"Learned Helplessness" is "just" Prejudice Toward the Familiar

kenneth paul collins KPCollins at postoffice.worldnet.att.net
Sat Oct 12 19:41:43 EST 1996

Please consider the dynamics of "learned helplessness", wherein an 
experimental animal learns that "there is no escape" to the extent that, 
when there =is= an escape, the animal does not find it because the 
animal has learned not to try to find the escape...

...if one looks closely at all of human behavior, one finds that 
instances of what experimentalists refer to as "learned helplessness" 
exist =throughout= the realm of human behavior...

...an example of such is that Children whose experience is delimited to 
deprived environments tend to be "attracted" to impoverished 
environments as adults... it is in this way that ghettos are 

...perhaps the most-tragic instance of "learned helplessness" is the 
vicious cycle of Child-Abuse... 80-90% of the time adults who batter 
Children were themselves battered as Children... what's going on 
here...? one would think it'd be just the opposite, no...? wouldn't the 
expereince of being battered as a Child be so horrific that when the 
battered Child matured to adulthood, the adult would be so filled with 
loathing with respect to her/his former experience of being battered 
that she/he would do anything except recreate the circumstance with 
her/his own Children...

...but too often, the cycle repeats... why...?

...this tendency exists because of the way our nervous systems process 
information... our nervous systems process information in two 
major modalities... the passive and active, or sensory-dominant 
and motor dominant, or information-gathering and 
performance-optimization, modes... 

...in the passive mode, our nervous systems are configured so that 
motor dynamics are subordinately-coupled to sensory dynamics... 
that is, motor activation will occur which will, for instance, 
result in an obhect being touched, or turned over in one's 
hands... the manifestation of such information-gathering behaviors 
is driven by the inverting reward mechanism, which, under the governance 
if the hippocampi, doles out reward when relatively-small instances of 
TD E/I(up) are experienced... the main functionality, here, is that the 
sensory receptors tend to be optimally oriented with respect to 
environmental novelty, and this results in the nerual activation that 
occurs being expressly driven with respect to the environmental 
novelty... superimposed upon these dynamics is TD E/I minimization... 
the dynamics will continue until no more TD E/I(down) can be wrung out 
of correalted neural activation "states"... then the 
hippocampus will turn off inverting reward, and the formerly-novel 
environmental stimulus set will have acquired the quality of being 

...what's important is that sensory experience is "learned"... encoded 
within microscopic trophic modifications... within sensory cortex... 
and, subsequently, this sensory encoding is used as a "template" through 
which motor activation "states" can become optimized (TD 

...the primary sensory and motor maps within cortex are mirror images of 
each other so that the maps will, in fact, be Geometrically-aligned 

...the net result is that the directionality inherent in sensory 
experience is "mirrored" in motor activation "states"... in the case of 
a battered Child, the former be-struck sensory neural-activation 
directionality becomes inverted into motor "striking" directionality... 
and because of the way the sensory and motor maps are Geometrically 
correlated, all that's happening is that the nervous system is blindly 
seeking to minimize TD E/I...

...in other words, the nervous system acquires that which is referred to 
as "learned helplessness" via blind TD E/I minimization... but this 
phenomena needs no special name because it's the Same-Stuff that's 
described in the "Automation of Knowing..." (AoK) ms... it is PTOFA... 
prejudice toward the familiar...

...in the vicious cycle of Child Abuse, we see how great is the need for 
communicating the a sense for the way in which the dynamics of TD E/I 
minimization govern behavior...

...examples abound... one that's particularly-relevant is the way in 
which education in Neuroscience has blindly resisted coming to terms 
with the way in which TD E/I minimization governs behavior... it's 
old-long-since that it's been the case that there's been enough 
information existing in the Neuroscience stacks to permit the CNS to be 
resolved as an information-processing system... but the idea that the 
"brain is irresolvable" has been handed down from one generation of 
academicians to the next, ever since folks first explored the brain... 
seeing the ventricles as its main feature, and dreaming up the "humoral" 
view on behavior... the notion of the brain's supposed "irresolvability" 
actually came to be =celebrated= as some sort of perverse "badge of 
honor"... "Oh, aren't we grand? Look at how difficult is the problem on 
which we're working!"...

...and so, even though there has =long= been enough information sitting, 
collecting dust, in the Neuroscience stacks of good libraries, "learned 
helplessness" has prevented folks from seeing that the information did, 
in fact, enable them to resolve the brain as an information-processing 
system... it's a bit humorous, no? study the "learned helplessness" of 
rats, but don't recognize the Same-Stuff in "neuroscientists" :-)

...such is the "torture chamber" in which absence of understanding with 
respect to the way the functioning of our nervous systems is governed by 
blind TD E/I minimization has had us "trapped"...

...the "time" has come for Neuroscience to bravely lift our 
long-suffering species "up where it belongs"... please hasten the day. 

K. P. Collins
People hate because they fear, and they fear because
they do not understand, and they do not understand 
because hating is less work than understanding.

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