Emotive Learning – 2

An astute reader is aware that certain emotional behaviors seem not to be dependent on emotive learning as much as others. An appropriate response would be too long for a ’comment’ response so a posted response is provided in case other readers have the same insight.

If there is a fault in mariner’s writing style, it is that he over simplifies bulky, textbook information by using simplistic metaphors and excessively anthropomorphic examples. So here is some textbook information:

We might have a reaction to seeing someone we know with emotional circumstances or have irate thoughts about some event or information. Whatever level of complex emotion we are having, these feelings are handled by the limbic system.[1] The limbic system consists of four areas:

Amygdala, Hippocampus, Thalamus and Hypothalamus


We can thank our amygdala for our “fight or flight” response. But the amygdala does more than tell us to scream or quake in horror. The amygdala is always on the lookout for arousing cues. (In psychology, “arousal” is used to describe a sense of alertness and consciousness. We can reach high levels of arousal for good and not-so-good reasons.) Once these cues are discovered, the amygdala sends out signals to activate our “motivational circuitry.”


The hippocampus is primarily responsible for making memories, but it also influences our emotions. We attach emotions to memories all the time. The stronger the emotion, the more likely we are to recall that memory.

(The part of the brain alluded to in mariner’s term ‘emotive learning’)

This area of the brain handles receiving sensory information. Many emotions begin with sight, sound, smell, touch, or taste. Once our eyes, ears, skin, tongue, and nose pick up on those stimuli, they send up information to the thalamus and we begin to make sense of what is in front of us.


When we have highly emotional moments, we can thank our hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is key in keeping our bodies in homeostasis (stabilized) and releasing hormones such as adrenaline.

Mariner could go on and teach textbook psychology, but this should suffice as a response to the reader’s observation. Mariner’s post was an attempt to question whether blocking the Thalamus in our daily interactions was a good thing.

Ancient Mariner


[1] Mariner credits the website which has its own form of simplification and is used universally by psychology institutions: https://practicalpie.com/what-part-of-the-brain-processes-emotion/

Emotive Learning

Very simply, emotive learning is something that happens in the subconscious; it is the function that converts conscious, real-world, three-dimensional experience into feelings. An easy example: From the day a baby is born, it experiences the real world for what it is but it learns to have special feelings about its mother because of the role the mother plays in providing security, affection, bonding and other intimate behaviors. The baby has subconsciously created a set of feelings with which to relate to and understand their real-world mother.

Without emotive learning we would be incapable of interacting with the material world. Existentialism would not exist. Behaviors related to ethics, empathy, fairness, and being aware of threatening situations could not exist; the idea of ‘family’ could not exist.

There is a number called ‘Dunbar’s Number’ which states that a person can individually relate to approximately 150 people. This capability comes along with a genome that makes us a tribal creature. The brain is sensitive to the role of other people – especially if there is an expected alliance with them.

An experiment that will expose the constant focus of emotive learning is comparing how you think and feel when talking directly to another person and that the brain is constantly scanning behavior, environment and surrounding circumstances which in turn generate feelings about that person. On the other hand, talk to the same person using Facetime. There is a sensation that there is desired searching that is not available.

Feelings derived through emotive learning are the seed for experiencing empathy and, in conjunction with cultural feelings, compassion. Feelings derived through emotive learning are the source for any type of person-to-person bonding, respect, and familial (tribal) association.

In this century, many scientists who study social behavior have begun to write books and articles about the impact of automated communication and whether the blocked availability for emotive learning is contributing to the general consternation of these times. A simple commercial example is the kiosk for ordering food in a fast food restaurant rather than determining what to eat while talking to another person. There is no sense of common purpose when using the kiosk but when engaging another human there is a subtle sense of unity (AKA tribal identification).

Can a person be the product of emotive learning and at the same time be identified as a statistic in a database?

Ancient Mariner

Back by insistent demand

There’s nothing left to say about the world. It is on a roll that cannot be deterred. Mariner is reminded of the old song “Ghost Riders in the Sky”, a Frankie Lane hit. Humans have joined the chase for the Devil’s herd.

Nevertheless, his wife insists that he continue to write a blog. Mariner suspects she already senses his intellectual demise and that to continue to write will ease that demise a bit. He told her his readers already know he is demented.

He has no idea what to write about . . . . . Here’s a thought: Mariner was reminded of an old rock and roll hit by Frankie Lane. What are the significant songs in your life? What song reminds you of that first crush, that first infatuation when the reader was just a young teenager? Mariner bets you can sing the entire lyric.

List three songs that make you feel at ease and oblivious to the world.

