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InvisibleRavus
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Consciousness
    #4139816 - 05/05/05 11:35 PM (11 years, 10 months ago)

Consciousness seems to be one of the juiciest pieces of steak out there, yet what has been learned of it? Science has created a few half-assed theories (I'm willing to bet they're spent at least 1,000 times more money and time researching erectile dysfunction drugs than they have for consciousness), yet for the most part they've just thrown it to the philosophers, the mystics and the speculators to make of it what they can. It's a rather odd situation, but maybe there's not enough profit for researching consciousness, so it's looked at as just an essential weirdness of life.

There's the common theory of course, that if you simply connect enough molecules into cells, and then wire enough cells into a brain that the organism will gain consciousness, but there are some major flaws, both scientific and philosophical, with this theory, so some other ones may need to be looked at.

One of the most interesting protoscientific theories yet stumbled upon is the electromagnetic theory of consciousness, which says that the electromagnetic field generated by the brain, rather than simply being a product of our neurons, is actually the carrier of consciousness. This is because every time a neuron fires, it creates a disturbance in the surrounding electromagnetic field, which means that information being transferred by neurons can be deducted by the electromagnetic waves the brain is emitting. This also solves the problem of how millions of separately firing neurons connect to form the illusion of one unified conscious being, as consciousness isn't held in these neurons, but rather in the unified electromagnetic field that the sum total actions these neurons created contains consciousness.

The Spin-Mediated Consciousness Theory may also contain possible answers to the problem of consciousness, though this theory also has interesting hindrances of its own. This says that the quantum spin of subatomic particles is a type of "pixel", and trillions among trillions of these pixels form to create one unified image, consciousness. Spin is a characteristic of quantum particles, an intristic part of microscopic space-time and the property responsible for the quantum effects of fermions.

The theory works by saying that consiousness is created because the quantum spin of neural membranes and proteins form entangled quantum states, some of which survive decoherence which would make many of the entanglement states into mixed states. These quantum states then irreversibly collapse and produce consciousness. The main problem I see with it is that it is nearly incomprehensible to the layman, but this has never stopped nature before so I don't see why it would stop nature now. The universe doesn't necessarily follow the theories that are easiest to comprehend or calculate.

After the scientific theories come the spiritual and cultural theories that many have held, and continue to hold. The most well-known of these is that consciousness is contained in a separate ethereal part of a human being called the soul, and without the soul we lose free will and consciousness, and are left with simply an organic machine with neurons firing simply to respond to its environment. This theory seems to me to be a superstitous subjective view of consciousness, something ancient man would make up to solve the problems of identity, consciousness and individuality, but whether it has any truth or not we do not currently know.

In terms of spiritual beliefs, Buddhism seems to be the most interesting religion with a theory of consciousness. The consciousness-only belief states that all existence is made of consciousness, and that everything we perceive to be separate from consciousness is actually an illusion created by the consciousness of ourselves and the universe. This would also solve the problems of identity and the potential spiritual problem of reincarnation without resorting to a soul, because in the end our physical bodies are just vessels of illusion, made of, powered by and perceiving by using consciousness. There is nothing else in existence. I have experienced this theory on various psychoactive drugs, so in a spiritual sense this one makes the most sense to me, but as of yet it has no scientific backing.

What do you believe your consciousness is created from? How are animals, and possibly other lifeforms, conscious? Is the entire universe conscious, or is consciousness held only in tiny moving bastions of flesh? Will consciousness exist after death, or does consciousness simply and irreversibly die with the organism holding it?


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So long as you are praised think only that you are not yet on your own path but on that of another.


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InvisibleSkorpivoMusterion
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Re: Consciousness [Re: Ravus]
    #4139838 - 05/05/05 11:43 PM (11 years, 10 months ago)

I've become fond of the way Timothy Schoorel, a spiritual author, defines consciousness:

The Absolute is absolute emptiness, a space without confines. The Absolute is boundless space. It is not space like we know it, it is the emptiness that lies beyond the edges of the universe, it is the space in which the universe expands. It is the home of the universe. It is absolute space: 'absolute' because there are no outer limits. This is not an emptiness that relates to fullness, that would be a relative emptiness. This emptiness could not be filled with a billion universes. Absolute emptiness, theoretically, can effortlessly accommodate an infinite number of baby and parallel universes. This is space without periphery, without boundaries.

