We are caused to do many things in life. We are getting sick and the cause is a virus. ‘Vira’ are a rather peripheral kind of phenom; at the border of life and non-life, at the border of our awareness, but certainly within the range of our sensitivity, if only just recently recognized. Their Design is parasitic. They cannot reproduce on their own; that is quite a limit! They need us. And we do tend to ‘see’ them as the least little Persons, ‘a Bug’.
But we are not caused to breath. Breathing is an Information, in the first case. I know this is an unusual contention, but a necessary bromide. This is to ‘look at’ breathing from ‘the inside’. It is human “Know-How”. In our Design, we are Formed to ‘reach out’ into the more Objective Environment and make some of it our own; it becomes Meaningful to Us. Not all of it, just some of it. It means little to us, the position of Jupiter in its orbit, or the exact height of Mt. Everest. But breathing in and out, and air, is at the core of our experience. Much else, fades toward total insignificance, for us, from the point of view of our Design.
And that first representation was a very simple thing; probably as simple as some single- celled creature moving away from a substance toxic to it. That substance was now Represented To That Creature as an Action/Behavior of retreating from it. With a little good-old Evolutionary Time and the growing internal complexity of that organism, that representation of “retreat” became also A Feeling of Pain, for that creature! “Ouch!” came into Existence. Never before did it exist; but the same could be said for “Red” and “Yum!” and “Aaahhh, that’s nice!”. This creature was now ‘seeing’ the world from the ‘inside’; a subjective, “to me” dimension was added To Things. We say, now, that New ‘Thing’ was, and is, “an experience” of the world.
But, of course, “Experience” is a very different kind of ‘Thing’. It is not like “a rock” or “a bolder” is a thing, and if that bolder rolls down a hill and smashes into you it Causes much damage. We can say, in that case, the bolder overwhelmed your design. As much as you are Designed to Preserve Yourself, you got had, that time. Yes, “an experience” is a whole different Logical Category of ‘thing’. Imagine the experience of getting smashed by that bolder: “ouch” would be our representation of it. “Ouch”, in deed. We call such events “accidents” and want to know their cause, but we do not consider it an accident when an Amoeba pulls away form a toxic substance. That is by Design and it is Good Utilization of Information!
Our ordinary language is very subtle in these contexts. It would help to clear it up, theses ways we have of Representing our lives and our world. Our lives would be clearer and easier to navigate. There is a very meaningful difference between being Informed to do something and being Caused to do something. In the former, we have a degree of Freedom and maybe even a basis for Dignity; in the latter, “s#!t happened”.
Of course these days, we have some Very Sophisticated ways of representing ‘the’ world and our lives; ways far beyond “ouch”. An incredible amount of Design Improvement had to occur Between us and Our World to get here, and it was Not caused, because (or rather, “Not Be-Caused”) these are representations. They are Informations between us and the world. We have Quantum Mechanics and Christianity and Ecology and Medicine and The Art of Marty and The Music of The Beatles, to name just a few. All are initiations: New Things in this world. All are based in Our Design, and the Designs Mother Nature displays in “OUR” World all around us.
In science, Evolutionary Theory (a really good representation!) has succeeded in conceptualizing this origination and development of Design in the world. It displays Nature as an Information, an unfolding of designs based on each other, with their Justifications, Reasons, and increasing Abilities. Good Evolutionary thinking shakes off the simplistic philosophical interpretations of Science that is common today. This is the basis of Dan Dennett’s book, “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea”, ‘dangerous’ because it is so revolutionary to our way of thinking. Biology becomes the portal to our best understanding of The Universe.
So, yes, this is the way “the” world becomes “our” world, but Do Not Get Too Hung Up on all this sophisticated stuff; remember, Representation starts, and always stays based, in the very simple stuff, like “ah” and “ouch” and “yum”. Representation is based in these intimacies. Staying ‘in touch’ with these and giving them their added “Under-Standing” (as provided here at “Nature Religion***) will allow you to “See ‘the’ World from the ‘Inside’!
SEEKING OUR INFORMATION in the Universe: The Nature Religion Connection! It’s a Well-Rounded Way To BE!
***Don’t let me kid you, I am just a ‘lost lamb’ in the process of being saved ‘by the Shepard’ here on Easter Weekend. The ‘shepards’ in this case are a long line of philosophers culminating in Dan Dennett, and added to the list for me today is Nicholas Humphrey, an English psychologist and philosopher who provided insight into the primal role of “ouch” and “yum” in the process of Representation, from his book “An Evolutionary History of Mind.” Yes, ‘seeing the world from the inside’ is a code phrase for Mind. “Mind” exists, for real! But it is not a thing like a bolder is a thing; It is a way ‘things’ can be Experienced Together, From Our Point of View.