Reply To: Stop Press: AI researchers install a Right Hemisphere

  • Don Salmon

    April 17, 2023 at 5:08 pm

    Hi Whit

    Not sure I’ve correctly understood your post, but maybe if I address one particular point it might help make it clearer.

    My apologies first, as I see I’ve used “consciousness” in the sense they use it in Indian philosophy (and in Yoga in general) so obviously, since I haven’t made that explicit, it would be confusing.

    So if i understand you, you’re talking about the question of the extent to which collections of things (plants, animals, humans, machines, whatever) are “conscious.”

    Actually not just in Indian philosophy but universally among contemplatives, “Consciousness” (with a capital “C”) is the energy of which all “things” in the universe are made of.

    So in a way, from that perspective, there ARE no “things” – not in the sense of some independent, self-existent “thing”

    Ah words, this is all sounding so abstract. Let me see if I can make it more concrete.

    Say I have some tightness and pain in my lower back (In fact, I do, very mild though). Now, as long as I relate to that pain as a “thing” – it is kind of an enemy, or at least, something “I” – separate from the “Pain” want to modify, fix, control, etc.

    Furthermore, it feels, at first, like “I” am a “thing” which is inhabiting another “thing” which we call a “body.”

    Lucy Fleetwood gave a very nice phrase recently – to recognize that which is seeing “through” our eyes, that which is aware through our mind, but which (to paraphrase the Kena Upanishad) “the mind is not aware of, which the eyes cannot see.”

    So a little shift takes place. Suddenly, instead of being a localized, spatialized, temporal “thing” – I’m everythign, in and as everything. The AI software AND its output, the microorganism AND its “mental consciousness,” the stars, the sun, the planets are no longer things but formations, waves, in the all pervading ocean of Conscious-Energy (“Chit Shakti,” in Sanskrit.

    Or to put it in religious language, I have a direct visceral recognition that we (quoting St Paul quoting a secular Greek poet) “live and move and have our Being in Her” (well, Paul used the male pronoun but hopefully you get the point>))

    She then is everywhere, everywhen, nothing but Her – the object or thing is Her, the consciousness is Her, the skeptic and atheist and denier is Her.

    I hope that didn’t make it more obscure!!