Axiomatic evolutionary neurolpsychology for numb-heads (with preparatory pre-amble)

Peter F. fell_spamtrap_in at
Fri Aug 23 10:07:32 EST 2002


If you see this, consider yourself intercepted by EAIMC Internetional Ptd.
Lty.[for, 'EPT-Aligned Information, Marketed Conspicuously' on the Internet,
by me]

First an Inroduction:
Briefly about "EPT"

I use the capital letter sequence "EPT" rather freely - some times as a
straight label and other times as an insinuating reference to an informal
but basically science-aligned formulation of what I understand, and how I
understand it.
With obvious implicitness, and for better or worse, EPT is both
'light-making' and based on serious and sincerely meant reasoning. It is
light-making in order to have fun whilst focusing on (and shining revealing
light on) hard to take aspects of mainly (but not only) how we humans are
and how we evolved.
Here is a piece of EPT that might be titled:

"A View of the Actention (Selection) System, and a Metaphor Befitting its
Functural Organization"

 And here are a couple of suggested subtitles:

"The Blind Watchmaker Moonlighting As An Entirely Mindless Master Programmer
Of Neural Program Structures"; and, "How to fabricate an EPT frame for what
consciousness (here seen as an 'energized psychophysiologically patterned
transient') is; how we also otherwise are; and how we came to be thus"

Whenever one is doing and/or is conscious about something, there exists
within one's brain and nervous system a correspondingly specific, though of
course not usually actually specifiable, pattern (in brain-space-time) of
predominantly active neurons.

Any such pattern consists of especially "energized" activity by only some of
all the neurons that together form what may be described as our "Actention
(Selection) System" (AS for shorter and sweeter).

["Actention" is nothing more than an EPT amalgam of the words "action"
(behavioral action that is) and "attention".]

I used the word "energize" as it is
commonly used (in most topical University-textbooks read by me) with
implicit reference to the role played by a gross physioanatomical
aspect/component of brains, one that I enjoy referring to as "Reticular
Type" neurons. It is approximately this 'component' that A.R. Luria
defined, or characterized as per chapter 3, The Three Principal Functional
Units, of his book "The Working Brain - An Introduction To Neuropsychology"
(Penguin paperback).

Some of the key words Luria used are (according to Basil Haigh's translation
from Russian) included in this *my* short single-sentence summary (of the
aspect of the 3rd chapter of this book that I use as a reference here):

--Non-specific and specific fibers (hence ditto neurons) have a ubiquitously
reciprocal relationship.--

And, although almost the entire 3rd chapter of this book is essential
'EPT-underpinning' reading, here is a tiny snipped-out excerpt (from page

-- "..every specific afferent and efferent "fiber" is accompanied by a
fiber of the non-specific activating system..."--

The transiently predominantly energized neurons within a brain (or a CNS)
can loosely but logically be correlated with, or even seen to be
instrumental in the emergence (and ephemeral existence) of, *any kind* of
Consciousness (i.e. any level, feature-content, and intensity, of being
Conscious) *and/or any specific behavior* (no matter how short and simple,
or long and complex).

[A short but topical EPT essay, titled "Anthropology and
anatomy of fast and slow neural tissues", will be just a click away in the
web page version of this piece of EPT.]

So --- and since I insist on insinuating the validity and virtues of my own
thinking and Explanatory Platform-Terminology %-} --- I would like to
that 'it is EPT' to think about all of that in terms of "actention modules"
and "focuses of actention".

By the way, the "AS" is not only a fresh complementary alternative to always
having to think in terms of "our brain and nervous system", because I have
found a 'pragmatic place' for this abbreviation right in the middle of a
vastly more integrative acronym-concEPT, namely "AEVASIVE".

[When I capitalize the letters "e", "p", and "t" of the word "concept", I do
so in order to flag that a term being referred to was contrived or contorted
by me in order to fit it within, and forge the formulation of, my
encompassing philosophical thesis and its content of cross-correlations.]

The AS is a modular, but not neatly structured, functional organization.

Moreover, the AS is a complex functional structure (or "functure") within
functionally incompatible neural program structures (actention modules) as
if mutually compete (against each other), and those that are mutually
compatible cooperate (or "team up").

["Program structures" is an expression that I first saw being used by L.A.
Hart.; the author of my very
first book about the brain. From that expression he derived the word
"prosters"; And he used this term to name and in principle explain the
'functural' organization of brains as: prosters working like "summing
amplifiers" interconnected both in parallel and hierarchically, with the
very most primary weighting and specificity of the prosters being
genetically determined.

