Sunday, January 21, 2024

The Thrill of Consciousness

Hey, I got an actual comment. A first across many years. It was disruptive of whatever it was that I was about to write about. Still, I'm grateful. I hardly even look to see if there are comments to moderate. There never are.

I remain in the throes of attempting to find out what the real thinkers are thinking about consciousness. All of them seem addled by brain. To me the brain is also important, though not so much as the seat of intelligence, which seems unrelated to consciousness in almost every way. The brain is important because, qua Edelman, with whom Dennett doesn't agree very much, the brain involves as many, or more, interconnections as there are particles in the known cosmos.

That gives the brain the possibility of microcosm, metaphorically akin to the whole hologram as in how chips from a holographic plate contain the entire image, but attenuated according to proportion. Our consciousness is analogous to being the whole plate, which might contain a sort of image of the all. No, not contain, stupid. As a follower of Riccardo Manzotti's thinking, there is no containing. But for sure the mind mediates all sorts of perceptions to form that analog of a holographic plate which requires lazer light to reveal. The brain requires coherent, rectified, perceptual awareness, but it does not contain that awareness. It projects it, even to the self. 

Each of us refracts the all, knowing only a small aspect, but now, grace science, each individual mind is able to refract more and ever more. This is a wonderful cosmic happening.

Metaphoric thinking will never be sanctioned as real thinking, alas, but I am an ironist and don't really think real thinking is quite real. I strive to understand, and the measure for my understanding is to achieve such narrative clarity that I might convince the best in the field. But what is the field? Everything?

If I did have a field, I might manage to be convincing, but then I would be limited by that field. That's not how my mind works, and so it wouldn't be very satisfying to me.

We can't leave go our objective materialist science, because it continues to work so very well. That's even after we know for certain that there is no objective unimplicated perfect Archimedean stance from which, finally, to understand.

And anyhow, maybe Steven Pinker thinks that humanity is better off than ever before, as he pals around with the likes of Jeffrey Epstein. I think that our amoral backside is hanging out. I blame it on the workings of money, which is the universal solvent of decency. Along with the quest, individually, to be noticed. Money and recognition rule the world. No matter how much more we might understand, we behave more and more badly, on the whole. I guess I mean that we don't behave at all. We just seek comfort and joy for the nonce.

Once upon a time, knowing the dangers of mob rule, we did stipulate that the electorate is responsible only to choose wise leaders. Now we choose a kind of absolute zero of humanity because he has perfected the art of reflecting back those prejudicial beliefs that we can't leave go of because we don't and can't trust the leaders and the intellectuals. This danger was always present. 

As was the danger that we will deploy our intellect only to escape the conditions for life. We feel so certain that, ultimately, life will burn out according to physical principles that we bend our full effort to eluding that inevitability. Wouldn't it make more sense to recognize the limits of the very possibility to understand everything?

Hannah Arendt, who strikes me as very sane, puts thinking forward as what we lack and what we must have for the sake of right politics. But I think she means mindfulness, where mind is more than intelligence and calculation. She foregrounds politics; the social processes of the unwashed as we conspire together about our goals and directions. 

Politicians, as those who make their entire vocation politics, should be a banned category. We now have politicians where what we want are leaders. Leaders prove themselves in other ways from advertising themselves as leaders.

None of this feels as complex as we make it. We've been doped is all. We think the world runs on automatic, and that there's nothing that we need do, individually, to make it better. Might as well watch another fine movie, play a good game, take a nice trip. The world has a way of taking care of itself.

Go Bills! (That's how we tell each other to have a blessed day around here)

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