Consciousness = Self-awareness?

Is the mind the same as the body? What is consciousness? Can machines have it?

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Dimebag
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Re: Consciousness = Self-awareness?

Post by Dimebag »

commonsense wrote: Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:46 pm
Impenitent wrote: Wed Jul 01, 2020 2:40 pm
commonsense wrote: Wed Jul 01, 2020 2:28 pm What is the difference between observing and experiencing?
memory

-Imp
Does this mean that one cannot remember what is observed? Or rather is it what one has experienced that can’t be stored in memory?
We have different internal lenses which serve to act as different perspectives for our own experience and internal states. The self and other lenses. Awareness can assume the role of these different lenses. There are two functions of awareness, it can do the looking, or it can make you feel looked at.

When awareness does the looking, it is looking as the self. When we feel looked at, awareness assumes the role of other and becomes hidden from us. When awareness looks as the hidden other, we feel self conscious. We feel an external eye looking upon us and judging us. Normally awareness remains occupied for a typical person who works a job, has a family, etc, but from time to time, awareness can occupy this role of bodily actor, the thinker of thoughts, the source of actions and intentions. This is an egoic person, like a child pretending to steer a car.

When awareness looks as the self, it can look at its own internal processes as the other. By doing this, it separates itself as the awareness, from itself as internal processes. So thoughts, intentions, even sensory feelings can become other. This creates a large detachment between awareness and everything within awareness, which can feel very internally spacious. But it also creates a large dualistic divide between self and other, the self being some detached observer, feeling like a disembodied or spirit entity, trapped in a body.

The challenge is to either let these self vs other distinctions drop away to allow awareness to simply absorb what is, or to somehow smash these distinctions through the looking and not finding of the self. Once this is seen that the other is not other, and all is self, or rather that they are not two, or nondual, then theoretically this spaciousness could occupy everything and everywhere, allowing a vastness of awareness rather than the point-like existence of the detached dualistic observer. To understand that what you thought you were looking as, is actually not a thing, or an entity, but a construct, existing within its own construct, would amount to loosing this self other distinction, no self. There would be no selves and by virtue of that, no others. No one. And no things. Only what is.

There is a short term memory registry we typically use for decision making, planning etc, which also has a self reinforcing or recreating tendency. This might be a source of the sense of being an internal knower, i.e. a subject or entity which is the owner of experiences, i.e. the self. It might not be the whole picture, but a piece of the entity. But when reflective awareness disengages, this memory effect seems not to be occurring. This could be the ISness, nothing attached.
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Dontaskme
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Re: Consciousness = Self-awareness?

Post by Dontaskme »

Dimebag wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:29 pm
commonsense wrote: Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:46 pm
Impenitent wrote: Wed Jul 01, 2020 2:40 pm

memory

-Imp
Does this mean that one cannot remember what is observed? Or rather is it what one has experienced that can’t be stored in memory?
We have different internal lenses which serve to act as different perspectives for our own experience and internal states. The self and other lenses. Awareness can assume the role of these different lenses. There are two functions of awareness, it can do the looking, or it can make you feel looked at.

When awareness does the looking, it is looking as the self. When we feel looked at, awareness assumes the role of other and becomes hidden from us. When awareness looks as the hidden other, we feel self conscious. We feel an external eye looking upon us and judging us. Normally awareness remains occupied for a typical person who works a job, has a family, etc, but from time to time, awareness can occupy this role of bodily actor, the thinker of thoughts, the source of actions and intentions. This is an egoic person, like a child pretending to steer a car.

When awareness looks as the self, it can look at its own internal processes as the other. By doing this, it separates itself as the awareness, from itself as internal processes. So thoughts, intentions, even sensory feelings can become other. This creates a large detachment between awareness and everything within awareness, which can feel very internally spacious. But it also creates a large dualistic divide between self and other, the self being some detached observer, feeling like a disembodied or spirit entity, trapped in a body.

