The Emperor Has No Model

An energy theory is a fantastic proposition. If an energy theory is true, then consciousness comes before the brain. Furthermore this means that genes are the result of consciousness rather than consciousness being the result of genes. In other words, animals didn’t evolve to have consciousness; they evolved in response to consciousness. Admittedly this is a difficult premise to wrap ones’ mind around. It’s far easier to think that the brain comes first and then consciousness arises on that platform.

But is such a theory more or less fantastic than other theories for the emergence of intelligent life on earth? Is it more or less fantastic than for example the theory of alien colonization, in other words, life from outer space? Is it more or less fantastic than the mainstream biological theory of natural selection by way of random mutations: in other words, life from nothing? So how can we mere mortals with our limited vantage point rate the fantasticality quotient between any given theory for the emergence of intelligent life on planet earth since really and truly all theories will boil down to something extraordinarily fantastic and possibly even beyond the powers of human comprehension?

Perhaps the only way is to ask whether or not any given theory provides a model that is observable, testable and demonstrable in the behavior of animals. I don’t mean some tantalizing clues here or there about the role of this or that hormone, brain structure or gene sequence, as valuable as these surely are, but a full-fledged model that encompasses all phenomena of consciousness with precise distinctions being made between each aspect; from learning, emotion, feelings, instincts, thinking, sexuality, personality, social structure, play, and all the “little” odds-and-ends that generally get left aside like migratory impulses, telepathy, miraculous feats of dogs homing and returning to a distant owner in unknown locations, and earthquake and seizure-in-owner predictions.

My position is that modern biology, evolutionary theory and animal psychology, does not have a model. Psychology by definition is the absence of a model because in our current understanding of individual uniqueness one must be free to think anything and then make choices based on such thoughts in order to qualify as a unique individual. The human capacity to think anything is why cognitive therapy is so successful for those whose thoughts lock them into self-destructive compulsive behavior loops. It basically teaches the afflicted person that their brain lies; it makes things up which cognitive therapy then skillfully debunks helping the patient understand that their brain is trying to “kill them” and that their mind is not their thoughts. So my belief is that psychology cannot have a model for what’s going on inside an animal’s mind if it relies on thoughts as a way of explaining complex behavior and that which we perceive as morality in the rituals and social customs of animals. If we’re going to say animals entertain thoughts, then there cannot be a model for the animal mind. And since modern behaviorism is going in the direction of thinking and intention in animal cognition then it is working itself away from developing a model and we have no way of rating the fantasticality of such a proposition as it thus becomes wholly an article of faith.

While I did not build my model by way of a logical argument but rather by observing and working with dogs hands on, I believe a logical argument makes the existence of such a model plausible and this can help one shift their perspective and challenge assumptions that at first seem self-evident. I am therefore going to proceed step by step with the logical argument for an energy theory of consciousness and slowly develop the model so that at any given point the linkages can be questioned, challenged or probed for further clarification if someone is confused. I invite both genuine student and my harshest critic to participate in a point by point highly targeted assessment of the logical argument for an energy theory of the animal mind.

(Step 1)   Any behavior that an animal performs would have to be the result of only two possibilities, intention or attraction. There is no other possibility. So before we go further and explore the implications of intention versus attraction, I invite someone to suggest or recommend any other possibilities.

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Published November 28, 2010 by Kevin Behan
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92 responses to “The Emperor Has No Model”

  1. Russell says:

    Behaviour is an optimisation process. The laws of nature are the optimal solution, but sometimes can’t be found unless you have all the time in the world. …

    No way – Hessian!

  2. Subaru says:

    Post Edited By KB due to bad housetraining

    (Step 1) A fail right from the start, and as usual a dichotomous fallacy. I also suspect that Behan will use unorthodox and vastly expansive definitions so that any other alternative can be shoehorned under his two choices. Intention is also something Lorenz criticized back in the fifties when McDougall and Bierens de Haan were pushing a vitalistic view. This is strangely odd because Behan also uses Lorenz’ old hydraulic model. Not to suggest all behavior is intention free, such extremist view would only be worthy of an NDT supporter.

    Ultrasonic vocalizations in neonate rats (crying) is a perfect example where intention and some emotional signal content was assumed but was shown by Blumberg and Sokoloff that in some cases it is the result of cardiovascular disturbance and the acoustic byproduct of a physiological event – more of fart than an attempt to communicate. Evolution has selected for motherly attention to this sound, this doesn’t mean that we should presuppose intent in the mind of the pup.

