What conception of reality provides the greatest amount of mental ease and functional application simultaneously? The number of viable perspectives to associate oneself with is immense, each perspective contains potential to induce perceptual restructuring and a positive or negative behavioral change. This can be tapped into, the result is the apprehension of perspectives and contemplation of utility and potential consequences. However, the mind is quite strong and often times runaway thought grips awareness and drags with it “what if” scenarios. Thus, the cultivation of the skill to see through ones own mental processes and distinguish baseline cognizance from apparent perception is of utmost importance. The runaway mental processes are of no use unless broken and tamed, otherwise taken on rides the mind finds no reconciliation of the inner and the outer worlds.
The Reptilian Mind
One piece of the aforementioned puzzle is the inherent pattern recognition software that the mind has cultivated since its evolutionary birth.
The pattern recognition software of the mind is as ancient as the neural system itself. Far back is the reptilian mind, of hunger, safety, and the passage of genetic information to progeny. The reptilian mind is what dominates when basic survival needs must be met and this system is powerful. In other words, the things that the mind deems as pertinent to survival can be tragically confused with feelings. Essentially, the reptilian mind is responsible for confusing feeling with intellect. It is quite common for the immediate needs of the individual to resonate strongly with the reptilian mind, which is easily translated into presumptive perception of circumstance. Further, the immediate needs of the individual often go unchecked and are not as immediate as one may initially feel, as will be seen later. Circumstances are typically far more complex than are given credit, they require glimpses into several previous occurrences leading up to the moment. The most accurate interpretation of a circumstance requires the incorporation of many perspectives. The reptilian mind is incapable of seeing this far ahead, which is why evolution has produced the next phase of cognitive progress.
The next phase is the prefrontal cortex, of emotion, social interaction, and personality. This extra dimension has provided humans with the skills to create a global society, which occurred almost automatically. The pattern recognition software was changed and now is capable of interacting socially with other humans, and discovering all facets of the natural sciences. This is due to humans unprecedented ability to recognize patterns in the fabric of reality, but the patterns of ones own behaviors lies steeped and veiled in an occupied consciousness.
The current age is confused as humans attempt to settle into a vast world that is little understood in the context of humanity’s dominance and the implications of the human role on earth has escaped the common mind. The reptilian software is still present but when combined with the prefrontal cortex, it has become transformed. The new pattern recognition software is a combination of rational thinking and deeply rooted needs. The mind appears to still have issues reconciling its newfound character of emotion with the necessities of survival. Feelings and emotions can become confused with necessities, the easiest example is of addiction to substances: the user feels good, this triggers a cognitive response and the user seeks the substance continually. The reptilian mind has, in the case of addiction, overcome the person and if the person is unable to regain control over the ancient software then we typically know the rest of the story. What is discussed lesser is the extremely regularity of this occurrence for far more base items. For instance, companies that guarantee a product that will solve all of a particular issue, the consumption of poor food choices, the phenomena of group-think. These are all examples of the reptilian mind subtly gripping actions and directing behavior. The combination of the emotional prefrontal cortex and the ancient reptilian system has become a machine that hones into ideologies and miracle outcomes because they appear to provide much gain with ease. In the case of group-think, the gain is a “tribe” and throughout the human social process, having a tribe was crucial. Having much to gain easily is the exact situation that the reptilian mind has been training for millions of years. It is still a major player.
Thus there arises a pressing issue. Without the prior necessities of having a tribe, the scarcity of food, the constant threat of the wilderness and other people; humans have been left with a system that is grasping for the next big thing. However, the next big thing does not come but rarely and human life has become regular, many of the average persons survival needs are accounted for. The pattern recognition software, without the truisms of survival to grasp, begins to formulate its own patterns within the social strata specifically. Then there is the internet, which allots for perpetual continuation and reassurance of biases, offering always a side to take. There is a tremendous amount of information to cut through, more than ever in the history of mankind. The questions of what to believe, think, and feel confound many and lead others astray as few have proper guidance. The absurd amount of information has decentralized the individual, becoming occupied with emails, memes, texts and the illusion of imminent dissatisfaction of others due to ourselves. The mind has become subject to a mass departure from the individual, becoming swept up into illusory acute beliefs, being tossed within a sea of distractions. In a time when humans have more potential of connection with each other and ourselves than ever before, we are lost.
Most of what distresses the individual is in fact an illusion of circumstance, derived from a corrupted sense of patterns. The mind becomes trained to see faulty patterns and untrained to discern realities, resultant from the proclivity to check phones with stunning incidence and scroll through a plethora of different subjects. This is the point at which the reptilian mode of pattern recognition begins to falter, with an abundance of information, the mind attempts desperately to create a coherent framework of all the data. The issue is that the data does not follow a coherent framework, in fact, the dreams that are beheld at night offer more structure and symbolism than the information that is consumed frivolously throughout the day. The information consumed throughout the day consists of a vast number of opinions, a tremendous amount of occurrences, and a feed full of biases. The mind is not equipped to sift through the material and determine a value set that codes for the most pragmatic actions. Instead, it produces widespread anxiety and depression, loneliness, and other physical diseases as the framework does not match subjective reality even close.
Pattern of Recognition
So what then is able to contend with the abundance of information? A healthy level of skepticism and the notion of potential to always be wrong, these are a promising start. However, they do not complete the task; many already believe that is heard may not be true, but nevertheless suffer the distracted fate. To apprehend the pattern recognition system is to begin to consciously process patterns that are known. The widespread issue is the unconscious processing of patterns that do not exist, and the solution is the exact opposite. By beginning to contemplate things that are certainly known, the individual begins to re-cultivate the skills of pattern recognition. The contemplation of natural phenomena is a great place to start, how lightning is possible and the nature of clouds, for example, are both easy to understand and part of nature.
However, one cannot deny the complexities of existence; therefore it does not suffice to stick merely to natural phenomena. There exists a class of observable occurrences that are objectively true and readily volunteer themselves for contemplation. These occurrences are the ideal playing ground for generating a strong pattern recognition system and are replete with positive symptoms. The class of occurrences is ones own actions and behaviors, which are beheld at all points of the day and often go on without a second glance. Careful observation of ones own behaviors is synonymous with becoming a the student of the self. It is through the awareness of action and contemplation thereof that the individual begins to find patterns in their own reality, which offers the notion of conscious alterations. This practice builds self awareness and furthermore skills in pattern recognition for a new age. The skills necessary to stop drinking rely on the awareness of the frequency, the skills to complete meaningful work rely on the awareness of the time that could be used, and the skills to improve ones life rely on seeing the patterns that are leading to dissatisfaction.
Pattern recognition is different than it once was, not only because of prefrontal cortex integration but because the environment is unlike any that humanity has ever encountered. Due to the rapid change of environment and access to profound amounts of useless information, the innate software has become overloaded. Therefore it requires an update which requires the participation of the individual to study its own behavior and contemplate its actions. Soon, patterns begin to emerge, correlates allow for cross examination of behavior to outcomes and self awareness is cultivated. This objective perspective toward oneself is a co-requisite to Conscious Cognizance. The task is not easy, distractions and compulsions are abundant within society, losing track is made profit. Further, answers regarding oneself can be daunting and hard to reckon, which makes the task further a challenge. However, one could pose the argument that this initial venture into the self is a necessary step forward as humanity continues to toy with the balance of nature. Let an awakening begin, to commence the renaissance of the individual.