Life is lived in moments.
First, perhaps a little about the mind. How many streams of information would you say are at work in the mind?
Oh my, too many to count. Think primary flows. Just one?
Emotion, logic, sensation? Emotion and logic are processes, not necessarily information streams.
Buddhists name 6 senses, so at least those.
Self-reflection. Would that count? Proprioception would be another process.
There are basically two, one coming in from the world and prompting reactions in your body, but the other stream of information stems from your mind and overlays your perception.
My computer is streaming information at me right now, does that count? Ah, no. I meant innate streams, ongoing streams, everything else is a process channel. Emotion is a process channel. It can even receive information from the incoming stream, the raw sensation stream, and react to it on its own.
What do you mean by information? Information being the material of awareness.
Process being a way we route the stream? Yes. They call the stream coming from the body to the mind the bottom up stream, and the stream moving from the brain out they call the top down stream.
Now which do you think is the primary stream that we create our awareness from?
It is actually the top down. The brain is very conservative with it’s energy. It doesn’t like to analyze much more than it ever has to, so you form thumbnails or icons of your experience. You have a generalized notion of what a cat is and your attention doesn’t usually go much farther than that.
That’s why it’s hard to process things we haven’t experienced before? It is indeed why. This is not necessarily a bad thing for your mind to do. In fact, it’s really rather necessary for basic functional behaviour. Do you have much time to really look at a tool in the middle of working with it?
Things are processed on an as needed basis? Indeed, usually.
What would happen if you tried to figure out what other things you could do with a cook pot right while you are cooking with it?
Hmm, burnt food. Yes. What about figuring out what you see in someones yard while you are driving by? Top down processing is very necessary, so much so that most people do it almost exclusively. How often do you have a day go by and it’s just the same things on a different day?
Sometimes that, but not usually. Your days ever seem to blur together?
Sometimes that, also.
Everyone also has bottom up processing. Sensory to thought instead of thought to sensation. This is usually most notable when something wild happens. A near auto accident scares you, or you see someone just walking casually down the middle of the street in full clown costume.
Bottom up always triggers when something is too different for you to assume you automatically know what it is. It makes you say ‘WTF’ or the equivalent. It is always operating but submerged under your top down processing. While your brain is doing an inventory of all the same old things, and keeping track of your schedule, trying to make sure you remember to return that very important phone call, your bottom up channel is constantly feeding information into your brain as well, most of which you ignore.
We’ve evolved to be sensitive to differences? Actually, we have evolved a brain on top of a brain. You are not of one mind about anything. You are always of two. It’s also the origin of having mixed emotions, because the bottom up or animal part of your brain can have emotional reactions also, and sometimes these intrude on your business as usual thinking.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.