  3. kbehan says:

    Exactly, we should not presuppose intent in the mind of the pup, but then is nothing going on inside the mind of the pup? What does “motherly attention to this sound” mean?

  4. Heather says:

    I will suggest reflex/habit while waiting for replies.

  5. Subaru says:

    You should really admit the truth.

    Edited for pointing out your logical fallacies, fallacious statements and scientific illiteracy

  6. Subaru says:

    One way to give your argument credence is to remove your brain and then let us see if your consciousness persists and then creates a new brain. I suspect you don’t have the courage of your convictions to take up the challenge. I also wonder what this means to viruses. They have genes, they evolve. Do they have consciousness?

    In part these views remind me of some creationist’s claims. Like you, they use a substitute word, MIND. In both cases it is a substitute for God. And you both are threatened and offended the suggestion that humans are like all the other animals that live on this planet.

    Evolution does not deal with the emergence of life, and for you to claim otherwise is ignorant or dishonest. Another or your ignorant and blatantly false claims is this one: “natural selection by way of random mutations: in other words, life from nothing?” With such a track record as a liar, it’s no wonder that you can’t attract a single thoughtful person to the NDT cult.

    Let’s take your first strawman as an example. It could be that you really are sufficiently ignorant to believe that scientists seriously consider the possibility that we were seeded by an alien civilization…. But this would be a stretch, even for you. I suspect you mis-heard something on TV and in typical lazy NTD fashion neglected to do further research. The Panspermia HYPOTHESES suggests that life or the ingredients for life may have non-terrestrial origins. The “alien civilization” is just another one of your many lies. Panspermia is not fantastical at all, it is a fully natural explanation in keeping with what we know about the universe. And while we haven’t detected any non terrestrial life, we have confirmed the existence of complex organic molecules in space.

    NS/RM is not a fantasy as it has been observed and tested. Another strawman borne of your ignorance
    Finally none of the examples you bring up (the reality not your corruption of the facts) require us to rewrite all we know about biology, chemistry and physics. Something you would need to do for these strange beliefs to be possible.

    Your poor knowledge of science is also quite evident from the lament that a given theory does not account for ‘all phenomena’, NO theory does, IN ANY FIELD. And the recurring claim that this means NTD is true is a logical fallacy. What is true is that the multi-disciplinary sciences that account for animal behavior are based on “observable, testable and demonstrable” evidence. Something you cannot claim.

    Your position is irrational and thousands of universities teaching biology, evolution, psychology are a testament to that. Psychology is not the absence of a model. PSYCHOLOGY BY DEFINITION IS:
    “The study of the mind and mental processes, especially in relation to behavior. There are a number of fields of psychology. Clinical psychology is concerned with diagnosing and treating disorders of the brain, emotional disturbances, and behavior problems. Child psychology is the study of the mental and emotional development of children and is part of developmental psychology, the study of changes in behavior that occur through the life span. Cognitive psychology deals with how the human mind receives and interprets impressions and ideas. Social psychology looks at how the actions of others influence the behavior of an individual.”

    Your If/Then arguments made to justify these claims are so fraught by logical pitfalls they are all but meaningless.

  7. Nathan Prophet says:

    Interesting approach to understanding the nature of dogs, and to some extent, humans. Leave all the comments about “consciousness” and mind-body duality, and other long debated concepts off the table; they won’t get answered here. Regarding “energy theory,” you should precisely define what you mean by “energy” in this context. Do you mean kinetic or potential energy? Light, heat, chemical, or motion energy. Energy and matter are interchangeable. Is that true of your use of “energy”? How does your use of “energy” fit the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics? If terms are not precisely defined, then theories become obscure and misunderstood. The same applies to “channeling” and “grounding,” but to an lesser degree. There is increasing use of “quantum” this and “quantum” that, but the write seldom uses the term correctly. I find the same misuse of the “Theory of Evolution” which applies to biological descent with modification governed by natural selection and other mechanisms. Now, “evolution” is applies to just about anything that “changes.” Precise definitions are a good starting point for understanding.

