Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Discussions on the nature of being, existence, reality and knowledge. What is? How do we know?

Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby Old Rasputin on April 5th, 2017, 12:08 am 

Old Rasputin wrote:ALL conscious events consist of TWO parts;
1) the event itself, and
2) the conscious (mental recognition/memory) of the event.

These two parts are separated in time; the event always comes BEFORE the conscious recognition of the event (...always true, even if only by milliseconds!).

Positor wrote:If I understand Neri correctly, he would apply the word "conscious" to (1) rather than (2). In other words, we would have:

1) the event itself, i.e. the exercise of the will, the memory of earlier events, and (by definition) the consciousness of the event, and…

This part does not make sense. The “event itself” and the “consciousness of the event” cannot be the same! These are two different things/parts. One comes before the other.

Positor wrote:The main point at issue seems to be: Does an exercise of the will require exactly simultaneous experience of that exercise?

Regarding "conscious events", the event (exercising of the will) and the knowing-of-the-event cannot be simultaneous. Events must exist/happen/occur BEFORE one can know-of-these-events.

It takes mental processing time to “know”; to recognize; to mentally match a past event/experience stored in memory with the present experience/event. It takes processing time to reach that ‘aha’ moment!
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby Old Rasputin on April 5th, 2017, 9:16 am 

.
Consciousness always lags actuality.
...you can’t see a photo (representation) of some-'thing' that doesn’t already exist!
...you can't watch a video of some-'event' that has not already happened!

1. EVERYTHING that we are ‘conscious of’ has already happened! (even if only by milliseconds).
2. Anything that we are ‘conscious of doing’, has already been done.
3. Conscious-control is self-contradictory, and therefore impossible.

Our consciousness cannot operate faster than reality/actuality. We are always behind, and always following.
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby BadgerJelly on April 5th, 2017, 10:06 am 

Old Rasputin » April 5th, 2017, 9:16 pm wrote:.
Consciousness always lags actuality.
...you can’t see a photo (representation) of some-'thing' that doesn’t already exist!
...you can't watch a video of some-'event' that has not already happened!

1. EVERYTHING that we are ‘conscious of’ has already happened! (even if only by milliseconds).
2. Anything that we are ‘conscious of doing’, has already been done.
3. Conscious-control is self-contradictory, and therefore impossible.

Our consciousness cannot operate faster than reality/actuality. We are always behind, and always following.


Is the reality of my consciousness behind itself then? If consciousness is real it must operate at the speed of reality or it is not real. Then it is just a question of having to define 'real'.

Never ending ...
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby Neri on April 5th, 2017, 11:57 am 

BJ,

This is a belated response to your post of April 4th.

I mean, for purposes of the second paragraph of my last post, that two propositions in the form of different definitions are true if each is based on different empirical data and not founded on mere logical analysis--that is, that each corresponds to different states of affairs in the real world.

Thus, the one who thinks he is a mathematical genius but cannot do long division has a delusion and the one who has a defect of the eyes that makes straight lines look crooked has an illusion. The point is that the expressions, “delusion” and “illusion” apply to different states of affairs in the real world.
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby Neri on April 5th, 2017, 1:38 pm 

OR and Others,

As concerns the exercise of the will, please note the following from my previous post on this subject:

“THE WILL ALWAYS ACTS ON THE BASIS OF PAST EXPERIENCES BUT DETERMINES WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN THE FUTURE.”

Thus, in the example:

(1) PAST EVENTS REMEMBERED

The husband had long-term memories regarding the fact that his wife had an insurance policy on her life with him as beneficiary. Is this fact any the less true because the taking out of the policy really occurred milliseconds before it was registered in his long-term memory? I hardly think so. The actual state of affairs was this: The wife did in fact have the life insurance policy, because the husband remembered taking out the policy.

(2) FORMING INTENT

Acting upon his long-term memories of what in fact happened in the past, the husband formed an intention to kill his wife. This is an act of the will based on past experiences. Any infinitesimal lag time there may have been between the husband taking out the policy and his experience of it is of no consequence in forming of the intent to kill. Nor can such a lag time make his intention to kill any less real.

Acting upon his already fixed intent, the husband conceived a plan to kill his wife in the future. This plan was preserved in his consciousness as a long-term memory.

DOING THE DEED

Here I will quote what I originally stated:

“He takes certain steps to kill his wife and finally carries out the deed. The fact that the experience of each of these steps occurred milliseconds after he took them cannot change the intended outcome. Because he had the ability to change his mind at any time, he was conscious of what he was doing through all the steps.

