Posts Tagged ‘rodney cotterill’

About the Human Measure

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

A few years ago (2003) somebody asked me to address the Dutch IT Architecture Congress. The subject was the Human Measure. To understand the Human Measure you have understand the relationship between the Human Being and The Human Measure System, The Emotions.

At that time I was already highly influenced by Will McWhinney so I used his model of the Four Worldviews to describe the Human. Later I discovered a Fifth Worldview (Consciousness) that was hidden in his teachings.

The consciousness is the monitor of the Whole of the Human Being. It reflects about the behavior of the parts and takes action when the Whole is not in Balance (Stressed).

According to Will McWhinney the Human can be described by The Emotions (Values), The Imagination (Ideas), The Senses (Desire, Facts) and the Expectation (Control, Rules).

The Four parts can be combined in six (or twelve = 4x3x2) Games. A Game is a strategy to solve the Conflict between the Four Independent Parts.

To me it is very clear that IT is focused on the combination Expectation/Senses. This combination is called the Analytical Game. It solves the Conflict between Facts and Rules. Will showed that this game was the dominating game in Western Culture.

In the Analytical Game the Emotions, the Consciousness and the Imagination are not important. In the Analytical Game you want to find the Absolute Truth, The Rules of the Game, by Analyzing the Facts sensed by the Eyes.

When you want to understand the Emotions you have to look at “emotional” Psychology. When you start to study “emotional” psychology the “box of Pandora” of Psychology opens up. Psychology is not a science like Mathematics or Physics. Everybody has his own theory about Emotions and everybody is defending his own “territory”. Psychology is simply a scientific mess.

One of the most helpful scientists (a friend of Will) was Rodney Cotterill. Cotteril analyzed the evolution of the Sensory-Motor System of every Organism on Earth. The Sensory-Motor System is an Interaction between the Emotions, the Motor, and the Senses.

The bacteria is drifting around, explores an inhomogeneous environment that contains all kinds of chemical structures. Some of these structures are destructive, some of them are neutral and some of them are attractive (food). When the bacteria finds (senses) food his rotator (the flagellum) moves the bacteria in a circular motion. The circular motion of the bacteria is preserved for a short time and this preservation could be called memory

The emotions are aimed at the survival of the human being. They Explore environments to find something that helps them to survive and Avoid destructive environments. When Humans have found an Attractive environment they Stay there and Store the data about the environment in their Memory. Humans are Moving Memories (E-motion means movement!).

According to Rodney Cotterill the Emotions are the basic structure, the infrastructure, of an organism. All the other structures are specializations of one of the parts (the Sensors, the Calculator (Imagination, Expectation)) of the Emotional Infrastructure.

IT is highly focused on Sensors and Calculators (the Senses and the Expectation). IT has no idea what to do with the Emotions, the E-Value-ator, the basic Measurement System of the Human Being. The main objective of the Evaluator is to find Food and to stay Alive.

The Human Imagination has created many “abstractions” of Food and Secure Environments. They are all stored in the Memory as Symbols and Metaphors but it is not difficult to define what Humans don’t like. They don’t like the same thing IT-experts don’t like. IT-experts want to be Valued. They don’t want to be Dominated. They demand the freedom to Express their Creativity. They don’t want to play a role in a Play that was Designed by somebody else.

IT-experts love to play the Analytical Game. In this Game the Humans, called the Users play the role of the Object, the reusable Module, that has to do its Job. In the Analytic Game Users don’t have Emotions and Imagination. They have to Eat the Food that grew out of The Seeds of the Imagination of the Architect.

What is the Human Measure?

The basic measure of the Human Being is related to everything that gives him or her a feeling, an Emotion, of Security. The Human Value-System, the Emotions, is always looking for Shelter, Protection and Love. Humans Beings need other Human Beings to tell and show them that they are Value-able.

If the Human Being has an Expectation this Expectation has to be realized in the near Future.

When the Emotions of the Human Being are Dominated it wants to move away from his environment because a dominating environment could be Destructive. When something or somebody is Dominating a Human Being he/she feels worthless.

If the Imagination of the Human Being experiences No Change, (Highly Repeating Actions) it wants to Explore a new Environment.

If the Senses experience Too Much Change the Human Being becomes Confused. When you are Confused your Expectation fails and the Human starts to drift around just like the bacteria.

