Questioning Consciousness

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Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby minime » Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:35 pm

Sounder » Thu Dec 12, 2013 7:47 am wrote:While I enjoy material such as the you-tube that Ben D posted and can identify quite well with Buddhism, I take a different tack with regard to such things as ‘transcendence’ of the limitations of our conceptual categories, the value of ‘Guru’s, and perhaps even the usefulness of enlightenment aspirations.

Even if one sees clearly the conditioned nature of most expressions of our being, still one must interact on the terms of conditioning elements of ones surroundings anyway. To me the issue is less to do with any ‘problem’ of conditioning, but rather a problem having to do with a dysfunctional kind of conditioning.

Guru’s fall down when or if they imply that the student needs them to access subtle realms. The student determines the nature and evolution of his/her connection to Source, not the teacher.

Look, we can determine with fair confidence, the missing element in our modern narrative by identifying the element that has been most consistently suppressed historically by normative thinking and established power structures. That element is what used to be called enthusiasm, really a direct unmediated connection to Source. In my estimation, this is the one thing that may threaten the grip that the PTMB seem to hold on this world.

We need a common realization that the source for useful creativity is the individuated self rather than the socially conditioned egoic representation of ones self.


Now if the guru’s wanted to be really useful they would do more to formulate their understanding into forms that serve the general population rather than (usually) elitist seekers.

More like Tesla maybe.

Also consciousness is a limiter in that it uses conceptual structures to interpret information content of our perceptions.

We need this limiter, -to many fuckin signals otherwise. :wink


I spent much of last night, I kid you not, meditating on the concept of tacking with this thread in mind, trying to imagine just the right (left?) haiku, with tack as the ninth syllable to divide it in two. I will spare you and forego that conceit.

Truly, tacking is one of the finest, most beautiful inventions in all the history of mankind. Without it, that history would be much different than it is. We might all be speaking Chinese. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

It is also an excellent metaphor, in my opinion, for consciousness.

In a way, in a way, and not to quibble, it is not possible to 'take a different tack', inasmuch as it takes at least two changes in direction, each change determined by wind and sail, to reach any destination, and that, against the wind.

Pure poetry.

Say, is there any forum on the internet where an RIer might go to discuss topics like this one?
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Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:46 pm

minime » Thu Dec 12, 2013 12:35 pm wrote:Say, is there any forum on the internet where an RIer might go to discuss topics like this one?


No.
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Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby DrEvil » Thu Dec 12, 2013 5:00 pm

Serious question(s): Life is weird. What makes us so special? Why does our consciousness have to be somehow "outside" the material universe, or spiritual, if you will? Is it "just" another religious belief based on subjective experience, or is there something more tangible (bad choice of word, I know) to it (research, reproducible results, etc.)?
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Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby tapitsbo » Thu Dec 12, 2013 5:22 pm

Seems to me like the research and results can accomplish quite a lot but build a model outside of the phenomenal world.This research is hardly disinterested and neutral though! I guess you could ask whether non-materialist models are necessarily religious themselves though. Also, I've met a lot of people who have developed a common-sense understanding that the prevailing materialist model is "all there is" which seems mistaken to me. I think the OP made a good if mildly stated case for many materialist perspectives on consciousness suffering from a kind of nihilism or tendency to limit possible directions of exploration

On another note what do you guys think of the perceptions of people in a sensory deprivation tank? Those are the kind of things that make me feel we discredit the role consciousness plays in ordering sensuous experience...

And despite there not being a lot of places to talk about this stuff, I feel lucky to be able to read and once in a while participate in the conversations on this board. It's interesting that a lot of people would say you need extensive training as a philosopher or scientist to even speak about these matters at all. Issues like politics, don't evoke the same trepidation.
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Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby DrEvil » Thu Dec 12, 2013 7:04 pm

tapitsbo » Thu Dec 12, 2013 11:22 pm wrote:Seems to me like the research and results can accomplish quite a lot but build a model outside of the phenomenal world.This research is hardly disinterested and neutral though! I guess you could ask whether non-materialist models are necessarily religious themselves though. Also, I've met a lot of people who have developed a common-sense understanding that the prevailing materialist model is "all there is" which seems mistaken to me. I think the OP made a good if mildly stated case for many materialist perspectives on consciousness suffering from a kind of nihilism or tendency to limit possible directions of exploration


I agree that many materialists have a tendency to dismiss out of hand anything outside their sphere of experience, like Dawkins vs. religion.

My personal view is that the only distinction between materialism and spiritualism is what we know and what we don't know. Ultimately it all belongs to the same framework/Theory of Everything.
Materialism deals with the stuff we can see and touch and figure out, spiritualism and philosophy deals with what we can't see or touch or figure out yet (or ever).

