Mind is the sole self-intelligible thing, and therefore it is entitled to be considered the fountain of existence. - C.S. Peirce
An ordinary object is an encounter, an artwork is an experience. … Ordinary objects can become works of art when perceived from a certain point of view. The difference is one of emphasis, not kind. How this difference is understood depends on a theory of perception.
The belief in an inner and outer world and the springs of behaviour that stem from such a belief are implicit, covert, and deeply ingrained in the psyche.
Are the neocortical zones the standard model loci of initial processing, or do they mediate endpoints of perception as postulated in microgenetic theory?
For microgenetic theory, the quarrel is with the standard model of perception, not action, for perception is interpreted in the same way as production, as an expressive activity that goes out to the world. … The point is that objects take on aesthetic value not by an addition of psychic qualities, but by an accentuation of those qualities as segments prior to their objectification.
From a temporal standpoint, the object includes, as part of what it is, all the phases traversed in its perception, including the subject. That is, the object “out there” has a microtemporal structure that includes earlier phases that lay down the subject. We speak of subject and object, but to be more precise, they are subjective and objective segments in the same act of cognition.
People are quicker to note differences than similarities. However, instead of demarcating and analysing, one finds if one looks more closely that what appear to be distinct nodes in a category, or separate domains of function, are gradations with indistinct borders that are constantly changing and merging.
Value is the bridge form aesthetics to ethics. Central to the continuum is the concept that value is allocated at different segments and in different proportions to the transition form self to object, from drive and intrapersonal desire as one polarity, to attention, then realness and extrapersonal worth at the other. In the compromise of other-centered self-denial and drive-based egoism, the subjectivity of conceptual feeling, in art or ethics, confronts the objectivity of custom and/or approval.
A perception is an adaptive model of the world. The stability of this model is due to its recurrence.
The object is more alive when the life of the artist or observer is engaged.
The timeless objects of aesthetic contemplation become actual through the observers emotions and ideas, while the living things that have our moral attention incite a timeless obligation to protect and trust.
The saint embodies in his acts the ideal of goodness, genius embodies in its works the ideal of beauty. In art, self-realisation trumps obligation, in ethics, in the saintly or compassionate person, they are aligned.
Language tends to fractionate feeling and dispel it over time, art concentrates feeling with greater immediacy. Unlike art, which has been increasingly liberated from mimicry, even tradition and communicability, language cannot escape realism without becoming incoherent or ejaculato.
The attribution of mentality to an artwork or natural object, i.e. the presence in the object of the creative power of a genius or a god, is a species of animistic thought, but it is the first step in a transition from aesthetic to moral concepts.
In that beauty is contemplative and goodness is instrumental, the relation of beauty to morality is like that of perceptual commitment to conceptual obligation. In this respect, there is a comparison of philosophy to life, or theory to behaviour, which is the relation of thought to action, choice to decision, need to satisfaction.
Universality is sameness over difference, in space, time or context. However there are no exact repeatables. Each entity individuates a relational whole, so supra-ordinate or categorical universals are as fictitious as isolated particulars. The idea of an absolute repeatable is motivated by a desire to introduce conceptual stability into a world of change.
The enduring self in relation to the succession of acts is a relation of a category to instance, perhaps it is even the nucleus of the idea of universal and particular.
The concept of a generic category opposed to a particular instance arises as a whole/part relation in time consciousness. The temporal incrementation of spatial wholes, or the elaboration of succession out of simultaneity, is the creation of time order out of non-temporal wholes.
… consistent with the microgenetic account of the sculpting that occurs in every act of cognition. The process of specification leaves the category behind as the part individuates.
The relation of the good to good and bad acts, like that of perfection to genius or corruption, is also a relation of the ‘timeless’ to the temporal.
A population is not involuntarily subjugated by rulers that arise within its ranks. Its beliefs and values create the conditions in which the corruption and oppression flourish.