Hart also depicted all the input and output to and from prosters with a
"jukebox" metaphor.]

Some actention modules are ontogenetically grown and readied (they are
"innate" instincts) but we do also learn/build new ones as if almost joined
to the top of our primary instinctive ones.
And actention modules of course exist as if in parallel. [A very
over-stylized but relevant
pictorial illustration, seen in Discover Magazine, is one of a short stem
with several stalk-like projections.]

Mutually incompatible (and as if competing) actention modules exert an
inhibitory influence on each other.

This mutual inhibition between actention modules is related to what is
conventionally known as "lateral inhibition", or
(somewhat less conventionally, as per Paul Bush's web-document)
"center/surround excitation/inhibition".

Any actention module, or combination (team) of compatible actention modules,
is, whilst transiently predominantly energized, a respective "focus of

Whatever the almost arbitrary choice and description of a "focus of
actention" [e.g., something as brief and simple as any "orienting reflex",
as split and half-hearted as "reading a paper whilst playing the violin", or
as purposive and sophisticated as "a very long and complicated plan being
diligently carried out"], it is "being paid" (so to speak) by the individual
drawing from an ultimately limited internal resource of vital energy and
ditto molecular matters.

No matter what kind of behavior and/or what conscious content (e.g. "feeling
consciousness" or "cognitively aware consciousness" or a more or less
integrated blend of both) that the EPT notion of "focuses of actention" may
(or does, by EPT definition) mean, the concEPT's general meaning always
holds (according to my "author_iterative" grip on this concEPT) that some
actention modules are achieving active dominance over different other
potentially dominant neural actention modules --- whether as a result of
conditioned-in or current environmental cues, or by ontogenetic
developments, or all these or more determinants acting together.

Merely potentially dominant (not actually dominant) actention modules 'want'
and 'wait' for their chance or turn (mega-metaphorically speaking) to become
predominantly activated by environmental and endogenous cues and/or to be
released from suppression/sublimation by both (or either) transiently
dominant other actention modules, and (or) by largely chronic and highly
selective "pain/distress-gating" performed by to-this-task -specialized

I have found an acronym forming (and to me satisfying - of course
exceptionally so) way to thoroughly define and denote these interneurons.
That is, I term them with reference to "selective Hibernation
imploring type situations". [I explain what I mean by "selective
 Hibernation" here.]

This formulation gives me ample ability to justify referring to these
interneurons as:
A type of neurons that ultimately detect and "gate" (block or "filter") and
so prevent potentially self-defeatingly futile reactive consequences of
our sensory-motivational processing/handling of, AND
ditto in respect of the automatically conditioned-in (hence chronically
reverberating or ready to give rise to future "reactive resonances")
"UNCONSCIOUS (however potentially *conscious*) REMEMBRANCES" of,

"S.H.I.T.S." [dots usually dispensed with].

Or, for a fully spelled-out and less incomplete EPT account (one involving
some alternative but still typically EPT words and notations):

"Specific hibernationT imploring type situations" come
"conditioned-in, chronically kept hibernatedT, hence unconsciously
remembered, stressors effecting symptoms"
[the loosely alluding EPT abbreviation of which can range from CURSES to
approximately CCKHHURSSSES but all these spelling versions of this
concEPTualization of this insidious type of memories - demand the same
pronounciation] are what "SHITS-detecting/gating" inhibitory interneurons
help us to handle.

CURSES, these
commonly conditioned-in discrete dynamic brain states, should perhaps be
thought of as located *mainly* in the amygdala part of our neuroanatomy.

Instead of calling fast and slow types of traumatic situations "SHITS" they
may (by circular reasoning) be labeled and characterized as circumstances
that via their sensory
impact and perceptual processing/evaluation "induces CURSES". Thereof the
alternative acronym "ICTS".

The same acronym can be derived by analyzing from a prototypal primordial
perspective. In this way the ICTS alt. SHITS (or trauma-type situations)
may be still more profoundly understood against background-scenarios such as
illustrated by "Irritating Cloud Type (selective) Situations" -- in
lives of (and as far back as) single-cell individuals of to us ancestral
primordial populations.

[By the way it was in this context, of analyzing the primordial meaning of
SHITS type  "Adversity type evolutionary/selective pressures", and
"Opportunity type evolutionary/selective pressures", that a seldom seen
insight into cancerous growth as if  'popped out' and were percEPTively
picked up.]

