Gees

Consciousness and Evolution

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12 hours ago, Gees said:

 Tar;

 

Good post. +1

 

 

Roamer;

You brought up some good points. Some of them were addressed in Tar's post, but others need to be addressed by me, so please consider the following:

 

Agreed. As far as we can tell, the simpler life forms have less conscious awareness than more complex life form, and this awareness seems to advance as life forms advance, and seems to be dependent upon the physical aspects of the life form -- specie. As stated before, awareness seems to be dependent upon physical matter in order to even exist. 

It must also be considered that all life forms are conscious to some degree, and as far as we know there is no consciousness that exists without life forms -- so the two do seem to be interrelated. This does not necessitate a causal relationship with regard to evolution, but it also does not exclude a causal relationship. More information is needed.

Everything that I have ever read about evolution in species states that the evolution caused the specie to advance or improve it's survival ability. This is where I see a connection between consciousness, species, and evolution -- in survival instincts. Instincts is a very controversial subject. I know this because I did a thread on it in another forum and was amazed at all of the different ideas that are called correctly, or incorrectly, instincts. I suspect that you are a science person, as you mentioned some of these ideas in your post, and they should be considered. While working in the Instincts thread,  I remember thinking that we need a person with the mental acuity of Einstein, but with the training in Biology, Neurology, Psychology, and Consciousness in  order to untangle that mess. For that reason, my thoughts in this thread are mostly related to survival instincts, because it is something that can be verified and known to be somewhat accurate.

I am tired now, so I will consider your other comments either tomorrow or the next day.

Welcome to the thread.

Gee

 

Gees,

I am not sure that consciousness can be found only in life forms.   For instance, now, with the internet of things, one can arrange various sensors together with weather reports, to turn on the sprinkler when it is not going to rain.  The system can "know" about the environment, be conscious of the environment, without human involvement, once the program is written and engaged, the system then operates not by schedule or momentum, but in response to the actual conditions present in the environment.   Not calling the internet of things a life form, but there are certain things about it, where it shows it is aware of what is going on.    The senses are there in the sensors.  The memory is there in the RAM and clip drive, and the brain is there in the processor and the algorithms.   What is missing is the emotion.  The system doesn't feel bad or good when it turns on the water.  It just turns it on.  And the action does not ensure or endanger its survival as a system.   So it is not alive, does not metabolize or reproduce or anything, but it does seem to have some of what we are calling awareness.

Perhaps the consciousness is the additional factor where there is a "feeling" associated with the awareness.  That it is good or bad.

Regards, TAR

Edited by tar

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22 minutes ago, tar said:

Gees,

I am not sure that consciousness can be found only in life forms.   For instance, now, with the internet of things, one can arrange various sensors together with weather reports, to turn on the sprinkler when it is not going to rain.  The system can "know" about the environment, be conscious of the environment, without human involvement, once the program is written and engaged, the system then operates not by schedule or momentum, but in response to the actual conditions present in the environment.   Not calling the internet of things a life form, but there are certain things about it, where it shows it is aware of what is going on.    The senses are there in the sensors.  The memory is there in the RAM and clip drive, and the brain is there in the processor and the algorithms.   What is missing is the emotion.  The system doesn't feel bad or good when it turns on the water.  It just turns it on.  And the action does not ensure or endanger its survival as a system.   So it is not alive, does not metabolize or reproduce or anything, but it does seem to have some of what we are calling awareness.

Perhaps the consciousness is the additional factor where there is a "feeling" associated with the awareness.  That it is good or bad.

Regards, TAR

In my opinion, consciousness can recollect things it has done in the past, sense affects of having done a thing, and decide to change its own behavior in the future to change those affects. This kind of behavior may not be sufficient for consciousness, but believe it is necessary.

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35 minutes ago, tar said:

Gees,

I am not sure that consciousness can be found only in life forms.   For instance, now, with the internet of things, one can arrange various sensors together with weather reports, to turn on the sprinkler when it is not going to rain.  The system can "know" about the environment, be conscious of the environment, without human involvement, once the program is written and engaged, the system then operates not by schedule or momentum, but in response to the actual conditions present in the environment.   Not calling the internet of things a life form, but there are certain things about it, where it shows it is aware of what is going on.    The senses are there in the sensors.  The memory is there in the RAM and clip drive, and the brain is there in the processor and the algorithms.   What is missing is the emotion.  The system doesn't feel bad or good when it turns on the water.  It just turns it on.  And the action does not ensure or endanger its survival as a system.   So it is not alive, does not metabolize or reproduce or anything, but it does seem to have some of what we are calling awareness.

Perhaps the consciousness is the additional factor where there is a "feeling" associated with the awareness.  That it is good or bad.

Regards, TAR

Consciousness is a system of sufficient complexity, of which our individual conscious, embodied in the data of the internet and its hardware may give rise to the emergence of another more omniscient form of consciousness by virtue of the fact that it has more inputs. If we think of emotions as drivers towards particular goals then, currently, that is what the internet is lacking to reach this new state... it doesn't have autonomous objectives. Whatever the overall pattern is of our combined behaviours on the internet will eventually be the identity or consciousness of the internet. We are the bees that make the hive but individually we don't proactively design it... it's just a consequence of combined behaviour. That's how emergence works.

