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Consciousness and Evolution


Gees
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iNow,

 

Well I can agree with the fact that all three are sense experiences, in the way that our consciousness is aware of each, but the character is the important part that make the one the sensing of outside reality, the second the sensing of remembered and reconfigured internal impressions, and the third, the illusion group, the sensing of something that is erroneous and not present in the outside world, but seems or looks like it is.   

The best example I have of this, by means of personal experience, is having a visual migraine one day at work were there was colored fringes around various things I was looking at, that were absolutely no different from the things I knew were actually there, in terms of the reality of their presence.   That is, my brain was informing me of the presence of the color fringes in exactly the same manner that my brain informs me of the sight of a teacup.  The fringes were really there, I was really seeing them, like my Dad is really seeing various animals in the trees in front of the house across the street from his bedbound position.  Yet I "knew" the fringes were manufactured, and I knew the coffee cup was real.  This ability to tell the difference between real and imagined, is an important distinction, and is evidence that the two are different things.   The character difference puts the two sensed things in their own category of things.  In my estimation.

Regards, TAR

 

Try this experiment.  My dad says that the brain does not like to not be activated.  That is, if you look at a white wall for several minutes...after about 40 seconds or so you will start seeing motion and colors and such.  This is partially due to the rods and cones in your eye fatiguing since white is activating all three color cones and the various cones are running low at random times on the chemicals it needs to  send a message along the optic nerve...but the main cause is that the brain is basically looking for something to notice.

If you try this, and see various shapes and colors moving about, you will not think there are actually various shapes and colored beings crawling around on your wall.  You will know it is an illusion.   The white wall, on the other hand you will know is not an illusion.

This is also why I am not too worried about my dad seeing items across the street that are not there.  He is an intelligent guy, and has been unable to get up out of bed for several months, looking out the same window at the same trees and house and roof and horizon every day.   

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17 minutes ago, tar said:

Yet I "knew" the fringes were manufactured, and I knew the coffee cup was real.  This ability to tell the difference between real and imagined, is an important distinction, and is evidence that the two are different things.  

I agree they're different, but this is all irrelevant to what I'm saying. That "real" coffee cup is just as manufactured as anything else, including those migraine induced colored fringes. 

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iNow,

 

How can you say the two were just as manufactured.  The coffee cup was really there, outside my skull, the colored fringes existed only in my skull.

 

Regards, TAR

I saw the coffee cup.  I manufactured the fringes.  I used the same equipment and neurons and brain parts to do both, but one was using real information and the other was making something up.

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31 minutes ago, tar said:

How can you say the two were just as manufactured. 

Because it's plainly true, and you even acknowledge this yourself later within the same post:

 

31 minutes ago, tar said:

I used the same equipment and neurons and brain parts to do both

 

Edited by iNow
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2 hours ago, Area54 said:

@tar , if the word used had been "interpretation" rather than "illusion" would you have the same objections?

Area54;

I wouldn't have any objections. This is the first sane solution to the problem that I have seen. It also happened to be my thought as well.

As I explained, and Tar repeated, consciousness at it's core is essentially communication. So let's look at a communication device; the cell phone. Suppose you are feeling lonely, so you call up your friend, and when he answers, it seems as though he is right there with you. Would we call that illusion? No we would not, nor would we think that we are having an illusionary conversation.  Your friend's voice goes into the cell phone, is broken down into some digital form, bounced off a tower, a satellite, another tower, then received by your phone and "interpreted" back into his voice for you to hear.

Using the word illusion just makes the whole concept sound like it is mystical or magical, done with smoke and mirrors. It also implies that the conversation is not real, or that your friend is not real. It would be a ridiculous way to explain it. Kind of like Dennett's theory.

Gee

 

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5 hours ago, Gees said:

consciousness at it's core is essentially communication

We're in "it's turtles all the way down" territory here. How are you defining communication?

Are the interactions of atoms and quarks as governed by the laws of physics "communication?"

