December 2013

* core consciousness

"The very act of making a choice is the distilling down and the getting to the core of what it is that you care about and what you want to say, really."
(Mike Leigh)

Extended consciousness can develop from core consciousness. Core consciousness operates in the present, rebuilding itself moment by moment, mapping out how the self is altered by external objects, draping perceptions with feelings. Extended consciousness, uses the same mechanisms, but now binds memories and language into each moment of core consciousness, qualifying emotional meaning with an autobiographical past, labelling feelings and objects with words, and so on. Thus extended consciousness builds on emotional meaning, integrating memory, language, past and future, into the here and now of core consciousness. The selfsame neural handshaking mechanisms allow a vast expansion of parallel circuitry to be bound back into the single moment of perception.

I find all this believable. And yet still the deepest question of all remains unanswered. How do neurons generate feeling in the first place? If consciousness is the ability to feel a feeling, to generate nuanced emotional meaning, a running commentary on the self in the world, the entire edifice dances on that pinhead of feeling: what philosophers call the problem of qualia. It's time to face the hard problem head on.

(Nick Lane, Life Ascending)


In 1976 my wife, Allyson, and I had an experience that changed our lives and our art. We sacramentally ingested a large dose of LSD and lay down. Eventually a heightened state of consciousness emerged in which I was no longer aware of physical reality or my body in any conventional sense. I felt and saw my interconnectedness with all beings and things in a vast and brilliant Universal Mind Lattice. Every being and thing in the universe was a toroidal fountain and drain of self-illuminating love energy, a cellular internal linknode or jewel in a network that linked omnidirectionally without end. All duality of self and other was overcome in this infinite dimension of spiritual internal linklight. I felt I had been there before, or perhaps in some way was always there. This was the state beyond birth and death, beyond time, our true nature, which seemed more real than any physical surrounding and more real even than my physical body. The clear light matrix arose out of a field of pure emptiness. As utterly convincing as it was, when the light receded, I opened my eyes to behold Allyson and our bedroom once again. I was somewhat shocked to learn that she had experienced the exact same transpersonal dimension at the same time, which we determined by our descriptive drawings and discussion of the awesome beauty of the state. This experience of the infinite net of spirit transformed our lives and gave us a subject that became the focus of our art and our mission.
(Alex Grey)

Rupert Sheldrake


"There are those who think that after death we go into a kind of underworld, and our destiny is to join the ancestors, and that basically we're just cycled back into a kind of eternally cycling pool of life. This is found in traditional societies where it's not believed that things change much over time, so the ancestors are constantly being recycled among the living, and they're a living force. But people don't have any individual destiny other than becoming merged with the ancestors."

"There's the view you find among Christians and Moslems, which is that there's another realm after this life in which you can undergo continued development or some further destiny, different destinies, depending on how you behave and what you want in this life. So, I mean there are many choices, and that's one of the areas in which choice or freedom comes in. We choose which of these kinds of destiny we want to align ourselves with. Or if we don't think about it or don't choose, then we just fall to the lowest common denominator."

"The idea of attractors, which is developed in modern mathematical dynamics, is a way of modeling the way systems develop, by modeling the end states toward which they tend. This is an attempt to understand systems by understanding where they're headed to in the future, rather than just where they've been pushed from in the past. So, the attractor, as the name implies, pulls the system towards itself. A very simple, easy-to-understand, example is throwing marbles, or round balls into a pudding basin. The balls will roll round and round, and they'll finally come to rest at the bottom of the basin. The bottom of the basin is the attractor, in what mathematicians call the basin of attraction.

The basin is, in fact, their principal metaphor. So the ball rolls down to the bottom. It doesn't matter where you throw it in, or at what speed you throw it in, or by what route it takes--what this model does is tell you where it's going to end up. This kind of mathematical modeling is extremely appropriate, I think, to the understanding of biological morphogenesis, or the formation of crystals or molecules, or the formation of galaxies, or the formation of ideas, or human behavior, or the behavior of entire societies. Because all of them seem to have this kind of tendency to move towards attractors, which we think of consciously as goals and purposes. But, throughout the natural world these attractors exist, I think, largely unconsciously. The oak tree is the attractor of the acorn. So the growing oak seedling is drawn towards its formal attractor, its morphic attractor, which is the mature oak tree."

Alfred Whitehead

"In formal logic, a contradiction is the signal of defeat, but in the evolution of real knowledge it marks the first step in progress toward a victory."

"Not ignorance, but ignorance of ignorance, is the death of knowledge."

"Almost all new ideas have a certain aspect of foolishness when they are first produced."

"No period of history has ever been great or ever can be that does not act on some sort of high, idealistic motives, and idealism in our time has been shoved aside, and we are paying the penalty for it."

"Speak out in acts; the time for words has passed, and only deeds will suffice."

"Fools act on imagination without knowledge, pedants act on knowledge without imagination."

"It requires a very unusual mind to undertake the analysis of the obvious."

"Man can acquire accomplishments or he can become an animal, whichever he wants. God makes the animals, man makes himself."

"The total absence of humor from the Bible is one of the most singular things in all literature."

"Without adventure civilization is in full decay."

"I have always noticed that deeply and truly religious persons are fond of a joke, and I am suspicious of those who aren't."

"The art of progress is to preserve order amid change and to preserve change amid order."