Unity of Consciousness?

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

Re: Unity of Consciousness?

Postby Serpent on March 20th, 2021, 12:14 pm 

T. Burbank » March 20th, 2021, 8:23 am wrote:1. A conscious experience is one that is known of by the person who has it, i.e. known of by that person’s “I”. This rules out subliminal experiences, which the “I” doesn't know of (although the person him/herself is subconsciously aware of them).

Then everything I've said is inapplicable.

8. That is my argument in the OP. And if it’s wrong, if it can be shown that my “I” is somehow the experiencer of all my conscious sensory perceptions also… well, I think it is still important to note the big difference in nature between one’s cognitive and one’s sensory conscious experiences. It’s something that I don’t think gets talked about a lot.

On the contrary, I seem to see it talked about a great deal. Mostly in circles, which is appropriate.

[The "I" depends on sensory experience - not just to know, but to exist.]
I wonder.

You'll know for sure when your body dies. My brother had a theory that the final experience, whatever you feel and think in the last conscious second, is your personal eternity.

Maybe my “I” was originally generated in response to sensory experience; I don’t remember.

You don't remember, because it happened about a billion years ago generally, and about three months into gestation for you personally.
Close your eyes, and no more visual experience. Plug your ears, and no more auditory either. Climb into a good sensory deprivation tank and I bet you eliminate most sensory experience, especially if the tank is an upper-end, anti-grav one.

But in contrast it is really hard to shut your “I” up. One thought will just keep dissolving into another on and on and on for what seems like hours there in your tank, even giving rise to hallucinations of sensory experience after a while I have heard… until you finally do fall asleep.

So -- if sensory input is cut off, you sustain your verbal self with the memory of previous input, much as we've been entertained over the last months with reruns of old television programs. Now, shut off memory and tell me what stories you can tell your conscious "I". (I'll even take a marathon of Mayday episodes or Country singers in concert, over absolute deprivation. )

Well if the original, direct experience has indeed, as you say, “taken place” before my “I” comes to know of it, then these are in at least some sense two distinct things.

If you want to segment it that way.
[they're part of the same process.]
So if I asked whether your writing and submitting your last post were something distinct from my reading it and coming to know what you wrote… I guess you would also say “No, they’re part of the same process.”

You're right, of course. They would be part of the process of the interweb, which is part of the process of communications, which is part of the process of human history, which is part of the process of life on Earth, which is part of the process of the universe.... And I chose to cut out a single individual's one distinctly labelled experience as beginning at the sensory input occasioned by an external event and ending with the individual's archiving that experience in verbal memory. In that sense, everything that happens is part of the Big Bang-Crunch Cycle and each microsecond is a distinct 'thing'. You can draw your borders wherever you choose to.
Of course, if you want communication, then words need meanings, which are determined by a convention of separating on which two or more individuals can agree. I defend my criteria; you defend yours - but we're both using the words defined by many, many third parties as if we agreed on their meaning.

Haven’t had chemo

My point was a jocular one: it plays hell with the kidneys. All kinds of physical events affect the body in ways completely beyond the control or understanding of the verbal ego; then you experience things in a different way, but you have no choice about experiencing whatever the body makes available, on its terms.

Towards the very end… well in the case I’m remembering it seemed that his “I” was mostly not even with us anymore by then, sad to say.

But "we" have no way of telling what they experience, or whether they're aware. A mercy, really - would you really want to know?

Did you ever encounter a patient claiming the opposite – that it wasn’t their pain but their “I” up there in the corner of the room?

Not personally, but from reports, I suppose it to be the same phenomenon - a distancing of the thinking self from the [so often unsatisfactory!] body. The old lady didn't want to be shed of her whole physical person, just the pain, while the fatally injured man wanted out of the whole damaged machine. That's what my reference to the Jack London book was about. I sometimes wonder whether the near-dead people who look at their bodies from outside see themselves reversed as in a mirror, or objectively as another person would.

