Annex II Human objective Consciousness vs. Animal Subjective Awareness

Here is how I connect the notions of space and time to the emergence of our objective consciousness.

I believe that we became consciously aware of reality  when we eventually realized that the entities that we encountered in the environment existed on their own, even when away from our “here and now”– by “objectifying” the outside world.  It may seem obvious now, but I believe that this is the greatest discovery that we have ever made.

It was to make these “observations” that we needed the notions of “space” and “time,” unconscious to begin with, to figure out that the objects that we were manipulating in our “here and now” already existed before somewhere else, and would still be there later, when we would need them again. We understood that we could recuperate “later” the objects that we were manipulating “now” and that we could reproduce “now” the objects that we had encountered “before.” It is probably then that we started painting objects on cave walls to “entertain” our congeners?, who probably couldn’t believe how “real” they were, and who were probably as amazed by them then as we are now by the new-cinema technologies.

It is in this process of “mental objectification” that the intuitive notions of “space” and “time” remained embedded unknown to us for millions of years in the “objects” that we were identifying in the outer world.

“The logical premises of factuality are not known to us or believed by us before we start establishing facts, but are recognized on the contrary by reflecting on the way we establish facts.” (Michael Polanyi, Personal Knowledge. My italics.)

It is only with the Greeks that these “logical premises of factuality” (space and time) were recognized, and only in modern times did we came to give them specific properties to fit our equations of relative motion. I will show at the end of this paper that this substantiation of space and time is misconceived, is Ptolemaic, and not necessary to explain how reality function at all levels, as we didn’t  need substantive crystalline spheres and epicycles to explain the motion of the stars and the planets in the Heavens.

Animals do not function this way. They don’t objectify the entities present in the portion of the environments to which they adapt: They remain implicated with them. In Bohm’s terms, they remain “enfolded” in them, in mine, they treat them as extensions of themselves. Their brains (or nervous ganglions) don’t differentiate between the stimuli coming from their inside environment (somatic information) and those coming from the outside world (exosomatic information).Exceptions can be made for elephants, whales, and dolphins, because of the size of their brains, and for great apes, because of the quality of theirs. All the other animals use their brains to function in their outside world the same way we use the major part of ours (80%?) to regulate our bodies, without any representation, like this bacteria can do it, at a lower level.

And I think that those who believe, I would say the large majority of us, that biological entities carry some types of ’mental representations’ of the world in their head are as anthropomorphic as we were when we thought that physical objects were somewhat alive.

This has been my working hypothesis: The other animals do not have a conscious objective-representation of the world in which they live; they live in the outside world like parts of our brains live in their immediate environments, the same for every brain, our bodies, without any representation.

Here is how I have translated them in Quantum terms. It is as if the living world were part of a “double slit” experiment, in which the back screen is the awareness of living entities, and the two slits made up of the information coming from inside these entities and those coming from outside of them. At the biological level, animals don’t differentiate between the stimuli coming from inside and those coming from outside their bodies (my hypothesis). For that, they would have to be aware that they have a body, of which they are not, since they are not self-conscious. They don’t think. Therefore, they don’t “untangle” themselves from their environment. They live in the outside world as we live in our body, WITHOUT ANY REPRESENTATION, which give them a type of “wavy” awareness (as a consequence of their two slits being opened) of the small portion of the environment to which they remained “enfolded.”

This “enfoldment with the unbroken wholeness’” can explain bird migration, especially cuckoos’, who could remain “entangled” to the womb of their genitors, by whom they are not raised, but whom they rejoin later in migratory regions where they have never been before. This could be explained by the fact that the genitors of this species –who get to their migrating area one month before their offspring– could serve as “beacon” in a dimension where, according to Bohm: “… space and time are no longer the dominant factors determining the relationships of dependence or independence of different elements.”

“A cuckoo here and a cuckoo there” doesn’t mean anything to them, since the energies of their inner body are still “entangled” (Aspect), as a consequence of having been one at birth.(NB this could also explain the affinity of twins separated at birth.  Having been once part of the same egg that “split”, they remain “entangled” all their life, even when miles apart in different family.) Thus, their observed similarities would not be the result of the physical working of their genes, but a consequence of the non-local entanglement of their whole being in the implicate order.

