[ExI] consciousness and perception

The Avantguardian avantguardian2020 at yahoo.com
Fri Jan 23 20:44:27 UTC 2009

--- On Wed, 1/21/09, John K Clark <jonkc at bellsouth.net> wrote:

> "Brent Allsop" <brent.allsop at comcast.net>
> > it has completely blown me away how many alleged
> leading thinkers, people
> > that are considered 'peers' for leading
> journals..., that aren't even
> > aware of what a representational view of perception
> is.
> Did you even consider that there may be a reason for that?
> Probable the
> leading thinkers aren't paying much attention to the
> "representational view"
> is that there is no "is" there, the idea is
> empty; it can suggest no new
> experiments to perform nor can it give theoreticians any
> help. Nor is there
> any way to prove it wrong so it's not science, it's
> not even philosophy,
> it's blather.

I don't quite get what you mean, John. Do you think that you directly perceive fundamental reality at full resolution? There have been many experiments that demonstrate that this is not the case.

For example take the following test:


As you can see this is an example of how incomplete our mental representations of reality really are. Under the right set of conditions one can fail to notice the blatantly obvious. This effect called inattentional blindness can have deadly consequences as when people talking on cell phones crash their cars or life guards fail to notice drowning victims lying still on the bottom of transparent swimming pools:


Conversely under a different set of conditions one can perceive differences, dimensionalities, colors, and motions that do not in reality exist in an image. That is the basis of these optical illusions:


Phantom limbs would also fall under this category.

> I take that back, you did mention one experiment, from a 7
> year old issue of
> Wired, but I am not impressed and the reason I'm not
> impressed is that I
> feel you need to play fair.

Could you summarize the experiment in Wired? While it is true that one can be manipulated into these false or incomplete perceptions, one commonly encounters them naturally in ones environment all the time. In a way, the Ptolemic astronomical system, with the sun and the moon revolving around the earth is just such an illusion. So is the old flat earth model. The ancients were not entrely *stupid* in these matters. They simply trusted their perceptions and their perceptions were mistaken. "I don't have to shorten the table legs on one side therefore the world must be flat."
> The following noise that I make with my mouth "A
> medium-size phosphene,
> about 5 inches from my face" is NOT a medium-size
> phosphene, about 5 inches
> from my face.

The sounds coming from your mouth are not so much perceptual representations as abstract sound symbols. The abstraction removes them even further from the underlying reality than the faulty perceptual representation in ones mind. Yet these sound symbols can also convey information that ones senses are blind to like the mass or chemical composition. 

To read about the moon is even further removed from the actual moon than simply seeing the moon. Yet even seeing the moon is still not the moon. You think you see the moon but the actual moon cannot fit in your head. How is that possible unless what you perceive is a representation of the moon that is at much lower resolution, computational complexity, and size than the actual moon? And if you attest that you truly see the actual moon, than how many total flags are on it? 

If you truly perceive your real body, then how many wrinkles do you have? Your perceived ego self is but a distorted low resolution map of a body self that doesn't fit in your head. And your body resonates with the energies of the universe. The only reason you can even see a star is because that star's energies are causing chemical reactions in your retina. It is only your ego self that prevents you from realizing that you and star are part of the same network of light.   

> By the way how much progress has the representational view
> made in the last
> 7 years? Could that be another reason why the "leading
> thinkers" aren't very
> interested?

Perhaps because they are heavily invested in their own delusions.

> You announce with great fanfare that electromagnetic
> radiation with a
> wavelength of 700 nm is not identical to the sensation that
> we know of as
> red. Well duh!

That's a categorical quibble. Red is a generalization of an infinity of wavelengths tucked away between 650 and 750. Is John Clark identical to a human being?
> It's obvious to me that red is the way matter reacts
> when it is organized in
> a johnkclarkian way, probably it is also the way matter
> reacts when it is
> organized in a brentallsopian sort of way, but I'll
> never be certain of that
> last point.

The number of people stopped at a metropolitan red-light is pretty convincing empirically. It doesn't matter how your brain parses red so long as it is consistent and accurate to within a few tens of nanometers.
> But you'll have none of that, you insist that there
> must be something more
> to the sensation of red than what atoms do; and although
> you don't actually
> tell us what that "something" could be there is
> only one thing it could be,
> a soul. I don't find any great mystery in the fact that
> the "leading
> thinkers" are reluctant to go back to the middle ages.

There is but one soul and you are an instantiation of it. The parameters that have been passed to you by the subroutine call however have been unique.

Stuart LaForge

"There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come." - Victor Hugo


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