I'd like to start a conversation here, one where we can 'pool together' some basic sorts of ideas as it relates to the way we experience consciousness
- of the world, of ourselves, and of ourselves in the world.
The former and the latter are interesting fields of research, but one could well argue that they are ancillary, or secondary, to the structural
configurations that form between self in the world...with other humans being of the most immediate significance. This is easily the most overlooked
way of conceiving the nature of how we function, yet its the most important and predictive framework there is. Nothing is bigger than the
organism-in-the-environment-with-salient-others, and so, every state, in effect, could be conceived as a probabilistic function of how the matter
which organizes your body interacts with the environment around it. In humans, because we have pronounced powers of metacognition - or to keep track
of what we think, feel, and do, and the way these three levels interrelate with one another and aspects of the outside world which trigger their
emergence into awareness - we are able to control, or inhibit, our own consciousness with relation to the meaning any sort of experience holds for
Philosophy is a developed expression of this dynamical ordering process, where the entirety of self-experience is organized by consciousness with
reference to high level recursive systems of meaning; for instance, ontology, epistemology, and ethics, are regarded as different aspects of human
mental interests - nature of reality, how we know what we know, and the way we relate to one another. All of these conceptions are ideas about the
ideas we have; and organizing them, or the way it is our mind cogitates, into different categories of relation. This is really an organizing process
that has advanced well beyond the reflexive-cognition which builds up mythological consciousness - whether in aboriginal peoples, or the
"mythical-literalists" of the worlds dominant religions.
A mistake, however, is to conceive of these fields as distinct and different, as if the rules - or regularities - which underlie our self-construction
at the material level weren't a singular process, subject to a singular homeostatic rhythm, which implies that ethics, epistemology and ontology are
different aspects of a singular process (biological self-regulation) which human consciousness constrains into the interpersonal (ethics) the way the
world around us, and the history of our interactions, affects the way we know the world (epistemology) and what all this evidence suggests about the
nature of ourselves in and as the universe (ontology).
Constrained By Context
You can learn much simply by observing how your body responds to things. This is because the body, or affective experience, acts as an internalized
cue to the cognitive minds self-orientation in the world. I like to think of this in terms of Jakob von Uexkulls "point-coiunterpoint" doctrine,
perhaps because it reminds me of the Yin-Yang 'dialectic', which strikes me as the simplest description for the dynamical core of biological reality.
In this first picture we see what appears to be a somewhat upscale bar scene. Already, a particular socioeconomic strata has contextualized my
subsequent awareness, so that my mind now starts to think of itself in terms of being in that environment.
My response will be different from
yours based upon my own history of interactions in environments which associate, or correlate, with the meaning my brain extracts from this sort of
This picture involves a different age group, and for some people, there may be no discernible difference between this picture and the previous one.
But there is: what do you focus on? Do they not look cheesy? Are you perhaps looking at the white girl looking up at the black guy, as I'm prone to do
(even though I am consciously not racist)? The external scene literally 'reads off' the meanings that have formed up until this point in your
mind-brain, "dissipating", or processing, the energy that moves through your nervous system, with reference to "what it means for you". I am not
racist, but have a history of insecurities that have disposed me to become reflexively oriented, in some situations (insecurity of some sort) to
stupid things like a white girl looking at a black guy.
Notice, also, how I implicate the integrity of my self-esteem. Self-esteem, in turn, is affected by diet and nutrition; sleep and physical activity.
Self-esteem, inasmuch as it is about your self as a social-being, is fundamentally regulated by the qualities of your interaction in the world with
Consider this diagram for a clear-cut explanation for how our mind self-organizes:
This picture describes the 4 ontological 'layers' that exist within our experience of reality, with primary reference to the status of different
There are four levels:
1. Is the observer self that is implicit upon birth, and is developed as one continues to grow, reaching maturity, usually, in the 30's and 40's, and
further developed throughout the lifespan. It is present, also, in the evolution of life, inasmuch as it seeks to survive, and seems to know where to
go to continue living. It is thus the oldest temporal layer.
2. Here we are talking about the functional context of life. Motivations express needs; needs are non-negotiable. The following 7 motivational systems
are derived from the work of the developmental psychologist Joseph Lichtenberg, and it seems to be a legitimate description of how an adult human
personality more or less functions i.e. in terms of one of these motivational functions. Attachment, Caregiving, and Affiliation, are different
expressions of a social-urge which has different gradations, literally beginning and becoming shaped by the attachment experience; which in turn will
influence how we seek to care for others (how much) and how we connect or affiliate with other humans. Sensual is related to sexual, and usually
embodies some degree of caregiving, and later on, romantic attachment. Exploration is a basic animalian drive which is oftentimes conceived as the
'edge' of any organisms being in the world moving into its "adjacent possible". Physiological is a very broad category which modifies many other
functions. And again, aversive-withdrawal has much to do with the self-preservation and homeostatic coherency.
3. Around the "long term" nature of motivational systems, is the smaller temporal window of your brains actual development. Your brain - and your mind
- is a dissipative structure, which means it has formed around certain meanings, meanings which are genetically and epigenetically deeply entrained
into the functionality of your nervous system.
4. The shortest time-scale is the present, of which other people, insomuch as they are around you and your brain, act upon your perceptual systems,
and so, activate certain meaning-making processes.
This schema also serves to orient us at an ethical level as well, as it guides us into considering those dynamics - from levels 2 and 3 in particular,
which constrain how a person can realistically act - or function, in terms of the material regularities which underlie their dynamism.
edit on 6-9-2017 by Astrocyte because: (no reason given)