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October 29, 2012


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Loved your summation of his book..... Currently reading the RAVENOUS BRAIN which dovetails with much of Tononi's arguments.....

thanks for the heads up here.....

Polymathia does not teach one to have nous, else it would have taught Hesiod and Pythagoras, and also Xenophanes and Hecataeus

Ah, yes, the "hard problem of consciousness". Brian, you sweet talker, you. Just when I thought I was out you pull me back in! Well, seeing that my previous post found a modicum of reception, I thought I'd take this opportunity to use the irresistible power of spiritual seduction to lure a few more of the weak-willed and feeble-minded into the stranglehold of the cult of... Trick or treat! Just kidding. There really is no bogeyman, no anti-christ, no Baba Yaga, no Aladdin, no Satan, no Mephistopheles other than the labels we hang on the fears of our own fear. (But I digress...)

I want to take a small exception to your statement "... how and why we have phenomenal experiences, remains a mystery". Mysterious, to a degree, yes; (I would have used a less romantic term like "scientifically unproven") but, by the same logic you applied to "God is Consciousness", not a mystery. I'd recommend to you Religion in Essence and Manifestation: A Study in Phenomenology, by Gerardus van der Leeuw, which is a study of the structures of subjective experience and consciousness. Very old school and I certainly don't agree in entirety with van der Leeuw but he does shed some interesting light on the process. Another good reason for individuals to keep their inner experience to themselves. I've no interest in experiencing other people's memes, thank you very much.

You say you "dig for truth" in your blogging. I sit here watching my adorable pit bull feverishly digging up a gopher hole she's stumbled on, determined, single-focused, spewing bits of dirt and greenery in all directions. I, too, dig for truth but rather more like peeling the flimsy layers of an onion. It's the difference between wielding a hatchet and a razor edge, which I suspect to be a more appropriate tool for tackling the hard problem of consciousness.

Take black holes, for instance. The problem confronting scientists, at the moment, is not only do they render Newtonian physics to dribble, they do a pretty good job of stumping quantum physics; in that, science holds that nothing is ever lost to the universe, EXCEPT what goes into a black hole. What goes into a black hole scientists currently theorize to be irretrievably lost elemental data.

Now, take a rose. You can burn it...you can nuke it even, and science can still retrieve the sum data of that rose simply because the electrons of a nuked rose don't exit the universe; the rose merely changes form, in the midst of all the other electrons of which every inch of the mostly "empty" universe is stuffed. This, in short, is how science has been able to model the universe through all it's permutation back to the first 1/billionth second in Planck time.

Given that, if consciousness is the "product" or "result" produced physically by brain synapses, and ceases to exist when the brain dies, then where does it go? Into the irretrievability of a black hole? Into the bubbly multiverse? (See Path of the Masters, pgs. 221, 222-223) Back to where it came from? Back to the One? The "unequivocally and indisputably one"? Is it "the root of everything in existence, for the One is both the source of being and the ground of being (even though...it also is beyond being)" as a great man once wrote? Perhaps, if you can tear your current mind-set away from the angry, anthropomorphic deity you so fervently DON'T believe in, you might find Consciousness is a pretty good synonym for God, god, gawd, gott, gud; after all, a rose by any other name... Hey, I'm just sayin'.

a satsangi, I keep coming back to a basic assertion, which seems to be a fact:

Saying one thing is synonymous with another thing means they are the same thing. I can call my coffee cup "Coffee cup" or I can call it "My best friend."

Either way, the cup is still the cup. The only difference is in the word I use to describe it.

So you want to call consciousness "God." OK, we also could call consciousness Zu-Zu or Serena, the names of our dogs. Does this change the reality of what consciousness is, or isn't?

Words are seductive. But reality is a much better lover. I used to be much more attracted to fancy thoughts than I am now. Now, thoughts strike me as lifeless. What's real is what matters, not the words we use to describe it.

That's why saying "God is consciousness" strikes me as three empty words, akin to "Zu Zu is my coffee cup." I enjoy drinking coffee. Who cares what name I give to my coffee cup? Most of theology and philosophy is just like that, arguing over words, missing reality.

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