What is consciousness?

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rachMiel
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Re: What is consciousness?

Post by rachMiel » Sun Oct 26, 2014 5:08 pm

Amen, sister!

Some of my best friends are dualists ... 8) 8) 8)
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

runstrails
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Re: What is consciousness?

Post by runstrails » Sun Oct 26, 2014 7:54 pm

rM wrote: Some of my best friends are dualists ... 8) 8) 8)
ALL my real-world friends are dualists or athiests!


Great stuff everyone. To summarize so far:

We all seem to believe that consciousness is primary, and most of us think that it's not limited to the brain. Most of us agree that all is consciousness, but we differ on whether all forms are conscious. Many of us are saying that forms are dependent on consciousness and that there is no such thing as physical reality without consciousness, and, ultimately physical reality is not physical. Finally and importantly, all of us understand our human limitations and humbly realize the mystery.

I'd say that we're pretty awesome, gang. Four years ago, before I joined this forum, all this would have seemed eyepopping to me. Now, I'd say we're up there with the best of philosophers :D.

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rachMiel
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Re: What is consciousness?

Post by rachMiel » Sun Oct 26, 2014 8:16 pm

The more ya do this "awakening" thing the more you end up running head on into the mystery.

Question is: What do you do with it? Seek to fathom/grasp it? Or let it be ... and understand that you ARE it?
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

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Re: What is consciousness?

Post by runstrails » Sun Oct 26, 2014 9:05 pm

rM wrote: The more ya do this "awakening" thing the more you end up running head on into the mystery.

Question is: What do you do with it? Seek to fathom/grasp it? Or let it be ... and understand that you ARE it?
Understanding you ARE it----was needed to awaken. And given my hyper active mind, I have no choice but to explore the mystery :D. But after some basic exploration, that desire has lessened too.

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Re: What is consciousness?

Post by rachMiel » Mon Oct 27, 2014 3:03 am

runstrails wrote:
rM wrote: The more ya do this "awakening" thing the more you end up running head on into the mystery.

Question is: What do you do with it? Seek to fathom/grasp it? Or let it be ... and understand that you ARE it?
Understanding you ARE it----was needed to awaken. And given my hyper active mind, I have no choice but to explore the mystery :D. But after some basic exploration, that desire has lessened too.
I didn't openly explore the mystery as much as I banged my head against it -- over and over (and over!) -- until I got sick of the spiritual migraines. ;-) Oh the amount of time I spend trying (unsuccessfully, of course) to grok brahman! Or to neti neti neti everything out of existence.

At some point it hit me that I didn't *have* to grok the ultimates to be awake. On the contrary, understanding that the ultimates are (ultimately!) ungrokkable is a big step in the direction of resting in unknowing.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

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Re: What is consciousness?

Post by runstrails » Mon Oct 27, 2014 3:53 am

rM wrote: Oh the amount of time I spend trying (unsuccessfully, of course) to grok brahman!
Ha! Ha!
Brahman (existence/reality) was totally intuitive to me....like coming home :wink:.

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Re: What is consciousness?

Post by rachMiel » Mon Oct 27, 2014 4:44 am

runstrails wrote:
rM wrote: Oh the amount of time I spend trying (unsuccessfully, of course) to grok brahman!
Ha! Ha!
Brahman (existence/reality) was totally intuitive to me....like coming home :wink:.
Must be good genes.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

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ashley72
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Re: What is consciousness?

Post by ashley72 » Tue Oct 28, 2014 5:52 am

What is Consciousness?

Human Consciousness is a term given to the executive control system of approximately 100 billion neurons with over a 100 trillion connections in the human brain that gives rise to the minimal set of neuronal events and mechanisms sufficient for a specific conscious percept.

Note: A neuron is just an electrically excitable cell, that processes and transmits information through electrical and chemical signals. This means that a human brain is made up of 100 billion electrically excitable cells that process and transmit information via 100 trillion electrical & chemical signals.

The executive control system of the human brain most likely resides in the Claustrum.... a thin, irregular, sheet of neurons that is attached to the underside of the neocortex in the center of the brain.

This sheet of neurons acts as a musical conductor of sorts, coordinating all the individual neurons in a unified & correlated way to form conscious percepts.

1. Is consciousness limited to the brain? Why or why not?

Yes, human consciousness is limited to the Claustrum within the human brain....without a Claustrum you wouldn't be able to coordinate neuronal events to achieve a conscious percept.

But the term Consciousness (not just human), broadly refers to the executive control of a neural network based system. that brings about conscious percepts.

AI robots are loosely based on human neural networks, it therefore follows for AI robots to have artificial Consciousness they would require an executive control system like the Claustrum to coordinate the artificial neural networks in a unified & correlated way that brings about a conscious percept.


2. Does consciousness evolve?

Infants don't have self awareness/consciousness until about two years of age.... so I would definitely say that Human Consciousness does evolve as the neuronal events become more complex allowing them to twist back on themselves in more & more loops.

