Thoughts on Whitehead

If I’m somewhat understanding Burl’s very deft translations and commentary on Whitehead, then apprehension is mental and prehension is energy. And therefore animals have no intention, rather they feel the energy that percolates up through their cells and then through their metabolic, mechanical and neurological systems and then go on to formulate a coherent response to their world. Furthermore, prehension fundamentally revolves around a state of resonance with energy, and therefore animals learn in reverse, backwards in time which is another argument against intention since that is forward directed. In other words, animals develop in embryo in complete resonance, they are born with the answer already inculcated in every cell, fibre, tissue and neuron of their being, and then through prehension (sense the essence within the form) they ultimately connect with those things in nature that serve to recapitulate resonance. Whereas the human intellect sees them working things out as if they are mentally apprehending what’s happening over time and relative to other points of view, when they are really “learning: backwards in time, regressing internally to a state of resonance but now, by unconsciously inducing the object of attraction to play its part as a counterbalance in that same wave function, and given all the experiences they’ve metabolized as stress, incorporating all that energy of resistance back to a smooth wave function of resonance has added more energy to the network. So animals are out there as stress magnets bumping into things, generating friction, and then turning this into a wave function which we otherwise recognize as social structures. This resistance is now part of consciousness, and more  importantly as information that expands the network. It seems to me that prehension is a manifestation of a network consciousness.

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Published July 15, 2010 by Kevin Behan

210 responses to “Thoughts on Whitehead”

  1. Heather says:

    I agree that it’s a psychological issue — it is quite literally your psychological issue, your thoughts about yourself are running amok in at least some areas of your life (as they are for everyone) and you don’t know it and may never care to explore the possibility, so your actions are not based on true feelings but on personaltiy traits you’ve developed to cope with unresolved emotion that is triggered by conflict. The fear and anger are not feelings. Peanuts actions are in large part based on her virutal energetic emotional connection with you (how that works with Peanut and others in her group being charged particles of consciousness is amazingly explained by the principles of electromagnetics), and to the extent you are blocked from having at true feeling (and it is a virtual block, there is in fact NO block, it’s just a trick of the mind so there’s not a thing to “do” except to see the trick, exactly like the aha! moment you get when a magician reveals the secret to an illusion) she cannot resolve her emotions in a social, direct manner.

  2. Heather says:

    Also take Peanut out and push with her for her food, the whole process of getting a good push in all sorts of different situations will bring up each and every one of the issues (hers, yours) to the surface and as you work through them lots of the things Kevin is saying will become crystal clear. It would be easier if dogs were just different in degree from us, then we could all live together peacefully in blissful ignorance of the truth.

    I was thinking that it makes sense that “modern” dogs (ie, companions vs. service dogs) have so many “behavioral problems.” It probably isn’t because people are so much more screwed up now, that has probably remained pretty much constant, but when dogs were more functional companions, they were aligned with us around a task (hunting, guarding, searching, etc.). As companions their task is to be our surrogate spouse or child, friend, etc., and to do that job they are only doing what they have to do, tell us the truth about emotions. So when they exhibit a behavior that we don’t like, they are actually doing their job very well. We just happen to like people that tell us what we want to hear, but dogs can’t lie, haha.

  3. kbehan says:

