This seems like a loaded question but idealism seemed like one of the best poised approaches to address it

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idlecuriosity
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This seems like a loaded question but idealism seemed like one of the best poised approaches to address it

Post by idlecuriosity »

So, this excerpt stirred my attention. It's from his e-book so by all means I can truncate it in an edit later but it's only one of the rebuttals at any rate.
Criticism 11: During dreamless sleep, or under general anesthesia, we are clearly unconscious. Yet, we don’t cease to exist because we become temporarily unconscious. Obviously, then, reality cannot be in consciousness.

Rebuttal 11: The best one can assert upon waking up is that one cannot recall any experience during the preceding hours; not that experiences were absent. Indeed, it is impossible to distinguish between the absence of a memory of an experience and the absence of the experience itself. What we refer to as periods of ‘unconsciousness’ – be them related to sleep, general anesthesia, fainting, etc. – are simply periods in which the formation of memory access paths is impaired. The very disruption of mental processes induced by anesthetics or sleep compromises our body’s ability to lay down coherent links to the corresponding memories. As a result, later recall becomes difficult or impossible, since the links aren’t available (see essay 3.3). For all we know, we may wander into rich phenomenological landscapes during sleep or narcosis, but be unable to remember any of it upon returning to a lucid state. Think of how elusive dreams can be: at the moment you wake up, you may still remember an early morning dream; five seconds later, you already forgot it, but still remember that you had a dream; by the time you stand on your feet, you can’t even remember that you dreamed at all. Or reciprocally: you may remember nothing when you wake up – declaring yourself to have been unconscious all night – and then suddenly recall, hours later, that you actually had a very intense dream. How can you know that you are ever truly unconscious? One could claim that the absence of dream-related brain activity in several periods during the night, as measured by electroencephalography, proves that there are phases of true unconsciousness during sleep. But this fails to notice that there are always plenty of other types of activity in a sleeping – or otherwise ‘unconscious’ – brain, which may well correlate with non-recallable experiences different than ordinary dreams. In fact, materialists themselves appeal to the explanatory power of subtler types of brain activity when trying to make sense of rich and intense near-death experiences.17
I want to discuss the chain of what Bernardo believes constitutes meta consciousness and it's relevance to my admittedly subjective outlook on 'meaningful' existence. I'm a firm believer that in the transporter dilemma, where one is hypothetically erased and copied elsewhere, you actually would die even if your copy would go on to propagate it's own existential footprint and directly inherits your 'whirlpool' flow as Bernardo calls them. I can see some value in and am entertaining his proposition that we all experience a type of phenomenal consciousness that only differs from what we deal in when awake because of it's volume or 'frequency', not what that volume is of, since it seems to require less leaps in logic than other schools. So in idealism, what is considered to be the 'self' or the meaning of it? What gives our life meaning if our 'whirlpool' is interrupted and started again?

I'm not a very seasoned philosopher so this is probably why but I have struggled a lot with an age old question that was answered relatively succinctly by your run of the mill mainstream physicalist (albeit with a lot of the holes endemic to that way of seeing things), and I feel a lot of what Brief Peeks Beyond goes into helps cast enough of a new light on consciousness that the question risks warranting a reexamination that physicalism would always sidestep by saying our consciousness is physical. He argues that our continuity of consciousness, even as it's maintained to some degree through anesthesia, has some bearing on if we exist or not.

I can agree that this means we're a continuity of consciousness. But the question that my existential angst is yearning for an answer for is whether or not we have a contiguity of meta consciousness, that is to say something that satisfies the criteria of 'inheritance', (my chosen answer to the Ship of Theseus, although it might not be the best one...), that is supported by these idealistic philosophies. If my whirlpool gets interrupted and reduced to some ripple or a lesser whirlpool, at least one that isn't as capable of meta conscious self recognition, does that mean I'm still myself when I wake up?

What role would memories play into identity within this framework, particularly given that our memory doesn't work the same when sleeping and is deliberately obfuscated in anesthesia?

