Application III: Communication and Cognition (CMU & COG)

“Instinct plus outstinct equals extinct.” That’s not a prediction – but it might well be. It’s by way of beginning an explanation.

Given the Nature of Things (: partial order, esp.), all behavioral entities are incompletely instructed. So, roughly speaking, the human’s genetic capacity (“instinct”) and the human’s environs (“outstinct”) leave something to be desired: That something is another source of instruction. And the source of that instruction is the self, via one’s (and others’) behavior – most especially via CMU & COG development.

As familiar and ubiquitous as communication and cognition content are to us as words and thoughts (see : product-tools in use), and together in language, it is the acts of communicating and cognizing that best refract the Nature of Things. They are like a “rubbing” of the general persisting conditions (: GPC). They both relate, which bridging via CMU and association via COG exemplify. They produce relationships, adding order to the things in nature. They furnish the “carbon” for the behavioral molecules which can become the means of compositional change. In and by relating they confirm partial order, consequentiality, and discontinuity as Everything’s qualities. Ergo: the rubbing.

(“Act meaning” has been contrasted with “action meaning” to denote the difference between the actor [BE] and observer (Or) in their interpretation of a behavior. [See "verstehen": where the observer tries to see behavior as the actor does.] Here we note that act meaning has a much different implication, and a more consequential point to make, referring as it does to the Nature of Things, not to this or that particular behavior.)

Their contents (CMU and COG products), however, have been incomplete and inaccurate with respect to the Nature of Things (See impediments:). We have been more concerned with messages and thoughts than with CMU and COG acts and their genesis: Too much WHAT; not enough HOW: the body bias.

Our batting averages as communicators and thinkers are not impressive. The need to communicate and to think, in light of the Nature of Things, has as much or more to do with our continued efforts to communicate and cognize as do the rewards for those acts. If effort there be! We adopt a lot of observations from others), with a limited degree of success. Further development of CMU & COG is clearly needed. We need better tools and procedures.

But here we are already in familiar territory, speaking of products and product-tools in use (:the Behavioral Manifold). Where we need to start is with need (: behavioral necessity, given incomplete instruction; and : the functional requisite of linked minding and moving capabilities). It is here that the grand event of human history is to be seen, where development joins with evolution, where the seeds of language are sown — where CMU and COG achieve their symbiotic and magnificently productive partnership, however insufficient they still are for solving all our problems.


What were CMU and COG like before this grand event? CMU was a form of moving: Mg), a mode of expression (e.g., sounds like crying and shouting; smiles and grimaces; gestures). For some purposes it was useful because of its relatively low cost in body energy (principle of least effort) and its transitory existence (re pollution :Ps: here today, gone today). COG was a way of minding (: Og) – along with exposure, focal attention, memory and questioning, dependent on sensory capacities. With memory COG’s relating capability could use sensory input but only to take next steps informed by genetic instruction and/or environmental experience. Recognition was its primary use. Relationships could be recognized from sensory input (e.g., visual and auditory), such as inclusion and following, adding asymmetries of relation to the symmetric association, and thus providing some directive potential.

But until relation could be separated from relationship, most of that asymmetric potential (X:inside-outside, before-after) was unavailable. CMU would help to realize that potential by objectifying the relation, giving it independence and making it available for constructing relationships.

One’s COG could make something of another’s CMUive expressions (moves), just as it did of other environmental conditions. (It was this “informative” function of COG that seems to have led S. S. Stevens to define CMU as the occurrence of any discriminatory response – i.e., if discrimination, then information received.)

These simple CMU and COG modes were and are shared with other species. So what happened? An event occurred. We may never be able to describe it physiologically (although there are some indications), but functionally it seems quite evident. We can see it in the transformation of the nuclear behavioral molecule (: Og => Mg). CMU, which had been but kinds of moving, became party to minding through its objectifying capability (not only of relations but also of conditions possibly related (: e.g., things and thingks). Joined with COG it gave minding a capability that could give guidance to the step’s moving. Together, CMU and COG could enable the making as well as the taking of steps. We had added meta-sensory capabilities to sensory capacities. There was a flowering of humanity. In consequence, constructive change abounds today.

