Saturday, February 21, 2009

Funny smells

There is no philosophical problem with mind and matter dualism since there is no mind separate from the material world. The world is all one at a basic level.  What then accounts FOR 'mind.' I have no idea, but am trying to sketch pictures which perhaps could shed light on this amazing matter we find ourselves part of. "Mind" in the phrase of Jan Cox, is a 'parvenu,' a newcomer on the scene who is still insecure, so to speak. He drew this picture to account for certain features of what we loosely call mental awareness, for instance the massive self-justification which occupies so many of people's thoughts. He was not defining anything,  but trying to turn the minds of his students in a certain direction so they could notice things about themselves, as a step towards greater awareness.
Likewise the previous paragraph is a build-up to a picture I had.  What if what we call 'consciousness' is actually most similar to man's olfactory activity.  Smell, after all, when noticed, seems to be everywhere we are, like our thoughts.  And the facts of grammar may support this thesis, because there is an odd thing about the word smell.  To say, "I smell," can be either active or passive as a verb. All the other sensory words are not ambiguous---You say, "I see", or "I hear" and no one wonders if you mean YOU are seen, or heard.  But smell, biologically the earliest stratum of awareness, harbors a distinct confusion at its core. Perhaps this confusion is the parvenu's unwillingness to confront his own origins, and the weight of its attempt to fit in, in a new neighborhood.  Perhaps consciousness reveals it's insecurity by trying to skip it's organic country.

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