It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Help ATS via PayPal:
learn more

Principles of The Mind

page: 1

log in


posted on Apr, 27 2016 @ 02:27 AM
As a big reader, I have a book to recommend to other big readers here; actually, two:

Terrence Deacons "Incomplete Nature" - published in 2012, and

Stuart Kauffmans "Humanity in a Creative Universe" published just a few weeks ago.

The latters thinking has really go me wondering about the nature of consciousness, but to explain this nature without forgetting the fossil record: the fact of our being emerging in an evolutionary process. Far too often spiritual minded people strangely turn away from scientific ideas, and I can't state explicitly why, yet it must be some defensiveness. Why not seek knowledge where knowledge is? And science, of course, is latin for "knowing".

What could be more important to know then the peculiarities of your consciousness? You are a human being, just like me; and just like me, your frontal lobes have between 15-17 billion neurons, and your cerebellum, that little tiny brain that hangs from your big brain, has a whopping 67-71 billion neurons on average. We are similarly made creatures, with similar structural commonalities: this is what medical science and anatomy is all about; to learn more about the body so that we can better treat diseases. And for evolutionary psychologists, the nervous system in particular fascinates, and so inclines you to study the various pathways of the brain.

Brains have invariant (exactly the same) structures. Every normal human being has a frontal lobe, hippocampus, amygdala, thalamus, hypothalamus etc, and these functions are parallel to one another, meaning they have been associated with certain psychological functions as measured through fMRI, PET, EEG, MEG (Magneticencephologram) TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) as well as through the study of neurological disorders. Humans have accumulated a great deal of knowledge about the human brain. We should feel pride in this.

Saying all of the above does not necessitate a belief in materialism. It just means that the body - and meat - that we have is relevant to how we function; and how we function is itself a function of the whole history of biological organisms.

A psychological point I wish to stress in this thread is not my usual emphasis on dissociation, or that thought is a function of an association with affectively charged conceptual objects (ideas, concepts, stereotypes etc). Rather, its about the construction of the mind, and in particular, three levels of conscious thought.

Level 1 thought

The lowest level, or level one thought, is the type of thought which applies to all conscious sentient beings probably going back to the start of the Cambrian explosion (520 million years ago). In humans and in our normal experience, an example of such a thought would be how it feels and how you perceive "the world" when you're having a bad day. Your perceptions are not 'worded thoughts', but reflexive knowledge about the world. For instance, you will experience it "in your bones", carrying the knowledge in your feelings , level one thought is perception of the world that is not symbolized in language, yet provides knowledge and direction to guide action.

Level 2 Thought

Only we humans have this. This is reflexive thought. If the first level would describe the perceptual experience of being "fat and pathetic", the second level would be a reflexive statement to yourself - as a spoken thought - "you're fat". Reflexive thoughts like these are more complex and usually are pre-formed in some way in mind before they find their way into verbal or written expression. Most people live in terms of these two strata of consciousness: they feel the world in what the psychologist Alan Fogel captures in the phrase "the subjective emotional present", and make cliched comments on things in terms of the various cultural contents that have organize their "symbolic functioning". Reflexive thought is symbolized perception, whereas level one thought is mediated by more non-conceptual mechanisms like feelings in the body coupled to an inchoate percept.

Level 3 Thought

Level two and level three thought are uniquely human. But level three thought does not come on or easily; it requires a certain level of awareness to appreciate and recognize for its significance. Level 3 thought is, simply stated, "existential perception". If level one feels "I'm fat and pathetic", and level two speaks to itself "I'm fat", level 3 conscious thought takes a metacognitive position, as its whole self and its whole raison d'etre comes forward and says "Don't say that about yourself, it isn't good". 3rd level thought is based in an existential awareness of ones embeddedness in a world that preframes our knowing. Level three thought is about out self, but is specifically good in its nature.

One could say the "angel" and "demon" in human beings represent the mystery of the internalization of the other - the goodness that we believe runs the universe - and the demon is reflexivity itself: a whole history of our planets species runs through our being. We may not "Be everything", but we have the primitiveness of the reptile and the selfishness of the ape as strong organizing factors in our phenomenology. The demon inside us is the history of this process of evolution, and specifically the reflexive, non-conscious aspect, of evolution. Since reflexes record how we respond, the affects (or feelings) that arise from past traumas can find their way into our thinking and relating in a multitude of ways, none of which we can piece together without increasing our general knowledge.

