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Consciousness and the Paranormal — Part 12

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smcder

Paranormal Adept
I messed up ..."we cannot comprehend the source of our own ability to think in terms of the objects we use unconsciously as a source of what we 'think' or firmly 'believe' can is 'thinking and comprehending comprehension'"

I took a shortcut and used the word "think" in two different domains...the metaphor of human consciousness as a pin stabbing into the world ... perhaps it is a bad analogy, but the "point" is a metaphor of something very subtle: the human consciousness can no more find a comfortable and final explanation of itsel anymore than a needle find a way to stab it's own point.
@Michael Allen writes:

What I said that evidently appeared obvious to myself after a few glasses of wine:

We cannot think in terms of the objects we think we comprehend....and thus we cannot retro-fit objectivity into a system that supercedes and creates the BASIS for both "objective" and "subjective"...we cannot fit a full meaning of being in the very entity or object...or subject...or any verbal or mental division of being into a box that supercedes the very entity that creates the "box"...

We get back to the very simple point....that the very point of the needle of being cannot "prick" itself "


Perhaps it isn't so obvious...

------

--- the problem is that the above are all assertions and the only proof or argument is that it seems obvious, it might be or there might be a mistake about its being obvious, as it might not be the case at all. I am looking for a step by step argument to support any of the above claims. Conveying what is obvious about it to others, is obviously a problem! ;-) If it were obvious in the sense of being a tautology or something axiomatic in a system of logic, like the law of the excluded middle, then it would be obvious to others. If it were obvious in the sense that someone introduces an obscure theorem in number theory or a subtle piece of code and someone says "oh, that's obvious!" then it's obvious because the person has a background in that field and is ripe for seeing something novel immediately, in that case the person could bring others along, to some degree anyway, by filling in that background, perhaps with analogy. So do you feel it is obvious in the way that a tautology or axiom is, or because of some underlying knowledge you have? And if the latter, what is that knowledge?

For now, we don't know that any of the above is actually the case - that the pin pricking itself or the eyeball seeing itself, applies here. The mind or comprehension or language are not needles or eyeballs. If you could show that Godel's theorem(s) apply (which are very specific), that would be one thing, but as I understand it, you are just using that as an analogy too.

We cannot think in terms of the objects we think we comprehend....and thus we cannot retro-fit objectivity into a system that supercedes and creates the BASIS for both "objective" and "subjective"

One thing that has to be shown here is that there is a system that supersedes and creates the "BASIS" for both "objective" and "subjective" and that that's what we are doing, or is something we unavoidably do and then show when we do that and the consequences of that ... but "objective" and "subjective" might not be the case, but might rather be words defined as opposites (which in a way might create some support for your position, if that could be shown).

But all of this in terms of (what?) the limitations of insight (what is that, exactly? What is "insight", exactly... well again, it's not an eyeball looking into our brains, or a needle pricking itself, we don't know what we can't "see" (or perhaps even why we call it "seeing") into our own consciousness or experience ... maybe not much or maybe a lot, with fewer limitations than you are implying and none of this might be relevant in terms of at least a greater understanding of consciousness or solving the hard problem, this might be the problem of insight, which certainly that seems obvious would be limited ...
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
{clipped from @smcder's quotation from @Michael Allen's claim}:

"we cannot fit a full meaning of being in the very entity or object...or subject...or any verbal or mental division of being into a box that supercedes the very entity that creates the "box"..."
Struggling to interpret this claim, I need to ask Michael to define some of his terms:

1. What do you mean by "a full meaning of being"? If there exists somewhere [in whose mind?] an understanding of 'All-That-Is', wouldn't that understanding constitute 'the full meaning of being'?

2. Since we temporally existing, historically situated, terrestrials cannot possibly comprehend 'the full meaning of the being/Being of All That Is', do you seek to persuade us that we cannot comprehend the nature of our own being and the being of the things-that-are as we encounter them in our environments?

3. Do you thus hope to persuade us that the history of human philosophy and associated sciences is a meaningless endeavor? If not, what is it that you do want to persuade us to believe?

4. What is the 'box that supercedes the very entity that creates the 'box', and who or what is that entity?


http://www.ucd.ie/philosophy/perspectives/resources/TBen Yagi.pdf
 

Michael Allen

Paranormal Adept
Struggling to interpret this claim, I need to ask Michael to define some of his terms:

1. What do you mean by "a full meaning of being"? If there exists somewhere [in whose mind?] an understanding of 'All-That-Is', wouldn't that understanding constitute 'the full meaning of being'?

2. Since we temporally existing, historically situated, terrestrials cannot possibly comprehend 'the full meaning of the being/Being of All That Is', do you seek to persuade us that we cannot comprehend the nature of our own being and the being of the things-that-are as we encounter them in our environments?

3. Do you thus hope to persuade us that the history of human philosophy and associated sciences is a meaningless endeavor? If not, what is it that you do want to persuade us to believe?

4. What is the 'box that supercedes the very entity that creates the 'box', and who or what is that entity?


http://www.ucd.ie/philosophy/perspectives/resources/TBen Yagi.pdf

It appears that I am struggling to define "my terms." It is one of those peculiar topics that requires hyperbole to stretch out to a meaning only to have it cut off by reality once the recipient has reached the end of comprehension.

So I cannot answer (1)... and no I don't think any history of anything is meaningless--you did say "history"...did you not? History is not an endeavor...

And as for (4)...it's "turtles all the way down..."
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
It appears that I am struggling to define "my terms." It is one of those peculiar topics that requires hyperbole to stretch out to a meaning only to have it cut off by reality once the recipient has reached the end of comprehension.
I'm not yet certain that the issue is one of comprehension. It may be one of communication. For example it may be like people looking at a common location from different vantage points. As an analogy, let's say 3 people who have never seen a skyscraper are suddenly transported to the following vantage points: One of them is looking at it from directly above at 20,000 feet. Another is looking at it from inside the main lobby. Another is looking at it from inside one of the glass elevators as it climbs the building's exterior. Then they are all suddenly transported into a room and told to describe what it is they saw.

It's not as if any one of them cannot comprehend skyscrapers, but for them to come to a common understanding of what it is they experienced might be more challenging than we would expect. So what I've been trying to do with my questions is to find a common point of reference from which we can extrapolate a larger common understanding. We left off here: https://www.theparacast.com/forum/t...e-paranormal-part-12.19474/reply?quote=280328

Q: It seems that you're attempting to convey some sort of logical impossibility with respect to understanding one's own self-awareness through self-reflection. Is that in the ballpark?
 
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smcder

Paranormal Adept
It appears that I am struggling to define "my terms." It is one of those peculiar topics that requires hyperbole to stretch out to a meaning only to have it cut off by reality once the recipient has reached the end of comprehension.

So I cannot answer (1)... and no I don't think any history of anything is meaningless--you did say "history"...did you not? History is not an endeavor...

And as for (4)...it's "turtles all the way down..."
Are you the "recipient"?
 

smcder

Paranormal Adept
yes...I am baaack.

I definitely think solipsism is out of the question and leads to more absurdities than it solves. Regarding "subjective idealism"...not sure...I think my problem is that it depends on categories already presumed of what we are trying to grok.

What I said that evidently appeared obvious to myself after a few glasses of wine:

We cannot think in terms of the objects we think we comprehend....and thus we cannot retro-fit objectivity into a system that supercedes and creates the BASIS for both "objective" and "subjective"...we cannot fit a full meaning of being in the very entity or object...or subject...or any verbal or mental division of being into a box that supercedes the very entity that creates the "box"...

We get back to the very simple point....that the very point of the needle of being cannot "prick" itself "


Perhaps it isn't so obvious...
We shouldn't overlook the role that the wine may be playing.

"We cannot think in terms of the objects we think we comprehend....and thus we cannot retro-fit objectivity into a system that supercedes and creates the BASIS for both "objective" and "subjective"...we cannot fit a full meaning of being in the very entity or object...or subject...or any verbal or mental division of being into a box that supercedes the very entity that creates the "box"..."

I think this is obvious. But its relationship to the hard problem and to what what can be said about consciousness is not.

The background to @Michael Allen comments here is:

***WARNING...PURE TROLL HERE***

(1) Can consciousness understand the limits of its own self-grok-ness?
(2) Have we reached either point (1) or it's negation?
 
