Archive for May, 2012

I don’t like the Flow of this one. I will be editing in the near future. I think I am going to make The senses a specific idea and then break out ideas off of it. Only way it will be focused enough to even hold my attenion.

Man, this is going to one of those post that is hard to classify. Part fact, part opinion, part observation. I really don’t think anybody who reads this will be able to say they don’t agree. Some, many may feel that I am missing some or even a lot. I decided to make this about intimate (meaning lovers with touching on close friends) because otherwise this topic alone could be a book. But here we go.

Three Ways to Acquire Information:
First way:
Recently giving myself over to the empirical train of thought mainly, there is the root assertion of that philosophy. The assertion is that everything we know about our world, comes to us through our senses. This is important when considering human relationships. Everything you know about somebody that is factual has come from your sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing. Direct stimulus to brain is the most easily assimilated into the minds storage and recall mechanism. (As in the past I have mentioned that, I believe the PFC plays the most profound role in recalling “lessons” and acting on those lessons.) By this I mean that you actually experience the event with all 5 senses sensing the input from the actions related to I. If we actually experience a person with all 5 senses, we get a better mental picture about them and form “trust factors” associated with them.

Second way:
This is in opposition to the second way with is to “witness” the event. The example here would be actually skydiving as opposed to watching a guy skydiving. (Despite what Hollywood would have you think, when you are actually plummeting through the air at terminal velocity and you can’t get your chute to open, there is no intense dramatic music playing in the background. But they need to feed that sense of hearing to try to get you to feel the intensity.) So you can watch a person get caught in a lie and witness some of the physical responses to the shame and guilt. However, that is not going to have as a profound impact on stopping you from lying in the future as if it were you yourself. (I will comment on forgiveness and second chances later). That impacts varies partly on how attached you are to the liar and/ or the offended.

Third way:
That leads to the third way we get input. Completely void of physical stimulus and based solely upon what somebody tells us. This has the least impact and has the most chance at warped or corrupted data. That interns leads to bad behavioral decision. A commercial can say, “our product is the best”. You won’t believe it at first, but after hearing it over and over the impact gets stronger. This is where the “trust factor” comes into play. This data comes from a person, a book, an audio/ visual source that only describes and give the information. As the person sensing the information how much of it you assimilate into your own personality, depends on how much you trust them. (I could go off in a tangent about parenting here, but I will hold the course.) As an example, FOX news has been shown to me to be very biased and often nonfactual. When I see a report from them, I do not immediately believe it. So if they say, “Don’t eat beans cause they will give you gas”. I am not going to be as driven to change my diet away from beans. CNN has demonstrated a more factual history and NPR has even more so. Their impact to affect me is different even if they delivered the exact same story. There is a conundrum here. This is the worst way to receive information, make a judgment, and act upon it. It is fraught with predisposed notions that might be wrong or not relative. However, you can not see emotional stimulus. Because that “environment” is inside the mind of the individual. This is age old and well known, but it is the explanation why every mental health expert insists open and often communications of each other’s feelings is imperative to maintaining a healthy bond. What is left to the imagination has too many biased and often unrealistic influences based solely on past history.

The Forth Out Of Three Ways:
There is a Fourth way we assimilate information. But we really don’t “gain” anything. That fourth way is that we “reason” or rationalize it. We take other like raw data from other situations and form an opinion about a stimulus. For example, I have experience the loss of a loved one, I have been told life is precious by those I trust, and I have watched the reaction of those who have lost loved ones, so I reason that “all life is precious”. This is a completely corruptible format of information processing. Don’t believe me, ask Santa Clause. However, if you are not exchanging positive stimulus with your partner, you are leaving too much to the imagination. Depending on how he/ she was treated in the past, well that is going to have an affect on what they imagine is happening in that void. So, remember how there ex was an A-hole/ bitch, guess what they are envisioning of you? They can’t stop it. It is all they have to go on.