I just like my world-view underpinned by something more than "I feel special" I guess. It would be awesome if our consciousness actually was a separate entity temporarily inhabiting some lo-tech lump of flesh on its way to luddite-transhumanist-heaven, but I have yet to see anything other than some vague talk about frequencies and vibrations to back that up.

How would "consciousness as radio" work? What are the underlying principles, where does the signal come from, and how does it propagate? How does our brain pick it up? And what happens if you tune it to the wrong frequency? :?
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Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby tapitsbo » Thu Dec 12, 2013 7:26 pm

i was talking about materialism in terms of the mechanistic model of consciousness that says "qualia" are irrelevant. if a kid drinks a glass of water and doesn't know anything about electrolytes or H2O molecules that doesn't mean they're having a religious experience, right? i think there's a lot of perspectives in between hard materialism and "faith in the unknown".
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Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby tazmic » Thu Dec 12, 2013 7:30 pm

DrEvil » Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:00 pm wrote:Why does our consciousness have to be somehow "outside" the material universe, or spiritual, if you will.

Because people believe, since the advent of scientism, in such a thing as a material universe.

It's been a problem ever since. And now we think that either the dominant scientific paradigm is correct, you know the one that insists that the unknown necessarily reduces to categories of the known, even though it never really has before, and thus offers us a complete scientific world view based on incomplete science, and claims that the totallity of our meaningful lived experience in the universe can be pretty much ignored because, well because it will be explained away one day OR we think we have to be some kind of dualist.

We can't see any other options after 300 years of indoctrination.

Chomsky gets it:

chomsky-on-mind-body-problem
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Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby Ben D » Fri Dec 13, 2013 6:56 am

Hi Sounder..for the record, the real purpose of religious teaching, despite it having little traction among most of the human religious institutions of the world, is to prepare and guide willing and worthy souls to realize a state of non-material existence in the here and now, not in any conceptual future.

So best not harbour the erroneous conceptual understanding that enlightenment implies the potential to interfere materially for the good, in the ongoing evolutionary progress and drama of the affairs of mankind. Heaven and Earth, like good and evil, are complementary opposite concepts, so let us not have any oxymoronic hopes, the wise don't don't eat of the fruit of such trees. And likewise, a real Guru, unlike the legions in the market place who pretend to be so, only teach about the necessity of leaving the material realms for the realization of liberation from ignorance and suffering. Moreover, such a Guru would point out that they themselves are not the real Guru, but that the real Guru is within and the student must realize that Guru in order to realize cosmic evolutionary graduation from the Kingdom of Man.

So fellow travellers all at RI, if the above does not conceptually resonate with you, do not give it a another thought, for in fact it is no more meaningful than for those whom it does resonate, for the truth is not in words...only by realization...
There is That which was not born, nor created, nor evolved. If it were not so, there would never be any refuge from being born, or created, or evolving. That is the end of suffering. That is God**.

** or Nirvana, Allah, Brahman, Tao, etc...
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Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby Sounder » Fri Dec 13, 2013 9:09 am

Our minds are constrained by all kinds of limitations.

While you illustrate well limitations of perception, those are things easy to get used to, or one might even find ways to make compensations for known shortcomings.

Conceptual crudity on the other hand combined with socially conditioned ego identity issues will always get my goat.


Serious question(s): Life is weird. What makes us so special?

Life is weird because most folk do not ‘listen’ well to the signals generated by the unconscious ground of being. We are special, but not so special, because we can rearrange our conceptual structures and thereby our parameters of existence.


Why does our consciousness have to be somehow "outside" the material universe, or spiritual, if you will?

Well it’s not outside of my material universe. Your question seems to reflect dualistic conditioning and assumptions.

(personally I go for formal materialism) The small stuff need not be non-material, just real small.


Is it "just" another religious belief based on subjective experience, or is there something more tangible (bad choice of word, I know) to it (research, reproducible results, etc.)?

For the modern intellect it is indeed ‘just’ another religious belief based on subjective experience. But then again, to me, materialism, skepticism, etc. is no more than a religious belief based on the faith that there is no such thing as the ineffable. That is an odd faith, but each to his own I say.
How would "consciousness as radio" work?

Ones focus is the tuner and resonance gives boost to the attenuated signal.

What are the underlying principles,

In my opinion they are Order and Liberty, the Law/Spontaneity or Enthusiasm.

Their balance or imbalance represents a measure of the development of consciousness.


where does the signal come from, and how does it propagate?

Not a clue about where the signal comes from. As to how it propagates? A cyclic interaction exists between electrostatic repulsion forces and magnetic attraction forces between any two small ‘particles’ that travel with the same velocity, direction and frequency. This allows for exchange of material and results in boundary conditions that a bit more diffuse than modern object oriented physics would have us believe.

