Page 1 of 3 [ 37 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next

Asmodeus
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 24 Feb 2009
Age: 32
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,520

11 Jul 2010, 9:05 pm

What is consciousness?
As loosely defined as: The subjective experience, executive control of the mind.

The brain is an adaptive information processing organ. It isn't exclusively tied to the body, it's why you can play videogames where you are someone else, have out of body experiences, induced in a lab (link), and we can use brain tissue to control robots (link).

But what is this subjective experience? Is it an illusion, as I have come to believe; by sensing the things that our brain repeats to itself in memory, it gives the impression it exists in a manner different from it's existence in the vehicle it is carried in (and so gives the self, as well as subjective thought), thereby the reason why people came to the conclusion of dualism?

If it is simply that, then does this mean that by making an artificial intelligence, it will at a certain level of complexity develop a self? Outside of language rules? (for example a turing machine may refer to self as "me", but only as it is a logical convenience, it isn't proof of the subjective experience, or is that all it is?)

I won't follow down the route of an unending philosophical, or in this case neurological zombie argument, but is that the case for consciousness?

Image



Sand
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 15 Sep 2007
Age: 94
Gender: Male
Posts: 11,484
Location: Finland

11 Jul 2010, 10:04 pm

Human consciousness is very fragmented. There are all sorts of stimulations working on our sensory equipment. As we mature we learn to ignore a huge bulk of input stimulation and our equipment filters out that which we esteem irrelevant. These choices are conditioned by experience and we each have different experiences as we mature so we each are responsive to a slightly different set of stimulants and therefore are conscious of different areas of our environment.Since much stimulation is commonly relevant to al of us we tend to live in the same universe. This is not true of other species who have different sense apparatus and different priorities.



takemitsu
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 29 Jun 2010
Age: 38
Gender: Male
Posts: 601

11 Jul 2010, 10:43 pm

I think consciousness is an epiphenomena of the sum of the whole of all the processes of the brain.

Here's a link to a good documentary about the brain and consciousness, it deals mostly with people having sensations with phantom limbs and even people that had brain trauma and making false excuses as to why they can no longer use different appendages.

http://www.documentarywire.com/phantoms-in-the-brain



Exclavius
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 3 May 2010
Age: 47
Gender: Male
Posts: 632
Location: Ontario, Canada

13 Jul 2010, 12:45 am

Well, as usual, I'll take the Memes-eye view, because it's the only one I can buy into. But I'll add my own quirk to the end.

Meme = an idea, belief or behavior.
Memeplex = a group of memes, existing and reproducing together (kinda like DNA is a group of genes)

Memes/Memeplexes reproduce just as genes/DNA do.
Thus, memes that get reproduced more are more successful.
There are processes that memes can develop that allow them to drive biological evolution. The size of our brain and it's vast increase in the past 2 million years is an example... And the most important one.
Without the increase in brain size, we would not be able to hold and copy memes to the extent we currently do.

Here's where the consciousness arises though.
Memes that you "feel are an integral part of who you are" are the ones you're more likely to spend your time spreading. (Mormon door knocking for example, or NT bashing by Aspies :lol: )
The sense of self slowly evolved over time, to become more and more, and the "mutation" survived, because it's presence in a mind which copies memes made it more likely to be reproduced.

The sum total of all our memes and memeplexes comes together to form the self-plex.
The self plex is this feeling of self that our brains give us. It is what the religious call a soul.
It is a trick of the brain as the OP said.

HOWEVER.. here is my quirk to add.
IS IT ILLUSION now that it has arisen?
is it real? Well, it does exist, because it is a pattern imprinted upon our neurons and synapses. It is as real as a computer programme. Maybe moreso.. more like the wiring of the computer.

My belief is that it IS real, and is emergent from being able to copy memes.
Thus, i would say that any computer that can copy memes, and PHYSICALLY evolve to better copy memes, can give rise to the self that I describe.
Does this all imply that the self has free will? Good question.
I say yes.. but very recent... I won't quantify that word "recent" though.

I don't think free will is that we can decide "what to do" though. Instead, the self-plex, our bodies, and our environment determine what our reaction to all stimulus will be.
Where free will has emerged is WITHIN the self-plex, and it controls NOT our actions, but instead the memes that enter into the self-plex, which then determine what we will do in a certain circumstance.

a better way to put it: You can't decide whether to murder someone or not, but you can decide to be the kind of person who would or would not murder someone.