3. What is the nature of the phenomenal world?

The phenomenal world is made up of oscillating standing matter-waves of energy (scientifically called Electrons), these "standing" matter waves produce the "particle" world we visibly perceive. A typical human eye will respond to wavelengths from about 390 to 700 nm. Where as man-made equipment such as x-ray machines and MRI's etc can detect or respond to other wavelengths that humans are unable to perceive.

4. Is awareness related to sentience or is everything aware (including inanimate objects)?

Self awareness or Sentience requires a feedback system that is sufficiently complex to start twisting back on itself. A thermostat fitted to a furnace has a very simple negative feedback system... but its very primitive only being aware of one process. Human awareness is far more complex.... has billions if not trillions of negative and positive feedback loops operating. Therefore rock, paper or scissors don't possess the ability to create feedback loops so are not aware in any way.

5. Can the phenomenal world exist without awareness?

Yes phenomenal world we perceive is independent of neuronal events that lead to a conscious percept (awareness). But it takes two to tango, so a phenomenal world at the wavelengths from 390 to 700 nm requires both the observed and observer!

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Re: What is consciousness?

Post by Phil2 » Tue Oct 28, 2014 8:33 am

ashley72 wrote:What is Consciousness?

Human Consciousness is a term given to the executive control system of approximately 100 billion neurons with over a 100 trillion connections in the human brain that gives rise to the minimal set of neuronal events and mechanisms sufficient for a specific conscious percept.
And where is this "executive control system" exactly located Ashley ?

The 'controller' must necessarily be separate from the 'controlled' ...

??
"What irritates us about others is an opportunity to learn on ourselves"
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Re: What is consciousness?

Post by ashley72 » Tue Oct 28, 2014 7:48 pm

Phil2 wrote:
ashley72 wrote:What is Consciousness?

Human Consciousness is a term given to the executive control system of approximately 100 billion neurons with over a 100 trillion connections in the human brain that gives rise to the minimal set of neuronal events and mechanisms sufficient for a specific conscious percept.
And where is this "executive control system" exactly located Ashley ?

The 'controller' must necessarily be separate from the 'controlled' ...

??
A computer "system" has executive function in the CPU. A human "system" may have executive function in the Claustrum.

The executive function of a human certainly does not reside outside of the human brain, unless you believe humans are possessed by the voice of gods! Which in any case occurs inside the brain as hallucinations of mental illness.

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Re: What is consciousness?

Post by smiileyjen101 » Wed Oct 29, 2014 2:48 am

Ash, do you think human consciousness is the only consciousness?

It's just that I noticed your answer to 'what is consciousness?' above funnelled & absolutely qualified that you were funnelling so that you answered the question what is human consciousness, rather than what is consciousness.

I'm just curious, was that a default-mode response that you were aware of?
Our rights start deep within our humanity; they end where another's begin~~ SmileyJen

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Re: What is consciousness?

Post by ashley72 » Wed Oct 29, 2014 7:39 am

smiileyjen101 wrote:Ash, do you think human consciousness is the only consciousness?

It's just that I noticed your answer to 'what is consciousness?' above funnelled & absolutely qualified that you were funnelling so that you answered the question what is human consciousness, rather than what is consciousness.

I'm just curious, was that a default-mode response that you were aware of?
No. Biological based Consciousness emerges from the mammalian brain.... Human consciousness is specific to homosapien brains. I think my pet cat is consciousness and aware...but not to the same level & richness that human brains are. Cats have a Claustrum but obviously the cat brain anatomy is not identical to humans.

It's plausible that machine or silicon based consciousness could be invented some day... But not anytime soon. It require s the invention of a device like the Claustrum to act as a conductor (executive function) of the orchestra (neural events). It's going to be an extremely complex bit of hardware... probably at least 100 years away. I

t's not even possible to study the wiring diagram of the Claustrum to any great degree because it's deep inside the mammalian brain...so scientists would first need to solve that diagnostic limitations before we could even conceive a wiring diagram of the Claustrum in silicon.

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Re: What is consciousness?

Post by snowheight » Thu Oct 30, 2014 5:39 pm

runstrails wrote:1. Is consciousness limited to the brain? Why or why not?
This is the toughest question of all, I think! Obviously there is NDE and OBE evidence to suggest that consciousness is not limited to the brain. But there is also evidence to suggest that OBEs and NDEs may in fact be brain-based states. However, I believe that consciousness is not brain based. But its very hard for me to explain it. All our perception is brain-based so all our knowledge of the brain is also ultimately brain-based which makes it kind of an endless feedback loop-but awareness needs to be beyond the brain to be aware of this loop. Also, like Ramana, I have a deep belief that when the body dies, awareness does not die with it.
But I am also comfortable with a brain-based consciousness. Because ultimately, if reality is non-dual (and it is) then whether you are limited to the body or not, you are still that one self-aware reality.
Do you have any opinions or insight as to whether or not skeptical inquiry based on observation can proceed based on the assumption that the brain is a phenomenon that arises in/as consciousness?
runstrails wrote:Karmarider's post prompted this. I would say an inquiry into consciousness is one of the most fundamental explorations in spirituality. So whether you've conducted your own spiritual/scientific inquiry, received wisdom from celestial beings or your knowledge is from deep faith, come join the fun!
(** smiles **)

Do you have any thoughts on the analogy of neti-neti to the process of scientific inquiry?
Stop talking. Hear every sound as background. Look straight ahead and focus. Take one deep breath. This is you. This is Now.