Edited by StringJunky
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String Junky,

Another thread, but suppose we come up with a way to give the internet a way to feel good and bad.   Satisfied and hungry, so to speak. Give the internet the knowledge of good and evil.

Hum...

 

Regards, TAR

search and find,  with a motive and a reward...some analogy to our motivation reward complex with our serotonin norepinephrine dopamine complex...

itch and scratch

problem solution

 

partial/complete

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16 minutes ago, tar said:

String Junky,

Another thread, but suppose we come up with a way to give the internet a way to feel good and bad.   Satisfied and hungry, so to speak. Give the internet the knowledge of good and evil.

Hum...

 

Regards, TAR

The internet organism will probably develop a homeostatic mechanism to preserve the well-being of all its functional parts, just like our bodies do and cities do, countries do etc. The slightly ominous bit is that the whole may eventually  'act' in ways beyond our control.

Edited by StringJunky

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Yes, we might not want to give something as powerful and large as the internet, a chance to do anything on its own behalf.  It would then want things, and will things that might not be in our best interests, but in its best interests.  We would be giving it, by definition, a survival drive.  Could be at our survival's expense. 

Sorry for bringing it up.  

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We already have new consciousness emerging, it's in organisations and governments, the last could become/is becoming problematic to evolution.

Internet isn't "conscious" as it hardly acts as a single being, the individual users could be seen as an emotional sytem of the internet though.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Roamer said:

We already have new consciousness emerging, it's in organisations and governments, the last could become/is becoming problematic to evolution.

Internet isn't "conscious" as it hardly acts as a single being, the individual users could be seen as an emotional sytem of the internet though.

 

 

I said it could be in the future not that it is now. My comments really are just my attempts on trying to clarify for myself the idea of emergence. Biological systems hinge on it.

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44 minutes ago, Roamer said:

We already have new consciousness emerging, it's in organisations and governments, the last could become/is becoming problematic to evolution.

Internet isn't "conscious" as it hardly acts as a single being, the individual users could be seen as an emotional sytem of the internet though.

3

They're the same, in that neither are conscious, they are both systems that have a conscious user; like an ant colony seems to have a mind.

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3 hours ago, dimreepr said:

They're the same, in that neither are conscious, they are both systems that have a conscious user;

I do believe the govt of North-korea has a (single) user, however, most countries in the modern world are lead by a consensus coming from a complex of elected representatives, judges, treaties(in and outside of the country) and lobbies/vested interests.

Ants are led by their genetically imposed hierarchy, btw.

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2 minutes ago, Roamer said:

Ants are led by their genetically imposed hierarchy, btw.

 

aren't we all?

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2 hours ago, dimreepr said:

aren't we all?

Boom! </mic drop>

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Hikinmike;

Welcome to my thread, and welcome to the forum.

 

On ‎11‎/‎6‎/‎2017 at 0:46 PM, hikinmike said:

It appears this is one of those topics where we can become mired in definitions, semantics and phenomena that we can observe but perhaps not fully comprehend.  As a layman(sorry, layperson) I have only had time for intellectual excursions like this since retiring.  

 Well, I have been studying consciousness for five decades, although I did not call it that when I started out. As a teen, I questioned the "God" ideas, and looked to different religions, then in the 1960's, I looked into psychic phenomenon and realized that it had much in common with the religious ideas. After that I looked at ecosystems, homeostasis, the self-balancing nature of Nature, and Psychology, then threw in ideas from Science and Philosophy. Like you, it was not until retirement that I really got to study these ideas and the other ideas from Philosophy. What I found was that there are way too many theories of consciousness, but not one of them explained all of the truths that were in the assorted theories. That was the problem, each theory had some bits of truth that would conflict with other theories with some bits of truth. How is that possible? Conflicting truths can not be true.

Over the years, I developed an understanding of consciousness based upon these conflicting truths. I realized that water can cause a fire, as in barn fires, but can also put out a fire; water can be solid, liquid, or gas; water can drown me if there is too much, but I can not live without it. Conflicting truths. As my understanding developed, I realized that consciousness and water seem to share properties -- if one thinks of consciousness as a physical reality in our world. My conclusion was that what we call consciousness is way more complex than we realize, because like water, it can change with temperature, density, and whatever it is mixed with, but each theory was trying to reduce it to a concept that is more easily understood. So I decided that a new approach was necessary.

Instead of accepting the "God" ideas, brain ideas, or illusion/dream/holograph ideas, I decided to break down consciousness into it's components to study them individually. This led to the divisions of consciousness, the first being knowledge, thought, and memory, which is the static and private division; and the second being awareness, feeling, and emotion, which is the fluid and shared division. You could think of the first division as being the subject of a sentence and the second as being the verb -- the action, happening, or state of being.

Of course, since this is my idea and not known to others, there is going to be a great deal of "definitions, semantics, and phenomena" to dispute. (chuckle) I understand that and have been trying to be patient.

 

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Many very interesting arguments in this particular thread.  I wonder where what we call 'instinct' might fit here.  Animals that are aware of benefits / risks in their environment should have a better chance of survival (during their particular era...am aware of extinction).  So if successful response to challenges or opportunities makes them more successful at survival, it would appear some traits would be passed on to offspring, and into successive generations.  This seems like a behavioral imperative, and an evolutionary advantage, determining responses to the environment. 

As I stated to Roamer, a lot of things are called instincts, that may or may not be actual instincts. But I think that survival instincts are very relevant to evolution; survival instincts are all activated by feeling or emotion, and work through hormones and/or pheromones. It is interesting to note that hormones can turn off and on different aspects of DNA. Interesting.

 

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Did it originate in ancestral consciousness, or am I wandering into the realm of, "Who knows, who cares'?

This question has been asked many times and answered by things like Plato's "forms" and "God" ideas, but I avoid it. To answer this question would require me to speculate, as I know of no clear evidence. If I speculate a conclusion, then I am likely to fall into the confirmation bias that others have succumbed to with theories of consciousness. So no thanks. :D

Gee

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Gees,

So if the internet is, like Roamer says, only an extension of our consciousness, as we provide the emotion, then we are still OK with the premise that life and consciousness are bound in some primal way, where it might be proper to consider that whatever theory or model of abiogenesis we care to work with should and perhaps must, include the beginning of consciousness as well.  That when "we" as lifeforms first grabbed form and structure and pattern from a universe tending toward increased entropy, we may have become both alive and conscious at the same time.   Either that, or life came first, without emotion and somehow emotion emerged and we need a second model of how and when the emotion was injected, or somehow map how it developed in stages from some rudimentary kind of consciousness, or awareness or memory or some sort of imprint of the outside world, on the lifeform.

Interesting to me, along this line, might be a confirmation bias type of thought, but my dopamine theory (considering the serotonin/norepinephrine/dopamine motivation/reward complex as part of the "reason" why we survive and promote our pattern and pass it on,) has some analogy in the creation story, where life was created after the stars and the Earth and the oceans and the land and after that was the addition of Adam and Eve being created in the image of God, and everything was good in the eyes of God...until the serpent had Eve have Adam bite from the fruit of the tree of knowledge, and Adam then knew the difference between good and evil and they were "conscious" of their nakedness and they covered themselves.

The analogy I bring is the association of the word good with the presence of dopamine.  That in the evolution of life, there was a time perhaps where good and bad where introduced through some mechanism similar to dopamine, that would reward the lifeform when the lifeform's behavior tended to continue the life. and some mechanism like norepinephrine that would motivate the lifeform to make things right when conditions were harmful to survival, and some mechanism like serotonin that would cause the lifeform to be comfortable and satisfied with their life.

The endorphins are somewhat private and the hormones cause behaviors that other lifeforms around could sense, and the pheromones signaled other lifeforms directly of certain conditions like fertile times, etc.  But as the chemical signaling of ants make the whole colony "aware" of the can of rootbeer on the bench.  The endorphins and hormones and pheromones make us aware of the wants and desires, hopes and dreams of others of our species. 

There might be the necessity to drop the creator part of the creation story, as we might have had to do this evolution thing on our own, and it was not directed by a higher power.  But there still needs to be a model of abiogenesis, where material without life, gained life, and we have to have a model where material without consciousness, became concerned about itself, and knew the difference between good for survival stuff and bad for survival stuff.

Regards, TAR

it just might be that the two, life and consciousness, had to come somehow together

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Mordred;

On ‎11‎/‎8‎/‎2017 at 5:00 PM, Mordred said:

in circles 

couldn't resist

Welcome to my merry-go-round. :)

 

Roamer;

On ‎11‎/‎8‎/‎2017 at 3:31 PM, Roamer said:

Thanks, umm, where is this thread supposed to go ?

If you look at the OP, you will see that I find the idea that consciousness and evolution are not connected as very unlikely. A few years ago, I was nosing through the Evolution forum of this site and found threads there where people insisted that consciousness had nothing to do with evolution. I remember thinking at that time that the reason why they thought that was because they had no idea of what consciousness actually is. So I have been considering this idea for a few years. You may also note that most of the first seven pages of this thread are simply trying to convince people that all life is conscious. Even though science and philosophy, both, agree that all life is conscious, it is a little difficult to explain that every cell in our bodies is alive and also conscious.

Every cell in our bodies works to maintain itself and to reproduce itself -- these are survival instincts -- which qualifies cells as life. But each cell also works to maintain whatever system that it is part of; such as, blood, tissue, bone, organ, etc., and these systems work to maintain the whole body. So you could reasonably state that cells have a sort of hive mentality. But it is the hormones that cause homeostasis and regulate the systems that help to preserve the body.

