Principia Discordia

Principia Discordia => Or Kill Me => Topic started by: Cramulus on March 17, 2017, 06:13:37 pm

Title: You're not conscious
Post by: Cramulus on March 17, 2017, 06:13:37 pm
I hate to break it to you, but you're not conscious. You're just running a program. Your habitual mind is driving your meat machine. Your reactions are mechanical. You are running on autopilot. You are a script in human form.

There's a part of your mind which can become conscious, but it's too much work for you. It might open an eye for a moment, learn something, make a decision, but then it goes back to sleep. The autopilot is in charge.

Your mind is a mansion. But you? You spend 95% of your life jerking off in the basement. You didn't even know there was an attic. Can you even find the way there?

Your mind is a crowd. The party is buzzing and everybody's doing their own thing. But you? You're in the corner on your phone.

Your mind is a like a menu with 300 possible things to order, but you? You order the same meal every night.

Your mind is an anarchist commune. It has no leader. It resists leadership and coordination. But you? You couldn't lead them if you tried. If you were a real self, you could coordinate the collective and accomplish something. But you can't do it, so you let them lay around and talk shit all day.

And every time you start to wake up, when you begin to move from that comfortable spot you've been resting in for so long, you get distracted. Something else pops up, and you forget. Your habitual mind is overbearing, every moment of the day it's bullying the lazy conscious mind into the background. Your habitual mind doesn't want to be examined. It doesn't want to be resisted. And it's stronger than your conscious mind, so it wins every time.

And even now, as you read these words, your habitual mind is revving the robot's engine. Don't you have an update to check? Isn't there something else you're supposed to be doing? These words are boring, and there are too many of them. And it doesn't even apply to you, because you're conscious. Other people walk around on autopilot, but not you. Right?
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on March 18, 2017, 02:54:43 pm
Little bit of a coincidence here. Going to chew on it for a bit, maybe riff.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Mesozoic Mister Nigel on March 18, 2017, 03:36:56 pm
Mixed feelings about this. Which is good, it means it gave me feelings. I'll let them swirl around a bit.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: doudou on March 19, 2017, 05:46:34 am
I hate to break it to you, but you're not conscious. You're just running a program. Your habitual mind is driving your meat machine. Your reactions are mechanical. You are running on autopilot. You are a script in human form.

There's a part of your mind which can become conscious, but it's too much work for you. It might open an eye for a moment, learn something, make a decision, but then it goes back to sleep. The autopilot is in charge.

Your mind is a mansion. But you? You spend 95% of your life jerking off in the basement. You didn't even know there was an attic. Can you even find the way there?

Is there a part of the mind that can become conscious?  If so, am I only partly conscious over time or am I only conscious 5% but continuously?

If 95% of the time is spent jerking off in the basement, then what does it mean to be conscious that 5% of the time?  Does it mean a random moment of clarity or does it mean I am 95% automatic and 5% connected with something that is beyond myself that makes me self-aware? 

What is it that is beyond me?  Is it just everything else outside my body?  What is at the intersection of myself and everything that is other?  Why is my mind different from my brain?  How can I possibly generate anything that is more than myself? 

Am I just one piece of a chain reaction?  Am I on autopilot and consciousness is just whatever is other adding itself into my equation?
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: The Good Reverend Roger on March 19, 2017, 07:53:44 am
If I am just a meat machine, that means I have no soul...And I know I have a soul, because it hurts whenever I turn on the TV.  Therefore I am not just a meat machine, I am a special meat machine who is in fact the main character.  The people around me are all unconscious meat machines2, I agree, but I am not.

Lastly, meat machines would have no reason to argue with other meat machines3, so the entire premise is ridiculous.


1 Because I'm better than people.
2 Also because I'm better than people.
3Unless they were programmed to do that by a monstrous deity that gets off on that shit.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Vanadium Gryllz on March 19, 2017, 08:43:43 am
I don't feel like the piece comes to a particular conclusion. This, for me, leaves it feeling too antagonistic to make me want to engage further with the subject of whether in fact I am woke af or not.

Can we hear your motivations behind writing Cram?
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: LMNO on March 19, 2017, 01:26:48 pm
I feel that QG could do something cool with, "Don't you have an update to check?"
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Cramulus on March 19, 2017, 05:45:02 pm
I don't feel like the piece comes to a particular conclusion. This, for me, leaves it feeling too antagonistic to make me want to engage further with the subject of whether in fact I am woke af or not.

Can we hear your motivations behind writing Cram?

Yeah that's my problem with it too - I struggled to inject the point with sufficient humor to make it taste good. I'm betting there's a better frame. (I should maybe revisit Robert Anton Wilson's "Cosmic Shmuck" meme, that seemed like a nice slapstick delivery mechanism for his intended self critical, open-to-being-wrong headspace)

The piece's motivation is to introduce a problem. To some extent, if I tell you how to solve this problem right off the bat, the mental loop closes and it won't get any more thought.

My personal motivation - this piece is sorta self-aimed. I'm trying to stay conscious for as long as I can, and the habitual mind is the enemy of that.

From another perspective: I'm trying to articulate a point presented in some of the stuff I'm reading, but in a different, cooler way  :ECH:



If I am just a meat machine, that means I have no soul...And I know I have a soul, because it hurts whenever I turn on the TV.

 :lulz: :lulz:

Quote
Therefore I am not just a meat machine, I am a special meat machine who is in fact the main character.  The people around me are all unconscious meat machines2, I agree, but I am not.

Bingus
                   (that's latin for Bingo)

The habitual mind seeks to fulfill basic needs. It is the part of you which can reliably solve problems like your hunger, lust, fear.. The habitual part of your mind gets you very wrapped up in the ecstasy of consumption. TV, food, memes - being the main character... many types of pleasure... the pursuit of these ego-centered desires** keep us in the habitual mind, where you can't really bring yourself to consciousness.

I think you hit that in your response - that it's hard to break from those low-level satisfactions, and it's really hard to reflect on the self and its component processes while you're in the thrall of those things.





**footnote: I am in no way saying you need to be an ascetic to search for consciousness. Eat the hell out of that burger.  But eating the hell out of it means really tasting it, eating mindfully.. not chewing mindlessly as you're watching TV, letting yourself get distracted from your body's physical experiences.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Cramulus on March 19, 2017, 05:55:27 pm
In Illuminatus!, Wilson & Shea describe "the robot" as the automatic, mechanical part of the self. Most of the robot's behaviors are programmed by culture and upbringing. Breaking / reprogramming the robot is the key to personal freedom. The characters in Illumiantus struggle to make actual free-will decisions and not just play out the trajectory of the their cultural circumstances.


Years ago, Free Will / Determinism was one of those landmine topics on this forum that we couldn't discuss without it sliding into 21 pages of banging heads against walls. But what I got from all of that was: Yes, Free Will - the ability to make independent decisions - exists in our potential. Most people haven't developed that capacity.

I myself want to develop that capacity. I've been on the search for different tools to do so. I think the first step is in recognizing the difference between a conscious decision and an automatic decision. First you have to understand the distinction, then you have to learn to recognize it in yourself as it's happening.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Cramulus on March 19, 2017, 06:02:18 pm
Ouspensky puts it like this: (my OP is a clumsy attempt to say something like this)

Quote from: PD Ouspensky, The Fourth Way, p44
First, self-knowledge. There is a very good Eastern allegory which deals with the creation of 'I'. Man is compared to a house full of servants, without master or steward to look after them. So the servants do what they like; none of them does his own work. The house is in a state of complete chaos, because all the servants try to do someone else's work which they are not competent to do. The cook works in the stables, the coachman in the kitchen, and so on.

The only possibility for things to improve is if a certain number of servants decide to elect one of themselves as a deputy steward and in this way make him control the other servants. He can do only one thing: he puts each servant where he belongs and so they begin to do their right work. When this is done, there is the possibility of the real steward coming to replace the deputy steward and to prepare the house for the master.

We do not know what the real steward means or what the master means, but we can take it that the house full of servants and the possibility of a deputy steward describes our situation. This allegory helps us to understand the beginning of the possibility of creating a permanent 'I'.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Cramulus on March 19, 2017, 06:41:40 pm
Is there a part of the mind that can become conscious?  If so, am I only partly conscious over time or am I only conscious 5% but continuously?

If 95% of the time is spent jerking off in the basement, then what does it mean to be conscious that 5% of the time?  Does it mean a random moment of clarity or does it mean I am 95% automatic and 5% connected with something that is beyond myself that makes me self-aware? 

I think that we have random moments of clarity. Sometimes you experience a moment when you're able to not just process not just your situation, but also process your thoughts and responses to the situation. (ie thinking about your own thinking)

Most of the time, we are just running these routines we've learned, solving problems using heuristics. When your heuristic doesn't work, or when tragedy happens, you emerge from that fog.

Another way of putting it:

Learning is a conscious process. You can't learn automatically, it takes conscious effort to absorb and integrate information. When you first learned to drive a car, you were really mindful. Every action you took taught you a little bit. Now, years later, you get it. So you don't need the lazy conscious mind to drive. You can just run the mental routine you built.

And if we zoom out, a lot of our life is spent in that routine, in those heuristics. If we don't actively think about it, we don't get a lot of time to reflect on those heuristics, or the process we used to arrive at them.



Quote
Am I just one piece of a chain reaction?  Am I on autopilot and consciousness is just whatever is other adding itself into my equation?

Marshall McLuhan says we're the sex organs of the machine world.
The Art of Memetics says we're the sex organs of the meme world.

I think the way out of the chain is Agency. And I don't think you really have Agency if you're just making mechanical decisions.

And to expand it again, yes, most decisions are mechanical. Like a character in the Sims, we always take whatever action we perceive will give us best rewards. We continue to exhibit that behavior until a competing one gives us better feels. (behaviorists call that 'melioration') When that calculus is simple, our behavior is predictable.

If you can make decisions about your automatic processes, you might be in the conscious part of the self.

It's really hard to perform this reflection, this self-consciousness, this Self-Remembering, while the habitual mind is buzzing. When you're emotional, it's really hard to step outside of it and make an independent decision.

Usually, when we have that 5% moment of self-remembering, it only lasts for that moment, and then it's over.



Part of what I want to discover is how to increase consciousness along a few different dimensions: frequency, length, depth.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: doudou on March 19, 2017, 08:33:22 pm
This is going to be a sort of incomplete response for now, but ...

Is there a part of the mind that can become conscious?  If so, am I only partly conscious over time or am I only conscious 5% but continuously?

If 95% of the time is spent jerking off in the basement, then what does it mean to be conscious that 5% of the time?  Does it mean a random moment of clarity or does it mean I am 95% automatic and 5% connected with something that is beyond myself that makes me self-aware? 

Learning is a conscious process. You can't learn automatically, it takes conscious effort to absorb and integrate information. When you first learned to drive a car, you were really mindful. Every action you took taught you a little bit. Now, years later, you get it. So you don't need the lazy conscious mind to drive. You can just run the mental routine you built.

And if we zoom out, a lot of our life is spent in that routine, in those heuristics. If we don't actively think about it, we don't get a lot of time to reflect on those heuristics, or the process we used to arrive at them.

I would not say that learning is entirely conscious because even a machine can learn to change its course of actions based on how it experiences the world.  When our behaviors are reinforced by pleasure, we become more likely to repeat the same actions/thoughts/algorithms.  In the same way, we were programmed with ways of learning information that lead to pleasurable success.  On a more basic level, we are born with ways of perceiving and retaining our environment that cause us to act in a way that is more predictable than not.

The idea of consciousness has fascinated me and I wonder what the state of the evidence for it is.  So what is this sensation of consciousness?  What if it is true that nothing is more than the sum of its parts?  I would hesitate to label a hierarchy of thought processes (meta cognition?) consciousness, but I would guess that is the general image of how people imagine consciousness?  As like a bubble above us that is more than ourselves? 

So we become aware of a pattern of thoughts because we have the ability to remember things.  Then we have the ability to adjust those patterns, but why is that consciousness?  Couldn't there be a higher level of thinking than that where we are aware of the methods by which we adjust our thinking?  We can lose the forest for the trees or we can pan out ad infinitum, but is that action consciousness or just a higher dimension of the framework under which we operate?

Am I just one piece of a chain reaction?  Am I on autopilot and consciousness is just whatever is other adding itself into my equation?

Marshall McLuhan says we're the sex organs of the machine world.
The Art of Memetics says we're the sex organs of the meme world.

I think the way out of the chain is Agency. And I don't think you really have Agency if you're just making mechanical decisions.

And to expand it again, yes, most decisions are mechanical. Like a character in the Sims, we always take whatever action we perceive will give us best rewards. We continue to exhibit that behavior until a competing one gives us better feels. (behaviorists call that 'melioration') When that calculus is simple, our behavior is predictable.

If you can make decisions about your automatic processes, you might be in the conscious part of the self.

