• InfiniteMonkey
    8
    I think there is a deep misunderstanding in society about consioussnes. Many people belief trees have consioussnes due to their communication. Protists communicate. Bacteria communicate. Maybe viruses communicate too in some way, even I´m not sure about that, when we talk about communication between cells. But inside a cell their is much of communication going on, infact their is no clear line where you can differentiate between communication and non- communication. Communication is everywhere and begins on the molecular level, in non- biotic material. When you think deeply about it it even goes in the atomic and the sub- atomic level.
    Consioussnes has a much higher complexity then communication. From my point of view it evolved in small animals and gets bigger in modern mammals, birds and cephalopods. It evolved in co- evolution with nervous- systems.
  • h060tu
    124
    Consciousness didn't evolve. It is the basis of all things. No matter how many times you reboot your computer, it will not become conscious.
  • TheMadFool
    6.2k
    I think there is a deep misunderstanding in society about consioussnes. Many people belief trees have consioussnes due to their communication. Protists communicate. Bacteria communicate. Maybe viruses communicate too in some way, even I´m not sure about that, when we talk about communication between cells. But inside a cell their is much of communication going on, infact their is no clear line where you can differentiate between communication and non- communication. Communication is everywhere and begins on the molecular level, in non- biotic material. When you think deeply about it it even goes in the atomic and the sub- atomic level.
    Consioussnes has a much higher complexity then communication. From my point of view it evolved in small animals and gets bigger in modern mammals, birds and cephalopods. It evolved in co- evolution with nervous- systems.
    InfiniteMonkey

    Firstly, I don't know if communication per se is an indication of consciousness meant here as the existence of an inner life - what is it like to be something. Single-celled organism communicate with chemicals but, I'm only guessing, they seem to lack brain-like organs that could think and possess consciousness. Thus the general consensus that single-celled organisms don't have consciousness. Of course this point of view is more than just tinged with materialism - some physical structure thought of as necessary for consciousness - but materialism is on a roll these days.

    Secondly, while communication, by itself, fails to evidence consciousness, there may be aspects of communication that hint at the existence of consciousness. For instance the notion of self-reference - saying "I" and "me" - is indicative of self-awareness which is, to me, a sign that whichever organism performs acts of self-reference is conscious. Why I say this is because self-awareness requires consciousness (supervenience?) and so if we detect self-reference in communication then it's impossible for the organism doing the self-referencing to not be conscious.
  • Coben
    1.5k
    Consioussnes has a much higher complexity then communicationInfiniteMonkey
    Cognitive functions can be complex, but 'experiencing' may or may not be simple or complex. We don't know the mechanism that causes consciousness. And communication can be unbelievably complex. How are we measuring complexity?
  • InfiniteMonkey
    8
    I think it´s pretty obvious. It´s a sideeffect of neurons firing information.
  • InfiniteMonkey
    8
    That´s a very esoteric view. We have no way to think that consiousness is at the basis of anything. We do know that animals have consioussnes. Making that statement is as scientific as to say pink unicorns exist on the backside of the moon.
  • Coben
    1.5k
    No glial cells involved? What's the mechanism? How do you know this?
  • InfiniteMonkey
    8
    Ofcorse, this was an oversimplified statement. But I think we can agree that consiousness has something to do with the nervous system? I mean when you damage your brain you damage your consiousness.
  • InfiniteMonkey
    8
    I don´t mean that consiousness has to be complex for the observer, ofcorse it started on a very simple point. I mean it evolves at a much more complex point then communication.
  • Coben
    1.5k
    You damage the cognitive functions, sure. Our experiences are affected by brain damage sure. That's what happens to us. That doesn't mean that brains are the source of consciousness. Nor does it mean it is the only way for things to be conscious, via brains. Perhaps the damage affects the memory in the experiencing, but experiencing continues - say after a blow to the head. Perhaps other entities also experience, but not via brains. We have no idea what th mechanism is that leads to consciousness. We can't measure it directly. We have a historical bias of assuming first it was only in us (at least in the modern West) then only in creatures like us. Then slowly to creatures less and less like us.
  • InfiniteMonkey
    8
    We have plenty of proof that consiousness is an Expression of central nervous Systems. Ofcorse you can have experience with braindamage, but you will lose the experience from the part of the brain that is dead. We don't have any proof for other consiousness and it doesn't makes scence.
  • bert1
    487
    I mean when you damage your brain you damage your consiousness.InfiniteMonkey

    I don't think so. You damage what you are conscious of. And in more extreme cases, you damage your identity. Getting knocked out might be shutting down consciousness. Alternatively, it is disrupting identity, such that you no longer exist for a while. Then when you 'come around' your identity re-forms. This is the less problematic thesis I think.

