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B.S. And The Sexes

by Melanie Anne Phillips

B.S. That's what we see so often in the "other" sex, whichever that may be. "They" don't see things the way "we" do. "Our" desires are different from "Theirs". What makes sense to Us is gibberish to Them (and vice versa). B.S. - no matter which sex we are, we see it in the other one.

But B.S. is not what you think. It really stands for Blind Spot, and that is the reason we don't agree. You see, men and women have different Blind Spots. We can't see our own (that's why its blind!) but we can quite easily see theirs.

What are these sex specific blind spots? How did they come into being? From cultural indoctrination - some sort of learned behavior imposed upon the sexes by society? No, society enhances the blind spots of each sex, but the intrinsic dark void in each of our minds is placed there before birth. In fact, it is a pre-condition to the development of self-awareness.

To understand how these blind spots develop and why they are essential, despite their negative repercussions, we must look at how the mind is organized, and how that organization differs between males and females.

As a first step in this description of the mind, let's define awareness. According to Mental Relativity, awareness describes a mind that is able to learn. (Actually, the technical definition is much more complex, but that is the gist.)

You see, a mind that cannot learn must merely respond to its environment. Whenever a non-aware organism, through its senses, perceives a stimulation by something in its surroundings, it responds to that. If food lands on one of its receptors, it will respond by pulling it into its digestive system. It does not, however, anticipate and will not sweep the area "looking" for food.

To be sure, a non-aware organism may appear to search for food, but that is a pattern dictated at the instinctual level, not through its learning. The proof of this would be to place the organism in a different environment that requires altering the search technique just slightly in order to obtain food. A non-aware organism would not adapt to the change and would continue to employ the instinctual method until it died of starvation, even though a slight change in approach would yield all the food it needed.

To examine an organism that does learn, let's take a look at good old Pavlov and his dogs. Pavlov set up an experiment in what came to be known as "Classical Conditioning". In Classical Conditioning, a subject (in this case, a dog) has an existing "built in" (or instinctual) response to a particular stimulation. In Pavlov's dogs, the stimulus in question was a meat powder that he introduced into the mouth of the dog by means of a tube. As soon as the meat powder hit the dog's tongue, the animal began to salivate. This was called and Un-Conditioned Response (or UCR) to an Un-Conditioned Stimulus (or UCS) because it occurred naturally.

Next, Pavlov began to ring a bell at the same time the meat powder was introduced. The bell began at the moment the powder was present, and ended at the moment it stopped. This is called a Contingency between the Un-conditioned stimulus of the meat powder and the Conditional Stimulus of the bell. In other words, the sounding of the bell was contingent on the stimulus of the meat powder.

After several feeding sessions were performed in this manner, Pavlov rang the bell without providing meat powder, yet the dog salivated nonetheless. It had become Conditioned to the stimulus of the bell, and reacted in the same way as if the meat powder had been present. The salivation, in this situation, is called a Conditioned Response, since it does not naturally occur when a bell is rung until the conditioning was imposed.

Now, this conditioning is exactly how we learn from experience in our own lives and it is really very simple. When we see two things that always occur together, we begin to assume that if we see one, the other is somewhere around. We establish a contingent relationship between the two. Although Pavlov did not test for this, it is true that if (after conditioning) Pavlov had provided meat powder without the bell, the dog would have expected the bell to ring at any moment. Why? because the dog is not only aware, but self-aware. In other words, it can look to its own experience to anticipate a future occurrence.

This is a complex issue, so let's spend a bit more time on it. When the dog responds to the Conditioned Stimulus as if it were the Un-conditioned stimulus, it has learned. But when the dog is presented with the Un-conditioned stimulus and expects the Conditioned stimulus, it is anticipating. The learned response defines awareness, the un-learned or anticipated response defines self-awareness.

So what is the difference in the operation of the mind between being aware or self-aware? In awareness, the mind merely responds to experience. The more it experiences something a certain way, the more likely it is to respond to it. In self-awareness, the mind is responding to what is not there that was there before. In other words, the mind is not merely comparing the environment to experience, but is also comparing experience to the environment.

What's the difference? In awareness, the mind never questions its experience. To be sure, conditioning can erode if not supported (called Extinction) but it is not questioned by the mind, just the experience begins to average out to another conclusion. In self-awareness, the mind doesn't just go with what experience says, but tries to judge if experience is valid when there are factors that have not been experienced before.

Now pause for a moment, and examine the incredible ramifications of this notion. A self-aware mind, in the face of contradictory information, can still cling to its pre-conceptions! Take a new look at prejudice, teaching an old dog new tricks, stubbornness, and clinging to goals against strong opposition. Suddenly, the mechanism behind these (and many other) human attitudes and responses becomes much more clear. But what of the differences between the blind spots of men and women? How does anticipation and self-awareness fit into that? To take the final step toward our understanding, we need to examine the mechanism of anticipation more closely.

