A response to Calude Rifat's Essay on Polythought

polycog: a polycogitans, a poly-thinking individual
monocog: a monocogitans, a mono- or linearly thinking individual

As I am reading through Claude Rifat's 5th major revision of Polythought, I have a very strong sense that something is missing. I did not get this sense from what Daniel Lapadatu and Dr. Mariella Szirko wrote, although they alerted me to a way of thinking that is not yet available to me. Re-reading Adrian van der Meijden's October 13th post, however, I think I have found the missing piece (missing to my mind) and I will present it to you.

First, Adrian wrote that "Language is basically linear, with its object - subject schema. ...Any polycog can understand another, no matter how wild the language. No monocog can, as far as I can figure. Language is a shamanic invention to discuss virtual realities, mimicked on the senses. ... The Simile A = B is our literal (interpretation of meaning?) and we are mistaught that only the literal is real. In effect none of them (interpretations) are *real*.  They are all imaginary.

"Numbers and letters are the left hand of darkness and the left hand of light. Numbers are fixed, quantitative units, letters are mutable qualities.  Between them they control imagination. What Claude got wrong is that he associated the monocog with a fixed condition when in effect it makes the condition fixed...."

Although I have shortened three paragraphs into two, I believe Adrian has identified both a problem and the process that causes the problem. The problem, it seems, is with what we consider to be our reality.

Mono-thinking 'fixes' or sets a linear, sequential reality where everything 'ends up' (or seems to be) rational, meaningful in an orderly way. When the full extent of language as well the polymodal capacities are used, reality is still imaginary, but not necessarily explainable to a monocog. This problem has been ever present and some people call polythought 'mysticism' and build great esoteric mountains around this process.

There are two matters I think that apply to this reality process:  categorical (or mono thinking, linear) analysis and developmental (poly-modal) observations:

1. A Categorical View of the 'Thinking' Process

Claude assumes that polymodality stops with 'thinking'. A cursory analysis of known brain-functions and their relationship to assumed states of consciousness looks like this:

 A.  When thinking takes place entirely in the left hemisphere of the neocortex, it is logical and follows a linear pattern. Linear thinking can establish parallel paths of logic on this level but remains sequential.  This type of thinking manifests as intellect.

 B.  A form of 'thinking' or cellular communication takes place below the level of human consciousness and is best defined as 'body-knowing'.  It is based entirely on the experience and survival-needs of the physical organism as a whole.  This level of thinking surfaces in the brain as instinctual knowledge or instinctual physical response (flight or fight).

 C.  There is a level of 'thinking' or sensation, experience and concept processing that goes on incessantly just below consciousness (other than the incessant 'stream of consciousness' people carry on inside their heads) and can be brought into consciousness through passive meditation.  This level is generally called the 'subconscious' and involves all four levels of the brain structure (sensory/motor, or old brain; emotional/cognitive or mid-brain, and the left and right hemispheres of the neocortex). The most likely manifestation of this 'subconscious' process is 'intuition'.

 D.  At some level, the brain seems to have the capacity of combining all three of the above processes into a truly polymodal system.  When this polymodal process reaches the level of consciousness, it manifests as 'intelligence'.  The main characteristic or identifying mark of intelligence is that it will prevent harm to oneself and also prevent harm to others.

I require a final distinction for this commentary between 'consciousness' and 'reality awareness.'

'Consciousness' is very likely the product of this constant interaction or processing of both subtle and gross frequencies of sensory and electromagnetic impressions that continually buffet and penetrate the human system. The combined response of instinct, intuition and intellect not only form intelligence, but perhaps consciousness itself.

In contrast, 'reality awareness' seems to be a person's single-minded focus at any given moment in waking time, a product more of the intellect in left-hemisphere dominant people, and of the intuition in right-hemisphere dominant people. States of mind during sleep does not come into this commentary.

