The Comparison Process: Explananda, Pt. 1.
posted 28 feb. 2014
By Herb Wiggins, discoverer/creator of the Comparison Process//COMP Theory/Model, 14 Mar. 2014, USA.
1. The various sensory illusions, from optical, to movement and motion sickness, including space sickness are readily explainable in terms of the Comparison Process (COMP). Further, using a simple comparison, these illusions are easily shown to be illusions.
First, the lunar size illusion is fairly well known. The moon at the horizon when it’s rising looks larger, compared to the moon in ascent, well away from the horizon. Why is this? Because the horizon provides a large horizon line to which the visual cortex can compare it to. So it looks larger. When in the sky, there is nothing to compare it to, either, so our visusal cortex gives it a “default” size. How this can be shown is when the moon is rising over the lip of a large, long canyon, it also looks larger than when it’s higher in the sky. A large building edge behind which the moon is rising also creates this illusion. Simply by holding up a long enough measuring stick horizontally, & comparing that to the moon in the horizon versus the moon ascended shows it’s no larger in the sky than it is when rising. It dispels the illusion.
Another visual illusion is that of one which uses straight lines intersected by jagged boxlike white and black, or colored shapes. The lines look curved. By placing a clear plastic measuring ruler in the middle of it, it can be shown that the lines are in fact straight and the illusion disappears on either side of the measuring ruler’s edge. Most other optical illusions can be similarly shown to be illusions simply by comparing them to standard edges & so forth.
There is a movement illusion which is also related to optical illusions. When one is sitting in a car, and there’s a large truck on the right side, both stopped at a light, or intersection, if the larger truck begins to move the car driver has the illusion that his vehicle is moving backwards. Because the visual system is comparing the truck to the car, this creates that momentary illusion of backwards movement. This is quickly dispelled by comparing oneself to a fixed object on the road, which shows the truck is what’s moving, not the car. This illusion can also be produced when passenger rail cars are moving in opposite directions, stop at a station, and the one may move, giving the illusion of backwards movements, once again in the stationary car. Which can be dispelled by fixing on the stable platform one is next to.
Most other simple optical illusions can be shown to be a result of a comparison illusion created by the visual system. And this can be shown by using a dispelling comparison, which does that. The reason why such illusions are created is that the Comparison Process is being used by the visual cortex, when it creates images and shapes from the retinal data sent to it. It should, theoretically, allow us to understand how these illusions are being created by the visual cortex on a neurophysiological basis.
Suffice it to say, that if the Comparison Process can explain neatly, efficiently most every sensory illusion thrown at it, then it must be correct, a widespread cortical processing method, and recursive and highly important as well. That it is very widespread appearing in nearly every testable circumstance, shows that it’s real, cortical, stable and universal in humans, as well as other species which show the Comparison Process traits.
2. This comparison process should give us insights about how our visual cortex creates images and shapes. The problem further is that we cannot necessarily assume that our visual system uses Euclidean geometry and for this simple reason. We do NOT find geometric shapes in the natural world, at all. And our visual system was created 100,000’s of years before geometry. Therefore, in order to figure out how images/shapes are created from the raw data from the retina, we must understand what kind of geometry the visual cortex uses, which will be non-euclidean, very likely.
There is no necessity that our visual cortex be Euclidean. Look at the shapes of trees and boulders and such in the natural world. There are VERY few straight lines, boxes, squares, circles and other such. There is therefore no logical reason to believe that our brains use human geometries to construct the world, either. Right angles and such other boxy shapes which mark human buildings, structures, roads, etc., are not seen in the natural world. Exactly what kind of comparison process geometries our brains use to show curves, rounded edges and such is not clear, but the optical illusions of these types will probably show us a great deal more about how the visual cortex, using comparison process methods, creates visual images & what geometries it uses.
3. There are illusions involving colors, which are very large in number as well. We often call this camouflage. Simplest are the white coats of snow hares, ermins and foxes grown in the winter to disguise themselves against the snow. In the spring they grow again their summer camouflage coloring and revert back to the usual surface colorations they use most of the year. The polar bears’ everwhite fur is another prominent example.
Protective colorations of the insects are the most prominent of the same kind of illusions. A bug will make use ot its green color and hides among the green leaves. Some insects esp. in tropics will mimic leaves to avoid detection. Conversely some predators such as carnivorous larvae and preying matises will use the same to hide themselves from both their prey and predators.
