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 newborn star. As the system cooled off, the rocky material bumped and clumped together, while the gas giants formed in the further reaches of the solar system. Planets and asteroids emerged from the remaining rocky material. Such a process demonstrates accretion.
ad hominem - toward or against the person. Morris (1979), a dictionary, defines it as, "To the man; appealing to personal interests, prejudices, or emotions rather than to reason...." (p. 16)
Examples might be pointing out your adversary's race or gender in a derogatory manner; someone calling a woman "flat" or ugly because she complains about his protracted unemployment; or a guy being called stupid in response to a suggestion he makes.
asshole scale - a humorous reference to the serious field of psychometrics. It is, presumably, a yet-to-be-invented psychometric device useful for diagnosing and measuring the "asshole" [#2] trait in peoples' personalities. It particularly takes into account both the observed intensity and breadth of presence of such "asshole" personality manifestations. (Frequency and intensity show themselves together again.)
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 daughter starts stealing money from her purse? She loves her daughter...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 daughter. If she's successful with changing her opinions of thieves, she can minimize the negative impact she feels from her daughter's behavior. Otherwise, could she possibly lessen the love she feels for the young lady? That would be unfortunate, since it would then wreak havoc on other memcons!
[Subject Note: Perhaps the best solution here would be to modify her daughter's behavior somehow. Yet, it has been wisely noted that you really can't change anyone's behavior but your own. In order for her to "turn around", she would have to sincerely want to change her 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. That describes perceptual continuity, 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.
Furthermore, Frank Zappa Freaks might see this term as referring to the reoccurring characters, themes or musical passages present throughout his varied works, giving them a strong sense of consistency - it all flows from the same person, after all. For example, 1972's character of Billy the Mountain is notably featured in his 1978 composition, Greggery Peccary; Zappa (1972a) and Zappa (1978b), respectively. Another example is his mentioning 1971's Mud Shark later in his 1974 song the Be-Bop Tango; Zappa (1971a) and Zappa (1974b), respectively.
continuum (-tinuums, -tinua; both are valid forms for plural designation) - this term refers to "continuous dimensions". A continuous dimension, a continuum, is an event in spacetime 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; brightness is a continuous dimension. [Author Note: This entry still feels a little weak to me. It needs more filling out, as it is a major concept in syntheory!]
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 the (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 capabilities, 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 even 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. And yes, I realize it's an old reference, but it's an interesting one nonetheless....amusement park, remember?]
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 spacetime. Hawking (1988, p. 184) defines it as, "A point in space time, specified by its time and place....".Interestingly, 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 camera snapshot, it is a neuronal organizational record of remnants from a person's experiences. It consists of the person's perception-retention of events experienced. 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, we 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 person'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 do them a lot. Therefore, we must have a brain mechanism or circuit which ensures that we will not follow an established idea or perception when our health or 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, as when a trusted person is revealed to be in fact, untrustworthy.
frequency-intensity effect - you can get the same result 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. In a way, then, they can be considered one and the same.
SKIP THE REST OF THE EXAMPLES AND GO TO THE NEXT ITEM
On the darker side, take the Chinese water torture for example. The apparent insignificance of water droplets hitting your forehead doesn't sound like much, but over the dimension of time, as the frequency of the drops adds up, it becomes an excruciatingly intense, terrifying experience.
Frequency equals intensity, just as mass equals energy; it just has to add up to cross a threshold. For example, frequent clumps of dirt and rock gathered together by the trillions, create a body which eventually possesses the intensity of gravity. Frequency becomes intensity, just as a lifetime filled with small, affectionate gestures will add up to a strong, lasting love between people.
Here's an interesting frequency-intensity observation: what do you do when you intensely burn your hand on something? You react quickly and frequently commense trying to lessen the pain you feel from the contact. In the absense of cold water or ice, you may blow on the burned area again and again and again, in hopes of lessening the pain. And in communicating the intensity of pain felt to the brain (the experiencing I), the nervous system associated with the burned area fires a lot in a small space of time!
