The other night I built up an interesting philosophical dialogue, all praise is due to God. The main outline of which I will attempt to place into order on this blog. The philosophical dialogue stemmed from the situation of not being able to sleep because my mind felt really alert, aware, and awake. The main gist of the ideas and order of the dialogue went something like this.
What is consciousness? Can consciousness be something that physically exists? How could we build it up from the facts that we know about our current situation in space-time in order to reach a logical and rational understanding of it?
Out of these questions, the dialogue went something like this;
1) Our physical body always resides in the present moment of space-time, that is that we are bound by space-time always, and no matter what our idea of time is, we cannot say that we are currently existing 10 seconds in the past or 10 seconds in the future. (However we can say that we existed abstractly in the past or think that we will exist in the future, but once again only in an abstract way, never actually physically, in what we term the past or future. This thought might be followed up later with a fuller explanation.)
2) Since we are bound by our physical existence within the present moment, we can only take input or information from the present moment, whether it be through listening to someone speak, or reading a sentence. We always take in information piece by piece from the present moment in a succession of pieces.
3) Because our organism is bound by space-time and because we can only ever take information piece by piece from the present moment in a succession of pieces. How is the human organism able to visualize or ever understand anything at all as a coherent whole? Let us think about this further. A coherent whole that is pieced together by a succession of pieces from the present time (i.e. words that form a sentence, sentences that form a book) is an abstracted idea from the pieces that we receive from successive present moments. As an example to clarify; One cannot hear a song all at once or read a book all at once or listen to a conversation all at once. One is bound by space-time and has to piece all of the bits of information, piece by piece, and in this succession of the understanding of the pieces of information, one, finally at the end can understand a coherent whole from the pieces.
4) Since the coherent whole is the structure after the effect of the piecing together of the successive pieces of information, the coherent whole really only exists abstractly outside of the boundaries of the present moment of space-time. For if the coherent whole were bound by the present moment of space-time it would be able to be fully understood within any present moment as one piece. A 3 minute song would be able to be heard in the arbitrary space-time of what we call 1 second, if the coherent whole were an actually physically existing coherent whole, a book should be able to be read in the same 1 second (1 second is an arbitrary unit of time that is being used here solely as an example). Since the book cannot be taken in completely as a whole in the present moment (which we have limited here by the arbitrary idea of 1 second), and only physically exists as pieces in a succession being taken in bit by bit, then the conclusion has to be that the coherent whole of the piece exists only (for us) as an idea outside of the limitations of the present moment.
5) Having proven, by the aforementioned, that coherent wholes or structures of information that are pieced together from bits of the present moment, exist only abstractly as ideas that can not be bound by the present moment of space-time, the following questions then arise. Is consciousness this process of piecing together bits of information from the present moment, in order to abstract coherent wholes? Or is consciousness more like an extended ability, like a birds eye view of a man on the ground? What do we mean by this? Well, compared to the man on the ground, the bird can see farther and is not bound, by the physical limitations of the ground. The man can only take in one step at a time, one sight at a time, one tree at a time (bit by bit once again pieces of information). While the bird viewing the man can see every tree that lies in the direction of which that man is walking, as well as many other things that the man might not even be aware of. In other words, the bird can see the coherent whole of the landscape, while the man can only see bit by bit as he is walking. This is what we are referring to as consciousness being metaphorically like this ability.
So, how can we decide whether consciousness is a process or an extended ability like the previous metaphor, or perhaps both, or perhaps neither and maybe something even higher than both of these?
6) A process is an operation that occurs within the present moment that is also bound by space-time. The process is, if one could visualize in mathematical terms, a function that is occurring in the present moment. A good example of this is calculus. Therefore, since a process is a function that is bound by space-time, consciousness, which we have to admit is that which understands the coherent wholes after the processes, or function/s have been performed in space-time, cannot itself be that process. For it would not be able to stand outside the process itself to understand the coherent whole after the process.
