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What is conciousness?
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IamSundogOffline
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PostPosted: 23-04-2013 20:33    Post subject: Reply with quote

rynner2 wrote:
Who says consciousness doesn't exist?


Beg your pardon, I should say “the self” in place of “consciousness”. Although others have also mixed the two terms:

rynner2 wrote:
Do we really even exist? Fooling ourselves into thinking we do is the one thing that makes us who we are…..The only disagreement many scientists would have with philosopher Thomas Metzinger's claim that "modern philosophy of mind and cognitive neuroscience together are about to shatter the myth of the self" is that the destruction has already occurred…..There is a wide range of scientific evidence that is used to deny "I think, therefore I am"…..Many writers, such as Blackmore and Metzinger, draw the conclusion that the self is an illusion.

garrick92 wrote:
You really do have to admire a phenomenon capable of arguing in favour of its own non-existence.

Pietro_Mercurios wrote:
Yes. According to the experts, we're not really conscious, we only think we are. Really, we're tricking ourselves by standing in a hall of mirrors, continuously turning round to catch a glimpse of the back of our necks. Ultimately, we're not really there, at all. The hall of mirrors is empty, repeating reflections, reflecting an infinity of nothing.
Materialist reductionism to the point of absurdity.
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lkb3rdOffline
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PostPosted: 04-05-2013 01:38    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think it is something that can be explained or measured using science.

I think that God might be this consciousness when explained in religious terms. What is called the soul is perhaps this consciousness when our body dies.

I think that this consciousness might be shared with all conscious things, and may be the creator of all matter.
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rynner2Offline
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PostPosted: 04-05-2013 06:37    Post subject: Reply with quote

lkb3rd wrote:
I don't think it is something that can be explained or measured using science.

But if we don't try, we'll never know! And in fact science has made a lot of progress in understanding consciousness.

But a lot of people with religious leanings feel uncomfortable with the idea that it might all be down to computing processes, hard-wired into us through millions of years of evolution, that our flesh and blood computers are running various programs with nested sub-routines that account for all we do and think.

But people like me feel uncomfortable with religion, and ideas like 'God' and 'soul' that are effectively undefined and seem to be used with a lot of hand-waving. To claim that God explains everything really explains nothing, unless we understand how, and often introduces even more awkward questions. If God is eternal, what did he do before he created the universe? Or if he's not eternal, who created him? And who created his creators...? People can (and do) waffle on all day about such things, but never make any progress.

Science, on the other hand, sets itself small, well-defined questions to try to answer. That way we build up our understanding of the world from the bottom up. By contrast, religion could be described as a top-down process, where the big answer 'God' explains everything. But it seems to lack all the details of how things work.

If your child is ill, you could pray for God to heal her. But to my mind, you'd do better to call the doctor. He would note her symptoms, and, using not only his own experience but that of generations of earlier doctors and researchers, prescribe some suitable treatment.

Science is not perfect, and it never will be. It's been said that as the circle of knowledge expands, its contact with the unknown at the circumference of the circle also expands. But who knows? If the circle of knowledge is drawn on the surface of a sphere, the circumference will grow as the circle expands, but only up to a maximum - thereafter it shrinks, finally disappearing altogether when everything is known! Wink

If we did indeed know everything, then we would be godlike ourselves - but we would have achieved that state through the bottom-up process of science, rather than by some stroke of undefined magic.
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OneWingedBirdOffline
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PostPosted: 04-05-2013 09:11    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
A rainbow is a visual effect created by the properties of light and water and air.


And our having 3 types of cells in the eye that detect a narrow-ish range of wavelengths. Which is what I was getting at earlier and which also makes your argument even better. The stripes are an artifact of how we process the information.
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lkb3rdOffline
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PostPosted: 04-05-2013 11:18    Post subject: Reply with quote

rynner2 wrote:


If we did indeed know everything, then we would be godlike ourselves - but we would have achieved that state through the bottom-up process of science, rather than by some stroke of undefined magic.


I personally think that it is closer to magic than science Smile

I only used the religious terms because everyone is familiar with them.

