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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Thoughts on 'Grassness' and Consciousness

 The Westerner defines life forms, in fact everything, with a materialist's boundaries and categories. A human being, a buffalo, a blade of grass. Books about nature display this preconception, the object of fascination, isolated on a white page. Horses, fish, or birds of the Andes, we regard them as defined iconoclastic entities, without reference to the world around them. We see stars separate from planets. Man separate from nature.

The Vedanta is ahead of us on this. Those ancient thinkers recognized no distinctions between the grazing bovid and the grass it ate. A cow was 'grassness', or the essence of grass. Grass included cows, and cows were grass. So humanity inhabits a film of life on this planet. We live as part of it. Bacteria and parasites live within us. The deer is the forest and we are the earth.

Could the subjective experience of intelligence, and sub-conscious forms of intelligence simply be ineffable cross products of material circumstances, for whose purposes our bodies have evolved? Look inside the brain, where there is seems to be little but nerves, flesh, and channels filled with fluid. Yet we intercept nervous impulses, and they do not explain themselves, or their contents. The act of searching for what is conscious is a lost quest, as difficult as locating an electron or computing the exact trajectory of a particular photon. The experimenter intervenes and destroys the experiment.

Other beings might see time much in the same way we look at a landscape. As earthlings we are possessed of three dimensions, aware conceptually of a fourth, time, which is not visible but is for our purposes, measurable. Surely there must exist life forms that directly perceive four, five or six dimensions with a kind of sight, and understand some final dimensionality, as a kind of fiction, much in the same way as we understand time.

We see space (1,2,3 dimensions), we think time (a 4th), but we feel conscious (the 5th)?

Or perhaps intelligence inhabits that fifth dimension, and the subjective self-awareness that intelligence has of itself, i.e. consciousness, could inhabit the 6th?

Asking 'where is consciousness?' is somewhat like looking for time within the three dimensional measurements of a cup of coffee. One may only perceive a cooling liquid if one admits time as a 4th dimension of study.

A 5th dimensional entity similarly cannot be measured by a 4 dimensional space. It can sit there, just as we in our 3 dimensions can park ourselves on a 2 dimensional carpet. Have we been looking for self-awareness in all the wrong places? Is consciousness, rather than a 'substance' which we can't see, is instead a dimension, from which other beings in turn see us?

Cause and effect? . . . Cause and effect are a temporal 'patch' over an eye that cannot see.

The notion of cause is a vestigial necessity for thinking about time, whilst being unable to see it. If consciousness is yet another dimension, then looking for it within 4 dimensions is as fruitless as looking for time within 3.

Suppose consciousness were everywhere and not contained within a 3 or 4 dimensional space-time continuum. It could be bound up within a 5th dimension. Once there, it might perceive us with the same clarity that we perceive a print on a museum wall.

The human mind/brain has no lock on consciousness. Water is conscious. Fire is conscious. Stones are conscious, and so is air. It all exhibits behaviors of consciousness. Infinite detail. Infinite complexity. Fire processes energy. Fire sorts out an infinite number of inputs and produces a result, computes a path, allocates resources etc. Water also. An ecosystem. An atmosphere.

We speak of 'light' from people who are uniquely intelligent A 'star'. But what of actual stars? The universe is a massive computer of possibilities, computing more conscious activity in just one bit of solar surface than all human life on earth.

Such a claim begs for clarification. What is consciousness? Isn't that the question we've been asking all along? Aren't we investigating where it occurs, how it occurs, what creates it, what are its thresholds, its behaviors, its realms?

I say this. . . The subjective "I" that is 'thinking'. . . . it's all real yes, but that's the only thing that is real. No other realities may be confirmed. The tags 'conscious', 'self-aware, or 'intelligent', may now be filed as endorsements by a lower set of vectors, that are aligning votes behind a power they cannot comprehend.

In other words language creates expression for quantities it does not fully understand to begin with. The word 'consciousness' is really only a sign, for an abstraction like 'God' or 'matter' or 'energy', useful only so far as we make them so.

The abstraction "God" has been useful to mankind, even though most in the current generation of scientists contend that the gods are dead, surprisingly the father of archetypal psychology would argue that they are more alive than ever. The most fundamental of man's technologies evolved when the prevalent paradigm of humanity was God fearing. Science was not even born. I'm making the point that paradigms of thought, whether dominated by gods or science, are complexes of behaviors, not self-evident truths.

Science, as the complete evolution of materialism, demands a return in practices and technologies that are useful for our survival. Viewed in this way the paradigm of science may be viewed as a set of conclusions from a thought process. Yet our science is hopelessly locked to the hip of materialistic assumptions. So we are unable to 'divine' higher concepts from our simplistic conceptions of matter and consciousness.

"Nothing is more vulnerable than scientific theory, which is an ephemeral attempt to explain facts, not an everlasting truth in itself." C.G. Jung

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