What is "Mind?"

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High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Jul 14, 2014 - 07:42pm PT
re: romantic philosophy, etc.

The motion: Philosophy is dead.

Richard Dawkins, Neil deGrasse Tyson, with Stephen Hawking as dessert, weigh in...



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYmIKc2wdZs&feature=youtu.be

.....

I'm finishing up the Hawking Mlodinow "Grand Design" now, how coincidental is that! Good discussion, clear writing on determinism and free will, too. Progress is afoot, hallelujah!

Now with theology dead, "theist philosophy" can't be far behind.
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Jul 14, 2014 - 07:49pm PT

I see most of this Eastern meditative life-coaching as common sense cast in pretty language.

Yea, and if you throw in some yoga you get lots of pretty girls.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jul 14, 2014 - 08:17pm PT
Some scientists like to say things like, "there's a whole bunch of dark energy out there", then stand back and wait till someone finds it, then say, "see i told you so".

no, that's not what happened at all...

this is what happened:


these data show the universe is expanding more rapidly today, then it was in the past... and this result was already a part of cosmological thinking back to the modern cosmologies derived from General Relativity (which is 100 years old next year); then as the "cosmological constant" which was added by Einstein to explain the prevailing "steady state" universe ideas.

Hubble observed the universe expanding at a constant rate, 1926, only 11 years after General Relativity...

In 1998 a paper where some of the data in the plot above was published established the fact that the expansion is accelerating... a 2009 retrospective is given in this paper:
http://arxiv.org/pdf/0907.3526v1.pdf

There are currently 5 theories which propose different models of dark energy... and a very large set of projects to test those 5 theories...

...that's science.

Just sayin'
MikeL

Trad climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Jul 14, 2014 - 08:27pm PT
Wonderful, Jan. I'm so glad you show up when you do.

Wish we could all meet for a drink one sunny afternoon somewhere civilized. Not to talk philosophy, spiritualism, science, or rationality . . . just to share a drink (or two) . . . maybe a nice Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Bordeaux, Beaujolais, or something. Just to smile, listen to outrageous stories, and to enjoy each other's humanity. How nice to get along, if only for a few hours, on this thread.

Life is just too short to get very wise about much of it. In these moments of clarity such as now as I feel, everything "tastes" the same.

Today the movers delivered our household goods to our new apartment (condo in a high rise), and I'm as exhausted as a one-armed wallpaper hanger. How in the hell did we collect so much "stuff"? It's embarrassing to have become such an ostensible materialist.

DMT: Its a Tower of Babel is it?

Isn't it . . . and not only this thread. We can't help it. The more we talk, the more we miss each other. The less we talk, the more we know. My wife is 17 years younger, and I hear her talk about things incessantly. She's a smart woman, and has many things to say, but I see her getting herself in trouble often because she has so many things to say.
jgill

Boulder climber
Colorado
Jul 14, 2014 - 08:34pm PT
. . . but I see her getting herself in trouble often because she has so many things to say

Oh oh. Dude, hope she doesn't read this!



;>\
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 14, 2014 - 09:54pm PT
Heqlyj: Pretty good, except nowhere have I once presented sentience or self-awareness being "best understood in terms of tasking, in terms of DOING something", but rather I was simply pointing out that "no-tasking" is easy to reproduce in any computer.

Heallj, what you are trying to do is impossible, and that is to understand "no tasking" without actually taking the time to experience what it is experintially. So you guess at it and flub it handsomely.

What you "simply pointed out" has nothing to do with no-tasking in terms of sentience, but rather you have tried to use a computer metaphor in which the computer is in idle mode. But of course that has nothing to do with what I was talking about.

Try and get your head around what sentience IS when it is not identified with any content or task or calculation. What is left?

You seem to think I am either guessing about this stuff, or or trying to twist stuff into "mysteries," meaning things you cannot frame in Newtonian terms. It apparently never occured to you that thoser terms are simplistic and don't actually cover the points discussed.

JL
jgill

Boulder climber
Colorado
Jul 14, 2014 - 10:15pm PT
Try and get your head around what sentience IS when it is not identified with any content or task or calculation. What is left? (JL)

What is left in the meditative experience when one attains unfocused awareness? Computers are designed to do things, not to be things. Why be concerned with attempting to generate self-awareness on a computer? And in the unlikely event that were to happen, then provide counseling for the poor fellow, psychotherapy for a frazzled hard drive, allowing it to exist in a more sublime condition, benign and purposed to help its fellow computers and not be riveted on its internal processor?


;>)
MH2

climber
Jul 14, 2014 - 11:07pm PT
Good example of stimulus and response, healyje and Largo.
MikeL

Trad climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Jul 14, 2014 - 11:28pm PT
Jgill: . . . provide counseling for the poor fellow, psychotherapy for a frazzled hard drive, allowing it to exist in a more sublime condition, benign and purposed to help its fellow computers and not be riveted on its internal processor?

Someone is taking the computer-metaphor-for-a-brain "a bit" too far beyond where it should be taken.

I think it can provide insight to make distinctions between doing and being. But quite honestly, I suspect you're hesitant to make the transition from one to the other. Like most of us, we've been weened on achievement, on doing, on being productive, on making a difference--to others. What would our value be if we did not do something? What would be our worth if we were not productive?

What is the value of art? Of watching a child enjoy themselves in a play park? Of viewing a sunset from the top of The Sentinel? Of being aware that you are still alive?

All this attention devoted to how things work (whirr, click, output) is nothing when compared to being, to simply being here and now.

Remember the last time you had a really close call in combat, on the highway, in the doctors office, on the operating table . . . those moments of tingly aftermath. You could almost hear the crackling of moments expressing themselves. (Maybe it was just tinnitus.) But you felt ALIVE.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jul 14, 2014 - 11:47pm PT
Try and get your head around what sentience IS when it is not identified with any content or task or calculation. What is left?

...meaning things you cannot frame in Newtonian terms. It apparently never occured to you that those terms are simplistic and don't actually cover the points discussed.



well it's not at all clear what sentience is, and while you can try to eliminate various approaches to it, you may be wrong. In some ways, understanding sentience from a scientific point of view would mean being able to produce it.

knowing that you produced it, you'd have to be able to test it.

if your contention is that sentience is not something definable, then there is no test, and there is no point in trying to build a scientific theory of it. This would be true even if sentience is "emergent" since you still have to define that state in order to see if you produced it.

once can easily appeal to the answer of the question: are animals sentient? animals being the closest model, and biologically related to humans. to answer that question you have to define sentience, otherwise you have no idea whether or not animals are sentient.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/consciousness-animal/

there is no answer, of course, because of the things we wrestle with in this thread.



another issue for "consciousness" or "sentience" is the common experience that there is an earliest time that marks our own awareness of those states. we are not aware of being conscious while in the womb, or at birth, or anytime before 2 or 3 years of age...

where is "consciousness" then? where "sentience"? how does it come to be?

healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jul 14, 2014 - 11:54pm PT
Ed: where is "consciousness" then? where "sentience"? how does it come to be?

Exactly. All you have to do is examine humans from fertilized egg to adult, or the span from viruses to humans to see consciousness / sentience is emergent. I.e. it isn't floating about in the ether waiting for the right time to 'attach' to an organism.
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Jul 14, 2014 - 11:58pm PT
Ed, Thanks for the link.
it helped me understand more about redshift.
But without knowing the meanings of some of those symbols, i couldn't figure out how they know the expansion is accelerating.
And i didn't see how they concluded to being dark energy.
Is it the fact the expansion is accelerating proves there is dark energy?

It doesn't seem right the universe expanding in all directions at the same speed. Wouldn't that mean there isn't a center? Or starting point?
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jul 15, 2014 - 12:10am PT
Heallj, what you are trying to do is impossible, and that is to understand "no tasking" without actually taking the time to experience what it is experintially.
Hardly. As recounted earlier, I have no shortage of experience with meditation and sensory deprivation.

What you "simply pointed out" has nothing to do with no-tasking in terms of sentience, but rather you have tried to use a computer metaphor in which the computer is in idle mode. But of course that has nothing to do with what I was talking about. Try and get your head around what sentience IS when it is not identified with any content or task or calculation. What is left?
My previous point, exactly. In the absence of tasking, what is left? You've been unable to communicate it in thousands of posts so it's likely safe to assume your friends aren't going to be programming such 'no-it' anytime soon. A computer at idle is as close to sentience as they're ever going to get.

