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Will We Ever Understand Consciousness?

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#1    Still Waters

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 01:33 PM

As you read this sentence, the millions of neurons in your brain are frantically whispering to each other, resulting in the experience of conscious awareness.

The nature of consciousness has intrigued philosophers and scientists for thousands of years. But can modern neuroscience ever hope to crack this mysterious phenomenon?

http://www.livescien...sciousness.html

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#2    Dan'O

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 01:44 PM

**** I still don't know what the heck is going on...where the hell am I?


#3    Frank Merton

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 02:19 PM

Limiting oneself to just sensation -- not even worrying about consciousness -- one soon concludes (at least I do) that brain is necessary but not sufficient.  Identifying a region of a brain which, when stimulated, causes the person to experience "blue," tells us that this area of the brain is where the sensation is controlled, but doesn't tell us how the experience of blueness comes to be.  The colors are notorious for being invented in our heads and not being part of the external world, but all sensations are really of the same fabric.

The article in the OP doesn't really bring out the nature of the problem.  It is not one of not having enough knowledge of brain physiology -- as that advances we become better and better at knowing where in the brain things happen, but not how they happen.

Since most animals are sensate, we assume it evolved -- either that or was already present in some mystical way and was picked up and used by natural selection as a good way to interface sensory input with the animal -- and behold you have beings that don't just respond reflexively but actually experience, in a brain-made way, the world about them.

Of course this is Taoism -- that mind is a "force" that permeates the universe -- kinda per Lucas (I suspect he borrowed all that).  Too much for me -- it needs some sort of evidence beyond just speculation about where sensation comes from.  When people come along who really can levitate things using mind force, then maybe this approach will be worthwhile pursuing.

In the end, it does seem that we are at a dead end refining details of the composition of the bricks but seeing no way to cross the wall.


#4    theSOURCE

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 02:50 PM

Having been unconscious for so long I don't understand a damned thing.


#5    White Crane Feather

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 11:04 PM

Qualia is a transcendent phenomenon. Transcendence cannot be reduced because it ceases to exist upon reduction. Nor can qualia sel reference  because self referencing is the base for it's existence. I know that I am because I know that I am. I know that because I know that I am. Conciousness is a feedback loop.

"I wish neither to possess, Nor to be possessed. I no longer covet paradise, more important, I no longer fear hell. The medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning, but I did not take it. My ailment came from within myself, But I did not observe it until this moment. Now I see that I will never find the light.  Unless, like the candle, I am my own fuel, Consuming myself. "
Bruce Lee-

#6    Black Red Devil

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 07:32 AM

View PosttheSOURCE, on 01 June 2013 - 02:50 PM, said:

Having been unconscious for so long I don't understand a damned thing.

Hanging upside down all the time doesn't help.  :unsure:

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#7    Frank Merton

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 07:53 AM

View PostSeeker79, on 01 June 2013 - 11:04 PM, said:

Qualia is a transcendent phenomenon. Transcendence cannot be reduced because it ceases to exist upon reduction. Nor can qualia sel reference  because self referencing is the base for it's existence. I know that I am because I know that I am. I know that because I know that I am. Conciousness is a feedback loop.
What you say is true, I think (assuming I understood it correctly) but doesn't tell us anything more than that we don't and can't know what qualia is.  When we talk about it we assume the person we are talking to has had the same experience of the same qualia and therefore experientially "knows" what we talk about.  If they haven't, no conversation is possible.  In the end all of our concepts end up this way (I talk about "energy" and can measure its effects and show how it transforms, but don't know what it really is).My conclusion is that reductionism doesn't work and must be replace by -- what?  We need reductionism -- it's the way our brains do logic and think.


#8    David Thomson

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 01:10 PM

The basic assumption of consciousness is wrong.  The idea that physical existence is real and the mind somehow arose from physical processes is opposite to reality.  Basic feeling, as measured by conductance, is more primary to physical existence.  This is something the mystics can directly experience, but the analytically inclined are unwilling to explore.  A paradigm shift is required before consciousness can be fully understood.