  8. kbehan says:

    KB: I think you’ll find precise definitions elsewhere but at the risk of not being comprehensive I’ll reprise them here.
    Energy = Action Potential, a differential of force between two poles. The two poles I’m referring to are the Big-Brain in the head, and the little-brain in the gut. The reconciliation of the dynamic tension between these two systems produces emotion. This internal action potential is recapitulated in the dynamic tension between any two parties in any given interaction.
    First Law: Emotion is the sum total of all the dynamic tension in the body’s physiology and neurology, this confluences into a virtual force of attraction, i.e. emotion. Then when emotion subsequently meets resistance in its expression into action, it is conserved as unresolved emotion or stress, which thereafter serves as a physical memory of emotional experience.
    Second Law: The Drive to resolve unresolved emotion (fear and stress add intensity to behavior) increases complexity in the system and increases the amount of energy available to the organism and interconnected systems so that it doesn’t degrade. This is possible because the transition of emotion to unresolved emotion and onto resolved emotion organizes all organisms into coherent systems and in ways that precisely “mimic” or run in parallel with the properties of energy and the principles by which it moves and by which nature itself is organized. Thus with emotion the operating system of a networked-consciousness, this proves to be an intelligent means of adapting to the periodic cycles of environmental change (solar, lunar, earth spin and tilt) because this attunes the animals to said changes. Furthermore, episodic changes out of sync with periodic ones increase the tendency for social structure (the increased feeling of belonging and sense of community during unusual weather) which is the most adaptive means of responding to extraordinary change.
    Behavior: The behavior of animals 100% parallels the behavior of the various kinds of energy to be found in nature, gravity, light, heat, electromagnetism, quantum, etc., and this is reflected in our intuitive use of language, i.e. animal magnetism, air was charged, tension in the air, wired, galvanized, chemical reaction, etc., etc..

  9. DaveD says:

    It is excruciating to read this. I am sorry. If you have articulate supporters who really understand this and truly value it, I think they should help you.

  10. kbehan says:

    What might help is that simple dog thought you’re working on.

  11. Sang says:

    “What is true is that the multi-disciplinary sciences that account for animal behavior are based on “observable, testable and demonstrable” evidence.”

    Subaru, please elaborate on what is considered observable, testable and demonstrable evidence? Could you also provide some examples of what you are referring to?

  12. kbehan says:

    Subaru has been banned from the discussion for not engaging in civil discourse.

  13. kbehan says:

    Speaking Dog could use a little editing to be sure, (and there have been some beautifully articulate statements by my followers which I do indeed appreciate and welcome) but let me boil it all down for you in terms of its elegant symmetry. Emotion is conserved as unresolved emotion, or stress, thus satisfying the first law of thermodynamics. Stress is an organizing, collectivizing energy and it is not resolved at random but always in a way (over the long term) that adds new energy to the system (sociability via feelings). This satisfies the 2nd law. This is the story of life on planet earth.
    Now don’t go wobbly on me Dave, what are dogs thinking?

  14. DaveD says:

    Doge think. It is a pretty widely accepted notion that dogs store images generated by sense data and colored by emotional associations with that memory.

    Doesn’t this square w. Temple Grandin’s insights, as well? Basic epistemology.

  15. kbehan says:

    You are describing it every which way, but you aren’t actually saying anything, as in what are dogs thinking? I could say all of that kind of thing in describing how images pop up on my computer screen when on the internet, but that doesn’t mean that my computer which generated the picture that shows up on the monitor, actually generated the picture itself. For example, what does “sense data” or an “emotional association” really mean? In your approach it doesn’t mean anything unless you attach a thought to it. Whereas if you saw that emotion becoming unresolved emotion on its way to becoming resolved emotion, is the basis of all values in an animal’s mind, then you could see a universal operating system behind everything animals do, and then you could see where the meaning in a feeling arises from. I’m not arguing per se that you have to agree with me since I have a lot more explaining of the model to do as we continue along in these necessary discussions. What I’m really saying is that if you choose to believe that dogs think, you must for now at least admit that it is an article of faith on your part and then get down in the mud with the rest of us to build a model with concrete explications of what’s going on inside the dog’s mind that then goes on to encompass everything they do. My argument revolves around the question as to what is more logical, dogs are amazingly adaptive to man’s ways because they can think about us, or because they can feel us?

