Re: virus: Consensual Bandersnatching

Wed, 12 May 1999 23:26:54 -0700

Dave Pape wrote:

> At 20:31 11/05/99 -0700, you wrote:
> >>"Consciousness is preferable to unconsciousness."
> >
> >I wouldn't veto it.
> >
> >I might reword it as something like: "Attentiveness is better than
> >distraction" or "Mindfulness is better than habit"
> Difficult again, see... when I was /conscious/ of all the little tasks I
> had to succeed in to drive a car, erm, when I was learning to drive, it was
> a baaaaaaaad experience. Now I do the driving on semi-autopilot- I'm not
> that aware most of the time of which pedal I'm going for, how to get from
> 2nd to 3rd gear, how much pressure to hit the brake with. What I'm aware of
> is... tunes from the stereo, worries about what I'm going to do when I get
> where I'm driving, that sort of thing. Habit's sometimes better than
> mindfulness.

So you see that as an example of your not wanting to be conscious of something. I see the time when you move from having to think about all the things that will eventually "just come naturally" to you behind the wheel as a time when a very small amount of the potentially interesting and useful information available to you takes up all of your attention. Then you "get it" and things just "click", and suddenly the autopilot takes over the mundane aspects of driving and consults "you" only for high level decision making. Now you're free to let your attention take other features of your environment. When you can "automate" some task that at first is a consciousness hog then, from your perspective, you've suddenly got a lot more attention to allocate here and there. Now you throw the net of your awareness over a number of other tasks and topics. That's an expansion of consciousness.

> And distraction's often quite important too- bumps you out of cognitive
> ruts, lets new ideas into your mental mix, that kind of thing.

Good to let the prairies and forests burn from time to time.

> Thinking about ideas is really DIFFICULT, isn't it?

It'll take as much of your precious conscious attention as you're willing to give it.

> Why don't we agree some
> arbitrary dogma, and cut to the phase where we beat up people who don't
> like it?

If it's just some random dogma and we don't really feel like we own it, then it'll be harder to really get caught up in it and take it absolutely personally when someone rejects or criticizes it. If it's not OUR dogma, we won't be as righteous about enforcing conformity and we'll miss out on the really potent buzz we could be getting if we were filled with the atheistic/agnostic/pantheistic spiritualist motivational equivalent of the holy spirit.