An Attempt at a Categorization of the Human Mind*

by Helmut Walther (Nürnberg)


I. Intellectual Meaning/Mental Significance
1. First category – aesthetic
2. Second category – ethic/metaphysic
3. Double reflection – transcendence
4. Ego and "e.v.-migratio"
5. Introspective / self / mixed type
6. Language, thought, evidence and inspiration

II. Neural Meaning/Significance
1. Foundation/bases: DNS, vegetativum, instinct, emotion-emotional perception
    axonal and dendritic, horizontal und vertical networking, layers/layering of the neocortex
2. First category – understanding and emotion - feeling
3. Second category – reason/reception und reflection
4. Double reflection – opening of new neural networks
5. "Thinking"
    a) Thinking as such and awareness/consciousness
    b) Memory (sensory and personal memory)
6. The ego as feigned instance

III. Élan vital
1. Layering agent
2. Concentration in the introspective
3. The numinous / transcendence

Here, an attempt shall be made to render an overview as to the use and interrelationship of such concepts that, while they appear in every investigation that deals with the phenomenon of the mind and are, therefore, known as concepts, are here, however, meant in a very precise meaning of each word and in a very precise context and interrelationship and connectedness, and are therefore used in a way that is different from the common understanding of these concepts in many ways. Other central concepts are used here for the first time or even newly termed, so that their meaning and content has to be conveyed in order for the reader to be able to follow them.

Most of the basic concepts are , due to the nature of the matter, used with two concerns in mind:

a) what these, from an mental point of view, are able to cause and what we can observe at our own example as the specifically human capabilities of the mind.

b) that these concerns and facts have a neural basis that has to be described and covered with the same concepts and terms.

Therefore, for example, the "first category" refers to a very specific state of neural brain networking, at the same time, however, to a concrete, individual state of the human mind that arises out of it and that is, in its unfolding, dependent on its neural basis. The following concerns itself at first with the mental status of humans and of their categoriality, in order to establish a connection from there to the human neural categoriality; finally, it is necessary to take a look at that which is the actual moving and category-creating cause.

I. Mind describes and circumscribes that capability that differentiates humans from animals. From a functional viewpoint, its specific character is the lucid recognition of facts, which recognition can be rendered permanent in internal reflection. From an existential viewpoint, mind reassures the individual of his lively, introspective self.

1. The first category is the basic form of all human mind, as it develops phylogenetically and ontogenetically. Ultimately, all evaluations are carried out here subconsciously by emotion and understood by feeling – this is understanding as inhibition of the animalistic emotional perception, in that by it and as it the abbreviation of feelings is formed. This type is also described as aesthetic. Understanding is constructed as a vertical heightening of neural brain networking, out of the word that is heard (language) and that which is perceived by the senses (pictogram).

2. The second category, as second and later, newer form of ratio, builds vertically on the basis of the results of the first category and is that what is described as reason (in deliberate contrast to the understanding of the first category). The vertical heightening of the platform of the interior mirror/reflection draws out a new perspective of the mind as reason, in that by a further inhibition of understanding in its connection with emotion and its unconscious evaluation, a new operational basis for comparison is introduced; with this operation it becomes possible, on the one hand, to ask, instead of the unconscious emotional evaluation, for rational correctness and, on the other hand, the similar can be seen in the different.

With this, the capability for abstraction came into the world, metaphysic asks for the true essence of things (ancient Greek philosophy). In the development of the "only right" by reason, ideals and "the true" are formed; this is why this type is also called the ethical type.

3. Double reflection is the status of the individual in which it, by a process of two-fold reflective review, has made itself aware of the values and the positions of the ego or self in the first and second category, thus of feelings and ideals, by reflection, and has thus dissolved these as the carrying element in order to become free for the widening of the categories.

4. The "place" or "position" of the ego is determined by e.v.-migration; e.v. is the abbreviation for "elan vital" (which, approximately, means "life energy"), a term that has been borrowed from Bergson and, in its use applied here, describes the driving agent that is the basis of all that, that there is. In other words: all that exists, from the atom to humans, is, therefore this existing, since it, as it is, stretches itself into its environment with a certain energy. Mind is, therefore, a sublimation of energy.

Migration of the e.v. means that it is not something static, but that the e.v., at first, in ontogenesis, moves up as far in living creatures as it is required according to their kind(s) and makes these up; in humans, the e.v., by their own mental activity, is able to migrate "further up". With the average type of humans, the ontogenetic migration ends in the first category, so that the feeling type will always be the majority in each generation and population. Here, the values and movements of the ego are formed and experienced in a feeling way, and the ego is, insofar, unreflected; here, one also prefers to refer to the "unconscious" – here, this is described as emotional respectively intellectual limiting values, since, caused by disposition respectively by the kind of development, an individual end of migration is prevalent, due to which the pre-supposed apriority and "correctness" of the individual‘s emotional perception cannot be (rationally) questioned. Each category, thus also the second, can be imagined as an arc that is comprised of the two halves of reception and reflection. The receptive phase fills the category with the new persepctive (i.e. the true essence = metaphysic of the ancient Greeks), the transition of reflection is and will be caused by the e.v. migration, which builds up the new ego and the new numinous by setting itself as e.v. "into the middle" of the newly-received category. The reflective phase empties out that which has been filled by reception and thus ultimately becomes double reflection.