  16. Ben says:

    Does this mean honeybees also think since they remember where certain flowers are, what landmarks look like, and where their hive is? Much of that is based on stored images.

    If so, what’s the difference between a honeybee’s thoughts and a dog’s thoughts? Is it the emotional aspect?

  17. kbehan says:

    Right, by that logic we would have to extend thinking down to amoeba. So the aggregate of an insect colony recapitulates the mathematics of emotion, but not the feeling which would enable them to adapt in real time beyond the parameters of their network niche. In order to do that on a network enabled basis, you need a heart and this attribute of a heightened emotional capacity is most notably characterized by a heightened sensual/sexual capacity. In other words dogs are the most sexual animal on earth just as they are the most social, and this sexual/sensual capacity to enable a network consciousness is what separated early man from Neanderthal and Boskoff the latter in particular having a significantly larger brain.

  18. sean says:

    i think the idea of ‘energy’ having organizing principles is easy to undertand. applying these principles to behavior is kevin’s contribution.

    from a recent npr article
    Stuart Kauffman talks about life in an abstract sense as a system that uses energy and builds complexity out of flows and gradients of energy and matter resulting in something that self replicates, so Darwinian evolution can take over…”

    what's interesting about that quote to me is that if the first statement is true, it makes obsolete the second. an energy system capable of self replication is evolution and way more interesting… as all organisms would be in service to that overarching template… not just the whims of natural selection.

    when we look at the larger patterns of organization w/in our own societies they mirror fractal patterns found in nature.

    i'm sure you've seen the arial photography of highways and cities, which look very similar to biological systems at a lower order.
    as well as more and more inventions in mechanics try to replicate design patterns in nature.

    so i think it's appropriate to look for a patterns in behavior that transcend man unique capacity to think.

  19. DaveD says:

    Perhaps sense impressions is better than thought to get ideas of epistemology.

    A simple possible explanation for dog thoughts is in the first part of this article up to ‘The Puppy’s Dilemma’. He does on to apply it to a behavior problem – please, no picking out what he did wrong in that analysis.

  20. Christine says:

    Thank you sensai, my tummy is much better today! But I am confused about the distinctions between ‘thought’ and ‘mind’. I’ve always considered them them to be hand-in-glove. I understand DaveD’s comment: “…that dogs store images generated by sense data and colored by emotional associations with that memory.” I don’t see that as outside NDT parameters. What I don’t understand is how a dog can have a ‘mind’ without a ‘thought’; unless, of course, you’re referring to that nebulous place where images generated by sense data, which in turn are colored by emotion, and then they all coalesce to add new energy or some such? (Is that even a valid question!)
    Please clarify!

  21. kbehan says:

    I greatly respect Campbell and I think he’s almost there with what he has to say. And of any trainer in America I’d wager he’s helped the most amount of dogs. I also agree with him that dogs can hold images in mind, but that isn’t the definition of thinking I’ve been working with, i.e. the capacity to compare one moment or one point of view to another moment or point of view all of which would be necessary for planning ahead and figuring things out as in contrasting possible outcomes and linking effects to causes. However if we were to work the phenomenon of physical memory and energy into what he’s saying, and omit the pre-planned, mental analysis to solve problems, it would make more sense and then fit the evidence. If what Campbell were saying were true about thinking, then we would not need breeds of dogs. Sheep herding can easily be reduced to a series of problems to solve, you should be able to teach any dog to solve these problems. In human arenas we don’t breed people to perform problem solving tasks, in fact anyone can learn to be a shepherd, but we do have to breed dogs to herd sheep. Every breed of dog began as a highly tuned emotional instrument to the particular “vibration” (fight/flight) of a specific prey animal.
    A dog does not see the world directly. The external world, as it’s arranged energetically, triggers a specific physical memory AND THEN the dog gets a mental image or impression of its surroundings. There is a very discrete and specific lag between sensory input that reaches the THE LITTLE BRAIN IN THE GUT and then the delivery of this visceral reaction to the BIG-BRAIN-IN-THE-HEAD. I like to say that by the time physical memory (deep inner stress) reaches the brain, the real show is over! For example two dogs with two different physical memories, will fixate on different aspects of the same thing. The dog that has been positively developed through expression of drive will focus on the preyful aspect, the dog that has been overly sensitized by inhibition of drive, will focus on the predatory aspect. THEY WILL EACH RESPECTIVELY SEE WHAT THEY FEEL completely divorced from an objective reading of reality. Therefore the mental image is not relevant to mental cogitation because it is dependent on physical memory, and physical memory is what we need to be concerned with when it comes to training dogs. (Natural Dog Training unlike other systems of training is wholly concerned with what’s going on during that time lag, and I think in his own way Campbell is fooling around in there as well, but it’s not organized according to a systematic model.)
    Campbell: “The implication is that dogs don’t think at all … either they just react to external stimuli like robots, or respond according to genetically controlled “drives. Dogs are rarely credited with the ability to solve a problem mentally; to analyze a situation; imagine ways to manipulate or control it, then take a pre-planned course of action toward a goal that was preconceived in the dog’s mind.”
    KB: This is the false dichotomy, that if the dog isn’t thinking it is mindless. Physical memory is a calculus of change, so that in a moment of change, it provides a template for a feeling to unfold into a series of actions that will prove adaptive because the feeling is itself an energetic mirror of HOW NATURE CHANGES. What we call “problem solving” is energy being deflected and channeled along various paths of resistance (predatory aspect relative to preyful aspect) depending on the dog’s temperament. From an outside observer’s perspective, if they’re laboring under the false dichotomy above, it certainly looks like the dog is thinking because yes the dog is indeed intelligent. But the dogs-are-thinking-people-too (only stupid) will never render a complete model that can encompass all the things we see dogs do every day.

