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A Conceptual Tour of
Mental Relativity

by Melanie Anne Phillips

Before we begin an exploration of the details of the Mental Relativity model, it will help to have an overview of where we are going. By examining the promise of the model, it will make the value of a tedious journey into the theory behind the model more apparent.

To begin with, there are striking similarities between Mental Relativity and the structure of DNA. But, whereas DNA is represented as a double helix, Mental Relativity is represented as a quadruple helix.

The first two helices are structural in nature, and by themselves appear, when modeled, almost identical to a "ball and stick" model of DNA. The second two helices, however, are dynamic in nature, and exist only conceptually as a description of how the sequence of bases in the structural double helix is determined.

We are not unaware of the potential application of the Mental Relativity theory to such areas as genetics, but our purpose here is to explain a model of the mind.

One might ask why a model of the mind should bear any resemblance to a model of DNA at all. From a Mental Relativity standpoint, the answer is that these patterns do not exist independently of our perception of them. In fact, the reason we see a spiral in a galaxy, a hair pattern, or a DNA molecule is that the observer is always projected onto the observation. The data are what they are. The pattern is a perceptive ordering of the data.

One might expect that with a quadruple helix there would be eight bases instead of four. In actuality, there are sixteen bases. This is because the number of base building-blocks required to generate all of the permutations of the relationships both within and among the helices is the square of the number of helices.

Each set of four bases is a separate family called a Quad, with one Quad pertaining to the outward-looking view, one to the inward-looking view, one to a structural view and one to a dynamic view. These four views: outward, inward, structural, and dynamic, are the four most elemental relationships between self and that which is not self. They the basis of all interactions and alterations between observer and observation.

The four inward-looking bases of the model are Knowledge (K), Thought (T), Ability (A), and Desire (D).

The four outward-looking bases are Mass (M), Energy (E), Space (S), and Time (Ti).

The four structural bases are Universe (U), Mind (Mi), Physics (Ph) and Psychology (Ps).

The four dynamic bases are I (I), You (Y), We (W) and They (Th).

It is the interactions among these sixteen bases that determines the exact "genetic sequence" of experiences of any given self-aware entity along its path of existence stretching between non-existence that was and non-existence to come.

When we bring all four Quads of bases together, one visual representation of the resultant pattern is the quadruple helix already mentioned. Although this is an elegant model, it is also difficult to work with. A more practical representation which is more accessible for purposes of analysis and construction is represented below:

(Illustration by Chris Huntley)

Click on the image to navigate through the model

Here, the horizontal axis of the matrix represents the impact of the bases KTAD - the inward-looking view. The vertical axis of the matrix represents the impact of the bases MEST - the outward-looking view. The semantic terms at the top of the model, which are within the matrix represent the influence of the bases UMPhPs and determine the structural palette of experiences available to self-awareness. The final Quad of the four bases (IYWTh) are applied to the model conceptually and determine the dynamic forces which act upon the model to determine the sequence of experiences actually perceived.

If you click on the image above, you can navigate through the model from the top to the bottom. You will note that the original semantic representations of Universe, Mind, Physics, and Psychology are continually subdivided into progressively more detailed Quads. Each semantic term in the matrix represents a unique mix of influences from the three Quads of bases physically represented in the model.

The reason only three of the four Quads of bases are physically present in the model is that only three have an objective aspect with which to tie them together. MEST is an objective look at objectivity. KTAD is an objective look at subjectivity. UMPhPs is a subjective look at objectivity. IYWTh is a subjective look at subjectivity, and therefore has no touch point in which it might be attached to an objective model. If we were to take the opposite approach and create a subjective model, it would be three fourths conceptual, making it much less useful as an analytic and predictive tool.

In a sense, this visualization of the four Quads of bases resembles something of a cross between a three dimensional Periodic Table of Mental Elements and a Rubik's Cube. In practice, it used essentially as both.

The semantic terms order experiences spatially by families, not unlike the Periodic Table of Elements in chemistry. But, rather than representing such things as Nobel Gasses, Rare Earths and so on, the principal families in the Mental Relativity model are Classes, Types, Variations, and Elements. Each of these families is represented as one of the four vertical planar levels in the model, with Classes at the top and Elements at the bottom.

We can see that the original four Classes fall into sixteen Types which generate sixty-four Variations based on two hundred fifty six Elements. Each semantic term attached to the model describes the blended influence of the three Quads on that particular position in the model and also serves as the family name for the Quad which falls directly beneath it.

For example, in the second level from the top in the Physics Class we find the semantic Type name, "Understanding". This is descriptive of the meaning of the particular conjunction of the influences of all three Quads of bases at that point, but also serves as a family name for the four Variations beneath it: "Instinct", "Conditioning", "Senses", and "Interpretation".

