Notes: McLuhans relation to the study of conciousness


In a wider sense technology shares common features with what we call magic. Technology like magic transforms the audience.

As a poet he approaches culture through the lens of artistic expression. He was not interested in a scientific explanation but makes use of its results. Interested in the the nature of reality rather than in its manifestation his laws of media are a tool for investigation into the nature of existence. What it means to be human and alive. He asserts that the mental interplay between the senses is the extension of the human a faculty of self awareness that is by nature creative in a very literal sense. This faculty creates the environment of our conscious being in the same sense reality is created by it. Transcending the matter/form controversy by putting the world inside the mind is an unfamiliar notion for all those who hold on to an outdated model of consciousness in the study of the mind. By explaining the laws governing the process by which men extends himself into the environment McLuhan demands a change in our imaginative picture of the world so familiar to us. It demands to surrender to the common fact that our brain is but a part of the puzzle created by an technological extended mind. It puts an emphasis to shine some light upon the environmental conditions under which a brain exists and builds the rich experience refereed to as reality or consciousness. That the interplay between the senses and the mind extended by technologies configures the sensibilities reflected in a minds expressions. It also demands justification from those who think we are mere thinking machines evolving along a save path.

Thus it is empirical in that neurobiology is the study of the biological aspects of the brain and its neurons. Validated by its insights, cognitive science has to pursue the abstract properties of the brain machinery. From the cellular level onwards symbols replace the ontological difference between concrete and abstract containers of information. Above the biochemical level of investigation one finds a dense gray matter dealing in some way with the external world via the central nervous system and sensory organs. An understanding of how this gray mass constructs an conscious identity can be studied by stipulating a multiple drafts version of consciousness. His understanding into the nature of consciousness is its expression as a theorists fiction in the form of an algorithm.

I want to call the form in which one has to imagine such an algorithm the memespace. At the heart of it is the human brain carried by the biological apparatus through time and space. Like space is linked to the visual stimulus received by the eye so is time a product of the brains performance in creating what we are contained in. It is not a unified space but can be visualized best by imagining layers of electromagnetic fields. No atoms or matter is present to the extend our brain is conditioned to perceive it, just a vortex of energies. The idea behind the memespace is the same as behind the holographic brain theory put forward by Karl Pilgrim. The memespace is the sum of the interference pattern between ripples. The world would look like a hologram if we would not have lense like structures. But since we have crystal structures in the fabric of matter we find it also in the result of the hologram experienced as reality. See the video . In this space the observer is manifested as the product of his selfimage. There is a lot to say about the details of his Theory as well as the implications beeing drawn from it. But it rests on empirical observations of the brain and the neural networks it contains. It is compatible with cognitive theories but differ to the extend that they demand the same change in our imaginative picture of the world as McLuhan.

He was an empiricist and not impressed by theory. In fact, in his posthumos work ‘The Global Village’ he cites Pilgrim believing his theory of how the brain works to be correct. That it is hard to find him in Textbooks on cognitive psychology indicates that he was not. But I leave this aside as well. For the moment this are the fundaments. The meme space is the world we would consciously perceive if we would not have evolved sensory organs. Another way to call it is the .

In 1953 Mcluhan, Robert Dobbs explains his invention, figured out that technology creates memes. They occupy the meme space and these memes are based on the sensory rations and mental interplay or attitudes. Memes are analogues to genes in that they are the catalyst of an evolutionary process geared towards procrastination. But whereas genes refers to the domain of Biology memes are the products of in the domain of culture. Something we generally refer to as artifact. Artifacts are product of the human spirit aided by technology. In this context David Kelly is to call to attention. In his understanding of technology as the 7th kingdom, a cosmic force with its own dynamics, he develops a natural history of what Mcluhan refers to extensions. His view that it is the arena in which humans ‘play the infinite game’ gives a good metaphor for the master theoris’s fiction explained here.

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Filed under Necessary Illusions in the Global Village, Notes

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