Friday, October 28, 2016

On perception and the unconscious

R. W. Fevre:

"Well, perhaps we can make use of this awareness [of ourselves and our world and how our actions affect the world], but this is not going to be easy because human beings do a lot more things than make sense, and some of these things — pursuing power, money, status, security and so on; or simply taking our ease — can get in the way of making sense.

Calvin Luther Martin:

"The words of the magician snaked in and out of my consciousness: 'It has become clear to me that perception has to be understood and recognized as a reciprocal exchange. When we see things we are also being seen by them. When we hear things we are also being heard. Perception is a type of communication that precedes language.'"

Alan Watts:

"There may be no reason to believe that a return to the lost feeling will cost us the sacrifice of the individualized consciousness, for the two are not incompatible. We can see an individual leaf in all its clarity without losing sight of its relation to the tree."

Antonio R. Damasio:

"Some organisms have both behavior and cognition. Some have intelligent actions but no mind. No organism seems to have mind but no action. My view then is that having a mind means that an organism forms neural representations which can become images, be manipulated in a process called thought, and eventually influence behavior by helping predict the future, plan accordingly, and choose the next action."

Jonah Lehrer:

"'The conscious brain may get all the attention,' says Joseph LeDoux, a neuroscientist at NYU. 'But consciousness is a small part of what the brain does, and it's a slave to everything that works beneath it.'"

Norman Mailer:

"Sometimes I think you have to groom the unconscious after you've used it, swab it down, treat it like a prize horse who's a finer animal than you."

G. W. F. Hegel:

"Only when spiritual unity steps beyond this circle of feeling and natural love, and arrives at the consciousness of personality, does that obscure and rigid nucleus emerge in which neither nature nor spirit are open and transparent and where both can become open and transparent only through the further working of that self-conscious will and, indeed, through the long drawn-out cultural process, the goal of which is very remote. For consciousness alone is that which is open, that to which God and anything else can reveal itself."


R. W. Fevre. The Demoralization of Western Culture: Social Theory and the Dilemmas of Modern Living. London: Continuum, 2000. p 196.

Calvin Luther Martin, In the Spirit of the Earth, p 24

Alan Watts. Nature, Man, and Woman (1958). New York: Vintage Books, 1991. p 8.

Antonio R. Damasio. Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain. New York: Avon Books, 1998. p 90.

Jonah Lehrer. How We Decide. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. p. 23.

Norman Mailer. The Spooky Art: Thoughts on Writing. New York: Random House, 2004. p. 142.

G. W. F. Hegel. Reason in History: A General Introduction to the Philosophy of History. Translated by Robert S. Hartman. Indianapolis: Library of Liberal Arts, Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1953. (Originally 1837.) p 74.

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