On a larger scale, every life form in an ecosystem works to maintain itself and to reproduce itself -- these are survival instincts. But each life form also works to maintain it's specie; such as, trees, fish, insects, animals, and these species work to maintain the whole ecosystem. So you could reasonably state that life forms, on a fundamental level, have a sort of hive mentality. It is not hormones, but pheromones, that regulate these species and help to preserve the ecosystem.

 So all life balances itself, whether you call it homeostasis or self-balancing ecosystems, it has the same effect and works through hormones, pheromones, and survival instincts. Then if you consider Freud's divisions of mind, you will find that the Id holds the 'drives' that motivate us and reflect the same issues as survival instincts. Then if you consider that the Id's 'drives' and survival instincts are all activated by feelings/emotion, you find that there is a connection between hormones, pheromones, and mind that comes together through the second division of consciousness -- awareness, feeling, and emotion.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hormone

Hormones have the following effects on the body:


A hormone may also regulate the production and release of other hormones. Hormone signals control the internal environment of the body through homeostasis.

 

On ‎11‎/‎6‎/‎2017 at 10:49 AM, Roamer said:

Everything evolves(which realy, means that changes happen on such a slow scale they're hardly measurable)

that conscious evolves is not an argument that consciousness is needed for (life's) evolution.

This is not entirely true. Although most evolution happens rather slowly, sometimes it is very rapid. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution This link talks about rapid evolution under Speciation, and in other areas.

While nosing through the Evolution forum, I ran across a post that was talking about changes in DNA that caused mutations. (Don't know where, as I have been looking for a week and can not find which thread it was in.) Anyway, since I know very little about evolution, my first thought after reading that post was, "like Thalidomide". For those of you who don't know, or were too young, Thalidomide was a drug used in the mid 1950's. It was very good at relieving nausea and improving appetite, so it was given to a lot of pregnant women for morning sickness with disastrous results. Conservative estimates say that 10,000 babies died from the horrible mutations, other estimates are much higher. Only a small fraction of the babies reached adulthood. You can learn about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thalidomide

No one is going to call Thalidomide evolution, as it was more tragedy than anything else. But it did teach us a few things: Chemistry can radically alter DNA and it can do it in one short gestation period. So if we are going to discount "God" and magic, it seems to me that the only thing that could have caused the rapid transformations that happened in bursts in evolution, it has to be chemistry that caused it.

These rapid transformation were usually preceded by a change in environment, so we are looking for a chemical that would be readily available in all species, would react to the awareness of the new environment and emotions of the life form, and have the capacity to change DNA in a way that would improve the specie's ability to survive. To me, this screams hormones. I don't see what else could possibly do it.

We know that hormones can cause emotion; we also know that emotions can cause the production of hormones; it is circular.

We know that hormones can substitute for each other and can cause the production of other hormones.

We know that hormones can turn off and on switches in DNA.

 

Quote

 

Regarding your remark, it seems to me that auto-reaction(s) were among the early abilities that would be selected for in evolution,

and up to the fourth point could 've happened and selected for in the first hundred million years of evolution.(just throwing some rough estimates around)

 

I don't think that reaction itself was "selected for" and suspect that it is a by-product of life.

I tend to look at it like I would a magnet. First it is just a rock, then something happens to it that polarizes some electrical something within it, and it becomes a magnet. The second division of consciousness, awareness, feeling, and emotion is a force or collection of forces that activate with life, just like the force of the magnet activates when it becomes a magnet. But this is just my guess, because I really don't understand magnets. :)

Gee

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Tar;

If this post were from anyone else, I would not respond to it. But it is from Tar, so I will address this one and your last post at the bottom of this page. I owe you big time for your friendship and your help in this thread, and I know you well enough to know that your mind will continue to churn over ideas that were presented here. Ideas cause questions that lead to more ideas and more questions until you eventually open up that "can of worms" that is the vast complexity of consciousness.

When discussing consciousness, I have found that it is necessary to parse out the information because too much truth is like offering a feast to a starving man suffering from malnutrition. He will not be able to digest it, and will throw it all out. It was great to be able to discuss consciousness and show the connection between consciousness and evolution through chemistry, without ruining my reputation or getting into debates with people, who have no idea of what they are talking about -- but insist that they are right. (chuckle)

So please consider the following, and let's hope we can keep a lid on the "can". 

 

On ‎11‎/‎8‎/‎2017 at 5:48 PM, tar said:

Gees,

I am not sure that consciousness can be found only in life forms.   For instance, now, with the internet of things, one can arrange various sensors together with weather reports, to turn on the sprinkler when it is not going to rain.  The system can "know" about the environment, be conscious of the environment, without human involvement, once the program is written and engaged, the system then operates not by schedule or momentum, but in response to the actual conditions present in the environment.  Not calling the internet of things a life form, but there are certain things about it, where it shows it is aware of what is going on.    The senses are there in the sensors.  The memory is there in the RAM and clip drive, and the brain is there in the processor and the algorithms.   What is missing is the emotion.  The system doesn't feel bad or good when it turns on the water.  It just turns it on.  And the action does not ensure or endanger its survival as a system.   So it is not alive, does not metabolize or reproduce or anything, but it does seem to have some of what we are calling awareness.

