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A New Vision of Consciousness

Posted June 3, 2013 by steve_from_planet_earth in Open

commented on June 7, 2013
by Joseph Smith

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21

On My Mind: A New Vision of Consciousness (Lulu.com, May 2013) by Steve Perrin
My latest book is about the structure and workings of consciousness as revealed through many years of personal self-reflection. Consciousness, I find, is aroused by a disparity between two nerve signals, much as depth perception results from a disparity between images at corresponding points on the retinas of our two eyes.
Such a disparity in signals might arise between sensory patterns as remembered in contrast to those currently perceived. That is, between expectancy and actual experience, or between the aim of a deliberate action and the effect it actually produces.
I think of that disparity as a relative “valence” such as that between right and wrong, true and false, good and bad, like and dislike, or attractive and repellant. If the valence indicates, for example, “that our impressions exceed or fall short of our expectations, then we become aroused, pay attention, and make a conscious effort to account for the difference so we can take appropriate action.” I think of a helmsman steering through fog by the deviance of his compass needle from his charted course to illustrate the idea of such a valenced signal
In this regard, I see the brain not as a computer but “as a vigilant comparator looking for the then in the now, and when not finding it, taking pains to update memory through conscious scrutiny.” That comparator is on duty whenever things, for better or worse, do not go as expected. Resulting in our streaming consciousness striving to keep up with events as they actually unfold in round after round of engagement. Our personal experience reflects those eternal rounds of engagement, much as the holding power of a screw derives from the helical course of its ramped threads through the wood into which it is turned.
Our minds have many alternative routes from perception to action that largely sidestep consciousness. Reflexes, mimicry, rote memorization, and habitual routines, for instance, proceed unconsciously according to our expectations. But when things do not go as expected, our minds are roused to take unanticipated factors into account. Personal consciousness is situated between perception and action, where it plays the vital role of supervising our rounds of engagement for as long as we concentrate on a particular task or activity.
The take-away message of my new book is that a course of introspection is advised if we are to take responsibility for the outcomes of our personal views and actions. Since every human mind is unique, only one person on Earth has both the motive and opportunity to acquaint any given mind. Our schooling generally deals with abstractions, concepts, and generalities, leaving the particular workings of our minds for us to deal with on our own. This book provides examples of how we might do just that. “The art of introspection is in accepting whatever appears, not judging or dismissing it beforehand because it does not meet designated research criteria.” I use haiku as an example of “grappling with becoming aware of being aware” during moments that draw “us out of our everyday selves, heightening our engagement with life.”
On My Mind: A New Vision of Consciousness is available at lulu.com. Search “Books” for “Steve Perrin” and you will come to it. The cost is $17.95 plus shipping.

  • 21 Comments  
  • Joseph Smith Jun 07, 2013

    Have no fear, old Joe is here, with harmony, with transformation, with a voice from the past and the future, a voice you have yet to hear, "In Earth as It Is in Heaven 2012: an explanation for the underlying mechanism of creation."

  • Anonymous Icon

    steve_from_planet_earth Jun 06, 2013

    My aim in this discussion was to present the findings of my 30-year search for the scheme by which my mind is organized. By making these findings public one-by-one, I thought we could all contribute to a focused comparison of how we each view our unique minds. I was naive in thinking that was how these discussions worked--following a thread that each person would contribute to, always returning to the same theme, question, or idea. My mind is not big enough to encompass all that has been said in these few posts in order to follow a consistent core of meaning to build on. If we don't refer to points raised by others before us, the result is a cacophony of voices, not a harmonious or melodic discussion. I hereby retire from the field to give thought to how to contribute to a more coherent discussion. Thanks to those who have contributed their distinct voice up till now. --Steve from Planet Earth.

  • Joseph Smith Jun 06, 2013

    Ions staff, on consciousness and healing, asked, on August 10, 2010, "What mind-body practices have had the most beneficial effect on your well-being?" I've come along lately with my stand-alone, non-professional, anecdotal comments, which, incidentally, connect with current events.