Going Negative:
I am going to start out with the least fun and probably shortest of the two types of stimulus. Let me first say that everything you do will have either a positive or negative impact. There is no “in between” or neutral. Actions happen, and so do reactions. So what makes it so hard to be in relationship? Imagine trying to stop your car when your only choices are to throw it in forward or throw it in reverse. There is no break. Intimate relationships especially, are all 5 senses oriented. You need them to be stimulated to maintain the bond.

More then a few guys I know that broke off relationships with (I am sure this goes both ways, but I am a guy and these are the stories I know.) a woman who had a dirty house, had cats that smelt bad, started gaining massive amounts of weight right after, had spending problems, or was constantly being over critical. Many of them would say, “I really loved her but…” These are all different types of stimulus. Smell, sight, sight/ rationalization combo. All of the ones I am thinking of broke it off after more then 6 months, many after more then a year. Little by little the negatives of these situations became the only thing that was evident. They closed off, and the rest was left to the imagination. You have to think about how much of your relationship is negative stimulus. If it is most of the time, even though your are moving forward at the moment, the car is in reverse, and the wheels are starting to catch.

Keeping it positive:
This has come up a few times as the result of two things happening simultaneously at the moment. I have a couple of buddies who are in long distance relationships and trying to hold them together and the advent of Facebook doing an IPO. It has lead to discussions about sensory stimulus or our cultures growing lack there of it. The expanded version of what I told my buddies about the long distance relationships is this. Relationships require all 5 senses. It is not just about sex, and hanging out, and doing things together, and sex (did I mention they are guys?) and the obvious. It is about experiencing the same stimulus together. The smell of a restaurant or the popcorn at the theater imprints itself and sets of triggers in ones head. The feel of the plane as you taxi down the runway on a vacation. The sound of silence on a midsummer’s night sail. Not just the taste of the food but the taste in the air when sharing a meal. When making love it is not just the “feel” of the obvious, what makes it “hot” is the feel of the less considered places. Wind on the ear from a breath, smell of well earned sweat, the taste of being tasted, the sight of satisfaction, the sound of the activity almost as a music score. All of these inputs culminate to make a mental image in your mates head that confirms “security”. Star this, Confirming security is what a relationship is all about. If you are holding somebody by simply exposing their insecurities, you are being abusive.

When you are talking about a long distance relationship you only have access naturally maybe two. Even that is often just text based visual and sound based audible. If you are going to beat the odds of a long distance relationship failure, you have to work extra hard at making up for the missing stimulus. You have to make it as natural as possible. For example, cook or order the exact same meal. Open a web cam session, and share the meal as if you were together. The other thing is that you have to lean heavily on the audio and visual. You have to find ways to say “I love you” way more often then if you are together. Then he/ she can just see the look on your face when you look at each other. You can tell that they were being honest when they “just went out with the boys/ girls”. You can just feel the security of the situation when in the same room. When you are not there, in the very primal sense, you are not confirming the other persons security. So to make up for it, the reinforcement has to come often and extreme at times. The other thing is doing a lot of planning together about when you are together. Even if many of the plans fall through, just the security of thinking of each in the other’s future is a positive stimulus. That is as long as they trust you.

At home, if you want to maintain that brand new feeling, you have to stop yourself and reflect. Do we experience more positive or negative stimulus exchanges. That requires taking an honest hard look at yourself from outside yourself. Putting yourself in the other person perspective and asking “how would I react if somebody said this to me in this way?”

Summary and conclusion:
This is getting long and I am sure I have lost most of the male readers already. So I will just say that everything you know is a result of your 5 senses taking in the data. Listen and look at yourself routinely and ask, “am in in forward or reverse most often?” You can choose to be happy no matter where you are. If you are in a situation where a person can not stop being negative, you can choose to leave. Just make sure that they knew they could stop that fate first in a positive and loving fashion. “If you don’t stop calling me fat, I am gonna leave yer ass” won’t do anything but put more negative fuel on the fire. Instead say, “what you are saying to me hurts. Do you want to hurt me?” The point is that is in not just the message, it is the sense that it is delivered to and the method of the delivery. This concept will be revisited for sure. So go out and think about how to use all of your senses.