/pack hunting"
Vocalizations for group marking and warning become more complex
Environmental conditions change rapidly forcing adaptions
Tall grass + group structure = standing + "non-visual" communication for strategy/protection + abstraction storage and processing (The predator is to your left!)
non-visual communication forms a feedback loop into culture (Language fuels culture and culture fuels language)
"HM" Abstraction capability in groups allows for survival...unquestioning followers
"CM" Observation capability becomes less important as the group "shares senses" of the many.
ER+ is the culture bearer...the leader. Self is sacrificed for "culture" (ego = abstraction of self for processing culture)
HM+ is the focused hunter and organizer of the group. The policeman...the warrior
CM+/IR+ is the paradigm shifter (cultures are biological forms...pre-adaption promotes survival) and technology creator that was originally a gene spreader.
ERCM-ERHM the largest cognitive type is the culture processor...the follower or passive questioner... the keeper of the culture (Called by this thread...the neurotypical)
The speciation event is both constant and abrupt...it depends on the environment...slow changing vs fast changing. It is not a "point in time". Humans have created their own environment in the form of culture. When still in small groups culture hit the point of cohesion that created "xenophobia". This was the initial speciation event that allowed the cognitive types to be selected for.
I imagine that ADHD was along the side of Autism in gene spreading until the populations started to intermingle..then it became a paradigm shifter (the most effective of which can be IR+CM+)
ADD is simply a survival strategy. It is my view that the 4 main cognitive types follow the four main survival strategies of animals in the wild.
Environmental reality is based on sense input (CM)
Spatial reality based on below awareness storage of position (HM)
Humans added (or really extended massively) social reality (HM) that is based on below awareness processing.
By division of labor Humans gained "down time" or "time not spent concerned with survival"
This extended both "social reality building" (More complex displays of culture through HM) and Environmental reality building (Technological Advance) outward... this is "creativity".
Social "reality building" became the task of the HM+ and ER+ leaders (lust for power was built in) and Environmental "reality building" became the task of CM+ and IR+ (lust for knowledge became built in)
This "lust" is actually nuerotransmitter based.
Capacities and capabilities exist and have been selected for. Biological imperatives have been extended for social reality building through ego. Environmental reality building has been extended through the added neurological complexity that came with...building a complex culture. Language capability has been selected for.
(remember here that selection I am talking about is based on what is most survivable and what attracts mates)
Chicken and the egg kind of feedback system...strange attractor
CM is highly sensed based, emotional and driven by complex reality building through context.
ER predicts that reality is built outside the individual in the culture then is "passed in" through abstraction.
IR predicts that reality is built internally based on observation
Logical Structure Continuum:
Think of CM and HM as directions up or down a tree.
CM is top down. From many senses (nerve endings) to one gestalt of those senses called a context
HM is bottom up. From a simple abstract concept to a more complex concept built from abstractions
HM follows a rigid path. It is fast. It is below awareness. It comes from the original need to cause the individual to move toward sustenance. We do not think about moving our legs in the right way... we have memory for that stored in HM.
CM is highly variable and sense tagged. It is slow but accurate. It is needed for learning.
The CM+ individual does have HM... he/she has the original part used for movement and simple direction finding. HM is eclipsed by CM
The HM+ individual does have CM....he/she needs to build simple context, learn and sense the environment. CM is eclipsed by HM
HM+ = Sociopath
CM+ = ADHD
IR+ Does not process abstract social cues because of degraded ability to "read" facial and body language (analogy as above "getting hotter/colder game" without being able to hear hotter/colder). Reality is built internally. Nurture has little effect
IR There is a capability to hear "getting hotter/colder" (read facial and body language) but the goal is uninteresting. Reality is mostly built internally with some external capability. Nurture is only effective to a small degree.
ER There is a mix of internal reality building and external reality building. That mix is heavily determined by nurture
ER+ Primarily processes abstract social cues. There is a degraded ability to build internal reality. Reality is built externally. Nurture is almost all there is. Abusive nurture creates an abusive individual.
I know this really sounds biologically deterministic... it is in that it equates the brain with something as deterministic as the color of one's eyes.
This also really sound sociologically deterministic...in that it says that certain types are highly influenced by culture in their reality building
It is both and neither...choice is still a factor for all humans. Knowing what those choices are...is very helpful in making choices that will help a person live a functional life.
A final note...
It is epistemology that I avoid...unless I am in a really odd mood. Circles within circles circling around. I really dig existentialism. In fact the concept of "knowing what my choices are so that I can live a functional life" is pure existentialism...as I see it anyway
OK this post is way too long
A final thought...
I am fully aware this all could be complete BS... but that should not stop any person from coming forth with new ideas and trying to express them.
Last edited by chain; 06-21-05 at 09:06 PM..
Does any of this post address what stevo was originally asking about?
Peace. --TR =+= =+=
"There is no normal life, Wyatt.
There's just life. Get on with it."
Blessed be the Hyperactive Cow
Not sure how this applies but I was having a moment so bear with me.
Medicate and delineate a habitual need,
to excuse and refuse the body’s eccentricities
through valium and ritilin, proxac and lithium,
“No I’m not having an ADD day but just in case,
do you have any speed?”
Medicate and/or sedate, all for the status quo,
Johnny’s not normal with that pencil up his nose.
He must be bipolar, ADD with BD tendencies,
“Three hundred milligrams of Concerta stat
and chart it on his IEP!”
Sarah had an imaginary friend named Mr. Winkleman,
she’s five with a heart pure as the driven snow,
she’s now on lithium for schizophrenia,
where Mr. Winkleman has gone, no one knows.
This can’t be the answer, not for all, perhaps a few,
but we are not cattle, to be herded through pharmacies
our lives forsaken to the mental health practitioner
unwilling to listen as they are more apt to subdue.
Seek out creativity, spirituality, and science,
revel in your eccentricities, be open about them
allow more time to get from one point to the next,
though the mind is out to lunch, the body has to earn
Laugh at the silly things you do,
drop a book, drop another, no.. make it two,
walk into a wall? laugh, and do it again,
if you are with a loved one, have them do it as well,
to show that they are a true friend.
ADD is not a four letter word,
though the mind might be stir crazy,
its definitely not disturbed,
unless you curse it, fight it, and repress it,
then you have issues, and high medical insurance.
Humility and honesty, the only things I teach,
Taco Bell employees with Tourettes,
on Fox’s Fall schedule I beseech.
Dumb me down, draw me in,
make it reality TV with a narcissistic end,
What is the harm? and why not?
you gave Anna a show, the Queer, and the American Idol a shot,
show them having a reaction to the medicine,
combined with dropsys and racing thoughts,
do it for me, my glowing and nurturing friend!
Again, why not?!
Viagra and Concerta, lexapro and Ambien,
stiffen or sedate, propel me into chemical dependency!
through the guise of betterment (the plight of modern man),
the American Dream and such,
the secretary hands you a coupon... two for one
since they cost so much while the psychiatrist hollers:
“Hey, keep in touch!”
Where do we go, and where does it all end,
prostrated and contemplated, sedated and decimated,
side effect(ed) and wrecked, all what the heck!
pass me a shot of Trazadone with a chaser of time released
Last edited by Lithium Baby; 06-21-05 at 11:24 PM.. Reason: typos
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