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APPENDIX D SOME THOUGHTS ON DEFINING THE INDIVIDUAL'S STATE OF AWARENESS By Henry C. Alberts, Ph.D. Adjunct Professor, University of Maryland, University College Graduate School ABSTRACT This paper explores that concept that "awareness" is generated by changing sensory patterns that form a time line of perceptions, and that awareness of self results from those patterns. That concept also provides some support for the idea that a systems approach is essential to understanding the dimensionality of individual entity awareness. In the end, the conclusion can be reached that self-awareness is not a singular state but rather a continuous sense of changing patterns that include environment, entity, and totality of experience up to that point in time. A further, perhaps more provocative conclusion is that self awareness is a statement of a kind of relativity – we define ourselves in terms of the milieu in which we find ourselves keeping constant the boundaries between ourselves and that environment. GENESIS OF THE LINE OF THOUGHT My spouse (and colleague into her own enquiries concerning human psychology) gave me the book "Shadows of the Mind" by Roger Penrose as a gift this year. During this and previous years, we had been discussing the processes of individual human learning, the role of language in idea generation, and other elements of psychological knowledge in an on-going effort to understand the dynamics of personae development and change. On this occasion, we were on our way from our home in Virginia to visit our eldest child and her family in their home in Washington State north of Seattle and I decided that since the flight combination we had booked would extend over 7 hours (with waiting at two airports en-route), I would take the book with me and read it as we went. As I read what Dr. Penrose said, my mind began to question the environment within which the genesis of his argument developed. Having studied Mathematics and Physics myself, I was aware of linear logic when I saw it, and I was unsatisfied with the use of that process in attempting to define "awareness". My own life experience in technology and engineering research since 1949 led me to take an active role in developing concepts of "systems" and lines of reasoning that have come to be grouped under the heading of "System Thinking". That starting point quickly developed into a kind of operational definition of "awareness" (both of self and of surroundings) as "sensing and responding to a pattern of multidimensional stimuli." Refining that generalization, I came to believe that "awareness" involved sensing a total ambience within which the entity was existing using all its senses to synthesize and experience a pattern. A critical element was the involuntary involvement of all senses in creating recognition of the ambient pattern and the synthesis of the whole by the brain. It seems to me that one cannot make a choice about whether or not one's sense receptors are operational – one can ignore the inputs, but so long as the sensors are operating the stimuli are received. Assuming this hypothesis has consequences: q Any changes in the pattern sensed effects the balance of ambience that the person perceives - although the change sensed may not be recognized at that moment as being specific change to any particular component of the ambience. However, responses to such changes shape total consciousness and awareness and can cause increased malaise or sensations of satisfaction. Thus I postulate that there are "Happy Environments" and "Sad Environments" as well as fairly neutral environments along a curve of perceived sensations. q I further postulate that the person's totality of experience along the time line of existence, and individual mood at the time of an observed environmental pattern change affects the overall response to events – one can get angry, or laugh, at someone else's gaffe. The idea that the totality of experience plays a major role in responses to particular events might have been the fundamental genesis for the early psychological process of "analysis" where the past was reviewed to search for the causes of the effects observed in a patient's present behaviors. q Decoration of a milieu creates an ambience! The implications of this observation can be far reaching. It has been shown that a particular shade of the color pink has a calming effect on violent individuals. That knowledge has enabled law enforcement authorities to calm violent criminals in detention cells that have been painted in that color. Of particular interest to me when I learned this was the statement made by the speaker at this particular 1982 conference on maintaining the security of nuclear power plants, that for even sightless individuals, the ambience created by the decoration in that particular color produces the same calming effect. Does this imply that decorators should create an ambience matched to the needs of those who will occupy the space rather than requiring occupants to fit into the ambience dictated by others? The University of Stellenbosch, in the northern suburbs of Cape Town, South Africa established a research group on Anxiety and Stress Disorders at the