Saturday, January 18, 2014


One result of the development of human thought for the last one hundred and fifty years is to diminish the sense of what it means to be a living human being.  Darwinists and neo-Darwinists tell us that we are the result of a series of the most unlikely (really impossible) sequences of molecular accidents.  Freudians and neo-Freudians tell us that we arrive here with no destiny, no dream of fulfilling a certain type of life or accomplishing certain tasks, but are merely the result of an accident of birth in which we happened to be involved, with parents who either help us or hinder us in overcoming the most important relationships of our existence, which are our relationships to our sex organs, our mouth and our anus.  Marxists and neo-Marxists reduce us to economic units and speak of a paradaisical society in which all goods and services are equally distributed, but what anyone does or thinks about or strives for once this equitable distribution takes place, just how this equitable distribution creates this paradise, is never discussed.  And the latest abasement of our humanity, what is now becoming a common notion among non-introspective intellectuals, is that..... what we are is our wiring.

In the film HER  the protagonist deludes himself into thinking that a computer has fallen in love with him and is reciprocating the love that he feels for it (HER).  Although we understand that such a belief in the ability of computers to reciprocate love or to experience or desire anything is delusional, many of us believe that in the near future, such machinery will exist.   Now I remind you that she, the female protagonist of the movie and the title role, which is voiced by Scarlett Johannsen,  is composed of wires and transistors with electrons running through those wires and transistors.  What part of those wires, those transistors or those electrons, composed of steel, copper, plastic or silicon,  could desire anything by themselves?  What part of any of those electrical components would prefer anything over anything else?  Obviously, equipment can be wired to select one thing over another, one voice over another voice, one smell over another smell, one color over another color.  But this is not to say that the equipment actually prefers anything over anything else.  The preference belongs to the software designer who programs the computer to automatically and mechanically make those choices with out experiencing anything.  There is no consciousness involved.  There is no desire, no preference, nor is there, or could there be any 'self' which would prefer anything over anything else.  A self is the ground of experience, it is that which desires and that which experiences.  You cannot desire something unless you experience something. And what you desire is always an experience, either for yourself or for others.  You may desire an object, but only for the experiences that you believe the possession of that object will provide.  If you experienced nothing and had no memory of experiencing anything, then you could not desire anything.

Yet so many of us are harboring the delusion that in the near future, in which the film HER is set, or shortly thereafter, we will have computers or robots or some kind of mechanical devices which will have their own consciousness, which will have a unitary sense of self, and have the ability to both experience things and desire things.  We feel we are so close to this accomplishment.  As you read these words cadres of scientists are studying brain circuitry, the electro-magnetic fields surrounding the brain, the chemical deposits left by paths of firing neurons, all in the hopes of discovering the key, the clue that will unlock the mystery of consciousness.  Accompanying these efforts is the belief that with just a little more work, a little more complexity of our understanding, we will discover the algorhythm, the system of wiring, the right voltage and amperage, to create a conscious machine.

These efforts, which may have wonderful side effects and lead to improvements in brain health and longevity, will never lead to the creation of consciousness.  That is because all these learned and dedicated scientists are looking at the problem exactly backwards.  The firing of neural pathways, electro-magnetic fields surrounding the brain, the growth of axons creating new pathways between nerve cells, are not the CAUSE of consciousness but the RESULT of consciousness.  Consciousness is the cause, not the result.  Consciousness, at least consciousness attached to a living organism, is the milieu of desires.  The brain fires not to create consciousness, but in response to consciousness, to our desires.  The brain is actually the servant of two consciousnesses.  To the extent that the brain enables you to function and to follow your desires, to have a human type existence if you have a human body (or a monkey type if you have a monkey body or grasshopper type existence if you have a grasshopper body)  and to continue to have this existence and replicate this existence for your progency, the programming to accomplish all this is a programming of exquisitely tuned and balanced desires that exist in the spiritual world of experience and not the material world of things, each specific pattern of desires being different for each species, and all of that programming being done by the cosmic consciousnes, or God, if  you like.  Your own personal consciousness creates the programming to allow you to accomplish whatever interests and desires that you prefer and perfect after your biological desires are met.  Consciousness creates matter including brains.  It is not that brains, or any material complexity creates consciousness.

If we are wired for any responses, it is in a way that is completely different than the way in which a computer or any electronic equipment is wired.  Regarding biological desires a chemical condition in our bodies may stimulate neurons which create a neural pathway and stimulate brain neurons.  But the reason that we eat a bar of chocolate when certain neurons are stimulated, or drink a glass of water, or go to the bathroom, or try to get a date when other neurons are stimulated, is that these neurons are somehow connected to desires, non-physical, non-observable, non-measurable, conscious desires, that are experienced.  We don't eat chocolate because certain neurons are stimulated.  We eat chocolate because these stimulations create a conscious desire for chocolate.  In other words, no matter what neurons are stimulated, what chemical conditions exist in our bodies, we still always do things because we want to, and that wanting exists not on a chemical or electrical level, but on a conscious, non-physical level. If you think about it, this system of experienced desires must be designed (not evolved), because no organism could survive without already having the desires to locate and ingest the nutrients it needs when it is hungry, to locate and ingest the water it needs when it is thirsty, to seek coolness when it experiences heat, and warmth when it experiences cold. Life behaves and behavior, including the movement of roots toward water and leaves toward sun,  is energized not by gravity, not by electro-magnetism, not by the strong force or the weak force, but by desire, which is the seeking of a certain kind of experience for oneself or for others.

Electronic machines do what they are programmed to do because they are designed by human designers who WANT them to do these things.  The machines, themselves, want nothing.  We humans behave because our bodies are designed to respond in electro-mechanical ways to the things that we, at every moment, consciously desire to do.  We, ourselves, our consciousness, WANTS, and our chemical, electrical, mechanical bodies are designed to serve us by allowing us to satisfy those wants.

Our computers and our brains, two things we own, one which may be expensive and one which is absolutely precious,  experience nothing and desire nothing.  They were created, and the wiring within them was created, by intelligent conscious human beings in one case and by the transcendentally intelligent cosmic consciousness in the other,  to satisfy human desires.  Computers do what their designers want them to do, not what they want to do.  Using these computer abilities, we then use them to do what we want to do.  Human brains are designed by the cosmic consciousness to allow them to do what the cosmic consciousnes wants them to do, which is to deliver to us a human, living, surviving and replicating experience.  The particular way that we use and program our brain computers after that depends on what it is that we, not our brains, but we, which is consciousness and the milieu of desires, want to accomplish at any moment in this life time.

Also, computers experience nothing.  They do not watch their own videos and they do not read their own e-mails.  And because they do not experience anything they have no preference.  They don't prefer to be owned by you or by me.  They don't prefer to be on or off.  They don't care what we watch, what we read or what we write.  They are machines.  They are part of the physical universe.  They automatically react to stimuli, but they never choose, and they never prefer.  However far we go into the future, if Joaquin Phoenix wants a kind of relationship which is not delusional, but is based on the love of another being who is capable of returning his love; he will just have to get a date.

As always your comments are most welcome.