Perception, Inception and the Trojan Horse Money Meme - Part One of Four

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Perception, Inception and the Trojan Horse Money Meme

Chapter One of Four




Cognitive Dissonance


The intent of this essay is not to convince the reader of anything other than the need to expand our depth perception of the consensus reality. Consider this essay as an invitation to think free of constraints. Chapters One (here) and Two (here) explore our distorted and manipulated perception of reality while Chapter Three (here) examines the concept of Inception or the implanting of thought or belief memes into our individual minds and our collective culture. Chapter Four (here) discusses a basic roadmap to the expansion of our perceived reality.


Perception Is Reality

As a young child I traveled extensively starting around seven years of age and extending deep into my twenties. For almost two decades I visited exotic and faraway lands where I witnessed strange native customs while struggling to understand the local culture. I marveled at the foreign architecture, the strange smells, sounds, colors and textures as I abandoned restraint and became totally immersed in my surroundings. Each day I experienced the inner thrill of discovery tinged with the latent unease that comes from being totally out of my element and hostage to the unknown. It was wonderful, it was frightening and it was inspiring. And none of it was real because all of it was in my mind.

Or maybe it was real. Is reality exclusively a hard slap across the face by my angry lover or the cold biting wind in my face as I rush to catch the last available cab? Perhaps reality is also the delicious inner joy I experience while watching my young children play with utter abandon, squealing with delight simply because they are alive and uninhibited.

In many respects the emotional joy derived from my children, as well as its physical manifestation, is no less real or less grounded in reality than the frigid wind. In fact the cold wind can only be experienced during the winter season, yet I can experience happiness at any time. The lover’s slap requires a shared reality and the right conditions, while my pleasure and inner peace can be deeply personal or widely shared, can be summoned upon command and is infinitely repeatable.

Yet we seem to believe there are major differences between these perceptions, with one supposedly real and the other not quite so much. We are emphatically assured by science that one is based in reality, defined as ruled by physical laws, theorems and conditions, the other solely in our mind and thus……well, not really ‘real’ in the sense of a physical presence of mass, weight and volume, the final arbiter of real reality.

Since our modern day scientific magicians have yet to thoroughly measure, quantify or reproduce under sterile laboratory conditions our consciousness, the unproven reality of our inner being is relegated to a corner of the lab as a fascinating curiosity for later study. And there it remains in a sort of no man’s land with all the other unproven dead ends languishing in scientific purgatory. We are assured it isn’t ‘real’ if it can’t be proven, so if the wizards say it ain’t real who are we to argue? We are just the creators of our present day conscious reality. What would we know?

Lost in this discussion is the understanding that thought and emotion compel action which in turn propels physical outcomes that create our external reality. All of the man made physical reality that surrounds us began in our mind, in our inner consciousness, and only after we imagined it did we form it into a physical presence. Yet we rarely question what ‘real’ and ‘reality’ actually is. After all, isn’t it obvious? Well, maybe not.

Without being aware of it (we are told) our brain filters out much of what we receive via our five (six?) senses in order to prevent sensory overload. In addition our eyes see only a narrow band of the electromagnetic spectrum, our ears hear just a small range of frequencies and our nose can only detect relatively heavy concentrations of odors. The nose doesn’t necessarily know.

It appears our senses are primitive compared to many other animals and our brain filters out much of what is received in order to protect us from being overwhelmed by the information deluge coming from the ‘real’ world. So if we perceive only a small slice of our world and even that tiny portion is filtered by the brain, how do we have the arrogance to claim we know what ‘real’ is in any comprehensive sense of the word?

Considering how science and scientific knowledge is constantly being surprised, amended, revised and rewritten, for some authority to declare that our emotions and consciousness are somehow different or separated from physical reality boggles the mind. We do not know what we do not know and once we accept this basic premise, to then make sweeping statements of absolute truth and clearly defined boundary is hubris, arrogance and self deception to the nth degree.

I suggest that in theory there’s an extremely permeable barrier separating all our perceived and unperceived realities and little to no barrier in practice. Furthermore, what is preventing us from fully recognizing all facets of our reality isn’t so much physical limitations, but instead conditioning, indoctrination and social training. It’s not nature so much as it is nurture that blinds us to the extent of the world around us and possibly other worlds that exist beyond the horizon. As well, if I cannot ‘see’ or perceive the world around me as it truly is, how do I recognize duplicitous and manipulative behavior by those of ill intent that prey upon my blindness?


