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Yellow-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Woodpecker

Joined: 15 Jun 2018
Age: 18
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Location: Germany

27 Jun 2018, 9:11 am

What is Concioussness?

Brain researchers, philosophers and AI researchers have asked this question for so long!
Share your view and please provide detailed explanations as to why

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Joined: 6 Feb 2005
Age: 41
Gender: Male
Posts: 21,335
Location: The 27th Path of Peh.

27 Jun 2018, 7:10 pm

The intrinsic 'what's it like to be'-ness of organic matter, or perhaps anything that can gin up enough self-reinforcing feedback loops to profit from having an I experience managing them or acting as an optioning device. I've had times, particularly as Sean Carroll was talking about probability fields being actual things (in a lightning-lamp sort of way they may actually be that), where the field of observation and the job of self-awareness to bind keys with locks or in more direct parlance seek out opportunities and avoid detrimental events made a persuasive amount of sense.

I also had the good fortune as well to have experiences where I got do see fragments of my own consciousness widdled away down to something like what a worm or lava would have (somewhere between 300 and 400 mics), a very low resolution thumbnail or should I say quite a few of them, and I got to see what the uncanny valley looks like between humanness vs the near robotic nature of insect behavior.

No one knows the mechanism exactly so about all you can do is try building a definitional fence around the target, as close to the target as possible without it ending up outside that fence. I think the serious attempts at some type of monism through panpsychism land the closest but it's clearly also something a lot funkier / more eccentric than just units of awareness strapped to units of matter.

Another idea I've had hit me is the idea that conscious experience, in some ways, is a lot like the bleeding edge of a mathematical monster (something along the lines of some absurd Julia set or many of them) and we ourselves are quite likely mathematical monsters - perhaps not even just in the metaphorical sense. I can't remember who came up with the idea, I believe I remember Matt O'Dowd talking about it, that life exists at thresholds of hot and cold zones (our case in point being the earth and the energy beaming in from the sun) and the function of life seems to be to maximize entropy. If that's true the sentient life as mathematical monsters rendering themselves, or consciousness being what it's like to be a mathematical monster rendering itself in the world, may fit. One could also turn that inside out, say 'yeah - no s--- we're a lot of super-complex cells and systems chained together and all you did was verbally turn that on its side' and fair enough, that could be a valid criticism to the idea.

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. To be your own man is a hard business. If you try it, you'll be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privelege of owning yourself" - Rudyard Kipling