• Jack Cummins
    2.3k

    Of course, it is true that the needs of the person in Maslow's hierarchy, cannot be seen in isolation from the social ones. We are interconnected, and are involved in helping others fulfill the needs of others. Hopefully, those who have their basic needs fulfilled will not just be concerned about self in isolation.

    However, there is a possible tension between the social aspects of existence and self actualization. It is interesting to think of the role in which the pandemic may have played for many people in this. Even though basic needs have not gone away people have spent more time alone, with more time and space for self actualization. I have never had so much time to myself since summer holidays at school, and wonder how I will ever go back to being part of groups again.
  • Valentinus
    1.2k

    There is a lot of tension between "social aspects of existence and self actualization." I didn't mean to emphasize the "social" so much as to say that satisfying what a person needs makes one less bound to what one is in the habit of assigning to necessity. The previous struggles may not be good preparation for the new ones since narratives tend to have a life of their own.
  • Manuel
    638
    However, I will ask to what extent does the idea of an outsider, as a person who sees differently, make sense to you? Also, how might we think about peak experiences, and their value? Do you have any thoughts on the the idea of transforming consciousness?Jack Cummins

    Strictly speaking we all see uniquely, the way the world appears to each of us. I would be surprised if someone saw exactly how I saw so it makes total sense to think of people who experience the world very differently, for example:

    https://www.sciencealert.com/scientists-have-found-a-woman-whose-eyes-have-a-whole-new-type-of-colour-receptor

    Not to mention psychedelic experiences, which can be very powerful. But I'd caution taking powerful experiences as means for establishing truth claims of any kind, except the fact that the mind, consciousness, is amazing. But no metaphysical claims can be made from such experiences, I think.

    Transforming consciousness can be achieved in many ways, meditation, exercise, music, reading, etc., etc.
  • Pop
    703
    Our consciousness, awareness, emotions and views are formed by intermodulation between sensory input and the brain. Physical intermodulation examples can be seen in non-linear devices and radio waves where two signals modulate to form intermodulation.Brock Harding

    Any ideas on what causes these to self organize?
  • Brock Harding
    30
    Not sure. Possibly the organised neural network reacting to input.
  • Jack Cummins
    2.3k

    I think we base certain needs as 'necessity' sometimes by habit. For example, we often care about popularity and care about what others think of us because we are accustomed to do so, and socialised into thinking that this is really important. Our own life narratives are so bound up with the social aspects of existence, that it may be that many do not look for realisation beyond the social. Even though Maslow's theory suggests that we fulfill the scale upwards, I think that it is possible to bypass certain needs to some extent, although certain basics are more or less essential. It is extremely difficult to focus on self actualization and creativity, without food, or somewhere to live, although there have probably been some starving artists.

    Generally, I think that self actualization and creativity are left out of the picture a fair amount for plenty of people. However, I am inclined to see it as essential. If I have no time or outlet for any creative expression, I struggle, but I have always found this to be part of life. I think that many see the arts as frivolous, or think of it as entertainment. I know so many people who don't read very much at all, and when I used to run creative art groups, I found that many adults see art as being more for children and, probably have not done any art beyond adolescence.
  • Jack Cummins
    2.3k

    Yes, it is interesting that the woman in the link saw differently. I do believe that we do all see a bit differently, depending on how we choose to develop our imagination. I have some experience of synthaesia naturally, especially of feeling that when I listen to music I can see sounds. This is meant to be connected to how the ears and eyes develop from the same nodule in the brain. I actually enjoy my bit of synthaesia because it means that I can lie in bed visualising images to music. I am also extremely interested in hypnagogic and hypnopompic dream states because I have many experiences of these, including some which are pleasant and some which are extremely unpleasant.

