Human Nature

Update 13Mar19
“I think therefore I am” — Descartes — So!”

This is an on-going project based mainly on info from the Web.
Contents:
Humanity & Genes
Senses, Needs
Nervous Systems
Emotions — Arousal, Motivation, Feelings
Mindfulness, Thinking
Learning
Dealing with Needs
As-If
Awareness, the Mind — Focus, Imagining
Development & Nurture
Gender
What can go wrong

Supporting information and references are being edited.

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IHumanity

Humans have adapted to living in different climates, to regimes, to travel — and to becoming adept at making and using tools and weapons, developing a system of communication through symbols and sounds, and developing social, political and economic system — but also to perpetrating dreadful cruel behaviour.

We need to accept our Human Nature — as it has evolved — and acknowledge that all aspects of human nature have a function — Fear, Anger, jealousy, greed, cruelty, disruptive tribalism, etc

Can we avoid the evil aspects of Humanity?

The Psychologist Oliver James visualised an ideal/Mature Human Adult as follows:

If you are this type it is relatively easy for you to become emotionally close to others. You are comfortable depending upon others and being depended upon by them, and don’t worry greatly about being alone or having others not accept us.

Adult romantic partners tend to be secure. When set a problem to solve with their partner, secure men are positive and supportive, trying to help rather than acting as a competitor or getting annoyed. Secure women are likely to seek emotional support from their man and to be happy to receive embraces or other physical expressions of affection and encouragement.

Secure couples have the least negative relationships of any combination of patterns – less critical, less conflict-ridden, more warm and friendly. The most common causes of rancour, like the man not spending enough time with the woman or disputes over the division of domestic labour, are less likely to be a problem. Followed over time, their relationships last longer and, if they include marriage, are less likely to end in divorce.

Such a person would be the beneficiary of sound genes, thoughtful nurture, a safe environment freedom from mental and physical ailments and addictions, etc. — even if wholly desirable it would take generations to change humanity.

We have a limited lifespan — we reproduce — and thus we can evolve.

Each generation has to grow from a zygote — the single cell resulting from the fertilization of the female egg cell by the male sperm cell. The basic program for our development is in our individual DNA. However, we have to learn to walk, talk, and so on, and in particular adapt to our social environment.


CCP209

The study of Epigenetics now indicates that the genetic instructions are altered by our experiences

From — ref 505
Epigenetics is providing explanations of how our diets, our exposure to toxins, our stress levels at work – even one-off traumatic events – might be subtly altering the genetic legacy we pass on to our children. It has opened up new avenues into explaining and curing illnesses that genes alone can’t explain, ranging from autism to cancer.
End — — ref 505

Also see — ref 697

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Senses & Needs

A human being develops through the stages described in “Age Stages”.LLL

Our Nervous System is aware of our Environment and our Body through a range of Senses competing with our current Mood.

Earlier we use to refer to our five Senses – Sight, Hearing, Taste, Smell & Touch. We now recognise a fuller list (21 items in a recent count): Thirst, Hunger, Ability to sense heat and cold, Pain, Balance, etc.

As we experience life, our Semses, Needs, and our complex of Memories (Conscious and U-nconscious) contend for Our Attention.

Our Senses evolved to provide data for our complex Nervous Systems — partly “Conscious” through our Central Nervous System and partly through our Autonomic Nervous System, in order:–
• To deal with some safety issues and to provide appropriate reflex responses — there is a fast response system.
• To deal with the multi-tasking of running a complex organism — an automatic, mainly sub-consvcious system
• To deal with extracting “meaning” of what is being sensed, and decide what to retain in memory –
• To balance this data with the complex of information and competences from previous experiences, and current attitudes —
Read More at Early learning is rapid though elementary.

In order to cope and prosper, we employ a range of genetically programmed elementary Needs.

The range and intensity of our individual Needs are modified by our Experiences and Aspirations.  Our particular package of Needs (including aspirations and self-esteem) is a large part of our personality — – but our Needs change with time and our circumstances.

1. Biological and Physiological needs – air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep.
2. Safety needs – protection from elements, security, order, law, limits, stability, and freedom from fear.
3. Social Needs – belongingness, affection and love, – from work group, family, friends, romantic relationships.
4. Esteem needs – achievement, mastery, independence, status, dominance, prestige, self-respect, and respect from others.
5. Self-Actualization needs – realizing personal potential, self-fulfilment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.
— Clearly many are Complex Needs, and many also particularly apply to certain individuals and in certain circumstances.

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Nervous Systems

The following systems control all the normal functioning of a human organism:–
• The Nervous System — a Central nervous system (CNS) and a Peripheral one (PNS)
• The Endocrine (Hormone) System
• The Enteric System deals with our Digestive needs.

These systems:
• Sense your external and internal surroundings
• Communicate information between your brain and spinal cord and other tissues
• Coordinate voluntary movements
• Coordinate and regulate involuntary functions like breathing, heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature.

The CNS consists of the brain and spinal cord, including cranial and central nerves. The brain is the centre of the nervous system. The spinal cord and nerves are the connections, like the switches/gates and wires in a computer.

The Peripheral Nervous System (PNS) is subdivided into:
o Sensory-somatic system — providing awareness and movement
o Autonomic system – that involuntary parts of the body, including the muscles of the heart, the digestive system, and the glands.

