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What Is Consciousness?

personperson Where is my mind?'Merica! Veteran
edited October 2016 in Philosophy

I found this video on the topic well balanced and helpful. It addresses the scientific knowledge and some of the main philosophical ideas of what we know and think.

lobsterShoshin[Deleted User]
«1

Comments

  • Particularly relevant is the idea that consciousness is an evolutionary trick or mapping to useful and advantageous behaviour. I also found the hard problem of binding interesting.

    IMHO brain science has only barely begun. In Buddhism we train and delve into the nature of being and go beyond it. Scientists and programming for example at IBM is at the very early stage of cognitive computing ...

    http://www.research.ibm.com/cognitive-computing/neurosynaptic-chips.shtml

    Wot fun.

  • What is consciousness?
    Completely depends upon who you are talking to or with.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    So when they discuss the hard problem of consciousness and suggest that consciousness is a cognitive illusion, are they referring to what we would call self-awareness, that which is unique to the higher mammals? So the question is why we are aware of having experiences?

  • Suiseki7Suiseki7 Pennsylvania, USA Explorer

    I can tell you what it IS NOT. Anything WHATSOEVER related to or relevant to what you are all intellectualzing here! Ha Ha Ha.......

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    So when they discuss the hard problem of consciousness and suggest that consciousness is a cognitive illusion, are they referring to what we would call self-awareness, that which is unique to the higher mammals? So the question is why we are aware of having experiences?

    So Daniel Dennet (beard, glasses) and David Chalmers (Australian accent) are the two main philosophers in the video. They have pretty opposite philosophical opinions on the nature of consciousness. Dennet is a physicalist and thinks consciousness is a cognitive illusion and Chalmers is a dualist and developed the idea of the hard problem. So the video isn't presenting one cohesive view, rather it is giving multiple view points and saying these are some of our best guesses atm.

    To your questions more directly. I think there is a distinction between self-awareness, which can be measured by the mirror test, and the hard problem. Self awareness has to do with the ability of an organism to identify and think of itself as an individual. The hard problem has more to do with why cognitive processes have an associated internal experience, why and how is it that it is like something to be us at all?

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    @Suiseki7 said:
    I can tell you what it IS NOT. Anything WHATSOEVER related to or relevant to what you are all intellectualzing here! Ha Ha Ha.......

    Fair enough, but...

    isn't electricity either but understanding it intellectually lets us share thoughts through the internet and enjoy ice cream almost anytime we want.

  • Is consciousness one or many? Is it a permanent thing or does it come and go? Is it just a process?

    See Mahatanhasankya sutta.

    Dakini
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @person said:> isn't electricity either but understanding it intellectually lets us share thoughts through the internet and enjoy ice cream almost anytime we want.

    Electrickery is still like magic to me, and that's after having worked as an electrician. But yes, it's wonderful, especially the ice cream bit. :p

    lobster
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited October 2016

    @person said:> To your questions more directly. I think there is a distinction between self-awareness, which can be measured by the mirror test, and the hard problem. Self awareness has to do with the ability of an organism to identify and think of itself as an individual. The hard problem has more to do with why cognitive processes have an associated internal experience, why and how is it that it is like something to be us at all?

    I'm still not really clear about the difference between "associated internal experience" and self-awareness.

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @person said:> To your questions more directly. I think there is a distinction between self-awareness, which can be measured by the mirror test, and the hard problem. Self awareness has to do with the ability of an organism to identify and think of itself as an individual. The hard problem has more to do with why cognitive processes have an associated internal experience, why and how is it that it is like something to be us at all?

    I'm still not clear what the "associated internal experience" is, if it is not self-awareness? I mean awareness that we are having a particular experience, so for example if I am eating ice-cream, then I am aware of eating ice-cream.

    In that sense it could be called self awareness, I guess its about how you define the term. I don't think though that the mirror test really measures your definition of self awareness, there isn't any kind of test for it or way to know if any one else has it besides yourself.

  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited October 2016

    It says that consciousness is generated by the brain. But there's an alternative theory that says the brain receives consciousness; that it's like a radio receiver that apprehends consciousness from outside itself--from the universe. The film doesn't discuss scientific notions of the non-locality of consciousness, and the idea that consciousness is something that pervades the universe.