“Thus, he remembered all the previous steps at the time he took the final step that killed his wife. This is short-term voluntary memory.

“Clearly, the fact that his experience of that final step occurred milliseconds after he took it cannot change the fact that his wife’s death was what he intended. In other words, an exceeding brief lag time between the event and the experience is of no consequence where the will is concerned.”

Let us say, for example, that the husband decided to use an axe to kill his wife, and in furtherance of that intent he swung an axe with great force at her head. Let us say further that when he was doing this, he experienced the initial contact of the axe with her head at a time when, in the real world, it was already a few millimeters into her head. Can any reasonable person contend that such a state of affairs somehow erased the husband’s free will? I hardly think so.

Thus, the process for exercising the will is as follows:

(1) Past Event(s) Remembered

(2) Forming an Intent to Act based on (1)

(3) Doing an Act based on (2)
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby Neri on April 5th, 2017, 1:39 pm 

OR and Others,

As concerns the exercise of the will, please note the following from my previous post on this subject:

“THE WILL ALWAYS ACTS ON THE BASIS OF PAST EXPERIENCES BUT DETERMINES WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN THE FUTURE.”

Thus, in the example:

(1) PAST EVENTS REMEMBERED

The husband had long-term memories regarding the fact that his wife had an insurance policy on her life with him as beneficiary. Is this fact any the less true because the taking out of the policy really occurred milliseconds before it was registered in his long-term memory? I hardly think so. The actual state of affairs was this: The wife did in fact have the life insurance policy, because the husband remembered taking out the policy.

(2) FORMING INTENT

Acting upon his long-term memories of what in fact happened in the past, the husband formed an intention to kill his wife. This is an act of the will based on past experiences. Any infinitesimal lag time there may have been between the husband taking out the policy and his experience of it is of no consequence in forming of the intent to kill. Nor can such a lag time make his intention to kill any less real.

Acting upon his already fixed intent, the husband conceived a plan to kill his wife in the future. This plan was preserved in his consciousness as a long-term memory.

DOING THE DEED

Here I will quote what I originally stated:

“He takes certain steps to kill his wife and finally carries out the deed. The fact that the experience of each of these steps occurred milliseconds after he took them cannot change the intended outcome. Because he had the ability to change his mind at any time, he was conscious of what he was doing through all the steps.

“Thus, he remembered all the previous steps at the time he took the final step that killed his wife. This is short-term voluntary memory.

“Clearly, the fact that his experience of that final step occurred milliseconds after he took it cannot change the fact that his wife’s death was what he intended. In other words, an exceeding brief lag time between the event and the experience is of no consequence where the will is concerned.”

Let us say, for example, that the husband decided to use an axe to kill his wife, and in furtherance of that intent he swung an axe with great force at her head. Let us say further that when he was doing this, he experienced the initial contact of the axe with her head at a time when, in the real world, it was already a few millimeters into her head. Can any reasonable person contend that such a state of affairs somehow erased the husband’s free will? I hardly think so.

Thus, the process for exercising the will is as follows:

(1) Past Event(s) Remembered

(2) Forming an Intent to Act based on (1)

(3) Doing an Act based on (2)
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby Neri on April 5th, 2017, 1:43 pm 

OR and Others,

I have reviewed all current posts on this topic and offer what follows.

As concerns the exercise of the will, please note the following from my previous post on this subject:

“THE WILL ALWAYS ACTS ON THE BASIS OF PAST EXPERIENCES BUT DETERMINES WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN THE FUTURE.”

Thus, in the example:

(1) PAST EVENTS REMEMBERED

The husband had long-term memories regarding the fact that his wife had an insurance policy on her life with him as beneficiary. Is this fact any the less true because the taking out of the policy really occurred milliseconds before it was registered in his long-term memory? I hardly think so. The actual state of affairs was this: The wife did in fact have the life insurance policy, because the husband remembered taking out the policy.

(2) FORMING INTENT

Acting upon his long-term memories of what in fact happened in the past, the husband formed an intention to kill his wife. This is an act of the will based on past experiences. Any infinitesimal lag time there may have been between the husband taking out the policy and his experience of it is of no consequence in forming of the intent to kill. Nor can such a lag time make his intention to kill any less real.

Acting upon his already fixed intent, the husband conceived a plan to kill his wife in the future. This plan was preserved in his consciousness as a long-term memory.

