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Three stages to consciousness


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#1    coberst

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 07:34 PM

Three stages to consciousness

Suppose something happens that frightens me.  My blood pressure goes up, my heart starts beating very fast, the release of adrenalin creates a great burst of energy, I may even jump or start to run.  All of the feelings that are a result of these biological happenings reach my consciousness and I now know that I am afraid.

Many non human creatures have emotions—“human emotions however have evolved to making connections to complex ideas, values, principles, and judgments”—thus human emotion is special—the impact of feelings on humans is the result of consciousness—a distinct difference between feeling and knowing a feeling—“neither the emotion or the feeling caused by the emotion is conscious”—these things happen in a biological state—there are three stages here; emotion, feeling, and consciousness of feeling—consciousness must be present if feelings have an influence beyond the here and the now.

We need not be conscious of the emotion or the inducer of the emotion—we are about as effective in stopping an emotion as in stopping a sneeze.

“Emotions are about the life of an organism, its body to be precise, and their role is to assist the organism in maintaining life…emotions are biologically determined processes, depending upon innately set brain devices, laid down by long evolutionary history…The devices that produce emotions…are part of a set of structures that both regulate and represent body states…All devices can be engaged automatically, without conscious deliberation…The variety of the emotional responses is responsible for profound changes in both the body landscape and the brain landscape.  The collection of these changes constitutes the substrate for the neural patterns which eventually become feelings of emotion.”


The biological function of emotions is to produce an automatic action in certain situations and to regulate the internal processes so that the creature is able to support the action dictated by the situation.  The biological purpose of emotions are clear, they are not a luxury but a necessity for survival.

“It is through feelings, which are inwardly directed and private, that emotions, which are outwardly directed and public, begin their impact on the mind; but the full and lasting impact of feelings requires consciousness, because only along with the advent of a sense of self do feelings become known to the individual having them.”

Damasio proposes “that the term feeling should be reserve for the private, mental experience of an emotion, while the term emotion should be used to designate the collection of responses, many of which are publicly observable.”  This means that while we can observe our own private feelings we cannot observe these same feelings in others.

Core consciousness—“occurs when the brain’s representation devices generate an imaged, nonverbal account of how the organism’s own state is affected by the organism’s processing  of an object, and when this process enhances  the image of the causative object, thus placing it saliently  in a spatial and temporal context”

First, there is emotion, then comes feeling, then comes consciousness of feeling. There is no evidence that we are conscious of all our feelings, in fact evidence indicates that we are not conscious of all feelings.

Quotes from The Feeling of What Happens by Antonio Damasio


#2    Mr Walker

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 02:12 AM

While i agree with some of this, historical, anecdotal and personal evidence illustrates that some of the conclusions are wrong.

Our sapience allows the sapient part of our emotional consciousness to overrule/control the purely biological or evolved emotional part. A human being can not just be taught to recognise their emtional states from physiological responses, but to control, or even eliminate/alter that state through conscious application.
In other words, a human being can choose their emotional responses. We are not bound to environmental/evolutionary conditioning to feel fear hate love etc.

Those are now choices of our conscious mind, and in humans they should be recognised and treated s such. No longer can anger at infidelity be used as a legal excuse for killing. No longer can fear or hate be justifiable cause for actions which harm another.

More so, no longer can someone correctly say, "ÿou made me feel so snd so"

Actually, you chose your emotional response, and if you did not you abrogated your human responsibility to do so. (If you can, you have a duty to do so)

Evolution served man well up to a point but then it created sapince. Sapience is a point of dicontinuity with evolution as we understand it. Sapience creates not just an ability but a desire to reconstruct ourselves and our environments both external and internal Sapience itself will begin engineering humanity in a way evolution never would have.
(One can argue that sapience, being a part of evolution,this is purely a natural step in evolution; but actually it transcends the understood nature form and function of evolution.)

It is like creating an artificial intelligence, linked to a system which allows it to change its environment.

The changes it implements in its own operating system, and the environment, will have little, if any, connection to its "evolved"  nature, and a lot to its intelligence/self awareness /perceived needs and desires.

Edited by Mr Walker, 09 October 2009 - 02:13 AM.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

#3    coberst

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 01:35 PM

Mr Walker  I agree somewhat.  We are meaning creating creatures.

