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On the Screen of the Mind

the Emergence Explorer

Questions for the Week of January 9, 2006

these questions were based on the article
"The Conscious, Subconscious, and Unconscious, a New Look at an Old Metaphor."

Emergence Character Type Babies 9-AI-2

This Week's Questions

[posed by John F.]
  • How does the mind organize its contents?
  • What is a logical thread-of-similarity?
  • How does the mind bring old information into new experiences?

Do you know?

[Question 1] I do not understand how images move in and out of the levels of consciousness.
[Answer] Good question, John, and one that is at first glance deceptively simple to answer. In truth though, answering this question is anything but simple.

The short answer begins with the idea that the images themselves (and every thing else the mind stores) do not move in and out of the levels of consciousness. Only our access to these images changes, making it appear to us that these images move.

The longer explanation starts with the idea that scientists tell us that everything we experience, and all the related sensory information we take in, gets recorded and stored in us permanently. This includes every image we ever see.

So why can we not access all this information, including that we cannot access most of the images we record?

The answer to this question is rather simply really. While the mind stores the information on everything we experience, it indexes very little. In a sense then, the mind indexes only what it deems important.

So what makes the mind deem something as important? I'm not sure actually. I can only say that it is in some way related to how the mind indexes what it stores; it indexes things with visual "threads of similarity." More over, these threads seem to be the main structure with which the mind organizes its contents.

What is interesting to note here is, because this index is constructed mainly from visual threads-of-similarity and not from logical threads-of-similarity, seemingly unrelated (and at times, unimportant) images often get indexed together. For example, in this minute my mind has connected images from a second grade writing class to what I see on the top of a bowl of oatmeal two years earlier. Let's take a look at how.

In the first scene, which occurred when I was six, my ability to write in script got BLocked. Years later, when I did the work to get this particular wounding scene to emerge, I saw myself sitting in a classroom looking at a manila-colored piece of paper on which I was to practice writing in script.

Now today, as I access this paper in my mind, I can see numerous images, both visually and logically related. For instance, I can see the color of the art paper I drew on in a high school art class; also manila. Here, it is easy to see why my mind would index these two papers together. Visually. And logically.

What is not so obvious, though, is the logical relationship between these two images and a third image which comes to mind. In this third image, I see the color of the brown sugar on top of a bowl of oatmeal when I was four.

Of course, the color here is the visual thread-of-similarity. However, that my mind connects two pieces of paper to a similarly-colored bowl of oatmeal, while at least mildly understandable, does little to explain how these three scenes relate as to their importance. Certainly, they are not similarly important, at least not to my logical mind. And to be honest, although I mentioned the oatmeal scene after the art class scene, the oatmeal scene actually came to mind first.

Here then is an example of a visual thread-of-similarity. It appears that the visual similarity of the images we record holds a higher priority in the mind's index than the logical, moral, ethical, or literal similarity.

Now use what I've just said about the mind's index to see how we gain and lose access to the images stored in our minds.

Wounding BLocks our access to the images we see in wounding scenes because it shatters the visual threads-of-similarity for the events in which it occurs. In doing so, it destroys our mind's indexes, while leaving the images. More over, because our injuries vary in intensity, the degree to which these threads-of-similarity get destroyed also varies. Some parts of these threads may remain, while other parts get destroyed.

So how does all this relate to seeing these images in the various levels of consciousness?

The visual intensity of what we can access in our minds depends entirely on how many threads of similarity we have. In effect, the more threads-of-similarity which get attached to an image, the more intense the image becomes. And the more intense the image becomes, the more we can access this image, and visa versa.

Now imagine you are looking at the metaphoric lagoon of the mind mentioned in the article, the diagram wherein I show how the layers of personality relate to the depth of the lagoon. Obviously, the deeper the water, the less intense the images become until at least, they are so dim, you no longer can see them. In effect, you lose your visual access to them.

