The Concept of Mind: Structures of Experience

After many conversations with friends about experience vs. reflection, I decided I should attempt to extricate how it is I grasp consciousness and its inhabiting structures. These are simply ongoing notes and reflections written for my own personal reference. Though it may not be immediately obvious, there is a certain logic to the order in which these thoughts are introduced.

Being

A living organism is a subjective being, and a subjective being possesses a body. A subject possesses a perspective, while an object is possessed by a perspective.

Stimulation

Stimulation occurs due to a change or transference of energy, otherwise called an affect. Stimulation acting on the body produces an affect which leaves an impression on the mind. Sensory stimulation occurs due to an affect on the sensory organs located on the body.

Reflection

Memory is produced by recalling past impressions

Reflection is a synthetic process which integrates past memories with present experience; by retrieving past impressions, of varying quantity and quality, and creating new associations.

Reflection extricates concepts from their originally generated, or prior applied, context and introduces the concepts into the present consciousness.

Experience

Experience is a feature of all living beings, rendered by responding to stimulations derived from the external world.

Experience is feeling: the production of sensations on the mind.

Experience, prior to the introduction of any and all structural concepts, is a swirling chaos of pure feeling and sensation, with each sensation represented to varying magnitudes and degrees. The absence of any order is confusing, swirling, melting, blooming, variegating; a storm of senses, containing  every color, sound, smell, touch, taste; with all the accompanying pain and pleasure; boiling of shade, hue, tint, tone.

Experience can be conscious or unconscious.

Consciousness

Consciousness is produced by active reflection. Unconsciousness is produced by inactive reflection.

Consciousness is marked by reflection: it is the feature of reproducing impressions—memories— and hold them before the “mind’s eye” for consideration (for application or entertainment).

Reflective consciousness may produce the feeling of experience by reproducing memories of prior experience, otherwise known as imagining, but this experience is not actively “living”, but presently “dead”. According to the sensations produced, that which is living is fluid and changing; while that which is dead is static and persisting.

Consciousness has many levels: it is not simply being “alive”. There are many levels— or orders— of consciousness. Higher order consciousness arises in proportion to complexity: the greater the complexity, the greater consciousness.

The complexity of consciousness is proportional to the quantity and quality of reflection. By quantity I speak temporally of “how often”, specifically done. By quality I speak spatially of “how many”, specifically kinds.

The faculties of consciousness relate to both the sensory input organs and the sensory integration organs. The five senses constitute the input organs, while the integration organs relate to associative memory.

The sensory input organs are developed according to their sensitivity which arises from exposure. Each input organ develops independently from or in combination with other input organs. Independent exposure produces depth; while combinatory exposure produces breadth, with depth increasing in proportion to exposure of combinations..

The integration organs break down further into two aspects of integration, being intelligence and creativity. Intelligence relates to efficient associative memory, while creativity relates to effective associative memory.

Efficient associative memory arises from similar stimulation, repetition, or repeated exposure, or routine; which produce strengthened habits of thought.

Effective associative memory arises from dissimilar stimulation, instances, or diverse exposure, or novelty; which produce weakened habits of thought.

Conceptual Structures

How concepts structure experience into knowledge:

Concepts render conscious experience; that is, concepts render experience conscious.

Concepts are the lens, the paradigm, the filter, the mold, the scope, the structure, the order with which experience is made conscious.

Conceptual structures arise from reflection.

Concepts order experience; they serve to distinguish distinctions among the spectrum of colorful feeling so that colorful feeling can be indexed according to its kind and utilized when the appropriate context calls for it.

All knowledge resembles a polyhedron bi-pyramid. Each domain of knowledge (experience or thought) is a triangular face on the pyramid, with every domain representing a specific context, or culture or social structure.

Concepts are geometric shapes or tools; they exist as structures that organize the integration of experience.

When I imagine what a single concept is within a single domainmy thoughts produce a two dimensional geometric shape that resembles a snowflake.

If the concept is complex and developed by experimental experience, and incorporates many domains of thought, I imagine a three dimensional solid, with one face visible to the domain, and the interrelations with other conceptual blocks hidden from sight, existing internally within the pyramid.

