Proof for Consciousness existing outside our brains

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

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marsh8472
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Proof for Consciousness existing outside our brains

Post by marsh8472 » Sun Oct 19, 2014 3:17 pm

I've been trying to work on a proof that the consciousness we're experiencing is probably not happening from our brains. Maybe someone can tell me why this won't work, refine this for me, or point me in the direction of where this has already been talked about?

Here's the proof (what's in bold is the summary):

1) Our consciousness is caused by a series of computations.

The proof revolves around the idea of Information processing theory of consciousness which says our brain is like a computer and that our experience of consciousness and qualia is the result of information processing.

2) Any computations within our brains can be represented elsewhere in an infinite number (or at least an extremely high finite number) of ways.


Within a second of time let's say our brain performs 10^15 calculations per second. For the sake of simplicity, let's say a second of consciousness is represented by processing involved in solving a problem like 78+14. Then going through the motions (4+8 is 2, carry the 1, 7+1+1 is 9, answer is 92) is equivalent to a second of someone's consciousness experience of eating a cake. Elsewhere in the universe there may be a computations going on like 98+34 and 73+19. The processes for solving these two equations is the same processes for the 78+14 equation. The 4+8 from "98+34" and 7+1+1 that would come from the third operation in doing "73+19". So the same information processing used to solve 78+14 can be found in other places.

Since other data can be interpreted to represent any arbitrary information processing then there should exist virtually inexhaustible ways to interpret data to represent what ever information processes going on in our brain at any given moment.

3) Since the information processed by our brain at any given moment can be represented elsewhere in an infinite number of ways, each of those consciousnesses would feel indistinguishable from our own.

4) The probability of my consciousness existing within my actual brain given each copy of me will feel like the me is 1/(total possible places copies of my consciousness exists). Which is essentially 0.

5) Therefore the consciousness I am experiencing at any given moment is most likely not the one being caused by my brain


Then this got me thinking more like other possible brain states that would exist of events that did not happen. For example, if I played the lottery and won there would exist a brainstate of my experience of winning the lottery. And also an infinite number of copies of this brainstate can be represented elsewhere. But that information would still exist without needing the event to actually happen. In essence all things that can happen would exist in our universe somewhere. It's kind of like the multiverse theory except instead it's all different realities in our own universe.

Questionmark
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Re: Proof for Consciousness existing outside our brains

Post by Questionmark » Tue Oct 21, 2014 2:51 pm

"1) Our consciousness is caused by a series of computations."

That series of computations is our consciousness?

"2) Any computations within our brains can be represented elsewhere in an infinite number (or at least an extremely high finite number) of ways."

Yes could be, but since you are mixing up infinite with finite, which is either or, and not little this little that, i'll skip to the next one.

"3) Since other data can be interpreted to represent any arbitrary information processing then there should exist virtually inexhaustible ways to interpret data to represent what ever information processes going on.."

Why should something exist if it could be possible? It has been pointed out here a lot lately, fiction has to make sense. What is the prove, except for the possibility?


"4) The probability of my consciousness existing within my actual brain given each copy of me will feel like the me is 1/(total possible places copies of my consciousness exists). Which is essentially 0."

1 / ∞ ≠ 0. It reaches towards the infinite on one end while it is going towards zero on the other, yet it will never reach one or the other.


"5) Therefore.."


False premise, but you're point might still be very well true.


Why should you play the lottery? Maybe there is already a copy who has done so, is doing so, or will do so.

The whole problem with conscious is, it all occurs in time, which I know very little about.

I seem to support that any given moment exists in the 'now', which is something else than a experienced time frame. Thus meaning that the tiniest part of such a time frame, 1/(∞*[t]) represents now, which would also mean this moment wouldn't exits and of course that doesn't make sense, since we are experiencing something based on those 'passed moments'.
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Wyman
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Re: Proof for Consciousness existing outside our brains

Post by Wyman » Tue Oct 21, 2014 5:05 pm

marsh8472 wrote:I've been trying to work on a proof that the consciousness we're experiencing is probably not happening from our brains. Maybe someone can tell me why this won't work, refine this for me, or point me in the direction of where this has already been talked about?

