Born Aliens - Part I

Written by Sam Vaknin


Neonates have no psychology. If operated upon, for instance, they are not supposed to show signs of trauma later on in life. Birth, according to this school of thought is of no psychological consequence torepparttar newborn baby. It is immeasurably more important to his "primary caregiver" (mother) and to her supporters (read: father and other members ofrepparttar 126339 family). It is through them thatrepparttar 126340 baby is, supposedly, effected. This effect is evident in his (I will userepparttar 126341 male form only for convenience's sake) ability to bond. The late Karl Sagan professed to possessrepparttar 126342 diametrically opposed view when he comparedrepparttar 126343 process of death to that of being born. He was commenting uponrepparttar 126344 numerous testimonies of people brought back to life following their confirmed, clinical death. Most of them shared an experience of traversing a dark tunnel. A combination of soft light and soothing voices andrepparttar 126345 figures of their deceased nearest and dearest awaited them atrepparttar 126346 end of this tunnel. All those who experienced it describedrepparttar 126347 light asrepparttar 126348 manifestation of an omnipotent, benevolent being. The tunnel - suggested Sagan - is a rendition ofrepparttar 126349 mother's tract. The process of birth involves gradual exposure to light and torepparttar 126350 figures of humans. Clinical death experiences only recreate birth experiences.

The womb is a self-contained though open (not self-sufficient) ecosystem. The Baby's Planet is spatially confined, almost devoid of light and homeostatic. The fetus breathes liquid oxygen, rather thanrepparttar 126351 gaseous variant. He is subjected to an unending barrage of noises, most of them rhythmical. Otherwise, there are very few stimuli to elicit any of his fixed action responses. There, dependent and protected, his world lacksrepparttar 126352 most evident features of ours. There are no dimensions where there is no light. There is no "inside" and "outside", "self" and "others", "extension" and "main body", "here" and "there". Our Planet is exactly converse. There could be no greater disparity. In this sense - and it is not a restricted sense at all -repparttar 126353 baby is an alien. He has to train himself and to learn to become human. Kittens, whose eyes were tied immediately after birth - could not "see" straight lines and kept tumbling over tightly strung cords. Even sense data involve some modicum and modes of conceptualization (see: "Appendix 5 - The Manifold of Sense").

Even lower animals (worms) avoid unpleasant corners in mazes inrepparttar 126354 wake of nasty experiences. To suggest that a human neonate, equipped with hundreds of neural cubic feet does not recall migrating from one planet to another, from one extreme to its total opposition - stretches credulity. Babies may be asleep 16-20 hours a day because they are shocked and depressed. These abnormal spans of sleep are more typical of major depressive episodes than of vigorous, vivacious, vibrant growth. Taking into considerationrepparttar 126355 mind-boggling amounts of information thatrepparttar 126356 baby has to absorb just in order to stay alive - sleeping through most of it seems like an inordinately inane strategy. The baby seems to be awake inrepparttar 126357 womb more than he is outside it. Cast intorepparttar 126358 outer light,repparttar 126359 baby tries, at first, to ignore reality. This is our first defence line. It stays with us as we grow up.

It has long been noted that pregnancy continues outsiderepparttar 126360 womb. The brain develops and reaches 75% of adult size byrepparttar 126361 age of 2 years. It is completed only byrepparttar 126362 age of 10. It takes, therefore, ten years to completerepparttar 126363 development of this indispensable organ almost wholly outsiderepparttar 126364 womb. And this "external pregnancy" is not limited torepparttar 126365 brain only. The baby grows by 25 cm and by 6 kilos inrepparttar 126366 first year alone. He doubles his weight by his fourth month and triples it by his first birthday. The development process is not smooth but by fits and starts. Not only dorepparttar 126367 parameters ofrepparttar 126368 body change but its proportions do as well. Inrepparttar 126369 first two years, for instance,repparttar 126370 head is larger in order to accommodaterepparttar 126371 rapid growth ofrepparttar 126372 Central Nervous System. This changes drastically later on asrepparttar 126373 growth ofrepparttar 126374 head is dwarfed byrepparttar 126375 growth ofrepparttar 126376 extremities ofrepparttar 126377 body. The transformation is so fundamental,repparttar 126378 plasticity ofrepparttar 126379 body so pronounced that in most likelihood this isrepparttar 126380 reason why no operative sense of identity emerges until afterrepparttar 126381 fourth year of childhood. It calls to mind Kafka's Gregor Samsa (who woke up to find that he is a giant cockroach). It is identity shattering. It must engender inrepparttar 126382 baby a sense of self-estrangement and loss of control over who is and what he is.

The Manifold of Sense - Part III

Written by Sam Vaknin


Feeling is a "hyper-concept" which is made of both sensation and emotion. It describesrepparttar ways in which we experience both our world and our selves. It coincides with sensations whenever it has a bodily component. But it is sufficiently flexible to cover emotions and attitudes or opinions. But attaching names to phenomena never helped inrepparttar 126338 long run and inrepparttar 126339 really important matter of understanding them. To identify feelings, let alone to describe them, is not an easy task. It is difficult to distinguish among feelings without resorting to a detailed description of causes, inclinations and dispositions. In addition,repparttar 126340 relationship between feeling and emotions is far from clear or well established. Can we emote without feeling? Can we explain emotions, consciousness, even simple pleasure in terms of feeling? Is feeling a practical method, can it be used to learn aboutrepparttar 126341 world, or about other people? How do we know about our own feelings?

Instead of throwing light onrepparttar 126342 subject,repparttar 126343 dual concepts of feeling and sensation seem to confound matters even further. A more basic level needs to be broached, that of sense data (or sensa, as in this text).

