WHAT IFs ??

WHAT IF – ALTERNATIVES?

What if you could only listen to one minute of a musical composition at a time, with a minimum of a day interval between listening? You could never actually “hear” them together as a whole. Yet, you are told they do form a whole, and as you listen to each segment, at different times, you eventually find that your repeated experience of each segment changes, due to change in context. Might your subconscious hold the different parts and when you experience one of the segments it would be in the context of the whole. But not experienced as the whole extending in time – but as the whole experienced in one minute but from the perspective of the one segment being experienced in consciousness.

Actually, when I hear music I am only literally experiencing sound in each brief moment. Without auditory mental imagery there is no conscious experience of the prior moments of listening. Yet, I do “sense” I am listening to a song, or a whole musical composition. It would be interesting to research how those with strong auditory mental imagery actually experience music.

What if an artist painted one thematic artform on the inside walls of a labyrinth/cave. The cave has many rooms and linking passages. You view the painting with a flashlight, which you can adjust to have a bright, but narrow, beam – or to have a broad, but dim, beam. How do you come to “know” the whole of the artform’s theme? If you are competent with visual imagery, what might you experience? Suppose you could replay your experiences moving within the cave. Would your experience of each visual be different after you had experienced the whole cave many times?

We read books one sentence, one paragraph, one page, one chapter at a time – sometimes over days, even years. What might it mean to say we “experienced” the book? If you were to re-read pages or chapters after finishing the book, might you experience those parts differently than you had on first reading?

When teaching intro psychology in a community college, I advised students to read any chapter in any order (and self test on those chapters read). I also advised them to re-read some early chapters read and look for how their comprehension changed from their initial reading.

How do children learn categories, such as bird, dog, tree, flower – as they experience some of each at different times? How many of each type must be experienced before the category begins to emerge? Might adults learn conceptual categories differently than children? What is the import of the fact: each figure in gestalt perception has a name, even if “an unnamed thing”? As adults we perceive in language determined categories. Do we perceive differently if our language changes significantly, such as when studying in a new discipline with a new large vocabulary? Do botanists experience a botanical garden differently than a person not educated in botany?

How many reports must a person read or hear about politics, business, economics, agriculture, government, finance, conspiracy, democracy, socialism, capitalism, etc. – before there emerges a category with those labels? How do those categories expand and eventually freeze?

All the above queries would be re-framed in context with the propositions, categories = analogies, excellently presented in Surfaces and Essences: Analogy as the Fuel and Fire of Thinking, Doug Hofstadter & Emmanuel Sander

WHAT IF – WORLDS?

What if we were to systematically & collectively shift our perspectives of ourselves and each other as to being different “personal, inner, woven, whole worlds” and not as to being within “a single, objective (inter-subjectively agreed upon) world with varying interpretations, perspectives, and biases?

Although we consciously experience an environment “out there”, part of a broader “world”; when we think scientifically about it, we learn (conceptually) that our experiences come from our brain/body activity, in context with the whole of our brain/body. Perception is not a process that modulates information passing through our sensory, then neural systems, ending up as conscious experience. Information filtered through our sensory systems modulates the ongoing processes within our whole brain/body, resulting in some processes that are experienced and lead to behavior. We might think of experience and behavior as outputs from our brain/body. Sometimes this output is influenced by what we are sensing and doing. Other times this output is more original and spontaneous, and rather independent of our setting at the moment.

We are never directly influenced by information from an external, objective world. That world may force or harm our body independent of our sensory perception.  We can permit our brain/body to be conditioned (over time) to have outputs (experiential & behavioral) linked to specific stimuli to our sensory systems, which gives the appearance of our being externally driven by external forces. However, it is the structure of our mind/brain/body that enables this apparent causality; not that an external world is forcing us, independent of ourselves.

This is not solipsistic. Within the pattern of information in our personal world, is evidence of an OTHER.  It is only that we have no direct “experiences” with OTHERS, we only experience our own changes as a result of this interaction and from this we create models of an OTHER (and external, objective WORLD). This we do with our conceptual competencies. Evolution provided mammals with an efficient process that “models” an external world, which works very well for mammals in ordinary environments. We possess this model as being mammals. But, we are more than mammals. It is our human created environments that are at the core of our Crisis-of-Crises and our assuming them to be external forces contributes to our difficulties.