With other species we share a moving capacity of grasping and involving.(, ). We grasp by involving; we involve by grasping. Minding’s sensory capacities and memory did not furnish a companion capacity (although they could recall the outcomes of Mg’s grasping and involving as relationships). What appears to have happened is that, under tremendous impetus (: see behavioral necessity and incomplete instruction et al) we came via CMU and COG to possess an I x G capability in and for minding – and altered the moving capacity to one of capability too: i.e., performance.

But that’s not all. Together COG and CMU afforded an interpretive capability for observed bodies and behaviors. It was here that language was born. It was also how languages were born (as procedural tools, as ways to produce procedures). Neither genetic inheritance nor social environment (e.g., community usage) provides a complete and accurate account of linguistic history – or its future. Labels and names became words in involving structures [:control entities and control structures] that grasped them ideationally with regard to their consequentiality [e.g., impressions] as well as their identity. The names-to-words transformation marks the symbiotic event. Language’s syntax was developed and its content has come to be used to describe relationships, but its origin in COG’s relating is the key to developing more effective language, infused by the CMU & COG interdependency. (Natural language development’s emphasis on relationships relative to relations can be seen in a number of features: 1/ use of opposition and category or class (as relationships) instead of similar plus different (relations), and the use of inclusion and exclusion (relationships) instead of the inside-outside relation; 2/ greater frequency of transitive vs. intransitive verbs – and the greater relegation to “archaic” usage of intransitive verbs; and, 3/ syntactic neglect of subjects of prepositions: (Theories can be OF, ABOUT, and FOR; freedom can be OF, FOR, TO, and FROM; points can be OF, FOR, AT, ABOUT, TO, OUT, and UP. These are all matters of consequence: differences that make a difference. But language development has not given them the syntactic attention given objects of prepositions, even though prepositions themselves should call attention to the relation in relationships.)

After enabling COG by objectification, CMU then goes on to produce an expression of COG’s product (aka thought) The symbiosis has generated thriving professional enterprises (e.g., journalism, scholarship, criticism and science) in the production and distribution of observations (, , ), so that others might use one’s grasp of things and events, and so that one might keep impressions and inferences of consequentiality in regard to such things and events. This is the developed domain of CMU&COG tool usages with which we are all too familiar – and whose products (e.g., in publications, on the Internet) flood and compete for our attention.

This world became our world. And it became a world of possibility. The future came to join with the past in the present of our minding. (In the parlance of “punctuated evolution” this was an exclamation point. Attention, if not understanding, became focused on the human condition. For which the behaviors of “one-step” bodies in the “universe” and the Copernican search for the “order of things” would become a tangential distraction.)

Everything’s general persisting conditions appear to have engendered evolution up to this point, but now development has something to say about evolution (: capability => capacity). New memory resources were needed to accommodate this capability, both “long term” verbal memory to supplement sensory and “short term” verbal memory to serve the supple but evanescent functioning of CMU & COG together, whether as thinking or, importantly, imagining (: ATIT): toward the realization of possibility.

(If one could completely trace this history, we might see that evolution and development conjointly provide the means for producing the creationist’s argument against evolution. Ironic, but understandable given the Nature of Things with its BE consequences of incomplete instruction and control needs that exceed control capability. Equally understandable is that evolution as theory, without development’s contribution and its genesis in the Nature of Things, does not afford a complete, let alone compelling, history of the human species – especially its behavior. Evolution as fact is incontrovertible. But as concept, such as in the case of “cultural evolution,” it is mere metaphor for change [without distinguishing the circumstantial from the constructive:] Evolution as concept and theory joins creationism (as fact, concept and theory) in unproductive neglect of the Nature of Things.)