To recapitulate this short analysis,

A. Intellect seems to be a control mechanism by which we human beings organize and categorize the world we are conscious of for our own benefit (and everyone else's expense, most of the time).
B. Instinct seems to be strictly a survival mechanism that is seldom brought into use in evolved cultures, but remains in the background nevertheless - just in case.
C. Intuition has been at war with intellect for several centuries now, as if fighting for its survival ever since Western culture has placed greater and greater focus on intellect and rational thought as the modus operandi of its civilization.
D. Intelligence, the biological urge to prevent harm to oneself and to one's environment, has been all but eradicated together with our survival instinct. It has been recreated as an intellectual abstraction called the 'win-win' linear interaction.

It is as if the Renaissance man has been replaced by the specialist.  Unmeasurable, unobserved human responses to the environment such as polythought, have been repressed, denied and rationalized away.  Fortunately, none of these linear arguments ("if it cannot be measured, it cannot exist") can expunge a human trait that every newborn child brings into the world without necessarily knowing about it.

To be fair, Claude correctly points out in his presentation that monothinking cannot be applied consistently [22].  He says that "monothought can give rise to mutually incompatible geometrical patterns."  I believe that is not enough. Monothought has been put to a singular use over the millennia, and especially since the European "Age of Reason" that has taken it beyond a mere 'brain-function' to a cultural utilitarian status. I believe I can deal with this shift in focus and how it has blindsided an entire culture (and, with globalization, an entire world civilization) to the multifaceted human body-mind interaction that produces polythought.

2. A Developmental View of the 'Thinking' Process

Both philosophical observation (Rudolf Steiner) and neurological research (Developmental Psychology) in the 20th century resulted in a consistent human brain development for at least least the first fourteen years of our lives. In gross generalities, a newborn child will focus most of its first seven years of life on a series of concrete operational thinking while it becomes familiar with the physical world into which it has been born.

While familiarizing itself with the concrete world, it also forms an abstract link through representations (naming things, imagination and imitation, etc.) until the child's abstract logic is opened fully by age 7 (or earlier) and then the child's focus shifts to abstractions based on its concrete experiences.  Interplay between these two left-brain functions, fully connected with imagination and intuition, will result in a creative, well-balanced individual.

I am not going to dwell here on what goes 'wrong' when the biological developmental process meets interference and resistance from parents and culture, when children are not allowed to get their hands or clothes dirty, or when their 'will' is broken by physical abuse. Rather, using the works of Joseph Chilton Pearce and Carolyn Myss, I am going to present a developmental model that clearly shows the human potential and the manner in which it can either be tapped or repressed.

The human body has a number of endocrine glands from the bottom of the torso to the top of the head. These are, roughly, the adrenals/suprarenals, ovaries/gonads, pancreas, thymus, thyroid/parathyroid, pineal and pituitary.  It is not by chance that these more or less correspond to the seven basic 'chakras' or power centers of the Hindu religions and Buddhist practices.

The developmental model assumes that the seven major endocrine glands correspond to the basic seven chakras and that each chakra takes approximately seven years to 'mature' or 'turn on'. Both Rudolf Steiner and Joseph Chilton Pearce have shown through their observations and research, respectively, that this approximate seven-year cycle applies for the first three developmental segments. Carolyn Myss takes the development of the chakras through to all seven cycles.

Cycle 1: Years 1-7, focus is on adrenal/suprarenal or 'base chakra'. Child 'learns' both physical reality and cultural belief systems by taking it all in. Child has no discrimination.

Cycle 2: Years 8-14, focus is on ovaries/gonads or 'second chakra'. Child learns to interact with both physical world and human beings on the basis of value and power. This stage ends with the full potential of sexual interaction.

Cycle 3: Years 15-21, focus is on pancreas or 'third chakra'. Adolescent develops an identity within as well as a sense of self-consciousness and a series of public personae. There is a biologically motivated need for a spiritual expression with fantasies of greatness. Adolescent needs a role model or guide to realize this potential within; otherwise, s/he will seek it in the outside world.

