The process that all of us use and
all of us vary when we use it.


How processes could run

What I think is extraordinary in the human system is its flexibility. That should not surprise us: humans can and have to be extraordinarily flexible. Just think how much flexibility we need: after we have worked ourselves (or let ourselves be brought) into problems we must take great pains to sort things out. People by necessity have to grow and become the individual which only they are able to become!
The flexibility of the human process is shown in the possibility to apply variation whenever one applies it to some purpose. We can unconsciously or consciously skip phases and we can also follow all the steps one by one with great care. As I said last time, everybody always adds their personal ways of doing things to the process. That individual manner originates, among others, from the added filtering or colouring which allows seeing things in our own way. All of this is also recorded 'in our genes'.

It makes me curious about the structure of the process that has the flexibility to enable us to do things our way and, if we wish to, adapt that way of doing things to our or someone else's wishes and needs consciously. Everyone knows that process and recognizes it. The structure of the process is difficult to recognize in individual behaviour, whilst it is logical that we already use it in natural processes. The form of the process is identical for physical processes, like eating and drinking, and for mental processes, like coming to and making decisions which determine our behaviour. In a physical process, like the one that takes place in the digestive tract, we follow the complete process in all its parts. In our individual behaviour in everyday life, however, we do not have to follow all steps of the process in order.

With respect to our activities, the complete process is like the ideal model of it, it offers the full range of possibilities of human behaviour. The individual pattern, in the beginning only a partial process, is both the icing on the cake of human preferences as the source of all disagreements and misfortune which fills the history books. Whereas the individual pattern gives both the comfort and the pitfall of routine, so the complete pattern offers the complete spacetime with all possibilities that everybody has to his command but which nobody gets for free.


How a physical process runs

The human process, the basic process that human beings use by nature, can best be illustrated by means of an example. As I said above, we can assume that physical processes follow the complete process. Therefore I'll take the process of eating an apple as an example.

Eating an apple

  1. I begin and take a bite from the apple. In the mouth the bite is sampled, chewed, mixed with saliva it and can still be removed easily;
  2. now I swallow it, if this was what I had in mind and if the bite has been chewed sufficiently in order to pass through the throat to enter the gullet (watch it: not the bronchial tube!);
  3. in the gullet, the morsel is transported forward, unless some irritation develops on the way;
  4. the stomach makes room for the morsel, collects and binds the morsel(s) with gastric juices into a mass.
    Here we have the last opportunity to send the mass back and here the first, preparatory, part of the process ends.
  5. The next, selecting, part of this process no longer can be steered at will. It demands much energy, which is provided directly by the heart, partially via a special blood vessel;
  6. now small portions of the mass at a time are admitted to the duodenum; according to need, substances such as gall or insulin are added which work on the food for some time in order to break it down and make the nutritious substances identifiable for analysis and separation further down the intestines, where matter which is recognized as useful is withdrawn from the mass and passed on to the bloodstream;
  7. in the kidneys useable and useless elements in the blood are differentiated, and what could be reused is carefully balanced out and filtered out;
  8. through the last part of the intestines, the rectum, and from the bladder (compare the nose, womb, testicles) any finished matter is removed so that the space becomes available again.
    At this point the second, selecting, part of this process ends.
  9. The final, assimilating, part of the process begins in the liver. Here the separate materials are processed for absorption in the cells and for later use - as energy, as building material, as catalyst, et cetera;
  10. now the separate materials are guided to their destinations in the most efficient way: 1. if they are needed immediately, toward the cells for absorption, 2. if they are not immediately necessary, toward storage places for later use, for example in bones or as fat, 3. discarded matter from cells is removed and possibly prepared for reuse;
  11. the elementary matter ultimately reaches the cells and will, according to need, be accepted and be used, for example as fuel or as building-materials;
  12. once dissolved in the body, the information about the materials can be stored and the digesting process be released. The cell's 'memories' can be completed with information about a possible allergic reaction to certain matter.
    The last, assimilating, part of the process is finished and the body can let go of this goal.

Meanwhile, so much time has elapsed since the specific bite has been taken that there is no apple left to take a bite from. This is to indicate that in the time during which a process is running, other processes can or sometimes must go on simultaneously, like taking the next bite as soon as the first has been swallowed.