Ultimately, ethics and aesthetics fuse in a life of self-realisation. What is at stake is authenticity of character.
Microgenetic theory is the basis of an account of ethical conduct and aesthetic feeling in the recurrent specification of acts and objects out of the self, i.e. as self-realisations of character and personality. … The starting point is the description of the mind/brain as a process of self-realisation.
From a process standpoint, art and conduct move from subjective wholes to objective parts. In both, the subject feels the centrality of personal value and motivation. However, the subjective is revived in recreating an artwork, which is vetted fro its power to induce this revival in others and the depth of feeling evoked. Conduct is also vetted by those who revive the act in the imagination according to their valuations, but unlike an artwork, conduct is not revived concretely, only a judgement of its context and consequences. This leads to external judgements in conduct, internal ones in art.
The first step in the development of consciousness is for the subject to perceive a separate world.
In the animistic world, names for things are of the same essence as the things they name.
The totem recedes from a present object to a past image, where it becomes as symbol or metaphor.
The changed objectivity of the world changes ones relation to it. In the shift from reason to animism or paralogic, the relations intrinsic in an object become relations external to them. Perception is conceived in terms of its impact on the observer. The internal relations that generate mind and world are interpreted as external relations between objects, or between them and the human mind or the mind of god.
… the individuation of custom to law is the beginning of a reasoned sense of personal responsibility or obligation.
Mind assimilates the object world by fitting it to a complex tapestry of beliefs, magical and rational. The adaptation of magical or paralogical mechanisms, such as metaphor, is as intricate and interlocking as the behavioural adaptations of animals. Every organism seeks coherence with the environment at successive stages of its growth. The animal survives in a world of object nature; primitive cognition adapts to a psychic nature of its own invention.
… biological adaptation to the natural environment passes to psychic adaptation to a supernatural environment, finally to rational adaptation to a social environment. The one is nature as it is, the other mind invested in nature, the last, culture, a pure creation of thought. While these three levels of adaptation, the drive-based or instinctual, the Para logical and the rational, occur in three different environments – biological nature, psychic nature and the conventions of reason – all three intervene in everyday life. Drive and paralogic are preliminary phases that prefigure conscious concepts and conduct. Every action and thought traverses and conveys the residue of these phases.
Values good and bad arise from beliefs, true or false, that are supported by arguments, logical or irrational. Values are corrupted by false beliefs and corrected by reason, but goodness is ultimately a matter of positive values, however they may be instilled, not the reasons that justify them. … Rhetoric can alter beliefs that instil new values or distort old ones. Rhetoric has its effect, I would claim, less by verbal persuasion than through a kind of hypnotic identification that is parasitic on innate empathy.
The reversion to the mentality of the mob that is fulminated by paralogical or metaphoric thinking and faith based argument is attractive to many because it satisfies preconceptions regardless of whether or not they are true.
For a custom to be an ethic, the valuation invested in the action must shift from the societal or institutional mentality of tradition or religious belief to character and conscious decision. The custom has to be understood and willingly accepted. Personal values in addition to those of community, whether tribal, religious or legal, and the awareness of good and bad or right and wrong are essential for actions to be truly moral. … Moral enlightenment requires the individual to say ‘yes’ to the needs of a wider humanity, but it also requires the individual to say ‘no’ to the oppressive din of a brutal or insensitive majority.
The transition from instinctual nature, to a psychic universe of the supernatural, to a rational world of social interaction, involves a progressive detachment or a retreat from an immediacy of contact, as levels in though-development create a succession of social environments. Yet all three worlds – nature, magic and reason – are serially engaged in every act of cognition.
We learn form phylogenetic or ontogenetic growth patterns that behaviours are not laid down as nested complexes that reappear in pathological states; rather the behaviour is a signpost of the process that deposits it. Thus the paralogic that leads the native to believe a man is a tiger, or a schizophrenic to believe he is Christ, recurs in ordinary cognition in conventional metaphor, in novel concepts and artistic creation.
