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machine perceives itself to be, as the result of (1) an
ability to observe its own high-level workings, and (2) an
inability to observe its own low-level workings.




The Tale of Big Head Bill
This concise definition accounts for consciousness from the
third-person view. That is, it provides purely physical reasons
why humans claim to have inner experiences involving
Elements-of-reality. But now our task is to examine this
explanation from the first-person perspective. This places us
face-to-face with the most difficult aspect of the mind,
explaining the personal and private view we have of ourselves.
In the end, each of us will look at the arguments presented and
ask the questions: Does this explain what I feel, what I perceive,
what I experience? Does this unify my objective knowledge of
science with my subjective knowledge from introspection? And
the most basic question: Is this really what I am?
This leaves us with a difficult task, trying to touch one™s
innermost thoughts and feelings using a grossly inadequate tool,
language. How can we explain the feeling of pain, or what it is
like to see blue, or what it means to freely make a decision?
The Inner Light Theory of Consciousness
156

The arguments of science, rational as they may be, seem
ineffective at doing this. They simply do not connect with our
inner world in a way that makes us proclaim, Yes, this describes
what I am. But if this can™t be done through the power of
rational arguments, how can it be done at all?
Fortunately, this is not as hopeless as it may sound; artists
and poets make their living by invoking and controlling our
introspective experiences. And this is the same course we must
take to understand the mind from the first-person view. We
must use words to invoke and control our introspective imagery,
allowing us to experience the concepts, rather than just knowing
them by formal logic and rational thought. Such is the strategy
of the next chapter, The Tale of Big Head Bill.
This is the story of a man being transformed from a normal
human into a fully-aware being. In essence, this is a journey
across the gap separating the first and third-person views of the
mind. Our title character starts with the same introspective
experiences as you and I, such indescribable things as free-will,
mental unity, semantic thought and so on. But then an alien
drug changes his brain structure, allowing him to perceive the
mental processes that are blocked in normal humans. Step by
step he comes to know the true nature of his introspective
world, a hierarchy where thoughts, feelings, and judgements are
built upon basic computational processes. As he reaches full-
awareness, he perceives and understands his mind in the same
way as one observing him from the outside. He has crossed the
gap, unifying the first and third person views of the mind. Now
let™s hear about the journey in his own words.

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