Author Topic: You're not conscious  (Read 559 times)

Junkenstein

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Re: You're not conscious
« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2017, 11:00:58 pm »
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So all of you fuckers are wrong, or at least not entirely correct.

Newsfeed, Big words, Marginalia, etc.
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Re: You're not conscious
« Reply #16 on: March 19, 2017, 11:30:48 pm »
So yeah, people want dem strong absolute freedoms so they can continue to avenge their condition. Dems be reproducing for themselves the very limits which they insist on overcoming. Bbehold the excruciating persistence of my will-power!

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Re: You're not conscious
« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2017, 04:37:31 am »

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Re: You're not conscious
« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2017, 08:36:03 am »
Right.  Freedom not as the trivial this or that. Freedom as Are you fucking kidding me, this can mean anything at all to me, in the first place!?!
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Cramulus

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Re: You're not conscious
« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2017, 01:26:05 pm »
So this all boils down to the (false) dichotomy that I am a meat machine, as you say, or I am not, as Kipling and Hemmingway say.  The third option is that I am in fact a meat machine, but that one of the attributes of that meat machine is consciousness.  The entire question is silly, because it's an observable fact that we are meat machines, but the fact that we question consciousness is an iron-clad proof of consciousness.

So all of you fuckers are wrong, or at least not entirely correct.

so, to clarify a little

The OP's position -- that you're stuck in this meat machine, that consciousness is a lightbulb that appears above your head only occasionally, and only for a moment -- is not to denigrate you to mere meat. Nor am I saying that the meat machine is an illusion.

I'm saying that most of us are stuck in routines, chasing physical needs, chasing emotional needs, chasing intellectual needs. And that I think that there's something else we can develop outside of that, another place (in an abstract sense) from whence behaviors can originate.




I can think of times in my own life when that light shone brightly and it illuminated stuff that was invisible to me. Fight with a girl, go for a long walk, eventually when the emotional poison has run its course through my body, I can think clearly again, I can see the ways that I was a shithead. Or when I hit rock bottom in the job market, I had a long dark night of introspection and ultimately decided to make big changes in my life. In order to make those decisions I needed a certain perspective. That perspective was hidden until I detached from the routines I was running. The mind, the body, the emotions -- they are competing, but each of them has an incomplete perspective. With self-remembering, you can build a more complete picture, and operate based on that.

There are lots of ways to cultivate that self-mastery. And it's not easy. You have to brace yourself for it like it's going to be a lot of work. The Fakir of India develop their self by transcending the body. Yoga also uses the body to develop awareness. In Zen, you learn to develop your awareness through control of the mind, sharpening its focus to a point. Monks work on self-mastery through control of their affections and emotions.

But those are just a few of the methods. I am exploring a fourth way.

Xaz

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Re: You're not conscious
« Reply #20 on: March 20, 2017, 03:48:50 pm »

But those are just a few of the methods. I am exploring a fourth way.

Drugs!

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Re: You're not conscious
« Reply #21 on: March 20, 2017, 04:04:24 pm »
When discussing these topics I feel like the first challenge is to avoid presenting it as an us vs. them kind of approach where those who are further along the path of self reflection preach to the cabbages or meat machines.

I don't think you can push someone into this idea of 'consciousness' if they aren't willing to entertain it. Maybe this is where Buddhism for example goes right because it stresses that the act of self reflection is beneficial to everyone and the path is an incremental one rather than a great flash of consciousness.

Edit: Is it a path or is it an on/off switch?

You mentioned long walks - I find that after around an hour of walking and reflection my mind occasionally slips into what I believe is a more self-reflective mode of operation. In this sense I can analyse my thoughts and distance myself from them somewhat. Recently I was able to actually feel the truth in the idea that meditation is the act of watching one's thoughts without... I don't know.. being them?

This is a topic which I also think ties in very closely with the ideas that the PD sect of Discordianism has been developing over the years - when you boil it down it always comes down to "Think for yourself, Schmuck!"

Only thing is that you have to make sure you are actually thinking and not just surfing along on a wave of biases and past experience.

Further edit: This act of self-questioning is one that I carry out (almost) to the point of detriment - which is one of the reasons I post so rarely here. It's hard to express one's thoughts when you are constantly second-guessing yourself. Once you can show people that there is another way is it possible to light the path so they don't get so lost?

Critical thinking skills are not encouraged.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 04:10:50 pm by Xaz »
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Re: You're not conscious
« Reply #22 on: March 20, 2017, 05:13:12 pm »
When discussing these topics I feel like the first challenge is to avoid presenting it as an us vs. them kind of approach where those who are further along the path of self reflection preach to the cabbages or meat machines.

