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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Divergent Lights

How do you know that your experience of consciousness is the same as other people’s experience of consciousness? ("65 Deep Philosophical Questions" by Operation-Meditation; retrieved at:

Human consciousness is profoundly influenced by attribution of symbolic meaning. This has incalculable impact upon consciousness, and subsequently upon behavior.  I drive a Mazda because I think it has sporty lines and this will lead the observer to attribute positive qualities to the driver (your's truly) – most especially that the driver is not an old fuddy-duddy. A moment's reflection will make clear that in fact I could be an old fuddy-duddy driving a Mazda CX9.  It's easy to characterize this sort of wishful thinking as immature – it is immature for me to assume that the car I drive will  determine the consciousness of another.  Contrarily, one could rather see me in the car and react with disgust – what is that old fuddy-duddy doing driving a CX9?....what a waste!

It approaches mysterious wonderment the extent that symbolism affects human affairs for good or ill.  I quote Jimmy Carter here: Whenever we do good works, we should nurture an inner spiritual attitude that says, "I'm doing this in the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ." And it doesn't hurt to say it out loud." (Through the Year with Jimmy Carter, page 231). Think of all that Jimmy Carter has participated in that helped the suffering – like virtual elimination of the guinea worm. Surely without question we must say that his involvement produced practical results that were far more than symbolic. However, if it weren't for  Jimmy Carter's consciousness heavily influenced as a follower of Christ, there is a possibility that he would never have acted as he did. In fact, if he saw affliction as a  justified punishment of God for a recalcitrant population, he might well have done nothing or even something detrimental to the health of the sick. Thus we must stand amazed that symbolic acts have tremendous practical consequences precisely because our consciousness is richly determined by pervasive autonomous symbolization. Charles Manson is a flipside to philanthropy. What symbolically infested consciousness drew him on and out?

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