Metaphors of the Mind

Written by Sam Vaknin

The brain (and, by implication,repparttar mind) have been compared torepparttar 126334 latest technological innovation in every generation. The computer metaphor is now in vogue. Computer hardware metaphors were replaced by software metaphors and, lately, by (neuronal) network metaphors.

Metaphors are not confined torepparttar 126335 philosophy of neurology. Architects and mathematicians, for instance, have lately come up withrepparttar 126336 structural concept of "tensegrity" to explainrepparttar 126337 phenomenon of life. The tendency of humans to see patterns and structures everywhere (even where there are none) is well documented and probably has its survival value.

Another trend is to discount these metaphors as erroneous, irrelevant, deceptive, and misleading. Understandingrepparttar 126338 mind is a recursive business, rife with self-reference. The entities or processes to whichrepparttar 126339 brain is compared are also "brain-children",repparttar 126340 results of "brain-storming", conceived by "minds". What is a computer, a software application, a communications network if not a (material) representation of cerebral events?

A necessary and sufficient connection surely exists between man-made things, tangible and intangible, and human minds. Even a gas pump has a "mind-correlate". It is also conceivable that representations ofrepparttar 126341 "non-human" parts ofrepparttar 126342 Universe exist in our minds, whether a-priori (not deriving from experience) or a-posteriori (dependent upon experience). This "correlation", "emulation", "simulation", "representation" (in short : close connection) betweenrepparttar 126343 "excretions", "output", "spin-offs", "products" ofrepparttar 126344 human mind andrepparttar 126345 human mind itself - is a key to understanding it.

This claim is an instance of a much broader category of claims: that we can learn aboutrepparttar 126346 artist by his art, about a creator by his creation, and generally: aboutrepparttar 126347 origin by any ofrepparttar 126348 derivatives, inheritors, successors, products and similes thereof.

This general contention is especially strong whenrepparttar 126349 origin andrepparttar 126350 product sharerepparttar 126351 same nature. Ifrepparttar 126352 origin is human (father) andrepparttar 126353 product is human (child) - there is an enormous amount of data that can be derived fromrepparttar 126354 product and safely applied torepparttar 126355 origin. The closerrepparttar 126356 origin torepparttar 126357 product -repparttar 126358 more we can learn aboutrepparttar 126359 origin fromrepparttar 126360 product.

We have said that knowingrepparttar 126361 product - we can usually knowrepparttar 126362 origin. The reason is that knowledge about product "collapses"repparttar 126363 set of probabilities and increases our knowledge aboutrepparttar 126364 origin. Yet,repparttar 126365 converse is not always true. The same origin can give rise to many types of entirely unrelated products. There are too many free variables here. The origin exists as a "wave function": a series of potentialities with attached probabilities,repparttar 126366 potentials beingrepparttar 126367 logically and physically possible products.

What can we learn aboutrepparttar 126368 origin by a crude perusal torepparttar 126369 product? Mostly observable structural and functional traits and attributes. We cannot learn a thing aboutrepparttar 126370 "true nature" ofrepparttar 126371 origin. We can not knowrepparttar 126372 "true nature" of anything. This isrepparttar 126373 realm of metaphysics, not of physics.

Take Quantum Mechanics. It provides an astonishingly accurate description of micro-processes and ofrepparttar 126374 Universe without saying much about their "essence". Modern physics strives to provide correct predictions - rather than to expound upon this or that worldview. It describes - it does not explain. Where interpretations are offered (e.g.,repparttar 126375 Copenhagen interpretation of Quantum Mechanics) they invariably run into philosophical snags. Modern science uses metaphors (e.g., particles and waves). Metaphors have proven to be useful scientific tools inrepparttar 126376 "thinking scientist's" kit. As these metaphors develop, they tracerepparttar 126377 developmental phases ofrepparttar 126378 origin.

Considerrepparttar 126379 software-mind metaphor.

