consciousness or unconsciousness?

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

Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby Braininvat on April 18th, 2017, 3:28 pm 

BadgerJelly » April 18th, 2017, 7:31 am wrote:Biv -

I find a great big problem of dealing with delineations like that though. In some instances it is easier to draw a line between subconscious and unconscious, and other times the blurring of the line helps open us to new possibilities.


Gradations are important, which I why I think "attention" might be a better term in this respect. We recognize that there are gradations of attention, that it's a continuum rather than a binary choice. In my example, it is epistemologically safer to say that the pianist pays less attention to finger placement and more attention to dynamics and expressive artistry, when performing at a professional level. While it is the case that the pianist can access a greater level of attention to finger placement (when a fingering offered in the sheet music turns out to cause fumbles - or what my musician wife calls "dropping notes on the floor"), generally there is only the dimmest awareness of what's going on with fingering. The spotlight of attention is....elsewhere.
User avatar
Braininvat
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 5506
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby vivian maxine on April 19th, 2017, 12:15 pm 

Alan Alda (World Science Festival 2015) hosted a discussion on "Consciousness: Explored and Explained." And there was a good very recent discussion hosted Nour Foundation (2/27/2017) exploring The Deeper Self: An Expanded View of Consciousness.

Rocco, I tried those but had a hard time understanding their speech (my failing, not theirs). Is there a way to get subtitles there? I tried with no luck.

Thanks.
vivian maxine
Resident Member
 
Posts: 2836
Joined: 01 Aug 2014


Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby RoccoR on April 19th, 2017, 2:17 pm 

Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?
vivian maxine

I could not help but chuckle at your observation.

vivian maxine » April 19th, 2017, 12:15 pm wrote:
• Alan Alda (World Science Festival 2015) hosted a discussion on "Consciousness: Explored and Explained."

• Nour Foundation (2/27/2017) exploring The Deeper Self: An Expanded View of Consciousness.

I tried those but had a hard time understanding their speech (my failing, not theirs). Is there a way to get subtitles there? I tried with no luck.

(COMMENT)

First, your observation on the "understanding of their speech" may (in fact) not be your fault. I have a formal education in science, and yet there are any number of these presentations that I get lost in --- for a lack of understanding. If you want a real laugh, I suggest you go to "The Limits of Understanding" presentation, if you really want to be confused.

Also (seriously) I think you might like The Whispering Mind: The Enduring Conundrum of Consciousness and the presentation that I like the most --- in which Brian Greene Hosts: To Unweave a Rainbow: Science and the Essence of Being Human.

The Enduring Conundrum of Consciousness presentation is quite interesting.

ALSO: In the lower right-hand corner of the video player frame is a "small cog." This small "cog is suppose to be the portal from which you can engage the subtitles. However, most of them are eight missing or inoperative. (Sorry)

Most Respectfully,
R
User avatar
RoccoR
Member
 
Posts: 73
Joined: 05 Feb 2017


Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby vivian maxine on April 19th, 2017, 2:40 pm 

Rocco, you are so right about that cog. That is where I got swamped and had to withdraw. I am curious about that "Unweave a Rainbow" because someone - some scientist - composed a verse about weaving a rainbow. I think it is in one of my books. Alan Alda, on the other hand, I never had any trouble understanding on television. So, perhaps it is partly the video. But not entirely. It's something I deal with.

I have one of Giulio Tonino's books and it has a chapter about consciousness. I have marked that to re-read tonight.

Thanks much. I'll manage. I have placed this "subconsiousness"/"intentionality". That was my main goal.
vivian maxine
Resident Member
 
Posts: 2836
Joined: 01 Aug 2014


Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby doogles on April 20th, 2017, 6:45 am 

I’ve had some further thoughts about why we always seem to finish up nowhere when we talk about consciousness/unconsciousness. Obviously I’m open to discussion, but it occurred to me over the last couple of days that we tend to put the cart before the horse. We talk about levels of thinking or otherwise, and we talk about abstract terms in terms of other abstract terms. But we don’t generally talk about the thinking itself.

We have used some real life examples to some extent in this thread and I believe that this is a productive step.

All of the posts so far have been useful to my own thinking in one way or another. I’d like to reference them all, but it would become boring.

Neuro always contributes positively useful knowledge about the areas in the brain where all the action takes place, but what we seem to lack in these threads is WHAT thought processes or neuro-endocrine functions we are talking about at any given time. Neuro did mention a whole range of functions in general terms but not in concrete examples. Please regard that as an objective observation and not as a negative criticism.

But throughout this thread, Braininvat has presented quite a few descriptive examples of actions and the degree of consciousness involved in those actions. I find that refreshing because I can understand specifically what Braininvat is talking about.

I think in images, so actual real-life examples of what we are talking about suits me, and I would like to throw in an idea or two based on the contributions so far.

For example, RoccoR spoke about a person who drove all the way home on autopilot and suddenly realised he was home in his driveway. I can identify with that because it’s almost the norm for me if I’m doing repetitive manual work or if I’m driving alone on long distance open roads or locally on very familiar roads. I constantly daydream. I received my first traffic conviction after 65 years of driving last year when I drove into a speed-restricted zone while daydreaming. I’d just realised my error and hit the brake, decelerating, when I got pinged.

