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Holvenstot, C. (2006). The Next New World: an Introduction to Contextual Division ---Part Four. PHILICA.COM Article number 32.

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The Next New World: an Introduction to Contextual Division —-Part Four

Christopher Holvenstotunconfirmed user (Columbia University)

Published in philoso.philica.com

‘The Next New World’ is a critical essay exploring materialist-paradigmatic thought processes in relation to the assimilation of quantum, cosmological and conscious phenomena, behaviors, processes, etc. The cultural and scientific limits of materialism are exposed and ‘contextual division’ is introduced as a cognitive tool for reevaluating our condition. A few of the uses and consequences of contextual division are illustrated with a radical revision of our view of consciousness as a prime example. Contextual division is offered as an evaluative tool to foster more objective research and to promote alternative, non-reductive thought processes.

Article body


The Next New World

An Introduction to Contextual Division

Part Four & references


Christopher Holvenstot




C o n t e n t s




                             The Problem

                             The Opportunity

PART TWO              THE TOOLS


                             The Concept of Truth

                             The Use of Metaphor

                             The Construction of Narrative


                             Science and Religion


                             Moving Forward

                             Introduction to Contextual Division

                             Contextual Division

                             The Biospecific Context

                             The Extracontextual Realm


                             The Next New World




P a r t    F o u r




To move forward, our concept of reality must be stretched to accommodate new information concerning the cosmos, the quantum realm and consciousness.  In order to achieve this, we are required at this juncture to understand ourselves in a new way —-to be aware of our methods of comprehension which have until now remained largely hidden, residing in areas of unconscious behavioral directives integral to our organic format.  Methods for achieving a suitable transformation of our reality concept may ultimately be infinite in number.  The following is one method, using a conceptual tool called contextual division.  Contextual division is a division of phenomena and phenomenal properties into discrete realms of relative logic rather than into categories dependent on qualitative description.  Rather than a dualist division into physical or mental characteristics, contextual division allows a variety of property types to be described in relation to a logical structure that activates and engages their usefulness.  Unlike earlier reality concepts, this version has a transparency of purpose and does not intend to describe an ultimate reality.  The intent here is to radically restructure the context of our questioning.  Our current description of reality is a contextual phenomenon developed in the service of cultural and biological objectives. The concept of contextual division is very different from this historical use of reality concepts and will prove enormously uncomfortable to anyone blindly committed to the current outdated subconsciously derived reality conception and the standard cognitive procedures that support it. 

Current attempts to accommodate anomalies in the sciences rely exclusively on the assumption of ultimately achieving a unification of vastly different physical properties (a unified theory).  All phenomena are expected to be categorically described in terms of their direct relation to classical Copernican concepts of reality.  The materialist touchstone is considered a privileged version of reality through which we confer legitimacy onto all other phenomenal types.  Contextual division is the opposite of unification in this respect.  By using contextual division, classical Copernican concepts (without negating their continued usefulness) are relegated to a subset realm of logic that does not and cannot describe quantum processes, cosmological features or a condition of consciousness.  Instead of continuing to attempt a contortion of the current materialist methodology to accommodate the anomalies or continuing to constrict our description of new phenomena to fit the methodology, we can instead delineate where such methodology fails, look at why it fails, understand how and why we created such a methodology and then build equally valid alternative methodologies to incorporate resistant phenomena on their own terms.

Contextual division is an alternative methodology designed for this purpose.  It is not a theory in the traditional sense -testing it for accuracy based on current scientific practice is of little use.  Just as science can be viewed as a tool for reducing phenomena to controllable, material explanations, contextual division can be viewed as a tool for a specific purpose, a reduction to logical interrelationships: a method to be subsumed or discarded when the culture has extracted its full use.  While contextual division provides an engaging new perspective on our condition, it is by no means to be considered an ultimate or final accounting of reality.  By the end of this essay it should be increasingly clear to what degree our production of reality concepts has always been and will always be an ongoing creative, cognitive, cultural act.  By acknowledging the fungible, creative aspect of these conceptions we become increasingly adept at achieving greater, more comprehensive, more accurate and useful realities in a conscious and organized fashion.



"What we see is not nature, but nature exposed to our method of questioning."
                                                                                               -W. Heisenberg

Contextual division provides a new method of questioning.  It is an artificial division of logic into biospecific and extracontextual realms in order to adjudge phenomena using only the relevant logical criteria.  The biospecific and the extracontextual realms, by their introduction here and by being cross-referenced and better defined, foster a newer, more complete, re-energized vision of our condition.  Through contextual division the quantum, cosmological and neuro-scientific realms are provided a broader, more inclusive basis with which to naturalize phenomena that are otherwise considered anomalous, paradoxical, confusing or simply ignored.  Additionally, by formulating an extracontextual perspective, consciousness and the natural world can be understood in an entirely new and cohesive way -  as a limited world fundamentally defined by the logic and cognitive/perceptual capacities of animate existence.  The logic of the biospecific realm is proving very different from the logic of a mostly inorganic, non-linear, non-material universe that reveals itself to us in the quantum, cosmological and neuroscientific realms.

