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Three minds, Exposition priorities

The journal Philosophy and the Mind Sciences has a call for papers for a special issue, Structuralism in the Science of Consciousness. Due April 15 - August 15. 4,000 to 10,000 words (8 to 20 pages)

Here is my pre-submission inquiry.

Three Minds and Eight States of Mind

Dear Sascha Benjamin Fink and Andrew Y. Lee,

I am making a pre-submission inquiry whether it makes sense for me to write and submit a paper for your special issue, "Structuralism in the Science of Consciousness". The topic is dear to me, I appreciate your diamond open access policy, and I recognize the distinction of your editorial board. I wonder how I might best attempt to present my structural theory of consciousness to your peers for review, with the hope of participating in fruitful academic discourse.

I wish to submit a paper which would expand upon presentations that I gave in 2017 at academic conferences. In Vilnius, Lithuania, at Space and Time: An Interdisciplinary Approach, I gave a talk, Time and Space as Representations of Decision-Making. In Braga, Portugal, at the III International Conference on Philosophy of Mind: Minds, Brains and Consciousness, I presented Consciousness as the Social Awareness Schema of a Disembodying Mind. Since 2014, I have given 45 academic talks about my original philosophical system, in English and in Lithuanian, publishing my transcripts and slides online. Here is my CV with links.

My interest is to write and submit a paper, "Three Minds and Eight States of Mind", which would overview this theory of consciousness, so that I and others could then refer to its broader context in academic papers when exploring specific aspects further. The three minds are the Unconscious, which provides answers, the Conscious, which asks questions, and the Consciousness, which investigates. The eight states of mind are "divisions of everything", ways of carving up mental workspace into perspectives, allowing us to think in parallel. For example, I propose that we entertain two perspectives - as with free will vs. fate - when we grapple with existence. In learning, we cycle through three perspectives - taking a stand, following through, reflecting. For knowledge, we distinguish four perspectives - whether, what, how, why.

Your editorial introduction is, I think, sympathetic to my endeavors. You kindly offer the opportunity to make a pre-submission inquiry. I wonder whether you would want to publish a paper about a new theory of consciousness, when there seem to be so many theories already. But if you might consider such a paper, then I am grateful for your help on how to structure the paper. I do not know of examples in the academic literature, which introduce original theories, and so I am grateful if you could point me to some as models of presentation.

Left to my own devices, I would tell my story from my own subjective point of view, how I came to these findings in my lifelong quest to know everything and apply that knowledge usefully, and also from external points of view, how these findings may fit with psychology, neurology, evolution and other mind sciences. What I have truly significant, meaningful, important, original to say comes from my personal journey, but if I want to be understood by others i need to speak to their interests. Yet I often feel like an astronaut who returns from the Moon, who wants to record why she went, how she managed, what she experienced, whereas the academic interest is in debating whether the Earth is flat.

For the sake of academic discourse, I would take up the challenge posed in 2019 by Daniel Friedman and Eirik Søvikin, The ant colony as a test for scientific theories of consciousness What can my theory say regarding the consciousness of an ant colony? I would systematize the ways that ant colonies figure things out, as I am doing here. My preliminary, speculative findings, based on limited knowledge, are to identify three minds as follows. The Unconscious is manifest in the response of individual ants to their rates of interaction to form streams, notably outside their nest. The Conscious is manifest in the semiotics of smells, distinguishing friend and foe, and the several castes, which ants pass along in grooming each other, and which reach the queen and her cohort, in their insular chamber, and pass out again from there. I speculate that Consciousness is manifest in the brain like structure of the nest itself, and in the nest maintainers, and their relations with the scouts, nurses, do-nothing ants, whereby they change the structure of the nest, closing and opening entryways, rerouting chambers, moving the queen and the brood. Consciousness maintains the overall balance between the Unconscious and the Conscious, so they are in accord, but also decides, at any moment, which to give primacy to, in global matters such as negotiating status with neighboring nests, preparing for war - defensively and offensively, responding to changes in weather, moving the entire nest as needed, and selecting the most auspicious circumstances for establishing new colonies. I think this illustrates that my theory is fruitful and helpful for scientists, in designing investigations, even given limited knowledge, on my part and theirs.

I suppose that these three minds are interesting of themselves. But what I really want to write about, and where I started from in 1982, are the divisions of everything, which I claim these three minds operate on.

How would I explain the findings of my inner life to an unsympathetic materialist? I would present the following myth or speculation. Life spends resources to model what it knows but also what it does not know. Evolutionary pressures lead to the devotion of ever more resources to what is not known, thus to abstractions. A bacteria has chemical sensors which directly sense the environment. Whereas a butterfly lives in a world of flowers, of images, of icons, of What, a neural network of the Unconscious. A mouse, moreover, as Michael Graziano has pointed out, has a model of its own attention, thus lives in a world of indices, of causal relations, a conceptual language of the Conscious, thereby considers whether the cat is attending to it or not. I claim that furthermore, an orangutang has a map not only of its body but of its own mind, its global workspace, and how many perspectives carve it up, what kind of internal dialogue it is engaged in, offering none or one or two or three or four or five or six or seven perspectives. An orangutang is able to ignore its own personal experience, let go of its own conceptual language, and focus simply on how they are connected abstractly, as concerns truth. An orangutang has Consciousness that relates the Unconscious, which connects the whole, with the Conscious, which focuses on a part.

