mind brain consciousness
On this first episode of MindMatters, we dive into the biggest mystery of our times: consciousness. What is it, why is it so mysterious, and why is it important? Materialists either explain it away or deny it really exists, but the mind is much more than that. It can't be so easily denied. Everything in our experience, from our sensations and feelings to our theories and choices in life - all of these depend on our minds.

Summing up many of the topics we have looked at on our previous show, the Truth Perspective, today we put together ideas from Andrew Lobaczewski, James C. Carpenter, Whitehead and Griffin, and Jordan B. Peterson. We also examine a clip from Peterson's latest Q&A on how our aims structure everything in our experience from our perception to the choices we make in life.

If you like what you see, make sure to subscribe to our new YouTube channel, MindMatters.

Running Time: 01:34:39

Download: MP3 - 86.7 MB

Here's the transcript of the show:

Harrison: Hi everyone. Welcome to Mind Matters. This is a new show. We've entered the 21st century, is that it? We are on YouTube now so we decided to go with a new show to reflect the topics we've been covering in the last several months on the Truth Perspective. So this show will be a continuation of those previous episodes but with the added bonus of visuals for your eyeballs' pleasure. I am Harrison Koehli and joining me today is Corey Schink,

Corey: Hello everybody.

Harrison: And we've got Adam Daniels manning the computers.

Adam: Hello.

Harrison: Since we technically have a new show I want to describe what Mind Matters is going to be. For the most part we're going to be covering topics like psychology, spirituality, philosophy and their connections to each other and other topics too. So we'll be talking about some history and religion and all kinds of stuff, like we've been talking about on The Truth Perspective. We'll be going in that direction.

For today's show we want to continue our discussion from the last few episodes of the Truth Perspective and tie some topics together that we've been talking about over the past several months and both as a summary and as an introduction for people who might be new to the show.

One of the books that we've talked a lot about over the months is Lobaczewski's Political Ponerology. For those who don't know, it is a psychology book. Lobaczewski was a psychologist. He analyzes political systems and totalitarianism from the perspective of psychology because he argues that you need to do that. Any other analysis, whether it's sociological, economic or political doesn't really get to the heart of the matter and that you really need a psychological approach.

This is also the approach that Jordan Peterson takes. Back in the 1980s when he was writing Maps of Meaning that was the conclusion he came to. Even before that he said that that's why he stopped pursuing economics and politics in his post-secondary education and decided to focus on psychology because looking at something like the standard political analysis at the level of economics doesn't really get to the heart of the matter. There's a lot missing because if economics has to do with the thing people value and how they value them, that doesn't answer the question of why they value them or what the values are. To do that you need to get to the level of the individual and individual psychology.

So that's what Ponerology does. That's what Lobaczewski does in the book. That's his starting point, that you need to start from the perspective of the individual and from the latest psychological knowledge, in order to be able to understand these macrosocial things. One of the things that he says in the book - and this will get into the topic for today's show which ties into the last few that we did on James Carpenter's First Sight. We talked about this on our last Ponerology show. This is the section where he's describing those fundamental points of analysis, like the importance of psychology.

We described how he gives some basic universals to human psychology that need to be taken into account when we're doing this level of analysis. He talked about things like association, memory and basic intelligence, basic moral reasoning. There's a little throwaway line in this section where he's talking about association. I'll just read this sentence. "In spite of, or maybe thanks to, the value judgments contributed to this question by psychologists and psychoanalysts, it appears that achieving a satisfactory synthetic understanding of the associative processes will not be possible unless and until we humbly decide to cross the boundaries of purely scientific comprehension."

There's a similar quote in a later chapter where he says something similar. He writes, "We have the right and duty to critically judge our own behaviour and the moral value of our motivations." This is in that context. "This is conditioned by our conscience, a phenomenon as ubiquitous as it is incomprehensible within the boundaries of naturalistic thinking."

Those statements in the context in which they're written are thrown in there. He doesn't expand on them at all. When I first read those years ago I thought that was kind of interesting. I wonder what he'd think about that? It's only been after the years since then reading other sources that I perhaps have an idea of what he had in mind. That brings us back to James Carpenter's First Sight. This is the book, if you haven't seen it. I recommend you check it out. It's a tough read. It's pretty technical and dense but then again so is Ponerology so you'll have your work cut out for you either way.

One of the points he makes is pretty much the same; we don't really understand these things at all. We have some idea of what goes on in people's consciousness, in the brain, in the mind and these kinds of things are studied. Depending on what field they're in, psychologists are pretty good, at a very basic and molecular level even, looking at the structures in the brain and what they seem to be correlated with in terms of behaviour and consciousness, like feelings and affect, cognition, behaviour, looking at these kind of correlates. You look at a picture of this and this is what the activity is like in your brain and stuff like that.

But then you get clinical psychologists who are more interested in where you're at, what your feelings are, what your motivations are, what unconscious influences are driving your behaviours. Even with 100+ years of psychology, we still can't explain adequately what thought is, why thought happens, why experience happens, why we have a sense of ourselves in the world, why we experience anything. That is still a big mystery.

In the last chapter of Carpenter's book he comments on the expansion of our scientific knowledge in relation to electromagnetism, for instance, and how we really had no what we could call scientific understanding of electromagnetism for thousands of years and then in the short period in the 1800s all these new discoveries were made and you had people like Maxwell and Maxwell's equations coming to this understanding of what electromagnetism is and then as we were able to get more insight into the molecular level of things and to actually look at what's going on at the atomic level of things, we realized that electromagnetism is huge. It has a role in everything, to the very bottom of what we consider matter and that those scientific discoveries and breakthroughs have led to technological breakthroughs to the point now where we all use electronic devices utilizing these new understandings that we've acquired over the past couple of hundred years.

After that he says, "Understanding the mind itself is the next great task of science." It should be, I think. He follows that up by saying, "The findings of parapsychology are crucial to the development of an adequate understanding." That's where this book comes into the picture. He's basically arguing that this science that is often considered a pseudo-science among mainstream scientists, is actually crucial. This probably isn't the best book as an introduction to parapsychology. It takes for granted that anyone reading it probably has some understanding of the field and what the research has been over the past 100-150 years to go into it.

So there are probably better books, perhaps Richard Broughton's book on parapsychology. I can't remember the name. Or Dean Radin's books that are more recent. What he's basically saying and what he shows in this book is that the kind of phenomena associated with or called Psi or studied in parapsychology have remarkable similarities to known and accepted phenomena of the preconscious/unconscious mind that are accepted by the wider scientific community already. They're not controversial. Oh, I think that's what Broughton's book was called, Parapsychology-The Controversial Science, if you want to check it out. It's a good one even though it's a bit old and out of date, it's still a great introduction for its time at least.