Ontogenesis is a translation of the genome by way of epigenetic patterns into morphology and behaviour. Learning is parasitic on this process and is itself a form of growth. The individuation of species in evolution is played out in the morphogenesis (epigenesis) of organisms, and this pattern continues in the microgenetic individuation of an act of cognition.
The postulate of a physical ground, a chemical mediator, a rule or directive that operates on epigenetic process, leaves the process itself untouched. This process is the growth or morphogenesis of organic form, and its replication in the derivation of an act of cognition (microgenesis).
The knowledge of the structure of a molecule of H2O does not convey the property of liquidity. Quantum theory does not predict DNA, nor the reverse. Neuron theory or cell synapse models do not predict the field effects of neuronal networks or populations. Even within a purely biological series, the systems approach entails a discontinuity across levels. This difficulty is never so pronounced as in the transition from a non-cognitive to a cognitive series. In fact the approach offers a correlation of levels, not a translation, reduction or emergence of one level to another, nor an identity across levels, nor an account of the progression over the (physical or mental) hierarchy.
The facility with which the qualitative is eliminated in the rush to explanatory reduction is astonishing, in the light of what is left unexplained. We might keep in mind Hartsthorn’s remark that “our ignorance is not to be turned into negative knowledge of the things ignored.” The explanatory power of the reductive agenda is illusory.
Conduct is as tightly and reciprocally conditioned by the cultural landscape as morphology is by the physical one.
Moral conduct is a path of growth not a destination.
The missing link in the transition from adaptation to moral conduct, from evolution to cognition, can be found in a psychology of intrapsychic processes.
An organism’s evolutionary history translates to patterns that deposit its social history, as human memory and language (memes) replace instinct and genes as the vehicles that transmit the past into the present.
The reconciliation of social pressure with individual freedom is a “work in progress”, not a settled fact. The surge to novelty, the adaptive nature of action, the positive dispositions that guide its formation, are a search for creative solutions to the changing world of each new perception.
All entities from the simple to the complex, individuate a universe of timeless possibility into durations of inner and outer dependencies. The more complex the whole, the more distributed its value. We are , with all entities, contrasts with the other, individuality and adaptation, nature and community.
There is a tendency to think of desire as an energetic impulse when, in fact, it is the affective tonality of concepts. Concepts are not affect-free assemblages of words but categories of ideas and feelings.
The fit or coherence of individual and community is, from an objective standpoint, an extra-personal version of the coherence (authenticity) of concepts with the contextual structure of the human mind. Neither coherence nor adaptation alone is sufficient. One can begin with an assumption and develop a whole system of thought that is coherent yet false. Both coherence (authenticity) and conformance (adaptation) are necessary.
Verbal concepts or propositions are, intuitively, more obvious products of the mind than perceptions, which for most people appear to be mind-independent. But how can the objectivity of concepts or propositions be decided if the objectivity of perceptions is in doubt? The objectivity of propositions and perceptions has to be inferred in some sense form their adaptive success, which is ascertained in the complementarity of the conceptual structure of the mind in respect to physical and mental objects.
According to process theory, belief, concept and fact are successive phases. The belief is the context behind the proposition., which actualises a portion of the context from which it is derived. Facts are perceptual actualities, propositions are linguistic ones. A proposition is a linguistic object. The correspondence of a proposition to a fact or object is, more precisely, the coherence of linguistic and perceptual objects in the mind of an observer.
The coherence is across actualities in the linguistic and perceptual streams of an act of cognition, i.e. parallel outflows of a common belief system. In the contextual background of a linguistic or perceptual act, the process through which the act is realised will be a vital part of the act itself.
In the human spirit, as in the universe, nothing is higher or lower; everything has equal rights to a common center which manifests it’s hidden existence precisely through this harmonic relationship between every part and itself. ~ Goethe
There problems of space and time, identity and change, or object and process are critical to any philosophy that refuses to ignore it’s metaphysical roots.