The new conceptual framework provided by contextual division allows consciousness (long ignored in the hard sciences) to be viewed in a new and useful way, as a primary and decisive aspect in the conceptualization and experiencing of a biospecific reality.  This further enhances our understanding of physics at the quantum mechanical, Copernican mechanical and cosmological levels by distinguishing between inbuilt cognitive imperatives and a more objective perspective that is possible when we are self-aware of the impediment such imperatives engender.

Contextual division is a cognitive tool that allows a re-visioning of every aspect of our condition.  The significance of each re-envisioned aspect of our condition that contextual division allows (consciousness, the natural world, the quantum realm, the cosmos, etc) supports and validates every other re-envisioned aspect so that the sense is of stepping into an entirely new world.  This circular, self re-confirming logic is familiar.  It is evident in a religious interpretation of the cosmos wherein all questions return to the unknowable wisdom of God.  It is equally evident in the scientific interpretation wherein quantifiable material properties determine the validity of all answers as well as the appropriateness of all questions. 

We are in the habit of confusing circular logical systems with a final and ultimate version of reality.  Circular, self-justifying logical systems are very useful to humanity but they tend to wear out.  Our constant curiosity and analysis eventually undermines their validity as a final description of our condition. Contextual division is the next useful self-justifying logical system of determining our condition but should not be construed as determining a final or ultimate version.  It is a tool for naturalizing new conditions in physics, for understanding the emergence of consciousness and for envisioning the human condition in a powerful, reenergizing new way.  

Contextual division is designed to allow the exploration of non-standard features in-and-of themselves, so to speak.  The validity of seemingly anomalous or nonstandard features need not be determined by application of the same logical parameters we use to recognize and support our standard functional/biological realm.  The persistent, forced and unsuccessful application of biocontextual logical parameters onto extracontextual phenomena merely undermines the status, validity and perceived usefulness of our biologically derived conception of reality without adding any new knowledge, advantage or understanding.  By creating an extracontextual realm we allow new realms of logic to be formulated from the features that are objectively presented rather than disqualifying those features by unwittingly forcing the application of irrelevant and narrow biocontextual parameters.

Contextual division quickly reveals some startling re-conceptions as you will see later in this section.  However, the chief attribute of contextual division is the awareness it causes within the user of his or her preconceived notions thereby allowing a suspension of these notions, temporarily, for the unbiased exploration of new realms of phenomena and the creation of alternative logical structures in which to incorporate them.  Contextual division is the first of perhaps many cognitive tools that contextualize anomaly, naturalize conscious properties and allow a preview into the scope and significance of the alternative logical structures available in the extracontextual realm. 

Contextual division is not to be confused with a dualist reduction to properties or qualities (such as material vs. spiritual or mind vs. matter) but is rather a division between a system of logic that gives rise to a configuration space for animate experience and the myriad of potential logical systems and properties available outside that very limited circumscription.  We have sufficient technical and theoretical data to insure such a realm exists outside biocontextual relevance.  What is lacking is an ideological context sufficiently divorced from biospecific expectations to enable anomalous phenomena to display their properties unbounded or bound differently within an alternative systemic logic. Contextual division creates the necessary conceptual disparity to allow an unbiased approach to new or anomalous phenomena.  In addition to segregating incompatible phenomena into areas of discrete relative logic, contextual division functions to remind its user of the overwhelming human proclivity to inappropriately integrate all phenomena using purpose-biased criteria, narratives, metaphors and reality concepts derived solely from the physical exigencies of animate functioning.  We now have vastly different phenomenal properties and conceptual perspectives from which to adjudge and formulate more objective, broader and more rational explorations.


Contextual division begins with a definitive observation of the distinct logical realm engaging and enabling animate experience.  We begin by circumscribing a biospecific context.  For this purpose, the standard material features of animate experience are described not as independent immutable properties but as interrelated parts of a systemic logic derived from purely biological imperatives. These imperatives can be said to have directed the evolution of our perceptual and cognitive organs into narrow but highly useful formats that reinforce the viability of biological existence. 

Ultimate truths are irrelevant in the biological realm.  What matters to adaptive biological creatures is an ever-increasing articulation of a purely functional configuration space.  As biological creatures, we are beholden to the imperative of biological advantage over the imperative of objective truth.  As conscious beings of increasing complexity, we have inadvertently developed conceptual capacities to discern and conceive of realms far removed from that described by biological imperatives and limited biological perception.  The development of tools of observation that greatly extend our biologically limited perceptual capacity have confirmed the validity of distinct and unusual non-standard phenomena throughout the cosmos, deep within the quantum realm and at the very level of human psychology, perception and cognitive processes. 

A determination of the logical parameters of the biospecific logical realm is the basis for observing and determining the extent of a realm external to this formulation -an extracontextual realm.  By comparing and cross-referencing these two realms a new and useful binocular method of comprehending our experience emerges.



