Is Consciousness Imaginary?


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(BTW, *how* does Popular *MECHANICS* end up posting stuff like this?)

First off, this is interesting to think on; secondly, the lack of personal awareness on display; third, a note from history (*not in that order)

Stoners of my experience are not fazed by the idea that animals aren’t actually dumb, that inanimate objects sometimes seem to have a mind of their own, and that weird shit shit can & does actually happen; a fair number I know basically agree w/ with the idea that everything is alive in its own way. Maybe it did start w/ Disney, peyote, & talking animals; maybe it started in the forests, when staring nature straight in the eye happened more often than it does now; maybe it never ‘started’ & has always just been like this. In any event, we talk to animals like they can understand us, we talk to things around us, we talk to gods & angels & ancestors, too. Considering, there’s nothing especially odd about not just assuming our own thoughts are the only thoughts.

the headline & relevant quote, tho, is gobsmacking: “consciousness doesn’t exist, we just imagine that it does”. Professor, the angry ghost of Rene Descartes would like a few choice words: “I think, therefore I am”.

Something about fish being blind to water/birds never thinking about how air works….

Short-form: evaluating the role of imagination in consciousness (for example) requires more than thought processes. Without consciousness enough to direct thought, weighing & evaluating theoretical or philosophical ideas would be impossible; without enough consciousness to grasp the complex task of driving home & execute it, you could die sitting there or end up anywhere.

Thought is a tool, not just a spontaneous impulse, using it requires focus and purpose. Thought does not *contain* motivation, does not *provide* intent…so what does? That imaginary consciousness…which we can only imagine if we have the self-awareness to wonder about what we don’t know

Which is kinda the job of a scientist

Here’s the major conceptual flaw: the scientific method as we know & love it today was DESIGNED FROM THE BEGINNING to explore the *phenomenal* world *and nothing else*. Everything else was to be treated as the property & province of the Catholic Church. (Wait, what? The church? What does that have to do with anything NOW?)

It was a good move, honestly - kept a bunch of first-rate scientific explorers from being burned for heresy. Pretty straightforward, really: the scientific method was destined, crafted, perfected over hundreds of years to not step on Rome’s toes. If it can be seen, felt, detected, moved, weighed, measured, shown to others, chemically analyzed, or tagged, it's fair game for science.

But for trying to study, analyze, or evaluate anything that DOES NOT satisfy those requirements of physicality & phenomenal existence, the scientific method isn’t scientific at all - the ultimate apples/oranges impass. It literally cannot get there from where it began…and to fix that, science will need to dump their dunning-krugerisms, accept that they don’t know what they want to study, then search for methods that *can* work - and build their way up from there.

That’s my TED talk for today


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Strange. Doez your brain think and can it dream. Scientist cant see exactly all of your thoughts, dont mean it dont exist or isnt real. Just means the scientifc comunity hasnt yet engineerd the equipment to make sense of and comunicate your thought in a way that comes out and can be described the same.


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No, they don’t explore why they reached that conclusion.
Guy reminds me of Arthur Clarke saying something like ‘if a reputable scientist tells you something is possible, they’re very likely right; if they tell you something is impossible (ie, consciousness), they’re very likely wrong’.

The link is to a Popular Mechanics article


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Interesting. I'm just getting to part three of Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari which has an interesting perspective.
I’ve seen a couple of interviews w/ Harari, he seems like someone worth listening to, so thanks for the reminder.

As a return, search for Peter Zeihan on YT: smart, sharp, well-informed geopolitical strategic synthesist