Consciousness
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Consciousness
It's a mystery...
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The Law of Accelerating Returns | KurzweilAI

"And just who are these people in the machine, anyway? The answer will depend on who you ask. If you ask the people in the machine, they will strenuously claim to be the original persons. For example, if we scan–let’s say myself–and record the exact state, level, and position of every neurotransmitter, synapse, neural connection, and every other relevant detail, and then reinstantiate this massive data base of information (which I estimate at thousands of trillions of bytes) into a neural computer of sufficient capacity, the person who then emerges in the machine will think that “he” is (and had been) me, or at least he will act that way. He will say “I grew up in Queens, New York, went to college at MIT, stayed in the Boston area, started and sold a few artificial intelligence companies, walked into a scanner there, and woke up in the machine here. Hey, this technology really works.”

 

But wait.

 

Is this really me? For one thing, old biological Ray (that’s me) still exists. I’ll still be here in my carbon-cell-based brain. Alas, I will have to sit back and watch the new Ray succeed in endeavors that I could only dream of."

 

by Ray Kurzweil

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How the Brain Functions Like a Social Network

How the Brain Functions Like a Social Network | Consciousness | Scoop.it

"Researchers have discovered a new essential function for half of the brain's cells. Called glia cells, scientists have known them to hold the brain's neurons together, protecting the cells that determine our thoughts and behavior. But now they believe glia cells do much more, actually regulating the synapses and sorting information for learning purposes. "Messages may originate with the neurons, which use the synapses as their delivery system, but the glia serve as an overall moderator, regulating which messages are sent on and when.""

 

IdeaFeed | Big Think

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When robots have feelings

When robots have feelings | Consciousness | Scoop.it

"If machines can and do become conscious, will we take their feelings into account? The history of our relations with the only nonhuman sentient beings we have encountered so far – animals – gives no ground for confidence that we would recognise sentient robots as beings with moral standing and interests that deserve consideration."

 

Peter Singer and Agata Sagan

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Meher Baba and the Evolution of Consciousness (eastern religion, spirituality)

An excerpt from the 1994 documentary, "Meher Baba, The Awakener." The story of creation and evolution as revealed by the Indian Spiritual Master, Avatar Meher Baba (1894-1969).
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You and the universe are endowed with unlimited evolutionary bandwidth.

You and the universe are endowed with unlimited evolutionary bandwidth. | Consciousness | Scoop.it
Transmissions of Consciousness and States of Being...

Via David McConville
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Think On These Things Too…

"When you leave emotions out of your “rational map,” when the display of this map is not privy to the emotions, or vice verca, then you are not properly conscious."

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Signal for Consciousness in Brain Marked by Neural Dialogue

Signal for Consciousness in Brain Marked by Neural Dialogue | Consciousness | Scoop.it

"Scientists have long hunted for a pattern of brain activity that signals consciousness, but a reliable marker has proved elusive. For many years theorists have argued that the answer lies in the prefrontal cortex, a region of high-level processing located behind the forehead; neural signals that reach this area were thought to emerge from unconscious obscurity into our awareness. Recent research, however, supports the idea that consciousness is a conversation rather than a revelation, with no single brain structure leading the dialogue."

 

via Scientific American

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Jeju shamans, healing minds and hearts

Jeju shamans, healing minds and hearts | Consciousness | Scoop.it

"All shamanic ritual follows a standard format. Beginning with a clearly delineated purpose and rites of preparation and purification, the facilitating and supporting shamans shift their consciousness to that of a trance state, invoke the spirits, and request their beneficence. The main task is then addressed in a variety of rites, participants or clients express their gratitude by making offerings, the spirits are then dismissed, and the ritual brought to closure. Ultimately, the boundaries of the sacred space are opened once more, the ritual bond between shamans and participants is released, and all return to their everyday lives."

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Memes, minds and selves: competing for consciousness

Memes, minds and selves: competing for consciousness | Consciousness | Scoop.it

"... the theory is similar to Dennett’s but there are two fundamental differences. First Dennett calls the self a "benign user illusion". I suggest it is far from benign, and is the root source of human suffering and delusion. The creation of a selfplex means we live our lives as a lie; constantly falling into dualism, and prey to all the emotions concerned with protecting our false self from harm or dissolution. Second, for Dennett consciousness "is itself a huge complex of memes", which implies that if all the memes were dropped consciousness would cease. An alternative is that the memes of the selfplex obscure and distort consciousness rather than constituting it."

 

"This is a an empirical question, well suited to first-person research with available methods. Meditation and mindfulness can be seen as techniques for dropping memes (or meme-weeding), their ultimate effect being to dismantle the selfplex. We may ask those who have completed this path what happens. I believe their answer is that dualism falls away but consciousness (though it may be transformed) does not."