The Mind Knows Not

I grew up immersed in the world of fiction, in particular science fiction. And when I was caught up in some dramatic alien invasion or visiting a strange new planet or even racing a spaceship through time while dodging laser beams, in many ways it was as ‘real’ as anything I’d ever physically experienced. And I would argue even more so because when engrossed in a fictional book I wasn’t a spectator or passive participant of physical reality who lives strictly within a preformed physical world, but rather an active creator of an alternative reality.

The fictional written word is simply the two dimensional blueprint for an alternative reality which is then fleshed out and given depth, texture and color via my imagination. A really well written book doesn’t create the alternative reality, but simply acts as a powerful catalyst for my consciousness to then create that reality by way of my imagination. This is similar to the process by which I imagine something I wish to possess and then I create it with my hands in the real physical world. So does my ‘real’ present reality make the alternative reality I perceive through the pages of a novel any less real or even demonstrably fake or false?

If I laugh or cry or even fall in love with a character while immersed in some alternative reality, my emotions and their outward physical manifestation are just as real as if my ‘real’ lover dumps me or I miss that last cab and must walk in the rain. My passion for my lost ‘real’ world lover is still very real even though it is no longer returned and thus not validated. Her emotional rejection continues to affect me physically even though she no longer touches me.

If while dreaming I experience an epiphany which when awake I physically translate into a ‘real’ life changing event for myself and those around me, where is the divide between real and not? It’s almost a chicken and egg thing. Which comes first, the inner emotion and imagination or the external reality? From my point of view one cannot exist without the other, thus one is just as real as the other. They simply manifest in different ways and different forms.

I find it fascinating that we accept Einstein’s theory that energy is never destroyed but only transformed. And yet we don’t think to carry that theory into our daily lives when it comes to our perceived reality. Why can’t reality move, shift and transform between our perceived physical and metaphysical realities? And why would we possibly think we are not an integral part of that transformation either as the instigator or creator of the change?

Relative Reality

Our subconscious mind accepts as ‘real’ everything that it perceives or senses regardless of whether it is actually occurring in our physical world, our imagination, on the television or in our dreams. This is one of the reasons subliminal messaging is so effective. While the hidden message is flashed to our subconscious mind, the intent is clearly for the message to manifest in the ‘real’ world through our physical and emotional expression. Essentially subliminal messaging is designed to penetrate that porous barrier between the real and not so real world in order to be acted upon in the physical world. We are compelled to emotionally react and then physically act via our capacity for subconscious perception of something which we are not consciously aware of.

It is only within our physical world that reality is constrained and narrowly defined. Yet even in the real world we hear echoes and see distortions which we quickly explain away as not real or unproven. Many of our cultural legends and much of our entertainment is preoccupied with ghosts, evil demons, ancient Gods and scary monsters. Science has all kinds of wonderful explanations for this ‘hysteria’ and all of the explanations confidently declare they aren’t ‘real’. In fact that is the default starting point. Either we are experiencing massive global hallucinations spanning hundreds of generations or quite possibly we can and do perceive shadows of other realities.

There are hundreds of subtle alternative reality reverberations that often go unnoticed. Consider photos or video of Asian men and women bowing to an unseen person on the other end of the phone line. Who are they bowing to; the ‘real’ person who is hundreds or thousands of miles away and can’t see or acknowledge the bow? Or to the perceived image of the person that occupies the callers mind? Which one is real and why would they bow to something that is not ‘real’?

If pornographic images are not ‘real’ why do the same areas of the brain light up with activity regardless of whether the person is witnessing a live sex act, watching a pornographic video or actually engaging in the sex act itself? What is real and what is not if ultimately our subconscious mind, and very often our conscious mind, cannot tell the difference?

Within 20 years computer generated alternative reality worlds will be so ‘real’ we won’t be able to tell the difference between real reality and fake reality. So which world will be ‘real’, the computer world we perceive as real or the physical world we perceive as real? If reality is determined or measured by how we sense and perceive our physical world, and computers will be able to simulate a world exactly as we experience our physical world right down to neural stimulation that leads us to believe we are in a physical world, then which reality is real?

At one time we believed that our physical world was ruled by laws that were cast in iron. Then along came quantum mechanics and suddenly there are two (or more) sets of rules. Wait a minute. So you’re telling me there are two different realities depending upon the state in which I ‘exist’?

The concept that our physical reality is real and everything else is not is predicated upon the belief that ‘we’ die when our physical bodies stop functioning. We are told that our consciousness is local and thus will cease to exist when the physical host expires. What if this is not the case? We presume by default that our consciousness ‘dies’ when the physical body expires, yet we have no proof of this one way or another. Since there is no ‘proof’ why do we default to a limited point of view?

