Notes On Attention Paid

Follow @mbkriegh on Micro.blog.

Annaka Harris, Conscious, Chapter 6, Is Consciousness Everywhere?

… the introduction to panpsychism…

… a review of the reason(s) why we might need a consciousness is in everything view of the cosmos, the hard problem of consciousness… where do you draw the line between what is conscious and what isn’t?… how do you pin down the conditions for its emergence?… you don’t have to do either of these things if you accept consciousness as somehow fundamental to the nature of the cosmos…

… Ms. Harris explains that most scientists, including neuroscientists, don’t accept panpsychism, believing consciousness to be an emergent quality of complex systems… they fail to solve the hard problem and possibly fail to overcome a human then mammal centric view of consciousness…

… i find it easy to accept panpsychism… experience is noticing, in some way, surroundings… all matter experiences its proximity to other matter… consciousness is simply being aware…

… the arguments against consciousness as a byproduct of evolution seem a little confused, groping around… the emergence of memory and the ability to anticipate and plan is what i think most evolutionists are talking about when they talk about the evolution of consciousness… a gradual awakening of experience into the ability to remember and predict, remember and teach… i am not sure this is the same as consciousness though i am also not sure it can be separated from consciousness…

… i remember reading that genes cary “memory” of predatory threats which cause an animal to respond even if they have never experienced the predator before… this DNA memory takes up to 10K years to dissipate once the predator is no longer in the environment…

… Harris confesses that she does not full on embrace panpsychism but also believes it deserves a place at the conversation table… she outlines the difficulty that humans have in conceiving of consciousness as something more simple and rudimentary than the complex thought processes they are capable of… it is a human-centric bias…

… perhaps we need a scale of awareness from subatomic particles to human brains and beyond (we haven’t gotten at all to the idea that individual higher level consciousnesses may add up collectively to something more complex and powerful still)… maybe that will be in a coming chapter…

… i keep thinking about Ken Wilber’s book, Sex, Ecology and Spirituality… i think also of Teilhard de Chardin’s The Phenomenon of Man… both point to levels of complexity that will be composed of the individual units of thought gathered together in interconnected activity… a new level of consciousness and exchange… de Chardin, by the way, is buried a few miles from where i sit making these notes…