e start this narrative by announcing that this work is ‘all about consciousness’. Most of the chapters have been published before in print or cyberspace by Telicom (Journal for the International Society for Philosophical Enquiry), Noesis (e-Journal for Mega Society), Gift of Fire (Journal for Prometheus Society) and Perfection (French e-Journal for Pi Society), all high IQ publications whose fellow members / subscribers have generously provided peer reviews and comments. The content is multidisciplinary, covering a wide spectrum of subjects as can be surmised from the chapter titles. Accordingly we have tried to keep the technical nomenclature at a minimum and increase the level of complexity gradually, usually in relation with personal anecdotes to bring complex abstractions understandable to unfamiliar readers from other disciplines. The unfamiliar may wish to skip this introduction and go to a brief summary at the end by clicking here *
Even among neuroscientists and philosophers one of the biggest problems in communicating is to agree as to what is meant by ‘mind and consciousness’. The global unit of consciousness contains many levels or states as will be evident. We find it useful to identify at the very outset the level of organization whence we speak, whether the quantum mechanical or the gross anatomical, being always careful to state whether the argument is from an ontological or epistemological perspective, e.g, are we talking about being conscious of this ontological dog in front of me barking now or an epistemological representation of that dog or all dogs? With that caveat let’s see what we mean when we talk about the highest state of global consciousness as a unit or about a modular sub-unit constituent thereof. With that in mind we will see how this global unity may be structured based on experimental data, logical inferences and outright brainstorms.
Being globally conscious means being able –at a given point in space / time- to simultaneously access all of the various relevant subsets of the present highest state of consciousness according to their content and immediate / mediate relevance based on their own internal and external variable relationships. Consciousness may be conveniently compartmentalized according to neuro-anatomical / physiological (‘connectivists’) structural models but, beyond that, it can also be conceived as a global unit whose various components can be functionally summoned to a brief center-stage appearance at ‘will’. This, according to an updated version of the Kantian organizational premise briefly developed in the first 2 chapters. We can find similarly undeveloped thoughts in Descartes, Leibniz, William James, Chalmers and others, all of which had to tentatively concede about the ‘sine qua non’ reality of ‘dualism’ and ‘epiphenomena’, a theme we will constantly be referring to when identifying the brain as the necessary but insufficient seat of mind and consciousness. Kant’s “Critique of Pure Reason” (1781) remains to this date the best reference to capture the complexity of this issue that still baffles the best professional analytical philosophers three centuries later.
In our opinion Kant’s greatest contribution to universal knowledge was linking the physical world of ‘chaotic sensations’ (objects / events) presented to our sense organs to our global ‘logical’ mind representation of them by mediation of his now famous ‘categorical imperatives’, a masterpiece of transcendental deduction. One may disagree today on the limitations inherent in his characterization of the ‘fundamental categories’ that must be satisfied by any object / event to ‘exist in experience’, including those parameters subject to quantitative measurement, qualitative description and their relationships thereof, but what we can not disagree on is in his clear argument (‘modal concepts’) as to whether ‘objects’ such as mind, etc. or events such as extra-sensory phenomena, DO exist! These are the ‘things’ we cannot identify ontologically but nontheless experience, an existence without defined ontological attributes or reality in se. The big problem that Kant had, and still exists today, was to explain how can we assign such ‘existence’ a causal efficiency over sense-phenomenal objects / events, e.g., how can the mind guide us to act or not? This theme is reiterated in chapter 18 and others when we discuss ‘free will’.
For consciousness to become a global reality it requires a causal concatenation of all its atomic elements whether ontologically present or not. We suggest in chapter 11 and others the possible intermediates in the flow of information between sense objects and their thought representation (in their physical absence) according to a scheme presented in chapter 1. To better understand all of these causal relationships it becomes necessary to agree on the contribution and meaning (semantics) of each of the subset components of global consciousness. At the very outset we distinguish between sense–phenomenal ‘awareness’ (e.g., qualia) and conceptual ‘consciousness’ as we discuss more in detail in chapters 17 & 21 towards the end of the book. The realization of a ‘qualic’ state paradoxically may not require more than an unconscious or subconscious level for an adaptive response, if any, to ensue as a result. Have you ever tried to mentally balance your bank account while driving downhill along that steep but familiar winding road? The global conscious state requires a higher order of awareness we call ‘self-consciousness’, a type of self-referential indexical ability as verified by special psychological tests as discussed in chapters 9 & 10. The lack of precision and consistency in the use of these terms still represents a big obstacle to communication among neuroscientists and neuro-philosophers alike as observed.
