March 22, 2019 | Jon Mostad
«In the beginning was the awareness, and the awareness was with god, and the awareness was God» (@mostadjon)
If your read the Gospel of John (the christian bible - John 1:1), you will read «In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God». Even I do not have any religious purpose with my studying and writing, I often need to go to the religious presentations and explanations to get inspired. So is it with this weeks text.
Welcome to my blog, if you have visited my blog before and return now, I am very happy and to you who is new I want to say - provide the texts with no obligation of any kind. I study mythical themes and try to understand what must be an ancient hidden and forgotten wisdom. My purpose is to develop my own life and prepare for my next life. If I in any way can be in benefit or delight for others, I will feel great joy. My texts are independent of religious contexts and I do not seek to teach you any knowledge. If you are inspired by your own reflections and create new beliefs that are valid for you, my work has borne fruit.
I post a text every Friday PM 7 CET (Central European Time) and follow it up with daily extensions on Instagram where you find me as @mostadjon.
Why do I want to write about the topic of "Awareness"? You can see I associate the term with the Christian Bible's story of creation. I find creation accounts in all the great religious narratives and in the ancient wisdom traditions. In my quote that you read initially, I have replaced the term "Word" with "Awareness". I take that liberty and explain it more closely.
Awareness vs. Consciousness
In several of the great religious narratives, "The Word" is referred to as "God" and is added to the importance of being the source that put the Universe into a physical manifestation. These stories are beautiful and I can relate to them as images or revelations of a mystery all people occasionally reflect on. As my agenda is of a different nature from the religious narratives, I choose to use the narrative as a starting point for a reflection that points directly into the contemporary technological development and understanding of modern cosmology.
First of all, I need to understand the concept of «aware». What is a human being when it is aware? Aware involves having knowledge about something. Awareness means being able to judge situations through deep insight. A significant synonym for awareness is consciousness. I often find that these terms act as substitutes for one another. Aware includes knowledge gained through one's own perceptions or by means of outside information. Conscious emphasizes the inner workings of the mind and the direct experience of the senses as opposed to knowledge gained through information. I can see that my reflection needs both concepts and in this context I choose to use awareness and also let it implicitly accommodate the inner recognition resulting from consciousness.
If I will follow the dictionaries' explanation of the terms, awareness includes information provided to the cognitive process from the outside. Consciousness is an inner process in the brain where new insights are generated by the mind itself or by the recognition of the senses. In this context, the question arises whether consciousness is an isolated and inner process in the brain itself, or whether the brain is primarily a transistor that streams consciousness as a radio streams sound. In several of my texts I have made reflections on this relationship and included the reflections in one of my published books.
Artificial Intelligence and Prehention
There are two perspectives I want to think about and where I need to use the concept of awareness. One is the relationship of Man to the technological evolution of artificial intelligence and the other is the beginning understanding of the Universe as consciousness, in itself. In both perspectives, I need access to the concept of awareness. Let me first say a few words about the technological development of artificial intelligence.
Future researchers are concerned with how society develops and appears in different scenarios. In order to understand and project developments, future researchers often sort out major developments in what they call megatrends. A megatrend may be the composition of the population divided by age and gender, another may be the development of health, a third may be how the development moves from a real physical existence to an immaterial existence. Future researchers I have worked closely with, have discussed whether technological developments should be considered as a megatrend. The tendency of these researchers is to consider technology as a natural aspect of the development of society and not a trend with a beginning or end in itself. I will not spend so much time discussing megatrends and futures in this text, and settle for placing technological developments as a general driver of society. However, technological developments in these days are causing a systematic and radical development of artificial intelligence. This artificial intelligence is developed by a technology based on logical algorithms, that is, of formulas written in a digital language. The artificial intelligence is technology driven and created by humans. The challenge of artificial intelligence is that it already surpasses human intelligence in several areas. It remembers more, it can handle larger amounts of data and make far more complicated analyzes. The artificial intelligence is also in the process of repairing itself, presenting itself and developing itself. You will find texts where I reflect on these challenges and where I outline how people can meet the challenges. The question is how humans can avoid ending up as the "monkey in the cage" as artificial intelligence evolves and becomes more superior to human intelligence. The answer is to develop human awareness.
The system theorist and scientist Irvin Laszlo (1932-) outlines his understanding of awareness as follows:
- first understanding: - awareness is local; It takes place in and out of the brain itself and does not exist outside the human brain
- other understanding: - awareness is non-local and partly a result of being "stored" in what is figuratively comparable to computer networks / cloud-based memories
- third understanding: - awareness is of a cosmic nature and is called "hologram theory"
Laszlo sees consciousness as a form of active intelligence, capable of perceiving sides of the world and with the ability to communicate experience. It is in this view of awareness as a characteristic of the Universe itself, I can see that a future for Man in "struggle" with the artificial intelligence will take place. Individual awareness can be linked to a universal awareness that creates itself in interaction with the various forms of consciousness we usually sort into realms: the realms of minerals, the realms of plants, the realms of animals and the realms of humans. All matter is conscious and interacts through different levels of frequencies. To understand that as different levels of consciousness as the four I just mentioned can interact with each other, we need to understand what "sensitive interaction" means. Sensitive interaction involves an intelligent and highly sensitive form of perception (consists of acquisition, interpretation, selection and organization of sensory information). The English scientist Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947) made the term "prehension" and the term can be associated with "sensing" - sensing, perceiving, grasping. Whitehead explained that all actual life forms sense other life forms. This prehension did not require sensory organs or a nervous system, but was an expression of inherent coherence - waves that swing in pace.
Can prehension be an explanation of how the Universe shapes and expands, through gravity and levitation (the opposite of gravity)? Can all life forms be co-creators of an intelligent universe?
I'm going to approach a conclusion. The German philosopher Sebastian Watzl (1978-) states that consciousness requires attention; without attention no awareness. He points out that science so far seems to have considered attention as a particular mechanism in the brain and that philosophy therefore cannot contribute any further clarification. According to Watzel, the question of what attention is, is an open question. Therefore, the question should not be left to the psychologists and brain researchers alone. Can philosophy help us on the way to an extended understanding of awareness and thereby an extended understanding of consciousness?
I do not escape the German scientist, the author and the philosopher Johan Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832). His philosophy of science explained thoughts as a sense organ. By considering the thoughts as an inner eye and as a sense comparable with vision and hearing, humans can open up to the transcendent dimension of everything created. I would think that the artificial intelligence written by its logical algorithms will never reach this level.
Thanks to you who read this text. Not an easy text. As I had to shorten to stay within a limited format like a weekly blog, the more I feel lifted up in abstraction. I think this is a limitation on me. By reading and writing more, I may be more skilled in easing my presentations.
Maybe we'll see you next time?