Camou outfits worn by the military do much the same thing. Whether or not these work optimally in the widely varying natural environment is a matter of opinion. But at night, the skulkers dress in black to use the darkness as a way to hide, also.
These camouflage illusions can be readily dispeled by bright light and forcing, as in the above, the predators and prey to move, which is highly unlikely that leaves and twigs can do.
The Chameleon has a limited but significant ability to turn its skin to colors which can partially imitate the colors of its surroundings. We once in a biology lab put a purple sheet of paper under a chameleon. It took a while, but turned a sort of brown with some tingers of red, the closest it could get. Certain Mollusca of the squid and Octopi families have a very brilliant chromatophore system which can almost use every color in the rainbow from brilliant reds to blues. They use the same to camouflage themselves, and in the squid to show interest in mating as well as other signals to the other squid around them, a sort of color communication.
3a. There is mimicry, which is yet another illusion. The Viceroy butterfly looks a great deal like the Monarch butterfly, which is poisonous. The large eyes on some butterflies, some larvae and even the eyed Elater, a kind of large click beetle, have these to scare away predators. Syrphid flies look a great deal like yellow jacket wasps. These create illusions of being what they are not. And in doing so show that the Comparison Process is active not only in us, but in many of the other living animals and plants in existence.
Some plants’ flowers mimic insects to induce them to mate with them, thus spreading their pollen. Some flowers exude stench like smells in order to attract flies to. If it were not for the Comparison Process being active in insects, this would not occur. This gives yet another deep insight into how general and universal the COMP is, even tho the arthropods and birds are very likely not using our same neurophysiology to do the COMP, they are almost certainly using an analogous system.
4. The illusions of our sense of touch can be perceived when we touch pieces of metal in our pocket and it feels cool to the touch and for an instant, wet. Wet items evaporate water & can feel cooler because of that. But when we feel for water and a typical liquid sensation on our fingers, we feel hard metal and realize our comparing senses have, once again, by mistaking coolness for water, which further comparison testing with our fingers shows to be metal. Testing of this sort is also, like in other testing procedures, the COMP.
5. Likewise motion sickness of all sorts creates a real problem. Those found in amusement park rides are well known & Those occur while riding in cars, boats, planes & vehicles.. But why do these occur?
By understanding the basic nature of the balance system in our inner ears and our senses which tell us which way is down, that is, the gravity sense. Normally when we move our bodies and thus our heads, the fluids in our semicircular canals, by our ears, have, by inertia, a flow created in those canals. The flow gives the information which way the head is moving. That we have 3 of these canals, each at about right angles to the others, shows clearly the 3-dimensional nature of our universe & our balance system’s response to it. Each canal is oriented mainly to the X, Y and Z axes of a 3 dimensional space. From this architecture, the inner ear can detect the slightest movements in any direction, including up and down.
But resting, it does not detect anything, tho perhaps some gravity. It mainly detects change. This is a comparison process. It has very little to compare to, in and of itself. however, the eyes know and feed into the balance system their input. The eyes can see what is up and down and combining with the pressure sense on the bottoms of the feet, which are sensory cues also as to what is up and down and our body positions, can create a sense of what is down, and whether we are moving or not. This is a complex balance system and for this reason is not well understood.
But there is a gravity sense built into our feet and visual sensations & the Semicircular Canals, because of these simple facts. Put a person on a teeter totter & move him up and down on it. He will consistently orient himself vertically even tho the flat seat he’s on will change its angle comared to a flat surface as he goes up and down. In addition, when we walk on slanted surfaces such as hillsides, we immediately orient ourselves to down by changing the angles of our ankles & feet to match the hillside steepness as much as we can. We always know what’s down & up.
How this related to motion sickness is clear. When we move, the inner ear may give us signals we are moving, but if we have nothing very good to compare that to from the rest of our bodies, then we will get motion sickness. The system stops working temporarily, until the motion stops. This is what causes most motion sickness. We get dizzy, we have nothing to compare our movements to, because the feet are sending us no correcting signals, and the eyes can’t do it by themselves because of too rapid, changing movements, esp. when upside down.
Simply by fixing on an arbitrary not moving part of our vision, the disorientation can be partially abated. That is, we compare a fixed object or space in our vision & the illusion is dispelled. If not, then we can become rather ill.