As we described in the previous shows, the way that what are commonly called telepathy and PK seem to work is very similar to the way other studied unconscious phenomena work. We gave the example of subliminals, primes, when, for instance, a visual stimulus will be flashed in front of a test subject's eyes so quickly that they cannot consciously perceive it. It can be so fast that they don't even have an awareness of the flash of light. They can't see it at all, but that image will affect them in certain ways. It will affect their emotions, their physiology, not even on a conscious level either. They might get a galvanic skin response. They might get nervous but they don't realize they're nervous. It hasn't been brought up to the level of consciousness yet.

It will affect their behaviours too. They might be more inclined to answer a question one way as opposed to another because this image had some kind of emotional relevance. It might be an emotionally charged image for instance. It might be a violent or erotic image. So their body and subconscious is reacting to that image as if they've seen it but they have no awareness of having seen it. This is just the way subliminals work. These sorts of things have been studied for decades and are widely accepted as being true phenomena.

The point he makes is that when you look at the research along similar lines that's done in the realm of parapsychology, you see the same effects, the same kinds of things happening. That seems kind of coincidental. That leads to his theory of course of the construction of consciousness and the role that these Psi processes play in the construction of consciousness. That's why he's saying that any new understanding of the mind will need to take this stuff into account because if he's right about Psi and what he thinks about Psi, then Psi is a fundamental aspect of consciousness. It might be the fundamental aspect of consciousness and what we consider our awareness and our consciousness is built on top of that and that we can't understand that secondary consciousness without understanding what it's built on top of, what the most basic fundamentals of consciousness are.

One of the things I want to say before we go any further is that one of the reasons why this should be the next big question, the next great task of science is that a lot of the existing approaches are really false starts or roads to nowhere. They're dead ends. These would be the popular approaches to the mind and the popular beliefs about what the mind is and what consciousness is. When I say popular, maybe that's not the best word because it's not what real people actually believe. Most people don't think about these kinds of things or don't really have an opinion of them or don't really read the scientific community's consensus on these sorts of things. Most people just don't do that. They're probably better off for not doing so because there's just so much garbage and a large part of that garbage is because of the materialist framework.

If you ask a lot of professionals and people who are looking into this, especially if they're mainstream scientists within the scientific community, they'll argue that consciousness doesn't actually exist, that it's an illusion. This is where you get guys like Daniel Dennett and even some of the new atheists and guys like that. They argue that consciousness isn't really consciousness. Experience isn't really what you experience. It's an illusion. It is a secondary effect of physical processes. They don't explain exactly how that can happen because that's impossible, but they think that because everything is material, because everything is physical, particles and energy and that those are the only forces operating in the universe, that consciousness must be reducible to those things so that if you had a complete understanding of everything you would be able to account for the phenomena of consciousness in terms of the activity of atoms and subatomic particles, which again is nonsense because that's impossible. I'll describe why.

The main reason - I'll try to get into this a bit - is because something like mind, experience or consciousness, can't be explained in any terms other than itself. For example, you can't account for what it is like to smell something with a mathematical equation because a mathematical equation is a mathematical equation. There might be a relationship. You might be able to measure the number of gaseous atoms and things that are entering into your nostrils and the ratios and the way that they pass the air body membrane. You might be able to describe these pathways mathematically and then the brain responses and things like that, but that will have nothing to do with what it is actually like to smell something.

It's the same thing with seeing something or any kind of experience. You can't reduce an experience to something that isn't an experience and a mathematical equation is not an experience and atoms aren't experiences. What all these things are, are scientific and mathematical abstractions. That is what Alfred North Whitehead, David Ray Griffin, R.G. Collingwood and several others call the fallacy of misplaced concreteness. It's just the fallacy of abstraction, to abstract something, to describe it in terms of an abstraction and then to say that that abstraction is the reality when really all you've done is describe a certain thing in a certain reductive way which may be true to some degree, but it doesn't capture the whole essence of the thing. It can't be reduced to that abstraction.

That's pretty much where most mainstream approaches in philosophy and psychology are stuck because they take the abstraction as the reality. By doing so, they take away the thing that actually makes consciousness, consciousness. There are some people of course who understand this because if you're not trapped within a scientific ideology about this, which is a philosophical worldview about the nature of the world and how we know things, if you're not trapped in that, then it's just common sense.

So there are philosophers like Thomas Nagel who wrote his book Mind and Cosmos in 2012 I believe. You read that and it's like, "Well that makes sense." People have been saying this for decades, hundreds of years. You can go back to Whitehead who was writing in the 1920s, saying the same thing. Then you've got David Ray Griffin who is a good summarizer of Whitehead's approach in his book Unsnarling the World Knot where he deals with the problem of consciousness. Nagel, who's more recent, pretty much lays it out. I think he has two or three main points. He talks about experience, the very basic level of experiencing yourself as someone, something that experiences and that that is the lowest level that you can get in terms of experience. You can't explain an experience in terms of anything other than an experience. There may be other things associated with it but you can't do that otherwise. You can't describe experience in terms of something physical because something physical, by definition, doesn't have experience. It is a scientific abstraction.

But also the existence of reason for instance. If reason exists, if there are logical norms that are true, if things work in a certain way like that, how do you reduce a logical principle in terms, again, down to atoms and mathematics? Can't really do it. Well you can describe logic in a mathematical way, like symbolic logic, but again, it's an abstraction that leaves out the essence of what it is like to be a reasoning being.

That actually goes back to a paper that Thomas Nagel is famous for. I can't remember what the animal was but he wrote it as, "What is it like to be an aardvark?" or some kind of animal because it's like something. What is it like to be a human? Well everyone listening to this knows because they have some degree of consciousness, they have some degree of awareness. This audio file is being played on some device and is going into their ears and they're hearing it and they're understanding it. That is a part of what it is to be human and to experience.

So that is one of the reasons why we called our show Mind Matters. This is a huge thing. It's a huge problem. People like Carpenter and maybe even Jordan Peterson will all say they don't understand consciousness, they don't understand anything about it. That's kind of true, but at the same time there have been a lot of people who have looked at this and have actually come to some pretty interesting conclusions about it that just don't get any kind of mainstream coverage. I'm not even sure that I agree with that, that we don't have any idea what consciousness is. Certainly it is a big mystery but maybe it's partly a big mystery because we're trying to answer the question in terms that aren't appropriate. We don't have any idea how consciousness comes about because of physical forces and processes.

Maybe it doesn't. Maybe we're looking at the question from the wrong angle. I think that might be what someone like David Ray Griffin would say. You can't approach the problem like that. Of course you're not going to have any kind of scientific understanding of consciousness if by scientific understanding you're talking about a study of the natural world in terms of physical objects. You won't be able to do it.

Coming back to the main point, that's why we called the show Mind Matters because mind is very important for the main reason that we all have minds and the only way we know anything and show any interest in anything and do anything is because of our minds. So that should be the thing that we want to understand the most if we want to know about reality because if we're studying external reality, if we're studying physical things and trying to describe them and understand how they work - which is what scientists do of all types - the only way they are able to study is because they have a mind, because they have an experience, because they have an awareness that they're experiencing something and then the ability to think about those things and to theorize and make connections. The ways in which those connections are made are because of the nature of mind.

So really, if we want to understand science itself and if we want to understand ourselves, we really have to understand our minds. That's why we'll be looking some more at James Carpenter's book. Do you have anything to say about that Corey?

Corey: Yeah. You touched on a number of really interesting subjects. I was struck most specifically by the idea of this reductionist fallacy and how it blinds people to how we can possibly explain consciousness and experience. I was thinking of it in terms of how radically successful it has been in the physical sciences, just by eradicating the idea of god in the gaps, that everything that we don't understand we can attribute to god by eradicating that idea systematically and by proving in some sense that things are physical. They have physical cause and effect and you can reduce them down to that and that's a good way of explaining the universe.

However, now we're at this point where we're stuck in this materialism of the gaps when we turn our attention to more spiritual conceptions. You can't use materialism to explain conscious experience and to explain why people have ethical systems, value systems, religious systems. You can't use it to explain that specifically. There are a bunch of other things that are going on with cause and effect that are incorporated into that but there's also another dimension. I think there's a reason why Carpenter, Lobaczewski and Peterson were all clinical psychologists because they were all trained in the scientific method but they had a moral and ethical imperative to treat the actual people that they're dealing with and you can't do that by treating them as though they are just physical machines.

In the analyst's office you are privy to so many more dimensions of human experience that you know can't be explained by mechanical theories. So just through the sheer pragmatism of the scientific method, you're forced to confront these ideas and to come up with and to create objective language if there isn't any already, in order to understand these processes. As Carpenter points out, by incorporating the empirical sciences of parapsychology, you get a view of the mind that requires a radical rethink of how we view causation and a whole number of different things.

We think of cause and effect as having to be spatiotemporally connected and cause has to come right before effect. But as he shows in a number of studies, especially I think it was some implicit learning studies, that gave these participants a series of numbers and a computer in the future, would randomly pick a sort of...

Harrison: Sequence?

Corey: ...sequence, a certain sequence, and they had no idea what the sequence would be. But they found that there was no sequence at first and they were told to spot the sequence and they discovered that a lot of people would spot the sequence that was coming, not in the series that they were given, but in the series that they would be given. So it was conjectured or speculated that they were pre-experiencing this sequence that some part of them was in touch with and that was how they were viewing. It was shaping and programming their way of viewing the actual information that they were receiving.

So you have this worldview that opens up where there's a mind that is in some ways connected physically. It incorporates this physical body that can be explained in many ways by nuts and bolts types of phenomena, even if it's not by any means understandable to humanity. It's physical, but there's this other element, this dimension that transcends time and space and yet at the same time it's just as much a part of us as much as our conscious personality. It is shaped by our personality. If we are extremely open or extroverted or easily anxious, that part of us is also in tune with that and our experience of that dimension is shaped by our personality.

I think what makes Carpenter's work so relevant is the fact that it integrates our knowledge of psychology with this idea of a mind that is so much less physical. It broadens our view of human nature. It incorporates an understanding of otherwise random anomalous experiences that almost, I'm sure all of our listeners have had, experiences that would be considered anomalous, whether it was psychokinetic, ESP, strange predictive dreams and things that you know don't fit into the mechanical nuts and bolts view of reality but there's not really a theory that actually pays respect and honours those in terms of explaining why they happen. Not just that that they happen, what it looks like, but why it happens and how it's connected to our practical, scientific understanding of the unconscious and how we should orient towards that.

I think that's a big part too. A lot of people don't have any idea of how to orient towards the more anomalous experiences of the mind. It can be frightening. People can get lost in them, dissociated into them. This whole realm of the mind is so much of a jungle. There's so much out there that requires really good, empirical testing and scientific discovery that, like you said Harrison, our physical sciences are not equipped to deal with it. We have to allow for the possibility that we need to radically rethink how the mind really works. Like the title of the book, First Sight, Carpenter says that it's not second sight. You don't get ESP as an ability, as something that you develop. Rather, this is a fundamental fact on the mind in and of itself. It's not just in the body. People have heard that before and I think we all intuitively understand that, but that major implications for what it means to discuss the mind and how it's connected to our body.

Harrison: I have a few thoughts on some of the things you said there. You talked about how probably everyone listening has had an experience of that sort. You also mentioned how experiences like this can be frightening for various reasons. I'd add to that, that for a lot of people, an experience like this might be frightening to a certain degree and maybe even frightening on an unconscious level to the degree that they'll have an experience like this but won't even notice it. I think probably everyone has had this type of experience but probably not everyone has paid any attention to it because often these kinds of things can just be written off as coincidences.

Coincidences do happen, so when something that is truly anomalous - let's call it that - does happen, if it isn't actually a coincidence, if it is something anomalous, it's easy to get written off as a coincidence because who's going to tell? Usually you can't prove these sorts of things.

So even for a lot of people who have a genuine experience of this sort, they might not pay any attention to it. Carpenter even argues that this probably happens all the time. We probably have experiences like this regularly of what he might call an elusive or some kind of imagery that comes to mind or some kind of feeling that is prompted by a non-sensory prehension as he calls it, but that because we have no way of verifying it, we forget about it. We go on to the next thing and it doesn't bother us anymore because we haven't had the conscious experience to confirm that question that is posed by the unconscious mind to us.

These things are probably happening way more often than we actually realize. You get a weird feeling at some point. You have no idea why. There might be a reason for that. Something comes to mind for some reason. You don't know why. You do something, like your body behaves in a certain way. You make a movement of a certain sort and you don't know why. Well these things can all be influenced by preconscious and unconscious processes and not necessarily Psi either because there are all kinds of what you might all normal - even though that isn't technically true - what we might consider more normal phenomena. These are the kinds of things that regular psychologists usually study, like subliminals.

There are a couple of example. There's one that is called perception without awareness. There's actually something physically in your environment that's going on that you see but you're not aware of having seen. I think it's at least somewhat analogous to the famous experiment where you're watching the video of the students passing a ball back and forth and you have to count how many times they passed the ball back and forth. While you're counting there's a student in a gorilla suit that walks through. The vast majority of people doing this experiment never see the gorilla. It's right there in the middle of the screen. It's totally obvious, but because they're paying attention to something else, they don't see the gorilla.

Something similar to that happens all the time. You'll be paying attention to something, something else will happen and you won't be consciously aware of having seen it at all. If you're asked about it you'll have no idea about it, but that perception actually happened on an unconscious level. So some part of you did see it and did register it and that will be reflected in later behaviour, for instance. So it does act like a prime, but it's not something that flashes so fast that you don't see it. It's just something that you didn't notice consciously but that happened, that you were somehow aware of.