(3) DOING THE DEED

Here I will quote what I originally stated:

“He takes certain steps to kill his wife and finally carries out the deed. The fact that the experience of each of these steps occurred milliseconds after he took them cannot change the intended outcome. Because he had the ability to change his mind at any time, he was conscious of what he was doing through all the steps.

“Thus, he remembered all the previous steps at the time he took the final step that killed his wife. This is short-term voluntary memory.

“Clearly, the fact that his experience of that final step occurred milliseconds after he took it cannot change the fact that his wife’s death was what he intended. In other words, an exceeding brief lag time between the event and the experience is of no consequence where the will is concerned.”

Let us say, for example, that the husband decided to use an axe to kill his wife, and in furtherance of that intent he swung an axe with great force at her head. Let us say further that when he was doing this, he experienced the initial contact of the axe with her head at a time when, in the real world, it was already a few millimeters into her head. Can any reasonable person contend that such a state of affairs somehow erased the husband’s free will? I hardly think so.

Thus, the process for exercising the will is as follows:

(1) Past Event(s) Remembered

(2) Forming an Intent to Act based on (1)

(3) Doing an Act based on (2)
Last edited by Neri on April 5th, 2017, 2:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby Neri on April 5th, 2017, 1:46 pm 

Moderator,

Please remove the first two duplicate answers.
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby Neri on April 5th, 2017, 2:36 pm 

BJ

The fact that our experience of perceived events occurs fractions of a second after they happen does not mean that there can be no correspondence between the experience and the event.

The progress and constitution of events may arrive in our consciousness after an infinitesimal lag time, but there is every reason to believe that it remains in our memory substantially as it was in the real world.
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby Old Rasputin on April 5th, 2017, 4:30 pm 

BadgerJelly wrote:Is the reality of my consciousness behind itself then?

No. (The reality of) your consciousness lags behind reality.


BadgerJelly wrote:If consciousness is real it must operate at the speed of reality or it is not real.

This is not about “speed”, it is about “time differential” (lagging or leading). Consciousness can never be faster than (meaning that it can never lead, or be ahead of) reality. The important point that you are missing is that consciousness always lags reality.

Us humans, are biological machines, and as of yet, we do not have “instantaneous” sensing, detection, and processing equipment. We have not had a significant upgrade to our equipment in eons. Everything still takes time. For us to know (or be conscious of) something, still requires an arduous amount of transmission, sensory, and processing time.

For example:

1. When I look, touch, smell, etc, a (real) object, I don’t 'know' it (i.e. am not conscious of it), for at least 150 milliseconds! By the time that I am conscious of it, that object has already aged 150ms!

2. When I watch the sun set over the mountains, my consciousness further lags the reality (of the actual sun setting) by at least 8 minutes! That sun which I (consciously) see above the mountains, has in reality been long gone (i.e. it is hiding below the mountains).

Consciousness is like reading the local newspaper; it is full of OLD news; stuff that has already happened!

Again, EVERYTHING (and I mean EVERYTHING!) that we are ‘conscious of’ has already happened; it is in the past! We are just living in the 'present' memories of 'past' events.


BadgerJelly wrote:Then it is just a question of having to define 'real'.

How about --- “Real” is that which exists independent of one’s perceptions. ??
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby Old Rasputin on April 5th, 2017, 10:26 pm 

Neri wrote:Thus, the process for exercising the will is as follows:

(1) Past Event(s) Remembered
(2) Forming an Intent to Act based on (1)
(3) Doing an Act based on (2)

It is NOT possible to consciously do anything! ...including "forming" or "doing".

Any consciousness of ANYTHING (including the action/event of “forming”/“doing”) is just a memory of a past event, ...and the past is the past, ...it cannot be changed or controlled.
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby BadgerJelly on April 6th, 2017, 2:55 am 

Neri » April 6th, 2017, 2:36 am wrote:BJ

The fact that our experience of perceived events occurs fractions of a second after they happen does not mean that there can be no correspondence between the experience and the event.

The progress and constitution of events may arrive in our consciousness after an infinitesimal lag time, but there is every reason to believe that it remains in our memory substantially as it was in the real world.


So what?

Rasp -

IF we cannot "experience" this "real" then how "real" is it? If it is inpendent of our perception then what? What is this 'perception' all about?
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby Old Rasputin on April 6th, 2017, 8:26 am 

BadgerJelly wrote:
Old Rasputin wrote:How about --- “Real” is that which exists independent of one’s perceptions. ??