The Parasympathetic mode of the Autonomic system is a homeostatic “housekeeping” system. Much of its resources may be transferred to the Sympathetic mode when required

The Sympathetic mode of the Autonomic system is designed for fight-or-flight reactions in an emergency. Activation of the sympathetic system is usually general as a single neutron triggers all activating neurons.

The Autonomous Nervous System detects when there is a Need , generally through one or more specific Senses.  If, for example, it was to deal with the need to eat, and we do so, then we become aware of pleasurable feelings — the “reward” system!.  When the need fulfilled the “inhibiting” system takes over, and we should feel satisfied.

Central connections from the Limbic system (forebrain, hypothalamus, and brain stem) regulate the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic nervous systems.

The Limbic system also xxx

The peripheral nervous system (PNS) consists of cranial and spinal nerves that connect the CNS to other portions of the body, along with sensory receptors and ganglia — ref753

Nerves carry signals to and from different areas of the nervous system as well as between the nervous system and other tissues and organs – thus exerting point-to-point control through nerves, similar to sending messages by conventional telephone. Nervous control is electrical in nature and fast.

Nerves are divided into 4 classes:
o Cranial nerves connect your sense organs (eyes, ears, nose, mouth) to your brain
o Central nerves connect areas within the brain and spinal cord
o Peripheral nerves connect the spinal cord with your limbs
o Autonomic nerves connect the brain and spinal cord with your organs (heart, stomach, intestines, blood vessels, etc.)


CCP212 — ref 692

Transmission of Nerve Signals – there are two distinct types of connections: chemical and electrical. a href=”https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-a-neuron-2794890″ target=”_blank”>ref755 Neurons and Their Role in the Nervous System

A neuron is a nerve cell that is the basic building block of the nervous system. Neurons are specialized nerve cells that are responsible for communicating information in both chemical and electrical forms. There are many different types of neurons in the body, and they’re classed by the direction in which they send information. Neurons release chemicals known as neurotransmitters for dispatch to the other neurons.

• Sensory neurons carry information from the sensory receptor cells throughout the body to the brain — are in the dorsal root ganglion of the spinal cord
• Motor neurons transmit information from the brain to the muscles of the body — in the gray matter.
• Interneurons are responsible for communicating information between different neurons in the body — are limited to a single brain area — ref756


CP124a

Different neurotransmitters tend to act as:
• Excitatory – such as Acetylcholine, Glutamate, Aspartate, Noradrenaline, Histamine) or
• Inhibitory – such as GABA, Glycine, Seratonin), while some (e.g. Dopamine) may be either.

If a neuron responds to a stimulus, its axon sends an all-or-nothing electrical signal called an action potential down to its axonal terminal. Action potentials are the way the brain receives, processes, and conveys information.

Actually all the functions of the body depend on these neurotransmitters like heart beats when it receives signals from the brain.


CP125

The Limbic system plays a key role as the emotional regulator and it also processes memory.

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Emotions

Emotions to rule our daily lives. We make decisions based on whether we are happy, angry, sad, bored, or frustrated. We choose activities and hobbies based on the emotions they incite.

There are three key elements:–
• Subjective experience
• Physiological response
• Behavioral response.

Any significant disruption of familiar sensory patterns triggers a biological response, commonly called emotion.

An Emotion is a reward or punishment for a specific motivated behaviour.

Emotion is different from “feelings” because feelings subjectively represent emotions — this means that feelings are private to the person.

Mood lasts longer than an emotion.

An Emotion is a reward or punishment for a specific motivated behaviour.

Emotion is different from “feelings” because feelings subjectively represent emotions, which means that feelings are only private to the person.

Also, emotion is distinguished from “mood” based on the period of time that they are present; a mood lasts longer than an emotion.

Interchangeably used with emotion, “affect” is the experience of emotion, and is associated with how the emotion is expressed (as seen on facial expressions or hand gestures).

Basic emotions to possess motivational properties of their own. For example, happiness motivates a person to achieve better performance.

Any significant disruption of familiar sensory patterns triggers a biological response, commonly called emotion.

Emotions, Feelings, Moods vary in terms of Intensity and Duration.

They result:
• From the Senses — from the Outside or the Body, or
• From the Sub-Conscious.
• A combination

They may be anticipated by pursuing an activity, such as an Instinctive Need — and the Reward System

If a “threat” is encountered then an immediate Instinctive Response may be required.
But early on any Response/Emotion may be modified by our Emotional Intelligence capabilities — this may include perceiving an emotion in one or more other individuals

Whether triggered from without or within, emotions produce major changes all through the body. most notably in muscle-tone, energy level, tone of voice, and facial expressions. They signal organs and muscle groups, accelerate or decelerate cardiovascular rates, and mute or exaggerate messages of pain, deprivation, and pleasure — vary considerably in intensity and duration

From — Key elements of emotions (ref365)
Emotions rule our daily lives. We make decisions based on whether we are happy, angry, sad, bored, or frustrated. We choose activities and hobbies based on the emotions they incite.

There are three key elements:–
• Subjective experience
• Physiological response
• Behavioral response.

Subjective experience — While we have broad labels for emotions such as “angry,” “sad,” or “happy,” your own experience of these emotions may be much more multi-dimensional, hence subjective.

