Abstract Details

Mind, Matter and Phenomenal Experience  Carlos Acosta (Nipomo, CA )   C11

Phenomenal qualities are embodied spaciotemporal abstractions subjectively perceived by a conscious observer (Russell, 1927). Specific examples, i.e., qualia, include the color purple, the taste of chocolate, and the fragrance of a rose. The question of whether phenomenal awareness can be empirically understood forms one important facet of the "Hard Problem of Consciousness." (Chalmers, 1995, pp. 200-219) It is the position of this paper that we can only explain why we experience sensory qualities in the manner we do if we first comprehend how they may have evolved in the extremely distant past. This analysis explores the evolutionary foundations of phenomenal experience. In so doing, it proposes that behind the mechanisms through which physical stimuli interface with our sensory apparatus, there lies a long evolutionary process of approximation, standardization, and synchronization that ultimately forged the close links between the two. The abstract associations that these links give rise to cumulatively generate phenomenal experience. There is a tight correlation between our sensations and incoming stimuli, and this synchronous covariance is meaningful and functional; however, it does not result from a strict cause-and-effect correspondence between the material essences of external objects and our internal neurophysiology. Consequently, this article endorses Hoffman's (1998, 2003, 2008, 2009 and 2019) view that the external world is largely hidden from our direct sensory evaluation. The following investigation extends Jung's (1955) thesis to further explore the concept of complementary phenomena originally envisioned by Pauli (Meier, 2001). This modified thesis as it applies to acausality and synchronicity with respect to the evolution of color perception, is then employed to more deeply explore the evolutionary ties that ultimately engender phenomenal awareness. Without invoking the Quantum-Mind hypothesis, this examination supports the idea that our five sensory modalities are not true representations, or even close approximations, of any underlying material qualities of external objects, but that they still provide useful meta-data pertaining to the macro properties of spacetime, matter, and motion, as well as the causal-objective of all life. The analysis concludes that it is the hierarchical identification, categorization, and abstract re-normalization of this indirect higher-order information that has engendered all conscious thought and experience over evolutionary time.