By Andrew Wye
The first thing to understand is that consciousness is different from what we thought – it moves/develops in two directions and those directions are mutually retreating, creating an ongoing intra-psychic tension, the unconscious avoidance of which is at the heart of all our affairs – Consciousness for most people is, therefore, contrary to popular belief and consideration, not a singular, unified state, it is bi-polar: we are, for all practical purposes, divided in the most fundamental fashion, but in this also lies the essence of our potential.
We are generally ignorant of this fact and we need to wake up to the truth of the matter before it reduces our possibilities for growth as Human Beings to the point of no return.
This essay explains this situation, offering the new understanding that will hopefully help to both enhance peoples’ developmental possibilities and generally improve the quality of all kinds of relationships and endeavours.
These ideas are new and the hope is that the way that preference, consciousness and suffering are shown to be connected will enable a new understanding around both our relationships and what it really means to become more human.
One of the core ideas is for the existence of two distinct types of consciousness: 1 Functional and 2 Developmental and the ontological and mechanical origins of a sense of self will be described, referring back in favour of a previously undefined sense modality (the Emotional Sense; Wye 91).
How did we become conscious and is it inevitable that we become more conscious?
One of the most interesting and enduring problems for psychologists has been to understand the way that “..phenomenological states like consciousness and metacognition become instantiated in a machine – human or otherwise..” (Reber 96).
A developing consciousness can be defined as ‘an increasing ability to emotionally discriminate and intellectually differentiate’.
This definition – in light of an all too apparent general absence of objectivity in processes of decision-making – raises the question: just how objectively balanced and beneficial are the results of those decisions?
If decision-making is chiefly determined, as will be argued, not by something approaching ‘objective reason’, but by influences and mechanisms that exist solely to perpetuate personal biological survival – (instinctive altruism or self-sacrifice in light of this argument can be seen as the ‘extended personal’ aspect of this survival impulse) – then in light of this subjective yet proscribed manifestation of ‘choice’, it is necessary to examine an almost completely overlooked and certainly under-researched area: the origins and exercise of preference.
The question then presents itself as to what it might mean – in terms of a greater or lesser ability to make a ‘more conscious’ decision – to “exercise preference”.
Preference: “To like better or value more highly.”
On balance, the exercise of preference is less objective and conscious and more emotional and mechanical.
From this standpoint the forms of a variety of conflicts ranging from domestic dispute to the classically full-blown political debate now become more understandable, even inevitable.
For great swathes of humanity, day-to-day interactions and relationships can be described as a largely unconscious interplay of escaping energies that are reciprocally prompted and emotionally-driven exchanges – therefore also lacking objective balance.
Most relationships demonstrate characteristics more suitably described as co-dependent and are better described as meetings of events and objects rather than of individuals – my dogs barking at your dogs.
Language supports this barking, crucially allowing humans the vanity and smokescreen of a form of preferential justification or rationalisation after the event, creating the self-deception of conscious choice rather than unconscious barking.
Given the proposed emotional drivers of these actions and events, the question raised is this:
a) What need is served by unending attempts to personally strain to explain and ‘logically’ rationalise what can all too easily be seen by others as obviously unbalanced, emotional behaviour?
b) More pertinently, how does the attempt at such faux preferential logical rationalisation relate to the notion of consciousness?
These two questions, unfortunately for the reader, inevitably generate three more:
a) What function does the exercise of preference serve?
b) How are preferences generated and maintained?
c) What is the relationship between preference and consciousness?
Consciousness as a by-product.
There are two types of consciousness:
Type 1 Consciousness – Functional Self-Awareness – towards greater fixedness.
Existing as a result of the repeated acting-out of behaviours that enhance possibilities for biological survival in the face of environmental threat.
Paramount to the question of this kind of behavioural success is the animal’s ability to recognise and avoid potential threat. To this end, the mechanism of discomfort avoidance has come to serve just this purpose: developed as the primary survival aid, acting as a filter between organism-at-risk and potentially deadly environment.
To be successful this mechanism needed to be fast and subtle and therefore equally pre-cognitive and sensitive enough to be effective.
Over a period of time discomfort-avoidance – (life-saving) – behaviours, observable either as brief, discrete acts or as extended habitual routines, would become ‘instinctive’, as if inseparable from our picture of an individual, so that, over time, certain constantly repeated acts and clusters of behaviours begin to become recognisable by what can be described as the ‘nature’ of the animal or the ‘personality’ of the human being.
