Chronemics: time-binding and the construction of personal time.
There is a need to examine Korzyhski's early eoneepts of time-binding and consider some other early conceptualizations corresponding to his theoretical ideas. It is in the healthy evolution and development of the human brain in the construction of One's personal time that we can find some interesting extensions of Korzybskfs early and highly significant insights.
Lastly, "personal time" concerns not only the development of processes of objective, techniccd, and scientific time-keeping, but also various kinds of personal, human temporal processes: genetic time, biological time, perceptual time, psychological time, and sociocuftural time. All of these areas are involved in different kinds of interfacings or time-bindings, including processes of abstracting. Within the macro-description of a past-present future are many kinds of temporal processes involved in time-bindings.
The concepts and processes of human temporality are difficult to understand and even more difficult to write about. Chronemics concerns human temporalities as they are bound to semiotic and communicative interactions. My first serious glance at human temporality took place in 1972 while writing a paper for a doctoral communication class at Penn State University, entitled, "Psycholinguistics: The Meaning of Meaning," taught by my dissertation adviser, Dr. Ken Frandsen. My class paper, entitled, "Communicative Silences: Forms and Functions," was published in the Journal of Communication and became a somewhat novel idea that gained some popularity and reprintings, at that juncture (Bruneau, 1973). Because silence, silences, and silencing (Bruneau, 1985a, b, 2000, 2007, 2008, 2009a, b; Bruneau and Ishii, 1988) are highly temporal in nature, I became a "time haunted" person (Priestly, 1964), consumed in an entirely new and lifelong interdisciplinary quest to understand the nature of human time-experiencing and human communication. In the summary of that early article about silence, I felt that the study of silence needed yet to be bound to the study of time: "Silence as a communicative function is complex and profound. Our conceptions of time, based almost exclusively on clock time, may be preventing us from inquiring into the meaning of silence" (Bruneau, 1973, p. 42). I sent a copy of that article to the founder of the International Society for the Study of Time, J. T. Fraser, and was invited to present an "original essay on the nature of time" (for inclusion as a member) at the next I.S.S.T. conference in Austria (Bruneau, 1976). In 1974, I published my first article about time, "Time and Nonverbal Communication" (Bruneau, 1974).
Since then, and for thirty-five years, I have worked at trying to develop a new, nonverbal communication code system concerned with human time-experiencing (Bruneau, 1974, 1977, 1979a, b, 1985a, b, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1996, 2007, 2009a, b). This area of communication study has come to be called "chronemics." We are, to use the words of Bradley, "homo temporalis" an advanced animal species comprised of levels and kinds of human temporalities (Bradley, 1973). This study area seems to have great importance and promise because chronemics seems to link all other areas of nonverbal communication studies as interrelated, dynamic processes, i.e.: proxemics; kinesics; paralinguistics; haptics; oculesics; olfaction; gustation; etc. As we will see under another heading, chronemics concerns many kinds of time-bindings. All human spoken communication codes, too, have distinct processes and patterns of time, times, rhythms, and tempos.
Let us imagine that Count Alfred Korzybski returned to us as a hologram from some distant shore, and, let us further imagine that, together, we had been watching some of the very first TV or Internet images from the satellite telescope, Kepler, and that a new star was located with a planet strikingly similar to our planet, Earth. What would he Count Korzyhski's reaction? My viewpoint is that he would proudly exclaim. '"That's time-binding!" He would be referring to his concept of a long, distant past of technical and scientific progress, progress built upon many, many thousands of years of our human ancestors watching and. later, eventually mapping the star configurations, hundreds of years of lenses being ground and polished, and now, once more, a new thrust, a potentially new future, a binding of time from generation to generation. His concept of time-binding has not lost any of its clarity and impetus today. In brain studies, the concept of "effort" (Pribram, 1998), in developing cognitive sophistication, and the necessarily healthy interactions of past present-future, is better understood as: attention/perception memories anticipation/expectation. The interactions of these processes seem to point to some of the central meanings of time-binding. One is reminded here of a non-Bergsonian, elan vital, of human effort to know, to inquire, and to boldly propose future innovations and novelties. It is, indeed, a central aspect of the very history of successful modern technology, engineering, and science. Korzybski does not focus on any particular scientific problems or failures and, while admitting to some trial and errors, remained a determined positivist in terms of science, neurology, engineering, physics, and biology throughout his life.
