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(2009-03-31 13:47:49)


What about the rest of the information the environment is generating about itself? Do we see, hear, taste, smell, or feel through our senses every possible distinction, trait, and characteristic being senses? Absolutely not! The energy that’s inside of us will categorically limit and block our awareness of much of this information by working through the same sensory mechanisms the external environment works through.
Now, if you take a moment and think about it, some of what I just said should be self-evident. For example, there are many ways in which the external environment can express itself that we don’t perceive simply because we haven’t learned about them yet. This is easy to illustrate. Think back to the first time you ever looked at a price chart. What did you see? Exactly what did you perceive? With no previous exposure, I’m sure, like everyone else, you saw a bunch of lines that had no meaning. Now if you’re like most traders, when you look at a price chart you see characteristics, traits, and behavior patterns that represent the collective actions of all the traders who participated in those particular trades.
Initially, the chart represented undifferentiated information. Undifferentiated information usually creates a state of confusion, and that’s probably what you experienced when you first encountered a chart. Gradually, however, you learned to make distinctions about that information, such as trends and trend lines, consolidations, support and resistance, retracements or significant relationships between volume, and open interest and price action, just to name a few. You learned that each of these distinctions in the market’s behavior represented an opportunity to fulfill some personal need, goal, or desire. Each distinction now had a meaning and some relative degree of significance or importance attached to it.
Now, I want you to use your imagination and pretend that I just set before you the very first price chart you ever saw. Would there be a difference between what you see now and what you saw then? Absolutely. Instead of a bunch of undifferentiated lines, you would see everything you’ve learned about those lines between then and now. In other words, you would see all the distinctions you’ve learned to make, as well as all the opportunities those distinctions represent.
Yet, everything you can see as you look at that chart now existed then, and, furthermore, was available to be perceived. What’s the difference? The structured energy that’s inside of you now - the knowledge you have gained - acts as a force on your eyes, causing you to recognize the various distinctions that you’ve learned about. Since that energy wasn’t there the first time you looked at the chart, all the opportunities that you now see were there, but at the same time invisible to you. Furthermore, unless you’ve learned to make every possible distinction based on every possible relationship between the variables in that chart, what you haven’t learned yet is still invisible.
Most of us have no concept of the extent to which we are continually surrounded by the invisible opportunities inherent in the information we’re exposed to. More often than not, we never learn about these opportunities and, as a result, they remain invisible. The problem, of course, is that unless we’re in a completely new or unique situation or we’re operating out of an attitude of genuine openness, we won’t perceive something that we haven’t learned about yet. To learn about something, we have to be able to experience it in some way. So what we have here is a closed loop that prevents us from learning. Perceptual closed loops exist in all of us, because they are natural functions of the way mental energy expresses itself on our senses.
Everyone has heard the expression, “People see what they want to see.” I would put it a little differently: People see what they’ve learned to see, and everything else is invisible until they learn how to counteract the energy that blocks their awareness of whatever is unlearned and waiting to be discovered.
To illustrate this concept and make it even clearer, I am going to give you another example, one that demonstrates how mental energy can affect how we perceive and experience the environment in a way that it actually reverses the cause-and-effect relationship. Let’s look at a very young child’s first encounter with a dog.
Because it’s a first-time experience, the child’s mental environment is a clean slate, so to speak, with respect to dogs. He won’t have any memories and certainly no distinctions about a dog’s nature. Therefore, up to the moment of his first encounter, from the child’s perspective, dogs don’t exist. Of course, from the environment’s perspective, dogs do exist and they have the potential to act as a force on the child’s senses to create an experience. In other words, dogs expressing their nature can act as a cause to produce an effect inside the child’s mental environment.
What kind of effect are dogs capable of producing? Well, dogs have a range of expression. By range of expression I mean dogs can behave in a number of ways toward humans. They can be friendly, loving, protective, and fun to play with; or they can be hostile, mean, and dangerous - just to name a few of the many behaviors they’re capable of. All of these traits can be observed, experienced, and learned about. When the child sees the dog for the first time, there is absolutely nothing in his mental environment to tell him what he is dealing with. Unfamiliar, unknown, and unclassified environmental information can generate a sense of curiosity - when we want to find out more about what we’re experiencing - or it can generate a state of confusion, which can easily turn to fear if we can’t place the information into an understandable or meaningful organizational framework or context.
In our example, the child’s sense of curiosity kicks in and he rushes to the dog to get more sensory experience. Notice how children are literally compelled to thrust themselves into a situation they know nothing about. However, in this example, the environmental forces at hand do not react favorably to the child’s advances. The dog the child is interested in is either inherently mean or having a bad day. In any case, as soon as the child gets close enough, the dog bites him. The attack is so severe that the dog has to be pulled off the child.
This kind of unfortunate experience is certainly not typical, but it’s not that uncommon either. I chose it for two reasons: First, most people can relate to it in some way either from their own direct experience or through the experience of someone they know. Second, as we analyze the underlying dynamics of this experience from an energy perspective, we’re going to learn about 1) how our minds are designed to think, 2) process information, 3) how these processes affect what we experience and 4) our ability to recognize new possibilities. I know this may seem like a lot of insight from just one example, but the principles involved apply to the dynamics beneath virtually all learning.
As a result of being physically and emotionally traumatized, the little boy in our example now has a memory and one distinction about the way dogs can express themselves. If the boy’s ability to remember his experiences is normal, he can store this incident in a way that represents all of the senses the experience had an impact on: For example the attack can be stored as mental images based on what he saw, as well as mental sounds representing what he heard, and so on. Memories representing the other three senses will work the same way.
However, the kind of sensory data in his memory is not as important as the kind of energy the sensory data represents. We basically have two kinds of mental energy: positively charged energy, which we call love, confidence, happiness, joy, satisfaction, excitement, and enthusiasm, to name a few of the pleasant ways we can feel; and negatively charged energy, representing fear, terror, dissatisfaction, betrayal, regret, anger, confusion, anxiety, stress, and frustration, all representing what is commonly referred to as emotional pain.
Because the boy’s first experience with a dog was intensely painful, we can assume that regardless of what senses were affected, all of his memories of this experience will be in painful, unpleasant feeling, negative energy. Now, what effect will this negatively charged mental energy have on his perception and behavior if and when he encounters another dog? The answer is so obvious that it may seem ridiculous even to ask, but the underlying implications are not obvious, so bear with me. Clearly, the moment he comes into contact with another dog, he will experience fear.
Notice that I used the word “another” to describe the next dog he has any contact with. What I want to point out is that any dog can cause the boy to feel fear, not just the one that actually attacked him. It won’t make a bit of difference if the next dog he comes into contact with is the friendliest dog in the world, one whose nature is only to express playfulness and love. The child will still be afraid, and furthermore, his fear could quickly turn to unrestrained terror especially if the second dog (seeing a child and wanting to play) attempts to approach him.


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