Fara, Content, Dude
CSH: Content was making the Searle point that consciousness simpliciter is not a formal-abstract information processing network, something that can be replicated by a Turing machine. Consciousness is not the effect of value-mapping. It’s not address content changing with an algorithm. That thing isn’t the consciousness. What it is, is the vibrating stuff that serves as the substrate of those addresses.
Dude: What about nonlocal communication stuff? Is that a product of a deeper or a meta order?
CSH: That might be something. The violation of the Bell inequalities by quantum mechanical predictions might indicate the existence of a behind-the-scenes unity that could substantiate the apparent unity of consciousness.
Dude: But then there’s also the unifying aspect of General Relativity.
Content: Is this synchronicity? Is this why if you get an injection in this arm you might get a symmetrical bruise on the other arm?
CSH: Yes. You can’t pass information through it, but things are linked.
Content: What the fuck does that mean?
Dude: Just because we can’t see the causal link or the deeper underlying cause … . So, other curious things I’ve been thinking about lately, if y’all don’t mind a tangent for a moment …
CSH: I just want to say one thing. Content was saying that matter is proto-sentience and that material fluctuation is the “exterior” of internal feeling. The illumination that is the subjectivity of consciousness, the Chalmers problem, awareness as such … Try to peel away all aspects of consciousness except the mere awareness itself. If you can get to that, then ask yourself the question:
Q: If this (awareness) is present also as the presence of matter, how is this possible? That is, how is matter also consciousness?
Matter is present as counterforce in space—i.e., as mass. It is also present as source of photon emission—i.e., as visible matter. Matter, then, is present as corpuscular space-occupying being, or what Kant called impenetrability. How does the illumination that is subjectivity be as that?
Because we want to say that it is. Because we want to say that the brain is conscious. We look at a brain and we say, “This thing has illumination inside!”
Content: On a practical level, we feel that based on our experience.
CSH: We want to see how illumination is the brain. We want to point at a brain and say, “Of course! This configuration of pathways and this pattern of movement is aware.” And we want to point at that table and say, for the same reasons, “This configuration, poor thing, is not aware.” We want to understand illumination as a material attribute.
And how is that translation, in principle, even possible? This is one of those little intro problems. Because we think, “Gee. The mere fact of even expressing consciousness materially as an it or that already disqualifies it from being an illumination.”
Content: That’s sort of funny when you think about it.
CSH: By pre-defining the starting concept as an objective “it” or “that,” the attempt to explain (derive) illumination begins as, “Ok, so let’s begin with non-illumination …”
Dude: But everything is exchanging all kinds of energy and light and matter …
CSH: There’s no reason for “it” to not be a self. But for some reason, the “it” is disqualified from being a self. The reason is that every “it” is an object for subject, so every “it” is always already the distal counterpoint of consciousness. For merely epistemic reasons, every “it” is disqualified from being a self. It’s the fact that the actual, ordinary human subject requires that its objects-of-knowledge originate as sensory objects—that is, as objects that arise from the external and non-self.
Content: Is it because it doesn’t speak for itself?
CSH: Anything that we’re aware of can’t be awareness. That’s the final solution, isn’t it. Any X that I am aware of is not my awareness, so every X cannot be subject. The X is separated from consciousness by the prepositional of, which casts every object of knowledge in the accusative case. The epistemic “aware of” is a kind of grammatical fiction made by awareness to make the object of knowledge a properly distal object.
Content: Scott, it’s kind of a fiction. It’s just a way of expressing this abstraction.
Dude: RAW will give you a dollar for every eidetic thing you can prove. Even “chair”—an objective item of information that isn’t processed by your relativistic perspective. By definition you can’t share anything that isn’t somewhat subjective. We might be able to point, or shoot an arrow to the truth, but each person has to experience the truth for himself, from his perspective relativistically.
CSH: Yeah. The meaning of the thing is made of the intersubjective agreement about it. That’s the glossary is alive, and it’s the culture.
Dude: And it transcends the individual and time.
CSH: And is necessarily fascist. It decides on a definition for chair, it holds onto it. “Hey guys, chair is done! Chair is done! You can’t fuck with chair anymore!” And the tribe replies, “Yes, Sir! Yes, Sir!” We obediently use the vocabulary like it’s really there.
Content: Is consistency really fascistic?
CSH: Yes. Charles Manson would say Yes. Remember? He threw the dictionary in the garbage can …
Dude: Most members of societies are kind of orthodox. There are certain traditions like trickers and shamans and maybe comedians …
CSH: That’s right! They’re definition violators.
Dude: They push the boundaries, they push normalcy across the “chasm” that separates stable possibilities. From the ashes of disruption a new, higher-order emergent property of the universe manifests. So occasionally we look at something we thought was a scientific law and suddenly find change.