Compassionate CAS
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Compassionate CAS



Summary
Tara Brach was worried from a young age that there was something terribly wrong with her: she like many others felt unworthyShe responded by developing Radical Acceptance means clearly recognizing what is happening inside us, and regarding what we see with an open, kind and loving heart according to Tara Brach.  It is the art of engaging fully in this world.  Because it stops the heart from shutting out: the feared aspects of our identity, and our feelings of separation; Radical Acceptance dismantles the foundations of the trance of unworthiness.  There are two interdependent aspects: seeing clearly (mindfulness) and holding our experience with compassion.  Radical acceptance is enabled by a pause.  Whatever comes to attention next is greeted with unconditional friendliness. 
.  Brach then explains the steps in applying it: pause, greet what happens next with unconditional friendliness; allowing us to:

Complex adaptive system (CAS) theory describes the emergence of the dualistic self and the tree of life linked by the genetic code and machinery.  It provides an analog of the Buddhist presence. 

Radical Acceptance
In Tara Brach's book 'Radical Acceptance' she describes how our
This page discusses the mechanisms and effects of emergence underpinning any complex adaptive system (CAS).  Physical forces and constraints follow the rules of complexity.  They generate phenomena and support the indirect emergence of epiphenomena.  Flows of epiphenomena interact in events which support the emergence of equilibrium and autonomous entities.  Autonomous entities enable evolution to operate broadening the adjacent possible.  Key research is reviewed. 
emergent
Buddha Nature is the Buddha's assertion that each human birth is the realization of the love and timeless radiant awareness that is our true nature. 
is revealed in our awareness once the
This page reviews the implications of selection, variation and heredity in a complex adaptive system (CAS).  The mechanism and its emergence are discussed. 
evolved
subjectivity of the conscious self is removed. 

Brach recounts that as a young girl who was internally: lonely, not at peace, anxious is manifested in the amygdala mediating inhibition of dopamine rewards.  Anxiety disorders are now seen as a related cluster, including PTSD, panic attacks, and phobias.  Major anxiety, is typically episodic, correlated with increased activity in the amygdala, results in elevated glucocorticoids and reduces hippocampal dendrite & spine density.  Some estrogen receptor variants are associated with anxiety in women.  Women are four times more likely to suffer from anxiety.  Louann Brizendine concludes this helps prepare mothers, so they are ready to protect their children.  Michael Pollan concludes anxiety is fear of the future.  Sufferers of mild autism often develop anxiety disorders.  Treatments for anxiety differ.  50 to 70% of people with generalized anxiety respond to drugs increasing serotonin concentrations, where there is relief from symptoms: worry, guilt; linked to depression, which are treated with SSRIs (Prozac).  Cognitive anxiety (extreme for worries and anxious thoughts) is also helped by yoga.  But many fear-related disorders respond better to psychotherapy: psychoanalysis, and intensive CBT.  Tara Brach notes that genuine freedom from fear is enabled by taking refuge. 
- avoiding pain emerged as a mental experience, Damasio asserts, constructed by the mind using mapping structures and events provided by nervous systems.  But feeling pain is supported by older biological functions that support homeostasis.  These capabilities reflect the organism's underlying emotive processes that respond to wounds: antibacterial and analgesic chemical deployment, flinching and evading actions; that occur in organisms without nervous systems.  Later in evolution, after organisms with nervous systems were able to map non-neural events, the components of this complex response were 'imageable'.  Today, a wound induced by an internal disease is reported by old, unmyelinated C nerve fibers.  A wound created by an external cut is signalled by evolutionarily recent myelinated fibers that result in a sharp well-localized report, that initially flows to the dorsal root ganglia, then to the spinal cord, where the signals are mixed within the dorsal and ventral horns, and then are transmitted to the brain stem nuclei, thalamus and cerebral cortex.  The pain of a cut is located, but it is also felt through an emotive response that stops us in our tracks.  Pain amplifies the aggression response of people by interoceptive signalling of brain regions providing social emotions including the PAG projecting to the amygdala; making aggressive people more so and less aggressive people less so.  Fear of pain is a significant contributor to female anxiety.  Pain is the main reason people visit the ED in the US.  Pain is mediated by the thalamus and nucleus accumbens, unless undermined by sleep deprivation. 
and worried about letting people down, depressed is a debilitating episodic state of extreme sadness, typically beginning in late teens or early twenties. This is accompanied by a lack of energy and emotion, which is facilitated by genetic predisposition - for example genes coding for relatively low serotonin levels, estrogen sensitive CREB-1 gene which increases women's incidence of depression at puberty; and an accumulation of traumatic events.  There is a significant risk of suicide: depression is involved in 50% of the 43,000 suicides in the US, and 15% of people with depression commit suicide.  Depression is the primary cause of disability with about 20 million Americans impacted by depression at any time.  There is evidence of shifts in the sleep/wake cycle in affected individuals (Dec 2015).  The affected person will experience a pathological sense of loss of control, prolonged sadness with feelings of hopelessness, helplessness & worthlessness, irritability, sleep disturbances, loss of appetite, and inability to experience pleasure.  Michael Pollan concludes depression is fear of the past.  It affects 12% of men and 20% of women.  It appears to be associated with androgen deprivation therapy treatment for prostate cancer (Apr 2016).  Chronic stress depletes the nucleus accumbens of dopamine, biasing humans towards depression.  Depression easily leads to following unhealthy pathways: drinking, overeating; which increase the risk of heart disease.   It has been associated with an aging related B12 deficiency (Sep 2016).  During depression, stress mediates inhibition of dopamine signalling.  Both depression and stress activate the adrenal glands' release of cortisol, which will, over the long term, impact the PFC.  There is an association between depression and additional brain regions: Enlarged & more active amygdala, Hippocampal dendrite and spine number reductions & in longer bouts hippocampal volume reductions and memory problems, Dorsal raphe nucleus linked to loneliness, Defective functioning of the hypothalamus undermining appetite and sex drive, Abnormalities of the ACC.  Mayberg notes ACC area 25: serotonin transporters are particularly active in depressed people and lower the serotonin in area 25 impacting the emotion circuit it hubs, inducing bodily sensations that patients can't place or consciously do anything about; and right anterior insula: which normally generates emotions from internal feelings instead feel dead inside; are critical in depression.  Childhood adversity can increase depression risk by linking recollections of uncontrollable situations to overgeneralizations that life will always be terrible and uncontrollable.  Sufferers of mild autism often develop depression.  Treatments include: CBT which works well for cases with below average activity of the right anterior insula (mild and moderate depression), UMHS depression management, deep-brain stimulation of the anterior insula to slow firing of area 25.  Drug treatments are required for cases with above average activity of the right anterior insula.  As of 2010 drug treatments: SSRIs (Prozac), MAO, monoamine reuptake inhibitors; take weeks to facilitate a response & many patients do not respond to the first drug applied, often prolonging the agony.  By 2018, Kandel notes, Ketamine is being tested as a short term treatment, as it acts much faster, reversing the effect of cortisol in stimulating glutamate signalling, and because it reverses the atrophy induced by chronic stress.   Genomic predictions of which treatment will be effective have not been possible because: Not all clinical depressions are the same, a standard definition of drug response is difficult; but driven, fearing she was reflecting her depressed and anxious mother (who had felt unreal and undeserving of attention as a child, taking comfort from alcohol and attempting to please others to belong); her external persona, challenged to argue to win by her lawyer father, aimed for academic achievement, was politically active, addicted results from changes in the operation of the brain's reward network's regulatory regions, altering the anticipation of rewards.  Addictive drugs mediate the receptors of the reward network, increasing dopamine in the pleasure centers of the cortex.  The learned association of the situation with the reward makes addiction highly prone to relapse, when the situation is subsequently experienced.  This makes addiction a chronic disease, where the sufferer must remain vigilant to avoid relapse inducing situations.  Repeated exposure to the addictive drug alters the reward network.  The neurons that produce dopamine are impaired, no longer sending dopamine to the reward target areas, reducing the feeling of pleasure.  But the situational association remains strong driving the addict to repeat the addictive activity.  Destroying the memory of the pleasure inducer may provide a treatment for addiction in the future.  Addiction has a genetic component, which supports inheritance.  Some other compulsive disorders: eating, gambling, sexual behavior; are similar to drug addiction. 
to food, and achievement.  She was a thrill seeker including: recreational drugs, sex, and adventures.  This quixotic mental mixture left her convinced that something was wrong with her

Joining an ashram, she found it addressed her uncertainties and insecurity.  It allowed her to see with compassion indicates an emotional state where resonance with someone else's distress leads one to help them.  The Dalai Lama stresses we must feel compassion for ourselves and others.  Tara Brach sees compassion as our capacity to relate in a tender and sympathetic way to what we perceive.  Meditation focused on feeling love for the suffering, strengthens compassion by activating the neuron networks for parental love for a child: ACC, insula, striatum, PAG, orbitofrontal cortex; and inducing a reduction in areas responsible for negative emotions. 
.  As she became a professional psychologist and spiritual teacher she saw firsthand that many people don't feel they are good enough.  Fixating on this flawed
The agents in complex adaptive systems (CAS) must model their environment to respond effectively to it.  Evolution's schematic operators and Samuel modeling together support the indirect recording of past successes and their strategic use by the current agent to learn how to succeed in the proximate environment. 
model
of their damaged self, traps them, wasting years missing enjoyment.  Brach developed radical acceptance to help her, and others, to see how ones anxieties about one's self can, instead, reveal the deep nature of love is an emotion, which generates a feeling of pleasure at a genetic relative's well-being and pain in their harm.  An inseminated human female is genetically a full relative of her partner since she carries his germ-line gametes.  From any of their pooled gene's perspective the offspring have a one-in-two chance of including the specific gene.  Hence love supports kin selection driven by the selfish actions of genes.  Emotions, including love and anger, help drive the interactions between people.  Compassionate love also supports the symbiotic partnership of true friends built on fairness and trust.  Sapolsky notes the opposite of love is indifference, not hate.  The amygdala's projection into the locus ceruleus drives autonomic intensity.  

The trance of unworthiness
Brach asserts belief of unworthiness can result in:

Brach spent 12 years on an ashram.  She found the practice: waking at 3.30am, cold shower, two and a half hours of yoga, meditation includes a variety of practices with the contemplative goal of altering traits to free the subject of suffering.  Goleman & Davidson see three distinct levels of practice: beginner, long term meditator, Yogi; with radically different levels of commitment.  Beginners typically do a limited-time-investment mindfulness meditation such as MBSR.  Long term meditators typically practice vipassana meditation.  Yogis practice Tibetan meditations Dzogchen and Mahamudra, which start like vipassana but in a non-dual stance developing a more subtle meta-awareness.  Richard Davidson, Cortland Dahl and Antoine Lutz developed a typology of the practices:
  • Attentional - train aspects of attention. 
  • Constructive - cultivate virtuous qualities: loving-kindness;
  • Destructive - use self-observation to pierce the nature of experience.  These include non-dual approaches where ordinary cognition no longer dominates. 
, prayer, chanting; until breakfast induced a blissful state.  But it didn't last with her habitual feelings are subjective models: sad, glad, mad, scared, surprised, and compassionate; of the organism and its proximate environment, including ratings of situations signalled by broadly distributed chemicals and neural circuits.  These feelings become highly salient inputs, evolutionarily associated, to higher level emotions encoded in neural circuits: amygdala, and insula.  Deacon shows James' conception of feeling can build sentience.  Damasio, similarly, asserts feelings reveal to the conscious mind the subjective status of life: good, bad, in between; within a higher organism.  They especially indicate the affective situation within the old interior world of the viscera located in the abdomen, thorax and thick of the skin - so smiling makes one feel happy; but augmented with the reports from the situation of the new interior world of voluntary muscles.  Repeated experiences build intermediate narratives, in the mind, which reduce the salience.  Damasio concludes feelings relate closely and consistently with homeostasis, acting as its mental deputies once organisms developed 'nervous systems' about 600 million years ago, and building on the precursor regulatory devices supplied by evolution to social insects and prokaryotes and leveraging analogous dynamic constraints.  Damasio suggests feelings contribute to the development of culture:
  • As motives for intellectual creation: prompting detection and diagnosis of homeostatic deficiencies, identifying desirable states worthy of creative effort.
  • As monitors of the success and failure of cultural instruments and practices
  • As participants in the negotiation of adjustments required by the cultural process over time 
of insecurity and selfishness recurring.  She internally criticized her need to impress others.  And she hoped, that over-
Carlo Rovelli resolves the paradox of time. 
Rovelli initially explains that low level physics does not include time:
  • A present that is common throughout the universe does not exist
  • Events are only partially ordered.  The present is localized
  • The difference between past and future is not foundational.  It occurs because of state that through our blurring appears particular to us
  • Time passes at different speeds dependent on where we are and how fast we travel
  • Time's rhythms are due to the gravitational field
  • Our quantized physics shows neither space nor time, just processes transforming physical variables. 
  • Fundamentally there is no time.  The basic equations evolve together with events, not things 
Then he explains how in a physical world without time its perception can emerge:
  • Our familiar time emerges
    • Our interaction with the world is partial, blurred, quantum indeterminate
    • The ignorance determines the existence of thermal time and entropy that quantifies our uncertainty
    • Directionality of time is real but perspectival.  The entropy of the world in relation to us increases with our thermal time.  The growth of entropy distinguishes past from future: resulting in traces and memories
    • Each human is a unified being because: we reflect the world, we formed an image of a unified entity by interacting with our kind, and because of the perspective of memory
    • The variable time: is one of the variables of the gravitational field.  With our scale we don't register quantum fluctuations, making space-time appear determined.  At our speed we don't perceive differences in time of different clocks, so we experience a single time: universal, uniform, ordered; which is helpful to our decisions

time
, the insecurity would fade.  But the ego includes:
  • Id - which he felt seeks pleasure and avoids pain and includes the instinctual unconscious
    • Repression - is a defensive mechanism for keeping socially unacceptable desires: children's sexual and aggressive needs; traumatic memories and painful emotions from entering consciousness
  • Ego - is concerned with perception, reasoning, planning of actions, and includes:
    • Consciousness
    • Adaptive (preconscious) unconscious
  • Superego - is a specialized motivational flow of long-term strategies associated with altruism, normative behavior, and group interests.  The ethical & moral aspects of the mind including: conscience; There is intrapsychic conflict.  The mind overall benefits from adaptations that enable strategic tradeoffs. 
can convert anything to its own ends.  Brach was mistakenly thinking she must change to become perfect and belong.  Additionally she notes Western culture is how we do and think about things, transmitted by non-genetic means as defined by Frans de Waal.  CAS theory views cultures as operating via memetic schemata evolved by memetic operators to support a cultural superorganism.  Evolutionary psychology asserts that human culture reflects adaptations generated while hunting and gathering.  Dehaene views culture as essentially human, shaped by exaptations and reading, transmitted with support of the neuronal workspace and stabilized by neuronal recycling.  Damasio notes prokaryotes and social insects have developed cultural social behaviors.  Sapolsky argues that parents must show children how to transform their genetically derived capabilities into a culturally effective toolset.  He is interested in the broad differences across cultures of: Life expectancy, GDP, Death in childbirth, Violence, Chronic bullying, Gender equality, Happiness, Response to cheating, Individualist or collectivist, Enforcing honor, Approach to hierarchy; illustrating how different a person's life will be depending on the culture where they are raised.  Culture:
  • Is deployed during pregnancy & childhood, with parental mediation.  Nutrients, immune messages and hormones all affect the prenatal brain.  Hormones: Testosterone with anti-Mullerian hormone masculinizes the brain by entering target cells and after conversion to estrogen binding to intracellular estrogen receptors; have organizational effects producing lifelong changes.  Parenting style typically produces adults who adopt the same approach.  And mothering style can alter gene regulation in the fetus in ways that transfer epigenetically to future generations!  PMS symptoms vary by culture. 
  • Is also significantly transmitted to children by their peers during play.  So parents try to control their children's peer group.  
  • Is transmitted to children by their neighborhoods, tribes, nations etc. 
  • Influences the parenting style that is considered appropriate. 
  • Can transform dominance into honor.  There are ecological correlates of adopting honor cultures.  Parents in honor cultures are typically authoritarian. 
  • Is strongly adapted across a meta-ethnic frontier according to Turchin.  
  • Across Europe was shaped by the Carolingian empire. 
  • Can provide varying levels of support for innovation.  Damasio suggests culture is influenced by feelings: 
    • As motives for intellectual creation: prompting detection and diagnosis of homeostatic deficiencies, identifying desirable states worthy of creative effort.
    • As monitors of the success and failure of cultural instruments and practices
    • As participants in the negotiation of adjustments required by the cultural process over time 
  • Produces consciousness according to Dennet. 
encourages separation from family, winning the competition of life; inducing a feeling of not belonging in the poor and sick.  Brach sees Buddhism challenging this process through its assumption of everyone's Buddha nature is the Buddha's assertion that each human birth is the realization of the love and timeless radiant awareness that is our true nature. 


Brach notes that her mother believed she must please her parents, and subsequently others, to be worthy.  And recollects that one meditation includes a variety of practices with the contemplative goal of altering traits to free the subject of suffering.  Goleman & Davidson see three distinct levels of practice: beginner, long term meditator, Yogi; with radically different levels of commitment.  Beginners typically do a limited-time-investment mindfulness meditation such as MBSR.  Long term meditators typically practice vipassana meditation.  Yogis practice Tibetan meditations Dzogchen and Mahamudra, which start like vipassana but in a non-dual stance developing a more subtle meta-awareness.  Richard Davidson, Cortland Dahl and Antoine Lutz developed a typology of the practices:
  • Attentional - train aspects of attention. 
  • Constructive - cultivate virtuous qualities: loving-kindness;
  • Destructive - use self-observation to pierce the nature of experience.  These include non-dual approaches where ordinary cognition no longer dominates. 
student hated being needy, chastised by a mother who grew up in a large chaotic family.  Brach stresses the relentless circle of: parents struggling with parenting, fearing for their children's success and desiring it, passing on their cultures messages, and the children growing up to become parents with their own challenges

Brach lists strategies for managing unworthiness:
Brach stresses the Buddha's insight is that all suffering or dissatisfaction arises from a mistaken understanding that we are a separate and distinct self.  This
Terrence Deacon explores how constraints on dynamic flows can induce emergent phenomena which can do real work.  He shows how these phenomena are sustained.  The mechanism enables the development of Darwinian competition. 
constrains
us to forget loving awareness which is the essence and connects us with all life.  Instead we experience repeated cravings and aversions.  Brach views the self as an
This page discusses the mechanisms and effects of emergence underpinning any complex adaptive system (CAS).  Physical forces and constraints follow the rules of complexity.  They generate phenomena and support the indirect emergence of epiphenomena.  Flows of epiphenomena interact in events which support the emergence of equilibrium and autonomous entities.  Autonomous entities enable evolution to operate broadening the adjacent possible.  Key research is reviewed. 
emergent
object is a collection of: happenings, occurrences and processes; including emergent entities, as required by relativity, explains Rovelli.  But natural selection has improved our fitness by representing this perception, in our minds, as an unchanging thing, as explained by Pinker.  Dehaene explains the object modeling and construction process within the unconscious and conscious brain. 
: an aggregate of thoughts, emotions, and patterns of behavior.  This allows our mind to conflate 'the self' and 'something is wrong with the trance of unworthiness' to something is wrong with me.  And appearing to be a self alone this problem must be my fault. 

This page reviews the implications of selection, variation and heredity in a complex adaptive system (CAS).  The mechanism and its emergence are discussed. 
Evolution
has provided humans with emotions are low level fast unconscious agents distributed across the brain and body which associate, via the amygdala and rich club hubs, important environmental signals with encoded high speed sensors, and distributed programs of action to model: predict, prioritize guidance signals, select and respond effectively, coherently and rapidly to the initial signal.  The majority of emotion centered brain regions interface to the midbrain through the hypothalamus.  The cerebellum and basal ganglia support the integration of emotion and motor functions, rewarding rhythmic movement.  The most accessible signs of emotions are the hard to control and universal facial expressions.  Emotions provide prioritization for conscious access given that an animal has only one body, but possibly many cells, with which to achieve its highest level goals.  Because of this emotions clash with group goals and are disparaged by the powerful.  Evolutionary psychology argues evolution shaped human emotions during the long period of hunter-gatherer existence in the African savanna.  Human emotions are universal and include: Anger, Appreciation of natural beauty, Disgust, Fear, Gratitude, Grief, Guilt, Happiness, Honor, Jealousy, Liking, Love, Rage, Romantic love, Lust for revenge, Passion, Sadness, Self-control, Shame, Sympathy, Surprise; and the sham emotions and distrust induced by reciprocal altruism. 
to help us respond effectively to our environment.  But Brach asserts we are much more than this, and the emotional mechanism can maladaptively focus on a sliver: incomplete, at risk, and separate from the rest of the world; ignoring our other aspects - love is an emotion, which generates a feeling of pleasure at a genetic relative's well-being and pain in their harm.  An inseminated human female is genetically a full relative of her partner since she carries his germ-line gametes.  From any of their pooled gene's perspective the offspring have a one-in-two chance of including the specific gene.  Hence love supports kin selection driven by the selfish actions of genes.  Emotions, including love and anger, help drive the interactions between people.  Compassionate love also supports the symbiotic partnership of true friends built on fairness and trust.  Sapolsky notes the opposite of love is indifference, not hate.  The amygdala's projection into the locus ceruleus drives autonomic intensity.  , beauty & fragility of our shared experience, breath of life, Buddha nature is the Buddha's assertion that each human birth is the realization of the love and timeless radiant awareness that is our true nature. 
.  Brach asserts that there is hope generated through escaping from the self-imposed prison of self-hate and shame is an emotional reaction to being discovered cheating on a friend. 


