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Something Real About Consciousness


DavidD
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I came across someone who speaks clearly about consciousness. Unfortunately I doubt he's right. Ray Kurzweil has written another book in his series that looks at trends in information processing and concludes that the sky's the limit in many ways.

 

His latest book apparently includes predictions that around 2020, a $1000 computer will have as much computer power as a human brain, however he's measuring that. He also predicts a computer will pass a Turing test by then, one way of deciding that something is conscious, or at least can fake consciousness well enough to fool a human being. I saw him saying this on CSPAN2's BookTV over the weekend. After reading reviews about the book not being written well, which I can imagine from his oral style, I don't feel like reading the book, but I like how testable his prediction is. Mainstream neuroscience and some others would like consciousness to be that trivial, that all you need is a complicated enough map of the world, including feedback from our actions, including enough of oneself in the map, and presto, that's all consciousness is, a virtual reality generated by our brain, somehow much better than any computer or devices could do now, even using our senses to build on.

 

I'm torn about what I wish to be the truth. I was impressed in my career just how different our biological existence is than what ancient people could have possibly imagined. There is so much going on in our heart, lungs, brain, blood, and metabolism keeping us alive, so many places in there where poisons and pathogens can kill us, yet it's all the same sort of thing, all the same chemistry and physics that can be understood in the same way. In the end there is no need for a spirit to keep us alive, something that exits our body with our last breath. One might say that ancient people had it metaphorically right in seeing life and death this way, but what a stretch to say that was even metaphorically true, that such a living "spirit" represented the dynamics of all these physical processes that collapse when we die. Not really. Those dynamics don't continue on with their own life beyond the body. They could only exist in a living body, one that slowly built up from conception, not with any bolt of electricity like Frankenstein. Once the bubble pops, it's stays popped.

 

It's hard to be as dogmatic about consciousness. Some part of our mind continuing on after death is still possible, who knows where or how. It depends what consciousness is. Can it be reproduced in a machine, as so many science fiction writers were expecting in the fifties? Kurzweil says yes, as many have before, but his math says that it was silly to expect this before 2020. It would be quite something if he's right. Then again, might the consciousness of a lesser ape be apparent in a machine before then, like right now? To my knowledge there is nothing like any biological consciousness in a machine now. I think I'll make it to 2020, so I wait for the more substantial prediction.

 

Then if that's not right, what is consciousness anyway? Many words have been written about that, but do any of them have more reality than that life-giving spirit people used to explain life and death long ago? It has impressed me that the reality of life and death is both tremendously more complex, but also simpler than when ancient people had only words, raw observations, and their imagination to understand it. The details of all the physiology and chemistry, all those places where poisons and pathogens attack are immense. It's amazing how much more medicine is known in the past 100 years than was ever known before. Yet all this is no different from studying rocks and metals, from working on any manufacturing process. Who could have guessed thousands of years ago that this is what life is? Who could have guessed that life or even the universe doesn't require God to shepard every little process, but that all sorts of things happen because of the constancy of a few physical forces?

 

Part of me would like consciousness to be something spiritual, something that is utterly different than physical reality. What a continuation of the story of discovery if it's not, though. Maybe there could still be afterlife and resurrection somehow. If consciousness is purely physical, it doesn't mean there isn't something spiritual. Spirituality would just be that much removed from our ordinary existence. And it still wouldn't be found in sci-fi fantasies about "life force" and such imaginary things. If spirits reach into the physical universe at all, I don't think any of us has imagined how yet. It might not have anything to do with how we are conscious.

 

There's still going to be all kinds of words about consciousness. I can wait for some kind of test of them at this point. I don't think words alone have served us well in the past, even the most evocative ones.

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Personally, when it comes to computers, I don't think we really have much to worry about. Some of the assumptions mentioned have not held up all that well in the last two decades. Is it really the case that a computer passing the Turing test is "conscious"? According to Roger Penrose, (and others) there are tasks that human consciousness can complete that no computer that passes the Turing test will ever be able to accomplish. John Searle notes that a "simulation of consciousness" is not consciousness. Is a simulation of a hurricane the same as the real thing? Others note that the computer is running a program that was created by human consciousness, not another machine, etc. You might also check out Searle's "Chinese Room Argument" (google it for all the pros and cons). A computer can "process/translate" English into Chinese according to a lookup table and never understand Chinese.