The challenge is to either let these self vs other distinctions drop away to allow awareness to simply absorb what is, or to somehow smash these distinctions through the looking and not finding of the self. Once this is seen that the other is not other, and all is self, or rather that they are not two, or nondual, then theoretically this spaciousness could occupy everything and everywhere, allowing a vastness of awareness rather than the point-like existence of the detached dualistic observer. To understand that what you thought you were looking as, is actually not a thing, or an entity, but a construct, existing within its own construct, would amount to loosing this self other distinction, no self. There would be no selves and by virtue of that, no others. No one. And no things. Only what is.

There is a short term memory registry we typically use for decision making, planning etc, which also has a self reinforcing or recreating tendency. This might be a source of the sense of being an internal knower, i.e. a subject or entity which is the owner of experiences, i.e. the self. It might not be the whole picture, but a piece of the entity. But when reflective awareness disengages, this memory effect seems not to be occurring. This could be the ISness, nothing attached.
Very good. I like the way you have put this. :D
commonsense
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Re: Consciousness = Self-awareness?

Post by commonsense »

Dimebag wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:29 pm
commonsense wrote: Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:46 pm
Impenitent wrote: Wed Jul 01, 2020 2:40 pm

memory

-Imp
Does this mean that one cannot remember what is observed? Or rather is it what one has experienced that can’t be stored in memory?
We have different internal lenses which serve to act as different perspectives for our own experience and internal states. The self and other lenses. Awareness can assume the role of these different lenses. There are two functions of awareness, it can do the looking, or it can make you feel looked at.

When awareness does the looking, it is looking as the self. When we feel looked at, awareness assumes the role of other and becomes hidden from us. When awareness looks as the hidden other, we feel self conscious. We feel an external eye looking upon us and judging us. Normally awareness remains occupied for a typical person who works a job, has a family, etc, but from time to time, awareness can occupy this role of bodily actor, the thinker of thoughts, the source of actions and intentions. This is an egoic person, like a child pretending to steer a car.

When awareness looks as the self, it can look at its own internal processes as the other. By doing this, it separates itself as the awareness, from itself as internal processes. So thoughts, intentions, even sensory feelings can become other. This creates a large detachment between awareness and everything within awareness, which can feel very internally spacious. But it also creates a large dualistic divide between self and other, the self being some detached observer, feeling like a disembodied or spirit entity, trapped in a body.

The challenge is to either let these self vs other distinctions drop away to allow awareness to simply absorb what is, or to somehow smash these distinctions through the looking and not finding of the self. Once this is seen that the other is not other, and all is self, or rather that they are not two, or nondual, then theoretically this spaciousness could occupy everything and everywhere, allowing a vastness of awareness rather than the point-like existence of the detached dualistic observer. To understand that what you thought you were looking as, is actually not a thing, or an entity, but a construct, existing within its own construct, would amount to loosing this self other distinction, no self. There would be no selves and by virtue of that, no others. No one. And no things. Only what is.

There is a short term memory registry we typically use for decision making, planning etc, which also has a self reinforcing or recreating tendency. This might be a source of the sense of being an internal knower, i.e. a subject or entity which is the owner of experiences, i.e. the self. It might not be the whole picture, but a piece of the entity. But when reflective awareness disengages, this memory effect seems not to be occurring. This could be the ISness, nothing attached.
Thank you for your post. Thanks very much.
AlexW
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Re: Consciousness = Self-awareness?

Post by AlexW »

Dimebag wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:29 pm Once this is seen that the other is not other, and all is self, or rather that they are not two, or nondual, then theoretically this spaciousness could occupy everything and everywhere, allowing a vastness of awareness rather than the point-like existence of the detached dualistic observer. To understand that what you thought you were looking as, is actually not a thing, or an entity, but a construct, existing within its own construct, would amount to loosing this self other distinction, no self. There would be no selves and by virtue of that, no others. No one. And no things. Only what is.
Yes, well said - agree.

Just a litte add on:
Agree, consciousness is "what is", it is directly experienced reality, but while the general consensus is that there has to be a separate self that is conscious of something (that is aware of itself, other, apple or unicorn...) this is actually not the case (we use this dualistic interpretation to separate the conceptual me from other, but in consciousness there are no such entities).
There is only consciousness - not consciousness of something.