 

- Susan Blackmore

 

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Human Language—Human Consciousness

Human Language—Human Consciousness | Consciousness | Scoop.it

"Human consciousness, as constructed by human language, becomes the vehicle through which the self-reflective human mind envisions time. Language enables the viewer to reflect upon the actions of the doer (and the actions of one’s internal body), while projecting forward and backward — other possible bodily actions — into imagined space/time. Thus the projected and imagined space/time increasingly becomes the conscious world and reality of the viewer who imagines or remembers actions mapped onto that projected plan. The body thus becomes a physical entity progressing through the imaged world of the viewer. As the body progresses through this imaged world, the viewer also constructs a way to mark progress from one imagined event to another. Having once marked this imagined time into units, the conscious viewer begins to order the anticipated actions of the body into a linear progression of events."

 

by Sue Savage-Rumbaugh

image Jamie Marie Waelchli, "Thought Map No. 8"

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Are brains necessary?

Are brains necessary? | Consciousness | Scoop.it

"The amoeba seems to know a great deal and it moves and acts with direction and purpose, all without nerves, sensory organs, or any obvious internal structure. There is probably no better demonstration that knowledge and intentionality, key parts of our notion of mind, are characteristics of the simplest of bodies."

 

"... we may be putting too much emphasis on the brain itself. Brains not only aren't minds, it seems possible to act as if you have a mind without any brain at all."

 

Michael Steinberg - Open Salon

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Will Solving The ‘Hard Problem’ of Consciousness Unweave the Rainbow?

Will Solving The ‘Hard Problem’ of Consciousness Unweave the Rainbow? | Consciousness | Scoop.it

"Some say in fifty years or so we'll have enough neuro-scientific evidence to completely describe the functioning of the brain. The question is, will this mountain of evidence be enough to explain the emergence of human consciousness? Consciousness. This familiar yet indescribable experience we all have, an awareness, something we can't physically point to nor experience from another's viewpoint."

 

"Being a hypothetical question about some future state of our knowledge, it has mainly been of academic interest to philosophers. But I actually think it's relevant to all of us because it accesses two fundamental questions about what it means to be human. First, on a practical level, is consciousness amenable to explanation? Second, on a mystical level, if consciousness can be explained, will its essence be lost?"

 

[Inkbrushes by Adam Chamness: 1,2]

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Daniel Dennett » Conscious Entities

Daniel Dennett » Conscious Entities | Consciousness | Scoop.it

Dennett is the great demystifier of consciousness. According to him there is, in the final analysis, nothing fundamentally inexplicable about the way we attribute intentions and conscious feelings to people. We often attribute feelings or intentions metaphorically to non-human things, after all. We might say our car is a bit tired today, or that our pot plant is thirsty. At the end of the day, our attitude to other human beings is just a version – a much more sophisticated version – of the same strategy. Attributing intentions to human animals makes it much easier to work out what their behaviour is likely to be. It pays us, in short, to adopt the intentional stance when trying to understand human beings.

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The Mystery of Consciousness Continues by John R. Searle | The New York Review of Books

The Mystery of Consciousness Continues by John R. Searle | The New York Review of Books | Consciousness | Scoop.it

Searle on Antonio Damascio's "Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain"

"Finally, after more than 250 pages, we get to the problem of qualia—a term often used for qualitative conscious states. Damasio tells us that there are two kinds of qualia: Qualia I and Qualia II. Qualia I is about pain and pleasure, but the problem of Qualia II is why there should be any feelings at all. He thinks Qualia I is not a mystery but that the Qualia II problem is more difficult. About Qualia II we get the following stunning passage:

 

Qualia is part of the contents that come to be known as the self process, the self construction illuminating the mind construction. But somewhat paradoxically, Qualia II is also the grounding for the proto-self and thus sits astride mind and self, in a hybrid transition. The neural design that enables qualia provides the brain with felt perceptions, a sense of pure experience. After a protagonist is added to the process, the experience is claimed by its newly minted owner, the self."

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ruwan's comment, April 3, 2012 7:50 AM
I have a comment about Damasio's idea of "Qualia II": http://izombi.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/qualia-ii-the-hidden-beast/
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Steven Pinker: ‘The mind doesn’t work by fluid... - Lapidarium

"You can’t understand the mind only by looking directly at the brain. (…) The difference comes from the ways in which hundreds of millions of neurons are wired together to process information. I see the brain as a kind of computer—not like any commercial computer made of silicon, obviously, but as a device that achieves intelligence for some of the same reasons that a computer achieves intelligence, namely processing of information. (…)"

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\On the Possibility of Panexperientialism

"Our concepts of experience are highly open ended. Because of the fundamentally bounded nature of p-consciousness, we cannot peer directly into other qualitative fields. We must, for instance, allow that a manta ray sensing electromagnetic radiation might have corresponding experiences that are completely foreign to us, just as a blind man must allow that those who can see have experiences that are completely foreign to him. Accordingly, we must allow that simpler and simpler beings might have more and more primitive forms of experience. As we move down this scale, there is no clear boundary at which point we are definitively forced to stop attributing experience. Our confidence may grow weaker for systems that increasingly do not resemble us, but weak confidence for a proposition does not amount to clear logical grounds for rejecting it outright."