As consciousness is life's first principle, as life begins with consciousness, the question "What is truth?" becomes concrete by asking "What is consciousness?" If you want to be clear on your existence, you will have to consider the nature of consciousness. What is the origin of consciousness? How is it possible?

Consciousness is a quality of open space. Absolute space is so open that it becomes conscious, has to be conscious in its nature. It is so wide open that the very openness makes it conscious. It is so absolutely open, so impressionable, that it is conscious. Consciousness is not a substance; it is not made out of anything, since it is made out of absolute emptiness! Absolute emptiness, absolute space is the origin of consciousness. One could say that consciousness is an epi-phenomenon of the Absolute. Consciousness seems to exist, when in fact it is simply a quality, a property, a side-effect of absolute emptiness.

The question What happens when we die? is not a very clear question, because what exactly do we mean by we? It is a lot more specific to ask "What happens to consciousness when our body dies?", "What happens to consciousness when the body, our door to experience, closes?". Nothing happens to consciousness, it is just that experiences are no longer possible. And when new life is born, there are new experiences. With every new birth, the consciousness-property of the Absolute is revealed.

Consciousness as such is never born, absolute emptiness does not need to be born, does not need to be created: it simply exists as the truth behind existence. Absolute space is absolute time, eternity, time without beginning and without end. With every death, consciousness seems to disappear. It doesn't truly disappear, because absolute emptiness cannot possibly disappear. It never dies, its time is never up.

Absolute Consciousness
Like experiences are not possible without consciousness, is consciousness possible without experiences? What does the term 'consciousness' mean when all experiences drop away, when there is no notion, no thought, no feeling, no memory, no dream, no awareness of anything whatsoever? The truth of life, of you, of me and of existence is absolute space, boundlessness, absolute freedom. It is the origin and foundation of consciousness, it is why consciousness is possible. The light of that absolute consciousness never extinguishes. It is absolute, because it is not even dependent on experience, on life.

Identification
The question "Who am I?" is not merely theoretical. What it means depends on what we identify with. If we identify with our physical body, then sports, the way we look, our health, things relating to the body become very important in our life. If we have identified with our emotions, then how we feel emotionally, our relationships with people, love, and happiness become most important to us. Identifying with our thoughts, we become readers of books, chess players, scientists, and a good conversation becomes really important. If we identify with consciousness, then spirituality, beauty in whatever form, and a sense of wonder become most important. Asking "Who am I?" immediately shows us our identifications. "I'm a sports person", "I am a very vulnerable and sensitive person", "I'm an Information Technology specialist", "I'm a very religious person", it all depends on where we identify most strongly.

We tend to identify with our roles, but these roles are not absolute. You may be a baseball player, but if you become too old to play the game, you are not really a baseball player anymore. Or you may be a postman, but if because of e-mail your job should become redundant, you are no longer the postman. Roles are relative, but we take them to be absolute. We identify with our roles to the point where we feel that we have become redundant when a role that we've played has become redundant.

Identification makes everything disproportionately personal. We are identified with our bodies, our feelings, our thoughts, and our consciousness to the point where we feel this is I, this is what and who I am. And because of our identification, we can become very emotional if what we've identified with turns out to be of a relative nature. We find it difficult to change, and we are afraid to die because we are deeply identified.

Who am I?
Asking "Who am I truly?" or "What is truth?" means that you cannot take the question at face value anymore. You may have identified with this or that, but now you want to get to the very truth of you. You are not just going to accept the first or second answer that comes to mind. "What is truth?" is not just a philosophical and theoretical question: to reflect on it can be a beginning, but finally, it might change your whole paradigm of yourself. And like understanding the earth to be round instead of flat has had a major impact on our lives, the way we understand ourselves will change everything. "Who am I?" or "What is truth?" are very penetrative questions, they can make you understand yourself in a completely new way.

Claiming ownership
Identification is the movement of claiming something, trying to appropriate it. It means that at a deep level we think, "This is me, and mine to keep." But life is a gift that is not for keeps, and ownership is only possible in a relative sense. Something is mine when it isn't yours, the meaning of 'mine' is relative. But I cannot say that it is mine in an absolute sense. I do not own this existence, and when I die, whatever I considered to be mine, turns out not to be mine after all. Identification is fine as long as we understand that its meaning is relative. It really has no absolute meaning. Like a wave cannot claim ownership over itself because it belongs to the ocean, ultimately we do not own ourselves because we belong to the universe.