To sum up: my contention is that the strange loop wastes an awful lot of its intellectual energy on the futile task of trying to eat its own tail.
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Re: Unity of Consciousness?

Postby T. Burbank on March 21st, 2021, 9:52 am 

Serpent » March 21st, 2021, 2:14 am wrote:
Maybe my “I” was originally generated in response to sensory experience; I don’t remember.
You don't remember, because it happened... about three months into gestation for you personally.

I know, that was me being drily humorous. Wonder how much we can piece together of what actually did happen in those unremembered times, though. Can try to speculate intelligently, on the basis of how things seem to have turned out as a result. I tend to assume that the "I" must have always been there, in some latent form, waiting for sensory input to latch onto to help it self-realize. Idle speculation though, really, I don't know nearly enough to feel strongly about that.

Of course, if you want communication, then words need meanings, which are determined by a convention of separating on which two or more individuals can agree. I defend my criteria; you defend yours - but we're both using the words defined by many, many third parties as if we agreed on their meaning.

Right. Some arguments seem to be just the two sides insisting on our own preferred uses of vocabulary, and our own preferred systems of categories sometimes. Although we of course think we’re arguing matters of fact. If we do finally come to see which parts of the dispute have been about vocabulary, then we can start on the real argument. If there is one.

To sum up: my contention is that the strange loop wastes an awful lot of its intellectual energy on the futile task of trying to eat its own tail.

Not sure if it has any choice. I don’t think the strange loop typing this sentence can help it, ultimately. It feels an obligation to itself to pursue this, and always believes that it will be able to bite off at least some small morsel to digest.
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Re: Unity of Consciousness?

Postby Serpent on March 21st, 2021, 2:06 pm 

I hope your quest has a satisfactory outcome.
For me, it's not an issue: I don't care when my consciousness declared its own identity out of the web of life, or where one experience ends and another begins or what part(s) of me are subject and which object; aspects are agency, repository, property or quality. My concern is only for how long I get to keep this identity.
But the hardware, software, process, product and all the interfaces are fascinating.
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Re: Unity of Consciousness?

Postby T. Burbank on March 22nd, 2021, 9:36 am 

I agree with you mostly, Serpent, none of this stuff needs obsessing over. Just trying to figure out what I am, and do feel obligated to give that an honest shot – ultimately possible or not. Put it off too long when I was younger, no attention span then. Everything in its time, I guess.

Anyway…. I really appreciate your having shared your time and your thoughts with me. I’ve definitely learned some things, which is what I was hoping to do. Got a couple of more good books that I need to read now, too.

All the best to you.
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Re: Unity of Consciousness?

Postby charon on March 22nd, 2021, 12:48 pm 

Burbank -

With all due respect, if you want to listen - you're trying to understand yourself through knowledge. Science knowledge, book knowledge, and all that, as though you were a laboratory experiment!

I'm afraid it's not like that. If you read enough you'll end up interpreting yourself according to some supposed expert or other... but that's not the understanding of yourself.

Please do take this to heart, it's not said lightly. The interpretation of yourself isn't the understanding of yourself. Self-knowledge isn't knowledge. On the contrary, all knowledge of that kind is a conditioning factor.

Have you heard of Vedanta (I'm not a Vedantist)? It means 'the ending of knowledge'. It doesn't mean ordinary, necessary knowledge that we need to do things like use the computer, do our job, or knowledge of any skill. We'd be lost without that. It means the sort of knowledge we use psychologically to try to make sense of life.

Beliefs, religious and otherwise, are all forms of knowledge and they condition our thinking, which is fairly obvious. So I end up looking at life according to the colour I give it - so I never see it as it is. To see it as it is there has to be a direct communication, a clear and direct seeing without any interpretation or bias at all. This is simple, isn't it?

When I really want to understand something deeply I look at it strongly, with all my attention. We do this naturally when something is significant enough. But the person who thinks he'll find understanding in a book is missing the point altogether. All he'll find is a lot of words and ideas which he thinks will give him the answer. And inevitably he'll begin to see what he wants. Perhaps he will see something but it may be wrong. It'll certainly be very partial, if he really sees anything at all.