Sadly, we can allow conflicting memes into our self-plex, and this creates problems. We can in effect be the kind of person who WOULD and WOULD NOT murder someone. It would just depend on which "sub-routine" were run first. I actually view this as the primary cause of most mental illness. And some people (non-NT's, not just Aspies, but definitely including us) are more prone to suffer mental illness from such conflicts, so must be more diligent to prevent such conflicting memes into our self-plex. And that is, imo, why Aspies are more introverted and introspective, because we need to learn to be... To protect ourselves from such conflict.

I would go so far as to say if you could study it, you would find that the more an aspie "filters ideas before letting them into their beliefs/self-plex" the "higher functioning" they will be.

I think there is a corollary here that Aspies (the highest functioning ones, at least) have a "stronger" free will than NT's and lower function Aspies. But by stronger, I may just mean more active. I've been considering this concept a bit lately, and how it would apply to the crazy concept of indigo children... it's interesting to say the least... Perhaps you see why I won't quantify the word "recent" above.

Anyways, what i've described of the self-plex is far from complete, there are too many underlying concepts in memetics to wrap up in this post, but it's an outline. That's my ideas... And it's a work in progress, constantly being tweaked.



NobelCynic
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 28 Nov 2006
Age: 72
Gender: Male
Posts: 600
Location: New Jersey, U.S.A.

13 Jul 2010, 9:43 am

The first time I heard the word “meme” was in your posts Exclavius and I don't know much about it other than what you wrote about it. The concept seems to me to be similar to the concept of aeons that was described in The Tripartite Tractite that was dug up in Nag Hammadi in 1945 only aeons are emanations from God rather than thoughts produced by the human brain.

The discoveries at Nag Hammadi weren't published until the early seventies and the concept of memes and memetics started developing soon after. Interesting coincidence, don't you think?

To me the concept of thought controlling mater makes a lot more sense than the idea of matter controlling thought, but there is no proof either way so you are free to believe what you will.


_________________
NobelCynic (on WP)
My given name is Kenneth


Awesomelyglorious
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 17 Dec 2005
Gender: Male
Posts: 13,157
Location: Omnipresent

13 Jul 2010, 10:43 am

NobelCynic wrote:
To me the concept of thought controlling mater makes a lot more sense than the idea of matter controlling thought, but there is no proof either way so you are free to believe what you will.

I have to strongly disagree. Generally matter seems to matter more in the workings of reality than thoughts ever have. Heck, just put some alcohol in someone's bloodstream and see the impact of matter on thought. I don't see much in favor of the other direction though, as at best we just have neural pathways allowing for thought to control matter, and the issue is that much of the process is material.



Exclavius
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 3 May 2010
Age: 47
Gender: Male
Posts: 632
Location: Ontario, Canada

13 Jul 2010, 9:24 pm

I think you're forgetting that an idea, is actually matter. It is a real and concrete thing. More specifically it is the order that matter takes, but it is nonetheless a real, physical thing. For an idea/meme to exist in your brain, the brain must alter it's state, and store the idea/meme by creating an order in the matter that is there that represents the idea.

So it is neither matter affecting thought, nor thought affecting matter. Those two concepts are moot or invalid.
It is matter affecting matter, which is all the universe is about.



Asmodeus
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 24 Feb 2009
Age: 32
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,520

14 Jul 2010, 6:29 am

Forgive the computer analogies, I don't have another point of reference...

Sand wrote:
Human consciousness is very fragmented. There are all sorts of stimulations working on our sensory equipment. As we mature we learn to ignore a huge bulk of input stimulation and our equipment filters out that which we esteem irrelevant. These choices are conditioned by experience and we each have different experiences as we mature so we each are responsive to a slightly different set of stimulants and therefore are conscious of different areas of our environment. Since much stimulation is commonly relevant to al of us we tend to live in the same universe. This is not true of other species who have different sense apparatus and different priorities.

Indeed, however you're not talking about the subjective experience of consciousness. You're talking about perception. The webcam and it's drivers, to the computer itself, if you will. And takemitsu's documentary is similarly about neuroscience, and though interesting doesn't penetrate into the "operating system" in the head; what we're experiencing.

I would disagree with Both NobelCynic's idea of mind controlling matter and the counterargument, as I believe it gave a false premise. There is matter. Some of it is arranged in the form of brains and that outside them, there is no distinction other than the arrangement of chemicals and forces; I am not a dualist.

In regard to the The Tripartite Tractate, it anthropomorphises conceptualism, attempts to explain the mystery of subjective experience, using "the Father" as a tool to reveal the nature of reality.

However this is only related to memetics in that it involves concepts, memetics is a kind of conceptual taxonomy, though I could see one being the base from which the other sprang.

Exclavius you seem to be extrapolating a lot from the current basic memetic ideas. Although I think that by considering information in memetic terms, we can therefore classify them, and so eventually form a kind of "theory of memetic evolution in the environment of the human brain".

To reply to your post just now Exclavius, I would agree, to draw a comparison:
If you take apart a piece of software, you can do it at the most basic level (machine language/logic gates themselves; chemistry/biology), or at a conceptual one (a high level language, like java or html; memetics). They both make very much the same thing, but are different manners of looking at it.

The only pitfall here is how incredibly difficult it is to verifiably test memetic theory, and how easy it is to create logical-sounding hypotheses, which are unfalsifiable.

I'd like to cast it all aside in favour if it being an illusion in materialism, but I can't.



b9
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 14 Aug 2008
Age: 48
Gender: Male
Posts: 12,003
Location: australia

14 Jul 2010, 7:59 am

i think............

consciousness is elusive to terminal objectivization and so can not be described.

some things are too complex for anyone to understand, and some things are too simple for anyone to understand. any layering of verbal description slapped onto something that is too simple to be subdivided into parts is inevitably superfluous and is an external extension from the subject.

i think the most complete description of consciousness is simply the word "I". (i will use capitals in this post for the word "I")

when one says "I am", they have added an extension to the word "I" that deflects the meaning to a state that is external to consciousness.

all things are external to consciousness.

thoughts are not consciousness. i am conscious of what i think, therefore my thoughts are apart from my consciousness. i am conscious of what i see and what i hear and what i feel and what i believe and what i like etc etc. so they therefore are apart from my consciousness.

consciousness is so pure that you can not get further inside it to see it from within. there is no description of consciousness, because any description that is formulated about it is merely the thoughts and conclusions that one is conscious of, and not consciousness itself.

the primal definition of consciousness is "I see". it is not what i see that is my consciousness.
even if i see nothing, then i am still conscious.
if all sensation is taken away from me, and all thoughts removed from my head, then i still am conscious.

one may say that when one is asleep (or moreso under anaesthetic) , they are not conscious and that is true. it does not take my attendance in consciousness in order for consciousness to exist. i am either conscious or not. consciousness always is.

i think consciousness is the beginning of the third tri dimensional phase (6-9). the last dimension of each phase leads into the 0th dimension of the next phase.

dimensions 0-3 are spacial (0=point 1= line 2=plane 3=volume).
infinite spacial volume is composed of an infinite planes that each are comprised of infinite lines that are each comprised of infinite points.

dimensions 3-6 are time. (3=point of time 4= line of time 5= plane of time 6 = volume of time)
infinite volume of time is comprised of infinite planes of time that are comprised of infinite lines of time (on that planar level) that each are comprised of infinite points of time on that line(instants)).

dimensions 6-9 are consciousness. (6=point of consciousness (where i am ) 7= line of consciousness 8=plane of consciousness and 9 = infinite volume of consciousness).

i am conscious of only a single point of infinite reality at any one time in any one place.

a line of consciousness is like simultaneous consciousness of all things that ever happened or will happen in my particular line of historic reality (from big bang and before to forever ahead).

a plane of consciousness is like being simultaneously conscious of all alternative realities from forever past to forever future that happen on my plane of existence (identical laws of physics that would have created different realities given a different catalyst resulting from alternative causes that are physically possible to have happened).

infinite volume of consciousness is a simultaneous consciousness of all planes of existence forever aft to forever forward given all possible laws of physics and all possible permutations of effects arising from every possibility that may have caused every line of reality in all planes of possibilities.

probably it is one step beneath the mind of god.

yes i should keep out of here.
remember i said "I think.....".

i could have described my 9 dimensional idea much more, but it would take hundreds of pages, and a condensed version of it like in this post is full of holes.
whatever. no need to reply.



NobelCynic
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 28 Nov 2006
Age: 72
Gender: Male
Posts: 600
Location: New Jersey, U.S.A.

14 Jul 2010, 9:20 am

Asmodeus wrote:
But what is this subjective experience? Is it an illusion, as I have come to believe
...
I'd like to cast it all aside in favour if it being an illusion in materialism, but I can't.


The two statements in the above quote were taken from two different posts and they seem to indicate a conflict going on within the mind of Asmodeus, but what is fighting what? Is the concept of dualism invading his mind trying to drive out materialism?

