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FleshFactor: Covering Ground

A E C  F O R U M - "F L E S H F A C T O R"

Much ground has been covered in discussions thus far.  Those of us more or
less enclosed in actual and virtual communities are regulated by the level
of the debate so any so-called fresh air may be too fresh: Stocker's
status of individual in networked artificial systems, the human body as
ultimate original, and then strategies for syntheses are concepts I had
better keep to myself or my colleagues may well be uttering the bromide,
"He could brighten up a room by leaving it". Are there too many
disembodied humans around now who seem to be following the example of Tom
Sherman's reluctant machine?  Consider Steven Talbott's comments in
Netfuture a moment: 

"Until we recognize how the possibilities of our thinking are
culture-bound -- until we gain some understanding of the evolution of
consciousness operating beneath the surface glitter of clashing ideas --
we cannot be wholly free in our thinking."

I am convinced, for example, that the cognitive scientist's triumphal
confidence in the computational paradigm as a solution to the
long-standing mind-body conundrum results much less from new,
revolutionary understandings than from the nearly universal inability
today to experience the earlier terms of the problem. It is much easier to
explain away, or "implement," a mind whose essential knowing activity has
faded from direct experience, than it is when that activity presents
itself with Cartesian insistence.  But cognitive scientists, with little
apparent interest in the historical dimensions of their subject matter, do
not much inquire into such things.

There is little point to adding to the pre-millennial jitters but it does
seem that conceptual frameworks are becoming dysfunctional as the
techno-heavy presto click language slides (dives as Jung said of Joyce)
into enervated meaninglessness and the neural networks dry up like
creekbeds.  What next?  Would that there was some cross pollination here
because frankly the public dialogue embraces banality as those little
fingers--rolling the bones--are so obsessed with their accuracy.  I do
like the look on the system administrator's face when he has to actually
come down here and look at this set-up: always it is with the inference
that I have done something terribly wrong--the extension of mechanized
logic into what should be a free flowing information zone of zeroes and
ones is nothing less than constraining.  The synthesis is actually the
result of capitulation or is it really adaptation and assimilation?
Secularized eschatology prevails but this discussion has helped a lot.

Thanks to all. 

Michael Williamson    <michael.williamson@nlc-bnc.ca>

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