So the approach matters more than the approached. You're living every day in communion, not only with others, but with yourself all the time. Just stay awake, watch, and learn. That's the old slogan, isn't it - watch, listen and learn. That's the way to real understanding because it's all happening in front of our eyes. The knowledge of the specialists, right or wrong, is quite irrelevant and is in fact dangerous because it colours our perception, and usually does.

So the danger is this acquisitive desire to accumulate. We think the more we gather the greater will be our understanding. Scientifically, that may be true but with ourselves it only becomes a burden. A mind soaked in knowledge will only end up seeing its own content. If you watch carefully you'll see this is true. Realising that, it loosens its hold on you.

But it's up to you. No one can look for you or force you to learn. Don't constantly analyse and interpret, stay out of it and let it tell you its story. You are the story, every day, then life opens up and becomes a very interesting thing, something that's real, vital, all the time.
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Re: Unity of Consciousness?

Postby TheVat on March 22nd, 2021, 1:10 pm 

Charon, I think your comments represent a rather Zen approach. So when you write,

The knowledge of the specialists, right or wrong, is quite irrelevant and is in fact dangerous because it colours our perception, and usually does.


I take that to mean that it's irrelevant in the context of meditative, holistic paths towards greater awareness.

If your daughter has a brain tumour which is causing her to see tiny people swimming in her oatmeal, then the specialist knowledge (a neurologist, say) might become relevant. And helpful.

These philosophy forums are pretty broad in their definitions, so I wouldn't say some Zen is unwelcome. There is no requirement to stick with western analytic philosophy. Now, if Burbank is breaking consciousness down into more than one sort of operation (the kind of thing guys like Dennett do on a more massive scale), then it's possible you and he will talk past each other.

One thing I always notice in these chats is that people seem to have a basic personality that will lean more towards analysis or more towards holism. My thought is that this is something like shoes. You don't necessarily want to own one pair. You may have several, for different conditions of terrain and weather. Perhaps it's this way also with analysis and contemplation.

When I drink tea, and prepare it, I am contemplative. I get pretty Zen.

When I grow tea, I study different varieties, the climate, weather patterns, timing of planting, soil nutrients, fertilizers, pH, and optimal harvesting times for green or black. I am much more knowledge-based.
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Re: Unity of Consciousness?

Postby charon on March 22nd, 2021, 1:42 pm 

TheVat » March 22nd, 2021, 6:10 pm wrote:Charon, I think your comments represent a rather Zen approach.


It can come over like that. It's one of the problems. If one talks about awareness one becomes a guru! But unfortunately, or fortunately, that's the right answer. When it comes to oneself, judgement, introspection, analysis, and all that, is a very limited pursuit. It doesn't really work at all, is the truth. Quite apart from the time and effort it takes.

So when you write,

The knowledge of the specialists, right or wrong, is quite irrelevant and is in fact dangerous because it colours our perception, and usually does.


I take that to mean that it's irrelevant in the context of meditative, holistic paths towards greater awareness.


Correct. Awareness is just that, being alert, aware. It has nothing at all to do with knowledge. One can know all sorts of things and be dull as mud :-)

If your daughter has a brain tumour which is causing her to see tiny people swimming in her oatmeal, then the specialist knowledge (a neurologist, say) might become relevant. And helpful.


I said that, I made that distinction very clearly and deliberately. At least I hope so.

Now, if Burbank is breaking consciousness down into more than one sort of operation (the kind of thing guys like Dennett do on a more massive scale), then it's possible you and he will talk past each other.


Quite so, but I was going by his own post. He said:

'Just trying to figure out what I am, and do feel obligated to give that an honest shot – ultimately possible or not. Put it off too long when I was younger, no attention span then.'


One thing I always notice in these chats is that people seem to have a basic personality that will lean more towards analysis or more towards holism.


Very true, but that honestly doesn't make the analytical process any more effective when it comes to understanding the self. After all, who is doing the analysing?

