Subject: For Entertainment Purposes Only
Am I Me?
I am that which I am aware of. I am that which I am conscious of. Is it I who choose that which I feel and therefore determine who I am, what I am, what I do?
Or are “they”, those who wish my obedience? Are they managing my mind, my thoughts, and therefore my emotions and thus determining that which I am and that which I do?
Am I me or am I them?
A person’s core beliefs of emotions – which may have been linguistically molded from childhood through family interactions and in later years through reading literary works such as Dickens’s Great Expectations, Poe’s The Raven, and Austen’s Pride and Prejudice – have created a false construct of emotions’ true reality. That is, emotions of a character in a story that drives them to love, to fight, or to conquer the world… are an illusion. Emotions simply don’t exist that way.
A character in a plot feels emotions. They have emotional feelings. They perceive emotions. Essentially, all emotions that a character feels are emotions that feel good or emotions that feel bad. But the bodily changes, the bio-chemical changes that a person feels in love, in depression, in the fight, flight, or freeze response such as a faster beating heart, a quickening of the breath, the perspiration running down their forehead, the knot in their stomach, all of these bodily changes are not caused by emotions.
They are perceived. Yes. We call these perceptions emotions. Yes. But these changes in the body’s biology are not caused by emotions. No. These body changes are caused by the mind. Or to be more precise, these changes in bio-chemistry are caused by neurological activities within the cognitive mind.
What is the Cognitive Mind?
The cognitive mind deals with thinking – with thoughts of awareness and knowing. Cognition also deals with the processes of knowing, namely, perception, recognition, conceiving – which includes imagination and inspiration – and reasoning (ref.1-12 in the attached book, Symbiotic Psychology, The Synergy Between, Mind, Body, Emotions, and Consciousness).
A character in a plot perceives something out of place in the woods. They recognize some recently broken branches. They imagine that a bear came rumbling through looking for food. Their thoughts are later confirmed when they come across a thicket of brush with freshly ripened blue berries. And right in the middle is a very protective mother bear with her cubs.
Cognitively speaking, the character (1) perceived a bear with cubs. They (2) recognized it as a bear with cubs. And, they (3) conceived what it meant to intrude upon a mother bear with cubs. Then came (4) the bodily changes as result of these cognitive activities that are perceived as (5) emotions. What emotions did our character feel when they came across a bear and cubs in the woods? Much of what our character would feel depends on their past experiences. What are some different pasts that a writer might give to our character to interpret their situation? With that past, what bodily changes would be generated, perceived, and interpreted as what emotions?
What are Emotions?
Emotions are a perception, a sense akin to the sense of sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch. The sense of emotion feels. Broadly speaking, emotions feel good or emotions feel bad. Emotions are a perception of the biochemical and physiological states of the body. And contrary to popular folklore and their characterization in a movie or novel, a person is not driven by their emotions.
A person may be driven, and they are driven, by their changing bio-chemistry. But these biological states are precipitated by cognitive activities, not by an emotional awareness. Emotions sense these biological states. Emotions don’t create them. Cognition creates them. And as a reminder, cognitive activities of the mind are awarenesses of knowing such as thoughts, perceptions, reasoning and imagination.
(Author’s Note: When a person perceives their own emotion, this perception is a cognitive activity which can lead to biological changes. But still, it is an awareness of emotions, a cognitive activity, that changes the biology, not emotions).
A script may have a character who is “emotionally out of control.” Technically that person is not “emotionally” out of control but “cognitively” out of control. They have lost control over their cognitive activities of thought, of imagination, of conceptualization. Their mind is running rampant. It is their thoughts and imaginations that are wildly changing the body’s biochemistry. It is these changes in bio-chemistry that makes the heart beat faster, the breath to quicken, the sweat to bead up and run down the cheek and the stomach to knot. These changes in bio-chemical physiology are what the character perceives as emotions.
Emotions as an Evolved Sensory Perception of Bio-chemical States
An observer has a perception of, and an understanding of, what it means to come across a hungry bear in the woods. To say the observer has an emotional reaction – or an emotional event – to the bear is true but it is also inaccurate. The observer had a series of cognitive events. They saw an animal. They recognized it as a bear. They imagined that the bear was hungry. They conceived of the idea of themselves as being the bears dinner.
These conceptions brought about bio-chemical changes in the body. Maybe their heart raced, their breath quickened, they became agitated – they are having an emotional event – and they got the hell out of there. The bodily changes were not caused by emotions, bodily changes were perceived after the fact as emotions. It is not possible for emotions to be the both the cause and the effect. Fortunately, our observer survived to tell another tale.
