Pattern Recognizer Theory of Mind | How To Create a Mind #1

Written by on June 24, 2021

““Creativity can solve almost any problem. The creative act, the defeat of habit by originality, overcomes everything.

—George Lois”

A key aspect of creativity is the process of finding great metaphors—symbols that represent something else.”

Identification because a concept plus symbol gives the “thing” an identity. Humans are the only things that we know of, which have this almost divine ability. If identity is part of the immaterial part of being, or even the discovery of the potentiality for something, some concept, then we are essentially giving birth to a small aspect of soul when we come up with or identify a concept. Take gravity as an example of how concepts might not always be invented by us, but discovered and labeled or “identified” by us. The concept is a social construct, but it’s used to map something which exists, so that we can describe it. This gives us a reference point so that we can speak about it or focus our attention to it or it’s concept. Keep that quote of George Lois fresh in your mind or refer to it later.

“The neocortex is a great metaphor machine, which accounts for why we are a uniquely creative species. Every one of the approximately 300 million pattern recognizers in our neocortex is recognizing and defining a pattern and giving it a name, which in the case of the neocortical pattern recognition modules is simply the axon emerging from the pattern recognizer that will fire when that pattern is found. That symbol in turn then becomes part of another pattern. Each one of these patterns is essentially a metaphor.”

When this talks about recognizing a pattern and then giving it a name, this again is the act of giving the pattern an immaterial property of “Identity” this can be thought of as information. In Taoism this is part of what makes up the empty space within the bowl. The bowl has its physical aspects, organs, limbs, etc and its empty or nonphysical aspects. Identity is one of those nonphysical elements that in part makes you who you are, identity can also contain your potentials. It could be thought of as the blueprint or class file of you.

In integral theory we have the process called transcend and include, which is one of the 20 tenets of holons or everything in the cosmos. This idea is often fleshed out into 3 steps. They are 1 ) Identification, 2) differentiation, and finally 3) Integration. When you have a good conceptual mapping of a given concept or identity, then you are taking that first step in transcending it. The better can identify and map out a mental concept or identity, whether it be behaviors or archetypes or ideological possession or your shadows, the more easily you will slide into the differentiation stage naturally.

The author then points out that metaphors are the same thing as symbols, pointing to the dictionary definition of metaphor “thing regarded as representative or symbolic of something else.” I think this is important and validates the utility of metaphorical truth, which I will talk about it many other posts to come.

“It is my view that self-organizing methods such as I articulated in the pattern recognition theory of mind are needed to understand the elaborate and often ambiguous hierarchies we encounter in real-world phenomena, including human language.”

The author’s theory about what the mind essentially is, is a pattern recognizer. It recognizes, identifies, and categorizes patterns. He goes into how a lot of the functions of the mind and brain can be reduced to or thought of as instances of pattern recognition. But here it is in his own words.

“In this book I present a thesis I call the pattern recognition theory of mind (PRTM), which, I argue, describes the basic algorithm of the neocortex (the region of the brain responsible for perception, memory, and critical thinking). In the chapters ahead I describe how recent neuroscience research, as well as our own thought experiments, leads to the inescapable conclusion that this method is used consistently across the neocortex.”

I now want to shift your attention to what integral theory calls spiral dynamics. And for a more detailed post on Spiral Dynamics, stay tuned. In summary there are layers or levels of consciousness (generally speaking) that the human race has gone through collectively over the last few hundreds of thousands of years. What’s interesting is that on the individual level, everybody also goes through those same stages in their own lifetime. For this post I will be focusing on the most common 3 where the center of gravity for our collective consciousness is currently hovering.

These stages each have an assigned color and go as follows, Tribal – Red, Traditional – Amber, Modern – Orange, Postmodern – Green. You can see the values for each in the image I included at the bottom of this post. But there’s a pattern emerging in this idea as well. You will notice that each higher stage could be looked at as an answer to the negative aspects of the stage which came before. The violent and aggressive Red was followed by Amber which valued rules, discipline, as well as faith in a transcendent God or Order. A great response to chaotic tribal violence.

As a response to Amber, Orange came with the enlightenment and objective or scientific truth which directly challenged the religious worldview. With the past stages all heavy on the group or ethnocentric or national centric mind set, (My country my group my religion is right and everyone else’s is wrong) came the realization that the ultimate minority is the individual and that individuals could thrive while still maintaining their status in the group. Property rights, self-reliance, work hard and be successful etc. This rose out of a prior reliance on the group or God.

But then as a reaction to this, Green points out that this new world of self-reliance leaves a lot of people behind including some of who may have started the race further back. They see the need to not get carried away with individualism because if hyper focused on you’re marginalizing the other half of the equation which is the group as a whole or the collective. We don’t want people left behind. This can have both a compassionate motivation, wanting people to have enough of the base necessities, or it can be motivated by wanting everyone in society to be given every opportunity required to allow them to maximally contribute their best to the society so that we can all benefit from it.

Because of this pattern which we see from level to level, I think this Pattern Recognizer Theory of Mind shows potential truth value. To go back to the quote from the beginning, the masses would be recognizing the patterns of the levels below them and working within their current system, but then some creative thinkers begin to emerge, who start to observe and recognize the patterns of the current system that they are in themselves. And by recognizing these patterns and critiquing these patterns, they have performed steps 1 and 2. They have identified, and differentiated themselves or rose above the group and it’s current level’s patterns. If you’ve seen the Divergent movies or read the books, you should recognize this idea. (Not exactly a spoiler) To again go back to that first quote, “the defeat of habit by originality, overcomes everything.”

But from here it can get tricky because 2 things can happen according to integral theory and this transcending process. After differentiating yourself from something you can either repress it or integrate it. To repress it you are ignoring it and rejecting it as a part of you, but all that does it shove it down into your shadow. You are throwing the baby out with the bathwater, sort of speak. But a good pattern recognizer would not only recognize the faulty or negative patterns of their current level, they would also be able to recognize which patterns are valuable from that level, and add them to their bag of tools. This is the meaning behind the Pheonix symbolism in esoteric teachings. The Phoenix burns off it’s dead wood but holds onto the healthy new growth which is born in its place. You see this symbolized in alchemy as well with the chemical reactions to smelt away the invaluable matter, to potentially leave behind a nugget of gold.

Many of the M.O.T.S. activities are designed to help you recognize, record and map out aspects of the soul that you inherited by merely being part of the human experience. But it also gives you a space to map out your own individual and unique aspects of your interior so that you can transcend and include them into your conscious awareness.