Forums

 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages 
What is consciousness?
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3 ... 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Fortean Times Message Board Forum Index -> General Forteana
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
IamSundogOffline
The FTMB member previously known as Sundog
Joined: 11 Oct 2002
Total posts: 1847
Location: Right here
Gender: Male
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.
Back to top
View user's profile 
lkb3rdOffline
Great Old One
Joined: 19 Jul 2004
Total posts: 301
Location: CT. USA
Gender: Male
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.
Back to top
View user's profile 
rynner2Offline
What a Cad!
Joined: 13 Dec 2008
Total posts: 25937
Location: Under the moon
Gender: Male
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.
Back to top
View user's profile 
OneWingedBirdOffline
Freelance Subversive
Joined: 19 Nov 2012
Total posts: 1776
Location: Attice of blinkey lights
Age: 45
Gender: Female
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.
Back to top
View user's profile 
lkb3rdOffline
Great Old One
Joined: 19 Jul 2004
Total posts: 301
Location: CT. USA
Gender: Male
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) .
Back to top
View user's profile 
Pietro_Mercurios
Heuristically Challenged
Gender: Unknown
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.
Back to top
View user's profile 
kamalktkOffline
Great Old One
Joined: 05 Feb 2011
Total posts: 965
Gender: Unknown
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.
Back to top
View user's profile 
feinmanOffline
Great Old One
Joined: 25 Nov 2013
Total posts: 210
Age: 45
Gender: Male
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
Back to top
View user's profile 
rynner2Offline
What a Cad!
Joined: 13 Dec 2008
Total posts: 25937
Location: Under the moon
Gender: Male
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?
Back to top
View user's profile 
PeteByrdieOffline
Great Old One
Joined: 19 Jan 2014
Total posts: 347
Location: UK
Age: 40
Gender: Male
PostPosted: 05-07-2014 16:47    Post subject: Reply with quote

NewScientist wrote:
Consciousness on-off switch discovered deep in brain

ONE moment you're conscious, the next you're not. For the first time, researchers have switched off consciousness by electrically stimulating a single brain area.

Scientists have been probing individual regions of the brain for over a century, exploring their function by zapping them with electricity and temporarily putting them out of action. Despite this, they have never been able to turn off consciousness – until now.

Although only tested in one person, the discovery suggests that a single area – the claustrum – might be integral to combining disparate brain activity into a seamless package of thoughts, sensations and emotions. It takes us a step closer to answering a problem that has confounded scientists and philosophers for millennia – namely how our conscious awareness arises.

Many theories abound but most agree that consciousness has to involve the integration of activity from several brain networks, allowing us to perceive our surroundings as one single unifying experience rather than isolated sensory perceptions.

One proponent of this idea was Francis Crick, a pioneering neuroscientist who earlier in his career had identified the structure of DNA. Just days before he died in July 2004, Crick was working on a paper that suggested our consciousness needs something akin to an orchestra conductor to bind all of our different external and internal perceptions together.

With his colleague Christof Koch, at the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle, he hypothesised that this conductor would need to rapidly integrate information across distinct regions of the brain and bind together information arriving at different times. For example, information about the smell and colour of a rose, its name, and a memory of its relevance, can be bound into one conscious experience of being handed a rose on Valentine's day.

The pair suggested that the claustrum – a thin, sheet-like structure that lies hidden deep inside the brain – is perfectly suited to this job (Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B, doi.org/djjw5m).

It now looks as if Crick and Koch were on to something. In a study published last week, Mohamad Koubeissi at the George Washington University in Washington DC and his colleagues describe how they managed to switch a woman's consciousness off and on by stimulating her claustrum. The woman has epilepsy so the team were using deep brain electrodes to record signals from different brain regions to work out where her seizures originate. One electrode was positioned next to the claustrum, an area that had never been stimulated before.

When the team zapped the area with high frequency electrical impulses, the woman lost consciousness. She stopped reading and stared blankly into space, she didn't respond to auditory or visual commands and her breathing slowed. As soon as the stimulation stopped, she immediately regained consciousness with no memory of the event. The same thing happened every time the area was stimulated during two days of experiments (Epilepsy and Behavior, doi.org/tgn).


To confirm that they were affecting the woman's consciousness rather than just her ability to speak or move, the team asked her to repeat the word "house" or snap her fingers before the stimulation began. If the stimulation was disrupting a brain region responsible for movement or language she would have stopped moving or talking almost immediately. Instead, she gradually spoke more quietly or moved less and less until she drifted into unconsciousness. Since there was no sign of epileptic brain activity during or after the stimulation, the team is sure that it wasn't a side effect of a seizure.