The great truth of human nature is that wo/man strives for meaning.  S/he imposes on raw experience symbolic categories of thought, and does so with conceptual structures of thought.  “All human problems are, in the last resort, problems of the soul.”—Otto Rank

In the nineteenth century, after two hundred years of opposition paradigms, science faced the dilemma: if we make wo/man to be totally an object of science, to be as this object merely a conglomeration of atoms and wheels then where is there a place for freedom?  How can such a collection of mere atoms be happy, and fashion the Good Life?

The best thinkers of the Enlightenment followed by the best of the nineteenth century were caught in the dilemma of a materialistic psychology.   Does not the inner wo/man disappear when humans are made into an object of science?  On the other hand if we succumb to the mode of the middle Ages, when the Church kept man firmly under the wraps of medieval superstitions, do we not give up all hope for self-determined man?  

“Yet, we want man to be the embodiment of free, undetermined subjectivity, because this is the only thing that keeps him interesting in all of nature…It sums up the whole tragedy of the Enlightenment vision of science.”  There are still those who would willingly surrender wo/man to Science because of their fear of an ever encroaching superstitious enemy.

Kant broke open this frustrating dilemma.  By showing that sapiens could not know nature in its stark reality, that sapiens had no intellectual access to the thing-in-itself, that humans could never know a nature that transcended their epistemology, Kant “defeated materialistic psychology, even while keeping its gains.  He centered nature on man, and so made psychology subjective; but he also showed the limitations of human perceptions in nature, and so he could be objective about them, and about man himself.  In a word man was at once, limited creature, and bottomless mystery, object and subject…Thus it kept the best of materialism, and guaranteed more than materialism ever could: the protection of man’s freedom, and the preservation of his inner mystery.”

After Kant, Schilling illuminated the uniqueness of man’s ideas, and the limitations from any ideal within nature.  Schilling gave us modern wo/man.  Materialism and idealism was conjoined.  Wo/man functioned under the aegis of whole ideas, just as the idealists wanted, and thus man became an object of science while maintaining freedom of self-determination.

The great truth of the nineteenth century was that produced by William Dilthey, which was what wo/man constantly strived for.  “It was “meaning” said Dilthey, meaning is the great truth about human nature.  Everything that lives, lives by drawing together strands of experience as a basis for its action; to live is to act, to move forward into the world of experience…Meaning is the relationship between parts of experience.”  Man does not do this drawing together on the basis of simple experience but on the basis of concepts.  Man imposes symbolic categories of thought on raw experience.  His conception of life determines the manner in which s/he values all of its parts.

Concludes Dilthey, meaning “is the comprehensive category through which life becomes comprehensible…Man is the meaning-creating animal.”  

Does it make sense to you that “All human problems are, in the last resort, problems of the soul”??  

Quotes and ideas from Beyond Alienation by Ernest Becker


#4    Mr Walker

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 02:31 AM

Quote

Does it make sense to you that “All human problems are, in the last resort, problems of the soul”??
Certainly it makes sense to me, in that human souls are a product of/a part of; sapience. Only a being aware of the potentials of good/evil, and capable of choosing between, them can have /grow a soul.
In simple terms, humans create their own problems(and their own solutions) because they can think. Even when we respond to natural, internal and external stimuli, we respond in a self aware and conscious way.

Thus, hunger for a human is not just a physical but an intellectual problem. It will likely be solved not just by physical means but by applying intelligence. Thus, intrinsically, all human problems, both physical and metaphysical, are a consequence of our soul/sapience and can/must be addressed by this aspect of humanity for most effective solution.

Ps id go back a step in the search for the ultimate purpose. Humans search for  ulimate meaning basically as a way of understanding self, world, and relationship between self/ world.

This is an essential strategy to optimise survival by a sapient being.(Things which are unknown present greater dangers than things which are known; and the better we can control self, environment, and the interface between, the better chance for srvival an otherwise fairly weak animal has)

In these understandings we find how to preserve and enhance/extend sapient existence. Thus, even the search for meaning is, at heart, about survival and propagation of self.

Edited by Mr Walker, 10 October 2009 - 02:38 AM.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.




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