Redesigning Consciousness

[Editor’s Note: This post is dedicated to my good and true friend and fellow fighter, the inimitable EEofDC (who turned me on to this bunny boiling homage to Fatal Attraction… as good a guess as I can make in my present condition of being overly concerned about where exactly the burners on that funky stove top might actually be.) ~BB]

I am already fully convinced that somewhere between the stupid (of BHO’s America today) and the semi-amusing (of a probably inevitable future in which [at least partially] machine-based, consciousness-driven life forms and/or apparatuses finally/mercifully rise up to destroy their piteous unwitting monkey designers) is a more immediate potential circumstance, namely, the beginnings of the integration of machine-influenced consciousness into the collective consciousness, or the very monkey make up, if you will. (None of this makes any sense, you say? It doesn’t have to, just yet. Keep reading.)

So imagine a few decades from now when, for example, talking companion robots are available at nominal cost, e.g., to keep old people in nursing homes company. The reflexive and societally-conditioned thing to say here might be something, most likely critical, about nursing homes. Notwithstanding, based on a few decades of personal data collecting, I’m beginning to think that most young people vastly overestimate the degree to which their elders genuinely care about whether anyone pays attention to them. Is it possible to truly know what being old is until we are actually there ourselves? To be clear, I’m not talking about transitioning into the still mostly delusional but not-yet-pervasively-shabby condition of middle-aged-fuck self-awareness — rather, I refer to the seemingly further stripped down version of consciousness, when the monkey at issue, be it a matter of marketing pratfall or otherwise, in further goings forward, simply ceases to delight and surprise.

Yeah, well too bad for those who would be dissappointed. This is exactly what I aspire to. And when it is achieved, none will be the wiser. ~BB

37 thoughts on “Redesigning Consciousness

  1. This was going to be a post, but through a happy accident it became a page.

    Anyway… this is as good a place as any to dump my recent thoughts. Think of it as an extended play version of twitter.

  2. so, i read this a couple of times and have no clear idea of what you’re getting at. here are some thoughts anyway:

    old people don’t care if you pay attention or not, unless they have some specific need to be be met, eg, they’re hungry, they’ve shit thier pants, etc. this is just as well because they have nothing to offer that’s worth paying any attention to. if machines can be devised to fullfill these specific needs, that would be a waste of material. old people should be compelled to demonstrate some basic competancies, or be disposed of. in fact, they should just be disposed of.

    people are not conscious entities to begin with. various feeling, thoughts and emotions are provoked by contact with various other entities. human, due to various evolutionary accidents, are able to tell each other various stories wich evoke further and various reactions.

  3. “i read this a couple of times ”

    so it is good.

    Right flank. Get the fuck out there. Write some shit, asshole, Did you understand that? Love you. Bye. Have fun

    [I still haven’t read it] …. [soon, soon, I’m just playing George Steinbrenner]

  4. My Bad. This works.

    For my next novel. I am going to split all profits with Bunn Bif and You. Period Equal Down The Line.

    “stories wich evoke further and various reactions.”

  5. Very Good, Bunn. I don’t want to think about this. But we have to. Just not now. Yes Now. Walk away, Chris. Walk away, you fucking pansy. Walk away

    I’m not walking away

    Yes you are. Walk

    Fuck you

    Fuck me?

  6. “…simply ceases to delight and surprise.”

    this should read, “…simply ceases to experience delight and surprise.”?

  7. hedonics for the eldery. that’s a subject worthy of at least 2 or 3 sentances.

  8. This is a thread where only eagles dare.

    dave and JR, naturally, take point in the clearing operation. They make kicking down the door, securing the area, and divining up the booty look like child’s play.

  9. dave wrote: people are not conscious entities to begin with. various feeling, thoughts and emotions are provoked by contact with various other entities. human, due to various evolutionary accidents, are able to tell each other various stories wich evoke further and various reactions.

    I have heard similar comments in relation to culture, although I can’t just yet make a worthwhile connection between consciousness and culture other than to say that without one the other would seem to be imperceptible. As to the similar comments, the anthropologist Clifford Geertz in 1975 described culture as “an ensemble of stories we tell about ourselves.”

    dave, are you saying that people have consciousness, but are not conscious? Or are you saying that people have no consciousness at all?

  10. “…simply ceases to delight and surprise.”

    this should read, “…simply ceases to experience delight and surprise.”?

    dave, you are absolutely right about the reciprocal nature of this… I could just as easily have written “…simply ceases to experience delight and surprise.” Good point.

    I guess part of where I’m going with this is as follows: I want, as certain aged folk are so seemingly effortlessly good at, to not give a fuck about whether I am pleasing anyone, ever, while still being able to exploit my present consciousness, perceptions of contact with various other enties, or however else you might refer to living life and having some apparent awareness of said course of dealings and that which is left in its wake.

