Being Certain

Certainty can arise in two fundamental ways: through a mental journey (gaining inner certainty) or through a lack thereof (outer certainty). Inner certainty is often more resilient and enriching because it is grounded in personal insight and growth, unlike outer certainty which can be brittle and superficial. Unfortunately, many people don’t put much of an Read the full article…

The Role of Belief in Mental Change

Belief and expectations seem to play a crucial role in mental transformations, especially in mental coaching and psychotherapy, though they may merely be enablers. In this text, ‘belief’ refers to the act of believing rather than the content of what is believed. Toward the belief that belief is crucial. When seeking the causes of mental Read the full article…

What is Boring?

Boring is what doesn’t profoundly touch a person — depending on the ‘what’ and the person. What resonates deeply with one’s inner self? That changes the question into what it means to “be deeply touched” ― influenced by depth and personal relevance. What makes experiences and interactions meaningful or engaging to individuals? This relates to Read the full article…

Deep Semantics

In a semantic network, concepts are interconnected through conceptual links. Deep semantics takes this a step further, exploring connections at deeper levels. This can still be conceptual or go deeper-than-conceptual. The notion that deeper connections between concepts may hold more significance than direct superficial links is key to grasping human cognition. Imagine two non-linked concepts Read the full article…

From Analogy to Intelligence

If an inference system (mind or A.I.) holds many patterns, it may find many similarities between these at several levels of abstraction. The human brain is an immense pattern recognizer. Super-A.I. will undoubtedly follow a similar path ― as does Lisa. Lisa’s journey thus exemplifies the potential of A.I. to evolve from mere data processors to entities capable Read the full article…

Mental Noise

An appalling degree of mental noise pervades many situations related to human mind topics, ranging from random clutter to focused bias. Why? And why are we generally unaware of it, and do we resist proper insight? Many noisy situations In the excellent book ‘Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment’ by Nobel Prize winner D. Kahneman Read the full article…

Clearly Subtle

What is subtle may seem clear to one person and unclear to another — as can what is obfuscated to the same individual. What is genuinely subtle and what merely appears subtle can be very different. See also Subtlety. As in dancing the tango A subtle leader and follower may be in harmony. A subtle Read the full article…

Semantically Meaningful Chunks

A Semantically Meaningful Chunk (SMC) is any cognitive entity, big or small, that is worth contemplating. In A.I., these can serve as building blocks of intelligence. It’s what humans often reserve specific terms for. Language comes into play here, significantly contributing to how humans have rapidly advanced in intelligence through using terms, sentences, documents, and Read the full article…

How can Suggestion be Powerful?

Suggestion offers a non-coercive way of influencing, providing the receiver the freedom to follow or not. Auto-suggestion extends this freedom even further. How can this be powerful? Autosuggestion In this blog, I use the term ‘suggestion,’ but mostly mean ‘auto-suggestion.’ Autosuggestion rarely involves directly indicating the intended direction but instead operates through deeper, pattern-like associations. Read the full article…

The Tunnel and the End

There’s light at the end of every tunnel, obviously, since otherwise, it wouldn’t be one. But some tunnels are naturally very long. AURELIS as a total project is about such a tunnel, as is anything that is radically oriented to depth. Long, deep tunnels can frighten people. Some are so frightened they never enter the Read the full article…

Back and forth is the way to go

Alternating between conceptual and subconceptual processing, each time dwelling for a while and carrying the insights to the other side, often proves more productive than remaining on one side or somewhere in-between. This process can be likened to diving into a vast ocean of creativity and resurfacing with treasures of insight. It enables us to Read the full article…

Will Super-A.I. Make People Happier?

This is the paramount question — more vital than any debate about intelligence. It’s a bit weird that it is seldom put at the forefront, as if we’re more concerned about who is the most knowledgeable, therefore the most powerful. What people? It should not be about a few, as it should not exclude billions. Read the full article…

Intelligence through Consistency

When multiple elements collaborate consistently, they can generate intelligent behavior as an emergent property. When these elements function within a rational environment, they exhibit rationally intelligent behavior. Consistency is key but must include diversity. ‘Consistent’ does not imply ‘identical.’ When elements are overly similar, intelligence fails to emerge. For instance, the human cerebellum holds over Read the full article…

How Easy Turns into Hard

Deep joy can come from taking it easy. Yet if ease becomes the sole pursuit, growth is inevitably stunted. Without growth, stagnation sets in, leading to rigidity and eventual decay. Why? Because we are organic. As organic beings, we require growth — just as all of nature does. For humans, ‘taking it easy’ is beneficial Read the full article…

About Resilience

Resilience is not about becoming hard but keeping one’s strength and gentleness in the face of hardship. Please read first ‘Weak, Hard, Strong, Gentle.’ A natural endeavor Natural organisms strive for resilience. The most successful not only survive but also thrive, passing on their resilience to future generations through the process of natural evolution. Resilience Read the full article…

Do Humans have Intelligence?

Of course we do, though perhaps not in the ways we typically conceive. Consequently, to a substantial degree, we might often be acting more as-if than we realize. This may profoundly change our relationship with A.I., ourselves, and all sentient beings. Subconceptual Considering the ‘dominance’ of subconceptual processing in our thinking, we share more similarities Read the full article…

Dependent Arising

According to the core Buddhist concept of ‘dependent arising,’ all phenomena are causally related so profoundly that nothing exists in isolation. In AURELIS, this concept is more about the inner (mind) than the outer (world). The outer focus is ‘only’ congruent with the inner. In-depth, everything is connected. This universal interconnectedness is a feature of Read the full article…

Good versus Evil

Especially in the West – where my familiarity is greatest – this has been seen as a continual and never-ending battle, as in the story of Saint Michael versus the Devil. Yet, Nietzsche warned us to look beyond good and evil — advocating for a deeper understanding beyond the superficial concepts of both. In-depth, good Read the full article…

Subconceptual Drives Conceptual

Nothing falls into mind purely conceptually. That would be magic, and we don’t believe in that. Fortunately, subconceptual processing clarifies many things about what happens in the human mind. Decision making We think we know (consciously) what we want — before and after making (conscious) decisions about the same. We don’t. Let’s take what happens Read the full article…

The Enemy Within

Carl Jung’s concept of the ‘shadow’ refers to the specific non-conscious part of one’s personality that, according to Jung, contains repressed personal weaknesses and basic instincts. It’s like an enemy within. If you don’t see or feel this ‘shadow’ within yourself, don’t try to enforce anything. Embracing the shadow The shadow is like the darker Read the full article…

The Essence of Poetry

Poetry, in all its forms, not just the written word, resonates with deeper levels of human experience. It invites us to explore the subtleties of our minds and emotions, often leading to profound insights and personal growth. Beyond the written word, poetry manifests in the rhythm of a song, the brushstrokes of a painting, the Read the full article…

Getting Inside

If a human being gets ‘deep inside,’ he can experience what is there — deep inside. It is in several aspects the reverse of the outside. A psychedelic experience. Art, nature, religion, love, meditation There are many opportunities to get inside — better said, to slide or fall inside. In all of them, the feeling Read the full article…

What is Mind-Related?

The mind, particularly in its deeper aspects, is a topic of perennial interest. When is it interesting to talk about this? Let’s acknowledge that we are beyond the body-mind divide — viewing them as two perspectives on one entity rather than opposing forces of matter versus no-matter. Complexity offers a new lens through which we Read the full article…

From Concrete to Abstract

Many people view the concepts of ‘concrete’ and ‘abstract’ as dichotomous ends of a straightforward spectrum — in daily life, often without much thought. This is also relevant to their use in inferential patterns. One example are mental-neuronal patterns in humans. However, the muddy underlying reality becomes especially apparent when trying to realize them in Read the full article…

Why Mystery is Attractive

Some mystery is attractive between the sexes — from man to woman as well as from woman to man. This can be seen as a reflection of the natural allure of the unknown within our deeper selves. Yet, one shouldn’t merely pretend to be mysterious. Relation to the subconceptual The subconceptual elements of our mind Read the full article…

What seems ‘Difficult’ and is Not

At least if one doesn’t make it so. Many human-related ‘difficult’ things are made so. The reason can be boiled down to a lack of insight. This text is the counterpart to the blog ‘What seems ‘Easy’ and is Not.’ You might read them in one go. In the other blog, I write about some Read the full article…

What seems ‘Easy’ and is Not

The subconceptual domain may seem ‘easy’ mainly for those who operate predominantly within a conceptual framework. On the other side, what comes out of this domain may seem magical, almost impossible, for the same people. This is highly relevant as subconceptual influences, often underestimated, can have profound effects on our understanding and interactions in various Read the full article…

The Power of Embedding

This is the power of complexity in humans and in present-day Large Language Models (the most visible form of A.I. nowadays). ‘Embedding’ is the transformation of information/knowledge into a format of many subconceptual elements interacting in multifaceted systems that makes this information prone to emerge in novel ways. A multitude of relatively simple (smaller than Read the full article…

Predatory Listening

The predatory listener seems to have a continual need to defend himself, thinking that the other person will attack as he would also attack whenever having the opportunity. Predatory listening has the intent to exploit, manipulate, negatively criticize, or gain an advantage over the speaker by abusing the attained information. It lacks genuine empathy or Read the full article…

Growing out of Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive Dissonance is notoriously hard to overcome. An alternative is not to try to do so but to go with the flow and see which way out of it spontaneously emerges. Cognitive dissonance: the discomfort experienced by an individual holding two contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time or being confronted with new Read the full article…

What is ‘Dying too Soon’?

Nobody really wants to die too soon except in an act of suicide. Too soon? An accident, an illness, a homicide — there are many obvious ways of dying too soon. There are also less obvious ways. Are these, therefore, less important? Dear reader, it’s interesting to stay focused on this question for a while Read the full article…

Your ‘Deeper Self’

Although the term sounds New-Agy, it denotes well what is scientifically known to be what we are mentally mostly made of. Thus, it may be the most important as well as most neglected concept on earth. I frequently refer to it from other blog texts. Humanity has come a long way. The ‘deeper self’ always Read the full article…

Inner Resistance

Resistance to change can come from ‘inner’: deep inside, thus being surprisingly energetic also if the person in question is not consciously aware of the source. Everybody has at least some ‘resistance to change.’ It’s healthy — until no more. Obstacles to change Part of G.I.M.O. is the ‘O’ of obstacles, which come with many Read the full article…

The Meaning of a Word

“The meaning of a word is its use in the language.” — Quote by Wittgenstein, who talked about language games because ‘use in the language’ can be seen as having a very playful aspect. A dictionary provides the meaning of a word ― in some way, but always as an approximation. A word doesn’t have meaning like Read the full article…

The Art of Feedback

In feedback, you find ‘to feed’ = ‘to give food.’ Nutrition is necessary to grow. The purpose of feedback is GROWTH. Otherwise, it’s pointless. Letting it muddle through turns small fires into more significant fires. Thus, if something is not optimal, you have a responsibility to point this out, together with: giving suggestions for improvement providing the necessary Read the full article…

Twelve Mind/Brain-Related Insights for Lisa

These insights provide a foundation for understanding the complexities of the human mind and its functioning ― important in understanding anything mind-related. Crucially, they highlight the interplay between various brain regions, the influence of non-conscious processes, and the dynamic nature of mental activity. These are twelve insights and for each some practical advice useful for Read the full article…

Natural Kind Concepts

“To say that a kind is natural is to say that it corresponds to a grouping that reflects the structure of the natural world rather than the interests and actions of human beings.” (*) ‘Rather than’ already denotes the relative nature that pervades the whole domain. Please read The meaning of a word. This is Read the full article…

‘Transference’

Transference: A deeply meaningful pattern may have developed long ago and still exert its significant influence on recent patterns even while the owner is not consciously aware of it. It’s as if the old pattern transfers its ‘energy’ (or motivational structure) to new situations. In a way, this makes it the counterpart of inner resistance Read the full article…

Quality of Depth

Most people would agree that ‘quality of depth’ is profoundly relevant to them personally. At the same time, many may disagree about what it entails. It’s a challenging concept. It’s already challenging to grasp ‘human depth’ since subconceptual processing – therefore also the difficulty to conceptually get it – is an inextricable feature. ‘Deep’ itself Read the full article…

Many Intelligences

Intelligence can take many forms to such a diverse degree that talking about many intelligences is appropriate. Where does this thinking lead us to? This is not a discussion about whether or not there is ‘plant intelligence.’ More important is the thinking about your intelligence. Are you simply a being that enjoys the ‘phenomenon of Read the full article…

From Compression to Prediction

Compressing information can intriguingly lead to enhanced predictive capabilities. This general scheme is recognizable in many contexts ― organic and artificial. Life itself Life can be understood as a local defense against universal entropy (chaos or heightening of chaos). Within any bubble of life, there is a concentration of resources to this aim. At the Read the full article…

Believe in Your Self!

