> Hi Carl,
> Thank you for your post, this could be interesting; I may learn
> something. While in my line of business I must always supply credible
> references for what I present scientifically, I have not used that
> method in this forum. However, I am happy to look through the books
> on my shelf and do so if necessary.
Sorry about that. When I read your message, I had just finished reading the
article that I cited. That brings up the question: What do you think about
synchronicity? That kind of stuff makes all kind of bells go off in my
head, and further strengthens what Schroedinger said. You mention brain
science, I read the article and pick up a couple of books on the subject,
and then meet with a friend who hands me a brochure announcing a one-day
conference conducted by Brian E. King, expert in Applied Biopsychology
that's going to be in town next month. The conference is about how the
brain forms new habits. Seriously, I couldn't make this stuff up.
> Let me first explain why I provided the snippet from a current line of
> research. Our awareness can be considered simply as a reification of
> all input coming from the outside. This could be formalized as DQ
> becoming filtered as it reaches our active consciousness (or attentive
> consciousness, if you will). I do not think this adequately explains
> consciousness. Let me use an analogy of a light bulb to explain. We
> can consider a light bulb to be translating the electricity coming in,
> into light. This would make the light bulb an actuator of such
> translation. The bulb itself is static in that it is composed of
> materials which are fixed. If we consider our awareness as the light
> coming from such bulb, and the brain as a static translator, we arrive
> at a somewhat deterministic view. This would fall under current
> evolutionary theory based on the predominance of the memory of the
The problem I have with that is the filter you mention. We are all
different. I like the analogy of the radio or television tuner better. The
thoughts are out there, floating around, and we are able to tune into them
on the right frequency. Some of us are analog, and others are digital.
i.e. some are able to focus and concentrate, and others, not so much. With
a light bulb, your options are light or not light. With a radio tuner, you
have multiples of possibilities. i.e. some get the signal clearly, others
> In the paper who's paragraph I provided, the "counter current" of
> memory is used to explain the co-creation of awareness, or "light".
> In this way, our memory as it stands at the moment of awareness
> modulates the incoming input so as to provide a real time awareness.
> If we explore the mechanics of how the memory accomplishes this, we
> can also arrive at a somewhat deterministic conclusion.
This is the problem I have with the current brain research. Yes, we know
which areas of the brain lights up when we experience specific emotions.
The problem is the stimuli. For example, you're walking through the park on
a beautiful spring day, the weather is perfect, and your significant other
is beaming at you. I walk up to you and hand you a pretty flower and say,
"Peace, Brother." You smile and take the flower. Next situation: You enter
work on a Monday morning, only to find that the experiment you've been
nursing for the past three years in shambles. This is the one that was
going to nail it for you in front of the Nobel committee. You do a little
looking, and find that the graduate intern that was supposed to be watching
over the weekend spent his entire time surfing porn sites on the internet
and practicing self-amuse. You realize that the several million that's
already been spent is down the toilet, along with the rest of your career as
soon as your supervisor realizes that he's going to have to explain what
happened to the people who funded the research. You go to the intern's
apartment to counsel him on his areas of weakness, and to be there in person
while you strangle him with your bare hands. There's a note on his
apartment door stating that he just realized he had an urgent appointment in
Botswanna, and is not expected to return. You leave the apartment building,
and I walk up to you holding a pretty flower. I hand it to you and say,
"Peace, Brother." A whole different area of your brain lights up. Same
stimuli, different result. We can know which area of the brain lights up,
but beyond that, we really don't know much.
> However, if we envision the process of awareness as being more than a
> simple ever adapting machine, then we can jump into the arena of
> free-will. If indeed awareness is co-created by two separate Wills,
> then such colaboration provides something that is distinct from the
> predictable. In Lila, Pirsig proposes that everything has free will.
> In accordance with that, everything is expressed as morality. Any
> such expression requires choice, which is a concept found in the
> free-will side of the debate. I am in agreement that the concept of
> morality can be extended in this way.
Here's where I start arguing from your position. (Gotta hate when that
happens.) I picked up a couple of books by Antonio Damasio, specifically
Descartes' Error and Looking for Spinoza. I haven't read them yet, but I
did start Descartes' Error. The first thing he talks about is a patient who
has a lesion in the area of the brain that conducts feelings. Without the
use of that area, the man continually makes mistakes in judgement. He has
the knowledge, education, experience, etc. to make the correct judgements,
but he doesn't. That being said, what does it say about the idea of
free-will? Are we the sum of our brain structures? I'm going to keep
> Therefore, the understanding that I was promoting was one in which DQ
> not only comes from the pre-conceptual side lying on the external
> input side of our existence, but that it also comes from a personal DQ
> which we create. In this way, the intellectual level, and it's
> product of image formation, including concepts, is a dynamic process
> instead of some kind of filtration process. Of course the
> intellectual level is much more that human intellect and its abstract
> manipulation of concepts; this is just one of its expressions.
So you're saying that we can't conceptualize until we realize? I agree with
that. We can experience, but until that experience becomes meaningful to
us, it's not. It's all DQ until we make it SQ, right? At that point, we
exercise our options, (free will) and make our choice. This does argue for
a filtration process, though. How we react to the options given will depend
on a lot of variables, such as previous experience, knowledge,
acculturation, and others, INCLUDING how we decide to react, which may be in
direct contradiction to everything we've previously learned.
