A few additional points are to be made in relation to the model I sketched in my previous posting.
1. A trigger can also be bottom up in the four level model, as when 'body' sends a signal to brain/mind that it is getting fatigued or getting hungry.
2. A trigger can also be "horizontal" as coming from the environment (influence from other people(verbal, emotional, etc.), physical objects (bumping into something), etc. Heterarchical connections refer to connections on the same level ("horizontal" ), while hierarchical relations refer to "vertical" connections. The latter can be inner relations (as mind to soul) or external (e.g, your boss or some authority figure).
3. The messenger is an intermediary between the trigger signal and the processing part. It may execute an evaluating function.
4. This three-tiered approach can be related to ideas of John Bennett and Charles Sanders Peirce. Initiation, reception/processing and mediation are very general concepts and widely applicable, I believe.
5. Very important is the idea of degrees of freedom (autonomous function vs causally determined function). While the original trigger in a process may be unpredictable (undetermined), the subsequent steps point to a loss of degrees of freedom. The intermediate step, the messenger, has a dynamic function, and thirdly, the program that is executed is by its own nature very much restricted. Analysis of this idea is very important, I think, because it does shed more light on the controversy of freedom vs determinacy, not the least of philosophical-scientific issues!
In accordance with the above, I am doing some inventory of process.
As an example, think of contraction of a muscle fiber, comprising a.o. excitation-contraction coupling: neuronal signal causes release of a neurotransmitter which by binding action generates an action potential that is propagated along sarcolemma and causes a whole program to be executed, leading to contraction of a muscle, work being done and relaxation. No need to go into details here as I am simply doing a quick inventory. It is very easy to get sucked into details and lose sight of the big picture. Point is that there is (1) a trigger (neuronal signal), (2) a messenger (neurotransmitter), and (3) a program that is executed, leading to (4) work done, energy spent.
Another example is that of the perceptive process: a signal from outside of the organism is perceived by some sense (can also be a receptor in a single cell) and through an effector triggers the execution of a program. This can be an elaborate program consisting of many complex steps. This is something that happens on many levels: cell, organ, organism, etc.
On the psychological level one can also think in terms of: perception, belief system, act. Interpretation is obviously involved in this. The role of belief system as a filter is a vital one to consider. An event, the subsequent evaluation which brings forth an emotion, which has a regulatory role/function (and may trigger action) and the subsequent act (behavioural program) also points to a three tiered approach, I believe.
(This latter example may turn out to be very complex)
However the case, we can always zoom in or out of the fractal human being to see more detail or focus on a larger picture.
BTW, the "program" or production of some form or change of form with subsequent work done involves two levels of the model, making four levels total.
I am sure that many more examples can be found and will continue to dig a little further. Remember: always keep an eye on the big picture!
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