Perhaps the consciousness is the additional factor where there is a "feeling" associated with the awareness.  That it is good or bad.

Regards, TAR

So what we are talking about here is the definition of consciousness, or what it is. Breaking down consciousness into components helped me to understand it better, but there is still a great deal I don't know. What you describe above would fit the definition under the first division of consciousness, which is knowledge, thought, and memory. The "system" you describe has knowledge; if there is a computer, it could be said that there is thought; and there is memory. This fits with most people's definition of consciousness, so when you add the ability to sense, or be aware, it seems like a reasonable facsimile of consciousness. 

But what about the power? What is the power source of this system's "consciousness"? If you break the circuits or cover the solar panels, what then? If there is no outside power source coming to it, then it loses it's consciousness. Life seems to have it's own power source, and we call that source, consciousness. A person can be alive one minute and dead the next, and what do we take that to mean? They have lost their life, their consciousness, and their power.

The second division of consciousness, awareness, feeling, and emotion, seems to be the power source. Awareness acts as a focusing agent almost like a pipeline that feeling and emotion flow through. As stated before, awareness requires focus, and focus requires a point to focus from and a point to focus on, so it requires two points, so it requires matter, time, and space. I don't know if what we call feeling and emotion require physical matter, but suspect that emotion actually is physical. Emotion interacts with our bodies too well for it to not be physical, and I think that all forces are actually physical. I need some physics genius to let me pick their brain, as I don't know nearly enough. I also don't know if emotion requires the pipeline from awareness in order to move, or if it is motion itself and is only directed by the pipeline -- I suspect it is the latter. The reason I state this is because emotion is not like a magnet, as it does not have only one direction. It also causes bonding.

 Do you remember when you told me the analogy of the clock in order to explain digital v analogue? Afterward I stated that I had the divisions backward. Like the rest of you, I think with the rational aspect of mind -- the digital aspect. My thoughts, memories, and knowledge are all digital. So, since this is my perspective, I automatically designated the digital as the first division, and the analog as the second. Once I understood your analogy, I realized that no matter how many digital dots are put on the clock to mark out time, they will never fill all of the spaces. There will always be room to make more dots because digital can not cause analogue. Thought does not cause emotion; the conscious rational mind did not cause the unconscious mind; matter did not cause energy. Analogue came first and digital was pulled from analogue.

Actual consciousness is analogue, so when you take a machine that can know, think, remember, and be aware, and state that it could be conscious, what you are doing is trying to convince me that digital can become analogue. I don't see it, or think it is possible. I remember when the "complexity" theories about consciousness came out, and people were promoting them in various forums. I asked one person, "Just how complex does AI have to be before it can equal the conscious awareness of a blade of grass?"

I have company coming now, so I will address your other post -- maybe tomorrow.

Gee

 

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Gee,

Thank you for discussing this with me.  I think, like you, that some others have some axe to grind and don't really enjoy the Socratic method of discovery.  I am pleased to find someone interested in sharing insights and attempting to find answers to difficult questions, that don't readily submit to surface inquiry. 

There are some things I forget about how and why you have the divisions and the particular details of which aspects of consciousness belong to which division in your model.

I am thinking that emotion is indeed required, and rational thought is not the only aspect of humans that make us alive and conscious, but am still open to the possibility that emotion is physical, and I am not convinced that we will find consciousness, as a substance, separate from the physical body and chemistry that causes a point of focus consciousness to emerge.

I am not a ghost in the machine type of guy.

I similarly am not thinking our brain/body/heart group is a conduit for a substance that is floating around looking for a vessel.

My solution, currently is the norepinephrine/serotonin/dopamine combined with the hormones and pheromones which are actual physical things, that cause us to want to survive.

Consciousness, I don't think has to be a substance in and of itself, but is an emergent characteristic that like a hurricane made of water, heat and air, shows attributes unlike the attributes of any of its components.

Regards, TAR

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Tar;

On ‎11‎/‎18‎/‎2017 at 7:21 PM, tar said:

Gee,

Thank you for discussing this with me.  I think, like you, that some others have some axe to grind and don't really enjoy the Socratic method of discovery.  I am pleased to find someone interested in sharing insights and attempting to find answers to difficult questions, that don't readily submit to surface inquiry. 

 

Sharing insights and attempting to find answers to difficult questions is what Philosophy forums are for, so I also wish there were more people interested.

 

When I get an up vote, it means that someone agrees with me, so I start thinking that I am right; but I may not be. When I get a down vote, it means that someone disagrees with me, but I don’t know WHY they disagree. It may be that my information is wrong, or my reasoning and logic are wrong, or they just don’t agree or they dislike my thoughts. So the “click-it squad” is more like an opinion poll that gives no reason for the opinion. This makes it useless in Philosophy because nothing is learned.

 

I am pretty sure that you put the up vote on my post to counter the down vote, which I appreciate. With the two warnings that I already have, a serious accumulation of down votes would shred my reputation to the point where I would lose all credibility. I would have to leave this forum -- as many others have done.