When a mind is only aware, it is triggered by a pattern of conditions in the environment as an arrangement of items (contingency) or a progression of events (causality). Arrangements are experienced and learned as a spatial pattern, whereas sequences are experienced and learned as a temporal pattern. Space or time, had no effect on the way awareness operates. In fact, awareness in both men and women operates with both.

The ability to anticipate, however, exists in a mind that compares its spatial experience to its temporal experience. Again, a big concept that needs fleshing out. The key here is that the mind is no longer just comparing its experience to the environment, now it ignores the environment and compares its spatial experience to its temporal experience. Rather than seeking relationships or associations from internal to external, self-awareness seeks relationships that exist completely internally. The process of self-awareness then, is all within the mind itself and not dependent upon environmental stimulation. So we describe a self-aware mind as having two kinds of experience, one based on space, the other on time.

So much has been written about the nature of the left brain versus the right brain. Volumes of research has been done to map and describe the spatial functioning of the left half of the brain and the temporal functioning of the right. Mental Relativity is concerned with the relationship between to two sides of the brain.

Let's place an experienced mind in an environment. The environment has a spatial arrangement of things and a sequence in which things happen (or change). The mind has a set of experiences based on how things are arranged, and a set of experiences based on the sequence in which things happen. In order to anticipate, we need to see how the arrangement of things changes over time, or how the sequence of things changes in different situations. The first measures changes in space against time, the second measures changes in time against space.

These two kinds of experiences build up until patterns (that are essentially averages of all that has been observed) are created. These averages do not give an absolute certainty that two things will go together or happen in a certain order, but provide a likelihood or probability that things will progress in time or space a certain way.

But when the probability indicates one future based on spatial experience and a different future based on temporal experience, the mind must decide which one to go with. It must "weigh" its experience of space against its experience of time. A mind cannot consider both at the same time.

This is the key concept to the understanding of Blind Spots and how they differ between men and women. When a mind is faced with a conflict between spatial and temporal conclusions, it would be hopelessly deadlocked. Both "sides" of the mind are giving conflicting information that leads to no clear-cut pattern of response. So although either set of experiences, temporal or spatial, if existing alone would have a precise guideline for the organism to follow, taken together, the organism cannot "decide" how to respond. In terms of evolution, any organism that became "mind locked" would be easy prey and not likely to continue its line. In fact, organisms that gave more credence to one set of experiences over the other, although biased in its evaluations, would have a significantly greater chance of survival. And that is just what happened. All self-aware species weeded out the genes that let to balance and favored those that led to a biased view. But which biased view?

Objectively, both sets of experience are equal in their validity for survival. So, as one might assume, chaos being what it is, both kinds of organisms evolved. We call them male and female.

Before there was such a thing as physical sex, before there was such a thing as humans, the earliest protozoa evolved into two distinct branches, the temporal-favoring line and the spatial-favoring line. How does this "favoring" work, and which one is male and which female?

A mind that favors one set of experiences over the other functions by giving consideration preference to space or time. In a favoring system, the mind process an observation first by one set of experiences, and only then by the other.

Imagine an incoming observation. It contains both an arrangement of things and the vectors of how things are changing. The mind searches the lower level of awareness and finds the two patterns in conflict. Temporary mind lock: what to do? Unable to respond immediately without thought, and rather than not react at all, the mind will hold that observation in short-term memory and examine it either with spatial experiences or with temporal ones. But whichever it uses first, the very act of examining the short-term memory, changes its nature.

We have all heard how the act of observation changes that which is observed. This is where it happens. By examining a "held" observation first by space, for example, the short-term memory itself is organized into a more spatial bias or pattern. Then, when the temporal experiences come into play the temporal nature of the original observation has been "polluted" or filtered in such a way that the time sense is slightly hobbled. This is not to say that the time sense gets nothing at all, or even that it what it gets is greatly mangled. If the original observation, although deadlocked between time experience and space experience, would have called for a very similar reaction in either case, then the alterations caused by space-first will be minimal, and time sense will get an almost faithful reproduction of the original observation to compare to. But if in a deadlock, space experience and time experience each call for widely divergent reactions, then the original observation is extensively deteriorated by the space-first processing and the time sense gets an extremely inaccurate version of to compare to.

This is the cradle of the conscious process of consideration, but again, that is beyond the scope of this article and will be reserved for future explorations.

The point here is, that one of these minds will favor space, the other time. And the space-favoring mind will have an inaccurate temporal appreciation of observation, the time-favoring mind will have an inaccurate spatial appreciation of observation.

There is one last step. Lets look objectively at space sense and time sense. From this perspective, space can see the arrangement of things directly in an observation. It does not even need to refer to short term memory or experience to locate areas of sensory stimulation. Surely to identify an item would require experience, but to be affected by it does not. Time sense, on the other hand, cannot glean anything from observation without comparing one arrangement of things to a later arrangement of things to see how they have changed.

