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RE: functions Consciousness and Attention

Jan 23, 2003 03:26 PM
by dalval14

Jan 23 2002

Re: Consciousness and Mental functions.

Dear Friends and W:

May I take some of your time and offer you my thoughts to see if
they parallel yours?

CONSCIOUSNESS: IN DICTIONARY it says it is derived from CON --
along with; and SEIRE -- to know. Apparently it is a shared
experience. [ to see along with ] Further, it relates to
awareness, of sensation, emotion, thought, and, is considered to
be “mind” in the broadest sense. (The totality of conscious
states is a mind.) Normal awakened awareness. etc….

This gives a lot to play with. But it doesn’t give a clue as to
how, or why it arises. We have it and it seems to distinguish
humans from other forms of life, such as animals, which do not
appear to be as finely individualized as we humans are. (There
are resemblances, agreed but not identities.)

I would say that every life-form (small or great) has
intelligence of its own, How t classify these is indeed a
problem, as we find them all gathered up into the “mental tools”
that any human can use in their own way. Some have great
capacity and flexibility and others small ability to change their
rigidities and expand so as to grasp the meanings of others
expressed in similar but different ways. [The differences
between religions is a case in point. Also I wonder why it is
that priests, etc., who obviously manage and control the business
of religions, do not encourage a broad investigation of other
creeds by their votaries.]

That which is “imprinted with new data” would be “memory. The
quality of the data is not involved, merely the recording. I see
that individual control, as to selection, is usually applied
either consciously or unconsciously because of habit or earlier
“teaching and learning disciplines. Some memories are imprinted
deeper than others. Occasionally some things have to be
un-learned, when proved to be inaccurate or false.

To “discriminate” implies the ability to distinguish, to
evaluate, and then choice as an effort of the will is applied in
selection. I would say that the best way to do this is to make
ones self totally impersonal. If one has biases, the recording
can be skewed or influenced by them. How do we make ourselves
free of biases ?.

But again this does not define the “WILLER.” I assume one might
say the “willer” is the REAL ME -- whatever it might be called
( Ego, Self, Spirit, Mind, etc…)

I only make this analysis to show how, with me, I pick at
meanings to determine effective communication, as we all tend to
slur over the exact processes, and rarely are we clear about the
active mental and emotional agents involved. I think it is
important to get those straight. We have all developed within
the parameters of certain cognitive abilities, our own paths and

I wonder therefore if there is anything that could be called a
clear and unbiased pattern agreeable to us who do such research
which might make things easier and more definite to say. What I
see is that the emotions tend to infringe on the processes of
pure thought. In any case decisions as to worth

As you know, I am a student of Theosophy. Using the information
provided in its literature I have tried to determine if such a
pattern is provided. I am satisfied that it has one value and
that is of making me very cautious in arriving at decisions, or
in trying to communicate in anything but broad terms. I think
each has to do their own study and arrive at their own
conclusions, as adopting the conclusions or methods of others,
without due testing is sometimes fruitless, and a waste of time
(for me).

I have discovered (?) that descriptions of mental processes,
volition, motives, morals, ethics, and the differentiation
between virtue and vice, is largely personal to every one of us.
In other words it is a matter of opinion. Consequently any
perception of “truth” or “fact” may be affected by the biases of
the individual. A further observation is that what one might
profess openly (Credo, etc…) is not necessarily the way,
thereafter, in which one conducts ones’ self when alone.

I have tried to find if there is some way of making a description
of these which would satisfy the many kinds of self-opinions we
have framed and adopted. But I sense that through the disparities
there runs a common ridge (or dividing line) -- it is something
that depersonalizes opinions.
I don’t know if this is good or bad, or sounds very “superior,”
for it is not so. It is a humble attempt to secure a set of
meanings and criteria on which I can place incoming “data” to see
if it is honest and true or skewed in some way by emotional

Now we can expand from there and watch how investigation proceeds
to find memory cells all over the body -- and evidence of
physical and psychological local controls -- choking and sudden
air-pipe constrictions is a good case in point. But these are all
interlocking and no specific set is dominant unless one considers
the ruling SELF.

Well that’s enough of that.

Best wishes,


PS In regard to your report on Quining Qualia and other
research could you go to There, access
the Articles by Mme. H. P. Blavatsky and read PSYCHIC AND NOETIC
ACTION. I think it will be found very interesting to you. It
considers the same things we are now discussing and looking at.
If you don’t want to do that, I can send you a copy. Let me


-----Original Message-----
From: w
Sent: Thursday, January 23, 2003 12:38 PM
To: Theosophy Study List

Subject: Correction and re. the speed of functions

Correction to Dallas: I have said you quoted HPB. It was the
"Mahatma" you quoted. Whoops.

