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When did “consciousness” enter the Universe?

Discussion in 'Creation & Evolution' started by dlamberth, Jul 25, 2021.

  1. Akita Suggagaki

    Akita Suggagaki Well-Known Member

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    What I am getting at comes form the study of meditation. Egocentrism relates to our sense of self, rumination, memory, our Default Mode Network. In meditation of open awareness, that Default Mode Network gets disengaged and attention is more on information of the present moment. It is ego/self-less awareness.
     
  2. dlamberth

    dlamberth Senior Contributor Supporter

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    "IF" I understand Panpsychism correctly, doesn't it imply that all things have intelligence? If that's right, it's something I'm very comfortable with as I see intelligence as an aspect of consciousness.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2021
  3. Vap841

    Vap841 Active Member

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    When I wrote that I had tunnel vision going on because I just got finished watching a documentary where I was not satisfied with neurological answers about what consciousness is. But I went to bed realizing that my post was badly worded, but I just laughed and didn’t delete it and said oh well I’ll let someone bite my head off lol. For me when all levels of consciousness along with different states of consciousness are explained as just being identical to physical brain states that’s too much of an explanatory gap for me. For me it feels like saying to someone “Why did you quit your job?” and they answer by explaining all the motor mechanisms that took place to physically walk into the boss’s office, and how their voice box formulated the sounds of “I quit”, etc.
     
  4. FrumiousBandersnatch

    FrumiousBandersnatch Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I suppose so, by construction. I'm open to better arguments or evidence - I used to be very keen on paranormal phenomena (until I dug into the empirical evidence). But as yet I've not heard anything of that kind that makes sense to me or is a better explanation than a materialist one that includes human cognitive errors, biases, heuristics, etc. The more I learn about what we do know empirically, the less sense those explanations make.

    Oh yes, I've got copies of Bohm's 'Wholeness and the Implicate Order' and 'The Undivided Universe'; very heavy going - not a holiday read!

    On panpsychism, I side with Sabine Hossenfelder; consciousness implies degrees of freedom that simply don't appear in particle behaviour. You can say that particles are conscious, or form a complex society, or wear hats, or have emotions, or anything, but unless it affects their behaviour it's effectively meaningless.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2021
  5. FrumiousBandersnatch

    FrumiousBandersnatch Well-Known Member

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    It's generally modeled in terms of the relevant components and their interactions, but the type of modelling depends on the scale being considered. At one level it may involve membranes and neurotransmitters, at another level, neurons and spike trains, and at another level, it may involve neural circuits, functional 'modules' and/or brain structures.
     
  6. FrumiousBandersnatch

    FrumiousBandersnatch Well-Known Member

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    OK, that's a very Buddhist approach. Yes, that kind of mindful focusing on the here and now may well be common in other animals (for some reason it makes me think of tigers!).
     
  7. Isaiah 41:10

    Isaiah 41:10 Well-Known Member

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    I often view consciousness more as a collective experience. As if it's a product of not just thinking, but of sight, smell, hearing, touch etc.

    Even rocks respond to other objects that they come in contact with, so I'd have to say that the very first stages of consciousness would go back to the big bang, if not earlier. And of course we might consider God conscious and therefore consciousness may be an attribute of God, and therefore could also predate creation at large. In a religious sense.
     
  8. Ophiolite

    Ophiolite Recalcitrant Procrastinating Ape

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    One or two members commented a while back that to discuss the first appearance of consciouness we had first of all to define it. The definition you are using there makes, IMO, it so general as to be meaningless. You are according a degree of consciouness to anything which reacts to its environment - which is pretty much everything. So naturally, with that definition, consciousness is present from the beginning. I don't see how that view really informs the conversation in any useful way.
     
  9. Bradskii

    Bradskii Well-Known Member

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    To me that's like saying that science can only deal with the heart, veins and arteries but not the circulatory system.
     
  10. Bradskii

    Bradskii Well-Known Member

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    But that wouldn't be why you quit. That would be how you quit.