The fractal nature of the model is quite apparent by noting that the internal relationships among the items in any Quad interrelate in much the same way as the items in any other Quad. For example, internal relationships in the Instinct, Conditioning, Senses, Interpretation Quad bears a striking similarity to the internal relationships among the items "State of Being", "Sense of Self", "Situation" and "Circumstances" in the Quad of Variations under the "Conceptualizing" Type in the Psychology Class.

An examination of the model will show that the State of Being Quad is in the same relative position in the Psychology Class as the Instinct Quad is in the Physics Class. Because meaning in the model is based on position, the more similar the position, the more similar the feel of both the terms themselves and the relationships in their respective Quads.

This is hardly surprising, since Knowledge is not unlike Mass or Universe, Thought has a kinship with Energy, and Mind, Ability has connections to Space and Physics, and Desire touches on issues of Time, and Psychology.

Putting all four Quads together, the concept of relationship based on position becomes clear:

All the items in the upper left seem more singular or definitive. The items in the lower right seem to be those which most directly impact the item in the upper left. The items in the upper right seem like they require some sort of comparison. The items in the lower left seem more all pervasive. Of course, these are just broad generalizations, but the fractal nature of the model based on position can be clearly seen. In fact, even the four Quads of bases share the same kind of relationships as items in a larger Quad.

An important note is the relationship that "I" is in the same position as "Knowledge". This is because the semantic terms we have chosen for the model are influenced by the choice of selecting an "objective" model in the first place, rather than the subjective one. As a result, a consistent bias is built into the matrix itself favoring objectivism, which ultimately requires that self be defined based on one's Knowledge.

It should be kept in mind that there are other possible models which represent other biases as well. This particular bias was chosen because it best reflects the inherent biases of Western society, which is the atmosphere in which the model was created, and therefore the most plentiful variety of semantic terms. We are, in a sense, limited by our own language. It is impossible to complete any model that is free of bias since we, the observer, always have a point of view. But, it is our hope that theorists in other cultures will take it upon themselves to translate the semantic terms into their own language so that the validity of the relationships is maintained while merely the point of view is altered.

Another point we might note in the four Quads represented above is that the diagonally related items share a special bond. The bonded pairs in each group of four have a similar flavor from group to group. Mass and Energy seem to operate in a more physical sense, while Space and Time seem more like appraisals. Similarly, Knowledge and Thought appear the cornerstones of reason, whereas Ability and Desire strike us being more judgmental. Universe and Mind are states of things, Physics and Psychology describe processes. I and You are singular, We and They are plural.

At an observational level, the diagonal bonding is the most obvious pair relationship, again due to the objective bias of the model. But once we delve into the realm of the applied Dynamics which rearrange the model like a Rubik's Cube, other bonded pair relationships become apparent. The nature of these other pairs (such as horizontal or vertical bonds) each has different properties which are displayed in varying degrees of strength.

Dynamically, the I, You, We, They Quad is applied to the physical representation of the model. This is accomplished in a practical sense by assigning each of these four points of view to one of the Classes. When this is done, each Class and all the Types, Variations, and Elements beneath it become the Domain of the point of view associated with it.

For example, Universe might be the "You" Domain or the "We" Domain. Clearly, based on the four Quads of bases represented above, Universe should always associate with "I", not "You" or "We". That is why dynamics are created. The choice of where to associate the points of view determines the in which ways our point of view warps our perspective of objective reality, or in other words, how each observer uniquely alters an observation.

When each of the four points of view have been associated with each of the four Classes, we get a sense of the nature of a mental entity's bias. In a sense, this is not unlike getting a sense of a DNA strand as belonging to a plant or an animal.

The next degree of refinement comes when we choose the focus of attention for each point of view in each of the vertical levels in the model. For example, if Mind is selected as the You Domain (meaning that in this sequence it is someone else's mind that is the focus of attention) then what Type or aspect of that other person's mind are we most concerned with: Memory, Conscious, Subconscious, or Preconscious? Once we make our selection, we have further refined the association of that point of view with the objective model.

It should be noted that although each Class must receive a point of view, the choice as to which POV goes to which Class is completely arbitrary. By arbitrary we do not mean that it has no impact, but rather that any combination will create a viable sequence. But, just as with DNA, every allowable sequence creates a different end product.

To complete our association of points of view to Classes, we determine on which Variation in each class the point of view focuses, and finally the elemental issue that is the root or anchor point for each point of view in each Class.

Having arrived a complete association of all four points of view to all four Classes, the dynamic instructions have been completely encoded into the model. What remains is to let them act upon it and put things into motion.