Here's the proof (what's in bold is the summary):

1) Our consciousness is caused by a series of computations.

The proof revolves around the idea of Information processing theory of consciousness which says our brain is like a computer and that our experience of consciousness and qualia is the result of information processing.

2) Any computations within our brains can be represented elsewhere in an infinite number (or at least an extremely high finite number) of ways.


Within a second of time let's say our brain performs 10^15 calculations per second. For the sake of simplicity, let's say a second of consciousness is represented by processing involved in solving a problem like 78+14. Then going through the motions (4+8 is 2, carry the 1, 7+1+1 is 9, answer is 92) is equivalent to a second of someone's consciousness experience of eating a cake. Elsewhere in the universe there may be a computations going on like 98+34 and 73+19. The processes for solving these two equations is the same processes for the 78+14 equation. The 4+8 from "98+34" and 7+1+1 that would come from the third operation in doing "73+19". So the same information processing used to solve 78+14 can be found in other places.

Since other data can be interpreted to represent any arbitrary information processing then there should exist virtually inexhaustible ways to interpret data to represent what ever information processes going on in our brain at any given moment.

3) Since the information processed by our brain at any given moment can be represented elsewhere in an infinite number of ways, each of those consciousnesses would feel indistinguishable from our own.

4) The probability of my consciousness existing within my actual brain given each copy of me will feel like the me is 1/(total possible places copies of my consciousness exists). Which is essentially 0.

5) Therefore the consciousness I am experiencing at any given moment is most likely not the one being caused by my brain


Then this got me thinking more like other possible brain states that would exist of events that did not happen. For example, if I played the lottery and won there would exist a brainstate of my experience of winning the lottery. And also an infinite number of copies of this brainstate can be represented elsewhere. But that information would still exist without needing the event to actually happen. In essence all things that can happen would exist in our universe somewhere. It's kind of like the multiverse theory except instead it's all different realities in our own universe.
Why would the possibility of a duplicate brain state existing somewhere else imply that such a duplicate does in fact exist?If you bake a cake in Australia and then admit the possibility that such a cake could be baked in Russia, that is in no way an assurance that such a cake is in fact baked in Russia.

And why would the unlikelihood/improbability of an occurrence (your experienced consciousness) that you perceive, cause you to doubt that you perceive it? If you win the lottery (1 in 100 million), will you hand the money back, saying 'It is so improbable that I should win the lottery, that I believe I, in fact, did not win the lottery.'

Ginkgo
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Re: Proof for Consciousness existing outside our brains

Post by Ginkgo » Wed Oct 22, 2014 4:21 am

marsh8472 wrote:I've been trying to work on a proof that the consciousness we're experiencing is probably not happening from our brains. Maybe someone can tell me why this won't work, refine this for me, or point me in the direction of where this has already been talked about?

Here's the proof (what's in bold is the summary):

1) Our consciousness is caused by a series of computations.

The proof revolves around the idea of Information processing theory of consciousness which says our brain is like a computer and that our experience of consciousness and qualia is the result of information processing.

2) Any computations within our brains can be represented elsewhere in an infinite number (or at least an extremely high finite number) of ways.


Within a second of time let's say our brain performs 10^15 calculations per second. For the sake of simplicity, let's say a second of consciousness is represented by processing involved in solving a problem like 78+14. Then going through the motions (4+8 is 2, carry the 1, 7+1+1 is 9, answer is 92) is equivalent to a second of someone's consciousness experience of eating a cake. Elsewhere in the universe there may be a computations going on like 98+34 and 73+19. The processes for solving these two equations is the same processes for the 78+14 equation. The 4+8 from "98+34" and 7+1+1 that would come from the third operation in doing "73+19". So the same information processing used to solve 78+14 can be found in other places.

Since other data can be interpreted to represent any arbitrary information processing then there should exist virtually inexhaustible ways to interpret data to represent what ever information processes going on in our brain at any given moment.