I apologize if this is a poorly worded or even woefully pedestrian inquiry to the more astute minds of this place but many thanks in advance if it elicits a response, let alone one that would help assuage my struggles with this dilemma.
idlecuriosity
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Re: This seems like a loaded question but idealism seemed like one of the best poised approaches to address it

Post by idlecuriosity »

Damn, no responses? Well I'll add that upon watching more of his videos, I feel that Bernard provides a really strong framework for consciousness continuing in sleep in such a manner as to validate the continuity of our being. For example, the phenomenal conscious traits we exude when 'unconscious' seem to me to work like a line of causality linking the existence of our self as it falls asleep to our self as it wakes up? Which would not be present in the transporter dilemma as you'd be just duplicating an identical whirlpool, hypothetically

But I'd like some feedback on it. I don't mind if I'm disparaged for asking something that seems patently unfalsifiable, even.
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AshvinP
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Re: This seems like a loaded question but idealism seemed like one of the best poised approaches to address it

Post by AshvinP »

idlecuriosity wrote: Wed Oct 20, 2021 5:42 pm I can agree that this means we're a continuity of consciousness. But the question that my existential angst is yearning for an answer for is whether or not we have a contiguity of meta consciousness, that is to say something that satisfies the criteria of 'inheritance', (my chosen answer to the Ship of Theseus, although it might not be the best one...), that is supported by these idealistic philosophies. If my whirlpool gets interrupted and reduced to some ripple or a lesser whirlpool, at least one that isn't as capable of meta conscious self recognition, does that mean I'm still myself when I wake up?

What role would memories play into identity within this framework, particularly given that our memory doesn't work the same when sleeping and is deliberately obfuscated in anesthesia?

I apologize if this is a poorly worded or even woefully pedestrian inquiry to the more astute minds of this place but many thanks in advance if it elicits a response, let alone one that would help assuage my struggles with this dilemma.

Hello,

I think you are intuitively circumambulating the essential Self who must exist for meaningful continuity and integration (Memory) of experience. This is not a well-developed aspect of BK's idealism, because he views it as fundamentally a spiritual question which is somewhat divorced (for him) from analytical philosophy. I disagree for various reasons, but, suffice to say here, that the "whirpool getting interrupted to some ripple or lesser whirpool" makes no sense of our experience. In my view, it is actually the case that this integration through the essential Self occurs precisely when we are in deep dreamless sleep, which is a microcosmic reflection of what also occurs within certain duration between death and rebirth. However, simply positing these things as abstract ideas will not really help our understanding, which is why I think the phenomenological approach to perception-cognition is very important for every individual to undertake for themselves. That is not to say we must go it completely alone and do it without the help of others, but rather that we must patiently follow through the carefully reasoned steps these others have taken before us. In that regard, I think you will get a lot of value from Cleric's essay on The Time-Consciousness Spectrum. It is especially relevant to your questions here.


viewtopic.php?f=5&t=509
Cleric wrote:We feel ourselves as situated within a time stream because we can experience ideas that link together the separate states of being. Thanks to memory we form ideas about the past but we can have ideas for the future too. For example, if I'm on my way to the store, I might be busy with many different thoughts and feelings but still, there's an overarching idea of 'going to the store' which makes the set of 'frames' of my walk meaningfully united.

It's really useful if we can grasp the World Content as a kind of Time-Consciousness spectrum. Conscious phenomena naturally can be differentiated, for example colors, sounds, etc. In a similar way we can differentiate phenomena which have different time-spans or wavelengths, so to speak. These phenomena are recognized when we elucidate them with the proper ideas through thinking. Ideas can be formed for phenomena which are independent of our activity (for example, the day and night cycle) or for our own willed activity (going to the store).