Yeah, I have expressly stepped around any kind of tribal hierarchy language. The "I'm the conscious guru, you're the unthinking meat machine" vibe is not present ITT. Like I said, the OP upthread is mainly self directed. I was trying to write a challenge, a call out, that would work on me, and get me to stop relying on my own lazy mental habits.

The idea that it takes some work to fully manifest your consciousness - there is an assumption there which I want to unpack. The assumption is that you are incomplete. You have room to grow, as a person. If you don't resonate with that, then this line of thought is not going to be useful for you whatsoever.

If you are working on yourself in any way, whether it's developing self-awareness or just getting in shape, you start by visualizing the better version of yourself. It'll take some work to become that person. The OP is about pointing how the factory settings we grow up with are insufficient. We're a tangled hot mess. The average person only rarely exhibits the capacity for self-examination.


Quote
I don't think you can push someone into this idea of 'consciousness' if they aren't willing to entertain it. Maybe this is where Buddhism for example goes right because it stresses that the act of self reflection is beneficial to everyone and the path is an incremental one rather than a great flash of consciousness.

Edit: Is it a path or is it an on/off switch?

I would agree with that, I don't think that self-awareness is like this permanent feature you get by leveling up. There is no class of "enlightened" people... you may get flashes of insight, but you can't stay there. Our mechanical mind will always beat the thinking mind. You will always forget the moderating-self and go back into identifying with your emotional, intellectual, physical needs.

((this is where the Cosmic Shmuck principle is really handy... don't think of yourself as somebody that 'gets it'. Keep the learning-mind open by acknowledging your own laziness and idiocy. That's why in the Chao Te Ching we called the master the 'wise spag'))

My experience through meditation is this... I found that meditation slowly taught me how to enter a certain kind of mental space, a stillness where there is clarity. ("The eye of the hurricane") But there were times when it 'clicked', and the little components of knowledge snapped together. The car had a new engine. And from then on, my approach to meditation was different. The trail was blazed. It's easier to get back there now. But I will only ever be a visitor, you always go back to your dumbass self the moment your phone rings.



Quote
This is a topic which I also think ties in very closely with the ideas that the PD sect of Discordianism has been developing over the years - when you boil it down it always comes down to "Think for yourself, Schmuck!"

Only thing is that you have to make sure you are actually thinking and not just surfing along on a wave of biases and past experience.

Further edit: This act of self-questioning is one that I carry out (almost) to the point of detriment - which is one of the reasons I post so rarely here. It's hard to express one's thoughts when you are constantly second-guessing yourself. Once you can show people that there is another way is it possible to light the path so they don't get so lost?

Critical thinking skills are not encouraged.

exactly, yeah -- PD started me on this journey a long time ago. I think it was when we were reading the Art of Memetics--my sense of self shifted significantly. (partially that the self is a shorthand for a million smaller selves) I'm still feeling it out. I've been looking for signposts left by others who have been to the place I want to be.

The people I'm reading now seem to understand what I experienced, what I'm aimed at, and have left other notes for travelers on the same path. I'm trying to digest those notes and feel them out from the inside.


Cramulus

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Re: You're not conscious
« Reply #23 on: March 21, 2017, 02:57:13 pm »
Are you with me so far?
If you want to develop consciousness, you are gonna have to figure it out on your own. But maybe I can help - I'll tell you a little bit about the territory I've explored. Which isn't much. But it's a start.


Let's move on to something Practical.



Let's start with mindfulness.

You can do anything consciously or unconsciously. The actions are the same. The experience is different.

You don't have to sit in the lotus position and say mantras to be mindful. You don't have to buy a meditation mat and you don't have to take time out of your schedule. You should do it in the middle of everyday life. We're not going to practice consciousness in some monastery on a mountain, everyday life is where it matters.

Food tastes better when you're mindful. Hanging out with friends is more fun when you're mindful. When you're being mindful, you're here, in the present moment, connected to the experience. Your brain filters out a ton of information - recognize what's being filtered out. How do your clothes feel on your body? What thoughts are passing through your head, and where did they come from? Interrupt a train of thought mid-stream, then see if you can figure out what station it departed from.

Quote from: william burroughs
Cut the words and see how they fall.


This type of mindfulness is sometimes called the "split attention exercise". It's an attempt to be aware of what's going on inside of you. It's not like Zen, where you are focusing your attention down to a point. You want to spread your attention out, be aware of as much as you can. Keep your awareness in your body. Be aware of your intellectual and emotional impulses.  Acknowledge the thoughts you're having. Don't try to fight them, just recognize them as they come up.




Okay I'm mindful. Now what?