6. This is seasickness also. If we fix our eyes on the horizon, then we can limit seasickness to a great extent. If nothing is there to fix our eyes on, such as on a foggy day, then we have to learn a new system, which is called “getting your sea legs” and so it’s abolished that way. We simply adopt another comparison method to avoid being seasick when the ship is rolling. Modern cruise ships use very large, long lengths of the boats to make them far less likely to rock and roll on the waves, thus minimizing the rolling of the ship with the waves.
It should be possible in smaller vessels, to create an electronic light bar based upon the plumb bob effect, which always points down, a sort of artificial horizon which if bright & large enough & easy enough to see, could compensate for the rolling of smaller ships and thus, visually help correct seasickness. The same would be true for aircraft and vehicles of all sorts.
7. Space sickness is yet another problem which results from a total lack of gravity, which our inner ears have some response to even in normal gravity. However, all visual cues are gone, the balance system has NOTHING to compare to, as gravity and sensory cues are gone, and so medicines such as promethazines are about all that work because they sedate the inner ear & brainstem.
But the Comparison Process shows us a way around this too. Give the space sick person something to compare with their visual part of the balance system. If 4 long, wide yellow lines were to be painted or somehow affixed evenly & symmetrically to the floor, ceiling and both right & left walls, the eyes could then have something to which could help the balance system orient itself. and the space sickness would abate ever faster than simply waiting for the brain to adopt these visual cues using arbitrary objects, walls & other shapes in the space cabins, themselves. Again the utility of the Comparison Process. It neatly and easily explains motion sickness of all kinds, and suggests ways to abate it.
8. The Comparison Process is self-organizing. Recall that the entire classification of living organisms, plants, animals, protozoa, bacteria, even including the viruses have been and are still being organized into a comprehensive whole, i.e., millions of species, by the COMP . This shows the power, widespread use, and the flexibility as well as the practicality of the system, as does the same for all known stars, the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram. The Comparison Process has organized into a comprehensive whole almost the whole of everything that existed and has existed, so far as is known. This is not a trivial task nor a trifling achievement. It’s clear, empirical testimony to the efficiency and ubiquitous presence of the COMP system.
9. Essentially, we use words to communicate with others, not ourselves.. It’s a social activity. The words created and then learned are then stored in the LTM, which creates a stable, recallable, recognizable entity, a word, which corresponds to a concept/idea/image or event in existence. These are models for events in existence and is the way our higher cortical functions in our brains are organized. It is nothing less than the fundamental way we process information, i.e., think.
This may well mean that in practice, language is a complex system. With literally 100,000’s of words in most technical and advanced languages, the interactions of these words with other words in sentences, often creating new meanings and new discoveries, very likely shows this.
10. The dialects of the major languages all show that there is NO single, universal standard for speaking. We use the standard midwestern American English against which the other dialects are compared. We can hear the other dialects of all English speakers, from Scotland, to London, from Capetown to Canberra and Auckland, all of which use slightly different pronunciations to mark their forms of English. Because the LTM (Long Term Memory) of words is a bit flexible (& all people die), the language can and will change over time, creating new words, new pronunciations, and so forth, altho the written word tends to create more stability or pronunciation than used to exist. We simply compare what we hear in English to ID the locale from which the other dialect occurs, be it Delhi, or Dover. There is NO absolute dialect in English, any more than there is absolute space or time, or measurements. However all speakers require the COMP to create meaning and understanding. It’s very simple & widely applicable in language, daily.
11. Let us consider time. Time is not absolute. We base all of our time measurements upon an arbitrary standard against which we compare and create those standards. Our year arbitrarily begins on 1 Jan., based upon the Roman Calendar, their year based upon the date when Rome was established according to their beliefs. We base the Western calendar upon year 1 AD. The ancient Egyptian year began on the heliacal rise of the star Sirius, which they identified with Aset (Isis). That usually marked the beginning of the inundation of the Nile within a few days, and when everything agricultural came to a halt until the flooding was over.
For every day we begin and center the day on noontime, or high noon, when the sun is at its maximum height. That’s why noon is 12 PM, and its counterpart, midnight is 12 AM. That’s the standard. It can be checked because it’s the center of most days in the center of each time zone. There is some wandering from that point, but it’s the standard upon which all the rest of the clock is based.
