"The earlier concept of a universe made up of physical
particles interacting according to fixed laws in no longer tenable. It
is implicit in present findings that action rather than matter
is basic...This is good news, for it is no longer appropriate to think
of the universe as a gradually subsiding agitation of billiard balls.
The universe far from being a desert of inert particles, is a theatre
of increasingly complex organization...a stage for development in which
man has a definite place, without any upper limit to his evolution." ~ Arthur M. Young, The Reflexive Universe.
A Theoretical model of the role of the cerebellum in cognition, attention and consciousness, by Ralph Ellis
In this article Ralph Ellis describes the cerebellum
as essential to the process of forming internal maps of reality ie:
mental representations, through which our intentionality and
self-conscious sensorimotor experience is determined. The cerebellum is
fundamentally interdependent with other brain areas to bring about
specific sensorimotor states in response to stimulus, for the purpose
of satisfying the emotional needs of the organism by means of
adjustments to or interactions with the environment.
The information processing needed for intentional representation
proceeds from the brainstem-hypothalamic loops sensing a homeostatic
imbalance for the organism. Then activation of neurotransmitter
pathways to arouse and alert the brain that action is needed, after
which brain activity elaborates what specific action should be taken.
This elaboration involves the cerebellum because it can activate
specific action based on past sensorimotor memory. The
cerebellum-brainstem loops then send action commands to the motor
cortex. These commands are inhibited or moderated by prefrontal signals
and "action imagery" results. Every conscious experience, whether
imaginary or perceptual, exists to inform and impress the organism of
its value, and this "value" is experienced as emotion. The cerebellum
tells the rest of the brain to "look for" salient stimuli that
corresponds to current organismic needs or expectations (value) and
prepares the brain for dealing appropriately with impingements of the
external world. This "looking for" and "call to action" and deciding
what action is desirable is a monumental computational task, which is
why the cerebellum comprises 50% of the brains neurons.
Ellis proposes that if all consciousness begins with action
affordances, then the cerebellum--the brain area most important for
coordinating bodily actions--must be pivotal for an understanding of
consciousness. The cerebellum is important in synchronizing brain
activity and coordination of both cognition and consciousness.
Previously it was thought that perception drove emotion, which in turn
drove action. But Ralph
Ellis and colleagues are now telling us that the reverse is true.
organism is first prepared to look for environmental conditions that
are potentially useful for its purposes; the most important
environmental conditions are the ones that involve action and are thus
tied to cerebellar functions." ~ Ralph Ellis
In other words we have the motivation to attend to and scan our
environment for relevant stimuli prior to perceptual processing, as
directed by the fundamental need to maintain total homeostatic balance.
He says this motivational pattern of activity is always already ongoing
in the organism, it is self-organizing, holistic and synchronized via
the cerebellum and based on previously learned cerebellar action
imagery. Emotions themselves might be activated preperceptually through
the thalamus's direct link to the emotional brain prior to any
extensive perceptual processing.
"In some instances, brainstem emotionally-initiated
neurotransmitters tell us to take action, but without the electrical
circuits being able to give us a clear indication of what specific
action is needed, and this is when we feel ourselves in the grips of
powerful, disturbing emotions like anger, fear, grief, or anxiety. As
soon as we start taking the needed action, the anger, fear, etc. feels
less cataclysmic, because we are not just getting the neurotransmitter
rush in its purity, but rather as tempered by the fact that some of our
attention is take up with the specificity of action commands. The
cerebellum's role here is to make the action commands specific enough
so that we can "understand the objects" of cognitive, perceptual, or
emotional states. When the neurotransmitters are delivered to the
various brain parts, the expectation is that specific action commands
will be not far behind, so to receive the neurotransmitter activity
without any action commands can be very disturbing." ~ Ralph Ellis
We become conscious of emotions by forming representations--during an awakening emotions can run of their own accord regardless
of "normal" rational adjustment to our environment. The specificity of
the action commands depends on the cerebellum, but when the
cerebellum/brainstem is fired up spontaneously with kundalini this
increase in neural activity is often not directly correlated to any
external phenomena. This perpetual "call to urgent action" thus becomes
a hair trigger to any ambient stimuli we might encounter, and it is for
this reason that during kundalini awakenings we can react dramatically
to the shadows on the walls of Plato's cave.
The moderation feedback from the cortex tends to get lost in the
exaggerated activity of the "lower" brain-loops and this produces
greater embeddedness in our primary emotions firing through the older
brain regions. Not that this is a bad thing because ultimately all this
deep clearing out of these regions leaves us more emotionally evolved,
with greater prefrontal regulation...at which point we transcend
superstitious and mythic level interpretations of our environment. ie:
that is we gain emotional detachment, through the sheer intensity of
emotional experiencing. This distance is gained from both the
associative (discursive, dianoetic, comparative) meaning-making mind,
as well as from the emotions themselves. It is not so much that
everything looses its meaning, but that the meaning-making process
itself becomes lucid to us in our everyday consciousness. One can
imagine that this would increase our freedom along with the increase in
objectivity. It is by being "carried away" by the various elements of
consciousness that we can eventually incorporate them "consciously,"
rather than being unconsciously driven by them.
Allowing the depth, range and facets of consciousness to "embody"
us, we simultaneously make the "repressive" mechanism of the armored
and egoic self to be objectified. That is we "disidentify" with our own
self-suppression. It is this witnessing and the consequent increased
capacity to consciously "choose" that constitutes our freedom. I am
trying to convey the sense of a different center of being I have
noticed emerging especially after the 3rd year of the come-down from
2000. The pathological form of this is the existential void, a
meaninglessness and lack of affect, which does arise occasionally
probably following some spiral temporal path. However, the enlightened
form is freedom, social immunity, a transcendence of enculturation
(disembeddedness from culture) and most importantly that ones own
consciousness becomes self-transparent.