Context

A context is the associations established among objects by circumscribing the area around the location of a given point.

A context is determined by the degrees of relation among objects proximate to the given point of a subject’s location.

A context is an ecology and system: an ecology is the entire sum of objective demands acting within the context; a system is a series of connections produced by cause and demand.

The context produced by conscious experience is a domain of thought; a perspective of mind.

Each context is a unique, temporally and spatially located, experience with specific environmental demands, being physical or social. Context is the situation of a given organism or subjective being, in present or past.

Context is defined as the problem; the environmental demands. Every organism is programmed to self-preserve: survival is an organisms priority. As such, every context poses a problem, with the ease of the problem increasing in proportion to the level of adaptation.

The greater the problem or struggle or chaos or confusion, the greater the need for reflection, and the greatest potential for generating new concepts.

Concepts are always generated within a specific context, to solve the problem of context and its individuated environmental demands; therefore concepts are anchored to the context in which they were generated. Concepts may be unanchored when they are reproduced through reflection, introduced to the consciousness, and applied to the context of present or past experience.

Division of labor diversifies contexts by delineating and indexing concepts according to the specific context in which they were generated. In this way division of labor acknowledges the utility of context and the accompanying specialization of concepts.

Each face of the geometric solid represents a the conceptual structure of a single perspective.

Environment is determined by the temporal and spatial location of a subjective being in an external world constituted by finite matter composing infinite entities.

Particulars

All particulars are ideas of consciousness:: All facts are particulars of experience.

All ideas are indexed concepts; ideas are truth, and cannot be challenged by experience.

All facts are indexed experiences; facts are probable, and can be challenged by experience.

An untested fact is only an idea.

A tested idea is a fact only in the context in which is was tested.

All premises must be grounded in experience.

All facts must be grounded in experience.

Convergence

Convergence occurs due to association.

Convergent lines  intersect at angles which represent logical connectors, or operators or associations.

Operators connect or hold the concept together and give it shape.

Dualities of Consciousness

I come to possess concepts in two ways: passively or actively.

1. Passive concepts are yielded deductively, as given ideas.

2. Active concepts are yielded inductively, as created facts. .

1. Knowledge is ideas that have been passively structured with concepts: knowledge is rote, analytic, two dimensional, logically sequential, abstract and monochromatic

2. Wisdom is experience that has been actively structured with concepts: wisdom is intuitive, synthetic, three dimensional, holistic, concrete and colorful.

1. I passively receive concepts through books or passively listening to lecture or discourse. These concepts arrive prefabricated and incomplete. In this way passive concepts exist a priori to experience until the extent of their full nature fully tested through experimentation and the geometric solid can be developed. These concepts are linked

When I receive a passive concept, each sentence or logical operation produces or adds black lines, points, or angles to the shape. The lines are the premises; and the angles are the operators. The concept itself is hollow and possesses no internal color and therefore no way of distinguishing it from other similar concepts without an external indicator. In fact, when I think about an abstract concept, it’s sometimes difficult to see where premised lines begin and where they end, which angles of logic are part of the line or part of two separate premised lines intersecting.

2. I actively produce concepts though the process of organizing chaotic or confusing experience. That is, a problem imposes disorder on my experience and by turning over the problem within my mind— by reflecting and describing and rotating its nature; and asking how and why and when it works and where it comes from and what it associates with— I produce an erect a structure which orders the experience. This structure is a concept.

Every actively produced concept is a result of applied pressure, applied work, constantly squeezing, testing, stretching, challenging, and undermining its ability to yield a concept that orders and explains experience.

Synthetic Unification

New concepts are constructed when the particulars of mind converge in a context, as a result of reflection.

Wisdom is synthesis of contexts, or disparate domains of knowledge, and the concepts located within.

The process of testing particulars yields experience.

The process of testing concepts within a context yields understanding.

The process of testing concepts in various contexts yields wisdom.

The bipyramid capstone is the unifying concept; the pinnacle is the all seeing eye; the concept located at the highest point is the higher order self, or a consciousness that is fully aware of its self, due to reflection.

