Neuroscience today tells us much about the transmission of signals once they ‘exist’ (once they have materialized). We can observe neuronal activity in real time. We cannot know what input will be received by a given system. We cannot know how input, once received, will be processed by a given system. Input processed is what gives rise to particular thoughts, particular feelings and/or particular adaptive styles.
As we both turn to view the kite flying above us, you smile while I am inspired to confess that, in the third grade, I quaked in my boots at the prospect of flunking science; despite all my efforts, my kite wouldn’t fly.
To understand what gives rise to particular thoughts we must examine the unique patterns that predispose each of us to entertain particular thoughts. The patterns are derived from experience and ’experiencing’ continues to occur. Ongoing experience affects the relative potency of tendencies to entertain specific types of thoughts in the future (outcomes of future battles for ’emergence’).
The use of the term ‘battle for emergence’ may or may not be metaphorical. Neuroscientists are just beginning to determine the ‘calculating’ capabilities of the brain. Much of this work is beyond my ability to understand. Those of you with a better background in neuroscience are directed to The Emerging Physics of Consciousness.
My concern here is that science allow for the very potent influence of personal histories as they contribute to personality formation. Furthermore, personal histories continue to evolve permitting significant personality development and, if need be, change. I believe we are at the cusp of a scientific understanding of how historical experience indeed affects us. Historical experience may predispose us to all manner of mental and emotional states including mental and emotional difficulty, and good or ‘bad’ behavior’. I believe that, often, the safest and most thoroughly beneficial way to help folks having mental, emotional or behavioral difficulty is with something akin to a ‘psychotherapy’; a ‘psychotherapy’ that with scrutiny, has been found to be consistent with contemporary science in both theory and practice.