    It's hard to find an article about this that isn't very drily scientific. Here's something that will at least supplement the picture presented by the video.
    http://www.superconsciousness.com/topics/science/why-consciousness-not-brain

    person
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited October 2016

    @Dakini said:The film doesn't discuss scientific notions of the non-locality of consciousness, and the idea that consciousness is something that pervades the universe.

    I think that's basically because there is no scientific support for the non-locality of consciousness!
    The article you referenced contains lots of speculation, but very little evidence to back those speculations up. Non-local consciousness is an intriguing possibility, but I don't find the arguments put forward very convincing, they seem more like wishful thinking.

  • @SpinyNorman said:

    I think that's basically because there is no scientific support for the non-locality of consciousness!

    The article you referenced contains lots of speculation, but very little evidence to back those speculations up. Non-local consciousness is an intriguing possibility, but I don't find the arguments put forward very convincing, they seem more like wishful thinking.

    I know the article isn't about the hard science of it. The "hard science" articles are generally too dry and not in layman's language, so I didn't post links to those. I've just spent the last hour and a half poring through articles and videos looking for something appropriate. I don't have all day to do this, just to find something helpful to post here. I'll get to it when I can. Non-locality has been known since the 30's, though, when Einstein dubbed it "spooky action at a distance". Anyway, stay tuned for further posts. ;)

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    @Dakini said:
    It says that consciousness is generated by the brain. But there's an alternative theory that says the brain receives consciousness; that it's like a radio receiver that apprehends consciousness from outside itself--from the universe. The film doesn't discuss scientific notions of the non-locality of consciousness, and the idea that consciousness is something that pervades the universe.

    It's hard to find an article about this that isn't very drily scientific. Here's something that will at least supplement the picture presented by the video.
    http://www.superconsciousness.com/topics/science/why-consciousness-not-brain

    It isn't obvious in the video itself but David Chalmers is a dualist and mentioned the main problem with believing the mind is solely the brain, his view is one of panpsychism.

    Personally I don' think I can get on board with the view of brain as the receiver of consciousness. Beyond damaging the brain and preventing mind states from being received, it appears that in electrical brain stimulation we can create effects in the mind. So the cause -> effect direction looks like brain first.

    Also, if the analogy of the brain as like a radio receiver for the mind is true, coherent radio waves don't simply preexist, they require a physical generator that then sends them out. So maybe it is true that thoughts exist in some way outside the brain, but are they created there too?

    lobster
  • Will_BakerWill_Baker Vermont Veteran

    At the moment, I believe Consciousness might be the brain modelling Attention..

  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited October 2016

    @person said:
    So maybe it is true that thoughts exist in some way outside the brain, but are they created there too?

    Like how sound waves create sound by bouncing off an eardrum?

  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited October 2016

    @person said:

    Personally I don' think I can get on board with the view of brain as the receiver of consciousness. Beyond damaging the brain and preventing mind states from being received, it appears that in electrical brain stimulation we can create effects in the mind. So the cause -> effect direction looks like brain first.

    Also, if the analogy of the brain as like a radio receiver for the mind is true, coherent radio waves don't simply preexist, they require a physical generator that then sends them out. So maybe it is true that thoughts exist in some way outside the brain, but are they created there too?

    Well, it's not to say that our thoughts are not our own, or at least--not most of the time. What I've read is that the brain is a transceiver; it receives as well as originates and sends its own thoughts. An illustration of "receiving" would be when someone suddenly intuits or "knows" that a loved one at a distance is in danger or hurt. There's been research into that phenomenon. Researchers conclude that is was evolutionarily beneficial for us to develop the ability to perceive a loved one's distress, and also to anticipate, however subtly, often subconsciously, a future event.

    Our topic is expanding beyond my capacity at the moment to find supporting literature/videos. However, in the meantime, here's an interesting lecture by Dr. Pim Van Lommel, a Dutch cardiologist who for years denied the validity of his cardiac-arrest patients' NDE reports, but eventually gave in, and decided to launch a methodical study of it, backed by scientific research into non-locality (physics) and related questions. His conclusion is that the NDE phenomenon appears to provide evidence of the existence of non-local consciousness, i.e. consciousness that is not confined by the body. He refutes the usual arguments against NDE's and goes into great detail about his study in his book, "Consciousness After Death".

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    @Dakini said:

    @person said:

    Personally I don' think I can get on board with the view of brain as the receiver of consciousness. Beyond damaging the brain and preventing mind states from being received, it appears that in electrical brain stimulation we can create effects in the mind. So the cause -> effect direction looks like brain first.

