Re: [-empyre-] free will and determinism
I've read the people to whom you refer, as I did I five-year project on the
And I came away convinced that rocks do have consciousness, only the
spectrum our brain is too narrow, too finely turned for survival--which will
be our destruction--to perceive this. I'm able, however, to _feel_ this. And
with meditation, a psychotropic drug, or the creative _push_, as Joseph
Campbell calls it, more much more can be ascertained.
The wonderful thing about neuroscientists is that the best of them are the
first to admit that they know so little about the brain. And, as you know,
we can't agree on what we call "consciousness" is!
----- Original Message -----
From: "Henry Warwick" <email@example.com>
To: "soft_skinned_space" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Saturday, November 22, 2003 11:30 AM
Subject: Re: [-empyre-] free will and determinism
> The Voices in my Head tell me that on 11/22/03 10:33 AM, Joel Weishaus at
> email@example.com wrote:
> > Henry:
> > I'd say that consciousness is not overlaid on top of particles, this
> > make sense.
> How does it not make sense to you? I don't agree with him either, but his
> argument makes sense to me.
> >But that what we call consciousness is an unintentional product
> > of the quantum world. A "bi-product."
> That's Penrose's argument. Frankly, I think it's a weak argument, as it
> would assume that consciousness is a kind of field regardless of animacy -
> thusly, rocks think? We don't think so. Dennett and Kurzweil take
> (as Lanier notes) that dispense with ontology as they dispense with
> consciousness. I think they actually have a stronger case, but I think
> their position on consciousness in no way suits the strong AI position.
> I think Ramachandran et al have the right bend: consciousness is an effect
> of the brain as it interacts with the world. With the brain as PART of the
> world, the world is conscious, but insofar as there are parts of the world
> without brains (Bush Admin's foreign policy, for instance) consciousness
> (obviously) not evenly distributed among living things, much less
> things. Viruses are not as aware as cats or chimps. All are more aware
> a hydrogen atom.
> To stipulate consciousness as something separate from the material is to
> engage an essentialist metaphysics, which I feel is unwarranted and
> unnecessary. However, the opposite, reductivist materialism, subsumes yet
> denies its own binding to the vagaries of the brain's language center.
> want to reduce things to matter, but they demand their theory about it as
> well, and with a thoroughgoing reductivism, you must "go all the way"
> they can't do, because then they have to reject the ontology of their own
> On a more personal level, I wrote this to another list:
> "Even if Ramachandran is correct, and the mind is just a kind of optical
> illusion cooked up by the brain to ride herd on the unconscious automata
> that permit consciousness to exist; who cares? It's all we've got, and in
> the end, it's one of the very few things that really matters in the course
> of a human life. And THAT is why Art Matters. "
> Since a human life is the only one I'll ever have, then WHAT I DO with
> consciousness matters a lot more than WHAT IT IS (or isn't). This doesn't
> denigrate the efforts of those people who spend their time with finding
> what it is, at all, because finding out what it is is a kind of what one
> doing with it. It's just that as an artist who is engaged in making the
> stuff, my job is to use the mind in a focussed and conscious way, so that
> these issues can be visible, but their visibility is rather variable,
> depending on the intent of a given work.
> If it wasn't that way, I'd be a neuroscentist. And I'm reeeeally not
> interested in climbing that hill, as it only occupies one particular
> interest of mine, and hardly a central one at that.
> Ummmm, I seemed to have rambled off into the weeds again....
> Wife and daughter say "DADDY! It's time to go to the PARK!!!"
> More later...
> my very best to all empyreans,
> empyre forum
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