Besides the ordinary ‘on-line’ phenomenal experience of wakefulness from normal sleep, coma or anesthesia we must be at all times aware of the level of organization and complexity under discussion, whether it be an online direct sense-phenomenal viewing of an object / event (e.g., the dog) or an off-line viewing of its mental representation in its absence (e.g., a dog). These ‘experiences’ may initially be passive and even unconscious unless they trigger a life-preserving reflex as discussed in chapters 5 & 8. At yet another higher level we start becoming conscious of a particular mental representation without being necessarily self-conscious as protagonists of an ongoing process of making choices among that and other relevant mental representations to assure biological, psychological and social preservation in that order, an even higher level of organizational complexity. Once availed of the alternatives at hand we reach what Block (1995) called the “Access (A) state of consciousness” where the global integration of pre-motor activity gets translated into motor adaptive control of thought and action. This illustrates the highest level of organization, the global and simultaneous integration of relevant on-line sense-phenomenal ontologies, off-line sense-phenomenal representations, conceptual representations and a command and control self-consciousness overview. This global unit reveals the functional unit it must be with its underlying causal concatenation whether a missing link has been ontologically defined or not.
After giving much thought to this ‘intringulis’ we came to realize the un-surmountable hurdles that standard scientific methodology would face and also the dangers of returning back to an exclusive Aristotelian deductive methodology, especially when you have Wittgenstein and Popper watching you! Perhaps if we adopt the functional premise (based on empirical evidence and careful inferences) that the global integration of consciousness is predicated on the bio-psycho-social (bps) preservation of the human species; that most of which activity operates at unconscious and subconscious levels. The free will of choice is based on the release or inhibition of accumulated bps wisdom (where inherited features play a major role in deterministic ways). This way we could integrate the physical with the non-physical domains, the genetic past with the acquired present as we discuss in chapters 4, 15 and others ahead. This approach should be considered a natural extension of an equivalent earlier anlagen we published (Bio-psico-sociología, Ed. Limusa 1985).
To get a better perspective of the complexity of an integral global consciousness one must start with an orienting lower magnification optics in focus to distinguish between an overall global integration of the totality of levels of consciousness and then focus on a higher magnification view of a localized integration within the various overlapping subsets thereof as mentioned above. Each subset, whether sense-phenomenal consciousness or conceptual consciousness have to integrate their own subsets to achieve localized unity and be amenable to be accessed to become part of a higher level consciousness build-up call. To illustrate, one should be able to integrate with high fidelity all the attributes or categories pertaining a sensed object’s brain representation (e.g., the dogs color, shape, sounds, etc.) to conform a unit (quale) poised to be accessed by a higher level consciousness function in progress as part of a complex puzzle being assembled. An equivalent local subset integration can be invoked to apply to other modular subsets like e.g., ‘conceptual consciousness’ that requires several semantic / syntactic constitutive elements to achieve its local unit integration.
This model may not require necessarily a thalamic pointed reticular activation activity directed synchronically (simultaneously) at all the individual sub-units, it may just require a genetically pre-ordained sequential diachronical activation at almost the the speed of light (via peritubular ordered-water clathrate structure?) giving the impression of simultaneity because of a ‘flicker-fusion-type’ resolution, like in cinema productions. One may even conceive of an ordered ‘chaos’ where a ‘consuetudinary’ mix of genetic / environmental codelet prerogatives poise themselves as the best weighted synaptic bridge available to be recruited to become elements in a concerted response at that particular moment in time and space or hyperspace. The choice constituency of Edelman’s view as we discuss briefly in some chapters.
This introduction would be incomplete without a brief mention of the deterministic role our inner body homeostatic status plays in shaping our ‘adaptive’ bps survival responses to life-threatening situations . We have included several chapters, 5, 6, 7 on the important role the autonomic nervous system unconscious, self-preserving servo controls play in the final global adaptive strategy of bps survival. We regret that the stochastic nature of the homeostatic servo controls has eluded our failed attempts to mathematically integrate that modus operandi into the classical sequential or parallel processing paradigms.