Braininvat also mentioned driving on autopilot as well as his wife’s piano-playing and the fact that an unexpected event could bring us back to the conscious level (I’m sure everyone knows what I mean by the ‘conscious’ level in this context of the use of the word). The equivalent of this while I’m driving is if there’s a sudden change of traffic flow (breakdown ahead, detour, badly damaged road surfaces or heading for a new destination) that brings me out of my reverie.

So how common is this? I know that vivianmaxine said that she is always quite conscious while doing a left hand turn. But there may be many of us who drive cars on autopilot. There is a fairly good short description and minor study on this on https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/me ... -autopilot . It's a short summary of research on this matter.

So what relevance does this have to ‘unconscious planning” that many of us share, Obviously there are TWO separate parts of the brains of daydreaming motor car drivers like me operating simultaneously below the level of consciousness that come into play until something like a road block interrupts our reverie. ‘Autopilot’ is a complex interaction of nerve pathways operating somewhere deep in our brains (see neuro above) in which we automatically respond to traffic lights, adjacent car movements, the necessity for changing lanes and taking left and right turns as required.

The second pathway of our brains that is operating simultaneously at an un- or sub-conscious level is our short-term memory when we daydream while on autopilot. We are experiencing ‘trains-of-thought’ or series of images in our mind’s eye.

We do not appear to have any positive research yet as to what constitutes our mind’s eye, but I have the capacity to conjure up any image from my memory residues and to do anything I like with it. I can conjure up a vision of a Roll’s Royce car and marry the front half to a T-model Ford rear end. I have trouble with the welding joins in my mind, but I’d bet that a panel-beater could do so. It may seem a bit by-the-by, but this is the area in my brain in which I also daydream constantly.

I’ve trained myself to access my daydreaming in retrospect.

If driving on autopilot and functioning at two levels of the subconscious is commonplace, you’ll understand why Braininvat said that conscious thought is only the tip of the iceberg – or words to that effect.

I believe that we cannot do anything on autopilot unless we’ve performed the task many times before. None of us can do anything on autopilot until we have performed the task consciously many times in the first x numbers of attempts.

If this is so, then there always has to be a first attempt at a novel task.

And this will require conscious intent, prior planning (via mental rehearsing), sequential motor activity and awareness (even giving a speech requires all such activities).

Does anyone believe it is possible to accomplish a novel task the first time without consciously thinking about it? Then of course we have gradations of functional autopilot use depending on the number of times we repeat the action.

Any consensus?

vivianmaxine, I haven’t covered subconscious planning and strategizing yet, but if the above gets off the ground, I’ll have a go at wording what I have in mind tomorrow or the next number of days. My wife and I preparing to head off to the backblocks in for the next few days.
doogles
Member
 
Posts: 817
Joined: 11 Apr 2009


Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby vivian maxine on April 20th, 2017, 9:05 am 

doogles, I'm not being mean when I say I smiled when I read this:

I received my first traffic conviction after 65 years of driving last year when I drove into a speed-restricted zone while daydreaming. I’d just realised my error and hit the brake, decelerating, when I got pinged."

Don't stop daydreaming. Creative people daydream and come up with great ideas. Our inventors, our artists, our problems solvers are all day dreamers. Just not in the middle of 270. :-)

Enjoyed your post. Food for thought there. You are right that how we think is behind a lot of these questions.

I'll be out celebrating five birthdays today. While there, I think I'll ask them how many drive on autopilot.
vivian maxine
Resident Member
 
Posts: 2836
Joined: 01 Aug 2014
RoccoR liked this post


Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby BadgerJelly on April 20th, 2017, 10:26 am 

Doogles -

Does anyone believe it is possible to accomplish a novel task the first time without consciously thinking about it?


We learn languages. We have plenty of innate functions that we are not consciously aware of and that become so common to everyday life that we barely recognize them. Then you can argue that they are not "accomplishments", which is a problem.

I was not born speaking English. It is a very specific task to learn a language. Also, you don't need to be taught a language to create one. Deaf people are a shining example of how a language can develop without any external prompts.

So it is certain, not merely a possibility to me, that we can "accomplish" very complex tasks without being "aware" of them during the beginning of the process.

This is why I view Viv's question as moving toward ideas of self-consciousness and awareness rather than dealing with "consciousness". This is a problem because we can see in the brain certain processes happening that are not in conscious awareness, and yet we know they appear to be conscious rather than unconscious processes.
User avatar
BadgerJelly
Resident Member
 
Posts: 4226
Joined: 14 Mar 2012


Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby vivian maxine on April 20th, 2017, 10:38 am 

BJ, are you saying that you think you can learn - or even create - a new language without being consciously aware of it?

As for "moving toward ideas of self-consciousness and awareness rather than dealing with "consciousness".", I thought awareness was consciousness.
vivian maxine
Resident Member
 
Posts: 2836
Joined: 01 Aug 2014


Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby BadgerJelly on April 20th, 2017, 11:00 am 

I am saying we all possess the innate ability not only to learn a new language, but to create one from scratch.