IF we cannot "experience" this "real" then how "real" is it?

I did NOT say "we cannot experience this real". The usage of the word “independent”, in this context, means not-dependent; meaning that the existence of ‘real’ stuff is not dependent upon one’s perception (experience) of this stuff.

BadgerJelly wrote:If it is independent of our perception then what? What is this 'perception' all about?

Again, this does NOT mean that we can’t still perceive it. It just means that its existence doesn’t give a damn if we can/cannot.
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby Neri on April 6th, 2017, 3:21 pm 

OR, BJ, BIV et al.,

Here is a somewhat more technical explication of my views on the matters raised of late (for those who have an interest in such things).

As I pointed out in another thread, the present is not something that exists outside the mind, owing to the fact that to be meaningful it would have to be an instant and not a period—that is, a point of time having a duration of naught. An event cannot exist in the real world if it exists for no time at all.

What we call the present is really the variable period sufficient to be cognized by a conscious subject as the temporal extent of an “event.” However, the event itself is said to exist as a period determined by instants called the “beginning” and the “end.” Yet, these instants cannot exist for the same reasons just stated. Thus, the real world is in continuous transition and cannot consist of fully determinable periods. Such things belong to the mind and not the world.

Similarly, any experience of a conscious subject must exist for more than an instant, for to be real any experience must exist for more than no time at all. The thing that allows our experience of the world to have temporal extent is called memory. Thus, it is memory that allows us to track the temporal sequence of the aspects of processes in the world. In fact, consciousness itself is a kind of memory.

A world process is thought of as occurring in the present time when that process is subject to perception and is isolated in the mind (focused upon) because it is a matter of particular urgency or interest.

Aspects of a real process are correctly preserved in memory if those aspects are remembered in the same sequence and character as they are in the real world. To put it other words, a remembered experience corresponds to an “event” in the real world if the aspects of that “event” are preserved in memory in the same sequence and character as they are in the real world.

If that correspondence exists, it is a matter of no consequence if what is conceived of as the “beginning” of an “event” in the real world precedes what is remembered as the beginning of the same “event” in the experience of it. Here, I refer to the kind of memory that allows the exercise of the will (voluntary memory [consciousness]) in its simplest form, which involves the preservation of current sensory data. In such case, there is claimed to be a minuscule lag time between what is thought of as the beginning of the world event and the beginning of the sensory experience of it. Such a thing is inconsequential in the extreme, even if it exists.

Further, I use the expression, “what is thought of as the beginning of a real event,” because no such thing as a beginning exists in the real world. For anyone to declare that a timing device determines the beginning of an event in the real world, he must rely on his own sensory organs to experience the output of that timing device. Thus, determining a lag time is itself only a matter of experience. What is claimed to be the beginning of any world event is no more than a matter of agreement among people “synchronizing” their timing devices according to their own experience of such devices. Thus, such a “beginning” cannot really be fully determined and is based on no more than an experience held in common by those doing the timing.
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby Neri on April 6th, 2017, 7:56 pm 

To continue after a breather:

When aspects of an event in the real world happen in the same sequence as those experienced in the perception, there is a spatio-temporal correspondence between the event and the sensory experience of it. It need hardly be said that such a state of affairs is necessary to preserve us from the dangers of the world.

But how can we possibly know that our experience of the character of every aspect of a perception corresponds to the character of those aspects in the real world?

We can only know the character of real things by means of recognition. That is, when we first encounter an unknown object in the world, (if we deem it important enough) we try to recognize it by creating a representation in the form of a long-term memory.

Because it is the character of the real object that causes the representation, when we next encounter the same or a similar object, it will cause the same or a similar representation. This will be sufficient for it to be recognized. This amounts to the power to identify the character of an object in the sense that it will be distinguishable from all real objects of a different character. In this sense, there is a correspondence between the representation of a real object and the object itself.

One may object, however, that a representation is not the same as a real object. Clearly, a conscious experience can never be equivalent to a concrete thing. They are completely different orders of existence. All we should expect is a workable correspondence between the two. That is, one that has evolutionary value---that allows us to function successfully in a dangerous invironment. If it can do this, as it has over the millennia, we will continue to be in close contact with the real world.
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby BadgerJelly on April 6th, 2017, 10:13 pm 

Neri -

Okay Neri. What questions does all this throw up for you then?

