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Workshop - Stuff by Members
Escrito por Alex   
Domingo 03 de Octubre de 2021 11:34
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Chapter 6

Interface: Interaction and relationships 

If you take a moment to think about which real life contexts cause the most emotional difficulties for human beings, it won't be long before you come to the conclusion: relationships with other human beings. 

It's fairly easy to maintain emotional equilibrium when you're alone, doing what you like to do and getting no hassle, but put another person or persons into the context, and all sorts of emotional issues begin to arise. Relationships appear to challenge us more than any other context except for accidents and emergencies that are clear and present dangers to our wellbeing. And quite a lot of our accidents and emergencies also involve other human beings. 

The more we study humans, the more it becomes apparent that the biggest cause of human anxiety and misery is anxious miserable relationships with other people, conducted in anxious miserable circumstances.[1] Relationships seem firmly at the core of our sources of emotional distress – but also remain a source of emotional fulfilment, which creates rather a paradox in interactions with others. There are many potential benefits in relationships, but also many potential dangers. 

Emotional expression coordinates the interactions between individuals.[2] Healthy emotions are a 'behavioral guidance code' that should accommodate each of us comfortably within our cultural and moral systems; structuring and modulating our interactions in relationships.[3] In experiential terms, emotions are distinct states involving physiological, subjective, and expressive components that enable humans to respond adaptively in relation to evolutionarily significant problems, from negotiating who does what, to avoiding peril, to creating and taking care of offspring.[4] Our emotions also enable us to respond adaptively to evolutionarily significant threats and opportunities in the environment, such as the cry of children, a threat from an adversary, or a smile from a potentially available sexual partner.[5]   

In communications, emotions are fundamentally about instigating successful interactions and changing the probabilities of future successful interactions.[6] Emotions enable us to respond to significant stimuli (in the environment or within ourselves), with complex patterns of behavior involving multiple domains or modalities - facial muscle movements, vocal cues, bodily movements, gesture, posture, chemical changes, and so on; all controlled by the brain in response to input. 


The human mind is an essentially imaginative, discerning and evaluative system employing chemical-based motivational systems for learning and memory in both concrete and abstract domains. Our innate evolutionary dynamic nature endows us with universal behavioral tendencies supported by programs, such as cooperative self-interest, selective attention, prioritization, theory of mind, modeling, empathy, and bonding. Our interactive tendencies make us cooperative and genial, but also individualistic, independent and self-protective, and emotion helps us to make the best choices. It all sounds very simple and automatic and straightforward. So why isn't it?  

Well, we already know from the previous chapter that stuff gets complicated due to the wealth of things affecting emotion perception and emotional expression; for a quick recap: our input for calibrating emotions is extremely parochial - societies and even individual families vary greatly in their prioritization and understanding of emotion concepts, knowledge, and representations; the mental state of the observer affects the accuracy of emotional interpretation and expression; a person’s current feelings, goals, intentions, values, and physical state give rise to context-specific interpretations of others' expressive behavior; and the many dimensions of context - the nature of the expresser, the surrounding people, the formality or informality of the setting and most of all, anxiety - all influence our emotion perception and expression. 

However, complexity itself is not a problem for the system, which can deal with complexity on many levels. What it cannot deal with is confusion from incongruous input, and the main issue confounding relationships is our lack of awareness regarding the difference between emotion and sentiment. 

In relationships, sentiment is by far the greatest barrier to healthy emotional expression.

When we start to explore human relationships in depth, we come across a related problem: a lack of awareness regarding the difference between interaction using emotion and action/reaction caused by sentiment. Since only relationships using interaction endure and succeed it's a very important thing to know; not just because it will save you years of wasted time in harmful relationships, but also because it enables you to predict which relationships will thrive right from the start.



Interaction or action/reaction

Interactive behavior is the way humans and other animals cooperate in an anxiety free context. We exchange ideas and information, and work together for mutual benefit. 

When anxiety is present, interaction can't happen; people are stuck in protection mode, and we get action/reaction behaviors instead.


Any organism on its own is capable of only limited kinds of behavior. For example, you cannot experience what it's like to play in a sports team or an orchestra or to be in a close friendship, on your own. 

Recap from last chapter: Interaction is a pattern of events between individuals that enables more and different kinds of behaviors. The result of full interaction is that all parties capable of interaction benefit. In a partial interaction, some but not all benefit. Successful interaction requires an attitude of honesty, empathy and respect, which are known as the 'core conditions' for interaction. The core conditions are absolutely necessary, and they are all that is necessary. 

Here is an example:

Alice, Bob, Carl and Donna share a house and a games console. Alice has been busy all day and is really looking forward to getting back into her current game. When she gets home, she finds the others already using the console for a different game. 

Depending on her state of mind, Alice may: 

(a) Act (Storm in, switch the game off and tell the others to like it or lump it; or let them carry on playing, but sulk and tut all the way through. These are bully behaviors and attempt to coerce others.) 

(b) React (Say nothing, but go to her room and sit in bed, eating chocolates, being bored and feeling sorry for herself. This is wimp behavior.) 

(c) Interact (Tell them to let her know as soon as they finish with the console because she's really looking forward to finishing her own game AND make a mental note to herself to communicate and plan better in future. If you don't communicate what you want, you are often less likely to get what you want). 

Although the interactive solution would seem by far the easiest option, a surprising number of people automatically act or react in a similar situation. This is conditioned behavior. Very rarely do people consider their own part in strategizing for successful interaction includes forward planning. If Alice were better at strategizing in life, she would have left a note or mailed her housemates that morning saying 'Please can I use console from 5pm?' and the others would have been prewarned. She would also have had a 'plan B' in case the console were unavailable for any reason. 

Strategizing like this is also an interaction; a behavior which makes things easier for everyone. Also notice how there is no coercion; and empathy for, honesty with, and respect for all the others is incorporated into the interactive options. 

You will know the difference between actions, reactions and interactions from personal experience, and it's important to remember the more unconsciously anxious and insecure a person is, the more likely they are to act or react, especially if alcohol is involved. 

Action and reaction are in themselves of course very good things; absolutely essential behaviors during moments of emergency when we might need to defend ourselves from attack or get away from something very fast. They are accessible in protection mode for this sensible reason. But they're not any use for growth and development mode, and they are especially harmful in relationships.



Interaction is a cross-species ability and many of us have already experienced interaction with pets. Those who grew up with lots of different animals around also know that different animal species can interact with each other. 

Intelligence gives us the ability to interact, and a strong intelligence increases our ability to interact. This fundamentally affects the quality of our relationships, our activities and our lives. 

At the root of it all is still imagination: if we are too anxious to access brain circuits which imagine what to do or say in any given situation, we cannot interact. Since we can only learn and develop intelligence through interacting, the lack of imagination availability in protection mode limits developmental possibilities. 

Interaction, in a biopsychology context, means a cooperative use of energy, resources or information exchange which enables symbiotic (beneficial to both or all parties) relationships and optimal outcomes. It's what species' culture is based on.

This is the normal state of affairs when healthy intelligence is doing its thing because this is what intelligence does best: it computes ways to interact that benefit all things including its own ongoing development. 

Interaction can take place between creatures (including people); people and things (tools, machines, this keyboard), between species and other species, between creatures and the environment; it also takes place on an unconscious physiological level between body systems and brain parts, and in any situation in which the parts cooperate volitionally for the benefit of all. In the micro domain, the whole assembly of biological life is built by this sort of cooperation; symbiosis, right down to the mitochondria in our cells. As long as the resources exist to sustain it, as long as its needs are met, every cell in your body cooperates to maintain and develop 'you'; the being it is an unthinking part of. 

It's often said the hallmark of full interaction is that 'everybody wins', and if somebody wins and somebody loses, that's only a partial interaction. But the rule, 'everybody wins' in interactive behavior comes with a caveat: not quite everybody wins; a partial interaction only excludes those who cannot interact. So, 'Every being that can interact in this domain wins' is a more accurate description of the process. 

There is no 'winning' for those who 'don't fit in' with the interaction matrix (i.e., those who cannot interact). This is true in the evolutionary domain, where that which cooperates and 'fits in' best thrives; it's true in the micro domain of cells and tissues, and it's true in the domain of human relationships.

Artificial constructs are also an exception to the 'everybody wins' rule

Interaction is not at all beneficial for artificial constructs, like societies, corporations or institutions. If you fix my car and in return I fix your roof, the taxman gets nothing. If you interact with nature and make herbal antibacterials, the pharmacy loses. If every household had its own milking goat and a couple of chickens, the dairy industry would have to either adapt and evolve, or go extinct.


So don't expect all parties to benefit from an interaction; anyone or any system that can't interact loses. 


interaction creates cooperation, action/reaction creates competition.

Failure of individuals to interact is usually caused by anxiety, keeping them stuck in protection mode. If there is a shortage of resources in terms of either space, food, shelter, sleep or other biological imperatives, or if there is a perceived ongoing threat, interactions can falter. In protection mode, interaction turns into action/reaction and cooperation turns into competition. 

This trend holds true across domains. Our bodys organs including the brain are cellular communities that thrive by means of interacting in cooperative relationships, because when competition happens in this micro domain on a cellular level, healthy cells in a community may break down, attack each other, or fail to replicate. Tissues, organs and eventually whole systems are affected as damage is sustained from the bottom up, micro level. As below, so above. We call the results illness.

In the macro domain of our everyday lives we are individual creatures in relationships, and the same processes occur. After all, a single-celled simple organism needs the same thing a multi-cellular complex creature like us requires: a matrix. It needs to be safe, have enough energy, and get enough input to interact with; seeking benefits and evading dangers within its environment, because that's how everything grows and remains alive. The whole of biology shares these functional design features, so it's not that strange we should want the same things our cells do, and need the same things all life needs.



Relationships need a matrix 

In terms of human relationships, interaction relies on an attitude incorporating empathy, honesty and respect; a context free from coercion, and personal freedom from anxiety. 

When people (or other animals) with these abilities get together and cooperate, symbiosis happens; the biological term for a relationship which benefits both parties through interaction. These qualities provide a psychological matrix for growth and development to occur; in this case the growth and development of ourselves and each other through relationships. Without such a matrix, relationships don't thrive, and in many cases don't survive.

A matrix gives us a safe space from which to interact, the energy to interact with, and input with which to interact. Without a matrix we cannot interact, and a matrix cannot be built if there is a shortage of resources. 'Resources' for biology are not things such as oil, metals and money. Resources are biological imperatives based on things, places, time and energy, include specific anxiety-free contexts and different types of input for each phase of a relationships development. Relationships, like everything else dynamic, are meant to adapt and evolve over time.

Or at least, successful ones do; we don't expect to be doing the same things in a relationship that's just beginning as we do in say, 6 months, or two years from now. Relationships that remain static remain shallow, eventually becoming boring and monotonous, and our ever-present unconscious awareness of the dangers of boredom and the need for novelty in input pulls us away from repetitive monotony and towards something more interesting. 

The system constantly needs novelty, so boredom is a dangerous sate of mind; it either leads directly to decline or prompts emotional imbalance (and the resulting sentimental 'soap-opera melodrama' behaviors) that cause relationship troubles. If either or both of you don't pay enough regular attention to new stuff, anxiety-based sentiment and emotional histrionics become the only way to make life varied enough to be tolerably interesting - to feel alive. This is how static, monotonous life situations create mental dysfunction and we end up having pointless rows or breakdowns so as not to get bored. 

The ideal context for interaction therefore includes a state of mind within the matrix; all parties need to feel relatively safe, comfortable, alert and interested before anything can happen. And the ideal 'state of mind' or attitude for interaction requires empathy, honesty and respect in an anxiety-free context. 

These abilities are considered the 'core conditions' for interaction (see programs section below). So, what is the perfect, optimal context for relationships to thrive? The answer may surprise you, even though your unconscious is trying to do it all the time.


Creative play


Play is the ideal, optimal context for interaction. An anxiety-free, congrously-wired brain interacts with itself all the time in playful ways in order to function and carry on developing: the creative ideas that we have in open mode are translated during closed mode into real life ideas, possibilities, designs, artefacts and situations; we entertain ourselves with stories and incidents from our own memories, or fantasies that we make up; we imagine things and then invent or make them; we explore; we mess about and do experiments to find out what will happen. 

All of this is creative play. And the moment we share any of that with another, there is the potential for mutual creative play and interaction, if they can do it too. 

In play, you 'mess about' with stuff; you interact with the input and you learn and you discover things and sometimes things challenge you and you have a little fun. Humans can play with a huge array of words, ideas and behaviors as well as objects, materials and each other, and this is why our culture is so much more complex than chimpanzee or dolphin culture. But interaction through play serves us in personal as well as cultural endeavors; relationships thrive on play, and a constant stream of interesting ideas and stuff to play with. When interesting input continues to come from ourselves and others, long term relationships are formed that remain successful. When there is no exploration of new input, when input gets repetitive, mundane, dull or sparse, relationships tend to stagnate. 

Creative play is the way we learn and grow. It is the way we do science. It is pure research. All young animals do it automatically from birth and as we develop, the ways in which we can play increase as our intelligence increases. Messing about with stuff is how we learned everything we know. 

Messing about with stuff in groups is something humans can do well, as long as anxiety is not present. Anywhere that it is, interaction and development slow down and personal relationships become stressful and difficult. 

If you want a relationship to endure, the persons involved must continue to play together or share the things they explore. It doesn't matter at all in what way they do this, but some sort of mutual recreation or exploration or inspiration or creative endeavor must take place between them on a regular basis.

Even if two or more persons have completely different interests, they can still communicate in areas where interests overlap. In fact, if people from different fields got together more often and had parties, scientific discovery and exploration would both increase.[25]


Playfulness is important in all close relationships; it encourages the experience of positive emotions and also relates to biological processes such as the activation of 'feelgood' hormones and neurotransmitters. 

It also influences how people communicate and interact with each other, helps to reduce anxieties, and relaxes interpersonal tension. These all impact satisfaction and trust, ultimately affecting the longevity of our relationships.[7] 

easier to remember: interaction is mature behavior, action/reaction behaviors are 'bully and wimp' behaviors

There is an easy way to recognize and distinguish between action/reaction and interaction behaviors: 

Action behaviors are aggressive and may be thought of as 'bully' behaviors. Reaction behaviors may be thought of as 'wimp' or submissive behaviors. Interactive behaviors may be thought of as 'mature' behaviors or 'system-optimal' behaviors.

What we must NOT do is transfer these concepts to stereotypes, so get this clear: everybody displays all of these behaviors at some point. That does not mean 'they are a bully' or 'they are a wimp'. It means they are an ordinary person who got caught up in or conditioned for bully or wimp behavior, and most of us have experienced moments of wanting to act or react at some point in our lives, especially as young children before the emotion-moderating effect of frontal lobes kicks in. It's hard being patient when you're little. Remember how frustrating waiting can feel when there's nothing to do? Right. So, how can we become more aware of what sort of behavior is occurring, most especially in ourselves? 

Firstly, bully and wimp behaviors tend to come about due to bully and wimp thoughts. Here are some examples: 

Some 'bully' thoughts:

They should do as I say!

Respect my authority, or else!

S/he's going out with me now, and should do what I want!

You have to tell people what to do, or things have no sense of structure! 

I'm clever, and everyone else is stupid

It's a dog eat dog world



Some 'wimp' thoughts:

Ooh, I don't think we should interfere...

After all, what can we do?

Isn't it awful!

Don't rock the boat.

I daren't do that.

Might as well not bother; who cares?

What would others think?


Some interactive thoughts:

Right, how can I solve this then?

In my opinion...

Something new—let's have a look...

What would be a safer way to get dinner?

Hey, if I can find something that floats, I can...

I wonder...?

How does this work?

If I do this, what will happen?

Next, review the results; the outcomes of your behaviors. Action/reaction behaviors lead to conflict, rows, resistance, resentful children, wars, estranged friends, hospital, prison, low productivity, bad results and divorce. Sometimes, several at once. They distinctly lower our chances of survival and success. There are millions of different ways to fuck up but there is only one algorithm for success, and it's interaction. 

Interactive behaviors create a matrix in which relationships thrive, and lead to the development of new ideas, rational argument, exploration, creativity, conflict resolution and solutions to problems.[8]


Thoughts and behaviors direct emotions


Ultimately, you may think that our relationships are not about what we say, think, believe or do; they are about what we feel inside. But the trouble with words, thoughts, behaviors and beliefs is that they change our emotions; they change the way we feel inside, and they change the way we feel about each other. Thus your potential for interaction with others, and the sort of input you get from others are largely directed by your own output. Action usually prompts reaction; interaction enables mature responses.

This happens automatically and unconsciously because regardless of whether we're acting/reacting, or interacting, consciously or unconsciously, the brain is getting chemical signals, and the thing about chemical signals is that the brain responds chemically to all of them. Programs have to respond to programs. That's why it can be so hard to control the body even when the mind really wants to; such as trying to get home after drinking too many pints of Bishops Appendage real ale or whatever. 

The brain responds to all signals. And all of our own thoughts, behaviors and words are like little emails with attachments. In the attachments are hormones and transmitters; directing our own emotional chemistry.

Every behavior we perform, every thought we think, every decision we make, is modulated via hormones and neurotransmitters. Bully and wimp behaviors prevent interaction, which is partly why they're regarded as dangerous. The other problem is that they poison the user.

This is how: Behaviors use supporting hormones and neurotransmitters. Hormones, once released, send second messengers to their targets all over the body. Once they have hit the 'send' button, there's no going back. All hormones cause bodily changes, and emotions or feelings that we actually perceive (although we may not perceive the bodily changes). 

The relationship between bully or wimp behavior and mental health problems is bidirectional.[9]



When we think 'bully' thoughts, say bully things and perform bully behaviors, we release specific hormones and neurotransmitters into our own bloodstream, affecting every organ in the body as well as the brain. You'll know enough by now to guess that these chemicals are all epigenetic triggers for genetic change. 

Rats injected with the associated 'bully behavior' hormones display anxiety and insecurity; they squabble, fight, posture and try to dominate. On a long term basis (constantly on the hormones) they rape and kill each other, they fear and attack or run from anything new or unexpected. They die young yet physically burnt out, usually from cardiovascular diseases or cancer. 

Sadly, our own production of these chemicals long term has similar effects.


Wimp behavior chemicals change the body and brain in a way that makes us very tired, fatigued and weary. It becomes very difficult to think clearly or even to be bothered to think.



If you inject a rat with them it becomes a lazy, antisocial, scruffy animal which can only just about be bothered to feed itself. It won't play with toys and it won't explore. It becomes totally apathetic, or depressed, or both. The world appears uninteresting in the extreme. Such animals could live for quite a long time despite poor physical condition, but they become inactive and senile at an early age and may die through self-neglect unless there is intervention. These animals become literally unable to take care of themselves. 