Maybe this restricted belief is encouraged in order to limit our depth of perception of everything else? The physical world would certainly look different if we believed our consciousness was immortal and without limits. While the reader might quickly note that the world’s major religious organizations don’t promote the view of a mortal inner being or soul, each religious organization has its own set of rules and regulations that must be adhered to in the physical world in order to achieve immortality afterwards. Why must there be exclusivity?

Believing that ‘we’, meaning our consciousness, have no limits might actually encourage us to perceive our physical world without internally or externally imposed limits or restrictions. This certainly wouldn’t be helpful to those who wish to control and corral thought, body and soul. I’ll explore the concept of deliberately restricting perception and thought in a later chapter when I discuss Inception and meme implanting.

There is a metamorphosis that occurs as we assimilate our ‘real’ world conditioning during our early childhood. We are told we’re not fully formed at that time, that we have much to learn about how the ‘real’ world works. Instead of believing that we are learning what reality is from the moment we are born, consider that we are being trained to perceive a shared reality through a very narrow lens tuned to a small minority of frequencies similar to a multi band radio/transmitter permanently set to receive just one channel and never transmit. What we think is reality is based almost entirely upon how we are trained to perceive it, not solely upon what is there physically.


What I See Is Real, What I Cannot Is Not

How many times have we gone looking for our car keys and searched unsuccessfully for five or ten minutes while becoming increasingly frantic? Suddenly they materialize out of nowhere on the kitchen table or next to the tropical fish tank and we swear we already looked there several times. The problem was simply that we didn’t ‘see’ them. We couldn’t see the reality of the keys even as we repeatedly passed over them with our eyes because our filtered perception of reality told us the keys weren’t there. Instead we reasoned they would be found where we usually left them. So that’s where we physically and mentally returned to look again and again and again.

We know the image of those keys lying out in the open must have registered in our eye and processed somewhere in our brain several times during our search. And yet we didn’t ‘see’ them until suddenly we ‘found’ them. If our perception of reality is so impaired when trying to find something we ‘know’ to be a part of our (shared) reality, then we must seriously consider there is a very real possibility we aren’t ‘seeing’ all of our reality.

There have been some interesting theories put forth which hypothesize that physical reality is only formed (materialized, created, brought into existence) when we observe or recognize it, when our conscious mind focuses on it. And I’ve discussed this in other essays. But from a practical point of view even though the keys are assumed to exist during our search, from our perspective the keys are invisible and simply not there until we allow our mind to adjust to a reality different from what we expected, assumed and believed was real.

We fully expect the keys to be found somewhere other than where we eventually find them. That’s why they are always found in the last place we look and rarely where we expect them. When we finally allow our mind to imagine the keys as being somewhere different from our expectation or belief we open our mind to alternative realities and are then able to see them. We call this clouded perception a mental block and I suggest that we suffer from larger and more encompassing mental blocks than just some lost keys.

From a variety of perspectives we are quite blind to the world around us. Enquiring minds want to know why this happens and where does this distortion come from. I propose that our experienced ‘reality’ on a day to day basis is heavily influenced by how we perceive our past experiences in relation to those we are currently living as well as to our preconceived and conditioned notion of what reality is or should be.

A Shared Reality Agreed Upon is Agreed to Be Real

We might say that reality as experienced in the ‘real’ world is nothing more than a shared perception based upon arbitrary measurements using commonly agreed upon standards and interpretations. History and reality is a set of lies and beliefs which form perceptions that are agreed upon as real and thus acted upon as if real, in effect making reality.

On a daily basis Zero Hedge exposes a set of financial lies that are agreed upon as true (reality) by the majority. And The Washington Post and The NY Times offer up a set of political lies agreed upon as real. So is Zero Hedge or The Washington Post living in the ‘real’ world? Maybe they both are. If the physical world can have several sets of rules and laws depending upon if you’re in the ‘real’ world or the quantum world, who is to say there are not more exceptions to the rule of ‘real’? Yet we dare to claim we know what reality is.

Turning to more ‘real’ world things such as the markets, one point of view is that the stock market is moving higher because of the Fed’s POMO infusions of liquidity which enable the buying of stock. The POMO comes first, then the buying of stock. Another would be that the market is rising because people expect it to go higher, thus they act in advance to fulfill their expectations and push up the market. The buying of stock comes first, then the POMO. So which is it?

