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InvisibletrendalM
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(Human) Consciousness
    #2204597 - 12/27/03 09:32 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

One of the greater subjects of my thought as of late.

What is Human Consciousness?

Is it simply the most advanced form of something which exists throughout the Living World? Or is it something specific to and existing only in Humans?

Does consciousness reside only in the brain?

Is consciousness merely the sum of physical processes which have developed over millennia of biological evolution?

Are we all, at our most basic level, simply automatons? Machines, however mind-boggling the complexity, designed to interpret the world around us?

Or is consciousness something "more"...something which exists independently of human physical existence?

I will provide my current thoughts on these questions below...


--------------------
You're here because you know something.
What you know you can't explain,
But you feel it;
You've felt it your entire life.
That there's something wrong with the world.
You don't know what it is, but it's there....
Like a splinter in your mind...
Driving you mad.


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: (Human) Consciousness [Re: trendal]
    #2204622 - 12/27/03 09:46 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

What is Human Consciousness?
Most obviously (to me, anyway) it is the experience of waking life.

Is it simply the most advanced form of something which exists throughout the Living World? Or is it something specific to and existing only in Humans?
Although I am not entirely certain, I think that consciousness does exist in some form throughout all Life. My cat, while obviously not as "fully conscious" as I am, does seem to exhibit some of the traits of (human) consciousness. This would lead me to believe that we are not the only conscious beings...only that our consciousness is, perhaps, much more evolved.

Does consciousness reside only in the brain?
This probably depends mostly on what exactly consciousness is - if it is simply the net result of the brain's electrochemical (and possibly even quantum-mechanical) processes then yes, it does reside only in the brain.

Is consciousness merely the sum of physical processes which have developed over millennia of biological evolution?
Looking at other life, I would tend to think that yes...human consciousness has simply evolved along with biological complexity.

Are we all, at our most basic level, simply automatons? Machines, however mind-boggling the complexity, designed to interpret the world around us?
I tend to think that no, we are not simply automatons. Free-will may not truely exist...but the existence of the internal experience (completely aside from objective reality) leads me to think that we are more than complex machines.

Or is consciousness something "more"...something which exists independently of human physical existence?
Again, I suppose this depends almost entirely upon what consciousness is. It may be that our consciousness is involving many quantum-mechanical effects. If this is the case, there certainly exists the possibility that consciousness is not confined to the brain/body and that it "bleeds" out into external quantum reality (possibly through quantum entanglement). Research groups such as PEAR (http://www.princeton.edu/~pear/) have shown that mind-machine communication may very well occur and that it is consciously controllable. Where, then, does our individual consciousness end and "everything else" begin?

Bringing quantum-mechanics into the discussion of consciousness opens up all kinds of doors, in my opinion. If our consciousness is based in quantum-level effects then I see no reason why other highly-structured quantum systems should not be considered to have a form of consciousness of their own. If this is the case, it may be that all matter contains it's own consciousness - with the "level" of consciousness being roughly equal to the level of quantum complexity in the system.


--------------------
You're here because you know something.
What you know you can't explain,
But you feel it;
You've felt it your entire life.
That there's something wrong with the world.
You don't know what it is, but it's there....
Like a splinter in your mind...
Driving you mad.


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OfflineSpecialEd
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Re: (Human) Consciousness [Re: trendal]
    #2204640 - 12/27/03 09:52 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

Quote:

Does consciousness reside only in the brain?




There was a feature in a reader's digest on life after death. They sited several cases of patients who had undergone surgery under a general anesthesia. One man had heart surgery, and during his recovery stay the surgeon went to visit him with the results. The patient recognized the surgeon and was able to describe the surgery process, even though he was under from the anesthetics. This and many other cases have led some to speculate tha consciousness doesn not reside soley in the brain.


--------------------
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OfflineSpokesman
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Re: (Human) Consciousness [Re: trendal]
    #2204657 - 12/27/03 10:01 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

Counciousness could very well just be a product of the electromagnetic field in this planet. After all conciousness is really just electrical ions traveling from your eyes, skin, ears, nose and tounge to your brain. i think the most intresting question is how our individual conciousness are connected.


