• Dendu
    1
    Greetings, I am new here.

    So I have a hunch that many animals on earth are conscious to some degree, it got me pondering how different it would feel to be one of those animals. In comparison to being a human I imagine quite different. Often consciousness is considered to be complete and independent, where the brains of the individual beings differ and that is what creates differences in subjective experience?

    I was drawing an analogy to computer protocols of sending and receiving data. When data is sent from one program to another, it usually adheres to a specific protocol, and the receiving program would use that protocol to deal with what it has received in a correct fashion. I was wondering if the brain and 'consciousness' also have a similar problem and I started to think how it would solve it. The human body's shape and form is stored within its dna. Now that same dna defines the brain too, so input data from the external world enters the brain of the experiencer and it must be uploaded to the 'consciousness'. This is where I believe a 'protocol' as described above is required for each individual creature. And that the sender program(the dna) must use similar protocol as the receiver program ( consciousness dna?). Here is the question, do you think its reasonable to think that consciousness also has a storage and that it too is passed on during reproduction? And thus be under the influence of evolution over millions of years too. #foodforthought
  • Tyler
    58
    So I have a hunch that many animals on earth are conscious to some degree, it got me pondering how different it would feel to be one of those animals.Dendu
    >I dont think animals' "consciousness" is all that mysterious, since I think humans experience the same degree of consciousness every day. Humans also experience the higher level, as we often consider to be "consciousness", but throughout the day there's times when a person is not in that deeper degree. Any time you're not paying active mental attention, and you're not using working memory, then you are likely using subconscious reaction, just like animals do all day long.
    Dreams are another state of subconsciousness, but with no sensory input to act on as stimulus, the brain goes to odd, less distinct, more abstract memories. But I think the experience of mental awareness is nearly the same in a dream, as animals while awake.

    do you think its reasonable to think that consciousness also has a storage and that it too is passed on during reproduction?Dendu
    >I think consciousness functions by method of memory access, and I dont think memories can be passed on through reproduction. I think just instincts are passed on, which are generally constant persistent reactions, not adaptive reactions, such as subconscious or consciousness.
  • aporiap
    156
    Greetings, I am new here.

    So I have a hunch that many animals on earth are conscious to some degree, it got me pondering how different it would feel to be one of those animals. In comparison to being a human I imagine quite different. Often consciousness is considered to be complete and independent, where the brains of the individual beings differ and that is what creates differences in subjective experience?

    I was drawing an analogy to computer protocols of sending and receiving data. When data is sent from one program to another, it usually adheres to a specific protocol, and the receiving program would use that protocol to deal with what it has received in a correct fashion. I was wondering if the brain and 'consciousness' also have a similar problem and I started to think how it would solve it. The human body's shape and form is stored within its dna. Now that same dna defines the brain too, so input data from the external world enters the brain of the experiencer and it must be uploaded to the 'consciousness'. This is where I believe a 'protocol' as described above is required for each individual creature. And that the sender program(the dna) must use similar protocol as the receiver program ( consciousness dna?). Here is the question, do you think its reasonable to think that consciousness also has a storage and that it too is passed on during reproduction? And thus be under the influence of evolution over millions of years too. #foodforthought
    Welcome and thanks for starting this topic!

    I think it's important to differentiate consciousness and brain a bit more. It's true that brains and consciousness are related but the relationship is more complicated than 1 to 1. This important to understand so the send-receive analogy's inapplicability to consciousness makes sense.

    Consciousness is something like an emergent property that results from some specific set of coordinated neural activities. Not all parts of the brain are involved in generating consciousness. You can take out an entire cerebellum or even an entire half of the brain and still have conscious experiences. Even more relevant, it's the connections between brain elements that are most important in the generation of consciousness and (my guess) the sense of individuality (individuality means sense of one's particularity, awareness and perception as a distinct self). Most of these connections are not the result of hard wiring or genetic determination, they result from a constructive process, through learning and environmental interaction.

    So while there is a general framework of organization encoded by genetic material -- how proteins are arranged to form cells, how cells should interact and arrange themselves to form neural tissue; there is a large, consciousness determining portion that is left 'undifferentiated' and further 'differentiates' or organizes via learning. This portion - which includes memories, self concept, etc. can't be passed on since it isn't encoded. What can pass on is some sort of general organization framework for neural elements and neurons which allows for basic perceptual abilities, learning, and self differentiation to take place.

    Else things would get really weird because children would or should have the same 'consciousness' or 'parts of consciousness' as their parents; they should share a sense of first person consciousness or have some collective sense of consciousness but that doesn't happen.. it's particular and exclusive to a given individual.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.1k
    Since our brains and our brains capacities were developed over time through evolution, it's probable that other animals have some degree of consciousness. But a dog, with a less complex brain than ours, won't experience the same consciousness that we do. But still, I am pretty sure dogs experience some sort of consciousness.

    No, I don't think any content of consciousness is passed on from generation to generation. What IS passed on is the capacity to assemble consciousness, however the brain does that -- and we don't know how it does. (well, through DNA, but that just moves the mystery from the brain to genetic code. Someday we might figure that out.)