Important lines of molecular development have followed on the COG & CMU) symbiosis. Not only has minding changed, but so has moving. And so too have outcomes: Many step outcomes now are observations, On’s, which can be used as product-tools for minding in subsequent step taking (, ). Many have been produced, in many ways, and distributed in many ways as messages (e.g., interpersonal, public, and mass communication). These lines have encountered characteristic difficulties (: Sp, S-P, Ps, P). But before we look at some of those let us not neglect development of the symbiosis itself. Its development and lack of development reverberate throughout the other lines. (If there were a “double helix” for the step, not just for the body, it would be the CMU-COG symbiosis. But this is metaphor. Full theoretical analysis requires their interdependence be examined in light of the act x content and minding x moving dynamics and involvement of exposure, focal attention, memory and questioning — the other functional requisites. Even though the CMU-COG symbiosis figures in each of behavioral necessity’s requisites and imperatives [Topics III; VI-XI], the symbiosis is but part of the fabric of general persisting conditions which provides the foundation for behavior.)

Observational process (: Og): How has the symbiotic relationship developed (Ogcmu+cog)? What is our now-extended minding like? What tools and procedures does it use: natural languages [significance plus signification]; notation [pure signification – "content-free"]; mathematical modeling; conceptual modeling; logical necessity? (See .) Characteristic problems are the training and practice required (: Sp) for these tool usages (see and ). Another problem is the narrow intellectual view taken O:S-P), often tangential to the Nature of Things, leaving mind-binding impediments in their wake (O:Ps; ). Because development along this line is essential to further development along other lines – the innovation challenge in regard to problem solving – we should emphasize the remaining problem (O: P) aspect here. What can we do to improve languages? We do not, for instance, need a “universal” language that is but a distillation of existing natural languages. What we do need are language adjuncts that emphasize relations and express neglected aspects of relating, such as “all that it takes” for compositional change (; ), Then we need far more practice in the application of relations to problem solving.

Performance (: Mg): The new minding changed moving. Its guidance produced performing – i.e., composed expressions. These range from simple moves like yodeling, drumming and prancing to more compound moves like drama, ballet and opera, sometimes as organized collective (“community”) expression (e.g., ritual), often using product-tools as in linguistic speaking and writing … all the way to complex problem solutions (: Psit =>Sbeh) in which CMU and COG might contribute to any or every component of “all that it takes”. Characteristic performance problems are the need for continued practice (Sp), stereotyped actions (S-P), and fatigue (Ps). Unfulfilled performance problems (P), such as peace and democratic self-government, persist. It is a truism that nearly all performances could be improved, from conversations to marriages. Key to such improvement is an increased behavioral (self-) awareness by BE – as an actor in every sense – of minding’s needed as well as attained capabilities.


Observational products (On’s): Minding and communicative moving may produce a step whose outcome is (only! “Sticks and stones …”) an observation. But, with many steps yet to come, this observation can serve to guide future steps. Observations have a point to make (X:points AT and/or ABOUT). Ogcmu&cog can become transformed to Og(On). Previous thoughts and impressions come into play as a substitute for original thinking.

Between incomplete instruction and the myriad situational problems of everyday life, there is a continuing need and thriving market for observations as “information.” Characteristic requirements are the needs for assiduous exposure and focal attention – such as daily surveillance for news (Sp), idiosyncratic ideas (S-P) and observational overload along with lies and irrelevance (Ps). (See Helping.). Observations can be no better than the capabilities, especially procedure and tool usages, brought to bear on their production – capabilities still sadly lacking (P). Also of great importance is that On’s differ in their nature and source, complete realization of which is of consequence in their use. As “information” On’s may be treated as functionally equivalent, in their service to minding, but pragmatically the failure to distinguish nature and source may be disastrously dysfunctional.