The top of the pyramid is where synthesis occurs: all concepts exist under this synthesizing capstone.

Structuring Consciousness

No matter what the domain, there is always a single unifying concept at the top, which resembles a capstone, in which all other concepts are built upon. This concept possesses the same shape and is positioned in the same location for every domain. Reaching the very point of this  capstone requires emptying all concepts from the mind, and feeling entirely. When this occurs synthesis can occur among other domains of thought and their concepts.

The concepts extending from under this unifying concept all resemble irregular geometric shapes. The farther down, the more irregular, and the less compatible with concepts horizontal to it. Extending away from the unifying pinnacle located at the tip of the capstone, the base extends down infinitely as each additional concept justifying existing concepts indexes a new aspect of experience.

Each concept possesses very unique features that allow it to integrate seamlessly with other concepts that possess inversely congruent features, so that they rest stable on one another. In this way all compatible concepts are inversely related (dualistic), like puzzle pieces, possessing a supply or demand that links them together, a void or an instantiating, a cause or effect, a deficit or surplus. Every concept contrasts with an interlinking, compatible concept in which it is connected.

New domains of knowledge cannot be built up from passive concepts. They can only reconstruct an existing domain of knowledge. Passive concepts can build down, developing or elaborating new concepts, from existing domains of knowledge.

Only when the unifying concept located at the point of the capstone is established can active concepts build up new domains of knowledge.

Adaptation and Evolution

Adaptation is an equalizing response; adapting is a response which creates equilibrium between two objects.

Adaptation is the appropriate response to environmental demands.

Adaptation of a subjective being is the appropriate response to proximate objective demands imposed by the given context.

The necessities, struggles, and demands original to a context does not guarantee adaptation.  If the subjective being is perfectly adapted to its environment– the objective demands of its context–, appropriate responses will occur fluidly and seamlessly.

Energy must be supplied to a system to produce change.

If a subjective being  is produced by the context, it is perfectly adapted. Wherever energy is highest, adaptation is fastest. Potential energy allows for future adaptation.

Concepts allow for adaptation by producing appropriate responses to changing demands.

Access to concepts and active reflection is imperative to adaptation.

Concepts without reflection cause functional fixation because they only consider the concepts—and the context in which they were generated— presently occupying the consciousness, which is incompatible with the demands of the current context.

Some personalities possess a chronic struggle which produces creative thoughts and solutions: madness of creative genius, anxiety, bipolar, depression, and the like.

 

Truth Hear

In customary social interaction, I tell people what they want to hear: the truth. And for that reason truth is the most insidious instrument ever to have been invented.

When I want to move people into feeling, I talk in terms of their truth, what they perceive to be real, however far from reality and actuality that may be. Does this cause injury or harm? Do we like being shaken from our dreams?

That is why I let people sleep. Very few people want to be woken from their slumber.

Truth anesthetizes the senses the same way repetitive knocking becomes silent background noise: first it is salient, then it is comforting, finally it disappears.

Repetition lulls man to sleep. It dulls his senses by incessantly chipping away at his resistance until he is made more facile and docile, more tolerant to the beating drum, the inculcation.

Very rarely do I talk in terms of actuality. Far too many people shiver at the prospect of losing ground in their truth. Very rarely do I have the courage to disrupt their cool delusions. Am I wrong? Does this antagonize their delusional trance?

Though exceedingly rare, it is only when someone opens a conversation with hope and self-criticism simultaneously do I test the waters of actuality with my toe, making sure to create the most gentle ripple across their placid consciousness so that I may observe how they react to these waves. If there is no hope, such a ripple will likely cause them to thrash and drown. Where there is hope they will tread water, perhaps reluctantly; and where criticism can churn waters and whip waves high above their head, they will rise with the wake and achieve greater perspective.

What is unfortunate, however, is that most have no hope. No hope in their ability to think critically, to tread in tumultuous waters, and gain perspective. As a result they shirk from novelty, they preserve misaligned bias, and they maintain a certain xenophobia to all things foreign.

While I strongly resist any notion that man is inherently limited by nature, rather than strictly limited  by self, I can only conclude that most prefer the tranquility of sleep, the plush luxury of feeling comfortable in their current state, and that the herd, though bewildered and duplicitous, offers the only mentality capable of capturing this feeling of familiar.