    I don't think so, but some people think that it might be possible... like Jung's 'collective unconscious' that is shared by generations, as archetypes. Do crows pass on memories to their offspring? Someone on NPR was speculating about that; don't know.

    People believe in all sorts of things and manage to live normal lives.
  • Anthony
    147
    The human body's shape and form is stored within its dna.Dendu

    Are you sure this is true?
  • SteveKlinko
    387
    Here is the question, do you think its reasonable to think that consciousness also has a storage and that it too is passed on during reproduction? And thus be under the influence of evolution over millions of years too. #foodforthoughtDendu
    Because Science knows so little about the actual mechanisms of Consciousness, any and all speculations are still on the table. Your speculation is a good one that could be proven true or false some day.
  • rodrigo
    19
    you are comparing the physical traits of a human being with the consciousness .... but you have to distinguish consciousness from personality traits ...they are not the same ... personalities are developed through experiences , where the consciousness simply exists and is aware ... but does not judge so it does not need to develop a personality .... so the traits we pass on through DNA most certainly apply to the physical aspect of humans ..... and contemplating that humans may be the only beings that may have this consciousnesses is simply our egotistical nature to prove to everyone that WE are the chose ones from god ...... nonsense


    don't confuse consciousness with mental awareness of the physical world around you and the human concepts that only we know about because they only exist in thought form .....

    consciousness is an intelligence beyond that of the mind , it is the one who can watch the mind if you find peace in the perpetual and eternal moment .... and it does not exist in time , thought exists in time .... your consciousness experiences reality ... if the mind and its excessive momentum of thought is not loud enough to make you lose your connection .... to what ? to the internal truth know to all but forgotten by the mental noise of hundreds and thousands of evolution of our toxic mind .
  • BrianW
    847
    I think consciousness is a fundamental part of life and is a component of all life regardless of circumstance. Here, I mean, humans, animals, plants, molecules, atoms, planets, galaxies, universe(s), etc., all have consciousness. This is because, if we examine what we refer to by consciousness, it almost always means the process of awareness and response. From this, I would say that consciousness is a configuration of activity. Something is conscious if it is active or performing an action. The only conflict I perceive with this explanation is that we (humans) only refer to consciousness in humans and sometimes animals and often forget about its fundamental and universal aspect.

    The first part of this idea is: every part of the body expresses consciousness due to its activity and this is primarily reflected in the brain because of the fact that the whole body is remapped in it. In this way, the brain is seen as the seat of consciousness. However, there are occasions when even science with its physical approach cannot explain certain occurrences citing explanations such as anomalies, but which are more often than not coping mechanisms. For example, as with the case of Martin Pistorius where our modern science decided that he was no longer conscious because with the current means that was the most probable diagnosis, only to be proved wrong later when he showed he had been aware of his circumstances all along; or when either the right or left hemispheres of the brain suffer injury and become inactive, there has been noted that the activities previously inherent in the damaged part are transfered to the other functioning part. I think this is a plausible explanation for how a person may still be conscious even though brain-readings suggest he is not. Life usually finds a way to compensate for a lost appendage. Perhaps (speculating), in the case of Martin Pistorius, the rest of his neural configuration found a way to compensate for the lost brain activities. Fundamental to such compensation is need.

    Another part of the idea is the way we refer to emotions. We often speak of the heart as being the seat of emotions. However, if examined closely, we find that the heart is the first to respond in the case of experiencing emotions. The heart is the most powerful organ when it comes to the fight or flight mechanism. Emotions impact primarily the instinctive mechanism of man and as such the fight or flight mechanism is the most prominent. For example, when we love/like someone, we wish to be closer to them; or when we hate/dislike someone, we wish to distance ourselves from them. Therefore, they trigger the onset of motion-enhancing activities within the body and the heart is at the centre of it as it literally generates the power to effect either. The same may be said of anger, fear, envy, etc. However, we also find certain adjustments, for example, when we examine nervousness. While heart-rate may be increased, the indistinct nature of the response parameters may be said to be the cause of the 'butterflies' in our 'stomachs/bellies'. Physically, the stomach is where energy (food) is held while undergoing processing. Therefore, in analogy, we feel nervousness in our 'stomachs' while the emotional energy is yet undetermined (a.k.a being processed). This is evident in the fact that, once a distinct course of action is determined, the 'butterflies' seem to lessen or fade away.
    I hope from these explanations, the idea that consciousness is a manifestation of activity, is somewhat clearer.

    Other ideas along the same lines include 'collective consciousness' to imply collective activity, 'my consciousness' meaning my mode of activity (my awareness/response or my way of going about things), and so on.

    (NB. I think LIFE'S Consciousness is what is meant by GOD. This is because everything ascribed to GOD is an activity expressed in life. For example, love = fundamental unity, justice = balance, retribution = compensation, intelligence = harmony, etc. To me, because life is not limited to human will or desires, it explains why religious people are not favoured over others; and also how discipline (whether in science, philosophy, religion, sports, etc) helps a person develop certain abilities/capabilities.)
  • BrianW
    847
    Also, when we refer to a human being, we do not mean the human body. We primarily mean human consciousness (activity) which more often than not extends beyond the human body. Else, a corpse would still be a human being by the fact that it is a human body.
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