What is "Mind?"

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BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Jul 24, 2014 - 07:04pm PT
Ed this might have happened when you hit ur head?

Systems in the brain not only compute the information that I am aware, but also compute a spatial framework for it, a location, and a perspective. Screw up the computations, and I screw up my understanding of my own awareness.
MH2

climber
Jul 24, 2014 - 08:32pm PT
First, some time back, MH2 said that the bio machine/human being actually directs "our" attention to this or that and that "we" have no dominion over our actions, or perceptiolns, etc., whatsoever. In fact the bio machine itself, as a stimulus response mechanism, has no self awareness at all. It simply does what it does entirely on mechanical, automatic principals. It exists outside and separate from sentience, which is an impotent, subjective observer entirely beholden to the determined mechanisms of the bio machine. (JL)


Your awareness of what other people have said is flawed, JL, and that calls into question other statements you make about awareness. Objective evidence of poor memory, careless reporting, and poor comprehension can make us doubt what a person has to say. No one is immune from making mistakes but you could do better.
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Jul 24, 2014 - 08:36pm PT

I call this the ‘attention schema theory’. It has a very simple idea at its heart: that consciousness is a schematic model of one’s state of attention. Early in evolution, perhaps hundreds of millions of years ago, brains evolved a specific set of computations to construct that model. At that point, ‘I am aware of X’ entered their repertoire of possible computations.

The heart of the theory, remember, is that awareness is a model of attention,

In reality, attention is a data-handling method used by neurons. It isn’t a substance and it doesn’t flow. But it is a neat accounting trick to model attention in that way; it helps to keep track of who is attending to what.

So HIS "consciousness" is a schematic model of one's "state" of awareness.

And awareness is a model of attention.

And attention merely a "method" of data-handling USED BY neurons.

in this sense aren't models and methods type's of ghost's?


His consciousness is a long ways from Harris's just knowing your alive!
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jul 24, 2014 - 08:52pm PT
When you preceive the "space between your thoughts" in your yoga class, WHAT exactly is it that you perceive?

Well, it is as I describe it, of course. But the idea that it is a perception means it is a representation of what that state is/was, not the state itself. In fact, I have no idea what the actual state might be.

Do I actually stop paying attention? I don't know, I think at the stage I am at probably not, or at least not for long. But could I, in principle, stop paying attention? perhaps. But what my perception of that state is, what ever it is, is still a perception.

Mechanistically, it is the perception that I act on, that model which the brain computes of the outside world, which does animate action. My perception could be wrong, some combination of shadows that appear as the face of a tiger, for instance, might make me jump. Or a fallen branch that I notice as I step over a log, that appears to be a snake...

When something happens that is outside of that perceptual model, it is difficult to know just how to behave. We've had those "deer in the headlight" moments... not frozen by fear, frozen for lack of a response to the stimulus. Truly confused as to what was unfolding in front of us.

Why would that ever happen if we had this thing "free will"? What is it about those situations that prevent us from exercising that "free will"? The deer's full attention is on the headlights, it's perception of the situation, however, is confused, it isn't "programmed" to have a response.



getting back to my concussion experience, it is true that I don't remember what happened. Certainly it seemed as if I were conscious to others, but equally certainly, I behaved in a not fully normal matter. While I cannot recall the entire incident, at the time I acted as if I had memory, but I could not remember my locker combination.

I would assert I was not conscious, yet others thought I was... and all due to a head injury. Where did that consciousness go, and how did it come back? If you think it was just a lapse of memory, which we believe is something mechanistic, what is the relationship of the physical nature of memory, and the putative non-physical nature of consciousness?

How does this non-physical thing (consciousness) express itself physically (through our physical behavior, now including memory)?

Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 24, 2014 - 09:19pm PT
Ed wrote: "When you preceive the "space between your thoughts" in your yoga class, WHAT exactly is it that you perceive?"

Well, it is as I describe it, of course. But the idea that it is a perception means it is a representation of what that state is/was, not the state itself.
--


You're getting a little closer IMO to getting this. At this level of inquiry it's mostly a hall of mirrors and is very tricky to negotiate save to a defalt into simple mechanical terms, which is simply our discursive mind objectifying the "space" into a form our brains can mentally wrangle.

