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The Unnecessary Concept of Mind

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posted on Oct, 13 2014 @ 02:31 PM
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The Mind is a mythological construct, a placeholder, an abstraction. But tell anyone this today, they will not believe it. To them, it is counter-intuitive, just like it was once counter-intuitive to believe the planets orbit the sun. It is an embedded tradition of their language, and traditions they grasp tightly. Instead, they believe that the body acts as a middle-man between reality and mind, and that the body is some kind of fleshy medium, absent of any volition, through which sense, perception, data, and other strange ghostly illusions, pass, while on their way to reach a certain point somewhere within, namely, the mind.

I believe this assumption has thwarted the spiritual advancement of the species, and in so doing, has promoted a sort of solipsism, through which every perceiver, every observer, peers out from within the warm confines of a meaty prison, a prison they usually seek liberation from. This is evidenced by our use of language on the subject of the body, for instance, when we assert we possess a body, rather than that we are the body. This assumption has lead many to believe the mind—which is the exact same and synonymous to its sister metaphors, the soul, the consciousness, the spirit, the psych etc.—is the possessor or operator of a body in which they were trapped by divine happenstance, the paradox of an immaterial ghost confined within a material machine, that when this machine falls apart as they so often do, the ghost moves somewhere else, perhaps to a new body or a new world. Philosophically, such an implication leads the solipsist to believe that there is a buffer between mind and the outer world, that all "he" (the solipsists notion of mind) experiences nothing of the outside world, but merely the electrical data as delivered by through the medium of body, which assumes that a person is not that same electrical data, the same medium, that is in direct contact with reality.

The mind, consciousness, soul, spirit, and so on, are no different in their linguistic function. They have and still do serve as metaphors for what we do not yet grasp about the body. Since Herophilus began dissecting cadavers, we have essentially known such entities do not exist outside of our language and philosophies, but opt to not admit it. They simply were never there when we began to look. These entities, though unreal, still nonetheless permit one to continue to believe in the strange manner she always has: that there is something other than the body within the body, a sort of parasitic stowaway or operator with no material place in space, but with enough power to affect the material around it.

Even in the light of these contradictions and paradoxes, the language regarding the body as an object outside of some magical subject remain the same, and entire philosophies and psychologies still rest on this assumption. Even radical eliminative materialism, which says our common sense understanding of the mind is fundamentally wrong, and that fields such as neuroscience shows that mind basically equals brain, falls victim to this mentality, for it posits that something within the body, a specific organ or system, is the sole agent of thought, while the rest of the body is still the middle-man or medium through which we as brains receive sensual information from the outer world. This too is a sort of solipsism, albeit a physicalist version of it, that allows us to retain the idea that the body is merely a vessel for the brain, or in other words, the mind.

This is still troublesome, for if we were able to remove the entire nervous system and place it in a jar, we could never say it was an agent of thought. Indeed, it would no longer be living. Without the other systems of the body, no thinking occurs. Without metabolism, the energy required for thinking is unavailable. Without the circulatory system, the respiratory system, and adrenal systems, thinking is impossible. Without the sensory systems the brain is unable to realize what lies outside of it. Without the skeletal, the muscular and motor systems, and without the ability to operate within the world, minding does not occur.

What are the necessary requirements in order to produce a thought? Though it is quite obvious the brain is required for thinking, and much more, it does not nor cannot have a direct 1-to-1 ratio with what we consider the mind, the element of thought, consciousness and feelings, for in order to think, have thoughts, and to be aware of the world, one must be a functioning organism. Indeed, every bodily system—including its physiology, shape and chemistry—is required to have a single human thought.

However, we cannot simply say the body is the mind, for it leaves out another aspect of thought entirely—the environment in which the body operates. An intentional state (philosophical term for thought) needs to be about something, that is, how it relates to the agent of thought. For instance, when we think of a horse, we think about the object in the environment known as a horse. In order to think about a horse, we must be situated within an environment where there are horses. When jet pilots begin to feel like the jet is an extension of their body, it is not because they have turned into the jet or that their mind exceeds the boundaries of their body to the boundaries of the plane, but because of the intimate relationship between body and the environment in which it is situated. Spacial notions such as “in”, “out”, “towards”, “up”, “down”, “around”, “under” etc., require the relationship of the body to its environment. Geometric notions such as shape require the interactions between the body and shapes within the environment. Motion notions such as speed, action, and verbal metaphors, require interaction within the environment in order to be understood. All of these notions are not mental, but bodily, and without them, our thinking could not be the same.

When we’re born each of us have about a quadrillion neural connections. Around half of these die by the time we’re five, mainly because they are unused, thereby forming the brain structure on which all further brain activity is founded upon. Most of what we’ve learned throughout life is learned during this important period of development. This neural structure determines the limits within which we can think. All thinking relies on this base neural circuitry, which is formed in the most important developmental stages of our lives, when we are learning how to operate as physical bodies within the physical environment. Therefor, the entire structure upon which we derive our thoughts, is formed through bodily interaction with the environment, and do not appear out of thin air, nor from a mind. Perhaps more importantly, our conceptual framework relies on physical constitution, and hence, thought is physical.

We can view the element that thinks, has feelings, and is conscious by simply looking in the mirror. The concept of mind is not needed in our intellectual frameworks, and is frivolous. Worse, such a concept unnecessarily requires one to abstract the whole into conceptual parts, which, though useful to understanding and language, is detrimental to spirituality, where one might mistakenly seek to favour one part over the other, perhaps the mind over the body, perhaps the self over the environment, when all are essential principles and properties of life itself.




posted on Oct, 13 2014 @ 02:51 PM
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a reply to: Aphorism

Good thoughts!

I agree the duality has to go, but prefer the idea that mind and matter are the same thing. To see the necessity of "mind" as a potentially useful construct, think of a robot, making computations about its environment to have "awareness". The robot is thus aware of the world outside of it, as the physical world. But on introspection, the robot can see its own code, its own processes that lead its video images into a 3d picture of the world, and its own physicality in the world, the knowledge of which is also derived from these inputs. Giving a name to its own processing space, it comes up with the idea of "mind". Its useful, because sometimes its algorithms make mistakes, and maybe render things that aren't there in its internal representation space. On closer examination, the robot realizes what it thought was out there was just in its mind, its "imagination", a failure of algorithms. So it separates the concept of mind and external reality to address things that are real out there and things only real within.

But what is the ultimate nature of the robot? A physical machine, at least from our perspective. But what is the ultimate nature of robot to the robot? Mind. The robot only interacts with the external world through the programs that process its inputs, and those are the fundamental reality to it. So everything, including the physical world, is experienced through the mind. IS it thus correct for the robot to say physical reality is more real than mind? To do so is a leap of faith - for all it knows it could be wandering around in a game of World Of Warcraft, a simulation which it believes is real.

So it is for us as well. But all these dualities aside, I think the core point above is right: mind and matter are one thing.



posted on Oct, 13 2014 @ 03:40 PM
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a reply to: tridentblue

Thanks for the response.


But what is the ultimate nature of the robot? A physical machine, at least from our perspective. But what is the ultimate nature of robot to the robot? Mind. The robot only interacts with the external world through the programs that process its inputs, and those are the fundamental reality to it. So everything, including the physical world, is experienced through the mind. IS it thus correct for the robot to say physical reality is more real than mind? To do so is a leap of faith - for all it knows it could be wandering around in a game of World Of Warcraft, a simulation which it believes is real.


Good thinking, but I cannot agree with your analogy.

Saying robots can think is like saying submarines can swim. I do not think a robot is a good enough analogy for a human being and human thinking.

Nonetheless, the idea that the robot experiences its programming, which processes its input and outputs, is to assume the robot is not its inputs and outputs, but that which calculate its processes. It is to assume the robot is something within—perhaps an invisible little robot?—that observes inputs and outputs. But we know the robot is the entire robot and anything within its boundaries, which includes the connections through which sense data passes. The robot does not experience a mind, for the robot is not just an invisible observer of the mind, but all its working parts, inputs, outputs and programming. Therefor, the robot—that being the entire robot—experiences the world through its physical constitution, or how it was built, which includes its programming. If the robot hits a wall, it is experiencing its entire physical self—the robot—hitting a wall, not a “mind”. No mind hits a wall. If it can grasp objects, it is because it has something to grasp with and it is programmed to grasp. If it can sense its surroundings, it is because it has been equipped with the necessary parts to do so. A robot is not merely its programming, or is not some little robot within observing a robot mind. This is evidenced by looking at a robot.

