In the prior chapter, we discussed the components of the ID Synergy in general terms. This chapter explores the innate nature of the four components in more detail. Specifically, we tackle the topics of 1) choice and purpose, 2) how the ID system is a holistic and 3) mental energy.
Mind as Executive decision-maker is a major component of the ID Synergy. The explicit implication is that living systems have the potential to choose between alternatives. Indeed Attention’s image overlay process accommodates this potential with its iterative algorithm. But is this freedom of choice open to all life forms, or mainly humans?
Nearly everyone would agree that living systems (cellular life) have a give and take relationship with environmental information. This interaction between organism and environment occurs on a moment-to-moment basis. Witness how hard it is to catch the lowly fly.
Despite this almost universal agreement on the phenomenon, there is a vast diversity of opinions as to the exact nature of this interaction. Is this give and take between Life and environment an automatic, reflexive, stimulus-response behavior? Or is it instead a deliberate, intentional, monitor and adjust relationship?
As might be imagined, there is a range of opinions on the topic of choice. Some of the main positions regarding the ability to choose between alternatives are listed below.
1) Only Humans have this ability.
2) Animals and Humans with a central nervous system and Brain
3) All Living Creatures
4) Choice doesn’t exist.
Just like the ‘give and take’ phenomenon, our ID Model could be interpreted in any these ways. However, an abundance of evidence combined with personal experience suggests that at least humans have the ability to monitor environmental information and then deliberately adjust to circumstances on an ongoing moment-to-moment basis.
That being said, I think that most would also agree that we probably run on automatic a vast majority of the time. Only some of the time do we actually make deliberate choices. Most of our behavior is conditioned.
Famed biologist Bruce Lipton supports the position that humans at least have the ability to intentionally alter this conditioned behavior through choice.
“Though conditioned behavioral responses may be inordinately complex, they are ‘no-brainers.’ Through the conditioned learning process, neural pathways between eliciting stimuli and behavioral responses become hardwired to ensure a repetitive pattern. Hardwired pathways are ‘habits.‘ In lower animals, the entire brain is designed to engage in purely habitual responses to stimuli. …
Humans and a number of other higher mammals have evolved a specialized region of the brain associated with thinking, planning, and decision-making called the prefrontal cortex. This portion of the forebrain is apparently the seat of the ‘self-conscious’ mind processing. The self-conscious mind is self-reflective; it is a newly evolved ‘sense organ’ that observes our own behaviors and emotions. The self-conscious mind also has access to most of the data stored in our long-term memory bank. … Endowed with the ability to be self-reflective, the self–conscious mind is extremely powerful. It can observe any programmed behavior we are engaged in, evaluate the behavior, and consciously decide to change the program. We can actively choose how to respond to most environmental signals and whether we even want to respond at all. The conscious mind’s capacity to override the subconscious mind’s preprogrammed behaviors is the foundation of free will.” (Lipton, Biology of Belief, pp. 103-4)
It doesn’t really matter whether humans are the only life form capable of shaping and even changing their programming. Other species may or may not have this capacity to shape their behavior. However, this debate loses significance in the current context, as my work is only intended for humans.
Even humans might be fooling themselves on their ability to choose. Who cares? We think and behave as if our choices make a difference. In fact right now, I am attempting to persuade you the Reader that it is in your best interest to make informed and careful decisions.
Like Dr. Lipton, we believe that humans don’t have to be victims of their programming, genetic or cultural (Fate). Rather, we have the capacity to alter our behavior so that we can transcend our Fate and achieve our potentials (attain our Destiny).
This is the Mind that my opus is addressing. By choosing where to focus Attention, Mind chooses which Experiences we have. By exerting Intention, Mind chooses which actions to take.
Of course, Internet algorithms combined with psychological experiments have established convincingly (beyond a reasonable doubt) that many of our seemingly deliberate choices are instead reflexive, more akin to Pavlov’s dogs than a rational human. However, we believe that it is possible, by paying Attention, to take conscious control over at least some of our many choices that occur daily, for instance what food to eat, whether to exercise or not, which word to place in a sentence, or which project to tackle.
