Wednesday, March 06, 2013

the war on consciousness



Graham Hancock tells the story of his 24-year relationship with cannabis brought to an abrupt halt in 2011 after an encounter with ayahuasca, the sacred visionary brew of the Amazon. Along the way he explores the mystery of death, the problem of consciousness, and the implications for the human future of a society that wages total war on true cognitive liberty.

14:54 "...only a truly insane global state of consciousness could allow such an abomination to occur..."

17:30 "...demand the right of adult sovereignty over consciousness..." Fist tap Arnach.

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John Kurman said...

I'll watch it, but he lost me about fifteen seconds into it with his insistence that of some type of revolution in modern behaviors some 40,000 years ago. I don't buy it. They are relying upon an archaeological record where only stone and rocks are evident. The divergence of body lice from head lice some 107,000 years ago suggests clothes, which suggests planning, which suggest abstract symbolism. Plus, you got purposeful mining and trading of ochres and iron oxide some 80,000 years before that. Plus, you got zero evidence of symbolism in materials that rot. For that, you need to muck around in marine sediments some 20-30 miles offshore. So, no, I do not buy into the sudden emergence of consciousness some 40,000 years ago. So, I would think that's all just-so stories, like so much of ancient studies. Now, I'll go back to watching it.

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CNu said...

Bearing in mind the Toba event, http://news.softpedia.com/news/74-000-Years-Ago-Human-Species-Stood-at-the-Brink-of-Extinction-66978.shtml how far back do you push language-based cognition?

John Kurman said...

At least back to the Cambrian. Language is overrated. Language has made individuals dumber, not smarter. That's why our brains are shrinking. Pretty soon, we will be a hyperintelligent superorganism with slack-jawed morons at the base. Think Florida, globally.

arnach said...

"...we will be a hyperintelligent superorganism..."

IMO, that's likely the point of evolution of both the species and spacetime. Peak matters; average, only to the extent it facilitates or prevents peak from being reached. Peak in which dimension(s), now that's the topic for discussion.

As far as "...brains are shrinking...," that sounds like an unsupported, or perhaps overly broad, assertion to me. I see some mighty bright kids hereabouts, heading towards some pretty major accomplishments...and I get the feeling there might be a couple of same living in the CNu abode, although that assertion is clearly fed by the prattlings of a proud Papa :-P

John Kurman said...

http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=human+brains+are+shrinking&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

arnach said...

So, then, what you're actually doing is conflating size with ability, which the fourth linked article in your simple search clearly refutes:
"..the downsizing does not mean modern humans are dumber (sic) than their ancestors -- rather, they simply developed different, more sophisticated forms of intelligence..."

As far as "...Language has made individuals dumber, not smarter...," well, that's just plain ignorant, independent of the fact that you also seem to be confusing "dumb" with "stupid." Without language, neither science nor society would have ever advanced to where we are today, thereby predispossesing you of the ability and means to spout such blatant nonsense.

John Kurman said...

No, I'm providing a link that shows there is support for the assertion. Don't read too much into things.

CNu said...

I get you on the Cambrian hypothesis http://www.quantumconsciousness.org/penrose-hameroff/cambrian.html and drilling down, would surmise that mycelia were/are the host/catalyst http://subrealism.blogspot.com/2011/04/monolith-for-killer-ape-dominated.html as it were for all this high-evolutionary mobilization.

CNu said...

nah brah..., if that's the model, then brains are DEFINITELY shriveling up like raisins in the sun. (^;

I'm very curious about this peak notion. If as I imagine, mycelia are where it's at, then they've been at peak for a VERY, VERY long time. Matter fact, evolving and increasingly self-conscious organisms would comprise the technological substrate through which mycelial agency operates, very, very slowly. It is the fact of our evolved and self-evolved mobility which enables us to close/bridge spacetime and energetic gradients which the mycelial cannot accomplish in a timely manner.

http://subrealism.blogspot.com/2010/04/nature-abhors-gradient.html

http://subrealism.blogspot.com/2010/04/beyond-farthest-reach-of-suns-power.html


Bacterial terraformers followed by mycelial biofarmers...., that's an oddly satisfying and reassuring notion

arnach said...

