Metaphors of the Mind

Written by Sam Vaknin

Continued from page 1

The latest evolutionary phase in programming is OOPS (Object Oriented Programming Systems). Objects are modules which encompass both data and instructions in self contained units. The user communicates withrepparttar functions performed by these objects - but not with their structure and internal processes.

Programming objects, in other words, are "black boxes" (an engineering term). The programmer is unable to tell howrepparttar 126334 object does what it does, or how does an external, useful function arise from internal, hidden functions or structures. Objects are epiphenomenal, emergent, phase transient. In short: much closer to reality as described by modern physics.

Though these black boxes communicate - it is notrepparttar 126335 communication, its speed, or efficacy which determinerepparttar 126336 overall efficiency ofrepparttar 126337 system. It isrepparttar 126338 hierarchical and atrepparttar 126339 same time fuzzy organization ofrepparttar 126340 objects which doesrepparttar 126341 trick. Objects are organized in classes which define their (actualized and potential) properties. The object's behaviour (what it does and what it reacts to) is defined by its membership of a class of objects.

Moreover, objects can be organized in new (sub) classes while inheriting allrepparttar 126342 definitions and characteristics ofrepparttar 126343 original class in addition to new properties. In a way, these newly emergent classes arerepparttar 126344 products whilerepparttar 126345 classes they are derived from arerepparttar 126346 origin. This process so closely resembles natural - and especially biological - phenomena that it lends additional force torepparttar 126347 software metaphor.

Thus, classes can be used as building blocks. Their permutations definerepparttar 126348 set of all soluble problems. It can be proven that Turing Machines are a private instance of a general, much stronger, class theory (a-la Principia Mathematica). The integration of hardware (computer, brain) and software (computer applications, mind) is done through "framework applications" which matchrepparttar 126349 two elements structurally and functionally. The equivalent inrepparttar 126350 brain is sometimes called by philosophers and psychologists "a-priori categories", or "the collective unconscious".

Computers and their programming evolve. Relational databases cannot be integrated with object oriented ones, for instance. To run Java applets, a "virtual machine" needs to be embedded inrepparttar 126351 operating system. These phases closely resemblerepparttar 126352 development ofrepparttar 126353 brain-mind couplet.

When is a metaphor a good metaphor? When it teaches us something new aboutrepparttar 126354 origin. It must possess some structural and functional resemblance. But this quantitative and observational facet is not enough. There is also a qualitative one:repparttar 126355 metaphor must be instructive, revealing, insightful, aesthetic, and parsimonious - in short, it must constitute a theory and produce falsifiable predictions. A metaphor is also subject to logical and aesthetic rules and torepparttar 126356 rigors ofrepparttar 126357 scientific method.

Ifrepparttar 126358 software metaphor is correct,repparttar 126359 brain must containrepparttar 126360 following features:

Parity checks through back propagation of signals. The brain's electrochemical signals must move back (torepparttar 126361 origin) and forward, simultaneously, in order to establish a feedback parity loop. The neuron cannot be a binary (two state) machine (a quantum computer is multi-state). It must have many levels of excitation (i.e., many modes of representation of information). The threshold ("all or nothing" firing) hypothesis must be wrong. Redundancy must be built into allrepparttar 126362 aspects and dimensions ofrepparttar 126363 brain and its activities. Redundant hardware -different centers to perform similar tasks. Redundant communications channels withrepparttar 126364 same information simultaneously transferred across them. Redundant retrieval of data and redundant usage of obtained data (through working, "upper" memory). The basic concept ofrepparttar 126365 workings ofrepparttar 126366 brain must berepparttar 126367 comparison of "representational elements" to "models ofrepparttar 126368 world". Thus, a coherent picture is obtained which yields predictions and allows to manipulaterepparttar 126369 environment effectively. Many ofrepparttar 126370 functions tackled byrepparttar 126371 brain must be recursive. We can expect to find that we can reduce allrepparttar 126372 activities ofrepparttar 126373 brain to computational, mechanically solvable, recursive functions. The brain can be regarded as a Turing Machine andrepparttar 126374 dreams of Artificial Intelligence are likely come true. The brain must be a learning, self organizing, entity. The brain's very hardware must disassemble, reassemble, reorganize, restructure, reroute, reconnect, disconnect, and, in general, alter itself in response to data. In most man-made machines,repparttar 126375 data is external torepparttar 126376 processing unit. It enters and exitsrepparttar 126377 machine through designated ports but does not affectrepparttar 126378 machine's structure or functioning. Not sorepparttar 126379 brain. It reconfigures itself with every bit of data. One can say that a new brain is created every time a single bit of information is processed.

Only if these six cumulative requirements are met - can we say thatrepparttar 126380 software metaphor is useful.

Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, United Press International (UPI) and eBookWeb and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory, Suite101 and

Visit Sam's Web site at

Narcissistic Personality Disorder - An Introduction

Written by Sam Vaknin

Continued from page 1

The language inrepparttar criteria above is based on or summarized from:

American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, fourth edition (DSM IV-TR). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.

Sam Vaknin. (1999, 2001, 2003). Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited, fifth revised printing. Prague and Skopje: Narcissus Publication.

("Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited" )


Whether narcissism and its pathology arerepparttar 126333 results of genetic programming (see Anthony Benis and others) or of dysfunctional families and faulty upbringing or of anomic societies and disruptive socialization processes - is still an unresolved debate. The scarcity of scientific research,repparttar 126334 fuzziness ofrepparttar 126335 diagnosic criteria andrepparttar 126336 differential diagnoses make it unlikely that this will be settled soon one way orrepparttar 126337 other.

It isrepparttar 126338 psychoanalytic belief that we are all Narcissists at an early stage of our lives. As infants and toddlers we all feel that we arerepparttar 126339 center ofrepparttar 126340 Universe,repparttar 126341 most import ant, omnipotent and omniscient beings.

At that phase of our development, our parents are perceived by us to be mythical figures, immortal and awesomely powerful, there solely to cater to our needs, to protect and nourish us.

Both Self and others are viewed immaturely, as idealizations. This, inrepparttar 126342 psychodynamic models, is calledrepparttar 126343 phase of "primary" narcissism.

Inevitably,repparttar 126344 inexorable processes and conflicts of life erode these perceptions and reducerepparttar 126345 ideal intorepparttar 126346 the real.

Adaptation is a process of disillusionment. If this process is abrupt, inconsistent, unpredictable, capricious, arbitrary and intense -repparttar 126347 injuries sustained byrepparttar 126348 infant's tender, budding, self-esteem, are severe and, often, irreversible. Moreover,repparttar 126349 empathic support of our caretakers (the Primary Objects,repparttar 126350 parents) is crucial. In its absence, our sense of self-worth and self-esteem in adulthood tends to fluctuate, to alternate between over-valuation (idealization) and devaluation of both Self and others. Narcissistic adults are widely thought to berepparttar 126351 result of bitter disappointment, of radical disillusionment inrepparttar 126352 significant others in their infancy. Healthy adults accept their self-limitations (the boundaries and limitations of their selves). They accept disappointments, setbacks, failures, criticism and disillusionment with grace and tolerance. Their self-esteem is constant and positive, not substantially affected by outside events, no matter how severe.

Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, United Press International (UPI) and eBookWeb and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory, Suite101 and

Visit Sam's Web site at

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