As soon as the "of something" enters the stage one can be sure of being limited to a specific perspective - this perspective is always a thought based, conceptual perspective - there are no other perspectives than the ones being thought up - and once all perspectives are left behind "we" end up as pure consciousness (there is no more consciousness/awareness of something)
Dimebag wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:29 pm The challenge is to either let these self vs other distinctions drop away to allow awareness to simply absorb what is, or to somehow smash these distinctions through the looking and not finding of the self.
The dropping away or smashing of these distinctions is a mental effort/understanding only in the beginning - it is never the less important as it provides the impetus to "practice awareness" - but the actual dropping away is not within the power of the actor - mind/thought cannot drop itself - it has to simply happen (some call it: grace) - its like riding a bike, one cannot think oneself to success, one has to practice - fall off again and again until, suddenly, balance is happening on its own - once up and riding you can tell others about what its like to ride a bike, what "balance is", but no matter how much you try, your words will never be powerful enough to have the other person jump on and happily ride off into the sunset ... everyone has to practice (well... some might have this gift bestowed upon them by "accident", but this is very rare)
Dimebag
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Re: Consciousness = Self-awareness?

Post by Dimebag »

AlexW wrote: Fri Jul 03, 2020 12:22 am
Dimebag wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:29 pm Once this is seen that the other is not other, and all is self, or rather that they are not two, or nondual, then theoretically this spaciousness could occupy everything and everywhere, allowing a vastness of awareness rather than the point-like existence of the detached dualistic observer. To understand that what you thought you were looking as, is actually not a thing, or an entity, but a construct, existing within its own construct, would amount to loosing this self other distinction, no self. There would be no selves and by virtue of that, no others. No one. And no things. Only what is.
Yes, well said - agree.

Just a litte add on:
Agree, consciousness is "what is", it is directly experienced reality, but while the general consensus is that there has to be a separate self that is conscious of something (that is aware of itself, other, apple or unicorn...) this is actually not the case (we use this dualistic interpretation to separate the conceptual me from other, but in consciousness there are no such entities).
There is only consciousness - not consciousness of something.

As soon as the "of something" enters the stage one can be sure of being limited to a specific perspective - this perspective is always a thought based, conceptual perspective - there are no other perspectives than the ones being thought up - and once all perspectives are left behind "we" end up as pure consciousness (there is no more consciousness/awareness of something)
Dimebag wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:29 pm The challenge is to either let these self vs other distinctions drop away to allow awareness to simply absorb what is, or to somehow smash these distinctions through the looking and not finding of the self.
The dropping away or smashing of these distinctions is a mental effort/understanding only in the beginning - it is never the less important as it provides the impetus to "practice awareness" - but the actual dropping away is not within the power of the actor - mind/thought cannot drop itself - it has to simply happen (some call it: grace) - its like riding a bike, one cannot think oneself to success, one has to practice - fall off again and again until, suddenly, balance is happening on its own - once up and riding you can tell others about what its like to ride a bike, what "balance is", but no matter how much you try, your words will never be powerful enough to have the other person jump on and happily ride off into the sunset ... everyone has to practice (well... some might have this gift bestowed upon them by "accident", but this is very rare)
Thanks for your clarifications, the illusory agential self always finds a way to insert itself without notice. Helps to have someone to point to this. :)
AlexW
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Re: Consciousness = Self-awareness?

Post by AlexW »

Dimebag wrote: Fri Jul 03, 2020 12:37 am Thanks for your clarifications, the illusory agential self always finds a way to insert itself without notice. Helps to have someone to point to this.
Guess its simply how we communicate... language is deceptive and no matter what is being said can (and will) be interpreted in a thousand ways.
We talk as if we were this "agent" which might lead to misunderstanding when talking about no-self - but talking as "no-self" and changing our language so it fits this new perspective (it is again a perspective - the no-self perspective) is not really working, while it might have entertainment value, its mostly only comical :-)

I see the person - once understood what it is: not the master but the servant - as a handy tool. It doesn't need to be destroyed, it just needs to be put into the right place.
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Dontaskme
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Re: Consciousness = Self-awareness?