Wounding (submergence) and healing (emergence) alter our access to these images, not because these images move into different layers but rather because the visual intensity of the images in the wounding scene changes. This means that the visual intensity of every single image previously connected to this thread-of-similarity decreases, or increases, even images which by logic seem entirely unrelated.

My point is, because what changes is the intensity of the images and not their position, while the images never actually move, in a way, we interpret this decrease in visual intensity as that these images have moved, further away in fact. Hence my use of a Lagoon of the Mind as a way for us to visualize how this plays out inside of us.

[Question 2] Why can people bring unrelated, old information into current situations?
[Answer] If you have understood the previous answer (especially the last few paragraphs), then you will understand a lot of this answer. Start with the idea that the mind organizes what we can bring to mind with visual threads-of-similarity. The more threads, the more we can bring the image to mind.

Now realize that the way the mind organizes these threads is not with logic but rather, with visual similarity. This means that our minds organize these threads very similarly to how we experience scene changes in our dreams. To wit, most dreams are trans-literal; meaning, they transcend any logical and or literal meaning and rely on our sense of baby consciousness for their personal meaning.

Let me say this again. Dreams are our ongoing experiences of baby consciousness. In dreams, we live as if we were still pre-verbal. This means that like first or second year of life babies, when we dream, we bypass any higher logic and access what we see entirely with our threads-of-similarity.

This is how babies live. And this is how we live in our dreams. So how does all this relate to your question as to what makes people bring unrelated, old information into current situations?

The answer. We bring into the present anything we can access on the currently accessible threads-of-similarity. Thus like the content of our dreams, these images thread together only visually. This makes any logical connection we might see more an accident than anything else.

It also makes likely that we will oft times connect seemingly unrelated images, such as the learning to write in script paper I saw to the brown sugar I saw on top of the oatmeal image.

Finally, know that this faculty; the ability to see the importance of and create new threads of similarity, is the essence of all human art and creativity. And all new scientific breakthroughs. It is also the essence of what we refer to as IQ.

[Question 3 Some people seem to have an endless supply of why logic. Why do some people have more why logic than others?
[Answer] The answer to this question is again very complicated. In general, however, I could say that the more detached a person becomes from their life, the more this person tends to use why logic to explain what they are detached from. More over, the more BLocks a person incurs in life, the more motivated they will feel to personally detach from their life experiences; in effect, they will increasingly live life as an observer rather than as a participant.

Of course, what complicates this immensely is how chaotically unpredictable human life really is, including that we may at any moment find the courage to rise above our why logic and look deeper into what makes us suffer. For instance, this often occurs spontaneously in parents in the times wherein they witness their children suffer. What I'm saying here is, in order for parents to help their children to suffer less, they must usually first look more deeply into themselves and at how they may have suffered in this way, including how they may have avoided this suffering. Often then, this deeper look leads parents to realize the significance of their avoidance and how, by avoiding their suffering, they in the end have hurt their children.

At this point, many parents will realize that despite what appeared to be perfectly logical choices, they have in fact simply used logic to avoid feeling pain. And in doing so, have crippled their capacities to help their children.

So what makes some people have so much why logic while others are so down to earth and real? Certainly this is in large part due to how many BLocks people have. As I've said, the more BLocks people have, the more why logic they use. Then too, it is also function of how many loving relationships people have in their lives, as in, the more loving relationships people have in their lives, the more they will feel urges to help these people. And like the above mentioned parents, wanting to help may trigger in them the need to heal themselves.

In the end though, I rarely understand how one person gets on the path to healing and another misses these opportunities entirely. Serendipity? Chance? God? Call it what you will. To me, this is one part of human nature which will always remain difficult to know for sure. Or even to describe in words.

[Question 4] How can something which is barely visible or invisible in our minds become visible when a trigger initiates the loop of an injury, especially when what becomes visible has nothing to do with the present?
[Answer] Here again, the answer is quite complex, albeit, hopefully a bit less so after having just discussed much of how the mind organizes things with visual threads-of-similarity. What I mean is, one could say that all things which are invisible to us, and all things barely visible to us, can be said to be "blocked" from our mind's access. Why? Because while the mind stores every piece of information we ever take in, it indexes only the more visually intense images.

