Truly, What Is Consciousness?

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Spraticus
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Re: Truly, What Is Consciousness?

Post by Spraticus » April 12th, 2017, 3:48 pm

All these posts are really about the taxonomy of consciousness, but without saying what it is. Is this what the OP wants or should we be looking for an account of how consciousness arises. Which, in the present state of knowledge we would fail to do.

Woodart
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Re: Truly, What Is Consciousness?

Post by Woodart » April 12th, 2017, 4:18 pm

Spraticus wrote:All these posts are really about the taxonomy of consciousness, but without saying what it is. Is this what the OP wants or should we be looking for an account of how consciousness arises. Which, in the present state of knowledge we would fail to do.

I beg to differ - I think we know exactly where emotions come from. However, Part of the answer to “what is emotion” is to address the question of volition. Why do we have volition? Volition is the prime mover of the self, but it does not live in a vacuum. Volition is given substance (a push – a provocation) when it is connected to an emotion. So emotion is the key to understanding volition. Emotion is a cognitive force – it can be measured and recorded on MRI, EEG and other electronic devices. It is much easier to describe where emotion comes from, than to say what it is.

I assert that love is the strongest and most powerful of all emotions. Love can be very mild – like I love spaghetti. Or it can be very passionate – like I love my dog. And love by its very nature has an antithesis – hate. We could think of emotions as being on a scale from +10 to -10. And between these two points there are an infinite number of possibilities. Love and its subordinate incarnations – like – prefer – admire – enjoy and so forth; have a distinct point of origin. Love comes from a Mother.

Without a shadow of a doubt we know that love comes from a Mother. We don’t need to do a scientific survey or investigation to know, absolutely, where love comes from! Love comes from a Mother. A Mother loves her child because it is her. One being that divides into two. A Mother loves her child because she loves herself. A Mother loves herself because she learned love from her Mother. A very practical dynamic - that sets in motion a force; which humans use to propel themselves through life’s journey.

I personally believe that love is the most powerful force in the universe. However – that is a whole other topic and a distraction from our focus here – consciousness. The biggest feature of consciousness is love and all of its manifestations and incarnations all the way to hate. Love is the apotheosis of all emotion. Love is the mother of all emotion. Emotion dominates consciousness and breathes life into our will to live and function. Emotion is what drives our lives. I think love is the engine of consciousness. Love is our prime mover – love comes from a Mother.

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Felix
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Re: Truly, What Is Consciousness?

Post by Felix » April 12th, 2017, 7:25 pm

Woodart: I would agree there are different types of consciousness. What are they?
1- Awareness of self – my body, volition and personal history.
2- Awareness of other than self – a dog, a table – the external universe.
3- Awareness without focus – a still/quiet mind.

All are contained in my consciousness. I don’t know if there are any more categories to consciousness.
There is also experiencing subjectively the consciousness of another being, which is not something that most people have experienced, so it is an intersubjective rather than a merely subjective (your #1) or objective (your #2) level of consciousness.
I think what we want to know is why we have different consciousness?
Well, how much awareness can one person handle? Most people can't even manage the little plot of consciousness real estate alloted to them.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

Woodart
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Re: Truly, What Is Consciousness?

Post by Woodart » April 12th, 2017, 7:47 pm

Felix wrote:
There is also experiencing subjectively the consciousness of another being, which is not something that most people have experienced, so it is an intersubjective rather than a merely subjective (your #1) or objective (your #2) level of consciousness.
I do believe this a category - I am not sure I have experienced it - maybe.
Felix wrote:
Well, how much awareness can one person handle? Most people can't even manage the little plot of consciousness real estate alloted to them.
I think this a gross understatement - good point. Perhaps the next great step in Human evolution is to have inter-being consciousness connection.

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Re: Truly, What Is Consciousness?