Unfortunately, many people are not inclined to deeply believe in their <Inner Strength>. Nevertheless, especially nowadays, global fate depends on it. This unbelief is not typical to a specific culture. Its ubiquity means that either: It’s a natural given, making people genetically predisposed to not believe in themselves. It’s a cultural thing in a general Read the full article…

The Path from Implicit to Explicit Knowledge

Implicit: It’s there, but we don’t readily know how, neither why it works. Explicit: We can readily follow each step. This is more or less the same move as from intractable to tractable or from competence to comprehension. But how? Emergence If something comes out, it must have been in ― one way or another. Read the full article…

About Confabulation

Depending on how exact you want inferences to be, humans are born confabulators. Not surprisingly, we also see much confabulation in present-day generative pre-trained transformers (GPT). Confabulation is a look-alike but inexact information. Note that in the GPT field, this is nowadays called hallucination. Confabulation is inherent to mental ‘parallel distributed processing’ (PDP). Humans and Read the full article…

The Quest for Abstract Patterns

This is about creation. The creative process Some see three levels of creativity: interpolation, extrapolation, and the invention of something new/out of the box. This progress in levels goes from the domain of the known toward the domain of the not-yet-known. One can also see these levels as the possible results of an increasing discernment Read the full article…

From Intractable to Tractable = Intelligent

This is what intelligence can do: simplifying intractable problems (not easily controlled, managed, or solved) to tractable ones without much loss of relevant information. Problems may be social, mathematical, or other. Depending on the meaning of the considered terms, it may be seen as an exhaustive characterization of intelligence. However, this is not meant as Read the full article…

Depth and Distillation

Compression of knowledge may lead to crystallization into surface-level concepts ― sometimes with a loss of depth. However, starting from broad mental-neuronal patterns, compression may lead to in-depth wisdom. I call the latter a process of Inner Distillation Poetry Excellent poetry is a quintessential form of Inner Distillation. Notoriously, the poet doesn’t consciously know how Read the full article…

How to Touch the Heart and Soul

This is symbolic. Also, it is crucial in many human situations. People try to do this touching for diverse reasons. With ‘soul,’ I mean a direction that possibly goes deeper than the ‘heart,’ without denoting where it ends. For diverse reasons Some of these are not readily respectful: selling stuff, surface-level populism, seducing someone to Read the full article…

Committing to Neutral

This should be your decision. At least, it’s worth thinking it over. As always, if this text forms a concrete challenge for you, you might look for some excellent coaching or ask Lisa (soon). Neutral ‘Neutral’ means that it’s basically OKAY — whether good or bad at first sight. You may care for what happens, Read the full article…

Neutrality as Art

This is the art of not taking sides in a conflict – big or small – and yet not being indifferent. Eternal shame In a world of looking for and creating ‘the enemy,’ many are continually keen on discerning which side anyone stands on. Almost inevitably, neutrality gets overrun this way. Not taking sides gets Read the full article…

What’s in It for Me?

At least half the world turns around this — no circumventing it. Therefore, it may be easier to change the ‘me.’ However, of course, the ‘me’ doesn’t readily want to be changed from the outside. Therefore, supporting the ‘me’ in changing from the inside out is recommended. Which is mental growth — coaching, everywhere. Also Read the full article…

Ending Life Compassionately

Any life. This text is foremost about the ending of one’s own life. It can be seen more broadly. Science and setting If possible, the end of life should not be set in a clearly unscientific setting. Even if this is most easy and comfortable, getting it scientifically correct can lead to additional possibilities of Read the full article…

What About Hate?

Weirdly, perhaps, there cannot be hate without love. Yet love doesn’t cause hatred. Is hate then the reverse of love, or is it love-gone-awry? Love is a conditional to, not a cause of hate. Imagine someone without love. That person has no reason ever to hate someone. He would just be indifferent. This includes self-hate Read the full article…

What is Intelligence?

What exactly is intelligence when not restricting it to the human case? Or, better asked – since intelligence is what we call so – how can we characterize something as ‘intelligence’ in a generally recognizable way? In human (and animal, pre-human) evolution, intelligence has appeared in specific circumstances ― making human intelligence inextricably emotional and Read the full article…

The Freedom to Be Free

Can people be asked to appreciate only one freedom, namely, the freedom to be free? Thus, not the freedom to incarcerate oneself or others? You might already know I’m talking about the ego: the self-referenced, overly conceptual part of any total person. Please read ‘The Story of Ego.’ Ego wants an illusion of freedom. As Read the full article…

Beyond Neglect or Aggression

Beyond neglect or aggression lies Aurelian friendliness. This is not straightforwardly friendliness toward mere-ego. Aurelian friendliness lies en route to Compassion, basically. The real neglect This concerns the total self. Mere-ego is the main neglecter. Strangely, since mere-ego frequently identifies itself with the total self, it feels neglected, then searches for what/who may do the Read the full article…

Three Answers to Reality-as-Construction

The first answer lies in pragmatically choosing an option. The second lies in not choosing. The third lies in being the choice. Constructionism shows that we are necessarily and significantly active in constructing reality as we perceive it — a costly error in many respects such as playing a causal role in many psycho-somatic issues. Read the full article…

The Meaning Barrier between Humans (and A.I.)

Open a book. Look at some meaningful words. Almost each of these words means something at least slightly different to you than to me or anyone else. What must A.I. make of this? For instance: “Barsalou and his collaborators have been arguing for decades that we understand even the most abstract concepts via the mental Read the full article…

The Dance of the Ego

This is how consciousness comes into being moment after moment. The ego can be seen as the way consciousness is conscious of itself. This is no magical meta-level, just a tiny recursion that hopefully becomes evident through the dancing metaphor. Please give it some of your time to digest. Dancing Consciousness is the dancer. At Read the full article…

About Philosophical Zombies

What do they teach us about consciousness? Real zombies don’t exist. In this mind experiment, a ‘philosophical zombie’ acts and speaks entirely like you or me, but has no soul, no deep feelings, or no feelings at all — probably depending on the year of invention. This confusion is also important for our argumentation. More Read the full article…

Nirvana, What about Feelings?

Nirvana, Buddhist ‘heaven’ where the candle has stopped burning. What about feelings? What can this teach us about feelings in general? This is symbolism. It’s not about what might happen in another, magical world. It’s also not about what might happen in this world with just a few minor changes. Symbolism readily touches the heart Read the full article…

Implicit vs. Explicit Knowledge

The resulting mindscape is central to many things in the past, present, and future. Explicit lives in the power of the thinker. Implicit knowledge is not readily available for further processing. Nevertheless, with the right tools or insight, it may become more so ― thus gradually becoming more explicit while the source remains the same. Read the full article…

Engaged versus Accountable

In theories about which of both is most effective, the pendulum swings over many years from the one to the other to the one — usually without much depth involved. Terminology Engaged: emotionally involved or committed. Accountable: holding oneself or being held responsible. This is related to the ‘locus of control’ ― putting responsibility for Read the full article…

Autosuggestion in Mental Pattern Recognition and Completion

Cognitive neuroscience increasingly proves the mind/brain to be a prediction machine. This points to the immense possibilities of autosuggestion. Please read about the predictive brain. An excellent scientific book about this is The Experience Machine: How Our Minds Predict and Shape Reality, by Andy Clark (2023). Pattern Recognition and Completion (PRC) is the way the Read the full article…

TMS/EEG – A Stone in a Pond

TMS = Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (giving a magnetic pulse through the skull to the brain in a specific region). EEG = Electro-Encephalo-Graphy (recording voltage changes over brain regions). TMS is like throwing a stone in a pond (the brain). EEG is like looking at how the pond responds. This is probably the most interesting set Read the full article…

How can I Be Conscious?

When it’s about oneself, the question becomes somewhat more ‘urgent’ than the formal consciousness question. One delves into the own experience and doesn’t readily find an answer. A more personal take may be warranted. Here are a few ideas that may help. A warning first. Being personal, the question might confuse some. The solid ground Read the full article…

Are Emotions Motivations?

I feel motivated; therefore, I am (motivated). Motivation is a feeling. May all feelings/emotions be motivations? Feelings and emotions are experienced consciously. On top of this, emotions also have non-conscious and bodily components. Some use the terms interchangeably. Personally, I don’t care so much for the semantic difference since nothing human is purely conscious or Read the full article…

Consciousness as a Feeling

What if the feeling of consciousness is provoked by something deeper inside (non-conscious) that also provokes every other aspect we associate with consciousness? In that case, nothing would be self-provoked by consciousness as we consciously feel it. Would you then still call it so? After answering the question, note that much evidence shows it to Read the full article…

The Big Mistake: Mere-Ego vs. Total Self

To me, this is the biggest possible mistake. Unfortunately, it is made ubiquitously and runs culturally deep. Please also read about Inner Dissociation – Ego – Total Self. I think, therefore, I am. [Dixit René Descartes, °1596] But who is the I who thinks, therefore, is? If this isn’t clear, the rest follows in obscurity. Read the full article…

From Inner Dissociation to Many Why’s

The COVID era reminded me that most people usually do not profoundly look at themselves even though it’s what they would profoundly want. Why such a seeming contradiction? The religions-exercise Around 80% of people on the planet believe in a conceptual religious phenomenon — for instance, some God with a name or a face or Read the full article…

Levels of Abstraction in Humans and A.I.

Humans are masters of abstraction. We do it spontaneously, thus creating an efficient mental environment for ourselves, others, and culturally. The challenge is now to bring this to A.I. Abstraction = generalization Humans (and other animals) perform spontaneous generalization. From a number of example objects, we generalize to some concept. A concept is already an Read the full article…

What is Common Sense?