Brach stresses the Zen teaching: true freedom is being "without anxiety is manifested in the amygdala mediating inhibition of dopamine rewards.  Anxiety disorders are now seen as a related cluster, including PTSD, panic attacks, and phobias.  Major anxiety, is typically episodic, correlated with increased activity in the amygdala, results in elevated glucocorticoids and reduces hippocampal dendrite & spine density.  Some estrogen receptor variants are associated with anxiety in women.  Women are four times more likely to suffer from anxiety.  Louann Brizendine concludes this helps prepare mothers, so they are ready to protect their children.  Michael Pollan concludes anxiety is fear of the future.  Sufferers of mild autism often develop anxiety disorders.  Treatments for anxiety differ.  50 to 70% of people with generalized anxiety respond to drugs increasing serotonin concentrations, where there is relief from symptoms: worry, guilt; linked to depression, which are treated with SSRIs (Prozac).  Cognitive anxiety (extreme for worries and anxious thoughts) is also helped by yoga.  But many fear-related disorders respond better to psychotherapy: psychoanalysis, and intensive CBT.  Tara Brach notes that genuine freedom from fear is enabled by taking refuge. 
about imperfection."  Everything is imperfect.  So instead we can focus on connecting to the rest of life and experiencing our shared goodness, with a wise and compassionate indicates an emotional state where resonance with someone else's distress leads one to help them.  The Dalai Lama stresses we must feel compassion for ourselves and others.  Tara Brach sees compassion as our capacity to relate in a tender and sympathetic way to what we perceive.  Meditation focused on feeling love for the suffering, strengthens compassion by activating the neuron networks for parental love for a child: ACC, insula, striatum, PAG, orbitofrontal cortex; and inducing a reduction in areas responsible for negative emotions. 
heart, by cultivating Radical Acceptance

Awakening from the trance: The path of Radical Acceptance
Brach sees a great tragedy - freedom is possible, but we pass our years trapped in the same old patterns.  Unworthiness supports: self-judgment, anxiety is manifested in the amygdala mediating inhibition of dopamine rewards.  Anxiety disorders are now seen as a related cluster, including PTSD, panic attacks, and phobias.  Major anxiety, is typically episodic, correlated with increased activity in the amygdala, results in elevated glucocorticoids and reduces hippocampal dendrite & spine density.  Some estrogen receptor variants are associated with anxiety in women.  Women are four times more likely to suffer from anxiety.  Louann Brizendine concludes this helps prepare mothers, so they are ready to protect their children.  Michael Pollan concludes anxiety is fear of the future.  Sufferers of mild autism often develop anxiety disorders.  Treatments for anxiety differ.  50 to 70% of people with generalized anxiety respond to drugs increasing serotonin concentrations, where there is relief from symptoms: worry, guilt; linked to depression, which are treated with SSRIs (Prozac).  Cognitive anxiety (extreme for worries and anxious thoughts) is also helped by yoga.  But many fear-related disorders respond better to psychotherapy: psychoanalysis, and intensive CBT.  Tara Brach notes that genuine freedom from fear is enabled by taking refuge. 
, restlessness, dissatisfaction; undermining our escape to freedom and peace - even when the opportunity arises. 

Brach asserts the way out of the cage is to accept absolutely everything about ourselves and our lives, by embracing with wakefulness and care our moment-to-moment experience: attending to everything that is happening without: trying to control, judge or pull away; Radical Acceptance means clearly recognizing what is happening inside us, and regarding what we see with an open, kind and loving heart according to Tara Brach.  It is the art of engaging fully in this world.  Because it stops the heart from shutting out: the feared aspects of our identity, and our feelings of separation; Radical Acceptance dismantles the foundations of the trance of unworthiness.  There are two interdependent aspects: seeing clearly (mindfulness) and holding our experience with compassion.  Radical acceptance is enabled by a pause.  Whatever comes to attention next is greeted with unconditional friendliness. 
: mindfulness is an active meditative state of non-doing, attentively seeking each 'present moment' with one's body and mind 'being' at rest and so cultivating awareness, according to Jon Kabat-Zinn.  Some traditions define it as observing when the mind wanders.  Others use it to refer to the floating awareness that witnesses whatever happens in our experience without judging or otherwise reacting, explain Goleman & Davidson.  The thinking mind usually spends a lot of time relating to the future and past which Kabat-Zinn argues limits its ability to become fully aware of the present.  In times of stress those thoughts are so overpowering that they crowd out awareness and appreciation of the present.  Mindfulness shifts attention to calming internal feelings.  It allows review and prioritization of thoughts as they are recognized.  Major attitude based pillars of successful mindfulness are: impartial to judging, patience, a beginner's mind, trust, non-striving, acceptance of seeing things the way they are and letting go.  An awareness of the body's state can be built with tools including: inquiry, naming; from Yogi's attention to:
  • Breathing - which is a proxy for the environmental situation and through its rhythms is a model of our emotional state.  Attention to breathing reminds people to feel their bodies too.  Belly breathing is particularly relaxing.  
  • Sitting - erect with head, neck and back aligned vertically.  Then attend to breathing moving back to it each time you observe the mind has wandered.  When the body becomes uncomfortable, direct attention to the discomfort, observe and welcome it.  
  • Experience our body - rather than model, judge or hate it relative to an ideal - with a body scan. 
  • Hatha yoga - very slow stretching and strengthening exercises with moment-to-moment awareness supports being in your body.  
  • Walking meditation - Intentionally attend to the immediate experience of walking.  
with compassion indicates an emotional state where resonance with someone else's distress leads one to help them.  The Dalai Lama stresses we must feel compassion for ourselves and others.  Tara Brach sees compassion as our capacity to relate in a tender and sympathetic way to what we perceive.  Meditation focused on feeling love for the suffering, strengthens compassion by activating the neuron networks for parental love for a child: ACC, insula, striatum, PAG, orbitofrontal cortex; and inducing a reduction in areas responsible for negative emotions. 
.  We will notice pain emerged as a mental experience, Damasio asserts, constructed by the mind using mapping structures and events provided by nervous systems.  But feeling pain is supported by older biological functions that support homeostasis.  These capabilities reflect the organism's underlying emotive processes that respond to wounds: antibacterial and analgesic chemical deployment, flinching and evading actions; that occur in organisms without nervous systems.  Later in evolution, after organisms with nervous systems were able to map non-neural events, the components of this complex response were 'imageable'.  Today, a wound induced by an internal disease is reported by old, unmyelinated C nerve fibers.  A wound created by an external cut is signalled by evolutionarily recent myelinated fibers that result in a sharp well-localized report, that initially flows to the dorsal root ganglia, then to the spinal cord, where the signals are mixed within the dorsal and ventral horns, and then are transmitted to the brain stem nuclei, thalamus and cerebral cortex.  The pain of a cut is located, but it is also felt through an emotive response that stops us in our tracks.  Pain amplifies the aggression response of people by interoceptive signalling of brain regions providing social emotions including the PAG projecting to the amygdala; making aggressive people more so and less aggressive people less so.  Fear of pain is a significant contributor to female anxiety.  Pain is the main reason people visit the ED in the US.  Pain is mediated by the thalamus and nucleus accumbens, unless undermined by sleep deprivation. 
without getting lost in a cascade of stories where we are the victim or the cause.  We can enjoy the percepts are internal appearences of the external world and the body according to Haikonen.  RSS views them as evolved models that are:
  • Associated schematically with the signals generated in response to epi-phenomena detected by sensory receptors and
  • Acted on by emergent agents.  
of eating without transitioning to assessing guilt is an emotion which alerts us to the risk of cheating on a friend.  To be culturally effective the individuals must have respect for the law.  Guilt is associated with activation of the posterior cingulate cortex. 


The trance of unworthiness makes our heart hard, we don't recognize our internal state clearly, or feel kind.  Mindfulness stops us tampering with the stream of experience and see life as it is.  Compassion makes this acceptance whole hearted.  Working together they are mutually reinforcing in undermining the anger and guilt. 

Brach highlights how:
Recognizing when we:
  • Are caught in the habit of judging, resisting and grasping and
  • Are constantly trying to control our levels of pain & pleasure
  • Create suffering when we attack ourselves; and recalling our intention to love life, we can build the foundations of Radical Acceptance, which allows us to honor and cherish the pleasure and pain of this ever-changing life.  Directing attention to the wounds allows wisdom and compassion to enter. 
Brach uses her own experience of struggling with a need to over-achieve due to a fear is an emotion which prepares the body for time sensitive action: Blood is sent to the muscles from the gut and skin, Adrenalin is released stimulating: Fuel to be released from the liver, Blood is encouraged to clot, and Face is wide-eyed and fearful.  The short-term high priority goal, experienced as a sense of urgency, is to flee, fight or deflect the danger.  There are both 'innate' - really high priority learning - which are mediated by the central amygdala and learned fears which are mediated by the BLA which learns to fear a stimulus and then signals the central amygdala.  Tara Brach notes we experience fear as a painfully constricted throat, chest and belly, and racing heart.  The mind can build stories of the future which include fearful situations making us anxious about current ideas and actions that we associate with the potential future scenario.  And it can associate traumatic events from early childhood with our being at fault.  Consequent assumptions of our being unworthy can result in shame and fear of losing friendships.  The mechanism for human fear was significantly evolved to protect us in the African savanna.  This does not align perfectly with our needs in current environments: U.S. Grant was unusually un-afraid of the noise or risk of guns and trusted his horses' judgment, which mostly benefited his agency as a modern soldier. 
of being flawed, as one illustration:
Brach notes typical misunderstandings about Radical Acceptance.  It:
  • Is not resignation - acceptance still allows change and growth
  • Does not mean defining ourselves by our limitations.  It is not an excuse for withdrawal - acceptance should bring kind attention to our capabilities and limitations while encouraging the creativity enabled by living
  • Is not self-indulgence - We can accept our cravings and see them clearly to encourage wiser choices 
  • Does not make us passive - It accepts our experience as a first step to wise choices
  • Does not mean accepting a 'self.' - We are accepting the mental and sensory experiences that are modeled as the self. 
It took two years for Brach to leave the ashram, after hitting bottom.  In that time she reviewed other spiritual traditions and found Buddhism most helpful.  She found the Buddhist mindfulness is an active meditative state of non-doing, attentively seeking each 'present moment' with one's body and mind 'being' at rest and so cultivating awareness, according to Jon Kabat-Zinn.  Some traditions define it as observing when the mind wanders.  Others use it to refer to the floating awareness that witnesses whatever happens in our experience without judging or otherwise reacting, explain Goleman & Davidson.  The thinking mind usually spends a lot of time relating to the future and past which Kabat-Zinn argues limits its ability to become fully aware of the present.  In times of stress those thoughts are so overpowering that they crowd out awareness and appreciation of the present.  Mindfulness shifts attention to calming internal feelings.  It allows review and prioritization of thoughts as they are recognized.  Major attitude based pillars of successful mindfulness are: impartial to judging, patience, a beginner's mind, trust, non-striving, acceptance of seeing things the way they are and letting go.  An awareness of the body's state can be built with tools including: inquiry, naming; from Yogi's attention to:
  • Breathing - which is a proxy for the environmental situation and through its rhythms is a model of our emotional state.  Attention to breathing reminds people to feel their bodies too.  Belly breathing is particularly relaxing.  
  • Sitting - erect with head, neck and back aligned vertically.  Then attend to breathing moving back to it each time you observe the mind has wandered.  When the body becomes uncomfortable, direct attention to the discomfort, observe and welcome it.  
  • Experience our body - rather than model, judge or hate it relative to an ideal - with a body scan. 
  • Hatha yoga - very slow stretching and strengthening exercises with moment-to-moment awareness supports being in your body.  
  • Walking meditation - Intentionally attend to the immediate experience of walking.  
meditation includes a variety of practices with the contemplative goal of altering traits to free the subject of suffering.  Goleman & Davidson see three distinct levels of practice: beginner, long term meditator, Yogi; with radically different levels of commitment.  Beginners typically do a limited-time-investment mindfulness meditation such as MBSR.  Long term meditators typically practice vipassana meditation.  Yogis practice Tibetan meditations Dzogchen and Mahamudra, which start like vipassana but in a non-dual stance developing a more subtle meta-awareness.  Richard Davidson, Cortland Dahl and Antoine Lutz developed a typology of the practices:
  • Attentional - train aspects of attention. 
  • Constructive - cultivate virtuous qualities: loving-kindness;
  • Destructive - use self-observation to pierce the nature of experience.  These include non-dual approaches where ordinary cognition no longer dominates. 
, vipassana means 'to see clearly' in Pali.  It is the foundational mindfulness (Theravadan) meditation.  It aims to allow the stream of experience to move through attention.  S. N. Goenka aimed to make vipassana broadly available.  In his teaching the focus is on bodily sensations:
  1. Noting the sensations of breathing in and out for hours each day, to build concentration. 
  2. Perform a whole-body scan of whatever sensations are occurring anywhere in the body.  The meditator experiences a sea of shifting sensations and awareness. 
  3. Insight is then developed, which brings the added realization of how we link sensations to the self.  Insight into pain reveals that we build an object out of various continuously shifting sensations and provoked feelings that can become an emotive response of "mine".  Booklets describe how to develop the insights and practice. 
, well aligned with her suffering.  It allows the changing stream of experience to move through attention is the mutli-faceted capability allowing access to consciousness.  It includes selective attention, vigilance, allocating attention, goal focus, and meta-awareness. 
.  Ideas could be inspected without belief.  And Buddhist loving-kindness practices holding tender, compassionate, feelings towards a slowly widening circle of people: family we love, friends, people we don't know, people we dislike, every person; recognizing the oneness, where everyone desires happiness.  Goleman & Davidson describe the neuroscience involved with this mediation.  Research comparing two groups: one practicing loving-kindness meditation, the other acting as a control group just learning the theory; only the meditators showed a reduced implicit bias against out-groups.  They also studied masters - Tibetan yogis. 
and compassion indicates an emotional state where resonance with someone else's distress leads one to help them.  The Dalai Lama stresses we must feel compassion for ourselves and others.  Tara Brach sees compassion as our capacity to relate in a tender and sympathetic way to what we perceive.  Meditation focused on feeling love for the suffering, strengthens compassion by activating the neuron networks for parental love for a child: ACC, insula, striatum, PAG, orbitofrontal cortex; and inducing a reduction in areas responsible for negative emotions. 
meditations helped manage her feelings of pain, insecurity and loneliness through acceptance. 

Brach was moved profoundly by the statement: The
Barriers are particular types of constraints on flows.  They can enforce separation of a network of agents allowing evolution to build diversity.  Examples of different types of barriers: physical barriers, chemical molecules can form membranes, probability based, cell membranes can include controllable channels, eukaryotes leverage membranes, symbiosis, human emotions, chess, business; and their effects are described. 
boundary
to what we can accept is the boundary to our freedom.  And she stresses we live life through each discrete changing minute, which she treats as an unrepeatable miracle. 

The Sacred Pause: Resting under the Bodhi tree
Brach introduces the dilemma of responding to situations far different from asserts that human culture reflects adaptations that developed during human's long hunter-gatherer past, living on the African savanna.  Its implications are described in The Adapted Mind.  Subsequent studies of the effects of selection on the human genome show significant changes due to our more recent history as well. 
the African savanna is the environment where hunter-gatherers primarily evolved.  Its grassland supported large herbivores that could be hunted easily across the plains.  Clumps of Acacia trees: with short trunks, and broad bows; & rocks supported places to hide from large carnivores.  Streams, especially important in times of drought, and paths add to the signals enabling orientation. 
- our cognitive niche is Tooby & DeVore's theory that reflects a flexible competitive strategy, described by Steven Pinker, which leverages the power and flexibility of intelligence to defeat the capabilities of genetically evolved specialists focused on specific niches. 
.  She asserts the best strategy is to pause and do nothing for a period and notice our inner experience.  Brach uses the pause to interrupt our habitual behaviors allow higher organisms: humans, rats, flies; to perform important behaviors automatically, without involvement of consciousness.  Habits are adaptive, being promoted by the release of dopamine into the PFC and striatum, generating a feeling of pleasure and conditioning us.  As the dopamine detaches from the synaptic receptors in the PFC and striatum the motivation to perform the behavior subsides.  If the dopamine remains at the synapse for an extended period, because it is not removed as occurs when cocaine is present, or when too much dopamine is generated, the habit can become an addiction.  , offering the possibility of new and creative ways to respond to our wants and fears is an emotion which prepares the body for time sensitive action: Blood is sent to the muscles from the gut and skin, Adrenalin is released stimulating: Fuel to be released from the liver, Blood is encouraged to clot, and Face is wide-eyed and fearful.  The short-term high priority goal, experienced as a sense of urgency, is to flee, fight or deflect the danger.  There are both 'innate' - really high priority learning - which are mediated by the central amygdala and learned fears which are mediated by the BLA which learns to fear a stimulus and then signals the central amygdala.  Tara Brach notes we experience fear as a painfully constricted throat, chest and belly, and racing heart.  The mind can build stories of the future which include fearful situations making us anxious about current ideas and actions that we associate with the potential future scenario.  And it can associate traumatic events from early childhood with our being at fault.  Consequent assumptions of our being unworthy can result in shame and fear of losing friendships.  The mechanism for human fear was significantly evolved to protect us in the African savanna.  This does not align perfectly with our needs in current environments: U.S. Grant was unusually un-afraid of the noise or risk of guns and trusted his horses' judgment, which mostly benefited his agency as a modern soldier. 
.  She explains how as she hit bottom, she had paused - facing the shame is an emotional reaction to being discovered cheating on a friend. 
and fears that she had previously always run from.  It was the pause that enabled her to accept the intensity of her suffering and escape from the trance's cage. 

Brach notes that many situations don't require a pause: we are designed to respond rapidly helped by our emotions are low level fast unconscious agents distributed across the brain and body which associate, via the amygdala and rich club hubs, important environmental signals with encoded high speed sensors, and distributed programs of action to model: predict, prioritize guidance signals, select and respond effectively, coherently and rapidly to the initial signal.  The majority of emotion centered brain regions interface to the midbrain through the hypothalamus.  The cerebellum and basal ganglia support the integration of emotion and motor functions, rewarding rhythmic movement.  The most accessible signs of emotions are the hard to control and universal facial expressions.  Emotions provide prioritization for conscious access given that an animal has only one body, but possibly many cells, with which to achieve its highest level goals.  Because of this emotions clash with group goals and are disparaged by the powerful.  Evolutionary psychology argues evolution shaped human emotions during the long period of hunter-gatherer existence in the African savanna.  Human emotions are universal and include: Anger, Appreciation of natural beauty, Disgust, Fear, Gratitude, Grief, Guilt, Happiness, Honor, Jealousy, Liking, Love, Rage, Romantic love, Lust for revenge, Passion, Sadness, Self-control, Shame, Sympathy, Surprise; and the sham emotions and distrust induced by reciprocal altruism. 
; but often today we are just attempting to anxiously is manifested in the amygdala mediating inhibition of dopamine rewards.  Anxiety disorders are now seen as a related cluster, including PTSD, panic attacks, and phobias.  Major anxiety, is typically episodic, correlated with increased activity in the amygdala, results in elevated glucocorticoids and reduces hippocampal dendrite & spine density.  Some estrogen receptor variants are associated with anxiety in women.  Women are four times more likely to suffer from anxiety.  Louann Brizendine concludes this helps prepare mothers, so they are ready to protect their children.  Michael Pollan concludes anxiety is fear of the future.  Sufferers of mild autism often develop anxiety disorders.  Treatments for anxiety differ.  50 to 70% of people with generalized anxiety respond to drugs increasing serotonin concentrations, where there is relief from symptoms: worry, guilt; linked to depression, which are treated with SSRIs (Prozac).  Cognitive anxiety (extreme for worries and anxious thoughts) is also helped by yoga.  But many fear-related disorders respond better to psychotherapy: psychoanalysis, and intensive CBT.  Tara Brach notes that genuine freedom from fear is enabled by taking refuge. 
control our situation.  In these cases the pause allows us to gain perspective and make a choice integrates situational context, state and signals to prioritize among strategies and respond in a timely manner.  It occurs in all animals, including us and our organizations: 
  • Individual human decision making includes conscious and unconscious aspects.  Situational context is highly influential: supplying meaning to our general mechanisms, & for robots too.  Emotions are important in providing a balanced judgement.  The adaptive unconscious interprets percepts quickly supporting 'fast' decision making.  Conscious decision making, supported by the: DLPFC, vmPFC and limbic system; can use slower autonomy.  The amygdala, during unsettling or uncertain social situations, signals the decision making regions of the frontal lobe, including the orbitofrontal cortex.  The BLA supports rejecting unacceptable offers.  Moral decisions are influenced by a moral decision switch.  Sleeping before making an important decision is useful in obtaining the support of the unconscious in developing a preference.  Word framing demonstrates the limitations of our fast intuitive decision making processes.  And prior positive associations detected by the hippocampus, can be reactivated with the support of the striatum linking it to the memory of a reward, inducing a bias into our choices.  Prior to the development of the PFC, the ventral striatum supports adolescent decision making.  Neurons involved in decision making in the association areas of the cortex are active for much longer than neurons participating in the sensory areas of the cortex.  This allows them to link perceptions with a provisional action plan.  Association neurons can track probabilities connected to a choice.  As evidence is accumulated and a threshold is reached a choice is made, making fast thinking highly adaptive.  Diseases including: schizophrenia and anorexia; highlight aspects of human decision making. 
  • Organisations often struggle to balance top down and distributed decision making: parliamentry government must use a process, health care is attempting to improve the process: checklists, end-to-end care; and include more participants, but has systemic issues, business leaders struggle with strategy. 
in how we respond.  She stresses 'Through the sacred art of pausing, we develop the capacity to stop hiding, to stop running away from our experience.'  The pause makes Radical Acceptance means clearly recognizing what is happening inside us, and regarding what we see with an open, kind and loving heart according to Tara Brach.  It is the art of engaging fully in this world.  Because it stops the heart from shutting out: the feared aspects of our identity, and our feelings of separation; Radical Acceptance dismantles the foundations of the trance of unworthiness.  There are two interdependent aspects: seeing clearly (mindfulness) and holding our experience with compassion.  Radical acceptance is enabled by a pause.  Whatever comes to attention next is greeted with unconditional friendliness. 
possible. 