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Re: What is consciousness?

Post by Tigerspalm777 » Fri Oct 31, 2014 10:14 am

This is my opinion on consciousness as my own living experience.

Basically consciousness is emptiness or nothingness. I know eckhart tolle said this is bad ......

There is a special quality to nothingness, and to silence too. It's intelligent, powerful, it's who we are at the deepest level. To become emptiness you need to be still, basically be alert, spontaneous, and be nothing or empty in your head.

The problem is the thoughts (the false created self) tries to seek enlightenment as if it were something you could act like or be like...to basically become a state of mind or try to pretend ot be a role like.

But if you just take a deep breath and stop thinking, stop trying to figure out what consciousness is.....and be aware of being the empty perceiving, seeing will power.... that is it, that is who you are before thought takes over you.

I am giving pointers i know....but i am dumbing down the experience into words.

Consciousness is emptiness. Formless, silient.... it cannot be understood mentally. You can be consciousness but you cannot separate consciousness into "you" and "consciousness" You cannot see it from a point of view. You cannot make your self into an object. You basically are present when you are living life with no thought what so ever... one could say zombie like....from a ego perspective....Because as soon as you are thinking, you lose consciousness. Thought is like a voice that you take as your self...

the false self is your thought. Being your thought....you have customs, beliefs, personality, dislikes and likes, opinions, agree disagree, and all these views and conditions and personality quirks. When you become present, the "you" thought constructed self Dies... and the real you....the one who SEES it the stillness the formless perception ...that is you. The stillness is you. The silence is you. The emptiness or nothingness is you. Not that thought constructed self.

But before you can become conscious, you have to suffer in life to make your consciousness more stronger, will power, to be able to become present

Present means you are the perception the seeing not the thoughts....

I hope these pointers helped you.

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Re: What is consciousness?

Post by snowheight » Mon Nov 03, 2014 6:59 pm

3. What is the nature of the phenomenal world?

The senses present as the appearance of information.

What these appearances appear to, never appears.

Those two sentences state a model, but the 2nd sentence embodies an unavoidable self-contradiction.

The inevitability of this contradiction can be understood, in terms of the limits of the process of reasoning about observation. That limit can be explained based on logic applied to the nature of information and the processes by which information is created and also based on the results of the physical sciences.

In terms of the nature of sensory phenomena, from this limit we can infer that appearances aren’t actually separate from what they appear to.

A conclusion emerges that there is nothing more real that the never ending movement of one appearance relative to another that is the constant source of phenomenal information, although there is no information-based description that can fully and accurately describe this.

1. Is consciousness limited to the brain? Why or why not?

The brain is an appearance. The question is either premised on or reducible to the idea of taking the brain as the source, the seat, the loci of what appearances appear to.

So the answer to the question isn’t either yes or no, it’s that the question embodies a misconception.

This isn’t an advocacy to abandon the science of the brain. In my opinion, based on the ideas expounded upon in this post, in terms of a model of consciousness, it’s arbitrary whether the model posits consciousness emerging from the brain or the brain appearing in/as consciousness.

4. Is awareness related to sentience or is everything aware (including inanimate objects)
5. Can the phenomenal world exist without awareness?

What is the distinction between these two ideas?

1) Inanimate objects are dependent for their existence on animated consciousness.
2) Nothing is not alive.

That an individual is not the water in a glass is obvious and facile, but also contextual. What is less obvious is the answer to the question, at what point, in drinking the water, does the water become the one drinking it?

If the answer is when the water is swallowed or when it is absorbed by chemical reaction into the cells of the body, then the one drinking the water has been taken to be the body.

That’s as good an answer as any because, of course, the answer to the question of “when does it become?” is dependent on the answer to the question of “what drinks?”.

Similarly, “What is it that’s conscious?”, is obviously self-inquiry. In terms of what it is that drinks, science directs the question outwardly and collectively.

2. Does consciousness evolve?

Appearances manifest such that they can be described in terms of hierarchies of organization. There are two different movements of appearances with respect to these hierarchies. There is one, all-encompassing movement toward disorder and multiple dependent movements within and powered by the energy supplied by that outer movement. The inner movements are toward order. Science is the study of the rules that appear to govern these movements.
Stop talking. Hear every sound as background. Look straight ahead and focus. Take one deep breath. This is you. This is Now.

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