Art & The Conscious Mind.
Seminar: Professor Robert Pepperell. 01/02/18.
The Unity and Rationality of the Conscious Mind.
Assessment: 2 minute presentation, blog URL, making connections to your practice.
We are still thinking about art and the conscious mind, but unity and rationality
Lichtenstein Rouen Cathedral
Monet original painting, but Lichtenstein applied a technique to it. Cheap, crude process. High value images vs low value images.
Is your experience whilst seeing this painting (unified, holistic etc), or are you having many experiences?
You may see the cathedral and dots at the same time. You may not necessarily be able to focus on one part or whole of the painting.
Is your experience of seeing the painting rational?
Do you see the cathedral or dots? Or do you see the dots and the cathedral? There is a slight irrational experience of this painting.
Do you have one mind or many?
This question of a single thing or of many.
The unity of the conscious mind
Descartes 1912, founder of western philosophy.
Manual Kant, 1900 “the unity of this apperception I call the transcendental unity of self-consciousness, in order to indicate the possibility of a Priori cognition arising from It.”
Monolithic coherence. von der Malsburg, 1997.
The binding problem…
When I see a red chair, the experience of ‘red’ is happening in a different part of my brain, and the chair is happening at another at different times. There is no current explanation to interconnect this phenomena.
Blayne and Chalmers, 2003.
Barry Dainton, 2003.
Corpus callosum. Surgeons cut a connection in the brain that stops epileptic seizures but caused side effects: two distinct personalities living with them. Two minds happening in the same head, at the same time. It is still practiced in today’s modern society.
This is evidence to suggest that the brain can hold more than a single mind and will cope.
O’Brien and Opie, 1998. They are saying thoughts going on at multiple times, your shopping or sound you heard over there etc.
Zeki, 2001. Essentially saying glue holds everything together.
The rationality of the conscious mind:
Lack of consciousness can be defence in law. This question of rationality is so important, especially in medical and law.
Are we rational? You can save £10 on £50 bill if you drive to a petrol station on the other side of town. You can save £10 on the price of £5000 pic if you drive the same distance, law of expected utility. Kahneman and Tversky 1979. We don’t often act in the way we should; we often make choices that are bad for us.
World health organisation states 1.5 million people die in a year when they fly. 50 million people are injured in a car crash per year.
If you flick a coin, in a continuous loop, then you will consider tails is next.
Example of irrational perception.
Cognitive dissonance – when people hold conflicting beliefs they can’t reconcile, they’ll be forced to believe something even if they know it’s not true. Leon Festinger 1956
Rational emotive behaviour therapy (REBT). Aims to reconcile conflicting mental states.
Anatidaephobia – fear that a duck, somewhere, somehow, is watching you. (Irrational fear).
The nature of unity and rationality
Our concept of unit and rationality is flawed.
1. the state or quality of being one; oneness
2. The act, state, or quality of
Unity 1: possibly the universe right at the start of the Big Bang. Maybe at that moment there was just one thing. Everything in our life has more than one thing.
Unity 2: after the Big Bang, the Stars formed, the universe is one thing but contains trillions of things; planets, people etc. However the universe is one thing, it is everything.
Man Utd example.
United Nations examples
Unity really is a multiplicity.
Most definitions of consciousness is unity 2.
Ambiguity of unity example.
Individual disc, no unity in single disc because they are pair of four and each disc made of more than one layer.
Is it rational to even question the rationality of the conscious mind?
Metaphysics IV, 3. Aristotle
Scientists, philosophers etc take it as fact that we cannot be more than one thing at a time.
Sample of white circle.
Immediately this image challenges Aristotle’s law. To have a white circle, you can’t have a white circle to begin with.
Jainaism has seven states of consideration.
Monks and elephant example.
All of us receive / perceive a percentage of the world (the real world) but they are different.
Example of paradox:
1. all natural phenomena are rational.
2. Irrational thoughts are natural phenomena
The statement is false, but the statement is true so is therefore false. Do you see the problem?
Which point is higher from the ground example.
Our experience is full of these concepts. Our rationality is not as solid as we believe, and unity is a very ambiguous concept. If disunity and irrationality
The manifold and
Claude Monet, Rouen Cathedral: setting sun, 1892-94, oil on canvas, 10 x 65 cm
the painting is incredibly textural. Monet mixed all sorts into the paint to give it texture – something you do not see in mass production.
I see many things in one painting; sky, circle, mud, hair, sand, frame etc.
I see wholes and parts; you can think of the doorway, so there are wholes and parts. I see things that look the same, and I see differences. I see a painting and cathedral. Is it a painting or cathedral? It’s a projection of a photograph, of a cathedral.
Monet has made the painting so visible, he makes you aware of everything, the paint, the hairs, the smells, feel the paint and texture vividly. Paint is both not paint but is paint. It could also be architecture stone.
I see something separate and something from me but is part of me..
I see flatness and depth.
Contradiction and paradox in paintings
Is it possible to see both the plane surface and the horse at the same time?
Examples of involuntary visual perception