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The Evolution of Consciousness as a Planetary Imperative: An Integration of Integral Views (2008) by Jennifer Gidley

The Evolution of Consciousness as a Planetary Imperative: An Integration of Integral Views (2008) by Jennifer Gidley | Consciousness | Scoop.it

In this article I aim to broaden and deepen the evolution of consciousness discourse by integrating the integral theoretic narratives of Rudolf Steiner, Jean Gebser, and Ken Wilber, who each point to the emergence of new ways of thinking that could address the complex, critical challenges of our planetary moment. I undertake a wide scan of the evolution discourse, noting it is dominantly limited to biology-based notions of human origins that are grounded in scientific materialism.


Via David McConville
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Human evolution: Who are we becoming? | eman8

Human evolution: Who are we becoming? | eman8 | Consciousness | Scoop.it

In 1974, American professor of psychology Dr Clare W Graves wrote an article for The Futurist magazine titled Human Nature Prepares for a Momentous Leap. Graves described an impending change in human consciousness that would be, in his words:


‘…the most difficult, but at the same time the most exciting transition the human race has faced to date. It is not merely a transition to a new level of existence but the start of a new “movement” in the symphony of human history.’

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Duality and Nonduality -- homeostasis and the play of consciousness

Consciousness, thus is the homeostasis or the interchange process of metamorphosis or osmosis (information transfer) between matter (feminine polarity) and its environment (masculine polarity)>


The fundamental process of all life rests on a simple decision in Consciousness: Does the nondual relationship in homeostasis between theduality of the masculine and feminine principles support the absolute nonduality


Life It Self then, is the process of establishing and maintaining that absolute nonduality.


Existence (nonduality) can only BE because of Duality expressed as Masculine and Feminine Principles.


Evolution is the result of dis-ease (a masculine-feminine duality imbalance) and is the manifestation of this imbalance in form leading to mutation of thefeminine principle in an attempt to find absolute homeostasis with a changing masculine principle or environmental change.


The evolving human consciousness "out there" is the reflection (masculine principle) of what is going on "in here"(feminine principle) .. a chain reaction of fractal evolution - homeostasis between matter andenergy which obeys simple principles - a "both/and" situation.

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Chaos, consciousness, and the Cosmos

Chaos, consciousness, and the Cosmos | Consciousness | Scoop.it

"Once Linde started thinking about consciousness, there was no turning back. He, and others, have even calculated the probability that consciousness—in the form of thinking, disembodied brains—can be momentarily produced by quantum fluctuations in an empty universe.  And given that there are an infinite number of universes, this probability could be quite large—a bizarre mathematical result that caused physicists to debate what consciousness actually is and what implications it has for cosmology."

 

via FQXi

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Output consciousness

Output consciousness | Consciousness | Scoop.it

"Another striking example might be Libet’s notorious finding that consciousness of a decision arrives some time after the decision itself – but of course it does! The decision is an event in processes of which consciousness is the output."

 

"It’s hard to see consciousness as an output, partly because it can also be an input, but also because we identify ourselves with our thoughts. We want to believe that we ourselves enjoy agency, that we have causal effects, and so we’re inclined to believe that our thoughts are what does the trick – although we know quite well that when we move our arm it’s not thinking about it that makes it happen. This supposed identity of thoughts and self (after all, it’s because I think, that I am, isn’t it?) is so strong that some, failing to find in their thoughts anything but fleeting bundles of momentary impressions , have concluded there is no self after all. I think that level of scepticism is unwarranted: it’s just that our selves remain inscrutably shadowed to direct conscious observation. “Know thyself”, said the inscription on the temple of the Delphic oracle – alas, ultimately we can’t."

 

via Conscious Entities 

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Max Tegmark on our place in history: "We're Not Insignificant After All"

Max Tegmark on our place in history: "We're Not Insignificant After All" | Consciousness | Scoop.it

"I believe that consciousness is, essentially, the way information feels when being processed. Since matter can be arranged to process information in numerous ways of vastly varying complexity, this implies a rich variety of levels and types of consciousness. The particular type of consciousness that we subjectively know is then a phenomenon that arises in certain highly complex physical systems that input, process, store and output information. Clearly, if atoms can be assembled to make humans, the laws of physics also permit the construction of vastly more advanced forms of sentient life. Yet such advanced beings can probably only come about in a two-step process: first intelligent beings evolve through natural selection, then they choose to pass on the torch of life by building more advanced consciousness that can further improve itself."

 

Max Tegmark, Physicist, MIT

quoted from Edge.org

via - Less Wrong

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Materialist Neuroscience and the 'Hard Problem' of Consciousness

Materialist Neuroscience and the 'Hard Problem' of Consciousness | Consciousness | Scoop.it

"Dualism is and always has been an effort to come to grips with the quite real and most intractable problem in understanding the mind: the fact that we experience it in the first person. Dualism accommodates first person experience as well as the profound differences between mind and matter. It is consistent with many religious traditions, and with the way that the vast majority of people understand themselves."

 

via EvolutionNews.org

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Hard problem of consciousness - Wikipedia

 

"Why does awareness of sensory information exist at all?"

 

"Why is there a subjective component to experience?"

 

"How is it that some organisms are subjects of experience?"



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