Is the interaction between plankton and sunlight "communication?"

How about the transaction between flowers and butterflies? Your position implies a consciousness in the flower  

What about the exchange of information along root systems in vast forests or fungi that connect with other members of their species across kilometers? Is the cell phone you cite conscious, too?

5 hours ago, Gees said:

Using the word illusion just makes the whole concept sound like it is mystical or magical, done with smoke and mirrors. It also implies that the conversation is not real, or that your friend is not real.

And yet it changes nothing about our practical everyday experiences, nothing that is beyond ensuring a clearer awareness of the dynamically manufactured / arbitrarily constructed nature of the reality you keep referencing. 

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34 minutes ago, iNow said:

We're in "it's turtles all the way down" territory here. How are you defining communication?

Are the interactions of atoms and quarks as governed by the laws of physics "communication?"

Is the interaction between plankton and sunlight "communication?"

How about the transaction between flowers and butterflies? Your position implies a consciousness in the flower  

What about the exchange of information along root systems in vast forests or fungi that connect with other members of their species across kilometers? Is the cell phone you cite conscious, too?

iNow,

No need to jump to conclusions or engage in sarcasm or hyperbole.  Gee has already expressed her opinion that all life is conscious.  To various levels or in various ways. And yes sunlight hitting a rock is communication.   If the rock warms up from the engagement it holds heat, or remembers the encounter.  That night it releases the heat back into the air  and thusly announces itself to the air around it and the infrared energy released reaches space if it passes by all molecules.

In the case of life, it seems the pattern of behavior developed, and the structure and connections of the organelles, are in tune with the cycles of the Earth, in such a way as to continue to exist.  Continue to pass on a workable pattern.  This is the "self", I imagine is the thing that is passed on to the next generation, and the thing that is maintained, throughout the lifetime of this individual. 

I believe it is common knowledge, that all life is connected in an ecosystem.  We as humans care about our environment for instance, because we know we would die without it working like it does.

We are conscious of the place, and care about it possibly more than a bear.  The bear is very conscious of the place as well and knows were the fruit trees and the good garbage bins are on his miles long daily route.  But there is something a little different about our consciousness than the bear.  Just some little something or group of somethings that had to have evolved in us, that gave us a leg up on the bear.   Use of tools?  Opposable thumbs? Language? Math?  The ability to take analogies?  The ability to pretend, rehearse, deceive?  Something, or some group of things that happened in our evolutionary path, that did not emerge during the bear's evolution.   Something, related to our consciousness that is like a bear's, but with a twist, an other little aspect that allows for humans to be conscious of the things that a human is conscious of that a bear is not.

Regards, TAR

Area54,

Yes I like interpretation.   Especially because it has "inter" in it.

Regards, TAR

 

 

Edited by tar
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2 minutes ago, tar said:

iNow,

No need to jump to conclusions or engage in sarcasm or hyperbole.  Gee has already expressed her opinion that all life is conscious.  To various levels or in various ways. And yes sunlight hitting a rock is communication.   If the rock warms up from the engagement it holds heat, or remembers the encounter.  That night it releases the heat back into the air  and thusly announces itself to the air around it and the infrared energy released reaches space if it passes by all molecules.

3

Which renders the discussion meaningless.

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iNow,

probably neither, but the idea I am trying to work with, is that the components of consciousness must be natural, unmagical, and most importantly NOT guided by a human consciousness.

That is, there is no such thing as artificial intelligence, because if it worked, and it was actual, it would be real intelligence.

Regards, TAR

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1 minute ago, tar said:

iNow,

probably neither, but the idea I am trying to work with, is that the components of consciousness must be natural, unmagical, and most importantly NOT guided by a human consciousness.

That is, there is no such thing as artificial intelligence, because if it worked, and it was actual, it would be real intelligence.

Regards, TAR

You seem determined to extend the meaninglessness.

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iNow,

Well yes and no.   Yes it can't be that consciousness and communication come linked at the hip.  But the idea is that communication, getting some form from here, over to there, is central to our sensing and remembering of the world, and thusly is a piece of our consciousness.

