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Consciousness isn’t abstract thinking. It isn’t playing chess or designing building. It is the feeling of physical embodiment. A sense of having a place in the world. Having boundaries and limits that define you. A feeling of self.That’s what consciousness is to me. It is because of this world that I have these senses. In this world, I exist. However, there is no significance to the thing we call our ‘self’. We concoct selves like spiders spin webs and beavers build dams. We don’t know why we do it. We don’t even realize what we are doing. We create an artificial concept of being a distinct self because those humans who were so self-ish as to value their own lives above others fared better in the game of life than those who were more self-less. Individualism, or egocentricity?
The self is an imaginary entity, manufactured for the preservation of the selfs host. All organisms self ordained higher purposes are self deception.
The word self and equivalent linguistic constructions appear in all human languages. There is no similar concept in non sentient beings. When you ask a human, “Who owns your body?: they will reply, “I own my body.” But what does that mean? Does that mean the same as “my body owns my body?”
Humans manufacture a self that’s so believable, that sentences like the previous one seem to make sense.
Quote fight club: you are not special, you are the same decating organic matter that everyone else is made of.
edit: first paragraph wasn't meant to be there. (d'oh)
edit edit: it would mean a lot to me if people replied to this
[This message has been edited by Gorilla Biscuit (edited 01-23-2001).]
[This message has been edited by Gorilla Biscuit (edited 01-23-2001).]
i like it.
Try not to be so interesting next time.
You have the potential to be a loser. GO FOR IT!
“it would mean a lot to me if people replied to this.” - GB.
I thought your post was interesting, and it taught me something fascinating about a predilection that I have. I used to post stuff in here that was very similar to what you wrote. I dragged on about the “self” and “purpose” and “semantics” and blah blah blah, always hoping that someone would respond with something, anything.
People didn’t respond very often, and upon the occasion that they did respond (thimble) an interesting, albeit masturbatory self-education process would begin. But this was incredibly infrequent, and it didn’t warrant the energy and enthusiasm that I had invested into these daily analyses that I was posting. So I stopped posting them, and started posting nonsense, which did get a response from people. I still post shit, because hope is too painful a trap to be snared in.
“The self is an imaginary entity, manufactured for the preservation of the selfs host. All organisms self ordained higher purposes are self deception.” - GB.
I agree with you that our initial conceptualization of “self” is a survival mechanism, mere biology. Evolution wouldn’t put something abstract and useless into us. I mean, look at consciousness: sentient beings have the ability to ask questions in a universe that has no absolute answers. Sort of a shit deal, and it would seem more an evolutionary blunder than a finely tuned skill. Also, like you said, any and all presupposed purposes that we design for ourselves as human beings are “self deceptions.” Ergo, the questions that we can ask mean nothing, save that they keep us propagating our species and manifesting enemies and than killing them.
“When you ask a human, ‘Who owns your body?’: they will reply, ‘I own my body.’ But what does that mean? Does that mean the same as ‘my body owns my body?’ Humans manufacture a self that’s so believable, that sentences like the previous one seem to make sense.” – GB.
People do lie to themselves. People consistently lie to themselves, although I don’t think that it is mandatory that they do. I think that we, as a culture, have a predilection towards upholding this lie, however, in the end, it is up to us to individually realize this lie, take hold of ourselves, take responsibility, and “become.”
Being aware of these deceptions, consciously controlling our actions and living present to our “self,” exeunt desires, exeunt hopes, exeunt fantasies, dreams, expectations, etc. Taking on our immediate being, our actual, physical, existing self. Taking all of our emotions, feelings, inspired by both animate and inanimate things, and constructing and creating manifestations of our subjective, internal self with physical tools and mediums.
Once you know the lie… When you realize your conditioned traits… When you give up everything that the world has taught you and everything that is requisite to pride…
When you are humble:
Just listening to the river…
Just reacting to her body…
Just being in the moment…
This is infinity, wherein you do exist.
"Essentially we are all talking about the same thing/process/entity/perceivable-result.
Point well taken Light bulb. I understand your viewpoint and it is every bit as valid as mine. My post was in contrast to Mr bisciut's primarily. Secondarily to yours. A very lucid argument.
The abstracted process of 'self' seems to be present even at the cellular level.
At its most physical level, the process of self could be understood as a separation of a process, or interlocking and self-sustaining set of processes, from the surrounding environmental process.
To simplify, one might consider the human organism as an interlocking set of processes. One way that they interact is through swarm semiotics. Through a self-correcting loop of behaviour, a swarm entitiy mainains its structure within its surrounding environment, yet also exchanges information and/or structure with its environment since most self-sustaining swarms are products of the larger and more complex surrounding processes.