In light of this view, the concept of ‘personality’ might now be defined as: a set of largely habitual behaviours generated by discomfort avoidance’ – this is the right-and-proper job of Functional Consciousness and these behaviours constitute the observable manifestations of the underlying impulse to avoid discomfort that are constantly acted-out in different ways in different situations according to the ‘nature’ of the organism and the particular presentation of the threat.
Personality variety occurs as a result of different reactions to similar situations, in that physiological differences lead to individual differences in reaction on a physical, emotional and mental level. Therefore, depending upon the strength and combination of these differences, different ways of avoiding discomfort will be more ‘personally successful’ and more individually preferred.
In this way, a more recognisably idiographic, predisposition or personality will develop.
“Who” I am – A Recognisable Emotional and Cognitive Shape
As these behaviours are repeatedly acted-out in particular forms and contexts and as they become more individually recognisable and predictable, so eventually a constructed version of ‘who I am’ begins to take on recognisable emotional and cognitive shape, both for the individual concerned and for any observer.
Broadly similar universal personality traits can then be thought of as the common visible markers of generic behaviour patterns for organisms whose reactions to discomfort have been shaped by broadly similar physiological, environmental and social/emotional combinations.
(Note here conformity to the finding of the global presence of the Big Five personality traits.)
As we can see, in the course of this process an apparently ‘unique’ self is apparently constructed.
However this claim for uniqueness has to be balanced in light of the argument that all ‘individual selves’ are shaped according to the same primary biological requirement to avoid discomfort.
At this level of function or being or consciousness it is only the type of discomfort (the type of environment + bio-physical predisposition or capabilities of an organism) and how it is subsequently avoided that differs from individual to individual.
Staying Safe – one man’s discomfort, another man’s pleasure
In order to maximally avoid personally intolerable discomfort the default behaviour will also:
1) Tend towards re-visiting environments or situations that are sensed to be ‘safe’ (i.e. environments supportive of a preferential self-image, where ‘self-image’ is a linguistically rationalised, cognitively symbolic version of ‘what I am’ and ‘what I am’ is nothing more than a collection of reactive manifestations to discomfort)
2) Tend away from situations that are not supportive of this self-image.
In this way, over time, the self-image then becomes context dependent or ‘context embedded’ (Gerza 97).
So that a fuller description of this ‘self’ would be as a Preferred Predominating Self Image (PPSI; Wye 96), where it is argued that different preferred self-images are differentially generated and more or less relatively fixed in individuals by exposure and subsequent relative reaction to various environments and contexts.
This then opens the door to the real possibility of not just one, discreet, ‘me’, but a whole stable of context or situation-dependent ‘mes’ or ‘selves’.
Belief & Discomfort
The seeking-out of experiences for these different ‘selves’ within these ‘safe’ contexts and in relation to particularly favourable or unchallenging external points of reference (people, situations – and, of course this includes internal states) is one way that the individual can reinforce the comforting belief in the ‘reality’ of any particular preferred self.
(This movement towards a ‘comforting belief’ is one aspect of the tendency towards biological survival, the chief mechanism of which is the avoidance of discomfort: i.e. the more comfortable ‘I’ am in a particular environment/ belief system, the more time ‘I’ will spend there and the more the environment reflects back to me and reinforces the way ‘I’ prefer to see myself.)
This ‘self’ then exists and is maintained relative to selectively preferred external points of self-reference such as ideas, people, activities, emotions, but can only continue to remain as such so long as these points remain relatively constant both in presentation and also with regard to how they continue to be received or perceived by the individual concerned.
It is with this perpetual emotional and cognitive reinforcement of a particular construal of ‘self’ through the primal mechanism of discomfort avoidance that a preferentially rationalised illusion of independence, agency, free will, being and consciousness can be perpetuated – but only so long as the individual remains within the arena of the necessary supportive points or mirrors of self-reference.
Points of Reference
It is suggested that these external points of reference can be grouped into seven broad contexts as follows:
- Family and Social
- Professional Standing
(Being outside the scope of this essay, these categories are explored elsewhere.)
We shall leave for now the effects of functional consciousness and turn to the second type of consciousness, developmental self-awareness.
Type 2 Consciousness – Developmental Self-Awareness – towards greater fluidity.
Existing, in the minority, as an impulse towards a sincere questioning of the sense and aim of one’s existence – this form and line of sincere, essential questioning is not constrained within the preferential, externalised points of self-reference consistent with Functional consciousness.