The interdisciplinary study of time has a long and bright history of inventive and complex strands of scholarly focus. It is impossible here to document this lengthy history, but very important work, preceding or concurrent with Korzybski's efforts, must be understood to appreciate Korzybskr's particular and valuable contributions. It is also important to understand that there are many, many definitions of time and alternate viewpoints concerning the very nature of human temporality. Korzybski was interested in a "mathematics of neurology" that would fit scientific inquiry, but he does not concern himself with other, quasi-scientific on non-scientific viewpoints about time-binding (below). Instead of asking ourselves and others, "What time is it?" we should be asking, "What is time?" A few examples should suffice. Callahan (1968) gives us a quick appraisal of some early Western concepts:
Solutions of the problem of time are still proposed that go back in the essentials to one of these lour ancient views, even though the modern philosopher may be unaware that his [her] theory is not being offered for the first time (Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, and Augustine). Plato: Time, the moving image of eternity; Aristotle. Time, the number of motion; Plotinus: Time, the life of the soul; Augustine. Time, a distention of man's soul. (p. 18)
Martin Nilsson, in his classic work on primitive time-reckoning, notes that, in most primitive societies in the late 1800s and early 1900s (a huge percentage of the world's population then) abstractions of time-binding had not yet occurred;
Counting is abstract, the primitive man clings to the concrete phenomena of the outer world. In matters of chronology, therefore, he finds his way not by counting, but by referring to the concrete phenomena the recurrence of which in definite succession experience has taught him to expect. The first time-indicators are therefore not numerical but concrete. (1920, p. 355)
St. Augustine, in his book, The Confessions, written in 397 A.D., asked, "What is time? Who can simply and briefly explain it? ... Yet what is more familiar and well known in conversation than time? ... What, then, is time?--if nobody asks me, I know; but if I try to explain it to one who asks me, I do not know" (II, XI, 14).
From a biological viewpoint, Du Nouy (1937), one of the founders of biological time study, stated that, "... Time marks the progression of perceptions to a position in space. ... time is the perception of sequence in the accumulated sense-impressions. It is the relation between past perceptions and present perceptions. Thus, time in its essence implies memory and thought or in other words, consciousness" (p. 126). However, Sir Charles Scott Sherrington (1951), an early brain researcher, remarked in a seemingly paradoxical statement that, "Time may be an invention of the mind, but none the less the mind is integrated by it" (p. 212). In terms of language studies, Gale (1968) observed that, "When it is found that we cannot point to the referent of the noun 'time' it will be felt that time is something mysterious. 'Time' is a name which does not name" (p. 5). Bruneau (1974) stated that, "We live in moments of mental tensives. While it appears that 'time passes' into some great warehouse called the past, the past is only a function of the processes of remembering during the moment. ... Histories and future are momentary" (p. 659). The founder of the International Society for the Study of Time, J. T. Fraser, summarized the many past efforts in the study of time, "For the essence of time, like that of man's existence, is only a permission to partake creatively in a world whose contents and properties we may experience, contemplate, and share, but never completely describe or precisely formulate" (1966, p. 594). It is important that we understand that the concept of time has many definitions and many inter disciplinary perspectives. So, in considering the nature of Korzybski's concepts of time-binding, it must be understood that his focus, like that of many of many other scholars, is unique and focused in times as intervals, times as sequentialities, times as number and mathematics, i.e., as scientific progression.
Below, we will first examine Alfred Korzybski's ideas about time-binding in his major publications. We will then examine some studies of time-experiencing during his productive years that are related to his ideas, but are not scientific studies, and lastly we will attempt to offer some modern extensions of his theoretical concepts of the time-bindings within the construct of "past/present/future."
