Virtual Reality in Medicine Market Size by Top Key Players, Growth Opportunities, Incremental Revenue , Outlook and Forecasts to 2026. By Navanath R on May 4,
Mapping the MindMapping the Mind: A Math & Physics-based Approach to Understanding Emotions & Mental Health (A Hypothesis)
Part 1: The Fundamental Origins of Thoughts & Feeling (pg. 1)
Part 2: A Quantum Theory of Emotional Relativity & the Origins of Human Behavior (pg. 35)
Part 3: Research Proposal: Making Sense of Mental Illness–A Mathematical Approach (pg.68)
Part 4: The Translation of Physics Formulas to their Psychological Counterparts (pg.75)
Part 5: Q&A and Further Reading (pg. 79)
Part 1: The Fundamental Origins of Thoughts & Feelings
“No theory of physics that deals only with physics will ever explain physics. I believe that as we go on trying to understand the universe, we are at the same time trying to understand man.” –John Wheeler, physicist
Our human experiences of thoughts, feelings and consciousness give every impression of lending themselves beautifully to mathematical description. Each aspect of psychology seems to have a precise corollary within the field of physics, such that a person’s mental and physical reality function as parallel realities. I am proposing that the human mind functions as though it were a virtual atom and can therefore be modeled as one–so understanding the mind and human behavior requires an understanding of the principles of physics and chemistry.
To be clear, I’m not suggesting psychology is physics, or that an atom is singularly conscious (though neither would I entirely rule that out). Rather I am suggesting psychology parallels physics, and therein I think lies their mutual untapped value. Psychology looks, smells, tastes and feels like physics, yet it is neither physics itself nor is it derived from physics–it’s simply analogous. Human beings are at the same time a microcosm of the macroscopic world around us, and a macrocosm of the ultra-microscopic atomic world—the point where the ultra large and the ultra small meet. As such, collectively and individually our minds present a unique opportunity for studying both classical & quantum physical phenomena at once, in particular how life makes its transition between the ultra-small and the ultra-big.
The human mind is a proxy for this transition that we can study–being at the same time a ‘classical’ system without the usual limitations of friction (where one person’s mind is concerned) and a ‘quantum’ system without the usual limitations of uncertainty (where a group of people’s minds are concerned). It is therefore our understanding of pair-bonding relationships, because they represent the exact middle point between a classical system and quantum systems, that I would argue holds humanity’s greatest hope to solving the biggest riddle in physics—how can quantum and classical physics possibly describe the same universe?
Most basically, I am proposing that the fundamental building blocks of the mind are universal, that they are virtual versions of the components of atoms, and it’s their unique combinations that give us each our personal mental/emotional experience. My goal is to describe these fundamental building blocks that make up our virtual mental world using the language of physics to establish whether it reveals anything meaningful for mental health and high-energy physics, or not. I am suggesting identifying the common threads that run between physics and psychology have the potential to revolutionize both fields–psychology’s ability to treat its most difficult mental health cases and physics’ ability to test its most elusive high energy theories.
In our physical environment the landscape of our surroundings gets shaped over time by the chemistry of nature and weather, which we refer to as ‘the elements.’ I intend to demonstrate that in the mental environment of the mind, virtual chemical elements are what ‘shape’ our mental topography and set the stage for how our feelings flow. And consequently, the math and physics that applies to the periodic table applies in full to the shaping of our thoughts and feelings and consequently to our behavior.
In the process, I aim to demonstrate how cognitively our beliefs & expectations emerge from the landscape of our mental/emotional circumstances identically to the way gravity emerges from the landscape of physical spacetime, paving the way for Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity to be applicable to comprehending people’s thoughts, feelings, behavior & personality.
As such, by bringing together the world’s knowledge of psychology and physics, I believe we can generate a more complete picture of both–one that rounds out our understanding of the universe while illuminating our understanding of the mind. Most importantly, I intend to show that an accurate universal, mental/emotional map grounded in well-established mathematical principles can help humanity reduce mental illness to numerical equations that physics can solve, with clear solutions that psychology can apply.
Based on the hypothesis that the function and structure of the mind directly imitates atomic/nuclear structure and function, I am suggesting that all human feelings can be reduced to coordinate points which can be mapped onto a standard, 3-dimensional (virtual) coordinate system. The x, y and z axes that make up the ‘virtual stage’ on which our mental and emotional reality plays out boil down to something along the lines of:
- An (x) axis that informs the physical component of how we feel, whether we are enjoying ourselves or not, with the question: “Do I like how I feel?” (This dictates how much we care.)
“…I don’t like how I feel…. “I like how I feel…”
← -x [TENSE] ————————— 0 [CALM] ————————— +x [EXCITED]→
“…I feel better….” “I don’t care…”
- A (y) axis that informs the mental component of how we feel, whether we feel empowered or not, with the question: “Do I have what I want?”
“…I don’t have what I want.” “I have plenty of what I want…”
← -y [DEFICIENT] ——————— 0 [STABLE] ——————— +y [ABUNDANCE]→
“…I needed this…” “I don’t need this…”
- A (z) axis that informs the social/spiritual component of how we feel, whether we feel connected or disconnected to those around us and thus how responsible we feel for our actions, with the question: “Does what I do matter (to anyone I care about)?”
“…I feel not cared for.” “I feel cared for…”
← -z [ALONE] ——————— O [PRESENT] ——————— +z [BELONGING]→
“…I feel noticed.” “I feel forgotten…”
Why these qualities in particular?
To the best of my observation, it is these qualities that describe the essence of
- atomic/nuclear phenomena,
- the actions of molecules and cells, and
- the trajectories of human mental/emotional experience.
When we strip away the ‘why’ of what happens, combinations of these three qualities are I think what is left.
Basically, I am proposing that, a ‘key set of defining coordinates’ defines all mental/emotional states and dictates a person’s mental/emotional experience–and as some key aspect of a person’s body’s physical state changes, so too will that person’s mental/emotional state change with it. I am suggesting it is a virtual, atom-mimicking, coordinate-based, mental version of our physical self that projects what we know as our ‘mind’, whose
- ‘locations’ are influencing our mood,
- ‘trajectories’ are informing our thoughts and feelings,
- ‘spin’ is informing when we become consciously aware, and
- ‘wave function’ informs our decisions.
As the body goes, there goes the mind, and vice-versa, in a perpetual feedback loop. In this paper, I have attempted to highlight parallels between the ways atoms behave/the forces that drive them and the ways people behave/the motivations that drive them. For example, an atom that is unstable because it has too many protons (if it also happens to be low in energy) will seek to attain a more stable configuration through a process called electron capture. To become more stable, an electron is drawn from the atom’s electron shell into its nucleus, where it’s joined with a proton to become a neutron, producing a neutrino as a by-product. Because the neutrino (charge-less and nearly massless) doesn’t respond to the powerful forces present in the nucleus, the neutrino is promptly ejected from the nucleus.
I am suggesting that human behavior reflects aspects of atomic experience, and that, somehow, virtual atomic/nuclear states drive our behavior. In other words, whether at a given moment we feel ‘captured’ vs ‘chosen’, ‘rejected’ vs ‘released’, ‘burdened’ vs ‘enriched’, or ‘robbed’ vs ‘streamlined’, depends on which part of the virtual atom we are ‘channeling’, and which lens of atomic experience we happen to be ‘looking through’. Are we experiencing the perspective of the electron being ‘captured’? Or is it being ‘chosen?’ Are we the neutrino getting ‘rejected’–or feeling ‘freed?’ Maybe rather we’re the nucleus doing the rejecting–or the freeing. Or the proton experiencing a fundamental identity shift to neutron? Or the entire (exhausted) atom simply doing whatever it can to stabilize itself? To be clear, I am NOT suggesting an atom itself experiences these ‘feelings’ (although I wouldn’t rule it out), rather I am suggesting the stories we use to rationalize and explain whatever fundamental atomic phenomena we happen to be channeling at a given moment might be an evolutionary human survival adaptation, not a reflection of purely objective reality. Until, that is, our stories become ‘self-fulfilling prophecies’ that over time end up, in a sense at least, ‘creating our own reality.’
I AM suggesting the creativity to overlay our sensory input (from interactions with our external surroundings) ONTO the template of pre-existing basic, fundamental (virtual) atomic mind phenomena is what gives our human lives their richness, meaning and interest.
And based on the idea that people’s feelings and perspectives seem to mirror nuclear and atomic processes, I am suggesting that our urges to ‘throw something away’, ‘steal something’, ‘rob someone’, ‘reject someone’, or even ‘fire a weapon’, may be perpetuated by truly fundamental instincts and drives that can perhaps be best understood through the lens of nuclear physics. Likewise, our sense of ‘feeling robbed/betrayed/aroused/excited/letdown’, etc, may be born of fundamental atomic physics, as virtual/mental electrons get shuffled around virtual/mental atomic shells in our minds. I am surmising we humans (especially the weaker we are feeling) give into these atomic-state driven urges, plenty of which are maladaptive, personally detrimental and socially aberrant, because they feel like they should help resolve the cognitive dissonance we feel when our insides don’t match what’s going on outside us.
For example, If mentally the atomic-like pattern running through a person’s mind is “we’ve got to steal an electron to stabilize ourselves now”, the chance of that person stealing something should be extremely high. Or if the overwhelming message the mind is channeling is “we’ve got to donate three electrons now to stabilize ourselves” it seems not unlikely it’s going to manifest as a ‘giving stuff away frenzy’ that feels oddly compulsive. The fact that the mind is talking about electron (not a Gucci purse) gets lost in translation somewhere between body and mind, because of fundamental uncertainty, in this case the inability to accurately assess feelings and thoughts at the same time. So attempts to solve subatomic-based problems with macroscopic solutions are usually doomed from the start–they’re fundamentally incompatible. The longshoreman-turned-philosopher Eric Hoffer summed it up succinctly: “…you can never get enough of what you don’t need…”.
Human perspective, I am proposing, is to some unknown extent informed by whichever fundamental atomic state the brain has (somehow) decided has taken precedence inside the body, related to whichever isotope of whichever atom of whichever element in whichever state is informing (essentially ‘channeling’) our perceptions. The point I am making is that the exact same math, physics and logic that helps us understand how an atom behaves, might turn out to be useful in helping us make better sense of human thoughts, feelings, perspectives and ultimately, behavior.
To this point, I am hypothesizing that by starting with close examination of human mental/emotional reality and perspective, we may be able to work backwards to a meaningful understanding of what is happening inside our own physical bodies at the molecular, atomic and subatomic level, using the tools of chemistry and physics. How, for example, if we have some 7 billion billion billion atoms inside our bodies, does our brain arrive at one atomic configuration/process that guides our thoughts, feelings and actions in that moment? And for how long is a single atomic/nuclear state/process relevant? And why?
To at least try to begin to answer these questions, I examine human experience for coincidence between the kinds and varieties of mental/emotional states people experience, the words and ways we describe them, and what they have in common with basic atomic & nuclear properties including
- energy states (i.e. ground state, excited state, etc…),
- stability (i.e. filled octet preference, ‘magic’ proton/neutron ratio, radioactivity…), and
- configuration (i.e. paired/unpaired electrons, nucleon pairing, states of matter).
Explanation/Background for Hypothesis
Aside from their literal coincidence, there seems to be a distinct and remarkable parallel between the behavior of atoms and the behavior of people—an uncanny resemblance between the ‘e- motion’ occurring in the shells of an atom that dictates its properties and behavior, and the ‘emotion’ that occurs within a self and dictates a person’s personality and behavior. Essentially, I am proposing the body’s nervous system has developed a way to assess and translate some subset of the body’s ‘averaged, approximated, atomic/nuclear-state data’, into what the brain perceives and projects as the state of our mind. If that turns out to be true, the vast amount of knowledge contained in the periodic table would have direct applicability in helping us better understand and predict human behavior and relationships, from a highly scientific, chemistry-based perspective, in a measurable, reproducible, testable way.
An atom’s stability is informed by its nuclear (proton/neutron) arrangement while it’s reactivity and ability to bond with the world around it is informed by its its shell (electron) configuration. To discover whether any useful extrapolations can be made from atomic behavior to better understand human behavior and the forces and motivations that drive us, we have to be able to as closely examine the human psyche as we do atoms. Unfortunately, observation of a system invariably interferes with it, and close examination of a system interferes with it to an even more compromising degree. Similarly, oneself examining one’s own psyche can’t be counted on to give objective results, and so the least subjective examination of the human psyche is when people observe each other’s behavior, reactions, and relationships, over time. Because we can only ever know our own inner selves, (as no one else’s ‘inner self’ is available to us), all of our characterizations of others are based on how they express and describe themselves to us and the conclusions we draw based on their behaviors and interactions.
For atoms too, there are deep, un-probe-able processes happening within that atom’s nucleus. We can (and d0) make very accurate extrapolations about the stability/instability of an atom’s nucleus based on how the atom behaves/decays, and humanity has developed the technology to probe nuclei at ever finer levels of detail to understand their processes, but because of the limits of observation, no can say which atom in a radioactive element will be the one to decay at which moment.
Something similar happens with populations of human beings. We know statistically that a given observable phenomena is likely to occur with a particular sample size of people, but it is impossible to predict which individual from that sample will be the one who engages in/exhibits the phenomena in question, at least not without seriously tampering with the experiment. Extrapolating from the trend in mass shootings for example indicates that the likelihood of another attack taking place on American soil in the next year is at a particular %, but no one can say for certain who will be involved, where it will take place, etc. People’s behavior and interactions are externally observable to others, but the internal forces and motivations that drive an individual to a certain behavior are not empirically observable, and sometimes not even known to the individual themselves.
My general sense is that IF the human mind does indeed model itself on atoms, then our ‘virtual nuclear configuration’ contributes the motivations and drives for why we feel the way we do, and our ‘virtual electron shell configuration’ informs how we’ll most likely act on those feelings in a given environment.
In terms of basic structure, atoms consist of protons/neutrons that make up a central nucleus, surrounded by electrons. Each electron in an atom is identifiable by 4 quantum numbers, and no two electrons in an atom can share the exact same four quantum numbers, since all matter particles need their own space/no two can take up the same place at the same time. The valence electron is the one in the outermost shell that determines how many/what kind of bonds that atom will form, how urgently it wants to bond (due to unpaired electrons), and its formal charge.
Interestingly, as atoms get larger (i.e. those belonging to elements higher in the periodic table that have more protons/neutrons/electrons), the quantum numbers of an atom’s valence electron become harder to accurately identify, because the atom’s larger size means more hard-t0-predict factors are influencing that atom’s electrons’ behaviors, including interactions/repulsions between the electrons themselves. For the mind, I consider this ‘built-in complexity at larger scales’ to be our ‘safety’ from having any reliably accurate knowledge of our own or anyone else’s future, since reliable precognition would just render our lives dull, meaningless and without the most compelling aspects of human existence–mystery, curiosity and the lure of free will.
I am wondering then, if perhaps a key set of quantum numbers identifies which atomic configuration/state/energy level a person happens to be exhibiting, and therefore the general (+/-) nature of their thoughts & feelings on the 3 scales mentioned earlier. A person’s precise behavior still can never be 100% predicted, but the general mental/emotional motivators which they are experiencing/struggling with would be.
If true, it would stand to reason that the larger the atom defining a person’s mental/emotional state is, the less predictable their actions are, comparable to trying to calculate an extraordinarily high number of variables that are perpetually shifting. Nevertheless, I would suggest that one way to facilitate approximating what the key, defining ‘virtual quantum numbers’ are that are informing one’s own mental/emotional state and determining how likely we are to behave/bond with what/who is around us, is by internally quantifying the underlying motivators of our thoughts/feelings by asking and answering those three questions: ”Do I like how I feel?” (x), “Do I have what I want?”(y), and “Does what I do matter?”(z). Examining our thoughts/feelings/sensations and emotions in this way becomes a way to ‘work backwards’ to what might be really going on inside our bodies that is triggering a mental/emotionally imbalanced state, rather than simply taking at face value the ‘story’ our mind conjures up in its attempt to rationalize/justify/blame/credit how we feel on external, sensory-based cues.
The critical (x, y, z) ‘virtual data point’ that results from asking these particular questions, I am suggesting somehow correlates with atomic structure as it also defines our mental/emotional state. Furthermore, this point moves over time, causing our emotions and behavior to fluctuate accordingly—in probabilistically, predictable ways that correspond to the location and momentum of these points. The patterns these movements create over time I propose become the geometric shapes and symbols our brains store and later recall when a familiar pattern is experienced/recognized.
With regard to actual atoms, knowledge of BOTH an electron’s position and how fast it’s moving/which direction its going at the same time is impossible, because of the limitations on certainty at the quantum level of reality. The Uncertainty Principle states that there is a fundamental limit to how precisely we can know extremely detailed aspects of a system for which there is an inherent trade-off.
For example, If I had a high-power telescope and I trained it on a low-flying airplane to see who was flying the plane, my same telescope lens could not at the same moment also gather the detail needed to figure out the trajectory or speed of the plane.
Similarly, if I look at someone to see the expression on their face, I can’t at the exact same moment also look at where they are looking, to get information about exactly why their expression in that particular instant is what it is. I could move further away so that I am able to see both the person and what they are looking at at the same time, but this inevitably comes at the expense of detail. So while we can get a sense of both speed and momentum at a wide enough angle, to examine something in extraordinary detail, such as at the atomic, quantum level, there is an inherent trade off in knowledge of what something is and where it’s going/how fast it’s moving. At the quantum level I can examine one or the other aspect to a very high degree of accuracy, but there is no way I can look in two places at the exact same time to carefully examine both in intimate detail. Therefore the closer we focus in on one aspect of a thing, the more access we lose to information about other aspects of that thing, at the same time.
