Choice

The idea of choice immediately evokes in our mind the notion of a self-contained intelligence deliberating over options and doing a cost/benefit analysis over some span of time. However, in emotional intelligence, which is a network consciousness, it takes two to make a choice.
Every animal wants to feel good, but we are complex emotional beings with the basic conundrum of our emotional makeup being that we can only feel good if we get our physical memory requited (stress=the physical memory of a desire that didn’t come true) and so given this complexity, the simple pursuit of pleasure (i.e. following the path of least resistance) ultimately doesn’t end up feeling so good. We begin to feel hollow, apathetic and alienated. (The lower an animal’s emotional capacity the less the risk of alienation.)Therefore to resolve unresolved emotion, requires overcoming the resistance that caused unresolved emotion in the first place. This creates Drive. Drive causes an animal to pursue the path of highest resistance according to its emotional capacity because the existence of physical memory means no animal is an island. We need others to trigger and then to resolve our unresolved emotion.
Now another way of saying this is that it takes two to make a feeling. This is because interestingly, electromagnetic energy, which is ultimately what a feeling is given that it is composed of neurochemical energy which is electromagnetic in basis, can only move as a wave. So in order to feel good, an individual must act in a way so that they become the emotional counterbalance to another (this is the genesis of social structure, and even of the matrix of inter-relationships between animals that compose an ecosystem). So the ultimate choice is to feel good, however to feel good on the deepest level, one must come into sync with whatever one is attracted to.  Therefore, one dog can’t feel good unless the other dog (or whomever) that it is attracted to ends up feeling good as well because all animals are confronted with the fundamental conundrum of physical memory. And so for one dog to feel good, it must act in a way that makes the other feel good and for this to happen, they will both have to come into sync by flipping polarities to thereby make a wave. So when you watch dogs work out the synchronization of their moves on the playground, notice how they are trying to create a wave, how their energies peak, collapse and then if the circumstances and perceptions are conductive enough are then sustained into a coherent wave pattern of action that from time to time fizzles out and then needs to be regenerated. This is fundamentally what choice in  in the animal mind is all about. It takes two to make a choice because one does not a wave make.

Published May 7, 2011 by Kevin Behan
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17 responses to “Choice”

  1. I think you’ve cleared up the issue of choice quite nicely, though it brings up one question.

    KB: “one dog can’t feel good unless the other dog (or whomever) that it is attracted to ends up feeling good as well.”

    I’m assuming you have a way of explaining how this applies to dogs and squirrels. If a dog feels good chasing a squirrel — which is readily apparent in most cases — how does the squirrel feel good about the situation, especially if the dog is able to catch him?

    Before I cured him of it, Freddie was fond of stalking, then chasing squirrels, but only if they started to run first. He caught one once. I said, “Out!” and he dropped it. And the squirrel quickly ran up the nearest tree. I’m sure it felt good to the squirrel to be released from Freddie’s jaws. But not all squirrels are so lucky. I don’t think the squirrel had much fun being chased and grabbed up by Freddie’s teeth and jaws.

    In the footage I’ve seen of wolves chasing elk, the wolves seem to having a grand old time until they get in close enough so that the elk’s hooves and horns put the wolf in danger. That’s when the relaxed, open jaws of the wolf turn into the snarl of a cornered animal. Presumably the happy, relaxed look on the wolves’ faces before that critical moment are the result of endorphins. However, my reading of the elk’s behavior, as it’s running sway, is that it’s not feeling good about what’s going on at all: more adrenaline than endorphins, more fear than pleasure.

    Thoughts?

    LCK

  2. Ben says:

    Just my take and understanding.. on a visceral level, I think prey actually DO feel a level of pleasure from being chased. It is a release from a state of tension (just like with the predator), and while it can be the chase that ends their life, it is getting energy to move which always feels good on some level. The difference between an elk being chased and a squirrel being chased and their respective reactions I would assume has something to do with their emotional capacities (and the lack thereof in a squirrel). I’ve seen squirrels almost seemingly “want” dogs to chase them more.. zooming from tree to tree and always just staying out of reach, but I’ve never seen one face a dog head on. Whereas with the elk, a higher emotional capacity means it has a greater ability to sense the positive or prey value in the wolves (however small it may be), which in turn gives them the ability to stand their ground and face the wolves head on. I may have this all wrong, but it will be interesting to hear Kevin’s comments!

