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sekhorr
New Member

India
3 Posts

Posted - 01/20/2009 :  07:21:54  Show Profile  Visit sekhorr's Homepage Send sekhorr a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi Guys,
This is the question which i ponder all the time. Although the concept of evolution seems quite interesting to believe and accept, I always got close to accepting it but could never accept it completely, whole-heartedly. It's the same case with Religion as well.

Now, the main question is, Is there anything called Consciousness? I've seen arguments TO and AGAINST the concept of above but was never satisfied with either of those answers.

I really want to listen from real people i.e., YOU ALL.

Always this thought called "I" always baffles me, the quest to find out the answer never faded in me. I want to know about the feeling "I" inside me? If it is not true, then why does our Mind have to create it within us?

I really think of the reason that causes it to get that real feeling in us. I am aware that the topic gets interesting once we get deeper into that thought concept called "I".

Please share your thoughts and any interesting links you may have.

Thank you all in advance and i am really excited to listen to your answers..

Sekhar Burra

tomk80
SFN Regular

Netherlands
1278 Posts

Posted - 01/20/2009 :  07:26:27   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit tomk80's Homepage Send tomk80 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
What do you mean with "consciousness"?

Tom

`Contrariwise,' continued Tweedledee, `if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic.'
-Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Caroll-
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 01/20/2009 :  08:08:41   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
To a solipsist, "I" is the only thing that can be known.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Simon
SFN Regular

USA
1992 Posts

Posted - 01/20/2009 :  08:23:53   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Simon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Cogito, ergo sum.
Obviously you think, so there might be something doing the thinking. You can't be sure for the rest of the world and its denizen but, as far as your conscience is concerned, you should be pretty confident.


Now, what is conciousness is another, more complex, problem.
Evidences indicate that it is far from being a monolithic 'I' as has been intuitively found for a long time.
In fact, a humbling number of our day to day actions (driving, chatting...) are performed outside of our concious process. That is the reason that they can be performed during an attack of somnambulism. So much that it might sometime be difficult to realize that a person is acting through somnambulism.

Also, many of the input to the concious processes are automatically filtered by the brain. For example, you can completely block out a sound.
A particular case of these are people suffering from hysteria. For example, hysteric blindness. They are not physiologically blind, it is just that their conscious brain does not register informations. In some case, you can throw an object at them and they will avoid it just as if they could see. The reflexes are not blind, just the concious part of the brain.
More extreme case are people which are specifically blind. For example, they will see everything fine but a particular person that will be invisible for them. When asked to, for example, look at something behind this person, they will bend around to look but not realize it or make rationalizations to explain it.

Similarly, you probably are familiar with people mentioning how time seems to slow down at time of accidents, how things seem to happen in slow motion.
Once again, it is because the speed of information processing is controlled outside of conciousness.


The situation, in short, is much more freaky (and cool) than if they just was a monolithic, God given, soul...

Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
Carl Sagan - 1996
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sekhorr
New Member

India
3 Posts

Posted - 01/20/2009 :  08:25:53   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit sekhorr's Homepage Send sekhorr a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by tomk80

What do you mean with "consciousness"?


By Consciousness, i meant that, there might be something called it where the feeling called "I" might originate!!! I do not know how to coin that term of place of origin of that very real feeling inside me called "I" and hence used the common term called Consciousness. Call it anything,if you know the answer, that doesnt matter to me but i do want to know that feeling.

I know that it is hard to explain that feeling with words here but if you experienced anything of that feeling and have given a thought to it then you will know what i am talking here..

It might sound like a crazy, non-existent state of mind to many of the so-called logical thinkers but it is true and i'm honest to put the question about the feeling "I".

Sekhar Burra
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sekhorr
New Member

India
3 Posts

Posted - 01/20/2009 :  08:30:52   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit sekhorr's Homepage Send sekhorr a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Simon

Cogito, ergo sum.
Obviously you think, so there might be something doing the thinking. You can't be sure for the rest of the world and its denizen but, as far as your conscience is concerned, you should be pretty confident.


Now, what is conciousness is another, more complex, problem.
Evidences indicate that it is far from being a monolithic 'I' as has been intuitively found for a long time.
In fact, a humbling number of our day to day actions (driving, chatting...) are performed outside of our concious process. That is the reason that they can be performed during an attack of somnambulism. So much that it might sometime be difficult to realize that a person is acting through somnambulism.

Also, many of the input to the concious processes are automatically filtered by the brain. For example, you can completely block out a sound.
A particular case of these are people suffering from hysteria. For example, hysteric blindness. They are not physiologically blind, it is just that their conscious brain does not register informations. In some case, you can throw an object at them and they will avoid it just as if they could see. The reflexes are not blind, just the concious part of the brain.
More extreme case are people which are specifically blind. For example, they will see everything fine but a particular person that will be invisible for them. When asked to, for example, look at something behind this person, they will bend around to look but not realize it or make rationalizations to explain it.

