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Key elements



Key elements of mind-extension

What elements of mind are available for fine-tuning? Which are the right ones to incorporate into restructured information-age jobs and consumer/citizen roles? What's the complete list of functions we've got to work with?

Reflection vs. simple awareness or reflex action:  

Aliveness may be divided into four levels:

  1. Unconscious perception & response
  2. Consciousness
  3. Metamind or self-consciousness
  4. Universal consciousness

All animals occupy the first level of aliveness; the higher animals, such as dogs and squirrels, show signs of occupying the second. Only humans frequent the third level of consciousness, though apes and dolphins may occasionally "pop up" into self-awareness when trained in the use of language.

Some humans, including the prophets and those who meditate, have reported occasional experiences of an all-embracing aliveness, a mentality as different from self-consciousness as self-consciousness is from the simple form of consciousness, which lacks the perception that one exists.

Luckily for us, only the first level of mentality is now being aggressively transferred into electronic systems. We've got a monopoly, for now, on the other three.

We need not concern ourselves with simple consciousness; all normal people possess it, even when asleep (if dreaming). We need not focus excessively on universal consciousness, in spite of its profundity and importance. We have our hands full with meta-consciousness, which is a sometime thing and practiced imperfectly by most of us.

The key opportunity today is to foster "full-time" metamind and to improve its quality and the behaviors stemming from it.

Components of metamind:  

At the MACRO level, meta-consciousnessness consists of self-aware, self-controlled forms of --

  • Perception & action or motor activity
  • Love & other emotions
  • Logical activities:
    • Goal & priority setting
    • Creativity & imagination
    • Decision making
    • Planning & execution
    • Hypothesizing & cause finding
  • Social skills including ethics & responsibility

Traces of universal consciousness enter into the mix as well, for they are the source of motivation, caring, focus, and doing the right thing.

At the MICRO level, meta-consciousnessness consists of self-aware, self-controlled forms of --

  • Representation including language
  • Elements of thought & experience:
    • Reification or thing-making
    • Qualification (sensory, emotional, logical)
    • Classification
    • Structure analysis
    • Operation analysis
    • Analogy
  • Modes of aliveness:
    • Normal waking consciousness
    • Altered forms of waking consciousness
    • Dreaming (with simple awareness)
    • Lucid dreaming (self-aware dreaming)
    • The subconscious

The micro-level components may be thought of as the "atoms" that combine to actualize the macro-level "molecules." Language facilitates creativity and planning, for example; and "atoms" such as qualification and structure analysis combine to form perception and cause-finding.

Intentional enhancement of the components:  

During the tribal, agricultural, and industrial eras, we pretty much left the mind to its own devices. We can no longer afford to do so.

Ever-smarter electronic systems are nipping at our heels; ad-hoc thinkers are rapidly being replaced. Furthermore, antisocial behavior stemming from limited, self-centered minds threatens to do us in. The mounting complexity of the information age calls for new levels of thinking and relating.

How do we go about achieving those new levels?

Copyright 2001 EraNova Institute