Physiological Response — Many of the physiological responses you experience during an emotion, such as sweaty palms or a racing heartbeat, are regulated by the sympathetic nervous system

Behavioural response — Many expressions are universal, such as a smile to indicate happiness or a frown to indicate sadness. Socio-cultural norms also play a role in how we express and interpret emotions.
End — Key elements of emotions (ref365)

From —ref530 Body and Emotionsemot
Our emotional system in the brain sends signals to the body so we can deal with our situation:

CCP167 Self-reported body maps reveal areas in the body where certain sensations may increase (warm colors) or decrease (cool colors) for a given emotion — caution — self-reporting may be misleading!
End — ref530

653 ref 653 Emotions and awareness

We scarcely experience the world apart from our emotional response to it.

Emotions are more physiological than psychological

Any significant disruption of familiar sensory patterns triggers a biological response, commonly called emotion.

This enables us to respond immediately to indications of danger.

Whether triggered from without or within, emotions produce major changes all through the body. most notably in muscle-tone, energy level, tone of voice, and facial expressions. They signal organs and muscle groups, accelerate or decelerate cardiovascular rates, and mute or exaggerate messages of pain, deprivation, and pleasure.

In general, only changes in the body or environment that produce emotion are noticed.
Components of Emotion:
• Arousal (energy)
• Motivation
• Feelings

People around you will be focused on the situation and their own emotional responses to it.

They are unlikely to give the same meaning to the feelings you’re trying to explore or express.
End — ref 653

From — ref741b Purpose of Emotions
Emotions are what makes us tick:
• Emotions Can Motivate Us to Take Action — xxx?
• Emotions Help Us Survive, Thrive, and Avoid Danger — xxx?
• Emotions Can Help Us Make Decisions — Intuition?
• Emotions Allow Other People to Understand Us
• Emotions Allow Us to Understand Others — gestures and expressions

Emotional Intelligence: Emotional intelligence: traits and skills that promote positive social behavior, recognizing emotions, and the capacity to use the information in productive and useful ways
From — ref759 Emotional Intelligence
Emotional Intelligence — is the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others.

It has three skills, though we can learn them, practice them, and then use them:
• Emotional awareness, or the ability to identify and name one’s own emotions;
• The ability to harness those emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking
• Problem solving; and the ability to manage emotions — which includes both regulating one’s own emotions when necessary and cheering up or calming down other people.

What are Emotions? —
From — ref125 .Eemotions, moods, Sentiments and Personality Traits
• Moods are affective states that last longer than emotions, usually for hours or days.
• Sentiments are directed at something — xxx
• Emotional traits are personality characteristics — Learned Attitudes

An Emotion is a reward or punishment for a specific motivated behaviour.

Emotion is different from “feelings” because feelings subjectively represent emotions, which means that feelings are only private to the person.

Also, emotion is distinguished from “mood” based on the period of time that they are present; a mood lasts longer than an emotion.

Interchangeably used with emotion, “affect” is the experience of emotion, and is associated with how the emotion is expressed (as seen on facial expressions or hand gestures).

Basic emotions to possess motivational properties of their own. For example, happiness motivates a person to achieve better performance.

Any significant disruption of familiar sensory patterns triggers a biological response, commonly called emotion.

in how we think and behave. The emotions we feel each day can compel us to take action and influence the decisions we make about our lives, both large and small.

The Limbic System, described by some as the “Emotional Brain”” is also the path for more than a trillion bits of information about the world that bombard our senses at any given moment. This enables a prompt response to any perceived threat

The Limbic system plays a key role in the regulation of emotions – and it also processes memory.

These two states, emotions and memories, interconnect to form emotional memory, which produces the child’s responses to situations, experiences and learning.

These two states, emotions and memories, interconnect to form emotional memory, which produces the child’s responses to situations, experiences and learning.

When not functioning properly due to injury or impairment, the limbic system becomes hypersensitive and begins to react to stimuli that it would usually disregard as not representing a danger to the body.

They have enormous power to enhance, distort, or totally disrupt other mental processes. For instance, intense interest can make thoughts and ideas flow profusely, while shame makes it all but impossible to concentrate.

This is particularly the case when the link between the Limbic System and the Mindful part of the brain is damaged due to Trauma xxx

Our emotions can be short-lived, such as a flash of annoyance at a co-worker, or long-lasting, such as enduring sadness over the loss of a relationship. But why exactly do we experience emotions? What role do they serve?
REf741b xxx
• Emotions Can Motivate Us to Take Action
• Emotions Help Us Survive, Thrive, and Avoid Danger
• Emotions Can Help Us Make Decisions
• Emotions Allow Other People to Understand Us
• Emotions Allow Us to Understand Others

Help Us Make Decisions! — Even in situations where we believe our decisions are guided purely by logic and rationality, emotions play a key role. Emotional intelligence, or our ability to understand and manage emotions, has been shown to play an important role in decision-making.

But, it’s not always critical, and much more suchible

ref757 The function of emotions

A similar pattern disruption process monitors bodily functions. Changes in states like pain, pleasure, hunger, thirst, body temperature, and respiratory rate trigger emotions.

Whether triggered from without or within, emotions produce major changes all through the body, most notably in muscle-tone, energy level, tone of voice, and facial expressions.

They signal organs and muscle groups, accelerate or decelerate cardiovascular rates, and mute or exaggerate messages of pain, deprivation, and pleasure.

