Bernardo Kastrup, Mainstreaming Controversial Philosophy of Mind Theories |378|

#21
This why the hierarchy idea is so useful. I like the Qabalistic model. Its not ideal but it is far more serviceable than other ideas in my view.
Do you mean increasing levels of distance/separation emanating from a undifferentiated unitive source (God)? If so, I think it could fit with Bernardo's idealism and disassociation model of individuality.... probably intelligent monotheism, too.
 
#22
Do you mean increasing levels of distance/separation emanating from a undifferentiated unitive source (God)? If so, I think it could fit with Bernardo's idealism and disassociation model of individuality.... probably intelligent monotheism, too.
Its more like stepping down/up intensities. If we assume a one source that expresses finally in an infinite variety we know that on the material plane it does so through an ordered expression that gives us the coherent reality we know. I can't see this in terms of distance or separation, though I know what you mean.

As a public servant I am inclined to use government as a model. To express government, from parliament we have an array of ministries, which then express departments. In my department I am an official who is a delegate of the minister. I can perform certain acts on his behalf. But I am not he. Now in a material sense there is distance and separation between me and the minister - in a physical sense and and organisational one. But not in an operational one.

In my present role I draft responses to letters for my Minister to sign. So when I write I try to do so with his voice. In the spirit of performing this acts of governance there is a closeness and an immediacy.

I do not think the 'God' is an undifferentiated state of being - rather a differentiated but whole. How can you have an evolution of consciousness in a condition that has neither beginning nor end and no time? Far better minds than you or I have pondered the same matters and thought, fuck that! Its all that - it just is.

Hierarchy is differentiation in order - nothing can happen unless conditions prevail. I take my car to a mechanic and not a baker or a chiropractor. I have to put my socks on before my shoes and my underpants on before my trousers (unless you are English with memories of John Major). That differentiation is also related to intensity and competence.

I like Bernardo and the way he thinks but he doesn't have a mystical/metaphysical/magical background so some of his ideas are a little bit clunky to me. That's just a personal bias. I find it hard to pull my head out of what I think at time to wrap it around some of his ideas.To be frank, if I don't think it is useful I get distracted. I kinda get a "disassociation model of individuality" but I see that more as a pathological state than my preferred notion of focused awareness. There are times when hyper focus can cause sensations of disassociation, but its illusory and become pathological if you start to believe otherwise.
 
#23
Hurmanetar really had it right up above. Atoms, sub atomic particles, waves, fields, photons etc are constantly interacting. The questions you’re really asking are,’What is chemistry?’,’What is physics?’. And there is the mystery. No answer I can give you will leave you fulfilled or satisfied so I’m not going to try. If you are more satisfied with, ‘Don’t worry about that, it’s ALL consciousness’ then good for you, but I don’t necessarily see it as ‘thinking deeper’, and doesn’t really explain anything more clearly.
I'm unclear. Do you know what physics and chemistry are and just don't want to waste your time telling us? Or don't you know? I suspect that what you know of physics and chemistry is based on "physical" models, and those models do work to some extent, no one is denying that. Materialism as a model of reality has a degree of explanatory power, and has enabled us to invent all sorts of useful things. As an Idealist, I can accept that with equanimity, but I never forget that it's just a model.

The problem is, that the model breaks down in important areas. Relativity and quantum mechanics are incompatible, and the model doesn't explain consciousness. There are also many areas of science where nobody really understands what is going on and so appeals are made to "consensus", as if merely having a majority of scientists agree about something makes any difference to what's actually going on.

If we set aside the mountains of evidence for common descent, including the genetic record
There is mountains of evidence for something, but whether it's common descent is another matter. The ID people might counter that it's evidence not for common descent, but common design: no point inventing something completely de novo when one can more economically borrow an already existing idea and modify it. We see this all the time in human designs: it's plain that a modern Ferrari shares certain basics with a Model T Ford, for example -- not least of which is an internal combustion engine, driveshaft, wheels, and so forth. But every step of the way between the model T and a Ferrari didn't evolve by accident, did it? It evolved through conscious design, along with gradual, conscious selection of designs that proved most popular or useful.

I don't know for sure whether ID has all the correct answers, but I do think it's more plausible to think that there's an intelligence of sorts in nature than that all living organisms evolved through random mutations guided by unconscious natural selection. Natural selection probably does work to some extent, at least at the micro level -- but at the macro level? That's a different ballgame.