3) Since the information processed by our brain at any given moment can be represented elsewhere in an infinite number of ways, each of those consciousnesses would feel indistinguishable from our own.

4) The probability of my consciousness existing within my actual brain given each copy of me will feel like the me is 1/(total possible places copies of my consciousness exists). Which is essentially 0.

5) Therefore the consciousness I am experiencing at any given moment is most likely not the one being caused by my brain


Then this got me thinking more like other possible brain states that would exist of events that did not happen. For example, if I played the lottery and won there would exist a brainstate of my experience of winning the lottery. And also an infinite number of copies of this brainstate can be represented elsewhere. But that information would still exist without needing the event to actually happen. In essence all things that can happen would exist in our universe somewhere. It's kind of like the multiverse theory except instead it's all different realities in our own universe.

What you have is usually know as an emergent theory of consciousness. In other words, consciousness is an emergent property of complexity. Given enough complexity in terms of information processing then consciousness will emerge from this complexity. An infinite amount of complexity would be enough complexity IF the theory is correct. At this stage it is only a theory popular with strong AI people.

If you are going with an emergent theory of consciousness then you would need to drop the idea of qualia. The two theories don't go together. Strong AI proponents would probably say that qualia can't transmit information.


At some stage you would have to address the information problem in terms of unity and/or binding theories of consciousness. This is regardless as to whether consciousness occurs within the brain or outside the brain. Given your '"many worlds" theory of consciousness the problem will always be how this information is unified into something we call a single experience that isn't an infinite number of experiential copies.

marsh8472
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Re: Proof for Consciousness existing outside our brains

Post by marsh8472 » Wed Oct 22, 2014 6:13 am

Questionmark wrote:"2) Any computations within our brains can be represented elsewhere in an infinite number (or at least an extremely high finite number) of ways."

Yes could be, but since you are mixing up infinite with finite, which is either or, and not little this little that, i'll skip to the next one.
It depends on if the universe is infinite size, infinitely old, and if there are infinite ways to interpret something. If everything is finite then the total possible permutations of ways to represent data would technically be finite. But it doesn't matter whether it's an extremely high finite number or infinite number for the point I was making there.
Questionmark wrote:Why should something exist if it could be possible? It has been pointed out here a lot lately, fiction has to make sense. What is the prove, except for the possibility?
Not sure, that's the part i'm stuck on.
Questionmark wrote: 1 / ∞ ≠ 0. It reaches towards the infinite on one end while it is going towards zero on the other, yet it will never reach one or the other.
I don't know about that. Infinity is not technically part of the set of real numbers so it cannot be put into an equation like this "1 / ∞ ≠ 0" in conventional math. It depends if the Archimedean property of real numbers is true. If it cannot be shown that there's a non-zero difference between 0 and 0.000...(infinite zeros)001 then 1 / ∞ may equal 0. Kinda like the whole 0.99999... = 1 thing. I've seen it argued before anyway.

If any moment of your subjective experience could be either produced by your brain or a representation of a brain state mapped elsewhere, and if the probability were 1/(total number of possible copies) that your experience was being produced by your brain then wouldn't that statistically be 0 (as in really really small)?

marsh8472
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Re: Proof for Consciousness existing outside our brains

Post by marsh8472 » Wed Oct 22, 2014 6:33 am

Wyman wrote:Why would the possibility of a duplicate brain state existing somewhere else imply that such a duplicate does in fact exist?If you bake a cake in Australia and then admit the possibility that such a cake could be baked in Russia, that is in no way an assurance that such a cake is in fact baked in Russia.

And why would the unlikelihood/improbability of an occurrence (your experienced consciousness) that you perceive, cause you to doubt that you perceive it? If you win the lottery (1 in 100 million), will you hand the money back, saying 'It is so improbable that I should win the lottery, that I believe I, in fact, did not win the lottery.'
It doesn't technically imply it exists unless my premises are true which I don't know if they are or not. Part of the problem i'm having is the definition of "exists" too.

