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Will We Ever Understand Consciousness?

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#16    White Crane Feather

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 08:41 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 02 June 2013 - 03:09 PM, said:

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.
That's because you are not a mystic frank. You probably have not experienced the depths of concious experience that is available to you. As such, as a man of honesty, you are limited in your evaluation of what a mystic is capable of knowing that may not have language equivalents for you to understand with the limitations of language.

Edited by Seeker79, 02 June 2013 - 08:42 PM.

"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. "
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#17    redhen

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 08:42 PM

View Postlightly, on 02 June 2013 - 07:55 PM, said:

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 ?

Dr. Stuart Hameroff has an interesting theory that sounds similar. But rather than an electric field, he proposes a quantum field built up in the microtubules of brain neurons.

Here's a short 10 min video describing the theory and a possible explanation for near death experiences. As an anesthesiologist,  I think Dr. Hameroff is well placed to talk about consciousness and it's absence. You can find other much longer talks and interviews online.



Here's another 10 min TED talk with much larger ramifications than just NDE's.



This modern theory sounds very much like ancient eastern metaphysics. Form is emptiness, emptiness is form.


#18    chopmo

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 11:47 PM

"Historically, philosophers have a disastrous record of explaining things," said neuroscientist Christof Koch. - Said the man trying to understand his belonging.

Philosopher's were aware of there conciousness hence time, space and physical knowledge were igcognitive at the best of times.

I think it is a one or the other teaching. Either we grow up into/are taught/learn conciousness and meta-allknowing or vice versa Physical allknowing knowledge.
*Yes, I do realise not everyone will/can be allknowing but that would be your end goal should you succeed.*

Personally imo that is why the bigger picture has phased out the possibility of the philosophical/shaman/pagan upbringing.
*Hence the creation of the factory line. (Kindy>School>High School>Uni/College>Masters>Death)*
It wasn't too long ago (considering the age of the earth that is) that the Governments/Religion/Power Structures relied on Philosophers to guide their path.
In saying that, that alone flips the power structure into the limelight of what it should be.
People > Representitives (Speaking on behalf of the people)

But you know let's keep killing eachother over pretty material things. :S


#19    Rlyeh

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 04:28 AM

View PostSeeker79, on 02 June 2013 - 08:41 PM, said:

That's because you are not a mystic frank. You probably have not experienced the depths of concious experience that is available to you. As such, as a man of honesty, you are limited in your evaluation of what a mystic is capable of knowing that may not have language equivalents for you to understand with the limitations of language.
That same reasoning is what fuels fraudulent practices such a exorcism and homeotherapy.


#20    Frank Merton

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 07:02 AM

View PostRlyeh, on 03 June 2013 - 04:28 AM, said:

That same reasoning is what fuels fraudulent practices such a exorcism and homeotherapy.
Which is an example of the fallacy of saying that because a premise can be used to derive false conclusions the premise is false.

The only meditative practice I do is introspective meditation, usually set in train through breathing mindfulness, and sometimes I am tempted to go off in spiritual directions away from my actual mind.  It's not so much that I think doing this might be dangerous (although potential dangers are obvious) but that it doesn't really seem to lead anywhere so long as one is skeptical.  There are clearly barriers present -- maybe caused by the skepticism or maybe present because of the skepticism.

Should I not be skeptical? I don't see where that is possible, at least for me.  My reality checker works overtime as it is, and cannot be willfully controlled, perhaps because I intuitively know that I am better off by far leaving it alone.


#21    Rlyeh

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 08:11 AM

View PostFrank Merton, on 03 June 2013 - 07:02 AM, said:

Which is an example of the fallacy of saying that because a premise can be used to derive false conclusions the premise is false.
Well the premise in this instance is some anecdotal mystic understanding.


#22    DeWitz

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 08:57 PM

It may be impossible to fully grasp human consciousness, because upon "thinking" we are conscious, when we become conscious of our consciousness itself, we are only conscious of being conscious in situ, not conscious of our consciousness per se.

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#23    StarMountainKid

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 02:55 AM

Is consciousness our awareness, or does our awareness reside within consciousness? In the same sense,  do thought occurs within consiousness, as well as recalled memories, emotions, knowledge and physical states (the sense of touch, pain)? Or are these things consciousness itself?

If we would be unaware of our sensory perceptions, thoughts, emotions, etc., would our consciousness still exist?

I think sometimes it is better to question than to state theories, beliefs and opinions. Someone once asked the question, what is the mind between two thoughts? If our minds were to become totally silent and empty, would we begin to gain some understanding of what fundamental consciousness is for ourselves?