  22. kbehan says:

    The animal mind is an energy circuit so that the energetic values of how nature is composed, become incorporated into an animal’s emotional experience (it thus has a whole sense of its self by virtue of its level of attunement to its surroundings) and this is what renders value.
    Everything about consciousness is a constantly repeating fractal pattern, an action potential that constantly replicates. Therefore the number one function of the brain and thoughts, is not to problem solve or be creative, but to replicate the action potential. The human intellect fulfills this function, at the highest level of elaboration, by developing a sense of self as independent of its surroundings. This creates the most profound state of conflict (alienation, separation, isolation OR HOPEFULLY ATTRACTION—there are some people who actually want to climb mountains, sheer cliff faces, venture into outer space or the depths of the ocean, in order to complete their sense of self that they have projected out there) that is possible. This means that the human intellect is first and foremost an energy dynamo because it erects a sense of self that guarantees a dynamic state of tension between the individual and it’s surroundings. The tension can become so great, the person might become so overwhelmed that they will harm themselves or others. But no matter in the grand scheme of things (except for the person and their loved ones) because this still adds a stronger FORCE OF ATTRACTION to the network.

  23. kbehan says:

    One more thing to fully answer your question, your mind, unlike your thoughts, is what knows that all things are connected, that your self isn’t really disconnected from the surroundings except as a vital trick to induce us to be in conflict and to make energy for the network. So your mind doesn’t judge against energy, your thoughts do.

  24. DaveD says:

    “Everything about consciousness is a constantly repeating fractal pattern, an action potential that constantly replicates.”

    Stop That Now. You are writung to adults.

  25. seb says:

    “Stop That Now. You are writung to adults.”

    Same goes to you then – ‘Stop that now. You are writing to adults.’

    Look, if you really think you’re being talked down to, or that Behan thinks everyone here is stupid, or whatever it is, why are you still a part of the conversation? This kind of post adds NOTHING to the discussion, doesn’t say anything at all, and is just inflammatory.

    But if you’d like to get back on track with the conversation, I believe we would all like to hear your input on Behan’s response to Campbell. There was plenty in there worth responding to.

  26. DaveD says:

    Then let’s take up the quote I am enraged over, Seb. Would you paraphrase it for me?

  27. seb says:

    One: Dogs don’t have a variety of reasonings and rationales for their behavior; all behavior, even if it looks different, comes from one goal: create and move energy (since energy adds information so nature/beings can evolve/communicate/etc).

    Two: why on earth does that sentence enrage you?

    Three: You don’t have to give a response to Behan’s take on Campbell? But I’M supposed to respond to you directly? Talk about a double standard!

    Four: Let’s say I have it incorrect, or I don’t do a good job of explaining details of the theory, so what??? If I do poorly in a chemistry class, does that mean that chemistry is hogwash? You go off on tangents like they’re these big sweeping critiques, but they truly don’t have any meaning.