Rasp -

Your CAPITALS and underlining tell me ALL I NEED TO KNOW!!! (NOT)

Saying "stuff" is real and I perceive it doesn't really reveal much of whatever your questions are, sorry.
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby Old Rasputin on April 7th, 2017, 12:40 am 

BadgerJelly wrote:IF we cannot "experience" this "real" then how "real" is it? If it is independent of our perception then what? What is this 'perception' all about?

BadgerJelly wrote:Saying "stuff" is real and I perceive it doesn't really reveal much of whatever your questions are, sorry

I didn't have any "questions", ...the "questions" were all YOURS (...and yes, I used caps for emphasize).

If you don't want me to respond to your questions, then don't ask!
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby BadgerJelly on April 7th, 2017, 1:04 am 

I am sorry you took it that way. I was making fun of you a little because what you were saying seems like something shouted from a pulpit. I sometimes forget myself and write online like I am talking to a friend.

Personally I am interested in what questions people find interesting.

I am none the wiser to anything you've said. I have seen a lot of things called philosophy being little more than a personal restriction of words and definitions to fit the means of the writer (which is, I guess, unavoidable!)

As an example Wittgenstein says there is no "private language". Of course he makes very clear before saying this how he defines "language" as being a social thing. What he really meant, ironically, is that language means language, and that private language means 'not a language'. It was a game to him because, I believe, he'd taken on Heidegger and Derrida, failing to pay due attention to Husserl, whose work encompassed everything that proceeded (and Heidegger especially made popular the theme of 'language' steering away from Husserl's aim of adumbrating 'consciousness').

That is my shout from the pulpit ;)

You gave me flashbacks to a guy you was kicked from this forum called 'ron'. He used to use bold and caps all the time. It is not the most endearing way to get your views and questions across.
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby vivian maxine on April 7th, 2017, 9:29 am 

badger jelly wrote:He used to use bold and caps all the time. It is not the most endearing way to get your views and questions across.


May I please comment? I know this is the generally accepted translation of forums' - all forums' - interpretation of the use of caps but it just is not true. It is half true. One reason for caps is indeed to shout out "Pay attention to me." Fine, but making it a 100% translation is not at all accurate. It limits a writer's ability to make clear a statement. Sometimes - often - it simply lets the writer be sure his sentence is read from one angle and not another. Sometimes sentences can be read more than one way. The writer, foreseeing this, takes to caps or bold or italics to direct the reader's thought to where he wants them. Sometimes - as of right now where I am typing, only one way is available - caps.

An example of my contention: On this forum, I once asked a question about spin speed of a perfect sphere. All replies simply dismissed the question as invalid because, they said, there is no such thing as a perfect sphere. Would the question have been more clear and gotten an answer, if I had written: "IF there were such a thing as a perfect sphere....."?

Caps do not necessarily mean someone is screaming at you. It can sometimes simply mean the writer is trying to explain himself clearly.

Now I am in trouble for the day. But I've wanted to say that for years.
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby Old Rasputin on April 8th, 2017, 11:28 am 

Neri wrote:As I pointed out in another thread, the present is not something that exists outside the mind, owing to the fact that to be meaningful it would have to be an instant and not a period—that is, a point of time having a duration of naught. An event cannot exist in the real world if it exists for no time at all.

What we call the present is really the variable period sufficient to be cognized by a conscious subject as the temporal extent of an “event.” However, the event itself is said to exist as a period determined by instants called the “beginning” and the “end.” Yet, these instants cannot exist for the same reasons just stated. Thus, the real world is in continuous transition and cannot consist of fully determinable periods. Such things belong to the mind and not the world.

Agreed. A good analogy may be that the “real world” operates ‘analog-ly’ (with infinite resolution), whereas the “mind’s representation” of the world operates ‘digitally’ (with the resolution being a function of the physical brain processing speed and frequency).

This ‘digital representation’ of the “real world” is akin to watching a video comprised of very many “instants” / snapshots.

Neri wrote:Similarly, any experience of a conscious subject must exist for more than an instant, for to be real any experience must exist for more than no time at all. The thing that allows our experience of the world to have temporal extent is called memory. Thus, it is memory that allows us to track the temporal sequence of the aspects of processes in the world. In fact, consciousness itself is a kind of memory.

I conditionally agree. But it is here that we get close to parting ways. Two important distinctions are:

1. Experience and consciousness are two distinct things. These are not always necessarily fused together. Experience does not require consciousness, but consciousness always require experiencing.