  3. kbehan says:

    I agree. For the prey, the maximum degree of pleasure, i.e. the emotional state of suspension that they are most likely to experience given their emotional capacity, is flat out running. And when you watch a deer at full speed, they are no doubt flying. But, they just can’t go out there and fly. First they must “know” where the predator is, i.e. the negative grants access to the positive. For example, after we drive past a trooper running radar, we feel safe to increase our speed since the “negative” (that which can interrupt our feeling of flow) is now defined which gives us access to more speed, i.e. a higher rate of flow. Since predators are spaced out by virtue of “territoriality” this behavior is functional.
    Additionally, since all behavior is a function of attraction, the deer is actually attracted to the wolf however with an intensity that far exceeds its emotional capacity (note however that when a buck is raised with humans and goes into rut, it can get to a higher level of Drive/Emotional Suspension via a heightened emotional capacity and its fighting drive (drive-to-make-contact) will cause it to attack a human being which it normally can’t do.) hence the state of attraction collapses and it takes flight. (A horse on the other hand has more heart and can feel emotional resonance with a human being and get the pleasure of speed through the agency of its rider and in this way the emotional circuitry of attraction can be fulfilled. The rider defines the negative.) Note that the deer’s tail goes up, why? Is it warning the other deer about the presence of a predator? No, it is sexually aroused and so its tail goes up which is but another level of elaboration of the simple pull of attraction. Interestingly, when the deer goes out of sight, it then reverses course and tries to get downwind to get a scent of what it is attracted to. Does this make survival or rational sense, doesn’t it know what a wolf is? No, it has no idea, it is attracted to the wolf or human hunter and it goes down wind to ingest its essence and this is what then completes the emotional circuitry.
    Because so many deer are killed this way by human hunters, interestingly not by wolves or animal predators, why is this adaptive? Because the wolf or dog by being invested with 200,000 volts of attraction to the deer, will run for a distance commensurate with 200,000 volts of momentum. Trying to match output with input will cause it to vastly overrun where the deer tucked its tail and changed direction and it also will be so excited (and therefore visual) it won’t be scenting (which is why training the strong dog that loves to fight the criminal to calmly track the criminal footfall by footfall is so difficult) and won’t discern where the deer pulled its “crazy Ivan” and thus it blindly keeps on going leaving the deer completely safe. So the principle of every animal attracted to every other animal, emotional capacity, and with the negative granting access to the positive, is the best explanation for every relationship and interaction between any two animals so that they self-modify their behavior for the good of the network, i.e. create an ecosystem that is self-sustaining.
    The prey animals that have higher emotional capacity, herd animals and moose, they will deal with their state of attraction in more direct/active manner and stand their ground, thus wolves have to emotionally synchronize with their prey, put an intense charge on the ranks, and then wait for an opening if it is ever to develop. They are trying to lessen the emotional capacity of their quarry until it gets nervous enough to need to match output to input (i.e. take flight by running) because its front end no longer feels connected to its hind end. Running is how it can regain feeling in its body.

  4. Donnie_O says:

    So, while it may not consciously feel good to yell at the dog for being on the sofa or doing something else “incorrect”, subconsciously you do actually feel some relief because the dog’s actions cause your unresolved energy to move. I suppose the path of highest resistance for the human in this equation would be to face whatever it is that is triggered by dog’s actions and work towards resolving it.

  5. PowerRanger says:

    Kevin, you do realize that this emotional intelligence/network spiel is a sham? After all, it has no supportive evidence in any field of science. And the very claim is biologicaly impossible.

    Memory cannot be requited, it is remembered. Also if an animal “wants” that indicates intentional thinking which you claim it can’t have. Of course to you animals don’t think despite all the evidence that they can.. so maybe its “want-o-taxis”

    I am also curious to know how you measured ‘emotional capacity’ and how many animals and species were surveyed. After all if you haven’t measured it, then it is one more thing you’ve made up. Actually if you only answer one question, make it this one. How did you measure it?

    The reasoning you employ is flawed. Even if everything you said up to what creates drive, the conclusion does not follow. Nothing about the previous claims necessitates “others.” As such your argument violates parsimony as well. You should take note of this point; even when we assume the premises are perfectly correct, the conclusions you put forth are not logically justified.

