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Emotional Projection and a “Theory-of-Body” (T-O-B)


This research provides further verification of the phenomenon of emotional projection, by which I mean the projection of a feeling of the body’s physical center-of-gravity (p-cog), into an object so that the object feels to the subject as if it is an extension of its own body. This internal/external emotional connection is facilitated by physical acts of alignment and synchronization. When this “wave” becomes intense enough, then the subject animal feels physically connected to the object in question. The object possesses the subject’s “emotional center-of-gravity.” (e-cog)

In a syncopated state, two individuals so entrained will act in a very intelligent (adaptive) manner because each as an extension of the other, they will respond to each other in mirror fashion. Mirroring is actually “wave-coupling” so that their forces are combined and they are able to achieve more together than they could singly. This is why their relationship proves so adaptive, what observers call intelligent. However science has mistaken this adaptive capacity as evidence of a high intelligence and what they term a “Theory-of-Mind;” the idea that another being might have a mind of its own capable of entertaining perspectives in counterpoint to one’s own. In this view, dogs figure out how to get along. But what’s really going on is better termed a “Theory-of-Body,” the feeling that an object’s body is an extension of one’s own body and reflects a “Deep Intelligence” (courtesy of Willem Larsen) rather than a high intelligence. Dogs are thereby able to go by feel as opposed to going by thought. (This latter approach to interpreting the intelligence of animal behavior will prove to be the greatest “Clever Hans” delusion of the modern era.)

Emotional projection is the basic code of intelligent life. It is a primordial system not an advanced one. Dogs excel at emotional projection because the basal code has become the most pronounced aspect of their makeup given that their ancestor is the wolf, a group hunter of a large dangerous prey, and then the selective process of domestication which amplified the basal code exponentially and rendered the spectra of working breeds. A frequency of prey animal, i.e. the specific rhythm by which it moves, becomes the tuned set-point (reflecting the vibration of a given prey species) of a specific breed, a diverse range running from bird dogs to bull dogs. That the basal code is so pronounced in the dog given its unique evolutionary heritage, is why only the dog has produced such a wide and diverse range of body plans and working types. Man might try as much as we want to selectively breed any other animal but it will never produce the range of diversity and adaptive capacity of the domesticated dog.

Due to the phenomenon of emotional projection, one can protection train a working dog, encouraging it to sink its teeth into human flesh without inhibition, and yet paradoxically at the same time enhance its sociability. Whereas if any other animal is encouraged to attack a human being, we would end up with psychotic animals not social ones. But with a working dog, its sense-of-self can be fine tuned so that it can autonomically distinguish between civilian and criminal activity, as can a human being. In reality, protection training is projection training.

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Published October 29, 2016 by Kevin Behan
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5 responses to “Emotional Projection and a “Theory-of-Body” (T-O-B)”

  1. Sheri Miller says:

    This whole article is wonderfully enlightening. Thank-you. I have a question about mirroring. It seems like we mirror in two different ways. Mirror neurons seem to be involved in direct mimicry, like smiling when someone smiles at us, or mirroring feelings such as fear or calm. But you also use it to mean when we do things the opposite, at least physically, if not physiologically. Do we mirror in “sameness” to get on the same wave length, such as both focused or both in a state of play, then mirror the opposite to get wave coupling? I’m not even sure how to ask this question or if what I’m saying makes sense, but there’s some subtle understanding or mirroring that I’m not quite getting.

  2. Kevin Behan says:

    Another exquisitely rich question, thanks. We first have to understand that any emotionally relevant object comes to mind as a function of resistance to emotional flow. And secondly there has to be a direction of flow in order to establish a current. So when a person smiles, in the mind of an observer they are absorbing emotion, their resistance is dissolving and this establishes a direction of flow. Then this observer would likely smile in kind, which represents that they are likewise converting from an object of resistance to an object of flow and are capable of absorbing flow in turn. So we have an alternating current which amplifies the feeling of flow and hence of connection. Thus one class of mirroring effects alignment around a direction of flow, and a supplemental class of mirroring would be synchronizing to amplify the wave-like connection. It’s like pushing someone on a swing. First the system must be put in motion through imparting a direction of flow. But then this movement must be synchronized with in order to amplify the wave to full volume which is where the greatest pleasure is experienced. In the first instance of a smile, direction of flow is established and as noted above, a returning smile reverses the flow and now we have a wave with both parties aligned with it, like two surfers paddling to get on the same wave. The challenge now becomes to amplify the flow through each synchronizing with the other. Thus we see that if the engagement continues to evolve people nod their heads, dogs wag their tails, bodies bend to blend with the mannerisms, deportment and movements of their counterpart. It’s just as the Constructal Law teaches, laminar (alignment) and turbulent (synchronization) patterns of transfer characterize the flow of any current whether it be a river or emotion. A good way to visualize the complexities of an engagement is two kids on a see/saw. Both are aligned with the movement of the beam, but are also opposites with alternating the UP and DOWN positions. On the architectural level of the mind, i.e. the deepest level of the animal mind, the motive in two entrained individuals is to move one’s body in order to elicit movements of the other’s body (language would simply be a high elaboration of this) that deepen the wave like feeling within themselves. In other words, they are treating the other’s body as an extension of their own body and they are trying to will it to move to return more pleasurable feedback, just as they will their own body to move in order to return more pleasurable feedback. An interaction looks so incredibly complex because of the constant reciprocity of the two classes of mirroring, and while it is hard to put into words, nevertheless it isn’t complicated. In fact it’s so incredibly simple it’s hard for our intellectual mind, which is so adept at conceptualizing, to get. On the architectural level, one sees the other’s body as an extension of one’s own, one wills it to move just as one wills their own body to move. Thus, there is a T-o-B rather than a T-o-M in the animal mind, the human animal included.

  3. Sheri Miller says:

    Wow. So much to contemplate here. You keep my intellectual mind busy! (In a wonderful way.) Now mirroring seems more like a dance than the overly simplistic version we hear so much about.

    I also love “language would simply be a high elaboration of this.” The danger in concepts is that they can easily become floating abstractions. But you keep them grounded much more viscerally than I had ever imagined. Thank-you.

  4. sundogfitz says:

    I think this may be one of the best blog posts and Q&A on NDT! I don’t know how I missed it before.

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Books about Natural Dog Training by Kevin Behan

In Your Dog Is Your Mirror, dog trainer Kevin Behan proposes a radical new model for understanding canine behavior: a dog’s behavior and emotion, indeed its very cognition, are driven by our emotion. The dog doesn’t respond to what the owner thinks, says, or does; it responds to what the owner feels. And in this way, dogs can actually put people back in touch with their own emotions. Behan demonstrates that dogs and humans are connected more profoundly than has ever been imagined — by heart — and that this approach to dog cognition can help us understand many of dogs’ most inscrutable behaviors. This groundbreaking, provocative book opens the door to a whole new understanding between species, and perhaps a whole new understanding of ourselves.
  Natural Dog Training is about how dogs see the world and what this means in regards to training. The first part of this book presents a new theory for the social behavior of canines, featuring the drive to hunt, not the pack instincts, as seminal to canine behavior. The second part reinterprets how dogs actually learn. The third section presents exercises and handling techniques to put this theory into practice with a puppy. The final section sets forth a training program with a special emphasis on coming when called.
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