Book 4 Installments

This page houses all installments that have thus far been posted to my blog.

Hi All,

Below you will find the series Blogging Book 4: Find Out!: The Real Way You Are Supposed to Act. Those of you who have been following my writing career will wonder what happened to Book 3, Reality in Action: How We Spend Our Time. Well, it is well on its way, however, is quite an undertaking because it covers topics that have required extensive research and notation by philosophers, neuro-philosophers, cognitive scientists, neuroscientists, and evolutionary biologists, which has taken me longer to finish than I anticipated. Though the writing itself is in an almost finished state, it will be a while before it is published.

As that process began in January 2016 (upon the completion of Book 2, The Myth of Doing), in the spring of 2020, another book began to emerge: Book 4: Find Out!: The Real Way You Are Supposed to Act. Though Books 1, 2, and 3 are all written in the same style (of presenting this body of work Mindful Reality—with all the extra elements I expand on) and have been quite academic and formal, in May 2020 I found my fingers pouring out material in a more conversational, casual manner, while I myself had been integrating all the research and enlightenment of writing Book 3.

Because I have not had something to offer through publishing in over 6 years now (though have been actively writing books), I am sharing the beginning part of Book 4, Find Out!, on this platform, in short installments. It is in draft form, but chock full of ways in which this work and language have lived, breathed, and evolved inside me since the beginning of writing Book 1, Body Over Mind: a mindful reality check. This is my way of catching readers up on my process, as well as pushing me to continue working on this book.

Book 4: Find Out!: The Real Way You Are Supposed to Act

Installment 1

Chapter I: Seeing Through Illusion

“I’d have to say the overall focus of my work is about seeing through the cognitive illusions that we take to be familiar and normal, and that relay a kind of truth about our existence that isn’t the case. This involves a feeling of sensing ourself as having an ability to do things that in fact we cannot do. We cannot do anything; we can only be in the physical state of affairs we are in, which is clearly indicated by the space we are occupying, which encompasses our body on some surface and the involuntary bodily movements of our bones/joints, vocal cords, brain functions that contribute toward writing, and the words that unconsciously spill out onto the page, phone, etc. These cognitive illusions are accompanied by a muscular contraction in the body that sets up as a fight-or-flight, startle reflex that becomes permanently solidified and retriggered with almost every move we make.

I live in an awareness of this work, and it is utterly fascinating. The realization that in fact we are only this body in the space, a whole material structure (not as it feels) moving as it does automatically (driven by cellular processes supported by physical laws with layers of unconscious influences), is starkly different than how we perceive ourself to be behaving. Thus, the illusion. We perceive through the illusion, the misperception via this habitual glaze of what feels normal, a film deceiving us from seeing our body in the space and actual whereabouts.

Why write about the illusion? Because it is so powerful to come out of it, or rather, to see through it. I spend a lot of time doing this, marveling at the difference. It’s very much like waking up out of a dream and realizing you are just in your bed in your room and you’re not in that story that was occuring in your sleep. Bam. You are suddenly woken to reality. I play this game called the “table setting.” I think of a giant table in Victorian times (like in the movies—or Downton Abbey) which is set for 20-40 people and has tons of stuff on it: lots of utensils and flowers and pitchers and bowls and glasses and plates, etc. Everything is exactly in its place and in relation to the rest of the things at the table. It’s not hard to see the reality of the table setting—the fact that everything is just in its place, weighted on some surface, next to something else as a whole table in a room. So, it’s really interesting to realize our life is the same way.

Generally, we are in our head about thinking about our life situation. We are imagining ourself in this story, in a kind of nebulous fashion, doing things in a kind of story way. You can suddenly wake up from this, like out of a dream, and see yourself instead as part of the table setting. That is your real situation. I like the word situation here because it implies something that is going on. What is going on is my body on a surface (a bed, chair, couch, floor, car, etc.) in relation to a whole bunch of other things in the room (or car, patio, outdoor area, etc.). This is your table setting. It is your specific placement among the other material objects in close proximity (like all the material objects on the large table described above). It is super simple to see this: yourself in the room on the bed, the bed on the floor, the desk on the floor, the fan on the chair, the chair on the floor, the dresser, nightstand, lamp on the table, table on the floor, etc. Everything is there just stably in its place, including your body.