Alfred Korzybski and Time-binding
In reviewing Korzybski's major writings about time-binding (1921, 1950), (1924/1926, 1949), and (1933, 1958), we find that he was describing one of the most significant and profound brain changes that occurred in many early humans over many, many thousands of years. Korzybski created the word "time-binding'" to describe a critical feature of a developed humanity, a human ability beyond that of animals. He characterized animals as "space-specific" rather than "time-binders." However, contrary to the idea that animals are "space-binders." animals are bound to very particular species-specific environments, but they seldom, if ever, manufacture or "bind" space in a creative manner as humans do. Their "space-binding" abilities seem to be more involved with their particularly unique, genetic-based programs, sensory characteristics, and the species-specific environments, as well as communication code systems, peculiar to each species (von Uexkull, 1921; Schiller, 1957). Animals seem to be rather trapped by their own, highly redundant and repetitive orienting reflexes in order to manage their articulations of a predetermined spatiality, rather than having any abilities to create any new "bindings" of space-time. Animals develop a simple memory system, compared to humans. Human speech communication aids in the development of localizing, isolating, and the functional naming power, the symbolics of spoken words during the abstraction process (Dance, 1967a, b, 2007/2008; Luria and Yudovich, 1966). So, time-binding, to Korzybski, seemed to be another word to describe the preservation and significant recollections and remembrances of the human species from one generation to another. By human "time-binding" Korzybski meant the continuous, accumulative, forward leaping, and exponential function of the human intellect from generation to generation and, often, over many years.
The development of human memory systems is one of the central characteristics of human "time-binding." The other two characteristics concern how the present and future obtain and develop. Korzybski assumes, without much discussion, that memories help to develop time-binding, along with futurity in the sense of progress from one generation to the next. He may or may not have acquainted with St. Augustine's first real definition of "psychological time." St. Augustine in his, The Confessions, has often been considered the first to state that the past concerns memory processes; the present concerns attention and perception processes; and the future concerns the processes of anticipation, expectation, forethought, etc. Korzybski simply avoids psychological processes and focuses mainly on human invention and progression as a scientific-mathematics of time-binding. In his later work on science and sanity (Korzybski, 1933, 1958), he outlines and summarizes a massive compendium of the noteworthy scientific progress of the first half of the last century, a truly huge and exquisite undertaking. However, he simply assumes that time-binding relates only and mainly to all of the many areas of scientific progress he covers. Because time-binding relates to all possible views of pastness, presentness, and futurity, it must also include the brain processes involved. Sanity, for Korzybski, concerns the findings of mathematics and scientific advancement as major innovations and as ultimate determinants of human progress--and mental health or sanity. In short, he asserts his attitude that time-binding represents every quality implied in the words, "good, just, right, beautiful" (Korzybski, 1921, 1950, p. 70). Who can argue against powerful and new scientific progress? Throughout Korzybski's writings are developed many interesting and seemingly predictive ideas concerned with human communication. For instance, he remarkably predicted the now popular, "global village" idea several decades before Mc Luhan and others:
By virtue of the advancement that has long been going on with ever accelerated logarithmic rapidity in invention, in mathematics, in physics, in chemistry, in biology, in astronomy, and in applications of them, time and space and matter have been already conquered to such an extent that our globe, once so seemingly vast, has virtually shrunken to the dimensions of an ancient province; and manifold peoples of divers tongues and traditions and customs and institutions are now constrained to live together as in a single community. (Korzybski, 1933, 1958, pp. 20-21)
In summary, Korzybski discusses time-binding as certain kinds of human abilities:
... human beings possess a most remarkable capacity which is entirely peculiar to them--I mean the capacity to summarize, digest and appropriate the labors and experiences of the past ... to use the fruits of past labors and experiences as intellectual or spiritual capital for developments in the present ... the capacity to employ instruments of increasing power the accumulated achievements of the all precious lives of past generations of trial and error, trial and success ... the capacity of human beings to conduct their lives in the ever increasing light of inherited wisdom ... And because humanity is just this magnificent natural agency by which the past lives in the present and the present for the future, I define HUMANITY, in the universal tongue of mathematics and mechanics, to be the TIME-BINDING CLASS OF LIFE. (Korzybski. 192 K 1950, pp. 59-60)
It is interesting that in the above statement, Korzybski mentions the influence of "spirit." His idea of spiritual capital seems to parallel that of Henri Bergson's concern with the force and power of the human elan vital. Of course, Korzybski would view Bergson's concepts to be unscientific and, automatically, "metaphysical mistakes." The elegance and Tightness of mathematics and scientific investigations were of an overwhelming importance to Korzybski's major discussions about time-binding (1921, 1933, 1950, 1958). At this early period, he did not consider alternative views of human temporality to be viable without pragmatic and material goals consistent with mathematical, mechanical, engineering, and scientific studies. Time-binding, in this article, however, concerns the development and evolution of retensive (past) and protensive (future) extensions of the human brain. Such a development requires a variable nowness, an expanding and contracting nowness, that articulates a species-specific, here and now. What is basic to time-binding is the ever-continual evolution of the human brain's memory and futurity systems. This is not radically incongruent with Korzybski's probable visions and understandings of the human brain upon his death in 1949 ... and when brain studies were still in their infancy.
