Consciousness
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Consciousness
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A Brief Guide to Embodied Cognition: Why You Are Not Your Brain

A Brief Guide to Embodied Cognition: Why You Are Not Your Brain | Consciousness | Scoop.it

Embodied cognition, the idea that the mind is not only connected to the body but that the body influences the mind, is one of the more counter-intuitive ideas in cognitive science. In sharp contrast is dualism, a theory of mind famously put forth by Rene Descartes in the 17th century when he claimed that “there is a great difference between mind and body, inasmuch as body is by nature always divisible, and the mind is entirely indivisible… the mind or soul of man is entirely different from the body.” In the proceeding centuries, the notion of the disembodied mind flourished. From it, western thought developed two basic ideas: reason is disembodied because the mind is disembodied and reason is transcendent and universal. However, as George Lakoff and Rafeal Núñez explain:

 

Cognitive science calls this entire philosophical worldview into serious question on empirical grounds… [the mind] arises from the nature of our brains, bodies, and bodily experiences. This is not just the innocuous and obvious claim that we need a body to reason; rather, it is the striking claim that the very structure of reason itself comes from the details of our embodiment… Thus, to understand reason we must understand the details of our visual system, our motor system, and the general mechanism of neural binding.

 

What exactly does this mean? It means that our cognition isn’t confined to our cortices. That is, our cognition is influenced, perhaps determined by, our experiences in the physical world. This is why we say that something is “over our heads” to express the idea that we do not understand; we are drawing upon the physical inability to not see something over our heads and the mental feeling of uncertainty. Or why we understand warmth with affection; as infants and children the subjective judgment of affection almost always corresponded with the sensation of warmth, thus giving way to metaphors such as “I’m warming up to her.”

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Claudia M. Reder's comment, May 19, 2013 8:28 PM
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2011/11/04/a-brief-guide-to-embodied-cognition-why-you-are-not-your-brain/
Alexander Vorobiev-Char's curator insight, February 4, 2014 2:14 AM

Соответствуют ли Ваши мысли возможностям Вашего тела? Что из них первично?

Eli Levine's comment, February 4, 2014 9:35 AM
This sounds like an analogy to a government sitting within a society. For example, while a government does technically control the body society through the production of laws (to a limited extent), the body society also influences and effects the government (brain) to produce different results. This is how government can be working independently of (and sometimes, contrary to) the rest of society, just as the society can also work independently of (and, sometimes, when the government isn't being cooperative with society's needs) contrary to the government.<br><br>Thanks for this! :)
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If Your Brain Is A Quantum Computer, Can It Connect You To The World?

If Your Brain Is A Quantum Computer,  Can It Connect You To The World? | Consciousness | Scoop.it
I'd like you to consider the possibility that nature embodies within herself a kind of Internet, and that through our brain we might be able to communicate with it.


Systems philosopher Ervin Laszlo asks, If Your Brain Is A Quantum Computer, Can It Connect You To The World? In it, he poses a quantum idea of knowing:


Not only are the neurons of our brain thoroughly entangled with each other–so that they can assemble and then process information with lightning speed–they are also entangled with the world beyond our brain. The logical conclusion is that the bulk of the information picked up and processed by the brain is not stored within the brain; it’s stored in the vast information field that embeds the brain.

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A simple proof that consciousness is necessary

A simple proof that consciousness is necessary | Consciousness | Scoop.it

If a conscious automaton discussing consciousness is impossible, then consciousness must exist. In syllogistic terms, we say that “If there is no consciousness, there will be no discussion of consciousness,” and conclude with modus tollens that since there is discussion of consciousness, there is consciousness.” Je pense, donc je pense.


You might object that automatons can be designed to talk about consciousness. This is true, but the designing can only be done by someone who knows the experience of consciousness. If this is another automaton, the question is begged who designed this automaton, and so on. No one likes an infinite regress. It cannot be automatons all the way down. There must be the experience of consciousness at the bottom.


Via Zeteticus
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Quantum Consciousness: Our Evolution, Our Salvation

Quantum Consciousness: Our Evolution, Our Salvation | Consciousness | Scoop.it

The Indian sage Sri Aurobindo spoke of the emergence of superconsciousness in ever more people, and this, he said, is the harbinger of the next evolution of human consciousness. In a similar vein, the Swiss philosopher Jean Gebser spoke of the coming of four-dimensional integral consciousness, rising from the prior stages of archaic, magical and mythical consciousness. The Canadian mystic Richard Bucke called the new consciousness “cosmic,” and in the colorful spiral dynamics developed by Chris Cowan and Don Beck, it’s the turquoise stage of collective individualism, cosmic spirituality and Earth changes. For philosopher Ken Wilber, these developments signify an evolutionary transition from the mental consciousness characteristic of both animals and humans, to subtle consciousness, which is archetypal, transindividual and intuitive, to causal consciousness, and then, ultimately, to “consciousness as such.”

 

Psychiatrist Stanislav Grof summed up the characteristics of the emerging consciousness as “transpersonal.”

 

There is remarkable agreement among these visionary concepts. Superconsciousness, integral consciousness, cosmic consciousness, turquoise-stage consciousness, and consciousness as such are all forms of consciousness that transcend the divide between you and me, the individual and the world, the human being and nature. If these thinkers are right, this kind of consciousness will be the next stage in the evolution of the consciousness of our species.

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Science Weekly podcast: Can science ever explain consciousness?

Science Weekly podcast: Can science ever explain consciousness? | Consciousness | Scoop.it
Three leading researchers and thinkers on consciousness discuss the emerging scientific understanding of this mysterious human faculty...
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What is medical materialism?

The concept of "medical materialism," so well described by William James in his Varieties of Religious Experience, is just one more form of reductionism that is sometimes applied to matters of religion. For our purposes here, we will define "reductionism" as any attempt to explain the greater in terms of the lesser, that is, any attempt to explain something large and deep and complex in terms of categories drawn from something simpler and smaller and easier to understand.

 

Reductionistic explanations do appeal to some people because they make something complex seem as if it can be understood in terms of something smaller and simpler to grasp. If we want to belittle the love that exists between two people and say that it's really nothing special, we might say that their "love" is nothing more than the actions resulting from hormones acting on their brains; or that their happy marriage is nothing but a mutually selfish relationship of economic convenience for both of them. What this does is attempt to reduce (hence the term "reductionism") the significance and meaning of something by ascribing it to more trivial causes. It is trying to explain the greater in terms of the lesser.

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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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Consciousness: The Black Hole of Neuroscience

Consciousness: The Black Hole of Neuroscience | Consciousness | Scoop.it

"The simplest description of a black hole is a region of space-time from which no light is reflected and nothing escapes. The simplest description of consciousness is a mind that absorbs many things and attends to a few of them. Neither of these concepts can be captured quantitatively. Together they suggest the appealing possibility that endlessness surrounds us and infinity is within."

 

Think Tank | Big Think

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Consciousness - Wikipedia

Consciousness - Wikipedia | Consciousness | Scoop.it

"Philosophers since the time of Descartes and Locke have struggled to comprehend the nature of consciousness and pin down its essential properties. Issues of concern in the philosophy of consciousness include whether the concept is fundamentally valid; whether consciousness can ever be explained mechanistically; whether non-human consciousness exists and if so how it can be recognized; how consciousness relates to language; and whether it may ever be possible for computers or robots to be conscious. Perhaps the thorniest issue is whether consciousness can be understood in a way that does not require a dualistic distinction between mental and physical states or properties."

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Waking from the Meme Dream

We are in charge of our bodies, we run the show, we decide which ideas to believe in and which to reject. But do we really? If you begin to think about selfish memes it becomes clear that our ideas are in our heads because they are successful memes. American philosopher Dan Dennett (1995) concludes that a "person" is a particular sort of animal infested with memes. In other words you and I and all our friends are the products of two blind replicators, the genes and the memes.

(...)

This simple logic explains why it is so hard for us to sit down and "not think"; why the battle to subdue "our" thoughts is doomed. In a very real sense they are not "our" thoughts at all. They are simply the memes that happen to be successfully exploiting our brain-ware at the moment.