The computer is a "thinking machine" (however limited, simulated, recursive and mechanical). Similarly,repparttar 126380 brain is a "thinking machine" (admittedly much more agile, versatile, non-linear, maybe even qualitatively different). Whateverrepparttar 126381 disparity betweenrepparttar 126382 two, they must be related to one another.

This relation is by virtue of two facts: (1) Bothrepparttar 126383 brain andrepparttar 126384 computer are "thinking machines" and (2)repparttar 126385 latter isrepparttar 126386 product ofrepparttar 126387 former. Thus,repparttar 126388 computer metaphor is an unusually tenable and potent one. It is likely to be further enhanced should organic or quantum computers transpire.

Atrepparttar 126389 dawn of computing, software applications were authored serially, in machine language and with strict separation of data (called: "structures") and instruction code (called: "functions" or "procedures"). The machine language reflectedrepparttar 126390 physical wiring ofrepparttar 126391 hardware.

This is akin torepparttar 126392 development ofrepparttar 126393 embryonic brain (mind). Inrepparttar 126394 early life ofrepparttar 126395 human embryo, instructions (DNA) are also insulated from data (i.e., from amino acids and other life substances).

In early computing, databases were handled on a "listing" basis ("flat file"), were serial, and had no intrinsic relationship to one another. Early databases constituted a sort of substrate, ready to be acted upon. Only when "intermixed" inrepparttar 126396 computer (as a software application was run) were functions able to operate on structures.

This phase was followed byrepparttar 126397 "relational" organization of data (a primitive example of which isrepparttar 126398 spreadsheet). Data items were related to each other through mathematical formulas. This isrepparttar 126399 equivalent ofrepparttar 126400 increasing complexity ofrepparttar 126401 wiring ofrepparttar 126402 brain as pregnancy progresses.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder - An Introduction

Written by Sam Vaknin

NARCISSISM (n. sing.)

A pattern of traits and behaviours which signify infatuation and obsession with one's self torepparttar exclusion of all others andrepparttar 126333 egotistic and ruthless pursuit of one's gratification, dominance and ambition.

Narcissism is named afterrepparttar 126334 ancient Greek myth of Narcissus who was a handsome Greek youth who rejectedrepparttar 126335 desperate advances ofrepparttar 126336 nymph Echo.

In punishment of his cruelty, he was doomed to fall in love with his own reflection in a pool of water.

Unable to consummate his love, he pined away and changed intorepparttar 126337 flower that bears his name to this very day.

WHAT IS NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder)?

The Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) has been recognized as a seperate mental health disorder inrepparttar 126338 third edition ofrepparttar 126339 Diagnostic and Statistics Manual (DSM) in 1980. Its diagnostic criteria and their interpretation have undergone a major revision inrepparttar 126340 DSM III-R (1987) and were substantially revamped inrepparttar 126341 DSM IV in 1994. The European ICD-10 basically contains identical language.

An all-pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behaviour), need for admiration or adulation and lack of empathy, usually beginning by early adulthood and present in various contexts. Five (or more) ofrepparttar 126342 following criteria must be met:

(1) Feels grandiose and self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents torepparttar 126343 point of lying, demands to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

(2) Is obsessed with fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power or omnipotence, unequalled brilliance (the cerebral narcissist), bodily beauty or sexual performance (the somatic narcissist), or ideal, everlasting, all-conquering love or passion

(3) Firmaly convinced that he or she is unique and, being special, can only be understood by, should only be treated by, or associate with, other special or unique, or high-status people (or institutions)

(4) Requires excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation - or, failing that, wishes to be feared and to be notorious (narcissistic supply).

(5) Feels entitled. Expects unreasonable or special and favourable priority treatment. Demands automatic and full compliance with his or her expectations

(6) Is "interpersonally exploitative", i.e., uses others to achieve his or her own ends

(7) Devoid of empathy. Is unable or unwilling to identify with or acknowledgerepparttar 126344 feelings and needs of others

(8) Constantly envious of others or believes that they feelrepparttar 126345 same about him or her

(9) Arrogant, haughty behaviours or attitudes coupled with rage when frustrated, contradicted, or confronted.

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