Common sense is, by definition, supposed to be sensible as well as common to most people. When trying to bring common sense to A.I., it becomes clear there is more under the hood than just a humming. Toward developing A.I., it’s imperative to listen intently to the humming. In Dutch (my language, spoken by a Read the full article…

Popperian vs. Kuhnian

Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn were two heavyweights in the thinking-about-science of the 20th century. Popper saw scientific progress as a gradual drifting. Kuhn added to this a sudden shifting — as in ‘paradigm shift.’ One can broaden this dichotomy to thinking in general. Many people are continually inclined, in their thinking, to go from Read the full article…

What’s it Like to Be a Bat?

This is about the ‘hard question of consciousness.’ Some argue this will never be solved. In his 1974 article, “What is it like to be a bat?” Thomas Nagel argues that conscious experience is subjective and can only be known from that perspective. We might imagine what it would be like to hang upside down, Read the full article…

Three Reasons for a Guiltless Future

Guilt is as much an illusion as is the omnipotence of mere-ego within one’s mind (total self). Humanity is traveling toward the evaporation of both – joint – illusions. Great, but meanwhile, the path is challenging. You might read about how responsibility can replace feelings of guilt. See also the story of ego. The tip Read the full article…

Forward-Forward Neur(on)al Networks

Rest assured, I don’t stuff technical details into this blog. Nevertheless, this new framework lies closer to how the brain works, which is interesting enough to go somewhat into it. Backprop In Artificial Neural Networks (ANN) – the subfield that sways a big scepter in A.I. nowadays – backpropagation (backprop) is one of the main Read the full article…

Sequential Problem Solving with Partial Observability

My goodness! Please hang on. Against all odds, this may get interesting. Besides, it’s about what you do every day, all day long. This is also what many would like A.I. to do for our sake. Even more, it is what artificial intelligence is about. Contrary to this, what is called A.I. these days is Read the full article…

About ‘Goal’

Having a goal is about intentionality, purpose, free will, and, eventually, consciousness. A meaningful goal is one of the most important assets of any living organism. One can talk of an instrument‘s goal. The goal of the hammer is to get the nail into the wood. But this goal-talk is only metaphorically speaking. The instrument Read the full article…

Does Anxiety Dictate Society?

Unfortunately, it does so to a considerable degree all over the world. Much of what seems barely understandable becomes clear from this viewpoint. For instance: Why bullying is and remains so rampant at schools, organizations, politics, religious environments, etc. Why many people use their precious voting rights to vote against their own interests ― no Read the full article…

Agents and Expected Rewards

This is a story from expectation to motivation. Any motivation is eventually the expectation of ‘reward,’ be it a concrete one or more abstract; be it deeply value-based or more superficial. The simple case looks like conditioning. You may read first about what agents are. An agent acts upon a reward by learning from it Read the full article…

More about Rewards (also in A.I.)

A reward is a nudge – with more or less lasting result – into some preferred direction. Anything can be experienced as a reward. Thinking about it as a pattern within a broader pattern is clarifying. Pattern recognition and completion (PRC) Seeing rewards in the context of PRC, a reward is always just a part Read the full article…

Rewards or Value?

Are people driven more by direct rewards or broader value? Should A.I. be driven rather by one or the other? What about end values? Zero-sum values These are nothing but the sum of individual rewards. For instance, one earns tokens on several timesteps. The eventual zero-sum value is the sum of all tokens earned ― Read the full article…

What is an Agent?

An agent is an entity that takes decisions and acts upon them. That is where the clarity ends. Are you an agent? The answer depends on the perspective you decide to take. Since the answer also depends on who is seen as the taker of this decision, the proper perspective becomes less obvious from the Read the full article…

Moral Injury

Moral injury overlaps pretty much with PTSD. The difference lies mainly in ‘moral.’ The injury sprouts from an existential loss of ethical trust. Can people (in general or any individual) still be seen as ‘good?’ Moral injury comes with moral sensitivity. This comes with cognitive and emotional complexity, making human beings more prone to moral Read the full article…

Responsibility of Humanism in Modern Times

This responsibility has always been huge ― perhaps even more so in modern times with many essential changes happening, and probably even more (and more essential) to come in the near future. Humanism: the striving to put the total human being at the first place of importance, therefore not a god or religion, nor some Read the full article…

From Negative to Positive Mindset

There is no silver bullet, but two golden moves: toward and from an underlying condition that lies close(r) to the human core of deep motivation. For instance, from chronic anger to positive action See: from aggression to efficiency. The following drawing shows the two moves as hollow arrows: Energy? With this is meant here what Read the full article…

Aurelian Expectations

Well-oriented expectations can be powerful self-fulfilling prophecies. This is ancient wisdom and scientific fact. In profundity, they should be handled carefully and, most importantly, with good aim. (In this text, with ‘expectations’ is meant the kind that involves one also in-depth.) Expectation + (self-)deception = placebo Deception should never be used if anyhow avoidable. If Read the full article…

Workings of a Muse

Whether in poetry, visual art, architecture, or a new scientific theory, something happens in the creation process that transcends mere conceptual thinking. Many creators denote this as the workings of a Muse. My case When writing, almost always, I am more or less surprised by what spontaneously comes out, as if it’s not altogether me Read the full article…

From Boss to Burnout

It’s not about the amount of work but the amount of meaningless work. In contrast to a leader – let alone an Open Leader – a boss doesn’t take care of meaningfulness. That’s why they call him ‘the boss.’ Boss to blame? Not exactly. It’s not because one doesn’t take good care of something that Read the full article…

Costly Ego

Mere-ego is by far the most costly thing on Earth: annually, trillions of Euros, millions of human lives, and an unfathomable lot of human suffering through disease, war, and other mishaps. Moreover, it possibly leads to the end of the human species soon enough. See: The Story of Ego Unfortunately, this is no exaggeration. Also, Read the full article…

What is Non-Conscious?

With ‘non-conscious’ (not the Freudian subconscious) is generally meant: meaningfully mental processing ― not mechanical or straightforwardly reflexive. Brain and body For a long time, the mental has been confined (by me, for instance) to the brain, more specifically to mainly mental-neuronal patterns in the brain. More and more, however, we see that the brain Read the full article…

Is Your Wanting Yours?

It feels so mainly because one isn’t conscious of the many influences that eventually shape one’s wanting. But is it, and should it? Theory and practice In theory, if you count genetics to these influences, external forces shape and mold every wanting. This ends the concept of free will ― in theory. A way out Read the full article…

Inner Dissociation – Ego – Total Self

Inner dissociation is a wrongly perceived divide between – more or less – conceptual and subconceptual mental processing. Metaphorically, the dissociation lies between the ego and the total self. Reality is always more complex. Functionally In-depth, of course, the ego is part of the total self. Moreover, any conscious ego-element is engendered in deeper subconceptual Read the full article…

Rationality Contra Human Depth

For many people, rationality stands opposite to human depth ― a profound misunderstanding. This includes many scientists ― or even especially the latter. Difference conceptual – subconceptual This is a more relevant distinction. If we put merely conceptual versus merely subconceptual, we can talk rightfully about opposites. Of course, nothing is entirely the one or Read the full article…

Flower Power vs. Uniform Power

We may need both ― without exaggeration in any. Flowery power Each flower is different. Yet none grow into the ground. There is uniformity even in flowers. Nevertheless, many flowers in a field don’t take advantage of each other’s strength. One danger in being flowery is therefore that each flower is fragile and can easily Read the full article…

From Inside Out

What comes from the inside out makes you stronger ― Inner Strength. What is imposed (even by yourself) from the outside makes you weaker. What is ‘from inside out’? The outside is the merely conceptual side. ‘From inside out’ is the potential to grasp something without pinning it down on the outside. It starts from Read the full article…

Dealing with Hard and Weak from Gentle and Strong

Strong-gentle people may be extra challenged by hard-weak ones. It’s good to understand causes and consequences beforehand. Please read Weak, Hard, Strong, Gentle. Misinterpretations may make the dealing pretty challenging. A hard-weak person is defensive by nature. His whole environment and worldview are tainted in a hard-weak fashion ― therefore, very anxiety-provoking in many ways. Read the full article…

The Case of Whatever

Too many people live in an unfortunate state of inner dissociation ― possibly provoking anxiety and self-defeat. Meanwhile, they try to explain the unexplainable to themselves and others with whatever means available. Inner dissociation: as if anything mental is directly available to conscious control. How many people? In my experience, more than enough. Of course, Read the full article…

Goodness, Badness, and Ugliness of Ego

A good appreciation of ego is indispensable for attaining a better world in which ego plays its proper part ― no less, no more. One may think that one has gotten rid of one’s ego. Yet, in that very sentence, look who’s talking and thinking ― ego itself? Indeed, ego is a master in disguise. Read the full article…

Labyrinthine

Ancient Greek myths frequently have symbolic value ― being about what may happen in the deeper layers of the human psyche. The Minotaur, half man, half godly bull This beast – held captive in an elaborate maze or labyrinth by King Minos at Knossos – was fed with human sacrifices from Athens. The Athenian prince Read the full article…

Grief

This text is a somewhat objectified gauge of the depths of grief. Within this understanding, one may hopefully also better grasp it emotionally. Sure it hurts. Don’t let this text make it hurt less but, perhaps, differently. Impermanence of being Grieving over a deceased loved one is principally grieving over loss. The loved one has Read the full article…

To be Free is to be Meaningful

Freedom may be a feeling or a being. It’s about being able to do what one wants to do ― this is, what one finds meaningful, one way or another. Being compelled to act For instance, out of patriotism, one may feel compelled to risk one’s life in battle. This ultimate sacrifice is given in Read the full article…

Practicalities of Free Will

Free will is a term that stands for many concepts, and within each concept for a cloud of meaningfulness. That doesn’t make it practically less important. Terms and concepts Also, this doesn’t mean there are many free will’s. That would mean one can fight about what is the correct free will. Such fighting is done Read the full article…

Let the Real Consciousness Come Forward

Besides many definitions of consciousness, there is a distinction between consciousness as something very worldly versus something magical. What will it be? Consciousness as a functionality Humans have received consciousness from Mother Nature because the pre-conscious era evolved toward a state in which consciousness was gradually becoming an asset for survival. In this sense, consciousness Read the full article…

Anxiety Not Felt

Worldwide, people are anxious. This may have been the case for a long time, but it’s certainly the case now. Technological progress hardens the cause and consequences. A quote about felt anxiety [*]: Anxiety disorders, including panic disorder with or without agoraphobia, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, specific phobias, and separation anxiety disorder, are Read the full article…

The Freedom of Being You

People generally crave the feeling of freedom. Yet, a crucial misunderstanding may lead to a vicious circle careening into the reverse. You Being-you means being the one with your history, preferences, and other people’s influences upon you from childbirth on and even before. This is the you that can be free ― no other. This Read the full article…

The Challenge of Changing one Thought

The degree of challenge depends on the thought. Deeply embedded thoughts are more challenging to change. The difference between deep and superficial-level thoughts is crucial. Embeddedness Surface-level thoughts are more Lego-like. You can, so to speak, quickly take out one small block and put in another. Of course, there are no pure Lego-like mental blocks Read the full article…

The Humility of Being Infinitely Special

This is no ordinary kind of humility. Also, it is not about faking, nor is it coercion from outside or inside ― just genuine, spontaneous, infinitely special humility. ‘Infinitely special’ is so special it doesn’t matter anymore. You don’t need to strive for anything. You already got it. Have you ever felt this? If not, Read the full article…

How Doctors Think

Surprise! They think like everybody else. This is based on several articles, my own experience, and long-time interest in the topic. ‘System-1 and system-2’ This is the terminology of Kahneman: System-1 is the ‘fast thinking’ ― more intuitive if you like. System-2 is the ‘slow thinking’ ― more formal reasoning, hypothesis-testing. Nr. 1 is more Read the full article…

When You are the Instrument

Then you hear the sounds the universe makes through you. How can the universe do this? How can it not do this? In yoga With you as the instrument, you can let yourself go into yoga postures as gateways. Once you see this, you can also see that each posture is entirely important. Yet it Read the full article…

Insight = Change

Insight is not information. It is not merely conceptual knowledge. Insight is rather wisdom. Wisdom is yours. Your wisdom can never be mine. Therefore, I cannot give you wisdom. If I tried to push my insight into you, it wouldn’t be your insight. It might be inside you for a while, then wither like a Read the full article…

Subconscious is Dead. Long Live Non-Conscious!

