*Notes on emotion and meaning


Main part is over in BRAIN NOTES part 2


“central to this process of creating meaning and emotion”

+ “…this area of the brain sits at the interface between “lower” regions involved in taking input from the body and the senses, and the “higher” parts involved in (139) integrating information and creating complex thoughts and plans.” (140)

+ “This integrating region is involved in stimulus appraisal (the meaning, value, or emotional valence given to a stimulus),”

+ “affect regulation (the capacity of the brain to modulate its psychophysiological state),”

+ “social cognition (the complex process by which one individual is able to have “mindsight” or the ability to perceive the mental state of another),”

+ “and autonoetic consciousness (the ability to perform mental time travel).  (tdm/140)”

+ “It is this region that is postulated to be one of the core areas of deficit in the major disorder of social cognition, autism. (tdm/140)”  (he points his reference to Baron-Cohen)


“We can propose that such an integrating function may allow an individual, for example, to approach life decisions, relationships, and perhaps narrative responses with self-reflection and with a sense of perspective on past, present, and future considerations.  In this manner, the capacity for response flexibility may become functionally linked with other prefrontally mediated domains…such as (tdm/140) autonoetic consciousness, social cognition, emotionally attuned communication, and working memory.  The outcome of such well-developed and integrated functioning can be proposed to play a central role in the individual’s ongoing development, subjective experiences, and interpersonal relationships. (tdm/141)”

(I  copyied this over from  to BRAIN NOTES part 2 and put it also in  SELF NOTES part 2)


“Thus, response flexibility can be proposed to be a contributing link between parent-child attachment and adult narratives.  In situations where this function fails to develop or its integration with other processes is impaired, especially with those mediated by the prefrontal regions, we can predict that tenacious, global effects may be exerted across time.”  (also in emotion notes)



also put in SELF NOTES

I just have the sense, nearly all of the time, that the future is out there, separate from me, and that I am disconnected from it, until I “get there.”  Like it is some place out there that exists already, and that I just stumble and wander around in the dark of the “present” until I get to this future PLACE.  A confusion of time and place, then.  Like the future is a place that already exists “somewhere.”  That I don’t have a “normal” sense of myself in the past, or really even in the present, and hence not in the future.

I think this is directly tied, somehow, to the brain-mind-self damage I have from my infancy, and then from the continuity of peritrauma through age 18.


see writing 9-5-6 in SELF NOTES


“Emotions recruit distributed clusters of neuronal groups in the emerging states of mind that organize the systems of the brain.  Recruitment can be generally defined here as a process that temporarily links distinct, differentiated elements into a functional whole.  In the brain, recruitment involves the binding of the activity of spatially distributed neural circuits at a given moment and across time.  Emotion can be proposed to serve this integrative role by way of its involvement of neuromodulatory systems that are themselves widely distributed and have direct effects on neural excitability and activation, neural plasticity and the growth of synaptic connections, and the coordination of a range of processes in the brain.  (siegel/tdm/154) ” copied from emotion notes



SYN- or SYM-

Prefix  [NL, fr. Gk, fr. syn with, together with]

1: with: along with: together

2: at the same time

Strange connection noted here containing root word AGENT and reference to “to lead” as root:  (AGONY copied from LOST chapter)

AGONY (14c)

[ME agonie, fr. LL agonia, fr. Gk agonia struggle, anguish, fr. agon gathering, contest for a prize, fr. agein to lead, celebrate – more at AGENT]

1 a: intense pain of mind or body:  ANGUISH, TORTURE b: the struggle that precedes death

2: a violent struggle or contest


connects to


[ME synagoge, fr. AF, fr. LL synagoga, fr. Gk synagoge assembly, synagogue, fr. synagein to bring together, fr. syn– + agein to lead – more at AGENT]

1: a Jewish congregation

2: the house of worship and communal center of a Jewish congregation

SYNAPSE (1899)

[NL synapsis, fr. Gk, juncture, fr. synaptein to fasten together, fr. syn– + haptein to fasten]

: the point at which a nervous impulse passes from one neuron to another


[LL synchronos, fr. Gk, fr. syn– + chronos time]

1:  happening, existing, or arising at precisely the same time

2:  recurring or operating at exactly the same periods

3:  involving or indicating synchronism


…concerned with events existing in a limited time period and ignoring historical antecedents


1:  the quality or fact of being synchronous

2: the coincidental occurrence of events and especially psychic events (as similar thoughts in widely separated persons or a mental image of an unexpected event before it happens) that seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality – used especially in the psychology of C. G. Jung


1: the quality or state of being synchronous:  SIMULTANEOUSNESS

2: chronological arrangement of historical events and personages so as to indicate coincidence or coexistence


[L simul at the same time + Etaneous (as in instantaneous) more at SAME]

1: existing or occurring at the same time:  exactly coincident

2: satisfied by the same values of the variables


SAME (13c)

[ME, fr. ON samr; akin to OHG sama same, L simulis like, simul together, at the same time, similes like, sem– one, Gk homos same, hama together, hen-, heis one]

1 a: resembling in every relevant respect  b: conforming in every respect – used with as

2 a: being one without addition, change, or discontinuance:  IDENTICAL  b: being the one under discussion or already referred to

3: corresponding so closely as to be indistinguishable

4: equal in size, shape, value, or importance


Interesting, the concept of “value” and “meaning” is really introduced here…if everything is the same, then there are no distinctions.  Everything “belongs” …We need to separate same from different to form an organized structure for our brain…..and to be able to differentiate TIME.  We have to be able to TAKE APART what is TOGETHER, otherwise everything is still in chaos where everything is possibility and chance.