And where does Asmodeus come into it; is he an observer of the conflict or a participant?


_________________
NobelCynic (on WP)
My given name is Kenneth


Exclavius
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 3 May 2010
Age: 47
Gender: Male
Posts: 632
Location: Ontario, Canada

14 Jul 2010, 9:31 am

No need to reply b9?

*shakes his head a bit* yeah, there IS need to reply.

Consciousness can only be described in that way if consciousness is "special"
There is nothing in this universe to make one believe that ANYTHING is special, especially humans.

Reading it, there was no doubt that you were religious. and that was confirmed in the second last paragraph. If you assume a god, as that is a contradiction... anything follows, so what you said could be true, if there is a god. But if there is a god, then ANYTHING can be true, and reality can not be described, just as you said consciousness cannot be described. It is only when viewing the universe and it's component properties without assuming a god, than any description of anything can be made.

My theory stated above, is just, as you said yours was... MY thoughts and ideas on it. But, unlike yours, I do not hide behind some semantics that allow me to avoid defining, describing, and understanding what it is.

Consciousness isn't really ANYTHING... it's an emergent property OF something.
Granted, that once a property emerges from something, the property is indirectly physically something, in that it IS the order and arrangement of the thing that it emerged from.

I think the major flaw in what you were trying to say comes from one line you said "and all thoughts removed from my head, then i still am conscious"

No... you are NOT. You are dead or vegetative. You MAY be able to return to a conscious state and restore the brain to a state where consciousness re-emerges... but you are NOT conscious THEN.
In truth, I do not think anything but the worst case scenario of brain-dead being kept alive on life support can totally remove thoughts from your brain. But if it were otherwise possible, it would be the equivalent.



NobelCynic
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 28 Nov 2006
Age: 72
Gender: Male
Posts: 600
Location: New Jersey, U.S.A.

14 Jul 2010, 3:13 pm

Exclavius wrote:
It is only when viewing the universe and it's component properties without assuming a god, than any description of anything can be made.

Not so, indeed quite the reverse; one needs to assume there is nothing beyond the three dimensional universe in order to believe he understands how it functions.

Science only recently identified time as a forth dimension and the only part it plays in what we are discussing is that evolution and memetics take place over time; and only linear time is considered. I find B9,s idea of there being planes and depths to time fascinating. The only reference to God he made is his post was to say that volume of consciousness is probably one step beneath the mind of god, another way to put that might be it is the 0th dimension of god. That would place god in the 10th to 12th dimensions which is interesting because the number 12 is said to represent spiritual fullness.


_________________
NobelCynic (on WP)
My given name is Kenneth


skafather84
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Age: 36
Gender: Male
Posts: 9,848
Location: New Orleans, LA

14 Jul 2010, 3:15 pm

I just go with solipsism. When in doubt: I'm the only thing that's really real.


_________________
Wherever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human beings. ~Heinrich Heine, Almansor, 1823

?I wouldn't recommend sex, drugs or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me.? - Hunter S. Thompson


Exclavius
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 3 May 2010
Age: 47
Gender: Male
Posts: 632
Location: Ontario, Canada

14 Jul 2010, 8:35 pm

NobelCynic wrote:
Exclavius wrote:
It is only when viewing the universe and it's component properties without assuming a god, than any description of anything can be made.

Not so, indeed quite the reverse; one needs to assume there is nothing beyond the three dimensional universe in order to believe he understands how it functions.

Science only recently identified time as a forth dimension and the only part it plays in what we are discussing is that evolution and memetics take place over time; and only linear time is considered. I find B9,s idea of there being planes and depths to time fascinating. The only reference to God he made is his post was to say that volume of consciousness is probably one step beneath the mind of god, another way to put that might be it is the 0th dimension of god. That would place god in the 10th to 12th dimensions which is interesting because the number 12 is said to represent spiritual fullness.


Something cannot be "in the 10th to 12th dimensions" anymore than something can be only in time, but not in space.
if there are 12 dimensions (or 17 as per some m-theory models) then everything exists in all dimensions, even if they are independent of those dimensions. It may only exist at one place/value for a given dimension no matter what place/value any other dimension has... but something cannot "only exist in a group of dimensions" a dimension isn't by and of itself a place, like star trek or sci fi tv makes us believe. It's a direction, orthogonal to any other direction such as length, width, depth, time, etc.

