Author Topic: Consciousness  (Read 693 times)

Inlustratus

Consciousness
« on: March 28, 2019, 06:55:29 pm »
Why? How? Let's hear it.
*scary satanic text*

idgo

Re: Consciousness
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2019, 09:42:11 pm »
All I can say for certain about "consciousness" is that it's a word. It's a word for a loosely related group of ideas about why people think and feel that they think and feel.

We can use other, more specific sets of words to think and feel that we're talking about exactly the same idea, despite the fact that we have no way to conclusively prove whether any two people are truly "thinking the same thing".

This is a problem intrinsic to all communication, but it has different degrees of impact at different levels of thought. Topics like mathematics tend to play in the shallow end of this ambiguity, by setting hideously many ground rules about how each term must be defined in its local usage. Unfortunately, disciplines like psychology and philosophy -- really most places where "consciousness" is discussed -- tend to fall at the opposite extreme. If you pinned down every term in such a discussion, you could get a conclusive answer, but that answer would necessarily only apply to the tiny part of human experience for which the prior definitions you'd chosen held true.

Onyx

Re: Consciousness
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2019, 08:18:48 pm »
I featured this thread on the main site because as simple as the questions are, it seems unlikely that the responses will be. When it comes to this sort of stuff it is difficult to for me to formulate complete opinions, but I'll throw out a few random thoughts.

I might define consciousness as the actual experience of a steady stream of information flow. But does the consciousness equate to the mind?

The idea of cybernetics is that of a feedback loop between man and machine, the interaction causing mutual changes in both. Is the "mind" really confined to the carnal brain? A modern computer might be considered a mature remanifestation of a simple abacus. We often find our own inventions to be our best instructors and sources of inspiration. Therefore while progress is being made by neuroscience toward understanding the role of the brain in all of this, what actually constitutes a "mind" seems rather intractable to define.

As to the "why", theories abound. Conventional religions teach that through good behavior and submission, there is a sporting chance to achieve nirvana or enter through the pearly gates. The alternative is to be sent to the principal's office or detention after school. By contrast, auto-theism is about sitting upon one's own throne of consciousness versus kneeling before that of another.

« Last Edit: April 04, 2019, 08:28:52 pm by Onyx »

Etu Malku

Re: Consciousness
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2019, 11:27:20 pm »
Consciousness simply is the awareness of the objective universe through one or more of the senses.  :huh:
IAMTHATIAMNOT

Xepera maSet

  • O.S. Co-founder | OSM Founder
  • Administrator
  • *
  • Posts: 2272
  • Total likes: 2288
  • 𓆣𓏏𓏛𓀺𓏇𓃩 𓐣𓂛𓁵𓆖
    • View Profile
    • My Book on Setianism
Re: Consciousness
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2019, 11:56:17 pm »
Say "I exist". That I is your consciousness, part of your mind and part of or identical to your soul. It IS you, at least the aware part. So consciousness can also be understood as awareness, experience.

I think consciousness is fundamental, one this either to arise from chaos or possibly the ground of all reality.

"Do not try to make the sun rise by self-sacrifice,  but wait in confidence for the dawn, and enjoy the pleasure of the night."
- Crowley

Liu

Re: Consciousness
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2019, 05:53:44 am »
Consciousness is awareness/subjectivity, i.e. that what experiences the thoughts and perceptions of a given mind.

It's distinct from both the content of the mind and from the objective universe.

I assume it is a fundamental part of existence and at least potentially in everything.

It influences the content of the mind at least in so far as the mind can contain thoughts about the existence of consciousness (else we couldn't have discussions like this).
« Last Edit: April 05, 2019, 06:00:25 am by Liu »

Xepera maSet

  • O.S. Co-founder | OSM Founder
  • Administrator
  • *
  • Posts: 2272
  • Total likes: 2288
  • 𓆣𓏏𓏛𓀺𓏇𓃩 𓐣𓂛𓁵𓆖
    • View Profile
    • My Book on Setianism
Re: Consciousness
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2019, 02:08:08 pm »
Yes, I realize now mind can't be consciousness. It includes the unconscious. I think consciousness may be the soul, and subconsciousness they body.

"Do not try to make the sun rise by self-sacrifice,  but wait in confidence for the dawn, and enjoy the pleasure of the night."
- Crowley

idgo

Re: Consciousness
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2019, 02:10:38 am »
Say "I exist". That I is your consciousness, part of your mind and part of or identical to your soul. It IS you, at least the aware part. So consciousness can also be understood as awareness, experience.

