Thinking, Remembering Thinking, Thinking about a Memory of Thinking, and how that Messes with Time: Part 2 (The Permanence Review #8)

One of my assertions about thought is that there is no present moment when it comes to thinking, feeling, or experiences of awareness. My assertion that all internal events are remembered, and never experienced in a present moment, does not necessarily follow my assertions about the nature of remembered-thinking, which are summed up in this section. So why do I make this assertion? I make it because I believe the qualities of thought that must descend from the nature of remembered-thinking account for all qualities of thought ever reported by conscious minds. Thoughts are experienced in units, where one follows another in such a way that one can cause the other, or relate to the other, and where both, or some aspect of both, are iterations in a series of repeating internal experiences. These relationships depend on the unitization of thought, on perfect separation, and the experience of exact-sameness between at least some aspects of thoughts. Unitization and repetition are concepts that must be born from the only place where they could possibly exist in perfection, remembered-thinking, and it’s there that they must continue to live. 

Mental processing of course can happen in the present moment. Playing the piano, filling-in an address form, or speaking in a conversation that has a person thoroughly engaged in the conversational memoment, are all activities that involve information processing, but don’t necessarily involve a person being aware of that processing, of remembering their thinking. In this case the mind is fully in the present, but the mind is also without the experience of all important qualities provided by internal events. There’s no separation between aspects, or units, of experience, no notice of a feeling specifically, or how things look or sound, or an awareness of where the body is located, or what a particular body part is doing. There’s no unit of time, one following the other, either accounted for by one thought following another, or one mentally recognized aspect of the external experience following the other. Experience in the present moment is whole, without separation between experience, and without unitization of any aspect of time or space. 

I expect to be challenged on this point, and every assertion in this essay I have built off of the core assertions in section 3, like my principle of infinite-heterogeneity-in-time, because every assertion going forward is made not through observation or experimentation, but through subtraction. I believe the identification of unitization, repetition (or permanence), and thus causal and contextual relationships, are all explained fundamentally, both in terms of a conscious mind’s experience of them, and in terms of their very existence, by the nature of remembered-thinking. They are concepts born from the human experience of a human-made past, and therefore how could those relationships possibly translate perfectly into ones that exist in the present, or in the universe-external? I don’t believe they can, and so now the present, and the external, must be understood without those concepts. Light, sound, and the firmness of matter are all of the same event, the event that is the present state of the universe; and time does not move in units that allow for the existence of cause-and-effect, only from state-to-state towards infinite-heterogeneity (a state being a unit that accounts for all of the universe at once, and thus all of human-perceived time at once); and all thinking that allows conscious minds to perceive separation and unitization must exist in the human-made-past, not in the present, human or otherwise. 

I believe in Karl-Popper-styled-bravery for a hypothesis: not only should an assertion be falsifiable, it should be vulnerable to attack, to many, many types of ongoing attacks, and I feel that this hypothesis very much embodies that type of bravery. The Einstein quote that heads section 3 illustrates exactly the kind of material that lends itself to an investigation of my assertions. In this letter, written by a teenage Einstein, he recounts a memory on the page. In the first of two quoted sentences, I believe his mind fully exists in the present moment, relaying information as it first settled into neurological memory, where separation, say by which sense took in the stimulus, is fuzzy, and categorical only by interpretation. By this I mean sight and sound stimulation, as it first settles in the brain’s neurology, is only as separated as the stuff of sight (light, plus all that shapes the light before it hits the retina) is from the stuff of sound (sound waves, plus all that shapes those waves before they hit the ears). The air surrounding the head, for example, has some effect on both the shape of sound waves and light, blurring the line of separation, and so it is with the neurons that imprint an audio-visual memory, where some may have a distinct representation of one sense, but others not. Even those neurological imprints that represent a distinct sense, are simply representations of that organ’s interaction with the universe, a universe which has no distinct phenomenon called sound until a conscious mind comes along and draws a circle around specific shapes in air molecules born from a perceived unit of time in the past. I believe investigations into memories unfiltered by remembered-remembering, like those relayed by Einstein in the first sentence of the quote, could illuminate the lack of separation, or unitization, in the external universe, and give a more practical picture of a universe that is fundamentally fields and events, not stuff.