Types of observations (nature and source): Several types can – and should – be distinguished. To regard them all as equivalent, to rely on just one, to neglect some, or – especially — to reject one or more out of hand … any of these is to forego potentially useful help. They are:
  1. De novo: BE’s own (first or fresh) thought or impression in regard to a focus of attention.
  2. Ala mode: BE’s use of a template to characterize a focus of attention — e.g., object-attribute; category or class; measures; cause-effect.
  3. Knowledge: BE’s cognition of the relation between own or others’ step outcome and self and/or that step’s minding and/or that step’s moving.
  4. Criticism and/or analysis of a prior On or On’s. (The observed is now an observation.)
  5. 5. Other BE’s thought or impression or knowledge or criticism or analysis made available to BE. (Via the familiar Sender-Message-Receiver model.)
  6. 6. Professional Or’s: Trained (, ) observer’s thought, impression, knowledge, criticism, and/or analysis. (Ala mode comes into the picture here too – as the many intellectual impediments [O: S-P] demonstrate.) Special mention should be made of histories, fiction, biographies, and auto-biographies as extended observational products. They constitute a major resource for the reader of behavior (see ) – their focus on particulars notwithstanding. (Reviews are a different matter when they only provide a summary of previous On’s without an ardent “sifting and winnowing” – perchance to seed an intellectual revolution.)
  7. Provisional Status. Community On’s. Collective On’s are not easily nor well formulated or expressed. They are too often Holmesian dogs that do not bark in the night (or day), especially while crimes are being committed. Journalism and public opinion, as collective minding, are crucial community (which see) observational needs, but they are not being met inadequately by special interest communities (SI-cmy: e.g., newspapers and polling organizations and their audiences). Neither supply nor demand, nor both taken together, comprehend enough of Community observational needs. Nor do the Lassswell mass CMU functions of surveillance, correlation and education. (Compare these, based on what is being done not what needs to be done, with the comprehensive functionality of behavioral necessity’s requisites and imperatives [Topics VI to XI].) The First Amendment has been an invaluable enabling act. But further Community investments in journalism and public opinion are needed to develop our collective CMU & COG capabilities (see ). Hence this provisional (7.) status.


Use of observations. Typically we think about how we use observations in terms of situational particulars (e.g. “Uses and gratifications”) or procedures (e.g., learning). But there are more general considerations. Indulging in glib behavioral globs like “information processing” is not very helpful. We need the BFPS base and detailed analysis of step structure to probe the use and abuse of observations.

To not respect and to fail to develop competence with regard to composing and comprehending (See Education’s expanded reading and writing) all the types of observations is to abuse, not use, them. We should also understand their respective limitations. All can stand improvement (O: P) via development of capability. Each has other characteristic problems. For example:
  1. Our arbitrary word usages and syntactical usages (even neologisms) can create problems for those who might use our On’s (O:Ps). (Mea culpa! [ How helpful is it for you to see that "thing" is a thingk?]
  2. Ways of thinking such as stimulus-response in regard to behavior can be seriously Procrustean, cutting all behavioral fabric to the same pattern (O: S-P)
  3. Personal knowledge of one’s own experiences (e.g., feelings; whether a move is good in one sense but not another) requires an infrastructure which is generally not available (O:Sp) – although poetic conventions may help.
  4. Criticism and analysis (and thus agreement and understanding) are often confounded and confused. For example, does BE disagree with what is said or with the person saying it?
  5. Access with respect to the distribution of On’s is unequal. Translation is a problem (O:Ps) “Meaning” is a terrible problem as BE struggles to get the point(s) of a message. Is a picture really as good as a thousand words? (See below)
  6. Professional observers can be defensive in the emphaticness or promises of their assertions (e.g., dogma and dictation) or by the relative certainty about their products (to which a selective focus on the order of things contributes).
  7. Sensationalism is a poor index of consequentiality (journalism) and issues are only partially indicative of problems (public opinion). Coverage and accuracy are still more ideals than realizations (O: P). It is a serious deficiency that a behavioral science has not developed that respects the Nature of Things. Too much behavior is seen from disciplinary perspectives that are too enamored of the order of things. Too much behavioral research uses a criterion of non-chance finding rather than of problem solved (, ).
To use observations one must comprehend them. All the sins (commission and omission) of production come into play, from muddled thinking to jargon’s obfuscation. So too does behavior’s developmental condition make a difference. Conceptual terms that cover a history of capability development (e.g., communication, community), which is to say any item resident on the Behavioral Manifold, have a different meaning according to stage of development.* While “Show, then tell” denotes the convenience of securing focal attention before proceeding to cognition, this is not always possible in performance (e.g., at night and/or in a cave). Nor do observers make a point (sic) of emphasizing focus of attention in their messages. Language, in fact, offers an indirect way to point AT via point(s) ABOUT, proffering a verbal image. So then to make use of an observation we must solve in order to see. Consequentiality [aka significance] comes into play along with signification, not just in point(s) ABOUT, but also as points OF and FOR. (Se Helping, for example.)