    Also, if the analogy of the brain as like a radio receiver for the mind is true, coherent radio waves don't simply preexist, they require a physical generator that then sends them out. So maybe it is true that thoughts exist in some way outside the brain, but are they created there too?

    Well, it's not to say that our thoughts are not our own, or at least--not most of the time. What I've read is that the brain is a transceiver; it receives as well as originates and sends its own thoughts. An illustration of "receiving" would be when someone suddenly intuits or "knows" that a loved one at a distance is in danger or hurt. There's been research into that phenomenon. Researchers conclude that is was evolutionarily beneficial for us to develop the ability to perceive a loved one's distress, and also to anticipate, however subtly, often subconsciously, a future event.

    Our topic is expanding beyond my capacity at the moment to find supporting literature/videos. However, in the meantime, here's an interesting lecture by Dr. Pim Van Lommel, a Dutch cardiologist who for years denied the validity of his cardiac-arrest patients' NDE reports, but eventually gave in, and decided to launch a methodical study of it, backed by scientific research into non-locality (physics) and related questions. His conclusion is that the NDE phenomenon appears to provide evidence of the existence of non-local consciousness, i.e. consciousness that is not confined by the body. He refutes the usual arguments against NDE's and goes into great detail about his study in his book, "Consciousness After Death".

    Personally I don't think that our minds are limited to the physical brain. But the reality of how it exists isn't known and I don't have much confidence in the research you're talking about. It seems to me that they are making as many assumptions about the way consciousness works based upon their metaphysical beliefs about the world as are the physicalist scientists who assume it is all in the brain because of their metaphysical belief that there is only matter in the universe.

    [Deleted User]
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    @David said:

    @person said:
    So maybe it is true that thoughts exist in some way outside the brain, but are they created there too?

    Like how sound waves create sound by bouncing off an eardrum?

    Who knows?

  • @person said:

    Personally I don't think that our minds are limited to the physical brain. But the reality of how it exists isn't known and I don't have much confidence in the research you're talking about. It seems to me that they are making as many assumptions about the way consciousness works based upon their metaphysical beliefs about the world as are the physicalist scientists who assume it is all in the brain because of their metaphysical belief that there is only matter in the universe.

    That's interesting that you call the physicalist or materialist model of science a metaphysical belief. Hilarious, actually! But at least some people are trying to look into it, and figure things out. Time, and more research, will tell. :) It's always fun keeping up with evolving research. It's an adventure.

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    @Dakini said:

    @person said:

    Personally I don't think that our minds are limited to the physical brain. But the reality of how it exists isn't known and I don't have much confidence in the research you're talking about. It seems to me that they are making as many assumptions about the way consciousness works based upon their metaphysical beliefs about the world as are the physicalist scientists who assume it is all in the brain because of their metaphysical belief that there is only matter in the universe.

    That's interesting that you call the physicalist or materialist model of science a metaphysical belief. Hilarious, actually! But at least some people are trying to look into it, and figure things out. Time, and more research, will tell. :) It's always fun keeping up with evolving research. It's an adventure.

    I'm not really sure how to respond but it wasn't my intention to mock, ridicule or make fun somehow. I am probably being hyperbolic though in trying to point out how a widely accepted convention isn't and can't really be proven.

    A thought or an experience seem to me to be of a different character than the firings of neurons. I can't think of anything else in the world like consciousness, but if we assume everyone has it, it is completely pervasive and abundant, but totally ignored from the point of view of scientific measurement.

    I'm not on board with thinking it's a cognitive illusion, saying that somehow acknowledges the existence of qualia while at the same time trying to dismiss them. And with what we now know about how the brain works I can't buy into the idea of the mind as a sort of ghost or spirit that inhabits the brain.

    My take is that there is some sort of interaction going on between the physical brain and an immaterial primitive consciousness component (something like how the Higgs field gives matter mass). Both are needed and insufficient in themselves.

  • @person said:

    I'm not really sure how to respond but it wasn't my intention to mock, ridicule or make fun somehow. I am probably being hyperbolic though in trying to point out how a widely accepted convention isn't and can't really be proven.

    A thought or an experience seem to me to be of a different character than the firings of neurons. I can't think of anything else in the world like consciousness, but if we assume everyone has it, it is completely pervasive and abundant, but totally ignored from the point of view of scientific measurement.