So since knowledge and measurement of actual electron position and momentum in an atom is prevented fundamentally by the law of uncertainty, if the brain is indeed basing it’s mental/emotional state on a quantum-like measurement of an atomic-like state, the brain can’t be identifying one, single atom in the body to mimic. Rather, I would suspect the brain has a mechanism by which it assesses its general elemental composition and has developed a way(s) to extrapolate useful information about our body that our mind then decides is our mental/emotional state and ‘broadcasts’ as such, with our body and actions responding accordingly. I tend to suspect an algorithm exists by which neurons are able to approximate our bodily system/organs’ average elemental make-up. Perhaps neurons infer average element state from values like our pulse, heart rate variability, internal electromagnetic fields, blood pressure, etc. While the particular mechanism by which our brain determines our body’s relevant ‘average elemental state’ from moment to moment isn’t clear to me, I tend to think the algorithm used to determine this will turn out to be based on relatively familiar and simple-to-measure health parameters.
As such, I suspect our physical bodily state is approximated via classical means by the body, this information is interpreted into pseudo-‘quantum mechanical’ terms by the brain (as coordinate values that are ‘virtually plotted’ to produce a trajectory/wave function that estimates statistical likelihood of particular outcomes), this becomes a recipe to trigger the corresponding neurochemical response which we feel as a mental/emotional state and gives our body its ‘marching orders’ for how to respond to the situation at hand.
The function of our human brain then would not technically be quantum, it would be a classical system imitating a quantum system. Nevertheless, I think the Uncertainty Principle still has important applicability in its virtual way, as applies to our thoughts and feelings. I would submit that we can determine general (classical-level) knowledge of both our thoughts and feelings simultaneously, but to examine our mental/emotional state in great detail, I suspect there is an inherent trade-off between accurate knowledge of BOTH our thoughts AND our feelings. In other words, under close examination, we can know EITHER the basis for our thoughts OR our the basis for our feelings to a high degree of accuracy, but not both reliably simultaneously. Which means, we can know EITHER that our feelings are legitimate OR our thoughts about why we feel that way are true, but I would argue not both simultaneously. Which means we need to be extraordinarily careful when we form beliefs and draw conclusions and predictions from our thoughts and/or feelings, because most likely, when examined in careful detail, our data from one or the other of those aspects is inherently unreliable. I would submit that we can never know for certain how closely our thoughts and feelings actually match the true, objective internal & external realities that are giving rise to them.
In the following image, a ‘hypothetical trajectory’ of an electron is shown moving around a central nucleus (represented as the dark red, curved line). Of course this is strictly hypothetical because, again, quantum principles prevent knowledge of both where an elementary particle is and how fast it’s moving/which direction its going at the same time. Nevertheless, the dark red, curved line moving around the ‘origin’ of this ‘virtual graph’ I think may be a reasonable approximation of how the brain classically projects and tracks its pseudo-quantum information that produces our sense of ‘mind’:
(Image credit: Screenshot from Youtube video—“Understanding the Atom” by Sponholtz Productions)
In the ‘window of time’ captured by this particular snapshot representing a person’s state of mind, I would describe the person’s ‘e-motion’ as evolving in time from a distant, negative point on the x-axis (-x, 0y, -z), to slightly into the positive range on the x-axis (+x, +y, -z), where it stays briefly before dropping lower in the -z direction and then taking a quick turn toward the dreaded ‘triple negative’ (-x, -y, -z) octant.
In emotional terms, I would describe this hypothetical person’s trajectory as evolving from feeling physically stressed (-x, 0y, -z), to a bit more relaxed (+x, +y, -z), only to suddenly interpret some incident as social rejection (-z) that sends them veering off back down toward the triple negative zone: stressed and lacking and alone, which in mathematical terms I am proposing is a (-x, -y, -z) state
As stated earlier, my association of particular locations on the ‘mental graph of our mind’ with particular feelings states stems from the connection I see between all aspects of the atom. In this case, it’s quantum numbers that define an atom’s valence electron, that I think can be translated to reveal and explain the emotional feelings we are experiencing.
With regard to the outer part of an atom, the electron shell and quantum number aspects of the atom, I am hypothesizing that
a) the first three out of four quantum numbers of the ‘key quantum number set’ I am suggesting define our experience of mind, sum up our physical, mental and spiritual ‘position’, respectively,
b) their change in position over time defines our emotional ‘momentum’, and
c) the fourth (electron) quantum number indicates whether conscious awareness of our circumstances gets triggered for us or not, meaning whether we experience the opportunity to consciously affect our own behavior.
What follows is detailed background on how/why I think individual quantum numbers reflect those basic repeating qualia patterns mentioned earlier: our (x) level of “energy”, (y) sense of “stability” and (z) quality of “connectedness”:
Electrons in atoms typically aren’t found just anywhere within an atom, nor do they appear to follow orderly, predictable orbits around the nucleus. Rather, all we can know is that the electrons of an atom are most likely (with 90% probability) to be found in specific locations around the nucleus, along virtual x, y, and z axes. How the locations they are found at arrange themselves around the nucleus depends which element the atom represents and how many electrons it contains. Electrons, since they all have the same (negative) charge and ‘like’ charges repel, will space themselves in ways that maximize the space between them.
The ‘puffy shaped’ patterns around the nucleus that characterize the locations electrons can be found most often are called orbitals. In the images below, the nucleus would be found at the origin in the center, and the puffy shapes surrounding it are the orbitals, with shape-complexity increasing as more electrons are accommodated:
Atoms that have a higher number of electrons to accommodate will have more complex orbitals that extend ever further from the nucleus. The electrons in the more distant orbitals will have a higher energy level, as will those that have ‘jumped up” to a higher energy level (called their ‘excited state’) due to absorption of energy. Correspondingly, the smaller numbers of electrons of elements lower in the periodic table will be found in orbitals that sit closer to the nucleus and have a lower energy level.
Each electron in an atom has a unique ‘address’ of four quantum numbers (as described below), the first three of which I have proposed also happen to graph to our mental state:
1.) The first quantum number is the principle quantum number (n), and it refers to the distance of the electron from the nucleus, which determines how much energy the electron has.
- ENERGY: I am suggesting this first quantum number, with regard to emotions, establishes the (x) value of our mood, and has to do with how we feel physically. Our ‘x-axis range’ extends from ‘-x’ as “tense”, passes through the ‘0’ origin as “calm”, and continues across to ‘+x’ as “excited”. It has to do with how engaged and interested we feel, based on how much physical stress/pressure/relaxation/excitement we feel:
← -x (tense) ——— 0 (calm) ——— +x (excited) →
2.) The second quantum number is the orbital angular momentum quantum number (l), and it tells us the shape of the orbital where the electron is. The orbital shape options the electron can be found in are informed by how many total electrons a particular element’s atom has to accommodate, and they are called “s,” “p,” “d,” “f,” “g,” “h,” and “i,” for energy levels 1–7.
- STABILITY: I am suggesting this second quantum number, with regard to emotions, establishes the (y) value of our mood, and has to do with how we feel mentally, in particular our reactivity. Our ‘y-axis range’ extends from ‘-y’ as “deficiency”, passes through the ‘0’ origin as “stable”, and continues across to +y’ as a sense of “abundance”. It has to do with our contentment vs. reactivity to our environment and how much of a sense of security we feel given what we have/don’t have/have too much of, and whether what we have or don’t hve is enabling or preventing us from accomplishing our goals. Our goal is always to minimize unnecessary energy expenditure, and our y-value dictates whether we are satisfied or dissatisfied with our status quo:
← -y (deficiency) ——— 0 (stable/content) ——— +y (abundance) →
3.) The third quantum number is the magnetic quantum number (m𝑙) and it tells us the electron’s position in the orbital, meaning which axis the electron is moving around or about. It also has to do with the speed the electrons are moving and the magnetic field they are/aren’t creating or participating in.
- CONNECTION: I am suggesting this third quantum number, with regard to emotions, establishes the (z) value of our mood, namely how we feel socially/spiritually. Our ‘z-axis range’ extends from ‘-z’ as “disconnected”, passes through the ‘0’ origin as “present”, and continues across to ‘+z’ as “connected”. It has to do with how much connection we feel to others, and how aware we feel of that connection. It’s essentially a measure of our attachment to other, and quantifies our social/spiritual connection level.
← -z (alone) ——— 0 (present) ——— +z (belonging) →
Together these first three quantum numbers provide the (x,y,z) coordinates that inform our general mood state as dictated by our body’s state. Our ‘coordinates of mood’ shift around on these three interconnected axes, moving in and out of the planes and octants they give rise to, which provide the infrastructural framework for differentiating our ‘states of mind/mood’.
Our sensation of motion from this ever-moving ‘critical data point’ among and between these planes and octants is what I think gives rise to our visceral experience of emotion, and our ability to store and compare their patterns over time is what gives rise to our expectations, which guide the current of our mental lives. The order our emotions seem to follow and the frequency with which they occur across populations, I suggest will turn out to exactly mimic the results of experiments that calculate probabilities associated with electron/nuclear configurations of atoms.
All that said, whether we ever go on to become conscious of the fact that we are experiencing a particular emotion/mood state at a given moment or not, I think depends on the fourth quantum number of this ‘critical data set’.
4.) The fourth quantum number is the electron spin quantum number (m𝑠), which refers to the spin on the electron, which will always either be either ‘up’ or ‘down’.
- I am suggesting this fourth quantum number, with regard to emotions, determines whether or not we become conscious of our mood state. I suspect if the fourth quantum number indicates ‘spin up’, then our brain interprets our circumstances as “things are fine/stay the course” and no conscious awareness of our circumstances is triggered; if however ‘spin down’ is the fourth number, the brain interprets our situation as “things are NOT fine/change course now” and responds with a bio-electro-chemical cascade that we perceive as ‘conscious awareness’ (as in awareness of our awareness) of whatever the thoughts and feelings we happened to be having just prior were. (It’s possible it happens vice versa, however I base my translation of the brain’s ‘quantum spin’ interpretation on our classic ‘thumbs up’ signal we give when “things are fine” and ‘thumbs down’ signal we give when “things are not fine,” and the fact that actual thumb orientation is how physicists describe spin.)
Based on the parallels I observe between basic atomic structure and mood/feeling states, I predict that a model similar to what I am describing will turn out to form the underlying framework for accurately describing and predicting universal emotional experience—effectively a Universal Map of Mood. From this map, emotion is an emergent property and the ‘gravity of our situation’ comes from our expectations, which follow from the brain comparing our mind’s current activity with its stored patterns. Testing an ultimate ‘quantum theory of gravity’ will, I predict, become much easier when the parallels between gravity in our physical world and the ‘gravity of our situation’ in our mental lives is better understood.
As such, I hypothesize that just like electron location around the nucleus in an atom has certain predictable and measurable patterns we call ‘orbitals’, mood & emotional patterns when measured over time and across populations will exactly imitate the orbital shapes, sub shells, probabilities and properties that electrons demonstrate.
The following image illustrates some of the shapes atomic orbitals take, that represent where an atom’s electrons can be found ~90% of the time. I am suggesting patterns like these will eventually come to be associated with particular mood, emotional, and cognitive states.
While regular “p”-orbitals look something like this:
Image credit: )
…. imagine each of those x, y, and z axes are labeled with the ‘emotions-related terms’ alluded to earlier, and it becomes clearer how each ‘lobe’ or ‘set of lobes’ could be associated with a different underlying mood state, with our changing physical state manifesting different orbital configurations and thus producing our sensation of emotion.
Image credit, slightly modified: )
In other words, experiencing thoughts related to how physically empowered vs. disempowered we feel, how mentally secure vs. insecure we feel, and how socially/spiritually cared about vs. uncared about we feel, I am suggesting has to do with experiencing a ‘p – orbital’-esque mental state that happens to represent our body’s state.
The next illustration maps out what I am tentatively suggesting are the general “feeling fields” as they align themselves around the origin of the virtual coordinate system that establishes our mind and how it sets the stage for our perceptual experience:
I am suggesting every orbital shape can be overlaid onto a map something like the one I’ve outlined above. In the illustration below, basic “d”-orbitals are also correlated with their own set of mood states. First, simple “d”-orbitals look something like this:
…but when planes and octants are labeled according to the states that arise from different combinations of the three main perceptual axes, I am suggesting the mind’s virtual “d”-orbitals present something like this:
(Image credit, modified:)
And finally, this the most basic orbital shape, the “s”-orbital, which looks something like this:
…but in virtual mental terms I am suggesting they have to do with our level of attention. In the illustration below, as “s”-orbitals get larger, I suggest they are associated with greater and greater levels of passionate attention, also known as ‘absorption.’ What we attend to I think changes according to which energy level the ‘s – orbital’ is associated with. Our attention at larger “s”-orbital levels I propose is on our external environment, whereas as ‘s -orbital’ size shrinks, our attention shifts from outward to inward. At the same time, with shrinking ‘s – orbital’ size, rationality increasingly replaces passion, until we are least outwardly aware, and at the smallest “s”-orbital size, just barely awake.
As illustrated above, the degree to which we ‘care for’/’don’t care for’ someone or something I am suggesting is associated with this “s”-orbital.
Since the ‘emotions-labeled orbitals’ as I have presented them are not illustrating actual atomic states, rather they are a virtual manifestations of an ‘average, representative atomic state’, I would suggest one can ‘get mentally stuck’ in a ‘particular orbital’ if one’s physical state doesn’t change significantly enough. This kind of ‘stagnation’ I would submit manifests as various kinds of mental affliction, from mild to extreme.
A state of balance in the body is referred to as homeostasis, which is effectively a ‘set point’ that the body continuously attempts to return to when it’s temporarily thrown out of balance. I would suggest an optimally homeostatic state in the body would correlate with approximately the “4s”-orbital mentally, which is in the center between the 1st and 7th.
However, effects from illness/trauma/infection/etc can shift us out of physiological homeostasis and into a state of stress or ‘allostasis’ as the body tries to return to its preferred, balanced state. If physiologically we can’t or for some reason don’t return to homeostasis, the body physiologically will eventually shift to this ‘new normal’ and begin to attune its bodily systems to this ‘new set point’, even though technically we are not in ‘homeostatic balance.’
I am suggesting that getting mentally ‘stuck’ in the largest “s”-orbital states is consistent with ‘hyper-conscious’ states like obsessions, compulsions and addictions on one side, and paranoia, phobias/aversions and anti-social sentiment on the other. Getting ‘stuck’ in the smallest mental “s”-orbital I propose may be associated with sleepiness disorders like narcolepsy. Falling ‘off the chart’ completely, (known as n<1 and forbidden by subatomic electron position standards) would be consistent with a state of unconsciousness, and an even more extreme state (where n=0) might be what we consider brain death.
Quarks & Quirks
Aside from the electron orbitals that surround the nucleus, there is another parallel I see between quantum principles and emotional states, that has to do with the nucleus itself. It is related to how the map of mood/perception described earlier intersects with the six known kinds of quarks that make up the nucleons (protons and neutrons) that reside at the center of atoms.
At the center of every atom is its nucleus, which contains varying numbers of protons and neutrons, depending which element the atom represents. The structural components of protons and neutrons are quarks, specifically the first two quarks mentioned earlier: ‘up quarks,’ which have a positive charge, and ‘down quarks,’ which have a negative charge. A proton is made up of two ‘up quarks’ and one ‘down quark,’ while a neutron is made up of one ‘up quark’ and two ‘down quarks.’
As stated earlier, the three axes that make up what I am proposing to be the basis for the virtual, universal, underlying structure of mood & emotion, are
1.) ← -x (disempowered) ————- 0 (calm) —————— +x (empowered) →
2.) ← -y (insecure) ————— 0 (stable) —————— +y (secure) →
3.) ← -z (uncared for) ——— 0 (present) ———— +z (cared for) →
And the 6 known quarks that make up protons and neutrons are:
1.) “down” ……………….. “up”
2.) “bottom” …………….. “top”
3.) “strange” …………….. “charm”
If we were to think about these three quark pairs also as the opposite ends of three, coordinate system axes, I would suggest that there may be a connection between the first ‘x’ set of axes and the quarks:
1.) ← -x (down/disempowered) ———— 0 (calm) ———— +x (up/empowered) →
- We talk about feeling “down” when we’re tired, and call chemical substances ‘downers’ that relax us or make us tired. On the other hand “uppers” and “pick-me-ups” are substances that energize us.
2.) ← -y (bottom/insecure) ——— 0 (stable) ———— +y (top/secure) →
- We talk about “hitting bottom” when our lives feel chaotic and least secure, whereas when everything is going well and we feel secure, we describe it as being “on top of things” or even “on top of the world.”
3.) ←-z(strange/uncared for)——0(present)——+z(charm/cared for)→
- We feel ‘estranged’ when we are separated emotionally from someone, and the more insignificant and ostracized we feel, the more ‘strange’, and ‘weird’, we consider ourselves. On the other hand, ‘charming’ is how we describe those who connect well with others.
While these may or not be simply linguistic coincidences, it seems fairly clear that some connection exists. In fact, there are further parallels between subatomic structure, the Standard Particle Model, and the underlying framework for the ‘universal mood & emotions map’ that I am proposing.
