Weekly Head Voices #217: Continuum of Consciousness

Hey, welcome to the Monthly Weekly Head Voices!

This one covers the extensive period from Monday Feb 15 to Sunday March 21, 2021.

Since we last connected here, much has transpired, a strangely selected subset of which is mentioned below:

New computer

An M1 MacBook Air became part of my computing zoo. See the new computer post if you’re into that sort of thing. Short version if you’re not: It’s the best Emacs-capable device I’ve ever used.

PGP: I’m not dead yet!

In a pleasantly surprising turn of events, I found myself counter-signing PGP encryption keys with different sets of friends.

In spite of my PGP never gonna give you up post of 2016, the thought that old-fashioned PGP might soon disappear even from my archaic view, to be replaced by more user-friendly and modern solutions such as Signal, has been on my mind more often recently.

This would not be the worst turn of events. The more people are using secure and private communication, the better.

However, it was fun doing our modest part to bolster the tiny and dwindling group of humans who know how to use PGP and think that they still should.

All of that being said, we did also make use of the opportunity to perform defensible Signal safety number verification.

Stone Three Healthcare has joined back up with the rest of Voltron

Back in July of 2019, I announced that Stone Three Healthcare had been officially spun out from Stone Three Venture Technology.

More recently, our corporate mothership embarked on a newly engineered (and funded) scaling-up journey, bringing with it a host of opportunities for positive impact on the world.

In the Healthcare company we had to make a choice between sticking it out as a smaller startup on the one hand, or re-integrating into a newly-designed merged organization and making use of the extended new capabilities to further our vision.

(I’m really trying to keep it real here, but the line between that and corp-speak is like mono-filament!)

So, since this past week or so, I’m working together with the new merged entity.

My mandate is now broader in two ways:

  • I’ll be focusing on technological solutions for precision Health and Safety, where it was previously healthcare only.
  • I’ll be assisting all parts of the company by optimizing technological processes of all sorts.

This is all very exciting to me, and they’re even letting me keep some of the science in my new official title!

The strange continuum of consciousness

This is a tricky one to mention, because it probably needs much more space than I have here, and much more skill than I have to explain.

I’m going to try in any case, because just maybe it sparks something for someone.

A large part of the Waking Up meditation daily practice is exploring the exact nature of one’s experienced consciousness.

Specifically, there is the realisation that the whole of your consciousness, including your thoughts, your interactions with real, live people, and everything else, takes place in your mind.

Furthermore, internal sensations, like an itch, or pain, or a tingling on your skin, and external sensations, like hearing or sight, although they seem to be localised inside and outside, take place in the exact same consciousness.

Everything that you experience, whether “real”, like looking at the sea, or imaginary, like thinking about (and hence “seeing”) something that you need to take care of tomorrow, or something that you experienced yesterday, are all simulations that are running as part of your consciousness.

There is a continuum from internal to external, and a continuum from direct sensory experience to remembered or predicted experience, along with all of its thoughts and emotions.

These are all the same sort of signals coursing through the same neural pathways.

Another core idea here is that although your brain is housed in your skull, your feeling that your consciousness is somehow also localised behind your eyes is not entirely apt.

Your consciousness is the whole space, with all of your observed reality in it, including the illusion (or rather simulation) of your localisation.

You (the observer) are not at a single point, but rather everywhere where consciousness is.

Everything that you perceive to happen, by definition “happens” in the space that you call consciousness.

These are tricky lessons to learn, and it seems that at least in my case we are destined to spend only fleeting moments together, but they have profound and positive implications for how we go through life.

Figure 1: I used the neural network-based artwork generator, called MachineRay 2, by artist Robert A. Gonsalves to generate this piece. Read more in his blog post.

Figure 1: I used the neural network-based artwork generator, called MachineRay 2, by artist Robert A. Gonsalves to generate this piece. Read more in his blog post.