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The Wonders of the Mind

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posted on Jun, 29 2015 @ 03:13 AM
Once again, my dog has inspired me to think about the amazingness of my own consciousness. Contemplating about her mind, I take out a cheeto, drop it on my thigh, and watch her as she tries to eat it. What I see is a focused awareness on the cheeto, and a type of action, from a particular angle, is used to effectively pick it up. Really, what she's doing here is very intelligent in terms of having an acute sense of spatial awareness, and knowing how to use your body to pick up something.

Ok. Interesting. I say to her 'you're so smart!' in an honestly giddy way. I am happy and proud to see intelligence in my dog. It makes me care more deeply about her, knowing that, with whatever practical intelligence she possess, she is emotionally responsive - with me - and genuinely feels her own giddiness as she both a) feels the giddiness, and b) gets what she wants.

Yet here I am, contemplating about her mind. How is this possible? In Gerald Edelamans terms, this is an issue of complex 'reentrants', where the lower level affects (motivations) operate unconsciously, as ENACTMENTS, and not in the implicitly (and explicitly) self-conscious mode that humans operate with.

What is this 'awareness of awareness'? I am amazed by this function as I actually profit greatly from it- after suffering a deep emotional trauma at 16, I eventually had to learn, through a study of mindfulness and being guide by certain relational psychoanalytical, and neuroscientific ideas, I have grown quite adept at this functioning. This "functioning" is also an accurate description of this awareness: it is aware of internal functioning, tracking it, getting indications from with, from without, and bringing them together in an "intuitive" sense of what the other person is thinking.

You can get so "entrenched" in this business of "reentry" by actually having feels - an attitude - of deep pleasure in being able to control my awareness like this. It's inevitable. If you catch yourself functioning so well, you form an opinion towards it by how you "appraise it". I can go one way or another way. Shall I be depressive and highlight - and thus "create" - a world of badness? Or will I decide to just take the bull on the horns and create my own damn world, on my damn terms?

To even think this way necessitates a certain detachment from the world, yet a sensational engagement ensues when you willingly, knowingly, and enthusiastically, charge forward, into being - with others - where you represent yourself and your interests - this implicitly present, sometimes hidden presence, which self-consciously (if they would only notice it!) selects certain types of experiences because this experience, or behavior, or way of being, is what’s called a "basin of attraction" in dynamic systems theory. Think of it like a dip or a well. If a ball were to roll into there, it would be 'stuck'. This is basically what the human brain/mind is. It's a matter of dynamics, or the flow of neuro-molecular information that responds to relational cues. The brain falls into "basins", and the experiencing self takes as "truth" the nature of their experience. The degree of discontinuity, or "degenerance", which we find in the way neurons assemble themselves in response to relational cues (such as in monkeys), predicts that the mind as well must "fluctuate", or be "degenerate", which means to have different types of experiences that "cross-over" into one another, but not coherently, but implicitly, through the representational process of affects (bodily feelings, emotions, perceptual qualities). Affects are meaningful because they represent the homeostatic prerogatives of the body: to adapt biochemicall as a unit, to the perturbations of the environment,

The human mind is an incredible thing, and it seems even more incredible when you look at the dogs mind and recognize just how little they actually know. To know, as we know, is to enjoy the pleasure of abstract concepts. The delight of knowing a principle, and being able to reason in complex ways that make sense of ones convictions. A whole attitude, well thought out, humane, open, tolerant, aware of the self and attuned to its needs, bodily, nutritionally, physically, socially (and also emotionally), but also psychologically. The psychological part is often the dagger as people overlook the not infrequent unconscious projections we graft onto others. Because projection - how we respond to a particular experience, and how we 'disown it', be it shame, weakness, or strangeness, outward, and attribute it to the other person - is so common, so basic to human functioning (because of our constant, never ending self-awareness - a basic consequence of our individual metacognitions - human beings are enormously aware of the 'social rules' or those painful social emotions that make us feel pathetically awful. Shame, anxiety, weakness, is basically a bundle of 'forces' the our biology 'strikes' us with, as the basic experience that emerges from negative relational feedback, or, in the narrative lives we live within, a painful, deeply self-aware feeling of one's shame, of a feeling; yet one can also have this experience so subtly, but because of past relational experiences, has become quite adept at "regulating" - that is, applying a certain mental force to keep emotions within personal control - it's internal experiences. This feeling, whether noticed or not, is always present as an unconscious mental activity that adjusts experience. Certainly, to grow aware of this capacity is to gain deeper awareness of one's own power of choice. Self aware of self. Self happy that self is aware of self.