How a selection process runs

You may have noticed that four phases in the physical process offer a possibility to change course. After the first phase, which must have been preceded by a decision, mainly the second phase offers a clear and ready moment of choice. We swallow or we don't and spit the bite out again, once we have started the process. Here and up until the stomach we confirm the decision to eat an apple. The process always runs the same course, never is one step skipped, unless the system is in disorder. The process runs automatically like a conveyor-belt which, once it is started, delivers a standard product.

As eating (a bite of) an apple is a different thing from deciding to eat an apple, so is drinking a cup of coffee a quite different thing from the decision to take a cup of coffee. Physical processes like eating or drinking are always preceded by processes of decision-making.
Just imagine we have made the decision to stop smoking. As I always combine smoking with drinking a cup of coffee, it is clear that this has consequences for the habitual coffee ritual.

In order to show how the realization of the decision to stop smoking works in daily practice I have selected the example of the intention to go and take a coffee-break. The characteristic of stopping smoking is that it needs to be realized at moments which occur within other processes, which are often of a social nature. We have to be alert at all moments when we usually smoke: in the morning on the edge of our bed or when we are under stress, when we are concentrating on our work or when we are relaxing: during coffee-break, after meals, during social gatherings. We have to be alert specifically on the moments that other matters distract us.


Selection process: Smoking or stop smoking, version A and B

In these two columns I put side by side the course of the process if well and if not sufficiently prepared to stop smoking.
I am at work in my office.

A. I am well prepared for the new situation.  I have realized in which circumstances I usually take a cigarette and even in which cases I am hardly conscious of the fact that I have lit a cigarette. I am also aware of the fact that at the office I need to go to the other canteen than I usually do and I have made a plan of how to tackle the problem.
  1. I feel like a cup of coffee / I need a short break;
  2. I take my time to involve my plan in the initiative;
  3. There is a difference to be noticed, there is a reason as regards coffee breaks and smoking to map out a personal course of action;
  4. I am aware of my emotions.
  5. I have an overall picture of the situation and I am in control of myself.
  6. I analyze my possibilities and my needs, I am prepared in every detail;
  7. I carry out my intended plan. Interaction takes place in series of sub-processes:
    • I walk toward the non-smokers canteen;
    • I socialize with colleagues in the non-smokers canteen who are surprised;
      • I talk about my decision to stop smoking;
      • we talk about ... ;
    • I take a cup of coffee/ tea/ cocoa;
      • take a sip;
      • and another;
    • I return the cup;
    • I go to my colleagues in the smokers canteen;
      • and tell them ... ;

    • I leave the canteen to return to my office;
  8. The results of the coffee-break - in as far as they pertain to my intention to stop smoking - have to be appraised: the value of the reactions from the environment against the value of my intention for myself.
  9. My story has to be adapted to my modified behaviour;
  10. I lay out a strategy to introduce the story of my behaviour in the appropriate social groups;
  11. I enter my social surroundings well prepared and from self-acceptance I can work towards social acceptance;
  12. The experience has to be assimilated, must be stored in conscious memory and is available as replenished frame of reference for future processes.
B. I am not prepared for the new situation (or I have prepared myself carefully on what can be expected but things nevertheless go wrong when I let my attention get distracted at the start: my boss starts a conversation and he offers me a cup of coffee).

  1. I feel like a cup of coffee / I need a short break.
  2. I do not involve my plan in the initiative, or I am thinking about my work or about other things;
  3. There is nothing different to be noticed, there is no reason as regards smoking to map out a personal course of action;
  4. There is nothing special to feel.
  5. There is no overall picture of what happens, I am not in control of myself - in as far as my intention is concerned.
  6. There is nothing to be analyzed regarding smoking, there are no details prepared;
  7. Without plan I undergo the environment. Interaction takes place in series of sub-processes:
    • (in thought) I walk to the smokers canteen and enter;
    • I socialize with colleagues in the smokers canteen;
      • we talk about work;
      • family;
      • sports;
      • the weekend;
    • I take what I always take;
      • take a sip;
      • and another;
    • I return the cup;
    • I take a cigarette (or accept one, or buy a packet);
      • I light my cigarette;
      • I take a puff;
      • and another;
      • I put out my cigarette;
    • I leave the canteen to return to my office;
  8. During the experiences in phase 7 nothing has happened that confronted me with my intention; there is no need for appraisal.