 

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There are some things I forget about how and why you have the divisions and the particular details of which aspects of consciousness belong to which division in your model.

 

Probably, the easiest way to divide them is by what is private and what is shared. Your thoughts, memory, and knowledge are only known to you, and can only be known to me if you choose to share them with me -- this is the first division -- the private division.

 

Your awareness, feelings, and emotions are not private. Awareness works between things, and feelings and emotion are shared physically and materially through your body language and pheromones, and they are shared mentally through your moods, your attitude, and your personality. More than that, they actually work between things, so you can “feel” the atmosphere when you walk into a room where people share an emotion, you can “feel” the life when you walk through a forest, you can “feel” the love or hatred aimed at you from another person. You can recognize it even if they don’t say one word. Even if you are able to know that someone hates you, you will not know why unless they tell you, because their thoughts are private and not known to you.

 

This second division is something that we use every day, but do not question how or why it works the way it does. I think I was reading a novel when I first considered it. I read that a newly wed couple “radiated” joy (emotion). But I have never read that someone “radiated” plans (thoughts). That would be kind of silly. I have also read novels where it was described that “fear rolled off of him in waves”. But I have never read that “calculation rolled off of him in waves”. As that would also be silly. Pick up any novel and you will find examples of how we describe, and think of, feeling and emotion. It is always characterized as being in motion, as working between life forms or things of great beauty or ugliness; such as, “My mind recoiled from the horror.” People don't actually have to move for their minds to "recoil", but we describe it this way.

 

Science may find that there are physical and material reasons that cause these feelings and emotions to be shared, but it does not change the reality that this division of consciousness, this communication, works outside the body and between us.

 

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I am thinking that emotion is indeed required, and rational thought is not the only aspect of humans that make us alive and conscious, but am still open to the possibility that emotion is physical, and I am not convinced that we will find consciousness, as a substance, separate from the physical body and chemistry that causes a point of focus consciousness to emerge.

 

We long ago recognized that emotion (e-motion) came first, so it was the mover and shaker that shook out thought, and this idea is confirmed in evolution -- the rational mind came last. To my mind, emotion is a force, like gravity is a force, so that makes it physical even if it is not material.

 

This is where it becomes difficult to explain. (This is also where the ‘can of worms’ can open through anthropomorphism.) When you talk about focus consciousness emerging, you seem to be talking about something that already exists, or like human consciousness. Do you really believe that the bacteria that inhabited this planet for millions of years had a “focus consciousness” that was anything like ours? I don’t think so. At best, they had a very primal awareness of themselves, their immediate surroundings, and the knowledge of the need to survive -- much like they have today.

 

I don’t think that the force that we call emotion actually had consciousness before it became part of life. I think that becoming life turned it into consciousness by giving it a focus. Also consider that we know that knowledge accumulates, so is there any reason to consider that it did not accumulate in evolution? That much of the knowledge and thought was simply not there at the beginning?

 

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I am not a ghost in the machine type of guy.

 

I didn’t know what “ghost in the machine” was and had to look it up. (chuckle) I never saw the movie, but learned that this was an argument against Descartes dualism. So I assume that this argument favored monism. I never put much store in either argument.

 

All philosophers, even bad philosophers, know that one needs a valid premise to use for their considerations. I chose mine long ago. As I child, I saw these words written on a building, “We are physical, mental, and spiritual beings”. Since that time, I have checked with Philosophy; and with Religion, Eastern and Western; and with Science. No one disputed the validity of these words, and this idea is thousands of years old, so it is as valid a premise as can be found. I am going with trioism, one part material and two parts intangible.

 

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I similarly am not thinking our brain/body/heart group is a conduit for a substance that is floating around looking for a vessel.

I am not sure what your meaning is here. You could be talking about reincarnation, or maybe the theory that we are in consciousness rather than consciousness being in us, or maybe you are talking about emotion. Not sure.

 

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My solution, currently is the norepinephrine/serotonin/dopamine combined with the hormones and pheromones which are actual physical things, that cause us to want to survive.

That’s fine. Maybe you could consider that if hormones cause homeostasis within a body, that pheromones can cause it within an ecosystem. Even though pheromones are outside of the body, you could consider that they are within the “body” of the ecosystem.

If I remember correctly, you do a lot of work with people, who have addiction problems. Have you ever wondered what addiction actually is? I suspect addiction is caused by a chemical that is introduced to the body and causes a "want", much like hormones and pheromones do. But the "want" is not temporary, so this tells me that the chemical is actually causing a bond. Emotion causes bonding, but emotion also works through chemicals, so I suspect that addiction is an artificial and unnatural bonding caused by chemistry. It would be very difficult to defeat by willpower alone, so I suspect that is why we are using alternative drugs to defeat this bonding. 

 

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Consciousness, I don't think has to be a substance in and of itself, but is an emergent characteristic that like a hurricane made of water, heat and air, shows attributes unlike the attributes of any of its components.