"Considered logically, (our concepts of space, time and event) are the free creations of the human intelligence, tools of thought, which serve the purpose of bringing experiences into relation with each other, so that in this way they can be better surveyed.  The attempt to become conscious of the empirical sources of these fundamental concepts should show to what extent we are actually bound to these concepts."                                                                           

                                                                                                   -A. Einstein

As biological organisms, our standard experiential reality is gleaned via perceptual capabilities aligned to fundamental concepts of animate existence.  We perceive as a given: time as a line, extension and solidity, separateness from the environment, the concept of cause and effect, a sense of free will and of purpose and volition, and the positive valuation of continued life.  Combined, these fundamental concepts define a biospecific configuration space that permeates our experience so thoroughly that its components are fully invisible to us or blindly assumed to be fundamental components of the universe.  The interdependence of these contextual features and the logic inherent to the context they create can best be illustrated by attempting to explain the purpose and usefulness of any one feature.  Examples:

The perception of time as functioning in a one-way line allows animate matter (which understands itself as separate from its environment) to conceive a past, present and future wherein actions have related consequences and wherein a purposefulness (informed by a positive valuation of continued existence) can be played out to extend and promote that existence.

The perception of matter as possessing dimensionality and solidity allows an emerging animate being to conceive a separateness from its environment and, inspired by a positive valuation of this separate existence, can volitionally propel itself forward (armed with a timeline based conception of cause and effect) toward advantageous interactions with the newly separated environment. 

The perception of a positive valuation of continued existence depends for its successful expression on a perception of existing and an assumption of time's continuance.  The perception of existing is made manifest in being dimensional, solid, separate and volitional.  A being ensconced in this system is valuing itself as animated, separate living matter over its very available and infinitely easier non-living, undifferentiated option. 

The perception of the possibilities inherent in purpose and volition requires a positive valuation of existence as the fundamental inspiration of purpose and would thereafter depend upon a context of separation of matter combined with a timeline based cause-and-effect condition to achieve the wanted volitional expression.

One can approach biological life's unified context from any angle to understand the interdependence of its fundamental components and one can perceive in this interdependence an internally generated energy and logic. Each component requires the others for its existence and inspiration while each inspires, requires and validates the other components in return.  It is a closed system with its own unique and provincial logic and requires neither external influence nor contextual self-awareness.

This unique logical structure relies entirely on acts of perception which are transformative and decisive.  It is not the mere presence of a three dimensional quality in the environment that makes that quality real and useable; it is the forced and exclusive perception of it.  Each fundamental component is exclusively determined by purposive acts of perception combined with the forced and exclusive perception of all the other features.  No one feature can stand on its own nor be excluded.  No feature would make sense independent of the logical matrix which engages their interdependence.

Within this matrix, perceptual capacities and attentional awareness pre-decide the format for organic experience.  The not-so-obvious choice between the equally available quantum processes, cosmological features or Copernican mechanical principles is pre-decided by organisms self-organizing toward advantageous beliefs.  The process of perception here is a commitment to useful concepts rather than a commitment to truth.  To fail at this commitment is to fail as an organism.   This overwhelming threat of failure accounts for some of our intuitive fears as we begin to amend our beliefs about a limited version of physical reality which seems universal by dint of being so integral to our creature-hood format.

Yet, limiting ourselves to a system of logic deduced from the unique and self-serving perspective of biological existence greatly hampers our ability to explain phenomena uninvolved with biological success.  Tools that extend our perceptual capability beyond our natural biological limits have enabled us to discern anomalies in an external relationship to the biocontext.  More startlingly, we have also discerned anomalies deep within our perceived contextual components.  The discovered fiction of fundamental biospecific concepts reveals biological life's unified context to be a fabricated construct of psychological origin.  Its features are neither inherent to the universe nor fundamentally true:  Time is not a line (Einstein, 1920); matter is not solid (Bohr, 1922); freely willed volition is a fiction (Libet, 1985); and the separateness of selves is a cognitive fabrication (Dennet, 1989; Metzinger, 2003).  These fundamental biospecific components, regardless of their dubious status, continue to combine to form a fabricated construct we are physically beholden to and unable to renounce. 

That the construct is fabricated does not invalidate its features, logic or usefulness, it just limits them to a particular domain.  The borders of this domain become the natural location for contextual division.  Acknowledging the limited parameters of this biospecific domain frees us to explore and understand, on its own terms, whatever we discover outside this narrow realm, such as quantum behavior, space time, dark matter, dark chemistry and aspects of a more fundamentally defined conscious condition that under our current contextual logic are deemed anomalous or rendered functionally invisible by their inadmissible, non-material, non-causal properties. 



The assertion of a logical realm specific to organic/animate existence (the biospecific) implies the existence of a concomitant logical realm external to those parameters (the extracontextual).  Such a realm presently exists as a collection of non-standard features and an open-ended opportunity for creating new logical systems with which to engage and utilize these.  We have uncovered sufficient phenomena and behaviors inconsistent with the biospecific realm to begin such formulations.

