Warning: The following is a loooooooooong stretch applied to an initially dubious analogy. At the moment the stretch looks reasonable to me, and seems to yield some interesting questions. No answers yet. (Your stretchiness may vary.)
Starting question: Where do you draw the line on awareness and consciousness? There's absolutely no reason to assume that humans are alone, but how far does the boundary extend? All animals? Plants? Bacteria? Rocks?
Intuitively or childishly, it seems that there's something special about birds and mammals. Possibly all vertebrates, maybe a few top-grade invertebrates like cephalopods. Beyond those bounds it feels
Well then, what distinguishes those inner-circle animals from the others? If awareness is the essential quality, what's the measurable manifestation? Getting engineerish as usual: If awareness is the pressure, what's the flow? If awareness is the static field, what's the current?
I'd pick ATTENTION or FOCUS. We 'smarties' (birds, mammals, cuttlefish) are capable of PAYING attention to an INTERESTING object, and we are equally capable of RECEIVING attention. There's the flow.
I know when a cat or crow has his eye on me, and the cat or crow knows when I have my eye on him.
Those verbs are trying to tell us something. Paying and receiving attention. Making and consuming attention.
Consuming? Yes. Humans and social mammals unquestionably consume attention, and it can be more nutritious and necessary than food.
Attention behaves like flowing charge. We can be positively or negatively attent-ionized. We can have an excess or deficiency of attent-ions, or we can be neutral after a discharge.
Comfortable nestmates are constantly bathed in a mutual field of attent-ions, like the plates of a capacitor or the primary and secondary of a transformer.
We can certainly tell when our attent-ions are being consumed by the receiver, but how? An electric source can tell when its electrons are being used, by comparing absorbed and reflected power. Can we sense absorption when we send out an attentive charge?
Artistic sidenote: Those bubbly attent-ions exuding from the mutual charge sphere around Happystar and Danbo are serendipitous, not intentional. They're just GIF artifacts, somehow arising from the random points of the grass. The grass itself is not changing from frame to frame in the original renders.
Labels: Danbo, Grand Blueprint