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Still Waters

Where does consciousness come from?

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It's a question that's perplexed philosophers for centuries and scientists for decades: Where does consciousness come from? We know it exists, at least in ourselves. But how it arises from chemistry and electricity in our brains is an unsolved mystery.

http://www.wired.com...sciousness/all/

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When I find myself contemplating this I always tend to travel back to childhood and pull apart the various veils that cloaked 'boring' (too complex) thoughts in favour of fun and frolicking, children and animals are more acutely aware than adult human beings, they have clarity of direction despite not being in control of their environments, they make believe they are, there's some kinda streamlined projection/purpose in a fragile layer around our shells that we burn away as we mature and branch out into our societies, don't get me wrong, trynna live with an infant's mindset or animal's skillset in our world is doomed for failure but we kinda trim and trade primitive rapport for practical profit.

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I've always been of the opinion of our consciousness being the end result of a "hive-mind" system of our individual brain cells. If we were a single form of thought with no variation, why would we ever be indecisive about anything?

edit: Just read the article, and I like his theory that even the internet could potentially be conscious as a simple law of the universe.

Edited by Wickian

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I was just wondering today where our consciousness goes when we die

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I just woke up with it...

:innocent:

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Great question. No one, I think, really knows the answer but it has fascinated me my entire life. I think it is all about the neural net in your brain. As far as where our consciousness goes when we die? Same place the light goes when a light bulb burns out. It's just not being generated any more.

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Great question. No one, I think, really knows the answer but it has fascinated me my entire life. I think it is all about the neural net in your brain. As far as where our consciousness goes when we die? Same place the light goes when a light bulb burns out. It's just not being generated any more.

`Is this the same if we are unconscious do you think?

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`Is this the same if we are unconscious do you think?

I don't think it's the same exactly but similar. Kind of like a light on a rheostat dimmer switch to further the analogy.In death the connections are broken, in unconsciousness just powered down, so to speak, though the sub-conscious coming out in dreams is a whole different mystery.

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As a developing unborn we slowly evolve the tools we need to be aware of our being, so it makes sense to some degree that consciousness and intelligence might be inherited.

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As a developing unborn we slowly evolve the tools we need to be aware of our being, so it makes sense to some degree that consciousness and intelligence might be inherited.

I agree but I think it's more complex than that at least as far as intelligence as I think environment plays a major role as well

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It is interesting that identical twins display some sort of Bi-consciousness, for lack of a better description

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http://www.unexplain...kK14&tid=257929

I agree, though the line between intelligence and consciousness appears to be closing

Excellent link. I saw something on this recently on the science channel. Fascinating stuff. Obviously machines are capable of exhibiting intelligence. Some might dispute this but the fact that machines can beat the best humans in chess now speaks volumes to me. Self awareness I'm not so sure of though I suspect it will one day happen.
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Great question. No one, I think, really knows the answer but it has fascinated me my entire life. I think it is all about the neural net in your brain. As far as where our consciousness goes when we die? Same place the light goes when a light bulb burns out. It's just not being generated any more.

I'd like to think our consciousness is more like the electricity, the light bulb is our brain and body and the light is our individual ego depending on the color, strength and connection to the energy source. The individual bulb may go out as you said, but the source of consciousness is still there.

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I'd like to think our consciousness is more like the electricity, the light bulb is our brain and body and the light is our individual ego depending on the color, strength and connection to the energy source. The individual bulb may go out as you said, but the source of consciousness is still there.

That is certainly one view but I can't agree. I think the source of the consciousness is the neural net in the brain itself. When this is broken the light fades away. If the brain is not the source of consciousness, what is?

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That is certainly one view but I can't agree. I think the source of the consciousness is the neural net in the brain itself. When this is broken the light fades away. If the brain is not the source of consciousness, what is?

That's a difficult answer to try to put into words. The light bulb is an intelligent design as is the neural network. It is an inherent law of nature for life (the program) in matter to evolve into some form of consciousness to maintain the cycles of life for periods of time. Some how a conscious potential goes within the designs. If you comprehend yourself as being just the material light bulb instead of you being a unified manifestation with the source that created the light to serve a purpose, you are correct when the bulb burns out there is nothing left.

Kind of like there is hardware and a program that runs the software program. The conscious thought created both the hardware and the software. When it runs the characters are as alive as the avatar who plays within the game, the rules of the nature of the game are "written" within the designs. The design or program determines what it does, whether it is computations of non physical dimensions or controling an actual physical machine. Turn off the power source and there is no movement or time within that "dimension" and no consciousness but the design is still there in an unmanifested form.

Energy and matter are never destoyed it just changes form. If there is consciousness within any design of nature then it works just like the energy or elements. If a snowflake melts away doesn't it return as rain or another snowflake with the passing of time?

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That's a difficult answer to try to put into words. The light bulb is an intelligent design as is the neural network. It is an inherent law of nature for life (the program) in matter to evolve into some form of consciousness to maintain the cycles of life for periods of time. Some how a conscious potential goes within the designs. If you comprehend yourself as being just the material light bulb instead of you being a unified manifestation with the source that created the light to serve a purpose, you are correct when the bulb burns out there is nothing left.

