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Philosophy, Science, & The Unexplained - Main Thread


Randall

J. Randall Murphy
I'll put it this way. I assume that there is another human being pretty much doing what I'm doing at the moment, conveying his thoughts through the written word via the Internet.
Right! And that's called communicating with another human being, so when you say we don't communicate with other beings, you actually mean this other thing you're trying to describe ...
However, I realize that my conception of who Randall is, what he thinks, what he is attempting to communicate to me, is many times removed in form and substance from the actual Randall and his thoughts because all I can experience is my "mental conception" of what is happening, my consciousness itself modulated, if you will, by some data (although many times removed and abstracted) presumably generated by the being "Randall." There is a subtlety here that I may lack the ability to communicate.
OK so what you really mean is that we don't always have the means to accurately convey our subjective experiences to someone else as I suggested in my 1 to 1 mind meld illustration. This means we can do away with the statement altogether because it's already sufficiently covered by item 1 on your list. This brings us to the next point: Comprehension is restricted to the domain of human experience itself.

Either that statement is a circular one that essentially states that we can't be aware of anything ( including the fact that we comprehend something ) unless we're aware in the first place, or it means something else, like we don't comprehend ( understand ) anything unless we experience it for ourselves, which I would submit has a number of problems.
 

trainedobserver

Paranormally Disenchanted
I grok that too - I know where you're coming from (or I have a representation that I think . . . etc etc) but, I suspect it may all be one thing as you say - and the productive arises from contemplation of the impractical - realization from Koan, enlightenment from looking from the finger to the moon and back again - or like GH Hardy and his impractical "number theory" . . . Kekule's dream of the snake biting it's tail . . . so, I wonder what the "proper" use(s) of consciousness is(are) . . . ?

To procure nourishment for the organism. Anything after that is gravy. In a larger sense I think it's ultimate purpose is to provide a way for life to escape the confines of Earth to go other places. Spores from the Earth as it were. We might not work out in that regard b.t.w. and another may rise from the evolutionary processes active on the planet to attempt the long crawl to the stars again after we've poisoned ourselves trying to boil water.
 
S

smcder

Guest
Here's another review of a book on MP's philosophy by another MP specialist, much denser than the first one I linked but useful as a window into the subtlety of MP's thought and some critical issues in its interpretation.

Should we break out another thread for the phenomenology discussion?
 

trainedobserver

Paranormally Disenchanted
work with me here . . . I'm just being a little playful - I mean the ego/the self as a particular construction - the particular viewpoint you inhabit . . . if (y)ou saw (Y)ou as the totality of the universe (y)ou wouldn't bother to step out of the way of traffic - (and some ascended master's probably don't bother <--- more humor)

I recognize the practically of playing the game as it is presented to me as it were. Also, I have millions of years of evolutionary processes instilling the will to survive in me as well, which is no small thing to trifle with.
 
S

smcder

Guest
To procure nourishment for the organism. Anything after that is gravy. In a larger sense I think it's ultimate purpose is to provide a way for life to escape the confines of Earth to go other places. Spores from the Earth as it were. We might not work out in that regard b.t.w. and another may rise from the evolutionary processes active on the planet to attempt the long crawl to the stars again after we've poisoned ourselves trying to boil water.

have you happened to read/listen to any of Terrance McKenna's talks? - you can catch them all over at The Psychedelic Salon - "spores from the earth" sounds awfully like one of his recurrent memes . . .
 
S

smcder

Guest
I recognize the practically of playing the game as it is presented to me as it were. Also, I have millions of years of evolutionary processes instilling the will to survive in me as well, which is no small thing to trifle with.

I'm not trifling with you. I do enjoy a bit of humor from time to time, for me, it is a good and very practical use of consciousness.
 

trainedobserver

Paranormally Disenchanted
Either that statement is a circular one that essentially states that we can't be aware of anything ( including the fact that we comprehend something ) unless we're aware in the first place, or it means something else, like we don't comprehend ( understand ) anything unless we experience it for ourselves, which I would submit has a number of problems.

Like I said, it's hard to convey, but yes, you cannot experience anything that isn't you. Data from the outside is gathered and brought inside where it modulates (lack of a better term) your own substance to represent that which was outside thus affording you an experience of the outside.

Please submit your problems to Problem Central. They will forward them to the Solutions Center after some indefinable period where they will most likely be processed in 8 to 10 working days after receipt, god willing and we find the damn pencil.
 
