chaz wyman wrote:Since we are often in the Realm of definition, let us try a few examples.
'Super-unity' of consciousness. Definition: That which cannot be experienced.
Experience. Definition: A state for which no 'super-unity', is neither desirable nor is it possible.
Fantasy: A thing of the imagination which is necessarily impossible, e.g. 'super-unity' of consciousness is fantasy.
Thanks for the reply.
Can we do a thought experiment and imagine that it is possible for a human to be conscious of everything that exists within the bounds of their sensory perception at a particular time. For example, a long distance truck driver who becomes 'zoned out', having a flow experience, or as some people might say, driving on automatic pilot.
The usual understanding of a flow experience is that there is a narrowing of attention. This explains why it is difficult for the driver to give an account of some of the things he should have experienced on the trip. He wasn't attending to these things because of his narrow focus.
Let us imagine that in fact, it is actually the opposite. There isn't a narrowing of attention, but a widening of attention. The reason the driver can't recall some aspects of the trip is because he was attending to everything rather than narrowing his attention. The inability to recall is exactly the same inability to recall when we attend to everything and attend to very little. The end result is the same.
If we imagine this to be the case, is this inability to recall because of super-unity of experience? Like most people Chalmers rejects any zombie like explanation in these matters because we can only not attend to a limited extent. At the very least (during these types of zoned out phases) we must be in some way still experiencing our environment. What I am asking is (sill imagining that it is possible) does super-unity get around Chalmers' problem of having to experience the environment?
I hope you realise that the above post was a bit of fun?
I have no idea what is meant by Super-unity' of consciousness, and looking through the thread all I could find by way of definition is something that does not exist. hence the joke.
However, you mention an interesting phenomenon. But I think you express it oddly. I do not think when a driver 'zones out', he is aware of "conscious of everything that exists within the bounds of their sensory perception", but only that which makes it possible to drive safely without him remembering the details of the journey. This is a common place thing, and I would say is a mechanism that allows us to do things like play the piano without having to think about every key we are playing; of having to compute all the angles and trajectories when we hit a ball; or simply walk. Being conscious
of these sort of activities can place an additional burden on doing them.
This would seem to indicate that our conscious awareness, self-awareness, cannot encompass or process everything
we do. Whilst it seems that we need to be conscious whilst we are learning, after that we seem to employ a series of modules which are automaticized for speed and efficiency, so that becoming aware of them can actually interrupt their processes. The bigger question is - do we even need to be aware that we are learning, or can learning also be automatic? For sure there are elements that are. A pianist cannot tell you what he does when his fingers respond to dots on a page, though he has had to 'learn' how to do it through effort and repetition. And a foal or deer learns how to run with the herd within an hour of birth, with seemingly little intelligence - and certainly no idea about the dangers which make it so important to do it. I do not believe that attention is widened, as such. Conscious attention is elsewhere, such as thinking about doing the decorating, or philosophy rather than thinking about driving, but the brain, might be more open to quicker automatic responses to stimuli, but without attending to everything in the visual cortex. I would say open to changes in motion of the objects around, in the case of driving, and the relationship between dots on the page and fingers being taken over by specific and highly tuned neural pathways. whilst the conscious mind can attend to other things entirely.
There is a definite duality here - but not one that requires an incorporeal element. You could have say three modules working simultaneously; walking, playing an instrument and thinking about what to have for lunch is well within human capability. You can even demonstrate the using multiple modules can improve activity by re-directing consciousness - people learning to walk a tight-rope, do much better if they are singing a song at the same time
as this stops them thinking too hard about what they are doing!
I have no idea what your last paragraph refers to.
As far as we can tell, it seems obvious that consciousness is only a tiny part of what our brain does. So the phrase Super-unity' of consciousness seem way off beam to me.