Consciousness and Semi-permeable Boundaries
Franklin Merrell-Wolff, the American mystic philosopher, has explored the existence of consciousness in a particularly deep and thoughtful way and developed a philosophical system that posits consciousness without an object as the ground of all reality. In his aphorisms on consciousness-without-an-object, number 9, 10, and 11, Merrell-Wolff declares that; "Consciousness of objects is the Universe.", "Consciousness of absence of objects is Nirvana.", and "Within Consciousness-without-an-object lie both the Universe and Nirvana, yet to Consciousness-without-an-object these two are the same."<br /><br />While I personally favor such views, no one has to be a mystic to appreciate the existence of awareness of our own individuality and the awareness of others as being central to human existence and therefore important to take into account when trying to create systems that help humans achieve their full potential as conscious entities existing in a living finite physical environment.<br /><br />How individual or alone are we? One of the primary signals that we are separate and alone is the fact that we have physical boundaries like skin and cell walls. How alone is a cell? It has a boundary that separates it from every other cell in the body but cell membranes are permeable, they let some things into the cell from outside the cell, and they allow some things to leave the cell through the cell wall. There is water inside the cell membrane and water outside the cell membrane, the only differentiation relative to the water is the cell membrane. The structures that form on the inside of the cell wall also use and participate in the flow of the water across the semi-permeable membrane of the cell wall.<br /><br />All separation from the surrounding environment for any particular structure seems to follow the same general pattern. The separated structures we see and animate, are constructed out of the material around them and don't have an existence independent from these materials. The life forms and self-definition, separation, we experience is real, and at the same time completely interdependent and intercommunicative with everything around it, or not separate in any absolute sense, not truly alone.<br /><br />The paradox of individuality is that while it is irreducibly true it is not absolute. The non-individuality of the self is equally irreducible and not absolute. This primary observation should be the foundation of re-thinking how our systems that control the use of extra-biological power.