‘The subconscious’ stems from the Freudian take that some conscious-like thing lurks in the mind behind a fence of repression, ready to jump forward or wreak havoc from behind the fence. Contrary to this, the non-conscious is just plain and hard modern cognitive neuroscience. Freud still engenders much resistance. Putting this in history, let’s go Read the full article…

Depth is Everywhere

Everywhere and nowhere. Depth is a characteristic of human mental processing. See: What is ‘Depth’?. Depth is how the brain works by default ― nothing special. See, for instance, The Poetic Brain. At the same time, we see a stark lack of depth in so many places and situations. The world is sleepwalking from crisis Read the full article…

Qualia

What is it like to be a human being who sees redness (or anything)? The difficulty in describing this lies at the core of ‘the problem of qualia.’ Since the Middle Ages, many philosophers, theologians (looking for the soul), and scientists (looking for the brain) have quarreled about ‘qualia.’ To this day, they haven’t agreed Read the full article…

Your Internal Voices

You can call the talking in your head, which is probably going on right now, your internal voice. With more than one standpoint, these are your internal voices. The mumbling of your mental-neuronal patterns The brain works this way: A continual neuronal activity – synaptical and otherwise – forms an aspect of your brain cells’ Read the full article…

What about Self-Control?

To some, a panacea; to others, a rather dirty word. Self-control is weird when one asks who controls whom in this. This weirdness leads to deeper insight. Crucial in many situations Criminal recidivists, sex offenders, psychopathic leaders, people with addictive thoughts and behavior… all these may be seen as in need of self-controlling their negative Read the full article…

Am I a Conscious Being?

It depends on the meaning of the term ‘conscious.’ Surely, I feel conscious, but that eventually proves nothing. See Qualia Philosophically “I am conscious; therefore, I am.” Not necessarily. There is a ‘me-being-conscious’ as a feeling, an experience. Thus, better said, there is a ‘me-feeling-conscious.’ Can one, from within this me-feeling-conscious, speak of a me Read the full article…

Suffering as Path to Enlightenment

This is no reason to seek out suffering for its own sake. Nevertheless, if suffering is present, it can be seen as an excellent occasion to continue one’s most valuable path. Any suffering, physically or emotionally What turns physical pain into mental suffering can mainly be regarded as profoundly emotional. In this wholeness of pain Read the full article…

Inside versus Outside the Poem

In challenging circumstances, not making a difference in either way can be catastrophic. We need the combination of rationality and depth to avoid this. The poem I consider ‘the poem’ as an analogy of anything poetic in art and even life. Anything mind-related can be seen from inside or outside this poem. Since the human Read the full article…

Modern Copernicus

We need a new Copernican revolution in which each person acts as a modern Copernicus within his own inner mind-universe. The historical Copernicus (1473-1543) placed the sun at the center of the physical universe instead of the Earth. Likewise, modern Copernicus places the deeper self – rather than the ego – at the center of Read the full article…

Patterns of Everything

Perception is finding patterns. So is thinking. The patterns are in what is perceived or thought and in the perceiving and thinking themselves. This text may seem difficult, but it becomes much easier if you take your time. [‘Patternist’ = related to patterns] Patterns are regularities in associations This way, anything we can see or Read the full article…

Neurophilosophy

Increasingly, there is no place for philosophy apart from knowledge about the mind/brain. Individual philosophers have always been most concerned with understanding their own minds, albeit with meager means. Meaning of life, origin of knowledge, definition of time, standard of morality, etc. Philosophy has been going on for a few millennia in East and West Read the full article…

Between Depersonalizations

A person is a dynamically evolving agent (volitional subject) with enough stability to feel like a persistent entity and enough flexibility to stay alive and thrive in changing circumstances, to ‘remain the same by changing.’ Thus, a person – living dynamic system – can depersonalize in two directions: toward too much or too little flexibility. Read the full article…

Aspects of Causality

Causality is one kind of correlation. What else? Quantum As is scientifically known, the quantum level exists and underlies everything above it, thus also causality. However, time flows in two directions without distinction at the quantum level. Only where it touches ‘our level,’ massive scale probability leads to one direction, which we experience as an Read the full article…

Are You Significant?

No, you’re not. Please keep reading. Sorry for giving you this starter’s kick. The meaning of being significant The term comes from the Latin: signum + facere = making a sign or mark. The wish for significance is about putting one’s mark on something, thus being important, influential, meaningful. The meaning of being significant is Read the full article…

Constructionism – Constructor – Construct

If there is a constructed reality, something or someone must be constructing this reality. This is not different for any socially constructed reality ― say, any culture or subculture in its distinctiveness from others. In philosophical (radical) constructionism, everything can be a construction, while social constructionism is just mind-related (sub)culture-sceptic. The former may lead to Read the full article…

Features of Subconceptual Processing

According to Subconceptual Processing Theory (SPT), many characteristics of our thinking should be traceable to this phenomenon, as indeed, they are. SPT is the self-consistent – at least – whole of theorizing about mental subconceptual processing. In the human case, this is about how neurons, synapses, molecules, etc., achieve cognition in a broad sense. Origin Read the full article…

Bias is Our Thinking

Human thinking is based on being drawn to some bias. Bias is part and parcel of human thinking. There is not only bias IN our thinking. Bias IS our thinking. This needs some explanation. The rabbit and the duck In this well-known illusion, you can see a rabbit (looking to the left) or a duck Read the full article…

Your Memories are Alive

Memories are living beings in continual motion. Not any memory is a replica of what happened in the past. No library We don’t have a library of memories in our head, nor a computer-like database in which one can perform a straightforward lookup of wanted information. Instead, we have a hundred billion neurons forming mental-neuronal Read the full article…

Deep Purpose

“He did it on purpose.” Maybe, but what is ‘purpose’? And an even more profound question: What is ‘deep purpose’? Complexity is needed for purpose. A jumbo jet is complicated but not complex. Therefore, a jumbo jet doesn’t have purpose. It can have A purpose given by those who use it. The jumbo’s so-called purpose Read the full article…

Is the Brain a General-Purpose Computer?

The brain computes, although not comparably to a present-day computer. As a computing device, it is general-purpose. Cortical wonders Scientists have found out that the neocortex – part of the brain where much of human intelligence happens – is much the same over its whole surface. Any neocortical patch can develop in a variety of Read the full article…

Comfortably Numb

In a fight between mere-ego and total self, being/staying numb can be the most comfortable option. I encounter this mindset frequently ― unfortunately, also in scientists. Please read first about mere-ego versus total self. Where’s the numbness? The numbness here lies in avoiding any fight by surrendering to mere-ego before the fighting starts. Even deeper Read the full article…

Maximum Clarity is not Optimal Clarity

Maximum clarity would be optimal if everything could be made totally clear. Since this is not the case, the optimum is not the maximum. Conceptually clear? This is how the term is mainly used by those who value rationality as something purely conceptual. With conceptual building blocks (clear arguments), logical rules can be applied to Read the full article…

Explorative Learning

Self-learning through exploration. This is a kind of reinforcement learning, but with specifically sought reinforcements towards efficient learning. Like a human child A child strives to get deep attention, which functions as reinforcement. The child does explicitly the things that lead to reinforcement ― such as by deep attention. Expecting this provokes activation of dopaminergic Read the full article…

Youthfully Sad

In a survey of 8000 high-school students between 2009 and 2021, the American CDC found the share of students with ‘persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness’ to have risen from 26 to 44%. This is confirmed by objective measures, such as self-harm, eating disorders, and suicide. Also, it’s not only happening in the US, but Read the full article…

Enemy Outside – Enemy Inside

I dare say that the former almost never goes without the latter. Unfortunately, it happens ubiquitously. In my view, this is not an innate human condition but a weakness. Imagine a person Imagine a person as a big bubble, and within that big bubble, there’s a small bubble. The big bubble is the total person. Read the full article…

Compassion and Subconceptual Processing

Subconceptual processing is core to the concept of Compassion (with capital) which is core to the entire AURELIS project. These are complex concepts Mind the difference between complex and ‘complicated.’ The above concepts may be simply put, yet very challenging to fathom and even more to realize. Compassion, basically, brings together domains that seem pretty Read the full article…

The Value of the Individual

Since the world is becoming a village, and people (many individuals) need to live together in this village, we should tackle this issue urgently and adequately to keep things viable. [I’m not an expert in cultural science. This text contains some self-made insights, which I can easily debunk with counterexamples. So, this is an unfinished Read the full article…

About Feelers and Feelings

Please let this text sink in a little while. If you get it, it may make you more flexible. To have or to be? That’s the question. In mind=body unity, the human being can be seen as a body or as a set of many mental entities, including what we generally call feelings  – such Read the full article…

Boundaries of Fluidity

Mental fluidity makes life interesting. It provides the ability to grow as a person, discover and enjoy universes inside, and realize them in many ways. But there are boundaries. In-fluidity One may speak of a healthy kind of mental inflexibility, supporting consistency over time and workable behavior that the community may appreciate. It gives predictability Read the full article…

Why is Human Depth so Absent?

Of course, it isn’t absent. Each human being has immense depth inside. Therefore, the question is why it doesn’t show in many circumstances. People don’t live by it. You might want to read ‘What is Depth‘ before proceeding. ‘About which one cannot speak.’ I described this before as inner dissociation’ and basic cognitive illusion. It Read the full article…

About Dukkha (Suffering)

Central to Buddhism, from early on – and even somewhat earlier – is that dukkha (suffering, stress, fundamental unsatisfactoriness, dis-ease) exists and can be alleviated. Buddha showed a way to do so; I show two. The flower bud You find this metaphor as the first one in my e-book nr. 2, a collection of 12 primary Read the full article…

The Importance of Subconceptual

It may be invisible and even – consciously – unthinkable. Yet, it is there 24/7, being who you are. It’s vital in every human endeavor. The subconceptual is about how the mind works intrinsically. Looking at your thoughts, such as right now, you may have a much more conceptual impression. It seems like any thought Read the full article…

Goodness – it Exists

This is fundamental for a promising future, even though there has been no consensus on the matter for centuries. Are people intrinsically good or bad? This question has engendered huge discussions over many centuries, with much animosity involved. Both sides have seen moral depravity at the other side. Science, too, hasn’t very well answered the Read the full article…

Is A.I. Dangerous to Human Cognition?