Before identity, the temporal boundary distinguishes an object from an event.
One can say that the distinction of object and event, especially with respect to a solitary object, depends on it’s rapidity of change, or the degree to which the object is transformed.
The point is that identity is conceptual or categorical. It involves an event-recurrence within a category. An object individuates a concept within an event-category. The smaller the category, the closer we get to the identity of individuals.
Though we speak of objects for convenience, there are no objects, only events, and there is no exact description of an event. How could there be an absolute sameness across moments if the object or event at a given moment cannot be fully specified?
If there is no ineluctable quantum of value that determines for all observers what an object or event is, or what the constitutive properties of an event are, given the viewer-centred nature of constitutive properties, the causal role of those properties will depend on their valuation.
Objects can either be absorbed into events or they can be conceived as persisting with properties that change as the event transpires. In the latter instance, the change in the event is usually interpreted as an attribute or ‘predicate’ attached to the object.
…process thinking entails an event ontology. For microgenetic theory, an object is always an event. It is not a slice in time but has a temporal history, minimally the change that actualises the object, it’s momentary becoming-into-being. The event is the development of the object in a succession of phases over a duration of existence. An object is a theoretical construct in an extended duration that includes a no-longer-existing-past.
In process theory, change results from novelty in recurrence, with stability achieved in perceptual epochs. In positivism or logical atomism, change tends to occur in the properties, the object itself remaining unchanged. Put differently, the epochs of process theory are irreducible changes through which objects and properties are generated, whereas the atoms of positivism are irreducible solids in which properties are ingredient, or to which they are attached.
An ostensibly stable object such as a rock or a tree, not to mention a particle or a person, is as much an event as a hurricane. (!!)
[Quoting Hart (1949)] Once we realise that the discharging and transition of energies are the only perceptible and apperceptive constituents of reality, physical as well as mental and social, the meanings of ideas and propositions stopped being attributes which we could add to, or subtract from the objects, arbitrarily. Experience became the sole arbiter.
If experience is the world received in the senses, that world is not experienced at all, while if experience is the world of perception, it is a derivation, a model or mirror of the world of sense.
The object does not rest on – but consists of – it’s infrastructure; what the individual brings to the perception is an inherent part of the perception, not something the individual adds to or takes away from an object.
…the philosophy of experience has to be based in the actual nature of experiential objects. This actual nature is not the bare object but the full process of it’s actualisation.
External relations are either independent of objects or part of them. If they are independent, how do they bring the objects into relation? If they are part of them, where does the object end and the relation begin?
The view advanced here is not situated in the contemporary philosophical discourse over internal and external relations, which equates relations with properties and assumes terms that have or do not have these properties. To identify a relation with a property petrifies it in language. Once this step is taken, and given the assumption that terms are not themselves bundles of relations, the conclusion is inevitable that relations are external to terms. The position take here on the other hand, arises in the context of a general monist theory (microgenesis) on the relation of thought to reality. On this view, natural relations within objects, or within the mind/brain, and by implication within non-cognitive entities, are internal to the totality of nature or cognition, in which every particular is a momentary contrast.
The relations that constitute events are not themselves actualities, but rather potentialities or possibilities. Were the dynamic of a relation to actualise, it would freeze as an object and lose it’s relational quality.
For psychic relations to extend into the world, as they do, is for the world to be an extension of the mind. The inner connectedness of the world is not it’s ostensible relatedness in the world, but it’s formative trajectory in the mind/brain. Moreover, if the individual mind exemplifies becoming in nature, this trajectory would correspond to the aim to closure of entities in physical becoming. The physical whole or existence of an entity, or other objects in the world, cannot be reconstructed from it’s spacial context, for this represents the endpoint of a parallel stream. Rather, the coherence of the whole in relation to the parts is in the temporal diachronic of the becoming of one actualisation. An actualisation is how parts individuate. Relations of individuation determine how parts come into existence. Once we apprehend an object (a thought, etc.) it’s relationality is finished.