Neurologically, it makes sense to me, that any creature with two brain hemispheres, whether fish or octopus or ant colony, can be presumed to have a dialogue between a mind that knows and a mind that does not know, a mind that relates the whole and a mind that attends to a part, an Unconscious and a Conscious, or what Kahneman and Tversky termed, fast-thinking System 1 and slow-thinking System 2. I have presented a poster What Minds Require of Brains at the Lithuanian Neuroscience Association's Annual Meeting. Why does the brain have two hemispheres? The textbook answer in "Brain Structure and Its Origins" by Gerald Schneider is that a fish which lost one side of its brain could continue with the other side. Neuroscience is reduced to mythmaking because it only considers the evolution of material implementation whereas I consider as well the evolution of functional requirements. Left brain and right brain distinctions were reduced to pop psychology upon discovering the diversity of neural implementations. Yet if we appreciate the significance of matching up two different ways of looking at the same information, as with the duality in logic of what holds and what does not hold, then we recognize the importance of having champions, having minds advocating for the two different worldviews. We recognize the significance of the basal ganglia in relating the two hemispheres. Then it is straightforward to propose that the persistent physical separation of the hemispheres is evidence that alongside the evolution of a material world of implementations there also proceeds an evolution of a spiritual world of functional requirements, where the details of the actual implementations can be left to circumstances. Focusing on the details of the implementations will then never yield the big picture, just as focusing on computer hardware will never yield an understanding of the mathematical equations that are being solved with it.

My personal journey started in 1971, when as a six-year-old child, I engaged God with my quest to know everything and apply that knowledge usefully. In 1982, I entered the University of Chicago, contemplating how anything could be defined from first principles. Complicated things could be defined in terms of simpler things. But the simplest things would have to be defined structurally, in terms of their relationships with each other. For example, in matters of existence, we need two points of view: "opposites coexist" and "all is the same". We need to be able to contemplate whether or not a chair exists but then we also need to be able to conclude that if it exists, then it exists, and if not, then not. I recognized the learning cycle of taking a stand, following through, reflecting, which is the core of the scientific method, distinguishing the modes of being, doing, thinking. From Plato's Republic and Aristotle's four causes, I became aware of four levels of knowledge, which I term whether, what, how, why. Later, I documented a fivesome for decision-making, relating two directions of causality: Every effect has had its cause; but not every cause has had its effects; so there is a critical point for deciding. There is a sixsome for morality, relating a relative-cycle of taking a stand, following through, reflecting with absolutely taking a stand, following through, reflecting. We can think of this all as starting with a nullsome for God, a state of contradiction from which unfolds a onesome for everything, then existence, participation, knowledge, decision-making, morality, and finally, a sevensome for logic, a tentative state of noncontradiction, given by the four corners and three sides of the logical square, establishing dialogue between a mind that knows and a mind that does not know. Adding the missing side, whereby all is known and all is unknown, would yield an empty system, bringing us back to the nullsome, the state of contradiction. Much of the evidence for this came from collecting and contemplating conceptual structures documented by all manner of thinkers, and I would give examples.

In 1988-1989, while a PhD student in mathematics, I took a year off to work independently on my philosophy at Vilnius University in Soviet-occupied Lithuania. My advisor told me to read Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. I made a lot of progress, realizing that we do not conceive the divisions directly, but through conceptions. The foursome has two conceptions: Idealists think in terms of questions, focusing on Why? then How? and What? and dismissing Whether? Materialists think in terms of answers, focusing on Whether! then What! and How! and dismissing Why! Kant and Peirce and others straddle these two. The threesome has four conceptions, which yields 12 circumstances, much like Kant's 12 categories. But they are not "categories" of things, but rather "backdrops" for the imagination, and they are given not by logical form, but by mind games. For example, search for constancy: Either you will find One example, or All is constantly unconstant. And to play this mind game, you need to suppose that what you select to examine is the same as what you make conclusions about, thus there is the regularity of the Many. This is a way of defining One, All, Many by refering to the mental actions that we know how to perform. In trying to make sense of Kant's Transcendental Deduction, I concluded that given the twosome, and accordingly, our mind's contemplation of existence, we can then conceive of that twosome algorithmically, shifting from "outside" to "inside". For outside supposes inside, as when we are outside of a cup. But when we fall inside, then there is simply inside, as when we are inside the universe. This is how we perceive causality, how we conceive existence algorithmically. Then given such a machine, we can consider it in "theory" (off) and in "practice" (on). In theory, we are distinct from it, we are objective, but in practice, we go through the machine, we complement it with ourselves, we are one with it, we experience. Putting this all together, much as Kant did, given the issues of existence, we conceive them algorithmically, switch that machine from "off" to "on", and that describes our consciousness of existence, but also establishes this new frame of mind with the fivesome for decision-making. Arithmetically, two perspectives + three perspectives = five perspectives. Similar equations seem to hold for each division of everything. My hypothesis is that there are 3 operations, adding one perspective, or a perspective on a perspective, or a perspective upon a perspective on a perspective. Decades later, reading Kahneman's "Thinking, Fast and Slow", I started to think that these are three minds, Systems 1 and 2 but also a System 3.