They have enormous power to enhance, distort, or totally disrupt other mental processes. For instance, intense interest can make thoughts and ideas flow profusely, while shame makes it all but impossible to concentrate.

The Components of Emotion are:
• Arousal
• Motivation
• Feelings

Arousal

Abnormally high levels produce over-stimulation, obsessions, compulsions, insomnia, or mania.

Periods of low arousal permit relaxation, letting go, or numbing out. Abnormally low levels of arousal create depression, muted emotions, or hypersomnia.

End — ref 653 Emotions and Awareness

Motivation

If the change stimulating the emotion seems promising, the usual response is interest or enjoyment, which motivate various approach behaviors to “sense more, learn more, get more.”

If the change seems dangerous, anger, fear, or disgust emerges with motivation to attack (devalue) or avoid.

Motivation is the most important component of emotions. We cannot understand ourselves or other people without understanding motivation.

We almost always fail to act in our best interests when we ignore motivation.

Types of Motivation:
• Those that foster growth and empowerment.
• Those that have survival importance but are scarcely helpful in negotiating the complexities of most modern problems

(Some of the examples given require a sensible re-definition of conventional understanding)

Feelings

The subjective experience of emotions—what they feel like—dominates our conceptions about them.

Trying to understand or change emotions through focus on how they feel is like trying to understand and change intestinal gas through focus on discomfort.

From — ref741a The Function of emotions (and data selection) at end

Emotions play an important role in how we think and behave. The emotions we feel each day can compel us to take action and influence the decisions we make about our lives, both large and small.

In order to truly understand emotions, it is important to understand the three critical components of an emotion:
• A subjective component (how we experience the emotion),
• A physiological component (how our bodies react to the emotion),
• An expressive component (how we behave in response to the emotion).

These different elements can play a role in the function and purpose of our emotional responses.

Our emotions can be short-lived, such as a flash of annoyance at a co-worker, or long-lasting, such as enduring sadness over the loss of a relationship. But why exactly do we experience emotions? What role do they serve?

• Emotions Can Motivate Us to Take Action
• Emotions Help Us Survive, Thrive, and Avoid Danger
• Emotions Can Help Us Make Decisions
• Emotions Allow Other People to Understand Us
• Emotions Allow Us to Understand Others

Help Us Make Decisions! — Even in situations where we believe our decisions are guided purely by logic and rationality, emotions play a key role. Emotional intelligence, or our ability to understand and manage emotions, has been shown to play an important role in decision-making.

End — ref741a Function of emotions (and data selection)

From — ref741c What are Emotions Structure and Function of Emotions

This paper attempts to coin a stipulative definition of “emotions” to determine their functions. In this sense, “emotion” is a complex phenomenon consisting of an accurate (reliable) determination of the state of affairs in relation to the state of the subject and specific “points of adaptation”.

Apart from the cognitive aspect, this phenomenon also includes behavior, physiological changes and expressions (facial expression, voice, posture), feelings, and “execution” of emotions in the nervous system. Emotions fulfill informative, calibrating, identifying, existential, and motivating functions. Emotions capture the world as either positive or negative, important or unimportant, and are used to determine and assign weightings (to set up a kind of hierarchy). They emerge automatically (involuntarily), are difficult (or hardly possible) to control and are (to some extent) influenced by culture.

Conclusion Taking into account the general considerations outlined above, a stipulative definition of “emotion” can be coined. I understand the term “emotion” as a complex phenomenon accurately (reliably) describing the (anticipated) state of affairs, which is reliable in terms of the state of the subject and specific “points of adaptation” (standards).

“Emotion” is functional, it emerges automatically (involuntarily), it is difficult (or hardly possible) to control and is (to some extent) influenced by culture. Emotions go hand in hand with perceptive, intellectual, and memory processes; the beneficiaries of emotions are the subjects of emotions and, to put it metaphorically, the replicators when considering the final element of maintaining stability in nature.

Emotions also perform existential, identifying, calibrating, and motivating functions. Emotions capture the world as either positive or negative, important or unimportant, and are used to determine and assign weightings (prioritize). They are a kind of gestalt from the cognitive perspective (at the level of conscious feelings), actions (behavior), physiological changes, expression, and the executor (the nervous system).

End — ref741c What are Emotions Structure and Function of Emotions

From — ref741b Purpose of Emotions

End — ref741b Purpose of Emotions

Ref 360 motivation-and-emotion (ref360)

Motivation is the “arousal, direction and persistence of a person’s behaviour”.

Most theorists who proposed their own explanation of motivation believe that any learned behaviour cannot be executed unless it is energized. Thus, motivation is important in performing all kinds of behaviour. Also, this means that any changes in motivation reflect on an individual’s behaviour.

What is Emotion?

Emotion is different from “feelings” because feelings subjectively represent emotions, which means that feelings are only private to the person.

Also, emotion is distinguished from “mood” based on the period of time that they are present; a mood lasts longer than an emotion.

Interchangeably used with emotion, “affect” is the experience of emotion, and is associated with how the emotion is expressed (as seen on facial expressions or hand gestures).

Basic emotions to possess motivational properties of their own. For example, happiness motivates a person to achieve better performance.

Emotions is a reward or punishment for a specific motivated behaviour.


CCP184

Ref 361 Ref361 Psychology of motivation

The Limbic system plays a key role in the regulation of emotions – and it also processes memory..

