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The Self, Language Objects, and Psychedelic Perspectives

Permanent Link: http://ncf.sobek.ufl.edu/NCFE004386/00001

Material Information

Title: The Self, Language Objects, and Psychedelic Perspectives
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Krane, David
Publisher: New College of Florida
Place of Publication: Sarasota, Fla.
Creation Date: 2011
Publication Date: 2011

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: Self
Language
Psychedelic
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: There is a stark contrast to be made between Daniel Dennett's conception of a self as a center of narrative gravity and a conception of a self that emerges from linguistic structures more deeply embedded in immediate experience. Daniel Dennett's model stands on a foundation of thought about stances of prediction toward various kinds of systems and carries assumptions laden in that thought too far into the most complex, mysterious and personal systems for their contradictions with direct experience to remain excused. After explaining Dennett's model, I will elaborate on specific problems with identifying as a center of narrative gravity, which is the operational consequence of taking this model seriously. In the name of intellectual honesty and rigor, the anomalous psychedelic experience is brought to bear on the issues. At one point called consciousness expansion, this easily avoided experience exposes that the assumptions upon which any model of reality i based are highly dubious and rely on factors as easily subject to radical change as the neurochemical makeup of the brain of the thinker in the light of this degree of relativity, as well as from pressing suggestion from within the altered modality, the framework of thinking about models as linguistic objects gives the context for the critique of Dennett's model, as well as any other. The concressence of quantum, physical, chemical, biological, social, mythological, astral, etc. processes that defines the center of our experiential mandalas affords the potential for teasing out meaningful feedback relationships of representation and verification so that provisionally true, or more conservatively, resonant, linguistic objects may be extrapolated for philosophizing.
Statement of Responsibility: by David Krane
Thesis: Thesis (B.A.) -- New College of Florida, 2011
Electronic Access: RESTRICTED TO NCF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The New College of Florida, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Local: Faculty Sponsor: Edidin, Aron

Record Information

Source Institution: New College of Florida
Holding Location: New College of Florida
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: local - S.T. 2011 K89
System ID: NCFE004386:00001

Permanent Link: http://ncf.sobek.ufl.edu/NCFE004386/00001

Material Information

Title: The Self, Language Objects, and Psychedelic Perspectives
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Krane, David
Publisher: New College of Florida
Place of Publication: Sarasota, Fla.
Creation Date: 2011
Publication Date: 2011

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: Self
Language
Psychedelic
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: There is a stark contrast to be made between Daniel Dennett's conception of a self as a center of narrative gravity and a conception of a self that emerges from linguistic structures more deeply embedded in immediate experience. Daniel Dennett's model stands on a foundation of thought about stances of prediction toward various kinds of systems and carries assumptions laden in that thought too far into the most complex, mysterious and personal systems for their contradictions with direct experience to remain excused. After explaining Dennett's model, I will elaborate on specific problems with identifying as a center of narrative gravity, which is the operational consequence of taking this model seriously. In the name of intellectual honesty and rigor, the anomalous psychedelic experience is brought to bear on the issues. At one point called consciousness expansion, this easily avoided experience exposes that the assumptions upon which any model of reality i based are highly dubious and rely on factors as easily subject to radical change as the neurochemical makeup of the brain of the thinker in the light of this degree of relativity, as well as from pressing suggestion from within the altered modality, the framework of thinking about models as linguistic objects gives the context for the critique of Dennett's model, as well as any other. The concressence of quantum, physical, chemical, biological, social, mythological, astral, etc. processes that defines the center of our experiential mandalas affords the potential for teasing out meaningful feedback relationships of representation and verification so that provisionally true, or more conservatively, resonant, linguistic objects may be extrapolated for philosophizing.
Statement of Responsibility: by David Krane
Thesis: Thesis (B.A.) -- New College of Florida, 2011
Electronic Access: RESTRICTED TO NCF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The New College of Florida, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Local: Faculty Sponsor: Edidin, Aron

Record Information

Source Institution: New College of Florida
Holding Location: New College of Florida
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: local - S.T. 2011 K89
System ID: NCFE004386:00001


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1 The Self, Language Objects, and Psychedelic Perspectives

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2 For: This generation

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3 The Self, Language Objects, and Psychedelic Perspectives David Krane New College of Florida, 2010 ABSTRACT There is a stark contrast to be made between Daniel Dennett's conception of a self as a center of narrative gravity and a conception of a self that emerges from linguistic structures more deeply embedded in immediate experience. Daniel Dennett's model sta nds on a foundation of thought about stances of prediction toward various kinds of systems and carries assumptions laden in that thought too far into the most complex, mysterious and personal systems for their contradictions with direct experience to remai n excused. A fter explaining Dennett's model, I will elaborate on specific problems with identifying as a center of narrative gravity, which is the operational consequence of taking this model seriously. In the name of intellectual honesty and rigor, the anomalous psychedelic experience is brought to bear on the issues. At one point called consciousness expansion, this easily avoided experience exposes that the assumptions upon which any model of reality i based are highly dubious and rely on factors as e asily subject to radical change as the neurochemical makeup of the brain of the thinker in the light of this degree of relativity, as well as from pressing suggestion from within the

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4 altered modality, the framework of thinking about models as linguistic objects gives the context for the critique of Dennett's model, as well as any other. The concressence of [quantum, physical, chemical, biological, social, mythological, astral, etc.] processes that defines the center of our experiential mandalas affords th e potential for teasing out meaningful feedback relationships of representation and verification so that provisionally true, or more conservatively, resonant, linguistic objects may be extrapolated for philosophizing. _____________________________ Aron E didin Division of Humanities Thesis Advisor

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5 Introduc tion..6 Contents Ch 1 Identifying as a center of narrative gravity.....6 Identifying ..6 Language as doors to new possibilities...9 Feedback is a truer notion than truth .15 Toward growing alternative language objects...19 Ch 2. Dennett and his Stances Assumptions implicit in these stances Problems with these assum ptions and identifying.30 Ch 3. Psychedelic Philosophy as Hands On Philosophy38 Assimilating paradox, transcending t he idea of a closed logical system, to live with the idea that there is no in tellectual closure.43 Ch 4. Critically analyzing Dennett's model of the self upon case studies with a background in linguistic objects Ch 5. Concl uding Thoughts..59

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6 Introduction In this essay I will explain Daniel Dennett's model of what a self is which he calls a center of narrative gravity. His model comes out of a larger tradition of thought about stances of prediction. Before this background is given, I will describe t he framework of thinking about linguistic objects which gives the context for the entire critique. After explaining Dennett's view, I will describe problems with identifying as a center of narrative gravity, which is the operational consequence of taking this model seriously. This will include implications the psychedelic experience1 brings to the issue, with the primary data for all model building being direct, immediate experience and the self as the center of the mandala2 always in perspective.3Ident ifying as a center of narrative gravity Identifying So, I will be discussing Dennett's model as a potential way to identify, which is the practical application of his theoretical explication. First, I shall attempt to model the experience of identification within the felt presence of immediate experience, the center of the mandala. By identification, I mean that process of relating to a n other (toy, land, 1 'The psychedelic experience' will be brought to bear throughout this essay. It is important to note that psychedelic experiences vary greatly from time to time and person to person. Shared elements, then, as well as first had experiences of my own will be highlighted here. 2 A mandala is an image that is meditated upon to align one's experience organizing faculties to its geometry, which is a series of co ncentric shells, with a diverse spectrum of facets lining the outer rings. The middle of the mandala represents the spiritual essence of the self. 3 Instead of, for example, a formula, a model, or an explaination, which becomes proven and then is gi ven the power to determine what happens through belief, a power always given away from a self

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7 person, linguistic object such as smart) by which the self is defined. Dennett has described a general frame within which a species of self, a highly abstract form, can be acted out, in one type of linguistic object within which a s elf achieves relative stability for analysis. His theory as a guide leads to a strong pattern of relating to extensive narrative linguistic objects. Immediate experience houses many kinds of identification, of which identifying as a center of a narrative is a highly rarified form, capable of some magic, but alien to the realms of language that have been evolving in the universe for so many millions of years, as it is so new and required the small mouth noises of primates, a recent invention. The dynamic flowing movement of quality, feeling, expectation, intention, apprehension, the full richness of the present, is the domain in which identity is able to sustain itself like a vortex in a river. Where there is enough complexity to sustain feedback relations and relations of juxtaposed resonance and dissonance is the stage where self other relationships can condense and pose themselves within relations of various subsystems within the system. For instance, possession is one common form of identi ty. The purchase and ownership of objects, land, and people on one level coexist with more ambiguous and loosely bound forms of possession in the form of territory, marriage and familiarity. A tree that grows down the block that you regularly nap under i s habitually part of your life. There is you ness bound with the tree, even if there is no sentimental feelings toward the tree. If someone smashes the pot you bought the previous day and you exclaim Hey! That was my pot you smashed! Grrrr, this is an event of identity destruction and the reverberations of that destruction within the systems related to the event. When you are

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8 constipated and you know it should be time to pass some stool and you perch yourself on a nearby toilet and attempt, through struggle, to excrete therein, you may stare at the tiled wall beside you. And as your mission succeeds, you may notice the impression of the rapidly flickering florescent light on the tiles ripple in transposition from one static state to another in a way that is concrescent with your mental and physical change such that a shift in identity is in some way resided in the shift on the wall from a state of higher density of tension to a state of lower density of tension. Each of the examples explained ab ove are linguistically orchestrated in a way that follows a pattern that I will elaborate on. 'Linguistically orchestrated' means that they are structured with meaningful dynamic rules that can be called syntactic. The non arbitrariness of the use of sy ntax to describe these rules is based on the felt apperception of meaning that may be conferred from them and is perceived, palpably, within the psychedelic experience. They are arranged in a pattern of moving toward the center of the mandala, the felt p resence of immediate experience, from the periphery. It is descending in abstractness. It is ascending personalness and descending compatibility with consensus behavior. It is ascending levels of mental participation. You can own stock in a company and have that part of you be manipulated in all sorts of ways. By the end of the day, that part of you may not even be around anymore, or it may linger as a pain self. The directness, however, of the manipulation of that part of you on is far removed fr om your immediate experience, unless perhaps you are staring at the ticker for that stock. This kind of identity is highly culturally defined, that is, highly consensus defined. If it were not for many people agreeing that some numbers somewhere were imb ued with significant meaning, one would probably never feel so. It

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9 almost entirely exists as part of an epiphenomenon of abstraction on a scale far larger and removed from that of the individual human being. The familiar tree and the would be vase ar e examples of identity that are less based on large scale structures of convention, and are more near phenomena, but are still not as spontaneous and unbidden as the identity that is the rather dream like experience in the last, the bowel movement exampl e. These, though, deal with persistence of some sort; in the one, the expectation that the tree will continue to exist like before and the build up of memories that the persistence of the tree and your developed relation to it allows, and in the other, the possible persistence, and the termination thereof, of the pot that was purchased in the marketplace with the conventions of ownership present in that system.4 The last example is right in the deep water of the coincidentia opositorum, the place wher e any provisional distinctions become unified, the source of the self, embodied, bound by space and time, but always fluid, always in change. Abstraction is not prevalent here. An attempt at an objective, unparticipatory perspective is quickly shown absu rd, anything can be interpreted as mental in nature, and the animal body is sensitive, communicating, and wise. A pattern central to the distinction I am making between Dennetts Self and the alternatives is that the series of these examples involves a movement away from Dennetts kind of self, toward the ineffable mystery of being, the genuine boundless self, with varieties of identification possibilities in between. 4 'Persistence' here is being contrasted with 'spontaneous'.