These chemicals, especially over the long term, are very harmful to both brain and body, and just as harmful to our relationships. We keep coming back to the basics: unconscious anxiety prevents development (of anything, including relationships).

So; what's the good news? The hormonal attachments to interactive thoughts, words and behavior cause feelings of excitement, interest, alertness, inspiration, motivation and attraction. They change the body and brain in beneficial ways that make us energetic and attentive, creative, imaginative, able to concentrate, and primed to learn.



Rats injected with these hormones literally increase the production and growth of new brain cells, which makes sense if the organism is preparing to learn or learning. They have high self confidence and perform well in tests and games. They are nosey and want to explore. They are a nuisance in laboratories because they escape a lot more often than other lab rats, which requires considerable ingenuity. Yet they are sociable and not aggressive unless directly threatened. Their world appears interesting and exciting, and also satisfying. They live long, healthy lives. 

Objectively, the results of all this rat-studying to us is simply evidence for biology rewarding behaviors beneficial to survival and adaptation, but subjectively the end result for the rats is pleasure and happiness, long life and health; the aim we all share. 

I'll discuss how to avoid bully and wimp behaviors in the techniques section below.

Knowing what you are really looking for in relationships

What most people consciously say they are looking for in relationships

Our aims in a relationship will depend on the type of relationship. If asked, most of us would say that we are seeking things like:



creative partnership possibilities

potential for working together with others for mutual benefit

shared interests



personal growth




These are all fine, healthy things to want, and we assume that most people want these same things from their own relationships, but often we delude ourselves... 

What most people are unconsciously looking for in relationships



replacement parents

someone they can be dependent on

a general servant to do the things they can't cope with doing

someone to tell them what to do

anxiety pacification

free stuff, money and favors

other peoples' ideas

a therapist

somewhere to live rent free

someone to boss around and control

a possession to be shown off to others

someone to boost their self esteem

sexual gratification

a free housekeeper

a way to escape from crappy circumstances or unbearable relatives 

Congruity is a vital factor in knowing what you truly want in relationships. Without it, whilst you may consciously think (and even genuinely believe) you want companionship, fun, sharing and excitement from a relationship, your unconscious could be anxiously searching for replacement parents or an excuse to get out of a current shitty partnership. Whilst you are out there claiming to want commitment, romance and stability from a lover, your unconscious could be in there looking for simple, lusty, no-strings-attached sex. And remember, whenever conscious ideas and unconscious needs clash, unconscious biology almost always wins.

You can probably think of people you know who deceive themselves in these ways. This is why awareness of our unconscious needs is so important. If all parties involved in a relationship know about anxiety and have basic self control techniques, then the relationship is off to a flying start.

Dependence in relationships

A lot of the things we think of as part of real life are actually distractions from it. The thing about domesticated creatures is, they need someone to take care of them; not just in childhood but for their whole lives, since they are conditioned to remain dependent. To maintain a domesticated population of animals you need to replace their parents with zookeepers, farmers or pet owners and their natural environment with an artificial one.

In human terms, Societies replace parents and natural environments with indoor life, childminders, teachers, schools, work and welfare systems, hospitals, prisons and institutions and on the whole, 'experts'. On a day-to-day personal basis, when stuck in protection mode we unconsciously attempt to replace our parents with other people such as friends and lovers; or with institutions such as 'the army' or 'the church'; and we replace our environmental input with television. 

All of this maintains (and in many cases ensures) our dependence. Due to the gene changes caused by domestication, biology believes we're still at the developmental stage, where we need parents. The system concludes that our original parents obviously didn't provide the input we needed for further development, so we go looking for alternatives. Biology expects us to become independent fairly early in development; self-responsible and and self-governing shortly after that. We are conditioned to remain dependent, and the signals going to the genome keep telling the system: 'not independent yet; seek parental input'. Development is in fact retarded (slowed down) by the domestication process. 

Only you can reverse this in yourself; nobody else can. And none of us can change anyone else, even if we had the right to. Allowing your mind to develop further and taking the time to help it do so is your path out of dependence and toward mental stability. Successful relationships, for a mature, stable mind, are part of ordinary interaction. 

How can you find out what your unconscious is looking for? Well, the only good reason to seek or develop any relationship is mutual benefit for all parties; so if you're planning on pursuing a relationship with others, ask yourself, 'What's in it for them?' If you can't think of anything, think again. Also, you now know that the only successful way to approach a relationship is with empathy, honesty and respect. If you feel you can't be honest with someone, or treat them with respect long-term, you're wasting time pursuing something of limited value to biology.

If you constantly seek company, reassurance, help and shoulders to cry on, you're probably stuck in protection mode looking for replacement parents. If you constantly feel a need to control others, you're probably stuck in protection mode unable to control yourself. 

We really do need to sort ourselves out before getting involved with anyone else. The anxiety has to move out to allow any kind of beneficial relating to move in.


Behaving yourself

The unconscious has particularly strong ideas about acceptable behavior in relationships, and most of them conflict with societal norms. 

Most human behavior in western-style industrialized societies is, as far as unconscious biology is concerned, fairly shocking. We've been conditioned to be consciously numb to it, but bad input still hits the unconscious in the way it always has: unconscious anxiety. 

When the unconscious is shocked, the system suffers trauma, and trauma is cumulative. The unconscious shocks build up until we need to spend more time recovering from traumas of the past before we can take an interactive part in the present and prevent more trauma occurring in the future. Meanwhile, the chronic state of unconscious anxiety continues until we start to suffer from post traumatic stress disorder: our conscious waking time is constantly distracted by issues from the past and we are stuck in protection mode. 

The slow build-up of trauma has the same result as the acute trauma faced by the likes of soldiers or disaster survivors; current experiences get overweighted due to past experiences and things seem a lot more threatening – or frightening – than they really are. You may have seen the results of acute traumatic shocks in war veterans, but you probably didn't know you were susceptible to chronic traumatic shock yourself. But small shocks over time have the same effect, unconsciously, as big shocks all at once.

The net result is bully or wimp behavior, which includes treating others badly. We have been conditioned into believing that we have some sort of 'right' to tell others what to do and how to live, and we've incorporated this inherent arrogance into our childcare, our teaching methods and our workplaces, with a devastating effect on mental development, cultural progress and productivity, not to mention personal success and freedom. 

In order to 'behave yourself' from biology's pov, your attitude and approach to meeting biology's needs must be proactive, volitional and independent. One of the things the system needs to do is strive for independence, because the competence that this brings is where our self esteem comes from. Despite whatever popular 'self help' books claim, biological success and emotional satisfaction is NOT about 'getting your needs met'; it is about getting the ability to meet your own needs; physically, emotionally, mentally.

It's also about getting used to the fact that other people, relationships, organizations and systems are not responsible for meeting your needs. You are responsible for meeting your needs. That's why they're your needs. Development aims for autonomy. 

That doesn't mean you can't work with others; it means you only work with others if and when you choose to for beneficial reasons. When you are training yourself to be in control, it's important to realize that in reality your life, your interactions, your mental health and your intelligence development are all YOUR responsibility. 

'Responsibility' means your ability to respond appropriately. Think about that. Responding appropriately means meeting biology's needs. 

It's also important to realize what is NOT your responsibility, and that is other people. Other people and what they are doing are in fact none of your business. That is one rule you have to respect, because it is the basis for all respect, of both self and others. They are responsible for themselves, you are responsible for yourself. 

When we first start NH, failure to understand these ideas is the cause of a lot of wasted time and bad input. Most of us, at first, don't know how to provide our own needs or keep our own lives together, and we waste a lot of time that could be spent on improvement, poking our noses into other people's business instead of minding (taking care of) our own. We need to learn this sort of deep respect for ourselves and for others, but when we're newbies we've had no practice yet. Due to conditioning, we've probably fallen into the habit of intruding into others' lives out of anxiety, because when we're anxious we worry about what other people might do to us unless we keep an eye on them and keep their anxieties pacified. The more relationships we pursue, the more we seem to become slaves to others' emotional and behavioral problems as well as our own. Unconsciously we know there's something wrong with people, and we're correct; it's anxiety.

We waste a lot of time worrying about what person A might think if we do X, or how person B might react if we say of do Y, and we assume other peoples anxious behavior is what causes our own anxiety, but it isn't. What our unconscious mind is really concerned about isn't any of this, even though we may consciously believe that it is. What the unconscious is concerned about is our own failure to change our own circumstances, deal with our own anxiety and stop paying attention to other people all the time. 

If you get anxious about being with anxious people you can come up with loads of conscious reasons: they can panic and become a danger to themselves and others; they can't concentrate and they can make dangerous mistakes; they are clumsy and they have a lot of accidents; they get sick a lot and need caring for, they do your head in, their company is depressing, and so on. We assume that our own anxiety about them is thus justified - and there's the giveaway: anxiety is NEVER justified! Wariness and caution around others are justified if you are hanging around or working with incompetent people, but anxiety is never justified; it just makes us incompetent too. The only time avoidance of anxious people is justified is during 'injury time' (for example, taking time out to reduce our own anxiety and build a little resilience). But avoidance is never permanent; it's one stage of a process.

This is a very important thing to grasp – when we become anxious it is always because of something WE are doing or failing to do; it is not about what anyone else is doing or failing to do. That's true for other people too, of course; they are anxious because they are not pursuing their own development; not because of the multitude of exterior things they blame for 'stressing them out' (including you). THEY are stressing them out, and if you feel stressed out, YOU are stressing you out. Take your eyes off other people's behavior and turn them on your own. Get into open mode regularly and you'll soon become less stressed out. This helps others around you too -they have no longer any need to be anxious about YOUR behavior or feel they have to pacify your anxieties; a calm, happy person who doesn't hassle others or constantly need input from others is not a threat, does not make people anxious and makes a very good friend.


Calming down enough to address real issues such as, why you are currently hanging out with so many anxious people, or why you don't yet have your own comfortable private space, or why a particular relationship isn't working well, leads to useful strategies to actually change things. It IS possible to hang out with people who are not so anxious, moaning or aggressive all the time. In dire circumstances, solitude may even be the best option until change may be accomplished. 

You must be willing to explore different methods for reducing anxiety and providing your own needs, as this experience leads to finding the ones which work best for you specifically. Trying out new ways of providing input signals is great, however, there is a large amount of nonsense out there claiming to do all sorts of things for emotional intelligence if you pay enough, so it's wise to be wary until you have looked into how methods work and what possible side effects are. Talking to trusted friends who've tried things already is a good source of info, but be sure to get various points of view as well as the scientific facts, because everyone is different. This is true for drugs, tech, diets, exercise, therapies and all other methods including those featured here. 

To get out of conditioned responses, we need to train our conscious minds to behave themselves, and not to interrupt us (or others) all the time. The conscious mind needs to learn to listen, to pay attention wherever you direct it to, and to shift into open mode whenever it needs to. Training it is your responsibility; it would be very nice to be in a situation where culture automatically showed us this stuff as youngsters, but we're not, so we have to use practice to get experience. Taking responsibility for our own mental health and behavior is our first step to volitional control of the system and ongoing intelligence development. 

Next, you need to know what you are going to need to provide in order to maintain it. Once we know what sort of input biology is looking for from relationships and why, we can start using appropriate methods to provide it. So that's the next issue to look at; what sort of input is expected from successful relationships, from the systems pov?


Unconscious expectations about relationships

The reality of nature is all about relationships. The things, stuff and events we study in science and depict in art or mathematics are never so important or interesting as the relationships between those things, stuff and events; the interactions between an agent and its matrices.


In an anxiety-free state of mind, the unconscious has simple clear rules for successful interactions. Things like: you have no right under any circumstances to interfere with anyone else's life in any way. 

It doesn't matter whether you know someone, don't know them, are their friend, parent, lover or child; as far as the unconscious is concerned you still have no automatic 'right' to interfere with their lives or their development. They do not owe you anything. You do not owe them anything. All interactions proceed from free choice and personal priorities.

The unconscious starts from this very basic belief: Other people's lives are absolutely none of your business, ever. You are free to decide whether you wish to interact with others, and they are free to decide how to interact with you. Biology knows there are no inherent biological rights or duties. There are only choices based on biological needs communicated via intent, drives and instincts, and successful interactions based on honesty, empathy and respect, with no coercion. 

These unconscious rules are designed to make us 'behave ourselves' in ways that maximize the benefits of relationships, which sounds very simple, but we still manage to consistently break them in most of our behavior towards each other when we're anxious. In fact, by judgment from the unconscious, domesticated humans are extraordinarily rude to each other, and others appear extraordinarily rude to us. And that causes unconscious anxiety.

In consequence, the system may start to consider personal relationships as a source of stress and anxiety and withdraw from relationships altogether, or when this is not possible the state often leads to burnout.

Anyone still thinking, 'What? I'm not rude!' should remember we are discussing unconscious biological responses here, not conscious awareness. Consciously you might emerge from a conversation thinking someone is very nice; completely unaware that your own unconscious thinks they're rude. Re-read the section above and think about how people fail to keep the rules, and what huge changes we might expect if people did keep them. 

The unconscious expects honesty, empathy and respect from all persons. If it doesn't get it, it labels the other person as 'rude', where 'rude' indicates basic; immature; unrefined, as in, 'a rude hut'. Acquaintances are not very interesting to it and it won't make an effort to remember their names unless you consciously do so. Interesting people are remembered right away; that is, those whom the system finds interesting; not necessarily the same people you consciously find interesting. 

And here's another biggie about what the unconscious expects: for reasons which will be explained in the next chapter, the only type of relationships the unconscious recognizes are archetypal relationships; they're the only kind it knows about. The following section looks at those types of relationships and how they're going for us, and how the unconscious thinks they should be going.


different types of archetypal relationships


Going it alone 

Societal myths portraying solitude as loneliness and isolation, and threats of child psychiatrists, push many natural loners into seeking out social relationships they don't really want, just to appear 'normal'. We grow up being taught BS such as, 'being sociable with those your own age is vital for mental health', 'being on your own means loneliness', and 'isolation harms your mind'. Well, sure it does if you're in solitary confinement isolated from nature, but there are plenty of mentally healthy people living happy lives mostly or totally in solitude, all over the world in natural surroundings. 

Another array of myths suggest that if you don't have a sexual partner and, later, children, you're not normal (although being child-free is no longer considered quite so strange in the 21st century west).[26] This too pushes people, especially younger people into relationships they didn't really want, and encourages them to stick with it at all costs or be thought of as a social failure. If kids come along in such situations, the parents could be stuck in the relationship for life, acting out soap-opera scenes for lack of any other example to go on. 

The results of real life research, however, just remind us that every one is different. Some of us thrive in solitude, some in groups, and some in both. What research also reveals though, is if you're happy being alone but force yourself to socialize 'for your own good', or because of what others think, you won't thive. Likewise if you isolate yourself when you prefer company, you won't thrive. And if you prefer solitude but don't get enough of it, you won't thrive either. 

Of all the relationships we ever have, the one we have with ourselves affects us more than any other. Fact is, we all need to be alone sometimes, just as we all need company sometimes. We need access to both for a healthy life, but we all need different amounts at different times in our lives and some of us can be extremely happy living mainly alone with nature rather than with other humans. 

Not all relationships between humans and other animals result in domestication; humans and other creatures are able to set up symbiotic relationships without any need for loss of 'wildness' or epigenetic changes on anybody's part. One can spend time 'in the wild', make friends with wild animals and end up doing each other favors, as long as each respects the others boundaries. Relationships of this sort progress very similarly to healthy relationships between humans and result in mutual benefits. 

We each have a 'green zone' for personal space; biology requires a certain amount of personal time in territory where we feel that we can relax and be free from hassle and literally 'get some space' away from others. Time spent in solitude allows us to be introspective, thoughtful and creative, helps consolidate memory, enables greater self awareness and broadens our perspective on things. 

Biology is fairly flexible on this and we may be able to get our space in quiet parks, in our own private room, or wandering around the countryside, but without access to solitude we begin to feel unconsciously overcrowded and confined, and anxiety rises. Too much time spent with others, even if you really like them, is not healthy for growth. The size of your interpersonal space needs changes too, depending on the tone and content of other people's conversations. This is likely to be an unconscious attempt to maintain a safety zone around ourselves, and avoid any interaction or confrontation with those involved in dodgy behaviors.[10] 

The most important factors for enjoying solitude are having a strong sense of autonomy, congruous alignment between your behavior, values and interests, resilience against pressure from others, depth of appreciation of nature and an interest in learning more about your own personal experiences and emotions. To the extent that individuals are controlled by sentiments, anxiety, or avoidance rather than approaching experiences with an open mind, self-reflection and interest, they will find solitude an unpleasant experience and derive little enjoyment from time spent alone. 

For those who prefer to maintain just a few close friends, 'living apart together' is an alternative in which we maintain relationships whilst living in our own space. This gives people all the advantages of autonomy—doing what you want in your own space, maintaining preexisting local arrangements and friendships—as well as the pleasures of intimacy with a partner. There are also other advantages in creating two or more nice spaces to hang out in.



Deadly danger and/or great opportunity? Ahh, that's the thing, with strangers. 

The unconscious knows that strangers can bring the threat of disease even if they're benign, and other kinds of harm if they're not, but they also bring the promise of extra immunity, abilities, knowledge and resources; including, of course, the novelty of exotic sexy people with whom to party, exchange cool stuff and have a good time. 

All this depends on our interacting with strangers and creating friendships. That much is consciously obvious, but remember, in our western type of societies the unconscious thinks we are appallingly rude to strangers, and they seem appallingly rude to us. The everyday 'small talk' that we exchange; questions such as 'Do you live round here?'; 'Are you on holiday?'; 'What do you do?'; and so on, are answered consciously with politeness whilst the unconscious, if it had its way, would be shouting, 'It's none of your damned business! You don't even know me!' Yet out of our mouths automatically come the same apparently harmless questions. 

As far as the unconscious is concerned, all communication with strangers should begin with something like, 'Excuse me', and have a legitimate reason for continuing. Otherwise, the system would prefer us to leave people alone, nod in passing, and watch them. Not by staring – that would be rude – but by starting to pay attention to others and observe their behavior in open mode. We notice how they treat each other, whether they look happy or sad, drunk or sober, in control or out of control. We listen to what sort of things they talk about and see what sort of things they do with their friends. We watch their body language, hear their tone of voice. And if we catch their eye, a lot more information may be exchanged. 