These two states, emotions and memories, interconnect to form emotional memory, which produces the child’s responses to situations, experiences and learning.

These two states, emotions and memories, interconnect to form emotional memory, which produces the child’s responses to situations, experiences and learning.

When not functioning properly due to injury or impairment, the limbic system becomes hypersensitive and begins to react to stimuli that it would usually disregard as not representing a danger to the body.

A number of factors can significantly impair Limbic System function Psychological and/or Emotional Trauma.

Central connections from the Limbic system (forebrain, hypothalamus, and brain stem) regulate the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.

When not functioning properly due to injury or impairment, the limbic system becomes hypersensitive and begins to react to stimuli that it would usually disregard as not representing a danger to the body.

Figure 212

References:
Ref 653 — Emotionsare more physiological than psychological.
Ref741a — The Function of emotions (and data selection)
ref741b — Purpose of Emotions
Ref360 — Motivation and emotion
Ref361 — Psychology of motivation

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Mindful, Thinking

The first set of experiences, with a healthy outcome is what is called the “Mindful” approach. The basic attitudes are as follows:


The Attitudes of Mindful Approach

In order to do the right things we need Achievement Habits, such as Self-Reliance, Self-Respect and an 0pen Mind

Self-reliance — As you meet each issue you have to decide how best to deal with it — and use whatever assets and guidance you truly need. Keep believing in your own ability — learn from any mistakes — develop your intuition through applying yourself with confidence.

Also — practice asserting yourself

ong>Self-respect — Frequently undermined by bullies, inadequate bosses and other Bs.

However, underlying those gross impositions may be your own notion that you, yourself need to be a virtuous person — and this makes you vulnerable. Human nature with all its Needs — cravings, naughty thoughts, grievances, desires, cannot be reduced to being nice — get real!

Self-esteem is about living with these “faults” and still being “reasonably nice”.

Mindfulness considers that you should cultivate love for yourself – as you are – without (too much) self-blame or criticism.

Open mind: Try sometimes to see things as new and fresh – as if for the first time – and with a sense of curiosity. A favourite Mindfulness example – The next time you see somebody you know – ask yourself if you are just seeing the reflection of your own thoughts about this person! Simple example — get perceptive!

ccc Enabling habits

Patience, Acceptance, Letting-Go, and Composure

Acceptance is a willingness to accept matters as they are here and now. We often waste a lot of energy denying and resisting what is already so! Acceptance does not mean that you should stop trying to improve – to give up on your desire to change and grow – or tolerate injustice. You have to accept yourself as you are before you can really change – Do you want to change?)

Letting-Go: We have to be aware of – and let go our negative thoughts, beliefs and feelings – apply yourself to this task (negative?) – You have to decide! Alternatively, we can allow ourselves to feel the negative feelings, identify them & then decide.

Judgement. We should avoid being judgemental when Angry, in a Casual way, or as a Bad Habit, etc. as these give rise to angry reactions.

Patience and the realisation that xxx such as developing a competence xxx


ccc Competence

For more demanding learning, the stages in achieving a skill can follow this sort of pattern:
o Unconscious incompetence: <em>I don’t really know what I want – Will this do what I want – Will I ever understand? </em>
o Conscious incompetence: <em>I’m getting a vague understanding! – This is what I want to do ….. If I’m diligent, I can afford to make little mistakes – I’ll backup as I go. </em>
o Conscious competence: <em>Why didn’t I see this before. </em>
o Unconscious competence: <em>I hardly notice how easy it is – I’m actually getting better at other things!</em>


ccc Using

Basic Rules: Ref

Wise-people-have-rules-for-themselves! ref

Your quality of life improves when you set clear standards for how you live.

We can’t depend on time, but we can depend on intentions. We can create, own and protect intentions. Intentions aren’t bound by time, or anything else outside our control

But if you are a thoughtful person, you may conclude that no single ethical theory can be stretched to cover every moral con­tingency. The only alternative, then, is to suppose that different ethical systems work better in different situations. This approach is called meta-ethical relativism.

Meta-ethical relativism is not the same as ethical relativism, which supposes, subjectively, that anybody’s ethics are as valid as anybody else’s and, accordingly, that anything at all is permissible in a given situation. Ethical relativism says that Robin Hood is correct to believe that he is doing right, while the sheriff of Nottingham is also correct to believe that Robin Hood is doing wrong. If you have a problem viewing the very same action as both right and wrong, then you are not an ethical relativist.

But is there an objective perspective that provides a wiser and more trustworthy moral compass? That’s where meta-ethical relativism comes in to help us discover which ethical system among those mentioned above – and the unmentioned, and the variations on each – does three vital jobs. First, it must resonate with your moral intuitions. Second, it must mesh with your background experience of ethics. Third, it must help remedy the problem itself. There are no easy answers here, and there’s an art (as well as an effort) required to answer the question “Which ethical system do you think is best in your case – and why?” Now we’re going to look at three illustrative cases to show you how it’s done.

Thinking Habits

The following general purpose check-list of attitudes is a sound basis for on-going diligent application:

  • Self-Respect
  • Self-reliance
  • Composure
  • Open mind
  • Cautious judgment — Anybody going slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac.
  • Acceptance (acknowledgement)
  • Letting-Go
  • Patience
  • Non-striving

In adopting an attitude you must take account of your underlying moods and fatigue

Thus there are serious hindrances to the diligent practice of doing what is right for your well-being

In order to do the right things we need Achievement Habits, such as an Open Mind, Self-Respect, and Self-Reliance.

