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Our awareness of a Guna is not itself tinged by that Guna, but free of it. Paradoxically, though the three Gunas are themselves felt qualities or colourations of awareness, the pure awareness of them is itself a ‘fourth’ Guna, one free of and beyond all Gunas – ‘Nirguna’. Nirguna is characterised by a sense of the colourless translucency of pure awareness as such. The pure ‘white’ of the Sattva Guna is but the best reflector of the translucent, colourless light of pure awareness - of Nirguna. For light as such is not white - or any colour. That is why true transcendence of the Gunas does not come about simply by identification with the pure whiteness or ‘goodness’ of the Sattva Guna. It is also why Shiva, whilst being the personification of pure awareness and Nirguna, is also associated with all the Gunas. As the Swan (Hamsa) Shiva is white. Yet Shiva is also the Vedic ‘Rudra’, a name, which, like the Tamil word ‘Civa’, means ‘reddening’. Shiva is identified too with Tamas in the form of the blackness of the Shiva- lingam - that form which symbolises the emergence of all forms from formless darkness. Then again there is the iconic portrayal of Shiva with a blue neck. This is a mythic symbol of how he freely chose to swallow the Tamasic ‘poison’ churned up from the ocean by the other gods - and was capable of transforming it. Dark blue is another symbol of Tamas. Light blue is the colour symbol of the colourless itself – of the sky and higher air or ‘aether’ of pure awareness that is Nirguna. This is symbolised by Shiva sitting atop Mount Kailasha, breathing the aether of pure awareness. According to the Guru-Gita, the syllable ‘Gu’ in ‘Guru’ refers to transcending the Gunas, whilst the syllable ‘Ru’ means devoid of form or quality. ‘Gu-Ru’ is one who transcends the Gunas or ‘qualities’. This can be achieved by sustaining a pure, quality-free awareness of them, whilst at the same time feeling and affirming them all within the clear light and space of that awareness.

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz has been a spectacularly successful popularization of living wisdom from the Mexican Toltec tradition. It promulgates a virtue ethic of charitable consideration, against self-limiting patterns of enmeshment and reactivity (Ruiz, 1997). This gentle yet challenging message traces out the structure of concern through its fourfold path of effort, clarity, perspective and integrity. These are expanded on below in PAEI order, not the order of the Four Agreements.


P – Always Do Your Best (effort)

Making this promise to oneself in full acknowledgement of one’s fluctuating energies and limitations produce a life free from self-recrimination and regret. If we know that we did our best no matter what, self-blame loses its purchase on our thoughts.


A – Don’t Make Assumptions (clarity)

Much unnecessary interpersonal drama arises from assuming knowledge of people’s goals and motives, or expecting them to ‘just know’ what we are thinking and feeling. This heartache can be released when one has the courage to ask questions and express what one really wants, communicating as clearly as possible to avoid misunderstandings.


E – Don’t Take Anything Personally (perspective)

One must not get caught up in the to-and-fro of interactions. Nothing that others do is because of us. They act out of their own projections, their own dream of what life is about. Maintaining this perspective on interactions immunizes us to the opinions and actions of others, and prevents needless suffering.


I – Be Impeccable With Your Word (integrity)

Refrain from using language to attack yourself and others, spreading gossip and social dissention. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean, and promote only those words which are guided by truth and love.








Viniyoga: Ranju Roy on The Transcendent Fourth - Part 3



In their study of artistic styles, Loomis & Saltz (1984) had subjects rate eight well-known artists on a list of descriptors. Four clusters of artistic style emerged, organized along two dimensions: figurative vs. non-figurative and narrative vs. descriptive. The dimensions essentially represent the degree of distance from perceptual realism. Non-figurative art leans towards cognitive-perceptual or expressive abstraction, narrative or imaginative art uses recognizable elements, but arrange them in fanciful rather than logical/rational or normal ways.


P – Rational/Descriptive, Figurative: Matisse, Warhol, Wyeth

This style remains closest to perceptual realism, representing either what is seen, or imaginary scenarios that obey most of the rules of ordinary reality, rather than fanciful rules. Subjects are represented in ways faithful to their concrete appearance, rather than as cognitive, perceptual or expressive abstractions.


A – Rational/Descriptive, Nonfigurative: Mondrian

This artistic style remains representative in the sense that features of objective perception – the observation of line, shape, mass, rhythm, balance and so on – provide the foundation for abstraction and elaboration, particularly along cognitive and perceptual lines.


E – Spontaneous/Narrative, Nonfigurative: Kandinsky, Miró, Pollock

Spontaneous and narrative forms of art are grounded primarily in the imagination or emotions of the artist, rather than observations or perceptions. They need not follow the visual and physical rules of observed reality. The artistic style described here is thus both spontaneous and nonfigurative or abstract. The classic example of this artistic stryle would be abstract expressionism.


I – Spontaneous/Narrative, Figurative: Chagall

This style of art is grounded in the imagination or emotions of the artist, but the objects or compositional elements the artist uses represents real objects in the world, or modifications of them. These kinds of artistic works are like dreamscapes – unusual combinations of usual things in unusual ways. Dali comes forcefully to mind here, although Loomis and Saltz point to Chagall as their exemplar for this type. The elements of ordinary experience are combined to achieve emotional and expressive results.