 

minsocal :blink:

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Personally, when it comes to computers, I don't think we really have much to worry about. Some of the assumptions mentioned have not held up all that well in the last two decades. Is it really the case that a computer passing the Turing test is "conscious"?

It's not that a computer that can pass the Turing test is automatically pronounced conscious -- it's that, if a computer can pass the Turing test, there is no objective way to prove that it isn't conscious. The thesis behind the test is that there is no mental ingredient called consciousness. What occured to me yesterday as I was thinking about this some more is that the Turing test is actually based on an intersubjective criterion -- the only way to know something might be conscious is that a person talks to it and says it is! So the Turing test is fundamentally hermeneutic -- fundamentally subjective.

 

According to Roger Penrose, (and others) there are tasks that human consciousness can complete that no computer that passes the Turing test will ever be able to accomplish.

Right, Penrose suggests that perhaps certain mental processes (like what we might call "insight" or "intuition") are not strictly algorithmic.

 

John Searle notes that a "simulation of consciousness" is not consciousness. Is a simulation of a hurricane the same as the real thing? Others note that the computer is running a program that was created by human consciousness, not another machine, etc. You might also check out Searle's "Chinese Room Argument" (google it for all the pros and cons). A computer can "process/translate" English into Chinese according to a lookup table and never understand Chinese.

This gets back to the claim I'm making that subjectivity cannot be reduced to objectivity, and vice versa. The computational processes involved in understanding Chinese would be, in principle, objective, such that a complete analytical description of understanding Chinese should be possible given enough data. But the phenomenon of awareness involved would be subjective, and therefore amenable to the language of subjectivity -- self-descriptions of intentional states, intersubjective dialogue, etc. It's not quite that both understandings are necessary to get a "complete picture" -- it's that each understanding is complete in its own right, while being irreducible to the other. It just depends on what you want to know.

 

Now, to throw one more wrench into the system, it turns out that these descriptions are much more complex than modeling brain states, as the strong AI folks, the Ray Kurzweils, are suggesting. The fact is, there is no such thing as "understanding Chinese" in the abstract -- there is only "humans speaking Chinese to each other in the course of doing family, culture, society, politics, religion, and so on." It's still a phenomenon that can, in principle, be analyzed objectively -- but now we've gone beyond the mere manipulation of representational symbols, and we're talking about speech as a dimension of living. We're talking anthropology and sociology as well as neuroscience. Same for the subjective side of the analysis. This is where, it seems to me, that the gung-ho AI'ers are just being flat-out naive. Modeling a human brain, perfectly or better, is all well and good, and we'll probably continue to see computers get better than people at purely abstract cerebral activities -- playing chess, proving logical and mathematical theorems, etc. But what about all the data that's taken in via our bodies, and therefore comes heavily tinged by knowledge and beliefs about emotions, pleasures, pains, etc. -- things that require complex feedback between cognitive and affective information? This is all still brain-in-a-vat type stuff.

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This is all still brain-in-a-vat type stuff.

 

Yes, that is a problem. Listening to someone like Kurzweil makes me think about all the things missing from his model of consciousness. I wish more people would realize that there isn't just a single seat of consciousness to duplicate, like the cartoon of some little guy pulling levers, but a huge system including all these touch receptors in our skin which we feel, but almost never think about how. The virtual reality our brain generates is so good, we can take all sorts of things for granted, as if we saw things directly, felt them directly, moved things simply as a matter of our will, not to mention all the things that are completely within our mind.

 

Simple models are looking to duplicate just some abstract aspect of consciousness. They might think about how to reproduce the entire virtual reality experience that mainstream scientists think the brain can manage all by itself. It's not something we can get from any spike in the back of the head as in The Matrix.

