IGS Discussion Forums: Learning GS Topics: The Present
Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Wednesday, October 4, 2006 - 12:41 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail


Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Tuesday, October 10, 2006 - 11:41 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

In the present they present me with a present that was pre-sent to present to me.

What's the difference between represent and re-present?


We become conscious, then, when our organisms internally construct and internally exhibit a specific kind of wordless knowledge--that our organism has been changed by an object--and when such knowledge occurs along with the salient internal exhibit of an object. The simplest form in which this knowledge emerges is the feeling of knowing, and the enigma before us is summed up in the following question: By what sleight of hand is such knowledge gathered, and why does the knowledge first arise in the form of a feeling?
The specif answer I deduced is presented in the following hypothesis: core consciousness occurs when the brain's representation devices generate an imaged, nonverbal account of how the organism's own state is affected by the organism's processing of an object, and when this process enhances the image of the causative object, thus placing it saliently in a spatial and temporal context. The hypothesis outlines two component mechanisms: the generation of the imaged nonverbal account of the object-organism relationship--which is the source of the sense of self in the act of knowing--and the enhancement of the images of an object.

Source: The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness, Antonio Damasio, Harcourt, San Diego, 1999, pp.168-9.

Consider the process of awareness of the present as an ongoing intensional-extensional dynamic. To be "wholly" "extensional" is to lose all awareness of self; to be "wholly" intensional, is to lose all awareness of all but oneself, but we cannot do either. The act of processing an object alters our self in such a way that we are aware of the feeling of self in an act of "knowing" or observing. We cannot "see" anything without feeling that it is "we" who are seeing. We are altered by the object, and the object is altered by our placing it in our ongoing dynamic representation.

This is quite different from discussing a hypothetical space-time map coordinatized with a "moving" point labled "the present" - a largely externalized theoretical construct. Hop on that point; go for a ride, feel the thrill of the on rushing experiences that continually change us, thereby creating a sense of continuity and the illusion of presence.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Wednesday, October 11, 2006 - 05:54 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

I would suggest that an extensional orientation would manifest itself behaviorally as a greater willingness to alter one's map, while an intensional orientation would manifest itself behavorially as a tendency to deny evidence that would suggest that one's map needed revision. An "intensional orientation" reflects the common aphorism, "don't confuse me with the facts, my mind's made up."

How does (or can) the present look from the perspective of "self-righteous confidence" as compared to the perspective of "self-doubting caution"?

Will the (relatively more) intensionally oriented person tend to see a more fixed absolute?
Will the (relatively more) extensionally oriented person tend to see a more variable fluidity?

Is there any way to isolate the "looker" from the "seen"? And what can it mean for the present to be seen (look), period, let alone "differently" (from what?)?

How can "the present" be seen (look) as distinct from seeing objects? Awareness of the present is characterized above as awarness of change in the self as a consequence of processing an "object", which itself is changed in the processing. Through abstracting the object is altered as it affects the self.

But "the present" refers to a time named "now", which cannot even be said without it's passing into the past, leaving the echo of its passing in our everchanging consciousness.

The intensionally oriented knows "now" now.
The extensionally oriented wonders "how" now.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Thursday, October 12, 2006 - 11:21 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

An "intensional orientation" does not "alter" the territory; an "intensional orientation" forcibly projects onto the territory a more false-to-fact map that is much less alterable as the result of abstracting. An "extensional orientation" processes abstractions and alters the map accordingly; while an "intensional orientation" alters the abstractions to fit a more rigidly held map.

Talk about "biochemistry" misses the point; it is hypothetical talk about processes in the system doing the abstracting. It's what Gilbert Ryle called a category mistake, missing the forest for the trees, orienting to the wrong level of abstraction.

Intensional "versus" extensional orientation talks about the rigidity versus flexibility of assimilation versus accommodation of abstractions.


In Assimilation, what is perceived in the outside world is incorporated into the internal world ... without changing the structure of that internal world, but potentially at the cost of "squeezing" the external perceptions to fit hence pigeon-holing and stereotyping.

In Accommodation, the internal world has to accommodate itself to the evidence with which it is confronted and thus adapt to it, which can be a more difficult and painful process. In the database analogy, it is like what happens when you try to put in information which does not fit the pre-existent fields and categories. You have to develop new ones to accommodate the new information.


These align as dimensions one would expect to be correlated:
reverse order of abstracting-normal order of abstracting
inward focus-outward focus

I think of these not as categories but as dimensional directions having more or less by degrees.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Saturday, October 14, 2006 - 09:42 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Category mistake, I think not.

One needs a finger to point at the moon, but woe to he who takes the finger for the moon.