Post by Belindi » April 13th, 2017, 5:01 am

Woodart wrote:
Perhaps the next great step in Human evolution is to have inter-being consciousness connection.
We already have it ever since we became social animals which arguably is always. Understanding how other sentient creatures feel is evolved by natural selection in social animals. True, many humans lack a sufficient degree of empathy and sympathy , so apes and dogs are nicer social animals than we are.

Good and bad are exaggerated in the human as compared with other animals. More the god: more the devil is the human.

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Re: Truly, What Is Consciousness?

Post by Woodart » April 13th, 2017, 12:55 pm

Belindi wrote:
We already have it ever since we became social animals which arguably is always. Understanding how other sentient creatures feel is evolved by natural selection in social animals. True, many humans lack a sufficient degree of empathy and sympathy , so apes and dogs are nicer social animals than we are.
What I was referring to was something more akin to a Star Trek mind meld. Empathy is good but actually being in another person’s head is an order of magnitude different. However, I think Felix’s really important point is how seldom we are conscious of being aware. There is now just starting new research in an offshoot of the field of Epigenetics. A guy named Bruce Lipton say we are aware of our conscious mind only about 5% of the time. 95% of the time we are in unconscious mode – auto pilot. I am not sure about the accuracy of the figures, but I think the point is well taken. As Felix pointed out – we don’t use much of our cognitive real estate. Lipton is selling classes and coaching to become more aware, more of the time, and change our physical biology in the process. Essentially inducing more mindfulness and reaping the benefits in the power of positive thinking. I think these are sound ideas; however I don’t think I will be joining Lipton’s church anytime soon. I got my own church and we will be passing the hat on a regular basis.

Spraticus
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Re: Truly, What Is Consciousness?

Post by Spraticus » April 14th, 2017, 3:45 pm

Woodart wrote:
Spraticus wrote:All these posts are really about the taxonomy of consciousness, but without saying what it is. Is this what the OP wants or should we be looking for an account of how consciousness arises. Which, in the present state of knowledge we would fail to do.

I beg to differ - I think we know exactly where emotions come from. However, Part of the answer to “what is emotion” is to address the question of volition. Why do we have volition? Volition is the prime mover of the self, but it does not live in a vacuum. Volition is given substance (a push – a provocation) when it is connected to an emotion. So emotion is the key to understanding volition. Emotion is a cognitive force – it can be measured and recorded on MRI, EEG and other electronic devices. It is much easier to describe where emotion comes from, than to say what it is.

I assert that love is the strongest and most powerful of all emotions. Love can be very mild – like I love spaghetti. Or it can be very passionate – like I love my dog. And love by its very nature has an antithesis – hate. We could think of emotions as being on a scale from +10 to -10. And between these two points there are an infinite number of possibilities. Love and its subordinate incarnations – like – prefer – admire – enjoy and so forth; have a distinct point of origin. Love comes from a Mother.

Without a shadow of a doubt we know that love comes from a Mother. We don’t need to do a scientific survey or investigation to know, absolutely, where love comes from! Love comes from a Mother. A Mother loves her child because it is her. One being that divides into two. A Mother loves her child because she loves herself. A Mother loves herself because she learned love from her Mother. A very practical dynamic - that sets in motion a force; which humans use to propel themselves through life’s journey.

I personally believe that love is the most powerful force in the universe. However – that is a whole other topic and a distraction from our focus here – consciousness. The biggest feature of consciousness is love and all of its manifestations and incarnations all the way to hate. Love is the apotheosis of all emotion. Love is the mother of all emotion. Emotion dominates consciousness and breathes life into our will to live and function. Emotion is what drives our lives. I think love is the engine of consciousness. Love is our prime mover – love comes from a Mother.

I don't think you'll find emotions in my posts. I do however think emotions and their impacts on the brain are far more important for understanding consciousness than "rational" processes. If you consider the brain as primarily concerned with homeostasis, emotions are the way the body signals to the brain what needs to be done. The qualia of emotions are our experience of the chemical signals involved. Volition is the drive to homeostasis.

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Re: Truly, What Is Consciousness?