Related to the topic of choice is purpose. Indeed the two are mutually interdependent constructs. Neither can exist without the other.
Choice implies the ability to both analyze and decide between alternatives. In order to serve this function, there must be some criteria. Purpose supplies the criteria. Without Purpose, Choice is aimless.
Purpose implies an orientation towards a particular, non random goal. The aim is towards a specific target. To fulfill this specific purpose, there must be the capacity to choose the right path – the one that will take you to your destination. Without Choice, Purpose is paralyzed.
We have assigned the term Mind to this ability to both analyze and choose. Mind does not provide motivation. Mind has no Purpose. Feelings, i.e. innate or derivative supply motivation and purpose. Mind chooses; Feelings motivates purposeful behavior. Like Mind and Feelings, Choice and Purpose are intertwined constructs.
What is the purpose of a bacterium? Survive (homeostasis) and Thrive (reproduction). What is the purpose of Providence? Generate life forms that can appreciate the Glory of Creation, such as you and me. Why? Loneliness. The Divine Spirit wanted companionship – someone or something with which to appreciate and share the Mystery and Magnificence.
I can feel the skepticism rising from the educated. “A Divine Force creates human beings because of Loneliness? A wholly unreasonable proposition, unsupported by Science. Unbelievable!”
However both theories, i.e. scientific materialism and divine Providence, are equally plausible. Neither proposition can be validated or invalidated by any facts or analysis.
With no real criteria to choose between alternatives, why not have some light-hearted fun and entertain this anthropomorphism? The ‘divine loneliness’ hypothesis is certainly more amusing and inspiring than the boringly antiquated ‘random collision of inanimate particles’ model. How ultimately depressing.
My opus has focused our Attention upon two important places where we can exert a modicum of control: 1) habit formation and 2) the quality of Attention. By making deliberate and informed choices, we can form good habit patterns and increase the quality of our Attention. By addressing fundamentals, we have a better chance of achieving the satisfaction (peace and happiness) of maintaining homeostasis. Attaining balance can in turn lead to the exhilaration (joy and excitement) of fulfilling potentials.
Deliberate & Informed Choices à Homeostasis à Fulfilling Potentials
Some, if not many, even most scientists don’t believe in the second part of the equation – fulfilling potentials. Why? Potentials imply purposeful behavior. The very notion of purpose violates the materialist dogma that the Universe is sheer Matter, nothing more. Because atoms and electrons, the supposed building blocks of the Universe, have no purpose, nothing has a purpose or goal, not even a seed.
Even the esteemed Dr. Damasio, who we have quoted regularly, believes that the sole function of Feelings, whether primordial (innate) or derivative, is to maintain homeostasis. In other words, we life forms automatically adjust our internal state in order to persist only. Life has no real purpose beyond sheer survival.
This is akin to the absurd notion that the only reason for riding a bike is to achieve balance. Rather every bicyclist knows that balancing is an intermediate step. The primary function of cycling is to go somewhere.
Adopting the bicycle metaphor, we believe that living systems maintain balance so that they can achieve their purpose, mostly reproduction. However, sometimes it seems that the purpose can be divine. For instance, I could be the fulfillment of the potentiality, the purpose, of the collective bacterium that faithfully reproduced for billions of years – constantly refining and combining – first working together to generate a cell with a nucleus and organelles, and then generating a greater collective consciousness with multi-cellular organisms that finally culminated in humans like you and me.
We can imagine their excitement. “Yeah guys. I told you we could do it! By focusing upon maintaining homeostasis and then cooperating as a group to fulfill our collective potentials, we have finally created humans. Good or bad? Not too sure. But definitely fascinating. Wow! A creature whose awareness has increased to such a level as to be aware of Self as separate from Other.”