Some Other Early Concepts Related to Time-binding
Korzybski may not have been aware of Pavlov's later investigations on the functions of the three human signal systems: the "subcortical signal system" (autonomic and attentiveness functions of the lower and upper brain stem complex); the "first signal system" (the impelling, semiotic, and perceptual functions of the mid-brain organs), and the "second signal system" (naming, abstraction, symbolism, interpretation, speech communication, thinking, etc.) (Dance, 1967a, b; 2007/2008). Had Korzybski had access to Pavlov's later investigations, as well as those of other Russian psychologists, he would have known that the mid-brain functions of the first signal system are intimately connected to both the subcortical system, as well as with the cortical functions, the signs of signs functions, or abstracting functions, of the second signal system. However, in his final major work on Science and Sanity (1933, 1958), while he focuses only occasionally on the actual words, "lime-binding" in this work, he seems to assume that it underscores all of the huge amounts of documented progress of scientific investigations at that time. He does bring in a possible functioning of the thalamus and emotional connections through it into the main cortex of people. He apparently did not know about the connections of the gonadal steroids or sex hormones with four lobes in the hypothalamus responsible for the human emotions associated with the four Fs: fighting, fleeing, feeding, and fornication, a biological bases for human emotions. One can become sexually aroused from hormonal activations (bottom-up) or by sexual fantasy (top-down) through the first cortical system. Had Korzybski been familiar with Pavlovian and Russian psychological studies, he would have discovered the differences between semiotics, animal signalics (Sebeok, 1972), and the second cortical system. These important nexi for humans, mediating between spoken paralinguistic signals (semiotics) and processes of interpretation, abstracting, and symbolism, are responsible for developing human memories. This is of paramount importance in becoming fully human and the phylogenetic-ontogenetic developments of speech communication systems, long before the advent of written lan2Lume code systems.
The efforts of an early biologist (Jacob von Uexkull, 1921; Shiller, 1957) are important and significant to understanding the problematic differences between animals of all kinds and human beings as special animals. Apparently, von Uexkull created the first biological description of the interactive communication systems of animals and people. According to Jacob von Uexkull, every living creature has a species-specific umwelt, a reality particular to its own kind and a communication system (code) shared among its own members of the species. An umwell is the reality (all again) or ingrained habits of each species. The umwelt is comprised of a wirkwelt and a merkwelt. Well means "world" or "reality" or the total of capable cxperiencings. The wirkwelt or "work world," concerns all of the receptors of each member of the species that processes the communication codes of another of the same species. The merkweh or "make world" concerns the expressions of species-specific code systems to others of a similar kind.
