Thursday, May 19, 2011

is consciousness necessary?


Video - Stuart Hameroff goes through a wide array of quantum mind concepts

OCBBM | Let us review where we are, for we have just found our way through an enormous amount of ramous material which may have seemed more perplexing than clarifying. We have been brought to the conclusion that consciousness is not what we generally think it is. It is not to be confused with reactivity. It is not involved in hosts of perceptual phenomena. It is not involved in the performance of skills and often hinders their execution. It need not be involved in speaking, writing, listening, or reading. It does not copy down experience, as most people think. Consciousness is not at all involved in signal learning, and need not be involved in the learning of skills or solutions, which can go on without any consciousness whatever. It is not necessary for making judgments or in simple thinking. It is not the seat of reason, and indeed some of the most difficult instances of creative reasoning go on without any attending consciousness. And it has no location except an imaginary one! The immediate question therefore is, does consciousness exist at all? But that is the problem of the next chapter. Here it is only necessary to conclude that consciousness does not make all that much difference to a lot of our activities.

21 comments:

Dale Asberry said...

So, why then do some experience "more" consciousness than others as Hameroff describes? Also, consciousness seems affected by a feedback process, that is to say, consciousness increases through effort to become more conscious.

CNu said...

Whaaaaa??????

GTFOH...,

Where you get the notion that anybody could even possibly be "more conscious" than anybody else? What kind of magical-thinking elitism is that?

Also, where this exceedingly odd notion that "consciousness" could be developed?

What an odd cluster of old-wives tales and superstitious gobbledygook you're on about today! (^;

Dale Asberry said...

 o_O

Dale Asberry said...

CNu: Where you get the notion that anybody could even possibly be "more conscious" than anybody else?

Uh. Joe Bageant. Difference between children and adults.

CNu: What kind of magical-thinking elitism is that?

How is an adult being more conscious than a child magical-thinking and elitist?

You're the one not making sense!

tomas said...

How is an adult being more conscious than a child?What induces the consciousness in child? What induces the consciousness in adult watching TV? What induces the consciousness in adult while his finger is cut off?

CNu said...

So Dale,  are you saying that "better educated" and more "broadly and deeply informed" equals "more conscious"?

{p.s., I'm not arguing with you now, nor was I arguing with you when I jokingly responded as I did above.}

CNu said...

What induces the consciousness in adult while his finger is cut off?

An adrenal and neurotransmitter cascade that produces global effects on attention, awareness and the apparent flow of time.

I'll leave the other ones to Dale since he made the assertion that an adult is more conscious than a child.

Dale Asberry said...

CNu: {p.s., I'm not arguing with you now, nor was I arguing with you when I jokingly responded as I did above.}

Good, now I don't have to hunt you down and kick your butt! ;-> right back at ya

I think "more conscious" (or experiencing more consciousness) is completely related to "letting go" of that internal narrative. Not ignoring it necessarily, not directing it either. More like not believing it. I think it's also about doing a better job of listening to all the creatures that "are" us. They speak much less directly and sometimes don't even signal the brain. This requires something to leap the boundary between the selves and the incessant self/narrative. Joe Bageant used hallucinogens. I've seen others use quiet observation of others followed with the scientific method to initially validate any behavioral hypotheses and ultimately hacking their "self" as proof.

nanakwame said...

http://www.interleaves.org/~rteeter/grtbloom.html

The list in the first part is very good

Have a good weekend 

tomas said...

Sounds fair enough about some chemical and it's effect on attention and flow of time... that's why I keep having this finger cut off in this discussion. it's been cut off, so I know what's it like and I know you know the about....
what I am curious is about the other fellas and the topic - consciousness.
letting go of the internal narrative? what is left in you, if you let go of the internal narrative? have you ever done so? HOW? with what result?
If you listen to all the creatures, that are you, what do you get? not the internal narrative? 

how does consciousness compare to self-remembering of G.?

P.S. please don't take me for some one who understands!!, I don't even know, just a simple minded fool....

CNu said...

Tomas,

Have you made efforts in this direction? http://www.gurdjieff.cz/cz/kontakt

Dale Asberry said...

I forgot to mention the single most important, and prerequisite necessary condition: novelty seeking behavior. For this reason, most children are more conscious than some adults.

tomas said...

I know about it's existence. No efforts towards this group.... CNu, do you know something about this particular group, or you just found the closest G. group to my IP address? 

CNu said...

No efforts towards this group.... CNu, do you know something

I know for certain that the answers you pretend to be seriously looking for - will not be forthcoming at this blog.

Big Don said...

You mean today's posts are not about becoming properly self-anesthetized for Doomsday...?? 

tomas said...

It's good, that I am only pretending the search, otherwise I might have been disapointed, eh...:-)
As I said earlier, I hoped to get some output from somebody else than you on this interesting subject and keep it in simple terms. (if such thing is possible). What's forthcoming from this blog is enough to make you like the music in Spain and give some ideas. The practice, which makes perfect, is anyones job to do and I am fully aware of that, thx for pointing it out anyhow.  

CNu said...

Why in the world would you be disappointed Tomas?

You haven't contributed anything whatsoever here of your own.  Not a single jot or tittle of information has been forthcoming from you for the benefit of anybody else chancing through this little digital hole-in-the-wall.

