Emotional Projection and the Mind







Currently, all theories of behavior— save one — treat the mind of the dog as a self-contained faculty of intelligence. It’s the easiest way for the human intellect to conceptualize the phenomenon of intelligence given that the intellect is primarily fixated on material causation. As this article puts it, historically the mind has been seen as “brain bound.” Likewise during the decades when I was formulating NDT and editing out human thoughts from the mind of the animal, I was at the same time swimming against the tide of scientific consensus which considered an organism’s phenotype a direct and one-to-one expression of its genotype. In other words, once an organism was born it operated as a self-contained genome. At the time behaviorism was looking for a gene for this and a gene for that. But this gene-centric view of behavior didn’t make sense when, through an immediate-moment manner of analysis, I came to believe that a universal code was underwriting the behavior of all species. And when a litter was born their temperaments were uniformly distributed according to a spectrum and these differences were then amplified through the stresses of life on planet earth. There was a deeper mechanism at work, Temperament, and in my NDT book I used the terms “group dynamic” and “group mind.” I came to understand the animal mind as an auto-tuning/feedback dynamic that integrated the individual with the environment, both the mind and the surrounding environment working according to the same laws of nature. With the advent of epigenetics mainstream science is now coming to this view as well as it demonstrates that the environment, and the organisms’s emotional response to the environment, can determine when genes are turned on and off and this variable manner of activation can radically affect how genes render physical or behavioral traits. It would appear from such articles above that mainstream science is now beginning to see this is true for the mind as well. However, it will very quickly fall back on intellectual understandings of cognition because it won’t be developing a model, it is still highly “brain bound.” Consider for example how the Mirror Neuron discussion ended up being distorted in this way.

So how does the mind extend itself into its surroundings? Through the projection of the body’s center-of-gravity, an immaterial, mercurial point around which an animal’s capacity to move, ability to achieve physical equilibrium and a state of emotional well-being, depends. This projected point is the “emotional center-of-gravity,” the kernel of a group mind, the source of collectivized, cooperative and altruistic behavior. This point which is not even in the body, is the key to the individual’s mind.

Therefore one can springboard off this understanding to make the following statements which integrate body, mind and nature. (1) When stimulated an animal MUST move. (2) Momentum commits the Mind to a Forward Point (e-cog) the Body MUST occupy. (3) These movements MUST conform to principles of Thermodynamics as well as the Laws of Motion. No action, no behavior operates in isolation from these logic statements.  The next time you see a dog positioning its body next to another dogs’ body, resist the urge to put YOUR thoughts into their heads as in dominance, submission, territoriality, resource guarding, etc., etc.. Instead, practice inserting the above logic statements–the dog must move relative to the other dog–the Subject must occupy a Forward Point contained by the Object—and soon you will see a dog’s mind unfolding according to the laws of nature by which its surroundings function as well. You will not be looking at two self-contained entities of intelligence trying to figure out how to get along, you will begin to see two physical bodies becoming one emotional body, one group mind.





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Published July 8, 2016 by Kevin Behan
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One response to “Emotional Projection and the Mind”

  1. Andrew says:

    For hundreds of years, dog training has been revolved around the strongest is the ruler that’s where the term alpha leader comes from. Reading at your three points above make me thing of a whole new way to train dog. The simple application of your three points is at leash training methodology. I think we can try to teach the dog to learn to walk along with the owner willingly not by force.

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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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