What is "Mind?"

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Tvash

climber
Seattle
Jul 16, 2014 - 05:42pm PT
If Mike believes every action is perfect, we don't agree.

As I've tried to foist upon thee before, when you have a thousand wavering value engines all screaming for attention in different keys, one's 'choice' of action can vary. creativity proves that our decision engine is
really
fkn
complicated.

Plus, if your perceptions are off kilter - garbage in, garbage out.

All I'm saying is that it doesn't seem possible for one's consciousness to call any shots at all, because those shots have already been called by the the very same stuff from which consciousness emerges.

I'm now going to choose to have dinner with a beautiful woman, then walk the sculpture park.

Best I can do in this life.


BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Jul 16, 2014 - 06:37pm PT

you are claiming that you are conscious "in the moment" but essentially unaware that you were later because you can't remember.

How about think back to "your" first awareness of being conscious at age 2/3. Where was your conscious before that? i don't think you/i can remember because our infant brains memory had not developed enough yet. Put together the fact that we just don't remember everything we put our eyes on and make the focal point in our conscious. Lets jump forward to when you were 7/8. You know you were conscious, but you can't remember hardly anything you were conscious of on any given day. i also think there are multiple layers of consciousness, and maybe your only thinking of one? Basically being aware enough to feel the poke of a stick? Open eyed awareness. i'm sitting here focused on the screen punching keys, conscious of each letter. Meanwhile, i hear the radio talk'in, the water cooler running, the dog lick'in my foot, it's hot,and so on. While my brain narrowly focuses no how to spell this word. My "full-time running,wide open awareness conscious" is keeping tabs of everything in my environment i'm not narrowly focused on. "keeping tabs" through my other senses. If i get cold, my narrowness will be interrupted and i'll turn off the cooler. Who tells you to pull the blanket back up when cold while your asleep? Your brain is prompted by a level of your conscious. Being cold is relative to what you consciously agree as warm.

Again, who really knows? i have ideas, i'm just trying to figure out words.
i'm dig'in Damasio's theory's,jus not some of his terminology.
Go check it out!



jgill

Boulder climber
Colorado
Jul 16, 2014 - 07:10pm PT
We just do something based on our "state" and the current circumstances in our world. That is not free will. We immediately "make sense" of this action based on memories...(and stuff) (eey)

Rather than try to refute this I will offer an example that may reinforce your assertion: Have you ever had the experience of an unexpected sudden loud noise or explosion while you were sleeping, perhaps dreaming, and awakening immediately but having the eerie experience of having had a dream that seems to have been lengthy and that led up to and incorporated the loud noise into its storyline? How could this possibly be? It seems to defy logic and suggest even a bit of time-travel into the past, but that, I'm sure, is an illusion.

Your post probably refers, as well, to the moments of reflection and decision-making prior to "doing something" doesn't it?

All I'm saying is that it doesn't seem possible for one's consciousness to call any shots at all, because those shots have already been called by the very same stuff from which consciousness emerges (Tvash)

Suppose that "stuff" sends up the signal for the "I" in one's consciousness to make a decision and enjoy the sensation of free will?

MH2

climber
Jul 16, 2014 - 07:14pm PT
I also have wondered if my brain has plotted dreams out in advance. It certainly feels that way sometimes. Or maybe it works backwards from some point? Or perhaps there are several parallel lines of dream?
MH2

climber
Jul 16, 2014 - 07:16pm PT
I have memories that I think were formed quite early, but have only a vague notion of when they date from.

I think it is reasonable to guess that babies have a level of consciousness. We can only guess at what another person is thinking and feeling from what they do. Baby's brains are probably busy absorbing the world around and learning to organize movement and don't have much motivation to impress an audience with their erudition, but they squeal and squall for food, attention, and clean-me-up. And they babble beautiful somethings.


Here are a couple examples of what might be objective evidence of consciousness, if you are not too finicky about the definition.


Face recognition








Will, want, need, strive, or crave


jgill

Boulder climber
Colorado
Jul 16, 2014 - 07:28pm PT
Here are a couple of examples that might fit with eeyonkee's theses:

When I was about ten and living in a suburb outside Houston some friends and I had played baseball and were walking home. I started to show off by spinning a bat in the air and catching it by the handle. Then I missed and it struck me in the head, knocking me down. I didn't loose consciousness, but I had the strangest experience when the bat struck: I saw a deep blue field like the sky with a number of perfect, five pointed solid white stars - just like you might see in a comic book.

More recent, a few years ago I had been sitting for a long time, then got up a little too fast, almost blacking out. But another instant visual appeared: a plane filled with small flashing squares of various colors, exactly like interference patterns on a digital TV. The Matrix, maybe?