Loomis and Saltz interpret these results using Jungian functions. Extraversion/Introversion is placed alongside their figurative/nonfigurative distinction to describe people who are oriented towards sensation vs. imagination. The difference between descriptive and spontaneous styles is aligned with Jung’s distinction between the rational (Judging) and irrational (Perceiving) functions.



Seeking to identify stable features of personality in Rhesus Macaque, and to evaluate the predictive power of any such findings, John Capitanio (1999) extended a 3-factor typology developed by Stevenson-Hinde et al. into the following 4-factor scheme. The revised personality dimensions were able to account for 68% of the variance in observed behavior, according to Capitanio:


P – Confident:

confident - behaves in a positive, assured manner, not restrained or tentative

aggressive - causes harm or potential harm


A – Excitable:

active - moves about a lot

excitable - over-reacts to any change

subordinate - gives in readily to others; submits easily


E – Equable:

equable - reacts to others in an even, calm way; is not easily disturbed

understanding - discriminating and appropriate responses to behavior of others

slow - moves and sits in a slow, deliberate, relaxed manner; not easily hurried


I – Sociable:

sociable - seeks companionship of others

playful - initiates play and joins in when play is solicited

curious - readily explores new situations


This scheme proved to be sufficiently predictive of stable behavioral traits over time spans of months and years that the author surmised it would be a useful tool for animal husbandry in captive macaque populations.



In a review of so many four-part models, one has to wonder what is so special about the number four. Do these models represent something in nature that is four-fold? Perhaps it is only some common analytical habit that predisposes us to see things in this particular four-fold manner. Whether either or both of these are true, it remains incumbent upon us to question what might be so special about four-fold models.


In a series of articles (Glassman, 2003; Glassman, 1999a; Glassman, 1999b; Glassman, 1999c; Glassman et al., 1998; Glassman, 1997; Glassman et al., 1994) Robert Glassman undertakes this investigation. His goal is to explain the capacity limits of working memory; i.e. the well-studied fact that both we and other species can keep about 7 ±2 items of active information in mind in any span of time. Since limited working memory seems to be a very stable and robust finding in living organisms, Glassman looks into the organizational and operational features that might explain why selection favored these particular limits.


A lower limit upon working memory is furnished by the mathematics of association. To be useful, working memory should sustain at least three chunks of active information. Two chunks may be logically inadequate for cognitive representation, i.e. for supporting decisions or constructing larger representations. Direct one-to-one associations leave no room for decision-making. At least three representations are needed to represent a contingency, with the third element providing a context or occasion for the paired association. If we were to give this decision-making function mathematical expression as a search or walk through an option-space, we would need at least three non-colinear points to define that space – a triangle. Glassman also notes that the syntax of natural language strongly features the action set of subject, verb and object, and that the emergence of three-word utterances in child development ushers in a period of rapid linguistic growth. Three is thus a representationally significant number. (Glassman, 2003)


Furthermore, at least three nodes are needed to explore associativity and represent groups, transitivity and other more complex relations. To determine that A, B and C are associative in mathematical terms, one has to be able to determine that A+(B+C)=(A+B)+C. "If a hypothetical mental buffer were able only to hold pairs of elements, then, if it begins with A and B, one of these must be dropped in order to pick up C. That leaves only the possibility of piecemeal chaining of pairs in long-term memory (LTM)." Glassman concedes that a two-node system could recursively chunk paired items (AB) to associate them as a unit with a third item (C). However, these associations finalize meaning, like a decision, commitment or rule. There is no more room for representing conditions and contingencies. Meaning is narrowed to a single pathway of definite associations, rather than an open space for context-sensitive choices.


While working memory must involve at least three-way associations, Glassman reviews a number of experimental findings that indicate that the upper limit on simultaneous associations in working memory is only four (Glassman et al., 1998; Glassman et al., 1994). We get to the magic number 7 by looping or continually refreshing working memory in time. Four items at time t can thus be chunked into one item at time t+1, providing a context for the three remaining working memory slots. I will not take the time to duplicate Glassman’s empirical argument here. Instead, I want to focus on a further observation that he offers. He argues that, aside from the empirical reasons to believe that working memory capacity is limited to four items, there are structural reasons why this must be so. Four represents a mathematical upper limit for simultaneous associative interrelations in the brain, because of the topology of the isocortex.


Many structures in the central nervous system are sheet-like or laminar in structure. That means that local interactions must take place on surfaces that are effectively two-dimensional. Isocortex is the most conspicuously sheet-like structure of all. This planar organization imposes certain mathematical constraints upon local associations. On any two-dimensional or sheet-like surface, if four sub-regions are defined, any one of them can grow an edge to contact any of the other three without ‘cutting across’ another patch, isolating or ‘trapping’ part of the invaded sub-region. With five or more sub-regions defined, some patches will be disconnected. “So long as there are no more than four planar regions, any of them has free access to grow an edge to any other in some way that does not split a subpatch nor divide any of the other subpatches from each other.” (Glassman, 2003) This mathematical limit flows from the “four-color theorum”, the proven fact that you can color any flat map in only four colors, and no region of it need border on another region of the same color, no matter how serpentine the regions. Four regions can maintain undisrupted contact with each other on a flat surface. Add a fifth and some isolation or disconnection in inevitable.