    The view of emotions reveal a general disconnect with the reality. A feeling is not electromagnetic energy, no more than a flexing bicep. The electromagnetic output is a product a result of what is going on in the brain.
    And of course what you write about feeling good is simply more rampant, wild speculation. To top it off, flipping polarities doesn’t create a wave.

  6. kbehan says:

    PR: “Kevin, you do realize that this emotional intelligence/network spiel is a sham? After all, it has no supportive evidence in any field of science. And the very claim is biologically impossible.”
    KB: Because I understand the current biological theories I can understand why your statement seems reasonable to you. However, since every animal functions according to the principle of emotional conductivity, little by little biology is moving toward a simple repeating module of behavior that follows from a principle of attraction. At the moment however it is confused by way of projecting human thoughts onto what animals do and at some point this reflex will appear foolish to those who are open-minded. So until one can repeat the theory of a network consciousness with emotion being the universal operating system of all behavior, then it will prove difficult for one to see the commonality in everything animals do as a function of attraction in an environment of variable paths of resistance and its logic will not be available to you. And therefore what is or is not parsimonious will also be impossible for you to assess.

    PR: “Memory cannot be requited, it is remembered.”
    KB: Tens of thousands of deer are killed each hunting season as they circle back to catch a sniff of a human hunter that frightened them. This makes no survival sense and demonstrates that the deer has no comprehension that a man with a gun is trying to kill it and is in fact, even a hunter. But nevertheless the ingestion of a scent molecule some minutes later completes an emotional circuit for the deer between a destabilizing stimulation that requires grounding and so this behavior will persist forever in their behavioral repertoire even though tens of thousands of deer will be killed each year because of it.
    PR: Also if an animal “wants” that indicates intentional thinking which you claim it can’t have. Of course to you animals don’t think despite all the evidence that they can.. so maybe its “want-o-taxis”
    KB: An animal wants a breath of air without thinking. It wants to feel good without intention because feeling good is not a thought. An animal projects its “self” onto what it is attracted to and then wants to feel good. An animals’ sense of its “self” is not a function of a thought.

    PR: “I am also curious to know how you measured ‘emotional capacity’ and how many animals and species were surveyed. After all if you haven’t measured it, then it is one more thing you’ve made up. Actually if you only answer one question, make it this one. How did you measure it?”
    KB: No I did not measure it, although I do believe at some point a biophysicist will be able to. At the moment, the notion of emotional capacity is the only logical conclusion based on how animals behave in nature. For example, the fantastic notion of black holes was postulated and became credible science long before it was ever detected and measured, simply because the existence of a black hole was the most logical interpretation of how things behave in the universe.
    PR: “The reasoning you employ is flawed. Even if everything you said up to what creates drive, the conclusion does not follow. Nothing about the previous claims necessitates “others.” As such your argument violates parsimony as well. You should take note of this point; even when we assume the premises are perfectly correct, the conclusions you put forth are not logically justified.The view of emotions reveal a general disconnect with the reality. A feeling is not electromagnetic energy, no more than a flexing bicep.The electromagnetic output is a product a result of what is going on in the brain.”
    KB: If my view of emotion is disconnected from reality, how is it I have a definition and a distinction between emotion and instinct, and between a thought and a feeling, and you do not. What’s going on in the brain is nerve synapses that are electromagnetic. Furthermore, what’s going on in the body is also part of a feeling and is likewise a function of electromagnetism. Electromagnetism came first, then the body and the brain organized around it. Since all behavior perfectly mimics electromagnetism rather than any impulse to maximize survival or reproductive fitness, the most parsimonious explanation for behavior being electromagnetic-like, is that it evolved from the same processes by which the brain and body evolved. It’s a simple exercise in logic that cannot be broken.
    PR: “And of course what you write about feeling good is simply more rampant, wild speculation. To top it off, flipping polarities doesn’t create a wave.”
    KB: If one were to videotape two kids on a seesaw, it would be pretty easy for a mathematician to formulate a wave function. And if two dogs were to be videotaped playing, it would also be easy for a mathematician to diagram a wave function. All one has to do is do the math.