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#24    Frank Merton

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 01:30 PM

Well a good step in trying to find answers is to state the questions as clearly as possible, but one should not stop there but should develop theories and opinions (I would say its best to try to avoid having beliefs).  By formulating theories and so on one often sees ways to test them to see how they hold up.


#25    StarMountainKid

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 03:55 PM

Frank Merton said:

Well a good step in trying to find answers is to state the questions as clearly as possible, but one should not stop there but should develop theories and opinions (I would say its best to try to avoid having beliefs).  By formulating theories and so on one often sees ways to test them to see how they hold up.

I agree with you, however we can become absorbed in our theories and opinions and loose sight of what we are studying. One can describe a tree and explain all the biological functions of a tree. This is good and useful, but all this information is not a substitute for our actual experience of the tree.

Intellectualizing phenomena can distance us from the actual phenomenon itself. I think it is also useful to try to discard the objective/subjective divide and become the tree. This may sound fanciful, but perhaps a different kind of understanding may be gained by "under standing" the tree, and allowing this experience without imposing intellectual theories and opinions to separate you and tree.

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#26    third_eye

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 04:11 PM

you can't use consciousness to evaluate consciousness ... a mirror cannot see a mirror ...


Posted Image


is the mind aware of us or is it us that is aware of the mind ?


~

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' ... life and death carry on as they always have ~ and always will, only the dreamer is gone ~ behind the flow of imagination, beyond any effort to be still
dancing in the ebb and flow of attention, more present than the breath, I find the origins of my illusions, only the dreamer is gone ~ the dream never ends
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#27    Frank Merton

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 04:14 PM

I think a mirror could analyze itself, but it would need some equipment.


#28    Frank Merton

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 04:16 PM

Can we ever experience a tree?  I think what we experience is some of the effects of the presence of a tree near us, and even these are almost entirely personal.


#29    StarMountainKid

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 06:59 PM

third_eye said:

you can't use consciousness to evaluate consciousness ... a mirror cannot see a mirror

When we evaluate consciousness, is this evaluation consciousness? Wouldn't our evaluation be a lot of words written down and some chemical symbols and equations perhaps, but would these marks on paper bring us any closer to our understanding of the experience of consciousness?

Quote

is the mind aware of us or is it us that is aware of the mind

I think the mind can create many facets for itself. "Us" being aware of the mind is one of them. If the mind is aware of us, then what is the mind? In this sense, the mind would be something separate fro the "us", something that the "us" cannot become aware of, something autonomous that the "us" has no control of.

The sub-conscious mind operates unbeknownst to consciousness. Does this mind control our consciousness, or does our consciousness control this mind? What creates thought, then places these thoughts in our consciousness?

I do not consciously think a thought that produces thought, so in my view, mind is just mind and consciousness is just consciousness, and everything works together as one system. When we try to analyze all of this, it is still the mind analyzing itself by using thought, the mirror trying to reflect itself.

I think the mind understands itself and consciousness understands itself quite well. Thought and analysis just get in the way of this kind of understanding, which I consider a more accurate understanding than theories and opinions.

Frank Merton said:

I think a mirror could analyze itself, but it would need some equipment

Quote

Can we ever experience a tree?  I think what we experience is some of the effects of the presence of a tree near us, and even these are almost entirely personal.

I'm trying to say what separates the tree from me are my thoughts about the tree. Without this separation, does my consciousness become the tree?

The acceptance of authority does not lead to intelligence.
A mind untouched by thought...the end of knowledge.
My credentials: http://www.unexplain...ic=87935&st=225

#30    third_eye

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 09:43 PM

View PostStarMountainKid, on 04 June 2013 - 06:59 PM, said:


~snip

I do not consciously think a thought that produces thought, so in my view, mind is just mind and consciousness is just consciousness, and everything works together as one system. When we try to analyze all of this, it is still the mind analyzing itself by using thought, the mirror trying to reflect itself.

~snip



If "everything works together as one system" does it means it is all separate in the system ? If so where is the separation ?

If it is "the mind analyzing itself by using thought" then is the mind thoughts or are the thoughts mind ?

How does a mirror succeeds in achieving "trying to reflect itself" much less "reflecting itself" ?

~

Quote

' ... life and death carry on as they always have ~ and always will, only the dreamer is gone ~ behind the flow of imagination, beyond any effort to be still
dancing in the ebb and flow of attention, more present than the breath, I find the origins of my illusions, only the dreamer is gone ~ the dream never ends
'

GIFTS WITH NO GIVER - a love affair with truth ~ Poems by Nirmala

third_eye ' s cavern ~ bring own beer






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