IIRC, Bernardo thinks that natural selection works not on random mutations, but on non-random ones. And, like it or not, that would explain rapid evolutionary events such as, to name but a few, the Cambrian, mammalian, avian, and angiosperm "explosions". In the absence of any intentionality in nature, materialists are reduced to having to construct just-so stories to explain evolution. These stories are so obviously ad-hoc that it continually amazes me how they can tell them and keep a straight face. Evolution happens, that's for sure, but how -- well, that's another story. Darwinism sure as heck is a major fail.

Most of what we talk about on here as ‘consciousness’, the inner monologue, the ego, appears to be a feature of the frontal cortex, when ‘bolted on’ to the more primitive brain regions.
Probably unconsciously, you used a significant word there: "appears". We're back to the old correlation vs. causation argument. Sure, brain activity correlates with consciousness, but does it cause consciousness? Or, does consciousness cause brain activity? What is a brain, any way? Is it a concrete thing, or just something that appears that way because our perceptions work the way they do?

In Idealism, we live in a world of appearances, and they are so convincing that it's very hard to grasp that's all they might be. In materialism, we live in a world of causation, where one thing hierarchically leads to another. We have the whole schema mapped out: at the bottom of the hierarchy, we have elementary particles that exist for no reason, and were created in the Big Bang. Somehow, through completely blind process, they interacted in ways that eventually produced us.

As I already said, it's a schema that to some extent provides a useful model of reality, but at certain key points, it breaks down, and at these points, materialists have to roll out just-so stories (in biology and cosmology especially) that aren't convincing. The bigger headbangers amongst them seriously propose that consciousness doesn't actually exist just so that they don't have to deal with a phenomenon that is with them, and everyone else, 24/7. It couldn't get any more just-so.

I think it's significant that Idealists can to some extent live with materialism as a model of reality, but materialists can't live with Idealism at all. There can be no room anywhere in their scheme of things for a role for consciousness; at best, it's an emergent phenomenon which is largely incidental and irrelevant: this despite the fact that their schema relies on their conscious consideration of nature. Not a single understanding comes to them except through consciousness. Without the thing that some of them don't think exists, there could be no understanding, however imperfect. We'd all be mindless robots and nothing we ever did would make a hoot of difference. We certainly wouldn't be heatedly discussing the matter on forums like this.
 
#24
No. If personal consciousness is reintegrated into the universal consciousness (or if it merges with the oversoul/higher self etc.), it will cease to exist.

Personal consciousness can survive death only if it continues to exist as a distinct personality.
I have the feeling that words may be failing us here. I mean, people who have experienced this reintegration as part of their NDE's don't seem to agree with you.

If people communicate telepathically out there, and can see each other's thoughts (something that is often claimed), then maybe that could be thought of as a form of reintegration?

I am somewhat undecided, but the evidence for reincarnation seems fairly solid, so one way or another it would seem we survive death.

David
 
#25
Alex asked: What do you make of the prospects for engineering extended consciousness?

I take "engineering" to mean how could we arrange circumstances so as to make "extended consciousness" more likely, and by that term I assume you mean transcendent consciousness of some sort?

If so, one obvious answer might be the use of psychedelics, though whether that's precise enough to merit the term "engineering", I don't know. Bernardo's idea of finding ways to systematically lessen activity in different areas of the brain (since higher degrees of transcendence correlate with lower brain activity) seems promising. We might be able to pinpoint some specific area correlated with extended consciousness, which wouldn't mean it was responsible for that, so much as responsible for suppressing that under "normal" circumstances.

I've used materialistic jargon to explain that: using more Idealistic terminology, we'd be suppressing one appearance (of "normal" brain activity) in favour of another (of brain activity associated with extended consciousness). We wouldn't be causing (under the conventional interpretation of the word) extended consciousness, so much as using a kind of magic (a la Dean Radin) to change an appearance from one thing into another.

In fact, using that kind of logic, one coud argue that everything would be magical, including "normal" brain activity: this would be the appearance of suppressed processes occurring in the consciousness of MAL -- what Bernardo thinks of as our normal, dissociated state of consciousness.

