Artificial Intelligence

The Five Levels of Consciousness Meets the Starlings in the Poplars

Artifice wants you to look away, but if you look at it, you will see marvels.

The human body meets the giants (here Lombardy poplars full of starlings) and responds, body to body. The body is dwarfed in size and yet takes on the size in imagination at the same time. It apprehends that re-scaled body image, and is conscious of it. This is not the consciousness of the “conscious mind”. There’s a place for that, too, though. It lives in the awareness of that image-making, and in the translation of the bodily consciousness into pattern, language, mark, and artifact. Those are five different experiences. They occur at the same time. They form an ecosystem of thought. Calling one alone “conscious” is just sad.

3 replies »

  1. I’m note sure exactly what you at saying, but the photo reminds me of Annie Dillard’s story about the tree full of blackbirds

    . . .For a week last September migrating red-winged blackbirds were feeding heavily down by the creek at the back of the house. One day I went out to investigate the racket; I walked up to a tree, an Osage orange, and a hundred birds flew away. They simply materialized out of the tree. I saw a tree, then a whisk of color, then a tree again. I walked closer and another hundred blackbirds took flight. Not a branch, not a twig budged: the birds were apparently weightless as well as invisible. Or, it was as if the leaves of the Osage orange had been freed from a spell in the form of red- winged blackbirds; they flew from the tree, caught my eye in the sky, and vanished. […]

    (Of the two European invaders, I think I prefer the starlings to the Lombardy poplars. Don’t tell the fruit growers.)


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