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The Neurophysics of Human Behavior: Explorations at the Interface of Brain, Mind, Behavior, and Information

June 22, 2000

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ISBN: 978-0-8493-1308-0
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Product Details:

  • Revision: June 22, 2000
  • Published Date: June 22, 2000
  • Status: Active, Most Current
  • Document Language: English
  • Published By: CRC Press (CRC)
  • Page Count: 371
  • ANSI Approved: No
  • DoD Adopted: No

Description / Abstract:

Preface

Even though life can be the greatest joy, unfortunately several millennia of human interaction have unearthed an ever-increasing morass of human unhappiness, discontent, and suffering that seems in retrospect to be an inescapable condition of being human . While nature appears to be in such harmony, we, a part of nature, are not. Why is this so? And how can we change it?

This book was written for the purpose of providing a progress report of a lifelong endeavor to answer several mind-twisting questions that could potentially influence the course of human development. What is life? What does it mean to be human? What is our place in nature? Is it our fate to endure an existence of relentless unhappiness, discontent, mental suffering, and disease? If not, how can we change? What is mind? Where does it come from? How are brain, mind, matter, and energy related? How do they interact? Why does this interaction seem to be the source of our suffering? What could we learn about being human if we were to weave the psychological sciences, neurosciences, biological sciences, and the physical sciences into a single integrated picture? Can we create a comprehensive model of mind and brain so that we may be able to perceive and influence the network of interactions that we are embedded within and influenced by? What is the most fundamental way in which we can describe their interaction so that we may understand who we are and ultimately improve the quality of human life? The answers to these and an even longer list of questions have developed into an interdisciplinary branch of science we refer to as cognitive neurophysics.

The psychological and psychotherapeutic sciences, since their inception, have been developing in isolation, all but ignoring the fact that we, and all that we call self , are a transient result of a physical process — a property of the interaction of matter and energy in the physical world. We have thus far neglected to see ourselves as process and not thing , and that we are governed by the same physical laws as all of nature. The processes of nature have illimitable dominion over the development of all forms and their interaction. The last 70 years of research and development in the physical sciences have taught us that it is pure folly to conceive of brain, mind, behavior, thoughts, emotions, or man as existing separately from each other or nature itself. The idea that any thing can exist apart from events has been demolished by the recent discoveries in high-energy particle physics and quantum mechanics. Yet the human sciences continue to branch off and develop in isolation, rarely, if ever, attempting to integrate their disparate worldviews into a single, unified whole that we can embrace. Cognitive neurophysics and the present work intend to synthesize such a perspective.

Thus far, the expansive perspective afforded by cognitive neurophysics has permitted the development of a theory and a model, which we believe will significantly alter our current worldview and the course of human development. We refer to the theory as the Standard Theory of Pattern-Entropy Dynamics and the application model as NeuroPrint.

The Standard Theory of Pattern-Entropy Dynamics constructs a systemic perspective from which we can view the relationship between humans and nature. We use this theory to answer the many questions posed above by exploring the ramifications of two fundamental conclusions. First, information is pattern in space and time; that is, a piece of information is equivalent to a particular state of motion or movement pattern found in nature. Pattern — states of motion — is the fundamental process of nature permitting the development of certain forms and governing their interaction while constraining the development of others. Second, brain, mind, behavior, thoughts, and emotions are properties of interaction between numerous information fields — both internal and external patterns or states of motion in time and space, arising in nature. It is from this way of seeing that we may dissolve many human paradoxes.

NeuroPrint was developed in order to provide a way of perceiving the effects of this network of interactions between information fields on our dynamic bioarchitecture and our quality of life. It brings into focus the network of interactions that permits the development of brain, mind, behavior, thoughts, and emotions, and, by the same methods, it redefines the very meaning and precision of psychotherapeutic intervention. From the perspective of NeuroPrint and cognitive neurophysics, intervention is simply precise microscopic and macroscopic changes in the state of motion of a neurocognitive system. In physics, this state of motion is referred to as a phase path . NeuroPrint was designed to afford the scientist, practitioner, and student of human behavior and cognition the ability to predict and influence the transition probabilities between any two or more behaviors, thoughts, emotions, or physiological states available to a particular human being, and thus predict and alter the course of human thought and behavior.

We believe that the questions posed earlier are answerable, albeit obscured by a limited perspective. Our intrinsic tendency to consume and produce order and pattern in efforts to counterbalance the destructive, disorganizing force of entropy causes us to artificially abstract and divide our experience — an indivisible, interdependent whole — resulting in a debilitating misalignment of our expectations with the ubiquitous, relentless laws of nature. For as long as we unwittingly continue to set our expectations by this limited perspective in direct opposition to the natural inclinations of nature, we will till the soil of mental suffering.

This misalignment between our expectations and nature's immutable laws is further perpetuated by the failure of our formal educational systems to teach us to see the patterns of nature to which we owe our very existence and with which we must align our expectations and understandings of human behavior, our environmental relationships, and life itself. Our failure to see that we ourselves are products of, and governed by, the illimitable dominion of nature's processes over all things deprives us of the deep pleasure that comes from experiencing our own life as an intrinsic part of nature.

The lifelong practice of science engenders within its most avid students an uncommon equanimity — inspiring understanding, affinity, awe, and wisdom, which can only come from a unified perspective. Such insight allows us to more appropriately realign our expectations of human beings, and of life itself. These expectations are aligned, not with the multitudes of fabricated myths we are so often force-fed, but instead with the ubiquitous inclinations of nature itself.

To profoundly understand the paradox of human mind and behavior and the seemingly inescapable suffering and discontent it so reliably engenders, we must deeply examine the nature of pattern — and the patterns of nature — and thus gain a clearer view of the weaving of the tapestry we call our lives.

Even as Newton admitted that he arrived at his wider perspective by standing on the shoulders of those discoverers who came before him, we humbly acknowledge some of the giants upon whose shoulders we stand. Taking the chance of neglecting to acknowledge so many who have had an influence on our thinking, we nonetheless would like to thank Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Popper, Kuhn, Einstein, Minkowski, Schrodinger, Dyson, Heisenberg, Bohr, Bohm, Poincare, Feynman, Penrose, Darwin, Gould, Loewenstein, Margulis, Cairns-Smith, Maynard Smith, Lovelock, Dawkins, Haken, Kelso, Prigogine, Mandelbrot, Kauffman, Smolin, Pribrim, Hameroff, von Newman, Hofstadter, Minsky, Ashby, Powers, Weiner, Pavlov, Skinner, Festinger, Korzybski, Chomsky, Whorf, Hebb, Edelman, Kandel, Damasio, Gazzaniga, Posner, Roland, Kosslyn, Bandler, Grinder, Erickson, Csikszentmihalyi, Bateson, Buckminster Fuller, and Whitehead.