How can anyone not think of this, and not see in this capacity a truly penetrating, ontological wonder about reality. Are we glorious mistakes, as Stephen Jay Gould so enjoyed telling us? The question, and the very assertion of the opinion, seems to me grossly over-zealous. The "why" or meaning quality of the situation, the degree of awareness one has, or the depth of ones sense of metacognitive relationships, between self and self, self and others, differs from person to person as a result of their own relational experiences. And the entire thing is flowing, always open, always responding in intelligent adaptive ways. It's a matter of energy and the body preferring a particular balance. For genetic reasons - reasons that are never "cemented" - the body is biased; yet, even the genetic processes are themselves largely biased by the intrauterine processes that "interface" the mothers body with the infants developing body; thus the mothers state of mind from moment to moment will 'inform', to a certain degree, the subtle neuromolecular processes that react to the presence of a particular chemical, changing form, becoming something, from a behavioral perspective, we would deem "adaptive", since it merely predicts, from the stressful mothers 'overarching' vantage point, that the world the infant is to enter is a stressful one.


posted on Jun, 29 2015 @ 03:16 AM
The degree of connection and attunement between body and world is truly inspiring. One would seem shrivelled to me, emotionally and dare I say "spiritually", to not open himself to the vivifying energies of love, kindness, acceptance and compassion. From a dynamic systems standpoint, this represents two systems exchanging high levels of information with one another, as when two people are open and accepting, curious and compassionate with one another, the two systems mutually "create" a dynamic state where the mind can think more freely, with less constraint, and access deep feelings, more enthusiasm, more energy, and thus more creation.

To 'emancipate' yourself from the effects of culture is very difficult. Culture swamps us from every direction, as most of us have different ones, some we feel good about (a neurologically different "time-context locked" self state) others we don’t; sometimes were completely delusional and in self-denial. Some people are aware of their problems, yet are too weak, emotionally (or energetically) to organize themselves in a more effective way. In some ways, I'm this person; yet in other ways, I am someone who is quite able to control his mind and calm the 'inner waters', largely generated by interactions with others, that obscure the 'truth content' embedded in every context-dependent situation.

Our world is an amazing place, and no matter what happens after we die (and no one knows that!) and no matter how much were tempted to theorize and attach a probability, there is always those feelings, those "tracks from our past", which biases our attention this way and that way; and we never know, or pay attention, to the constant, "high level reentry" that metacognition represents: we are AWARE OF OURSELVES when we say something we believe; our brains "enjoy" the dopamine rush, which for us, consciously, is a pleasant experience speaking a certain way - and the felt sense, the feeling of conviction in ones views - who ever thinks about this very basic process as occurring through cold biological processes? Yet that’s what it is, for a very simple reason. There is a deep continuity between the physical world and the forces it applies, and the way chemical elements react and connect, eventually to become life in the form of cells. The life that develops from that first cell, from the get-go, is about an energy "balance". This basic fact underlies all subsequent evolution. Up all the way to the way our brains organize themselves to the superordinate processes of culture and communication. Our experiences are "emergent" upon these processes, particularly with the degree of culture we've developed (50,000 years in the making), every individual human is a 'world' of feelings, selves, context-based self experiences, so strongly linked to contexts that subsequent selves in different contexts act as if they don't know anything about those earlier selves.

