A theory on the function of consciousness obligates that consciousness has a function but does not require an ascription of agency to conscious behaviour. Agency arises in relation to an action or an act of introspection as part of the self concept. The deception of self as agent, like that of an object as an independent existence, is created in the microgeny of the mental state. Consciousness is a necessary part of the autonomy of the self, the deception of choice, and the experience of an an independent world.
Part of the pathology of psychosis is a felt intuition of consciousness-as-product. This is not the aberration of an illness but the discovery of a reality beneath the appearance of choice and free will. The psychotic individual receives his own actions. His objects have a personal thought content, his thoughts go out like objects. The boundary between mind and world decomposes. The psychotic feels his body is no longer a center around which the world is distributed, but a local peturbation with other bodies in a sea of mental space. Psychosis is a revelation of the true state of affairs of the mental life.
Language, memory and imagery are ways of characterising action and perception at sequential moments. The axis of the continuum has a different phase-character at each microgenetic point. For example, long-term, short-term and iconic memory are characteristics of the perception at successive phases in the unfolding sequence. Configurations passing from depth to surface over action and perception deposit levels in mind that correspond with segments in the flow.
… the self is an intuition at a depth prior to memory that is remembered each moment into existence whereas images and objects are products in the process laying down the self. The memories of which the self is constructed do not rise up as contents for the self to observe. The memory of the self is like the image of a dream in a state of wakefulness. Once a memory separates from the self as an event that is recalled, the memory is no longer part of the self. Forgotten or unrevived memories are what the self is made of. The forgetting that occurs in the building up of the self is a clue to it’s role in the segmentation of the microgeny. It shows that levels are to be looked for not in memory, but on the other side of memory, in the process of forgetting.
An enduring self in a changing world is an outcome of accelerated fading at the perceptual surface and prolongation of traces at the depths.
The gaining of the self is partly a loss of the world. The self is reclaimed as the world decays. The reverse is also true; the world is won at the cost of the self. The self is depleted by the objects is creates and the closer one lives to those objects the further their source in the self. Thus one leaves the self for a locus in the world or abandons the world and withdraws to the self. The world is forgotten in the assertion of the self, while oneness with the world, and it’s timelessness, are achieved when the self is relinquished.
If the emergent step [of mind from brain] is only in the direction of the emergent state or property, the self is epiphenomenal. If the emergence is recurrent or relapsing and alters the preceding state, as two-way effect is conceivable. If the emergence is continuous, there would be continuous transformation of the preceding state. The question is whether a self that is an emergent property of the brain can reengage the brain to influence a subsequent mental state.
It is impossible to give a nonprobabilistic causal account of either the outcome or the determinants of a mental state since the change leading to or from the state, and it’s temporal surround, are always in the present. The prediction of future states in a component model is the recurrence of novel states in a microgenetic one.
Novelty, loss, the immediacy of the moment, the emergence of the now, the deliverance of contents with and into consciousness, the inability to know events other than those at the surface of the present state, growth and decay in relation to memory and duration, these are the principle themes of this work. Things, events, facts, all static references, reminiscence, mind and world, history and expectation, the self and it’s mythology, feelings, and values are momentary shapes in an ocean of eternal change.
Mind is duration without extension, timeless and spaceless, uncoupled from the universe of physical spacetime. The uncoupling is the basis on which mind develops. The process of life in change cannot be formulated in terms of physical space because the space that we know is generated by the mind of the viewer. Life is not defined by time because the duration of a conscious moment does not exist in the passage of nature. The past of a thing is what it becomes, it’s history a line drawn backwards in mind to account for the process of becoming. … The facts of a history and the belief in history are separate phenomena.
The continuity of change in the microgeny of cognition and the absence of change in the duration of the present are the paradox of the incompatibility of pure duration and continuous novelty.
When I examine the world around me, it seem everything is simultaneous relative to my point of view. The point is my mental state and the view is what is represented in that state. The view is not a perspective but a world that the perspective takes in. All the events and objects in my perceptual field are happening – in a process of becoming – at the same time.
The relation of precedence is establishes across two presents. The preceding event is a past event in the subsequent present, a type of recent memory. But even the memory of the first event in the present of the second event is a part of the present of the second event and simultaneous with it. The precedence is an inference about the relation between a current and past event, but in any case an inference about an object that is no longer in the present. Hence the irony that simultaneity exists but cannot be documented while succession can be documented but does not exist. (!! This whole page is great read btw)
One can speak of a world with a mind in it or one can speak about a mind with a world in it but one cannot speak of both.
(why not?? could we not conceive of a mind with a world in it in which arises the phenomena of mind? Perhaps not from the perspective of JB…)
Psychosis is not the intrusion of unreality into a mind that is otherwise stable but a penetration into the illusion of the stability. Psychosis is the nightmare that is waiting when one awakens form the dream of reality.
(not the only possible outcome however, from personal experience and the work of esteemed others who have sufficiently prepared for such awakening – and indeed such preparation is possible and even preferable to the outcome envisioned in this text IMO)
The scope of microgenetic theory, however, pertains to not only what the theory seeks to explain but to concepts just on the other side of explanation.
…consider the possibility of a space beyond the space of perception and the plausibility of objects independent of perceptual space. … Is the universe like an object in perception? If so, consciousness would be the dream of a world that is the dream and consciousness of God.