Brach asserts that running away from our emotional challenges: parentally unacceptable aspects of our early behaviors, anger, neediness, fear; deepens the trance.  Working to exile these emotions shifts their impact to: knots of tension, self-judgment, and blame.  But Brach stresses the root is shame bound to a childhood
The agents in complex adaptive systems (CAS) must model their environment to respond effectively to it.  Evolution's schematic operators and Samuel modeling together support the indirect recording of past successes and their strategic use by the current agent to learn how to succeed in the proximate environment. 
model
of being defective.  And hiding re-confirms unworthiness to the self.  The defensive response, such as lashing out, feels automatic, and helps hide the underlying damage that attention is the mutli-faceted capability allowing access to consciousness.  It includes selective attention, vigilance, allocating attention, goal focus, and meta-awareness. 
could heal. 

Brach argues that we chase after pleasure and security to obtain lasting happiness only to suffer some crisis and struggle.  Seeking to avoid pain emerged as a mental experience, Damasio asserts, constructed by the mind using mapping structures and events provided by nervous systems.  But feeling pain is supported by older biological functions that support homeostasis.  These capabilities reflect the organism's underlying emotive processes that respond to wounds: antibacterial and analgesic chemical deployment, flinching and evading actions; that occur in organisms without nervous systems.  Later in evolution, after organisms with nervous systems were able to map non-neural events, the components of this complex response were 'imageable'.  Today, a wound induced by an internal disease is reported by old, unmyelinated C nerve fibers.  A wound created by an external cut is signalled by evolutionarily recent myelinated fibers that result in a sharp well-localized report, that initially flows to the dorsal root ganglia, then to the spinal cord, where the signals are mixed within the dorsal and ventral horns, and then are transmitted to the brain stem nuclei, thalamus and cerebral cortex.  The pain of a cut is located, but it is also felt through an emotive response that stops us in our tracks.  Pain amplifies the aggression response of people by interoceptive signalling of brain regions providing social emotions including the PAG projecting to the amygdala; making aggressive people more so and less aggressive people less so.  Fear of pain is a significant contributor to female anxiety.  Pain is the main reason people visit the ED in the US.  Pain is mediated by the thalamus and nucleus accumbens, unless undermined by sleep deprivation. 
and control our experience we dodge the intense feelings are subjective models: sad, glad, mad, scared, surprised, and compassionate; of the organism and its proximate environment, including ratings of situations signalled by broadly distributed chemicals and neural circuits.  These feelings become highly salient inputs, evolutionarily associated, to higher level emotions encoded in neural circuits: amygdala, and insula.  Deacon shows James' conception of feeling can build sentience.  Damasio, similarly, asserts feelings reveal to the conscious mind the subjective status of life: good, bad, in between; within a higher organism.  They especially indicate the affective situation within the old interior world of the viscera located in the abdomen, thorax and thick of the skin - so smiling makes one feel happy; but augmented with the reports from the situation of the new interior world of voluntary muscles.  Repeated experiences build intermediate narratives, in the mind, which reduce the salience.  Damasio concludes feelings relate closely and consistently with homeostasis, acting as its mental deputies once organisms developed 'nervous systems' about 600 million years ago, and building on the precursor regulatory devices supplied by evolution to social insects and prokaryotes and leveraging analogous dynamic constraints.  Damasio suggests feelings contribute to the development of culture:
  • As motives for intellectual creation: prompting detection and diagnosis of homeostatic deficiencies, identifying desirable states worthy of creative effort.
  • As monitors of the success and failure of cultural instruments and practices
  • As participants in the negotiation of adjustments required by the cultural process over time 
that represent our physical and emotional needs.  She sites the Buddha's insight about the path to liberation, a freedom that became available to him as he reflected on his experience as a young child sitting under a tree watching the farmers plow:
Brach recommends starting the practice of Radical Acceptance with our own pause under the bodhi tree.  We can make ourselves available to whatever life is offering in each moment.  Otherwise we obscure and distort our experiences and that is all we know.  Brach accepts trying to pause may be initially terrifying, but iteratively it will provide inner resources to assist in responding wisely to challenging events that otherwise highlight feelings of unworthiness.  Offering compassion to the internal wounds results in other helpful choices appearing to our attention. 

Brach sees the pause clearing some space for wise action.  She helps her psychotherapy clients to develop strategies that will work better than those launched by raw emotions.  They discuss scenarios that might emerge in problem situations.  So in a disagreement, if:
  • There was an associated flood of rage is a doomsday machine emotion of uncontrollable righteous anger.   - it may help to propose a time-out and talk later.  During the time-out the story that is generating the rage can be inspected and feelings reviewed.  
  • Attention was lost in an argument - pause and explain what am feeling.  Find out what the other person is feeling.  
The pause can help in relationships even when only one person is practicing Radical Acceptance.  It offers a more positive situation to the other person so they can relax too.  It can't fix everything but helps obtain resolution. 

When feeling anxious, a pause can replace rushing to do something and allow us to sit still and inspect the discomfort and restlessness.  A pause allows us to become intimate with what is happening to our gut, heart and mind.  The more we practice the pause the more effective it can become.  Brach reminds us that we often pause in our daily lives while: showering, walking, driving, getting ready to sleep; and notes how she has developed a habit to pause before exiting her car.  She believes such pauses sustain us, acting like rest notes is a written symbol on a musical score associated with a tone. 
in music is a complex emergent capability supported by sexual selection and generating pleasure.  It transforms the sensing of epiphenomena: Contour, Rhythm, Tempo, Timbre; to induce salient representations: Harmony, Key, Loudness, Melody, Meter, Pitch, and perceptions: Reverberation - echo; which allow musicians to show their fitness: superior coordination, creativity, adolescent leadership, stamina; true for birds and humans.  Levitin showed that listening to music causes a cascade of brain regions to become activated in a particular order: auditory cortex, frontal regions, such as BA44 and BA47, and finally the mesolimbic system, culminating in the nucleus accumbens.  And he found the cerebellum and basal ganglia were active throughout the session.  He argues music mimics some of the features of language and conveys some of the same emotions.  The brain regions pulse with the beat and predict the next one.  As the music is heard it is modeled and generates dopamine rewards for matching each beat and noting creative jokes in the rhythm.  The cerebellum finds pleasure in adjusting itself to stay synchronized. 
- a silent background that allows the foreground to
This page discusses the mechanisms and effects of emergence underpinning any complex adaptive system (CAS).  Physical forces and constraints follow the rules of complexity.  They generate phenomena and support the indirect emergence of epiphenomena.  Flows of epiphenomena interact in events which support the emergence of equilibrium and autonomous entities.  Autonomous entities enable evolution to operate broadening the adjacent possible.  Key research is reviewed. 
emerge



Unconditional friendliness: the spirit of Radical Acceptance
After the pause, Brach explains we meet whatever is happening inside us, even jealous is an emotion driven by the large investment by parents in their children's development combined with a human sexual asymmetry: fertilization occurs inside the female's body, so a male can't be sure it is supporting its own ofspring. 
thoughts and angry is an emotion which protects a person who has been cheated by a supposed friend.  When the exploitation of the altruism is discovered, Steven Pinker explains, the result is a drive for moralistic aggression to hurt the cheater.  Anger is mostly experienced as a rapid wave that then quickly dissipates.  When it is repressed, for example by a strong moral sense (superego), it can sustain, inducing long term stress. 
feelings are subjective models: sad, glad, mad, scared, surprised, and compassionate; of the organism and its proximate environment, including ratings of situations signalled by broadly distributed chemicals and neural circuits.  These feelings become highly salient inputs, evolutionarily associated, to higher level emotions encoded in neural circuits: amygdala, and insula.  Deacon shows James' conception of feeling can build sentience.  Damasio, similarly, asserts feelings reveal to the conscious mind the subjective status of life: good, bad, in between; within a higher organism.  They especially indicate the affective situation within the old interior world of the viscera located in the abdomen, thorax and thick of the skin - so smiling makes one feel happy; but augmented with the reports from the situation of the new interior world of voluntary muscles.  Repeated experiences build intermediate narratives, in the mind, which reduce the salience.  Damasio concludes feelings relate closely and consistently with homeostasis, acting as its mental deputies once organisms developed 'nervous systems' about 600 million years ago, and building on the precursor regulatory devices supplied by evolution to social insects and prokaryotes and leveraging analogous dynamic constraints.  Damasio suggests feelings contribute to the development of culture:
  • As motives for intellectual creation: prompting detection and diagnosis of homeostatic deficiencies, identifying desirable states worthy of creative effort.
  • As monitors of the success and failure of cultural instruments and practices
  • As participants in the negotiation of adjustments required by the cultural process over time 
, with ... unconditional friendliness.  The Buddha when visited by Mara (delusion) is a god who represents, for Buddhists, the shadow-side of human nature.  Mara entangles us in craving and fear, appearing in the mind as: violent storms, temptingly beautiful women, raging demons, and massive armies; according to Tara Brach. 
would always great the evil god hospitably and invite him to tea.  Similarly we can welcome troubling emotions, saying "I see you, Mara."  Brach proposes we stop making fair-weather friends benefits another organism at a cost to the behaver.  It is differentiated from kin altruism, by Williams and Trivers, since it can apply between unrelated individuals.  It can be induced by natural selection when there is mutual survival benefit in group activities and cheating can be detected and discouraged.  Humans, leveraging the cognitive niche, can particularly easily, build an evolved amplifier, through sharing information at little cost and significant benefit.  But African savanna hunters similarly gain from sharing large game meat with other un-related altruistic group members since the meat would otherwise spoil before it could be eaten. 
with ourselves, and stop ignoring and rejecting the darkness within us. 

Brach highlights how dramatic failure, upending plans and letting people down, can result in feelings of worthlessness which deepen the trap of unworthiness.  She describes some practices that can help:
For Brach welcoming almost any thought into attention warmly, and with a smile, is like welcoming Mara and has a very positive impact on our attitude.  But she warns that traumatic events from the past should not be welcomed incidentally, since there is a risk of triggering the old feeling of terror.  In such a case Brach suggests seek comfort with a friend, exercise rigorously or take prescribed medication. 

Life cannot be compared with a vision of perfection.  Instead, welcoming our imperfect and messy life warmly, the way it is, highlights how alive, present and vibrant the situation is.  Joy rushes in. 

 Coming home to our body: the ground of Radical Acceptance
Tara Brach describes struggling to align her parental desires for her, then 13 year old, son Narayan and his own - driven by his developing is a phase during the operation of a CAS agent.  It allows for schematic strategies to be iteratively blended with environmental signals to solve the logistical issues of migrating newly built and transformed sub-agents.  That is needed to achieve the adult configuration of the agent and optimize it for the proximate environment.  Smiley includes examples of the developmental phase agents required in an emergent CAS.  In situations where parents invest in the growth and memetic learning of their offspring the schematic grab bag can support optimizations to develop models, structures and actions to construct an adept adult.  In humans, adolescence leverages neural plasticity, elder sibling advice and adult coaching to help prepare the deploying neuronal network and body to successfully compete. 
adolescence in humans supports the transition from a juvenile configuration, dependent on parents and structured to learn & logistically transform, to adult optimized to the proximate environment.  And it is staged encouraging male adolescents to escape the hierarchy they grew up in and enter other groups where they may bring in: fresh ideas, risk taking; and alter the existing hierarchy: Steve Jobs & Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates & Paul Allen; while females become highly focused on friendships and communications.  It marks the beginning of Piaget's formal operational stage of cognitive development.  The limbic, autonomic and hormone networks are already deployed and functioning effectively.  The frontal cortex has to be pruned: winning neurons move to their final highly connected positions, and are myelinated over time.  The rest dissolve.  So the frontal lobe does not obtain its adult configuration and networked integration until the mid-twenties when prefrontal cortex control becomes optimal.  The evolutionarily oldest areas of the frontal cortex mature first.  The PFC must be iteratively customized by experience to do the right thing as an adult.  Adolescents:
  • Don't detect irony effectively.  They depend on the DMPFC to do this, unlike adults who leverage the fusiform face area.  
  • Regulate emotions with the ventral striatum while the prefrontal cortex is still being setup.  Dopamine projection density and signalling increase from the ventral tegmentum catalyzing increased interest in dopamine based rewards.  Novelty seeking allows for creative exploration which was necessary to move beyond the familial pack.  Criticisms do not get incorporated into learning models by adolescents leaving their risk assessments very poor.  The target of the dopamine networks, the adolescent accumbens, responds to rewards like a gyrating top - hugely to large rewards, and negatively to small rewards.  Eventually as the frontal regions increase in contribution there are steady improvements in: working memory, flexible rule use, executive organization and task shifting.  And adolescents start to see other people's perspective. 
  • Drive the cellular transformations with post-pubescent high levels of testosterone in males, and high but fluctuating estrogen & progesterone levels in females.  Blood flow to the frontal cortex is also diverted on occasion to the groin.  
  • Peer pressure is exceptionally influential in adolescents.  Admired peer comments reduce vmPFC activity and enhance ventral striatal activity.  Adults modulate the mental impact of socially mean treatment: the initial activation of the PAG, anterior cingulate, amygdala, insula cortex; which generate feelings of pain, anger, and disgust, with the VLPFC but that does not occur in adolescents.  
  • Feel empathy intensely, supported by their rampant emotions, interest in novelty, ego.  But feeling the pain of others can induce self-oriented avoidance of the situations. 
.  Initially becoming angry is an emotion which protects a person who has been cheated by a supposed friend.  When the exploitation of the altruism is discovered, Steven Pinker explains, the result is a drive for moralistic aggression to hurt the cheater.  Anger is mostly experienced as a rapid wave that then quickly dissipates.  When it is repressed, for example by a strong moral sense (superego), it can sustain, inducing long term stress. 
and judgmental resulted in parent child conflicts is Robert Trivers theory to explain the allocation of parental resources to various offspring, from the implications of genetics on the family.  Observing that children want to take more than what their parents want to give Trivers concluded a parent should aim to transfer resources depending on the relative benefits to each child and the costs, since each child has the same percentage of the parent's genes.  But each child shares only fifty percent of their genes with their siblings so should aim to get resources until the benefit to the others is twice the cost to the child.  And the parent may keep back some resources for allocation to further planned offspring.  A variety of conflicts ensue:
  • In the womb the fetus tries to capture nutrients from the mother at the expense of future children.  It ties up the mother's insulin to increase the blood sugar available to it and placing the mother at risk of diabetes.  Fathers can assist their offspring in this 'fight with the mother' by supplying imprinted genes that help the offspring capture resources. 
  • At birth mothers must decide whether to let the baby die.  This practice is cross cultural but is considered a depravity by present Western culture.  That is probably due to the West having captured a majority of the world's resources for centuries.  
  • Infants use cuteness to encourage parental investment.  A mother's attachment delays until it is clear that the baby will live.  
  • Infants cry to demand milk.  Until weaned the mother won't ovulate limiting her future reproductive potential. 
  • Young children are in conflict with their father over access to their mother. 
  • Children are in a position to develop paradoxical tactics to push for more resource allocation. 
  • Older children may have sexual conflicts with their parents, especially their fathers.  Fathers compete with sons for sexual partners in many societies.  But this competition is not for their mother.  
  • Adult children may conflict with their parents over allocation of family resources.  This has led to murder. 
  • Parents attempt to train children to assist the parent's social interests.  The implication is that children are wary of their parent's suggestions and typically pay more attention to the advice of their peer group according to Judith Harris.  
  • Parents sell or trade their children.  The price paid for a daughter will likely depend on her virginity.  Hence fathers take an interest in their daughters' sexuality.  
.  But applying a pause let Brach inspect her anger and body indicate the body's internal homeostatic state: Pain, Fatigue; seconds to minutes before.  The signals are conveyed to the CNS via unmyelinated C fibers or lightly myelinated A delta fibers.  Damasio suggests this is key to the fabrication of feelings, allowing interaction with the surrounding chemical environment and cross talk between axons.  These signals operate unconsciously unless mapped by feelings into consciousness.  The interoceptive 'networks': default mode network; project to brain regions that implement social emotions. 
's feelings are subjective models: sad, glad, mad, scared, surprised, and compassionate; of the organism and its proximate environment, including ratings of situations signalled by broadly distributed chemicals and neural circuits.  These feelings become highly salient inputs, evolutionarily associated, to higher level emotions encoded in neural circuits: amygdala, and insula.  Deacon shows James' conception of feeling can build sentience.  Damasio, similarly, asserts feelings reveal to the conscious mind the subjective status of life: good, bad, in between; within a higher organism.  They especially indicate the affective situation within the old interior world of the viscera located in the abdomen, thorax and thick of the skin - so smiling makes one feel happy; but augmented with the reports from the situation of the new interior world of voluntary muscles.  Repeated experiences build intermediate narratives, in the mind, which reduce the salience.  Damasio concludes feelings relate closely and consistently with homeostasis, acting as its mental deputies once organisms developed 'nervous systems' about 600 million years ago, and building on the precursor regulatory devices supplied by evolution to social insects and prokaryotes and leveraging analogous dynamic constraints.  Damasio suggests feelings contribute to the development of culture:
  • As motives for intellectual creation: prompting detection and diagnosis of homeostatic deficiencies, identifying desirable states worthy of creative effort.
  • As monitors of the success and failure of cultural instruments and practices
  • As participants in the negotiation of adjustments required by the cultural process over time 
.  Inspecting these feelings and stories allowed her to overcome the influence of the trance of unworthiness and reject trying to control his testosterone is a hormone secreted by the testes, ovaries, and adrenal glands, in response to stimulation from the hypothalamic/pituitary/testicular cascade, that makes humans more willing to do what it takes to attain and maintain status, according to Sapolsky.  That means players of the Ultimatum Game, if previously given testosterone can become more generous.  High testosterone in a fetus masculinizes the brain.  Males generate 10 times the amount.  It is the trigger for sexual desire in males and females, stimulating the hypothalamus.  Testosterone's effect is highly socially contextual so it may encourage acts of kindness or aggression (when challenged).  The level of testosterone does not predict which individuals will be aggressive in: Birds, Fish, Mammals including primates.  Genes impact the potency of testosterone by altering the enzymes that: Construct it, Convert it to estrogen, code the androgen receptor.   This androgen receptor includes a variable polyglutamine repeat which alters the sensitivity to the testosterone signal.  The more potent form is associated with boys showing more dramatic 'masculinization' of the cortex.  But the detected genetic influences are small.  Testosterone decreases activity in the prefrontal cortex and its functional coupling to the amygdala while increasing the coupling between the amygdala & the thalamus.  Testosterone shortens the refactory period of amygdaloid & amygdaloid target neurons.  This results in impulsive risk taking and more focus on unfamiliar faces and distrust of them.  Testosterone increases activity in the ventral tegmentum projecting dopamine to enhance place preference.  Winners of fights become more willing to fight in part due to testosterone increasing confidence and optimism and reducing fear and anxiety.  And winning at: Chess, Athletics, Stock trades; induces the BNST to add testosterone receptors increasing its sensitivity to the hormone.  People become overconfident and overly optimistic. 
driven approach to life.  Instead she focused her attention is the mutli-faceted capability allowing access to consciousness.  It includes selective attention, vigilance, allocating attention, goal focus, and meta-awareness. 
during their next conversation, including inspecting her body's immediate reactions.  With mindfulness is an active meditative state of non-doing, attentively seeking each 'present moment' with one's body and mind 'being' at rest and so cultivating awareness, according to Jon Kabat-Zinn.  Some traditions define it as observing when the mind wanders.  Others use it to refer to the floating awareness that witnesses whatever happens in our experience without judging or otherwise reacting, explain Goleman & Davidson.  The thinking mind usually spends a lot of time relating to the future and past which Kabat-Zinn argues limits its ability to become fully aware of the present.  In times of stress those thoughts are so overpowering that they crowd out awareness and appreciation of the present.  Mindfulness shifts attention to calming internal feelings.  It allows review and prioritization of thoughts as they are recognized.  Major attitude based pillars of successful mindfulness are: impartial to judging, patience, a beginner's mind, trust, non-striving, acceptance of seeing things the way they are and letting go.  An awareness of the body's state can be built with tools including: inquiry, naming; from Yogi's attention to:
  • Breathing - which is a proxy for the environmental situation and through its rhythms is a model of our emotional state.  Attention to breathing reminds people to feel their bodies too.  Belly breathing is particularly relaxing.  
  • Sitting - erect with head, neck and back aligned vertically.  Then attend to breathing moving back to it each time you observe the mind has wandered.  When the body becomes uncomfortable, direct attention to the discomfort, observe and welcome it.  
  • Experience our body - rather than model, judge or hate it relative to an ideal - with a body scan. 
  • Hatha yoga - very slow stretching and strengthening exercises with moment-to-moment awareness supports being in your body.  
  • Walking meditation - Intentionally attend to the immediate experience of walking.  
of the body she was able to respond with empathy is the capability to relate to another person from their perspective.  It is implemented by spindle neurons.  Empathy towards others is controlled by the right-hemisphere supramarginal gyrus.  Empathy is context dependently mediated by estrogen.  It develops over time: Piaget's preoperational stage includes rudimentary empathy, Theory of mind supports the development; initially feeling someone's pain as one integrated being, then for them and eventually as them.  In adults, when someone else is hurt the anterior cingulate cortex, amygdala & insula activates projecting [scapegoating] to the vmPFC.  If the pain is physical the PAG activates and motor neurons for the area where the other person was injured.  The intertwining of the ACC amygdala & insula in adults results in attribution of fault even when there is none which can make it hard to step in and actually help.  But in seven-year-olds the activation is concrete: PAG and sensory & motor cortexes with minimal coupling to the rudimentary vmPFC.  In older children the vmPFC is coupled to limbic structures.  Ten to twelve year olds abstract empathy to classes of people.  Brizendine asserts young girls develop empathy earlier than boys, because their evolved greater neuronal investment in communication and emotion networks.  Year old girls are much more responsive to the distress of other people than boys are.  At 18 months girls are experiencing infantile puberty.  By adolescence the vmPFC is coupled to theory of mind regions and intentional harm induces disgust via the amygdala.  Sapolsky explains adolescent boys are utilitarian and tend to accept inequality more than girls do.  But both sexes accept inequality as the way it is.  Sociopaths do not develop empathy.   to their situation. 

Brach explains how we typically pay more attention to our
Computational theory of the mind and evolutionary psychology provide Steven Pinker with a framework on which to develop his psychological arguments about the mind and its relationship to the brain.  Humans captured a cognitive niche by natural selection 'building out' specialized aspects of their bodies and brains resulting in a system of mental organs we call the mind. 

He garnishes and defends the framework with findings from psychology regarding: The visual system - an example of natural selections solutions to the sensory challenges of inverse modeling of our environment; Intensions - where he highlights the challenges of hunter gatherers - making sense of the objects they perceive and predicting what they imply and natural selections powerful solutions; Emotions - which Pinker argues are essential to human prioritizing and decision making; Relationships - natural selection's strategies for coping with the most dangerous competitors, other people.  He helps us understand marriage, friendships and war. 

These conclusions allow him to understand the development and maintenance of higher callings: Art, Music, Literature, Humor, Religion, & Philosophy; and develop a position on the meaning of life. 

Complex adaptive system (CAS) modeling allows RSS to frame Pinker's arguments within humanity's current situation, induced by powerful evolved amplifiers: Globalization, Cliodynamics, The green revolution and resource bottlenecks; melding his powerful predictions of the drivers of human behavior with system wide constraints.  The implications are discussed. 

mind
's ideas and stories than the feedback from our bodies.  Even when we notice our body's feedback we rapidly move on to the associated dialogue, a reactivity waterfall.  We seek out pleasant experiences and avoid the unpleasant.  We seek vigilance is the state of wakefulness, which varies when we fall asleep or wake up.  For Goleman & Davidson it also reflects maintaining a constant level of attention as time goes on, through controlling habituation.  Their vigilance includes alerting - being ready to respond to whatever is encountered.   through thinking, judging and
This page looks at schematic structures and their uses.  It discusses a number of examples:
  • Schematic ideas are recombined in creativity. 
  • Similarly designers take ideas and rules about materials and components and combine them. 
  • Schematic Recipes help to standardize operations. 
  • Modular components are combined into strategies for use in business plans and business models. 

As a working example it presents part of the contents and schematic details from the Adaptive Web Framework (AWF)'s operational plan. 

Finally it includes a section presenting our formal representation of schematic goals. 
Each goal has a series of associated complex adaptive system (CAS) strategy strings. 
These goals plus strings are detailed for various chess and business examples. 
planning
.  This is particularly true in trance.  But we can restore awareness of our body with a body scan is a mindfulness meditation exercise where the attention is moved around the body noticing the sensations of the visited part.  At the same time the brain models the visited part participating in flows in and out of the body with tensions and pain signals flowing out.  Move the mind to each part and feel it.  Breath in to and out from each region.  Imagine breathing in vitality and relaxation on each in breath.  Imagine the tensions are exhailed with the out breath.  As you let go of the sensations the muscles also let go of tensions.  First from the toes of the left foot to the pelvis and then the right foot to the pelvis.  From there move up through the torso, lower back and abdomen, upper back and chest, sholders.  Then from the fingers of both hands move simultaneously up both arms returning to the shoulders.  Then move through the neck and throat, all regions of the face, back of the head and top of the head to an imaginary hole at the top of the head where we release our breath. 
.  It can help us notice all of the three progressive layers.  Mindful attention to sensations helps us experience the fluidity of these ever changing signals, is an emergent capability which is used by cooperating agents to support coordination & rival agents to support control and dominance.  In eukaryotic cells signalling is used extensively.  A signal interacts with the exposed region of a receptor molecule inducing it to change shape to an activated form.  Chains of enzymes interact with the activated receptor relaying, amplifying and responding to the signal to change the state of the cell.  Many of the signalling pathways pass through the nuclear membrane and interact with the DNA to change its state.  Enzymes sensitive to the changes induced in the DNA then start to operate generating actions including sending further signals.  Cell signalling is reviewed by Helmreich.  Signalling is a fundamental aspect of CAS theory and is discussed from the abstract CAS perspective in signals and sensors.  In AWF the eukaryotic signalling architecture has been abstracted in a codelet based implementation.  To be credible signals must be hard to fake.  To be effective they must be easily detected by the target recipient.  To be efficient they are low cost to produce and destroy. 


Brach notes how pain emerged as a mental experience, Damasio asserts, constructed by the mind using mapping structures and events provided by nervous systems.  But feeling pain is supported by older biological functions that support homeostasis.  These capabilities reflect the organism's underlying emotive processes that respond to wounds: antibacterial and analgesic chemical deployment, flinching and evading actions; that occur in organisms without nervous systems.  Later in evolution, after organisms with nervous systems were able to map non-neural events, the components of this complex response were 'imageable'.  Today, a wound induced by an internal disease is reported by old, unmyelinated C nerve fibers.  A wound created by an external cut is signalled by evolutionarily recent myelinated fibers that result in a sharp well-localized report, that initially flows to the dorsal root ganglia, then to the spinal cord, where the signals are mixed within the dorsal and ventral horns, and then are transmitted to the brain stem nuclei, thalamus and cerebral cortex.  The pain of a cut is located, but it is also felt through an emotive response that stops us in our tracks.  Pain amplifies the aggression response of people by interoceptive signalling of brain regions providing social emotions including the PAG projecting to the amygdala; making aggressive people more so and less aggressive people less so.  Fear of pain is a significant contributor to female anxiety.  Pain is the main reason people visit the ED in the US.  Pain is mediated by the thalamus and nucleus accumbens, unless undermined by sleep deprivation. 
can make us panic, adjusting our body to minimize the discomfort by shallow quick breathing.  Traumatic pain can be so terrifying that we dissociate is the breaking of the conscious connection between the body and the mind. 
.  But she stresses these pain signals
This page reviews the implications of selection, variation and heredity in a complex adaptive system (CAS).  The mechanism and its emergence are discussed. 
evolved
to tell us important details about the body and should be acknowledged and respected.  Attending without fear is an emotion which prepares the body for time sensitive action: Blood is sent to the muscles from the gut and skin, Adrenalin is released stimulating: Fuel to be released from the liver, Blood is encouraged to clot, and Face is wide-eyed and fearful.  The short-term high priority goal, experienced as a sense of urgency, is to flee, fight or deflect the danger.  There are both 'innate' - really high priority learning - which are mediated by the central amygdala and learned fears which are mediated by the BLA which learns to fear a stimulus and then signals the central amygdala.  Tara Brach notes we experience fear as a painfully constricted throat, chest and belly, and racing heart.  The mind can build stories of the future which include fearful situations making us anxious about current ideas and actions that we associate with the potential future scenario.  And it can associate traumatic events from early childhood with our being at fault.  Consequent assumptions of our being unworthy can result in shame and fear of losing friendships.  The mechanism for human fear was significantly evolved to protect us in the African savanna.  This does not align perfectly with our needs in current environments: U.S. Grant was unusually un-afraid of the noise or risk of guns and trusted his horses' judgment, which mostly benefited his agency as a modern soldier. 
allows us to respond with clarity.  She laments that Western culture is how we do and think about things, transmitted by non-genetic means as defined by Frans de Waal.  CAS theory views cultures as operating via memetic schemata evolved by memetic operators to support a cultural superorganism.  Evolutionary psychology asserts that human culture reflects adaptations generated while hunting and gathering.  Dehaene views culture as essentially human, shaped by exaptations and reading, transmitted with support of the neuronal workspace and stabilized by neuronal recycling.  Damasio notes prokaryotes and social insects have developed cultural social behaviors.  Sapolsky argues that parents must show children how to transform their genetically derived capabilities into a culturally effective toolset.  He is interested in the broad differences across cultures of: Life expectancy, GDP, Death in childbirth, Violence, Chronic bullying, Gender equality, Happiness, Response to cheating, Individualist or collectivist, Enforcing honor, Approach to hierarchy; illustrating how different a person's life will be depending on the culture where they are raised.  Culture:
  • Is deployed during pregnancy & childhood, with parental mediation.  Nutrients, immune messages and hormones all affect the prenatal brain.  Hormones: Testosterone with anti-Mullerian hormone masculinizes the brain by entering target cells and after conversion to estrogen binding to intracellular estrogen receptors; have organizational effects producing lifelong changes.  Parenting style typically produces adults who adopt the same approach.  And mothering style can alter gene regulation in the fetus in ways that transfer epigenetically to future generations!  PMS symptoms vary by culture. 
  • Is also significantly transmitted to children by their peers during play.  So parents try to control their children's peer group.  
  • Is transmitted to children by their neighborhoods, tribes, nations etc. 
  • Influences the parenting style that is considered appropriate. 
  • Can transform dominance into honor.  There are ecological correlates of adopting honor cultures.  Parents in honor cultures are typically authoritarian. 
  • Is strongly adapted across a meta-ethnic frontier according to Turchin.  
  • Across Europe was shaped by the Carolingian empire. 
  • Can provide varying levels of support for innovation.  Damasio suggests culture is influenced by feelings: 
    • As motives for intellectual creation: prompting detection and diagnosis of homeostatic deficiencies, identifying desirable states worthy of creative effort.
    • As monitors of the success and failure of cultural instruments and practices
    • As participants in the negotiation of adjustments required by the cultural process over time 
  • Produces consciousness according to Dennet. 
includes a trance where pain is regarded as an enemy.  She argues pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.  Emotions are low level fast unconscious agents distributed across the brain and body which associate, via the amygdala and rich club hubs, important environmental signals with encoded high speed sensors, and distributed programs of action to model: predict, prioritize guidance signals, select and respond effectively, coherently and rapidly to the initial signal.  The majority of emotion centered brain regions interface to the midbrain through the hypothalamus.  The cerebellum and basal ganglia support the integration of emotion and motor functions, rewarding rhythmic movement.  The most accessible signs of emotions are the hard to control and universal facial expressions.  Emotions provide prioritization for conscious access given that an animal has only one body, but possibly many cells, with which to achieve its highest level goals.  Because of this emotions clash with group goals and are disparaged by the powerful.  Evolutionary psychology argues evolution shaped human emotions during the long period of hunter-gatherer existence in the African savanna.  Human emotions are universal and include: Anger, Appreciation of natural beauty, Disgust, Fear, Gratitude, Grief, Guilt, Happiness, Honor, Jealousy, Liking, Love, Rage, Romantic love, Lust for revenge, Passion, Sadness, Self-control, Shame, Sympathy, Surprise; and the sham emotions and distrust induced by reciprocal altruism. 
will continue to cause suffering until we experience them where they live in our body.  Experiencing them there de-represses in Freud's structural model, is the mind's unconscious defense mechanism to shift its desires and impulses towards pleasurable instincts by excluding other: distressing memories, thoughts, feelings; from consciousness.  Freud's free-association method revealed his patients' subconscious operation and inconsistencies: professed love associated with actual hate, indignant morality concealing perverse desires, nonconformity concealing guilt; where they were keeping these things hidden, that are present in the adaptive unconscious.   them. 

Brach describes her own struggles with chronic fatigue and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  Doing a body scan, she noticed the thoughts about sickness and the grip of fear.  But she resolved to greet each sensation.  As time passed her mind became less foggy and her attention deepened.  She began to notice tingling, pulsing, and vibrations.  Sitting in a healthy wood she felt part of the world.  Using Radical Acceptance means clearly recognizing what is happening inside us, and regarding what we see with an open, kind and loving heart according to Tara Brach.  It is the art of engaging fully in this world.  Because it stops the heart from shutting out: the feared aspects of our identity, and our feelings of separation; Radical Acceptance dismantles the foundations of the trance of unworthiness.  There are two interdependent aspects: seeing clearly (mindfulness) and holding our experience with compassion.  Radical acceptance is enabled by a pause.  Whatever comes to attention next is greeted with unconditional friendliness. 
she recognized the symptoms of her illness as parts of the natural world.  She asserts as we let life live through us we experience the boundless openness of our true nature. 

Radical Acceptance of desire: Awakening to the source of longing
Brach describes how she has become infatuated with desire for some person she hardly knows, a Vipassana Romance, and the stream of future scenarios: courting, marriage, family; have pushed their way into her attention is the mutli-faceted capability allowing access to consciousness.  It includes selective attention, vigilance, allocating attention, goal focus, and meta-awareness. 
, even during meditative retreats.  But once it was pointed out that she should welcome the desire, it was possible to observe the desire and relate to the sensations of wanting and passing
This page discusses the physical foundations of complex adaptive systems (CAS).  A small set of rules is obeyed.  New [epi]phenomena then emerge.  Examples are discussed. 
[epi]phenomena
without reentering the stories. 

Brach notes that desire is natural,
This page reviews the implications of selection, variation and heredity in a complex adaptive system (CAS).  The mechanism and its emergence are discussed. 
evolutions
way of ensuring the availability and sustainability of further generations is, according to Damasio, the fundamental set of operations at the core of life, from the earliest and long-vanished point of its beginning in early biochemistry to the present.  It is the powerful, unthought, unspoken imperative, whose discharge implies, for every living organism, small or large, nothing less than enduring and prevailing.  Damasio stresses that the operations that ensure prevailing ensure life is regulated within a range that is not just compatible with survival but also conducive to flourishing, to protection of life into the future of an organism or a species.  Prevailing implies mechanisms for monitoring and modeling the state of the organism, controlling and constraining the flows of energy and resources through schematic agency, and to facilitate exploring the environment and acting on signals of modeled opportunities and threats.  Global homeostasis of multi-organ animals requires endocrine, immune, circulatory and nervous 'systems' and results in the emergence of minds, feelings, consciousness, machinery of affect and complex movements.  The emergence of feelings allowed the homeostatic process to become enhanced by a subjective representation of the organism's state and proximate environment within the mind.  Feelings operating in minds allowed conscious decisions to extend homeostasis to the sociocultural domain. 
to support the
Plans emerge in complex adaptive systems (CAS) to provide the instructions that agents use to perform actions.  The component architecture and structure of the plans is reviewed. 
genome
.  It encourages eating, sex, and other actions that help us thrive.  It becomes a problem when it takes over our sense of who we are.  Brach notes the Buddha recommends the Middle Way is the Buddha's guidance to relate to desire for: food, sex, love, freedom; without getting possessed by it and without resisting it, explains Tara Brach. 


Brach analyses desire:
Brach sees people who were never seen or praised as children as needing to standout as special.  This unresolved desire to matter to others results in shame is an emotional reaction to being discovered cheating on a friend. 
and fear is an emotion which prepares the body for time sensitive action: Blood is sent to the muscles from the gut and skin, Adrenalin is released stimulating: Fuel to be released from the liver, Blood is encouraged to clot, and Face is wide-eyed and fearful.  The short-term high priority goal, experienced as a sense of urgency, is to flee, fight or deflect the danger.  There are both 'innate' - really high priority learning - which are mediated by the central amygdala and learned fears which are mediated by the BLA which learns to fear a stimulus and then signals the central amygdala.  Tara Brach notes we experience fear as a painfully constricted throat, chest and belly, and racing heart.  The mind can build stories of the future which include fearful situations making us anxious about current ideas and actions that we associate with the potential future scenario.  And it can associate traumatic events from early childhood with our being at fault.  Consequent assumptions of our being unworthy can result in shame and fear of losing friendships.  The mechanism for human fear was significantly evolved to protect us in the African savanna.  This does not align perfectly with our needs in current environments: U.S. Grant was unusually un-afraid of the noise or risk of guns and trusted his horses' judgment, which mostly benefited his agency as a modern soldier. 
and a wish to hide.  Over time an association, the wanting self, develops: wanting leads to fear and shame.  The tension and excitement of wanting arise and it is experienced as:
Brach recalls as a teen coping with insecurity: inadequacy, need to prove herself; by completing some practical goal that felt worthwhile.  But the substitution process would also make her distant, impatient and disconnected from her body. 

Brach warns how desire can become an ungovernable addiction results from changes in the operation of the brain's reward network's regulatory regions, altering the anticipation of rewards.  Addictive drugs mediate the receptors of the reward network, increasing dopamine in the pleasure centers of the cortex.  The learned association of the situation with the reward makes addiction highly prone to relapse, when the situation is subsequently experienced.  This makes addiction a chronic disease, where the sufferer must remain vigilant to avoid relapse inducing situations.  Repeated exposure to the addictive drug alters the reward network.  The neurons that produce dopamine are impaired, no longer sending dopamine to the reward target areas, reducing the feeling of pleasure.  But the situational association remains strong driving the addict to repeat the addictive activity.  Destroying the memory of the pleasure inducer may provide a treatment for addiction in the future.  Addiction has a genetic component, which supports inheritance.  Some other compulsive disorders: eating, gambling, sexual behavior; are similar to drug addiction. 
to substitutes.  And this addiction often develops along with shame and dislike for our wanting selves.  That hatred is encouraged by
An epistatic meme suppressed for a thousand years reemerges during the enlightenment. 
It was a poem encapsulating the ideas of Epicurus rediscovered by a humanist book hunter. 
Greenblatt describes the process of suppression and reemergence.  He argues that the rediscovery was the foundation of the modern world. 
Complex adaptive system (CAS) models of the memetic mechanisms are discussed. 

Western religious beliefs
and supporting culture is how we do and think about things, transmitted by non-genetic means as defined by Frans de Waal.  CAS theory views cultures as operating via memetic schemata evolved by memetic operators to support a cultural superorganism.  Evolutionary psychology asserts that human culture reflects adaptations generated while hunting and gathering.  Dehaene views culture as essentially human, shaped by exaptations and reading, transmitted with support of the neuronal workspace and stabilized by neuronal recycling.  Damasio notes prokaryotes and social insects have developed cultural social behaviors.  Sapolsky argues that parents must show children how to transform their genetically derived capabilities into a culturally effective toolset.  He is interested in the broad differences across cultures of: Life expectancy, GDP, Death in childbirth, Violence, Chronic bullying, Gender equality, Happiness, Response to cheating, Individualist or collectivist, Enforcing honor, Approach to hierarchy; illustrating how different a person's life will be depending on the culture where they are raised.  Culture:
  • Is deployed during pregnancy & childhood, with parental mediation.  Nutrients, immune messages and hormones all affect the prenatal brain.  Hormones: Testosterone with anti-Mullerian hormone masculinizes the brain by entering target cells and after conversion to estrogen binding to intracellular estrogen receptors; have organizational effects producing lifelong changes.  Parenting style typically produces adults who adopt the same approach.  And mothering style can alter gene regulation in the fetus in ways that transfer epigenetically to future generations!  PMS symptoms vary by culture. 
  • Is also significantly transmitted to children by their peers during play.  So parents try to control their children's peer group.  
  • Is transmitted to children by their neighborhoods, tribes, nations etc. 
  • Influences the parenting style that is considered appropriate. 
  • Can transform dominance into honor.  There are ecological correlates of adopting honor cultures.  Parents in honor cultures are typically authoritarian. 
  • Is strongly adapted across a meta-ethnic frontier according to Turchin.  
  • Across Europe was shaped by the Carolingian empire. 
  • Can provide varying levels of support for innovation.  Damasio suggests culture is influenced by feelings: 
    • As motives for intellectual creation: prompting detection and diagnosis of homeostatic deficiencies, identifying desirable states worthy of creative effort.
    • As monitors of the success and failure of cultural instruments and practices
    • As participants in the negotiation of adjustments required by the cultural process over time 
  • Produces consciousness according to Dennet. 
.  Brach quotes 'we have been raised to fear ... our deepest cravings.'  But Brach tells us to pay compassionate indicates an emotional state where resonance with someone else's distress leads one to help them.  The Dalai Lama stresses we must feel compassion for ourselves and others.  Tara Brach sees compassion as our capacity to relate in a tender and sympathetic way to what we perceive.  Meditation focused on feeling love for the suffering, strengthens compassion by activating the neuron networks for parental love for a child: ACC, insula, striatum, PAG, orbitofrontal cortex; and inducing a reduction in areas responsible for negative emotions. 
attention to our desire.  She notes how 'addiction' anonymous sponsor calls, when an addict is feeling the pull of addiction, equates to an 'assisted pause.'  For some Radical Acceptance means clearly recognizing what is happening inside us, and regarding what we see with an open, kind and loving heart according to Tara Brach.  It is the art of engaging fully in this world.  Because it stops the heart from shutting out: the feared aspects of our identity, and our feelings of separation; Radical Acceptance dismantles the foundations of the trance of unworthiness.  There are two interdependent aspects: seeing clearly (mindfulness) and holding our experience with compassion.  Radical acceptance is enabled by a pause.  Whatever comes to attention next is greeted with unconditional friendliness. 
can reduce the desire to control and transform the emotive response is according to Damasio, a process including a collection of actions: release of specific chemicals in sites of the CNS or their transport, by neural signalling to varied regions of the nervous system and body.  Endocrine glands are signalled and produce molecules capable of altering body function; altering viscera, that changes the homeostatic state of the organism, and may change the spontaneous feelings too.  A cascade of spontaneous homeostatic changes: metabolism, nervous system, immune response, mind builds 'images'; becomes an ensemble of actions each represented in the mind, summarized as a provoked feeling.  Attention to the feelings varies depending on the current state of the mind.  Emotive responses are generated non consciously by specific nuclei in the brain:
  • Hypothalamic nuclei
  • PAG
  • Amygdala nuclei and nucleus accumbens; each nuclei activated by particular streams of signals, from the senses or memory, enabling responses to vast numbers of sensations, objects and circumstances with drives, motivations and emotions. 
to the stream of obsessive thoughts.  Accepting these thoughts with 'This too,' replaces pushing them away or acting on the reactivity waterfall.  If the addictive drive is too strong, you can pause and whisper to your judgments: It's not my fault. 

These drives do not need to lead to suffering.  Brach explains that suffering only comes from being seduced by our demons or trying to fight them.  Experiencing them directly and wakefully leads to freedom.  Brach quotes Pema Chodron "When the resistance is gone, the demons are gone."  So Brach stopped resisting her Vipassana Romance - instead welcoming it with "erotic fantasy," and paid close attention to the sensations in her body and the emotions are low level fast unconscious agents distributed across the brain and body which associate, via the amygdala and rich club hubs, important environmental signals with encoded high speed sensors, and distributed programs of action to model: predict, prioritize guidance signals, select and respond effectively, coherently and rapidly to the initial signal.  The majority of emotion centered brain regions interface to the midbrain through the hypothalamus.  The cerebellum and basal ganglia support the integration of emotion and motor functions, rewarding rhythmic movement.  The most accessible signs of emotions are the hard to control and universal facial expressions.  Emotions provide prioritization for conscious access given that an animal has only one body, but possibly many cells, with which to achieve its highest level goals.  Because of this emotions clash with group goals and are disparaged by the powerful.  Evolutionary psychology argues evolution shaped human emotions during the long period of hunter-gatherer existence in the African savanna.  Human emotions are universal and include: Anger, Appreciation of natural beauty, Disgust, Fear, Gratitude, Grief, Guilt, Happiness, Honor, Jealousy, Liking, Love, Rage, Romantic love, Lust for revenge, Passion, Sadness, Self-control, Shame, Sympathy, Surprise; and the sham emotions and distrust induced by reciprocal altruism. 
that were arising.  Brach relates using Radical Acceptance of desire and finding awareness dissolves the wanting self into its source.  She found the one she loved is everywhere including within her.  The wanting self became a gateway into love. 

Opening our heart in the face of fear
Brach describes examples of childhood abuse includes different types of stressor: No mother, Unsupportive mother, paternal deprivation, Childhood poverty, [Observing ]violence, Natural disasters, Bullying; which impact development and produce adult problems. 
  • The adversities are stressful and alter stress physiology producing children and adults with elevated: Glucocorticoids, CRH and ACTH, Sympathetic nervous system activity.  Early stress permanently impacts the brains ability to control glucocorticoid secretion.  The more stressors experienced and the less protective factors, the less likely it is that the child will cope and become a resilient adult.  The stressors expand the size and activity of the amygdala helping it ignore prefrontal cortex constraints.  And they degrade the dopamine network through impacts to the development of the mesolimbic system and elevated adult glucocorticoids depleting dopamine. 
  • The problems include attachment issues and adults with: depression (dopamine depletion and lowered thresholds making adult stressors more influential), anxiety, substance abuse (dopamine depletion, excessive adult exposure to glucocorticoids increasing drug craving & poorly developed frontal cortex), impaired cognitive abilities especially frontocortical with impaired hippocampal-dependent learning, impaired impulse control (amygdala), impaired emotional control, antisocial behavior and violence, relationships that replicate the childhood adversities.  Abused children who develop PTSD show decreased hippocampal volume.  Glucocorticoids decrease hippocampal production of BDNF.  Childhood poverty impacts development of the corpus callosum & ensures by kindergarten, poor marshmallow test performance.  Childhood poverty increases impacts from environmental stressors: Toxins, Liquor stores instead of fresh food markets, No transport infrastructure, Limited jobs in the immediate vicinity, Little access to low cost capital, Low positions in all social hierarchies.  
, which were still indirectly experienced by the, now adult, individual as fear is an emotion which prepares the body for time sensitive action: Blood is sent to the muscles from the gut and skin, Adrenalin is released stimulating: Fuel to be released from the liver, Blood is encouraged to clot, and Face is wide-eyed and fearful.  The short-term high priority goal, experienced as a sense of urgency, is to flee, fight or deflect the danger.  There are both 'innate' - really high priority learning - which are mediated by the central amygdala and learned fears which are mediated by the BLA which learns to fear a stimulus and then signals the central amygdala.  Tara Brach notes we experience fear as a painfully constricted throat, chest and belly, and racing heart.  The mind can build stories of the future which include fearful situations making us anxious about current ideas and actions that we associate with the potential future scenario.  And it can associate traumatic events from early childhood with our being at fault.  Consequent assumptions of our being unworthy can result in shame and fear of losing friendships.  The mechanism for human fear was significantly evolved to protect us in the African savanna.  This does not align perfectly with our needs in current environments: U.S. Grant was unusually un-afraid of the noise or risk of guns and trusted his horses' judgment, which mostly benefited his agency as a modern soldier. 
.  It had even seeped into their meditation includes a variety of practices with the contemplative goal of altering traits to free the subject of suffering.  Goleman & Davidson see three distinct levels of practice: beginner, long term meditator, Yogi; with radically different levels of commitment.  Beginners typically do a limited-time-investment mindfulness meditation such as MBSR.  Long term meditators typically practice vipassana meditation.  Yogis practice Tibetan meditations Dzogchen and Mahamudra, which start like vipassana but in a non-dual stance developing a more subtle meta-awareness.  Richard Davidson, Cortland Dahl and Antoine Lutz developed a typology of the practices:
  • Attentional - train aspects of attention. 
  • Constructive - cultivate virtuous qualities: loving-kindness;
  • Destructive - use self-observation to pierce the nature of experience.  These include non-dual approaches where ordinary cognition no longer dominates. 
practice.  Brach explains how young children assume they are the cause of the abuse; creating the belief they are bad.  This trauma shapes the adult personality.  They can struggle with anxiety is manifested in the amygdala mediating inhibition of dopamine rewards.  Anxiety disorders are now seen as a related cluster, including PTSD, panic attacks, and phobias.  Major anxiety, is typically episodic, correlated with increased activity in the amygdala, results in elevated glucocorticoids and reduces hippocampal dendrite & spine density.  Some estrogen receptor variants are associated with anxiety in women.  Women are four times more likely to suffer from anxiety.  Louann Brizendine concludes this helps prepare mothers, so they are ready to protect their children.  Michael Pollan concludes anxiety is fear of the future.  Sufferers of mild autism often develop anxiety disorders.  Treatments for anxiety differ.  50 to 70% of people with generalized anxiety respond to drugs increasing serotonin concentrations, where there is relief from symptoms: worry, guilt; linked to depression, which are treated with SSRIs (Prozac).  Cognitive anxiety (extreme for worries and anxious thoughts) is also helped by yoga.  But many fear-related disorders respond better to psychotherapy: psychoanalysis, and intensive CBT.  Tara Brach notes that genuine freedom from fear is enabled by taking refuge. 
- the dreads - as they wake up in the morning, fearful of making mistakes.  They can develop stories about their relationships where they view themselves as undeserving and see the relationships as insecure. 

Most people who are fearful have not suffered from abuse.  Nevertheless they can become undermined.  The pain emerged as a mental experience, Damasio asserts, constructed by the mind using mapping structures and events provided by nervous systems.  But feeling pain is supported by older biological functions that support homeostasis.  These capabilities reflect the organism's underlying emotive processes that respond to wounds: antibacterial and analgesic chemical deployment, flinching and evading actions; that occur in organisms without nervous systems.  Later in evolution, after organisms with nervous systems were able to map non-neural events, the components of this complex response were 'imageable'.  Today, a wound induced by an internal disease is reported by old, unmyelinated C nerve fibers.  A wound created by an external cut is signalled by evolutionarily recent myelinated fibers that result in a sharp well-localized report, that initially flows to the dorsal root ganglia, then to the spinal cord, where the signals are mixed within the dorsal and ventral horns, and then are transmitted to the brain stem nuclei, thalamus and cerebral cortex.  The pain of a cut is located, but it is also felt through an emotive response that stops us in our tracks.  Pain amplifies the aggression response of people by interoceptive signalling of brain regions providing social emotions including the PAG projecting to the amygdala; making aggressive people more so and less aggressive people less so.  Fear of pain is a significant contributor to female anxiety.  Pain is the main reason people visit the ED in the US.  Pain is mediated by the thalamus and nucleus accumbens, unless undermined by sleep deprivation. 
of fear can seem unbearable.  But Brach asserts this trance of fear can be weakened by saying yes to it with Radical Acceptance means clearly recognizing what is happening inside us, and regarding what we see with an open, kind and loving heart according to Tara Brach.  It is the art of engaging fully in this world.  Because it stops the heart from shutting out: the feared aspects of our identity, and our feelings of separation; Radical Acceptance dismantles the foundations of the trance of unworthiness.  There are two interdependent aspects: seeing clearly (mindfulness) and holding our experience with compassion.  Radical acceptance is enabled by a pause.  Whatever comes to attention next is greeted with unconditional friendliness. 


The real cause of our fear may not be evident.  Brach asserts the root of fear is our drive to survive and aversion to deterioration and death is, according to Damasio, the fundamental set of operations at the core of life, from the earliest and long-vanished point of its beginning in early biochemistry to the present.  It is the powerful, unthought, unspoken imperative, whose discharge implies, for every living organism, small or large, nothing less than enduring and prevailing.  Damasio stresses that the operations that ensure prevailing ensure life is regulated within a range that is not just compatible with survival but also conducive to flourishing, to protection of life into the future of an organism or a species.  Prevailing implies mechanisms for monitoring and modeling the state of the organism, controlling and constraining the flows of energy and resources through schematic agency, and to facilitate exploring the environment and acting on signals of modeled opportunities and threats.  Global homeostasis of multi-organ animals requires endocrine, immune, circulatory and nervous 'systems' and results in the emergence of minds, feelings, consciousness, machinery of affect and complex movements.  The emergence of feelings allowed the homeostatic process to become enhanced by a subjective representation of the organism's state and proximate environment within the mind.  Feelings operating in minds allowed conscious decisions to extend homeostasis to the sociocultural domain. 
.  It is only problematic when it becomes overactive.  That can make our body and
Computational theory of the mind and evolutionary psychology provide Steven Pinker with a framework on which to develop his psychological arguments about the mind and its relationship to the brain.  Humans captured a cognitive niche by natural selection 'building out' specialized aspects of their bodies and brains resulting in a system of mental organs we call the mind. 

He garnishes and defends the framework with findings from psychology regarding: The visual system - an example of natural selections solutions to the sensory challenges of inverse modeling of our environment; Intensions - where he highlights the challenges of hunter gatherers - making sense of the objects they perceive and predicting what they imply and natural selections powerful solutions; Emotions - which Pinker argues are essential to human prioritizing and decision making; Relationships - natural selection's strategies for coping with the most dangerous competitors, other people.  He helps us understand marriage, friendships and war. 

These conclusions allow him to understand the development and maintenance of higher callings: Art, Music, Literature, Humor, Religion, & Philosophy; and develop a position on the meaning of life. 

Complex adaptive system (CAS) modeling allows RSS to frame Pinker's arguments within humanity's current situation, induced by powerful evolved amplifiers: Globalization, Cliodynamics, The green revolution and resource bottlenecks; melding his powerful predictions of the drivers of human behavior with system wide constraints.  The implications are discussed. 

mind
rigid.  And typical strategies to avoid fear: physical response with arms and fists tight, throat contracted, heartbeat raised - becoming chronic tightening over years; obsession with bad scenarios and strategies to avoid them: find the cause of the problem, attribute blame, be on guard constantly, avoid uncertainty is when a factor is hard to measure because it is dependent on many interconnected agents and may be affected by infrastructure and evolved amplifiers.  This is different from Risk.  ; actually help sustain it.  And these strategic responses can undermine relationships, worrying partners who don't understand the responses. 

With Radical Acceptance we pause and then aim to sense the fear within our body.  Welcoming the fear should deflate it, and allow attention to inspect the fear: tight throat, predictions of activities going wrong, hopelessness, defeat, terrifying images.  When terror ensues, stop the vipassana means 'to see clearly' in Pali.  It is the foundational mindfulness (Theravadan) meditation.  It aims to allow the stream of experience to move through attention.  S. N. Goenka aimed to make vipassana broadly available.  In his teaching the focus is on bodily sensations:
  1. Noting the sensations of breathing in and out for hours each day, to build concentration. 
  2. Perform a whole-body scan of whatever sensations are occurring anywhere in the body.  The meditator experiences a sea of shifting sensations and awareness. 
  3. Insight is then developed, which brings the added realization of how we link sensations to the self.  Insight into pain reveals that we build an object out of various continuously shifting sensations and provoked feelings that can become an emotive response of "mine".  Booklets describe how to develop the insights and practice. 
mindfulness is an active meditative state of non-doing, attentively seeking each 'present moment' with one's body and mind 'being' at rest and so cultivating awareness, according to Jon Kabat-Zinn.  Some traditions define it as observing when the mind wanders.  Others use it to refer to the floating awareness that witnesses whatever happens in our experience without judging or otherwise reacting, explain Goleman & Davidson.  The thinking mind usually spends a lot of time relating to the future and past which Kabat-Zinn argues limits its ability to become fully aware of the present.  In times of stress those thoughts are so overpowering that they crowd out awareness and appreciation of the present.  Mindfulness shifts attention to calming internal feelings.  It allows review and prioritization of thoughts as they are recognized.  Major attitude based pillars of successful mindfulness are: impartial to judging, patience, a beginner's mind, trust, non-striving, acceptance of seeing things the way they are and letting go.  An awareness of the body's state can be built with tools including: inquiry, naming; from Yogi's attention to:
  • Breathing - which is a proxy for the environmental situation and through its rhythms is a model of our emotional state.  Attention to breathing reminds people to feel their bodies too.  Belly breathing is particularly relaxing.  
  • Sitting - erect with head, neck and back aligned vertically.  Then attend to breathing moving back to it each time you observe the mind has wandered.  When the body becomes uncomfortable, direct attention to the discomfort, observe and welcome it.  
  • Experience our body - rather than model, judge or hate it relative to an ideal - with a body scan. 
  • Hatha yoga - very slow stretching and strengthening exercises with moment-to-moment awareness supports being in your body.  
  • Walking meditation - Intentionally attend to the immediate experience of walking.  
and, take refuge is a Buddhist practice used to develop a mental model of safety and belonging.  Tara Brach explains there are three fundamental refuges: the Buddha, the dharma, and the sangha.  Each person can approach the refuges in a way that is sincere for them:
  • Buddha refuge can represent the way Siddhartha Gautama coped with his fears of the terrible Mara: meeting it with his full attention, and observing and welcoming it, rather than responding to the feelings emotionally.   And the devotional can seek safety in the living spirit of the Buddha's awakened heart and mind.  
  • Dharma refuge depends on realizing that everything in nature must change.  Buddhists can call upon the practices and teachings; they have developed over centuries, which highlight this truth.  And they can take refuge in these skills.  Lovingkindness mediation can be particularly helpful practices in fearful situations.  
  • Sangha refuge is the community of monks and nuns that are also practicing and taking refuge. 
.  Brach says "I take refuge in this awakening heart mind."  She explains letting go of any notion that Buddha nature is the Buddha's assertion that each human birth is the realization of the love and timeless radiant awareness that is our true nature. 
is something beyond or outside my awareness, I look toward the innate wakefulness of my being, the tender openness of my heart.  Loving-kindness meditation practices holding tender, compassionate, feelings towards a slowly widening circle of people: family we love, friends, people we don't know, people we dislike, every person; recognizing the oneness, where everyone desires happiness.  Goleman & Davidson describe the neuroscience involved with this mediation.  Research comparing two groups: one practicing loving-kindness meditation, the other acting as a control group just learning the theory; only the meditators showed a reduced implicit bias against out-groups.  They also studied masters - Tibetan yogis. 
can help with terror.  Brach also stresses that sometimes, when fear is too overwhelming, it is best treated with medications.  These may provide a pause that enables subsequent Radical Acceptance to face and accept the fear. 

Brach describes how difficult situations can make the fearful anxious, closing down their attention is the mutli-faceted capability allowing access to consciousness.  It includes selective attention, vigilance, allocating attention, goal focus, and meta-awareness. 
.  To recover she suggests 'widening the lens.'  Visualize the situation occurring and then pause and welcome the troubling sensations.  And then expand our attention to notice the beauty of the world.  This helps to dissolve the fears in an expanded awareness.  But Brach notes that to do so requires that we be open and awake.  In recognizing our experiences and observing them as a stream of thoughts and feelings seen within a wider view of the world, awareness expands to easily hold all these experiences. 

Brach notes how we hate to abandon the strategies we have developed to protect us from fear.  But she stresses, fear is intrinsic to life so we must abandon them and accept the inevitable pain of death.  After pausing, check what is asking for attention - the sensations in our throat, heart and stomach.  And then attend to the water fall of fear and welcome it into the whole world of attention.  It will feel terrible, icy, painful, but when we stop trying to control the fear then the mind becomes still and free.  Brach explains "when we come face-to-face with the fear and pain in our psyche, we stand at the gateway to tremendous renewal and freedom.  Our deepest nature is awareness, and when we fully inhabit that, we love freely and are whole." 

Awakening compassion for ourselves: becoming the holder and the held
Brach asserts that when we think harsh judgments about ourselves and others it is often a strategy to distance ourselves from emotional are low level fast unconscious agents distributed across the brain and body which associate, via the amygdala and rich club hubs, important environmental signals with encoded high speed sensors, and distributed programs of action to model: predict, prioritize guidance signals, select and respond effectively, coherently and rapidly to the initial signal.  The majority of emotion centered brain regions interface to the midbrain through the hypothalamus.  The cerebellum and basal ganglia support the integration of emotion and motor functions, rewarding rhythmic movement.  The most accessible signs of emotions are the hard to control and universal facial expressions.  Emotions provide prioritization for conscious access given that an animal has only one body, but possibly many cells, with which to achieve its highest level goals.  Because of this emotions clash with group goals and are disparaged by the powerful.  Evolutionary psychology argues evolution shaped human emotions during the long period of hunter-gatherer existence in the African savanna.  Human emotions are universal and include: Anger, Appreciation of natural beauty, Disgust, Fear, Gratitude, Grief, Guilt, Happiness, Honor, Jealousy, Liking, Love, Rage, Romantic love, Lust for revenge, Passion, Sadness, Self-control, Shame, Sympathy, Surprise; and the sham emotions and distrust induced by reciprocal altruism. 
pain emerged as a mental experience, Damasio asserts, constructed by the mind using mapping structures and events provided by nervous systems.  But feeling pain is supported by older biological functions that support homeostasis.  These capabilities reflect the organism's underlying emotive processes that respond to wounds: antibacterial and analgesic chemical deployment, flinching and evading actions; that occur in organisms without nervous systems.  Later in evolution, after organisms with nervous systems were able to map non-neural events, the components of this complex response were 'imageable'.  Today, a wound induced by an internal disease is reported by old, unmyelinated C nerve fibers.  A wound created by an external cut is signalled by evolutionarily recent myelinated fibers that result in a sharp well-localized report, that initially flows to the dorsal root ganglia, then to the spinal cord, where the signals are mixed within the dorsal and ventral horns, and then are transmitted to the brain stem nuclei, thalamus and cerebral cortex.  The pain of a cut is located, but it is also felt through an emotive response that stops us in our tracks.  Pain amplifies the aggression response of people by interoceptive signalling of brain regions providing social emotions including the PAG projecting to the amygdala; making aggressive people more so and less aggressive people less so.  Fear of pain is a significant contributor to female anxiety.  Pain is the main reason people visit the ED in the US.  Pain is mediated by the thalamus and nucleus accumbens, unless undermined by sleep deprivation. 
: vulnerability, repressed in Freud's structural model, is the mind's unconscious defense mechanism to shift its desires and impulses towards pleasurable instincts by excluding other: distressing memories, thoughts, feelings; from consciousness.  Freud's free-association method revealed his patients' subconscious operation and inconsistencies: professed love associated with actual hate, indignant morality concealing perverse desires, nonconformity concealing guilt; where they were keeping these things hidden, that are present in the adaptive unconscious.   anger is an emotion which protects a person who has been cheated by a supposed friend.  When the exploitation of the altruism is discovered, Steven Pinker explains, the result is a drive for moralistic aggression to hurt the cheater.  Anger is mostly experienced as a rapid wave that then quickly dissipates.  When it is repressed, for example by a strong moral sense (superego), it can sustain, inducing long term stress. 
, jealousy is an emotion driven by the large investment by parents in their children's development combined with a human sexual asymmetry: fertilization occurs inside the female's body, so a male can't be sure it is supporting its own ofspring. 
, fear is an emotion which prepares the body for time sensitive action: Blood is sent to the muscles from the gut and skin, Adrenalin is released stimulating: Fuel to be released from the liver, Blood is encouraged to clot, and Face is wide-eyed and fearful.  The short-term high priority goal, experienced as a sense of urgency, is to flee, fight or deflect the danger.  There are both 'innate' - really high priority learning - which are mediated by the central amygdala and learned fears which are mediated by the BLA which learns to fear a stimulus and then signals the central amygdala.  Tara Brach notes we experience fear as a painfully constricted throat, chest and belly, and racing heart.  The mind can build stories of the future which include fearful situations making us anxious about current ideas and actions that we associate with the potential future scenario.  And it can associate traumatic events from early childhood with our being at fault.  Consequent assumptions of our being unworthy can result in shame and fear of losing friendships.  The mechanism for human fear was significantly evolved to protect us in the African savanna.  This does not align perfectly with our needs in current environments: U.S. Grant was unusually un-afraid of the noise or risk of guns and trusted his horses' judgment, which mostly benefited his agency as a modern soldier. 
.  And she warns pushing away parts of ourselves just digs us deeper into the trance of unworthiness, since we can't accept our experience when our heart is hardened.  Brach describes how to awaken Radical Acceptance means clearly recognizing what is happening inside us, and regarding what we see with an open, kind and loving heart according to Tara Brach.  It is the art of engaging fully in this world.  Because it stops the heart from shutting out: the feared aspects of our identity, and our feelings of separation; Radical Acceptance dismantles the foundations of the trance of unworthiness.  There are two interdependent aspects: seeing clearly (mindfulness) and holding our experience with compassion.  Radical acceptance is enabled by a pause.  Whatever comes to attention next is greeted with unconditional friendliness. 
's wing of compassion indicates an emotional state where resonance with someone else's distress leads one to help them.  The Dalai Lama stresses we must feel compassion for ourselves and others.  Tara Brach sees compassion as our capacity to relate in a tender and sympathetic way to what we perceive.  Meditation focused on feeling love for the suffering, strengthens compassion by activating the neuron networks for parental love for a child: ACC, insula, striatum, PAG, orbitofrontal cortex; and inducing a reduction in areas responsible for negative emotions. 
to help free us from the trance.  Her vision is of a bodhisattva is a Buddhist who has realized the fullness of compassion and lives from compassion.  Tara Brach explains the bodhissatva's path and teaching is that when we allow our hearts to be touched by suffering --our own or another's--our natural compassion flowers.  She describes their aspiration "May all circumstances serve to awaken compassion."
.  Our adversity can become a gateway to clear and limitless compassion. 