If we want anything approximating "world peace" we need to recognize the totally impersonal quality of it. If I, or any other person, who opens themselves to the range of human experiences, feel the fears, feel the needs, that come with human experience, they would be led to a loving conviction. This too, is completely natural, unmagical, and simply a matter of contingency i.e. adaptation. Yet, at the same time, there is a beautiful unity about the connection between inner and outer. And there is something deeply humbling to be a being who can decide, who "track" the universe and discover some of its meaning, to be a caretaker, in this way, I don't think is unmagical, but incredibly, deeply, intrinsically mystical. And by 'mystical', I mean there is something inherently meaningful, between the logical action-reaction processes of physical and biological activities, and the meanings that human beings have - the way emotions have come to interact with a higher level of awareness - an awareness OF awareness - I see these states as not "dualistic opposites", one true the other false. I see them as two sides of a continuum, of something which possess a physical quality and a 'consciousness' quality. All together, it is this sense of 'quality', a 'feel' or 'aspect', that makes the raw physical seem so different from the perception of quality. Yet, in the particular organization of the human being and the human brain, something altogether different is happening - consciousness - in a very rarefied form, so rarefied, in fact,, that human beings feel it to be very different from the physical. At this point, I could, as many others would be tempted to do, commit myself to a position of denigration of this supposedly 'naïve' viewpoint. However, I see something that seems dualistic, but is actually nondualistic. Similarly, our physical world may in fact not be all there is 'to it'. Hidden realities, interfacing with aspects of this reality - the evolution of life forms on earth - may be 'interacting' with the physical, molecular, and chemical aspects, providing basic 'forces' on the organizational qualities of the particular 'units'. This world may be 'wave like', or 'non-local', flowing, seemingly, at once, thing and process, particle and wave, physical bodies demarcated by a world of space, separated by a dense worlds of lifeforms.

When someone dies, there body lies there, as we say, "lifeless". Indeed, the cells which gave life and expression to the electrical waves of your human consciousness is gone. But to where? Evan Thompson considers the different ways our mind experiences itself, such as "waking", "sleeping" and "dreaming". Being awake is one type; dreaming is another type; and being in a deep sleep is another type.

Do you exist when you're in a deep sleep? Some say yes, implicitly; "awareness of awareness" is still active in this condition. Others say the question doesn't make sense without the organizing faculty of attention and awareness to "recreate" the experience when you were in it.

Death may be a deep sleep or it may be a dream. Do the worlds and dimensions which lie outside our physical world, a plane of consciousness, have any relation to the world of matter, besides through the organization of life?

We can speculate and drive ourselves crazy with that question. For many, it doesn't matter. They've accepted death as the end. Surreal as it is, to think of going and then, all of a sudden, that’s it. End.

There's a very natural fear here, but some people are just very effective at controlling their attention in various ways to avoid the agitating quality of the thought. Physics, it is said, will provide an answer to this question, and perhaps it will; on the other hand, there is something deeply confusing and 'counter-intuitive' (to our needs, no doubt) about matter still existing after we die (our body's) but not consciousness. The idea that the qualia that were 'generated' 'vanish', into nothingness, also boggles the imagination, because despite scaring the $hit out of us, it also doesn't make sense, as if there are 'two types of things', and yes, a relationship of contingency (and yet, through awareness processes, curiously becomes bidirectional, with mind affecting matter) exists between the two, but there is still nevertheless something 'hidden' on the 'inside', a world of conscious perception, feeling and need, a world where love, compassion, fear, anxiety, emotions which mutually identify and give meaning to one another, presents a world of intrinsic meaning.

posted on Jun, 29 2015 @ 03:16 AM
It is difficult to know what happens to that without a brain. On the other hand, there is still sufficient ignorance of this question to leave this subject as mysterious as it was 10,000 years ago. Our theories and knowledge has gotten more advanced, but our capacity to conceptualize the relationship or meaning, let alone the issue of substance, still baffles us.

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