2. Although related, consciousness is NOT a type of memory. Consciousness itself is an experience; it is the experience of recognition, made possible by memory. So in this respect, without memory there could be no consciousness.

Neri wrote:A world process is thought of as occurring in the present time when that process is subject to perception and is isolated in the mind (focused upon) because it is a matter of particular urgency or interest.

The “present time” is the consciousness itself, which lags reality by whatever time it takes to ‘recognize’ this reality.

1. Consciousness is the “present”.
2. Reality is in the “past”.

Example: Reach out and touch an apple. When you feel or know that you have touched that apple, it has already aged 150 milliseconds. As mind-boggling as it sounds, you actually touched the apple BEFORE you KNEW it.

ALL events in reality occur BEFORE we are conscious of them. In effect, consciousness is an after-effect.

Neri wrote:Aspects of a real process are correctly preserved in memory if those aspects are remembered in the same sequence and character as they are in the real world. To put it other words, a remembered experience corresponds to an “event” in the real world if the aspects of that “event” are preserved in memory in the same sequence and character as they are in the real world.

If that correspondence exists, it is a matter of no consequence if what is conceived of as the “beginning” of an “event” in the real world precedes what is remembered as the beginning of the same “event” in the experience of it.

True. In other words, when watching the video of a real event, it should have the same chronological sequence as the real event itself.

Neri wrote:Here, I refer to the kind of memory that allows the exercise of the will (voluntary memory [consciousness]) in its simplest form, which involves the preservation of current sensory data. In such case, there is claimed to be a minuscule lag time between what is thought of as the beginning of the world event and the beginning of the sensory experience of it. Such a thing is inconsequential in the extreme, even if it exists.

It is here that we take different paths.

1. Any consciousness what-so-ever of anything, including “exercising one’s will” is itself still just a ‘present’ memory of a ‘PAST’ event. There are NO EXCEPTIONS.

2. “Voluntary memory” implies a ‘present’ control (exercising of the will) over a ‘past’ event (held in memory). The ‘present’ cannot control the ‘past’. Circles cannot be squares. Bachelors cannot be married. And the ‘present’ cannot control the ‘past’.

Neri wrote:Further, I use the expression, “what is thought of as the beginning of a real event,” because no such thing as a beginning exists in the real world. For anyone to declare that a timing device determines the beginning of an event in the real world, he must rely on his own sensory organs to experience the output of that timing device. Thus, determining a lag time is itself only a matter of experience. What is claimed to be the beginning of any world event is no more than a matter of agreement among people “synchronizing” their timing devices according to their own experience of such devices. Thus, such a “beginning” cannot really be fully determined and is based on no more than an experience held in common by those doing the timing.

Although the beginning of any event is relative, the knowing of this (relative) beginning, always lags (is after) the actual (real) event itself. In any and every case/event, we can’t know what has not already happened!

Neri wrote:...a representation is not the same as a real object. Clearly, a conscious experience can never be equivalent to a concrete thing. They are completely different orders of existence.

Amen.
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby BadgerJelly on April 9th, 2017, 4:27 am 

vivian maxine » April 7th, 2017, 9:29 pm wrote:
badger jelly wrote:He used to use bold and caps all the time. It is not the most endearing way to get your views and questions across.


May I please comment? I know this is the generally accepted translation of forums' - all forums' - interpretation of the use of caps but it just is not true. It is half true. One reason for caps is indeed to shout out "Pay attention to me." Fine, but making it a 100% translation is not at all accurate. It limits a writer's ability to make clear a statement. Sometimes - often - it simply lets the writer be sure his sentence is read from one angle and not another. Sometimes sentences can be read more than one way. The writer, foreseeing this, takes to caps or bold or italics to direct the reader's thought to where he wants them. Sometimes - as of right now where I am typing, only one way is available - caps.

An example of my contention: On this forum, I once asked a question about spin speed of a perfect sphere. All replies simply dismissed the question as invalid because, they said, there is no such thing as a perfect sphere. Would the question have been more clear and gotten an answer, if I had written: "IF there were such a thing as a perfect sphere....."?

Caps do not necessarily mean someone is screaming at you. It can sometimes simply mean the writer is trying to explain himself clearly.

Now I am in trouble for the day. But I've wanted to say that for years.


I find it off-putting. Generally the people I come across on philosophy forums who use underlining, exclamations and bold type are letting passion get in the way of clarity.

I don't conceive exclamations are being used for emphasis. They are SHOUT!! markers.