Or maybe not. Maybe we are just an accidental evolutionary result of the random collisions of a bunch of boringly mechanistic electrons and molecules with no other purpose than obeying natural law. What a depressing belief system! Since this logical position is based upon uncertain assumptions, either option is equally viable. I choose to believe that I have a special purpose that is unique to me. This position is certainly more motivating and inspirational.
We’ve asserted unabashedly that Life’s Information Digestion System is a holistic system. Let us now support this assertion with some analysis. Specifically, let us examine how the Info Synergy’s components fit into this framework.
First let us review the factors that characterize and identify a holistic system.
1) The components are mutually interdependent. Put another way, the parts of a holistic system form a gestalt, in that they are completely separable, yet fully integrated.
2) The meaning of the individual parts can only be determined by their relationship to the whole, hence the name holistic systems. The components do not have any meaning as separate entities, as do the elements of atomistic systems.
Let us examine how these criteria apply to the ID system’s components.
According to Damasio, the esteemed neuro-scientist, all emotions/urges/drives ultimately derive from the primordial feelings that motivate and drive the single cell to survive and thrive, i.e. maintain homeostasis and fulfill potentials, e.g. reproduction. On the most basic level, these feelings drive the organism to procure food/sustenance, find mates, avoid toxic environments, and evade predators. On more sophisticated levels, these feelings motivate me to communicate my exotic concepts to an unknown and perhaps even nonexistent public.
From whence do these Feelings arise? From our innate nature. Everything has an innate nature that seeks to fulfill itself. Matter fulfills its innate nature automatically. In contrast, Life with Mind’s assistance must make choices to fulfill its innate nature. Some choices are obviously better than others. Evolution chooses the organisms that make the best choices.
This crucial difference regarding innate nature distinguishes Life from Matter. Living matter must make deliberate choices in order to maintain the integrity of the organism – fulfill its innate nature. Inanimate matter automatically fulfills its innate nature – no choices.
Mind, according to our model, performs this decision-making function. Like a scientist, he analyzes data streams in order to make the better choices. Despite this Executive Function, Mind is subservient to both Feeling and Attention. Let’s see why.
Feelings produce drives. Materialists commonly associate this drive with things. This is the usual and convenient interpretation of events. Common sense tells us that the amoeba senses food and then moves to consume it. Hunger drives us to obtain an apple and then eat it. In our common way of understanding, things interact with things.
Our approach is radically different. Rather than start with the composites, i.e. the things, we start with the original source of the objectification process – the data stream. Rather than objects, Feelings attach to the content of data streams. These data streams are linked to some kind of sensory apparatus, whether the eyes or the cellular membrane’s IMPs (soon to be discussed in detail).
Via innate pattern matching mechanisms, the organism matches external patterns with internal models to assess if the data stream’s content is relevant. This matching process is entirely plausible as it is akin to the process our immune system goes through to defend our system from invading microorganisms.
Feelings can only access the data streams that made available by the organism’s sensory apparatus. Just as a paramecium is unable to ‘see’ the world as we do, humans are unable to smell the full range of olfactory sensations that are accessible to dogs. We can only sense that which we are designed to sense, nothing more.
The accessible data streams for all life forms are somewhat, if not entirely, associated with content that is related to self-actualization at whatever level. After identifying affinity through pattern matching, Feelings assign an ongoing contextual value to these discretized information flows. For instance, when hungry, a food data stream is given a high value. When sated, the same food stream is given a low value.
Multiple types of feelings can compete for Attention. A feeling of danger might compete with a feeling of hunger. The relative value assigned by Feelings determines which data stream that Attention attaches to.
Attention is the window – the observer of the ID system. Without Attention, Feelings are useless – like a blind man searching for food in the desert. And vice versa, Attention is useless without Feelings – wandering around aimlessly without any real motivation to do anything. Attention & Feelings are mutually interdependent.
Yet Attention is not a passive observer. As a window allows light into a room, Attention allows mental energy to stream in and illuminate DS Content and Trajectory. Another way of interpreting the same process: Attention invests the data stream with mental energy.
