Consciousness Conference ………….. Abstract

Every other year since 1994, Tucson has hosted THE SCIENCE OF CONSCIOUSNESS multi-day conference. I attended every conference until the venue moved to the expensive resort hotels. I presented papers at some. The topics range broadly from hard neuroscience and philosophy to subjective reports, altered-states, and Eastern spirituality.

If my health permits, I hope to attend the CC conference, April 2-7, 2018. I also am considering submitting a paper, the abstract due Dec 15, in 25 days. I have drafted an abstract  (below), currently 994 words, with the maximum being 500 words. I present this draft and the long title below (200 characters, max). This represents an attempt to summarize/outline relationships between of some of my major ideas.

My current efforts to edit the abstract is resulting in its expansion. Others are better able to determine what is best to save/eliminate when editing down to 500 words. The clickable links would not be in the formal abstract.

I will greatly appreciate your reading the abstract, and letting me know if it makes any sense to you. Summarizing radically, new insights is usually impossible. Any suggestions as to what to cut out, to reduce its length to 500 words, would be fantastic. You can comment within this blog, but emails may be easier.

Thank you
reeee seaf galdee nu


: SURVIVE/THRIVE Crisis-of-Crises :
Who Are We?


Epistemes defined as shared unconscious contexts for cultures, comprised of systems of perspectives and paradigms. Usually epistemes slowly evolve, providing a conservative context for changing details in populations.

Epistemes “shift” when their component paradigms change/interact systemically, leading to the emergence of a new episteme, replacing the old.

The new episteme may incorporate features of the old; but the shift is an emergence/replacement, not transformation. The shifts can take decades to centuries, to complete. Epistemes can sometimes be adopted by other cultures. Some of our limiting paradigms are old, having roots in our tribal biology/evolution; but have become dysfunctional for larger human social/societal systems.

Tech innovations have forced changes in paradigms and perspectives, giving rise to potentials for a massive shift of episteme. However, accumulated structural changes in our societal infrastructures now block the needed emergence of a viable new episteme for global humankind. The growing potential is both diverse, vast, and complex, but trapped in self-reinforcing silos; blocking necessary synergy.

We can’t determine or forecast details of this emergence or its multi-millennial trajectory. We can break the blocks and augment critical shifts, creatively contributing to the emergence of our new episteme – essential for our survival/thrival facing our catastrophic Crisis-of-Crises.

A major re-conceptualization of the deep nature of humans and change is at the core of this shifting. Human Reality (HR), {as contained in the holarchy of pictures/scenes/stories/scenarios/../periods/eras, represented in human authored semiotic structures (sems) [reports, artwork]}, is not fully constrained by the laws of Material Reality (MR). Belief that personal HR must be an objective MR, is one dangerous paradigm to be rejected. This shift will be as massive as any prior epistemic shifts, such as agriculture; written language; scientific, industrial & digital revolutions.

Another destructive paradigm is the fallacious practice of ranking multi-dimensional entities. We can compare or rank such entities only one attribute at a time. We can’t rank the USA and North Korea, or Einstein and Trump. Yet, such ranking is a common feature of our current episteme.

An additional paradigm to shift is the myth of singular causes – which are embedded in the narrative reports of HR. There are no causes in MR. There is strong evidence for creative agency in humans and human systems, but human S/R behavior is highly deterministic. Creativity occurs in thinking or behavior that is not in response to stimuli. Concepts of causality & freedom-vs-determinism require serious modification in the epistemic shift.

The Problem/Solution Research Paradigm works for many MR phenomenon; but is dangerous when applied to HR. Yet, with HR=MR as part of our dominant episteme, humankind blithely bumbles along making critical decisions based on fallacious assumptions. Moral justifications, unfortunately, are not “objective” ala MR. Morality must find its justification in HR.

With this HR/MR distinction, humans return to being central to reality – but not with the negative ecological effect of human exceptionalism. Indeed, it may be that the evolutionary emergence of humans heralds a creative break in the evolution/emergence of Gaia. This might be called a Nu Genesis.

It is posited that the emergence of visual, digital language finalized the liberation of information from all prior bonding within matter/energy systems. The letters on this page is a unique phenomenon in Gaia, and possibly in the universe (with the exception of other Gaias).

When these new ideas are examined, one discovers that the empirical foundation of HR is the semfield, the perceived structures created by humans, and not our perceived environments. Our constructed experiences of perceived MR are strongly influenced by our narratives. This is not solipsistic, as within HR is evidence of MR; but MR is never directly experienced. “Nature” is a human construct.

Collectively, these paradigm shifts provide a useful context for comprehending the epidemic of fake news and fake realities, spreading globally. Naive belief in the objectivity of conscious content may lead to the extinction of humankind, and the end of what the future of Gaia, with a maturing HR, offers.

Individual human persons must come to terms with their intrinsic limitations. George Miller’s 7+/-2 Law, modified, informs us that the content of momentary conscious experience must be represented in a contextual system with only a few independent variables. Our inner-woven, unconscious “wrld” may have more variables; which we “sample” moment-by-moment. The “worldviews” of every human stabilizes into a limited a set of fundamental variables, significantly less than the diversity of collective reality.