When I drink tea, and prepare it, I am contemplative. I get pretty Zen.


Good lord, what a sight :-)

When I grow tea, I study different varieties, the climate, weather patterns, timing of planting, soil nutrients, fertilizers, pH, and optimal harvesting times for green or black. I am much more knowledge-based.


Of course, completely necessary, or any other activity requiring in-depth knowledge. I expect the doctor to know his stuff!
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Re: Unity of Consciousness?

Postby Neri on May 14th, 2021, 1:44 pm 

To All,

The so-called “unity of conscious” arises from the fact that we all have a single body with a single nervous system and a single brain. What is called the unity of our consciousness derives from the fact that consciousness is limited to the spatial extent of the brain.

[What is called “the self,” “I” and “me” consist of our memories of our internal and external experiences. The later consists of memories of things acting against the body (the experience of “me”) and memories of our own actions against things in the world. (the experience of “I.”) The former consists of feelings, reveries, internal bodily sensations, and the like.]
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Re: Unity of Consciousness?

Postby charon on May 14th, 2021, 6:16 pm 

Neri » May 14th, 2021, 6:44 pm wrote: What is called the unity of our consciousness derives from the fact that consciousness is limited to the spatial extent of the brain.


Are you sure? If the word unity means 'being one' it may apply to the whole of consciousness, not just that of a person.
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Re: Unity of Consciousness?

Postby Neri on May 15th, 2021, 7:22 pm 

Charon,

I just noticed your post of May14th.

Each individual human experiences a unity of his consciousness. But this does not mean that he experiences the unity of consciousness of everyone else. The experience of the unity of consciousness of any single person is not directly accessible to others. That is precisely what makes it separate and gives it its unity. Because there is one body and one brain, there is one consciousness per person. Yet we can properly conclude that the experience of the unity of consciousness is similar for all. However, a logical inference is not the same as an actual experience.
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Re: Unity of Consciousness?

Postby charon on May 15th, 2021, 8:13 pm 

Neri -

I just noticed your post of May14th.


Well done.

Each individual human experiences a unity of his consciousness.


Do they? Do you? Is your consciousness a unity? Do you really experience it as such? Is your consciousness separate and particular to you?

But this does not mean that he experiences the unity of consciousness of everyone else. The experience of the unity of consciousness of any single person is not directly accessible to others. That is precisely what makes it separate and gives it its unity.


But it's not separate, is it? What you feel, so does another. You're tired, frightened, lonely, jealous, so are others. It's in human nature. Your consciousness is the same as everybody else's. There's no such thing as separate or individual consciousness.

We all think, right? Everyone from the king to the beggar thinks. And you think, just like them. I don't know if you see the point of that.

Because there is one body and one brain, there is one consciousness per person.


Or, because we are separate physically, we assume the same is true psychologically. But, if you examine it, we're not. Consciousness is universal.

However, a logical inference is not the same as an actual experience.


Precisely. So the issue then is whether you really do experience your consciousness as a unity. Leave others out of it, they're the same as you.

Do you? A unity means as one thing. That means a definite line around it, separate from all else. Is that your experience?

I doubt it, because it's not true. You can erect or imagine such a wall, a barrier, a divisive line, but it's false. If there is, it's only maintained by assumption, or fear, or ego, or some other kind of thinking. But thinking is consciousness itself, so it's playing a trick on itself.

Don't just argue this logically, which is intellectually, look at it for yourself factually. Test it out.
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Re: Unity of Consciousness?

Postby Dave_C on May 16th, 2021, 10:31 am 

Hi Neri,
I’d like to address the issue of locality (sometimes known as separability) that, IMHO, has been a point of confusion and addressed with a total lack of rigor regarding philosophy of mind. It seems your conception of a system falls prey to this issue and I don’t see that you’ve tried to address the various arguments against it. Those arguments against it include epiphenomenalism and the requirement for “counterfactual sensitivities” which are essentially a violation of classical mechanics. It’s imperative one understands why classical mechanics is so important here; neuron interactions do not make use of any of the special features of quantum mechanics (Koch) and as Stapp (a physicist) correctly points out, classical mechanics can’t accommodate (the system level requirements of) consciousness.
Neri » May 14th, 2021, 12:44 pm wrote:To All,

The so-called “unity of conscious” arises from the fact that we all have a single body with a single nervous system and a single brain. What is called the unity of our consciousness derives from the fact that consciousness is limited to the spatial extent of the brain.

