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Consciousness as a function of mental word use


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#18 Miranda

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 11:15 AM

is it normal ?

Yes, it is normal to think symbolically and metaphorically.

#19 lemit

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 10:41 PM

I think there's a problem.

Those of us who experience multilevel, multisymbol thinking can understand that some people don't think that way. I have a feeling, that has been reinforced here and in other places, that the people who don't think that way don't understand or don't accept (or both) the fact that we think the way we do. I'm not sure how to explain, but some of you should be able to guess what I'm talking about.

I don't know how to break that barrier and gain some acceptance for mental multitasking. I think we have a lot to offer.

Any suggestions?

--lemit

#20 Jway

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 12:08 AM

For any voice to have meaning there must be a symbolic language with syntax to communicate said meaning.


I find this to be inaccurate. Voice could sing inaudible words with uncommon 'meaning' and still communicate.
Clicking languages don't rely on typical syntax in order to communicate.


If God ever spoke without words or sound how could we ever know what he said?


Via feelings. This actually precedes symbolic languages.
I would also say via Revelation, though would reckon some here may not understood this intellectually, even while I know you know. Revelation that is transcribed as textual doctrine, is after the fact, and is indirect. It is symbolic of the actual communication that occurred. Revelation is knowing without words. IMO, this happens often.

Even if one hears voices that aren't there one needs to hear them via a symbolic language. Otherwise it would just be noise.


Au contraire. Symbolic language when spoken aloud is literally noise. Divine communication is entirely silent, where no noise is heard (by human faculty or senses). Also 'noise' is subjective interpretation. Is human voice singing a song with inaudible words only "noise?"

Interesting dialogue. Thanks for sharing.

#21 lemit

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 05:36 AM

If God ever spoke without words or sound how could we ever know what he said? Even if one hears voices that aren't there one needs to hear them via a symbolic language. Otherwise it would just be noise.

I would suggest looking at William James' "Varieties of Religious Experience." It explains exactly what the title says, that there are various ways of experiencing religion. Not all of them require language. It is James' assertion that they are just as valid as those that use language. Those of us who have participated in the "True Religion" thread on Hypography understand that in ways we can't explain to anybody who doesn't understand, simply because the experience has no language to attach to it. It is ineffable. A vast body of literature has attempted to effabulate it and has generally failed. That doesn't mean it isn't there. It just means it's outside the realm of language.

I'm starting to ramble in the way that people do when they start to talk about mysticism. Please forgive me.

--lemit

#22 Larv

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 06:09 PM

I find this to be inaccurate. Voice could sing inaudible words with uncommon 'meaning' and still communicate.
Clicking languages don't rely on typical syntax in order to communicate.

I agree, but birds and insects can do that too. I'm taking about a consciousness that can only manifest in the form of a symbolic language with syntax. Birds and insects don't have that, and I think human consciousness is quite different from the awareness of birds and insects.

Via feelings. This actually precedes symbolic languages.
I would also say via Revelation, though would reckon some here may not understood this intellectually, even while I know you know. Revelation that is transcribed as textual doctrine, is after the fact, and is indirect. It is symbolic of the actual communication that occurred. Revelation is knowing without words. IMO, this happens often.

What silent revelation could a human have in the woods that a deer couldn't?

Au contraire. Symbolic language when spoken aloud is literally noise. Divine communication is entirely silent, where no noise is heard (by human faculty or senses). Also 'noise' is subjective interpretation. Is human voice singing a song with inaudible words only "noise?"

I've never had the privilege of divine communication, so I wouldn't know for sure. But, yes, the noise a is subjective interpretation; it's the language that is objective.

Interesting dialogue. Thanks for sharing.

And thank you too. I used to think human consciousness had something to do with chakra or tantra or something like that, but I came to see that kind of approach as just another belief system. To me, the human consciousness inside Helen Keller was coaxed out and given voice on the back of a symbolic language. Nothing else could have helped here the way words helped her.

#23 Larv

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 06:20 PM

I would suggest looking at William James' "Varieties of Religious Experience." It explains exactly what the title says, that there are various ways of experiencing religion. Not all of them require language. It is James' assertion that they are just as valid as those that use language. Those of us who have participated in the "True Religion" thread on Hypography understand that in ways we can't explain to anybody who doesn't understand, simply because the experience has no language to attach to it. It is ineffable. A vast body of literature has attempted to effabulate it and has generally failed. That doesn't mean it isn't there. It just means it's outside the realm of language.

I will trust you when you say this happens. It hasn't ever happened to me that I know of, except maybe with a little acid here and there. But it all gives me concern because of Wittgenstein's central problem. "What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence."

I'm starting to ramble in the way that people do when they start to talk about mysticism. Please forgive me.

Nay, it's all part of the debate, I think.

#24 HydrogenBond

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 07:40 PM

If you had a table, which had a number of known objects on it, and one object was completely uncommon and never seen before, that one object would stand out and come to consciousness with impact. Being unknown, it may not have a name or way to describe what it is with words. The words will come second, as one tries find ways to compare it to things we already know. This would be a good experiment; compare things already with words to things without words to see which will become conscious stronger or faster. It may depend on the personality type.

