From: Prof. Otto E. R\pssler <>
Date: Mon 25 May 1998 - 10:29:17 CEST

Dear fis collegues

I apologize for being very tight, temporally, so that I could not
participate in any of the open discussions so far. But at least I would
like to send some comments to the current neuro discussion about "the
phenomenon of consciousness":


   Consciousness, this word introduced into Western thinking by
Descartes in collaboration-at-a-distance with Calderon (La vida es
sueno), is usually misunderstood in the West up to this day.

   The confusion is not easy to pinpoint. A modern simile would be
the word "paper" - or "www". Tim Berners-Lee once said on TV "I have
given the world a new kind of paper to write upon, now it is up to
the world what is going to be written on it". Chuang-Tzu called it
"the water". The fish are unable to see it and talk about it, he claimed.

   Poincare once coined the term "three-dimensional paper" and claimed
it to be a desirable tool to draw on (in) it in 3-space, thinking of
chaotic trajectories presumably. We since have 3-D trajectories
drwan by computers, of course, yet again mostly without appreciating
what we have.

   Consciousness would be the least appreciated thing and the most
worthy-of-appreciation-thing at the same time. All we have is
consciousness. There is no world, except in consciousness.
Aristotle said that without consciousness (psyche), there is no time.
The same applies to space, of course. And to everything else.

   In the West, consciousness is believed to be an appendix to
matter. This is wrong, as Descartes knew. Matter is a little
internal character making its appearance within the movie of
consciousness. Science and physics only deal with the shadows, the
quantitative relations, within all the rich primary content of
consciousness - its qualities and its nowness character. It is
always now in consciousness, there is nothing but now. And time
just creeps through it surreptitiously.

   What then IS consciousness? "Everything" is not enough. If it is
more than everything, what is it?

   It is indestructible and primary. There is no way to destroy it.
But there is also no way even to conceive of its being created. It
is more solid than concrete. Etcetera pp.

   Everybody's consciousness is a different infinity, with a
different fragrance and sweetness. If people are in love, what they
really are in love with is this substance, right.

   This appears like a good point to stop, isn't it?

Received on Mon May 25 10:34:28 1998

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