Sunday, April 12, 2015

#102 / Something Is Happening Here

My self-assigned task in this Two Worlds blog is to think about the interaction between the World of Nature and the human world that we create, a world we create largely through the mechanisms of politics.

Since I began thinking about this distinction as a real one, and pondering the implications of this "Two Worlds Hypothesis," I have become ever more convinced that there is something worthwhile in posing that dichotomy and in thinking about what it means on an ongoing basis.

However,  I am not willing to say that there are only two worlds. There is a dimension of our existence, a part of the reality we inhabit, that is something other than "natural," and that is clearly not the product of human activity. We might call it "spiritual," or ponder "why consciousness exists."

I think, having recourse to my friend Mr. Dylan, and his Ballad of A Thin Man, that "something is happening here," and that we "don't know what it is."

Mr. Jones, the way I get it, didn't know he didn't know. I think it would be really foolish to pretend that we do!

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  1. I've spent a considerable amount of time on the web site, reading the 175 essays dealing with the question that led to the 'why consciousness exists' essay.

    First of all, understand that this is a blurb promoting Rushkoff's new book, so it is by its own nature a bit hyperbolic.

    Secondly, note that Rushkoff identifies himself as: "Media Analyst; Documentary Writer; Author." He is not a scientist.

    Rushkoff posits "By starting with Godlessness as a foundational principle of scientific reasoning, we make ourselves unnecessarily resistant to the novelty of human consciousness, its potential continuity over time, and the possibility that it has purpose."

    This flies in the face of all of our understanding of human consciousness as a function of the human brain. Consciousness is what the brain does. When we throw out what we know about the physical world and call it "spiritual," we regress through 700 years of understanding of the world we inhabit.

    The fact that we do not fully understand how consciousness "works," how subjective experience arises from objective biological reality, does not mean that it is something beyond the physical world. Consciousness is an extremely complex behavior of an extremely complex biological organism. The limits of human understanding do limit physical reality. As we are learning, complexity and chaos have their regularities that we can study and know.

    There is no why. There is only what is.

    1. In the next to the last paragraph, I meant to wrote "The limits of human understanding do NOT limit physical reality

  2. There's nothing worthwhile in posing false dichotomy. Douglas Rushkoff is a comic book writer, not a scientist or philosopher. His answer to the 2014 Edge question is a perfect example of what's wrong with the format of giving a soap box to just about anyone with an uninformed opinion. To learn the informed, scientific point of view on the same issue, Daniel Dennett's reply to the same question. Spoiler alert, the hard problem of consciousness doesn't exist.



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