    EDIT: Before I fall foul of Banno, when I say 'you damage what you are conscious of', I don't mean the tables and chairs in the room get smashed up. I mean you are no longer aware of them in the same way.
  • neonspectraltoast
    205
    Without a deeper examination of psychic phenomena reported by conscious observers, we will never get any closer to understanding the nature of consciousness.

    Unfortunately, most scientist disregard witness reports out of hand and, for some reason, think they can explain it away studying neurons. If you don't see why that's absurd, I'm not going to explain it to you.

    I hypothesize that it's a feedback loop. The brain creates a timeless field of perception, which in turn influences the brain's development. It's a case of the chicken or the egg. But the yolk is still real.
  • InfiniteMonkey
    8
    I didn´t say that anybody in the world can explain consiousness... The only thing I said is that we can proof that it´s conected with nervous systems and the brain in perticular.
  • Coben
    1.5k
    We don't have any proof for other consiousness and it doesn't makes scence.InfiniteMonkey
    Again, we don't know what causes consciousness and what does not, so we can't rule out that consciousness is not in other things, nor can we say that consciousness is created by complicated neuronal sytems or brains. We can't say that until we know what causes it and what does not. Not until we can actually test for its presence and also for the lack of its presence. Not 50 years ago in science it was considered taboo to consider ahimals other than humans were conscious - that is, had subjective experiences. We have a bias and we are clearly not done with it.
  • bert1
    487
    The only thing I said is that we can proof that it´s conected with nervous systems and the brain in perticular.InfiniteMonkey

    How can we prove that?
  • h060tu
    124
    That´s a very esoteric view. We have no way to think that consiousness is at the basis of anything.InfiniteMonkey

    Of course we do. It's all we have. Literally. There is nothing that can be understood, known or experienced outside of consciousness. Therefore, consciousness is all that exists. What's your evidence for an external world OUTSIDE OF consciousness? Less evidence for that.
  • A Seagull
    530
    I think it´s pretty obvious. It´s a sideeffect of neurons firing information.InfiniteMonkey

    'Obvious'? How so?
  • A Seagull
    530
    There is nothing that can be understood, known or experienced outside of consciousness. Therefore, consciousness is all that exists.h060tu

    Solipsism in a nutshell.
  • h060tu
    124
    Solipsism in a nutshell.A Seagull

    It's not Solipsism. I didn't say my consciousness in particular was the only thing that existed. I said consciousness in the general. This is a classic case of misreading universals and particulars.
  • Daniel
    119

    consciousness is all that existsh060tu

    Hello, I just wanted to ask you if you could elaborate a bit more on that. Specifically, I'd like to know what it is that makes you believe that consciousness is all that exists.
  • h060tu
    124
    Hello, I just wanted to ask you if you could elaborate a bit more on that. Specifically, I'd like to know what it is that makes you believe that consciousness is all that exists.Daniel

    Because that's all I can, and perhaps ever will, experience. It's the same as anybody else. Why would you believe in Dualism or Pluralism? "Don't multiply entities unnecessarily" is more reasonable.
  • Daniel
    119

    So, you are consciousness experiencing consciousness? or are you different from consciousness?
  • h060tu
    124
    So, you are consciousness experiencing consciousness? or are you different from consciousness?Daniel

    In a manner of speaking. I believe in a Universal Consciousness which underlies all individual consciousnesses. And I also believe in inanimate objects which exist "within consciousness" (either in the Universal Consciousness or our consciousnesses, or both).

    If you want an explanation as to how this works, you can read Plotinus' Enneads. Or just Wiki it. That's a pretty decent explanation. But I have others too.

    In summary, all that exists is Universal Consciousness, and states of consciousness or unconsciousness which all "exist within" the Universal Consciousness.
  • Daniel
    119


    To be honest, I'd like to hear the reason you believe this is true. There must be something that forms the foundation of your belief (an experience, perhaps), and I'd like to know that something if you want to share it with me.
  • h060tu
    124
    To be honest, I'd like to hear the reason you believe this is true. There must be something that forms the foundation of your belief (an experience, perhaps), and I'd like to know that something if you want to share it with me.Daniel

    Logic. There's nothing else.

    a) Conscious experience exists.
    b) All knowledge comes through conscious experience.
    c) Nothing can be known outside of conscious experience.
    d) Conscious experience is all that exists.

    I know there are some people who have mystical experiences or whatever. I never had that, I've just had the same intuition that Plato and Plotinus had. That what I see and experience about reality is nothing but shadows on the cave wall. I've always thought so. Reality isn't as it seems.
  • Daniel
    119


    You say that

    b) All knowledge comes through conscious experience.h060tu

    and that

    c) Nothing can be known outside of conscious experience.h060tu

    and that

    d) Conscious experience is all that exists.h060tu

    So, that which is known is conscious experience since that which is known exists; and since it is known, it must have been consciously experienced (according to b).

