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Consciousness


LNC
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First, sorry for my delay in responding. I wasn't familiar with Wilber's model and wanted time to read up on it.

 

snip

 

LNC

LNC, I have to honestly say that I do admire your willingness to look at other points of view and discuss them. :3:

 

I try to do that as I cannot comment on that with which I am not familiar. I'm trying to read the sites and info that you all link in your posts. That's sometimes why I am delayed in responding, along with all of the other things life requires me to do.

 

LNC

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We begin life as a fertilized ovum. No mind or soul. We need a brain for consciousness to exist. I already know what the bible has to say about death and the soul.

 

Glad to hear it.

 

I would rather say that it is naturalism that would adequately answer, as opposed to super-naturalism.

 

I have answered question #1 in all the previous posts. I will not answer #3, as I would have to read alot more to even gain an opinion! I'll attempt #2 and #4 when I'm done reading up on those subjects.

 

Great, I look forward to hear what you have learned through your reading.

 

See the video in my post #274 (hope that's the right number), at 6 minutes and 8 seconds through to 7 minutes and 52 seconds. Cellular changes enable us to continue to function. The continuity of structure, function, and identity remain the same.

 

Sorry, for some reason the first video doesn't seem to play for me. Regarding the second, it brings up a good point about unified identity even though the lobes of the brain have been separated. Interesting to see what happens in such circumstances.

 

I don't quite understand what you mean by "maintain the link". Do you mean in this life before death, and after death the link is broken with consciousness freed?

 

I believe that the person survives the body, so the spirit/soul/consciousness survives the physical body, although, the Bible tells us that one day body and soul will be reunited. Is it the exact same body? I don't think so as we go through many generations of our cells during our lifetimes, so we don't technically have the same body today that we had 7-8 years ago.

 

I agree with your usage of the term. I was meaning consciousness is nothing apart from the brain. It is mental states and activities that correlate with brain states. Your definition: "Consciousness would encompass mental activities including self-reflection, introspection, sentience (sensing), wakefulness, and understanding what it is like (i.e., to be you, etc.)." I meant it is not a thing like a soul after death. It is not an immaterial substance, as it is a state and activity.

 

So, self-identity would be a mere brain state? I think that if it is a mere brain state, then we could never really know that as we can never really know our brain states. My computer does not know the state of its circuitry and, I believe, never will. It doesn't self-reflect on its software or think of or about anything. It merely processes commands based upon input it receives.

 

Do you think mind is a separate and immaterial substance from the brain?

 

I am a substance dualist. I think it makes the most sense of the data. I have given some of the reasons above.

 

LNC

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So, self-identity would be a mere brain state? I think that if it is a mere brain state, then we could never really know that as we can never really know our brain states. My computer does not know the state of its circuitry and, I believe, never will. It doesn't self-reflect on its software or think of or about anything. It merely processes commands based upon input it receives.

LNC

I think you underestimate your computer. Try printing something with the printer turned off. Your computer will politely ask you to turn on your printer. Plug something into it, and it will see if it recognizes it - and if not it will take you through the steps to identify it and make it work.

 

Your computer is very aware of its circuitry. It performs checks you are completely ignorant of including checking memory, keyboard status, pointer device, monitor type and resolution, internet connection, and many, many other things.

 

At some point, the processing of commands yields to subroutines and an operating system that focuses its attention on the "task at hand." One day, your computer will recognize you, engage you, and outsmart you.

 

But only by processing commands...

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AGNOSTICATOR: I meant it is not a thing like a soul after death. It is not an immaterial substance, as it is a state and activity.

 

So, self-identity would be a mere brain state? I think that if it is a mere brain state, then we could never really know that as we can never really know our brain states. My computer does not know the state of its circuitry and, I believe, never will. It doesn't self-reflect on its software or think of or about anything. It merely processes commands based upon input it receives.

 

The self is greater than consciousness. Self-identity, to me, includes the unconscious (subconscious or whatever label it should be), which directs most our awareness of our environment and our body (heart and lungs for ex.). It informs the conscious part of the mind and makes decisions independently and before the conscious is even aware. For example, how do I catch a ball when my conscious mind is unaware there is one speeding towards me? At the last fraction of a second, someone yells "lookout!", and my unconscious mind automatically controls my body to catch it just before it hits my head. Sure, I consciously reacted to the voice and turned, but the rest wasn't "me". It was as if someone else performed the actions, telling my body what to do. This really happened to me. I unconsciously knew what to do, and did it without CONSCIOUS THOUGHT. "I" was a spectator to my own actions. So, I am not just my conscious mind, but my sub-/unconscious mind. My brain state and activity was unconscious, as were my actions in catching the ball.

