IGS Discussion Forums: Learning GS Topics: Moods
Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Thursday, November 17, 2005 - 10:56 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

(1) yes.

(2) Different patterns in the brain are activated during different "moods", so different memories will be preferentially stimulated, resulting in recalling semantic reactions more conformable to the current "mood" state. A stimulus evokes the memories of prior similar experiences together with what was done and what the results were. The integrated sum of all the prior three part memory structures (stimulus, response, result) "is" the semantic reaction. The "mood" or "emotional state" is part of the stimulus, which includes sensory data from both external senses and internal senses. The mechanism is called "adaptive resonance". See How the Brain Evolved Language by Donald Loritz, Oxford University Press, 1999.

(3) By getting into the abstraction and reaction process at the point where it can affect the outcome - the point of evaluation vis-a-vis the "goodness" or "badness" or "neutrality" of a stimulus. Technically, they are not "controlled"; they are "managed". However, the particulars will depend on what you specifically mean by "mood". See http://www. xenodochy.org/gs/tfka.html The key to managing emotions is at the decision stage. If you decide that you like something, your emotions will fall into place and grow. But if you keep yourself guessing by continuing to ask yourself the question, "Is this good or bad?", and remaining undecided, then the follow-up stages will not be activated. All you have to do, if you find yourself attracted to something, is to say to your self, "Is this really a good thing?", look for negatives, look for positives, and keep them in balance. If you ignore the negatives and accentuate the positives, you will find your self rolling head-over-heels down the emotional response path that follows, and the more the behavior is delayed, the stronger the feelings will get. The trick to managing the emotional response is two-fold - keep the decision ambiguous and or ambivalent, and indulge the behavior without delay. Putting off behavior, once a decision is made, increases the intensity of the feelings, and is part of the mechanism of "absence makes the heart grow fonder". The article shows the biological mechanisms as I currently believe they work - at an abstract level.

(4) Certainly. No two people are alike.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Saturday, November 19, 2005 - 05:01 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Milton said Some speculations: I sometimes think of E=mc squared as "Energy is matter speeded up, matter at a high state of entropy; and matter as energy slowed down, congealed concentrated, energy at a low state of entropy."

If you "speed up" matter, it gains energy, and, as a bit of matter approaches the speed of light, its energy approaches infinity; its mass increases simultaneously. "Energy" is absolutely not "speeded up matter", but sped up matter has increased mass-energy.

Mass (not matter) and energy are two names of a property that is conserved, and the measure of one can be transformed into the measure of the other according to the relation E=MC2. Entropy, on the other hand, is a measure of the degree to which energy is not available to do work - the state of disorder, and it is not correlated with "sped up matter" nor "congealed energy".

Here are five definitions of entropy.

1. (Symbol S) For a closed thermodynamic system, a quantitative measure of the amount of thermal energy not available to do work.
2. A measure of the disorder or randomness in a closed system.
3. A measure of the loss of information in a transmitted message.
4. The tendency for all matter and energy in the universe to evolve toward a state of inert uniformity.
5. Inevitable and steady deterioration of a system or society.

Entropy is increasing as the ability to do work is decreasing. The "heat death of the universe" is when its entropy has reach a maxim.

You have used technological terms in a manner inconsistent with their technical uses and inconsistent with the theory of matter, energy, and entropy currently accepted in physics and thermodynamics.

You used the calculus term 'derivative' in the sense of "derives from", and this is not consistent with a its use in calculus, which is to find a rate of change of one variable with respect to others.

You used the calculus term 'integrating' in the sense of "incorporating", and this is not consistent with its use in calculus, which is to find the sum of incremental changes of one variable with respect to another.

In both these cases, the uses are not even similar enough to qualify as a pun. What you describe would be much better characterized as doing a factor analysis.

Your use of "function", however, is not unreasonable, as it has a non-mathematical use comparable to its mathematical use.

"Breaking down" our "emotions" into constituent components requires having a theory of what the components are, or competing theories. I did not see a description of how to do that in your post.

