Awareness of an object (x) is the same as that object (x)
Expressed symbolically as X = AW:X or AW:X = X
I am sure the first time reader has begun to think of counter examples to this proposition. Please try them!
Try your examples out for yourself using this function for awareness and see what happens. But be specific. Whenever there is any variation in an object, is there a variation in your awareness of the object? What happens to your awareness of an object when the object changes? What happens to an object when you awareness of it changes?
If you look at some object now, and move your head so your view of it changes. does the object change? Is it exactly the same as before? No, it is not. When two things are different, we may say they are the same thing, but they are not. What we mean is there are two views which refer to the same thing. Thus there are three objects, the first view, the second view, and the third object that both views reference (which is not a view). Not only do we have three objects, we have three different instances of awareness of objects.
This applies as well to objects which move across our field of vision, or objects that we experience through time such as sounds. Consider a person walking across your field of vision from left to right. At first we seem them on the left and then later we see them on the right. Are they the same person? We say they are, but we do not mean our view of them in the left position and the right position is the same. Those things are different. And we have associated those three things together. Again we have three objects (left view, right view, person) and we have an awareness of the three.
Where there is a change on the object side of the function, it is reflected on the awareness side of the function. And where there is a change in our awareness of some object, it is reflected in the object itself. As things change, either in our awareness or as objects, the opposite also changes. We naturally make associations between objects and that association is the object we typically refer to as the thing which does not change (the person for instance).
But what must be ascertained here for yourself, is: Are the awareness of an object and the object ever different? And if you say, "look here, my awareness of this orange (or this table, or this chair, or myself) is not the same as the orange!" Ask yourself where the orange, and your awareness of the orange vary. And that point of variation, that is a different awareness, meaning, a different object of awareness and in fact, a different object. The orange has either a quality or detail it did not have before, and your awareness is of that new quality or detail. or you are referring to more than one object you are aware of and conflating them together. Objects and the awareness of them are always in perfect synchrony.
For instance, you could say, "My awareness of my mother is not my mother". To which I ask, do you mean the "image of your mother in your mind" is not the same as your mother? Or your memories of your mother are not the same as your mother?
And of course they are not. But then you have awareness of the "image of your mother in your mind" and an awareness of your "memories of your mother" and an awareness of your mother. That is three separate objects you are aware of. And those three contents of awareness are not the same things. These three instances of awareness do not have the same contents. Each awareness corresponds to it's own content.
And it corresponds exactly.
Try it. Try to find an instance where your awareness of something and the thing itself differ. And what you will find over and over and over again, is not that awareness of an object and an object differ, but that you have more than one object of awareness (or in awareness). And this multiplicity of contents correspond to different things that are related to each other, but are not themselves identical.
Where X is some object, you have an AW:X and AW:X1 and an AW:X2. And AW:X = X and AW:X1 = X1 and AW:X2 = X2. And X is associated in some way to X1, and X2
Your memories of your mother are not your mother. And your awareness of your memories of your mother are not the same as your awareness of your mother. That is how you tell your memories apart from your mother; because, your awareness is different. If your awareness were the same, how could you tell that the things themselves are different? How could you tell anything apart if the awareness of the thing didn't vary? And the reverse is also true, how could you know two things were the same, if the awareness of them were not also the same?
This is how we tell the past from the present. we have an awareness of things in the past, and memories of an awareness of things in the past. We have an awareness of things now. The awareness of things past and things now correspond to different contents of awareness.
Where we can't tell the difference, it is our awareness that is the same. And when an awareness of two things is the same, we do not recognize two objects. We see this over and over in learning. At first things may appear to be the same, but as our awareness grows, we recognize differences and then say the things are different. Or we may meet a person, and then later meet a very similar person and ask if we had met them before. And when they say yes, we realize they are the same person. Thus an awareness of two people becomes an awareness of one person.
Everywhere you can look, your awareness of something and the thing itself are inextricably linked and identical.
It could be argued this is a language game. But it is not. This fact about awareness is something fundamental to nature itself. This proposition is irreducible and not an artifact of language.
Non-linguistic organisms appear to behave as if the function were true. And we know this because we can put those organisms in simulations. We take organisms that have awareness, put them in simulations and see if they behave in ways identical to their non-simulated environments. And, if our simulations are good enough, they do. (for instance seagull pecking spot studies: http://dustincurtis.com/how_niko_tinbergen_reverse_engineered_the_seagull.html
This indicates that the contents of awareness for those organisms is identical between their real environment and the simulation. For the organism, the real thing and the simulated thing are identical. Our awareness of those same things is different, because we are aware of the differences between the simulated environment and the real environment.
And this is why simulations of all kinds (such as dreams, or movies, or stories, telephone calls or... perhaps our universe itself?) are so powerful. Because it is only when objects and the awareness of objects are identical, can we have an experience of simulations. And it is only when there is some variation that opens up awarenss that we ascertain there is a simulation. It is the associations we make that let's us categorize simulations and participate in simulations as part of human experience.
Magical thinking, as expressed in cargo cults, is exactly the kind of experience where the awareness of the cult member has not developed to the point to ascertain how the simulation (cult behavior) is categorically different from the events which the cargo cult attempts to mimic.