Regards, TAR

 

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1 minute ago, tar said:

 Yes it can't be that consciousness and communication come linked at the hip. But the idea is that communication, getting some form from here, over to there, is central to our sensing and remembering of the world, and thusly is a piece of our consciousness.

1

Of course, it is, that's why it's a useless definition and totally irrelevant. It's like saying bricks are made of clay and that's why a wall stays upright.

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Evolution is generally considered not guided, but by the ability of a new arrangement of an organism to survive better than competing organisms.

Not guided by anything purposefully done by the organism.   That is human consciousness cannot guide the evolution of human consciousness.  Humans were not made in God's image, so a human consciousness does not control the universe, nor set the rules for evolution.

You can no more "make" human consciousness, than you can build a living tree from carbon dioxide, water and some trace elements.   You need something pretty much like a tree, or a sprig from a tree or something, to make the tree out of.   You need soil and air and sunlight and such.

In the same way, consciousness can not create consciousness from the ground up.   You can explain how it happened from the ground up, but you need the whole world to evolve along with it, to explain it.

 

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5 minutes ago, tar said:

Evolution is generally considered not guided, but by the ability of a new arrangement of an organism to survive better than competing organisms.

Not guided by anything purposefully done by the organism.   That is human consciousness cannot guide the evolution of human consciousness.  Humans were not made in God's image, so a human consciousness does not control the universe, nor set the rules for evolution.

You can no more "make" human consciousness, than you can build a living tree from carbon dioxide, water and some trace elements.   You need something pretty much like a tree, or a sprig from a tree or something, to make the tree out of.   You need soil and air and sunlight and such.

In the same way, consciousness can not create consciousness from the ground up.   You can explain how it happened from the ground up, but you need the whole world to evolve along with it, to explain it.

4

 If the last word is all you want, just one more post should do it. ;)

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17 hours ago, tar said:

 

I have always had a problem with understanding where we divide what we make and do from nature.  Like when does something go from natural to man made.  Easy to define in the sense of something that does not exist where man does not, and does exist where man does...but there is much that is slightly changed by man, that is produced mostly by nature.  And man is 100% natural herself.  So in the overall, it is difficult to consider that anything is "not natural".  And in the flow of the thread,  to where and when different aspects of our consciousness naturally developed, it is out of place or at least contrary the thread theme, to   consider conscious "not in any way natural".   It seems logically consistent to instead consider that consciousness must in every aspect be 100% natural...by definition, if one is to simultaneously reject any creator, or magic or illusion.

Instead, I propose that at some point in our evolution we gained the ability to pretend, to practice, to forecast to imagine, and this was an important stage in our evolution, and the bedrock happening that allowed our divergence from relative lifeforms, in the sense that from this we developed language and symbolization and the like, one thing standing for another.   Without this ability we could not make analogies or switch grain size, or imagine the galaxy like we were holding it in our hand.

 

I referred to the ancient language being a natural language because it existed in its rudimentary form before man had enough knowledge to create any sort of language and because this language reflected the logic inherent in the wiring of the human brain which has the same logic as mathematics.  By extension you assumed that I believe the language we speak today is 'man made" which is not strictly true.  Modern language was invented using the vocabulary of the ancient natural language in a format that was independent of logic and reality.  Whether or not this is a "man made" language or not is a semantical question.  But it is still central to the issue of the nature of "consciousness" because language  provides the perspective from which consciousness is perceived and known.  Like all things we experience it is primarily a belief and we "see" what we expect to see.  The very basis of what we're talking about is as ephemeral to us as the shape of a passing cloud.  It changes over time as new visceral knowledge and new beliefs are found. 