7) This leaves us with the question of; Is consciousness an expanded ability? An ability is something that can also be considered to be bound by space-time as well, since the very term denotes being able to do something in the present moment. However the ability to abstractly "do something" that exists outside of space-time can exist as a thought, and does, when we state it or think it. So therefore, abilities can be physical or abilities can exist abstractly as ideas outside of space-time. The ability to view a whole map of a region in your mind (like a mind technology) is a good example. Therefore it is entirely plausible that consciousness is the abstract ability of viewing, understanding, and analyzing these coherent wholes outside of space-time. As an aside, what we are doing now, by attempting to define consciousness, has to be said to be even higher than individual consciousness itself. Why? Because the limit of my consciousness reaches only self-reflection. However, in using our consciousness to understand all consciousness, we are attempting to expand beyond to a new limit that is wholly and completely beyond our own individual consciousness. Although our own individual consciousness obviously also partakes in the higher abstract realm of all consciousness by being defined by it.
So let us now recap the conclusions and understandings that we have reached from the previous thoughts so far;
We have come to understand that consciousness is; that which after a processing of information, understands or has the ability to view the coherent wholes from pieces of those bits of information that are bound by space-time. Also, we intuitively know that anything that is capable of understanding a coherent whole that exists outside of the present moment of space-time has to, by necessity of that very ability that it exhibits, also exist outside of the present moment of space-time. Why is this? For the reasons that were mentioned beforehand already, when we explained that in the present moment, only bits of information can be taken in and coherent wholes are abstracted after the fact of the present moment, and do not exist in the present moment. A man on the ground cannot see the whole landscape that the bird sees. The bird representing metaphorically (relative to the man) that which is free from the bounds of the present moment of the man's experience of space-time and the man representing metaphorically that which is bound by the present relative moment of his space-time.
The following argument can be made against the previous argument that we take in bits of information and not whole structures at a time. For instance, someone could tell me, but Jimmy, that glass that you're holding in your hand is a whole glass. Therefore, you are taking in a "whole within a bit of information" when you view the glass. To which I would respond, the whole history of the glass in my hand cannot be seen all at once. The glass in my hand is only ever being viewed in the present moment, bit by bit. The glass in my hand although seemingly a whole, is only a bit of information in the whole history of the glass. So, although it may seem like a whole, it is actually a unit within a bigger whole which is the whole history of the glass. The whole history of the glass in my hand is the coherent whole which encompasses the creation of the glass all the way to it's destruction.
END OF RECAP AND ELUCIDATION OF INFORMATION
8) How do we prove the argument that states "That which is physically bound by space-time completely, should not be able to view anything outside of its physical limit. In other words, that which it is encompassed by?
I think that we can prove this by looking at language. The terms that we use in language prove that we can only use the physical to explain anything. As an example, we use the term fathom, which is a measure of the deepness of water, in order to define an abstract mental process such as fathoming an idea or an argument. We cannot ever understand anything outside of space-time without using that which is bound by space-time. Our language proves this. But here, it can be argued that, there are terms that we create using sounds that are used to signify concepts that do not exist in space-time. However, to this argument I would counter that sounds are physical and therefore even when one creates a made up word to denote an abstract concept, one is always only using the physical to explain the abstract. Since we always use the physical to explain the abstract, consciousness being that which understands the abstract cannot be physical. Consciousness would be bound by physicality and would never be able to free itself from physicality, in order to be able to fly above the bits of information to understand the coherent whole of the landscape.