It might even be argued that we see this growth in complexity during conversations at cocktail parties. Robin Dunbar has observed that human conversation groups have a “decisive upper limit” of four individuals. The addition of a fifth listener will destabilize the group, resulting in side conversations and a division of the group in two. (Dunbar, 1996; p. 121) This four-unit threshold for all-way associativity may represent a universal limit on the unity of simple systems, with bifurcation and differentiation occurring above that threshold. Glassman argues that this may explain the upper limits of working memory.


The importance of the number four in the mathematics of planar surfaces is further explored in graph theory. Graph theory deals with systems of vertices and arcs, or the points in a network diagram and the lines that connect them. On a sheet-like surface, you can connect up to four vertices with arcs such that no arcs bisect or cross any other arcs. In other words, on a flat surface you can connect three points in a triangle, then add a fourth point that you can connect to the three triangle points without crossing any lines (forming a diamond, and then connecting the two far points with an arc or ‘handle’). From the fifth point on, if you want to connect every point to every other point, you have to cross or overlay lines. On a planar surface, a four-point graph is the largest complete graph (where every vertex is connected to every other) possible. (Glassman, 2003)


These combinatorial issues are important for Glassman because, on his account, working memory must involve some kind of dynamic allocation of cortical space over brief time intervals. He proposes that “…mental associations among the WM items are embodied neurally as topological associations of activated areas and subareas of cortex.” In other words, the active working memory ensemble would be topologically adjacent to each other, and in range of local cortical connectivity. Long cortico-cortical connections might participate in binding the features of items represented working memory subpatches, but for economy of time and energy, local and neighborhood connections would have to serve active duty as well. To support rapid and flexible working memory operations, certain cortical areas may sustain “pointers”, “proxies” or “surrogates” for otherwise more distributed representations, so that the speed of adjacent or overlapping cortical associations can be used for quick thinking and rapid responding. Glassman writes:


Glassman sees a role for neuromodulators in this hypothetical surrogacy function.

These organizational and topological considerations may help explain why the structure of concern seems so widespread. Fourfold arrangements are special in the mathematics of surface topology, and surfaces or boundaries of all kinds have great natural and biological significance. Guts, skins, gas exchange surfaces and other biological interfaces all exploit sheet-like structures, as does isocortex. Furthermore, topological arrangements of representations are largely conserved as information is processed throughout the nervous system. From the flat surface of the retina to the lateral geniculate nuclei to the visual cortex to the object and position analyzers of higher association cortices, the topological relationships between all the various bits of data in the visual image remain remarkably intact. The same can be said for other sensory systems: interoceptive and exteroceptive. These topological relationships are again largely preserved in projections to the basal ganglia. If local associative relationships are important for decision and evaluation processes, four-color constraints may well impose their structure upon cortical computations.


Fourfold structure of concern models may in part reflect a four-field local association zone in the cerebral cortex. It is also probable that four color considerations play a role in the intellectual and representational practices involved in the creation of these models. Investigators who draw and write on paper and other two-dimensional surfaces to clarify visual-gestalt types of ideas may well fall upon four-cell charts as a powerful way for describing different yet associated dynamics. Structure of concern models may represent in part the organizational necessities of their own representation. The similarities of content across these various models would not be explained by these representational issues, but perhaps a richer account of the phenomena described might be given using models framed using different modeling tactics.



The zona incerta stands out sharply as a brain structure that may be subject to the four-color topological constraints described by Robert Glassman. It seems to be made up of four loosely defined and heavily interconnected cyto-architectonic sectors (rostral, caudal, dorsal and ventral). Furthermore, four diverse functions have been associated with the zona incerta, and some evidence suggests that each of these functions can be mapped to its own sector (perhaps with some overlap into other sectors. Mitrofanis, 2005).


The global function of the zona incerta can be seen as linking diverse sensory channels to appropriate response systems, namely visceral, arousal, attention and postural-locomotive systems. These four systems can be assigned to fuzzy PAEI sets as follows:


P – Ventral ZI: Posture/Locomotion, including defensive orientation, the stereotypic movements of copulation and other postures and locomotive movements via brainstem and spinal cord connections.

A – Dorsal ZI: Attention, linking somatosensory information to superior collicular firing.

E – Caudal ZI: Arousal, possibly shifting from less to more alertness during wakefulness, through heavy interconnections with brainstem and thalamic arousal centers.

I – Rostral ZI: Visceral functions, especially ingestion and sexual cycles, through connections with the hypothalamus.


The superior colliculus has been described as having two modes: an event mode eliciting visual tracking, and an emergency mode triggering defensive avoidance or flight. (Dean et al., 1989). The zona incerta may participate in permitting and/or inhibiting visual tracking guided by sensations on the body, depending on the degree of defensive activation.


