Documentary looks at old and new models of human consciousness |305|

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Sciborg_S_Patel

Is there any model of consciousness that doesn't involve some form of "illusion"? For example, even if consciousness is all there is (a la Bernardo) the experience doesn't really feel like that... I mean, if Bernardo is correct, the apparent existence of an external world is an illusion.
I think all the process philosophy stuff has consciousness on the human level as something real, but the world retains its reality as well? So Whitehead, Bergson, Gregg Rosenberg. That said everything has objective/subjective poles.

Same would then go for the other panpsychic stuff, for similar reasoning about intrinsic/extrinsic aspects, also the Neutral Monisms that don't fall under Nondualism. (For example Pauli's ideas of matter/mind as two aspects of one whole.)

The dualist philosophies also don't have consciousness as some kind of illusion, nor is the world illusion AFAIK?

Information based metaphysics, depending on how the respective authors think it works? Though I guess if everything is information space-time is kind of an illusion? *shrugs*
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

On new guys that need to be included in these docs/interviews, I'd like to see Marcus Arvan get a chance to shine.

How the Peer-to-Peer Simulation Hypothesis Explains Just About Everything, Including the Very Existence of Quantum Mechanics

§1 of this essay briefly summarizes (a) the philosophical and empirical hypotheses that jointly entail the P2P Hypothesis, (b) how the P2P Hypothesis explains all six features of our mentioned above, and (c) the P2P Hypothesis’s four distinct empirical predictions.

§2 then shows something new: that even if the P2P Hypothesis is true, our world differs from the kind of P2P simulations we have constructed in one profound, fundamental way: a way that implies that reality cannot be reduced to mere quantitative information of the sort dealt with in the hard-sciences (i.e. “it’s from bits”). Reality has fundamentally qualitative elements that cannot be understood as “information” in any traditional sense.
 
I am with Susan Blackmore on the issue of self as an illusion. Buddha taught this many years ago, nad it was confirmed by many people who observed their minds for long enough. There are numerous experiments that confirm that. And yes, there is no reincarnation, because there is nothing to be reincarnated. More than that, nothing dies, because nothing was ever born.

There is a nice illustration in the latest novel by a Russian author Victor Pelevin. The main character is shown a computer game which has a picture of a cave on the screen. You press the forward button and the cave is moving towards you, as if you are walking forward. This visual demonstrates how the mind works. The cave does not exist, except in the code that generates the picture. Only a small part of it, a snapshot, exists at any given time. Yet you can mark the place and after a few turns come back to it some time later.

This is how we see the world, and this is how self is gradually built: by moving through connected and unconnected events and building the narrative, the mental matrix of who we are. If you look carefully, this self consists of multiple personalities that replace each other every few minutes. And each of these personalities is a machine that will act predictably in typical situations. In the morning you make the promise of not eating fast food, but by lunch time you're sitting with the Big Mac and a pack of French Fries. Was it the same person who made these decisions? Or, one moment you're kind and patient, but should your blood sugar level drop and a different chain of chemical and hormonal relays turns you into an irritable and aggressive wanker - which you will realize later and, again, deeply regret! That's free will for you. The only way to see the true nature of self is though meditation, sitting down and observing what is happening in your mind.

There is lots more to address from this angle - near death experiences, memories of past lives, clairvoyants, telepathy etc., but all neither of that contradicts the idea above.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

I am with Susan Blackmore on the issue of self as an illusion. Buddha taught this many years ago, nad it was confirmed by many people who observed their minds for long enough. There are numerous experiments that confirm that. And yes, there is no reincarnation, because there is nothing to be reincarnated. More than that, nothing dies, because nothing was ever born.
What experiments?

There is a nice illustration in the latest novel by a Russian author Victor Pelevin. The main character is shown a computer game which has a picture of a cave on the screen. You press the forward button and the cave is moving towards you, as if you are walking forward. This visual demonstrates how the mind works. The cave does not exist, except in the code that generates the picture. Only a small part of it, a snapshot, exists at any given time. Yet you can mark the place and after a few turns come back to it some time later.

This is how we see the world, and this is how self is gradually built: by moving through connected and unconnected events and building the narrative, the mental matrix of who we are.
But the self is the viewer/player of the game, the center point of the experience - or to be more technical, each self can be seen as the first-person recipient of intentionality & subjectivity?

If you look at the post above yours, Arvan separates the bit-structures ability to represent extrinsic properties (relations) and the intrinsic subjectivity of 1st person awareness. (He also notes the one-further-fact argument for identity.)

If you look carefully, this self consists of multiple personalities that replace each other every few minutes. And each of these personalities is a machine that will act predictably in typical situations. In the morning you make the promise of not eating fast food, but by lunch time you're sitting with the Big Mac and a pack of French Fries. Was it the same person who made these decisions? Or, one moment you're kind and patient, but should your blood sugar level drop and a different chain of chemical and hormonal relays turns you into an irritable and aggressive wanker - which you will realize later and, again, deeply regret! That's free will for you. The only way to see the true nature of self is though meditation, sitting down and observing what is happening in your mind.
What about the days you keep the promise, or keep control over your irritability?

