(Permalink) This part is in a way the main of this book, and the conclusion of the previous: consciousness exists by itself, and especially for itself. It has its own nature, its own determinants, its own functioning, and its own purposes, independently of any physics, of any biology or genetics, and especially of any materialistic ideology. We are going to see how it works, before studying in the sixth part its stakes in society.
This part was entirely rewritten, with a better plan, more accurate style, and some new science discoveries.
But before starting, we have to dissipate various prejudices and ideologies about consciousness, that we shall see in this chapter.
(Permalink) Just like physics studies the physical world without accessing its origin, psychology studies the processes of consciousness without accessing its nature or intrinsic motivations. Thus any activity of psychologist is relative to a given conception of life, and tends to adapt our consciousness to this conception, without however providing us with any way of knowing if this conception of life is good or bad. Thus, there cannot be any intrinsically neutral psychologist, he necessarily influences us, and to be confronted to a psychologist can be the best or the worst of things, depending on his ideology, or depending on... who pays him! We see this just too well today, when the mind controlling techniques of the media allow them to shape the public opinion on demand: make people vote for a sadomasochist little political party as for a large democratic party, or denigrate ecology.
We must however admit that modern psychology provided us with numerous tools for our psychological, then spiritual unfolding. These tools can be very useful, as soon as we know what we must do with them.
We already examined the logical ways of psychology in chapter I-9, under the subtitle «Psychology».
(Was chapter 40 in version 1)
(Permalink) «Freudaine©» is a play of word between «Freud» and the French «fredaine» (a mischief, escapade, prank). I use it to nab this attitude of reducing psychology to a fretting into the problems: for lack of a real purpose in life, the resolution of a psychological problem inevitably calls for another one, and it is thus possible to macerate into this foul juice as long as we want.
But in the beginning I invented it to indicate all the mess of arbitrary theories which encumber this field. In the origin, Freud had the great merit and the brilliant intuition which founded psychology; but apparently himself having not solved some of his own problems, he tried to escape by inventing the complex of Oedipus, instinct of death and other anal stages that his successors took as a divine revelation. Happily, the most modern psychologists recovered from such excesses.
Updated on May 5, 2020: the criticisms in this sub-chapter, written 20 years ago, apply in fact to psychoanalysis. They since led psychoanalysis to be considered as a pseudoscience, while psychology largely emancipated itself from its beliefs, dogmas and methods.
(Permalink) I think to some cults who see things like nervous connexions to the Chakras (chapter V-17)... Sure that theirs are not open! We find a nice collection of such blunders in the New Age, which do only to continue the absurd idea as what drugs would liberate our consciousness...
I also think at some cults which sell apparatus to measure our consciousness. The naïve materialist is easily caught, and is ready to pay such a «priceless» device at high cost. At best, he will see here a «belief» as legitimate as any other religion. And materialist judges and politicians are powerless against such sects. On the contrary, for General Epistemology, which acknowledges the immaterial nature of consciousness, such devices cannot work, and the swindle is blatant. Hence the innumerable services that a true scientific study can bring to society.
(Permalink) This is a play on words between «pseudo-science» and «official science». Indeed, it appears that the scientific control is less strict in the field of the mind sciences, than in the material sciences. Thus, several highly questionable theories could be presented as «the science» to the eyes of the public, and even be accepted by the scientists themselves. The trick is the same as with the climate denier: «foundations» and «studies» introduce biased theories, beginning with the media, «institutes», or «specialized publications». Once some doctors are converted, the peer referee review can provide a caution by real universities, which allows these pseudo-sciences to prosper and to be recognized without debate as «official science» by the experts, or even by the scientific community and governments. Hence the name of «official pseudo-science», which is not a joke.
These manipulations are possible because it is difficult to understand the «abstract» domain of consciousness. There is then a strong temptation to bring it back to the material observation, «objective», «testable by Popper», or «obeying to the Occam's razor principle». A temptation that the mathematician however categorically refused, in their as much «abstract» own domain, and they are doing very well since.
(A fun Note: the word «magician» comes from the Latin «magus», a Zoroastrian priest, who was credited with magical powers, because he knew... to calculate the dates of eclipses! Thus the boundary between consciousness and mathematics appears very artificial...)
The purpose of this book is precisely of allow for the scientific study of the domain of consciousness, through the General Epistemology described in the second part, and the theoretical framework of the logical self-generation process, presented in the third part. So we can easily dismantle these pseudo-sciences. Pseudosciences which seem related to my theories, but which belong to a belief approach, not to a search of the truth.
Behaviourism and sociobiology have been studied in chapter II-7. It should be noted here that the (balanced) criticism of these currents of thought is not so much about the concrete results they propose, than about the selection and interpretation of these results by rationalist and materialist ideologies denying consciousness, or even after far right ideologies such as geneticism, or the denial of Human Rights.
(Permalink) Unlike the previous, they are not deliberate manipulations. However they are still bound by the same limits of the classical epistemology based on material observation (and too often the same ideological influences).
If neurology successfully explored the functioning of nervous circuits for already tens of years, its practitioners were quickly blocked by a limit: it is often impossible to know «what is the use» of a given nervous activity, without simply asking the person «what he is thinking at» at this moment. This comparison is the field of cognitive sciences, which therefore studies the brain in this way.
This is a real first step towards General Epistemology. However this study of the brain is still incomplete. Indeed, it is mainly about the paths of the acquisition of information (hence the name «cognitive») and reflex activities. The emotions, the decision making, are still inaccessible. And a fortiori meditation, the understanding of the meaning of life, the choice of our motives... without even mentioning parapsychology, still heretical. So it is clear that the word «cognitive» is a strong reduction of consciousness to the only materialistic aspects.
This makes me think to a Yoko Tsuno comic, «Le trio de l'étrange»: Yoko, facing a malicious computer trying to analyse her brain, enters into Zen Buddhist meditation. Thus the analyser observes no nerve activity, and therefore cannot get any information about her. This however does not prevent Yoko of having intents, and even a plan which will allow her to destroy this intrusive machine. This may not work so well in real life, but still makes us understand that neurology cannot gain access to everything.
(Permalink) Even without bad intents, this vision of a world where everything boils down to mortal and perishable matter, this vision is quite simply dark and despairing. I protected my children of it, as of a sect.
And anyway, none of these methods can explain what really is consciousness, which in no way can be described in terms of physical phenomena. A fortiori, none can explain that this consciousness can work WITHOUT nerve activities. This is irreducible to any physical explanation, and asks for a completely different explanation, as seen in chapter III-8: consciousness is a logical self-generation process, linking the elements of the experience of consciousness (images, sensations, feelings, intentions, etc.) according to its own laws and its own determinism. This is what we are to see in the next chapter.
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