Post by Woodart » April 14th, 2017, 11:45 pm

Spraticus wrote:
I don't think you'll find emotions in my posts. I do however think emotions and their impacts on the brain are far more important for understanding consciousness than "rational" processes. If you consider the brain as primarily concerned with homeostasis, emotions are the way the body signals to the brain what needs to be done. The qualia of emotions are our experience of the chemical signals involved. Volition is the drive to homeostasis.

I am not quite sure we are talking about the same thing or maybe we are? Originally you said we are “looking for an account of how consciousness arises. Which, in the present state of knowledge we would fail to do.” I feel my account of how love is generated and developed between a Mother & Child is a strong part of consciousness arising. It is not the whole story, but a big part. The rational side of consciousness seems to be driven by emotion as well. For example – why do pure mathematics – because we like puzzles – right? Well why do we like puzzles? Because we enjoy solving them – the operative concept here is – enjoy. Emotion seems to be connected to everything we do – what do you say?

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Re: Truly, What Is Consciousness?

Post by Belindi » April 15th, 2017, 5:21 am

Woodart wrote:
Emotion seems to be connected to everything we do – what do you say?
True. Without emotions we could not live, like we could not live without taking in oxygen from the air, or like without converting food into energy and tissues. All physiological processes ,including the bunch of physiological processes we call emotion, are connected to everything we do.

"Everything we do" includes brain activity. Emotions affect how brains do what they do. The endocrine glands secrete substances which are the carriers of the external signs and subjective feelings of emotions. Feelings are not emotions. In varying proportions emotions are moderated by the thinking brain so that emotions are refined into complex feelings.

Reactive behaviour (reacting to immediate emotions)is behaviour that is comparatively unaffected by reflective cogitations.

We can learn self conscious insight into our own behaviour so that we can tell if our behaviour is unthinking reactions or is reasoned behaviour.

In this discussion it's needful to differentiate between and define consciousness, emotions, feelings, and awareness. I defined 'emotion' above. You can be in a state of waking awareness and be unreasonable or unfeeling. You can be in a state of dreaming awareness and react to emotions, and also experience complex feelings. You can be in a state of hallucinating awareness and experience reactions to unrefined emotions and also experience refined feelings.

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Re: Truly, What Is Consciousness?

Post by Woodart » April 15th, 2017, 11:48 am

Belindi wrote:
In this discussion it's needful to differentiate between and define consciousness, emotions, feelings, and awareness. I defined 'emotion' above. You can be in a state of waking awareness and be unreasonable or unfeeling. You can be in a state of dreaming awareness and react to emotions, and also experience complex feelings. You can be in a state of hallucinating awareness and experience reactions to unrefined emotions and also experience refined feelings.

I think it is fair to say that emotions are subjective evaluations. Emotions are attached to our perception of both the inner world and the outer world. And they vary from very positive through neutral to very negative. They attach or associate with our activities and we carry them with us everywhere we go. We can describe them in terms of physiology and neurology but, more commonly talk about them in associative ways – “holidays are fun because….” I don’t usually say - “holidays are fun because my endocrine glands secrete hormones.”

If we feel a physical sensation it may have a strong emotion associated with it. Or the feeling could be rather neutral. What I am saying is that physically feeling and psychologically feeling seem to be different aspects of consciousness. So the term feeling can be confusing or misconstrued. Sometimes it means emotion and sometimes it means body sensation – or both.

For me I do not see much difference between awareness and consciousness. I use them interchangeably most of the time. For example – I am aware of danger in the environment, but not conscious of it most of the time. And – I am conscious of danger in the environment, but not aware of it most of the time. They seem the same to me – I do not see a distinction.

I hear your point that there are a lot of different types of consciousness – waking – reactive – psychotic – unconscious and on and on. And that they can combine with one another in complex ways. For purposes of understanding and/or defining what consciousness is in a functional sense we need to break it down to its most apparent attributes – I say that is emotion and volition. There are other attributes, like sensation, reasoning, perception and others. However, emotion and volition lead the pack.