--------------------


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: (Human) Consciousness [Re: Spokesman]
    #2204671 - 12/27/03 10:07 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

After all conciousness is really just electrical ions traveling from your eyes, skin, ears, nose and tounge to your brain.

This, I am not so sure of. I would consider that to be sensory experience. There is also internal experience which does not require sensory input to exist or function. I can think about things which there is no external physical model for (and hence cannot be experienced through sensory input).

I would define consciousness as that which experiences sensory input, not the sensory input itself. There does seem to be an abstraction between the two.


--------------------
You're here because you know something.
What you know you can't explain,
But you feel it;
You've felt it your entire life.
That there's something wrong with the world.
You don't know what it is, but it's there....
Like a splinter in your mind...
Driving you mad.


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OfflineFrog
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Re: (Human) Consciousness [Re: Spokesman]
    #2204680 - 12/27/03 10:11 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

Interesting that Trendal started this thread about consciousness and Spokesman talks about the electromagnetic field. Also ties in with Swami's "Artificial Intelligence" thread. This was the first article I pulled up:

How Does Human Consciousness Work?
By Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News

Electromagnetic Field Generator?

In Depth: Visit Discovery Health

On TV: Watch "Science Mysteries"



Sep. 11 ? A British geneticist has proposed a theory, which is gaining ground, as to why humans are conscious and aware.

If proven correct, the theory not only would explain one of science's greatest mysteries, the "hard problem" of awareness, but it may also, in future, allow for the development of artificially intelligent, conscious computers.

In a paper published in the latest issue of the Journal of Consciousness Studies, awareness is said to be generated by the brain's electromagnetic field, which is a product of the over 100 billion electrically active neurons in the brain.

The activity of individual neurons can result in unconscious actions, like breathing and eye blinking, but collective, synchronous neuron firings, according to the report, produce an electromagnetic field and the state of human awareness.
Johnjoe McFadden, professor of molecular genetics at the University of Surrey and author of the paper, first came up with the idea while writing the book "Quantum Evolution," published earlier this year. He became convinced that "consciousness was some kind of field that bound our thoughts." But without quantum states in the brain, he wondered where the field could be.

"An obvious possibility was the brain's own electromagnetic field, generated by neurons and able to influence neuron firing," McFadden explained to Discovery News, "so I started to examine the proposition that the brain's electromagnetic field is consciousness and became convinced."

He added that human consciousness is awareness that can communicate complex information with a sense of self-referral. It goes beyond self-awareness, which, he said, could be the state many animals are in.

For humans, he believes that information taken in from the outside world through our senses passes through the brain's electromagnetic field to neurons in the brain and then back again to the field, creating a self-referring loop that could be the key to consciousness.

If, as McFadden suggests, consciousness is a component of the brain's electromagnetic field, it would then likely be possible to reconstruct artificial systems duplicating the process, i.e., computers with a conscious.

Roy E. John, a professor in the School of Medicine and Psychiatry at New York University who has developed a similar theory concerning human awareness, suggested that AI enthusiasts not hold their breath because "a whole new technology would be necessary."

Bruce MacLennan, associate professor of computer science at the University of Tennessee and an expert in field computation, said McFadden's theory is "very interesting and thought-provoking." He agrees that conscious computers may be possible, but not in the near future.

"I cannot exaggerate how far we are from being able to construct a robot with the real-world cognitive capacities of a simple mammal, let alone a human," said MacLennan. "We are even further from being able to make a principled claim that any artificial system is conscious. We have so much more to learn."

http://www.xpsn.com/Search/powersearch.a...20consciousness


--------------------
The day will come when, after harnessing the ether, the winds, the tides, gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And, on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.  -Teilard


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: (Human) Consciousness [Re: Frog]
    #2204694 - 12/27/03 10:19 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

Hmm. A couple thoughts after reading that (thanks, Frog!):

If consciousness is the result of the net EM field of the brain's neurons...then is any EM field "conscious" in it's own form/way?

Also, the EM field does not stop at the boundaries of the brain. As our entire body works using electrical impulse (to some degree) I would suggest that consciousness exists throughout the entire body...although perhaps it is concentrated into self-awareness in the brain specifically.