Language is the perspective of our perceptions and modern language provides a poor perspective from which to view things like "consciousness" or the nature of life, reality, and evolution.  Your idea that an animal suddenly developed an ability to imagine isn't so far wrong but is very highly misleading to the reality.  A bird doesn't imagine an afterlife because it has better things to do and because it lacks the knowledge accumulated over generations.  It can't often predict weather or do many human activities for the same reason.  It's not some magical or divine attribute that sets humans apart; it is merely the existence of complex language.  When the mutation that gave rise to the human race appeared they had nothing to talk bout and the first individual had no one to talk to but they wouldn't have even known it.  But there was improved communication and the mutation was highly adaptive so survived.  These people were the homo sapiens who "founded" the human race and invented agriculture and cities which allowed us to live for the many centuries until modern science was invented.  It was this ancient technology that allowed the survival of "homo omnisciencis" (we who know everything). 

"Consciousness" is simply the nature of life.  The individual needn't be "fit" or "adaptive" to survive; the individual merely needs to be conscious such is painfully apparent as a cell phone user walks into the path of a freight train.  In animals a very great amount of consciousness has far more to do with visceral knowledge and experience and in humans it has to do with beliefs as understood and arrived at through language. 

Indeed, humans are so different from animals since the ancient language failed we could even be considered a different life form. 

 

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8 hours ago, Gees said:

Area54;

I wouldn't have any objections. This is the first sane solution to the problem that I have seen. It also happened to be my thought as well.

As I explained, and Tar repeated, consciousness at it's core is essentially communication. So let's look at a communication device; the cell phone. Suppose you are feeling lonely, so you call up your friend, and when he answers, it seems as though he is right there with you. Would we call that illusion? No we would not, nor would we think that we are having an illusionary conversation.  Your friend's voice goes into the cell phone, is broken down into some digital form, bounced off a tower, a satellite, another tower, then received by your phone and "interpreted" back into his voice for you to hear.

Using the word illusion just makes the whole concept sound like it is mystical or magical, done with smoke and mirrors. It also implies that the conversation is not real, or that your friend is not real. It would be a ridiculous way to explain it. Kind of like Dennett's theory.

Gee

 

One of us has missed the point. I'm not sure which one, but I have my biases.

I have no problem with the word illusion because I understand its intent to be the same intent, in the context of consciousness, as is convyed by the word interpretation. I regret the word was chosen since it seems to confuse one group of people who do not understand the mutiplicity of meanings a word may carry (e.g. tar) and provides another group with ammunition to condemn the theory it is related to (e.g. apparently yourself in some of your posts) and righteously offends another group because they allow themselves to be distracted by the other meanings that could have been intended. (e.g. yourself in this quoted post.)

All that said, illusion is the word we have and everyone engaged here, apart from tar, appears to have a broadly similar understanding of its meaning, if not its consequences. So, I for one intend to return to matters of more substance.

Also, as far as I am concerned, the broad definition of consciousness you favour is too vague to be of much value for anything other than generating silly arguments, so I'm hopefully done with that one too.

I shall return in my next post to addressing your claim regarding the linking of evolution and consciousness. As you have presented it to date it appears to be nonsense. Feel free to respond after I have posted my reasoning.

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12 hours ago, Area54 said:

@tar , if the word used had been "interpretation" rather than "illusion" would you have the same objections?

'Construct'  would be better imo because it removes any negative connotations. 'Illusion' should only be used when the perceived image disagrees with the facts or what is commonly agreed to be seen, depending on context..

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7 hours ago, StringJunky said:

'Construct'  would be better imo because it removes any negative connotations. 'Illusion' should only be used when the perceived image disagrees with the facts or what is commonly agreed to be seen, depending on context..

StringJunky;

Welcome to iNow's thread. 

Although 'construct' would work in some instances and has no negative connotations, it is too objective a term for consciousness as there seems to be variations in the differing consciousnesses. Consider that if you take a dozen people, who have all witnessed the same thing, you can easily end up with half a dozen reports on what happened. If we use the word 'illusion' to describe these differences, then we also create doubt as to whether or not anything at all happened. This would be a little problematic for the police officer trying to make the report.