  7. Milo says:

    Kevin, if hunting didn’t have a closed season would the deer eventually evolve a change of strategy when dealing with humans? I presume by not hunting all year round the deer get a confused perception of what we are about. Sometimes they will sense or smell us and we will shoot them, hunting season and sometimes we leave them alone, breeding season. This must be a unique phenomenon in nature and one that has “served” humans well through out history.

    Milo

  8. kbehan says:

    I used to hunt with my father as a boy and we would see deer grazing in the fields as we drove down the long dirt road to our hunting camp on the day before the season started. But then the next opening day at dawn the deer were not to be seen again out in the open and had retreated to the deeper woods. So I don’t think they’re confused, they simply adapt to the degree of pressure they’re under and actually become more attracted to humans when hunted, and paradoxically (from a surface view of behavior) simultaneously more readily spooked.

  9. PowerRanger says:

    [[However, since every animal functions according to the principle of emotional conductivity,]]

    Right there, you are making things up. There is no principle of emotional connectivity. Every animal functions according to the principle of rationality.… see anyone can be like you and make things up when they are not beholden to the facts. Those of us that respect reality must base our ideas on the available evidence, unlike you we don’t have the luxury of fantastical stories.

    [[little by little biology is moving toward a simple repeating module of behavior that follows from a principle of attraction.]]

    That too is false and there is no principle of attraction. It is a direct rip-off of “The Secret” which is a bogus belief and not very original of you. Actually those familiar with these things will also recognize that The Secret is also a rip off.

    [[At the moment however it is confused by way of projecting human thoughts onto what animals do and at some point this reflex will appear foolish to those who are open-minded.]]

    No one is projecting human thoughts. Maybe you can tell me which thoughts are “human” and which aren’t.

    [[So until one can repeat the theory of a network consciousness with emotion being the universal operating system of all behavior,]]

    Emotion is not an operating system and you have no theory. “Theory” has a specific meaning and your views don’t qualify as a theory.

    [[then it will prove difficult for one to see the commonality in everything animals do as a function of attraction in an environment of variable paths of resistance and its logic will not be available to you.]]

    Which is a long-winded, way of saying that unless you already believe in this nonsense, you won’t wont’ believe in this nonsense. In other words: If you don’t believe in X you won’t be saved. That is the same argument made by religious people. Scientists don’t make such ridiculous demands.

    [[And therefore what is or is not parsimonious will also be impossible for you to assess.]]

    We already have the parsimonious explanations. That’s why it’s called science.

    “Memory cannot be requited, it is remembered,” and the irrelevant response you are giving me doesn’t change that fact, though it does illustrate your unfamiliarity with evolutionary theory, cervine behavior, neuroscience and olfactory processes.

    [[An animal wants a breath of air without thinking. ]]

    Wrong. An animal does not want air, it breathes. In fact, air doesn’t even play a role on how much or how hard we breathe. CO2 and pH are the major determinants.

    [[It wants to feel good without intention because feeling good is not a thought.]]

    But wanting is.

    [[An animal projects its “self” onto what it is attracted to and then wants to feel good. An animals’ sense of its “self” is not a function of a thought.]]

    You have no evidence that any of this is true.

    [[No I did not measure it, although I do believe at some point a biophysicist will be able to.]]

    You did not measure it. That means you are making it up. Fudging the data, writing in whatever numbers please you to make your views more believable.

    Measuring this ‘emotional capacity’ should be the first step for someone claiming to know which animal is higher or lower. It means you are inventing rankings when it is convenient, regardless of the facts.

    [[At the moment, the notion of emotional capacity is the only logical conclusion based on how animals behave in nature.]]

    It is actually the not logical and borderline delusional given that you have no evidence and the evidence that does exist in regards to animal behavior refutes your assertions.

    [[For example, the fantastic notion of black holes was postulated and became credible science long before it was ever detected and measured, simply because the existence of a black hole was the most logical interpretation of how things behave in the universe.]]

    How nice of you to once again re-write history and ignore the facts. Black holes were not a fantastic notion at all but a reasonable consequence of the universe. And like in many aspects of physics, the mathematics led the way before instrumentation could provide tentative confirmation.

    [[ If my view of emotion is disconnected from reality, how is it I have a definition and a distinction between emotion and instinct, and between a thought and a feeling, and you do not.]]