To illustrate the manner in which motion occurs, let us take a generic Quad labeled ABCD:

This Quad represents any family of Elements in the bottom level of the model. To see how dynamics operate on the Quad, let us imagine a mental irritation. This might be something in one's environment that is detrimental or desired but absent or an internal quality that is present and not wanted or wanted and not present.

If the irritation persists, it reaches a point where a charge of energy is built up on that point, for the human mind which is based on neurons that charge does not respond until it experiences a great enough single impact (spatial summation) or an impact of sufficient duration (temporal summation).

Once that flash point is reached, a neuron will fire. Having fired, its action potential is reduced, and it cannot fire again until a certain period of time transpires. This is due to its exhaustion of the needed biochemical components which were depleted during the firing process.

In our generic Quad, suppose mental item "D" becomes irritated through spatial or temporal summation to the point that it "fires". In that event, the Quad will (in a sense) spin about the AB axis so that D and C exchange places. This effectively moves the irritated "D" out of the way, and scabs it over with "C".

If no further irritation continues, D will eventually rebuild its exhausted potential and the Quad will return to its initial position. Psychologically, this is akin to a concept called extinction. But, if the irritation remains and brings item C to the point of response before D is ready to resume its original position, then the Quad finds itself in something of a dilemma. It can neither flip C and D, nor can it wait any longer.

In this case, a more drastic response is necessary. The "mechanism" of the mind moves up one level to the Variations. Here it will flip an entire Variation with its diagonal pair, and drag the Elements below it along for the ride. In this manner, a larger shift in perspective overcomes a greater intensity of mental irritation.

Once again, if the irritation diminishes or stops, all affected Quads will unwind in time. If the irritation continues, the mind bumps up to the Type level and performs the same procedure. If the Type level is irritated, the Class above that Type will flip with another Class. But at this point, something different has happened. Universe will have swapped places with Mind or Physics with Psychology. Effectively an irritation which objectively resides as an external consideration is now perceived by the mind as an internal problem or an issue which is "really" internal is now seen to come from the outside environment (or someone else!). This process is known in psychology as projection.

Once the mind has gone through four processes of dynamically shifting perspective, it has exhausted a whole Quad of mental defense mechanisms and bumps itself up to the next family of dynamics. When this happens, the previous Quad of responses is no longer available, effectively locking their impact in place so that (in regard to the specific irritation) the projection between internal and external will not unwind on its own. In fact, it takes a complimentary irritation beginning at the Class level and working its way down to bring thing back into alignment.

So, from an originally neutral or balanced state, self-awareness now has a built in bias (or sensitivity) that is reflective of past experience, rather than immediate stimulation. It is this mechanism that allows us to anticipate, and is the source of both our motivation and our blind spots.

By itself, a single winding up of the model is linear in nature. In contrast, the mind is much more non-linear in its function. The model reflects this as well, as there will, in fact, be two Classes that "wind up" in response to any given irritation. The two Classes will be a bonded pair so that, for example, an irritation may be perceived as between Mind (what we want) and Universe (what we have), in conversational terms. Similarly, the irritation might be perceived between Universe (the way things are) and Physics (the way things are going).

The deepest resolution of a problem that the mind can simultaneously appreciate is that it might be between two Classes as opposed to residing solely in one. This is because (as documented in other articles) in any given Quad, the mind must blend two of the items in order to compare the other two against each other. In brief, the reasons for this are due to the order in which the mind moves from one perspective to the next so that any given perspective ultimately gets a second "viewing" at a later time, allowing for a sense what has changed. Since the mind cannot be everywhere at once, we find that at some moments we are thinking about our feelings and at other moments thinking about a logistic issue.

The manner in which we mentally shift around a Quad determines that one pair in a Quad will get a "double exposure" while the other pair will only have each item visited once. As a result, the mind approximates a sense of change in the items seen only once, but playing one against the other as if they were two viewings of the same item. This synthesizes the parallax of a true double reading, providing an extra edge of probable accuracy, but at the expense of blending two concepts into one.

As an example, when we separately consider or interact Knowledge and Thought in our minds, we blend Desire and Ability into Desirability, which effectively means that we cannot engage in a logical analysis without to some degree being affected by our emotional state.

This contention leads to a whole new line of inquiry which is covered in other articles regarding Mental Relativity. For now, we have completed the purpose of this article, which was to provide a conceptual overview of the structure and dynamics of the Mental Relativity model of the mind, and to hint at its basis in established views of neurology and psychology.

In a sense, Mental Relativity stands between neurology and psychology to show how they affect and reflect each other.

Copyright Melanie Anne Phillips

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