The marriage of affect and language allows intensity qualification in vocal interchanges. We transmit with our tone of voice, rate of speech, and facial expressions the importance of our message. We move out of the Maybe Range if we disconnect the linkage between affect and words. Disconnection occurs when we write, experience "emotional" shifts that distort the prior match of feeling and word, or suffer neural damage.
We often confuse ourselves with binary social judgments. Good or evil. Trustworthy or deceitful. Or the big current item on one listserve, Free Will vs. Thinking Rocks. Philosophical laments about "black-white" thinking or "excluded middle" are common but don't change our habits (Korczybski) Beck (1----) taught us to use words such as "usually," or "seldom" rather than "always" or "never." Erosion in linguistic skill, the inability to express subtlety is a sign of cognitive damage. Debates and arguments are likely functions of binary phase shifts in our judgments, in our alliances. "Monica is trash" or "Monica is a misguided victim" are common, sometimes inflammatory, statements. Wives challenge their husbands, "Is it true that you want ..." A denial elicits, "Oh, then it's NOT true that you want ..." The ladies are puzzled by a second denial.
Our language, because it's substrates are newly evolved, will have more binary traits because it has fewer interconnections within itself and to other parts of the brain. (16) We can experience a more refined intensity modulation with feelings while being awkward labeling them. There will often not be a proportionate matching of semi-autonomous, digital, verbal subroutines with smoother emotional sensations and behavior regulation. We can expect such things as the one-word, one-referent problem.(17) Application of Kauffman's model allows us to understand the phenomenon of our needing different words to express subtleties rather than assigning intensity values to relatively fewer words. (Note re adjectives & adverbs ... 3 values ... much, more, most) We use options such as capitals, exclamation points, Rich Text Format, and facial cartoons. These things are relatively crude in comparison with the sensed wealth of feeling within our minds. We try to compensate by tossing in sufficient symbols to elicit a parallel array in the mind of another person. "How do you think I feel?" "That's not it, add a bit! Remember the time I did x, y, or z to you!"
There are ontogenetic shifts, a phenomenon consistent with experience having a role of increasing connections between decision units. Vocabulary can require decades to build, perhaps related to increases in the density of cross talk between neurons. Increased vocabulary ought to smooth our verbal characteristic, our ability to match sensation or feeling with oral expression. Processing that vocabulary usually entails a slowing while we search for the exact word, the slowing another sign translated as "maturity."
Math is a better approximation perhaps of the universe than digital language. Kauffman's model describes a binary world, characterized by phase shifts that play on the surface of multiple analog events. Thus, binary language works well much of the time for summarizing outcomes or surface phenomena. However, analog events may reflect parallel processing, the summed outcome of many decisions that vary in their association with each other. Describing such requires maturity and a richer vocabularly, a more deliberative mental pace. A different option for analog descriptions might be the integration of mathematics and numbers into language. "Monica is an exciting, beautiful, trustworthy female" becomes "Monica - exciting (0.80) (depending on the designated PA!) , beautiful (0.10-0.80 depending on how recently she cried before a photograph), trustworthy (0.20-0.70) female (.95). The verb "is" disappears, "approximates" replaces it with the product of the subscripts. The gain is that you can place a range of subjective "truth" values on the sentence, you lose some time and perhaps some affect.
There are advantages of disconnected adaptations, to our being "adaptation executors" triggered by stimuli and emiting response sequences. There is a mission focus that suppresses competing activity and encourages persistence until a task is completed and the psychological adaptation shut down again. There are, however, also costs. Oppositional behavior, arguing in order to win, arguing without considering all relevant information, is likely a Kauffman phenomenon. Modest degrees of lateral inhibition, whether due to a paucity of response alternatives or to many options but with little cross connection, generate a choppy quality to our life. A choppy, digital subjective experience may also be correlated with an inability to return to uncompleted tasks. Barkley (1996) compared "attention" to a string of pearls. All of us experience "attention" in small packets and most of us return to tasks if interrupted. Oppositional behavior and sidetracking in tasks are both understandable as phase transition problems.
This same "choppy quality" may underlie some of the phenomena of deception. Wright (1994) has commented that deception and self deception are most likely in areas of status and courtship. Suggestion exists that such deception has adaptive consequences, that we are most convincing to other people when we deceive ourself.