How does our brain pick it up? And what happens if you tune it to the wrong frequency?

As was said before, resonance. But there are no ‘wrong’ frequencies, even if some frequencies facilitate learning while others stifle learning (frozen categories).

The negative feedback simply provides yet more energy for exposure of dissonance and eventual reformulation of our conceptual structures.

A relationship or process based epistemology will replace the current object based epistemology.

The question is; how loud and long will people with self-identity investments in current conceptual structures resist the obvious; that everything is related.

One cannot look at things from the outside when there is no outside.



Thanks BenD, I will try to respond later.

And thank-you Dr. Evil, you are a true servant to Source.
All these things will continue as long as coercion remains a central element of our mentality.
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Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby chump » Fri Dec 13, 2013 11:25 am

Thanks. This has turned out to be a pretty cool little/big dicussion.

viewtopic.php?p=528616#p528616
It seems to me it is the sensation that is given to us in its immediacy.

Then once sensation arises, the material intellect begins the work of descrimination and judgement.

Leading to division.

Of one thing from another.

Thus the unnumbered things in Heaven and Earth.

Awareness is like the light piercing the darkness.

Within that Illumination many things can be seen.

But I sometimes think one ought to be careful where one points the torch.


---------------------
I really like this analogy, as well as the one below.

viewtopic.php?p=528702#p528702
Also consciousness is a limiter in that it uses conceptual structures to interpret information content of our perceptions.


I was also thinking this. The radio analogy was nice. Someone posted a chart that shows the limited range of our visual spectrum, for instance.

We adapt to an environment created by... Us?...God? Who is a white man? I can imagine our limited perception is being engineered. Time and Space are infinite, but also witin our grasp.

Also, am I correct that Pele's Daughter :praybow is the only female to comment in this thread? Here's a piece of the article she posted. It was a guy who wrote it...

http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/201 ... sciousness
Wired: The internet is integrated. Could it be conscious?

Koch: It's difficult to say right now. But consider this. The internet contains about 10 billion computers, with each computer itself having a couple of billion transistors in its CPU. So the internet has at least 10^19 transistors, compared to the roughly 1000 trillion (or quadrillion) synapses in the human brain. That's about 10,000 times more transistors than synapses. But is the internet more complex than the human brain? It depends on the degree of integration of the internet...

...For instance, our brains are connected all the time. On the internet, computers are packet-switching. They're not connected permanently, but rapidly switch from one to another. But according to my version of panpsychism, it feels like something to be the internet -- and if the internet were down, it wouldn't feel like anything anymore. And that is, in principle, not different from the way I feel when I'm in a deep, dreamless sleep.

Wired: Internet aside, what does a human consciousness share with animal consciousness? Are certain features going to be the same?

Koch: It depends on the sensorium [the scope of our sensory perception -ed.] and the interconnections. For a mouse, this is easy to say. They have a cortex similar to ours, but not a well-developed prefrontal cortex. So it probably doesn't have self-consciousness, or understand symbols like we do, but it sees and hears things similarly.

In every case, you have to look at the underlying neural mechanisms that give rise to the sensory apparatus, and to how they're implemented. There's no universal answer.

Wired: Does a lack of self-consciousness mean an animal has no sense of itself?

Koch: Many mammals don't pass the mirror self-recognition test, including dogs. But I suspect dogs have an olfactory form of self-recognition. You notice that dogs smell other dog's poop a lot, but they don't smell their own so much. So they probably have some sense of their own smell, a primitive form of self-consciousness. Now, I have no evidence to suggest that a dog sits there and reflects upon itself; I don't think dogs have that level of complexity. But I think dogs can see, and smell, and hear sounds, and be happy and excited, just like children and some adults.

Self-consciousness is something that humans have excessively, and that other animals have much less of, though apes have it to some extent. We have a hugely developed prefrontal cortex. We can ponder.

Wired: How can a creature be happy without self-consciousness?

Koch: When I'm climbing a mountain or a wall, my inner voice is totally silent. Instead, I'm hyperaware of the world around me. I don't worry too much about a fight with my wife, or about a tax return. I can't afford to get lost in my inner self. I'll fall. Same thing if I'm traveling at high speed on a bike. It's not like I have no sense of self in that situation, but it's certainly reduced. And I can be very happy.

Wired: I've read that you don't kill insects if you can avoid it.

Koch: That's true. They're fellow travelers on the road, bookended by eternity on both sides.

Wired: How do you square what you believe about animal consciousness with how they're used in experiments?

