I might finally be getting what CC is trying to say. I’m getting there through listening to what Write4U is definitely saying. Write is saying who we are is just neurons, that we have sensors and those transmit data that is processed and that creates an illusion of reality. Let’s say he agrees that the illusion is somewhat related to actual reality, but he doesn’t say much about that, so I don’t know. But I think we are beyond the “brain in a vat” experiment, so I won’t go on that tangent.
It can’t be argued that brains process information and have almost everything to do with our awareness. There is mystery, much to learn, but it’s not aliens beaming information into us, so another tangent avoided. What Write almost never mentions is unconscious thought and sub-conscious thought. In fact, he says there is no such thing as far as the “you” that you are is concerned. He says that when we are anesthetized, we aren’t us. I don’t know how he thinks we come out of that with memories, or what he thinks sleep is, or dreams are, or what it means to let your thoughts wander.
Here’s the CC stuff, how do we know to suck in as soon as we are born? How do we all have that experience of flailing around as infants, and then one day, we see our hands are part of ourselves? Soon, people start giving us names for the rest of our parts, but even without the names, we would eventually know that consciousness is “in” our body. We have feelings of being connected to something larger, but another tangent, not going there now.
Without discussing our experiences with others, we might have trouble understanding that we have dreams or that even our conscious sensations are sometimes inaccurate. If we sleepwalked, we wouldn’t know we did it, unless someone saw us. Those are unconscious actions that happen due to neural activity. And subconsciousness is less understood. Why do we react to people who look differently than us? Why does a rustle in the brush cause a reaction? Why do we wake up to sounds? The receptors that send the wave signal to the neurons don’t contain that knowledge. It’s evolution doing that.
The language gets difficult at this point. Which is why I have so much trouble with CC, he has analogies and childhood stories that express the feelings of being human, but not all of them work for me (not doing tangents). The word “evolution” sometimes gets anthropomorphized (not by you CC), but it doesn’t “do” anything. It has no thoughts or goal. The process of evolution arranges our DNA so we grow a neural network that has unconscious and subconscious mechanisms that lead us to survive and pass on that DNA. We don’t have enough processing power to hold that information in our conscious thoughts. We can’t see the process that took place over billions of years, only clues that it did happen. We can review the data, use our innate logic skills, and get to a point of certainty that it happened. As CC calls it, you feel it viscerally. Or you don’t.
Sometimes, I’m not sure what CC thinks when he talks about how all of this is perceiving reality. I have no idea how accurate my perception is but I know it’s good enough to allow me to do some pretty incredible things and that’s evidence to me that my perceptions must be a darn good approximation of the forces of the universe. I don’t personally need to know the formulas for them, but I’m glad someone is working on them. I know too that I can improve that approximation by interacting with other living things. One can show me that lines are parallel, despite my photo receptors and neural processing telling me they are not. If you want to call that a “shared hallucination”, fine, that means about as much to me as specks of dust.
I wish I could wrap this up in a bow, since it is Christmas, but I can’t. Is it as simple as saying that we don’t experience evolution, we live in a body that is the result of evolution? Is it as simple as saying that the body includes a nervous system, that does a lot for us without us being consciously aware of it? We can study bodies and know what we should or should not put into them, and how to treat them well, and how we will get physical strength and mental acuity by doing that. We also know we won’t always get that right and feelings and disease will come from seemingly nowhere. If that’s not enough for us to appreciate each other and acknowledge our place in this environment, then I’m not sure what else to say.