If, instead, we use the term 'interpret' it can explain the differences and even help the officer. If four really short people 'interpret' the suspect to be really tall, most of the people 'interpret' the suspect to be average height, and two very tall people 'interpret' the suspect to be rather short, the officer can 'construct' their statements into a conclusion that the suspect was average height.

Gee

 

7 hours ago, Area54 said:

<snip>

I shall return in my next post to addressing your claim regarding the linking of evolution and consciousness. As you have presented it to date it appears to be nonsense. Feel free to respond after I have posted my reasoning.

Area54;

You might want to hold off on that idea. You see, I have not yet presented my "claim regarding the linking of evolution and consciousness" so any response to it would not really be a response to it. Why have I not yet presented it? Well, besides the many distractions from the thread's topic, I am have another problem. Consider the following:

If you were going to have a discussion with six other people about math, and early in the discussion you discovered that the other people only had a vague idea of what numbers are, then could you discuss math? No. The only viable solution would be to explain numbers. But if one of the people thought that use of the Roman Numerals is better, and another thought that the symbols used for numbers should be changed, and another thought that the idea of 'one to one' association with objects and numerals should be investigated, and they wanted to argue about it, then what could be accomplished? Nothing.

Since many of the people in this thread will not even acknowledge that all life is conscious to some degree, even after being informed that both, philosophy and science agree on this, then showing how consciousness and the evolution of species are connected is impossible.

Gee

 

9 hours ago, iNow said:

Then Gees definition is shit

No iNow.

Shit is when people continually take a thread off topic to discuss: the great 'pinnacle' debate, Tar's writing skills, and illusion, while trying to bait me into other off-topic discussions.

Shit is when people intentionally corrupt the meaning of my words in order to have something to argue about.

Shit is when people lie in order to pretend that they are not doing the above.

That is shit.

10 hours ago, iNow said:

We're in "it's turtles all the way down" territory here. How are you defining communication?

Are the interactions of atoms and quarks as governed by the laws of physics "communication?"

Is the interaction between plankton and sunlight "communication?"

How about the transaction between flowers and butterflies? Your position implies a consciousness in the flower  

What about the exchange of information along root systems in vast forests or fungi that connect with other members of their species across kilometers? Is the cell phone you cite conscious, too?

And yet it changes nothing about our practical everyday experiences, nothing that is beyond ensuring a clearer awareness of the dynamically manufactured / arbitrarily constructed nature of the reality you keep referencing. 

When I say that communication is the core attribute of consciousness, that does not mean that consciousness is the core attribute of communication.

This is just more of your nonsense and apparently a sincere need to corrupt everything that I state.

Gee

 

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49 minutes ago, Gees said:

When I say that communication is the core attribute of consciousness, that does not mean that consciousness is the core attribute of communication.

Then kindly do clarify. WTF does it mean? You've been asked repeatedly, and repeatedly failed to provide even a semblance of a respectable answer. 

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12 hours ago, Gees said:

Since many of the people in this thread will not even acknowledge that all life is conscious to some degree, even after being informed that both, philosophy and science agree on this, then showing how consciousness and the evolution of species are connected is impossible

Many people in this thread have been frustrated by your unwillingness or inability to define which of the many definitions of consciousness you wish to use. If I have understood you correctly you believe the term may be applied to everything between the biochemical reactions of a unicellular organism, up to the self awareness of a human. In this you are supported by many philosophers and branches of philosophy, although not all would be in agreement with each other. The discussion then comes down to one of semantics.

Until you have given and continue to give precise definitions of consciousness as you are using it at that moment you will obfuscate your message rather than expound it. You have been told this multiple times  by multiple members, but instead of taking this on board you have retreated into the "I am a knowlegeable philosopher and you are Phillistines" approach. Now that, to use your own terminology,  is shit!

So, if you wish your discussion to advance I recommend that you come of your high horse, recognise the valid objections of other members and offer clarity of statement and a well defined thesis. That shouldn't be difficult for someone well versed in philosophy.

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