Koch: There are two things to put in perspective. First, there are vastly more animals being eaten at McDonald's every day. The number of animals used in research pales in comparison to the number used for flesh. And we need basic brain research to understand the brain's mechanisms. My father died from Parkinson's. One of my daughters died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. To prevent these brain diseases, we need to understand the brain -- and that, I think, can be the only true justification for animal research. That in the long run, it leads to a reduction in suffering for all of us. But in the short term, you have to do it in a way that minimises their pain and discomfort, with an awareness that these animals are conscious creatures...
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Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby Hammer of Los » Fri Dec 13, 2013 11:40 am

...

Oh dear what to say.

All the words in the world would not suffice.

I stopped my breath, maybe my heart too.

I think so.

I entered into Brahman.

Void.

Black Hole.

Source.

Ultimate Self.

Self-without-Self.

Unoriginated.

Unconditioned.

Uncreated.

Potential.

0

Then I was rebirthed.

It seemed I was struck on the head by Lightning that was not lightning.

My head caught on Fire yet it was not fire.

Enormous energies coursed upwards through my body blasting the top of my head off.

Insights poured in.

Even some sort of dialogue.

I felt I had become a Lightning Rod.

A Conductor.

Between Heaven and Earth.

A Bridge.

It happened completely by chance, and yet it happened as a result of everything that has happened and everything that will happen.

Just like everything else.

If you ever seek to do anything to precipitate such an experience, I would advise caution.

You ought to be prepared to accept the consequences.


quick edit: Don't ever do the stoppin' yer breath thing! That would be stupid.
...
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Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby minime » Fri Dec 13, 2013 1:45 pm

chump » Fri Dec 13, 2013 10:25 am wrote:Wired: Internet aside, what does a human consciousness share with animal consciousness? Are certain features going to be the same?

Koch: It depends on the sensorium [the scope of our sensory perception -ed.] and the interconnections. For a mouse, this is easy to say. They have a cortex similar to ours, but not a well-developed prefrontal cortex. So it probably doesn't have self-consciousness, or understand symbols like we do, but it sees and hears things similarly.


There is no indication that consciousness and self-consciousness necessarily arise from, or reside only--or even primarily--in the pre-frontal cortex.

http://www.mpg.de/5925490/meta-consciousness-brain

Which areas of the brain help us to perceive our world in a self-reflective manner is difficult to measure. During wakefulness, we are always conscious of ourselves. In sleep, however, we are not. But there are people, known as lucid dreamers, who can become aware of dreaming during sleep. Studies employing magnetic resonance tomography (MRT) have now been able to demonstrate that a specific cortical network consisting of the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the frontopolar regions and the precuneus is activated when this lucid consciousness is attained. All of these regions are associated with self-reflective functions. This research into lucid dreaming gives the authors of the latest study insight into the neural basis of human consciousness.


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Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby minime » Fri Dec 13, 2013 1:51 pm

Then I was rebirthed.

It seemed I was struck on the head by Lightning that was not lightning.

My head caught on Fire yet it was not fire.


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Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby MacCruiskeen » Fri Dec 13, 2013 1:52 pm

Wombaticus Rex » Thu Dec 12, 2013 12:46 pm wrote:
minime » Thu Dec 12, 2013 12:35 pm wrote:Say, is there any forum on the internet where an RIer might go to discuss topics like this one?


No.


But do we need a George Orwell app?
There sawe I fyrst the derke ymagynyng
Of felony [...]
The pyckpurse and eke the pale drede,
The smyler, with the knyfe under the cloke.
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Re: Questioning Consciousness

Postby slimmouse » Fri Dec 13, 2013 2:38 pm

Ben D wrote:Hi Sounder..for the record, the real purpose of religious teaching, despite it having little traction among most of the human religious institutions of the world, is to prepare and guide willing and worthy souls to realize a state of non-material existence in the here and now, not in any conceptual future.

So best not harbour the erroneous conceptual understanding that enlightenment implies the potential to interfere materially for the good, in the ongoing evolutionary progress and drama of the affairs of mankind. Heaven and Earth, like good and evil, are complementary opposite concepts, so let us not have any oxymoronic hopes, the wise don't don't eat of the fruit of such trees. And likewise, a real Guru, unlike the legions in the market place who pretend to be so, only teach about the necessity of leaving the material realms for the realization of liberation from ignorance and suffering. Moreover, such a Guru would point out that they themselves are not the real Guru, but that the real Guru is within and the student must realize that Guru in order to realize cosmic evolutionary graduation from the Kingdom of Man.

So fellow travellers all at RI, if the above does not conceptually resonate with you, do not give it a another thought, for in fact it is no more meaningful than for those whom it does resonate, for the truth is not in words...only by realization...


It sure has hell resonated with me.

When you reach that "guru is within" point it kinda gets hard .

Lots of long formed physical habits that take some shaking off.
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