In maturing our bps model of consciousness we also tried to integrate all of the real life elements that experientially play a role in determining our social behavior. All aspects of our model have been subordinated to the larger premise that man is the measure of all ‘things’, whether ontologically characterized or epistemologically inferred. That includes all factors bearing on successful adaptive strategies for bps survival and focuses on the physical, emotional and spiritual integrity of self including the relative importance to bps survival of beliefs, motives, intuitions, desires, goals, brain-controlled ‘perceptions’, etc. See chapters 19 & 20 for further development.
We have also tried (in a very primitive way and with little success so far) to accommodate the reasonable claim of physicalists to be more specific and identify in the physical brain the loci where all this philosophical drama unfolds. In a nutshell, in the bps model, the amygdaloidal complex comes into play as a first line of defense to protect the human species when confronting potential life-threatening stimuli by first utilizing a fast multi-neuronal route to briefly inhibit first any reflex response while the hippocampus complex analyzes the context surrounding the stimuli based on past recorded memory. This double analysis starts with the amygdaloidal classification of the environmental stimulus as potential life-threatening according to its genetic memory of the species. If there is an amygdaloidal match and a reflex alert inhibition the hippocampus formation meanwhile evaluates the initial amygdaloidal inherited data bank information in relation to the relevant contextual information in the hippocampus data base to get a more complete picture about the potential threat. If stimulus and context agree, the amygdaloidal will release from inhibition the appropriate neuro-hormonal mechanisms in preparation for an adaptive Cannon response of fight or flight based on the double analysis integrating genetic past, acquired past with perceptual present. We can illustrate by observing newborn chicks in a cage calmly viewing a projector slide of a moving ‘genetically’ familiar ‘duck’ with its long neck and short tail. As soon as the motion vector of the same bird is inverted showing now a bird with a short neck and long tail moving forwards, chaos ensues inside the cage to escape from the ‘eagle’ predator!
As it turns out, the global adaptive, coordinated response is itself predicated on the functional integrity of the participating modular subsets as illustrated by clinical data when this premise fails giving rise to pathological responses based on either a malfunction of the sensory organ input, a defective amygdaloidal processing of original object / event sense input or a defective hippocampus formation context memory processing. These defects may be inherited or environmentally acquired and may provide a rational basis to develop strategies in the treatment of psychiatric cases. The invariant protocol is the hard wired maintenance of biopsychosocial (bps) equilibrium at any cost as we have developed as our ‘lei motif’ in several chapters.
Fortunately, the clinical armamentarium of technological sophistication has been very useful in analyzing the complexities of both the sensory input and the adaptive motor response because we have developed technologies that dramatically increase the resolution of our sensory apparatus (fMRI, PET, etc.) and the resolution of our brain combinatorial capacities by the use of supercomputers. But we often ignore the fact that there still exist limits and in its consequence, and largely based on the dramatic successes of this technology, a new physicalist credo has been developed aimed at predicting by faith that ‘phenomena’ beyond this modern resolution will likewise be reduced to the formulas and equations of the natural sciences. No doubt this should be the goal of every neuroscientist or neuro-philosopher to express findings in a language we all are conversant with, logic. The only problem with this approach is that it tragically narrows down the search to directly observable object / events that can be reliably measured and best fitted into known mathematical formulae that allows predictability, the ‘raison d’etre’ of science. The unarticulated premise in this approach is that anything outside the science ‘horse blinders’ does not exist, and if it does it will somehow –by an act of faith- be conformed to the rules of scientific investigation for which it was not meant! The analytic philosophy tool of metaphysics provides a viable alternative to expands the horizons and reach of science like mathematics has done for science. This has been largely our approach in search for an understanding of mind and consciousness, the black box between the sensory input and the motor adaptive output.
