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2020-05-08 16:33:10 (UTC)

Missing, Missing (God's Great Love Tap)

"Deadlines (Thoughtful)" by Car Seat Headrest

He said "I'd like to do this for a living
But I don't know how"
Wild, uncommercial
Sleeping on a leash
There was a predestined set of symbols ticking into place
A prom queen crowned in the background
Stepping out of a frame
A pair of hands took me to your face
Your eyes held me

May 8, 2020 Friday 4:40 PM

8 8 = 16 and also I was thinking that missing is absence of a thing, but also yearning for what was once occupying that space, and that is a very subtle and important difference. And also this was on the way home from the grocery store, and I was a little (very mildly) annoyed at the uphill trek from the store up Pitman street, it was hell on my legs, but it turns out it wasn't that bad and it was better than walking home with two bags, even if I wasn't able to carry as much this time. I'll just go back tomorrow to get the rest of the stuff (eggs, ground turkey, chips and salsa, carrots and hummus).

* = typo corrected
[] = matt's reactions in iMessage
** = my commentary on the content

Me: what would u consider god's greatest love tap?

Matt: what the fuck does that mean

Me: i can't explain until u answer

Matt: hMMmmm
having my shoulder held

Me: i see where u went
but i meant more like
in the history of love taps performed by god
not, like
the holiest love tap ever felt*
and also
that's not exactly a love tap

Matt: ok cool cool
could you explain what you mean

Me: i just did
what's the most friendly terrible fuckery performed by god

Matt: what's a love tap

Me: ex: the black plague
it's a friendly punch

Matt: how is that love

Me: maybe it was a light prank idk
that was just the* first thing to come to mind
i don't know that it actually fits

Matt: why dont you give me some examples of what you mean

Me: the thing is
i don't have examples
i just had the small thought on the way home bc

Matt: god tapped you?

Me: i was on my bike and i took my legs off the pedals
and it was fun i was going downhill
but then my foot caught on one of the spikes and i almost, like, stopped the bike
i would've pitched forward and i don't wear a helmet, my dads friend died like that [matt reacted w/ exclamation points]

Matt: holy fuck dude
please take my helpmet
i have one
i don't use my bike

**lmao liar

Me: anyway it made me think of the shit that can happen that* is horrible but not deadly* [heart react]
one time my dad pitched off a bike wearing a helmet
and he lost his memory
for about a day
like he lost his short term memory
and another tme he got into a car accident and flew out of the windshield*
and his back hit a wire tying a telephone pole to the ground and he was face down on the side of the road for awhile w a punctured lung*
i think abt that stuff a lot
like just almost dying but out of sheer luck surviving lmao
bizarre shit
cosmic kinda stuff

Matt: yeah
i'm glad you're okay
very glad
but stop doing shit like that
youll cause a stir!
you didnt bump anything did you
your noggin intact?

Me: ya i'm good
u worry too much
literally nothing happened*
the bike didn't stutter
i just had the image of it happening

Matt: near death vision
i c
i have this theory that you would be interested in
that's along these lines
abt death
and surviving it

Me: is it that i just died in another timeline

Matt: yeah
but you, your conscience, can never experience nonexistence
it is a paradox
how can consciousness stop being conscious
it doesn't
when your body dies, your consciousness just goes to the nearest timeline
you can't experience your own death
however, those are you experience every single one
those who are alive with you in your life are there because your consciousnesses tend to survive best when you're in the same timeline
i.e., we're keeping each other alive
we don't know exactly how, but we are

Me: do u ever think abt how when u die eventually a bit of u will end up in some other intelligent life form
also that is* an interesting idea
very sci fi

Matt: that's a different, more likely scenario

Me: ya that's why i like it

Matt: i feel that is the most certain
that i will regain consciousness through the life forms that attain my matter
any body of matter that interacts has consciousness on some level
the more complex the system is, the more conscious it is

Me: ya agree
although i guess it kind of depends on what u define as consciousness
is it will to exist

Matt: it's awareness

Me: or is it self-awareness
then in that case
i wouldn't think a bacterium is

Matt: i don't think that something has to be self aware to have a conscience/soul. there are a lot of people one earth who are not aware of themselves* but i think have this soul, this awareness
yes i do think bacteria have an awareness
less complex than us, but it's there
i also think that societies have consciousness
social groups that function as large bodies
planets in orbit
systems of interaction all have varying degrees of consciousness
in my mind

