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On the Nature of Consciousness, Patterning, Repetition and Perception

Consciousness, Patterning, Repetition and Perception

This page comprises a series of observations and dialogue referring to the deep patterning and repetitious nature of behaviour in both a human and more general or universal sense - the former being a subset of the latter - and how consciousness and existence derive from such.

The initial material originates from voluntary collborative work, undertaken in pursuance of the exploration of fundamental behaviours, in June 2001. A synopsis only of the dialogue is presented in this particular case. Substantial additional material from my own researches follows - the July Supplement: in many cases this derives from the initial dialogues but is of a more practical, directed nature.

Synopsis of Original Dialogue

a) part of our experiencing duality gets reinforced by 'looking back' on the immediate past with a verbal commentary (internal or external dialogue) or a selective visual or aural selective mechanism/comparitor. In any of these cases, 'what is' (actually 'what was') gets compared with an apparently separate state of that which the individual holds in memory.

b) Regarding one possible mechanism for the segmentation of reality, in a passage entitled 'The biological segmentation of reality', Penny Lee in "The Whorf Theory Complex" quotes Bertalanffy: 'from that great cake of reality, every living organism cuts a slice, which it can perceive and to which it can react owing to its psycho-physical organisation, that is, the structure of its receptor and effector organs', and further: 'any organsim so to speak, cuts out from the multiplicity of surrounding objects [and actions!] a small number of characteristics to which it reacts and whose ensemble forms its "ambient". All the rest is non existent for that particular organism. Every animal is surrounded, as by a soap bubble, by its specific ambient, replenished by those cgaracteristics which are amenable to it. If, reconstructing an animal's ambient, we enter the soap bubble, the world is profoundly changed. Many characteristics disappear, others arise and a completely new world is found.' This (theory) provides one workable model.

c) persistence or fixation of form or pattern in time provides the illusion of an apparently fixed reference point from which actuality or 'what is' ('was') can supposedly be observed. The fixation of pattern provides the platform of apparent chronological continuity and may occur in many ways - physical shape, sound, odour, taste, colour or symbol, chemical state, continual repeating movement and so on.

d) the underlying nature of fixation lies in repetition. In this, 'duration' exists as the fixed patterning of an occurence from one moment to the next. Forms of matter, having duration, have pattern repeating from one moment to the next and therefore have fixation. Similarly any pattern having a repeating quality in time, sound, colour, shape, etc. has fixative properties.

e) [As an inverse corollory of d), any repeating pattern of 'motion' of any system - whether it initially has mass or not - creates duration and mass in the form of inertia or resistance to change. ie repeated 'pure motion' tends to create its own inertia or existence/memory. and tendency to stay in that patterned state - conditioning]

f) since by c), the repetition of patterns provides the fixation of the reference point, the viewing platform so to speak, AND by e) tends to ingrain that and hold it, the habitual repetition of high level pattern by the separated observer (as per a)) will lead to the ongoing strengthening and persistence of behaviours in the subject both at 'high' (or obvious) and 'low' (or invisible) micro levels. Habit thus reinforces and perpetuates itself.

g) We are held by our actions, even our apparently minor actions, into being what we are. Habits, or rather 'behavioural routines', of all kind bind us - not just the likes of smoking, drinking, eating and walking in a particular manner and so on, but the words we use, the grammar patterns, the way we move, our physical actions, the places we go, our tones of voice, etc, etc. We are bound in form by what we do - that 'is' us and at the same time it comprises our conditioning.

h) Duration exists as the persistence of form in time. Conversely, time gets detected by the continuity or persistence of form.