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smcder

Paranormal Adept
It appears that I am struggling to define "my terms." It is one of those peculiar topics that requires hyperbole to stretch out to a meaning only to have it cut off by reality once the recipient has reached the end of comprehension.

So I cannot answer (1)... and no I don't think any history of anything is meaningless--you did say "history"...did you not? History is not an endeavor...

And as for (4)...it's "turtles all the way down..."
@Constance wrote: "3. Do you thus hope to persuade us that the history of human philosophy and associated sciences is a meaningless endeavor? If not, what is it that you do want to persuade us to believe?"

@Michael Allen replied:

So I cannot answer (1)... and no I don't think any history of anything is meaningless--you did say "history"...did you not? History is not an endeavor...

Is human philosophy and associated sciences a meaningless endeavor?
 

smcder

Paranormal Adept
A few more thoughts on the "teleportation" hypothetical: the person being teleported is having his brain destructively scanned and the pattern transmitted to another location for reassembly and the comparison to the idea that every seven years we are made up of completely new materials.

Even without replacement we are physically changing constantly with experience. If the continuity of our experience and personhood is an illusion in ordinary experience, that same illusion would be unavailable to the person having a destructive scan of the brain. As we are changing over ordinary experience, we are still having experiences, in the case of teleportation, we would experience only half of that process as the brain is destroyed in scanning, the other half then belong to the reconstructed person - but in an asymmetrical way so that the reconstructed person is not an exact duplicate of the full person they are replacing, because as soon as the reconstructed person gains awareness (before the process is complete, if that is possible, they will have experiences that the teleported person never had - namely that of gaining experience and slowly gaining the full personhood and memories of the original (including some of the experiences that person had as they were being destroyed).
 
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Michael Allen

Paranormal Adept
@Constance wrote: "3. Do you thus hope to persuade us that the history of human philosophy and associated sciences is a meaningless endeavor? If not, what is it that you do want to persuade us to believe?"

@Michael Allen replied:

So I cannot answer (1)... and no I don't think any history of anything is meaningless--you did say "history"...did you not? History is not an endeavor...

Is human philosophy and associated sciences a meaningless endeavor?
Right to ask the question again -- sometimes I read myself and say "WTF?!"

Short answer: No.

Long answer: To address the "if not..." portion and followup from Constance: If I think that human philosophy (as a process) and science (again as a process, not just a result) are meaningless then I could hardly have any basis to make anti-thetical statements (to philosophy, science and reason) and then try to persuade others what "to believe" based on something like "reason."

It is my understanding that the processes and activities of humans "doing" philosophy and science are about challenging unfounded "beliefs" ... persuasion is an art that doesn't necessarily work through challenges to the status quo of established "belief" systems...it is about winning, even if the position is untenable.
 

Michael Allen

Paranormal Adept
Struggling to interpret this claim, I need to ask Michael to define some of his terms:

1. What do you mean by "a full meaning of being"? If there exists somewhere [in whose mind?] an understanding of 'All-That-Is', wouldn't that understanding constitute 'the full meaning of being'?

2. Since we temporally existing, historically situated, terrestrials cannot possibly comprehend 'the full meaning of the being/Being of All That Is', do you seek to persuade us that we cannot comprehend the nature of our own being and the being of the things-that-are as we encounter them in our environments?

3. Do you thus hope to persuade us that the history of human philosophy and associated sciences is a meaningless endeavor? If not, what is it that you do want to persuade us to believe?

4. What is the 'box that supercedes the very entity that creates the 'box', and who or what is that entity?


http://www.ucd.ie/philosophy/perspectives/resources/TBen Yagi.pdf
Maybe I should have tried harder on (1). It isn't as if I've not charged into such dangerous waters with reckless abandon. A "full meaning of being" was meant to be an impossible triangle. So, yes, I see a strawman.

Back to my original packet of thought:

We cannot think in terms of the objects we think we comprehend....and thus we cannot retro-fit objectivity into a system that supercedes and creates the BASIS for both "objective" and "subjective"...we cannot fit a full meaning of being in the very entity or object...or subject...or any verbal or mental division of being into a box that supercedes the very entity that creates the "box"...