The concept of language, like everything else, is an expression of something. When you speak to someone are you consciously aware of expressing your non-verbal thoughts into spoken words?

The problem this brings up is how we view language as sequence of words rather than as a complete entity. I don't think it is always useful to say language is something I possess consciously (meaning I do not have complete awareness of my language. I only shed light upon certain facets of it during communication. Most of it lies within the shadows of the unconscious). We don't notice this because language is put to use to fit the task at hand, it is not used to its limits, yet we have to limit it due to our conscious capacity.

Awareness is only part of consciousness. Unconscious processes are not, and cannot be, in a sphere of awareness.

Someone in a coma has no consciousness. Yet people come out of comas. It is the emergent property of consciousness that is currently a stop-gap term in our general understanding (not just of consciousness IMO - and that is very much my opinion. I cannot possibly offer an alternative to such a proposal because I don't think we are equipped with the concepts to do so. Which means others take "emergence" upon faith, and I prefer to question this idea of "emergence" which is, to me, only a tiny step towards dealing with problems of subjectivity ... I digress though!)
User avatar
BadgerJelly
Resident Member
 
Posts: 4226
Joined: 14 Mar 2012


Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby vivian maxine on April 20th, 2017, 11:20 am 

All right. I think I follow now. You mean we do not have to stop and think, word for word, how to assemble our sentences. It comes automatically because we know the language. But learning the language or creating a new language, that would be done consciously. Has to be. Yes?

Must go now. Off for some fun. Carry on.
vivian maxine
Resident Member
 
Posts: 2836
Joined: 01 Aug 2014


Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby RoccoR on April 20th, 2017, 12:57 pm 

Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?
doogles, vivian maxine, Neuro, Braininvat, et al,

I'm not sure that there are, as of yet, the right intellectual foundations or the proper tools to explore:

    Ψ consciousness
    ∆ Subconsciousness
    ∆ Unconsciousness.

I'm not sure that there are, as of yet, the right intellectual foundations or the proper tools to explore the relationship between the "mind" and the "brain." Many of us take the relationship for granted; but, that may be an illusion.

Let me start-off by saying that, under the Copenhagen Interpretation (my simplified interpretation of the consensus of great minds), nothing is real (even reality itself) until it has been observed, evaluated or measured! And if this is true, then "consciousness" is related to reality; since you cannot unconsciously make observations, tests and measurements.


Image

doogles » April 20th, 2017, 6:45 am wrote:... ... ... I think in images, so actual real-life examples of what we are talking about suits me, and I would like to throw in an idea or two based on the contributions so far.

(COMMENT)

Is that not an example of sentient behavior and consciousness?

doogles » April 20th, 2017, 6:45 am wrote:... ... ... The Autopilot examples. ...

(COMMENT)

What is sort of extraordinary about the "autopilot" mode is that --- when it happens --- we consciously recognize the phenomena. We recognize that our minds, like in a dream, was preoccupied elsewhere, yet we were still performing a complex function.

Similarly, just as the great physisists of our time have observed, the emergence and presence of conscious observers (ourselves), in the form of ourselves, collapses the wave function and made the universe exist.

doogles » April 20th, 2017, 6:45 am wrote:... ... ... So what relevance does this have to ‘unconscious planning' --- Any consensus? ...

(COMMENT)

Generally speaking, many believe that the "conscious awareness" and the "theory of mind" arise in the brain gradually. It appears (from testing) that human babies develop self awareness at about 18 months. There are several animal species that have self awareness, including the octopus.

Certainly, the topic of "consciousness" has many different angles from which it may be approached and studies.

Most Respectfully,
R
User avatar
RoccoR
Member
 
Posts: 73
Joined: 05 Feb 2017


Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby Old Rasputin on April 20th, 2017, 2:05 pm 

RoccoR wrote:What is sort of extraordinary about the "autopilot" mode is that --- when it happens --- we consciously recognize the phenomena. We recognize that our minds, like in a dream, was preoccupied elsewhere, yet we were still performing a complex function.

Or… maybe this "phenomena" is not a phenomena, but simply just a lapse of memory.

When I pull into the parking lot at work, and then don’t remember actually consciously driving and navigating myself here, this does NOT mean that I was in an unconscious/subconscious/semiconscious “auto-pilot” state during my driving time! All it means is that I don’t remember! …THAT IS IT! ...nothing more should be assumed!

To claim that we operated in “auto-pilot” mode is bogus (logically flawed). To claim that we were in a particular state of mind, when we can't remember what state of mind we were in, is just plain non-sensical story-telling IMO. One could also claim with equal credence (logical standing), that the Russians erased their memory everyday just prior to getting to work. If you don't remember, then you don't remember. And if you don't remember, then every possible story has an equal possibility!

I don’t remember anything I did during the 30 days of last April. Does this mean that I was on “auto-pilot” mode back then? …or is it more likely that I just don’t remember what I did, ...or maybe there was nothing (no significant event) worthy of remembering? ...or then again, maybe those damn Russians erased my memories again!