    My inexplicable experiences began in 1975 with my personal attack on the IRS. (Everyone thought I was nuts.) A top news item today is the out-of-control IRS. Behind my attack was my understanding of the U.S. Constitution, which I studied on my own, and a far cry from what you hear from recognized constitutional authorities, who are putting the cart before the horse. The Constitution is really not that hard to understand. It was written for you and me. It is the experts who have convoluted the Constitution. That's the way they make their living. You probably don't know that, unless you have personally studied the Constitution. So, on the above Ions question, my life could not be better because I studied the Constitution and acted. From your inaction, you see the results--an out-of-control IRS. The Constitution told me this is a do-it-yourself government. By they way, the IRS lost. It hung itself with its own rope. The IRS is a paper tiger.

    One of the reasons my life is as good as it gets is that in the twilight of life I've become a musician. This connects with the Higher Law. There is harmony in nature. My good life comes from the fact that I'm a born adventurer. At age five, I set out to see the world on my tricycle. The cops found me hours later chatting with a yardman. At age 49, I set sail on the South Atlantic Ocean, destination unknown. When I left my life at sea I was the individual I was intended to me. God's hand was on my wheel. I departed my life at sea on my path of destiny. When everything should have gone wrong, everything went right.

    We all have our own path of destiny. Once on it, life can be very sweet. Why don't we know that?

  • Joseph Smith Jun 05, 2013

    Then there is this: When I was a boy, I had a crystal radio. A crystal turned radio waves into voice. I couldn't understand that. In "The Hidden Messages of Water," from frozen water crystals expressions, I couldn't understand that. I spent two years on the sea on a small sailboat, during which time the inexplicable happened. I saved seven lives, including my own, from a watery grave. I left the sea with a charmed life. How could that be?

    In Luke 21, Jesus, speaking of his second coming, said there would be signs in the sun, moon and stars. I can't understand that. Jesus said to look within. He said, "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled." What did he mean by that? He followed with Heaven and earth shall pass away but my words shall not pass away." I don't understand that.

    On his return, said Jesus, "And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares." I kind of understand that.

  • Joseph Smith Jun 05, 2013

    At age 49, my life was in ruins. My business enterprise was on the rocks, my second wife divorcing me. It was all government's fault. I studied the Constitution and imaged that voices of the past were speaking to me.

    I'm directly connected with government through the IRS, the IRS with the power to destroy me. The IRS ate crow on the front page of "The Palm Beach Post." When everything should have gone wrong in my life, according to what we've been taught, everything went right. Fact is stranger than fiction.

  • Joseph Smith Jun 05, 2013

    Astrologer James Redfield, author of "The Celestine Prophecy," got his message out with a fiction. Here's what Redfield said to me in an audio tape:

    "We all start at immature levels of ego functions. We have a sense of security based on how much we feel in charge of our lives. We want to keep the idea that things are going fine. We have goals we want to achieve. We need to manipulate things to keep everything just right. We need to keep this allusion for security purposes. If new information comes in, we can act defensively. We don't want information that rocks the boat."

    "What happens is that this allusion, based on security control, has to shift to our inner connection, our God self force that gives us a sense of well being no matter what's going on out there. We have to make that opening on the inside.”

    "As you get in touch with your inner energy and start to get in touch with your higher self, you will be guided into how to find that true work expression. It will be shown to you intuitively. This becomes the way you uplift everyone who comes into your life. When you evolve into your higher self you energize those who cross your path. This becomes your greatest talent."

  • Joseph Smith Jun 05, 2013

    There is much about a universe conscious of itself that we don't fathom, but there is a way around the problem. If you want to know how something works you take it apart. That's what quantum physicists do. I'm not a mathematician. I have to take for granted what mathematicians come up with. Bell's theorem tells us that the observer interacts with matter; that consciousness is fundamental; that the will affects matter; and transcends the limits of time and space.

    Why would I, of all people, understand this? I finished high school in the lowest quarter. I'm not highly educated. Different strokes for different folks.

