I believe, consciousness, “mind,” can’t be understood by studying modern people in these modern times.
From an evolutionary perspective the mind is an inevitable (of course, with a lot of time and good luck) result of natural, biological forces at work in concert with geologic processes. It seems rather self-evident our current masterpiece body/mind is the result of hundreds of millions of experiments, untold iterations unfolding over an unimaginable expanse of seasons and generations
A couple years ago I realized that for all the talk about body-mind, consciousness, perception, reality, or no reality, there’s a most fundamental divide that I believe needs to be explicitly enunciated and thought about. Like a necessary first step before anything else can really start to make sense.
Physical Reality is the physical world of atoms, molecules, universal laws of physics and Earth’s laws of nature. It is Earth’s dance between geology and biology and time and evolving creatures, (and one in particular that learned to contemplate the universe and its short life), along with everything else around us.
Human Mindscape is all that goes on inside of our minds. The landscape of your thoughts and desires and impulses and those various different voices and personalities who inhabit our thoughts. The ineffable ideas that our hands can turn into physical creations, that changed our planet.
Me, myself and I, and all that unfolds just beyond the sparks and chemical cascades unfolding within our physical bodies and brains.
The following is from 2018 and offers a bit more background.
The evolutionary biologist and historian of science Stephen J. Gould wrote an essay in 1997, “Non-overlapping Magisteria” in an attempt to address the tension between scientific truths and religious truths.
His solution was the notion of “Non-overlapping Magisteria” which delineated two teaching “authorities” (magisterium), the “magisteria of science” and the “magisteria of religion.” It wasn’t his original idea, rather a continuation of a centuries old dialogue between scientists and the Catholic Church that I won’t get into.
In any event, Gould concluded there should be no conflict because each realm had its’ own domain of “teaching authority.” Since these “magisteria” do not overlap, they cannot contradict each other and should be able to exist in mutual respect.
When it first came out, I loved the idea because of my own struggling intellectual spiritual journey which was embedded within gathering and learning from sober scientific knowledge about this Earth and her story, while dealing with the spiritual aspect of ‘touching Earth’ and having experienced ‘God’s breath’ against my back, so to speak.
Gould’s idea was interesting and it gained a lot of attention and lively discussion, but in the end seems to have offered little to either side. For myself, the criticisms made sense and my enthusiasm diminished.
Still, the conflict kept echoing like an unresolved challenge as I increasingly engaged faith-shackled contrarians towards climate science and evolution.
In the years since I’ve kept learning more about Earth’s amazing evolution and geophysics and also the scientific process itself.
A process that’s basically a set of rules for gathering and assessing our observations in an honest, open and disciplined manner that all who understand science can participate in and trust because it is a community of skeptical experts who are always looking over each others should. It’s predicated on the notion that
Recently it occurred to me that what Stephen Gould was missing was a much more fundamental divide that is crying out for recognition. Specifically, the Magisteria of Physical Reality vs the Magisteria of our Human Mindscape.
In this perspective the missing key is appreciating the fundamental Realm of Physical Reality, and recognizing both science and religion are products of the Realm of Our Mindscape. Namely, all the thoughts and feelings and commands that our respective minds produce.
Explicitly acknowledging that our minds are embedded within a physical matrix that simply IS, rephrases the fundamental Body-Mind Problem.
Human’s are driven to understand stuff as well as possible and then to learn some more. But we should never lose sight that all of our human endeavors are shadow plays. Reality doesn’t care a flying fig what we think.
Too many celebrity talkers have become so infatuated with the wonderful ideas their mind creates, that they lose sight of the actually physical reality they are trying to render.
Science seeks to objectively learn about our physical world, but we should still recognize all our understanding is embedded within and constrained by our mindscape.
Religion is all about the human mindscape itself, with its wonderful struggles, fears, spiritual undercurrents, needs and stories we create to give our live’s meaning and make it worth living, or at least bearable.
What’s the point?
Religions, Science, political beliefs, heaven, hell, art, even God they are all products of the human mindscape, generations of imaginings built upon previous generations of imaginings, all the way down.
That's not to say they are the same thing, they are not! Though I think they're both equally valid human endeavors, but fundamentally qualitatively different.
Religion deals with the inside of our minds, hearts and souls, Science does its best to objectively understand the physical world beyond all that, doing its best to factor ego out of the deliberations.
(Images are taken by myself.
Misc. stone tools found around our home, a reminder that the Stone Age didn't end with the cavemen.)
(Titles are linked)
Donald Hoffman Playing Basketball in Zero-Gravity,
Frontiers in Psychology - June 17, 2014
“Probing the interface theory of perception: Reply to commentaries, by Donald D. Hoffman, Manish Singh & Chetan Prakash" Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. volume 22, pages1551–1576(2015)
We propose that selection favors nonveridical perceptions that are tuned to fitness. Current textbooks assert, to the contrary, that perception is useful because, in the normal case, it is veridical. Intuition, both lay and expert, clearly sides with the textbooks. We thus expected that some commentators would reject our proposal and provide counterarguments that could stimulate a productive debate. … (HSP)
Barton Anderson - Where does fitness fit in theories of perception?
Jonathan Cohen - Perceptual representation, veridicality, and the interface theory of perception.
Shimon Edelman - Varieties of perceptual truth and their possible evolutionary roots.
Jacob Feldman - Bayesian inference and “truth”: a comment on Hoffman, Singh, and Prakash.
Chris Fields -Reverse engineering the world: a commentary on Hoffman, Singh, and Prakash,
“The interface theory of perception”.
Jan Koenderink - Esse est Percipi & Verum est Factum.
Rainer Mausfeld - Notions such as “truth” or “correspondence to the objective world” play no role in explanatory accounts of perception.
Brian P. McLaughlin and E. J. Green - Are icons sense data?
Zygmunt Pizlo - Philosophizing cannot substitute for experimentation: comment on Hoffman, Singh & Prakash.
Matthew Schlesinger - Interface theory of perception leaves me hungry for more.
Student Resources - Background info:
Dr. Mark Solms deftly demystifies Chalmers’ “Hard Problem” of Consciousness, thus coincidentally, highlighting why Hoffman’s “Conscious Agents” are luftgeschäft.
More to come . . .
It’s not a “body-mind problem” it’s an “ego~god problem.”
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