Post by Dontaskme »

AlexW wrote: Fri Jul 03, 2020 12:44 am
Dimebag wrote: Fri Jul 03, 2020 12:37 am Thanks for your clarifications, the illusory agential self always finds a way to insert itself without notice. Helps to have someone to point to this.
Guess its simply how we communicate... language is deceptive and no matter what is being said can (and will) be interpreted in a thousand ways.
We talk as if we were this "agent" which might lead to misunderstanding when talking about no-self - but talking as "no-self" and changing our language so it fits this new perspective (it is again a perspective - the no-self perspective) is not really working, while it might have entertainment value, its mostly only comical :-)

I see the person - once understood what it is: not the master but the servant - as a handy tool. It doesn't need to be destroyed, it just needs to be put into the right place.
Very well said Alex. 😀 thank you.
Dimebag
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Re: Consciousness = Self-awareness?

Post by Dimebag »

I have been struggling with this to an extent the last few months, or rather, a struggle had been observed, but I came across this video by Rupert Spira which illustrates it nicely.

https://youtu.be/H-SEfK4uFa8

Now I would have to say, it is observed that this struggle has occurred, but the struggle is just an expression of what I am as a knowingness. The struggle occurs within me, as awareness, and I am the observation of struggling. Does that sound correct? I only ask for clarification because from this halfway point I seem to be poised at, the use of language as an observer feels the most natural, but if I can understand the use of language conceptually, as a pointer, hopefully this could act as a guide of sorts. I also realise that I switched back to a “bodymind” use of language, I think from time to time it is necessary, or at least, helps to get such points across from this place without pulling hairs.

I also realise the pointer is not the thing it’s pointing to, but it helps you know where to look. :)

Got that Bon Jovi song, living on a Prayer in my head now... “ooooh were halfway there oh oh, living on a prayer. :lol:
Dimebag
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Re: Consciousness = Self-awareness?

Post by Dimebag »

After another thought, and another listen to that Rupert video, I feel that the subject, which is the observer, and the objects, which are the observations, must collapse back together. To realise that, the observations and the one who is observing are one, therefore no subject object distinction. The imagined observations are actually the one who is observing them.

Now we get back to good old Krishnamurti, the observer IS the observed. He said it very succinctly, but Rupert made it a little clearer. How am I doing here?

EDIT: after reading back to myself that first paragraph, it seems like something an alien would write, damn this stuff is hard to see from where I think I am sitting... :lol:

“Look maaa, I’m nondualing”

Edit 2: another consideration I had was his point about engagement with thoughts etc, towards the end around 10:20,

I have previously had cases of the observer state, in the detached or halfway point, but recently (today) had an experience where I engaged with them, almost in a game like way, which actually created amazing situations, i literally felt like the world could be shaped any way I saw fit (within my own potential) and at the same time, felt that whatever I did was not me doing it, it was an amazing day, yet I know it will likely pass, and only that which it happened within which is not distinct from that which happened. That last bit was my new non dual perspective of the situation.

This doesn’t seem like a total realisation of this nondual perspective, but maybe a small beginning. Maybe an “early return”, before I’m cooked?
jayjacobus
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Re: Consciousness = Self-awareness?

Post by jayjacobus »

Dimebag wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 1:40 pm After another thought, and another listen to that Rupert video, I feel that the subject, which is the observer, and the objects, which are the observations, must collapse back together. To realise that, the observations and the one who is observing are one, therefore no subject object distinction. The imagined observations are actually the one who is observing them.

Now we get back to good old Krishnamurti, the observer IS the observed. He said it very succinctly, but Rupert made it a little clearer. How am I doing here?

