Notes on self

We understand nature both by looking at things designed (machines, codes) and by look at unconscious and subconscious life.

Nature is seen both in the overflow of reason and in what subtends and structures reason.

All animal life is what we would call subconscious or unconscious, not because they are automata but because consciousness is not an object for them. It is a (99% of the time implicit) object for us.

A lion chases an antelope consciously like I know where the floor is consciously. Hey, I don’t know where the floor is while I’m asleep, do I?

I know exactly what everything in a machine will do. In looking the endpoints of its parts, operations, and pushes-pulls, I know that the self is outside the first endpoint and value is outside the last. This remains true no matter how far I extend the lines, no matter how many new gears or microchips I add to Leibniz’s Mill.

“But we at least know what to make of machines – but who can make anything of this subconscious life?” As if Jung never wrote anything.

In a dream, we are conscious and yet have no idea where the self is (since it’s in bed) in this sense, animals live in dreams.

Descartes is under appreciated for being the first person to ever recognize that only the self remains real in the transition from the world of truth to the world of pure illusion.

 

1 Comment

  1. April 8, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    I think I may need your help here. I read you saying:

    All animal life is what we would call subconscious or unconscious, not because they are automata but because consciousness is not an object for them. It is a (99% of the time implicit) object for us.

    On the other hand, I have recently read Roger Scruton observing, in his An intelligent Person’s Guide to Philosophy (pp. 62-63), that:

    Descartes denied that animals are conscious, since consciousness, for him, was entirely bound up with the process of self-conscious reflection. But surely it is obvious that animals are conscious. This is proved by the fact that they are sometimes, but not all the time, unconscious.

    And then I read you adding:

    A lion chases an antelope consciously like I know where the floor is consciously. Hey, I don’t know where the floor is while I’m asleep, do I?

    Aren’t you both distinguishing between consciousness of something else, understood as awareness of something else, and self-consciousness, understood as self-awareness?


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