The common viewpoint and generally accepted definition of consciousness is “awareness of the self or I”. This concept of “I” makes most of the confusion related to consciousness. Honestly, I haven’t so far been able to understand, accept or deny, or define this phenomenon which even science has just started studying and philosophers have always found difficult to handle.

Is consciousness something which has not been already defined? Is it different from human behavioural traits like perception, value judgement, sociability, emotions, and morality etc.? In short does consciousness at all exist as a separate and unique phenomenon?

If yes, then where does it come from? Is it something innate to our brain or it comes from outside of our physical self? If intrinsically related to our brain as a physically caused phenomenon then consciousness really doesn’t deserve any privileged position vis a vis other behavioural traits.

If it is something external to brain (not necessarily supernatural) where is it from and what is its purpose? We know every organ in our body, including brain, is meant for some function. Can consciousness manifest without being physically caused and then overwhelm and become causal of brain’s functioning? If yes, how and where does it fit in the evolutionary process if at all?

One viewpoint is about epiphenomenalism of consciousness. That is it has no causal powers. If that be the case, why bother about it? Could it better be left aside as non-existent or decidedly given another name, say, perception – which we already know a lot about scientifically?

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Comment by Herbert Philip Peters on October 5, 2011 at 6:46am

What should this ‘consciousness’ do for us?

Super consciousness and superhuman beings?

The following is from a small booklet – The heaven of the heart.

“Escape from yourself and be free

“Are you afraid of the shadows that darken the path that you thread – the fears and the doubts that beset you when wondering what lies ahead? …

Remember they are noting but shadows and shadows are cast by the light – so cling to the hope that is in you, then all will be well and come right.

When thoughts of despair and self-pity shadowy ghosts haunt the mind – you live in perpetual twilight – no glimmer of pleasure you find. Walk straight through the cobwebs of worry. Just brush them aside and you’ll see – the things that you feared were but phantoms.. Escape from yourself and be free.”

Awareness of the self is awareness of our fears?

No, it is not just the fears: our habits, conditioning and culture.

  • Progress is achieved through paradigm shifts
  • Knowledge organization is achieved through paradigm shifts

 

Kuhn, Thomas (Samuel) - U.S. historian and philosopher of science.

Born July 18, 1922, Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S., died June 17, 1996, Cambridge, Mass.

He taught at Berkeley (1956–64), Princeton (1964–79), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1979–91). In his highly influential work The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), he questioned the previously accepted view of scientific progress as a gradual accumulation of knowledge based on universally valid experimental methods and results, claiming that progress was often achieved by far-reaching “paradigm shifts.” His other works include The Copernican Revolution (1957), The Essential Tension (1977), and Black-Body Theory and the Quantum Discontinuity (1978).

Paradigm shift is the background or context changing thru new values and interests

 

 

Comment by Herbert Philip Peters on October 4, 2011 at 5:09am

Understanding consciousness from exploitation and foolishness

“Fools are a gift of god, we should use them,” wrote Anu a nursing student.

When she was an 8th standard student, she went to play with a boy of 6th standard to another friend’s house, where there was a ferocious dog that had chased her on few occasions. So she gave the younger boy an advice, “If the dog comes, tell it: ‘Chapatti Board’, then it will go away”

When they started playing the owners of the house put the dog under a big basket. But after a while the dog let loose and started chasing Anu. The boy, like a hero, jumped in front of the dog and said the magic words. And the dog responded with a bite.

Priya’s friend Sophie, a beautiful plus 2 girl, was in love with an engineering student since many years. While her love continued with the engineering student, she started a new love with her classmate Kishore – Priya’s cousin.

“Why are you fooling Kishore?” Priya asked Sophie.

“What can I do, he is giving me sweets and gifts. If I don’t accept them he would be sad. But this way both of us are happy. So why is it wrong?” Sophie replied.

