If you wonder why and what it all means, you have a spiritual life.
I will start with a question. What is impulsive behaviour, friends?
Acting without thinking. The idea of doing without thinking meaning an absence of brain function? Yes, at that moment absent of brain function.
Doing something quickly without thinking in advance.
Could be just something learned like driving. We don’t think much to know how to drive. Memory more than thinking.
Other ideas about what impulsive behaviour is?
I don’t think the brain stops. Indeed, it does not.
Your muscles can have memory can’t they? It’s seen in athletes. In the same way your brain does, more or less. They form part of a network that we call a memory.
I will offer a different model of consciousness today. We distinguish between our thought, our behaviours and our impulsive behaviours, our conscious behaviours and our subconscious, but in fact no real division exists, not in a literal sense. All of our behaviours are ultimately impulsive. We don’t perceive some behaviours the same as others because different parts of our minds can go in different directions, or seem to.
Many of the ideas behind classical psychoanalysis have gone out the window, but a good number have been confirmed. They refer to this domain of behaviour as psychodynamic processes. We, throughout our day, have many levels of thinking and awareness occurring at exactly the same time, and we can get to feeling, especially in times of greater stress, like things are out of control.
I hear when you say all behaviour is impulsive, but I think that sometimes the thought process is diminished prior to an act. Oh indeed, at times there is a state they call dissonance when there is a lot of static going on in the mind, and little makes much in the way of clear sense. But every behaviour we have at any moment, and every idea and experience we have ever had are present at all times. This is why even our strangest behaviours, those that seem the most self destructive, remain remarkably consistent despite any effort at rational thought to control them. Some behaviours are so hard wired and impulsive that we don’t even have to learn the concrete components of them to be driven to act on them.
Is that not addiction? Impulsive and destructive behaviour? It plays a role in addiction.
And depression? Is that an addiction? Depression is a complication from conflicting impulses leading to broad spectrum inhibition. It can become addictive as any state can be when it becomes chronic enough to be habitual and thus a normative behaviour. We can feel at a loss as for how to understand things when we are not depressed.
We don’t have to venture into neuropsychiatry to understand this model. We experience it regularly when we experience recurrent memory and the related emotional sentiment. The emotion is the same energy that spurred the original action and can serve as a trigger of a repeated action at any future point.
Not necessarily an emotion, but even a simple cue. Indeed. Language is intimately involved in processes that precede language. They used to hold theories that language was secondary to emotional development and other factors, but they now know that language arises in parallel to emotional development and functions intimately with it. A parallel process even if the language is non-verbal.
And therapy helps calm the emotional trigger? Like simply being able to explain an impulse with words lessens the need to do it. Therapy doesn’t currently aim at triggering catharsis as it once did. They have found that older model to often just serve to reinforce the original emotional trauma and just makes you rehearse being hurt. What they have found is that the expressive behaviour serves to discharge compulsive elements of the original behaviour. Putting it into words, if possible, makes it become more of an intellectual object than an organic defence.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.