It's really hard to perform this reflection, this self-consciousness, this Self-Remembering, while the habitual mind is buzzing. When you're emotional, it's really hard to step outside of it and make an independent decision.

Usually, when we have that 5% moment of self-remembering, it only lasts for that moment, and then it's over.



Part of what I want to discover is how to increase consciousness along a few different dimensions: frequency, length, depth.

I am part of the great daisy-chain called life.

I am happily ambivalent about whether we have choice or not.  What ends follow from choosing either premise, I don't know.  If the feeling of choice is an illusion, it doesn't detract that choices are necessary. 

Evolutionarily speaking, auto-pilot is there for a reason, right?  However, clarity is something to strive for... 
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: LuciferX on March 19, 2017, 09:46:23 pm

Quote
I think the way out of the chain is Agency

Was thinking about this in the context of
Quote
Self-Remembering

The self that I am most given to remember is actually very much informed by a predetermined chain of events.  It would be a fools errand to try and extricate self from that chain if the self so understood was determined primarily by that sequence of events.  Even thinking about the self being so determined does not necessarily enjoy the status of being thereby removed from said chain.  The attempt to escape samsara is samsara.

It reminds me of that parable of how we are sometimes given to descend into a dark underworld.  There is the promise of being able to return, on one condition, that we should not consume or attempt to substantiate ourselves with anything that is "there".  Behind our thought-patterns, hidden from the dream yet always present, there is something that belongs to us absolutely.

And now, a message from our sponsor:

Soul not right?  No more mojo already?

If anyone's having trouble with this, I can help, for a cost close to nothing, I guarantee it.
   
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: The Good Reverend Roger on March 19, 2017, 10:31:19 pm
I don't feel like the piece comes to a particular conclusion. This, for me, leaves it feeling too antagonistic to make me want to engage further with the subject of whether in fact I am woke af or not.

Can we hear your motivations behind writing Cram?

Yeah that's my problem with it too - I struggled to inject the point with sufficient humor to make it taste good. I'm betting there's a better frame. (I should maybe revisit Robert Anton Wilson's "Cosmic Shmuck" meme, that seemed like a nice slapstick delivery mechanism for his intended self critical, open-to-being-wrong headspace)

The piece's motivation is to introduce a problem. To some extent, if I tell you how to solve this problem right off the bat, the mental loop closes and it won't get any more thought.

My personal motivation - this piece is sorta self-aimed. I'm trying to stay conscious for as long as I can, and the habitual mind is the enemy of that.

From another perspective: I'm trying to articulate a point presented in some of the stuff I'm reading, but in a different, cooler way  :ECH:



If I am just a meat machine, that means I have no soul...And I know I have a soul, because it hurts whenever I turn on the TV.

 :lulz: :lulz:

Quote
Therefore I am not just a meat machine, I am a special meat machine who is in fact the main character.  The people around me are all unconscious meat machines2, I agree, but I am not.

Bingus
                   (that's latin for Bingo)

The habitual mind seeks to fulfill basic needs. It is the part of you which can reliably solve problems like your hunger, lust, fear.. The habitual part of your mind gets you very wrapped up in the ecstasy of consumption. TV, food, memes - being the main character... many types of pleasure... the pursuit of these ego-centered desires** keep us in the habitual mind, where you can't really bring yourself to consciousness.

I think you hit that in your response - that it's hard to break from those low-level satisfactions, and it's really hard to reflect on the self and its component processes while you're in the thrall of those things.





**footnote: I am in no way saying you need to be an ascetic to search for consciousness. Eat the hell out of that burger.  But eating the hell out of it means really tasting it, eating mindfully.. not chewing mindlessly as you're watching TV, letting yourself get distracted from your body's physical experiences.

The illusion of the meat machine, to me, is part of the way the CoN conditions us to treat each other.  Anyone who eats the hell out of that burger is obviously just being a showman.  If you are not of US, you are of THEM.  If you change your behavior to suit the aims of another - even if that change was desirable to you - you stop being an actual human to that person, because you have been overcome and now fit in a nice slot in The Machine™.

The latter alone is sufficient reason to never listen to gurus...To, in fact, pelt them with stones until they die or leave town.  Gurus are the source of most of what is wrong with society, and people who want to "educate" you mean that they want to "safely catagorize you and put you in your slot, you horrible cog, you."

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.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Mesozoic Mister Nigel on March 19, 2017, 10:48:29 pm
So, in pursuing neuroscience, I've taken a lot of classes and read a lot of books about the possible origins of consciousness, and whether or not free will truly exists. The hypothesis on consciousness I like the most right now is that consciousness, ie. self-awareness, arises as a result of multiple, interlinked parallel networks in the brain, communicating vital information with each other. If you haven't read about rich-club networking, that is a great place to start with that.

Free will is a little more complex, because if consciousness arises from biological networks that use a predetermined set of inputs to decide a predetermined set of outputs, that creates the question of whether free will can exist. However, that apparent problem disappears when you consider the brain from an endocrine network perspective; that is, graded (analog) inputs and responses creates a set of systems that are mathematically probabilistic. Holy shit, what else is mathematically probabilistic? Well, the ecosystem, for one, and we could hardly say that ecosystem responses are deterministic, right? That means that the ecological outcome is not predetermined, which, when we extrapolate that to the similarly interlinked network of possibility that is cognition, means that neither is human choice.

So, we could say that human will contains so many variables as to be, for all practical purposes, free, in that it is not predictable and it is informed by a number of variables so high that outcomes cannot be calculated, and no two wills can mathematically be the same.

However, we could also say that constraints can be placed upon the human ability to exercise free will. For example, if someone holds a gun to your head and tells you to give them all your money, are you doing so out of your own free will? I would argue that, no, you are doing so under duress, and that therefore duress is a constraint on free will. One could view other circumstances as duress, for example, hunger, poverty, or even low social status in the form of racism or sexism can be viewed as constraints upon free will. So, what isn't a constraint? Everything influences our decisions, all the time.

I think that there are avoidable constraints and unavoidable constraints.

Just a half-finished thought that's been rattling around.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Junkenstein on March 19, 2017, 11:00:58 pm
Quote
So all of you fuckers are wrong, or at least not entirely correct.

Newsfeed, Big words, Marginalia, etc.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: LuciferX 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!

[views above may not reflect those of previous sponsors]
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Cramulus on March 20, 2017, 04:37:31 am
(http://i.imgur.com/R6VxGXq.png)
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: LuciferX 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!?!
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Cramulus 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.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Vanadium Gryllz on March 20, 2017, 03:48:50 pm

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

Drugs!

Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Vanadium Gryllz 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.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Cramulus 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 (http://www.principiadiscordia.com/forum/index.php/topic,31613.msg1145755.html#msg1145755)) 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.

Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Cramulus 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.

(http://cdt.parsons.edu/thesis2014/wp-content/gallery/gorodenzik_danielle/gorodenzik_danielle_web_001.jpg)

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
                                    /
(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/2/28/PinkyandtheBrain.Pinky.png/170px-PinkyandtheBrain.Pinky.png)

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 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katsu_(Zen)). 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.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: P3nT4gR4m 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.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: LuciferX on March 21, 2017, 10:19:44 pm
(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/2/28/PinkyandtheBrain.Pinky.png/170px-PinkyandtheBrain.Pinky.png)

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.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: doudou 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*
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Cramulus 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?
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: tyrannosaurus vex 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.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: doudou 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. 
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Cramulus on March 22, 2017, 12:35:24 pm
A concept that helped me out a little bit:

If we're talking about "increasing" consciousness, we will also need a way to measure it.

Let's focus on that moment of reflection and awareness ("Self remembering"). Recognize that in that moment, our level consciousness is higher than normal: We're able to see our own thought processes and incorporate them into our decision making. We're able to self analyze. (some would say: that's the nascent Real Self)

But it doesn't last! It quickly gets forgotten as the habitual mind grabs the reigns again.


Once you have the language to measure consciousness, you can start thinking about how to increase it.

Yesterday, I talked about increasing frequency of consciousness by giving yourself "shocks", little surprises which remind you to focus. This is very familiar to we zen-absurdists who like knocking people out of their routine through humor and absurdity. Little did you know, this is 'the way of the sly man'.

Next, let's talk about length. If you want to increase length of consciousness, you have to fix a goal in your mind. Aim the bow. Next time you are in the 'conscious space', just try to stay there just a moment longer.

You will fail... you will inevitably be distracted & fall back into the mechanical self. But with concentration, you can preserve it, insulate it against the habitual mind. Try it out.

Do the split attention exercise. Take a moment to recognize the feelings in your body, your intellect, your emotions. The moment of distraction is coming. See if you can anticipate it. Focus on what that moment is like, what happens to you. Develop a conscious experience of that moment.


It gets easier with practice.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: doudou on March 23, 2017, 04:37:54 pm
Dunno if I can go so far as to measure my frequency precisely, but I could probably get a vague idea.   :p

Thinking about these ways of measuring consciousness makes me wonder if we are missing the point of consciousness.

Yes, one purpose of this exercise is to increase consciousness in general.

But I think there are some overlapping ideas that are less advantageous to conflate with consciousness.  I will say awareness is one because there are moments where you can be aware of multiple things at once, but it is only distracting for you to do so.  So is consciousness only focusing on what is important as opposed to whatever else we could be aware of?  In that sense, the measurement of depth creates ambiguity because it is measured by "how much" rather than "how little."

If the point is to be aware of as much as possible, I don't think that is helpful.  I would make the analogy of stretching and flexing a muscle.  A muscle can't be stretched and flexed at the same time.  I would say a balance is necessary between broad awareness and focus.

When we measure length, I again wonder what is the point?  Is there a purpose to staying in any one place for longer than there is a purpose?  For example, I can wake up anywhere between two extremes:  being happy and motivated or having a feeling of dread, but ultimately our purpose in the morning is to roll out of bed whether we want to or not.  So if I am aware of how I am feeling, but am still driven by a purpose, my consciousness has a goal which is to facilitate getting my body out of bed. 
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Cramulus on March 23, 2017, 06:39:45 pm
Great questions! really good stuff to chew on - apologies in advance if my response is a little scattered


Consciousness is isn't just awareness or attention, but those are involved. We don't have really precise language to discuss this fuzzy internal stuff, so it's really good to clarify like you've done.

and by the way, I just want to restate, I'm not an authority on this. I'm a student too, your conclusions might be just as good as mine. We're learning together.


Thinking about these ways of measuring consciousness makes me wonder if we are missing the point of consciousness.


At this stage, we're just trying to develop a finer awareness of our own consciousness. Since we're right in the middle of a stream of thoughts, consciousness is invisible to us until we learn to look at it (we aren't usually aware of our own consciousness, just like fish aren't aware of water). It's also like, if you're trying to improve your running speed, you need to measure yourself. You need benchmarks. Without either, you can never know if you're improving. Consciousness is such a nebulous term, the measurements I presented are a way to process it in more digestible bites.

(and I want to acknowledge: consciousness is "wiggly", hard to define. We have to trap it using nets of words, reality grids per the PD, but we shouldn't get fooled by them. Related reading from Alan Watts, will be very familiar to Discordians: http://cramul.us/post/27126060129/from-alan-watts-on-the-tabboo-against-knowing )

You can see that your level of consciousness varies throughout the day. Sometimes your consciousness is high, sometimes it's low. Think about how your capabilities are different in these two states. It's really hard to realize your potential, to lead a fulfilling life, when your consciousness is low and your habitual mind calls the shots. A lot of the time, when you need to be making conscious decisions, you're making automatic, habitual decisions.

Like you said, just being 100% aware of everything at all times isn't actually helpful, it's chaos. The goal is not to replace all mechanical actions with intentional ones. You need your mechanical mind! But you shouldn't let it have too much power either.



Another way of stating the "point"

When you examine your own consciousness, you'll probably notice that a lot of your behavior appears automatically, mechanically, as a response to some internal state. We have all these sub-selves inside of us, and they all want different things. Our ultimate behavior emerges from conflict between these forces. One part of me is hungry and wants to go out to eat, another part of me wants to read a book--whichever of these signals is "louder" automatically gets control of the body. (unless you're conscious of what's happening)

A lot of the selves inside of you want basic, shallow, ego-driven things. We easily become slaves to these patterns and habits. That keeps us at a low level of energy, low potential, low quality of life. Many of the selves have become prison bars. That's the black iron prison.

Through self reflection and consciousness, by fighting against your habits, you can make intentional changes. You can escape the cell for a little while. You can "think for yourself, shmuck!"

_________
Quote
Yes, one purpose of this exercise is to increase consciousness in general.

But I think there are some overlapping ideas that are less advantageous to conflate with consciousness.  I will say awareness is one because there are moments where you can be aware of multiple things at once, but it is only distracting for you to do so.  So is consciousness only focusing on what is important as opposed to whatever else we could be aware of?  In that sense, the measurement of depth creates ambiguity because it is measured by "how much" rather than "how little."