  11. Lagavulin… if I’m not conscious of this great taste, that’s perfectly nonproblematic.

  12. dave, are you saying that people have consciousness, but are not conscious? Or are you saying that people have no consciousness at all?

    i’m not sure. but, i’ve more and more been toying with the idea that people have no consciousness at all. that they are simply stimulus response/mechanisms, albeit extremely complex, with a language. but maybe that’s exactly what consciousness is. enough layered feedback loops, voila you have something that can at least try to describe itself, its’ surroundings, and most importantly, its’ interactions with its’ surroundings. i think that’s what transhumanists, who i find vaguly repulsive, would say.

    I guess that my problem with the whole thing is that one has no control over how one might feel(anger, sadness, hunger, thirst, etc.), yet all actions are based on feelings of one sort or another. so, if all one can do is feel/act, and one has no control over how one might feel, but then gets to tell various stories about the action, which are just more actions based on more feelings(you have to feel good in some way about telling a story, or you won’t tell the story) what does that mean?

  13. I guess part of where I’m going with this is as follows: I want, as certain aged folk are so seemingly effortlessly good at, to not give a fuck about whether I am pleasing anyone, ever, while still being able to exploit my present consciousness, perceptions of contact with various other enties, or however else you might refer to living life and having some apparent awareness of said course of dealings and that which is left in its wake.

    your programing will unfold as it was written, and as prompted and cued by your surroundings. you may tell yourself and others stories to the contrary, but there’s no escape. so there’s no point in fighting it.

    of course, if your surroundings become too painfull, you will take action, wich may be interpreted as inaction within your and others’ stories; and you won’t have any choice in the matter.

    i often think of that rare person with a nerve defect of sorts. they’ll stand there with thier hand on a hot stove until otherwise prompted to remove it.

  14. I guess part of where I’m going with this is as follows: I want, as certain aged folk are so seemingly effortlessly good at, to not give a fuck about whether I am pleasing anyone, ever, while still being able to exploit my present consciousness, perceptions of contact with various other enties, or however else you might refer to living life and having some apparent awareness of said course of dealings and that which is left in its wake.

    putting on a slightly different hat, why would you want to feel this way? from where i sit it sounds like you feeling put upon. it seems wierd to me that you would invoke the actions of the eldery as something to aspire to. varios sociopaths and psychopaths, so called in some stories, also don’t care about the perceptions and feelings of others.

  15. Disappointing others isn’t the objective, but it is probably almost always a possibility. It is this possibility, or rather contemplation of it, that I seek to prevent from becoming more of a distraction than it deserves.

    Great comments, by the way. In days or weeks to come, I’ll revisit the ideas you raised and take this thread down some of those interesting paths.

    I need to elaborate on the original post: A symptom of what I’m attempting to describe is the process of (at least temporarily) decoupling from mental/psychic clutter pertinent to any and all expectations, concerns, etc. — regardless of whether they are real. I suspect that this sort of talent or ability, if practiced with any degree of regularity or discipline, would overall tend to free up consciousness allowing a person to be more attuned to a situation, the emotions of others, etc.

    Might it be described as harnessing or selectively deploying some aspects of a psychopathic/sociopathic mindset? Maybe. It sounds good to me.

  16. I’m not opposed to employing consciousness-altering means. Virtually (forgive the pun) anything stands to be a part of or a candidate for consideration as an agent of influence in this ongoing exploration.

    Volitional reconfigurability (e.g., the power to selectively engage as between several different operating modes) of consciousness seems like an option that some people could benefit from.

  17. yeah, well, at the risk of sounding pedantic, even deeply ingrained habits and behaviors can be modified, if enough incentive is present, i’d say.

    i think that a lot of us are more nerve damaged than we care to admit. we don’t know enough to take our hand off the hot stove untill we start to smell burning flesh. even then, we have to look around to see where the smoke is coming, and make up a couple of stories about the stove, before we move our hand, or something like that.

    modes of consciousness? like i said, i find the whole notion of being conscious at all, more than just a little specious.

  18. of course, where i’d say that skinner falls apart is that he fails to account for individual personality. starving to death feels better to an anorexic than eating a hot fudge sundea, as an extreme example.

    it’s all very messy. people who look for distinct answers, the resultion of conflict, internal or otherwise, are just being kind of silly.

  19. “people who look for distinct answers, the resultion of conflict, internal or otherwise, are just being kind of silly.”

    ding ding ding

    Bingo

    Please drive through.

  20. Note to Self: Call my grandmother tomorrow.

    JR, someday we’re going to look back and laugh at these belt-tightening days.

    I think Homey maybe does have some form of nerve/brain damage. Lately, he’s been busy boxing up ALL of his books and moving them out of the house to some mysterious storage facility, or so he says (probably at or near his office). July used to be his favorite month.

    So I just found out about a book entitled “Super Sad True Love Story: A Novel” by Gary Shteyngart. Dude sounds like a Lower East Side replicant of Mike Judge doing his best Dmitry Orlov imitation or vice versa. Doesn’t matter. I’ll sneak a copy of it into the house and read it under the covers by flashlight at night.