Koubeissi thinks that the results do indeed suggest that the claustrum plays a vital role in triggering conscious experience. "I would liken it to a car," he says. "A car on the road has many parts that facilitate its movement – the gas, the transmission, the engine – but there's only one spot where you turn the key and it all switches on and works together. So while consciousness is a complicated process created via many structures and networks – we may have found the key."


http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22329762.700-consciousness-onoff-switch-discovered-deep-in-brain.html#.U7gr7ZRdWSq

There's more after the link. Exciting but based on a single case.
Back to top
View user's profile 
garrick92Offline
Invisible Flaneur
Joined: 29 Oct 2001
Total posts: 1139
Gender: Unknown
PostPosted: 01-08-2014 23:07    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've read that NS article a couple of times now, and I can only assume that the journalist who wrote it got a bit carried away (which would not the first time that NS has presented some earth-shaking find that is never heard of again -- it's like a print version of Tomorrow's World at times).

OK, so let's assume (big assumption) that what was true for this woman holds true for all of us. The finding is summarisable as a sort of 'light switch' for awareness.

Is it *really* so amazing that such a thing exists? After all, most of us lose awareness on a regular basis. You'd actually expect this to be governed by part of the brain ... wouldn't you?

Then the claim that this newly-identified function acts as Crick's "Orchestra Conductor" ... well, frankly that strikes me as reaching somewhat.

(I'm being generous here, I think -- my initial thought was that it was a complete non-sequitur).

If researchers had managed to divorce (for example) the subject's experience of smelling a rose from her sight of the same bloom, I might be more inclined to give it some credence. But they haven't done that. They've switched between "aware" of a rose and "unaware" of a rose.

So, all in all, I think the intro's breathless announcement of a 'step toward understanding the millennia-old puzzle of consciousness'(or however it was phrased) is a little premature, to put it mildly.
Back to top
View user's profile Visit poster's website 
jimv1Offline
Great Old One
Joined: 10 Aug 2005
Total posts: 3288
Gender: Male
PostPosted: 01-08-2014 23:17    Post subject: Reply with quote

All we're about is the DNA trying to get the bacteria we're carrying into space.
That's all there is to it.
Back to top
View user's profile 
CochiseOffline
Great Old One
Joined: 17 Jun 2011
Total posts: 1830
Location: Gwynedd, Wales
Age: 58
Gender: Male
PostPosted: 02-08-2014 08:40    Post subject: Reply with quote

Isn't there multiple angles to this? Sure, science can explain - eventually - what goes to make up consciousness - they can do that for a dog, as well.

The real question is why do humans have, apparently uniquely, although possibly shared with dolphins, whales and higher apes - an acutely developed self-consciousness? It doesn't seem to be necessary - ants get by perfectly well without it.

Science does what, not really why. Of course there may be no 'why', but we are uniquely unable to come to terms with that - I bet we keep looking for the 'why' as long as any of us are left.
Back to top
View user's profile 
garrick92Offline
Invisible Flaneur
Joined: 29 Oct 2001
Total posts: 1139
Gender: Unknown
PostPosted: 02-08-2014 11:00    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cochise wrote:
The real question is why do humans have, apparently uniquely, although possibly shared with dolphins, whales and higher apes - an acutely developed self-consciousness? It doesn't seem to be necessary - ants get by perfectly well without it.


Well, we don't actually know that for a fact. What would self-consciousness look like in an ant? I don't think we could recognise something so totally alien.

This is more a philosophical quibble than a serious argument, but even I must admit that our knowledge of self-awareness in animals has advanced significantly since I was a child.
Back to top
View user's profile Visit poster's website 
CochiseOffline
Great Old One
Joined: 17 Jun 2011
Total posts: 1830
Location: Gwynedd, Wales
Age: 58
Gender: Male
PostPosted: 03-08-2014 08:56    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure it has. Our ability to project human thought patterns onto animals continues unabated, but whether we have as yet any clue whatsoever how animals - let alone ants - think is debatable.

We deny, for example, the genetic transfer of learned behaviour and yet anyone who has a sheepdog knows it happens.

But for most people science is king, even when it blatantly fails to explain common occurrences. I don't suggest most proper scientists think that way, mind you, it is a product of media exaggeration and sensationalism.

I remember being told by a psychologist the number of things that would be undeveloped in my brain because I only had one eye and the connections between left eye right brain and vice versa - in fact, none of it was true, because the brain adapts in ways that makes the whole pseudo-scientific idea that given areas of brain do certain things at best a wild approximation.

The scientific method works fine in chemistry and pretty well in physics, but as you get further and further away from experiments in which you can control all the parameters, somewhere along the line it ceases to be science and becomes opinion. Often coupled with some pretty bizarre experiments that look like they'd be better off done by Dr. Moreau.
Back to top
View user's profile 
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Fortean Times Message Board Forum Index -> General Forteana All times are GMT
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3 ... 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14  Next
Page 10 of 14

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group