;>)
MikeL

Trad climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Jul 16, 2014 - 10:51pm PT
Ed: . . . the only way you are "conscious" is through a third person consensus that you are.

What? The sentence is illogical and nonsensical. How could one's own consciousness come through another? The very essence of consciousness is subjectivity. Explain yourself, please.

Tvash: If Mike believes every action is perfect, we don't agree.

Actions are a subset of the totality. There is an acorn, and it is perfect. It gets watered, bathed in soils and moisture, and it grows into an oak tree. Every part and phase is perfect, and every so-called action is too. Without any "action," nothing changes--but everything changes. So actions are just transitions in states of being. Look at the acorn and the oak tree and all of the circumstances and causes that they are a part and parcel of. To call one thing a cause and another thing an effect is heavy-handed bracketing--no different than looking at a painting and seeing the left-hand corner as an effect of the right hand corner. Everything is dynamic, and yet everything is one. You could say that everything is movement, but nothing is going anywhere. Everything is right here right now in your consciousness. It's sort of like a movie: there seems to be all of that action and movement and effect, but looking closely one can see that it's all just what occurs on a screen.

(Why am I still awake tonight? I'm so tired of unpacking boxes upon boxes of household goods. One glass of wine, and I'm out for the count.)
eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Jul 17, 2014 - 04:28am PT
Thanks for your support, jgill:)

And, HFCS, now that I reflect back on 2006, I realize I was just a darn, fool kid back then.
Tvash

climber
Seattle
Jul 17, 2014 - 05:08am PT
"Suppose that "stuff" sends up the signal for the "I" in one's consciousness to make a decision and enjoy the sensation of free will? "

There's no 'other' place to 'send' such a signal. If consciousness IS a person experiencing those signals, then the deed is already done. That is to say, the decision has already been made, and one experiences the final result of that decision (slightly) after the fact.

Ie, the last thing the avalanche does is wipe out your cabin at its base.

Randisi

Social climber
Dalian, Liaoning
Jul 17, 2014 - 05:09am PT
What? The sentence is illogical and nonsensical. How could one's own consciousness come through another? The very essence of consciousness is subjectivity. Explain yourself, please.

Not all philosophies consider subjectivity to be some kind of hermetically sealed box that you can't get out of.

Some philosophies even claim that it is the other that incites consciousness, or that consciousness is first and foremost intersubjectivity.

But I have little desire to explain these ideas here.
eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Jul 17, 2014 - 05:15am PT
Totally on board with you, Tvash.
MH2

climber
Jul 17, 2014 - 06:25am PT
Not all philosophies consider subjectivity to be some kind of hermetically sealed box that you can't get out of. (Randisi)


Thanks for that. Tatiana and Krista Hogan appear to leak into one another. Probably no one knows exactly how someone else is feeling, but most people have a degree of empathy. Actors talk about being in character for a role, and trying to think and feel like the character in order to behave like the character.
Randisi

Social climber
Dalian, Liaoning
Jul 17, 2014 - 06:34am PT
For example, here's a random sentence I just this minute translated:

The entire world becomes subject at the same time as it integrates the objects.

--Michel Serres
MH2

climber
Jul 17, 2014 - 06:50am PT
Come to think of it, after a brief look at Michel Serres, a tranlsator would be especially attuned to what we call subjectivity. Trying to translate evocative prose from one language to another would require a sense of what the author is trying to say, not just what they did say, it seems. Words are so context-sensitive. Machine language translation is difficult to implement because of how much of culture one needs to know and understand.
another nickname

Social climber
Yazoo Ms
Jul 17, 2014 - 06:58am PT
I barely know Kant and almost certainly misunderstand him, but I thought he figured most of "reality" was in some realm apart from time & space (noumenal) & notions of "mind" would therefore be exclusively "phenomenal" & somewhat of an illusion.

I don't suppose it truly matters, but they say physics is coming round to the idea that time and space don't exist -- at least at certain scales & energy levels.
Randisi

Social climber
Dalian, Liaoning
Jul 17, 2014 - 07:07am PT
I barely know Kant and almost certainly misunderstand him, but I thought he figured most of "reality" was in some realm apart from time & space (noumenal) & notions of "mind" would therefore be exclusively "phenomenal" & somewhat of an illusion.

Philosophy too has made progress since that time.
MikeL

Trad climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Jul 17, 2014 - 07:43am PT
Randisi: Not all philosophies consider subjectivity to be some kind of hermetically sealed box that you can't get out of.