Me: but the thing is, ppl are aware
they are aware they exist
whereas idk if animals always know the difference between existing and not
idk if they have the capability to imagine an end
people do
unless they have some sort of mental limitation
like retardation or something
(all animals, that is)

Matt: (not to interrupt but i don't think self-awareness is a prerequisite of consciousness. i think you can have awareness/a soul without self-awareness. but continue)

Me: (i know crows and shit do understand that death happens and is permanent)
(but didn't you just say consciousness is awareness)

Matt: an awareness
doesn't have to be of the self

Me: oof then I'm confused, because what the hell is awareness then. Aware of what?

Matt: just like, you feel. maybe you're very confused or don't know the whole picture. maybe you don't even know your own self. you just are aware
like, could you imagine existing in your own skin, having your current point of view, but thinking you're indistinct from the environment?

**this is such a cool idea, thinking of urself as indistinct... from the environment... i have to think about this more, i can't imagine it

Me: Ok i guess then in that case. An atom is not conscious. It has properties, but it does not react or change behavior based on any sensory input, it only does so bc of surrounding stuff that affects those properties

Matt: i don't think self-image is a requisite for conscioussness
an atom does interact with other atoms, and has tendencies to do chemical reactions based on patterns with other atoms
i do think that, in some metaphysical way, atoms have a tiny sense of awareness

Me: yes but again, those are chemical and physical properties [question mark react]
not necessarily reactions based on input [question mark react]
i wouldn't count that as consciousness just because at that point
"consciousness" begins to lose its meaning

Matt: i know it's crazy but consciousness as a concept is so intangible it's difficult to put limits on "oh that thing that moves over there? it can't have consciousness because the way it interacts with the world is so unfamiliar to my own biosensory input!"
that said i don't think everyone should share this point of view and imnot tryna convince

Me: but there is a reason language exists, and that is to limit concepts
i get the not wanting to limit consciousness
seeing as how it is very intangible/hard to define
and I can see it existing as a spectrum of sorts with different, like, subcategories
but i do think at a certain point it no longer applies
i mean this ends up becoming a philosophical problem

Matt: mhm

Me: the same way we don't consider viruses "living" if we came across aliens would
we consider them alive?
if they function differently than we do?
if they have an entirely different scale of existence?
Do we consider them conscious?
And then I can see a definition change, or maybe the introduction of new language
to kind of reign in the questions. Maybe consciousness becomes a concept limited to carbon-based life forms, idk
idk what im saying anymore
i remember my friend and i had a conversation exactly like this
a couple months ago
i can't remember what he said, hmm.
im going to ask him
cuz now im wondering if its worth breaking the word
i have an overly rigid respect for taxonomy that i know can limit my perspectives
soz for rant

Matt: not at all
i didnt want to interrupt
so for the sake of bypassing semantics, let's just talk about one definition of consciousness
it's that thing where you can feel the world around you. you can see
you have a perspective*
and it's your own
and science can't explain that exactly. how we all have these awarenesses
does that make sense?
i'm not talking about anything but the fact that, even if we close our eyes, we still are sort of there experiencing things
having a "soul" so to speak
does that make sense? that property i'm trying to get at

Me: oh gosh
yes i get it
but also i don't like the whole "science can't explain that" line generally, because it implies that it will never be explained
by science

Matt: it might
we can explain brain waves, and electrons
doing this and that, and all sorts of parts of the brain. but the phenomenon of awareness is unprovable
i can't prove that you are aware like i am. i just trust it.
it fuels solopsism, but it is literally unprovable at this point in time
maybe science will be able to understand it more in the future, but this phenomenon is weird