When it is time to die, we are forced to give up everything we ever owned, we are even forced to give up what we have thought of as ourselves. We will need to let go of our entire lives. In this moment of truth, it will become very clear what we are not ready to let go of. We will have to give up our physical life, our emotional life, our mental life, our dream life, our social life. And we will need to let go of even our consciousness. The essence of existing, of being alive, our basic awareness, will be taken away. Dying can either be a phenomenon of complete acceptance, or it can be a struggle. The degree to which we find it difficult to let go of our lives voluntarily, to that degree we are identified.

Liberation
What is liberation? Liberation is waking up to absolute truth. Liberation happens when absolute truth comes to light, when truth is revealed. It is discovering the truth of you, which is the truth of everyone and of existence. Truth is not your physical body, nor is it an emotion, thought, belief, or social role. It is not even your consciousness. As long as we are identified with any of these things, it is impossible for truth to reveal itself. We cannot freeze water and at the same time make it boil: these movements are in opposite directions. Truth, the Absolute, is revealed the moment we stop the movement of identifying ourselves with that which is relative.

You can only know absolute truth by taking a first-hand plunge. Truth cannot be known by merely investigating it intellectually. Absolute openness cannot be grasped by the mind, the mind cannot imagine boundless space. Enlightenment, freedom, is not a mental conclusion, it is not a play with words, it is the freedom of your heart. Truth is revealed when you no longer identify with your relative existence. 'No longer identify' does not mean that you distance yourself from life, it simply means that you do not continue the movement of appropriating life and consciousness. Like you can walk on a piece of land without putting a fence around it and claiming it is yours. When you are no longer identified, you discover absolute consciousness, absolute truth, you.

How do you stop being identified? How does one give up his or her identifications? Identification stops through understanding. Understanding makes identification impossible. We don't need to dis-identify ourselves from anything. If you understand that something isn't yours, how then can you disown it? If you understand that something isn't yours, then why claim it? Your life and your consciousness are not yours, not really. Can we face this simple truth? Then why identify with it? What do you mean if you say "This is I"? The true you reveals itself only when all identification stops. You can't have it both ways, you either identify with the life you have come to know, or you discover the true you.

The final moment of identification is when you stop identifying yourself with even consciousness. You completely let go of it. If it persists by itself, fine. If it disappears, you will not try to hold on to it, to prolong it. You give up your identification, you give up your claim completely. Does that mean that your body will disintegrate? Does it mean that your consciousness instantly vanishes? To understand that something isn't yours does not make it disappear just like that.

Truly and deeply understanding that literally nothing is yours, the movement of claiming your life is discontinued. You give up everything, no holding back whatsoever, before death makes it clear that it was never yours to begin with. By giving up all there is to give up, you suddenly become aware of who you are, you discover absolute freedom. Giving up all identifications, you find truth.

Like a flower releasing its fragrance to the winds
Resignation is not liberation. Resignation means that somewhere along the way you have become disheartened. You have given up your search for true peace or freedom. For a moment it may look the same, because you've stopped searching. But this is not freedom. Find truth, and your search ends. Not because you've given up searching, but because you have found what your heart was longing for! Your search has come to an end in a natural way. To find truth is like a flower releasing its fragrance to the winds, somehow fulfilling its ultimate destiny. It is to find the boundlessness that millions are looking for.

Enlightenment is a deep understanding
Enlightenment is not an attainment to be proud of. You just know that you are very lucky to have found freedom, you know that you could have missed it. Truth is never an achievement, it has always been there, it is just that now your eyes are open to it. Enlightenment is a deep understanding, it is not an ego thing at all. Understanding is possible thanks to our intelligent nature, it is not my or your accomplishment. What have you attained? It's more like you've given away that which was never yours!

To be enlightened means that you know truth. It means that you know your true identity, which is not an identity as such, because truth is universal, not personal. The joke of enlightenment is that you are not an enlightened person. There is enlightenment when, as a person, you are gone... There is realization, but not a realized person. Why? Because the whole idea of 'I, a separate person' has disappeared. Of course, you live your life as an individual, as an undivided being, but now you understand your absolute nature. You know that you are absolute consciousness, not a separate being, not separate consciousness.