No individual human should be given power over others. Power must be properly distributed among an uplifted global population. The conscious lives of persons should be greatly enhanced when we realize that we can’t consciously control our personal emergence. We can have creative influence, within the limitations of our DNA and the cultures within which we live.

Given these insights, what might we do? It may a practical fact that contemporary humankind can’t be transFORMed into a viable, sustainable humanity. But there are alternatives to transFORMation: Cultural/Societal Metamorphosis. HR can metamorphose without concurrent transformation of our material infrastructure, and in a time-frame within decades.

Rapidly uplifting the distribution of competencies in the global population is now feasible, with a synergy of our new knowledge, hitech, and utilizing the whole uplifting population as learners/educators – and abandoning mass processes that ignore the extraordinary diversity of human conceptual/cognitive/emotional competencies: Learners for Quality Education. Significant, rapid change in large populations are now possible via a personalized many-to-one process, with an exponential growth potential without broadcasting to masses.

Contemporary HUMANKIND can be conceptualized as a dysfunctional ecology of different, conflicting epistemes. HUMANITY is the name of a future, global human system, with a common core episteme more consistent with the “real nature” of the diverse population of human persons. Humanity can be analogous to a biological organism, with common DNA, but with diverse cell/tissue types.

The shift from HUMANKIND to HUMANITY will not “just happen”; it requires intentional, human creative/organized participation in removing the blocks to the epistemic shift “chomping at the bit” to emerge.


Freedom and Determinism
are conceptual perspectives (human constructs)
in a relationship of complementarity.

The application of these perspectives to the hypothetical functioning of an objective, material (matter/energy | particle/field | substance/qualia) reality is primarily by metaphor. Humankind is far from agreement on the “nature of reality”, in spite of claims by the “knowledge elites” of each culture and era.

Often ignored: the opposite of strict determinism is pure randomness. If a person wants “totally free” choice (free-will) they must resort to a coin-toss for each decision. Their “choice” is to assign the decision to another “process”: a coin-toss or the pattern of tea leaves, interpreted by a “shaman”. What most humans mean by free will, is that they want authority to make a determination based of their personal knowledge and beliefs. They aren’t opposed to determinations; they want to be the determiner.

The “contemporary” “scientific concept” of “causal determinism” is far from “comprehensive” of the many variations of “conceptual schemes” to “explain” “process”. To unpack the prior sentence would require unpacking all the terms in quotes, a process that would lead to a circular/endless regression. So-called “psychic phenomena” is one example of variation. I have proposed another, I call “holistic determination”. Considering “time” to be multi-dimensional or textural opens the options further. I have proposed a process I call “feedpast bootstrapping” that involves “determination” from a duration/time-interval and not a point moment. Within this duration, the “momentary present” can influence its “past”. I hypothesize that living systems have this feature, which distinguishes them from non-living systems.

The Copenhagen Interpretation (Bohr) of Quantum Theory also adds a new take on determinism. A quantum measurement doesn’t measure the state of the system at the moment (just prior) to the measurement operation. Rather, the measurement interaction (between quantum system to be measured and quantum measuring instruments) “selects a state” (from a probability distribution of potential states), often characterized as the “collapse of the wave function”.

Strict determinism for quantum reality requires the “select a state” choice being constrained only statistically, so that the many similar transitions/measurement over a (hypothetical) “ensemble” of similar systems would agree with the theoretical probability distribution. “Ensemble” is a hypothetical collection of “similar systems” in “similar circumstances”; but not a real collection in space-time. I should be noted that quantum phenomena are never observed by human senses. Humans observe changes in the “classical” reality of material objects/instruments. The patterns in observed data often agree with theoretical predictions.

You may have noticed the term “consciousness” was not used in the above explication. This term is the cause of endless confusion and controversy because it is used (indiscriminately) with three different fundamental meanings.

In the same way, tackling the real problem of consciousness depends on distinguishing different aspects of consciousness, and mapping their phenomenological properties (subjective first-person descriptions of what conscious experiences are like) onto underlying biological mechanisms (objective third-person descriptions). A good starting point is to distinguish between conscious level, conscious content, and conscious self. Conscious level has to do with being conscious at all – the difference between being in a dreamless sleep (or under general anesthesia) and being vividly awake and aware. Conscious contents are what populate your conscious experiences when you are conscious – the sights, sounds, smells, emotions, thoughts and beliefs that make up your inner universe. And among these conscious contents is the specific experience of being you. This is conscious self, and is probably the aspect of consciousness that we cling to most tightly.

It is this to this”conscious self” we wish to attribute “agency” or “choice”. Given the above complexity of the concepts labeled freedom and determinism, the reality of human freedom must remain controversial. The article, quoted from above, makes a strong case that “conscious experience” is hallucinatory, a matter of selection and creativity, and not direct perception. A “wrld” emerges in the mind/brain of every person during their life, living among stimuli and action. Humans are wired to confuse their experienced “wrld” with an external, objective “WORLD”, that is “clearly there”! This process was survival selection value for tribal times when there was only the material, biological and social; complex societal levels had not yet emerged.

Today, this confusion of “wrld” for “WORLD” blocks the emergence of a viable, sustainable, “organically integrated” HUMANITY from the current, highly dysfunctional, suicidal, “civilized” HUMANKIND.