When men get married, they have lots of love and devotion to their wives and children:

Thomas  was an handicapped autodriver. He couldn’t walk as he had very short legs due to birth deformity. Being from a wealthy family, the parents purchased an auto for his son to earn a living. Then an attractive girl of their own church fell in love with him and both got married and lived very happy for about four years and had a son.

Out of love and trust, Kesav transferred his house and property to his beloved wife – Sallly.

Months later, sally was missing. Thomas came to know that she was living with another autodriver of the same auto stand, so he went there with his son and called her back.

She refused to go back with him.

The next day morning, Thomas left his son with his mother and went back to his home and hung himself.

When a child is born, parents are filled with hope and fantasies about how he is going to change them and their world. Like any other animal we too bestow all love and care for the helpless infant.

Before Thomas was born there must have been high hopes, but after birth it must have been such a painful experience. Still parents took care of him.

But it is only male instinct to become addicted to a beautiful woman.

And any type of addiction destroys health, relationships and wealth. And religion is definitely an addiction.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/03/aldo-bianchini-tears-eyes-...

Jesus said to Peter –the fisherman, “Come with me. You don’t have to catch fish any more. From now on you will catch men” 

Comment by R K Sudan on September 29, 2011 at 1:00am

COMMENTS on:

Understanding consciousness from its antonyms or opposites

By Herbert Peters

 

Understanding a phenomenon from its ‘opposite’ is a perfectly valid method. Science is working on models that take the course of tracking events backwards. The Big Bang model is being tested the similar way.

 

In reply to a comment on my original post “Of consciousness and confusion” I asked, what will happen if we hypothetically removed consciousness from human beings. Will they cease to exist as human beings in absence of consciousness? Of course, all my doubts and reservations on the subject remain while this ‘removal of consciousness’ cropped up as a vague idea.

 

My friend Herbert Peters seems to have independently given this idea a serious thought and come up with a caption as above. However, I’d stick to word ‘opposites’ leaving out ‘antonyms’ that sounds too literal.

 

Herbert has cited ‘Fainting’ and ‘Death’ as two examples of the processes involving temporary and permanent loss of consciousness. I’d like to take on the permanent part as it somehow appears to be approximately in consonance with my vague idea of removal of consciousness.

 

Death is more than a mere permanent loss of consciousness, I think. To understand death we take the help of its ‘opposite’ – life. Life starts with Germ-plasm (that abiogenetic jelly like globule of protoplasm called cell of life) but as we go up the evolutionary ladder from simple to complex, life starts developing somatic cells which carry the element of death in them. Somatic cells die but the germ (plasma) cells don’t. Death, therefore, is a failure of one or more of the organs having somatic genesis. Then a brain dead person is technically alive and so is the one in terminally deep coma. However, consciousness in both the cases is absent implying that permanent loss of consciousness is possible even without being dead.

 

Attention is another grey area in this matter. Herbert’s statement – it looks like that during unconsciousness, attention is disabled – appears to be true but its opposite is also true. Consider children quarrelling in your back room while you are busy with something else. Unless you are told about their fighting you may not even notice them shouting and crying. This implies that attention could be disabled even you are fully conscious. The ticking of the table clock by my bed side is noticed only during night when no other sound draws my attention. I’ll struggle to explain what I had for breakfast and that too only when you asked me about that, else that thing doesn’t appear to be in my consciousness.

 

 

 

Does this mean; a) something is not happening if I am not aware of that (children quarrelling). Where is my consciousness then in the first place which pops up suddenly when I am made aware of an event happening within my audible range? And, b) Am I doing many things automatically without being conscious of them (ref: Libet’s free will experimentation) like going through routines like having breakfast?

 

My idea is not semantics. What I am interested to know is how consciousness came into being and whether it directs human brain to do things in a particular way or this is purely a function of brain like cognition, perception, attention etc are.

Comment by Herbert Philip Peters on September 23, 2011 at 9:02pm

Consciousness is a super intelligence something like a parent within – God within or Immanuel?

