Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A few comments on Damasio

From this post on his latest book, and also related to the post on ipseity and bare awareness. Note that consciousness is not the same as basic mind awareness. The former requires a 'self' and the latter is bereft of one. Core consciousness pre-dates the narrative self and is focused in the present only. It seems this is the 'bare awareness' from the meditation article, which requires ipseity (self), and is not the same as the unconscious 'mind' process (awake awareness) that Damasio distinguishes.This is congruent with my earlier speculations that it requires an 'ego' to meditate, which goes down into the 'mind.' I didn't have Damasio's more refined definitions then, so the ego to which I referred might be more like the core consciousness than the narrative self?

And perhaps most significantly, at least in relation to the discussion of 'free will' here, is that consciousness trains the unconscious via skill learning, moral behavior being but one example. We have some control over our unconscious processes; we are not a complete slave to them. We can and must re-program them to some degree if we are to be human. I realize some of us would prefer to remain unconscious automatons concerned with survival of the fittest, thereby relieving us of any social responsibility, aka regressive Republicans. Good thing the rest of us take advantage of our prefrontal cortex and neuroscientifically grounded sense of 'self' consciousness lest we return to the jungle.

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