Now as I've already stated, the visual intensity of images is directly related to how many threads-of-similarity they get connected to.

I've also stated that injury breaks the threads-of-similarity which normally connect images, leaving only the barest few threads intact. Logically, this would imply that the images associated with wounding scenes should for the most part be barely visible if at all. And for the most part, this is true. They are. Except, of course, for the few images we see in the instant right before we get startled.

Thus, despite the fact that wounding pretty much destroys all the visual threads-of-similarity between the images we witness during the wounding event, the images we see in the instant right before we go into shock remain very visible, intense even.

So how can this happen if most of the visual threads of similarity which connected these images to the mind's main index get destroyed?

Because the startling experience of the wounding scene hypnotically associates this one painful experience to every previous and every future logically-similar event.

Let me say this again. The mind normally indexes its images with visual threads-of-similarity. In other words, similar visual aspects get associated with other similar visual aspects, regardless of the actual personal or logical meanings. We call this the mind's "natural index."

With wounds though, these visual threads-of-similarity get destroyed while at the same time, new logically related threads get created, and attached, to the last images we see just before we blank out. More over, because the threads which normally connect these images to the mind's index have been destroyed, these logical threads exist in isolation from the rest of the mind's index. We call these pseudo-indexes, "why logic indexes."

In addition, one more thing happens to us during wounding.

The mind has a failsafe built into its natural index. This failsafe? That if an image's natural (visual) index gets destroyed, the mind creates a temporal index, a clue with which the mind can later access this isolated thread of images, and the only way these broken threads can get restored into the index.

Emergence practitioners call this clue, the "key." Hypnotists would call it, a "cue." And therapists might call it a "trigger." So how exactly does this trigger work? The same way a hypnotist's cue works in that, whenever we witness what we saw in the last instant before we went blank, we respond to this image as if we are back in this same event. More over, this happens to us regardless of the context in which we find ourselves in the present, including that we have spiritually grown and may be smart as hell.

What's the point though? What good is it for us to relive our injuries?

The answer is simple. Remember that the mind normally associates all images with all other, similarly visual and naturally occurring images. This is what we call the mind's "natural index." With "why logic indexes" though, the mind associates these sets of images only with other logically related images, primarily with previous and future similar life events.

The result? These unnatural indexes destroy our ability to access any choices other than those we took during the wounding event. In effect, we lose our choices.

So what does healing do?

Healing destroys these logical threads-of-similarity, not by actually destroying anything but rather, because the mind creates new natural connections between these previously disconnected images and everything else which our minds have indexed. In effect, this means we get to see how these previously blocked images connect to the whole rest of our lives, including to an infinite number of previously blocked choices.

Thus, with visual threads-of-similarity, we can bring things to mind, and even alter what we see rather easily, because we can use our wills to freely explore whatever visually-related threads we have in us. More over, because these visual threads are more like a contiguous spider web than a single isolated line of thought, no matter where we begin, we can end up pretty much anywhere else and somehow still connect any image to any other image. In effect, we can see how everything in our lives connects to everything else. Except, of course, for those images which have yet to have their natural access restored. The images which wounding has removed from this natural index. The images which connect to each other only with logical threads-of-similarity.

"Keys" are what trigger the loop of an injury to run, including that seemingly unrelated images from other times pop into our heads. And these images are unrelated. Naturally, at least. They are, however, somehow connected by a logical thread-of-similarity; in other words, by an unnatural connection. A "wounded" connection.

[Question 5] What causes our minds to convert natural whys into why logic? I am not referring to issues involving BLocks. I am referring to other useless information that surfaces when there is a lack of understanding. I realize the vacuum theory applies, although it seems as though the tendency is to fill the void with false information rather than admit not knowing or telling the truth which, in the end, would feel better.
[Answer] All why logic involves BLocks. Other than in cases wherein we relive our BLocks then, we rarely feel urges to create why logic let alone make it more important than reality itself.

