|Another World - M.C. Escher - woodcut - 1947|
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
"I'm not postulating a malign "Matrix"-style virtual reality. If anything, the idea that our minds inhabit an illusory world of gross physical matter is more suggestive of Hindu cosmology, with the self ("atma") forced to operate within a hierarchy of substrates.
I think it's very probable we share our world/s with others who have achieved something like "system operator" status. Strangely, if they chose to interact with us, that interaction might be necessarily flawed. This concept provides a plausible framework for Jacques Vallee's "multiverse" hypothesis, in which UFO occupants and paranormal experiences represent an ontological breach. It also compliments physicist David Bohm's transcendent vision of an "implicate" order wound up in our workaday "explicate" existence.
Quantum entanglement, for example, seems paradoxical to us. But if we could plunge deeper, into the universe's "source code," apparent paradoxes would dissolve because our consciousness (as of now, little more than a passive instrument) would be forced to mutate in ways that defy description.
Social commentators remark on the gulf that frustrates our attempts to collaborate meaningfully with our fellow humans. Perhaps we behave like discreet islands of consciousness because, in Bohm's explicate order at least, that is truly what we are. "Reality" is a crude sort of lingua franca; we are motes drifting on a vast and uncharted sea, disconnected and confronted by a universe that has become, under the light of bleeding-edge science, as arcane as any hallucination.
A bone-deep existential unease sets in. Am I a cosmos unto myself, chasing my own synapses (which may or may not be an accurate representation of whatever is actually doing the thinking)? Or, like quanta at the hands of particle physicists, am I fundamentally entangled in something more real?"
- Mac Tonnies, via this PHB post
Monday, September 18, 2006
"I've never "heard voices," per se. But for as long as I can remember I've been aware of a kind of oceanic presence in my mind which I can tune in only under special circumstances. When I was little I used to draw lots of pictures. One of the reasons I enjoyed drawing was the cryptic murmur that accompanied the process; it's as if creative activity numbs the censoring mechanism of the brain that usually dampens communion with our subconscious.
I still attempt to "listen" to my mind. While I'm aware of something that isn't "me" (or at least the "me" doing the listening), I don't experience any sense of duality. I never feel as if I'm in contact with something distinct from myself -- and suspect that if I did I'd quickly seek psychiatric help.
My overall impression is that the brain is a massively distributed system, a hologram of mentation that phase-shifts too rapidly for the ego to take note.
Given that consciousness is likely a quantum function, deeply entangled with the rest of the Cosmos, is it unreasonable to seek out traces of the "alien" among us? Maybe the signal SETI astronomers await will emanate from the depths of Self, cunningly disguised as human."
- Mac Tonnies, via this PHB post
Now on Trans-D: Remembering Mac IV: The Dragon and the Pearl