You seem to think I am either guessing about this stuff, or or trying to twist stuff into "mysteries," meaning things you cannot frame in Newtonian terms. It apparently never occurred to you that those terms are simplistic and don't actually cover the points discussed.

Yes and no, I think you are experiencing some things and inferring / guessing others (or possibly leaning heavily on 1500 years of others experiencing / inferring / guessing) - but personally, I think the correlation between the two and with reality and fact are, somewhat ironically, highly subjective to say the least. As for the framing, all along in this discussion you seem unable to convey your points with any specificity or depth in any terminological framework. And you'll have to pardon me if I find "what is left?" and "be here now" falling somewhat short of the mark complexity-wise.
cintune

climber
The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Jul 15, 2014 - 03:59am PT
Months Before Their First Words, Babies' Brains Rehearse Speech Mechanics:
http://www.technobahn.com/articles/2014071419260027.html
Tvash

climber
Seattle
Jul 15, 2014 - 05:53am PT
WHy is it always 'smell the roses OR know how a rose works?'

It can be both - and knowing how the rose works does, in fact, enable one to smell it better.

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jul 15, 2014 - 07:50am PT
It doesn't seem right the universe expanding in all directions at the same speed. Wouldn't that mean there isn't a center? Or starting point?

that's correct... there is no preferred point in space... the universe at the big bang was all there, and inflation drove the expansion at every point...

I'll respond to your other questions later...

go-B

climber
Cling to what is good!
Jul 15, 2014 - 07:57am PT

John MacArthur New Testament Commentary John
John MacArthur New Testament Commentary John
Credit: go-B
Credit: go-B
Credit: go-B
Credit: go-B
Credit: go-B
Credit: go-B

...Jesus was bona fide by the raising of Lazarus, and one day you'll be resurrected too, mind you! :)
Tvash

climber
Seattle
Jul 15, 2014 - 08:38am PT
This rose seems to be broken.

The thorns, though - let's see...what can I make with them...
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
Jul 15, 2014 - 09:08am PT
another issue for "consciousness" or "sentience" is the common experience that there is an earliest time that marks our own awareness of those states. we are not aware of being conscious while in the womb, or at birth, or anytime before 2 or 3 years of age...

where is "consciousness" then? where "sentience"? how does it come to be?


I'm not sure we can really make a statement like this. It seems to me that most people can not remember whether they were conscious or not before 2-3 years of age, but people have remembered back to being in the womb under hypnosis. We assume their memories are accurate because they described things they and other people say they did not know before which were later confirmed (a twin who died and was never mentioned again, a mother's fall etc.)

British studies have also shown that fetuses leap in the womb when hearing a familiar soap opera theme song that their mothers listen to on a daily basis, and after they're born, they get excited when they hear that theme again but don't react to music they never heard before. This would seem to be related to the research Cintune posted about babies processing language sounds (and therefore music) in their brains long before they can speak.

Are we perhaps too much tying the idea of consciousness to spoken language and to our current levels of memory? If so, we need to be careful of this. If a retarded person never learns to speak, yet they process sounds in their brain and maybe understand simple speech, are they conscious? And what about people with Alzheimer's? Have they lost their consciousness or is it simply diminished, but still on the spectrum?



Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jul 15, 2014 - 10:59am PT
it wasn't a statement, it was a question...

but if you want to associate what we usually refer to as "unconscious" to "conscious" then I really have no idea how to proceed with this discussion.

We have a number of behaviors that we act out "unconsciously," often associations with events that happened (pleasant or unpleasant) that we cannot remember, and certainly do not remember as being a notable agent in forming an aversion or liking... I haven't much doubt that many behaviors are formed throughout the development of a human. But my experience is that there is some age which I became conscious, before which I have no memory of being conscious.

That is my experience. Perhaps my experience is an anomaly and most people do have an experience of being conscious throughout their lives.

I do not think it is coincidental, however, that my experience of becoming conscious corresponded to my developing language and memory skills (which also may be related).

We might have asked the question, up above, regarding the inability to form memories, yet be apparently conscious. Oddly, this is a situation where we are unaware of our own consciousness, but others are aware of it... concussion injuries often lead to this sort of situation.

Where did the consciousness go?
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