At the request of fellow Sheffield Steemian @wrongjohn, I will spend a little while holding forth on the exciting trio of subjects Reality, Consciousness and Nanobots.
My point of view is that even the most basic assumptions we have about words and what they mean are woefully inaccurate. For my money, this is something to do with language itself and possibly consciousness itself.
What the hell do I mean?
Well, I will do my best to lead you into the labyrinthine and wonderful depths that are contained within what I like to call my non-materialist mindset.
Okay, on reflection they’re not that deep and its not that complicated. I’ve just thought of a way to say it. Here goes.
The ideas of Reality, Consciousness and Nanobots are only really confusing or mysterious because of the false tenets of Materialism.
Briefly, Materialism is the idea, so prevalent in the English-speaking West that it seems Universal at times, that material things actually exist. Materialism is completely sure that things exist and are real....
or at least most of them are.....
apart from some things.
When I use the word ‘things’ in this sense, I am using it in the sense that is synonymous with the word ‘nouns’. “Things-that-we-describe-with-the-word-nouns” is a bit of a mouthful. I do not mean anything prefaced with the word 'imaginary'.
However, we are not sure that all the things-we-describe-with-the-word-nouns actually exist.
Don't freak out. Stay with me. Pretend for a second you are this cat:
Okay. Good? Right then, let's get back into it....
An example of one of the things that Materialism is not so sure exists is 'Consciousness'. It's even unsure of ‘Reality’. Materialism has split the concept of 'reality’ into two kinds of reality. “Objective” Reality, which is the one that definitely exists, as far as we know, and “Subjective” Reality, which we are unsure about.
Consciousness can only be appreciated or even studied ‘subjectively’.
Same goes for dreams, desires, emotions. The scientific community as a whole is not completely convinced that there is any validity to such study. And we have a lot of arguments, as English-speaking natives, as to what actually is ‘valid’ but that is another story and we’ll be onto that one later, since it relates to the Blockchain, naturally.
We have been desperately building more and more powerful machines to see if we can find something we can actually ‘see’ that ‘is’ consciousness, or Dreams or ‘memories’.
It’s right there in the language. There is a group of nouns, called ‘abstract’ nouns, and these, as we are told in primary school, are words for things that don’t “actually” exist. Things that you cannot touch or even definitively detect.
It is fascinating really. It’s all in the lessons we get as children as to how our language works.
The really interesting thing is that great parts of the language itself are older than those lessons. Those lessons about how language works are recent, our most up-to-date view of language is extremely recent and by no means conclusively agreed upon. As far as we know if there ever was a consensus on the use of the English language, it has been torn down and replaced with what we have now, which is endless arguments about what things actually mean.
You can tell this is a big thing for humans because of all these gifs.
The way the government keeps changing the primary school curriculum should give you a bit of a clue as to how important it is to introduce this materialist set of ideas to English speakers as soon as they start to speak it. I think it's safe to say that the way we think about things does help to determine the way we behave.
I think this is also why English speakers, particularly native ones, are so confused all the time.
The truth is that these so-called “abstract” nouns, from a non-materialist perspective, are, in fact, more ‘real’ than the common-or-garden nouns that we use for things like tables, chairs, rocks etc - real world items that we use regularly.
Yes, I am saying that the dream you had last night is more real than that chair you are sitting on. Or, I could say that that chair is a dream too. The non-materialist viewpoint realises that although common nouns exist - you and I can both sit on the chair - the reason that chair is there is because it was dreamed-up out of consciousness, which is in fact the only ‘real’ reality. Same for rocks, trees, birds, bees. Everything was made by a mind, by a consciousness because it was dreamed up.
Well, you might say that you can understand that with a chair, but not with a tree, since a chair is a human invention, it clearly comes from a consciousness, but the same is not true of a tree - a tree would be there anyway. Would it?
Let's think it through.
The consciousness that invented my chair imagined that it was made of wood, before it was actually made of wood. Do you really actually definitively know that trees exist in a place where there are no consciousnesses that require wood for their creations?
No, that answer is, you don't. We only know of the trees that are in our materialised reality, and as far as we can presently observe, trees co-exist with consciousness. You might say that this is pointless, for we cannot even perceive materialised reality without our consciousnesses and I would say that is exactly the point! :-)
What about statues? Did we really have a word for stone before we were making statues? In the non-materialist outlook there is no confusion, stone and statues are different forms of matter, the only distinction is that one is ready to be shaped by consciousness and the other has already been shaped by consciousness. We have both things because the one is required for the making of the other and we've been dreaming of statues goddammit.
Is this an important distinction to make? I am not so sure. It's certainly tough to talk about without even confusing myself, let alone anybody else.
Personally, I enjoy looking at things in this way. I think it is also the Archaic World view, and one that seems to have been shared by the Ancient Celts, Greeks, Medieval Catholic Christians, Reformation Protestants, Sufi mystics, Dreamtime Aboriginals.. The list goes on. However, I also think that there is something important about this imaginary veil we have drawn up between the supposed ‘abstract’ subjective world of dream and fantasy and thought and consciousness and soul, and the ‘objective’ materialised realm that our bodies appear to inhabit.
I think that the imaginary veil is part of the story.
As humans we are the thresh-hold of these two worlds, quite literally. We have our ‘bodies’, which are flesh and blood and all that, and which we experience because we feel ourselves to be ‘inside’ them. But we also experience our inner life, our daydreams, our thoughts, our desires, our emotions, our ambitions, our most cherished wishes, for which we can find no tangible physical analogue.
No one can disagree with that.
And yet, when they are young, we tell our children that these things, these ‘abstract nouns’ don’t actually exist. At least half of what you are experiencing is ‘imagination’ or ‘feelings’ or ‘thoughts’, which only you experience, and therefore kind’ve don’t count, and the rest is ‘reality’.
The really cruel part comes when we then convince our little Godlings that they have no control over the ‘objective’ world over ‘reality’...
......when in fact, as conscious beings they are in fact the only thing in the Universe that can apparently control the Universe. No other consciousness comes close to doing the kind of shit with reality that Humans do. And, from where I'm sitting, no one in recent years has come close to doing the kind of things the English-speaking world has been doing.
I honestly believe that there was once a time when we didn’t teach the use of language with this distinction built in. I think we taught children that there was only one world, and it was made of dreams, of our dreams, and that your only guide in this world was your own dreams, and your own ambitions, and your own desires, your own feelings. And I think that was the time when we built the great stone wonders.
(Wait... how did she get in here? Oh well, too late to change anything now.)
Because the basic structure of the language was made during those times (i.e. nouns, verbs, adjectives, and so on) I don’t believe that changing the way we teach it has changed its power to shape reality, but it has left us with a hierarchy, i.e. some have a better grasp of the language than others and can do more with it, and perhaps that is ultimately a good thing. Uniformity is boring right?
The journey that all people have to make, from cold, hard reality to living a life they have dreamed about is a great journey. Everyone who makes it would do it all again in a heartbeat I’m sure. The gradual realisation that you do actually exist.
Perhaps this process is language itself maturing as well as consciousness maturing. English in its current form is apparently relatively young, and it is a product of multiple languages from multiple peoples who were at war with each other at times, for years and years and years before settling into this peace and this shared language. Perhaps the confusion of tongues is coming to an end, and it will be because of English, the language, that we, as a human race, come at last to understand one another once again and therefore live at peace with each other and in brotherhood.
Perhaps the language has a story built into it somehow. Perhaps, language, as an expression of the soul of the world, is itself a wonderful story.
Perhaps the Blockchain really can save the world.
That’s what I like to think anyway.
Anyways, I’ve had enough of this for the moment, and I’ve not even got on to Nanobots yet, so this is going to have to be part one.
I'm also recommending giphy.com because it's amazing. Hope you had as much fun reading this as I did writing it. I'm hoping you feel a little like this gif:
With me as the quiet kid and the teacher as your mind!!!
Let me know what you think and any questions you have about anything! Thanks and best wishes to all!
Full Steem Ahead.