Name two popular singers that have superior skill at singing; think big timers like Michael Crawford, Elvis Gospel, Ella Fitzgerald, etc.

Name a song that provides spiritual insight that has remained part of your conscious mind over the years.

Name the one song that makes you most melancholy.

Name the song that lifts your energy and feelings of good times – maybe even breaking into dance.

Name the one song that makes you stop what you are doing and join the song. Mariner admits that any of Fats Domino’s hard downbeat arrangements are distracting no matter what mariner is doing.

Music is magic, kind of a metaverse.

So have at it folks; this is as intellectual as it gets.

Ancient Mariner


It is over.

The battle to sustain individuality and Homo sapiens authenticity has been won by AI. Watch the following clip then read on:


Already AI is good enough to write novels, essays, legal briefs and singlehandedly manage most trades on the stock exchange. The ability for anyone to write any style of entertainment is just one database away.

With the invention of the gene splitter Crispr, AI will be able to pool all human variations into a massive database so parents can pick any child they want. Who wants a Donald Trump lookalike? How about triplets that are the Kingston Trio?

But then AI will perceive that it is much simpler to have one version of humans; just think how efficient that would be for politics, medicine, and one would need only one football team.

Perhaps it will be less expensive if humans had no need to travel.

Welcome to Matrix.


Ancient Mariner

Do you have CCTV in your home?

Mariner knows most of his readers are calloused to the abuses of privacy but perhaps one should know about another nosy source:

Smart TVs are just like search engines, social networks, and email providers that give us a free service in exchange for monitoring us and then selling that info to advertisers leveraging our data. These devices are collecting information about what you’re watching, how long you’re watching it, and where you watch it, then selling that data—which is a revenue stream that didn’t exist a couple of years ago. There’s nothing particularly secretive about this—data-tracking companies such as Inscape and Samba proudly brag right on their websites about the TV manufacturers they partner with and the data they amass.

The companies that manufacture televisions call this “post-purchase monetization,” and it means they can sell TVs almost at cost and still make money over the long term by sharing viewing data. In addition to selling your viewing information to advertisers, smart TVs also show ads in the interface. Roku, for example, prominently features a given TV show or streaming service on the right-hand side of its home screen—that’s a paid advertisement.

Whatever you’re watching on your smart TV, algorithms are tracking your habits – when you watch, how long you watch, what you watch . . . This influences the ads you see on your TV, yes, but if you connect your Google or Facebook account to your TV, it will also affect the ads you see while browsing the web on your computer or phone. In a sense, your TV now isn’t that different from your Instagram timeline or your TikTok recommendations. There’s an old joke: “In America, you watch television; in Soviet Russia, television watches you!” In 2022, TVs track your activity to an extent the Soviets could only dream of.[1]

Today this is old hat privacy invasion to us. It’s the projections into future capabilities for controlling life decisions that is dangerous. As more and more data about social status, religious affiliation, medical detail, personal fetishes, 24-hour awareness of our location, a history of one’s purchasing habits, genetic history – – can be combined to effectively eliminate a need for the gumption mariner often refers to. Humans are one step closer to a Matrix life. Maybe in a recliner instead of a coffin but still a Matrix life.

Ancient Mariner

[1] Adapted from Atlantic Magazine.

Just between you and your yard


The carbon wave is getting close. Is your yard grill the best choice? Output at the end of the process, that is, as your 10 filet Mignon cuts turn brown, has been measured:

Gas grills win hands down. In an hour charcoal briquettes emit 11 pounds of CO2 while gas emits 5.6 pounds. Further, briquettes aren’t just wood; briquettes have additives that are not good to breathe. But even authentic wood, which is biodegradable, loses to gas. Like the US Government, (a prime example of divided forever opinion) advocates of charcoal have a low opinion of gas as a flavor enhancer. However, scientists suggest that smoke and briquette debris may change flavor during longer cooking times but in truth is not noticeable.

[Mariner’s personal experience suggests that if a cook needs hot, hot temperatures, for example in an old fashioned Weber kettle grill, charcoal produces a better fire – but this has nothing to do with taste.]


Everyone likes trees until the leaves fall. For several weeks the leaves blow about like loose trash, getting caught in everything from roof gutters to shrubbery to lawns and sidewalks. It is true that in urban areas there may not be a tree in sight, not in whole blocks or neighborhoods. But in more suburban and rural areas, trees and open yards are de rigueur. And so are fallen leaves.

