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I'm Not Out To Persuade You Of Anything...

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Posted by Paul R. Martin on May 7, 2002 00:14:41 UTC

Hi Mike,

...But maybe Bishop Berkeley can. Interesting you should mention him. I had gradually developed my opinions on the question of origins over a period of 50 years before I finally read Berkeley's "Concerning Human Knowledge". On reading it, I was delighted to find someone who had come to the same conclusion as I had and who gave some respectability to my crackpot idea. (That was also when I discovered the utility in numbering paragraphs when you want to discuss something very carefully in writing.)

If you really want to be persuaded, read Berkeley and tell me the number of his paragraph where you think he goes off track. I took his challenge when I read it and I found his arguments to be persuasive all the way through.

I know, I know. Professional philosophers think they have found holes and errors in Berkeley logic. But among those arguments that I have heard or read, I found nothing that would contradict his conclusions. Just the opposite. I think they make fundamental errors right at the outset of their arguments.

That reminds me...I started preparing a post to Harv with comments on the philosophical survey given to scientists that he directed us to. I never did finish it. But because of your interest in this topic, I just might resurrect that piece and post it here.

***In fact, many thoughts are little more than the result of a refusal to be deliberate in directing our minds...so what we get is a form of thought that is just the result of chemical drift...if that's putting it too strongly, I'll claim it's art for illustration purposes only!***

No, that's not putting it too strongly at all. I think what you say is obvious and, in my scheme, it needs to be explained. (I.e. if our minds are subsets of the cosmic mind, how come there is so much goofy human thought?)

I explain that with the analogy of a remote-controlled Martian rover. The rover is controlled by a conscious human here on earth (playing the role in the analogy of the one-and-only cosmic consciousness.) Now, among all the physical mechanisms making up the rover, is an on-board computer. This computer is designed and programmed to do many autonomous functions which cause the rover to get its job done. Things like moving around, avoiding obstacles, digging holes, and whatever else it is supposed to do.

But on occasions when the rover needs direct, conscious, attention in order to act appropriately, the human operator on earth can intervene, override, or initiate, or finely control, or otherwise influence how that rover changes the landscape of Mars.

I think there is little doubt that our brains (our on-board computers) can handle autonomous functions like breathing and digestion whether we are conscious or sleeping. It also seems to me that our brains are able to play a reasonable game of tennis, ride a bicycle, or play a memorized piano piece autonomously with little or no contribution from consciousness.

But when faced with a choice where we clearly engage our consciousnesses to make a difference (e.g. am I going to drink or drive?) then I think the remote link to that cosmic consciousness zaps a bunch of bits back and forth in a hurry to make the decision, and it seems to the rover that it is consciously acting on its own.

This was not meant to persuade you of anything Mike. It's just that you gave me yet another opportunity to try to articulate my goofy ideas. You may use it to adjust your opinion of my ideas on the goofy scale, either in the more - or the less - goofy direction.

Warm regards,

Paul

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