In a cargo cult, or any magical thinking for that matter, the awareness of doing some actions, such as those performed by soldiers, should cause planes to land with cargo. So clearing a runway, setting up lights, having someone make flag signals should make planes land with cargo to enrich the local population. Of course it does not. (Not anymore than laying out cookies for Santa Claus will result in presents under the Christmas Tree. )
Is this a counter argument? How are cargo cults fictions if the awareness of the thing and the thing itself are identical? And here we assume that the cargo cultist has the same awareness of the World War 2 airman. While the airman and the cultist are both aware of planes, the airman not only has a more detailed awareness of planes, but he has a more detailed awareness of why planes would be flying in the South Pacific during WW2. The airman has beliefs and ideas and direct experiences with planes, and flight, and pilots and fuel and aircraft carriers, and the US government, and the war department, and fighting a world war.
The cargo cultist has none of those experiences. His experience is so limited that he RESORTS to magical thinking to produce cargo from the sky instead of trying to expand his awareness of how cargo actually arrives. And this is the problem with all magical thinking. While the cultist has an experience with planes and cargo, that experience is associated with his other experiences and beliefs where his methods of thinking and acting have been successful for his survival. But these associations and beliefs of course have nothing to do with flying planes around the Pacific ocean during WW2.
It's not that his experience is not real, it simply ineffective to produce the kinds of results he wants. For instance, i do not have a unicorn, and even though I know more or less what a unicorn is, that does not mean I get one by wishing. (because getting is not really a function of wishing, even though we think sometimes it is). I have to make one, or find one. Both of which seem rather difficult. How difficult that actually is, is a belief I have. And beliefs such as difficulty and ease often take on qualities of magical thinking.
We are embedded in such away that all the objects we are aware of relate to each other. And this is true for cargo cultists, unicorn hunters, and you. At this stage though I want to stay focused only on the problem of what awareness is and some basics of how it functions. But later we will deal with how objects relate to each other via representations.
Can we test the function AW:X = X?
An easy way is just to pick some things and see if it's the case.
How about where 2 = X
Is an awareness of two identical to 2? If 2 is an abstraction for a quantity. Is an awareness of that abstraction the same as that abstraction?
Let us consider hands and 1 and 2. I have 2 hands and 2 feet. Is my awareness of having "2" of those things the same as the quantity? If I couldn't be aware of the quantity, would it exist for me? Would I have two hands?
What about 1? is an AW:1=1? I have one right hand. and I have one left hand. the left hands and the right hands make two hands. AW:(left hand) ≠ AW:(right hand) but AW:(1 hand) = AW:(1 hand)
Is the 1 hand different than the AW:(1 hand)? If it is different, where is it different? It could be argued that where (1 hand) = (left hand) it could be that an AW:(1 hand) = AW:(left hand). And that's okay, because we assume about that (left hand) = (1 hand). And if we do not assume that a (left hand) = (1 hand) we naturally are not aware of left hand being the same as awareness of one hand: AW:(left hand) ≠ AW:(one hand)
But if (1 hand) = (right hand) then an AW:(1 hand) = AW:(right hand). But we would not simultaneously say that AW:(1 hand) = AW:(left hand) because (AW:(1 hand) = AW:(right hand) ) ≠ (AW:(1 hand) = AW:(left hand) ).
What we are seeing is how one awareness of things is linked to another awareness of different things. Notice in the above example that all the objects(things) of awareness have two parts. And one of those parts, in all the examples, is "hand".
Breaking out all the bits an pieces we have the following:
we see based on the function how an AW:(1 hand) can be both an AW:(left hand) or an AW:(right hand).
Often times when talking to each other we make statements about which hand to use. And often time we say "no, your other right hand", as if you had two right hands. This is a common experience most people have had. But when you switch to your "other right hand", you are aware of your other hand.
I suppose everyone has these experiences, especially as they grow up, because the concept of left and right are purely abstract. But your hands are not abstract at all. And often when we "say left hand" we are directly aware of "that hand" and misinterpret the left and the right. Or perhaps this "other hand" problem is really a breakdown in awareness of which hand is left or right. It looks like we don't think through the handed problem and thereby pick the right hand, but rather we immediately offer the hand ... that is “at hand”.
the abstraction of left and right is not tied very well to an awareness of your hands. And left and right suffers from the problems of mirror perspective as well, which leads many people into confusion. Left and right is a fun little problem to watch. and it brings us to the next part.
Left and right are representations. Left and right are particularly funny representations because they are exclusively subjective representations. There is my left or your left. There is no universal left, although we could conceive of a universal left, it is a fantasy idea. But the representations of left and right give us all sorts of objects that we are aware of that need to be associated together.
AW:my hand = my hand
AW:your own hands = your own hands
AW: my = my
AW:your = your
AW: my left = my left
AW:your left = your left
AW:universal left = universal left
This seems rather funny when it's laid out this way. But without expressing, in symbolic functions, how these objects also correspond to an awareness we will be glossing over the fact of existence as it is. The thing I want to impress upon you, the reader, is that this concept while it appears foolish or even useless at higher levels underlies everything. That the awareness of an object is identical to an object. And that it is a feature of the universe that must exist for us to even consider whether it is true or not.
By starting from this point, we can begin thinking about problems such as creating an artificial mind which gives us more opportunity to succeed. Whereas by starting from a materialist proposition, which implicitly or explicitly denies the proposition that awareness is a feature of the universe, while being obviously dependent on its' truth, does not seem to have a route to construct artificial minds. This is a point that I will address in better depth later. Materialism ignores the underlying fact of awareness in much the same way as a cargo cultist makes no effort to understand the underlying nature which leads to the arrival of cargo on his island.
The enormous variety of objects of awareness obviously lead us to start to consider the relationships or associations among those objects. This is something to be explored shortly. But before I consider it; I want to acknowledge that this idea about awareness and objects looks very much like a philosophical idealism. Perhaps it is, perhaps it isn't.