 

People like Roger Penrose, though, push me back toward the mainstream. Saying the brain can't manage some aspect of consciousness is like the intelligent design people saying life is too complicated for evolution. It's easy to say, but very difficult to be convincing about unless someone just wants to abandon known physics for something new. There are many features one could wonder about. Can the brain truly store all the long-term memory it seems to? What is will, desire, imagination, ... Now that there is neuroimaging to correlate objective features of the brain with the subjective experience of a human being inside the machine, there will either be progress this way, or the difficulties of the mind being purely physical will be more apparent. Either way, that's better. It will take waiting through some overblown claims like those of Andrew Newberg in his meditating subjects where mostly there's no change in the brain, just some little change that could relate to where one is focusing one's attention. If the real experiments don't do better than that, that will be interesting.

 

I suspect that by 2020 both the genetics and neuroscience revolutions will be duplicating what medicine has found about life and death, that life is complicated, but not exotic. I wonder how far that will get before the next century.

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People like Roger Penrose, though, push me back toward the mainstream. Saying  the brain can't manage some aspect of consciousness is like the intelligent design people saying life is too complicated for evolution.

 

The approach taken by Penrose is closest to "Appropriate physical action of the brain evokes awareness, but this physical action cannot even be properly simulated computationally." He endorses this view in The Shadows of the Mind (p. 15). At the moment, this is the only book of his that I have in my library and I don't know if he has "changed his mind". (Ok, it's a bad pun).

 

minsocal :D

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Hi,

 

I just logged on to this site and joined. Read your post. Consciousness is not found in your body or your mind. It is neither of those things, and since it is the thing which objectifies reality, it cannot be objectified. You can't objectify the objectifier.

 

While I still have lots of questions and problems and reservations, I believe that the Vedic tradition comes closest to an accurate description of consciousness, ....where it is defined as Atman, the witness/soul/watcher which can be experienced as a result of meditative absorption. In the Chandgoya Upanisad the apprentice asks the teacher "am I this, am I that, am I something, am I nothing, what am I?" and the teacher responds "you are not this, you are not that, you are not something, you are not nothing." Neti Neti......

 

In more modern terms, Castenada in his long discourse concerning the shamanistic Nagual and Tonal makes the same point. You must stop the world and totally quell the internal dialogue (e.g. enter meditative absorption). Once you do this you can experience pure intent which is the ground of being and consciousness, with the absolute absence of time, past, present or future. (much easier said than done).

 

So, consciousness is where we witness and explore our lives and intent is how we remake the world every hour and minute we are alive. And the answer does not depend on chemestry, or biology, or any form of measurement.

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I just logged on to this site and joined. Read your post. Consciousness is not found in your body or your mind. It is neither of those things, and since it is the thing which objectifies reality, it cannot be objectified. You can't objectify the objectifier.

I was just thinking more about this today. You're correctly describing something, but I'm not sure consciousness is what it is. What is not found in body or mind and cannot be objectified is called, variously, the One, the Absolute, the Ground of Being, Ultimate Reality, and so on. Consciousness, of course, participates in this reality, and therefore can awaken to its nondual identity with Absolute Being, but is still -- at least as the term is ordinarily used -- part of the field of manifestation, and subject to development and dissolution. It's probably worth clarifying what we mean when we use this highly loaded word, to avoid more confusion than we'll invariably already have. When we say "consciousness," are we referring to The Witness -- to Absolute Being -- which transcends both subjectivity and objectivity, and includes them in nondual union? Or are we merely referring to a center of subjective experience in the world?

 

Anyway, welcome, and thanks for your thoughtful post. :)

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When we say "consciousness," are we referring to The Witness -- to Absolute Being -- which transcends both subjectivity and objectivity, and includes them in nondual union? Or are we merely referring to a center of subjective experience in the world?

 

Or is it both? Is it, like Jung said, the rhizome and the flower?

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When we say "consciousness," are we referring to The Witness -- to Absolute Being -- which transcends both subjectivity and objectivity, and includes them in nondual union? Or are we merely referring to a center of subjective experience in the world?

 

Or is it both? Is it, like Jung said, the rhizome and the flower?

Yes, it's both; just like a pebble on the beach is Spirit. But are we talking about Spirit itself, or the pebble on the beach that is Spirit? Conceptually they're still two different things, even if ultimately they're not.

 

Sorry, I'm in a paradoxical mood this week, so I can only imagine how unnerving it is to have a dialogue with me. :lol: If it's any consolation, the outline of my new book is coming along nicely, thanks in large part to these feats of mental gymnastics. :D

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When we say "consciousness," are we referring to The Witness -- to Absolute Being -- which transcends both subjectivity and objectivity, and includes them in nondual union? Or are we merely referring to a center of subjective experience in the world?