A "full meaning" is a poor choice of words..."the foundation of being" or what was the phrase? --

"Dasein, then, is not intended as a way of conducting a philosophical anthropology, but is rather understood by Heidegger to be the condition of possibility for anything like a philosophical anthropology" - Wikipedia s.v. "Martin Heidegger"

We see a lot of "condition for the possibility for...." --> a necessary framework that must underlie the very thing we are trying to explain (consciousness, sentience, thought, feeling, emotion....life)
 

Michael Allen

Paranormal Adept
Human's (really should be all sentients) think in binary, "where do you draw the line between [whatever A] and [whatever B]? A line between two individuals standing in a field (2D) is divided by a 1D object (a line). In 3D such a division is effected by 3-1 = 2 -- on a number line the logical >, = and < situate around a point (0 D which is expected because we only need N-1 dimensions to partition any N dimensional space into two parts (binary). A "box" is such a division in 3 space -- it is a 2D object that partitions space into a nice binary--works nicely for human bodies. So I could have chosen any space for the metaphor--I chose the "box" because we situate ourselves in 3D and have a boundary that looks something like a warped or distorted "bubble" of 2D "skin"

Something like that underlies the framework for consciousness--a boundary put in place by a portion of the world that somehow makes this division it's own primordial basis of existence. Therefore the "box" is what we already "use" implicitly and without thinking...once we try to put this boundary into another box, we do nothing to extend our understanding...we've simply added another level of recursion...the "box" is the "word" that tries to encapsulate a packet (i.e. "tree" or "car")...a pigeonhole of unspeakables placed together because they make sense together.
 

smcder

Paranormal Adept
Right to ask the question again -- sometimes I read myself and say "WTF?!"

Short answer: No.

Long answer: To address the "if not..." portion and followup from Constance: If I think that human philosophy (as a process) and science (again as a process, not just a result) are meaningless then I could hardly have any basis to make anti-thetical statements (to philosophy, science and reason) and then try to persuade others what "to believe" based on something like "reason."

It is my understanding that the processes and activities of humans "doing" philosophy and science are about challenging unfounded "beliefs" ... persuasion is an art that doesn't necessarily work through challenges to the status quo of established "belief" systems...it is about winning, even if the position is untenable.
If I think that human philosophy (as a process) and science (again as a process, not just a result) are meaningless then I could hardly have any basis to make anti-thetical statements (to philosophy, science and reason) and then try to persuade others what "to believe" based on something like "reason."

but @Constance wrote:

"3. Do you thus hope to persuade us that the history of human philosophy and associated sciences is a meaningless endeavor? If not, what is it that you do want to persuade us to believe?"

So I read this with a narrower scope - i.e. you would have a basis to ... etc etc
 

smcder

Paranormal Adept
Human's (really should be all sentients) think in binary, "where do you draw the line between [whatever A]d [whatever B]? A line between two individuals standing in a field (2D) is divided by a 1D object (a line). In 3D such a division is effected by 3-1 = 2 -- on a number line the logical >, = and < situate around a point (0 D which is expected because we only need N-1 dimensions to partition any N dimensional space into two parts (binary). A "box" is such a division in 3 space -- it is a 2D object that partitions space into a nice binary--works nicely for human bodies. So I could have chosen any space for the metaphor--I chose the "box" because we situate ourselves in 3D and have a boundary that looks something like a warped or distorted "bubble" of 2D "skin"

Something like that underlies the framework for consciousness--a boundary put in place by a portion of the world that somehow makes this division it's own primordial basis of existence. Therefore the "box" is what we already "use" implicitly and without thinking...once we try to put this boundary into another box, we do nothing to extend our understanding...we've simply added another level of recursion...the "box" is the "word" that tries to encapsulate a packet (i.e. "tree" or "car")...a pigeonhole of unspeakables placed together because they make sense together.
I get all of this - but re-asserting the claim with a different analogy underscores the problem - philosophy by proclamation and reasoning by analogy. This may be all we have and I am sympathetic to that, but that we are limited in all aspects of our understanding by being finite and subjective in our conscious experience is uncontroversial. What specific claims about these limits do you want to make? Part of our philosophical condition may be that we can't know that some questions are futile - cutting down that field is helpful philosophical work in its own right - so if you can show specifically what pursuits are futile, this would be helpful. What is the equivalent in consciousness to the eye can't see itself (and are there analogies to what can be seen with the mirror and the camera and other eyes)?