If the Human Being is not Conscious (Aware, Focused) it is unable to Reflect. If the Human Being is not Aware he is unable to Balance the Emotions, the Imagination, The Expectation and the Senses. If there is no balance the Body becomes Stressed. A Stressed Body slowly kills the Immune System. An Unbalanced Immune System is the Cause of many Diseases.

What is IT Doing?

IT is still creating Dominating, Always Changing, Insecure and Confusing Software.

IT is not automating the repeating activities Humans don’t like. IT is producing highly disconnected software-systems.

IT is not helping the Humans to makes senses of the complexity of the Outside World. IT is increasing the Complexity of the Environment.

IT is not supporting the Human to explore its environment. IT is shielding the outside environment and is creating an artificial outside environment. Many people believe the Imaginary World is the Real World. The most destructive artificial worlds are the Destructive Computer Games. They give the Player the Believe that Killing People is no problem at all. The destructive Games are the Games of the Military. They kill people by looking at simulators and pushing buttons.

IT is Playing the Same Game using Different Terminology all the time. If you understand the transformation of the terminology the Game is Boring. If you don’t understand the terminology the Game is Confusing. If you Mix the Terminology the Game is too Complex to Play. Almost nobody knows the Rules so many People make mistakes, believe they win the Game but in reality lose the Game.

What to do?

Perhaps somebody is able to Invent a New Game.

I have an Idea.

Why don’t we create a Game that Creates Games? According to the Theory of Will this Game is called the Game of Culture. It solves the conflict between The Imagination (The Creator) and the Emotions (The Mover). When the Mover is Inspired by the Creator the Sensory/Motor-System starts to Act with Spirit (Imagination) and Soul (Emotions). In terms of Emotional Psychology: The Human becomes Highly Moti-vated!

If we look at the theory of Will we now can see that the Analytical Game is the Complement of the Game of Culture.

If we Unite the two Games, the Games of the West and the Games of the East, we are able to connect all the parts of the Human Being in a Cycle, the Cycle of Human Innovation.

About Self Reproducing Systems

Monday, November 12th, 2007

Many people who are Out of Balance seek the help of a Therapist. There are Thousands of approaches available on the Market. Nobody is able to tell what therapy suits You.

Eugene Gendlin started to do research to find this out. He came back with his own therapy called Focusing. He discovered that every therapy works when the “patient” is able to Focus.

They focus on a very subtle and vague internal bodily awareness – or “felt sense.” When the patient treats his “felt sense” with “care” and an “interested curiosity” emotions and memories come back. When the memories and the feelings are accepted the patient feels a relief in the body (In-Sight).

Felt senses and reliefs are produced in a sequence. The patient changes but the changes are small steps. This is very different from other therapies where the patient HAS TO change something.

I want to explain Focusing with two theories.

The first one comes out of Second Order Cybernetics. It was created by Varela and Maturana. Their theory was named Autopoesis (Self Reproduction).

Just like the bacterium in my blog about The Work of Rodney Cotterill every organism has to renew itself. Every part of an organism is replaced during a certain period (a Cycle) but the process of replacing the parts has to take place in such a way that the organism stays alive. The parts (of the parts of the parts) are taken out of its environment and the “waste” of the organism is given back to the environment.

When the environment changes the Autopoetic System has to adapt. It is unable to adapt itself directly. It adapts in small steps related to the Cycle Time of the autopoetic (sub-)System that has to adapt itself. Everything is related to TIMING.

First the Scientist thought that the Body was run by one Central Clock in the Brain. Recent research shows that every part of the body has its own clock. Many clocks operate on a daily basis but there are also cycles that take a (Moon-)month or longer (Seasons).

When an organism has to adapt to a new environment (and this could simply be another person) it can take months before there is a new balance.

The second theory I will use is the theory of Wilhelm Reich.

I use a very large citation to prove my point. “In body psychotherapy, and more recently in neuroscience, sympathetic activity, has been seen more broadly as an indicator of an impulse or a feeling being stirred. The word sympathetic -sym pathos means with feeling. It is most easily understood as an upsurge – those feelings which are experienced as coming UP – anger, fear, excitement, desire, hatred – and which if expressed involve movement out, or towards, or in the case of fear, away from, an object. Sympathetic physiology increases energy and readies the body for action – so it is also about the need to do, express, act“.

