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Where does consciousness come from?
Posted 8/23/14 , edited 8/23/14

crazykl45 wrote:


themeliorist wrote:

I don't think consciousness is spontaneously created. I think it is slowly developed as the brain and sensory organs develop.

If you get hit in the head the right way you're not you anymore. Same if you suffer late stage Alzheimer's. Everything about the mind has a physical basis, or else injury and disease would not affect it. If it were entirely non-physical (like, say, a ghost) then it would not be able to interact with your physical body and pilot it. Memories are the result of physical structures in your noggin, which is why they can be destroyed. This is why I find the idea of "remembering past lives" absurd: even if, and I'm being very generous here, you are reincarnated as a different person, your new brain doesn't have the neurons and synapses your old one did, so none of the memories of your past life could be encoded there.

I don't see any reason to think that consciousness is more than the sum of its parts. It's a very useful evolutionary trait. And it's not unique to us.

I agree with the points you make about consciousness arising from physical structures, but I think it's a bit of a stretch to assume consciousness is a straightly linear, "sum of it's parts" type construct. If it were like that, then why can't we create consciousness or "repair" people's consciousness when they suffer brain damage? Is it a simple case of people not studying/trying to these things?


Our understanding of the brain is rudimentary at best. Though I do wonder if the mind is entirely physical, as natural as it sounds. I find some cases of reincarnation, like Shanti Devi, hard to explain.
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Posted 8/23/14 , edited 8/23/14

PeripheralVisionary wrote:
Our understanding of the brain is rudimentary at best. Though I do wonder if the mind is entirely physical, as natural as it sounds. I find some cases of reincarnation, like Shanti Devi, hard to explain.

With a rudimentary understanding, it gets tough to make claims like consciousness is just the sum of it's parts then. I make that point because it's really hard to view the world as something we can describe in such a straightforward, linear fashion. That's the only piece I have a hard time believing. It's not like people haven't been researching and trying to research the brain and consciousness all this time after all.

I'm with themeliorist though on consciousness arising as a property of something special about the brain and the way it's designed and traceable to a physical, explainable thing. If it wasn't, it would be tough to explain why people can get brain damaged and lose so much function.


RedExodusHow would consciousness work in AI though, especially after their intelligence surpasses ours?

In AI, there's a famous paper from Alan Turing that almost tosses that question out the window. Instead he asks whether or not an AI can exhibit behavior indistinguishable from our own. The test is of course highly debated, but it at least rules out the ambiguity of the previous question.
Posted 8/24/14
It is a function of a mind. To be aware. When we die, we lose awareness of all things due to the death of the brain.
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Posted 8/31/14

Anticosm wrote:

It is a function of a mind. To be aware. When we die, we lose awareness of all things due to the death of the brain.


Nailed it.

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Posted 8/31/14
A small box kept next to the cat flap, at least I'm highly aware of it.
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Posted 9/17/14
From your brain. If we would not have this magnificent thing called the brain..... we would be dead. And when you're dead you can't have that thing called consciousness. It's all thanks to our brain.
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Posted 9/18/14
It comes from our cerebral cortex.
If you ever wondered why many people argue about consciousness in other animals other than mammals, birds and reptiles (the latter two whom have a homologus structure to the cerebral cortex), it's because of differences in nervous system structure.
That's why there's so much debate on whether fish and several invertebrates should be given protection under the law, because there's the issue of whether or not they can generate consciousness in another way.
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Posted 9/25/14 , edited 9/25/14
I believe the consciousness is built upon a reflection of our existence based on interactions with the environment.

For an example. If no one remembers you, no single animal or organism. Spiritually you never existed.
We need other's to remember and acknowledge us to feel fulfilled.
Part reason why we feel so emotionally distressed when a partner breaks ups with you. Because we are being forgotten.
Our existence just hit the erase button. Now that partner was just one person.
But they knew you the most. A great deal of your life was stored in their memories.

So a person who is more loved closely will easily let go.

The second part of the soul is remembering. You see if you don't remember your life. Technically your life didn't exist.
We live also to fill our soul with precious experiences with ourselves and others.

The way we reflect on all these emotions, experiences and connections. Light up and fire our soul.

If you were to lose your memory and became forgotten. Your soul would leave the universe. But as long as you remember or are remembered your soul lives on.