The way I see the physical ‘quark-structure’ of atoms informing the ‘virtual quark structure’ of our mood and emotion seems to have something to with a link between ‘charge’ and mental outlook:
- Suppose a person’s emotional state at a given moment can be described such that 2 out of 3 of the ‘critical data point’ variables (either +x/+y, +x/+z, or +y/+z) are ‘positive’, while the third one (-z, -y or -x, respectfully) is ‘negative’. I am proposing that mentally this state coincides virtually with a mental ‘proton configuration’, since correspondingly a proton contains two positively-charged quarks and one negatively-charged quark. This ‘mental proton configuration’ I am proposing manifests in us as a positively-skewed, optimistic, “glass half-full,” ‘everything is fine’ perspective.
On the other hand:
- Suppose a person’s emotional state at a given moment can be described such that 2 out of 3 of the ‘critical data point’ variables (-x/-y, -x/-z, -y/-z) are negative, while the third one (+z, +y, or +x, respectfully) is positive. I am proposing that mentally this state is a ‘neutron configuration’ , since correspondingly a neutron contains two negatively-charged quarks and one positively-charged quark. This ‘mental neutron configuration’ I am proposing manifests in us as a negatively-skewed, pessimistic, “glass half-empty,” ‘everything is NOT fine’ perspective.
- Suppose that by some stroke of ‘good fortune’ 3 out of 3 of the variables that comprise our ‘critical data point’ all fall in the positive range at once. In this case I am suggesting a person becomes susceptible mentally, if the configuration were to get ‘stuck there’ to a ‘manic state’. Manic behavior is inherently unstable and also tends to be self-limiting, due to increased likelihood of risky behavior, negative feedback/ push-back from others, the possible need to be involuntarily restrained, etc. Correspondingly, in nuclear terms the particle that is comprised of 3 out of 3 up quarks (for an overall positive charge) is an extremely ‘fragile’ (very short-lived) particle called a delta+ baryon, which quickly decays back into a proton or neutron, as it gives off a particle called a pion.
- Similarly, if by some stroke of ‘misfortune’ 3 out of 3 of the variables that comprise our ‘critical data point’ all fall in the negative range at once, then I would suggest a person becomes susceptible mentally, if the configuration were to get ‘stuck there,’ to a ‘hopeless/desperate state’ that I would suggest may be akin to ‘severe clinical depression.’ Severe, clinical depression is also unstable and tends to be self-limiting, due to likewise increased likelihood of risky behavior including self-harm and suicidal ideations, negative feedback/push-back from others, possible need to be involuntarily hospitalized, etc. And correspondingly, a particle that is comprised of 3 out of 3 down quarks (for an overall negative charge) is also an extremely ‘fragile/short-lived’ particle called a delta- baryon, which also quickly decays back into a proton or neutron and a pion.
The following illustration summarizes how I tentatively see the overall picture of atomic principles, including energy levels, electrons, orbitals, nuclei, etc potentially playing out with respect to our experience of mind. With respect to time, I suspect the unconscious/conscious are related to ‘present’, subconscious is related to ‘past’, and hyperconscious is related to ‘future’:
The distinctions between atomic elements I propose is key to how our body and brain communicate, guide our behavior, and calculate how to anticipate others’ behavior/events in the world around us. I am suggesting that the ‘innate preference’ of atoms for ‘full octet states’, stable configurations and lowest energy states I think provides the logical basis for explaining where our most basic human drives for things such as efficiency, stability and social interaction stem from.
Consequently, I predict that the human brain itself also has a preference for stability. As we grow up, develop and age, our brains are exposed to an ever wider array of physiologically-informed, ‘element-based’ mental states. I suspect the brain ‘learns’ what feels most ‘stable,’ and is evolutionarily programmed to gravitate to the most stable states, choosing them preferentially as homeostatic mental ‘set points’ accordingly. These set points I am predicting will turn out to correlate with stable atomic and nuclear configurations, including the noble gases and those with ‘magic numbers’ of protons and neutrons in their nucleus that have exceptional stability.
The anatomy of all lifeforms I am proposing is essentially ‘atomically programmed’ to maximize stability and minimize anguish. This is the “Principle of Least Action” in action. Therefore, while the brain presumably develops preferences for certain ‘atomic set points’ over others, it must adapt according to what’s accessible and available. I would suggest that depending on genetics, experiences and the environment we are raised in, some people’s brain may develop varying ability/need to ‘leapfrog’ from one stable mental configuration to the next. I predict that this sort of mental ‘atomic state leapfrogging’, when it occurs at higher (rarer) energy levels, causes behaviors in people that appear illogical to anyone without personal experience of that particular arrangement of set points. Addictions, compulsions, convictions, bingeing and bizarre consumption and behavior patterns may well be explained by an ‘atomic set point theory’ along these lines. Conditions like pica (which is a compulsion to eat non-food items like dirt, hair or paint chips and is sometimes correlated with iron or zinc deficiency), as well as binge eating/drinking and bulimia, may make perfect sense when explained through an ‘atomically stable mental state-seeking’ model of behavior.
Even more specifically, in nuclear physics, when elements are plotted on a graph showing an atom’s proton to neutron ratio, a ‘band of stability’ emerges that indicates how stable an element is and, if unstable, predicts how a random atom of that element would be expected to decay/behave. In the following image, the squiggly black line in the middle of the colored section is the ‘band of stability.’
Similarly, I predict that the likelihood of certain human behaviors that are the mental equivalent of ‘nuclear decay’ (which may be symptoms like hyper-verbosity and aggressive tendencies or even suicidal/homicidal intent) occurring, can be estimated by examining the location of a particular ‘defining element’s location relative to an equivalent ‘band of mental/emotional stability’. An element that is known to undergo an event that results in a change in the number of ‘protons’ its nucleus contains results in an entirely new element. Correlatively, a change from one ‘mentally defining element’ to another with a different ‘total proton count’ might manifest as something as simple as an identity crisis or as extreme as a schizophrenic or dissociative event.
And finally, I predict that the elusive ‘island of stability’ that nuclear physics predicts exists in the upper regions of the periodic table of elements, will prove to be key to helping psychology address its most intractable mental illnesses and counterproductive behavioral tendencies.
Seen off to the right in the above artistic interpretation of nuclear stability, the elusive “Island of stability” is predicted to be located off the main “Stable Continent”, from which it is separated by the “Sea of Instability.” Although atoms of elements thought to be part of this ‘island’ are superheavy and most superheavy nuclei are extremely unstable and prone to rapid decay, it so happens that the particular numbers and ratios of protons/neutrons in atoms is predicted to fall in a uniquely stable range. On the other hand, it’s also true that these superheavy elements aren’t found in inanimate matter, much less our body’s physiology. In which case, even if my far-fetched hypothesis did turn out to be true, how could these non-existent-in-the-body, heavy nuclei elements possibly impact our mental states? One possibility is that even if the data received by the brain about the ‘average atomic composition’ of the body is correct, if the brain has experienced trauma, illness, genetic abnormalities, etc, and is processing information suboptimally, it may cause information to be unwittingly exaggerated or minimized.
But even more fundamentally, and I describe this in more depth in Part II (pg 64), in the virtual environment of the mind information should easily travel at ‘speeds’ approaching the speed of light, so relativity must be taken into account. Therefore I suspect that relativity-related phenomena like gravitational lensing, where multiple images of a luminous distant object cluster together so the object appears to be much larger than it is, are playing a role. Interestingly, one particular quasar, known as an “extremely luminous active galactic nucleus” (from Wikipedia) has been photographed gravitationally lensing into what is known as Einstein’s Cross:
When ‘gravitational lensing’ happens in the mind, I suspect the brain may not be able to distinguish between what is a distorted/exaggerated view and what it is ‘really there.’
This is why I predict that the anticipated “Island of Stability” is so important. For reasons that we don’t understand, the mind appears capable of achieving a state of thinking the body is ‘radioactively unstable,’ and one’s behavior inevitably follows suit. I suspect that experiencing the mental equivalent of the mathematical conditions of an element located in this nuclear ‘Island of stability’ might be likened to experiencing the ‘calm at the eye of a hurricane.’ It represents a mental ‘safe haven,’ possibly even producing a nirvana-like state of enlightenment or euphoria, which is typically made all the more ‘magical-seeming’ by the violent, mental chaos that (with probably rare exception) preceded one’s arrival there. Usually there is a ‘storm’ that brings one to its ‘shores’, so to speak.
My guess is that once the brain experiences/discovers this ‘Island of Stability’ it is probably inevitably and naturally programmed to attempt to calibrate to it. Thus this new point of mental stability is established as a valuable data point–a new, ‘atomic state set point’ that the brain will pour resources into trying to maintain. The problem of course is that this particular ‘mental stable place’ is no ordinary stable mental place, given that it is a tiny, easy to miss place that most importantly is surrounded by an environment so chaotic, unstable and extreme it can probably only be realistically compared to a black hole. Accidentally get the ‘coordinates’ wrong and miss the island, and very serious mental chaos is probably practically inevitable.
Once the ‘Island of Stability’ is on our brain’s radar however, reprogramming ourselves on our own to not become obsessed with getting back there probably falls somewhere between extremely difficult and impossible. The ‘Island of Stability’ in mental terms may have a mythical, ‘Atlantis’ quality to it that causes the bizarre and desperate behavior that probably occur when one tries to ‘return’ to a ‘magical-feeling place’ that one once experienced but was inevitably ejected from. There can after all be no staying ‘in’ any one particular element’s mathematical coordinates for very long mentally, since the very essence of life requires motion. Where there is no motion there is no life, and the same holds true for our mental/emotional lives. No matter what we mentally/emotionally experience, we have to always keep moving, in a constant pattern of circling back to our favorite spots, learning how to resist our least favorites. With the mental ‘Island of Stability’ however, the psychological draw to return there may be too great for the human brain to consciously resist. Consequently humanity I suspect may have evolved exactly the way it did to develop ways to be able to ‘take turns visiting’ this mental/emotional ‘island’ safely, while taking great care to set up the social safety nets that help us protect each other from the dangers of its (mentally) dark and therefore potentially dangerous surroundings.
This mental version of the nuclear ‘‘Island of Stability’ is equal parts scary territory to avoid and a must-see destination. Learning all we can about it is critical—how to reach it for therapeutic reasons if one finds oneself or a loved one in the ‘Sea of Instability’, and how to avoid it for health reasons if one doesn’t have the mental/emotional fortitude and social support to get back and forth safely.
For all these reasons, I think gaining the participation of nuclear and atomic physicists to round out present understanding of mental illness and extreme mental/emotional states is critical to the present and future health of society. And the ‘Island of Stability’ I predict will be instrumental to finally helping society address debilitating mental/emotional health problems and eventually most of the physical problems that underlie them.
As I view them, the parallels between our virtual, mental world and our tangible, physical world are unmistakable. The meaning and significance of these parallels is debatable, however their existence I don’t think is.
At the very least, I am hopeful that through careful scientific and methodical measurement of a large enough sample size of people’s emotional responses and behaviors, a much more detailed, highly accurate ‘Universal Map of Mood & Emotion’ can be agreed upon. Additionally, I am optimistic that medicine and physics will learn to triangulate from thoughts/feelings & mental states to the exact location and organ systems in the physical body where imbalance/health problems for arising from, for better treatment options and reduced suffering. While a certain percentage of life experiences will inevitably be perceived as unpleasant (quite possibly even exactly 50% per person), I think collaboration between medical/mental health professionals and mathematicians/physicists/chemists stand to help greatly alleviate the unnecessarily stretched-out parts of human suffering. And if this kind of collaboration could also produce ways to test quantum theories of gravity, all the better. Of all that I have presented and hypothesized, what I feel most sure of is that neither the field of physics nor the field of psychology can make the kind of humankind-furthering progress working alone that they will be able to make by collaborating.
A Theory of Emotional Relativity & the Origins of Human Behavior
The origins of consciousness, emotion and behavior have been debated for centuries, but there is no academic consensus on what produces them. What is commonly accepted however is that as a person’s level of mental distress & emotional dysregulation rises, their behavior tends to become less predictable and more potentially volatile. Those in the most severe mental & emotional distress experience thoughts of physical harm & violence toward self and/or others.
When someone acts out their extreme thoughts & feelings in physically harmful ways against self or others, they have fallen victim to the failure of their own emotional regulation systems.
Thus the motivation for my research—attempting to understand the origins and manifestations of thought, feeling, behavior and consciousness, in order to learn how humanity can better prevent unnecessary suffering, pain and violence. For the past seven years I have worked to demystify some of the most frightening and confusing aspects of being human, by demonstrating that
- emotions are inherently logical and have a mathematically consistent geometry, structure & flow, and
- human nature, personality & behavior can be explained using the same theories, principles and physical laws of nature that guide the universe at all scales, from the atomic to the cosmic.
While this proposal is still highly speculative and a work in progress, its primary strength is that it ‘fits existing data’ and offers an explanation for everyday aspects of psychology in the context of established physics. More importantly though, it doesn’t negate any established theories, rather it builds on them, fills in holes and connects existing theories from diverse fields like Newtonian physics, Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, String Theory, Aristotelian physics, Taoism, Psychology and Neuroscience. Because of its reliance on already validated math and physics theories, it offers a beacon of hope that its probability-based, predictive abilities can eventually help decrease unnecessary human pain and suffering.
The Parallel Realities of the Physical and the Mental
This hypothesis posits that what applies to physical spacetime applies in an exactly analogous way to the parallel reality of ‘mental spacetime.’ In other words, everything we know from physics has, by default, an exact, symmetrical corollary in the realm of psychology. Whether that means Higgs fields, eigenstates, derivatives, Hamiltonian operators, Hilbert space, expectation values, etc, I am proposing everything familiar from physics will eventually be accounted for with a logical, symmetrical psychological counterpart. What this implies is that studying thoughts, feelings & emotions allows scientists to probe at the human scale what was previously thought only possible to learn about at the quantum scale.
Because of the symmetry between the mental and the physical, I predict that:
- mental illness is most accurately and usefully described in math and physics terms,
- resolving the problems of mental illness lies in understanding and correctly solving the equations that produce them,
- physicists, mathematicians, and chemists are essential to the future of mental health.
By the same token, I predict that:
- the insights into mental illness that psychologists, psychiatrists and medical doctors have will prove instrumental in helping math and physics test and solve currently untestable problems in the field of physics and mathematics.
‘Mental spacetime’ as Mind
In familiar physical terms there are three dimensions of space plus one of time, that Einstein demonstrated are inseparable, and thus give rise to the well-known concept of 4-dimensional physical ‘spacetime.’ I am proposing that by virtue of the aforementioned symmetry, there is a mental equivalent of physical spacetime, which we can call ‘mental spacetime,’ but is more familiar to us as ‘mind’. Whereas physical spacetime consists of dimensions, I am suggesting mental spacetime consists of perceptions.
The equivalent of 3 spatial ‘dimensions’ are 3 spatial ‘perceptions’, which include:
- awareness of self (the internal state of the body),also known as interoception,
- awareness of other (the state of our external surroundings), also known as exteroception, and
- awareness of our location in space, also known as proprioception.
The equivalent of 1 time ‘dimension’ is 1 time ‘perception’, namely:
- awareness of pain,also known as nociception. Nociception is what allows us to perceive ’cause and effect’, and consequently leads us to ‘care’.
I am proposing that:
…and as such, that consciousness is the product of the inseparability of these four distinct perceptions. In other words, these four mental perceptions are like the ‘space and time’ that give rise to our concept of ‘mind’. What’s more, I am suggesting it is only through the phenomena of their inseparability that we even experience them as consciousness–that point where we feel we have ‘conscious access’ to our minds.
Provided there does prove to be a symmetrical relationship between mental and physical reality,
- the same math and physics that applies to our 4-dimensional physical spacetime, will apply to our ‘4-dimensional mental spacetime’, and
- meaningful conclusions could consequently be drawn about physical reality (pertaining to body) based on what is known/learned about mental reality (pertaining to mind), and vice versa.
Just as physical spacetime is postulated to have smaller, curled-up, ‘higher’ dimensions within the larger, more familiar ones, the same would be true of the 4 primary perceptions associated with our ‘mental spacetime’, or mind. Presently it is not considered possible with existing technology to achieve the energy levels necessary to probe the highest physical dimensions, however I am proposing that humans easily and naturally access and navigate the analogous higher mental ‘perceptual dimensions’ in their minds all day long.
String theory proposes 11 total physical dimensions—ten spatial and one time—and I would propose that, accordingly, our brain utilizes 11 possible total mental perceptions, which enable us to have different perspectives and viewpoints on situations, in accordance with the level of perception best suited to the task at hand.
The higher ‘perceptual dimensions’ I think allow us to perceive greater context but less detail on the information we are processing, whereas lower ‘perceptual dimensions’ I think allow us to perceive greater detail but at the expense of context on the information we are processing.
In my estimation, as illustrated in the image below, the ‘perceptual dimensions’ that exist are as follows:
- 1st-3rd are unconscious states (related to present)
- 4th-6th are subconscious states (related to past)
- the 7th is consciousness, (which has a special connection to the 1st-3rd)
- 8th-10th: are hyper-conscious states (related to future), and the
- 11th is our perception of time, the change we perceive as we ‘move’ between ‘perceptual dimensions’ 1–10.