    I do think that certain people, including those who have used or not used drugs, in thinking about the experiences they have in a very literal way. That is probably why they become psychotic. I discovered Jung as a teenager, which enabled me to think about my own borderline sleep experiences in a symbolic way. I sometimes wonder if I had not found Jung at this time whether I would have been unable to see this dimensions as being symbolic.
  • Jack Cummins
    2.3k

    I read your ideas about consciousness in the thread on metaphysics. They are interesting from what I read. What I am wondering is do your ideas on self organisation of consciousness have any implications for understanding the experiential level of consciousness and states of awareness?
  • Pantagruel
    1.6k
    Any ideas on what causes these to self organize?Pop

    One of the most interesting examples of self-organization I've read about was in the context of an experiment to simulate the genesis of life from organic precursor elements (abiogenesis). There are something like 70 constituent elements and in order for the experiment to succeed all 70 elements have to be present in the proto-cell after the cellular membrane is created/formed. Basically the odds of this happening are zero. But what actually happens is that many of the artificial cells have nothing inside the membrane, while a few of the artificial cells have all the necessary ingredients and, against all odds, the experiment works.
  • Manuel
    638
    I actually enjoy my bit of synthaesia because it means that I can lie in bed visualising images to music. I am also extremely interested in hypnagogic and hypnopompic dream states because I have many experiences of these, including some which are pleasant and some which are extremely unpleasant.Jack Cummins

    Damn, that's quite a cool capacity to have. I mean, yeah, it kind of sucks when the experiences are unpleasant but on the whole, it's different.

    I do think that certain people, including those who have used or not used drugs, in thinking about the experiences they have in a very literal way. That is probably why they become psychotic.Jack Cummins

    Some perhaps. It depends on the person. Most people who do, say, hallucinogenics tend to be fine. Last studies I read reported that something like 2-5% of people tend to react badly to them.

    It's strange but, I think certain types of literature simulate experiential states not completely alien to substance use. Of course there are differences, but I've found similarities. It's weird, but seems to have happened to me a few times.

    On the other hand, if one happens to belong to the small percentage of people who react badly to such things, it can be a risk and can lead to mental outbreaks. Somewhat rare, but still happens.

    I sometimes wonder if I had not found Jung at this time whether I would have been unable to see this dimensions as being symbolic.Jack Cummins

    I can't say. I've moved away from psychoanalysis just because it stopped being interesting to me. I suspect if not Jung, you might have discovered something else that would have provided some meaning to such experiences.
  • T Clark
    5.1k


    From what I've seen of your own discussions and you participation in other people's, you and I share an interest in some of the same kinds of issues, although you have a very different perspective and focus than I do. I wanted you to know that I really enjoy your ideas, even though I often don't have much to offer in response, given our differences. It's fun to watch you searching and digging for what you want to understand. Maybe that's the biggest thing you and I have in common.
  • Amity
    1.5k
    It's strange but, I think certain types of literature simulate experiential states not completely alien to substance use. Of course there are differences, but I've found similarities. It's weird, but seems to have happened to me a few times.Manuel

    The strangest ever experience I had was when I was ill, lying in bed.
    There, I read 'Autobiography of a Yogi'. The imagery resulted in 2 days writing poetry non-stop.
    The words seemed to come from nowhere without any direct input from myself. Scary as hell. While all this was going on, I kept thinking that I must have a fever. Brain delirium.

    Who knows...but many have been inspired by this book...including George Harrison :cool:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autobiography_of_a_Yogi

    I haven't read it since and can't imagine it would have the same effect on me now.
  • Manuel
    638
    The imagery resulted in 2 days writing poetry non-stop.
    The words seemed to come from nowhere without any direct input from myself. Scary as hell. While all this was going on, I kept thinking that I must have a fever. Brain delirium.
    Amity

    I can relate to an extent. Though with me it's been (mostly) with novels.

    Not in my case writing so much, it's as if something in my experience shifts, it's almost impossible to describe. It's like the core of my consciousness remains still while the surrounding waves of experience start spinning in place. They go around me and end up coming back to were I was, but I'm slightly different.

    It's beyond words.

    But yes, when you find stimulating literature it rubs off on your writing, your perspectives and so on.


    That actually looks like an interesting read. Influencing someone like Harrison can't be too easy.