 

Excellent Living

The topic of discussion last night was whether or not you have volitional control to permanently change your mind. More exactly, can you simply choose to be happy?

The debate raced through a whole load of topics of all sorts of different natures. I don’t like to dichotomize people or ideas, but the debate shifted between two opposing perspectives that can be boiled down to optimists and cynics; or, in other words, idealists and skeptics. One position was that you could see the world however you’d like, choosing and creating the perspectives that best suit your aims or desires. The other was the cynic who held a fairly deterministic, mechanical worldview where being realistic about what is is tantamount to choosing a wholly favorable perspective.

The optimists position was a world view governed by faith and creativity and independent of the influence of unfavorable or negative externalities.  The corollary of this view is an under-appreciation of all the details comprising life, a failure to account for relevant information, which causes a certain naivety and willful ignorance. In this view the hero is the ego. The ego shapes the world we see. They believe that it influences the perceptions and therefore by changing what the ego wants, one can change perception and therefore knowledge. This renders knowledge as relative to each subject. What is unfavorable is simply the result of a flawed perception rather than anything inherently unfavorable existing in a thing or circumstance or effect. There is no essence. Bad and good change according to what ends you hold highest. The optimist personality is creative.

The cynic position views the world as an absurd place with no inherent meaning and obvious goodness. In this world every perspective counts, however favorable and unfavorable, and a person’s duty is to account for all those details if he wants to remain objective. The corollary of this view is an over emphasis on externalities, and an under emphasis on the individual’s perception and attitude to shape and determine certain externalities. The result is a certain nihilism and helplessness. In this view there is no hero. The ego counts for next to nothing. What is important are the facts which the external world often hands us through direct experimentation or by receiving knowledge through other people via dialogue where we inherit knowledge as it is passed on from one person to the next. On a certain level, the cynic assumes objective perception is attainable. This causes him to hold fast to knowledge as atomistic and almost irreducible. Relativity is simply ignorance. The cynic personality is analytic.

For sport I adopted the optimistic position, arguing that our world is dictated by our perceptions, and that if we change out perceptions, the world as we see it literally changes. Of course, I do not believe simply believing we will fly changes the limiting facts of physics, but it allows us to take certain measures and partake in certain activities where flying becomes a possibility, such as devising flight technology. What changed was how we thought about our limitations, not the limitations themselves.

What is essential to understand is that we are not simply reflective creatures. We are reflexive creatures. As both an observer and a participant, how we choose to participate changes what we will observe.

The conversation essentially revolved around how one can change their perceptions. We talked about the role of thought, habits, and actions, and, given the plasticity of the brain, the role in changing mental states, mind and perceptions. A person cannot literally change his entire brain after years of habituated thoughts and actions. Especially after establishing a life, or world around you, that attributes and reacts to you according to those thoughts, seeing you as unchangeable rather than evolving. No, the mind changes all the time, in the present. Changing a single thought will not change the mind. Think “How you spend your time defines who you are.” It literally dictates who you are, what you are. If you spend all day doing math, you will cultivate a brain that is oriented for math, you will think math, act on behalf of these math thoughts, and people will (although not always) contextualize you according to your propensity for math.

Thinking thoughts over and over again changes the mind. It reinforces neural pathways, reorients entire neural networks. Once a thought settles in the mind it has permanence, but its influence does not. To increase the influence of thoughts requires their repetition. We are creatures of habit. In this way a conscious thought becomes ingrained in the mind, internalized into the subconscious, so that it becomes apart of our character and influences us even when it is not consciously acknowledged.

But can you simply will yourself to be happy? Not in a single moment, just like you can’t will yourself to lift 400lbs on a whim. It requires that you act and live the thought or activity you desire to emulate on a frequent basis. You must anchor it through repetition, through practice.  But practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect. You must practice excellence, repeat excellence, every time. There is no good days and bad days. Every day you must desire and hit the mark dead on. The best only have the habit of doing the best day in and day out.