j) Our 'existence' depends upon CONTINUITY or apparent persistence of pattern in time. The more obvious manifestations of continuity occur in materiality - essence of physical being (atomic/molecular) and form/articulation of physical being (cellular/physical shape). The less apparent expressions of continuous form/pattern (or existence) appear in more subtle ways. Some examples, which can exist as tacit parts of our being OR as things we actually become caught up in by doing, are as follows:
i) a chemical pattern e.g. due to the ingestion of a food, drug, tobacco or alcohol, etc.
ii) pattern of physical movement - a gait, a stoop, a way of moving body parts, a regime of exercise, dance, etc.
iii) patterns of speech - repeating grammatical form, vocabulary, nuance/inflection, accent, rhyme, alliteration, repetition.
iv) music - repetition of rhythmic pitch movements, often with harmony.
v) thinking (internal dialogue) - closely related to speech. Major pattern of the 'I/me'.
vi) thinking (visualisation) - dynamic and parallel patterning in real time. Major means of remembering and projecting complex scenarios.
vii) pattern of conglomerate behaviour - the normal state, comprising rapidly interchanging groups of the types indicated above.

k) Conditioning only manifests in existence, or continuity of patterning as described above. The viewing point or platform of conditioning only exists by virtue of a pattern occuring to compare it with the actual.

l) Our everyday 'active' behaviour comprises the energisation and de-energisation of various extant patterns in accordance with internal (memory) or external (stimulus) cue. Given continuous fixation of certain memory patterns (memory here refers to the entire nervous system) and a relatively fixed environment as a basis for cue, our behaviour will be habitual.

m) by observing the movement of mind one may detect its movements along the energy pathways that provide continuity. One may permit silent intent to de-energise 'continuity' movements that have no practical purpose. The more this (negation of thinking) process takes place, the greater alertness becomes and the process becomes correspondingly easier.

n) as given previously (patterns of speech), symbols give continuity. Taking the example of vocabulary in a particular conversation, if (say) six key words and synonyms were excised from a typical conversation, the whole would lose continuity and collapse. Likewise with a short piece of written prose.

p) the power of the written word (or any symbol) constantly reiterates the continuity of that which it symbolically represents. Written words - signs, labels, books, notes, etc. are the epitome of the continuity of symbol. Everytime we come across one, it energises the stored common meaning it has within our memories and initiates a thought train.

(Note - in order to prevent confusion - that unless indicated otherwise, the observations and commentaries given above are original to the members of the group who participated in the dialogue.)
A full transcript of this particular dialogue is not available.

Supplementary Remarks on the Functioning and Utility of Patterns (July 2001)

The foregoing notes relate, in a more or less abstract way, to the structuring and forms of some of the basic patterns that occur in Nature and also comprise part of what we know overall as 'human conditioning' - which is not separate from Nature..

The reader should understand that these 'patterns' are not just something remote that only belong to something or some other(s) 'out there', but actually comprise subtle and ever present threads that woven together form - even materially comprise -an integral part of our day to day consciousness and behaviour. Modifying a system;s patterning can (and does) bring about radical changes in that systems' behaviour. Human beings are (complex) systems that have fluctuating patterned psychological and physiological states: change the patterns, and these change. In consequence, since humans live in societies which are also systems, the associated behaviour of others will change by means of the same fundamental pattern shifting processes: as human beings, we share a common pool of patterns.

To make this article more comprehensible and amenable to use in practical, everyday terms, a series of fifty four supplementary comments are presented below, in no particular order (although they are broadly grouped), dealing with some more, and some more pragmatic, effects of patterning. Some of these commentaries have had to be truncated - that can't be helped: without writing several web pages on each (and some of the topics contain sufficient material for complete essays in themselves): shorthand forms are necessary, but they will reward diligent study.

Note that some of these notes apply to 'systems' in general, some not: a human being comprises one particular form of a system (and some of the statements made about humans are reciprocally applicable to systems in general). To separate all this out and write it up for 'system' and 'human' would render the text twice as long and tedious for both author and reader alike: the intelligent reader should be well able to juxtapose the appropriate word wher necessary.

This is not the last word on patterning, and I hope that what is written here - which is consciously given freely across the web - can both be deployed beneficially by those who might read it and and have the eyes to see, and also that it might stimulate further exploration into this fascinating topic. Any constructive criticisms will be gratefully received.