Inhibitory interneurons that in phylogeny on the
whole proved to be helpful against paying futile focuses of actention (a
paying from always limited internal resources of vital/reproductive energy
and molecular matter) can be called "SHITS-detecting neurons".

Such neurons tended to emerge because of the fact that individuals
(generally) frequently end-up in SHITS.

Other than that these interneurons may be loosely described as "ultimately
SHITS-detecting" they can also be thought of as "primarily

The last description will seem more apt if one considers the apparently
available (either in advance anatomically available or because of specific
brain structional proximities easily made available by trophic plasticity)
alternative routes that a central need-representing neural signal may take
in the wake of being blocked from following its path of "first-priority"
a path that is by natural selection and evolutionary pressures in phylogeny
roughly set as 'the preferred').

SHITS detecting/deflecting neurons are inhibitory neurons who, from their
locations 'alongside' actention modules, are specialized to operate
opioid-mediated and/or otherwise neurochemically effected "gates" against
somehow overwhelming pain and/or distress. The secretion of inhibitory
neurotransmitters by SHITS-detecting cells
block excitatory nerve signals that would otherwise
give rise to (or energize) distressful focuses of actention as a result of
just occurred, and/or long past, personal prompting and conditioning by
gradually, *as much and as often as suddenly*, turned traumatic

So, fully functional and highly charged actention modules can exist as if in
sublimated (automatically insidiously blocked or gated) state (or, IOW, can
be "repressed" to a  "subconscious status") within the AS.

[An other EPT-underpinning neurological interpretation of human behavior,
one that included the notion of "the dominant", was spotted by me in chapter
7 (written by R.A. Pavlygina) of "The Learning Brain", MIR Publishers,
Moscow, 1982 (English translation 1983).]

It is EPT to consider that "the AS" was naturally selected by the mixtures
of adverse and
opportune life-time challenges (or situations) that in our phylogeny
as if embodied, or had the role of, the "selective" (in a Darwinian sense)
environmental "pressures" that (in a shallow but nevertheless important
evolution-theoretical sense) shaped our human phenotype as if by "selecting
in/out" from amongst each new generation of more or less mutated individuals
(individuals of populations to which our evolutionary ancestors belonged).

All neurons (or cells) - not just of brainy individuals - also reflect a
genetic master program; I.e., one 'written' (throughout the phylogeny of
fauna), in the lowest-level 'DNA-language', by ancestor-affecting and so in
a Darwinian sense "selecting" [or naturally selective] "opportunity type"
(most coarsely classified) and "adversity type" (also most coarsely
classified) environmental "pressures" (alt. challenges) and potential
functural (or "structional") outcomes of genetic mutations.

I make use of a still deeper (actually ultimately complete! ;->)
of (or "Evolution-Philosophical Thinking" about and in terms of)
evolutionary "opportunity" and "adversity", but I leave all that out for
now, excEPT for commenting to the extent of 2 tiny paragraphs, as follows:

These two broadest possible types of "selective pressures" (Opportunity type
SP and Adversity type SP)---they are meant to imply all imaginable sub types
of this dialectic dichotomy---plus blunt concepts of 'raw and random'
environmental and
genetic variation (mainly "mutation" and "drift"), plus all fundamental
physical and chemical forces and interactions necessarily to have existed
before, and those that inevitably concur with, any psychophysical example of
"What Is's biological-level self-patterning", are all accommodated by yet
another concEPT. Namely, the "Evolutionary Pressure Totality". [Yet another
reason for calling EPT just that].

Whether one naively and bluntly considers all, or just some, results of the
Evolutionary Pressure Totality [the dichotomy of which, becomes, when viewed
and understood all the way to the concEPT's fullest dEPTh of meaning,
correspondingly abbreviated to OTEP and ATEP] to be either apt or inept (or
for better balance a bit of both), the entire 'evolutionary work' is done by
a Blind and Mindless master programmer (who does not listen to anything, not
even if being called Mrs. Darwkins.)

However, there is more to be more meticulously metaphorically mentioned
about Actention (Selection) Systems:

It may also be considered that the 'competition' between incompatible
actention modules is one in which the
competing modules are differentially 'cheered-on' and differentially 'booed'
by both phylogenetic and personal past (not necessarily consciously
remembered) and concurrent, environmental conditions (in any case, and IOW,
situations and events interacting with or impacting on individuals).