We perceive parts, not the genuine wholes from which they arise, nor the process through which they actualise. A genuine whole is not a container of parts but a potential to give rise to them. Genuine relations are also imperceptible. The imperceptibility of genuine wholes and their transformation into parts, combined with the emphatic sense of object solidity, makes holistic and relational thinking unpalatable to many people.
Causal efficacy is imagined to be the primary locus of exchange of energy in the world, and is the principle theory of how mental objects and physical entities behave.
…real or genuine change occurs in the actualisation of events into a timeless now, while illusory or apparent change is ‘projected’ onto objects in conscious perception, a distinction that is paradoxical, since it implies that perceptible change is illusory while genuine change is imperceptible.
An object is a momentary cluster of relations that constitutes a portion of a field. The persistence of the object or it’s continuance over time owes to the immediate recurrence of a similar cluster.
…the stability of the object depends on the novelty of it’s successive replacements.
If abstractions are achieved at the cost of some part of the truth, what is lost in an abstract category is the value that belongs to those virtual instances the category encloses.
To abandon the idea that some properties are more basic than others, or that some are essential and others accidental, is to consider all properties mid-dependent. This avoids the idea of a substance with properties and relations, some cognitive, others physical, and the corollary assumption that secondary qualities are psychic additions.
Microgenetic theory implies that the fundamental relation is a shift from whole to part. The diversity of multiplicity of the world and the mind is the individuation of clusters through a series of whole-part shifts in personal or extra-personal space and time. In other words, a single process, a kind of travelling wave, lays down diversity, instead of a multiplicity that is unified in a pulse of consciousness or diverse processes acting on a manifold of parts.
An event is a span over momentary clusters of intrinsic relations determined by interest.
The shaping effect of interest or value on what properties are relevant to the event is due to the affectual tones that accompany the object in it’s transition from potential to actual. The value stream is intrinsic to this transition, at the mental pole as desire, at the object pole as worth and at an intermediate phase as interest.
…interest is derived to worth, which takes on ethical valence (good,bad), then prescriptive emphasis (ought).
Thoughts and feelings grow into the objects of experience.
Events and participants, large or small, depend on foci of interest. The world is the totality of such events. What the world is at a given moment depends on whether a flea looks to left or right. It is the totality of all occurrences from all perspectives, or perhaps, from only One.
We live on the edge of a world that is continuously becoming actual. The cluster of relations that constitutes an occasion of experience leaves in it’s wake a forward going dynamic anticipating an advance in a category that is infinitely divisible. That is why we never quite grasp events other than as classes or properties or categories of object appearances.
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.
“…philosophy is more a matter of passionate vision than of logic, … logic only finding reasons for the vision afterwards.” ~ William James (1909)
Feeling is a vestige of quality in an age of computation. … There is a trust in feeling that is denied to logic and argument. … The problem is we still have no answer to the question, what is a feeling Do feelings have an interior life apart from their expression?
… the complexity of the emotional life is bound up with the intellectual level. The emotions undergo a development in phylo-ontogeny much like thoughts and are elaborated inwardly in relation to mental content. There is an affective element in every act and object, not attached to the act and object from outside but part of their structure and their description.
Every object has an affective content and every affect has an intensity. An object has a stronger affective charge if it is a personal object. An idea can also be a personal object. The more personal the object, the greater the investment of the self, or the more proximate to the self the idea. The self is the repository of the strongest affective charge and those objects to which it gives rise share in this intensity. The intensity of love or grief is a sign of the degree to which the self participates in the beloved object. Like all emotions, love and grief are selfish in that the object sounds the depths of the self concept and draws from it’s intensity.
Intensity is a clue to the stage in the affect microgeny. Strong affects attend unresolved objects. … The reciprocity between intensity and generality on the one hand, specificity and restraint on the other, and the loss of intensity in the derivation to an object take us closer to the question of what a feeling is.