 

Or is it both? Is it, like Jung said, the rhizome and the flower?

Yes, it's both; just like a pebble on the beach is Spirit. But are we talking about Spirit itself, or the pebble on the beach that is Spirit? Conceptually they're still two different things, even if ultimately they're not.

 

Sorry, I'm in a paradoxical mood this week, so I can only imagine how unnerving it is to have a dialogue with me. :lol: If it's any consolation, the outline of my new book is coming along nicely, thanks in large part to these feats of mental gymnastics. :D

 

 

Fred, you have my heartfelt condolences.

 

These days I think of consciousness as being a "virtual presence" in any number of possible "virtual realities" I'm still working on a holographic paradigm for our existence you see.

 

Actually I'm excited for you. Work hard, suffer much, enlighten us all.

 

flow.... :D

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I stick to a neuroscience definition of consciousness, that consciousness is our subjective experience of the world around us, the world within us, imagination, abstraction, everything like that. I would think "conscious mind" is the same thing. I considered it a significant moment when I broke from my colleagues to even consider that we might have a mind beyond what the brain can explain. How much of that might be us? How much might be something from the spiritual universe reaching into us? Do we have our own spirit or only a representation of us within Spirit? Who can know?

 

I like how evolutionary psychologists approach all this. They start from an assumption I disagree with, that there is no God no matter how much it looks like there is a God-shaped void within us. But they approach the question of why we believe in God so empirically, like academic anthropologist Pascal Boyer does in his 2001 book Religion Explained. He isn't like some atheist on a debate board saying religion is wishful thinking. His presents all sorts of data from cultures around the world and cognitive psychology to present God as a side effect evolution gave us from giving us things like our tendency to see hidden things in the bushes around us instead of just focusing on obvious objects. We are suckers for beleving in hidden causes. We adore inside information. We treasure powerful friends. We like a justification for our innate morality.

 

All this winds up sounding like a God-shaped void to me, yet I've never found an evolutionary psychologist who uses that phrase. They believe all of religion is based in biological and cultural evolution, just as neuroscientists believe consciousness is entirely physical. Their arguments are good enough that I find I can only imagine consciousness in a way where atheists might be right. It may be that my communication with God goes no further than some better part of me, instead of out into some spiritual existence that I can't picture at all. I can live with that. I better be able to. They might be right.

 

I think there is more to spirituality than the physical, but it is possible even to explain things like the collective unconsconscious physically. To say that it is not possible is simply being dogmatic. People do that anyway, and they do it for things much more abstract than consciousness. At least there is something certainly real about consciousness, even if it is subjective. The existence of completely abstract things beyond that is so speculative. I sometimes have images about parts of me that reach into the spiritual universe, but I think what they are is beyond anyone. So I stick with the simpler meaning of consciousness.

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All this winds up sounding like a God-shaped void to me, yet I've never found an evolutionary psychologist who uses that phrase. They believe all of religion is based in biological and cultural evolution, just as neuroscientists believe consciousness is entirely physical. Their arguments are good enough that I find I can only imagine consciousness in a way where atheists might be right. It may be that my communication with God goes no further than some better part of me, instead of out into some spiritual existence that I can't picture at all. I can live with that. I better be able to. They might be right.

 

I think there is more to spirituality than the physical, but it is possible even to explain things like the collective unconsconscious physically. To say that it is not possible is simply being dogmatic. People do that anyway, and they do it for things much more abstract than consciousness. At least there is something certainly real about consciousness, even if it is subjective. The existence of completely abstract things beyond that is so speculative. I sometimes have images about parts of me that reach into the spiritual universe, but I think what they are is beyond anyone. So I stick with the simpler meaning of consciousness.