Mental energy accumulates when Attention is sustained upon the same data stream for sufficient duration. This accumulation of mental energy becomes an Experience. Although packed with info, an Experience is much more than a data byte. Rather Experiences represent Attention’s investment of an accumulation of mental energy from a series of data bytes.
The Experience’s accumulated mental energy, according to our current model, sparks the gap between Mind and Body. This transmission from the mental to the physical rearranges/reorganizes Life’s material substrate in some mysterious way. This reorganization preserves the relevant info that was transmitted by the Experience. Perhaps the Experience generates a new pattern, a new model of reality – a new image. In turn, this image becomes the data of a new or ongoing data stream.
Experiences are the informational food that sustains the Mind. Mind employs Experience to make decisions that facilitate survival. Just as Bodies crave food, Minds crave Experience. Just as Bodies die without food, Minds stagnate and atrophy without Experience.
Experience = Food of the Mind
Mind is dependent upon Experience for nourishment. Experience is dependent upon Attention for existence. Therefore, Mind is dependent upon Attention to generate Experience.
Because Attention requires Feelings for motivation, Mind is also dependent upon Feelings. Besides motivation, Mind requires Feelings to assign value to data streams. Value acts as a criterion that enables Mind to perform his two primary functions, i.e. analyze and choose between alternative data streams to facilitate the organism’s survival.
Mind’s dependency does not end there. Mind requires Intention to execute his orders. Without Intention, Mind’s decisions are just mental phantasms – a king without his army. No way to enforce commands.
Intention is the means by which we can override our somewhat automatic programs and change our behavior. Rather than the decision-maker (Mind’s job), Intention’s function is to act as Mind’s tool. We can think of Intention as a mental muscle. (See article Mental Muscles.)
Intention has much in common with muscles. Just as Mind directs physical muscles, it also directs Intention. Intention can be employed to restrain or guide, two sides of the same coin. Just as Mind and physical muscles are separable, so are Mind and its mental muscle – Intention.
However, Mind and Muscles, both physical and mental, form a gestalt in the sense that neither is functional without the other. If Body is paralyzed, Mind has no tools to do his bidding. He is less than a vegetable.
If Intention is sidelined, Mind is at a standstill – with no means to deliberately shape, guide or change living behavior. With no director, Body wanders aimlessly, automatically, reflexively in response to environmental conditions.
Intention requires mental energy. Mind expends Intention’s mental energy to change course. Remaining on course requires much less energy. This is why Life loves Habit. Habit minimizes the expenditure of mental energy. The mathematics of DSD determines the nature of Habit Formation. (See Data Stream Momentum Notebook.)
Rather than being dominant, as is frequently assumed, Mind is dependent upon Attention, Intention and Feelings. Attention provides Mind with Experience; Feelings provide motivation and value; and Intention provides a tool.
However dependency is not a one-way street. The organism, Life itself, requires Mind to make timely decisions in order to survive and thrive. Just as Mind is dependent upon the rest, the ID Components are also dependent upon Mind for their very survival.
The codependency of the ID system’s four components indicates that they are mutually interdependent. This is the first feature that identifies a holistic system.
Further the entire ID system with its components has one primary aim: facilitating the system’s survival. Feelings provide the raw motivation, Attention the sensory input/the data streams, Mind the analysis/choice and Intention the ability to execute orders/override automatic programming. In other words, the meaning of the individual parts can only be determined by their relationship to the whole. This is the second feature that identifies holistic systems. This analysis makes it clear that Life’s ID system is holistic.
Enough abstractions. Let us familiarize the Reader with the Information Digestion process by providing a personal example of the operation and interaction of the components of the ID Synergy. The operation in simplified form: Driven by his urge to satisfy the cravings/urges of Feelings, Mind must exercise Will/Intention to sustain Attention upon the relevant data stream/task at hand.