Code: [Select]
user@host$ echo "I exist"
I exist

My computer just said "I exist", because I told it to!

If my saying "I exist" because you told me to proves that I have consciousness, then my computer has exactly the same amount of consciousness!

Considering that my computer does not appear to experience pain or love or memory or aspiration in the ways that most users of the word "consciousness" would expect a conscious entity to do, I would contend that your definition is more tightly constrained than would be broadly useful in discussing the human experience.

Inlustratus

Re: Consciousness
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2019, 12:50:52 pm »
If my saying "I exist" because you told me to proves that I have consciousness, then my computer has exactly the same amount of consciousness!

Technology really is amazing!

If we're going to go with "I exist" thing, just saying it is far from understanding and meaning it. If your computer turned it self on and said "I exist" without anyone's input that would maybe be consciousness.
*scary satanic text*

Xepera maSet

  • O.S. Co-founder | OSM Founder
  • Administrator
  • *
  • Posts: 2272
  • Total likes: 2288
  • 𓆣𓏏𓏛𓀺𓏇𓃩 𓐣𓂛𓁵𓆖
    • View Profile
    • My Book on Setianism
Re: Consciousness
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2019, 02:38:04 pm »
I mean your computer does it exist, so if it can indeed recognize its existence then yeah, that shows it has consciousness. I feel like that's what AI is.

"Do not try to make the sun rise by self-sacrifice,  but wait in confidence for the dawn, and enjoy the pleasure of the night."
- Crowley

idgo

Re: Consciousness
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2019, 05:10:49 pm »
My relationship with philosophy is such that I place greater value on insights which change the world, and less value on insights whose addition makes no perceptible change in or improvement to our behavior or reasoning. For instance, whether scurvy is caused by the presence of contaminants in food or the absence of certain nutrients in it is an immensely useful question to answer by this standard.

Unfortunately, redefining the term "is conscious" to mean "exists and can transfer knowledge of its existence to a given human mind" seems relatively useless by that standard. Perhaps such a definition would be handy in differentiating between things which we can infer to exist but cannot directly perceive, versus those we can perceive.  A stranger with whom I share no languages in common, who says "I exist" in a tongue I cannot comprehend, is less "conscious" by this rubric than the laptop computer reciting a string of characters on command.

Xepera, could you help me understand how you find this definition of "consciousness" to be more useful or more actionable than its alternatives?

Liu

Re: Consciousness
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2019, 06:17:03 pm »
I would argue that it's impossible to prove to anyone else that one is conscious.

One can only know it about oneself, based on one having subjective experiences. Everyone else might be an illusion or a robot.

Frater Sisyphus

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 131
  • Total likes: 137
  • Buddhislamic/Hinduislamic Occultist and anarchist
    • View Profile
Re: Consciousness
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2019, 04:44:24 am »
Why? How? Let's hear it.

I think mind itself is the thinnest stalk from the tree of which all phenomena arises. Nowadays we tend to throw around the word "Consciousness" to de-personalize whatever the thing itself is ("God", "Brahman", "Nibbana", literally whatever you term it).
I tend to think that "consciousness" is only in all actuality, a manifest aspect of the thing which all manifest existence is from and of, but which in itself is beyond. To call it consciousness is to more say that we understand that consciousness itself is our connection to it because we are direct incarnations of it, living in meat suits.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2019, 04:46:00 am by Frater Sisyphus »
"It is a lie, this folly against self."

Km Anu

Re: Consciousness
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2019, 08:58:27 am »
I'm going to refer to the Wikipedia definition of consciousness because for reasons yet to be stated, it doesn't matter what definition is used. I'm also going to address some points presented thus far, and throw my opinion into the mix in a more serious way than I usually do.

From Wikipedia,
"Consciousness is the state or quality of sentience or awareness of internal or external existence.[1][2] It has been defined variously in terms of qualia, subjectivity, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood or soul, the fact that there is something 'that it is like' to 'have' or 'be' it, and the executive control system of the mind.[3] Despite the difficulty in definition, many philosophers believe that there is a broadly shared underlying intuition about what consciousness is.[4] According to Max Velmans and Susan Schneider, "Anything that we are aware of at a given moment forms part of our consciousness, making conscious experience at once the most familiar and most mysterious aspect of our lives."?"

I'm going to use the some concepts I perceived to be key. Experience, "Wakefulness", a sense of "Selfhood" (soul), and executive control of the mind.

