He’s Seen the Movie Too Many Times

The movie being Cat People.

I don’t know how else to explain a judge announcing from the bench that

The cat is a living human animal and doesn’t deserve to be basically murdered, which is what happened in this case.

The judge was sentencing a man for brutally killing a stray cat that had damaged the man’s rental unit. The man should not have killed the cat. I think six months in jail might be a bit excessive, but presumably he will not serve all of that.

It seems nothing will happen to the judge for making his ridiculous “cat is a living human animal” statement. This stands as another example of our inability to properly distinguish people from animals.

As I have said before, understanding the phenomenon of consciousness will go a long way to clarifying the difference.

Hat tip: Ann Althouse

More or Less Than Human

The other day NPR’s Talk of the Nation did a segment on David Livingstone Smith’s book Less Than Human.  The book

argues that it’s important to define and describe dehumanization, because it’s what opens the door for cruelty and genocide.

There have been plenty of such episodes.

While listening to the discussion, it occurred to me that there is a flip side here.  There are millions of people who humanize their pet and so treat the animal as a human (or better!).

I wonder if these two phenomena occur because we continue to be unable to nail down just what it is that makes us human.

In my opinion, we will not determine what makes us human until we figure out consciousness.

Déjà Vu

Déjà vu is the other phenomenon that to me is easily explainable.  Déjà vu is the experience of suddenly feeling like you have been here before, like every event that happens has happened before.  You remember it in incredible detail.  If there is somethere talking, you remember every word he or she says…just as they say it.  You can never quite predict what will happen next, but it feels like you should be able to.

This is not caused by any mystical force, it is not because you dreamed the events prior to the time they take place.  It is a result of the subconscious mind processing things at a much higher rate of speed than the conscious mind.  I think, once in awhile, a “filing” error occurs and what is happening now is getting filed as an old memory.  So when the conscious mind becomes aware of the glass falling off the table, the unconscious mind is ready with the “long ago memory” that was created milliseconds before.

And déjà vu.

Slow Motion

Two days ago, I mentioned how the event of slipping while carrying the bucket of sauce took place in “slow motion”.  I assume most have experienced this phenomenon, but for anyone who has not…

Sometimes in a moment of “crisis” events seem to take place very slowly in relation to one’s thought process.  The result is that in what is a fraction of a second, one can analyze what is happening, go through a handful of possible responses, choose one, and still react quickly (not move quickly, just react quickly).

I have a theory on how this happens and it has to do with yesterday’s topic, consciousness.

Normally, the conscious mind has somewhat limited access to the subconscious.  Yes, information readily moves from the unconscious to the conscious, but the conscious mind plays the passive role of accepting the info with out having any role in its production or any insight into how it is produced.

But sometimes, in a “crisis” situation, that relationship changes and the conscious mind is allowed access to the subconscious workings.  I suspect that the subconscious processes information at a much faster rate than the conscious mind can.  When this faster processing is available to the conscious mind’s purview it seems like time moves more slowly than otherwise.

It is nothing more than “seeing” the sensory information processed at a much higher rate of speed than the conscious mind normally “sees”.

Tomorrow:  déjà vu

Consciousness

Consciousness is one of my favorite topics.

Consciousness is interesting because so little is known of it (nothing for all intents and purposes) and because we all have the same access to it.  We have our own and that others have it we really can only accept on faith.

It is my experience that many people are not clear what is being discussed when consciousness is the subject, so this post is my attempt to define consciousness.

If you would please indulge me, I ask that you close your eyes (not yet) and count to ten.  Do this without moving your lips and be sure that each number is “enunciated” in your mind.  Then be sure to open your eyes.

Go ahead and do that.  I’ll wait.

Now, I would like you to point to the location where you counted to ten.

As I understand it, most people will point to right between their eyes.  But some people will point to other part of the body, particularly the chest.  A rare individual might point away from their body to a corner of the room perhaps.

That location, that space, is your consciousness.  When I talk of consciousness, that is what I’m talking about.

I point right between my eyes.  Where do you point?