* Terms like communication, cognition and community resist definition as concepts. We can provide factual examples, such as recent or historic developments in process, product or usage. But what about them as need? And what of the act x content, the minding x moving and the involve x grasp distinctions and dynamics? And how do they figure in the rest of behavior’s requisites and imperatives? These terms require a theory – a theory not just of behavior but of the Nature of Things that makes behavior relevant. (It is an intellectual conceit – and impediment – that summary-only concepts will provide us the understanding we need to progress.)

(c) 2010 R. F. Carter

  1. Topic III: The Nature of Things
  2. Topic V: Behavioral Manifold
  3. Topic III: The Nature of Things
  4. Topic II: All That It Takes (ATIT)
  5. Topic III: The Nature of Things
  6. Topic IV: Impediments
  7. Topic IV: Impediments
  8. Topic X: Construction Imperative
  9. Topic V: Behavioral Manifold
  10. Topic III: The Nature of Things
  11. Topic VII: Functional Requisite
  12. Topic VII: Functional Requisite
  13. Topics: Introduction - Quality of Life
  14. Topic VII: Functional Requisite
  15. Topic VII: Functional Requisite
  16. Topic X: Construction Imperative
  17. Topic II: All That It Takes (ATIT)
  18. Topic VII: Functional Requisite
  19. Topic XI: Balance Requisite
  20. Topic XI: Balance Requisite
  21. Topic III: The Nature of Things
  22. Topic VI: Control Imperative
  23. Topic X: Construction Imperative
  24. Topic XI: Balance Requisite
  25. Topic IX: Evaluation Imperative
  26. Topic X: Construction Imperative
  27. Topic XII: Research Methods
  28. Topic V: Behavioral Manifold
  29. Topic III: The Nature of Things
  30. Topic IV: Impediments
  31. Topic III: The Nature of Things
  32. Topic XI: Balance Requisite
  33. Topic II: All That It Takes (ATIT)
  34. Topic XI: Balance Requisite
  35. Topic VI: Control Imperative
  36. Topic II: All That It Takes (ATIT)
  37. Topic V: Behavioral Manifold
  38. Topic VII: Functional Requisite
  39. Topics: Introduction - Quality of Life
  40. Topic XI: Balance Requisite
  41. Topic VII: Functional Requisite
  42. Topic VII: Functional Requisite
  43. C-8. Tertiary reads and tells
  44. Topics: Introduction - Quality of Life
  45. App. II: Community
  46. App. IV: Education
  47. Topic IV: Impediments
  48. Topic II: All That It Takes (ATIT)
  49. Topic X: Construction Imperative
  50. App. IV: Education
  51. Topic VII: Functional Requisite
  52. Topic I: Two problems, two solutions
  53. Topic II: All That It Takes (ATIT)
  54. Topic X: Construction Imperative
  55. Topic X: Construction Imperative
  56. Topic XI: Balance Requisite
  57. Topic V: Behavioral Manifold
  58. Topic XII: Research Methods
  59. Topic IV: Impediments
  60. App. IV: Education
  61. App. II: Community
  62. C-10. Community science
  63. Topic X: Construction Imperative
  64. Topic XI: Balance Requisite
  65. Topic XII: Research Methods
  66. Topic III: The Nature of Things
  67. Topic XII: Research Methods
  68. C-17. The 5% solution
  69. Topic V: Behavioral Manifold

Supporting Diagrams

Click to Download Diagram 1
(x) Downloads
Click to Download Diagram 2
(x) Downloads
Click to Download Diagram 3
(x) Downloads