C-2. The behavioral core

The minding-moving interdependency (XI), as the resource for dealing with collisions, whether to avoid or to arrange them, is the core of the behavioral molecule. In addition to the many combinations of minding and moving options (See diagrams in VII) there are several other core features of interest. The first of these is the dynamic of grasp-to-involve and involve-to-grasp, I x G, within and between minding and moving.

Within moving, the dynamic is evident in behaviors like feeding and playing catch with a ball. Within minding, the dynamic is to be seen in the making and comprehension of ideas (X: Ideational mechanics)). Between minding and moving it is crucial that the capabilities be commensurate, lest, for example, moves be only “instinctual”: the moving’s grasping and/or involving be dictated merely by recognition rather than cognition (See Applications: CMU & COG) – hence a potential outcome which may be labeled after the fact as misperception. (Miscognition should be something else? Such as an accident or failure [VI: CMU accidents] in “getting the point.”

Minding’s imagination (X: Pointed questions, especially) can compose I x G moves (i.e., behavioral solutions) only if it, itself, is a productive composing via I x G. Language gives us a tool for making such points about something – or anything. (But how good a tool is language for this? See C-8: Tertiary reads and tells). Language also affords a medium for exchanging observations for minding to adopt, as in communication act and content being seen as the transfer of information. Useful as a received observation may be as a resource for minding (in light of incomplete instruction (III), the problem arises of successful transmission: How well do sender and receiver “pitch and catch” – i.e., handle the I x G challenges using language as a tool? “What do I mean to say?” “What do you mean?” Expression can be as much a problem as comprehension and both for the same I x G reasons.

A second core feature is the commitment implicit in moving on the basis of one’s minding, which a lack of reactive-only “hard wiring” necessitates. (III: Incomplete instruction.) We might not make a whole-body move but still make a communicative move which may or may not then pass through “short term memory” to “long term (verbal) memory.”

This act of commitment gives “belief” a second sense. Belief can be the minding content, something learned or something known (VIII). But it can also be this act of commitment. The latter is a behavioral necessity, lest one passively await a fate determined by other step makers and takers. But it often calls for courage (VI) – and not always because minding’s content, especially as received from others, may awaken doubts. (Indeed, the apparent courage of others may dispose us to adopt their beliefs. The angst of discontinuity together with incomplete instruction [III] can be very persuasive.)

In the vernacular, the act of commitment takes nerve. “Nervous exhaustion” suggests an increasing burden of control needs for which one’s control capability is, and has been, lacking (VI).

Knowing (VIII), in so far as this capability depends on a step being taken so that its outcome may be informative (via cognition’s relating of outcome to body, minding, and/or moving), requires the act of belief. But belief as content is optional. Minding’s product may be a question, ala science, as well as an assertion, ala Augustine re faith.

The core’s minding and/or moving, when cognitively assessed against the step’s subsequent outcome, introduce a third feature: paths and kinds of knowing (VIII), both personal and public (as in scientific tests of knowing – see Science questions). These knowledges vary in validity, from superstitions about moves (personal) to classic experiments about minding’s products (public: science), with much variation in between (e.g., interobserver agreement, whether among scientists or not.)

A fourth core feature is a distinctive form of functional equivalence. Whatever serves to instigate the commitment to moving suffices to meet behavioral need (to do something, if not anything in particular). For example, bad ideas and good ideas can and do both serve. This differs from a more familiar sense of functional equivalence, which points to serving the step’s outcome, achieving the same result for a situational problem. The latter might be more usefully designated pragmatic equivalence.

Thus defined, it seems clear that relativism finds some support in functional equivalence but may not in pragmatic equivalence. That relativism may be used to rationalize continued practices to the detriment of developing needed capability for the behavioral problem and behavioral solution (See “The wandering behavioral problem”) can only be dysfunctional.

The behavioral core also comes into play in the distinction between speed (of minding and/or moving) and quickness (of the link between minding and moving).

(The behavioral core, though misunderstood there, is also the locus of the so-called “black box.” And the “mind-body problem.” See C-5: “The gift-wrapped black box.”)

(c) 2010 R. F. Carter