Your body, however, will be the only thing that doesn’t seem like it’s stably there. That is because you will still perceive your body as existing in your head, not in the space you are physically occupying on the piece of furniture you’re on, in the room you are occupying. So have fun with this. This is the current situation of your life. It is the table setting of your life. Go ahead and see your body with your own eyes. You can look down and see all of you that exists under your head. And then, because you will still be perceiving the real you as in your head, you must touch your head (face included) to see that it is concretely there, attached to your neck, which you can also touch for verification, attached to the rest of your body parts, no matter how much it feels like you aren’t there. No matter how much tension you apply in your body (which tends to put us into a mindset of not being physically here), you are always here as a whole on the piece of furniture/floor you are on. There is no escaping this.

So right there, everything I just outlined, is the cognitive illusion we live with every day. Play with becoming aware of your table setting. You, on a surface juxtaposed with every single other physical object in the room, area, you are occupying, or outdoors with trees, bushes, flowers, street signs, etc.”

Installment 2 (Below)

Chapter I: Seeing Through Illusion (continued)

“If you tell yourself that this table setting is your real-life situation, right now, it will be instantaneously clear to you that the other situation you were thinking about is not particularly useful. I’m not saying we can do anything about having thoughts, and they certainly play their role, but in terms of acknowledging one’s real status, the table setting analogy is powerful. Because it really is what’s happening, and it is so easy to see once we are reminded to look at it. Keep comparing the coming out of the illusion into reality to the way it feels when you have to snap yourself out of your night dream state to realize you are here in real life. There is really no difference. You are just here in real life all the time, and it is there for you to see, just like walking into a Victorian room in some mansion and seeing all the dinnerware in its appropriate place, just sitting there. You can even extend it to include all the people in their chairs as if you were watching a movie. See them there, as whole bodies, solidly in their chairs that are on the floor. Really stare (in your head) at the people, the chairs, the tablecloth, the plates, glasses, knives, spoons, forks, centerpieces, serving dishes, etc. (include as many objects as possible) and then switch to your own physical placement right now in relation to all the things around you, leaving nothing out. That is your real-life scenario right now. Well, right now is constant, because it is always right now. So, this table setting analogy never wears thin. It is as true in one moment as it will be for your entire life. Your whole life is just one table setting. That’s it, nothing more complicated than that.

And now we get to that word complicated. I would like to state that in reality, there can never be anything that is complicated except for this inner fight-or-flight muscular contraction, that puts us into a state of other worldness (our head story) that generally instills concern and worry for situations in our life. But this can be released out of (including the tension in the face head and neck). That is, the feeling of things being complicated, especially if there are circumstances in one’s life that are mentally troubling. When you come out of that whole-body tension, that full-bodied stress reaction, momentarily, you can tune in to your table setting, the one that has always been there in every moment of your life. You see through the illusion of complicatedness to the simplicity of all the material objects in the room, on some surface, on the floor (which of course is on the ground or some beam in the building you’re in, connected to the ground outside). What you must not forget to do is include yourself as a material object on the surface you’re on, just like all the people sitting in their chairs in the Victorian house.

On the contrary, the complicated world scenario, which is what feels familiar and right to us all the time, consists of a quality of belief that there are things we can do in our life that will make things better for us, our loved ones and our nation and world at large. However, this idea of doing is a myth. It doesn’t mean that humans don’t act, we of course are in a continual state of activity all the time. But I differentiate between the words action and doing for the purpose of clarifying what is illusion and what is real. Real action gets back to the table setting, i.e., the physical reality of existence as opposed to the dream state of our mental introspective narrative. Let us say that “doing” is part of the fictitious inner recording that relays a story of things being wrong and needing to be fixed. This naturally infers a fixer who can take charge and steer our personal boat away from danger. There is nothing that feels more natural than this belief system. The tale is skewed though because the way things in our life get done, improved upon or resolved is not through voluntary doing. The concept of voluntary action is unsupported by the reality of how any organism functions.”