If you observe close enough you will see that the space between thoughts involves awareness sans an object. A thought is awareness that has narrowed on some thing (thought, feeling, etc). Without the narrowing of focus, there are no trees in our perception, only the forest (space between trees).

In this sense, when you are present with the space between thoughts, THERE IS NO REPRESENTATION, no position of remove, no state or tree (so to speak) "out there" to perceive. There is only the state itself and raw awareness, with no duality between them.

It is only our discursive minds that tell us awareness MUST involve states and objects and representations of things we can mentally get hold of.

But brother, this is slippery material.

JL
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Jul 24, 2014 - 09:25pm PT
this is still a very interesting discussion



however all this mental wiggling and squiggling serves to further convince me that humans generally know next to nothing by way of understanding the nature of the universe
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jul 24, 2014 - 09:35pm PT
but there is no way to access that "raw state"

you experience that state only through perception.
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Jul 24, 2014 - 10:04pm PT
Ed, I have the greatest respect for modern physicists and cosmologists and trust you all are promising guiding lights for attaining a more viable understanding of the nature of reality. However it also seems to me as an interested observer that major breakthroughs in understanding are blocked by politically controlled academic obstinacy. All this would be sufficiently intriguing if only as a matter of academic dialog. However such questions appear threatening to the very survival of our civilization and planetary life support systems. Elaborating on this could involve a major discussion branching off from this thread...but I suspect your ability to continue participating here indicates your deeper sense of these matters...
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Jul 24, 2014 - 10:20pm PT
The deer's full attention is on the headlights, it's perception of the situation, however, is confused, it isn't "programmed" to have a response.

Well in my idiodic mind the headlights have "rays" holding the deer immobile. HeHe.

Seriously, i believe simply the deer doesn't know how he "feels" about the light. Until he does, his program can't respond.

i'm thinking the ONLY imediate Free-will we have is the choice to move in a direction to cause change in the way we feel about someone/something.
All other movement is deterministic. Within each breath we have the capability to change hate to love, or love to hate. i don't mean within the emotional experience itself, although one could. Rather a reasoned concious descision to not hate George Bush(or whoever/whatever you don't like) and start showing him love. Once you make that 180, your attention changes, your programs start changing. Your awareness changes, and mostly ur conscious/subconscious changes.

what do ya think about that one?

What's the consensus on love, physical or not?
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jul 24, 2014 - 11:38pm PT
I have yet to hear an answer as to when (and how) this non-emergent, non-physical 'consciousness' attaches it an organis. And where along the line of life from bacteria to humans or, with humans, from conception to adult? How do we find it or it us?
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
Maestro, Ecosystem Ministry, Fatcrackistan
Jul 25, 2014 - 06:34am PT
Of course love is physical. It changes the hormonal activities in our bodies.

But it is not a physical force like gravity though.

DMT
WBraun

climber
Jul 25, 2014 - 06:54am PT
I have yet to hear an answer as to when (and how) this non-emergent, non-physical 'consciousness' attaches it an organis

That's because you refuse to listen, you tune out completely unless it's some scientists that's been rubber stamped so called expert by their own tuned out clan.

The blind leading the blind.

Just see how much you fools attack some simple thing as zazen and you get a very clear picture of western ridged consciousness.

Then throw in an extreme mad man like this fruit guy here and it's even more evident you're all locked into a very narrow ridged consciousness.

Tvash

climber
Seattle
Jul 25, 2014 - 08:22am PT
Just spend 10 seconds realizing that you have absolutely no idea what my experience has been to date. That might help you get clear of your prison of assumptions and intellectual blind spots. Like the silly 'space between your thoughts' literally being what it feels like, for example. Really? 30 seconds of thinking about how that would actually work doesn't clear that up for you? And what is this straw man fetish with 'objects'? A device upon which to defend a failing idea? They are irrelevant to this discussion.