The image below illustrates how I propose our different ‘levels of consciousness’ correlate with atomic electron & nuclear energy shells/levels:
Mapping the Landscape of Mental Reality
If the contents of our mind (aka ‘mental space & time’) were overlaid onto the same static, 3-dimensional coordinate system that atomic electron configuration maps on to, I propose that ‘mood states’ become ‘fields’ that surround the origin/nucleus:
(How I determined the above ‘emotional descriptors’ that correlate with the x,y,z axes of atomic structure is described comprehensively in “A Math & Physics-Based Approach to Understanding Mind, Emotions & Mental Health: A Hypothesis (Part 1 of 4).”)
Generally speaking, my basic hypothesis is that our thoughts, feelings and behavior are a direct reflection of an ‘average atomic state’ that our brain calculates from some subset of our bodies’/organ systems’ constituent atoms. From this averaged, ‘representative atom’, the brain can automatically extrapolate our mental position, momentum, spin, wave function, etc. according to the specific quantum numbers associated with the defining valence electron of this representative atom.
Essentially, I am proposing that as our ‘key coordinate points’ (as dictated by the quantum numbers that reflect our physical state), change over time, the pattern they create gets ‘observed’ by the brain, which then calculates our mental/emotional state accordingly. Based on the location, trajectories, and momentum it perceives, the brain I suspect directs the body’s endocrine system to produce the hormonal and neurotransmitter ‘ingredients’ that move or prevent our movement accordingly. Our ‘location’ on this universal ‘mind map’ dictates our general mood, our ‘momentum’ informs our specific emotion, and their ‘wave functions’ impact our behavior and level of ‘cognitive function.’
In this way, I am proposing emotion becomes the dynamic, emergent component on this map when the brain tracks motion over time by ‘connecting’ the individual coordinate points.
(Note: The parallel ‘emergent phenomena’ in physical spacetime to mental spacetime’s emotion appears to be gravity. For more about gravity as an emergent phenomena, see physicist Erik Verlinde’s.)
Emotion is how we qualify and describe the ‘route’ taken over time between ‘locations’ on the map of our mental reality. Was a particular ‘journey’ between two points enjoyable? Did the time ‘fly by?’ Was the ‘wind at our backs?’ Did our journey ‘suck’? Did time ‘drag on?’ Were our hopes ‘raised?’ Our expectations ‘dashed?’ Our interest ‘piqued?’
What I am suggesting is factors like the ‘distance’, ‘direction’, ‘velocity’, ‘acceleration’, etc, of our mental ‘travel’ between two points are what inspire the emotional descriptors we use to verbally describe what we mentally experience, which we summarize as some combination of pleasant and/or unpleasant.
Our emotional reality essentially boils down to the sequences of these ongoing ‘road trips’ our brains take through our ‘minds’. The ‘travel conditions’ we encounter on these ‘mental road trips’ are unique to our personally accumulated past mental/emotional experiences, environmental factors and exposures, genetics and our biological state.
How we ‘evaluate’ the quality of a particular mental/emotional ‘road trip’ is also affected by which point we (arbitrarily) consider our ‘starting point’ versus where we ended up, relative of course to where we had hoped to arrive and by when.
With regard to emotion, I am proposing we describe an experience as
- ‘pleasant’ — if our overall, net mental movement between our designated starting and ending points slopes upward, toward the all-positive (+,+,+) ‘Octant I’ on our coordinate system, and
- ‘unpleasant’ — if our overall, net mental movement between these points slopes downward, toward the all-negative (-,-,-) ‘Octant VII’ on our coordinate system.
Preference then is the ‘compass’ by which we navigate, with our ‘desired destination’ representing the ‘north’ we feel seemingly ‘magnetically’ drawn to, and coloring how we evaluate and qualify all of our experiences. Again ‘pleasant’ means we are heading toward the desired destination (‘north,’ so to speak), while ‘unpleasant’ implies we are heading away from the desired destination (in this case ‘south’, so to speak). Therefore, our tendency to place value judgments on our experience appears to be predicated on having a desired destination (goal) in the first place, or as a Buddhist might call it, an ‘attachment’ to outcome.
While emotions are what we feel, it’s consciousness that causes us to become aware that we are feeling it, as well as the sensations and thoughts that accompany it. Consequently, consciousness allows us to harness the ‘power’ of our thoughts and feelings, which become the force that helps us accomplish the actual, physical work of taking the actions that make up the overall trajectory of our lives—known more familiarly as our ‘behavior,’ repeated patterns of which become identifiable as our personality.
Internal Physical State Changes as the Origin of Emotion
To reiterate, this mental ‘motion’ I am describing is, I think, a classical reflection of our constantly changing physical state at the atomic/subatomic level. It is not coincidence, I would submit, that the e’-motion that happens physically in our atoms, ends up giving rise to the emotion that occurs to us in our minds.
It is my hunch that for a person’s emotional state to change at all, there must first be a shift at the physiological level in the body—a change which gets registered by the body, reported to the brain, and only then does the brain give the ‘command’ that sets in motion the hormonal and neurotransmitter cascade that changes how we perceive ourselves to be ‘feeling’.
I suspect each visceral organ system of the body calculates its average, ‘representative element state’ that gets sent as atomic information to the brain, which eventually settles on one single:
- (x)-value: the average principle quantum number that becomes our mental x-coordinate,
- (y)-value: the average orbital angular momentum quantum number that becomes our mental y-coordinate, and a
- (z)-value: the average magnetic quantum number that becomes our mental z-coordinate.
Together, these three inform an (x,y,z) coordinate that is an ‘analog’— a mental representation’ of our average ‘physical state’ at any given moment in time.
It is using these 3 values that I think the brain applies its version of the ‘Schrodinger equation’ to calculate our mental ‘wave function’, which it then applies to all of our moment-to-moment, probability-based, ‘logically-informed’, ‘neuro-chemical cocktail-triggered’ decision-making.
It may not be ALL the body’s constantly changing atomic/subatomic states that are getting tallied, averaged and reported by our visceral organ systems at all times. Rather, it seems more likely that the key variables that establish our ‘point in mental spacetime’ are based on some subset of electrons that represent a greater whole, and get communicated to the brain at regular-enough intervals to produce our experience of ‘mind.’
To draw an analogy from everyday life, in American politics all eligible citizens vote in a nationwide election for President, but only a representative few (coincidentally called the ‘electoral college’) cast the final vote to elect America’s next president. To know the final outcome of the Presidential election, it’s not necessary to know how 140 million Americans voted if one knows how the 538 electoral college voters voted, or even just how 270 who cast their ballot for the same person voted. In politics this is a time/cost-cutting measure, and mentally I think this sort of process gives rise to the heuristics (mental short-cuts) that guide our decision-making process. Unfortunately, while being a time & cost-cutting measure, as a political system this means that the person in office as President of the United States may well not reflect the preference of the majority who voted, much less all of the nation’s citizens. As with anything, there are pros and cons to a system like this, whether political or mental, and the potential for corruption and manipulation of the system is also always present.
Economics also provides useful analogies. An economic index like the Dow Jones Industrial Average is comprised of a ‘short list’ of companies that serve as a ‘representative sample’ of ‘stock market activity’ in businesses across the country. While the rising/falling of the Dow on any given day won’t tell you whether your neighborhood grocer broke even in sales today, it nevertheless transmits a useful piece of data about the state of American business as a whole. And the longer the up/down trends are observed over time, the more (potentially) powerful that information becomes for knowing the economic state of the nation as a whole, and within reason can be applied to useful, longer-term projections and predictions.
In this example, it’s useful to remember that the Industrial Average value is a meta-analysis—a representative sample of a very large number of microevents too cumbersome to track individually. It’s even highly possible that for one of the specific businesses itself that the Dow Jones is actively tracking, that that particular company’s stock value may have gone in one direction while the overall Industrial Average went the opposite direction.
All this to make the point that the group average is NOT a perfect representation of the individual, however the more time that passes, the closer they tend to align. By the same token, how we feel emotionally may not always reflect the actual, majority physiological atomic/subatomic states of our body, however, the more time that passes, the more reliably our emotional state should be an accurate reflection of our overall physiological state.
If the Dow ‘went up’ we correlate this with ‘good news’ for the economic state of the country as a whole (notwithstanding certain conditions like short-selling), and if the Dow ‘went down’ we correlate this with ‘bad news’ for the economic state of the country as a whole.
(Note: As an aside, the Tao, coincidentally also pronounced “dow”, operates similarly: Imagine the yin-yang symbol as a 3-D sphere with the (0,0,0) origin at the center. If you tilt the whole sphere slightly on its axis, like the tilt of the Earth, then you have net movement toward the (+,+,+) octant consistent with extreme ‘yang,’ or ‘joy’ (‘good news’), and net movement toward the (-,-,-) octant consistent with extreme ‘yin,’ or ‘fear’(‘bad news’). My guess is that the Tao symbol represents 4 dimensions, not only 3, with the small black (on-white) hole representing the ‘beginning’ of a given segment of time in 3-d space, and the small white (on-black) hole representing the ‘end of a time segment’ in 3-d space, potentially symbolizing a ‘mental wormhole’ through which conscious awareness passes. If the two sides, yin and yang, represent parallel realities —the white side being yang and representing matter/body/physical reality and the black side being yin and representing energy/mind/mental reality—the ‘wormhole’ between them may be how the information that ‘leaks’ between these two parallel realities affects our perception of the ‘gravity of our situation’, potentially leading to new explanations for the existence of ‘dark matter’ in our universe.)
Calculating the Trajectories of Mental States
While the brain constantly and automatically mentally ‘plots’ our state from the coordinate data it receives as a single, continuously moving point over time, I think it is also possible to estimate this moving ‘graph-able data point’ by hand, by evaluating our personal mental state during moments of conscious attention.
Overall, I am proposing that one could in theory use the technique I will describe shortly to evaluate every one of one’s own mental/emotional experiences in terms of its (x,y,z) coordinate and graph/evaluate it accordingly. Of course, since measuring a system by definition interferes with it, I don’t think there is any way to manually conclusively predict one’s own or anyone else’s behavior ahead of time using this (or any other) method. Nevertheless, probabilities and likelihoods of behavior and emotional trends can be calculated, so that a technique like what I will describe shortly should prove valuable for both personal self-evaluation and in mental health clinical settings.
Emotion and to some extent our behavior can be probabilistically predicted to varying degrees of reliability, but since the time it takes to measure is extensive and the very act of measuring a system influences it, certainty about a person’s future behavior remains (reassuringly) impossible.
Learning how to track thoughts & feelings ‘by hand’ as changing perceptions over time, and collecting data from a large enough sample size should provide the means to test the hypotheses that I laid out earlier, because it would validate (or not) whether the ‘mood state’ fields described above are an accurate reflection of the basis of universal mental reality.
A Testable Hypothesis
I am proposing that evaluating any conscious thought on three fundamental, ‘atomic-based’ scales reveals extremely useful information about the state of a person’s mental and physical health, their level of risk behaviorally to themselves and others, and what specifically they need in order to re-balance themselves mentally and emotionally.
Recognition that human temperament, personality, behavior and motivations may simply be measurable extensions of our constituent atomic properties gives us powerful insight into what to expect from and how to navigate our emotional lives.
Graphing Mental/Emotional State by hand
There are three fundamental questions that I am suggesting apply to every conscious thought we have, and which can be easily answered in a basically binary way with a yes (+) or no (-). They are:
- “Do I like how I feel?”
- “Is this what I want?”
- “Does what I do matter to anyone I care about?”
It is my hunch that the first question summarizes our physical state (associated with ‘nucleus energy’ levels), the second question summarizes our mental state (associated with ‘overall atomic energy’), and the third question summarizes our social/spiritual (associated with ‘electron energy’ levels).
Another way of looking at it is that every one of our moments of conscious awareness can be distilled down to three basic, constituent, ‘quark-like’ perceptual components:
The physical (x) component of our conscious experience can be established by answering this question about our situation:“Do I like how I feel?”
Themental (y) component can be established by answering this question about whether we are moving toward or away from the goal we happen to be aware of at the moment: “Is this what I want?”and
The social/spiritual (z) component can be established by answering this question about how our actions affect our relationships : “Does what I do matter to anyone I care about?”
When these questions are evaluated, they can have any of these possible answers:
- “yes” (+),
- “no” (-),
- “yes & no” (+ & -),
- “I don’t know” or Doesn’t apply (0)
If each answer is also qualified with a rating of intensity on a scale from, say, -3 thru +3, then the answers to these three questions can be mapped as (x,y,z) coordinates onto a 3-D graph.
Representing the fundamental, perceptual components of a given conscious thought as a unique position on a graph comprised of interconnected continuums, illustrates how conscious awareness can be represented visually. It also reveals how our mental/emotional experience becomes more intense with greater distance from center in any +/- direction, & more complex as more than one perspective is evaluated/question is asked.
Suppose I am deeply engrossed in my work when I look up, see the clock and realize I won’t be able to finish what I was enjoying doing before I have to get on a conference call. To establish the coordinates that roughly represent my mental state in the moment I realize this, I would ask and rate myself on:
- Do I like how I feel? Yes (+) I feel reasonably physically comfortable, nothing hurts and I’m not aware of hunger/thirst or feeling pressure of having to go to the bathroom, so maybe a “+1” on intensity.
- Is this what I want? No (-) I don’t want to get on a call. What I want is to finish my project before I have to get on the call and I realize I can’t. I’d prefer to skip the call. I was enjoying feeling immersed in my project and wished I didn’t have to be interrupted, so “-2” on intensity.
- Does what I do matter to anyone I care about? Yes (+), the work I am doing on my project is important to people whose opinions I care about, but also my presence on the call matters to people I care about, so“+3” on intensity.
Now, just prior to looking up and seeing the time, I had been perfectly content and engrossed in the interesting and engaging project I was working on. If I (retroactively) evaluate my position on those three questions just prior to looking up and noticing the time, my answers, which I wasn’t conscious of until I noticed the time, had previously been roughly:
- Did I like how I felt? Yes (+) I was physically comfortable, so “+1” on intensity.
- Did I have what I wanted? Yes (+) I was enjoying working on this project because it’s interesting, engaging, and I look forward to seeing what it will look like finished, so“+2” on intensity.
- Did what I was doing matter to anyone I care about? Yes (+) I think the project I am working on will help people I care about and who care about me, so “+3” on intensity.
Now I have two sets of coordinates. Before I experienced a moment of conscious attention (awareness of passing time) I was mentally at: (1, 2, 3). Following this moment I moved mentally to (1,-2, 3). Connecting these two points produces, at its simplest, a line in a generally negative direction. Therefore the emotion I experience as a result of my moment of consciousness has, at its simplest, a ‘negative’ quality to it:
If we were to graph those three elements of each conscious thought we have, in succession, what would emerge first would be lines, then geometric shapes and eventually, over time, recurring patterns of particular shapes.
I am suggesting that the brain both virtually graphs our ‘mental motion’ as a continuous line onto the ‘imaginary’ 3-D canvas of our mind and keeps track/stores the memories of larger patterns that are associated with salient events. When the brain recognizes a pattern it has associated in the past with a) cause for alarm or b) opportunity to enhance quality of life (both of which improve survival odds), I think it follows suit with the correlative ‘neurochemical cocktail’ call-to-action to the rest of the body that it has determined is most likely to achieve the results that best meet a pre-established, homeostatically-informed goal.
(Note: In a situation where the answer to any of those questions is yes AND no, I suggest a kind of ‘mental superposition’ state emerges, characterized by ‘ambivalence.’ Contrary to popular assumption, ambivalence doesn’t mean one doesn’t care, it means we care in conflicting directions— ambi- (meaning ‘both’) -valent (meaning ‘charged’). Because of the ‘mental conflict’ these ‘superposition thoughts’ pose within us, our facial expressions, body language, words and behavior I think will tend to reveal our ambivalent mental attitude, as actions that either cancel each other out and result in apathy, or manifest as unpredictable self-contradiction.)
Mental/Emotional States over Time
I am proposing that the thoughts and feelings we become aware of over a series of moments of consciousness awareness, with their upward and downward slopes, will shape not only whether our focus is on what
a) happened in the past,
b) is happening in the present, or
c) will happen in the future,
…but also whether we ‘approve or disapprove’ of’ those circumstances. In other words, our focus and our outlook are greatly influenced by which level of consciousness/energy our mind happens to be ‘experiencing,’ compared to where it was just prior–possibly not at all based on what is going on around us.
Whether our presenting thoughts and feelings will be about past, present or future I am suggesting correlates with our consciousness/energy level in the following way:
Whether our ‘moving, mental data points’ are only being tracked in our brain unconsciously or we are also keeping track of our progress on a particular goal by consciously recording it, either way I think the exact same ‘motion’ is how we get different impressions of things like:
a) whether we feel like we ‘succeeded’ vs ‘failed’ (past),
b) whether we feel ‘productive’ vs ‘unproductive’ (present), and
c) whether we feel ‘hopeful’ vs ‘hopeless’ (future).
The larger the slope from one ‘data point’ to the next, the greater the intensity of those feelings I think, as we compare and contrast the states of our past, present and future ‘selves’ with one another.
The Relativity of Emotion: Mental ‘Motion’ can be Constant or Accelerated
Constant (Inertial) Motion
I propose that as long as our ‘mental motion’ changes remain relatively constant in terms of speed, direction and/or pattern (meaning that our perceptions are changing gradually enough to not raise any inner alarm), then we don’t become consciously-aware of our thoughts, feelings and underlying mood state. In this case these phenomena are happening ‘under the hood’ so to speak, without our conscious awareness. As, for example, we go from caring to caring slightly less, or from liking to liking slightly more, our thoughts and behavior follow suit and while the changes in our mood tend to be observable to an outside observer, I think we personally remain unaware of them. It seems very possible that if our perspectives change gradually enough, they might even be able to become quite extreme versions of themselves without us necessarily become consciously aware either of what they are or that they have shifted so significantly.