I have roamed around this on several occasions within ‘The Journey towards Compassionate A.I.’ (of which this is an excerpt) The prime reason why I think it’s dangerous is, in one term: hyper-essentialism. But let me first give two viewpoints upon your thinking: Essentialism: presupposes that the categories in your mind – such as an Read the full article…

The Sense of Creativity

We need to be creative to feel alive. The shortest history of creativity In ancient Greece, artists were not seen as creators but imitators [as to Plato, in The Republic]. However, the Muses were seen as mediators of inspiration from the gods, and Socrates had his famously creative daemon. Later came Christian inspiration as divine, Read the full article…

Ego Bubble

Being stuck in an ego bubble doesn’t make one a wrong person. However, it hinders any personal growth. Growing the bubble is just aggrandizement of ego. A starters From the start of a new bubble, there is competition in the attention this little one gets from the mother figure. At first, the competition is vague. Read the full article…

Do not Thought-Control the Children

Molding children to the image of (molded) adults should be something from the past by now. Especially in an ever more complex society, children need much Inner Strength, which they can only grow by themselves. Another brick in the wall This 1979 Pink Floyd song was written as a protest against overly rigid schooling that Read the full article…

Depth by Invitation

Indeed, by invitation only. One cannot coerce depth as one can superficiality. What is ‘depth’? One can invite, and invite, and invite. Eventually, a genuine invitation is always at first an invitation of the self, a self-invitation, like giving a suggestion to yourself ― an auto-suggestion, of course. That didn’t take long, did it? Even Read the full article…

How to Change an Opinion

Including yours. It’s not as easy as just putting facts together. Opinions are recalcitrant, and rightly so. Here are some insights to make it more ethical and doable. Phenomenal importance People cooperate with each other – in the immediate environment and worldwide – from a state of having congruent basic opinions. For instance, the opinion Read the full article…

Eigenangst

This is the fear of the own deeper layers of mental processing. It’s a powerful direct driver of many negative happenings at the macro and micro scales in the world. ‘Eigenangst’ is a German neologism (by me). I encounter its meaning in the indefinite sound of it. Without conscious awareness One is not consciously aware Read the full article…

Who We Deeply Are and Why it’s Crucial to Know

I don’t want to be a scaremonger. But I’m scared, and I intend to monger until the direction is of utmost clarity. From Afghanistan to the world Yesterday I saw Mahbouba Seraj talking on a program about the situation in Afghanistan. She’s a famous women’s rights activist, and she was talking about this. But I Read the full article…

Autosuggestion: So Little, So Much?

In a culture bent on crudely decisive action, subtle autosuggestion is frequently disregarded. Yet, in the end, it may be more effective than anything else, in positive and negative ways. Subtle dance Did you ever look at a couple dancing the tango while asking yourself how they can make such complex movements together? There is Read the full article…

40. The Tough Concept of ‘Acceptance’

‘Acceptance’ has two different meanings. One leads to helplessness. The other leads to self-sufficiency. Once it was commonplace: People had to learn to accept chronic pain (and suffering in general) by the will of God, willingly or unwillingly. People had to ‘learn to live with it.’ In an era where there were no painkillers, people Read the full article…

Vincent

Details It’s not easy. You might look at the stars and see them and see they are alive. You might look at people and flowers and see them. You might look at pain and see it. You might feel like a rabbit in an empty hall. You might create something when you’re inspired and feel Read the full article…

Letting Yourself Go

To many people, this is a tricky part of meditating or any meditative exercise. Nevertheless, it is crucial. Without letting go, there is only a staying put. Involved in properly ‘letting go’ are depth and rationality. Meditative stance Without the big endeavor to meditate oneself into nirvana, a meditative stance is an everyday life way-of-being Read the full article…

Collision versus Overlap

This is about two ways of being a human being, as an individual and a social being. It goes all the way from deep inside the brain to the ordering of society. Collision: from the outside, entities clash with other entities. Overlap: Entities learn to know other entities from the inside without losing themselves ― Read the full article…

Fate

Accepting one’s fate may be very beautiful if it comes from deep inside. Any other kind is worth little. An animal runs away from a predator. The predator grabs it. The animal struggles and dies. It all happens in a short time. Until the last moment, there is little question of fate as far as Read the full article…

Beware of Positive Thinking

This is part of my book Your Mind as Cure – Autosuggestion for Everyone. The movement of positive thinking (if one may call it that) was popularized by Vincent Norman Peale (1898-1993). Peale was a Christian minister and a prolific writer. The Power of Positive Thinking is his most widely read book. It was first Read the full article…

What is ‘Depth’?

An AURELIS coach always reaches for depth in his coaching. There is an ongoing commitment to depth. Superficial – deep We talk about ‘superficial’ versus ‘deep’ attention, or ‘superficial’ versus ‘deep’ meaning, or ‘superficial’ versus ‘deep’ emotions. And of course: in the syllabus, you continually encounter the term ‘the deeper self.’ So what is depth? That Read the full article…

Revenge = Dissociation

The feeling of revenge needs to be taken seriously in order to transcend it. What has been lost should be restored ― in a different way. Revenge results from the feeling of having lost something. Something has been taken at the meaning level. Revenge is not about the thing itself but the meaning. What one Read the full article…

Concretely

This may not be the most accessible text for some. It’s a short invitation to think abstractly about concreteness ― its importance and possible pitfall in matters of the mind. The general idea of this text in five bullet point We have a natural propensity towards concreteness. “Animals don’t philosophize.’ On the positive side, this Read the full article…

Conceptual Landscapes

A conceptual landscape is a diagram containing a set of concepts ― principally unrelated to terms. This diminishes terminological bickering and heightens clear thinking at the conceptual level. A few examples on blog: [see: “Landscape of Empathy“] [see: “Triangle of Therapy“] [see: “Triangle of Religion“] Terms Of course, terms are used to denote the concepts. Read the full article…

Rational versus Conceptual

The difference is crucial yet frequently neglected. Any rationally minded person should find this of utmost importance. Western enlightenment tends to find rationality in exclusively conceptual thinking. Of course, in nothing does reality give the guarantee that it can be caught in mere concepts. This is only about human beings thinking so. [see: “About Concepts”] Read the full article…

Speak to Ego and You Form Ego

Ego is locked in itself, in the ‘prison’ that it is itself. It seems like you need to free something from itself, but you can’t. Address total self, and you’ll form total self. It can be very annoying if you want to speak/act/be from your total self and people talk to you repeatedly as if Read the full article…

Lightbulbs and Human Energy

Please read first [see: “Dimming the Lightbulbs“] You can also view the image of the lightbulbs from a different angle. That is: the underlying glow of the lights is ‘human energy,’ or motivation, deeper and deeper as you enter a more meaningful and vague domain Where does the ‘glow’ ultimately come from? You may say: Read the full article…

Dimming the Lightbulbs

Imagine a large number of tiny lights as a kind of lightbulbs scattered in a room. These lights represent the purely conceptual thoughts in a person’s mental landscape. This is conceptual thinking that also thinks about itself in a similarly conceptual way. In other words, this is ego-minded consciousness. Also, imagine gleams behind the bulbs (or Read the full article…

Banned from the ‘Garden of Eden’

EVERY feeling of ‘being sinful’ is the translation of a feeling of not opening. See the flower bud metaphor in e-booklet 2. Inner Dissociation The Biblical original sin lies in ‘eating the apple,’ this is: reaching a state of self-consciousness and therefore also seeing oneself, one’s nakedness. But at the same time, it also lies Read the full article…

Emotions and Consciousness

An emotion is, of course, always important. Yet, there is a whole gradation between ‘superficial’ and ‘deep.’ Deep as being what has more to do with more of you. But what this actually means is quite subtle. [see: “What is ‘Depth’?”] You can be aware of an emotion, but you cannot evoke an emotion with your consciousness alone. Read the full article…

Detachment

A major misunderstanding that must be put to bed in the (Western) world: ‘detachment’ is NOT the having of control over one’s feelings and emotions, nor is it the loss or not having of feelings and emotions. “The detachment of a stone is not that of a human.” Having the ability to show some detachment Read the full article…

Not the Winning, but the Striving

In full-hearted striving lies the true valiance. Never-ending, no frustration, just going for it. Not the winning, not the contending One can strive and fail. Then strive again and fail again. Is this a failure? In my view, not necessarily so. It becomes a failure when the striving is done half-heartedly. The striving ― to Read the full article…

The Real Enemy is Inner Dissociation

Looking at the present, one may be very optimistic or pessimistic. Many see ‘the other side’ as a source for pessimism. However, to what degree may the other side be related to one’s own inner side? [Matthew 7:3] “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention Read the full article…

Principles of Being an Intelligent Being

Strange times. We are living at the borders of old and new intelligences. We’ll need some agreement in seeing what it’s about. Intelligence is in the eye of the beholder. Definitions of intelligence abound. Therefore, it is better to start from the really basic, where it can be hardly even more basic. There, it’s the Read the full article…

The Poetic Brain

This view hasn’t been pretty widespread in the past. It may be so in the future. Our brains are made for poetry. The deeper one delves into neuro-brain-stuff – maps, neurons, dendrites, synapses – the more it’s at risk of becoming viewed purely materialistically. Indeed, in the end, even a painting of Goya is nothing Read the full article…

The Zen Master and the Samurai

A story from ancient Japan. A samurai approaches a Zen master with the question: “Your honor, people say that you are amongst the most enlightened masters currently alive. I came to you, especially from the other side of the country. Could you, please, give me some clarification about a question that has kept nagging me Read the full article…

Freedom + Direction = Invitation

A perfect equation in both directions. This lets one better understand ‘invitation’ and put it into practice. Direction without Freedom This is coercion, one way or another. Literally without any freedom, this would amount to mental incarceration ― the end of life to any mind-ful organism. The lack of freedom may be hidden to the Read the full article…

Predestination – Karma – …?

Different cultures, different takes on basically the same. Small glossary Predestination: Christian (mainly Protestant) belief that God has predestined the salvation of some and not others, or even all that will happen. Karma: Hindu belief that all of one’s actions together in this and previous lives predestine one’s future fate. Non-conscious processing From an AURELIS Read the full article…

Inner vs. Outer Change of Patterns

This is about mental-neuronal patterns. Although this term speaks of recent scientific insights, the known relevance is age-old and ubiquitous. It is also a basic choice for the future. All in the mind? ‘Inner vs. outer change’ is not about what happens inside or outside of one’s mind, but inside or outside of individual mental-neuronal Read the full article…

The Meaning Crisis

This is probably the most meaningful of all crises. Yes, surely. Please read about ‘deep meaning,’ which is meant here. [see: “The Meaning of Meaning“] People hold on to meaningfulness. Understandably, why would someone do anything? Because there is a ‘why,’ therefore, a meaning ― agency ― life. So much more concerning deep meaning. Without Read the full article…

Depth of Belief

Eventually, deep belief is always stronger than the superficial kind. Unfortunately, it is not always validated. This situation leads to many huge tensions that can only be resolved through its validation. What is ‘to believe’? It’s one of those concepts that seem straightforward until you start to think about what they actually mean. “I’m not Read the full article…

The Responsibility of Mind-Science

Call it psychology, including psychotherapy. The responsibility is huge. Making the world go ’round? In many fields related to the human mind, the world is going increasingly square. Superficial roundness in such a circumstance is hurtful to many people. Therefore, outward solutions – basically making people feel comfortable – are not enough. The answers to Read the full article…

Are You Your Thoughts?

