I hope to establish these two distinctions, between Reality (absolute) and our reality (of conscious experience and self), and between our self (part of our reality) and our whole self (of Reality). A process is then alluded to towards the end of this article, of our integration with our whole self and with Reality through our whole, with our part to play in it. More of this process will be presented elsewhere, but here discussed are the pivotal issues involved in approaching the truth of our being a part, and referring to our whole being who is of Reality.
1 The concept of “projection”
It is proposed here that our reality is “projected” or placed in space, through the Central Nervous System (CNS), by our whole. The CNS, which includes the brain and spinal cord, is an integral part of our whole being. We will look at how our reality of conscious experience and self should be regarded as a part, of our whole being and whole self projected through the CNS.
Let’s start with vision as an example of projection.
Light bouncing off real things in the real world focuses upside down inside at the back of the eyes, and stimulates the receptors there at the retina (cones and rods), which converts the focused images into nerve impulses. These travel through the optic nerves and reach the brain where our vision is created and placed, in space for us to experience.
In similar ways information, of certain aspects of the real world that sense organs of the body are specifically sensitive to (eyes for light, ears for sound, sensors on the skin for touch etc.) is put together in the CNS (by our whole) to form the “outside world part” of our reality. It is the world we may experience called the phenomenal world, a useful and “powerful” 1 indication of the real world. With it is a “functional” and effective perspective, of our sense of being in the world – we jump onto a spot, point and touch, front up and throw. We are allowed this sense in our reality where, as one’s self or identity, we seemingly do things when, all the while, it is our whole who does things, in the real world or Reality, including those things we think we do in our world or our reality. (Note 1 – phenomenal world made from “aspects of Reality”)
A capital R is used to indicate absolute Reality, and to distinguish it from “our reality”, of conscious experience and self. Our reality is a projected part of our whole being, who is in and of Reality.
2 The self is a problem
Neuroscience seems to suggest that “what we experience” occurs in the brain. It has become a part of our modern understanding and culture (movies such as the Matrix). This diagram shows what was already being considered about our reality and the brain in the mid-1600’s, when it was used by Descartes in his work (father of modern philosophy – “I think, there for I am”). It illustrates a part of the brain, registering vision and initiating pointing.
But what about our self, one’s self, yours and mine? Are we a product of the brain? With our ability to consider and question things, our sense of independence and will, and separation from what we experience, how can we be made by, or secondary to an organ? What about our deeper being, life, and consciousness? Where do they come from or fit, in the scheme of things?
I preempt this point, that there is no brain without a whole being, whole self or the whole body. We, as self or identity, together with and in our reality, are a part of our individual whole, “projected” through and not by the CNS.
3 The subjective aspects of our reality
The self is difficult to determine. Even as words, sentences that refer to themselves or “self-reference” create in many cases difficulties in our minds, recognised in philosophy as a self-referential paradox. Think about “This statement is false” – sort of doesn’t go anywhere but leaves one suspended or waiting for some conclusion or resolution, as if that is expected in a sentence. It is a commonly used example, where the contradiction in the statement itself, intensifies the self-referencing and its paradox.
More so however, the question “What is the self?” (one’s self itself), brings self-referencing directly back to us, towards one’s actual self. It is our “self-referencing conundrum” (https://realityhc. wordpress.com/?s= self+referencing+conundrum), which comes of us being in, the “apparatus for having an experience”.
In this make-up for having an experience, trying to directly experience one’s self is, like a camera trying to take a picture of itself (with “exposures” of itself). We cannot bend the “apparatus for having an experience” to experience our “having an experience” self.
To avoid extinguishing our “self” in self-referencing, trying to experience the experiencing self, we can firmly grasp and distinguish the objective and subjective ends of our “having an experience” reality – and try not to chase the other end of the “apparatus”, like a dog its tail.
The self tells the tale and hears, the dog wagging the tail is tickled by the tale wagging. Within our reality (of conscious experience and self) are parts that include inside and outside, being and doing, subject and object.
The objective is the “easy” aspect – to explain and understand as produced by the brain (Chalmers 1986, Australian philosopher). Vision from eyes and all experiences according to the whole self’s sense organs (projected for us to experience, by our whole through the CNS) belong to this group, as the object of our “having an experience”. But also included are functions of the mind, including determining, filing, retrieving and analysing, that can be broken down to linear mechanical or computational processes, “easily” attributed to the brain that is computer-like, at least in part.