Humans also have a semiotic transmission code that is shared, the paralinguistics of speech communication, impulsively, as in semiotics, and as we will later see, these semiotics comprise wave-based transmissions. These transmissions are interactive with previous memories stored in reference memories through top-down brain operations. The question here is: What are the kinds of time-bindings that are particular to species-specific living creatures? This kind of time-binding is highly dependent on the strength of a species-specific ability to remember and, then, envision a future. It apparently depends on the pervasiveness of a present and its capabilities (attentive effort strength) to expand and/or contract. The insect world seems to be all here and now, present, without any pastness or futurity. My dog. Buddy Boy, seems to have some anticipations, built upon some memories of seeing a cow made from straw to bark at whenever we travel into town. So, canines have a large present and only a very limited, but somewhat fixed memories and future anticipations. Compared to Korzybski's dog, "Fido," my Buddy Boy has accumulated enough memories to anticipate, with growing excitement, the life-sized cow made of straw going into town and coming back. It seems that shear repetition has assured his connections of his past cow with his future cow. However, to be fair to Korzybski, the straw cow does not move, is highly stable or stationary, and reflects stasis and permanence, rather than any space-time reality. Real cows, meanwhile, are rather stuck in the mud, with few memories or futurities, hanging on precariously in a huge now and needing immediate and repeated stimulus reminders to come and go. But, Buddy Boy, does have a past and future, developed by his own time-indicators, and is not merely a "space binder." Humans have the potential of developing a huge pastness, a most advanced, yet limited and often untrained, future perspective, as well as the ability to expand and contract their nowness into intensions and protensions.
The writings of Henri Bergson concerning memory, free will, and his concepts of duree and elan vital (Bergson. 1910, 1911, 1946) are very pertinent to Korzybskfs concepts of time-binding. On the duration of the present, Bergson commented that, "The duration lived by our consciousness is a duration with its own determined rhythm, a duration very different from the time of the physicist ... There may be as many tensions of duration as there are degrees of consciousness (1911, p. 272). In his work on the 'creative mind' (Bergson, 1946), he further explained. "... usually when we speak of time we think of the measurement of duration, and not of duration itself ... this duration which science eliminates, and which is difficult to conceive and express, is what one feels and lives" (p. 12). Duree ... is a fourth dimension which permits anterior perceptions to remain bound up with present perceptions and the immediate future itself to become partly outlined in the present ... Everything comes to life around us, everything is revivified in us. A great impulse carries beings and things along. We feel ourselves uplifted, carried away, borne along by it" (p. 186). Minkowski (1970) nicely clarifies the concept and process of the elan vital:
The elan vital, creates the future before us, and it is the only thing that does it. In life everything that has a direction in time has elan, pushes forward, progresses toward a future ... the elan vital creates the future before us ... The elan vital discloses the existence of the future to us, gives it a meaning, opens it, before us. (pp. 38-39)
Again, we find that time-binding is not a simple idea, but one that concerns a very human temporality, one of critical processing abilities that only humans can achieve by time-binding.
There is a significant amount of time literature from the late 1800s to the early 1900s, and, especially, until the time of Korzybski's death in 1949. Much of this literature examines various aspects of time-bindings, but without referring to the term, time-binding. A minimal selection of the early books about time should give us the idea that there is much more to the idea of time-binding that does not fit a mathematical or scientific viewpoint: Kidd (1894) Social Evolution: Husserl (1893-1917, Collected Works) On the Phenomenology of the Consciousness of Internal Time: Van Gennep (1909) Les Rites de Passage; Weber (1913) Le Rhythm du Progres; Wells (1913) The Discovery of the Future; Sturt (1925) The Psychology of Time; Lewis (1927) Time and Western Man; Janet (1928) L'Evolution de la Memoire et du Temp; Mumford (1934) Technics and Civilization; Israeli (1936) Abnormal Personality and Time; Mead (1938) The Philosophy of the Act, etc.