Evolution is about retaining those characteristics and behaviors that enhance a being’s probability of survival by living long enough to pass these behavior patterns down to the next generation. Through millions of years of evolution, a specific relationship has evolved between mind, body, emotions and consciousness.
In essence this correlative relationship is such that when the mind (1) thinks the body is strong and (2) the body actually is strong, (3) good feeling emotions are perceived by consciousness. This correlative relationship had to have developed this way or a being would tend to not survive very long.
Imagine what would happen to a person who is drunk and (1) thinks of themselves as strong and capable, but (2) in actuality they are quite confused and clumsy and (3) they feel great and very confident! They perceive themselves as quite capable of driving across town in rush hour traffic. What is their probability survival? (These arguments are developed further in Section 2: “Emotions as an Evolved Biological System” in the attached Symbiotic Psychology book.)
A Feels Good Is Good Attitude
A person’s emotions are indicators of their health and well-being. Emotions are telling them the harmony of their body’s biology – are they being strong or weak. Negative feeling emotions are the body’s way of saying “you are creating conditions within your body that will cause, if it hasn’t already, weakness, lethargy, clumsiness, and ineptness.” These conditions make the body ripe for illness and disease. Positive feeling emotions are the body’s way of saying “you are creating healthy, strong and vigorous conditions in your body.” Not only is the body ready to thrive in the external world, but its internal world has a greater capacity to fight off illness and disease.
This “bears” repeating.
By entertaining negative emotional thoughts, a person weakens their body’s biology. By entertaining positive emotional thoughts, a person strengthens their body’s biology. This correlation between mind, body, and emotions is that which must exist for homo-sapiens to have survived their evolutionary challenges. For your body’s health, what feels good is good and what feels bad is bad. (Reference Section 2: “Emotions as a Biological System” in the attached Symbiotic Psychology book)
Now a “feels good is good” attitude is fine if a person is living in a world of one. But they are not. A person has to do more than find thoughts, actions, and behaviors that feel good for their physical health. They have to find thoughts, actions, and behaviors that feel good for their physical health and feel good for themselves as a person living in a society. Driving in a fancy car and having expensive clothes to wear may feel really good but being thrown into jail for theft isn’t going to do their career any good – if not just plain destroying it. How does that feel? There is more to say on this in Section 9.0: “Emotional Guidance – The Dark Side” of the attached Symbiotic Psychology book.
To have cognitive-emotional wisdom is to have the cognitive and emotional understandings and abilities to avoid acting from the lower platforms of despair, depression, and anger. These negative emotional places of being have evolved to signify a weakening of a person’s biology. This makes them easier prey to diseases, illnesses and prong to accidents and injury. (Authors Note: If these last statements are in doubt because I don’t provide any empirical evidence, set up your own “mental” experiments and “conceive” some possible results. Look what Einstein did with mental experiments. Or you can do some research for a class.)
Cognitive-emotional wisdom means to have the cognitive tools and agility to move up the emotional staircase and to act from the higher platforms where good feelings of clarity, health and vigor reside. Section 7.0: “Cognitive-Emotional Wisdom” of the attached Symbiotic Psychology book discusses a variety of cognitive-emotional wisdom themes relevant to today’s culture and society. These themes should make for some good debate among your classmates and teachers.
Emotions have evolved to guide cognitive activities. Emotions have evolved to inform their owner that cognitive activities are all and well or that cognitive activities need to change for the health and well-being of the individual. Negative feeling emotions are telling a person that their bio-chemistry is going out of harmony and weakening the body’s biology.
Negative emotions are akin to the “check engine” light on the dash of a car; “something is going wrong.” Now should the light be “managed” or “controlled” because the light has a “disorder” or “illness” and is being “destructive” and “aberrant”? Is that what the light is saying? Should we cover it up or ignore it because it is too annoying? Should we “drug the light” so it no longer is doing its job? Is the problem with the light? No. The “check engine” light is saying something is going wrong within the engine. The problem is in our cognitive “engine”, not in our emotional “light.”
Section 8.2: “Cognitive-Emotional Rehabilitation and Strengthening Exercises (Your Superhero Toolkit)” contains the heart of a life style that reinforces the synergies between mind, body, emotions, and consciousness. Strengthening these relationships might just be the advantage a student needs to succeed in today’s chaotic world of prejudice and mis-information. Understanding and working these cognitive-emotional strengthening exercises are especially important to those where these skills are not part of their home and cultural environment.