*We encounter significant resistance and barriers to the understanding of consciousness here, because we can only use physical metaphors to explain that which is the understander of physical metaphors, or more properly, that which *overstands* the physical metaphors.*
**We have to substitute understand with the term overstand here, or else the sentence would become nonsensical. I cannot say "that which understands stands over anything, in that the term itself means that it is standing under".**
9) Against the argument that consciousness is a word or a sound and therefore exists in space-time
The term consciousness it can be argued, is a sound we create, to denote an abstract concept, but this concept is the concept that overstands concepts. A concept that overstands concepts cannot itself be a concept and has to exist outside of the limits of the meaning of concepts. Once again the bird and the man metaphor, explains why. But allow us to explain further so that no one accuses us of being not precise enough. A concept that overstands concepts also has to have a limit or else it would fall victim to always being able to add another concept. As an example, we can say that there can always exist a higher concept that overstands the other concepts. I can create the term OVERCEPT to define that which overstands concepts. I can then create another term UBERCEPT to define that which overstands overcepts. This is the infinite regress that we encounter if we do not define a limit. Therefore the limit of human consciousness always has to have a limit, however, it also has to have the ability to expand those limits in ever widening horizons. A good metaphor here is one used in spirituality or religious imagery. That of the ever widening circle of light which allows one to see within the dark room. So if consciousness cannot be a concept, being that it's function is to overstand concepts, it must be something completely other than a concept but we have to stop here at the overstanding of the definition as "that which overstands concepts". We are satisfied with this limit because we find it to be necessary in order to not fall into the mire that is infinite regress. In other words there needs to be a stopping point or else we fall into the abyss of an undefined infinity.
10) On the expansion of consciousness and it's necessary limits
Consciousness always has to be able to expand in order to overstand more and more, otherwise learning would be an impossible task. However, learning would also be impossible if there were not limitations to the expansions. As an example let us use the example of the architect gaining in gradations of knowledge.
The amateur architect has a limit that he has reached in knowledge, which is a necessary limit, that he must reach, in order to build a shed. He may expand on his knowledge of building a shed in order to reach a more advanced understanding of building a house. However, in this widening expansion of consciousness by learning, he is always coming to necessary limits. We can call these limits, stopping points, or gradations in higher acquisitions of knowledge. In the same way there are necessary limits in the expansion of consciousness.
11) Electron Orbital Metaphor to explain the necessary limits in the gradations of knowledge and/or consciousness
A good physical metaphor for these limits or gradations of consciousness is that of the discrete jumps in the orbitals of an electron. Everything physically existing has discrete limits by necessity. For things to gain in orbital energy there must be a discrete amount of energy that is given. The electron can not jump to a higher orbit if it is less than that discrete amount of energy. In the same way, if the architect does not know how to build a roof, and succeeds in only acquiring the information to build the walls, then it cannot be properly said, that he has reached the limit of learning how to build a shed. It can be said that he has reached the limit only of learning how to build walls. However, he still requires the jump in information. This jump is to the higher orbital of learning how to build the whole shed, so that it may be said that he is at the orbital level of shed building. The jump from wall building to shed building, requires an orbital jump in information, which is the energy of the knowledge of roof building. The jump from shed building to house building is yet another jump in the orbital of the knowledge of the architect.
12) Summary & Conclusion
Once again, since consciousness is that which overstands the abstracted wholes from pieces of bound physical information, it cannot be bound by space-time, otherwise it would be subject to the limitations previously mentioned. We will even have to admit, that not only is consciousness not bound by space-time in the same way that the abstracted coherent wholes of information are not bound by the present moment of space-time, but that consciousness has to be something that is on an even higher level than a coherent whole of abstracted information that is bound by the present moment of space-time. Why? Well, because if consciousness itself were just another whole abstracted from pieces of information, then it would not be able to view or understand other coherent wholes, being that it would be only able to understand itself as a coherent whole and would not be able to view other coherent wholes. Once again picture a bird flying over the man and viewing all of the different coherent pieces of information to extract a coherent whole picture of a landscape. Now picture another bird viewing that bird flying above the man. Our ability to continuously do this by placing one bird above another bird is proof that consciousness itself cannot be any one of these birds. Being that it can always and continuously expand upon the view by placing itself above these metaphorical birds. Higher and higher views by successive elevations. Consciousness has to be that which can always supersede and take on higher and higher views, being that it can visualize the bird flying above the bird flying above the bird flying above the bird successively and ideally all the way to the abstract term of a symbolic infinity.
I would like to end this now, by stating the following:
May God grant us all increase in wisdom in successive and ever higher gradations so that we may elevate and see things from wider expansions and so that the darkness of ignorance may always be pushed back further and further.
M.C. Escher - Day & Night
Copyright 2020 by Jimmy Eleazar Vargas de Sanchez. All rights reserved.