Self-Respect (Esteem) can be seriously undermined by bullies, bosses, bigots and other Bs — and all the worse if you are sensitive, responsive, isolated, etc. It is the way some people behave — any “victim” will bolster their ego.

Don’t let them get at you and dismiss (let-go) past malevolent impositions!

Self-reliance – also called Trust or confidence: It is far better to trust in your intuition and your own authority, even if you make some “mistakes” along the way, than always to look outside yourself for guidance – Next time you will be even better.

Open mind: Try sometimes to see things as new and fresh – as if for the first time – and with a sense of curiosity. A favourite Mindfulness example – The next time you see somebody you know – ask yourself if you are just seeing the reflection of your own thoughts about this person!

Then there are enabling habits: Patience, Acceptance, Letting-Go, and Composure

Acceptance is a willingness to accept matters as they are here and now. We often waste a lot of energy denying and resisting what is already so! Acceptance does not mean that you should stop trying to improve – to give up on your desire to change and grow – or tolerate injustice. You have to accept yourself as you are before you can really change – Do you want to change?)

(Letting-Go: We have to be aware of – and let go our negative thoughts, beliefs and feelings – apply yourself to this task (negative?) – You have to decide! Alternatively, we can allow ourselves to feel the negative feelings, identify them & then decide.)
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Mindfulness also includes being Non-judgmental, and there are situations where this is applicable. However, in applying Attitudes/Habits of Acceptance, etc. we need to exercise sound Judgement. We should avoid being judgemental when Angry, in a Casual way, or as a Bad Habit, etc. as these give rise to “Red Reactions” .

We must practice the Mindfulness Attitude Habit of “Letting-Go” things that we can’t do anything about.

Finally, Self-Compassion. Mindfulness considers that you should cultivate love for yourself – as you are – without self-blame or criticism.

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Learning

With a habit you are in control of your choices, with an addiction you are not in control of your choices.
 Addiction – there is a psychological/physical component; the person is unable to control the aspects of the addiction without help because of the mental or physical conditions involved.
 Habit – it is done by choice. The person with the habit can choose to stop, and will subsequently stop successfully if they want to. The psychological/physical component is not an issue as it is with an addiction. A habit may eventually develop into an addiction.

As already stated, we learn to walk, talk, and so on. as we develop physically and mentally —

CCP 112

Although learning is rapid and remarkable it does lack depth and sophistication – This indicates an inate App for each ability which updates and enhances with increases in capability. LLL1

This early learning is about becoming more competent through practice and application. Playing with toys is an essential part of learning co-ordination of senses and motor movements — providing new challenges as appropriate.

For more demanding learning, the stages in achieving a skill can follow this sort of pattern:
• Unconscious incompetence: I don’t really know what I want – Will this do what I want – Will I ever understand?
• Conscious incompetence: I’m getting a vague understanding! – This is what I want to do ….. If I’m diligent, I can afford to make little mistakes – I’ll backup as I go.
• Conscious competence: Why didn’t I see this before.
• Unconscious competence: I hardly notice how easy it is – I’m actually getting better at other things!

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Dealing with Needs

So, we experience life as our Senses, our Needs, and our complex of Memories (Conscious and Unconscious) contend for Our Attention.

The Harvard Medical School describes us as having “a dog-brain with a human cortex stuck on top” — and that “not a second goes by that our animal brain isn’t seeking to influence our options”.

The “dog-brain” can respond much faster than the “thinking brain” — its reaction is influenced by circumstances and experiences — typically if a “flight-or-flight” situation is perceived. Our Nature combines the fast reactions of the motivational/emotional “dog-brain” and the human “thinking-brain”.

Our dog-brain looks after the normal functioning of the body, but when required to deal with emergencies, sexual activity, etc. it temporarily diverts resources in combination with the endocrine system. It deals with the associated emotions, generating the required motivations.

Whether triggered from without or within, emotions produce major changes all through the body, most notably in muscle-tone, energy level, tone of voice, and facial expressions.

They signal organs and muscle groups, accelerate or decelerate cardiovascular rates, and mute or exaggerate messages of pain, deprivation, and pleasure.

They have enormous power to enhance, distort, or totally disrupt other mental processes. For instance, intense interest can make thoughts and ideas flow profusely, while shame makes it all but impossible to concentrate.

The Buddhist version of the “Stream of Consciousness gives a concise version of the dog-brain influences:
The names of the Moods and Emotions in the stream are Hell, Hunger, Instinct, Anger, Tranquillity, Rapture, Learning, and Realisation, and Helping.

Where Hell is as follows:

CCP46

Emotional responses and the Stream of Consciousness appearm may be supressed due to Depression,GAD,Addiction, etc.

Abraham Maslow proposed a Hieararchy of Human Needs — ref58

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Clearly many are Complex Needs (Aspirations?, and many also particularly apply to certain individuals and in certain circumstances.

In his book “Hardwiring Happiness” by Rick Hanson he observed:

We have 3 core Needs or Operating Systems:
• Safety ——— Avoiding Harms
• Connection —– Attaching/relating to others
• Satisfaction — Using Rewards

These operating systems are defined by their function and not the evolved anatomy

Each operating system has its own set of abilities, and they can be running at the same time.

