Marks and Remarks
Food for the Mind and Eye

No. 0122, May 1, 2017


The Mismatch and What to Do About It

Copyright 2017 by S. W. Paul Wyszkowski

     According to "Elements of Existence", a treatise arguing for panpsychism (look it up), any complex organism, such as you or me, comes with a complex global consciousness field, which is an integrated composite of all the individual elementary consciousness fields of its constituent elements. This global field is a property of the organism as a whole. Its organization parallels the organization of the organism's structure, an evolving four-dimensional entity occupying a progression of regions in space-time. This progression constitutes the ever-changing "here-now" of the organism's conscious experience, extending both in space and time (see M&R 0117 for details).

     In so far as an organism possesses a global awareness of itself as an integrated individual entity (this requires a representation of itself embedded in its central information processing system, i.e., the brain) it has a sense of self, of "I", that encompasses everything observed within its own perceived boundaries. This "I", a creature of the functioning brain, appears to reside somewhere inside it, apparently acting as the interpreter of, and commentator on, the organism's conscious experience.

     What is actually experienced by an organism, and how it is interpreted, depends on both external and internal factors. The information signals originating outside the boundaries defining the organism are modified by its nature and current condition. The condition of the organism changes as a consequence of its own actions and/or actions occurring outside its boundaries. As a consequence, the same inputs can be experienced and interpreted in different ways at different times. Typically there is a mismatch between what is experienced and the incoming information. Unless the organism's self-awareness includes, and can compensate for, the variable internal conditions, what is experienced is not a reliable guide to what is actually the case.

     Which brings us to an ancient piece of advice that seems to belong to a set of eternal truths that never change: know yourself. Of course, that's easier said than done. Also, it can never be done completely and perfectly. But we can try. That is the original impulse of religious practice, though over the ages it has often got lost in counter-productive ideological noise. I asked Prickles, our resident spiritual guide and a bona fide hedgehog, what we can do to escape the corrupting influences of time and tide. "Pay attention," is what she said. Is that all? I asked. "No," she said. "Keep on paying attention." Like many sages, Prickles tends to be inscrutable.


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