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Forum nameOkay Activist Archives
Topic subjectNever too far
Topic URLhttp://board.okayplayer.com/okp.php?az=show_topic&forum=22&topic_id=21933&mesg_id=21979
21979, Never too far
Posted by janey, Sun Aug-20-00 08:59 AM
> Outside of our brains,
>do sounds exist? Sight?
> taste, touch? It's
>ALL a construct by which
>we make sense of the
>world. (Does this make sense
>to you? let me know
>if it doesn't)

It makes perfect sense to me. So then the next question would be: Is there a "self" or a "witness" or an "observer" that is observing the mind's constructs, or is that observer itself a construct of the mind?

Can the fish describe the water? Nahmean?

We keep digging a little deeper, a little deeper.

>I believe we have very limited
>control of our minds.
>We can all remember the
>name of the street you
>live on on demand.
>However, if you see somone
>you haven't seen in a
>long time and you can't
>remember their name for example,
>this is what "fires up"
>those neurons in the brain.
> Subconsciously, the brain will
>make associations with the face,
>or any other familiar feature.
>This will (sometimes) lead you
>to remember the person.

And if I say to you, "Don't think about a pink elephant" your mind will automatically conjure up a picture of a pink elephant, no matter how hard you try to stop it.

Or you hear something that reminds you of the most obnoxious song that was ever popular during your lifetime. And then for hours or days, that damn song keeps running through your head.

(TOTALLY IGNORABLE SIDETRACK FOLLOWS: Annie Dillard has this tremendous essay in, I think, Teaching A Stone To Talk, in which she describes the experience of a total eclipse. Getting to the place where they could view the total eclipse, finding a hotel to stay in, getting up before dawn so as to get to the mountainside where they would watch it. Numerous people there, all very comfortable with each other, the sun rises, the eclipse begins, people settle down to watch through their cameras obscura, then, just as the last sliver of sun is about to disappear, the shadow of the moon comes RUSHING up the mountainside to where they are and a lid just SLAMS shut over the sun. And while this shadow is rushing toward them she realizes that all these people around them are screaming. And then she realizes that she's screaming. Later, she learns that at total eclipses in the Middle Ages and such, people used to commit mass suicide, and she says she can understand why. And she describes the quality of the light, etc., and completes the experience and says that it was an incredible thing that she ponders from time to time. But, she says, in that hotel room where they stayed the night before, there was a picture on the wall of a clown's face, all made of vegetables. So the hair was carrots, and the head was a head of cabbage, and the lips were chili peppers, but the eyes were human eyes. And she said it kind of repelled her when she first saw it, and she thought, "Ugh what bad art." and dismissed it. But the picture of the clown's face still comes into her head unbidden at night when she's falling asleep or at odd times, and she has to consciously retrieve the experience of the total eclipse. Which, she says, she finds a little bit upsetting. She would rather flash on a peak experience like the eclipse, and not some piece of trash she saw inadvertantly.)

>The brain is just like a
>computer. When you run
>an application like Netscape for
>ex. all of your
>settings (personal info) are in
>RAM. This allows easy
>retrival of that information.
>If you try to open
>up a GIF or Jpeg(any
>external info) from your hard
>drive, that information must be
>read into(processed) RAM memory.
>It takes longer because the
>computer must analyze the data
>and make sure everything clicks
>so that you can see(remember)
>your picture. If the
>data is corrupted, either you'll
>get a distortion, or you
>won't see the image at
>all. This is not
>to say that your brain
>is corrupted, but the associations
>made probably led you to
>believe it was someone from
>high school, when it was
>really a neihgbor from your
>pre-adolescent days.

Interesting -- that folds right into the time issue, doesn't it, because it points us at the question of how the past is experienced -- as another mind construct. All that we have of the past is what we think about it. There really is only this moment, this moment, now, now, now, see where I'm going? So if there's a lag between the computer/brain receiving information and the computer/brain processing the information, then we are at all times living just a hair's breadth behind now. There it is -- whooops, got away.

I can't off the top of my head remember which cultural tradition this image comes from (bad computer!) but in Western culture we tend to talk about looking "forward" to the future. In this other tradition, the image is that the future is behind us, that time is flowing over us from behind -- which seems to be more apt to me. We're just standing at this point, watching our experience flow further away. Did I make that image clear? If not, I'll try to describe it better.

>The mind is a wonderful thing,
>aint it? We could
>probably talk about it for
>years and still end up
>asking the same question -
>Is all we are what
>we know? (that is the
>original question right?)

Entire ways of thought, entire religions get built around the question. Maybe what we're doing here is testing old theories against our personal experience, and coming to new ways of thinking about it. Maybe we'll even construct a new philosophical system....