Therefore the "box" is what we already "use" implicitly and without thinking...once we try to put this boundary into another box, we do nothing to extend our understanding...we've simply added another level of recursion...the "box" is the "word" that tries to encapsulate a packet (i.e. "tree" or "car")...a pigeonhole of unspeakables placed together because they make sense together.

The fact that we can know that there is a "box" that we already use implicitly and without thinking points to the need for (and difficulty of) specific claims.

It reads as if you are setting up to make a specific argument once your initial premises are granted ... if so, granted.
 
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Constance

Paranormal Adept
Right to ask the question again -- sometimes I read myself and say "WTF?!"

Short answer: No.

Long answer: To address the "if not..." portion and followup from Constance: If I think that human philosophy (as a process) and science (again as a process, not just a result) are meaningless then I could hardly have any basis to make anti-thetical statements (to philosophy, science and reason) and then try to persuade others what "to believe" based on something like "reason."
What I sense is missing in your general approach is the recognition of what it is in humans that leads to, initiates, the 'processes' of inquiry into the nature of the world we live in and the nature of our own being within it, as part of it and simultaneously as standing out from it [ekstase].

Philosophy and science have been open-ended, self-initiated, attempts to comprehend both the world we live in and ourselves as sensing, feeling, thinking, and capable beings -- capable of judging the adequacy of, indeed the value of, our own behaviors and activities in a world we share with other sentient beings.

In your general description of this situation I sense a tendency toward objectification of 'what is' in our experience and consequent thinking and acting as an effect of 'processes' remote from our actual experience, our lived reality, our intentional engagement with the issues of how we should live, what we should do. In short, in what you write consciousness, thought itself, seems to disappear from your concept of being and the meaning of being, and we become effects of processes taking place beyond our capacity to locate and identify them.

We, and other sentient beings in the universe, become cogs in a machine whose nature erases the significance of what we might think and do. We are effects rather than affectors and effectors of the local world we build. This is just how your views some across to me, influenced by your frequent expressions of laughter (and even scorn) for philosophy in general. Maybe you can clarify where I am mistaken in this reading of your posts over a long period of time here.

At the end of one of my responses to your posts a few weeks ago I linked the following paper concerning the developing thought of Kierkegaard and Heidegger as they moved toward description of the open-ended existential and existentiell nature of the being of living organisms such as ourselves. Perhaps you can comment on the paper. Here is the link again with the title:

Beyond Subjectivity: Kierkegaard’s Self and Heidegger’s Dasein
Tsutomu B. Yagi, University College Dublin
http://www.ucd.ie/philosophy/perspectives/resources/TBen Yagi.pdf

You also wrote:

It is my understanding that the processes and activities of humans "doing" philosophy and science are about challenging unfounded "beliefs" ... persuasion is an art that doesn't necessarily work through challenges to the status quo of established "belief" systems...it is about winning, even if the position is untenable.
I think it's clear that antecedent to the 'challenging of unfounded beliefs', we need to identify the various experiences that have led to the variety of cultural formations of beliefs in our history. Entering into the dialectical hermeneutic circle described by phenomenological and existentialist philosophers and semioticians is the means by which we can broaden our understanding of ourselves and our antecedents, which is necessary for a truly critical approach to philosophy and science at this point in our evolution and development. Hermeneutics requires us to go deeper into the nature and culture leading into the 'status quo' of current belief systems. It is not about 'winning' and certainly not an effort to justify 'untenable' positions.
 
