It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Help ATS via PayPal:
learn more

On the Nature of Consciousness

page: 1

log in


posted on Jun, 28 2014 @ 03:09 PM
I read this thread and it inspired me to write about some stuff I have been thinking about.

Representation of consciousness from the seventeenth century, Robert Fludd.

The modern, materialistic viewpoint is that consciousness is the result of processes taking place in the brain. I am not opposed to this, but it raises some questions.

The brain can be thought of as an object or perhaps a space with certain properties. There are particles in it and electrical flows and so on that are necessary to create a consciousness. But a rock, or a blob of water for example, also contains particles and electricity, matter and energy. Still a rock is not conscious, so there should be a fundamental difference.

What differences are there? What is it that sets the brain apart from other objects? Why is consciousness present only in the brain?

The brain is hotter than some rocks but colder than others. Some rocks may have more electricity going on than a brain, others less. I could write more examples like this but there is one unique thing about the brain. It is more complex than any other object we know (there is probably some scientific term for this, not sure if it is complexity, but I'm gonna use this here).

So, it seems plausible that a high amount of complexity is necessary for consciousness. The brain is complex. You could see the brain as a pocket in space characterized by extreme order. The processes going on in the brain are highly ordered compared to the disordered state of a glass of water or the vacuum of space.

But this is just a difference of degree. The brain is more orderly than a rock but it is not fundamentally different. There's just a degree of difference. So why is there consciousness only in the brain? And if we create a pocket of space with as much order as a brain, will it be conscious?

Is there a minimum amount of order needed to create consciousness? Could be, but it seems arbitrary.

If not, then does consciousness exist in rocks as well? It seems that rocks are not aware, but again there is no fundamental difference. If we would take a human brain and gradually manipulate it to be lass brainy and more rocky, at which point would it stop being conscious?

A rock is not able to communicate or feel anything, but these things are not necessary for consciousness, are they? Can a consciousness exist without anything else we humans have? Without having anything to be conscious of? We would not know because of it's immaterial quality.

However, if consciousness exists everywhere then why does it seem to be so sharply defined to one being at a time? Could it be that it is only noticeable where there are nerves and grey matter and sensory input and output going on? If we could somehow unite the nervous systems of two humans, would their minds meld? This doesn't seem to be the case in Siamese twins, although maybe they are not sufficiently connected.

And what happens when you sever the right and left hemispheres? Does the consciousness "live" in one of them, or is it split? The are recorded cases of this, here is one article.
edit on 28-6-2014 by Subnatural because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 28 2014 @ 04:56 PM
a reply to: Subnatural

As an ardent fan and possessor of rocks of various kinds, both the wild kind in my yard and the tamed kind setting attractively on my interior shelves, I fear you denigrate rocks to an overly degree.

I would argue (but won't other than merely making a statement) that rocks and all matter exists in various states of consciousness. Actually, that is why it exists. It is consciousness. The only difference between rocks and us is that we have this wonder thing that we are born into which allows us to ponder this thing called consciousness. Unfortunately, we fail to utilize that potential in lieu of playing with the physical aspects. From that view, I surmise that we are an imperfect example of consciousness gone wild..or even bad. I hope this helps.

posted on Jun, 28 2014 @ 04:57 PM
One might stop using rocks and start by leaving some of them books alone. Could go all out and get many books on various ideas of Consciousness as to get an idea. Although it would be best to say almost Everything has Consciousness.

As for rock's, some do claim they even have a consciousness. Take the rock in my Avatar, Shamans also have be known to use various rocks to either receive/give Blessings. Some use Crystals, take Crystal Skulls; said to Hold Consciousness of Whoever ??? Loaded inside the skulls.

The idea of man having consciousness while everything else is somewhat different, lower, under, missing is pretty Lame.
Lets use Ant's, best diggers in the world, yet how would this be done without Consciousness? We could pretty much uses any other Lifeform in having Consciousness. All seem to do just fine until Humans came along.

Starting to wonder if we as Humans really do not have any consciousness! Frankly if we did, one would think we would actually Strive to protect our enviorment instead of distroying it.


posted on Jun, 28 2014 @ 05:01 PM

originally posted by: Subnatural

But a rock, or a blob of water for example, also contains particles and electricity, matter and energy. Still a rock is not conscious, so there should be a fundamental difference.

How do we know rocks are not conscious and self-aware? We don't.

A human being can be stripped of all ability to make volitional actions, to perceive with the senses and communicate with others--so that after cursory examination the person appears to be a dead, inanimate object--yet this does not mean the person is no longer conscious and self-aware. Think of the main character in the movie Johnny Got His Gun.

Our definition of consciousness hinges upon our ability to identify it. If we can't identify it, we assume it to be entirely lacking. It is impossible to know what it means to exist as a rock, so therefore in our arrogance we assume it must mean absolutely nothing.

In my experience, consciousness is everything that exists. As such, it cannot be separated (isolated, more accurately), studied, examined, tested, poked, prodded, etc. It has no separate existence from everything else. Therefore the rock is as much alive as you are.

It just doesn't say so.

posted on Jun, 28 2014 @ 08:21 PM
a reply to: Subnatural

As far as ordered complexity being the reason there is consciousness, I'd say no. When someone dies, the complexity and order of the body are still there, they just stop functioning.

The ability to know, in quantum physics, has been determined, in the quantum eraser experiment, to be the determining factor of what causes a wave to collapse into a particle. Not, necessarily observing it, but the ability to know.

When something can be known, it becomes something that can be known. The unknowable destination of a particle in superposition remains unknowable until you come up with a way to make it able to be known. By creating a way for something to be known, it becomes knowable. If you can't know it, it cannot objectively, in and of itself, be known.

So what is awareness? I'd say anything that is a particle rather than a wave is something that can be known. So as long as there have been particles in the universe, the universe has known that it could be known. Awareness has been inevitable for as long as we can calculate where the universe has been- since the big bang. So there is something fundamental to the universe, other than an organized, complex individual, that consciousness has its roots.

I'd venture to say that consciousness (the ability to know) is a wave and a particle is the ability to be known. The universe, then, would be consciousness discovering itself.

posted on Jun, 28 2014 @ 09:33 PM
Life is a waterfall
we're one in the river
and one again after the fall
swimming through the void
we hear the word
we lose ourselves
but we find it all....
cause we are the ones that want to play
always want to go
but you never want to stay
and we are the ones that want to choose
always want to play
but you never want to lose

aerials, in the sky
when you lose small mind
you free your life

new topics

top topics

log in