Archives for posts with tag: awareness

‘Survival instinct’ compels us to eat, avoid being eaten and fornicate.

To keep us on the straight and narrow, Mother Nature has invented the ‘stick and carrot principle’.

Forget to eat – or eat something ‘unbecoming’, to you or to your species, you’ll soon be in pain.
After a nice meal, you’ll feel good.

Somebody else takes a bite of you? From a tiger to a mosquito? You’ll be in pain.
Slap the mosquito, con the tiger into a trap or, the creme de la creme, gain the upper hand in a bare knuckles encounter and you’ll certainly feel good.

Orgasm? Does it ring a bell? OK.

‘Stick and carrot’ worked fine.
After all, it has been the engine of evolution.
Demise of the unfit’ made it so that only those who were able to survive in a certain environment passed their ‘comme il faut’ to the next generations.

Until consciousness came around, that is.
Consciousness as we understand it…. long discussion. Soon.

“And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil”

And what did we do with all this knowledge?

Transformed our need to eat into gluttony? Because ‘it tastes so good that I can’t stop eating it’?
Transformed our need for safety into the habit of exploiting others? From harnessing beasts to our plows to using child labor to mine the coal used during the Industrial Revolution? Simply because we could? Some of us, anyway…
Demeaned love making to prostitution? Because orgasm, like money, is fungible? Feels the same, no matter how it was obtained?

Why?
What drove us to reach such horrible pinnacles?
What made us steer in this direction after we’ve developed the ability to ‘observe ourselves observing‘?!?

What’s going on here?

“God Arraigns Adam and Eve

And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

The Punishment of Mankind

Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;

In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.”

Let me rephrase what you’ve just read.

God, the father, learns that his creation – the man he had created in his own image, has become “one of us”.
When Adam hides his nakedness from his creator, God understands man has become aware.

Was he proud? Like most parents are when their children ‘grow up’?

OK, let’s forget about God for a minute. Let’s see what our forefather, Adam, had done when confronted with the consequences of his acts.
Does he own up? Behaves like a man? Or blames his woman?
What about Eve? Is she the real man in the house? or passes the blame along the food chain?
Good thing the serpent wasn’t asked to explain himself…

How about God? The omnipotent and omniscient God… does he own up? Omniscient as he was, he must have been fully aware of what was going to happen in the given circumstances… After all, who doesn’t know what will happen if you point something out to a ‘child’ and then tell them that something is off limits…
God – the one we wrote about in the Bible, solved the situation by blaming all involved. The serpent for doing what he was supposed to do, Eve for choosing to listen to the serpent and Adam for trusting his woman. Then, to avoid things becoming even worse, he banished Adam and Eve from Paradise.

and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.

‘Is there a meaning to all this?’

Yep!
All three, God, Adam and Eve – as described by those who had written the Bible, do whatever they can to protect their conscience.
Each of them had made decisions, which had proven to be… well, detrimental to their own well being, and now they need to go on. To survive their own decisions!

In this type of situation, the grown-ups take stock, maturely, then take responsibility for their acts. As the first step of the long march out of the dangerous situation into each they had led themselves. By making bad – or inappropriate, choices.

But this is possible only after the individuals have conquered fear.

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

Frank Herbert, Dune

Fear cannot be conquered alone.
That was the Bible written for. As a walking stock.
And it served us right. By stating that ‘man had been created in the image of God’ it tells us that we are equal. And each of us is endowed with a divine spark. Hence worthy of respect!

But as any other walking stock, the Bible can take us only this far. From now on we must walk on our own.
We must assume our individual – read ‘limited’, nature, shed our fears and find our own ways.
Bearing in mind, of course, that only those who fit are meant to survive.

Our go round in circles, knocking at gates which have never been open. Or going to.

What Evolution Is, Ernst Mayr, https://www.amazon.com/What-Evolution-Science-Masters-Ernst-ebook/dp/B008724J1E
Children working in coal mines, BBC, https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/clips/z73b4wx
The origin and conservation of self-consciousness, Humberto Maturana, https://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/pub/hvf/papers/maturana05selfconsciousness.html
King James Bible, https://biblehub.com/kjv/genesis/3.htm
Dune, Frank Herbert, https://www.amazon.com/Dune-Frank-Herbert/dp/0441172717

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Your contribution will be appreciated!

As much as I love writing, I do have to eat.
And to provide for my family.
Earning money takes time.
If you’d like me to write more, and on a more regular basis, hit the button.
Your contribution will be appreciated!

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Everything which has a temporal dimension – movement, transformation or both, incurs costs and produces consequences.

From a rock sliding down a slope to me writing this.

The difference between these two being the simple fact that no rock has ever had any goal.

You see, the rock looses some energy and mass while sliding down. It accelerates at first but since no rock has ever slidden for ever.
Only rocks never do anything on their own. Something has to happen to them first.
They do bear the costs – they wear down, break, etc., yet they don’t mind. For they are not, at all, aware of what’s going on. And, anyway, completely unable to do anything about it. Hence not at all ‘responsible’ about any of the consequences produced by whatever they had been involved in. Happened to them, actually.

Fast forward to me. I’m not only alive – hence reactive to whatever happens to me, but also aware. Aware of my own awareness even.
I notice the costs I have to pay. Hence I try to minimize them.