    The problems with dogs are only psychological given that their behavior does indeed reflect the needs of their humans who don’t understand the dog’s energetic nature and instead try to go by reason, as in fairness, sharing, be nice, good dog, bad dog thinking and so on. Whereas were you to learn how to turn Peanuts electrostatic, load/overload behavior into an electromagnetic dynamo, her “psychological problem” would be magically solved because the physics that is her mind has been directly addressed.
    Can you entertain the notion that the physical center-of-gravity is the loci of all physical memory? This is a very conservative notion as is the existence of physical memory, just ask Roger Federer or any gymnast for that matter.
    Can you entertain the notion that electro-chemical energy of the nervous system can be attached to a physical memory, i.e. the physical cog so that therefore the p-cog is an electrically charged particle every bit as much as an electron? Again, this is an unbelievably conservative notion.
    Can you entertain the notion that in order to put one foot in front of another, the consciousness of the body given its anatomical construction, must compel the mind to involuntarily project the p-cog onto the place or object toward which the body must be moved. In other words, this “projection of energy” is a calculus of motion on which one step can follow from another, a projection of where the body’s energy IS GOING TO BE. Again, this is an ultra-conservative notion.
    Finally, can you entertain the notion that a feeling is likewise a projection of the p-cog onto the forms of complex objects of resistance, so that through electro-magnetic induction (via Pavlovian conditioning, the most fundamental precept in the scientific canon of animal learning) the balance/electrical problem is transmuted into a hunger/magnetic frame of reference so that the animal now is informed how to circuitously and deferentially approach a complex object of resistance/attraction? Again, this is the most conservative interpretation of the evidence of behavior and all the scientific data ever acquired through clinical research, not to mention it’s the only thing that “makes sense” to the average dog owner looking at the ordinary things that dogs do all the time.
    Through emotional electromagnetic induction, (electrical memories of static resistance transforming into magnetic states of attunement) the projected p-cog becomes the emotional center-of-gravity which like the calculus that guides one foot following another, computes a midpoint between two individuals mutually attracted so that they can align with each other and revolve around a common object of attraction, ala Newton’s laws of motion. This is why all your dogs manifest a different personality no matter how much you treat them fairly or train them according to this or that regime, and they differ not at random, but in obligation to Newton’s second law of motion, every action has an equal opposite reaction. In their combined perceptions and responses, what you interpret as their personalities, is actually a complex computer factoring out finer and finer midpoints as emotional distinctions and which are computing WHERE ENERGY IS GOING TO BE. Answering this question is the only problem that is relevant in evolution. Nothing else makes sense, any other interpretation of behavior and evolution is magical thinking, intellectual creationism, ABRAKADABRA.

  4. Burl says:

    So this is how you explain all interpersonal relationships, say between you and your wife? Did all your kids have different personalities because of electromagnetics, as you say for dogs?

    Did you make your kids behave using a push for food exercise?

    Would you advise newlyweds to apply all these concepts in their families?


  5. Heather says:

    Maybe this will be helpful, maybe not, but I am going to put it out there anyway, as an illustration of one way to sort through the distinctions between emotions, feelings, and thoughts (related to dog behaviors). Probably everyone knows that what brought me here was when I was dealing with over-excited biting behavior in times of overload (started as puppy stuff but it escalated with traditional methods of “correcting” the behavior or teaching “bite inhibition” in a “positive” manner.)

    I was really surprised at first when I didn’t receive any advice about how to stop the biting behavior, what to do when it occurred, etc. Not only that, but Happy was expressing the fact that I didn’t trust him, because I was trying to build a relationship with him. I was not honoring his nature, I had in fact put him in situations he was not able to handle then *became* his problem instead of being his master and the answer to his problem. Even the puppy classes we went to just taught him to sit, down, stay to avoid me as an energetic proposition.

    So I had to process that for awhile (thinking to myself it is just a simple training issue, I’ll sort it out (a clicker! NILIF!), or he’ll grow out of it, way before I have to do consider all of that seriously).

    But also because I’m a hedge-my-bets sort of person (not because I was fully on board with the ideas), I started pushing and playing tug and trying to be aware of my own thoughts about the dog.

    Regarding the thoughts, what I did was just try to notice whenever I had a thought about “Happy biting.” There were lots all the time. My task was just to label the thought, eg, “I’m afraid Happy is going to be aggressive”, “he should not be doing this,” “what gives him the right to do this, I am his owner,” etc., then STOP there and return to my physical senses, noticing where the tension of the unresolved emotion that was triggered was felt. Or if it just became a big jumble of thoughts and images and memories just label it as a big jumble and then return to the physical. Over time it just becomes clearer that the thoughts are not real, the fear, anger, guilt, actions, etc. based on the thoughts are what I am mistaking for my feelings, but they are just my self-supported belief in my own thoughts, ie, the result of analyzing, worrying, scheming, comparing, remembering past experiences, etc..ALL IN MY OWN MIND. The physical tension is real, the release of that is real (a true feeling), once release is possible (the thoughts provoke no conflict), Happy is doing *nothing* to me except just Happy-ing, ie, being himself, showing me something I should be curious about, presenting me with a fun challenge to unravel…the real issue is that I do not understand what it means to “be Happy” or how to support that be-ing.

    That’s when I realized that having a dog was not at all about dog behavior, or getting my needs for compliant companionship met. I think we owe it to our dogs to be up to the opportunities for growth they place at our feet. NDT is the only thing that makes that possible.