    Could I conclude that that which is not known is not conscious experience, and hence it does not exist? or can something be conscious experience without being consciously experienced first?
  • h060tu
    124
    Could I conclude that that which is not known is not conscious experience, and hence it does not exist?Daniel

    No. Because the existence of things in the world are based on universal consciousness (i.e., God) and not on the individual subjective consciousness. The moon is still there if we're not looking at it. It just isn't "the moon." It's a different state of reality when not observed than when observed. But it still continues to exist because it exists independently, outside of subjective conscious beings.

    I would apply the same logic to mathematical objects. Conceptual things are not experienced consciously by subjective individual consciousnesses, but conceptual things still exist because they exist in the mind of God.

    Actual, conceptual, potential, possible and probable things all exist in the mind of God.

    So even things which are not known are within conscious experience, but I'd say they're outside our conscious experience. They're within God's.

    So by c) I mean that as an ontological statement, not as a epistemological one. I'm saying that universal consciousness is the grounding of all possible knowledge, even if our subjective consciousness can only comprehend a limited set of actual knowledge.

    can something be conscious experience without being consciously experienced first?Daniel

    Yes. God's consciousness is the conscious experience that exists without being consciously experienced.
  • Daniel
    119
    So, according to what you said, there are at least two kinds of conscious experience: one that is universal and the other which is not. For one to be universal and the other not to be universal, there must be something that is part of one but that is absent in the other. Since this thing exists (there are at least two kinds of conscious experience), then it must be conscious experience of the non-universal type (it is present in one but absent in the other). In addition, since it is non-universal, it is limited conscious experience. Now, what do you think is the nature of that which limits limited conscious experience? would it be also a kind of conscious experience or could it be something different from it?
  • h060tu
    124
    Now, what do you think is the nature of that which limits limited conscious experience? would it be also a kind of conscious experience or could it be something different from it?Daniel

    What limits conscious experience? Universal conscious experience limits subjective conscious experience. At least, that's what I believe. But it's also possible that subjective conscious experience limits itself. As David Hoffman points out in his book "The Case Against Reality" hiding reality and truth from our eyes keeps us focusing on things beneficial for our survival, adaptation and well-being. If we saw reality as it is, it would be maladaptive and harsher on our chances to continue existing.
  • Ambrosius
    3
    I have been pondering this for the past few days and the conclusion I reached is rather banal but fitting.

    Consciousness evolved as a necessity for a social species. As humans made the intelligence for muscle tradeoff, it became ever more pressing for the species to have more complex relationships: one human being could rarely fend for itself, but a tribe had much stronger chances. It is not enough to recognize that one is with another human, it has to have a connection so that it feels compelled to help. This is where the emotional center excels: it bonds us to other humans that we never would have cared for in the first place (hence, "together we rise, divided we fall") and those who failed to bond with others (socio/psychopaths) were outcasts and either killed off out of anger or when they were injured, no one helped. In the modern environment, the individual is able to survive with the basics fairly easily, but the emotional center remains and engages as if we still roam the plains of Africa, yielding mental health issues if one does not find connection. In an indirect way, novels such as "1984" and "Brave New World" recognized technology was dismantling the connections in society and would lead to a world where people "had it all" but depression pervaded society. In "Brave New World", they drugged themselves to reduce their awareness of their pain instead of creating meaningful relationships with others, and in "1984" the government made it impossible to bond with others. In both cases, people misunderstand how consciousness and happiness are interrelated.

    Furthermore, consciousness is nothing special. People place self-awareness on a pedestal and screech that it is the sign of a higher-being. Self-awareness was a necessity for a species with complex relationships otherwise adaptability would plummet. There were some surprising side-effects of self-awareness such as being able to recognize the world is governed by physical laws and the ability to admire phenomena. But this was not a one-way trade. Self-awareness brought the recognition of suffering with it. Fish (as we know them) get hungry and then they seek food. It is a simple causal relationship for them. Yet, humans feel hunger. Self-awareness gave us the added benefit of realizing that starving hurts. When we lose a loved one, self-awareness reminds us of all the joy they brought us and how we will never feel that way with them again because our self-awareness also happens to recognize time. Organisms that operate solely in a subconscious, automatic state simply go through their life. To us, it might seem like a pitiful life but we carry that burden too, only our subconsciousness manifests what we know as our "selves" and makes us aware that we are living.

    Consciousness is a projection of the subconscious. All of the ideas, emotions, and lessons learned over the years accumulate and affect us. The conscious part of ourselves would be useless if we did not depend on it to survive; the ego suppresses this because it is much easier to function in society if there is an inherent self-value (the purpose of religion) than when one knows they are just the projection that is most likely to survive in their environment.
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