Kristen-- Of the many problems with what you are attempting to present I will concentrate on this one first: You repeatedly say and write things like these, "consciousness and awareness remain"..."we're leaving out the essence of what consciousness really is, as we can be conscious and aware without those lower level traits." This sort of thing is what some philosophers call "begging the question". In this discussion one is not "allowed" to simply state and repeat emphatically that they simply are conscious. We need evidence and/or argument, not assertions or assumptions. I find the Wilber chart meaningless and doubt that is what we will talk about.
Likewise "Consciousness is simply all that is, there is nothing that it is not." does not sound like a definition or anything else helpful to me.
For the rest of you, fear not! I will attempt to keep the conversation at a more clear level than this stuff.
0 · June 14
I've been out of town, so I have not had a chance to do the reading, and I'm not sure if I'll be able to make this meeting. But I am guessing that Harland is starting with a materialist/reductionist bias, which not everyone shares and which can't be "proven" any more than other biases can be proven. In fact, it is possible that individually we may have different biases which are so different that the "realities" we believe in may be mutually exclusive. In that case, it does not mean that consciousness does not exist, but rather, that we can't agree on any assumptions which we would have to agree upon before we can define consciousness. And therefore, the burden of proof is not on the person who believes in consciousness, but rather on all of us who hold these different assumptions to prove that ours are correct. I would bet that Dennett's ideas are based on some assumptions which he can't "prove" to everyone's satisfaction.
1 · June 18
In "QQ", graf4, Dennett writes: "Everything real has properties, and since I don't deny the reality of conscious experience, I grant that conscious experience has properties."
Taking this statement at face value, it seems reasonable and linguistically correct to talk of 'consciousness' in the following sense: "of or about conscious experience". Dennett seems interested in probing/challenging ideas about conscious experience (ways in which it does not match 'the known world' for ex.) and how such experiences arise. I see a lot of room for exploration here, different flavors for various tastes.
But there's also a sense of 'consciousness' as a 'thing' - a special part of the brain, a homunculus, or something else - and this is where it seems clear that Dennett and any materialist will insist there is no "special consciousness thing" - and Dennett insists there is no single part of the brain that makes conscious experience happen (though I suggest we let the scientists keep at it).
0 · June 14
(pt 3 - continued from below)
People who move into, temporarily or permanently, the higher states of awareness on Wilber's chart have a distinct lack of subjectiveness to their awareness. The judgments and preferences and fears and attachments associated with their personal sense of self have fallen away. The "I" they believed themselves to be by and large ceases to exist. And yet, again, consciousness and awareness remain, and reality is experienced absent the pollution and distortion of what can be called the egoic mind (what people generally believe themselves to be, absent moving into the higher levels of consciousness).
So if we do limit our definition of consciousness to one that describes the egoic mind/the lower levels of consciousness, it seems to me we're leaving out the essence of what consciousness really is, as we can be conscious and aware without those lower level traits.
1 · June 14
(pt 2 - continued from below)
The definitions we have thus far don't address anything higher than level F-5 (with possibly a bit of overflow into F-6) in the chart I linked to in my earlier post. I think this is problematic; I'll do my best to explain why:
In a video called "The Illusion of Consciousness," Daniel Dennett refers to a New Yorker cover (http://www.condenaststore.com/-...) which he refers to as his favorite picture of consciousness. The problem is that all of that noise/mind chatter/stream of consciousness stuff in the thought bubble on the New Yorker cover can drop away, and we're still conscious. We're still aware. So what is it that remains?
The same question arises when we look at the definition of and qualities of consciousness given above.
(continued next post)
0 · June 14
I'm still mulling over what I would consider a concise and practical definition of consciousness given the premise of this particular discussion, but here's some thoughts on the subject in general:
1. From the largest perspective, consciousness (or awareness, a term which I think conveys a bit more tangibly what we mean when we say "consciousness") is simply all that is; there is nothing that it is not.
2. In another (MUCH more limited) sense, consciousness/awareness could be seen as the animating spark of life itself.
3. Restricting ourselves to consciousness/awareness as it is experienced by humans, we find a broad range of experiences and states of consciousness, much broader than the definitions given in the meeting info above address. This chart by Ken Wilber shows the evolution of a person's consciousness:
Continued in next post...
0 · June 14