We talked a few weeks ago about the example he gives, how he's hard of hearing so at parties this happens often where he'll have a great idea and he'll say to everyone, "Oh, I had this great idea" and he'll talk about it and they'll roll their eyes because someone else had just said that several minutes before and he hadn't heard it. But some part of him had heard it. So in his own experience in his mind, he experienced that as if this idea just came out of nowhere. He had no awareness of having actually heard it.

That happens at parties too. You're paying attention to someone and someone might say something behind you and you have no conscious awareness of having heard it, but then the same thing might happen. You say, "I was just reminded about this" and you bring up something in the conversation and the person behind you was just talking about that. You didn't realize it though.

So there are all these kinds of things that will affect our behaviours and our thinking and emotions that we're not consciously aware of. This happens below the level of conscious awareness. I just wanted to bring that up and also just the very idea that, for instance, that an experience like this might be frightening. I think that's usually true, especially with psychokinesis. If you're practicing table tipping or whatever, if you levitate a table, for a lot of people that would be frightening because it seems spooky. It seems like something that shouldn't be happening. It's not normal. That's not the way that the physical world is supposed to behave. So there's a lot of negative reactions to something like that.

But one of the main points of his theory is that it is things like that, emotions like that, which he would call intentions or motivations or aims, that construct our consciousness. Our consciousness is constructed out of intentions and aims. So in the case of someone afraid of Psi, they would be unconsciously and perhaps even consciously motivated to reject Psi.

You see this all the time in every sphere of life where people are motivated to either believe something or not believe something. You can see that in politics all the time. It's a very easy pool of subjects to study where people will not believe something because they don't want to believe it. Everyone's like that to one degree or another. So what First Sight is about and saying is that at a very deep level, we have beliefs about things and intentions. We want to do certain things and we want not to do other things and that those unconscious intentions will then influence the information that gets brought to consciousness and that will happen at all levels and that it's happening in everything we experience.

Everything we experience is because at some level there is a judgment made to bring that thing to awareness or not. The 'or not' is very important too. There is a decision made in many cases not to bring that thing to awareness, to consciousness. That has a lot to do with what we might call mental illness of various degrees or even the mental illness of everyday life, just the things that we do wrong, the mistakes that we make, the bad choices that we make, the interpersonal problems that we get into because of our own egotism and selfishness. It's because we're actively blocking out other things of importance and not being aware of certain things and ignoring certain things on a basic, fundamental level that we might not even be consciously aware of.

So just to summarize some more of Carpenter's approach, he's talking about the importance of these preconscious feelings and meanings - that's the word we haven't brought up yet - that serve to orient our attention and prepare us for understanding. This is what he's saying first sight is about. The first thing that happens in that first instant of consciousness is a scanning of all the potential meanings, all of the things that are potentially meaningful and to select those things that are meaningful in relation to our intentions at the moment. Once those things are selected, that is preparing our mind to direct its attention towards those important things or away from those important things. That in itself is a preparation to understanding those things.

So when I'm looking at something, there is an unconscious process preparing me to understand what I'm looking at and this will involve, to a large degree, memories of those things. So when you look at any object, it's because you've experienced it before because you have a memory of what that thing is. Or a person. You have a memory of the person that you're interacting with. That's how you know they are who they are. You might recognize their face or an endless number of things about that person, like the facial expressions, the shape of their face, the body movements that they make, the tone of their voice. All of these things go together to create this synthesis of all these little bits of information, in my immediate experience right now, to form the image in my mind of Corey.

There is all kinds of information that is preparing my consciousness to understand the objects of my experience, in this case Corey. The reason that we don't seem to experience Psi or these anomalous processes more often -- they seem to be anomalous because they seem to happen rarely -- is because for the most part, what is happening is that the preconscious processes are preparing us for our conscious experience of what we are experiencing in our physical reality.

So I'm being unconsciously prepared to understand this person sitting in front of me. The sensory information is the most immediate, reliable and available for validation. My consciousness is looking for potential meanings. It's finding potential meanings and then it's suggesting them to my more conscious processes. At this level there's only potentials. It could be this, it could be this. But when I actually physically, through this body, have now a stream of sensory information, that information then confirms some of those meanings and says, "Yes, this is important. This is the most important thing right now." It's important to be able to see and recognize and understand your environment so that you can then operate in that environment because on a very basic level, for instance, you don't want to die. You want to be in this reality, to survive in this reality in order to do other things in addition to just surviving.

That's one of the reasons why we are so tied to our conscious experience, our sensations, because that is the most immediately available source of information for us and it's the most immediately relevant. When anomalies happen it's because it's one of those rare times where the important information isn't available to your conscious awareness. Something happens that's very important to you, for some reason, that can't be confirmed with your senses. In that case without a further experience to confirm that information, it's left hanging. It's left as only a potential.

So if you have a Psi experiment where you're testing what I think they call a forced choice test where you have four cards and you have to guess the image on each of those four cards. So you make a guess, if it's numbers, 6,4,2,8. If you never get shown what the cards are, if the study stops right there, you'll never have a confirmation of whether you were right or not, whether you had accurate non-sensory information or not. It's just a guess.

It's only when you actually flip the cards over that you know, "Wow you got those right" and you only had whatever percent chance of getting it right and you got all of them right, that's a significant hit. Of course it's never that simple. They do multiple trials and multiple subjects, etc. so they have a lot more stuff to work with statistically. But the point is simply that you need that confirmation and it's that sensory confirmation and most of the time you don't have that available. That's why all of these hunches and vague feelings, thoughts and images and even dreams are not necessarily recognized as paranormal or parapsychological, anomalous or Psi, because you have no way of knowing for the most part, no way of confirming and those times that they are confirmed is when you look back and you say, "Oh wow! That was a really interesting experience I just had", but it's because you've had the actual confirmation from your senses.

So that's what he would argue is the reason for why our conscious experience through our senses is so dominant in our consciousness because it is the most available and reliable and validatable, confirmable information for us to work with. Unless you had something to say to that Corey, let's go to a clip. This is from Jordan Peterson's recent Q&A in March I believe. Let's just play the clip and then we'll discuss it afterwards.

JP: The aims that you have in your life, the ethical aims, and those are the aims that direct your actions, also direct your perceptions. This is true at a neurophysiological level and that much of the way that the world manifests itself to you is a consequence of the structure of your ethics. So it's your ethical structure that's instantiated neurophysiologically that serves as an intermediary between the world of phenomena, let's say, objective phenomena, and your perception of that. You see the world through an ethical lens.