Kauffman has propounded a very interesting new version of quantum theory that stipulates a "third". Variously, he uses order, criticality and chaos, and potentials, and actuals, to explain himself. Ultimately, he argues that biological systems are "perched on the edge of chaos", or in "criticality", or 'the poised realm', as he calls it, able to interact with two dimensions of being at once - the ontologically real realm of the possible and the ontologically real realm of the actual; possible morphs into actual which in turn creates a new host of possibles.

Kaufman posits that consciousness may serve as the "measuring" apparatus that turns potentials into actuals, as when consciousness observes, the wave function collapses, or the electron 180 km away is spinning down as a result of the measured electron being spun up. Kauffmans theory is indeed very interesting, however, I still wonder:

Why do organisms exist? Kauffman allows fermions to 'measure' electrons or bosons to 'measure' protons, themselves constituting "entangled" states that might togther qualify as consciousness, or "correlation".

Our human consciousness, particularly an existential awareness of ones own aliveness, being, and knowing, is an amazing 'phase shift' in this process, where the "actual' that exists is a being that can defocus its own reflexive consciousness from what is "factual" in the present. To entertain or move your mind - to whats called a "counterfactual" - is to essentially exercise free will.

This self that we are, it must be mentioned, is not easily explained. What is this self, and what should we make of its wholeness? We are units on the inside, and the value of any knowledge we can bring to a situation is a function of an accumulated knowledge, now being brought together in a mature way.

edit on 27-4-2016 by Astrocyte because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 27 2016 @ 03:16 AM
a reply to: Astrocyte

Excellent Thread!

Thanks for the introduction to the material covered in these books!

I have always enjoyed pondering about the aspect of my perception that can observe my socially conditioned self as opposed to be it. It is not an easy thing as our habitats become compulsive and it truly does take work to accomplish. I have found that humor is a short cut in breaking through some of the negative self views that can be acquired from our experiences.

My personal experiences have led me to believe that we are much more than this physical form. As you study the body and the brilliance of the various systems at play it is practically impossible to come to the conclusion that it is all happenstance, based in randomness. To me it is quite clear that there is a creator and in my world view we are one level of this intelligence playing in its creation.

I think the unconscious is the gateway and we have been gifted certain substances found in nature and our own brains that help us to open the gate and take a peak!

Once again thank you for sharing!
edit on America/ChicagoWednesdayAmerica/Chicago04America/Chicago430amWednesday3 by elementalgrove because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 27 2016 @ 09:45 AM
a reply to: Astrocyte


Here are some snippets re: The Mind that I got off


It is the mind that has made all this world, as pots from clay.

When the mind is conquered, everything is conquered.

Remember, that the mind is almost invincible... except through intelligent practise.

The very best intelligent means by which the mind can be subdued is complete freedom from desire, hope or expectation in regard to all objects at all times.

It is by this means that this powerful elephant (the mind) can be subdued. This means is both very easy and extremely difficult; it is very difficult for one who does not engage himself in serious practise, but very easy for one who is earnest in his effort.

Just as there is no harvest without sowing, the mind is not subdued without persistent practise. Hence, take up this practise of renunciation. Until one turns away from sense pleasures here, one will continue to roam in this world of sorrow.

Even a strong man will not reach his destination if he does not move towards it.

No one can reach this state of total dispassion without persistent practise.

Only by right self exertion can dispassion be attained; there is no other means.

People talk about divine grace or fate, but in this world we perceive the body, not a god. When people speak of god they simply imply what is inevitable, what is beyond their control and the events of natural order. Even so, whatever brings about total equanimity and the cessation of joy and sorrow is also referred to as divine grace.

Divine grace, natural order and right self exertion all refer to the same truth; the distinction is due to wrong perception or illusion.

Whatever the mind conceives of through right self-exertion comes to be in its own fruition, and when the mind apprehends such fruition, there is experience of joy, etc.