    I'll see if I can check it out - too many books to go through... :sweat:
  • Amity
    1.5k
    Though with me it's been (mostly) with novels.Manuel

    It's like the core of my consciousness remains still while the surrounding waves of experience start spinning in place. They go around me and end up coming back to were I was, but I'm slightly different.Manuel

    Well. I want that novel. And I want it NOW !! :cool:

    Like many, there are times when reading that words affect me so that I have to stop and savour the moment - other times I get carried away...
    I always mean to take a note, perhaps for later quoting, but I never do, so wrapped up in the experience.
    And yes, everything we take in makes a difference to us in some way or another...
  • Manuel
    638
    Well. I want that novel. And I want it NOW !Amity

    There are a few novels that have done this to me. I suppose the best for me, which is very philosophical too, is called Novel Explosives by Jim Gauer. It's very long, it's quite difficult, but it's amazing.

    After that probably the works of Michael Cisco. Member is one such example, but it's very "out there".

    More realistic but still good is A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James.

    There are others, but those stand out.

    Like many, there are times when reading that words affect me so that I have to stop and savour the moment - other times I get carried away...
    I always mean to take a note, perhaps for later quoting, but I never do, so wrapped up in the experience.
    And yes, everything we take in makes a difference to us in some way or another...
    Amity

    :lol:

    Yes, exactly the same happens to me. If I take notes, I slow down reading. It's fine for philosophy, but in literature it's a problem.
  • Jack Cummins
    2.3k

    It does not that we share similar areas of interest, although coming from different perspectives. I come from a far more esoteric angle. I prefer saying esoteric, because, as you know the use of the word mystic comes with complications. I have started 'The Tao de Ching', although I think that I can relate to 'The I Ching' more. But, it is fun to dig and search...
  • Jack Cummins
    2.3k

    I am glad that someone else is admitting to having some experiences. I had some unusual experiences. In one, I initially thought I had a fever but then I felt like I was opening up to some kind of higher reality and it was very pleasant. I wonder if a lot more people experience some kind of peak experiences, but are a bit cautious, and reserved about talking about these.
  • Pop
    703
    Not sure. Possibly the organised neural network reacting to input.Brock Harding

    Nikola Tesla said, “ If you wish to understand the Universe think of energy, frequency and vibration.
    What he didn't explain is why these things self organize! Self organization seems to be fundamental.

    Basically the odds of this happening are zero. But what actually happens is that many of the artificial cells have nothing inside the membrane, while a few of the artificial cells have all the necessary ingredients and, against all odds, the experiment works.Pantagruel

    Thanks, can you provide a link please?

    I read your ideas about consciousness in the thread on metaphysics. They are interesting from what I read. What I am wondering is do your ideas on self organisation of consciousness have any implications for understanding the experiential level of consciousness and states of awareness?Jack Cummins

    It seems our universe is a self organizing one! This is its fundamental nature. As a consequence of self organization being fundamental, it is present in everything natural, from fundamental particles all the way to and including human consciousness. Indeed the constituent function of consciousness is self organization. How consciousness achieves self organization is varied, but that it must achieve it ( a state of information integration) is constant.

    Self organized is the only way the universe could exist, its the only way we could be here. We would not be here having this discussion If our universe was not biased to be just as it is ( self organizing ). Even small shifts in the laws of physics would result in a different universe, and so self organization could not occur ( at least not in its present form ).

    So, the universe is biased ( a bias is an emotion) to self organize, by way of integrating information.

    Human consciousness is biased ( emotional ) to self organize, by way of integrating information.

    Can you see the correlation? If you can, and you agree with the reasoning, then there are interesting consequences. If you also agree with phenomenology then every instance of consciousness is an experience, and every instance of something in our universe is an instance of consciousness. So, it would seem, experience is an unavoidable consequence of being in this universe for all instances of being!

    To put it another way, the plants and animals we eat to grow our bodies were having an experience, now they experience being us. When we die they will decompose into something that is also experiential. Given enough time we will experience all there is to experience. :smile: , but not in our present consciousness. People will lament that their present consciousness will not endure, but will be buoyed by the idea of being a part of something greater then what they are - something omnipotent and omniscient - an all creating god like self organization.
  • Amity
    1.5k
    I wonder if a lot more people experience some kind of peak experiences, but are a bit cautious, and reserved about talking about these.Jack Cummins

    I am not certain that what I described was a 'peak experience'. What is a 'peak experience' ?