I think it is through emotion and volition that we most clearly comprehend what consciousness is. It is with emotion and volition that we associate value in our consciousness. Value judgement gives meaning to our lives. What we value helps us to determine where we want to go. Emotion and volition cannot, in my view, be separated. They work together and define each other. I most clearly see myself with an emotional eye.

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Re: Truly, What Is Consciousness?

Post by Felix » April 15th, 2017, 1:18 pm

Regarding "intersubjectivity," here's an example of what I had in mind (I'd posted this in another thread, it's from Mary Lutyen's biography of J. Krishnamurti.) And Mothers Agenda (13 volumes) by Satprem is chock full of similar accounts of "intersubjective awareness."

J. Krishnamurti said: "While I was in that state (of deep meditation) and more conscious of the things around me, I had the first most extraordinary experience. There was a man mending the road; that man was myself; the pickaxe he held was myself; the very stone which he was breaking up was a part of me; the tender blade of grass was my very being, and the tree beside the man was myself. I almost could feel and think like the roadmender, and I could feel the wind passing through the tree, and the little ant on the blade of grass I could feel. The birds, the dust, and the very noise were a part of me. Just then there was a car passing by at some distance; I was the driver, the engine, and the tires; as the car went further away from me, I was going away from myself. I was in everything, or rather everything was in me, inanimate and animate, the mountain, the worm, and all breathing things. All day long I remained in this happy condition."

After having a similar experience upon ingesting mescaline, Aldous Huxley theorized that our habitual survival oriented state of consciousness (making a living, etc.), acts as an impediment or filter to such awareness. I'm reminded of a statement attributed to Christ: "the kingdom of heaven is spread out upon the Earth but men do not know it."
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

Woodart
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Re: Truly, What Is Consciousness?

Post by Woodart » April 15th, 2017, 3:09 pm

Felix wrote:Regarding "intersubjectivity,"


I was not familiar with term intersubjectivity; however the description by Krishnamurti is marvelous. I truly believe this is an advanced state of human consciousness. Krishnamurti was a great man. I believe the practice of mindfulness, meditation or looking inside - is immensely powerful. Our path in evolution as a species will come from these types of practices. I also think science can play a great part – especially biofeedback. We are so new to this planet – but most particularly to ourselves. Our journey - to know who we are - has just begun.

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Re: Truly, What Is Consciousness?

Post by Belindi » April 16th, 2017, 4:51 am

Woodart wrote:
Belindi wrote:

In this discussion it's needful to differentiate between and define consciousness, emotions, feelings, and awareness. I defined 'emotion' above. You can be in a state of waking awareness and be unreasonable or unfeeling. You can be in a state of dreaming awareness and react to emotions, and also experience complex feelings. You can be in a state of hallucinating awareness and experience reactions to unrefined emotions and also experience refined feelings.



(Woodart)I think it is fair to say that emotions are subjective evaluations.

Then we disagree in this matter. Can I possibly point you to physiology of emotions and add that physiology is scientific and objective?

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Re: Truly, What Is Consciousness?

Post by Consul » April 16th, 2017, 11:58 am

Felix wrote:There is also experiencing subjectively the consciousness of another being, which is not something that most people have experienced, so it is an intersubjective rather than a merely subjective (your #1) or objective (your #2) level of consciousness.
You cannot experience or perceive the consciousness of another subject.
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

Woodart
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Re: Truly, What Is Consciousness?

Post by Woodart » April 16th, 2017, 12:08 pm

Belindi wrote: Then we disagree in this matter. Can I possibly point you to physiology of emotions and add that physiology is scientific and objective?

Belindi – it may be presumptuous of me, but I think you are leading me to your point of view as a determinist. I respect determinism, but I do not think it tells the whole story. I expressed my thinking on this in another thread:

onlinephilosophyclub.com/forums/viewtop ... 26#p286226

If this is your position, we could talk about it here or there, because it goes to the heart of consciousness. If you are saying something else – please explain – because I am missing it?

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