The subjective aspects on the other hand, include the self, consciousness, the experience itself (different from what is experienced, which is the object of experience), deeper being, and the witness. Their existence and nature are “hard” to accept as produced by the brain or anything else, with our independence, will etc., as questioned previously (bottom p1). In contrast to the “easy” and objective, they are termed the “hard aspects of conscious experience” by Chalmers.
He suggests we consider the subjective aspects of our reality as fundamental (irreducible), to help us find a new way of considering them. This new approach to our subjective part must be different from the linear reductive way we “normally” try to grasp and approach things in our minds we consider “direct”, which keeps our enquiry and discovery to objective computer-like processes in our reality while never addressing the subjective.
The development of AI (artificial intelligence) has moved the boundary between the subjective and objective in our reality to such a degree, objectifying so much of our mental functioning that are computer-like, though previously thought of as cognitive, creative, connective, clever and human. This encroachment creates a new impetus and interest to the age old question, “What is it to be human?” (Note 2 – AI and our humanity).
4 The self as a part of a construct
Our experience is determined certain ahead of our line-up through the “apparatus for having an experience”, but beyond this focus of certainty what we determine pixelates into uncertainty and unknowing. At the other end, our seat in the “apparatus for having an experience” is the “self referencing conundrum” on which we cannot experience or determine our self.
We do need a different approach for our conscious self, otherwise we remain concealed behind the lined-up with what we experience on the “apparatus”. However, I do not think Chalmers’ suggestion of categorising our subjective aspects as fundamental is necessary.
We already have phenomenology (branch of philosophy about our reality of conscious experience as phenomena) that offers us the “thing-in-itself”, the state before we judge (phenomenological term) or determine “what” the thing of experience in our reality is. Phenomenology speaks of the conscious being conscious of (recognition of the nature of the conscious, and calls it intentionality), and a self, dasein which translates from German to “being there” or “presence”, and refers to our existence within our reality.
While we can establish that the subjective aspects of our reality are indeterminable and cannot be directly experienced, phenomenology addresses this “impasse” (phenomenological term) or conundrum (self-referencing) by stalling the “apparatus for having an experience” from determining or judging, and delivers for our recognition the self, experience and the conscious in-them-selves. To these I would add the witness, by which we are aware of those aspects delivered in the phenomenological approach.
The witness is the most hidden part of our subjective aspect. It may best be though of and sensed as the displaced part to the manifestant (phenomenalogical) parts of our reality. We may be aware of what the witness witnesses. While we are engaged with what we are experiencing the world is there as witnessed in the periphery and background to our focus, but is also there for us to open and pay attention to. This sense of the world being there whether we notice it or not adds strongly to the sense of our being in a real world. That we can be self aware and self conscious points to the displacement of the witness (by which we are aware) and the conscious (conscious of) from the self, the conscious placed above and the witness generally behind.
With the inclusion of the witness, by which we are aware of our reality as phenomenon, I proclaim “constructology” the study of our reality as a construct of parts that are projected by a whole being.
Our reality is “constructed” or made-up of parts necessary for experience, including the self, conscious, witness, deeper being, experience and what we experience including others and the world. With our identification with what we determine, and our struggles with and letting go of them, our sense of life occurs within our construct or reality.
We can understand our reality as a projected part of our individual whole self (next to other wholes in Reality). As parts to our construct that is a part of our whole, both our self and what we experience, the subjective and objective, are parts of our whole. Not a product of the CNS, but of our whole – projected through, and not by, the CNS.
5 In our “actuality” being there, being what we are
Micky Mouse in his cartoon can think he is superior to if not independent of the cinema projector or the cartoonist. We too can hold to our assertions within our reality “I’m it” and “that’s the wot” (world out there) and be defensive about being a part or projected. However, we can also recognise being a part as one of many me-s or self-s that are different in different states, roles and situations. And, there are other parts to our reality apart from our self, such as what we experience or deeper being that as already mentioned.
As space, time and gravity, was reduced to a more fundamental space-time by Einstein, all aspects of our reality are here reduced to their fundamental, of being projected parts of their whole. However, it is not something in Reality that is proclaimed fundamental here. We are talking about our “own” reality which is a part of our whole self who is of Reality; we are more fundamental in approaching our part in our whole, our actuality as projection, which draws in other components of our constructed reality for also being projected.