[image at link above]

In the above picture we have 'spectrum analyzed' the Time-Consciousness layers. It must be immediately stated that none of this should become a rigid abstract theory. Everything that we describe as conscious time rhythms must be immediately related to something concrete that we find as living conscious experience. Here someone can object that there's no proof that such rhythms exist, that it might all be just in our head. This simply shows the extent to which the Kantian divide has been embedded into one's thinking. One almost immediately declares his conscious experience as unreality in order to postulate the 'true' reality somewhere out there. As we said, we do nothing more than sticking to the given. As far as our immediate experience is concerned, these waves we draw simply symbolize our ability to encompass the unity of states of being that are spread in time. For example, the materialist would object that our idea of 'going to the store' is just a mirage resulting from the momentary state of the brain and that what really exists is an avalanche of cause and effects (firing of neurons, muscle cells actions, etc.) that propagate forward in time. Here we simply need to be aware that if we didn't have the actual idea of 'going to the store', which experientially overarches through time, we would never be able to speak of any science that tries to explain it by chains of completely sequential mechanical states. It is a simple fact of experience that we feel the idea of 'going to the store' as hovering above the chain of states of our walk. We don't presuppose or postulate anything by recognizing this overarching nature of the idea and we simply illustrate this in a picture. We're simply trying to read out what the given can speak out of itself instead of arbitrarily discarding its elements and trying in vain to produce them through combinations of intellectual thoughts.
“It is your presumption that freedom is something which you already possess that ensures that you will remain in chains."
findingblanks
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Re: This seems like a loaded question but idealism seemed like one of the best poised approaches to address it

Post by findingblanks »

"I'm a firm believer that in the transporter dilemma, where one is hypothetically erased and copied elsewhere, you actually would die even if your copy would go on to propagate it's own existential footprint and directly inherits your 'whirlpool' flow as Bernardo calls them."

I agree 100% on this.

"So in idealism, what is considered to be the 'self' or the meaning of it? What gives our life meaning if our 'whirlpool' is interrupted and started again?"

I'm not sure I fully understand what you are asking. But one way to approach it is by saying that in BK's model, if your whirlpool is 'stopped' you are dead. But 'death' in this exact context simply means, from Kastrup's model (I must stress that), that your life as it is when it is represented from the outside as a physical body is transitioning back to M@L.

Bernardo is agnostic and very open to what this transitioning process might be like. On one extreme, his model allows for all kinds of experiences that are still individuated. On the other extreme, his model is open to the possibility that 'you' fairly quicly are 'back' as the only mind their has ever really been, M@L. Bernardo has shown how various kinds of data and experiences (talks with the dead, NDE, Initiate knowledge) can actually be interpreted via many places on this spectrum of possibilities.

"But the question that my existential angst is yearning for an answer for is whether or not we have a contiguity of meta consciousness, that is to say something that satisfies the criteria of 'inheritance', (my chosen answer to the Ship of Theseus, although it might not be the best one...), that is supported by these idealistic philosophies. If my whirlpool gets interrupted and reduced to some ripple or a lesser whirlpool, at least one that isn't as capable of meta conscious self recognition, does that mean I'm still myself when I wake up? What role would memories play into identity within this framework, particularly given that our memory doesn't work the same when sleeping and is deliberately obfuscated in anesthesia?"

Rudolf Steiner said that "Humans are the religion of the Gods," and some of his students interpret this to suggest that despite the deep and grounded wisdom that flows through the more fundamental archetypes/beings, they lack the 'gap' of self-consciousness that allows us humans to both fall deeply into darkness and to act freely from an interpentrated union with our divine ground. There are many different ways to express this, some very complex and within specific frames, some very basic and helpful as guidelines. At least for me! :)

I would suggest that the existential angst that you and I (and at least a billion other people) sometimes experience is not really about the nature of what happens 'next.' I would suggest that those questions are really just expressions of our deeper convictions that we are inherently apart from the always already present and active divine ground.