Similarly, you probably are familiar with people mentioning how time seems to slow down at time of accidents, how things seem to happen in slow motion.
Once again, it is because the speed of information processing is controlled outside of conciousness.


The situation, in short, is much more freaky (and cool) than if they just was a monolithic, God given, soul...


Excellent explanation and i appreciate your reply.

Sekhar Burra
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Simon
SFN Regular

USA
1992 Posts

Posted - 01/20/2009 :  08:32:51   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Simon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Always glad to contribute.

Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
Carl Sagan - 1996
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13467 Posts

Posted - 01/20/2009 :  08:51:35   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Is there anything called Consciousness?


Yes.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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dglas
Skeptic Friend

Canada
397 Posts

Posted - 01/20/2009 :  09:05:36   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send dglas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
We don't know. I suspect that there are many different ideas about what the cognition of self is, ranging from the experience of the relations between entities to some mystical dualism, but none have been found to be entirely satisfactory.

However, as I have just spent considerable time and effort in another thread elsewhere putting forward, "we don't know" is not sufficient cause to start wildly stipulating mystical and other-realm, anti-science, anti-materialist stipulations. We do, after all, have more than sufficient cause to posit that consciousness, whatever it is and however it works, has a real and verifiable connection with the material realm (witness anti-depressants, general anesthesia and other material mind-influencing affects which reportedly have real and consistent effect on consciousness, qualia and other of the metaphysical stuff often touted by mystics as arguments against science). Whatever consciousness is, it is demonstrably not independent of the material realm.

All that said, I suspect that part of the difficulty with consciousness, as with any other concept of self, is that it is subject to negotiation, both in terms of our understanding of it (stipulation) and, possibly, its effects. What we are may be what we have agreed to perceive ourselves to be. Much of the stuff of metaphysical dualism arises on the basis of stipulations which may be quite unfounded - an intricate house of cards of inter-related definitions which may have a very weak foundation indeed (possibly even agenda-ridden by a several thousand year desire on our part to transcend nature).

For a long time, we have decided that consciousness was something not subject to empirical study, adopting NOMA as it were and stipulating our stipulations to incorporate that assumption, and thereby mystifying the subject matter. As someone who has undergone surgery, I am quite grateful that some, at least, had the acuity to at least try to understand something about how the material world affects consciousness. It seems most likely, as it s usually the case, that a systematic and empirical study of "consciousness" (using stipulations of it that admit of study of course) will provide us with plenty of surprises before we are done. There is much work to be done, but we won't get anywhere if we assume the subject matter is inexplicable before we even begin.

So keep right on being dissatisfied with the current "answers." So far we have deliberately blinded ourselves to possibilities and hobbled our attempts to understand by trying to place mind in a mystical realm. The study of mind and self, from a more productive standpoint, is relatively new. I, as a skeptic, certainly don't have a problem with eschewing certainty - it seems a most reasonable position to take in the face of such paucity of information.

One thing does seem a reasonable conclusion, though. After untold centuries of introspection, We haven't yet developed a satisfactory understanding of self. It seems likely that introspection is not going to provide us with all the answers; it hasn't so far. However, scientific studies are forging new and effective paths in understanding even something so nebulously defined as consciousness.

So, we don't know, but realizing that is the first stage in possibly getting somewhere when untold centuries of introspection have so profoundly failed us.

--------------------------------------------------
- dglas (In the hell of 1000 unresolved subplots...)
--------------------------------------------------
The Presupposition of Intrinsic Evil
+ A Self-Justificatory Framework
= The "Heart of Darkness"
--------------------------------------------------
Edited by - dglas on 01/20/2009 09:13:15
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chaloobi
SFN Regular

1620 Posts

Posted - 01/20/2009 :  09:06:41   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send chaloobi a Yahoo! Message Send chaloobi a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by sekhorr

Hi Guys,
This is the question which i ponder all the time. Although the concept of evolution seems quite interesting to believe and accept, I always got close to accepting it but could never accept it completely, whole-heartedly. It's the same case with Religion as well.

Now, the main question is, Is there anything called Consciousness? I've seen arguments TO and AGAINST the concept of above but was never satisfied with either of those answers.

I really want to listen from real people i.e., YOU ALL.

Always this thought called "I" always baffles me, the quest to find out the answer never faded in me. I want to know about the feeling "I" inside me? If it is not true, then why does our Mind have to create it within us?

I really think of the reason that causes it to get that real feeling in us. I am aware that the topic gets interesting once we get deeper into that thought concept called "I".

Please share your thoughts and any interesting links you may have.

Thank you all in advance and i am really excited to listen to your answers..

IMHO humans are far less sentient and have far less free will than we think we do. Much of our 'consciousness' is illusion.