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10 Language as doors to new possibilities I have said before that there is a tens ion between abstract language on the one hand and intuitive animal bodily knowing on the other hand. I wish to now describe a place where the two are not at odds. Embodied, we may feel a sensation in our throat that might make us want to swallow or that might make us want to eat, or yawn. Previously, such a simply heuristic would be effective. However, as we grow, we notice new complexities that emerge from epiphenomena, tensions that have grown chronic, and so forth. A leap of understanding must be ma de to be able to relate to a newly pressing situation where previous solutions fail. The tool with which such a leap is made is language. It need not be a language like the ones we use to speak and write with. For example, feedback from action may unvei l a new tension that has grasped your attention, and from that point forward, attention through the medium of the body for feedback is all that is necessary for language (like 'getting in touch with your body'). However, the kind of grasp that language ta kes on the dynamic flow of being that can be restrictive can in this context act like a stepping stone toward increased ability of new action. If the tension in the throat is so pressing, the refusal of availing oneself to a more refined language may lead to death. If the prior solutions to this kind of tension were swallowing, yawning or eating, death may come from self suffocation or extreme throat inflation and infection. We naturally, however, look for new domains of understanding our ever complexify ing circumstance, and one may notice that self expression was being blocked by a psychic structure that has gained dominance over the years, and the lack of vibration of the vocal chords at the frequency at which ones particular organism would vocalize t o express a certain emotion that that psychic structure has been repressing is a

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11 fine linguistic object with which to interpret the present circumstance and to use as a guide to alleviate the tension. Language becomes a restrictive force when too muc h of a single linguistic form is appealed to. The circumstance is ever complexifying, a pattern which naturally coexists with a pattern of unending obsolescence. Yet, orthodox models naturally gain a kind of authority that extends beyond the domain in which they are actually able to comment based on the limitations inherent in their structure that indeed simultaneously gives it any authority at all (by being appropriate with a certain context). This extra authority gets its foothold partly from lack of dissolution of psychic structures through socialization and psychedelic activity. In other words, partly due to laziness. It is the role of life thirsty antibodies of curiosity in the individuals and the collective meme pool to push against the recidivis m of orthodoxy and construct new linguistic objects, more applicable to the ever complexifying world, and always, always provisional, with the irreducible mystery of being in recognition. A problem with how the assumption of the (reality of the) chara cters of a linguistic repertoire plays out is when the same possible factors become regularly considered irrelevant. Those phenomena that are considered relevant by the values implicit in the dominant bodies of investigation become included in a set that is closed (necessarily for each individual instance of prediction) in consistent ways from one instance to the next. These exclusively include phenomena that guide future investigations, and guide the worldview of the of people who get the trickled down i nformation from this major body, which tends to be most people, in our society. These bodies regularly get the funding required to perform their investigations over other investigations that compete with them

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12 for the same funds. These patterns of discrim inative support and designation of the status relevant toward all possibly relevant factors become involved in a positive feedback loop that leads to fortification of assumptions, further ignorance of outlying results, further designation of irrelevance of previously considered irrelevant factors, further fixation on previously considered relevant factors, and further closed mindedness of the majority of the population toward cosmologies, states of mind, and worldviews that are on the fringes of regularly invoked constructs. Since there are social, political, and religious implications imbedded in where the dominant bodies investigate and the conclusions they come to, both, future investigations, and the lives of the majority of the population in our cult ure are steered by bodies of investigation that are supposed to be by theory unbiased, but instead are corrupted, and often in ways unknown or misunderstood by that majority that must rely on trickle down dynamics of this hierarchical structure of informat ion distribution. Dennetts idea specifically does this by saying that what is relevant to self understanding is that information which leads to predictability, and things that can be put into a narrative form. People who internalize this model as what they are (instead of hold it in their minds as a model, with all that entails, as discussed later) would be prone to dismissing those experiences as irrelevant for their self definition that would otherwise be held on equal footing if predictability was not the centerpiece of the information filter. Any model making process behaves like this. It tries to find a common reference point, be it a set of ontological assumptions, a mathematical constant, or a theoretical abstractum. Once predictability from that point is somewhat effective, subsequent information is either torqued to relate to the reference point the model designates, or

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13 discarded as less valid. Yet, Dennetts model explicitly restricts self behavior to that which can lead to prediction, be cause it is as a tool for prediction that the self is posited in the first place for Dennett. Identifying with a tool for prediction will lead to a self fulfilling prophetic mindset that traps the person in habitual modes of thought and behavior, which di minishes their humanness. Not only does a tool shape its user so that any habitual mental activity will create its own momentum, but when that tool itself focuses on searching for habits it can extrapolate into a predictive model, this fortification self reflexively reinforces. The winds of change always blow, and language objects act like angles of a sail that move your vehicle in a direction, carving out the life you lead. Some language objects are rather impenetrable from the outside. For me, Kab balah is one of these. I can labor at understanding it, and catch a little forward moving wind depending on where I am on the ocean in terms of where Ive been and where I am to be. But for the most part, my vehicle is not poised to catch wind with that sail angle. Another language object, like the Zen tradition, can often be like the descent of a cognitive resonance angel defining and relating taxanomic features of phenomena that Ive been watching for a while just under the surface of conscious awarene ss, allowing for the heuristics necessary to move forward in understanding in that direction. A particular language object as an alchemic fuel likely ceases to be effective eventually. At times, the winds of chaos cease to allow progression by a part icular sail angle. Stubbornness toward changing the sail angle leads to a direct confrontation of the ways in which particular circumstances, nonuniversal context (which would be a steady forward wind), allowed for the flourishing of a previously reliabl e linguistic object. This

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14 is experienced as a paradigm crash, and the sail folds. But instead of just changing linguistic objects one to another with relativity reining in the end, memory of past flourishment and humblements allows for an ever richening. Therefore, I suggest a strategy of testing various linguistic objects, although eventually, momentum through commitment is necessary to progress far in a direction of understanding. Internalizing Dennetts model of the self as something to stron gly identify with is limiting as far as the particular limitations of narrative are limiting, and as it is one of a plethora of alternative ways to identify. This latter mode of limiting is due to the dulling of the young sense of breadth of options when one model is focused on. The sailboat metaphor is meant to illustrate that one way is no worse than another, in essence. It is when diminished returns relative to fresh, alternative ways to identify become stark, when the present winds of noesis cease to blow favorably for one strategy must the inflated prestige that comes with orthodoxy toward that strategy not inhibit spontaneous change. Feedback is a truer notion than truth The closest thing to progress toward truth (which I suggest to reject due to the implication of 'truth' as singular) you get with any linguistic object is feedback. The more feedback, the more you say Ah theres really something to this whole empe ror thing or sexuality thing or Darwinian thing or Ouija board thing. Cosmologies with the best track records in feedback get a lot of cred by people who confidently make extremely epistemologically curt statements like, The big bang happened that are based

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15 on elaborate abstract mathematical constructs that include a slim set of phenomena in their genesis. How dyou know the big bang happened? First of all, there is a lot of reliable data from innumerable experiments that feed back into cogency of the formal models that statements truth relies on. Second of all, because of all the toys that we surround ourselves with that that cosmology has produced for us. But also because everyones throwing around the language objects from that cosmol ogy everywhere! Not always consciously do language objects seep into our lexicons. Simply by interacting, we seem to adopt (or parasitically host) subsets of the same broad cosmology. Even before we first shed light on what our cosmology is and how its being expressed, we have to get deep enough into life to notice In other words, the crest of a wave of causation must reach a tipping point wherepast an avalanche of novel feedback procedes, through which the thinness of our epistemology becomes stark. And even after sensitivity to cosmological implications leads to twenty four hour meditations on the topic, memes will be memes, and some are just too catchy. Anyway, we say that some statements are more true than other statements, and not in ignoran ce. T ruth ought not be inferred from t ruth; the concept truth is a fine intuitive notion for linguistic feedback. Nevertheless, truth must not be thought as something greater than the relative measure of feedback between different language objects. Linguistic objects, always coexistable, necessarily create as their collective resonance pattern a cosmology. One of the highly rewarding (addictive) characteristics about Scientism as a cosmological subset is its tendency toward attempted closure. Closure allows for pleasurable personal cognitive resonance and simple mental functioning which

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16 increases cognitive efficiency. However, the world is too complex to ever gain much closure regarding phenomena near the center of our mandalas where phenomen a are the most complex, such as how to treat your lover, or how to proceed in light of conflicting information, or what emotions you will feel today. The events that allow for the kind of closure Science wishes all occur on the periphery of our lived worl d, through telescopes or on a screen, except, of course, when we are attentively manipulating simple or designed objects in our realm between the micro and the macro, whereby we take the physical stance or the design stance regularly.5 Cogency is, however, a very fine characteristic for a model. Aesthetically is the only way by which to decide how one shall relate to, relevate, Therefore the pursui t of closure that Scientism carries with it is a neotenizing influence on the host of that meme constellation to the extent to which it is unfittingly orthodox. It is authoritarian, and gets its authority from the past, when the world was more simple. And to the extent to which one can resist the urge for closure, the greater the variety of linguistic objects that can be simultaneously entertained, the vaster and more fanciful the cosmologies could be (with actual feedback from the world, or a friend's mi nd, or wherever one looks for feedback). 6 Here is an example of a situat ion where one may choose closure or loose endedness. You come upon a poster that advertises a course in sustainable business practices. What strikes your attention next is that the advertisement uses an image of a close up of a leaf and transmit which linguistic objects, and cogency is an attractive feature to me. But likewise is foolish consistency the hobgoblin of a small mind (Emerson). The attitude to check is one of tying up loose ends. Loose ended is the only option if you are to be widely attending. 5 These stances will be described in a later section. 6 Raise into awareness for its efficacy as rel evant

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17 with a drop of wate r on it and a map of the earth reflected within the drop. You think about how sustainablility is being used in a double sense here. On the one hand is sustainability of buisiness as it is being advertised. On the other hand is the attempt of the adverti ser to relevate an emotional response via nature and sustainability imagery that has us recall our periled planet and our perceived responsibility for it. You then recall the constellation of associated ideas regarding how large structures like giants and Rome and Wall Street all fall and that language was invented so that people could lie which heuristically stands for another constellation, and what remains in memory of the propaganda classes taken, and that business is a cold, anti humanistic force. You then recall that institutions, like all complex entities, strive for their own persistence, and the goal of sustainability can be explicitly demonstrated within the institution body, and perhaps must, without having a deceptive intent, and that human nature may be very dynamic and constantly in redefinition of itself, perhaps in harmony with business. These two sets of recollections may each be adopted and defended by opposing arguers. A strong tendency toward closure would involve choosing one over t he other, or coming to some kind of compromise where a middle ground is taken. However, without the assumption of rationality and mutual exclusivity and fragmentationfor analysis that support a conviction like (A V~A) & ~ (A&~A), these two linguistic objects may be juxtaposed in your mind in such a way that their harmonies and tensions remain as they are, and in the ways that you are able to fathom that your minds limitations force closure (through the function of forgetting, for example), you mark not ice flags for yourself. Thus, identity, for any actual entity, consists of a unity of ongoing process, a unity which incorporates into its present aspect conditioning influences of its past and the

