accrete - to add, join together, coalesce or fuse, as in the former accretion disk of our solar system. In this example, all the gaseous and rocky matter that didn't become our sun continued to rotate and eventually orbit the star. As the system cooled off, the rocky material bumped and clumped together, while the gas giants coalesced in the further reaches of the solar system. Planets and asteroids emerged from this remaining material. Such a process demonstrates accretion.
ad hominem - toward or against the person. Morris (1979) defines it as, "To the man; appealing to personal interests, prejudices, or emotions rather than to reason...." (p. 16)
aura - the energy field surrounding a living organism. It is most commonly experienced as radiant heat, although some people claim to be able to see it. Click here for a side dish.
cognitive dissonance - from Festinger, 1957. One experiences cognitive dissonance when he or she holds two ideas or beliefs, which in some way oppose each other. To give an illustrative example: What's a mother to do if her son starts stealing money from her purse? She loves her son...but what if she also hates thieves?
In order to "re-harmonize" her mind, she'll have to modify her opinions of thieves or of her son. If she's successful with changing her opinions of thieves, she can minimize the negative impact she feels from her son's behavior. Otherwise, could she possibly lessen the love she feels for her son? That would be unfortunate, since it would then wreak havoc on lots of other memcons!
[Perhaps the best solution here would be to modify her son's behavior somehow. However, it has been wisely noted that you really can't change anyone's behavior but your own. In order for the woman's son to "turn around", he would have to sincerely want to change his behavior, and be willing and able to do the kind of introspection which is often part of the process.
Finally, the term "dissonance" is usually associated with auditory perception. However, it does work well like this to suggest the mental phenomenology of this type of psychic discomfort.]
conceptual continuity - relates to one's mental malleability and the gullible -- open-minded -- skeptical -- narrow-minded -- closed-minded continuum with which one goes about perceiving his or her memcons into existence. The result of which is then called the conceptual continuity.
Perhaps the open-minded approaches to perception yield low conceptual continuity, while narrow-minded approaches yield a higher conceptual continuity.
continuum (-tinuums; -tinua; both are valid forms for plural designation) - this refers to "continuous dimensions". A continuous dimension is an event in space time, which exhibits uninterrupted change in a variable from one extreme to another.
A common example of a continuum is the manifestation of light energy. At one extreme is absolute darkness - the complete absence of light energy; at the other extreme is total brightness - the overpowering presence of light energy. Between these two extremes lies the continuum of brightness.
criminal - this term refers to a specifically defined group of behaviors (or omissions of behavior), that have been culturally declared unwanted or unacceptable, with regards to a group's standards of conduct.
Behaviors defined as impolite may bring forth mild social sanctions, intended to reshape the person's behavior to conform closer to the group's cultural norms. A prime example is the nine-year-old boy who burps loudly at the dinner table. He may then receive a sharp verbal reprimand from a parent.
Behaviors defined as criminal typically bring forth more serious sanctions against the individual.
dynamic psyche - this refers to what many people believe separates our species from other animals. It is the wellspring of human consciousness. A psyche is dynamic for at least as long as the person is alive.
Its composition includes one's fantasy-imagination, along with the cumulative effects -- including quantum effects -- that each type of memory may have on a person. In addition to that, the psyche performs or helps perform processes such as perception, recalling, thinking and imagining. In a way then, it is self-perpetuating -- it creates its own components.
The psyche is considered dynamic as it interprets and integrates (ie, Penfield, 1952a) information, consequently exercising influence on thought, feeling and behavior. [Author Note: I don't think you're supposed to use the term in its own definition! Oh well. I do assume some education on the part of my reader.]
entropy - a down spiraling; an increase in disorder or randomness. [Author Note: There are other definitions for this word associated with thermodynamics and computer science. Please look elsewhere for those.]
event - an occurrence or manifestation in space time. Hawking (1988) defines it as, "A point in space time, specified by its time and place....", p. 184.Interestingly, both a person and a tree are both occurrences and manifestations. A manifestation in that it exists in space; an occurrence in that it takes a long time to "play out". "Look here! This Redwood has been happening since before Christ was born!"
experiential memory - Similar to a snapshot, it is a neuronal organizational record of remnants from a person's experiencing. It consists of the person's perception-retention of events. Being hosted in neuronal material, however, experiential memory is also unlike a snapshot. It is somewhat dynamic, open to modification through subsequent learning and experience. (See also working through.)