Fundamental in becoming a part because we approach our truth as part of our whole (what we are), we approach Reality through our whole, and we become integrated with other parts that construct our reality through being projected parts of our whole. The world we experience is a lesser version of Reality according to our whole and his or her sense organs, with which we are reductionist as we determine what we experience. Even as we use machines for what we cannot sense, they merely augment our reality in some particular aspect of Reality those machines are made for (eg. telescopes for focusing light and their images from afar, and sensors for birds or for neutrinos that fly past or through). We can be reductional with our experience because it is assembled in the first place from indications of aspects of Reality the whole self is sensitive to. We de-assembled or reduced it to the indications of those aspects as we focus separately to vision, sound, touch or any other sense that is our experience.
We are closer to Reality itself when we approach the actuality of our part in our projected reality. Whereas if we separate the subjective by defining it as fundamental, we are displaced on a tangent away from our other parts and from our part in our whole and Reality, but still within our reality. We either float uncertainly or determine our selves as concept in context, as we do with fields for sub-atomic particles outside of their atom.
Projection is what we are, as is our reality. It is our “actuality” our existence in fact, that is more than an opinion about some thing. In “actuality”, parts of our reality take-up certain shapes in particular places, as projected by our whole (through the CNS). Vision is to the front of our having an experience, the conscious above, deeper being below, witness behind, and the self in between. (Notes 3 – “actuality”)
In our actuality as a part we can, should, should be able to, want to and must, regard our whole.
However, as discussed, we cannot be direct in approaching our subjective self (“self-referencing conundrum” and “apparatus for having an experience”). Nor can we refer to our whole in the usual direct manner we can with what we experience.
Where is the whole? Or self? Not in our reality to experience.
The diagram indicates how a part displaces its whole and is surrounded by the “rest of whole”. Our whole is transcendent of or beyond our part while encompassing of it. In many ways there may be more to our reality but the “rest of whole” floats our all.
The following points summarise how we are usually isolated from our whole :
1) transcendence : Our whole is displaced from our part, transcendent of or beyond it. He or she can never be in our reality as a whole because our reality is a part.
2) projection : In being projected by our whole through his or her CNS our reality is displaced from our whole in substance and dimension.
3) differentiation : Our reality separates into various different components, including the conscious, self, what is experienced, deeper being, and witness, and the projected space they are in.
4) identification : Finally, we are isolated from our whole in being identified within our reality, in our self and with what we experience. Other components are bound by this identification, the conscious being conscious of it, the witness by which we are aware of it, and our deeper being that waits for a reckoning beyond identification.
6 Reality, our whole and for our becoming a part
Reality is Entirety, that is more than the sum of all wholes and parts; “the one and only whole”, which may also be considered All-Creation-God.
There must be in Reality something like a force (mystery) and/or presence (profundity) that keeps a whole whole, whether it be a molecule, stone, an apple, planet, galaxy, or the universe. To a part our transcendent whole and “the one and only whole” (Reality) will always be a profound double mystery, of their very whole-ness and one’s part in those wholes. We can look at other wholes but what we see within our reality are indications of things in Reality according to our whole self, based on his or her sense organs (each sensitive to some aspect of Reality such as light, sound, touch etc.)
Our whole is a godly being, wondrous profound mystic cosmic yet mundane, for having our reality as a part, for being more than the sum of his or her parts as the whole, for being of Reality as one of countless wholes, and transcendent of our part. As self or identity, we become a part of Reality in becoming a part of our whole because our whole is of Reality, immanent of or permeated by it (Reality) as a part of our whole.
To be in relation with our whole, we must first understand our “normal” tendency in our reality to identify in our self and with what we experience, as has been outlined. Then, as self or identity, we can approach our “actuality”, our existence in fact as projection in space, “there”. It is as if we exist pressed between several blowup cushions of various shapes and sizes that we contact in incomplete surfaces and spaces. Around these aspects that construct our reality we can introduce a spatial reference or “orientation” (orientation in space) to capture more ofthe actuality of our reality.
Our reality is made empirical by actuality or its projection in space, measurable and verifiable but this is not just for objective scientific analysis. It takes a particular sense to appreciate our actuality, which involves our being a part. We can step back into the substance of our reality that is projection, to be of it to appreciate it, our actuality that we are.
Next, in our actuality, refer to the transcendent whole. For this we can use our sense of his or her mid-line or core (geometric reference for the whole body) in our reality, as a reference for who “must” be there, in Reality. There is nothing solid or whole in our reality, and while only an incomplete and floating sense of core, it works for us to be in relation with our whole. Other ways to refer to our whole include : the whole is touched by the rest of creation; is present in the present; is alive; must be there (for us to be); is transcendent of us; is in and of Reality; is Nothingness, an absence in our projected reality.