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18 anticipation of its future. In a living organism, this immediate experience of ongoing process becomes identifiable with its notion of self; i.e., its awareness of itself, its selfhood, becomes synonymous with its experience of dynamical process. In order to clarify this, let us state what the selfhood of an organism does not consist of. Selfhood does not consist of its identification with the material bodily components, for its material components are continually being effaces and replaced with others by the process of metabolism (McKenna and McKenna p34). Equally alien as static states of material are to a metabolizing, living organism is the stasis that is characteristic of a narrative linguistic object. A living organism is never the same in any two moments of time; such an organism is a dead organism. Narratives betray this truth in their potential for identification because of the completeness of their form. A book, for instance, is complete. A sentence is complete. A string of sentences likewise. This kind of language is unambiguous, sharply defined, contained, and finite. For example, Im locked in a closet and cannot get out from Dennetts Gilbert example (CONG) brings much rigid structure that Organism is as abhorrent of as nature is said to be of a vacuum. Ones situation in attende d experience involves very much interpenetration, memory that extends into a fuzzy and uncertain past, and expectation that leads into an unimaginable future. A way, and the only way, a narrative could be true to experience as identifiable is if it is rea lized only long enough to be transformed into something else. Written narrative betrays this fact more than spoken narrative in that print is a far cooler (McLuhan, Ch 2) medium than vibrations in air, which come into being and fade into background noise quick enough to speak toward a 'flowing' account of being. Dennett would be pushing an argument harder to swallow if he did not use print in his thought experiment because

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19 print stands in a degree of abstraction that is stronger than speech in obfuscating the true depth and mystery of selfhood in this cosmos. Dilbert the Robot (who Dennett used as the key example to describe a self as a center of narrative gravity (CONG)) printed a narrative. It didn't speak one. One can assume there was a uniform type font, like in this essay, and can be assumed sharply defined edges of the words on the background of the paper. There was certainly no inflection. This is a very specious example for what should be an intuitively relatable phenomenon. An idea that i s communicated as something analytical philosophers would call begging the question should not be thrown out because there is information in the vagaries. If a choice lies between throwing away or keeping despite vagary, it sometimes would behoove one t o keep it. Written in linear print form, if a statement contains the very same words and punctuation on each side of a because, then it would likely be begging the question such that practically no information could be siphoned from it, to the judgments of the print influenced mind. However, when spoken, stress, tone, and other inflections can convey information that our languages (English, math) are not delicate enough to capture. This is but one problem with modeling based on print mentality. Toward growing alternative language objects It is likely none of that will make intuitive sense. The link to syntax per se, instead of a technical term, may be theoretical as long as the readers philosophical approach to these issues is purely theoretic al and hands off. For this possibility, this section can be considered a defining of a the technical term syntax that I am using to describe

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20 linguistic objects. {Having seen the Mario face demonstration7 What is the syntax here? The rules here ar e pretty firm. There is a starting structure whose meaning is very specific. It is, or closely resembles, Marios head. Naturally, there is an understanding in human perceivers of the meaning of the relationship of each part to each other part of anothe rs face. If the eyelids close a little and the upper lip quivers and muscles that move the tip of the nose contract upward and cheeks pull up and back, bearing incisors, this is understood as a hostile face. There is meaning found there. The syntax ava ilable for a linguistic situation between a person and the Mario face resides, like always, within the imagination of the perceiver exclusively, so long as the only other participation in molding meaning is the still face of Mario. There is plasticity out side imagination, however, demonstrated by the pulling and tugging of parts of his face to create an altered topology, the limits of which are the longest length the nose could be, the highest the mustache could be raised, and so on. } Now consider the image of dark matter8 7 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9caDNT_TUrM&feature=related Consider how there is much less meaning embedded in the starting image relative to the tightly niched, polished face of Mario. Relative to that icon, dark matter provides us with a rather blank slate. Imagine now being able to bend, stretch, set in continuous rotation, move, overlap the transcendent medium to reveal a potential color spectrum, and install programs of archetypal or alien interactions between elements to create whole scenarios out of whatever your 8 http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.mpa garching.mpg.de/HIGHLIGHT/2002/fig0206_1.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.mpa garching.mpg.de/HIGHLIGHT/2002/highlight0206_e.html&h=600&w=600& sz=79&tbnid=7GVEiFX Sq29XUM:&tbnh=135&tbnw=135&prev=/images%3Fq%3Ddark%2Bmatter&zoom=1&q=dark+matte r&hl=en&usg=__lkJ7m1VJh7Dq8YYFzrq9fh_a4Lw=&sa=X&ei=rN2LTK76M4vmsQPGqoXLBA&sq i=2&ved=0CEAQ9QEwBQ

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21 imagination and int ent combine to produce. Epochs of meaning may be compressed into heuristic key coded phrases to aid in recollection, communication, or extrapolation. Colors may mean sounds may mean images may me temperatures. This is a coarse approximation to the subtl ety and potential that a mind has in organizing information into linguistic objects. Dennett and his Stances Daniel Dennets idea that a self is a center of narrative gravity evolves out of his account of stances of predictive interpretation. The st ance taken toward predicting selves led to his definition of a self, or at least is codependent with his definition. That stance, however, relies on the stance taken toward 'intentional systems', which exists alongside analogous stances toward 'designed s ystems' and 'physical systems'. Let us examine these approaches of system prediction first so Dennetts model of what a 'self' is can be better understood. Out from the chaos of the raw sense data, patterns can be discerned. These patterns emerge th rough the background noise of data unable to be interpreted as pattern. The patterns Dennett deals with involve time, through which the patterns are able to reiterate and persist into the future. In such a case, predictability of future states, actions or behavior of the pattern becomes of primary importance to understand the pattern. Each stance requires fundamental assumptions to work. Several assumptions are shared between them all. The assumptions will be discussed after the stances are describe d. One way to predict future states is by taking a physical stance toward pattern prediction. The physical stance is simply the standard laborious method of the physical

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22 sciences, in which we use whatever we know about the laws of physics and the p hysical constitution of the things in question to devise our prediction (Intentional Systems, 2). This process occurs quickly and unconsciously often in everyday life. Imagine trying to describe why a friend should strike a cue ball with a cue in a cert ain way to sink a difficult ball in billiards. One would likely do so using physical terminology: If you hit it with moderate force right here, it will spin this way, bounce off this wall, and hit the nine right here, which should sink it in that corner pocket. Future states of very complex systems can also be described in this way. A humans behavior can be predicted in this way, theoretically9 The simplest description is preferred, and if any hypothesized physical elements are not reliable in their predictive abilities by being unstable or not simple enough to manage within a useful system of prediction, then reduction to more basic elements is performed to find the parts that need not be reduced further. For example, an organ in an animal body might be sufficiently simple a ph ysical element in the prediction of a pattern, but if it creates ambiguities too strong for prediction to be effective, then more elementary physical elements within and around the system of the organ are posited that reduce this although the modeling power needed to keep track of each electron involved in the movement of the whole or ganism from a bed to a ball game is very great, and probability may have to be invoked in the end. A clock, however, is a complex system whose states can be predicted from this stance, and indeed are taken into account when the system is constructed. Ima gine: widget A must feed enough force for x cycles of gear P to complete for the minute hand to make one rotation. 9 This is a huge qualification, a point that cannot be stresse d enough. If there were a person who was being monitored by observers who were analyzing this person so closely and thoroughly to track every atom entering and leaving the system of their body and the fields that extend beyond their skin, there might be s uch profound effects for the person and for the entire phenomenon of the project that may be hard to imagine. It cannot be reasonably induced that prediction of this sort is possible.

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23 ambiguity to satisfactory levels. For example, tissues that react by contracting or expanding when the whole organ is physically handled would affect the physical state of the whole organ and thus be factors in physical prediction. Within the known world of patterns, the physica l stance is highly acclaimed; it acts as a fail safe for the occasion when other stances fail to precisely predict. Though, this appeal would likely be at the expense of modeling elegance. Another stance is the design stance. By taking the design st ance, one distinguishes out of the chaos of raw data systems that head, by their nature, toward specific goals. A common use for this stance is toward objects a human consciously constructs to perform an action. A trebuchet is expected to hurl a boulder resting in the basket of its trembling lever when the tie is cut. It is expected because the trebuchet is designed to do so. The humor we experience when an ACME brand trebuchet backfires on Wile E. Coyote is due to our taking the design stance and its s ubsequent absurd failure. We take the design stance toward systems that are not constructed by intentional human action, such as when saying, the heart is designed to pump. If a system does not effect the result it is designed for, we say that the syst em is broken. Like each of the stances, the design stance can be used to spot patterns unseen from the other stances. This is useful when taking the design stance toward systems that can theoretically be described as very large packets of physical elemen ts, but practically are too complicated for a human to take the physical stance toward. These packets can then be processed with the facility necessary only to move through this other language that comprise the design style packets. For example, when I s et my alarm, I use the design stance. I do not see atoms at a cool enough temperature that they are solid and sustain an electrical current and so on. Rather,

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24 I consider the packet of data in front of me a designed system called a clock. This system has certain components that I may posit as fundamental (i.e. buttons, screen, numbers and so on) without having to resort to physical mechanisms that underlie the functioning of any of those elements (or a divine plan, for that matter). I then recognize that due to the design of the alarm clock, I can push certain buttons in a certain order so that certain numbers appear on the screen and once the screen reads alarm set, I can rest assured that the alarm will go off at the time that I set it for. The intentional stance is another stance that allows for prediction of patterns of data. With this stance, one perceives systems that are treated as being in states of desire, intention, belief, and expectation that they behave in accordance with. As these states work together, they allow for prediction of behavior unable to be found with the design stance or the physical stance. Such a system is called an Intentional System. For example, if an intentional system desires the production of X and believes t hat it can produce X, so long as other variables do not interfere, one can reliably predict that it will act in ways that it believes will lead toward the production of X. This is the language of the intentional stance. A thermostat can be an intentiona l system if its behavior fits this language map. From its behavior, someone taking the intentional stance toward it can model and predict its behavior as 'it thinks that it is seventy degrees in the room and since it wants to keep it at sixty five, it will send the signal to the air conditioner to turn on because it believes that will make the room cooler.' We take this stance toward people regularly and unconsciously. Dennetts conclusions regarding a self can now be understood as coming from these predictive linguistic systems, these stances regarding stances. We may call the stance that

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25 defines the predictable self the biographical stance, because a narrative of a self is a good definition of a biography. The behaviors within the self system all refer to the center self. I traveled to the realm of the archetypes and brought back a piece of the philosophers stone. This narrative revolves around the self called I. The self, in essence is an abstractum, a theoretical fiction comparable to a center of gravity in Newtonian space, a point of zero dimensionality that is posited to easily model relationships between physical elements. Like the center of gravity of a book which, when pushed over the edge of a table causes the book to fall to the ground, so a self is related to its counterpart in this analogy.10 In 'causes' lies the magical condition of the relationship of the theoretical abstractum with sensible phenomena, like how the inexplicable condition of rationality acts as a mechanism ne cessarily posited for effective prediction. Its counterpart is found in the narrative. A self leaps in delight, bends to the will of the group, and smells its favorite dinner. Dennett stresses heavily that this is due to the fictitious nature of the sel f, like a character in a fairy tale: A center of gravity is just an abstractum. It's just a fictional object. But when I say it's a fictional object, I do not mean to disparage it; it's a wonderful fictional object (The Self as a Center of Narrative Grav ity11 ) Assumptions implicit in these stances 10 This sentence is meant to highlight the subject object bias that will not be discussed later. For 'causation' and 'rationality' to be appealed to in the way they are in these predictive stances, proponents clearly require a fig leaf for the large metaphysical assumption they make that can simply be described as 'the subject object bias.' Though applicable here somewhat as a metaphor, for Dennett would say that these stances are often executed more quickly than the time it takes to formulate sentences, which is not as true the case for biographical stance issues, I wish to in fact highlight the linguistic aspect of this bias. Because, in fact, the relationship between a self and what a self does is not found upon investigation, which makes an attitude that has such a deep affair with a subject object distinction dubious. 11 Henceforth, this article will be abbreviated as CONG.