You are a product of your environment, no doubt. You have years of habits that are most likely less than excellent. Overcoming them requires overwriting them. It requires forgetting everything you knew about the past and adopting and doing what you best desire right now. You cannot stand within and move without. You must step out of the past and any conceptions and experiences that do not support your current aim. You must redefine yourself every moment with perfect thought and action, consistently, day in and day out, until you become your aim.

To do this you must be your aim and goal from the start, and nothing less than your aim and goal. You will not become the best by trying or doing. Only by being. In this way you do not do in order to have in order to be. No. You must be in order to do in order to have.

 

More later.

Soft Summer Songs

There is nothing so satisfying as an opulent ocean of redolent rays gleaming across the sublime summer sky.

Relationships: these interesting symbiotic syntheses of feelings and minds and circumstance. Two people, pulled by fate, like magnetic force, yield their defenses long enough for a daring gesture of interest to find its way into their intimate chambers, where their egos reside with the risible recantations of a wry world.

Two men exchange their thoughts, like young twins speaking their own tongue, referencing their experiences, in blissful agreement: “Yes, yes” and “yea”, “but of course” and “oh right!” These affirmations of love, spoken in frank response.

Write with freedom, with unrequited passion; the world will never return the favor with the same fervor. Never mind it. You are a model, a leader. As a writer, your words do more than etch new thoughts and moods among men. They reverberate through time. Their roots wrap and coil around future gardens of growth.

I need to journal more. What do I mean by journal? I mean, feel more deliberately. Writers experience life twice. Why would I want to deprive myself the experience of living life with any less feeling the second time? Full and fabulous.

I want to be a writer. I want to capture the human condition, to communicate existence with humanity, as a comfort, a beacon, that life is not a lone journey, but a universal struggle. The journeys are all different, but the struggle is all the same. The phenomenon of each journey may be irreconcilable with another’s, but the limitations are universal, uniform, consistent.

Writers are sensitive, acutely aware of details, of the incantations strewn by the senses throughout the consciousness.

When I write, I feel. I never write without feeling. The best thing one could do for oneself is be transparent with their thoughts and feelings. Thoughts should reflect feelings, so that when you feel intensely, thoughts follow with equal force and vigor.

When I write, I write through my states, through the moods moderating my memories and mind. Like a performer, my heart commands and my fingers obey, with precise form and clarity of expression. There is nothing wanting. The audience is a lone traveler, hungry and thirsty, searching for anything to quench their parched and pallid imagination. The routine of this journey weighs, and each step adds another circular chain to their load. Starving eyes, so eager to capture the faculties of imagination so they might dispel their locking illusions. They long to shed the weight. The writer offers this salvation.

Relationships. These are a peculiar breed of experiences. The man longs to be free, the woman longs to be secure. Each seek to liberate or enslave the other. In this way each relationship seems over before it has even begun. But this is precisely the bond that brings them together.

Everything persists by demand, and it is through this demand we experience a command, a resounding order abounding from the passions. To disobey is mutiny: a self sabotage.

There cannot be freedom without activity. To utilize humanity one must act. But activity must be chosen every moment. Routines develop into chains as circular habituations take hold of choice. We must attend our freedom like a fire, gently stoking its embers and fueling its flame. The inattentive watchman risks losing the fire, the light of his soul; or it bellows beyond control, consuming everything until there is nothing left to ravage. Either way the man is lost: losing his way or losing his life.

Passivity is slavery. Unreflective choice is slavery. Impulsive choice is slavery. Any thought or action that is not chosen via volition is inauthentic. Passivity encrusts the consciousness, it clouds and clutters and confuses. There is no I without action, no subjective perspective without freedom and action.

TV, advertisements, anything generated from a capitalist society that engenders humanity as a static condition of a whole, is an assault on freedom, on authentic living. Man cannot manifest his freedom by doing nothing. He cannot create ethics or values or tastes or preferences that reflect an original genesis of choice unless he acts through himself, for himself, as himself. Men should not be whipped with their past. Advertisements: propaganda that illuminates man as a predictable creature, as a rational creation, with no faculty of imagination, objectifies man and indoctrinates him with alien laws and limitations.