If the point is to be aware of as much as possible, I don't think that is helpful.  I would make the analogy of stretching and flexing a muscle.  A muscle can't be stretched and flexed at the same time.  I would say a balance is necessary between broad awareness and focus.

Right! But similarly, if you're aiming to build muscle, you need to work it. A workout isn't 50% flexing and 50% stretching, most of it is working at the thing you're trying to improve.

We are really bad at focusing our attention for any length of time. We are really bad at noticing what's going on inside of us. Both of those are necessary to make conscious decisions. The split attention exercise is kinda like a workout aimed at building those muscles.


There is another answer in the literature, but I am still making up my mind about it, so take this with a grain of salt and decide for yourself.

Some people say that the distractions you suffer are from the different "centers" (physical, emotional, intellectual, whatever) conflicting with each other. From that perspective, the "work" of consciousness is an attempt to get your centers to work together and coexist harmoniously. That's why the split attention exercise is important, it is like a survey of the factors influencing your behavior. Your ignorance of these factors empowers them, keeps you in an unconscious fog.

In that fog, your fears and weaknesses and laziness have a huge power over your life.



Quote
When we measure length [of consciousness], I again wonder what is the point?  Is there a purpose to staying in any one place for longer than there is a purpose?


When you're focusing your energy and attention on something, you don't want to suddenly start thinking about potato chips. 

You don't want your decsion subverted by your own desire for potato chips. If we learn how this distraction takes place, and the factors which create it, we gain a small degree of control over it...

The point here is to practice fighting against the mechanical, habitual mind. We're so easily distracted. If you've ever meditated, you've seen it: we are really bad at focusing our attention for any length of time. That focus can be developed. It's an important tool in mastering our Will.



Consciousness isn't an end.

Consciousness is a means to becoming less mediocre, less trapped by fear and doubt and habits that keep us from being fulfilled.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Mesozoic Mister Nigel on March 23, 2017, 07:59:07 pm
I'm kind of trying to minimize the degree to which I am an annoying science pedant, because nobody likes those, but I feel like it might be helpful to the development of this thread if I mention that a lot of this discussion seems to conflate "consciousness" and "mindfulness". Consciousness is simply awareness of self; mindfulness is awareness of consciousness, and of physical, mental, and environmental contributors that affect our experience of consciousness.

Much of the time in this thread when the word "consciousness" is used, I think people may be referring to the process called "metacognition", which means, simply, being conscious of your consciousness, or thinking about thinking.

There is some really interesting work coming out of metacognition research, which is particularly useful in education. An emerging field in science is science education research, which focuses heavily on how conscious awareness of these processes can facilitate intellectual growth.

A few links that might be of interest:

https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/metacognition/
https://www.edutopia.org/blog/metacognition-gift-that-keeps-giving-donna-wilson-marcus-conyers
http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/metacognition/teaching_metacognition.html
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Cramulus on March 23, 2017, 08:34:53 pm


Yeah the language here is tricky, since we’re talking about hyper-subjective internal experiences. I’m thankful that this thread hasn’t gotten too mired in definitions. I’ve intentionally shifted between terms like Consciousness, Mindfulness, Self-Awareness and Self-Remembering, even though they are not technically interchangeable, and none of those are 100% accurate to what we’re talking about.

The way that I’m discussing consciousness here, it’s something aspirational - a clear state of mind that we can achieve through self-observation and intentional effort. The little sparks we get from time to time are the tip of the iceberg.

If most of your thoughts and behaviors are mechanical, there’s a level of selfhood that you’re missing out on. The consciousness I am pointing at is a path to build a “real self”.

Some people call this the development of the “soul”. I’ve avoided talking about the soul, because that word comes with a lot of baggage. But it’s worth mentioning: in this scheme, people aren’t born with a “soul” (whatever that may be). One can develop a “soul” over a long period of time through conscious labor and intentional suffering. But we’re in deep metaphor country here. Let’s not worry too hard about metaphysical stuff like that - for now, let’s stick to the practical.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Cramulus on March 23, 2017, 08:54:36 pm
I'd like to take a sec to touch some of my own skepticism and uncertainty:

There's all this talk about the "centers" - mental, emotional, physical... Each center is an "apparatus" or "mind" that dictates certain functions.

A lot of people have chopped up the centers into various subparts. One system tells you that each center has its own intellect, emotion, and movement. Another system will tell you that the physical center (more often called the "moving center") has three parts: motor, instinct, and sex.  Et cetera.

I think this is kinda dodgy and hard to verify, especially since the centers are all working at the same time. If I want a healthy sandwich, is that intellect? emotion? body? a mix of all three, right? so how are these categories useful?

The self is a funhouse mirror - if you go looking into your own mental processes through the lens that there are two centers, God and the Devil, you will be able to recognize your thoughts and behaviors as either belonging to God or the Devil. What you seek so shall you find. So how can any of these divisions be "real"?



BUT

What I think is key here is that we're trying to figure out where our thoughts come from.

And through doing that, we're trying to develop something outside of those forces, which can moderate it.

I used to think of emotions as these more or less automatic processes that get in our way. I saw the rational, logical mind is the real self we have to listen to. After all, of all the centers, the intellect seems the most under our control. So isn't that the self?

But this line of self-observation illuminated to me the ways that my intellect is also mechanical, that it has its own needs which are sometimes in conflict with other parts of me. And if I focus on intellect, I become unbalanced. The consciousness we're working on is something outside of the intellect, something that can moderate it or make room for it as needed by the harmonious, combined self.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: P3nT4gR4m on March 24, 2017, 12:44:35 am
I'd like to take a sec to touch some of my own skepticism and uncertainty:

There's all this talk about the "centers" - mental, emotional, physical... Each center is an "apparatus" or "mind" that dictates certain functions.

A lot of people have chopped up the centers into various subparts. One system tells you that each center has its own intellect, emotion, and movement. Another system will tell you that the physical center (more often called the "moving center") has three parts: motor, instinct, and sex.  Et cetera.

I think this is kinda dodgy and hard to verify, especially since the centers are all working at the same time. If I want a healthy sandwich, is that intellect? emotion? body? a mix of all three, right? so how are these categories useful?

The self is a funhouse mirror - if you go looking into your own mental processes through the lens that there are two centers, God and the Devil, you will be able to recognize your thoughts and behaviors as either belonging to God or the Devil. What you seek so shall you find. So how can any of these divisions be "real"?



BUT

What I think is key here is that we're trying to figure out where our thoughts come from.

And through doing that, we're trying to develop something outside of those forces, which can moderate it.

I used to think of emotions as these more or less automatic processes that get in our way. I saw the rational, logical mind is the real self we have to listen to. After all, of all the centers, the intellect seems the most under our control. So isn't that the self?

But this line of self-observation illuminated to me the ways that my intellect is also mechanical, that it has its own needs which are sometimes in conflict with other parts of me. And if I focus on intellect, I become unbalanced. The consciousness we're working on is something outside of the intellect, something that can moderate it or make room for it as needed by the harmonious, combined self.

My advice would be forget about the source. It's as elusive as to be irrelevant. Might as well be emergence itself. I've written it off as the bit of me I can't look at (although it's fun to try). It's where the looking comes from. A point, not a thing. Models and terminologies are very much subject to the map/territory issue. Be mindful of this and then go exploring. There's a lot of different bits at play, as you've noted. Spend some time watching how they interact. Get to know them. Figure out what you want to do with them. Figure out how.

Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Mesozoic Mister Nigel on March 24, 2017, 03:48:06 am
Cram, I feel like you might really enjoy the writing of a researcher named Cristoph Koch. He can get a little navelgazy for my tastes (and Salty just helpfully pointed out that I am unnecessarily curmudgeonly about navelgazy stuff), but I think that something about what you're trying to get at and something about what he's trying to get at... might just resonate.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: LuciferX on April 19, 2017, 03:11:22 am
I'm posting here from the far reaches of somnambulence. Two weeks of trying to sleep between a hammer-drill and a cement-truck can do wonders to the gestalt of consciousness. We work with what we have never sounded so wrong.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: The Good Reverend Roger on April 19, 2017, 03:24:44 am
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.

I missed this response, I think.

Fact is, having routines to manage most of your day is the best thing that ever happened to people, really.  There are plenty of daily tasks that are mind-numbingly boring, and why would you want to be paying attention?

Example:  Driving to work in the morning.  Your body knows when to turn the car and when to stop.  Getting involved with that sort of shit only causes problems.  Just relax and let habit and custom take the wheel.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Cramulus on April 19, 2017, 03:10:18 pm
Oh yeah definitely! You can't escape that, and shouldn't. You can't just go about your entire life with awareness cranked all the way up. You self-remember, then you get distracted by something, and you're back into the habitual mind. And do you really want to be fully conscious while doing boring repetitive work?


I <3 Huckabees: The Ball Thing (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9EilqfAIudI)



But on the other side, there are entire weeks that go by where I'm just running mental routines--awareness is just a flickering pilot light. While you're in the habitual, you never ask yourself "Why am I doing this?"

It seems like we only ask ourselves the BIG QUESTIONS after a tragedy. Why is that?


in part, it's because the everyday has been BREACHED

 
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Mesozoic Mister Nigel on April 19, 2017, 05:22:12 pm
I put a huge amount of energy into being less conscious so my brain doesn't eat itself. Like, I have a whole system for reducing the amount of time I spend thinking about reality.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: The Good Reverend Roger on April 20, 2017, 12:43:08 am
Oh yeah definitely! You can't escape that, and shouldn't. You can't just go about your entire life with awareness cranked all the way up. You self-remember, then you get distracted by something, and you're back into the habitual mind. And do you really want to be fully conscious while doing boring repetitive work?


I <3 Huckabees: The Ball Thing (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9EilqfAIudI)



But on the other side, there are entire weeks that go by where I'm just running mental routines--awareness is just a flickering pilot light. While you're in the habitual, you never ask yourself "Why am I doing this?"

It seems like we only ask ourselves the BIG QUESTIONS after a tragedy. Why is that?


in part, it's because the everyday has been BREACHED

This is exactly what I try to drill through technicians' heads. 
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: LMNO on April 20, 2017, 12:48:54 pm
I'd just like to step in here and remind everyone that I <3 Huckabees is a work of genius that is simultaneously often hard to watch due to it being a poorly-constructed film.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: LuciferX on April 20, 2017, 10:24:24 pm
Oh yeah definitely! You can't escape that, and shouldn't. You can't just go about your entire life with awareness cranked all the way up. You self-remember, then you get distracted by something, and you're back into the habitual mind. And do you really want to be fully conscious while doing boring repetitive work?


I <3 Huckabees: The Ball Thing (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9EilqfAIudI)



But on the other side, there are entire weeks that go by where I'm just running mental routines--awareness is just a flickering pilot light. While you're in the habitual, you never ask yourself "Why am I doing this?"

It seems like we only ask ourselves the BIG QUESTIONS after a tragedy. Why is that?


in part, it's because the everyday has been BREACHED
I thinks it may be helpful not to assign a strict hierarchy that elevates self-reflection over the mundane routines of everyday habit. Some have argued that it is actually in the transparency of everyday activity that we are most ourselves.  When that is breached, the act upon which we reflect, with BIG questions, will not necessarily be making present to us a more informed view of ourselves as opposed to who we are not. The "privilege" of the break-down is then more to provide a differential for self-understanding, instead of being an end in itself.  The thing about when I am most myself is actually that it usually consists of an absence of self-reflection. So, that's tricky.  :lulz:
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: PoFP on April 20, 2017, 11:01:18 pm
A concept that helped me out a little bit:

If we're talking about "increasing" consciousness, we will also need a way to measure it.

Let's focus on that moment of reflection and awareness ("Self remembering"). Recognize that in that moment, our level consciousness is higher than normal: We're able to see our own thought processes and incorporate them into our decision making. We're able to self analyze. (some would say: that's the nascent Real Self)

But it doesn't last! It quickly gets forgotten as the habitual mind grabs the reigns again.

  • We can measure Consciousness in terms of frequency - how frequently do you have these moments?
  • We can measure consciousness in terms of length - how long did you manage to stay conscious and hold off the habitual mind?
  • We can measure consciousness in terms of depth - while self remembering, how much more were we aware of? What were you able to do while in that space?

Once you have the language to measure consciousness, you can start thinking about how to increase it.

Yesterday, I talked about increasing frequency of consciousness by giving yourself "shocks", little surprises which remind you to focus. This is very familiar to we zen-absurdists who like knocking people out of their routine through humor and absurdity. Little did you know, this is 'the way of the sly man'.

Next, let's talk about length. If you want to increase length of consciousness, you have to fix a goal in your mind. Aim the bow. Next time you are in the 'conscious space', just try to stay there just a moment longer.

You will fail... you will inevitably be distracted & fall back into the mechanical self. But with concentration, you can preserve it, insulate it against the habitual mind. Try it out.

Do the split attention exercise. Take a moment to recognize the feelings in your body, your intellect, your emotions. The moment of distraction is coming. See if you can anticipate it. Focus on what that moment is like, what happens to you. Develop a conscious experience of that moment.