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26 To reiterate in other words, Dennett espouses taking the physical stance, the design stance, the intentional stance, and the biographical stance wherever each would lead to maximum predictive success. Th ese predictive perspectives require several assumptions, blind spots needed in order to operate, many of which can be problematic if the result of these that relates to us most intimately, within the realm of identifying, the self as a center of narrative gravity, is identified with and assimilated. First and foremost, like each of the stances, the physical stance assumes the linguistic units in its predictive repertoire (e.g. electrons, quarks, mass). It must commit to a set of these at the ex clusion of others for its models to remain useful and be springboards for further development. Repercussions of this will be explored later. With the physical stance,12 prediction is achieved through mechanical interactions between blind forces and inanima te bodies (blind and inanimate in that the physical stance ignores as irrelevant nonrational forces, nonlocal forces, magical influences, spirit inherent in nature, so forth and so on). Another assumption is that the background upon which the pattern st ands out (e.g. space to matter or unconscious to conscious) is not a part of the pattern and does not influence it. To understand how this is a relevant assumption to mention, consider the example of a so called Magic eye image. This is a picture where looking at it with the optical function similar to reading, where focus is sharply attuned to the atomistic surface data, yields messy chaotic patterns, but when one loosens focus and allows their binocular overlay of nearer images relative to a more dist ant focus point to overlap, a distinct image between two and three dimensions appears. The struggle to remain in that state,13 12 This is the only assumption in this list that is unique to the physical stance. The rest are universal. where the pattern in focus of attention is not located at the point of 13 And it is a struggle. Many people cannot even make this perceptual shift and give up. This should here

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27 visual focus can be understood for our present purposes as analogous to recognizing that the phenomenon occurring rests upon voluntarily maintaining a dualistic relation between background and foreground while you are aware of the equally available, but mutually exclusive former pattern that when juxtaposed highl ights the interdependence of elements in the image to create the later phenomenon. Another assumption that is a subset of this one that is shared among the stances is that the tendencies of past patterns will continue to the present; when a hypothesis obt ains in fifty consecutive experiments, it will obtain in the fifty first. Potential unforeseen larger patterns that can supersede the attended smaller pattern must be ignored until prediction becomes utterly impossible with the current language, but a pattern is thought to extend beyond the horizon. Another way to phrase these closely related assumptions is that every physical system (and other predictable systems) that are involved in prediction must be considered closed systems, to some extent.14 The assumptions that the design stance requires include many of the same assumptions necessary for a physical stance like that the tendencies of past patterns will continue in the present. The design stance requires its own unique assumption as well. This is that the end state implied by the designed system will occur. If this does not happen, we say that the designed system is broken. So with the example of my alarm Po ssible factors outside the ones considered must be ignored, otherwise all information must be considered relevant. This would defeat the purpose of taking a stance of prediction, because doing so is inherently an act of discrimination between relevant and irrelevant data. be recognized as an inability to entertain an illusion due to an inability to recognize the illusory nature of their preferred mode of perception. 14 This will be very important later when linguistic objects, closed systems of meaningful relatio ns, will be discussed.

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28 clock, if I set it for 7:00 A.M. and it fails to ring at that time, I declare that it is broken, thus the design stance cannot effectively predict the behavior of the system described as a clock. A useful move to continue effective prediction is to take the physical stance toward what is now seen as a physical syst em of many circuits, transistors, resistors, and so on. An observer taking the design stance and another taking the physical stance can both make propositional predictive claims that are nominally identical. For example, two people can predict that a ray of light will be cast in a dark house that leads f rom somewhere no farther than a foot from the doorway into the house. This can be done by tracing determined paths of atoms and photons and their interactions, thus using the physical stance, or by tracing whether the switch has been turned on on a worki ng flashlight that has live batteries in it facing into the house from the doorway, thus taking the design stance. Dennett does not mention this, but the two claims are implicitly different, because the terms refer to two different system of interdependen t definitions that make the meanings of the explicitly identical predictions different. In other words, they locate the predicted event, in different patterns in such a way that communication proceeds as if they are talking about the same thing. The illusion of communication is sustained as if there was a shared reality that different language vehicles navigate through. The intentional stance includes a new assumption that is required for its effective prediction in addition to the assumptions shared by the physical and design stances. This assumption is that the system whose behavior is being predicted is rational This simply means that the algorithms that dictate the relationships between the behaviors of the

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29 intentional system consistently apply For example, if an intentional system wants to let X eat cake and believes it can let X eat cake, then it must behave in a way that it believes will lead to X eating cake (in a setting where other variables do not interfere). In other words, like how parts of physical systems relate through magical causal relationships of the physical variety, parts of designed systems must relate through a condition called working (as opposed to broken), and so elements of intentional systems have to rely on an invisible thread called rationality to be in intentional system harmony that is required for prediction. To predict the self as a center of narrative gravity requires additional assumptions as well. All of the assumptions of the physical stance apply, save one (the assumption of inanimate bodies guided by blind forces) in because we are still dealing with a predictive model. The intentional stances assumption of rationality applies insofar as the behavior of the self being predicted is intentional be havior. The design stance applies insofar as the behavior of the self is interpreted as designed. The biographical stance further requires the self to be autonomous, unitary, and permanent. To the extent that a self in description is not any of these three, there will be deviations from Dennetts model. The self as unitary is the essence of the prime metaphor of a center of gravity. Were the self not unitary, it would be a contradiction to describe a self as the kind of abstractum Dennett claims it is, a single point, to which a narration refers. A narrative of the self must be referring to one single thing which can be distinguished as apart from its environment. The unit of a self is in fact as close to a nothing, or nothing, as we can postulat e, being merely a theoretical referent. If the self were not autonomous, then there would be no way to form a narration of

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30 what the self does as distinct from what its environment does. The autonomous condition of the self is important to distinguish between what the self does and what is done to it. The self must be permanent for a narrative, describing the behavior of a character over time, to be referring to same character. Were a self not permanent within a narrative, the narrative would be false, for the self in the story would cease to exist for some portion of the biography, or the narrative would be about different selves. But since the essence of the biographical stance is predictive, the existence of a single persistent self is a neces sary condition for the efficacy of such a narration. In this way, all of the assumptions are justified by the power of prediction they afford. Further clarification of these assumptions could be helpful. Dennetts self is an idea. Often, permanence autonomousness, and unitariness refer to an object that many people can agree on experiencing simultaneously, like a rock. Yet, like a center of gravity in physics, the self is not found in a consensus world. As an idea, however, it may have these char acteristics. As something one identifies with, one wears these characteristics, and after repetition and sincerity, they become unconscious and shape the life of the person outside their awareness. Identifying with the model of a self as a center of narr ative gravity would cause a spill over beyond the worthwhile contexts of these unconscious expectations into domains in which the quality of the experience would be better without being so limited. Problems with these assumptions and identifying To u nderstand the problems I want to show with adopting Dennetts concept of a self as a center of narrative gravity, one can be approach the issue with the following point. I

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31 am a self. So far, this point should not be contendable. According to Dennett, I am a center of narrative gravity. If so, then what I am is restricted to the rules of a narrative. What problematic restrictions does this place on me that in life I do not find to remain when I push the envelope? One is linear restrictions. Narrat ives are linear; they have a beginning, a middle, and an end. If the narrative is long enough, multiple events are described, happening in a serial order. This is only found in abstraction. Identifying with the model of a self as a center of narrative g ravity would be to limit oneself to linear thinking and linear possibilities. An example of a linear activity is pulling ones arm back so that one can then make the bowling ball one is holding gain enough momentum to strike the pins down the alley. Firs t the one thing, then the other. An example of a nonlinear activity is impossible to describe so clearly in this linear medium. However, most of the explicit world unfolds out of the enfolded implied order (a la Bohmian model ( Wholeness and the Implicat e Order, chapter 7)) in a nonlinear fashion. The experience of this, even the conception of this (which is a kind of experience of it) can only be reached when one drops the assumption of linearity. A linear self has a past and a future. A linear self cannot be timeless. One can behave with degrees of linearity. A way of thinking that is highly linear is thinking what to do for the rest of the day, with a schedule that has one thing happen at a time, and plan for what to do next right when that ac tivity is over. Another linear way of thinking is to model ones history as a series of events in a serial order and thinking of oneself as a thing with characteristics. For example, I grew up in Brooklyn, I wanted to get wet so I swam to Iceland. I dr ied off as soon as I got there because my fingers were

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32 getting pruney. First Brooklyn, then Iceland. I was wet or wet was me. These models of what is going on may be part of a direct experience, but a nutshell like these are like ellipses made from cross sectioning a cone. The self is the cone, but models like these, no matter how detailed, wont achieve more than a filledout ellipse, which, from certain points of view, vanish completely. They are like shadows on the walls of caves of Platonic al legory. And like the shadows, they are fine within a comprehensive view of the self, but repetition and internalization fix a person into thinking that a model like this is sufficient for self understanding. Dennett would agree, me and wet define one another. Whether me is wet or wetness exists through me, the subject is the center of narrative gravity, and the attributes and actions revolve around them. But this is only an explanation of this modeling process, like an explanation of t he dynamics of the shadows on the wall of the cave, and doesnt even mention what is going on behind the prisoners of these linguistic chains.15 Another problematic restriction that is closely associated with the first is the following. To highlight t he problem, it should be juxtaposed next to the point that the center of narrative gravity model is used when one takes the biographical stance, one among several stances of prediction taken toward systems that can be coaxed by perception and expectation t o behave in patterned ways. The problematic restriction is that I cannot simultaneously be two things that we normally call mutually exclusive. I cannot be here and there at the same time, for instance. An I cant be here and there at the same time. I is dependent upon the relations Dennett describes for its existence, but this does not touch experience freed from these linguistic chains. 15 This is a reference to Plato's story of the people in the cave watching the shadows, so 'what happening behind them' means the higher dimensional activity that produces the lower dimensional activity that captivates the attention o f the bound people ( The Republic Book VII ).

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33 I cannot be non rational. I cannot be outside rational distinguishing of this and that in other words. Dennett claims that to the extent the self is predictable, it must be rational, and there is no self when irrationality is observed. He says there may be multiple selves acting on parallel paths around one organism, and to the extent prediction is ach ieved using a two self model, there are two selves present. But I cannot be outside the scope of rationality if I am to be this sort of self. For example, consider this quote from CONG that illustrates the limits of what Dennett thinks is appropriate beh avior for a self: "Everything said is said by a speaker to another speaker that may be himself." But why should one talk to oneself? Why isn't that an utterly idle activity, as systematically futile as trying to pick oneself up by one's own bootstraps? Dennett continued from this point to mention that the coherence of an individual self is a fragile illusion that comes apart when one severs the corpus callosum. Complex emergent phenomena coming apart under scrutiny when what is found are smaller interac ting parts: this is the standard formulation of reductionism at its worst. Its at its worst because it is directed at the self, the center of the mandala from the point of view of an observer. And the objectivity of science (the attempt at putting the locus outside the self, in some pure epistemological vacuum) is ultimately a fools pursuit. It is old news in quantum physics that not only is an observer is necessary for reality to be (a point which should limit attempts to reduce a coherent observer), but once you get below the atomic scale (particles being at two places at once, appearing on the other side of a barrier without going through it, etc), the world looks more like a DMT flash (instantly transported to an alien den, self transforming entitie s creating objects with their voices that then create other objects out of nothing and little that approaches rational apprehension) than a Darwinian dinner party.