 

Well said. In a prior post I mentioned the work of John Searle. What intigues me about his theory of consciousness is that it's stongest thesis is a defense of "the collective unconscious" which he calls the Background. He cites Nietzsche as one of the first to really comprehend the implications of the Background and Jung also refers to Nietzsche in his discussions of his concept of the Collective Unconscious. Searle's work parallels Jung in several other notable respects. Both take an antimaterialist stance (which really irritates many of Searle's peers), both tend to believe that the mind-body problem is probably an illusion, and both emphasize that the capacity for self-deception is one of the nagging problems of consciousness. While Searle is an avowed atheist, he recently wrote that he had to admit to a nearly universal "urge to spirituality" that he is at a loss to explain.

 

Underlying all of this is a bit of irony. Physicists, when discussing the 'physical' have no problem switching from discussions of 'matter' to discussions of 'energy'. Now, what exactly is 'energy'? Like the mind, you can't see it and there is, as yet, no universal theory that can fully explain either. Ahhh ... the fun of it all.

 

minsocal :D

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New book???  Working title???  Old book????  You're holding out on us!  :P

Sorry, didn't mean to get anyone's hopes up. :lol:

 

I've wanted to do a chalk outline of an integral systematic theology for awhile, and I might actually have found a piece of chalk to use.

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Searle's work parallels Jung in several other notable respects. Both take an antimaterialist stance (which really irritates many of Searle's peers), both tend to believe that the mind-body problem is probably an illusion, and both emphasize that the capacity for self-deception is one of the nagging problems of consciousness. While Searle is an avowed atheist, he recently wrote that he had to admit to a nearly universal "urge to spirituality" that he is at a loss to explain.

 

Underlying all of this is a bit of irony. Physicists, when discussing the 'physical' have no problem switching from discussions of 'matter' to discussions of 'energy'. Now, what exactly is 'energy'? Like the mind, you can't see it and there is, as yet, no universal theory that can fully explain either. Ahhh ... the fun of it all.

 

minsocal  :D

 

I haven't read Searle. Jung isn't necessarily as mystical as some think. He was still a psychoanalyst. Freud was quite concrete in his theory of the mind, having trained to be a neurologist. To Freud the unconscious was in the brain and while I don't know that he wrote about the collective unconsciousness, I would think he would see that as a biologically shared "background" much as evolutionary psychologists do. One can interpret Jung as deviating far from that, but I don't know that he did.

 

Physicists have an easy time with the concept of energy because they talk about energy with a clear definition in mind. Energy is something that can do work. Work is a force applied over a distance. Force is something that can accelerate an object just as Newton said. The only energy that physicists encounter is related to one of the known forces, gravity, electromagnetism, or the weak or strong nuclear forces or is energy related to the creation or annihilation of matter as in an accelerator. The energy of gravity is as easy as falling off a log. The energy of electromagnetism is almost everything else we encounter. The only place where energy and matter are converted as a practical matter is where physicists are smashing particles and from the annihilation energy of those particles other particles come to exist, if only fleetingly. It's all very concrete stuff.

 

In contrast, we use "energy" in English to mean many things. If I talk about feeling energetic, I'm talking about alertness or something else that depends on my neurochemical state, not anything that a physicist would call energy. Mystical uses of the word "energy" can be even more vague. "Entity" might be a better word, maybe "will", "direction". I like "thing" if I don't know something more specific. I suppose the unknown is vague no matter what someone calls it.

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The question is can consciousness be dissolved????? are we talking about our perception of the "real" world, maya, what castenada called the tonal, which certainly can be dissolved ...or atman/watcher.............which cannot. If we enter what elliot called the still point in moving time, absorptive meditation, dissolution vanishes as a possibility.

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but what w o r l d are you currently experiencing. and what role does choice play in the process....and what happens when you stop the world. consciousness and ego are NOT the same thing. Ego is just another experience.....

 

where is consciousness located? It's not in your brain, or your body, both of which are objectified by consciousness.

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but what w o r l d are you  currently experiencing. and what role does choice play in the process....and what happens when you stop the world. consciousness and ego are NOT the same thing.   Ego is just another experience.....

 

where is consciousness located? It's not in your brain, or your body, both of which are objectified by consciousness.

 

Strokes in different parts of the brain change consciousness differently, depending on the size and location of the stroke, both according to people who have suffered strokes and people who study those who have had strokes. Now if someone wants to explain that without consciousness being at least partially in the brain, he or she can try, but I don't think it will make any sense.