For now, when we're being mindful, we're going to try to identify where our thoughts come from. My experience is that my thoughts and behaviors come from distinct places within me. Sometimes my actions serve one of my body's needs, like getting comfortable, cooking, picking my nose, going to bed. Sometimes my actions are a response to or pursuit of some emotion. Sometimes my intellect is driving the body.

Let's identify those mental train stations that the behaviors depart from. I think there's a small number of places within us which motivate our thoughts and actions.

Let me add a qualifier: we're talking about the internal world, which is basically formless chaos. The "internal places" I am discussing here are abstract. I'm making the cut like this: body / intellect / emotions - but there are other ways to cut it and they're not necessarily wrong. There are totally valid criticisms about cleaving the fuzzy self into distinct units. But we need some kind of system to make sense of what's going on in there, and body/intellect/emotions is a good starting point. I imagine that you could also use the elements, or the chakras, or the id/ego/superego - the important thing is that it's a complete system that leaves nothing out. A cosmos, if you will.

Right now we just want to identify the train stations, the "centers", that our thoughts come from.

What are we going to do tonight, Brain? Like, practically speaking
                                    /


Be mindful with me today.


First, we're going to try to develop a habit of being mindful. The trick is to program the habitual mind to push us to consciousness. This is also a little bit like learning to Lucid Dream. We want to make random reality checks at various points during our day.

One method is to give yourself "shocks". A shock is a stimulus which surprises you and reminds you to be mindful. This is the same tool as Lin-Ji's fly whisk, or his Katsu! shout. It interrupts our train of thought and reminds us to be aware.

You could draw a little circle on your hand or tie a string around your finger.
When I was starting off on this work, I changed my text message sound every few days. You hear it, you're like "WTF is that?", then you remember. Then you answer your phone mindfully.

Whatever it is, it should be something that you will experience randomly, while you're in the midst of your thoughts.




if you're still following along,
I'd be curious to hear your experiences.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2017, 03:07:20 pm by Cramulus »

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Re: You're not conscious
« Reply #24 on: March 21, 2017, 08:00:46 pm »
Some random thoughts.

When you are mindful of your thoughts you invoke a minder. One who minds. This is consciousness or, more correctly, this is the seat of consciousness. The font from which consciousness pours. I'm of the opinion that when most people talk about consciousness they are simultaneously aware of this phenomenon but blind to what they are aware of, given that it permeates every facet of mind but is not mind. And in looking for it, they see it's fingerprints everywhere, in every thought and deliberation and they point at some mundane but hard to notice mental process and say - "this is consciousness" and they totally miss the joke. Consciousness is nothing. It's everywhere but it's nothing. It's much harder to examine because everywhere it looks it sees evidence of it's own passing. Footprints. And they describe the shape but not the form. The action but not the actor.

I also have a sneaking suspicion that cavemen looking for their own consciousness is how all that god and soul bullshit got started because, when you start to get into consciousness hunting and you start to get a feel for your quarry, it's easy to jump to ridiculous conclusions. Consciousness is a pretty ridiculous beast when it comes right down to it.
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Re: You're not conscious
« Reply #25 on: March 21, 2017, 10:19:44 pm »

being mindful:


I liked the train analogy w.r.t. tracing provenance of thought.  Then the distinction between zen zoomed-in single-pointedness of mind and "split attention" exercise made me think about how "awareness" in our western interpretation typically favors the first interpretation and sometimes neglects the latter. When the former is understood by way of an analytic breakdown, it tends to think the point of being mindful is at the end of dissecting and categorizing the various elements of consciousness that were made present by "interrupting the train of thought".  I find this misleading because it neglects how the experience being observed is functionally different to the one occurring before the act of interruption.  No worries, because the important bit to me is that this still allows me to discern that there are different ways of interacting skillfully with the world.  The western thinker who takes this on is Heidegger, with his distinction between the ready and the present to hand.  If I want to know what it means to write (type, and how) it is difficult to analyze the experience as it is occurring as it would occasion a 'break' in the flow of the activity that represents it.  When the keyboard itself fails, breaks-down, and I am presented with the obstinate refusal of it's function, then I start to analyze the keyboard, take it apart, put it back together.  Yes, the keyboard investigated by breakdown is going to be examined and rendered in detail.  The argument, however, is that this is not (phenomenologically) the same keyboard that I use to write.

So there are really two different trains, most of the time I don't even know which one is mine.
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Re: You're not conscious
« Reply #26 on: March 21, 2017, 11:32:44 pm »
Ok, so I really like the mindfulness technique of becoming aware of your own breathing. 

Often when I try to be mindful, I am just reminded of my chronic pain.  @_@. Yoga is actually really helpful in this sense because exercising my body actually brings about some improvements.  So in this sense, a mindful approach to healing my body allows me clarity of mind.