Get out of your consciousness, and tell us what that's like. I think you'll find yourself in a place that Largo has been attempting to point to.

There is no philosophy needed to experience consciousness. The compulsion to explain consciousness, when it's right in front of you, is sort of like explaining the taste of sugar or explaining the experience of climbing. What's the purpose or the use? The only point is to simply experience another experience. It's all experience.

You like philosophies, don't you, my friend? I think you're getting yourself all balled-up in thoughts and concepts, which is surely itself an experience, but it tends to fall into a weird regress, like Alice in Wonderland. Philosophies are rabbit-holes, but people like them because they think they can pin something down with them. Nothing can be pinned down.

MH2: Trying to translate evocative prose from one language to another would require a sense of what the author is trying to say, not just what they did say, it seems. Words are so context-sensitive.

Look up "literary theory." This field of study has exploded and fragmented over the past 50 years, and it's very difficult to keep track of what folks are saying. One thing is for sure, though: any text (to include this one) is highly problematical, even to an author who writes it. See Derrida's works.

Once you see that language presents a constant movement of differences--of words referring to other words definitionally and in opposition to one another--you will see that there can be no stable resting point. This means you can no longer appeal to reality as a refuge independent of language. Everything in reality is unstable and ambiguous, both of which are inherent in language.
Randisi

Social climber
Dalian, Liaoning
Jul 17, 2014 - 07:45am PT
You like philosophies, don't you, my friend? I think you're getting yourself all balled-up in thoughts and concepts, which is surely itself an experience, but it tends to fall into a weird regress, like Alice in Wonderland. Philosophies are rabbit-holes, but people like them because they think they can pin something down with them. Noting can be pinned down.

Mike, you are an absolutist, a true believer. No doubt. Which is funny coming from someone based in a Cartesian worldview.

You have found the truth, have you? Nothing can change your mind?

Such people are dangerous.

For someone who doesn't like or trust concepts or philosophies, you sure use a lot of them. Didn't you just cite Derrida?
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 17, 2014 - 07:48am PT
Ed wrote:

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.

I say: People may be and often are totally wrong about their INTERPRETATION of sentience, but when someone practices no-mind meditation, for example, and is deep in the experience, there is no way to be wrong or right or otherwise. You simply ARE. Value judgments per right and wrong occur only when the discursive mind posits an interpretation or evaluation.

Ed said: In some ways, understanding sentience from a scientific point of view would mean being able to produce it.

I say: My friends at Caltech thought so as well, and despite Healyj’s wonky statements to the contrary – that anyone trying to program sentience is on bong water – this has been the promise of many AI folks for decades, and the BRAIN project which that charlatan hustled 1 billion Euros for promised as much by 2020.

Ed said: 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.

I say: This is not strictly true IME. What people are discovering is that sentience itself is not definable in strictly physical terms because what you end up trying to define are physical functions, the awareness of subjective experience. Claiming they are the same things is not helpful because when you go to define sentience – which Healyj says I never bothered doing, though I tried – you end up with terms that are not objective but subjective. So the hope is to define the objective functions off of which sentience is said to emerge and to create it that way. But when my friends looked at what would be involved to “produce” it, merely as a theoretical exercise, what they found is that neurobiologists et al had themselves often used subjective or meta terminology like “core self” and so forth, or considered sentience as a consequence of a panoply of functions involving memory, sensations, etc., none of which lent themselves to the code. Wish I had more time to go into this but I have a writing symposium to teach here in Carbondale so I gotta get cracking on that.

Ed wrote: 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 say: My sense of it here is that our provisional ego “I” is really what you are talking about here, because you are saying some thing is coming into awareness, and sentience is not a thing but the awareness itself. And without some subjective experience with this material, this will not add up.

For the record, I said that sentience is the dynamic interplay or raw awareness, focus and attention. And that we DO NOT have free will over the content that arises in our Q Space (field of awareness), but rather we do, to lesser and greater degrees, have some free will per where we place our attention, and that greatly determines what plays out in our lives.

JL
MikeL

Trad climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Jul 17, 2014 - 10:06am PT
Hi, Randisi:

Sure, I use concepts all the time. One cannot talk without them. However, I don't take them very concretely or seriously. it's just talk, you know?

As for being someone (me) who is purportedly dangerous, you might want to reconsider. You don't strike me as a fascist. (It seems those folks are always concerned about dangerous people who fall outside of the mainstream.)

It's not a Cartesian point of view, btw. It's a dharma point of view. :-) How much truth can one claim if one claims that nothing can be claimed?

Have you read Derrida? (Talk about rabbit holes!)
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