These are the premises

1) our subjective experience and consciousnesses at any given moment is caused by information processing
2) any arbitrary information process can be mapped to data elsewhere
3) an information process that can be mapped elsewhere exists(?) elsewhere
4) our brain state is an information process
5) from 2, 3, and 5 each of our brain states exists elsewhere

marsh8472
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Re: Proof for Consciousness existing outside our brains

Post by marsh8472 » Wed Oct 22, 2014 7:07 am

Ginkgo wrote:What you have is usually know as an emergent theory of consciousness. In other words, consciousness is an emergent property of complexity. Given enough complexity in terms of information processing then consciousness will emerge from this complexity. An infinite amount of complexity would be enough complexity IF the theory is correct. At this stage it is only a theory popular with strong AI people.

If you are going with an emergent theory of consciousness then you would need to drop the idea of qualia. The two theories don't go together. Strong AI proponents would probably say that qualia can't transmit information.


At some stage you would have to address the information problem in terms of unity and/or binding theories of consciousness. This is regardless as to whether consciousness occurs within the brain or outside the brain. Given your '"many worlds" theory of consciousness the problem will always be how this information is unified into something we call a single experience that isn't an infinite number of experiential copies.
I use the term qualia to describe what it feels like to experience consciousness. Whether it really exists or not is another issue but it feels like it does but I'm using the term loosely. What I would say to the binding problem is that without knowing exactly how the brain works except that it works by the information processing represented by our brain states, those brain states can be mapped elsewhere since any arbitary computation can be mapped elsewhere.

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Re: Proof for Consciousness existing outside our brains

Post by Wyman » Wed Oct 22, 2014 2:03 pm

marsh8472 wrote:
Wyman wrote:Why would the possibility of a duplicate brain state existing somewhere else imply that such a duplicate does in fact exist?If you bake a cake in Australia and then admit the possibility that such a cake could be baked in Russia, that is in no way an assurance that such a cake is in fact baked in Russia.

And why would the unlikelihood/improbability of an occurrence (your experienced consciousness) that you perceive, cause you to doubt that you perceive it? If you win the lottery (1 in 100 million), will you hand the money back, saying 'It is so improbable that I should win the lottery, that I believe I, in fact, did not win the lottery.'
It doesn't technically imply it exists unless my premises are true which I don't know if they are or not. Part of the problem i'm having is the definition of "exists" too.

These are the premises

1) our subjective experience and consciousnesses at any given moment is caused by information processing
2) any arbitrary information process can be mapped to data elsewhere
3) an information process that can be mapped elsewhere exists(?) elsewhere
4) our brain state is an information process
5) from 2, 3, and 5 each of our brain states exists elsewhere
Have to explain 'mapped to data elsewhere'

Again, 3 is highly suspect

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Re: Proof for Consciousness existing outside our brains

Post by hammock » Wed Oct 22, 2014 7:41 pm

marsh8472 wrote:In essence all things that can happen would exist in our universe somewhere. It's kind of like the multiverse theory except instead it's all different realities in our own universe
Regardless of the other problems with the argument, you could at least prop that up with something rather than leaving it with the appearance of dangling as an arbitrary speculative premise.
Max Tegmark wrote:The parallel universes of your alter egos constitute the Level I multiverse. It is the least controversial type. We all accept the existence of things that we cannot see but could see if we moved to a different vantage point or merely waited, like people watching for ships to come over the horizon. Objects beyond the cosmic horizon have a similar status. The observable universe grows by a light-year every year as light from farther away has time to reach us. An infinity lies out there, waiting to be seen. You will probably die long before your alter egos come into view, but in principle, and if cosmic expansion cooperates, your descendants could observe them through a sufficiently powerful telescope.

If anything, the Level I multiverse sounds trivially obvious. How could space not be infinite? Is there a sign somewhere saying "Space Ends Here--Mind the Gap"? If so, what lies beyond it? In fact, Einstein's theory of gravity calls this intuition into question. Space could be finite if it has a convex curvature or an unusual topology (that is, interconnectedness). A spherical, doughnut-shaped or pretzel-shaped universe would have a limited volume and no edges. The cosmic microwave background radiation allows sensitive tests of such scenarios [see "Is Space Finite?" by Jean-Pierre Luminet, Glenn D. Starkman and Jeffrey R. Weeks; Scientific American, April 1999]. So far, however, the evidence is against them. Infinite models fit the data, and strong limits have been placed on the alternatives.