S

smcder

Guest
I recognize the practically of playing the game as it is presented to me as it were. Also, I have millions of years of evolutionary processes instilling the will to survive in me as well, which is no small thing to trifle with.

that idea is what makes suicide a very interesting subject . . . I've dealt with it more from the mental-health advocacy side; we repeatedly were told that the majority of persons who commit suicide have a mental illness, but it was circular and as suicidal ideation was considered diagnostic . . .

also, extreme asceticism / ritual practice of starvation
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
I don't want it to seem like I was or am trying to guide this thread's conversation one way or the other. I'm pretty much hit and run and you folks are in it for the long haul. I was just saying contemplating the incomprehensible might be slightly unproductive from a practical sense. The proper use of consciousness and one of the more favorite subjects around here "critical thinking" might yield more relevant and useful results in the long run.


TO, can you tell us a bit more about the incomprehensibility of the incomprehensible? ;)


And also link me to the standing guidelines here for 'critical thinking'?
 

Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Here is a post from about ten days ago by trained observer that presents some questions I'd like to see discussed if others here are willing to do so:

I agree that the semantics issue is very important because it's our primary means of conveying ideas to one another, so if we get the wrong idea, then we're lost, especially with a topic as slippery as that of consciousness. This has been especially frustrating in our recent tour of the so-called "hard problem" of consciousness, which I maintain survives by its grammatical formulation alone and is relevant to the question of what consciousness is and where it comes from to the same extent that we might ask why a magnet produces a magnetic field, or for that matter why anything exists at all. This gets into the rules of logic and grammatical transitivity, and the nuances of interpreting words as they relate to the nature of being as opposed to the rules of cause and effect. Debates and discussions about it are sprinkled all over the Internet. That's my take on it in a nutshell as seen from the window on the left side of the bus. Take the tour with Smcder and you'll get the view from the right-hand side.
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
I pointed to and linked to several sources you can read to get a quick grounding in MP's ideas concerning consciousness. Just before doing that I presented a post in response to one of TO's (concerning his view that consciousness can only be aware of itself, is locked in somehow from the world and meaningful dialogue with other humans about the world and the mind), in which I summarized MP's response to ideas of that sort. I hoped that that post would provide a convenient way to begin a foundational exchange concerning what phenomenology brings to the understanding of what consciousness is. It was two or three pages back. If anyone's interested in pursuing a conversation about MP and/or phenomenology, we could go back to that. If no one wants to pursue that approach, so be it. No problem.
 

Randall

J. Randall Murphy
that idea is what makes suicide a very interesting subject . . .

FWIW, many years ago in my troubled transition from adolescence into adulthood, I contemplated whether or not my continued existence from the perspective of my impact as yet another garbage producing organism straining the planet's resources was justified. Would the world would be better off without another polluting human ( me )? I came to the conclusion that the world would be better off without me, but before doing anything to remove myself from the picture, I had a sort of revelation that despite all the downside, we are all still more valuable alive. So that ended the downward spiral for me. I realize it's not a terribly inspirational story, but perhaps it might help someone else along the way.
 

Nathaniel

Paranormal Maven
Some Paracast members would greatly benefit from a properly conducted Ayahuasca or Salvia Divinorum session. I believe natural psychedelics such as these can aid us in our 'spiritual' evolution and will make even the most hardened of materialists think twice about all this locality of consciousness mumbo jumbo. :)
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
I agree that the semantics issue is very important because it's our primary means of conveying ideas to one another, so if we get the wrong idea, then we're lost, especially with a topic as slippery as that of consciousness. This has been especially frustrating in our recent tour of the so-called "hard problem" of consciousness, which I maintain survives by its grammatical formulation alone and is relevant to the question of what consciousness is and where it comes from to the same extent that we might ask why a magnet produces a magnetic field, or for that matter why anything exists at all. This gets into the rules of logic and grammatical transitivity, and the nuances of interpreting words as they relate to the nature of being as opposed to the rules of cause and effect. . . .

I confess to not understanding your last sentence as a whole (perhaps you can clarify what you mean). But the phrase 'cause and effect' provides me with a hook on which hang a suggestion: while we are not at a point yet in our scientific knowledge where we can provide an explanation for the 'cause' of consciousness, we can surely discuss the effects of our being conscious and perhaps make some progress that way on the subject of the thread.
 

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