    I'm not on board with thinking it's a cognitive illusion, saying that somehow acknowledges the existence of qualia while at the same time trying to dismiss them. And with what we now know about how the brain works I can't buy into the idea of the mind as a sort of ghost or spirit that inhabits the brain.

    My take is that there is some sort of interaction going on between the physical brain and an immaterial primitive consciousness component (something like how the Higgs field gives matter mass). Both are needed and insufficient in themselves.

    To Paragraph 1: Yes, absolutely! I love how you put conventional "science" on the same footing as what conventionally has been regarded as metaphysical. All of it needs to be examined or re-examined in view of quantum reality, and justified.

    Para 2: Yes, consciousness needs to be measured, somehow. A way to measure it needs to be found. I recall now that 1 Nobel-Prize-winning physicist said that consciousness is a field. If so, there's got to be a way to detect it or its effects, like gravity was discovered, or electro-magnetic fields were detected. I've been thinking the exact same thing myself, lately.

    Great discussion.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited October 2016

    @person said:
    I'm not on board with thinking it's a cognitive illusion, saying that somehow acknowledges the existence of qualia while at the same time trying to dismiss them.

    Interestingly the way they were talking about a cognitive illusion sounds very much like the Buddhist teaching on anatta.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited October 2016

    @Dakini said:Non-locality has been known since the 30's, though, when Einstein dubbed it "spooky action at a distance".

    I think you are referring to quantum entanglement.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_entanglement
    I have seen people speculate about quantum entanglement as a basis for non-local consciousness, but it mostly looks like pseudo-science. Quantum mechanics is weird and very difficult to understand, which means it is a soft target for misrepresentation.

    lobsterperson[Deleted User]
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @person said:> Personally I don' think I can get on board with the view of brain as the receiver of consciousness. Beyond damaging the brain and preventing mind states from being received, it appears that in electrical brain stimulation we can create effects in the mind. So the cause -> effect direction looks like brain first.

    Yes, they have stimulated various areas of the brain to create different moods and thoughts, and changes in perception and mood can also be caused by certain types of drugs.
    It's possible that consciousness is something "out there", though I don't know how you would test for it.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @person said:It seems to me that they are making as many assumptions about the way consciousness works based upon their metaphysical beliefs about the world as are the physicalist scientists who assume it is all in the brain because of their metaphysical belief that there is only matter in the universe.

    "Physicalist scientists"? Hmm. I think scientists go where the evidence leads, and focus on things they can test reliably.
    Consciousness is rather like cosmology, in the sense there is still much that is unknown.
    Some people want to fill in the gaps with what are essentially religious beliefs, and anything which suggests some kind of post-mortem continuation is taken on board with little critical examination.

    lobster
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited October 2016

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @Dakini said:Non-locality has been known since the 30's, though, when Einstein dubbed it "spooky action at a distance".

    I think you are referring to quantum entanglement.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_entanglement
    I have seen people speculate about quantum entanglement as a basis for non-local consciousness, but it mostly looks like pseudo-science. Quantum mechanics is weird and very difficult to understand, which means it is a soft target for misrepresentation.

    Entanglement and non-locality are related.

    Here's a discussion of it by US physicist Menas Kafatos, who's written a couple of books on it: The Conscious Universe, and The Non-local Universe.

    What I like about this lecture is that he says that classical physics describes phenomena the way we perceive them, but our perceptions are wrong; quantum physics is where reality is at. LOL. So people who consider entanglement to be "woo woo" (his term), as classical physicists do (he says), are caught up in their own mental illusions, our limited human mind. :eh:

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Dakini said:

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @Dakini said:Non-locality has been known since the 30's, though, when Einstein dubbed it "spooky action at a distance".

    I think you are referring to quantum entanglement.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_entanglement
    I have seen people speculate about quantum entanglement as a basis for non-local consciousness, but it mostly looks like pseudo-science. Quantum mechanics is weird and very difficult to understand, which means it is a soft target for misrepresentation.

    Entanglement and non-locality are tied together.

    Here's a discussion of it by US physicist Menas Kafatos, who's written a couple of books on it: The Conscious Universe, and The Non-local Universe.