 

What else would you call the unconscious mind and conscious mind? They are really separate minds that communicate, as our separate hemispheres are. Put this all together with the brain/body, and you have a whole person. Separate them and you have nothing. The conscious mind is not the whole "I" without the unconscious mind (I don't mean the state of being unconscious). The hemispheres apart are different "I"'s, not one "I".

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I can prove that consciousness is material by giving drugs or hitting the person or animal on the head. A state of unconsciousness results. It does not take a complicated reductionist explanation to prove that consciousness is material.

I have no doubt that there is a relation between the brain and mind, just as there is a relation between the organism and life. But I don't believe it is an equivalence relation.

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I can prove that consciousness is material by giving drugs or hitting the person or animal on the head. A state of unconsciousness results. It does not take a complicated reductionist explanation to prove that consciousness is material.

I have no doubt that there is a relation between the brain and mind, just as there is a relation between the organism and life. But I don't believe it is an equivalence relation.

Brains = mind. Never brains, never mind.

 

Can you give me an example of life without organism?

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I wonder if this is as frustrating for you Shyone as it is for me.

 

Can you give me an example of life without organism?

I don't believe that life can be realized without manifesting an organism, neither do I believe that a mind can be realized without manifesting a brain (or some other organ of cognition).

 

I think here again of your stack of bricks example. Say we're using a stack of bricks as a table support. The function of table support is primary, and the way we manifest that function is secondary. We could use a wooden leg, a steel beam, or even electromagnets to support the table.

 

Back to life... Life is manifested through organism. But look at how many different kinds of organisms exist. Their diversity is astonishing. Yet they all manifest the pattern of implications that we call "life".

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Time, Space, and Energy are the scaffolding of matter.

 

Matter is the scaffolding of life.

 

Life is the scaffolding of consciousness.

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I wonder if this is as frustrating for you Shyone as it is for me.

 

Can you give me an example of life without organism?

I don't believe that life can be realized without manifesting an organism, neither do I believe that a mind can be realized without manifesting a brain (or some other organ of cognition).

 

I think here again of your stack of bricks example. Say we're using a stack of bricks as a table support. The function of table support is primary, and the way we manifest that function is secondary. We could use a wooden leg, a steel beam, or even electromagnets to support the table.

 

Back to life... Life is manifested through organism. But look at how many different kinds of organisms exist. Their diversity is astonishing. Yet they all manifest the pattern of implications that we call "life".

Ok, I understand I think. Not all life is alike, so to say that life = organism suggests some very specific characteristics, but the actual characteristics are rather more general.

 

But I would add that all of the things that we call living developed concurrently as they evolved, and the basic chemical processes are uniform. Hence, no examples (yet) of alien life. It will be fascinating if indeed there are examples of alien life. Will they use the same chemicals and chemical structures? Can we eat them?

 

Time, Space, and Energy are the scaffolding of matter.

 

Matter is the scaffolding of life.

 

Life is the scaffolding of consciousness.

 

Makes sense to me.

 

Consciousness is he scaffolding for building computers.

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Consciousness is he scaffolding for building computers.

And computers are the scaffolding for awesome games. :grin:

 

I can't wait to play 3D games...

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AGNOSTICATOR: I meant it is not a thing like a soul after death. It is not an immaterial substance, as it is a state and activity.

 

So, self-identity would be a mere brain state? I think that if it is a mere brain state, then we could never really know that as we can never really know our brain states. My computer does not know the state of its circuitry and, I believe, never will. It doesn't self-reflect on its software or think of or about anything. It merely processes commands based upon input it receives.

 

The self is greater than consciousness. Self-identity, to me, includes the unconscious (subconscious or whatever label it should be), which directs most our awareness of our environment and our body (heart and lungs for ex.). It informs the conscious part of the mind and makes decisions independently and before the conscious is even aware. For example, how do I catch a ball when my conscious mind is unaware there is one speeding towards me? At the last fraction of a second, someone yells "lookout!", and my unconscious mind automatically controls my body to catch it just before it hits my head. Sure, I consciously reacted to the voice and turned, but the rest wasn't "me". It was as if someone else performed the actions, telling my body what to do. This really happened to me. I unconsciously knew what to do, and did it without CONSCIOUS THOUGHT. "I" was a spectator to my own actions. So, I am not just my conscious mind, but my sub-/unconscious mind. My brain state and activity was unconscious, as were my actions in catching the ball.

