Progress on several sidelines (Q2 2024)

I mentioned before that was going to do the scary part: to spell out my explanation of consciousness, which needs to be part of the 7th Sermon, in prose first, in order to see whether it actually makes sense, by making it explicit and exposing it to the critical attention of others. I’ve been incubating this idea since one particular moment of insight hit me back in (I think) 2011 as I was walking home from my job at the time as a research associate in an EEG lab, through a sunlit summer park. From the moment the Sermons were conceived as a concept, in early summer 2012, I knew this had to be part of the 7th Sermon. But for 12 years it was just a bunch of ideas in my head that I thought and meditated about.

I had a very strong feeling it was right, which was in tension with my understanding that it rationally didn’t deserve that, because it amounts to a claim to have solved the hard problem of consciousness, unsolved for decades despite concerted efforts of very many very smart people. This quarter, I wrote it all out, and failed to find such a flaw myself. And several friends far more educated in philosophy than I am, who I solicited feedback from, didn’t find it either.

The place where that prose version of the theory will be published is currently uncertain. I hope I can get it into one particular place where it will get particularly many clever readers, and therefore more and better criticism of problems that my friends and I missed, but currently there is nothing to announce.

I have also completed the translation of the 4th Sermon into German with the kind help of several proofreaders, and the audio recording of it, in time for my grandmother’s birthday on July 2nd. I’ll publish it afterwards.

During this translation work, I discovered four very small improvements to the formulation of four individual lines of the English original, and have updated the text accordingly. So now the audio file is technically outdated, but I’m not redoing it just yet, because the changes are so minor they’re hard to even notice, and because I’ll eventually have to re-record all the audio files anyway. Maybe that’ll be a side effect of the much bigger project of a video with all seven Sermons, after they’re done, meaning hopefully next year.

I also did the long overdue audio recording of the 6th Sermon. In the process, I again discovered a few small bits to improve, and updated the text accordingly.

And the third song is published, with my friend Idris, on YouTube. It is again in two versions, English and German.

But on the most important part, the writing of the 7th Sermon, progess has been very minor. I tell myself that it is good I got these various sidelines sorted out, so my limited time and energy budget for writing and art can now be fully focused on that again.