Here, you define the limitation being the spatial extent of the brain but without reference to how you can support this in view of potential violations of our understanding of nature/physics, emergence, etc… This is very similar to Tononi’s work where he suggests:

Clearly, for integrated information to be high, a system must be connected in such a way that information is generated by causal interactions among rather than within its parts. Thus a system can generate integrated information only to the extent that it cannot be decomposed into informationally independent parts. …

In short, integrated information captures the information generated by causal interactions in the whole, over and above the information generated by the parts.


So here we see Tononi slip in the conception of wholes having information that is over and above that which is generated by the parts. This is to utterly ignore our conception of classical mechanics and how neurons interact. A common blunder.

There isn’t a single cell in the body that has sufficient information to determine exactly where it is in the body, or does any cell require that kind of information. In fact, no cell has sufficient information to determine whether or not it is actually part of a body and not for example, part of a test that duplicates the environment in vitro. The interactions between neurons are strictly local just as any classical system evolves only from its locally interacting parts. This conception of classical interactions is also consistent with “weak emergence”, what Bedau points out, reflects “complexity science”. Bedau says, “Macro-level emergent phenomena are dependent on micro-level phenomena in the straightforward sense that wholes are dependent on their constituents…” This is the observation that classical level emergent phenomena are dependent on and created by those local interactions.

To get to the state of physics that Tononi is suggesting, Stapp concludes:
One could imagine modifying classical mechanics by appending to it the concept of another kind of reality; a reality that would be thought like, in the sense of being an event like grasping of functional entities as wholes. In order to preserve the laws of classical mechanics this added reality could have no effect on the evolution of any physical system, and hence would not be (publicly) observable. Because this new kind of reality could have no physical consequences it could confer no evolutionary advantage, and hence would have, within the scientific framework, no reason to exist. This sort of addition to classical mechanics would convert it from a mechanics with a monistic ontology to a mechanics with a dualistic ontology. Yet this profound shift would have no roots at all in the classical mechanics onto which it is grafted: it would be a completely ad hoc move from a monistic mechanics to a dualistic one.

Hence epiphenomenalism. To maintain computationalism, Chalmers and others turn to the conception of “counterfactual sensitivity” which is not based in science, but I’ll leave that for another day.

All this doesn’t mean that the path to understanding consciousness is blocked. In fact, it’s a clue that directs us in a specific direction that makes testable predictions. And if we can perform those tests and verify the predictions, then the medical field will have a new understanding that will lead to rapid advancements and treatments.
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Re: Unity of Consciousness?

Postby Serpent on May 16th, 2021, 11:53 am 

charon » May 15th, 2021, 7:13 pm wrote:Neri -
[N -- Each individual human experiences a unity of his consciousness. ]

Do they? Do you? Is your consciousness a unity? Do you really experience it as such?

I do. I assume Neri does, because he said so, but I don't know that he does; I can't access his experience directly. I can go by his communication and believe that his experience is similar to mine due to the evolutionary characteristics we have in common.
I would probably believe the statement even it came from a robot - in which case, it wouldn't be true. But I'd have no way of checking his veracity, since I cannot access his thought-process directly; I can only base a judgment whether to believe or disbelieve a statement through its congruence with my own experience.

Is your consciousness separate and particular to you?

We think so. If yours is not, please describe what that's like.

[But this does not mean that he experiences the unity of consciousness of everyone else. The experience of the unity of consciousness of any single person is not directly accessible to others. That is precisely what makes it separate and gives it its unity. ]
But it's not separate, is it? What you feel, so does another. You're tired, frightened, lonely, jealous, so are others.