While zona incerta functions are a far cry from the higher workings of human personality and temperament, they cluster along PAEI lines of activity, monitoring/defensive avoidance, degrees of alertness and awakening, and social/visceral functioning (which are basically identical for infant mammals). Furthermore, the connections of the zona incerta are very extensive, synapsing along the vertical extent of the brain from cerebral cortex to spinal cord. If its inputs and outputs are topographically mapped to any extent, this would argue for the relevance of a fourfold organizational scheme for the neuraxis.



Four parallel channels through the basal ganglia can be traced (Blumenfeld, 2002; Martin, 1996) each one targeting a different region of the frontal lobes. In PAEI order, these are the motor, prefrontal, oculomotor and limbic channels. Each one is discussed in more detail below.


P: Motor Channel

Cortical projections in this channel enter the basal ganglia primarily through the putamen, and leave via the internal segment of the globus pallidus (GPi) and the substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNr). Outputs project to the ventrolateral (VL) and ventral anterior (VA) nuclei of the thalamus. From there the channel ascends towards the premotor area (PMA), supplementary motor area (SMA) and primary motor cortex.


This channel is dedicated to the preparation for and control of action. Representation in the preSMA has been associated with the intention to act (Lau et al., 2004), the organization of action sequences (Kennerley et al., 2004), the preparation and execution of action (Cunnington et al., 2002), the endogenous generation of responses when environmental stimuli fail to provoke responses (Lau et al., 2004). The preSMA is thought to support cognitive motor control based on choices and discriminations made after stimuli have been received, whereas SMA-proper plays a main role in generating the readiness potential that precedes volitional, self-paced, voluntary movements. (Ikeda et al., 1999) The SMA seems to play a role in the suppression of sensation associated with voluntary action (Haggard & Whitford, 2004).


A: Prefrontal Channel

Cortical input to the head of the caudate leaves the basal ganglia via the GPi and SNr, projecting to the ventral anterior and mediodorsal (MD) thalamic nuclei, projecting to the prefrontal cortex (PFC) – locus of working memory, the conscious construction of representations, planning, prediction, extrapolation and evaluation. Specific NMDA receptors in the PFC has been shown to participate in the formation of contextual fear memories (Zhao et al., 2005).


The head of the caudate nucleus processes information about the fairness of a social partner’s decision, and the intention to trust that person once they have been deemed fair (King-Casas et al., 2005). The caudate is also central to ‘altruistic punishment’ – the desire to punish violations of social norms even when we have not been personally wronged (De Quervain et al., 2004). The head of the caudate is also implicated in obsessive-compulsive disorder and the regulation of ‘worry’ signals, in tandem with the orbitofrontal cortex (Whiteside et al., 2004; Remijnse et al., 2005).


E: Oculomotor Channel

Cortical input for this channel projects to the body of the caudate nucleus, and then to the VA and MD thalamic nuclei via the GPi and SNr. Output is directed towards frontal and prefrontal areas in the vicinity of the frontal eye fields. This channel is important for the higher-order control of eye movements and for spatial. The caudate is particularly implicated in the orientation of eyes towards rewards in the environment (Hikosaka et al., 2006) and for channeling spatial information. The body of the caudate is also implicated in the reward, motivation, and emotion systems associated with early-stage intense romantic love (Aron et al., 2005). It also plays a key role in classification learning; learning the relationships between stimuli and responses or cognitive categories (Seger & Cinotta, 2005). For these and other reasons, this channel thus seems to participate in (or partially overlap with) a reward-seeking or exploratory system.


I: Limbic Channel

Cortical input to this ventral channel arises from the temporal cortex, hippocampus and amygdala. Input enters the basal ganglia through the nucleus accumbens, ventral putamen and ventral caudate. Output to the thalamus emerges from the ventral pallidum, GPi and SNr, heading towards the MD and VA thalamic nuclei. These project to the anterior cingulate cortex and the orbitofrontal cortex – areas involved in the evaluation of personal actions and environmental resources, as well as social, behavioral and affective self-regulation.


This is a highly simplified and incomplete account of the brain regions described, but it serves as a starting point for understanding how the structure of concern may be embodied in the brain and in behavior.


For several years now, research efforts headed by Larry Swanson at the University of Southern California have traced vertical anatomical connections in the rodent brain. Systems at the cortical and striatopallidal level have been linked to diencephalic and brainstem/spinal cord systems. The amygdala has played an important role in the mediation of these connections, and perhaps the most provocative claim arising from this research has been that the amygdala is not a structure unto itself, but rather several structures that can variously be assigned cortical, striatal, and pallidal functions.


Fourfold distinctions play important roles in these vertical anatomical and functional systems. Four systems feed into the hypothalamic area from the cortex, participating in the regulation of four hypothalamic functions. Those functions are involved in the regulation of three broad categories of behavior: ingestive, defensive/agonic and reproductive (and autonomic regulatory activity, considered independently from these three/four functions). These three categories might be expanded to four if defensive behavior and agonic behavior were differentiated. Framing all of these relationships is an overall zoning of the nervous system into four functional systems: motor, sensory, cognitive and behavioral state control. (Swanson, 2003, p. 95)


The various patterns of segmentation along the entire vertical nervous system demonstrate an oblique but consistent relevance for PAEI distinctions, well within the penumbra of the fuzzy concept being explored. Furthermore, Swanson’s model involves the divergence and convergence of information along this column between the various four-part layers. This networking among various four-part layers provides a possible mechanism for one quadrant of a system to modulate the three others, biasing responses towards a dominant or preferred style/subsystem.