    According to Maslow, often reported emotions in a peak experience include "wonder, awe, reverence, humility, surrender, and even worship before the greatness of the experience", and reality is perceived with "truth, goodness, beauty, wholeness, aliveness, uniqueness, perfection, completion, justice, simplicity, richness, effortlessness, playfulness, self-sufficiency".[2]

    An individual in a peak experience will perceive the following simultaneously:
    Wiki - Peak experience
    • loss of judgment to time and space[6]
    • the feeling of being one whole and harmonious self, free of dissociation or inner conflict[3]
    • the feeling of using all capacities and capabilities at their highest potential, or being "fully functioning"[6]
    • functioning effortlessly and easily without strain or struggle[6]
    • feeling completely responsible for perceptions and behavior. Use of self-determination to becoming stronger, more single-minded, and fully volitional[6]
    • being without inhibition, fear, doubt, and self-criticism[6]
    • spontaneity, expressiveness, and naturally flowing behavior that is not constrained by conformity[6]
    • a free mind that is flexible and open to creative thoughts and ideas[6]
    • complete mindfulness of the present moment without influence of past or expected future experiences[6]
    • a physical feeling of warmth, along with a sensation of pleasant vibrations emanating from the heart area outward into the limbs.

    I am glad that someone else is admitting to having some experiences.Jack Cummins

    I only share what I think might be helpful in a given context. It is not a case of 'admitting to'.
    At one time, I wouldn't even have done that. There are reasons why people don't talk about certain experiences, especially on a public forum. Understandable. Some give far too much away, leaving them vulnerable...
  • Jack Cummins
    2.3k

    I definitely agree that there are reasons why people would not wish to talk about their experiences, especially on a public forum. I am also wary of doing so, because I even have I am not even anonymous and have my a photo of myself showing on the site, and it is actually online to the general public. Apart from this, when we talk about our experiences, we can be discredited or subject to ridicule. It would be awful if that began happening on this thread and I started the thread more as a focus for thinking.

    I think that your definition is useful, because it may be that my discussion of Colin Wilson's ideas was a bit too obscure. Also, it focuses on famous creative people, and we don't really see ourselves in comparison with them. So, what you have offered probably brings the focus more in line with us as ordinary individuals and our peak experiences.

    The only thing which I wonder about is your remark that you are not sure if yours was a peak experience, because with certain experiences which I had I wondered about this too. The conclusion which I have at present is that I don't think that we should worry too much about whether ours is the real thing. Really, I see it as an entire spectrum of potential experiences which go beyond the mundane. In opening the thread I was really wishing to enable people to explore all the possibilities of this, with a view to thinking about consciousness explorations, and how this can be potentially enhance our lives.
  • Pantagruel
    1.6k
    Thanks, can you provide a link please?Pop

    It's from a book on systems theory applications I read last year. I'll have to dig a bit.

    edit - it is actually from Capra/Luisi The Systems View of Life which I know is one of Jack's favourites. Chapter 10, the synthetic biology approach to life, section 10.5.2 specifically, page 233. The number of cellular components is actually around 90, not 70 as I said.
  • Amity
    1.5k

    The only thing which I wonder about is your remark that you are not sure if yours was a peak experience

    The conclusion which I have at present is that I don't think that we should worry too much about whether ours is the real thing. Really, I see it as an entire spectrum of potential experiences which go beyond the mundane. In opening the thread I was really wishing to enable people to explore all the possibilities of this, with a view to thinking about consciousness explorations, and how this can be potentially enhance our lives.
    Jack Cummins

    Yes. I agree that any experience which is out of one's ordinary or usual state is part of a spectrum.
    It is how we interpret it that matters. After the initial weirdness, there can be a reflection on whether or not it has changed anything about the way we see the world, and our place in it.
    Just as in any 'reading' of texts, music, art...there can be many 'Wow!' and 'Non-Wow' moments.
    All with potential importance...for growth and development...fun and batteries included.
  • Pantagruel
    1.6k
    In opening the thread I was really wishing to enable people to explore all the possibilities of this, with a view to thinking about consciousness explorations, and how this can be potentially enhance our lives.Jack Cummins