Drive is part of the concept prefiguring the objects whereas feeling is part of the image that is anticipated in drive, transforming with the image into the affective content of external objects. It is towards these objects that images are directed.
The will as a core affect and the self as a core concept are given together as a single inherited form.
Intention is not something that is applied to an affect, an affect is not bought in to relation with an object. The affect changes as it approaches the object. Intention is generated as the object materialises. The intentional is only a phase in percept formation when there is sufficient resolution for the discernment of an object.
Even if an object is interpreted as a “projected” representation, it’s animation by feeling reinforces the belief that it has an independent life beyond the imagination of the perceiver. Affect confers vitality to mannequinised objects in a derealised world. It is the difference between mind as a living organism and mind as a machine.
The object of an empathic state incorporates elements of the self concept. The self values the object as part of it’s own nature, a piece, as it were, of the self in the world. In this way, empathy is a type of loving.
Indecision is a sign of precognition. … Objects emanating from the self appear as instigators of an affect that in reality is bestowed upon them. … We can empathise with a mind inferred in an object that is alive by virtue of the affective tonality invested in it. … Feeling is a bridge to the world of objects, an antidote to solipsism, the isolation that sets in when we apprehend the imaginary nature of objects; that is, when objects become like thoughts.
Clearly there are powerful illusions at work, beyond affect, in living life as-if things are the way they seem.
A fundamental problem for dualism is the plasticity of mind and brain and their coupled growth and decay over time. How are learning and forgetfulness explained if mind is autonomous? … If the minds that brains actualise are self contained and immutable, why are brains complex beyond that required for the realisation of minds if the complexity of mind is not a function of the brain?
Whether consciousness is a product of brain … or identical with brain activity … is almost irrelevant without an effect of consciousness on brain or other mental states.
In philosophical discussions almost anything can count as a mental state: a feeling, a proposition, a belief. But are these mental states or are they ways of characterising the content of a mental state, and if so, in what sense are they part of the content?
In microgenetic theory, belief is a type of assent to the satisfaction of a deep concept by it’s surface realisation, a conforming of a subconscious concept to the conscious content into which it fractionates. Belief is not a basis of action but a measure by which this satisfaction can be gauged. A subject is informed in a belief as to the nature of the underlying concepts that are, in fact, generating the behaviour.
To microgenetic thinking, a representation is a momentary prominence of a segment in the unfolding. Idea, image and object, representations at successive points in perception, are only potential accentuations. In the course of the unfolding, part of the content of an idea becomes explicit in the object. The content of the idea is realised “epigenetically” over stages. A representation is a prominence of the segment enclosing it’s to-be-realised content. There is no stable content waiting to be called up. … The stability of the representation is a function of the probability of it’s recurrence. In microgenisis the distinction between processes and representations is like that in a river between currents and eddies. The representation is a rest in the flow. Process is not the output of representations; operations do not act on representational states. Representation and process are the static and dynamic expressions of the same dynamic event.
(YES!) now we are getting to the crux of the matter as far as I understand it!
All of the minds in the world, like cells in an organ, are induced to be a part of the world. The mind we live in slavishly replicates a perspective we are unconsciously constrained to perceive. … The freedom that counts, the awareness that mind is in objects, enables the self to reclaim the world as part of it’s own nature.
It is unnecessary to struggle against a theory that leads to solipsism on the grounds of the implausibility or repugnance the view entails. … The solipsist lives in a world of other objects and other minds. Experience teaches him that the existence of those objects is beyond doubt. Solipsism is not the denial of a world – minds and objects – outside the mind of the viewer but the futility of any attempt to know that world. It is the aloneness that comes of a lack of access to a world other than what is mirrored in mental representation.
Morality begins when self-interest hesitates.