Much of the information garnered from the quantum realm, for example, has remained inassimilable for nearly a century. Our expectation that it confirm a familiar biocontextual experience is what keeps it anomalous and confusing.  Were it considered qua knowledge it would constitute the beginnings of a new logic and a new contextual realm that is not required to relate to or confirm any obvious aspect of biospecific necessity. Many in the sciences already utilize this quarantined form of knowledge.  For explanatory purposes, theoretical physicists often find it necessary to use conceptual configuration spaces quite different from our biospecific expectation of three dimensions and a time-line. Our error and our habit is to attempt contextualizing their work by forcing a comparative reality-check with the precepts of classical physics.  By asserting the necessity of direct links between the quantum and the Copernican realm we exemplify a self-interested need for biospecific reconfirmation.  We are emotionally and psychologically drawn to interpretations that assure a fixed and solid material foundation for all aspects of reality.  Instinctually we suspect that acknowledging contrary phenomenal features will invalidate the substructure of our functional format, imploding our existence into a frightening theoretical oblivion.  This deep irrational fear has guided us wisely as developing organisms but blinds our intellectual progress by compelling our integrative thinking in one specific direction.  Contextual division serves as a functional reminder of this biospecific proclivity, enabling the necessary suspension of the assumptions embedded in biospecific logic in order to explore the extracontextual realm free of bias.

Relieved of humanity's self-referential blind spots and irrational self-serving restrictions, the universe reveals an amazing new vastness and readiness for unbiased re-exploration.  With all its vastly different phenomenal attributes, multi-dimensions, alternative logics, etc., a larger objective universe is spread out before us and patiently awaits the introduction of conscious directives and cognitive structures to order and enliven it.  Much like in the collapse of the wave function in the quantum realm the expectation of the observer will be a decisive factor in determining what is fixed or real in our experience of the universe.  Contextual division is a stepping-stone to a greater self-awareness of our innate powers of determination as a species, as cultures and subcultures, and in the most immediate and important aspect, as the individuals who comprise and inform the power structure of all belief systems. 

One of the central anomalies of quantum behavior, the collapse of the wave function when measuring for either particle location or momentum, can be seen in the light of contextual division, as an example of an anomaly produced by applying biospecific expectations.  Position and momentum are conceptual expectations derived from a perceptual assumption of linear time combined with the perceptual assumption of the extension and solidity of matter in a three dimensional space — conditions relevant to the context of animate experience but not necessarily relevant to quantum processes, nor to certain cosmological conditions, nor to conscious phenomena in general.  We know quantum properties include non-spatial, non-causal relationships. We do not as yet know how many other features or behaviors quantum wave/particle states might reveal were our contextual expectations removed from the experimental equation and/or replaced with logical expectations garnered from this new extracontextual realm. 

Certain features of this new realm we will know only by negation.  Quantum properties show non-local, non-causal effects.  When pairs of electrons are split and separated, even over great distances, an action interfering with the polarity, orientation or spin of one will have an immediate effect upon the other.  This is not the way the world is known to work in the biospecific realm, where causes and effects are played out in linear time (bound by the speed of light) while directly linked via fully determined physical causation.  This ‘contrary effect' is how many properties will distinguish themselves as extracontextual features and will serve as initial descriptive criteria.  However, ultimately we must acknowledge that there is an infinite array of possibilities in the extracontextual realm that will not align via direct negation with any feature or quality of the biospecific realm.  That is why our ordinary reductive scientific thinking will never suffice to explore this new realm.  Such an obstacle will lead those committed to reductive thinking to assert such a realm (or any un-aligned aspect of it) cannot exist.  Those more capable of accommodating the concept of uncertainty already implicit in quantum physics will persist and reform their thought processes, narratives, metaphors, etc. in order to engage and subsume the extraordinary possibilities implicit in this next new realm. 

One of the remarkable features and distinct advantages available to us if we accept and develop the concept of an extracontextual realm is the extraordinary view of the biospecific realm revealed when viewed from this remote and very useful cognitive perspective.  Given the infinite array of potential phenomenal features available, the self-creation of a distinct and functioning realm using so few and so specific a set of features is remarkable.  The biospecific realm has a stunning abstract beauty.  Though clearly limited and forgivably provincial, it is brilliant and beautiful.  Much like seeing the earth from space for the first time, this view of the logical structure that supports our existence induces a feeling of awe and wonder and an instinct to protect it.  It is ours.  We made it and it makes us in return.  The basic configuration space that the biospecific realm represents is our true home.  It is only by stepping away from it that we can see it for what it is.

Another effect of viewing the biospecific from the extracontextual is the desire to study biospecific features anew, to see how and why such a realm holds together and to employ the same adhesive principals in the exploration and co-creation of extracontextual new worlds.  Clearly, a key ingredient of the biospecific realm is a conscious condition functioning to correlate its features and activate its use.  A better understanding of extracontextual possibilities will be greatly enhance by a better understanding of the cognitive features upon which all logical structures so clearly rely. 

After stepping into the circle of logic that contextual division invites, we cannot help but see ourselves in a new way.  We are integrally bound with the development of all possibilities by being the privileged embodiment of articulated consciousness.  Such an enlivened expansion of our self-understanding impedes a full ideological return to the limited material version of our universe - the universe understood as largely bereft of conscious attributes and which so thoroughly informs the dominant discourse regarding the nature of our existence. 