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Michael Allen

Paranormal Adept
What I sense is missing in your general approach is the recognition of what it is in humans that leads to, initiates, the 'processes' of inquiry into the nature of the world we live in and the nature of our own being within it, as part of it and simultaneously as standing out from it [ekstase]. Philosophy and science have been open-ended, self-initiated, attempts to comprehend both the world we live in and ourselves as sensing, feeling, thinking, and capable beings -- capable of judging the adequacy of, indeed the value of, our own behaviors and activities in a world we share with other sentient beings. In your general description of this situation I sense a tendency toward objectification of 'what is' in our experience and consequent thinking and acting as an effect of 'processes' remote from our actual experience, our lived reality, our intentional engagement with the issues of how we should live, what we should do. In short, in what you write consciousness, thought itself, seems to disappear from your concept of being and the meaning of being, and we become effects of processes taking place beyond our capacity to locate and identify them. We, and other sentient beings in the universe, become cogs in a machine whose nature erases the significance of what we might think and do. We are effects rather than affectors and effectors of the local world we build. This is just how your views some across to me, influenced by your frequent expressions of laughter (and even scorn) for philosophy in general. Maybe you can clarify where I am mistaken in this reading of your posts over a long period of time here.

At the end of one of my responses to your posts a few weeks ago I linked the following paper concerning the developing thought of Kierkegaard and Heidegger as they moved toward description of the open-ended existential and existentiell nature of the being of living organisms such as ourselves. Perhaps you can comment on the paper. Here is the link again with the title:

Beyond Subjectivity: Kierkegaard’s Self and Heidegger’s Dasein
Tsutomu B. Yagi, University College Dublin
http://www.ucd.ie/philosophy/perspectives/resources/TBen Yagi.pdf

You also wrote:



I think it's clear that antecedent to the 'challenging of unfounded beliefs', we need to identify the various experiences that have led to the variety of cultural formations of beliefs in our history. Entering into the dialectical hermeneutic circle described by phenomenological and existentialist philosophers and semioticians is the means by which we can broaden our understanding of ourselves and our antecedents, which is necessary for a truly critical approach to philosophy and science at this point in our evolution and development. Hermeneutics requires us to go deeper into the nature and culture leading into the 'status quo' of current belief systems. It is not about 'winning' and certainly not an effort to justify 'untenable' positions.
All sentience is artificial. All intelligence is artficial...

ok...so you are looking for a first cause in terms of the "nature" ... but what if what I am about to be wrong....
 
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USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Human's (really should be all sentients) think in binary, "where do you draw the line between [whatever A] and [whatever B]? A line between two individuals standing in a field (2D) is divided by a 1D object (a line). In 3D such a division is effected by 3-1 = 2 -- on a number line the logical >, = and < situate around a point (0 D which is expected because we only need N-1 dimensions to partition any N dimensional space into two parts (binary). A "box" is such a division in 3 space -- it is a 2D object that partitions space into a nice binary--works nicely for human bodies. So I could have chosen any space for the metaphor--I chose the "box" because we situate ourselves in 3D and have a boundary that looks something like a warped or distorted "bubble" of 2D "skin"

Something like that underlies the framework for consciousness--a boundary put in place by a portion of the world that somehow makes this division it's own primordial basis of existence. Therefore the "box" is what we already "use" implicitly and without thinking...once we try to put this boundary into another box, we do nothing to extend our understanding...we've simply added another level of recursion...the "box" is the "word" that tries to encapsulate a packet (i.e. "tree" or "car")...a pigeonhole of unspeakables placed together because they make sense together.
Perhaps something to point out about your content ( above ) is that it [ your analysis ] is in and of itself evidence that we can make some progress toward understanding the situation. This stands in contrast to most ( if not all ) other animals on the planet, many of which aren't even aware that there is a "situation".

Therefore it seems to be a truth that there is some hierarchy of comprehension wherein the path toward understanding is more like an open helix than a closed loop. So although consciousness may be beyond our immediate capacity to comprehend, it is at least not beyond our capacity to apprehend, and perhaps some other more evolved minds than ours have an even more complete understanding.

Can there ever be a complete comprehension of the situation? Perhaps I might be starting to see your point when I suggest the answer is "No", because while we can readily see the relative difference between ourselves and animals lower on the hierarchy, no entity at the top can ever attain a full comprehension of iself, because it cannot get outside and above itself to make the analysis.
 
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Constance

Paranormal Adept
All sentience is artificial. All intelligence is artficial...
Curious claims, and insupportable.

ok...so you are looking for a first cause in terms of the "nature" ... but what if what I am about to be wrong....
Can it be that you are insentient about your own native sentience? Or perhaps forgetful of its roots as they were laid down in your childhood encounters with the natural world? Hope not.
 
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