How do you know that your meditation practice isn't confusing you and deluding you into thinking that there is no self?
 
Experiments that demonstrate fragmented perception of reality. External and internal reality is perceived in the same way, as in built by the brain. Not noticing a gorilla in the dancing show and feeling the pain in the amputated limb is the result of the same processes.

Meditation can definitely lead to delusion, no doubt. Here is another example that has been experienced at least sometimes by everyone. Which is disappearing during some task. It can be music, sport, work, sex - whatever. Or watching something that draws your full attention. Zen experience. Time stops and there is no self. This is the natural state of being. All you're able to perceive is the moment after moment. Which happens rarely, because of the unique ability of the human mind to suffer.

As half joke, the controversy of consciousness penetrates our language and at the same time hints at its origins. We say, "I lost consciousness" Who is this "I" that lost consciousness? If "I" implies awareness, where was it when consciousness was not present?
 
If consciousness is an illusion, then shouldn't intelligent plants be given the same "rights" and protections as intelligent animals?


http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/02/160221-plant-science-botany-evolution-mabey-ngbooktalk/
There Is Such a Thing as Plant Intelligence

Plants are capable of solving problems and learning from past experiences.
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Plants are astonishing in their own right and deserve to be given the same ethical status as animals, says Richard Mabey.
 
Experiments that demonstrate fragmented perception of reality. External and internal reality is perceived in the same way, as in built by the brain. Not noticing a gorilla in the dancing show and feeling the pain in the amputated limb is the result of the same processes.

Meditation can definitely lead to delusion, no doubt. Here is another example that has been experienced at least sometimes by everyone. Which is disappearing during some task. It can be music, sport, work, sex - whatever. Or watching something that draws your full attention. Zen experience. Time stops and there is no self. This is the natural state of being. All you're able to perceive is the moment after moment. Which happens rarely, because of the unique ability of the human mind to suffer.

As half joke, the controversy of consciousness penetrates our language and at the same time hints at its origins. We say, "I lost consciousness" Who is this "I" that lost consciousness? If "I" implies awareness, where was it when consciousness was not present?
It's a bit preachy to claim that being in 'flow' is the 'natural state of being'... I doubt we can say that.
 
Studying consciousness through afterlife research is similar to studying how boats work by observing the trace left by a boat on the water. Doesn't make much sense to me.
 
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Afterlife research should be the primary field of consciousness research. Neuroscience and Psi ought to be considered subfields.
This only makes sense if one has a world-view where it makes sense. ;)

The afterlife research interests me but is loaded with all sorts of problems.

Remember, each bodily incarnation has 2 extremities. A much easier, and more fruitful, approach may be to study how consciousness emerges and matures at the other end of life, the beginning.
 
I wouldn't put much significance on NDE research. All it shows that people whose heart stops have conscious experiences. EEG goes flat, but they still experience something. The problem with this is that we don't know when these experiences occur, when the blood supply to the brain was diminished, completely interrupted or when the circulation was restored. Moreover, EEG is a very crude and one-sided way to study the brain. It is comparable to EMG in the muscle: it reflects electrical events in the muscle, but doesn't tell us much about other aspects of muscle function - strength, speed of contraction etc.

Coming back to NDE, it is completely plausible that reported experiences occur during "in" or "out" stages of the arrest.

As far as the analogy of the waves behind the boat is concerned, it is - like anything else in the area of consciousness - the matter of belief. Everything leaves traces. You can study traces and make conclusions regarding the object that left them. Or you can study the object itself, and it seems to me that in this case you will get more reliable data. Afterlife communications - in my opinion - are exactly that, reading the traces left by the consciousness in the Universe.
 
People who experience realization of non-duality generally don't believe in free will. I'm not claiming that as authority, just pointing it out for consideration.

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Here is why people who have realized non-duality don't believe in free will:

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What Buddha taught was that anything you can identify is not self and he explained why, and therefore nothing is worthy of being attached to.

http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2016/02/not-self.html
When you look within, you realize you don't control anything. Thoughts, emotions, impulses arise without you being aware of how they are formed. Where do thoughts come from? Normal people accept them as "mine" but self-realized people don't. To them thoughts, impulses, emotions are things to be aware of like a car, or a tree. Maybe the brain has free will. But self-realized people see "themselves" as just the pure awareness not the things (thoughts, emotions, impulses) "they" are aware of. The world of things (cars, trees, houses, as well as emotions, impulses, and thoughts) is like a movie playing on the screen of pure awareness.

That pure awareness is the only thing that is unchanging throughout life. Compared to the constancy of pure awareness, everything else is impermanent, ephemeral, unreal. Pure awareness is the only thing that is real, constant. It is our belief in the reality, solidity, permanence, of material things, as well as the belief in a self consisting of body, thoughts, emotions, and impulses, that confuses normal people and prevents them from seeing their true nature.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

Then is 'looking within' also uncontrolled? The ability to choose precedes the looking.
I also separate having emotions and impulses from my actual actions. Not going to pretend I'm the perfect person, but I can say there've been instances where my reasoning and will prevent me from letting my emotions/impulses take control.
 
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