I might say that the investing technique of “buy the f**king dip” (BTFD) is simply investors buying stock based upon an expectation or belief of a real event and not upon an actual real event, at least not at that moment. But then BTFD is validated or made ‘real’ by the actual POMO pump. The proof would be a drop in the market if the Fed were to unexpectedly curtail POMO operations after the market had already gone up in anticipation. If so, is BTFD real or not? What comes first, the BTFD or the POMO? Can one be ‘real’ without the other? Consider what “buy the rumor, sell the news” is telling us about perception and reality.

I often find myself thinking about the placebo effect and the ‘will to live’. Both of these concepts seem to be at odds with our scientific world. On the one hand we are told they are not real and are to be ignored other than as curiosities. Yet the efficacy of all new drugs is measured against the apparent power of the mind to heal the body, the so called placebo effect.

A random 5% to 10% of the population appears to be able to ‘heal’ or ‘feel better’ simply because we believe we are receiving drugs or other types of treatment that will help us. This is contrary to the reality that we are not being ‘drugged’ or treated in the pharmacological or physical sense, but rather only psychologically. In other words when we perceive so strongly that we believe, we seem to create a physical reality that mimics our belief.

In addition, when modern medicine has nothing left to offer us, we are often reminded by the doctor that it all comes down to the patient’s ‘will to live’, as if to say our ‘will’ is a physical force to be reckoned with. It appears we have another example of two alternative realities rubbing elbows with the ‘real’ world.

So on the one hand we are told the mind doesn’t control or make matter ‘real’ (or maybe make ‘real’ matter) and yet here is an example acknowledged by science as something not exactly ‘real’, but in the case of the placebo effect, is measurable, quantifiable and repeatable. It is almost as if the meme masters of our present consensus reality are acknowledging aberrations in our shared reality that can no longer be denied, while at the same time diminishing it as much as possible to hide from us our own inner power.

If the placebo effect alone does not make us question our perception of reality I don’t know what will. Yet the average conditioned mind brushes off this type of aberration as immaterial to our ‘real’ world.

In Chapter Two we continue to explore our limited and distorted perception of reality.

Cognitive Dissonance



Mirrored Tree


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tip e. canoe's picture

that's a very profound observation.  

"it's a wave!"  "no, it's a particle!"  

"I've got 19 PhDs that can prove it's a wave!"  "I've got a 2000 year old book that proves it's a particle."  

"I've got 3 nuclear warheads parked outside your shores, now damn it, it's a wave!"  "I've got 19 men in a sleeper cell armed with boxcutters and amateur flying lessons, so sorry but it's a fucking particle!"

...and so on and so on and so on...

Mec-sick-o's picture

LOL, the eternal pissing contest by the small dickheads.

Libertarian777's picture

Einstein proved energy and matter can be created and destroyed, through the E=mc2 equivalence.

In fact that's how a nuclear weapon gets its energy... mass is destroyed and converted into energy.

The opposite is also true, through quantum theory, matter is created spontaneously (matter/anti-matter pairs are created in the quantum 'froth').

In fact Hawking radiation (which evaporates black holes) posits exactly this, spontaneous matter/anti-matter creation at the event horizon of a black hole.


Of course, the LHC has not been able to create a black hole yet, but the Bernak and the Fed have proved that you can create money out of thin air, and the EU have proved that the event horizon of insolvency can be overcome, by throwing more matter (debt) into the black hole, thus extending the event horizon, until it consumes the entire universe (or multi-verse if you follow string theory).

gangland's picture

my understanding is  that hawking has been somewhat refuted on that account pretty convnincingly by leonard susskind, specifically, the violation of the first law of thermodynamics. 

hawking himself has at least, in a general sense, retreated from that position.  I saw his "black holes and baby universes" lecture in person one time and even under those extreme conditions, according to susskind, hawking radiation makes no sense mathematically and as you noted has never been observed even as other black hole characteristics previously only theorized have been positively confirmed and new forms of matter found.

Penrose et al recently observed data towards a cyclical universe theory which would also support susskind and if proved correct could mortally refute hawking radiation.


my limited understanding is that matter/energy is never created spontaneously in quantum mechanics. 

qm does not violate the first law (or by extension the 2nd law and causality), so hawking radiation could not be a new phase/state of matter. at least not in the currently observed evidence.

so either the entire body of qm and by extension classical physics is wrong, or in this special case, hawking is off.

What appears to change spontaneously in qm, is the change in state in which different phases of matter can exist. nothing "new" is spontaneously created or added to the system.


another way to put it is that in physics there is no such thing as 'nothing', even in a vaccum, such that the idea of spontaneous creation of energy/matter (by definition, out of nothing) is moot and inconsistent with the first law. 