An inertial reference frame means that an object in motion continues at the same speed in the same direction, and an object at rest stays at rest, because no other forces are acting on it. The ‘forces’ that act on the body, moving us to action,would therefore be those generated by the ‘cocktail bath’ our brain ‘orders and sends out’ (as alluded to in Part I). I think moments of conscious awareness may specifically be triggered in response to the fourth quantum number (spin-up or down) of that ‘average atomic state’ that the brain has determined represents our mood/emotional state. Spin-up would not result in a moment of conscious awareness, whereas spin-down would.)
In general, I would submit that our experience of subconsciousness seems to have something to do with ‘mental motion change’ that occurs at a constant rate (with either no hormone/neurotransmitter forces acting on the body, or they are coming at a constant, homeostatically expected rate).
Consequently, I propose that what applies to inertial reference frames, including Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity, applies to subconscious states.
(Note: As far as I can tell, there is no friction in ‘mental spacetime,’ so perpetual, perceptual motion could theoretically be possible. However, I suspect the equivalent of friction (heat) generated by material objects in physical spacetime manifests in mental spacetime as doubt, as a warning that our mental system is ‘overheating.’ Friction may be to physical spacetime what the conscience is to mental spacetime.)
If our ‘mental motion’ is moving away from the point of origin on our ‘mental graph’ in either direction, mental experience I would suggest becomes increasingly extreme,and behavior correlatively becomes more erratic and unpredictable. Out in the fringes of ‘mental space’ our expectations and beliefs start to feel more and more challenged, and the cognitive dissonance that results is often enough to jerk us out of our subconscious reverie and back into conscious awareness of our reality.
By the same token, when our ‘mental motion’ is moving toward the point of origin on our ‘mental graph’ in either direction, mental experience appears to become less extreme, and behavior becomes less erratic and unpredictable. In this case, our ‘expectations’ are being implicitly, passively reinforced.
I suspect that if our ‘mental motion’ has us ‘orbiting’ a point in a steady holding pattern, that this may be what produces the sensation of boredom. Boredom, which I am proposing is caused by stagnating in the same ‘place’ on our ‘mental graph’ for too long causes varying degrees of agitation in most people. It seems likely that boredom is a special condition that alarms the brain to the extent that it starts stimulating random bodily discomfort until a person feels physically agitated enough to move/change their position or circumstances.
(Note: The unique circumstance of ‘boredom’ recalls the role of the dog/character, ‘Tock’ in the book The Phantom Tollbooth, when he first meets the main character, Milo, a boy who has gotten ‘stuck’ in his imaginary ‘car’ in the ‘Doldrums’. The ‘Doldrums’ are populated by the lethargic, sleepy and stupefying ‘Lethargans’. With Tock’s irritating insistence that Milo start thinking or else he will get stuck in the Doldrums forever, Milo manages to force himself to start thinking again. This then prompts the the wheels of Milo’s imaginary car to automatically start moving again and they are soon on their way, leaving the stagnation of the Doldrums far behind.)
Accelerated (Non-inertial) Motion
When ‘mental motion changes’ in perception happen not at a constant rate but at an ‘accelerated rate’ (meaning there is a+ or – change in the speed or direction) due to the addition of an external force to a system, I suspect our conscious awareness does get triggered. In addition, the more abrupt, significant or unexpected the change in speed or direction, (producing ‘surprise’ or ‘shock’), the more intense I suspect will be the emotions that accompany return to conscious awareness of awareness.
It is with this arrival of conscious awareness on the mental scene that we become suddenly privy to the content of whatever we were already subconsciously noticing, thinking and feeling just prior—that moment where we suddenly ‘become an observer’ to ourselves.
Consequently, I propose that what applies to accelerated, non-inertial reference frames, including Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, applies to conscious & hyper-conscious states.
What we know from confirmed physics experiments is that when an object moves away from us, the wavelength of the light it’s emitting gets longer so the light we see is shifted to the red end of the spectrum, and is called redshift. If an object is moving toward us, its wavelength gets shorter so the light we see is shifted to the blue end of the spectrum, and is called blueshift.
My guess is that our ability to mentally ‘view ourselves’ happens as a result of our brain’s ‘projection of mind’ outward, away from ‘center.’ When the brain projects its’ ‘virtual version of self’ as a ‘mind’, I think we become mentally able to ‘observe ourselves’ in our ‘mind’s eye’ from a temporarily almost ‘non-self’ perspective. While this probably enables the brain to collect valuable information about the state of the body, I am proposing it may come at something of a cost given that this ‘mind’s eye’ is not remaining stationary but is constantly in motion. For this reason, red and blue-shift become a relevant topic in the discussion of the mind, because it’s seems quite likely that our mind’s eye’s motion is capable of near enough light speed that there is a need to take relativity into account. In other words, with the introduction of our ‘mind’s eye’, we now have essentially two ‘observers’ who are ‘moving’ (virtually, but nevertheless mathematically relevantly) at different ‘speeds,’ causing our perspective to be ‘colored’ depending on our frame of reference.
I tend to think embarrassment, blushing and ’seeing red’ (as in anger) are all examples of perceptual ‘redshift’ occurring, as a consequence of mental motion away from the origin. I think we perceive our mental state’s wavelength as being elongated, or redshifted, and consequently experience an accordingly ‘skewed’ perspective.
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Melancholy and ‘feeling blue’ (as in wistfulness or nostalgia) I am suggesting are examples of perceptual ‘blueshift,’ where we recognize that a point of ‘mental motion’ moving toward us, which manifests as us perceiving a shorter mental wavelength. This can feel ‘bittersweet’, like after a pleasurable experience has just ended (i.e. finishing a delicious meal or decadent dessert, coming home after a party, an exciting first date, or a fun day at the beach, etc) and having to ‘face the reality’ that a sustainable life isn’t comprised of only high points, pleasure and excitement.
To borrow from Taoist philosophy, I propose that mentally perceiving an elongated, redshifted wavelength is synonymous with an ‘expansive,’ ‘yang’ emotional response or condition, whereas mentally perceiving a shortened, blueshifted wavelength is synonymous with a ‘contractive’, ‘yin’ emotional response or condition.
(Note: This seems potentially consistent with ancient Chinese philosophy, where the extreme Yang element, Fire, is associated with the color red, while the extreme Yin element, Water, is associated with two colors, blue & black.)
Expectations as the the Mental Equivalent of Gravity
Given what I see as the applicability of theories of relativity on states of consciousness and emotion, it becomes useful to explore what we can learn about psychology from gravity, and about gravity from psychology.
In physical reality, clumps of matter gives rise to the curvature (aka warpage) of spacetime, generating the ‘force’ we know as gravity.
In mental reality, I am suggesting information plays the role of matter, and clumping information is what warps our ‘mental spacetime,’ causing us to mentally ‘gravitate’ toward and establish orbits around these clumps. Barring outside influence from other competing forces, I think these ‘masses’ of information that we naturally gravitate to form our core beliefs. Our beliefs (clusters of what matters because they ‘attract’ us) I think give rise, over time to our expectations.
When we have a mental experience that repeats itself often enough (because we are ‘orbiting’ in a familiar pattern around a certain set of beliefs), I suspect our expectations begin to form.
It is our expectations that I think set the stage for all experience of true emotion, which I would define as a change from one feeling state to another. Expectation appears to be to mental reality what gravity is to physical reality.
With regard to our beliefs, I think ‘positive acceleration’ is synonymous with expectation, whereas ‘negative acceleration’, is the equivalent of doubt.
Like all emotion, expectation is relative. It can feel ‘good’ (as in anticipation) if what we are expecting/accelerating toward we associate with pleasure/reward, whereas it can feel ‘bad’ (as in dread) if we what we are expecting/accelerating toward we associate with pain or threat.
Similarly, doubt feels ‘bad’ (as in disappointment) if what we’re no longer expecting/accelerating toward would have been pleasurable or rewarding, but it can feel ‘good’ (as in relief) if what we’re no longer expecting/accelerating toward would have been painful or threatening.
Working toward changing our underlying expectations tends to change our perception of our circumstances, which in turn changes the emotions we experience. This enables the possibility of establishing new habits (creating new, preferred ‘mental warps’) that can ‘loosen the grip’ that the old, undesirable ‘mental warps’ had on us.
While our beliefs therefore appear to be what set our expectations and create the warpage of our mental spacetime,at the same time those beliefs are also what give our ‘mental lives’ their meaning and our physical lives their momentum. Beliefs provide the ‘anchors’ that give us visceral emotional experiences and keep things interesting as we move through life. Our beliefs may change when outside forces act on us (like through education and feedback) and we stumble upon new, exciting and different paths we can take through our minds. Ultimately however, I suspect that no matter what we believe, all beliefs at their core arose from kernels of absolute, objective truth in the form of information.
If beliefs and values are indeed based on clusters of ‘absolute truth,’ which each of us mentally revolve around in our own unique patterns, then everyone’s life at its core is based on objective truth. Therefore I would argue that everyone has inherent value and brings a relevant perspective, no matter how warped anyone’s thoughts seem to be to an outside observer.
It is my hunch that each of our individual beliefs are not ‘warped’ for the ultimate purpose of judging and condemning each other, rather ALL of our beliefs are warped with the intention that if we laid them all out next to one another like puzzle pieces, we would collectively learn to not only map the mental universe, but also harness the power of math and physics to discover hitherto unknown truths and heal all manner of physical and mental illnesses.
Based on the premise that physical black holes do exist, then the mental equivalent of black holes must also, as collections of beliefs that generate thoughts and expectations so intense that we cannot, without the help of others, escape from them. Fortunately, being purely mental, our thoughts & imagination cannot physically destroy us, but left unaddressed they can lead to such frightening and destructive thoughts that the conditions are created for us to behave in ways that can lead to our own physical neglect, demise and destruction.
Again, hence the reason for this work of proposing an analogous relationship between mental and physical spacetime to find the mathematical solutions to physical problems that can be applied mentally to solve and ease the problem of extreme human suffering.
By my estimation the behavior of an individual (as separate from a group) can best be explained using the laws of relativity, whereas the behavior of a group (as a collective of individuals) can best be explained using the laws of quantum mechanics. While quantum mechanics is used to describe individual atoms, and relativity to describe the behavior of large collections of atoms that make up macroscopic objects, the inverse I think is true of individual people versus groups. The reason for this counter-intuitive, inverse relationship I think has something to do with the solipsistic perspective that a single person represents an entire universe. To that I would just add that more than one person then probably represent multiple universes. (See Q&A for longer discussion of how each person as the sole observer of their universe represents the entire universe.)
Somewhere from >1 person on, the laws of relativity stop applying and quantum mechanics becomes a more accurate way to explain behavior. The larger a group of individuals is that is being described, the more accurately I think quantum mechanics can be used to probabilistically predict the expected behavior of any random individual in the group, but the less likely a particular behavior accurately describes a particular, identified, person from that group.
Cognitive Dissonance & Mental Superposition
Practically speaking, when what is occurring in one’s life is going as expected and according to one’s plans and goals (one’s ‘attachments’), mental reality can presumably remain fairly single dimensional. We move through our life at its simplest setting with one perception setting—just aware enough of our surroundings to interact logically with the environment, relying on instinct, intuition and default internal mental settings. In philosophy I think this state is known as a philosophical zombie, or ‘p-zombie,’
However, when presented with information that causes us to doubt or question our plans, goals and expectations, the potential for cognitive dissonance is introduced.
Provided one can’t see a way to ignore, dismiss or disprove the new, contradictory information, a second dimension of perception is required. If the new information is directly related but in opposition to the original information (equal but opposite), I think we have essentially two options: a) hold both pieces of information in a superposition of possibilities by letting go of the original expectation/plan/belief, and staying open and curious about what will turn out to be right, OR b) consult our memory and other potential resources for information that might help us decide what makes more sense to believe. The latter I think utilizes 2-dimensional cognitive thought to rationalize our choice.
However, if thinking things through doesn’t resolve our cognitive dissonance satisfactorily, and we don’t have the energy to hold a superposition of both possibilities or enough information to ‘choose a side’, a third dimension of perception, is I think called for, which weighs in on whether the problem matters enough to be worth our caring about.
(Note: I am suggesting this third perception ‘lens’ is proprioception, as how we physically feel strongly influences our level of caring.)
If something does matter and we do care (a decision probably made in the brain based partly on pre-programmed settings for pattern recognition and partly on sensory physical input about the environment), I propose our fourth dimension enters the picture, this being consciousness. This is awareness of awareness—the point at which the observations, thoughts & feelings that we were having subconsciously just prior, suddenly come flooding into our focus.
The two stages (1st & 2nd) prior to caring (the 3rd) I think can happen ‘below the radar’ of conscious awareness. But once it’s determined that we do care, I think care itself automatically precipitates conscious awareness. In this way, the ‘3rd’ & ‘4th’ dimensions of mental experience appear, as mentioned earlier, to be as inextricably linked to one another (at least for humans, maybe not for other animals) as space & time are in physical experience.
(This might explain why certain thoughts trigger people to seek out numbing agents that suppress their urge to care, because they recognize they simply don’t have the energy to face the cognitively dissonant thoughts and feelings that will inevitably accompany facing the fact that they do care. It’s even possible that the brain ‘hedges its bets’ on what action the body should take based on our current energy and health status—maybe sometimes even ‘intentionally pointing us’ toward a chemically-based numbing agent if the brain decides that ‘to care’ would put us beyond the capacity of our body’s available mental, emotional and/or physical resources at that moment.)
The Mind’s Eye’s ‘Viewing Lenses’ of Perspective
Our brains I think are constantly processing incoming ‘quantum physical status data’ and plotting it as ‘3-D points’ for the benefit of our personal safety and quality of experience. By using the ‘mind’s eye’ for ‘viewing’ the big picture geometry that gets recorded, the brain can make survival-forward projections about what our next actions should be, and can generate just the right ‘cocktail bath’ of hormones/neurotransmitters/etc that will elicit the desired (or as close as it gets) reaction from the body—run, cry, startle, jump, shout, attack, cower, eat, drink, evacuate bowels, tend, befriend, embrace, seduce, etc.
Needless to say, as any data analyst knows, a ‘snapshot’ of a trend tells a different story depending on where the time frame being ‘analyzed’ starts and stops. meaning how closely we examine or ‘zoom in/out’ on a section of data. Data can be easily manipulated by highlighting some sets of data and minimizing other sets of data, even when the actual data is all technically accurate. Very different conclusions would be drawn by the brain and communicated to the body, depending on how ‘big a section’ of our mental spacetime graph is being ‘viewed’ at once, and especially if something caused the brain to accidentally mistake a zoomed-in ‘close-up shot’ for a zoomed-out ‘distance shot’, or vice versa.
- If we mistakenly mentally ‘zoom too far in’ on a ‘small section’ of the ‘emotional data graph,’ a trend may appear exaggeratedly distorted, potentially triggering the brain to make unnecessarily dramatic decisions that result in us having an emotional response that exceeds what our situation calls for.
- Alternatively, if we mentally ’zoom too far out’, a relevant trend may not show up at all, and we respond with apathy to something that should have warranted a bigger reponse. Or we may end up responding to a larger overall trend (say it’s ‘negative’) that runs counter to the in-the-moment positive trend we are actually experiencing. Once again our emotional reaction doesn’t align with our actual circumstances.
I am proposing that the brain (through it’s ‘mind’s eye’) has optimal ‘vantage points’ (essentially, ‘distance settings’) from which it ‘prefers’ to ‘view’ the geometry of its ‘moving mental data point’ in order to make different kinds of long- and short-term decisions.
Like a photographer might use different kinds of lenses (telephoto, wide-angle, ‘fish-eye’, etc.) depending on the kind of photo they want to take, the photographer is nevertheless limited to which lenses they have available and how usable they are, or if they are broken, damaged, scratched, etc. In the brain’s case, if a certain ‘perspective’ it prefers to take to view its ‘emotional data graph’ through, as warranted by a particular situation or environment, is temporarily not available or functional, it might naturally compensate by using the next most-optimal setting available to it. The brain may or may not be able to communicate a ‘skew factor’ in its alert to the body, letting it know that a suboptimal ‘lens’ was used to ‘view’ the data, so the body would know the problem being addressed “may be bigger or smaller than it appears.’’
It’s possible that in a ‘suboptimal lens was used’ circumstance, when the brain dictates which ‘neurotransmitter/hormone cocktail’ will be released as its communication to the body, a ‘splash of doubt’ gets added added to prevent an over-confident response on our part. We may still not know which lens was substituted and how it is coloring the way we are assessing a situation, but at least we have an inkling that something about the way we are viewing a situation is skewed. It’s possible that if a certain ‘lens’ our brain prefers to use becomes more permanently out of commission, under some conditions we may be riddled by a sort of perpetual self-doubt. Nevertheless, I suspect we can still adapt to our ‘new normal’ using whatever ‘brain lenses’ are still functional.
It’s also possible that, for someone whose brain condition causes them to experience perpetual self-doubt, they will be more drawn to situations that don’t require use of the problematic, ‘doubt-inducing’ perceptual ‘lens.’ One’s ‘new normal’ preferences may then prioritize trying to avoid situations that trigger this feeling of doubt at the expense of all other priorities, and should one ever feel ‘trapped’ in a situation where one needs a lens one ‘doesn’t have’, one may become more inclined than someone else to use chemical substances that numb them to the discomforting and societally-frowned-upon feelings of pervasive self-doubt.