I guess people will always lose it when they start to discuss 'consciousness'. I don't even bother to call it that anymore, I prefer 'stuff'. Illusion is part of consciousness and the concept of consciousness is part of consciousness too. Basically, it is a damn silly tail eating snake for the analytically minded.
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby Old Rasputin on April 9th, 2017, 8:49 am 

BadgerJelly wrote:Illusion is part of consciousness and the concept of consciousness is part of consciousness too. Basically, it is a damn silly tail eating snake for the analytically minded.

Badger, you and your “analytically minded” friends are in error. This view of "silly tail-eating-snake" (circular reasoning) exists ONLY if one commits a logical fallacy. You (and friends) are simply begging-the-question; pre-assuming the conclusion.

You are first pre-assuming the existence of consciousness so as to then dispel its non-existence (illusion). For example:

1. The Bible is the true word of God, because it says so right here in the Bible.
2. Consciousness cannot be not-real (an illusion), because consciousness is real.

"Is Consciousness an Illusion?" is a valid, and non-contradicting question!

And if you don’t believe me, then just ask me! :-) (...sorry, just another fallacious example of begging-the-question).
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby BadgerJelly on April 9th, 2017, 12:24 pm 

Consciousness in what particular sense of the word?

Validity is another one of those concepts that cross sneakily from context to context without people noticing.

Okay, so we can ask "Is consciousness an illusion?", by the only means available to us here (through a common language built upon common experiences). My position is simply to look at the shapes and textures that language cloth our experiences with, what we can agree on, the limitations of logic (within this we approach the question of 'validity), and if I am posing a question how well does the question adhere to our common experience and language. The obvious problem is we all possess "consciousness", and we know this, as we know anything, through consciousness. If I don't possess consciousness then "I" am not conscious of my non-consciousness.

I do not appear to be conscious, I am conscious. What "conscious" means is another thing completely. Is the concept of "consciousness" illusionary? That is another question, too. One I am more inclined to approach than to bother presenting illusions of rainbows, that are actually known to all as rainbows, even though they are not actually "out there".

Why am I presuming a conclusion? I ask questions and arrive at more questions. I do not assume there is, or is not a final conclusive answer. I guess that makes my conclusive position one that concludes that "I don't know", and what "I do know", is open to so many lines of questioning that it is only substantial enough to call "stuff".

Is a monkey a red banjo that existed yesterday? Also, a "valid" question. Is there much point in asking the question though? Does it possess value or is it a very particular question set to a very particular line of investigation?

Believe what you want, or try not to :-)

If consciousness is an illusion then a rainbow must be an illusion of an illusion? I happily view the concept of consciousness as a placeholder for something else to develop from. We're already stuck firmly in a bizarre regime of duality imposed upon us by Decartes. I honestly don't think society has even nearly shaken of the hang-over he gave philosophy, and I don't expect that to change anytime soon (but hey, maybe I am wrong to say such a thing? it is what it is to me, I just wish "it" would come out of the shadows).
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby Old Rasputin on April 10th, 2017, 12:22 am 

Daniel Denett wrote:Consciousnes is an illusion.
BadgerJelly wrote:Illusion is part of consciousness and the concept of consciousness is part of consciousness too. Basically, it is a damn silly tail eating snake for the analytically minded.
BadgerJelly wrote:The obvious problem is we all possess "consciousness"...

No, this assumption (in red) is the problem!
Old Rasputin wrote:...aren’t you first pre-assuming the existence of consciousness to then dispel the illusion (non-existence) of consciousness? In other words, aren’t you begging-the-question here (by pre-assuming the conclusion)?

For instance -- can’t one just ‘experience’ an illusion? …or must “consciousness” first exist before one can experience this illusion?

I do not necessarily agree with Dennett, but I see no contradiction, nor “circular reasoning” in his claim/proposition that “consciousness is an illusion”.

The contradiction ("circular reasoning") only exists if one pre-assumes the conclusion (begs-the-question) that consciousness is required to experience. But what if we CAN experience without the need of this (seemingly mystical thing called) consciousness?
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby BadgerJelly on April 10th, 2017, 1:51 am 

The assumption is an assumption of language. That is my point really, and my interest.

I can only outline through communication (language) to you what my consciousness is (what I am). The "illusion" is taking the language as more than the 'stuff' being expressed.

The time it takes for information to travel does not, in my mind, make the 'stuff' of experience an illusion. I have tried to express this elsewhere.