The Fifty Four Supplements

1. Patterns are all around us, both in natural and man made form. Some are obvious - for example the visual patterns in a crystal, a flower, a carpet or wallpaper, the sound of objects responding to the wind, the sea, music, etc.. Others are not so obvious: the dynamic or 'process' patterning in human and system behaviour, physical movements, learned responses, language and thinking patterns, habits,compounded/interactive behavioural patterns, etc.

This article deals principally with the latter groups - although it has some bearing on the former.

2. Patterns exist as 'out there' phenomena in the world at large, but when we observe them they give rise to sympathetic motion of our sensory apparatus which may be pure (in the case of choiceless awareness) or imaged or 'conditioned'. The latter is the common case in that the stimulus of the motion of our sense(s) causes memory to respond (usually with internal dialogue or verbal 'thinking', but sometimes in other ways as well - e.g. foot tapping to music, turning towards 'pleasant' odours, etc.). Thus a relatively simple external pattern can give rise to a far more complex internal/external set of behaviours as the observer becomes enmeshed in an overall patterning process: the observer and the observed behave as one.

3. We empower our patterns of behaviour by executing and repeating them. In like, but reciprocal manner, they empower and energise our sense of doing and subsequent being whilst at the same time enthralling it in that which we do.

4. As given previously, patterns create momentum - an intrinsic drive to existence in that which is patterned and a drive which is achieved principally by repetition in whole or parts (a 'part' pattern being a 'whole' of a smaller pattern in its own right. A major pattern - for example smoking a cigarette - whilst presenting a handful of obvious patterned actions will also contain hundreds of generally invisible sub-patterns coexisting to make up the whole. Each of these has momentum - hence the pernicious nature of some patterned behaviours by deep ingraining as habit.

5. The simplest or 'simplex' patterns comprise singular, sequential, linear behaviours, but these are uncommon in the real world. Most practical patterns comprise groups of two or more simplex patterns running in parallel, often with one or more of them stopping and starting in the overall sequence: such patterns are internally associative and cross related or 'anchored' to each other in a 'multiplex' gestalt movement. In a human context, a multiplex pattern (such as dancing) might involve (say) synchronised hand, arm and leg movements, breathing, and visual and aural co-ordination with music/other dancers. The whole of the individual patterns that make up the multiplex of 'dance' will be cross anchored internally AND anchored to the external events (rhythm, movement of others, etc.)

6. When systems behave in patterns, they become 'locked on' or fixated, either in whole or part, to a particular set of patterned behaviours. Shifting from one set of patterns to another to another is quite common in this respect, the whole behaviour representing a 'macro' pattern.

7. Since our being depends upon the regular execution of repertoire of patterns that we have become (since childhood) habituated in, changing - or negating - one or more of these patterns will bring about a change across our system.

8. Any recognisable feature of anything (object, process) is a pattern - since for memory to work a re cognition (i.e. a repetition) of a previously sensed feature must occur: no pattern, no memory.

9. Running a held, sequenced pattern in full provides a sense of 'knowing' (or repetition of previously held state).

10. Although the principal feature establishing the existence of a pattern is repetition, the intensity of amplitude of the elements of the form will contribute to the pattern implanting or 'burning in' in the host. As an example of this, human patterning at root relies on modulation of the five senses - Visual, Aural, Kinesthetic, Olfactory and Gustatory (VAKOG, but note that 'Kinesthetic' has many modes). The more pronounced that modulation is (e.g. a powerful intense flashing colour, a loud noise pattern, pain, and intense scent, etc.), then the deeper the implantation of the pattern than that which would be achieved with lower amplitudes.

11. Patterns impose through the senses. Making sense channels non available, or avoiding common sensory sources projecting patterns, can negate them.

12. Nature at large rarely patterns or repeats things exactly. Most natural patterns comprise an essential basic archetypal form or species with multiple variations on the theme of that form or mutations (e.g. snowflake, tree, human, etc.)

