Cybernetic systems & mindfulness
In 1960 Maxwell Maltz published his book "Psycho-psychocybernetics" in which he stated [the brain and nervous system constitute a marvelous and complex "goal-striving mechanism", a sort of built in automatic guidance system which works for you as a "success mechanism" or against you as a "failure mechanism" depending on how "YOU" the operator, operate it and the goals you set for it. It responds to your "self-image"]
In Cognitive Principle Therapy we identify two cybernetic systems operating within us. Firstly, a conscious one where we set goals and get feedback from our five senses and our own internal systems, including our intuition. Secondly, a subconscious one based on our instincts within the nervous system. Polyvagal theory identifies the four defensive instincts within the nervous system, namely, fight, flight, freeze and engagement.
Maslow's hierarchy of needs helps us relate the four polyvagal's defensive instincts to our human needs. Control needs cover food, clothing, shelter and our safety needs. Attachment needs covers our relationship to others.
In first world countries, the majority of people have the control needs meet, however, they have major issues with attachment needs, the relationship between self and others.
In CPT there are four major attachment principles, namely, trust, respect, acceptance and commitment. If there are weaknesses in these areas then unresolved issues arise and the subconscious cybernetic system will keep working on them until they are fixed.
Maslow states that lower needs are to be meet before higher needs and polyvagal theory states that the nervous system will down regulate automatically to ensure lower needs are meet before higher needs.
Maxwells' terms weak "self-image" and "failure mechanism" in CPT refers to unresolved trust, respect, acceptance and commitment issues in the subconscious. The subconscious mind has no logic like the conscious mind, so how does it subconsciously fix the unresolved issues?
The subconscious mind's cybernetic system uses the comparative-predictive mind as shown below:
The process starts with a trigger, then a pattern match, which is a past memory with a strong emotional attached. Without an intervention the cybernetic system will recreate the past event and then reproduce, often as a defense mechanism. For example.[Projection] If I am angry, then I will accuse you of being angry [too learn how you respond to anger from your reaction]. [Triangulation]. Where my son becomes me, my wife becomes my mother, and I become my father. I then abuse my son like my father did to me as a child, to see how my son reacts, so that I can learn how to overcome my anger.
Defense mechanisms are a very crude evolutionary tool used by homo-sapiens for over 200,000 years and rarely provide an intervention that works.
In the past psychology has viewed this subconscious cybernetic system very negatively. Renowned psychologist Martin Seligmans' 2018 book title says it all. "The Hope Circuit: A Psychologist's Journey from Helplessness to Optimism" For for 40 years Seligman and others believed that subconscious mind developed helplessness through repeated negative behaviors over time, until he found the "hope circuit" which is part of the brain trying to subconsciously fix unresolved issues.
How to support the subconscious cybernetic system resolved unresolved issues.
Mindfulness has been a common tool to help fix unresolved issues and can be used instead of the following process. In CPT we use a three step process:
- Repeat a mantra "stop, find calm" [ie. Find the engagement nerve of calmness]
- Visualize the unresolved issue being resolved
- Stop thinking. Let the Task Positive Network [conscious mind] go into creative mode. Let Default Mode Network [subconscious mind] go into creative mode, as shown below: