Re: Medicine and Self-Objects (was virus: manifest science)

Joe E. Dees (
Mon, 31 May 1999 16:21:34 -0500

From:   (Brett Robertson)
Date sent:      	Mon, 31 May 1999 15:42:13 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        	Re: Medicine and Self-Objects (was virus:  manifest science)
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> An animal which can maintain or recognize possessions has passed the
> evolutionary stage of un-aware action; thus, I would say that a dog is
> equally self-aware to the human-- innately (though may regress to a
> stage of instinctual action more easily).
This proves that you have no grasp of either cognitive science or its experimental results. Paint a dog's nose and show it a mirror and it reacts as if the image were one of a conspecific (another member of the same species) rather than an image of itself; this indicates a lack of self-awareness. Lesser apes and children below the age of 1 year will point towards the painted nose in the mirror; adult orangutans, bonobos, chimpanzees and gorillas, and children over two years of age will touch their own noses, showing that they realize that the mirror is showing them an image of themselves (an indication that self-awareness is present). A lower animal's perception of an object, it's process of perception and itself as perceiver are all syncretized into an amorphous mass of perception, with no distinctions made whatsoever between self, other, and the mediating perception which at once connects and separates them. What self-consciousness makes possible with us is the distinctions between the many and varied perceived objects, the constancies of the modes of perception in which they appear (such as their focus-field-fringe structure), and the single spatiotemporal source to which they invariantly recursively refer. This system (perceiver-perceiving-perceived) may then be thematized and itself studied as a complex object of awareness (this is what phenomenology does).
> However, this awareness may evolve in COMPLEXITY-- from the awareness
> of objects, to their deliberate use, to a conceptualization of their
> permanence, to the inclusion of such permanent objects within a group of
> similar objects (and so to the inclusion of a permanent self within a
> tribe or pack),
Here's the Brettsterian "tribe or pack" hiccup; contextless, as usual. Self-awareness evolves by means of extrapolation from and identification with the primary caregivers (parents), and its genesis has nothing to do with any wider society such as a tribe. See SOCIAL COGNITION AND THE ACQUISITION OF SELF by Lewis and Brooks-Gunn for the evolution of this dialectic, as well as for the mirror and paint experiments.
> to the utilization of related objects as restorative of
> self (self-awareness as complexified to the level of "medicine")..
An obsessive-compulsive fixation with an unrelated topic here rears its ugly head.
>. to
> the creation of societies (for the distribution of resources), language
> (for recording what works), art (for representing the ideal
> self-object)... imagination, controls, and standards (for creating
> unique relationships), and recreation (for modifying the self to include
> it within imaginative groupings of unique ideals).
Brett's theory of everything in a nutshell. What has not been thrown together willy-nilly without justification or because it is a comulsive preoccupation of his has been poorly stolen from a paper of mine I let him read (the one that got me the Berkeley assistanceship offer) called TOOLS, LANGUAGE AND TEXT: THE SERIAL ISOMORPHIC EVOLUTION OF SYMBOLIC CAPACITY IN HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS. I posted it on this list months ago, but will repost it so that he can no longer get away with plaigarizing it (notice how quickly he yanked my usage of the term "complexity after I employed it to explain the concept of emergent materialism? And CAPITALIZED it as well!).
> Assuming that the above represents a developmental necessity we might
> say that, to the degree certain animals show the capacity to function
> within a group (for example) we may assume a level of complexity whereby
> their awareness has evolved beyond the minimum evolutionary requirement
> for "self-awareness" (the recognition of self as "permanent object").
No we may not assume that. Pack-hunting, as well as pack- dominance, are instinctually evolved within wolves. They do not pass the paint and mirror test.
> Brett Lane Robertson
> Indiana, USA
> MindRecreation Metaphysical Assn.
> BIO:
> ...........
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