I want to study conscious experience and all of its dynamics. Why?
One of the ultimate goals of this project is to get human beings to be more in touch with one another on a global scale. It could be argued that this can never be done, but I am assuming that it can. This idea stems from a few schools of thought — namely existentialism, Buddhism, gestalt psychology (which is itself a combination of the latter two), phenomenology, and humanism. I am an optimist, obviously, or else I probably would not be working on this goal. I want people to be present with one another in a way which allows them to empathize and resonate with one another. More importantly, I want people to let go and feel like they can be free with one another, and open, and accepted as such. I think that this is extremely important. From my experience, most people in the world never really feel a sense of genuine belonging except on a tangential scale. Further, most people do not ever get a chance to be their actual self with others because they are too afraid and because society does not encourage this sort of vulnerability at all — it’s a completely different context. More importantly, individuals feel the need to protect this part of themselves from others and anyone who tries to bring it out is perceived as a threat. Does it need to be this way? It does not have to be a threat. We need to be here now with one another. We need to meet one another wherever we are.
My other goal is to gain insight into what it means to be human and to have an experience. I know that this can be thrown out easily as an impossible investigation, but I refuse. It’s ready-at-hand to me, here, (extraordinarily so, actually) and I honestly cannot imagine anything more quintessential to investigate. (Environmental concerns come close because they are so pressing, but I think that regardless…we still need to know what all of ‘this’ is.) I experience the world in a very different way from most people. I am in constant awe by it, always curious and exploring. I take almost nothing for granted. It is as though I found myself in this place and I am constantly feeling around the space of it all. So, I have no idea what “truth” is. All I know is that there is a way in which I am in relation to the world, and there is a space here to explore and I think it’s essential if we are to understand anything beyond it because everything stems from it. I do not believe at all in radical subjectivity, so that is not what I am after. I think that the current paradigms employed in the sciences are insufficient at giving a complete picture of human experience, and probably that any paradigm we invent will be insufficient. However, I want to provide an alternative paradigm that will hopefully clear out the fog of another window into what this all really is. And lastly, I want a rediscovery of the obvious — hey, we’re human. Oh yeah! There’s something here, and it’s massive. There is SO MUCH space to explore. I have the framework for this investigation, but I am still working on the methods. I at least want to provide the scientific community (namely, the cognitive sciences, psychology, and neuroscience) with a framework that gets straight to the core with this “experience” mystery (which really isn’t all that mysterious) and makes this exploration approachable by science. I think that I can do that before I die.