  28. Christine says:

    In other words, there is nothing new under the sun (or over it for that matter)…not even when it comes to consciousness‼

    How’s that for paraphrasing, DaveD?

  29. Christine says:

    Oh and I would add…and yet has the capacity for infinite complexity.

  30. Christine says:

    OR…you could say it’s the same thing only different!

  31. DaveD says:

    As important as conscious experience is in analysis of behavior, how about all involved in this discussion interpret what KB is saying conscious experience is in this quote that I vehemently object to. I find it so absurd and unintelligible that I am insulted that someone would say it to me.

    Campbell was coherent.

    So please, anyone, justify it. And quit attacking the messenger. Some messages are hard to take.

  32. Heather says:

    Consciousness is (virtual) energy that reflects between 2 beings when they iinteract, thus it is constantly repeating, and the pattern is the prey/predator dynamic. That’s how I call it at least.

  33. seb says:

    That’s your only response to Behan’s take on Campbell? Really? I was actually looking forward to the back and forth on that, – I thought it was going to be a good discussion.

    And I’m sorry, are you suggesting that you’re being attacked? You’ve always been the first to make inflammatory comments. If you’re going to say them, you should be prepared for people to object. You first got on the site complimenting Subaru for a nice ‘parody of KB’, after all.

    You also didn’t answer what it is that ‘enrages’ you, or even vaguely state why you object to it. Yet, you insist we play along with your objections? Conversing in this manner is making the conversation pointless.

  34. kbehan says:

    I believe the following —– Everything about consciousness is a constantly repeating fractal pattern, an action potential that constantly replicates.——is the most conservative statement one could ever make about the nature of life. How so? Because the heat differential between the equator and the poles, and which determines the climate, is an action potential. Formation of rain drops, the accumulation of water, snow and ice, are action potentials. The intake and output of nutrients and waste across the cell membrane is due to an action potential. The contraction of muscle fibers and the cascade of neurochemicals between the axon and dendrite of neurons is due to an action potential. The differing agendas of the central and the enteric nervous systems is an action potential. The need to connect with others to feel whole within is an action potential. The tension within the group that can only be satisfied by aligning around an object of attraction is an action potential. Hunger is an action potential, maintaining balance is an action potential. Economic debt is an action potential. Civilization is a vast system of interconnected action potentials. Getting to work on time is an action potential. In short: nature is an action potential, consciousness is an action potential. And what is an action potential? Energy
    My interpretation of nature and the nature of animals is that action potentials are constantly replicating. If a gene can replicate by way of an action potential, why can’t an action potential replicate by way of an action potential?

  35. DaveD says:

    What you say here is a vague account of the way things change as theorized by Aristote, who thought the motions of the planets caused everything else to happen.

    He also saw substances (dogs, houses, trees, rocks) as informed potential – essences giving unique form to matter. You might like Mortimer Adler and the Perennial Philosophy.

    For your followers, consciousness is not dependent on two beings, but it is one being directing attention to something. As its fundamental instance, consider just awakening from sleep, before attending any one idea, there is an awareness of aliveness, and a sense of its great value.

    Dogs are luckier than us, as their conscious awareness is less abstracted from the here and now – our eternal present.

  36. Heather says:

    “it is one being directing attention to something … before attending any one idea, there is an awareness of aliveness, and a sense of its great value”

    You are right; a virtual force of attraction, and you said it so perfectly.

  37. sean says:

    @daved vague? behan is putting forward a very detailed model on this site.

    in his response to you perhaps it wasn’t that detailed. but you can’t possibly level such a charge when its purpose was to provide a very high level understanding to an objection you raised.

    i think it’s your turn to write a few hundred thousand words to defend such a grand statement

    “For your followers, consciousness is not dependent on two beings, but it is one being directing attention to something. As its fundamental instance, consider just awakening from sleep, before attending any one idea, there is an awareness of aliveness, and a sense of its great value.”

    …or are you just a fan of Maharshi?

  38. christine randolph says:

    @ DaveD yes KBs model is complex but it IS a model.

    I have always said stupid people like myself need diagrams of it and we have already a bunch of diagrams which are quite a bit more enlightening than just the words.

    whereas “social psychology is looking at how humans interact” is NOT a model. any proposed model in social or other psychology has so far not stood up to close inspection.

    many religions postulate a state of unified consciousness before creation of the universe
    which we are able to perceive through our senses.

    so this would resolve the chicken and egg arguments about which came first, but, of course, it is only a belief system.