    What I like about this lecture is that he says that classical physics describes phenomena the way we perceive them, but our perceptions are wrong; quantum physics is where reality is at. LOL. So people who consider entanglement to be "woo woo" (his term), as classical physicists do (he says), are caught up in their own mental illusions, our limited human mind. :eh:

    I will have a watch later. Note that quantum entanglement isn't "woo woo", it has been experimentally verified. What may well be "woo-woo" is conflating quantum entanglement with non-local consciousness. Take two subjects which most people know very little about, and then make some speculative connections.....

  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited October 2016

    @SpinyNorman said:

    I will have a watch later. Note that quantum entanglement isn't "woo woo", it has been experimentally verified. What may well be "woo-woo" is conflating quantum entanglement with non-local consciousness. Take two subjects which most people know very little about, and then make some speculative connections.....

    I know it's not woo-woo, but there are a lot of people who don't know enough about science to know the difference between real science and pseudo-science. Even some scientists, according to the speaker, believe it's "woo woo". (Starting around 9:30 on the vid.) He also comments similar to Person's observation that the perception of separate phenomena is the real metaphysics; the unity of all phenomena is the "real science".

    Interesting guy.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Dakini said:

    @SpinyNorman said:

    I will have a watch later. Note that quantum entanglement isn't "woo woo", it has been experimentally verified. What may well be "woo-woo" is conflating quantum entanglement with non-local consciousness. Take two subjects which most people know very little about, and then make some speculative connections.....

    I know it's not woo-woo, but there are a lot of people who don't know enough about science to know the difference between real science and pseudo-science.

    That is exactly the problem, and it something that new-age types thrive on.
    Then some physicist comes along who believes in non-local consciousness, and so it must all be true. ;)

    It reminds me of how theists always want to claim that Einstein believed in God.

  • I think I left my mind entangled in another dimension ... Help! :3
    http://web.archive.org/web/20130518224350/http://tmxxine.posterous.com/

    :glasses:
    ... and now back to the sensible discussions ...

  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited October 2016

    @lobster said:
    I think I left my mind entangled in another dimension ... Help! :3
    http://web.archive.org/web/20130518224350/http://tmxxine.posterous.com/

    :glasses:
    ... and now back to the sensible discussions ...

    But the topic is consciousness, "What is Consciousness". To fully explore the topic, we can't confine ourselves to sensible discussions in the conventional...um...sense. :D
    .

    Question to the membership: Is non-sense kind of like non-self? :eh: :lol:

  • @Dakini said:
    It says that consciousness is generated by the brain. But there's an alternative theory that says the brain receives consciousness; that it's like a radio receiver that apprehends consciousness from outside itself--from the universe.

    From my limited experience, I would say:

    • There is a form of entanglement or resonance with qualities that can be left or imprinted. This is very much outside of science at present. These qualities can effect a place or people.
    • The light body (the astral body does not seem free of a brain created virtual world) can be generated or created and is dependent on a change or enhancement of our physiology. The rainbow body is beyond my pay grade.
    • Spiritual practice is both a cleansing (in Buddhism of impediments) and an allowing of innate higher consciousness/Buddha Nature/Nirvana.
    • Higher Consciousness is transformative of the mind, body and emotional system.
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited October 2016

    So what is the Buddhist view on consciousness? Various views, I think, another can of worms. ;)

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @person said:It seems to me that they are making as many assumptions about the way consciousness works based upon their metaphysical beliefs about the world as are the physicalist scientists who assume it is all in the brain because of their metaphysical belief that there is only matter in the universe.

    "Physicalist scientists"? Hmm. I think scientists go where the evidence leads, and focus on things they can test reliably.
    Consciousness is rather like cosmology, in the sense there is still much that is unknown.
    Some people want to fill in the gaps with what are essentially religious beliefs, and anything which suggests some kind of post-mortem continuation is taken on board with little critical examination.

    Yes, true science does go where the evidence leads and what can be tested, so maybe only having devices that can measure physical things leads to a bias?

    There is much that is unknown in consciousness, so why is it so certain that it's all brain? I'd say that the conviction that consciousness is solely a result of brain complexity is also an effort to fill in the gaps with not necessarily religious, but metaphysical beliefs about the world.

    David
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @person said:
    I'm not on board with thinking it's a cognitive illusion, saying that somehow acknowledges the existence of qualia while at the same time trying to dismiss them.

    Interestingly the way they were talking about a cognitive illusion sounds very much like the Buddhist teaching on anatta.

    I'm talking about the existence of qualia, not just information processing.