OTOH, extended consciousness would be the appearance of the corresponding, unsuppressed process. Surprisingly, this correlates with lowered brain activity and higher subjective (first person) personal experience. In fact, "normal" experience, for the most part, occurs from the second-person perspective.

In other words, most of the time, we identify ourselves as observers separated from the world, perceiving external, concrete objects. But under certain conditions, we may switch over to a first-person view where there is less perceived separation. I should say that (so I believe) Bernardo opines that MAL doesn't have a second-person view; it simply is, and everything we apparently see of it is usually from our own second-person view: we label apparent elements of it galaxies, stars, planets, atoms and molecules, and so on. But when we experience it from the first-person view, like is communing with like and our experience is much richer and more unified. Also much more difficult to describe, because language is associated with the second-person perspective.

If everything is consciousness, then everything (and, if you reflect on it, nothing) would be magical. There'd be no hard problem, because there'd be no need to explain how the "physical" and the "mental" could interact. Both would, as Bernardo says, be mental, so there'd be no boundary to traverse between the two. There'd be no such thing as the physical, only the appearance of the physical. "Magical" would really mean "mental", and refer only to processes that aren't commonly perceived

Language gets in the way. It's based around inherent notions of concretude: matter, time, and space. There's no way to say exactly what one means without using such notions. The most glaring example is a word like "thing", which we often have a hard time avoiding in inappropriate circumstances, such as my use of it in the sentence "If everything is consciousness" in the previous paragraph. Maybe "all events" would be marginally better, but even that is a kind of reification. Few people can manipulate language so as to avoid reification as well as Bernardo can, and I struggle to do so even though English is my native tongue. Without doubt, the man's a genius.
 
#26
Well don't forget that I was a chemist. Chemistry is ultimately the consequence of quantum waves (those wave functions) interfering with each other - rather like ripples on the surface of a lake going round a vertical post. Stable stuff like atoms or molecules are analogous to a standing wave in an organ pipe. The wave in an organ pipe will vibrate at one of a small number of frequencies - not just any old frequency. Atoms and molecules correspond to a standing wave pattern - that is why atoms and molecules have well defined properties - rather than every atom having unique properties. People used to compare an atom with a solar system, but of course the crucial difference is that every solar system will presumably turn out unique in detail.

There is some detailed maths - the non-relativistic Schroedinger's equation for N particles - to back this up, but the problem is that it is only possible to solve this properly for a few special systems like the hydrogen atom (a hydrogen molecule (H2) is already too big! After that a variety of approximations are used, but these get less and less exact as you get to even slightly larger systems. This is why chemistry is still an experimental science - in principle you could just solve Schroedinger's equation, but this just isn't practical! Even a tenfold increase in computer power (say) would only improve things marginally, because every little addition to a molecule produces a vast increase in complexity.

Consciousness may enter that scheme when an atom or molecule is about to change from one configuration to another - usually by emitting a photon - but that is often disputed - but otherwise all that goes on is just like the churning of a vast machine. Think of physical machines - you probably would consider it to be superstitious nonsense to claim that an old fashioned clock was conscious. If Babbage had ever finished his famous clockwork computer, I'll bet you would also be certain that that wasn't conscious - and indeed I doubt that you think the computer you are sitting at to read this, is conscious. All these great scientists are saying is, "We don't know how consciousness works, but maybe given a sufficiently humongous machine, something might turn up!"[


It is disappointing that you began this section with a erudite summation of the wonder and complexity of the natural world, hinted at the mystery and magic therein and then, to make a point, dumbed it down beyond recognition. And why are you making this point? To deny the very existence of the particles you so eloquently described? To reduce them to an illusion of (y)our imagination?


It is indeed staggering how much is known by now, but it is also staggering just how little this knowledge impinges on the question of how consciousness is created. This has practical consequences - people with depression often get very little help from medicine - none of that knowledge seems to get at what matters.
Anecdotal, but in the course of my work I meet dozens of folk every week that are helped by their antidepressives. Drugs can now improve brain function and performance. e.g. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-safe-drug-to-boost-brainpower/

So do you think research into brain function should continue or be halted?


