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De-Presentation

(Reblogging myself)

The key to understanding what is wrong with the contemporary occidental view of consciousness is that it is so enamored with the idea of representation that it overlooks presentation itself. To say that feeling, seeing, and thinking are mere representations for neurological processes makes perception irrelevant, superfluous, metaphysical, and unexplainable. It makes more sense to me that the neurological processes and the conscious experiences they are associated with are both presentations in their own right, and also representations of each other.

Music is a good example. The experience of hearing music is the presentation that we care about. We can record music by any number of encoding methods, but all of them are only representations of music if they end up being listened to by a person who can hear music. If not, they are meaningless digital etchings or published notations. To say that these generic data sets are the actual music and our enjoyment of the song is just a ‘representation’ of the data or the physical consequence of reconstituting the data through an acoustic mechanism is an arbitrary and unscientific prejudice.

This item that I posted a couple days ago illustrated how dominant the verbal-semantic sense channel is our consciousness:

Our default tendency is to privilege the abstraction of language over the concrete reality of visual sense. This is a clue to how consciousness works, with conflicting agendas and dynamic protocols of influence. The brain is nothing like a digital computer. It has no discrete values and computations stored in registers. It’s made of affiliated groups of living cells which can learn, guess, feel, grow, have preferences, etc.

These affiliations present us and our bodies with many figurative channels through which perception and participation is input and output, shared seamlessly in both bottom-up and top-down interactions. Your eyes tell you B-L-U-E in one sense, but they show you green through another. You have learn to consciously override the default privilege of the cognitive semantic channel, even though it is incorrect by its own logic, to honor the minority voice of the factual perception.

I think that this is exactly what is going on with the occidental or OMMM view of consciousness. Our ‘west-handed’ objective cognition is so dominant that it has to stop itself from running roughshod over the ‘east-handed’ subjective awareness, even when the subject is subjectivity itself. The occidental mind would rather accept the nonsense proposition that its acceptance or rejection of propositions is random or deterministic than entertain the possibility of the self as genuine agency. By focusing on awareness only as means to an end (evolutionary biology, functionalism, materialism, computationalism) the concrete experience of perception is de-presented to an epiphenomenon in our consideration. It’s similar to religious fundamentalism, even though it is based on belief in disbelief rather than naive belief. Extreme religiosity also advocates a de-presentation of the world to privilege the contrary ontology (idealism). Instead of the self deferring its existence to a-signifying mechanics, religious de-presentation of the self favors of a super-signifying spiritual agenda (heaven, maya, reincarnation, redemption) which has the same result of making the individual an inconsequential fragment of a greater agenda. The occidental true believer, pitched toward some flavor of transhumanism, promises the same paradise of virtualized perception as the oriental true believer; all of the superlative qualities of perception of an external realism but with the absolute safety and omnipotence associated with introspective experience. The best of both worlds.

With multisense realism, we avoid the pathological unrealism of de-presentational monosense and discover the option of being grounded both in the here and now as well as being free and significant in the eternal there and then without confusing or conflating the two. We can enjoy the full range of scientific sophistication without sacrificing any of the magic and mystery of our uniquely wonderful/horrible life journey.

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  1. December 29, 2012 at 2:43 pm

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