Copyright © 2012 by Steve Perrin

CONSCIOUSNESS: The BOOK now has its very own Website at myndloop.com. For an introduction to what you need to know about your own mind to survive in the 21st century, this site is for you.

There are many routes to self-knowledge:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Neuroscientific investigation
  • Reading Shakespeare, Dante, Montaigne, et al.
  • Leading an active, reflective, and experiential life

However we go about it, self-awareness is the key—developing the ability to see ourselves in different situations so that we recognize what is our contribution and what comes from outside. We cannot relate effectively to others until we connect with ourselves. Which is what the book is about.

My method in writing it was to seize upon incidents in my life that were salient or attractive (in drawing my attention), memorable in being unforgettable, and yet mysterious in that I could not readily understand or explain them. I regarded each incident from the standpoint of its sensory qualities, how I conceived of and understood those qualities, the feelings they aroused in me, the survival values they involved—and then how those incidents led me to act in the world in terms of projects and relationships.

This self-study led me to map out my inner experience in terms of a loop of engagement  with the outside world. The loop receives patterns of energy through my senses in light of my expectations at the moment, arouses me, leading me to conceptualize what is going on, understand it, feel it, value it, relate it to similar events in my past, and then look ahead to what I am going to do about it by way of making some kind of appropriate response.

Put that way it sounds cumbersome, but the loop just keeps endlessly flowing along—with the result being my stream of consciousness and the life I find myself leading. Which is largely driven by me, not the world.

I also find that a great many others are trying to control my personal loop of engagement so that I act to please them, not myself. That, I think, is the danger we all face now and in the coming century—people using us for their purposes, not ours. As tyrants use the people they forcibly control. As Wall Street has used homeowners and investors in the current economic crisis. As the US used Iraq as a foil to its selfish intentions in draining off national energy in the aftermath of 9-11-2001. And so on.

I now believe that I cannot relate effectively with any other person (child, spouse, colleague, friend) unless I am fully acquainted with my personal loop of engagement as I have developed it through prior experience, and now practice it today as if I were engaging the real world—while I am actually engaging a world I have built up for myself through the years.

I dedicate the book: To Occupy Wall Street and the 99 percent because I believe the only way ahead requires all of us to come to grips with our styles of engagement to avoid falling into the trap of learning from our elders how to conduct our social engagements, ensuring we continue the very blind and selfish patterns of behavior we gather to protest against.

The issue comes down to the choice: do we proceed on the basis of what we already know (as if that were true), or do we stretch our minds to learn new ways of living in the world?

That, ultimately, is what CONSCIOUSNESS: The BOOK  is about. Check it out at www.myndloop.com.

As ever, I remain your friend, –Steve

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Reflection 230: Book Blurb

November 26, 2011

Copyright © 2011

The art of knowing one’s mind is to track its engagements within a challenging situation that is personally significant. The problematic nature of that challenge kindles consciousness in the first place. Once aware of the problem, we can watch our minds wrestling with how best to respond. In this book, I offer curiosity as the desirable approach, trial and error as a workable method, and self-awareness as the overall goal.

In the process, I discover several dimensions of my personal consciousness revealed in sequential order. First comes expectancy, then attention, followed by sensory figures at a useful level of detail. Leading to interpretation of those figures, their understanding within a framework of feelings and values, advancing to judgments based on the foregoing dimensions that culminate in further planning and appropriate action.

The result of this introspective method is awareness of my mental engagement with difficult situations I get myself into at various levels of my mind such as reflexes, habits, ideology, or full conscious analysis. Novelty, surprise, and curiosity promote consciousness; frustration, disengagement, and depression suppress it. Steered by personal feelings and values, consciousness empowers us to make ourselves happen in the world.

Owning up to perceptual mistakes I have made in the past, I take responsibility for the workings of my own mind, producing smoother engagements in situations that make me who I am. I dedicate the book To Occupy Wall Street and the 99 percent—to all who are working to make a better life for themselves.

Copyright © 2011 by Steve Perrin

November 9, 2011

That’s me, the original one-tracker. Can’t do two things at once. Anyway, I’m back after a long bout of working on my book. Three titles later (Know Thyself, At My Peril, Consciousness: The Book), I’ll go with the last one because that’s what it’s all about.

    Having worked on this project since 2006, I’ve finally got it in a form I can live with. Not only live with, but celebrate because a lot of it comes together in a coherent narrative about perception, conception, and understanding (and much else)—all based on my personal life experience. Made available to me through persistent introspection.

    No, I can’t write and blog at the same time. Blogging skims off the top of my thoughts; trying to put a book together requires deeper, longer study to make sure it all hangs together. But the rewards are tremendous. Finally, I’m beginning to understand my own mind. That’s one sample out of seven billion, but closer than I’ve ever come.

    My plan now is to give talks on my findings, before any audience that will listen. There are no illustrations in the book (except the map of my mind on the back cover), so I’m putting them into a PowerPoint. I’ll slowly share what I’ve learned in this blog after I’ve made the transition from putting the book together.

    Hope all’s well with you. –Steve

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Copyright © 2011

The book on introspection I’ve been working on since 2008 is now available on Lulu.com. I’ve changed the title to KNOW THYSELF, with the same sub-title: Adventures in Getting to Know My Own Mind, by Steve Perrin.

It’s all there between two covers, Preface, Synopsis, Introduction, 15 chapters, Further Reading, Glossary, and Index—all 328 pages. A bargain at $16.96 (only on Lulu.com), plus shipping. List price is $19.95. Go to Lulu.com, click on Books, then enter KNOW THYSELF; there are several books using that title so scroll down until you see the one with the red cover.

Here I’ll include an updated version of the diagram on the back cover; the whole book serves as the caption. But in brief:

Perrin_KnowThyself_BackCover_diagram

Introspective self-portrait of the author’s mind. This entire book serves as the caption for the diagram. Consciousness is represented by the large circle, located between two hidden substrates, A) the physical world, and B) the author’s brain. Introspection provides access to neither substrate. Sensory processing is represented on the right, planning for action on the left. All understanding is based on three tiers of mental processing: 1) sensory stimulation rendered as concrete phenomena, 2) phenomena rendered in terms of abstract categories, and 3) fields of categorized phenomena interconnected to form a sense of general understanding. Reflexes bypass consciousness altogether, habits and routines become automatized over time, and consciousness juggles a variety of metaphors in creating a sense of coherent understanding. The author’s unique self invests values and feelings in these processes, and works through judgments, goals, and projects to make himself happen in particular world situations via his ongoing loop of engagement.  SP 

(Copyright © 2011)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

INTROSPECTION:

ADVENTURES IN

GETTING TO KNOW

MY OWN MIND

The blog was basically a scratch pad for generating ideas about consciousness to compile into a book. The book is nearly done, under the working title above. I’m in the final stages, getting ready to do an index. Here’s a visual summary of the contents in schematic form. Think of it as a picture of my mind. To understand the diagram, all you need to do is read the book. It’s that simple. All I’ve go to do is finish it, which will take me another month or so. In future posts, I’ll provide a rundown of the contents.  –Steve Perrin

Introspection Diagram_1-21-2011_sharpened