Regards, TAR

You might want to consider that a hurricane is physical, which would be why it is affected by heat and air. Consider that an ecosystem has boundaries. These boundaries encapsulate what is part of the ecosystem and what is not, much like our bodies separate our consciousness. What makes up the boundaries of an ecosystem? Mountains, large bodies of water, moisture, temperature, maybe electromagnetic forces -- all physical things.

So I think that it is reasonable to question whether or not the homeostasis, or the self-balancing nature, of an ecosystem is also affected by physical influences and parameters. Hormones and pheromones are both physical, and they react to or cause a reaction that shows itself in feeling and/or emotion, so how can emotion not also be physical? I don't know that thought is physical and have not yet decided on that.

Gee

 

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 Gees,

Another thing to think about in terms of non-private stuff, that is not written or spoken language, but that does communicate some mental state between humans, is mirror neurons.

These are the little devils thought to be responsible for us physically flinching when the comedian  (or distracted layperson) on the tv walks into the pole.   Or when we grimace when the needle goes into someone's arm, or the scalpel slicing into someone's skin.  We feel it,  we wince we duck we flinch and we do it cause of mirror neurons.

These feelings are not limited to physical stimuli, as we also laugh when others laugh, smile when others smile, cry when others cry and jump up and down when others jump up and down.

So I am not so sure a thought of recognition or some "aha" moment can not sweep through a crowd.  Consider a show where the comedian tells a joke, and everyone gets it at different times but a groan comes from the crowd, together.   Or a baseball game where the ball comes off the bat and everybody "knows" by the angle and speed, where it is likely to wind up, and what that means to the score. 

Or consider a crowds reaction to a line, or a musical score?   Thought or emotion?

Regards, TAR

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Tar;

Did you think I forgot about you? I didn’t, but have been distracted by life, learning about mirror neurons, and enjoying a lovely Thanksgiving. I hope yours was pleasant also.

I think that all of the things that you discussed in your post are related to the second division, awareness, feeling, and emotion, but see your point about thought v emotion and will address it.

 

On ‎11‎/‎21‎/‎2017 at 6:42 PM, tar said:

 Gees,

Another thing to think about in terms of non-private stuff, that is not written or spoken language, but that does communicate some mental state between humans, is mirror neurons.

These are the little devils thought to be responsible for us physically flinching when the comedian  (or distracted layperson) on the tv walks into the pole.   Or when we grimace when the needle goes into someone's arm, or the scalpel slicing into someone's skin.  We feel it,  we wince we duck we flinch and we do it cause of mirror neurons.

These feelings are not limited to physical stimuli, as we also laugh when others laugh, smile when others smile, cry when others cry and jump up and down when others jump up and down.

This is one of the reasons why I enjoy talking to you. You are more of a science guy, so you introduce ideas that I know nothing about, yet they are on topic. This tells me that you actually have an understanding of what I am trying to learn and communicate.  Prior to this post, the only thing that I knew of that showed actual evidence of consciousness between life forms was pheromones, so this information is good news.

From what I could learn in Wiki, mirror neurons are a new discovery and there has not yet been a great deal of testing. There is a great deal of speculation as to their purpose and value and the reason they evolved in the first place. Mostly they are thought to enhance communication between life forms of the same specie through mimicry, empathy, feeling and emotion; so this is very relevant to the second division of consciousness. This testing is supportive of Science’s view that consciousness comes from the brain, isolation is bad for life, and that relationships, communication, is mostly intra-specie.

My view of consciousness is a little different, so I see some ideas that may not have been considered by Science. Most importantly, I see consciousness between life forms as already existing, so no enhancement is needed. We don’t need to connect with other life as much as we need to understand the connection that already exists, so what is described as “mimicry” is more like an internal learning experience from my position. Too much of mimicry is inter-specie for it to be actual mimicry. We certainly do not mimic tarantulas or bears, but as I mentioned before, I think in this thread, a man who is frustrated beyond words may raise his fists in the air and shake them around, but so will a bear, or my cat, or a horse with it’s front legs, or a tarantula, or insects, and even birds will flutter their wings -- and all of this is done to show anger and frustration. And it is understood by other species.

Another point where our philosophies differ is that I see the need for a regulator. Feeling and emotion can be very powerful; so if as I suspect, feeling and emotion work between life forms, could unknown, or not previously understood, emotion be dangerous? Yes. Too much too quick can cause shock and death. A lesser amount can cause a person to freeze or be stunned, much like a deer caught in headlights. A steady diet of over stimulation by emotion can cause stress which can shorten life or make life unhealthy -- and it does not even matter whether it is good or bad emotion as both can cause stress.

So I wonder if mirror neurons evolved as a sort of regulator in the brain; their purpose would be to sort emotion and feeling into understandable knowledge. They could be a protection against bursts of emotion that can damage, and would have to be part of a larger system. There are two reasons why I think they may be a sort of protection; the first is that it is easier to shock innocence than it is to shock experience. We learn to accept shocking things, so we are not born with this knowledge and ability -- it is not in our DNA. The other reason is that a problem has been found with the mirror neurons in schizophrenics. I have long believed that schizophrenia is caused by a lack of ability to sort the different levels of the unconscious aspect of mind. The unconscious works through emotion, and mirror neurons may have the ability to sort emotion into different stratums or levels of the unconscious and into thought.