But I love those questions myself. Imagine that your whirlpool never ceases but that evil experts manipulate your subjectivity so that, slowly but surely, all of your preferences and instincts are changed in radical ways. Have they killed you? The whirlpool has remained spinning, but the contents functioning within the world-pool (Your current unique way of offering help to a friend, your tendency to worry about a certain moral situation, your delight at waterfalls) have been stripped away and replaced.

I say that is still you. I say that all the 'stripped away' elements are merely dissociated and will become active again down the road, even after your whirlpool stops. But even though I still think the altered you is you, I don't think you are responsible for your behaviors in the same way. Just as if somebody injected a drug into your body while asleep and you woke up treating people in unkind ways, you wouldn't have the same responsibility as you would if you had not been assaulted in such a way.

All food for thought. I much appreciate your contribution.
findingblanks
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Re: This seems like a loaded question but idealism seemed like one of the best poised approaches to address it

Post by findingblanks »

"For example, the phenomenal conscious traits we exude when 'unconscious' seem to me to work like a line of causality linking the existence of our self as it falls asleep to our self as it wakes up? Which would not be present in the transporter dilemma as you'd be just duplicating an identical whirlpool, hypothetically."

Exactly. Boiled down, we can just say that sleep is obviously a shift in consciousnesses. The fact that when sleeping you still appear extrinsically as a very actively metabolizing body suggests that your whirlpool is still intact and well. And because of the whirlpool analogy, we know that you are conscious. If some future scientists learn how to replicate the patterns of our 'movement' and 'ripples' in such a way that nobody can notice a difference, I agree with you that this second whirlpool is not you. If your whirlpool had to be stopped in order to construct the new one, that new one is no more you than an amazing painting of yourself. It looks cool and people might be confused, but there is no reason to think it is you. I can't think of one, at least.
idlecuriosity
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Re: This seems like a loaded question but idealism seemed like one of the best poised approaches to address it

Post by idlecuriosity »

Thank you in advance. Just posting this ahead of time, I will delete (or double post after) this post and bump the thread with my eventual reply in time if and (more probably) when I get to it. This is some goodness to deliberate on and I appreciate it
idlecuriosity
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Re: This seems like a loaded question but idealism seemed like one of the best poised approaches to address it

Post by idlecuriosity »

This is an interesting question I had on my mind; what are the ethics of how we should handle the comatose, given Bernard's presuppositions regarding phenomenal prototypical conscious in sleep and anesthesia? It certainly introduces a new hypothetical to the abortion debate and I'd presume we should have more reticence about allowing that in lieu of those arguments but it also makes me wonder; do the comatose count as phenomenally existent within the paradigm of a conscious universe that, deposits and withdraws the 'material encoding' from being seen by us based on if it's tangibly observable?

Perhaps we could thus look at non human apparatus that can observe and conjure these measurable states and the chain of what links such inanimate observations to our records of said observations, then try to see what 'constructs' in our universe are beholden to more or less consciousness by noting how differently things take form around each, maybe? Although that is way beyond the realm of my scientific understanding. Maybe I am misunderstanding the proposition that observing a thing gives it form; it's possible scientists meant that a construct's proximity to other matter alone can do that and it's not anything like schrodinger's illustrative gag about that cat.

But it does seem to follow that there'd be different tiers of what constitutes consciousness and it may bear repeating that almost no comatose patient beyond a certain length of time survives without mechanical damage, maybe there is a link to the proper continuous function and 'wellness' of our structural integrity that ties back into whatever non-observable quality in the universe gives us the gift of cognition.

edit: I'm basically assuming that maybe our brain functioning in the state it has is what grants it the gift of self observation and thus consciousness. Maybe our cells were less cognizant of the link between the eerily familiar structure of the universe and our brain's anatomy than they were just naturally attracted to it, because they evolved through self experimentation and found this form was more able to harness the universal laws that might be A. the universe is conscious owing in part to it's structure and therefore B. things inside of it that share this structure are also conscious

That might be why we're capable of some degree of higher cognition but are still ultimately tethered to our material states since our bodies evolved these traits to survive
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