--------------------
You're here because you know something.
What you know you can't explain,
But you feel it;
You've felt it your entire life.
That there's something wrong with the world.
You don't know what it is, but it's there....
Like a splinter in your mind...
Driving you mad.


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OfflineFrog
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Re: (Human) Consciousness [Re: trendal]
    #2204699 - 12/27/03 10:25 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

Holy phluck! I found this link:

http://www.xpsn.com/Search/powersearch.a...20consciousness

I think it's "everything you ever wanted to know about consciousness".

Wish I could summarize, but I'll be reading it, because now I'm interested.

Thank you, Trendal.


--------------------
The day will come when, after harnessing the ether, the winds, the tides, gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And, on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.  -Teilard


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OfflineFrog
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Re: (Human) Consciousness [Re: trendal]
    #2204715 - 12/27/03 10:41 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

Quote:

trendal said:
If consciousness is the result of the net EM field of the brain's neurons...then is any EM field "conscious" in it's own form/way?So perhaps consciousness operates based on the absorption of information somehow within an electromagnetic field,

Also, the EM field does not stop at the boundaries of the brain. As our entire body works using electrical impulse (to some degree) I would suggest that consciousness exists throughout the entire body...although perhaps it is concentrated into self-awareness in the brain specifically.



Here's my thoughts on this. I read a book once called "The Field". I read through Chapter 5, and now it looks like I will have to read the rest.

Everything is made of atoms and molecules. These atoms and molecules are exchanging energy with each other. You may think you are seeing an "empty" room, but let's say you had on special glasses, like infra-red glasses, that could see what was really going on.

What you would be seeing is an extremely busy room where the furniture and walls and people are all emiting energy and absorbing energy from each other.

The brain's electromagnetic waves operate at a certain hertz, depending on the activity, but all brain activity is a form of consciousness, right? If the brain is emitting energy, and that energy contains the consciousness of the brains thoughts and perceptions, etc., then wouldn't that information be exchanged with other electromagnetic fields, or atoms, or molecules?

Is all consciousness "hanging" out there, in the "empty" areas, perhaps filling space, causing us to share thoughts with each other, depending on the hertz at which our brains electromagnetic waves cycle?

Meditation would put us in touch with the collective consciousness of the Universe, wouldn't it? Because your brain waves, to do this, would have to be operating at about 7.8 hertz. It's probably why psychics can pick up on things.


--------------------
The day will come when, after harnessing the ether, the winds, the tides, gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And, on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.  -Teilard


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InvisibleShroomismM
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Re: (Human) Consciousness [Re: trendal]
    #2204735 - 12/27/03 10:55 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

What is Human Consciousness?

In its purest form, awareness.. a beacon of light energy that observes and interacts, with the intention of gaining wisdom through experience.

Is it simply the most advanced form of something which exists throughout the Living World? Or is it something specific to and existing only in Humans?

Consciousness is the rhythm and always evolving eye of the universe, manifesting in many forms, physical and non. Each layer of consciousness is essential to the collective product, from the elements and minerals through plants, animals and humans.

Does consciousness reside only in the brain?

Throughout physical life, consciousness resides mostly in the brain. However, a fragmentation occurs in this density which compartmentalizes our consciousness into separate entities. Manifesting of course as conscious mind, subconscious, and unconscious. There are other levels of consciousness that we are connected to, outside of the brain, but for the most part, unaware of in material life. Consciousness itself is boundless in that it can perceive in many different realities simultaneously. The 'higher self' is thought to reside in densities many levels above the current anchor, and is connected to the 'original source', or divine consciousness.

Is consciousness merely the sum of physical processes which have developed over millennia of biological evolution?

In a way of speaking, yes.. but there are perhaps many different aspects of it that are as of yet uncovered by current perceptions. Future developments in consciousness may yeild more definitave answers. But from a certain perspective, consciousness is an eternal energy that began from nothingness as a simple idea, and throughout time developed experience through evolution. One could say that consciousness is dependent on evolution to exist, but is not exactly the product of evolution either. Chicken or the egg...

Are we all, at our most basic level, simply automatons? Machines, however mind-boggling the complexity, designed to interpret the world around us?