    We've forgotten what the ancients taught. They said that with Saturn, the learning planet, in favorable angle with Pluto, the generational planet, when I was born that I would have an understanding of the subtle workings of the universe. How did the ancients know this? There is evidence that aliens were here. I'm guessing they were here and knew something about the universe we don't know.

    Today's planners envision the world they want and try to force all the pieces to fit, knowing zip about how the universe works. We are witness to their mistake. Best that you look within for your answers.

  • Joseph Smith Jun 05, 2013

    When you speak of conscious awareness, I'm a voice of experience. I love America for her liberties, for her Declaration of Independence, her Constitution and Bill of Rights, all proclaiming to the world what humanity stands for. All sentient beings are conscious, and in varying degrees of awareness. While it is good to be progressive, it is evil to be oppressive. America's fundamental law addresses these elements of consciousness. I took that ball and ran with it. My dreams came true.

    As humans, our potential is according to the limits we set. When you speak of the higher law of nature, you speak of the background of America's Constitution, the practical way to a good life. What else, dustproduction? You can talk theory till the cows come home.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Jun 04, 2013

    Re: "Without consciousness nothing could exist"

    http://www.ted.com/talks/martin_hanczyc_the_line_between_life_and_not_life.html

    Its easy to resist or dismiss the things that are outside of ur scheme. Martin starts by saying,

    “Over the last hundred and fifty years or so, science has kind of blurred the distinction between non-living and living systems, and now we consider that there may be a kind of continuum that exists between the two.”

    Then continues, " Consider for a moment this quote by Leduc, a hundred years ago, considering a kind of synthetic biology: "The synthesis of life, should it ever occur, will not be the sensational discovery which we usually associate with the idea." That's his first statement. So if we actually create life in the laboratories, it's probably not going to impact our lives at all.

    "If we accept the theory of evolution, then the first dawn of synthesis of life must consist in the production of forms intermediate between the inorganic and the organic world, or between the non-living and living world, forms which possess only some of the rudimentary attributes of life" -- so, the ones I just discussed -- "to which other attributes will be slowly added in the course of development by the evolutionary actions of the environment."

    Martin Hanczyc is developing novel synthetic chemical systems based on the properties of living systems, in a quest to understand how life forms. These synthetic systems, or "protocells," are model systems of primitive living cells and chemical examples of artificial life. As Rachel Armstrong puts it: "Although the protocell model system is just a chemically modified oil droplet, its dynamics are astonishingly varied and complex."
    He's based at the Institute of Physics and Chemistry and the Center for Fundamental Living Technology (FLinT) in Denmark. He is also an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London."

    But how life got here, and how we got we, and how consciousness arises, are all very different things. One thing is obvious, at least to me, no brain, no conscious mind.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Jun 04, 2013

    Read Antonio Demasio's "Self Comes to Mind."

    "Conscious minds begin when self comes to mind, when brains add a self the the mix, modestly at first but quite robustly later. Th self is built in distinct steps grounded of the "protoself. The first step is the generation of primordial feelings, the elementary feelings of existence that springs spontaneously from the protoself.
    Next is the core self. The core self is about action, specifically, about a relationship between the organism and the object. The core self unfolds in a sequence of images that describe an object engaging the protoself and modifying that protoself, including its primordial feeling.
    Finally, there is the autobiographical self. This self is defined in terms of biographical knowledge pertaining to the past as well as anticipating the future.
    The protoself with its primordial feelings, and the core self, constitute the material "me."
    The autobiographical self, whose higher reaches embrace all aspects of one's social persona, constitute a "social me" and the "spiritual me."

    "We can observe these aspects of the self within our own minds or study their effects in the behaviors of others. In addition, however, the core and autobiographical selves within our minds construct a knower; in other words, they endow our minds with another variety of subjectivity."

    Conscious minds result from the smoothly articulated operation of several, often many brain sites.

  • Anonymous Icon

    steve_from_planet_earth Jun 04, 2013

    In the first line of my 3rd paragraph in that last post, make that "embrace," not emrace.