I think it is possible that many if not most of the religions are talking about this same thing, just using different details. Perhaps changing some of it to suit an agenda or due to cultural differences.

I also think it is possible that we ARE godlike, or at least a part of God (again just using this term for convenience) .
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Pietro_Mercurios
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PostPosted: 04-05-2013 12:38    Post subject: Reply with quote

OneWingedBird wrote:
Quote:
A rainbow is a visual effect created by the properties of light and water and air.


And our having 3 types of cells in the eye that detect a narrow-ish range of wavelengths. Which is what I was getting at earlier and which also makes your argument even better. The stripes are an artifact of how we process the information.

Science does tend to look at the whole process of consciousness and awareness, backwards. Explaining how something works, doesn't really explain why it has significance to us. Given the totality of full spectrum information out there in the Universe, the fact that we can grasp at and decode at least some of it, is not half as important as the realization that it wouldn't really have any value, whatsoever, if there wasn't an observer there to be aware of it.

Materialist science is a prime case of, never mind the quality, feel the width; the cost of everything the value of nothing. Reductionist science suggests that nothing has any real significance, that awareness and consciousness are nothing more than a fluke, an illusion, or at best, an accidental byproduct of electro chemical and mechanical processes. That's why there are many scientists who seem to believe that robots could be made to be better than humans. Awareness not required. Those are the miserable and poverty stricken limits of pure science.
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kamalktkOffline
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PostPosted: 07-02-2014 14:15    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why Physicists Are Saying Consciousness Is A State Of Matter, Like a Solid, A Liquid Or A Gas
A new way of thinking about consciousness is sweeping through science like wildfire. Now physicists are using it to formulate the problem of consciousness in concrete mathematical terms for the first time

https://medium.com/the-physics-arxiv-blog/5e7ed624986d

It's a long article, so I'm not going to repost it here. I don't really get it, but it's relevant to the topic.
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feinmanOffline
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PostPosted: 07-02-2014 17:29    Post subject: Reply with quote

Who is really asking? Laughing
Before you are born, you are no-thing, no-one, everything. "You" doesn't really exist. Buddhists talk about nothing ultimately having self-nature. "You" are just an extension of the universe, and nothing else. When "you" die, that illusion is gone and go back to previous state, except that information is not lost; it continues to affect the illusion we live in. Sheldrake mentions "Morphic Resonance" perhaps folks with "past lives" are just resonating with part of that information --"you" could go away as one and come back as many --even an artistic movement, or "many" could "go" and come back as one. The ego and individual just develops as a blossoming of the potential of matter.

http://www.blatner.com/adam/consctransf/sriyantra/1-intro.html

<sets Kool aid down> Wink
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rynner2Offline
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PostPosted: 07-02-2014 17:55    Post subject: Reply with quote

kamalktk wrote:
Why Physicists Are Saying Consciousness Is A State Of Matter, Like a Solid, A Liquid Or A Gas
A new way of thinking about consciousness is sweeping through science like wildfire. Now physicists are using it to formulate the problem of consciousness in concrete mathematical terms for the first time

https://medium.com/the-physics-arxiv-blog/5e7ed624986d

It's a long article, so I'm not going to repost it here. I don't really get it, but it's relevant to the topic.

I'm glad you posted. It's good to know that dedicated researchers are still looking into this, and finding handles they can get hold of and manipulate.

By contrast those who assert that science will never understand consciousness are preaching a philosophy of nihilism and despair.

Of course it's early days for this new metaphor of 'consciousness as a new state of matter' to have achieved much traction, but the fact that it can be put through the mathematical mangles of quantum physics and information theory is reassuring.

Of course, this analysis may someday blow the theory as it stands out of the water, but that's how science progresses - one door closes, but another one opens elsewhere....

As the article says in its closing words:
Quote:
At the beginning of the 20th century, a group of young physicists embarked on a quest to explain a few strange but seemingly small anomalies in our understanding of the universe. In deriving the new theories of relativity and quantum mechanics, they ended up changing the way we comprehend the cosmos. These physcists, at least some of them, are now household names.

Could it be that a similar revolution is currently underway at the beginning of the 21st century?
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