One might think of a swarm process as an extrusion of an environment into itself.
But even something as tiny as a cell exhibits the process of separation from environment. Itself a cell is the product of a number of interlocking processes which occur within the cell wall; the wall itself serves to separate the internal process of the cell from its environment and also permit certain elements of that environment to enter, provide energy for the cell process and also to excrete waste products.
Only slightly more complex cells have developed ciliae and flagellae which respond to concentration gradients of certain compounds in the surrounding environment and drive the cell towards food. It would be easy to say that the cell 'knows' where the food is and is activly swimming towards the source.
But levels of complex behaviour exhibited by swarm entities edge towards the remarkably sentient. An ants nest is composed of thousands of individuals which follow, with a litte leeway, extremely simple genetic directives which govern where and how they move, and use only a few exogenous transmitters to lay trails and suchlike, yet the metabehaviour exhibited by a nest is sufficient to send out an 'tentacle' for hundreds of meters, into houses, to gather food and then, when the supply dries up, to withdraw the limb and wander off elsewhere.
Having suggested that a human being is, on one level, a compact and highly cooperative swarm entitiy, one might consider consciousness as a by-product of the behavioural loops of the various systems at hand. A sort of meta-process, which maintains a reciprocal relationship with the swarm itself. But this should in no way demean the humanity of a human being. We contain mitochondrial DNA in addition to our animal genes. We are half plant. In some ways, the structures we inhabit are the sum total of all life on Earth.
I'm not entirely sure therefore one can attempt a definition of consciousness, or even merely human consciousness. If one has done any investigative work upon whatever one might think the 'self' is, one begins to experience a profound understanding that there are many forms of consciousness, and they are not limited to different and individuated structures either.
One might losely categorise them. John Lilly provided an excellent starter's map with his Eightfold Levels Of Human Consciousness, but these are clearly based upon early Vedic texts which deal with the subject.
Even these classifications are fairly broad, and relate to the entire human organism as it develops throughout its life cycle. But there is 'skin-consciousness' and 'digestive-consciousness' and a myriad others, all of which conspire to produce whatever one might call 'I' from day to day or from moment to moment.
Mmm .. some of those links to deeper information are missing 'cause the sites are down. I'll edit later.
[This message has been edited by Lightbulb (edited 01-31-2001).]
Gorilla Bisuit is competely full of shit. Jean-Paul Sartre went through all of this as well, as is easily discovered by reading his definitive treatise on the subject, "Being and Nothingness".
This method of thinking is completely antithetical to Aristotlian logic, and Ayn Rand kicked Sartre's ass on the altar of self-determination.
To say "I am merely a collection of chemicals, without volition or self-direction" is to deny all of the wonderful accomplishments Man has achieved in his tenure here...thus denying man's consciousness, ownership of self, and self-value. The sentient organism without consciousness of self is the organism that failed to secure a niche in the evolutionary milieu.
What you would kill to see brings out the GOD in me.
The above posts are humanistic. Not that is bad but there exists more than tissue. The soul is the self that owns the body. No it is not some collective will of the cells. That is a bunch of new age nonscence. Do you believe in ghosts? are they the collective conscience of cells that don't exist? Theories like those above are born out of spiritual fears. You could also say religion is born out of material fears. I have seen no evidence that the body has it's own conscience but I have seen evidence of ghosts and spiritual activity.
The self simply exists it hosts the body and is not mortal or subject to time in any way as is the body.
Rather than classify my post, I'd prefer to let it stand free from the assumptions that a label like 'humanistic' carries with it.
However, if one were to classify I'd prefer to call the collection of swarm ideas 'bottom-up' structural thinking. I personally make no conceptual division between 'the soul' and 'the body', in much the same way Vedic authorities concacate the body and the mind into something they call 'bodymind' or, indeed, relativistic physicists speak of spacetime.
The cellular process can't be physically touched any more than one can touch a feeling of longing, or a sense of sadness. From another perspective, a physical cell is the tracks in spacetime that a cellular process makes, just as a human being is the donut of matter (toplogically speaking) that the meta-process one might term 'soul' makes.
Eh. Ain't language a wiggly thing?
I tend to think that people who affirmatively expound a 'humanistic' or materialistic, etc, view, all of which vaguely overlap and all of which fail to encompass any individual world-view, have a great deal more in common with esoteric or spiritual standpoints than either side give each other credit for.
Essentially we are all talking about the same thing/process/entity/perceivable-result.
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