"Our unconscious existence is the real one, and the conscious world is a kind of illusion, an apparent reality constructed for a specific purpose like a dream which seems a reality as long as we are in it."
                                                                                                          -C. Jung
By application of contextual division consciousness is exposed in an unfamiliar relationship to the natural world warranting a revision of long held assumptions.  Conceptualizing a biospecific realm requires a reduction of the biospecific configuration space into discrete individual components that are only useful if an organism is conscious of their availability.  This necessary reduction exposes consciousness as a fundamental necessity.   Awareness, intention and interpretation are required to activate the usefulness of the fundamental features on which our functional configuration space relies.  The components of the biospecific construct: time as a line, separateness, cause and effect, volitional freedom, etc. are only rendered functional by being perceived as available.  A fundamental form of awareness activates the usefulness of each biospecific feature by acknowledging and engaging them, conforming the organism's experience and behavior to a specific interpretation of the environment.  That specific features which are not universal (nor necessarily true) need to be activated and engaged indicates a necessary choice between all available features of the environment (including quantum properties, for example) and/or that certain features are presented with special status —-pushed forward by predetermined conscious processes, made more functionally present and available to emerging life forms.  The emergence of biological life is only possible when a specific subset combination of conditional features is presented with emphasis and/or perceived with exclusivity.  Awareness of non-causal features, non-linear time formats, additional dimensionality, dark matter, etc. is unhelpful to organisms and undermines the central purpose of the self-creative survival narrative.

The necessity of comprehending and aligning to very specific time, space, matter, self-border, volitional and self-valuative concepts, implicates conscious awareness, interpretation and intension at every level of animate existence.  All biological organisms are required to comprehend their environment in terms of one very narrow and specific set of abstract and fictional concepts.  To fail at this odd trick is to fail completely.  The requirement of awareness, interpretation and intention indicates the necessity of a condition of consciousness at the moment of life's first emergence from matter.  A configuration space for animate experience had to be instantly accessible.  Immediate survival cannot have relied on the eventual evolutionary development of organs of perception and cognition to discern fundamental features.  Evolutionary development of any kind would only be possible within a fully developed contextual availability rendered functional by a conscious awareness of all relevant features simultaneously.  The entire biospecific configuration space (time as a line; extension and solidity; separateness; the concept of cause and effect; a freely willed sense of purpose and volition; and the positive valuation of continued life) needed to be fully functional and fully available from the start.  While consciousness at this early level can be considered merely mechanical/procedural awareness, these reductive metaphorical descriptors do not degrade the extraordinary fact of the presence of awareness in the universe.   An evolutionary narrative of the development of consciousness from this wide-spread mechanical/procedural awareness into the cognitive features we recognize in ourselves has long been avoided.  A larger cultural imperative promoting the exclusive human dominion of consciousness prevents it. 

If we allow the assumption that mechanical/procedural awareness was necessary in even the earliest, simplest creatures, organs of perception and cognition can therefore be said to have developed not to introduce consciousness to the natural world but as biological articulations of a conscious condition already present in the original biospecific construct.  Organs of perception and cognition evolved in highly mobile, highly volitional organisms as advantageous evolutionary expediencies to better confirm and express the increasingly complex conditions relevant to biological success in a dynamic environment inhabited by other equally volitional creatures. In this revised model of consciousness, human perceptual and cognitive organs are merely advanced expressions of a condition permeating all biological life.  The particular structure and features of human consciousness can be briefly described as evolving from a fundamental condition of consciousness in the following way: 

The first and simplest organisms participate in reinforcing a configuration space by perceiving the availability of its features, thereby activating the construct for functional use.  Organisms thereafter developed in the direction of more efficient interactions within the configuration space with mobile organisms developing discrete organs of perception to more quickly and accurately reconfirm conditions in a dynamic environment.  Organs of perception confirm the environment with greater articulation and this advantageous objectification of the environment simultaneously produces a basis for subjective experience.  A self-reflexive sensory feedback loop emerges to understand oneself as a mobile volitional factor in a complex dynamic environment.  The hardware for this becomes the brain. The sensory feedback loop ties directly into a system regulating vital functions to produce an immediate and highly charged fight-or-flight capability as well as a being of notable complexity and sensitivity —- highly charged internal physical reaction to external sensory input produces the basis for an emotional spectrum.  A necessity to project many possible scenarios onto a malleable and unpredictable future activates the development of imagination.  Social developments produce language, and the prudence of imagined rehearsal introduces inner voice. 

All these ‘extras' (imagination, emotions, inner voice, subjective experience) are developed as biological expressions of evolutionary exigency and can be shut down through illness or injury to the brain.  They have proven hard and locatable (via the mapping of neural activity) but are the result of awareness, interpretation and intention which are not locatable in the same sense, since awareness, interpretation and intention inform a priori (prior especially to neural development) the parameters of the biospecific configuration space as well as all participation in it. 