Only, not in unison. Not at the same time, from the same causes, in the same depth or intensity, for the same duration or with the same effects.

It's in human nature.

That's why we can recognize emotions and reactions in other humans - indeed, in all other terrestrial species - that are similar to the ones we experience. Our DNA is similar - not identical.
Hence the operative word in Neri's statement.

Your consciousness is the same as everybody else's. There's no such thing as separate or individual consciousness.

If that ^^^ were so, this VVV could not be.

Everyone from the king to the beggar thinks.

Humans would operate far more efficiently as a cohesive unit - much closer to an ant colony than nation-states.
Yes, there is consciousness all around me, from the mosquito I swat to the mate I adore; from the loudest crow to the silent shark. I do not feel about, or respond to, any two of them on the same terms, nor do I feel about and respond to any of their experience as I do to my own. None of their experiences are accessible to me, nor mine to them: we share only in the variously sized areas of overlap where a mutually comprehensible language can exist.

Or, because we are separate physically, we assume the same is true psychologically.

We assume that, since thought and personality are processes of the physical brain. Once that's ceased to function, the entire biological unit is null - no more thought, no more experience.
And yet, just now, when i swatted that mosquito and its physical processes winked out, I noticed no diminution of my own consciousness - any more than I noticed the absence of all the thoughts and feelings of all the other humans and other animals, birds, fish and insects that died in that same moment.

But, if you examine it, we're not. Consciousness is universal....
....Don't just argue this logically, which is intellectually, look at it for yourself factually. Test it out.

How? It sounds a lot more faith-base than fact-based. I can only look at the facts I detailed above.
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Re: Unity of Consciousness?

Postby TheVat on May 16th, 2021, 11:55 am 

I found this, by Karl Friston, intriguing.



https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10 ... 00579/full


Under the premise of deep temporal models, one necessarily encounters a counterfactual depth or richness, in virtue of the fact that the further one goes into the future, the greater the number of possible outcomes. This can be seen easily by picturing a generative model of the future as a deep decision tree with multiple leaves on the future horizon (Huys et al., 2012; Solway and Botvinick, 2015; Keramati et al., 2016). This plurality or richness is considered by some to be a hallmark of consciousness (Seth, 2014b; Palmer et al., 2015)—and has some interesting implications. First, it brings us back to the process of selection as something that underwrites conscious processing. This follows because the different ways in which the world could unfold depend upon my action now and in the future. This means that I have to select one particular course of action (because I can only do one thing at one time). In turn, this requires a selection among competing counterfactual hypotheses about the future that will determine my course of action—a selection that is often compared to Bayesian model selection or, possibly, averaging (FitzGerald et al., 2014). This selection collapses a portfolio of counterfactual possibilities into a chosen course of action. The very existence of this requisite selection implies a choice and (in a rather superficial fashion8) mandates free will.
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Re: Unity of Consciousness?

Postby Neri on May 16th, 2021, 12:51 pm 

Charon,

By the unity of consciousness I mean the experience that one is always the subject of all that he experiences.

To put it plainly, regardless of what I experience, I am always the one doing the experiencing. If you do not feel this unity, you are either a computer or a madman.

The reason for this unity, plainly and simply, is that a single brain creates all experience in every person.

Thus, the question of the unity of consciousness and the question of the self are closely related.
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Re: Unity of Consciousness?

Postby charon on May 16th, 2021, 1:12 pm 

Neri -

Well, I don't mean to be rude or sarcastic but how else could it be? When was the last time man A had an experience that wasn't experienced by him but by man B over there somewhere? Of course you're the experiencer of your experiences. If you weren't there wouldn't be any experiencing.

(edit)

But you haven't answered my questions about the universality of consciousness.
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Re: Unity of Consciousness?

Postby charon on May 16th, 2021, 1:41 pm 

Serpent -

Is your consciousness separate and particular to you?


We think so. If yours is not, please describe what that's like.