  6. kbehan says:

    Very well said. Exactly right. Every dog is social by nature, they reflect our nature. It’s what we think about our nature that causes all the problems.

  7. kbehan says:

    I do believe humans think and have the capacity for a self-contained intelligence, and have to mature so as to think for themselves (do you want your dog to think for itself: Peanuts according to you is thinking for herself and how is that working out? You then say you want to change her thinking so that she thinks about things like you do, as in don’t attack my other dog. Therefore you don’t believe she has an individual destiny or should have a mind of her own.).
    Yes every healthy family aligns around an energy dynamic rather than being self-absorbed, and everyone’s personality is an electromagnetic phenomenon which is why birth order is so predictable. When a child is raised in a healthy family that is aligned around the principles of energy, then their individual destiny (our dog’s destiny is us, it doesn’t have an individual destiny otherwise it would be cruel and inhumane to keep them as pets) can most healthfully manifest in their life journey and in their relationships. A healthy family honors feelings because these are inherently a group energy and said feelings need no reason. No I didn’t teach my children to “push for food” per se, but if I’m not mistaken my wife and I, and every teacher or coach they’ve ever had set up objects of resistance (challenges) for them to overcome and they experienced that turning old stress into resolved energy felt better than anything else they could experience and therefore they willingly subordinate their self-interest to a networked intelligence since synchronizing with others and society so as to maximize the depth of emotional experience they have learned is far more rewarding than being self-absorbed.
    Anyone who is successful at mastering any medium, is implementing principles of energy whether they know it or not and they are adding new energy to the network which therefore makes them feel good. Otherwise they wouldn’t be able to put their heart into their work, sink their teeth into the task at hand, know in their gut they’re on the RIGHT track, pull in the experiences they need and push through the resistance of life to feel grounded in their being.
    I’m not saying an energy theory isn’t preposterous. sentience by way of random mutations, black holes, Big Bang, infinity, singularity, non-locality, quantum mechanics, the earth going around the sun, these are all preposterous notions depending on one’s historical frame of reference. I’m just saying as an explanation of behavior and social structure it’s the most logical of all the preposterous notions we have available to us.

  8. Heather says:

    This *really will* be my last input for awhile, I apologize for so much content these days.

    But Burl bringing up kids was really right on topic.

    What is growing up about if not about realizing that you are not the center of the universe. What is being an adult about if not doing the work of seeing that lashing out, being guilty, comparing, and judging, all to get others to do what you want them to do are carryover coping mechanisms from childhood that no longer serve us or anyone else. Even giving a dog “freedom” is the other side of the same coin as treating it harshly — it is all rooted in the expectation “the dog should respect ME” (and disappointment/anger when the respect is not shown).

    No doubt the impulse to make dogs into “lesser” thinking beings that are rather like us but (unlike other people) eager to please us and subservient to us is a form of collective clinging to childhood, a collective resistance to growing up and assuming responsibility for our choices and how they affect others.

  9. Crystal says:

    Just want to say I have been thoroughly ingesting this thread. Thanks all.

  10. Heather says:

    OK I am already breaking that promise (the definition of “awhile” will remain flexible, haha)…but just for a brief question.

    The two-brain makeup, would you say that is also virtually present in humans? When re-reading your description above, I thought about how accurately it described my behavior last night – I took Happy out for his last bathroom break of the night, and he started woofing at something in the yard (it was dark, I couldn’t see anything), and was more persistent about it than his routine boof-boof-boofing he does to scare away any boogey men lurking in the woods before settling down to his business. So I went to check it out, and I saw what I thought was a light moving around – at first I was moving in a straight line (slowly) and I was really “charged” as I approached and felt enough pressure that at some point I didn’t want to go forward anymore, but as I got closer and saw that it was indeed something non-threatening but I wasn’t sure what, I began to circle around, and in the circling I realized that it was the deck light reflecting off of the handle of the pool skimmer, which had been left leaning against the fence (normally it’s put away).

    Also the quality/quantity issue – I can see how different temperaments could be tuned differently to different objects of attraction with different perceived prey/predator values (so for eg Happy, he will notice a squirrel but for him he readily perceives playing tug with me as the displacing of more emotional energy, because the emotional mass of the squirrel, and thus the force it induces in Happy, is not very large compared to mine.) Things that are very prey-like to him do not move a lot of energy, he is tuned to a higher predator/prey ratio.

    Very cool, I am excited to start really looking at things in this manner and making my own observations.

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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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