5. Character, ego and self of the individuals can be differentiated by the categories. Most of today‘s humans are mixed types, since the results of the second category change living conditions and thus necessarily have an effect on the first category, although this type is not capable of an independent evaluation and coming-to-terms with these results. This means that, in first-categorial individuals, rationality can be heightened, but that an e.v. migration does not take place but that it rather remains centered in emotion. Thereby, it is possible to individually dissolve various intellectual limiting values and to arrive at a certain concentration of the e.v.; however, the mixed type will also always ultimately be tied to emotional perception.

Character is that quality with which the individual actually and "objectively" appears. The self of the ego is that area in which the ego experiences the lively movement of its own e.v. in understanding or in reason, thus as emotion or as ethos/ideal.

The introspective is that "area" of the individual in which it, acts toward transcendence according to its categoriality, in that it, in directed concentration of the e.v., relates to the numinous as it is shown in each category.

6. Language is the taking hold of the world by and as understanding; grammar is the image and the mode of operation of this appropriation. As the single unit of understanding, language takes hold of the world it is surrounded by in vertical conditioning of the alignment of the heard and the spoken concept with the pictogram of the protruding sides of an object.

Actual thinking only begins in the second category, since ratio, as reason, is only liberated by the additional inhibition of emotion as feeling at this categorial level, for the independent movement towards the interior reflection of awareness and consciousness, opposed to which it, in the first category, remains in the prison of intellectually limiting values and emotional presuppositions (prejudices). However, partial capabilities of actual thinking can, very often, be attained by the mixed type, by training, in its confrontation with the effects of the second category. Thought as product of thinking is thus a result of the second category as individual activity of ratio, opposed to this "thought" within the first category "only" expresses a certain form of understanding (oneself), which is an expression of the individual activity of emotion.

Evidence is the confirmation of the aesthetical (emotion), utilitarian (understanding), rational (logic) or existential (transcendence) correctness by the respective e.v. with regards to a thought. Inspiration is the ex-periencing of new mental contents, triggered by the e.v. in concentrated-directed introspectiveness.

II. Considered from a neural perspective, mind is the result of the growing development of a cerebral taking-hold or seizing of the world by means of life. The cerebral mode of taking hold or seizing proves as essentially more effective than the mere "reaction" by the change of the phenotype through the various forms of life, in which, by the way, already a growth of the introspective capabilities of life is expressed, in that the extensions of the phenotype that are directed towards the exterior also extend the cerebral transfer capabilities. The last consequence of this is the layered neo-cortex of humans.

1. Life is layered with and as DNS in phylogeny as well as in ontogenesis via the vegetativum (unconscious nerve system), instinct (one-sided respectively two-sided programs open for sensory perception), emotional perception (inner perception of the hormonal directive, tradition via "playing and learning"). The vertical layering occurs through axonal, the horizontal connection of the neo-cortex layers through dendritic networking. The equivalent of axonally networked neo-cortex are the categorical capabilities. Due to the fact that of the approximately seven layers of the neo-cortex, so far, only four to five layers are actively used, at first, there should be expected a further categorical heightening within the phenotype "human" (à third category).

2. The first category of humans as understanding is based on the reflected-through emotional perception of animals: the zenith of the animalistic category of emotion is the interactive conditioning of tradition within the species via self-perception of the hormonal control (emotional potentiometer according to positive and negative evaluation by use and application of the hormonal "content"). While this potentiometer, in animals, triggers the required action directly, in humans, as a new inhibition, there is inserted a further vertical neural level, understanding. It opens itself as a new conditining and will, with this, for the purpose of interior perception, be networked as language, pictogram and emotional evaluation. The reflective phase of human understanding begins, from a historical timeline perspective, with and as that what we term as high form of culture, thus at approximately 5000 BC. At first, reflection always means an e.v. migration, here into understanding, which means that the received capabilities are now actively applied from the interior to the exterior. In this, emotion remains as the basis for the evaluation of the success of actions. The aim of understanding is the utilitarian taking-hold of or seizing of the exterior, its mode the "will to have".

3. Predecessor and the beginning(s) of the reception of reason as a further, vertical axonal opening of the second category are, since about the 8th century BC, the Jewish prophets and nature philosophy in ancient Greece, the former with respect to introspective due to outer pressure, the latter as and in form of an active response to experiencing the variety of the existing on the basis of the capability in the direction of the categorical heightening. The reception of reason is accomplished in two steps: in ancient Greek philosophy with the zenith of Plato/Aristotle who ventured as far as to the turning point of the migrating e.v. The spreading of these thoughts and the change of the numinous (turn of our times/montotheism based on the same categorical change), at first led to a regress. In breadth, this receptive process is repeated up to Descartes, the turning point to reflection and the modern era. The e.v. migration into reason allows for the active investigation of those values that have been put into the world as receiving reason. The characteristic of reason is the "will to be".