The "competition" is one for which the ground-rules has been (as if)
written in DNA to the specifications given by the
evolutionary pressure totality.

That is, "naturally selective"
(or 'evolutionary pressure') type situations in our phylogeny do, through
their DNA-coding, protein-producing, and dynamic sensory and social
*consequences*, as if 'umpire' the competition within the Actention

IOW, our phylogeny has provided the basic right-of-way rules for
between actention modules. And our past conditioning and concurrent
environment provide the rest of the rules.

Apropos "environmental conditions", I suggest an artificial (but 'didactic')
division of lifetime influences into
two types: 'presence type' and (most importantly) 'absence type'
environmental features; i.e., features that separately, and together, have a
significant immediate and/or delayed/future influence on the "sensorimotor

I use this dichotomy only to highlight and stimulate a realization that
both, an individual's lifetime of motivational pressures, and its phylogeny
full of environmental "selective pressures", do importantly contain
environmental challenges (pressures) of "absence type adversity type", and
that conditioned-in "absence-type adverse influences contribute to an
Actention Selection System's (neural individual's) available repertoire and
ongoing choice of "focuses of actention"; and that some such "absences"
qualify as "lack of love", and that a "lack of love" can come about in the
form of a chronic absence of physical touch, and that such an example of a
"lack of love" (in academic circles most famously recognized by what was
implicitly demonstrated by Harlow's 'deprivation experiment' with monkeys)
inevitably tend to become traumatic or a permanently internalized trauma
caused by "skin-starvation" (John Bowlby) and consequently behaviorally
expressed as the conditioned-in aftermath of such a trauma would.
Or, as implied and described by way of a "concEPT kept" (or captured)
insight, or "philosophical umbrella understanding": Any environmental causes
of chronic
"skin-starvation" or of any other chronic non lethal need-deprivation, does
as if get a thus unlucky individual into "a SHITS", and put a corresponding
'CURSES type
memory' inside its brain.

You may consider the concEPT "CURSES" to be an EPT alternative (or
replacement) for the following samples of concept-constructs by others (not
in any order of preference but in perfect chronological order of ontological
occurrence): "Traumatic memories" (Sigmund Freud); "Engrams" (R.L. Hubbard);
"Primal Pain" (Arthur Janov); Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)".

A Tolerable EPT (as in Etymologically Paraphrased 'Thesauric') definition of
the spectrum of Hibernatory-mode self-regulation:

This "spectrum" (the phylogenetic background to which, or "naturally
selective" cause of which, can be considered a subset of *adversity type
selection pressures*) can be
described and defined (with elastic reference to the suitably 'sounding'
acronym-concEPT "SHITS" in which my percEPTive take on the meaning of
"Hibernation" figures) as

Hibernation (or Hibernatory self-regulation) may mean, from, a relatively
"mild SHITS" where the acronym might best be derived from
"selective habituation instilling type stimulation", through either mild or
severe but most of all *regularly eventuating* SHITS where the acronym might
best be derived from "seasonal Hibernation inviting type situation", to any
severe and irregularly occurring SHITS where the acronym would best be
derived from "*_selective Hibernation_ imploring* type situation").

The unifying functional/adaptive feature of "Hibernatory" (with a capital H
to illustrate the concept's expanded meaning in this context)
self-regulation, is a suppression of cell-metabolism (e.g. by a mechanism
even as precisely targeted, or as "selective", as one that can prevent the
burning of energy specific to sustaining the firing of a particular neuron)
in the service
of conserving vital (potentially reproductive) resources.

My main focus is and will always
remain on the last-listed kind of SHITS, because this area of the spectrum
of Hibernatory self-regulatory states tends to be concealed from us (at all
levels of our capacity for being or becoming "conscious") as a consequence
of the AEVASIVE aspect of our psychophysiology and evolution.

That the acronym "SHITS" is only a deceptively inept concept, is a
conclusion that logically flows from the fact that every relevant
*science-aligned* manner of reasoning suggest *a definitional overlap*
between states of "selective" (as in functionally discrete or localized)
"Hibernation", and states of "selective" UNCONSCIOUSNESS.


This post of mine was, as my posts almost always are, stingily sponsored by
EAIMC Internetional Ptd. Lty., and *not just* jotted in justifiable though
author-image jeopardizing jester, but - by jove! - also with some equally
well warranted serious intent.

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