Author of The Master and His Emissary, and The Matter with Things
My wife pointed out this morning that MRI scans, etc, are all situated within a left-hemisphere context. You lie in a tube of metal as it hums loudly doing decontextualised thought experiments devised by people with left hemisphere dominant ways of seeing the world, who think they are disembodied observers of their experiments, and then think the results they get have relevance on how our brains work while in our normal lives, and what about the Real Humans, living in right story?
The whole thing needs to be walked away from. It's insane.
Thank you Charles and Iain for the beautiful conversation.
I stay with this: “ … Beauty is an emergent function and it cannot be copied. It has to come from the infinite, … Because beauty is contextual, it has to draw from something outside of what already is.”
And as my observation for you and Iain, I quote Socrates:
“ … one ought to to be beautiful to approach one who is beautiful.”
I went to the social security office to update my address. There was an armed guard there, sitting at a desk, playing with his phone. Every person who came in (to that hellish place) got exactly the same spiel, this is a federal office, no weapons, take them outside. Mute your phone. Go to the mechanical kiosk and get your number. He said it verbatim 6 or 7 times during the hour I was there. Would that not make any thinking person insane?
Has human function become more mechanical? Or has increased connectivity merely rendered the inherent mechanics and patterns more visible?
Oh I'm happy to see you and Iain get together, and I love the conversation format where you set the intention to get further than you would separately.
His interview with Russell Brand was one of the first I responded to on YT, before I started doing Substack. It's called What Is the Matter? https://youtu.be/KFXxrARtIkc.
Great conversation! Love the positivity in dissection of current human changes. Breaking it down in such a way to give meaning to what all this means that we are living through. Yet at the same time saying “don’t lose what makes you human and your respect for all life forms”.
Yes! I’ve been waiting for this conversation for some time
Iain points out the very personal import of his book's subtitle: Our Brains, Our Delusions, and the Unmaking of the World. And then IMHO colludes with Charles to maintain the rhetoric as reality lies we use to avoid the painful truth about our own experience of delusion and how, as John Vervaeke points out "we are comprehensively prone to self-deception." Like the rhetorical self-deception within Iain's comment: "They see the sun and they see it moving in the sky and they see this as a living thing?" This is humanity's fundamental, conscious illusion, caused by the Earth's rotation within the darkness of space. While the darkness of humanity's self-ignorant, self-deception is, imho, reflected in Charles non-personal rhetoric: "human functioning has become more and more mechanical?"
Three quotes I believe are worthy of consciousness contemplation:
"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. An optical delusion of consciousness, a kind of prison for us." — Albert Einstein
"The delusion is extraordinary by which we exalt language above nature." ― Alexander B Johnson, A TREATISE ON LANGUAGE
"For people to comprehend their conditioned self-deception scheme, they must try not to impose a perceptual expectation of mind-sight on the perception capacity of eye-sight." ― Daniel Goleman, Vital Lies, Simple Truths, The Psychology of Self Deception
Iain in response to a question about how he had wrote his book with its complexity and immense set of footnotes and a lengthy bibliography described an utterly left brain process of organization and analysis. He had to do that to be able to present the wonders of the hero right brain. Oh well, the right foot needs the left foot so the whole being can get around.
Our "frame of reference" needs considerable widening in order to encompass both brain halves AND the heart and the gut.
A quote from your interview with lain, " … Beauty is an emergent function and it cannot be copied. It has to come from the infinite, … Because beauty is contextual, it has to draw from something outside of what already is.” How does this align with the notions of the hemispheres of the brain as a source for anything. We can view the right and left hemispheres as a filter, an overlay of thought and perception, but even that implies that thought and perception resides and emerges from the brain, "in the head". Where does mind/Mind really reside? Can it be located anywhere. Can a hologram be viewed as localized. It is a projection, not some 'thing' fixed in space and time. And if we say, beauty is "an emergent function" we cannot localize it, emerging not from some thing, what or where, "It has to come from the infinite". In reality, is there an outside separate from inside? I like lian's broad view of this subject, he seems released in part from materialist science, but not fully. LIke his ideas on panpsychism there is still the prejudice as a neuroscientist lingering in the background, which can only view consciousness in relation to an object of thought or perception (brain activity), rather than the source and substance of everything. He seems able to view life from a 'higher' perspective, seeing that we are more than what is perceived as material, and we are graced in his writing with so many quotes from physicists who have also taken this leap, but it the end, it seems, at least for lian, he is unable to take the final step to see that the infinite is in fact infinite, and cannot contain or co-exist with anything that is finite. As John Keats once famously said, "Truth is beauty and beauty is truth. That is all you know and all you need to know." Beauty, like consciousness is not contextual, but absolute, and yet not other that what is already aways present. Outside and inside, self and other are illusions drawn from the limitation of mind, commonly understood as brain activity. As Rumi tells us:
The lamps are different,
but the Light is the same.
So many garish lamps in the dying brain's lamp-shop,
Forget about them.
Concentrate on essence, concentrate on Light.
In lucid bliss, calmly smoking off its own holy fire,
The Light streams towards you from all things,
All people, all possible permutation of good, evil, thought, passion.
But the Light is the same.
One matter, one energy, one Light, one Light-mind,
Endlessly emanating all things
One turning and burning diamond,
One, one, one.
Ground yourself, strip yourself down,
To blind loving silence.
Stay there, until you see
You are gazing at the Light
With its own ageless eyes.
Two hoomin beans talking about alienation, their being alienated, not once mentioning 'alienation' ?
But during it i thought about how science is a 'splitting off' pursued by alienated hoomin beans (that's when it's not science as ideology) - and our condescending arrogance thinking that my grunting remote stone-age ancestors needed language to communicate...
After The Fall we invented Language so we could Talk to each other...
Dis-trust gave birth to Language after men realised that Man was the greatest threat to men...
(before every new born learns language it learns dis-trust !)...
I mean, how can you talk about your feeling alienated without Language ?
I am waiting for AI to replicate my writing. I'm hoping for at least, an attempt. Even my comments, for I refuse to note. Like Micalin Oig said in The Quiet Man, when told "ah, we're at peace now man". His reply was "Yeah, but I haven't given up hope". Great Chat. Rock on, yee two Gods of War:Ragarok. Let them try and replicate the best of us. It'll be fun, for alot of us are just warming up. I salute yee for yeer incredible contributions.
Got through half the talk before bed. This morning I thought of a phrase from the Bible - the Living God- the magic Charles and Iain seemed to be dancing around about. Will finish the rest later.
What makes humans different from AI? Plenty. 人者，仁也。施于人则施于己……
When the dust settles, civility wins.
Thanks so much Charles and Iain for the wonderful discussion! One thing that came up really struck my interest, when you touched briefly on the topic of science as a religion. I wrote up some thoughts about it here that you might be interested in: