Home > Uncategorized > More Notes on the Against Idealism Video

More Notes on the Against Idealism Video

February 14, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

I had a chance to take in some more of the previously posted video arguing against idealism. This is a solid video in my opinion and I envy the clear, thorough, and surprisingly tolerable style.

27:30 In discussing perception, the narrator makes the point that sense organs require sense organs. This is not exactly as rock solid as it might seem be. There is the blind painter Esref Armagan whose fMRI looks more or less like he is seeing. At the same time, activity in the visual cortex is perceived by those who are blind from an early age as tactile rather than visual sense. The more exotic reports and studies on remote viewing and NDEs in which blind people become sighted for the first time. Together these are enough for us to at least cast some doubt on the ontologically certain connection between sense organs and sensation. Adding in synesthesia and blindsight and we at least have reason to suspect that sense modalities are both commutable with each other to some extent and separable to some extent from the specific kinds of information processing which we expect to match. To me this puts any kind of simplistically eliminativist, mind-brain identity theory in jeopardy. 

Under an idealism which posits a unified ground of being which is eternal, initial perception need not be assumed to be an absolutely novel acquaintance, but can be, I think perfectly reasonably, a kind of local re-acquaintance. In my model of this absolute ground of being, (Primordial Identity Pansensitivity) there is a kind of aesthetic interest which is gained from each re-acquaintance. Not only in a ‘practice makes perfect way’, but in a ‘significance overcomes entropy in the long run’, and in the way that the repetition of pleasure (and relief from pain) is worth repeating in and of itself.

When he gets into the memory section, the narrator assumes the model of memory as being generated locally, so that forgetting is a destruction of that memory or the destruction of the ability to recall it. While that is true enough locally, if we use the PIP Absolute that I propose, then local experience are already a kind of masking of total awareness. While we are alive, certainly the brain’s limitations directly influence our recall, but just as NDEs often include a life review, we cannot rule out that the removal of consciousness from its investment in our personal experience does not entail a reconnection with a much larger, even universal level of illumination. The case of Marilu Henner and others with superior autobiographical memory suggest that the standard, buggy memory retrieval conditions of the typical human mind may be arbitrarily or intentionally throttled. There appear to be much more effective ways for a human mind to recall events, and to see them in a quasi-visual parallelism rather than a linear, episodic unmasking of the past.

In working with the PIP model, I suggest considering it like a colorful picture covered with black crayon, which is partially revealed through scratching, and then covered up again. The picture itself would be changing as well, adding more to the canvas in response to every new scratch.

As far as consciousness requiring thought, I would argue that there are many thoughtless activities which we engage in consciously. Sex, sports, violence, etc often include thoughts, but they can be appreciated without sentences and words in our mind as well.

I would agree that human qualities of consciousness require an animal body and brain, but that does not mean that the body and brain are not themselves, aspects of non-human experiences which appear to us as made of matter. Because I think the universe is primarily aesthetic, I think the point of matter, and all forms, structures, and function is ultimately to enrich the range and depth of possible qualities of experience. Stability and realism are precious qualia, shared at the lowest levels, drawing a line between fact and fiction.

35:38 “Imagination and reasoning don’t exist in a vacuum” – I would say that is begging the question. I have seen a couple accounts of reincarnation that seem compelling, as well as evidence of child prodigies and acquired savant syndrome which suggest that like forgetting and perception limited by sense organs, imagination’s reliance on local experience may itself be a local condition of masking.

At 36:37, he talks bout free will requiring human level capacities to reason, and while I agree of course that there is a direct relation to the quality of our freedom (motives) and the quality of our understanding (sense-making) I would not say that the experience of appreciating freedom is limited to humans. Even bacteria or inorganic matter may be symptoms of an experience with some degree of volition on some alien scale of time or size. After all, if our body is only made of cells and cells are only molecules, then the potential for free will to eventually develop or not to develop lies there.

38:00 He is reiterating here the assertion that No input = No consciousness. This may be a conceit of our logical mind looking at the logical mind rather than a fact about human consciousness or consciousness in general. There are many who have used sensory isolation tanks to access vivid phenomenal states with content well outside their personal experience. It could always be claimed that these fantasies are merely recombination of memories, etc, but again it is begging the question to presume that must be the case, and especially that it must be the case for possible non-human or non-localized forms of awareness.

At 38:53, he is talking about self awareness, and offhandedly mentions that 1) all awareness must be an awareness of some thing, and that therefore the self must be some thing in order for us to be aware of it. If we assume my model of pansensitivity being absolutely primordial instead, then  awareness is by definition beneath all “being”, so that “thing” is a character in whatever story is being scratched into the existential mask. The object things and the subject selves are both divided and diffracted within a deeper context of perceptual relativity. One person’s body is another person’s experience. I am saying that relation extends all the way down, so that while seeing a thing does not mean that it is the thing which is the experience (i.e. a plastic doll is not having an experience as a doll, but the plastic it is made of responds to the environment in a sensible, interactive way within its own context.)

There is something at 39:26 about sleeping and how our consciousness is suspended while we sleep. I would agree that our personal consciousness is suspended, but who wakes us up when we have to go to the bathroom? What unconscious part of the brain cares about wetting the bed and has the power to awaken our personal consciousness? Instead of seeing the brain as being the host to a sole resident, I see our experience as a loose confederation of nested experiences, on the microphenomenal/sub-personal, personal/phenomenal, and super-personal/metaphenomenal levels (levels = really entangled ranges or scopes). Not solipsism, but shared, nested perception. The brain exists independent of our personal consciousness, but not biochemical consciousness, and not of Absolute pansensitivity.

Lastly, I would add that proving that consciousness is corruptible or not is a question which itself supervenes on consciousness. Discernment of corruption, assumption of non-corruption…these are aesthetic expectations within cognition. I enjoyed the video through the first section, and hopefully will watch the rest another time. I’m not so much interested in theistic idealism, so I’m not sure about that.

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  1. Otmar
    February 15, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    Craig,

    Will you be my valentine?

  2. February 15, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    lol. No candy or jewelry tho?

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