Conversely the parasympathetic action is a concomitant of coming DOWN – disappointment, grief, shame, guilt, despair; and contentment, peacefulness, satisfaction – feelings which involve a decrease in tension, withdrawal of energy inward and tend more towards introspection. Laughter and tears are both usually a sign of parasympathetic activity”.

One way in which the body protects itself from emotional intensity is the development of chronic muscular tension, which dampens down both external and internal stimuli. Although sympathetic activity increases muscular tension, individuals with sustained high tension tend to have lower autonomic arousal than those with less muscle tension. Muscle tension creates a buffer, which reduces anxiety but at a cost – a loss of contact with oneself and others. It can be a negative loop that leads to loss of self-regulation”.

Too much muscular tension impairs health because it constricts and inhibits spontaneous processes in general (i.e. including feelings and thoughts), such as breathing, and the venous and lymphatic circulation, which are responsible for clearing the body of toxins. This repressed inner turmoil translates in the body as tension at every level (visceral/muscular/autonomic etc), including hardening and narrowing the arteries, as in angina, a medical condition which can precede heart attack.”

On the other hand, chronic parasympathetic activation, which correlates more with psychological collapse and depression, is not healthy either. Its characteristics are low blood pressure, sluggishness. The organs and muscles lack tone – in other words there is not sufficient tension”.

The reciprocal action of sympathetic and parasympathetic as part of a four-beat cycle: tension-charge-discharge -relaxation. This is known as the vasomotoric cycle, and is a holistic model embracing both psychological and physiological function”.

One image I have of the sympathetic is the coiling of a spring; the parasympathetic is the rebound back to a resting state. The part in between – the spring springing – is a crucial transition. In the coiled wire this action is governed by physical laws – the extent of its spring depends on fixed physical parameters”.

the inhibition at any point in the cycle means that something is not integrated – its split off but the person will inevitably start to wind down sooner or later – just because of the in-built homeostatic regulation. The split off remnants remain in the body as generalised or localised areas of muscular tension, pain, flaccidity or numbness“.

Well I hope you got the message.

We are Self-Reproducing “Machines“.

To reproduce we need to go through a Cycle that contains Cycles that contains Cycles (a Spiral).

To reproduce we need an environment that gives us the Food (Energy) we need.

We also need the environment to give back our “waste“. Our “waste” is “food” for other organisms.

When we are unable to move through our cycles we create a Reservoir. This reservoir is filled with Tension or the need to experience Tension. The reservoirs are situated in the muscles. The most important Muscles are our Organs.

The muscles are connected by an “Electro-Magnetic” wiring system. This System is the same System the Chinese use in Acupuncture. A needle releases the Tension. It removes the “block” and a new “flow of Energy” is started. Just like Focusing Acupuncture is not a “One Step Cures All“-approach.

In our current Society many people are filled with tension but when you are old the opposite happens (YOU are BORED).

At a certain moment the Tension Explodes and we act with Violence. Until that time we experience A FELT SENSE.

When we are Highly Tensed we create a muscular ARMOUR. This ARMOUR protects us against tension but it also protects us from THE OTHERS. We isolate ourselves even from the THERAPISTS.

If this happens the only thing you can do is DANCE or RUN to get into contact with your Body AGAIN.


About Stress

About Focusing

Why we Think with our Muscles

About Acupuncture

Why all Organisms are Moving Memories

Monday, November 12th, 2007

Rodney Cotterill explains a lot about the structure of very simple bacteria. What he shows is that even bacteria have Emotions.

To agree with this we have to agree on a definition of the Emotions. Agreeing about “What an Emotion is” is one of the most complex discussions in Psychology. The discussion is so complex that there is really no discussion possible.

The simplest way to solve this discussion is to start with the meaning of the word Emotion. Emotion simply means “Movement“.

So an Emotion could be described as “Something that moves us” or “Something that shows to other People that we are Moved“.

We are moved by an Event, Something that Happens. Something that “Makes a Difference“.

An Event is a Change in our Environment or Context. This Context could be our Internal Environment (our Body, Pain) or our External Environment.

When you are a bacterium you are moving in an environment that contains Food. You need Food to produce Energy. The environment is not homogeneous. The concentration of food is different in the Space the bacterium is exploring. It even contains deadly food, Poison.