Such introspection has been discouraged but it is the ultimate grounds for the reality that I am fruitfully documenting. Thus I would explain the kind of introspection that i have been doing, slowing down the mind, keeping it from reflecting, and how that fits within the history of introspection in psychology.

All of this was taking place alongside an academic world with many taboos. I did not study philosophy because I consider it a failed science as philosophers have never managed to agree upon anything. Instead, I studied math as the study of structure, physics as a successful empirical science, and the humanities and social sciences to learn what was known about human life. In the 1980s, emotions were a questionable object of study, causality and why were unscientific concepts, and consciousness was "woo hoo". Wisdom, prayer, God are, to this day, scientifically marginal. Absolute truth, which I study, is to this day perhaps the greatest academic taboo. I say this to explain my circumstances, which allowed me to think these thoughts but also make it challenging to get them across to others. I am inquiring whether I should try to express them for your special issue, and how I might best do so.

After receiving my PhD in mathematics in 1993, I chose not to work in the academic world because there was no way there to research wisdom, but moreover, I thought that it was a sheltered environment, and thus not the best place to learn about life. I lived with my grandmother in a distraught neighborhood in Chicago, learning to engage gangs, how to look at everything from their point of view, much as I write here. In 1997, I moved to Lithuania and founded an online laboratory, Minciu Sodas, for serving and organizing independent thinkers around the world. In 2010, I went bankrupt. All the while, I spent my best hour of the day working on my philosophy. From 2014, I started writing up my philosophy in the form of academic presentations, including three that I gave at the World Congress of Philosophy in Beijing in 2018, Imagining God's State of Mind As a Question: Is God Necessary?, A Geometry of Moods: Evoked by Wujue Poems of the Tang Dynasty, Daoism for a Lifetime or a Day? For two years, I taught philosophy, ethics and creative writing as an adjunct professor at VGTU. But I could not find anyone interested to work together. Nor did I meet any philosopher working on their own comprehensive philosophical system, as I am. So I appreciate the significance of your journal and your editorial team.

In 2022, I started Math 4 Wisdom with a YouTube channel to grow a supportive investigatory community for absolute truth, and thus to foster conceptual languages of wisdom, especially my own "Wondrous Wisdom", which I overview here. I am working to show that the conceptual structures can be found in advanced mathematics. My presentations include The Yoneda Embedding Expresses Whether, What, How, Why and Bott Periodicity Models Consciousness? Preliminary Exploration. Bott Periodicity is an eight-cycle which grounds the metaphysics of CPT symmetry, thus the questions of whether a "particle" (what is) is different from a "hole" (what is not), or whether the universe would follow the same rules if reflected in a mirror (reversing the learning cycle!), or whether there is time reversal or not (whether becoming makes sense, as with How, in the levels of knowledge). I am exploring whether this is the same eight-cycle as with the divisions of everything. Going back to the ant colony, I would explore whether the divisions of everything might relate to the levels of agency that Henry Potter and Kevin Mitchell describe in Naturalising Agent Causation.

At this point, it seems that the three minds, when focused on the onesome - on everything, yield respectively, the twosome for existence (when the Unconscious adds one perspective) or the threesome for participation (when the Conscious adds a perspective on a perspective) or the foursome for knowledge (when Consciousness adds a perspective upon a perspective on a perspective). This explains why the twosome, threesome, foursome are such important building blocks. These are the kinds of things that I would like to think about with others. I have mostly focused on my own community but every so often I think it is helpful to check if others could be interested.

Currently, Math 4 Wisdom is a tiny but vibrant community, with four study groups led by PhDs. Functional analyst John Harland leads our Physics study group, ecotechnologist Jere Northrop leads our Language of Wisdom study group, global affairs scholar Aslam Kakar leads our Sociology study group, and biologist Daniel Friedman leads our Knowledge Engineering study group. Daniel is the President of the Active Inference Institute, and coauthored the paper on ant colonies which inspired me to take up their challenge.

I am unemployed and have been living from my modest savings which will last until September. I am thinking that, with your blessing and encouragement, I would make an effort to write and submit a paper for your journal, which would present my understanding of consciousness, keeping to your desired length, noting all manner of connections with the scientific and academic discourse, adjusting my tone and style as you suggest, and if I have the chance, working with your reviewers to improve my paper. Given all that, I wonder if you would encourage me to make such an effort. I think it would be worthwhile if I could picture my audience and how to write for them. Otherwise, I would focus on my math research, seeking a breakthrough there, to demonstrate the reality of this conceptual language, Wondrous Wisdom, and within that, my "3 x 8" theory of consciousness.

Thank you for this opportunity to ask for your advice!

I will share my letter with my group.


Andrius Kulikauskas Eiciunai, Lithuania

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