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PaulS

Consciousness in insects

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Referring back to a Burl question on one's definition of consciousness, the link given by Rom begins, "Am I conscious now? Of course I am. Yes, I am conscious now. But something odd happened. When I asked myself the question it was as though I became conscious at that moment." 

Yet the use of the word 'I' and the asking of the question are evidence of consciousness of (and reflection on) self: one is standing 'outside' himself, asking a question of self, about self and positing an answer in time about time and a change of the self in time: now and becoming (conscious). 

This, to me, is self-consciousness different in kind from animal consciousness/awareness by which an animal is in the world and navigates that world.

Edited by thormas

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17 hours ago, PaulS said:

I read the reference you provided Rom and agree that most of the time we are perhaps not self-conscious.  Nonetheless, at times we are, and that is what I was questioning about an insect - do they have such moments too? The article wasn't promoting the non-existence of self consciousness from what I read/understood of it, but rather was simply saying that we aren't using it a lot of the time.

Notice five minutes after you thought you were conscious that period of supposed consciousness has melded with what passes for memory? I think her point is that this period of supposed heightened consciousness is no different to the rest of the time we are on autopilot.

What was the closing section of Blackmore's essay?
 

Quote

 

Years pass.

Am I conscious now? No I’m not.

What?

I realise for the first time that I can answer “No”. What if this slippery, difficult, not quite being really here, is not being conscious, and I should have been answering “no” all along?

 

Tariki should be familiar with her ... she's based in Devon and is a Zen meditation practitioner.

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There are periods of heightened consciousness, i.e. awareness, and they are different from both ‘ordinary’ awareness and autopilot experience. One might 'feel more alive' in certain moments (hopefully one was when you proposed - if not that might be an issue with your spouse) and/or you remember ‘where you were’ for certain events with great clarity (as if they were yesterday, example 911). Heightened (awareness) experiences are different than the ordinary and autopilot drive - however in all these events, there is no difference in that one remains a being who is conscious of self: the 'I' is our underlying reality and center and 'I’ know it.

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Are there really heightened periods of consciousness? 

I can remember certain stuff ... some of my very clear memories may be even somewhat accurate ... no matter how heightened my consciousness was. 

There is evidence every time we take out a memory, play with it and put it back that it alters. 

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Well, again we go to definitions. So, I say yes, in the ordinary events of life - be it reading, proposing, an event that stops you in your tracks, the kiss of a child, the death of a friend - there can be the extraordinary and a heightened awareness different from the so- called everyday awareness. Sort of like eternity.

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