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Why are we conscious now , and not 100 years ago.


cosmicsearcher142
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How are we conscious now and not then.If the future hasn't happened yet then the probability of being conscious would be much greater for the timeline of human existance is much longer than the day we were born.Also if there's a possibility of being born in the past then our existence now is impossible.If we were born in the past then the same problem would occur.Since we are here and there is a past and future then this could point to cycles of time.So we are destined for this time and destined to live it forever.This then makes freewill impossible.But,there is the Uncertainty Principle proving we might have freewill anyway.Post your thoughts and ideas on this.

Edited by cosmicsearcher142
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Consciousness appears very much to be an emergent property of other characteristics which have been selected for throughout millions of years of evolution. Traits which aided in survival and the creation of offspring seem to have come together to create what we call "consciousness."

 

As for why you exist now, and not at some other time, it's really a matter of coincidence. Your father happened to meet your mother, and they happened to conceive you when one random sperm met one random egg. The rest is history. You are here. You are here now, in the present, and not somewhere else. If you were somewhere else, you'd be there instead.

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cosmicsearcher,

 

From your OP it sounds like you are talking about being born twice. Once then and once now. As far as can be proved, or logically argued, your conciiousness only exists from birth to death. I think your basing your question off of the premiss of there being a possibility of being born in the past and being born again in the present, and asking if we were born at some point in the past why aren't we concious of it now? If that is the question, then I would have to say that the mind doesn't transfer from one body to the next through time, therefore your memories would inturn not transfer. If you believe in that sort of thing.

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cosmicsearcher,

 

I think it is because here and now is our point of focus. And our point of focus allows there to be that which we are focusing upon. OUR past, and future. And OUR scale and position and motion.

 

We are always here and now...seems to be a common condition. And it does not seem that we do it alone. Nor that we can do it, any other way.

 

Regards, TAR2

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  • 4 weeks later...

Cosmicsearcher142,

Looks like I am not the only one with all these questions!

 

First, your question was expressed by the 17th Century physicist Blaise Pascal in the following way:

“When I consider the short duration of my life, swallowed up in the eternity before and after, the little space which I fill, and even can see, engulfed in the infinite immensity of spaces of which I am ignorant, and which know me not, I am frightened, and am astonished at being here rather than there; for there is no reason why here rather than there, why now rather than then. Who has put me here? By whose order and direction have this place and time been allotted to me?”

 

In my own search to these kinds of questions, I came to the conclusion that time is essentially mental, even though it has some physical element in it (otherwise you won't see it in so many physics equations) . The flow of time can be just an illusion. For example, in his book "About Time", another physicist (a contemporary one) Paul Davis imagines taking the sequence of one's lifetime, and having the time pointer go in random order instead of linearly forward, the person will still perceive time going forward linearly. So, instead of 2:01pm follows 2:00pm, and 2:00 pm follows 1:59pm, let's have time flowing in the following order: 5pm, then 3pm, followed by yesterday's 5:30pm, and so on and so forth... totally out of sequence. If there is a being who is outside of time, this being will be able to perceive the sequence being out of order. But for a being inside time, this "out-of-order-ness" simply is hidden. Just like if you play a DVD in random order, sudden forward, sudden backward, you can see the disorderness because you are outside of the DVD time. But for a character inside the movie, this randomness is completely hidden because as far as he is concern, when a certain frame is up, he would be doing a certain thing. When another frame is up, he would be thinking about another thought, perhaps anticipating his future. The order of the frames being played affects the viewer, but not the character inside the movie. The question is what determines which frame is being play at this moment in this cosmic movie we are in? And what determines why is now playing the frames that have "you" in it?

 

We are all characters inside a cosmic movie, and so the time is necessary linear for us.

 

As why you are only born now, and not a hundred years ago, despite the probability of being born any time within the last 10 mellenia before Jesus was much greater than being born on the day you were born given the range? That is a great question. But the question assumes that you are your current body. In fact, a generalize question to the question you are asking is the following: Why is your consciousness associated with the physical body you call your own, while there are billions of conscious bodies in the universe that your consciousness could have associated with, including those in the past and those in the future? Why were you born you? Why when a physical body was forming in a certain womb, you started to gain "consciousness"? What linked you, the consciousness, to the physical body? In the philosophy of mind, this question is closely related to the so-called "The Hard Problem": Assuming materialism is true, how does materials moving around (all physical systems are materials moving around, including the human bodies) create a "first person view"? Is there a possibility of having a physical system (read body) that is an atom-for-atom replicate of your body, which behave exactly like you (the law of physics dictates that it behaves like you since it has the exact same DNA and memories you have), but is actually unconscious? Something that is totally "dark" inside? This possibility is the existence of the so-called "phenomenal zombies" or "philosopher's zombies", or simply p-zombies.