As a test, this morning, as I sat in my truck preparing to go to work, I set my odometer to 0.00. And as I started my drive to work, at every mile increment, I looked to the left, right, and straight ahead, verbally calling out an object that I recognized in each of these directions, and then verbally confirming to myself that I was fully awake and conscious. For example: I said “on the left is a telephone pole, to the right is a blue fence, and in front of me is a white car”, and immediately followed this up with saying “I hereby certify that I am fully awake and conscious”. After repeating this every mile for 12 miles, I finally got to work, at which time, I could not remember most of these (fully) conscious events that I had previously confirmed. Though I could remember a couple of conscious events, and I remembered repeating the phrase “I hereby certify…”. But that was all. -- I challenge you to try this for yourself!

Just because one does not remember past conscious events does not mean that those conscious events were "auto-piloted" or were less than fully conscious.
User avatar
Old Rasputin
Banned User
 
Posts: 237
Joined: 02 Feb 2016


Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby RoccoR on April 20th, 2017, 3:33 pm 

Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?
Old Rasputin, et al,

This is a valid counter argument (opposing view) worthy of consideration. Just as REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) or somnambulism (sleepwalking) could present another alternative reason.

See:
Old Rasputin » April 20th, 2017, 2:05 pm wrote:Or… maybe this "phenomena" is not a phenomena, but simply just a lapse of memory.

... ... ....

If there is nothing significant happening (or worthy of remembering), and then to assume that we are therefore something less than fully conscious (i.e. in "auto-pilot" mode) is just bogus reasoning/pure speculation.

If you don't remember what you did, then all you can honestly say is "I don't remember what I did". Period. (...claiming that you were in a particular state of mind, when you can't remember what state of mind you were in, is just plain story-telling IMO)

(COMMENT)

Of course, the "absent memory" theory ["nothing significant happening (or worthy of remembering)"] injects the notion that there is a relationship or connection between the "recording and retrieval mechanism" for memory (presence of mind) and the "inability to maintain an awareness of self and environment" (autopilot or lack of consciousness).

Most people, who experience this phenomena of autopilot driving, never actually recover that lost time or memory. Whereas the more common cognitive behaviors of absentmindedness, it's right on the tip-of-the-tongue moment, or accurately remembeing an event or recovering significant information and once memorized data points, the impression of older memories give way to make room for new ones, lapses in short-term memory recall, --- usually have some recovery of the memory in question (assuming there is not a physical or mental impairment preventing the functional recall). The loss of recall is more common in young adults because of a failure of the developing nervous system. In adults, it is more common to remember some or all of a sleepwalking episode. So, much of these types of event are NOT unconscious; much different from autopilot activity. (Driving being just one example.)

It is interesting to note that there is no clear definition to consciousness. While more information is accumulating everyday, there is often no real intervention technique to treat the comatose (a form of deep and indefinite unconscious period). However, many comatose patients have some recollection of near field activity while unconscious.

Most Respectfully,
R
User avatar
RoccoR
Member
 
Posts: 73
Joined: 05 Feb 2017


Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby BadgerJelly on April 20th, 2017, 4:16 pm 

vivian maxine » April 20th, 2017, 11:20 pm wrote:All right. I think I follow now. You mean we do not have to stop and think, word for word, how to assemble our sentences. It comes automatically because we know the language. But learning the language or creating a new language, that would be done consciously. Has to be. Yes?

Must go now. Off for some fun. Carry on.


Language is obviously a "process" of consciousness, but that doesn't mean that awareness of learning something means that it is a purposeful and conscious task. If I want to learn French then I purposefully set out to learn French. That is a different situation though.

If I set out to create a new language or learn a new language then I am obviously conscious of this.

Language is a social thing. One person will not create a language. Two people will. Of course we have to be conscious to create a language, but I don't see how we can purposefully create something we have no concept of. The initial building blocks of language must arise from unconscious processes. It is not like walking or running. We learn to walk through empathy and recognition of putting ourselves into anothers position.
User avatar
BadgerJelly
Resident Member
 
Posts: 4226
Joined: 14 Mar 2012


Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby BadgerJelly on April 20th, 2017, 4:26 pm 

Rasp -

Like I have said above/elsewhere. I do not think about every single leg movement when I walk across the room. It is "automated". I do not play out my every motor action with an inner commentary.

This is probably where some of the confusion is in your understanding of what is meant by "autopilot".
User avatar
BadgerJelly
Resident Member
 
Posts: 4226
Joined: 14 Mar 2012


Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby RoccoR on April 20th, 2017, 5:18 pm 

Braininvat,


I think it is x ≈ 49

Braininvat » April 18th, 2017, 3:28 pm wrote:
(sqrt) (x+15) + (sqrt) (x)


v/r
R
User avatar
RoccoR
Member
 
Posts: 73
Joined: 05 Feb 2017


Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby Braininvat on April 20th, 2017, 7:05 pm 

Twas not I who posted that. Not sure how that quote arrived here, or from where it came.

edit: Checked in later, noticed that the equation appears in a targeted ad at the bottom of some threads. Somehow mistaken for my posting, I guess?