Language will be needed to pass the experience to those who not there to see it, so they can become conscious of it. But if you said nothing and simply led them to it, they would also be conscious of it without any words. The trained scientific mind often looks for the odd ball that nobody has seen and give it words. Where words come in, relative to the unknown, is analogous to the fable of Rumpelstiltskin. If you can guess his name, you will gain control and be able to weave straw into gold.

Since I saw the unknown object on the table, first, I will call it Fred, so we can weave the unknown straw into gold. This will help the nebulous unknown seem more controllable for everyone. This is second experiment. Leave the unknown object without a name for some groups, and give it a word or phrase for other groups, to see which retain consciousness of it longer.

The third experiment is show known object and ask the name; apple. Then show unknowns and ask for the name. In this case, the group should linger longer trying to s braining storm words until they agree on a Rumpelstiltskin so the straw can become gold for language.

#25 Jway

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 01:53 AM

What silent revelation could a human have in the woods that a deer couldn't?


How does this follow from what is being discussed?
If I pretend like I am following along, I would say in this moment, that silent revelation is very similar, if not same, for all conscious life and/or sentient beings. I'd tend to go with conscious life.


I've never had the privilege of divine communication, so I wouldn't know for sure. But, yes, the noise a is subjective interpretation; it's the language that is objective.


You've had divine communication. Everyone has. I find it implausible to not have it. But permissible to forget about it and/or disassociate with it.

What do you mean "language is objective?" Other than mathematics, I'm not sure I could agree.


I used to think human consciousness had something to do with chakra or tantra or something like that, but I came to see that kind of approach as just another belief system. To me, the human consciousness inside Helen Keller was coaxed out and given voice on the back of a symbolic language. Nothing else could have helped here the way words helped her.


You are talking to a "word" guy. I appreciate highly the written word. But at same time, my appreciation for "unspoken language" runs deep. I'm not saying one is inherently better, and thus far, I find it easier to communicate with humans via symbolic language. Yet Revelation, I find, feels instinctively natural and I believe precedes symbolic language each and every moment. I don't know about you, but I've had experience where symbolic language suddenly showed up as not making sense and while there could be several descriptions of what occurred in that moment for me, I find that symbolic language rests on faith first and logic second. Logic is in there, it's just secondary to what's really going on, in my experience.

#26 lemit

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 05:49 AM

I will trust you when you say this happens. It hasn't ever happened to me that I know of, except maybe with a little acid here and there. But it all gives me concern because of Wittgenstein's central problem. "What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence."


Don't trust the acid, trust me. It has happened. My own experience is that I don't know what has happened to me until long after. The rational, literate part of me rejects what the irrational part of me has experienced. But I know, in retrospect, that I have experienced something.

Nay, it's all part of the debate, I think.


It's something beyond that. It's the circular, rambling, spinning argument that is being drawn into a vortex it knows exists but denies. It is what people do drugs to get, but they, like Jway has suggested, already have it inside them. It is at the same time sense and nonsense.

Thank you for dragging things out of me I've never told anybody because I was sure they would laugh at me. To find somebody who disagrees but still discusses this kind of stuff respectfully is really wonderful.

Again, thank you.

--lemit

#27 Larv

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 12:32 PM

How does this follow from what is being discussed?
If I pretend like I am following along, I would say in this moment, that silent revelation is very similar, if not same, for all conscious life and/or sentient beings. I'd tend to go with conscious life.

Fine. But how you differentiate that kind of consciousness from human consciousness? I don't disagree that birds and bugs are conscious, in fact they can be knocked unconscious, but they are not conscious in the same way humans are conscious.

You've had divine communication. Everyone has. I find it implausible to not have it. But permissible to forget about it and/or disassociate with it.

I'm not at all clear how you can speak for me when I have already spoken for myself. Do you know more about me than I do?

What do you mean "language is objective?" Other than mathematics, I'm not sure I could agree.

A language has rules that are objective, but one can do all sorts of subjective things with language, such as pretend it doesn't matter when you're talking about human consciousness.

You are talking to a "word" guy. I appreciate highly the written word. But at same time, my appreciation for "unspoken language" runs deep.

Do you mean something like the unspoken language between flowers?

#28 Larv

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 12:43 PM

Don't trust the acid, trust me. It has happened. My own experience is that I don't know what has happened to me until long after. The rational, literate part of me rejects what the irrational part of me has experienced. But I know, in retrospect, that I have experienced something.

Perhaps coming to grips with your experience in a literal way is the necessary process of gaining human consciousness.

It's something beyond that. It's the circular, rambling, spinning argument that is being drawn into a vortex it knows exists but denies. It is what people do drugs to get, but they, like Jway has suggested, already have it inside them. It is at the same time sense and nonsense.

I think Helen Keller had the potential for human consciousness, which was actuated by communication with her therapist. That could not have happened without employing a symbolic language with syntax.

btw: Why couldn't human consciousness be an extended phenotype, in the Dawkinsian sense, emerging with the invention of a symbolic language?