Each has two modes of responding to circumstances:
• The Responsive Mode — Controlled, Mindful
• The Reactive Mode — Alert, Stressed. Emotional — Insecure people, and those affected by trauma are more prone to this mode.

These are the circumstances of day to day living. They can give rise to emotions/moods that naturally give rise to the extremes of stress or contentment. These are much influenced by our experiences, from early nutrition, family life, fortune, etc.

Emotional Intelligence, the result of experience, learning from the dire results of over-reacting to situations, learning to apply an extended Mindfulness, etc. should lead to less stressful outcomes.

Avoiding harm seems to have evolved a Human Brain that has a negativity bias, tending to simulate —
• Velcro for negative experiences and
• Teflon for positive ones.

Always anxious about possible problems

Attaching/relating to others

However, The dominant on-going Need seems to be for Satisfaction (Reward).

Emotions is a reward or punishment for a specific motivated behaviour.
End — motivation-and-emotion (ref360)

The Harvard Medical School describes us as having “a dog-brain with a human cortex stuck on top” — and that “not a second goes by that our animal brain isn’t seeking to influence our options”.

The “dog-brain” can respond much faster than the “thinking brain” — its reaction is influenced by circumstances and experiences — typically if a “flight-or-flight” situation is perceived. Our Nature combines the fast reactions of the motivational/emotional “dog-brain” and the human “thinking-brain”.

Our dog-brain looks after the normal functioning of the body, but when required to deal with emergencies, sexual activity, etc. it temporarily diverts resources in combination with the endocrine system. It deals with the associated emotions, generating the required motivations.

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As-if

This proposed the self-perception view of emotion that behaviours cause feelings.

Subsequent research has shown that, in almost all aspects of our everyday lives, acting as if you are a certain type of person, you become that person – what I call the “As If” principle.

Our everyday experience tells us that our emotions cause us to behave in certain ways. Feeling happy makes us smile, and feeling sad makes us frown. Case closed, mystery solved. However, James became convinced that this commonsense view was incomplete and proposed a radical new theory.

James hypothesised that the relationship between emotion and behaviour was a two-way street, and that behaviour can cause emotion

For 10 quick and effective exercises that use the As If principle to transform how you think and behave. – see How to change

“Act the Part, action not plans!

It helps if you are interested or are motivated in some way.

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Awareness, the Mind

The Mind of a human being comes into existence and slowly becomes more Aware as they experience, develop and learn!.

Our Awareness is a combination of our Consciousness — what we see and hear, our feelings and moods — and inputs from the Unconscious — our store of personal experience, emotions, habits, competences, opinions, prejudices and beliefs.

Gustav Jung added the (Human) Collective Unconscious — ref748

This Collective Unconscious is described as that part of the mind — containing memories and impulses of which the individual is not aware — common to mankind as a whole and originating in the inherited structure of the brain.

The two most powerful functions of the developing Conscious Mind has are — ref738f:
1. The ability to imagine that which is not real
2. The ability to direct your focus.

So, we imagine our awareness through our senses can be supplemented by “data” from our sub/un-conscious mind — a useful “model” or “construct”.

Buddhist scholars imagined a “stream of consciousness” as the model of a link from sonsciousness to the sub-coscious — In is intuitively appealing. The names of the Moods and Emotions in the stream are Hell, Hunger, Instinct, Anger, Tranquillity, Rapture, Learning, and Realisation, and Helping.

They’re all present together, like so many ingredients in a stew. But at any given moment, depending on what you’re thinking or doing, or on what’s going on around you, you’ll experience one of these states on a priority basis (an intersting aside is that each element can have positive or negative aspects. This is a common feature in many models/conceptions – the best known of these being the Yin,Yang of Chinese Philosophy. Yin and Yang can be thought of as complementary (rather than opposing) forces).

We now know a lot about the biology and neurology of the “Mind”, but much remains to be understood, particularly for the interested lay-person. There is, for example, no agreement on the “Emotional Brain” — the Limbic System. However this should not deter us from a “functional model” that ignores brain structure and related models.

We have more understanding of that part of the brain and nervous system with respect to how the Autonomics System and its two modes of operation, which takes care of many of the bodily functions, both for “normal” responses and “demanding and threat” responses.

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Development — an outline

Each baby is totally dependent on care, and arrives into unique close and extended social conditions, subject to on-going changes. We inherit Genes, but we also inherit our Social Environ, Our Mother/Carer, Siblings, etc.

We have to learn to walk, talk, and so on, and in particular adapt to our social environment — early development is rapid but basic.

Oliver James in his book “They Fxxx you up” — reported on the effects of inadequate parenting, which can be perpetuated from Generation to Generation

The human genetic program provides sensitive periods for specific learning that will allow the child and adolescent to develop the various aspects of their unique personality and adapt to the current social environment. It may be that differences for each child in the duration and intensity of these genetic phases are crucial. The patterns of brain electro-chemistry created then are later brought to bear in choosing friends, lovers and professions, and in constantly re-creating the patterns of the past.

James described the creation of these patterns as “skill scripts” which we follow as if our lives were in an elaborate theatrical play without a plot.