To close, another fun example of the interplay between frequency and intensity would be your remembering playing "monster" with someone, when you were a small child. You're lying on your back as the monster is towering over you menacingly. You raise your feet and go to kick the monster, but it's not backing down. So what do you do? You raise the frequency of your defensive attack with harder and faster kicks. Frequency varies with intensity.
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 mere 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, informed by the genetic history of the organism (in the form of genes and chromosomes), assembles the various parts of the brain, the interconnecting neuronal tracts, adds biochemistry, etc, and conscious mind occurs out of the arrangement. Another example might be the emergence, or manifestation, of the human personality from the person's physical presence. In my opinion, the personality has both mental (ie, cognition) and physical properties (ie, muscular and glandular activity), although mentality has an ultimately physical source, too. [Subject Note: I consider a person's entire mental existence a gestalt generated by the physical brain. Even though your mind can travel instantaneously to distant galaxies, it does have a stable, physical location - between your ears! In addition, your glands can influence or even direct your dancing; it's not all mental or physical, either.] Just imagine, zillions of small electrochemical reactions occurring together and in tandem, adding up to create a conscious person; getting things accomplished through organized human behavior. The resulting whole person's attitudes of energy application (to the physical, social and spiritual worlds) are then embodied in the personality. [Author Note: "Zillions" is a child's word. It represents a number larger than any you're already familiar with. You gotta keep a child-like sense of wonder when you write about stuff like this! ...and, no. I'm not yet satisfied with this glossary item; still too awkward.]
gravity - when used in the context of syntheory, this can refer to the weight of something, or the amount of emotional and/or psychic energy bound up in a memcon. An event's spin adds a qualitative aspect to the memcon's property of gravity. 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 (including world religions, etc), while attempting to produce the perfect prediction of human behavior.
Once the theory of quantum gravity becomes established, however, humanology and other precursor theories 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, adding psychology's long-awaited connection to the physical sciences.
The term humanology itself dates back to at least the 1920s, when it was associated with phrenology.
Finally, this glossary entry has been edited since being quoted in a recent book's preface, page x. It no longer reads exactly as quoted. I believe the book is L.A. Cole & P.R. Kramer's, Human Physiology, Biochemistry and Basic Medicine, London/Cambridge/Sydney(?): Academic Press. Published on 13 October, 2015 or 3 November, 2015; I've seen both indicated as publication dates. Perhaps it was released one place first, and then the USA a little later.
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.
impact - both the immediate and lingering results of an event. Just as a planet has a reaction to a meteorite arriving, so too do people, in response to events in general. For instance, a planet reacts with ejecta following a shock wave, leaving behind a crater (Desonie, 1996); a person with an emotional or even a physical response. The compression and ejection of planetary material corresponds to peoples' reactions, as when a person gets emotional or even combative in response to the pressure of being pulled over for a motor vehicle citation. The experience ultimately shapes the personality (the landscape), even if ever so slightly or subtly.
Working through might then correspond to the rearranging of the ejected material surrounding the impact crater, into an artistic design of a radiant sun! Something violent transforms into something beautiful.
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, even though we are indeed part of that 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 of beach material. (Roughly 2,500!)
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. When well-timed, interpretations 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). The paranoid anticipation of loss, separation, withdrawl symptoms and/or mourning reactions.
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 mood and attention focus of the observer -- while perceiving one's current experience -- regulates the specific content and spin of the memcons (for now, you can see Penfield, 1955 for more on this point of paying attention during experience). [Author Note: Yeah, I know it's an old reference, but I just love this guy's writing, coupled with the Zeitgeist he wrote in! Besides, you can always get one of those shiny new articles elsewhere -- recommended for scientific acuracy and modern informational precision.]
memcons, entropic - entropic memcons are memory constructures which tend to activate the negative, uncomfortable, more emotionally troublesome memory association bits and branches into consciousness.
memcons, protropic - protropic memcons are memory constructures which tend to activate the positive, pleasant, more comforting memory association bits and branches into consciousness.
