“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.”Isaac Asimov
After the last section where ‘I’ talked about the physical Human brain ‘I’ want to discuss what is known as YOUR Human mind…
The mind is the set of cognitive faculties including consciousness, imagination, perception, thinking, judgement, language and memory, which is housed in the brain (sometimes including the central nervous system). It is usually defined as the faculty of an entity’s thoughts and consciousness. It holds the power of imagination, recognition, and appreciation, and is responsible for processing feelings and emotions, resulting in attitudes and actions.Wikipedia contributors, ‘Mind‘, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia
This documentation is all about trying to help YOU first identity who YOU are so YOU can become the real YOU and one of the most important parts of the Human mind definitions ‘I’ think WE should focus on is consciousness…
“Consciousness is the state or quality of awareness or of being aware of an external object or something within oneself. It has been defined variously in terms of sentience, awareness, qualia, subjectivity, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood or soul, the fact that there is something “that it is like” to “have” or “be” it, and the executive control system of the mind. Despite the difficulty in definition, many philosophers believe that there is a broadly shared underlying intuition about what consciousness is. As Max Velmans and Susan Schneider wrote in The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness: “Anything that we are aware of at a given moment forms part of our consciousness, making conscious experience at once the most familiar and most mysterious aspect of our lives.””Wikipedia contributors, ‘Consciousness‘, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 23 October 2018, 14:21 UTC
The above definition is fairly broad but is the best overarching one OUR fellow Humans have given us via Wikipedia however ‘I’ think the following real world examples might explain what consciousness is better…
YOU are already familiar with OUR main Human states of consciousness – waking, deep sleep and dreaming. These are also sometimes called OUR natural states of consciousness.
However in addition to these natural states of consciousness there are other states of consciousness WE Humans can choose to go into or access such as meditative states YOU might be able to reach via yoga or meditation and altered states that are accessible via drugs such as alcohol, marijuana or anti depressants etc.
However the study of and explanation for OUR entire Human consciousness is incredibly tricky as no one has been able to pin point it existing in any one particular part of us. Consciousness seems to have no beginning point or end in absolute terms. This identification and explanation problem is so well known that it has it’s own term…
The hard problem of consciousness
The hard problem of consciousness is the problem of explaining how and why sentient organisms have qualia or phenomenal experiences—how and why it is that some internal states are felt states, such as heat or pain, rather than unfelt states, as in a thermostat or a toaster.Wikipedia contributors. “Hard problem of consciousness.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
‘I’ think the following video taken from a TEDx talk by Graham Hancock (and subsequently removed by TEDx see here !?) was one of the most though provoking videos ‘I’ have EVER seen on the subject of consciousness…
Moving forward, the cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman has now actually proposed a theory that conscious experience can be described by mathematics. He has also suggested that if his theory is correct then what WE see everyday as reality is most likely completely false…
“If our perceptual systems (senses) evolved by natural selection then the probability that we see reality as it is, is zero.“You Are Not So Smart Podcast – episode 90 – Questioning the nature of reality with cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman
Donald Hoffman makes a compelling argument in the above podcast that OUR reality as WE know it, is like the user interface on YOUR computer, tablet or mobile (cell) phone. WE only actually see what evolution has determined WE need to see in order to stay healthy enough to reproduce i.e. the idea that the fitness of a species overrides all other factors when everything else is equal.
He continues to suggest that, physical objects like tables, tress etc that we see, even down to the sub atomic level are like the icons on YOUR own devices. He continues this metaphor by saying that knowing how all those icons work behind the scenes at the circuit board level or programming level is not needed by YOU to operate them in the same way that WE as Humans don’t need to but crucially are prevented by our minds to see reality as it actually is!
He also suggests that each species has different interfaces for THEIR needs in order for them to stay alive long enough to reproduce and true reality is also kept hidden from them.
The following video by Donald Hoffman is himself explaining his thoughts in around 25 minutes and he does so a lot more coherently than ‘I’ ever could. Over to the expert…
The repercussions of what Donald Hoffman suggests in the above talks are so profound that ‘I’ simply can’t do them justice here so ‘I’ would advise YOU to research more of his work and more recent talks if the above are of particular interest to YOU. However ‘I’ do want to highlight one last quote from Donald Hoffman…
The probability that space and time and matter are the right concepts to describe objective reality are zero, precisely zero.Donald Hoffman, Reality is a User Interface
What he is suggesting and apparently proving via mathematics is that space, time and objects that WE all understand and use to navigate OUR World exist only in consciousness!
Finally, in case YOU missed in the video above, Donald Hoffman concludes his talk suggesting that we need a Science of Consciousness in order to understand who WE really are.
He also quotes Charles Darwin from 1866 via the following:
“Psychology will be based on a new foundation, that of the necessary acquirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation.”Darwin’s Origin of Species: fourth British edition (1866),
Donald Hoffman then makes the assertion, from the above Charles Darwin quote that evolution by natural selection applies not just to the body but to our psychology, to our consciousness and to our emotions.
At the time of starting this documentation, ‘I’ had not heard of Donald Hoffman or the field of Evolutionary Psychology that he discusses at the end of the above talk which is defined by him as the science behind Human emotions.