This is what the unconscious considers appropriate, respectful behavior, and we are also building up input for later empathy with potential friends. Almost all of this 'watching time' is about gathering input for unconscious processing, which is how the unconscious thinks relationships are supposed to start. Without the interruption of small talk, this sort of observation soon tells us who we would most like to start communicating with and why. We then engage closed mode and concentrate on how to introduce ourselves to those specific persons and begin conversing with them and shutting out distractions. 

This is biology's strategy for eliminating 'false positives' (people you start talking to and then wish you hadn't) and avoiding any potential dangers from strangers. But we now mask and distract from this helpful process with small talk, there is no observation and relationships remain shallow. Some later turn out to be dangerous. Many of them waste a lot of time we could be spending in friendships with nicer companions. And, much like wetsuits, it's often a lot more difficult to get out of relationships than it is to get into them.


The more the basics of quiet, objective observation are filled in; the more time we spend paying attention to how people behave before deciding whether or not to speak to them, the better the resulting relationship is likely to be. 

Observation is not about knowing a lot of facts. It's about attending to behavior, attitude and emotional expression; whilst unconscious computation gives us sufficient awareness about whom to approach and who not to.


Acquaintances, colleagues and casual friends




These are the easiest types of relationship to hold together without anxiety arising. People whom you see regularly but have no need to interact with closely – such as work colleagues, store clerks, shopkeepers and fellow-commuters; all those we are not expected to chat too much with, because 'everybody's supposed to be busy'. 

Because we are not under pressure to make friends in these circumstances, friendship often happens automatically, because the circumstances give the system enough time to run its process of elimination by observation, and we are soon unconsciously 'drawn' to talk more with some but not others. The unconscious has done its work and we have 'sussed out' whom we think is funny and interesting and has the potential to become more than an acquaintance.

So unless you have a real nutter in the office, these sorts of easy-going relationships are often easy to maintain with all around you. Once again though, everything depends on how anxious they are, and how anxious you are. 

A notable difficult exception is neighbors. Some of us live in societies where you are supposed to be friends with your neighbors, and some of us live in societies where your neighbor is only an acquaintance and it's more polite to keep it that way. Problems arise when somebody new moves into an area and expects to make friends with all the neighbors, but it happens to be one of those areas where it's not polite to do so, and the same problem occurs the other way round. The decision 'make friends' or 'don't make friends' is usually dependent on previous experiences. Some got lucky with their previous neighbors. Some really didn't. 

What makes things complicated is this: as far as biology is concerned, your nearest neighbors should be those people you consider family. After all, the unconscious logic goes, if you enjoy some people's company so much and they are so good for you, why would you choose to live apart? Why are you not 'with your tribe'? Our current societal arrangements baffle biology, which finds itself surrounded by strangers every time we move house, and what's more, strangers living so close that it's difficult to avoid them. 

Making reluctant friends with a nosey or otherwise unpleasant neighbor whom you then can't get rid of can be quite distressing, especially if alcohol is involved or they keep coming round all the time unconsciously looking for replacement parents. If you want to avoid such issues, take your relationships with any strangers (including new neighbors) very slowly until your system has had time to do the unconscious assessments. 

In terms of unconscious computation, it takes roughly 50 hours of time volitionally interacting together for people to move from mere acquaintances to casual friends, 90 hours to go from that stage to 'good friend' status and more than 200 hours before the unconscious can consider someone your close friend. 'Volitionally interacting' means time spent hanging out, joking around, playing games and being creative. Merely being seated together or having to work together doesn't count as interaction. 

relatives and family



Biology expects a family to be a group of allies who all admire each other; who will do things together for mutual benefit, hang out together as closest friends and treat each other with deep respect and propriety. A genuine family is a group of people who all love each other, operating as a powerful unit. They will defend each other if need arises, assist each other during difficulties, and create new knowledge together. They will act as a whole to achieve things that could not be accomplished alone. They will help each other to become more independent and more resilient. 

'Family' does not mean genetically related; indeed in the case of reproductive couples it really must not involve genetic relatives! The family will include members who are not genetically related to each other as well as some who are, and may exclude genetic relatives if they fail to interact or they choose some other family to interact with. This is not some kind of 'exile'; everyone in the family remains a free individual, but to reap the benefits of the family group a member has to take part in its activities. This is what biology expects of a family: that it should be a matrix for everybody's development; a context that supports each person's growth and learning. 

This doesn't describe many western families right now, and it probably doesn't describe yours. That sort of family is something we may dream about, but it's unlikely to occur in our society. Such families emerge out of free choice and genuine mutual admiration and respect. 

Any group of close friends begins to function as a family matrix for as long as nobody gets anxious. Through experience, many of us manage to form 'families' out of a circle of close friends; the people that we get along with best. Animals, who are able to bond, may also become 'part of the family', and prove to be honest, loyal companions rather more often than humans manage to. But we rarely achieve the bonded closeness of a tribal family, because what bonds a group into a family is the performance of archetypal behaviors together in private (i.e., without strangers present). Events such as birth, death and reproduction are the most private parts of any individuals experience, and can be completely wrecked by having strangers present. This is not due to embarrassment, but to biological imperatives. If these private experiences are interfered with bonding fails to occur, or at best is partial. The other thing about bonds is they form most easily in familiar surroundings, and doing private stuff in a strange place is going to raise anxiety.


If you don't understand this, consider how you would feel if a bunch of strangers turned up to watch when you took a crap. Bit creepy, right? That's how the unconscious feels about privacy during personal moments. 

A successful group (tribe or clan or family) gets around problems associated with such events, because there is always someone's auntie who knows about midwifery or some cousin just across the clearing who knows about medicine or anyone from the previous generation who has done it all before and knows what to do. Westerners don't usually have this familial support from a bonded group, and it isn't replaced by societal institutions, which serve largely to separate us from it. Schools and work remove children from parents and parents from children, hospitals separate sick people and those giving birth from those who love them, and keep them in a big building full of sick strangers. To the unconscious, this is 'exile', or abandonment. What could be more anxiety-provoking? 

We have rational, logical, conscious reasons for doing things the way we do, but they are incongruous with our unconscious biological needs. Our institutions get bigger as our families get smaller and we have less and less independent loving companionship and more and more dependence.

You will have to assess the state of mind of your own genetic relatives to figure out whether they are capable of behaving like a family, and everybody is going to come up with their own results. One clue is, everybody in a successful family is able to interact with every other member. If anyone is too anxious, they won't be able to bond fully with the others and won't be thought of unconsciously as a part of the group. Sometimes, every relative is anxious and its better to develop relationships with your own group of friends and start a mini tribe of your own.


couples & close friends


The potential for close partnerships forming between individuals relies on honest, empathic, respectful communication and volitional mutual interaction. This prevents misunderstanding and the resulting anxiety; a notable destroyer of relationships in general. 

Why is communication so important? Because absolutely everything we do communicates something. It's what our output does. And if you want to be close to someone, it's not sufficient to understand what they are saying; it's also essential to comprehend their meaning. 

Comprehension of meaning is described in the colloquial as, 'knowing where somebody is coming from', or, 'knowing where they're at'. Meaning always depends on contexts, and the context here that you have to get to know is the context of another's mind. Another system, just as complex as yours. 

In a successful relationship we communicate our needs, and pay attention to each other. We spend time figuring out what each other needs and what they need to avoid to avoid, and we help each other achieve our needs, and we help each other avoid what we need to avoid. This behavior is how we signal a desire for ongoing closeness. It sends the unconscious a frequently repeated, clear message that we are putting our energy into helping each other develop. And that upgrades our own capabilities for Theory of Mind and empathy, as well as increasing bonding speed. 

Communication is highly tailored to individual relationships and a lot of what we communicate is unconsciously designed to achieve specific results. For example, we don't say 'motherfucker' or scratch our private parts in front of Aunty Alice, maybe because we like Aunty Alice and she's elderly and puritan and we don't want to give her a heart attack; or maybe because she's left us a quarter of a million in her will and we would prefer this to remain the case. We don't make sexy gestures to people we don't want to have sex with, because that could cause very unfortunate results. 

All communication, from body language to chemistry to facial expression, tone of voice, gestures, written text, works of art and spoken words, achieves some unconscious (and often conscious) aim. And all of the unconscious aims are biological imperatives. We use words, body language, eye contact and behavior to get the system what it needs, or to take steps closer to getting what it needs. 

Regularity of communication is important in close relationships, most especially when friends or loved ones are separated. We are more likely to contact loved ones regularly if we are away from them, whereas colleagues might (or might not) warrant a single call or postcard. 

Failure to communicate results in those who care about you feeling concerned for your wellbeing and unsure about why you don't want to communicate. Bonds don't weaken over distance in space, but they can weaken over distance in time if there is no contact, because all the time you're not communicating, others are receiving a constant unconscious message that you have no interest in them. On the other hand, calling your friends every hour may result in a lot fewer friends. Moderation in communication is thus in order, especially when communicating whilst drunk. 

Anything we communicate about is of course subjected to the contexts of other people's minds and circumstances. For examples, if there are two people sitting in front of you on a bus, and one says to the other, “What did you do with the body?” your attention is going to focus on these folks until you hear the context: “It's a shame, he was a lovely dog.” 

Likewise if Alice says, “Bob is dead”, and Carl bursts into tears and Donna says, “Oh thank god!”, we have some information about how they felt about Bob. We don't have much information, because we don't have much context. If Donna follows with, “It was awful having to watch him suffering,” we can draw extra conclusions about how they felt about Bob. 

But when people say nothing... we know nothing, and the wisest among us can all too easily jump to conclusions or assumptions about meaning that turn out to be the wrong ones. 

That's why an attitude of empathy, honesty and respect is essential in communication. To comprehend something we need the context as well as the things and events. 

When unexpectedly rude behavior occurs and anxiety strikes, protection mode focuses on events, empathy goes down, and most communication in friendships falters due to feelings of embarrassment or offense. Either somebody said or did something they now find embarrassing or offensive, or somebody is embarrassed about the others' offensive behavior, doesn't want to be associated with it, and becomes embarrassed at themselves for hanging out with such a person in the first place. Neither party knows how to get out of this conundrum, so we tend to ignore it and pretend it never happened, despite the fact we feel uneasy unconsciously knowing that it could happen again, whatever it was. 

It's a shock to witness somebody you thought you knew going out of control and doing or saying something creepy, and unexpected sudden change makes us very wary and, as we say, 'freaked out'. Unconsciously, anyone out of control is treated as an unknown stranger who could do anything, and this in itself can be a real shock for those who felt themselves close to someone. We stop talking to each other because unconsciously we know we are overstressed, so we avoid doing anything that might further raise anxiety, or as we consciously see it,' make things worse'. What we need is some quiet time alone to recover, but few people realize this when they are anxious and even fewer implement it. 

What happens next depends on ourselves, as everyone is different. One person may live in dread, anticipating another bout of embarrassing behavior from the other, yet not knowing what to do about it or how to get out of the relationship. Another may believe that anxiety-based freakouts are 'normal' and 'just my nature'. A third may isolate themselves, feeling terribly guilty about what they did or said, yet not understanding why it happened, which leads to further anxiety. It's a shock finding out we are not in control of ourselves or our own behavior, and the discovery leads some to doubt their own mental health and others to such extremes as suicide. 

During times of poor communication, each partner often assumes the other is thinking or doing things that they are not; as failure of Theory of Mind and loss of empathy occur. Not knowing this, each assumes their beliefs and conclusions about the other to be true. Without communication, false beliefs can never be revealed and the truth can never be discovered. Our own anxiety about loss of personal control can all too easily be projected onto someone else's failure to maintain control. 

A lot of us start relationships with sparse communication and make a lot of wishful thinking type of assumptions about another person that later turn out to be untrue. Often, when communication is sparse, we don't learn our assumptions are mistaken for a long while, by which time we are taking them for granted as realities. When we suddenly discover our mistake, it thus comes as a shock and raises anxiety, not just because someone you thought you knew really well is behaving like a weird stranger, but also because your assessments about them appear to be really badly wrong and your failure to suss that out is the biggest danger to the system. 

Even with regular communication, most people don't know about unconscious anxiety and what it does to brains and behavior. If both of you comprehend this, the relationship is off to a flying start. You're smart; you know about anxiety, and your safety-net is that with this awareness you can always sit down, get into open mode and talk things out. 

The system (and our relationships) thrive on communication of facts, ideas and experiences, and decline when communication is mostly gossip, coercion or complaints. If you are able to remember: communication is the key, but comprehension of how to use it unlocks the door; you won't go far wrong.

Lovers & sexual partners


It's easy for anxiety-free partners and close friends to build a loving relationship that lasts for a lifetime. It's the most natural thing in the world, and emerges automatically between bonded individuals. 

Short term sexual relationships also abound and occur on the whole without problems. That's also totally natural as far as the unconscious is concerned. 

A long term monogamous sexual relationship between two people, however, is perhaps the most difficult of all human relationships because it's not the most natural thing to do at all. Consequently, few arrangements can produce such extremes of anxiety and sentiment, or can so profoundly change people from claims of being soulmates to hating or fearing each other in a fairly short amount of time. 

To biologists, monogamy is somewhat a mystery; in part because in most animal groups it's rare. Only 4% or so of mammal species practice some form of fidelity to one partner and they are small mammals for whom the norm is frequent, multiple births. The vast majority of the roughly 6,500 known species of mammals have open relationships.[11] 

Another thing that stresses biology is how some of us assume 'loving couples' ought to be together all the time, preferably holding hands and staring into each others eyes, but otherwise within shouting distance. Biologically, though, any two or more people living in the same space as each other all the time exacerbates discomfort issues and anxiety unless each person has a private space; hence the invention of sheds, basements, workrooms and studios plus a lot of hobbies that get you outdoors or, for many until recently, your mates in the pub. 

When you think about what anxiety does to behavior, you can easily see the necessity of mature awareness to make long term close relationships work. Yet the average sexual partnership is made by anxious people in protection mode, via wimp and bully behaviors with replacement parents in mind; probably after a few drinks. Most people see love as a 'thing'; something you get or give, rather than as a behavior; something you do or experience another doing. 

Many of the assumptions people make in sexual relationships are based on anxiety and insecurity; fear of 'losing' our replacement parents or fear of what our friends would think if we got dumped triggers sentiment, bully and wimp behavior and attitudes. Many of our conscious, societal beliefs break biology's rules; for example the incredibly arrogant (to the unconscious) assumption that having sex (or kids) with someone somehow grants us 'rights' to control, criticize, constrict or coerce their behavior. In real life biology, such beliefs and intentions are wildly out of kilter with unconscious intent. 

Anxious value judgments always conflict with nature because they are false. Biology's optimal circumstances for us is to maintain 'open' partnerships, where each partner can have sexual relationships with whomever they like, but where those who wish to raise any resulting children remain together as a stable household. This gives biology 'the best of both worlds' as genetically it avoids 'putting all your eggs in one basket'; but it doesn't fit in at all well with our societies' idea of correctness so we generally get on with extra sex on the sly, and don't tell anybody. Sometimes we worry that our partners are doing the same thing. 

Yet as far as the unconscious is concerned, anything your partner chooses to do without you is, basically, none of your business. Sentiments such as possessiveness or jealously are symptoms of paranoia and individuals' lack of development, and have little to do with external events or 'what somebody else did'. You chose to hang out with that person. If you don't like the way they behave, or if they're not being honest about polyamory, stop hanging out with them so often. 

Instead of applying rationality, we usually blame our own chemical imbalance on external factors, missing the point that feeling these things means we are unwell, regardless of whether anybody else is or not. Experiencing any sentiment means you are becoming unwell, and your best strategy is to stop whatever it is you are doing and take time out to get well; to get yourself back into the green zone of mental health and resilience. Take control of your attention and steer it away from thinking about others and towards examining your own state of mind.


In relationships without anxiety, both partners are free individuals and if you have empathy with a partner, you will feel pleasure whenever they do, and you will be happy for them when they are having a good time; whether you are present or not. You will also enjoy hearing about what a great time they had, but if they choose not to tell you, that's fine. There are no automatic expectations, duties, rights or assumptions in real life. There are only choices, and we can make them with biology in mind if we know what it's trying to do. 

Respecting each other as being absolutely free to do what they want to do puts a relationship in a position where you genuinely find out what each other really wants to do and what they really value. That honest, real information helps us unconsciously calculate which relationships are beneficial and should continue, and which are stale or harmful and should not. Personal freedom is all part of honesty and respect, and when practiced give us much more information from which to compute, 'will this last?' 'Are we long term compatible?' 

It's not necessary to love someone you are having sex with; lust is a wonderful, healthy experience without which there would be no human life; however the core conditions of empathy, honesty and respect are necessary in any relationship regardless of whether love or sex is part of them too. 

Unconditional love is love without conditions. It is something you experience and do, not something you get. This might sound like a million miles away from the sort of relationships you've experienced, but it may help you to understand how things go wrong. We cannot put borders and boundaries on biology; it just comes back and kicks us up the ass with mental and physical problems. Most people don't enjoy lust and passion for what they are because they're too caught up in what society says sex is all about and the borders and boundaries societies put around sexual experience either out of paranoia or for social control (wimp or bully behavior). 

Now that you know the biological needs for successful interaction, you can put them into practice yourself to allow more interaction and less action/reaction; more mature behavior and less immature bully/wimp behaviors. 

Sexual relationships are natural archetypal relationships and a vital part of biology, and when we interfere with them we get relationship problems and mental distress. The answer is – let biology do what it needs, and use your brain to work out how to incorporate its needs into your life as a priority. 

Finally, don't get anxious if you don't feel like you want a sexual relationship at all. We are all different, and we all change all the time. If you feel perfectly satisfied without sex, get on with enjoying your life. It's not as though we're underrepresented as a species, after all.


Student & master



Our biological intent is to seek out those who are masters of the art of whatever it is we are most interested in learning; all the way up from tying our own shoes to controlling our own emotions to carving a marble statue to comprehending the intellectual complexities of theoretical quantum mechanics. The ideal 'masters' are people we already know and love, but biology is somewhat flexible and ergonomic in this aspect of human culture, and anyone who treats us with empathy, honesty and respect is a potential source of learning. Without these core conditions not a lot of learning can take place, if you define 'learning' as stuff you actually comprehend and remember long term. 

Content must match up with intent; that is, the intent to learn within the student must be matched with appropriate content from the master; intelligence has not evolved to listen and obey blindly. Machines do that really well; humans aren't meant to. There must be enough points of similarity between the students' interests and the masters' abilities for the system to bridge the gap. 

