COGNITIVE PRINCIPLES

for a more harmonious mind

Foundational assumptions about the way cognition, perception, and learning function

1. The human mind (like society) is a nonlinear chaotic systems.

Small life experiences and interactions can result in large changes through time, often referred to as the butterfly effect. It's impossible for humans to predict exact outcomes in life because it's so chaotic. However, understanding cognition can make it easier to order the chaos and live more harmoniously. Cognitive technologies can be used to understand and predict complex systems, such as human cognition, social relationships, and how to achieve success. Examples of cognitive technologies include systems thinking, design thinking, abductive reasoning, and emergent thinking (outlined here).

2. Perception enables a person to makes sense of the environment through the lens of their intentions.

People perceive the environment in terms of how it can be interacted with, e.g. chairs afford sitting, handles afford grabbing, etc.--referred to as object affordances. However, meaning and perception change based on intention, e.g. a chair can transform from a seat to a stool if one needs to reach a top shelf, once one sees the possibility (i.e. the creative Eureka! moment). Thus, perception is an active and dynamic process of projecting predictions onto the environment based on the embodied knowledge, bodily constraints, and intention of a cognitive agent.

3. Perceptual filters suppress irrelevant sensory data to train perception and learn skills.

Each familiar activity has a different perceptual logic that intelligently guides a person's attention during routine task execution, such as driving a car. The skilled driver can sense where they need to look and when without thinking by using their perceptual logic. Perceptual logic can be clamped (i.e. activated) to facilitate a task, and unclamped to generate new ideas and ways of interpreting sensory data (e.g. taking the scenic route home, stopping to smell the roses, etc.). While useful, these filters are designed to bias interpretation of the environment toward one's expectations, which is not always optimal.

4. The mind and perception can be trained through activities involving sustained focus.

During meditative activities (e.g. meditation, yoga, visualization, Tai-Chi, prayer, etc.), perception and cognition unclamp, and the mind temporarily switches off autopilot mode. This inwardly focused perceptual process strengthens the clamping muscle associated with attention, concentration, memory, and sensory information processing, i.e. learning. Meditation is essentially a meta-skill that trains perception and provides cognitive resources that make it easier to learn applied skills.

5. Training the mind through sustained focus helps humans unlock their creative genius.

Perceptual filters are useful for accomplishing goals and interacting in society, but they hinder creative and original thinking. Unclamping allows one to develop unique perceptual filters that reveal new opportunities to creatively improve the environment, which inspires creative action--forming a symbiotic feedback loop that gradually unfolds the creative genius within each human. Once enough members of society approach this degree of awareness (i.e. critical mass), they can produce artifacts and technology that quicken the process for others, leading to a global phase shift to a more harmonized social configuration.