Starting at the base of the column, Risold, Thompson and Swanson (1997) describe a visceral counterpart to the central pattern generators for somatomotor behavior in the hindbrain and spinal cord. Cell regions in the ventromedial diencephalon are organized and positioned such that they could generate similarly patterned activity over neuroendocrine and autonomic responses rather than somatomotor ones. They call these visceromotor responses, which are the output of a hypothalamic visceromotor pattern generator network (HVPG). The HVPG operates alongside a behavior control column (BCC) for controlling motivated behaviors, particularly ingestive, agonic, defensive and reproductive. The BCC involves both hypothalamic and midbrain/hindbrain nuclei. The hypothalamus is thus involved in generating both internally-directed visceromotor and externally-directed somatomotor patterns related to core survival and reproductive activities, and the strong motives that accompany those.


The hypothalamus does receive direct sensory information that would be relevant for releasing visceromotor responses. It gets information about environmental light from the retina, through its connection to the suprachiasmic nucleus (SCN) most notably, and also to the subparaventricular nucleus that is the heaviest target of SCN afferents, among other nuclei involved in circadian rhythms and autonomic responses.


A second pathway reaches these same two nuclei from the ventral lateral geniculate nucleus. The hypothalamus is also a major target for both main and accessory olfactory information. Caudolateral areas of the lateral hypothalamus receive olfactory information from the medial forebrain bundle (MFB), from sources such as the olfactory bulb, piriform cortex and amygdala (Risold et al., 1997). However, this direct sensory input is likely to be more modulatory or regulatory in nature. The staging of the visceromotor event itself involves higher brain systems that intersect with or converge upon the amygdala in important ways.


Swanson’s group views the amygdala as a name given to a group of nuclei pushed together in the brain by happenstance, forming neither a functional nor a structural unit. Rather, nuclei in the amygdalar region belong to three distinct groups:


The caudal olfactory cortex (cortical, piriform and postpiriform amygdala, nucleus of the lateral olfactory tract);

The ventromedial claustral complex (lateral, basal and posterior nuclei), and;

The caudoventral striatum (central, medial and anterior amygdala and intercalated nuclei). (Petrovich et al., 2001; Dong et al., 2001; Swanson & Petrovich, 1998).


These three amygdalar areas participate in four major telencephalic systems – frontotemporal, visceral, accessory olfactory, main olfactory – described in PAEI order below:


P: A frontotemporal system can be outlined that might mediate quick survival-related action. It includes many gustatory and visceroregulatory areas of the ventral forebrain, including the medial orbital area, insula, ventral temporal cortex and hippocampus. This system involves the anterior basolateral amygdala and lateral amygdala, with outputs mainly to the somatomotor system via the ventral and dorsal striatum. There is a projection from the lateral amygdala to the central amygdalar nucleus, which is involved in autonomic pattern generation, and which influences the striatum via the substantia nigra. The setup suggests a very quick shift from bio-relevant information processing into action, accompanied by supportive autonomic effects.


A: The visceral system is a narrower version of the frontotemporal system in some ways, and seems more geared towards the avoidance of unpalatable events. It includes agranular insular areas (primary gustatory/degustatory cortex), medial prefrontal areas directly involved in visceroregulation, and the subiculum, though by some to play a key role in anxiety and fault-detection (McNaughton & Gray, 2000). The main amygdalar target is the central nucleus, and below that the lateral hypothalamus, in regions that innervate many autonomic cell groups in the brainstem and spinal cord implicated in conditioned fear responses.


E: Accessory olfactory functions in the rat and other animals processes non-volatile chemical compounds with biological significance for the animal, most notably the pheromones released by conspecifics indicating reproductive status, territory markings and social status/dominance/eminence. (By contrast, the identification of specific group members such as mother, child, littermate etc. involves the more targeted chemical analytics of the main olfactory system.) The accessory or vomeronasal system is for broad-brush social status judgments relevant to one’s own motivational state. In humans the vomeronasal organ itself is vestigial. Social computations of all kinds have largely been captured by higher, non-olfactory, multimodal limbic and cortical systems of great complexity (so great that on some accounts it underpins all human cognitive expansion. Dunbar, 2003). Nevertheless, the old accessory olfactory pathways may maintain their social significance, under “new management”. The amygdalar components of the accessory olfactory system in rats – the anterior cortical amygdalar nucleus and the posterior nucleus – project to all functional zones of the hypothalamus, particularly reproductive and defensive areas, as well as lateral/autonomic areas and gonadotropic neuroendocrine areas targeted by the SCN (potentially involved in seasonal mating patterns). Thus this system seems to mediate social eminence, the staking out of territories and mating within social reference groups. Compared to the cycle-times for feeding or defense, reproduction is a much longer-cycle seasonal activity for most animals, only to be undertaken when the conditions and opportunities are right.


