From the pen of the ancient Roman poet Lucretius Caro, to the banner of the 17th-century woodcut on the front cover, and from the traditions of some Native American cultures - we are advised that when confronting the unexplained it is best to consider it from several different perspectives.
More recently, a similar concept was proposed in a 2004 essay by Robert Jahn and Brenda Dunne, entitled "Sensors, Filters, and the Source of Reality." Their thesis, that consciousness constructs its reality by ordering the information it derives from the external world through an array of physiological, psychological, and cultural filters, has now been considered by nineteen distinguished scholars who here present their commentaries from a broad spectrum of professional and personal perspectives.
The authors' viewpoints are drawn from such diverse backgrounds as art, Buddhism, evolutionary biology, fantasy, out-of-body experiences, philosophy, physics, psychology, semiotics, and systems engineering, among others, and each contribution offers a unique and fascinating glimpse of how the filters of consciousness bear on the construction of experience and its style of representation.
I'm overjoyed with the quality of writing in the book. It's things like this that show the real character of the ICRL. No matter what a reader's background, the thorough range of perspectives in the book will provide a perfect means to find their way in. Anyone involved in consciousness research will find the book invaluable.
|Foreword: The Power of Weakness||xiii|
A founding member of ICRL notes how the concept of filters has guided the activities of the organization since its inception, and addresses its relevance to his own work in biophysics.
|Sensors, Filters, and the Source of Reality||1|
The resonant channels of communication that introduce order into randomnicity and extract self-consistent realities from transcendent chaos are mediated by the physiological and psychological filters imposed upon them by conscious or unconscious attention. By elevating the subjective capacities of consciousness to complementary status with the more objective physical senses, and recognizing the bi-directional capabilities of both, these channels can be amplified to enhance such information creation and enable experiential realities that are responsive to intention, desire, or need.
Indoors and Outdoors
Let's Change the Subject
Thou and It
Four short essays, originally published in his book, The Other Side of the World: Essays and Stories on Mind and Nature, present an array of stories and metaphors that illustrate how the filters of culture and language influence our perceptions of the environment. The objective and subjective worlds are shown to have little intrinsic meaning except in terms of each other.
|Primordial Wholeness: Hints of Its Non-Local and Non-Temporal Role in the Co-Evolution of Matter, Consciousness, and Civilization||43|
The biological mechanism that evolved to filter out useless external information has undergone extensive re-programming since the invention of civilization. In this process, the bulk of information unrelated to object-mediated understanding has been weeded out or consigned to the unconscious, leading to a significant reduction in our ability to commune with the primordial wholeness of the universe.
|Semiotic Filters: The Mediate Nature of Signs||57|
Semiotics, the philosophical theory of signs and symbols as they function in human languages, comprises syntax, semantics, and pragmatics, as well as all linguistic, mythical, and cultural practices. Questions regarding the extent to which semiotic filters keep us at a distance from reality, or actually construct the features of reality itself, are addressed, along with the distinctions between the filters and the realities they mediate.
|Art, Mind, and Matter||75|
As one of the oldest expressions of the interaction between consciousness and its environment, art serves as a filter through which the artist captures and expresses an inner experience in a tangible form. But it also provides a filter whereby the viewer of a work of art has the opportunity to enter into resonance with the artist and touch the inner spirit that guided the work's creation.
|Courting Maxwell's Demon: Filter-Shifts and Transformation in Psychotherapy||91|
A psychoanalyst explores the role of filter-shifts in the process of change and growth in psychotherapy. This dynamic is examined from the perspective of the interaction between patient and therapist, and how each affects the other through the modification and expansion of their respective conscious (and unconscious) filters.
|The Holy Undivided||113|
A model of intersubjective experience, termed "Relational Dharma," draws from the Buddhist doctrine of paticca samuppada, or dependent origination, and provides a means for achieving liberation through relationship and moving into greater proximity to the Source. As liberation is touched, filters cease to obscure experience and become canvases that illustrate the ongoing alchemy of higher human freedom.
|Emotional Armoring as a Filter of Consciousness||133|
Wilhelm Reich's concepts of emotional and character armoring provide a model for demonstrating how the mind structures experiences of the external environment and produces tangible reflections of these in our physical bodies. These filters affect the activity of physical organs, inhibit sensations of internal states, and block incoming information from sensory awareness, with a resultant diminution of interaction between the self and the external world.
|Sensors, Filters, and the Objects of Perception: A Direct Realist, Multidimensional State Space Model||145|
The universal truths described in many animist, pagan, and eastern traditions argue for a psychological theory that can represent embodied experience as a platform for modeling mental processes. An ecological framework is proposed that incorporates the teaching of pan-cultural traditions into a more comprehensive model of consciousness, capable of accommodating the experiences of everyday life, as well as those of functional altered states of consciousness and of many phenomena regarded as anomalous.
|Out-of-Body Experiences: An Exploration of Non-Local Filters||163|
Investigations of out-of-body experiences, lucid dreaming, and precognitive remote perception attest to the ability of consciousness to access information independently of the physical senses. These abilities appear to be much more common than is usually presumed, and offer a valuable vehicle for self-understanding. They also suggest that distance and time may not be characteristics of the physical world, but fundamental filters of consciousness.
|Mind and Biological Evolution||177|
An alternative representation of biological evolution is proposed that draws on the neo-Lamarkian tradition and has the potential for transcending the current impasse between neo-Darwinism and Creationism. By attributing consciousness to all living systems, it is proposed that organisms have the capability of exchanging information with their environments in ways that contribute to their adaptive responses, thereby influencing their structures, functions, and behaviors, and inducing variations that can be transmitted to their progeny.
|Complexity, Interdependence, and Objectification||187|
Many of the fundamental aspects of complex physical systems highlight the observer's participatory role in determining their workings. These fundamental complexity issues not only bear a formal resemblance to, but also reveal a profound connection with, quantum mechanics, and point to a common origin on a deeper level of description, suggesting that any description of a complex whole is only a partial objectification that is projected onto, and even redefines, its constituent parts.
|The Human Shape of Cosmological Structure: Topological Association of Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness||209|
The ancient alchemists adhered to the Hermetic principle: "What is below is like that which is above, to accomplish the miracles of one thing." In this essay, the author describes the concept of a "macroscope," a model that synthesizes scale-independent forms in a way that reveals the activity of a self-reflective consciousness and provides access to aspects of reality beyond the reach of direct experience.
|A Retrocausal Model of Life||231|
The concept of "syntropy" is proposed as a complement to the well-known thermodynamics of entropy and provides a mechanism whereby the exchange of information can flow backward as well as forward in time, allowing living systems to react to both past and future influences. Syntropy typically expresses itself in the form of feelings, rather than concepts, and offers a filter that can accommodate anomalous experiences and facilitate teleological drivers of living processes.
|Acoustical Resonance Iteration Filtering: The Children's Version||245|
Acoustical resonance is a form of filtering the auditory stimuli in our physical environment and extracting, or inserting, meaningful information. The physical dynamics involved in this process are presented in an introductory manner, ap- propriate for the non-specialist.
|You'll Never Get There from Here: REG Experiments and Conventional Assumptions about Reality||251|
Successful random event generator experiments require both the tools of objective scientific rigor and the deployment of subjective personal involvement. By approaching the REG experience through both objective and subjective filters, it becomes possible to consider a more integrated approach for contemplating the processes of consciousness and its role in the creation of physical reality.