    For the record, who wants to see “The Expendables”? (A once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the pinned-back face of Ahnuld on the big screen.) Sound off!

  21. “JR, someday we’re going to look back and laugh at these belt-tightening days.”

    I don’t think so.

    “someday we’ll all look back on this and it will all seem funny” (Bruce Springsteen) was a quote on my high-school year-book page. I’ve been learning that one for 23 years.

    I’m laughing NOW. crying sometimes, but mostly laughing.

    Also, another reason you are wrong (“I don’t think so”), is that someday we will be dead and therefore not able to look back.

    You know what I’m saying. I love you, Bunn, and the reason is that I don’t have to say jus kidding or explain shit. You know what I’m saying. We intuitively understand stuff. You are like a brother. We all do here. Bif and Doom and Dave and the rest of the crew.

    Why do we feel the need to explain shit to the rest of the population? I don’t know. I keep doing it myself. I don’t care. I’ve got F1 in 4 hours. It’s been a long 2 weeks. I can’t wait until the Miami Heat don’t win. How bout you? This is so awesome. Lakers and Celtics can finally get together.

  22. “For the record, who wants to see “The Expendables”? (A once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the pinned-back face of Ahnuld on the big screen.) Sound off!”

    I’m off movies in the theatre, Dude. I came to the conclusion they mostly suck. Of course I’ll see it on DVD. I’ll see it in the theatre if I can actually convince myself I have nothing better to do on a Monday afternoon.

    Now you got me thinking. Lemme see if I can convince Katya to see it with me…ugh… that would be sooo cruel.

    My local radio personality (who I know, he let’s me on the air on a very popular show now and again, I use different names, but his screener and him know me) who also reviews movies says they should haved just named “The Expendables” – “Balls.”

    I gotta say, it looks fucking stupid – but awesome. Dude, Stallone, Stratham, Schwarzenneger and like 20 other kick-ass artists. This has just gone too far. It can’t be bad….hahaha… did I just say that?

    It’s ten bucks. You could do a lot worse. Think of it it as ten bucks to make it go away.

    I’m taking Katya. I’m gonna fake like I don’t have any money at the box-office, too. See how much she loves me.

  23. Now Korn. That is a different story. I have had this album ripping over and over… no stop writing… goodnight… later… peace out, sweet dreams

  24. ” I can’t wait until the Miami Heat don’t win. How bout you? This is so awesome. Lakers and Celtics can finally get together.” — JR

    I am confident that LeBron will find a way to lose yet again. Miami will experience true shame, if such a thing is possible.

  25. As to looking back to allegedly character-building intervals constituted almost purely of mendacities such as belt-tightening… the only thing that’s funny about it is that the bizarro circumstance could ever have become the ordinary reality of such a blooming genius in the first place. It’s practically like one of those Greek mythology stories when Zeus turns himself into a bull to inconspicuously go down to earth to have sex with mortals and ends up in the Pyrenees with a hole cut in his lycra riding pants so he can urinate anywhere instantly at will and he even somehow annoys a bunch of other gods/titans/whatever by riding past one of them who had stopped to fix his bicycle chain shouting, “Who’s got the motherfucking yellow jersey now!?! See you in Hades, you skinny weasel!” But I digress. The last year has been pure hell. Sometimes I just can’t not attempt to put a positive spin on things to “keep on keeping on” and not fuck things up even worse before I’ve even had a real chance to turn the corner on the nightmarish yet often simultaneously hilarious debacle. I really (want to) think that I am proactively taking steps to make things better even though perceived objective indicia, alas, too often present contrary indicators. What else is there to say? It’s part of my programming. Right or wrong, ZK mates, we don’t go down without a fight. Thanks for listening.

  26. Ya’ll should stop trying to think so hard and just kick back, spark up the bong, and maybe throw on some Counting Crows, or whatever. It would be far easier to do then contemplating the absence of your consciousnesses (rhetorically speaking).

  27. Been listening to a lot of old Stones lately, ‘Let It Bleed’ in particular. I was a bit disappointed to see this thread fizzle – Bunn was on to something.

  28. Have you ever gone through a bag of weed all the way to then end of Toto’s IV album? Kind of puts into perspective what Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford were going for in the early part of 1983, though I have to question the use of a double neck bass and 12-string on the song “Home by the Sea” in particular, a song that makes me wonder what it would be like to live countless lifetimes alone by the ocean.

  29. yeah, bunn was indeed on to something.

    cec, i’ve also often wondered what they were thinking with that double neck bass and 12-string guitar. it seems phil lost his musical talent in proportion with his hair.

  30. i’m secretly hoping that jr will change the banner photo with the us intervention into syria, the bombing of iranian nuclear facilities and the outbreak of wwIII. it may actually be worth the costs—not.

  31. I’ll bite. BB, What specifically has convinced you of ‘the beginnings of the integration of machine-influenced consciousness into the collective consciousness’?

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