Hi Everyone. Here is a message I have posted on another list, as
it is very relevant here. If you are planning to go to the United
Nations, might want to read this first. Look carefully, as there
is something hidden in it. I am, with great difficulty, learning
how to communicate by using my own words. In this way, I can
become more of a participant and less of a mechanical parrot by
addressing contemporary situations and individual enquiries in a
way that is alive and not static


Hi. This is a correction to my message. I have said
"consciousness is a field that is constantly being imprinted with
new data." This statement erroneously implies I am saying that
the field exists independently of the perceiver, which is not the

Though one moment obviously does take place over time, and is
therefore extended, as you have contributed SO many times, Alex,
the word, "point" is a symbol for a location, and I sort of
resented you taking up so much of my time and energy because you
got stuck on a literal interpretation, which is another reason I
have not been on this list for a while. When I give someone
directions and I say, start at this point, and indicate a place
on a map, I do not expect to get into diversional semantical
discussions about the nature of a point, as, if I am visiting
Paris, I will never get to the Eiffel Tower. If something
observes the body (as if) from outside, washing dishes or walking
down the street, it is obvious that in order for this to occur,
many different sets of the brain and body are being engaged, and
these are not happening at the exactly the same time.

The problems with words is that people have their own agendas
which they are often consciously NOT aware of. This means that
there are different levels of consciousness. It would be nice if
people studying "consciousness" could become committed to
studying consciousness in themselves, as there is no way to
really study consciousness and get to the heart of the matter
without factoring in oneself as an object of study AS one is
perceiving. If I am a studying how to make a new kind of
anesthesia, or how the brain works so I can design yet another
psychiatric medication, it is one thing, but in terms of
understanding, the nature of conscious,ness itself, in my
opinion, the Newtonian model will not work, and this should be
somewhat obvious, but it is not.

This is why I put out the link to "Quining Qualia." by Dennett,
and went into the lengthy thing about materialism and idealism.
There are many idealists on here, no matter how sophisticated
they may sound, who believe that consciousness is a field that
exists independently of the perceiver of this field. It is
natural for people to think this way, but it is a wrong view,
which needs to be corrected, as it is creating great disorder in
the world. This is why Dennett went to great lengths to put out
his argument in Quining Qualia. It is a VERY important subject,
and an understanding by many cognitive scientists of what he was
saying would change the tendency toward an unrealistic and
idealistic approach in modern psychology. But you do not even
need to read his essay to understand that the subjective self,
based on subjective experience is not a self-sustaining and
substantial entity that exists independently on its own side.
Yes, there is individual experience, but the farther we get into
the maze of this and the physical material or territory or
whatever we need to sustain the illusion of this, the less chance
there is of solving the problems of the world so that future
generations can survive,

There was a study done at Columbia University which discovered
something about brain cells in the stomach area, yes? You are all
probably familiar with this. I do not know how many of you are
from the United States and saw Gov. Ryan, who pardoned 167
prisoners from death row, before he retired as governor of
Illinois, but if you happened to hear this extraordinary speech,
you had the rare opportunity of seeing a politician make a speech
from his CONSCIENCE. There was a distinctly different material
quality to his voice and demeanor that stood out and could not be
missed by anyone who heard this. It was quite extraordinary and I
was lucky to have turned on the t.v. at this moment. My grandson
saw it to, to his good fortune. The reason I am able to verbalize
this to you out here is that I have the words to cup around this
experience and make sense out of it, not just for myself but for
many others. I am able to communicate and discuss about different
grades and qualities of materiality (however clumsily) because
something with no opinion has studied this in myself and gathered
data about it. There is no way to figure out sensation by
thinking about sensation as when I think about sensation I
displace my ability to sense and maybe to make a certain kind of
sense. We all know what conscience is, right? Is conscience a
quale or is it something in common that can resonate with
together? Does it cut the grease? When things get too slippery,
there is no grip (grp). What is grip and is it essential for
things to work in an orderly manner? Is sensation the same as
perception, as a thought. If the"present" takes place over a
continuum, this means that different functions have different
speeds. If a tape is running too slowly or too fast, is it harder
or easier to understand the content? What is BREATH? Does a
traumatized person suck in air, and have we all been traumatized?
Hope this is some food for thought. I know my words are simple,
but maybe there is still something timportant to read between the
lines. Sincerely, Wry


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