Consciousness, in the human sense, can be viewed as an anomalous flowering of self-regulative and self-reflective cognitive activity combined with a highly developed planning-phase mechanism with which we project multiple scenarios onto a variety of future contingencies.  The emergence of an inner voice, complex emotions and a vivid imagination, though large and loud in each of us, does not accurately reflect the properties of a fundamental condition of consciousness throughout nature.  By defining consciousness in anthropocentric terms (and based on its loudest features) we categorically eliminate and obscure essential clues to its origin, function and location within the commonality of organic/animate existence.

The perception of biocontextual features by simpler organisms, though non self-reflexive and non locatable, is nonetheless an indication of awareness on a fundamental level.  Non locatable, non self-reflexive awareness is indicated in all biological life and is as necessary to differentiated cell function as it is to the communal behavior of social organisms.  A cell, an individual organism and a social cluster all require a fundamental awareness of boundary and volition in a three dimensional space subject to linear time and are informed by a positive valuation of continued existence.  All life forms employ narratives which utilize these features, chiefly for the purpose of procreation, nutrition and self-protection. A brain is not a necessity for this type of awareness or for the primal deployment of fundamental survival narratives.  Plant life, for example, performs complex developmental regulation of diverse tissue types and tissue functions without the benefit of a locatable center of conscious command.  A plant's functioning indicates awareness on the most fundamental and useful level pertaining to conditions of time, season, temperature, humidity, location, mass, gravity, self-border, differentiation of tissues, etc.  It participates in the relevant conditions of a time-line, the concept of matter extended in space, a cause and effect scenario, a positive valuation of continued existence, volitional availability, etc., but the relative simplicity and low stress of its interactions do not require the development of an objectified reality, an inner voice, or the incorporation of vital functions and perceptual organs into a central, self-reflexive feedback loop.  Life-forms need neither a brain nor self-reflexivity to consciously interpret their environment and to have intensions regarding their relationship to it.  We cannot expect these fundamental motivational directives to be pinned to neural correlates if they exist in un-brained organisms.

By contextual division instinctual awareness is exposed as fundamental throughout nature and is indicated as an act of self-creation since the conditions and features, being chosen from a vast array and perceived with such exclusivity support the dimensional, volitional self-concept of the perceiver.  This is a very different way of considering our condition and shifts the material aspect of our experience into a position behind a more primary condition of consciousness.  Very different kinds of questions arise.  Rather than "how does consciousness emerge in a material universe?" we must ask "how and why does such a specific material version of the universe arise from the intentions and properties of a condition of consciousness?"  The specificity of our world, given the wide range of options, is its most peculiar aspect.  And there is an elusive quality of presentation to the world (via the perspective of an organic creature that takes the world's features as real) that suggests an inherent intent to be perceived in a specific format.  A distinct symbiosis presents itself, engaging observer and observed, yet which relies on a clear and materialized distinction between the two.

This possibility of a purposive presentation aspect, fully developed and available at life's first emergence, is a concept which possesses a quality of externality vis-à-vis the unified construct that biological life perceives as an available reality.  A condition of consciousness seems to have an awareness/intention aspect deeply and thoroughly embedded within the fundamental logical structure of a biospecific context and a presentation/intention aspect more accurately positioned amongst the concepts of the extracontextual realm.  By defining both contextual realms with greater precision we can better ascertain the implications of a dual-natured conscious condition.  By theoretically placing the awareness/intention aspect of a condition of consciousness into the biospecific we complete a more accurate and satisfying picture of the natural world.  By theoretically placing the presentation/intention aspect of a condition of consciousness in the extracontextual we free the subject from the unnatural forcing of an inappropriate logic and spare it the oblivion or mysticism that befalls everything unassimilable to our limited materialist/biospecific context. 

Instead of assigning a deity to the contextually external presentation/intention aspect of a conscious condition we can consider it in relation to other familiar extracontextual phenomena such as the presentation/intension aspect observed in the wave collapse of the double slit experiment in the quantum realm.  The expectation of the observer and the intention of the experiment predetermine the behavior, phenomenal properties and definition of what a photon is.  The presentation of a photon's phenomenal qualities are bound in the symbiotic matrix of observer and observed, yet clearly flexible and responsive, and in that sense, suggestive of an independent purposefulness expressed in its own participatory relation to the matrix.  Such explorations cannot comfortably proceed in a materialist paradigm. 

Yet, incredibly, theories which bind consciousness to quantum behavior have already been suggested and developed by Hameroff (1998), Penrose (1994) and others.  These are usually tied, however, to expectations that quantum processes ultimately describe actual physical processes within the brain.  This is a good example of instinctual biospecific reconfirmation in action.  In addition to being a misuse of technologically inspired metaphors (using new technology to describe our bodies) this expectation is blind to the very qualities the quantum realm suggests, overlooks the implication that physical location and causal narratives are biospecific prejudices which hamper our view of quantum phenomena.  The assumption of quantum processes ordering the brain and constructing consciousness categorically obliterates the presence of the unbrained conscious condition which, via contextual division, seems implicit throughout nature.  It is only by inappropriate application of biospecific expectations that a condition of consciousness requires a physical or causal explanation.  It is not the phenomena at fault for the confusion and frustration in the present development of a science of consciousness, rather, the fault is in the inappropriate contextual criteria we are determined by habit to subject all phenomena to. This is exactly the area and condition of thought where contextual division can most help us by allowing a re-exploration without biocontextual assumptions hindering our objectivity.  