    Absurdly, an individual can perceive his or her own consciousness, which is what one is supposed to do in meditation. focussing our conscious thought on our thoughts…to maybe at some point reach the “source”, i.e. the infinite consciousness we all came from if some religions are to be believed.

    Absurdly, even if humans consciously point our skill of observation onto our own consciousness, it is not easy to get a grip on it.

    Consciousness in others, humans, dogs is even more of a mystery. especially when there is subterfuge and/or no verbal communication is possible.

    still if compared to an amoeba, consciousness is easier to conceptualize in mammals such as dogs, where they show a myriad behaviours that we can somehow relate to, that somehow changes depending on the environment and so we can safely assume mammals and many other animals are conscious of their environment.

    we also assume that animals CANNOT observe themselves the same way we do, i.e. they do not have a Theory of Mind.

    which is fair enough since it is highly likely that their behaviours cannot be triggered by self observation, self indulgence, rationalization etc. the way humans are building (potentially self destructive) behaviours upon behaviours throughout a lifetime.

    i.e. even if we tell ourselves to stop commenting in an unproductive way on blogs, (without naming names, I am thinking of someone specific you all know who) we cannot always stop ourselves.

    KB’s assumption goes as far as saying that dogs function by having their behaviours triggered by nothing other than energetic circumstances in their environment.

    which leads to a streamlining of other rather disjointed attempts at dog behaviour models.

    If KBs theories hold true, dog behaviour can be viewed as somewhat repeatable and predictable in an energy context.

    i.e. a lip lick very often is energetically a precursor to growling which is a precursor to barking.

    Such “energetic building block” models could be extremely important for dog training and dog rehabilitation where undesirable behaviour can be permanently redirected in the “precursor” stage.

    even if not all behaviours can be explained by the energy model, it can still be extremely useful.

    as far as I am concerned there is probability that KBs theories are correct. i.e. they mimick new theories on brain function where it is postulated that pathways in the brain are not fixed but can be re-established if need be (brain injury etc) thus allowing for a rehabilitation based on minuscule changes in brain function, not just “brainwashing”.

    A better understanding of this potential would allow us to acknowledge and actively work with the capacity of humans and dogs to redirect unsafe into safe behaviours.

    we already acknowledge this in humans by rehabilitating criminals via the prison system (dubious, but we release them when we think they will not be recidivists), anger management classes etc. but we have no model to prove that these people are rehabilitated other than putting these people on parole and attempting as much control as possible to figure out how real the rehabilitation is.

    in addition pedophiles are considered uncurable and need to be kept away from children…

    equally dogs who inflict severe bites on people or lifestock repeatedly, are not rehabilitated but kept away from potential “victims” and/or put down.

    so, KB proposes a working model to redirect these dogs’ significant energy into something more useful.

    this could be a great asset in pet management since breeders no longer worry about eliminating animals that are not safe around lifestock etc.

    so many pet owners end up with difficult dogs, those dogs end up in shelters etc.

  39. kbehan says:

    Thanks, the recognition of a need for a model is all I ask. And if we were all pounding away on the subject, imagine the distinctions and subtle nuance of information that would generate from such a focus of consciousness. So in my view, we are seeing the nature of consciousness playing out right before our eyes in the things that animals and most especially dogs do, as long as we don’t read human thoughts into their heads and project intellectual concepts onto their behavior. Dogs can lead us to the water, but they can’t make us not see our own reflection on its surface.

  40. DaveD says:

    Sean, ‘vague’ referred to the fact that KB employs some terms (though not in the same manner) that are core to Aristotle’s cosmology. I was suggesting he might look into this.

    “…or are you just a fan of Maharshi?” is an extremely erroneous case of the pot calling the kettle black. Not only wrong (my paraphrase of consciousness is from pragmatist philosophers), but quite ill-advised coming from someone who is wide open for the same criticism. Consider that NDTers could grasp 80% of KB’s ineffable thinking by watching the following powerpoint video:

    Now, Sean, who’s really following Maharshi?

