"One of the rights - really obligations - in a democracy is to exercise our mind." - Robert Krulwich
"As they examine the world more and more minutely with instruments of ever higher resolution they come upon phenomena not previously described." - Robert Horvitz
A proposed new consciousness model description - a work in progress. All notions expressed in Open Mystic are to taken as intellectual proposals. Open Mystic is so far a collection of essays - all of which will be edited, updated, and/or removed.
Introduction: It is fashionable to explore consciousness in the context of quantum theory. In fact a review of the literature shows many analogies made to technical and scientific models. However, it seems most reasonable if not obvious that modern communication systems afford the richest core basis for modeling consciousness. The model example here is arguably elegant and starts with a core technical analog - the aperture of any everyday antenna. The rubric is rich with concepts begging to be shaped into a unified consciousness model. Communications systems concerned with the management and propagation of electromagnetic energy are an extremely compelling source of inspiration and insight. Persons who are familiar at a practical and theoretical level with these concepts have found Open Mystic to be a fascinating proposal.
If you don't believe the study of consciousness is a daunting effort, consider the years required to master Buddhist or Yogic consciousness models. An approach using hard core academic syllogisms and rigorous logic requires years of study as exemplified here. It's no surprise that the present model can likewise seem arcane. However, much more than other models this one strives to be maximally inclusive - a unifying model of consciousness - so it's worth the effort to understand it. Consider these images:
It is proposed that every person has a complex aperture surround as is stylized in the image to the right. We will call that virtual volume the temporal aperture. The eye can't see a person's temporal aperture surround, but every element of that compound volume comprises their interactive window on the world as they move through time - exactly as in the case of the antenna where its "invisible" aperture defines and makes possible its function of radio wave (electromagnetic radiation) capture and transmission.
The Open Mystic website is a location where an elegant and inclusive model for consciousness will be proposed over the coming years. There have been endless historical descriptions from academia, philosophy, religious leaders, Western and Eastern mysticism, etc. for every day consciousness. Everyone understands these to some extent and may have even studied them. It's an age old tradition to do so. The seeds of the discussion are several compelling analogies and metaphors. All of the analog models and submodels in this monograph will struggle to propose various continua, and it is in this way that the overall temporal aperture concept is a unifying model. Other consciousness models closely and academically focus on selected areas, but there are always disjunctures moving outside of those models. They are not sufficiently inclusive. Compelling analogs and metaphors inspire the models, which can be taken as a point of departure for further detailed research. The model continua extend from readily verbalized areas to non-verbalizable transcendental ones, so academic purists may regrettably get lost here. However, any consciousness model that doesn't attempt at its core to be inclusive is incomplete, if not dishonest. There are no disjunctures in the temporal aperture consciousness model.
In 1948 M.I.T. mathematician Norbert Wiener published "Cybernetics or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine". Although steeped in the highest levels of science and mathematics, Wiener wrote the book at a qualitative level. A scientific layman can easily read and understand the book that first popularized the term cybernetics. Bet you didn't know that term is at least a half century old.
In essence Wiener proposes that the control loops designed into machines everywhere, including the computer on which you are viewing this page, are in form just like the literally infinite array of interdependent control loops in the body which manage temperature, numerous hormone levels, eyesight, ad infinitum. This description ultimately has religious implications as one might characterize the entire feedback array as the "Ghost", for example, when contemplating its infinite detailed scope. Wiener's book is an abstracted study of homeostasis.
Wiener's book tied machine analogies to inner physiological systems. As a followup to that notion, it is proposed that other machine analogies can give us updated guidance as to structural descriptions of our outer lives - our consciousness and awareness in particular. We create machines in our own image as Wiener implies, and in that light let's consider the telescope and camera and later move on to the antenna.
It is proposed to characterize consciousness - our awareness and ability to have sensations, form perceptions, and make concepts - under the new rubric of temporal aperture.
Temporal means "in time" - from the Latin word tempus. Our temporal existence is our everyday life in time - up at 6am, breakfast and to work by 8:30am, lunch at noon, a meeting at 2pm with a client, and so forth. The everyday word has larger meaning beyond mere hours and minutes.
Aperture means "an opening". A camera lens aperture is an opening that gathers light which can be captured, stored, and later viewed. A telescope aperture gathers the weak and distant light from stars. An antenna aperture collects radio waves. Your rooftop TV antenna, your satellite dish, and your car radio antenna all have apertures which can be exactly defined. The radio or TV programming you choose to attend and enjoy has first passed through one or more apertures on its way to you.
All capture apertures have a size statement or measurement associated with them. A camera lens has an "f-stop" number. A telescope is described as so many inches. All antennas have an aperture that is precisely described in engineering. We also know in these cases that a larger telescope gathers more light, and a larger antenna can capture more radio waves. And this possibility takes us to temporal aperture.
Temporal aperture is an expression used in certain areas of science such as on this medical imaging webpage where the text says:
This Medcyclopaediatm definition implies that an imaging device with a longer temporal sampling aperture can statistically capture an image that is hidden beneath random noise. In the context of image capture, the total temporal aperture as a product of time exposure and functional opening size defines the possibility of capturing image data that might otherwise be invisible. If we accept the notion of our awareness having a temporal aperture size, the implications by analogy to our consciousness are significant.
A telescope with a long "temporal aperture" - that is, a large mirror and a long time exposure both together in one picture capture event can see galaxies and events to an enormous distance in time and space. It is proposed that a large temporal aperture consciousness would have an exactly analogous ability - thus fleshing out a notion of transcendence.
The sizes of whatever analogical capture device are on a continuum - smaller to larger "f-stop", telescope mirror, antenna elements, etc. The extent of a given temporal aperture in the consciousness and awareness arena is proposed to likewise be on a continuum from simplest to most complex. We already measure "IQ" and other psychological, educational, and physical attributes on respective continuua. A broader - more correct view - would be to propose these measurements be on an infinitely long continuum: likely a complex circular continuum with infinite diameter. Just because ultra-measurements in this extended realm can't be readily described with words and mathematics does not mean they don't exist. It only presupposes that most observers simply don't bother to go there. It's not properly "academic" nor "scientific" to do so.
The temporal aperture surround concept or variants thereof may eventually become widely accepted as an elegant universal consciousness model, but remember that this rubric as a sketch was seen here first! Unfortunately, it is helpful if not absolutely necessary to understand and "feel" the engineering metaphors that form the underpinnings of the model. It can be kept in mind that any study of consciousness, either through formal philosophy, psychology, or any of a number of spiritual endeavors can be a complex business, often taking years of rigorous study. Which is why the Open Mystic site encourages its readers to expand their mind with a broad education to the greatest extent possible. Otherwise, significant insights will be closed and inaccessible to those who don't take this suggestion seriously.