    You don’t. You’ve mislabeled and re-labeled some things and peppered it with jargon.

    [[What’s going on in the brain is nerve synapses that are electromagnetic.]]

    Wrong. It is chemistry.

    [[Furthermore, what’s going on in the body is also part of a feeling]]

    It’s more chemistry

    [[Since all behavior perfectly mimics electromagnetism]]

    This goes beyond your usual unsubstantiated claim into the realm of outright false. You don’t understand behavior? Electromagnetism? Both?

    [[rather than any impulse to maximize survival or reproductive fitness, ]]

    More evidence illustrating you don’t understand evolution. ‘Impulse’ suggests the religiously inspired intelligent design, not evolution.

    [[the most parsimonious explanation for behavior being electromagnetic-like,]]

    Is so cute the way you went from “perfectly mimics electromagnetism” to “electromagnetic-like,” like a little boy caught in lie, the story begins to shift. Even within a single paragraph, the little fable falls apart.

    is that it evolved from the same processes by which the brain and body evolved. It’s a simple exercise in logic that cannot be broken.

    [[ If one were to videotape two kids on a seesaw, it would be pretty easy for a mathematician to formulate a wave function. ]]

    As long as your dogs stay on seesaws, you might have something.

    [[And if two dogs were to be videotaped playing, it would also be easy for a mathematician to diagram a wave function.]]

    Which tells me you don’t understand the mathematics. Or dogs playing.

    [[All one has to do is do the math.]]

    Go ahead. Do it.

    Until you do, it’s one more, in a long list of empty claims.

  10. kbehan says:

    One can think about a want, but a want is not the same as a thought, which is why they are two distinct words each with their own meaning. In fact, one can want something even before they know they want it. Likewise, an animal can have a want without a thought accompanying it. Whereas in your system a newborn baby must be thinking “I want milk.”

  11. kbehan says:

    [[What’s going on in the brain is nerve synapses that are electromagnetic.]]

    PR: Wrong. It is chemistry.

    KB: Right, and what is chemistry based on?

    [[And if two dogs were to be videotaped playing, it would also be easy for a mathematician to diagram a wave function.]]

    PR: Which tells me you don’t understand the mathematics. Or dogs playing.

    KB: So if I am wrong, using the very latest science on canine cognition, brain imaging etc., etc, what then are dogs thinking when they are playing?

  12. john says:

    If the deer or moose was to play bow with the wolves when approached ,would it make any difference to the mind set of the canines,,given the fact that the wolves are hungry and see it as prey through previous history , is it possible for the emotional attraction to over ride drive in this case
    having hunted with dogs with high drive , the prey animal could play bow or do what it likes it wouldn’t make any difference, because it’s drive is so powerfull and overides any other instinct, as wolves dont seem to have drive to the same extent,
    instinct must have decreased for heart to develop and was it the association with man that caused this,
    Just thinking out loud here, any thoughts,,

  13. kbehan says:

    Yes, if the prey is able to reflect emotion back onto the wolf by acting predator-like, this is a first stage of elaboration. Then, if it were to “play bow”which is minimizing its predatory aspect while simultaneously maximizing its preyful aspect, the emotional flow between them can continue to elaborate into a more refined expression. In other words, if the wolf and prey can continue to process the experience through these increasing levels of intensity via their hunger circuitry, a moose could easily teach a wolf to heel, sit, down, stay and come when called no-matter-what.
    So because of physical memory the wolf would be processing the experience of dealing with the moose as if it were dealing with its own mother. And so the prey drive (drive-to-make-contact via the hunger circuitry) would be overriding the prey instinct allowing the underlying state of emotional attraction to run clear and thus social behavior would result.
    With hunting dogs that are fixated on the prey, the “charge” is so intense that they enter “missile lock” and this short circuits the elaboration possibilities. It’s the collapse of the Drive into an instinct, a rigid point of fixation (bite loci on the body relative to prey’s eyes) rather than a supple, fluid response to an apprehension of the center mass of the prey’s body. If the dog were to apprehend the center mass in a fluid, supple state, then the possibility would exist for the prey to communicate with the predator. -_+Hope this isn’t too obtuse.)