The role of choice in decision making is a theory of agency and free will. These are topics that should be addressed by neuroscientists as well as philosophers. What is the nature of the self? How are values formed? Are they conscious and freely acted on or are they more like unconscious habits that drive behaviour from below? Is choice the exercise of free will, that is, does consciousness intercede in behaviour, or is consciousness informed after the fact in a behaviour that is preset by conceptual processes beneath the surface of awareness?
Choice occurs when there is indecision, and indecision is a sign of conflict. Conflict is often accompanied by anxiety.
Indecision or choice enhances the feeling of volition Because the conceptual underpinnings of the action have to be realised through many intermediate steps before finally discharging into the action. The enrichment of the self concept preceding the action accentuates the indecision and increases the feeling of agency. The final zeroing in on a target action … point not to conscious selection but to selection into consciousness. The reasons we give for our choices or our value judgements, therefore, are not true motivations but justifications of an unconscious valuation.
In a mature self … self preservation becomes contextualised.
A fact is a piece of a concept that has objectified. The correspondence between fact and concept is not a link but a process, the realisation or becoming of the object. Objects do not so much correspond to concepts as express them. This is why the concept is always richer than the fact. The feeling in an object is the sense of object reality. … Feeling pervades the subject phase of the microgeny of every object.
Reflections on My Body – (totally priceless and worth reading but too much to type out, forgive me.)
What is the action we are aware of if it is neither the action structure nor the movement sequence? It turns out that the action-in-cognition is not an action at all but a perception of the action that is ongoing. … The perception of the action is the act we experience. An action is not what it seems to be, a series of events purely motor in kind, but rather a construct, an image, in perceptual awareness.
When I plan to … and carry out an action, the self, the consciousness between the self and the act, and the action itself, are all part of an object representation.
The feeling of agency develops according to the degree to which the action unfolds. Automatic, purposeful, and volitional characterise the action at successive moments in it’s microgenetic course.
… One definition of intentionality is that it refers to a mental state in which a cognition is directed to an object or an idea.
… the onject of an intentional state is not a target but constitutes the ground out of which the intention develops; the intention is not directed toward a (mental) object but is a part of the object development. … Ideas, images, and objects are points in the process of object formation whereas intention is a way of characterising these points in relation to the unfolding of the object out of the self. … Intentional states are the cognitive equivalent of pre-objects, the degree of resolution of the act and object determining the directedness of the state.
What is the thing that really matters in respect of categories? What is the deep (original) nature of a category? One can say as a beginning, that categorising is the holding of items that are unique or disparate (successive) in a duration that is a simultaneity. The category is a kind of momentary whole, a temporal, not a spacial … whole, containing an array of elements not in space but in time.
The argument now becomes clear: mind first appears in a duration that arises out of pure succession, a duration that encloses a collection of virtual instants in the same way that a category binds together and assortment of virtual, (ie. abstract) objects.
The abstract ‘instants’ enclosed by a duration compare with the abstract ‘objects’ in a category.
Both categories and durations provide stable groupings that segment a continuous stream of transformation. … Duration is dynamic recurrence imposed on physical process. … The deeper question is whether in the realisation of a duration series, the seriation creating the time lacking in the separate durations is an expression of a world process in which elements create time out of infinity.
(this is tickling my brain!)
All objects are historical. Every object has a momentary history and the history of every object is a memory. The history is the memory beyond the memory that is the object itself. The past of an object is a theory on where the object came from. (!!) … The idea that objects and events are mind dependent takes us closer to understanding the relation between structure and process, as between history and present. If change is the only reality, events are not situated at a point in objective time but are momentary durations in consciousness.
Cognition is linked to evolution and development as a type of exuberant and recurrent momentary growth. … Evolution delivers the organism into the present in the ontogeny of inherited form. Microgenesis delivers the present over the configuration this form generates. Cognition does not leave growth behind as an extrinsic or secondary effect. Organic process is growth even in decay. (emphasis mine)
The personality is enlarged in every experience. The past builds up and defines the present. The self is in continuous renewal. … Growth is the reconfiguration [that] the present takes on. … Growth is an effect of change, process an effect of growth. The change is the process, the changed is the growth, but are each moment the same transformation. … A theory of cognition is also a theory of novelty, memory and evolution of organic form.
