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Transforming the Mind ~ by Peter Shepherd



When energy has been released from the suppression of past trauma and fixed response patterns, more energy is available to hold up high-arousal telic and paratelic states, and the integration between hemispheres improves so that such arousal does not feel uncomfortable. This allows the automatic cycle to be broken and the factor of self-remembering comes into play - the person is aware of what is going on and can learn from this.

Similarly it is possible to step out of self/other-determined cycles and see objectively both one's own and the other's point of view and feelings simultaneously. This is a new volitional state called pan-determinism, and the ability depends on having the facility of fully integrated, whole-brain mental functioning, whereby the right-brain holistic, experiential processes can be simultaneously combined with left-brain analysis to give greater perspective and understanding.

A somewhat intellectual and ineffectual pan-determinism is relatively accessible for people who are not under stress and in low arousal (a telic detachment) but even this state is increasingly rare in stressful modern society. It is particularly difficult to attain and normally falls away in telic high arousal situations when fears have been aroused, except at moments of 'peak experience' (where anxiety has been integrated and high paratelic arousal has been maintained).

This is a dynamic model and transformations between dichotomy states and their respective emotions may be sudden, as with telic/paratelic reversals, and be induced by contingent events, frustration or satiation. Changes cannot occur suddenly where it is the situation that must change (a net loss towards a net gain for example) so 'taking' may only change gradually to 'yielding up'. But the change vertically, such as between mastery and sympathy states, involves a discontinuity of orientation, with sudden changes of emotion, e.g. from pride at 'taking' to gratefulness at 'being given' - this simply requires a change of consideration or viewpoint, with the circumstances remaining much the same but with some stimulative contingency, frustration or satiation.

Similarly a switch (reversal) may occur very suddenly from feeling grateful to feeling guilty, as the other-determined mode is adopted. Only with the facility for pan-determinism can the individual experience both modes of a dichotomy at the same time and any reversal will then be conscious.

“Whole-brain integration is the ability to retain integration between paratelic and telic high arousal states.”
The self-determined mastery frustration of humiliation can, as we have seen, especially if there is surplus energy, lead on to defiance, which depends on a reversal from the conformist to the negativistic state. Alternatively, there may be a reversal to the other-determined state where the humiliation is now felt automatically as humility and, since this is pleasant, no more frustration will be felt. A third possibility is that a reversal will occur from the mastery to the accompanying sympathy state, when the net loss will lead to a feeling of being aggrieved, and the continuing frustration here may lead on to hatred. Again, the pan-determined viewpoint will tend to expose the futility of negative emotion, as an element of telic thinking is introduced in the 'involved' paratelic state.

Successful and enduring intimate relationships probably depend on the continuing mutual ability to synchronise reversals in opposite directions on the self/other-determined dimension. Clearly the structure of relationships disclosed by reversal theory can give rise under different conditions, and in different individuals, to a very large variety of sequences of emotional states. In these changes one is largely reacting mechanically, moving from one state to another because of the intrinsic dynamics of this natural system, going up and down like a bottle thrown into the sea.

The only way to take control of these states is through intimate self-knowledge, so that each reactive response, frustration or satiation is recognized, and one can ensure that distorted thinking does not influence the conscious choices that it is then possible to adopt, whilst at the same time being able to regain immediate access to the paratelic state. This is a cognitive breakthrough of whole-brain integration whereby the ability to retain integration between paratelic and telic high arousal states opens up the additional factor of pan-determined volition to break down the automaticity of this system.

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