Within the following chapters and sections, ‘I’ will go into detail regarding how many of the fundamental shared aspects of Human life WE all experience here on Earth that we take as a given – various one and only truths passed to us from authorities, experts, parents and friends. For example, what WE all commonly regard as scientific fact, can often cause us to not even begin to ask the larger questions or go back to basics like we did earlier in terms of OUR Human definitions.
‘I’ strongly believe that OUR evolution as a species has got stuck as a result of OUR collective failure to continually question the reality WE live in each day, alongside the measures of success and rules of what WE call modern society.
For example, it wasn’t too long ago that the Earth was considered the centre of the Universe. That was until Galileo released his incredibly controversial heliocentric solar system idea which suggested the Earth and all the other planets actually revolve around the Sun! The Catholic Church at the time actually classified his idea as a heresy and told him to abandon it – read more here.
‘I’ will also suggest that it is precisely this lack of questioning and critical thinking in ALL areas of OUR lives today that is causing far too many Humans to choose the wrong paths and lead unhappy lives. As a species, most of us are guilty of not even attempting to question the narratives we are being told from an early age, never mind finding the time or space to actively try and listen to OUR own intuition or gut instincts if and when WE are confronted with them.
One example from MY own life was that ‘I’ had thought (and maybe been taught) that evolution was a one way process. However, MY core being or gut instincts kept telling me that maybe in order to fundamentally change OUR actions and beliefs as a species WE might need to ReEvolve – that is ReLearn what OUR fellow Humans had already told us, felt and experienced via some form or modern renaissance period.
Such deep enquiry or soul searching is not easy but if ‘I’ hadn’t purposely gone far outside MY own personal comfort zone multiple times during MY life then such insights would simply never have happened to ME.
YOU have to experience discomfort and then crucially listen to YOUR own true inner thoughts like ‘I’ was, as without doing so, works like this documentation YOU are now reading would not exist and we would never have progressed from Galileo’s thinking and determination.
Was it the Universe, MY consciousness or some higher power or some universal consciousness that has led ME to write these words and YOU to read them now?
‘I’ created the following very basic image long before reading about Donald Hoffman’s ideas above as a basis for a potential cover for ‘a book’ that ‘I’ suddenly felt I NEEDED to write after my latest (non religious) epiphany that kick started all this work…
Is there a Life Operating System(OS) like a LifeOS that WE as Humans all need to upgrade? Is there maybe a HumanOS, a separate CanineOS along with a FelineOS etc or simply one EarthOS WE all share on Earth?
These metaphors of collective Operating Systems (OS) are a really useful modern day way of describing the abstract concept of a higher level of collective consciousness.
‘I’ believe OUR collective consciousness is still there – it is simply lying dormant in most of us due to the background noise of OUR modern environment WE have each chosen via OUR everyday actions to accept and be complicit in.
ReEvolution of Consciousness
This concept of ReEvolution which ‘I’ touched upon earlier in this documentation is the fundamental basis of what ‘I’ am trying to convey via this documentation to YOU.
This term was not defined on Wikipedia at the start of writing – maybe YOU can add this for ME if YOU have a Wikipedia account?
However ‘I’ am not the first Human to use this term – other fellow Humans have instinctively used the same term to try and convey similar concepts to what ‘I’ am via this documentation. Check out some examples of others in music here and here and even via big businesses such as Marvel here.
‘I’ also came across the term Atavism (via the internet of course) during my research which was described on Wikipedia as:
In biology, an atavism is a modification of a biological structure whereby an ancestral trait reappears after having been lost through evolutionary change in previous generations. Atavisms are often seen as evidence of evolution.
In social sciences, atavism is the tendency of reversion. For example, people in the modern era reverting to the ways of thinking and acting of a former time. The word atavism is derived from the Latin atavus—a great-great-great-grandfather or, more generally, an ancestor.Wikipedia contributors, ‘Atavism‘, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia
‘I’ am certain that WE can make full use of the term Atavism via the social sciences definition above to describe what ‘I’ feel and hopefully YOU also feel WE need to do at this time of Human History – that is revert to ways and acting of a former time to create a healthier future for us all.
NOTE: ‘I’ have zero evidence any ancestral traits in ME have also reappeared related to the biological definition above!
Activism via Atavism
Via the activism ideas ‘I’ suggest in chapter 3 can WE Humans revert to a collective conscious state via each of us spending more time accessing a higher levels of consciousness?
By doing this will WE as a species evolve to the next level of humanity?
Will Activism via Atavism save YOU and us all?
These are HUGE questions and concepts to wrestle with but please take some time to think about another quote from one of the greatest Human minds WE as a species have had…
“No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it.”Albert Einstein
In Chapter 2, titled “What is stopping YOU being YOU?” ‘I’ will try to help YOU break down what ‘I’ consider to be the most common factors preventing Humans like YOU being what YOUR core being wants YOU to be. ‘I’ will also suggest small intentional changes YOU can make to become happier and hopefully effect positive change for ALL of us.
However, next ‘I’ want to also talk about a sudden moment where YOUR whole brain, consciousness and life can shift…