Consider that over time, people develop a mental understanding of what a parent/friend/relative/wife/husband, etc, is -- and hence ought to be, when encountered. Therefore, if a particular event involves such roles, then the individual's expectations are typically colored by his or her understanding of the actual people who fulfill those roles in his or her life. (Transference and counter-transference are born!)
flashover - a sweeping event in the organization of experiential memories and consciousness. Since environmental and social interactions are vital to our individual survival, we must have a mechanism which assures that we will not follow an established idea or perception when our health and safety become endangered. Similar to "changing one's mind", flashover occurs quickly and perhaps completely. It may occur when an experience ends up activating a network of memcons, which are antagonistic with a person's current perception of reality.
frequency-intensity effect - you can get the same effect through either of these. Let me explain. You can flood a valley with the frequency of raindrops over a long period of time, or you can flood it quickly with the intensity of the breakage of a dam or levee. You can get someone to trust you with the frequency of words or with the intensity of overt behavior.
furor therapeuticus - an attitude marked by overly ambitious - almost frenzied - therapeutic work.
gestalt - this is the German word for "shape", or "form". It may have different connotations for those who use the term, but in the present work, something's gestalt is its absolute presence or existence. Drawing on the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, a gestalt is the sum of the parts along with any emergent properties which may then occur.
A good example of a gestalt is mind emerging from the brain. Nature assembles the various parts of the brain, the interconnecting neuronal tracts, adds biochemistry, etc., and conscious mind occurs out of the arrangement.
gravity - when used in the context of syntheory, this can refer to the significance of something, or the amount of emotional or psychic energy bound up in a memcon. If someone is very interested in something, he or she will "gravitate" toward that thought, object or activity. For specifics, consider the continuum-threshold effect -- a glossary item I still need to write.
Yet, as Rees (1997, p. 199) points out: "Gravity can be suppressed, however massive these constructions are, by making them distended enough." When brought to bear on humans, this statement refers to procrastination and "spacing out" [Slang].
heuristic - aiding in the process of learning, especially learning on one's own. Categories and maps are examples of heuristic devices.
humanology (Links) - the current author defines humanology as the scientific, whenever possible, study of humanity. It draws upon all of the existing theories of psychology as well as all of the known arts and spiritualities, while attempting to produce the perfect prediction of human behavior.
Once the theory of quantum gravity becomes established, however, humanology will hopefully become consumed by physics. In this light, I propose that until the official arrival of quantum gravity, "syntheory" be considered a bridge between humanology and physics.
(The term humanology itself dates back to at least the 1920s, when it was associated with phrenology.)
identification - when used with the preposition "with", it means to inculcate, or take on one or more aspects of people, a culture or processes as part of one's own subjective identity. law: to identify oneself is to make clear one's identity. This may involve providing full name, date of birth, address, etc.
individuation - the process of coming to perceive oneself as a separate and unique human being. At a basic level, this can be necessary for survival. One probably obtains an evolutionary edge by perceiving oneself as separate from one's environment. This perception focuses attention allowing one to operate more effectively in that environment. It is debatable though, whether a sense of individuality is necessary for the judgment of mental health! The merits of collectivism and individualism become apparent when one compares and contrasts "eastern" and "western" cultures.
information - information is a heavy word since it refers to so much. Information can be grand, as when it's a basic building block of bright and vital concepts, perceptions and ideas. On the other hand, information can also seem very trivial, like knowing the average number of grains of sand found in a cubic centimeter.
Bio-technical information exists in the genetic codes responsible for life morphologies. Information refers to that last datum required for a computer program to initiate. It can also be a numerical input for a bureaucratic equation which will then determine how much something-or-other someone will pay or receive, etc. Or vast amounts of amorally related information can be used together to create a Frankenstein monster like the H-bomb.
interpretation - one of the mental health practitioner's basic tools in psychodynamic work. It is a tentative statement attempting to relate a person's current thought processes, emotions and/or overt behavior, to his or her reactions to previous experience. Interpretations (when well-timed), tend to foster insight, which in turn tends to lessen the helplessness people often experience as stemming from their symptomatology. Interestingly though, interpretation is by definition fertile ground in which projection can take root, so the successful practitioner is highly motivated to develop his or her empathic abilities. [Author Note: I still need to do some more work on this item. I'm not happy with it just yet.]