It gets easier with practice.

In general, I would recommend that the level of complexity of and time-span set aside for the goals you have at the time should be inversely proportional to the frequency and length of consciousness (Using this term in the context used in the above selection).

Let me expand by first pointing out that the brain has different complex structures and neural networks that excel in very different areas. And some of these areas are very deeply inhibited during certain levels of concentration and consciousness.

Social goals, for example, tend to be complicated and very hard to complete with long periods of deep consciousness. Social skills fall apart in moments of extreme self awareness because self-awareness stresses the ego. It's best to have yourself consciously reminded of your social goals some time before relevant personal interactions so that you still have the intent sitting in the back of your head, but so that you don't get so deep into it that you psych yourself out and lose confidence. In fact, if you require confidence, consciousness is rarely acceptable.

Edit: Making a bit of a correction here, as I've deeply oversimplified conscious socialization. One can be confident and conscious in social interactions, especially if the topic of the interaction, or the environment of the interaction is familiar. Hence, the increase in confidence and mental flexibility of those increasingly involved in public speaking.

If your goal is physical, and involving motor skill building, one should limit direct awareness of the action if it's within your direct field of vision. For example, when I was learning Lennart Green's Top-shot card trick, I found that I was much more accurate at catching the card when paying direct attention to something else. Conscious awareness of the trick itself was frustrating and stressful, and didn't increase my chances of success at all. But my chances of catching the card were increased by 300% if I watched a TV show while doing the trick.

Edit: Adding to this as I was in a rush. This increase in accuracy is due to the specialization of the subconscious on peripheral perception and motor calculation. You only start including deeper levels of consciousness when you want to expand on the trick. But only do so for short periods of time to remind yourself of the goal of the expansion of the trick. The goal to quick learning is always keeping the current conscious goal just on the edge of your reach, and allowing the subconscious to figure out the details of getting there (Mainly only applying this to motor-skil based goals).

If the goal is work related, complicated, and over a long period of time (Maybe months long), one should attempt only short periods of deep consciousness in between each major interaction or action that is relevant to confirm that the direction of your environment/life variables falls in line, and to confirm whether or not the actions you've taken have put you closer to your goal. The depth should vary based on complexity of the work, as some people require more complexity for their jobs. In this case, I would say the depth is relative.

Edit: As was said before by others, keep the depth of consciousness limited if the actions in between each major event are boring. Maybe, before big work related projects/goals, spend some time planning fun activities to go in between the events during which you can be conscious and appreciate unrelated things and not lose sight or interest of your goals.

Depth of consciousness will likely vary from person to person as some people feel more pain and are generally more sensitive during periods of deep consciousness. If you are one of these, then I might recommend that you smoke weed, as it seems to allow for longer periods of deep consciousness/awareness while also numbing the ailments of the body. The problem with this is, it limits your thoughts and ideas to a certain range of complexity. That complexity tends to be centered higher than usual, but it's hard to have the simple thoughts that actually function/apply in the real world. Therefore, that's mostly only useful when you have no goals  :lulz:
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Cramulus on April 21, 2017, 04:13:05 pm
I thinks it may be helpful not to assign a strict hierarchy that elevates self-reflection over the mundane routines of everyday habit. Some have argued that it is actually in the transparency of everyday activity that we are most ourselves. 

I don't think I agree. Do you really the You which is in the middle of some automatic process (making coffee.. driving to the bank.. checking your FB feed) is more real, is better equipped, than the You who reflects and makes decisions? If you are dealing with something difficult, which space would you rather make decisions from?

Gurdjieff calls us "three brained beings" - he says our three brains are the intellect, the emotions, and the body. Most of the time, one of these brains is driving the meat machine and excludes the others.

Like when you're hungry, your body wants dinner, and it puts pressure into the system. You get cranky... often you will vent shit at the people around you. This seems to happen automatically. If you are AWARE that you are being a dickhead because you're hungry, you can take steps to not act that way.

The idea here is that you're able to work better - in life - when your "three brains" are balanced, when you're not ignoring one of them. To this end, you can develop a "watcher" in your own mind which observes your thoughts and emotions and impulses. If you can observe this stuff happening without identifying with it, you can make better choices about how to act.


To draw another example from personal experience...

I went through a big romantic breakup recently. I'm still trying to get my feet on the ground. Self-observation has helped me recognize the fears and insecurities in my emotional center and how they creep into my actions.

I started dating again before I was ready. Through reflection, I came to understand why - because I was afraid of being alone with myself. When I was able to recognize that fear was fueling my behavior, I could see that I was making bad decisions.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: PoFP on April 21, 2017, 08:34:13 pm
Oh yeah definitely! You can't escape that, and shouldn't. You can't just go about your entire life with awareness cranked all the way up. You self-remember, then you get distracted by something, and you're back into the habitual mind. And do you really want to be fully conscious while doing boring repetitive work?


I <3 Huckabees: The Ball Thing (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9EilqfAIudI)



But on the other side, there are entire weeks that go by where I'm just running mental routines--awareness is just a flickering pilot light. While you're in the habitual, you never ask yourself "Why am I doing this?"

It seems like we only ask ourselves the BIG QUESTIONS after a tragedy. Why is that?


in part, it's because the everyday has been BREACHED
I thinks it may be helpful not to assign a strict hierarchy that elevates self-reflection over the mundane routines of everyday habit. Some have argued that it is actually in the transparency of everyday activity that we are most ourselves.  When that is breached, the act upon which we reflect, with BIG questions, will not necessarily be making present to us a more informed view of ourselves as opposed to who we are not. The "privilege" of the break-down is then more to provide a differential for self-understanding, instead of being an end in itself.  The thing about when I am most myself is actually that it usually consists of an absence of self-reflection. So, that's tricky.  :lulz:

I propose an alternative perspective:

I think people say that we are most "who we are" when we're not self-aware because of the fact that "who we are" tends to be associated with our actions. In other words "You are what you do." And I would argue that Cramulus is correct about us being unaware most of the time, which would imply that most of our actions are done while unaware and unreflecting. So in a sense, I would say you're right, but only because Cramulus is right. The more reflective and aware we are of our actions, the more likely we are to make frequent conscious decisions to take conscious actions. Which would eventually shift what we do (And by direct association, what we are) to be the more reflective and aware self.

TL;DR: I think you've got cause and effect switched in this case.




Cramulus:

I like your idea of triggering consciousness throughout the day like an alarm clock. I also think that it can be expanded to trigger, not only consciousness, but also trigger specific thoughts and other more complex aspects of the mind.

First, let me explain (And Nigel, feel free to get pedantic here. This is your field of study. Don't hold back.) that everything you look at that is even somewhat familiar causes specific neurons to fire. They've done studies and found the exact neurons/groups of neurons that fire at the mention of, say Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston as a couple. Everyone who paid attention to that relationship in Magazines during the time that it was relevant has a neuron in their brain that fires when they see pictures of them together, or sees their names together. More complex ideas and references can cause entire networks of neurons to fire, and those ideas and references become associated with those specific neurons for long periods of time (Or forever?).

The cool part is, these neural networks can be connected if you cause these neural networks to fire one after the other multiple times in a row (Long Term Potentiation, if I understand it correctly), thus causing the neural networks to be associated with each other. It won't necessarily cause the networks to fire simultaneously (Or close together) every time, but you can increase the chances of that happening. Essentially, you can get your consciousness alarms to trigger specific, unrelated neural networks to fire if you linguistically or semantically connect the two. If you constantly reflect and force awareness of a specific area of your mind (Trigger a specific neural network) when exposed to a specific consciousness alarm (Or unusual stimulus), you can cause that reflection to happen automatically, almost in the background. In other words, you can automate that reflection/analysis so that you don't necessarily have to be conscious for it. The subconscious can take over that particular mental activity in the future.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Vanadium Gryllz on April 21, 2017, 09:11:54 pm

I like your idea of triggering consciousness throughout the day like an alarm clock. I also think that it can be expanded to trigger, not only consciousness, but also trigger specific thoughts and other more complex aspects of the mind.

First, let me explain (And Nigel, feel free to get pedantic here. This is your field of study. Don't hold back.) that everything you look at that is even somewhat familiar causes specific neurons to fire. They've done studies and found the exact neurons/groups of neurons that fire at the mention of, say Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston as a couple. Everyone who paid attention to that relationship in Magazines during the time that it was relevant has a neuron in their brain that fires when they see pictures of them together, or sees their names together. More complex ideas and references can cause entire networks of neurons to fire, and those ideas and references become associated with those specific neurons for long periods of time (Or forever?).

The cool part is, these neural networks can be connected if you cause these neural networks to fire one after the other multiple times in a row (Long Term Potentiation, if I understand it correctly), thus causing the neural networks to be associated with each other. It won't necessarily cause the networks to fire simultaneously (Or close together) every time, but you can increase the chances of that happening. Essentially, you can get your consciousness alarms to trigger specific, unrelated neural networks to fire if you linguistically or semantically connect the two. If you constantly reflect and force awareness of a specific area of your mind (Trigger a specific neural network) when exposed to a specific consciousness alarm (Or unusual stimulus), you can cause that reflection to happen automatically, almost in the background. In other words, you can automate that reflection/analysis so that you don't necessarily have to be conscious for it. The subconscious can take over that particular mental activity in the future.

Sounds like doing reality checks throughout the day to trigger lucid dreams while asleep.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: PoFP on April 21, 2017, 10:26:17 pm

I like your idea of triggering consciousness throughout the day like an alarm clock. I also think that it can be expanded to trigger, not only consciousness, but also trigger specific thoughts and other more complex aspects of the mind.

First, let me explain (And Nigel, feel free to get pedantic here. This is your field of study. Don't hold back.) that everything you look at that is even somewhat familiar causes specific neurons to fire. They've done studies and found the exact neurons/groups of neurons that fire at the mention of, say Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston as a couple. Everyone who paid attention to that relationship in Magazines during the time that it was relevant has a neuron in their brain that fires when they see pictures of them together, or sees their names together. More complex ideas and references can cause entire networks of neurons to fire, and those ideas and references become associated with those specific neurons for long periods of time (Or forever?).

The cool part is, these neural networks can be connected if you cause these neural networks to fire one after the other multiple times in a row (Long Term Potentiation, if I understand it correctly), thus causing the neural networks to be associated with each other. It won't necessarily cause the networks to fire simultaneously (Or close together) every time, but you can increase the chances of that happening. Essentially, you can get your consciousness alarms to trigger specific, unrelated neural networks to fire if you linguistically or semantically connect the two. If you constantly reflect and force awareness of a specific area of your mind (Trigger a specific neural network) when exposed to a specific consciousness alarm (Or unusual stimulus), you can cause that reflection to happen automatically, almost in the background. In other words, you can automate that reflection/analysis so that you don't necessarily have to be conscious for it. The subconscious can take over that particular mental activity in the future.

Sounds like doing reality checks throughout the day to trigger lucid dreams while asleep.

If I understand lucid dreaming properly, you would need that consciousness alarm or stimulus to happen while asleep. Based on the documentation that I read (And this is awhile ago), lucid dreaming happens when the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is active during sleep. Ordinarily, however, the DLPFC is off, or mostly inactive while asleep, and is generally only turned on during sleep due to outside stimuli. Things like having quiet audio playing during sleep, audio quiet enough to not wake you, but loud enough to trigger the auditory cortex, which somehow (And I can't find information on how at the moment, nor do I remember how it does this) activates the DLPFC. Ideally, you should be able to trigger that automated reflection and analysis I mentioned earlier during this time. But again, the stimulus would have to be simple and clear enough to trigger the target neural network, but quiet enough not to wake you completely.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Mesozoic Mister Nigel on April 21, 2017, 11:58:08 pm

Cramulus:

I like your idea of triggering consciousness throughout the day like an alarm clock. I also think that it can be expanded to trigger, not only consciousness, but also trigger specific thoughts and other more complex aspects of the mind.

First, let me explain (And Nigel, feel free to get pedantic here. This is your field of study. Don't hold back.) that everything you look at that is even somewhat familiar causes specific neurons to fire. They've done studies and found the exact neurons/groups of neurons that fire at the mention of, say Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston as a couple. Everyone who paid attention to that relationship in Magazines during the time that it was relevant has a neuron in their brain that fires when they see pictures of them together, or sees their names together. More complex ideas and references can cause entire networks of neurons to fire, and those ideas and references become associated with those specific neurons for long periods of time (Or forever?).

The cool part is, these neural networks can be connected if you cause these neural networks to fire one after the other multiple times in a row (Long Term Potentiation, if I understand it correctly), thus causing the neural networks to be associated with each other. It won't necessarily cause the networks to fire simultaneously (Or close together) every time, but you can increase the chances of that happening. Essentially, you can get your consciousness alarms to trigger specific, unrelated neural networks to fire if you linguistically or semantically connect the two. If you constantly reflect and force awareness of a specific area of your mind (Trigger a specific neural network) when exposed to a specific consciousness alarm (Or unusual stimulus), you can cause that reflection to happen automatically, almost in the background. In other words, you can automate that reflection/analysis so that you don't necessarily have to be conscious for it. The subconscious can take over that particular mental activity in the future.