Borders and boundaries on learning (like timetables or subject separation) are obstacles. If you restrict the interaction of an intelligence, or if you tell it it can't do something, you have to give the system a logical reason why. Mindless statements such as, “Because I said so!”; “Because this is my house”; or “Because those are my rules” are not logical reasons why; they are bully behaviors. They MEAN 'Shut up and do what I say'. Likewise wimp responses to things; statements such as, “Because it does my head in”; “Because it makes me feel anxious”; or “Because I have a problem with it”; seem more honest but we are still not getting interaction. If the answer to 'why?' does not make sense, the restricted intelligence is in conflict. Sometimes the only truly honest answer to a question is, “I don't know. Let's see if we can find out why.”   

Unconsciously, if we can see no logical reason for a behavior, and none is forthcoming, the system won't recognize the master as intelligent. They will be judged accordingly as 'not too bright', and this is the root of the lack of respect many people feel for parents or teachers; they just don't have time or energy enough (or in many cases even the ability) to interact. Teachers, being strangers too, also tend to get judged a lot more harshly because there is no emotional weighting of friendship, love or trust moderating our judgment.  

In a congruous student/master relationship, both student and master should be learning all the time. The student will be learning whatever it is they desire to know or do, and the master will be learning how to explain and demonstrate stuff more efficiently so that others may comprehend it, and what sort of questions get asked most often. A master is there to answer questions; not to ask them; to enable the student to do something independently, rather than to imply how well they can do it themselves. And no master can adeptly respond to provide for the needs of more than half a dozen students at one time; one to one relationships being as valuable in exploring mathematics as they are in flying lessons. 

This is because actual demonstration of skills is also very important; we need experience of seeing skills used in everyday real life contexts in order to comprehend how what we are learning 'fits in' to the big picture of reality (and our minds' inner model of it). Information that comes in disconnected from its associations with real life just leaves the system trying to compute, 'how on earth is this relevant in real life?' If we don't grasp that, the topic soon gets boring and we stop paying attention. 

By far the most important thing for student/master relationships is their relationship matrix; both must feel safe, respected and comfortable in order to even get into the growth & repair mode which enables learning programs to run. However, due to our flexibility and culture, people whom we have never met, strangers demonstrating things on videos and even psychological (internal) role models can also serve as masters. Given that learning requires a relationship matrix, how do we achieve that without the other person present? 

As long as we feel comfortable and secure within ourselves (i.e., anxiety is absent), we can create matrices for ourselves and even become our own matrix. It is something we should all develop the ability to do and it requires, above all, imagination and empathy.

If you can do it, you'll have had the experience of being somewhere warm and comfortable reading a book and at some point you really feel the writer is speaking to you personally or writing about you personally. Or maybe you are listening to music and suddenly the lyrics are so relevant; so applicable to your own personal thoughts or situation that they seem to be just for you. Or you look at a piece of artwork and think, wow, I feel like I know exactly how the artist felt.

These experiences are archetypal; this is the power of culture. We can 'make a connection' with others who have gone before or those from far away, and stretch theory of mind and grasp information all the way through time and space.

Certain drugs can also induce this feeling, but are not ideal for learning because drugs often affect memory such that learning is not optimal. That is, we may have a great time, but will forget the content rapidly because drugs that help induce long term open mode tend to get us stuck in open mode until they wear off. We can learn to shift into closed mode under their influence, but it takes planning and awareness to pull it off, and the best use of such enhancers is for abstract creativity in lieu of concrete creativity (i.e., such states of mind are great for coming up with new ideas and inspirations, but these should later be actualized in terms of concrete reality before we forget about them). 

Imaginative play is designed to be translated into reality, and the best masters and students know this. You stop playing with abstract ideas in open mode when you come across one idea worth following up, and then you get into closed mode, get your hands on your clay or paint or computer or guitar and you focus. When you get stuck or bored, you take time out in open mode; maybe, 'sleep on it'. And that's the best way for learning to proceed in total freedom guided by whatever you feel like, moment to moment. The unconscious knows when its time to take a break or to stop dreaming and make a decision; we just have to pay enough attention and work with it. This saves so much time in learning and creating, it's the ergonomic basis of high productivity. 

A note for wannabe masters: never try to teach stuff to others who didn't ask. That's verging on bully behavior and they can't learn this way. And watch out for personal interest enthusiasm; if ever you get a desire to explain things at length or demonstrate stuff to those who didn't ask, interpret this as a need to clarify the subject for yourself. You can do so either by finding those with similar interests, by writing things down or by talking to yourself, without imposing it on unwilling listeners. Your new scientific theory or your new friend with the hot pink hairdo may be totally fascinating to you, but to most others it's about as interesting as the office nerd's photographic collection of foreign lamp posts.


parents & children



Our relationships with our children are, on the whole from biology's pov, appalling; western parents display very little empathy, limited honesty and virtually no respect. Most parenting is based firmly on conditioned bully and wimp behavior, which we dutifully carry out with the genuine belief that this is the way adults are supposed to treat children. This is how 'everybody does it'. This is 'normal'. 

From biology's pov, the reason for and goal of parenting is to help each youngster as much as possible to achieve independence and healthy development. In our circumstances, how many of us could (or even want to) prioritize biology's agenda when dealing with our children? With all our existing commitments, it's not possible. 

To nurture something is to provide for its needs, whilst helping it to acquire the skills to meet those needs on its own. That's how intelligence grows. And the most important factor in nurturing is being there; providing a constant matrix by always being reliably available to nurture. 

I say, 'our' children, yet many parents hardly know their own children. They are whisked off into institutions as fast as can be; daycare, kindergarten, playschool, summer camp, college, work, and they're leaving home round about then anyway. 

Any wildlife veterinarian will tell you, no free (undomesticated) mammalian species in the world will hand over its young to be taken away by strangers without a hell of a fight, even if the strangers are called teachers or childminders or nurses or whatever. Only domestication can blunt the awareness of danger sufficiently to render a creature docile enough to allow this to happen. 

As animal researchers know, doing this threatens the bonding process and breaks the matrix, without which relationships can never be truly close. This abandonment into institutions replaces the natural matrix with a fake one, the unconscious shock of which causes docility and depression in the anxious (in parents as well as children) and in those with more resilience by teenage years manifests as loss of trust and interest; loss of loyalty; disillusion and a deep resentment of others, often strangers, trying to control our lives with no respect or even consultation. On top of this there may be offense at being left 'out of the family loop', feelings of persecution (not being treated as an equal) and a general desire to get away from the situation and find something nicer with people who don't tell you what to do all the time.

Our main way of bullying children (and sometimes partners and friends) into doing what we want rather than what they need is emotional blackmail via conditional love. Nowhere is unconditional love more required in a relationship than in that between parents and children, however it is the area where we pile more conditions onto our 'love' than any other. Many westerners treat children like pets. Stand up! Sit down! Eat this! Go here! Don't do that! Do that! ...Good boy! Have a biscuit. You're grounded. I am confiscating your 'phone. 

All these messages mean to the unconscious: I will only behave like I love you if you do what I say. A relationship doesn't get any more conditional than that. Real love has no conditions at all. That doesn't mean we have to approve of everything or allow everything, it just means we can carry on loving people regardless of how difficult relations get and we can use that love to inspire communications and interaction. 

Westerners pay a high price for the lack of personal interaction and bonding. Relationships in many families remain shallow as it becomes clear over time (as children grow and make unconscious calculations), that conditional love is not genuine love at all; lacking even the core conditions for interaction and looking ever more likely to be coercion by emotional blackmail. The unconscious knows that this is not something anybody should do to anybody, most especially not to those they supposedly care about. 

It can be a terrible shock to discover, not that your parents don't love you, but that they are incapable of loving unconditionally and consequently of bonding. Usually it's an unconscious shock rather than a conscious, academic conclusion, but it still affects the mind in powerful ways. To say the least; childrens mental health in western societies has, like adults, been steadily declining over the last decades.[12] 

The only way to get around these issues is to achieve the difficult step of avoiding industrial, commercial society when raising children; something not easily accomplished in many areas of the world and becoming more difficult as time goes by. And it's not just a matter of getting away from the urban rat race areas; there is little use in retreating to a rural estate but bringing the values and behaviors of westernized societies with you. You have to drop the lot. Ultimately that means dedicating your life to raising your child/ren and not having time for anything else (like working or going out alone) for many years. And even then, it's unlikely to help if kids are still watching TV and logging in online, viewing daily examples of weird behavior as input to copy.



For many animals, parenting is relatively easy because there are no societal anxiety issues getting in the way of unconditional love, and the emotional rewards of bonding augment motivation to care. But trying to practice wholesome parenting in human societies is about as physically and mentally challenging as a career working with special forces. This is a tough cookie for parents to take onboard, but at least you now know enough to make rational decisions about parenting, and employ core conditions right from the start. 

Unconditional love plus core conditions in communication can create a matrix strong enough to prevent unconscious shock despite some dodgy input; not least because doing what biology wants us to do makes us a lot more resilient and improves adults' moods and emotional health as well as their kids.


healers and the sick or injured



Throughout our evolution, healers have treated the sick and injured for the same reasons; they cared personally about the sick or injured person; they had specialist knowledge about therapies and drugs; and it was in their interests – as well as the interests of all - to help their allies stay healthy, sane and functional. 

Modern western doctors don't usually understand the first and often not the last of these reasons; chances are almost every one of their patients is a stranger; and if you have ever worked in emergency medical services you'll have realized that it may well not be in the interests of you or society to stitch up the same group of violent drunks every weekend.

What's more, doctors don't get anything like the same respect, honesty and empathy from patients as they would with close friends, nor are they able to provide it when only given ten minutes or so to figure out what's wrong with some dude you never met before and what to do about it. 

The biggest disadvantage for western medics, though, is the ratio between them and the rest of the population. In a tribal village, with around 100-150 people at most, one healer has quite enough to do, but every village has its own healer, the population is stable, and most locals don't move out into a new tribe. Today's western doctors may have to deal with hundreds and hundreds of patients and have a constantly changing clientele of strangers. 

Very few of these strangers will know even basics about making medicine and how to treat stuff themselves, whereas in a tribe everybody is going to know the basics and treat themselves without needing to bother the healer. They also have the added advantage of a free pharmacy of natural products all around in the forest; the same botanicals we use to make our own drugs. 

Here, a doctor may find finance is a barrier to drug access for some. Add to that a doctor's anxiety about getting blamed if something goes wrong during treatment, and it's unsurprising that burnout is a common problem for our medical staff despite their knowledge about lifestyle and health. 

In tribal terms, the more accomplished a healer gets, the more time s/he has to spare because the fewer sick people there are. At this stage there's time to train an apprentice or two from those youngsters who already hang around you and ask questions. It is all part of mastering something to be able to pass it on. 

Whether you're a healer by profession or not, if you genuinely care about someone, you will automatically want to help them if they are ill or hurt. You won't need to be coerced with money in order to take care of them. This biological altruism extends cross-species to young animals and other people's children, again following the 'prioritize the system with greatest potential' rule. 

If you are the person who's sick or injured, you can learn a lot about your relationships by noting who is helpful versus who avoids you until you're better, although you may have to discount (and put up with) visits from acquaintances and work colleagues who all sign a card and bring you flowers (not because they give a crap but because otherwise, what would others think?)


groups & communities



Relationships in groups and communities can be helpful or harmful, just like all other relationships. Successful groups tend to use 'dynamic leadership' (where the person/s who are best at doing something take charge when those tasks are being done) and nobody is in charge all the time. This is an ability-based system without permanent leaders, but with enough self-governing structural organization to avoid anarchy, and it's the way natural systems work. 

It requires every individual to be fairly competent at many things and very competent at one or two things; to be both a specialist and a generalist. 

In many animal communities and human tribal ones, this self-organisation happens automatically and largely below conscious level; there has to be enough conscious awareness and communication for each member to be aware of what is going on and what activities their fellow members are up to, and enough discernment to know whether or not it is appropriate to join in. 

If you are a tribal dude who wants to build a house, for example, you start building a house; when your friends see what you're doing they join in; on the understanding that you would do the same when they want to build a house, because they're your friends. Soon the dude who builds the best houses will come along, and you'll let them take charge whilst you watch, help out and learn their techniques, getting better at house-building yourself. Everybody will happily follow the masters instructions, and soon everybody knows how to build a better house; a better tool; knows a better way to do X or Y. If any of you is injured in the process, the medic is suddenly in charge, and everybody will happily follow their instructions. And so life proceeds, moment to moment in real time, with individual self-governance and group dynamic governance. 

This is what the unconscious expects from group living; a natural system. (It has no knowledge of things like property laws and planning permissions, because they are parochial inventions and thus useless to it.) Natural systems will not work unless everybody knows everybody else, which limits natural group size in exactly the same way it does in animal groups. If overcrowding happens, therefore, natural groups split into separate communities. The 'offspring' of successful groups is other successful groups.   

This is such a marvelous system that it appears to need no other input; it is self sustaining for as long as the group uses renewable resources and maintains core conditions. So what has stopped tribal groups from spreading their little communities until the planet was full of them? Predators and natural disasters certainly prevent migration to some places, but the main threat to humans and other species has always been under-developed, immature, dysfunctional humans. 

Immaturity is normal and healthy in babies, but the retardation (slowing down) of development causes behavioral problems like wimp and bully behaviors, and if the system remains stuck in these behavioral patterns the resulting person remains mentally unbalanced. Behavioral problems may be mild, such as stealing food from another tribe (causing trouble with the neighbors), or in some cases they may run to extremes, such as raping, torturing and killing the entire population of villages (or dropping bombs on each other). 

In terms of biology's ideas on intelligent, beneficial behavior, this sort of thing is incredibly stupid for the perpetrator because living allies are a lot more useful resources than dead enemies, especially in times of famine, epidemics or disaster. But throughout most of our history there is evidence of irrational violence which only leads to greater problems. The history we are taught in schools is a history of bullying; of people trying to control and coerce others because they had no control over themselves. And evidence of it goes back all the way to when humans started farming and some starving individuals began running around invading people and murdering them instead of doing trade deals. 

Awareness of this 'hidden' mental instability problem is part of what causes our unconscious wariness of strangers, because as any detective or clinical psychiatrist will tell you, even homicidal psychopaths look and live just like ordinary people. They go to work, they go to church, they pay their taxes. They live just like you do, they go into the same stores and the same bars, they buy the same food and they dress the same way. They are polite, often friendly and in some cases charming. We only discover in retrospective news how they left a string of dead people behind them, or messed with little kids, or had a vegetarian breakfast then went out and invaded Poland and started killing millions of innocent folks who just wanted to go home and have their dinner. It's very difficult to spot the danger in advance. 

This sort of thing, even on the small scale of personal action/reaction wimp and bully behaviors, prevents small successful groups from proliferating, and the unconscious knows that. It has known that for a very long time. But here is where biology's programming hits a limitation which prevents it from resolving the issue (see the dilemma in 'programs' section below). 

All this may seem irrelevant if the 'small group' you are familiar with is something like a bunch of housemates or a regular group of close friends who meet for drinks every week. Yet the same rules apply: it's fine to allow new members, but you want to get to know them before you invite them to join the group because you never know.... 

If you've ever had the experience of ending up stuck with a drunk, violent housemate or workmate who seemed perfectly normal during the first few weeks and now won't leave; or of knowing somebody really friendly and nice who gets voted president at the club and suddenly starts behaving like the warder from a prison, you'll know what I mean. Getting rid of bullies is a lot harder than inviting them in.


So for any successful group to maintain integrity and make progress (in terms of relationship development), it's very important to avoid anxious, unstable behavior and the sort of mental distraction that leads to conflict or accidents. That doesn't mean everyone in the group must be anxiety-free; any group that has conscious awareness of anxiety, where members help each other deal with it, will still succeed. 

Groups that work best do different stuff together; that is, not always the same things but a variety of activities; members often share recreational activities and help each other with personal projects. The best matrix for group development is a shared creative project that will become part of culture. And the best way to maintain a group is to avoid anxious people who are unaware that they are anxious. 

Any successful group relationship encourages greater bonding and greater independence in all members. People learn new skills from each other and sometimes together, leading to expanded individual as well as group capability, and lower dependence for both or many partners. That's what mutuality, or 'mutually beneficial' means. Any relationship that leads to greater dependence is to be avoided, because that leads to decline. Assisting each other towards ever greater autonomy is what biology wants from partnerships. 

The most successful group relationships occur when members share priorities and values, and these are congruous with biological morality. Knowing that you are all doing things together for the same reasons AND that they are good things to do for you and everyone else and nature generally creates a powerful psychological and emotional bonding.

We are all polyamorous

It must be obvious to you from experience that we are usually in several archetypal relationships at the same time; with the same people and/or with different individuals. Our lives revolve around archetypal relationships; parents and children, partners, students, close friends, lovers and so on. Humans are 'polyamorous', which is how you can love your partner and your children and your parents and your sister all at the same time. We thrive on successful relationships just as strongly as we decline in unsuccessful ones. We need successful relationships with nature, with others, with culture, with ourselves. A successful relationship between our own unconscious and conscious awareness (congruity) provides the foundation for all other relationships (connections). 

Biological morality must be the foundation though; not some arbitrary 'cause'. The unconscious has very fixed ideas about morality, because it's moral code is literally code. Behavioral algorithms emerge naturally from biological necessities.



interaction and biological morality


All development occurs due to interaction between the agent (in this case, your biological system) and its matrix or set of matrices. A relationship can itself be a powerful matrix for growth and development for as long as it provides a safe space, input and energy to interact, and for as long as interaction actually takes place. 

System requirements:

For interaction to occur, the three core conditions must be met: honesty, empathy and respect. 

Honesty: you need to be aware of your own feelings and thoughts, and have the ability to behave openly and honestly. If you cannot be honest with someone, it's too soon to be trying to get closer to them. 

Empathy: You need Theory of Mind and emotional control to be able to see the world through someone else's eyes and experience what they feel in that situation. Genuinely caring about someone (rather than anxiously caring about what they think of you) automatically enhances empathy. 

Respect: Interacting with other systems with courtesy, politeness and positive regard. Respect must be unconditional; that is, we should have sufficient diplomatic skills to successfully interact with others politely and without anxiety, even if we do not condone their behavior. 

A good relationship will not happen if the core conditions are not kept, and keeping them is all that is required to maintain a successful relationship. Practicing them ensures there can be no coercion, and helps prevent power imbalance in communication. We practice these good habits in out own interests as well as that of others, because they are an archetypal algorithm for interactive success. 

It has probably occurred to you by now that the unconscious has a very different view of what should happen in relationships than any of our societies do, and this is at the root of a lot of emotional and behavioral difficulties, most especially for children and teenagers, pulled one way by nature (towards nurture) and pulled the other way by societal norms, media, adult and peer pressure. Biological morality is not difficult to understand in logical terms of evolutionary input, but emotionally becoming aware of this particular divergence from nature hits us domesticated, conditioned types with a sort of 'sublimated culture shock'. Nature is expecting cultural interaction in a safe, known, familiar setting. Society provides institutions full of strangers, cut off from home and those close to us. 