Personal Time and Time-bindings
Having studied and written extensively about human temporality for close to forty years, a number of distinctions have been developed to help understand what I have labeled as, "personal time." Personal time is a combination of the objectivities of clock time, time-keeping, technological time, "cybertime" (Strate, 1996), and scientific time as opposed to those of a more immediate and subjective kind of temporality, genetic clocks, biological rates and rhythms, attentional-perceptual processes, psychological time orientations, as well as social or sociocultural times, tempos, and interactively shared rhythms (Bruneau, 1979b, 1995a, b. 1997, 2000, 2007). So, we can broadly speak of two dominant kinds of human time: objective time, times, timing, and tempo in contrast to kinds of subjective time. All of these forms and kinds of time make up one's personal time in one's everyday life (Bruneau. 1974, 1977, 1979b, 1980a, b, 1983a, b, 1984a, b, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1996, 2007, 2009a, b). It is not possible to fully discuss these attempts to understand human time, but the conclusions or abstracts of a couple of these published items can give readers sonic indications of the conceptualizations involved:
The composite temporal self: Conclusions. I have attempted to outline various levels of interrelated personal time-experiencing As well as to suggest their interfaces in terms of ontogenetic developments as well as a hierarchy of interactive temporalities ... The temporal hierarchy here concerns the genetic-biologic temporal-self; which is interfaced dynamically with the perceptual-conceptual -consciental-self (which has interfaces of its own and also influences the many biologic aspects of self); which is interfaced with the existential-self (which can influence the perceptual-conceplual-consciental-self). These levels are conjoined (often systemically so) into a composite-self of complex temporality. This complex personal lime is one's identity. (Bruneau. 1988. p. 112)
The idea of a composite temporal self was of a continuing interest to me, and my next attempt to refine and revise this trend of study and thought came in 1996. The following is the abstract for that article:
Hunan interaction involves ongoing accommodation to coordination with, and divergence from a variety of rhythmicities. cyelicities and periodicities. Such interactional phenomena as episodes, acts, events, sequentialilies and sociocultural constructs such as schedules, timetables, and time keeping devices reflect the influence and interaction of endogenous and exogenous temporalities. Endogenous or person-based temporalities include genetic clocks, biological rhythms, perceptual semiosis, and psychological "time-perspectives." Hxogenous temporalities are observable in natural, social, and technological environments. Human experience may be seen to involve the interaction of these endogenous and exogenous temporalities with social interaction involving the engagement of individual temporalities within a temporally imposing environment. Temporalities provide order and predictability and yet in their entrapment, they give rise to the experience of uniqueness and nowness. The influence and impact of naturally occurring dyssynchronous rhythmicities and irregularities in entrainment and temporal incongrueneies is a basis for self-other comparisons and for the experience of self and social identities, have been insufficiently appreciated. (Bruneau, 1996. p. 97)
Additionally. I have attempted to define and describe "temporal drives." "temporal cues," "temporal signals," "temporal beliefs," "temporal estimates." "temporal judgments," and "temporal values." among other key terms, in my earlier publications about human time-experiencing and communication or "chronemics" (1977, 1979b, 1980a,b, 1985b, 1986).
I have always had a fascination with brain studies and began to see the operations of the human brain as being very important to a chronemics of human communication (Bruneau, 1980a, b, 1985a,b, 1989, 1994, Dec, 1995a,b, 1997, 2007). As luck would have it, Radford University's Psychology Dept. won the State of Virginia competition to hire the "First Distinguished Scholar of the State of Virginia," and Dr. Karl Pribram, an imminent world-class brain researcher and scholar, was hired upon his retirement from Stanford University. I asked Dr. Pribram, if I could audit his classes (over a three-year period): Languages of the Brain; Brain and Perception; and Brain and Conscious Experience (1996, 1997, 1998), which I did and thoroughly enjoyed. I also attended world class, brain conferences held at Radford University chaired by Dr. Pribram. While my brain studies was a rather minimal exposure to Dr. Pribram's enormously productive scholarship over the past sixty years, I developed concepts and processes I had not known about before. T discovered with the guidance of Dr. Pribram that "holonomic brain theory" was extremely important as a nonlinear, algebraic, thermodynamic, and "spectral" domain of higher cortical functioning, a world of holoscapes as representations (Pribram, 1971. 1986, 1990a,b. 1993. 1996). This new view of the human cortex is not connected to the regular space-time or impulsivity domain. There are no impulses as signals or neurotransmitters (a convenient, cognitivistic construction) in the human cortex. Often, the operations of the midbrain, having to do with brain circuitry and connecting various areas of the brain together, serve area transmission functions. Holoscapes are like dynamic lakes of energy. They are called "holographs," if we could ever scientifically measure them, let alone find a "mathematics of neurology," a credible, but highly distant, futuristic dream of Korzybski to this day.