& again, in every case we see the usual repetition of elements, the second, of which 60 make a minute, of which 60 make an hour, of which 24 make a day, and of which about 30 make a month of the 12 months each year. Showing again, just like DNA structure, protein structure, atomic structure, they are created from repeating elements.
Every time we look at a clock, we make a comparison of that instant with the time, compared to our standard. The Comparison Process is an organizing, ordering process, and creates our time tables, schedules, plans and so forth, all based upon that creative process, the COMP. The COMP keeps us on schedule, and makes orderly production and work possible. Time keeping is little more than the Comparison Process at its deepest, most fundamental level.
Synchronizing our clocks is 3 times over COMP. First, we must have that standard time, which is kept based upon & compared to Noon. Second, there must be a clock which compares exactly to the UTI. And thirdly, there must be the two time pieces or more which are to be synchronized, that is, they must keep exactly the same time on both of them. This is achieved by using at every point, Comparison Process. This demonstrates yet again how basic and fundamental the COMP is in time alone.
12. Any kind of error, be it a genetic error creating a disorder, or other conditions, creates a new opportunity to compare that genetic disorder to the normal. Any new finding which can be compared to normals or other conditions, can create new insights, simply because it allows the Comparison Process to be used again. Is some mouse models, researchers are using mutagens to create genetic changes. Then they back cross the offspring of that mouse to bring out the recessives created by the process. This often results in interesting findings, by this method of genetic error creation, which is little more than one more of the myriads of types of COMP. Any difference from what we see normally, any finding which is unusual can be of this value, simply because it permits the COMP to be used on one more event, one more situation, to enlighten us.
13. In the legal and moral laws, the same is the case. One obeys the laws. One compares the laws regarding social behaviors to one’s own and other’s actions. The process of internalization and memory of these laws is in our LTM, largely frontal lobes. This is the source of our conscience. How we know what to do and what not to do. It’s in almost every case, a Comparison Process, by which we compare ours and others’ actions for social, legal, and moral propriety and acceptability..
Where is this tester for the socially appropriate, the COMP checker, which is in the brain? In our frontal lobes, because we know when a person’s frontal lobes are damaged, they lose social propriety, may become slovenly, without manners and moral/legal behaviors. And this is found in the cortex of the frontal lobes.
14. The universe can also be modelled by a similar system of laws, observed and confirmed, which shows us the behaviors, characteristics and various stable parts and processes in the universe. We compare & refer (another COMP based word) new events to those which we find and find that they are indeed consistent with, ie, they compare closely with the gravitation, or laws of motion and so forth. It’s the same system of organization.
So it’s very clear that almost all higher cortical brain organization and systems are bound by the Comparison Process , from start to finish.
15. In each case, the Comparison Process is used by a complementary method to recreate life. This kind of complementary DNA reading is very basic because it’s yet another form of the COMP. It creates a chemical structure which can be Identified for what it is by the cell, and the cell knows how to use it, biochemically. It’s biochemical recognition, again the COMP. This shows how basic the entire process is to life as we know it, and shows how once again, the entire life processes from the most very basic parts, are built up by a COMP . From a simple system of 4 base pairs & 20 some amino acids, is created the complexity of the cell.
But all of these DNA, RNA and protein/polypeptide creations use energy. And this is the process by which everything is created in the cell. Creation of life is done by this process, essentially, applied again and again. It’s recursive, just like the Comparison Process is recursive and models the processes very clearly. It’s how living systems create more order from chaos. It’s how all life is created & reproduces. It’s the way the biological world works. The COMP is how non-living matter and energy are turned into growing, living cells, driven by the COMP , manifested in terms of biochemicals & rules.
16. It can all be modeled using the Comparison Process which creates language and mathematics and models life itself. It’s modelled by the COMP, which is itself a creative principle, too. The Comparison Process is the way our cortex organizes the world around us. It uses many other spin off, related principles to do this the same way, such as the Least Energy Principle, which is of itself a Comparison Process. The laws of thermodynamics are also used, as guidelines as to how this all works, again based upon the COMP , because these laws compare to the all known chemical and physical processes, mapping them very exactly.
17. It’s easy to think that words, languages and math and related brain functions are the way in which the world works. But it’s not so. Our mental methods created by our cortices use this method, but it’s not THE method by which it’s done. It describes what’s done, building up a model, but these are not the events themselves. Those mental methods are the underlying neurophysiological structures & functions.