4. The reflecting-through of reason takes two paths: on the one hand, the dendritic, broad unfolding of this potential, such as in applied science and technology, with respect to which the capabilities of reason have not yet been exhausted; and, on the other hand, as reflecting-through of all possible existential contents of this reason up to double reflection as pre-stage to an axonal further development into the direction of a third category.

5. "Thinking", at the various categorical levels, is a different process:
    a) 1st categorical reception: lucid experience of oneself and reacting
        1st categorical reflection: an active observation of the existing in order to take hold of it.
    b) 2nd categorical reception: abstraction towards the "essence" of things (natural laws and metaphysic)
        2nd categorical reflection: taking-back of the values by retaining abstraction, thing and human being become free.

The "what" of thinking is determined by the "how", the "how" is a consequence of the categorical networking and of the seat of the e.v., depending on the state of development and tradition. Thinking, in all categories, takes place in consciousness; this is that interior mirror onto which and as which, at first, understanding was built as that "combination center" with which and in which sensory and language signals and emotional evaluations were and are combined with each other in order to be stored in memory. Memory exists in a two-fold manner of accessibility:

a) as sensory and categorical memory
b) as personal memory.

to a) In this part, we find, according to our own categoriality, all experiences with respect to that and how we are put into the existing. Memory is always and directly connected with those sensory centers, for and as which the neural storing occurred, and from which alone the coding in equivalent images for awareness and its short-term memory can be transformed. Memory stores as and for three areas (schematically): in an upper ring (file marker) for reflexes, in general (file card), as interesting content (content of the file card). The mode of access is dependent on the situation and, from the second category on, it can be freely chosen.

By the respective sensory centers, there are always stored pictogram, concept (as heard and written word) as well as emotional respectively rational evaluation; accordingly, all these centers have to become active in the human brain, in their dendritic and axonal networking in the process of reproduction in consciousness for the calling-up or retrieval of the memory.

to b) Personal memory consists of two parts, one of which is the layered capability of memory in a chronological sequence of one‘s own development, as far as is present one‘s consciousness (what, in reality, means as much as accessibility), the other of which is the total in the ego/self in form of those things and values in which the individual finds itself as self, evaluated by its own e.v.

6. This ego(self) is, according to the category, a different instance or level of awareness: from the ego of reaction to the ego of wanting to have, to the ego of wanting to be a better ego to the ego of the ethical wanting-to-be to the ego/ego (double ego) of double reflection.

III. For the forming of the ego and the self, the migrating e.v. is the decisive factor, the "seat of the e.v.".

1. E.v. is the layering/moving agent through all that exists, which, in its unfolding, qualitatively modfies itself from energy to mind. The "meaning" of the moving and pushing forward as well as of the layering is the reaching out, expressed in sublimated form, the heightening of the communication of the existing with each other.

2. The actuality of existence will only be reached in the concentration of the interior on its own e.v. in the direction of its own transcendence, for only in this manner, the connection to the "higher" of this moving forward of the e.v. in the expansion and widening of communication, becomes possible, and this connection can only be experienced lively in the individual of the carrier (evidence, inspiration).

3. Transcendence is the rational goal and the rational limit of the search for expansion; the numinous is the existential goal of the e.v., in that it, here, unites itself with the "total e.v." that embraces all that is and that will be, which directed interior, in case of the right meeting, can be experienced as a lively being-given-to oneself (as, for example, in mystic).

*In Conclusion: Some Explanatory Afterthoughts
This attempt at a categorization of the human mind and of its concepts has been written quite some time ago; in various discussions with respect to this theory it has been found that particularly the concepts of "élan vital", "e.v.-migratio" and "transcendence" can only too easily be misunderstood and might arouse the suspicion of metaphysic. However, since this theory is to be understood as exactly the opposite of metaphysic, I later found it advisable to replace those "burdened" terms, wherever possible, with more functional ones. Therefore, in later works I speak of the "lively center of the ego", that is capable of connecting with the various capabilities in individually different ways, respectively of the "leadership takeover" by each respective higher capability. Due to a lack of a suitable replacement term, I have retained the term "transcendence" in most instances; however, it is also understood in its purely functional meaning as a movement beyond a pre-existing stage; in no way is it to be understood as a metaphysical "prepositum or propositum", but as an immanent-emergent de-velopment.

Under these conditions, this "older" attempt of an introduction to the categorization of the mind can still facilitate the understanding of the articles featured here.

For a graphic view see this site about phylogeny and ontogenesis.

Translation by Ingrid Sabharwal-Schwaegermann
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