The orphans of Higher Order Thought theories: HOP and “time“:

The most neglected factor in explanations of the human theater of mind needs to be addressed to avoid HOT and similar discussions failing to satisfy or agree. This omission is the environment in which the mind’s neural complexities operate while input is received from the body’s sensors. That environment is “time” and the absence of a present moment. For the purpose of this monologue then, consciousness or awareness, which Dr. Patrick Grim has described as “that glow”, will sometimes be referred to here with the once popular term “the movie screen” (without Descartes) since the layers of brain activity are melding, vetting, and describing frames of experience while the environment presents as a flow. “Higher Order Processing” illuminates the process.

This monologue does not discuss bicameral issues, the interactions with older layers of the evolved human brain (although most interesting), attempts to supplant present replacements for the Cartesian Theater, or the results of current neurological mapping and the like.

Regardless of what one’s concept of time may be, there is no escaping that for the brain there is no present moment. Only humans and some animals with sufficient memory systems can have the theater experience, since what is being seen and heard are instant replays created after the results of autonomous editing, vetting, culling, and describing are projected within the theater at quantum speeds in equally uncountable frames. To oversimplify, our sensory inputs never stop changing and there can be no meat-lens focusing on a single bit while the blivets of sensory experience whiz by.

The mind dances between immediate future imaginings and memories of the immediate past, generating the spaciousness we experience in our mental theater — that “glow”. While processing countless units of sensory input into instant replays — scenarios right or wrong leading to actions (Henri Bergson) in the equally numerous events to come, the brain simultaneously retains and often displays on the same movie screen the basic stage-sets of our lives as our “present” instant replays lap against the shores of the memory mainland — the icons on our reality desktop, so to speak — with visuals of things like routes to familiar places, images of family members, the condition of our clothing, the layout of the bathrooms we use and where the toothpaste is, anger with a colleague . . . all without the ability to stop time long enough to get a more settled look around at what is happening now, “now” always just another replay from short-term memory to be quickly replaced on the same stage. When non-sensory experience (conceptual thought) tires physically and sensory inputs cease to sufficiently fuel the replay generator, as in sleep, the theater darkens and dimly lighted wispy dreams or internal adjustments ensue. The street theater is closed!

The balancing act between future and past is more of a vibrating (teeter-totter) between anticipation of what will happen in the next moment and the instant replays from memory. The complexity, speed, and intensity of this processing activity, which creates the display we experience, is no less likely the cause of the “glow” than the spinning of a simple electric generator’s gaps in either the armature or the stator or both is likely to create a spark.


Folk metaphors for the philosophy and science of mind are valid in the absence of testable alternatives.

The use of “movie screen”, oft mentioned by Sandoz LSD-25 experimenters of the 1965-1975 era, arrived with some interesting insights. Dr John Lilly observed that after emerging from the isolation tank (warm salt water, no light) he could tell that his theater of mind was definitely and entirely within his skull. As his ego and survival mechanisms slowly returned, this observation reverted to the normal feeling that what he was observing was all “out there”. But without a present moment, what one observes is, in fact, not out there, regardless of what may be on screen.

Locating or naming of the various parts of the brain which combine to create the stage or theater is not relevant to this discussion.

Since discoveries of the complexity of the brain’s software continue to excite and mystify, and there is so much more to learn, it is unseemly to dismiss the term “glow” from current discussions.

All machines we create to measure time are only measuring their own speed. <folk attitude alert!> That time itself may be another dimension is irrelevant to this discussion.

The biology or mechanics of the mind can be presumed to oscillate from future to past with results determined by previous results following previous results, etc., hence the metaphor of frames per second but of a quantum number.

The Turing Test must be replaced by an awareness-of-self test for the test to be relevant for AI.

Dogs, dolphins, human infants, and adults with cognitive disabilities et al do not require conceptual content to be self aware. Deleuze has something to say on this, in his short piece on Leibniz: “The Fold”. Consciousness folding in on itself, and viewing itself from all angles at once, like a cubist 4D piece of art. (– Dr John King)

A blivet is 2 pounds of shit in a 1-pound bag, and before one can throw it from here to there is goes: “Blivet!”

There are professionals who work in the field of Mind & Consciousness, and from what they have already published on the subject and without realizing it, reveal that they have first-hand experience with blivets. This is in no way a criticism, but an acknowledgement of their expertise.

— Edited by J H Baumgaertner II.

About John Aalborg

aka "Mo'hammer" — no TV interviews, no book signings, no fawning to publishers. Like Elmore Leonard, "I leave out the parts readers would skip."
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