I: Main olfactory systems are finely-tuned evaluators of the biological relevance and significance of substances, and also of individualized social information. (In the early ontogeny of mammals, food value and social value information are phenomenologically identical, since our first food source is our mother.) The main olfactory systems involves five amygdalar cortical areas (the anterior and posterolateral cortical nuclei, nucleus of the lateral olfactory tract, a postpiriform transition area, and piriform-amygdalar area), along with parts of the claustral complex and the striatal anterior amygdalar area. Projections across the hypothalamus are comparatively light, with the notable exceptions of projections from the piriform-amygdalar, posterior basomedial and posterolateral areas, which heavily target the reproductive and defensive behavior control areas. This setup suggests the intensive, multivalent processing of socially-relevant information.


These fairly direct pathways represent one route for taking information from four forebrain systems down to four hypothalamic behavioral systems (ingestion, defense/agonism, reproduction, autonomic/neuroendocrine control). There are four more routes as well:


Via the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST);

Via hippocampal formation (HCF);

Via hippocampus and septum, and;

Via the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC).

In the hippocampal formation, the entorhinal cortex is innervated throughout by amygdalar input, and it in turn innervates essentially the whole cortex, basal ganglia and hippocampus proper via the perforant path. It does not project to the hypothalamus or thalamus. The parasubiculum projects to the lateral mammillary bodies through the fornix. Projections into Ammon’s horn and the subiculum that traverse the septal area, however, target four hypothalamic areas. CA3 preferentially targets the caudal septum, and thus the lateral hypothalamus and supramammillary area. CA1 and subicular projections to the rostral and ventral septum project to the medial behavior control column and paraventricular/neuroendocrine zones, respectively.


Reciprocally connected amygdalar and hippocampal areas do not project in parallel to identical targets in the hypothalamus, offering a potential mechanism for considerations of one kind (amygdalar-focal) to influence or dominate another kind (hippocampal-situational) in directing motivated behaviors and self-regulatory responses. In the rat, the central amygdalar nucleus projects to the lateral hypothalamus, but not to the hippocampus. It is involved in conditioned fear. The hippocampal projection to the lateral hypothalamus arises in CA3, involved in novelty detection. The lateral hypothalamus influences autonomic reactivity. Fear versus fascination in response to novelty is a key differentiator between A and E. This interaction in the lateral hypothalamus could be one of the switches for setting up A or E style behavioral syndromes. Similarly, focal versus situation reactivity differentiates P and E. P and A share a negative bias towards novelty.


In terms of ascending projections, the hypothalamus uses at least four routes for sending information to the telencephalon: 1) a massive direct projection to the entire cortical mantle (a candidate for biasing the brain towards a dominant style?); 2) indirect relays through the thalamus (attention, learning, searching/foraging, activity switching); 3) the basal ganglia (action and motivation), and; 4) brainstem structures like the periaqueductal grey, superior colliculus, cuneiform nucleus and ventral tegmental nuclei of Gudden, through the medial ZI, ventral anteromedial thalamic nucleus and rostrodorsal nucleus reunions. A rough PAEI labeling of these rising projections could be made as follows:


P: Basal Ganglia – action and motivation

A: Brainstem – vigilance, quick corrective responses

E: Thalamus – information processing, scene-building

I: Global – all aspects of cognition involving interoception and social/visceral concerns.


All PAEI mappings in this section are highly provisional, but the resonances between Swanson’s framework and other concern structure models in psychology are worth emphasizing. A more careful analysis of these issues might contribute to a biological basis for temperamental differences, among other things. It would also be important to connect this biological organization to the ecological conditions of its emergence.



Swanson’s differentiation between four systems and four functions through the vertical brain is maintained in anatomical studies of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST). Noting that the anterloateral BNST is composed of four cell groups with dense local interconnections, Dong and Swanson (2004) identify four subsystems that receive projections from this structure, given below in PAEI order:


P: Somatomotor system (nucleus accumbens, substantia innominata, ventral tegmental area, and retrorubral area and adjacent midbrain reticular nucleus)


A: Central ANS (central amygdalar nucleus, dorsal lateral hypothalamic area, ventrolateral PAG, parabrachial nucleus, and nucleus of the solitary tract)


E: Thalamocortical feedback loops (midline, medial, and intralaminar nuclei).


I: Neuroendocrine system (paraventricular and supraoptic nuclei, hypothalamic visceromotor pattern generator network)


The posterior BNST has three divisions, and seems more integrative, handling both topographically separate and converging projections to various cerebral structures.


PAEI themes are traceable in many studies of the vertical brain. For example, distinct, longitudinal neuronal columns have been identified within the midbrain periaqueductal gray (PAG). There are dorsolateral or lateral columns which are associated with active coping strategies (e.g. confrontation, fight, escape), and a ventrolateral column associated with passive coping strategies (e.g. quiescence, immobility, decreased responsiveness). Active strategies are usually recruited when the stressor is perceived as controllable or escapable, and passive strategies come into play when the stressor is perceived as inescapable. This maps very neatly onto the P-A distinction, in terms of both the behavior, and the ecological conditions that make the behavior adaptive. (Keay & Bandler, 2001)


The rostral lateral periaqueductal gray (PAG) has also been shown to play a role in the inhibition of hunting or predatory behavior and the release of maternal behavior. Lesions to this region strongly inhibit hunting and restore maternal behavior, indicating that some kind of P-I switch may be found in this region (Sukikara et al., 2006). A full mapping of these vertical relationships and PAEI “switches” would be a research project unto its own.