In one way, time sense is once removed from observation already, which makes it more fallible to inaccuracy. But in another way, time sense contains one more dimension of information than space sense, because it is not only aware of two sequential arrangements of things (doing the job of space sense) but also compares them together to see how things are changing, a feat space sense cannot do.

So, each has a special ability and a special drawback that cancel out in the long run, making each as effective for survival as the other. But more importantly, we can see that space sense operates directly on the observation and time sense operates on a stored observation. That is how the sense of time is generated within us. And that is the last step:

A space-favoring mental system focuses on the external world, a time-favoring mental system focuses on the internal world.

It's no great leap to see how this figures into a concept of male and female minds and how one favors external things and the other internal. And it immediately adds clarity to our understanding of the relationship between spatial and temporal ability (accuracy) and the sexes.

Mental Relativity defines the framework of a mental system as a BOS or Brain Operating System, since it dictates how the brain will operate. SBOS refers to a Space-favoring Brain Operating System and TBOS refers to a Time-favoring Brain Operating System.

Now, in terms of evolution, an organism with an SBOS would be aided by a physical enhancing biology, and we see this clearly in the aggressive and muscle building effects of testosterone. A TBOS mind would be aided by an mental enhancing biology, and we see this in the internalizing and emotion building effects of estrogen.

Physical sex did not evolve into male and female minds. Female and male minds evolved into physical sexes.

The biochemistry and the biology evolved to enhance the functionality of the two primary species of organisms that first evolved: male and female. The sexes do no exist in the other animal forms as a parallel to human sexes, rather, the two primary species of male and female diverged into other forms of animals. Symbiotically, parasitically, the two species grew along many parallel branches, in tandem, inseparable, ultimately dependent upon each other for survival, similar physically, but as different mentally as aliens from two different planets.

See the temporal (emotional) Blind Spots that can occur in the male. See the spatial ((Reasonable) Blind Spots that can occur in the female. Future articles will discuss common Blind Spots of each: how they occur and how to deal with them in ourselves and in our co-species.

As a final thought, born of me feminist leanings, consider that in a savage environment, males are best equipped to tame it. But as they do, they structure it according to their own spatial bias. This is not intentional, they simple operate that way. As the environment is controlled, language comes into being, science evolves, society and religion are established. But these are all second generation from the environment itself, and begin to intrude upon the special temporal domain of females.

Eventually, humankind move from a frontier society to an information society, and the immediate observation of the natural world in which we all evolved is almost completely lost. When was the last time in our work-a-day world that we saw a tree that was not planted, but just grew there? Who planted it and where? When was the last time we saw more dirt than pavement on our way to the office? Who paved the streets? In what pattern?

If our original environment has been almost fully replaced by a created one, who did the creating and in what image? All that a woman sees, all that she learns, is already biased by a male point of view. Just as the mind suffers accuracy in one sense of the other based on bias, women are double-hobbled by having the very environment and the education they have received already reflect the way men see things. So a woman's mind has no language, no logic, no religion all her own. She only has what sense she can make out of the male versions provided her.

This is the heart of my message and the thrust of my future career: to bring things back into balance. In an information society, the focus of importance has shifted from the external world to the internal one. But women, who are best prepared to handle this new frontier do not even know what it is to think like a woman. To be sure, they think as women, but have been trained to think like men.

Women are realizing this more and more. And their intrinsic value to the Inner Frontier is becoming more and more apparent. But in order to fully realize their potential, as members of humanity and as individuals, they must develop their own language, their own culture, their own religion. Only when women can speak as women and like women will they be able to tame the Inner Frontier with the same pioneer resolve of their male counterparts in the wilds of the old one.

But a warning: the real danger is that women will seek to make over their brothers and subjugate them, as surely as males had done to them. Whether out of revenge or through ignorance, we might turn the tables on our brothers and force them into the mental prison we are just escaping from.

"So what!", an ardent feminist might ask. So this: if we allow the pendulum to swing the other way, we will hobble our ability as a species to deal with a savage environment. Things that are intrinsically obvious to males would elude us, and the men we had cast in our image. The infrastructure would eventually crumble and we would fall with it, once more into the wild world we so recently languished in. And then... when culture and language and science were gone, males would rise once more as the dominant species and force our great grand-daughters into slavery anew.

We cannot take revenge, we cannot ignore the needs of ourselves nor our brothers. Equality is not the answer for we are not equal. But Equity will divide our resources and our power in ways equally beneficial to the special needs of the two halves of humanity.

That is our calling, that is our charge: to stop the pendulum once and for all and let each species prosper in its own way toward its own ends, recognizing our mutual dependency, reveling in the splendor of our differences, striving not against each other, but together to the stars in the heavens and the stars in our minds.

Copyright Melanie Anne Phillips

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