After the publication of Darwin’s Blackbox by Dr. Behe where he describes the ‘irreducible complexity’ of some biological macromolecular assemblies, this novel event was followed by an equally unexpected result. A careful mathematical statistical analysis of this complexity by Dr. W. Dembski of the Mega Foundation, especially when the super-complexity is specified for a particular function requiring simultaneous spatio-temporal structural and functional integrity. The verifiable results obtained would lead any honest, objective observer to conclude that a scientific model like Darwinian evolution is grossly inadequate (from a probabilistic point of view) to explain ‘specified irreducible complexity’ and that there is needed a ‘design’ to explain the fact of ‘irreducible complexity’ as we find in some macromolecular assemblies, let alone the brain or the fact of self-consciousness. The identity of the ‘intelligent designer’ has never been proposed by the “Intelligent Design” model but that won’t stop the religionists from the physicalist faith from dismissing these facts with a short-sighted reflex play back of pre-kinder theology: “trying to bring God by the back door”.
We feel that the proper reaction by the physicalist parishioners should be to try to identify the ‘designer’ using whatever methodology need be used, including a new logic, before claiming the reducibility of all of reality. We should, meanwhile, continue incorporating the results from the natural sciences into our metaphysical logic armamentarium to see how far that kaboose mix will haul the train for us. One of the best sources of relevant information related to the possible ontology of mind and consciousness comes from the clinical pathology labs. We have incorporated those results in several chapters. One of the most dramatic discoveries comes from split-brain preparations (commissurotomies) isolating both cerebral hemispheres (cutting across corpus callosum inter-hemispheric nerve connections) to prevent epileptic electrical activity from spreading to a normal half. Does each half behave like a global distinct unit, two personalities dissociated? As we discuss in chapter 15?, in the normal person, there is only one personality where various modules of activity are globally interconnected by neural exchanges (codelets) of information as discussed elsewhere. But one may ask: how is the information getting to the other hemisphere side if not via lower subcortical levels of connectivities?, if so, does that low level operate for all degrees of complexity? Here is a test: one district attorney-patient is presented with the familiar word “prosecute” so that half of the word goes to one hemisphere and the rest to the other (e.g., “prose” is proyected to left side of retina and reaches the left ‘talking hemisphere’ and “cute” to the right side of retina and reaches the non-dominant right hemisphere) and then tested for comprehension (semantics). If the D.A. now has the choice of verbal or non-verbal explanation (e.g., choosing a related object with the hand) one finds that when asked to explain his viewing (with right retina shielded) he will talk about novelists, poetry, etc. write the word “prose” with right hand and may grab or point with same hand a book by Shakespeare. If now the left retina is shielded while viewing the same word he will not be able to verbally signify the meaning but he has understood by first writing “cute” and grabbing with left hand a picture of Jennifer Lopez when asked to choose among different not-so-cute profiles. When asked to explain his unshielded view he will say “prose” while moving his left hand to write “cute”, simultaneously! Imagine a district attorney not being able to understand the word “prosecute” when communicating via sub-cortical levels of inter-hemispheric connectivities still available? This patient can lead a pretty normal life because there still remains an asynchronous capacity for attaining a globalization unit of consciousness. There is a wealth of information that is provided when the two halves can not act synchronously in similar repeatable experiments. We discuss a similar case of asynchronously mediated unit globalization in another chapter. In other less fortunate cases we find a diachronic dissociation of the patient’s identity while still maintaining a global unit of consciousness; each organized subset of consciousness appearing on stage at different times, the rest being held in check by an apparent selective hippocampal inhibition (amnesia), the case of multiple personalities. The global unit function is even maintained in cases of the poorly understood ‘hemi-neglect’ where the sensory arm of sensory perceptive and body propioceptive input into the central processing unit is intact but the processing goes haywire resulting in that information about the position and location of the affected part of the body is lost and neglected, usually affecting half of the body. As we discuss in another chapter the future strategy of psychotherapy should be aimed at restoring the dynamic interactive equilibrium between the modules participating. If this synchronization is achieved there is hope because the global unit is present from a connectivist view point but in need of a ‘reset’ for correct re-routings of information flow vectors.
Where the equilibrium parameters between the on-line perceptual environment reality, the internal homeostatic settings (visceral brain) and the conscious self become dis-integrated there will be not just a functional split of consciousness like the other cases mentioned, there will also be a disconnection with existential reality because of a loss of the global integrity resulting in a further loss of the ability to respond adaptively even against stimuli duly registered as a threat to life. The etiology of schizophrenia is more than an imbalance in the availability of neurotransmitters as is often simplified to be by the physicalists. Intuitions are poor substitutes of raw experimental data but we are inclined to believe that in all other cases discussed above the subject was able to introspectively find his (first person) self in a relationship to the physical environment and his psychic state. But in cases of schizophrenia there is not a continuous introspective ability to connect and realize the existence of the self as the centerpiece in the drama of existence in that specious moment.
