A 21st Century Theory of Consciousness

Question: Is there a map of our cognitive processes in the Movements of Modern Art?

Answer: Evidence I’ve gathered suggests that 10 major Movements of Modern Art (MOMA) are a highly accurate representation of how our cognitive processes (mental) work and the map hints at specific mechanisms and functions found in our perceptual processes (biological).

This theoretical map gives us a rendering of how our minds work from a subjective point of view. The theory shows the inner workings of the mind with such clarity that anyone can apply their experiences to the map, be they traumatic, drug-induced, depressed states, aesthetic, spiritual or commonplace. My area of focus has found pragmatic methods capable of producing lucid dreams with prechosen content and consistent replicable results.

We can refer to these 10 modes of synthesis as the MOMA Cognitive Map, the MOMA Map, the Art Modes of Operations (Artis Modus Operandi), the Aesthetic Correlates of Consciousness, the Canvas of Consciousness and GUTSCC — the Grand Unified Theory of Subjective Consciousness and Cognition. In short, this theory presents and aims to interrogate the sequential series of 10 major modern art movements to understand how each movement corresponds to and represents neurophysiological functions and mental operations within unconscious, subconscious and conscious processes.

GUTSCC — \ˈgət-sē
The Grand Unified Theory of Subjective Consciousness and Cognition
(Click here to see visually illustrated PowerPoint draft)

Artists of the modern era utilized unconscious and subconscious perceptual (biological functions) and cognitive processes (mental operations) to synthesize objective sensory stimuli and they consciously output their subjective interpretation onto the canvas through the very same processes and functions that took the sense data in. Evidence suggests that properties and attributes art historians ascribe to 10 major Movements of Modern Art sequentially align with neurophysiological (perceptual) processes involved in transmitting sensory stimuli as biochemical signals through the nervous system. The map also details the alignment of the successive MOMA with the order of mental cognitive processes found in scientific study.

These perceptual and cognitive processes are primarily accountable for synthesizing raw sensory data into objects, spatial awareness, language skills, dreams, unified experience of the real world, the inner life of emotions, the core emotional sense of self, the socio-cultural modalities of self, repetitive habits, and conceptual thought.

The Canvas of Consciousness

As a cognitive map, each art movement represents a layer or ‘mode’ of cognitive operations/processes. Each modus is involved in a synthesis of incoming sensory information (sense data) and unconscious, subconscious and conscious reactions to sensory stimuli. Each modus with its aesthetic style depicts a distinct process along the path of cognitive synthesis. Each modus constitutes an inventory of memories associated with specific cognitive processes and perceptual functions that produce mental output. For instance, in looking at this Cubist work by George Braque — ‘Bottle and Fishes 1910–1912’ in and amongst the abstract, intersecting planes one may recognize salient features of possible objects. The abstract elements on the canvas represent the input, which is pure, raw, abstract sensation and resistant to conceptualization as a person, place or thing. The point or locus of object recognition or conceptualization is the mental output. Each of the 10 modi transforms, synthesizes and reduces the mental output to increase the linguistic, sensorimotor, emotional tone and conceptual accuracy of any given person, place or thing.

Artis Modus Operandi

In order to ‘read’ the cognitive map, the theory posits that there are only two kinds of sense data the body and mind detect. When the raw or abstract sensation detected by the senses meets the mystery of consciousness it turns into ‘imaginary sense data’ (conceptual points/loci of interpretation on the canvas-i.e. mental output). Imaginary sense data are the corresponding subjective experience of abstract sense data. It includes all the raw feels of qualia, including emotions, feelings, thoughts, concepts, etc. Abstract sense data are simply raw, pure, unadulterated sensation detected and transduced by the senses and sent via the nervous system to the brain. For instance, an infant in hearing the sound of a train — experiences abstract sense data in both body and mind. In contrast, an adult experiences a mental conclusion — imaginary sense data — the inner conviction that the sound is that of a train. That thought is convincing because abstract sense data lends its empirical conviction to the subjective mind. Thus, the general contents of consciousness, including within unconscious, subconscious and conscious cognitive processes, at any moment is constituted of both abstract and imaginary sense data.

The Modes of Operation

The 10 modi function as a unit synthesizing a 1:1 rapport between abstract sense data and imaginary sense data; between the empirical world and the subjective mind. These 10 modes of operations were isolated visually and aesthetically because the locus of attention of each artist within each movement focused on creating a specific aesthetic and yet each movement rebelled against the aesthetic style that preceded it. Therefore, it was the differences in their artistic techniques and philosophical intentions that created the cognitive map in the sequence we find in the MOMA. These differences led modern 20th-century artists down the Monet’s rabbit hole — the outward painterly expression of inner subjective interpretations — allowing them to collectively map human cognitive processes albeit unbeknownst to themselves. The map compiled by the modern masters of art is perhaps one of the greatest and most astounding accomplishments of the 20th century, as it allows us to see and understand the inner workings of our minds.

(See powerpoint for working links)

The canvas of consciousness I present can simulate all the possibilities for human behavior; personality, emotional tone, word choices, mood, mood changes, emotional and violent outbursts (the straw that broke the camel’s back), dreaming, lucid dreaming, daydreaming, production of thought, relationships between feeling and acting.

Artis Modus Vivendi

In addition, the map details the location of the focal point of attention, the focal point of unconscious intention, the focal point of intention, feedback loops within multiple memory repositories and the sense of self.

Artis Modus Vivendi Focal Points

In a lucid dream, the subjective mind is unified with a pre-chosen collection or inventory of imaginary sense data. The lucid dream, initiated and upheld by a practitioner’s intention for days or weeks, occurs when the ballast of reason lets go of its imaginary but convincing inventory. Letting go allows perceptual and cognitive processes to ‘digest’ the inventory of imaginary sense data and all at once the body experiences itself and its existence in two places at one time.

A similar process occurs in a violent outburst. The mass shooter focuses on his morbid fantasy for days or weeks on end, creating an inventory of imaginary sense data that, once the inventory reaches a critical mass, it triggers, in one fell swoop and in lockstep sensorimotor fashion, a rampage of violence.

Mass Shooter’s Inventory of Imaginary Sense Data

The shooter in no way experiences being in two places at one time as his intention is aimed at the daily world instead of a lucid dream.

Lucid Dreamer’s Inventory of Imaginary Sense Data

The map gives us a solid understanding allowing consciousness researchers to make “lucid dreaming into a replicable and systematically inducible target phenomenon.” As such, the map allows us to, for the first time in western history, forge a 21st Century 1st Person Science of Consciousness.

As conscious beings, we first live in a cognitive world and secondly an empirical one. Enabling human beings to engineer lucid dreams with target precision gives rise to a fascinating set of questions the answers of which can further our inquiry into the mystery of consciousness; can I be aware of the atoms in my body? — Do Neanderthals exist in another cognitive world just as we exist in this one? What is it like to be a bat? Or an insect? Or a bird? What happened at the beginning of the universe? What is at the heart of a Neutron start? What is the cure for cancer? Why did life start?

The 10 MOMA as a map engender a pragmatic and philosophical plateau — a veritable viewing of our Canvas of Consciousness from which we can examine bottom-up and top-down subjective cognitive processes and act on what we find. This map may produce answers to such questions as — What jumps the Explanatory Gap? Why is Modern art abstract? How do we get the ‘ghost’ in the machine? How do we replicate our conscious awareness? How will AI developers create consciousness in computers without being able to replicate their consciousness within a lucid dream?

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