Kind of like there is hardware and a program that runs the software program. The conscious thought created both the hardware and the software. When it runs the characters are as alive as the avatar who plays within the game, the rules of the nature of the game are "written" within the designs. The design or program determines what it does, whether it is computations of non physical dimensions or controling an actual physical machine. Turn off the power source and there is no movement or time within that "dimension" and no consciousness but the design is still there in an unmanifested form.

Energy and matter are never destoyed it just changes form. If there is consciousness within any design of nature then it works just like the energy or elements. If a snowflake melts away doesn't it return as rain or another snowflake with the passing of time?

I certainly respect your view and you could well be right but as I see it consciousness is just a manifestation of the working of the neural net and not actually a thing itself to be created or destroyed. The light isn't destroyed when a bulb burns out. It just isn't produced any more. This may seem a depressing state of affairs but I can't seem to fathom how it could work any other way. Again, I'm not claiming to know this with certainty, it is just what makes sense to me, though I do like your view.

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It's always kind of depressing to do some critical thinking about our consciousness because the only end results I can ever logically think of when we die is non-existence.

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I feel pretty much the same. I wish I could believe otherwise but I just can't quite do it.

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I think the phenomena of "qualia" behind sentience and emotional feelings is clear evidence of a non-physical aspect of our existence, although it needs physical structure behind it. I think the nature of this is probably unknowable, since we have the ability only to study physical things. This make possible things like free will.

That the "life spirit" (as the words are translated in English) of Pali Buddhist thinking survives death was taken for granted in the Indian environment of the Buddha, and only a couple of places does he question it.

Personally I don't see how, but then I don't see how it could function in our brain either, so I leave that open. It is, however, of little point if memories are physical things, as all the evidence seems to say they are, since without memory we don't really exist as persons anyway.

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I think the phenomena of "qualia" behind sentience and emotional feelings is clear evidence of a non-physical aspect of our existence, although it needs physical structure behind it. I think the nature of this is probably unknowable, since we have the ability only to study physical things. This make possible things like free will.

That the "life spirit" (as the words are translated in English) of Pali Buddhist thinking survives death was taken for granted in the Indian environment of the Buddha, and only a couple of places does he question it.

Personally I don't see how, but then I don't see how it could function in our brain either, so I leave that open. It is, however, of little point if memories are physical things, as all the evidence seems to say they are, since without memory we don't really exist as persons anyway.

I get what you are saying but I don't think there is any evidence for a non-physical aspect of our existence that can't be explained in physical terms.But then I think free will is an illusion as well. I don't claim to be certain of this but it is the way I am leaning.

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I certainly respect your view and you could well be right but as I see it consciousness is just a manifestation of the working of the neural net and not actually a thing itself to be created or destroyed. The light isn't destroyed when a bulb burns out. It just isn't produced any more. This may seem a depressing state of affairs but I can't seem to fathom how it could work any other way. Again, I'm not claiming to know this with certainty, it is just what makes sense to me, though I do like your view.

I respect your view and I shared it once :)

The light might not be produced any more but the "electrical magnetism " that created it is always there.

When you first start using the consciousness to sort out all the possible answers it's still very hard to reconcile the different concepts. Each of us holds a piece of the big puzzle and it all depends on your perspective because your own experiences and discoveries. It's important to even question our interpretations because we learn more with time and realize the beliefs we formed in the past are only half truths.

Consciousness exists in levels from a cellular level, subconscious, general awareness and intellect, and other higher forms not really contained by the structure. Like in the article, it mentioned the hive consciousness vs an individual bee. IMO a piece of a non physical hive consciousness enters each individual bee and makes it a bee and part of being a bee is to become a unified part of the total consciousness that is the hive as well as the physical structure to serve the hive. If it dies as part of the hive, it's true consciousness is always remembered and it's real "being" stays with the hive. If a bee physically dies before it unifies with hive consciousness that exists outside of the bodies of the bees, it dies of itself alone. Now that is depressing!

From a mystical view , both answers are true, sometimes there is a consciousness that can survive death and sometimes the lights that are the neural network just go out.

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That is certainly one view but I can't agree. I think the source of the consciousness is the neural net in the brain itself. When this is broken the light fades away.

If the brain is not the source of consciousness, what is?

Consciousness is the source of the brain, since all perceptions (objects) are entirely dependent on a perceiver (the subject).

This consciousness which perceives - a fundamental background awareness that is intrinsic to all living things - gives rise to the observable material world, not the other way around.

Edited by GollyBuster
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Consciousness is the source of the brain.

And the tail wags the dog
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Brains exist down to some very simple organisms that we would be hard pushed to say are conscious, so saying consciousness is the source of brain seems highly unlikely.

I would suggest a distinction between sensate organisms and conscious organisms. Sensate organisms come first. This is the ability to experience the world via "qualia," and respond to it via motivations and emotions, rather than the reflex reactions of simpler organisms and of computers. This is a deep mystery that I cannot even begin to understand and therefore tend to get mystical about, but of course inability to understand proves nothing except inability to understand.

I think modern neurology tells us that sensate organisms are pretty much limited to mammals and birds (and probably dinosaurs) which have the neural pathways identified experimentally with these experiences. The mere possession of sense organs (such as eyes, as in Buddhist tradition) is inadequate for such a conclusion since even automatic doors have eyes.

Consciousness and intelligence and the ability to reason seem more concentrated in human beings, although in some forms it has evolved in cetaceans, elephants and of course other primates.

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