    One key is that one must be open to transformation. Otherwise, a peak experience is wasted, or worse, becomes a hedonistic trap, and one ends up chasing the dragon. From personal experience, if you become a peak-experience junkie and don't learn the lessons, then a couple of things will happen. First, the pleasure component will consistently decrease. Second, something will happen in your life that will put you face to face with your own need for self-transformation.
  • Manuel
    638
    From personal experience, if you become a peak-experience junkie and don't learn the lessons, then a couple of things will happen. First, the pleasure component will consistently decrease. Second, something will happen in your life that will put you face to face with your own need for self-transformation.Pantagruel

    :up:

    Very much true, in terms of keeping up with peak experiences. It's not uncommon at all to find people who keep up trying to catch up with something that can't really be controlled.

    On the other hand, in my case, I don't know if there was a lesson to be learned. It simply was a strong personal experience, with no extra meaning than being able to have such experience.
  • Jack Cummins
    2.3k

    I think that your comment is a really good one. We certainly shouldn't become peak experience junkies, or even complacent. I think that it would defeat the whole purpose. Perhaps if we do not use any experience for some higher purpose, we will be back to the beginning, although it may sometimes be unclear what this purpose is, depending on our social positions. But, we probably need to try to find the best ways we have of translating experience into something larger than our own pleasure and egos. But, it is quite likely that this may fail, and we will go back to the original need, which may be about the need for some kind of healing experience, to take us beyond suffering, monotony and powerlessness.
  • Pantagruel
    1.6k
    to take us beyond suffering, monotony and powerlessness.Jack Cummins

    Yes, it is relatively easy to climb to the peaks and enjoy the view, but inscribing that in some permanent form in the book of one's life is another matter. A lot of people aren't eager to be transformed. Some are even afraid of the idea. I live for it. Transformation is a species of growth.
  • Jack Cummins
    2.3k

    It's rather funny to me that the thread on loving the Lord and one's neighbour keeps popping up next to this one. While I am not conventionally religious, I do see it as having some connection to this discussion, because transformational experience do have some relationship to a sense of appreciation of some higher power beyond us and of our service towards others. But, putting this into practice is not easy.

    I do think that you are right to say that many people are not that interested in transformation. I am, but, even then, it may be on my own terms. Today, it's a bank holiday and I have just been lying on my bed, listening to music and being rather lazy. But, I am feeling reasonably okay, but it may be that today or tomorrow I will end up having a horrible day, and feel the need for some kind of transformational experience. So, it is an ongoing process, and I would like to relate it to some kind of higher purpose, but with some amount of fear if I had to make difficult changes in my life.
  • Pantagruel
    1.6k
    But, I am feeling reasonably okay, but it may be that today or tomorrow I will end up having a horrible day, and feel the need for some kind of transformational experience.Jack Cummins
    What types of things can make a day horrible?
  • Jack Cummins
    2.3k

    I have loads of horrible days, ranging from having disagreements with my housemates, stressful phone conversations and all kinds of other aspects of life, like losing things, such as my bank card, or my phone. They are probably the mundane aspects of life, rather than the biggest stresses. Sometimes the smaller ones can seem almost as difficult as the larger ones. Even when nothing in particular goes wrong, I feel better on some days than others, almost for no apparent reason. I find life to be almost like riding on waves, and trying to remain standing and keeping a balanced position and perspective.
  • Pantagruel
    1.6k
    I have found for me by far the greatest insulation from the vagaries of interpersonal stress is the minimization of the ego. At some point, I just decided that creating conflict wasn't worth maintaining the pretence of petty personal preferences. Once you have successfully shelved trivialities and looked at human interactions as something that can be managed optimally, then you learn what an amazing power that is and you'll naturally become adept. I didn't really commit to this task until my late forties, it took almost another decade until it became second nature.

    Most of the time, eliminating conflict really is the first step towards an optimal solution of almost every problem. It's an art, because you have to be reasonable, but not cold. My second wife is very empathetic and great with people, I have learned a lot from her.
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