Emotional Entertainment vs Emotional Wisdom
Every society and culture have their own forms of emotional entertainment. That is, they offer opportunities for a person to be taken on an emotional ride for the fun of it. Allowing a book, a movie, a show or some other form of entertainment to take a person on an emotional roller coaster ride is the essence of what entertainment is about. All is fine and good as long as these emotional ups and downs are for entertainment purposes only. And, most importantly, the rider can get off when they want to.
But what if a person cannot get off life’s roller coaster? What if there is no longer a choice? Instead of allowing their emotions to be taken for a ride, their emotions have been hijacked by life’s events and they can no longer manage life’s roller coaster. Maybe they never learned how – nor developed the skills – to use their emotional guidance to transform life’s roller coaster into entertainment.
Instead, they are caught within a living nightmare where suicide seems to be the only exit. Also remember, emotions are the perception of biological conditions caused by cognition. Therefore, it is not that emotions are no longer “under control” but that a person’s mental activities are no longer responsive to their evolved emotional guidance.
To have emotional wisdom means a person has the ability and is capable of focusing on those thoughts, ideas, imaginations, and observations that feel good, or simply, on what they want and desire. Emotional wisdom means to have the ability and capacity to use negative emotions – that signify cognitive activities dwelling upon that which a person doesn’t want – to help themselves identify that which they do want. Again, a person knows what they don’t want – which feels bad – so now use that awareness to “find a better feeling thought.” (Hickes, J. & Hicks, E., 2006) To have emotional wisdom also means to understand the difference between the cognitive construct of an emotional ride for entertainment, where one can get on and off, and the cognitive construct of emotional guidance, where one uses their emotions to guide cognitive activities. A careful distinction must be understood by every individual as to which cognitive construct of emotions is in play.
Are emotions being allowed to be taken for a ride for entertainment purposes? And with this construct, is it understood that, in actuality, it is the mind that is being taken for a ride? Or, should the construct of emotions as an evolved biological guide to manage cognitive activities be utilized? Every person needs to develop the cognitive dexterity, understanding, and capacity to change between “emotional entertainment” and “emotional wisdom”.
Entertaining mediums such as books, movies, shows, concerts as well as many other forms ask of one to suspend their evolved emotional construct that guides cognitive behavior towards that which feels good. When being entertained, one is asked to lay aside their emotional guidance and follow the roller coaster up and downs of the many characters and themes of the story being presented. All is well and good if a person then re-engages their emotional guidance once the entertainment is over.
There are two modes of emotional engagement or on how emotions are utilized by the individual. One is “emotional entertainment” and the other is “emotional wisdom”.
Within the mode of “emotional wisdom” a person engages their evolved biological emotional system to continually evaluate their cognitive activities. If their cognitive behavior feels good, a person allows the continuation of these activities. If their cognitive behavior feels bad, they use this emotional negative awareness as motivation to find – or even create – new thoughts, imaginations, and awareness that feel better. This process of “finding a better feeling thought” (Hickes, J. & Hicks, E., 2006) continues until they are feeling good again.
Within the other mode of “emotional entertainment” a person suspends their evolved emotional guidance and allows their cognitive activities to bend and sway with the meanderings of their cognitive activities. These states of being are usually allowed for entertainment purposes such as going to a movie, play, or musical concert. Other happenings include attending sporting events or reading a book. Or, how about skiing, golfing, swimming, biking…the entertainment list is endless.
Within all these activities, emotional guidance is surrendered allowing a person’s cognitive activities to flow and sway with the event. This unabated cognitive activity creates an influx of various neurological and bio-chemical events paving the way for an emotional roller coaster ride of emotional hyper-activity. All is well and good as long as a person can get off the ride and reengages their emotional wisdom where cognitive activities are evaluated, sorted, and culled, accentuating the feeling good and emotionally positive awarenesses.
Note: Emotional guidance and emotional wisdom are very similar cognitive constructs. Emotional guidance refers to using one’s emotional system to evaluate cognitive activities. Emotional wisdom implies the use of emotional guidance plus a growth and awareness of various complexities of social order and disorder. This implies the importance and need for moral awareness, development and education. The importance of moving this internal discussion and debate up from the reptilian brain and into the mammalian brain can not be over emphasized. See Section 7.0: “Cognitive-Emotional Wisdom” and Section 9.0: “Emotional Guidance – The Dark Side” in the attached Symbiotic Psychology book.
Tyrannosaurs, the “Tyrant Lizards”
Humans have evolved to be joyous beings. The evolutionary nature of emotional guidance is to sift through any mental turmoil to find, develop, and create the thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that feel good. These good feeling behaviors are the indications of promoting a healthy and strong biochemical environment. But when the construct of emotional guidance is vacated, leaving only a construct of emotional entertainment, “reality” becomes a theatrical set that must be manipulated.