#9    White Crane Feather

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 01:56 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 02 June 2013 - 07:53 AM, said:


What you say is true, I think (assuming I understood it correctly) but doesn't tell us anything more than that we don't and can't know what qualia is.  When we talk about it we assume the person we are talking to has had the same experience of the same qualia and therefore experientially "knows" what we talk about.  If they haven't, no conversation is possible.  In the end all of our concepts end up this way (I talk about "energy" and can measure its effects and show how it transforms, but don't know what it really is).My conclusion is that reductionism doesn't work and must be replace by -- what?  We need reductionism -- it's the way our brains do logic and think.
Reductionism does have its place, but your right in the end it stops being usefull. everything is part of concentric rings of systems when we boil things down there is a new system. Everything appears to be a transcendent phenomenon of a more fundamental information system. An atom is its own entity transcendent of the neutrons, protons, and electrons the comprise it. A system of  particles, spins, charges, and quanta. The proton itself becomes transcendent of its subatomic peices subject to quantum effects. Then moving back up to the mind, group conciousness, the gia principle, the galaxy, galactic clusters, potential other dimensions.

Current estimates put the lower limit of the size of the universe at lower limit of 14 trillion light years in diameter if not infinit. 46 billion light years of observable universe. Transcendence dies not stop with the mind. I believe all of it experiences quaila.

"I wish neither to possess, Nor to be possessed. I no longer covet paradise, more important, I no longer fear hell. The medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning, but I did not take it. My ailment came from within myself, But I did not observe it until this moment. Now I see that I will never find the light.  Unless, like the candle, I am my own fuel, Consuming myself. "
Bruce Lee-

#10    Lex540

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 02:21 PM

Somethings you don't need to know but simply to observe upon trifles evrey secret is reveald that way and because the magic is in the mysterie


#11    Rlyeh

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 02:39 PM

View PostDavid Thomson, on 02 June 2013 - 01:10 PM, said:

The basic assumption of consciousness is wrong. The idea that physical existence is real and the mind somehow arose from physical processes is opposite to reality.  Basic feeling, as measured by conductance, is more primary to physical existence.  This is something the mystics can directly experience, but the analytically inclined are unwilling to explore.  A paradigm shift is required before consciousness can be fully understood.
Prove it.


#12    Frank Merton

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 03:09 PM

Well mind is not a physical thing: this is something we already have known for a least a thousand years. It is a process -- a somewhat but not entirely causally related chain of mental events -- thoughts, sensations that rise to consciousness and we notice, memories, emotions and other feelings, that we refer to as a "flow," but it is really more like a wave on the surface of the water influenced here and there by itself and by outside things.

One of the things about mind as we know it is that it experiences the world it is in through qualia -- sensory experiences that have no physical or outside existence: that are made up by the mind but that nevertheless correlate pretty well with the external world

I am reluctant to think that mystics have any special understanding of this beyond what the introspective meditation tells us.  That it seems impossible that it is reducible to physical description seems a given, but maybe someday some insight will come along to help.  I doubt it.  I think we are dealing here with a place our science can describe but not understand.


#13    danielost

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 04:04 PM

They can map the brain all they want.  But, they will not be able to define conscience.  Because the conscience is who we are not what we are.

I am a Mormon.  If I don't use Mormons believe, those my beliefs only.
I do not go to church haven't for thirty years.
There are other Mormons on this site. So if I have misspoken about the beliefs. I welcome their input.
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#14    Ryu

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 06:36 PM

If everything that we experience is a result of chemical actions in the brain i.e thoughts, feelings, dreams, personality, etc then why not consciousness?

After all, you alter or damage the human brain then you damage human consciousness.


#15    lightly

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 07:55 PM

What about the electrical nature of the brain?  all that synapsing going on and all ..    Doesn't electrical activity create a field of some sort?    Might this field extend beyond our skulls and interact with our environment ?

Important:  The above may contain errors, inaccuracies, omissions, and other limitations.





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