Installment 3 (Below)

Chapter I: Seeing Through Illusion (continued)

“If individuals cannot voluntarily act to support their lives, then how do things happen? They occur involuntarily, automatically. Bodies act on their own, like everything else in nature. The seeming of voluntary action outside unconscious neurological processes is the illusion that is the underlying foundation of the complicatedness I refer to above. One’s life being complicated is a result of the messaging in the mind that is attached to this belief system. Without the belief system, the complications dissolve. If we don’t do, then we can simply see our actions reflecting the fact that we occupy space and in those places of occupation we can see our body parts moving, involuntarily, on the surfaces they reside on (because of gravity). Because our body is a whole (head attached to the spine all the time though it doesn’t feel that way), and is always on a surface, we can look down at the rest of us that exists under our head, to see our bodily movements. Bodily movements include anything from hands and fingers moving, feet walking and torsos sitting. It also includes our mouths moving with words that come out. Even with spoken and written language, you can observe that there is no way to know what exact words will emit from one’s voice until they are unleashed. If we examine this, we can see that we may have a sense of the next one or two words, but not beyond that.

Our occupation of space is everything of our life. We can even say it is our sole occupation! Whether referring to money, work, hobby, health, parenting, or any kind of action, everything we will ever do will happen in the space we are occupying via the involuntary movements of our various body parts, which of course is just the body moving as a whole organism. How is it that we occupy the spaces we do? We intuitively believe it is choice. We choose each moment to be in the places we are in, with our bodily movements being what they are. Is that true? What kind of choice was it? Was it a conscious choice or an unconscious choosing as a byproduct of all the various workings of the brain punching out certain outputs landing us in what we call our actions, our doings. I like to think of it rather as something forced by nature, by natural, physical laws that make us do the things we do. Yes, this does remove the warm fuzzy feeling of conducting our own lives and making decisions for ourself, but it leaves us with something more interesting, in a way.

The word forced can seem harsh, but for sure it represents something absolute. If someone forced you to do something (in the usual way of thinking about behavior), you would recognize there had been no other choice. You were forced to open the door or else the burglar would have shot you, possibly killed you. This is the common way that word is considered. Being forced to do something generally reads as having had no other option. Well, being forced by nature to be in the places we’re in, and the momentary movements, throughout our whole life, means just that; there were no other options. The only difference is that we weren’t forced by another individual, but by the forces of nature that make events be as they are in the Universe, our brain states and actions included.

There can be liberation in attributing our behavior to this word. Having no other option takes one off the hook. The assumption that we can act other than we do, or that we were the one causing ourself to act as we did (even when we were pleased), is what gets in the way of fully feeling the freedom of mind that can result when acknowledging laws of nature dictate everything anyone does. What I mean when I say it takes us off the hook is not that we are no longer socially responsible for how we act, because those are conditions that are woven by evolution into the fabric of societies and cultures of all organisms. There is a “core morality” (term used by Alex Rosenberg) at the heart of animal behavior as well as mechanisms of self-control (research from Patricia Churchland) sewn into all nervous systems for the purpose of preserving the creature so it can survive and reproduce. But this is nature at work, not conscious selves directing brains. If we rob a bank most probably, if caught, we will be accountable in some way, no matter how conservative the laws of that government. But the idea that the individual had a choice to not have acted that way is nonsensical.”

Installment 4 (Below)

Chapter I: Seeing Through Illusion: Bridging The Gap

“When I say that attributing behavior to physical laws and force of nature takes us off the hook, I mean mentally in the way we beat ourself up. One’s body is forced by nature to be in its place and status of activity for the extent of its life, barring no moment. Putting that into the mental equation that otherwise blames the individual for their “choices” is mind-blowingly freeing because of the way we automatically assume “we” were the reason we landed in a certain situation and acted as we did. Though we cannot escape our lot, however it unfolds, we can recognize that we did not create ourself or any aspect of our path. Because we tend to have a quiet respect for all things “Nature” (even though we overlook the fact that our brains are determined by physical processes that follow laws of nature), being forced by nature to behave as we do can have a similar blow to the ego as contracting a terminal illness or having been taken by a natural disaster—in terms of believing we had any way to prevent it.

Typically, when philosophers and scientists speak of hard incompatibilism and a lack of free will and moral responsibility, they back it up with scientific referencing of the brain and its unconscious processes. This is of course useful and grounded. However, I introduce another way to capture the reality of nature’s command of our body’s full functioning on every level, without having to be privy to microscopic neuroscientific capacities. It is not hard to do this, only it requires a training in seeing through the illusion of the packaged story our mind feeds us that we never question. It tells us how we should act, and we believe it. Unfortunately, introspective directives often defy how we actually act, leaving no one to blame (morally) but ourself. If we can see (without a microscope) how it is we are forced by nature to live our life the way we do, we can diminish some of the emotional pain we are used to enduring.