"If like most people, the part of you that assigns
meaning runs on automatic, it will choose meanings and responses based
on your cultural, societal, familial, and species background. In that
case you are not exercising your ability to create what you want, and
you will have to accept the consequences of these culturally assigned
meanings. Your individuality, and creativity will remain stillborn.
What is more, you will spend a lot of time suffering. If, on the other
hand, you are able to wake up and become more aware of what moves and
motivates you, you will see that you have picked up the paintbrush; you
are painting the shapes of your feelings on that blank canvas. Because
you are the artist and the author, you can paint anything you like." 94, ~ Bill Harris, Thresholds of the Mind.
Put in terms of the collective context--Terrence McKenna says higher
religion is a religion that dispenses with the symbolic forms and
transcends individual archetypes, and begins to realize that the
mystery can take any form. It then concentrates on the "Mystery itself"
as a kind of ineffable center of being that constellates everything
around it to have meaning. If the action-specifying and coordinating
area of the brain is the basis to both what we see/perceive and how we
react to it--consciousness as a whole we could say is "the call to
action" to participation in the creation of happenstance. As with
everything in the universe there is a nested fractal quality to
consciousness, in that "...everything is caused by its analogical
resonance with past and future events which have the same temporal
elements embedded within them." ~ Terrence McKenna
Ilya Prigonine proved that order emerges not in spite of chaos, but because
of it. He found that growth and evolution involve open systems
undergoing temporary dissolution, in order to reorganize at a higher
level of complexity and function.
"The perturbed mind is a mind in the act of rediscovering the Nature outside of culture." Terrence McKenna. A direct Gnostic experience of reality requires that cultural filters first be dissolved--"The
kind of activity which dominates the instability phase introduces a
directness, a vector which already indicates in which direction the new
structure may be expected." ~ Erich Jantsch, The Self Organizing Universe.
By going deeper into the "Mystery itself" we overcome our removal
(boredom, apathy, fear, loneliness etc...) and discover the eternal
source of life and consciousness within. Then a new Universal Self is
born that transcends the current cultural lens. This birthing process
continues throughout the lifetime of the individuating,
"The transcendental future is here. It is now, if we
could but evoke it. If we could find the means to communicate with the
deeper parts of ourselves and to each other, to bring that kind of
perfected future into being...The future is endlessly bright and full
of transcendental promise for those who are not afraid of it." ~ Terrence McKenna.
As participants in the Mystery, we tend to prove what we believe to
be "true." The brain is a goal seeking mechanism, hardwired to make our
beliefs and representational maps come true. Because of this a priori
nature of consciousness, Bill Harris suggests that instead of
evaluating beliefs on whether they are true or false, we would be
better off basing them on how resourceful and empowering they are to
us. "The big secret is that you can choose what you want to believe--you don't have to believe what seems true based on past experience."
Whether a belief is new or old, focusing on it brings it into
existence. We can transform our belief system with the use of gestalt
role-playing, affirmations, sound tech and meditation tapes, self-talk
tapes, imagineering, mantra, new information (learning), fasting,
communal support, therapy, bodywork and a zillion other methods. To a
large extent we create who we are, and who we will become by the power
of our conscious and unconscious beliefs. With a fresh new set of
empowering beliefs and a cerebellum that has been primed with
successful action scenarios, our automatic "looking for" and "call to
action" mechanisms will synchronize our brain function toward the
positive outcome of our goals and purposeful action in the world. And
if we are an organism "on purpose," well then we are far more like to
be a "happy," functional organism.
People keep saying that belief creates our reality without saying exactly how that is. This model of the role of the cerebellum in cognition
by Ellis, which points to an action basis to consciousness, memory and
apperception, helps to clarify the mechanism of manifestation. No doubt
even precognition is also governed by this same mapmaking faculty of
the brain...such that we really are a spider caught within our own web.
A more empowering analogy might be that we are indeed a wizard casting
a shell of happenstance on the world. Now whether we acknowledge this
or not determines the degree of self-responsibility we can consciously
lay claim to.
This Action Matters piece caps off my book, it has an ineffable quality to it...it's like a koan... that consciousness is "engagement" not mere reaction.
To think that our action-maps are the basis of our belief system and
determine our lives is too much for the mind to really grasp. Perhaps
because it interferes with our normal sense of a linear arrow of time,
and points to a deeper understanding of Karma.
I notice that the degree of synchronicity in ones life is related to
the level of kundalini/elan vital and Mystery that one is encompassing
at that time. You don't get a lot of synchronicity happening during
burnout or depression conditions. Also if one goes to highly conscious
cities like San Francisco, synchronicity goes up. When one is on the
edge, risking and flowing in a transrational motivating-force to
action...then synchronicity occurs.
It could mean that "consciousness is actually a fundamental force of
action in nature." That consciousness itself is action, and it is
consciousness that moves everything in the universe with varying
degrees of intelligence. And that synchronicity is the awareness or
aperception of the inherent "grain to the cosmos"...the World Soul or
Akashic Field...which is the consciousness underlying the
Materialization of all matter.
For more exciting work by Ralph Ellis read his book: Love and The Abyss: An Essay On Finitude and Value and Curious Emotions: Roots Of Consciousness And Personality In Motivated Action (Advances in Consciousness Research) also by Ralph D. Ellis
Consciousness After Postmodernism
The good news is that we create our reality from our
representational maps, the bad news is that we create our reality from
our representational maps...
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