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34 Another interpretation of the preceding quote is that when one self says something to a nother self, the one does so to an other that may be himself. The split brain issue shows an illusion that can be extrapolated in two directions. Dennett explains the one: an illusion of individuality. The other is the illusion of multiplicity. The for mer is an illusion of cohesion. The later is an illusion of distinction. In some sense, the apparent multiplicity of selves around here is illusory and instead, if there are any selves, there is only one self, one sea of interpenetrating sense casting observing and sensed objecting (A language of verbs, or a language like David Bohms Rheomode (Wholeness and the Implicate Order, Chapter 2), which has built in incompleteness and lacks a subject object distinction, which is the foundation of a model where s omething revolves around something else, may be helpful in soberly shaking off these spells of language). Another problematic restriction: I cannot be magic. Dennett makes aggressive, unforeshadowed and inconsequential jabs at magic. For example, W e can imagine someone, a benighted (italics mine) literary critic, perhaps, who doesn't understand that fiction is fiction. This critic has a strange theory about how fiction works. He thinks that something literally magical happens when a novelist writes a novel. When a novelist sets down words on paper, this critic says the novelist actually creates a world. CONG. What is Dennett implying by fiction is fiction? The use of this tautology does not give any new information to help Dennetts argument. It is a desperate move that only tries to accomplish one thing: to insinuate to the reader that something which usually goes without saying, namely that a description of a phenomenon cannot reach outside its domain to describe anything else, is not applica ble to his model. This is a product of being hypnotized by the illusion of closure. What Dennett calls magic is simply that

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35 domain which is completely bewildering to Dennett. But instead of denying the existence of those phenomena that fall outside the domain of the apparent, we can rest with the recognition of the irreducible mystery of the universe, and the incompleteness of our models of it. Also, Dennett says, A center of gravity is just an abstractum. It's just a fictional object. But when I say it's a fictional object, I do not mean to disparage it; it's a wonderful fictional object, and it has a perfectly legitimate place within serious, sober, echt physical science. A self is also an abstract object, a theorist's fiction. The theory is not particle physics but what we might call a branch of people physics; it is more soberly known as a phenomenology or hermeneutics, or soul science ( Geisteswissenschaft ) (CONG). The fear of a lack of closure that helps fan the flames of physics envy other sciences have should be looked at critically. Physics has a wonderful ability for theory and experiment to coordinate down to the fifth decimal place. But to call the study of selves a branch of people physics is an appeal to a hierarchical structure wi th physics at the top, the study of spin, momentum, charge, nothing that is relatable at all from the human realm. Instead of trying to predict everything as well as physics does and then dismissing anything that is not predictable from that attempt as fiction or magic, better to embrace our lack of closure, recognize chaos, and enjoy the true enough fact that we have little clue as to what is going on. How does this find its import? It is not in the minutia of a good versus a better theoretical thou ght construct. The import lies in our identification. How we identify shapes our lives and the lives of others and the world at large. If one identifies as an Aryan, there will be different consequences than if that person identifies as an Earthling

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36 org anism or a center of narrative gravity. Choosing what to identify with is the keystone of the perspective through which this essay was written, and is the only perspective through which Dennett's model is interesting at all. And what is interesting about it is that it pinpoints very well a trend of dominant thought that should be looked at critically and then deflated of its momentum through our conscious discourse and our unconscious habits. The cogitation that Dennetts self relies on to exist (th e narration function) is a narrow function. It is inefficient; it requires many processes: consulting dictionary, reifying pastused and standardized syntactic forms, and actually formally moving through a phrase or sentence, such as 'I can make it on tim e'. In the time it takes for each phoneme to be thought by the English thought function, attempts (in this case, to make it on time) could be initiated, calculations could be made, and a giggle could escape one's lips from the full juxtaposed situation.16 Although attention seems to be present constantly, the need for feedback raises the issue of a medium. Attention is not a r ich enough phenomenon to sufficiently maintain a But there are other ways to use the mind that create very different results. To decondition from unwanted or unconsciously learned patterns and consciously proceed in reorganizing one's mental approach to life, a back to basics approach is useful. All o ne really needs to think is attention and feedback. With this barebones thinking process, with the sort of nonfragmented thought that characters like Bohm and Whitehead emphasize (Wholeness and the Implicate Order, Chapter 1; Process and Reality), not only can more information be flowed through the mill, but in a less abstracted, more directly connected with the organism, way. 16 ...in a Baconian spirit where the fact that induction is taking place is not ignored, and a rich juxtaposition of recognized and new relevant members of a phenomonologic taxonomy informs the person.

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37 feedback situation by itself. Two media can be used. The first is another mental field. The second is the imagination. In the former situation, the interference pattern that is created when attention scans and surveys when penetrating another mental field is a situation that supports the feedback necessary for thought. This happens when certain active compounds are metabolized by the organism. Good examples are Psilocybin and LSD. One can see on the ba ckground of closed eye lids the interference pattern ungulating, spinning, forming from memory and expectation mixed with the unique essence of the foreign participant. This also happens in sexual intercourse where large sensitive portions of the surfaces of two individual bodies (externalized minds) are in direct contact with each other.17 The imagination is a trickier domain to talk about. Yet this is the most accessible mental terra incognita (as it req uires neither an active compound nor another human being). I am including in my concept of the imagination it as the repository of memory (as well as the body). So if we draw up two memories in juxtaposition and find that some relation can be seen between them so that a pattern is underscored to attention, this is internal linguistic behavior Other forms of telepathy apply here as well. 18 One consequence of this kind of linguistic behavior, compared to the highly linear, fragmented, narrow language that results in the kind of self Dennett is talking about, is that the distinction between metaphor and literal meaning no longer applies. Because, instead of a division of two potential, mutually exclusive forms, like human and (one analyzing faculty is objecting an information wellspring). 17 My use of 'language' is virtually interchangeable with the concept of 'communication'. 18 What is being suggested is that the transmitted self, the self that apprehends meaning in this linguistic exchange, is receiving information from a larger enfolded order. As t he one function creates the parameters of examination, the relevation of a specific memory (or idea; this process is not particular to memory), the imagination responds like an autonomous well of suggestion.

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38 flamingo, mediated by verbs (such as like or as), where the relation is fragmented, there is a coexisting presence of the two forms in the pattern of attention and feedback. This allows for a genuine identification with whatever form is fed back and attended,19 What, then, will be the choice? What will be the identity? How will one grow one's mental landscape? Who will one be? I s uggest that aesthetic be tried, tasted, experimented for the compass heading for what linguistic object would be raised to awareness most often and powerfully, thus resulting in greater identification. The old compass heading of truth has shown not to have a super effective track record (consider the western epistemological tradition failing in its goal to find a workable definition of 'truth'(Edmund Gettier, Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?), and consequences like clitorectomy that result from stea dfast pursuit of 'revealed truth'). It also relies on too fragmented thinking of a world distinct from models describing it to deal closely with the self. So the issue meme replication and reiteration and identity construction shows Dennetts Self as Cen ter of Narrative Gravity in a new, dimmer light. and at the same time, due to the breadth of available patterns, none mistakenly be identified with more strongly than others. Intention, then has a role in the formation of a linguistic object. Attention needs to be directed in such a way that an object with meaning, in other words, one that is intended to communicate somethi ng which is appropriate to the moment, is created. It has been the intention of a popular strand of thinking that any notion of spirit or soul be exorcised from out models. Dennett clearly has wind pushing his sail when creating his CONG. It may als o be that communicating beauty was part of his intention. There is 19 To ground this paragraph in common experience this is a slice of the process of empathy, a strongly intuitive and emotional experience, unmediated (at least in the real time of the experience) by constructed concepts and relations.

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39 a droll humor strung through his essays. However, there is a problematic air of intended closure and finiteness and certain definiteness to Dennetts linguistic object as well. His does not leave the reader with an impression of boundless frontiers to self exploration. But rather, he fans the flames exorcising spirit out of the readers thinking, claiming that successful prediction, the context in which we are to think that self explorat ion takes place, requires no God up the sleeve, and in fact strives for an inanimation of the self and turns it into an abstract nothing. Psychedelic Philosophy as Hands on Philosophy Impressions followed one another too swiftly to comprehend. Time f ell away, superfluids of frozen agate seemed to rush through enormous spillways. He had a sense of flinging himself happily into death, a kind of wild orgasmic paroxysm of self affirmation, a previously inarticulate bubble of emotive intent came to his lips. Tears were running down his cheeks. He had said the words before. but he had never said and understood them in this way before. Ta wades! Ta wades! I am! I am! True Hallucinations The rejection of any source of evidence is always treason to that ultimate rationalism which urges forward science and philosophy alike. Alfred North Whitehead: The Function of Reason The hands on part of hands on philosophy means a psychoactive compound is taken to get a different angle on what's going on. I suggest that the experience be considered

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40 necessary for even a taking a swipe at the full picture of whats up with the world before being humbled again. Simply because the experience is so anomalous, it calls for much attention; no experience should be left out when constructing a thorough account of being. When in that state, many sound often manifests visually. Spoken language goes so far as to nearly condense in three dimensional space. In this way of doing philosophy, participants may not pay mos t attention to how a sentence sounds (a habit that leads to the highly fixated state where you might blurt out something like statements stand for propositions with truth values and mean it.). Instead the attention may be on the vision the sounds made. This works, meaning it produces feedback (see Ch 1. Section 2: 'Feedback' is a truer notion than 'truth'). Processing works the other way too, like reciting a visual language object before your eyes. Thats what produced the following segment. I looked at a higher dimensional object that I created through a syntactic mental medium more subtle than the English language, and then described it in English so that the sounds the words were made of projected an image on top of the object and then what I typed was what made the two resonate the most. It is the child of the marriage between two very different aspects of mind. This is an example product of this kind of hands on philosophy: You learn how to be self reflexive down to the synapse. By taking a psychedelic and looking into darkness you get a screen and instead of using a mouse or whatever else as another mediator, you get to go right at it. Meaning is felt, syntax emerges from the hidden realm and is seen. And so, looking into darkness and u sing your mind to manipulate what you see you can get a big picture on things. And so one thing that comes out of doing this, for me, is the possible position that it is irresponsible to be delivering the meme that Dennett delivers from a background of no npsychedelic use to an audience of non psychedelic use, because what happens, instead of the thought process that is modeled by synaptic