One of the things that that suggests, and I outline this in Rule 6, is that if the world looks to you like a dismal and terrible place and you're nihilistic, depressed and hopeless and all of that, there can be physiological reasons for that. You might be ill. But if it's a psychological issue, it's certainly possible that at least part of the reason that everything appears to you in that light is because your ethical structure is not well formulated. It's incoherent. It's nihilistic. It isn't predicated on the idea, for example, that people have, some spark of divine virtue and that everyone is valuable in that right and that we all have the possibility to make a genuine contribution to the world, or at least to stop it from degenerating any more than it has to into a kind of hell.

Harrison: So that's something that he says pretty often. The ideas in there are ideas that Peterson talks about regularly. I just wanted to comment on them and how they relate to what we're talking about and potentially even to Carpenter's First Sight theory. So he starts out by talking about the ethical aims that you have. He defines the ethical aims you have as the aims that direct your actions. He also says that they direct your perceptions too at a neurophysiological level.

This is essentially what First Sight is saying. Instead of using the word 'aims' Carpenter is using the word intentions, that intentions are what direct your actions and even direct your perceptions at a neurophysiological level. So the way to integrate this into first sight would be that first of all when we're talking about ethics, ethical aims are a certain type of aims. The aim of an ethical aim is to make the best choice possible in pursuit of the philosophical good, the best one possible to direct your actions, the choices you make, the actions you make in your everyday life, every choice that you make can either be for the good, for staying the same neutrality or it can be a bad decision that leads to harm to yourself and to the people around you and that makes the world a worse place.

But it could be that that process, that way of looking at it actually applies to all aims. I think that Carpenter might actually agree because, like Peterson says, this structure also directs your own perceptions. One of the things that Carpenter says that at this basic level of the mind, in terms of unconscious intentions, what's going on there is that the unconscious intention is to bring the most important thing to mind, to exclude all the things that are irrelevant and to bring that information to awareness on some level, whether it's negative awareness in the terms of "don't look at that" or positive, "bring this to consciousness so that you're aware of it", that the purpose of all of those things is to bring the best and most important, most relevant things to consciousness.

So naturally if these things are going to contribute to behaviour, that is going to be within an ethical framework. This is the most important information to help you determine and make the best choice possible in this particular instant, except that on this level it's an open question whether that always goes right or not because you might have, using master control theory of psychotherapy, what he calls a pathogenic belief. This is a wrong belief about the way the world is. So this will distort your ethical aims. This will distort your hierarchy of aims and values so that you are now pursuing something on some level you perceive to be important and going in the right direction but you're actually making a poor choice based on a poor assumption that is creating a poor intention.

This process is going on unconsciously at the most basic level but it's also directing our perceptions. So what does that mean? Well if you just follow it up the stream of consciousness, the stream of mind from unconscious to consciousness, that all of these streams of information are being channeled, directed or constrained and limited in some way by the body, by our brains. If you imagine this vast field of potentially meaningful things, the mind selects the things that seem most relevant in that instant with short-term to long-term in mind too and then those initial potential meanings get presented to your physiology, your nervous system, your body.

What happens is that your body's nervous system will form habits. It will form patterns of behaviour and reception and the way in which we think about things and then use that information to collapse into an action, into doing one thing. It's the formation of a habit. These can be habits of thought, habits of feeling, habits of action, any of those. So on a neurophysiological level, the unconscious sensations that we feel on an unconscious level that prime us for behaviour - this would be things like subliminals - there are pathways that are going on that are habitual. You see a certain type of image and that will habitually affect you in a certain way to prime you for a certain action, behaviour or response ultimately in service of an action or a behaviour.

So what seems to me is that the nervous system is this big, complex, habit-making machine for the service of helping you. "Okay, here's the way to transmit all this information in a way that is efficient and that gets these basic jobs done," ideally so that you can manifest whatever your intentions are in this moment, to survive, to have healthy relationships, to be successful in whatever way, to develop in whatever way and to fulfil whatever your intentions are on a basic level.

So neurophysiologically you are being prepared in these habitual ways to experience the world in particular ways. This can be in our response to material or information that is potentially threatening or things that are potentially beneficial like predators, food, things that we associate with either end of that experiential framework of good or bad, pleasant or not pleasant, pleasant but beneficial, pleasant but not beneficial, potentially dangerous, unpleasant but beneficial. So you might want to go for that bit of unpleasantness because of this intention. Or unpleasant and for a good reason, you want to avoid that.

All of those value judgments are in terms of those values, those pre-conscious intentions, pre-conscious aims, pre-conscious meanings. These things are essentially mental constructions, mental processes. That's why at the beginning of the show I was talking about how you can't reduce these things. You can't reduce an intention to anything other than an intention. Maybe there's a better way of putting it. We don't really have the words for describing it. If there's a better way to put it, it won't be in a way that removes the intentionality from intentions. That's just the bottom level analysis when we're dealing with these sorts of things.

So what I think Peterson is saying - and he has said it in other places - is that even at the level of perception, when we're looking at the world, there is a selection process going on that is based on a hierarchy of values. The actual things that you see are graded for importance. You're seeing certain things because they are important to you in some way, because they are meaningful in some way, because they can be used for certain purposes, because they have some kind of relevance to you. You don't see things that aren't relevant to you.

I used this example some time last year. When I'm looking at a tree, I don't see every leaf. I see a bunch of leaves because each leaf isn't important or relevant to me individually. If it were for some reason, like if one of those leaves had something on it or something taped to it that was important, I would then inspect those leaves and each one would be important as I'm looking for this one important leaf. But for the most part I don't see it.

So you see things in terms of their functionality or purposefulness or relevance to you. He brings this up pretty often in terms of one of the early failures for AI and artificial vision, for instance, trying to train a computer to see something and that the problem that people working on this came to was that when you're presented with a visual field of all this information, there's no obvious way to distinguish one object from another. It's essentially as if you were looking at a bunch of random points of light of different colours. There's a process that's going on that is still mysterious in terms of exactly how we see each object as its own separate object with its own separate function. I think what Peterson argues is that it is because of that function. You see a chair because it is a chair for sitting on. Without a function you wouldn't see it as a chair. You'd just see a random collection of shapes. With no purpose or function you can't understand what it is for. There is no known meaning that is attached to that random collection of shapes and objects. It is only when it acquires some kind of relevance or importance and then that gets instantiated through repeated experience and forms memory, that things become relevant and then you perceive the world.

So every time you're looking at something with your vision, that is an example of this process going on at all times, this creation of meaning, the construction of consciousness out of meaning. You are seeing each object because of its place in memory and its importance to you over time and in memory. You are having the conscious confirmation of your unconscious intentions and meanings that are then displayed for you in the world. And now you have an ordered world that makes sense, that is meaningful, in which you can act and in which you can make choices and do things. Without that level of intention you would just be in this mass of confusing information.