Consider this. If someone came up with a complicated electrochemical gadget, and claimed it was conscious (but unable to communicate), there would be no definitive way to test this. It would be no use performing a scan or EEG, because these rely on neural correlates - i.e. you can test a brain to see if it looks like another person's brain in a conscious state - given an electrochemical gadget (or maybe an alien) such a test would be meaningless.
I have a low opinion of ‘consciousness machines’ as you describe. Mature consciousness takes time to develop from the moment we’re born and relies on those feedback interactions with others and our environment. Beyond the development of our senses, the very person we are (our conscious selves, faults, hangups and all) is shaped hugely by those first 1000 days. No machine can replicate that.

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017...o-their-development-and-our-economic-success/
 
#28
Hopefully Bernardo joins the discussion here... In the interview, to demonstrate the fundamental nature of experience, he invoked the ‘redness of red’. Under his model everyone should experience that feature of consciousness in the same way. We’re all whirlpools in the same river of consciousness; there is nothing but that. However we know through various colour vision testing techniques that this is not the case. There is a huge variation in colour perception, and some folk fail to experience colour at all. I’m sure some vocabularic somersaults will resolve this and still maintain parsimony, but I need some help.
 
#29
Malf I think there comes a point in your life, when you stop trolling.... your posts reek of condescension. I think you use a lot of words you barely understand to reinforce, your materialist worldview? See how that Vocabularic somersault feels? ;)

I just feel like you add nothing at all to this board except parroted information, understanding full well we all do to some extent, but you offer no real curiosity to the board. Its akin to "everything is solid, just not on wood" with a wink emoji.

or "science says evolution is true" quote some parts from it or another article and then off you go.

To me you are a troll, shocking no one to my attention has noticed this. I can see the blame game coming to. "This board got rid of me cause I'm a skeptic" "We need different opinions"

Is there anything in mainstream science you are skeptical about? Honestly?
Can you name 1 or 2 things and maybe we can start a thread for people to talk about it, debate, conversate

I genuinely what to hear YOUR personal opinions, not some cherry picked articles or quotes to build a wall to protect your cognitive biases

My posts are not well hashed out either, they will be soon once I get more time from work and other daily activities. Part of the reason I'm asking.

Others here seem to have their own views, and can coherently flesh them out from their sources...(generally speaking)
 
#30
Its more like stepping down/up intensities. If we assume a one source that expresses finally in an infinite variety we know that on the material plane it does so through an ordered expression that gives us the coherent reality we know. I can't see this in terms of distance or separation, though I know what you mean.
As a public servant I am inclined to use government as a model ...
I do not think the 'God' is an undifferentiated state of being - rather a differentiated but whole. How can you have an evolution of consciousness in a condition that has neither beginning nor end and no time? Far better minds than you or I have pondered the same matters and thought, fuck that! Its all that - it just is.
I kinda get a "disassociation model of individuality" but I see that more as a pathological state than my preferred notion of focused awareness. There are times when hyper focus can cause sensations of disassociation, but its illusory and become pathological if you start to believe otherwise.
Yes, it all comes down to metaphor again, doesn't it? Maybe Bernardo's disassociation and my inarticulate distance/separation are attempts to signal a degree of individuality separate or split-off from the whole, whereas 'focused consciousness' could imply less individuality. The dissociation metaphor and Bernardo's use of the 'alters' concept does do the job of implying separateness contained within a whole. BUT I completely agree that mental illness is a strange and uncomfortable metaphor to use - in essence, you're saying the mind of GOD is disordered (yikes!). I'm sure it would also be less than inspiring to those who suffer from such conditions.

Ok, undifferentiated state of being. Again, I think I'm being inarticulate, but I do currently imagine the ultimate level of reality (from our perspective, anyway) as being a creative state beyond duality and individuality, working in a manner, and to an end, far beyond our potential grasp.

Maybe like Ralph Abraham's Chaos? Or the Tibetan non-dual state? Who knows? Not me.

Peace.

P.S. Bar materialism, I can't think of any philosophical 'ism' that is completely incompatible with animism. Even Christian monotheism has room for spirits, angels, devils, etc.

P.P.S. You're a senior civil servant in a government department and you post/blog under your real name? Respect!
 
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#32
Bernardo mentioned FMRI studies and I was wondering if any studies were performed with autistic savants. Skills such as calendar counting involve complex algorithms which I would suspect light up the brain. I wouldn't be surpride if we saw a reduction of brain activity. Anyone heard of such studies being done?
 