13. Interrupting the flow or continuity of 'internal dialogue' (verbalised thinking) and associated internal imaging (visual thinking or imaging) will induce the breaking of thought trains in an individual and associated forgetfulness. Removing concurrent visual, aural and notable kinesthetic experience will compound this.

14. In everyday life, consciousness as thinking moves between extant islands of patterned concepts or 'things'. Without these islands (objects, concepts and activities), and the patterned movement between them (processes), conscious thinking is not.

15. Continual exposure of a system to a repeating pattern or system of patterns fixates that system in those patterns. In the case of human systems, this happens whether they are aware it or not - but 'unawareness' merely renders the system susceptible rather than actively engaged. Active awareness of (or participation in) the pattern cause it to consciously condition..

16. Certain elementary patterns of behaviour are common in a species in the form of species 'archetypes' owing to the fundamental manner in which that species is constructed. Examples of this in the human species are gait, breathing patterns in various physiological and psychological states, sensory acuity, reactions to danger, etc. Although these elementary behaviours are essentially the same as a class, significant diversity exists amongst the patterns of individuals. For instance, although owing to their mechanical construction all normal biped humans may walk in an approximately similar manner [a manner which is clearly differentiable from that of a different species (say) chimpanzees], the way in which particular humans walk is almost unique to individuals - as may be observed by sitting in a busy thoroughfare for twenty minutes.

17. As with species behaviour, learned cultural differences exist within species - environmental, language, historical, ritual, religious, educational, etc. which serve to pattern different cultural groups in different manners. These are psychological differences.

18. The overall interaction of the various species with their environment, which itself has patterns, forms further gestalten.

19. Humans can readily recognise familiar patterns or icons that have been specifically designed to symbolise a particular thing or things and stand out from the background (and the abstraction and its meaning inculcated by repetition in the observer such as to have acquired a grip on patterning memory). Examples of this are visual advertising logos or specific, slightly unusual word groups, etc. As said, the icons will stand out of a visual, aural (or presumably any other) context as, for example, the hearing of a couple of icon words (e.g. a name) across a crowded room. See note b) in section 1 for how this might operate.

20. As given previously systems derive vitality from patterns. Accordingly, new patterns - once acquired beyond the learning stage - will energise a system.

21. Deliberate, resolute attempts to recondition behaviour in a system by the negation of patterns en masse will lead to increasing chaos and rundown, since systems actually derive energy, vitality and a sense of being from the execution of patterns: to a large extent, they 'are' the patterns that make them up.

22. Places of severe reconditioning that deliberately set out to break extant patterning (monasteries, military establishments, etc.) normally introduce alternate 'iron regimes' such as to reinforce the new. and counter demotivation: in passing:, the worst prison regimes - the ones with enforced inactivity - do not.

23. Deliberate, large, systemic patterns are characteristic of human organisations and can be sophisticated in nature. These larger (group) patterns can in turn interact to make even more complex forms up to and including collaborative small groups, teams, companies, local and national government departments and nations.

24. Large, uncoordinated yet generally co-operative interactions of patterns are characteristic of crowds whose overall behaviour is determined by the lowest common denominator behaviours (or synchronous patterns of multiple individuals).

25. Simple uniforms and common livery provide an easily recognisable patterning in organisations - a pattern that functions as a simplex form and helps provide an easy fixation for the patterned behaviour of the whole. People in uniforms tend to march in step.

26. When two or more individual patterns interact - either spontaneously or by design - then compound patterns are formed. When the individual patterns are congruous, larger compound patterns form that feed from each other. If certain patterns are dissonant, then conflict occurs resulting in the significant modification or rejection of the less dominant patterns and the mutation of the more dominant forms into a new (partially de-energised/mutated) whole.

27. When co-ordinated yet opposing groups of patterns come into opposition then conflict occurs resulting in the supremacy of the more coherent and more strongly asserted (by repetition) pattern BUT the stronger pattern will inevitably be mutated by its encounter with and assimilation of the weaker if they are held together by external forces. If they move naturally apart, both will mutate.