    We could examine all the physical acts that led you eventually into the boss's office and develop an understanding of why it happened: You were doing good work, you were working extra hours, you were bringing in new projects - and you asked for a rise. It was refused and a competitor offered you more money. All physical acts that we could examine and document. And we could propose a theory of 'why people quit' (which is the metaphor for consciousness). So we could make predictions and say if the same physical acts occur to someone else then it's likely that they'll quit as well.

    So we can look at the material aspects of the brain (watch how you work day to day) and then see that it results in consciousness (decisions on your employment).

    Saying that the mind is entirely separate from the brain is like saying that what you do in work does not have anything to do with whether you quit or not.
     
  11. Isaiah 41:10

    Isaiah 41:10 Well-Known Member

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    Seems like it answers the question to me. Would you rather me makeup some other answer?
     
  12. SelfSim

    SelfSim A non "-ist"

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    Its still a mind model initiated by intense focus on a particular state of mind.
     
  13. Ophiolite

    Ophiolite Recalcitrant Procrastinating Ape

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    OK. It seems to me that my responses to your posts in this thread, both my questions and my comments, are irritating you. So, I'll just say this, then try to stay out of it.

    You did grammatically provide an answer to the question, but it is an answer that fails to inform. It takes a definition of consciousness that I doubt corresponds with that in the mind of @dlamberth when they posed it and consequently, if I am correct in that suspicion, doesn't answer it in reality.
    I would rather you had either used a definition of consciousness that was more main stream, or provided a reasoned justification for the one you did use.

    Edit: I'm quite prepared, if a couple of other members say so, that I am the one with a warped definitiong of consciousness that is way too restrictive.
     
  14. SelfSim

    SelfSim A non "-ist"

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    .. and down the rabbit hole of definitions and personally realised contexts we go ..

    We 'own' the consciousness concept .. and sameness results without it.
     
  15. SelfSim

    SelfSim A non "-ist"

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    And the inevitable consequence:
    .. which seems like an overly harshly terse response, there, IMO(?)
    Ok .. my feedback is above, (FWIW).
     
  16. Isaiah 41:10

    Isaiah 41:10 Well-Known Member

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    You aren't irritating me :p, I was just answering the question. I've been reading through the topic to better understand what you're seeking from me.

    When I google the definition of consciousness, I read:
    "the state of being awake and aware of one's surroundings."

    Awareness really is a description of response to things. How do we respond? We smell things, see them, feel them.

    So anything that responds to something else, therefore has some level of consciousness, even rocks on the ground.

    But as someone said, the more senses we have, the more aware and responsive we become, and thus it gives the appearance of an emergent property, but really it's just a simple and fundamental aspect of reality.

    As another pointed out, Genesis 1:1 states that in the beginning God created. God was conscious in the begining, and so from a religious stance, we could also arrive at a conclusion in which consciousness is something that originally exists in the beginning and perhaps even beyond.

    I wouldn't say that consciousness came about during the Cambrian explosion or in Proterozoic algae, because there is always something that displays responsiveness and awareness before then.

    And the selfism guy is just overcomplicating the topic.

    The OP also seemed to at one point note that he didn't have a definition or perhaps wanted to leave the topic open ended for discussion. So I'd think that my response fits in there.
     
  17. Vap841

    Vap841 Active Member

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    I’m not gonna deny that my analogy wasn’t great, but I was only aiming at a section of the analogy, just the part that would make the person who asked the question roll their eyes at the answer and be like “Oh come on that’s not what I was asking.” That’s the gut reaction I get when a person calls squishy matter and a series of synapses the same exact thing as bone chilling fear that I’m feeling as someone chases me with a knife.

    There is an explanatory gap when someone tries to say that physical/chemical mechanisms become alive and have experiential qualities, however this explanatory gap is not present when you are explaining physical sequences. A detailed explanation of physical mechanisms does makes sense, and it makes sense at every single turn. But the only aspect of the physical mechanism’s relation to mental phenomena that ‘Makes sense’ is the ‘When’ part. We can understand pointing to a certain stage of development and saying “That’s when it happens”, but what exactly it is, and how it happens is a gapping hole of understanding.