  • Anonymous Icon

    steve_from_planet_earth Jun 04, 2013

    Dear Joseph Smith, you are some seven years older than I am in years and experience. I was born at the height of the Depression, so was too young to serve in WW II or Korea. I was drafted in 1955 and was a Signal Corps photographer in postwar Germany. I read your words, but do not always understand them. Instead, I interpret them as if I spoke them myself, my strategy of last resort. But lacking your depth, I interpret them incorrectly because I am not you. In fact each person on Earth, and each individual animal, is a unique self in a unique environment. Being wrong in understanding another is par for the course because we cannot tread in another's moccasins, or webbed feet for that matter.

    Yet both of us are conscious, which is what unites us as living beings. And drives me to read your words in the hope that I will intuitively come to know you. And perhaps vice versa if you read my words. Together, we live on the same planet in the same year and month. The possibility of mutual engagement is ours to share. We speak nearly the same language. And listen nearly the same language, too. In that sense, we are right ons, not write-offs.

    "Both science and religion strive to inspire a unity of nurture and illumination in passionate emrace--religion by building on the past, science by opening to the future. Is that too much to ask? Love and awe together in one vessel? But that is precisely what the life force drives us to seek at each instant. As Buddha sought to master sickness, old age, and death through personal discipline. As Moses sought to bind his people under one law. As Jesus sought to discover loving harmony in the face of human diversity. As Mohammed sought to unite the fervor of three hundred sects into one ardent system of belief. As scientists are struggling today to reconcile four fundamental forces within one flash of coherent illumination, a task that yet evades them. As we all strive to achieve in our individual rounds of engagement, balancing our situated selves with our virtual worlds at each moment, being wholly ourselves in a universe wholly other, promoting individual happiness and the general welfare at the same time" (On My Mind, p. 193f.).

  • Joseph Smith Jun 04, 2013

    With regard to biological evolution, the beast in us, from all that is taking place today, coupled with what the ancients predicted, the Battle of Armageddon appears to be in the making.

    On an individual scale, I've lived through the battle--me against the IRS. The IRS put me on the street. The IRS ended apologizing on the front page of The Palm Beach Post for what amounted to obstruction of justice.

    Once again, the IRS is apologizing and beating about the bush. The IRS is never punished for its many wrongful deeds. With government, no matter what, tax is always good. Beware! When tax is always good, life is not worth much. Biologically, we're worth a couple of bucks, plus whatever gold we have in our teeth.

  • Joseph Smith Jun 04, 2013

    Listen to from dust to dust dustproduction. "Where would biological evolution fit into any on this? Biological evolution fits like a hand in a glove. Biology deals with our biology. We are both quantitative and qualitative. Take stock of this: In "Cosmos and Psyche," distinguished philosopher and cultural historian Richard Tarnas demonstrates the existence of an astonishingly consistent correspondence between planetary alignments and the archetypal patterns of human history.

    In the Bible, in which dustproduction finds no truth, "God said, Let us make man in our image" (Genesis 1:26). From dust to dust, says the Bible in Genesis 2:5, "and man became a living soul." My dictionary says the soul is our immaterial essence, animating principle, or actuating cause of an individual life. You have a choice: beast or human.

    Ancient philosopher Aristotle: "Of political justice," he wrote, "part natural, part legal--natural, that which everywhere has the same force and does not exist by people's thinking this or that; legal, that which is originally indifferent....To invest the law then with authority is, it seems, to invest God and reason only; to invest a man is to introduce a beast, as desire is something bestial, and even the best of men in authority are liable to be corrupted by passion."

  • Joseph Smith Jun 04, 2013

    So what am I doing here? I'm a musician. There is harmony in nature--vibrations that reduce to numbers. I live in the tall timber, in touch with nature. My life has been full of signs of the time. I was born on September 17, 1925, in the month and year that physicist Werner Heisenberg published his uncertainty principle that later became quantum mechanics.

    I was born just in time to become involved in World War II. Saturn, the learning planet, was in its worst alignment with Pluto, the generational planet, in World War I, World War II, and with the first election of Barack Obama.