Another possibility is that space is infinite but matter is confined to a finite region around us--the historically popular "island universe" model. In a variant on this model, matter thins out on large scales in a fractal pattern. In both cases, almost all universes in the Level I multiverse would be empty and dead. But recent observations of the three-dimensional galaxy distribution and the microwave background have shown that the arrangement of matter gives way to dull uniformity on large scales, with no coherent structures larger than about 10^24 meters. Assuming that this pattern continues, space beyond our observable universe teems with galaxies, stars and planets.

Observers living in Level I parallel universes experience the same laws of physics as we do but with different initial conditions. According to current theories, processes early in the big bang spread matter around with a degree of randomness, generating all possible arrangements with nonzero probability. Cosmologists assume that our universe, with an almost uniform distribution of matter and initial density fluctuations of one part in 100,000, is a fairly typical one (at least among those that contain observers). That assumption underlies the estimate that your closest identical copy is 10 to the 10^28 meters away. About 10 to the 10^92 meters away, there should be a sphere of radius 100 light-years identical to the one centered here, so all perceptions that we have during the next century will be identical to those of our counterparts over there. About 10 to the 10^118 meters away should be an entire Hubble volume identical to ours.

These are extremely conservative estimates, derived simply by counting all possible quantum states that a Hubble volume can have if it is no hotter than 108 kelvins. One way to do the calculation is to ask how many protons could be packed into a Hubble volume at that temperature. The answer is 10^118 protons. Each of those particles may or may not, in fact, be present, which makes for 2 to the 10^118 possible arrangements of protons. A box containing that many Hubble volumes exhausts all the possibilities. If you round off the numbers, such a box is about 10 to the 10^118 meters across. Beyond that box, universes--including ours--must repeat. Roughly the same number could be derived by using thermodynamic or quantum-gravitational estimates of the total information content of the universe.

Your nearest doppelgänger is most likely to be much closer than these numbers suggest, given the processes of planet formation and biological evolution that tip the odds in your favor. Astronomers suspect that our Hubble volume has at least 10^20 habitable planets; some might well look like Earth.

The Level I multiverse framework is used routinely to evaluate theories in modern cosmology, although this procedure is rarely spelled out explicitly. For instance, consider how cosmologists used the microwave background to rule out a finite spherical geometry. Hot and cold spots in microwave background maps have a characteristic size that depends on the curvature of space, and the observed spots appear too small to be consistent with a spherical shape. But it is important to be statistically rigorous. The average spot size varies randomly from one Hubble volume to another, so it is possible that our universe is fooling us--it could be spherical but happen to have abnormally small spots. When cosmologists say they have ruled out the spherical model with 99.9 percent confidence, they really mean that if this model were true, fewer than one in 1,000 Hubble volumes would show spots as small as those we observe. <PARALLEL UNIVERSES; Scientific American, april 14, 2003>

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Re: Proof for Consciousness existing outside our brains

Post by Ginkgo » Wed Oct 22, 2014 10:59 pm

marsh8472 wrote:
I use the term qualia to describe what it feels like to experience consciousness. Whether it really exists or not is another issue but it feels like it does but I'm using the term loosely.
In that case all you need to do is drop the term completely. From an AI perspective you can say that knowledge of an experience is exactly the same as imagining an experience.
marsh8472 wrote:
What I would say to the binding problem is that without knowing exactly how the brain works except that it works by the information processing represented by our brain states, those brain states can be mapped elsewhere since any arbitary computation can be mapped elsewhere.
Ok, lets go with that. So, if the brain works by processing information and if this information processing can be found elsewhere then we have two possible sources of information. The question then becomes how are these two information systems integrated?

marsh8472
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Re: Proof for Consciousness existing outside our brains

Post by marsh8472 » Thu Oct 23, 2014 4:03 am

Wyman wrote:
marsh8472 wrote:
Wyman wrote:Why would the possibility of a duplicate brain state existing somewhere else imply that such a duplicate does in fact exist?If you bake a cake in Australia and then admit the possibility that such a cake could be baked in Russia, that is in no way an assurance that such a cake is in fact baked in Russia.