Enlightenment means that truth has become so close and familiar that it is now your residency. And whatever happens in your life, you will not leave your wall-free home.




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Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death, and sweet as love.


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InvisibleIcelander
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Re: Consciousness [Re: SkorpivoMusterion]
    #4139857 - 05/05/05 11:50 PM (11 years, 10 months ago)

WOW! :wink: :mushroom2:


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"Don't believe everything you think". -Anom.

" All that lives was born to die"-Anom.

With much wisdom comes much sorrow,
The more knowledge, the more grief.
Ecclesiastes circa 350 BC


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InvisibleRavus
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Re: Consciousness [Re: SkorpivoMusterion]
    #4139885 - 05/05/05 11:57 PM (11 years, 10 months ago)

Quote:

As consciousness is life's first principle, as life begins with consciousness, the question "What is truth?" becomes concrete by asking "What is consciousness?"




This would assume you believe all bacteria, all week-old fetuses, all single-celled organisms have consciousness? If not, then life does not begin with consciousness, rather consciousness is simply a trait natural selection added later.

This almost seems to contradict the rest of your article, as he says consciousness is inherent in space, in which case consciousness begins before life, and life is simply an organization of molecules using this force which empty space contains.

It's an interesting article you posted, even though I don't agree with it, but one issue he doesn't seem to address is that he says consciousness is inherent, it is everywhere, it is part of space, and so on. Yet life contains consciousness, so what, I would ask, is the point of life? Consciousness is already everywhere, so why try to contain it in these fleeting organic machines? Consciousness is already in infinite space; life isn't even needed, and consciousness isn't needed for life either.


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So long as you are praised think only that you are not yet on your own path but on that of another.


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InvisibleSkorpivoMusterion
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Re: Consciousness [Re: Ravus]
    #4140035 - 05/06/05 12:39 AM (11 years, 10 months ago)

This would assume you believe all bacteria, all week-old fetuses, all single-celled organisms have consciousness? If not, then life does not begin with consciousness, rather consciousness is simply a trait natural selection added later.

Are you familiar with Panentheism? This is the philisophical basis of Schoorel's premise. So yes in this book of philosophy, everything from the blade of grass to the rock to the butterfly to the dead cow to the entire galaxy, has consciousness simply because they all exist. In other words, the absolute emptiness/space is the Ground-of-Being. Non-existence is the ground upon which existence exists, analogously.

consciousness is inherent, it is everywhere, it is part of space, and so on. Yet life contains consciousness, so what, I would ask, is the point of life? Consciousness is already everywhere, so why try to contain it in these fleeting organic machines? Consciousness is already in infinite space; life isn't even needed, and consciousness isn't needed for life either.


Well first I want to address the fact that you seem to imply a dichotomy between life and consciousness. Life isn't something that "has" a consciousness.. it is consciousness. That is why Eckhart Tolle [a favorite spiritual teacher of mine] points out that people oftenly mistake themselves as "having" a life, when in truth, they are Life.. which is to say they ARE the One-consciousness experiencing Itself.

Consciousness is already everywhere, so why try to contain it in these fleeting organic machines?

It isn't solely and exclusively contained in our physical bodies. This is an egoic illusion. There is no real physical seperation between the body's skin and 'outer world'. The Universe is your Body. The human body is merely one of many countless objects in existence that is a "node" of consciousness.

What is the point of life, you ask?

At the very least, it is to simply experience, since that is the deepest, simplest objective of life. Beyond that, who knows? :smile:



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Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death, and sweet as love.


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OfflineKerr
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Re: Consciousness [Re: Ravus]
    #4140045 - 05/06/05 12:41 AM (11 years, 10 months ago)

Quote:

Ravus said:
Quote:

I would ask, is the point of life? Consciousness is already everywhere, so why try to contain it in these fleeting organic machines? Consciousness is already in infinite space; life isn't even needed, and consciousness isn't needed for life either.