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Micki Pacific's curator insight, March 5, 2013 7:59 AM

Since he first suggested the idea of memes Dawkins has discussed the spread of such behaviours as wearing baseball caps back to front (my kids have recently turned theirs the right way round again!), the use of special clothing markers to identify gangs, and (most famously) the power of religions. Religions are, according to Dawkins (1993), huge co-adapted meme-complexes; that is groups of memes that hang around together for mutual support and thereby survive better than lone memes could do. Other meme-complexes include cults, political systems, alternative belief systems, and scientific theories and paradigms.

Religions are special because they use just about every meme-trick in the book (which is presumably why they last so long and infect so many brains). Think of it this way. The idea of hell is initially useful because the fear of hell reinforces socially desirable behaviour. Now add the idea that unbelievers go to hell, and the meme and any companions are well protected. The idea of God is a natural companion meme, assuaging fear and providing (spurious) comfort. The spread of the meme-complex is aided by exhortations to convert others and by tricks such as the celibate priesthood. Celibacy is a disaster for genes, but will help spread memes since a celibate priest has more time to spend promoting his faith.

Another trick is to value faith and suppress the doubt that leads every child to ask difficult questions like "where is hell?" and "If God is so good why did those people get tortured?". Note that science (and some forms of Buddhism) do the opposite and encourage doubt.

Finally, once you’ve been infected with these meme-complexes they are hard to get rid of. If you try to throw them out, some even protect themselves with last-ditch threats of death, ex-communication, or burning in hell-fire for eternity.

I shouldn’t get carried away. The point I want to make is that these religious memes have not survived for centuries because they are true, because they are useful to the genes, or because they make us happy. In fact I think they are false and are responsible for the worst miseries in human history. No - they have survived because they are selfish memes and are good at surviving - they need no other reason.

Once you start to think this way a truly frightening prospect opens up. We have all become used to thinking of our bodies as biological organisms created by evolution. Yet we still like to think of our selves as something more. We are in charge of our bodies, we run the show, we decide which ideas to believe in and which to reject. But do we really? If you begin to think about selfish memes it becomes clear that our ideas are in our heads because they are successful memes. American philosopher Dan Dennett (1995) concludes that a "person" is a particular sort of animal infested with memes. In other words you and I and all our friends are the products of two blind replicators, the genes and the memes.

I find these ideas absolutely stunning. Potentially we might be able to understand all of mental life in terms of the competition between memes, just as we can understand all biological life in terms of the competition between genes.

What I want to do now, finally, is apply the ideas of memetics to the questions I asked at the beginning. What are we waking up from and how do we do it?

 
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Soul Spelunker: A Critique of Rugged Individualism

Soul Spelunker: A Critique of Rugged Individualism | Consciousness | Scoop.it

We carry multiple Beings in our Souls because we carry each other and the world. The archetypes are all of us, all the myriad types and styles of Beings that compose our world, human and non-human. We really are the world and the world is us. The idea that we must integrate into a central and strictly human Self seems to be a desire to retain the Western sense of individuality and Ego, and the attitude of superiority of human over non-human.


The sense of individuality we possess makes us susceptible to denying the sense of self to non-human beings:


For individuals in industrialized society, the sense of self is felt to be and understood to exist within the confines of that person. Further, the only beings that are assumed to possess this sort of subjectivity are humans; other beings, lacking this subjectivity, become an other and as such, are of lesser value. Moreover, any point of view which does understand nonhuman beings as possessing an individual self charged with spirit, soul and intelligence is dismissively accused of animism or of anthropomorphizing the outer world. Animism is defined by Freud as nothing but the projection of primitive man’s emotional impulses. As a result of that sweeping assumption, the whole of the highly complex, sensuous and intelligent natural world is reduced to mindless things, blank screens. But by declaring ourselves the only beings with intelligence and a sense of self, we have, in many ways, placed ourselves in a vulnerable position (Rocky Greene, What does the Individuation Process have to do with the Earth?).

