Dark Matter of the Mind

Exploring the unknowns of the human mind.

Who are we? How did we get to be this way? These are two of the greatest questions facing our species. The answers are still emerging after decades of field research in linguistics and anthropology, evolutionary theory, psychology, and neuroscience. But one thing is clear. Humans act, think, and exist according to the parameters of the dark matter of their minds – the things that they do not know that they know – their "unknown knowns" to shamelessly appropriate the words of Donald Rumsfeld.

All scientists believe that at some level evolution is responsible for how we humans got to be the way we are. But evolutionary theory alone is not enough. While superficially, humans are alike in many ways, at the same time, we are a varied species, with enormous differences separating individuals even within the same cultures, shaped in profound ways by our life experiences.

The question that most interests me is whether evolution structured huma

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Peter 15 December 2015

A persistent hurdle, it seems to me, in many such discussions as this is the polarising dichotomy created by the narrow 'this' versus 'that' perspective, which keeps funnelling our considerations always and only towards an either/or choice. Nature or nurture, biology or culture, spirit or matter, science or religion, left or right politics etc., which can often stem simply from personal bias or predilections assumed to be universal . The failure, it seems, is simply this constant error of choosing 'sides' that are assumed to constitute the whole rather than first considering the whole and its necessary many perspectives, some of which may as yet be unknown. We perceive both differently, and the same thing differently, depending on the way we approach it - rationally, logically, empirically, intuitively, contemplatively, emotionally, intellectually, mindfully, mathematically and so on, and some of these may only 'succeed' by the 'subjective' decision to exclude by reduction certain related features or relationships. The fact that so-called objectivity is considered so thanks also to our subjectivity - even the decision to exclude subjectivity in an observation - is a matter of choice for convenience to 'make the facts fit', so to speak. The problem, perhaps, is the rational mind's desire for certainty and explanation, which is fuelled by the ego's desire for control; control of knowledge possessed and the 'feeling', conscious or not, of the sense of confidence this 'power' gives to the beholder's sense of selfhood and bolstered confidence and even modest or overt, assumed superiority. As the intellect is a fine servant but a terrible master, as some have learned, we may first wish to carefully avoid the intellectual cul-de-sacs that so many important matters have fallen into, which side-track and drain the energies of many fine minds. The problem simply seems to be the assumption that one particular way of seeing is correct in all situations and may have some evident success only by excluding or relegating other perspectives in order to make 'the evidence fit the facts' and suppress the unwelcome irritant for some - uncertainty.

PHỔ TUỆ 13 December 2015

Lý thuyết tiến hóa căn cứ chính trên thời gian, tuy nhiên thời gian là không thực. điều này được xác nhận trong kinh ngiệm thiền định, hay trong kinh Phật. Như Lai là không không gian và không thời gian. Thay cho trục thời gian là một thứ bậc nhận thức, tinh thần trong các mức độ biểu hiện của nó. Con người sẽ là đầu bảng trong trật tự này khi so sánh với các sinh vật, hay thực vật. Và, con người hoàn chỉnh sẽ tiệm cận về thần thánh, các vị giác ngộ. điều này đã được kiểm chứng trong kinh nghiệm cũng như được mô tả qua các kinh sách tôn giáo ( mặc dầu tên gọi có thể khác nhau theo từng tôn giáo). Và tiếp theo, văn hóa sẽ là một quá trình hồi quang. Nó phục hiện trạng thái bản nguyên, thuần là ánh sáng khi chưa bị che lấp bởi các vật tối....

jerry 11 December 2015

Mysterious dark matter externally and internally. In both cases we have barely scratched the surface. I keep saying I'm going to read Dragons of Eden by Sagan even after hearing that it's been bypassed in the science and especially after reading terrible novels by his wife.

Speaking of Buddha, I remember back in the 70's or 80's seeing a guru for the 1st time on stage at Hunter College as he projected what he describe later as his "spiritual guides" or familiars on either side of him. On his right was an shadow figure of upright reptile the same size as him. On the other side was a humanoid shadow figure. Trickery? Or I only thought I saw it? The latter almost as stupid as what I'm describing. I never got serious about any of it but many years later I have seen things around me much stranger than that. Non-provable items like that don't belong in these discussions etc etc. Especially since YT and the Internet are choking on intentionally demented nonsense rendering the above beyond woo woo territory.

Greg Nixon 16 January 2015

Pleasant and to-the-point article by the noted anthropologist, Daniel Everett. Of course we are not our brains, and who we are is not even dictated to us by our brains. We are the autopoietic (self-creative) animal whose cultural creativity and symbolic intersubjectivity results in individuals whose experience is reflected in the brain, which programs itself to remember and respond to further such experiences. What our values are and even what we experience is unknowable: cultural creativity (though recently held in stagnation by "neuro-everything" reductive materialism) is boundless, and we have yet to explore the outer reaches of possibility.

terence williams 15 January 2015

Spelling amendment to post @ 12:47- 'PYRROHONIST'

terence williams 15 January 2015

To doubt intuitive awareness and consciousness of the unavoidable moral code that rationality naturally provides, (and as is commonly experienced- and just as Kant suggests)- one is required- with ill-founded optimism I may say- to be incredulous with regard to 'rationality' itself. Is it not only the phyronnist, the cynic, and those devoted to radical physicalism, lacking commitment anyway to self-consistent rationale, (or any notion of 'logos'), who would dare to be so foolhardy?