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  May 24, 2012                  

Philosophy:  From  The Notebooks:  More than 5 senses

"If we believe absurdities,         
  we shall commit atrocities."    

I am still enjoying real computing with Linux.Ubuntu and having trouble with my eyes, that need new glasses. If this gets worse, I may well stop working on the site for a while. I have done most of the work on a file with links to what I wrote about the DSM-5 and related subjects - which in my case is ME/CFS, which is a serious neurological disease I have sinds 34 years, that I get no help with because some psychiatrists have been very effectively lying and deceiving the public, the parliament and many doctors that this is a psychiatric disease, which it is not, according to the World Health Organization since 1969, to this day, but meanwhile my life's chances have been effectively destroyed by the sick minds of Reeves, Holmes, Jones, Wessely, White, Sharpe, Bleijenberg and Van der Meer, who started initiated the sick psychiatric bullshit, that not only maligns and slanders me and millions with my disease, but thousands of medical doctors who are not psychiatrists as well - but haven't finishes that yet because of various problems I won't mention here and now. (*)

So I provide you with a little more from my Notebooks, this time from March 2, 1989:


2. III.89. More than 5 senses

It is not true that all we are conscious of are - say - pictures, sounds, smells, tastes and touches, and it is not true for several reasons.

First, it is more convenient to speak of the senses by organ: Eyes, ears, nose, mouth and skin (surely a sense-organ by itself), and to add, in one lump, the body c.q. all other organs. Seen in terms of organs, it is obvious that mere skin-feels is not precisely what we have: We have hands, genitals, lips, anus etc. externally, and a number of internal organs we sense at special moments (bladder, stomach, heart, lungs) a.s.o. NB that it is more convenient to speak in terms of organs because it is factually more adequate: To describe the need to piss or the feeling of bursting lungs when diving or how it feels to have an erection the 5 senses are inadequate. Obviously there are usually pictures, sounds, smells, tastes and touches involved, but these are sense-impressions of something, and if they are sense-impressions of our own organs there are usually in addition more definite impressions from these organs themselves. (The feeling of bursting involved in a strong need to piss, to breathe or to come is by no means the same.)

Second, and in this connection, whereas we tend to describe impressions from our organs in terms of "feelings" this is a very inadequate and ambiguous term: Feelings of the skin are different from feelings of other organs (hurting teeth or a full stomach, for example); both kinds of feelings differ from the emotions taken in the sense of specific drives or states (fear, anger, suprise, pleasure, pain); and emotions differ again from values in the sense of judgements evaluating events (love, hate, shame, guilt, justice etc.).

Third, there are several senses (I don't know how many) that are not directly connected with organs, but with states of the body: Sense of balance/bodily position (kinesthetics); hunger, thirst; time; and, very important, emotions, viz. at least fight, flight, fuck. Also, there is intuition (or awareness): The ability to understand - but this leads to the next point.

Fourth, modes of consciousness are definitely given (to those who can talk, at least: for babies it may be different): We know whether we perceive or think or phantasize or remember, and we know whether we are normally awake or not (but e.g. drunk, stoned, just waking up, dazed a.s.o.). This, incidentally, is why Chuang Tzu was wrong: Being a man you know you may dream that you're a butterfly, but you don't know that butterflies may dream of being a man. (Of course, all men may be dreams of butterflies, logically speaking, but the evidential situation is not symmetric: We know men may dream and may dream of being butterflies, but not that butterflies may dream, nor that, if they dream, they have the capacity to dream that they are men.)

Note that the four modes I mentioned are different - and that we recognize them through these differences: Perception is smooth, immediate, definite detailed, rich (by which I mean that there is more to sense than meets the senses), and has a given quality (usually it seems to be just there for inspection and further inspection) whereas the other - mental - modes lack all these qualities. Intuition/awareness is a partial exception, but let's first consider the others.

Speaking for myself, if I think I ask myself questions: How come? Who, what, where, when, why, wherefore? What if? Is it because? What's it like? a.s.o. and also I reject given answers (normally before having a better one and before knowing why: I reject it because I've noticed an inconsistency with what I know, but usually I need to articulate my reasons to know them fully - a fact connected with intuition). Much of my conscious thinking in this way is verbal, and it seems as if it is mostly asking questions and rejecting answers.

Conscious phantasizing is different for me from thinking, for it consciously involves speculation: My rejection-mechanism is turned off (completely or partially), since I know that my phantasies are not knowledge, and also it tends to be much more pictorial. It does correspond to questions, but these too are a bit different from the ones I use for thinking (though evidently thinking and phantasizing shade over into each other): Suppose that; if this a.s.o.