Have you read (or watched the PBS 'short' take) of Michael Pollan's The Botany of Desire?. From his site: "Every schoolchild learns about the mutually beneficial dance of honeybees and flowers: The bee collects nectar and pollen to make honey and, in the process, spreads the flowers’ genes far and wide. In The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan ingeniously demonstrates how people and domesticated plants have formed a similarly reciprocal relationship. He masterfully links four fundamental human desires—sweetness, beauty, intoxication, and control—with the plants that satisfy them: the apple, the tulip, marijuana, and the potato. In telling the stories of four familiar species, Pollan illustrates how the plants have evolved to satisfy humankind’s most basic yearnings. And just as we’ve benefited from these plants, we have also done well by them. So who is really domesticating whom?"


Anyway, his writing is mildly entertaining (albeit somewhat long winded) at best, but it's an interesting premise.

arnach said...

Your former/farmer premise is also interesting, but it rings of fantasy to me. Plausible =\= possible, but I understand how the idea can resonate. One of the problems I've observed with similar ideas (Intelligent Design being another one) is that the vast majority of people seem to have _no idea_ just how LONG a couple hundred million years really is so, although a thing might happen VERY slowly, 6,311,385,198,720,000 seconds leaves plenty of time for life, in even it's simplest forms, to make seemingly fantastic progress in whatever direction it's headed. Plus, there's almost never any evidence left behind of the attempts/directions that didn't pan out. For a specific ID example, I've had an accomplished, respected, technically trained person tell me that the coagulation cascade couldn't have developed without a guiding hand, but I don't buy it; while I may not be able to count to six quadrillion, I have a pretty good idea how long it is.

CNu said...

6,311,385,198,720,000 seconds leaves plenty of time for life, in even
it's simplest forms, to make seemingly fantastic progress in whatever
direction it's headed.



Certainly, but by what proposed mechanism is this negentropic complexification achieved?

CNu said...

bees actually get a little jolt of caffeine for their troubles http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/08/science/plants-use-caffeine-to-lure-bees-scientists-find.html and Pollan is thin soup in context of the magna maga magister http://subrealism.blogspot.com/search?q=margulis

arnach said...

If I could answer that, you'd have learned it when you found out I'd won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine...

CNu said...

My premise rings of fantasy?

Here, lean in a little bit so I can properly slap, slap, slap that head.

You talkin bout "given enough time, monkeys at keyboards would produce Shakespeare" - how dafuq THAT ever come to resonate? Random mutation over vast spans of time is patently ridiculous.



I think I'ma stick with symbiogenesis, bacteria terraforming for a couple billion, then fungi coming up out of nowhere coinciding with the period during which life gets interesting in the Cambrian, and the now highly peculiar and persuasive way that the fruiting bodies of vast and ancient mycelial complexes provably and profoundly alter human consciousness, no "guiding hand" required.

arnach said...

LOL slap away but, given my Dodge, you ain't likely ever gonna connect those big mitts with anything :-P

Anyway, my apology for misinterpreting the "terraformers" label; I thought you were referring to panspermia not symbiogenesis (and lateral gene transfer, etc.), which appeals highly as a possible explanation. Nonetheless, I still believe that random mutations also play an important role.

In spite of the magical hand-waving "coming up out of nowhere" argument, it seems to me the most likely explanation of mind-altering substances in certain mycelial reproductive organs is the same as that of the toxic skin excretions of certain brightly colored little frogs, to wit: "Eat me and you'll regret it."

CNu said...

nah dood, closer to those flowers doling out precious psychoactive rewards to bees. granted my riff on Stamets assertion that the mycelial hypercomplexities (nervous systems?) are intentional high-evolutionaries is speculative, but it's a very satisfying speculation consistent with the mechanism of symbiogenesis - just over an even vaster span of time.



as far as random mutation goes, there is absolutely zero evidence dispositive of the constructive or evolutionary action of random mutation. In fact, random mutation pretty much always presages dysfunction if not outright death and devastation.

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