In our case, because we mentally “detect” the difference between the two levels of reality, between what is objective and what is subjective, we consciously become aware at the mental level of the whole environment in terms of discrete objects, from which we “untangle” ourselves in the process. We think, therefore, we are “untangled.” We thus have gained the ability to “explicate” the reality that we perceive, but lost the capacity to understand our deep implication with it. Hence, we became alienated from it, and have progressed to a point of our evolution, where everything that we have ever done on this basis as a species is “hitting the fan,” as the Club of Rome already predicted almost forty years ago in their Limits to Growth.

***

The sound of a violin is a very convincing instance of what I want to put across regarding the fallacy of “objectivism” (defined as our belief of a reality independant of our mind).  In this instance , indeed, it is very easy to see that, outside of a perceiving brain, a violin creates no sound, but only motion. First, there are the vibrations of strings, which are amplified by the body of a violin and transformed by it into acoustic waves in the atmosphere. No atmosphere, no further motion. Furthermore, up too this point, there is no sound, but only motion. Then, this rhythmic motion of the atmosphere is picked up by ear lobs, amplified again by ear canals, and transformed into vacillations of tympanic membranes, etc., etc., until it is transduced into motion of atoms inside auditory nerves (still no sound), to finally be perceived as auditory sensations when it reaches the primary auditory cortex of conscious entities. No objective consciousness, no sound, but only motion. When your dog receive the vibration of your whistle it doesn’t “hear” a sound, but comes to you; in it’s case these ” brain-vibrations” are translated into another type of movements: physical. Furthermore, the same could be true for light waves, with much more implications.

That normal human brains all seem to hear and see the same things has always been problematic to me, since sounds, and by extension vision, are the subjective experience par excellence. However, if we are unconsciously parts of the “unbroken wholeness,”  in which “space and time are no longer the dominant factors determining the relationships of dependence or independence of different elements”(Bohm), then there is no problem, since in reality, we are implicated as one in it, and thus become one among ourselves and with the object that we are subjectively perceiving all together.

From this perspective, there is absolutely no problem for bats to catch flies, even if they don’t have any conscious representation of them, since their brains can simply convert the ultimate signals that they receive in their auditory cortex into another series of different types of motion controlling their flight, as we “crudely” perform with our “fly by wires.Bats are the only mammal with a better ability to hear changes in pitch than humans do.” In other words, their sophisticated auditory system can be directly used to control their flight, which would be just another translation of the motion present in their auditory nerves into other types of motion, instead of into sound representations, as we do. Bats don’t need more representations  to catch flies than our brains need representations to put our inner bodies in “motion” to attack foreign objects intruding into them. If our bodies can do this with viruses, without any representation (you will at the least concede that it is true in the case ofphagocytes) bats can do it with flies, and eagles, with rabbits.

Wood animals who were “listening” to trees falling had fewer chances to survive than did those who would have responded to vibrations by simply running away from them without translating them into any other form of awareness. In our case, we must have started to have mental representations of falling trees, only once we were away from them in the middle of the Savanna, where we started to develop an objective consciousness, while using our hands to defend ourselves when facing dangers instead of running away from them  by claiming up trees.

From this perspective, there is absolutely no problem for animals to live without any representation of reality, as if it was an extension of their bodies, as it is not for us to live in a representation of it as if it was an extinction of our minds, without any certainty. (Q. E. D.)


About André Gaudreault

Throughout my life, I have acquired two general BA’s and one unspecialised Masters of Art in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology of the university of Guelph, to understand, from a generalist point of view, the root cause of our maladaptation as a rational species. However. I have failed to become a generalist, generalists develop understandings of specifics “fields of knowledge” from the point of view of mastered disciplines and I have never (by choice) mastered anything. Throughout the superficial overview of many fields of study, I have constantly investigated the role of knowledge and academics in the the present predicament of humanity. At 70, I have thus become a self proclaimed “artisan of global thinking.” I am presently in the process of writing in absentia a PhD dissertation on the existential problems that we are facing as a species and on on our inability resolve them using the kind of specialized thinking that can but contribute to their aggravation. agaudwin@hotmail.com English is not my mother tongue.
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