A concept of “winching” is mentioned here. Effort to pull on the winch is necessary to promote our whole and part, and advance against our isolating bind, of our identification in our self and with what we experience. Then return the winch to allow for our whole, beyond our effort and reckoning that can only be limited as part (Notes 4 – winching; promoting our part and whole, then referring to our whole).
7 Orientation – an approach to the human condition and Reality
I want to present more comprehensively and precisely what was only alluded to above, of how to approach our actuality and refer to our whole, to be in relation with our whole. The approach is “Orientation” – our projected reality in space and with our whole self. Introduced is our transcendent whole as the universal basis for our existence and processes; universal because everyone as self or identity has a whole they belong to as a part and who they can be in relation with as a part. The process is integration for both our projected part and our whole (more whole with integrating rather than isolated parts), underpinned by the immanence of Reality in all our parts, through our whole being of Reality.
“Orientation” of our projected reality in space and with our whole being leads to changes in what we are as self or identity, the whole we are a part of, and presumably Reality that our whole is in and is of. However, we should understand that it is not for us in our reality to be the whole or reach Reality. Rather, we are to be in relation, as a part in our actuality, with our whole who is of Reality.
The essence, substance and fields of all human endeavours and practices may said to be delivered, with the involvement of our all encompassing whole self, and Orientation may be applied to further those activities and processes.
Through our relation with our whole, our deepest sentiments can flow. Gratitude, reverence and the giving of thanks, our sacrifice or subjugation, wonderment and enquiry (questioning), despair and the reaching for help, struggle with vengeance or against bitter betrayal, the gathering of power, its purpose, and release. Be free and independent as part. Supported and opened, broken and born, lead and realised, strong and uncertain, in our whole’s encompassing embrace that reaches and infuses our reality’s breadths, depths, and extent.
Lastly, Orientation is reduced to three statements you can make within your reality. Be intuitive about when and which statement to use. They indirectly refer to your truth as a part and to your transcendent whole, who must be there in Reality :
“Everything is a part; in everything is our whole”
Message : Everything of our self and what is experienced or sensed, is a projected part of our whole being. In every part is the presence or essence of their whole.
“Everything is material for referring to one’s whole”
Instruction : For one’s everything being a part of one’s whole. Our reality includes positive and negative states, and all their possible purposes and processes.
“Look to a relation with one’s whole”
Goal : In all that we may become, achieve or get to, because our reality includes all that we may be and experience, and is a part of our whole.
Notes 1 The phenomenal world is also defined as the world that can “be perceived by the senses”. But there are no sense organs for us as self or identity. Consider yout own situation. There is nothing of substance, no eyes, ears or brain, in our projected reality. We may think we see or hear in seeing and hearing vision and sound. However, the only thing that we can say we do, as self or identity in our projected reality, is experience, or have experience.
The whole self has the eyes and ears. Information of “aspects of the Reality”, those for which the whole self has sense organs for, is put together in the CNS by our whole, to give us as self or identity the world we experience and what we experience, in our reality.
Our phenomenal world is not the real world of Reality. Nor can we experience the real world directly. Rather, the world we experience indicates “aspects” of the real world, dependent on what sense organs our whole happens to have. Reality itself is more than the sum of all aspects.
The “power” of scientific theories to predict and work or apply lies originally in our reality’s power to indicate the world. We can understand from aspects, apply our understanding, and experience its outcome in our reality .
Notes 2 Just when through modernity, we got used to being the self, it now threatens to disappear into the mayhem of our technological inter-phase and “connectivity”. Around the net or in the screen, if we are just enacting and interacting in our human responses, we are hardly different from AI, especially with neural networking and its apparent creativity (“inventing” its own programmes).
What is it to be human? Who or what is the true self? Who’s in charge? Is there free will? These age old questions about our self and our place in the world, are brought to a new impetus with AI, and its encroachment on so much of human functioning. We look for human-ness today in terms of jobs that computers and computerised machines cannot do, as we consider our employ-ability into the future.
To a large extent, our sense of existence and purpose depends on the world we experience. It reinforces and confirms our sense of being, and our identity and roles are determined according to what’s going on and who is there, as indicated in the apparent world. Made from “aspects of Reality” that the whole self has sense organs for (see Note 1 above), we are susceptible in its indication of things in the real world, to confusion, but also conviction.