Functional localization in the thalamus, specifically in the midline and intralaminar nuclei, have a fairly direct bearing on concern structure patterns. Once thought to have a diffuse, global arousing effect upon the brain, these nuclei are now know to have specific cognitive, sensory and motor functions, involving not arousal so much as aware processing. To better understand the connectivity of these nuclei, Van der Werf et al. (2002) traced their afferent and efferent projections. They found that the midline and intralaminar thalamic nuclei are clustered into four groups, each with its own cortical and subcortical input and target structures.


The groups are described below in a very tentative PAEI order:


P – Limbic Motor Group (Posterior nuclei)

This group generates motor responses upon awareness of salient stimuli. It consists of the centre median and parafascicular nuclei, and heavily targets the basal ganglia, including the caudate, putamen and notably some pallidal targets as well: globus pallidus, subthalmic nucleus and substantia nigra. In fact, this group's projections cover the striatal projections of all the other midline and intralaminar nuclei, resulting in a double projection from these nuclei across the entire striatum. Strong return projections to the centre median from the putamen and dorsolateral caudate result in a closed sensorimotor loop. Parafascicular nuclei innervate the ventral and medial striatum, participating in limbic-associative motor processes. The strong involvement in motor control places this group with the P concern area of short-term/immediate goal achievement.


A – Cognitive Group (Lateral nuclei)

The lateral cognitive group includes the central lateral and paracentral nuclei, and the anterior part of the central medial nucleus. These nuclei project heavily to prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortices. Damage to this area can produce neglect, inattention and hypersomnolescence. It is also associated with the disruption of executive functions, leading to cognitive inflexibility and working memory disruptions. A-type coping and management skills rely very heavily on these kinds of executive functions, and they are vulnerable to the abovementioned disruptions.


E – Multimodal Sensory Processing Group (Ventral nuclei)

Made up of the reuniens and rhomboid nucleus and the posterior part of the central medial nucleus, this group does not project significantly to the striatum, unlike other groups. Instead, it targets primary and associative sensory and motor cortices, as well as parahippocampal cortices and the hippocampus proper. On the basis of this connectivity, Van der Werf et al. suggest that this group influences higher order affective, polysensory and cognitive processes. Reliable functional studies of this region are scarce. Expanding cross-modal awareness and sensory orientation help define the expanded zone of awareness for E’s pattern-seeking behavior.


I - Viscero-Limbic Group (Dorsal nuclei)

This clustering of the paraventricular, parataenial and intermediodorsal nuclei is characterized by output to the amygdala and the medial nucleus accumbens. This group also has the greatest connectivity with the medial prefrontal cortex. It participates with the other groups in outputs to the entorhinal and agranular insular areas, and also receives more monoaminergic input than the other groups, as well as input mediated by nitrous oxide. The paraventricular nucleus has been associated with stress and fear, and corticotrophin releasing hormone is present within it. Other viscerosensory functions include state-setting, visceral feedback and motivated arousal. This region is sensitive to cocaine conditioning. It is placed within the I domain largely because of its input-output relationships with important parts of the social brain.


In contrast with the strictly organizational observations regarding the synaptic organization of thalamic glomeruli, these four groups of thalamic nuclei subserving four different modes of awareness bear directly upon observed behaviors categorized within the structure of concern. The thalamus is also closely involved with the adjacent zona incerta, which is also organized in a fourfold manner relevant to the structure of concern.


A number of childhood psychiatric and neurological disorders are held to impact or involve executive functioning in some way, but it has not been clear how. Zelazo and colleagues (1997) suggest that it has been difficult to characterize the impact of executive function on behavior because the concept of executive function itself is inadequately characterized. They suggest that a model of the temporal phases of problem solving can be used to organize and categorize executive function in a way that will be both clinically and theoretically illuminating.


The authors thus divide problem solving into four temporal phases: problem representation, planning, execution and evaluation. They assume an individual problem-solving model, so the Intergrating function is weakly represented in their schema. I present their categorization of executive function below in PAEI order, noting that this breaks the temporal order of the phases, which is important for the authors’ own work:


P – Execution: Requires maintaining focus on the goal for an adequate length of time (intending), and translating the plan into action (rule use). Attention control, volition, priority scheduling and tactical flexibility/shifting are all required for this.


A – Planning: Means-ends analysis, working memory, goal and subgoal setting, considering alternative courses of action, considering and evaluating outcomes and potential consequences of actions, estimating the reliability of resources and social support and managing resource scheduling and dependencies are all required.


E – Representation: Construction, reconstruction, reconfiguration, comparison and switching between different problem construals or problem-space representations is needed, involving attentional and representational set shifting, re-evaluation and re-prioritization, estimations of likelihood, perspective-taking and perspective shifting.


I – Evaluation: Determining that the desired outcome has occurred, detecting and correcting any errors if it has not, and revising earlier stages of problem solving for future attempts if necessary. This is not a conspicuously social activity (the entire planning cycle described here could be done either individually or collectively), but it is integrative. Also, according to the Dramatica model and many other theories of storytelling, one function of stories is to communicate the outcomes of complex problems and solutions along with the evaluations of the author or storyteller. Storytelling is very conspicuously social, and an integrator of human societies.