We can see by many of the "Qualities" that consciousness apparently is constructed of than the concept itself is subjective. In fact, in many of the systems that many of us study consciousness is fragmented and expressed as an aspect of humanity that can changed depending on who's talking. Christian consciousness is a different explanatory model than atheistic consciousness. This has less to do with religion and more to do with ego, IMO.

I change divisions within myself. At times I consider consciousness to be a biological necessity for existence, "Consciousness is my existent self." If I am going to do something with my consciousness, like turn it in to consider itself, it requires division for comprehension. An aspect of consciousness itself is its adaptability in conformity with will, meaning we can make whatever divisions we want so long as they accurately express what we feel it is. Here is what I refer to most frequently. (I'm not citing it because its a Frankenstein belief born basically of something I lack the words for. Faith?)

-In order to express Will, a being must be able to hold a continuous form in THREE realms of theoretical existence, perhaps more if we choose to sub-categorize them. For now we will use MIND, BODY, and SPIRIT.

-Without consciousness there is no will. Actuation is an emergent property born from subjective interactions on all three planes. While all three of these planes are populated, consciousness is a pre-requisite to exist within all three. For example, a written sentence, "I AM" Has both MIND and BODY existence (material and conceptual) but lack a spirit (which we will get into in a moment.)

-MIND, BODY, and SPIRIT manifest consciousness via their interactions. Here MIND represents thought, BODY the material aspects of humanity, and SPIRIT as non-transcendent ego (Who you are right now.) Ego itself is complex, perhaps the dividing mechanism and is manifest through choice as SPIRIT. I don't have the words to explain the interactions (which is why I draw so often) but imagine that everything in the Objective universe (all that you are not that has physical form) was represented by several dots(MIND. This is conceptualization by considering shapes for things and not names for things.) In fact everywhere you see a new thing you add a new dot by recreating the thing or representing it with thought. We gain awareness of these dots through our BODY. Then, we draw lines between them with SPIRIT. Which lines we draw depends on how like another thing we see perceive the thing to be. Like how we use  the color blue to describe sadness, or how if I say "Good one," after you tell a joke you don't think I'm a crazy person. There are a lot of ways we draw these lines, but lets call the pattern they manifest by connecting the thoughts EGO. This pattern doesn't change much, the reason you can retain your identity (although it does change, and its not hard to change it. Being open minded.) Consciousness would be AWARENESS (not perception/ direct experience) of the things, the dots, the lines, and that there actually IS a pattern. I AM. An understanding of the mechanisms involved in structuring this awareness is not required, but useful.

So I hope now I don't sound like a loon stating "Consciousness is the pattern of me."

I just want to add really quickly that this is only a metaphor. Also that I did not mean to imply that ego is fixed, its probably the most malleable of the three aspects simply because it is a necessary illusion to maintain Will.

All I can say for certain about "consciousness" is that it's a word. It's a word for a loosely related group of ideas about why people think and feel that they think and feel.

We can use other, more specific sets of words to think and feel that we're talking about exactly the same idea, despite the fact that we have no way to conclusively prove whether any two people are truly "thinking the same thing".

This is a problem intrinsic to all communication, but it has different degrees of impact at different levels of thought. Topics like mathematics tend to play in the shallow end of this ambiguity, by setting hideously many ground rules about how each term must be defined in its local usage. Unfortunately, disciplines like psychology and philosophy -- really most places where "consciousness" is discussed -- tend to fall at the opposite extreme. If you pinned down every term in such a discussion, you could get a conclusive answer, but that answer would necessarily only apply to the tiny part of human experience for which the prior definitions you'd chosen held true.

Correct me if I misunderstand, but it sounds as if in your first statement consciousness is a word for which many people hold different symbols, but manifests as a tool to link experiences.

I believe than it is very possible to use language to determine if someone else holds consciousness as a core concept that resembles your own, but to discuss it with someone that did not share your views the consciousness itself would need to be re-structured, or at least the foremost parts of it. No explanations do the concept justice, and by time someone is done presenting associated concepts they've presented so many conflicting or subjective ideals that the message is not received as it should be. I almost regret my definition, I would prefer something more vague.   

It seems that subjective consensus itself is an impossible goal to achieve with our current spoken language. We experience in more than just sounds, and sharing those experiences in only one form (or sometimes two or three abstractions removed) can suck. Almost no-one grows up in LHP, most of us had to be open minded enough to see past the herd, and determined enough to re-translate esoteric texts SEVERAL times in our SU to better understand the concepts. What I got from that last bit is that "Who we are masks who we may become," And I share that belief.