This may be the question on which the answer depends most upon the question itself. Who is asking? Conceptual / subconceptual Time and again, what reaches consciousness is pretty crystallized (conceptualized). Therefore, we have the continual illusion that the concepts start as such where they come from. In reality, it’s a very different world. So, Read the full article…

Words don’t Matter

Words are things. If not imbued with life, they are like water that flows to the sea on an eternally lifeless planet. Concepts matter. Emotions matter. Depth matters. Beauty matters. Culture matters. People matter. Life matters. Words don’t matter. They’re just letters, one after the other. All the above matters within words ― not the Read the full article…

From Mirror Neurons to Mirror Brain

Seeing the brain as a ‘mirror brain,’ we can see how empathy plays a crucial role in many things mind-related. Empathy is not an add-on. The human thinking is basically empathic. This is an excerpt from [see: “The Journey Towards Compassionate AI.”]. (This blog text is no easy reading.) Some researchers see mirror neurons as Read the full article…

What about Conscience?

At first, I see conscience as part of the ‘natural you.’ Then it can become occupied by cultural rules and regulations. The way one handles this can be either Compassionate or precisely not. This is an excerpt from [see: “The Journey Towards Compassionate AI.”]. Conscience as a concept is – don’t be surprised – hard Read the full article…

Insight is a Path

The way one reaches an insight is at least as important as the insight itself, viewed as an accomplished piece of knowledge. This is highly important in many situations. Please read [see: “Insight is Not a Supermarket“] Close to wisdom As I use the term, insight is more than just an intellectual idea. It always Read the full article…

Always Avoidance, Always Attraction

From bacteria onwards, life has been about avoidance and attraction. This is still the case within the human being, including the mind. Depending on this, we heal or become sick. The mental-neuronal level As neurocognitive science increasingly shows, our ‘universe inside’ contains a myriad of mental-neuronal patterns. [see: “Patterns in Neurophysiology“] These are activated and Read the full article…

I Want to Do in Group

This may be the most fundamental motivational sentence. David McClelland’s motivation theory This is arguably the most prominent motivation theory. It suggests three basic needs for anyone: the need for power, achievement, and affiliation. Many see in this distinction three different personalities, promptly dividing people into three classes: a) those mainly bent on power and control; Read the full article…

The Post-Postmodernist Brain

“because your experiences are unique, so are the vast, detailed patterns in your neural networks. Because they continue to change your whole life, your identity is a moving target; it never reaches an endpoint.” [1] This is a quote from a recent book on neurocognitive science. The book (and author) is top-notch in this domain. Read the full article…

Competence vs. Comprehension

We don’t usually make the difference between competence and comprehension in anything that we regard as under conscious control. That may be wrong in many cases and, at present, increasingly dangerous. Competence, comprehension Competence is about what an agent can do. Comprehension is about the understanding of this agent concerning his own doing. To what Read the full article…

Apollonian – Dionysian – Odyssean

In therapy/coaching and in everyday life, one may be more Apollonian oriented or more Dionysian, or see it all as an adventurous journey. Nietzschean dichotomy Nietzsche used ancient Greek mythology to characterize two different mindsets in culture, art, and individual: Apollonian: more orderly, yet illusory and socially constructed Dionysian: more passionate, at the same time Read the full article…

Problem- vs. Growth-Oriented in Mental Issues

This may lead to diametrically opposed ways of being and many misunderstandings. As a mindset. All of us continually encounter issues, from minor to life-size. This way, there is ample occasion to practice in seeing them either as problems or as invitations to grow. Problems may lead more generally to stress; invitations to positive challenges Read the full article…

The Brain as a Predictor

Contrary to the impression that the brain runs behind its environment, passively capturing, then trying to influence it, the brain works much more as a predictor, using input from the environment mainly as feedback to its predictions. Please read: [see: “Patterns in Neurophysiology“] Brainy patterns ― Pattern Recognition and Completion (PRC) A neuronal/mental pattern is Read the full article…

About ‘Intelligence’ (in A.I.)

At the brink of a new intelligence, it’s crucial to know what we’re heading towards. Seriously trying to clarify the concept may help. Many intelligences Whether knowledgeable or not, many people try to answer the question of what exactly is ‘intelligence.’ Needless to say, popping up are many different answers. This should not deter anyone Read the full article…

The Basic Denial

Not seeing though an obvious illusion is one thing. Not wanting to see despite immense mayhem for countless people is different. Basic cognitive illusion This is: not consciously reckoning with non-conscious, subconceptual mental-neuronal processing. [see: “The Basic Cognitive Illusion”] This illusion is debunked by a lot of scientific data. For instance, [see: “The Post-Postmodernist Brain”] Read the full article…

Being Critical is Not Being Closed

I’m rarely on it like this, but I think this piece is really of the utmost importance for an AURELIS coach. With this, it stands or falls. It is therefore advisable to read this text very carefully several times. It is not devoid of subtlety. Try your best not to misunderstand. Talk about it openly. Read the full article…

Empty Boxes

soon

Explosion of the Heart

Nothing changes, and nothing is the same anymore after such individual experience. An open landscape may emerge for all to be one. Peak experience Maslow called it a peak experience, but, indeed, it is an explosion of the heart. It can happen in very diverse circumstances. We’ll see three examples. An explosion of the heart Read the full article…

Two Extinctions

A recurrent maladaptive behavior, thought, or feeling can gradually diminish in two ways. Either it entirely disappears, or it dissolves. There are differences in path and endpoint. About extinction A mental ‘problem’ is usually recurrent. That’s the reason why people search for help, including professional help. In one word: therapy (or mental coaching). ‘Extinction’ is Read the full article…

Inner Friend or Foe?

One can treat one’s inner being as a friend or enemy. It’s good to make this an explicit choice. It’s too important to let it be a choice imposed upon you. People are not conscious of their non-conscious mental processing Yet, the science in this is unequivocal. The inner, non-conscious mental life of a person Read the full article…

Change is a process

Especially meaningful change, which is the change that is, well, most meaningful, thus most important. Insight into the brain/mind is essential to understand why. We are not some software in some hardware. I hope this is obvious to you. The reason is that we are complex organisms. [see: “You Are an Organism, Not a Mechanism.“] Read the full article…

Can Mind Change Matter?

Let’s take it philosophically today. That brings us to what is called ‘philosophy of mind.’ Please read this first: [see: “‘Mind = Body’ Breakthrough“] Philosophy is like playing in the mind. Philosophers are like children ― no denigration meant to either, quite the contrary. In their intellectual playfield, philosophers have been thinking about the mind Read the full article…

The Water and the Jug

Constructionism in a poem. Please read [see: “Constructionism“] But let’s start with the poem. Form of water The form of water in a jug is the form of the jug without jug. But without jug the water flows away immediately spontaneously. ▪▪▪ The form of content in form is the form of form without form. Read the full article…

Mental Patterns Change through Autosuggestion

This may even be the only way in which they can ethically and adequately change. There is a clear responsibility involved to do this as well as possible. Autosuggestion is the language that directly touches mental patterns. [see: “Patterns in Neurophysiology“] It is related to poetry in its metaphorical means, a meditative mental setting, and Read the full article…

Is Change Difficult?

Especially deep change. It’s a cultural thing to find it difficult. And so it is. Is it? Coaching is about change, one way or another. [see: “Coaching is everywhere“] Being a coach Your opinion as a coach matters in this. If you think change is difficult, then you risk conveying this to the coachee. In Read the full article…

Searching Stability

People want stability in meaningful depth, not therefore in things of meaning. Evolutionary Life itself can be seen as a search for stability amid entropy and chaos. With some complexity, along the evolutionary process, this search becomes a search for meaning as a natural quest. Life searches stability at the level of meaning. Animals are Read the full article…

The Non-Conscious is No Automaton

This insight is central to anything human-related. Two ways to ignore the non-conscious in human mental life These are by ignoring there is anything at all functionally, seeing it as something inactive by itself. In the latter option, the non-conscious is something like a meaningless automaton, an entity of levers, buttons to be pushed, and Read the full article…

Turtle Vagaries

If you think this is about you, you might be right. Even more, it is about you as total-person. Any ocean turtle sticks out its neck most of the time. Each time it does, it’s vulnerable. The wise turtle knows when to do so and when not. That is how it lives ― sometimes to Read the full article…

The Stream of Non-Consciousness

The conscious train of thought may appear like a self-propelling stream of consciousness. The reality is different, carrying immense consequences. The image before the thousand words Please read on. The image and a few consequences will become clear by the end of the words. Constructed vs. fundamental reality The horizontal line in the middle schematically Read the full article…

There is Soul in Suffering

With due respect, one should not try to eliminate all suffering most quickly and easily. Unfortunately, this indiscriminate stance seems to be precisely the promise of many products and services for sale. Please be careful with this. It can be easily misunderstood. This is not a glorification of pain. One should not seek it out Read the full article…

Importance of Spontaneity

Spontaneity is the stuff of autosuggestion and of nature. as in AURELIS. A suggestion comes with freedom and direction. [see: “Suggestion: Communication to the Subconscious“] I suggest you read further. You are free to do so if you like. In autosuggestion, the emphasis lies on ‘doing yourself.’ It is, in a way, even more spontaneous. Read the full article…

Causation in Humans and A.I.

Causal reasoning is needed to be human. Will it also transcend us into A.I.? Many researchers are on this path. We should try to understand it as well as possible. Some philosophy Causality is a human construct. In reality, there are only correlations. If interested in such philosophical issues, [see: “Infinite Causality”]. In the present Read the full article…

Is All Learning Associational?

Most probably. This is a domain where animal/human learning and A.I. learning can learn much from each other. Three forms of learning in A.I. Generally, learning in A.I. is divided into two distinct kinds, with a third one dangling in the appendix, referring to another book (*). supervised learning: training with specific input and labeled Read the full article…

Who We Are. What A.I. Can become.