The needs of our biology in a relationship support our development through interaction and bonding, and a healthy, balanced mind will direct all of our behavior towards these ends, with the core conditions for interaction (empathy, honesty and respect) as modulators of successful behavior. Unconsciously we know that when we are running interaction and bonding programs, optimal development is taking place and we are growing and learning and becoming more aware as the relationship progresses, both about ourselves and about the other/s interacting with us. 

There are no details in biomorality

Biological (unconscious) morality is based on code, and code has no emotions, although it can perform operations on them and make predictions taking them into account as data. The system relies on emotional weighting to maintain meaning and memory, but emotions as feelings, as life experiences, are things that happen to humans, not to code. Code just wants facts about amounts of chemicals, types of chemicals, location of their release in response to what input, and so on. All the basics requires for classification is the correct associated area of memory. Judgment of 'good' or 'bad' (beneficial or harmful) relies on chemical gradients in response to input via expectations, memory and context, and has nothing to do with what your conscious mind thinks. The conscious mind is supposed to process the output of unconscious computation; after the system has decided which category current events indicate. The conscious mind computes stuff like, 'Should we risk this harmful procedure if it could save this guy's life?' The system predicts probabilities, based on the information from both unconscious and conscious processing. 

The unconscious always deals with coded basics, whilst our conscious awareness gets caught up in all the endless details and can, if incongruous with unconscious guidance, distract us from awareness of what's really going on. Neither is unconscious guidance (intuition) alone sufficient without modulation via conscious awareness, but seeing things at the unconscious level can be a great help in trying to untangle what seem to the conscious mind like complicated relationship problems.

For example, while you are thinking about going out for drinks with friends, consciously there are all sorts of complicated things to consider; timing, location, clothes, grooming, phones, keys, wallets, transport, communications, logistics, mood, commitments, to take the car or not to take the car, and so on; but the unconscious sees everything very simply in terms of things, events, and stuff.

In the domain of human behavior, input code indicating people or agents or objects or buildings or animals or trees indicates them all as 'Things'; categorized as more or less important by calculating degrees of possible interaction, with benefits and dangers based on emotionally-weighted input. 'Stuff' is background context; such as sky, sea, space or environmental landscape, once again all weighted with emotional responses. 'Events' are interactions between things against a background of stuff. Facts are laws about properties of reality.



In the unconscious domain, 'stuff' is context; 'events' are operations, and 'things' are bits of data; the agents upon which operations are done. The unconscious really doesn't need to know any more than that. Internal events (such as emotional experiences) are interactions between things just as external events (such as someone smiling at you) are interactions between things in another domain. All the unconscious has to do is associate them with conscious awareness, and that's what your front-to-rear connections are doing when things are congruous. 

When we (for example) go for drinks with friends, our conscious thoughts are on the topics of conversation, enjoyment of the drinks, and interest in the company. Meanwhile the unconscious is working away calculating 'impoverished or enriched' statistics on the stuff, the things, and the events. Emotional weighting is coming in all the time indicating which aspects of things, stuff and events are most beneficial and directing our behavior in real time for its computed optimal outcomes in terms of interaction and bonding, benefits and dangers. We're unaware of most of this but it changes the way we feel (and consequently, how we behave). 

Because any archetypal relationship follows the same developmental rules, all the unconscious has to do is recognize which archetypal relationship current events portray, and run the appropriate algorithm for its development. Feedback determines what adaptations to make as things develop. How it calculates all this for multiple relationships on the fly shapes everything we do and is fascinating enough to warrant it's own chapter, which happens later. 

Because we need to feel that we are intelligent creatures with a clear idea of what is going on around us, we get very distraught if events in real life fail to conform to the parameters of our inner model for what is going on, for example if people say one thing and do another, incongruous thing. The mind really cares about evidence which implies we're misinterpreting reality, because that indicates a major fault in the system. This is particularly important in close relationships. After all, the unconscious thinks, if we are mistaken about this aspect of reality, this relationship which really matters to us, how much of the rest of reality (which doesn't matter to us half so much) are we also misinterpreting? 

Thus, if a relationship fails and we didn't expect it to or want it to, on top of the conscious shock and dismay this quite naturally causes unconscious anxiety about the ability of our own intelligence; our own system; which is the most important thing in the world to our unconscious. 

It is this sudden 'failure to compute'; failure to make congruous sense of things and to know what to expect in a close relationship (or at least, one we had believed was close), which creates the deep anxiety we associate with unforeseen failures in relationships and unexpected 'breakups'. 

The emotional weighting on important relationships exacerbates this anxiety when things go wrong. And this is actually where most of the trauma in broken relationships comes from. Alice's unconscious mind is not devastated because Bob left her; it is devastated because it thinks it may have experienced an extreme systems failure. Red alert alarms are going off all over the place and no matter how hard it tries, the mind cannot make any sense out of what has occurred unless there has been a catastrophic software failure. Protection mode urges Alice not to do anything until it solves the problem, and she feels disinclined to do anything. Often, we fail to figure out what happened in such situations. Healthier minds get over it and move on. Unhealthy minds blame the other person/s and move on. Way too many unbalanced minds proceed to stalk, threaten or murder their ex, or to suicide. 

Back to Alice: Alice's conscious mind almost certainly believes it is Bob's behavior that is causing her anxiety and grief, but in fact Bob's behavior was just the 'series of events' which revealed the possible failure of Alice's own mental acuity. The unconscious is urgently trying to signal Alice of a serious situation (if the software is down, then Alice is suddenly vulnerable to all dangers, because it can give no warning.) But Alice is too mentally busy to listen; she's going round in conscious intellectual circles trying to figure out why what the hell just happened happened. And now there's Gin and Tonic involved, so memory is getting hazy. 

What is happening is Alice blaming the anxiety (an internal problem) on external events (like being dumped by Bob). The system knows that if it were functioning correctly, Alice would not have been at all surprised at being dumped by Bob – she would have seen it coming and possibly taken steps to either prevent or hasten it depending on her revised opinion of Bob. 

The system knows it is not telepathic, but it expects us to be empathic enough to pick up changes in how others are feeling, especially if we care about them. It is the unconscious shock of being taken by surprise that throws the system into anxiety; it happens in the internal, chemistry domain; not in the details of how the surprise happened or what it was in the behavioral domain.


There are no absolutes in biomorality

The unconscious has very strict basic moral rules (such as the core conditions) because they are its evolved algorithms for successful interaction, but there are no absolute moral judgments, because the system is dynamic and relies on contextual circumstances for meaning. Thus, walnuts contain lots of nutrients and so are good, but if you're allergic, they're bad, and so on. 

Nothing in biology, physics or chemistry remains 'good' or 'bad' in all circumstances. Even the most dangerous things we create, like nukes, may help us deter lumps of rock heading for our planet with a lot more explosive force than would otherwise be available. Wimp and bully behaviors, likewise, have their positive uses – in emergencies, they help us to defy or escape from dangers.

Instead of 'good' and 'bad', biological morality uses the criteria of 'beneficial in current circumstances according to available data', or 'harmful in current circumstances according to available data'. 

'Available data' is not just current input; memory and imagination; it includes hard-wired facts self-programmed into the system over millennia of experience. The concepts of morality and value play a central role in all cognition and influence all of our judgment and decisions, both conscious and unconscious, concrete and abstract. Our dilemma is, our mental stability relies on biological morality and meeting biology's needs, but societal needs and parochial morals often pull us away from the green zone and into protection mode. 

Our directives for growth mode and protection mode cannot be carried out at the same time, and discernment in relationships is largely about enabling growth through interaction wherever possible, whilst at the same time protecting the system from harm.



We see these conflicts in terms of work/ family or work /life balance, but at root it depends what matters most to us personally; not what we say matters, but what we respond to unconsciously. Values represent the things you personally believe are most important, that matter to you most; the things that you truly care about and prioritize in your life. If money and prestige are treated as more important than mental health, harmful results accrue. 

Aligning your life and relationships congruously with your genuine values and your own biology will help you feel more satisfied and at ease. However if your life doesn't align with your values or your biology, incongruity can create contention, anxiety or conflict. 

The people in your relationships won't always have the same values as you, and that's okay. However, it's still important to know where you stand and when to draw the line on matters that are important to you. Small compromises are a given in any relationship but you should be careful not to compromise yourself or your core values for the sake of your relationships. It's also important to communicate with the people closest to you and let them know what is most important to you, most especially if your values change. 

Most relationships with people are moderated by an assumed shared morality and assumed shared values; that means we tend to be most attracted to others who seem, judging from their behavior, appearance and what they say, to have the same underlying morality and values that we subscribe to. Often relationships fail because of a sudden unexpected revelation that this is not so; for example one person does or says something that the other interprets as distasteful, offensive, wrong, harmful or rude. It may be mild (such as a couple of vegetarians discovering that one of them has a secret bacon habit) or it may be more serious (such as a tendency to polygamy whilst claiming monogamy) or very serious indeed (such as, you find out your charming, thoughtful, sensitive partner just murdered the neighbors). 

The usual response to this sort of discovery depends on the mental health of whoever makes the discovery, because for an anxious person the response, even to a mild divergence from what they expect, is usually panic. Panic occurs when anxiety shuts down frontal lobes and we cannot think of anything to say or do, so we freeze. The system jumps into protection mode and the fight or flight response immediately kicks in (because the unconscious believes we are in danger) and consequently the brain's frontal lobes remain shut down to free up resources for defense as the system floods with epinephrine. We cannot think clearly in this mode; it is not designed for thinking, it is designed for running your ass off, playing dead, hiding, or chucking stuff at predators. Any attempt at further communication in this state will result in badly constructed, logic-exempt, anxiety-driven, often offensive nonsense. 

Alternatively, in a healthy mind the first response (familiar through practice) is to take control and calm down, putting everything on hold whilst we find out whether or not we have simply misunderstood things. A healthy mind is aware of its own limitations; knows that misunderstanding often happens, does not fear it (because it can always be resolved by interaction) and takes mistakes as common occurrences in cognitive systems. Such mistakes are in fact valuable, because they fine-tune our communication skills and we get better at avoiding them. 

If it becomes clear that the issue was not a misunderstanding, the healthy response depends upon the importance (to us personally) of the particular individual and of the moral rule or value that they apparently do not share; and also of the degree of divergence (it's one thing to have no interest in a friend's particular hobby, but quite another thing to actually oppose it and think it harmful). A mild divergence from our moral code may result in surprise, dismay or disappointment, a more serious incongruity may cause disgust or alarm, along with a mental note to stop hanging out with this person or group. 


the underlying theme

The underlying concern of the unconscious in all this is truth detection, because delusion (false beliefs) is almost always harmful to our wellbeing. In almost every case of moral divergence the unconscious issue involves delusion, and also the revelation (much more important) that someone we thought a trustworthy friend has either lied about their morality and values or deliberately given the wrong impression about their morality and values OR (horrors!) our own system has made an erroneous assessment and we have consequently deluded ourselves, possibly with wishful thinking. In the worst case, there could be deliberate deception. 

We consciously consider deceptive behavior to be 'dishonorable' or rude, because it betrays a lack of personal integrity based on anxiety and fear of loss. We unconsciously abhor deception because it breaks the core conditions for interaction.

And here we meet the big issue between biological morality and artificial, parochial morality structures. Our own bodies and minds and hormonal systems and emotions only respond to biological morality; that is what their signals rely on. We can consciously understand an artificial morality sufficient to keep the rules; for example in context of a game where it's arbitrarily ruled that it is 'wrong' to make certain moves and doing so loses the game; but we can't unconsciously understand artificial 'made up' moralities when they are applied to real life. 

Consequently biology is often saying, 'Go, go' when artificial morality is stating, 'No, no'; and congruity of thought, words and actions has little chance to emerge. Conflict arises not because there is anything wrong with biology but because the conscious mind has been given the wrong information. Parochial morality rules have no emotional weighting because, to biology, they are meaningless. Biology is only concerned with rules that make sense because they're good for system development.

This is why a majority of sexual relationships end in breakup and a majority of marriages end in divorce. It doesn't 'feel wrong' to have sex with more than one person; what feels wrong is lying to one (or both) of them about it; you're constantly dodging bullets when biology knows you shouldn't have to. 

The unconscious has evolved its own definitions of 'danger' and 'benefit', and it means dangerous or beneficial to the system. The benefit to you individually is a side effect of benefit to the system; not the primary aim. The assumption is made; IF the system's ok THEN the organism is automatically thriving. So it's constantly trying to improve itself, grow itself, develop itself, upgrade itself, and when things get in the way of it doing so it makes us feel anxious and miserable. What it didn't expect was the separation of front and rear networks and loss of system congruity that makes us so unaware as to ignore these warning signals or consider the state of anxiety 'normal'.

In its terms, lack of development (which means decline) in any organism is dangerous and should be avoided, because the system can't help but be affected by whatever it is surrounded by – that's its input. 

This sounds very simple, but the unconscious considers 'inappropriate' or 'unjustified' behavior to be the early warning sign in detecting dangerous people. For examples; unjustified certainty is arrogance, which leads to dangerous mistakes and stalled learning (if you believe you already know everything that matters, you tend to stop listening). Unjustified pride is hubris, another potential accident waiting to happen. Unjustified doubt is paranoia, unjustified desire is obsession, unjustified optimism or pessimism can cause terminally bad decisions, unjustified skepticism becomes prejudiced cynicism; the tendency to expect something to be false without evidence. Unjustified anything is out of the green zone.



Unjustified wimp or bully behavior (ie, not as an emergency response to a clear and present danger) is something the unconscious finds shocking; not in the sense of emotionally shocking, but clinically shocking (in the sense that the input literally gives it a shock), because such events are very dangerous. Unjustified violence, as far as it's concerned, is something only 'mad' people do (the unconscious doesn't know about PC). 

Unjustified violence breaks virtually all biology's rules, from wasted energy to self harm (all unjustified violence fills the offender's bloodstream with powerful toxins). Unjustified violence harms everyone and everything including the perpetrator, and biology can't think of anything more stupid or dangerous for an organism to do. Unhealthy behaviors actually trigger brain responses that are similar to those prompted by bad smells and disgust.[13] 

Now here's the programming dilemma I mentioned above; the logic goes as follows: 

Violence is only necessary during immediate clear and present dangers to life, or for killing food. 

People who indulge in unnecessary violence (such as violent invaders) are dysfunctional. 

The only way to get rid of them is through violence. 

Sane and healthy functional systems cannot indulge in unnecessary violence. 

I am a sane and healthy functional system. 


This is a noodle-baker. If a known violent person isn't actually attacking you, violence is unnecessary. It appears that the only way to get rid of a dysfunctional system is to become a dysfunctional system, and then, logically, someone must get rid of you. 'An eye for an eye' leaves everyone blind. 

There is a simpler way of saying this:


'The first rule of the fanatic: When you become obsessed with the enemy, you become the enemy' 

[Commander Sinclair, Babylon 5, S1e4] 

Most organized justice systems arose in an attempt to counter this dilemma. It raises profound questions, like, 'Are humans an evolutionary mistake?; or, 'Is this a bug or a feature?'; which are way outside the limitations of this book or its author. The important point is, consequent to biological morality, our being around dysfunctional behaviors causes this loop of reasoning and unconscious anxiety, and if we remain there the system is shocked into protection mode. All that's available then are emergency responses for defense and withdrawal until it has had sufficient time to get back into growth and repair mode. It then has to fix the damage caused by the shock or system shocks will become cumulative, causing a backlog of repairs and no further growth until they're fixed. Only then can it carry on moving forward.

Because the unconscious considers wimp or bully behavior behaviors to be a sign of instability, and mental instability as a factor increasing the potential for unnecessary violence, unconscious alarm bells go off in the system all the time we witness any of it. Thus, regardless of whether we see these behaviors on the TV news or in a soap opera; the system is logging continual unconscious shocks coupled with actual chemical cellular damage. (When input enters the visual field the unconscious responds as though it is happening here, now. Only the conscious modulation can convince it otherwise, and if that's down due to anxiety, the wrong weighting goes on input).


The long and short of this is that if you have had a series of bad, harmful relationships or seen a lot of dysfunctional behavior, it can take a long time for your system to repair the damage. The more trauma you've accumulated, the more time is needed for repair, although maintaining all the basics such as sleep and diet, peace and quiet, exercise and interaction, can speed up recovery a lot. 

The process of biology rewarding interactive behavior beneficial to survival and dissuading us from wimp and bully behaviors, which are not, is the process of entelechy, and as far as the unconscious knows the master program itself may be viewed as intelligence, or as imagination, or as mental development if you like. That is, those are different domains in which the same processes; the same operations, the same problems and solutions are going on. 

From a humanistic pov the interactive behavior of a healthy system has been called 'enlightened self-interest', although it is not quite that. The idea behind 'self-interest' comes from beliefs that the genome is fixed and unchangeable, genes are all out for themselves, and evolution is random. None of this is true, but to be fair nobody knew that until fairly recently. 

We now know the genome is malleable, genes cannot be 'selfish' because they are not the things in control of their own expression or silencing, and evolution is not random; it is chaotic. The genes we each express are heavily dependent on what input the system receives; epigenetic changes are always caused by environmental/contextual input.

So, 'enlightened mutual interest' or 'mutualism' is a much more accurate description of interactive behavior. The master program doesn't favor the genome or individual genes above all else. Above all else in individuals the program values itself.

In humanistic terms, intelligence values intelligence; especially intelligence which it calculates as having the same or greater potential for interaction as its own. This is why it will, if necessary, risk its (your) life to save a strangers child, a beloved partner, or a close ally, none of whom are genetically related to you. 

So although there is an apparent altruistic factor to interaction, its operations prioritize intelligence development generally rather than its particular manifestation as your mind. It does so because millions of years' worth of development and successful adaptation stand behind its every moral decision.

Our unconscious ideas about morality, fairness and justice in our interactions are organized along the same lines. If someone gains and someone loses in an event, it depends entirely upon 'interactive potential' whether this is a good or a bad thing. If humans win and smallpox loses, that's a very good thing; consciously from your pov because it means you don't die, but unconsciously because humans have greater interactive potential than smallpox does. 

Likewise, in the event of you killing and eating a chicken the chicken definitely loses, but to the unconscious that's fair enough, because you have greater interactive potential than a chicken does. 

In other words, the program thinks you're more important than viruses or chickens, but not necessarily more important than a child or a loved one. 