intimates - This term refers to the other people with whom you have close, regular contact -- like on a daily basis. They are the ones most likely to hear intimate details about you, from you.
jealous - Morris (1979), a dictionary, defines it as, "...Fearful or wary of being supplanted; apprehensive of loss of position or affection...." (p. 702).
memory constructures (memcons) - this term refers to the intertwining neuronal tree structure of memories of one's experience. They are not just "structures", as they might be if genetics alone were their cause. Instead, they are called constructures to emphasize the individual's role in creating them. The current state of experiential memory coupled with the attention focus of the observer -- while perceiving one's current experience -- regulates the specific content of the memcons (for now, see Penfield, 1955 for more on this point of paying attention during experience).
Although all forms of memory are probably of the same physical-bio-systemic order, over time and for heuristic purposes, we have classified memory into many different types. These include the commonly recognized cerebral memory (ie, knowing that 5x5=25), the visceral (ie, bodily memories of stomach aches or of the sensation of movement, such as remembering how it feels to raise your arm, which then, I suspect, ties into the "phantom limb" phenomenon); sensorial (ie, touch, taste, visual and auditory memories), genetic (as expressed in phenotypes), and even cultural and geological memories (ie, language and traditions; soil strata and mineral deposits).
parenting - the often long process of preparing the young for self-sufficiency, with the implicit goal of producing reproductively viable offspring. Different cultures will value different strategies, since different peoples have different goals for their generational heirs.
phenomenology - the "conscious, mindful and sensorial perception of one's self and immediate surroundings in the physical-social-spiritual environment" is a good way to introduce this deep term. It is the body-mind-spirit "at idle", in the act of perceiving, dreaming, etc. Your personal phenomenology of any event has been shaped by your genetic makeup along with the "spin" you have put on every experience you've ever had. [Author Note: Still not completely happy with this entry, either.]
preconscious - this refers to the current state of all one's memories not currently in the conscious mind, along with the biological and quantum effects memcons may have on each other. If something is not now conscious, it is at least available for recall (For examples, see Penfield, 1955 and Penfield & Perot, 1963). The distant past simply gives the impression of being "unconscious", since it is typically more difficult to recall than is...yesterday.
projection - in mental health idiom, this can refer to either the use of the defense mechanism by the client, or the even more undesirable phenomenon, where the practitioner builds his or her understanding of the client's experience through the lens of his or her own experience, instead of that of the client's. In these ways, it can be the opposite of empathy. Projection as a defense mechanism is seeing your traits in other people instead of in yourself. [Author Note: I'm not yet happy with this paragraph...at all! Please forget you even read it.]
The term projection also refers to projective methods of personality exploration. The most widely known of the projective tests are the Rorschach Inkblot Test (Alternate Rorschach Link One, Alternate Rorschach Link Two) and the Thematic Apperception Test (Alternate TAT Link). The aim of these procedures is to uncover a person's idiosyncratic style of perception and thought. These "tests" work by having a subjective, conscious entity respond to abstract or ambiguous stimuli, thereby exposing the workings of its conscious and preconscious body-mind-spirit.
psychopathy/psychopath - people exhibiting this phenomenon have probably had several names throughout history. Recently, it has been called "sociopathy" and "anti-social personality disorder" (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). Personally, I prefer using the older term, psychopath, to refer to people presenting this diagnosis, because I believe the word is more broadly recognized in western culture.
Antisocial behavior is an expression of or reaction to, the subjective history (also called experiential memory) of the person as recorded in his or her memcons. Many of the moderate to severe psychopaths are in fact, psychotic. Ellis (1991) also seems to think so. (On page 298, he states: "Psychopaths and psychotics (who, to my way of thinking, seriously overlap) ...."). [***See these links for more and better information on the subjects of antisocial personality disorder, sociopathy and psychopathy. I still need to do a lot of work on this glossary item to be satisfied with it.***]
psychotic - simply put, it is the extreme condition of losing touch with reality and good judgement. The person's memory constructures (memcons) form in such a way, that taking on information from others becomes more difficult. The person seems to implode into his or her own little world and schemes of perception. Reality testing may then be done by an idiosyncratic delusional system.