However, Nina Bull did work on emotions in the 1940's, and Charlotte Read incorporated that work into general semantics at seminars. It went under the name, "The Attitude Theory of Emotion". I researched the reference material from Charlotte's bibliography, and discovered that it primarily dealt with body postures, feelings, and behavior, on the "output" side of our nervous process. I put that together with general semantics structural differential and abstracting on the "input" side of our nervous process to come up with a six-stage information processing model to relate both the emotional response process and the abstracting process. That model is described in my paper Think-Feel and Know-Act. It shows where the key to managing emotions can be found. The key is at the evaluation or decision process where we decide that something is "good" or "bad". We automatically orient toward "good" and away from "bad", and the corresponding emotions and behavior follow. By delaying the decision (the general semantics delayed response) we won't have a position to orient to or from, and consequently, no body posture, no build up of feelings, no follow-on action. Learn to choose when to say yes, when to say no, and when to say I have not decided. Over simplified? Yes. But, its a start.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Sunday, November 20, 2005 - 12:17 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail


Milton specifically asked me to comment.

Increasing mass by accelerating matter does not convert it to what we call light. It create a singularity, a black hole which prevents the escape of even light. Light consists of particles which have no rest mass. When enough mass is concentrated it create a situation where it takes more energy to climb out of the gravity well than any photon of light can have. The "escape velocity" of a black hole is greater than the speed of light, so no light can escape. "Speeding up" matter does not convert it to light. Before you object to my characterizing light as a particle, consider the wave-particle duality.

Mass-energy can be seen as both particles and as waves. De Broglie provided the relation in the equation L = h / p where L is the wavelength, h is Planck's constant and p is the momentum (mass times velocity) for simplicity sake. In the case of light the velocity of the photons is the speed of light, and the equation reduces to L = c / f where c is the speed of light and f is its frequency. The higher the frequency the more the energy E = hf. In the standard model of physics "light" consists of photons, one of the massless particles. That particulate matter is interchangeable with light shows up in the combination of matter and anti-matter. When an electron and a positron (anti-electron) come together, they "annihilate" each other and produce one or more photons the total energy of which adds up to the rest-mass of the electron and positron. The rest mass of each is .511 Mev, so the total energy of the photons will be 1.022 Mev plus any additional kinetic energy the two particles had. But matter or anti-matter, by itself cannot be converted into photons of light, which some might call pure energy. If you speed up a particle you add energy, but you never convert it to light. That is the nature of the current standard model of physics.

Using terms such a matter, entropy, light, energy, and speed inconsistently with their use in physics does not create a metaphor. The function of a metaphor is to communicate an unknown structure using a known structure. Milton's use of these terms, specifically in a manner contrary to the structure of physics, is not only not using a known structure to communicate an unknown one, it is propagating a false physical theory. Those who do not know enough physics can pass this false information along to others using the mechanism of time-binding. This goes directly against Korzybski suggestions beginning with Manhood of Humanity.

Korzybski states ... mathematics is the science of "Exact thought or rigorous thinking," and one of its distinctive characteristics is "precision, sharpness, completeness of definitions." This quality alone is sufficient to explain why people generally do not like mathematics and why even some scientists bluntly refuse to have anything to do with problems wherein mathematical reasoning is involved. In the meantime, mathematical philosophy has very little, if anything, to do with mere calculations or with numbers as such or with formulas; it is a philosophy wherein precise, sharp and rigorous thinking is essential. Those who deliberately refuse to think "rigorously"-that is mathematically-in connections where such thinking is possible, commit the sin of preferring the worse to the better; they deliberately violate the supreme law of intellectual rectitude. (MoH, p. 8)

The high praise that Korzybski gives to the precise use of mathematics throughout both MoH and S&S should not be diluted by using the technical terms of mathematics in a manner that has no structural similarity to the mathematical use. Milton's use of function has that structural similarity, but derivative and integrated do not.

Let's take a deeper look at Milton' formulation, now that you have prompted further precise analysis.

In " I think of emotions (not all) as thinking-evaluations concentrated, condensed, stabilizing, a lower state of entropy than the evanescent related thinking-evaluations. Milton related emotions to concentrated "lower entropy" which he previously aligned with "slower matter", and he related "thinking-evaluations" with the contrasting "faster" light, and tossed in the presumptive modifier "evanescent" to indicate that "thinking" and "evaluating" as "vanishing". The only "structural" correlation here is "higher speed" "light" with "higher level of abstracting" by presuming that "emotions" represent a more primitive and possibly lower level of abstraction corresponding with the "lower speed" solid matter while "thinking-evaluating" is higher.

If anything, emotional response are quick, and we need slower, more delayed, reactions to achieve rational thinking and more structurally sound evaluating, so Milton's alignment is exactly the reverse of what seems more consistent with general semantics.

At the five major seminars I attended the basic physics, including an introduction to relativity, was presented - even using some basic algebra. It included the E=MC2 relation, and the fact of increasing mass with velocity was included. After all, relativity, also termed "non-Newtonian" in general semantics circles, is supposed to be a corner-stone paradigm shift used as a metaphor to inform the shift from Aristotelian to non-Aristotelian reasoning. (And remember, Aristotelian is included in non-Aristotelian, because non-Aristotelian is an extension of Aristotelian.) I've seen far to many who confuse non-Aristotelian with "anti-Aristotelian". This was one of Stuart Mayper's concerns, and he wrote on this very subject.

Those who have been to the major seminars are "supposed to" understand these things, and they are "supposed to" communicate that understanding to those who have not been. We don't do that by watering down our precise use of terms, and we don't do that by propagating false descriptions of current basic physics.

I have many ways of communicating in many environments. My perspective on general semantics is quite well stated at http://www.xenodochy.org/gs/, and I have no intention of watering it down, especially not in this forum.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Sunday, November 20, 2005 - 12:32 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

I should add specifically that accelerating matter will not result in a "BOOM". If accelerated matter strikes something, the dispersal of energy in the resulting collision will make a "BOOM", but accelerating matter just adds kinetic energy simultaneously increasing its mass.


As V gets closer to the speed of light (C), V2/C2 gets closer to 1, and the denominator gets smaller. Dividing by a number smaller than 1 makes the resulting fraction grow. As V gets close to C the denominator gets close to zero, and the resulting value of M gets close to infinity.

Things don't go "BOOM" just because they go faster.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Sunday, November 20, 2005 - 11:06 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

"If the listener does not have the experiential elements, they must be provided." (Don Kerr at various general semantics seminars) If you already know what I'm talking about, you can choose not to be annoyed, because my particular abstraction, my way of saying it, might add to or alter your perception in the present context. The danger is that you will not see what I wrote because, it's not that seeing is believing, believing is seeing, and we're much better at believing than we are at seeing. http://www.xenodochy.org/ex/quotes/santayana.html You may read what I wrote, but see what you already believe.

I learned about metaphors, similes, and personification as literary devices back in my high school English classes. Metaphors compared and contrasted two unlike things by emphasizing some similarity of structure between the two, as did similes, the difference being similes used the words "like" or "as" whereas metaphors did not.

When used with two known structures - known to the listener, they draw attention to a perspective seen by the speaker. When used with one known structure and one unknown structure, they communicate information about the unknown structure to the listener, but if neither structure is familiar to the listener, they cannot evoke the perspective of the speaker or communicate something about one thing by using the other. The meaning so evoked will not communicate.

If the speaker uses terminology in a manner not consistent with the structure known to the listener, then the listener knows right away that the speaker "does not know what he or she is talking about". This is "like" (simile) a comparable practice in social circles - "name dropping". The person, by dropping the name in the casual conversation, conveys (falsely) the impression that he or she "knows" the person who's name is "dropped", when in actuality the person only "knows of" the person whose name is "dropped".

If you read in the paper something a celebrity, one you do not know personally, wrote, and then you say in a conversation, "(the name of that celebrity) was saying just the other day that (and you quote or paraphrase what you read)" you have "dropped the name" of that celebrity into the conversation in a way that falsely creates the impression that you know the person personally.

I consciously do it in one specific context. I have a dance step that I learned from watching Patrick Swasey in movies. When I tell my slightly impressed partner, "I learned it from Patrick Swasey,", I falsely create the impression that I "know" him, and "up" the "impression factor" a bit. Of course, I immediately correct that impression in the next phrase, after a pause, by adding, "by watching him in movies.", and I usually get the desired "joke" effect. After that, some partners have asked me to do my "Patrick Swasey" move in subsequent dances.

So when anyone on this board uses physics and mathematics technical terms in a way that is not consistent with the metaphorical structural similarities, he or she is "name dropping" the technical terms into the conversations. Milton did a very good thing by adding the caveat that he was not a mathematical expert, like (simile) my adding "by watching movies". Since I do qualify as a mathematics expert, I can provide the correct structural relations. Please note, that in some of Milton's past writings, he has used some of the terms of calculus in a way structurally similar to their mathematical usages.

