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Monday, December 8, 2014

Goals and Problems, part two

This essay will make more sense if you look at ‘part one’ first.

The species of great ape to which I belong is characterized by an adaptation unique in biological history: it stores and sorts information gathered from the senses in such a way that the information can be constructed into a “reality” separated from the biophysical Reality in which it originated [1].  This process (adaptation) began in small ways; that is, little sub-realities were manufactured from primary biophysical Reality (as perceived by sense organs).  These sub-realities were (are) of two types: (1) summarizing images or maps of experience and (2) what-if constructions that project details of experience into forms that have not yet occurred, and thus, have not been experienced in fact [2].

There are great and far-reaching implications of this adaptation, but at the moment I am interested in how goals, problems and solutions are created in a goal-less, problem-less and solution-less universe.  The previous essay ends with this with this conundrum.

First and most obviously, given that the whole nature of our adaptation is to create reality-less “realities” as models for specific actionable parts of the biophysical Reality, then the structures upon which our operating systems are based are illusory; a great part of our difficult in getting on in present world results from our failure to realize this simple fact [3].  But, since we are, today, almost entirely dependent of the illusion – as a way of actually acting in Biophysical Reality – giving up illusion is not an option.  This doesn’t mean, however, that we cannot or must not recognize illusion, just that when we do recognize it, the machinations of the illusion must be continued until they can be replaced with increasingly less illusory designs.

The reason for this is the way the Consciousness System of Order functions.  Just as genetics is the means by which organisms change to fit their environments (natural or human contrived), so CSO processes are the way that human adaptation proceeds. And the CSO functions on illusions organized from non-random details of Biophysical Reality.  At the most basic level, there is no ground, no tree, no animal, no stream or ocean.  These are atom particles (and smaller) assembled and functioning by principles both of actionable importance and irrelevant to living things.  All living things function at this most primary state of “illusion,” being uninfluenced by and “unaware” of many of the most essential aspects of the physical universe.  The human species has carried this “unawareness” to unprecedented levels, acting in the world as if only their illusory constructions were and are real.

At the most simple level, humans tend to see goals, problems and solutions as central to their existence.  These are the forms by which experience is organized.  In almost all other organisms environmental events are routed through genetically designed physiological and neural processes: there are no goals, problems or solutions; there are only responses.  For humans, CSO processes have been inserted in between environmental sensory event and response [4].  This insertion has, from all the other possibilities, taken the form of goals, problems and solutions.

There is only one reason not to just abandon ourselves to this design; it is an illusion.  So long as environmental Reality had an immediacy in our responses, the illusion was a powerful adaptive device giving the human animal great advantages.  But, as our “successes” grew, becoming exponential, the illusion has come to challenge Reality and has taken primacy in human life.  It is difficult to image a more dangerous situation.

The major events of our present world can be seen as a conflict between the application of the illusions within which we are immersed and the environmental Realities that are impinging on our actions (and that our actions are impinging on!).  There can be no parsing of goals, problems and solutions to the existence of 7 billions of 150 pound animals roaming the earth uprooting its forests, stripping off its soils, exposing the surface to toxic subsurface materials, polluting the surface waters, changing the composition of the atmosphere and so much more.

We can imagine no goal; we can define no problem; there is no solution.  There is only the illusion that our illusions will continue to be effective.

[1] The argument can be quite cogently made that all nervous system – even all physiological – responses to environmental events are sub-reality models and not the environmental realities themselves.  These response systems are sensitive to specific movements of the totality and therefore are not an exact representation of that totality; it could not be otherwise since living systems are specialized material/energy arrangements using very particular parts of the totality to sustain their form and function.  I would argue, however, that there is an immediacy in the relationship of the Living Order to the Physical Order that ties its response models to the biophysical totality, an immediacy that the Consciousness Order is adapted to defeat just as the Living Order is adapted to defeat the immediacy of entropy.

[2] It must be noted that such consciousness created “experience” has no reliable way to be distinguished from sensory-based experience and has become a major source for the dis-integration of human functionality within biophysical functionality.

[3] Some examples to clarify: religions, economic models, political systems, social systems are all illusory: that is, they are based on constructed “realities” with no basis in biological or physical Reality.  They are entirely constructed in consciousness process and exist only as the Stories that we tell about ourselves.  This doesn’t mean, however, that we can do without them; they are the product of the primary human adaptation.  They are simply out of control (by Biophysical Reality) at the present time.

[4] CSO processes are operated on a neural substrate, but are more than a nervous system process in the same way that the primary energy exchanges of life are operated on the behaviors of electrons: the motions of the ameboid cells of a slime-mold would never be predicted from the qualities of an electron!