A bacterium like Escherichia coli  procures information by probing its surroundings, through the propulsion provided by its flagellum. In effect, this creature integrates incoming chemical signals during a few-second period of its travels, and adjusts its direction of advance accordingly. The integration is achieved through temporary chemical modifications to molecules located in the bounding membrane, which transfer nutrients to the cytoplasm, and also through changes to certain other molecules in the interior of the cell. Such integration is essentially a short-term memory mechanism”.

The bacterium is probing his environment. When he finds “food” he acquires “energy” and his mover, the flagellum, reacts. The process of intake and movement is a cycle.

The Cycle takes time (a few seconds, a delay, a Rhythm) and acts as “a short term memory“.  Memory is not stored in the body of the bacterium. The Memory of the bacterium is his Cycle.

When the bacterium finds Food he circles around. He is attracted to the Center. When he finds Poison, he moves away. When he moves away his flagellum rotates anticlockwise.  When he is attracted his flagellum moves with the clock. The bacterium shows spiraling behaviour.

The Bacterium LOVES Food and he HATES Poison. In between he is EXITED (Chaotic). He starts to Probe, to Explore, his Environment to find Food (Love) again.

The Emotional State of the Bacterium is a 100% correlated to the State of the Bacterium itself.

The Bacterium Is His Emotions.

When the Bacterium could be AWARE of all his INTERNAL states he would need many words to explain his emotions to us.

When we could show the bacteria that his states are “just” related to a few EXTERNAL states that are related to “the amount of Food in his environment” he could reduce THE AMOUNT OF WORDS to DESCRIBE his emotions to a few.

Cotterill shows that in time many new features (mostly Sensors) are added to the Organisms that followed the Bacterium in the process of Evolution but the basic structure of the bacterium stays in place.

I cite:

The ultimate evolutionary product was the brain itself, though there is not universal agreement as to why this structure actually developed. One obvious view is that it served to gather the sensory organs and their interneurons into a single unit, an alternative idea being that its precursor emerged at a primitive stage, as a device for coordinating the two sides of the body“.

The peripheral reflexes can act independently of the brain, but they can also be coordinated and sequenced by it. The main point to be grasped here is that the brain’s primary purpose lies in the need for inhibiting peripheral reflexes, when particularly sophisticated sequences of muscular movements have to be executed“.

The Brain is not Thinking. It is inhibiting Thinking.

We think independent of the Brain.

The Brain is INHIBITING our thinking when we want to override the Action Patterns that are stored in our Bodily Cycle.

We want to override our Experience when something happens and the Event is not related to our Goals.

Goals are related to Expectations and Expectations are something we, Mammals, are able to “calculate“.

We, the Mammals,  are able to create an Image of the Future. By the process of Abstraction we are able to generate “schema” or “actions patterns” that are imaginary.

When our Goals are violated we are just like the primivitive organisms able to permit the current movement, switch to  another, or stop altogether.

Just like them we have a choice but our choices are not only applicable to the real world.  We are able to switch between the real world and other worlds. The underlying system is comparable it just works on another level.

We, the organisms, are Moving Memories that ARE our Emotions. We are all looking for Love (Energy) and when we are without Love we start to Probe to find it again.


Why an Event is not a Collision

About Deleuze and Events

About Deleuze and Ecology

Thinking with our Muscles: About Mirrors, Spindles and Acrobats

Sunday, November 11th, 2007

bacteriumIn 2002 Will McWhinney was writing his never finished book Grammers of Engagement“.

One of the scientists he was communicating with was Rodney Michael John Cotterill (1933-2007).

Will send me an article of John Cotterill called “Cooperation of the basal ganglia, cerebellum, sensory cerebrum and hippocampus: possible implications for cognition, consciousness, intelligence and creativity” .

The article contains a systematic exploration of the Sensory-Motor System of all the organisms on earth. It shows what part of the system was added at what moment and what the effect was of this addition. Strangely enough Cotterill comes to the conclusion that we THINK with the SPINDLES in our MUSCLES.

Muscle spindles are found within the fleshy portions of muscles, embedded in so-called Intrafusal fibers. These fibers are walled off from the rest of the muscle by a collagen sheath. This sheath has a spindle shape. While the intrafusal fibers are wrapped with sensory receptors, their counterpart, are responsible for the power-generating component of muscle and are innervated by motor neurons.

