Saturday, July 28, 2007

benoit vs basal ganglia

I just had an idea that is too amazingly simple.

I was reading more in Supreme Doctrine. One of Benoit's metaphors is "training". He imagines the mind as a horse being ridden by a horseman. The horse is sort of like "subconscious", although not exactly. It's more like what you do. The horseman periodically (every other moment, or with long stretches in between) interrupts the horse and evaluates it, good or bad. This training is motivated by the idea that "heaven is just around the corner" -- if I can just get/change/accomplish whatever image, my fundamental distress will be solved. Benoit points out that the training itself isn't bad; for example, training your horse is what lets you develop the understanding that leads to enlightenment. In fact, if you try to eliminate the training, thinking that it is the root of your distress (which is, in a sense, true), then you're just training yourself not to train, which is at least as bad!

Anyway, my thought was, what if that is the basal ganglia loop?!? The brain is training itself through the dopamine signal (and probably lots of other signals). Maybe the horseman is cortical control or something else, but the key is that idea of the online training loop. That would suggest that this system is close to whatever in the brain actually is the root of distress. I know I'm getting way ahead of myself and this isn't well-formed at all. There's got to be something here, though.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

don't lay a finger on life

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

another thing with the cognitive scaffolding

I just thought of another purpose for cognitive scaffolding. Cognitive is periodically going to ask, "what's up?", and if it doesn't get a satisfactory answer, it will get agitated and start messing around. For cognitive to keep quiet, it needs an explanation of the situation in its own terms.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Monday, July 09, 2007

cognitive scaffolding for non-cognitive development

Here is another idea.

Not all personal development is cognitive. But maybe cognitive processes can facilitate non-cognitive development in some cases. An example would be where cognitive simply knows that it's not the whole picture. Or cognitive can get feedback and learn which of its patterns are leading into good transcognitive states.

Because cognitive is doing this stuff, it either stops itself from fucking up other processes, or actively helps growth, maybe by remembering to "do" a spiritual practice. (I love how cognitive thinks it is "doing" :-) ... not that it's not :-) ...)

This might be related to good kid's stories, which have deep messages whose motivation can't be understood by the kids; yet the pithy statement of the message sticks with the kid and guides them to absorb experiences that help to flesh out the motivation.