    So the brain processes individual images of the world and turns them into motion. Or takes shades and colors and turns them into edges and borders. These aspects of cognitive illusions are very much like anatta.

    The question though is, why does that processing come with a mental image or experience? A robot can take a series of images and turn it into motion or distinguish individual objects, but do they have an internal experience (qualia) of those things? Or does the processing occur without an associated experience? Why and how are they different?

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @lobster said: - Higher Consciousness is transformative of the mind, body and emotional system.

    It would be interesting to look at what "higher consciousness" actually means. Are you thinking of meditative states here, or perhaps of states of mind which are more skillful and insightful?

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    @Dakini said:

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @Dakini said:Non-locality has been known since the 30's, though, when Einstein dubbed it "spooky action at a distance".

    I think you are referring to quantum entanglement.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_entanglement
    I have seen people speculate about quantum entanglement as a basis for non-local consciousness, but it mostly looks like pseudo-science. Quantum mechanics is weird and very difficult to understand, which means it is a soft target for misrepresentation.

    Entanglement and non-locality are related.

    Here's a discussion of it by US physicist Menas Kafatos, who's written a couple of books on it: The Conscious Universe, and The Non-local Universe.

    What I like about this lecture is that he says that classical physics describes phenomena the way we perceive them, but our perceptions are wrong; quantum physics is where reality is at. LOL. So people who consider entanglement to be "woo woo" (his term), as classical physicists do (he says), are caught up in their own mental illusions, our limited human mind. :eh:

    I watched it. It seems that accepting consciousness as a fundamental force in the universe simplifies some things in the quantum world as well as the "fine tuning" issue of the universe. To preserve physicalism there needs to be an infinite number of universes of which we are the one extremely improbable one that sustains life or the notion that each choice of each individual in every corner of the universe splits off a new universe. Infinities such as these are possible but consciousness as a fundamental force also resolves these issues. I like the view of the universe presented in the video, the question remains though, is it true?

  • @SpinyNorman said:

    @lobster said: - Higher Consciousness is transformative of the mind, body and emotional system.


    It would be interesting to look at what "higher consciousness" actually means. Are you thinking of meditative states here, or perhaps of states of mind which are more skillful and insightful?

    Higher Consciousness really is something experiential. It results in a different approach to skilful and insightful. We have talked many times how states have an arising and dissolving, just like patterns of thought, intellectual understanding, emotional comprehension, intuition etc. So we are really talking about an awareness that is independent of transition or being defined.

    If such insight is genuine it is less impeded by our mundane consciousness that science explores. :)

    person
  • namarupanamarupa Veteran
    edited October 2016

    There is nothing special about consciousness in my opinion. Anything other than the functioning aspect, or the chain reaction of form and conditions coming together, is beyond consciousness and should be called something else. Consciousness is just a word to describe something that is living or functioning.

    At Savatthi. "Monks, eye-consciousness is inconstant, changeable, alterable. Ear-consciousness... Nose-consciousness... Tongue-consciousness... Body-consciousness... Intellect-consciousness is inconstant, changeable, alterable.

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn25/sn25.003.than.html

    lobster
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    What is consciousness ?

    Oh Consciousness!

    Flowing through the aggregates, weaving in and out so stealth-
    It’s as if “I” am just a means for you to explore yourself

    “I” am but a humble servant at your beck and call
    Your wish is my command, for you are so wonderful

    ~”I" your humble [Ob]servant~


  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited October 2016

    @lobster said:> If such insight is genuine it is less impeded by our mundane consciousness that science explores. :)

    I tend to think of insight as a quality of mind rather than a "higher" consciousness. What is "mundane" consciousness, and how do you distinguish it from "higher" consciousness?
    It is tricky defining "consciousness", it seems to mean our awareness of having experiences.

  • essemessem Explorer

    Wow I shall have to quiet my mouth and mind and chew
    thro this lot later.

    Meanwhile the talented artist Ingo Swann's adventures into
    consciousness may tickle?

    http://www.ingoswann.com

    PS, I've 'left' my body spontaneously a few times but did go
    anywhere beyond the confines of my room.

    But I recall reading sometime in the venerable Yahoo Chat that
    an airline pilot confessed that he 'left' the cockpit of his plane,
    to find himself outside and some distance behind.

    And had to will himself back in, all the while at cruising altitude.