Prerequisite to the growth of this kind of consciousness is an attitude of search not predominantly determined by an agenda to avoid discomfort. This search requires openness to experiences that will generally challenge ‘typical’ reactive behaviours in respect of one’s physical, emotional and mental manifestations and preferential belief systems.
This begs two further questions: In what way ‘open’ and to what kinds of experiences?
Opening to Experience – An Overview of the Basic Mechanism.
Over and above all other considerations this essay argues that all human beings are very strongly biologically and selectively influenced to submit to, or be led by, behaviour patterns that avoid personally intolerable discomfort.
The first rule at this level of existence is: keep the body alive.
The second rule is: support and maintain your Preferred Predominating Self Image (PPSI) – (even if, apparently paradoxically for some, this might seem to involve putting oneself in harm’s way).
Crucially we shall see that these two survival behaviours exert a gravitationally opposite influence to that of developmental self-awareness and that they constantly act to enhance biological survival (Functional Consciousness) at the expense of the possibility to make efforts in the direction of Developmental Self-Awareness.
It happens like this:
The resulting pull between these two opposing influences (the Functional and the Developmental) creates tension, sensed as discomfort.
Now, as any and all discomfort becomes immediately subject to the primary biological agenda that constantly seeks to avoid discomfort, this tension gives rise to a pre-conscious avoidance reaction.
The fact that the development of consciousness is at stake is outweighed by the denser, entrenched energy invested in the (necessary) mechanism for biological survival.
As we have become habituated (and now even addicted) to avoiding discomfort, what habitually, mechanically occurs at this point is that the fastest and least painful course of resolution is followed.
So long as the discomfort is successfully avoided, this necessarily means a falling into the habitual and known, (Great Nature has always most cunningly required less effort of us to fall rather than to climb). This means:
i) reduced possibility for novel experience
ii) minimal challenge to the chains of existing behavioural patterns and
iii) minimal opportunity for greater openness and growth.
One of the negatives of falling into this runnel of old, safer experience is in the associated reduction and even impossibility for subsequent opportunities to explore beyond one’s limits of discrimination, differentiation and categorisation – aspects key to a growing understanding.
The key to this new way of understanding consciousness and its connection with preference is just this:
that this self-reinforcing behavioural cycle does not primarily seek to enhance the development of consciousness beyond the point where there is no advantage in terms of biological survival.
With the exceptional efforts of particular individuals or small groups of individuals aside, present ambient levels of human consciousness must therefore be seen as a kind of slowly accumulating by-product of the impulse to avoid discomfort.
Further, it can also be seen that this process becomes more complex as a direct result of a functional requirement to successfully interact with and manage an increasingly complex general social environment and the demands that such an environment makes.
So how is the delicate relationship between the preferred self-image and a constantly challenging environment managed?
The Effort-After Balance
The primary mechanism for managing exposure to discomfort can be described as a previously undefined sense modality operating as a link between the sensory systems and that of the basic emotions. For simplicity’s sake, this mechanism has been termed the Emotional Sense (ES; Wye 96).
This faculty came into existence as a direct result of the simultaneous presence of the two opposing needs described above – (the need to physically survive vs. the need for greater sensitivity, discrimination and understanding) – combined with certain environmental factors discussed below.
The presence and application of ES correlates directly with the presence of consciousness in that the point of formation for the Emotional Sense was also the point at which Functional Consciousness began. The factorial increase of consciousness could be expressed as an equation:
Potential Factorial Increase of Consciousness =
[Potential Discomfort of a Given Experience x Present Level of Consciousness] divided by [Emotional Sense x Context]
Where Potential Factorial Increase of Consciousness = the factor by which self-awareness could potentially expand.
Potential Discomfort of a Given Experience = the degree to which one or more elements of an experience would be sensed by ES to disturb a PPSI beyond a personally tolerable level.
Present Level of Consciousness = the degree to which the various intrinsic means of gathering, assimilating and objectively assessing data is present and appropriately functioning.
Emotional Sense = the capacity to be “sensitively” or “emotionally” open to the given experience.
Context = the level of personal difficulty experienced as a result of environmental factors.
The Emotional Sense – from ape to human? – an overview
ES was arguably selected and exists as the result of a number of converging factors.
1: Presence of a suitable physiology for consciousness to develop.
1a More upright posture. This incurred changes to the neck, voice box and jaw facilitating an increase in available vocal sounds.
1b Greater blood-flow to the brain bringing more nutrients that enabled a developing cortex to grow.
2: A triangulated rationale of self, based not in a linguistic or iconic framework but in a framework of sensory perception.