  14. john says:

    thanks for the response Kevin,
    One point that still leaves me wondering is the point you make “the collapse of the drive into an instinct” i believe that instinct is what keeps the wolf alive, fear based, whereas drive is the attraction to make contact, when drive collapses is that not instinct kicking in, the breakdown of the emotional attachment due to survival mode, or so it looks on the outside,
    what im getting at is when a wolf is faced with unsurmountable odds , his drive wanes because he must live to hunt another day,i know the wolf isnt thinking that or thinking at all but , instinct kicks in , but not so a high drive dog he will face any situation if his drive is high enough , witnessed a driven greyhound locked onto the head of a very angry 8 point stag with no thoughts for his own safety, that to me is all drive no instinct, no concern for its own safety no understanding of living to fight another day unlike the wolf who cuts his losses when the going get tough,
    if so can the wolf still be a model for training the dog , who if it was chasing the fawn in the footage on the Marty Stouffer nature show would have bailed in on the fawn whether it turn to face the dog or not, When man started breeding for heart (drive) has he not shaped a completely different model in the dog,,you wouldn’t train a horse based on how a zebra operates , many thanks , mo chara, slan,

  15. kbehan says:

    I agree that the instinct keeps the wolf alive in the wild, and yes the fact that the stag hound can sustain its attraction to the combative prey is a function of drive, but at some point when the dog fixates on a point for the bite, then the process stops elaborating because the building of drive has collapsed into an instinctual point of fixation and now the dog and stag will conform to the prey/predator roles. Whereas if the stag could reflect energy back at the hound, and vice versa, then the drive to make contact could elaborate between them into a more complex form of relationship and yet this again would be a reflection of the same strong drive that allows the greyhound to maintain its grip on the combative stag. This is what we’re seeing with the well bred herding dog. On the one hand it can bite the rambunctious ram with all its energy, or, this same drive-to-make-contact can continue to elaborate into a complex herding exercise under the direction of the herder.
    I think the way to approach this distinction is to recognize the dog’s mind as an energy circuit, so that the reflective and conductive aspects of the environment in which it finds itself, allows the one drive to elaborate into more complex manifestations. The one Drive is malleable and depends on whether the two participants in the interaction can generate a more complex “wave function,” i.e. flipping polarities at higher and higher levels of excitation. This brings us to an important point about Drive and why training can be therapeutic. The greater the wave function, the more energy it can channel and yet, the more refined the behavior and complex the behavior it’s capable of generating. So many dogs are being highly stimulated when their owner plays, but the point of fixation never shifts and the interaction isn’t getting more and more complex and so isn’t really handling much energy even though it looks like the dog is a “ball nut.” Whereas the dog with really strong drive can handle a burden and come up with a new point of fixation due to the group parameters and even though the situation is in flux.

  16. kbehan says:

    About the wolf and the fawn. Yes, the high drive dog wouldn’t have noticed that the fawn had stopped running. But, if the fawn was capable of doing something extraordinarily unique, or, if something way out of the ordinary might have happened, so that the dog would have noticed the deer’s eyes while still being able to feel its preyful aspect, then the emotional attraction for the fawn could have elaborated into a more complex expression. Occasionally in the wild I think these kinds of things do happen so that instinct is allayed and this is when we find the lioness tending the gazelle fawn. The group dynamic, which is Temperament with a capital “T” is what organizes Drive and is why I don’t interpret behavior as if Drive is something self-contained within the individual. In other words, the high drive dog taps into this group dynamic and so it’s capable of such high levels of training which then leads us to think of it as contained within the dog itself.

  17. Heather says:

    Hi Mr. Behan, Kevin,

    I wanted to let you know that I copied-and-pasted this article you wrote entitled “Choice” onto my Facebook page, for the purpose of sharing some of what I learned from you about “Natural Dog Training” with my own readers.

    I am not a dog owner these days (as it turns out, you were correct that all I really wanted out of dog ownership was the love of my dog, or the way you frequently put it, I wanted to make my dog into a person, and once I realized the impossibility of that mission, I ceased my efforts), but I nevertheless have daily occasion to “train myself”–and hopefully help others train themselves in the process–using the wisdom I learned from you about the emotional operating system.

    Here’s the link to my short essay regarding “choice”: https://www.facebook.com/heather.c.mansfield/posts/1033252770049053

    Thanks again for sharing your theories.

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