(Note: My general hunch is that ‘doubt’ has something to do with being the mental equivalent of fluid dynamic’s ‘turbulence.’ Not only do I suspect both are near-universally discomforting, I also suspect that discovering the roots of ‘doubt’ will help us simultaneously figure out the elusive details of the famous Navier-Stokes turbulence problem from fluid mechanics, which currently has a million-dollar ‘bounty’ on its head. The recently discovered ‘D-Factor’ (for ‘Dark’) in personality studies will I think help us begin to hone in on how ‘doubt’ factors into mental illness, and as a bonus, how it is related to turbulence in fluids. New research on the ‘D-Factor’ is detailed in this Scientific American article:.)
Emotional distress to varying degrees may consequently occur when, for a variety of mechanical, electrical, biochemical and microbiological reasons within the brain or body, certain ‘perspectives’ either aren’t available or there is a mismatch between the optimal ‘distance setting’ required and the one that’s available to our brain to ‘view’ our ‘mind’s map.’
Going back to the analogy of the ‘road trip’, certain emotional distress can be qualified as ‘mental gear-shifting’ problems. For whatever reason, we have trouble shifting into the right ‘mental gear’ for the mental ‘speed’ we are moving and/or the emotional ‘driving conditions’ we are facing. The racing heartbeat of anxiety and panic attacks might be likened to the racing of the engine when a car is accelerating but is in too low a gear, which unnecessarily taxes the mechanisms and motor. Perhaps ‘higher gears’ aren’t available, maybe the higher gears keep ‘slipping’, maybe there’s a brain ‘clutch’ that went out, or perhaps the brain simply hasn’t figured out how to ‘switch gears’ appropriately for a new task.
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Mental Perception as Comparable to Physical Dimensions
As alluded to earlier, I am suggesting how we perceive a situation depends on which ‘perceptual lens’ the brain is using to ‘view’ incoming data.
My guess is the brain can ‘view’ the incoming ticker-tape of information using either a close-up perspective, a distant perspective, or an ‘interference pattern’ combination of both, and the emotional impression we get of what is happening within and around us, as well as how it gets stored as memory, corresponds to which hemisphere(s) of the brain processed the incoming data.
My understanding of neuroscientific conclusions about right and left hemispheres of the brain, is that the right hemisphere tends to take a bigger-picture approach to evaluating information and the left hemisphere tends to take a more detailed approach. And although both sides of an optimally functioning brain are purported to contribute equally to information processing, I am suggesting that if brain structural or functional limitations of any kind are present, one or the other hemisphere may process the information preferentially.
So if the left hemisphere was dominant when the ‘mental motion’ information happened to come in, the brain evaluates it for detail at the expense of context, and if the right hemisphere was dominant, the brain evaluates it for context at the expense of detail.
Ideally I think if both hemispheres are indeed functioning well enough to be switching back and forth imperceptibly (as they should under optimal brain function/structure conditions), then I suspect the brain is able to take in and store an ‘interference pattern’ version of their combined perspectives—a blend that reflects part detailed and part broader, ‘big picture’ information.
The upside of processing information this way is that some information from both close and distant perspectives would be available for future comparisons—the downside might be that an interference pattern (characterized by alternating bands of nodes and antinodes due to waves interfering with each other), probably leaves regular gaps in our memory that the brain may ‘back-fill’ or guess incorrectly when we recall memories.
Intelligence may then be a measure of ‘ability to operate with a high amplitude/high frequency interference pattern’ that maximizes detail and context, with as minimal gaps as possible. Almost certainly this would require a great deal of energy, and for the brain to maintain this level of focus it presumably would have figured out ways to optimize its efforts, like using magnetic fields and ‘superconductivity’ in the brain to its advantage. Presumably it also compromises other aspects of mental function it deems less necessary for short-term survival.
The capacity for mental ‘mind’s eye’ imagery I think relates to brain hemisphere structure, function and inter-hemispheric connection. Visualization in the mind falls on a continuum of being able to voluntarily picture ‘full and detail-rich moving images’ (called hyperphantasia by some), to inability to picture anything in the mind’s eye at all (known as aphantasia). My guess is the visualization capacity a person has depends in particular on the ability of their two brain hemispheres to work together.
I suspect that a flip book, or flick book, may be a useful analogy for what does/doesn’t produce a ‘mind’s eye’. Flip books have a series of illustrations that convey action. Each single picture in the book gives one snapshot of the event that could be examined in detail, but the context of the action is most effectively communicated by flipping through quickly. I am suggesting the experience of the ‘mind’s eye’ is a meta-phenomenon that has something to do with memories being shuffled through at just the right speed–quickly enough to get a real sense of movement and context, but slowly enough to reveal relevant detail.
Someone able to picture richly detailed movies in their mind’s eye I would guess has memories being contributed equally from both left and right hemispheres, and has the capacity to mentally shift gears to change the speed and focus on those memories. Someone unable to picture any images in their mind’s eye may be experiencing any number of problems–from a lack of access to their visual memories at all, to memories moving by so quickly they flood into a visual blur that also gives the appearance of ‘nothing’ but for very different reasons.
My guess is the primary contributor to the condition of aphantasia is a structural or functional inflexibility affecting the connectivity between the two hemispheres of the brain, which prevents the brain from easily toggling back and forth between left and right hemisphere dominance and thus not being able to produce the ‘interference pattern’ meta-phenomenon that I am hypothesizing is what enables the mental stage of the mind’s eye.
The wide range in people’s ability who can visualize (and the memory/learning capacity of those who can’t) I would propose stems from variations in the structure and function of their individual hemispheres. Problems in the left hemisphere I would expect to result in difficulty remembering detail, whereas problems in the right hemisphere I would expect to result in difficulty putting memories into context, with problems in both leading to an even bigger set of challenges. Structure and functional problems could be induced temporarily by circumstances, trauma or by genetic predisposition.
Nevertheless, the brain is highly plastic and adaptive, and human creativity itself may be the result of brains being temporarily or permanently forced to compensate for suboptimal structure or functioning. Yesterday’s adaptations and compensations for suboptimal structure or function I would guess quite often become tomorrow’s evolutionary advantages. Aphantasia itself I suspect may be an evolutionary brain adaptation to existence of an abnormality in structure or function of one or both hemispheres of the brain, which would otherwise cause images to ‘appear larger or smaller than they actually are’ in the mind’s eye, posing a potential disturbance threat to the person. Future treatments for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, where disturbing imagery exacerbates past trauma and seriously threatens a person’s ability to cope, might involve temporarily inducing aphantasia until the mental trauma is effectively processed and the person is successfully de-sensitized or learns how to filter the reality from what they are imagining.
Why Faster Doesn’t Always Mean Better
Some people’s brains are healthier (perhaps genetically predisposed) and can undoubtedly process more information and do comparisons to past information more quickly than other people. Some people presumably produce ‘logical next steps’ rapidly according to the wave functions of probability their brains can calculate seemingly effortlessly. Other people, because of brain trauma, inflammation, infection, or genetic predisposition etc, may be much slower at calculations, or even find it impossible to make logic-based decisions because of limitations to brain functionality.
However, no matter how fast a person’s brain can process information, if information about which perspective the past information was stored as (close-up, distant or ‘interference pattern’) is missing, their behavioral choices would still be guesses and their actions could easily appear erratic or illogical to an outside observer. Making ‘smart choices’ probably relies equally heavily on appropriate processing speed as it does on accurate knowledge of which level of data (‘perspective lens’) was used to collect the set of data upon which one’s decision is based.
My general suspicion is that there is as much evolutionary preference for fast processing as there is for slow, meaning a ‘suboptimally functioning brain’ may be evolutionarily just as valuable as an ‘optimally functioning’ brain. My reasoning is that what is gained by increased mental processing speed (logic), is lost when one has less time to thoroughly examine the data for meaning, value and relevance. Imagine flying in a jet from New York to California versus taking a road trip or a train. What one gains in speed and efficiency, one tends to lose in opportunity for visibility. Similarly, a fast-moving river can provide efficient transportation, but a still pond provides much better visibility of what lies below the surface. On the other hand a flexible combination of speeds is probably ideal, because a nice, high-visibility, still pond can easily become a stagnant pool that breeds mosquitos, and fast moving rivers become dangerous near elevation changes that produce steep waterfalls.
Because of the innate value of people of all ‘intelligence levels’, I think it is of utmost importance that we recognize the importance of getting multiple perspectives when it comes to solving a problem in the best interest of the greatest number of people. Everyone ‘sees’ a problem slightly differently, using different perspectives, and not only can no one perspective ever view an entire set of information at once, the combination of perspectives from fast AND slow mental processors will I think give the most complete, wisest interpretation of any set of data.
Nevertheless, slowing of one’s mental processing speed from what one was accustomed to feels like a problem, because perspectives one is used to having are suddenly not available—for example if illness or trauma has jammed communication systems between body and brain, or if communication between the two hemispheres of the brain changes one’s ability to interpret the quantum physical data that gives rise to ‘mind.’
It’s probably appropriate that mental slowing feels like a ‘problem,’ because some level of dis-ease has been introduced, however, it’s also very possible that these ‘mental processing hiccups’ may be intentionally and internally directed by our own brain in order to sometimes prevent us from making bigger mistakes. Perhaps experience tells us that past stored data was misleadingly stored or wrongly flagged and keeps leading us to making the same mistake over and over again. Or perhaps data patterns that got stored in our brains as ‘alarming’ or ‘not alarming’ but later prove to be the opposite, get additionally ‘flagged’ as ‘misleading’, so every time they get re-triggered by that pattern occurring again in real life, the brain automatically puts itself in a temporary shutdown mode (or goes ‘foggy’ or to sleep) to prevent greater harm from being done by us taking a ‘non-preferred’ action.
As stated before, I am proposing that mental and physical spacetime reflect and are analogous to one another, but are not the same thing. I am proposing they are the parallel realities of our ‘self’. What the three powerful questions I presented represent are a way to harness conscious thought to probe mental spacetime at its most fundamental level, for the evidence that could help physicists test currently untestable theories, while at the same time helping mental health providers address the unsolved problems of mental illness.
I propose that by combining data and results from perception-based mental experiments with matter-based physical experiments, science will be able to ‘triangulate to ‘ultimate truth’’ in order to satisfactorily understand the Universe at its most fundamental level, and hopefully solve the problem of unnecessary human suffering along the way.
Research Grant Proposal:Making Sense of Mental Illness–A Mathematical Approach f
Principal Investigator: Sonia Elkes, RD,
Our society faces a rising tide of addiction, suicide and violent mass attacks. At the heart of each of these trends lies intense mental and emotional distress. Understanding what leads to the disruptive and violent ideations that drive these trends is key to learning how to compassionately but effectively counter them.
Currently, emotions are viewed as amorphous & inaccessible, locked inside human beings. This research project seeks to change that perception by demonstrating the applicability of math, physics and chemistry to making sense of emotions. By modeling perception and graphing the trajectories of extreme emotion, the underlying geometry of how thoughts and feelings shape behavior are revealed.
Once validated, this model will demonstrate how math & physics are essential to developing non-violent strategies to re-direct destructive thoughts toward more constructive behavior. This model demonstrates how mental illness becomes visually representable as curves & shapes defined by equations—problems with natural mathematical solutions.
By establishing the underlying physical framework of mental, emotional & spiritual experience, this project lays the foundation for a new era in mental healthcare—where mental & emotional states are objectively measurable, and treatment for mental illness can be mathematically tailored to individuals based on their unique circumstances and needs.
Through interdisciplinary collaboration, a more peaceful society comes within humanity’s reach.
This project involves 4 stages:
STAGE I: Develop a universal model of mood & emotion
1) Confirm the 3 main axes of perception are physical, mental & social/spiritual
- Reducing conscious thoughts to their 3 most basic, perceptual components allows them to be mapped onto an (x,y,z) coordinate system and statistically analyzed..
- The (x) axis represents the physical part of a thought and asks “Do I like how I feel?,” the (y) axis represents the mental part and asks “Is this what I want?,” and the (z) axis represents the social/emotional part and asks “Does what I do matter to anyone I care about?” Possible answers: yes (+), no (-), yes & no (+ & -), n/a (0); Each answer is then rated on a scale from -3 thru +3.
2) Develop a software program that expands the axes into a 3-D, digital model
- Representing perception as positions on interconnected continuums illustrates how feelings grow in intensity with more distance from center in any +/- direction, and how they grow in complexity with additional dimensions. (Additional dimensions correspond to increasing complexity of the emotions.)
3) Visually demonstrate emotion as emergent phenomena
- Perceptual changes correlates with ‘’mental motion’ that occurs within this 3-D framework. ‘Constant’ motion produces thoughts and feelings as ‘mood’ without conscious awareness, whereas ‘accelerated’ motion produces conscious awareness including thoughts and feelings. Thus, emotion is a quality that emerges from these ‘fields’ when ‘speed’ or ‘direction’ of perception changes noticeably.
- (Note: Plotting changing perceptions over time adds the 4th dimension to the model, suggesting a parallel between the 4 dimensions of physical spacetime [3 spatial + 1 time] and the 4 ‘dimensions’ of ‘mental spacetime’ [3 perceptual + 1 time]. In ‘mental spacetime’ the role of gravity is played by ‘expectations’ when acceleration is ‘ +, ’ and ‘doubt’ when acceleration is ‘ – ’.)
STAGE II: Validating the Model
1) Create an engaging virtual game/app from the model
- A truly accurate mental framework must accommodate & account for all human mental/emotional/spiritual experience. The 3 main axes of the model (where x, y and z all = 0) are most critical & require the highest degree of accuracy.
- Therefore a virtual game/app will be developed to validate the model by comparing model predictions to live results. The virtual game will have several levels of difficulty, where the first/most important level focuses on confirming whether the baseline axes ‘cognitive states’ correct. It will ask users to predict which sensation they would feel given ‘motion’ in a certain direction along all three 1-dimensional continuums. Advancing to higher levels (more dimensions) in the game is earned according to the quality & value of a person’s contributions.
- Example (of a ‘2-dimensional’ question from game): What does the combination of ‘lacking what you need’ + ‘being pressured to perform’ feel like? a) obligated b) deprived c) frustrated, or d) inadequate?)
2) Seek input from people with extreme & non-extreme experience
- Just as physics looks to extreme physical states like black holes to better understand simpler models, looking to extreme emotional states aids understanding of mental health & enables more accurate modeling of the relationship between body, mind & spirit.
- This virtual game is exceptional in that players with non-typical experiences (i.e. history of mental illness, emotional dysregulation, or extreme life hardship) have an advantage because they are able to contribute unique and specialized knowledge from their own personal experiences that fewer people have.
STAGE III: Applying the Model
1) Create software program that produces a digital Emotions Mapping Tool
- This interactive tool will allow users to track their emotions by inputting data about how they are feeling and what they are thinking, and the program will visually graph their changing emotional states and predict their past, present and future moods. Anyone can use the software to visually track their emotions, identify concerning patterns, & get auto-prompted tips on verbal tools & strategies that rebalance specific emotions. Results between what a person reports their emotions to be, and what the program predicts they would be feeling based on the ‘universal, atomically-based mood map’ will be compared to test the accuracy of the map.
2) Compare the Emotions Mapping Tool’s predictions to heart rate variability (HRV) data
- Compelling research on emotion & heart rate variability has been done by the HeartMath Institute, with different patterns of heart activity correlated with different emotional states. This step will incorporate these wearable devices to see if a person’s recorded emotional experience correlates in any relevant way with measured heart rate variability and other easily measured physiological data, to see if useful and accurate predictions can be made from combining these emotional stress measuring strategies.
STAGE IV: Testing the hypothesis using the mood model and emotion-tracking tools
1) Test the model across large populations to determine if emotional experience follows familiar probability curves
I predict mood & emotional patterns, when measured over time and across populations, may or may not turn out to precisely follow probability curves known from atomic physics and chemistry.
Statement of Significance:
Mental and emotional distress are not well understood and can leave people highly vulnerable—to manipulation, to provocation, to harm and to harming. Those in the most severe emotional distress can experience ideations of assault, suicide or homicide. When someone acts out extreme thoughts, they fall victim to the failure of their own emotional regulation systems. The tragedy and loss reverberate through their family, community & society at large.
While current estimates are 1 in 5 Americans experience some form of mental illness in their lifetime, nearly everyone has occasions where disruptive thoughts & emotions exceed their ability to cope the way they’d like. Unfortunately, fear of social stigma and/or a sense of hopelessness often prevent people from seeking help when they need it. This leads to small problems escalating into bigger ones that are harder and more expensive to treat and correct.
This project presents the unique opportunity to demystify some of the most frightening and confusing aspects of being human. It reduces subjectivity and establishes mental patterns as equations that have identifiable mathematical solutions. This contributes to decreasing the stigma associated with feeling vulnerable, seeking support, and struggling mentally and/or emotionally.