Corey: I think that that's one reason why the study of history is so beneficial because when you look back on a whole number of different lives, you look at the choices that different individuals make and the kind of ethical backbone I guess you could say, that you can discern either through their words or through their actions. You can see that it's not that this ethical backbone just determines what you see or how you see the world, although that's a big part, as you've been describing, but it also determines the life that you live and the reality that you live in. We all have this unconscious mind. That's just a catch-all term for who knows how many different subsystems, subroutines with each having not just its own purpose but its own intentions.

Like the hypothalamus. I'm thirsty. I want to get water or it's time to have a baby. It has all these different functions and intentions but they're mediated, hopefully, by all these other different systems. So part of you wants to become successful so you're going to school and you've learned all of these different things over the course of your life that are operating at an unconscious level so that you know in order to be successful at school you have to do this. You have to write things, so you know how to write. You've learned that. So you have to implement that subroutine and then you have to show up on time. You have to be respectful. You have to put in the effort.

So all of these different things happen unconsciously and if you are just operating without a real ethical backbone, let's say, at a high level, then you could be at the mercy of all these different systems. "Okay, so today I want to go to school." So part of you wants to be successful so you're going to school. But then the next day you say, "I don't really want to. I'd rather just sit and drink beer at home." Then the next day it's like, "Oh it's time to go find a lady. I need to find a lady." Then the next day it's back at home. "I don't feel like going to work today." This mess of chaos is what our unconscious really has the potential to be in unless we strive for an ethical, individualized perspective on reality. And that determines the world that we will live in, the life that we will live.

For most people that is the meaning of life. Most people just have an intuitive sense that this isn't the end. There's more to life than this and to aim towards the highest is not some scurrilous thing to do. It's a fundamental, important thing, whether it's in terms of just bearing the responsibilities you have towards others. The highest that you can see at any given time, aiming towards that, developing this unconscious in a way that you develop the skills that you can manage the level that you're at so that you can reach for the next level and the next level. We talked about the scariness of anomalous Psi experiences. Well there's also horrifying normal unconscious, just facing the unconscious can be a horrifying thing because of how complex and how independent it often seems. It has a mind of its own. When we live our lives, like you said, we can go day-by-day, "Well I did a lot of stupid things today or I did a lot of stupid things the other day", without having the ethical perspective that what we choose will determine not just what we see but why we see it.

Harrison: Yeah.

Corey: A very important thing. It will determine the choices that we make. Are we prone to just travel? Are we prone to abandon people? Are we prone to study? Are we prone to learn? And then how do those choices impact the years that we have on this planet? How do they impact the lives of the people around us? You can spend so much time studying a problem and then if it's 10 years down the road, even if it seems like you were just slogging through but now you have an understanding and awareness of this problem and an awareness of the world that you didn't have 10 years prior, how much richer are you than if you didn't have that ethical drive, if you had squandered your time? I don't want to say that the unconscious is meaningless because, like you said, it's to help us, but at the same time we're not just helpless passengers in this machine. It's our job to utilize it as best we can.

Harrison: But we can be helpless passengers.

Corey: We can be.

Harrison: I'm glad you brought up this distinction. So on the one level there is the hierarchy of intentions, aims and values that goes into the construction of your perception, but on the other there is of course this level of developing your own character and actual ethical decision-making in the context of your life and with the people who are around you.

In that short clip that we played, Jordan Peterson said that much of the way that the world manifests itself to you is a consequence of the structure of your ethics. So here he's talking about not just that basic perceptual level although it does apply to the perceptual level, but also just the way the world manifests to you. This will be your relationships, your work, everything about your life. The way that that manifests to you will be a result of your ethical structure that can be operating, for the most part, unconsciously because then he goes on to say that if your world looks to you like a dismal and terrible place and you're nihilistic and depressed and hopeless and all of that, it's certainly possible that it is because your ethical structure is not well formulated. It's incoherent, it's nihilistic.

There will always be an inherent or even implicit ethical structure to your behaviour. So if you do no conscious work on it, you don't think about it at all, you will be pushed in a certain ethical direction but it will be based on the unconscious intentions and aims. You will be like a passenger going along for the ride that is being given to you by your unconscious and things can go wrong, like I mentioned earlier, in the unconscious. You can form pathogenic beliefs and beliefs that aren't in line with the nature and the structure of reality.

In this case, he's talking about how if your ethical structure is not well formulated you're not looking at the world in the right way. There are certain true things about the world, true propositions, true premises, true values, true aims and intentions and beliefs about the nature of reality that you are not aware of. There's a mismatch between reality and your intentions and it might be your unconscious intentions and/or your conscious intentions. You might have a conscious belief that the world is meaningless, but why? What does your unconscious say? Your unconscious is constantly striving for meaning. It's constantly disproving your conscious belief about it. But from the unconscious level it might be constantly pushing you in directions that confirm that false belief because if you have a really deeply held belief, for instance that the world is terrible, there is an unconscious conflict.

It might even be that your unconscious belief that the world is a terrible and meaningless place it's constantly putting you in situations to either confirm or disconfirm that belief. But because we're habitual creatures, we habitually will come to put ourselves in situations that will confirm our beliefs to ourselves and that we'll be comfortable in some way. You might have a fear of having that belief disproven to you. We're going to talk about master control theory just a little bit.

So we've got these unconscious and conscious beliefs that are at odds with reality. Part of the process of fixing that I think is first of all, trying to get an understanding of reality. Well is reality really meaningless? Well even if I try to accept that, my behaviours still seem to be directed towards the pursuit of some kind of meaning. I don't think anyone can argue with that or escape that. Now what the precise nature of those meanings are and what the precise beliefs and intentions are, that's a more complicated process which might require psychotherapy in some instances of extremely pathogenic beliefs because that's where we get into master control theory.

There are pathogenic beliefs that people can form, especially in childhood, about the nature of the world, about the nature of other people and our interactions with other people. We may believe on a deep level that no one loves us, that we have no purpose in the world or that our purpose is to constantly be putting ourselves second to someone else, to not be looking out for our own well-being, that we're worthless, that the people that love you will always leave you so you shouldn't get close to anyone.

But the point of master control theory, which we talked about a couple of weeks ago, is that for the people that have some inkling that something is wrong and that actually look for help, first of all that's a sign that some part of themselves realizes there is something wrong. So Carpenter, who likes master control theory, would argue that when people go into psychotherapy it's because on some level, on an unconscious level, part of themselves wants these wrong beliefs to be disproven. They want to go in and they want evidence that it is possible to be loved, that not everyone that you get close to will leave you, that it is good to get close to some people, that it is necessary, etc., that these pathogenic beliefs are, even on an unconscious level, in conflict because there's the pathogenic belief but then there's, I'd say, probably the deeper belief that has an understanding of reality. I guess you might even say it has an understanding that that belief is pathogenic and is looking for the confirmation through the sensory information that we get from our interactions with other people, in this case with the psychotherapist, looking for that confirmation that will disprove that belief, to then allow a healthier unconscious and conscious hierarchy of values and aims.