And why would the unlikelihood/improbability of an occurrence (your experienced consciousness) that you perceive, cause you to doubt that you perceive it? If you win the lottery (1 in 100 million), will you hand the money back, saying 'It is so improbable that I should win the lottery, that I believe I, in fact, did not win the lottery.'
It doesn't technically imply it exists unless my premises are true which I don't know if they are or not. Part of the problem i'm having is the definition of "exists" too.

These are the premises

1) our subjective experience and consciousnesses at any given moment is caused by information processing
2) any arbitrary information process can be mapped to data elsewhere
3) an information process that can be mapped elsewhere exists(?) elsewhere
4) our brain state is an information process
5) from 2, 3, and 5 each of our brain states exists elsewhere
Have to explain 'mapped to data elsewhere'

Again, 3 is highly suspect

I tried to explain it here:
Within a second of time let's say our brain performs 10^15 calculations per second. For the sake of simplicity, let's say a second of consciousness is represented by processing involved in solving a problem like 78+14. Then going through the motions (4+8 is 2, carry the 1, 7+1+1 is 9, answer is 92) is equivalent to a second of someone's consciousness experience of eating a cake. Elsewhere in the universe there may be a computations going on like 98+34 and 73+19. The processes for solving these two equations is the same processes for the 78+14 equation. The 4+8 from "98+34" and 7+1+1 that would come from the third operation in doing "73+19". So the same information processing used to solve 78+14 can be found in other places.

Since other data can be interpreted to represent any arbitrary information processing then there should exist virtually inexhaustible ways to interpret data to represent what ever information processes going on in our brain at any given moment.
If a brain can be converted into a turing machine (Church-Turing Thesis) then simplified into a series of simple processes we could pick and choose arbitrary data to represent each computational step happening elsewhere. A turing machine could be converted into logical operations and's, or's which are happening in computers all the time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hU3CYs7 ... liX2LhDWsZ <-- Mapping the computations in the brain to the same computaitonal steps happening elsewhere is similar to this clip where they map an arbitrary song to words spliced from president speeches. The argument would be that since the data exists elsewhere in some form, then the information exists in some form.

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HexHammer
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Re: Proof for Consciousness existing outside our brains

Post by HexHammer » Thu Oct 23, 2014 3:27 pm

OP seems more like wishful thinking that anything else. Produces from a skitzo mind.

marsh8472
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Re: Proof for Consciousness existing outside our brains

Post by marsh8472 » Fri Oct 24, 2014 2:59 am

HexHammer wrote:OP seems more like wishful thinking that anything else. Produces from a skitzo mind.

Na it's not wishful thinking. It's something I just started thinking about. I don't know if it's true or not. That's where you come in... but maybe not.

Ginkgo
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Re: Proof for Consciousness existing outside our brains

Post by Ginkgo » Fri Oct 24, 2014 11:58 am

marsh8472 wrote:
HexHammer wrote:OP seems more like wishful thinking that anything else. Produces from a skitzo mind.

Na it's not wishful thinking. It's something I just started thinking about. I don't know if it's true or not. That's where you come in... but maybe not.
marsh8472, are you aware that the latest research is moving towards the idea that the human brain carries out quantum computations. In other words, the early research suggests the human brain is more like a quantum computer than a classical computer. Naturally this doesn't exclude the possibility it actually performs both types of functions.

I just thought this might be of interest.

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Re: Proof for Consciousness existing outside our brains

Post by pljamesone@att.net » Tue Nov 11, 2014 1:33 pm

I would think our experiences in our life, create our consciousness, from our mind. I still do not understand how the brain works...yet. To me the word conscious means alive. Paul

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