By facing suffering and focusing our attention is the mutli-faceted capability allowing access to consciousness.  It includes selective attention, vigilance, allocating attention, goal focus, and meta-awareness. 
on it, our hearts can be opened.  That prepares us for extending compassion to others

Brach argues to attend to your body's sensations as you judge yourself.  The tightness is accompanied by pain in the throat, chest, and heart, and sadness is a feeling, which can induce empathy and compassion.  It can last for days, in contrast to the emotions, fear & anger.  Mild sadness induces a beneficial state in the brain: improved judgment, memory, motivation, and more socially sensitive and generous. 
.  Putting a hand above your heart and saying "I care about this suffering," starts a deep healing process, undoing a lifetime's aversive messages.  That allows the world to be
This page discusses the interdependence of perception and representation in a complex adaptive system (CAS).  Hofstadter and Mitchell's research with Copycat is reviewed.  The bridging of a node from a network of 'well known' percepts to a new representational instance is discussed as it occurs in biochemistry, in consciousness and abstractly. 
viewed
differently - optimistically

Brach warns that we have all hurt someone, and the memories in the brain includes functionally different types: Declarative, or explicit, (episodic and semantic), Implicit, Procedural, Spatial, Temporal, Verbal; Hebb suggested that glutamate receptive neurons learn by (NMDA channel based) synaptic strengthening: short term memory.  This was shown to happen for explicit memory formation in the hippocampus.  This strengthening is sustained by subsequent LTP.  The non-real-time learning and planning processes operate through consciousness using the working memory structures, and then via sleep, the salient ones are consolidated while the rest are destroyed and garbage collected.   will make us small and guilty is an emotion which alerts us to the risk of cheating on a friend.  To be culturally effective the individuals must have respect for the law.  Guilt is associated with activation of the posterior cingulate cortex. 
.  To find compassion for ourselves it is necessary to take refuge is a Buddhist practice used to develop a mental model of safety and belonging.  Tara Brach explains there are three fundamental refuges: the Buddha, the dharma, and the sangha.  Each person can approach the refuges in a way that is sincere for them:
  • Buddha refuge can represent the way Siddhartha Gautama coped with his fears of the terrible Mara: meeting it with his full attention, and observing and welcoming it, rather than responding to the feelings emotionally.   And the devotional can seek safety in the living spirit of the Buddha's awakened heart and mind.  
  • Dharma refuge depends on realizing that everything in nature must change.  Buddhists can call upon the practices and teachings; they have developed over centuries, which highlight this truth.  And they can take refuge in these skills.  Lovingkindness mediation can be particularly helpful practices in fearful situations.  
  • Sangha refuge is the community of monks and nuns that are also practicing and taking refuge. 
with something larger.  Feeling compassion for ourselves does not release us from the responsibilities for our actions.  It releases us from the self-hatred. 

Brach introduces mindful prayer, which she considers transformational.  She explains Buddhism's prayers include earnest wishes expressed in the practices of loving-kindness practices holding tender, compassionate, feelings towards a slowly widening circle of people: family we love, friends, people we don't know, people we dislike, every person; recognizing the oneness, where everyone desires happiness.  Goleman & Davidson describe the neuroscience involved with this mediation.  Research comparing two groups: one practicing loving-kindness meditation, the other acting as a control group just learning the theory; only the meditators showed a reduced implicit bias against out-groups.  They also studied masters - Tibetan yogis. 
and compassion.  They aren't directed at a higher being, but demonstrate we are not alone and separate.  Connecting to something larger and loving can help relieve guilty suffering, when it is understood that suffering is a gateway to awakening the heart that can link it to the beauty of the world.  Guilt is transformed into tenderness tinged with sadness.  Everyone lives with anger, with fear, with grief - universal suffering.  Our depression is a debilitating episodic state of extreme sadness, typically beginning in late teens or early twenties. This is accompanied by a lack of energy and emotion, which is facilitated by genetic predisposition - for example genes coding for relatively low serotonin levels, estrogen sensitive CREB-1 gene which increases women's incidence of depression at puberty; and an accumulation of traumatic events.  There is a significant risk of suicide: depression is involved in 50% of the 43,000 suicides in the US, and 15% of people with depression commit suicide.  Depression is the primary cause of disability with about 20 million Americans impacted by depression at any time.  There is evidence of shifts in the sleep/wake cycle in affected individuals (Dec 2015).  The affected person will experience a pathological sense of loss of control, prolonged sadness with feelings of hopelessness, helplessness & worthlessness, irritability, sleep disturbances, loss of appetite, and inability to experience pleasure.  Michael Pollan concludes depression is fear of the past.  It affects 12% of men and 20% of women.  It appears to be associated with androgen deprivation therapy treatment for prostate cancer (Apr 2016).  Chronic stress depletes the nucleus accumbens of dopamine, biasing humans towards depression.  Depression easily leads to following unhealthy pathways: drinking, overeating; which increase the risk of heart disease.   It has been associated with an aging related B12 deficiency (Sep 2016).  During depression, stress mediates inhibition of dopamine signalling.  Both depression and stress activate the adrenal glands' release of cortisol, which will, over the long term, impact the PFC.  There is an association between depression and additional brain regions: Enlarged & more active amygdala, Hippocampal dendrite and spine number reductions & in longer bouts hippocampal volume reductions and memory problems, Dorsal raphe nucleus linked to loneliness, Defective functioning of the hypothalamus undermining appetite and sex drive, Abnormalities of the ACC.  Mayberg notes ACC area 25: serotonin transporters are particularly active in depressed people and lower the serotonin in area 25 impacting the emotion circuit it hubs, inducing bodily sensations that patients can't place or consciously do anything about; and right anterior insula: which normally generates emotions from internal feelings instead feel dead inside; are critical in depression.  Childhood adversity can increase depression risk by linking recollections of uncontrollable situations to overgeneralizations that life will always be terrible and uncontrollable.  Sufferers of mild autism often develop depression.  Treatments include: CBT which works well for cases with below average activity of the right anterior insula (mild and moderate depression), UMHS depression management, deep-brain stimulation of the anterior insula to slow firing of area 25.  Drug treatments are required for cases with above average activity of the right anterior insula.  As of 2010 drug treatments: SSRIs (Prozac), MAO, monoamine reuptake inhibitors; take weeks to facilitate a response & many patients do not respond to the first drug applied, often prolonging the agony.  By 2018, Kandel notes, Ketamine is being tested as a short term treatment, as it acts much faster, reversing the effect of cortisol in stimulating glutamate signalling, and because it reverses the atrophy induced by chronic stress.   Genomic predictions of which treatment will be effective have not been possible because: Not all clinical depressions are the same, a standard definition of drug response is difficult;, fear and anger are "entrusted to us," and can be dedicated to our awakening. 

Widening the circle of compassion: the bodhisattva's path
Brach relates how after she gave her son Narayan an ant farm he studied their activities within the colony is a wealthy autonomous entity needing and controlling the richest niches in the proximate environment, that emerges from the bundled cooperation of schematically aligned agents.   The term is based on the social insect model, used by: ants, termites, and bees; and identified by Holldobler & E.O. Wilson.  For humans it is an evolved cultural strategy used when the environment is supportive.  It depends on inter-agent signalling.  In both insects and humans it allows specialization, and encourages operations and flows that are tightly controlled, limiting waste, leveraging parallel activity, supporting coherence.  Superorganisms reflect cliodynamic flows.  A superorganism has a development and operational phase.  As additional agents are coopted into the superorganism they align, participate in supply and demand activities and so contribute to the evolutionary amplification.  Damasio notes that prokaryotes, in rich environments, can similarly operate in a symbiotic fashion expressing cultural behaviors. 
and viewed them as admired friends.  He was shocked when other children killed ants.  Brach explained to pay attention is the mutli-faceted capability allowing access to consciousness.  It includes selective attention, vigilance, allocating attention, goal focus, and meta-awareness. 
means we care, which means we really love is an emotion, which generates a feeling of pleasure at a genetic relative's well-being and pain in their harm.  An inseminated human female is genetically a full relative of her partner since she carries his germ-line gametes.  From any of their pooled gene's perspective the offspring have a one-in-two chance of including the specific gene.  Hence love supports kin selection driven by the selfish actions of genes.  Emotions, including love and anger, help drive the interactions between people.  Compassionate love also supports the symbiotic partnership of true friends built on fairness and trust.  Sapolsky notes the opposite of love is indifference, not hate.  The amygdala's projection into the locus ceruleus drives autonomic intensity.  .  Brach asserts that the awakened heart is the full realization of our nature.  And she explains that, history indicates forms of dislike: hatred, anger is an emotion which protects a person who has been cheated by a supposed friend.  When the exploitation of the altruism is discovered, Steven Pinker explains, the result is a drive for moralistic aggression to hurt the cheater.  Anger is mostly experienced as a rapid wave that then quickly dissipates.  When it is repressed, for example by a strong moral sense (superego), it can sustain, inducing long term stress. 
; are pervasive and natural parts of life.  She suggests this is due to our conditioning to feel are subjective models: sad, glad, mad, scared, surprised, and compassionate; of the organism and its proximate environment, including ratings of situations signalled by broadly distributed chemicals and neural circuits.  These feelings become highly salient inputs, evolutionarily associated, to higher level emotions encoded in neural circuits: amygdala, and insula.  Deacon shows James' conception of feeling can build sentience.  Damasio, similarly, asserts feelings reveal to the conscious mind the subjective status of life: good, bad, in between; within a higher organism.  They especially indicate the affective situation within the old interior world of the viscera located in the abdomen, thorax and thick of the skin - so smiling makes one feel happy; but augmented with the reports from the situation of the new interior world of voluntary muscles.  Repeated experiences build intermediate narratives, in the mind, which reduce the salience.  Damasio concludes feelings relate closely and consistently with homeostasis, acting as its mental deputies once organisms developed 'nervous systems' about 600 million years ago, and building on the precursor regulatory devices supplied by evolution to social insects and prokaryotes and leveraging analogous dynamic constraints.  Damasio suggests feelings contribute to the development of culture:
  • As motives for intellectual creation: prompting detection and diagnosis of homeostatic deficiencies, identifying desirable states worthy of creative effort.
  • As monitors of the success and failure of cultural instruments and practices
  • As participants in the negotiation of adjustments required by the cultural process over time 
separate and different from others.  It requires dedicated training to allow us to embrace all beings with Radical Acceptance means clearly recognizing what is happening inside us, and regarding what we see with an open, kind and loving heart according to Tara Brach.  It is the art of engaging fully in this world.  Because it stops the heart from shutting out: the feared aspects of our identity, and our feelings of separation; Radical Acceptance dismantles the foundations of the trance of unworthiness.  There are two interdependent aspects: seeing clearly (mindfulness) and holding our experience with compassion.  Radical acceptance is enabled by a pause.  Whatever comes to attention next is greeted with unconditional friendliness. 


Once we look at each person as being the same is prioritizing benefiting others through: Help, Charity, Truth; even if many are acts of restitution to balance out antisocial acts.  Due to the Insula's binding of physical and metaphorical disgust, physically washing your hands can be enough to reduce the need for a prosocial act.  
, looking past the surface differences that otherwise divide us from them, we can offer unconditional compassion indicates an emotional state where resonance with someone else's distress leads one to help them.  The Dalai Lama stresses we must feel compassion for ourselves and others.  Tara Brach sees compassion as our capacity to relate in a tender and sympathetic way to what we perceive.  Meditation focused on feeling love for the suffering, strengthens compassion by activating the neuron networks for parental love for a child: ACC, insula, striatum, PAG, orbitofrontal cortex; and inducing a reduction in areas responsible for negative emotions. 
to each person.  For Brach this shift in viewpoint is supported by training to be aware of our Buddha nature is the Buddha's assertion that each human birth is the realization of the love and timeless radiant awareness that is our true nature. 
.  As we transform our joint suffering into compassion, we realize our interconnectedness with all life: the bodhisattva is a Buddhist who has realized the fullness of compassion and lives from compassion.  Tara Brach explains the bodhissatva's path and teaching is that when we allow our hearts to be touched by suffering --our own or another's--our natural compassion flowers.  She describes their aspiration "May all circumstances serve to awaken compassion."
's path.  As we pay attention to the suffering of others, our compassion grows in ever-widening circles.  Brach stresses spiritual awakening is inextricably involved with others, which she explains is highlighted by the question: What do they need? 

Brach warns that as other people seem more different to us, the more unreal they become to us.  Their needs and struggles must be the focus.  Our evolved tribal response is powerful but it is also flexible - we can expand our sense of tribe.  We can be kind like the Dalai Lama and treat everyone equally. 

Brach highlights how difficult it can be to have compassion for someone who is being an insensitive jerk.  But by inspecting our heart, having compassion for the disgust, guilt, powerlessness, fear; it is then possible to extend the compassion outwards to the feelings and suffering of the other person.   What do they really need?  Brach would then share the question with them. 

An additional risk with those close to us, is to assume we know and understand them, rather than find out what they need, as their situation changes.  Brach describes using role reversal to attempt to see the world from another's perspective. 

Brach recalls the bodhisattva's aspiration, "May my life be of benefit to all beings," and suggests we can extend our thoughts to every being that is suffering.  What matters is that we care.  As others sense the kind environment they too will relax and open up. 

Recognizing our basic goodness: the gateway to a forgiving and loving heart
Betrayal encourages our
This page reviews the implications of selection, variation and heredity in a complex adaptive system (CAS).  The mechanism and its emergence are discussed. 
evolved
response: anger is an emotion which protects a person who has been cheated by a supposed friend.  When the exploitation of the altruism is discovered, Steven Pinker explains, the result is a drive for moralistic aggression to hurt the cheater.  Anger is mostly experienced as a rapid wave that then quickly dissipates.  When it is repressed, for example by a strong moral sense (superego), it can sustain, inducing long term stress. 
; supported by mental stories of good versus bad.  But, if trapped in the trance of unworthiness, the
Computational theory of the mind and evolutionary psychology provide Steven Pinker with a framework on which to develop his psychological arguments about the mind and its relationship to the brain.  Humans captured a cognitive niche by natural selection 'building out' specialized aspects of their bodies and brains resulting in a system of mental organs we call the mind. 

He garnishes and defends the framework with findings from psychology regarding: The visual system - an example of natural selections solutions to the sensory challenges of inverse modeling of our environment; Intensions - where he highlights the challenges of hunter gatherers - making sense of the objects they perceive and predicting what they imply and natural selections powerful solutions; Emotions - which Pinker argues are essential to human prioritizing and decision making; Relationships - natural selection's strategies for coping with the most dangerous competitors, other people.  He helps us understand marriage, friendships and war. 

These conclusions allow him to understand the development and maintenance of higher callings: Art, Music, Literature, Humor, Religion, & Philosophy; and develop a position on the meaning of life. 

Complex adaptive system (CAS) modeling allows RSS to frame Pinker's arguments within humanity's current situation, induced by powerful evolved amplifiers: Globalization, Cliodynamics, The green revolution and resource bottlenecks; melding his powerful predictions of the drivers of human behavior with system wide constraints.  The implications are discussed. 

mind
, conditioned by our competitive Western culture is how we do and think about things, transmitted by non-genetic means as defined by Frans de Waal.  CAS theory views cultures as operating via memetic schemata evolved by memetic operators to support a cultural superorganism.  Evolutionary psychology asserts that human culture reflects adaptations generated while hunting and gathering.  Dehaene views culture as essentially human, shaped by exaptations and reading, transmitted with support of the neuronal workspace and stabilized by neuronal recycling.  Damasio notes prokaryotes and social insects have developed cultural social behaviors.  Sapolsky argues that parents must show children how to transform their genetically derived capabilities into a culturally effective toolset.  He is interested in the broad differences across cultures of: Life expectancy, GDP, Death in childbirth, Violence, Chronic bullying, Gender equality, Happiness, Response to cheating, Individualist or collectivist, Enforcing honor, Approach to hierarchy; illustrating how different a person's life will be depending on the culture where they are raised.  Culture:
  • Is deployed during pregnancy & childhood, with parental mediation.  Nutrients, immune messages and hormones all affect the prenatal brain.  Hormones: Testosterone with anti-Mullerian hormone masculinizes the brain by entering target cells and after conversion to estrogen binding to intracellular estrogen receptors; have organizational effects producing lifelong changes.  Parenting style typically produces adults who adopt the same approach.  And mothering style can alter gene regulation in the fetus in ways that transfer epigenetically to future generations!  PMS symptoms vary by culture. 
  • Is also significantly transmitted to children by their peers during play.  So parents try to control their children's peer group.  
  • Is transmitted to children by their neighborhoods, tribes, nations etc. 
  • Influences the parenting style that is considered appropriate. 
  • Can transform dominance into honor.  There are ecological correlates of adopting honor cultures.  Parents in honor cultures are typically authoritarian. 
  • Is strongly adapted across a meta-ethnic frontier according to Turchin.  
  • Across Europe was shaped by the Carolingian empire. 
  • Can provide varying levels of support for innovation.  Damasio suggests culture is influenced by feelings: 
    • As motives for intellectual creation: prompting detection and diagnosis of homeostatic deficiencies, identifying desirable states worthy of creative effort.
    • As monitors of the success and failure of cultural instruments and practices
    • As participants in the negotiation of adjustments required by the cultural process over time 
  • Produces consciousness according to Dennet. 
, can turn the anger back onto our self.  Especially when we are confronted with problems: injury, loss of a job, relationship failure; we accept the criticism.  And the anger and judgment masks our shame is an emotional reaction to being discovered cheating on a friend. 
and fear is an emotion which prepares the body for time sensitive action: Blood is sent to the muscles from the gut and skin, Adrenalin is released stimulating: Fuel to be released from the liver, Blood is encouraged to clot, and Face is wide-eyed and fearful.  The short-term high priority goal, experienced as a sense of urgency, is to flee, fight or deflect the danger.  There are both 'innate' - really high priority learning - which are mediated by the central amygdala and learned fears which are mediated by the BLA which learns to fear a stimulus and then signals the central amygdala.  Tara Brach notes we experience fear as a painfully constricted throat, chest and belly, and racing heart.  The mind can build stories of the future which include fearful situations making us anxious about current ideas and actions that we associate with the potential future scenario.  And it can associate traumatic events from early childhood with our being at fault.  Consequent assumptions of our being unworthy can result in shame and fear of losing friendships.  The mechanism for human fear was significantly evolved to protect us in the African savanna.  This does not align perfectly with our needs in current environments: U.S. Grant was unusually un-afraid of the noise or risk of guns and trusted his horses' judgment, which mostly benefited his agency as a modern soldier. 

Brach notes we can fight our cultural conditioning by recalling that our Buddha nature is the Buddha's assertion that each human birth is the realization of the love and timeless radiant awareness that is our true nature. 
is pure and undefiled.  It radiates as basic goodness - the Buddhist belief that there is no such thing as a sinful or evil person.  It is ignorance, ignoring our connection to all life, which supports our lack of compassion indicates an emotional state where resonance with someone else's distress leads one to help them.  The Dalai Lama stresses we must feel compassion for ourselves and others.  Tara Brach sees compassion as our capacity to relate in a tender and sympathetic way to what we perceive.  Meditation focused on feeling love for the suffering, strengthens compassion by activating the neuron networks for parental love for a child: ACC, insula, striatum, PAG, orbitofrontal cortex; and inducing a reduction in areas responsible for negative emotions. 
and anger. 

Brach asserts that with courage we can recognize the basic goodness in everyone.  Courage is needed to cope with: looking below the fear, greed and hostility, and the awareness of the harmful acts all of us have done.  It is heroic to see the world as it is and love is an emotion, which generates a feeling of pleasure at a genetic relative's well-being and pain in their harm.  An inseminated human female is genetically a full relative of her partner since she carries his germ-line gametes.  From any of their pooled gene's perspective the offspring have a one-in-two chance of including the specific gene.  Hence love supports kin selection driven by the selfish actions of genes.  Emotions, including love and anger, help drive the interactions between people.  Compassionate love also supports the symbiotic partnership of true friends built on fairness and trust.  Sapolsky notes the opposite of love is indifference, not hate.  The amygdala's projection into the locus ceruleus drives autonomic intensity.   it.  Buddhist practice provides meditations includes a variety of practices with the contemplative goal of altering traits to free the subject of suffering.  Goleman & Davidson see three distinct levels of practice: beginner, long term meditator, Yogi; with radically different levels of commitment.  Beginners typically do a limited-time-investment mindfulness meditation such as MBSR.  Long term meditators typically practice vipassana meditation.  Yogis practice Tibetan meditations Dzogchen and Mahamudra, which start like vipassana but in a non-dual stance developing a more subtle meta-awareness.  Richard Davidson, Cortland Dahl and Antoine Lutz developed a typology of the practices:
  • Attentional - train aspects of attention. 
  • Constructive - cultivate virtuous qualities: loving-kindness;
  • Destructive - use self-observation to pierce the nature of experience.  These include non-dual approaches where ordinary cognition no longer dominates. 
which reconnect us with Buddha nature.  First we must embrace ourselves and then other people.  But Brach warns we must trust in the possibility of goodness to overcome the trance.  Instead of forgiving our bad behaviors Brach tells us to forgive the shame, anxiety, despondency and fear we experience when thinking about them.  She accepts that sometimes appreciating herself can feel self-serving.  When this happens she acknowledges her desire to be happy.  And reflects on what others: people and pets; appreciate about her. 