In the absence of good objective laboratory or clinical experimental data we, and others, have resorted to metaphysical modeling to extend the valuable but limited data supplied by the science methodology. This represents the bulk of the late chapters of this work. This work is a natural extension of a previous published work which hoped to have had a solid neurophysiological foundation on which to speculate. Now we have updated the available research data and dared to embark on a metaphysical neurophilosophical journey that often seems one-way with no port of disembarking in sight. But our ‘flights of fancy’ are deeply rooted in empirical data as far as it will take us into an understanding the ontology of mind and consciousness, if there be such. All options are opened, including the possibility of an ‘intelligent design’ paradigm as we mentioned above. For the sake of a clear communication leading to a better understanding of our biopsychosocial (bps) model of consciousness we have opted for a sequence of presentation based on increasing levels of complexity (rather than a logical presentation) leaving the ‘hard’ question of self-consciousness proper for the last chapters when a familiarity with basic philosophical concepts would have been developed along in previous chapters.
The angular stone of the bps model is based on our systematic observation of a hierarchy of unavoidable human activities whether unconscious, subconscious or conscious, all aimed at the preservation of the structural / functional integrity of biological, psychic and social life, in that order. As we elaborate further in several chapters, our approach considers language (verbal or not) as central in linking genetic past, specious present with acquired past as modified by our psyche in trying to maintain a bps ‘survival equilibrium’. We have left no stone unturned having covered practically the entire spectrum of human endeavor, from physics to philosophy through mathematics, biomedicine and law, albeit admittedly biased and narrowed down by our premises. If successful we hope this model will be expanded into a theory of everything (TOE) by incorporating cosmological principles. To give the reader an idea of the scope of our presentation we will briefly focus now on the neurophilosophical background on which the later chapters rest.
The very first chapter lays the foundation for a global understanding of life and consciousness. It starts with a partial adoption of Kant’s premises as a starting point, stressing, among other things, on the way the ‘chaos of sensations’ perceived by the senses gets unit integration at the sense organ level and then becomes digitally differentiated and distributively organized into brain categories for future parsing activity, especially when the object / event perceived is absent and we must remember its features for future recognition by a comparison analysis based on a selective integration of the different categories stored, the ‘phenomenal binding process’. This now becomes the new reality whether it coincides or not with the ontology ‘in se’ of the perceptual object out there in the environment. Reality is in our brains and, as modified by experience thereafter, will guide our behavior for the rest of our natural lives.
As the reader may have suspected, ‘free will’ is an obligatory theme in any discussions on consciousness, especially as it pertains to enforcing statutory criminal measures in individuals unable to control their acts, the ‘creatures of uncontrollable circumstances’. In our examination of this and related themes we find, un-expectedly, that a large proportion of our ordinary existence is carried on by unconscious and subconscious servo control mechanisms that formulate a plan of action (hopefully adaptive) in response to a novel situation when so encountered. We find that to be a reasonable expectation except that we humans still hold the conscious control of the relay mechanism releasing or inhibiting the flow of the plan’s strategic information to motor effectors. This control we choose to call the proximate ‘cause of action’ or free will. This is in our opinion, the only way to explain the exclusively human decisions contrary to self preservation interests as found in heroic or altruistic actions as elaborated in some chapters.