That's essentially what the psychotherapeutic process is. And it's also the process of what Dabrowski would call auto psychotherapy, when you're doing this process for yourself. This would now apply to anyone who listens to Jordan Peterson for their own self-development who isn't necessarily in psychotherapy but listens to him and recognizes something important in what he's saying and then does some work to try to get those conscious and unconscious levels into alignment because if you're living a life where you realize that you could be doing a lot better, there are tons of things that you're doing wrong, that you have more potential than you have manifested, that there are certain practices that you could probably put into practice that will make your life better, certain things you could be doing better, certain relationships that you can fix. If you're seeing all these things, what you're doing is you are really working and mining your unconscious, the way your unconscious is playing itself out automatically, for whatever reason.

It's the habits that you've formed over time for whatever reason and you're retraining yourself, which is very hard at first because the habits are so strong. So you start something new and you make a very large effort for a very small goal which might be, like later on in this Q&A he's answering someone who says that they're having trouble working on their CV for getting a new job. They've been putting it off for months and he says the first step is to turn on your computer and that's it. You turn on your computer. Then you pat yourself on the back. Then you make a plan for the next time. You open the folder that has your CV in it. You don't even open your CV. You just open the folder. Even these tiny tasks can be difficult, depending on your circumstances. For this person it obviously was and is a problem.

By doing this you are essentially forming a new habit and you are confirming to yourself new beliefs. You're confirming to yourself that okay, I can do this. This isn't too big of a hurdle for me to cross. You've just sent your unconscious the signal. "Oh, that isn't a huge problem. That isn't something that I'm incapable of! Would you look at that! That has just confirmed now this potential meaning that I am a capable individual who is able to overcome a certain degree of difficulty in whatever my pursuits are in life."

So by constantly doing that, what you're actually doing is disconfirming limited beliefs that hold you back in whatever way, and you're confirming what were previously only those potential meanings about yourself and about the world. Again, it's this selection process that's going on now through your own conscious intervention in the process. You're intervening in these conscious processes and saying, "Okay, I'm going to engage in this process. I'm going to do this thing" and what's actually happening by doing that is that you are restructuring the unconscious hierarchy of what is motivating all of your actions from the level of your perception all the way up to the character that you build for yourself through the decisions you make in work and relationships.

I hadn't really thought about it like that before but in any of these moments you are surrounded by potential meanings and some of those potential meanings are going to be better and more helpful to you than other potential meanings and your unconscious is constantly going to be looking for the best and most important ones. Let's say that on an unconscious level then there is the belief or the potential meaning that you are a person who is capable of doing these things, of making these choices. Now, for whatever reason, over your life and over the formation of your conscious experience and the way that interacts with your unconscious, you will then form a habit that for whatever reason, blocks that from consciousness. Well even though that's the best meaning, it isn't relevant in this situation. It won't be brought to consciousness. It won't be believed because there are all these other things that are more important in this instant for whatever reason.

For a child it may be more important to not believe a certain true thing because in that situation for the survival of the child, it's important to come up with an illusion, a false belief. We gave the example a couple of weeks ago of the child who's constantly passed around because they don't have any parents and it seems to the child like no one loves them. Well on some level that belief was helpful at that time because it protected them from even more devastation. In adulthood some beliefs that we form in childhood aren't good anymore. So for whatever reason on an unconscious level then, we might sign negatively those potential meanings that are good. Then as adults who can then intervene in this process with our own freewill and through our own choices, we then provide the material in our sensory environment in the world of action and meaning, by doing certain things we then provide the material to access and confirm that previously potential meaning and to bring it into actuality and to manifest that.

That I think is actually how we manifest our potential. That's another thing that Peterson talks about. Everyone has a potential and ideally we are all striving to actualize that potential but you look at yourself, look at other people. You see "He's not really manifesting his full potential. Well neither am I. I'm not manifesting my full potential. Well how do I go about doing that?" Well it's finding those potential meanings and then confirming them. It is a discipline and a process of work, of putting in the work and making the difficult choices and putting in the hours essentially, to retrain those unconscious parts of yourself to disconfirm those old beliefs and to confirm the new ones.

Corey: Fantastic! That was a great overview. So basically what you're saying {laughter} what you're saying is...

Harrison: No! I'm not saying that! {laughter}

Corey: So the big takeaway, I pick up on when you're saying that is that one of the most important beliefs really is the belief that you are personally responsible for the reality that you're living in. So if through whatever cruel events from the past, you come to adopt these nihilistic beliefs, the self-hatred, self-sabotage, that the world is meaningless, and it's causing you such grief and you obviously don't want to have this belief that there's no meaning, no beauty, then it's upon us as individuals, that we can take responsibility, we can create that beauty, we can create that meaning, even if it is a Herculean effort at first to do it. That is our responsibility.

In fact, the worse it is, the most ethical person will probably see it as their duty. That ethical call is that it is your duty to god, to the universe. It's your duty to the highest power to manifest because there is no beauty around you, there is no meaning. Life is dark and bleak. Then you just set out. It's your pilgrimage towards your highest potential. That's where the adventure of life begins. Then you're just like Odysseus on the waves after that, but that is one of the most fundamental beliefs, that it is your duty. If you want to be, then it's your duty to be. Whatever it takes to become, then you do that.

You love yourself along the way. You have to accept the failings of the human condition but like you said, if the world looks to you as if it's nihilistic and meaningless, then maybe that's because that's what you're creating, in many ways you're creating this because you have the ability! Everyone does! Any small act of creativity, any small act of beauty that you can create in this world, everyone has that potential. We all love those people who do that. Those people are the ones that we wish to emulate the most, that we hold as the highest standard, those who in the darkest times, is their existential commitment to this possibility.

It's like one of the poles of the universe, of being and beauty, of this ethical viewpoint whereas the other pole is nihilism and materialism and all of the associated behaviours and resentment and anger that go along with it. We all have that choice, that we can implement the behaviours of one or the other. At some point in our lives we realize if we're nihilistic, if we're just contracting and constantly blaming and are resentful and full of hate, to have somebody like Jordan Peterson come in and say, "Hey! Buck up bucko! Clean your room! You can clean your room, can't you? Go ahead and give it a shot," there are so many people who respond. That's all it took for so many people, just the idea that 'I can', that it is possible to manifest order and that I don't have to blame everybody if there's no order in my life. I can clean my room. It's fascinating.

Harrison: Well the last thing he said in that clip has to do with some of these positive core beliefs, so the opposite of the pathogenic beliefs. I'd just say first of all that if you're living in a nihilistic world and that's the world that you're seeing, that's because you are essentially manifesting the meaning of anti-meaning. Even that nihilism is the expression of a certain type of meaning. It's just the absence of real meaning. But that in itself is still a meaning. It's just a perverse one. It's one that is not in alignment with the actual nature of reality.