If you were to say that emotions are a function of some specific variables, and then you ask how does changing one of these variables affect the resulting emotion? What happens if the change is made incrementally smaller and smaller? Can we see a corresponding smaller and smaller change in the resulting emotion? That would be a structurally correct application of differentiating the given emotion with respect to the variable selected.

Suppose, for example, you wanted to consider the possible effect of two variable, speed of response and loudness of voice on, say, for example, anger. You could conduct experiments measuring how rapidly a person responded and how loudly they spoke, and this is VERY important, the same thing in the same context. This would require a contrived experimental setup with different people who do not know they are being tested. If you conducted the test experimentally, you might be able to construct a function showing the level of anger as a function of the delay and loudness. Mathematical analysis of that data might be able to abstract a continuous function that passes through or close enough to the data points. Then it would be possible to find the rate of change of anger with respect to one or both of the variables. We could hypothesize, qualitatively, that as the delay got shorter and the loudness got more, the rise in anger might get more rapid if the phrase was "That's stupid!". But what about if the phrase was "That's beautiful!" Too loud or too fast probably won't reduce anger. These are merely intuitive speculations that might inform how to set up the experiment.

Nina Bull's work showed that "anger" or the feelings of anger got stronger if the proper behavior - striking - was held back. The feeling of fear got more intense if the individual did not run away.

In Milton's example, "E = f(thinking-evaluating, etc.) the relation is only qualatative, and is extremely abstract. A function maps a domain space, which can be multi dimensional, to a range space. In z=f(x,y), we need to say what are the possible values for x and y, and what are the possible values of z.

What are the possible value of "thinking-evaluating" in Milton's expression? What are the possible values of "E" in Milton's expression?

One very specific and restrictive property of a function is that it can have only one value for the same set of arguments. Otherwise it is only a relation. Each variable in the domain of a function represents an independent dimension. "Independent" means that they are not related. Examples are length, width, and height. We can have any combination of length, width, and height we want in a box, but the volume of the box, is a function of these three independent variables. The volume V=f(L,W,H) = l x w x h the product of all three. For any given combination, the volume is always the same. So, what are the dimensions that emotion can be thought of as a function of? And what are the values each dimension can have?

In volume, the dimensions are number that can have any positive value.

Let's have some example dimensions and some example values. They are Milton's thoughts, so ony he can expand his abstract formulation. However, if anyone want to offer his own insights as a result of these discussions, I think that is precisely what Frank is asking for, because a functional theory of moods may enable one to manage the individual dimensions, and therefore control the moods, thus providing a theory to answer Frank's third question.

This is my pet theory of emotion, stated slightly differently. Nina Bull showed that the type of emotion is a function of specific sets of body postural orientations, and that the strength of these feelings is a function of how long the subsequent behavior is delayed. Motor orientations follows directly from the decision of value to the person.

That means that strength of feeling can be significantly reduced if one does not delay or hold back on appropriate behavior. If someone annoys you (perhaps me), don't hold it in and allow it to fester, speak out right away. Shorting the time between the evaluation of negative and the subsequent orientation to strike and the taking of symbolic striking - speaking out -"discharges" the building up emotion befor it can get stronger. The second variable, the orientation itself can be prevented by backing up to the evaluation process itself. It stands to reason that if we don't know (have not decided) whether something is negative or positive, we won't orient toward or away from it. If you don't decide whether you agree with or disagree with what's being said, or how its being said, then you can't yet like or dislike it, so you cannot take an orientation towards or away from it. Without the orientation posture, the feelings will not flow. Charlotte Reed's organismic self-awareness portions at seminars help enable consciousness of one's reactions at silent levels. One can learn to detect orientations and realize that we may have made unconscious decisions of good or bad, like or dislike already, and with consciousness of abstracting, go back and consciously question the decision. That can allow us to "turn" off developing moods or emotions at the source the decision-orient process.

Each time I present this, I present it slightly differently, so perhaps the theory that emotion which takes on various intensity in six primary areas (nominal scale), can be managed by a combination of timing for appropriate action and the meta-decision process of avoiding coming to a definite conclusion of value.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Sunday, November 20, 2005 - 02:35 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Nina Bull's structure for "depression" involves a blocked goal that cannot be attacked.
One has a goal.
The goal is blocked.
The reaction is to attack the block.
The block cannot be attacked for some reason. (In evolution, a dominant person; today an authority figure such as a boss, a law, a physical impossibility, etc.)
It leaves the person resigned to his or her fate, but miserably unhappy as a result.
One solution is to find a way around the block.
Another solution is to change the goal.