 

 

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So I am not so sure a thought of recognition or some "aha" moment can not sweep through a crowd.  Consider a show where the comedian tells a joke, and everyone gets it at different times but a groan comes from the crowd, together.   Or a baseball game where the ball comes off the bat and everybody "knows" by the angle and speed, where it is likely to wind up, and what that means to the score. 

Or consider a crowds reaction to a line, or a musical score?  

 

All of the above relate to feeling or emotion, even though thought may be involved. Consider the ‘riot mentality’. Although it starts out as thought, and can be anything from a political issue to a sporting event, eventually emotion takes hold of the crowd, and people find themselves acting in a way that is very much against their natures. It has been thought that pheromones are the root cause of the riot mentality, but mirror neurons may also play a role. Or they may both be part of the same system, or possibly they interrelate. Who knows? But I think that a great deal more must be learned before we can say with any assurance just what regulates crowd behavior.

 

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Thought or emotion?

Regards, TAR

 

 

This is a question that I asked myself repeatedly for many years. Thought and emotion are almost the same thing, but there are also differences. It is understood that awareness, feeling, and emotion carry knowledge and thought to us; this is not news. But does the emotion carry thought, or does thought, when there is enough of it moving fast enough, actually make or cause emotion? I think that the ‘complexity’ theories are based on thought actually causing emotion, which is where the 'AI can become conscious' ideas come from. 

Although I debated this for years, I did not settle on an answer until you explained the clock analogy regarding digital and analog. Years ago, I was corresponding with a Professor at one of the Universities, and he explained that thought can not actually do anything. He stated that thoughts written in a book are just ink and paper, thoughts on a DVD are just plastic, unless you have a reader for the book or a player for the DVD, nothing happens. Thought has no ability to move. We think of thought as having ability because we think, but that does not happen without consciousness. A computer can also think, but that does not happen without electricity. Thought has no power on it's own. I am not even sure how real it is.

When Terrel used buckets of sand for digital (thought) and of water for analogue (emotion), I understood the differences, but could not see where the power lay. If you look at a desert or a beach, you can see sand that looks like it is in motion -- the dunes and sandbars -- but it is not moving itself. The movement is produced by wind, water, and/or gravity -- forces. So expecting thought to turn into emotion is a lot like putting milk in your gas tank and expecting it to run the car. It simply does not have the properties necessary for the job.

When you explained the ‘clock analogy’, I finally realized that no matter how much digital you use, it will never fill all of the spaces on the analogue clock. Digital can not cause analogue. We can take the real world and film it by producing millions of little pictures that we can then run in a projector, which gives the appearance of analogue -- but it is just a simulation. I suspect that the rational aspect of mind is much the same; in that, we take digital thoughts from analogue emotion -- or you could say the rational conscious mind extracts thought from our senses, awareness, emotions, and the unconscious mind. The rational aspect evolved much later, well after the senses and brain. In terms of evolution, conscious life was here before the rational aspect of mind, so I think that we learned to take ‘pictures’ (thoughts) out of consciousness so that we could understand our reality.

This is where solipsism, the dream reality, the holographic universe, and many other theories of consciousness evolve from. So I think that it is important to always bear in mind that thought (digital reality) is not actually consciousness; it is only part of consciousness. The second division, awareness, feeling, and emotion is also part of consciousness -- and it is the power.

Gee

 

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On 12/8/2017 at 1:25 AM, Gees said:



 

 

 

 

.........I think that it is important to always bear in mind that thought is not actually consciousness; it is only part of consciousness. The second division, awareness, feeling, and emotion is also part of consciousness -- and it is the power.

Gee

 

Hello again, Gee. It seems that Tar is hors de combat just now so, if i may , i'd just like to make a little intervention. Forgive my savage precis of your post - i can't take issue with anything you wrote ( even if i wanted to, haha ), and i would agree that thought is part of consciousness, and both are material functions of the brain, but i'd like to ask you if you think that consciousness has any relationship with intelligence? I ask this because i think that intelligence is linked to sensitivity and, as far as i can ascertain, supersensible consciousness, like intellect, is not sensitive in itself, and this aspect of consciousness needs intelligence more than vice versa. I'm also a little reluctant to divide consciousness ( into separate "inner " and "outer " ),parts as i think the consciousness that sees and hears the skylark is the same consciousness that writes the poem about it; perhaps it is attention that ebbs and flows between the two - i know that , if i am thinking deeply about something, i am unconscious of my surroundings and, on the other hand, if i am engrossed in a gripping tv programme, i am completely unconscious of myself until i " come to my senses " again.  I think ,then, that it could be that sensitivity/intelligence has evolved separately and later than consciousness as Life, as a whole, became more complex. So,relating back to your original OP, i think that it isn't necessary for consciousness to evolve any further, but it is vital that intelligence and sensitivity do.

 

 

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