From: Anne Marie Tobias (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Fri Oct 15 2004 - 04:39:31 MDT
This is exactly the point... the ontology is distinct and transcendant
of the meat, that is
self does not exist per se in the meat. The meat provide the necessary
self to occur and function. It's like describing the distinctions
between hardware and
software. The relationship is indeed intimate and the boundary unclear,
software is purely language(process and data), hardware is purely
The nature of human being exists purely within language (Heidegger -
"Language is the
house of Being.) Without language, the network of conversations that
and relationship to others, vanishes.
This is not to say that the hardware has no influence on the expression
of self, simply
that what we perceive and experience as identity, history, personality,
are all functions
of conversations delimiting and expressing the context of self.
Perception is indeed a fascinating illusion. We are literally the end
result of several
billion years of survival. We take in billions of bit of data, while our
busily throw out all but the most interesting and urgent data. Our meat
is designed to
filter out useful information. Then our "World View", beliefs, opinions,
and predelictions filter out most of the rest.
Recent PET and precision MRI scans tell us that conversations and
exist in a single given location, but happen all over the brain. That a
single thought may
impact any or all of the senses, logic, emotion, memory, survival,
and any of dozens of linked experiences in a cascade. This tells us that
of consciousness is indeed complex, multilayered, and involves dozens of
cognitive systems working transparently in concert. That is the nature
of how the meat
makes the conversations of self possible. The content of those
conversation is distinct
nonetheless from the meat.
Jef Allbright wrote:
> We have methods (MRI, for example), that allow us to correlate some
> physical brain activity with some conscious experience. In the
> hypothetical warehouse on fire, the problem of identification could be
> as simple as consciously driving motor control in a unique timing
> pattern and looking for the brain with a matching pattern of neuronal
> But what people get hung up on is that they see this mechanistic
> description of brain activity and still want to know "where" the "real
> self" is in this picture. Where's the experiencing happening?
> The answer is that it's one of those cases where the question is
> wrong. The experiencing is not happening in any exalted location
> within the brain, and there is no separate "self" to have the
> experience. It's a mechanistic system that has a capability for
> limited introspection -- awareness of being aware. The usual way it
> has to "experience" itself is through its own internal mechanisms
> which naturally report back in terms that are perceived and recorded
> as real and complete.
> However, we now have less subjective ways to observe the functioning
> of our brains and their environment. Our instruments show us that the
> processing of the brain and the human perceptual system has many gaps,
> distortions, discontinuities, etc., that are not apparent to the
> system we think of as Self.
> We now have very substantial information obtained through scientific
> observation and reasoning showing us that our conventional sense of
> self is an illusion, but since we are immersed in this illusion, and
> our evolved nature is to instinctively protect this Self, and our
> culture and language support this illusion, it is difficult for many
> people to fully consider.
> In my opinion, a dualistic approach to living is most effective,
> applying either the subjective stance or the objective stance as
> appropriate to the situation. Wisdom consists in knowing which and when.
> - Jef
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