I think it's a matter of carefully defining the meaning of stochastic processes vs. 'spontaneous' and 'random' or acausal.

Vaccum fluctuations exist because it's not a pure vaccum. Virtual particles can exist(we can measure them indirectly so we know they exist), but that is different than hawking radiation spontaneously (due to yet unobserved gravity/energy effects at the event horizon of a black hole) adding net energy/matter to the system, as virtual particles do not violate conservation of energy/1st law and hawking radiation would.


so if penrose is right and the universe is cyclical rather than from a big bang, then, we can see the universe as a giant black hole, a giant scrambler of energy/matter/information, rather than a creator/destroyer of one (the same would go for black holes, the scramble information/matter/energy, not destroy it or create it).





RECISION's picture


Also, read "Once Before time" by Martin Bojowald.

Loop Quantum Gravity/Cosmology.

You have to make allowances because he is German (and writes like it), but he hooks into a lot of the scholars for their poor maths and stupid mathematical-limits assumptions. I give him big respect simply for that. (eg. a simplistic example he outlines: 360 deg - Zero deg is not a transition of anything, a circle continues uninterrupted. Maths and physics is full of this sort of miss-reading and miss-application of limits)

Hawking Radiation is Bollocks.  

gangland's picture

sweet, just downloaded :

Canonical Gravity and Applications: Cosmology, Black Holes, and Quantum Gravity by Martin Bojowald

thanks for the recommend.

williambanzai7's picture

We would all be better off if we reserved a minuscule portion of our daily existence considering what the he'll we are thinking and why.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

We would all be better off if we reserved a minuscule portion of our daily existence considering what the he'll we are thinking and why.

I make the same observation in Chapter Two though not nearly as eloquently.

In my limited study of indigenous cultures I have found that the shaman/healer was so much more than a person who dispensed healing for the physical body. He taught his fellow people how to think and live in harmony with the natural world, how to be independent and yet part of the whole. He helped his fellow community members expand their conscious universe well beyond the here and now.

Of course this made him or her the most dangerous person in the community to the European conquerors and a primary target. Kill the teachers and consciousness expanders. The community will soon become compliant and stunted. 

CPL's picture

I can imagine the aisle at Walmart.  Completely empty shelves with price tags neatly organised with random bits of information of them of no discernible value.

tip e. canoe's picture

don't worry, there will be an app for that.

DonutBoy's picture

Stop smoking dope

JustinObodie's picture

Reality is the cutting edge of awareness. All else is nothing but memories of the past (your living death) or speculation about the future.

Enjoy the "moment" because in reality that is all that exists.

forexskin's picture

hi CD,

please satisfy my curosity, but do i read some joseph chilton pearce or perhaps carlos casteneda here? i'd imagine you've read fritjof capra or steven pinker maybe?

We do not know what we do not know and once we accept this basic premise, to then make sweeping statements of absolute truth and clearly defined boundary is hubris, arrogance and self deception to the nth degree.

sweet humility.

nice bit of reflection, thx.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I have read very little on this subject. While I will never claim my thinking is original or unique, I am where I am today based upon my own journey, not that outlined by those who have gone before. Very recently I bought a few volumes of Casteneda and I'm halfway through one of his early works. I do not know any of the others you mention.

For myself personally and without pointing any fingers, I find so many people do not hold their own worldview, but rather adopt transplanted concepts they read in a book or heard in a school lecture or that their friends and family hold. This is what I talk about when I constantly mention indoctrination and training.

I try to follow a few guiding principals. The more I think I know, the more I know that I don't know. The danger is in believing the opposite, I place I occupied for a long time. I talk more about this in Chapters 2 and 3.

Oh, and I reserve the right to be wrong 100% of the time. And half wrong the other 100% of the time. The benefit is derived from doing the thinking, not in reaching any conclusions.

forexskin's picture

While I will never claim my thinking is original or unique, I am where I am today based upon my own journey, not that outlined by those who have gone before.

much respect. original thinking takes guts. but i think you're right to guess that this ground has been covered. if you strip away the cultural artifacts, especially the ones in place for indoctrination and control, you find a handful of archetypes, that in various proportions, appear in most of humanity. you might also realize that human sentience is more complex and has more depth than is commonly appreciated.

sometimes its good to read in a book that someone else before has had a similar experience, or that its possible to extend our own experience in heretofor unexpected ways. krishnamurti and gurdjieff come to mind. both original thinkers with a huge base of acquired learning. there are good teachers in books; the best respond to students with good original questions of their own.

i reserve the right to get smarter, wiser, or any damn thing circumstances suggest.

keep up the good work.

gangland's picture

+ infinity

krishnamurti-bohm conversations are interesting.

you brought up archtypes, what's your take on jung. what do you think of 'iron john' by robert bly?

gurdjieff, what is your take on him? what was he all about? cultish?

thanks in advance for your thoughts.