This might be hard to see if you can only imagine and visualize 3 or 4 dimensions. Because the normal mode of extrapolating into more than 3 or 4 would be to visualize separate universes for each value of the new dimension. Thus, maybe when you say something exists in the 10 to 12th dimensions, that it exists at values/places in those dimensions which are inaccessible to that which we know to be the physical universe. For example the universe might only exist at a specific point in the 10th to 12th dimensions, and nothing "doable" within the laws that bind the universe together can alter the place in those dimensions where the universe is. But that doesn't mean it doesn't exists in the 10th to 12th dimension.

But that aside, it's not the point I was getting at.
B9's description depicts consciousness as "transcendent" as opposed to "emergent" or "immanent"
transcendent implies a god.... Well... more specifically I guess it implies a supernatural, which, imo, is about the same.

if consciousness is transcendent, it must have come from somewhere, already formed (though perhaps not as it is now, and maybe THEN changed by an evolutionary process)
If it is emergent, it arises as a property of someTHING (specifically a sufficiently complex brain to hold a sufficiently complex self-plex.) it did not arise already formed, it grew from nothing by "accident" or "coincidence" and was then driven by an evolutionary process.

Matter is emergent from space-time. Life is emergent from matter. Thought is emergent from life. Consciousness is emergent from thought.

Up to here, i see little room to argue... after here... have at me.


My belief, though I cannot offer much support for it, is that free will is emergent from consciousness. I also believe that something "else" will be emergent from free will. That itself may in fact be "god" But the universe is not there yet, so we cannot yet know.
In reverse... matter being emergent from space time could leave open something that space time could be emergent from. Not necessarily, because requiring it would lead to an infinite regress... At some point down the road the Anthropic principle must be applied. (there CAN be an infinite PROgress, just not REgress) so the previous paragraph could lead to a forever forward line of emergence, but backward there has to be a starting. (Some Theists of course will argue this though)

It's interesting to look at the time lines of each level of emergence too. Deciding when the first conscious brain emerged is difficult mind you. Each level of emergence takes less time than the last, and it's more or less a logarithmic decline.



Last edited by Exclavius on 14 Jul 2010, 10:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Asmodeus
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 24 Feb 2009
Age: 32
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,520

14 Jul 2010, 9:00 pm

B9 wrote:
consciousness is elusive to terminal objectivization and so can not be described.

You appear to be employing Wittgenstein's idea of "What we cannot speak of we must pass over in silence", however this is the elusive thing I am trying to discover.

You continue to give an alaysis (I can see where it seems to be going, and it would be lengthy) borrowing from that of theoretical physics, inasmuch as we are beings (like lines) moving through a dimension (time), and consciousness is in a dimension we cannot access, and connected to all dimensions in various ways. I begin to get science fiction-like ideas about folding dimensions to access consciousness directly to our senses. :)

I hope that made sense.

However what puts our consciousness there, while tied to our brains? How does matter access/connect to this place in the dimensions? Or is all matter conscious in this manner?

I feel this, like some memetic theory, conjures up unfalsifiability.

NobelCynic wrote:
Asmodeus wrote:
But what is this subjective experience? Is it an illusion, as I have come to believe
...
I'd like to cast it all aside in favour if it being an illusion in materialism, but I can't.


The two statements in the above quote were taken from two different posts and they seem to indicate a conflict going on within the mind of Asmodeus, but what is fighting what? Is the concept of dualism invading his mind trying to drive out materialism?

And where does Asmodeus come into it; is he an observer of the conflict or a participant?

And that is the conflict. I experience reality, and I know how, but it doesn't seem to explain it fully. I am not a dualist because for the most part it explains nothing. If dualism is the case, and can explain something, I need to know what it is, how it works.



NobelCynic
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 28 Nov 2006
Age: 72
Gender: Male
Posts: 600
Location: New Jersey, U.S.A.

15 Jul 2010, 7:04 am

Asmodeus wrote:
I am not a dualist because for the most part it explains nothing. If dualism is the case, and can explain something, I need to know what it is, how it works.

Isn't that the whole point of this thread? What is this thing we call Asmodeus, is it purely physical or is there something else? It's a heavy question; from the Book of Thomas the Contender:
Quote:
For he who has not known himself has known nothing, but he who has known himself has at the same time already achieved knowledge about the depth of the all.

I get the impression that you would like to agree with Excalvius, that you are purely physical, so perhaps the next question to ask yourself is why.


_________________
NobelCynic (on WP)
My given name is Kenneth