    Needless to say, he likely did not report the incident for fear of
    being given a desk to fly.

  • CinorjerCinorjer Veteran
    edited October 2016

    OK, bringing it on down from the lofty heights of speculation, the basic problem with theories of a distributed or "cloud" consciousness is, there is no way of testing it. It isn't a scientific theory. We know that if the brain is just a transceiver, it doesn't work using any known form of energy or even anything we can define as energy, because if you walk into a shielded room or go deep underground, you don't fade out like a radio in a tunnel. Any carrier wave capable of carrying intelligence but not affected by a mile of rock in the way is also unaffected by a pound of brain matter.

    And there needs to be a rule that people are not allowed to say the word "quantum" when their theories do not fit the universe we observe. You might as well say God or Fairies. Quantum physics also has rules and any appeal to it must include a page of mathematics and diagrams. Suffice to say the actual quantum physicists do not believe their theories in any way explain human consciousness.

    All physical evidence is that our consciousness is a product of our physical brain interacting with the world and that's the end of it. When the brain dies, so does our consciousness. It's such an amazing and unique thing in the world, we are so different from any other creature from the beginning of time in how we use our brain, it's hard to believe it's just a happy accident of evolution.

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran
    edited October 2016

    I came across a nice article that explains my position well. It's not all one sided or new agey (no mention of quantum physics) and it presents contrary ideas too. It's a bit long but well written if anyone is interested (note it is on the Guardian science page).

    https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jan/21/-sp-why-cant-worlds-greatest-minds-solve-mystery-consciousness

  • "Consciousness" is not a thing.
    Better to say I am conscious or there is consciousness(non-noun) of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touch and mental objects(past lives, out of body experiences etc). There is even being conscious of consciousness as a mind object.

    Consciousness like the "eye" can only see its reflection or image but never itself. The "eye" as an organ of sight too isn't just one thing. In other words it is just a convenient label. There is seeing but nothing that actually does the seeing. Just like the chariot simile - empty/lacking inherent existence/anatta.

    "Bhikkhus, consciousness is not self. Were consciousness self, then this consciousness would not lead to affliction, and one could have it of consciousness: 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness be not thus.' And since consciousness is not-self, so it leads to affliction, and none can have it of consciousness: 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness be not thus.'

    "Is consciousness permanent or impermanent?" — "Impermanent, venerable sir." — "Now is what is impermanent pleasant or painful?" — "Painful, venerable sir." — "Now is what is impermanent, what is painful since subject to change, fit to be regarded thus: 'This is mine, this is I, this is my self'"?

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.059.nymo.html

    [Deleted User]
  • A science fiction writer I correspond with occasionally says we'll know we've created an artificial consciousness or intelligence instead of something that just imitates one, the first time we catch it lying to us so it can get its own way.

    lobsterfedericaperson
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    @person said:
    I came across a nice article that explains my position well. It's not all one sided or new agey (no mention of quantum physics) and it presents contrary ideas too. It's a bit long but well written if anyone is interested (note it is on the Guardian science page).

    https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jan/21/-sp-why-cant-worlds-greatest-minds-solve-mystery-consciousness

    This also has an audio version. Nice to sit and listen to the article....

    person
  • CinorjerCinorjer Veteran
    edited October 2016

    Another interesting question is, when did humanity acquire consciousness of self? There is no doubt we gradually evolved from a type of proto-ape millions of years ago. There had to be a time when you could look into that pre-human upright creature and see a consciousness looking back.

    I think it's pretty evident that by a few hundred thousand years ago we'd reached that hurdle, because that's when evidence of artwork emerges. Small carved figures. The first cave paintings. Claw and shell necklaces. Don't you think that surely it requires a consciousness to create something like that? I try to imagine what it was like if this mutation happened to the first pre-human and he or she was alone with their view of themselves and the world.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited October 2016

    @essem said:
    Meanwhile the talented artist Ingo Swann's adventures into
    consciousness may tickle?

    http://www.ingoswann.com

    Wot fun.

    Artistic thinking is sometimes too open for study by the rigours of science but great scientists do think to a degree like artists, knowing something intuitively AND having the discipline to describe or formalise their vision.
    A classic example is Ramanujan, who got his formula from God, Tesla who got his ideas from aliens, Isaac Newton from Apple and alchemy etc
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Srinivasa_Ramanujan

    Live long and prosper

    Cinorjer
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