Of course, since we are all, by nature, very blocked for the most part, we all tend to spout quite a bit of why logic.

Finally, know we do not do this on purpose. Rather we succumb to our natural urges to do this. Thus, rather than live in an experiential vacuum, we look for logical connections to explain our inexplicable experiences.

So what makes us have these urges? I mentioned the answer above, in question four; the idea that all wounding events destroy our "natural indexes" and create in us "why logic indexes." This means we do not choose to begin this why logic process. We only continue what has already been set in motion by getting wounded, in effect, that we expand on an already existing why logic thread.

[Question 6] If what keeps us from realizing we have lost our choices is that “we are programmed to lose access to them during startling moments,” can’t we program correct responses to anticipated startling moments?
[Answer] Many people believe this true, therapists included. Unfortunately, no one can anticipate well enough to prevent themselves from being startled. Except, of course, by emerging from these startling events, after which we no longer get startled and so have nothing to worry about.

[Question 7] Are the layers of personality fixed in any way, meaning, are they written like the data on a hard drive or are they written more like the way data gets written to RAM (random access memory.)
[Answer] The brief answer is, the Layers of Personality are written similarly to what gets written to a hard drive, only not like the data which gets written to a hard drive but rather like the folders or like the directories. This means that the Layers are more like logical spaces which exist more as a way to organize our data rather than as the data itself.

Please remember too that like a real hard drive, wherein the "logical drives" are frequently not the same as the physical drives, these layers reside more in a kind of virtual space in us than as some literal physically separate area of our minds. We have one mind, with a number of virtual separations.

This is kind of like the rooms in our homes. We may have ten rooms, but what we use these rooms for is more a function of what appliances we install in them than the physical space itself. And while there are actually better ways to use these rooms with regard to what we do in them, we still make these choices more by what we see as best than from anything written in stone.

The 10 Layers of Personality, then, are more like file folders in one big file cabinet than separate mental compartments.

[Question 8] Do we each have our own unique magnet, or is each layer empty, and when we relive an injury, the program starts and runs a reoccurring pattern? Or is it random? These do not include Layer 7, which has the structures of Character Types and Social Priorities, or Layer 1, which seems to have little structure of any significance.
[Answer] To some degree, you seem to be asking several questions all at once. To answer, I'll need to answer a bit at a time.

"Is each layer empty?"

No. No layer is empty. We simply repurpose our life experiences and move them into layers as needed. In this way, every layer has its patterns and its free space. Its programming and its randomness.

[Question 9] So what about Layer 7, which has the structures of Character Types and Social Priorities, and Layer 1, which seems to have little structure of any significance?
[Answer] Layer 7 indeed does have a heck of a structure in place. In fact, this Layer is the first layer to emerge that contains a structure. Layers 8, 9, and 10 are rather free form.

Even with this structure though, Layer 7 still has an almost unlimited degree of randomness as well, in that we can act out both our Character Type and Social Priorities in an almost infinite amount of ways.

As for Layer 1 being without structure, here again, there is a lot of truth to what you are saying. In fact, I could probably say that Layer 1 is as unstructured as Layer 10 in fact. However, to call this lack of structure "a lack of purpose" would be like saying that vacations have no purpose. Thus, Layer 1 is, in effect, our vacation-from-life layer.

[Question 10] Finally you asked, "Do we each have our own magnet?"
Here, if I understand what you are asking, I would say that, yes, we each have our own magnet, in that our energy affects others, sometimes to the point of wounding them and healing them. On the other hand, we also get affected by all the other magnets out there, and these magnets include both other people and everything else in our world.

Life is the magnet, John. And we are the metal. Hopefully, we remember to take enough care of ourselves that we don't rust too badly. Or get so magnetized we lose our free wills.

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