Me: ok gotchu, im with u

Matt: ok ok
as you said earlier,
"yes but again, those are chemical and physical properties. not necessarily reactions based on input"
you were contrasting the way atoms and molecules interact* with the way humans interact
but—you might see this coming—human cognition and decision making can also be broken down in terms of chemical processes
nonetheless, it still doesn't quite explain why we're conscious. it's such a super strange phenomenon
so, i can take leaps of faith
i really believe that you are conscious, like me.
i believe that people i dont know are conscious like me
i believe that people who are neurodivergent are conscious like
i think monkeys are
etc. etc. it's easy for our brains to empathize with those who are similar to us. that they have this awareness phenomenon
it's not that i want to believe that everything every has a consciousness. it's more like,
if monkeys perceive the world differently from us, i can still accept that their consciousness/awareness leve is *there* but diminished, or less complex. less capability to interact
if we break anything down into really tiny parts, i feel like anything that interacts might have this same ""consciousness"' that we do—just we can't imagine how it perceives.
i don't think planets feel pain or anything. or that they have any spatial perceptions
but yeah i don't think it stops at human life. consciousness as a phenomenon
any attempts to limit what has consciousness and what doesn't is purely subjective!
it's based on us comparing the body to our own. if it's more like us, then it's more conscious
which i think is a naïve approach

Me: ok dude that last thing is a bit
rude i think? i get that you don't agree but it's not like i havent also thought about this stuff

Matt: oh
no im not trying to call you naive
debate club slipped out
i'm not trying to change your mind at all
sorry if it comes out like that
undo undo undo

Me: its fine lol [heart react]
i know ur not trying to change my mind, and i think its very interesting
and im also rlly aware that im stubborn and my mind isn't going to change completely, but these ideas do help me

Matt: (i also don't think it's a wrong position to take. any conclusion reached in this line of thought is conjecture)
you're not stubborn
i'm stubborn
sorry, i didn't intend to make this a character analysis of you or me or anything
srry srry srry
go on to the pointz

Me: like here, im just starting from where i am* as a language person/someone who became a language person by pressure from the brutality of scientific debate [heart react]
which means a lot of my concerns w/ these concepts are *deeply* rooted in semantics and relevance to human life
To me, when I try to interpret what you've said, it comes out as basically everything ever is conscious
because it interacts with the environment in some way
can you see how that is not helpful?

Matt: yes
that is unhelpful

Me: ya i guess that's why i am so stuck on definitions, because at a certain point it is no longer assisting understanding but hindering it

Matt: i can define a limit if that would help my argument

Me: ya that'd be good

Matt: lol
thank you for your assistance
i need to be coached

Me: hahahaha nah man

Matt: consciousness is the propensity to interact

Me: hmm, ok. i don't understand how thats different?

Matt: rather than assigning consciousness to discrete objects, i am assigning consciousness as a scalar value
every piece of matter can be conscious
(proof: rearrange all protons, neutrons, and electrons into carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, etc., and form humans)
but not every arrangement of matter has the same level of consciousness
(proof: rearrange all protons, neutrons, and electrons and form monkeys)

Me: ok then we totally agree
like, literally 100%

**note that, like, way early on, I said that consciousness could be a spectrum, but im not bitter bc bitterness is childish and obviously im very mature..... very mature, yes...**

Matt: oh word
we dont have to

Me: see this is why language sucks and semantics are important
no i literally do agree
i think its a spectrum
but when we use the word "consciousness" its hard to know where we stand
because in the common usage, i think of it more in terms of human consciousness, as a byproduct of awareness/level of complex reflection and memory
and learning

Matt: do you still stand behind this
"Ok i guess then in that case. An atom is not conscious. It has properties, but it does not react or change behavior based on any sensory input, it ony does so bc of surrounding stuff that affects those properties"
or was it rhetorical

Me: if we are not operating on the assumption that consciousness is a spectrum and a quality that all things have, then no*
an atom is conscious
but it is far from having a consciousness equivalent to people [thumbs up react]

Matt: agree

Me: which is still a bit frustrating, because you do have the question of how our consciousness develops as the systems get more complex
like if we remove a slice of our brains
and maintain its life
but all it can do is feel
is it conscious
but then again
idk if that would even work because of how systemic the brain is lol
a memory is in so many places so its removal would be impossible etc.
im going to tear my eyes out

Matt: yeah

I sent Matt a screenshot of something Diego said, and then we ended up joking around and the conversation ended. I like the weather today, it is dreary and gray. I think I could live forever in a place where it is drizzling quietly like this.

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