Monday, June 3, 2013

Consciousness, Society, Science

  - Physicists agree that the conception of matter they use, particles in movement, fields which move particles, is incoherent.
- Incoherent how?
- A thing is an idea: a collection of sights of certain shapes and other qualities that remain over time. A billiard ball is round and hard and heavy. That the ball stays in the same place or moves, we imagine through the idea of energy, which is a packet of invisible movement that is passed on from one ball to another, or one ball to itself. We can't imagine how that passing on happens.
- Why do the physicists say?
- Matter is crazy but it works. Einstein solved the problem of passing on at a distance presented by gravitational force by imagining curved space time, but no one can really imagine it. String theory, likewise. There are speculations that all of nature is a set of fields of energy which influence each other, a continuous merging, but the problem remains how the movement of force is communicated to things. We still can't imagine it.
- What can we imagine then?
- That our mental life is as it appears to us.
- How does it appear?
- As conscious. That means things, and awareness we are seeing things, or imagining them, or remembering them. We have perception, and awareness of perception at the same time.
- What is awareness?
- Yes: it is not simply a perception of perception. It is also the source of movement of our own body, and understanding, looking down on what "stands under" us, the movement of other bodies along with our own.
- How?
- We take responsibility for constructing over time, in our own history, the things we see.
- For making our perceptions.
- Yes. When we stand above and look down on it, in every thing we see a history, one sight after another. Then when imagining matter passing on energy, or energy passing on movement to matter, we incorporate elements of our experience of consciousness. It is a kind of stop and go at once, and it confuses us.
- The stop being the ideas, the definitions of a thing. And the go, awareness of movement that we get from consciousness.
- Yes.
- But matter is not conscious.
- No. We can't conceive of material science except as of things carrying on their backs little packages of consciousness.
- Crazy but it works.
- It works, but what are we to think when our science is setting out to prove consciousness depends on the material world?
- We're to think it's crazy too, but it works. What do you think?
- Physical things with their backpacks of invisible movement have nothing in common with mental things: love, beauty, truth, friendship, sympathy.
- How would you describe these mental things?
- As products of consciousness, they are movements.
- From where to where?
- From a world seen mechanically, which we want to escape, to a world of full awareness. We deliberately create the future out of the past.
- And when we are afraid, or angry?
- We carry packets of movement on our backs and pass them on to ourselves. We are passive, material like, we don't create.
- Can we imagine the world doing what we do - I mean, when we are going somewhere?
- We can, and many people try. The problem is, we can't know whether there is any pattern to the way we go back and forth between doing things in the world, and being conscious of ourselves in our achievement of getting out of the world. There may not be any rule. How well we take care of our confusions of being lost in the world depends on the world's response to our attempts. If we imagine the whole world acting like we do, attempting to get out of itself, there'd have to be a world outside it which it responded to, and we have of course no idea what that would be.
- So we don't know if the world is creative. And if we don't know, we can't imagine the energy of the things in the world being the world's conscious choice how to move things into better arrangements.
- No.
- But it might be a case of crazy but it works.
- Works how well? We don't know whether or how natural laws change or stay the same. Our economic structures appear like natural laws, and we believe they are unchanging things. We can ask whether state capitalism or federated cooperatives are more natural to human beings, but our answer might depend on when and for how long. We don't know.
- The movement we know from consciousness is the history that makes our perception of things, together with willing. How does the world look if we leave them out?
- As we see it when we are in love. Whole, unchanging.
- Everything that happens in the world is lined up and taken responsibility for as our perception, named as one thing, and loved?
- That's one way of putting it.
- Then what is matter and energy and the science of making predictions of how they affect one another?
- Something crazy but works.
- How does it work? Why does it work?
- Imagine we human beings weren't as we are now, organized by profession, social class, wealth, race. Imagine we were in the condition of nature as it is before it is made into a machine. What if I asked a human being, accustomed to making things in cooperatives, loving to give things away, if it were possible for people to live like we do now, whether it would work?
- I guess the question would arise, what did you mean by it working?
- I'd answer, it is done for its own sake.
- Our society is crazy but it works?
- Yes.

further reading:
The Cultural Foundation At The Tel Aviv Shopping Center