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41 organization and mycelial organization and images of aggregates of dark matter, you get hierarchical organization where a consumer is fed knowledge from a source somehow more in touch than the recipient. And this organization crystallizes into the cultural modality that then reinforces this mental behavior. So this is one position. It is a position that is concerned with cultural wellbeing, diffusing sources of knowledge, and self reflection. The most self reflection would be that which is done without a medium. The mirror is a crude medium, for instance. The material realm represents the most alienated modality we know of. Time is another medium which stands in the way of utter self reflection, and meta programming ourselves, the cutting edge of spiritual advancement is even done in time so repercussions have the time to resonate for us to feel where appropriate action is needed. And so with this all in mind, a stance that leans on the material set of assumptions as a default is inherently an alienating stance. Dennetts is such a stance. How? It needs to be seen in the diction he uses. Diction (an angle of some kinds of language) is a feature of a medium that must be highly considered. Dennett mentions the absence of a need to posit ghost stuff. Well, anyone peddling a position that rests so heavily on language as Dennett (I.e. in his main theme of narrative), recognizes the ability of language to calcify into a reality so that to deny outright any part of language is irresponsible because it is a kind of reality denying, and someone who takes Dennetts model seriously might not recognize this is happenin g, and so be impoverished in the deepest sense, as it is an impoverishment of the self. Dennett would reply that the thing which he is denying is something that is not linguistic in nature, but outside language, and furthermore something completely essent ial, autonomous, i.e. foreign to any system of biological organization, something that plainly doesnt exist. Those characteristics listed after 'furthermore' in the previous sentence are of exactly the thing which I am saying doesnt exist because I say that even language itself, such an ethereal thing, needs to be accounted for in a full model of reality (and is intimate with universal organismic evolution. Consider what the coding DNA is doing in the drama of the cosmos). So in a sense, Dennett requires those very characteristics to be descriptive of things in the world in order to deny the existence of something that is considered by him

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42 proven to be nonexistent (or at best meaningless outside the biographical pr edictive stance) independently of the linguistic act of denying it. It can be seen, then, that insisting so fullheartedly that foreign stuff need to be thrown out is irresponsible because of the position he holds in the hierarchical organization of m emetic dispensation in our culture. Because it ends up being the other, almost in principle, that gets thrown out of the believed model, and that the other, conceived of from our present position might be something that in fact we want to preserve and empower. Indeed, in fact, the self is the other, and the manner in which a person handles this paradox is of the utmost import to their life. To the extent you conceive of an other being more other, more alien, the more the self gets reflectively more s elf like in an increased oppositional relationship. Denying this part of the picture while holding an intellectual position, and insisting on an external reality that does not respond in this way to a questioning mind, and instead marking clear and distin ct lines of 'self' and 'other' is taking an intellectually chauvinistic position on the domains in question. Even my position in this issue is soft, provisional, and only appropriate because of the circumstances that engendered it. Whats another way in which Dennett peddles a linguistic object that detrimentally rejects what it considers other? Dennett has it out for magic, as can be seen in multiple places (This would be an utterly mysterious and magical prospect (and hence something no one should take seriously) if the self were anything but an abstractum CONG). Magic may very well be the archetype that is being fashioned20 20 Like the way death sculpts the life form of a new baby from its i ndistinct fetal form, or like how colors show on a photograph through the process of a negative image. by the increasingly refined mechanistic view that will eventually be required to be assimilated if we wish for a complete model of reality (or rather a model that accepts built in limitations, such as the singularities in black holes, which are places where everyone agrees the rules break

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43 down, to give one bland example),21 if not our saving grace. But by the time the mechan istic view reaches its limits (Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions ), what is left out that people like Dennett dismiss as mere magic, will be found to be boundless In the psychedelic experience, a consistent reference point of Self is blended into an ever changing environment. So the self is not close to an abstractum analogous to a zerodimensional point in space. This will be a huge breath of fresh air as if intuition finally stopped being strangled for five hundred years of a blindered scientific bent. (Quick note on consistency: Emerson once said that a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. Id like to add that it is anathema to linguistic democracy. And so alternating terms might limit some readers who wish for a constant reference point, but paint a fuller picture to others. I embrace it in this thesis a matter of letting go of the illusion of closure.) Dmt does not provide an experience that you analyze. Nothing so tidy goes on. Instead, the very syntacti c faculty that tries to understand (that says, now Im sitting down, now Im smoking DMT, whether in words or not) is directly affected so what you experience is in its nature completely incomprehensible. The only other honest philosophical point about DMT I can make is that it beacons investigation, exploration, and inspirational vision (See: Strassman, Rick. DMT: The Spirit Molecule ). Assimilating paradox, transcending the idea of a closed logical system, to live 21 Also in the vein in which it is said that a technology advanced enough can always hold the place of magic.

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44 with the idea that there is no intellectual closure Here will be discussed alternative approaches to the issue of the self rather than through predictive models, and perspectives that push the envelope of understanding the self in a philosophical manner. In fact our ordinary cul tural environment is correctly recognized, during the experience of the altered state, as the bass drone in the ongoing linguistic business of objectifying the imagination (Food of the Gods 32). Dennetts account is like the pre comet age of dinosaur s. All of the parts of the natural system worked together; there were climaxed ecosystems with highly tightly niched species. No self contradiction was present, nor was there room for new growth. The climaxed forests were green, the food chain was tooth and claw. Come the comet, obliterating the environment. Whole systems become extinct. Then was made available the room for the emergence of new, more complex systems of information exchange, flowers, color, sweet ftuit, higher animals with highly raref ied super complex neocortexes. An environment more closely related to a state we value. Similarly, a climaxed system of thought will endlessly appeal to the orthodoxy of its own establishment until an angel descends and blows the whole thing to the ground. Then, what builds back up is something that has the lessons of the previous system in its memory (a la morphogenetic memory22) and then builds something that leans further toward the transcendental. This is just like the archetypal shamanic journey where one's infantile self disintegrates and a higher self emerges like a phoenix23 This transrational approach may have to be defended as a matter of taste, if not a 22 A non local memory of the universe of all the forms taken, which helps determine future forms. 23 See Astrotheology and Shamanism for more about phoenixmushroom/ psychedelic symbolism.

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45 matter of survival of intellectual dignity. The question is, What orthodoxy shal l be appealed to? Western analytic philosophy has defined many terms that it will eagerly tell you youre approaching when you start out with your linguistic vehicle. Hopping on that track is one option. Another is the much older technique of plant induced shamanic ecstasy. Ecstasy is a wonderful term meaning ex stasis of the habitual, self reinforcing patterns of thought that develop when the mind is left to express in three dimensional spacetime. Kurt Gdel ( Gdel's Proof ) came to the end of t he path of linear thinking. This took mathematicians centuries to find. It doesnt have to be the only way to find out the limitations of an intellectual adventure. And this way does not provide the imagination necessary to lead one out on an orthogonal direction into a new domain. The psychedelics do both of these things in a matter of six hours. To prevent anemia of the mind is what this technique is for. So it is in this way a preventative measure. Is there any evidence, though, that the Denne tt web of interdependent ideas is infected that we might want to resort to a cometlike intervention, or is this merely hypothetical? We can look at history to give us a clue. Constipated rational, mechanistic, linear thinking of the Western mind is bringing our culture and our planet to catastrophe, each in their own way. Shamanically regulated cultures do not have this problem of inflated ego that condenses into a material form of majorly attended defense spending, and hierarchical structures of knowle dge dissemination and spilling toxins into the biosphere. I am suggesting that there is a strong association between aggregating strategic projectile weaponry and meditating on the tightness of the presently erected intellectual system. This is not the o nly pattern of

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46 behavior at our disposal. We have the choice whether to reinforce this thinking or not. But even if this connection is not perceived, and no need for intervention seen, there is still the inherent legitimacy of the psychedelic technique fo r philosophical investigation of our selves and our minds and its relationship to matter, a problem that will be seen to hit a Gdelian wall until we allow the perturbation of our minds by the physical ingestion of exogenous neurotransmitters. This seems all but self evident. Albert Einstein said that a problem cannot be solved with the same mind that created it. The intellectual tool that takes an input and produces the logical output (the tool most utilized in analytic philosophy) acts as the alche mical mill for an intuitive input. Otherwise this tool would have no material to begin with; it must start from somewhere outside itself. One facet of this tool is that it recognizes no important role of the observer, the subject, the self, and not as the object of investigation that reduces it to nothing like Dennett does. I propose that Dennetts idea of self can lead to naive, self limiting assumptions. Here are two ways a culture can transform a naive mind into maturity. One is to set it loose out of the niche it has developed in through its infancy into the greater biological and cultural fields, collect data, and assimilate new information and information organizing structures this way. This is largely what we have done, and the prodigal sons of Western cultures bring back great gifts of mathematics, logic, and techne of all sorts. Another way is to amplify the morphogenetic field of the mind already present to a higher dimensional field that the former maturity option can only receive impres sions, or glimpses of. And this is exactly what goes on when one merges ones mind receiver transmitter; two organisms, each developing on their own into their own morphogenetic creodes, instead of meeting

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47 in face to face with clear physical boundaries bet ween them, meet through a blending of their morphogenetic fields through a much more complex physical connection. A linguistic truth like I am is at best an imprint of direct experience in the medium of English syntax. The difference between this and that direct experience is that the later is not symbolic. This is what the famous Flower Sutra represents for the discourse of Buddhist philosophy that supersedes the preliminary teachings before the dharma, the Buddhist equivalent to the Logos (the voice of self evident truth of Greek lore) has completed its presence in the vessel of the Buddha and been passed on to M ahakasyapa.24 It is as though behind Einsteinian physics, there is a world of nonlocality of information. Accompanying tuning into this field is dropping linear thinking. One cannot simultaneously be completely emerged in this alternative dimension that you access on a psychedelic and be modeling it as a linear narrative. It is only afterward that the pieces of the mind get formed back together again by means of something like Sheldrakes morphogenetic field ( A New Science of Life How does Dennetts model account for past life experiences? It would look something like and then I became Alexander the Great. This presents no logical ) that we once again find it possible to re member the event in ones mind as a story. Dennett would say that the self is not relevant when it is not being used in a predictive narrative, but self conscious experience is happening, and I see no reason to limit a self to the narratively modelable self. 24 Mythic/historical accounts of the life of the Buddha includes this famous Flower Sutra near the end of the Buddha's thirty years of teaching his Way which blossomed into the Buddhism religion. He said a lot of words when he taught the path to enlightenment, naturally. Then one day he gathered his most hard core devotees for his last sermon, during which he si mply held up a flower. Everyone else was confused, but M ahakasyapa smiled. He got it. The Buddha recognized the understanding in M ahakasyapa of the non conceptual experience of being, and in this way directly transmitted the heart of Buddhism to M ahakas yapa in a style traditionally held for centuries following. (Baroni, 210)

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48 contradiction with Dennetts model, but there is a problem to be seen, because it is outrageous to claim truth to that statement. And what this exposes is naivet toward language, and must be addresse d with keen rational tools, but without throwing the baby out with the bathwater and labeling such occurrences as unimportantly anomalous or outside the relevant scope for being psychotic or simply misinformed, which would deny the persons experience comp letely. The psychedelic experience shows that we are not alone in intelligence on this planet. It acts as information transferer, after it deconditions the experiencer from cultural programming. But it doesnt set us to a tabula rasa. Instead, the psychedelic plant relays information like pheromones between the larger mind of the planet and the individual organisms that you and I are (See: Awakening to the Spirit World, and Food of the Gods ).25 Not availing oneself to the use of psychoactive com pounds to understand the self is like not availing oneself to a telescope when studying the sky. Its simply tying our hands behind our back. Cultural convention is the expression of the mind unperturbed. Linguistic structures do not deconstruct themsel ves. Logical positivism (or rationalism, or something like this) is a no exit situation without the intervention of a superlinguistic variable. Without guiding the model building consciousness orthogonal to its ordinary modality, we come up with unsatisf ying circular reasoning. What is a self? ah well a self is that which you call a self in the way in which you call it. This is essentially what Dennett provides. This summary is only perceived as an oversimplification of Dennett's position without t he juxtaposition of it beside a profoundly convincing, immediately and 25 I cite this but it is tasteless because first hand experience is so accessible and this suggestion personally verifiable.

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49 directly apprehended confrontation with the Mystery. Tidy linguistic packages that are repeatedly referred to as heuristics to minimize cognitive effort26 It must be stressed that this process occurs with the self at the center of the mandala, so to speak, with rumor, hearsay, conjecture, superstition, and all forms of tickle down knowledge as peripheral to the power and depth of the felt present moment. are disallowed in the psychede lic tremendum. And it is from this foundation that provisional models can be constructed from the blooming, buzzing confusion, instead of appealing to cultural convention as the foundation. This new linguistic object may then act as a platform for our ex perience of our selves to evolve and take its shape, like the form water takes when it is poured into a container, and then dissolved again, cast, distilled, recast, toward an expression of the self which is built partly with the help of linguistic materia l, not only described by it as if language had no creative role. Mental material naturally gets backed up by the dam like ego, that separates the torrent of information that would reach the mind from getting through to conscious observation. It, like physical material, can be metabolized. Psychedelics act as the release valve on the dam. And as the ego dissolves in the torrent, the mind finds that the current runs both ways in some sense so that the linguistic observing mind creates what is commonly assumed to be information certainly from the outside coming in And this is learned as experience. The inside and outside are somehow the same. A linear narrative that requires either A or not A cannot reconcile this. And so it cannot reconcile experience. You can say Theres a world where [these] things happ en and [these things exist] 26 English examples of these that designate a quarantined s et of information to be disregarded or ignored or surveyed past may be 'that's silly', 'mmhmm', 'oh whatever', 'how interesting', and 'hah, for real'.

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50 (like atoms and laws and centers of narrative gravity) Its just a rap. A story. A myth Just like all culturally produced myths of the past. Different cultures myths are told differently wearing different colored gowns, but despite their contents' differences, their position vis a vis direct experience in the moment are the same. And the weight the consumers of the myth put on the myth may be the same. Individual fervor varies, but there's always this schizophrenic spli t between faith in the story and immediate happenstance. Every new moment is novel (talk about self evident) and unable to be predicted by models of the past. The virtual reality created by the language used is in all cases put before oneself like a net to the world, and the world responds by fitting itself to this net, where it's bound and where it's torn. How can someone be truly convinced that it is merely a rap? How can this split of consciousness made to lubricate high quantities of simple cognitiv e functions be recognized as such in clear light? A models exponentially lower dimensionality relative to reality is seen by extending the mind into higher dimensionality than the state it is normally in when engaged in compulsive modeling. It is not found through rational apprehension. Rational thinking bootstraps itself deep into linguistic labyrinths. It is found by dissolving the mental structures that have been the walls of the labyrinth. Dennett gives a language object. Linguistic objects are what one produces through any linguistic endeavor to describe. And it is used as a resting point in the endeavor of creating and building upon it. However, this relativity that is not expressed by Dennett is important to remember. He has left no loos e ends in this area, to his discredit. He left much room for personalizing his general model, doing so to the effect of confining chaos, the material out from which models are produced, within certain domains

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51 (whatever can be fit into a narrative). Thi s produces some interesting possibilities for selfhood (Gaian, star consciousness, other highly diffuse informationally reflexive systems, rocks), though it assumes the linguistic foundation necessary for their validation. Reality is much more multifariou s in its presentation than Dennett seems to give genuflection toward. Outside the venue of culture lies an unmapped terra incognito, as vast as the new world was to the old in the 15th century, as vast as outer space appears to us now. At this point, biologically, culturally, philosophically, thinking that looks toward the bonfire of what has been handed down for illumination on our situation is getting out of hand as it leads the sciences and, with their place in our hyper rational culture, our culture, into a situation with much built up que. Nuclear stockpiles seem like an obvious example of this. However, it is possible that nature is aware of an asteroidal impact in the future an d risked the odds that the primates who would have it in their hands might use them to destroy the planet and allowed the sublimation of some of her aspects in order to neutralize that threat. But as far as we can see, the frontier upon which nuclear expl osives are poised looks precarious. This refers again to the issue of the societal role Dennetts model holds. Critically analyzing Dennett's model of the self upon case studies with a background in linguistic objects Consider Art is the endeavor to cre ate another dimension orthogonal to the concerns of ordinary historical unfoldment, a beckoning of the transcendent for its own genesis. One can find this statement descriptive of phenomena of which selves are a part, yet it does

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52 not sit well with Dennetts model. Lets see why. There is no such thing as art without an artist, yet a self is not the center of gravity of this (quoted) statement. One might respond that it does not matter that the intuitive notion of a self is not the center of gravity in t his statement, but that Dennett is proposing a definition for a self that says that a self is there whenever a center of narrative gravity is there, and so long as there is a narrative, no matter how short, there is a center. What can we say about the center of this short narrative? Neither art, nor the transcendent, nor either the dimension of ordinary historical unfoldment or one orthogonal to it are the center of gravity. They are all players together, but the role of each is loose enough that thinking in terms of a center of gravity may not be the best idea. Dennett uses the example of a complex machine like a watch with parts that move around so the center of gravity is always shifting. He makes the point that even if there were an atom that was pa rt of the machine that followed the center of gravity as it moved around, that atom would not be the center of gravity. Well, nothing in nature acts like that conception of an object relative to a center of gravity, not in a watch, not in a human, not in a particle. There are layers upon layers of influencing forces than just the dynamics of atoms influencing the whole system. Instead of thinking atomically, particulately, this situation may call for thinking about fields, or other dispersed theoretical objects. Finding a center may still be done, yet the choice of a center of gravity would have to be done knowing the choice is provisional, maybe arbitrary, especially given the fact that the character of the act of observing affects the thing observed. In a world where this is true, the claim that no matter how complicated a system, there would be a center of gravity rings of tautology, and absurdity. The very mode of understanding in terms of a center of gravity must be understood as one

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53 provisional option in trying to make sense of a complicated situation that is ultimately beyond understanding. Lets delve deeper into the sentiment of the statement that above was used as an example for what would be hard for Dennetts model to absorb. When we ta lk about the expansion of consciousness, a way to think about it is as intentionally moving consciousness in a direction orthogonal to its natural, relatively slow track that rides on biological evolution, cultural manipulation, and personal history. The expansion of consciousness is central to our humanness. We can see this fact in the difference between humans and our nearest ancestor. However, language of the biography tends to be a limitation to the expansion of consciousness. Language in the hands of our culture has thus far been the manifestation of the collective mind that has gently unfolded over time, building slowly on the past, subject to its momentum, and without penetration into the transcendental realm that psychedelics allow access to. In relation to the psychedelic mind, the language of culture is a neotanizing influence; we have to struggle to describe the experience of consciousness expansion, something at the core of what is humanness, with the linguistic tools that allow communication between individuals in the collective domain called culture. We can talk at great detail about the workings of a combustion engine, a cell of the body, and international policies. In relation to the central career of consciousness, these topics are trivial, yet communication is of essential import. This is why one should resist assimilating a model of ones self based on prediction, something that will limit communication of new domains, is not compatible with assimilating nonrational behavior or magic, and rather pulls a person back to those domains that it can talk about with ease. Furthermore, consider the influence of equilibrium thought in the

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54 prisoner's dilemma of game theory. Here is a system of prediction that assumes a person is self centered and will sell out a comrade even though the best result is if they have faith in the other and cooperate. It supplies predictive models of belief, and thus behavior, that leads to the capitalist commodification of humanity that is becoming the dominate public human relationship default. Psychedelic reconditioning to the innate value of each individual is a prime prescription for this attitude. If a person has a hard time experiencing anything they cannot say (dance, paint, sing, etc.), this is becau se they are sporting an operating system that positively reinforces what can be said and rejects that which cannot. This is a problem not just for the individual, but for the collective; the rest of us are impoverished when one person cannot communicate t heir experience. And what is so important with the psychedelics is that they force this issue of consciousness expansion. A chemical definition of forcing the issue is catalysis. So to constructively address this problem, we need to promote the catalysi s of consciousness. Language need not be let to develop slowly over long periods of time, dictated by what has thus far been helpful in predicting things. This is like driving into the future using the rear view mirror. Lets look at the mind of an extreme exemplar of the person self modeling using Dennetts model having an experience that is, if not familiar personally, of familiar hearsay. A person heavily conditioned to model themselves in terms of Dennetts CONG model ipso facto has a model of t he alien, the other, the 'not me'. A person can narrate this alien more articulately the clearer their self story is. For example, this person thinks I am Jeff. My body is made of atoms. Sprinkles are my favorite confection. Earth is my home. All s orts of predictive expectations can be modeled from these factoids: If

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55 Jeff can choose between sprinkles and caramel, he will choose sprinkles, if Jeff is prone to homesickness, he may very well feel homesick if he is in orbit around Andromeda, if Jeffs body becomes vaster, it has gained more atoms. Jeffs conception of the alien is simultaneously built with his conception of himself, and the stronger his dedication to the model he built for his self, the stronger his dedication to his implicit model of the alien. The alien for him would perhaps be a dissipated being made of pure energy who hates all confections and abides on a planet far, far away. Strong dedication of this sort is what causes the highly refined, and suggestively mundane script of the UFO confrontation and abduction. These are the accounts of whirling disks in the air, short humanoids with large heads, huge cat eyes, and rubbery gray skin, perhaps administering unscheduled proctological examinations. This is the epitome of ratio nalizing an experience that is simply completely confounding. The recurring phenomenon of these accounts can be seen as generated by several factors (The fact that there have been thousands of cases of reports of UFO citings but little evidence to back up the claims ought to attract alternative explanations other than taking these accounts on face value). Here are three: an impoverishment of language, a narrow view of the self, and limited expectation and memory due to a positive feedback relationship bet ween predicting, a drive for closure, and the results of predictive attempts. If one confronted the truly alien, it would not be so tidily communicatible as grays in flying disks. One gropes for anything familiar that sounds rather alien in an approach f or closure to describe (and reconstruct the memory of) the experience of confronting the Other, and the result is an account that is not alien at all, nor is it easily assimilated into the consensus of the collective nor repeatable on command. Training on eself to predict

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56 makes one behave so as to be predictable. This is the path of least cognitive dissonance that accompanies the pattern of predicting. Such a mind, the product of neoteny, shares all these characteristics with the mind that is strongly attached to Dennetts Center of Narrative Gravity model of the self. This kind of confrontation with such a familiar alien is the same sort of thinking that constantly pins one person against another in wars, territory disputes, and fuels sexism, racism, xenophobia and so on. They both are instances of clearly defined domains of the self and the other. This is further reason to reject such thinking. Taking this view of the UFO phenomenon shows it up as being the result of memetic viruses, but does not throw out the baby with the bathwater, i.e. allow for a nonrational, perhaps magical experience, which requires that one not suffer under a conceptual approach that is guilty of intellectual chauvinism toward something it cannot fully assimilate that it thus rejects as absurd. What confrontation with the Other that is repeatable on command, and thus friendly to a rational mind, utterly alien beyond any such recognition as little humanoids, and completely baffling to a mind attempting to describe it (these later two characteristics bearing the hallmark of a genuine encounter with the alien) is induced by smoking DMT, an endogenous neurotransmitter regularly created and metabolized by our brains, as well as the most powerful psychedelic known to man, and vastly prevalent in nature.27 27 DMT: The Spirit Molecule The reason why this is relevant, and not just an interesting side note, is that since this experience is possible (not confronting the other by smoking a bunch of this one molecule, which is a kind of rational gloss, but the actual phenomenon), it is the complete confoundment of what we are conditioned to rationally believe is possible. Its