    We know, more than we know anything, that we are conscious. So consciousness is therefore an undeniable aspect of reality. When we know that something undeniably exists in reality, and when physical descriptions runs into explanatory gaps when trying to explain them then there is either more to reality than just the physical, or we just don’t know enough about reality yet. But my problem with it being the latter is that I can’t even make sense out of what a coherent explanation would even look like! Physical mechanisms at some point being experientially alive, what does that even mean from a cause & effect standpoint where you’re analyzing each sequence? So IMO we have the meshing together of two different fabrics of ultimate reality. They correlate with each other very much so, but if the scientific method isn’t able to lead us to “Aha that cause & effect sequence makes total sense” then a physical cause & effect platform isn’t enough to explain everything in reality. I can’t see how adding 100 billion more physical cause & effect sequences to the process would somehow create a moment of “Ok now it makes sense that it’s alive.” Or a trillion, or 100 trillion. That is a reply that I see a lot, that just adding more physical complexities is supposed to give it explanatory power.

    So the way I see it is that we know of two forms of knowledge, scientific based knowledge and experiential based knowledge. The advantage to experiential knowledge is that it is our most direct form of knowledge, but it’s disadvantage is that it’s easy to misinterpret. The advantage to scientific based knowledge is its incredibly impressive precision, but its disadvantage is that it is a knowledge that’s one level removed from immediate experiential knowledge. We can’t throw experiential based knowledge under the microscope quite like we can with scientific knowledge, its the great humbling factor that makes it impossible to ever have exhaustive knowledge. And I think that part drives some people crazy, they refuse to admit that we can’t close in on exhaustive knowledge. So they act like the second half of the equation doesn’t even exist.

    I notice that Scientism is in the habit of chopping off sections of reality and claiming that they don’t really exist “If they can’t be assimilated into the scientific method.” If the scientific method can’t verify it you do one of two things…#1 claim that it’s not real, or #2 claim that A = non-A (squishy matter and a series of synapses are the same thing as (fill in the blank) experience.
     
  18. Akita Suggagaki

    Akita Suggagaki Well-Known Member

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    I like those. another is The God Theory: Universes, Zero-Point Fields, and What's Behind It All, Bernard Haisch. I liked his Creation by Subtraction. It is all one, like a white light. Our senses filter it down so thinks seem discrete.

    But another tangent: When we speak of the personhood of God we have to acknowledge that God's personhood must be something very different than ours. What kind of person does not talk to us, does not sit down and have a up of coffee with us? And is also in some kind of trinary communion of persons? I ask because when we wrestle with consciousness we do not have a very good grasp of its possibilities either. We have one view of it, ours.

    Hey, I am just a guy with questions and imagination. But I am turning more pragmatic.
     
  19. SelfSim

    SelfSim A non "-ist"

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    Notice that takes us humans to perceive the response there.
    Isn't then, the presence of our own consciousness not playing the minimal level of consciousness there?
    .. or a fundamental aspect of the perceiver ..
    Yes .. scientific thinkers who distinguish, (in the present), the Cambrian explosion and Proterozoic algae, would probably disagree with you there.
    He says .. probably because he doesn't like the implications of an objectively testable hypothesis which produces abundant evidence, thereby calling upon even rational scientific thinkers, to revise their attachments to long held beliefs, (let alone religious thinkers).

    At least the viewpoint I've expounded upon allows for the non-exclusion of your ideas .. (and others) .. which is one of the flow-on benefits. Ie: it recongises and caters for all human thinking about reality by also recognising the role consciousness plays in doing that.
    As I've stated, the concept of consciousness is fundamental for any discussions .. of anything.
     
  20. Akita Suggagaki

    Akita Suggagaki Well-Known Member

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    Yes, and as I think about it, it is awareness of different, perhaps more subtle aspects of self.
     
  21. Akita Suggagaki

    Akita Suggagaki Well-Known Member

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    You cannot open the brain and point to consciousness or even memory. You can only detect brain waves, electrical activity. Do you want to call that consciousness? How is it different from my computer?
     
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