Edited by DavidD
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Searle's work parallels Jung in several other notable respects. Both take an antimaterialist stance (which really irritates many of Searle's peers), both tend to believe that the mind-body problem is probably an illusion, and both emphasize that the capacity for self-deception is one of the nagging problems of consciousness. While Searle is an avowed atheist, he recently wrote that he had to admit to a nearly universal "urge to spirituality" that he is at a loss to explain.

 

Underlying all of this is a bit of irony. Physicists, when discussing the 'physical' have no problem switching from discussions of 'matter' to discussions of 'energy'. Now, what exactly is 'energy'? Like the mind, you can't see it and there is, as yet, no universal theory that can fully explain either. Ahhh ... the fun of it all.

 

minsocal  :D

 

I haven't read Searle. Jung isn't necessarily as mystical as some think. He was still a psychoanalyst. Freud was quite concrete in his theory of the mind, having trained to be a neurologist. To Freud the unconscious was in the brain and while I don't know that he wrote about the collective unconsciousness, I would think he would see that as a biologically shared "background" much as evolutionary psychologists do. One can interpret Jung as deviating far from that, but I don't know that he did.

 

 

Jung made it very clear that his concept of the collective unconscious was based in the physical workings of the brain and acknowledged that the collective unconscious is a product of evolution. When Jung broke with psychoanalysis (and Freud) it was over the ethical implications of their different views of the unconscious. Freud's view of the unconscious evolved into a very pessimistic and deterministic one where "the unconscious" is the repository of repressed (personal) experiences. Jung believed that the collective unconscious is objective and not personal. Freud did not address the possibility of an objective and collective unconsious until after Jung entered into this area. Why is this an ethical problem? As Jung pointed out the last time he and Freud met in person, the biological variations expressed in unique individual human beings will be different from person to person, and it would be unethical to favor one over the other. Psychology, Jung said, "would have to wait for a theory that did justice" to all possible outcomes.

 

Jung was also a close friend and collaborator with Wolfgang Pauli who is considered by many to be one of the founders of quantum theory. Jung and Pauli worked together on the theory of synchronicity or the "acausal connecting principle". What Pauli and Jung were hoping to show was that, at the quantum level, the phenomenon of "non-locality" could be used to show that "everything is connected" (in very simplistic terms). If consciousness is in some way related to quantum theory, and there is a non-local connection "with everything", then (in principle) Jung thought he might have "saved the soul" from destruction by scientific materialism. In fact, religious leaders in Jung's home country, on the occasion of his 70th birthday, awarded him a special recognition for having done just that.

 

minsocal :D

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Back in the '60s there was a cute program that simulated a conversation with a psychoanalyst. Not like passing the Turning test, but impressive. 40 years later, still nothing passes. Quantum Physics makes the morphogenic field occur in organic matter, and especially water, but none has developed in silicon. Hydrcelphy is a condition where as little as 5% of the brain exists, yet some people can live normal lives as a result of the morphogenic field of the cerbrospinal fluid. Passing the Turing test may be possible, but it still won't be concious.

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Jung made it very clear that his concept of the collective unconscious was based in the physical workings of the brain and acknowledged that the collective unconscious is a product of evolution.

 

Thanks for reading more of Jung than I have. I remember reading about his psychosis, how he was changed by seeing so many ghosts and things. My memory for other thhings about him is vague.

 

I understand the desire to have more inputs to our consciousness than our senses. I act like I can communicate with God in a way that is beyond my senses, but I do wonder sometimes what that really is. I don't think it's quantum mechanics, as the scale of entanglement or any other feature of quantum mechanics is so tiny, much smaller than a neuron as well as smaller than me.

 

It occurs to me that in addition to physicists using the word “energy” differently than many people do, they see it in ways that escape other people, too. One can see energy related to gravity in any falling object. One can even see energy in an object that isn’t moving if one knows what one is seeing.

 

Why don’t I fall through my chair as I’m writing this? It’s natural to say the chair holds me up, but why? If the chair were just the molecules within it, gravity would pull me through it as if it were air. The chair is more than matter. It is also all the electromagnetic energy between atoms that keeps it the shape it is. This holds up the electrons on the surface of the seat of the chair against the electrons on the back of my pants. Gravity causes me to sink into the chair until the electrostatic force of electrons repelling electrons just balances gravity. At that point I stay put.

