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

  • Don Salmon

    May 8, 2023 at 6:18 pm

    “Consciousness is the fundamental thing in the universe. All motion, all that exists, is nothing but the movement, the energizing of Consciousness.”

    Sri Aurobindo, who received the highest marks ever attained in Latin and Greek at Cambridge U, is considered by many to be the greatest philosopher in the history of India, possibly the equal of Plato, Aristotle and just about any other philosopher anywhere.

    It may be that he has a little idea about how to define a word.. The above sentence was taken from a letter written to a disciple, so it wasn’t the aim to give a precise definition. But we were so taken with it, we began over 6 chapters of our book on yogic psychology with it.

    You say it’s meaningless and we should focus on whether AI is or is not “conscious.”

    I notice so far neither you nor anyone else has responded to my posts on physicalism.

    I honestly and truly don’t believe there has ever been a religious belief or sect – and I’m including the craziest fundamentalists like those who believe in the rapture – who ever came up with an idea so utterly and completely incoherent as physicalism (world religions scholar Huston Smith tells of a psychiatrist who noted that according to strict DSM standards, it qualifies as a psychotic disorder; as a psychologist who has conducted several thousand evaluations, I agree)

    The problems with AI, as with climate change, war, famine, inequality, vulture capitalism, can never be addressed much less resolved as long as we have a psychotic view of the universe. Our minds have literally conjured up non-existent “things” like stars and planets etc that are made of some abstract stuff nobody can even define, and then we wonder why no matter what great inventions we come up with to save humanity, everything falls apart.

    All contemplative traditions have said this – the original idea of “sin” had almost nothing to do with morality but living in this delusional state. The Asian traditions are more explicit – we live in Ignorance. Not intellectual ignorance, but an ignoring of the Divine Reality in which St Paul – quoting a Greek poet from the 3rd century BC – tells us “we live and move and have our being.”

    Instead of Consciousness, you’re welcome to recognize God everywhere, omnipresent Her presence all pervading and all encompassing, or the all pervading Supreme Brahman, or – if you take a contemplative rather than scholastic view of it – the Tao, or Sunyata.

    None of these words, as you rightly imply, are capable of being truly defined in the ordinary intellectual sense, but they can be KNOWN directly, by identity because “Tat Twam Asi,” Thou Art That.