reply to post by elysiumfire
Self-sentience is simply a cross-referential resonance between immediate past with immediate present, which allows for an extension of awareness into
an immediate future (ie, anticipation).
Forgive me for the confusion. We each come to this discussion with our own way of talking about things. My way is mostly influenced by developmental
psychology and cognitive/affective neurosciences. In particular, the works of Ian Mcgilchrist, Jaak Panksepp, Elkonan Goldberg, Dan Siegel, Peter
Fonagy figure large in my way of thinking. I see a lot of cognitive neuroscience in your way of thinking, which, in my view, seems a bit reductive to
reduce everything to just an issue of "working memory". Although that can be a useful framework to work, it doesn't accurately account for the
phenomena we see within our ownselves, and within the behavior of other creatures.
I think Jaak Panksepps views are the most succinct we have to date for consciousness. And it can only be "made sense of", in my opinion, from the
perspective of the neurological evolution of the vertebrate brain. With each "accretion", from reptiles to animals, for example, a more complicated
form of sociality and with it, emotion and cognition, emerges. What animals do, reflects what they are able to understand and know. This is how
evolution works. Environment "impresses" upon biology. Dogs don't have philosophy because there is no point for it. There social structures are far
too primitive to accomodate a consciousness that can "wonder" about the world. Same thing with dolphins and apes. In apes in particular, the rudiments
of self-reflection i.e sympathy, is present
and never a true representation of the real present moment,
I never said the "awareness of awareness" is contingent on whats happening with the present moment. It is, like everything we think, a reflection of
whats "just passed". It's important that you at least understand and recognize that science - primatology, ethology, neuroscience, developmental
psychology - strongly indicates that only human beings possess the awareness to be aware of ones own awareness. And no, I don't care about how
"redundant" this can become. I mean only the "split" which occurs un human awareness where the self can be reflected upon and objectified as an "I".
This state is not contingent on external factors. A monkey, for example, may recognize its own image in a mirror. But science has shown that this
"self reflective" capacity is limited to embodied awareness i.e. a sense of their own body within time and space. Since "embodiedness" i.e.
experiencing reality in a "subjective emotional present", is how animals experience the world, evolutionary theory would mandate that before full
blown "awareness of awareness" i.e. a cognition about ones cognitions, develops, something which is seen in human beings, it first had to reach a
stage of "awareness of self as an embodied
actor", which is what we see in apes.
This faculty - mindfulness, or mind sight - is what enables the emergence of "guided behavior". Behavior that is directed by a self which mindfully
projects it's own will into it's flow of experience. This is a sui generis mental phenomenon with no known cognate in any other life-form.
No other animals can do this, and we know this because we've tried to measure it by creating different situations which can be solved only by engaging
in the desired behaviour. Apes - chimps, bonobos, orangatuans etc, as mentioned, can show sympathy. This is especially present in bonobos. One chimp
at a zoo, apparently, picked up a bird that fell into it's cage, picked it up, brought it up to the top of the canopy, and opened its wings for it to
"fly away". For this to happen, the chimp had to: a) be aware of birds b) understand that birds fly c) that by bringing it to the top of the tree, she
would be optimizing it's ability to fly. These mental skills are amazing, but what astonishes me is that the chimp would even experience sympathy for
Chimps are a evolutionary throwback. They help explain our own development. Nevertheless, they are hamstringed by their instincts and biology. Unlike
human beings, they do not have the capacity to "reify" wisdom in external institutions. It's precisely this human capacity for language creation,
writing, and manipulating our external environments with such efficacy, that succeeding generations are made smarter and smarter. No other creature
can change it's condition like we can. If this isn't astonishing, I think you've become dissociated from the sheer-awesomeness of life.
on 18-3-2014 by Astrocyte because: (no reason given)