The human body and mind, can be perceived as a type of machine.. a biological, extremely complex and fantastically designed, machine. But for all of its limitations, is designed for consciousness to experience, interact with, learn from, and interpret the physical world around us, as efficiently as possible. It is an evolution vehicle. It must be noted, that the body exists as a vehicle, while the mind exists as a computer or processor for physical reality. Consciousness is the energy behind it all, absorbing and learning from it.

Or is consciousness something "more"...something which exists independently of human physical existence?

Indeed, consciousness exists quite well, independantly from the human body. With consciousness comes a trail of past experience and wisdom. It is an eternal life energy with free will and the desire to evolve. One could even say that consciousness is the soul.


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OfflineRenegade8
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Re: (Human) Consciousness [Re: Frog]
    #2204747 - 12/27/03 11:01 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

You know, I was just about to post summarizing what I have in my sloppy pile of notes on this stuff, but you just came up with about what I would have said.  No fair - I know you haven't had to read all this crap to get there. :mad2:

This is what I've been working on, not just the ADHD-related stuff I've posted elsewhere.  See why I've been so intrigued by all of it?  Also, now you see why I have to read about things like quantum mechanics to explain it all.

BTW - Thanks to Trendal for lots of good stuff for me to figure out on that other thread.  String theory was one of the next things I needed to get into, so I guess it's time.


--------------------
I'm just see-through faded, super jaded, and out of my mind. - R.I.P. Layne


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: (Human) Consciousness [Re: Frog]
    #2204788 - 12/27/03 11:30 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

Is all consciousness "hanging" out there, in the "empty" areas, perhaps filling space, causing us to share thoughts with each other, depending on the hertz at which our brains electromagnetic waves cycle?

I've thought much the same, as of late! What really separates us from our surroundings? What gives us the concept of the Self?

What is the difference between 0.01mm below my skin, and 0.01mm above my skin? Both spaces are filled with subatomic particles, and at their most basic level those particles are all the same thing: ENERGY! Matter is merely condensed energy (E=mc^2, m=E/c^2). The only thing separating things into individual objects is my/our perception of the world.

I see a chair...and I know it is a chair. The fact that the air surrounding the chair is transparent to the light my eyes are receiving alows me to separate the chair from it's surroundings.

Hmm...so the only thing that gives us the ability to have a concept of separateness and the Self is the nature of the EM force and how our eyes receive it...

The EM force is the most apparent of all the fundamental forces...so what is so surprising about the idea that EM fields may be what our consciousness really is?


--------------------
You're here because you know something.
What you know you can't explain,
But you feel it;
You've felt it your entire life.
That there's something wrong with the world.
You don't know what it is, but it's there....
Like a splinter in your mind...
Driving you mad.


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OfflineFrog
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Re: (Human) Consciousness [Re: Renegade8]
    #2204792 - 12/27/03 11:32 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

Quote:

Renegade420 said:
You know, I was just about to post summarizing what I have in my sloppy pile of notes on this stuff, but you just came up with about what I would have said.  No fair - I know you haven't had to read all this crap to get there. :mad2:

This is what I've been working on, not just the ADHD-related stuff I've posted elsewhere.  See why I've been so intrigued by all of it?  Also, now you see why I have to read about things like quantum mechanics to explain it all.

BTW - Thanks to Trendal for lots of good stuff for me to figure out on that other thread.  String theory was one of the next things I needed to get into, so I guess it's time.




Well, I probably picked this stuff up from listening to you blather, in addition to some of the books I've read.  But I didn't explain it as well as you probably would have.


--------------------
The day will come when, after harnessing the ether, the winds, the tides, gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And, on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.  -Teilard


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OfflineFrog
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Re: (Human) Consciousness [Re: trendal]
    #2204798 - 12/27/03 11:36 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

Trendal, the thing that got me thinking about all this was the book called "The Field", as I already stated. Listen, you don't even have to buy the book. I was reading it one chapter at a time, when I visited the book store. Even if you only read the preface, or whatever it's called, in the beginning of the book, that read is worth the trip.

I believe this all goes into how we also either "affect" our environment, or "intuit" our environment, psychically speaking.


