My comrade-in-consciousness Kevin Kovelant wrote a post recently about how easily discussions about said consciousness can suffer from miscommunication. This is relevant here as we argue about the terms “lucidity” and “consciousness” in regards to dreams, but are often talking about different things altogether, such as awareness of one’s external environment, awareness that one is aware (meta-awareness), awareness that one is dreaming (meta awareness corner pocket) as well as the simple fact of being a sentient creature and being able to talk about it with other sentient creatures.
Check out Kevin’s post on the distinction between philosophical consciousness and psychological consciousness. This is drawn primarily from the work of philosopher Christian de Quincey, who BTW recently started his own panpsychist blog.
de Quincey is also interested in the plight of other sentient beings who happen to not be human; he’s the director for The Center for Interspecies Research. Also on the board of this cutting-edge research institute are consciousness-and-ecology heavyweights David Abrams and Jeremy Narby.
Here’s the blurb from the CIR, best described as an interdisciplinary think tank on animal consciousness:
We know from the biological sciences that humans have evolved from other animals, and we know from our own direct experience that humans have consciousness. Given these two facts, it makes sense to assume that human consciousness evolved from pre-human consciousness. In other words, other animals are sentient, aware beings just like us. Thus, understanding animal consciousness may help reveal our own origins and the dynamics of our minds.
I”m conscious, you”re conscious, we”re all conscious… okay?
Thanks for bringing up the CIR; I didn’t there was active research in this area!
This research is valuable in understanding our own consciousness and that of the community of life, but I think it also has relevance to astrobiology. It is unreasonable (or at least highly improbable) that extraterrestrial life–even with the ability to communicate–will bear sufficient similarities to humans that we can easily converse (as is typified in Hollywood). To this end, the study of interspecies communication will help us gain a broader understanding that may someday be relevant when faced with extraterrestrial communication.
good point. we’re masters at pattern recognition so once we open up to the idea of consciousness embedded elsewhere in the universe, we’re in for a surprise… starting here is crucial. this also reminds me of what a friend of mine often says in regards to animal communication. because we’re so disconnected, out of touch, and disrespectful of the life forms even in our own backyard, it’s beyond ironic that we’re searching high and low for “intelligent life” in the greater cosmos. in other words, we’re the aliens.
You have an interesting blog here, you and your compadres. I could spend hours here.
This discussion is very much in line with a conversation I had with a good friend recently regarding the development of the idea. It stemmed from a conversation about prehistoric art. Art comes from idea, but from where does idea come? Or better asked, when did idea form and how did it form.
Also, I find that I often get into conversations about people regarding consciousness and find out that we’re talking about different things. Sometimes I talk about Consciousness with a big C, and other times just consciousness. It can be confusing at times.
exactly, it’s confusing and we get all red in the face and then find out we’re not even talking about the same thing…. plus all the hidden presuppositions get in the way. that’s something i need to work on here, revealing my biases and presuppositions. it saves a lot of trouble in the long run.
ohh, and the art piece is fascinating. i’d like to suggest that prehistoric rock art is not necessarily “art” as we know it – it may have had entirely different connotations and functions for their societies. David Lewis Williams writes eloquently about this in The Mind’s Cave, where he connects prehistoric cave art to depictions of altered states of consciousness. in so far as his theory is valid, so the “art” is not an idea so much as a metaphor… a feeling or vision that is conveyed through other means, expressed visually. “idea” seems very fixed to me, whereas these drawings may represent something as it moves between worlds.
and thanks for the compliment – no confusion about how i feel about that!