I featured this thread on the main site because as simple as the questions are, it seems unlikely that the responses will be. When it comes to this sort of stuff it is difficult to for me to formulate complete opinions, but I'll throw out a few random thoughts.

I might define consciousness as the actual experience of a steady stream of information flow. But does the consciousness equate to the mind?

The idea of cybernetics is that of a feedback loop between man and machine, the interaction causing mutual changes in both. Is the "mind" really confined to the carnal brain? A modern computer might be considered a mature remanifestation of a simple abacus. We often find our own inventions to be our best instructors and sources of inspiration. Therefore while progress is being made by neuroscience toward understanding the role of the brain in all of this, what actually constitutes a "mind" seems rather intractable to define.

As to the "why", theories abound. Conventional religions teach that through good behavior and submission, there is a sporting chance to achieve nirvana or enter through the pearly gates. The alternative is to be sent to the principal's office or detention after school. By contrast, auto-theism is about sitting upon one's own throne of consciousness versus kneeling before that of another.



I would agree with that definition 100%, only adding the ability to recall and reconsider consciousness' own previous states of existence in the person's memory, or the ability to "View and re-express itself."

I really like that metaphor for expressing a similar conceptual consciousness within the realm of mind and watching its material growth through improvement, re-expression, and reconsideration.

I don't feel a good WHY here, just a HOW do we use it, but yeah you're 100% correct. These don't explain why it is there, but do explain why our patterns are so vastly different. Because we are all different, in both mind and body.

Consciousness simply is the awareness of the objective universe through one or more of the senses.  :huh:

That sounds more like EXPERIENCE Etu, which is fine really. Without experience/ stimuli there is no consciousness


Say "I exist". That I is your consciousness, part of your mind and part of or identical to your soul. It IS you, at least the aware part. So consciousness can also be understood as awareness, experience.

I think consciousness is fundamental, one this either to arise from chaos or possibly the ground of all reality.


I don't think this proves the existence of consciousness. Not because something I have deemed to lack consciousness can replicate it, but because even those without an awareness of their conscious experiences can express this. For example if I'm black out drunk and say 'I exist' and forget the next day, my consciousness was not expressed. I would not have the ability to review that particular state of consciousness and re-express it in my SU. But I know that isn't what you were going for. You're highlighting that very ideal, and stating it in few words. I know I exist, therefore my consciousness has the ability to review itself. This exercise is a very simple and effective means of verifying consciousness to itself.

And I also believe consciousness to be a fundamental aspect, just not one you're born with. I think all LIVING things have the capacity for consciousness, but consciousness cannot be expressed without base associations. The awareness of "Yo I am," is the initial actualization of that consciousness. IMO this happens to must of us between 2-5, later in some.

Consciousness is awareness/subjectivity, i.e. that what experiences the thoughts and perceptions of a given mind.

It's distinct from both the content of the mind and from the objective universe.

I assume it is a fundamental part of existence and at least potentially in everything.

It influences the content of the mind at least in so far as the mind can contain thoughts about the existence of consciousness (else we couldn't have discussions like this).

I agree with all, except the bit about distinction. The contents of my mind are both purely conscious and purely not at varying degrees through time. One of those things that can only be expressed dualistically.

Liu

Re: Consciousness
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2019, 05:20:04 pm »
I don't fully understand the difference between mind and spirit in your system. They to me seem like two parts of what I'd call mind.

Also, when I talk about consciousness I only mean a part of what you seem to be referring to (the other part being mind - that's what one is conscious of, and being conscious has an influence on mind, but it isn't mind).
Therefore I do think that definitions are important here even if they are imperfect.
Quote
For example if I'm black out drunk and say 'I exist' and forget the next day, my consciousness was not expressed. I would not have the ability to review that particular state of consciousness and re-express it in my SU.
Here it very much shows that you have a different thing in mind when you refer to consciousness.
I would say that one's consciousness was present - even if one's mind was not working properly.
Quote
I'm going to use the some concepts I perceived to be key. Experience, "Wakefulness", a sense of "Selfhood" (soul), and executive control of the mind.
Selfhood, yes. Wakefulness - I think so. But executive control of the mind? Not convinced. I used to be convinced that consciousness is purely a passive spectator of mind, influencing it only by its presence, but considering that "I" identify with my consciousness, but that identifying is a form of thinking and can therefore only be done by the mind, I'm not that sure about the exact relationship between mind and consciousness anymore.