At the outset, this is not an attempt to diagnose any person or allude to diagnosis of any person. Let me repeat that two more times. At the outset, this is not an attempt to diagnose any person or allude to diagnosis of any person. At the outset, this is not an attempt to diagnose any person or allude to diagnosis of any person. And I’ll repeat it again soon. This post is subject to a disclaimer. Go no further if it is not accepted.
Right – what am I talking about? Echo means some sort of reflection – usually of sound. Behaviour means patterns of movement and sometimes patterns of thinking or reacting. Patterns means an identifiable sequence even in random events. Echo-responsivity is an umbrella term I invented to catch a number of phenomena. The problem is that ‘behaviour’ is seen by the majority to be some sort of ‘physical’ display of actions. The world of psychology has not as yet realised that ‘behaviour’ can be cognitive. In fact, the whole cognitive-behavioural divide harks back to ‘Cartesian dualism’ – the separation of mind from body – mental from physical. Echo-responsivity is a monistic-double-aspect concept that brings back together that which is human. Nature doesn’t know or care about ‘mind-body’ dualism. We – the human race – created this for our own purposes. Responsivity means both patterns of receptivity and patterns of responses. In order to ‘echo’ anything one has to be able to receive even if to reflect back. So in the case of a ‘wall’ echoing sound, it does receive the sound – but reflects it instantly.
So what about the humans?
- At birth newly born babies demonstrate a behavioural pattern, once they can see with their eyes, to mimic behaviour of persons. So they may make faces or smile in response to a visible person doing same with them. Tough – I’m not gonna fish out the sound evidence on this to spoon-feed somebody’s ass (or arse if you’re English).
- Children are well known to play games with each other where they have fun trying to follow or mirror each others movements.
- In adult life – adults, of course – engage in more complex forms of echo-behaviour e.g.
- tit for tat patterns
- reciprocity patterns – revenge, love, hate etc etc.
- actually adopting words commonly used by others, and their thinking patterns.
If one wants to re-package this to its simplest form, people follow other people or react in like manner – nothing new in that! This is ‘responsivity’. [In case one needs to see it click to see how Stupid had a go.]
But there are some more complex forms of behaviour and thinking that I’ve been observing over the last few years. The classic is when one gives a story to another about some contentious situation. The listener might go of on a wild tangent – which they don’t see as wild – and begin talking about what they do or don’t do. So for example I might be in a conversation with Person A about somebody (Person X) dissing me in some way or the other. For argument’s sake, let’s say it was ‘pissing on my front lawn!’ did I say this was a real scenario or implied it might be true? I did NOT. Person A might then start up, “Well I would never do such a thing… blah blah.. blah blah“. Do I give a monkeys about whether Person A might do the same? I do NOT! Am I referring to any possibility that Person A might do such a thing? Have I accused them of having propensity to do such a thing? I did NOT! And did I make a factual report in this blog that somebody has pissed on my front lawn? I did NOT! I was giving a hypothetical. But no – the humans automatically turn what they perceive and infer in to facts. But that’s a separate phenomenon.
What’s happened in the example above, in my perception, is that Person A has just compared themselves with Person X’s despicable behaviour. They’ve quickly and automatically mirrored the hypothetical scenario in their own minds, and then quickly moved on to distance themselves from such despicable behaviour. This seems so natural to most people that it is ‘the norm’. The sort of comment that ‘I would never do that‘.. is a form of echo-behaviour (or echo cognition) happening rapidly as a pattern in the cognitive domain. There is automatic self-comparison. That cannot happen unless the Person A has mirrored the scenario in their own minds, put themselves in the same scenario and then felt a need to say something. Did I say that everybody will do this – all the time? I did NOT! This self-comparison to another, is clearly a referencing against the other. The expression of ‘I could never do that’ is the self-reference against the other. Look, I see this phenomenon in many different ways and I ain’t going into more examples.
Self-referencing merges often imperceptibly into the spectra of the psychopathological. Now would be a good time to repeat what I said at the outset i.e. At the outset, this is not an attempt to diagnose any person or allude to diagnosis of any person. The broad spectrum is from ‘ideas of reference’ to ‘delusions of self-reference.‘ Wot!? Is this a tutorial? Did I say this is a tutorial? I did NOT! And – there is a blurred area between non-pathological self-referencing and pathological ‘ideas of reference‘. Do I give a monkeys about what Freud said? I do NOT! None of this is a diagnosis or diagnostic! I also don’t give a monkeys about what ‘experts A, B or C’ on the net says – or whether anybody out there understand any of this. Why? Cuz I’m writing this for clarification of my own understanding, not for some bledy audience.
Those who in fact have been given privileges of diagnosing others need to be very careful about distinguishing the borderlands between pathological from non-pathological. And I’m not here to tell um how to do that. In fact I’m not here to tell anybody anything. I can talk to myself if I please – and that is not diagnostic of anything! Did I say I was diagnosed with something? I did NOT!
Chrysst! Somebody is banging on the door… a’right.. let them in for a bit – on a tight leash!
CW: I’ve defined the concepts as I started off. I took echo-responsivity down into self-comparison and self-referencing. Then I showed that self-referencing can cross a borderland into the domain of abnormal psychopathology. I also said quite clearly that those with the powers of ‘diagnosing’ others need to be very careful.
Stupid: I don’t get how self-comparison is anything to do with your idea of echo-responsivity.
CW: Well, it’s this simple: to compare one’s self to a situation, one has to receive information – then one makes a comparison to the situation internally and automatically. The utterance or other expression that follows having done this, is the ‘response’.
Stupid: I think it is ridiculous that you imply people are like stone walls.
CW: I used the analogy to explain the idea of how things reflect. I was speaking in the abstract. You seem to have concretised the analogy – but your mental capacity is limited so you’re excused for the moment.
Stupid: This is pure psychobabble – isn’t it?
CW: Maybe at this point I shall do the usual and say ‘It is your prerogative to see it or call it what you want‘. All I know is that I have nothing to do with psychobabble.
Stupid: But.. but… wait.. stop… [muzzled and shoved back into cage.]
CW: I said that Stupid was on a tight leash. Once I spot the conversation deteriorating idiocy, it is my prerogative to muzzle Stupid. End of!