This fact notwithstanding, not only do you feel entitled to the unilateral receipt of knowledge and information you've done nothing whatsoever to earn, your lip is poked out because you haven't been properly "serviced".

lol, I hope you go and show your ass to the people in Prague as you've shown it here - so that they can give you the hard, swift, shoe in the back side that you clearly deserve...., 

tomas said...

it's probably my English, that made it not clear. I am not disapointed at all, it was joke on my side refering to you saying I am pretending, which I am (in the regard of what could be called work in 4th way). That's correct, I have not contributed anything to this place. I don't feel entitled to anything, never :-). If it seems, that my lip is poked, it's probable again my bad English, it's not. The Prague group could be interesting, if only I had more time and wanted to practice for real....again thx for remainder.  

Isaacnd200 said...

Is consciousness necessary ?

I think that in order to really answer the question we should should ask " necessary for what ? "

Consider 2 indentical universes, both following all the same laws, adhering to the same ratios, 1 universe where consciousness arises, 1 where consciousness does not.

Given that following the natural progression of the ordering of matter in one universe will be completely different from the other, ( End results like thermodynamic death or whatever theory you like is not important here, finite or infinite life of the universe ) we can say that consciousness IS necessary.

Necessary for what you say ? Why ?

Without conscious entities coming into the picture, matter can only follow certain progressions. A computer or cellphone will not materialize in the universe, seperate from some sort of conscious entity, when I say that, I mean with the form and combined functions of modern technology that we have, or that any " alien " races have or will have.

 No conscious observers to manipulate the matter found in their local  environments = a finite number of arrangements of matter in the universe.

I personally think that consciousness is necessary for the manipulation of things in the universe, in ways which " Mother Nature " or the " Laws of Physics " or " God " never foresaw.

My views are primarily based on my thoughts about the question, not " How the universe was created ", but " why the universe was created ", if indeed it was created or " came " into existence at all. Probably along the same lines as those that consider the universe to be a " simulation " of sorts, a quantum computer, perhaps in search of the answer to the ultimate question, "  Is consciousness necessary ? "

If there is a purpose to life or consciousness at all, than imo, it is to be found in the ability of consciousness to steward the progression of evolution in ways that any " God " or " supreme intelligence " could not have known, which in itself has implications.

Thanks for providing me the space to babble.

CNu said...

No conscious observers to manipulate the matter found in their local 
environments = a finite number of arrangements of matter in the
universe.


As best we can ascertain, consciousness is an emergent property of matter, no?

Thus, Consider 2 indentical universes, both following all the same laws,
adhering to the same ratios, 1 universe where consciousness arises, 1
where consciousness does not.

Given that following the natural
progression of the ordering of matter in one universe will be completely
different from the other


Your thought experiment proposes the existence of a profoundly non-identical universe in which consciousness IS NOT an emergent property of matter, in which matter is incapable of the highly complex self-organization required to give rise to consciousness.

Isaacnd200 said...

Yes, I do currently think consciousness could be considered an emergent property of matter, but there is also matter that is constrained to be an emergent property of consciousness. I cannot logically accept that a cellphone will materialize somewhere in the universe except through willful manipulation. I don't believe that consciousness was necessary for the complexity in the universe, but that it is a unique aberation that allows the universe to contemplate itself with an outside observer, hence our point of view being observational and seperate from what we exist in. Even though we are part of the universe, we see ourselves as seperate. Just in the way that I cannot see myself from the vantage point of an outside observer, the universe cannot see itself without consciousness.

To sum, consciousness was a late comer to the universe, my opinoin, and was not necessary for 99% of what we see or discover. It IS an emergent property, and it IS necessary for illogical progressions in the universe. I only recently discovered memetics, something that mirrors my own thoughts on how information itself exists outside consciousness, the conscious observer and subjective reality give way to mere approximations of the physical universe after the fact. When we see it, it's afterit happens, when we think it, it's real-time.

The analogy I think of is that reality and life are like traveling the information highway, consciousness is the weigh-station on the side of the road, and we are not really the drivers, but the cars themselves. I think that we will discover in the future that unconscious/subconscious perceptions are far more fundamental to our lives than we would feel comfortable admitting, and that group mind is what really steers things.

I mean, seriously, with these amazing brains and bodies that take a crash course in physics and complex math before we are 3 years old we still have to take maths to teach the conscious mind how or why 2+2=4. If there were no purpose to consciousness ( whatever it may truly be composed of ) than we could merely function like automotons. There is no point to think about the fact that the body is tired and needs sleep, it knows already, or that we need to breathe, it doen't need reminding in that case either. All of our survival mechanisms are inheirently operated outside of conscious perceptions, Eat, breathe, sleep, our bodies tell us, not the other way around.

So really, the body probably doesn't need us at all, except......if our brains are really just biological computers, for lack of better terms, and the body technically is more than functional enough in design to ascribe consciousness necessary, than perhaps it needs a " Lower " form of intelligence ( The " I " ) to have unorthodox and illogical thoughts, unearthing juxtapositions, finding novel solutions to situations in ways no computer ever could.

I know I probably contradict myself, I'll be the first to admit I am a highschool dropout with no formal education, so my thoughts and opinoins might be flat-out absurd, all the same, thank you for the thought-provoking website.

~ Isaac