Monday, October 23, 2017

Orders of Consciousness

Consciousness is sometimes hard to define but rather easy to measure since consciousness results in very particular patterns of electrical activity in the brain. The electroencephalogram or EEG indicates an unconscious versus conscious state and can differentiate different stages of sleep as well. Neural pathologies like epilepsy and coma also have very distinctive EEG spectra.

Consciousness comprises progressive orders of recursive neural emotion:
zero order: joy and misery, anger and serenity, infants less than two years old;
first order: pleasure of discovery versus anxiety of the unknown, children less than six;
second order: selfishness and compassion, bonding with others, long term memory, less than 18;
third order: pride and shame, bonding with civilization, adults;
fourth order: rapture of ecstasy, bonding with cosmos, passing away.

Consciousness is also a learned process from acting like others act just like learning to communicate with language by acting like others act. Therefore it is useful to rank the development of consciousness in general orders that the stages of human development define. When a child is first born, the two emotions of joy and misery pretty much determine the limits of that child's consciousness. Crying represents an infant's misery that a parent addresses while joy represents the looks and smiles and not crying then reinforces parental care.

A first order consciousness occurs by about age two or so when a child develops their first beliefs in space and time. First order consciousness means that a child understands that sources do not disappear but rather continue to exist even though the child no longer sees them. The primitive emotions of pleasure and anxiety drive an initial purpose in discovering the world and that first world is a very selfish one with many potential dangers.

Thus a second order consciousness occurs by about age six or so when a child begins to develop long term memories. Between two and six a child learns how to limit their selfishness with compassion for others and how to limit other's selfishness with anger and serenity. Selfishness is a necessary emotion for survival just as compassion is a necessary emotion for bonding with others just as anger is necessary to limit other's selfishness. The child's long term memory allows development of bonding with others and sets the stage for ascent into civilization. Schools bring children together for learning and social interactions that introduce pride in accomplishments as well shame to conform behavior to a norm.

Third order consciousness occurs by about age 18 or so when a child transitions to an adult capable of survival on their own with final emotion complement of pride and shame. Having developed a full complement of emotions, an adult is proud of the pleasure of discovery just as a child, but limits that pleasure by an appropriate anxiety about the consequences of shame. Driving an auto is a pleasant way to discover many things, but driving into a tree or another person is not something that is useful to discover.

Throughout life, a person experiences joy and misery along with anger and serenity in all of their endeavors, then pleasure and anxiety come next followed by selfishness and compassion. Finally, pride and shame are a necessary emotions for conforming to a social norm and a civilization of laws and justice.

The fourth and final order of consciousness occurs only after much experience in the world and does not necessarily occur for everyone. Fourth order consciousness is the rapture and ecstasy with the discovery that the physical world is really not quite what it seems like it is. Fourth order consciousness discovers the spectral nature of reality that underlies the apparent external reality of space and time with sources and observers. When we pass into oblivion with this knowledge and wisdom, we experience the rapture and ecstasy of that discovery.


Saturday, October 7, 2017

Wisdom of the Unknowable

There is a long history of discourse in philosophy and religion about the the dual natures of wisdom and knowledge. While knowledge is about remembering events and feelings that we discover, wisdom is how we use that knowledge along with feeling to discover and choose one of many possible and desirable futures.

Anything that happens in a determinate universe is in principle knowable with a knowable cause and so wisdom in a determinate universe is completely based on causal knowledge. Since feelings in a determinate universe all have knowable causes, determinism presumes people can always know why they make the choices that they make. In contrast, people actually live in a quantum and therefore uncertain universe, which means that there are many things that happen with unknowable causes. The unknowable causes  of the quantum universe represent unknowable knowledge, which is a mystery in which people must simply believe. As a result, people have feelings that they simply cannot explain and therefore they make some choices that they cannot ever really understand.

There are actually many questions that we can ask that have no answers even in a determinate universe. Why is the universe the way that it is? Why are we here? Why are we here right now? And why is it us and not someone else who is here right now? Many devout determinate believers simply do not ask these kind of questions that have no answers.

The many questions that do have answers are part of what is knowable while the questions that we can ask that have no answers are part of the unknowable and yet the unknowable also is part of wisdom. The further beliefs that anchor consciousness represent the fundamental wisdom of the unknowable.

There is a long history of religions attributing the wisdom of unknowable events to supernatural and therefore unknowable causes. Religions have created large amounts of wisdom over several thousand years and much of that wisdom derives from supernatural revelations. Much of religious wisdom helps guide human compassion and selfishness, which are two necessary and yet complementary emotions for bonding people together or causing conflict that separates people.

Religions also reveal wisdom about other emotion complements;  pleasure and anxiety, joy and misery, anger and serenity, and pride and shame. Pleasure and anxiety, for example, are the most important emotions for individual survival while compassion and selfishness are the most important for civilization and bonding. Religious wisdom reinforces emotions and feelings that help people survive.

Secular wisdom likewise depends on both knowable and unknowable beliefs and so secular wisdom still depends on some essential supernatural beliefs. People must simply believe in the way the universe is and that matter and action are what make up the universe. Secular wisdom also means that there is a unique pleasure that each person has in discovering the world along with a unique anxiety that helps them avoid the many dangers of the world.

Secular wisdom means that each person has a unique compassion along with a unique selfishness in relations with others. There are therefore many unique bonds that people form with other people that weave civilization into the fabric that is has become. Since the values of both religious and secular wisdom overlap, the difference between secular and religious wisdom is in the nature of the individual versus the collective. Secular wisdom promotes the value of unique individual wisdom while religious wisdom promotes the value of common collective wisdom.

Secular wisdom supports the unique self journey and destiny of each individual person in the universe while religious wisdom supports the common journeys and destinys of a collective.