Tenma13's picture

Interesting point.

Just came out of a linguistics lecture on assessing second language materials, and the criteria for assessment. Lots of wonderful diagrams with inputs and outputs etc (love how the social science has to justify itself as a 'science' and thus serious, by adopting 'scientific' terminology). I asked what the relevance was of standardising materials when one considers varying contextual considerations and individual learners needs. Silence. The the lecture replied: 'How can we have a curriculum and who would make the materials?' 

 Guess he had a point, how can people learn what others want to teach them without a curriculum with all the 'relevnet' information? and Who cares what someone might want to learn, when those in authority know what needs to be learnt'.

 What was fascinating was other student reactions: after a couple questions relating to complex systems theory and second language acquisition, and how this pretty much says standardised learning is impossible, people were visibly trying to to get me to STFU. My questions occurred within the context of being invited by the lecture to ask questions and allowed time for other to go first... Forgot my job was to receive knowledge, rather than interact with it, or heaven forbid,  question it.... Silly rabbit. :P

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

.....people were visibly trying to to get me to STFU.

You were the black swan and they were desperately trying to silence you so they could get back to 'see no, hear no, speak no'. Don't you know you're not supposed to actually think?

The only reason we are educated as cogs is because cogs are what the machine wants. Conform to the machine or STFU.

Tenma13's picture

ya, as heartbreaking as it is, to get my Masters I will have to do this. 

There I was thinking this would be my opportunity to further my understanding, rather than limit it, but this is a 'good' school, so, of course they know the correct way of thinking, behaving, and being. Silly me.

Really odd, as some of  those who publicly move away from me in conversation, rehash and repeat the lectures recent papers in class, have privately via email or random conversation in the street (away from others) expressed similar opinions. Wish I had studied social psychology now....

I was thinking of trying for a PhD but that has a huge vetting filter. Basically you need the support from the faculty as they must decided that your research area is relevant. This is never explicitly stated, but I have had my ideas on learner autonomy constantly met with 'What a wonderful idea, unfortunately no one here specialises in that field'. 


forexskin's picture

very simple. the credentials you seek are not yours, but theirs. they want to make sure the recommendation implied by their credentials, which you will carry, will not be used counter to the purposes of those on the outside who will pay for the credentials.

secret handshake and all...

JB's picture

ya, as heartbreaking as it is, to get my Masters I will have to do this. 

then why on earth are you doing it? you are, in effect, selling your soul for something temporal.

"what profit has a man made, if he gains the whole world, and loses his soul?" 

gangland's picture


Thank you very much for your input.  Took me a few days to figure out what you meant.  I respect your view very much.

gangland's picture

nice job.  i loved asking full stop questions like that, inevitably, most professors would be intimidated and the others in class would look at me to stfu already.  it was boring.  I always said and still say political science should just be called politics, don't call it a science.  It's forensic at best and has exactly zero predictive ability other than maybe one cycle with less than 4 variables. about the only thing that has any merit is arrow's impossibility.


true story, i actually had a black princeton educated phd pull me physically out of class and berate me and call me racist because I had the temerity to challenge him in class when he said that ralph nader was a demagogue.   He said he agreed with obama on fat man russert's show, when barry said that nader was a demagogue, to which i responded that I thought barry's comments were asinine.

Dude actually called me a racist and told me to get the fuck out of his class, then he called the campus police on me.  I pulled him in front of the department chair and won.

shit like that happens when you think for yourself and have the gall to speak out against the establishment.

what i'm doing now is trying to develop a fractal algorithm to predict voting behavior.

Landrew's picture

Think you would be better off using the first and second laws of thermodynamics.

gangland's picture

"I reserve the right to be wrong 100% of the time. And half wrong the other 100% of the time. The benefit is derived from doing the thinking, not in reaching any conclusions."


well stated sir and also big ups on your comment above on the priesthood and your contributions on the margins where they count ; )

nomadhotel's picture

CD, I'd like your opinion on this digest of the first chapter. Reliance on sensory input to define yourself and your environment is a form of logical positivism, and the demand for verifiability places sharp boundaries on those constructions. Empirical observations in the form of sensory input should contribute to theories of self and environment through criticism rather than delineation, and allow for those constructions of the mind to be regarded as falsifiable.