So Peterson goes on and says something like that pathological structure of ethical aims that you have, if you're nihilistic like that, he says "it isn't predicated on the idea, for example, that people have some spark of divine virtue and that everyone is valuable in that right and that we all have the possibility to make a genuine contribution to the world or at least stop it from degenerating any more than it has to into a kind of hell."

There's something deep in there. This idea that every person is a spark of the divine, it is not only a result of living in the world in a healthy and positive way, it's also a precondition for that. And if it's a precondition for transacting in the world in a way that is in accordance with reality, in a way that works, then it must be true in some way. So in what way is it true? Maybe before we end today's show I'll take that in one other direction to tie it into some previous shows that we've had.

If that is true, how can it be true? Some people will take something like that and take the pragmatic approach to truth, which Peterson does often. "Well if it seems to work that's good enough. We can't really say if it's actually true or not. So is it really true that we are all sparks of the divine, that everyone has some real value to them? Or is it just best to assume that because it happens to work?" You find the same thing in approaches to religion from guys like Jonathan Haidt and Nassim Taleb. "Religious beliefs seem to have these positive things so we should accept that they work for whatever reason but whether they're true or not or how they're true or whatever level they're true on, that's another question. We don't have to get into that. We don't have to accept that they're true but just accept that they work."

Well this gets into deeper metaphysical speculations and potentially realities. For instance, if our aims are predicated on some kind of values, well then what is the source of values? How do values actually exist? This is what we talked about last year when we were talking about Whitehead and David Ray Griffin. If we're going to operate on the idea that these things are true, well then it might be helpful to come up with a worldview, a philosophy in which they actually are true. The way to do that - to read some Whitehead which is kind of difficult again. Why do all the authors that we like have to be such dense writers? I don't know. {laughter} I don't think David Ray Griffin is that dense.

Basically value has to be true. There has to be a way in which values are true. They have to be objectively real in some way, not objects in the sense of physical objects. They have to be real. They have to be effective. They have to be able to influence us in some way which they arguably and experientially do. We are influenced by values. Values do seem to exist. Well where do they exist?

Values can't be described in terms of physics. They can't be reduced to physics at the very least. So where are they? Well they're non-physical in nature. This is kind of why I liked that little book that we read, Consciousness: Anatomy of the Soul because it starts out with a simple point. "Your perception of something isn't physical so therefore it doesn't exist in the physical world. It exists in the non-physical world." That's the question. So what's the non-physical world? Well the only non-physical world that we have any real access to right now is our mind because our minds are non-physical. Can't be reduced to physics. So just own it. Say, "Okay, I've got a non-physical mind. I may not be able to understand all the implications of that or what it all means, but just take that as your starting point."

Then you can say, "Okay, so values, abstractions, things that aren't material," and this would include values, numbers, norms like in logic or esthetics, beauty, even the norm of truth. What is truth? Well quoting Pilate, what is truth? Well it's a non-physical thing. You can't reduce the idea of truth to an atom. It's like, "Oh truth is that collection of atoms, not that collection of atoms." Well that doesn't make any sense. Truth is a non-physical, mental, rational norm. It is a yardstick of some sort that can't be reduced to matter. So maybe whatever all these things are, they exist in the same place. Traditionally and classically that was ascribed to the mind of god. That's where they were placed. The source of mathematics, the source of order, the source of value, the source of consciousness itself, the source of all these non-physical things is in the non-physical mind, the ultimate mind.

I guess that's a direction we'll be coming back to in future episodes of Mind Matters, getting into the philosophy of that a bit. I think I'll end that there.

Corey: I just wanted to play devil's advocate quickly and say that a staunch materialist would say, "Well we just evolved values and that's why it's all about pragmatism. Just over the course of millennia it was just whatever worked because of natural selection and whatever accidents occurred." But that runs up against the problem that you need value to have life in the first place.

Harrison: Right.

Corey: In order to have natural selection, to have these creatures doing the things they do, there is some value involved in what they're doing. Then they would say the original value was just to survive. Then you run into the problem that life itself is a horrible thing to have if your only value is survival because without life you don't have the problem. Life just creates the problem in the first place. So you just keep pushing this problem back and back and still you run up into this philosophical problem and one that you can't explain just through the materialist mindset which, when you look at things through a lens from values, you see that the materialism is itself just a value judgment about the universe.

So what you're getting at here Harrison, about values being non-physical, it touches on what we've been reading, Consciousness: Anatomy of the Soul, Dr. Carpenter's book, empirical science, actual science that shows that you can test these things and you can speculate on the nature of the mind in ways that are perfectly scientific and you can draw conclusions from them. You've talked about David Ray Griffin and Alfred North Whitehead. There's philosophy behind it too. There's all this potential for a real re-think and not some new-agey re-think on the nature and science of the mind, but a rethink on science of the mind that is perfectly in line with what we already know to be true about the universe. We don't have to ditch any theories that aren't already scientifically valid.

Obviously we're probably going to have to ditch those theories that are based in the value judgments concerning what is and isn't possible, saying that consciousness can't exist because of this. But that's just not scientific. You're ignoring scientific evidence. It has been pointed out time and time again but that's not what we're going to do here on Mind Matters because we obviously have the value of truth. So we're going to be pursuing that.

Harrison: Yeah. One final comment on what you said in there about the response from a materialist or Darwinist that values don't really exist or we just evolved to experience what we experience as values. You need consciousness in order to have an experience of value. Darwinism can't explain the emergence of experience of value. That in itself is unexplainable in terms of physical, mindless evolution. So they're explaining an unknown in terms of another unknown and saying both of those came about through a random physical process but that can't account for either of those things that they're trying to explain that depend on each other. You can't have consciousness without a sense of value and you can't have values without a sense of consciousness in order to experience the values.

So the question really is, 'what are the limits of Darwinian evolution?' Like we've pointed out in the shows we've done on evolution, by definition Darwin's theory of evolution can only affect physical processes and it doesn't even do a very good job at that. There are limits to what can be achieved by purely Darwinian processes. So why even bother going there and trying to explain something like consciousness in terms of a material process that hasn't even been developed to a degree to show how one complex protein can evolve into another complex protein? It's a non-starter.

Corey: At this point, to say that everything is materialistic or relative nihilistic and that humans have no consciousness, to say that, you're standing on morally dubious grounds, so say the least. At this point you're starting to look like some sort of a predator if you're really going to use your platform as a scientist to make these kinds of statements that society will accept on some part unconsciously, as we've been talking about throughout this whole episode. We're primed by our culture. We're primed by society and as scientists, if they are on their soapbox, given this platform and they're spreading something that just corrodes the worth of human life and life in general, then you have to say it's just morally dubious.

Harrison: And on that note, we will end this show. We'll end this show on a dubious note. So thanks for tuning in everyone. Hope you like the new format and we'll be back next week with another video. So everyone take care. See you then.

Corey: Bye-bye.