The mind is the doer, and whatever it conceives of, the natural order (niyati) creates and manifests. The mind is also able to run counter to the natural order; hence it may even be said that the mind is the prompter of the natural order.

Even as wind moves in space, the jiva (the individual) functions in this world, doing what has to be done within the natural order though such actions appear to be selfish or egotistic. Prompted by nature, he seems to move or stand still - both of which are mere expressions or false superimpositions, even as the movement of trees on a mountain top makes it look as if the peak is swaying.

Hence, as long as there is mind there is neither god nor a natural order; when the mind has ceased to be... let there be whatever is!

Again, how can we relate which is seen in an hallucination and what is seen 'in front of our eyes?' Or what is truly unreal and what has really undergone a factual transformation? Hence, this cosmic illusion leads the unwary mind into endless difficulties.

The mind is the hub around which this vicious cycle revolves, creating delusion in the minds of the deluded.

It is by firmly restraining that hub through intense self-effort and keen intelligence that the whole wheel is brought to a standstill.

When the hub's motion is stopped, the wheel does not revolve: when the mind is stilled... illusion ceases. One who does not know this trick and does not practise it, undergoes endless sorrow. The moment the truth is seen, behold... the sorrow comes to an end.

The disease of the perception of this world-illusion is not cured except through the mastery of the mind, which is its only remedy. Hence, abandon all other activities like pilgrimage, gifts and austerities, and bring the mind under your control for your ultimate good.

The world appearance abides in the mind, even as there is space in the pot; if the pot is broken, the illusory division of space vanishes; and if the mind ceases to be, the concept of a world within the mind also ceases to be.

Even as an insect trapped within the pot attains freedom of movement when the pot is broken, you will also enjoy freedom when the mind ceases to be, along with the world-illusion contained in it.

Live in the present, with your consciousness externalized momentarily but without any effort: when the mind stops linking itself to the past and to the future it becomes no-mind. If from moment to moment your mind dwells on what is and drops it effortlessly at once, the mind becomes no-mind, full of purity.

It is only as long as the mind continues to be agitated that it experiences the diversity of its own projection or expansion, even as rain falls only as long as there are clouds. And, it is only as long as infinite consciousness limits itself into the finite mind, that such agitation and expansion take place. If consciousness ceases to be the finite mind, then know that the very roots of cyclic world-illusion are burnt, and there is perfection.

Consciousness free from the limitations of the mind is known as the inner intelligence: it is the essential nature of no-mind, and therefore it is not tainted by the impurities of concepts and percepts.

That is the reality, that is supreme auspiciousness, that is the state known as the supreme Self, that is omniscience - and that vision is not had when the mind functions. Where there is mind, there flourish hopes and desires, and there arise the experiences of pain and pleasure.

The consciousness which has been awakened to the truth does not fall into concepts and percepts: therefore, even though it seems to undergo various psychological experiences, it does not give rise to the world-illusion and the cycle of world-appearance.

The self alone is the sole aid for the realization of the supreme self or the infinite consciousness. It is one's own self that strives to abandon one's own sorrow, and for this the realization of one's own self by oneself is the only course.

Hence, while yet remaining active in this world (talking, taking and leaving, etc), be without the mind and realize that you are pure consciousness.

Abandon notions such as 'This is mine', 'That is he', 'This I am' and be established in the consciousness of undivided oneness.

As long as the body lasts, consider the present and the future with an equananimous consciousness. Be forever established in the consciousness of the self at all states - youth, manhood and old age, pleasure and pain, in the waking, dream and sleep states.

Abandon the impurity of objective perception, hopes and desires: remain established in self-knowledge.

Give up notions of auspicious and inauspicious happenings, give up your visions of the desirable and the undesirable: know that you are the essence of consciousness.

Realize that subject, object and actions do not touch you; remain as pure consciousness without any disturbance in it. Know 'I am the all' and live in the waking state as if in deep sleep.

Be freed from conditions known as duality and non-duality, and remain in a state of equilibrium which is a state of pure consciousness and freedom. Realize that this cosmic consciousness is indivisible into 'I' and 'the other' and thus remain firm and unshakable.