:thumbup:


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"Easy going and organic thoughts bent on self experimentation and knowledge and growth for the betterment of self and those around us"
-Playdo the philosophiser


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OfflineniCCa
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Re: Consciousness [Re: Kerr]
    #4140070 - 05/06/05 12:45 AM (11 years, 10 months ago)

Beta waves...\m/


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Heaveno...CU CU CU CU CU in the Highway...Peace


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InvisiblePsychoactive1984
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Re: Consciousness [Re: Ravus]
    #4140157 - 05/06/05 01:03 AM (11 years, 10 months ago)

What do you believe your consciousness is created from? How are animals, and possibly other lifeforms, conscious?

I currently look to conscious in terms of computer how a computer is programming, yet is built with some amazing sub-routines that we as individuals adapt to.


Is the entire universe conscious, or is consciousness held only in tiny moving bastions of flesh?

If the universe has a will, and it's not part of some mechanic it is conscious. I see the sun working as part of a function, and in terms of effect, and consequence until someone can prove that it is doing it because it wants to. It's conscious if it has a direct will as to its actions, and its actions aren't a result of an effect of a situation; e.g. the the sun's actions/motion being motivated by natural laws and effects without regard to its intention (will)... unless someone wants to suggest that the reason the sun shines is because if feels like it. It depends on exactly where you place the concept of consciousness. 


Will consciousness exist after death, or does consciousness simply and irreversibly die with the organism holding it?

:shrug: Unknown. However I previously brought up a model of a computer who's AI perfectly emulated consciousness and suggested that it wouldn't propagate its consciousness unless we ourselves create an environment which allows it. As another realm doesn't currently exist for the AI as it would be stored on the computer that supports the AI.

Through comparison of a more realistic representation of consciousness, one could suggest that consciousness is tied to the vessel. Granted this is hypothetical, but it deals with a feasible situation which can be seen as occurring... and it works for our current primitive forms of AI.


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"Their is one overriding question that concerns us all: How can we get out of the fatal groove we are in, the one that is leading towards the brink?" Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
"We may not be capable of eradicating the corruption of reason, but we must nevertheless counter it at every instance and with every means." Dan Agin
"Politics is the best religion and politicians are the worst followers."
-It's ok to trip as long as you don't fall.
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InvisibleJellric
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Re: Consciousness [Re: Ravus]
    #4140229 - 05/06/05 01:19 AM (11 years, 10 months ago)

What do you believe your consciousness is created from?

I do not believe consciousness is derived from something; I believe It is the source of Everything. I believe consciousness created the universe and every thing and every being in it. Everything contains It and It contains every thing. Ego loss while tripping can show You that You are the One self and that self is everything all at once. It's pretty wild and virtually impossible to explain.

Words fail.

Proof? I freely admit I have none. Zero. Nada. Zilch. This question has occupied the entire lives of countless geniuses of our race and still no "real" answer in sight..


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I AM what Willis was talkin' bout.


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Offlinefreddurgan
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Re: Consciousness [Re: Jellric]
    #4140262 - 05/06/05 01:28 AM (11 years, 10 months ago)

My view on it is this

I skipped all 7 replies and the main post and I know just as much as you guys do.

That's the gist of this.


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InvisiblePsychoactive1984
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Re: Consciousness [Re: freddurgan]
    #4140279 - 05/06/05 01:32 AM (11 years, 10 months ago)

:lol:


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"Their is one overriding question that concerns us all: How can we get out of the fatal groove we are in, the one that is leading towards the brink?" Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
"We may not be capable of eradicating the corruption of reason, but we must nevertheless counter it at every instance and with every means." Dan Agin
"Politics is the best religion and politicians are the worst followers."
-It's ok to trip as long as you don't fall.
-Substance over Style.
-Common sense is uncommon.


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Offlinetomk
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Re: Consciousness [Re: Psychoactive1984]
    #4140612 - 05/06/05 03:43 AM (11 years, 10 months ago)

Consciousness is a concept. It is one of the things you will have to let go of before you can transcend rational thought. You are not your conscious experience because that is a concept and you are not a concept.

However, this is absolutely baffling to me. It's what I'm going to contemplate on my next trip.


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"I am eternally free"


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OfflineVulture
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Re: Consciousness [Re: tomk]
    #4140629 - 05/06/05 03:54 AM (11 years, 10 months ago)

anyone ever read Meher Baba?

check out his book god speaks. its his most well reknowned peice on the evolution of consiousness. Deepest book i ever read.


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Work like you dont need the money.

Love like you never been hurt.

