Publication 6976

Nixon G. M. (2010) Hollows of experience. Journal of Consciousness Exploration & Research 1(3): 234–288. Fulltext at
This essay is divided into two parts, deeply intermingled. Part I examines not only the origin of conscious experience but also how it is possible to ask of our own consciousness how it came to be. Part II examines the origin of experience itself, which soon reveals itself as the ontological question of Being. The chief premise of Part I chapter is that symbolic communion and the cat-egorizations of language have enabled human organisms to distinguish between themselves as actually existing entities and their own immediate experience of themselves and their world. This enables them to reflect upon abstract concepts, including “self,” “experience,” and “world.” Looking beyond human self-consciousness to investigate the origin and nature of awareness itself in Part 2, reductive objective materialism is found to be of little use. Awareness in itself must thus be considered ultimately unexplainable, but this may more indicate its inexpressible transcendence of all symbolic qualifiers than its nonexistence. Our underlying symbolic worldviews are found to be autopoietic: they limit or open our conscious experience, which, in turn, confirms those worldview expectations. As we explore a future of unforeseeable technological breakthroughs on an ailing planet who patiently copes with our “success,” truly vital decisions about the nature, meaning, and future of conscious experience will have to be made. Can we transcend our conditioned selves? Relevance: Human self-construction – autopoiesis – begins in awareness-in-itself, which may be universal.



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