> So, on to your comments...
> On 1/31/12, Carl Thames <cthames@cent...> wrote:
>> "The philosopher of religion, Huston Smith, has stated (2) that there are
>> four categories in which science is limited, “four things science cannot
>> get its hands on”: 1) intrinsic and normative values; 2) purposes; 3)
>> ultimate and existential meanings; and 4) quality. These limitations come
>> about, Smith claims, as a result of science’s helplessness in the face of
>> the qualitatively unmeasurable."
>> 2. Smith H. Beyond the Post-Modern Mind. Wheaten. IL: The Theosophical
>> Publishing House, 1982:66-67.
> Thanks for the quote Carl. I enjoy H. Smith and his attempt to
> intellectualize religious visions. I recently read a book which
> includes his dabbling in the LSD area with all those Harvard
> professors. I fully agree that science is not the end all of human
> endeavor. In fact, I treat science as a metaphysics where a reality
> of "what is" is being proposed under certain guidelines. Seeing it as
> a metaphysics, we can look into its utility.
> Science uses the concepts of measurements to present its arguments.
> These measurements are man-made, since a "meter" does not exist
> outside of our imaginations. Science then uses such units of
> measurement to tie things together into a credible presentation of a
> reality. Of course this system of measurement is incomplete, and
> cannot be applied to those things which cannot be included in the
> space-time format. So, if the idea of the quote about Smith is to
> diminish the importance of science in such areas, I can only agree
> whole heartedly. Living in the world of science, I am fully aware of
> its limits. If such a thing is seen as helpless, this would only come
> from the idea that science is "all powerful" which I do not entertain.
> Current "Scientism" is a faith based on material sufficiency and
> promise. That is, "if we do not know it now with Science, be patient
> and we will". These are political promises if anything, and make us
> impotent in the face of science, and its religious Scientism. Just
> look at what the priests of science are telling us to do with our
> daily lives, as enforced by the government.
Of course I'm currently taking a class in Advanced Research Methods. (What
was that about synchronicity?) One of the main criteria for a research
study is that the subject must be measurable. The problem there is what
measure you're using, like you said. I have been wondering about the
subject of wisdom. I've boiled it down to mean, "Making good choices." but
who gets to decide what constitutes a good choice? There are many areas
that we just don't have the tools yet to measure. That hasn't kept people
from trying, of course, but most of their efforts border on the silly.
> Staying within the grounds of what science can actually accomplish in
> terms of the presentation of values and such, we can consider what
> science has brought us so far, not all of this is pretty. The rise of
> psychology as a pillar of Scientism has given science much power over
> our daily perpective of ourselves. This is an area where such
> Scientism can be dangerous and controlling of our very being similar
> to Christianity or other dogmatic religions. However, if we view
> science as a presentation of possibilites, then we can view it simply
> as a tool and not some dogmatic outcry. In terms of brain science,
> there certainly has been progress in terms of mitigating illnesses.
> If people seek to "feel happy", then we are obliged to try to help
> them with this through chemisty, or electro-shock therapy.
Agree. You would not believe the arguments going on about psychosurgery.
It started with the lobotomy, and continues. I think many doctors have
given up on the idea of happiness, and are shooting for functional. The
emphasis on psychopharmicology now is not so much on making people "happy"
as it is to help them stop feeling "unhappy" or bad.
> Indeed, the exploration of consciousness can be aided by the use of
> science, provided we do not see the results of such as the "final
> word". Current trend in brain sciences as presented through the quote
> I provided from an article that came out this week would argue against
> the idea of the pre-conceptual as not including our actual brain
> process of reification. William James was a product of his time, and
> his ideas of the predominance of sensory input on our awareness is
> somewhat dated. Back then the brain was seen as some kind of
> waterworks where we had pressures and release valves and dams. It is
> far more etherial than that.
> So, while I do not have a problem with some in the forum sticking with
> the somewhat dated ideas that James had about psychology; it may be
> important to see his proclamations in this area as historical building
> blocks, but they should not define how we view the world. We should
> try to not keep ideas of the past with impregnable castle gates.
> There has been much done since James, and his ideas can be
> re-interpreted in this new light, rather than be doggedly clung to.
> This is why I insist that brain scientists are simply humans which the
> same introspective questions that we all have, and not some robots
> marching to the drum beat of Scientism. A priest in the Catholic
> Church understand his predicatment better than those who follow his
> lead. The same can be said for scientists.
Agreed, up to a point. Everything we know is built on what was known
previously, or so it seems. We have to do that, or we would wake up every
day like a newborn baby. For that reason, I think that James is alive and
well. How many times have you heard people say, "Yeah, but...." when
talking about his ideas? How many people have used his concepts as a
springboard for new ideas? We make progress in our knowledge by learning
what doesn't work as well as what does, and without people like James, et.
al. we would be starting over every day. There is a danger, as you say, of
making a religion out of it. Once that happens, we become rigid and stop
growing. Once that happens, we start dying. More specifically, once we
stop growing we stop being open to DQ. In fact, DQ becomes a threat to us,
and we insist that everyone remain in sq, forever. "If it don't say it in
the book, I don't wanna hear about it." As the book gets more and more out
>> The ball's in your court.
>> Serving with intent,
> Love-love, play in action. Just trying to keep it in the court
> instead of sending out to the grandstands as I sometimes do in my
> Beware of the "foot-fault",