Each and every holographic-based neuron has something on the order of 5,000 to 10,000 connections with other adjacent neurons, approximately 100 billions of them, and each of these adjacent neurons has such connections with its adjacent neurons. While isolated and locally considered, these can be called "neurotransmitters," but it is their conjoined influence that is significant. Exponentially, there are energy fields with many, many millions upon millions of holoscapic connections working in aggregates. Larger energy fields are now the stuff of tomography detecting area thermal energy. Within each of the many billions upon billions of linking synapses, are microscopic "microtubuals." Within the aggregates of microtubuals are created photon (kinds of light) emissions with boson condensations (Jibu et al., 1994, 1996; Pribram, 1991). These can be said to be wave-based, quantal transformations. All of these energy fields create first-order abstractions or representations of reality as one's umwelt; they are representations of previous constructions (see the "bottom-up and "top-down1" brain axis below).
Connectionist brain theory concerns how speech communication reception and expression helps to construct every human brain, for better or worse. Without any early speech communication shared (connectionist theory), there is no or little brain development. So, a new paradigm is:
The brain is the medium The mind is the message Communication is the means.
We transmit only wave-based energy between one another in our various nonverbal or semiotic codes, but over the years, we have referred to this process by so many other names with added confusions. Interestingly. Alfred Korzybski's discussions of wave-based mechanics in his reflections about the "newer matter," as well as waves that feature both periodicity and frequency, (1933, 1958, pp. 698-728), are upheld in modern brain theory. We process waves-as-matter, or in Pribram's conception, "ex-formations," in contrast with "in-formations," or formations within (Pribram. 2004). Both in-formations and ex-formations and their interactions are entirely based in the rhythmicities stored in the brain's reference memories areas. These are somewhat congruent with the rhythmicities or holographs being encoded into the brain. Yet, while we project upon what we imagine to be only "external" matter to us, we often assume that there is only an in or out of perceptions. However, there is only an in-and-out of dynamic attention and perception.
I became interested in "connectionist brain theory," or a speech communication model of how the brain is developed through contact and message sharing with other humans throughout a person's lifespan (Dance. 1967a.b; Fischer, 1967, 1989, 1990, 1992. 1996; Freeman, 1995; Varela et al.. 1993). In short, connectionist brain theory, posits that the mind in not in the head, but in the connectionist society, the brain is carried along within the communication code systems of humans to be acquired through message transmissions. The hippocampus, apparently serves as a mapping function for incoming stimuli, allowing only new, novel, or jamais vu energy into the main cortex. deja vu energy, previously processed and in a selective memory storage, is selective and filters out deja vu information already acquired, thus saving us from overloading our brains (O'Keefe and Nadel. 1978; Isaacson and Pribram. 1986; Loy. 1986). Forgetting can help, too. Putting sections of a memory back together, or remembering, is a test of our abilities to recall events as times.
Next, I discovered that all human brains, everywhere in the world, have three interactive axes that are very important features of brain interactions, abstracting, or kinds of time-bindings. The three brain axes, formulated by Pribram (1998, 1999, 2003), are:
Bottom-up-top-down X Left right X Back-front.
All possible stimuli (not the s-r kind) received by an individual concerns "bottom-up" processes and these processes are interfaced with "top-down" projections of the human cortex. We project upon stimuli receptions more and more as we age. This is called perceptual recursivity or cyclicity, our creation of an already seen, dejia vu world, or our own stable realities. Signalic and wave-based stimulations from our major kinds of environments [biological (LeVay, 1993), natural, people-built, technological, cyber, and sociocultural] are altered and shaped by our top-down projections upon them. The top-down-bottom up axis concerns time-bindings, as do all of the changes or time-bindings in the three axes, and a different way of imagining the processes of abstracting. However, it is not a matter of the idea of an abstraction as a "taking away" of essential features or aspects of an environmental object, thing, or event, as if reality is already formed, absolute, and always there to be acquired. It is more of a "making" of reality by the entire processes of bottom-up and top down, left and right, as well as back and front processes (below). The idea of "abstraction" and "abstracting" currently held in General Semantics does not seem to have a good fit with the neurological processes that do not seem descriptive of what have often been called, "first, second, or third orders" of abstractions.