It has been tradition, in the likeness of a Norman Rockwell painting, that each neighbor would gather leaves into a pile and burn them. While this still is practiced generally, many towns and cities have begun a ‘yard waste’ collection day to recycle leaves, branches and typical lawn and garden waste. Some towns have ordinances against burning leaves (and trash barrels).

This new pressure is raised for climate change reasons. Rather than burn leaves and thereby participating with grills in CO2 production, shred them into little pieces and put them into a compost pit or spread them directly into garden patches and lawns. By spring most of the leaves should be well into decomposition and preventing excess CO2 from escaping into the atmosphere.


Many folks still use old fashioned yard tools that require arm and shoulder labor in order to function. Manufacturers, however, have a different vision of yard tools. For most of mariner’s life, gasoline powered equipment was the answer. Still, a person had to separate a shoulder to get the single-cycle engine to fire up. Today things are changing quickly. “In the name of climate change” manufacturers are pushing battery-powered equipment. It is smaller, lighter, self-starting and typically requires a Lithium battery. As the reader may have read in the news, Lithium is a scarce element. So we will see what future prices will look like for toy-sized equipment. A devotee of gasoline powered equipment can still find whatever they may need – for the price of a 2022 Chrysler Town and Country van.

All said, gardening is an excellent pasttime that gets you back to nature, gets you outside and works the old bones a bit. Give it a try while watching over your shoulder for climate change.

Ancient Mariner

On Living Alone

In recent weeks mariner has been living alone, a solitary human, a shut-in. During the holiday season his wife has been off visiting their far-flung children for weeks at a time. This is an opportunity for mariner to study the circumstances that confront those who live alone – especially late in life.

It is true that being alone induces depression. It is true that electronic entertainment does not require a conscious, focused brain. It is true that mental and physical disabilities inevitably affect brain function.

To oversimplify, there is an immense force that pushes down on a person living in solitude; gumption quickly will disappear, the energy and eventually the ability to focus on existential experiences is drained from the body. The recliner, television and simple meals become 24 hour diversions. An individual must be able to resist this downward pressure. Survival depends on two things: staying busy in some manner, whether simple chores, hobby interests or leaving the house. The second thing is social interaction. Being old and infirm makes it doubly hard to engage in these activities but the alternative is a quietly dying brain and increased immobility.

Some activities that mariner pursued:

֎ Catch the daily news headlines then turn off the television until evening. Set the smartphone aside. Dress for the weather and go outside. Walk. Arrange visits with neighbors. Lounge in a diner where other loners gather. Tend the gardens. Schedule medical appointments. Even better, find ways to help others. This will be hard to do at first – stick with it.

֎ Make it a point to have several hobbies that pass time each day: Read, engage in hand crafts, write a daily diary, try a new recipe, clear out years of junk in storage areas, go shopping for a new hat. Paint something; artwork or walls – it doesn’t matter. Buy a new piece of furniture.

֎ Remember the euphemism “job jar”? It is an endless collection of things that need to be done but, in fact, would never get done. Living in solitude is a great time to drain the job jar. Making a list helps with getting started. Be careful of listing major, complicated jobs – stay focused on day-to-day tasks.

The hard part is to ‘get up and do it!’ Along with sitting in the recliner, one can muse about doing something – maybe tomorrow. . . a false sense of accomplishment.

If one is able to generate the activity mentioned, they genuinely will be tired at the end of the day and they will have exercised mind and body – and they will avoid the immense force that otherwise would diminish their life.

The above lists seem to imply high energy and achievement but that is not the case. The pace is leisurely but steady; the trick is to do things that require the mind to keep up with what you are doing.

֎ But there is a more important activity. Humans are a tribal species. Many sociological studies have shown that humans are an extended family creature. Modern economics has created the nuclear family – husband, wife, and a few children. This is not the normal or, frankly, the subconsciously desired life. If one is fortunate enough to have an extended family close by, take every opportunity to participate in family activities. This responsibility extends beyond the person living alone to every member of the family.

Mariner can speak from experience. Until he was nine years old, he had many aunts, uncles and cousins on both sides of his family. The maternal side was a twenty-minute walk away and the fraternal side was a half-hour away by commuter train! Virtually every holiday included some kind of gathering and birthdays were big parties. Fate took a turn in his life; suddenly he had only a grandmother, father and little brother. He still misses the big gatherings!

It may be necessary to manufacture a family. Churches often have social clubs for older folks; restaurants often are a gathering place; public service agencies have special events for solitary residents; those who live in multiple family housing often form unofficial clusters for company.

The infirm can’t always participate. A healthy community will have ways to draw the infirm into social activity. In other words, extended family works both ways: try to bring the whole tribe together. If an individual can’t come to you, take the family to them.

