Emotional Projection


Does this dog need its head examined, or does this video reveal something profound about the nature of information?

Modern ethologists, behaviorists and many trainers argue that dogs and wolves organize into social structures according to a rational calculation relative to gaining control over resources. Supposedly dogs compute a cost/benefit analysis, while taking in all the relevant variables of a given context, in order to decide whether or not it is worth the effort and risk to challenge another individual over a particular resource. So if dogs are capable of such mental gymnastics, filtering and assessing complex criteria in a dynamic interaction which is  going to factor out over a long period of time, how can a dog think it is able to play with a statue? What part of cold, lifeless, motionless steel isn’t relevant to this context?

The object of evolution and therefore behavior, is to import objects of resistance into the configuration. Evolution transpires through a principle of thermodynamics called the Constructal law. This has been established by Adrian Bejan in his book “Design In Nature.” While universal across the animal kingdom, this principle of self-organization around which the animal mind is configured is easiest to see in the dog (as well as very, very young children). The dog projects physical memories of resistance onto objects of attraction that resist being “emotionally accelerated” i.e. put into motion. The past is projected onto the present in order to enable the future. This is how the animal mind arrives at an emotional response. And in the animal mind an emotional response is the precursor to action. (When young children play with toys they are emotionally projecting as well but when prodded to think about it, the bubble is burst and they concede they are only “pretending.”) However this dog feels that the statue is alive, as alive as any human being that has ever accelerated its brain and body into hyper-manic prey instinct mode by throwing a stick, and this is the entire scope of its conscious awareness. It will eventually tire of the frustration because the statue is unable to go beyond the initial phase of mirroring, i.e. triggering the emotional battery. (although with a border collie you can never know how long it will persist). Nevertheless the collie isn’t pretending. And a quick thought experiment, if this was a dog hyper sensitive about its food bowl, and were a statue of another dog placed near its bowl, do you think we might see a sustained emotional response that is likewise out of proportion to context?

Emotionally projecting feelings of resistance means that a dog doesn’t perceive reality directly. Rather, reality triggers its physical memory banks, (i.e. emotional battery) and this releases energy (stress) and the dog becomes either afraid, excited or aroused depending on Temperament and context, both of which are a function of emotional conductivity. If both parties in the interaction can exchange their feelings of resistance (stress = emotional mass) so that they become in emotional counterbalance with each other, then they create a new feeling and this will elaborate in a prescribed manner so that they will end up mirroring each other. In other words, they will self-organize into a complex hierarchy of a lot of little wants, crystallized around one Big Want. Furthermore, being able to feel a common object-of-attention that can absorb this stress, greatly facilitates the process and exponentially improves the configuration because this is how objects of resistance are incorporated into the fold. So called “resource guarding” is an artifact of the phenomenon of emotional projection by which the configuration evolves. Two dogs project into the same object-of-attraction, but it’s not enough to absorb their collective energies. This is an indirect way of connecting with each other, and the resulting stress between them will accrue and if emotion is free to run its course will ultimately guide them toward an object-of-attention that can absorb their collective energies, i.e. the one “Big Want.” Everything dogs do fits into this template of emotional conductivity.

While explaining this dynamic might sound complicated because we don’t have the luxury of intellectual abracadabra, nevertheless it happens intuitively and thoughtlessly every time a dog and owner play fetch. Just take emotion, add feelings, no thinking required.

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Published May 8, 2013 by Kevin Behan
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5 responses to “Emotional Projection”

  1. John says:

    When you say physical memories of resistance into an object , are these the earliest memories such as the bitch or are they other large objects it may have come across during its life humans or other large predatory animals dogs , horses

    What I’m asking is , is it the largest object mass wise that the pup may have came across growing up , barked at a horse or other large animal will it be the object that stimulated most stress after it left the bitch

  2. kbehan says:

    The stronger the force of attraction, and the higher the dog has to look, confluence into an intensity value. And the greater the intensity, the deeper in the emotional battery a physical memory of resistance is triggered. This basic template is applied to all “zoids,” from cat-zoids, to dog-zoids, horse-zoids and humanoids. Our intellects on the other hand concentrates on what makes things different and we classify accordingly which prevents us from seeing the commonality. Intellectual systems of analysis can then only connect things back together by way of intellectual time/thought centric rationales. The only way around this delusion is to understand behavior and all aspects of consciousness, most especially the phenomenon of memory, in terms of the immediate-moment. Thus the statue triggers the oldest memory of a humanoid, i.e. the owner, and the dog projects his feelings for his owner onto the statue. Now when the owner first obtained the pup, then the physical memories of the dam were transferred onto the owner, we call this transfer of an undifferentiated feeling of flow onto others, socialization. But this term fails to identify and articulate the phenomenon of emotional projection by which physical memories are transposed onto a class of objects, even across the species line. Socialization is not a function of learning or instinct, it’s a function of feelings. Feelings evolve and this is how animals learn. They don’t learn intellectually.
    When physical memories as a lump sum “emotional mass” are projected onto objects of resistance, (physical memories coalesce around the animal’s sense of its physical center-of-gravity so that it feels physically connected to what it is attracted to) when the “projectee” moves, the projector feels this movement internally as a displacement of its own p cog. (BTW the people are laughing in the video because they have projected into the border collie and they feel their p-cog displaced by its actions. Since they would feel silly if conversing with an inanimate object, and shamed if caught, they laugh to relieve this pressure.)
    In other words, this is a direct transfer of force. The excitation of neurons in the brain of the projector when displaced by the movements of the projectee, is an actual energetic charge transferred from one individual to another. There isn’t an actual beam of energy passing between them, but physical memories of stress, otherwise not available to the mind of the being until triggered, are being brought up to the surface of conscious awareness and THIS is the dynamic by which energy is transferred from one individual to another. This is what is not understood about sociability, how it composes nature into a networked intelligence.
    A social engagement is two parties, after becoming each other’s emotional counterbalance, then trying to fine tune their actions so as to smooth out the intense sensations of being displaced into a smooth wave function. Getting in sync is easiest to do around a common line of travel toward a common object of attraction and this is the platform around which they become an emotional mirror to each other, the equal/opposite in all things save one (the common line of travel toward an object of attention that can absorb and conduct their collective energies). As each other’s full emotional mirror, they enter a state of emotional suspension that is centered in their heart as the epicenter of their body when in motion. Turning nerve sensations of the Central Nervous System into a feeling is what’s really going on in what we call socialization. Without understanding the role of the heart, behaviorism misses the dynamic entirely. It is fixated on human intellectual precepts as it attempts to comprehend how behavior changes over time.
    As they mirror each other over the long term, little by little the subtlest aspects of early memories return to the surface so their interaction becomes finely nuanced, the lump sum emotional ballast effects of physical memory are decompressed into finely granulated detail. The past unfolds in all its intricacy as the relationship develops. One can see even in this short burst the border collie in the video beginning to feel and therefore see all kinds of detail in the inanimate statue. It feels that the statue is about to kick the stick as its owner had done, then when returning the stick to the feet of the statue doesn’t animate the stick, it brings it closer to its lap. I’m sure it’s hearing words at the same time. (the only sense not engaged is smell, smell is of the moment and would inform the dog that in fact no preyful aspect are present in the statue, i.e. the smell of flesh, fabric, etc.). The dog is going by form and hence its vision is hyper stimulated by the prey-making instinct of chasing a stick. Whereas most dogs might be initially startled by the form of a statue, but then they smell the statue and don’t get an emotional ground (involvement of the Enteric Nervous system) and thus the state of attraction doesn’t have a platform on which it can continue to elaborate. But because the BC’s prey instinct is so engaged by a history of stick chasing, and the stick does indeed have preyful aspects that maintain the emotional ground, the state of attraction can persist and we can observe in this interaction that underlying sociability is the innate impulse to deflect two separate states of attention onto a common object of attraction. The animal mind is organized according to the most basic laws of physics, law of conservation, laws of motion, and in particular the Constructal law, i.e. incorporating objects of resistance into the configuration through laminar (align around a common line of travel) or turbulent (synchronizing the timing and intensity of movements) transfers of energy in order to enhance access to a current. All of this is manifested by two beings becoming of one mind.

  3. cliff says:

    Gee. They should have just thrown the poor guy the stick.

  4. John says:

    So the direct transfer of force between the dog and objects of attraction is what happens on a daily basis with the dog and members of the family but when one day a stranger arrives at the gate the dog has no history of transfer,

    Does it project into the stranger or can it project or is the subsequent bark the non transfer of the force that the dog has to then expell . Thanks

  5. kbehan says:

    If I understand your question correctly; my answer is: A dog reflexively projects its p-cog into the forms of things. This is in fact how a form takes meaningful shape in the mind of the dog. If it then feels release, as in the case with its owner, then there is no block and the dog spontaneously aligns and comes into sync as it is now configuring its body around its owner in order to reoccupy this new sense of its p-cog when it was displaced by the arrival of the owner. On the other hand, if it’s a stranger, it still projects its p-cog, but there is a discontinuity between the physical memory of its owner (the first humanoid on which this class of zoids was acclimated in what we otherwise call socialization) and the reality of this humanoid before it. Depending on how it was raised, it may not feel release and therefore it barks to relieve the force of acceleration that the stimulation of the stranger induced in its Central Nervous System. In other words, it sees its owner acting strange, i.e. about to punish it, and this is an even more intense (i.e. ungrounded) force of acceleration than the arrival of its owner. Some dogs will even bite in order to reconnect with their p-cog and bring it to ground in order to resolve the force of acceleration. In all these cases there is a transfer of force, momentum. In the case of a coherent, deeply rooted and metered bark, the dog is perceiving itself as being connected to the stranger so the force is smoothly cycling between the dog and the person. There’s a full volume output in the emotional cycle, and a full volume return in the cycle. Thus the touch of the owner, or a soft word of praise, immediately returns the dog to feeling grounded and the stranger can be admitted into the house and dog will be able to easily adapt.

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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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