Ming the Mechanic:
Consciousness

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Consciousness2003-06-09 18:46
11 comments
picture by Flemming Funch

I think I've been spending too little time recently in the field of consciousness. I've been busy with life, with work, family, with preparing for moving. All of which is good, but typically what really keeps me going in life is something more - an exploration of what it is all about, how the universe works, and what I am, and what my limits are. And usually things work best if I start with my own consciousness, as opposed to taking the material universe too seriously.

In having that kind of discussion, there's the fundamental problem that people have very different world views about consciousness, which some times makes it difficult to have the same conversation. Well, those world views do divide up into certain main categories, such as:

1. Consciousness is something fundamental and eternal, and the material universe as we see it, as well as our own existence, is all some kind of special case of that consciousness.

2. The universe is fundamentally material and non-sentient. A long series of coincidences between random non-sentient material components have surprisingly produced organic machines that are capable of self-reflective thinking.

and, for the sake of people who sort of might fit in number 1, but who don't feel they're allowed to think about it:

3. God created the universe and it is none of your damn business. Your only hope is to understand and obey God's commands.

#1 would mostly be new age people, buddhists, hindus, other religious people who feel safe to think for themselves, plus an assortment of different philosophers.

#2 would be many scientifically oriented people, as well as atheists.

#3 would be fundamentalist religious people of various kinds.

Now, I would personally go with #1. But I get along fine with science people. And there's nothing particularly un-scientific about #1. These are all theories, and science is about coming up with the theories that best will predict things, and to test how well you succeed.

In general I can have a perfectly enjoyable discussion with anybody who will grant that their world view is just that - a world view. A model, a theory of how things work. But to the degree that we take our models for Truth, for The Way Things Really Are, then communication starts being a bit difficult.

For somebody who belongs firmly in #2, consciousness is maybe an interesting subject, but in a very different way than for a #1 person. The #2 person might be very interested in how to construct intelligence artificially, and in how to preserve consciousness, dreaming maybe of downloading consciousness to a computer. Which I'd have rather little interest in. I'd rather figure out how to stay in touch with the aspect of my consciousness that exists eternally and isn't limited by my current physical existence. It is not a matter of preserving it in a test tube, but rather of helping it shine through.

I'd expect that science and spirituality will meet, and it won't be a matter of two totally different worlds any longer. Quantum physics, evolutionary biology and systems thinking might very well solidify principles that otherwise were presented in metaphorical form in spiritual traditions. They already have, to a large extent, but it hasn't quite sunk in for many believers in science.


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11 comments

9 Jun 2003 @ 20:48 by bushman : Hmm
My model theory, simply states, everything is everything. Works for me, how does the growth of a tree, apply to how I happen to use the shovel that day, is the same as how I turn the key to start my truck, and drive to dig the hole, the same as the action of me stomping on the shovel as to the pistons in my engine, it's all the same to me. And because I know this truth, when I explain something to someone and they don't get it, I can just change the vission, and explain it different, pretty unlimited posablilities as well, useing the Everything is everything theory. Maybe it's the level of conciousness, at any given momment, that sets the enjoyment level in most discusions, I have good days at getting my point across, but I also have bad days more often, like I may not be awake that day, or the other person may not be awake that day. Could it just be that simple? So it would be rare that 2 people or more would all be awake at the same level at the same time or moment for that cross connection of science, religion and spirituality to take place. Hmm, I think I will experiment with this , on the Hawkadians at the rv park. :}  


9 Jun 2003 @ 22:49 by ming : Being there
Heheh, yes, your model is quite possibly more sane than any of the other ones. Life is what it is, and be open to everything. It is probably when we try to get attached to abstract models that we lose touch with reality.  


10 Jun 2003 @ 05:53 by Jon Husband @209.148.234.77 : Spirituality and Science
Are you aware of the book "From Science to God", by Peter Russell ?

He is a physicist turned philosopher/OD person, and does a pretty good job in this book of exploring the issues and suggesting some interesting possibilities for a way forward.  



10 Jun 2003 @ 06:06 by martha : days like this
" I have good days at getting my point across, but I also have bad days more often, like I may not be awake that day, or the other person may not be awake that day. " Oh you are talking about NCN bushy and what happens here. LOL

Hey bushman I forgot to mention when I read your comment some where. I agree that everyone could use a bit of therapy in their life. The issue comes in finding the correct therapist. We are all wounded just like our parents were and their parents before them. Everyone needs to look at their conditioning and a good therapist can help. I found mine in rather an unconventional way but no matter. She helped me become the person I am today (oh dear...no comments please) (stop giggling!!).
Anyway the point is we are all on our own paths and what works for one isn't always the same for another. Never the less it is an easier life path when you connect and help others as you have been helped.
People get confused and think a therapist needs to have crudentials of the usual sort. While that is OK, the deep changes come through love and empathy and caring for yourself and then others. When you realize this, you become an adult and take on your responsibilites for living in this world and not allowing excuses anymore. Tough to do. LOL
See I'm sitting here typing when I really should be quilting!!  



10 Jun 2003 @ 06:34 by Robert Paterson @142.176.31.126 : Consciousness
Just to thank you for many wonderful contributions  


10 Jun 2003 @ 12:18 by Jewels @62.241.184.41 : Addicted to Models/ Ideas/ The Way
I would agree everything is within the bowl, or the Alive Void... that seemed to be the mathematical problem/ solution that Hawking's crowd got hung up on: they thought that if there wasn't a POINT of creation, there couldn't have been a creatOR... and thus they found the math of the expanding and contracting universe was like a bowl that had no specific point of beginning or end. I found this amusing, as their very paradigm was that things couldn't just BE. And if they just were, then there was no creation, no Mystery. If there are other levels of consciousness, or rather different points within a whole web of forever points, and the mathematics can't pin point one point, then the idea of eternity seems to be the scarey thing for ALL.

Hence, why everyone wants to find a model and be hooked on it, because the idea of infinite possibilities, and structures that arise (organic or imagined) are entire worlds that we can't imagine from the point where we sit. So we project points, plans, models -- in order to deal with the Infinite.

Yesterday I met a family who lives so off the grid, I wanted to hear about their free life style. They follow 'spirit' but the minute he went to explain it to me, and not connect Consciousness to Spirit... he just became another preacher of 'the way', the one and only way... and I just told him so! Each of us, is Right Here. And yes each of Us, has the ability to Not Be, to Wonder Off, to define it, and yep, to discard each damned definition. I can't help it. I'm for the tearing down usually!  



13 Aug 2003 @ 21:07 by jeffolsen : Here is a thought....examine if you WILL
I suggest that the answer is probably very obvious. Size is infinite.
Bigger and Bigger - Smaller and Smaller.
Infinity stretches in both directions. Matter is SHAPED energy. Atoms are made of smaller particles..off into infinity....
Zero is the point of perceptions..3,2,1..0..-1,-2,-3...here we can understand the paradox of nothing.
All matter is related to this in the same way..bigger and bigger into an ever expanding Universe. What is energy? The non-physical. We cannot see energy, only it's effects. If matter is made from energy, the the laws of physics are based on REASON, and we have a non-physical starting point for the beginning of our Universe with the Big Bang; then why can't we roll a theological and scientific model into one. Maybe Energy is conscious, everything is made of energy, consciousness has FREE WILL, the shape of our Universe is choice, binary, 1's and 0's, YES or NO... look what we can do with simple binary commands on a computer...maybe the Universe is NOT so complex.
Everything IS Everything.
Thank GOD.  



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