We sit comfortably with the experience of things that fit familiarly within our world view (context) and understanding (causality). We are ready to scrutinise or verify what we experience, to question or determine what it is or is doing, weary of being tricked or being wrong in our assumptions. When a thing does not fit our world view, we either adopt or develop a new context that can include the thing. Or we ignore it. (Luddites actively reject new technology and the changes they bring to our reality. We may ignore, or at least post-pone an update for fear of having to re-familiarise with a new program.)
Seeing gadgets such as an automaton (mechanical dolls) do quite complex things that seem life-like, can disturb if not confuse us, until we have them within our understanding. We are now all too familiar with and are readily sucked into the screen reality (we spend much time living, working and interacting in it). However, when moving pictures were first shown on a screen, people were unsettled as to its reality. A train, for example, disappearing off the edge of the screen is said to have made people get up from their seats to look behind the screen (like some cats do). Where did it go? Where does it come from? What about the one that’s coming straight for you that presses you into your seat, or the girl strapped to the railway track who’s struggles before the approaching train makes your heart pound, your palms sweat and grip? Our reality is easily mimicked with moving pictures and sound, and augmented with large screen, music, volume and a lounge seat.
We live within story and sense as self and identity. Uncertain of what we experience, we are validated by and susceptible to occupational and diversional, meaningful and value-adding stories. We do need to make our reality certain, but certainty for us has normally been a matter of perspective, verification with different senses, and context or story, within our reality and not from beyond.
The world we experience and its stories challenges and confirms, our sense and story. Our reality is both, subject and object. In our normal identification, in our self (subject) and with what we experience (object), we avoid the “self-referencing conundrum”, within the confinement and circularity of our reality being both subject and object. Beyond our identification and conditional certainty, is the mystery of our being a part, and the profundity of our transcendent whole, where our true humanity awaits.
Lost are we from being a part of our human whole being who, being of Reality, is next to other wholes in Reality. And has their self or identity heard about being a part? Would their self or identity see value in regarding their whole? Depends on their artificiality, intelligence and story, certainly. However, our being a part, our whole self and Reality, are beyond story and what we experience.
We must approach our self beyond the choosing and choice of what to click, the determining and what is determined of friend or foe, right or wrong, good or bad, the computer-like processing and what it processes.
Let AI encroach upon our humanity. But do not depend on it, nor the world we experience, for our own sense of existence and purpose. The same set of “aspects of reality” that the whole self has sense organs for creates our experience of what is on the screen, but also of what’s in the streets or in nature. They are all experience projected by our whole in our reality. Be chased as to what is real and what is self, beyond our interactive choosing, determining and virtual act (our sense of doing what the whole does in Reality), to our actuality, and to our relation with our whole (as a part).
Notes 3 “Actuality” means the state of existence in fact (dictionary definition). “Our actuality” refers here to the existence of our reality, as projection. Our reality in its various components, occupies space as projected by our whole, in certain ways or shapes, and in certain places in relation to their whole. Our actuality is the truth, substance and form of our reality, and will further be discussed as our state, for being in relation with our whole.
Notes 4 The tendency is to identify within your reality, before you start, and as you shift to a different (new) experience or dimension. To start and keep going, rather than identified in your part and so isolated from your whole :
1a) Promote your part – introduce space, approach your actuality (to be more “presentable” to your whole and “maker”)
1b) Promote your whole – posture, trunk-al extent (so there is something of the whole to receive your part)
2) Refer to your transcendent whole – the core is the reference for, the other-end a clue to, a whole being of Reality (beyond our reckoning and effort, because they are limited by our being a part)
3) Repeat 1) Promote (part and whole) and 2) Refer – to “winch” your self closer to being a part; pulling on the winch to promote your relationship with your whole, and releasing the winch to allow and let go to your whole.
We need to apply effort, but then go beyond our efforts, by referring to our transcendent whole, because our reckoning and efforts are limited, in our being a part. One may become familiar with the levels and layers of our reality, and their unfolding, in our integration with our whole. This, knowing “what happens” to our reality in relation with our whole, can be used to promote our part (step 1a in “winching”). As we become more of a part, there is less of a leap between the conscious act of doing something (promote, step 1) and referring or presenting to the whole being (step 2). Our connecting with our whole becomes “smoother” after having initiated it with “winching”.
1The powerful theories of science have their origins here, in our phenomenal world we may try to understand, powerful because our theories and understandings work when applied in the conditions that they are meant for or were developed in. Nevertheless they remains an indication and story, of the real world and things in it.