Department of Psychiatry in 1997. It's group of studies of Obsessive-Compulsive behavior has shown that such behavior is linked with the environment within which those afflicted have been living – and is likely a major cause of the behavior pattern. In a sense, one might compare Pavlov's animal experimental results which changed a particular aspect of the animal's environment (ringing a bell before feeding) with an obsessive-compulsive response (conditioned reflex) to salivating even in the immediate absence of food but rather in its anticipation. The conditioned reflex of an environmental ambience created a previously unarticulated behavioral pattern. q In previous writings, I have suggested that the phenomena of "deja vue" might be better understood if thought of as the generation, by the senses, of a current ambience that closely resembles a previously experienced environment. If the match is sufficiently close, one may be led to perceive having been in the newly experienced situation at some time before even though this was not been the case. q By the same token, careful study of the environment chosen by a person can reveal the personality and preferences of that individual [Kendall, E. and Kendall, J. E. 1] In this sense, because the individual's experiences along the time line of existence are integrated within the totality of the synaptic network within the person's brain, review of the chosen environment for working or living can reveal much about an individuals approach to living and how the individual is likely to respond to new stimuli. q Behavioral responses, and perception of past experiences, may both be affected by exposure to changes in environmental conditions. How we interpret our past experience is often modified by changed circumstance in environmental situation. The insight into things affecting awareness that led to writing this paper was brought about by a new perception of past experience triggered by exposure to ideas in Penrose's book. Sudden flashes of insight can be triggered by a new sensation or environment. The implications of this line of reasoning are broad and somewhat disturbing. For instance, early industrial age thinking as personified by Adam Smith  indicated that the work processes and environments were to be established by management and imposed upon those who worked within the process to produce end items. Writings of other experts such as Frederick W. Taylor  indicated that there was a science to defining sequences of tasks required to create or form an end product and fitting people to tasks within an environment conducive to efficient operation of the processes of production. Taylor's work can be looked at as the first step in fitting humans to work (or work to humans!). I suggest there is also an environment within which such tasks can be better performed and that the environment has much to do with the sense of self within those who occupy it. I take this reasoning one step further to suggest that an individuals total personality is embedded within its synaptic rete (the web of interconnected synaptic network) and the individual has a pattern of responses to change that are if not predictable in detail, at least very likely to lie within some determinable boundaries. An illustration might be in the behavior of a very good Swedish friend during a sojourn along the coast of Norway to the point in Europe where Norway, Russia, and Finland meet – Kirkenes, Norway. We were a party of four – myself and my spouse-colleague and our friends and neighbors from the time of our residence next door to them in Stockholm's Bromma suburb. In our almost 40 years of association, we had met in various venues ranging from Europe to Madeira to Iceland and the United States. Together we had explored the voyages of the Vikings following the route of Leif Ericsson from Scandinavia to Iceland and then on their advice, to Newfoundland's Anse aux Meadows, reputed to be the first New World settlement by Europeans. On this particular trip, we had time to spend at Kirkenes, and we walked around the town assimilating the ambience of the unique multicultural place. We noted that there were many Asian people in the main plaza. They were not Lapp people or other Northern European indigenous peoples, but rather resembled immigrants from Viet Nam and other Southeast Asian regions whom we had seen in Iceland as well as other places in the Northern Hemisphere and Asia. As we explored the shops, and the different temptations in them, we lost track of our friend. Look though we did, he was not to be seen. However, after some time, we noticed him peddling a pedicab vehicle toward us. The vehicle belonged to a Viet-Namese family who were also in the vehicle. Our friend had struck up a conversation with the family and spoke with them about their transport asking to experience it with them. When they agreed, they offered him a short set of instructions about how to navigate the pedicab, and then went off around the town square and beyond. This behavior was entirely in keeping with our friend's personality and lifestyle. He is curious, is broadly read and fluent in many Indo-European languages, and has the ability to make linkages between things that comes from his rigorous