Anatomical structure records phylo-ontogeny as growth over time. … Memory is the static element in process, it is to cognition what anatomy is to growth. … In microgenesis there is a transform from context to item, or from field to central figure.
Growth trends in phylo-ontogeny establish constraints on the unfolding of configurations in cognition. … Th process is reiterated at successive levels so that specificity is achieved through parcellation or fractionation and not by the addition of new structure. … Structure and process are different ways of looking at the same phenomenon. … Process does not influence or flow from structure. Structure is process slowed down. Microgenesis extends process as structure into maturation. Without the process that microgeny affords, structure is uncommitted and essentailly formless.
Perception is the process through which objects unfold. … Sensation is a physical constraint on the potential diversity of images…
An idea does not emanate from the play of introspection but is a deviation – a type of conceptual branching – at deeper form building semantic layers. … Creativity is a flight from deliberation in the service of a concept rising from below. … Novel configurations in cognition and development are constantly being generated in this way, either to persist and gradually transform the organism or disappear, submerged in the weight of the habit and the flow. … A regression form surface to depth also occurs in creative thinking when the self withdraws form endstage mentation to it’s anticipatory spatial and semantic constructs. This recapture of creative form may be an uncommon experience for those who live resolutely in a world of objects. In contrast, the creative individual reclaims the sources of those objects in constructs lying deep beneath the surface.
The formative direction and thus the dynamic structure of a mental state is from sub-surface mentation through private events to the perceptual surround.
A sensation is a physical series that shapes but is extrinsic to the brain state. We are not aware of sensations, only their presumed effects on perceptions. A sensation is an inference about the origins of a perception.
As a new wave rolls on to the shore before the first has ended , so the content of an ensuing moment – the immediate future – begins it’s development as the present moment unfolds. Conversely, the present moment, the now of this instant, is past history even as it appears, for the moment that follows is already underway. The continuity of mind does not depend on a linkage of nows but a succession of present moments articulated out of the core.
(Werner:) … Function underlying abnormal behavior are in their essence not different from those underlying normal behavior… and any human activity such as perceiving, thinking, acting, etc., is an unfolding process and this unfolding of microgenesis, whether it takes seconds or hours or days, occurs in developmental sequence.
An utterance is a result of the simultaneous unfolding bottom-up of linked action and perception systems. According to this view, the symptoms of an aphasia are segments of the cognitive process momentarily thrust to the fore by the brain injury. It was possible to align these symptoms, the main forms of aphasia, in such a manner as to retrace the sequence of events leading from the onset of the language act to the final perception or articulation. This sequence appeared to reflect the pattern of growth trends in forebrain evolution.
A corresponding set of levels is assumed to mediate the unfolding of perceptions. The sequence leads from brain stem systems generating a spatial map about the body, to limbic formations elaborating a viewer-centered space of dream hallucination, to a parietal system mediating a three-dimensional object-centered space of (and defined by) the arm’s reach, and finally, through visual cortex, the discrimination of object features and the exteriorization of the object to a position in a world around the viewer.
The microgeny does not accelerate or slow down according to the duration of a cognition; rather, the number of microgenies constituting the cognitions varies as a function of the duration.
Microgenetic theory postulates that the traversal in both the brain and mental state occurs from depth to surface and that this traversal is repeated over and over again. The time period of the traversal and the rate of the reiteration are matters of speculation, but whatever the temporal relations, the theory requires that the one-way flow from depth to surface is pulsatile, perhaps dependent on a pacemaker, and that mental states are not open-ended, concatenated, or interactive, but recurrent and cyclical. (emph mine)
One person’s review of Jason Brown’s Self Embodying Mind.