The current materialist criteria require the pinning down of neural correlates before we can be said to understand anything about conscious phenomena.  In the light of the very different logic that contextual division reveals, this pinning down of neural correlates is a fool's errand —- one that conveniently and indefinitely postpones an acceptance of the inherent validity a widespread and fundamental condition of consciousness suggests in all living things.  By delaying acceptance of this fact we continue to deny coequality with a natural world we're on the brink of extinguishing for lack of respect.  When the victim is reduced in status her destruction lacks meaning.  By intentionally prolonging our communal ignorance, exploitation remains guiltlessly sanctioned allowing us to continue pursuing a form of wealth that is explicitly decided by materialist criteria.  Our destructive economy is directly linked to our false beliefs about our world and about consciousness.  Our outdated world-model misconstrues the truth of our condition and oddly, leads us to destroy the very material realm to which we've confined our beliefs.  By stripping the world of consciousness and reducing it to a material resource, we strip the world of consciousness and reduce it to a material resource.  Surprise, surprise.



"The plain man is familiar with blindness and deafness, and knows from his  everyday experience that the look of things is influenced by his senses; but it never occurs to him to regard the whole world as the creation of his senses."

                                                                                                          -E. Mach

The condition of biological existence has always informed the contextual logic we use to define our world although we use this derivative contextual logic without having understood it as fundamentally abstract and only relative to an exclusive and narrow set of biologically perceived and biologically necessary conditions.  A contextual division and the acceptance of an extracontextual realm with independent logic facilitate the conscious awareness of our biospecific realm's limited and derivative nature. This distinction provides structure and insight for defining, comprehending and incorporating all phenomena including subjective experience and the nature of a fundamental and widespread conscious condition.  By defining two contextual realms, consciousness is implicated in a more specific and purposeful relationship to the natural world and is offered (in its presentation/intention aspect) as a possible extracontextual force or condition to be discerned in relation to quantum and cosmological properties.  Contextual division naturalizes anomaly, reveals a condition of consciousness, completes our picture of the natural sciences and enables the development of the independent objective logic required to open the next frontier, the extracontextual new world.

With the constraints of biocontextual logic suddenly removed the next new world appears frighteningly vast and unmanageable - a much broader realm than anyone would rationally wish for.  But as with all new exploration one begins by discerning local features and drawing lines to delineate distinct territories of manageability.  Because the quantum realm (for one example) permeates all physical/spatial realms, we know we cannot use territorial distinctions derived from traditional Copernican inspired materialist methodology.  The distinctions in the next new world will necessarily be conceptual/logical constructs.  These new conceptions will eventually flesh out to assume as familiar a validating mechanism as our dependable Copernican conception, as new uses and experiences are revealed.  Even a very perfunctory look at the construction of our biocontext proves our reality concepts need neither be universal nor fundamentally true to be effective and useful. This frees us, as we formulate new conceptions, from the naïve assertion of having finally pinned down the fundamental/universal truth of our condition.  Just as biological life can be seen as having self-authored a specific logical realm for a specific use, we can, as explorers, consciously conceive of logical structures which engage new extracontextual features and ingather them at will to entirely new uses.  This exploration is a truly creative act with potential to spawn additional universes of experience and learning from within the fabric of each new conception. 

With even the slightest and flimsiest of footholds in this next new realm one can turn back to view the familiar biospecific realm entire.  One can't help but admire the queer and abstract nature of our provincial, biospecific reality.  It is a unique and bizarre creation entirely determined by conscious processes and the imperatives of a biological format.  Its logic, despite all, holds together with such tenacity and vigor.  We will forever be physically, emotionally and psychologically tethered to the biospecific realm.   However, viewing its logic and construction from the remote exterior perspective of the extracontextual allows us to use the same conceptual technology and methodology to construct additional extracontextual realms.   Just as in the biospecific realm, extracontextual features themselves may eventually point directly to logical structures -that is, structures of logic in which the fundamental extracontextual features quite naturally co-relate.  With contextual division our conscious processes can now be stretched to recognize otherwise elusive logical patterns and to structure newer narratives of meaning to express the cultural imperatives of the next new moment or to observe with greater objectivity an infinitely grander sweep of the universe.

While we will continue to harness new phenomena into immediate practical uses, the greater challenge will be to understand and naturalize extracontextual features in a new context built of unforeseen realms of logic that serve no immediate human or biological purpose.  By broadening our world in this authentically objective way we stand to broaden our experiences and expectations into unforeseeable realms of self-knowledge.  The opportunity is to manifest ourselves in new ways - to be greater creatures for whom biological and material exigencies are but a small and trivial subset of experiential expectation.  The next new world represents as significant a change in us as it does in our conception of the universe.  We have, throughout our biological evolution, been unwitting co-creators of our world and experience.  This co-creation can now be done with a newly realized conscious intention, utilizing a potentially unlimited supply of creative approaches in the exploration, interpretation and re-creation of our condition.