To remember something again is different, and there are various modes of remembering (explained well by Bartlett). Here I only remark that there are two kinds involved, both of which are definitely remembering and not something else: 1. To remember smoothly and immediately - automatically and involuntarily, or nearly so, and 2. to try to remember. The second may happen in various ways: Either you don't know whether you do remember (precisely) or else (tip of the tongue, for example) you do seem to know that you know, but you can't recall it for the moment.

What is important epistemologically is that you definitely know whether you remember something, provided you do so clearly, and that it is not phantasy. Of course, phantasy may be (and often is) involved, but the point is that normally you know (about very much of your own past and the past of the people you've known) that so-and-so really happened to you or someone else, more or less as you remember it, and that it is not a complete phantasy you made up or dreamt one night. One reason why this is so is probably that perceptions have a definite impact (described above by the qualities phantasies lack: smooth, immediate, definite, detailed, rich and apparently given) that phantasies etc. lack. (You may also remember to have thought or imagined something.)

Finally, consider intuition/awareness: It seems to me that all human beings live mostly and mainly by intuition, i.e. by judgements made on the basis of assumptions they have "in the back of their minds". The explanation is that anything you're conscious of is the foregound of a total field of knowledge and guesses, where the part that you're not conscious of is part of what you believe and assume to be associated with what you're conscious of. It is this part that guides your judgements about what your conscious of. Most of these judgements one is not conscious of: One doesn't know one makes them nor does one know what they are, but some become conscious in their consequences, and then typically as "cognitive feelings": "No, that can't be so" or "That sounds convincing" or "There's something fishy about this" etc.


There is good psychology, such as William James's "The Principles of Psychology" which for that reason is on my site under the link, but you'll find that questions such as I raise or distinctions I make rarely discussed.

And let me add something: I am honest about my sources, and if I do not attribute something to someone else, it is original with me, in the minimalistic sense that I thought of it myself. Indeed, that is why I wrote my notes: Because I did not find such thoughts elsewhere. This applies to all of my Notebooks, all of my site, and all that I write: I do attribute to others what others thought of, and if I don't it is because I don't know of anything much like it.

In the above, the point about Chuang Tzu is original with me, and dates back to 1969, when I first read him, in a Dutch translation by professor Duyvendak, that I recall with fondness. I have never seen the point made since, though I have looked through or read a lot of discussions of Chuang Tzu's paradoxes. And one reason to mention this is that while I consider the point I made fairly elementary, logically or epistemologically speaking, I never saw it made since 1969.


(*) Also, as it happens I have academic degrees in philosophy and psychology, and am very well read in philosophy of science, logic and methodology, which are quite relevant to seizing up the pretensions of psychiatrists and psychiatry, that is not a real science and never was one, perhaps especially since the introduction of the DSM-III that, now that I have learned more about it, seems to me fraudulent from the  start, as does the DSM-5, though the motives differ. I will write more about this later, because I find it intellectually as interesting as I find it morally sickening. Also, I should perhaps add that I never was a believer in psychiatry - 'believer' is the right term for this pseudoscience, at least for those practitioners of it, surely a minority, who are not frauds - and that I write about it only because psychiatry has interfered in my life's chances and my illness by spreading lies about my illness that have no factual basis whatsoever. If you are interested in true information about the pseudoscience of psychiatry try the books of dr. Thomas Szasz or by the late Richard Webster.

Corrections, if any are necessary, have to be made later.
-- May 25, 2012: Added some links and corrections, and the note.


As to ME/CFS (that I prefer to call ME):

1.  Anthony Komaroff Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS (pdf)
3.  Hillary Johnson The Why
4.  Consensus of M.D.s Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf)
5.  Eleanor Stein Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)
6.  William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
7.  Paul Lutus

Is Psychology a Science?

8.  Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
 Maarten Maartensz
ME in Amsterdam - surviving in Amsterdam with ME (Dutch)
 Maarten Maartensz Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

Short descriptions of the above:                

1. Ten reasons why ME/CFS is a real disease by a professor of medicine of Harvard.
2. Long essay by a professor emeritus of medical chemistry about maltreatment of ME.
3. Explanation of what's happening around ME by an investigative journalist.
4. Report to Canadian Government on ME, by many medical experts.
5. Advice to psychiatrist by a psychiatrist who understa, but nds ME is an organic disease
6. English mathematical genius on one's responsibilities in the matter of one's beliefs:

7. A space- and computer-scientist takes a look at psychology.
8. Malcolm Hooper puts things together status 2010.
9. I tell my story of surviving (so far) in Amsterdam/ with ME.
10. The directory on my site about ME.

See also: ME -Documentation and ME - Resources
The last has many files, all on my site to keep them accessible.

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