Some thoughts on Conceptionism

There is something which I call ‘Conceptionism’.  This a term that I use to refer to something that has always fascinated me:  how and why we, and all living creatures, conceive the world and reality.  What is it that makes us see reality and the world the way we do and create an ‘image’ or ‘conception’ of reality and the world?  In order to be in reality and the world, and to survive, we must have a conception of how the world works and what it consists of.  An ‘image’, of sorts, must be created within us that allows us to live in the world.  No living thing can live in the world “blind”, so to speak, and without any idea of the world in which it lives in.  In fact, I’ve often said that conception is one of the defining traits of a living creature or thing All living things show conception in one form or another.  Inanimate things, such as a rock, is just ‘there’ wherever it is, and does not require any conception of the world it is in to survive.

But a living creature needs a conception to survive.  Conception allows it to live in its world, to know it, to react to it, to defend itself in it, and to sustain itself in it.  As a result, conception is a reflection of the world it lives in, for which it was designed.  As a result, conception is a result of the design of the creature.  Therefore, conception is really a reflection of the ‘design’ of the living creature.  As a result, conception is ‘design specific’.  This condition of ‘design’ creates a number of conditions for the living creature:

  • A pre-established image of a ‘reality’.
  • The means to live in that pre-established ‘reality’.

These qualities make up the conception of the living thing.  Through conception, the shape, abilities, attributes, etc. of a living creature is created and, in so doing, a living thing living in a specific ‘reality’ is created.  Its conception must, therefore, reflect its design.


Conceptionism implies a certain set of conditions in its creation.  These are:

  1. The unknown reality-beyond-conception.  The full reality of existence is like a blackness to us and all living creatures.  It is controlled and moved by things no one can comprehend, nor will ever comprehend.  It is far more complicated (or simple perhaps?) than any one of us can possibly imagine.  As a result, all creatures live as if in a dark room, with a reality of existence that they cannot grasp.
  2. The ‘design’ of the living creature.  The ‘design’ sets the creature up for a specific reality and world.  In so doing, it allows the creature to be aware of, and know, of a small segment of existence, that in which it lives.  As a result, a fish is prepared to live in the sea, the bird to fly in the sky, and such.
  3. The ‘worldly flashlights’.    The ‘design’ of a creature gives it an ability to see in the blackness . . . ‘worldly flashlights’, so to speak.  These allow it to see in the darkness of existence.   These encompass things like senses, abilities, intuitions, and such.  But these ‘flashlights’ only see a small part of existence.  They consist of that part that is relevant to it as part of the design of the creature.  As a result, all creatures only see a partial image of existence . . . that part of existence the ‘worldly flashlights’ allow it to see.  No creature has the ability to see all of existence.
  4. ‘Conceptions’.   The ‘design’ of the living creature and ‘worldly flashlights’ create the conception of the creature.  It determines how it lives and what it does in the world.  It dictates the creatures ‘reality’ or ‘truth’.   Because of this, the ‘conceived world’ is the only world a creature knows or is aware of.  But, we must remember, the ‘conceived world’ is not the totality of existence.

These show certain facts:

  • That all creatures have a limited conception of the world.
  • The conception of the world is based on the ‘design’ and the ‘worldly flashlight’ of the creature.
  • We ‘live’ in the ‘conceived reality’ that nature has designed us for.  That is to say, we live in a world nature has already delineated and determined for us.  In effect, we do not “create” our world.

I should emphasize that I am not only viewing ‘conception’ from a human angle, but in all living creatures.  Each living creature lives in its own ‘conceived world’, which is a world only it conceives.  An ant lives in an ant ‘conceived world’, a bird lives in a bird ‘conceived world’, etc.  Because these creatures have the ‘design’ and ‘worldly flashlights’ to live and see in their specific world, it means that they live in the conception given to them, which is different than what other creatures conceive.  As a result, they see the world differently than other creatures creating a ‘creature-specific conception’. This makes it so that no two different type of creatures see the world the same.  This is because they are living, in effect, in two different realities.

I should point out that there is great power of the ‘design’ of the living creature and the ‘worldly flashlights’.  Through it life is lived.  Imagine if you had the ‘worldly flashlights’ of other creatures:  different senses, different instinctual tendencies, different abilities, different capabilities.  Your whole conception and image of the world would change.  You’d see things you didn’t know were there.  You’d have tendencies you never had.   A whole new reality would opened up to you.  In this way, conceptionism actually shows how little we know of the world.  But, since we cannot gain the ‘worldly flashlights’ of other creatures, it also show that we will NEVER know as well.


There are, really, three forms of conceptions:

  1. Conception-by-design:  non variable conception.  This refers to innate qualities within the living creature.  It includes things like physical attributes, abilities, instincts, etc.  It generally implies a pre-defined and already established conception of the world.  As a result, it does not require a ‘brain’ or a ‘mind’.  This would include things like plant and bacteria.  In these, the physical design is its ‘design’ and its ‘conception’.  Typically, if you take a living creature out of its conception-by-design condition then it will die.
  2. Conception-by-experience:  variable conception.  These refer to conception of the world that originate from experiencing the world.  It entails something like a learning.  This requires things like a ‘brain’ to achieve.  This would include things like insects and fish.  These creatures generally participate and react with their world as part of their ‘design’ and ‘conception’.  These creatures generally cannot adapt to other conditions that is dictated by their conception-by-experience condition.
  3. Conception-by-character:  individualistic conception.  This refers to creation of conception by the individual character of the living thing.  This requires a larger ‘brain’ and a ‘mind’ to perform.  As near as I can tell, all the creatures that have conception-by-character are mammals which include human beings.  These creatures are able to adapt to a wide variety of conditions and are, therefore, the most versatile of creatures.  This is because they are able too develop very individualistic traits and qualities and can alter or change their conception.

These three forms create like a pyramid with three levels.  On the bottom level is conception-by-design, as all creatures have this form of conception.  Built upon this are a smaller group of creatures that are conception-by-experience (which also have conception-by-design).  Built upon conception-by-experience is even a smaller group that are conception-by-character (which also has conception-by-experience and conception-by-design), making this the smallest group.  The groups higher up the pyramid have the conception traits of the one below it.

These three forms also create a spectrum of conceptions, from incredibly simple and unaltering (conception-by-design) to incredibly complex with great ability to change (conception-by-character).  In actuality, neither is better than the other, necessarily.  That is to say, complex is not necessarily better than simple as you’d normally think.  The “best” conception is actually based on the ‘design’ of the creature and where the creature is living.  If a creature remains in the world for which it was designed then it is ‘perfect’, so to speak, in that world and may exist there for millions of years.  Many creatures fit this scenario.  What this shows is that some creatures develop a ‘conception perfection’, of having a perfect conception of the world they live in.  Amazingly, the great bulk of the creatures in the world live this way.  What’s even more amazing is that they are mostly from the more simpler forms of conceptions.  In other words, the creatures that are conception-by-character (the most versatile) are the least prevalent of the creatures.  This, in a way, suggests that the simplist form of conception is actually the “best” simply because there are more creatures living that way.


An interesting point is that, though the world is massive and has a reality that we will never know, and principles we will never conceive of, it actually takes very little “knowing” to live in the world.  In other words, “knowing” the world does not determine if you will be able to live in the world or not.  Most of the living creatures of the world only “know” what the ‘worldly flashlights’ allow them to “know”.  Some creatures don’t really “know” at all (such as bacteria), but yet they survive.  In fact, some of the known oldest creatures of the world have no “knowing” at all.

This has always stunned me as I always felt that, for a creature to survive in the world, it needs to “know” a lot of the world.  The evidence that I see is that a creature does not need to know.  Unstead, a creatures has to be DESIGNED for the little part of the world it lives in.  A fish on land will drown.  An elephant jumping off a cliff, and trying to fly, will fall to its death.  This shows that what a creature is designed for is everything, not how much it “knows” about the world and how it works.

But we could also say that design is a ‘form of knowing’.   In many ways, it’s an “innate knowing”.  When we speak of “knowing” we generally speak of an“acquired knowing”, usually of an intellectual sort.  But, we must remember, that “acquired knowing” is really nothing but an application of design that already exists.  In other words, “acquired knowing” is a part of the design of a creature.   It allows certain creatures to better adapt to the reality of the world they live in.  That is to say, “acquired knowing” allows for variability and is, therefore, a trait of the conception-by-character form.


Nature gives us the living creature the ‘worldly flashlights’ to conceive the world and its reality.  It has “assigned” each creature with specific ‘flashlights’.  As a result, the how and why nature ascribes the ‘wordly flashlights’ to each living creature is a major element in conceptionism.  Modern biology would ascribe it to evolution and the evolutionary process.  Though the point of view sounds good, and seems to make sense, I have had reason to question it (as I’ve written in an article in this blog called, “Thoughts on my doubt about evolution”).  In many ways, its at this point that the question becomes:  how far am I going to consider my “conception of conceptionism” through scientific eyes?  This is like a cross roads.  If I am scientific then I could easily ascribe it to evolution.  But, being that I’m not, I don’t.  This would show that the conception of conceptionism a person uses varies ones view of conceptionism.  Its a good example of how varied our conceptions are.  One person will say this and another will say that . . . which is right?  Both usually are and aren’t.  Such is the example of how we can never get the ‘full picture’ which means we can never create a complete conception of things.  It reveals the fact that conceptions are for a specific creature in a specific situation.  They are not generalized in any way.  This goes down even to the conception of each individual human being and how they interpret the world.  It shows that the idea of conceptionism is a way of conceiving the world from ones own reality and not a statement of ‘ultimate fact’ (as science tends to try to do).  A person who would agree would be someone with similar conceptionistic perspectives.  A person that does not have similar conceptionistic perspectives would disagree.  In a way, it just shows an example that we live in ‘different realities’ more than anything else.  This same situation is found with almost all ideas, philosophies, and beliefs.  The many disagreements, disputes, conflicts, etc. between different perspectives only show that we are all living in different realities.  As a result, none can profess to be the ‘ultimate’ explanation, meaning that there is no ‘ultimate truth’ but only the truth accepted by the person, which is based on their ‘personal reality’.  This shows how design of a creature extends even to our views of the world and our conception of how the world works.  Wherever we turn we see this fact:  Any conception is rooted in a specific reality.  In addition, we find that a conception out of its reality doesn’t work anymore.  This is one of the basic truths of conceptionism.  The term “fish out of water” (conception out of its reality) could apply to a fish out of water down to a person of one culture living in another culture they can’t relate to.  Once we are in a condition, physically or mentally, that does not fit our conception then our conception tends to fail.


When a living thing goes out of its conceived world, or something from a different conception invades its reality, then we have the condition of ‘conception-out-of-reality’.  When this happens the living creature becomes out of its conceived world, hence, out of its design framework.  There are a couple of ways this happens:

  • Environmental.  This is when a creature is put in an environment it isn’t designed for, such as a fish being out of water.
  • Other creatures.  This is when one creature ‘imposes’ itself onto another creature.  A good example of this is when one creature tries to eat another creature.  In this way, a creature imposes its ‘carnivore’ nature upon, say, a ‘herbivore’ nature causing a conflict.  For humanity, it could entail something like imposing a belief upon a people.

Conception-out-of-reality can do a number of things to a creature:

  • It can kill it.
  • It can weaken it, make it ill, or hinder it.
  • It can cause a form of confusion or disorientation.
  • It can cause a battle between conceptions (such as carnivore versus herbivore).

But conceptions aren’t always in conflict. Because many creatures live in different realities their conceptions generally do not collide with each other.  In some respects, the different conceptions of creatures are like lanes in a road:  as long as everyone stays in their lane there are no collisions and everything runs smoothly.  In some respects, the myriad forms of conceptions, found in all the different creatures, make the world of the living work smoothly.  It gives each creature a ‘place’ to be and live, unhindered by other creatures.  As a result, it shows the fact that creatures having a specific ‘design’, which limits their abilities and world, actually helps them to survive with other creatures.  In other words, the limited conception of creatures limit conflict and are, therefore, beneficial for life.  This is ‘co-conception living’ as it allows many conceptions to live together, without conflict, next to one another.  If it were not for this then there would probably be more conflict.


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

This entry was posted in Existence, Awareness, Beingness, Consciousness, Conceptionism, and such, Philosophy, Psychology and psychoanalysis, Science and technology and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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