As described by James, this is the period when the following developments take place:
Self Awareness 0-6 months
Attachments/Relationships 0-3 years
Conscience 3-6 years

Inappropriate early Nurture can lead to:–
• Personality Disorder — ref486
• Insecure Attachment (Relationship) to others — ref xxx
• Punitive or Weak Conscience (benign)

personality first

In general parental care is critical, especially during the first six years. During this period the Mother normally has the main responsibility for nurturing the child (If the mother is not available as a specific Carer as the best equivalent is recommended).

Even so, the baby may be at risk from their carer/mother, now often isolated from the extended family, and under pressure to meet the “demands” of our market economies.

The fundamental problem (following that trauma of the birth) is the total dependence of the baby, twenty-four hours a day, resulting in an equally total loss of autonomy in the mother. Many mothers do not have someone else there to help them out when the grinding relentlessness of meeting the infant’s needs becomes too much. Post-natal depress may result.

The early weeks are a very delicate period in the mother’s life. She is emotionally fragile, vulnerable, yet the need to fit into the infant’s patterns feels like permanent jet-lag, with her sleep patterns going haywire. Worst of all, she has to expect the unexpected as regards the baby’s patterns.

The absence of family support means that the Mother is now more likely to be subject to more physical and mental stresses, and these have repercussions for the Child.

However, the over-attentive mother may pamper the baby to its detriment.

The Psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott found that the emotional empathy of an “Ordinary, Devoted Good-Enough mother ” is as critical to the infant’s well-being as food is to his physical health — Ref 602

A Case Study on Attachment based therapy was conducted b Van Den Boom) on 100 mothers with disturbed babies — Ref 414

When the babies were a few months old, fifty of the mothers received counselling sessions to increase their responsiveness and sensitivity to their disturbed babies. Up to this point these mothers tended to have become discouraged by their baby’s behaviour.

Van Den Boom taught techniques for soothing the baby, encouraged play and helped the mothers to connect emotionally.

Meanwhile the other fifty mothers and their irritable babies had received no help at all (That’s Science for you!).

xxx
From — ref750 Personality & Violent Crime
Persons committing murder and other forms of violent crime are likely to exhibit a personality disorder (PD) of one type or another. Essentially any personality disorder can be associated with violent crime, with the possible exception of avoidant Personality Disorder.

With a focus on murder, clinical examples drawn from the crime literature and from the author’s personal interviews refl ect 14 varieties of personality disorder. Animal torture before adulthood is an important predictor of future violent (including sadistic) crime. Whereas many antisocial persons are eventually capable of rehabilitation, this is rarely the case with psychopathic or sadistic persons.
END — ref750 Personality & Violent Crime

From — ref749 attachment-theory-of-personality-disorder
An influential way of thinking about personality disorders stems from attachment theory. This theory is credited to John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth. Like object relations theory, attachment theory proposes that people develop internal representations of relationships through their interactions with early caregivers. These internal representations, or working models of relationships, then go on to influence:
1) Personality development,
2) Social interaction tendencies,
3) Expectations of the world and of other people and,
4) Strategies for regulating emotions.

50% of Individuals, even in “comfortable” western societies have insecure attachments.

An insecure attachment does not in itself constitute a personality disorder

However, when combined with other biological and environmental risk factors such as abuse, they may contribute to the development of a personality disorder.
End — a href=”https://www.mentalhelp.net/articles/attachment-theory-of-personality-disorder/” target=”_blank”>ref749 attachment-theory-of-personality-disorder

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Gender

Gender and Sexual Issues may also result from an non-empathetic up-bringing, both in early nurture and adolescence — Read More LLL

In the past public attitudes were greatly influenced by “Societal Norms”, often religous, but directed at morality.

Take Gender and Sexual Orientation — are two distinct aspects of our identity.

From — ref752 disorders of sex development — Intersex
Disorders of sex development (DSDs) are a group of rare conditions where the reproductive organs and genitals don’t develop as expected.

If you have a DSD, you’ll have a mix of male and female sexual characteristics (Five forms of DSD are described, and there is a list of support groups)

Advice for parents of older children

Sometimes a DSD may be diagnosed if an older child doesn’t develop normally in puberty. For example, your child may not start the normal puberty changes, or may start puberty but not get periods.

Speak to your GP if you have any concerns about your child’s development at puberty. They can refer your child to a specialist, usually a consultant in paediatric endocrinology or an adolescent gynaecologist.

A team of different healthcare professionals will work with you to understand your child’s condition, and offer you and your child support and advice.
End — ref752

Gender is personal (how we see ourselves), while sexual orientation is interpersonal (who we are physically, emotionally and/or romantically attracted to)

There is currently a widespread belief that a unified ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ personality turns out not to describe many people — It describes stereotypes to which we constantly compare ourselves and each other, but more people are ‘gender non-conforming’ than we generally realize.” — Read More at Gender Issue LLL

The influences on Nurture and later life are generally complex and indistinct and the traits, although recognisable, are blurred.

How we respond to circumstances may arise from on-going awareness or from attitude, mood or temperament

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What can go wrong

These two states, emotions and memories, interconnect to form emotional memory, which produces the child’s responses to situations, experiences and learning. A number of factors can significantly impair Limbic System function Psychological and/or Emotional Trauma.

When not functioning properly due to injury or impairment, the limbic system becomes hypersensitive and begins to react to stimuli that it would usually disregard as not representing a danger to the body.


Figure 191

In addition the longer term emotions/Moods are habit-like and they can dominate our characters, in the extreme as Depression, GAD, etc.

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