Instead of the relative ease of guiding one’s own mind to find emotional stability, it becomes necessary to manipulate “the play” and all those who make their entrances and exits. Life becomes a task of gigantic proportions that demands power and tyranny to control and direct others. Life has now receded back to the land of the dinosaurs where a feels-good-is-good morality has a very limited understanding and where “my” might makes “me” right.
We have the remnants of a biological brain that evolved into one of the greatest and most powerful beasts that ever lived on this planet, the reptiles, the dinosaurs. Our reptilian relationship now makes for a metaphor for quick and reflexive action without much thought. Our “reptilian brain” is of this nature…. Don’t think…. Be aware…. Act. This behavior is vital in sports and war where any delay to contemplate and understand may delay any action needed for success. If it feels good, it is good. Might is right.
There are those who bring this type of “warfare” to the classroom, hallways, and playgrounds. These tyrannosaurs or ‘tyrant lizards’ of the school dominate their environment because their reptilian mentality has taken over their higher functioning mammalian brains. They react to the environment in a constant “emotional entertainment” mode rather than act upon the environment with “emotional wisdom.”
The world makes them rather than they make the world. What is seen makes them angry, happy, sad, or whatever. What is heard makes them angry, happy, sad, or whatever. What somebody else did makes them…. There is no engagement of“emotional wisdom”. They have fallen into a trap where all the world has become emotional entertainment. They have become victims of their lower order functions which now needs to control its environment. They need to direct their play. They need power to direct and to manage each scene in their play because all the world has become the cognitive construct of “emotional entertainment.” If I feel good, it is good. If I feel bad, it is bad. My might makes it right.
For these tyrannosaurs, feeling good no longer comes from cerebral efforts of the mind to seek and choose good feeling thoughts and then to take action from this good feeling awareness. To the tyrannosaurs, feeling good only comes from being “emotionally entertained.” This means they need to control their environment so where any observation of their “playground” feels good. And if it feels good, it is good. Might is right because might is needed to make their playground right. There is no longer a higher order of thought where any complex discussions and understandings may pave the way for a “might for right” code of justice.
These “tyrants of the playground” may yet serve a purpose for those educated to understand. These tyrants of brutality and violence as well as those who create anxiety, worry and trepidation can be useful. They provide a cerebral challenge and field experience in finding one’s own internal values, beliefs, and detachment that disempowers the tyrannosaurs’ aggression. Success comes from detaching from the tyrant’s reality and the tyrant’s belief of their dominance and control. Success comes from detaching from their “Jurassic” world by creating and acting within one’s own world with one’s own thoughts, beliefs and rules of engagement. (Actually, the age of dinosaurs is the Mesozoic Era.)
There are other tyrannosaurs whose realities may oppress with sadness by drawing a person into their vortex of sorrow and unhappiness. Like an undertow from waves breaking on the shore, their reality of oppressive thoughts and beliefs can suck a person down to their demise. Or, there are those tyrannosaurs who are “impossible people in positions of power” (Castaneda, 1984) who make a person rage with anger and violence. All of these “tyrant lizards” provide an opportunity to practice detachment.
The concept of detachment means to detach from the realities of their world and to create the realities of one’s own world. Detachment demands that a person finds, create, and focus on their thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes that empower their freedoms, understandings, and values of their own new world reality they wish to inhabit.
Evolving Out of the Age of the Tyrannosaurs
Neuroplasticity is a term used to describe the brain’s plastic ability to rewire itself, to reconfigure itself. “Truths” and what “is real” and the “way it is” that is supported by a network of nerves in the brain and body – called a neurological network – can change. The neurological networks that are needed to support the reality of the tyrannosaurs can change so that their world need no longer exist in your world. This is detachment.
When the neurology changes that supported the age of the tyrannosaurus cease to exist, all their truths about “what is real” and “that is the way it is” cease to exist. The reality of yesterday is no longer real today. Through effort, understanding, and use of an evolved biological emotional system these old “truths” of what is “real” and the “way it is” that demanded a specific behavior of survival in a “Jurassic” existence, no longer exists. This is detachment.
Thus, once detached, the necessity of “their” survival behavior also ceases to exist. Welcome to the new era of the “mammalian brain” where might is for righteousness. The greater capacity of the mammalian brain supports a more complex and sophisticated neurology. This evolved mammalian neurology supports a more complex thought, understanding, and behavior which are guided by an evolved biological emotional system.