It is not unusual to find clinical investigators whose function is to find correlative disease patterns from the history, ‘review of systems’, and the results coming from different labs or clinical wards, from Nagel to Damasian. Very useful descriptions of ‘syndromes’ have been historically discovered by intelligent clinicians by just examining clinical records. Likewise very useful conclusions were found by arm-chair lab-coatless scientists examining the lab work of others as exemplified by Watson & Crick’s Nobel prize model of DNA structure as it relates to the ‘code of life’. Un-assailed by the known complexity of ‘consciousness’ studies, Crick launched into its investigation hoping to find an explanation of consciousness by first focusing on visual processing of sense-phenomenal data from receptor --> retina --> thalamus --> visual cortex -> -> visual representation of sense data. After a comprehensive evaluation of relevant data we find Crick’s model of the ‘binding problem’ a very important result but nonetheless restricted to visual sense-phenomenal data, what Chalmers has called “the easy problem” as compared with the ‘explanatory gap’ there still exists when trying to explain ‘self-consciousness’, the real ‘hard problem’. His ‘binding problem’ solution may turn out to be useful when explaining the initial steps in the attainment of global unity, i.e., when explaining the unconscious formation of the integrated subset module representing the sense-phenomenal object / event encountered via recursive thalamo-cortical loops of activity involving the reticular activating system (RAS) as discussed in chapter 8?. This falls rather short of our goal but may prove to be a great start. How does that initial, unconscious sense-phenomenal visual representation codelet becomes poised to be accessed by an ongoing higher level processing and integrated as a necessary piece of a mosaic or into a comprehensive strategy plan of action for a motor adaptive response is discussed in chapters 6 & 7?. The big issue from this point on hinges on whether further unconscious processing involve underlying transformations of symbol coded representations of the classical cognitive scientists or the attractive leading edge phase space vector transformations of Llinas and Pellionisz. Nobelist Edelman and Dennet expand on the latter by suggesting the enlistment of one or more neuronal coalitions competing for dominance in the ongoing cognitive activity, each representing a conscious state yet to be explained. The relevant information code whether as symbols, sentential segments or neuronal firing pattern is the object of much current debate between cognitive scientists and the quantum mechanical persuasions. We find both formulas acceptable except that, at the present state of the art, a cognitive approach will be more manageable if it does not lose sight of the great possibilities of the hyper-dimensional macro-quantum mechanical approach, especially when we consider the great speed of signal transmission along structured water clathrate configurations of quantum mechanical fields perturbations as discussed in chapter 9?.
Finally, the role natural language plays in the conformation and functioning of the all encompassing global consciousness, that we hoped would be our biggest contribution to the study of consciousness, has turned out to generate more questions and abstractions than we had hoped to answer and bargain for. As discussed in chapters 12, 21, 22 and many others, we had hoped to give a complete ambitious description of the amygdaloid complex as the natural candidate for the seat of consciousness based primarily on its well documented participation (with the hippocampal formation) in coordinating the avoidance reflex response. We called the peri-sylvian area connecting Heschl-Wernickes region to Broca’s area the ‘proto-linguistic organ’ (plo). We labored hard to weave together a meta-linguistic distributed net headquartered at ‘plo’ and including nativist considerations on syntax, semantics, referentials, phonology, truth values, pragmatics, vector space network theory and DNA encoded language. We even thought we had found the 4-d coordinates for Chomsky’s generative grammar as the same locus for a regenerative semantics as embodied by the ‘plo’. There we could combine both elements (universal grammar & proto-semantics) and bring to life a comprehensive theory of meaning linking figures, noises, marks and body movements as different manifestations reducible in principle to ‘propositional attitudes’ configured in syntax structure and semantics, the beginnings of a veritable truth-conditional theory of meaning of high coherence value. We laid the foundations based on a reinterpretation of Piaget’s theory on language acquisition by the newborn as discussed in chapter 5 and elsewhere.