From these examples you can start to decipher our unconscious 'moral code rules'; such things as, 'never eat anything that is, or that has the potential to become, more intelligent and interactive than you are'; and, 'only eat things that have potential for further development if you really are starving'. Hunter gatherers do not kill baby animals or pregnant females unless times are desperate; not because they know all this consciously but because it is, to them, common sense; baby things grow into bigger things and that's more food. In terms of system needs, though, that's more potential interaction.



We often give intellectual, conscious reasons for emotions that are generated by experiential, unconscious awareness. We explain consciously that we'd feel morally bad about eating gorillas or dolphins because they show signs of intelligence, but unconsciously we feel 'creepy' about the idea of eating gorillas or dolphins, and especially creeped out at the idea of eating each other, because eating intelligent species is not an interaction and should be reserved for extreme emergencies. 

Interaction is the key program which grows intelligence. Every time it gets a chance to run, we develop new brain connections. The primary input sources for complex interactions are our relationships, which the system is always striving to improve as we improve.


Algorithms for mate selection

At some point in their lives, most humans have wondered what factors are in play when selecting a close friend or sexual partner. Are we unconsciously driven to select those who resemble us genetically, or to do the opposite? Do we look for those whose physical appearance is similar to ours or our parents'? Do we opt for the person we find most attractive and try to get to know them? And do we look for physical attractiveness, or attractive behavior, or do we unconsciously seek out 'like minds'? 

When forming friendships or partnerships, how much influence does conditioning have on our choices? Do we leave our options open, 'putting up with' dodgy behavior whilst hoping to 'socially climb' at the next opportunity, or do we focus on the relationships with the best danger/benefits analysis results? 

Underneath all of our conscious awareness in partner-selection, regardless of domestication or societal norms, the system does its thing despite conditioning rather than because of it. No matter what we do or say or believe, no matter what society think is right or wrong, nothing will prevent it from trying to run its developmental programs.

...Except for unconscious anxiety. Thus, the way in which a person makes friends and partners can tell you a lot about their mental status. 

There are two main ways we approach mate-selection: 

The anxious way

Those with unconscious anxiety approach mate choice in terms of investment of limited resources. They've only got so much time and so much money and so much energy that they can give to potential partners. So they are asking themselves, 'who gives me the most back (in terms of resources)?' 'Resources' may consciously mean money and gifts, favors and services. Unconsciously it's a hunt for replacement parents and an anxious need to conform. 

Anxious people approach relationships as though they were employing someone or being employed, at the root of which is bully-wimp behavior. Each person approaches the other and they get temporary relationships going, and they stay in a relationship until they get a better offer and everybody recurrently ditches their partners for 'better ones'.[14]


The anxiety-free way

The system aims at optimizing stable pairs from a biological perspective and that means interaction. The more interaction you get with someone, the more you are going to bond with them. There is no 'chatting up' ritual; closeness just happens automatically, emerging from a critical mass of interactions with no ulterior motives except unconscious ones. 

If these relationships do end, they do not really end – for example a couple who decide not to have a sexual relationship any more will still remain friends. A couple of friends may decide to start a sexual relationship, but this will not impact the friendship. Couples may also become part of a close group or family, for as long as core conditions are kept and anxiety stays out of the picture.



Loyalty is one of a set of behavioral subprograms which demonstrate our commitments to priorities.[15] 

Some evolutionary biologists/psychologists see loyalty as a genetically transmitted adaptive mechanism, a felt attachment to others that has survival value.[16] Given what is often seen as the self-sacrificial character of individual loyalty, such loyalty is taken to be directed primarily towards group survival.[17] 

What “loyalty” may have begun as (defense of the animal family group against threat) and what it has evolved into in abstract cognitive beings like ourselves is not quite the same. It began as an automatic survival mechanism, but has become 'refined' under conscious control. 

Loyalty is a behavioral subprogram which still enables defense and protection of loved ones including close friends, partners, parents and offspring. We will also tend to trust the word of those allies with whom we share loyalty. Loyalty does not require bonding unless it is reciprocal, but does require demonstration through loyal behaviors.

If we are 'loyal' we commit ourselves (make ourselves a promise) to defend, protect and nurture the person/s or value/s that we are loyal to. Our commitment is demonstrated by expressing that we are prioritizing the needs of that person as well as our own to some degree.

Loyalty has degrees of application. Shallow application takes place in situations where we are with friends or acquaintances and there is a clear stranger as antagonist, such as a bully, an unwanted loony or the drug squad. Most of us will lie in order to save our friends in such circumstances and claim we do not know where they are or what their phone number is; or say that we have known them for years and they have never done whatever they are accused of. We help each other out in tight corners; we believe that's what friendship is for.

Whilst we are aware that this sort of practice is more common than not among friends, deeper application of loyalty requires difficult or inconvenient choices and is relatively rare. Deep loyalty requires tenacity, determination and very clear thinking, because if loyalty is not based on rationality; if we base it on anxiety, things can go horribly wrong. 

Genuine loyalty, like trust, is based on evidence. We have to be sure that the object of our loyalty is 'loyalty-worthy' and our assessment of this must be based on facts. One of these facts is whether or not a person we choose to be loyal to has displayed loyalty behaviors toward us. Demonstrations of shallow loyalty often lead to reciprocal loyalty or even deep loyalty between allies. At root, they carry the message 'I want to bond more closely with you, regardless of risks'.



Loyalty only works for our benefit if it is based on hard evidence - that the person to whom we are loyal is reliably sane and honest. Otherwise, blind faith replaces loyalty and unexpected nasty events like cults, gangs or the rise of mad dictators are likely to result. 

Here are some examples of loyalty-based behaviors:


Bob and Carl are good friends. Bob is also a friend of Alice, and from experience knows her to be lucid, sensible and honest. 

Alice tells Bob that Carl has done something nasty to her and explains the details. 

Without deep loyalty, Alice's experience with Carl will not affect their relationship, although Bob may well ask Carl about the incident. If Carl gives a different version of events, but refuses to speak to Alice, Bob will ignore their dispute and remain friends with both of them, although aware that he will have to socialize with them separately from now on. 

However if Bob is bonded more closely with Alice than he is with Carl (or if he wants to be), loyalty kicks in. Bob will suspend his former alliance and refuse friendship with Carl unless Carl sorts out the problem with Alice. Bob has chosen to lose an ally; although his benefit/hazard calculations will revise Bob's opinion of Carl as 'not as cool as I originally thought', and will (if the situation persists) run self assessments with regard to judgment of character, asking questions like, 'why did I think Carl was more reliable/sensible/reasonable/intelligent than he actually turned out to be?' 

Loyal behavior sends a very powerful biological message to the person you are loyal to: it says, consciously, 'I value your friendship more highly than that of other allies', and 'I care about you enough to lose other friendships in order to be with you'; but it also says, unconsciously, 'I consider you more intelligent than those who oppose you', AND 'I value your mind sufficiently to defend it.' Biology is being told that this ally is very very keen on us, which is a powerful invitation to closer bonding. 

Conversely, failing to carry out loyal behaviors sends the opposite message: 'I DON'T consider you more intelligent or important than those who oppose you'. This is, of course, a big turn-off in terms of bonding because the biological message is 'I'm not that keen on you'; 'I don't want to get any closer to you'. 

Such realizations about a partner can be an unpleasant surprise. It is, however, always beneficial to know the truth about where we stand, so whatever the outcome of such situations we learn something valuable, even though it can be very disappointing to discover that someone is not prepared to commit themselves to loyalty.

Adoration and affection may or may not go with loyalty; we may be loyal to the truth without even liking it. Love, care and affection can never alone constitute loyalty. The communication of loyalty is via behavior or conduct rather than intensity of feeling; it requires rectitude and tenacity; the loyal person acts for or stays with or remains committed to the object of loyalty even when it is likely to be disadvantageous or costly to the loyal person to do so.

Thus, loyalty without self-control and conscious rationality is impossible. It has to make sense to us why we are loyal to, say, Alice but not to Bob, even though Bob's a cool dude.

Examples of mutual deep loyalty:

1 Alice and Bob are in love, but their (formerly much-beloved) parents forbid them to see each other under threat of disinheritance because Alice is black and Bob is white. Alice and Bob run away together. 

This is reciprocated loyalty, and you may imagine the biological high that can be achieved in such circumstances will lead to very close bonding. A relationship must be very strong to risk losing former strong allies and resources for, so biology has to really believe it is worth it.

2 Children choosing to be taught at home and parents choosing to teach at home (note the word 'choosing') are practising deep loyalty. To demonstrate loyalty, you have to show that you are willing to lose, or risk losing, something of value (such as your job or schoolfriends); and that you are doing this of your own free will without coercion. 

To commit yourself to loyalty to another, you must stand WITH someone or something whose veracity you trust, AGAINST someone or something, by choice. At best, two or more persons with mutual trust based on long experience of each other can form a very strong bond by practicing loyalty that is resilient against dangers none could survive alone.

This doesn't mean that something like a shared love of vegetarianism and mutual condemnation of meat eating demonstrates mutual loyalty between individuals; it doesn't. That only demonstrates both their loyalty to the ideal of unilateral vegetarianism. 

Likewise giving up meat/smoking/beer because someone else wants you to doesn't communicate the biological message that you're prepared to risk losing anything in order to be closer to someone. It communicates the message (either) that you are changing your lifestyle of your own free will for your own benefit (or) that you are prepared to indulge in wimp behaviors for a while in order to get into someone's pants. Fake loyalty behaviors such as these communicate only our lack of personal integrity, and most of us find them fairly creepy to witness. 

Likewise, some dude bunking off school to attend a rehearsal with their band is not necessarily demonstrating loyalty, because chances are there was no contest. Some dude bunking off a hot date in order to attend said rehearsal is demonstrating loyalty. Some dude bunking off nursing a friend through an illness for the same reason is demonstrating their loyalty to the band and their lack of loyalty to said friend, both at the same time. Those who demonstrate more loyalty to their job or personal pleasure than to their family or friends (especially in times of illness) are likely to lose their family or friends. 

When loyalty goes wrong it turns into blind faith or blind obedience, and is much abused by political groups and fanatics.


loyalty in groups


Committing oneself publicly in loyalty to a particular alliance also reveals the truth to all about whom we are closest to. We risk losing other allies who are not so keen on this group, persons or ideas, plus we reveal more personal details about ourselves and our own morality to strangers. 

Loyalty exploits the power of bonded groups and is portrayed as the essential 'glue' holding together 'the goodies' in any story; even if privately they don't like one another at first, loyalty through mutual experience will cement them together. You may view this type of loyalty purely as 'professionalism'; the show must go on, band of brothers mentality, and so forth. But whatever we choose to call it, or details we choose to embroider it with, loyalty is involved.

Assessing loyalties exercise:

Imagine that all your relatives/friends shop regularly at the same store (say, because it's inconvenient to travel farther). One day, the owner of the store tries to rip you off quite badly and is very rude to you. You tell your family/friends about the incident and say you are not going to shop there again, despite the inconvenience.

Everybody else says they have never had any trouble from the store. Now ask yourself: which of your relatives and friends will boycott the store themselves because of how you were treated? 

Those who would do so have the greatest potential to be loyal members of your family/friends. They would be sending you an unconscious message that they believe you and trust you, and will stand with you against anyone who treats you badly. This sort of loyalty is what makes people feel both safe and respected in a relationship; a good basis for a developmental matrix. 

Think about it: those who don't do so would be sending you a clear unconscious message that either says they don't believe you, or they don't care that someone treated you badly. That's not good bonding material. 

loyalty has conditions

Biology doesn't commit to anything for nothing. The mind has already done a danger/benefit analysis, and decided that it's well worth making the commitment. If you are a loyal friend and you demonstrate this by loyal behavior it may well result in a reciprocated loyalty, and anothers loyalty is one of the greatest practical benefits a human being can have. 

You might love and stay loyal with a close friend or partner through extremely rough times, but that doesn’t mean your loyalty is unconditional, nor should it be. For example, if your friend or partner became delusional and behaved like some kind of monster, your loyalty would be affected and your commitment would change. 

Likewise there are 'big picture' conditional limits to loyalty - for example you might give your life for a beloved friend, but that doesn’t mean you would have stayed loyal to the friend if it meant that your family would be killed or your homeworld nuked. (Arguably, the person you are loyal to may in such circumstances support your decision to betray them, so you are still being 'loyal' to what you believe they would choose, but the point is we care about the long-term outcomes, consequences, benefits and dangers inherent in behaviors as well as their short-term results.)

Loyalty is a unifying program, albeit a potentially problematic one. It can consolidate relationships if reciprocated, and is an indication of desire to become closer to another wherever expressed. It is, however, not automatic; despite the expectations of genetic relatives or employers, loyalty, like trust is based on an underlying belief; itself based on a sufficient mass of evidence (either personally or by reputation) that a person or ideal is by our judgment 'worthy of loyalty'. 

One loyalty may also override another. Loyalty's initial expression is found in friendship, to which it is integral, but many other relationships require loyalty; such as loyalty to one's real self and one's ideals (integrity), loyalty to one's own promises (honor) and loyalty to truth; perhaps the ultimate loyalty. 

You cannot form a loyal group or partnership with anxious people who are incapable of bonding and unwilling to develop themselves in order that they can. Trying to do so is a waste of time that you could be using productively in developing feasible loyal relationships with real potential among close allies. Some have found loyal 'families' in musical groups or military groups or environmental groups or among a ship's crew. Wherever people gather together in the pursuit of common goals, we are primed for loyalty and bonding. 

Those with whom you feel most comfortable, who inspire you, whom you would rather spend most of your time with; they are potential candidates for forming a close group. People you do creative stuff with, people you can relax and have a good laugh with. People who can play. You know who they are. And don't exclude animals; the most resilient groups in biology are the most biodiverse; where boundaries are crossed between ages, sexes, ethnicity and even species. Bonding, like love, knows no boundaries.


evidence based techniques 


key techniques 6 – output control

How to avoid bully or wimp behavior (in yourself and others) 

First, pay attention and notice when it is going on

Some clues for spotting action, reaction and interaction:



'Bully behavior'(action)



Stiff posture, frowning, pursed lips, pointing or wagging index finger, head-wagging, 'horrified' contemptuous or disgusted expression, foot-tapping, clenched fists, hands on hips arms folded across chest, tutting, sighing, repetitive looking at watch, phone or notes, patting others on the head or shoulders, foot stamping, yelling, temper tantrums, rolling eyes, shrugging shoulders. 

Words & phrases:

Always ('You always say/do...')

Never ('You never say/do...')

I want you to...






That's Nonsense

How dare you!


Don't answer me back!

Now what do you want?


I am going to put a stop to this once and for all!

What's that supposed to mean?

How many times have I told you...?

Don't be cheeky!

What time d'you call this?

If I were you...

I'll raise my children as I see fit! (rather than, as they see fit)

Obviously, many of these words are also used during daily interactions and in humor, but the thing to watch out for is their being automatically spurted out regardless of context. Automatically spouting cliches is a sign of not being able to think of anything to say due to anxiety.



'Wimp behavior' (reaction)


Tears, sighing, moaning, complaining, pouting, high-pitched, whining voice, downcast eyes, open mouth, hand-raising for permission to speak, nail-biting, long term immobility, head down, hunched back or shoulders, sitting with knees drawn up to chest.


Words & phrases:

I wish

I know I should...

I dunno

What's the point?

I don't care

I guess

Who cares?

I suppose

It's impossible

probably not

Well, what can I do?

Next, stop and shift into open mode 

If somebody else is practicing these behaviors it is of course best to leave, and spend time with less anxious companions or alone. If you catch yourself drifting into them, take a break and get yourself into open mode. That will automatically enable an anxiety-free assessment of behaviors, and return you to growth & development operations where interaction is possible.

It's useful to be able to spot dodgy behaviors, and it's also important to recognize the signs of healthy interactions. These are, after all, what we are looking for as input from relationships. 


Spotting interactive behaviors


Mature behavior (interaction)


Anxiety-free listening is indicated by continual small movements – of the face, the eyes, the body, with an automatic eye-blink every three to five seconds. Non-movement signifies not listening. If the head is tilted, the person is listening with specific ideas in mind. Curious, attentive and sometimes excited expressions occur during communication.


Words & phrases:







I don't know

In what way

I think

I see

I wonder...

It's my opinion that...




what if

why not

imagine if

woh! Cool!

improving your chances in interaction

People who always seem to interact well do not do so by accident. They have a high-speed mature intelligence. This is good in cultural situations but even better in personal relationships.

The first way to build such an intelligence is to become aware of wimp or bully signals in oneself as well as in others. If you are in doubt about your own operational state it's best to say very little until you find out more. Give your system time to compute appropriate responses. Apply hard reason to what you are saying: is it true? Does this apply? Is this appropriate? Where did I get this idea? What's the evidence? Am I keeping core conditions?

The more easily you can recognize anxiety, bully or wimp behaviors and breaches of core conditions, the more easily you can interact. If there is internal dialogue, monitor it for wimp or bully phrases or attitudes. Internal accusatory dialogues indicate wimp thoughts. Internal aggression stems from bully thoughts.   


To improve bonding speed, practice the following behaviors: 

1 Find out what your friend or partner needs, and what they need to avoid. Because everyone is different, and needs change over time, you can do this on a regular basis. 

2 Help them achieve what they need, and help them avoid what they need to avoid.

This is how you tell someone you would like to be close to them. Doing this sends regular clear messages: 'I appreciate you as a friend and I enjoy it when you're happy'. 

Finally, but importantly, make some clear decisions about your basic values and morality. Clear decisions about the priorities in your life will inform all sorts of minor decisions for you. This is precisely how resilient, mature minds develop. Even hanging around interactive people if you don't join in will help your system model interactive behaviors in other situations.


most common NH problems 6 – the retrospective bummer dilemma



Any kind of increased awareness brings with it a new perspective on how unaware and out of control we were in the past. 

...At some point in your development it is likely to happen to you: the retrospective bummer dilemma. 

As you become more aware, and self-aware, your Theory of Mind and empathy skills will increase and it will occur to you at some point that in the past, you did one or two stupid or harmful things that you now realize were due to chronic stress and anxiety. Maybe you got caught up in bully or wimp behavior and harmed yourself and others; maybe you said or did something that harmed those you care about. It may have been just your lack of paying attention that caused an accident, or you may have had a total freakout, cracked under pressure and hurt someone important to you. You may not have realized, at the time, how dysfunctional your behavior really was, but now your new empathic abilities are bringing it home bigtime. And it's all coming back to you now; like a skunk in the wind with a recently augmented sense of smell. 