3: The presence of an uncomfortable bi-polar state.
4: The ipsilateral presentation of discomfort. The simultaneous treatment of the same piece of information by the two halves of the brain, specifically discomfort. It is argued that the possibility offered by the ipsilateral presentation of pain is the key factor, overlooked until now, in the differentiation between man (or any similarly self-knowing organism) and the rest of organic life.
The Incentive for Change.
Research suggests that whatever the origins of our ancestors, it can safely be said that H. sapiens evolved as a tribal animal because tribal life was more selectively fit than a lone existence (Lewin 93).
[The persistence of the ‘loner drive’ in humans can arguably be said to result from the equally selected need for genetic variety to enhance environmental adaptability; also as a residual aspect of the early reptilian brain.]
The Necessary Environment
As environmental conditions (tribal conflict, group hunting, meat eating,) enhanced an increasingly upright posture and as a subsequently greater blood flow to the brain simultaneously enabled the development of the cortex, contemporaneous changes in the shape of the jaw and voice box allowed a wider variety of vocal sounds.
These combined factors allowed a more intimate, tribal sociability percolated by a need for the more subtly, emotionally-weighted vocal sounds needed to convey degrees of emotion such as conciliation, displeasure, submission, assertion, agreement etc.
These were necessary as a means to manage the inter-personal and intra-psychic discomfort arising as a result of the various social conflicts involved in social life, (hence communication/ language as driven by discomfort avoidance) and also from the discomfort arising from the numerous tensions around efforts to reconcile long-standing aggressive and territorial instinctive behaviours (developed to ensure a personal, physical survival) with an equally necessary but conflicting need to develop social facility within groups (i.e. sharing food, shelter, territory, sexual partners).
With these two opposing impulses or states now present, we arrive, more or less, at a version of a recognisably modern-day human.
The Beginnings of Consciousness
What is suggested occurs at the period when a lone animal begins to gain an unconscious sense of the benefits to be derived from the joining of a group and, simultaneously, of the associated and various discomforts, is that a trade-off begins to take place.
Aspects of behaviour which up to this point were ‘instinctive’ and useful to the individual (i.e. aggression, territoriality, sexual predation) would begin to be traded-off for more safety and more food.
So that: a pre-conscious sense of the possibility of having more of the things which existing instinctive behaviours have already been developed to secure, generates the incentive to curb, for example, an entrenched behavioural reaction toward territorial aggression.
However, in the past this aggression must have kept H. Sapiens alive, so sensing a need not to act out aggressively for such a trade-off might elicit a substantial degree of intra-psychic discomfort.
This discomfort is caused by a certain kind of tension between:
a) The need to employ the old entrenched pattern – e.g. that of territorial aggression and physical power – and
b) The need to gain greater safety and more food at the expense of the very same territorial aggression that has previously played such a key role in the struggle for survival.
It is argued that the simultaneously experienced opposing pulls between (a) and (b) gives rise to an uncomfortable tension (c).
This tension is, critically, presented ipsilaterally to the brain as discomfort, but as external conditions combine to generate the beginnings of a reduced reaction to the presenting discomfort in order to gain the survival benefits, the proto-human is able to capitalise on a novel survival strategy: that of negotiation and mutual benefit – (the early sensings that aspects of ‘my own’ personal experience of the world similarly exist in ‘the other’).
Those hominids/genepools unable to tolerate this form of discomfort arguably perhaps could not survive – failing to reproduce in such large numbers and living in increasingly smaller, more isolated groups.
This then constituted the conditions necessary for psychic change,visible, for example, by the recognisable differences between what we call ‘human’ and ‘animal’. This effect would arguably also increase if, during periods of catastrophe or climate change, the proto-humans needed to stay closely together for various forms of self-protection.
These three factors, a) b) and c) serve as a ‘crucible’ wherein, as part of a complete process where repeated behaviour gives rise to the repeated presence of certain types of electro-chemical processes, the possibility for a new neural infrastructure begins to exist that forms the basis for a more hard-wired and recognisable behavioural trait.
It is this novel neural possibility that offers the opportunity to begin to ‘recognise or perceive self’, and the biological hardware required to begin to identify ‘self’ as being somehow distinct from its experience is formed by means of the beginnings of the presence of the discomfort (c) associated with the uncomfortable simultaneous presence of the two dynamically interacting states/drives (a) and (b).