Truth. We even have a silly little saying; "Neurons that fire together wire together".

I wish I had a little more time to engage with this thread. I'm literally in my A&P lab stealing a free moment for internetting.  :lulz: Maybe I can get at it this weekend.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Mesozoic Mister Nigel on April 22, 2017, 01:41:37 am
I thinks it may be helpful not to assign a strict hierarchy that elevates self-reflection over the mundane routines of everyday habit. Some have argued that it is actually in the transparency of everyday activity that we are most ourselves. 

I don't think I agree. Do you really the You which is in the middle of some automatic process (making coffee.. driving to the bank.. checking your FB feed) is more real, is better equipped, than the You who reflects and makes decisions? If you are dealing with something difficult, which space would you rather make decisions from?

IMO, these are all, collectively, "you", and if any one of your competing networks is damaged or disabled, the result is dysfunction.
Quote
Gurdjieff calls us "three brained beings" - he says our three brains are the intellect, the emotions, and the body. Most of the time, one of these brains is driving the meat machine and excludes the others.

This may not be very far off the truth. In my opinion (and this is something I haven't written extensively about because it's an idea still in development, so I don't want it stolen), consciousness probably arises from multiple major rich-club networks which all have different priorities communicating, and probably competing, with one another simultaneously. In other words, consciousness arises from the need for these networks to reconcile their efforts to control output in the form of behavior.


Quote
Like when you're hungry, your body wants dinner, and it puts pressure into the system. You get cranky... often you will vent shit at the people around you. This seems to happen automatically. If you are AWARE that you are being a dickhead because you're hungry, you can take steps to not act that way.

Totally, and this is where executive function comes in; that very important prefrontal-cortical impulse-checking network that Freud called the superego, also the most recently evolved, is extremely important to keep the impulse-driven, urge-satisfying, more primitive amygdala-and-parietal-dominated network from just doin' stuff. That forebrain network is suppressed by alcohol consumption, FWIW.

Quote
The idea here is that you're able to work better - in life - when your "three brains" are balanced, when you're not ignoring one of them. To this end, you can develop a "watcher" in your own mind which observes your thoughts and emotions and impulses. If you can observe this stuff happening without identifying with it, you can make better choices about how to act.

The guy seems to have extended the Freudian concepts of id, ego, and superego considerably, and I think he is on the right track in many ways. The "watcher" is likely a simple self-check circuit that can be developed through habit reinforcement.

Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Mesozoic Mister Nigel on April 22, 2017, 01:44:30 am
Possibly worth a read.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3325518/
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: LuciferX on April 23, 2017, 01:06:07 am
I thinks it may be helpful not to assign a strict hierarchy that elevates self-reflection over the mundane routines of everyday habit. Some have argued that it is actually in the transparency of everyday activity that we are most ourselves. 

I don't think I agree. Do you really the You which is in the middle of some automatic process (making coffee.. driving to the bank.. checking your FB feed) is more real, is better equipped, than the You who reflects and makes decisions? If you are dealing with something difficult, which space would you rather make decisions from?

[... abridged to compensate for reduced mental buffer capacity due to presence of guest + baby in current peripheral environment]


I don't disagree with the whole thinking fast & slow paradigm, however I find it's application more suited to the control and manipulation of human behaviour.  I don't really equate consciousness with behavioral agency, defined as the possibility to do otherwise.  Before I am free to do this or that, there is a primordial "I can" that discloses a horizon of possibility. This allows me to engage the world in a way that makes a difference to me. It is not that particular choices are irrelevant, it's just that they may as well be without the condition of being "free" to care about the difference between them. Put another way, not why, but how does my freedom concern me, in the first place? For me, the miracle of it is that somehow I am provided with giving a fuck about it, at all.

I think that slow, deliberate thinking can also be engaged transparently, however I use common, everyday activities to provide more relatable examples; also, to help prevent myself identifying with a tradition that has long neglected the echo of such admonitions against falling in love with one's own reflection, etc.

As far a consciousness, self-understanding, and remembering go, it is not that I am "better equipped" in the absence of analytical reflection, rather, the self to which I am relating in reflection is mostly an image or empty trace of that which I think myself directed to intentionally.  Like the finger that can't point to itself, the angle of approach must be sideways.  When your not analytically tearing it to pieces, it is already there, and any approach based on reflection is a breakdown, with at best an asymptotic trajectory. That's why it's so deliciously tricky.

PoFP & Nigel: I'm really digging the neuroscience, moar please!

[generally, I will be spending more time in this thread, and so should everyone. And, because I'm renting a fire-proof skin-suit for the weekend, I think we should also all focus on how superior MoE (mixture of expert) neural networks are to any previous research done with rich-club layers.  :wink:]
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Cramulus on April 24, 2017, 09:36:23 pm
If you constantly reflect and force awareness of a specific area of your mind (Trigger a specific neural network) when exposed to a specific consciousness alarm (Or unusual stimulus), you can cause that reflection to happen automatically, almost in the background. In other words, you can automate that reflection/analysis so that you don't necessarily have to be conscious for it. The subconscious can take over that particular mental activity in the future.


This is something they deal with later in the gurdjieff work. There's this idea of an "instinctive center", our habit engine. I think Gurdjieff and Ouspensky describe ways to hack it... the goal is to build shocks, mindfulness, into your habits.

The exercise I'm doing this week is to be mindful every time I open a door.

I haven't succeeded even once so far lol





the comparison between lucid dreaming "reality checks" and developing a habit of consciousness is apt

Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Mesozoic Mister Nigel on April 25, 2017, 02:17:33 am
If you constantly reflect and force awareness of a specific area of your mind (Trigger a specific neural network) when exposed to a specific consciousness alarm (Or unusual stimulus), you can cause that reflection to happen automatically, almost in the background. In other words, you can automate that reflection/analysis so that you don't necessarily have to be conscious for it. The subconscious can take over that particular mental activity in the future.


This is something they deal with later in the gurdjieff work. There's this idea of an "instinctive center", our habit engine. I think Gurdjieff and Ouspensky describe ways to hack it... the goal is to build shocks, mindfulness, into your habits.


I dunno if you saw it, but that's exactly what the article I posted is about... let me know if you can't access it, I can't tell whether it's behind a paywall or not when I'm logged in at work.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3325518/

Here's the abstract:
Quote
It is now widely accepted that instrumental actions can be either goal-directed or habitual; whereas the former are rapidly acquire and regulated by their outcome, the latter are reflexive, elicited by antecedent stimuli rather than their consequences. Model-based reinforcement learning (RL) provides an elegant description of goal-directed action. Through exposure to states, actions and rewards, the agent rapidly constructs a model of the world and can choose an appropriate action based on quite abstract changes in environmental and evaluative demands. This model is powerful but has a problem explaining the development of habitual actions. To account for habits, theorists have argued that another action controller is required, called model-free RL, that does not form a model of the world but rather caches action values within states allowing a state to select an action based on its reward history rather than its consequences. Nevertheless, there are persistent problems with important predictions from the model; most notably the failure of model-free RL correctly to predict the insensitivity of habitual actions to changes in the action-reward contingency. Here, we suggest that introducing model-free RL in instrumental conditioning is unnecessary and demonstrate that reconceptualizing habits as action sequences allows model-based RL to be applied to both goal-directed and habitual actions in a manner consistent with what real animals do. This approach has significant implications for the way habits are currently investigated and generates new experimental predictions.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: LuciferX on April 25, 2017, 02:56:56 am
If you constantly reflect and force awareness of a specific area of your mind (Trigger a specific neural network) when exposed to a specific consciousness alarm (Or unusual stimulus), you can cause that reflection to happen automatically, almost in the background. In other words, you can automate that reflection/analysis so that you don't necessarily have to be conscious for it. The subconscious can take over that particular mental activity in the future.


This is something they deal with later in the gurdjieff work. There's this idea of an "instinctive center", our habit engine. I think Gurdjieff and Ouspensky describe ways to hack it... the goal is to build shocks, mindfulness, into your habits.

The exercise I'm doing this week is to be mindful every time I open a door.

I haven't succeeded even once so far lol





the comparison between lucid dreaming "reality checks" and developing a habit of consciousness is apt



Okay, so I just don't get the lucid dreaming thing.  Maybe I'm a light sleeper, running on some kind of deficit, I don't know. When I think about analysis, as taking-apart, the discursive process requires discerning separate determinations. How is it logically possible to perform this operation subconsciously, without a ground of recognition that is nescesary for reason to operate?
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: 00.dusk on April 25, 2017, 05:24:33 am
If you constantly reflect and force awareness of a specific area of your mind (Trigger a specific neural network) when exposed to a specific consciousness alarm (Or unusual stimulus), you can cause that reflection to happen automatically, almost in the background. In other words, you can automate that reflection/analysis so that you don't necessarily have to be conscious for it. The subconscious can take over that particular mental activity in the future.


This is something they deal with later in the gurdjieff work. There's this idea of an "instinctive center", our habit engine. I think Gurdjieff and Ouspensky describe ways to hack it... the goal is to build shocks, mindfulness, into your habits.

The exercise I'm doing this week is to be mindful every time I open a door.

I haven't succeeded even once so far lol





the comparison between lucid dreaming "reality checks" and developing a habit of consciousness is apt



Okay, so I just don't get the lucid dreaming thing.  Maybe I'm a light sleeper, running on some kind of deficit, I don't know. When I think about analysis, as taking-apart, the discursive process requires discerning separate determinations. How is it logically possible to perform this operation subconsciously, without a ground of recognition that is nescesary for reason to operate?

I don't know enough to answer this in detail, but I know enough to say that this is true:

The "seat of reasoning", the executive function bit of the brain, is not a soul. It is not magical, special or even particularly different from the rest of your cranial meatloaf, and can be activated by stimuli the same way that anything else (memories, phantom sensations, you name it) can be. It's ~3 pounds of meat and chemicals and electricity, not a tiny man in a control center.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: tyrannosaurus vex on April 25, 2017, 06:18:02 am
I'm intrigued by all kinds of consciousness, and I'm not convinced that "mindfulness" is an appropriate measuring stick for it. It isn't particularly useful to define "levels" (or gradiations, or whatever) of consciousness as becoming more true or real or appropriate as they approach greater proximity to the "here and now". A lollygagging daydream that steals whole minutes or hours from one's memory or perception of the immediate moment or environment isn't evidence that consciousness itself is waning to anyone except maybe an outside observer. It seems better to approach the fitness of one's state of mind in terms of how useful that state is to one's chosen objective: Mindfulness is probably a good idea when interacting with other people or studying psychology or the environment. It may be less useful or even wholly inappropriate for other pursuits, as in artistic or creative work.

I'm also going to say I find reductive materialism so incredibly, mercilessly dull that it is its own excuse for intentionally believing preposterous woo just to escape it.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: 00.dusk on April 25, 2017, 07:20:44 am
I'm intrigued by all kinds of consciousness, and I'm not convinced that "mindfulness" is an appropriate measuring stick for it. It isn't particularly useful to define "levels" (or gradiations, or whatever) of consciousness as becoming more true or real or appropriate as they approach greater proximity to the "here and now". A lollygagging daydream that steals whole minutes or hours from one's memory or perception of the immediate moment or environment isn't evidence that consciousness itself is waning to anyone except maybe an outside observer. It seems better to approach the fitness of one's state of mind in terms of how useful that state is to one's chosen objective: Mindfulness is probably a good idea when interacting with other people or studying psychology or the environment. It may be less useful or even wholly inappropriate for other pursuits, as in artistic or creative work.

I'm also going to say I find reductive materialism so incredibly, mercilessly dull that it is its own excuse for intentionally believing preposterous woo just to escape it.

RE: the bolded, I get that. But this isn't particularly boring materialism to me -- it's actually super useful.

When I was thinking on his question and what the answer was, somehow I hadn't fully gotten that there's no magical wall separating the decision-making apparatus from the stimulus-response rule. When I got that: boom. I had the key to the solutions of multiple parts of my broad-scope mental health issues sitting right in front of me. I won't be neurotypical, but I can at least, over time, adapt myself to be able to interact with the modern world in a broadly "normal" way. That's extremely liberating.

I guess it's kind of like woo that's real and actually works -- instead of the power of positive thinking, it's the power of psychological conditioning.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Vanadium Gryllz on April 25, 2017, 08:32:30 am
If you constantly reflect and force awareness of a specific area of your mind (Trigger a specific neural network) when exposed to a specific consciousness alarm (Or unusual stimulus), you can cause that reflection to happen automatically, almost in the background. In other words, you can automate that reflection/analysis so that you don't necessarily have to be conscious for it. The subconscious can take over that particular mental activity in the future.


