• edward conn

Less is More: What is Silence?


"From the dawn of recorded history the regularity of celestial processes, the apparently exquisite design of animal and plant bodies, and causes of apparently meaningful coincidences have been attributed to supernatural mentalistic causes, whether embodied by invisible demons, an all powerful divine artificer, or some other transcendental purposiveness. Not surprisingly, these influences were imagined to originate from disembodied sources, lacking any physical form."


" The problem with consciousness, like all other phenomena exhibiting an absential character, is that it doesn't appear to have clear physical correlates, even though it is quite unambiguously associated with having an awake, functioning brain."


"It's not that the difficulty of locating consciousness among the neural signaling forces us to look for it in something else - that is, in some other sort of special substrate or ineffable ether or extra physical realm. The anti materialist claim is compatible with another, quite materialistic grounded approach. Like meanings and purposes, consciousness may not be something there in any typical sense of being materially or energetically embodied, and yet may still be materially causally relevant.

The unnoticed option is that, here too, we a re dealing with a phenomena that is defined by its absential character, though in a rather more all encompassing and unavoidable form. Conscious experience confronts us with a variant of the same problem that we face with respect to function, meaning or value. None of these phenomena are materially present either and yet they matter, so to speak. In each one of these cases, there is something present that marks this curious intrinsic relation to something absent. In the case of consciousness, what is present is an awake, functioning brain, buzzing with trillions of signaling processes each second. But there is an additional issue with consciousness that makes it particularly insistent, in a way that these other absential relations aren't: that which is explicitly absent is me."


Incomplete Nature. How Mind Emerged from Matter. Terrence W. Deacon




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