 

What else would you call the unconscious mind and conscious mind? They are really separate minds that communicate, as our separate hemispheres are. Put this all together with the brain/body, and you have a whole person. Separate them and you have nothing. The conscious mind is not the whole "I" without the unconscious mind (I don't mean the state of being unconscious). The hemispheres apart are different "I"'s, not one "I".

That was awesome!

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That was awesome!

 

Thanks. :thanks: I wasn't sure if it would make sense to anyone else but me. :HaHa:

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So, self-identity would be a mere brain state? I think that if it is a mere brain state, then we could never really know that as we can never really know our brain states. My computer does not know the state of its circuitry and, I believe, never will. It doesn't self-reflect on its software or think of or about anything. It merely processes commands based upon input it receives.

 

You need to read I Am A Strange Loop.

 

 

An interesting dismissive word this "mere". Self-identity is a brain state. What else could it be? Even if you invoke the ghost in the machine then self-identity is a mere ghost state.

 

It seems self evident to me that self-identity is a brain state, because of the numerous times that I (my brain) is not self aware. Your computer is not self aware, but that doesn't mean that it couldn't be with the sufficient circuitry to run a self aware program. And that program doesn't have to be complete, that is it doesn't have to be aware of exactly what all the circuits are doing to say I am.

 

Evolution discovered a certain measure of self awareness was useful for survival in this species. I say a certain measure because we are not completely self aware even when the feeling of awareness seems complete. Since I can't directly grok what my brain is doing to produce "I am" it seems that this "I am" is something in addition to or other than a brain state. "I am" is an illusion something like a hologram that looks like a graspable object, but is not actually available to the hand that reaches for it. Like a hologram needs a projector a self needs a brain. All you have to do to disprove this is produce a self that doesn't have some sort of apparatus associated with it. This shouldn't be any more difficult then producing a hologram without a projector.

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An interesting dismissive word this "mere". Self-identity is a brain state. What else could it be? Even if you invoke the ghost in the machine then self-identity is a mere ghost state.

 

LNC's self-identity is a God state.

 

Like a hologram needs a projector a self needs a brain.

 

I like this analogy.

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In one form or another. Sort of the way evolution works in all biological species, sorting out what works and what changes are necessary to adapt and survive. If it were just hit or miss in real world application and no sort of 'preselection' before for the fact in the trial and error phase of what is needed, the odds would be against survival at all, considering one miss could likely mean death. Sort of like that...

 

If something is interacting with its environment with 'purpose', I would qualify that as being aware. Now, is that at the level of human cognizance, where the organism goes "Hey, I'm aware of me being aware!"? Not that sophisticated of course. But then couldn't we just understand that our level of consciousness is just more highly developed, more evolved consciousness?

 

It begins with the organism 'aware' of its environment and on a rudimentary level, itself I suppose since it is responding to the 'need' to exist (I'd extend that to all matter actually). And this leads to what you yourself bring up here....

 

I'm curious as to what mechanism does the "sorting out" in evolution? That seems to ascribe some logic process to evolution and I am curious as to what is doing that logical "sorting"? How does that sorting mechanism "know" what is necessary to survive? Your description seems to ascribe more to the process than I am familiar with. Selection, as I know it, simply "selects against" those species or attributes that don't contribute to survival by killing off the weaker species or entities within the species. However, I am not aware of a mechanism that creates changes to adapt to an environment. I have always heard that it was random mutations that contribute to the changes, do you know something different, something more intelligent within the process?

That's interesting. You see evolution as a weeding-out process, that what is left over, what had the right stuff is the winner, and not a some innate drive and capacity to self-adaptation, self-transformation to survival. I think that's a critical difference in understanding and why something like emergence is not understood clearly. I understand Evolution in life to be each organism adapting itself to those external and internal pressures, and if not successful, it dies off. Complex systems theory indicates the tendency towards increased complexity, through self-transformation. This is seen at work on a daily basis in every area of life, personal, social, biological, etc.

 

So to answer your question about what that mechanism is, or could be, I'll refer to Daniel Dennett to address that. Now, even though I call on him as a reference, I don't come to the same point of view as him philosophically which I would consider much too reductionist from my perspective. But what he says about how evolution works I would consider an important point.

 

He defines organisms as Skinnerian, Popperian, and Gregorian. B.F. Skinner's behaviorism of trial and error would be possibly applicable to the most rudimentary forms when confronting the environment. They would 'ask' "What do I do next?", with no clue about what to do, and through trial and error figure it out. I personally would speculate their survival would be through a sheer numbers game operating on a level like that which one error of action would likely spell death. But as we go up the levels of emergence, you have less span, less numbers, but greater depth, and greater complexity. Recall?

 

So now you have above them, what he calls Popperian creatures, named after Karl Popper. In these creatures they are able to create a symbolic representation of the environment and they in a sense 'think' about what to do next, before acting and risking death. In essence they permit their 'hypothesis' to die in their stead. Again, this complexity of interaction with the environment is more evolved, a higher level, and as such their is less in number than the 'Skinnerarian' creatures, so this evolved approach is more critical to ensuring survival (I'm tying his creatures into systems theory for you).

 

Now you have even more complex creatures with more highly evolved brain in which to do even more complex simulations. Us. He calls these the Gregorian creatures named after the British psychologist Richard Gregory, theorist on the role of information. These creatures think even better about what to do next. And so we come to where I say that these created realities of culture, and values, etc, or created reality we interface with internally, extend themselves to the external world, affecting it and changing it - including our own biology.

 

This is consciousness throughout the levels of complexity, from the simplest "trial and error" actions of the Skinnerarian creatures, up to the "lets consider this" internal simulation interfacing of the Popperian creatures, to the "lets think about even more complex variations and analyze multiple options, and think about how we think about all of this!" of the Gregorian creatures. It's all levels of complexity, and manifestations of consciousness. This is non-reducible to the machine, to human biology, because that consciousness is all the way down the levels. The difference is in how it is manifest in depth and complexity.

 

For reference, you can read Daniel Dennett's, Darwin's Dangerous Idea, pp. 373-380 where he talks about his Tower of Generate-and-Test.

 

Also, you say that something interacts with its environment with purpose, but that could be ascribed to machines, so I don't see that as a good definition for consciousness. If you mean that it "intentionally" interacts with purpose, then we are back to the original questions and intrinsic intentionality must be explained through a mechanistic process.

Why does intrinsic intentionality need to be explained though a mechanistic process? I don't see that as necessary. I believe there is an interior world to each and every holon. I don't believe the machine creates consciousness. I believe it manifests it in the external world, and in the machine, from the simplest, shallowest form to the deepest and most complex expressions of it.

 

 

You are also merely assuming that the line between non-conscious and conscious could simply be bridged via evolution without explaining the mechanism and steps involved and that is not a satisfying explanation as it smacks of a "just so" story.

Of course this doesn't reflect anything I've suggested, so I'm not sure what you're driving at. It doesn't appear to be an argument against my position.

 

However, I do want to add here, since you have not offered any mechanism yourself, it would clearly appear to be you're suggesting a "just so" story yourself, saying essentially "miracle", which is the same thing. I think saying that it is the nature of the universe as is, has ample enough evidence that does one better than a purely reductionist position, which places everything, all of it, as a manifestation of it seen in and from the mechanics of the machine. I say it's all a manifestation of something more essential than the machine, and the machine is a manifestation of it, or IT.

 

And BTW, I am not a pantheist. I do not believe the Universe is God.

 

Stages of development is a good way to put it. Development is another word for evolution, and "Development" is how they spoke about processes of the natural world for 150 years prior to Darwin putting together his theory of how it works.

 

So lets start with your example of the child in his stages of development. At what point is he manifesting what you call consciousness? As he starts responding to his environment? Later? Say somewhere around the age of 4 where he is beginning to understand the world beyond self, or perhaps even much later? If you place consciousness earlier, in simple awareness of the environment, even though cognitively it is indistinguishable from the self, then what you see in the developing child is an evolving of that consciousness to higher and higher states, where for the infant it begins with their processing of the environment as being indistinguishable from themselves, to a stage of seeing the world as distinct from themselves, to deeper and deeper and higher levels of that consciousness being experienced in them as they develop.

 

But with that understanding, all matter is 'aware' of its environment, and I will contend that the human's form is building on that 'nature' of the universe in their forms, where that awareness become vastly more deep, complex, and experienced by our machine, that brain you seem to place its unique and abrupt appearance out of nothing on. In a true sense of the word, if that were so, that it suddenly and uniquely appears ex-nihlo in humans, then that would seem to support the Magic explanation of the Creation Myth in Genesis. Yes?

 

Instead, and this would seem to run contrary to the theology of LNC (unless he has more sophisticated understanding of the Divine than a literal interpretation of Genesis), our Development as a species, is part of that whole unfolding of the Universe in forms, and that consciousness, is not a product of the machine, but integrated into it as its elemental, functional Heart. It is one thing to look at the machine and recognize its components, but there is the whole interior space of its 'being' that is overlooked. Our brains, are simply the tools we are using that opens that to us, that opens that vast, endless, interior depth of the unfolding universe within us! The brain doesn't create it, it exposes it!! We are the Universe coming to know itself. (That's inspiring to me, can you tell)?

 

More on this idea of the Interior. I'm going to quote again from Ken Wilber who I went into length in explaining the 'tenets' of emergence back on post 146, as I like how he explains this . From SEC, p.p. 112-114. In following up talking about how the systems theorist would claim "that the resultant 'big picture' covers the whole of reality, from atoms to cells to animals, from stars to planets to Gaia, from villages to towns to planetary federations...", he adds:

 

And yet, and yet. Something is terribly wrong. Or rather, terribly partial. All of these diagrams represent things that can be seen with the physical sense or their extensions (microscopes, telescopes). They are all, all of them, how the universe looks from the
outside
. They are all the
outward forms
of evolution, and not one of them represents how evolution looks from the
inside
, how the individual holons feel and perceive and cognize the world at various stages.

 

For example, take the progression: irritability, sensation, perception, impulse, image, symbol, concept.... We might believe that cells show protoplasmic irritability, that plants show rudimentary sensation, that reptiles show perception, paleomammals show images, primates show symbols, and humans show concepts. That may be true (and is true, I think), but the point is that
none
of those appear on any of our diagrams. Our diagrams (thus far) show only the outward forms of evolution, and none of the corresponding “interior phehensions” of the forms themselves (sensation, feelings, ideas, etc.).

 

So the diagrams themselves are not wrong (once we have revised a few errors), but they are terribly partial. They leave out the insides of the universe.

 

And there is a reason for this. The general systems sciences seek to be empirical, or based on sensory evidence (or its extensions). And thus they are interested in how cells are taken up into complex organisms, and how organisms are part of ecological environments, and so on – all of which you can
see
, and thus all of which you can investigate empirically. And all of which is true enough.

 

But they are not interested in – because the empirical methods do not cover – how sensations are taken up into perceptions, and perceptions give way to impulses and emotions, and emotions break forth into images and images expand to symbols…. The empirical systems sciences cover all of the outward forms of all that, and cover it very well; they simply miss, and leave out entirely, the
inside
of all of that.

 

Take, for example, the mind and the brain. Whatever else we may decide about the brain and the mind, this much seems certain: the brain looks something like figure 3-6 (or some anatomically correct figure), but my mind does not look like figure 3-6. I know my mind from the inside, where it seems to be seething with sensations and feelings and images and ideas. It looks nothing like figure 3-6, which is simply how my brain looks.

 

In other words, my mind is known interiorly “by acquaintance,” but my brain is known exteriorly “by description” (William James, Bertrand Russell). This is why I can always to some degree see my own mind, but I can never see my own brain (without cutting open my skull and getting a mirror). I can know a dead person’s brain by simply cutting open the skull and looking at it – but then I am
not
knowing or sharing that person’s mind, am I? or how he felt and perceived and thought about the world.

 

The brain is the outside, the mind is the inside – and, as we will see,
a similar type of exterior/interior holds for every holon
in evolution. And the empirical systems sciences or ecological sciences, even though they claim to be holistic, in fact cover exactly and only one half of the Kosmos. And that is especially what is so partial about the web-of-life theories: they indeed see fields within fields, but they are really only surfaces within surfaces within yet still other surfaces – they see only the exterior half of reality.

 

And so as we evolve, as the Universe evolves, our biological brains allow a greater depth of awareness of that consciousness within each ‘holon’, within the material universe. Just as a child’s consciousness becomes greater and more opened as he develops, so does everything in the universe to it. This negates the Magic of some sudden apparent aberration or ‘miracle’ with human brains. Our experience of consciousness is what is ours, but conscious itself is not created by our brains. It is the interior reality manifest in the exterior in manifold forms and depths.

 

Now, wrap your mind around that in whatever mythology you think explains it best to yourself. I’d be curious to see LNC respond to this within a Christian context. How does he see consciousness existence, and what does that say for his theologies?

 

I like a lot of what you say, although I probably don't agree with all of it. Here is the big issue that I think you have rightly revealed. I can know my mind by first person acquaintance and only I can know it in this way. I can only know my brain by third person acquaintance. No one can know my mind unless I reveal it to them. Monitors can measure increases in certain processes of my body (brain activity, serotonin levels, etc.); however, they cannot tell me that I am in pain or where that pain is, only I can reveal that. Sure, they can look at certain levels and surmise that I am in pain, but pain is a first person qualia experience and cannot be determined on a third person basis. This week I read a headline on Drudge that proclaimed "Scientists can read thoughts!" However, when I read the article it didn't say that scientists could read thoughts, it said that they could monitor brain activity to see where memories were stored and accessed. They had to rely on the study subject to relate which memories were being accessed to create the linkage.

 

Yes, I think that there is a distinct difference between brain and mind and that consciousness is still a puzzlement to science.

 

LNC

I think the problem is that the reductionist is trying to, well, reduce it to the machine. It's the wrong set of tools. And the real question is, has it even been considered that it might be the wrong set of tools? And if not, then what does that say?

 

 

So Paul, seriously, what is your position here? From your position, what's your take on it? I'd really like this to be discussion of your thoughts too.... Indulge me. I would very much enjoy it.

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AM, could you explain what you mean by consciousness being manifested? I know what the word means, but could you be more specific if possible?

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AM, could you explain what you mean by consciousness being manifested? I know what the word means, but could you be more specific if possible?

I think what I'm saying is in some other words is demonstrated, made known, acting, exhibited, the products of.

 

I think of it in a sense like I think of what 'faith' is. Looking at the kernel of it, beneath and at the heart of all particular contexts which we apply the word, there is a certain essence behind all expressions of it. I particularly like how Tillich calls it 'the ultimate concern', or 'being ultimately concerned' about life. As such, all systems of this are expressions of it, or 'manifestations' of it. In that sense 'faith' is truth, and all symbolic representations of it are objects of that truth.

 

So that example to say that consciousness, that state of awareness, is manifest, made apparent, exhibited in various ways, to one degree, to one level, to one depth or another, in all levels, all the way down and all the way up. But it is all the same thing, like Faith is, whether its the Pagan, the Rationalist, the Christian, the Muslim, the Materialist, the Positivist, etc. Or in the case of consciousness, the human, the octopus, the tiger, the dragonfly, the tapeworm, the cell, and even down all the way to the most rudimentary elements of all the natural world. Then to take it a step beyond, into the very fabric of all existence and from wherever and whatever it becomes.

 

Is this mystical? Yes. But is that out of line with the Universe in all actuality, beyond this stage of understanding? I would say imagine 1000 years ago looking at the cosmos as we do now. This would seem a fantasy of imagination, a sort of 'mysticism' in its own. But it is arrogance, no, a religious grasp to claim an authority for the sense of security, to say one point of view supersedes all others, holding up such validations as 'empirical evidence' as the end all of the basis of all knowledge (which is amazing we have survived so well for millenia as humans without modern science as the new Holy See).

 

There are certainly legitimate sciences (as opposed to pseudosciences), which begin to blur that line between what we as humans have expressed symbolically though that 'faith' that wells up inside us in response to our questions of being, and what we can ascertain rationality through the tools of inquiries and research into the nature of the natural world - what we can more readily touch and evaluate externally to us. I personally see that our existential sense of being, our "spirit" for lack of a better word, is in fact attune to something intrinsic in this reality we find ourselves within and confronted by, and that it is our rational minds in exploring that external world will at one point find a synthesis in which all of this duality of subject and object meld together into ONE.

 

When I hear LNC struggle in trying to find 'evidence' of a scientific nature to support his expression of faith in the symbolic system of the Christian religion, I see an attempt, driven by that very angst, to try to bridge that gap between faith and reason. But it's my argument that it is not reconcilable on the same level, but it has to be transcended and incorporated into a new level, beyond science and religion into something new, something that embraces Being.

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So that example to say that consciousness, that state of awareness, is manifest, made apparent, exhibited in various ways, to one degree, to one level, to one depth or another, in all levels, all the way down and all the way up. But it is all the same thing, like Faith is, whether its the Pagan, the Rationalist, the Christian, the Muslim, the Materialist, the Positivist, etc. Or in the case of consciousness, the human, the octopus, the tiger, the dragonfly, the tapeworm, the cell, and even down all the way to the most rudimentary elements of all the natural world. Then to take it a step beyond, into the very fabric of all existence and from wherever and whatever it becomes.

 

Thanks, now I gotcha.

 

...This would seem a fantasy of imagination, a sort of 'mysticism' in its own. But it is arrogance, no, a religious grasp to claim an authority for the sense of security, to say one point of view supersedes all others, holding up such validations as 'empirical evidence' as the end all of the basis of all knowledge (which is amazing we have survived so well for millenia as humans without modern science as the new Holy See).

 

There are certainly legitimate sciences (as opposed to pseudosciences), which begin to blur that line between what we as humans have expressed symbolically though that 'faith' that wells up inside us in response to our questions of being, and what we can ascertain rationality through the tools of inquiries and research into the nature of the natural world - what we can more readily touch and evaluate externally to us. I personally see that our existential sense of being, our "spirit" for lack of a better word, is in fact attune to something intrinsic in this reality we find ourselves within and confronted by, and that it is our rational minds in exploring that external world will at one point find a synthesis in which all of this duality of subject and object meld together into ONE.

 

Thanks for taking the time to detail your thoughts, and so well! I find it difficult to put into words how I see awareness. It's similar to what you've stated: Our selves are put together by so many lifeforms (various cell types, bacteria, etc.) that are all aware at some crude level. The brain's awareness is much higher and more complex, but without all the building blocks of the human body, our organs wouldn't function or be what they are. The atomic level or base of our existence, acts together with everything above in homeostasis. All that is makes us alive and aware, just as they are alive and aware. This kind of balance and unity is monistic, to me.

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The atomic level or base of our existence, acts together with everything above in homeostasis. All that is makes us alive and aware, just as they are alive and aware.

 

I would call it the "ground of our being."

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The atomic level or base of our existence, acts together with everything above in homeostasis. All that is makes us alive and aware, just as they are alive and aware.

 

I would call it the "ground of our being."

 

I purposely avoided using that because of Paul Tillich. I think he believed God as being Ultimate Reality or Being itself in such a way that isn't identical with nature. He used it to describe the "creative ground of all natural objects", or natura naturans (creative nature). I don't recall which book I got this quote from. I had it written down without a reference. Anyway, I don't quite get how it isn't nature or even pantheism. Unless he meant it is what nature does? I would think that the ground of our being is intrinsic (like AM said) or innate (arising from).

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The atomic level or base of our existence, acts together with everything above in homeostasis. All that is makes us alive and aware, just as they are alive and aware.

 

I would call it the "ground of our being."

 

I purposely avoided using that because of Paul Tillich. I think he believed God as being Ultimate Reality or Being itself in such a way that isn't identical with nature. He used it to describe the "creative ground of all natural objects", or natura naturans (creative nature). I don't recall which book I got this quote from. I had it written down without a reference. Anyway, I don't quite get how it isn't nature or even pantheism. Unless he meant it is what nature does? I would think that the ground of our being is intrinsic (like AM said) or innate (arising from).

In the brief moments I have here, I think the difference with Shyone is that he is an Atomist in a very strict sense of the word. Everything can be reduced down to the physical, external world - even the internal world which is a mere product of the machine itself. And moreover, as an Atomist, understanding the world as interconnected wholes in any form of Holism is out. The world can be understood and explained by an evaluation of the external, material parts alone. At least that's how I hear him.

 

To me this is inadequate. I see an internal world unfolding and being exposed as much as the exterior world in material, natural evolution. At each stage of complexity there is an increase in interior depths. And moreover, this whole being, of interior and exterior, are in fact interconnected interior/exterior all other interior/exterior whole/parts. That the interior world is not a product of the machine, created by the machine, but is innate into the fabric of all that is - from the atom to the human, to beyond. The Ground of Being, must be more that just simple physical existence. That is being with a little b. It must be the Ground of the whole manifest universe, exhibited in what we see both in us as humans and every form, to one degree or another.

 

Is that God?

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In the brief moments I have here, I think the difference with Shyone is that he is an Atomist in a very strict sense of the word. Everything can be reduced down to the physical, external world - even the internal world which is a mere product of the machine itself. And moreover, as an Atomist, understanding the world as interconnected wholes in any form of Holism is out. The world can be understood and explained by an evaluation of the external, material parts alone. At least that's how I hear him.

 

To me this is inadequate. I see an internal world unfolding and being exposed as much as the exterior world in material, natural evolution. At each stage of complexity there is an increase in interior depths. And moreover, this whole being, of interior and exterior, are in fact interconnected interior/exterior all other interior/exterior whole/parts. That the interior world is not a product of the machine, created by the machine, but is innate into the fabric of all that is - from the atom to the human, to beyond. The Ground of Being, must be more that just simple physical existence. That is being with a little b. It must be the Ground of the whole manifest universe, exhibited in what we see both in us as humans and every form, to one degree or another.

 

I don't see the physical/exterior as "machine", because many organisms make up a human being, just as there are different "selves" that form my "I". All those organisms form a whole being. These organisms are participating along with the ground of being (base of existence) to create the interior world. How, I have no idea. But I think it takes both reductionism and some type of holism or relational approach (as Legion says) to understand the interior/exterior of existence. They are different approaches zeroing in on the same objective.

 

 

Is that God?

 

I think everything that is, is God. Everything participates in creating and being. If that makes sense...

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To me this is inadequate.

 

I see an internal world unfolding and being exposed as much as the exterior world in material, natural evolution. At each stage of complexity there is an increase in interior depths. And moreover, this whole being, of interior and exterior, are in fact interconnected interior/exterior all other interior/exterior whole/parts. That the interior world is not a product of the machine, created by the machine, but is innate into the fabric of all that is - from the atom to the human, to beyond. The Ground of Being, must be more that just simple physical existence. That is being with a little b. It must be the Ground of the whole manifest universe, exhibited in what we see both in us as humans and every form, to one degree or another.

 

 

 

What is this internal world really? Let's place it on the table like we'd ask a Christian to do with God, or a soul, or an angel...

 

What is it made out of? Maybe it is not made of anything, maybe its some sort of amorphous nothing that nevertheless contains all the information needed to make matter do all the stuff it does.

 

When something is actually unfolded, say a human, what does one find? More stuff that's what one finds -- chemicals, electrons... and interactions. Where is the human? It's back up there where you started to take it apart, and that is the only place it is. There is nothing in there that is human, i.e. no dabs of humanness. And there is nothing out there that is human. Humanness is a human nothing more nothing less.

 

Except for complexity, a human is very like a brick wall. Take away enough bricks and there is no wall left, and more importantly to this discussion there is no wallishness left. There is no interior where the mystery of wallishness dwells, nor is there any interior where the mystery of humanness dwells. The interior is the world of stuff -- that is what is in there.

 

But you could easily prove me wrong. Just put some of this interior fabric on the table. :wicked:

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The atomic level or base of our existence, acts together with everything above in homeostasis. All that is makes us alive and aware, just as they are alive and aware.

 

I would call it the "ground of our being."

 

I purposely avoided using that because of Paul Tillich. I think he believed God as being Ultimate Reality or Being itself in such a way that isn't identical with nature. He used it to describe the "creative ground of all natural objects", or natura naturans (creative nature). I don't recall which book I got this quote from. I had it written down without a reference. Anyway, I don't quite get how it isn't nature or even pantheism. Unless he meant it is what nature does? I would think that the ground of our being is intrinsic (like AM said) or innate (arising from).

I'll answer you before I read AMs reply and get confused.

 

I was being sarcastic. All being begins with matter and/or energy. I am not being strictly reductionist here, but rather saying that all matter is ultimately made of atoms and their related particles and forces (including photons).

 

No matter? No being.

 

No Being? No matter.

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I'll answer you before I read AMs reply and get confused.

 

I was being sarcastic. All being begins with matter and/or energy. I am not being strictly reductionist here, but rather saying that all matter is ultimately made of atoms and their related particles and forces (including photons).

 

No matter? No being.

 

No Being? No matter.

 

Oh, you caught me in one of my serious moments. :grin: Right. All this strict reductionism vs. holism talk doesn't seem to really stick with me. I think the disagreement is just talking past each other. It must be because the subject is so difficult to grasp and explain in words. Reductionism will always be a part of the explanation, even if great minds figure out how the organization of matter meshes with consciousness.

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