Certainly when this happens, it's a bummer, but that's not the bummer I mean. You now know enough about transforming sentiments like guilt or shame into healthy emotions to be able to solve that one for yourself. The bummer I mean is this dilemma where you ask yourself: 

I know it's harmful to dwell on past mistakes, BUT IF I banish memories of these events and refuse to dwell on them, THEN will I still learn from the mistake that made me do them in the first place? If those painful memories fade, will I fail to learn, and do similar things again?” 

That's the bummer: ...You're asking yourself, without that regular reweighting will I remember how important it is never to allow myself to do these sort of things again? Are the painful memories of my past stupidity the best reminders for how to behave now? 

The answer is no, dwelling on them just raises anxiety in the here and now. But when we've got role models on TV claiming 'I want to keep my pain; it made me what I am', and therapists encouraging us to let it all hang out, the conscious message conflicts with what we learn in NH – avoid raising anxiety in the here and now by avoiding dwelling on past misdeeds or imagined future fears. 

In a retrospective bummer dilemma we can go round and round, suffering post traumatic memory replays, never knowing whether it's a timely reminder to keep control of ourselves, or a dangerous repetitive habit caused by anxiety that ought to be stopped before it causes more damage. 

It took me a while to work through this one personally, but if you get this problem, remind yourself that yes, you used to do stupid/clumsy/thoughtless things, we all did; but now you know why, so you can avoid the thing that caused stupidity in the first place – anxiety! That's the only way to avoid being stupid in the present and creating more future dismay. 

To me the bottom line is, IF it's that important to you THEN you won't forget, so take the plunge and stop keep recalling (re-accessing) sentiment-laden memories of past misdeeds or accidents, BECAUSE YOU DON'T WANT CANCER.

Assessing your relationships: the most common problems

Where do you see your relationships in five years? It's a good question to ask yourself. The people you talk to, date, move in with, have fun with, work with, break up with or leave—it's all up to you. You're in the driving seat regarding your relationships' trajectories. That's why they're your relationships. 

Right at the outset of any relationship one can find typical features—that is to say certain prediction variables—that provide information on whether or not the relationship will be long-lasting. In general, people who have similar needs but who also want to be able to continue pursuing their own interests manage to interact more than most, and usually stay together longest. 

Major problems arise when individuals slip outside the green zone for healthy emotion and show signs of imbalance, usually wimp or bully behaviors and symptoms of anxiety and paranoia. When assessing relationships, here are some major warning signs of trouble coming: 

1 In communication, everything is about us (or them).

A technique called Discourse Analysis can help with relationship assessment, because evidence of an impending breakup exists in the small words used unconsciously in everyday conversations months before either partner realizes consciously where their relationship is heading. Three months before a breakup, partners' language begins to change and does not return to normal until about six months after the relationship ends.[18] 

Signs of a problem emerge when our language becomes more personal and informal and all about ourselves, indicating a drop in analytic thinking. We use the words "I" “me” and "my" more and show signs of increased cognitive load. Unconsciously we're thinking or working through something and are becoming more self-focused. 

Sometimes the use of the word 'I' is correlated with depression, confusion or sadness. When people are anxious, paranoid or depressed, they tend to focus on themselves and are not able to relate to others as much. These pronounced patterns peak on the day of the breakup and remain up to six months later. 

Overall, people who use a wider variety of negative emotion words tend to display linguistic markers associated with lower well-being—such as references to illness and being alienated - and report greater depression and anxiety, as well as poorer physical health. Conversely, those who use a variety of positive emotion words tend to display linguistic markers of well-being - such as references to leisure activities, achievements and being part of a group - and report better rates of overall health, and lower rates of depression and anxiety. You can pick up these changes by looking at your emails, anything you write, and from conversation. 


2 Behavior and thoughts become possessive, jealous and controlling, or withdrawal occurs. 

Do you constantly check your phone or get suspicious when your friend or partner is out with other people? If you're starting to feel like you don't trust them, ask yourself what that means. What another individual does with their time is none of your business. Respect means respecting that. 

Possessive behavior is a result of our own insecurities, drops us out of the mental health green zone, and compromises one of the most important foundations of any relationship—trusting each other to remain sane and aware of anxiety. 

Controlling behavior may be subtle, such as you always choose what movie to watch, or where to go for dinner; or about bigger issues such as how much time you spend together. Insecure people have a way of making everything about them and like to be in control of every decision, no matter how small it is, because they have no control over themselves. They might pretend to care about others' feelings and opinions but will always end up putting themselves first in an attempt to pacify their own anxiety. 

Manipulative emotional behavior can often be harder to detect, as it's often carried out in subtle ways that make you feel like you're being blackmailed into doing what they want. This is another form of 'conditional love' which emerges from sentiment, not emotion, and it can be particularly hard to detect it in ourselves. If you ever catch yourself stonewalling or sulking, stop right there and get back into open mode. These are not mature behaviors and they're a sign you are slipping out of the green zone. 

Withdrawal (desire to be alone or to avoid another) is more often consciously recognized and you say, “I just need some space to get my act together”, or “I need time to think about things”. If you find yourself taking on more tasks that keep you away from someone, or activities that avoid conversation with them, it's wise to ask yourself why. 


3 You feel exhausted or drained after spending time with someone and relieved they've gone.

Spending time with someone special in your life should make you feel energized, not drained. Anxious people can make you feel emotionally exhausted after spending time with them as you feel like you're the one constantly giving and making the effort, without getting anything positive in return. 

Wimp behavior can often drag us down into exhaustion. When someone is very negative, complains frequently and does not have a healthy or optimistic viewpoint of their life or the world, and brings your outlook down when you may otherwise be optimistic, that's an unhealthy relationship. You start to feel like an unpaid therapist. 

Remember, of course, to pay attention to your own topics of conversation – how often do you catch yourself joining in a wimp conversation of, 'Isn't it awful', or playing the blame game if something goes wrong in a relationship, or just moaning? 



4 They (or you) don't know the difference between disinterest & dislike. 

The basis of all emotion is caring. Every emotion you ever feel occurs because you care about something – because something matters to you. If you don't give a crap about something, if it doesn't interest you at all, you don't get emotional about it; you just ignore it.

There's an obvious difference to a rational person between not being interested in something/ignoring it, and disliking it or disapproving of it. Anxious people have no difficulty understanding non-interest when the subject is golf or stamp collecting, but they fail to understand it if it is something they personally feel strongly about, like politics, religion or foot/baseball games. 

If, for example, you say you have no interest in religion or politics (or in some cases, football); here the statement 'not interested' is translated as 'against' or 'anti-'. They assume you don't like football (or whatever). In some kinds of company the same is true of topics of various kinds; it depends on what those around you feel emotive about. Having no interest in sex will completely baffle most folks, who simply won't believe it unless you're under nine or over ninety, and judge you as a liar accordingly. Having no interest in vaccination or abortion will definitely get you judged as 'anti-'.

Not being able to tell the difference between disinterest and dislike is a major source of trouble in relationships which exacerbates as things go wrong. Personal biases and prejudice (judgment without proof) thus contribute to our lack of understanding of ourselves and each other. 

When we don't care about or are not interested in what others care about (or societally pretend to care about), they get baffled (and if they're anxious, they can get nervous or aggressive). If you're caught in such a crowd or with such a person it's far safer to say you 'don't know anything about it', whatever it is; this puts everyone at their ease because everything makes sense and they feel they can then 'teach you' or explain it to you. Then you can go home and consider where not to hang out in future if you don't want your ass bored off. 


5 They (or you) don't know the difference between them personally not liking something and it being shit. 

A frequent bully behavior is revealed when you ask someone what a movie/song/event was like and they say 'It's shit' and they mean they didn't like it. Reviewers do a lot of this. The attitude of, 'I don't like it, therefore it's shit' is a dead giveaway of arrogance. More mature reviewers often say stuff like, 'This was well performed and presented, but I didn't like it', which is the truth. Alternatively, some of us like stuff that is shit, and it's good to recognize that too. In real life, the two are disconnected. Quality is often measurable; like and dislike are not; they are individual. Just because you personally like something doesn't mean it's high quality or good for you. 

And that too can be a feature of relationship failures. If you say you don't like someones favorite music, or their cooking is shit but you love it, and they punch you in the face, this is why.


Some typical events between things in stuff 

Long-term, do you let your relationships roll along on autopilot, maintaining the status quo, or do they progress and become more (or less) interesting over time? Here are some typical events in relationships that most of us experience at some time in our lives:

To leave or not to leave, that is often the question


There are always difficult times in relationships with others when anxiety is high. What do we do when the smallest upset causes a major freakout or tantrum? Or when everything someone is saying or doing is clearly rude and disrespectful? Or when our familiar, well-balanced loved one unexpectedly acts like a lunatic stranger? Or when we realize that core conditions are never met?

Well, we get a nasty shock of course, but after that...? At some point, most of us find ourselves facing the complicated decision of whether to stick with a relationship or call it quits. Staying often takes the least effort, but when there's trouble coming, it usually comes.

Not all friendships are created equal. Some friends get along easily; others struggle to avoid conflict. Logically, a friendship in which both parties keep core conditions differs fundamentally from one in which they don't, in that the former tends to discourage action/reaction behaviors whereas the latter aggravates them; and experimental results confirm the logic.

One person's behavior often drives the other person's friendship experiences. Those with friends who indulge in wimp or bully behaviors described increases in relationship negativity over time, whereas those with friends adhering to core conditions report that relationship negativity declines.

It is not surprising that a lack of respect, empathy and honesty forecasts greater negativity. Being mean or depressing is antithetical to expectations of how friends should behave and is unconsciously viewed as a violation of trust. No one wants to be treated ill by a friend. 

Core conditions meet biological needs and increase the rewards of companionship. Those who practice them are also more adept at conflict resolution, which can help them defuse problems before they erupt into conflict.

We have long known that action/reaction behaviors contribute to subsequent increases in psychological distress and emotional difficulties.[19] Friends who indulge in bullying behaviors are soon former friends. People who indulge in wimp behaviors cannot seem to keep friends, and report increases in depression and victimization. Conversely, interactive behaviors are tied to the ability to make new friends and keep old ones. Put simply, behavioral tendencies that threaten relationships also threaten well-being. Behavioral tendencies that protect friendships promote healthy emotional adjustment and long-lasting, successful relationships. 

One thing never to do (unless there is a clear and present danger) is to abruptly end a relationship or leave whilst experiencing sentiment. Always consider the situation from open mode in a state of healthy emotional balance. Alternatively, cast the problem in terms of 'Alice and Bob' and attempt to look at things objectively: if your friend were in the same situation as you are now in, what would you advise them to do? Take especial care to avoid sentiment and be honest when ending a relationship. If you feel you've got too confused and need some space to think about things, say that you feel this way. It's much more helpful than blaming each other for various issues. Aiming to remain friends when ending a sexual relationship is the optimal goal, and the secret to achieving it is making sure nobody ends up feeling anxious or insecure.   

Students of NH often find themselves desiring a 'social clearout' as part of input control. As awareness develops, they may begin to feel they don't quite 'fit in' with a particular group of friends anymore, but on the other hand may feel that they don't know enough interesting and intelligent people to hang out with yet. They feel the need for company, yet current company does not fulfil them or stretch their minds and may actually hold them back. They may feel concerned about spending time with certain people or in certain places because they now know more about input control and are aware of others' influence on their own thinking and behavior. 

If this happens to you, don't isolate yourself for the sake of full-on input control. Unless relationships are actually harmful, maintain them but update your perspective on what they actually are; even if that's 'shallow and unfulfilling'. At the same time, actively seek out companions who do stimulate your mind. It's good to learn how to interact with all different kinds of people, which experience also helps you learn how to avoid raising anxiety in others and yourself. 

Restricting your contacts as a part of input control may be necessary for a short while when you first begin reducing anxiety levels, but once they are reducing you should begin practicing interaction on every level (and that includes maintaining friendships with harmless but uninspiring people). You reduce anxiety in order that you can interact with a clear perspective, and now you have to practice interaction.

Snapback warning! As with anything new we learn, you will make mistakes and you will get things wrong. This can raise anxiety and cause old sentiment habits to recur, such as guilt or self doubt. You need to be firm and determined that you will not fall for this anxiety con; and practice considering situations from an emotionally neutral perspective (use the 'Alice & Bob' or similar technique to distance yourself emotionally and think things through objectively).




Going round and round?

Going around in the same behavioral circles with different partners doesn't help you progress to more beneficial relationships. 

Entering into a new intimate relationship can feel exciting and full of possibility. And for many, it may seem to offer the chance to escape the patterns of our previous relationships: perhaps it really will work if we stick to core conditions this time, and maybe the new relationship will provide a greater opportunity to express ourselves or give us a greater sense of satisfaction. But in real life, once the initial hormonal/emotional rushes are over, the dynamics of a new relationship may unfortunately end up being pretty similar to the last one.


The pattern goes like this: 

Alice feels unconsciously anxious and insecure. Alice goes looking for a replacement parent to quell the anxiety. Alice meets Bob. Bob is also insecure, and looking for replacement parents. For a while their mutual interest in each other fuels a drop in unconscious anxiety in both parties. Alice and Bob decide they have found 'their soulmate', start living together and spend their time and energy pacifying each others' anxieties. 

After a while each begins to feel that they are giving more than they are getting in terms of needs being met. Increasing anxiety leads to ever-increasing bouts of wimp or bully behavior until one or both of them call it quits. 

THEN: Alice feels unconsciously anxious and insecure. Alice goes looking for a replacement parent to quell the anxiety. Alice meets Carl. And so on, and so on, again and again and again.

Nobody is developing in these kinds of relationships; there is no growth and no variety. There is too much dependence and not enough bonding. All beneficial relationships grow and change as the members learn more about being in the relationship. Any relationship that doesn't grow and develop all parties is going nowhere, and (life) time is being wasted doing the wrong thing again and again.


A learning experience is one of those things that say, “You know that thing you just did? Don’t do that.”


Douglas Adams  


The solution is for Alice to take responsibility for her own insecurity and develop herself to the stage where she can interact in healthier, less dependent ways. And the same goes for Bob, Carl, and anybody else still going round and round. Spend some time establishing yourself without any relationships, and being responsible for yourself, and enjoying being independent, and then you are secure, confident and ready for interactive relationships with equals. You don't need to go unconsciously looking for parents any more.


Conditioned responses



A loving relationship of intimacy between people who are not insecure makes giving and sharing spontaneous expressions of joy rather than responses to socially conditioned rituals. The absence of anxiety makes possible the fullness of perception that enables bonding and a healthy relationship emerges when both persons are mentally mature. Ulterior motives such as anxiety-pacification or replacement parenting destroy intimacy. 

Many other factors also prevent intimacy. Most of us are well aware of the increasingly complex requirements of the societies we live in, and the many stressors that weaken and even destroy relationships as a primary cultural matrix for meeting emotional needs. Bombarded by the diarrhea of social media and neverending demands on our time, we are frequently in the grip of unconscious (and often conscious) anxiety. Cognitive dissonance and the accompanying internal dialogue confuse us still further; we are often not even sure what 'we' really think or believe; it seems to depend what mood we're in. We often leave relationships to 'run on automatic', responding to cues with shallow, automatic, conditioned behavioral cliches.

The resulting relationships between anxious people drift and are carried along by the prevailing sentiments: up and down with no control of the moods of the moment. Many relationships are like this. They drift on but have no growth or direction because nobody is developing and nobody is directing themselves. The priority input in their decision making is, what are other people doing? They conform to their social circle in clothing, appearance, housing, childcare, morality, values, etc., believing the conditioned response of: 'As long as others are doing it, it must be okay'. If 'everyone' buys a particular thing, they have to get one. If everybody in the neighborhood does something, they must do it too.

Conditioned people do not build their own set of independent values. They really have no free will and their minds may as well not be their own. Drifting along being 'normal' usually ends up resulting in huge debt, disillusion and divorce, too, because that's normal.

Only a mature intelligence can step aside from the conditioning of wanting 'bigger/ better/ more' in order to pacify anxiety. This allows free will and discrimination in decision making with regard to whether or not getting a particular thing or doing a particular thing is right for them personally. 

Decisions about what you want to do, where and how you would like to live, and what items you need or don't need should be made according to the set of values relevant to you personally. People either learn to direct themselves or they drop back into the anxiety-pacifying same-old mundane drifting.

Consideration of biological morality becomes important to the direction of relationships that are anything deeper than casual. People who want in-depth relationships must communicate about what they consider important values, in order to assess potential partners' compatibility. Is their personal goal mental development, a fun life and loving relationships? Or is it two Porsches and a nanny/posh school for the kids? What are their ideas of 'acceptable' behavior? Are they aware of anxiety? 

There must be agreement on ethical standards which can help both or all parties direct a close relationship along clear lines which meet those expectations, because decisions are necessary in relationships all the time, and every decision we make is a moral decision based on what we think is correct or wrong in a specific set of personal circumstances. Where does the input used in making decisions come from; conditioning or independent thought? 

Reality is the basis for biological morality and reality is universal and dynamic, not parochial and static. Real life changes all the time, and too many relationships focus on what we have done, or what others are doing. Whilst an awareness of these things is relevant to our overall perspective, what we are personally doing now and what we personally plan to do are much more important. 

supportive issues


Much is heard, these days, about the benefits of 'supportive relationships'. But what exactly is meant by 'supportive'?

If someone 'being supportive' means loss of autonomy or independence for someone else, this is not supportive of healthy development or healing.

Here's a simple example in cases of emotional disturbance: if wimp or bully behavior is ignored, supported or 'forgiven', no change occurs. Nothing is learned from mistakes when we're told everything's fine; the very fact that everything isn't fine is the mistake we are meant to learn from. 

We are not doing anybody (or ourselves) any favors by denying that there is a problem. Pacifying another's anxiety is harmful because it removes the need for them to do anything about it themselves. Showing them how to do it themselves is more appropriate, but only if they want to learn. 

By all means share you knowledge of stuff like how to calm down, but never say 'there there, don't worry, you didn't mean it, ' or, 'I'm so sorry, it won't happen again'; because it will, with ever-increasing frequency or amplitude until self-control needs are met. (The needs are for the individual to take control of themselves and reinitiate development, and until that is done their needs remain unmet. What they need is self-initiated development.) 

It's fine to do things for each other, but make sure it is a straight swap of skills; not the emotional blackmail tactic of 'you do this for me and I'll have sex with you', or, 'you do this for me and I will pay you'. These sorts of arrangements inherently imply coercion and relationships remain shallow, even where sex is involved.

All interactive relationships are automatically supportive, and what they are supporting is both parties' mental development, a healthy matrix, and beneficial outcomes. Being supportive of decline leads to someone elses ever-increasing dependence at the expense of your own development. Everybody loses.