All memcons can be classified on the continuum of unpleasant - neutral - pleasant, thereby creating or confirming their spin, too. [Subject Note: As in the standard, normal distribution curve, I would expect to see a central bulge here, and not a bimodal distribution along the tails.]
Although all forms of memory are probably of the same physical-bio-systemic order, over time and mostly for heuristic purposes, we have classified memory into many different types. These include the commonly recognized cerebral memory (ie, knowing that 5◊5=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 will be 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 of one's memory constructures not currently in the conscious mind, together with the biological and quantum effects memcons may have on each other, and hence on the host person, too. 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, whereby the mental health 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 and the Thematic Apperception Test. 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, self-aware 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 "antisocial 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; Albert Ellis (1991) also seems to think so. On page 298, he states: "Psychopaths and psychotics (who, to my way of thinking, seriously overlap) ....". [Author Note: 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. For example, the schizophrenic may form a memconic asociation branch consisting of "tennis racket-fruit-table". Now how are you going fit into that association, getting the person to understand getting better, taking meds, making friends, etc?
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 medication 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 with the purpose of identifying and resolving possible psychological issues inside the practitioner. 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 encouraged 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.)
[Author Note: This is, in fact, one of my own criteria in selecting a personal counselor. Get the potential psychotherapist in person so you can observe the gestalt of his or her reaction to your inquiry into what self-analysis is. Evasive or self defensive behavior signifies the person might not do a lot of it - leaving possible pathology in place for countertransference reactions. On the other hand, someone who falls into it comfortably and offers you a good feeling definition is probably a more acceptable choice. I firmly believe that the highly successful psychotherapists are those who study themselves in depth and are aware of their own biases and weaknesses...and do something about them whenever possible!]
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 withdrawl or mourning reactions.
spin - the subjective value a person attaches to a memcon. While a memcon is being formed, it can be subjectively classified as positive, neutral to negative depending on what's available in the environment, the person's mood and the current preferred mode of perception (the optimistic-pessimistic continuum). Memcons with a positive spin tend to be protropic memcons, while negative spin memcons are often entropic ones.
As an example of "memconic chains" bearing a spin value, let's say a senior citizen is remembering his life. He recalls how he struggled to get himself a college education, all in all, a positive spin event. Then he remembers how she wouldn't say yes to his marriage proposals until he had a decent job, even though she wanted to have kids soon. Again, a positive spin event, as she finally said yes! Although each chapter may have involved hardship and struggle (short term negative occurrences), it was ultimately one happy memcon leading to yet another fond memory. This protropic memcon branch continues as he then remembers the birth and rearing of his five children, etc.
While an entropic memcon branch might be something like remembering your unhappy, culturally and financially impoverished childhood, getting into trouble and being sent to the principal's office, staying after school, etc, leading to thinking about the circumstances you dropped out of school under, your subsequent life of crime and the violent one that lands you in prison for 30 years!
statistical density - the average density of the universe at any given point in spacetime. It has been estimated 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.[Author Note: This item is still a little too skimpy to be considered complete yet.]
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, attempting to add that elusive link from the physical sciences to human psychology. Here's a list of syntheory links and other stuff.
threshold - An entrance or gateway to another place. Specifically, it is an event in spacetime which separates discontinuous states of existence, along a continuum. An easy conception: the discontinuous states of existence are being either inside or outside; the continuum is the space you move around in. The threshold is that which separates the inside from the outside.
Another example would be the experience of seeing a slowly intensifying point of light coming out of utter darkness. First you see nothing but darkness, but eventually, as it brightens, you have the experience of perceiving light. One moment you don't experience the dot of 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 dissolves 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 ridiculous 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", as with a work of art. The term includes what many refer to as "re-framing", as one of many means to work through material.) Thus, this term suggests that we can psychically reŽxamine previously experienced 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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