How can we see without a microscope? We see with our naked eye what our body is doing, that is, its current bodily movements. This might seem silly, and obvious, but because our focus is habitually on the mental commentary of our life, it rarely is observing our skeletal activity. This is where my work attempts to bridge the gap between the narrative and the scientific. We can capture the scientific account without a microscope because just looking at what our body is actually doing is so contrasted with the way our minds report our life story to ourself. What I mean by bridging the gap is what is meant by the word action and, in particular, our moment-to-moment behavior. Because we think of action as something coming out of mental gesturing or introspective conversation, we don’t realize our real actions are just our bodily movements in the spaces we are occupying. I call this an observable physical reality as opposed to the type of physical reality that requires microscopic utilization. In essence, we can do our own private science experiments whenever we are reminded to do so.

I’m going to extend this discussion of seeing our behavior from a scientific angle to say that when we think of looking at our organism’s unconscious, scientific behavior, we assume the necessity of a microscope because we presume we will be looking internally. This is where I challenge us to consider the external and internal of a human being to be one and the same. This approach is part of my way of bridging the gap between what is thought of as human behavior being something mental versus physical. When we look at each other, we obviously see the outer body and not the innards. But we don’t even do that, because we describe lives (in our head) via a mostly interpretative, opinionated commentary–a narrative that includes a million ways of detailing our life (and that of others’) that has often little to do with how we (or others) actually physically spend time, which is the only thing actions are. When we look at each other, or even ourself in the mirror, we see the story in our head about that person or ourself. This is wildly interesting and why I prefer the scientific angle.”

Installment 5 (Below)

Chapter I: Seeing Through Illusion: Bridging The Gap (continued)

“We can grasp the scientific without a microscope by adapting what scientists and doctors do when viewing the inside of an organism, in this case a human. They look at the specimen without applying meaning or interpretation to it in the same way any of us (non-scientists/doctors) would when dissecting a frog in elementary school or watching a bean grow in a cup. There would be no psychological, dispositional, interpretative messaging. It would have a clinical, unopposed, nonbiased quality. We can find out about our own behavior this way too, without dissection but rather like with the bean in the cup. We can simply look at our body in the space, and each others’, on the surfaces they occupy, in the skeletal bodily movements they are in.  

Why do I say our internal and external are one and the same? Well the body is a whole. So, if it is a whole, there are no divisions. We call the skin the outside because that is the part we see. Though of course sometimes we see inside the skin when it’s been ruptured, like with a bloody wound, or even when bones are sticking out with a bone fracture or major displacement. At those times, we see the inside of our body and the outside together. More relevantly, if damage were done to the skull, where the brain lives, and fleshy brain tissue were exposed, we would see that place where we perceive the “self” to reside. We would momentarily get a flash of the individual as a wholly physical being, the inside the same as the outside.

Thus, when we speak of behavior, we are really talking about physical bodily activity, because what else are we composed of if not the materials of the corporeal entity? But human behavior is somehow considered to be divided between an “internal” life and an “external” life. What is the external life? It’s referenced as how we act, or how we act in the world. The operative word here is “act.” Action is the word needed to be understood to ultimately bridge the gap between the nondual reality and the dual life that is misperceived. That is what is at the heart of the cognitive illusion I address in my work.

What does it mean to be a person who acts in the world? What is meant by the term human behavior? Is it physical or is it something else? Descartes concluded that everything of the human is material, except the mind, which consists of some nonmaterial substance. Does that analysis relate to the question of behavior? It seems people believe actions come out of the mind. What would that mean exactly? Probably that decisions are made by minds and that those decisions cause our actions, i.e., our behavior.

But what is a mind? It is what we call the perceived source of thinking, that place we assume produces thoughts and inner conversations that seems to live in the head where introspective self-discussions occur. The word mind at first consideration seems obvious; everyone knows what their mind is. It’s where “you” think and consciously make decisions about how you will act. If that is how it is imagined, do we also presume thought producing mechanisms (housed in the mind) have a way of creating the bodily movements we then refer to as actions? My mind belongs to “me.” Right? Belongs. That is a powerful sensation when it comes to the mind. It’s our secret inner mental space that has power to manipulate our bones and such into action. At least it feels that way. And it is mine. And it is conscious. Well, at least it seems that way. What does all this mean? I appreciate starting out with the fact that what we’re calling a mind is really a brain, or rather a nervous system, because that is the only thing that produces thoughts. The mind is a comfy word that makes intuitive sense but doesn’t exist as an anatomical mechanism. It is not even that a brain produces a mind, because that doesn’t make scientific sense. This ties in well with what Daniel Dennett refers to as the Cartesian theatre.”