If consciousness is an illusion, then what is NOT an illusion?

To say I am "presuming I am conscious" is absurd. If I am presuming in a state of non-consciousness? Can you explain your thinking there? Anyway, language can be absurd. I am certainly presuming that you exist in some capacity or I probably wouldn't be replying. I cannot really explain to anyone what consciousness means anymore than I can explain how thinking about rabbits makes me feel. I do what I can though and through language we use a variety of 'agreed assumption', called word concepts.
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby vivian maxine on April 10th, 2017, 8:43 am 

An interviewer, in Scientific American (Special Issue, Sept. 2016, page 68), asked Christof Koch: "Will we ever understand the nature of consciousness." Christof Koch's answer was that, despite what some philosophers say, the day is not too far off when science will come to a naturalized, quantitative and predictive understanding of consciousness and its place in the universe." (Christof Koch is president and CEO at the Allen Institute for Brain Science.)

Dare I add that some of us, neither philosophers nor scientists, already know what consciousness is. We have it. :-)
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby BadgerJelly on April 10th, 2017, 10:40 am 

vivian maxine » April 10th, 2017, 8:43 pm wrote:An interviewer, in Scientific American (Special Issue, Sept. 2016, page 68), asked Christof Koch: "Will we ever understand the nature of consciousness." Christof Koch's answer was that, despite what some philosophers say, the day is not too far off when science will come to a naturalized, quantitative and predictive understanding of consciousness and its place in the universe." (Christof Koch is president and CEO at the Allen Institute for Brain Science.)

Dare I add that some of us, neither philosophers nor scientists, already know what consciousness is. We have it. :-)


Exactly. The issue is with 'studying' consciousness. Therein lies the problem.

Note: Koch has an opinion Other neuroscientists don't agree with those kinds of statements.
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby Braininvat on April 10th, 2017, 11:19 am 

vivian maxine » April 10th, 2017, 5:43 am wrote:An interviewer, in Scientific American (Special Issue, Sept. 2016, page 68), asked Christof Koch: "Will we ever understand the nature of consciousness." Christof Koch's answer was that, despite what some philosophers say, the day is not too far off when science will come to a naturalized, quantitative and predictive understanding of consciousness and its place in the universe." (Christof Koch is president and CEO at the Allen Institute for Brain Science.)

Dare I add that some of us, neither philosophers nor scientists, already know what consciousness is. We have it. :-)


Before anatomical science was developed, you would have had kidneys that filtered your blood. Would you have known what kidneys are?

A dog is conscious, by all indications. Does a dog know it is conscious? Or what consciousness is?
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby BadgerJelly on April 10th, 2017, 1:39 pm 

Biv -

You've fallen into the word trap. If a dog is conscious then it is conscious. The problem is the meshing together of terms like "knowing" and "consciousness".

Being self-conscious, self-aware and such, are all terms that are often used interchangeably and without much thought for specific contexts.

I assume a dog "knows" what food is and is therefore conscious. "Knowing", in the broadest sense, is consciousness. So if you ask does a dog know stuff, and say "yes", then it is conscious.

To put it another way if I know I don't know something then I am knowingly not knowing that I don't know.

Note: This is why I was fascinated to read Husserl. He seems to try and cut past language and concepts developed within language that can become distracting. Then it appears in his footsteps Heidegger, Derrida, and even Wittgenstein (? - yet to read enough to see), all got caught up in language. To refer to above, a dog doesn't need to have the language concept of "happy" to be "happy", no more than a human.
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby Old Rasputin on April 10th, 2017, 4:57 pm 

BadgerJelly wrote:The assumption is an assumption of language. That is my point really...

No, it is NOT about the “language”, it is about (flawed) LOGIC. It is about the reasoning structure itself.

BadgerJelly wrote:To say I am "presuming I am conscious" is absurd. If I am presuming in a state of non-consciousness? Can you explain your thinking there?

Sure, let me try this approach; I’ll remove the confusing language (“consciousness”) and replace it with the variable X. Let’s start with Daniel Dennett saying -- “X is not real”.

Badger then says -- “I know that X is real (dammit!), because if X were not real, then I could not know that X is real”.

And similarly, a Christian might say -- “The Bible is the true word of God (gosh darn it!), because if it were not true, then it would say so here in this Bible.”

Notice that the starting premise and the conclusion are essentially one-in-the-same. Both Badger and the Christian are guilty of committing a logical reasoning error (begging-the-question; pre-assuming the conclusion).
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