Procuring funding will enable this project to produce:
—A static, digitized, 3-D model of the mental framework from which cognitive & emotional experience arises
—A dynamic ‘road map’ of the model that illustrates perception as ‘locations’ along its axes, thought as ‘routes’ along its planes, feelings as ‘states’ within its octants, and emotions as the ‘road conditions’ affecting travel experience
—A virtual game/app that will utilize crowdsourcing to test and validate the model
—A digital Emotions Mapping Tool that allows users to test the model & give feedback on its ability to accurately identify their feelings based on data they input; Users will be able to view their mental & emotional states over time to recognize patterns, identify ones they’d like to change, & get practical, tailored tips for re-balancing emotions and changing those patterns (aka ‘GPS for emotions’)
—A clear path to creating an interdisciplinary team of math, physics & mental health experts who have the expertise to test the assertions that a) mental illness has physiological origins, and b) research that focuses on discovering mathematically-informed solutions to problems of mental/emotional dysregulation could have profound effect on the mental health and well-being of an enormous percentage of the human population.
This project anticipates the following outcomes:
—An improved ability to objectively measure and analyze an individual’s mental/emotional state from their physiology
—An increase in effective tools that promote mental health while simultaneously de-stigmatizing mental illness
—A greatly enhanced chance at developing new treatment strategies for mental/emotional distress that are tailored to a person’s unique emotional patterns & life circumstances
—A renewed sense of purpose and belonging among people whose life & mental health experiences have left them doubting their own ability to contribute to humanity and its greater good
–An increase in non-violent strategies that counter suicidal and homicidal ideations and behavioral tendencies
—Significant individual and national cost savings related to all aspects of preventing, identifying & treating emotional dysregulation & mental illness
—Collaboration between and a greater appreciation in psychology/mental health for the role of math & physics, and in math/physics for the role of psychology & emotion
—New potential research avenues for those interested in pursuing scientific evidence of the mathematical relationship between consciousness, mental health/ illness and physics
Capacity for Success:
Sonia Elkes’ background is in Emotional Brain Training, a neuroscience-based, emotional fluency program developed at UC San Francisco which teaches the developmental skills that people overcome debilitating & addictive behavior.
Throughout 14 years of teaching this method, Sonia created and utilized physical models to illustrate emotional skills. Through these models, the parallel between the laws of motion & emotion gradually emerged, underscoring the unusual effectiveness of Emotional Brain Training for effecting positive behavior change.
Recognizing this work’s potential to decrease suffering among society’s most vulnerable, Sonia spent the last 7 years advancing the model & developing its hypotheses. Named a Top Writer 2018 on , she writes on the topic of emotional health in the context of established physics and chemistry principles to a large public audience, enabling her to collaborate with mathematicians, physicists & mental health experts worldwide.
Sonia has formed partnerships with mental health leaders in Clubhouse International & National Alliance on Mental Illness, and with computer software programmers & gaming engineers.
With the right team of mental health specialists, physicists and neuroscientists, Sonia is well-positioned to help society revolutionize the field of mental and emotional health through the lenses of mathematics, physics & chemistry.
The Translation of Physics Formulas to their Psychological Counterparts
My preliminary attempts to falsify the claims I am making and hypotheses I am proposing utilize physics equations to demonstrate that psychological terms can be self-consistently substituted in established physics formulas.
Borrowing from physics formulas, where…
- Velocity (v) = Productivity
- Distance (d) = Progress
- Time (t) = Consciousness (when ‘t’ is in numerator it = concentrated attention, as in ‘Focus’, whereas when ‘t’ in denominator it = divided attention as in ‘Distraction’)
- Acceleration (a) = Accomplishment (when +), or Failure (when -); (‘a’ in the numerator = ‘Pride’; ‘a’ in the denominator = ‘Regret.’)
- Gravity (G) = Expectation (if +), Doubt (if -)
- Force (F) = Conviction
- Force of Gravity (F of G) = Certainty
- Mass (m) = Belief
- Work = Purpose
- Power (P) = Control
- Frequency (F) = Consistency
- Cycles (c) = Repetition
- Radius (r) = Relatedness, where ‘r’ in numerator = similarity, whereas ‘r’ in denominator = difference)
1) Velocity = Distance / Time means Productivity = Progress / Distraction
Productivity is equal to how much Progress we make divided by how distracted we are.
2.) Velocity = Acceleration x Time means Productivity = Accomplishment x Focus
Feeling Productive is proportional to how much ‘Focus’ we place on our ‘Accomplishments’. This equation I think tells us that feeling productive is proportional to a focus on what we’ve done that we approve of— a ‘sense of accomplishment.’ However, as velocity increases, heat from friction increases. Perhaps this explains why ‘pride goes before a fall’–as soon as we become consciously aware of ‘feeling good’ about how hard we are working and how well we are doing, that’s also the moment we become distracted by exactly those thoughts, lose our focus and make a silly, avoidable mistake.
3.) Work = Power x Time means Purpose = Control x Focus
Having a sense of Purpose is proportional to how much focus one puts on what one has control over.
4.) Frequency = Cycles / Time means Habit = Consistency / Distraction
Consistency is proportional to Repetition, hampered by Distraction.
This is about habits–the less conscious thoughts distract us to repeat a behavior, the more consistent our actions, and thus our habits, become. In other words, habits, which may conform to wave dynamics, are are the result of consistent action because we don’t question the belief they are based on.
5.) Force = Mass x Acceleration means Conviction = Belief x Accomplishment
In this equation, a Belief in one’s own Accomplishment produces Conviction–a very strong sense that one is right or correct about something.
6.) Force of Gravity = Gravity (mass 1 x mass 2 / r^2) means Certainty = Expectation (Belief1 x Belief2/ Unrelatedness^2)
In this equation, one’s Certainty is proportional to one’s Expectation times (the square of the likelihood that two distinct Beliefs are unrelated).
Further Reading: Q & A
I think so.
Our thoughts are important, and they guide our behavior.
But I think our thoughts are bound by the same laws that govern our Universe, so in line with Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, I don’t think our own thoughts can ever give any one of us the whole, entire truth at once.
The Uncertainty Principle asserts that “there is a fundamental limit to the precision with which certain pairs of physical properties of a particle” can be known. (from Wikipedia)
As I understand it, Heisenberg showed that if you want to zoom in and carefully identify the specific properties of one aspect of something in extreme detail, you automatically lose ability to measure other aspects of what you are studying at the same time, in his case, how fast a particle was moving.
If I had a high-power telescope and I trained it on a low-flying airplane to see who was flying the plane, my same telescope lens could not at the same moment also gather the detail needed to figure out the trajectory of the plane or its speed.
If I look at someone to see the expression on their face, I can’t at the exact same moment also look at where they are looking, to get information about exactly why their expression in that particular instant is what it is.
I can do one or another to a very high degree of accuracy, but there is no way I can look in two places at the exact same time to carefully examine both in intimate detail.
The closer we focus in on one aspect of a thing, the more access we lose to information about other aspects of that thing, at the same time.
And this seems to apply to our thoughts, feelings, gut instincts, intuitions, and especially hunches about what is coming our way in the future.
Variables we might feel some degree of confidence in include what we think will occur, when we think it will occur, and what its meaning will be for our lives.
My point is that the more accuracy with which we know one of those variables, the less we can trust our knowledge and thoughts about the other variables.
For example, I suspect the more certainty we feel that a particular something will come to be, the less certainty we can have about when that something will occur (i.e. how fast that information is traveling relative to us), or what its meaning will be for our lives.
And likewise, the more certainty we feel about when something meaningful will occur, the less clarity we can have about what will occur, and again, what its meaning will be for our lives. By meaning, whether we consider it a ‘good thing’ or a ‘bad thing’ for our lives, or if its ‘good-ness’ and ‘bad-ness’ will just keep switching back and forth in our minds depending on how it happens to align with our circumstances at a given moment.
So supposing we have a really strong fear of a certain something, or dread about our future, or frustration, panic, crushing despair, guilt or even excitement or anticipation, I think it’s worth remembering that
- there’s a decent chance that at least half or so of what we think is true (or think could come true) is by definition not worth counting on because it’s not accurate,
- we have no way of knowing which part of what we are thinking is (or will turn out to be) the true part, because we can never see the whole picture at once, and
- the more conviction we have about on aspect of a situation (in line with the length we have gone to think through or study it in detail), the bigger the chance we are missing crucial information about its bigger picture and broader meaning for our lives.
Which is why I try not to depend too heavily or believe too strongly in what crops up in my own, or other peoples’, minds.
Half of it is probably wrong at the outset (or its meaning is wrongly interpreted), and there’s no way to know for certain which half that is. The best any of us can usefully do is continually revisit preconceived notions about what is true, and gradually, snapshot by snapshot, update our mental model of what reality looks like to us—or at least what it most resembles that we happen to recognize.
Feedback from others on our thoughts is of course very useful, but if what I am saying happens to be true, I must remember that other’s thoughts, responses and feedback will be limited by the same constraints mine are.
So instead of believing my own thoughts, it helps me to suspend myself in a superposition between belief and disbelief of whatever I think, and wait to categorize thoughts as ‘true’ or not until I have the benefit of hindsight. Things can still take on meaning as needed, desired or develops naturally, but I find it more helpful to leave whether they are actually true or not as an on-going, open question withhold getting too attached either way. With hindsight I can evaluate what I thought would happen compared to the way a given situation actually turned out, at which point it is more reasonable to believe that it’s true, even if not necessarily my interpretation of why it’s true.
I don’t think there’s much mystery that we live in a simulation. It’s pretty clear to me that our physical bodies project the simulated mental reality that each of us knows as ‘mind.’
But like people say there is no ‘I’ in team, I think there is no ‘we’ in simulation.
As best I can tell, simulations are personal, not collective—everyone gets their own.
However since we each clearly interact with ‘other’ from within the ‘safety’ of our own personal simulation, that tells me that while our simulations may be individual, our survival probably has something to do with our interactions as a collective.
In other words our mental reality is personal, but how connected we are to ‘others’ (each of whom has their own mental reality), is I think a valuable indicator of our own physical and mental state of health, and therefore our personal survival odds.
A ‘lattice’ is a useful way to think about our social connectedness. A strong lattice has points of separateness and points of connection, and it’s
- flexibility and
all lie in the regularity and quality of its connection points, just like our social lives.
It seems to me that so long as we can and do maintain interaction and meaningful connections with ‘other,’ we’re still ok—even something as simple as someone acknowledging our presence by moving over when we walk by them, indicates that we still have at least some meaningful connection to others.
To feel recognized is key to survival. And I think it’s because our own personal mental reality is simulated, that we have a deep-down need to feel reassured that we are indeed still somehow connected to the fabric of each other’s physical realities.
The physically healthier we are, the lower I think this need feels, because we take our interconnectedness more for granted. The physically unhealthier we become, the greater I think we start to feel the need to ‘test’ our connections to see whether they are still there and how strong they are.
Because once we start to feel increasingly ‘distanced’ and disconnected from others, it can get so bad that we start to feel almost invisible to others, sometimes like a script is happening and nobody cares about us per se, because all the focus is on perpetuating the ‘script’. At that point we begin to doubt whether we or anything we believe in is ‘real’ at all. (There’s a name for this in psychology, called Truman Syndrome I think, after the movie.) That’s the point at which we can know that there is some sort of physical trouble brewing, because it is affecting how mentally integrated we feel.
To be clear, our mental reality being a ‘simulation’ I don’t think is a problem—it’s when our mental reality feels like a simulation, that’s the point at which we know there is a problem somewhere.
I think about it like having a headache. Before our head started aching, we weren’t even thinking about the fact that we have a head. But once it starts hurting, we can’t stop thinking about our head.
Having a head isn’t the problem, the pain of the headache is. Not having a head would no more be the right solution to the problem of a headache, than not having a simulated mind would be the right solution to the problem of that creepy sense of somehow feeling like an observer to ‘self.’
The head just happens to be where we feel a headache, like the mind just happens to be where we notice disturbing thoughts about whether things are ‘real’.
Yes our minds are the personal fabrications of our own (unconscious) inner workings, and that’s ok—until our inner workings get interrupted and our own mind starts to give us the impression of increasing and disturbing separateness from our body.
The part we need to ‘fix’ is in the body— the simulated mind is just carrying the message. And it is by analyzing the messages our minds carry for both their content and the patterns of their transmission, that I think will eventually help scientists triangulate exactly where in the body the problem is arising from.
Because that trouble can lie either with our physical inner workings themselves, or with the transmission of the information about our physical state that is determining the quality and nature of our mental reality. Either way the problem originates in physical reality, the question is where is the feeling of mental disconnection/disassociation/instability arising from and why? Is the data coming from the body that generates the simulation of our mental reality being accurately conveyed such that it represents an actual underlying bodily problem, or is there no underlying problem rather the data is being microbiologically tampered with or incorrectly transmitted and therefore doesn’t accurately represent our physical state?
Regardless, if for one reason or another we start perceiving self (body) from a disturbing ‘distance’, a good place to start is by shoring up our connectedness. This might mean strengthening our social connections, or it might mean strengthening our connectedness to self, depending on which one seems to be more lacking in our lives.
If the infrastructure of our connectedness has become too weak, either new or stronger connections are needed to help us keep mind and body functioning as a unit, instead of lagging (mentally disturbingly) behind one another. My general sense is that a healthy (not too tight, not too loose) connection to self will be reflected in a healthy (not too tight, not too loose) connection to others. To know if we are making progress toward feeling mentally more stable and integrated, we can make a change, any change, socially or personally, and notice if that change seems to move us toward or away from our overall goal.
In the movie ‘Ready Player One’, society was having the opposite problem—people had become so integrated into their own simulated reality, they became nearly inseparable from it. They stopped caring about connecting with each other in person because of how attached they had become to their fantasy—their individually simulated version of a reality strictly reduced to their desires. A very limited reality whose novelty eventually wore off and whose players became more and more manipulatable.
The total loss of interest in interpersonal human social connection would presumably spell the end of human civilization as we know it. Our mental simulations may all be personal, but our survival I think is somehow mutual, and ultimately hinges on all of us collectively interacting. We may each be one individual point on the lattice, but that is why the degree to which each of us is connected to other matters so much to the state of our collective whole.
So when we start to feel disconnected, reaching out is paramount—talking to people, asking for help, offering help, finding some way to connect with others (even if it’s just being around others to make sure they can still see us) is probably a matter of not just our own, but ultimately all of our survival. Any one of us feeling excessively isolated is probably a bad sign for all of us, but it’s worst for those in closest proximity to the lonely person.
It’s not clear to me how much it matters to whom we reach out—friends, family, strangers, therapists, doctors, dentists, acupuncturists, healers, spiritual guides, support hotlines, social media, (Quora of course)—as long as we keep reaching out as long as the feelings of disconnectedness don’t go away. When something doesn’t work or isn’t helping, the answer isn’t nothing will help, the answer is, look somewhere else. If a medical work-up revealed nothing to work on, reach out more socially. If reaching out socially isn’t panning out, try connecting to self more or getting a medical work-up. If nothing is working, try a different kind/approach to all of them, the options are literally endless.
Reaching out is key, whether it’s to other, to self, or to spiritual. As an interconnected point on our mutual lattice, every single one of us matters to every single other one of us, even if it isn’t always clear to us how.
All this to say that when we ourselves sense someone around us is experiencing a problem with their mind-body connection, and feeling lonely and isolated as a result, it seems strongly worth us reaching out to them as though our own well-being depends on it.
Because it very well might.
At some level, solipsism must be true.
At the most comprehensive level of what is, the all-encompassing, sum total of the Universe—the Universe’s perspective by definition I think has to be: “There is only me.”
But at the opposite end of the spectrum, where the Universe is a collection of all of its most basic, individual, constituent parts, fragmented as small as they can fragment, until no one part is any longer discernible from any of the others, each part’s perspective I think has to be: “I am just one of many.”
And somewhere between those two extremes I think falls the human perspective, which is so remarkably versatile that when working properly, probably can occasionally span the entire breadth of possible perspectives, including both the universal ‘I-am-everything’ and the infinitesimally fractured ‘I-am-nothing’ perspectives.
Sometimes circumstances push us toward feeling more like the first extreme, where we feel unequivocally special. This is exciting, but over time, feeling special means feeling alone, and eventually, lonely.
Other times circumstances push us toward feeling more like the other extreme, where we feel a profound sense of connectedness and belonging. But over time belonging starts to leave us feeling uncomfortably ordinary, unremarkable, indistinguishable, eventually even unbearably complacent.
At the very center between those two extremes there is probably a sweet spot where we feel neither loneliness nor belonging, neither special nor ordinary, just pure comfort, peace, security & blissfully natural. But when we happen to land there, I think it’s only in retrospect that we realize we were there at all, because being centered and balanced, the eye of the proverbial hurricane, I think precludes conscious awareness itself.
We know we were there, because we loved how it felt, but it’s always and only a feeling we can view through the rear-view mirror of our conscious awareness, something to appreciate in retrospect.
Why can’t we stay there? Because life requires motion, otherwise we stagnate, and stagnation doesn’t sustain human life.
If one is lucky enough to feel or have felt special & distinguished as well as a sense of belonging & inclusion at the same time, count yourself lucky. By my calculations that is a difficult-to-sustain, ‘superposition-of-a-state’ experience worth greatly treasuring.*
So I think mostly we bounce around between feeling distinguished (or not), socially connected (or not), and if we’re lucky, sometimes gloriously in-between or both at the same time, gleaning meaning about our lives from the patterns our vacillations and oscillations make over time, starting to recognize and name those patterns, and trying to repeat the ones that felt good while avoiding the ones that didn’t.
I wonder if it’s the getting ‘stuck’ in any one of those perspectives that leads us to socially aberrant behaviors.