EDIT: after reading back to myself that first paragraph, it seems like something an alien would write, damn this stuff is hard to see from where I think I am sitting... :lol:

“Look maaa, I’m nondualing”

Edit 2: another consideration I had was his point about engagement with thoughts etc, towards the end around 10:20,

I have previously had cases of the observer state, in the detached or halfway point, but recently (today) had an experience where I engaged with them, almost in a game like way, which actually created amazing situations, i literally felt like the world could be shaped any way I saw fit (within my own potential) and at the same time, felt that whatever I did was not me doing it, it was an amazing day, yet I know it will likely pass, and only that which it happened within which is not distinct from that which happened. That last bit was my new non dual perspective of the situation.

This doesn’t seem like a total realisation of this nondual perspective, but maybe a small beginning. Maybe an “early return”, before I’m cooked?
Perhaps awareness is to the observed as consciousness is to the observer.
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A_Seagull
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Re: Consciousness = Self-awareness?

Post by A_Seagull »

Greta wrote: Fri Mar 31, 2017 7:04 am I just Googled for an experiment of that ilk and it seems that my intense behavioural study of the pooches at home is paying off :lol: http://www.sciencealert.com/it-s-offici ... sciousness
While I think the experiment is interesting I don't find it conclusive of self awareness.. or consciousness... dogs may have no interest in their own smell without any semblance of self awareness. That said I would expect that dogs do have a degree of self awareness, just that the experiment doesn't prove it.
AlexW
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Re: Consciousness = Self-awareness?

Post by AlexW »

Dimebag wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 1:40 pm This doesn’t seem like a total realisation of this nondual perspective, but maybe a small beginning. Maybe an “early return”, before I’m cooked?
What exactly do you think has to be cooked?
The mind? Thought? Your perspective? And what exactly should be the outcome/benefit?
Its not about achieving a new perspective - but rather to realise that whatever interpretation thought comes up with, is not more than again another perspective.
The perspective of the separate self, the perspective of the father/mother/child/teacher/student... and even the perspective of consciousness are all just conceptual ideas - there is no benefit in cultivating a better/non-dual perspective - better to leave all perspectives alone and simply be.

Have you heard this zen-story (it points to the truth that no matter how much one tries to understand conceptually it will not be of much help - rather the opposite...):
Ch'an Master Nan-yueh Huai-jang, Abbot of the Po-je Temple, noticed a young man meditating in the main shrine every afternoon. Since the man seemed to possess Ch'an wisdom, Huai-jang asked him kindly, "My friend, what are you doing here?"
The young man obviously did not like being disturbed and reluctantly answered, "Sitting in meditation."
"Why are you sitting in meditation?" asked Huai-jang again.
Quite perturbed, he nevertheless replied, "To become a Buddha!"
The Master continued to pursue his questioning in a kind manner, "How can you become a Buddha by sitting in meditation?"
This time, the man ignored the question to show his disdain for the talkative old monk.
Since Huai-jang could not attract the young man's attention by talking, he found a brick and began to rub it on the floor while sitting nearly.
In the days that followed, whenever the man came to meditate Master Nan-yueh would return to his task of rubbing the brick.
Finally, the young man could no longer suppress his curiosity and inquired, "What are you doing here every day, if I may ask?"
"Polishing the brick." Huai-jang declared.
"Why?" he queried.
"To make it into a mirror," replied Huai-jang.
"How can you turn the brick into a mirror?" the young man asked.
"If the brick can't become a mirror by being polished, how can you become a Buddha by meditating?"
Dimebag
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Re: Consciousness = Self-awareness?

Post by Dimebag »

AlexW wrote: Fri Jul 10, 2020 6:04 am
Dimebag wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 1:40 pm This doesn’t seem like a total realisation of this nondual perspective, but maybe a small beginning. Maybe an “early return”, before I’m cooked?
What exactly do you think has to be cooked?
The mind? Thought? Your perspective? And what exactly should be the outcome/benefit?
Its not about achieving a new perspective - but rather to realise that whatever interpretation thought comes up with, is not more than again another perspective.
The perspective of the separate self, the perspective of the father/mother/child/teacher/student... and even the perspective of consciousness are all just conceptual ideas - there is no benefit in cultivating a better/non-dual perspective - better to leave all perspectives alone and simply be.

Have you heard this zen-story (it points to the truth that no matter how much one tries to understand conceptually it will not be of much help - rather the opposite...):
Ch'an Master Nan-yueh Huai-jang, Abbot of the Po-je Temple, noticed a young man meditating in the main shrine every afternoon. Since the man seemed to possess Ch'an wisdom, Huai-jang asked him kindly, "My friend, what are you doing here?"
The young man obviously did not like being disturbed and reluctantly answered, "Sitting in meditation."
"Why are you sitting in meditation?" asked Huai-jang again.
Quite perturbed, he nevertheless replied, "To become a Buddha!"
The Master continued to pursue his questioning in a kind manner, "How can you become a Buddha by sitting in meditation?"
This time, the man ignored the question to show his disdain for the talkative old monk.
Since Huai-jang could not attract the young man's attention by talking, he found a brick and began to rub it on the floor while sitting nearly.
In the days that followed, whenever the man came to meditate Master Nan-yueh would return to his task of rubbing the brick.
Finally, the young man could no longer suppress his curiosity and inquired, "What are you doing here every day, if I may ask?"
"Polishing the brick." Huai-jang declared.
"Why?" he queried.
"To make it into a mirror," replied Huai-jang.
"How can you turn the brick into a mirror?" the young man asked.
"If the brick can't become a mirror by being polished, how can you become a Buddha by meditating?"
Thanks for that story. I am not attached to any particular perspective or doctrine, I am simply attempting to understand my own experience. This particular non-dual perspective which has been discussed may or may not be accurate, I actually find non-dualism a little too conceptual, at least in theory, maybe not in practice. I also understand your appeal to simply being, and this is definitely something I need to work on, or rather, I need to drop the worker. No one perspective holds all the truth, they are only pointers after all.
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Dontaskme
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Re: Consciousness = Self-awareness?

Post by Dontaskme »

Dimebag wrote: Fri Jul 10, 2020 10:07 am I actually find non-dualism a little too conceptual, at least in theory, maybe not in practice.
Non-duality is not an ism. Nor is it a theory...same thing.

Non-duality is rather, just a non-conceptual realisation, pointing us back to the blank space between 'thoughts' which are known as words/concepts (objects)...etc.
This blank space can never BE the objects, it can only know them conceptually, AS and through the apparent divide.

Who you actually are in fundamental essence...is this BLANK SPACE, including all that appears and disappears in it.

:) So maybe in practice, you are right, but in theory no, because it is impossible to put the nondual nature of reality into words.

Any attempt to put Nonduality into words is really nothing more than an invitation to the seeker to look beyond what the words are pointing to..that's all.


.
AlexW
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Re: Consciousness = Self-awareness?

Post by AlexW »

Dimebag wrote: Fri Jul 10, 2020 10:07 am I actually find non-dualism a little too conceptual
Every -ism is conceptual - there is no other way to describe anything without using concepts.
Dimebag wrote: Fri Jul 10, 2020 10:07 am I also understand your appeal to simply being, and this is definitely something I need to work on, or rather, I need to drop the worker.
Well... you have to work on it until you don't...
The working (and attempting to drop it) stops when it is fully understood that all working/effort is like a movie character trying to influence the screen - its perfectly useless - no matter what the character thinks, believes or does it will not affect the screen in the slightest.
All that needs to happen is the realisation that you are ultimately not the character - the character cannot have this realisation as the character is itself part of the process you call "work" (the work will not stop by working more, instead it will stop by realising that it is not you who is working/the character) - this is when one leaves the character alone to do whatever he/she does (the character will still work, talk, discuss, love, judge, improve itself...) but its not your problem anymore.
Dimebag wrote: Fri Jul 10, 2020 10:07 am No one perspective holds all the truth, they are only pointers after all.
Agree... but what is truth anyway?
Its only an idea that we have. We believe that there is true and false, right and wrong, while reality/consciousness is before/beyond all such definitions.
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