What if, today, we all live “appropriately” within our personal worlds, attempting to do “what was right, moral, ethical, correct” within those different worlds – even if we often weren’t successful and even if we experienced others (within our worlds) claiming we were “wrong”? Our different, personal worlds would have different meanings for the terms: “right, moral, ethical, correct”.

No one, even Hitler, was intentionally “evil”, in the sense that they intentionally violated what they personally believed was “right” in their personal worlds. In their personal worlds, what they did had positive value for them. They did not, by free will, “chose” their personal worlds, and are not to be “blamed” for their actions. Which is not to say that they should not be constrained in their behaviors that effect the well-being of others

.
WHAT IF – NU SCENARIOS?

What if a radically new scenario for the future of humankind engaging its Crisis-of-Crises can be comprehended “as a viable whole” only after a person has experienced a number of complex documents, alternatively over a considerable period of committed study? And, when studying each document, they don’t attempt to assimilate it into an established set of concepts/categories they have learned. Rather, they approach each document as a potential catalyst to expand their contexts, challenge their assumptions, be a possible component of new, exciting conceptual schemes.

Imagine going back in time to another culture that hasn’t experienced the benefits of modern science and technology. Without having devices to demonstrate, how would you tell those persons about television, electricity, computers, airplanes, visiting our moon, large metropolises, etc.  This would be different than contemporary speculative (SciFi) writers or futurists projecting trends. There were no trends in the middle ages or ancient Greece or Egypt or China to base forecasts of our modern times.

What if today, with use of computers and competent teams, we might explore alternative futures for humankind across a developmental gap as wide as between The Enlightenment and Today? And, these alternative futures may be imagined to emerge in only a few decades.

What if these teams could compose a future history of such alternative futures of humankind; even devise simulations where persons could enact details of such alternative futures – at different stages of their emergence?

What if some of these alternative future scenarios could be developed into strategies for contemporary humankind to attempt to initiate those scenarios?

What if some of these scenarios avoids the worst of climate change and other ills upon us in our Crisis-of-Crises AND might lead humankind to begin a multi-millennial journey into a bright future with a recovering Gaia?

WHAT IF – HELP FOR SAVANTS?

What if some persons now living, being “savants” [having strong disabilities and compensating high abilities] that enable them to play with this world-weaving process within their own creative mind/brains? Although there would be considerable limitations of which they might be able to achieve; they may succeed in developing, in their “whole mind/brain”, the beginnings of this complex scenario weaving; although they can’t literally experience the whole scenario – as no one can of any complex scenario. All scenarios unfold in time, whether actual or imagined.

What if they find themselves unable to share their imagined scenario with others, primarily because none of the others have yet experienced enough of the components for the whole scenario to begin to coalesce in their mind/brains?

What if most others attempt to assimilate each report by the savant into their established worldview and never are open for expanding their context and considering alternative realities?

What if the savant created an OLLO process that would, like a college education, seaf others to experience enough of the scenes in the scenario to begin to coalesce into a nu vision?

OLLO = Organizing-for-Learning=&=Learning-for-Organizing
seaf – support, enable, augment, facilitate

What if such a task is impossible for one person to accomplish? Might the savant be able to attract a team of persons to assist him/er in creating and running a unique “educational” process  [OLLO]  – based on their hope that it may succeed and for them to also come to “know” the new scenarios.  How is this different from a person choosing a career as a college freshman yet having to earn a PhD before they really comprehended their chosen profession?

What if the literal body/mind/brains of some specific persons, who had developed unique competencies, were to be “treated” as one might “use” an intelligent database or computerized analytical program?  These living, personal worlds, may be probed with stimuli to elicit unique responses that they would unlikely emit on their own.  Some such personal worlds my be highly generative; being catalyzed to generate insights when probed to comment on situations from new contexts.

I,  Laurence J. Victor (Larry/nuet), age 81, offer myself to be used in this way, by an appropriate team. Others may offer their services.

Author: nuet

01/24/1935. BS-physics RPI 1956; MS-physics UofChicago 1958; PhD-physics Yale 1965; PhD-Edu Psy Uof MInnesota 1970. Auroral Research Byrd Station, Antarctica 11/1960-02/1962. MINNEMAST curriculum dev 1964-68. Woodstock. faculty Pima Community College, Tucson 1974-1997. Transdisciplinary scientist, philosopher, educator, futurist, activist. PC user since 1982. "Wife". daughter, 2 grandsons. 5 dogs & 7 cats. Lacks mental imagery in all sensory domains.

0 comments