 

I have written an ebook title "Where are the zombies?" about it. If you are interested, you can google the title with a qualifier "ebook" and you will find it. There are free versions around. The late version was updated in Oct. of 2011. Maybe you will enjoy reading it.

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How are we conscious now and not then.

 

Perhaps we are conscious 100 years ago (and also in the future), now. Have you tried looking through the eyes of your ancestors (and descendants)? Have you tried listening to their thoughts and dreams?

 

~ :)

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Also if there's a possibility of being born in the past then our existence now is impossible.

Think of it this way. If you roll a dice and it comes up a 3, then why did it come up a 3. It could have come up a 2 or a 5 or any of 6 numbers. Basically, despite the fact that other possibilities exist, it has to land on 1 number and only 1 number.

 

This means that your thinking above has to be wring, because if it were true, then when ever you rolled a dice it would never stop rolling, or have to land on every single number it could at the same time.

 

But,there is the Uncertainty Principle proving we might have freewill anyway.

This is an incorrect use of the Uncertainty principle, but it is a common misperception of it. To put it in the simplest terms: The uncertainty principle is about the fact that when you try to detect one property of a particle, you have to erase the other properties to do so.

 

Think of it this way. Imagine a pool (snooker) table and balls. Say you want to take a photo of the balls while people are playing.

 

You could use a fast shutter speed. This would capture an image of the table as it is, but since you would not have the information that showed in which direction the balls are moving, so you would not, from just the photo, be able to tell how the table will look at the start of the next player's shot.

 

Or, you could use a slow shutter speed. This would smear the image of the balls out into a line and this would allow you to tell exactly how the balls are moving. The problem is that the balls exist at all points along the line and not at any one point on the line they make.

 

this means that you can either tell exactly where the balls are, but not tell how they are moving, or you can tell how the balls are moving, but not have a single spot they are in.

 

Now the uncertainty principle gives a similar effect, but works quite differently because the smearing out effect is an actual physical effect and can be detected.

 

The best example of this is the two slit experiment. In this they fire particles (usually light or electrons) at a screen with two slits in in. If the particles behaved like pool balls, then they would go through one slit or the other. If we placed a detector on the far side of the screen, then we would get two bright lines smearing into each other where we detect particles emerging from either slit.

 

However, if the uncertainty principle is correct, then we shouldn't see just two lines, but see what is called an interference pattern (this is a whole series of bright and dark lines). This is what we would expect if the particles are waves.

 

But, if you think of water waves, the reason water waved exhibit this behaviour is that there is a lot of water (which are atoms of H2O) which can flow through the slits.

 

So, if this effect was because the particles we fire through are interacting with the other particles sent though at the same time, then this effect should disappear if we fire only 1 particle at a time though it. However, if the uncertainty principle is correct and the smearing out of particles is a real physical effect, then we should still get the interference pattern.

 

This experiment has been done and what is surprising is that we get the interference pattern, even if a single particle is sent though at a time.

 

So this means that the uncertainty principle is very different to pool balls, even though we can use the do demonstrate what it looks like.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 3 weeks later...

How are we conscious now and not then.If the future hasn't happened yet then the probability of being conscious would be much greater for the timeline of human existance is much longer than the day we were born.Also if there's a possibility of being born in the past then our existence now is impossible.If we were born in the past then the same problem would occur.Since we are here and there is a past and future then this could point to cycles of time.So we are destined for this time and destined to live it forever.This then makes freewill impossible.But,there is the Uncertainty Principle proving we might have freewill anyway.Post your thoughts and ideas on this.

 

For the same reason that number 10 isn't 1.

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  • 1 month later...

How are we conscious now and not then.If the future hasn't happened yet then the probability of being conscious would be much greater for the timeline of human existance is much longer than the day we were born.Also if there's a possibility of being born in the past then our existence now is impossible.If we were born in the past then the same problem would occur.Since we are here and there is a past and future then this could point to cycles of time.So we are destined for this time and destined to live it forever.This then makes freewill impossible.But,there is the Uncertainty Principle proving we might have freewill anyway.Post your thoughts and ideas on this.

 

I don't think we know enough about consciousness to say it couldn't exist even with determinism in place. Also, there isn't a chance of being born in the past, that doesn't make any sense, there's time symmetry, but no scientific report as ever stated it has been observed in reality, it's just a byproduct of the weird math in quantum mechanics.

Edited by questionposter
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How are we conscious now and not then.If the future hasn't happened yet then the probability of being conscious would be much greater for the timeline of human existance is much longer than the day we were born.Also if there's a possibility of being born in the past then our existence now is impossible.If we were born in the past then the same problem would occur.Since we are here and there is a past and future then this could point to cycles of time.So we are destined for this time and destined to live it forever.This then makes freewill impossible.But,there is the Uncertainty Principle proving we might have freewill anyway.Post your thoughts and ideas on this.