Dance like nobody is watching.


Edited by Vulture (05/06/05 03:55 AM)


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InvisiblePsychoactive1984
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Re: Consciousness [Re: tomk]
    #4140792 - 05/06/05 05:28 AM (11 years, 10 months ago)

.... The last thing I wish to do is transcend rational thought :lol:. I am a concept. You may not think so, but you've some conceptualized stance tied with my username no? As I do yours. Are we concepts? Yes. A sun is a concept, yet it exists. I'm a concept that contains concepts, and I do exist... conceptually at least :smile:.


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"Their is one overriding question that concerns us all: How can we get out of the fatal groove we are in, the one that is leading towards the brink?" Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
"We may not be capable of eradicating the corruption of reason, but we must nevertheless counter it at every instance and with every means." Dan Agin
"Politics is the best religion and politicians are the worst followers."
-It's ok to trip as long as you don't fall.
-Substance over Style.
-Common sense is uncommon.


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InvisibleRavus
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Re: Consciousness [Re: freddurgan]
    #4144640 - 05/07/05 02:10 AM (11 years, 10 months ago)

Quote:

freddurgan said:
My view on it is this

I skipped all 7 replies and the main post and I know just as much as you guys do.

That's the gist of this.




Life is a quandary. We can never fully comprehend anything, so we all know as much as the next person. We can make educated guesses based on our consciousness, our logic and our perception though, and slowly build up a tower of cards into human knowledge. The problem with this is that if one of the cards falls on the bottom, the rest of our knowledge may collapse with it.

Consciousness is undoubtedly one of the cards on the bottom, at least as important to science and knowledge as logic and perception, yet very few studies have been put into it in comparison to its significance.

Quote:

Consciousness is a concept. It is one of the things you will have to let go of before you can transcend rational thought. You are not your conscious experience because that is a concept and you are not a concept.





I agree, though that applies to anything that we perceive. The label and the thoughts we think about an object or force are not that force itself, it is purely symbolic. The Arabic numerals are not the objects they represent, nor is the addition sign the true adding of objects. But though all our conceptual labels are symbolic, we can use them to try to consciously understand and comprehend the universe around us, as otherwise we'd just be some primitive apes killing each other for no reason.

Oh, wait...


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So long as you are praised think only that you are not yet on your own path but on that of another.


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OfflineMullac
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Re: Consciousness [Re: Ravus]
    #16525928 - 07/13/12 04:33 PM (4 years, 8 months ago)

I've been reading about information theory lately which more or less implies that neurons in the brain function in the same was as computers, and can be re-coded into the binary language of computers, which in my mind should result in one of two interesting scenarios once computer science has the power to hold the amount of information in a human brain (synapse to synapse data);

a) we find that computers completely mapping a human brain are conscious
or
b) they aren't, which implies that consciousness is not solely confined to the brain - and perhaps we do have a soul after all.

Either way I think it is important for us to realise that we should take any reasonable idea seriously since we really don't know as much as we'd like to think in regards to the universe or life as we know it.


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Invisibleliquidlounge

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Re: Consciousness [Re: Ravus]
    #16525957 - 07/13/12 04:37 PM (4 years, 8 months ago)

The more conscious i get, the more scary it gets.

I chase what scares me, so do you. Death.


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As far as I assume to know...


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InvisibleWhite Beard

Registered: 08/13/11
Posts: 6,325
Re: Consciousness [Re: liquidlounge]
    #16525972 - 07/13/12 04:39 PM (4 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

liquidlounge said:
The more conscious i get, the more scary it gets.

I chase what scares me, so do you. Death.




:thumbup:


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Invisibleliquidlounge

Registered: 12/22/10
Posts: 8,871
Re: Consciousness [Re: White Beard]
    #16526043 - 07/13/12 04:51 PM (4 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

White Beard said:
Quote:

liquidlounge said:
The more conscious i get, the more scary it gets.

I chase what scares me, so do you. Death.




:thumbup:




The more i observe, the more real it gets.


--------------------
As far as I assume to know...


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InvisibleWhite Beard

Registered: 08/13/11
Posts: 6,325
Re: Consciousness [Re: liquidlounge]
    #16526076 - 07/13/12 04:57 PM (4 years, 8 months ago)

That's the way it goes. :smirk:


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