Re: A Question for Wade

From: Dace (
Date: Sun Dec 02 2001 - 19:24:06 GMT

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    Subject: Re: A Question for Wade
    Date: Sun, 2 Dec 2001 11:24:06 -0800
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    > > The brain is
    > >simply the mind in the current moment. It's precisely that aspect of the
    > >mind that's *not* memory. What's in the brain is only a snap-shot of
    > >None of the traits of memes are visible in this slice of life.
    > >
    > You can't read memes off an fMRI I grant you, but when PET scans are
    taken, the activated parts of the brain which have been associated with the
    performance of various cognitive tasks light up as different tasks are
    presented to the subject, INCLUDING memory tests. Different areas light up
    for different tasks, and they are the ones that we commonly understand to be
    used in the performance of the associated task.

    This demonstrates one of two things: 1. The brain contains the mind. 2. The
    brain facilitates the mind. I favor the latter interpretation.

    > >The big problem for a neurologically irreducible mind is the apparent
    > >uselesslness of mentality in the functioning of the nervous system. If
    > >rest of your body has no need for a mind, why would the brain require
    > >
    > So that that body could maximize its survival chances in the environment
    by remembering previously learned environmental lessons, faithfully
    representing the present environment and its threats and opportunities, and
    extrapolating them into further likelihoods between which one might be able
    to choose most favored alternatives by means of present action. In other
    words, better choices. This also points to conscious self-awareness, for it
    is upon the basis of the welfare of the self that such choices would be

    But why does the brain require a mind to do those things? If the brain can
    represent, remember, and extrapolate, the mind is superfluous. Hearts can
    apparently pump blood without mental assistance, and kidneys don't seem to
    need minds to filter waste. If brains require minds, then the same goes for
    all our organs. At all levels of structure, the body is informed by its own
    past behaviors.

    > >The only way to salvage a notion of
    > >mentality (and self-nature) is to universalize it. Life is mind. Mind
    > >life. What makes a thing alive is that it can't be understood except in
    > >context of its own living past. Life is memory. It's not just the brain
    > >that's influenced by mentality (relfexive or not) but every organic
    > >structure.
    > >
    > This sounds like the panvitalistic panpsychism that was propounded by
    Erwin Schrodinger in his books WHAT IS LIFE?, MIND AND MATTER, and MY VIEW
    OF THE WORLD. It's kinda a pseudophilosophical Hinduism, believing all
    life, mind and soul to be the expression of a single force, as Hinduism
    proper unites the world-soul with the self-soul in their famous
    pronouncements Brahmatman (Brahmin is Atman) anf Tvat Am Asi (That Thou
    Art). It is irreduceably a mystical and religious, not an empirical or
    philosophical, perspective.

    I do agree that everything reduces to a single force. In my view, that
    force is time. I interpret Brahman accordingly. Brahman is traditionally
    divided between shakti (potency) and maya (illusion). For me, shakti is the
    absolute presence of time, which we know through our minds, while maya is
    merely moment-to-moment materialization, which we know through our senses.
    Since whatever we perceive around us has in fact already occurred, the
    material "present" is actually past. In that sense, the realm of the senses
    is illusory.

    As to panpsychism, mind is indeed universal insofar as it's an expression of
    time, and time is universal. Life is anima, and time is animation.


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