 

No one knows really.

 

But I think that you just demonstrated that you are the type of person that needs to search for an answer to this and similar questions.

 

How old are you by the way?

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How are we conscious now and not then.If the future hasn't happened yet then the probability of being conscious would be much greater for the timeline of human existance is much longer than the day we were born.Also if there's a possibility of being born in the past then our existence now is impossible.If we were born in the past then the same problem would occur.Since we are here and there is a past and future then this could point to cycles of time.So we are destined for this time and destined to live it forever.This then makes freewill impossible.But,there is the Uncertainty Principle proving we might have freewill anyway.Post your thoughts and ideas on this.

Bolded mine

 

I have another interpretation of what happens when time elapses (warning: this has been discussed thoroughly on this Forum, it seems I am agreeing with myself alone)

 

It goes like this:

We are not here and there. We are not alltogether here in the present AND in the past.

I argue that we are changing coordinates in time.

 

IOW there is only one existence: if you are here today that is because you have moved from the past. The coordinates you were once in the past are void because you are here today. There is no other "you" in the past.

 

And of course there is no other "you" in the future.

 

When you were born, some years ago, there was no other "you" today posting on SFN. And today, there is no other "you" crying in mums arms.

There is only one "you" traveling in time, changing coordinates in time.

 

This single one you is conscious.

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First physics. Time is not simple. It consists of at least two correlated components: dimensional time (the time that enters into Relativity Theory) and change (partly the time of Quantum successions of QM State Vector collapses). It may be even more complex.

 

Second the philosophy of consciousness. Most philosophers agree that experience is extended in (dimensional) time. They call this extension the "specious present" or "extended present" moment. The word "specious" is used because, at the time when William James drew it to our attention the prevailing cosmology was Euclidean/Newtonian in which time was imagined by physicists to be a succession of instantaneous states of a three dimensional universe in which only the current, instantaneous state exists. Of course nowadays we know that the universe is at least 4 dimensional so time extension need not be specious.

 

You can understand the extended present by just listening to a word. Notice that the word is extended in dimensional time and at each instant there is not time enough for even a phoneme. There is a blog that delves into these matters from a scientific perspective called "New Empiricism" See:

 

http://newempiricism...experience.html

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Because it only takes our brain a fraction of a second to process information. If it took 50 years to process information, we would be conscious 50 years ago (assuming one was still alive). If our brains had a 50 year delay life would be a living hell! If you're thinking about alternate timelines then I think I might know where you are coming from. If you are wondering why the mind and body are on the same timeline then it's because you're mind and body are one.

The question is: How do you know that you're not conscious 50 years ago? You could be but you don't know because you are seeing what you see but you could have seen that 50 years ago but it's only just been processed. It's a bit of a mindbender. :)

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Morgsboi: " you are seeing what you see" - do I?

 

Look in the mirror, can you see your eyes move? If you cannot see them move where are the eyes that you "see" in the mirror? What do you see when you see?

 

 

Morgsboi: "it only takes our brain a fraction of a second to process information"

 

Is consciousness processing? Processors operate on successions of defined states. Each state of a processor is static. So how do you have movement or whole words in your experience?

 

How much could you see at present if "present" is a boundary zero seconds long between the past and the future? Say "now"! When is/was now?

 

 

Plenty of people have looked into these problems - see the link in my last post for instance.

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  • 1 month later...

I'm saying how is the existence of consciousness is even possible through a linear timeline.And also how come this is our time now and not our time long ago.

 

This makes no sense, since we could ask that question also when we would be living in a past time, and so it can not be answered.

 

But if you would assume that being born in a specific period of time would be some probabilstic event, it could be made clear that within an exponential growing population, the changes of being born now are far greater then being born in the past.

 

Maybe that is what you want to ask?

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  • 6 months later...

I can refute your cycles of time theory though, Lets say that time was looping, Choices we make are predetermined. Even if we think we are making a choice, It has already been predetermined.This would not make sense. There would be absolutely no point in human existence no point in anything, who would benefit from this? who would be able to make time cycle? because naturally that does not occur.

You could challenge me to do something or say something right now, and because i am a different person from you entirely , if time cycled we could technically all be in different timelines and everything's just in your head. or we'r on an artificial simulation. It's highly highly unlikely. if you do the math it can be proven highly improbable but it's much harder in words.

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  • 2 months later...

Your conscious isn't separate from your body. Your mind wasn't floating around time waiting to choose a brain to inhabit. When the atoms came together to form your body, your mind was created. It didn't exist 100 years ago.

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