-Chaloobi

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Simon
SFN Regular

USA
1992 Posts

Posted - 01/20/2009 :  09:35:12   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Simon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Conciousness is like an operating system.
He does not do all that much itself, it just bring together information and results produced by a variety of independent software and acts as an interface for them.


Unfortunately, just looking at the religious right, some people have switched to vista way too recklessly!

Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
Carl Sagan - 1996
Edited by - Simon on 01/20/2009 09:37:55
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9677 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2009 :  00:11:52   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by sekhorr

Originally posted by tomk80

What do you mean with "consciousness"?


By Consciousness, i meant that, there might be something called it where the feeling called "I" might originate!!! I do not know how to coin that term of place of origin of that very real feeling inside me called "I" and hence used the common term called Consciousness. Call it anything,if you know the answer, that doesnt matter to me but i do want to know that feeling.

I know that it is hard to explain that feeling with words here but if you experienced anything of that feeling and have given a thought to it then you will know what i am talking here..

It might sound like a crazy, non-existent state of mind to many of the so-called logical thinkers but it is true and i'm honest to put the question about the feeling "I".


Sounds to me like to word you're looking for is Self-Awareness, besides conciousness.

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2009 :  00:24:10   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

To a solipsist, "I" is the only thing that can be known.
Yeah, but I know you've argued pretty strongly against the concept of free will. But if we do live in a deterministic universe and free will is an illusion, wouldn't that mean any concept of "I" is also largely an illusion? Oh, I know we'd still exist and still have thoughts, but they wouldn't be our thoughts exactly. They would be just the inevitable effects of some previous cause. Each thought would inevitably follow from the one before it. Each predetermined environmental stimulus triggering some predetermined mental state. Our freedom to think would be entirely an illusion. If there is such a thing as individual consciousness in a predetermined universe, then it would be nothing but a passive observer watching a slide show of predetermined mental images.

Right?


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
Edited by - H. Humbert on 01/21/2009 00:39:40
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2009 :  04:08:14   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Science philosopher Daniel Dennett (one of the "Four Horsemen" of atheism) has written about consciousness. He puts forth what he calls a "multiple draft" model of consciousness, arguing there is no such thing as a central "Cartesian Theater." Dennett tries to craft his views from known brain science. (Web also essentially believes in free will within a "deterministic" universe.)

I admit not yet having read his book on consciousness, but Dennett discussed the subject the other day at Stanford University.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Edited by - HalfMooner on 01/21/2009 04:11:48
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chaloobi
SFN Regular

1620 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2009 :  06:18:27   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send chaloobi a Yahoo! Message Send chaloobi a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by H. Humbert

Originally posted by Dave W.

To a solipsist, "I" is the only thing that can be known.
Yeah, but I know you've argued pretty strongly against the concept of free will. But if we do live in a deterministic universe and free will is an illusion, wouldn't that mean any concept of "I" is also largely an illusion? Oh, I know we'd still exist and still have thoughts, but they wouldn't be our thoughts exactly. They would be just the inevitable effects of some previous cause. Each thought would inevitably follow from the one before it. Each predetermined environmental stimulus triggering some predetermined mental state. Our freedom to think would be entirely an illusion. If there is such a thing as individual consciousness in a predetermined universe, then it would be nothing but a passive observer watching a slide show of predetermined mental images.

Right?
Regarding determinism, I don't think the universe is necessarily deterministic, but the functioning of the human brain greatly limits the decisions we make while at the same time giving the illusion that we are making them when we're not. I think the majority of the time we're on auto-pilot but don't know it.

-Chaloobi

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2009 :  09:02:11   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by H. Humbert

Originally posted by Dave W.

To a solipsist, "I" is the only thing that can be known.
Yeah, but I know you've argued pretty strongly against the concept of free will. But if we do live in a deterministic universe and free will is an illusion, wouldn't that mean any concept of "I" is also largely an illusion? Oh, I know we'd still exist and still have thoughts, but they wouldn't be our thoughts exactly. They would be just the inevitable effects of some previous cause. Each thought would inevitably follow from the one before it. Each predetermined environmental stimulus triggering some predetermined mental state. Our freedom to think would be entirely an illusion. If there is such a thing as individual consciousness in a predetermined universe, then it would be nothing but a passive observer watching a slide show of predetermined mental images.

Right?
Doesn't matter if "I" is an illusion or not, or whether free will exists or not, or whether the universe is deterministic or not. If "I" is an emergent property of a brain, or if it's an emergent property of a computer simulation, or if it is the intrinsic property of a detachable soul, is all irrelevant. At the basest level of existence, "I" cannot know any of that. All "I" can know is "I," and that what appear to be "external" stimuli impinge upon "I."

So if consciousness is an illusion, it is a complete illusion in that we will never be able to pull back the curtain. So for all practical purposes, we can act as if it is real.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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