--------------------
The day will come when, after harnessing the ether, the winds, the tides, gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And, on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.  -Teilard


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: (Human) Consciousness [Re: Shroomism]
    #2204816 - 12/27/03 11:47 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

Ahh yes, I was waiting for the spiritual side of things!

Now here's a question I've been wondering about: animals. They certainly appear to have a consciousness of their own, even if it is not as highly evolved as our own. Do they also have a higher-level self? A part of their consciousness which exists, as it were, on a higher state of existance (density)?

Or are animals the primitive forms of consciousness which our higher-selves are made of? What I mean is, does an animal consciousness evolve over time into a higher consciousness through the same birth/rebirth process that we may undergo?


--------------------
You're here because you know something.
What you know you can't explain,
But you feel it;
You've felt it your entire life.
That there's something wrong with the world.
You don't know what it is, but it's there....
Like a splinter in your mind...
Driving you mad.


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: (Human) Consciousness [Re: Renegade8]
    #2204819 - 12/27/03 11:49 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

Off topic:

If you're looking at getting into string theory I highly reccomend Brian Greene's novel, The Elegant Universe. You've probably heard of it several times already. Another book (actually the book that introduced me to string theory) is Michio Kaku's book Hyperspace, although it is a little more "out there" than Greene's book.


--------------------
You're here because you know something.
What you know you can't explain,
But you feel it;
You've felt it your entire life.
That there's something wrong with the world.
You don't know what it is, but it's there....
Like a splinter in your mind...
Driving you mad.


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: (Human) Consciousness [Re: Frog]
    #2204824 - 12/27/03 11:54 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

I believe this all goes into how we also either "affect" our environment, or "intuit" our environment, psychically speaking.

That brings up the topic of intuition, then, I guess. Something else I've thought a lot about...

I'll have to check that book out sometime. Lucky I know the librarian here well enough that she'll order books for me that the library system doesn't have :wink:


--------------------
You're here because you know something.
What you know you can't explain,
But you feel it;
You've felt it your entire life.
That there's something wrong with the world.
You don't know what it is, but it's there....
Like a splinter in your mind...
Driving you mad.


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OfflineFrog
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Re: (Human) Consciousness [Re: trendal]
    #2204830 - 12/27/03 11:58 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

Not just intuition. Think about walking into a grocery store, and you want some apples, and the guy tells you they just ran out. You don't scream and yell or whatever. You just sort of "project" at him what you want and that he will get it for you. Next minute, he is offering to go in the back and check and, sure enough, there's the apples.

Projection, I guess one could call it. Maybe it has another name.

But that's about exchanging energy, too, using the mind. Uh, am I "off topic"?


--------------------
The day will come when, after harnessing the ether, the winds, the tides, gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And, on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.  -Teilard


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: (Human) Consciousness [Re: Frog]
    #2204837 - 12/28/03 12:04 AM (12 years, 11 months ago)

Nope :wink:

This all ties in closely with the nature of consciousness. And I see what you are getting at, now. Some people call it syncronicity, right?


--------------------
You're here because you know something.
What you know you can't explain,
But you feel it;
You've felt it your entire life.
That there's something wrong with the world.
You don't know what it is, but it's there....
Like a splinter in your mind...
Driving you mad.


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OfflineFrog
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Re: (Human) Consciousness [Re: trendal]
    #2204852 - 12/28/03 12:19 AM (12 years, 11 months ago)

It could be synchronicity, but I don't think so. I'm still trying to figure all this out, which is why I was referred to this forum!

I don't think it is synchronicity.

From Dictionary.com:

syn?chro?nic?i?ty ( P ) Pronunciation Key (sngkr-ns-t, sn-)
n. pl. syn?chro?nic?i?ties
1. The state or fact of being synchronous or simultaneous; synchronism.
2. Coincidence of events that seem to be meaningfully related, conceived in Jungian theory as an explanatory principle on the same order as causality.

I'm not talking about synchronicity. As if one was a force, and affected others with the emanations of his or her thoughts. An intense human being, so to speak, projecting desires onto another, and getting what he or she wanted, regardless of synchronicity.


--------------------
The day will come when, after harnessing the ether, the winds, the tides, gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And, on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.  -Teilard


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