It is safe to have an ally under your wing for only as long as it takes them to learn to fly. It is never safe to have an ally under your thumb.”


Soothing and validating responses aren't always in our best long-term interests. Mature people do not want a partner who does whatever they want or agrees with them all the time; they prefer a challenge. We all tend to want empathic partners who understand us, but that doesn't mean they have to provide for our needs or agree with all our views.

Just as prioritizing immediate sensory gratification over the pursuit of long-term goals can be costly, there are downsides when partners prioritize pacifying anxietes instead of helping each other face the challenges of life's difficult problems from a rational, unbiased, anxiety-free perspective. 

Those who want to better support their loved ones' long-term welfare might want to consider first providing empathy, but then respectfully moving on to the more difficult work of helping loved ones think objectively about their conflicts and acknowledge that, in most conflicts, both parties have some responsibility for maintaining interaction, and both or all must try to see the situation from different perspectives.[20] 

There is a huge difference between conscious human intentions and unconscious biological intent. 'Taking care of people' can become a pseudonym for bullying them into doing what you think they should be doing or what you want them to do. Genuinely taking care of people is helping them to achieve autonomy in doing what they want. Sometimes, the people who rise up to defend others are the very persons those others need to be defended from. If you think what others want to achieve is harmful, then you shouldn't be helping them.


For serious NH practitioners, this idea extends into the domain of what you do for work and leisure. If you are doing things for someone who can't do those tasks themselves, it would be better to help them learn how to do those tasks; the only exceptions being illness or disability. If they could do the tasks for themselves but are paying you to do them, what are they doing instead? Is it beneficial, or are you helping to support someone causing harm? Does an employer respect you or treat you like cattle? 

Are you in a job where you have to make conditioned responses all day? The more strangers we have to greet, the less we respect each one, and overall the result is unconscious anxiety. We can't be respectful if we're unconsciously anxious; we can just do fake smiles and polite greetings that the expression in our eyes doesn't match, and most of us grow used to this. But biology still strives for respect in interactions and a 'depth' that cannot be achieved with anxiety present. 

Having a creative career doesn't exclude you from this issue – in reality, anything you create and share could be used for good or ill. You've got to decide whom you can safely share what with.


True evil is when we surrender our freedom and dignity”


See yourself for what you are, not what others try to make you”


Issues like these are not for most of us, who are not in a position to throw our routines into turmoil. But they are worth bearing in mind for future events; most folks change jobs at least once in their lives, so when the crunch comes look on it as an opportunity to choose something healthier and more beneficial than the last thing you did. This is also worth thinking about when deciding what to study: are you setting yourself up with qualifications for a job that's bad for your mental health or the environment? And for those who do investments and that sort of thing, do you have a clue what the fuck you are investing in? Are you supporting an economy that makes people more stupid and sick, or more intelligent and healthy? Are you helping allies or helping enemies?


conflict resolution



If you feel doubtful or ambiguous or confused about any of your relationships, ask yourself: are the core conditions being met for the interaction program to run? Are both or all persons involved in the relationship treating each other with honesty, empathy and respect? If the answer is no, the relationship either won't last or will become harmful.

The core conditions are universal -they apply regardless of age, sex, ethnicity or even species. The algorithm for interactive success works across domains; it only needed to emerge once. It needs nothing else except for these three conditions and it never gets any more complicated than that, deep down in the unconscious mainframe. 

Out of all the possible reasons you may think of, there is one that stands out in real life as actually predicting whether a couple or group or family will break up and it is this: breaking core conditions in a serious way. 

Thus, when talking about relationships (and in relationship counseling) complaints are frequent about empathy: 'S/he doesn't have a clue what I'm feeling', or, 'S/he acts as though they really don't care that I'm/we're upset', or, 'There's just no empathy at all'.

Rarely does anybody look at themselves and ask, 'Do I express the way I am feeling in an appropriate way?' Because empathy is extremely difficult to achieve when dealing with wimp or bully behaviors if you've never felt that way yourself. If you have no personal experience of jealousy, for example, it is virtually impossible to empathize with someone claiming to feel it, because their behavior just gives the impression of insecurity, possessiveness, and other sentiments allied to anxiety which you merely find depressing and start to feel like you ought to get away from. 

To a mature, non-anxious person, such behavior is just embarrassing because it seems weird and a little bit creepy and they don't actually want to empathize with it. Our unconscious awareness of avoiding dodgy input starts to prompt us to turn off empathy to avoid harm to ourselves, while the person in the grip of anxiety feels abandoned and betrayed. 

So the first thing to do if empathy issues arise is ask yourself what is getting in the way. It's usually anxiety-based sentiment, and it's usually more than one person getting caught up in it, so no finger-pointing because all you can do to help is remain anxiety-free yourself. Success depends on awareness of, and preparedness to deal with, unconscious anxiety. 

Respect is also a big issue across many domains, and behind our various discrimination issues. Older people complain about the lack of respect from younger people, whilst treating younger people with no respect. Parents don't respect their children, yet hassle them for respect. Long term 'couples' treat each other with no respect and each complains about the others lack of it. Psychiatrists' waiting rooms fill with folks who have no self respect and psychiatric wards fill with those with no respect for their own or others' lives. 

But by far the biggest complaint about core conditions breaching is a failure of honesty. As much as all other factors that make people feel more or less likely to consider staying together, the shock of dishonesty, particularly about our sexual preferences, is the one true relationship-killer. And the saddest thing about it is our lack of knowledge or awareness about ourselves.

Ask yourself these questions:  

1 Are you monogamous? 

2 How do you know? 

If you haven't had the experience of polygamy yet, how are you supposed to know? So that's the first hurdle, how do you honestly claim that you just want to be with one partner, to the exclusion of anyone else, for your whole life? Nobody can answer this honestly because they don't know yet. If you're honest, you don't have a clue what your biology will do or want to do in thirty (or even three) years' time! Nobody does, as we are all different and circumstances are always different. 

The second hurdle is: if you are anxious, you are likely to indulge in dishonesty for fear of losing the relationship. If your partner is anxious, so are they.

The only safe way around this is to lose the anxiety and be honest. You may feel like they are the only one for you right now but neither of you has a clue what you'll feel like as your relationship grows and develops. Accepting that you will both grow and change over time and agreeing to take on the challenges of emotional changes along the way is all part of the adventure of a mature relationship.


Almost always, serious problems arise when someone lies about being certain they are monogamous, and then actually not being. Often, they didn't know they weren't monogamous until biology informed them by automatically feeling attraction to a second partner, but that's no excuse for not revealing it to a (supposedly) beloved first partner. 

That's where the dishonesty comes in and that's what does the damage; not the deed of 'infidelity' itself.

Okay, what if you find out suddenly (maybe to your surprise) that you're not monogamous. You probably blame it consciously on the extreme sexiness of the person whose presence revealed it to you, but unconsciously you respond because biology prefers us to have sex with several partners. If you genuinely love someone, you will tell them you have realized this about yourself. Anything else is dishonest and disrespectful, implying that you think them too anxious to cope with the change. Once they know the facts, they are free to decide what to do. Lack of empathy can be survived, it just prevents emotional closeness. Lack of respect keeps relationships shallow. But lack of honesty is fatal for any relationship. 

So here's the third hurdle: Can you be free enough from anxiety, after discovering you're not monogamous, to share the news on what has happened? Because even worse is the situation where the dishonest party pretends to apologize for their 'lapse' and their partner pretends to 'forgive' them, then they all expect to carry on as though nothing had happened. The only outcome here is either it will happen again, or the other partner will try it as well, consciously to 'get back at them' but unconsciously because biology prefers us to have sex with several partners. 

There is no getting around this one, apart from honesty right from the start. If you don't know your sexual preferences, tell anyone you are close enough to discuss it with that you don't know yet. It's fine to say, 'I feel like I want to be monogamous, but I don't know what I would do or how I would feel after many years because nobody knows that'. On the other hand, if you already know that you're not monogamous, don't lie about it just to get regular sex or you're beginning a relationship by breaking core conditions before you start and that's a waste of time. 

There are, after all, plenty of free single people out there who are only interested in casual sex and with whom you can have a good time; some people even make a profession out of it so if regular sex is all you want, there's no need to coerce or confuse those who are expecting something more. Ah, but could it be what you were really looking for in the first place was regular sex and free housekeeping, or a replacement parent? Know yourself. 

Relationship conflicts, from group policy debates to family disagreements, can easily devolve into wimp and bully behaviors if anyone (or more usually, everyone) is unconsciously anxious. Such pointless confrontations, however, seldom resolve disagreements and can entrench opposing views. 

Anxiety prevents us accessing frontal lobe skills, such as open mindedness, respect, empathy, diversity and perspective. So applying these elements of wisdom can be difficult, especially during confrontations. The trick is to train yourself in advance to reason about interpersonal conflicts in an objective manner by anonymizing them.

You can use 'Alice and Bob' in practicing how to achieve this; thinking through an issue in terms of: 'person A thinks...' and 'person B thinks...' enables us to see situations from a more detached, third-person perspective. This approach enables us to recognize the limits to our information and experience, to acknowledge different ways the conflict may play out, and consider and balance multiple viewpoints. Through practice with imaginary problems as a game, we can slowly inculcate this more wisdom-centered approach into our real life conflict-resolution techniques.[23] 

In simple terms though, the best way to resolve conflicts is to interact, keeping core conditions. Both or all parties sticking to this rule can alleviate most problems, and if one or the other parties proves unable to interact at all, at least you know that's the case and that's probably why conflicts are arising. Breaking core conditions causes conflicts, and until we all get this fact, our progress in relationships will be slow.

It is never permissible, btw, for one person to point at another and say, “You broke core conditions!” This is not interaction; it is a 'blame game' and it's bully behavior. The correct view is, “We broke core conditions”. Because if someone breaks core conditions, they are anxious. Interaction prevents anxiety. So why would they feel anxious if everyone else was interacting? 

Justifying our own behavior or blaming others is wasted time; time that should be spent interacting. If you keep tripping up, turn your eyes away from the details of what you tripped over, and look towards where you are going now. Otherwise you'll trip over the next issue because you didn't see it coming. Stop analyzing what went wrong and focus on what can now go right.

Remember, however, that trying to interact won't work if anyone involved is currently stuck in protection mode, for although you can develop very strong control of your own system over time, you cannot do anything to change the state of others' minds except to be a good example of how to behave. When people are chronically anxious they cannot interact, and that's a difficult one to get your head around when you've got self control, because you can't understand why they haven't. 

So don't waste time trying to change others (it's extremely rude anyway). Nobody can listen to you when they're too busy listening to anxiety chattering scary thoughts inside their heads and have no experience of turning it off. Instead of wasting your time and energy, put that time and energy into working with those who, like you, know about anxiety and how to deal with it.


Group conflict

In evolutionary terms, group conflict is a very recent thing. As recently as around 15,000 years ago, the population of the whole of Europe was only 29,000, and the population of the whole world was less than half a million. With such small population densities, hunter-gatherer groups had plentiful resources, no need to disagree with each other, no need to develop ruthlessness and competitiveness, and certainly no reason to go to war. Archaeological evidence back this up: war is a late development in human history, arising with the first overpopulation issues occurring in agricultural settlements.

Contemporary hunter-gatherer groups who live in the same way as prehistoric humans have a similar history; indeed one of the success strategies within such groups is their egalitarianism. Individuals in such groups don't accumulate their own property and possessions. They have a moral obligation to share everything. They also have methods of preserving egalitarianism by ensuring that status differences don't arise. Typically in such groups, men have no authority over women; individuals usually choose their own sexual partners, decide what work they want to do and work whenever they choose to. 

Cooperation, egalitarianism, gregariousness and peacefulness are natural to human beings living in small groups in natural habitats. These are the behaviors that have been essential in human life for tens of thousands of years before we got domesticated and multiplied to ridiculous extremes, trading quality of life for quantity of people all the way.

When the natural habitats of primates are disrupted, either through overpopulation or through interference from without, they tend to become more violent and hierarchical. So it could well be that the same thing has has happened to us, since we gave up our natural lifestyle and started cramming ourselves together en masse into the glorified lab rat cages that we call apartments. 

If there is ongoing conflict within a group, whether it be family, friends or acquaintances with mutual interests, anxious members tend to either play the blame game or start trying to coerce each other. Rarely are the biological needs of members considered, for our conditioned, domesticated way of thinking tells us that 'more is better', 'bigger is better', and it becomes counter-intuitive to consider: maybe the group has too many members. Quality is often lost in favor of quantity. Maybe more success could be had by splitting a group into two or more smaller groups pursuing similar things, or in some cases totally different things. 

There is an optimal group size for human communities, of between 100 and 250 people. 

We unconsciously build our lives around this size of community; often our circle of friends is much smaller. On average, there are three to five people in our lives with whom we have a very close relationship (close friends and/or family), around ten with whom we have close friendships, a larger group of about 30-35 people with whom we frequently interact, and around one hundred acquaintances we come into contact with every now and then in our daily lives. In other words, we can interact successfully on a regular basis with about 150 people, but our circle of friends and loved ones is usually much smaller. [24] 

Another biological consideration: natural dynamic groups have no permanent 'leaders'. Each task the group commits to will have its experienced specialists within the group who will guide others during that specific task. If people in your group are vying for dominance, there will be bully behavior and coercion to follow their personal agendas instead of group agendas. Those who strive to 'be in charge' are usually the most anxious, so static hierarchies are not good structures for successful groups. 

Any group that posits itself as 'us against society' is deluding itself: Anyone involved in society, even as a protester against it, is still involved in it. Not being involved is the only way out, and most are too anxious to take it.


Programs have to respond to programs

Interaction is a biological program, and the more you allow it to run without anxiety getting in the way, the more others will respond in more positive ways. Like anything else, it requires practice to get good at it, but you don't have to 'learn' how to interact. All you need to do is keep core conditions, and it runs all by itself, rewarding you with successful relationships, feelings of great satisfaction and inspiration, and a lot of laughs. Enjoy!


Refs chapter 6


1 paraphrasing Richard Bentall; Professor of Clinical Psychology at Liverpool University

2 e.g., Keltner & Kring, 1998; Niedenthal et al., 2015; van Kleef, Cheshin, & Fischer, 2016

3 Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1989; Oatley, 2004

4 Ekman, 1992; Ekman & Cordaro, 2011; Keltner & Lerner, 2010; Shariff & Tracy, 2011; van Kleef, 2016

5 Ekman, 1992; Keltner & Haidt, 2003

6 Frijda, 1986

7 Playfulness can be trained—here's why you should do it ; Kay Brauer et al, Adult playfulness: An update on an understudied individual differences variable and its role in romantic life, Social and Personality Psychology Compass (2021). DOI: 10.1111/spc3.12589 

8 Rogers, C.R. (1957). The necessary and sufficient conditions of therapeutic personality change. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 21: 95-103

9 Marine Azevedo Da Silva et al, Bidirectional Association Between Bullying Perpetration and Internalizing Problems Among Youth, Journal of Adolescent Health (2019). DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2019.09.022

10 Eleonora Vagnoni et al, Listening to a conversation with aggressive content expands the interpersonal space, PLOS ONE (2018).

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0192753

11 "Neural Correlates of Mating System Diversity: Oxytocin and Vasopressin Receptor Distributions in Monogamous and Non-Monogamous Eulemur," Nicholas Grebe, Annika Sharma, Sara Freeman, Michelle Palumbo, Heather Patisaul, Karen Bales, and Christine Drea. Scientific Reports, Feb. 12, 2021. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-83342-6 ; Scientific Reports ; AND https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monogamy_in_animals

12 Survey finds one in eight of five-to-19-year-olds had mental disorder in 2017 ; AND The Mental Health of Children and Young People in England 2020: digital.nhs.uk/data-and-inform … -follow-up/data-sets AND Scottish children among the highest rates of health and social inequality in Europe ; Volume 1 of the Findings: www.euro.who.int/en/hbsc-spotlight-vol1 ; Volume 2 of the Findings: www.euro.who.int/en/hbsc-spotlight-vol2 AND Autism diagnosis more common in the US as racial gap closes ; CDC study: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volum … htm?s_cid=ss6904a1_w AND "Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children Aged 8 Years—Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 Sites, United States, 2016" is available on the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/ss/ss6904a1.htm?s_cid=ss6904a1_w. A copy of the Community Report with individual state statistics is available: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/addm-community-report/index.html. AND

US autism rate edges up in new CDC report AND Social media use by adolescents linked to internalizing behaviors ; "National Trends in Mental Health Care for Adolescents" JAMA Psychiatry (2020). DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.0279 ; JAMA Psychiatry AND Family dynamics may influence suicidal thoughts in children ; Boston Children's Hospital has more about child and teen suicide. The Lancet Psychiatry AND Students do better in school when they can understand, manage emotions ; Julia Moeller et al, High school students' feelings: Discoveries from a large national survey and an experience sampling study, Learning and Instruction (2020). DOI: 10.1016/j.learninstruc.2019.101301 AND Suicide attempts by self-poisoning have more than doubled in teens, young adults ; The Mayo Clinic has more about teen suicide. Journal of the American Medical Association

13 G. Sharvit et al. Does inappropriate behavior hurt or stink? The interplay between neural representations of somatic experiences and moral decisions, Science Advances (2020). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aat4390

14 Daniel Conroy-Beam. Couple Simulation: A Novel Approach for Evaluating Models of Human Mate Choice, Personality and Social Psychology Review (2021). DOI: 10.1177/1088868320971258 

15 lots more at: https://archive.org/stream/philosophyloyal00roycuoft/philosophyloyal00roycuoft_djvu.txt 

16 Wilson, 23

17 West, Ranyard, 1945, Conscience and Society, New York: Emerson Books. P218

18 Sarah Seraj el al., "Language left behind on social media exposes the emotional and cognitive costs of a romantic breakup," PNAS (2021). www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.2017154118 ; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

19 Olivia Valdes et al. Being nice and being mean: Friend characteristics foreshadow changes in perceptions of relationship negativity, Journal of Research on Adolescence (2021). DOI: 10.1111/jora.12604

20 Edward P. Lemay et al. Validation of negativity: Drawbacks of interpersonal responsiveness during conflicts with outsiders., Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (2019). DOI: 10.1037/pspi0000214

21 Captain Picard, Star Trek TNG; S1 e23]

22 Babylon 5; S1 e15]

23 Distance from a conflict may promote wiser reasoning

24 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar%27s_number 

25 I have no proof for this, but am keen to do the experiment so if you are in the area and are not a biopsychologist, give me a call

26 PLOS ONE (2021). journals.plos.org/plosone/arti … journal.pone.0252528





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