This is something they deal with later in the gurdjieff work. There's this idea of an "instinctive center", our habit engine. I think Gurdjieff and Ouspensky describe ways to hack it... the goal is to build shocks, mindfulness, into your habits.

The exercise I'm doing this week is to be mindful every time I open a door.

I haven't succeeded even once so far lol





the comparison between lucid dreaming "reality checks" and developing a habit of consciousness is apt



Okay, so I just don't get the lucid dreaming thing.  Maybe I'm a light sleeper, running on some kind of deficit, I don't know. When I think about analysis, as taking-apart, the discursive process requires discerning separate determinations. How is it logically possible to perform this operation subconsciously, without a ground of recognition that is nescesary for reason to operate?

I am finding this whole conversation somewhat hard to parse but here we go -

When learning to lucid dream there are a number of different techniques that one can employ to achieve lucidity. These sometimes involve checking some aspect of the dream world to see if it matches up with your expectations of reality. If the reality check 'fails' then that is a clue that you are dreaming and it triggers, somehow, more control or lucidity in the dream.

Now for this technique to be successful you first need to be able to remember your dreams. The more you can recall and the more familiar you become with your dreams the more likely you will be able to remember lucidity. Then you have to remember to actually perform the reality check. The thing about a dream is that, while you are inside of it, everything makes sense for the most part.

So you can either try and remember to do reality checks when something really weird happens - your threshold for weird is very high when you are dreaming though.

Or you can try and do reality checks at regular intervals throughout your waking life and hope that this becomes subconscious enough that your dreaming self will do the same thing. This technique has worked for me in the past, though I haven't lucid dreamed in many years.

There are other methods to induce lucid dreaming that allow the dreamer to slip straight from wakefulness into lucidity. These are considered somewhat more complicated than the reality check method though I would say.


In the way we are discussing consciousness here I see the "reminders to be mindful" or whatever - like Cram said every time you open a door - or in my case I have set a number of silent alarms throughout the day. It is the same as a reality check in that it encourages you to get out of the narrative that you have been playing in your head and just have a look at things as they are for a while (for me this is about 2 seconds).

Interestingly the more I think about this the more parallels I see - in lucid dreaming there are degrees of lucidity.
You can be aware of the dream but still taking part in the narrative somewhat passively
You can be aware and actively participating in the narrative
Or you can completely change the narrative of the dream.
Being able to do things like fly or other supernatural feats under one's own volition seems to require higher levels of lucidity. In dreams a good way of becoming more lucid is, for some reason, rubbing your hands together or shouting.

Inevitably you will still lose lucidity somewhere along the line and you'll be back to regular dream action.

So likewise I see degrees of mindfulness and the same impermanence.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Cramulus on April 25, 2017, 09:33:46 pm
If you constantly reflect and force awareness of a specific area of your mind (Trigger a specific neural network) when exposed to a specific consciousness alarm (Or unusual stimulus), you can cause that reflection to happen automatically, almost in the background. In other words, you can automate that reflection/analysis so that you don't necessarily have to be conscious for it. The subconscious can take over that particular mental activity in the future.


This is something they deal with later in the gurdjieff work. There's this idea of an "instinctive center", our habit engine. I think Gurdjieff and Ouspensky describe ways to hack it... the goal is to build shocks, mindfulness, into your habits.


I dunno if you saw it, but that's exactly what the article I posted is about... let me know if you can't access it, I can't tell whether it's behind a paywall or not when I'm logged in at work.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3325518/

Here's the abstract:
Quote
It is now widely accepted that instrumental actions can be either goal-directed or habitual; whereas the former are rapidly acquire and regulated by their outcome, the latter are reflexive, elicited by antecedent stimuli rather than their consequences. Model-based reinforcement learning (RL) provides an elegant description of goal-directed action. Through exposure to states, actions and rewards, the agent rapidly constructs a model of the world and can choose an appropriate action based on quite abstract changes in environmental and evaluative demands. This model is powerful but has a problem explaining the development of habitual actions. To account for habits, theorists have argued that another action controller is required, called model-free RL, that does not form a model of the world but rather caches action values within states allowing a state to select an action based on its reward history rather than its consequences. Nevertheless, there are persistent problems with important predictions from the model; most notably the failure of model-free RL correctly to predict the insensitivity of habitual actions to changes in the action-reward contingency. Here, we suggest that introducing model-free RL in instrumental conditioning is unnecessary and demonstrate that reconceptualizing habits as action sequences allows model-based RL to be applied to both goal-directed and habitual actions in a manner consistent with what real animals do. This approach has significant implications for the way habits are currently investigated and generates new experimental predictions.


So basically (summarizing the above to see if I 'get it')....

They slice behaviors into two buckets: goal-directed or habitual.

We select goal-directed behaviors on the basis of their potential outcome
We select habitual behaviors on the basis of their "reward history". (this kinda reminds me of a markov chain? where every node has a dynamic value, and the output has to do with weighing nodes against each other to find the highest value for a given input)

I wasn't able to follow the bit about reconceptualizing habits as "action sequences", but it sounds like they're saying that if you understand them that way, it allows you to predict whether someone will use a goal-directed vs habitual behavior? sorry, I might need more unpacking before I can wrap my head around it




Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Mesozoic Mister Nigel on April 25, 2017, 10:22:44 pm
If you constantly reflect and force awareness of a specific area of your mind (Trigger a specific neural network) when exposed to a specific consciousness alarm (Or unusual stimulus), you can cause that reflection to happen automatically, almost in the background. In other words, you can automate that reflection/analysis so that you don't necessarily have to be conscious for it. The subconscious can take over that particular mental activity in the future.


This is something they deal with later in the gurdjieff work. There's this idea of an "instinctive center", our habit engine. I think Gurdjieff and Ouspensky describe ways to hack it... the goal is to build shocks, mindfulness, into your habits.


I dunno if you saw it, but that's exactly what the article I posted is about... let me know if you can't access it, I can't tell whether it's behind a paywall or not when I'm logged in at work.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3325518/

Here's the abstract:
Quote
It is now widely accepted that instrumental actions can be either goal-directed or habitual; whereas the former are rapidly acquire and regulated by their outcome, the latter are reflexive, elicited by antecedent stimuli rather than their consequences. Model-based reinforcement learning (RL) provides an elegant description of goal-directed action. Through exposure to states, actions and rewards, the agent rapidly constructs a model of the world and can choose an appropriate action based on quite abstract changes in environmental and evaluative demands. This model is powerful but has a problem explaining the development of habitual actions. To account for habits, theorists have argued that another action controller is required, called model-free RL, that does not form a model of the world but rather caches action values within states allowing a state to select an action based on its reward history rather than its consequences. Nevertheless, there are persistent problems with important predictions from the model; most notably the failure of model-free RL correctly to predict the insensitivity of habitual actions to changes in the action-reward contingency. Here, we suggest that introducing model-free RL in instrumental conditioning is unnecessary and demonstrate that reconceptualizing habits as action sequences allows model-based RL to be applied to both goal-directed and habitual actions in a manner consistent with what real animals do. This approach has significant implications for the way habits are currently investigated and generates new experimental predictions.


So basically (summarizing the above to see if I 'get it')....

They slice behaviors into two buckets: goal-directed or habitual.

We select goal-directed behaviors on the basis of their potential outcome
We select habitual behaviors on the basis of their "reward history". (this kinda reminds me of a markov chain? where every node has a dynamic value, and the output has to do with weighing nodes against each other to find the highest value for a given input)

I wasn't able to follow the bit about reconceptualizing habits as "action sequences", but it sounds like they're saying that if you understand them that way, it allows you to predict whether someone will use a goal-directed vs habitual behavior? sorry, I might need more unpacking before I can wrap my head around it

Don't even bother to try to follow the abstract; character limits mean that abstracts don't explain shit. Can you access the full article at the link? If not, I can either try to find a free version, or get the .pdf and email it to you.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Mesozoic Mister Nigel on April 25, 2017, 10:23:44 pm
Try this link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3325518/
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Cramulus on April 25, 2017, 10:32:32 pm
I'm intrigued by all kinds of consciousness, and I'm not convinced that "mindfulness" is an appropriate measuring stick for it.


Mindfulness isn't a measuring stick -- it's a technique.


Quote
It isn't particularly useful to define "levels" (or gradiations, or whatever) of consciousness as becoming more true or real or appropriate as they approach greater proximity to the "here and now". A lollygagging daydream that steals whole minutes or hours from one's memory or perception of the immediate moment or environment isn't evidence that consciousness itself is waning to anyone except maybe an outside observer.

I disagree with you here.

There are a few voices in this thread which discuss these different mental experiences kinda impartially, like, they're all basically just different flavors, as opposed to steps on a hierarchy. And yeah, you don't need to be in full-self-awareness mode all the time (which is impossible, anyway). When you're doing monotonous paperwork, let the habitual mind drive, it's better at that stuff.

But I do think that there is a form of awareness that most of us only experience in brief flickering elusive moments.. that state is desirable and it's worth thinking about how to increase it.


Let me revisit the metaphor of the Black Iron Prison. We're all trapped in this cell of our tastes and routines and habits. We call this situation a 'self-constructed cell', and we refer to the self as the jailer. If we find that our lives are mediocre, or that we are not able to find fulfillment, we have to accept that the personal ettin of desire and fear trapped us here.

The self that daydreams, the part of the self that gets lost in the everyday... that self cannot plan a jailbreak. It can't even recognize that it's in jail, it's too easily distracted, or hyperfocused on what's immediately in front of it.

If we want to escape our cell, if we don't want to keep getting bossed around by the personal ettin of desire and fear, we need to promote the "watcher". We need to develop an internal moderator who can choose which desires and fears get to drive the meat machine. In the absence of this moderator, we are ruled by whichever fears and desires are making the most noise in any given moment.


Quote
It seems better to approach the fitness of one's state of mind in terms of how useful that state is to one's chosen objective: Mindfulness is probably a good idea when interacting with other people or studying psychology or the environment. It may be less useful or even wholly inappropriate for other pursuits, as in artistic or creative work.




At the risk of tangent --- you said you thought mindfulness might be bad for artistic or creative works. I strongly disagree there too... Yeah, the mechanical aspects of creative production don't require mindfulness. But at the conceptual level? Don't we create better art/music/whatever when we're not just reacting?

The author Robert Pirsig died this week, so Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is on my mind. In that amazing book, he discusses Quality as a harmony between the technical and aesthetic. He thinks that our world has suffered by treating the artistic/aesthetic realm as separate from the rational/technical realm. In a way, Pirsig's saying that to create anything of Quality, you need balance between these two. The motorcycle is his symbol of something that can be appreciated both technically and aesthetically.

Repairing a motorcycle also requires both 'minds' - it doesn't just require a technical, mechanical understanding, but also your intuition and feelings.


This rings true to my creative process - I can't create anything good unless I'm in a space where I can hear my intellect and my intuition. If I'm too zoomed-in, I end up producing something either boring or ugly.


Quote
I'm also going to say I find reductive materialism so incredibly, mercilessly dull that it is its own excuse for intentionally believing preposterous woo just to escape it.

cheers


I spent a good chunk of my life rationalizing why religion sucks

now I'm trying to suck the marrow out of its bones


part of why I'm exploring Gurdjieff is that I think he's onto something that you can't hit from a purely scientific angle

these ancient systems of mythology don't tell us much about the universe, but they do tell us a hell of a lot about the self
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: tyrannosaurus vex on April 25, 2017, 11:20:25 pm
So, escaping the prison of being ruled and defined by your reaction to external stimulus requires a conscious awareness of what forces exist inside and outside you. That's true. I may have been seeing the 'mindfulness' thing from the wrong angle.


re: your tangent on art

I see what you're saying about finding that space between intellect and intuition. I am not an accomplished artist myself, but I have experience in creative pursuits. I write music, I play music alone and in a band. Personally the "intellect" side of the equation is the most frustrating and annoying part of that process. I find dwelling on myself, my immediate environment, my emotions, etc. to detract from and almost always completely disable my creativity. I think of the intellectual side as a general direction to go in, but once that's been established, it has to be discarded, otherwise it'll keep popping up and second-guessing everything the intuitive side is trying to do. So, sure, there's a partnership there, but it's a very unequal one.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Reeducation on April 26, 2017, 09:04:55 am
In this text God is not God, Love is not Love and Christ is not Christ, but at the same time they are. Do NOT take it literally.
http://www.gometropolis.org/website/on-spiritual-struggle-by-elder-porphyrios/ (http://www.gometropolis.org/website/on-spiritual-struggle-by-elder-porphyrios/)


For anyone who is REALLY interested in this kind of stuff that has been going on in this thread, Gornahoor MIGHT be for you.