It is only when this self-knowledge is overpowered by ignorance that the delusion of world appearance arises in the mind.

But when one is firmly established in self-knowledge - which is infinite, unlimited and unconditioned.... the delusion or ignorance that

posted on Apr, 27 2016 @ 09:45 AM

Whatever appears in one's consciousness, that seems to come into being, gets established, and even bears fruits! Such is the power of the mind.

It is the mind that makes things appear here.

It brings about the appearance of the body. Nothing else is aware of the body.

The individualized consciousness (mind) has in it its own manifold potentialities, even as spices have taste in them. That consciousness itself appears as the subtle or ethereal body and when it becomes gross, that itself appears to be the physical or material body.

That individualized consciousness itself is known as the jiva or the individual soul, when the potentialities are in an extremely subtle state.

And, when all this jugglery of the jiva ceases, that itself shines as the Supreme Being.

I am not, nor is there anyone in this universe; all this is nothing but the infinite consciousness.

The pure and infinite consciousness alone thinks of itself as the jiva and as the mind, and then believes itself to be the body.

When this dreamlike fantasy is prolonged, this long dream feels like reality! It is both real and unreal: because it is perceived it appears to be real, but because of inherent contradiction it is unreal.

The mind is sentient because it is based on consciousness; when viewed from something apart of consciousness, it is inert and diluted.

When there is perception, the mind takes on the role of the object of perception - but not in reality - even as when it is perceived as such, the bracelet is seen, though in truth it is gold.

Because Brahman (infinite consciousness) alone is all this, even what is inert is pure consciousness; but all of us, from me down to the rock, are indefinable - neither inert nor sentient. There can be no apprehension of two completely different things: only when there is similarity between the subject and object is perception possible.

Concerning what is indefinable and whose existence is not certain, 'inert' and 'sentient' are only words with no substance. In the mind, the subject is believed to be sentient and the object is said to be inert. Thus, caught in delusion, the jiva (individualized consciousness) hangs around.

In truth, this duality itself is the creation of the mind and hallucination. Of course, we cannot determine with certainty that such a hallucination exists. The infinite consciousness alone Is.

When this illusory division is not seen for what it is, there is the arising of the false egotism.

But when the mind inquires into its own nature, this division disappears. There is realization of the infinite consciousness, and one attains great bliss.


posted on Apr, 27 2016 @ 01:09 PM
a reply to: Astrocyte

the fact of our being emerging in an evolutionary process. Far too often spiritual minded people strangely turn away from scientific ideas, and I can't state explicitly why, yet it must be some defensiveness.

Your topic ideas this last month or so keep revolving around emergent properties without really saying what that is. And I know it is that you think of emergent properties similarly as to say '1 + 1 creates 2' but you need to get away from that kind of thinking. Instead, you need to see emergence or evolution is the emergence from something preexisting, and if you take that back to its logical conclusion, you'll see everything must already exist within the Spirit or "forces/fields".

e.g. If 2 emerges from 1 + 1 then 1, +, and = must have the property or quality of 2 within them (2 must be innate properties of 1, +, and =) if 2 is to emerge from them. But again, if you take that to its conclusion, 1, +, and = must be qualities of .5, +, and = and those be qualities of .25, +, and =, into infinity, ad infinitum.

What is really happening is emergence but you are looking at it the wrong way. Instead of thinking emerged "creates" think emerged "conceives" where what is newly formed is our own conception of the Spirit or "forces", and where the Spirit is eternal/infinity itself (what form is the conception of). What is happening is God is measuring out his will. The spirit of God is the will of God. He has purposed some of his will to do his will (just like Kauffmans' "measurers") and those will forms (quanta/particles or excitation of fields) are what spiritualist call spirits.

Also, I'm just going to go ahead and say it: What Stuart Kauffmans is saying is basically the same thing I have been saying around here for like 4 years now and what the Bible has been saying for who knows how long (I mean the Bible, prayer, and meditation is where I got it from).


Job 38:
1 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said,
2 Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?
3 Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.
4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?

Ephesians 1:
11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

Just search the Bible for measured or translated. Father is likened to the Soul, consciousness, or measurer of God, where the Son is the body or Word of God (concept conceived or formed) (look up the word Logos and you'll see), and the Holy Spirit is God's will or the breath of God, from which things are measured.

