The holidays, masking the presence of winter, are in the past.
Winter is nose to nose with us and one of us is grinning.
But it’s not to be assumed that everyone is sad to see the holidays pass, the holidays being a time of coming together.
Many stayed alone during the season, their aloneness heightened by the coming together of most others into one grouping or another.
Many chose to be alone.
Many others deserted, some deserving to be shunned; others victims of circumstances.
While I enjoyed a terrific holiday season, I was conscious of the ad hoc, the spontaneous endemic to the season.
And while I’m as flexible as the next person, I thrive on routine.
I love routine.
So on January 2, my 43-day winter calendar kicks in.
There is a lot to dread about these winter days.
But there is a lot to be said about a segment of time that boasts a beginning and an end and substitutes unpredictability for spontaneity.
Thursday, January 3, 2019
My 266th consecutive posting, committed to 5,000.
Time is 12.01am.
On Thursday, Boston’s temperature will reach a high of 44* with a bit of rain or snow in early morning.
Clouds will break.
Breezy with a real feel temperature of 37*.
All in all, tolerable as one of the 43 days of winter.
Dinner is sushi salad, Italian style.
Question of the Day:
What is consciousness?
Short Take: City Life
We had a warm winter day which brought out the visitors like myself.
So nice to see people enjoying themselves in a public park.
Of course, not your ordinary public park but the Public Garden.
Lovely even in winter.
Answer to Question:
Consciousness is the state or quality of awareness or of being aware of an external object or something within oneself.
It has been defined variously in terms of sentience, awareness, qualia, subjectivity, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood or soul, the fact that there is something "that it is like" to "have" or "be" it, and the executive control system of the mind.
Despite the difficulty in definition, many philosophers believe that there is a broadly shared underlying intuition about what consciousness is.
As Max Velmans and Susan Schneider wrote in The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness: "Anything that we are aware of at a given moment forms part of our consciousness, making conscious experience at once the most familiar and most mysterious aspect of our lives."
Western philosophers, since the time of Descartes and Locke, have struggled to comprehend the nature of consciousness and identify its essential properties.
Issues of concern in the philosophy of consciousness include whether the concept is fundamentally coherent; whether consciousness can ever be explained mechanistically; whether non-human consciousness exists and if so how it can be recognized; how consciousness relates to language; whether consciousness can be understood in a way that does not require a dualistic distinction between mental and physical states or properties; and whether it may ever be possible for computing machines like computers or robots to be conscious, a topic studied in the field of artificial intelligence.
Thanks to developments in technology over the past few decades, consciousness has become a significant topic of interdisciplinary research in cognitive science, with significant contributions from fields such as psychology, anthropology, neuropsychology and neuroscience.
The primary focus is on understanding what it means biologically and psychologically for information to be present in consciousness—that is, on determining the neural and psychological correlates of consciousness.
The majority of experimental studies assess consciousness in humans by asking subjects for a verbal report of their experiences (e.g., "tell me if you notice anything when I do this").
Issues of interest include phenomena such as subliminal perception, blindsight, denial of impairment, and altered states of consciousness produced by alcohol and other drugs, or spiritual or meditative techniques.
In medicine, consciousness is assessed by observing a patient's arousal and responsiveness, and can be seen as a continuum of states ranging from full alertness and comprehension, through disorientation, delirium, loss of meaningful communication, and finally loss of movement in response to painful stimuli.
Issues of practical concern include how the presence of consciousness can be assessed in severely ill, comatose, or anesthetized people, and how to treat conditions in which consciousness is impaired or disrupted.
The degree of consciousness is measured by standardized behavior observation scales such as the Glasgow Coma Scale.
Considered one of the first of the British empiricists, following the tradition of Sir Francis Bacon, he is equally important to social contract theory.
His work greatly affected the development of epistemology and political philosophy.
His writings influenced Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, many Scottish Enlightenment thinkers, as well as the American revolutionaries.
His contributions to classical republicanism and liberal theory are reflected in the United States Declaration of Independence.
Locke's theory of mind is often cited as the origin of modern conceptions of identity and the self, figuring prominently in the work of later philosophers such as David Hume, Rousseau, and Immanuel Kant.
Locke was the first to define the self through a continuity of consciousness.
He postulated that, at birth, the mind was a blank slate or tabula rasa.
Contrary to Cartesian philosophy based on pre-existing concepts, he maintained that we are born without innate ideas, and that knowledge is instead determined only by experience derived from sense perception.
This is now known as empiricism.
An example of Locke's belief in empiricism can be seen in his quote, "whatever I write, as soon as I discover it not to be true, my hand shall be the forwardest to throw it into the fire."
This shows the ideology of science in his observations in that something must be capable of being tested repeatedly and that nothing is exempt from being disproven.
Challenging the work of others, Locke is said to have established the method of introspection, or observing the emotions and behaviors of one's self.
Good morning on this Thursday, the 3rd day of January.
We talked about the passing of the holiday season.
And we looked at some pictures of the Public Garden on a warm winter day that brought out the crowds.
Che vuoi? Le pocketbook?
See you soon.