For example getting ‘stuck’ in an “I am nothing” mode may be a precursor to apathy and recklessness, whereas getting stuck in “I am everything” mode may be a precursor to arrogance, hypervigilance and anxiety.
*Perhaps the desire to feel this particular superposition is part of why humans form tribes, create groups, clubs, cliques, and even have families and live in communities—it gives us a more realistic way to achieve a quasi-superposition state of both belonging and distinguishing ourselves as special because there are a limited subset of people to impress/matter to/compete with.
Perhaps when someone leaves one of these contrived social settings, or even starts to feel suicidal, it is sometimes because they are unable to see themselves, for any number of reasons, able to achieve the sweet spot of specialness + belonging in any of the particular settings they see as available to them. Or they simply can’t abide the thought of losing their place in that sweet spot of security that they have held on to for so long, because they fear they no longer even know how to survive the bouncing around life without it.
Perhaps addictions develop when we try to anesthetize ourselves to feeling the loss of that security, or comfort ourselves in it’s absence.
Perhaps on the occasion that a social group makes the collective decision to reject and ostracize one of its members it could be because the person has gotten stuck somewhere along that continuum—particularly in the ‘I-am-everything’ Universe perspective that we recognize as a ‘God complex’ and that is no more healthy or balanced than a purely ‘I-am-nothing’ perspective.
Maybe the events and occurrences that now and then upset our standing in social groups has the effect of countering the stagnation danger of staying in any one place for too long, and getting too comfortable.
The difference between ego and personality can, I think, most succinctly be summed up with the Holographic Principle.
The Holographic Principle is the idea that a volume of space can be completely described by its area’s worth of information. It’s called the holographic principle because of the way a hologram encodes 3 dimensions of information on a 2-dimensional surface.
Here’s why I think our ego constitutes a hologram of our personality:
I hypothesize that the entirety of each one of our conscious perceptions & thoughts can be distilled down to 3 (x,y,z) coordinates, and then mapped onto a standard, 3-dimensional coordinate system.
Emotions (aka feelings) are the dynamic aspect of this map. We experience them viscerally in our body because of the ‘twists, turns and drop-offs’ created by our ‘mental movement’ between various ‘coordinates’ (locations) on this 3-d graph. We feel this ‘motion’ in our bodies viscerally I think, because the exact nature of our ‘mental movements’ on this ‘graph’ get relayed to and processed by our body’s proprioceptive receptors.
(I am proposing that our emotions are to mental reality what gravity is to physical reality. Emotions I propose are mediated and modulated by our expectations, as gravity is by the spacetime warpage.)
However, as far as I can tell, only the first two dimensions (x, y) of this ‘mental coordinate system’ are technically ‘real,’ or ‘material’— the third dimension appears to be ‘imaginary,’ or ‘virtual’.
The first two dimensions describe what we personally perceive, while the third dimension is our projection of how we perceive others perceiving us.
Without that third (perceptual) dimension we would have no ego. An ‘inflated ego’ is one that has literally expanded in the (z) direction of this graph-able, virtual mental ‘space.’
Nevertheless, who we actually are (as the collection of our average behaviors, not the way we feel ‘viewed’ by others) can be summed up with just the first two (x,y) perceptual dimensions. The third, while crucial for survival and necessary to take into account to sensibly predict a person’s future behavior, is fundamentally just a holographic projection.
So while our personality (as this ‘collection of our average behaviors’) develops largely because of this ‘virtual’ 3rd dimension, it is only the first two primary, ‘perceptual-dimensions’ we need to sufficiently (and arguably most usefully) describe personality accurately. The first two perceptual-dimensions describe how we act, the third is the ‘backstory’ we or others make up to justify, rationalize and explain why we did what we did.
I’d say it’s impossible to know a thing exists that hasn’t even been perceived, but it doesn’t escape my notice that even just hearing or knowing about something second-hand is already a form of perceiving something’s existence.
We may not personally be someone who has ‘first-hand’ perceptual experience of a ‘thing’, but I would contend that once even the idea of a thing ‘crosses our radar’, something about it already has relevance to us personally.
What the relevance of this thing in our lives is, that we think about but don’t have first-hand perceptual experience of, that’s harder to determine. Especially once we attach emotion to a thing—then its actual relevance to us and true meaning in our lives become even harder to ascertain.
The more we, for example, fear a thing’s existence or despair its loss, the more likely I think we’re missing the bigger picture of what role this ‘thing’ plays/will play/has played in our lives.
What underscores this notion for me is the complementarity principle, which is Neils Bohr’s contribution to explaining Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle.
The complementarity principle essentially states that:
“…complete knowledge of phenomena on atomic dimensions requires a description of both wave and particle properties. It is impossible to observe both the wave and particle aspects simultaneously. Together, however, they present a fuller description than either of the two taken alone.”
I would submit that people mentally also exhibit both wave-like and particle-like properties—with feelings representing the wave state aspect of our minds and thoughts representing the particle state aspects.
Consequently, I would propose that the complementarity principle also extends to mental phenomena, such that:
…complete knowledge of perception on human dimensions requires a description of both feeling and thought. However it is similarly impossible to perceive our own feelings and thoughts simultaneously. Together, however, they present a fuller description than either of the two taken alone.
Since beauty is fairly strongly correlated with symmetry, I would suppose that people find beauty in that which externally reflects or somehow compliments, what they were feeling internally already.
In other words, the individuality of preference would be dependent on the extent to which what we encounter in the world around us mirrors/echoes/interplays with what we feel inside; how mind-blowingly beautiful something is to us then I would guess has to do with the nature of the match between our internal patterns and the external patterns we are observing.
It might be that our sense of beauty and satisfaction are triggered by a match between the visual patterns we observe in our surroundings and the emotional patterns we already feel internally, or quite the opposite, it might be triggered when the two patterns, when overlaid, so nearly cancel each other out, that we are left with an overwhelming sense of calm that we interpret as beauty. And of course a third possibility is that the two patterns neither match to double each other’s amplitude, nor cancel each other out completely, but rather they combine in some intricate way that mimics the particular pattern, a kind of ‘wave function signature’, of exactly that which we have identified as desirable and have been searching for. Regardless, I strongly suspect an internally-generated wave function and an externally-sensed wave function are somehow being compared against each other.
Nature and wide sweeping panoramic views probably may have an intrinsic beauty because those are large, fractally repeating patterns are innately part of nearly everyone’s internal architecture of stored mental patterns.
Whereas man-made objects, art and things viewed in close-up detail are probably more prone to individual, non-universal preference, because likely not everyone shares/has experienced the same detailed, specific patterns internally, and therefore can’t automatically appreciate them in their environment.
Probably love them deeply, care for them well and spend quality time with them. The rest I can imagine follows from there…
I have considered the possibility of a version of this.
For myself, I tend to wonder if perhaps there is only one actual ‘self’ in the universe, and that self, as sole observer, is always ‘oneself’ —for me, it’s me, but for you, it’s you—and everyone and everything around oneself is simply a reflection of the many aspects of ourselves.
In other words, our world around us is reflective of what is going on inside our ’self’ at the microscopic and atomic level.
So you can get information about what is happening inside you by observing me and the world around you, and I can get information about what is happening inside me by observing you and the world around me.
When I want to see change, I have to become that change.
If I see problems—in the way other people live their lives, in nature and the environment, in politics—it’s me who has to take the first step toward change.
Though there is actually only one of us, since we are all simultaneously this ‘one’,each of us can live knowing that none of us is any more important, special, ‘right’, or entitled than anyone else.
All we can do is to keep doing our personal best every day, whatever that is, and there is no use waiting for someone else to go first.
And we all just keep reflecting back to each other what is, to whoever happens to be doing the observing at the moment.
I tend to think we did freely choose to be born, and that’s the reason we’re here.
But I also tend to think the choice to be born was the last ‘free will decision’ we make, until we die.
Once we’re dead though, I rather suspect our ‘free will’ starts back up again, as we plan out (with God if that is one’s belief) every finite detail of how our next rendezvous with life is going to go.
Thoughts and Feelings
Thoughts and feelings work together, but have distinct roles. Thoughts connect peoples’ minds, feelings connect peoples’ hearts, both are vital for capable individuals and strong communities.
Imagine thoughts as oil and feelings as water—the two co-exist, are equally important, separate naturally, and are most useful when kept organized.
A useful example of oil and water working together for the benefit of the organism, is in cell biology with the phospholipid bylayer of cell membranes.
Here’s an image, for reference:
The membrane is made up of water-loving heads attached to oil-based tails that arrange themselves into rows where the tails point toward each other, and the heads stick out.
Cell membranes have a huge responsibility to maintain the integrity of the cell, providing the infrastructure that allows what’s needed in, and keeping what’s not out.
The same holds for the infrastructure of our mind, with respect to our thoughts and feelings.
Kept organized and properly integrated, thoughts and feelings work together to help us maintain our personal integrity and keep our boundaries secure so that we can bring in to our lives what we want/need and keep out what we don’t.
Like oil and water, thoughts and feelings do mix with enough agitation. And when thoughts and feelings mix and get disorganized, for safety reasons they are important to handle with care, particularly around the ‘open flame’ of passion.
Just like exposing oil and water to open flame causes a firestorm, when the heat of passion gets added to a mixture of thoughts and feelings, the potential for volatile and deeply scarring reactions increases.
It is absolutely fundamental to emotional resiliency to know the difference between thoughts and feelings and how to navigate them for best possible outcomes.
Feelings arise from the body in response to unmet bodily needs, and ride into our minds alongside our thoughts to guide our actions. So if our thoughts have become repetitive, distorted or destructive, chances are they are reflecting strong feelings from persistently unmet needs, usually perpetuated by various deeply held unrealistic expectations we have of ourselves.
In order to understand what our body is really trying to communicate versus what distorted, destructive thoughts may be telling us, it helps us more quickly decode thoughts if we temporarily bypass our thinking completely, and go directly to the underlying feelings for clues.
The clues from our feelings tell us what our underlying, unmet needs actually are, so we can either
- meet the true, unmet needs (true needs are always constructive, never destructive), or
- begin the work to change the unrealistic expectations that underlie them,
both of which help re-normalize our thoughts.
If ever we feel confused by a mixture of thoughts and feelings, it’s helpful to separate out feelings from thoughts first, then proceed. The most effective and efficient strategy I know of to separate out feelings from thoughts is summarized here:
And the most effective and efficient strategy I know to decode thoughts by following the feelings they prompt in us is this:
To express negative feelings when they’ve built up into a tangled, disturbing or toxic mess, I disentangle them using a process called:
The Natural Flow of Feelings,
which I learned from a method called Emotional Brain Training.
Children of about 4 years old are the real experts in this method, most of us forget at some point how to do this, some of us earlier than others.
If you’ve ever watched a child throw a temper tantrum, dissolve into a puddle of tears, then become fearful and panicky, only to sheepishly realize they overreacted and go on as if nothing just happened, you’ve seen what I’m talking about.
It’s a natural progression from anger, to sadness, to fear, to guilt.
To get your vitriolic feelings out on your own so that your words don’t have to hurt anyone else, find a private place where you can be loud and not disturbed, nor will you disturb anyone else if you make a lot of noise, stomp around, or swear like a sailor.
Complete the following sentences, out loud, with as much anger reflected in your voice as you can muster: “I feel angry that…”, “I hate it when…”, “ I can’t stand it that…” over and over and over.
Repeat yourself as many times as needed and let yourself be as angry and judgmental as you need to be to get your anger out. No self-censoring. Stomping and inserting your favorite expletives anywhere within those phrases is helpful, just make sure you follow the basic sentence structure order, starting with ‘I’ then ‘feel’ and then an emotion word. (For example, “I feel %# $&@ angry that…!)
This is not the time for anger at self, (that’s regret, so save that for the “I feel guilty…” part later on), or for questions(like “Why me??”) both of which will derail your process. And especially avoid the sneaky phrases ‘I feel like…” or “I feel that…”, because those are thoughts masquerading as feelings, and will also veer you off course. Stick to the feelings, not to thoughts—this is the the part where you do everything possible not to think, just to feel. Every time a thought does come up, immediately put it into feelings language with “I feel angry that…”
Repeat the “I feel angry that’s…” until your anger rises, peaks, and fades and all that is left is a gut-wrenching sadness.
Next, fill in the sentence “ I feel sad that…” over and over, letting your tears flow freely and giving in to utter self-pity, againstaying with it and letting the sadness rise, peak, and fade, until fear inevitably comes up.
(Note: Tears are nearly essential for grief and sadness to fade. If tears just won’t come, consider taking a hot shower to get them going, the humidity might help trigger them, or watch a tear-jerker movie to get them flowing.)
Now fill in the sentence “ I feel afraid that…”, naming your fears, one by one. If you get stuck in fear but don’t know what else you might be afraid of, prompt yourself with, “…and if that happens, then i’m afraid that…”, until you reach the very end fear—the one that all the other ones were sitting on top of. Usually it will be some variation of “I’m afraid I’ll be totally miserable/no one will ever love me/everyone will hate me/my life will have meant nothing/everyone will forget me/no one will respect me/I’ll be alone for the rest of my life.”
It should feel pretty melodramatic.
You’ll know you’ve reached your ‘end-of-the-line fear’ when you’ve named it, sat with the terror of this fear that can get no worse as it rises inside you, peaks and fades, and no other fears follow.
Instead slowly but surely all you can feel is little and big regrets and guilt for all the things you could have or wish you had done differently.
This next part is especially important, because this is where your power lies—namely figuring out what you have the power to change, fix, or do differently next time. So get a piece of paper and pen in case you want to jot down something you learn from the process and don’t want to forget.
Process the guilts and regrets by saying “I feel guilty that I…”, over and over (still all out loud) until you’ve listed all the things you can remember in that moment that you regret, jotting down the actionable items as you go.
This becomes your “I need/to-do” list for the future, so edit the things on it until they feel reasonable, appropriate and realistic.
If you aren’t sure or are worried about your own judgment figuring what is reasonable, appropriate and realistic, (which is very common if you have a perfectionist or self-indulgent streak in you), or you get stuck along the way in one of these feelings, enlist a therapist to help you. If you know your expectations tend to be unreasonable, enlist the therapist from the beginning. They are really good at helping people get unstuck from feelings.
And if you want to know more about Emotional Brain Training, of which this technique is the cornerstone, go to. It’s a really useful method for learning the basic emotion processing tools that many of us forgot once we turned five or so.
Thoughts, especially negative and repetitive ones, are code for underlying emotion driven by unmet need and unrealistic expectation.
To figure out the actual message our body and mind is sending us via our thoughts, we have to interpret the code—we can’t take the words of our thoughts at face value because our emotions are still distorting them. So:
First, uncover the emotions that are underlying and generating the thought by feeling and expressing them fully,
(This is a highly effective tool for getting the feelings out first:)
Second, identify and meet the unmet basic physiological need accompanies them, and
Third, figure out what deeper, underlying unrealistic expectation (aka belief) you are holding onto that causes the same needs to go unmet, over and over again.
If a need can’t be realistically met, then the expectation or belief that prompted that need has to shift, before we can possibly feel any sense of satisfaction.
Uncovering the emotion:
Each person’s thought code is probably individual, but for example:
“You/I am not good enough” may be someone’s code for =
1.) I’m afraid I’m going to fail and people I care about will judge me
2.) I feel angry I was put in this position in the first place
3.) I feel sad I worry so much about what other people think of me
4.) I feel guilty that I stayed up too late last night and then skipped breakfast this morning
Strong feelings always seem to come in clumps of four, typically anger, sadness, fear and guilt for the negative ones, and grateful, happy, excited and proud for the positive ones.) Just like we have to exercise both sides of our body, it’s very important when uncovering strong feelings to give all four roughly equal ‘air time’ (expression). If there’s one strong negative feeling, the others will be right behind it, and for emotional balance they all need to be expressed. Once one has identified the complete set of feelings, it’s usually a lot clearer what the underlying problem is.
In the case above, one probably needs
1.) To eat…or else to set a more reasonable expectation for what one can accomplish on an empty stomach without enough rest,
3.) To change something about one’s evening routine that will get bedtime happening earlier…or else seriously consider if one’s personal habits are able to support everything one expects oneself to accomplish during the day, and
5.) Most difficult, to start practicing accepting difficult truths like:
People judge. It’s what we do. I do it too. It’s not the end of the world.
I don’t have to be perfect to be good enough. (Most people don’t even like people who seem perfect anyway)
I have to get to bed earlier if I want to keep this job.
And so on…
Keep in mind that just thinking through our feelings to try to figure out what we really need tends to backfire and leave us more confused and our thoughts more distorted than when we started — it’s like using the same code (thinking), to break the code (thought) itself. See the problem? It’s circular reasoning, and is apt to drive us crazy.
Instead, find the privacy to speak your feelings out loud, so that your own ears hear you, and a less stuck part of your brain can get activated and help you stop doing mental donuts.
Professionally trained therapists, by the way, are the real experts in this stuff.
If you ever want or need individualized help to figure out what reasonable goals and expectations are, I can’t recommend finding someone you click with highly enough.
When you talk, your own ears listen, and between the guidance of a trained therapist and the way talking can unlock the wealth of wisdom sitting between your two ears, there is a lot of potential benefit from the therapy process.
I would put my money on music and dancing.
The Universe seems very keen on rhythm, vibration and motion. My guess is humans are the Universe’s instrumentalists, life is our salary.
Our job is to keep moving, take breaks at rhythmic intervals, and do the best we can to sing, dance and support each other as we go.
Note: This entire document can be found online at:s