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  1. #1
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    Default Does meaning come before awareness?

    Does meaning come before awareness?

    I imagine that somewhere way back in time sapiens came to a conclusion that was driven by their deep and strong urge to live forever. Because sapiens are aware of their mortality and because they are driven by this great urge to stay alive they created the “disembodied mind”, it was probably christened as “soul” at that time and from that decision they put forth their conclusion into ideas similar to these words “what does it profit a man if he should gain the whole world but suffer the lose of his soul?”

    Wo/man could not accept mortality and thus found a means to “live forever” in the form of the soul, or mind, or ego, or... This conclusion has left us with the mind/body dichotomy that drives our religious, cultural, and philosophical thinking still today. “Mind” and “body” are abstractions; they are created aspects of the organism-environment interactions that we call experience.

    John Dewey informs us that situations form the very essence of our emotions. He attempted to counteract the tendency to localize emotions as some form of private and interior subjective response that had nothing to do with our comprehension of objects in our world. Emotions are both subjective and objective as the distant Dewey and the present Damasio informs us. In a situation there is a comingling of what we now speak of as subject and object. “Emotions are both in us and in the world at the same time.”

    Before conscious awareness we begin a situation with an unconsciously constructed meaningfulness. Our world “stands forth meaningfully to us at every waking instant, due primarily to the process of emotional feeling over which we have little control. And yet the situation is meaningful to us in the most important, primordial, and basic way that it can be meaningful—it shapes the basic contours of our experience. The situation specifies what will be significant to us and what objects, events, and persons mean to us at a pre-reflective level.

    While there seems to be disagreement regarding specific details among neuroscientists, they do agree on the fundamental issue that emotions “play a central role in an organism’s assessment of its internal milieu—its bodily states and processes that are tied to its ongoing interactions with its environment, thereby motivating both internal body-state adjustments and outwardly directed actions in the world.”

    What is meaningful and how it is meaningful to us is a function of a continuous internal monitoring of our bodily states as we experience and act in the world. Much of our past religious, philosophical, and pop-culture has denied this fact. In so doing this, we have deprived our self from very important considerations regarding our world of value assessment.

    SGCS (Second Generation Cognitive Science) has put forth theories that are based upon the destruction of these basic assumptions of our Western religious and philosophical tradition.

    If these new theories are correct then we are left with the question. “If there is no disembodied mind—no transcendent soul or ego—to be the source of meaning, then what things are meaningful to us and how they are meaningful must be a result of the nature of our brains, our bodies, our environments, and our social interactions, institutions, and practices.”

    Quotes from The Meaning of the Body by Mark Johnson

  2. #2
    Phoenix Incarnate Sentura's Avatar
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    coberst, why do you keep starting threads here? it's fine to have something to say, but i keep wondering whether you make them to test us or to test yourself.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Snow Turtle's Avatar
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    I always get the impression he's writing an essay and then casually uploads it here. Some of it's pretty good but the academic language gets to me sometimes >.<

    Well there we go: He's a mass information poster spreading his ideas across several forums. :/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kai View Post
    I always get the impression he's writing an essay and then casually uploads it here. Some of it's pretty good but the academic language gets to me sometimes >.<

    Well there we go: He's a mass information poster spreading his ideas across several forums. :/
    sounds like modern day propaganda.. he is conspiring against all of us!
    i hunt INXPs for bounty
    FUNCTION ORDER FOR THOSE THAT CANNOT UNDERSTAND WHAT ENXP MEANS: Ne > Ni > Fi=Ti > *

    ...people tell me i have wildfires in my eyes

  5. #5
    it's a nuclear device antireconciler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sentura View Post
    i keep wondering whether you make them to test us or to test yourself.
    I see it both as a method of learning and grasping new material better (the best way to learn is to teach), and as his own alignment with a desire I think we all have to improve the society with which we identify (in coberst's case, minimally, us, and through means of our education and encouraged critical thinking skills).

    Quote Originally Posted by coberst View Post
    I imagine that somewhere way back in time sapiens came to a conclusion that was driven by their deep and strong urge to live forever. Because sapiens are aware of their mortality and because they are driven by this great urge to stay alive they created the “disembodied mind”, it was probably christened as “soul” at that time and from that decision they put forth their conclusion into ideas similar to these words “what does it profit a man if he should gain the whole world but suffer the lose of his soul?”

    Wo/man could not accept mortality and thus found a means to “live forever” in the form of the soul, or mind, or ego, or... This conclusion has left us with the mind/body dichotomy that drives our religious, cultural, and philosophical thinking still today. “Mind” and “body” are abstractions; they are created aspects of the organism-environment interactions that we call experience.
    I appreciate your valiant attempts to resolve the mind/body dichotomy, and see what you have just said fitting in quite nicely with the tradition of materialism, although I suspect that while human fear of mortality may form part of the basis behind deflationary movements against the body, as is often associated with religion and dogma, it is a far cry from the whole story, such that rejecting that fear is not immediately grounds for rejecting an important categorical difference between mind and body.

    Materialism, born from the Enlightenment excitement at the prospect of universal understanding through scientific method, only undermines itself if it attempts to dissolve and reduce these categories into each other by neglecting category, neglecting essence, neglecting thought. It's a very contemporary and real tension. There is a strong drive for impersonalism, which is genuine and necessary, but it pulls too far if it tries to abstract away from thought and category, because in doing so, it deprives us of any method of thinking about it!

    It's actually rather ironic that your contemporary materialist is trying to resolve the mind/body divide largely by stretching it into oblivion!
    ~ a n t i r e c o n c i l e r
    What is death, dies.
    What is life, lives.

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    Quote Originally Posted by antireconciler View Post
    I see it both as a method of learning and grasping new material better (the best way to learn is to teach), and as his own alignment with a desire I think we all have to improve the society with which we identify (in coberst's case, minimally, us, and through means of our education and encouraged critical thinking skills).



    !
    Thanks for understanding where I am coming from!

    I am about to declare the metaphor 'meaning is comprehension'.

    Comprehension is a hierarchy, resembling a pyramid, with awareness at the base followed by consciousness, succeeded by knowing, with understanding at the pinnacle.

    I have concocted a metaphor set that might relay my comprehension of the difference between knowing and understanding.

    Awareness--faces in a crowd.

    Consciousness—smile, a handshake, and curiosity.

    Knowledge—long talks sharing desires and ambitions.

    Understanding—a best friend bringing constant April.

    I would say that meaning begins with awareness and progresses based upon our degree of comprehension of the matter in question.

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    Phoenix Incarnate Sentura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst View Post
    Thanks for understanding where I am coming from!

    I am about to declare the metaphor 'meaning is comprehension'.

    Comprehension is a hierarchy, resembling a pyramid, with awareness at the base followed by consciousness, succeeded by knowing, with understanding at the pinnacle.

    I have concocted a metaphor set that might relay my comprehension of the difference between knowing and understanding.

    Awareness--faces in a crowd.

    Consciousness—smile, a handshake, and curiosity.

    Knowledge—long talks sharing desires and ambitions.

    Understanding—a best friend bringing constant April.

    I would say that meaning begins with awareness and progresses based upon our degree of comprehension of the matter in question.
    how can you declare this without first proof that the entire universe is subjective?
    i hunt INXPs for bounty
    FUNCTION ORDER FOR THOSE THAT CANNOT UNDERSTAND WHAT ENXP MEANS: Ne > Ni > Fi=Ti > *

    ...people tell me i have wildfires in my eyes

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sentura View Post
    how can you declare this without first proof that the entire universe is subjective?

    I do not comprehend the question?

  9. #9
    Senior Member Aleph-One's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kai View Post
    I always get the impression he's writing an essay and then casually uploads it here. Some of it's pretty good but the academic language gets to me sometimes >.<
    That's not academic language, it's obscurantist bafflegab.
    Aleph-One, you look like the kind of person who would spend his spare time building a giant robot to hold the government for ransom. -Some Guy on the Internet

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