Awareness vs. Brain

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Re: Awareness vs. Brain

Postby domokato » Mon Dec 08, 2008 9:08 pm

There are any number of reasons why awareness apparently ceases when knocked out. It might be that you're so identified with the human experience that your awareness emulates being knocked out too. Or maybe there is nothing to be aware of when you're knocked out, so time seems to move forward instantaneously to when you regain consciousness (since Eckhart says time exists only in the mind). Or maybe your awareness goes into your astral body, flies around for a bit, then returns to your body when you regain consciousness, a la OBE. And you have no memory of it because memories only exist in the brain and your brain was unconscious the whole time. Who knows?

But all of those possibilities are just speculation. It isn't the "knowing" Eckhart talks about. Even if you yourself experience being knocked out.... To experience something is only to know the experience of it, as opposed to knowing it itself. We only have our senses and our mind with which to experience and interpret the physical world. Our senses are not 100% accurate nor comprehensive, and our mind only operates on the inputs from those imperfect senses. So in the end, what do we really know?
~housecat
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Re: Awareness vs. Brain

Postby HermitLoon » Mon Dec 08, 2008 9:31 pm

Dear Glycine :)
From direct, personal experience I can say that while being anesthesized, or being in deep meditation, or in deep, dreamless REM sleep, only the brain mind - consciousness - is suspended - not the pure awareness that is beyond consciousness - not the awareness that is the "background" - the "surround" - within which the conscious, thinking mind aises.
A NDE or OBE is awareness re-creating the experience of consciousness "outside of" - "beyond" the brain.

Or, at least, that's "my story" :wink:
Peace
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Re: Awareness vs. Brain

Postby Glycine » Mon Dec 08, 2008 11:45 pm

Thank you domokato and HermitLoon for your insightful thoughts.
Indeed, awareness while being anesthetized could prove that awareness can exist without the body, just like OBE or NDE!
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Re: Awareness vs. Brain

Postby Craig » Tue Dec 09, 2008 3:32 am

Glycine wrote:
domokato wrote:You cannot convince your mind because there is no objective proof one way or the other. The evidence is totally based on subjective experience


I can convince my mind with several objective proofs. For example, when somebody is anesthetized (maybe for surgery) or the brain is knocked-out for whatever reason, the awareness and the mind take a break as well.
However, I decided to ignore these proofs - at least for a while, and enjoy the present.


Here's some stuff Sri Nisargadetta Maharaj wrote on the subject:

We believe in so many things on hearsay. We believe in distant lands and peoples, in heavens and hells, in gods and goddesses, because we were told. Similarly, we were told about ourselves, our parents, name, position, duties and so on. We never care to verify...

....Why not turn away from the experience to the experiencer and realize the full import of the only true statement you can make, "I am"? ... After all, the only fact that you are sure of is that you are. The I am is certain... all else is inference.

... You observe the heart feeling, the mind thinking, the body acting; the very act of perceiving shows that you are not what you perceive.
Who am I?
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Re: Awareness vs. Brain

Postby Glycine » Tue Dec 09, 2008 5:37 pm

Thank you Craig and Domokato! Since people are still replying, here is a new question:
Would a robot (or software program) be able to consider the fact that it exists in a box, and try to protect itself (if it was programed to do so)?
Would the perceiver be able to perceive itself in this case? Why not? However, this sounds like the uncertainty principle: "when you look at something, you change it".
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Re: Awareness vs. Brain

Postby domokato » Tue Dec 09, 2008 7:39 pm

Yes, I think a robot would be able to. (I'm a computer scientist who's very interested in robots and artificial intelligence, actually). But that doesn't necessarily mean the robot has a conscious observer in it. I don't think we can really know either way, though.
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Re: Awareness vs. Brain

Postby Glycine » Tue Dec 09, 2008 7:59 pm

Very interesting!
The programed robot that defends itself seems to be quite similar to unconscious people (and most of us who are not awakened are like this - just reacting to whatever is around us, according to our previous experiences/programing).

