“Despite their many differences, it is possible to identify a general picture of “the self” and “the person” emerging from contemporary developments in the brain sciences. In this picture, consciousness, with its image of the person a sunified, purposive, intentional, and self-aware, is by no means the master in its own house. Consciousness is an effect, a metarepresentation, which creates an illusory, but probably evolutionarily advantageous, sense of coherence and self-direction.” (Rose, Abi-Rached pp. 219)
“A Mutation in Ethics and Self-Technologies?” What are the moral implications of a self no longer seen as fully autonomous, but instead arising out of a multitude of neural processes that are largely unconscious? When is the self at fault, or accountable for its actions? Where do we draw the line? I think that we can use the modern neurodynamic model of the self in tandem with atavistic philosophical and spiritual traditions that have been addressing these questions for thousands of years. I believe there can be a synergy between the scientific models of the times and the wisdom of ancient spiritual traditions. We may now know what we have always intuitively known about the human experience. I seek to bring awareness within my egocentric self and the the sociocentric self of relationships. I believe that in order to bring about a greater balance and synergy between humans and their environment we must learn to use the tools and technology of our times to re-invenent and re-qualify the human image. With greater awareness and greater intention we can overcome unsustainable modes of living. The mission statement for the philosophy, cosmology, and consciousness program at California Institute of Integral Studies reads in part “This multifaceted crisis requires a fundamental reorientation of our civilization, one in which a compassionate humanity becomes a mutually enhancing presence within Earth’s complex systems of life.” I think that the current neuro-imaging technologies can provide a way of mapping our own complex evolutions both as individuals and societies. It may be romantic, but I believe we can use these tools to evolve our species in a way that is more efficient, much like a “self-aware” computer program that can make changes to its own coding.