That's right, we think so. We think we're all separate, individual consciousnesses, but are we? I explained it in that other post. There's no such thing as individual consciousness. You might think you're separate and apart from everything and everybody else but it's an illusion.

Only, not in unison. Not at the same time, from the same causes, in the same depth or intensity, for the same duration or with the same effects.


Of course not, but that's not the point. The point is your conciousness isn't actually your own at all, it's shared by everybody.

The consciousness of man is one thing. Via the senses we experience a small part of it which we call 'me'. But that's like the wave believing it's separate from the ocean. It's not so.

We assume that, since thought and personality are processes of the physical brain. Once that's ceased to function, the entire biological unit is null - no more thought, no more experience.
And yet, just now, when i swatted that mosquito and its physical processes winked out, I noticed no diminution of my own consciousness - any more than I noticed the absence of all the thoughts and feelings of all the other humans and other animals, birds, fish and insects that died in that same moment.


Yes, we assume everything is caused by the brain and, if the brain stops, everything disappears. You'd have to have that happen in order to know it as a fact. But there has been extensive research that suggests consciousness may not be limited to the brain at all.

I have to provide a link for that sort of statement so here's this. I'm not setting it up as an unassailable authority but I would say this is right. But it's for people to discover, not rely on others' ideas. And it has nothing to do with faith, of course, it's either so or not so.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog ... -the-brain

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Fen ... ychologist)

This man isn't a crank, he's a fully qualified all-sorts-of-things. He also started out, as far as I know, not believing in any of it but became convinced as a result of his work.

(I don't know why the first link appears in blue and the second one doesn't).

How?


How to test it and find out? I don't know, it's something one realises or does not. First see that the idea of a separate 'me' is fallacious and go from there.

please describe what that's like.


What does it feel like? There's the body, which is obviously a discrete organism, but there's no sense of a psychological 'me' existing separately from anything else. There's just a sort of general awareness in which everything is included. There's no barrier, no dividing line. Things happen, or nothing happens.
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Re: Unity of Consciousness?

Postby charon on May 16th, 2021, 2:26 pm 

PS.

when I swatted that mosquito and its physical processes winked out, I noticed no diminution of my own consciousness


Well, I hate to tell you, but there would have been some diminishing of your consciousness because you'd just killed something. A small insect probably wouldn't have made much impact, especially as you regard it as a danger, but transfer that to killing a human being and you'd definitely know. Unless you were an insensitive, of course.

Incidentally, the other side of it is also true. Do something great and generous and consciousness is affected by that also. And no one says 'only my consciousness' then, do they? Everybody is affected by it, can't help it. Consciousness then doesn't just mean 'me', it means everybody, the whole world.

Which is quite interesting, isn't it? :-)
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Re: Unity of Consciousness?

Postby Serpent on May 16th, 2021, 3:03 pm 

charon » May 16th, 2021, 1:26 pm wrote:PS.

when I swatted that mosquito and its physical processes winked out, I noticed no diminution of my own consciousness


Well, I hate to tell you, but there would have been some diminishing of your consciousness because you'd just killed something. A small insect probably wouldn't have made much impact, especially as you regard it as a danger, but transfer that to killing a human being and you'd definitely know. Unless you were an insensitive, of course.

Good, now we have something verifiable. Your consciousness shrinks when you kill something big, like a person. What about killing a steer? They're very big. Someone who works in a slaughterhouse for ten years must perceive the Meta-consciousness shrinking over that time, yes? An ISIS terrorist or American bombardier who blows people up by the dozens or hundreds at a time, must actually feel the Meta-consciousness tighten around him.
But if the meta-consciousness is diminished by those deaths, it should be perceived by all the subscribers to the meta-consciousness, including those who did none of the killing - since we are all supposed to share in the same experience. Why don't I sense any of that through those human peripherals? Why don't any of the human units who feast on the flesh of those cattle, and finance the bombing of those people notice their consciousness shrinking?
Maybe because we are insensitive.
But you must feel exactly how many humans and other large vertebrates died in any given day. And, I suppose, how many ... new ones were made. That last bit is problematic, since I don't actually know the moment at which each mammalian and avian embryo becomes conscious - or logs on to the meta-consciousness.
The metaphors may be wrong - I'm trying to imagine the mechanism whereby such a communal consciousness would operate.
And I can't, with the best will in the world, figure out how it gives callous and sensitive, empathetic and sadistic, narcissistic and altruistic units free rein to act in their very different ways - let alone how the experience of bats, dolphins and eagles can be available to species with different sensory equipment.