Ben, you had been accepting the block to your goal in the form of individuals you could not "symbolically" attack. You finally found your way around the block, and the depression lifted, moving you into the state of elation, another of the "emotions" that Nina Bull studied - the feeling of triumph when a goal is finally achieved.


Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Monday, November 21, 2005 - 12:54 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Ah... The "nature-nurture" question. That question is still open in a lot of maladies. It requires very careful research to discover specific genetic causes. The influence of both may potentiate each other too. I'm inclined to think that a "predisposition" can be "activated" by time-binding in many cases. There are also maladies that show up in generation after generation, but no specific genetic cause has been identified.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Monday, November 21, 2005 - 04:26 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

I normally do not respond to or engage in ad hominem retorts, but I think I will make an exception here today.

Korzybski states ... mathematics is the science of "Exact thought or rigorous thinking," and one of its distinctive characteristics is "precision, sharpness, completeness of definitions." This quality alone is sufficient to explain why people generally do not like mathematics and why even some scientists bluntly refuse to have anything to do with problems wherein mathematical reasoning is involved. In the meantime, mathematical philosophy has very little, if anything, to do with mere calculations or with numbers as such or with formulas; it is a philosophy wherein precise, sharp and rigorous thinking is essential. Those who deliberately refuse to think "rigorously"-that is mathematically-in connections where such thinking is possible, commit the sin of preferring the worse to the better; they deliberately violate the supreme law of intellectual rectitude. (MoH, p. 8)

Milton, you quote Phillepe Chaslin (1857-1923) linguist, philosopher... as writing, "I believe that the imprecision of terms is due to the imprecision of our ideas, but I also think that the inexactitude of a language may cause further inexactitude in our ideas...."

This is very interesting, because I have been objecting to your imprecise use of terms. According to your own quote of Chaslin, your imprecise use of language is due to your imprecise ideas, and your continued use of imprecise language will contribute to further inexactitude in your ideas.

I do believe that you have "shot yourself in the foot" in your attempt to "shoot me down".

I have many ways of communicating in many environments. My perspective on general semantics is quite well stated at http://www.xenodochy.org/gs/, and I have no intention of watering down the need for precision, especially not in this forum.

General semantics has suffered from a lack of rigor. As mankind has marched on along the time-binding path, general semantics has failed to incorporate the increasing precision necessary for it to remain a viable scientific discipline. To prevent it from becoming just another self-help cult, that precision must be re-injected to build structures capable of withstanding the march of progress. Don't continue to contribute to the problem by failing to be precise and clear.

Your first question... What's in a metaphor? Comparison, simile, allegory, parable, maps and territories, mathematical functions, ratio and proportion, analogies, cognitive development, evolution of language, linguistic structure, ordered relations, cognitive science, basic communication, the means to understand one thing in terms of another, centuries of philosophical analysis, 23 million google hits, etc., etc., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metaphor and more. Obviously this comprises more than the dictionary definition. I can read and research as long as I like, and quit when I feel I've had enough, which I regularly do before I post on a subject. The key phrase, Milton, is "well known attributes", and evidence that you understood matter, energy, light, and entropy was lacking in your use. Because of that, the well known attributes (of matter, light, and entropy) could not be used to inform your attempted communication. The fact that you used the terms CONTRARY to the "well known attributes" further clouded the communication. Your terms were used imprecisely, and Phillepe Chaslin says that that is due to the ideas you were attempting to communicate being also imprecise. So, it seems that it may be you who is setting the "poorer example".

Clearly you have an idea about how formulation should look, but you do not express that idea with any precision; you merely ask questions. I make the effort to provide extensional examples and details rather than speak in abstract generalities. I make the effort to conform to Korzybski command to use the language of mathematic precisely. What better example is there to set?

Some people think that when two people who have studied general semantics for over thirty years disagree as strongly as we appear to, this is "bad" for the discipline. I happen to think that contrast and tension is a means to clarifying the issues, but that can only happen if we both move to specifics. I'm being very specific - taking it down a level of abstraction - moving more extensionally to the details. Are you coming with me?

If you wish to continue this discussion with fault finding rather than clarification, take it off the list.

By the way, our differences are tame compared to some of Descartes correspondences.