This is why social media and pictures of ourselves are so important to us.
They are like horcruxes. With every social media profile and every photo lies a part of our soul.


The greatest part of life however. Is when you have children and they have characteristics of you.
Colors of your soul will for ever live on in the life stream of your descendants. They may even pass down a horcrux.
An expensive Watch you used to own. With each passing down, a story is told and stored within the Watch.
Giving the watch history and stories.
Posted 9/29/14 , edited 9/29/14
Meiosis in our mother's uterus.
Posted 9/30/14 , edited 9/30/14

severticas wrote:

nobody knows and anyone who says they do is lying


I agree, the rest are just speculations since this is one of those questions with no answers like "who or what created the world?", "where do we go after death?" etc etc nobody knows a specific answer...only theories.

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Posted 10/6/14

Some people believe that when a baby is born they are a blank canvas. So they only become who they are through how they grow up and through every little thing that they experience and together they slowly tweak the said persons personality and also they way they see the world....
I agree partially with this however I believe that we are not born as completely blank canvasses. Yes everything that we experience daily shapes our personality and the way we perceive things however I think we all have a natural tendency towards thinking and behaving certain ways.
E.g having a natural tendency towards being a introvert rather that an extrovert.
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Posted 10/6/14

Teenytiger wrote:


Some people believe that when a baby is born they are a blank canvas. So they only become who they are through how they grow up and through every little thing that they experience and together they slowly tweak the said persons personality and also they way they see the world....
I agree partially with this however I believe that we are not born as completely blank canvasses. Yes everything that we experience daily shapes our personality and the way we perceive things however I think we all have a natural tendency towards thinking and behaving certain ways.
E.g having a natural tendency towards being a introvert rather that an extrovert.


For the sake of an easier shorthand in the future that's called tabula rasa, or "blank slate".
Posted 10/8/14

I believe we can think devoid of experience once our brains form, while we are still sleeping in our mother's womb. Throughout childhood and adolescence our brain grows more , our ability to think becomes better, unless one has early-onset dementia or schizophrenia, then it progressively degenerates instead, and in the former it will until it causes death. Brain development, coupled with life experiences at critical moments, makes us sentient and unique beings...

Posted 10/15/14 , edited 10/15/14

kirika202 wrote:


severticas wrote:

nobody knows and anyone who says they do is lying


I agree, the rest are just speculations since this is one of those questions with no answers like "who or what created the world?", "where do we go after death?" etc etc nobody knows a specific answer...only theories.



Indeed none know if consciousness lingers on after the biological facility is terminated. Thats where existential philosophy comes in.


BlueOni wrote:


Teenytiger wrote:


Some people believe that when a baby is born they are a blank canvas. So they only become who they are through how they grow up and through every little thing that they experience and together they slowly tweak the said persons personality and also they way they see the world....
I agree partially with this however I believe that we are not born as completely blank canvasses. Yes everything that we experience daily shapes our personality and the way we perceive things however I think we all have a natural tendency towards thinking and behaving certain ways.
E.g having a natural tendency towards being a introvert rather that an extrovert.


For the sake of an easier shorthand in the future that's called tabula rasa, or "blank slate".


It is good to see it explained for everyone else, though.




Valentina_Romanov wrote:



I believe we can think devoid of experience once our brains form, while we are still sleeping in our mother's womb. Throughout childhood and adolescence our brain grows more , our ability to think becomes better, unless one has early-onset dementia or schizophrenia, then it progressively degenerates instead, and in the former it will until it causes death. Brain development, coupled with life experiences at critical moments, makes us sentient and unique beings...



Hmm. A theory you have, my young padawan? Perhaps we had led different lives before we were born and are amnesiac, nobody knows.
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Posted 11/3/14 , edited 11/3/14

severticas wrote:

nobody knows and anyone who says they do is lying


Consciousness and being self aware are two different things.
Sub-conscious meaning a level of consciousness that is unperceived by our own mind.
Un-conscious meaning a lack of awareness and inability to use any of the 5 senses.

From those definitions I conclude that a consciousness is the combination of all five senses.
Is being aware of one's self, others and the surrounding environment.

As to where it comes from, it's simply the ability of the mind to interact with it's surroundings through the body.
Like windows in a dark room, our senses light up our mind and stimulate it. In return we react accordingly.
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