It is argued that this ‘sense of self’ or ‘consciousness’ must begin to exist as a corollary to the sense of discomfort brought about by the friction or tension present in this environmentally generated attempt to reconcile opposing appetite. In other words by the attempt to actively tolerate the discomfort experienced by the necessary tension between these two opposing appetites.
The ‘Place’ for Consciousness
Initially the discomfort is simply sensed and reacted to, but over time the environmentally-driven need to bear or tolerate the discomfort begins to create the sensation of a different physical place within – literally the new physical sensation of a different internal place – the beginnings of simple compassion/ empathy.
On the one hand there is the impulse to follow instincts and on the other the beginnings of an opposing, more subtle need to curb those same instincts for benefits and perceptions of a different kind.
This ‘internal space’ can be imagined as a space within a three-pointed triangle, two of which points represent the twin opposing sensations of discomfort and the line between them the effort made to tolerate both sensations of discomfort, so keeping the space within the triangle, the spandrel, ‘open’ and for the conditions within to begin the growth of something new – consciousness.
(It is not beyond the realms of possibility that this triangulate crucible of consciousness is comparable to just that symbol of creation represented linguistically by the combined use of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, Holy Ghost. – The geometry/energetics of this mechanism is explored elsewhere.)
In this way, from an aggressive, mindless, ungrateful animal, the beginnings of self-awareness are grudgingly forced into being.
No Need for Language
This view on the origins of consciousness offers a rationale for the beginnings of a perception of self that is based wholly in the realm of sensation without the need for a linguistic or symbolic medium.
So that at this point, the formation of a particular type of internal representation is arguably present experienced not as sets of iconic or linguistic semiotics but in a form of sensate or physical knowing.
This early ‘sensate knowing’ arising from the attempt to reconcile opposing needs and rooted in an agenda for biological survival, constitutes the origins of a mechanism that has been called, in the absence of anything better, the Emotional Sense.
This sense operates as a means of predictively measuring the potential discomfort caused specifically by a particular type of tension and then, in concert primarily with the instincts and emotions, to initiate prompt action – or rather to react pre-consciously – in order to avoid that potential discomfort.
The Emotional Sense and Early Years
At the present state of human development this faculty can, for practical purposes be regarded as an innate sense: functional from birth to a greater or lesser degree.
Such a view sheds light on the infant’s ability to form close early bonds with significant carers. Indeed, in line with this model, early childhood can be seen as the period when the Emotional Sense mechanism plays its most telling part in the formation of the spine of personality.
At this time the Emotional Sense, not yet having had the experience to develop discomfort avoidance strategies, is also most susceptible to conditioning by parents or significant carers, even to the point where, in a practical way, by exposure to experiences of a severely challenging or coarsening nature, trauma or abuse, the sense could be conditioned, as a form of extreme self-protection, into non-existence, leaving the child with a potential raft of issues around self-contextualization, empathy, communication, self-worth and self-knowledge.
There may also be connections and effects at the epigenetic level.
Following this, subsequent children’s games and peer group experimentation could be seen as the way that different contexts and environments are sampled by the youngster for potential discomfort in light of this early-years spinal core of emotionally-referenced data.
This might then be accurately viewed as a ‘personally-tailored survival blueprint’ for later interaction with a broader physical and social environment.
(With this in mind it is not surprising that the use of fantasy is very active in the earlier years, as this constitutes a means of more safely experiencing potentially challenging or threatening situations.)
Emotional Sense, Emotions and Feeling – a differentiation
Here it is worthwhile to clarify the difference between the Emotional Sense and that range of psycho-physiological sensations evolutionarily selected and constructively fine-tuned by virtue of their usefulness as a social tool and presently socially-linguistically represented and generically communicated as “emotions”. (Panksepp 94).
A further distinction can be made in respect of a more refined grouping of emotions that we will distinguish by calling them ‘feelings’, which can be defined and recognised qualitatively by greater openness and absence of self-absorption, reduced selfishness, obsessiveness and defendedness.
The term “emotions” has come to be used in a broad sweep for two main reasons:
- The problem of physiological and neurological discrimination: i.e. the extent to which it is possible to differentiate between the subtleties of signal received from the autonomic nervous system.
- The cognitive infrastructure may not exist within which to appropriately reference the different types of sensations that are experienced. This infrastructure would include:
a) Language – i.e. the ability to define sensation will be dependent upon the extent to which our language limits conceptualisation; i.e. language is commonly just as proscriptive as it can be constructive.
a-i) Grammar – Within these terms the differing rules of grammar are seen as the ‘signifiers’ of the connection between a) the need to communicate (i.e. an impulse arising from the relationship between the Emotional Sense and an acceptable self-image) and b) the communicational options available (i.e. those options left available to my self-image after the application of ES)
So within any given population/tribe/culture prevailing grammar is constructed according to what is sensed to be just that emotionally ‘safe’ information left available as a result of the pre-conscious application of ES.