training in Economics and Political Science. He described his experience later and provided fascinating insights into the migration patters of the many Asian peoples we had seen in Kirkenes and Reykjavik. The point, however, is that it was entirely in his character (as we knew it) to inquire about what he perceived to be a deviation from the normal pattern of ambience in a particular place, and to draw information from the experience. And indeed, all of us profited from his short exposure to migratory patterns of these Asian peoples, incorporating our knowledge into our own synaptic rete and thus expanding our own awareness and understanding. There is considerable evidence that an environment's ambience has an effect on an individual's mental functions. We have known since even before last Century that physical disease can be the result of long exposure to certain environments. I can clearly remember my first exposure to the effects of diet on health when I was told about the problem of Scurvy in the British Navy and how it was found to be the result of lack of Vitamin C. The sobriquet "Limey" resulted from the adoption of the practice of carrying lime fruit on British ships to forestall the outbreaks of scurvy. But formalization of the idea that an environmental ambience might create situations where individuals' mental health was prone to change is relatively new. Community surveys have shown that many anxiety disorders are among the most common psychiatric disorders, causing extensive suffering and interference with work and social functioning. According to The Research Unit on Anxiety and Stress Disorders established in 1997 at the Department of Psychiatry of the University of Stellenbosch, (in the northern suburbs of Cape Town, South Africa), anxiety disorders account for one third of all costs of mental illness, with obsessivecompulsive disorder (OCD) being the tenth most disabling of all medical disorders. The Unit conducts research into the psychobiology and treatment of anxiety disorders. Its findings to date are shown below. They were taken from its web-site  and are, I think, extremely interesting: q Diagnosis - The development of specific criteria for each of the different anxiety disorders has allowed reliable diagnosis of these disorders. This is important not only for identifying these conditions in clinical settings, but also for undertaking systematic research. Failure to diagnose anxiety disorders at a primary care level has been a significant problem in the past. Epidemiology Community surveys have shown that many of the anxiety disorders are amongst the most prevalent. q Neurobiology - Current methodologies have allowed the dissection of the specific neuroanatomical circuits and neurotransmitter systems involved in mediating the anxiety disorders. There are exciting parallels, for example, between the neurobiology of fear conditioning in animal models and that of clinical disorders. Furthermore, a range of psycho-pharmacological agents has been introduced for the treatment of anxiety disorders. q Psychotherapy - In recent years, a range of rigorous controlled research on the cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy of the anxiety disorders has been undertaken. Exposure techniques are particularly important in the successful treatment of a number of the anxiety disorders, and in the case of OCD have been shown to normalize dysfunctional brain activity. q Self-help - In the past few decades, consumers with anxiety disorders have recognized the importance of establishing advocacy organizations to help increase awareness of these conditions, and to help fight discrimination against the mentally ill. Such groups have helped greatly to increase awareness of the anxiety disorders, and to encourage people to seek appropriate treatment, included within alternative treatment modalities is change in environmental venue. But there are even more interesting examples of environment creating mind set change. q When Pavlov did his work with dogs, (observing that they would salivate in anticipation of being fed, he then adopted the practice of ringing a bell just before offering food to see if the animals salivated on hearing the bell). The generation of an environmental cue that food was soon to be offered was sufficient to produce the reaction of anticipatory salivation. q Another instance of induced reflexive actions having been induced within an individual's response pattern through adjustment of the environment within which it exists is of particular interest - the work that taught monkeys to avoid particular locations within their environment because each time they approached them, they received a small electric shock. q But perhaps the most definitive work was done at the Serbsky Institute  in Moscow where individuals without prior history of mental disorder were exposed to environments that created mental disorders. Other instances in China, Korea, and the former Soviet Union of individuals subjected to stresses that changed their perceptions of the world were noted over the years and the term "Brain Washing" coined to describe the process of altering beliefs and perceptions through continued exposure to environments conducive to directing such changes.