One forenoon, I gave three sets of Xerox of a book ‘How we Reason’ for binding. Had lunch and went into a siesta. I woke up with the realization or thought that I had not given the content pages for binding. I had not taken copies of those pages. I hurried to a Xerox shop took those copies and gave it to the binder before he could start his work.

I am still puzzled by that dream. It was not something I kept pending and forgot. It was an error.  In such a long sequence of job I just missed it. Normally at the bank we have someone else to check another’s work to discover any errors.

In 1968, when I was doing my 10th social studies exam, I wanted to get up at 3:00. I told my mom to wake me up. The alarm of the clock was not working.

Then she woke me up, I thought and started my studying. About an hour later, she came and told me that she did not get up and told me that it must be Mother Mary of Fathima who woke me up. I felt and even now feel that a woman woke me up. That incidence made me visit – Fathima shrine more often. My faith increased. Now, as a rationalist; how do I explain that?

Mothers are known to have superpower to save a child in accidents or danger. There is something within us. How do we communicate with it?

Guru Nitya Chaithanya Yati told us this incidence:

Once guru went to meet Ramana Maharshi with a lot of questions and as usual he sat in front of Maharshi looking at Maharshi’s eyes. After a while he started getting answers to his questions. In excitement, guru went. How or where did the answers come?

Relaxation?

The Eureka Moment

We've all had sudden, smart insights. How do they arise?

And is there a way we can conjure them up at any time?

By Guenther Knoblich and Michael Oellinger  | October 4, 2006 | 1

Albert Einstein finally hit on the core idea underlying his famous theory of relativity one night after months of intense mathematical exercises. He had given himself a break from the work and let his imagination wander about the concepts of space and time.

Various images that came to mind prompted him to try a thought experiment: If two bolts of lightning struck the front and back of a moving train at the same time, would an observer standing beside the track and an observer standing on the moving train see the strikes as simultaneous? The answer, in short, was no. The floodgates in Einstein's mind opened, and he laid down an ingenious description of the universe. With his sudden insight, Einstein turned our conceptions of time and space inside out.

Certainly Einstein would not have reached his brilliant notion without his vast knowledge of physics and his ability to think clearly. But the decisive moment arose from his capacity to imagine physical reality from a perspective no one else had ever tried. Einstein was a master at restructuring problems.

So one of the aims of writing should be to give a different perspective – a different comparison.

Discovering comparison or perspective that produces clear understanding

 

This document is being filed within a folder ‘Problem Solving’ (intelligence) is it good classification? Please comment.

Yesterday, I created a shelf for History – comparing and charting the past to predict the future with biographies and autobiographies. Lot of comparison should follow or lot of learning or awareness should follow?              

 

Comment by Herbert Philip Peters on September 20, 2011 at 11:23am

- It has something to do with attention and controlling our attention?

- The opposite is an emotional state when a person does not know what he is doing.

- The drunken state is also not a conscious state. 

- Is it a division of memory: conscious and unconscious memory.

Quality or state of being aware.

As applied to the lower animals, consciousness refers to the capacity for sensation and, usually, simple volition. In higher animals, this capacity may also include thinking and emotion. In human beings, consciousness is understood to include “meta-awareness,” an awareness that one is aware. The term also refers broadly to the upper level of mental life of which the person is aware, as contrasted with unconscious processes. Levels of consciousness (e.g., attention vs. sleep) are correlated with patterns of electrical activity in the brain (brain waves). See also philosophy of mind.

From Britannica

 

Comment by Matthew Land on September 17, 2011 at 9:34pm

If you listen to what Sam Harris has to say about consciuosness, the ideal of self or "I" is just a biproduct of our subconscious mind making descisions.  He believes that the descision has already been made before our conscious self realizes it.  It is very hard concept for me to grasp throughly, but Harris does a really good job breaking it down into language I can understand. 

 

Great topic of discusion BTW.

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