Yes, simple algebra.
User avatar
Braininvat
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 5506
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills
RoccoR liked this post


Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby doogles on April 21st, 2017, 5:45 am 

Did anyone read this short article by Professor Ira Hyman by the way? He describes the actions of people walking on autopilot across his university campus and how many avoided obstacles or failed to spot money on tree branches they had to dodge. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/me ... -autopilot .


vivianmaxine - Asking your friends if they drive on autopilot is a very constructive idea. One of the risks in such a procedure though is that some people will not admit that they lack any form of concentration whist driving. William James cited another researcher, Sir Francis Galton I think, who asked a whole range of people whether they day-dreamed. Every science graduate gave an emphatic NO! while people of poor education gave a resounding YES! This suggests that you may get qualified answers. But I admire you for just doing it.


BadgerJelly, you may have picked one form of novel action (learning a new language) that could be picked up without conscious effort. Then again, maybe not. The fact of the matter seems to be that we learn far more by mimicking our peers and elders in the few years of our lives before we ever go to school than we probably learn in the next six years. And even as an adult amongst people speaking a foreign language, would you classify that learning as a first novel task or as a gradual exposure. What if you decided to teach yourself from a book? Would the first reading not require intent, conscious rehearsal (silently or aloud), awareness and concentration?
This exercise has been useful by the way BJ because it suggests that the properties of the conscious efforts may vary with different first novel tasks.


RoccoR - “I'm not sure that there are, as of yet, the right intellectual foundations or the proper tools to explore the relationship between the "mind" and the "brain." Many of us take the relationship for granted; but, that may be an illusion.”

That shouldn’t stop us from having a ‘go’. By identifying various real-life examples of what states of mind are required for first attempts at novel tasks, it just may be possible to identify the properties of conscious actions. At least we have concrete scenarios as a basis.

Old Rasputin – You could be right. Your position that there is no such thing as autopilot and that it could all be just a case of not remembering is somewhat logically unarguable because, as you say, if it was un-, sub- or semi-conscious, it was not conscious, and therefore we could not be aware enough of it to remember it. Now I did not say that it was correct – just that it is unarguable by definition.

On the other hand I have to commend you on your self-experiment. I like to see people have a go. I don’t have to perform the exercise do it myself because I can picture it in my mind. Like you I believe I would not be able to remember all the objects that I identified on the way.

You actually PERFORMED A NOVEL TASK FOR THE FIRST TIME and your vocalisation and affirmation of consciousness suggest it was conscious. It required intent, planning, awareness and concentration. The latter word is a new one in line with learning a new language from a book as discussed after BadgerJelly’s post. It is in line with my conclusion above that the first performance of a novel task requires intent, planning, awareness and concentration.

Your experiment did not involve rehearsal of motor skills because your only motor action was vocalisation of words. In this case that vocalisation was already on autopilot from a lifetime of usage since your first attempts as a child.

Apropos of your conscious identification of landmarks on your daily drive, could it be said that you were driving on autopilot while you were doing this secondary task?

One could almost describe the task as one of memorising landmarks at one mile intervals. If you identified three objects each time, you would have had 36 items to remember. I think extremely few people could do this, because at first sight, the landmarks would just appear in your short term memory. It would be interesting to see how your recall of them improved after many repetitions. It takes repetition for anything to go into long term memory and be readily accessible to memory.

But if you continued the exercise you would have to go onto autopilot while driving at least every time you reached the landmarks - because the exercise would be a secondary one to the primary driving.


RoccoR 2 “It is interesting to note that there is no clear definition to consciousness”

I agree that we don't have yet, but why don’t we have a serious go at it?

I checked your reference, "Driving while asleep is rare and dangerous.
Posted Dec 06, 2008 Psychology Today by John Cline Ph.D."


But I wouldn’t personally regard driving while drowsy or actually asleep, which is the substance of this article by John Cline, as remotely analogous to driving on autopilot.


Outside of the above responses to individual posters, if you doubt that we walk familiar tracks, use manual gears, negotiate familiar roadways and touch type (another good example) on autopilot, please have another look at Neuro’s first post. Neuro is highly respected in this forum as an authority on brain pathways and in that post he has not only substantiated the existence of ‘autopilot’ in neuroscience literature, but he has described the nerve pathways that function when we are in that mode.
“Most of our acts are performed in a "autopilot" like manner. These are mostly guided by the external clues. These may imply choices, but not "strategic planning", and they are not handled by the prefrontal cortex. They are mostly handled by the parietal-premotor cortices, use the basal ganglia as the choosing and conciliating system, and they work perfectly even without any conscious concern.
The specific motor (and cognitive) tasks we have learnt to perform can typically be performed without any attention, but again they are not elaborated by the prefrontal cortex. The cerebellum has most of the burden in performing sports, playing an instrument, organizing a sentence according to grammatical and syntactic rules, and repeating a poem that was learnt by heart.”


My only comment about Neuro’s post was to the effect that some concrete examples would have helped in understanding the function parietal-premotor cortices.

