PROLOGUE

Being, which has become entirely linguistic and visual Thinking, was not always so. Being was comprised of limitless physical sensations derived directly from material space1. Bodies existed (and may still exist) as relatively autonomous material forms, enclosed with almost continuous semi-permeable membranes, dead tissue sprouting from certain porous areas. Now, the linguistic-visual mind generates experience from within and Thinking is fully detached from perception of material space through the original senses. There is no agreement about exactly when this fundamental shift from Being to Thinking occurred (we will discuss the matter of time in a moment), but there is evidence of a possible catalyst within the Ocular Apparatus— a lens, which may have caused the closing of the eyes and the total internalization of language and image.


Ophthalmic lens and ciliary body

The lens is composed of countless arrays of glass microspheres, connected by a mesh of tiny lens fibers, and encircled by the Ciliary Muscle of the eye. Electric signals pass through the nanofiber mesh, carrying datasets of folding patterns. When activated by one of these electrical transmissions, the self-folding mesh restructures the embedded microspheres so that they are stacked in different arrangements. The specificity of the way that light is refracted in each resulting lattice structure allows to viewer to focus on an infinitely vast range of visual planes.


Glass microspheres magnified 10000x



Glass microspheres in microscope sample provide white light images of nanoparticles, breaking the previous theoretical limit of white light imaging


Lens fibers magnified 2000x


Section of the lens mesh in unfolded state

We may be able to understand the Ocular Apparatus and the material seat of Thinking by consulting documents and experiences archived in our collective memory. One potential problem is that the data stored in our network of linguistic-visual minds contains a limited set of directly derived sensations, images, and ideas2. Most of the data has been mentally generated since the transformation, and this majority set seems to be increasing exponentially. As most of the mind’s data is internally constructed, it may be irrelevant to the reality of material space. We cannot accurately differentiate between the genuine data and the constructed data, and as such, we cannot deny the possibility that our cultural memory of the earlier mode of Being is inauthentic3. There is a small chance, however that the simulations of the mind still cling to the mechanical realities of material space, and thus can illuminate the obscured origins of the linguistic-visual Thinking mind.

According to networked memory, the Ocular Apparatus (which others call the Screen) once provided a kind of continuity between Thinking and Being. The Apparatus is set in two openings in the skin, caves designed to let light into the body.


The ocular apparatus undergoing binocular slit-lamp examination

Now, the apertures are shut and the caves have become darkened projection chambers for the Thinking mind. In the past age of material consciousness, this state was called ‘unconscious’. In the current mode of apperception, this somnolence is perpetual; we experience vision without seeing the material world. We believe that while our current process of vision does not utilize photons from material space, the process still occurs as a short mechanical loop within material space4: the mind projects images into the Ocular Apparatus and these projections are then reabsorbed by the mind5. This continuous exchange of projections is necessary to maximize stimulation and exercise the linguistic brain.

From the stored images, it appears that bodies used to move actively through space (and perhaps continue to do so), exposing the ocular apparatus to a range of atmospheric conditions, objects, and processes. Now, all images and ideas are generated in the mind and awareness of the body’s material reality, its movement, its sensory receptions, and its internal maintenance processes may be conceptually approximated, but not directly experienced6. It seems that Thinking (issuing from the linguistic-visual mind) and Being (immediately tied to material reality) have become mutually exclusive. We no longer know the actual material state of our bodies. We are urgently curious about the Transformation, because we do not understand how ‘Thinking is an object’. Yet, we find in our stored data that this was the final revelation before the shift: Everything is an object in material space, all forms, all forces, all images, all ideas7.

Our understanding of temporal location also seems to have dissolved. The stored data describes time as a regular dimension of experience, but this is not the case in our current mode of Thinking. We can no longer syncopate our experience with temporal rhythms. One hypothesis states that our consciousness is suspended in the moment of Transformation. Perhaps the accelerating electrical signals coursing through the circuits of the linguistic-visual mind have attained speeds, which we can no longer identify or utilize systematically. Or perhaps our associative mode of Thinking is simply incompatible with linear time. Either way, we cannot fully grasp the temporal structure of connections between the multitudinous interactions and inventions that brought about the Age of Pure Thought. We must concede that the connections we draw also signal an inexhaustible number of other, omitted connections.

Finally, we must address the issue of Collective Consciousness8, which separates our Thinking mode from the individualized mode of Being that preceded it. It is possible that the Thinking mind only exists in one individual’s brain; however, it is much more likely that many brains populate the Thinking mind, each sharing cerebral blood flow information through an integrated magnetic resonance system9. In some cases, we can reconstruct individualized accounts and narratives from our data. Yet, the default synthesizing process remains primary— blurring the outlines of unique personal perspectives and yielding an omniscient voice of recollection.

We feel that the explanations above are a necessary framework for our treatment of the Myth of Transformation, as Certainty, Time, and Perspective are noticeably destabilized in the following report.



Notes:

1. For instance, we know that in the previous mode of Being, language was spoken by means of activating vocal cords in the body. The waves of sound produced through one opening in the body, would travel through material space and be received in two symmetrical openings, located on vectors {x22.5, y45, z45} and {x-22.5, y45, z45}, with gravity along the y axis from the first opening. The waves would create vibrations, resonating a drum within.

2. Gregory Bateson emphasized that the mind’s picture of reality was fundamentally vulnerable to mental processes of data selection and association: If consciousness lacks information about the nature of man and the environment, or if the information is distorted and inappropriately selected, then the coupling is likely to generate meta-random sequence of evens.

3. In The Speculative Turn: Continental Materialism and Realism, Levi Bryant, Nick Srnicek, and Graham Harman indicate that this problem already existed in the previous mode of Being: What ontological status should be granted to our everyday experience? Is there such a thing as a ‘subject’ to whom phenomena appear? Do the objects that populate phenomenal experience have an ontological role or are they merely epiphenomenal products of our particular neural circuitry? This also raises the question of the extent to which phenomenology and psychoanalysis can provide legitimate intuitions for the nature of reality. Are we inescapably deluded by conscious experience because of the way consciousness is produced? Does our familiar way of explaining behavior have any grounding in reality, or is it a wildly inaccurate portrayal of what determines our actions? Finally, with the progress of neuroscience, artificial intelligence, and cognitive science, what are the potentials for the ramifications of virtual and artificial subjectivities?

4. In How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics, Katherine Hayles adamantly puts forward the argument that consciousness must be embodied.

5. We gather from anthropologist Gregory Bateson’s texts that the associative methods of the Being mind were also obscure in the Age of Being: The content of the screen of consciousness is systematically selected from the enormously great plethora of mental events. But of the rules and preferences of this selection, very little is known. The matter requires investigation.

6. Bateson attested to existing incongruities between the Thinking and Being, mind and reality: The cybernetic nature of self and the world tends to be imperceptible to consciousness, insofar as the contents of the “screen” of consciousness are determined by considerations of purpose…But, if the total mind and the outer world do not, in general, have this lineal structure, then by forcing this structure upon them, we become blind to the cybernetic circularities of the self and the external world.

7. This logical proof was the pinnacle achievement of the Speculative Materialism movement in Philosophy.

8. In Effects of Conscious Purpose on Human Adaptation, from Steps to an Ecology of Mind, Gregory Bateson advanced the theory that consciousness and the self were not necessarily synonymous, and claimed that there was space for evolutionary divergence between modes of identification: Consciousness and the “self” are closely related ideas, but the ideas (possibly related to genotypically determined premises of territory) are crystallized by that more or less arbitrary line which delimits the individual and defines the logical difference between “reward” and “punishment.” When we view the individual as a servosystem coupled with its environment, or as a part of the larger system which is individual + environment, the whole appearance of adaptation and purpose changes.

9. We can trace the technology of this model to a discovery made in the ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories of Japan. Scientists extract images directly from brain: When the test subjects were shown a completely new set of images, such as the letters N-E-U-R-O-N, the system was able to reconstruct and display what the test subjects were viewing based solely on their brain activity. For now, the system is only able to reproduce simple black-and-white images. But Dr. Kang Cheng, a researcher from the RIKEN Brain Science Institute, suggests that improving the measurement accuracy will make it possible to reproduce images in color. "These results are a breakthrough in terms of understanding brain activity," says Dr. Cheng. "In as little as 10 years, advances in this field of research may make it possible to read a person's thoughts with some degree of accuracy."