Tal Cohen's Bookshelf: A Collection of Personal Opinions about Books

spinoza writes:
He's so close...
DRH is so close. Here's an important idea missing from his thought process in the book:

The feel of ''I'' lies only in the ''middle'' of the spectrum of what it means to be conscious of one's self, and is not the ''peak'' or highest level of it. By ''level'' I mean the intensity or clarity of attention upon itself.

When the parietal lobe participates in our ''feel'' for extension in time, this gives rise to the distinction between ''I'' and those things which appear as ''Not I''. As the parietal lobe ''quiets down'' through long periods of intense focused attention, the feel for ''I'' begins to fade, and is replaced by a feel of ''everything is I, and I is everything''. Another trick of the spatial\temporal functions of the brain, based on how skillfully we learn to use it.

This new ''non-self'' feeling is achieved only when the mind nears the ''top'' of the attention spectrum (long intense focused attention is usually required). This state is rarely achieved by populations, and so we all just culturally assume that the ''I'' is the best or ''real'' notion of what it means to feel conscious.

DRH is right to say the ''I'' is a kind of necessary hallucination, but he fails to wonder if the illusion of ''I'' may actually be part of a spectrum of conscious-type notions. And that if the processes which give rise to ''I'' were themselves given a ''boost'', that the mind may actually perceive a qualitatively different picture of itself (perhaps a more accurate one).

What I'm saying here doesn't help explain the main problem of how we come to have these experiences, but it does suggest that the feel of ''I'' may only be a less skilled, and therefore incomplete (rather than illusory) view which could be improved with practice.

Furthermore, to improve the conversation we must sub-divide the unhelpful encapsulating labels of ''consciousness'' or ''I'' statements into more helpful ones, like ''attention'', that can be used to discuss conscious-like states in their varying degrees.

For example, as I wake in the morning, I get a ''1'' on the ''conscious attention scale'', and after I've had my coffee, I get a ''3''. Riding my motorcycle on the way home gets me to ''5'', and focused mediation on DRH's ideas about myself gets me to a ''7'' and so forth...
[397] Posted on Wednesday, 17 June 2009 at 0:40 GMT [Reply to this] [Permalink]


StanislawStapledon writes in reply to spinoza:
He's so close...
May I suggest reading the works of American Philosopher of Mind/Consciousness KEN WILBER, who tries to map out the Full Spectrum of Mental States of Consciousness - from subatomic vibrations to mystical experiences of Enlightenment/Epiphany/Oneness/Absolute Causality and the like. WILBERS lifetime-work is deeply rooted in (Neo)Platonims (Plotin especially) and German Idealism of the Early Romantic type like Fichte & Schelling. It all comes down to this:

A = B(D(H(...) + I(...) + ...) + E(J(...) + K(...) + ...) + C(F(...) + G(...) + ...) + ...

<=> A = A or just A.

() means Holarchic Order.
+ means Aggegration on the same Holarchic Level.
= means Identity as in Sameness.

A Holarchic Chain of Being, which is at the lowest and highest level all the SAME. It is completely unknown how deep and wide this Holarchic Order really is.
[842] Posted on Saturday, 04 January 2014 at 23:59 GMT [Reply to this] [Permalink]

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