Eventually forgiving ourselves transforms our life.  It can allow us to respond to our circumstances with wisdom and care.  Being forgiven by others can allow us to forgive ourselves more deeply. 

Buddhists think that when we observe our mistakes and transgressions with the eyes of compassion, we release the ignorance that keeps us bound to hating and blaming ourselves.  We observe that our imperfections don't taint our basic goodness. 

Once we have forgiven ourselves, and become open, we can forgive others.  At first the intention to forgive provides an enabler.  Forgiving people who have harmed us or our friends and family is difficult.  But not forgiving hardens and imprisons our heart. 

Brach suggests rather than putting a static label on other people - aligned with their issues, try to imagine the person as an infant or child, or we are seeing them for the last time, to help see the goodness in them, asking "Who are you really?" 

Brach explains that Buddhism includes practices which cultivate loving-kindness (metta).  The practice practices holding tender, compassionate, feelings towards a slowly widening circle of people: family we love, friends, people we don't know, people we dislike, every person; recognizing the oneness, where everyone desires happiness.  Goleman & Davidson describe the neuroscience involved with this mediation.  Research comparing two groups: one practicing loving-kindness meditation, the other acting as a control group just learning the theory; only the meditators showed a reduced implicit bias against out-groups.  They also studied masters - Tibetan yogis. 
includes simple phrases of care: "May I be happy.  May I be peaceful.  May I be filled with loving-kindness."  First send loving-kindness to someone you see as good.  As this goodness opens us up we can extend the wish of loving-kindness to a broader range of people - eventually everyone.  Seeing basic goodness enables the practice of loving-kindness, which glows, shines, and blazes forth. 

Awakening together: practicing Radical Acceptance in relationship
Brach notes that, for many people when they are cut off from others their lives seem empty of meaning.  We need others to help us dismantle the walls of our isolation and remind us of our belonging.  If we feel are subjective models: sad, glad, mad, scared, surprised, and compassionate; of the organism and its proximate environment, including ratings of situations signalled by broadly distributed chemicals and neural circuits.  These feelings become highly salient inputs, evolutionarily associated, to higher level emotions encoded in neural circuits: amygdala, and insula.  Deacon shows James' conception of feeling can build sentience.  Damasio, similarly, asserts feelings reveal to the conscious mind the subjective status of life: good, bad, in between; within a higher organism.  They especially indicate the affective situation within the old interior world of the viscera located in the abdomen, thorax and thick of the skin - so smiling makes one feel happy; but augmented with the reports from the situation of the new interior world of voluntary muscles.  Repeated experiences build intermediate narratives, in the mind, which reduce the salience.  Damasio concludes feelings relate closely and consistently with homeostasis, acting as its mental deputies once organisms developed 'nervous systems' about 600 million years ago, and building on the precursor regulatory devices supplied by evolution to social insects and prokaryotes and leveraging analogous dynamic constraints.  Damasio suggests feelings contribute to the development of culture:
  • As motives for intellectual creation: prompting detection and diagnosis of homeostatic deficiencies, identifying desirable states worthy of creative effort.
  • As monitors of the success and failure of cultural instruments and practices
  • As participants in the negotiation of adjustments required by the cultural process over time 
we were abandoned by our parents when we were infants this can make us feel lonely, small and frightened.  Brach asserts that to awaken from isolation it was necessary to feel the genuine care and interest of others.  And if these relationships are supported by Radical Acceptance means clearly recognizing what is happening inside us, and regarding what we see with an open, kind and loving heart according to Tara Brach.  It is the art of engaging fully in this world.  Because it stops the heart from shutting out: the feared aspects of our identity, and our feelings of separation; Radical Acceptance dismantles the foundations of the trance of unworthiness.  There are two interdependent aspects: seeing clearly (mindfulness) and holding our experience with compassion.  Radical acceptance is enabled by a pause.  Whatever comes to attention next is greeted with unconditional friendliness. 
's mindfulness is an active meditative state of non-doing, attentively seeking each 'present moment' with one's body and mind 'being' at rest and so cultivating awareness, according to Jon Kabat-Zinn.  Some traditions define it as observing when the mind wanders.  Others use it to refer to the floating awareness that witnesses whatever happens in our experience without judging or otherwise reacting, explain Goleman & Davidson.  The thinking mind usually spends a lot of time relating to the future and past which Kabat-Zinn argues limits its ability to become fully aware of the present.  In times of stress those thoughts are so overpowering that they crowd out awareness and appreciation of the present.  Mindfulness shifts attention to calming internal feelings.  It allows review and prioritization of thoughts as they are recognized.  Major attitude based pillars of successful mindfulness are: impartial to judging, patience, a beginner's mind, trust, non-striving, acceptance of seeing things the way they are and letting go.  An awareness of the body's state can be built with tools including: inquiry, naming; from Yogi's attention to:
  • Breathing - which is a proxy for the environmental situation and through its rhythms is a model of our emotional state.  Attention to breathing reminds people to feel their bodies too.  Belly breathing is particularly relaxing.  
  • Sitting - erect with head, neck and back aligned vertically.  Then attend to breathing moving back to it each time you observe the mind has wandered.  When the body becomes uncomfortable, direct attention to the discomfort, observe and welcome it.  
  • Experience our body - rather than model, judge or hate it relative to an ideal - with a body scan. 
  • Hatha yoga - very slow stretching and strengthening exercises with moment-to-moment awareness supports being in your body.  
  • Walking meditation - Intentionally attend to the immediate experience of walking.  
and compassion indicates an emotional state where resonance with someone else's distress leads one to help them.  The Dalai Lama stresses we must feel compassion for ourselves and others.  Tara Brach sees compassion as our capacity to relate in a tender and sympathetic way to what we perceive.  Meditation focused on feeling love for the suffering, strengthens compassion by activating the neuron networks for parental love for a child: ACC, insula, striatum, PAG, orbitofrontal cortex; and inducing a reduction in areas responsible for negative emotions. 
these relationships enable spiritual freedom.  Brach warns that it is a misunderstanding of Buddhism to think it includes a grim and lonely path.  Relationships, with all their inherent disturbing, exciting and confusing emotions are low level fast unconscious agents distributed across the brain and body which associate, via the amygdala and rich club hubs, important environmental signals with encoded high speed sensors, and distributed programs of action to model: predict, prioritize guidance signals, select and respond effectively, coherently and rapidly to the initial signal.  The majority of emotion centered brain regions interface to the midbrain through the hypothalamus.  The cerebellum and basal ganglia support the integration of emotion and motor functions, rewarding rhythmic movement.  The most accessible signs of emotions are the hard to control and universal facial expressions.  Emotions provide prioritization for conscious access given that an animal has only one body, but possibly many cells, with which to achieve its highest level goals.  Because of this emotions clash with group goals and are disparaged by the powerful.  Evolutionary psychology argues evolution shaped human emotions during the long period of hunter-gatherer existence in the African savanna.  Human emotions are universal and include: Anger, Appreciation of natural beauty, Disgust, Fear, Gratitude, Grief, Guilt, Happiness, Honor, Jealousy, Liking, Love, Rage, Romantic love, Lust for revenge, Passion, Sadness, Self-control, Shame, Sympathy, Surprise; and the sham emotions and distrust induced by reciprocal altruism. 
, are critical to spiritual awakening. 

It is the critical feedback relationships give that calls us back to Radical Acceptance.  That is why the Buddha considered the sangha is a Buddhist practice used to develop a mental model of safety and belonging.  Tara Brach explains there are three fundamental refuges: the Buddha, the dharma, and the sangha.  Each person can approach the refuges in a way that is sincere for them:
  • Buddha refuge can represent the way Siddhartha Gautama coped with his fears of the terrible Mara: meeting it with his full attention, and observing and welcoming it, rather than responding to the feelings emotionally.   And the devotional can seek safety in the living spirit of the Buddha's awakened heart and mind.  
  • Dharma refuge depends on realizing that everything in nature must change.  Buddhists can call upon the practices and teachings; they have developed over centuries, which highlight this truth.  And they can take refuge in these skills.  Lovingkindness mediation can be particularly helpful practices in fearful situations.  
  • Sangha refuge is the community of monks and nuns that are also practicing and taking refuge. 
a basic treasure, to be treated with reverence: non-harming, being true and helpful, taking responsibility when we do cause pain to others, listening deeply to comprehend another's suffering, apologizing, and striving for compassion to all beings. 

Brach warns that it is easy to adopt a persona and react from habit within a relationship.  That allows us to use patterns of: defending, pretending, judging and distancing.  Insight Dialogue is designed to detect such patterns.  Instead of responding when someone speaks we pause, relax body and
Computational theory of the mind and evolutionary psychology provide Steven Pinker with a framework on which to develop his psychological arguments about the mind and its relationship to the brain.  Humans captured a cognitive niche by natural selection 'building out' specialized aspects of their bodies and brains resulting in a system of mental organs we call the mind. 

He garnishes and defends the framework with findings from psychology regarding: The visual system - an example of natural selections solutions to the sensory challenges of inverse modeling of our environment; Intensions - where he highlights the challenges of hunter gatherers - making sense of the objects they perceive and predicting what they imply and natural selections powerful solutions; Emotions - which Pinker argues are essential to human prioritizing and decision making; Relationships - natural selection's strategies for coping with the most dangerous competitors, other people.  He helps us understand marriage, friendships and war. 

These conclusions allow him to understand the development and maintenance of higher callings: Art, Music, Literature, Humor, Religion, & Philosophy; and develop a position on the meaning of life. 

Complex adaptive system (CAS) modeling allows RSS to frame Pinker's arguments within humanity's current situation, induced by powerful evolved amplifiers: Globalization, Cliodynamics, The green revolution and resource bottlenecks; melding his powerful predictions of the drivers of human behavior with system wide constraints.  The implications are discussed. 

mind
and attend to what we are experiencing.  It can help to ask "What really wants attention?" and notice the feelings and thoughts that are arising.  Brach argues, this gives rise to more understanding and kindness in our relationships.  And it opens up our options.  It overcomes the trance of separation.  When fear is an emotion which prepares the body for time sensitive action: Blood is sent to the muscles from the gut and skin, Adrenalin is released stimulating: Fuel to be released from the liver, Blood is encouraged to clot, and Face is wide-eyed and fearful.  The short-term high priority goal, experienced as a sense of urgency, is to flee, fight or deflect the danger.  There are both 'innate' - really high priority learning - which are mediated by the central amygdala and learned fears which are mediated by the BLA which learns to fear a stimulus and then signals the central amygdala.  Tara Brach notes we experience fear as a painfully constricted throat, chest and belly, and racing heart.  The mind can build stories of the future which include fearful situations making us anxious about current ideas and actions that we associate with the potential future scenario.  And it can associate traumatic events from early childhood with our being at fault.  Consequent assumptions of our being unworthy can result in shame and fear of losing friendships.  The mechanism for human fear was significantly evolved to protect us in the African savanna.  This does not align perfectly with our needs in current environments: U.S. Grant was unusually un-afraid of the noise or risk of guns and trusted his horses' judgment, which mostly benefited his agency as a modern soldier. 
arises during the inspection, it is ok to explain, "I'm feeling anxious is manifested in the amygdala mediating inhibition of dopamine rewards.  Anxiety disorders are now seen as a related cluster, including PTSD, panic attacks, and phobias.  Major anxiety, is typically episodic, correlated with increased activity in the amygdala, results in elevated glucocorticoids and reduces hippocampal dendrite & spine density.  Some estrogen receptor variants are associated with anxiety in women.  Women are four times more likely to suffer from anxiety.  Louann Brizendine concludes this helps prepare mothers, so they are ready to protect their children.  Michael Pollan concludes anxiety is fear of the future.  Sufferers of mild autism often develop anxiety disorders.  Treatments for anxiety differ.  50 to 70% of people with generalized anxiety respond to drugs increasing serotonin concentrations, where there is relief from symptoms: worry, guilt; linked to depression, which are treated with SSRIs (Prozac).  Cognitive anxiety (extreme for worries and anxious thoughts) is also helped by yoga.  But many fear-related disorders respond better to psychotherapy: psychoanalysis, and intensive CBT.  Tara Brach notes that genuine freedom from fear is enabled by taking refuge. 
right now."  And it may generate a positive response and empathy is the capability to relate to another person from their perspective.  It is implemented by spindle neurons.  Empathy towards others is controlled by the right-hemisphere supramarginal gyrus.  Empathy is context dependently mediated by estrogen.  It develops over time: Piaget's preoperational stage includes rudimentary empathy, Theory of mind supports the development; initially feeling someone's pain as one integrated being, then for them and eventually as them.  In adults, when someone else is hurt the anterior cingulate cortex, amygdala & insula activates projecting [scapegoating] to the vmPFC.  If the pain is physical the PAG activates and motor neurons for the area where the other person was injured.  The intertwining of the ACC amygdala & insula in adults results in attribution of fault even when there is none which can make it hard to step in and actually help.  But in seven-year-olds the activation is concrete: PAG and sensory & motor cortexes with minimal coupling to the rudimentary vmPFC.  In older children the vmPFC is coupled to limbic structures.  Ten to twelve year olds abstract empathy to classes of people.  Brizendine asserts young girls develop empathy earlier than boys, because their evolved greater neuronal investment in communication and emotion networks.  Year old girls are much more responsive to the distress of other people than boys are.  At 18 months girls are experiencing infantile puberty.  By adolescence the vmPFC is coupled to theory of mind regions and intentional harm induces disgust via the amygdala.  Sapolsky explains adolescent boys are utilitarian and tend to accept inequality more than girls do.  But both sexes accept inequality as the way it is.  Sociopaths do not develop empathy.   from the others, when they feel they are allowed to be authentic. 

Achievers can use a stream of self-improvement projects, to cope with the trance of unworthiness.  But Brach notes how a friend of such a Jesuit priest, declared "Don't change.  I love you just as you are," providing the permission to allow him the freedom to change.  This is at the core of intervention - a session "in which carefully coached codependents confront the alcoholic or drug abuser in a loving and nonjudgmental manner." 

Brach suggests that being with good friends, all applying loving-kindness practices holding tender, compassionate, feelings towards a slowly widening circle of people: family we love, friends, people we don't know, people we dislike, every person; recognizing the oneness, where everyone desires happiness.  Goleman & Davidson describe the neuroscience involved with this mediation.  Research comparing two groups: one practicing loving-kindness meditation, the other acting as a control group just learning the theory; only the meditators showed a reduced implicit bias against out-groups.  They also studied masters - Tibetan yogis. 
, creates an environment of togetherness where deep healing is possible.  Spirit Rock Meditation includes a variety of practices with the contemplative goal of altering traits to free the subject of suffering.  Goleman & Davidson see three distinct levels of practice: beginner, long term meditator, Yogi; with radically different levels of commitment.  Beginners typically do a limited-time-investment mindfulness meditation such as MBSR.  Long term meditators typically practice vipassana meditation.  Yogis practice Tibetan meditations Dzogchen and Mahamudra, which start like vipassana but in a non-dual stance developing a more subtle meta-awareness.  Richard Davidson, Cortland Dahl and Antoine Lutz developed a typology of the practices:
  • Attentional - train aspects of attention. 
  • Constructive - cultivate virtuous qualities: loving-kindness;
  • Destructive - use self-observation to pierce the nature of experience.  These include non-dual approaches where ordinary cognition no longer dominates. 
Center developed spiritual support groups who all approach their joint discussions agreeing to speak and listen honestly, to be present and to communicate from the heart.  This enables participants to talk openly about their shameful feelings without being judged or feeling apart.  This can transform our perceptions of our self and our relationships.  Brach describes how this can allow us to cope with criticism from a partner by stepping out of the reactive dance and see the context set by the support group and trust the goodness of who we are.  Once we pause and see clearly who is before us, the mirroring of inner beauty is a blessing any of us can give to each other. 

Brach notes that Western culture is how we do and think about things, transmitted by non-genetic means as defined by Frans de Waal.  CAS theory views cultures as operating via memetic schemata evolved by memetic operators to support a cultural superorganism.  Evolutionary psychology asserts that human culture reflects adaptations generated while hunting and gathering.  Dehaene views culture as essentially human, shaped by exaptations and reading, transmitted with support of the neuronal workspace and stabilized by neuronal recycling.  Damasio notes prokaryotes and social insects have developed cultural social behaviors.  Sapolsky argues that parents must show children how to transform their genetically derived capabilities into a culturally effective toolset.  He is interested in the broad differences across cultures of: Life expectancy, GDP, Death in childbirth, Violence, Chronic bullying, Gender equality, Happiness, Response to cheating, Individualist or collectivist, Enforcing honor, Approach to hierarchy; illustrating how different a person's life will be depending on the culture where they are raised.  Culture:
  • Is deployed during pregnancy & childhood, with parental mediation.  Nutrients, immune messages and hormones all affect the prenatal brain.  Hormones: Testosterone with anti-Mullerian hormone masculinizes the brain by entering target cells and after conversion to estrogen binding to intracellular estrogen receptors; have organizational effects producing lifelong changes.  Parenting style typically produces adults who adopt the same approach.  And mothering style can alter gene regulation in the fetus in ways that transfer epigenetically to future generations!  PMS symptoms vary by culture. 
  • Is also significantly transmitted to children by their peers during play.  So parents try to control their children's peer group.  
  • Is transmitted to children by their neighborhoods, tribes, nations etc. 
  • Influences the parenting style that is considered appropriate. 
  • Can transform dominance into honor.  There are ecological correlates of adopting honor cultures.  Parents in honor cultures are typically authoritarian. 
  • Is strongly adapted across a meta-ethnic frontier according to Turchin.  
  • Across Europe was shaped by the Carolingian empire. 
  • Can provide varying levels of support for innovation.  Damasio suggests culture is influenced by feelings: 
    • As motives for intellectual creation: prompting detection and diagnosis of homeostatic deficiencies, identifying desirable states worthy of creative effort.
    • As monitors of the success and failure of cultural instruments and practices
    • As participants in the negotiation of adjustments required by the cultural process over time 
  • Produces consciousness according to Dennet. 
sees illness or depression is a debilitating episodic state of extreme sadness, typically beginning in late teens or early twenties. This is accompanied by a lack of energy and emotion, which is facilitated by genetic predisposition - for example genes coding for relatively low serotonin levels, estrogen sensitive CREB-1 gene which increases women's incidence of depression at puberty; and an accumulation of traumatic events.  There is a significant risk of suicide: depression is involved in 50% of the 43,000 suicides in the US, and 15% of people with depression commit suicide.  Depression is the primary cause of disability with about 20 million Americans impacted by depression at any time.  There is evidence of shifts in the sleep/wake cycle in affected individuals (Dec 2015).  The affected person will experience a pathological sense of loss of control, prolonged sadness with feelings of hopelessness, helplessness & worthlessness, irritability, sleep disturbances, loss of appetite, and inability to experience pleasure.  Michael Pollan concludes depression is fear of the past.  It affects 12% of men and 20% of women.  It appears to be associated with androgen deprivation therapy treatment for prostate cancer (Apr 2016).  Chronic stress depletes the nucleus accumbens of dopamine, biasing humans towards depression.  Depression easily leads to following unhealthy pathways: drinking, overeating; which increase the risk of heart disease.   It has been associated with an aging related B12 deficiency (Sep 2016).  During depression, stress mediates inhibition of dopamine signalling.  Both depression and stress activate the adrenal glands' release of cortisol, which will, over the long term, impact the PFC.  There is an association between depression and additional brain regions: Enlarged & more active amygdala, Hippocampal dendrite and spine number reductions & in longer bouts hippocampal volume reductions and memory problems, Dorsal raphe nucleus linked to loneliness, Defective functioning of the hypothalamus undermining appetite and sex drive, Abnormalities of the ACC.  Mayberg notes ACC area 25: serotonin transporters are particularly active in depressed people and lower the serotonin in area 25 impacting the emotion circuit it hubs, inducing bodily sensations that patients can't place or consciously do anything about; and right anterior insula: which normally generates emotions from internal feelings instead feel dead inside; are critical in depression.  Childhood adversity can increase depression risk by linking recollections of uncontrollable situations to overgeneralizations that life will always be terrible and uncontrollable.  Sufferers of mild autism often develop depression.  Treatments include: CBT which works well for cases with below average activity of the right anterior insula (mild and moderate depression), UMHS depression management, deep-brain stimulation of the anterior insula to slow firing of area 25.  Drug treatments are required for cases with above average activity of the right anterior insula.  As of 2010 drug treatments: SSRIs (Prozac), MAO, monoamine reuptake inhibitors; take weeks to facilitate a response & many patients do not respond to the first drug applied, often prolonging the agony.  By 2018, Kandel notes, Ketamine is being tested as a short term treatment, as it acts much faster, reversing the effect of cortisol in stimulating glutamate signalling, and because it reverses the atrophy induced by chronic stress.   Genomic predictions of which treatment will be effective have not been possible because: Not all clinical depressions are the same, a standard definition of drug response is difficult; as a personal liability.  In other cultures the whole band suffers together - pain emerged as a mental experience, Damasio asserts, constructed by the mind using mapping structures and events provided by nervous systems.  But feeling pain is supported by older biological functions that support homeostasis.  These capabilities reflect the organism's underlying emotive processes that respond to wounds: antibacterial and analgesic chemical deployment, flinching and evading actions; that occur in organisms without nervous systems.  Later in evolution, after organisms with nervous systems were able to map non-neural events, the components of this complex response were 'imageable'.  Today, a wound induced by an internal disease is reported by old, unmyelinated C nerve fibers.  A wound created by an external cut is signalled by evolutionarily recent myelinated fibers that result in a sharp well-localized report, that initially flows to the dorsal root ganglia, then to the spinal cord, where the signals are mixed within the dorsal and ventral horns, and then are transmitted to the brain stem nuclei, thalamus and cerebral cortex.  The pain of a cut is located, but it is also felt through an emotive response that stops us in our tracks.  Pain amplifies the aggression response of people by interoceptive signalling of brain regions providing social emotions including the PAG projecting to the amygdala; making aggressive people more so and less aggressive people less so.  Fear of pain is a significant contributor to female anxiety.  Pain is the main reason people visit the ED in the US.  Pain is mediated by the thalamus and nucleus accumbens, unless undermined by sleep deprivation. 
is shared.  Brach writes 'Not taking pain personally is essential to Radical Acceptance.'  The Buddha stresses our changing states of body and mind, are
This page introduces the complex adaptive system (CAS) theory frame.  The theory provides an organizing framework that is used by 'life.'  It can be used to evaluate and rank models that claim to describe our perceived reality.  It catalogs the laws and strategies which underpin the operation of systems that are based on the interaction of emergent agents. 
John Holland's framework for representing complexity is outlined.  Links to other key aspects of CAS theory discussed at the site are presented. 
influenced by myriad variables
.  When we pay close attention to others we see we are not alone in our wants and fears

Brach stresses that feelings of separation are part of the human condition and arise throughout life.  But relating to each other with Radical Acceptance affirms the truth of who we are. 