In the near future, we will learn many exciting things in both domains. They will turn out to be very inspiring in both directions. “I think one of the big breakthroughs that’s going to come is we’re going to understand the brain… so that suddenly it all begins to click” Quoting Geoffrey Hinton, ‘godfather of Read the full article…

Into the Not-Knowing

It is good to know many things. It is also good – indeed necessary – to not-know. Without not-knowing, we are not going to have a bright future, as we have not made a bright present. Where the hyphen makes all the difference. Not-knowing is not about a lack of knowing. It is certainly not Read the full article…

Patterns in Neurophysiology

Mind-related concepts are not held by single neurons but by patterns of neurons. This is increasingly being visualized, carrying immense consequences. Neuronal ensembles (‘neuronal patterns’) The human brain is no clockwork. There is no database nor a collection of crisp, Platonian concepts. [see: “About Concepts”] There is no one concept present in one brain cell Read the full article…

Compassion and Constructionism

Constructionism shows the importance of not getting stuck in a constructed reality. Compassion ethically realizes this for the good of many. I write Compassion with a Capital because of its relation to the subconceptual. Depth involved Compassion encompasses a profound way of looking at people (and all sentient beings). ‘Deep’ in this means that the Read the full article…

‘Mind = Body’ Breakthrough

It’s time we learn to know who we are. ‘Seeing the thinking’ of some simple animals Here are some interesting videos from recent lectures by T. Sejnowski ― one of the most important researchers in the field, and whom I am following for thirty years as an inspiration to AURELIS. The videos are entirely fascinating. Read the full article…

Being Gentle, Not Nice

About becoming someone worthy in social context while staying completely yourself in a most humane way. Words, words, words. Forget for this text the meanings you usually give to the key words used in it. Let’s skip over them. What I mean will be much clearer if you let it be vague. Well, this way, Read the full article…

Constructionism

Is reality itself a construction? Not as far as I know. Within reality, however, life carves its specific domain. Within this domain, human beings especially develop their many constructions ― as diverse as incompatible. Some neurophysiology Neurophysiologically, more information goes from the brain to the eyes than vice versa. Multiply honored prof. Semir Zeki introduced Read the full article…

The Autonomy and the Meaning

To be autonomous. To be an individual. To be alive. Indeed, autonomy is needed to be meaningful, to be anything at all. Then, there is more. Let’s start with the beginning. To be meaningful, one needs individuality, autonomy. Any living being strives towards autonomy. A thing has no autonomy. Chaos has no autonomy. Within its Read the full article…

Fluid Minds, Brains, Bodies

Minds change continually. Brains change continually. Bodies change continually. According to the chosen viewpoint: with many overlaps or influences. We like to think of ourselves as solid. Daily life gives that impression. We don’t change a lot day after day. We can think of ourselves as we were yesterday or last week, last year, and Read the full article…

Fear of Dying

Many people are irrationally afraid of dying, even while they know they will not suffer when being dead. Many know they are irrational in this, yet they don’t know why, and keep being afraid. Every living being wants to live. Straightforwardly. Well, depending on what you call ‘wanting.’ Does a bacterium want to live? It Read the full article…

Why Do People Polarize?

Increasing polarization is going on in many parts of the world. We are seemingly not at the end of this trend. Needed is a growing awakening to who we are: total human beings. Different opinions Different opinions may see each other more clearly in the differences as well as in the similarities. They can inspire, Read the full article…

Faking Truths – Meaning over Facts

Why do people want to believe what they want to believe as if ‘truth’ is something that can be wanted into reality? 2020, the year of the truth? Hmm. We are rather in an era of untruth. Fake news, alternative truths, etc. The phenomenon is mounting. It will mount more with new technological possibilities. “Images Read the full article…

Complexity of Complexity – About Being an Organism

Is this important? Indeed, it has the direst consequences. For instance, in a Western democracy, comes COVID, the difference in outcome is hardly fathomable. Complexity We are complex creatures, being (almost) infinitely more than the sum of our parts. [see: “Complex is not Complicated“] That way, intractable things happen within us, and we don’t see Read the full article…

Projection – Why We See Mainly Ourselves

The way our brain processes information makes us interesting as well as robust. It also makes us vulnerable to projections and its consequences to health and society. Human vision Human vision is not a one-way affair. It’s a two-way affair. In seeing, more information goes from the brain towards the eye than vice versa. If Read the full article…

The Basic Cognitive Illusion

‘Basic cognitive illusion’: the fact that we are non-consciously motivated, but are not consciously aware of this (since it’s non-conscious). We also don’t consciously notice our brain in this. So, there are two levels between consciousness and the physical brain, which gives us the strong illusion of mind-brain divide. [This text is a part of Read the full article…

About Human Depth

Everybody knows it, and nobody knows it. It is nowhere and everywhere As a youth, I used to read a lot of ‘elite literature’ that costs almost nothing for what it’s worth, has nothing to do with how-to-earn-money, and everything with depth. The writers are frequently found in history books of literature. What they wrote Read the full article…

Gentle Strength

This world needs it more than ever. What? Strong gentleness. It is strong because it is gentle. It is gentle because it is strong. It doesn’t avoid gentleness. It doesn’t avoid strength. It’s not vulnerable. It doesn’t avoid vulnerability. It is sensitive. It feels what many issues are about. It listens and helps by being Read the full article…

Dawn of Opening Up

The times, they are a-changing into an era with many unforeseen challenges and possibilities. A.I. makes it even more so. One of the essential changes is a gradual Opening up of who we are as a human species, especially regarding the mind in its non-conscious presence. Openness in several domains As in AURELIS subprojects: Open Read the full article…

28. Motivating Crowds in Corona Times

September 26, 2020   Daily Total Cases worldwide 318,804 32,753,099 Deaths worldwide 5,818 992,978 A crowd is like an organism composed of organisms. If treated as a mechanism, it will not behave optimally, especially over time, especially concerning much-needed motivation. ►►►This is already crucial and will become even more important over the next six months.◄◄◄ Read the full article…

No Time to Waste on Subconceptual Processing

In many issues, with ‘no time to waste,’ we end up with no time at all. Wildfires One can be busy extinguishing wildfires and have no time to think about climate change causing these wildfires. Of course, the wildfires need to be extinguished. But with no attention to climate change, there will be more wildfires, Read the full article…

Non-Conscious Processing is Meaningful

What science shows is not always easy to cope with. Especially if it’s about ourselves. Especially about the deeper parts of ourselves. You cannot consciously decide what is meaningful to you. Dear reader, if this is new to you, then please don’t get too disconcerted. This is a small step – not even a step Read the full article…

The Message of Awe

Some experience it daily, others just sporadically. Everybody knows awe, yet it remains strangely elusive. Diminishing the elusiveness may detract from the mystery. It may also Open one up to even more depth. Awe cannot be coerced ― yet it can be invited. For instance, through the environment: the mountains, the sea, a sunset or Read the full article…

Anxiety

People who apparently feel little anxiety, quite often turn out to harbor a lot, arguably more so in Western cultures. The latter may seem so because it strikes me more. [See in AurelisOnLine: Anxiety] Anxiety, not fear Fear is conceptual. The object of fear is mostly well delineated. One can say: It is mechanical, directly Read the full article…

Weakness

Weakness is to be avoided. This doesn’t mean that everybody should become harder. Continua Many human features are lying on continua with extremes at both sides. If utter hardness lies at one extreme of such a continuum, weakness lies at the opposite. Still, being less weak doesn’t mean being harder. There is more complexity in Read the full article…

Respecting Bad Memories

Bad memories are meaningful to you. That is why something touched you and is still present in you. Respecting your memories is respecting you, also in your imagination. About Posttraumatic Stress, [see: “PTSD: a groovy kind of stress“]. You can go to your memory with a Compassionate stance. That is, you don’t want to hurt Read the full article…

You as a Symbol

The symbolic, as used in this text, is entirely the domain of the subconceptual. This is always present. Also, humans may always be symbolic to others. Please read first: [see: “Symbolism: How-To“] Many symbols. Each in-depth symbol is a symbol of you. You find yourself in anything that acts as a profound symbol to you, Read the full article…

If You Fake, Do It for Real

‘For real’ is like a very good mime, for instance. It’s fake and at the same time, it may be more real than reality itself. ‘Reality inside’ is more important than ‘reality outside.’ Then who is the faker? While faking, you may get closer and closer to full reality. Faking is in such case a Read the full article…

True Wisdom = Conceptual + Subconceptual

Western culture has lost a bit the sense of wisdom. Elderly people are foremost ‘passé’ in the sense of not getting the latest technological fad. Hm. Let’s appreciate true wisdom! Knowledge versus wisdom The difference is fuzzy, gradual. In ‘knowledge,’ the emphasis still lies in conceptual processing. From there, more and more subconceptuality may be Read the full article…

Strength as a Virtue

“Show your weakness.” OK? Virtue is not always related to plain strength. More than ‘showing weakness,’ isn’t ‘avoiding weakness’ not more virtuous? The etymology of virtue or virtuous: ‘characterized by moral excellence, valor, strength’ and also: ‘manliness, courage, bravery.’ In ancient Rome, virtus was mainly important as a male adornment. Vir is Latin for ‘man,’ Read the full article…

Consciousness & Communication

Why and how has consciousness emerged? One take on this: intra- as well as extracranial communication. Why = how Organic life is not the product of an engineer who starts with the question of why he should build something, then proceeds with how he can achieve his goals. Organic life evolves from instance to instance, Read the full article…

The Temporal Eye

In memory of a personal experience. Sitting at a bench looking over a field of grass and a pond. Trees in the distance. Sunshine. Late afternoon. Very relaxed. Becoming the trees. You may see this as a mystical experience. I do, if ever there is one. Being the trees. No difference between them there and Read the full article…

Looking for Meaning

Many bright people live in a world devoid of meaning. By avoiding the devoid, they even get more and more in a strut. How to get out? This is an important text to me… and to you, dear reader, for one plain reason: without meaning, there is no meaning… of anything. Meaning is related to Read the full article…

Poetry is Not the Absence of Rationality

Nevertheless, to many people, it seems to be so. I find this dangerous. It sets both against each other and precludes a nice being-human in full potential. [see also: “Rationality and Poetry”] Mistrusting ‘the expert’ Experts frequently bend on their rational stance to lend them authority to speak and even decide what others should do. Read the full article…

Be(com)ing Positive

It happens: people who see themselves as ‘positive’ but who are such only in a superficial layer, like thin ice over a pool. Being positive is not saying ‘yes’ to anything and then again, it is. But not thoughtless, not feeling-less. One can say ‘yes’ in many ways. It can mean “I see you”, “I Read the full article…

Feeling without Feelings

I am feeling. I am ‘without feelings.’ The science It may not seem so but this is actually the most scientifically sound way to look at feelings/emotions, backed by many studies, contradicted by none. One good book about this is “How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain” by Lisa Feldman Barrett (2017). Read the full article…

Human Brain: Giant Pattern Recognizer

The human brain does not process information in purely linear ways, like a serial digital computer. Instead of this, many things in the brain happen in parallel and coordinated ways simultaneously at many levels. No serial look-up Leaving any soul-stuff aside, people use(d) to think of the human brain as a kind of giant serial Read the full article…

The Modern Subconscious

“Consciousness is a much smaller part of our mental life than we are conscious of, because we cannot be conscious of what we are not conscious of. How simple is that to say; how difficult to appreciate!” (J. Jaynes 1976) From light waves to consciousness When looking at the world, we are consciously aware of Read the full article…

The Subconscious in Action

Subconscious processing is everywhere. It is the basis of any thought, feeling, action etc.  [see: “The Modern Subconscious”] Still, we don’t ‘see’ it in action because it is transparent, in the way that our eyes are transparent when we are looking through them… all the time. The below listing is an enumeration of just a Read the full article…

Inner Dissociation is NEVER OK

According to me, one can appropriately say that dissociation – that is: the absence of integration – is THE cause of human-concocted ‘evil’. [see: ‘Cause of All Suffering: Dissociation’] So, it’s never OK to say ‘OK’ to this. There is a responsibility of any well-thinking human being to oppose dissociation. Mind: not opposing ‘dissociated people’ Read the full article…

No Rationality without Poetry

Rationality without poetry (‘depth’) is meaningless. Moreover: it’s not even rational. Thus, better call it ‘rationality’ (between brackets). [see: ‘AURELIS USP: ‘100% Rationality, 100% Depth’] Rationality is not only about concepts Of course, conceptual thinking is of huge importance. No doubt. However, through correct conceptual thinking, one can arrive at its own limits: 100% conceptual Read the full article…

The Brainy Trinity

The ‘triune brain’ is a popular concept: reptilian – mammalian – human. Yet the brain functions as a whole. This has huge implications. Evolution, no engineering Evidently, a mechanically engineered brain would be very different from the organically evolved one that we may call ‘home’ in the most literal sense. We are organic. Any naturally Read the full article…