I’m still convinced, like Neuro, at least, and maybe Braininvat that most of our acts are performed in autopilot. My added notion is that there is such a thing as the first attempt at a novel task, that this attempt is totally conscious, and requires intent, planning, awareness, concentration and in many cases motor skill rehearsal. Braininvat contributed the notion that with repetition of the task, there was a gradation of the level at which autopilot came into action and conscious functions reduced.

Just to keep a compass on where I believe we are going with this, I believe it is presenting a different perspective on conscious awareness and the degree to which we act un-?, semi-, or subconsciously (whatever heading autopilot fits under).

I’m still open to arguments against the propositions, but would like to progress past this and get onto some concrete examples of subconscious planning and rationalisation. But bear with me for the next few days because I will be away,
doogles
Member
 
Posts: 817
Joined: 11 Apr 2009
RoccoR liked this post


Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby doogles on April 21st, 2017, 5:52 am 

I should have acknowledged that Braininvat's use of the word attention in a prior post is the equivalent of my later use of the word concentration. That was an oversight of mine.
doogles
Member
 
Posts: 817
Joined: 11 Apr 2009


Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby RoccoR on April 21st, 2017, 6:01 am 

Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?
Braininvat,

Yes, I see now.

Braininvat » April 20th, 2017, 7:05 pm wrote:Twas not I who posted that. Not sure how that quote arrived here, or from where it came.

edit: Checked in later, noticed that the equation appears in a targeted ad at the bottom of some threads. Somehow mistaken for my posting, I guess?

Yes, simple algebra.

(APOLOGY)

For some reason I included the "rolling ad widget" as a part of the posting. My mistake. I apologize.

Sincerely,
R
User avatar
RoccoR
Member
 
Posts: 73
Joined: 05 Feb 2017


Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby BadgerJelly on April 21st, 2017, 8:25 am 

BadgerJelly, you may have picked one form of novel action (learning a new language) that could be picked up without conscious effort. Then again, maybe not. The fact of the matter seems to be that we learn far more by mimicking our peers and elders in the few years of our lives before we ever go to school than we probably learn in the next six years. And even as an adult amongst people speaking a foreign language, would you classify that learning as a first novel task or as a gradual exposure. What if you decided to teach yourself from a book? Would the first reading not require intent, conscious rehearsal (silently or aloud), awareness and concentration?
This exercise has been useful by the way BJ because it suggests that the properties of the conscious efforts may vary with different first novel tasks.


I was not talking about learning an EXTRA language.
User avatar
BadgerJelly
Resident Member
 
Posts: 4226
Joined: 14 Mar 2012


Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby Braininvat on April 21st, 2017, 9:48 am 

RoccoR, it's quite alright, an honest mistake. (For a moment, I had thought you were taking the thread in a Doug Adams direction, and that the secret of life was not 42, but rather 49....)

When I make them, I will henceforth plead that I was on autopilot.
User avatar
Braininvat
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 5506
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills
vivian maxine liked this post


Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby Old Rasputin on April 21st, 2017, 12:55 pm 

Old Rasputin wrote: When I pull into the parking lot at work, and then don’t remember actually consciously driving and navigating myself here, this does NOT mean that I was in an unconscious/subconscious/semiconscious “auto-pilot” state during my driving time! All it means is that I don’t remember! …THAT IS IT! ...nothing more should be assumed!

To claim that we operated in “auto-pilot” mode is bogus (logically flawed). To claim that we were in a particular state of mind, when we can't remember what state of mind we were in, is just plain non-sensical story-telling IMO. One could also claim with equal credence (logical standing), that the Russians erased their memory everyday just prior to getting to work. If you don't remember, then you don't remember. And if you don't remember, then every possible story has an equal possibility!

BadgerJelly wrote:Like I have said above/elsewhere. I do not think about every single leg movement when I walk across the room. It is "automated". I do not play out my every motor action with an inner commentary.

Badger I don’t disagree with you. In fact, I claim that 'all' (100%) of our bodily movements are “automated”. It is only the ‘awareness’ of the movements that fade in and out of consciousness.

doogles wrote:Your position that there is no such thing as autopilot…

NO, this is NOT my position! You and Badger both miss my point. My ‘rant’ had nothing to do about the conclusion (i.e. whether “auto-pilot” exists/not-exists), it had to do about the ‘flawed logic’ being used to reach this conclusion!


doogles wrote:I’m still convinced, like Neuro, at least, and maybe Braininvat that most of our acts are performed in autopilot.

Change “most” to “all” (100%) and then you would be correct! Show me a case where our actions are not auto-piloted, and I will show you a case of flawed logic. :-)

Again, ALL our bodily actions are "auto-piloted" reactions. It is only the ‘awareness’ of our actions/reactions that fade in and out of focus/attention, (or “concentration” as coined by doogles).


doogles wrote: Does anyone believe it is possible to accomplish a novel task the first time without consciously thinking about it?

Yes, I do. [Hand raised high]. Being aware of “accomplishing a novel task” is no different than being aware of accomplishing a non-novel task. Both are auto-piloted (auto-reactions).