R e f e r e n c e s

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Dennett, D.C. (1989), "The Origins of Selves," Cogito, 2, pp. 163-173.

Einstein, A. (1952), Relativity, The Special and the General Theory. (NY: Crown Publishers, Inc.).

Hameroff, S. (1998) Quantum computation in brain microtubules? The Penrose-Hameroff "Orch OR" model of consciousness. (Philos. Trans. R. Soc. London Ser. A 356, 1869-1896).

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Libet, B. (1985), "Unconscious cerebral initiative and the role of conscious will involuntary action', Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 8, pp.529-66.

Metzinger, T. (2003), Being No One (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press).

Penrose, R. (1994) Mechanisms, Microtubules and the Mind.(Journal of Consciousness Studies 1, 241-9).

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The Next New World an introduction to contextual division

2006 Christopher Holvenstot


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Information about this Article
Peer-review ratings (from 2 reviews, where a score of 100 represents the ‘average’ level):
Originality = 162.00, importance = 162.50, overall quality = 144.88
This Article was published on 4th October, 2006 at 19:15:11 and has been viewed 9427 times.

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The full citation for this Article is:
Holvenstot, C. (2006). The Next New World: an Introduction to Contextual Division —-Part Four. PHILICA.COM Article number 32.

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1 Peer review [reviewer #46084confirmed user] added 16th November, 2006 at 04:29:38

This is a most intriguing and in spite of its verbosity well-written essay, which deserves to be read. Unfortunately, both its length and the author’s fascination with the term “contextual division” detract from its significance. (Something like “contextual pluralism” or “extra-contextual revision” might have been more to the point, but what’s in a name?) Three fourth of the essay are devoted to setting the stage and are replete with unnecessary caveats and postponements. Confronting the reader more boldly with the author’s central thesis, coming to the point right away, would in my opinion have been more effective.

I have posted a shortened version of this essay (with due credits) in my blog. If your choices are reading the entire essay or reading this shortened version, read the entire essay. If your choices are not reading the entire essay and reading this shortened version, read the shortened version.

Originality: 6, Importance: 6, Overall quality: 5

2 Additional peer comment [reviewer #46084confirmed user] added 16th November, 2006 at 04:30:38

This is a most intriguing and in spite of its verbosity well-written essay, which deserves to be read. Unfortunately, both its length and the author’s fascination with the term “contextual division” detract from its significance. (Something like “contextual pluralism” or “extra-contextual revision” might have been more to the point, but what’s in a name?) Three fourth of the essay are devoted to setting the stage and are replete with unnecessary caveats and postponements. Confronting the reader more boldly with the author’s central thesis, coming to the point right away, would in my opinion have been more effective.

I have posted a shortened version of this essay (with due credits) in my blog. If your choices are reading the entire essay or reading this shortened version, read the entire essay. If your choices are not reading the entire essay and reading this shortened version, read the shortened version.

3 Additional peer comment [reviewer #46084confirmed user] added 16th November, 2006 at 04:40:30

Sorry for the inadvertent double submission of my review. Philica says “You may use HTML tags if you like”. I did — to no avail. Otherwise there would have been a hyperlink to my blog. Here it is in plain text:

— Ulrich Mohrhoff (Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, Pondicherry, India)

4 Peer review [reviewer #47336unconfirmed user] added 20th August, 2011 at 23:12:16

This is, perhaps, the best written part of the series of essay preprints written by the same author. It has major improvements over the previous parts, such as citing a little of the relevant literature which supports some of the viewpoints presented for improving the Future of the human society. However, the originality of thought is much in question. Moreover, a few of the cited references are taken for granted as being valid merely because these were published, such as those of Hameroff and Penrose that are “not even wrong”— that is, the latter are completely unfounded speculations that have no sound support baseed either on experiments/any observations or fundamental theory. Mixing such references with those of respectable writings by Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr—who disagreed strongly with each other to the end of their lives— is at least uninspired. Although several of the points made are still valid— as in previous parts of the essay— the justification is seriously lacking, and the conclusions are far from being either ‘proven’ or’ self-evident’. That the style of writing is accessible, enjoyable and readable is an undeniable quality of this last part of the pre-printed essay series by the same author. Author’s intentions and goals are obviously excellent ones. Much remains to be done, however, to improve this preprint series, and a great deal of literature references needs to be added to the essay to bring it to a publishable standard. Its main merit is in stimulating thoughts on how to improve our World. Nevertheless, the means and the tools through which this might be achieved require much more effort than it has been put so far into explaining how such World improvements might be brought about, or even in how a mere ‘blueprint’, or outline for such improvements could be developed or designed, as this critical essay preprint series seems to have been intending to do.

Originality: 3, Importance: 7, Overall quality: 6

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