Point being, Kauffmans' ideas aren't new and if you didn't turn away from spirituality, you would know this. (Right back at cha, lol.)

Really, I think that, by now, any regular of ats as seen me post basically the same concept many times before? It's practically all I say around here: concept reproduction, reality is conception, etc. etc. - the only difference being how we conceptualize the things we're talking about because we are talking about the same exact things.

Here, look:

Convergent evolution is the convergence of conception. They converged upon the same spirit/will and their conception of it followed - their formulation of it. (As you must concede, trapdoors preexisted both the man and the spider's conception of it, as their conception was merely a translation of their will, and there will, like all things, is within infinity / the everlasting God.)

It is like I was telling you in the other thread: there is more than one way to skin a cat, more than one way to measure out a number. 2=1+1, 2=5-3, 2=10/5, etc.

Form is the image of measure and measure is the translation of spirit/will. When does your will stop being forces and start being will or vice versa? And isn't measure only something achieved through conception / a mind? Everything points back to God or spiritualism. Even causality needs to be initiated by something that is not its own effect, else it is paradoxical. (causality needs free will to initiate it.)

And I'm done. Apart from emergent properties, good thread.

spiritual form preexists physical form
emergent properties, as it is commonly defined, is nonsense.
edit on 4/27/2016 by Bleeeeep because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 27 2016 @ 04:21 PM
a reply to: Astrocyte

Just commenting now so I can easily find this thread later, looks like a good read.

posted on Apr, 27 2016 @ 05:34 PM
Interesting thread, I feel like you have a slight struggle in framing your precise thoughts in places - not through lack of ability, but rather through over-complication, or simply from having to put so many concepts out in a short space of time maybe? I just found it a bit stuttering in places, but there's a lot to chew on, so I'll come back with full thoughts at some point. Please don't think I'm trying to be insulting, I'm not - I just feel like I have to re-read to get a proper handle on some of what you were concluding.

Also, the person who rambled on about dispassion as being some ultima of a high & mighty goal, really needs to learn to use..


..properly, so as not to plagiarise (or kill people through forcing them to read a load of rambling nonsense without framing it properly...)

posted on Apr, 27 2016 @ 07:43 PM
a reply to: Bleeeeep

I'm not sure you understand the basics of chaos theory.

Emergent is NOT 1+1=2. That is simple addition. Emergent is not being able to define the initial conditions; and as a result of not being able to know specific conditions, you can not 'prestate' the various ways a system will change i.e. how a boundary will change, which changes what you know about a system, which in turn prevents you from predicting how a system will evolve.

All this religious infusion into your writing, btw, is not helpful in these sorts of scientific (i.e. what can be known and is equally accessible to all) conversations. You may of course believe what you want - as we all do, but this is philosophy - not science - and so should not be peddled the way you're doing with such tremendous (false) confidence.

That said, try reading Kauffmans book before you comment on it. I very much doubt you've read it.

On the "theological" plane - a plane you seem very concerned with - its not possible to state with certainty, since convergence exists side-by-side with divergence. And this is what skeptics often invoke.

Kauffman, for instance, posits something he calls "purposeless teleology', which sounds like total nonsense to me; but this is Kauffman, and his stating so if probably a function of his agreeing with Thomas Nagel (Mind and Cosmos 2012) that he prefers an atheistic interpretation.

Am I so agnostic about the way the world has developed? Not at all! I feel very much compelled to believe that life is fundamentally meaningful. Indeed, I can't even understand how an organism could arise and cohere in ways described by Kaufman or Lane or others without positing some pre-existant SELF, or template, that the whole is seeking to reproduce within the part. After all, Kauffman and others (Mcfadden/Al-khalil 2014) acknowledge that biological processes do indeed take advantage of quantum entanglement, in processes dubbed "quantum tunneling", in which, for example, electrons within opsin proteins find their way to the chloroplast to keep the cell alive. This means plants and photosynthesis fundamentally depends upon the highly improbable 'searching' of a (according to Kauffman, conscious) electron.

So something seems to want to exist.

new topics

top topics


log in