Emotional Projection


The following article is quoted in full:

By Anil Ananthaswamy

“Thanks to unconscious processing, most of us instinctively know where our limbs are and what they are doing. This ability, called proprioception, results from a constant conversation between the body and brain. This adds up to an unerring sense of a unified, physical ‘me’.”

“This much-underrated ability is thought to be the result of the brain predicting the causes of the various sensory inputs it receives – from nerves and muscles inside the body, and from the senses detecting what’s going on outside the body. “What we become aware of is the brain’s ‘best guess’ of where the body ends and where the external environment begins,” says Arvid Guterstam of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.The famous rubber-hand illusion is a good example of this. In this experiment, a volunteer puts one hand on the table in front of them. Their hand is hidden, and a rubber hand is put in front of the participant. A second person then strokes the real and rubber hands simultaneously with a paintbrush. Within minutes, many people start to feel the strokes on the rubber hand, and even claim it as part of their body. The brain is making its best guess as to where the sensation is coming from and the most obvious option is the rubber hand.”

“The brain unconsciously keeps track of an invisible ‘force field’ around the body“ …


KB: The above article was published in New Scientist. It is mainstream, frontline science. This article is saying that a sense of self is elastic, the mind can “project” its “self” into things that are not of its self. It is saying that the mind is not contained by the body. The logical implications of this are vast.

Another name for the brain unconsciously keeping track of an invisible force field around the body? Emotional projection.

This article means that an animal’s sense-of-self is a function of its surroundings. This squares up nicely with the microbiome understanding which integrates the inside with the outside, epigenetics which means that environmental inputs affect gene expression, complex collective intelligence driven by simple rules. However the science such as this just seems to be floating around out there as interesting factoids as opposed to placing it in a coherent model. One great Ted Talk stacked upon another, yet without a cohesive framework.

Meanwhile a dog feels he is surrounded by an invisible force field, bounded by a semi-permeable membrane. Anything that is emotionally relevant perturbs the dog’s sense of this field, which is synonymous with its sense-of-self, and the goal now becomes either returning to a sense of equilibrium or, integrating said stimuli into its sense-of-self. There are rules as to how the latter is accomplished, the main one being synchronized movements, i.e. “mirroring.” We can see in the above article that the mind is so organized that it weights mirroring as more important to its sense of “me” than the sensory feedback returning from an actual limb.

Modern behaviorism, unlike NDT, remains fixated on ascribing human rationales to all the complex things dogs are observed to be doing. It is constantly asking “Blue Sky” questions, do dogs experience love?, do they understand fairness?, theory-of-mind?, social status?, the interpretations of these Blue Sky research projects are at the outset assuming that a dog’s sense-of-self is bounded by his body, and his mind is bounded by his brain. Therefore no coherent model will ever result from this kind of questioning because before we ask Why is the sky blue? We must first understand the nature of light.

Published October 11, 2016 by Kevin Behan
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