"What is important to realize is that whether one comes by way of a “Semitic sense of sin”, or whether one realizes that the “I” is a fake I, one begins by being able to “do” almost nothing, other than reject one’s false states of being." 
http://www.gornahoor.net/?p=6514 (http://www.gornahoor.net/?p=6514)


Jordan B. Peterson's book Maps of Meaning is strongly recommended too. It can be read for free. 

"I had no idea where my search would lead me. I came over the course of a decade and a half to understand the meanings of many things that had been entirely hidden from me – things that I had cast away, stupidly, as of little worth. I came to realize that ideologies had a narrative structure – that they were stories, in a word – and that the emotional stability of individuals depended upon the integrity of their stories. I came to realize that stories had a religious substructure (or, to put it another way, that well-constructed stories had a nature so compelling that they gathered religious behaviors and attitudes around them, as a matter of course). I understood, finally, that the world that stories describe is not the objective world, but the world of value – and that it is in this world that we live, first and foremost.

This all may appear as something far removed from the original problem, but that is true only in appearance. I have learned what it is that makes the tyrant, and how attractive it can be to participate in that process. I have come to understand what it is that our stories protect us from, and why we will do anything to maintain their stability. I now realize how it can be that our religious mythologies are true, and why that truth places a virtually intolerable burden of responsibility on the individual."
https://jordanbpeterson.com/maps-of-meaning/ (https://jordanbpeterson.com/maps-of-meaning/)
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Mesozoic Mister Nigel on April 26, 2017, 02:31:00 pm
I do have to say, I don't buy into any "enlightenment" models of consciousness, at all. I don't think there is a higher state of consciousness, nor do I believe that most of us live our lives in a suboptimal state. I think that most of us don't spend enough time thinking rationally or methodically during the perfectly whole aware times we already experience. There just isn't any evidence for this mythical higher level of consciousness.

But, I may be getting hung up on the layers of mystical obfuscation. It's possible that what you mean by "awareness" is vastly less occluded than it seems.

That said, it seems to me that the real challenge for most people is not accomplishing a higher state of awareness or attaining conscious performance of tasks that have long since been relegated to automatic control, but rather, learning to be comfortable just existing in one's own skin. Attaining a state of contentment with being alone with the self. Becoming at home existing with the memories and thoughts that flow through constantly as a side-effect of multiple network emergent property of consciousness.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Mesozoic Mister Nigel on April 26, 2017, 02:47:37 pm
I believe that the search for a state of higher consciousness as a discrete experience, a sort of key to enlightenment or to a superior state of being, stands at risk of becoming like Vex's (or is it Junky's?) dreaming accountant's key to changing the world; the search for the shining key in lieu of doing the very un-glamorous day to day labor can serve as an obstacle from ever really achieving anything at all.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Junkenstein on April 26, 2017, 02:58:20 pm
I think that was V3x, I know it wasn't mine.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: tyrannosaurus vex on April 26, 2017, 03:18:23 pm
There may be no such thing as a true "higher state of consciousness", but if there is something both indistinguishable from that to the experiencer and apparently that to the observer, there might as well be. There are states of awareness that can be and have been achieved almost as a matter of course by, say, indigenous Americans or yogis in Nepal, which endow them with a much greater awareness of their environments than the human default. See also many martial arts. I don't buy that these are the result of a spiritual awakening so much as deep training of one's senses, but what's the harm in allowing yourself to believe it's spiritual, if that makes it more interesting?
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: LMNO on April 26, 2017, 03:22:58 pm
The short answer is that metaphors can be incredibly deceptive and can lead to entirely false notions of how the universe works.

Cf: metaphors for quantum behavior leading to the belief that consciousness literally changes objective reality.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Cramulus on April 26, 2017, 04:07:00 pm
I do have to say, I don't buy into any "enlightenment" models of consciousness, at all.

I think there's a lot of baggage around the term Enlightenment, so let me unpack it a little bit so we don't get snagged.

I think that there are moments when we're more "awake" (to use a nebulous Gurdjieff term). But they don't last, we will always get distracted and lose it. You can spend your life meditating on a mountain, and have some holy experience, but as soon as you come down into the city and smell food, it's gone.  There are no "enlightened" people. There are enlightened moments.

With a lot of work, you might be able to stay in that moment for a minute or two, but that's the best you can hope for.

There are experiences, though, which will alter your perception, perhaps forever. Like, if you experience a real moment of ego-death... in that moment, all the information inside of you gets reorganized. You process things differently. The self has changed. There are a few kinds of meditative experiences that work like this (and non-meditative experiences too - take childbirth). In this thread I'm trying to explore paths to one of them.


Quote
I don't think there is a higher state of consciousness, nor do I believe that most of us live our lives in a suboptimal state.

I can observe in myself that my level of consciousness crests and troughs throughout the day. And that when it's in the higher state, I'm better at dealing with .. well, basically everything.

Example:
I get in an argument with somebody, I spend most of the day pacing around and stewing, mentally replaying it, fantasizing about what I could have said. We'd call this a low level of consciousness because I'm wrapped up IN the emotion, I'm not able to think ABOUT it.  I'm "out of balance". When I calm down, when the emotional poison has run its course, I feel different (physically), and I'm able to process the experience from a different angle. When I was pissed off, I couldn't see how I was wrong. When I am mindful, it's like I'm looking down on that battlefield from above, instead of fighting on the front line.

We could call this a "different" state. The gist of this thread is about trying to increase that capacity within oneself, to expand ones ability to operate their minds - so we're making a value judgment here, that it's a higher, more desirable state.




Quote
I think that most of us don't spend enough time thinking rationally or methodically during the perfectly whole aware times we already experience.

The aim I'm discussing in this thread is different than just being more rational or methodical. The rational mind is one part of the self, but if we just focus on that, we will end up unbalanced. Speaking for myself, my problem is that I ignore my body, and I ignore my emotions. I will go entire days forgetting to eat, and then I get cranky and don't understand why. Or I will ignore my emotions in favor of a rational choice, and will ultimately become miserable. From a "mindful" state of being, it's obvious. But when I'm in the mix, it's invisible. I can only see the carrot 4 inches in front of my face.


Quote
But, I may be getting hung up on the layers of mystical obfuscation. It's possible that what you mean by "awareness" is vastly less occluded than it seems.

We're talking about internal states which we can't show to each other, so we're forced to use shitty language

For my part, I am aiming to understand what Gurdjieff meant by "consciousness" -  it is not quite what we mean in the field of neuroscience. But it's worth exploring nonetheless. I recognize that discussing this topic in an esoteric context rather than a modern material one is not everybody's cup of tea.
 

Quote
That said, it seems to me that the real challenge for most people is not accomplishing a higher state of awareness or attaining conscious performance of tasks that have long since been relegated to automatic control, but rather, learning to be comfortable just existing in one's own skin. Attaining a state of contentment with being alone with the self. Becoming at home existing with the memories and thoughts that flow through constantly as a side-effect of multiple network emergent property of consciousness.

Being comfortable with the self, being peaceful and still, is a fine aim.

We all know somebody, however, who is perfectly comfortable being a piece of shit. They actually need to be less comfortable, more critical and reflective, more connected to the people around them.

There's a state of being where you're able to observe which is correct for you - being able to enter that space is MY aim.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Mesozoic Mister Nigel on April 26, 2017, 06:15:06 pm
There may be no such thing as a true "higher state of consciousness", but if there is something both indistinguishable from that to the experiencer and apparently that to the observer, there might as well be. There are states of awareness that can be and have been achieved almost as a matter of course by, say, indigenous Americans or yogis in Nepal, which endow them with a much greater awareness of their environments than the human default. See also many martial arts. I don't buy that these are the result of a spiritual awakening so much as deep training of one's senses, but what's the harm in allowing yourself to believe it's spiritual, if that makes it more interesting?

These states are context-dependent, and, at risk of being accused of being reductionist, seem largely to boil down to "people get good at doing that which they do frequently". So it's not the *human* default, it's the *environmental* default; what environment is this person in? What do they do frequently? A yogi in Nepal might be very bad at driving in Boston traffic, for example.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: tyrannosaurus vex on April 26, 2017, 06:18:46 pm
The short answer is that metaphors can be incredibly deceptive and can lead to entirely false notions of how the universe works.

Cf: metaphors for quantum behavior leading to the belief that consciousness literally changes objective reality.

I understand the argument. But all understandings of the universe are imperfect metaphors. I agree that scientific "metaphors" are far more accurate and can at least be tested through experiment and prediction, and I'd never dream of using anything other than those when describing the actual universe. But when discussing the elements of one's own psyche, in the confines of a consciousness which one understands to be self-generated and not translatable to outside forces, I don't see any harm in ritualizing or spiritualizing those elements and behaviors. This is only labeling, and all exercises in categorizing the various internal forces and desires driving oneself are exercises in labeling and categorizing those desires and the relationships between them. Whether we use language and conventions derived from modern psychology or (for example) Hindu mythology is more or less inconsequential except in the outward expression of such exercises. It's just a matter of personal aesthetics.

There is also a lot of dismissal of anecdotal experience just because it does not fit with materialist assumptions, and I find that unfortunate. People subscribing to a spiritual or even religious context for their self-awareness have had as much if not more success than the reductive materialist approach of throwing pills at everything. I don't believe it's because there is really anything in such spiritualism, but I don't discount the possibility that there may be a path to genuine self-knowledge that lies through such.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: tyrannosaurus vex on April 26, 2017, 06:23:29 pm
There may be no such thing as a true "higher state of consciousness", but if there is something both indistinguishable from that to the experiencer and apparently that to the observer, there might as well be. There are states of awareness that can be and have been achieved almost as a matter of course by, say, indigenous Americans or yogis in Nepal, which endow them with a much greater awareness of their environments than the human default. See also many martial arts. I don't buy that these are the result of a spiritual awakening so much as deep training of one's senses, but what's the harm in allowing yourself to believe it's spiritual, if that makes it more interesting?

These states are context-dependent, and, at risk of being accused of being reductionist, seem largely to boil down to "people get good at doing that which they do frequently". So it's not the *human* default, it's the *environmental* default; what environment is this person in? What do they do frequently? A yogi in Nepal might be very bad at driving in Boston traffic, for example.

Yes. Absolutely. I think what I was trying to get at was, in the pursuit of "consciousness", the kind self-awareness one seeks inevitably colors the kind one gets. So there is no truly "transcendental" state where one is both "enlightened" in the Buddhist sense and also a master motorcycle mechanic (for example) just because they meditated past all the steps required to achieve one or the other. There is no 'parent' consciousness that includes all varieties that you can get to. But if the 'yogi' state is what you are after, and you work to get there, it is no less valid than the art of Zen and motorcycle maintenance.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Mesozoic Mister Nigel on April 26, 2017, 06:26:47 pm
I do have to say, I don't buy into any "enlightenment" models of consciousness, at all.

I think there's a lot of baggage around the term Enlightenment, so let me unpack it a little bit so we don't get snagged.

I think that there are moments when we're more "awake" (to use a nebulous Gurdjieff term). But they don't last, we will always get distracted and lose it. You can spend your life meditating on a mountain, and have some holy experience, but as soon as you come down into the city and smell food, it's gone.  There are no "enlightened" people. There are enlightened moments.

This concept sounds a lot like making new connections and realizations. The moment of connection is instantaneous, and you do not remain in that moment indefinitely; rather, you integrate that realization into your existing worldview.

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With a lot of work, you might be able to stay in that moment for a minute or two, but that's the best you can hope for.

I am not sure there is benefit in nouning a verb.

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There are experiences, though, which will alter your perception, perhaps forever. Like, if you experience a real moment of ego-death... in that moment, all the information inside of you gets reorganized. You process things differently. The self has changed. There are a few kinds of meditative experiences that work like this (and non-meditative experiences too - take childbirth). In this thread I'm trying to explore paths to one of them.

In psychology, this is usually referred to as a cognitive crisis, and crisis resolution. I definitely agree that there is great benefit in learning to fluently navigate, and even invite, crisis resolution.

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I don't think there is a higher state of consciousness, nor do I believe that most of us live our lives in a suboptimal state.

I can observe in myself that my level of consciousness crests and troughs throughout the day. And that when it's in the higher state, I'm better at dealing with .. well, basically everything.

Example:
I get in an argument with somebody, I spend most of the day pacing around and stewing, mentally replaying it, fantasizing about what I could have said. We'd call this a low level of consciousness because I'm wrapped up IN the emotion, I'm not able to think ABOUT it.  I'm "out of balance". When I calm down, when the emotional poison has run its course, I feel different (physically), and I'm able to process the experience from a different angle. When I was pissed off, I couldn't see how I was wrong. When I am mindful, it's like I'm looking down on that battlefield from above, instead of fighting on the front line.

We could call this a "different" state. The gist of this thread is about trying to increase that capacity within oneself, to expand ones ability to operate their minds - so we're making a value judgment here, that it's a higher, more desirable state.

This sounds like rationality, ie. the harnessing of the prefrontal cortex to contemplate a situation using critical thinking skills, rather than being ruled by emotionally-driven impulses from the amygdala.