 

Physics is much more about energy than about matter. Energy does things. Matter is just building material. It is curious that I’m sure most people would see energy as invisible and mysterious. All physical forces can be seen in their effects on things. I’m sure it’s natural to see them as needing to be something beyond these effects, as ancient people thought there must be gods to explain them. Yet our mathematical descriptions of all these forces are very good without any term for God. There is experimental evidence that both special relativity and general relativity are exactly right. That’s not true for string theory, but perhaps only because no one has figured out how to test string theory.

 

People want there to be more to it than that. Why should it be? Can you think of an example of energy that can’t be seen? I can’t. It may take experimenting to demonstrate, but I can’t think of any energy that can’t be seen similarly to the above. Even the two newest forces, the ones related to the accelerated expansion of the universe, two more beyond the 20th-century quartet, can be seen because the universe is expanding more than it could be without them. One of them is the Higgs force, which was already proposed as a reason for massive objects not to all be whizzing around at the speed of light. So if I reach out with my arm, and it doesn’t go at the speed of light, I’m seeing the Higgs force as surely as if I were in water and moving even more slowly. I would sense the water just because of that, actually the electromagnetic energy that makes water as viscous as it is. Physicists haven’t decided they’re sure about the Higgs field. More experiments are needed. Yet one can see it if one knows what one is seeing, just like anything we see. And if it turns out to be a mirage, then we’ll see it differently.

 

I believe one can learn from spiritual experiences as well as science, but I’m not sure why anyone in the 21st century has trouble seeing science as real. Science is expanding, but it’s never completely rewritten. I wouldn’t trade scientific truth for any mystical speculation. I haven’t fallen through my chair yet.

 

I suspect human beings have suffered from a similar delusion repeatedly, that there must be a spirit giving us life instead of life being the dynamic material process that it is, that energy must be more than the action that it is, such as the action of holding a chair in its shape. I don’t know but consciousness might be the same way, a single brain-generated virtual reality for each of us instead of some profound revelation into our mind, whether collective or individual. God might be the same way, a simple quality like love or goodness instead of an iceberg-like being who is so much more than we can experience on the surface. Maybe God is more within us than He ever was without us.

 

It is interesting how people are put off by the complexity of science. With enough experience science becomes simple in its principles, even though still complex in its details. People don’t wait for the real simplicity, though. They reach for fantasy, the same way science fiction tries to tear up every limit physics and biology describe. Even good scientists can do that. That’s how quantum mechanics became so much more fanciful than it really is. But only reality is real and persists. Everything else dies with the mind of the believer. Experience shows the difference, that life is simple, that energy is simple. Maybe consciousness and God are just as simple, maybe not. Experience is the only way I know to tell the difference. It lets us see things differently, outside of us or inside of us.

Edited by DavidD
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There is no clear definition of consciousness; we need one! Check out the latest NDE studies. It exists with brain death /bodily death. But we have no clear definition of death! We need one!

Holographics suggest that our consciousness is a fractal of the Great Hologram of Cosmic Consciousness; The First Cause.

 

Romanian studies of Plasmas and Dr.David Bohm's Ph.D studies indicate "meaningful behavior" by plasmas. Romanian suggest this is a non biological consciousness.

Buckminster Fullerene indicates a non linear, proto consciousness used in the construction.

This is the scientific frontier. jr

Please visit www.findyourgod.ca

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but what w o r l d are you  currently experiencing. and what role does choice play in the process....and what happens when you stop the world. consciousness and ego are NOT the same thing.   Ego is just another experience.....

 

where is consciousness located? It's not in your brain, or your body, both of which are objectified by consciousness.

 

Strokes in different parts of the brain change consciousness differently, depending on the size and location of the stroke, both according to people who have suffered strokes and people who study those who have had strokes. Now if someone wants to explain that without consciousness being at least partially in the brain, he or she can try, but I don't think it will make any sense.

 

are we talking about consciousness or mentation.......about the watcher or a bodily function, albeit a high level bodily function.......is consciousness merely a brain activity, thinking.......telling your hand to move....or is it that which objectifies the experience of moving the hand.

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