Copyright © 2013 by Steve Perrin

Here’s the lowdown on On My Mind: A New Vision of Consciousness, the book I’ve roughed-out in this blog.

Title: On My Mind: A New Vision of Consciousness

Author: Steve (Stephen G.) Perrin, P.O. Box 585, Bar Harbor, Maine 04609

Contact: onmymynd@gmail.com

Publisher: Earthling Press, Bar Harbor; Lulu.com; ISBN 978-0-9651058-2-8

Published: May 2013

Description: 163 introspective reflections divided into 8 chapters—

  1. Introduction
  2. Depicting a Mind
  3. Perception
  4. Action
  5. The Situated Self
  6. Loops of Engagement
  7. Reality
  8. Toward a theory of Mind

228 pages, frontispiece, preface, epigraphs on method, 5 figures, index

Orders: Print on Demand, Lulu.com, $17.95 + shipping

Key Points

Method—30 years of Perrin’s first-person, phenomenological reflections on events in the one mind he has privileged access to

Intent—to make a heuristic contribution to the study of consciousness

Situated Self—Perrin discovers himself situated in a stream of ongoing awareness between not only perception and action, but also between memory and current events, personal understanding and imagination, himself as both subject and object, his individual being and his social belonging.

Speech—where do words come from? Introspection reveals that they arise from tensions within the situations we find ourselves in when we part our lips to speak. Those tensions provide the deep structure of what we actually say.

Loop of Engagement—striving to act effectively in a world he cannot know in itself, Perrin finds himself committed to a course of trial and error based on a flow of sensory patterns which he can make meaningful only against a background of his subjective life experience. This ongoing labor of finding meaning in sensory patterns drives his engagements forward from one to the next in a series of comparisons of the familiar and recognizable against the novel or strange.

Valenced disparity—Perrin finds that his conscious mind itself is aroused by a tension between his expectancies and those actual patterns of awareness which he endeavors to find meaningful. The gap between expectancy and achieved meaning creates a valenced disparity (good/bad, positive/negative, pro/con) that sparks attention to his present situation that amounts to nothing less than his personal consciousness.

The Business of the Mind—perception addresses the question, “What’s going on?,” the situated self addresses the question, “What does it mean?,” and personal action addresses the question, “What should I do?”

Levels of Consciousness—since evolution cannot anticipate every situation we will find ourselves in, the job of consciousness is to learn through trial and error what works and what doesn’t, the object being to develop a repertory of habitual behaviors suited to the particular niche at issue. Our unconscious minds offer a host of automated behaviors such as reflexes, mimicry, rote learning, habits, routines, prejudices, and ideologies that, once mastered, enable us to drive cars, ride bicycles, skateboard, prepare food, and generally respond to repetitive situations apt to crop up in daily life. Which leaves effectively dealing with problematic situations to the richness of full consciousness.

Introspection—since every human mind is unique, only one person on Earth has both the motive and opportunity to acquaint any given mind. Schooling often deals with abstractions, concepts, and generalities, leaving the particular workings of our minds for us to deal with on our own. The essence of introspection is becoming aware of being aware, that is, of finding out who we are, where we are, a job each of us must do on her or his own.

That’s the gist of the book. It can be yours by clicking on Lulu.com and searching for Steve Perrin. It costs $17.95 + postage.

Thanks for following my blog. –Steve from planet Earth

 

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Copyright © 2013 by Steve Perrin

On My Mind: A New Vision of Consciousness (Lulu.com, May 2013) by Steve Perrin

My latest book is about the structure and workings of consciousness as revealed through many years of personal self-reflection. Consciousness, I find, is aroused by a disparity between two nerve signals, much as depth perception results from a disparity between images at corresponding points on the retinas of our two eyes.

Such a disparity in signals might arise between sensory patterns as remembered in contrast to those currently perceived. That is, between expectancy and actual experience, or between the aim of a deliberate action and the effect it actually produces.

I think of that disparity as a relative “valence” such as that between right and wrong, true and false, good and bad, like and dislike, or attractive and repellant. If the valence indicates, for example, “that our impressions exceed or fall short of our expectations, then we become aroused, pay attention, and make a conscious effort to account for the difference so we can take appropriate action.” I think of a helmsman steering through fog by the deviance of his compass needle from his charted course to illustrate the idea of such a valenced signal

In this regard, I see the brain not as a computer but “as a vigilant comparator looking for the then in the now, and when not finding it, taking pains to update memory through conscious scrutiny.” That comparator is on duty whenever things, for better or worse, do not go as expected. Resulting in our streaming consciousness striving to keep up with events as they actually unfold in round after round of engagement. Our personal experience reflects those eternal rounds of engagement, much as the holding power of a screw derives from the helical course of its ramped threads through the wood into which it is turned.

Our minds have many alternative routes from perception to action that largely sidestep consciousness. Reflexes, mimicry, rote memorization, and habitual routines, for instance, proceed unconsciously according to our expectations. But when things do not go as expected, our minds are roused to take unanticipated factors into account. Personal consciousness is situated between perception and action, where it plays the vital role of supervising our rounds of engagement for as long as we concentrate on a particular task or activity.

The take-away message of my new book is that a course of introspection is advised if we are to take responsibility for the outcomes of our personal views and actions. Since every human mind is unique, only one person on Earth has both the motive and opportunity to acquaint any given mind. Our schooling generally deals with abstractions, concepts, and generalities, leaving the particular workings of our minds for us to deal with on our own. This book provides examples of how we might do just that. “The art of introspection is in accepting whatever appears, not judging or dismissing it beforehand because it does not meet designated research criteria.” I use haiku as an example of “grappling with becoming aware of being aware” during moments that draw “us out of our everyday selves, heightening our engagement with life.”

On My Mind: A New Vision of Consciousness is available at lulu.com. Search “Books” for “Steve Perrin” and you will come to it. The cost is $17.95 plus shipping.

 

Copyright © 2013 by Steve Perrin

In 2008, I set out to get my thoughts in order by posting my disconnected reflections on consciousness, my aim being to assemble the gleanings into a book.

I wrote my first book on the topic, Consciousness: The Book, which I published in November 2011 on Lulu.com.

Now in June 2013, I have refined and expanded that work in my new book, On My Mind: A New Vision of Consciousness, also on Lulu.com.

This blog has served me as a scratch pad, allowing me to organize random thoughts on first-person consciousness into a coherent whole. I am happy with the results, feeling it is a highly cumulative process. The real work came in actually writing the books, that is, in turning the scratch pad into a finished work.

I do not plan to add additional posts to this blog. I will let it stand as what it is, a record of my past efforts to come to grips with my own mind through introspection. The books, I feel, go far beyond what I was able to achieve on wordpress.com. But without wordpress, the books would not exist. Thank you, wordpress.

Now my last thought is, if you have been interested in this blog, now buy the books that far transcend it. Go to lulu.com and search for “Steve Perrin.” Put On My Mind: A New Vision of Consciousness in your shopping cart and check out. That would be doing both yourself and me a favor. Don’t hold back; just do it. It may change your life.

Thanks for coming along on this ride. Y’r friend, –Steve