One of the trickiest hurdles to get around in considering consciousness is the assumption of qualia as a medium for communication. It is a natural mistake, particularly in the contemporary media-saturated culture which we inhabit, to see our visual experience as a kind of neurologically generated video screen, and our feelings and thoughts as the user level output of the brain’s biochemical computations.
There are two problems with this – one is that it cannot be true, and the second is that it may not be possible for everyone to understand why it cannot be true. The second problem is perhaps the most debilitating, as any argument I can give will be preaching to the choir for those who understand and will not make much sense to those who don’t (or can’t). After so many long debates with people who do not understand why it is impossible to have representation without presentation, or why it makes no sense to put a beautiful dashboard inside a computer driven car, I can say that I have still never seen it happen that someone is able to suddenly or even gradually ‘see the light’. Like gender preference, handedness or the ability to see Magic Eye 3D images, the trait of being able to conceptualize the irreducibility of qualia appears to be innate rather than learnable. There may be exceptions, but for the most part, people who are very interested in scientific approaches to consciousness are fixated on consciousness as a medium through which zoologically relevant facts are communicated, rather than the pervasively immediating pansensitivity that we call reality.
To be clear, human consciousness is not immediate relative to all other scales and layers of consciousness. Our personal awareness is mediated by countless other sub-personal micro sensitivities and super-personal meta-sensitvities, but every sense context is also irreducible on its own level. Every sensation is a direct participation with all that is. While it is true that our personal experience acts to mediate these other levels of experience, the last mile can only be immediate. If that were not the case, then there would have to be an infinite regress of translators and sub-translators, Cartesian theaters and their homuncular audiences, etc. It some point something has to feel something directly.
Related to this immediation is the idea of the Absolute. The Western view does not grasp the idea of unbound unity. The notion of a singularity is astrophysics in astrophysics and in futurism, but the connotation is mathematical rather than absolute. To understand sense as the Absolute, it must be conceived of as not merely the ‘one’ thing, but ‘the only thing’. Not isolated, but whole. The monad has no windows, not because it is alone but because eternal totality is already within ‘it’. It the same time, the Absolute is ‘solitrophic’ – it builds on its sensitivity to achieve saturation: significance. How can a complete whole build on itself? By restraining itself with its own pantomimed absence. This is spacetime, entropy, attenuation of sense. The catabolic reflection of significance. What feels is juxtaposed against presentations of unfeeling. It is through this alienation or diffraction that we get the appearance of matter and mechanism, as the immediacy of pansensitivity is mediated through metric relativity. Private unity is reflected as public multiplicity, and quality is re-presented through the reductive filter of quantity.