    When I was born Saturn and Pluto were in their best alignments, which means that I would be natively in touch with the subtle workings of the universe. Numerology, the science of numbers, gives me the number 7 as my path of destiny number, which says I'm here to use my mind and that I psychically separate the true from the false and can discover and reveal some of life's mysteries to a waiting world. I was born Virgo with Aquarius rising, which means that I could bring back information that has been lost to civilization for centuries. I could also be a forerunner in setting style.

    When the war with Hitler ended, I was a combat rifleman in the U.S. infantry. I was in Czechoslovakia. I was loaded in the same boxcar that had transported Jews to death camps. I spent four days in that boxcar, loaded on a troop ship and returned to the United States. After 30 days leave, I was loaded on a troop ship and headed for the Pacific theater of operations, one of the invasion force that was to take the main island of Japan.

    Heisenberg was Hitler's atom bomb builder. His plant was bombed. The U.S. was first with the atom bomb. Two were dropped on Japan. That ended WW II and saved me from what might have been my death at age 20. I was meant to live a long life.

    In 1925,the year I was born, Congress gave the IRS authority to examine personal records for income tax purposes. In 1973, I mailed a letter to U.S. Attorney General William B. Saxbe informing him that the United States was unconstitutionally taxing me and that I'd see him in court, and I did, in the October term of 1980. He represented the IRS in my case before the U.S. Supreme Court. I didn't need a lawyer. The Fifth Amendment gave me the right to due process of law. The IRS ended eating crow on the front page of The Palm Beach Post. The IRS called me a "Fifth Amendment freak." Now the IRS is hiding behind the Fifth Amendment. What a joke!

    On Good Friday 1975, I cut from the herd and went to sea. Two years later I left the sea with a charmed life. With my astrological makeup, little wonder. Jesus, who was predicted by Persian astrologers, said, "in earth as it is in heaven....But seek ye first the kingdom of God." He said the kingdom of God in in you. I'm here as an Aquarian messenger. In the Age of Aquarius, we become our brother's keeper.

  • Anonymous Icon

    steve_from_planet_earth Jun 04, 2013

    In regard to dustproduction Jun 03 and 04:

    Re evolution: "I visualize personal consciousness as a process of ongoing activity that modifies our felt situation as we go, morphing time and again into a wholly new situation, which we fail to address at our peril. Survival is somewhat like tennis: we've got to keep our eye on the ball at all times. A rhinoceros could rumble out of the bushes any moment or, more likely, a child chase a ball into the road ahead. The prize [of survival] goes to the ever vigilant, not merely the fast, strong, smart, and beautiful" (On My Mind, p. 185).

    Re becoming members of the galaxy: Our bodies are made of the exuviae of imploded supernovas subsequently coalesced into a planet orbiting an enduring source of radiant energy. One-celled organisms arose on that planet, and we are their elaborated descendants. I'd say we don't need a green card to become members of the galaxy.

    "Wherever on Earth we are born . . . we are born of woman, and born to the stars. We are Earth made flesh looking upon a vista of lights in the sky. From the outset we are of two natures, mortal and celestial. Our lower nature is hard to bear because so fraught with peril, temptation, and suffering. Our higher nature is stunning in its harmonious radiance and diversity. Our task in each case is to balance our two natures, not to revel exclusively in either one or the other. This creates a tension within us, a yearning for both familial warmth and heavenly illumination combined in one life" (on My Mind, p. 193).

  • Anonymous Icon

    steve_from_planet_earth Jun 04, 2013

    I didn’t grasp the space limit on my first post to this thread. Here’s a cut version.

    Consciousness, I find, is aroused by a disparity between two nerve signals, much as depth perception results from a disparity between images at corresponding points on the retinas of our two eyes. Such a disparity might arise between sensory patterns as remembered in contrast to those currently perceived, between expectancy and actual experience, or between the aim of a past action and the effect it achieves.

    I think of that disparity as a relative “valence” such as right or wrong, true or false, good or bad, like or dislike, attractive or repellant. If the valence indicates, for example, “that our impressions exceed or fall short of our expectations, then we become aroused, pay attention, and make a conscious effort to account for the difference so we can take appropriate action.” I think of a helmsman steering through fog by the deviance of his compass needle from his charted course.