28. As well as existence by repetition, patterns may also repeat by manifesting as mutations or parts of greater patterns - in doing so they acquire new life as the mutated form.

29. The behaviour patterns of individuals and groups positively interacting with those of other individuals and/or groups such as to build combined interactive patterns will cause an increase in the original pattern energy of the participating individuals groups, i.e. behaviours reciprocally amplify and strengthen by interaction.

30. Pattern interruption brings about radical and gross change in the overall behaviour patterns and hence concsiousness. A suitable interrupt: will ultimately modify an entire behavioural pattern.

31. Fixation occurs in humans as a result of the exposure of one or more of the sense channels to repeating patterned stimulus, e.g. a recurring visual pattern, repeating sound patterns (particularly repetitive music and mechanical vibration), stroking or caressing, dancing, repeating exposure to perfume (inhalation) or unusual taste (ingestion), etc. Parallel exposures/patterns create the greatest fixations and ultimately hypnotism.

32. Interrupt breaks fixation - but to be immediately effective needs to address several parallel patterns in the fixation.

33. Interrupting an individual pattern breaks individual fixation which will in turn weaken, but not destroy, that of associated groups (due to their superior momentum through internal feedback as systems).

34. Interrupting group fixations will dramatically interfere with the those of individual group members - and in some cases, but not necessarily (owing to the potential persistence of individual momentum/associations), destroy them.

35. The 'world as we know it' (our concsiousness) is made up of the collective fixated patterns of its inhabitants and structures which interact, self energise and perpetuate (see part 1). Interrupting the fixations - the collective conditioned behaviours of that 'old' world - creates a new one.

36. Fixation creates momentum/self energises - this may be negative in observable overall direction, but it is always positive with respect to energetically maintaining itself within the boundaries of the fixation.

37. Ultimately, all human awareness derives from the five senses (but note that the kinesthetic sense has many modes). Accordingly, the most direct interrupts are those rudimentary ones which break up and shift sensory fixations - flashes/bangs/wallops, etc. - although these may be the most unpleasant as well. It is possible to ameliorate these effects by careful construction of alternative sensory interrupts.

38. An odour or a taste is in itself a pattern that repeatedly and rapidly sequentially affects the olfactory and gustatory senses. Likewise, a monochrome colour, sound of constant pitch or a uniform texture, etc. - operating in the V, A and K modes respectively - is a simple pattern.

39. Metaphor (or parable or allegory) provides a means of retaining pattern form whilst cross mapping object (noun and optionally adjective) and/or/not process (verb and optionally adverb) from one apparent state into another. In a metaphorical model, the overall patterns remain extant whilst the content in the model is changed in various degrees (simplex/multiplex) from that of the original.

40. Using a markedly differing language, language patterns or accent in speech will bring about sweeping changes in overall psychological behaviour.

41. Dressing in uniform or fancy dress costume singly, or more markedly in groups, can bring about marked changes in behaviour.

42. Changing one or more parts of a recognisable pattern changes the whole.

43. Deleting one or more parts of a recognisable pattern changes the whole.

44. Adding one or more parts to a recognisable pattern changes the whole.

45. Changing the order of one or more parts in a recognisable pattern changes the whole.

46. The human system of consciousness may learn to reset itself by choicelessly recognising fixation and automatically rejecting or negating it by shifting 'in mode' and/or moving out of mode. Once any given pattern or part pattern is seen, the shift occurs as an effortless interrupt & shifting can be ongoing in a stream of semi-continuous interrupts providing internal dialogue does not intercede and set up its own pattern. This may be achieved by (in descending order of difficulty):
a) pure choiceless awareness
b) deep patterning of intent (see elsewhere on this site). The resultant net effect of this is ongoing fluidity
c) using a mechanical or electronic device (e.g. timer with variable time sets) to flag up (with audible signal) that examination (and thus auto interrupt) of ongoing patterns is to take place.

