First Causes

JPL Verhey matterDELminds at hotmail.com
Tue Sep 14 08:33:35 EST 2004

"Peter F" <fell_trapforspambot_in at ozemail.com.au> wrote in message 
news:sce1d.247$IC3.4938 at nnrp1.ozemail.com.au...
> "JPL Verhey" <matterDELminds at hotmail.com> wrote in message
> news:4143a1eb$0$62371$5fc3050 at dreader2.news.tiscali.nl...
>> It could be I have a misunderstanding of what is meant with
>> epiphenomenalism. I take it to mean that consciousness, awareness, is
>> considered having no causal impact on anything we can observe, i.e. 
>> of
>> what can be 'the content' of any of our epxeriences. From having no
>> impact on a the orbit of the moon when we look at it (I do agree), to
>> having no impact on reflexes of body movement like hitting your 
>> breaks
>> when a person suddenly appears in front of your car (I agree), and
>> reflexes of emotion and thought such as when a sudden smell can 
>> trigger
>> emotions/moods and memories/thoughts.
>> It is, indeed, thinkable that every thought, emotion and behaviour 
>> that
>> we are aware of, are reflexive processes and that the awareness of it
>> all is truly epiphenomenal. Volition/free will might be utter 
>> illusion,
>> but perhaps useful. Somebody who is convinced that volition is an 
>> utter
>> illusion, might think, feel and behave differently than somebody who
>> believes the opposite.
> A comment from my favorite (and far from inEPT) "Evolutionary
> (neuro)Psychological Type" perspective:
> It could be that what consciousness - both (at the level of) feeling 
> or
> emotional consciousness and (at the level of) cognitive or
> language-associated/dependent consciousness - is good for, and hence 
> why it
> has tended to be "naturally selected for" (whilst of course being
> fundamentally physically possible due to, obviously in some sense 
> existing,
> fundamental physical laws) could be that it promotes survival by 
> acting as a
> glue for social cohesion.
> More specifically, the ability (shared amongst near enough 
> phylogenetically
> related individuals) to feel that _oneself_ is part of a group or 
> society (a
> selectively environment-including whilst self-referential brain-state) 
> will
> trump a competing troup of less emotionally and cognitively aware
> genophenotypes any day!

I agree that social cohesion and communication is a big player, als in 
our emotions, thoughts and behavior. We wouldn't be, and as we are, 
without it. But that is also and even more so true in an ants nest. But 
it's a hard guess what "ants consciousness" would be. In my next life 
I'll try being an ant.:)

Btw I'm not sure if natural selection can be regarded as the main let 
alone sole "creator" of things the way they are and operate in organic 
life. Like a plant seed can grow into a plant under the right conditions 
thanks to its DNA... stardust forms planets, that under the right 
conditions develop life forms like here on earth thanks to the innate 
"DNA" that are particles etc.


> And, BTW, I share your attitude to volition/free will.
> With regards,
> Peter
> --
> Partly inspired by MAD (cold war shaming acronym), I arrived at EPT
> [e.g: eclectically Explanatory perversely Pert
> philosophical Terminology] and by concEPTual lenses/tools saw/grasped 
> how
> and why AEVASIVE preoccupations (personalites) normally preclude 
> making
> in-dEPTh sense (of themselves).
> In the acronym for Ambiadvantageously Evolved Vexed Actention
> Selection (System) Involving Various Endorphins, AS(S) stand for how 
> we
> think/emote/behave based on our individual repertoire of competing {by
> mutual inhibition) whilst cheered and booed {by current and past
> environmental influences) "actention modules", & AE refer to the 
> didactic
> division of the Evolutionary Pressure Totality into relevant dialectic
> lifetime juxtapositions of:
> 1. Opportunity
> 2. Adversity - here especially SHITS [Synaptic Hibernation Imploring
> {naturally selective AND 'motivating' of selective unconsciousness)
> Traumatic {also tardily so) Situations] normally repercussively 
> retained as
> CURSES type memory (aka "Pain", à la Janov)

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