We could talk for days about this, but I will try to "submit" another short question:
What would be required for the robot to wake up and have a conscience?

(I'm just trying to find the "essence" of awakening)
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Re: Awareness vs. Brain

Postby James » Tue Dec 09, 2008 8:05 pm

What would be required for the robot to wake up and have a conscience?


It would require an act of God. :lol:

Did you see the movie Artificial Intelligence (A.I.)? Good science fiction film, where a cyborg in the form of a child becomes human like and experiences emotions such as love.

J.
"Awareness is already present, already here, already now; before you try to be more.... In that recognition there's no effort, there's just acknowledgment"..."Awareness is not something you can understand, it's something you are."
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Re: Awareness vs. Brain

Postby Glycine » Tue Dec 09, 2008 8:18 pm

James wrote:It would require an act of God. :lol:

Did you see the movie Artificial Intelligence (A.I.)? Good science fiction film, where a cyborg in the form of a child becomes human like and experiences emotions such as love.
J.


I saw the movie - good one, indeed! :D

Other opinions? Do unconscious humans also require an act of God to wake up?
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Re: Awareness vs. Brain

Postby James » Tue Dec 09, 2008 8:23 pm

Do unconscious humans also require an act of God to wake up?


Yes it is always by Grace, but not in the dualistic sense of having to earn Grace. We live by Grace, we awaken to what we are by Grace. It only seems like we are in control of the awakening process, it appears as though we have a choice. What a ride huh!?

J.
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Re: Awareness vs. Brain

Postby Glycine » Tue Dec 09, 2008 8:39 pm

"What a ride", indeed!
So... we don't really have free will!
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Re: Awareness vs. Brain

Postby Glycine » Sun Jan 11, 2009 6:07 pm

innerhike wrote:Fundamentally the question you are asking is this:
Am I the brain?
Or am I awareness?


Wise posts, Innerhike - Thank you.
Indeed, my question comes down to "am I brain or awareness?"
When I think about it, my mind finds all kinds of reasons to support my assumptions (or my prejudices); it's an endless tail-chasing.
However, when I'm alone in nature I feel completely different - the ego/mind is almost completely gone and I feel One-ness.
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Re: Awareness vs. Brain

Postby Mushinsan » Mon Jan 12, 2009 7:25 pm

Yes, I have proof the brain is neccessary for this form, but not for my being.

I'll make it quick, I tried to OD on acid one time, I took 37 hits, and totally lost my mind. My body went into shock, my mind just kept screaming and I mean loud but through it all I watched it and somehow I was at peace. All this was going on for 14 hours straight, people picking me up, trying to talk me through it and there was just awareness and peace.
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Re: Awareness vs. Brain

Postby Glycine » Mon Jan 12, 2009 9:36 pm

Mushinsan wrote:Yes, I have proof the brain is neccessary for this form, but not for my being.
I'll make it quick, I tried to OD on acid one time, I took 37 hits, and totally lost my mind. My body went into shock, my mind just kept screaming and I mean loud but through it all I watched it and somehow I was at peace. All this was going on for 14 hours straight, people picking me up, trying to talk me through it and there was just awareness and peace.


Interesting... However, "acid" does not turn off the brain - only deregulates signaling in some parts of it. There are other relatively safe chemicals that turn off the brain: for example, general anesthetics used during surgery.
As I mentioned in other posts in this thread, the brain is not a monolithic organ - it is more like a symbiosis between billions of cells. Various groups of cells "team together" and perform certain functions, but those functions may change as time passes. It is relatively straightforward to have a small group of cells that functions as a general observer, while other groups think/breath/digest/regulate temperature, etc. The extreme case would be that of someone with multiple personalities - when various brain nuclei take control one at a time.
Man, that's mind-numbing...
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Re: Awareness vs. Brain

Postby Sighclone » Mon Jan 12, 2009 10:34 pm

Some NDE-ers claim to have been "dead" for several hours. Now they are on the lecture/book circuit. Anecdotes are not scientific proof, of course.

Namaste, Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce
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