In our opinion, the focus of any such investigation should be on analyzing the relative priority of verbal and non-verbal language and thought formation and / or transmission. Language is either causally efficient in producing thought or depends on it, they co-exist independently or are mutually dependent on each other. The first hurdle is clearly seen when considering causality relations between two different domains, the physical language (or its symbolic representation thereof) and the non-physical ‘thought’. The choice approach then narrows down to an epistemological argumentation where an ontological straight jacket for an ephemeral ‘thought entity’ is avoided. We can see that it is more reliable to analyze language as the basis of thought than the opposite approach requiring more speculative activity when analyzing what content of thought is causing language generation. Besides, the only way we can be sure about A’s thought content is by way of A’s first person account language narrative. Analytically speaking, the choices are clear: either we get more tangible results concentrating on analyzing linguistic syntacto-semantics structure as being causal to thought or get lost analyzing the elusive vagaries about the ‘intentionality’ content of thought or mental states as causal of the logic structure of language. The latter, besides being counter-intuitive, would have to depend more on self-referential accounts of language users about the beliefs and intentional mental states allegededly preceding the corresponding language formulation on the basis of a questionable co-variation of thought and language, teleological wishful thinking or an unconscious self-serving functional scheme (the ‘Gricean approach’?). It was based on these possible outcomes that we put our stock on a language precursor especially after having tentatively established the proto-linguistic organ (plo) as the putative site for the ensemble of thoughts, an attractive connectionist view of how the mind operates. We also thought that it would give the clinician an additional logic tool to predict psychic etiologies of disease based on mental state narratives as an additional input. This places language development and ‘plo’ at center stage in our evolving ‘bps’ model of consciousness. We reasoned that if a snake sound and a visual context of the scenery it came from can trigger adaptive behaviors by ‘plo’ then it can also be involved in more complex language elaboration by incorporating into its genetic memory the acquired memories of existence starting with the incorporation of mother’s ‘baby talk’ phonemes (via mirror neurons) in the newborn. Thus the inherited universal grammar links with a regenerative semantics clothed in phonology to produce the sentential logic structure (‘propositional attitudes’?). Species survival meanings coded in DNA and translated into proto-semantics nested circuitry gets shaped into a survival weapon first by reflex adaptive patterns as described and then modified into a syntacto-semantic architecture provided to the newborn by mothers ‘cooings’ and facial expressions and posterior environmental sense inputs. This view of language generation places primeval semantics at unconscious nativist levels ahead of syntactic modeling by ‘plo’. This leaves volition and free will at ‘the proximate cause’ level of control. "A man can surely do what he wants to do. But he can not determine what he wants.", Schopenhauer once said. It was at that point that we discovered Dr. Jerry Fodor and the ‘language of thought’ (LOT) hypothesis which has given impetus and corroboration to our model, save for minor disagreements.
Where we have hopelessly stumbled big time has been in providing a marketable account of how our ‘plo’ processing module mediates the transition from an on-line sense-phenomenal (or conceptual off-line) codelet input (I) to a corresponding syntactically- structured representational output (O) in a systematic one to one instantiation by this special basic input-output system (BIOS) of the ‘plo’ processor. We suspect that the original ‘machine language’ genetic code input translated from the newborn DNA gets incorporated (and modified?) into the acquired phonemic and facial expressions input from the lactating mother via mirror neurons as discussed briefly in various chapters. Meaning to the newborn (proto-semantics) gets somehow structured into a sequence (proto-syntax) in the ‘plo’ processor. The neuro-humoral reward-punishment system of Olds-Pribram (connecting ‘plo’ with forebrain executive area via Medial Forebrain Bundle) is intimately involved in the original and subsequent classification of inputs past the amygdaloid phase of release of inhibition discussed above. Somehow a systematic audio-visual (or other sensory inputs) facilitate the formation of ‘inferential’ codelet loops that, added to other relevant modular inputs (visceral brain, talking brain, non-dominant brain, etc) will configure the resultant of ‘all things considered’, a “thought”. Whether this final event precedes the motor adaptive response or not (see Libet’s timing data) is open to debate and should not necessarily put into question the existence of a ‘free will’ for the reasons already discussed above. The big problem still remaining was, of course, how to explain the kind of ‘sentential’ logic structure (if any at all) guiding the jazz pianist when improvising his music? We believe there is no conscious thought guiding his performance; we discuss this problem in some detail in chapter 19.
In closing we'd like to advise the mind specialists to skip the first two chapters which are primarily intended as yet another introduction to familiarize the reader with some of the questions and methods used in these investigations based on ramblings around personal personal experiences were brewing since my first publication of "Biopsychosociology" now and now found its way into words during my retirement from academia. The first two chapters recapitulate past human attempts to bring raw perceptions of nature into coherent operational models of practical predictive value and how this result was predicated on rational abstractions based on this author's modifications on the general structure of Kant's categorical imperatives in a virtual brain. A controversial result of these ruminations is that, premised on the determination of the existence of autogenous purposeful motion at extra-sensory levels of organization constitutes a measure of the living in potency, before any classical criteria of life is possible to establish. Other than logically concluding from its results (e.g., negentropic increase in structure / function) or that life can't be either spontaneous or possible under an evolutionary protocol, and that an intelligent design is mandated, the author needs not to make commitments as to causality.