Philosophy of Mind Reblog
Reblogging a post on consciousness that I like, and trying to chart a course from it’s logical conclusion to one which I think makes more sense.
Our method for perceiving objects is to look upon them from the outside of them, though granted we may perceive the innards of an object, but even then we are outside the innards looking upon them. However, for ourselves, we appear to be an object inside our bodies looking outwards at phenomena….
Ah, so close. I love what he has done with explaining how even the innards of objects are really still just the outside of smaller objects. The snag comes toward the end, and this is the snag that I think most people encounter with consciousness, and that is taking awareness or sense for granted. The OP writes:
Let us return to the basic description of consciousness, which is “awareness of one’s own existence.”
I disagree here, and it is a subtle but critically important point. Consciousness is awareness period. ‘One’s own existence’ is part of the contents of experience. I can dream without the existence of a self or a dreamer. I can watch movies and be immersed in the story and world of the movie without being conscious of my own existence.
If the consciousness is an object that looks upon other objects from the inside of some object, how is it aware of its own existence?
It’s not an object. It’s the opposite. I would say that it is a subject but it’s not even that…consciousness is the source of subjectivity – the capacity for awareness itself. It is the non-object which contains (metaphorically) all subjects.
How is it aware of it’s existence? Through sense. Our sense ‘insists’ that we be made aware of influences which are potentially significant to ourselves, our body, our social group, our species, etc. Sense is the bridge between the self and the universe, but sense is also the continuum which manifests as self, universe, and the anomalous symmetrical continuum between them.
For consciousness appears to be aware of many objects, but none of them can firmly be considered consciousness. And consciousness doesn’t seem to possess the ability to look upon itself, and if it has, how will we know?
“How will we know?”, again, through sense. Truth makes sense. That’s how we can know anything, and there is no other way that anything has ever known anything. Knowledge is nothing but an agreement of multiple sense-making channels which convinces or fails to convince the executive senses (self) to internalize that agreement.
We become aware of the existence of other objects, physical or mental, by a perception of them. However, we claim such a thing as consciousness exist, without having any perception of such a phenomena;
If it helps, don’t think of consciousness as something that exists, but something that insists. Existence is a subset of insistence. We are a mind in a brain, but the only way we know what a brain is and how it might work are through the mind. It’s a Mobius loop of involuted, self-referential, redundantly redundant ontology (see also).
for we can not perceive consciousness physically nor mentally.
This is the trap of disorientation. It is overthinking it to try to perceive perception. Sense is the bottom layer, there is no description level beyond that as consciousness contains description itself. It is to say ‘I can’t move my arm because I can’t perceive how exactly I do that’. Right. That’s because it’s actually your arm. You just move it directly. No mechanism is required subjectively for you to move it – it’s like The Force…”reeach out with your feelings Luke”.
how can we claim to know the information we are receiving is true?
We don’t have to. We can say with absolute certainty that is seems true, and that is the epistemological standard for subjectivity, because subjectivity is not an object. It doesn’t work that way. Fact is actually a type of fiction, and fiction is the only fact (ie, existence is a function of perspective, which is a function of detection and response).
My personal fix to this dilemma is to be rid of the concept of consciousness completely.
This is the same solution offered by Daniel Dennett and others as well. It’s sort of setting yourself on fire to make it easier to find wood for the fireplace. How does one have a “personal fix” to “dilemmas” without being conscious?
This, however, would require some alteration to one’s model of reality, particularly a will caused solely by the brain. For we would no longer be able to claim we were in control of our bodies unless when we use the term “we” or “I”, we are referring to our brain.
Not so fast. My interpretation requires a bit more alteration to one’s (now nonexistent?) model of reality. Just because the mind and the brain are the same thing doesn’t mean that the brain is real and the mind isn’t. We command our brain consciously, and our brain commands us as well. We can’t claim that we can no longer claim something if that which we disclaim is the ability to claim anything at all in the first place. We don’t have the power to deny our awareness. It is not an option.
It all comes back to the initial assumptions:
Our method for perceiving objects is to look upon them from the outside of them, though granted we may perceive the innards of an object, but even then we are outside the innards looking upon them.
So far so good…
However, for ourselves, we appear to be an object inside our bodies
No, non, nein, nay, negative…. We have no appearance inside our bodies. We appear to be looking outside of our body, to feel things inside of our bodies with special personal significance that seems close to us, but at no time do we appear to ourselves natively as an object. We can embody objects or characters, or we could try to objectify who we are with terms like soul or essence, but ultimately we are not even that. We are the subject. We insist through time, but do not exist across space. Unsettling, yes, but this is how reality works. If you had to make the universe from scratch, you could not leave this most important feature out – how it feels to participate in a world, how narrative experiences work.
looking outwards at phenomena. This is not only the case for physical phenomena, but also for mental phenomena; for when we utilize the mechanics of imagination, we still appear to be an internal object looking upon some external phenomena (inside ourselves)
Same for dreams and imagination. We aren’t an internal object until we try to label ourselves as such. This is the ‘elephant in every room‘ phenomenon. All you have to do is understand that sense is what allows us to look through the mirror rather than look at just the silvered glass. It allows our subjectivity to extend through matter on many different scales simultaneously, providing discrete access with selective attention even as it condenses all of the meaning in a generalized presentation (I call a perceptual inertial frame, or you might say niche or world).
Once you see how this extension might work, from the figurative through the literal to the figurative, you can perhaps see how the literal and figurative nature of things can only be considered qualities of perception or qualia. What is solid rock for a human being is like a thin fog for a flying neutrino (if there even is such a thing). In the same way, our human thoughts and experiences may seem like evanescent puffs of nothingness fading through ‘time’, on some more inclusive inertial frame may seem like concrete crystalline towers of juicy, aromatic human suffering and joy. Musical monuments of lives being lived in visible 3-D terrain.
Consciousness is a real as a brick or a donkey’s ears. It’s also more than real and less than real, in its super-signifying projections of heroic perfection and fantastic delusions. The contents aren’t always consistent with every other inertial frame we live through. Not everything makes sense on every level. Some shows are just for us personally, and have no value for others or the world at large. Some shows are unreal but we can make them more substantial over time with attention and effort.