The Nature of Consciousness

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tapaticmadness
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Re: The Nature of Consciousness

Post by tapaticmadness » Thu Jan 30, 2020 2:24 am

seeds wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 12:48 am
seeds wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 5:24 am
...why do you think that physicists cannot directly perceive what’s taking place with an electron in the transitional space between the slitted wall and the measuring screen in the Double Slit Experiment?
henry quirk wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 3:16 pm
Cuz their eyes aren't built to see events on that scale. If their eyes were built to see at that scale, they could see the electrons...cuz the electrons are real and measurable.
No, henry, it has nothing to do with size.

Forgive me for quoting Herbert again, but allow me to copy and paste something I posted in one of uwot's threads:
seeds wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 3:28 pm
Nick Herbert wrote: “Legendary King Midas never knew the feel of silk or a human hand after everything he touched turned to gold. Humans are stuck in a similar Midas-like predicament: we can't directly experience the true texture of quantum reality because everything we touch turns to matter.”
In other words, we can never directly know or experience (as it really is) the exact nature of the noumenal-like underpinning of reality because any attempt to do so instantly transforms it into phenomena.
The point is that any attempt we make to observe the superpostioned (noumenal) state of reality just prior to the collapse of the wave function, instantly collapses the wave function...

(i.e., instantly transforms noumena into phenomena)

...in such a way that completely hides from us the ontological status of matter – (AS IT REALLY IS) – in its noumenal context.

So, again, no, it has nothing to do with the fact that subatomic particles are too small for us to see.

No, the problem lies in how we who function “up here” in the context of what physicists call “local reality,” have no way of directly perceiving the actual processes taking place in what they call “non-local reality.”
_______
There is no such thing as the Kant's unseen Noumena.

AlexW
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Re: The Nature of Consciousness

Post by AlexW » Thu Jan 30, 2020 3:53 am

seeds wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 12:48 am
In other words, we can never directly know or experience (as it really is) the exact nature of the noumenal-like underpinning of reality because any attempt to do so instantly transforms it into phenomena
and
seeds wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 12:48 am
the problem lies in how we who function “up here” in the context of what physicists call “local reality,” have no way of directly perceiving the actual processes taking place in what they call “non-local reality.”
I see this very differently...
You always only experience the "exact nature of the noumenal-like reality", as well as “non-local reality".
It is only thought (mind) that appears to transform experience into phenomena - the experience itself is always non-dual, non-local, "noumenal-like".
You can actually easily investigate this by simply closing your eyes and feeling the sensations that arise "in/on" your body.
If you look properly (and for a moment discount what thought has to say about a certain sensation) then you will find that the sensation itself contains absolutely no information about locality (and really nothing conceptual/objective at all).
Locality is an interpretation derived from putting one sensation into context/relation with other sensations. This happens via cutting experience into manageable patterns (thus introducing artificial separation - you might call this "local reality") and constructing "locality" from apparently separate parts...

Anyway... just some food for thought :-)

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Re: The Nature of Consciousness

Post by tapaticmadness » Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:14 am

AlexW wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 3:53 am

I see this very differently...
You always only experience the "exact nature of the noumenal-like reality", as well as “non-local reality".
It is only thought (mind) that appears to transform experience into phenomena - the experience itself is always non-dual, non-local, "noumenal-like".
You can actually easily investigate this by simply closing your eyes and feeling the sensations that arise "in/on" your body.
If you look properly (and for a moment discount what thought has to say about a certain sensation) then you will find that the sensation itself contains absolutely no information about locality (and really nothing conceptual/objective at all).
Locality is an interpretation derived from putting one sensation into context/relation with other sensations. This happens via cutting experience into manageable patterns (thus introducing artificial separation - you might call this "local reality") and constructing "locality" from apparently separate parts...

Anyway... just some food for thought :-)
My God, that's complicated. It seems to me there should be a simpler way of explaining things.

AlexW
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Re: The Nature of Consciousness

Post by AlexW » Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:37 am

tapaticmadness wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:14 am
My God, that's complicated. It seems to me there should be a simpler way of explaining things.
Sorry if this sounds complicated... its really very simple: close eyes, feel/sense
Thats all. Not as complicated as quantum mechanics etc... at least to me :-)

What might seem to make it difficult are really only the thoughts that arise describing the sensation... how complicated is something that needs no description (to be)? Perfectly simple, right? But also perfectly alive (meaning: its not a concept, its real)

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Re: The Nature of Consciousness

Post by tapaticmadness » Thu Jan 30, 2020 5:48 am

AlexW wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:37 am
tapaticmadness wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:14 am
My God, that's complicated. It seems to me there should be a simpler way of explaining things.
Sorry if this sounds complicated... its really very simple: close eyes, feel/sense
Thats all. Not as complicated as quantum mechanics etc... at least to me :-)

What might seem to make it difficult are really only the thoughts that arise describing the sensation... how complicated is something that needs no description (to be)? Perfectly simple, right? But also perfectly alive (meaning: its not a concept, its real)
I have no problem closing my eyes and being aware of sensations. The problem I have is that you seem to dismiss all other thought. You wrote, "Locality is an interpretation derived from putting one sensation into context/relation with other sensations. This happens via cutting experience into manageable patterns (thus introducing artificial separation - you might call this "local reality") and constructing "locality" from apparently separate parts..." You seem to be saying that everything other that sensations is interpretation and artificial separation and some sort of construction. I would never say that. Then again I am most definitely NOT a non-dualist. Why are you a non-dualist when the very idea seems so wrong - at least to me.

The complicated part is where you seem to be saying that we derive the world of locality and everything else by means of illegitimate separating. It seems to me that separation and otherness are simple and should be left alone. Are you some sort of Vedantist?

AlexW
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Re: The Nature of Consciousness

Post by AlexW » Thu Jan 30, 2020 6:30 am

tapaticmadness wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 5:48 am
I have no problem closing my eyes and being aware of sensations.
Ok, great
tapaticmadness wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 5:48 am
The problem I have is that you seem to dismiss all other thought.
I am not dismissing thought - I just proposed that for actually investigation what is "real" and what is purely conceptual one might actually, only for this investigation, forget about thought - or rather: try to figure out if what is experienced actually matches with our interpretation of it.

See, I don't really understand why people think that reality is something they can never experience, when it is actually the other way round - its all you can EVER experience - its called reality for a reason... sure, you can never know it conceptually, but you can feel, see, hear it 24/7 --- what else do you think you see?
tapaticmadness wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 5:48 am
You seem to be saying that everything other that sensations is interpretation and artificial separation and some sort of construction.
What I am saying is that you have five senses, seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and the sense of touch - this is the only way you can experience your environment, right? You can still see, hear, feel without thought ever being present or trying to make sense of WHAT you actually see and hear.
The question is weather what you see/hear/feel actually matches with what thought tells you that you see/hear/feel... What I was trying to get across is that in non-conceptual seeing/hearing/feeling (before thought makes sense of what is seen) there is actually no separation present.
tapaticmadness wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 5:48 am
Then again I am most definitely NOT a non-dualist. Why are you a non-dualist when the very idea seems so wrong - at least to me.
I am not a non dualist, Vedantist or whatever other kinds there might be around - to me, it is simply obvious from direct experience that there is no separation outside the conceptual world thought has built for itself... This doesn't mean that the thought based, conceptual layer that is wrapped over "reality" is not a handy tool to navigate the world. It also doesn't mean that we shouldn't use thought to describe what we experience and find a common understanding so we can talk about it, but if it comes to describing "reality" thought is simply the wrong tool. You need to go a level "deeper" and look without applying all these concepts - they are nice, but not required for life to simply be as it is - undivided - and so is your actual direct experience.
tapaticmadness wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 5:48 am
It seems to me that separation and otherness are simple and should be left alone.
I am not sure I get your point... can you explain?

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Re: The Nature of Consciousness

Post by tapaticmadness » Thu Jan 30, 2020 10:24 am

AlexW wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 6:30 am

I am not sure I get your point... can you explain?
You and I are certainly not on the same philosophical page. I am an extreme Realist and you are a classical Idealist. What you think is in the mind as concepts, I think is in the world as all manner of ontological differentia In my philosophy there are no concepts. In fact there is no subjective realm/arena at all. Nor is there an undifferentiated mass/whole outside of thought. Everything that appears to my consciousness, including consciousness itself, exists. Including obviously illusion and dreams and religious visions. Everything is a thing. And I see it all directly without going through sensa or mental constructs or concepts or representations to get at it. It is all real, ie. it exists separate from and independent of my mind. Yes, minds exist. They see the world immediately and feel it.

I am certainly not going to try and convince you that I am right and you are wrong. I don’t care that you are an idealist/phenomenalist. But I am interested in why you are one. That’s a psychological query.

I am a realist because I love the feel of the world coming at me. Like a lover it lies on top of me. I am pierced and possessed. That God has me by the balls. I am passively gay.

Idealists usually are what they are because they want their freedom. They want to be in control of their life. They want life to be personal with their own thoughts and their own self. I am interested in none of that.

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henry quirk
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Re: The Nature of Consciousness

Post by henry quirk » Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:06 pm

The point is that any attempt we make to observe the superpostioned (noumenal) state of reality just prior to the collapse of the wave function, instantly collapses the wave function...

I don't buy into that wave collapse nonsense.

Wave collapse mebbe happened, macroscopically, when the new universe cooled enough for rules to firm up, but it ain't happenin' now.

#

No, the problem lies in how we who function “up here” in the context of what physicists call “local reality,” have no way of directly perceiving the actual processes taking place in what they call “non-local reality.”

I'm thinkin' quantum weirdness probably isn't all that weird.

It's all made up shit, made up to make pet theories work.

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henry quirk
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Re: The Nature of Consciousness

Post by henry quirk » Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:09 pm

tapaticmadness wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 2:02 am
henry quirk wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 11:51 pm
tapaticmadness wrote:It's not enough. Physics today demands other worlds to explain the phenomena we see.
Seems to me: if you gotta make shit up to get your science to work, yer on the wrong track.
Making thing up is all we've got now. The Age of Evidence is over. Now simplicity and parsimony rule our theories.
I disagree. But, if truly we can't measure anything of significance anymore, then we ought to shut up.

Better to live with a degree of uncertainty than to make crap up.

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Re: The Nature of Consciousness

Post by AlexW » Thu Jan 30, 2020 10:36 pm

tapaticmadness wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 10:24 am
I am certainly not going to try and convince you that I am right and you are wrong.
Good - I don't have any plans to convince you of anything either.
tapaticmadness wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 10:24 am
What you think is in the mind as concepts, I think is in the world as all manner of ontological differentia In my philosophy there are no concepts. In fact there is no subjective realm/arena at all. Nor is there an undifferentiated mass/whole outside of thought. Everything that appears to my consciousness, including consciousness itself, exists. Including obviously illusion and dreams and religious visions. Everything is a thing. And I see it all directly without going through sensa or mental constructs or concepts or representations to get at it. It is all real, ie. it exists separate from and independent of my mind.
Interesting... how do you define yourself? Who/what is it that sees these things directly? Just another thing?
And... how many things do you think exist? A limited number or an infinite number of things?
tapaticmadness wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 10:24 am
I don’t care that you are an idealist/phenomenalist. But I am interested in why you are one.
I wouldn't say that I am an idealist either, I don't really like putting people in labelled boxes, but if you ask me why I think the way I do, then I would have to say: because of direct experience of "reality".
See, we apparently experience things all the time, but this experience is heavily tainted with conceptual thought, with explanations, comparisons, judgements etc etc... once you experience "the world" without this conceptual filter it is no longer a world of things, it is no world of separation, no world of you vs. me.
It is whole, one movement, which is dissected into apparently separate parts for our convenience (or maybe its a strange evolutionary leap pushing us to become the primary species, but maybe also leads to our extinction, who knows...??)

So, how do we do it? Via constant thinking.
But thinking something is so and so, doesn't make it so, right?

I found that truth is always here/now, it is here/now before you have learned that an apple is an apple, before you really learned anything, before you acquired all this second hand knowledge about how you and the world function, before you even knew that you are.
Now, this "state" can happen again, anytime, anywhere, either in deep mediation or simply out of the blue - the mind stops, thought stops and these are the moments when you actually truly see, when you know directly. Later on, when thought starts up again we try to put this knowledge into words, but words can only point to something, they are not the "thing" itself. Now, pointing to something that we label "apple" is easily understood, but pointing to something that is all, that is, due to its boundlessness, actually not a thing is slightly more difficult... it leads us to the limits of language, to the limits of conceptual thought, to the limits of relativity.
tapaticmadness wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 10:24 am
I am a realist because I love the feel of the world coming at me. Like a lover it lies on top of me. I am pierced and possessed.
This sounds beautiful - and its not that much different to how I perceive. The only difference is that I don't feel the world coming "at me", but rather as "the world" arising in me, or as me - as one whole.
But again: These words are only descriptions/interpretations - they are not the experience itself. To me, they are just two different perspectives of looking at the same world - nothing more.
tapaticmadness wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 10:24 am
Idealists usually are what they are because they want their freedom. They want to be in control of their life. They want life to be personal with their own thoughts and their own self. I am interested in none of that.
I am not interested in that either. Life is as it is, not as we wish it to be.
If there is something like "control", fine, if not, thats also ok - after all: "control" is just an idea, a concept that we have invented to bolster our precious (but ultimately imaginary) egos.

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Re: The Nature of Consciousness

Post by AlexW » Thu Jan 30, 2020 10:49 pm

henry quirk wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:09 pm
Better to live with a degree of uncertainty than to make crap up.
Haha... I like that! How true!

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bahman
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Re: The Nature of Consciousness

Post by bahman » Thu Jan 30, 2020 11:11 pm

RCSaunders wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:05 pm
Consciousness is perception, which is the only kind of consciousness we or any other creature has. Physical existence is that existence organisms are directly conscious of, the world they see, hear, feel, smell, and taste. By perception is meant the seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, and tasting as well as interoception (the direct perception of internal states of the physical body).

Perceptual consciousness is an attribute of living organisms. It is the attribute of life that makes the additional attribute of consciousness possible in some organisms. Consciousness is not possible without the attribute life. There is no reason for or possibility of consciousness in a mere physical entity. Consciousness is what makes the behavior necessary, for those organisms that are conscious, to sustain themselves as the kind of organisms they are.

There are at least eight characteristics of conscious perception that demonstrate that consciousness, like life, is not a physical attribute: 1. Individual and Private 2. Continuity 3. Unity 4. Consciousness of Physical not Physical 5. Tasting is the Only Test 6. Pain 7. No Physical Description and 8. TV in an Empty Room.

1. Individual and Private

Consciousness in all other creatures except ourselves is implied, because every conscious organism has its own consciousness and no organism can be conscious of any other organism's consciousness.

While the privacy of consciousness is generally understood, it's significance to philosophy is not always apparent. It is because consciousness is experienced privately that its nature is frequently neglected. What we mean by "being conscious," the actual experience itself, can only be known individually. Anything in the physical world that can be perceived, can be perceived by anyone. No one can perceive your consciousness or my consciousness, as we experience it. Technically, we cannot even "perceive" our own consciousness. We do not know we are conscious by perceiving it, (seeing it, hearing it, feeling it, etc.), we know it, because we are conscious. We do not know we can see by seeing our seeing, we know we can see because we do.

2. Continuity

Conscious organisms have only one consciousness and it is the same consciousness from moment to moment, day to day, and year to year. It is the same consciousness from the moment it becomes consciousness until the organisms dies. It is because consciousness is a characteristic of life, not the physical aspects of the organism, this is possible. Notice, that the physical characteristics of an organism can change. Hypothetically, all of the physical parts could be changed, but it would still be the same organism, because it would still be the same life process and the same consciousness. It is the life process that identifies the organism as a particular organism, not the physical components, and consciousness is an attribute of life.

Consciousness does not cease to exist when one sleeps, or when under an anesthetic, or when "knocked out" by a blow to the head. By analogy, in those cases, consciousness is like the life of a seed. A seed is a living thing, although it does not exhibit any of the usual characteristics of life externally; we say it is "dormant" because under proper conditions it will germinate and grow. If irradiated, or exposed to certain temperatures it "dies" and cannot be germinated.

Consciousness, during sleep or when anesthetized, is like the life of a seed, dormant, because when the anesthesia wears off or the hypothalamus is stimulated, consciousness revives. If consciousness truly ceases, however, nothing can revive it, and the individual who was that consciousness ceases to exist.

I Am My Consciousness

For human beings, one's consciousness is what is meant by "I." One remains the same person (individual or "I") no matter what other things change, because one's consciousness is always the same consciousness. However little one knows or how much one learns, no matter what changes there are to the physical aspects of one's body, no matter what one does or how long one lives, from moment to moment, day to day, and year to year, one is the same person, because it is the same consciousness. There is no physical aspect of one's being that cannot be changed that can change one's conscious identity, because one's conscious identity is one's consciousness itself.

From the moment one opens their eyes for the first time to the moment they close them for the last time, there is only one consciousness. One's existence as a person, their identity as a human being, is the human being's consciousness. If one's consciousness should cease, whatever happens to the body, the individual ceases to exist as a human being.

That identity which is one's consciousness, cannot be discovered or described by any physical attribute or any physical or biological action because consciousness is not a physical attribute—it is an attribute of life.

3. Unity

For any organism, there is only one consciousness and it is the same consciousness that perceives what is seen, tasted, heard, smelled, and felt. It is the same consciousness that feels the wheel of the car with the hands, the accelerator pedal with the foot, sees the light change from red to green, and hears the music on the radio all simultaneously. This aspect of consciousness is almost never recognized. It is one reason, for example, no computer or computer program will ever create consciousness. It would be impossible, at the physical level, to make all the discrete physical events required for detection of separate phenomena be a single phenomenon. Because consciousness is an aspect of life, however, which is not physical and not limited by physical attributes, such as discreteness, the same consciousness can be conscious of an indefinite number of things at the same time.

Furthermore, every individual is only one consciousness, one person, conscious of what one is thinking, perceiving (internally and externally), and what one is feeling emotionally, as well as conscious of all the other things one is aware of, simultaneously and continuously. There is only one consciousness.

To some extent one can determine what one will be conscious of by where they look and what they do, such as turning on or off a radio, or opening a book. In those cases, one is merely changing what there is available for one to be conscious of. But one can also focus the attention on some things one is conscious of and ignore some others, even though one never ceases to be conscious of everything available to consciousness at any time.

It would be impossible, at the physical level, to make all the discrete physical events required for detection of separate phenomena be a single event. What that means, is, there is no physical system which is able to detect sounds (microphones, for example) images (a video camera, for example), pressure and weight (a transponder system, for example) temperature (an electronic thermometer for example), movement (an electro-gyroscope for example) which can all be recognized in all its detail as a single event or process. The information that all these detection systems provide, at the physical level, must forever remain separated and discrete. The laws of physics and information theory, both determined by the principles that govern physical existence, exclude the possibility that this information can be integrated into a single thing or phenomenon, like one's consciousness. If one's consciousness were a phenomenon of the physical, it would not be a single thing, but a collection of separate and discrete things. At the physical level, the unity of consciousness is an impossibility.

Which Cell is Conscious?

It is not necessary to depend on physics or information theory to see the problem the unity of conscious is to the physicalist view. Consider vision. The optic nerve is actually a bundle of nerves, each carrying separate signals to the brain. They all terminate close to one another but at slightly different places at different cells. Many cells in the brain respond to these signals, at the physical level, "sight" consists of many interrelated but discrete events. If many different cells are involved in "seeing" how do the separate behaviors of each of those cells become integrated into a single phenomenon called "seeing."

Unless there is one "master consciousness cell" that is somehow fed perceptual information by all the other cells of the brain, there is not "one event" at the physical level, but a collection of many separate events that cannot be anything but separate physical events.

Consciousness is not only a single consciousness awareness of everything in the visual field, but simultaneously every thing that can be heard, or felt, or tasted, or smelled. At the physical level, all the discrete neurological events related to consciousness are discrete and separate and no physical method is possible that could integrate all these separate physical events into the single phenomena which is consciousness.

4. Consciousness of Physical not Physical

It is the private nature of consciousness that has been the source of many of philosophy's greatest difficulties. It is the source of all mystic ideas of the "soul" for example. It is very difficult to describe the nature of consciousness as it is consciously experienced and those philosophers who have recognized its significance have gone to great lengths to do so.

Consciousness, the actual experience, cannot be described in terms of any physical quality or attribute, because consciousness is not physical and cannot be attributed to any physical events or actions. Consciousness is an attribute of life, the process. It is to the life process itself that the physiological aspects of the neurological system of an organism presents the perceptual qualities of entities that can be detected by the nervous system to be perceived.

Consciousness and that which we are conscious of cannot be the same thing. The physical is that which we are conscious of (directly perceive), consciousness is directly perceiving (being conscious of) the physical. It is this fact that has led so many philosophers to posit some kind of dualism. The mistake is the assumption that consciousness is something separate from the physical attributes of an organism. But life is an attribute of a physical organism that makes it living, without which it would not be an organism, and consciousness is an attribute of those kinds of organisms that see, hear, feel, smell and taste, without which they would not be those kinds of organisms.

It is the physical aspects of an organism that make it possible for the neurological system to interact with the perceived physical world and make available to consciousness those attributes of the physical that can be perceived. There is no dualism involved in consciousness. Consciousness is a natural attribute of living organisms that cannot exist separate from the physical organisms it is the consciousness of, but is not itself physical or caused by the physical.

5. Tasting is the Only Test

Just as the nature of consciousness cannot be explained in physical terms neither can conscious perception itself. There is no way to determine from the physical characteristics of anything how it will taste, for example, or what any particular chemical will smell like. The only way to know what anything will taste or smell like is to actually taste or smell it.

This is the reason it is so difficult to explain what something tastes like to someone who has never tasted it. Unless it has ingredients that one has tasted before, it is, in fact, impossible to describe the taste of a thing.

This is true of all the perceptual qualities. It is the reason why no description of sound can make a deaf person know what sound "sounds" like, and why no explanation can make a blind person know what anything "looks" like. Yet, it is quite possible to explain all the physical and technical aspects of sound to a deaf person and of light to a blind person.

The reason there is no physical explanation for the conscious experience of taste, or seeing, or hearing, is because perception is not a physical phenomenon, it is a living phenomenon.

[NOTE: The so-called subjectivity of consciousness problem suggested by by some philosophers is mistaken. The spurious argument goes, "If it is only possible to know what is perceived by actually perceiving it, it is a purely subjective experience and it is impossible to know if that experience reflects reality or not." The argument is baseless. It is what is consciously perceived that is reality. It as the world as it is perceived that all the sciences study, that all technology uses, and that we live in and enjoy. The only thing, "subjective" about consciousness is that it is one's own consciousness by which one perceives the physical world. If human beings were not directly conscious of the real physical world, there would be no way to know it. It is the directly perceived world against which all tests of scientific principles are made.]

6. Pain

Unlike sound, or color, or temperature which are physical attributes of physical entities which can be directly perceived, there is no corresponding physical attribute of any physical entity that is pain. Since all perception is perception of the physical, in the case of pain it is not a physical attribute that is perceived but a physical state of an organism. There is no such thing as pain independent of a physical organism.

A broken bone is, to consciousness, extremely painful, but a broken bone, as a physical phenomenon, in terms of physics, has no attribute which can be called pain. No X-ray, physical examination, or analysis of any kind will find any attribute about a broken bone which can be called pain. The pain associated with a broken bone exists only in the context of a living organism and only to consciousness. Pain exists and is real, it is an indication of a real physical state in a biological context, but does not itself exist physically, and has no physical attributes or explanation.

There is another aspect of pain that helps illustrate what consciousness is. When I feel pain, I generally react to that feeling, like holding the finger I just hit with the hammer and yelling "ouch!" or something stronger. But I do not have to react at all. I can "ignore" the pain, if I really have to. Nevertheless, I feel the pain just as much—it is the pain I feel that is the conscious experience, not my reaction to it. (So much for behaviorism.)

7. No Physical Description

No description of any physical (physiological or neurological) action or process related to perception explains or describes any perceptual quality or aspect of consciousness.

No matter what physical (mechanical-electrical-chemical) actions are described, that is all they can describe. When the biologist and physiologist have described all that the nervous system and brain have done, they still have not described consciousness—they have only described a complex of physical events, which no matter how complex or how closely associated to consciousness will never be a description of consciousness itself or any aspect of it.

8. TV in an Empty Room

It has been suggested that given sufficient complexity in the proper configuration, it is possible for a physical process to produce "consciousness." It is supposed, for example, that a complex nervous system like that of the higher animals and human beings in some way "produces" consciousness. The argument uses the pseudo-concept "emergence" which supposedly means new attributes just, "emerge," from the operation of other things, "somehow," but that, "somehow," is never explained. That is supposed to be science.

Conscious vision, according the physicalist, is produced by the nervous system providing information from the eyes that are processed in some way by the brain, which process is "seeing." In fact, no physical process can be vision—even if in some way information reaching the brain from the eye through the optic nerves could be processed into an image, it would be like an image on a TV—but an image on a TV is not vision and can only be consciously seen if someone is watching the TV.

The physicalist's description of consciousness is the description of a TV in an empty room. It is not an "image" that is consciousness; it is the "seeing," of of the image. Whatever the physical brain does, it cannot itself be consciousness. The behavior of the brain is only more physical action; it only makes available to consciousness what is seen, heard, felt, smelled and tasted—the brain itself cannot see, hear, feel, smell or taste anything.

The "Consciousness-Physical" Problem

There is a supposed problem in philosophy, more often called the "mind-body" problem, that asks, "if the mind (or consciousness) is not physical, how does the non-physical interact with or control the physical body. The question pertains to all conscious organism.

Consciousness is not a substance or incorporeal entity occupying a physical body, it is an attribute of the physical organism it is the consciousness of, an integral aspect of the organism without which the organism would not exist as the organism it is. It is the organism's life and consciousness that make it possible for the physical living organism to exist and act to maintain its own existence. Life and consciousness are not separate in any way from the organism, they are, together with the physical attributes, what an organism is. Consciousness is not a separate thing that interacts with the physical, consciousness is that attribute of the organism that makes an organism's specific living behavior possible. It is the organism itself that is conscious and as a conscious organism all its behavior (except for the strictly biological) is conscious behavior.

The Certainty of Consciousness

The one thing an individual is always certain of is their immediate conscious experience. No matter what they are experiencing, the perception of their own internal physical states (feelings and emotions), perception of the external world, dreams, hallucinations, their current thoughts, or imagination, that immediate conscious experience is what it is and one cannot be wrong about it. One can be wrong about the cause of their immediate experience, or about the nature of what the are experiencing, or why they are having the experience, but they cannot be wrong that they are having that experience.

"How do you know you are conscious?" the sophist asks. You cannot not know it. If you doubt you are conscious, the thing that is doing that doubting is your consciousness.
That is the mind that has nature. Consciousness is a state of being in which you experience stuff.

tapaticmadness
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Re: The Nature of Consciousness

Post by tapaticmadness » Fri Jan 31, 2020 12:23 am

AlexW wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 10:36 pm

Interesting... how do you define yourself? Who/what is it that sees these things directly? Just another thing?
And... how many things do you think exist? A limited number or an infinite number of things?


I wouldn't say that I am an idealist either, I don't really like putting people in labelled boxes, but if you ask me why I think the way I do, then I would have to say: because of direct experience of "reality".
See, we apparently experience things all the time, but this experience is heavily tainted with conceptual thought, with explanations, comparisons, judgements etc etc... once you experience "the world" without this conceptual filter it is no longer a world of things, it is no world of separation, no world of you vs. me.
It is whole, one movement, which is dissected into apparently separate parts for our convenience (or maybe its a strange evolutionary leap pushing us to become the primary species, but maybe also leads to our extinction, who knows...??)

So, how do we do it? Via constant thinking.
But thinking something is so and so, doesn't make it so, right?

I found that truth is always here/now, it is here/now before you have learned that an apple is an apple, before you really learned anything, before you acquired all this second hand knowledge about how you and the world function, before you even knew that you are.
Now, this "state" can happen again, anytime, anywhere, either in deep mediation or simply out of the blue - the mind stops, thought stops and these are the moments when you actually truly see, when you know directly. Later on, when thought starts up again we try to put this knowledge into words, but words can only point to something, they are not the "thing" itself. Now, pointing to something that we label "apple" is easily understood, but pointing to something that is all, that is, due to its boundlessness, actually not a thing is slightly more difficult... it leads us to the limits of language, to the limits of conceptual thought, to the limits of relativity.
tapaticmadness wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 10:24 am
I am a realist because I love the feel of the world coming at me. Like a lover it lies on top of me. I am pierced and possessed.
This sounds beautiful - and its not that much different to how I perceive. The only difference is that I don't feel the world coming "at me", but rather as "the world" arising in me, or as me - as one whole.
But again: These words are only descriptions/interpretations - they are not the experience itself. To me, they are just two different perspectives of looking at the same world - nothing more.

I’m trying to figure out why you believe in one, undifferentiated Whole. I think the reason you believe in concepts is because you are trying to preserve that vision of the Whole without cuts in it. The Whole is smooth and virgin. I would also say it is rather feminine. While the realm of concepts is masculine and threatening to that purity. And must be kept at bay. You probably don’t see it like that, but I thought you might like to see how I see it.

In my philosophy there is no Whole. There is no one thing beyond all the many things. There is no one reality or one truth or one meaning. I believe in the gods and they are infinite in number. I am a pluralist, not a monist. All the differences and cuts I see are final.

You, as someone into Holism, would of course eschew labels. I love them and I think they name real differences. I call myself a Phenomeological Realist. That is to say that all the many phenomena that appear to me are real, not concepts in my mind. When I was a boy, I loved to go to a museum and see everything laid out and labeled. Holists say that museums are a place of death. Maybe they are. I love that vision of Eternity. You, as a Holist, probably love life and movement and swimming in the Great Ocean.

My world is without movement or life. It is stillness all around. Dissected and ordered. Angels ascending and descending in fixed form. My vision is without change. That makes me Parmenidean. A Platonist of magical diagrams. In eighth grade I loved to diagram sentences. I still do. I look at those magical diagrams and swoon. I never think of using sentences to conduct the business of life.

We all have a vision that we are ever looking at. You have a vision of the Undefiled Whole. Mine is so very different.

tapaticmadness
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Re: The Nature of Consciousness

Post by tapaticmadness » Fri Jan 31, 2020 12:29 am

henry quirk wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:09 pm
tapaticmadness wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 2:02 am
henry quirk wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 11:51 pm


Seems to me: if you gotta make shit up to get your science to work, yer on the wrong track.
Making thing up is all we've got now. The Age of Evidence is over. Now simplicity and parsimony rule our theories.
I disagree. But, if truly we can't measure anything of significance anymore, then we ought to shut up.

Better to live with a degree of uncertainty than to make crap up.
If we are going to do physics, we have to make crap up. Hopefully, it will be beautiful crap, simple and elegant. We have no choice because the universe has conspired to keep knowledge of other worlds from us. We know that there is something missing from our formulations, but we cannot find out what it is. Making up crap is all we have left. Lovely crap. We will make the universe a work of Art.

tapaticmadness
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Re: The Nature of Consciousness

Post by tapaticmadness » Fri Jan 31, 2020 12:33 am

bahman wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 11:11 pm
RCSaunders wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:05 pm
Consciousness is perception, which is the only kind of consciousness we or any other creature has. Physical existence is that existence organisms are directly conscious of, the world they see, hear, feel, smell, and taste. By perception is meant the seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, and tasting as well as interoception (the direct perception of internal states of the physical body).

Perceptual consciousness is an attribute of living organisms. It is the attribute of life that makes the additional attribute of consciousness possible in some organisms. Consciousness is not possible without the attribute life. There is no reason for or possibility of consciousness in a mere physical entity. Consciousness is what makes the behavior necessary, for those organisms that are conscious, to sustain themselves as the kind of organisms they are.

There are at least eight characteristics of conscious perception that demonstrate that consciousness, like life, is not a physical attribute: 1. Individual and Private 2. Continuity 3. Unity 4. Consciousness of Physical not Physical 5. Tasting is the Only Test 6. Pain 7. No Physical Description and 8. TV in an Empty Room.

1. Individual and Private

Consciousness in all other creatures except ourselves is implied, because every conscious organism has its own consciousness and no organism can be conscious of any other organism's consciousness.

While the privacy of consciousness is generally understood, it's significance to philosophy is not always apparent. It is because consciousness is experienced privately that its nature is frequently neglected. What we mean by "being conscious," the actual experience itself, can only be known individually. Anything in the physical world that can be perceived, can be perceived by anyone. No one can perceive your consciousness or my consciousness, as we experience it. Technically, we cannot even "perceive" our own consciousness. We do not know we are conscious by perceiving it, (seeing it, hearing it, feeling it, etc.), we know it, because we are conscious. We do not know we can see by seeing our seeing, we know we can see because we do.

2. Continuity

Conscious organisms have only one consciousness and it is the same consciousness from moment to moment, day to day, and year to year. It is the same consciousness from the moment it becomes consciousness until the organisms dies. It is because consciousness is a characteristic of life, not the physical aspects of the organism, this is possible. Notice, that the physical characteristics of an organism can change. Hypothetically, all of the physical parts could be changed, but it would still be the same organism, because it would still be the same life process and the same consciousness. It is the life process that identifies the organism as a particular organism, not the physical components, and consciousness is an attribute of life.

Consciousness does not cease to exist when one sleeps, or when under an anesthetic, or when "knocked out" by a blow to the head. By analogy, in those cases, consciousness is like the life of a seed. A seed is a living thing, although it does not exhibit any of the usual characteristics of life externally; we say it is "dormant" because under proper conditions it will germinate and grow. If irradiated, or exposed to certain temperatures it "dies" and cannot be germinated.

Consciousness, during sleep or when anesthetized, is like the life of a seed, dormant, because when the anesthesia wears off or the hypothalamus is stimulated, consciousness revives. If consciousness truly ceases, however, nothing can revive it, and the individual who was that consciousness ceases to exist.

I Am My Consciousness

For human beings, one's consciousness is what is meant by "I." One remains the same person (individual or "I") no matter what other things change, because one's consciousness is always the same consciousness. However little one knows or how much one learns, no matter what changes there are to the physical aspects of one's body, no matter what one does or how long one lives, from moment to moment, day to day, and year to year, one is the same person, because it is the same consciousness. There is no physical aspect of one's being that cannot be changed that can change one's conscious identity, because one's conscious identity is one's consciousness itself.

From the moment one opens their eyes for the first time to the moment they close them for the last time, there is only one consciousness. One's existence as a person, their identity as a human being, is the human being's consciousness. If one's consciousness should cease, whatever happens to the body, the individual ceases to exist as a human being.

That identity which is one's consciousness, cannot be discovered or described by any physical attribute or any physical or biological action because consciousness is not a physical attribute—it is an attribute of life.

3. Unity

For any organism, there is only one consciousness and it is the same consciousness that perceives what is seen, tasted, heard, smelled, and felt. It is the same consciousness that feels the wheel of the car with the hands, the accelerator pedal with the foot, sees the light change from red to green, and hears the music on the radio all simultaneously. This aspect of consciousness is almost never recognized. It is one reason, for example, no computer or computer program will ever create consciousness. It would be impossible, at the physical level, to make all the discrete physical events required for detection of separate phenomena be a single phenomenon. Because consciousness is an aspect of life, however, which is not physical and not limited by physical attributes, such as discreteness, the same consciousness can be conscious of an indefinite number of things at the same time.

Furthermore, every individual is only one consciousness, one person, conscious of what one is thinking, perceiving (internally and externally), and what one is feeling emotionally, as well as conscious of all the other things one is aware of, simultaneously and continuously. There is only one consciousness.

To some extent one can determine what one will be conscious of by where they look and what they do, such as turning on or off a radio, or opening a book. In those cases, one is merely changing what there is available for one to be conscious of. But one can also focus the attention on some things one is conscious of and ignore some others, even though one never ceases to be conscious of everything available to consciousness at any time.

It would be impossible, at the physical level, to make all the discrete physical events required for detection of separate phenomena be a single event. What that means, is, there is no physical system which is able to detect sounds (microphones, for example) images (a video camera, for example), pressure and weight (a transponder system, for example) temperature (an electronic thermometer for example), movement (an electro-gyroscope for example) which can all be recognized in all its detail as a single event or process. The information that all these detection systems provide, at the physical level, must forever remain separated and discrete. The laws of physics and information theory, both determined by the principles that govern physical existence, exclude the possibility that this information can be integrated into a single thing or phenomenon, like one's consciousness. If one's consciousness were a phenomenon of the physical, it would not be a single thing, but a collection of separate and discrete things. At the physical level, the unity of consciousness is an impossibility.

Which Cell is Conscious?

It is not necessary to depend on physics or information theory to see the problem the unity of conscious is to the physicalist view. Consider vision. The optic nerve is actually a bundle of nerves, each carrying separate signals to the brain. They all terminate close to one another but at slightly different places at different cells. Many cells in the brain respond to these signals, at the physical level, "sight" consists of many interrelated but discrete events. If many different cells are involved in "seeing" how do the separate behaviors of each of those cells become integrated into a single phenomenon called "seeing."

Unless there is one "master consciousness cell" that is somehow fed perceptual information by all the other cells of the brain, there is not "one event" at the physical level, but a collection of many separate events that cannot be anything but separate physical events.

Consciousness is not only a single consciousness awareness of everything in the visual field, but simultaneously every thing that can be heard, or felt, or tasted, or smelled. At the physical level, all the discrete neurological events related to consciousness are discrete and separate and no physical method is possible that could integrate all these separate physical events into the single phenomena which is consciousness.

4. Consciousness of Physical not Physical

It is the private nature of consciousness that has been the source of many of philosophy's greatest difficulties. It is the source of all mystic ideas of the "soul" for example. It is very difficult to describe the nature of consciousness as it is consciously experienced and those philosophers who have recognized its significance have gone to great lengths to do so.

Consciousness, the actual experience, cannot be described in terms of any physical quality or attribute, because consciousness is not physical and cannot be attributed to any physical events or actions. Consciousness is an attribute of life, the process. It is to the life process itself that the physiological aspects of the neurological system of an organism presents the perceptual qualities of entities that can be detected by the nervous system to be perceived.

Consciousness and that which we are conscious of cannot be the same thing. The physical is that which we are conscious of (directly perceive), consciousness is directly perceiving (being conscious of) the physical. It is this fact that has led so many philosophers to posit some kind of dualism. The mistake is the assumption that consciousness is something separate from the physical attributes of an organism. But life is an attribute of a physical organism that makes it living, without which it would not be an organism, and consciousness is an attribute of those kinds of organisms that see, hear, feel, smell and taste, without which they would not be those kinds of organisms.

It is the physical aspects of an organism that make it possible for the neurological system to interact with the perceived physical world and make available to consciousness those attributes of the physical that can be perceived. There is no dualism involved in consciousness. Consciousness is a natural attribute of living organisms that cannot exist separate from the physical organisms it is the consciousness of, but is not itself physical or caused by the physical.

5. Tasting is the Only Test

Just as the nature of consciousness cannot be explained in physical terms neither can conscious perception itself. There is no way to determine from the physical characteristics of anything how it will taste, for example, or what any particular chemical will smell like. The only way to know what anything will taste or smell like is to actually taste or smell it.

This is the reason it is so difficult to explain what something tastes like to someone who has never tasted it. Unless it has ingredients that one has tasted before, it is, in fact, impossible to describe the taste of a thing.

This is true of all the perceptual qualities. It is the reason why no description of sound can make a deaf person know what sound "sounds" like, and why no explanation can make a blind person know what anything "looks" like. Yet, it is quite possible to explain all the physical and technical aspects of sound to a deaf person and of light to a blind person.

The reason there is no physical explanation for the conscious experience of taste, or seeing, or hearing, is because perception is not a physical phenomenon, it is a living phenomenon.

[NOTE: The so-called subjectivity of consciousness problem suggested by by some philosophers is mistaken. The spurious argument goes, "If it is only possible to know what is perceived by actually perceiving it, it is a purely subjective experience and it is impossible to know if that experience reflects reality or not." The argument is baseless. It is what is consciously perceived that is reality. It as the world as it is perceived that all the sciences study, that all technology uses, and that we live in and enjoy. The only thing, "subjective" about consciousness is that it is one's own consciousness by which one perceives the physical world. If human beings were not directly conscious of the real physical world, there would be no way to know it. It is the directly perceived world against which all tests of scientific principles are made.]

6. Pain

Unlike sound, or color, or temperature which are physical attributes of physical entities which can be directly perceived, there is no corresponding physical attribute of any physical entity that is pain. Since all perception is perception of the physical, in the case of pain it is not a physical attribute that is perceived but a physical state of an organism. There is no such thing as pain independent of a physical organism.

A broken bone is, to consciousness, extremely painful, but a broken bone, as a physical phenomenon, in terms of physics, has no attribute which can be called pain. No X-ray, physical examination, or analysis of any kind will find any attribute about a broken bone which can be called pain. The pain associated with a broken bone exists only in the context of a living organism and only to consciousness. Pain exists and is real, it is an indication of a real physical state in a biological context, but does not itself exist physically, and has no physical attributes or explanation.

There is another aspect of pain that helps illustrate what consciousness is. When I feel pain, I generally react to that feeling, like holding the finger I just hit with the hammer and yelling "ouch!" or something stronger. But I do not have to react at all. I can "ignore" the pain, if I really have to. Nevertheless, I feel the pain just as much—it is the pain I feel that is the conscious experience, not my reaction to it. (So much for behaviorism.)

7. No Physical Description

No description of any physical (physiological or neurological) action or process related to perception explains or describes any perceptual quality or aspect of consciousness.

No matter what physical (mechanical-electrical-chemical) actions are described, that is all they can describe. When the biologist and physiologist have described all that the nervous system and brain have done, they still have not described consciousness—they have only described a complex of physical events, which no matter how complex or how closely associated to consciousness will never be a description of consciousness itself or any aspect of it.

8. TV in an Empty Room

It has been suggested that given sufficient complexity in the proper configuration, it is possible for a physical process to produce "consciousness." It is supposed, for example, that a complex nervous system like that of the higher animals and human beings in some way "produces" consciousness. The argument uses the pseudo-concept "emergence" which supposedly means new attributes just, "emerge," from the operation of other things, "somehow," but that, "somehow," is never explained. That is supposed to be science.

Conscious vision, according the physicalist, is produced by the nervous system providing information from the eyes that are processed in some way by the brain, which process is "seeing." In fact, no physical process can be vision—even if in some way information reaching the brain from the eye through the optic nerves could be processed into an image, it would be like an image on a TV—but an image on a TV is not vision and can only be consciously seen if someone is watching the TV.

The physicalist's description of consciousness is the description of a TV in an empty room. It is not an "image" that is consciousness; it is the "seeing," of of the image. Whatever the physical brain does, it cannot itself be consciousness. The behavior of the brain is only more physical action; it only makes available to consciousness what is seen, heard, felt, smelled and tasted—the brain itself cannot see, hear, feel, smell or taste anything.

The "Consciousness-Physical" Problem

There is a supposed problem in philosophy, more often called the "mind-body" problem, that asks, "if the mind (or consciousness) is not physical, how does the non-physical interact with or control the physical body. The question pertains to all conscious organism.

Consciousness is not a substance or incorporeal entity occupying a physical body, it is an attribute of the physical organism it is the consciousness of, an integral aspect of the organism without which the organism would not exist as the organism it is. It is the organism's life and consciousness that make it possible for the physical living organism to exist and act to maintain its own existence. Life and consciousness are not separate in any way from the organism, they are, together with the physical attributes, what an organism is. Consciousness is not a separate thing that interacts with the physical, consciousness is that attribute of the organism that makes an organism's specific living behavior possible. It is the organism itself that is conscious and as a conscious organism all its behavior (except for the strictly biological) is conscious behavior.

The Certainty of Consciousness

The one thing an individual is always certain of is their immediate conscious experience. No matter what they are experiencing, the perception of their own internal physical states (feelings and emotions), perception of the external world, dreams, hallucinations, their current thoughts, or imagination, that immediate conscious experience is what it is and one cannot be wrong about it. One can be wrong about the cause of their immediate experience, or about the nature of what the are experiencing, or why they are having the experience, but they cannot be wrong that they are having that experience.

"How do you know you are conscious?" the sophist asks. You cannot not know it. If you doubt you are conscious, the thing that is doing that doubting is your consciousness.
That is the mind that has nature. Consciousness is a state of being in which you experience stuff.
Oh God in Heaven, how long must I endure these academic-sounding rationalists? I long for the Night of Sweet Love with you.

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