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The Principles of Universal Spirituality

The Principles of Universal Spirituality | Consciousness | Scoop.it

“Once called the “religion of healthy-mindedness” by the philosopher, William James, the New Thought movement was born almost 150 years ago as a revolt against the negative dogmas so prevalent in the churches of that day. The early New Thought movement was driven by the discovery that physical healing was possible through the power of mind and spiritual awareness. As that initial idea unfolded into successful application, practitioners of New Thought began to see that the power of an uplifted consciousness could also bring healing to negative circumstances and conditions in one’s personal life. As it evolves today, twenty-first century New Thought is driven by a far broader intention. Planetary healing through self-realization is emerging as the new promise of these teachings.”

 

The Principles of Universal Spirituality

There is one infinite, all-inclusive, creative, living Intelligence beyond and within the universe.Whether we call it God, Brahman, Allah, Spirit, or some other name, It is the Great All in which all things exist and of which all things have been made.

 

Our essential nature is spiritual. We are spiritual beings having a human experience, and as spiritual beings, we share in God’s essential nature.

 

We have a creative relationship with our experience of life. The spiritual universe operates according to spiritual laws, which allows us to co-create our life experience consciously. Through right alignment with spiritual law and conscious contact with the Creative Intelligence within, we can achieve happiness and fulfillment.

 

Life is a spiritual journey toward an awareness of the true source of our being. The ultimate destiny of every individual soul is to awaken to the true source of its being–God Itself.”

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self-remembering

self-remembering | Consciousness | Scoop.it

“Your principal mistake consists in thinking that you always have consciousness, and in general, either that consciousness is always present or that it is never present. In reality consciousness is a property which is continually changing. Now it is present, now it is not present. And there are different degrees and different levels of consciousness. Both consciousness and the different degrees of consciousness must be understood in oneself by sensation, by taste. No definitions can help you in this case and no definitions are possible so long as you do not understand what you have to define. And science and philosophy cannot define consciousness because they want to define it where it does not exist. It is necessary to distinguish consciousness from the possibility of consciousness. We have only the possibility of consciousness and rare flashes of it. Therefore we cannot define what consciousness is.”

 

- G.I. Gurdjieff

 

shared on subrealism blogspot.

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Neuroscience and philosophy must work together

Neuroscience and philosophy must work together | Consciousness | Scoop.it

To a large extent consciousness has been dethroned from the central role it used to occupy in the study of our mental lives. Freud persuaded us that there is more going on mentally than we are consciously aware of, and that sometimes others can know more about what we are thinking and feeling than we do. Now we are also learning more and more from neuroscience and neurobiology about how much of what we do is the result of unconscious processes and mechanisms. And we are discovering that there are different levels of consciousness, different kinds of awareness, and that much of our thinking and decision-making can go on without it. So a more pressing question might be, what is consciousness for? Is it just a mere mental accompaniment to what is going to happen anyway? In that case it may be our sense of self and self-control that is most in need of revision.

 

by Barry Smith

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Are You Living in a Simulation?

"A common assumption in the philosophy of mind is that of substrate-independence. The idea is that mental states can supervene on any of a broad class of physical substrates. Provided a system implements the right sort of computational structures and processes, it can be associated with conscious experiences. It is not an essential property of consciousness that it is implemented on carbon-based biological neural networks inside a cranium: silicon-based processors inside a computer could in principle do the trick as well."

 

by Nick Bostrom

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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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Philosophical zombie - Lesswrongwiki

"A philosophical zombie or p-zombie is a hypothetical entity that looks and behaves exactly like a human (often stipulated to be atom-by-atom identical to a human) but is not actually conscious. A p-zombie is as likely as anyone else to ask, "When I see red, do I see the same color that you see when you see red?" but they have no real experience of the color red; the zombie's speech can be explained purely in mechanistic terms. The zombie thought experiment is purported to show that consciousness cannot be reduced to merely physical things: our universe is purported to perhaps have special "bridging laws" which evoke a mind into existence when there are atoms in a suitable brain-like configuration."

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