Consciousness Explained by Daniel C. Dennett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Yet another book which magically escaped my attention, though reading it would have promoted my understanding of so much. Better late than never, eh?
And as always, there was no program to my finding it. An old re-met friend rather, who must have been remembering me as I once was well over 30 years ago, lent it to me. He thought the book had my name written all over it.
Indeed! Nor do I wish to lay claim to that identity I would name for myself, acknowledging readily that most of what I call myself is at best character-based response to happenstance. As to the enactor of my conjectured character, we may forget him as readily as that creature which eats its brains once they've served the purpose of lodging it.
I can find nothing with which to disagree here. Astonishingly to me, I also find that consciousness has indeed been explained. I have no further questions, or rather the questions can be left aside and the work turned to more interesting matters.
Such as, for a quick instance, how is it that we can rid our minds of those harmful parasitic memes which would harness our apparently hard-wired self-aggrandizement compulsions. What political arrangements might make us act otherwise than to incorporate any and all techniques for manipulation of the symbolic discourse of money toward our maximal individual corporeal advantage at the expense of any cultured ground?
For so long as the Big Questions remain unanswered, there will always be some convenient jog to excuse whatever local pleasure or convenience we can buy at some discount from ever-attenuating meanings for value. Profit extensible to infinity on misdirection alone such as would cause P.T. Barnum to blush. Let me sell you self-confidence with that logo.
Quite simply, whatever consciousness is, it will not outlast our physical implicated being which is continuous with the Earth together with whom we have evolved to this point. My mind extends - there are no bounds - into all of that stuff which can be understood in principle, but also into that which cannot be comprehended. Chance will forever exceed my grasp, else what's a meta for?
It is the stuff of chance we will destroy for so long as answers remain deferred. There will be no end to our manipulations of words, of money, of tools of every sort because, as with a siren pitching ever higher, we will not stop. There is no ending, and so enthusiasm for ever-more is the only forever.
Enough! I mean honestly. Just as it sets out to do, this book defines the question and along the way discards those questions which still compel so many among us to defer our very responsibility because it is so pleasurable to imagine more perfect unions.
If, in other words, there were to come about some critical mass of readers who have mastered this work, we could finally begin engagement in those discourses which might wrest humanity from the degeneration which is attendant upon inhabitation by those memes in whose thrall our brains now labor.
And in that sense, this must be the most important book I, for one, have ever read. By limiting the field for proper questioning it has in fact already answered that which by its end remains, its author claims, conjecture. Will enough of us learn to read it before it's become too late? It makes a nice dream that enough of us shall, which finally will not only explain consciousness but create it.
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