    In this regard, I see the brain not as a computer but “as a vigilant comparator looking for the then in the now, and when not finding it, taking pains to update memory through conscious scrutiny.” That comparator is on duty whenever things, for better or worse, do not go as expected. Resulting in our streaming consciousness striving to keep up with events as they actually unfold in round after round of engagement.

    Our minds have many alternative routes from perception to action that largely sidestep consciousness. Reflexes, mimicry, rote memorization, and habitual routines, proceed unconsciously according to our habitual ways. But when things do not go as expected, our minds are roused to take unanticipated factors into account. Personal consciousness is situated between perception and action, where it plays the vital role of supervising our engagements for as long as we attend to a particular task.

    The take-away message of my book is that a course of introspection is advised if we are to take responsibility for the outcomes of our personal views and actions. Since every human mind is unique, only one person on Earth has both the motive and opportunity to acquaint any given mind. Our schooling often deals with abstractions, concepts, and generalities, leaving the particular workings of our minds for us to deal with on our own. This book provides examples of how we might do just that. I offer both humor and haiku as examples of “grappling with becoming aware of being aware” during moments that draw “us out of our everyday selves, heightening our engagement with life.”

    On My Mind: A New Vision of Consciousness is available at lulu.com. Search “Books” for “Steve Perrin” and you will come to it. The cost is $17.95 plus shipping.

  • Joseph Smith Jun 04, 2013

    Dustproduction, consider that no other life form on the planet has but a small fraction of the conscious awareness potential of humans. We humans determine how broad our awareness. Lower life forms don't possess that ability. Just why, we don't know, but a good guess is that we possess a quality that came from elsewhere.

    Ever since the Big Bang, the universe has been a process of connecting parts, due to energy sources such as gravity and electromagnetism. Without consciousness nothing could exist, so it is fundamental, and we of the highest order, surely not the only such beings in the universe.

    Einstein's famous formula, informing us that everything boils down to energy, the numbers used to determine this say it all begins with numbers. The ancients connected us with the universe through numbers, through astrology. Priestly orders held certain secret knowledge. This has been the case since our beginning. Apparently, the Nazis were privy to this secret knowledge. Aryan is some mysterious man. After WWII, it was discovered that Nazis had working models of "flying saucers." Nazi rocket scientists were brought to America to continue their work. Following this came "flying saucer" sightings, and the best kept secret of all times.

    The Freedom of Information Act brought a secret NSA document to a federal court. Federal judge Gerhard Gesell was to have a look at said document. When Gesell read an affidavit, this judge decided that nobody should view said document, not even himself. How many know what is in said document? I imagine information that has been held secret from ancient times and this will not change until those in control decide it is time to reveal what they know.

    We are currently in the death throes of the Age of Pisces. Pisceans are prone to go with the flow. They look to external factors for their lead. We now enter the Age of Aquarius, a time when we become our brother's keeper. One can imagine that we are entering the time what we become members of the galaxy.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Jun 03, 2013

    This sounds anecdotal.

    Any progress that has been made on the neurobiology of conscious minds includes three perceptives: 1) the "direct-witness" perceptive, our individual conscious mind, 2) the behavioral perceptive, observing others whom we believe also have conscious minds, 3) the brain perceptive, which allows for the study of certain aspects of brain function.

    But a fourth perceptive that can be considered, (one that has been absent from this discussion), is grounded in the facts from evolutionary biology and neurobiology. This requires us to note incremental changes in the nervous system and link them to incremental emergence of behavior, mind and self.
    Unless we consider conscious to be unique somehow to humans.

  • Anonymous Icon

    steve_from_planet_earth Jun 03, 2013

    Since memory is essential to our version of consciousness, I would say that any animal with more than motor memory is conscious to the degree it possesses a self situated between remembrance and perception in the now. Canines and many primates would seem to be conscious; I'm not sure about cats. I'd say they live more in the present without comparison to prior experience.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Jun 03, 2013

    Where would biological evolution fit into any on this?
    Are humans the only animals with a mind and consciousness?

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