Installment 6 (Below)

Chapter I: Seeing Through Illusion: Bridging The Gap (continued)

“Now back to the above question: ‘What does it mean to be a person who acts in the world?’ It means to be an organism that has various bodily functions, including all the physical movements we can name. Those movements are what we mean by action, and none of them are gestures coming from a mind. It isn’t to say people don’t have thoughts that contain messages that relate to the things they do, but no one can know what they are going to do before they see themself doing it. The physical act is seen (by the individual whose body it came from), and then that person knows they acted a certain way (in the world.) Our familiar stream of thought is a result of electrical firings in the brain (nervous system) that correlate more or less with the life we see ourself having, or hope to have. But there is no direct link going from a thought to an action, and certainly no person (or ‘self’ mechanism) sitting in the brain that can direct the body parts of that human to behave in accordance with its desirous thoughts. This is mythical, and a bit absurd, though completely intuitive. Present day humans have brains that make us feel that way, so the assumption is natural and normal.

Earlier I was talking about bridging the gap between the external and the internal, really what’s defined as the body-mind problem (relatedly, the hard problem in philosophy regarding consciousness). I like to keep it simple, since I am not a philosopher but an awareness educator. Because the human body (like all organisms) is an integrated operating system, functioning in full coordination with itself as a whole (and its immediate environment), there is no reason to distinguish its outside (skin view) from its inside (innards). There is something very strange that occurs, however, for humans, when we perceive ourself and others. This comes about when we conceive of our person (or another) through our thought process, instead of visually seeing our body–in the mirror or under our head–or another human in the room. (If one is blind, then seeing would be tactilly feeling.) We are wired to somehow observe through the lens of our so-called mind (our introspective narrative), rather than use our eyes in the way we would anything else we were looking at, like a plant or bird, for example.

If we do not distinguish between our outside (skin view) and our inside (innards), but rather see ourself as a whole, then behavior may be thought of differently. It may be easier to immediately comprehend ourself to be ‘of nature’ or ‘of science’ only, without the addendum of a mind separating us from the corporeal organism. When considering the behavior of a tortoise, for example, we do not divide inside from outside, and so it’s clear the behavior is straightforwardly of the tortoise’s body/organism, without the ‘intentional stance’ (Daniel Dennett). In fact, the cute way we tend to personify other animals to have human qualities–‘dispositional states’ (Paul Churchland)–we could instead see ourselves to be like other organisms. In other words, no behavior by any animal needs to be deemed voluntary or intentional.”

Installment 7 (Below)

Chapter I: Seeing Through Illusion: Bridging The Gap (continued)

“Nervous systems are nervous systems. Our language and way of talking to ourself don’t need to stand in as something to make us less ‘animal.’ It’s funny how humans think of themselves as special, when ironically, that attitude sort of strips us of our innate wholesome animalism. Descartes’ declaration that human minds are non-material, non-physical leaves us deprived of the wholeness of our brains. The word mind is only ever referring to functions of a nervous system that glow with intrigue because of their monologic, introspective glitter. If we couldn’t think to our (supposed) self, would we appear (to ourself) as being so interesting and other than the rest of the wildlife kingdom? There is no reason for confusion about a body-mind problem when there is only one body with no divide. It is none other than a nervous system that provides all the mental functioning ever to occur in a biological sapien, as it does with every other organism that houses one, appropriately respective of that creature.   

This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Daniel Wegner, about instead of seeing ourself through a mental lens, we could look at ourself through a mechanical lens. Mechanical here meaning that since we are biological machines, all our behavior is mechanical. His quote refers to the fact that we do tend to use a mechanical lens to view objects we consider to only be mechanical, yet for ourself we rely upon our introspective demeanor, a mental lens to explain why and how we do things–our rationalizations, reasons and justifications for actions individually and each other. I find comfort in this approach, since I appreciate viewing myself via observing my body in the space, as opposed to my mental narrative telling me how I should be acting (especially when I see my body doing different things). Wegner, in the quote, says we don’t see our own gears turning because we are too busy reading our minds. I love this. And as I encourage people to develop the skill to see their own body in the space, their behavior (bodily movements) on a macro level (since we cannot see through our skin), it makes perfect sense to me. A mechanical lens means seeing real life physical movement as the only behavior that exists for us.