Sometimes, if not most of the time (if it is even possible to quantify), Feelings are associated with 1) biological needs, such as hunger, or 2) cultural conditioning, e.g. working for rewards/money. In this particular case, the appetites/urges of Feelings have their origination in Innate Nature.
Innate Nature is similar to, but different than biological urges that seek to maintain homeostasis. Rather than the general craving for survival as an organism, innate nature drives us to fulfill personal potentials. Psychologists regularly encourage parents to nourish their children’s innate nature by supplying them with materials that interest them. However, scientists who focus exclusively upon the physical side of existence don’t believe in innate nature because it violates the materialist ‘random collisions’ dogma. Two sets of brilliant individuals with diametrically opposed views on the nature of reality. Go figure.
While some may call me delusional, I have the general craving (shared by many) to leave a long-lasting contribution to human civilization. Rather than culturally induced or associated with the need to maintain homeostasis, innate nature seems to be the source of this particular primordial urge. Although the feeling/urge to assist the species in a relatively permanent way is general, my urge is personal, individual, and unique to myself.
I want to share my opus on the mathematics of Attention with the world at large. Feelings supply my Innate Urge to contribute to the knowledge of the collective human gene pool through my work on Attention.
Mind listens to Feelings and attempts to satisfy her appetites. He first asks what would be the best, or at least a good, method for satisfying his craving to satisfy Feelings’ desires, in this case the craving to contribute to the greater good of the culture.
In order to make this determination, Mind analyzes data streams and past Experiences to make his decisions. Which Experiences have exerted the greatest influence upon my Person? What modes of transmission have inspired him the most?
He first recalls the emotional content associated with the composite value of each transmission mode, then compares the emotional charge of each mode and finally makes some casual estimates regarding the relative percentage of times that the various modes have aroused my Person.
• Primarily Books at 85%
• Small; Internet at 2%
• Tiny: magazines at 1%
• More with TV at 12% (Documentaries)
The ‘Books’ category is the obvious winner. For there to be an even remote chance of fulfilling my urge to make a personal contribution, Mind decides that we must organize my 2000 + pages of writing in some kind of coherent fashion, i.e. Books, in order to satisfy Feelings. This decision morphs into the urge to join and contribute to the Book World.
Now that the decision has been made, Mind exercises Intention to focus Attention upon organizing my writings into Books to communicate to this imagined reality. The best bet seems to be to arrange the writings into articles and volumes that can be put up on the Internet with a glossary. Simple? Not really.
Problem: Attention loves the exhilarating acceleration (on multiple levels) of the inspirational creative process. This results in regularly producing more original, fascinating (a bit biased) material than I can possibly digest. The digestion process entails assimilating handwritten documents into sections, then articles, notebooks and finally books. For instance, Right Now!
To combat this natural tendency of Attention to run off with the latest inspiration, Mind must exert Intention to keep Attention focused upon completion, rather than generation. To reach the goal of contributing to human culture, it is necessary to blend diverse elements into a common system, rather than generate more new material.
In this case, Intention must keep Attention on course for a series of completions. Following are the many tasks.
1) Finish handwriting this personal example (a Section).
2) Transcribe handwriting to Word document on computer.
3) Complete Section without getting distracted by new insights.
4) Place Section in the appropriate Article.
A) Perhaps establish context with a few added paragraphs.
5) Assemble Sections à Article à Notebooks à Books
At each stage along the way, new insights bubble up to generate new material on a daily level. These distractions continually threaten to draw the focus of Attention off course.
It takes an enormous effort of Will to keep Attention focused upon Completion. This is the algebra of breaking things apart and then joining them together into a greater whole. This is the essence of the mathematical proof. Intention must maintain Focus upon completing the Proof.
Ah! Finished the second and third task – transcribe and finish section. Now to place the section in an article in an organized fashion. Not so easy. Not so fun. Mind must exercise Intention to achieve this end. [Have achieved the fourth task (7-21-21). Now must exert Intention to stay on course long enough to finish the Notebook.]
Let us introduce yet another character. Mental Energy is an essential feature of our Information Digestion System.