Sense data are entities cyclically defined. Their existence depends upon being sensed by a sensor equipped with senses. Yet, they definerepparttar 126344 senses to a large extent (imagine trying to definerepparttar 126345 sense of vision without visuals). Ostensibly, they are entities, though subjective. Allegedly, they possessrepparttar 126346 properties that we perceive in an external object (if it is there), as it appears to have them. In other words, thoughrepparttar 126347 external object is perceived, what we really get in touch with directly, what we apprehend without mediation arerepparttar 126348 subjective sensa. What is (probably) perceived is merely inferred fromrepparttar 126349 sense data. In short, all our empirical knowledge rests upon our acquaintance with sensa. Every perception has as its basis pure experience. Butrepparttar 126350 same can be said about memory, imagination, dreams, hallucinations. Sensation, as opposed to these, is supposed to be error free, not subject to filtering or to interpretation, special, infallible, direct and immediate. It is an awareness ofrepparttar 126351 existence of entities: objects, ideas, impressions, perceptions, even other sensations. Russell and Moore said that sense data have all (and only)repparttar 126352 properties that they appear to have and can only be sensed by one subject. But these all are idealistic renditions of senses, sensations and sensa. In practice, it is notoriously difficult to reach a consensus regardingrepparttar 126353 description of sense data or to base any meaningful (let alone useful) knowledge ofrepparttar 126354 physical world on them. There is a great variance inrepparttar 126355 conception of sensa. Berkeley, everrepparttar 126356 incorrigible practical Briton, said that sense data exist only if and when sensed or perceived by us. Nay, their very existence IS their being perceived or sensed by us. Some sensa are public or part of lager assemblages of sensa. Their interaction withrepparttar 126357 other sensa, parts of objects, or surfaces of objects may distortrepparttar 126358 inventory of their properties. They may seem to lack properties that they do possess or to possess properties that can be discovered only upon close inspection (not immediately evident). Some sense data are intrinsically vague. What is a striped pajama? How many stripes does it contain? We do not know. It is sufficient to note (=to visually sense) that it has stripes all over. Some philosophers say that if a sense data can be sensed then they possibly exist. These sensa are calledrepparttar 126359 sensibilia (plural of sensibile). Even when not actually perceived or sensed, objects consist of sensibilia. This makes sense data hard to differentiate. They overlap and where one begins may berepparttar 126360 end of another. Nor is it possible to say if sensa are changeable because we do not really know WHAT they are (objects, substances, entities, qualities, events?).

Other philosophers suggested that sensing is an act directed atrepparttar 126361 objects called sense data. Other hotly dispute this artificial separation. To see red is simply to see in a certain manner, that is: to see redly. This isrepparttar 126362 adverbial school. It is close torepparttar 126363 contention that sense data are nothing but a linguistic convenience, a noun, which enables us to discuss appearances. For instance,repparttar 126364 "Gray" sense data is nothing but a mixture of red and sodium. Yet we use this convention (gray) for convenience and efficacy's sakes.

B. The Evidence

An important facet of emotions is that they can generate and direct behaviour. They can trigger complex chains of actions, not always beneficial torepparttar 126365 individual. Yerkes and Dodson observed thatrepparttar 126366 more complex a task is,repparttar 126367 more emotional arousal interferes with performance. In other words, emotions can motivate. If this were their only function, we might have determined that emotions are a sub-category of motivations.

Some cultures do not have a word for emotion. Others equate emotions with physical sensations, a-la James-Lange, who said that external stimuli cause bodily changes which result in emotions (or are interpreted as such byrepparttar 126368 person affected). Cannon and Bard differed only in saying that both emotions and bodily responses were simultaneous. An even more far-fetched approach (Cognitive Theories) was that situations in our environment foster in us a GENERAL state of arousal. We receive clues fromrepparttar 126369 environment as to what we should call this general state. For instance, it was demonstrated that facial expressions can induce emotions, apart from any cognition.

A big part ofrepparttar 126370 problem is that there is no accurate way to verbally communicate emotions. People are either unaware of their feelings or try to falsify their magnitude (minimize or exaggerate them). Facial expressions seem to be both inborn and universal. Children born deaf and blind use them. They must be serving some adaptive survival strategy or function. Darwin said that emotions have an evolutionary history and can be traced across cultures as part of our biological heritage. Maybe so. Butrepparttar 126371 bodily vocabulary is not flexible enough to capturerepparttar 126372 full range of emotional subtleties humans are capable of. Another nonverbal mode of communication is known as body language:repparttar 126373 way we move,repparttar 126374 distance we maintain from others (personal or private territory). It expresses emotions, though only very crass and raw ones.

And there is overt behaviour. It is determined by culture, upbringing, personal inclination, temperament and so on. For instance: women are more likely to express emotions than men when they encounter a person in distress. Both sexes, however, experiencerepparttar 126375 same level of physiological arousal in such an encounter. Men and women also label their emotions differently. What men call anger women call hurt or sadness. Men are four times more likely than women to resort to violence. Women more often than not will internalize aggression and become depressed.

Efforts at reconciling all these data were made inrepparttar 126376 early eighties. It was hypothesized thatrepparttar 126377 interpretation of emotional states is a two phased process. People respond to emotional arousal by quickly "surveying" and "appraising" (introspectively) their feelings. Then they proceed to search for environmental cues to supportrepparttar 126378 results of their assessment. They will, thus, tend to pay more attention to internal cues that agree withrepparttar 126379 external ones. Put more plainly: people will feel what they expect to feel.

Cont'd on page 2 ==>
 
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