Realizing our true nature
Brach explains that when we are trapped in the trance of feeling separate and unworthy, Buddha nature is the Buddha's assertion that each human birth is the realization of the love and timeless radiant awareness that is our true nature. 
appears to be outside of us.  She asserts that increased spiritual maturity including yearning to see truth and live with an open heart, starts to overcome reflexes to avoid pain emerged as a mental experience, Damasio asserts, constructed by the mind using mapping structures and events provided by nervous systems.  But feeling pain is supported by older biological functions that support homeostasis.  These capabilities reflect the organism's underlying emotive processes that respond to wounds: antibacterial and analgesic chemical deployment, flinching and evading actions; that occur in organisms without nervous systems.  Later in evolution, after organisms with nervous systems were able to map non-neural events, the components of this complex response were 'imageable'.  Today, a wound induced by an internal disease is reported by old, unmyelinated C nerve fibers.  A wound created by an external cut is signalled by evolutionarily recent myelinated fibers that result in a sharp well-localized report, that initially flows to the dorsal root ganglia, then to the spinal cord, where the signals are mixed within the dorsal and ventral horns, and then are transmitted to the brain stem nuclei, thalamus and cerebral cortex.  The pain of a cut is located, but it is also felt through an emotive response that stops us in our tracks.  Pain amplifies the aggression response of people by interoceptive signalling of brain regions providing social emotions including the PAG projecting to the amygdala; making aggressive people more so and less aggressive people less so.  Fear of pain is a significant contributor to female anxiety.  Pain is the main reason people visit the ED in the US.  Pain is mediated by the thalamus and nucleus accumbens, unless undermined by sleep deprivation. 
and chase pleasure is the outcome of the dopamine reward system, argues UCSF professor Robert Lustig.  He, like the early Christians, contrasts [addiction oriented] pleasure with serotonin driven happiness & contentment. 
.  This allows alignment with our
This page reviews the implications of selection, variation and heredity in a complex adaptive system (CAS).  The mechanism and its emergence are discussed. 
evolutionary
destiny - to awaken into our natural wisdom and compassion indicates an emotional state where resonance with someone else's distress leads one to help them.  The Dalai Lama stresses we must feel compassion for ourselves and others.  Tara Brach sees compassion as our capacity to relate in a tender and sympathetic way to what we perceive.  Meditation focused on feeling love for the suffering, strengthens compassion by activating the neuron networks for parental love for a child: ACC, insula, striatum, PAG, orbitofrontal cortex; and inducing a reduction in areas responsible for negative emotions. 


Brach notes Mahayana Buddhism describes our original nature as the heart of perfect wisdom.  This is a source of light ... so that all fear is an emotion which prepares the body for time sensitive action: Blood is sent to the muscles from the gut and skin, Adrenalin is released stimulating: Fuel to be released from the liver, Blood is encouraged to clot, and Face is wide-eyed and fearful.  The short-term high priority goal, experienced as a sense of urgency, is to flee, fight or deflect the danger.  There are both 'innate' - really high priority learning - which are mediated by the central amygdala and learned fears which are mediated by the BLA which learns to fear a stimulus and then signals the central amygdala.  Tara Brach notes we experience fear as a painfully constricted throat, chest and belly, and racing heart.  The mind can build stories of the future which include fearful situations making us anxious about current ideas and actions that we associate with the potential future scenario.  And it can associate traumatic events from early childhood with our being at fault.  Consequent assumptions of our being unworthy can result in shame and fear of losing friendships.  The mechanism for human fear was significantly evolved to protect us in the African savanna.  This does not align perfectly with our needs in current environments: U.S. Grant was unusually un-afraid of the noise or risk of guns and trusted his horses' judgment, which mostly benefited his agency as a modern soldier. 
and distress may be forsaken.  She argues that at times have a sudden insight into our true nature.  But for this to be accepted day-to-day depends on a gradual unfolding - a path to awakening.  Brach warns that this 'path' leads to here, now, always. 

Brach admits that she has struggled to accept her Buddha Nature at times.  Instead she identifies as her small self: self-critical, obsessive, judgmental, guilty of trying to be sexy; driven by feelings of fear and separation.  All too often, life interrupts her, dragging her back from Buddha nature, to anxiety is manifested in the amygdala mediating inhibition of dopamine rewards.  Anxiety disorders are now seen as a related cluster, including PTSD, panic attacks, and phobias.  Major anxiety, is typically episodic, correlated with increased activity in the amygdala, results in elevated glucocorticoids and reduces hippocampal dendrite & spine density.  Some estrogen receptor variants are associated with anxiety in women.  Women are four times more likely to suffer from anxiety.  Louann Brizendine concludes this helps prepare mothers, so they are ready to protect their children.  Michael Pollan concludes anxiety is fear of the future.  Sufferers of mild autism often develop anxiety disorders.  Treatments for anxiety differ.  50 to 70% of people with generalized anxiety respond to drugs increasing serotonin concentrations, where there is relief from symptoms: worry, guilt; linked to depression, which are treated with SSRIs (Prozac).  Cognitive anxiety (extreme for worries and anxious thoughts) is also helped by yoga.  But many fear-related disorders respond better to psychotherapy: psychoanalysis, and intensive CBT.  Tara Brach notes that genuine freedom from fear is enabled by taking refuge. 
and anger is an emotion which protects a person who has been cheated by a supposed friend.  When the exploitation of the altruism is discovered, Steven Pinker explains, the result is a drive for moralistic aggression to hurt the cheater.  Anger is mostly experienced as a rapid wave that then quickly dissipates.  When it is repressed, for example by a strong moral sense (superego), it can sustain, inducing long term stress. 
.  But Brach reminds herself and us, these are opportunities to be mindful.  Snatching time to pause and observe the world can be an opportunity or a reminder of failing.  Brach recalls Mara (delusion) is a god who represents, for Buddhists, the shadow-side of human nature.  Mara entangles us in craving and fear, appearing in the mind as: violent storms, temptingly beautiful women, raging demons, and massive armies; according to Tara Brach. 
asking Siddhartha why he felt he could aspire to Buddhahood - leveraging the force of doubt.  Gautama responded by touching the earth, asking it, the creative power of awareness, to be witness to his many lifetimes of compassion.  And Mara fled.  So Brach held here chaotic feelings with Radical Acceptance means clearly recognizing what is happening inside us, and regarding what we see with an open, kind and loving heart according to Tara Brach.  It is the art of engaging fully in this world.  Because it stops the heart from shutting out: the feared aspects of our identity, and our feelings of separation; Radical Acceptance dismantles the foundations of the trance of unworthiness.  There are two interdependent aspects: seeing clearly (mindfulness) and holding our experience with compassion.  Radical acceptance is enabled by a pause.  Whatever comes to attention next is greeted with unconditional friendliness. 
, acknowledging the pain of self-doubt.  This allowed her attention is the mutli-faceted capability allowing access to consciousness.  It includes selective attention, vigilance, allocating attention, goal focus, and meta-awareness. 
to return to caring and open awareness. 

Brach explains that beside the angry and fearful self there is an observing self, which like the other selves, stops us from being free.  Holding on to anything, including this sense of being the observer, obscures the full freedom of awareness.  Brach uses the question "Who is aware?" to bring mindfulness to awareness itself and cut through the illusions of separate and bounded self.  It is not easy to do this.  If we are anxious our attention will fixate onto something, orient from it and add a commentary, to make sense of what is happening.  It helps to relax - Look and see ... Let go and be free. 

Be aware of the movie of life but then release this focus on thoughts and objects is a collection of: happenings, occurrences and processes; including emergent entities, as required by relativity, explains Rovelli.  But natural selection has improved our fitness by representing this perception, in our minds, as an unchanging thing, as explained by Pinker.  Dehaene explains the object modeling and construction process within the unconscious and conscious brain. 
and look at who (our awareness) is looking.  Relax, there is nothing solid - just awareness, which is full with presence of the real world's immediate sensations.  The path to awakening is a process of wakeful, profound relaxing. 

Brach asserts that when we bring our absolute nature to the relative world of form, love is an emotion, which generates a feeling of pleasure at a genetic relative's well-being and pain in their harm.  An inseminated human female is genetically a full relative of her partner since she carries his germ-line gametes.  From any of their pooled gene's perspective the offspring have a one-in-two chance of including the specific gene.  Hence love supports kin selection driven by the selfish actions of genes.  Emotions, including love and anger, help drive the interactions between people.  Compassionate love also supports the symbiotic partnership of true friends built on fairness and trust.  Sapolsky notes the opposite of love is indifference, not hate.  The amygdala's projection into the locus ceruleus drives autonomic intensity.   awakens.  Our
Computational theory of the mind and evolutionary psychology provide Steven Pinker with a framework on which to develop his psychological arguments about the mind and its relationship to the brain.  Humans captured a cognitive niche by natural selection 'building out' specialized aspects of their bodies and brains resulting in a system of mental organs we call the mind. 

He garnishes and defends the framework with findings from psychology regarding: The visual system - an example of natural selections solutions to the sensory challenges of inverse modeling of our environment; Intensions - where he highlights the challenges of hunter gatherers - making sense of the objects they perceive and predicting what they imply and natural selections powerful solutions; Emotions - which Pinker argues are essential to human prioritizing and decision making; Relationships - natural selection's strategies for coping with the most dangerous competitors, other people.  He helps us understand marriage, friendships and war. 

These conclusions allow him to understand the development and maintenance of higher callings: Art, Music, Literature, Humor, Religion, & Philosophy; and develop a position on the meaning of life. 

Complex adaptive system (CAS) modeling allows RSS to frame Pinker's arguments within humanity's current situation, induced by powerful evolved amplifiers: Globalization, Cliodynamics, The green revolution and resource bottlenecks; melding his powerful predictions of the drivers of human behavior with system wide constraints.  The implications are discussed. 

mind
recognizes empty awareness but our heart supports emotional circuits: Amygdala, Hippocampus, Septum, Habenula, Mammillary bodies; all of which signals the midbrain through the hypothalamus. The broad interconnections of these regions with a part of the frontal lobe suggested to Walle Nauta that it (ventromedial prefrontal cortex) is a quasi-member of the limbic network.   experiences love.  All life springs from one awareness, fully connected, feeling the fullness of love.  Grief at the loss of a loved one provides recognition of the fleeting nature of this life.  But the loss also reveals our source, loving awareness that is deathless. 

Brach concludes, no matter how thick the clouds of fear, shame and confusion are, we can remember our longing to awaken compassion, our longing to be wise and free.  Remembering what we cherish guides us to hold our fear and doubt with awareness.  Moving this way, moment by moment, we find what we long for.  When challenged by Mara we take a step, touch the ground of this present moment with compassionate presence.  This is the path -- arriving over and over again in the moment with kind awareness.  All that matters on this path of awakening is taking one step at a time, being willing to show up for just this much, touching the ground just this moment.  When we get lost we need only pause, look at what is true, relax our heart and arrive again.  This is the essence of Radical Acceptance. 


This page introduces the complex adaptive system (CAS) theory frame.  The theory provides an organizing framework that is used by 'life.'  It can be used to evaluate and rank models that claim to describe our perceived reality.  It catalogs the laws and strategies which underpin the operation of systems that are based on the interaction of emergent agents. 
John Holland's framework for representing complexity is outlined.  Links to other key aspects of CAS theory discussed at the site are presented. 
CAS
implications


CAS theory describes the emergence of the dualistic self and the tree of life linked by the genetic code and machinery.  It provides an analog of the Buddhist presence. 

All CAS depend on maintaining a state far from equilibrium to operate are, according to Abbott, a class including people, families, corporations, hurricanes.  They implement abstract designs and are demarcatable by their reduced entropy relative to their components.  Rovelli notes entities are a collection of relations and events, but memory and our continuous process of anticipation, organizes the series of quantized interactions we perceive into an illusion of permanent objects flowing from past to future.  Abbott identifies two types of entity:
  1. At equilibrium entities,
  2. Autonomous entities, which can control how they are affected by outside forces;
.  Constraints are used to ensure the increase in entropy is carefully limited

Deacon
Terrence Deacon explores how constraints on dynamic flows can induce emergent phenomena which can do real work.  He shows how these phenomena are sustained.  The mechanism enables the development of Darwinian competition. 
describes
a way to generate an autogen which provides an
This page discusses the mechanisms and effects of emergence underpinning any complex adaptive system (CAS).  Physical forces and constraints follow the rules of complexity.  They generate phenomena and support the indirect emergence of epiphenomena.  Flows of epiphenomena interact in events which support the emergence of equilibrium and autonomous entities.  Autonomous entities enable evolution to operate broadening the adjacent possible.  Key research is reviewed. 
emergent
step to obtain an evolvable
This page reviews the implications of reproduction initially generating a single child cell.  The mechanism and resulting strategic options are discussed. 
organism


The
This page reviews the implications of selection, variation and heredity in a complex adaptive system (CAS).  The mechanism and its emergence are discussed. 
evolutionary processes
can then build and explore additional niches.  Dawkins
Richard Dawkin's explores how nature has created implementations of designs, without any need for planning or design, through the accumulation of small advantageous changes. 
stresses
that all life on earth started from a single event.  This means that the genetic code, the mapping of DNA base triplet sequences, such as AAA and AAT, to amino-acids (AAA maps to the amino-acid lysine for example) and transcription termination sequences (TGA maps to stop transcription for example) that has currently evolved.  , and much of the genetic machinery, is shared amongst all the current life forms.  Additionally:
The difficulty of surviving and reproducing in a complex environment where the sun's delivered daily energy drifts over tens and hundreds of years, and is concentrated by
This page reviews the catalytic impact of infrastructure on the expression of phenotypic effects by an agent.  The infrastructure reduces the cost the agent must pay to perform the selected action.  The catalysis is enhanced by positive returns. 
infrastructure
and
This page reviews the strategy of setting up an arms race.  At its core this strategy depends on being able to alter, or take advantage of an alteration in, the genome or equivalent.  The situation is illustrated with examples from biology, high tech and politics. 
evolved amplifiers
, ensures current humans include
This page reviews the implications of selection, variation and heredity in a complex adaptive system (CAS).  The mechanism and its emergence are discussed. 
evolved
strategic mechanisms to assist themTurchin
Peter Turchin describes how major pre-industrial empires developed due to effects of geographic boundaries constraining the empires and their neighbors' interactions.  Turchin shows how the asymmetries of breeding rates and resource growth rates results in dynamic cycles within cycles.  After the summary of Turchin's book complex adaptive system (CAS) theory is used to augment Turchins findings. 
describes
how
This page reviews the implications of selection, variation and heredity in a complex adaptive system (CAS).  The mechanism and its emergence are discussed. 
evolved
capabilities support responses for different niches: conflicts as resources become scarce, and cooperation when food and other resources become plentiful again or depend on it.  At any meta-ethnic frontier conflict is highly likely to occur and compassion indicates an emotional state where resonance with someone else's distress leads one to help them.  The Dalai Lama stresses we must feel compassion for ourselves and others.  Tara Brach sees compassion as our capacity to relate in a tender and sympathetic way to what we perceive.  Meditation focused on feeling love for the suffering, strengthens compassion by activating the neuron networks for parental love for a child: ACC, insula, striatum, PAG, orbitofrontal cortex; and inducing a reduction in areas responsible for negative emotions. 
may conflict with evolved responses, subsequently maintained and spread by culture is how we do and think about things, transmitted by non-genetic means as defined by Frans de Waal.  CAS theory views cultures as operating via memetic schemata evolved by memetic operators to support a cultural superorganism.  Evolutionary psychology asserts that human culture reflects adaptations generated while hunting and gathering.  Dehaene views culture as essentially human, shaped by exaptations and reading, transmitted with support of the neuronal workspace and stabilized by neuronal recycling.  Damasio notes prokaryotes and social insects have developed cultural social behaviors.  Sapolsky argues that parents must show children how to transform their genetically derived capabilities into a culturally effective toolset.  He is interested in the broad differences across cultures of: Life expectancy, GDP, Death in childbirth, Violence, Chronic bullying, Gender equality, Happiness, Response to cheating, Individualist or collectivist, Enforcing honor, Approach to hierarchy; illustrating how different a person's life will be depending on the culture where they are raised.  Culture:
  • Is deployed during pregnancy & childhood, with parental mediation.  Nutrients, immune messages and hormones all affect the prenatal brain.  Hormones: Testosterone with anti-Mullerian hormone masculinizes the brain by entering target cells and after conversion to estrogen binding to intracellular estrogen receptors; have organizational effects producing lifelong changes.  Parenting style typically produces adults who adopt the same approach.  And mothering style can alter gene regulation in the fetus in ways that transfer epigenetically to future generations!  PMS symptoms vary by culture. 
  • Is also significantly transmitted to children by their peers during play.  So parents try to control their children's peer group.  
  • Is transmitted to children by their neighborhoods, tribes, nations etc. 
  • Influences the parenting style that is considered appropriate. 
  • Can transform dominance into honor.  There are ecological correlates of adopting honor cultures.  Parents in honor cultures are typically authoritarian. 
  • Is strongly adapted across a meta-ethnic frontier according to Turchin.  
  • Across Europe was shaped by the Carolingian empire. 
  • Can provide varying levels of support for innovation.  Damasio suggests culture is influenced by feelings: 
    • As motives for intellectual creation: prompting detection and diagnosis of homeostatic deficiencies, identifying desirable states worthy of creative effort.
    • As monitors of the success and failure of cultural instruments and practices
    • As participants in the negotiation of adjustments required by the cultural process over time 
  • Produces consciousness according to Dennet. 
.  In more stable environments the warrior elite may benefit from the majority which practices compassion.  Traditional rice growing regions benefit from cooperation and some: Central China; are geographically homogenous removing meta-ethnic pressures - outside of the elite fights about power. 



Tara Brach explains how Radical Acceptance means clearly recognizing what is happening inside us, and regarding what we see with an open, kind and loving heart according to Tara Brach.  It is the art of engaging fully in this world.  Because it stops the heart from shutting out: the feared aspects of our identity, and our feelings of separation; Radical Acceptance dismantles the foundations of the trance of unworthiness.  There are two interdependent aspects: seeing clearly (mindfulness) and holding our experience with compassion.  Radical acceptance is enabled by a pause.  Whatever comes to attention next is greeted with unconditional friendliness. 
can remove the trances our infant experience builds into our personality describes the operation of the mind from the perspective of psychological models and tests based on them.  Early 'Western' models of personality resulted in a simple segmentation noting the tension between: individual desires and group needs, and developing models and performing actions.  Dualistic 'Eastern' philosophies promote the legitimacy of an essence which Riso & Hudson argue is hidden within a shell of personality types and is only reached by developing presence.  The logic of a coherent essence is in conflict with the evolved nature of emotions outlined by Pinker.  Terman's studies of personality identified types which Friedman and Martin link to healthy and unhealthy pathways.  Current psychiatric models highlight at least five key aspects:
  • Extroversion-introversion - whether the person gains mental dynamism from socializing or retiring
  • Neuroticism-stability - does a person worry or are they calm and self-satisfied
  • Agreeableness-antagonism - is a person courteous & trusting or rude and suspicious
  • Conscientiousness-un-directedness - is a person careful or careless
  • Openness-non-openness - are they daring or conforming
, and reveal our Buddha nature is the Buddha's assertion that each human birth is the realization of the love and timeless radiant awareness that is our true nature. 







































































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integrating quality appropriate for each market
 
This page looks at schematic structures and their uses.  It discusses a number of examples:
  • Schematic ideas are recombined in creativity. 
  • Similarly designers take ideas and rules about materials and components and combine them. 
  • Schematic Recipes help to standardize operations. 
  • Modular components are combined into strategies for use in business plans and business models. 

As a working example it presents part of the contents and schematic details from the Adaptive Web Framework (AWF)'s operational plan. 

Finally it includes a section presenting our formal representation of schematic goals. 
Each goal has a series of associated complex adaptive system (CAS) strategy strings. 
These goals plus strings are detailed for various chess and business examples. 
Strategy
| Design |
This page uses an example to illustrate how:
  • A business can gain focus from targeting key customers,
  • Business planning activities performed by the whole organization can build awareness, empowerment and coherence. 
  • A program approach can ensure strategic alignment. 
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