Information Integration, Information Horizons, and the Structure of Perspective (2001)

It’s no coincidence that we’re largely conscious of only those things we can linguistically communicate. Communicability is a property shared by all conscious phenomena. This is assumed by any researcher who relies on verbal reports to discriminate the boundaries between conscious and unconscious processes.

The need to code neural information for verbal transmission requires, minimally, some coding mechanism or sets of mechanisms with access to that neural information. The idea here is that the evolution of our linguistic abilities drastically increased the information integration value of our thalamocortical system, which is to say, our degree of consciousness.

What constraints on self and environmental tracking might we expect a biological ‘high integration’ information system (IS) to suffer?

1) autoetiological blindness: its causal precursors will not be tracked.

2) autotemporal blindness: its global temporal position will not be tracked.

3) access deficits: its auto-tracking will be restricted to fragmentary information.

4) resolution deficits: its auto-tracking will suffer drastic information loss.

5) environmental bias: it will track only what facilitates environmental interventions.

6) communicative bias: it will track only what provides communicative benefit.

The integration value defines an ‘information access horizon’: only what is taken up by the TCS can be processed by it. This information horizon can be interpreted into various experiential phenomena. It’s almost as though experience is painted across it. Foremost among them will be the ‘perpetual ground zero effect’: sense in which auto-tracking can never quite ‘grab it’s own tail.’ Its origins will necessarily fall on the wrong side of it’s information horizon. This will lead to drastic differences between its self and environmental tracking – will give it the structure of a perspective.