I enjoyed the chapter. Still catching up on your articles.

gangland's picture



consider the folowing statement:


"this statement is false"


is the statement above true or false?


notice that if the above statment is true, then it is false. and note also that if the statement is false, then it is true.


which is it? what is reality with regards to that statement. it's just a simple sentence.  but what does it represent conceptually. just a very simple example of the dual nature of reality. its recursive nature.


I Am a Strange Loop  Douglas R. Hofstadter

Stanford Singularity Summit


what is the point of perception if we did not have memory?


in that case, if memory is necessary for cognition of perception, then, is consciousnesses/awareness a function of memory and thus the physical nature?

it's tempting, but in that case both kurzweil and turing should have by now been proven correct.

I don't believe they will be because I don't believe conciousness, and thus reality, is purely a function of the physical architecture or the threshold of some minimum number of neurons or processing speed.

I believe it is more fundamental than that (a bit of a platonist that way, but not all the way, not a full determinist, more a limited one, in that I believe there is a basic, fundamental reality, but that it may not be fully acessible to us. thankfully. I'm actually very much good with that, to me that seems to be the entire point).

Ruffcut's picture

"this statement is false"


"is the statement above true or false?"

It is not a statement and it is plain stoopid. IT is merely words that make no sense. The reality is that you are confusing yourself with pure bullshit.

gangland's picture

"It is not a statement and it is plain stoopid. IT is merely words that make no sense."

I personally believe that stoopid is as stoopid duz, because some US Americans in our nation, don't have words and make no sense, and i believe that our education, like such as everywhere are confused by plain statements and I believe that they should our education over here in the US should help the US help The South Africa and everywhere like such as, and The Iraq and The Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future for our children.  ;)

nomadhotel's picture

"This statement is false", is fittingly, a falsifiable statement. The statement, p, declares itself to be false, ~p.

"This statement is false" <-> p=~p

Substitute equivalent values for p and ~p, such as 1, gives you 1=1, which is true. Substitute differing values, such 1 and 2, gives you 1=2, which is mostly false. The statement is a gruesome car wreck between semantics and teleology. I get what you're saying though.

I have worn copies of Hoftstadter's Gödel, Escher and Bach, and Metamagical Themas. It's been a long time since I've read through his expansion of Zeno's Paradox. Not in need of mental calisthenics right now.


Addressing perception from a purely sensory standpoint, perceived changes in the environment and in ourselves can trigger autonomic responses, and need not depend on cognition or memory to function. I am not prepared to debate the origins of self-awareness tonight, but it is my opinion that the senses inform and shape conciousness, and that we are genetically predisposed to be self-aware and have initially dim notions of causality. I do not think that self-awareness is a binary state; I believe that there are varying degrees of conciousness among people, and that those degrees of conciousness can fluctuate.

gangland's picture

Thank you very much for that great response. I have to read it a few times to understand it. I'm not sure about genetic pre-disposition to consciousness because it then becomes sort of functionalist for me (it's not a function of a genetic algorithm). But, thanks again for your thoughts and explanation, I completely agree with your last sentence, including what you said about the cognition of causality.

"I do not think that self-awareness is a binary state; I believe that there are varying degrees of consciousness among people, and that those degrees of consciousness can fluctuate."

What if logic is invalid?


nomadhotel's picture

I think that the link between memory and cognition is important. The senses do not provide information about the present, only the immediate past. The powers of cognition can interpolate gaps in sensory data, e.g., blinking while observing an object in motion and filling in the missing data. Cognition can also extrapolate based on a series of sensory data, e.g., estimating the trajectory and speed of an object already observed in motion. Yet this means of sensory analysis and behavioral adjustment can operate in the absence of self-awareness. A fish has a sensory suite similar to our own, it can collect data over time, and change its' behavior to increase survival, as any fly-fisherman can attest to. The fish does not need to be self-aware to survive, it does not seem to refer to itself when altering its' behavior based on sensory input and cognition. The fish seems to rely on pure induction to survive changes in environment. We, on the other hand, seem to be dependent on self-awareness to survive. We have complicated our environment by not only processing and analyzing sensory input, but by synthesizing entire sets of sensory data to model changes in our environment that our senses have yet to observe. We hold in our consciousness multiple, often contradictory potential responses to changes in our environment, and learn to do so without being crippled these contradictions, or we do not survive.

I leave this question on the table: What gives rise to the need for the construct of consciousness?