  9. There is no information about an experience with the intention;
  10. There is no reason or urge to lay out a strategy;
  11. There is no new approach needed with respect to my social surroundings;
  12. The experience is assimilated, is stored in unconscious memory and is available as unaltered or even battered frame of reference for future processes.
In example B (on the right) the intention has never been applied.
We have seen that in phase 7, the actual experiences take place. These are in fact series of sub-processes with their attached sub-sub-processes. If I, preliminary to this specific process, unexpectedly get involved in another process (for example a colleague speaks to me about our work and suggests we go and have some coffee) the coffee-drinking-process can suddenly change into a sub-process and I can lose my grip on the situation since I become totally concentrated on other things outside myself.
Since the end is where we start from therefore the end must be not just an idea but a sound plan in my frame of reference. For phase two, where we revert to our frame of reference, we need attention for ourselves and thus we need time.

Explicit and implicit choices within processes

Let's imagine that in the environment at that moment, in one of the sub-processes in phase 7, there had been something or somebody which or who reminded me of my intention. Imagine I felt remorse and a little bell started to ring? What happens then? Then the question arises as to whether or not I enter into the confrontation with other people or with actual experiences linked to the decision-making process to stop smoking. Normally, that is, without taking into account the characteristic behaviour which plays a decisive role in a selection process, this is explicitly the case in the 8th phase. Here the confrontation would take place between experiencing the value from the environment with my own feelings for my intention. Here the question is raised of whether I take space for my own intention or not. Then it will be a matter of yes or no, all or nothing.
If the answer is yes I shall have to go back to the 2nd phase and still take time to refer to my resolution in order to resume the thread of my original intention and, via implicit decisions, lay the foundations for different behaviour. Thus I will, in phase 3, be able to continue via another route and, if it appears in phase 5 that I have enough courage, may as yet carry out my resolution.
If the answer is no, the intention does not come up, I don't need to adapt my story about smoking in the 9th phase (or only for certain groups), I don't need to submit it in the 11th phase to all groups of friends, and the intention will get weaker.

That is only a rough description from practice. Now the theoretical version. Indeed in phase 8, when choosing, removal or rejection of one or the other takes place: it is yes or no. However,

  • that is only possible if beforehand, in phase 6, everything has been analyzed in detail;
  • but that is only possible if, in phase 4, inner space has been made ready for personal feelings;
  • and that is only possible if, in phase 2, personal motives or plans have been drawn into the process;
  • which is only possible if, in phase 12 of a preceding process, relevant information for the present process is saved at a conscious level;
  • which is only the case if, in phase 10 of the same preceding process, a strategy has been developed; that happens on the basis of sufficient certainty that other behaviour is feasible.

This leads to the conclusion that it is not possible to point out one phase which is most important in realizing a decision (by making a choice in phase 8). In a preceding decision process the 10th phase is crucial, as there the actual preparation has to get a tangible form. In the implementation process we can consider the 2nd phase as crucial because, without attention for personal motives or plans, all subsequent phases will lack the information from memory. In phase 6 the subject is less 'What shall I present and what do I need?' than 'Which contribution will be expected from me at the coming interaction?'. The interaction in phase 7 will be determined mainly by circumstances in the environment.


Recognizable behaviour

Whilst eating or drinking something, however automatically it is done, always follows the complete process, we can indeed skip phases during the selection process. Then the process can be handled dynamically, moreover, we are able to move between the phases. We do so in a characteristic way which makes us recognizable. It is our individual pattern. One person jumps from the first phase, beginning, directly to the 6th phase 'How does it work?', 'Am I doing it right?', while another person jumps from the beginning immediately towards the 9th phase 'Does it add anything to my story?', 'Can I learn something from it?', and thus there are many ways, as many as there are phases. One can even get stuck initially in the first phase or one can by nature go forward to phase 2 and thus perhaps remain immune to the above problems by always implicitly starting from and including personal motives and goals.
If we profoundly break through the old pattern and our behaviour becomes essentially different in many fields, a kind of fractal aspect of the structure becomes visible.

        fractal: complexity increases on the basis of the same form
We apply the formula slightly different and subsequently our character will take on a different shape. The automatic pilot is replaced by a more independent attitude than before. In such a case the reactions from the environment upon our behaviour will also change. It is just as likely that this could be negative or positive. Not everyone will be ready to follow our flexibility and prefer the sureness of well-known old behaviour. Probably we will become more conscious of our dependencies and our freedom in relations with people.

The subject of individuality and dynamics is treated extensively in the pattern-line.
The next time that I discuss the human structure, in ZZZ 6, I shall describe the model theoretically and go further into the structure of the process according to which individual behaviour progresses.