With grammar now seen then as a representation of a preferred perception and with emotional dependency reliant upon and determined by the ability to freely apply ES, this offers an explanation as to why language develops across cultures in a generally similar manner of stages and yet can have dissimilar grammar.
This is to say that the extent to which ES is freely applied could be a prime factor in the difference between grammatical structure, but would not make any difference to underlying language development stages.
Rules of grammar would therefore be seen to depend upon:
a) the degree of need present to communicate with another – (the degree of need to establish a ‘relationship of (self) reference’;
b) socially, the general level to which the group conforms and agrees in respect of the necessity to subjugate individual needs in order to affirm a more externally referenced and reinforced ‘sense-of-location-in-the-world’.
c) The degree to which ES is freely applied
b) Context – The inability to assess appropriately due to a lack of other necessary comparative/relevant information. (e.g. Explicit vs. implicit representations (Jackendoff 87)).
[NB As ‘context’ (environment, other people, situations) is additionally assessed by means of the linguistic manipulation of our experience of that context, and as, by its nature, choice of language is preferential, then with any use of a language, that linguistic assessment of our experience will inevitably default to a story of events that supports most reassuringly and effectively whatever my own preferred self-image happens to be at that particular time.
In other words, one’s rationalisations are automatically subject to one’s preferred views of oneself and will subsequently mechanically tend away from both discomfort and objectivity.]
c) Exposure to Different Environments – exposure to varied/challenging environments will lead to a greater database of experiential information to potentially inform a developing infrastructure (e.g. by the formation of a greater possibility for unusual or novel psychoneurophysiological connections)
d) Physiological Competence – the presence or absence of the physiology necessary to a particular task. (e.g. sufficiently developed neural networks, nervous system, etc.)
This suggests that, paradoxically by means of a kind of misuse of our cognitive infrastructure – represented by the twin tools of Intelligence and Language, (both of which having been naturally selected as a useful means of enhancing certain kinds of social interaction and understanding) – humans find themselves increasingly sheltered from just the kind of environmental friction that offers possibilities for developmental as opposed to functional consciousness.
Having looked at the existence of two types of consciousness we can see that these exist as a result of mutually resistant states – Functional Consciousness, avoiding friction, being more of a spirally falling movement and Developmental Consciousness, engaging friction, being more of a spirally ascending movement.
Whilst Functional Consciousness acts to build only the minimum level of consciousness necessary to effectively manage the various forms of discomfort presented by a range of contexts or environments, in contrast, Developmental Consciousness grows as a result of an active or mindful acceptance of a particular kind of discomfort or necessary tension or suffering that has been found, arguably, to be the chief characteristic of any and all clarifying or enlightening processes.
Understanding the practical, day-to-day implications of such a distinction allows a more mindful, self-observing approach to be adopted in respect of the whole range of relations and interactions that determine not only how we decide questions around moral and emotional health and wellbeing, but also frame and inform the way that we become enabled to differently imagine a shared future that is worth working to achieve.
N.B. – As a footnote and in light of the above, it can be argued that the tendency to entropy (‘Law of Falling’ –GIGurdjieff) is the enabler of ‘evil’ – the bio-energetic mechanism which lends itself to manipulation and enhancement by those beings who are so inclined. This ‘Falling’ epitomises and underpins that retreat from discomfort that offers the best possibility for bodily survival at the expense of human development.
The ‘practice of evil’ is simply the knowing application of ones’ knowledge about this law for selfish, egocentric ends contrary to the essential development of the human being.
Gerza, J. (1997) Desperately Seeking……Mindfulness. Undergraduate dissertation. University of East London.
Jackendoff, R. (1993) Patterns in the Mind. Harvester Wheatsheaf
Lewin, R. (1993) Human Evolution, An Illustrated Introduction. Blackwell Scientific Publications.
Panksepp, J. (1994) The Basics of Human Emotion. In: The Nature of Emotion. Ekman, P. and Davidson, R.J. (eds.) Oxford University Press.
Reber, A. (1996) AI, consciousness, and all that. The Psychologist, June, p255.
Wye, A. (1991) A Model of Emotional-Cognitive Disposition. Conference paper, BPS Counselling Division: York.