47. To acquire change, positive energy can be deliberately injected into a system by the energetic repetition of relatively simple patterns of behaviour. In a human system, this could be weight training, chanting, singing, playing sport, saluting a symbol, etc. etc. As given previously, similar systems are mutually supportive of common pattern: accordingly, consonant group behaviours will inject more energy than solitary behaviours - and create greater fixation as well. In it's initial stages, this is therapeutic pattern supplanting and fixation breaking by dosplacement. If carried out too long and too far in groups, it becomes the stuff of collective indoctrination

48. 'Tensegrity' and the like provides one method for addressing the breaking of gross conditioned behaviour patterns by kinesthetic re-patterning, but since the procedures are vigorous and repetitive they are likely to:
i) set up new conditioning, and...
ii) result in rapid and dynamic overall system change
unless carefully controlled..
Other kinesthetic interrupts (e.g. 'Rolfing', taking up a new pastime that dynamically changes body posture or even walking with a deliberately different gait) will have the same, but less pronounced, effects.

49. Certain ingrained habits - e.g. smoking - comprise complex patterns involving simultaneous engagement of the V, A, K, O, G sense channels, which makes them exceedingly difficult to disrupt (even the kinesthetic dimension of the 'hit' of a cigarette has at least half a dozen obvious effects on the body). Breaking the habit will, due to decreased stimulation of the brain by MAOI breakdown, case significant changes in the psyche and subsequently physical behaviour. Likewise starting smoking.

50. Detailed emulation of the observable patterning of one human by another leads to rapid (and observable) absorption and rapport to the point of synchrony: as their pattern(s) become one, they become unified.

51. The majority of human beings are not consciously aware of the majority of their behaviours (being generally highly focused in the modes of 'awareness' offered by the Visual sense and the imaginative functions of Vi and Aid).

Accordingly, a skilled operative can often interrupt those unconscious behaviours by covert pacing and leading.

52. Hypnotism comprises a state in which a subject behaves in significantly altered visual, aural, kinesthetic and olfactory patterns as induced by the operative or, in the case of self hypnotism, by the subject alone.

53. It is possible to break down the majority of gross simplex patterns 'P' (which ultimately comprise the multiplex patterns) into sub-patterns or sequences - S1, S2, S3, etc., which in turn can be broken down into sub-sequences s11, s12, s13... s21, s22, s23... and so on.
[As given previously, most patterns take the form of parallel processes, so when breaking them down the operation should be carried out on the full parallel process in order to get the entire picture].
Introducing 'null' or node points 'N' where a typical sequence changes and using N0 as the start point yields:
N0, s1, N1, s2, N2, s3, N3, s4, N4..., Nn (see Fig 1 below)
Note that s1, s2, s3, etc. can be as long or as short as the analyst chooses, but in order to make the analysis meaningful they should be in manageable chunks (in the range 1 to say 5 elements long). For word sequences, 1 word is the common length (since a word already comprises a sequence of letters, syllables, morphemes, meanings depending on how one might choose to break it down).

54. Interrupts should be introduced at node points. Ideally, such as to operate smoothly, an interrupt should introduce bifurcation(s) and do so unobtrusively. Note that:
a) a single interrupt will create a gross change in a single 'linear' pattern (i.e. there is no real need to introduce one at more than one node in a sequence). See Figure 1.
b) ambiguities - word, visual, aural and kinesthetic - introduced at a node (i.e. as the first element in the sequence following the node) create smooth, seamless interrupts that momentarily derail the pattern, create confusion and then (if done properly) institute the new sequence as the alternative provided by the ambiguity.
c) as an exercise, and to better absorb all this apparent mathematical abstraction, the reader might consider plotting Erickson's 'handshake interrupt' and/or the sentence: 'Investigating policemen can be dangerous.' (or some similar ambiguities) in the form shown in Figure 1.

Note that this is a non-commercial site created and maintained on a voluntary basis. Ultimately the author intends to initiate a non-profit making adult school such as to extend the teachings presented here; email for further details.

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