As odd as it sounds, it is not logically possible to "consciously do" anything!!!
User avatar
Old Rasputin
Banned User
 
Posts: 237
Joined: 02 Feb 2016


Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby DragonFly on April 21st, 2017, 1:30 pm 

Old Rasputin » April 21st, 2017, 11:55 am wrote:
Old Rasputin wrote:
As odd as it sounds, it is not logically possible to "consciously do" anything!!!


Oddly, but naturally, this has to be, since any proposed first cause of "doing" wouldn't have any inputs. The brain does us, which is called "auto-pilot here. 'Consciousness' is the brain globally sensing some of its results. If people knew this, too, as an input, they might better enjoy the ride.
User avatar
DragonFly
Resident Member
 
Posts: 2147
Joined: 04 Aug 2012
Old Rasputin liked this post


Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby doogles on April 24th, 2017, 5:28 am 

Old Rasputin and Dragonfly, those responses came out of left field. The sheer difference in your understanding of conscious acts and mine may explain why we never get anywhere with consciousness/unconsciousness posts on this forum. I’m not being sarcastic. I’m being quite objective. We appear to be having serious differences in either our interpretation of some words or concepts and I think that more dialogue at the very nitty gritty level may help resolve this long standing problem. We need to be able to identify where the terminology is confused at the very basic stage. It doesn't matter if we don't get consensus but it is important to understand exactly what each of us means.

This is good. It’s giving us a focus for more meaningful discussion. Old Rasputin, you clearly believe we can be conscious but there is no such thing as a conscious ACT ("As odd as it sounds, it is not logically possible to "consciously do" anything"). Dragonfly, you also believe there is no such thing as a conscious ACT, and that what we call consciousness is only our, sort of awareness that we have accomplished something. In support of Old Rasputin's statement, you added "Oddly, but naturally, this has to be, since any proposed first cause of "doing" wouldn't have any inputs."

Both of you believe that we do everything on what we are terming “autopilot” previously in this thread. I think we need a revision of terminology somewhere here. But I also believe that using concrete examples is the only way we will gain any ground.

So far we have been using the word ‘autopilot” for circumstances in which we accomplish a task without having to consciously think about every little step in the process. But you imply that all of our acts are performed on autopilot and that we can only be conscious of something after we have done it.

We need to discuss this further using a concrete example.

Let’s pick a concrete example. I’ll consciously think about what we can use as an example now. I’ve stopped typing so that I can come out of autopilot and see what my imagination can conjure up on this matter.

It’s just occurred to me that in consciously attempting to recall a concrete example that we could discuss in detail, I am actually performing a conscious act now? I'm fully aware of what I'm doing; I'm intending to find some examples; I'm giving it my full attention. I'm certainly not doing this subconsciously on autopilot. It's a conscious task.

I’ve thought of a couple of other concrete examples, but just to keep things simple, what I'm doing now may suffice as a concrete example to kick around.

Can any member (not just Old Rasputin and Dragonfly) present a case that the task I am undertaking now (to list a few concrete examples of novel tasks) is not a conscious act and that I am actually on autopilot.

Please avoid comments about my mechanical operation of the computer which is only a tool of communication and which I now mostly use on autopilot.
doogles
Member
 
Posts: 817
Joined: 11 Apr 2009


Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby vivian maxine on April 24th, 2017, 7:44 am 

doogles wrote:Can any member (not just Old Rasputin and Dragonfly) present a case that the task I am undertaking now (to list a few concrete examples of novel tasks) is not a conscious act and that I am actually on autopilot.


Absolutely, doogles. I concur. I firmly believe that almost everything I do is a conscious act. I am actively aware of making decisions as to how to do and doing what I decide to do. A very real example is entering your quote above. This takes firm concentration just to get it right. If I don't get it down right, it will not go through. So, sometimes, even typing is not on "auto-pilot". Not if you want it to make sense. On the other hand, we've all seen some typing that we are sure was done on autopilot.
vivian maxine
Resident Member
 
Posts: 2836
Joined: 01 Aug 2014
doogles liked this post


Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby Old Rasputin on April 24th, 2017, 2:27 pm 

doogles wrote:The sheer difference in your understanding of conscious acts and mine may explain why we never get anywhere…

…We appear to be having serious differences in either our interpretation of some words or concepts and I think that more dialogue at the very nitty gritty level may help resolve this long standing problem. We need to be able to identify where the terminology is confused at the very basic stage.

I think our understanding of these terms are actually the same, …but I agree it is best to play it safe and not assume they are. So here are my interpretations:

Unconscious Acts (aka “auto-piloted” acts) --- are those Bodily Actions that are not Known until AFTER they happen.

Conscious Acts (aka “self-piloted” acts??) --- are Bodily Actions that are Knowingly induced/caused. (…and are logically impossible according to Old Rasputin!)

Agreed?


doogles wrote:Old Rasputin, you clearly believe we can be conscious but there is no such thing as a conscious ACT ("As odd as it sounds, it is not logically possible to "consciously do" anything").