Cycle 4: Years 22-28, focus is on the thymus or the 'heart chakra'. The young adult examines and questions the contents of the lower three chakras.  Potential to reject one's acquired belief systems, modify competitive urges, adjust sense of identity. The 'Heart Connection' acts as a mediator between lower-chakra habituated responses and the developing upper chakra new realities.

Cycle 5: Years 29-35, focus is on the thyroid/parathyroid, or the fifth, throat chakra. The individual's potential to make choices and take responsibility for one's words and actions regardless of cultural pressures and public opinion comes into play.  In another sense, this is the time to listen to one's own voice and make it heard.

Cycle 6: Years 36-42, focus is on the pineal, or the sixth chakra, also known as the 'third eye', the enlightened mental world. The individual has the potential to 'see' the world as an illusion, yet have the knowhow to navigate through it. Here lies the potential to discover that the so-called psychic phenomena have a full biological basis.

Cycle 7: Years 43-49, focus is on the pituitary, or seventh, crown chakra.  The individual finds an identity as part of the Universe, as part of a greater whole. The body becomes a vehicle for the soul, both being full biological functions, and life itself becomes a potentially modulated internal power. Other individuals are regarded full co-creators. Conflict and competition completely wane. Death is seen as a transition to an ongoing electromagnetic signature.

Although these words and ideas may differ from those used by Carolyn Myss, she has a more complete treatment of each of these cycles in her book, "The Anatomy of Spirit."  Joseph Chilton Pearce also has a recent publication (2002) that speaks to this potential, "The Biology of Transcendence."

Culture plays a major role is thwarting the development beyond the third cycle. Most people become bogged down by settling on and internalizing a series of public personae. Others pursue their fantasy of 'greatness' through outside activities like sexual or military conquests, academic or religious degrees, financial or economic success, sports or entertainment limelight or political office. Rebels against the cultural mainstream are ostracized, emasculated, marginalized and sent to the fringe. People whose third and seventh chakra self-identity differ have difficulty accepting themselves and must 'belong' to organizations and institutions that give these individuals an identity, even if it is such an innocuous status as a 'citizen' or 'resident' of an artificially created country or nation.

Not surprisingly, after the first three cycles, very few cultures have a name for the next three cycles. Nevertheless, the completion of the seventh cycle produces a Crone or a Wise Woman among females, and a Wizard or Sorcerer among males, at least in European pagan traditions. Just look at our language and our cultural concepts to see how unacceptable it is, to mainstream culture, for an individual to fully mature into the upper chakras! Crones and Sorcerers have been denigrated for centuries, belittled in daily language and made to look totally unacceptable. It is our loss.

The loss is mostly to our polymodally rich world. There is a directly proportional correlation between an individual's cycle at which personal development atrophied and that individual's ability to function polymodally.  I don't have a mathematical formula to represent this correlation, but with the availability of each developmental cycle, one's polymodal potential increases with the multiples of the sum total of the available known brain and body functions.

The sad result is that we have fully grown men and women still competing like pre-teens, holding on to belief systems their parents stuffed them with during their first seven years of life, whose sense of 'fairness' and social justice is still that of an eight year old child. The lucky ones have developed their intellects and function as 14 year olds, their mono-thinking and their gonads and ovaries driving them from one liaison to the next.  There is a word we have for this phenomenon of monothought: 'one-tracked mind'. Those who are more self-disciplined pursue their goal-oriented lives with 'single-minded' determination.

Polythought, from the point of view of a monothinking, rationally oriented culture, is either irrational, pathological or unacceptable. At best, it is tolerated. Mostly it is denied or ignored. At worst, it is punished by institutionalization. There are precious few fully polymodal individuals among us, and if there are, most of us wouldn't recognize them. If we did, we would call them weird.  And yet, being polymodal is a fully biological potential for every one of us, as clearly shown in Pearce's research, "The Biology of Transcendence."

Go to the next essay, an expanded version of what you've just read Study how a human being, and in paticular the human brain develops 
Go Back to the THINKING Page Read essays on the Chakras