In another Blog I already showed that the Collagen Fibers in our Body are exactly mapped on the Meridians that are used in Acupuncture.

The article of Cotterill is very difficult to read if you don’t know anything about the terminology of the Brain but the Schema’s (The Wiring) in the article are very convincing.

This is what Will wrote: “Rodney Cotterill (2001) presented an important integration of the research on the brain structure. His neuro-physiological work radically undermines any support remaining for the stimulus-response schema, replacing it with motor-environment-mind schemata of complex feedback loops. The complex of feedback loops enables one to “Know what one knows.”

Cotterill goes beyond this, writing: “The ability to know that one knows is referred to by psychologists as first-order embedding. Higher embedding, such as that exemplified by knowing that one knows that one knows, merely depends on the ability to hold things in separate patches of neuronal activity in working memory. This manifests itself in the creature’s intelligence, which also dictates its ability to consolidate existing schemata into new schema.” “This ability, labeled intelligence, is a unique feature of mammalian brains. Intelligence and reflection are explained as due to functioning of the web of feedback loops, both internal and external, that evolved in higher animals“.

What Will is explaining is that the connection between all the spindles in our muscles is a very complex feed-back system. This feed-back system is able to create higher levels of “Abstraction” by the use of “Self-Reference”.

The experience in our body is stored in Schema (Action Patterns). “A schema is a reproducible linking of motor-directing actitity to the optimal environmental feedback resulting from that activity, the reproducibility stemming from the fact that schemata are laid down in the available form of memory“.

The schema are learned by Copying the Behavior of Others. We are not only copying we are Mirroring the Other. This is exactly what people in NLP call Pacing & Leading.

Recent advances in the cognitive neuroscience of action have considerably enlarged our understanding of human motor cognition. In particular, the activity of the mirror system, first discovered in the brain of non-human primates, provides an observer with the understanding of a perceived action by means of the motor simulation of the agent’s observed movements.

This discovery has raised the prospects of a “motor theory of social cognition“. Human social cognition includes the ability to mindread, which in turn plays a crucial role in human communication.

Again a citation of Will McWhinney:

Pacing develops through a harmonizing across the spectrum of enunciations and responses. In human communication, rhythm orchestrates the voices, expressions, e.g., sentences, reception processes, rhythms of the body, demands for attention within and among the participants, and long waves of cultural accommodation across the whole set of conversants.  A conversation is effective when the pacing of each element synchronizes with the others: all the phonemes of a word need to be completely expressed before a speaker begins to generate the next word.  Interruptions in this flow produce stuttering, in speech or thought. The breathing must enable a sentence to be phrased, expressed on a single breath or broken in relation to its grammatical structure. The listeners simultaneously construct the sentences in their own neuro-muscular structure“.

When we are Unable to Mirror we are “Out of Tune” and the dialogue stops. Mirroring forms the basis for Empathy and Language. It is also the main reason why Autists have a difficulty to communicate.

I end this blog with a citation of Ritchie produced in 1936:

At the suggestion that muscular movement may be intellectual I feel that there will be a stirring of indignation among the highbrows. They will say, “Why all these talk about acrobats and muscular activity? Granted that what the acrobat does is perfect of its kind it is not properly an intellectual activity, like the mathematician’s for instance”. In reply to this I should admit at once that what the mathematician does is much more useful than what the acrobat does; but is there any reason apart from snobbery for saying it is more intellectual? In effect the acrobat thinks with the muscles of his whole body while the mathematician thinks with – well, whatever it is he thinks with. Of course it may be that the mathematician does not think with anything but just thinks. Even if this were true, which is doubtful, I find it hard to see why thinking with nothing should be more truly thinking than thinking with your muscles. Because thinking is mental it does not follow that it is not bodily too“.

Cognitive Scientists like Lackoff, Nunez and Dehaene have found an explanation for the “Thinking of the Mathematican“. They are able to mirror, to entrain, to tune, to pace, to synchronize to the “Actions Patterns of the Conscious Universe“.

These Actions Patterns have a lot in common with Music and Harmony. Pythagoras was not the only one who talked about the Music of the Spheres. It also explains why Mathematicians are always (like me) in Love with Music.


About Mirroring

About the Emotions of Bacteria

About the Evolution of the Mammals

About the Tetraktys of Pythagoras