It is inevitable that everyone dies. But as individuals live past genetically influenced lifespans, they must consciously and deliberately take countermeasures to offset both physical and mental degradation.

The wife returns tomorrow.

Ancient Mariner


Brian Bilson

Mariner’s wife, as regular readers know, is a lifetime librarian, ardent reader and a published journalist and poet. She follows many poets, authors and journalists. The other day she offered a piece by Brian Bilson that is unique. Read below:

They have no need of our help
So do not tell me
These haggard faces could belong to you and me
Should life have dealt a different hand
We need to see them for who they really are
Chancers and scroungers
Layabouts and loungers
With bombs up their sleeves
Cutthroats and thieves
They are not
Welcome here
We should make them
Go back to where they came from
They cannot share our food
Share our homes
Share our countries
Instead let us
Build a wall to keep them out
It is not okay to say
These are people just like us
A place should only belong to those who are born there
Do not be so stupid to think that
The world can be looked at another way

—-> Now read from bottom up


Let’s all wish for a better 2023

Ancient Mariner

The Industrial Revolution is personal

A few days ago, mariner was about to peel potatoes when he discovered his potato peelers were in the dish washer which was running a two-hour cycle. He had to use a paring knife. Wow! Is this a lost art! He must have sacrificed 20 percent of the potato. King Arthur would have been more precise swinging his sword. This reminded me of the recent posts about Mark Boyle, an economist who lived three years without money. Did he give up peelers?

Where would mariner be without his house slippers with rubber soles or his oil heater in his study. How much time would it take to sharpen his knives, chisels, axes and lawn mower blades without a bench grinder? Mariner is old enough to remember when bathrooms didn’t have showers.

Where would our club basements be if we still used coal furnaces and the front of the basement was filled with two tons of coal? Yes, it is true mariner remembers slave labor as a child who had to shovel coal and carry out ashes as well.

These personal thoughts lead to thoughts about how society has changed faster and faster with great leaps of technology and automation changing reality before it has completed previous changes. Where once it was an innovation to invent potato peelers, now entire libraries are replaced with a search engine. Where once upon a time mothers told us what to do – now it is Alexis. When once we gathered about a table to play games together, now we don’t need people or a table to play the smartphone.

Mark Boyle chose to live without money for three years to force an epiphany in himself. How did one survive before the Industrial Revolution freed humans to ignore basic truths about survival in a natural environment? Perhaps modern folk should forego vacations at Disney World and spend a week in a primitive environment that had no modern inventions – especially not electricity, which old fashioned Planet Earth seems not to appreciate.

Now, back to those potatoes.

Ancient Mariner


Social Spirit

As mariner peruses his news sources, he notices a singular frame of reference. Below are the titles and summaries of just a few frequent topics:

America’s Adult Education System Is Broken. Experts say that more money is critical to improving the national system.

A Water War Is Brewing Over the Dwindling Colorado River. Diminished by climate change and overuse, the river can no longer provide the water states try to take from it.

Shadow Diplomats Have Posed a Threat for Decades. The World’s Governments Looked the Other Way. The U.S. State Department trusts foreign governments to nominate reputable honorary consuls, despite global accounts of wrongdoing.

Porn, Piracy, Fraud: What Lurks Inside Google’s Black Box Ad Empire. Google’s ad business hides nearly all publishers it works with and where billions of ad dollars flow. We uncovered a network containing manga piracy, porn, fraud and disinformation.

Salmon People: A Native Fishing Family’s Fight to Preserve a Way of Life. This documentary film features the plight of the salmon of the Columbia River and the Native people whose lives revolve around them.

This School District Is Ground Zero for Harsh Discipline of Native Students in New Mexico. In Gallup-McKinley County Schools, wearing the wrong color shirt can get you written up for “gang-related activity.”

A Texas Superintendent Ordered School Librarians to Remove LGBTQ Books. Now the Federal Government Is Investigating.

The Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights has opened what appears to be the first-of-its-kind investigation into the Granbury Independent School District.

  • – –

The common theme seems to be social fragmentation. A recent post to this blog referenced four zones of awareness which require different information and ethical systems to be in place [intimate, interactive, recognition and inactive]. The inactive zone is that part of our awareness where we depend on cultural values provided by society at large. All the articles cited above imply some form of disruption to cultural values that we depend on for ethical structure in our society.

This list is one of many kinds of issues that face us in these turbulent days. The point is that many of society’s problems today can’t be fixed with mechanical or procedural change – it is a matter of social spirit.

Ancient Mariner