jayjacobus wrote: ↑
Sun Aug 27, 2017 6:45 pm
Consciousness is a noun. What consciousness does are verbs. Without verbs consciousness is something other than conscious. What state is it? Call it that.
Agree. The word I'd use is "reactive".
1. Reactions. Most stuff in the universe.
2. Then responses. Proto-life, plants and relatively simple life.
3. Then reflexes. Animals, some plants.
4. Then consciousness. Chordates.
5. Then sentience. Intelligent mammals that are aware of other minds.
6. Then self awareness. Humans and maybe AI/collective intelligence in the future.
There is a good case to make case for panreactivity, with all ensuing dynamics being a small subset of the preceding one.
If we are to empathise with the ostensibly non-sentient or make claims about general consciousness via quantum mysticism, we need to first consider our past. We know
what it is like to be a microbe because that's what we each once were - a 0.1mm blastocyst. What did you think of your experience as a blastocyst? Did you have a ... blast? <groan>. How about as a zygote or foetus? The lights aren't on.
Consider your "consciousness" even as a newborn infant. Not even a sense of identity - just raw nerves twanging, muscles twitching, mostly involuntarily, and a desperate need for energy, warmth, safety and connection. You remember nothing of it. I have one unusually early memory at around age one, sitting in a pram by the door, holding a pen dagger-style, going around and around, drawing a messy circle on the wall, both enjoying and irritated by the bumpiness of the wall's rendering. Then came a sense of shock and a body moving quickly towards me and chaos (probably a shout or smack).
It's consciousness but, without the potential of maturity, it's a consciousness that is far less sentient, valuable and impressive than that of my old dog. So, if we are to, as per the Michio Kaku hypothesis, assign one unit of consciousness to a thermostat switch which can respond to one thing, temperature, and work up from there, then consciousness in itself would not seem special, and only certain degrees of consciousness would seem to be rare and special in the universe.