Get Off the Ride, The Show is Over
The emotional roller coaster ride of a show, movie, or book is entertaining. But when the show is over, when the ride is over it is time to re-engage the emotional guidance system. This means using emotionally negative cognitive activities to identify emotionally positive cognitive activities and then to move on to the emotionally positive. It means reinforcing an internal neurological world that accentuates the positive and negates the negative.
Those who don’t get off the ride and re-engage their emotional guidance system are like a ship without a rudder and is at the mercy of the greatest winds and the largest waves. They are subjects to the forces of tyranny around them. They are not master nor commander of their fate.
The Tyrannosaurs Rex
Superhero characters in movies, comics, and books save the world, but are they disempowering their audience? The superhero ride, if it stimulates within a feeling of strength and power then the ride does serve their audience and provides for a touchstone emotion to strive for as an individual. But, if the superhero ride accentuates the need for somebody outside of one’s self to ‘save the day’, then a person – as a power and force to create their own destiny – is being ruined.
Be wary of those who proclaim others as the reason for your hardship. Be wary of those who proclaim that something outside of your control is the reason for your adversity. Be wary of those who have a magic pill to relieve your sorrow or pain. Be wary of the tyrannosaurs rex who proclaims themselves as one who will make the world right for you. The only person who can alleviate your hardship, your adversity, your sorrow, who can make the world right for you, is you. And it is not that you are making the world right, but creating a new time/space to occupy while leaving the old world behind.
A Student’s “I” Team of Superheroes: Mind, Body, Emotions, and Consciousness
Are today’s students honoring the millions of years of evolution that make up their heritage? Mind, body, emotions, and consciousness have evolved together to work together as a team. This is the “I” Team. Education may be strengthening a student’s cognitive abilities, but are students developing the superpowers of their “I” Team? Are your mind, body, emotions, and consciousness learning how to work together in synergistic harmony?
Today’s humanity is the product of millions of years of successful evolution. Billions upon billions of beings have succumbed to a stronger foe, leaving only the strongest. Yet now standing on that mountain top, will they faulter? Humanity’s heritage is one of strength, power, stamina, reflex, cunning, and wisdom. This is their nature. The professional, the victorious, the successful, the prosperous have all tapped into this reservoir. How about the multitude? Is education providing the knowledge, skills and abilities to unleash a person’s evolutionary-self that holds their strength, power and success?
Symbiotic Psychology: The Synergy Between Mind, Body, Emotions, and Consciousness
For anyone to succeed in this life they have to develop their own superpowers. They have to become their own Superhero. They have to take charge of their own education because, unfortunately, their formal education, as yet, does not provide the tools and training they need.
I wrote Symbiotic Psychology: The Synergy Between Mind, Body, Emotions, and Consciousness in order to give everyone the theory and understanding necessary to take charge of their own lives and to comprehend and use their own abilities to empower themselves. The most important reading to understand is Section is 8.2: “Cognitive-Emotional Rehabilitation and Strengthening Exercises (Your Superhero Toolkit).” Here is a list of exercises or areas that a person as an individual can exploit and empower themselves to success.
Some people are born into a world that inherently teaches these skills and abilities. Unfortunately, their “social capital” seems to leave little understanding and compassion for those born without those same privileges and understandings. This letter has been a letter of encouragement for each student to start taking responsibility for their own education. As an adult each person will become responsible for their own conditions even if they don’t have the cognitive-emotional training to be responsible. A person is just a leaf blown helter-skelter by the winds of events if they are not aware of their evolved emotional guidance. Everyone does their best with what they have. If society demands more of their citizens, society must then empower their citizens with the tools to do and be more.
Personally, I believe schools do not teach the skills to do and to be more is because the powers and beliefs of the tyrannosaurs are not extinct. To be empowered is to build a new life and a new house of prosperity, justice, and freedom. The time has come for each student to build their own house. The time has come to create a house for their family and loved ones. The time has come to create a house, based not on tyranny, but on love. That house is called a home.
The Symbiotic Psychology book is divided into four parts. Part 1: Letters is composed of letters, like this one, to introduce and promote Symbiotic Psychology to a variety of socio-economic groups. Part 2: Theory is just that, the theory of how and why Symbiotic Psychology works. Part 3: Practice provides for opportunities on how to apply Symbiotic Psychology. Part 4: Essays are some of my writings to promote how Symbiotic Psychology creates a different perspective of the world.
I can only wish each reader good luck. I have provided and explained the tools of success to the best of my ability. Everyone has to do their homework. Not I, nor anyone else, can take this journey for the other. It is each person’s journey to experience in their own special and unique way. Make it a good one.
Castaneda, C (1985). The Fire from Within. New York, NY: Washington Square Press
Hicks, J & Hicks, E (2006). The Law of Attraction. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, Inc.