Being Kind

You are kind. You make people feel good. OK. This way they may have more opportunity to be kind to themselves. Why not? Pay attention though. And of course, pay attention to the attention itself because too much attention may stop all kinds of things that can only be themselves when allowed to flow freely. Read the full article…

From Placebo to Insight

… there should be a gentle slope. Not a downfall. (This text is not about what concretely is or is not a placebo.) Gentle slope – principle Many people do depend on their placebo, like a kind of crutch. To abruptly take this crutch away can have negative results: people fall and break another leg. Read the full article…

Depth is Formless Meaning

Forms are meaningless. Meaning is formless. You may like money or status But what really motivates you, is the liking. Money doesn’t mean anything by itself. Status doesn’t mean anything without your liking it. And eventually, you cannot consciously decide to be motivated. You cannot consciously decide to ‘like’. Try it if you, well… like Read the full article…

14. Is This Me, or Is It My Brain?

I use my brain, but who is ‘I’ without a brain? Is a brain an instrument of ‘I’? If this is the case, then is ‘I’ a kind of homunculus that is present somewhere in a separate box in the brain? In the Middle Ages it was thought that this was indeed the case. For Read the full article…

12. What Did Pavlov’s Dogs Know?

Who was being conditioned: the dogs or Pavlov? The premise of conditioning Conditioning counts on a simple perspective upon the unconscious, as a collection of mental reflex-arcs. A kind of black box between Stimulus and Response which is hardly worth the effort to be opened. So, in the world of conditioning, one does not bother. Read the full article…

Having ‘Control’ and Letting Go of It

I think of Jonathan Livingston Seagull (in case you don’t know him, long live the Internet). I think of wings. I think of a huge sense of freedom. Therein too lies control, be it of a very different dimension than in the phrase ‘I have everything under control’. It’s less evident. People do sometimes mind Read the full article…

Difference between Fear and Anxiety

Very briefly: fear is concrete – anxiety is symbolic. One can have fear of a lion just escaped from the zoo, or of the sound of approaching footsteps along a dark and lonely street in a strange city. The object of fear is always readily nameable. The fear itself is always readily relatable to by Read the full article…

Humility

Very important and also immensely difficult. It’s an exercise that may easily last a lifetime: ‘humility of ego’. You think that you understand what it’s about and at the same time you say ‘I’. ‘I’ know better than many others what humility is. Great! Humility doesn’t know itself. (How I know this? Well…) ‘Knowing yourself’ Read the full article…

Daydreaming: Time Well Spent!

We – almost – all daydream at least once a day, shifting our attention from the external world to internal mentation. This wouldn’t be so if not very important. Why? Using brain scans such as fMRI, scientist discovered the neural basis of daydreaming, being a set of brain structures which turn on in between cognitive Read the full article…

Group Thinking

The French term ‘pensée unique’ is frequently used for what is actually ‘pensée de groupe’ (group thinking). This is a human inclination with dire consequences but which can be overcome through proper support and personal effort. This is related to a quite natural human inclination. In many cases, your brain (thus: you) doesn’t readily like Read the full article…

A Symbol for the Deeper Self

Religions often find the use of symbols very important, not only in stories but also physically: using statues of wood or stone, special ‘sacred spaces’ with an altar, incense, and the like. There is also a community of people, who come together at certain times: these gatherings are ‘symbols’ too if they are meaningful for Read the full article…

Autosuggestion Changes Your Brain

Something that may hold someone back from really being able to put faith in  the influence of autosuggestion on the body, is the idea: psyche is abstract – how can this have an impact on the physical, concrete body? This is a question that’s on many people’s minds since long and probably many people will Read the full article…

Expansion of Consciousness

Curious how so many different worlds can live in one word People talk often about expansion of consciousness as something that is quite the opposite from what is my understanding of it. At the very least, I think, it is interesting to clarify this distinction. Because AURELIS is about expansion of consciousness from a to Read the full article…

Subconceptual Processing in Health and Healing (From My PhD Thesis)

People worldwide face enormous healthcare problems for which the more resources we focus on solving them, the worse they become. Many solutions give temporary relief, followed by further deterioration. [see About ‘Subconceptual’] Some examples are depression, obesity, psycho-somatic disorders and drug addiction. Looking at pharmaceutical drugs. In spite of the general view that these cure Read the full article…

Weak, Hard, Strong, Gentle

One picture’s worth In this picture, I put weak versus hard, whereas gentle and strong are rather pointing to each other. In many real-life situations, people put the two blobs in the picture against each other. They don’t want to be (A), so they fall into (B) or vice versa. I see in this an Read the full article…

The Distinction Between ‘Ego’ and ‘Total Self’ is Difficult to Grasp

… and it’s infinitely interesting (trying) to grasp it It can also fluctuate greatly. One moment ‘you have it’ and the other you lost it again Like the sun that is sometimes shining through the clouds. Knowing that the sun always keeps shining behind the clouds may give confidence. Sometimes one sees clearly the mote Read the full article…

The Story of Ego

The evolution from ‘I’ into ‘ego’ has been very gradual, as has been the appearance of consciousness. In a way, the latter is central to the former. [see: The Story of ‘I’. The present text is its continuation.] Consciousness has not been developed for the sake of ‘ego’. Nevertheless, it was indispensable for the appearance Read the full article…

The Story of ‘I’

Animals have an ‘I’ from the moment they know the difference between moving and sensing that something else is moving. In terms of evolution, this ‘I’ came way before ‘ego’. Say: some 700 million years before which is according to very subjective criteria of course. One could argue for much longer. Weirdness of ‘I’ Many Read the full article…

What is Not Coming from You, Flattens You

‘Flattens you’ in the sense of being apathic, without depth. E.g. suppose a mother gives kisses on a sore place and she continues to ‘mother’ the pain with superficial attention for a long time -> she sensitizes her child for pain by not learning it how to deal with pain from itself. The mother thinks Read the full article…

Meaning

Lots of people are looking for the ‘meaning of existence’. This seems feeble but this search is often crucial in many ways, even where it is not immediately clear. For example, whether or not someone experiences certain circumstances as negatively stressful (also at the work place), depends very much on an underlying sense of ‘meaning’: Read the full article…

Always Responsible, Never Guilty

The difference between guilt and responsibility is very important, yet frequently it’s barely acknowledged. You are guilty when having committed a crime. What is denoted as a crime may vary. Sometimes homosexuality is seen as an awful crime. At another time and place, it’s normal behavior. Crime does not exist without cultural definition. A set Read the full article…

You Are an Organism, Not a Mechanism.

The difference is relevant to every aspect of life. You are an organism, not a mechanism. Though this seems the most obvious insight, still we mostly act as if the reverse is true. Even the working of the brain used to be understood as some kind of hydraulic system with pressure valves and the like, Read the full article…

The Difference between Being Alone and Being Lonely

Being (= feeling) lonely is as much related to you as to your situation. Most of all, it is about a meaningful relationship with yourself. A person can be very alone, yet not feel lonely – and a person can feel very lonely, yet not be alone. The fact that this is possible, means that Read the full article…

70. A vision on mind

I think ‘vision’ has been interesting to me since I opened my eyes. Human vision of course. But later on ‘artificial vision’ too: how can a computer learn to really see the world? What does this mean : to see the world? Can one say that a camera sees the world? No, of course not. Read the full article…

You Are Free Even while Freedom Is an Illusion

Freedom has multiple aspects. In a previous post, I described how you can feel free [see: ‘In Defense of Free Will’]. While this is a nice feeling, are you indeed really free? A determinist says: no. Does determinism annihilate free will? Let’s define determinism for now as the idea that everything in the universe is Read the full article…

In Defense of Free Will

Free will as generally conceived, appears to be an illusion. This doesn’t mean that we ‘have no free will’. [see also: ‘You Are Free Even while Freedom Is an Illusion’] The notion of personal ‘free will’ is probably as old as humanity. Only God or some devil – or a witch – might interfere and Read the full article…

67. Why the subconscious is not a sub-consciousness

Since Freud, and actually quite some time before, much has been said and written about ‘the subconscious’, in one form or another. Even so, many people still deny its existence. But if it doesn’t exist, then… ◊◊◊ who is processing millions of pieces of visual information? who is continuously coordinating all muscles? where does inspiration Read the full article…

63 Why people laugh

… for one thing only. But please, read this Sticky from beginning to end. Don’t go peeping now. We will reach the goal just in time … ◊◊◊ As you know, people laugh for many things. Most people also laugh many times each day. No other animal does this. We are the best laughers of Read the full article…

58. Has anything meaning but meaning itself?

People are in search of ‘meaning’. It’s an age-old story. Males use to be more in search of the ‘meaning of life’. Females use to be more in search of the ‘meaning of living’. The latter being: the meaningfulness of everyday circumstances. ◊◊◊ Is one more real than the other? No. ◊◊◊ No, because actually Read the full article…

Are You Your Brain?

There is no simple answer to this question – but there is a very interesting one. Take the Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci. Let’s agree this is art. Now set it on fire. What remains are ashes. Yet nothing materially has vanished. The same atoms are present as there were in the Mona Lisa. Read the full article…

46. Is there life beyond conceptual thinking?

Here’s the picture. On the one hand, we think with or by way of concepts. A concept can be anything like <tree>, <grandmother>, <character>. It is not ‘this tree’ but <tree>. The concept of <tree> can be filled in by any specific tree (called then an ‘instance’ of the concept). The concept of ‘tree’ has Read the full article…

36. Mind is a whirlpool

In 1977, a compatriot of mine, named Ilya Prigogine, received the Nobel prize for his theories about ‘dissipative structures’. Aren’t we all proud of him! ◊◊◊ The core of ‘dissipative structures’ is easily explained with an example. Mainly, when one puts enough ‘energy’ into a system, then in certain circumstances a new structure may arise Read the full article…

20. The subconscious: dustbin or city of angels?

There are two very opposing views on matters of the subconscious. As the title of this text suggests, one is rather negative and the other, well, altogether more positive. ◊◊◊ Freud is exemplar for looking at the subconscious as mainly a kind of dustbin for repressed emotions and things that in one way or another Read the full article…

Kindness is strength.

One leads to the other – in both directions – kindness leading to strength and strength leading to kindness. Real kindness automatically leads to strength. To many however, kindness is seen as a weakness. Indeed, a person can show kindness out of fear of being treated himself in a non-kind way, or out of fear Read the full article…

About ‘Subconceptual’ (From My PhD Thesis)

The brain is continuously undergoing plastic remodeling through dynamically changing neural networks. This is about processing at the subconceptual level. [Please read first: ‘About Concepts’] Subconceptual processing (SP) deals with the way that we perform any mental action as seen in fine detail. Small elements (neurons, dendrites, synapses…)  in our brain act together to form Read the full article…

What Is Your True Self?

‘True self’ is the idea of an essence that resides in a person and that is ‘more true’ than other, more changeable parts. But is this truly real? People change with age, in body and mind. Especially at the surface, these changes can be quite visible. Then the question is logical: am I still the Read the full article…

1 Psyche and Soma, Two Sides of One Coin

‘Body-mind unity’: necessary vision for further scientific development of medicine. Psyche and soma and a lot of questions Psyche and soma: mind and body. They are both important, so we learn during our student years and also after that in and through practice. But how do we give to the psyche a proper place in Read the full article…

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