This is just my brief definition. Be sure to look elsewhere to learn more about this complex condition, including auditory hallucinations and treatment strategies.
recidivism - humanology: the return to maladaptive behavior, as when a person quits smoking and then starts up again, or when someone stops taking his or her meds and gradually re-manifests the earlier symptoms of the illness. law: the return to criminal behavior, as when someone wins parole only to get arrested again for the same offense.
self-analysis - an analytic introspection which is (hopefully) carried out by the mental health professional. It is done privately in response to experiencing psychic or visceral discomfort over a topic or situation, while treating a client. It is also a process whose development is hoped for within the client as treatment termination draws nearer. (See Weigert, 1954 for more or, better yet, consult a competent mental health practitioner and inquire what he or she understands as relevant under this term.)
separation - to physically or psychically give up a significant person, place or thing which one has previously relied upon for gratification. The process typically includes mourning reactions.
statistical density - the average density of the universe at any given point in space time. It is currently believed to be roughly one proton per cubic meter of space.
statistics - this is a key concept in understanding humanology and in synthesizing theory. Statistics are the results of very specialized measurements of the number of occurrences of something as seen in nature, and the consequential predictability they then afford.
STM - short-term memory. This is a process of what some call the brain-mind. It is akin to a temporary buffer in the computer analogy. Information is held active in a neuronal constructure until it can either be forgotten or processed further into the memcons.
syntheory - a theoretical bridge between humanology and physics. Here's a list of syntheory links.
threshold - An entrance or gateway to another place. The "event horizon" or "transition point" of an effect. An event in space time which separates discontinuous states of existence along a continuum.
An example would be the experience of seeing a slowly intensifying light coming out of utter darkness. First you see nothing but darkness, but eventually you have the experience of seeing the light. One moment you don't experience light, the next moment you do. These are discontinuous states of existence being separated by the event of the human threshold of light sensitivity, along the continuum of brightness.
uncertainty principle - keeping in mind that I am by no means a physicist, the uncertainty principle is an as yet theoretically unresolved observation of quantum mechanics. Once this apparent contradiction is worked out, the main theories of physics will combine into one that will explain all physical phenomena! ...Probably.
A major quest in physics today is the combining of Albert Einstein's theories of Relativity with Quantum Mechanics (pioneered by Werner Heisenberg, Erwin Schrödinger and Niels Bohr, among others); the results are expected to be called the theory of Quantum Gravity!
In short, the uncertainty principle states that you can not know exactly both the position and the velocity of certain manifestations called "subatomic particles" (quarks, electrons and such). The more you know about a particle's position, the less you can know of its velocity, and vice versa. Since we can't yet even see these things directly, it all disolves into probabilities.
In a way, this represents a theoretical "hook" between the very large (explained well with general and special relativity) and the very small (explained well with quantum mechanics). It may sound rediculous when one tries to describe the very small in terms of the very large, and the very large in terms of the very small. For instance, consider describing the gravitational interaction between two carbon atoms, or the electrical charge of a galaxy.
If we successfully combine these theories -- bringing about the theory of Quantum Gravity -- we should be able to predict perfectly both the speed and position of subatomic particles...and unify physics! (The cat lives.)
unconscious, the - I agree wholly with neither the current nor the classical definitions of this term. Instead, I suggest that this term may be completely subsumed under the term preconscious. A more descriptive term for "the unconscious" might be "the unawareness".
working through - this term was introduced by Sigmund Freud, who wrote in German. Freud's word for "working through" is "nacharbeiten", meaning that one is re-working something already made in the past. (It literally translates as "after-working" and can also mean to "touch up".) Thus, this term suggests that we can psychically reŽxamine previous events with the benefit of temporal distance, and modify their impact on us in the present. (See also experiential memory.)
you know?/ya know? - when someone uses this expression, it often signals that the topic being tapped is voluminous - perhaps even widely associated in his or her memcons and emotional repertoire. There is no way that one can quickly explain or describe exactly what is meant, since the precise meaning is being drawn from so much information simultaneously. Instead, it is hoped that the listener has had similar experience and can draw upon his or her own huge collection of such meanings, in order to come to an adequate understanding.
So, imagine describing a certain facet of a particular relationship of yours to someone else. It is hoped, for example, that the listener has also had experience with a person who uses, let's say, an overly intellectual or an overly emotional argument style...ya know?
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