It also brings forth the question that perhaps when I am not being mindful, I am subconsciously doing things just in order to avoid my chronic physical discomfort. 

When dealing with constant discomfort, it is hard to focus on things that are uncomfortable even though they lead on to things that are beneficial to me.

It's like the process of snuggling up to a good book and constantly adjusting and readjusting in order to stay comfortable.  For a period of time you might deal with some discomfort because the book is interesting.  Now imagine it is a boring book and you can't really adjust to be comfortable but reading leads to a goal that you want in the future. 

So I would say being mindful in this sense is being mindful of what is annoying me at any one point:  Chronic pain or boring book.  To what end?  To take advantage of the times when it is not both.

Sometimes I wonder if I really spend a lot of time ignoring my discomfort since dealing with it is so difficult and I tend to be able convince myself that there are more pressing matters to attend to or more enjoyable things to spend my time on or easier things that won't take my energy like exercising my body will. 

It's kind of a new insight that I don't want to do things because my body hurts.  Kind of.  *takes an advil*
« Last Edit: March 21, 2017, 11:37:11 pm by doudou »

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Re: You're not conscious
« Reply #27 on: March 22, 2017, 02:09:46 am »
Some random thoughts.

When you are mindful of your thoughts you invoke a minder. One who minds. This is consciousness or, more correctly, this is the seat of consciousness. The font from which consciousness pours. I'm of the opinion that when most people talk about consciousness they are simultaneously aware of this phenomenon but blind to what they are aware of, given that it permeates every facet of mind but is not mind.

yeah, like the fish who says "what the fuck is water?"

Quote
I also have a sneaking suspicion that cavemen looking for their own consciousness is how all that god and soul bullshit got started

Kinda reminds of that Bicameral Mind line of thinking - that at one point, the internal monologue might have been seen as an external voice.


Ok, so I really like the mindfulness technique of becoming aware of your own breathing. 

Often when I try to be mindful, I am just reminded of my chronic pain.  @_@.

That's really interesting - you're the second person I've talked to today who's mentioned how mindfulness isn't necessarily pleasant for them. I was unaware until today that many people intentionally avoid it! But I can see how pain or anxiety or depression would make you not want to be here/now.


Quote
It's kind of a new insight that I don't want to do things because my body hurts.  Kind of.  *takes an advil*

That sounds really crappy, I'm sorry.

Recognizing that your body's needs play such a strong role in your behavior / awareness, does that change anything?


If you recognize that fact at the moment of decision, do you think you'd make a different decision?

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Re: You're not conscious
« Reply #28 on: March 22, 2017, 02:37:23 am »
I'm intrigued to probably an unhealthy degree by questions of the nature of consciousness, but I have no specific input at the moment. I'll be snorting this thread like crack (is crack snorted?) until I do, though.
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Re: You're not conscious
« Reply #29 on: March 22, 2017, 04:24:30 am »

Ok, so I really like the mindfulness technique of becoming aware of your own breathing. 

Often when I try to be mindful, I am just reminded of my chronic pain.  @_@.

That's really interesting - you're the second person I've talked to today who's mentioned how mindfulness isn't necessarily pleasant for them. I was unaware until today that many people intentionally avoid it! But I can see how pain or anxiety or depression would make you not want to be here/now.
Quote
It's kind of a new insight that I don't want to do things because my body hurts.  Kind of.  *takes an advil*

That sounds really crappy, I'm sorry.

Recognizing that your body's needs play such a strong role in your behavior / awareness, does that change anything?


If you recognize that fact at the moment of decision, do you think you'd make a different decision?

Yes, so this thread is fun to think about.  I am actually exercising a lot more.  It is actually 2-3 times per week doing yoga in the last few weeks.  I wasn't being productive today so I decided to go do a yoga class.  During the end of the session, our yoga instructor specifically gave us direction -not- to be mindful of our breath.  So things came full-circle within a day.   :horrormirth: little victories. 

It does give me anxiety to -consciously- spend time on my body because my intellectual life is really demanding.  But the realization that I spend time procrastinating anyway, and the possibility that it is explained in large part by my physical discomfort sways that anxiety a bit.

Not to go off on a pain tangent, but there is a theory that at a point chronic pain becomes a neurological issue - sort of this vicious cycle of pain and tension.  It's been about 7 years since I described my chronic pain as just "annoying," and having in the back of the mind some theories to test out in resolving the problem.  It's probably about time to go on that journey haha but I guess it takes being mindful to actually think of it as "worth it" in the grand scheme of things I am trying to achieve.  One good think is that it's not getting -worse- it could be that being mindful could also remind me to take an advil to cut that vicious cycle down while I also do the physical work. 
« Last Edit: March 22, 2017, 04:28:25 am by doudou »