In deterministic terms, it is causality, which deems every move we make appropriate and causally necessary. This ties in well with understanding evolution, and the ways natural selection, blind variation and adaptation work. Those processes were and still are mechanical. Nothing has stopped just because we arrived at man. We are talking about biological machinery that is supported by chemistry and physics, that is, the operations of molecules and atoms. The challenge for us lay people is to recognize that the macro level presents an opportunity to see the mechanics of our involuntary bodily movements in play by looking at the outside of our own skeleton and seeing its levers moving at joints when and how they do. That is of course dictated by internal functions we cannot see and do not understand (for the most part, and certainly not in their full capacity). But this scientific knowledge is not necessary to realize that we operate mechanically and only mechanically. Though we have thought processes that talk to us inside our head (which is also only a mechanical function of the brain), our actions are mechanical, physical outputs (bodily movements) of a nervous system that are only a variation of all our predecessors.”

Installment 8 (Below)

Chapter I: Seeing Through Illusion: Bridging The Gap (continued)

“Though my work can fall into the category of what people refer to as spiritual, I don’t like to consider it that way. If anything, it is naturalism, which can be taken to carry a type of spirituality, if you please, but it is not how I consider it. For me this awareness is straight up science, a mindful recognition of what is plainly material reality in our face. It is an example of materialism or physicalism. If one takes any aspect of physics seriously, meaning, what we consider real, then this is the category my work falls under. Bridging the gap in my practice means understanding what action really is. It is the labeling of a physical event we can see with our naked eyes. Regarding our own actions, we see our body in the space, and sense its weight on a surface. This is science 101. Observing a whole material entity transferring weight to another material entity. Additionaly, part of identifying something as real is acknowledging that there is no way for it not to be occurring.

Astronomers observe the moon to be where it is, doing what it’s doing, its weight, composition and movement in relation to other matter in its environment. If they needed to name its action, they would do so based on these ingredients. This is no different than how we can indicate human actions: our weight, composition and movement in relation to other matter in our environment. If we define our own personal actions from this standpoint, there is no confusion about what we observe, when we happen to look. If this account is different than how we mentally think about our actions, then it is obvious which wins out as truth, in the same way a myth about the moon will lose legitimacy to a scientific report of its behavior. What I mean by bridging the gap is that we generally don’t think about our actions as something physical or even a verbal report of what is observed materially. Rather we think about actions as the story in our head about our life: the comments, opinions, judgments, predictions and desires wrapped around our mental descriptions about what may or may not even be happening. Bridging the gap means seeing clearly that which is, and therefore, like the moon, must be.

My use of the phrase bridging the gap refers to the general error in perceiving there to be a mind-body separation that needs to be joined, or as sometimes called (in philosophy) a mind-body problem. Actions are not of the mind. They are only of the body, the one body that acts, without any confusion about what should be when there is no error of observation in what is. Another philosophical way of saying this is that actions are determined by brains (nervous systems) which are only physical, comprised of neurons following none other than physical laws. So like the laws that dictate the moon’s behavior, neurological activity is of the same source, molecular and atomic.

In this case, we would say the mind is the brain, so there is no confusion about what is making decisions, if we are looking to something internal. But for my work, since I am not a scientist, I am pointing out that we can clearly see our body as purely physical in its movement with no doubt it is 100% physical. We already know that actions are what our body does in real time, because it’s in fact what we are describing when someone asks what we did today: I washed the dishes, paid some bills, worked on the computer, sent a few text messages, and spoke with my friend Bill. These sentences are familiar to us. Actions are wholly physical because we are wholly physical and wholly whole. The problem is that it is not how we perceive ourself, and Descartes’ statement that the body was wholly physical absent the mind (which was of something nonmaterial) did not help. This mistaken declaration provides fodder for those claiming consciousness is something special (and that we are something special because of our conscious qualities and capabilities), and for the players in western philosophy who are trying to answer what is called the Hard Problem of Consciousness. The latter refers to how we get our so-called qualia-filled, personal experiences in the private way we seem to, which is different and unique to everyone else’s experience and which must somehow be explained by something other than science.”

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