Exactly. We cannot consciously cause our bodily actions/reactions; we can only consciously be aware of them.


doogles wrote:Let’s pick a concrete example. I’ll consciously think about what we can use as an example now. I’ve stopped typing so that I can come out of autopilot and see what my imagination can conjure up on this matter.

It’s just occurred to me that in consciously attempting to recall a concrete example that we could discuss in detail, I am actually performing a conscious act now! I'm fully aware of what I'm doing; I'm intending to find some examples; I'm giving it my full attention. I'm certainly not doing this subconsciously on autopilot. It's a conscious task.

vivian maxine wrote:I firmly believe that almost everything I do is a conscious act. I am actively aware of making decisions as to how to do and doing what I decide to do. A very real example is entering your quote above. This takes firm concentration just to get it right. If I don't get it down right, it will not go through.

Doogles, Viviane, I must have missed it, where specifically is the “conscious act” in your concrete examples? Where did you consciously do/cause/induce anything?

Just 'knowing' (or being aware) of a bodily action/reaction AFTER it happens does not make the act a “conscious act”. On the contrary, it makes it an unconscious act that is then consciously experienced/perceived.

When you say you are “fully aware of what you are doing”, this means that the “doing” preceded the “awareness”-of-the-doing. One follows (is AFTER) the other. And because the 'knowing' (of the doing) can only occur AFTER the 'doing', it is therefore impossible to knowingly (consciously) do anything!
User avatar
Old Rasputin
Banned User
 
Posts: 237
Joined: 02 Feb 2016


Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby vivian maxine on April 24th, 2017, 2:53 pm 

No, didn't miss it. Just disagree with your definition of what is a conscious act. But it's OK. I'll not challenge you. Carry on.
vivian maxine
Resident Member
 
Posts: 2836
Joined: 01 Aug 2014


Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby RoccoR on April 24th, 2017, 4:03 pm 

Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

et al,

There is no question about it, there is plenty of room for alternative views.

vivian maxine » April 24th, 2017, 2:53 pm wrote:No, didn't miss it. Just disagree with your definition of what is a conscious act. But it's OK. I'll not challenge you. Carry on.

(COMMENT)

After-all, it is the topic.

Most Respectfully,
R
User avatar
RoccoR
Member
 
Posts: 73
Joined: 05 Feb 2017


Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby doogles on April 25th, 2017, 5:47 am 

Old Rasputin - "Unconscious Acts (aka “auto-piloted” acts) --- are those Bodily Actions that are not Known until AFTER they happen.
Conscious Acts (aka “self-piloted” acts??) --- are Bodily Actions that are Knowingly induced/caused. Agreed?"


Yes, agreed – but with a couple of minor clarifications. The term Bodily Actions could be misinterpreted as motor activity alone. I recognise that even when we’ve planned to do anything that the placement of limbs and digits and speech muscles is executed largely on autopilot (motor neurone and muscle circuits).

I would like input here, but I would suggest ‘Bodily Activities’ as a more holistic term. It embraces notions such as ‘thinking’ and ‘planning’ and ‘strategising’, as well as motor activities. In addition, the term ‘unconscious’ needs to be accepted as incorporating the notions ‘subconscious’ and ‘semi-conscious’; While medically ‘unconscious’, we can’t get up to much.

So we have some common ground, unless you see reasons for not accepting ‘bodily activities’ or the modification of ‘unconscious’.

Old Rasputin “Doogles, Viviane, I must have missed it, where specifically is the “conscious act” in your concrete examples? Where did you consciously do/cause/induce anything?”

I think this question probably pinpoints where we have different notions, and this is very productive. I regard the fact that I went off a partial autopilot and deliberately decided to make a short list of examples of what I regarded as ‘conscious acts’ as a conscious act in its own right. I did not finish what I set out to do because I realised that what I was consciously doing in the very ‘intent’ and ‘planning’ involved in this task of creating a list was, as I said, a conscious act in its own right. There was no way of doing it if I went off in a daydream. I was not distracted; I was concentrating on that act.

When you asked, “Where did you consciously do/cause/induce anything?”, I have to say that the activity did result in a concrete example we could discuss: I caused a concrete example of a conscious act to appear in my post by consciously thinking about the matter the moment I stopped typing.

I believe that vivianmaxine performed a conscious act when she deliberately chose to copy a passage of text from my post and caused it to appear at the start of her post before she discussed it.

I know that I’m missing something here from your perspective Old Rasputin and I would like to get some more data input on that perspective. It could be in the definition of ‘act’. I’m fairly sure that my explanation above will not satisfy you, so I will be interested in reversing roles here. Could you try to explain why you believe the above two examples were NOT conscious acts?

I’m left imagining that you may personally define an ‘act’ as either something that requires motor activity or else that an act is not an act until it is finished.

I feel that we are steadily homing in on the crux of differences in the conscious/unconscious debates, and I’m pleased to meet someone who will have a go.

I’m still entirely open-minded and believe that this discussion is very productive, even if we finish up respectfully agreeing to disagree. I thank you for your responses to date.
doogles
Member
 
Posts: 817
Joined: 11 Apr 2009


PreviousNext

Return to Metaphysics & Epistemology

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests