Consciousness is the lens through which we encounter the world, encounter ourselves, and on occasion encounter our own consciousness. I strive to be clear and give you the benefit of my experience in exploring consciousness, but these can be at best suggestions. You are acquainted with the details of your own consciousness in ways that will always be beyond my words, and even beyond your own words. Further, deep encounters with your own consciousness will include insights into the foundations of the physical world, and the nature of existence. We will also have to look at the whole range of issues that come up around the questions of “Identity”, and the strange case of narrative that runs through our lives.
Consciousness is the experience of Awareness in One Mind, Now
To be clear, by consciousness, I am talking about your immediate awareness of any and all of your senses, plus whatever experiences are recalled or anticipated in some kind of contemplation or extrapolation of those senses. In any given day, we go through many different modes of consciousness, many of which correspond to actions. The more we act in specific modes, the less we notice moving into and out of those states or modes of mind, and the easier it is to have another mode of consciousness working in parallel. Walking is a mode of consciousness which coordinates our whole body’s motion. Eating is a mode of consciousness, which also coordinates a host of activities of the body, which is so automatic that we hardly think about it … until we bite our tongue or cheek in a momentary consciousness gaff. Sleeping and dreaming are modes of consciousness, even if you don’t remember your dream, the consciousness of the dream is just as appropriately called consciousness as your waking self, it is simply aware of a dream environment, rather than revealed through the senses of the body.
I’d also like to be specific, that I am talking about “Software” of the mind, not “The brain” as an organ. All of my references to mind and consciousness are references to how I am experiencing consciousness, not a description from an external observer over my mental biology.
When we are talking about human consciousness, it exists in one person at a time; an experiencer, an observer. We are focusing on real experiences, real patterns and the content of lived experience. Groups of people are groups of consciousnesses, a group is not one larger consciousness. Ever. In any context. Computer artificial intelligence, as of this writing, is not and cannot be consciousness, any more than a car is conscious. It is interesting that the driver becomes the consciousness of the car, and the car becomes the body of the driver. Still one consciousness, supplied by a flesh-and-blood human. You also can’t have half a consciousness. Even children, even babies, are complete consciousnesses. Experience is what we call life happening to an aware consciousness. Awareness is the quanta of consciousness. It is the definition of a being, one that is aware. I am talking about the flavor of consciousness which we, as humans are familiar with, by definition human consciousness. Each of us has a whole human being’s experience every moment. In this way, we have as complete a view of the universe as anyone, and are equipped with cognitive capacity and impetus to watch, remember, and understand the world.
We know ourselves to be a being, and we recognize beings in our field of sense and experience. Each of them we understand based on an understanding of ourself. Even without a specific means of communication, our consciousness resonantes with all beings we see. We can tell a lot about another being watching, because of our own model of our world, based on a life lived.
We may imagine humans, before writing, were ‘thinking out loud’. People never had to learn a language in the same way we think of today, when language is formal and externally defined. The voice was expressed in the context of facial expressions, gestures, body movement, and perhaps song. It was not a language of external meaning or an external authority. The vocalizations were just one part of the social glue, along with sharing food, sharing the protection of fire, and many other social activities. What the vocalizations likely did not do was fill out a person’s understanding of the world. The constraints of the physical world on a person’s life were severe, and depended on knowing what to do in a wide range of circumstances. They had to be able to handle themselves in warm climates and extremely cold environments. They had to be able to make tools and make fire. They had to be able to track game, they needed to anticipate weather and recover from severe events. They had to know what they could eat, and what was poison. The communication with others was never as precise as what they could see, smell, hear, touch, and taste. Science before writing was a personal matter, and the way every person learned was in the many details to which the “Paleolithic Scientists” had to pay attention, because otherwise they would die.
At a certain point, coinciding with the climate becoming stable enough to be seasonably reliable, A specialization was developed by humans, the tool of written language. It may have taken 1000 years to move from simple scratches on bone to count to a vocabulary that included all vocal expressions in use at the time, codified as a language with a specific vocabulary. By that time, it had changed everything.
With every tool that is gained, there is a skill lost. The more powerful the tool, the more profound the loss. This is a self-evident principle, because a tool useful enough to be worth obtaining and using will replace some other activity. The facilities of the tool user will shift to activities which involve the tool. This is true for an individual, it is true over many generations, though the fact that there once was a choice easily gets lost in history, when there is no one alive who remembers a different way to do things. Tools also have side effects, they never do exactly the same thing as the activity which it replaces. In our modern world, we evaluate all kinds of things in all kinds of ways, but the foundation of written language is often seen as the foundation on which we know things, judge things, plan things. A way of life without written language consciousness has been practically lost. At the same time, this text consciousness has come to dominate the modern world, hiding in plane sight as a mode of consciousness that has no alternative.
“Text Consciousness” is what I refer to as the intellect, the facility in the mind which translates any words encountered into the emotional, internal meaning as it relates to the reader’s world. Spoken language is evaluated in the same framework, there is little difference today between what is spoken and what is written. The particulars of how text consciousness is experienced is the key human tool which sets people apart from animals. It sets history apart from pre-history. This section describes how it works, from a functional point of view.
It is the part of the mind which deals with all kinds of symbolic, written, and spoken narratives. Text Consciousness could not have existed in this intellectual form without external writing. Estimates of when writing started range from about 6000 years ago to maybe 13,000 years ago. Even if it was double that, Homo Sapiens as a species have existed ten times longer than that, over 200,000 years of being practically identical to the modern population of the world. It doesn’t matter exactly how long, or how the intellect came to be. How was human consciousness structured and experienced before there was written language? Text consciousness facilitates describing and constructing complex systems in the world, yet at the same time Text Consciousness biases and obscures important aspects of the natural world due to essential structures which make the text consciousness functional.
Traces are the forms seen in the world which are recognized and repeated in the mind as text. They are not naturally occurring in the world, they have been written down by a person. Traces are not, in my usage, “Text” in itself. I will use the term “Trace” for what is on paper, or on the screen of a computer, or the words spoken. In order to become what I call “Text”, which is to say meaningful text, it must be read by a person who understands it, and reacts in their consciousness as a word. To read is to repeat the word in the mind, and in that repetition, see the meaning through the word. Text Consciousness is the mode of consciousness which recognizes text, repeats it, and incorporates the meaning of that text into the mind’s model of the world.
Modes of consciousness such as eating, walking, driving a car, or riding a bicycle, all operate in the present moment of the body. Text Consciousness is the mode of consciousness which recognizes speech or traces as what they mean. You could say that text consciousness sees through the text as the retina sees through the lens of the eye and uses what was observed as an update to our “model of the world”.
This model of the world is not a story, it is the sum of all we know. Our consciousness and through it our body is poised to react based on what we know to be the way the world “is”. We see meaning as we recognize any changes each moment. The model is the sum of our understanding of the geometric, social, and physical state of our overall world of concern. This is our personal model of the world, and it is contributed to every meaningful thing that happens, moment to moment. Everything we know is incorporated into this model. Every time we notice anything about anything, our noticing is echoed through our model of the world, and our model of the world is updated. We react to what we just learned, then move on in the knowledge of what the “new” world is like.
When reading, we are typically not memorizing words, we are remembering the new state of the world as told by the text. Sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, we are incorporating the new information into a mental structure full of images, operations, and objects which correspond to what the text is telling us. It is rare, and for most people difficult, to memorize exact words. Typically people understand it, and as they read the last page, last paragraph, last sentence, last word, they say they “understand” the book. It is not really the book that is “understood”, but rather the reader’s impression of the structures the book induced. This seems like the same thing, but there is an important distinction. To say that the book has a single meaning and readers get measurably close or far away from the ‘real’ meaning is only possible if the words have a particular, fixed meaning. I don’t think it can rigorously be determined, ever, what such a meaning “really” was, if it did actually exist. It is, at the very least, an unphysical idea. The intention of the writer has been distilled into just the trace, which is at best like a powdered drink. The trace is like the dry powder. The context of your life, your time and space, is the water. Without the water, you can’t drink the powder. It is a “second derivative” at best from the idea that the writer wanted to express. The means the reader must integrate twice the trace, to reconstitute the meaningful text.
We need to understand more specifically how words have meaning. Many words, the most common words in a given language are useful, and refer to everyday objects and actions in such a way that there is only slight differences in what people mean by those words. However, this attribute of modern language hides an important feature that more properly explains how words are meaningful in our minds, and the mechanisms we employ when understanding specific words that move through our text consciousness into the content of our world model.
Text Consciousness is one of the modes of consciousness which contributes to building the model of the world. We can also be more specific about how text is meaningful, by noting the structure of text interactions. Text is always understood in the context of a discourse.
The structure which gives specific meaning to the traces is the discourse between myself, and the ‘other’. Anytime I read a trace, and it appears to my consciousness as Text, the specific significance is coordinated around an ongoing interactive exchange between that writer or speaker, and myself. Both my idea of who wrote it, and the idea of myself, are present in this intellectual bridge structure of discourse. This is the same as understanding the plot in a fictional story. The meaning of words in the story are understood because the unfolding of the plot reveals the characters in the story.
Discourse is used as a term for an exposition by an individual to an audience, or an ongoing discussion between people who know each other. In these cases, we are talking about a structure of the intellectual mind, the text consciousness of an individual. So although we are talking about that individual’s relationship with another specific person or audience, it is important to remember that the discourse is always encountered from one consciousness. While a discourse observed between two people is comprehensible in an abstract way, the discourse is a psychological structure. It is specifically how a human mind converts language into meaning. Each of those individuals is acting within a distinct discourse from their perspective.
In my mind, Even if I encounter words that lack an identifiable source, I will assume one. Whether the source is a particular individual I know well, an individual I don’t know at all, or a category, like a newspaper, a relative, a politician, an advertisement, a scientist, and many others. The meaning of their words is nuanced by my presumptions and expectations based on my history of previous communications with the source. Further, there is a particular self image that is associated with that particular character that I am talking to. The meaning of what I’m hearing is not a detached, or objective meaning of words, but rather an involved, visceral, subjective meaning, as it relates to my specific relationship with the source character. In this way, each discourse consists of at least two characters, and the memory of communication between them, as held in the personal world model.
Writing takes place in the context of this same discourse. As I think of what I want to say to someone, or a wider specific audience, it is my experience with them that informs the process of choosing words. Whatever general communicable idea I am trying to convey, I project it (metaphorically) through the lens of the appropriate discourse, and out come the words, directed in speech, writing, or possibly in some artistic expression at my specific target audience.
For a word to be meaningful in a discourse, we must have encountered it before. The words are not containing meaning, they are an index into our text consciousness, and through the reference found specific to the relevant discourse, a meaning is induced. The meaning is evoked from the model of the discourse, that subset of the model of the world.
Understanding this basic structure of communication and discourse, it is easy to see why there are misunderstandings. It is appropriate to note that in any conversation there are really at least four characters. The discourse in my mind is between the character I think I am talking to, and the character I think I am. The discourse in the mind of the other is the character they think they are talking to, and the character they think they are. There is no way that the character they think they are talking to is identical to the person I think I am. This is a built-in feature of all language communication.
The Personal World Model
It is likely that we started building our model of the world even before we were born. Sounds of the world, and voices at least are clearly recognized, before there is any awareness of the meaning of specific words. The way babies listen to voices is tuned to quickly start to distinguish words and phrases, and they see in such a way that faces are quickly recognized, and that recognition evokes emotional responses, making clear that the baby is remembering the world, and begins to know themselves and their own reactions as a mirror of their surroundings.
This personal world model, once started, continues to be the central repository for everything we know about everything. The world model is the filter which knows what to do. When we see something, hear something, read something, what we “see” is not simply what is coming in through our senses, but we see what it means, as it is filtered through this model. The model is distinct from memory, in that we may not remember why we react this way to a particular event. Memory is accessed through this world model, but it is possible to be more specific in noticing the distinct features of the model. The world model binds together the things we know, and how we feel Now, what we notice Now. And like the discourse, it is not a neutral world model, but “my” world model. As I know the world, I also know myself. In this case, in this model, this is not an ego knowing, not a story of a character I know as me … this is more the unity of the body, the emotional and vibrational core of biological being. Note a bit of irony here. I am saying that my deepest understanding of the world as a whole, everything I expect and understand about everything in the world, is also my core experience of myself, each moment. The text consciousness acts in the domain of short term memory, about a twenty second window that the text consciousness takes to listen to a sentence, maybe a short paragraph, and turn it into the meaning which can be reconciled with the world model. The world model itself reacts at a moment if it recognizes something. It reacts directly with the emotional charge to act, before the text consciousness can put together meaning from words.
The “Default” Meaning of Text
Without awareness of the structure of discourse, it is easy, even expected in the default world to see meaning in the words printed, displayed on screens, and enunciated in speech. Human consciousness has no need to understand human consciousness as described above. The social pressure to learn, understand, and use language as if there is one standard meaning to words and narratives is the foundation of our social fabric and language structure. We all keep track of the words and meaning we know, and and remember the stories as part of our personal world model. It creates an impression that there are objective meanings, but only because people interact as if this is so. It is expected that people understand as accurate and complete the narrative representations of the physical world. You could say they “believe” it, but it is not necessarily an explicit belief, it is a perspective that has no alternative. It is a belief that few know they believe.
One consequence of our understanding in this way is maintaining ideas about all kinds of things we don’t know. There are many facts and figures about the world as a whole, and every subset of the world. We know some of it, but we also know that we don’t know many things. At the same time, we assume there is someone else who does know these things. This follows from the preconception that knowledge is external, that we absorb information from words, as if words contained knowledge. There is an overriding assumption that someone “out there” knows most things about the world. They know it, or they are figuring it out. This goes for science, and all kinds of other specific fields. It goes for the physics of the very small, and it goes for the universe as a whole. Someone probably knows. This pervasive idea that “someone knows” removes a great deal of responsibility from everyone else. Even though we don’t know who knows, nor do we know what they know, we know that we don’t have to know. There is a feeling that facts are real, that knowledge can be written down, and contained in the narrative, so one person knowing something is almost like everyone being able to know, we just look it up on Google when we must.
Belief is encoded into this model of the world. As we grow up, we learn the stories of science as well as the stories of religion. We learn the stories of our country, of our state, of our gender, of our family. We learn that some stories are believed, others are known and disbelieved. All of this is incorporated into our overall emotional connection and assumptions about the world, how it is, and how other people believe it to be. It is in this context that we mature into an emotional grasp of the world, and with it, the emotional grasp of ourself and the place we occupy in the larger world. This world view assumes knowledge can be contained in words, and more and more of the entire historical text of the human species is accessible on the Internet, it is as if everyone has access to the complete knowledge of all relevant history.
A problem with believing in an external, objective meaning to words is that it implies an objective consciousness which maintains an objective model of the world.
Our gestalt connection to the world is triggered any moment by the appropriate circumstance. We could not be so responsive if we needed to parse text and understand even a short narrative. There are cases where even though we are saying words, for example reciting a poem, or singing a song, we may not at all be thinking of the meaning of those words. The poem is something we have memorized and recited often, so our mind could go on and be thinking about something else. During a song, one might be thinking more about the guitar cords, knowing the words and the melody well enough not to think of them. But words could be a major factor in setting up those reactions, building responses to particular questions. Being ready to make a standard response when we hear a particular phrase, hear a particular song, see a particular logo.
We read involuntarily. If we can read, and we see traces, we repeat the word in our mind, it is difficult to not see what we recognize and react to it with text. And we help the author as much as we can, giving them credit for the thoughts that are in our head after reading their words. As best we can, the default mindset of text is that when I am reading, I am hearing someone else’s thoughts as direct as possible, so the narrative I understanding and the modifications it imposes on our model of the world I don’t take credit for, but feel I am re-creating something which was already prepared by someone else. This is at least misleading (as we’ve reviewed above) and the structures which are constructed in most cases can’t be checked at a level deeper than the granularity of the vocabulary and categories. In most cases those structures, my way of understanding a subject, can well be very different, even if built from the same papers, books, videos. We still have a personal perspective. This doesn’t mean reading books isn’t useful. Certainly it is useful to encounter these expressions of narrative, but it is important to put the operations of reading and writing in perspective, rather than staying simply in the field of knowledge which restricts itself to the imaginary objective and authoritative.
There is no objective view. One could make a case for mathematics. Mathematics and logic are rigorously rule based, such that mathematical representations can be “proved” to have certain properties under specific circumstances. Equations are symbolic representation, but they are not narratives in the same way, because they can represent elaborate, specific, and very general relationships between mathematical ideal objects. They still must be experienced in consciousness one person at a time. It is still necessary to bring to consciousness any equation, any proof to have a lived meaning. The traces on paper are still just meaningless scratches without a consciousness to recognize it. The congruences between the behavior of mathematicians imply that the mathematical ideas are similar, but still each mathematician has their own internal inexpressible bridge between their model of the world, their mental model of the math they are visualizing, and the tools they have available to express it.
There is a fundamental assumed epistemology in the reading of text as external meaning. That is the point that has completely turned human consciousness on its head from where it was when written language began. It does that same over turning with each child who learns english, or any modern language. It places the meaning of words outside of the mind, and outside of the control of the mind. The narration of my life, the identity which I am constantly mulling over and “discussing with myself” is the sum total of all of the story I know of as me. It is as if “I” am a character in a story that is based on a much larger, much wider book that I will never be able to read fully, and within which my own story will be a tiny appendix. To have an identity, it seems I must have it against the horizon of all of those other people, sharing the cultural external and “real” meaning.
The Personal Narrator
The structure of discourse, that what a text means is specific to a particular discourse between characters, is crucial to understanding the modern mind. It is in discourse that the structure of identity is created, in our relation to the people we converse with. There is a special discourse which is also responsible for our inner discourses. This is our internal narrator. This is like the story we tell ourself about ourself, every twenty seconds. Whatever else we are talking about, there is a subtext of who we are, what our place is in the world right now, and what we should do.
I want to resist labeling it “The Ego”, but it is closely related to what is generally categorized as the Ego. To consider whether it is a good term or not is an appropriate illustration of the position of words in our consciousness. In this case, “Ego” has a formal definition, as put forward by Freud. It is a type of psychological jargon. Personally, I don’t know if I am that familiar with the formal definition. I have used the term to describe “the story we tell ourself about ourself”. But I find it not necessarily what others may mean by Ego. It is as if the Ego is an object in our head, without really explaining any mechanism, order, or structure. It is as if the three freudian components of personality, Id, Ego, and Super Ego, were irreducible and distinct. It is a division by vocabulary, which makes it easy for us to talk about certain things, but at the same time it limits us to understanding the mechanisms of consciousness by removing from our notice the ways in which the divisions are not so clear, not so well defined, not appropriate.
A great loss which text consciousness imposes on human consciousness is the stripping of ambiguity through categorization. As above, categories are a powerful tool, and categorization is not in itself inappropriate, since we do see distinctions and boundaries in the natural world, starting with our own body. However, there are subtle limits to categories, which exhibit themselves as paradox and irony. If fully understood, every sentence is ironic, every statement a paradox.
My observations about the narrator, just as my personal model of the world and the other examples I am giving here, at best should be understood as metaphors. It is important to note that I am not saying that mind structures conform to definitions which can be learned. My own exploration into my intuition follows my mind’s operations as best I can, and draws upon what examples I have available to use as guides and metaphors. At best, this is an invitation for you to explore yourself. The words and proposed structures I offer as helpful tools, but I encourage you to abandon them, see past the distinctions you assumed which I may or may not have intended. Everyone who reads this will understand the words in a different way, and further, the structures you investigate in your own mind will have variations which I couldn’t anticipate, and so the words could not prepare you completely. The basic methodology is still sound. It comes down to a self-exploration, which sheds words as it approaches the fundamental structure of the narrator, the source of the string of words we hear, and interact with in our consciousness.
We expect a lot from language. Wherever words come to us, from books, people we meet, television, or computers, the words come into our minds to be repeated by our narrator. As we recognize words, we are repeating them as we understand what they mean, and in so doing release the words, and retain the structure of meaning which the words are building.
The narrator is the proverbial point of the pen for text consciousness. This narrator is the note taker, recognizing the text in the trace as seen through the context of discourse, and creating its interpretation of what it means into a subset, of the world model. There is also a reaction, a narrative which either literally speaks back, or contemplates in words the meaning understood. In this way the narrator is a two way street of text, which then feeds back into the text consciousness structures, reacting as if there was someone else talking, and as if there was someone else listening.
It is remarkable yet true that your life could change forever based on an internal dialogue. Just talking through a problem with no one else around, no external tools can reveal some of the most significant thoughts a person can have. It is in this self-discourse, in this internal conscious contemplation that we can look deeper, beyond the text consciousness, and into the mode of consciousness which makes this possible.
It is the consciousness of the paleolithic scientist, the scientist who rather than use categories to separate the world into components before observing, first observed, and remembered without making any categorical assumptions.
The next section will introduce Vortext, (exactly everything which is not Text), and Vortext Consciousness. Vortext can be read like text, and this was how the Paleolithic Scientist understood the world. Next time.
Text Consciousness and the Field of Text
Although text consciousness exists in what I described as a “twenty second thick slice” of short term memory, it has access to a lifetime’s experience worth of words. As it reads specific words it finds, reacts to them with words of an internal narrator, and expresses itself with a vocabulary gained and remembered in the world model. Text could be thought of as having a backing store of images and voice memories which are converted to text efficiently, even if they are not exactly text in memory. In this way Text Consciousness creates in it’s imagination a field of meaning. This field of meaning is not the actual world of continuity (which we will refer to below through an understanding of Vortext) but a field of abstract objects, which are intellectually distinct from one another.
In this text field, all words are objects, even when the meaning of those words might be actions or correlations, or any number of distinctions which words can mane. The word is an object of meaning. The Field of text is the space in which the text consciousness is aware. The Field of Text is the moment as it is presented to the Awareness in Text Consciousness, and text consciousness reacts to it when that field is projected through the appropriate discourse. The field of text is the sum of all text present in the working memory of text consciousness, from words read, words someone may have said, and the words present in any internal dialogue, with at least some auxiliary other input from other modes of consciousness which may be going on simultaneously.
It is inherently socially expected that we accept the identity which is constructed through our Text consciousness. That identity could be understood at the most fundamental level as an example of a Being in the Field. In the natural world, the Being in the Field (of Beings) is always you, the observer. The Being in the Field metaphor can be used for both real beings (as we will see below), as well as abstract being. Being in the field is a self-repeating pattern, where every being is built of a Field of smaller beings. Further, the pattern is repeated externally and internally. The Being is present in an external field through which it sees other beings. The Being also maintains an image of the field internally, storing the states of all known other beings.
At the level of subatomic particles, atoms, and molecules, there is a perfect balance which is maintained, but it is the tiny amount of difference between the being and the field which allows the next level to create even larger differences, and eventually new levels.
The Text Consciousness is an abstract being, alive and meaningful in the abstract field of other text consciousnesses, but it is crucial to remember that this field is an internal, personal field of meaning. The narrative which is understood through the text consciousness reads the world through a discourse, and the meaning is evoked from their internal field of text, in consideration of the people they think they are in discourse with.
I mentioned earlier this feature of discourse, the field gives more insight into the situation. Because the Text consciousness is imagination, and Text field is abstract, then the people that a given person “thinks about” are not the real person out there in the world, but rather a character which is for me everything I know, expect, and remember, about that other person. A character in the story which I am telling myself about myself.
Vortext: Exactly everything which is not Text
I do not create a new term lightly. I have considered existing terms and phrases which amount to the same meaning in my own understanding of the subject. However, my main criticism of many existing explanations and detailed examinations of consciousness is that they are not clear enough, not broad enough in certain ways, and not specific enough in others. On the point of “thinking” and “narrative” I find them as a group to be ambiguous at exactly the point where they need to be very very specific. It is for this reason that I feel it is useful to create this term, to create a category with a precise edge at a crucial distinction. Written language changed everything about the human experience of consciousness. Most likely not right away, I expect it took a few generations, but the children were eventually learning language so early, they had no memory of what a language was like which was not defined and bound to words that could be literally written in stone. The mode of Text consciousness is not the intended effect of Text, it is not what the pioneers of written language were intending to do, necessarily. They were focused on things like counting, identifying, and communicating. Text consciousness was a side-effect.
“Vortext is not what I do, it’s what does me.”
This is one of my guiding principles, so that I am reminded to be clear about what Vortext is, and what it is not. Because my consciousness is not text, then that consciousness itself is Vortext. The mind and the world are not joined, yet not separated. There are distinctions between objects, yet there is the entanglement necessary to see changes in energy in the world. Each photon represents a link, Observing the photon is observing a change which is balancing the change which was relayed by the photon. A photon is a balancing operation. Vortext is first and formost the non-dualness of everything. We read distinctions in the world, reading Vortext like text for survival information, we do so without actually losing our focus on the underlying connection. The necessity of continuity, even in the face of the quantization.
In Vortext, there is always a paradox, because it is complete enough to cancel itself out.
The Paleolithic Scientist did not have to struggle with Vortext as a dilema, because the implicit assumptions of Text were not there. Life was a dance through the wonder of seeing so much, and remembering it not because they knew what it was, but because they didn’t know, and after seeing it, they would spend their life implicitly looking for clues. In a moment they might recognize Vortext that answered some question that had been in the back of their mind for years. Any mistakes could precipitate disasters. Science was a personal responsibility, and the model of the world was not created out of narratives that could be shared, but from an individual’s direct relationship with the world of their senses, the Vortext Consciousness.
Text, meaningful Text, exists when a reader recognizes words through a discourse, and understands them based on the changes which they imply in the state of the reader’s world model. Text never exists in the world, it is a construct of the imagination, and is not meaningful until it is understood through the Text consciousness, its evoked meaning updating the reader’s model of the world.
Vortext I define as exactly everything which is not Text. Vortext is physicality. Everything which appears as an object, as energy, anything which can be noticed by any of the senses, is Vortext. The Body, as something with extension and duration in the physical world is Vortext. Nearly everything that happens in the mind, in the field of Consciousness, is Vortext. The only thing that is not Vortext is that content of Text consciousness.
Vortext, in many cases, can be read as if it were text. What I mean by this is that even though Vortext is not deliberately created to convey information, the actual way natural shapes form does contain quite a bit of information about the world. Vortext is not symbolic. Is is not a sign indicating a signified. It is self-signifying. It is a form which itself is the embodiment of its specificity. Energy leaves a trail of change wherever it goes. Every change is recorded, Vortext is the product of every change.
Take tree rings, as an example. They contain several pieces of information about the life of the tree, a record of climate in that area. With chemical analysis, it could give precisely dated information about the atmosphere. Crystal growth and composition, stone erosion, sand shapes, waves on the ocean. All have information to give, if you know how to read it.
Vortext Consciousness is what I would call the thinking mode of the Paleolithic mind, before there was writing. What modern people would do with their text consciousness and internal narrator, the paleolithic scientist had Vortext consciousness. Before there was an external authority, each person knew innately that they had to watch, learn, and remember. This was how they knew how world around them worked. The cost of not paying attention could well be death in many ways, and they understood innately. They didn’t understand it as a story, they understood as a lived imperative. The underlying model of the world, the trigger for emotions, is Vortext itself. The mechanisms of how we model the world match the mechanisms of the world itself, because we are the Being in question. We are a direct and natural outgrowth of the Vortext, in a way that our technology is not. Vortext Consciousness is our Vortext receptor. It can remember and associate sensations Now with meaningful events in the past. The content of those events will be what the Awareness of the Vortext consciousness is focused on.
As the Text Consciousness sees narratives through the lens of discourse, Vortext Consciousness sees Scenarios through a lens of empathy. The discourse orients us in the relations between characters of the Text narrative. This meaning is relative to the world model. Vortext Empathy is the energetic induction of care from an inner recognition of the observer Being, and the observed Being. The underlying means of information transfer, what comes down to photons, is another sort of lens. The meaning of the scenario is about all the other Beings involved. Other humans would have been particularly meaningful of course, but everything maintains its Beingness. Animals, plants and planets could be understood through an empathy as well. Knowing the feelings within the practical details and distinctions of nature.
Text consciousness is possible because Vortext consciousness created sufficient complexity to support the sophisticated indirect relationships between objects of the senses, and objects which can be intuited from indications from reading Vortext carefully. Hunters must first see traces of an animal in the tracks, in nests, in droppings. Everything is meaningful, though they are likely not reduced to mere words. It was the way paleolithic people used their minds that laid the groundwork for Text consciousness.
In Vortext consciousness, even if there are rudimentary parts of one’s insights into the world that are communicated to others, the majority of the model of the world is built from personal experience, and personal intuition. Consciousness for the Paleolithic scientist was a Within the personal intuition, Vortext, being defined as broadly as it is, has a paradoxically simple structure. The paleolithic scientist was surely aware of relations between beings in Vortext in a subtle yet pervasive way. Balance is everywhere evident in what is real. Animals, plants, regular movements of day and night, migrations of herds. All things are seeking to maintain balance. Every being lives through an innate embodiment of balance. Balance is a dynamic universal. Vortext is exactly everything which is not text. Vortext is not imaginary. Vortext is real.
Analogies and distinctions between Text Consciousness and Vortext Consciousness
Text Consciousness is the social intelligence which represents your body in the Text Field which is the field of concern through which people communicate with one another regarding mostly the abstract objects seen in the field of Text. Because of its social authority, Text Consciousness often does not acknowledge non text knowledge. If an idea is not expressible in words, it is difficult to retain, if Text Consciousness has no incentive to maintain it.
Text Consciousness is experienced by an individual through specific communications which are rendered meaningful through discourses. Each communication adds to depth of that discourse. The discourse is the relationship between a specific “Other” character, and a “Self” character. There is a self character in all discourses, a distinct self character, with nuances and references that may only be meaningful within that discourse.
Vortext Consciousness is an awareness of the world of connection and flow. Vortext Consciousness is in touch with the moment, Vortext Consciousness remembers and guides the body through the puzzle of survival.
Vortext Consciousness does not require external authority. It does not require other’s input, so its insights do not need to be expressible. The paleolithic scientist did not need detailed information, they needed to be prepared to watch carefully, and act knowing that they knew everything they needed to know. There is nothing missing in Vortext Consciousness. And what is seen is not separated from its surroundings. Vortext is a flow of varying densities and constant changes, but it is still undifferentiated, or at least the act of seeing it does not assume an underlying division between an identified region of specificity and the rest of the Vortext in which it is situated.
Text Consciousness is always missing most of the text that gives it meaning. experience of Text Consciousness is one of a user of someone else’s language. One which we will never know all of, expressing information what we could only have seen a fraction of. The emotional effect this has on the outlook of people living with an identity built of this text consciousness is extreme. The emotional relationship with one’s self which is constantly running narratives comparing the self to all the other selve’s in the world is an alienated one. It is a body looking to be fulfilled, but trying to do so where the foundation of knowing puts the most respected “reality” mostly somewhere else.
Learning Without Information
We are used to thinking about learning things that someone else knows. This is the assumed mode of writing. Person A figures something out, they write it down so everyone can know it. Like a recipe.
There is another way to know something. To discover it. To find it in your time in Vortext consciousness, living in the flow of the real, of the Vortext. It may be something so subtle it is hard to explain in a linear narrative. What I hope to open up for readers of this paper is the possibility that there is much more to your conscious abilities than just the commentary you can easily sum up as text.
There is also a very simple underlying principle which in one way or another every living thing, and even the fundamental forces of nature naturally adhere to. It is the ultimate paradox, and an old Buddhist principle from the Heart Sutra, “Form is Emptiness, Emptiness is Form”. In terms of Vortext Consciousness, what is not clear from coincidences and synchronicities is informed by looking at the world, and seeing where the balance is. What is the Form? How is it conserving Emptiness? What is Emptiness? How is it making any given form possible?
The world is never a static place, but some cycles are very slow. Indeed, in Vortext, most beings follow “orbits” which figuratively or literally bring them back where they came. People live one place, travel to work, school, shopping, whatever, and return home. Electrons cloud around a nucleus, planets revolve in their orbits. One could say that all beings follow a law of orbits in the field.
Heart Sutra Science
The Text – Vortext Dialectic was an idea for making clear the role and pitfalls of language consciousness on the content of any investigation. It was intended to be an introduction to what I’ve really been interested in, how the world works.
Understanding the insights in the Heart Sutra, even just the simplest statement, “Form is Emptiness, Emptiness is Form” is contemplation worthy of a lifetime of self-reflection, just for the psychological insights. I found that it could be taken further. It an be made the foundation of a new science. But a new science of books that have answers is not the answer, not what I’m looking for, and what I want to avoid creating. This is about creating tools for individuals to learn to derive their own science.
[Originally posted Feb 2013 to humanizer.com, written by Tem Noon]