And here’s the gist of the matter.
My awareness drives me to minimize the costs I incur during my life AND to be very careful about the consequences of my endeavors.

Theoretically, at least…

A transformation so drastic that somebody needs to have been at both ends of the process in order to accept that what came out was the same thing as what went in.

The Universe has already went through Metamorphosis 0.1 and 1.0.
The ‘Big Bang’ and the apparition of life.

We’re witnessing Metamorphosis 2.0.
Awareness’ coming of age.

Individuals becoming aware not only of their own awareness but also of their place in the order of things.
Communities becoming aware that each of their individuals are paramount. That ‘no one left behind’ is the only thing that keeps the community together.
Individuals understanding that each of them is equally important yet none of them indispensable.

Individuals and communities alike opening their minds to the fact that none of them might exist without the other.

I was arguing yesterday that life, as a biological phenomenon, depends on membranes doing their jobs.
Keeping the inside in, the outside out and managing the transit of substances. Nutrients in and excretions out. For some organisms, their ‘membranes’ also act as a thermo-regulators.

‘Watching’ a membrane in action, one might get the impression that it has been endowed with a certain ‘awareness’. The membrane acts as if it were aware of the differences between its inside and its outside. It recognizes what belongs where and keeps them there. It also recognizes nutrients for what they are – and lets them in, and excretions for what they are – and where they should be.
OK, the membrane does what it does simply because it was ‘pre-programmed’ in a specific way, according to the genetic information each organism has received from its predecessors. There’s nothing supernatural involved here. For what we currently know, anyway…

Watching, as a dispassionate outside observer, the evolutionary process unfolding one might get the impression that life itself has a certain awareness.
‘Rules of life’, read genetic information passed along from one generation to another, are diligently updated to fit the changes in the environment. Nevermind that the whole process is ‘impersonal’, ‘goal-less’ and is fueled by haphazard trial and error, the end result is what we currently consider to be ‘learning’!
That’s what we try to code into our artificially intelligent machines, don’t we?

Further more, recent research points out that individual organisms share information with their brethren.
Bacteria can share antibiotic resistance genes through lateral transfer.
Physarum polycephalum, a unicellular organism, seems to be able to share information already learned when it comes in contact with other members of the species.
Plants “can “talk” in several different ways: via airborne chemicals, soluble compounds exchanged by roots and networks of threadlike fungi“.

Since communication itself is a process which implies the ability to differentiate between a ‘run of the mill’ situation and one special enough to warrant the effort to ‘talk’ about it, I find all these to be compelling arguments for life itself to be considered as implying certain forms of awareness.

The whole world spins on this.

  1. Literally.
    The electron in a Hydrogen atom ‘dawdles’ around the proton because its negative electrical charge ‘recognizes’ the positive one and is attracted to it. Furthermore, the Moon revolves around the Earth because their masses ‘recognize’ each-other as such and, ‘hence’, are subjected to a mutual attraction.
  2. Factually.
    Things are a little more complicated at this level.
    For something which exists to become a ‘fact’, that something must be first noticed by somebody. Until then it exists in ‘total darkness’. We cannot even say it doesn’t exist, simply because we are not aware of the possibility of its existence.
    In this sense, the Moon had started to revolve around the Earth only ‘after’ we had recognized the pattern of its movement.
  3. Teleologically.
    Otherwise said, for as long as it fits our purposes AND/OR our understanding of the world.
    The Sun and the Earth had pulled at each other since the start of time. For only as long as we had been believing in Newton’s theory about gravitation, of course…
    And, at first, we had been convinced that it was the Sun who was speeding around the (flat?!?) Earth!
    Despite the many proto-scientists who did their best to open our eyes.

Language is the tool we use when we consciously transmit, receive or glean information.

While the ‘transmitting&receiving’ part is rather simple, ‘consciously and ‘glean’ might need some explaining.

You’ve all heard about ‘body language’.

Actors use it consciously to convey emotion and sometimes even meaning while profilers use it to glean information unconsciously distributed by their marks.

Artists use specific ‘modes of expression’ – language, actually – to convey emotion/subliminal meaning to sometimes unsuspecting audiences.

Skillful ‘communicators’ have learned how to chisel a message – using most common words, printed or spoken – to obtain ‘maximum impact’.

By now I’m sure you’ve already gleaned what I meant by “‘consciously’ and ‘glean'”.
Contrary to popular belief, only one half of those ‘immersed’ in communication need to be conscious of what is going on in order for language to be in use.

Actors can influence their audience without the audience being privy to acting tools.
All of us freely distribute a lot of information about ourselves – through walking, eating, manner of speaking, etc., etc. – which can be ‘deciphered’ with ease by those knowledgeable in this trade.
All of us are inundated by all kinds of advertisement – commercial, political, religious, you name it – but very few of us are aware of the full picture which is being played for us.

In a sense, those of us who can sense anything are like any device connected to the internet.

If it’s connected, it can be hacked‘.

But nothing’s as bad as it seems.
Devices can be plugged off or fire-walled while we can stop watching crap.
And, of course, we can put our brains to work, in earnest, before buying into anything which is hurled towards us.

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