The left-right axis concerns the functions and interactions of the left and right hemispheres connected by the corpus callosal and septal bridges. The left hemisphere processes coded linearities, serialities, sequentialities, etc., while the right hemisphere processes feelings, emotions, attitudes, etc. For example, in the use of speech communication, the hemispheres work together in processing speech. The left hemisphere processes a structured How of semiotic and linguistic, discrete unitizations (consonants, junctures, etc.); the right hemisphere processes the affect (often hidden to the unaware) in the paralinguistics, especially the vocalics and lengthy pausings during active speech communication. These semiotic interactions are extremely rapid due to the thick insulation of connective tissue between the hemispheres. The order and structure of the sounds are processed in the left hemisphere, while the affect, imbedded in the vowels rate variations, and vocalics of speech communication, is processed by the right hemisphere. The many variations of left right interactions is another kind of general semantics "abstraction." that may be better understood as a dynamic brain process.
The back front axis is as important, if not more important, than the left-right axis (Pribram. 1998). The back front axis is more closely aligned with Korzybski's idea of the time-binding of memories and futurity from generation to generation, but also the intricate uses of reference memory constructions (parietal lobes) with fronto-orbital lobes (futurity). Without these hemispheric specializations, we could not have any semblance of human intelligence. The back front of the left hemisphere concerns objective consciousness (see below) sequencing of unitizations from reference memories (parietal lobes) to a future plan, goal, objective, or forethought. The right hemisphere concerns reference memories of narrative consciousness (see below) connected with the orbital-frontal lobe in thinking ahead in terms of story lines, poetics, narratives, life-stories, feelings, intuitions, etc. These connections show that reference memories concern both objective and narrative processes. They are forms of "abstracting" or a "making" of realities.
There are three major kinds of consciousness posited by Karl Pribram and others. Unconsciousness has more to do with forgetting, loss of memories or plans, less developed brains, and a whole host of other ideas. We often become conscious of that which we were previously unconscious of, so that we must question the entire idea of an "un-" in brain studies. Two of the three kinds of consciousness have been described above, objective consciousness and narrative consciousness. The last kind of consciousness concerns spiritual and esoteric kinds of brain processes that concern major kinds of brain synchronicities. the synchronous activities of entire areas of the cortex, resulting in meditative, deeply contemplative, a sense of timelessness, primitive time-experiencing, a lengthy and deep silencing of one's own objective and narrative kinds of consciousness. It concerns, too, notions of spirituality and fusions with deities, trances, and enhancements (Bruneau. 1973, 1995a, 2000, 2008, 2009a,b). AH three kinds consciousness are interactive in changing one's momentary experiencing. Some people are biased in one form of consciousness and are limited in other forms. This seems so because our temporalities can become redundant and actually can define us as communicators. The wise use of all forms of consciousness may have to do with our abilities and our own cognitive efforts to change our own brain operations. The changes are time-bindings.
An exploration of Alfred Korzybski's concept of "time-binding" was attempted. Throughout, a hidden question was suggested: What are the time-bindings of Korzybskian time-binding? Some explanation was offered about the processes of the human brain to show that there are operations that concern several major and many minor kinds of "time-bindings." These time-bindings occur within and between those brain processes concerning attention-perception (the present), memories (the past), and anticipations, expectations, planning, etc. (the future), involved in a progressive time-binding. Further, the idea of time-bindings were said to be brain processes involved in the making of abstractions. Much further study is certainly necessary in the years to come to attempt to understand the complexities of Korzybski's original insights.
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Tom Bruncau. Professor Emeritus. Radford University, focuses on nonverbal, interpersonal, intrapcrsonah and intercultural communication theories. His theoretical interests are in the communicative potential of silence, silences, and silencing, brain studies, ehronemics, time-bindings, empathy, and the evolution of the self.
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|Publication:||ETC.: A Review of General Semantics|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2012|
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