In the second sentence, Einstein reports on an experience that must be described as remembering-thoughts-remembered-about-remembering-remembering, or some immense layering of complexity in remembered-thinking. There are reports of the memories, which he remembers-remembering, and reports of feelings, that he remembers feeling in association with the remembered-remembering. But most importantly, there is in the sentence an explicit analysis about the connection between different units of remembered-remembering, guided by remembered-feeling. 

I’m presently diving deeper into Hume’s Treatise through my work in revising the first two books, and at the same time considering how my essay compliments and builds on his perspective of the internal. Hume still speaks of thinking, or, in his terms, impressions and ideas, as events that are sometimes active in the present moment. This fact is most notable in the way he talks about the effect of the mind transitioning between ideas and impressions, which, for example, results in pride, when the mind transitions from an impression of something representing an accomplishment, like a trophy, to the idea of the self. He accounts for the transition with his three fundamental relationships between impressions and ideas: contiguity, resemblance, and causation. But this account describes the transition as happening the same way the hand transitions from rest to grabbing a glass, or the way legs transition space when in flight, meaning his three relationships guide the mind through a present-moment act.

When this process is seen as existing entirely as remembered thinking, another important step is added: an analysis of the relationship between the impression of the trophy and the idea of the self, an analysis which is saved to memory as a memorable unit, and then recalled through an act of remembered-thinking, a memory which then triggers the feeling of pride. Under the accepted idea that thinking can exist in the present moment, a transition between impression and idea is seen as an experience which generates a feeling, and requires no further explanation, but under my assertion that all thinking occurs in the past, the analysis step must also be accounted for, to a degree that it can become a memory, recallable by a conscious mind, even if this all becomes automatic after the initial runs.

Accounting for this step is why a sentence like the second one in this Einstein quote is so important. Einstein’s young and powerful mind overflows with its own activity, and illuminates the details of mental processing. In this second sentence that analytical step is shown quite clearly, and shown to have a greater level of detail than is accounted for with Hume’s description of a mind transitioning back and fourth between impressions and ideas. 


On June 30th I published Pressure of Light Books’ statement regarding facts, which for this small press takes the place of a mission statement. Following the statement is a video series of James Topp’s epic end to his cross-canada journey, at the tomb of the unknown soldier. I’ll have more to add to the statement, possibly even edits, but I wanted to put it out there at the same time as this heroic event that preceded this year’s Canada Day.

One more update, I created a new logo for Pressure of Light Books, as you can see up top.

Now, without further ado…

“Dear mommy! 

“Your lovely present gives me a welcome excuse to write to you again, the holiday’s silence, the cozy quietude, to have a good chat with you, as if we were sitting together in the red room while the potatoes are getting brown with jealousy and the dear sun and some other dear thing peep into the room. When I think of that room, my head starts ringing in a delightfully mad way, and a thousand memories, some old, some young, some gay and others sad, embrace each other in a child-like fashion, as if they belonged together.”

– Letter from Albert Einstein, 1897, to his surrogate mother and recent board-and-study-hostess, Pauline Winteler, in which he first writes, emphatically, about his time at the Winteler household (“…to have a good chat with you, as if we were sitting together in the red room”) and speaks so enthusiastically and without verbal check (“…the dear sun and some other dear thing”) that it can be deduced that he is speaking direct from memory, recalling information about the external universe without forming a memory of that remembering-in-action, and in which he goes on, in stark contrast to the first sentence, to write about memories of remembering the room, and memories of feelings (“…my head starts ringing in a delightfully mad way”) that he associates with those memories-of-remembering, and in which he then goes on to write about the relationship between a certain set of memories-of-remembering (“…some old, some young, some gay and others sad”) that he remembers deducing from his analysis of the internal experiences: “…embrace each other in a child-like fashion, as if they belonged together”.

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