Tertullian confessed that pagans worshipped crucified saviors hanging on a cross.


"Crosses, moreover, we Christians neither venerate nor wish for. You indeed who consecrate gods of wood venerate wooden crosses, perhaps as parts of your gods. For your very standards, as well as your banners, and flags of your camps, what are they but crosses gilded and adorned? Your victorious trophies not only imitate the appearance of a simple cross, but also that of a man affixed to it." [1]


The pagan roots of Christianity are clearly indicated by this confession. Tertullian was a Christian who later became a Gnostic. He implies that Christians borrowed the sun-god myth.


Tertullian used to mark the forehead with a cross:


"In all our travels and movements", says Tertullian (De cor. Mil., iii), "in all our coming in and going out, in putting of our shoes, at the bath, at the table, in lighting our candles, in lying down, in sitting down, whatever employment occupieth us, we mark our foreheads with the sign of the cross" [2]


It seems Tertullian acknowledged Jesus died on a cross, but rejected wooden crosses. Nevertheless, he unambiguously said that Christianity borrowed the cross and the concept of “dying for the sins of mankind”. Therefore, Christianity is rehashed paganism and the New Testament is recycled pagan myth!


The followers of Tammuz also marked the forehead with a cross!


A pagan sign of the mystic Tau of the Chaldeans and the Egyptians, this cross was a symbol of the Roman god Mithras and the Greek Attis, and their forerunner Tammuz, the Sumerian solar god, consort of the goddess Ishtar. Conveniently, the original form of the letter 'T' was the initial letter of the god of Tammuz. During baptism ceremonies, this cross was marked on the foreheads by the pagan priest. [3]



It will come as a surprise to many that the first known figure of a god on a cross is a likeness of the sun god Orpheus from some three centuries B.C.E. The crucifix on the amulet on the cover of The Jesus Mysteries, by Freke and Gandy, clearly depicts this image. (Tom Harper, The Pagan Christ, pp. 45-46)

"That which is now called the Christian cross was originally no Christian emblem at all, but was the mystic Tau of the Chaldeans and Egyptians -- the true original form of the letter T -- the initial of the name of Tammuz [...] That mystic Tau was marked in baptism on the foreheads of those initiated in the Mysteries, and was used in every variety of way as a most sacred symbol. [...] The Vestal virgins of Pagan Rome wore it suspended from their necklaces, as the nuns do now. The Egyptians did the same [...] There is hardly a Pagan tribe where the cross has not been found. The cross was worshipped by the Pagan Celts long before the incarnation and death of Christ."


"The ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol of life -- the ankh, a tau cross surmounted by a loop and known as crux ansata -- was adopted and extensively used on Coptic Christian monuments." (The New Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th edition, 1995, volume 3, page 753)

"A still more curious fact may be mentioned respecting this hieroglyphical character [the Tau], that the early Christians of Egypt adopted it [...] numerous inscriptions, headed by the Tau, are preserved to the present day on early Christian monuments." (Wilkinson's Egyptians, by Sir J. G. Wilkinson, volume 5, page 283-284)


The use of the cross as a religious symbol in pre-Christian times, and among non-Christian peoples, may probably be regarded as almost universal, and in very many cases it was connected with some form of nature worship."

(The Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition, 1910, volume 7, page 506)



The Winged Disc is often depicted with a cross whose vertical aspect increases in width. Take the images of the Assyrian god Assur and the Median god Ahura Mazda. What is common to these images of major deities is that the god takes centre-stage on a celestial cross. The dynastic Egyptians placed a solar disc in the place of Horus, while the Christians present us with the same format, but this time with the crucified Christ.


The Roman coin shown here has the same shape, albeit upside-down, as these celestial crosses, but the Romans don't seem quite sure about what it all means. Many in Rome invoked the Persian god Mithras, and eventually Christ. But I suggest the interrupted appearance of the celestial 'fire-bird' during Roman times, in the form of the dark star Nibiru, was the original precursor to this historic deification.



The amulet itself is now lost, having disappeared from the Museum of Berlin in the Second World War. However, a plaster cast still exists, showing a figure undergoing crucifixion, with accompanying Greek words. Freke and Gandy explain the implications of their find:


“It shows a crucified figure which most people would immediately recognise as Jesus. Yet the Greek words name the figure ‘Orpheus Bacchus’, one of the pseudonyms of Osiris-Dionysus.


"To the author of the book in which we found the picture, this amulet was an anomaly. Who could it possibly have belonged to? Was it a crucified Pagan deity or some sort of Gnostic synthesis of Paganism and Christianity?” (1)



The "X" in LAX[edit]

Before the 1930s, existing airports used a two-letter abbreviation based on the weather stations at the airports. At that time, "LA" served as the designation for Los Angeles Airport. But with the rapid growth in the aviation industry the designations expanded to three letters c. 1947, and "LA" became "LAX." The letter "X" has no specific meaning in this identifier.[17] "LAX" is also used for the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro and by Amtrak for Union Station in downtown Los Angeles.