Where does it come from? Who knows? What is it? A mystery – just like any other type of energy.
Is it a type of material energy? No. It only operates in time’s vertical dimension – the exclusive Realm of Attention. The others operate in time’s horizontal dimension, the exclusive Realm of Matter.
Why do we believe that mental energy exists? The construct is a useful way of understanding Attention’s Math-Fact Matrix (developed elsewhere). Put another way, the mathematics of the ID system (Data Stream Dynamics) provides support for the notion of mental energy. As further validation, mental energy is a significant feature of conventional wisdom. For instance, it would not be unusual for someone to say: “Stress and emotions drain our mental energy.”
Let us see how mental energy applies to Life’s ID system. Each of the ID Synergy’s four components has a unique function with regards this special form of energy. According to our current model, Feelings (our life force) generate the mental energy with the purpose of maintaining homeostasis and fulfilling potentials. Mind the Executive, decides how to best utilize our daily allotment of energy. As Mind’s window, Attention focuses the mental energy that drives the system. As Mind’s tool, Intention utilizes the energy.
Under this schema, neither Mind, nor Attention, nor Intention is the source of mental energy. They merely access the reservoir that is filled on a daily level. We imagine that nutrition, exercise, sleep and psycho-emotional-psychic factors affect the amount of mental energy that is available for consumption.
The original utilization of mental energy is in Life’s image overlay process. It is here that the information contained in data streams is infused with this energy that is the source of meaning and behavioral momentum. Let’s see how we envision the process.
With each iteration of Life’s image overlay process, Attention issues a quantum of mental energy – a menton. This menton immediately attaches to the most recent data point in the stream to form an infoton. Mentons don’t exist as separate entities, but are tied to information as infotons. In similar fashion, physical energy does not exist separate from matter.
Attention’s menton joins with a data point, a data stream instant, to become an infoton. In turn, the infoton is assimilated/absorbed into a composite image that is formed by Life’s image overlay process. Roughly speaking, images are piled upon one another in succession. As the mathematical realization of Life’s image-overlay process, the LA reveals the intrinsic logic of the info digestion system.
Just as mentons are not separate from the information they are united with, infotons are not separate from the composite image that they help to create. We don’t experience the raw data, but rather the composite, digested image.
A portion of the quantum of mental energy is employed to transform the infoton into an image. The remainder of the energy is used up a little at a time in decaying fashion to continue assimilating the information into the succession of new images. Again the mathematics suggested and supports this interpretation.
Further, when Attention sustains focus upon a singular data stream, the mental energy accumulates. If large enough, the accumulation of this mental energy generates an Experience, the food of the Mind. Experiences spark the gap between the mental and physical – Mind and Body.
Why do we call it mental energy? Mental energy behaves in similar fashion to material energy.
The active mental energy that assimilates the data point has many parallels with Matter’s kinetic energy. For instance, it is used up doing work, i.e. assimilating the info. The residual mental energy that remains has many parallels with Matter’s potential energy. As it is not consumed, it can still do work. In fact, this residual mental energy is converted to active energy and then consumed doing the work of changing the system’s state, something akin to temperature.
Significance? According to our model, sleep (Attention is off) enables us to use up all this residual (potential) mental energy that we generated while awake (Attention is on). If it is not consumed, the unused mental energy interferes with the incoming mental energy.
The interference between one data stream’s undigested energy and another data stream’s undigested energy diminishes our ability to completely focus Attention. The dynamic pulses associated with each data stream conflict with each other. This interference between ‘signals’ diminishes Attention’s potentials. Our ability to concentrate Attention’s mental energy upon a single topic is compromised. Cognition suffers. Integration is incomplete, like undigested food.
Nature considered this process so important that she developed an entire physiological complex to force us to sleep. Despite the danger from environmental hazards, this body-wide network shut downs Attention for one-third of every day. The increase in cognitive capabilities must have been quite impressive for Nature to take this unusual, even counter-intuitive, evolutionary leap.