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57 what the traditional alien counter is trying to be, but falls so short of, and it destroys the subject object distinction, a vici ous linguistic virus. So, rationalizing, viewing the narratable self as the necessary center of a model one flounders to build with an impoverished language, and having a desperate need for closure lead to interpretations of utterly confounding experi ences that sound as ridiculous as the stereotypical UFO abduction story. This example for the extreme of the narratively influenced mindset is relatively relatable to us, as we tend to behave similarly due to historical momentum. The opposite extreme is harder to say (dance, sing, paint, etc), and harder yet to put into a print style phonetic alphabet. If it werent, there would be an inconsistency in my argument. A person of this example would be rather unrecognizable to us, even perhaps godlike, w ith the world utterly plastic in their hands. Someone who approaches this extreme is not bound to linear, rational thinking that strives to predict and gain closure. They can effortlessly assimilate paradox. This person is fully at home away from abstra ction. The models they build admit of their own provisional nature, have built in incompleteness, openendedness, and are used in a framework that strives toward the models own obsolescence. This person understands that asking a question or making a sta tement creates a world of problems and solutions as much as it describes or characterizes a world existing beforehand. This person does not define themself based on locality, or one side of a duality. They strive toward ever dropping their assumptions, e ver dissolving the boundaries between their categories, ever expanding their consciousness in new ways. They venture into terra incognitos where past predictive success is irrelevant. Lets look at some lives that exemplify to any extent this way of being. The life of the

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58 main character in The Fountain ( The Fountain. Dir. Darren Aronofsky. Warner Bros. Pictures, 2006. DVD.) shows characteristics of not being bound by the limitations put upon oneself by thinking of oneself in terms of a center of narr ative gravity. It appears that one moment he is walking around a laboratory, and the next moment he is floating in a bubble next to a sacred tree suspended in a mysterious super space. This behavior is not very compatible with thinking in a predicting, s tep by step, rational, dualistic (thinking that A or ~A) fashion. That kind of thinking would generate such obstacles as the linguistic objects Is this really happening? or Which happened first? This later kind of thinking is promoted, however, from the medium of watching a movie, which makes a clear distinction between the watcher and the object, promotes linear thinking due to scenes that progress one after another that are rewindable and fastforwardable, which do not apply to existence at large. An example that doesnt resist so fully explanation in terms of a coherent narrative but is on the fringe of this is the story of Bob Arctor in A Scanner Darkly He is a detective who has to always hide his identity around his colleagues by wearing a n identity hiding suit that makes him look like a shifting jigsaw puzzle of pieces of thousands of people and that distorts his voice. The case he is working on is to find a person who deals large amounts of Death, a harmful drug. On his off hours he dea ls large amounts of Death. He sets up surveillance in a home he shares with his friends to find the target, and spends most of his work hours monitoring the screens. He has the feeling he is being watched once hes gone home. How this can coherently happen in the narration of a single person is difficult (though relatable through shared experience or imagination about mentally deteriorating drugs), but might be clumsily accomplished without bending any of

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59 Dennetts rules too far for the argument to be ma de. Yet the arbitrary nature of such a self definition can be illustrated in the next example. Consider Being John Malkovich. In this movie, there is a portal that if one enters, one gets to passively be John Malkovich. A puppeteer dives in and lea rns to control Malkovich, and when someone encountered Malkovich during this time, the personality encountered was clearly different than the personality displayed before the skillful puppeteer entered. This looks a lot like the split brain example Dennet t used to explain that the general parameters of a single organism did not have to coincide with a single self. But he used it to peddle a nihilistic face the facts story about how you are really nothing but an abstract nothing in a model that predicts your behavior. Instead, consider the end of the movie Being John Malkovich, where it is revealed that (in the story) some of these vessels have always existed, and people can time it right and dive into a portal when a new vessel is being born, and all coexist there passively (except that puppeteer, who can somewhat control the vessel). How many, and which self is this vessel once this happens? Dennett says that as long as behavior can be predicted, it doesnt matter if there are as few as one. But when you ask the question, whats it like to be that person?28 28 Just like predicting a bat's behavior will not lead to what it's like to be a bat (Nagel, Thomas), predicting a self's behavior is very different from being a self, which is not like being part of a narrative. you raise issues that is outside the domain of Dennetts model, because you know from having watched the whole sequence of events that many people share the space inside that vessel. Another problem is raised when prediction is being done by one of the people who have dove into the portal, for similar reasons as the fact that an observer affects that which is observes raises problems for prediction and the relationship between such prediction and any notion of truth that is unconditioned by an observer.

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60 Concluding thoughts It may be objected that my explanation is vague of what limitations and problems may come if one would internalize Dennetts model of the self, utilize it, and allow ones behavior to be shaped by it, which is what a tool does to its wielder. To this, I point out that it is no more than bias to dial ones lens so that the image is sharp and distinctions are obvious, where everything is well defined and parts may be isolate d from one another. Sometimes, the only way to perceive very subtle things (or even an entire domain) most clearly requires that large parts of what we are most familiar and comfortable with remain blurry, or vague. To expand this sentiment further, cons ider an aural metaphor. If the topic of attention is the feeling induced by listening to a musical ensemble, you would not ask the composer, would you please condense this into ten seconds, so I may more clearly observe the distinction between my emotion al state before I hear the piece and after I have just heard the piece? It is not as though there is a certain amount of information present in the piece that could be made less diffuse across the length of what the composer constructed. The temporal di mension, the waning memory of the first half while listening to the second, its accompaniment with a visual media, all may be absolutely required for your experience of the piece to be what it is. Likewise, describing the life of a person who uses Dennett s model in sharp relief from the abstract theoretical frame that makes the example clearly and distinctly relate to the frame of my argument and to other examples will carry with it implicit biases that I do not want to be a part of this paper. Another point, that augments the more speculative and exciting lines of thought

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61 suggested here, and helpful to flesh out the perspective I am trying to illustrate, is the following. A natural conclusion from Dennetts linguistic approach of predictive stances and the self as a center of narrative gravity is that the world is made of language. Information is primary. The great mystery of how electrons whizzing in a plasma can lead to self reflection is due to the fact that language is bootstrapping itself to r esonate more and more with itself (which, as the process unfolds, becomes a thing which is more and more a thing at resonance with itself), and conquering dimensions as it goes. DNA is a coding language that uses the medium of proteins and enzymes. By ut ilizing this medium, the implicit language can make itself known to itself through explicit expression in the form of DNA ed organisms, and then recognition of this process by those organisms, which is really self recognition. Language is then manifest in the cultural realms, not only in the virtual realities of Ur 1.1, Egypt 3.0, Scientific America TM (whole language worlds, or virtual realities), but also through the telepathic ability for one product of the physical manifestation of DNA code to make sma ll mouth noises to acoustically affect the air between itself and another such being so that the later may say that it sees what you mean. So when Dennett criticizes thinking that a world is created by language in an act of magic, he is putting his lang uage world, his operating system, on a pedestal as a completely non fictitious mythos, a meta language world and insisting that other peoples language worlds follow the beat of that drum. And ironically, in the same fell swoop, grazes the truth. A consequence of the world being linguistic is that the world is code, which suggests that it could be hacked. How is it hacked? Historically, virtual realities emerge slowly out of the biological organization of our species, then bootlegging upon what has already

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62 been made. However, with this in clear consciousness, one can take matters into ones own hands. First, ones operating system must be recognized as such, just a bunch of hacked together rules that evolved over time. Habits, in other words, not immutable laws of nature writ into stone by an omniscient mathematician. So, once one recognizes their operating system, they have the choice to upgrade and to actually use language to make reality, like it does on its own anyway instead of continually fulfilling ones own expectation that the world is run predictably and causally from the past (with or without the pseudoconcession of an indeterminacy principle, which neurotically holds on to the flimsy model through the appeal to 'probability', an appe al inherently of the orthodoxy). This illusion is maintained by using language in a repetitious manner with the operating system, the syntactic vehicle of ones mind, that is built upon all the problematic limitations described above. How might one t rash their operating system for an upgrade? One great way is with a pharmacological agent. Psychedelics act as deconditioning agents. They plunge one into the chaotic world of the improbable bizarre chaos that underlies our world as we sit here. And out of this chaos, one reorganizes ones syntax, and thus mirror fashion, reorganizes their world without having to die and start over. Starting over means starting with the momentum of cultural habits in the realm of expectation, suggestion, and communicat ed personal conviction, and also habits in biological and physical domains, a la morphogenetic memory. And, to remind the reader, they are these habits that keep the world from being utterly plastic to hacking at the whim of any truly conscious psychonaug ht.

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63 Bibliography A Scanner Darkly. Dir. Richard Linklater. Warner Bros. Pictures, 2006. DVD. Baroni, Helen. Mahakashyapa The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Zen Buddhism. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc., 2002. Being John Malkovich Dir. Spike Jonze. Universal Studios, 1999. DVD. Bohm, David. Wholeness and the Implicate Order London: Routeledge, 1980. Dennett, Daniel. The Self as a Center of Narrative Gravity http://ase.tufts.edu/cogstud/papers/selfctr.htm Dennett, Daniel. Intentional Systems Theory. http://ase.tufts.edu/cogstud/papers/intentionalsystems.pdf Einstein, Albert. http://www.quotesdaddy.com/quote/17489/albert einstein/no problem can be solvedfrom the samelevel of consciousness Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Self Reliance. http://www.online literature.com/emerson/588/ Gettier, Edmund. Is Justified True Belief Knowledge? http://philosophy.ucsd.edu/faculty/rarneson/Courses/gettierphilreading.pdf Ingerman, Sandra and Wesselman, Hank. Awakening to the Spirit World: The Shamanic Path of Direct Revelation Canada: Sounds True, 2010.

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64 Irvin, Jan and Rutajit, Andrew. Astrotheology and Shamanism The Book Tree, 2006. Kuhn, Thomas. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996. McKenna, Terence. F ood of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge California: Bantam, 1992. McKenna, Terence. True Hallucinations. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1993. McKenna, Terence and McKenna, Dennis. The Invisible Landscape: Mind, Hallucinogens, and the I Ching. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1993. McLuhan, Marshall. Understanding Media. MIT: Gingko Press, 1994. Nagel, Ernest and Newman, Jamest. Gdel's Proof New York: New York University Press 1958. Nagel, Thomas. What is it like to be a bat? The Philosophical Review LXXXIII, 4 (October 1974): 43550. http://instruct.westvalley.edu/lafave/nagel_nice.html Plato. The Republic http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/republic.8.v ii.html Sheldrake, Rupert. A New Science of Life: The Hypothesis of Morphic Resonance Vermont: Park Street Press, 1981. Strassman, Rick. DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor's Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near Death and Mystical Experiences Vermont: Park Street Press. 2001. The Fountain. Dir. Darren Aronofsky. Warner Bros. Pictures, 2006. DVD Whitehead, Alfred. The Function of Reason http://www.anthonyflood.com/whiteheadreason.htm Whitehead, Alfred. Process and Reality New York : The Free Press, 1978.


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