"This might help you get clear on it: just spend thirty seconds with your attention wide open, NOT focused on any thing. No thoughts will rise up if you keep that focus wide enough. In the abscnece of thought, what do you find? That is what you are missing when your attention is fused to what your dendrites are parading before you. We don't expect you to know otherwise, lacking the expoeriences that would make some of this material clear to you and entirely void of woo and magic and all the other silly sh#t your heap on what you don't understand. But so long as you are curious and are not a slave to your own POV, you have a shot at a wider, and clearer perspective."
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Jul 25, 2014 - 10:36am PT

Ha!

where is HFCS, off sulking somewhere?

LOL. Not off sulking, just out looking for a new hinge. ;)
Tvash

climber
Seattle
Jul 25, 2014 - 10:46am PT
We're all being led around by the nose by an evil cabal of scientists, bent on keeping the truth hidden.

Their purpose is clear.

The universe-as-recycled-summer-blockbuster-plot
jgill

Boulder climber
Colorado
Jul 25, 2014 - 11:20am PT
Raw awareness is the aspect of sentience which is aware (JL)

The heart of the theory, remember, is that awareness is a model of attention



I must be getting too old for this sort of thing. It looks like metaphysics to me, at best some kind of circular reasoning based on poorly understood concepts.


Mechanistically, it is the perception that I act on, that model which the brain computes of the outside world, which does animate action. My perception could be wrong, some combination of shadows that appear as the face of a tiger, for instance, might make me jump. Or a fallen branch that I notice as I step over a log, that appears to be a snake... (Ed)

An obvious observation, but one that puts a little meat on a rapidly diminishing bone.
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Jul 25, 2014 - 11:37am PT

'In a religious or spiritual view, the “experienceness,” the consciousness itself, is a non-physical substance, something like plasma. It is ectoplasm. It is spirit.

Even if it is "Spirit", your spirit is seperate of my spirit. Doesn't that constitute some sortof physicality?
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jul 25, 2014 - 11:40am PT
maybe you didn't read the article jgill... but the there might be little compelling in the explanation. I happen to like it a lot, but I can see, and the authors admit, that their hypothesis lacks some grand "ah ha!" moment...

basically the hypothesis is simply that consciousness is associated with the evolutionarily advantageous social behavior, that we have "built in" circuits for "social attention" and that our "theory-of-mind" uses these same circuits to predict behavior.

The hardwired nature necessarily simplifies the totality of sensory input. That is what we call "perception".

Obviously, we use the attention queues of others in our interactions. The "rays" which we perceive as vision happen to correspond to the 1º to 2º field of view of our fovea, the region on our retinas that have the highest resolution capability... knowing where that field of view is pointed is a good approximation to the visual attention of someone else...

...the hypothesis would posit that our individual process for "pointing out attention" is also used to interpret other people's attention. It would be a marvelous generalization, and it would explain a whole host of behaviors, imitative learning, for instance... with the important consequence of decreasing brain size... a brain that is already energy hungry, engineering wise, the brain energy use has to be compensated by the energy it helps to find...

...what are you looking at? is there a banana in that bush?

The report goes on to point out that the center of "consciousness" in the brain corresponds to the location of social attention, and that injuries of a particular location result in our loss of consciousness of one side of our world (the left side).

To test this, they experiment with a set of "social scenes" in combination, and show that scenes that are not "normal" require a lot more brain processing than scenes that are expected. As they predicted.

Perception, our model of the world around us, includes awareness, and social awareness, all perceptual models we base our actions on. But the models have limitations, so our actions are based on incomplete or unfamiliar sets of information.

Not only that, but we use the same sort of generalization to build our own model of how we interact with the world, using the same "circuits."

The commonality of experience is simply the commonality of the physical structure of the brain.

Our sense that the universe is conscious comes from that same behavior, we extend our "theory of mind" to everything... we can't help it, it's how we're wired...

...and you don't even have to conjure up "emergence" to do it.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Jul 25, 2014 - 12:34pm PT
So you think ohm's law is valid for an incandescent light bulb, huh?
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jul 25, 2014 - 01:25pm PT
the resistance is a function of temperature, so it doesn't obey Ohm's law, it is non-linear...
how does that happen?

you could probably look at Purcell and figure it out.

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