As for Bell's Inequality, all I can say is that correlation does not imply causation. I'll let Donald Rumsfeld muddy things up a bit, "There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know."

tip e. canoe's picture

always loved that rummy quote.   just remember : he never mentioned the 'unknown knowns' - those things that we don't know we know.   and therein lies the key to the castle that holds the golden chalice, somewhere inside.

StychoKiller's picture

Who or what is it that KNOWS?

gangland's picture

that's the crux isn't it? your question. The why? Excellent stuff.

cranky-old-geezer's picture

Another waste of ZH bandwidth with CD's mental masturbation.

No donation till TD cleans house, getting rid of dead weight like GW, Leo K, CD, etc.

Junk away, I couldn't care less.

Tenma13's picture

@ Geezer Would it not be more useful to say why you think so, rather than just that you think so?

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

At least I pay for the bandwidth I waste with regular donations.

You on the other hand are just a useless eater of bandwidth. 

forexskin's picture

free will? self ownership?

i'm pursuaded these things are real; and that ideas from the heights are the foundation for that real.

ideas are tools, but also illustrate, sometimes in metaphors, sometimes in metaphysics, the right and the just.

seems our turning is outlining the next civilization battle, and damn straight its better to have a map than travel blindly.

blindman's picture

this might just blow your mind?
Nassim Haramein 1/45

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Unfortunately Nassim Haramein, a free and unique thinker, is not well received among the high priests of physics. He has a few white knights in the community that help him tailor his presentation, both oral and written, more to the 'style' the priests like. But he remains an outsider and a heretic. The priesthood hates those who have not risen within the ranks and received all the proper indoctrination.

I went to one of Nassim's all day lectures two years ago and sat next to someone who held a PhD and was quite dismissive. Most of his complaint was that Nassim was not an official high priest, so what could he possibly know. Thus this PhD would simply dismiss much of what he heard as garbage without spending any time listening and absorbing. It really irritated him that Nassim wouldn't think in a 'structured' manner. I've been told many of the other high priests are just as dismissive.

I regularly donate money to Haramein's non profit and hope to visit him in Hawaii next year.

purplefrog's picture

Show me a man who can accept truth as authority.  Most are unconscious and require authority for truth, and even then they don't know what it means.


gangland's picture


the hard problem rorty's demons and putnam's aliens.


so much to say on this subject, cognition and perception, qualia, searle, descartes, David chalmers I would highly recommend to you mr. cog diss...


for the purposes of this essay, let me say a few words on the placebo effect, since i skimmed your article.  the most recent study i read re the placebo effect had to do with subjects who were actually told before hand that they were receiving a placebo, in the form of a pill, sugar or whatever, and then were asked how they felt.  Most said they felt better even after fully being aware of taking a placebo (this doesnt necessarily mean 'mind-over-matter' however, it could be explained solely on the basis of cognitive or selective bias, so we have to be careful).



I would highly suggest david chalmers on the science of consciousness, you can see him on youtube he is a phd philosopher on the leading edge of this stuff.  he is trying to actually quantify consciousness. 


A book called cognition and perception mentions the neurological basis of cognition and perception, in that prior to performing every action, we actually visualize the action in some part of the cortex. we go through the action in our mind before performing it physically. but more than that, it's like a 3rd person view of ourselves performing the action, we see ourselves going through it in the visual cortex prior to performing the action(according to the author's lit review). 

does this mean we become conscious of an act before perceiving it? or vise versa? (beyond merely philosophical implications there are practical applications to consider in law, applied modeling etc).

In other words, the visual cortex is stimulated prior to the engagement of the motor cortex, when we perform physical actions (and we can become cognizant of this process in itself).  The sequence seems to be visual, pre-motor, then motor cortex. all the while we are conscious or not of all this activity going on? when does actual perception begin? when does consciousness begin?

is perception a function of what then? the visual cortex? the pre-motor? the motor? the muscles of the eye are controlled by motor functions. 

and still, besides that, what about consciousness? when do we become aware of what we are perceiving and what is that a function of? the neurons?

is perception just a function of the physical then? or their interplay? what about cognition/awareness?

how do you explain the color red to a blind person who has been blind from birth? a qualia.

last, for those interested in the mind-body-consciousness/perception puzzle, checkout the japanimation ghost in the shell, the first one only.   is consciousness necessary for perception? no. or is it?


Cognition and Perception: How Do Psychology and Neural Science Inform Philosophy? Athanassios Raftopoulos


David Chalmers


Extrasensory Perception and Quantum Models of Cognition





afriend2u's picture

"Reality is an illusion that occurs due to the lack of alcohol."

Homer Simpson