Yes, we assume everything is caused by the brain and, if the brain stops, everything disappears.

Then we'd better stop burying and cremating dead people! Can they stop experiencing when they're turned to ash? Can they stop experiencing when the body has liquefied? Never?
You'd have to have that happen in order to know it as a fact.

It was an observation of deaths other than [separate from] my own: the deceased individual stops communicating or acting, moving or breathing: it's impossible to interact with them.
But there has been extensive research that suggests consciousness may not be limited to the brain at all.

Do you mean it extends to the [discrete, individual, delimited] body of which the brain is an organ, or do you mean it extends beyond the physical boundaries of its corporeal housing?
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Re: Unity of Consciousness?

Postby Neri on May 16th, 2021, 7:14 pm 

Charon,

You ask if my consciousness “is separate and particular” to me.” Anyone with a basic understanding of English would understand me to mean that consciousness is separate in each individual but not particular to that individual.

It is separate because it is not directly accessible by others. We are not a species of mind readers. My thoughts and experiences are subjective and not objective, in the sense that they are private.

However, this state of affairs is not particular to any individual person but is true of us all. Thus, you have no direct access to my thoughts and experiences as I have no access to yours. This is the case because my thoughts and experiences, like those of everyone else, are limited to the spatial extent of the brain.

The rest of your comments are such that they do not merit a response.
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Re: Unity of Consciousness?

Postby charon on May 17th, 2021, 5:52 am 

...

Lovely here, isn't it? You come to conclusions and just stick to them... and they're wrong. You don't look at yourselves with any depth.

It's exactly like the flat earth people who, because they haven't seen the earth from outer space, assume it's flat. Or like those who assumed the sun went round the earth because they saw it come up one side and down the other.

But conclusions are deadly, they prevent learning. No one is an island and that's what you're saying, that each one is an entity to itself. But it's not true.

There are people who can understand what you're thinking. They can pick up on thoughts, moods. They know what's happening to people they're close to at a distance, especially if it's life-threatening. Some people do see into the future. There are psychic powers, not that they're terribly important.

Consciousness is everywhere, not just in our little brains, limited by a physical organ. There's communication beyond the verbal. The brain is an instrument, that's all, just as the radio is a receiver of signals around it.

But most of us are so dull we never see anything beyond ourselves and the limitation of our own thought. Which is a shame because there's much more to life than that, which is fairly obvious, surely. Our minds are small, narrow, bound by conclusion and belief, and the pettiness of our lives. We're only concerned with our own lives. We may entertain other ideas but ideas are also limited, just as our knowledge is limited. All knowledge is limited.

So we go round in our own circle everlastingly, never breaking out of it. We live in it and die in it. What matters is to go beyond, far beyond, that limitation, like walking out of a narrow room and seeing all the wonders that are out there. But we prefer our little room because it's all we know.

Within the walls there's lots of fun, exciting things, sensations, pleasures and pains, but that's all shallow stuff. To go far we have to dig deep but we're not interested, we prefer our fun and excitement. And when life deals us a heavy blow, like death or a calamity, we have no answer to it because it's disturbing, it's thrown us out of our accustomed comfort.

Life isn't a routine - imagine - but we live in routine and die there too, safe in our conclusions and beliefs. Which is already a death, a resistance against life, and we cling to it fearfully because it's all we know and all we want to know. But life is for the strong, the brave, the adventurous, those who question and explore. Not just the outer things like space, but challenge everything they believe in, all their absurd conclusions, their dependence on others' ideas, and the authority of those who think they know.
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