#33
consciousness
It's not physical, it's not energy, It's have no shape , but how does it interact with the brain?
We don't know anything about it's now, but i think we will find the truth soon.
 
#36
In meditation the point is to reduce mental activity and the results are spiritual / transcendental / non-dual experiences.

This makes sense if the brain is a filter of non-phsical consciousness. Less brain activity = less filtering = more unfiltered raw consciousness.

It also makes sense if the logical / rational mind is an illusion. When you reduce logical thinking, you are better able to apprehend the truth.
This works for me too, until the part where "truth" is better apprehended by reducing logical thinking. In this statement I hear the same dualism and potential sophistry that has gotten us to this confusing point in modern science (or scientism). If we spin back the clock to a point where civilization was just on the cusp, or look to those cultures who have not experienced the same "enlightenment brand of science" we have in the west, the "truth" meant sacrificing a virgin at a full moon would save the crop, and a witch would not float, and leeches and copious shots of Becherovka cured major diseases.

Truth cannot be so relative, can it?! If so, I find that terribly depressing.
 
#37
Alex's question at the end of the podcast:

What do you make of the prospects for engineering extended consciousness?
Ug, this question just about ruins the entire interview for me! I guess in many things I'm more adventurous, whereas when it comes to all things in the realm of engineering life, I get such a visceral reaction of rejection. And I don't doubt some of that is coming from Hollywood and dystopian fiction, but that's not all of it.

Really what it comes from is, why are the prospects around engineering extended consciousness coming before actually understanding extended consciousness? In other words, borrowing the nauseatingly popular New Age phraseology: "building the plane while we are flying it."

Who would logically sign on for that test-flight, besides a lunatic?! Engineering means manipulating. It's like all things agriculture that are now failing--let's all just run on in with all speculative guns ablaze, and watch how fast we can ruin the land. It's not a spiritual impulse, is it? It's a control impulse, it seems to me. An impulse dead-set on destruction, as a means to regeneration, perhaps, giving the benefit of the doubt, but still with no guarantees and not even with wholesome intentions.

And we get into this realm that there is a God, a great force, that we should compete with rather than co-create with. B/c if we were co-creating, our impulse would not be first as dominator/manipulator. Nor as subservient minion.

And then the crucial question, so glad Alex is not afraid of it! Where is the conspiracy? Or better yet, how can we unpack the layers of conspiracies?! Which is why this question ruins the rest of the interview for me, temporarily. :) I actually thought it a great interview, worth a re-listen and further research, for sure!

We are not being led by benevolent dictators. We are not a democracy, for better or worse. The entire world is run by a kakistocracy (that is a real word in fact meaning rule by criminal elements), which means every gorgeous invention driven by benevolent intention is corrupted, exploited and weaponized for nefarious purposes if you are not in the privileged club. Which if you are actually reading this now, you are most likely, 99.999%, are not!

Until folks, both simple and scientific, get truly related to this reality, every potential development toward common and altruistic benefit, will fuck us all. Please, pardon my bad French!
 
#38
Yes, it all comes down to metaphor again, doesn't it? Maybe Bernardo's disassociation and my inarticulate distance/separation are attempts to signal a degree of individuality separate or split-off from the whole, whereas 'focused consciousness' could imply less individuality. The dissociation metaphor and Bernardo's use of the 'alters' concept does do the job of implying separateness contained within a whole. BUT I completely agree that mental illness is a strange and uncomfortable metaphor to use - in essence, you're saying the mind of GOD is disordered (yikes!). I'm sure it would also be less than inspiring to those who suffer from such conditions.

Ok, undifferentiated state of being. Again, I think I'm being inarticulate, but I do currently imagine the ultimate level of reality (from our perspective, anyway) as being a creative state beyond duality and individuality, working in a manner, and to an end, far beyond our potential grasp.

Maybe like Ralph Abraham's Chaos? Or the Tibetan non-dual state? Who knows? Not me.

Peace.

P.S. Bar materialism, I can't think of any philosophical 'ism' that is completely incompatible with animism. Even Christian monotheism has room for spirits, angels, devils, etc.

P.P.S. You're a senior civil servant in a government department and you post/blog under your real name? Respect!
"I do currently imagine the ultimate level of reality (from our perspective, anyway) as being a creative state beyond duality and individuality, working in a manner, and to an end, far beyond our potential grasp."