  41. seb says:

    @Dave: So let me ask you this – do you think then that the people who’ve had success with their dogs (which you’ve already admitted) did so due to magic? Do the aggressive dogs just suddenly become more sociable and friendly out of nowhere? Or do you think it’s actually due to the fact that NDTers have put a lot of hard work into this, effectively utilizing NDT and Behan’s theories?

    Both can’t be true. Either you think people here don’t know anything about the theory, or they’ve been able to DIRECTLY apply what they’ve learned.

  42. kbehan says:

    @DaveD: The vague critique is self-revealing. What is your distinction between emotion and instinct and between feeling and thought or are you going to repeat the vague statement that it’s all one thing?

  43. DaveD says:

    I have described my take on epistemology before, and would answer your questions much along the lines in the Campbell quote.

    Now about Maharishi…do you admit that almost all of your phraseology is identical to that in the Secret Law of Attraction?

  44. sean says:

    @daved you posting that video is revealing of how little you understand the model behan is putting forward. if you don’t understand it how do you know what you’re trying to argue against?

    the ‘secret’ law of attraction video you posted is fundamentally a spiritual philosophy, i.e. thought based. ndt is not. in fact they couldn’t be further apart. ndt considers thoughts as an abstraction from the underlying “hardware” and misleading from what is really going on.

    in ndt, we are driven by emotion which behaves according to the same principles as energy. we don’t have direct access to our emotions, we must participate w/in a network to feel. for this to be true we must all share a universal operating system so that “you can feel what i feel”. even two separate species, say a dog and a human, can have a feeling of resonance over the same thing (the moose on the horizon) and they can communicate w/ each other though this “midpoint”, an object of mutual attraction. the simplest transference of information is “energy in formation” and this is what animates us/determines our behavior.

    behan is calling the platform, the inter species communication protocol, energy. because no physical system can escape its principles. it is an internal calculus that every living being intuitively performs w/out thinking. we all share this and therefore we all speak the same language. at the end of the day it all boils down to energy.

    therefore, consciousness is a higher elaboration of the same phenomenon and is itself the actual evolution of physical energy.

    i get that it’s a philosophy and i understand if you disagree w/ the statement and if you think it’s false. but at least attempt to make relevant comparisons and objections.

    also, as far as i know, the ‘secret’ philosophy is not a branch of transcendental meditation either. the quote i pulled from your comment fits right in line w/ some of the maharishi sayings, which is why i asked.

  45. kbehan says:

    I don’t do assigned homework so feel free to bring my attention to it on your own, my ideas are my own. If there are parallels then it would be predicated on an underlying truth of “energy” and so, so what? I thought we were going to talk about Campbell since you brought it up but then for some reason it was dropped at your end. The Campbell quote doesn’t actually say anything about WHAT thoughts are in the dog’s head. If dogs are entertaining pictures and memories of the owner then absent and comparing these perspectives through a construct of time, then it shouldn’t be too hard to insert a thought in there as in “wishing you were here” and we can then examine the logic of it. So feel free to offer something precise, i.e. a specific thought, rather than the vague reach that there must be thinking because dogs entertain images.

  46. DaveD says:

    Just what is it you think a thought entails – it need not be anything more than a stored image in memory come into conscious awareness.

    I believe you are holding back on the influence the Law of Attraction has had on you in the past.

  47. sean says:

    @daved i assumed that you had taken the time to read some articles on this site before stating your objections. but i don’t believe that to be the case anymore. behan has explained on numerous occasions what he believes a thought to entail.

    you read some of the articles and blog posts.

  48. kbehan says:

    Everything I believe about how states of attention and principles of emotional attraction work, I can defend, so feel free to critique any precept if you think my explanation of it is wanting given that apparently you believe it to be dependent on other sources. In the meantime in other words you are saying that dogs don’t think rationally about these stored images, they are just conscious and aware of them, and if so, how is that any different from what I’m saying? Your statement is vague to me, surely you have questions beyond this, especially in the spirit of being precise?

  49. DaveD says:

    You asked for a dog thought example. I gave one. Do you agree with that?

  50. Christine says:

    @sean…I appreciate your interpretation of NDT theories RE:energy and where/how it differentiates from though. I’ve always been a bit confused about this aspect but now I see it a little bit clearer. I’ll know I have lift off when I can restate it in my own words by way of explanation to an inquiry. Clear as mud? I thought so! 🙂
    Suffice it to say Thank You for your concise and clear explanation.

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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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