As Korzybski, the founder of general semantics theory, wrote, “The word is not the thing.” in other words, more generally, the /idea/word/image is not the event in existence to which it refers. The former are the structural means by which the Comparison Process in our brains creates a model of the world, but it’s not the world itself. Those events in existence exist outside the nervous system. Every structure has its limits and capabilities. So does the COMP . Those are the exponential barriers such as light speed, absolute zero, particle physics creating higher and higher energies, until it’s too costly to go further, climbing that greased, steep slide of the exponentially rising curve, until we must fall back. When we find those, we turn back and create new means to overcome those limits, via the Comparison Process.
Brains can create many fictions, easily, myths, gods & goddesses, demons and such, but these don’t compare to anything in reality which we can test and measure. We must make careful distinction between our brain modeling structures and those events outside of our brains which we have in common with everyone else. Confirmation of findings in scientific studies and reliable accounts create that commonality and excludes brain fictions. If we do not then we confuse, consistently, fictions and reality, events in existence with our abstractions, and commit the error so well described by Lord North, Alfred Whitehead, co-author of the “Principia Mathematica” with Bertrand Rusell, revolutionizing mathematics, “the fallacy of misplaced concretism.” Nonexisting abstracts get reified, when they are not real. Pi gets to be thought of as real, tho it’s an abstraction from the comparison of the ideal circle’s circumference with its ideal diameter, as a straight, ideal line. Good tools, but no perfect circle nor perfectly straight line can ever be measured, or exist.
18, Consider when we build a structure such as a house. We have blueprints and related designs, now mostly computerized due to an efficiency rule, the LEP. We constantly compare to the designs to make sure we build it properly. COMP at every step and stage. We have the basic building blocks, the wood, the concrete, the bricks and steel/metal frames, if necessary and the piping and wiring, not to mention the roof materials. The structure is built and ordered according to the COMP and the skills and tools we use based upon that cortical method. We can build a large, grand house, or a smaller, simpler home. There are no limits to what we can build using this method and enough resources. It’s the Comparison Process .
Just why this has not been stated before and explored for the very important observation which it is, is curious. . So many things can go unrecognized, even tho common, for a very great, long time, esp. if of the idealistic mindset, which tends to ignore real,existing events, in favor of brain ideas, words and concepts, which of course, do not exist outside the brain.
19. When you are out on a field trip, you make discoveries of new kinds of plants, trees, insects, birds and so forth, many of which you’ve never seen before. In a very practical sense, I saw a great many things uknown to me and this created discovery, Others do, too. The Comparison Process ran through my memory, & didn’t recognize at first, each new event, and then I learned what it was by comparing to that information from a person who had, i.e, books. This was repeated many times, adding new insects and trees and birds & stars, etc., to my memory, which eventually went into LTM (long term memory). The more you learn, the more you can compare together and find them, again and again.
Discovery is a form of creativity. It adds to your creative powers. & if you find enough, then it adds to your ability to learn more, too. The Comparison Process makes this discovery possible, repeatedly, and then adds to it in a recursive and growing way. It adds again and again to your skills of discovery by comparing the way you do things, and then improving upon them. The more you know, the more you can find, Again, the Comparison Process and the more you can compare with what you have already found. such as butterflies, likes and dislikes, and so forth. It creates a library of events which you can reference from your LTM. and the more you can compare, the more you can learn. Because each new creation adds to the creations you can make, because it’s one more item to compare to, it builds up quickly in biology. So discovery is one form of creativity.
I recall being with family at a lake, when about 10 PM, suddenly the sky and land lit up with a brilliant light to our NE. We had no idea what it was at the time, maybe an exploding plane or something, until we read the next day, that a large, brilliant bolide, a meteor, had entered earth’s atmosphere a few hundred miles to the east of us, and the perception became the discovery. & it was ordered into the category of meteor, and made sense, then. Discovery then is compared to pre-existing idea/word/ images and becomes knowledge and order.
20. Creativity is more than just discovery, it’s also the comparison of two or more idea/concepts/images from our memory of events, or may occur in the presence of events,
21. In terms of the Comparison Process what are skills? From first hand experience in a number of fields, they are short cuts, algorithms, &/or methods will allow the user to function faster, more efficiently, more carefully and above all, more creatively in the field. Discovery hones the perceptivity, the COMP , because you are always searching for those events and ideas which will give you the answers. You get better and better at it, with the better methods built into your skills.
End of pt. 1.