What happens to, or happened to the whole idea, if not necessity, of being able to distinguish good – approach from bad – avoid?  Is this tied, then, to the “belonging” thing?  We have to BELONG to our first caregivers so that they will bond us to the human race, make us social beings, fulfill that evolutionary “imperative” for us, help us to do it ourselves, through their interactions with us that form our brain.  And in the process of “approach avoid” the value system, whose potential is built into our brain at birth, begins to operate fruitfully.

And yet it is to separate from the belonging place on some level that we get a SELF.  But not a totally separate self, or we wouldn’t be social in the first place.



[ML coincidere, fr. L co– + incidere to fall on, fr. in– + cadere to fall – more at CHANCE]

1 a: to occupy the same place in space or time  b: to occupy exactly corresponding or equivalent positions on a scale or in a series

2: to correspond in nature, character, or function

3: to be in accord or agreement:  CONCUR

syn see AGREE


1:  the act or condition of coinciding:  CORRESPONDENCE

2:  the occurrence of events that happen at the same time by accident but seem to have some connection

COEXIST (1667)

1: to exist together or at the same time

2: to live in peace with each other especially as a matter of policy


Looking at the WITH part of this whole thing, that with my mother, went awry.  Is that true with all infant abusers?  Is it part of the package?

I see that COINCIDE has some SYN qualities:  2: to correspond in nature, character, or function  3: to be in accord or agreement:  CONCUR  syn see AGREE

the problem being when things are supposed to DIFFERENTIATE, not remain “the same.”  And the introduction of CHANCE here as a root of COINCIDECHANCE, as with CHAOS!!

SYNCHRONISM contains in definition both COINCIDENCE and COEXIST.

There has to be a balance.  Too much SYN – WITH can kill.  As with all the parent-related words, we have to separate – not overwhelm and keep offspring submerged!  They have to differentiate from parent and become separate entity in possession of their own SELF!


CHANCE (14c)

[ME, fr. AF, fr. VL cadentia fall, fr. L cadentcadens, past participle of cadere to fall; perhaps akin to Skt sad– to fall off]

1 a: something that happens unpredictably without discernible human intention or observable cause  b: the assumed impersonal purposeless determiner of unaccountable happenings:  LUCK  c: the fortuitous or incalculable element in existence:  CONTINGENCY

2: a situation favoring some purpose:  OPPORTUNITY

3: a fielding opportunity in baseball

4 a: the possibility of a particular outcome in an uncertain situation; also: the degree of likelihood of such an outcome  b: a raffle ticket


Writing the definitions of CHANCE made me think about how I never anticipated mother’s violence.  I was always surprised, especially, I remember, each time she took a full arm swing with her palm open across my face (bad bloody nose)….It was as if, perhaps, there was absolutely no predictability, or had there been – no connection to cause and affect—-I was thinking today about the VOICE, maybe like the one I heard say “You are a wraith” that night at MSU, being the same VOICE that said to me when I was lying in bed on the top bunk in that little room that was sometimes mom’s room….but not when I was about 12 — I was staring at the varnished plywood walls with the “lips” when that VOICE said, “It is not humanly possible to be as bad as your mother says you are.”

It was as if that VOICE entered the peritrauma world for a tiny split second and became an orienting point – a point of orientation.  It seemed external, but I heard the VOICE inside of myself.  I was that desperate, that for many years I thought of that sentence as having saved me – saved my sanity – saved any SELF that I was able to salvage from my 18 years with mother.

But it was like even that voice came out of a world of CHANCE, not order.  If chaos is really about greatest possibilities of chance occurring, than there is a connection.

I had no one to lead me, or to organize my brain from infancy.  But maybe chaos doesn’t feel on the inside like I or others might think it does.  Maybe it is like a place and time of suspended animation.  Where everything is stopped and moving at the same time…..like maybe peritrauma is.

That is not dissociation!  It is maybe more like a floating through time and space.  Always in pain and terror.  Always on the brink, on the edge of disappearance.  Always on the edge of  falling.  To fall off, to fall on, to fall.  Oh, woe, what will befall me at any second?



1:  the quality or state of being contingent

2: a contingent event or condition:  as a: an event (as an emergency) that may but is not certain to occur  b: something liable to happen as an adjunct to or result of something else.


SYNAPSE (1899)

[NL synapsis, fr. Gk, juncture, fr. synaptein to fasten together, fr. syn– + haptein to fasten]

: the point at which a nervous impulse passes from one neuron to another


[ME, fr. MF, fr. L contingent-, contingens, past participle of contingere to have contact with, befall, fr. com– + tangere to touch – more at TANGENT]

1: likely but not certain to happen:  POSSIBLE

2: not logically necessary; especially: EMPIRICAL

3 a: happening by chance or unforeseen causes  b: subject to chance or unseen effects:  UNPREDICTABLE  c: intended for use in circumstances not completely foreseen

4: dependent on or conditioned by something else

5: not necessitated:  determined by free choice



I sense a mystery in here somehow.  How can something be “dependent on or conditioned by something else” at the same time it is “not necessitated:  determined by free choice” and still have it be ACCIDENTAL?  My mother WAS an accident.  Every moment was “an accident waiting to happen.”

Why do I somehow connect the idea of “point of reference” with the word “contingent” as if – in order for one thing to be true, it would have to have a frame of reference to something else, an established relationship with that something else.  Whether I drive somewhere tomorrow depends upon, or is contingent upon, my car starting. But as per the definition, that can be true – but that’s not something I have control over or a choice about.  It would be:  1: likely but not certain to happen:  POSSIBLE


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