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I think that most of us don't spend enough time thinking rationally or methodically during the perfectly whole aware times we already experience.

The aim I'm discussing in this thread is different than just being more rational or methodical. The rational mind is one part of the self, but if we just focus on that, we will end up unbalanced. Speaking for myself, my problem is that I ignore my body, and I ignore my emotions. I will go entire days forgetting to eat, and then I get cranky and don't understand why. Or I will ignore my emotions in favor of a rational choice, and will ultimately become miserable. From a "mindful" state of being, it's obvious. But when I'm in the mix, it's invisible. I can only see the carrot 4 inches in front of my face.

It does sound like you need to get better at assessing and integrating your emotional and physical signals into your cortical processing.

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But, I may be getting hung up on the layers of mystical obfuscation. It's possible that what you mean by "awareness" is vastly less occluded than it seems.

We're talking about internal states which we can't show to each other, so we're forced to use shitty language

For my part, I am aiming to understand what Gurdjieff meant by "consciousness" -  it is not quite what we mean in the field of neuroscience. But it's worth exploring nonetheless. I recognize that discussing this topic in an esoteric context rather than a modern material one is not everybody's cup of tea.
 

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That said, it seems to me that the real challenge for most people is not accomplishing a higher state of awareness or attaining conscious performance of tasks that have long since been relegated to automatic control, but rather, learning to be comfortable just existing in one's own skin. Attaining a state of contentment with being alone with the self. Becoming at home existing with the memories and thoughts that flow through constantly as a side-effect of multiple network emergent property of consciousness.

Being comfortable with the self, being peaceful and still, is a fine aim.

We all know somebody, however, who is perfectly comfortable being a piece of shit. They actually need to be less comfortable, more critical and reflective, more connected to the people around them.

There's a state of being where you're able to observe which is correct for you - being able to enter that space is MY aim.

It still seems an awful lot like this is simply examining well-known concepts using an alternative vocabulary and a packaging of mysticism to make it look and feel like something different. This is the same objection I have to almost every form of mysticism I have encountered; occultism, occlusion, is employed to make it seem like a novel system when in fact it is not. I wonder at times what you might find if you took a year and seriously studied psychology and neuroscience. Maybe you're right, though, and those aren't the insights you're looking for.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Vanadium Gryllz on April 26, 2017, 06:58:43 pm
There's an interesting Cousera course i've almost finished that I think could be relevant here:

https://www.coursera.org/learn/science-of-meditation/home/welcome

It's possibly too basic for many here but I thought he had some interesting insights as to the relationship between the ways that buddhists express the experience of meditation increasing consciousness and evolutionary psychology and brain scan studies etc.

It still seems an awful lot like this is simply examining well-known concepts using an alternative vocabulary and a packaging of mysticism to make it look and feel like something different. This is the same objection I have to almost every form of mysticism I have encountered; occultism, occlusion, is employed to make it seem like a novel system when in fact it is not. I wonder at times what you might find if you took a year and seriously studied psychology and neuroscience. Maybe you're right, though, and those aren't the insights you're looking for.

I think I agree with the premise that all of these systems are taking what is an essential principle and repackaging it but I don't know if I would dismiss that as worthless - after all this seems to be an explicit point of Gurdjieff's - having seen how a bunch of different mystics were trying to escape their prisons he distilled it into something palatable for his audience.

How that resulted in the dancing I cannot explain. I enjoy the music though.

Psychology and neuroscience (in some senses) are attacking the same problem from a different angle - more the outside in than the inside out.

I think that both angles are valid - you need the experiential meditative side and you need the scientific, peer-reviewed side for a complete understanding.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: PoFP on April 27, 2017, 06:00:48 pm

It still seems an awful lot like this is simply examining well-known concepts using an alternative vocabulary and a packaging of mysticism to make it look and feel like something different. This is the same objection I have to almost every form of mysticism I have encountered; occultism, occlusion, is employed to make it seem like a novel system when in fact it is not. I wonder at times what you might find if you took a year and seriously studied psychology and neuroscience. Maybe you're right, though, and those aren't the insights you're looking for.

This is the motorcycle I've been sitting on since the beginning of this thread.

However, I think the two ways of looking at these concepts can be balanced for the greater good. I think it's important to be able to connect the complex, high-level (As in, stored in multiple layers of abstraction) concepts in the esoteric understanding to the biological, reductionist concepts, because after a certain point, it becomes next to impossible to keep track of all the biological, chemical details. Sometimes the higher-order concepts in the esoteric perspective allow you to tackle multiple things at once because of the complexity of the neural network connections that are made in understanding these higher-order concepts.

I would connect this to what Vex was talking about in regard to mindfulness during expression of creativity. Intellectual understanding of what you want to do to set the stage, or the direction of your expression is important. But after that, the rest should be left to intuition. If you're driving along a curve on the road, it's best to look ahead at the end of the curve segment you're on. If you stare right at the road in the front of the car, you'll probably swerve back and forth between the lines. Whereas, if you stare ahead at the end of the curve, where you want the car to be, your brain will automatically calculate the movements necessary to steadily drive in between the lines along the curve. You'll practically drive the exact shape of the curve without touching the lines. (This was all obvious/previously stated, but it was intended to portray thought process and detail the connection I'm making. I'm not trying to be a pretentious prick.)

I think the problem Cramulus is trying to tackle, in regards to balancing emotion, physical needs, and intellect, might be best tackled by complex, semantically-based intuition. The mindfulness - the intentional, semantic, conscious awareness of one's tendencies in different states of mind and body should automatically connect neural networks in the prefrontal cortex related to decision making and consequences to those mind-body states. Once those connections are made, goal/consequence oriented behavioral psychology should take over. Ideally, the curiosity and act itself will eventually solve his problems, regardless of whether he understands it on a biological level. The complex semantic relationship between the esoteric ideas and the neural networks can allow an abstracted understanding to have real, intended consequences, even if they're not understood.

Not that I don't completely encourage having the biological/neurological understanding of all of this. It's a very important perspective to have in solving many problems. And it's also important to have if you want to explain the success of the thread's intention to someone who is not geared toward esoteric ideas. I just don't know if its absolutely necessary to solve the problem Cramulus is focusing on.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: PoFP on April 27, 2017, 06:20:08 pm
Also, I kinda see the esoteric language as a good way of developing the metaphors necessary to teach the consciousness/mindfulness training. If you wanted to teach these concepts to someone who wasn't involved in neuroscience, and you wanted to connect it to something unrelated to neuroscience in particular, you'd probably wanna use the esoteric language.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Mesozoic Mister Nigel on April 28, 2017, 03:20:27 am
There's an interesting Cousera course i've almost finished that I think could be relevant here:

https://www.coursera.org/learn/science-of-meditation/home/welcome

It's possibly too basic for many here but I thought he had some interesting insights as to the relationship between the ways that buddhists express the experience of meditation increasing consciousness and evolutionary psychology and brain scan studies etc.

It still seems an awful lot like this is simply examining well-known concepts using an alternative vocabulary and a packaging of mysticism to make it look and feel like something different. This is the same objection I have to almost every form of mysticism I have encountered; occultism, occlusion, is employed to make it seem like a novel system when in fact it is not. I wonder at times what you might find if you took a year and seriously studied psychology and neuroscience. Maybe you're right, though, and those aren't the insights you're looking for.

I think I agree with the premise that all of these systems are taking what is an essential principle and repackaging it but I don't know if I would dismiss that as worthless - after all this seems to be an explicit point of Gurdjieff's - having seen how a bunch of different mystics were trying to escape their prisons he distilled it into something palatable for his audience.

How that resulted in the dancing I cannot explain. I enjoy the music though.

Psychology and neuroscience (in some senses) are attacking the same problem from a different angle - more the outside in than the inside out.

I think that both angles are valid - you need the experiential meditative side and you need the scientific, peer-reviewed side for a complete understanding.

I don't think that I would dismiss other approaches as valueless, per se, so much as I would encourage cross-referencing them with well-researched science, because frankly, a lot of these other angles are the work of one or two people thinking about the question, while the body of psychological knowledge is formed by thousands of people who have joined forces to research the question from a wide array of perspectives and approaches, and seek to collate all this combined knowledge into a comprehensive whole.

The individual knowledge-seeker has the benefit of total creativity over their approach, while the collaborative field has the benefit of thoroughness.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Mesozoic Mister Nigel on April 28, 2017, 03:24:17 am
Also, I would classify psychology as examining conscious experience from the experiential angle, while neuroscience deals largely with both conscious and unconscious processes from a (mostly) mechanistic angle. This is the main reason I felt it was necessary to pursue both biology and psychology as an undergraduate, because I think the value of each perspective is significantly strengthened in the presence of the other.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: Doktor Howl on July 25, 2018, 09:50:35 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.


I am going to argue that we have too MUCH consciousness.  We SHOULD be able to make the meat perform mundane tasks via straight muscle-memory, leaving our brains to think big thoughts.  Or fantasize about Tia Tequila, if you're from Salizar.  Instead, we have to think about the task at hand AND how much we hate our coworker, and neither gets done properly.

Also, if we weren't conscious, we wouldn't be so painfully aware of how frail the meat machines are, and we probably would not have invented gods.  This would have meant a whole lot less hassle for everyone.
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: LuciferX on July 26, 2018, 01:01:42 am
If you constantly reflect and force awareness of a specific area of your mind (Trigger a specific neural network) when exposed to a specific consciousness alarm (Or unusual stimulus), you can cause that reflection to happen automatically, almost in the background. In other words, you can automate that reflection/analysis so that you don't necessarily have to be conscious for it. The subconscious can take over that particular mental activity in the future.


This is something they deal with later in the gurdjieff work. There's this idea of an "instinctive center", our habit engine. I think Gurdjieff and Ouspensky describe ways to hack it... the goal is to build shocks, mindfulness, into your habits.

The exercise I'm doing this week is to be mindful every time I open a door.

I haven't succeeded even once so far lol





the comparison between lucid dreaming "reality checks" and developing a habit of consciousness is apt



Okay, so I just don't get the lucid dreaming thing.  Maybe I'm a light sleeper, running on some kind of deficit, I don't know. When I think about analysis, as taking-apart, the discursive process requires discerning separate determinations. How is it logically possible to perform this operation subconsciously, without a ground of recognition that is nescesary for reason to operate?

I am finding this whole conversation somewhat hard to parse but here we go -

When learning to lucid dream there are a number of different techniques that one can employ to achieve lucidity. These sometimes involve checking some aspect of the dream world to see if it matches up with your expectations of reality. If the reality check 'fails' then that is a clue that you are dreaming and it triggers, somehow, more control or lucidity in the dream.

Now for this technique to be successful you first need to be able to remember your dreams. The more you can recall and the more familiar you become with your dreams the more likely you will be able to remember lucidity. Then you have to remember to actually perform the reality check. The thing about a dream is that, while you are inside of it, everything makes sense for the most part.

So you can either try and remember to do reality checks when something really weird happens - your threshold for weird is very high when you are dreaming though.

Or you can try and do reality checks at regular intervals throughout your waking life and hope that this becomes subconscious enough that your dreaming self will do the same thing. This technique has worked for me in the past, though I haven't lucid dreamed in many years.

There are other methods to induce lucid dreaming that allow the dreamer to slip straight from wakefulness into lucidity. These are considered somewhat more complicated than the reality check method though I would say.


In the way we are discussing consciousness here I see the "reminders to be mindful" or whatever - like Cram said every time you open a door - or in my case I have set a number of silent alarms throughout the day. It is the same as a reality check in that it encourages you to get out of the narrative that you have been playing in your head and just have a look at things as they are for a while (for me this is about 2 seconds).

Interestingly the more I think about this the more parallels I see - in lucid dreaming there are degrees of lucidity.
You can be aware of the dream but still taking part in the narrative somewhat passively
You can be aware and actively participating in the narrative
Or you can completely change the narrative of the dream.
Being able to do things like fly or other supernatural feats under one's own volition seems to require higher levels of lucidity. In dreams a good way of becoming more lucid is, for some reason, rubbing your hands together or shouting.

Inevitably you will still lose lucidity somewhere along the line and you'll be back to regular dream action.

So likewise I see degrees of mindfulness and the same impermanence.
Given the pervasive signal interrupts permeating my sleep-time, I think I get what you are saying. Your reversal to include less aware moments of 'waking' consciousness was helpful. At present, for example today, I had a few lucid dreams. The thing is that the 'saturation', color and otherwise, of a lucid dream seems inversely proportional to how conscious I am, making them rather dull. Works good for a quick charge, but does not take out the trash like regular sleep. From what I gather though, that's probably because I'm not very well versed in the performative aspect of lucid dreaming. Time to get someone to mint a special coin for me. (my do I feel like shit today)
Title: Re: You're not conscious
Post by: LuciferX on August 11, 2018, 01:20:49 pm
 So, say, hypothetically... anyone performed lica sacrifice in ritual spacE?