I sympathise with this notion, but I have come to see it as being problematic and finally not very useful. I agree with it in essence. The problem I have with it is like imagining one has won the lottery, but not really. What is the level of reality we can experience now? There is a paradoxical notion that what ever is eternal is also now, because the eternal must embrace the now.

A lot of us have been exposed to high falutin' metaphysical ideas that induce us to imagine absolute states, and that may be useful if it shakes us free of dogmatic theological certainties that trick us into thinking that a concrete idea of the divine can represent the absolute. But, seriously, it is a waste of time otherwise.

An immediate, immanent, sense of the divine, the sacred, does (I think) finally serve us much better. I grew a huge fan of Zen because I was captivated by the sense of the immediate. My western time drenched mind struggled with that kind of pristine awareness, but when I could live with it, it was transformative.

There is a great deal of natural harmony with animism in many ways of thought. But going the whole hog is to go way beyond the intellectual and into the existential - intimate identity. That opens up gut level awareness that pushes way beyond the controlling internal dialogue that we use to manage (usually ward off) that kind of intimacy. A lot of psi phenomena come about when we allow ourselves an intimate relational connection that is on the level of fellow feeling rather than efforts to 'understand'. When we allow mind to be the locus of conscious relational awareness we can start to see it as a servant, and not a master. We have a western tradition of philosophy in which the animistic is implicit, but intellect plays a dominant creative role, rather than an interpretative role - and so it mistakes sensations that are the products of relational awareness for creations - thoughts it has generated - and hence can control and edit.

I like the public service culture I work in. It genuinely strives to be high minded and inclusive. Besides I can't imagine anybody who would have a malignant take on my thoughts would have the imagination to participate in this forum. And if they did, they'd not have too many allies. The culture is not uniformly enlightened by any stretch. There are dark pockets of antediluvian mentality that persist. But it is becoming more and more professional, compassionate and inclusive. Where I am is a very good place to be, and I am grateful.
 
#39
Mr. Larkin mentioning psychedelics as tech reminded me of this Bernardo interview from February. Thought I'd post it.

Apparently it was a Terrence McKenna video that turned Kastrup onto psychedelics??!!?

 
#40
A lot of us have been exposed to high falutin' metaphysical ideas that induce us to imagine absolute states, and that may be useful if it shakes us free of dogmatic theological certainties that trick us into thinking that a concrete idea of the divine can represent the absolute. But, seriously, it is a waste of time otherwise.
Maybe you didn't mean it that way, but this comes across as somewhat dismissive. First, Bernardo's Idealistic metaphysics doesn't necessarily lead people to imagine "absolute states". I've never had an "absolute" state that I know of, though have had spontaneous states that I don't know the origin of, and have long been seeking an explanation of them. Bernardo's version of Idealism provides the best framework for interpretation I've so far come across, but I don't thereby accept it as a final answer; nonetheless, I find it far from being a waste of time.

Second, it could be taken to hint that you think you have an understanding which is superior to the high falutin' terms in which Bernardo frames his metaphysical ideas. You base your views on your own experiences, and I on mine. I'm not denigrating yours, and don't say that you're wasting your time, if only because I don't really know you and haven't had your experiences, whatever they might be.

You go on to say:
There is a great deal of natural harmony with animism in many ways of thought. But going the whole hog is to go way beyond the intellectual and into the existential - intimate identity. That opens up gut level awareness that pushes way beyond the controlling internal dialogue that we use to manage (usually ward off) that kind of intimacy. A lot of psi phenomena come about when we allow ourselves an intimate relational connection that is on the level of fellow feeling rather than efforts to 'understand'. When we allow mind to be the locus of conscious relational awareness we can start to see it as a servant, and not a master. We have a western tradition of philosophy in which the animistic is implicit, but intellect plays a dominant creative role, rather than an interpretative role - and so it mistakes sensations that are the products of relational awareness for creations - thoughts it has generated - and hence can control and edit.
This doesn't really say what your idea of animism is, and nor can I immediately see how, in the Western Tradition of philosophy, it is implicit. Same goes, really, for your term "relational awareness", and in fact pretty much the meaning of the whole paragraph eludes me. Maybe it's just too high falutin'...
 
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