Nothing is experienced through a mind. For to say so is to assume that what it is that is experiencing is something other than the object currently interacting and experiencing the surroundings. It is widely assumed there is a buffer between experiencer and what is experienced. Further, it is to assume the homunculus paradox fallacy.


edit on 13-10-2014 by Aphorism because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 13 2014 @ 04:19 PM
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a reply to: Aphorism

I had a feeling you'd be the author here.


In your opinion what is the difference between a robot and a human? If we are nothing but a body then there is nothing to separate us from robots or inanimate objects.

What is a thought? Not the process within the physical brain that leads to it but the end result. What is happiness? Not the process within the physical brain that helps the emotion to be formed but the emotion itself.

Are thoughts and emotions physical? Or are they just the end result of a physical process? Imagine a pink butterfly, is that butterfly real or just a non-physical image within your mind?

How about intelligence? Can you hold it with your hands or touch it? If not then we are more than just a physical body. I assume you believe there is only one side to a coin? Because that's what your thought process infers. If there is a visible side then there must be an invisible side as well, just as there is hot/cold, up/down, big/small, etc.



posted on Oct, 13 2014 @ 04:56 PM
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Aphorism:

The Mind is a mythological construct...


I feel what you could have said in this context is that 'mind' is a perceived construct. Have a read of the following thread I authored, and perhaps, you'll see that I agree with you in principle...

www.abovetopsecret.com...

Regards

E



posted on Oct, 13 2014 @ 05:14 PM
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originally posted by: Aphorism
a reply to: tridentblue

Thanks for the response.
...

Therefor, the robot—that being the entire robot—experiences the world through its physical constitution, or how it was built, which includes its programming. If the robot hits a wall, it is experiencing its entire physical self—the robot—hitting a wall, not a “mind”. No mind hits a wall. If it can grasp objects, it is because it has something to grasp with and it is programmed to grasp. If it can sense its surroundings, it is because it has been equipped with the necessary parts to do so. A robot is not merely its programming, or is not some little robot within observing a robot mind. This is evidenced by looking at a robot.

Nothing is experienced through a mind. For to say so is to assume that what it is that is experiencing is something other than the object currently interacting and experiencing the surroundings. It is widely assumed there is a buffer between experiencer and what is experienced. Further, it is to assume the homunculus paradox fallacy.



No, you are wrong on that part. Do you think that's your hand you're experiencing as you type? Do you think you would actually directly experience an ice cube on your hand? You wouldn't, and we can prove it! It two methods: First is we block off the signals for the nerve that goes to your hand to your brain. You wouldn't feel it. Second is we give you an anesthetic that effects your pain receptors in your brain, you wouldn't feel it. You ONLY experience physical reality through your brain/nervous system, that's a fact provable in many ways. And you only experience your brain through the phenomenon of mind. Mind is the most direct experience of reality for all things.
edit on 13-10-2014 by tridentblue because: Clarity



posted on Oct, 13 2014 @ 06:06 PM
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a reply to: Aphorism
Hi Aphorism, playing word games again?

It's strange that you would insist on repeatedly injecting the soul and spirit into a conversation that's supposed to be about the mind. These concepts are not at all interchangeable and deal with completely different subject matter. Both mind, and consciousness, while we may not fully understand them, can at least be tied to brain function and are studied at length by neuroscientists and psychologists. Soul and spirit are not. Nor would we ever say that we use our soul or spirit to conjure up thoughts or ideas.

Mind and consciousness can at least be considered as emergent properties of a physical substrate. Soul and spirit are different in this regard, as they tend to follow along more religious avenues, and have no place in a discussion about brain function. Although I understand your desire is to kill all of these "wild concepts" in one fell swoop, it seems entirely off topic to introduce the latter two here.

Now, is your problem more with the language thats serves as the basis for the concepts we use to describe things like mind and consciousness within the context of our physical selves? I know these are not at all easy concepts to grasp. However your misunderstanding of these ideas seems to have lead you to just handwave them away by equating them with the soul or spirit. I think that's the wrong approach here, or more likely I've completely misunderstood your view of things.

You are right in the sense that we do require that most of our body be in tact and working so the brain can have the proper environment for thinking and maintaining the rest of the body's functions. It's a feedback system.

Thinking ,as a mentalistic process of the brain, is physical in nature. If we are playing chess I can see when you are thinking about your next move, however I can not see inside your head what the results of your thinking process were. You harbor those thoughts inside your body somewhere, sure. Most will think it's in your brain. You, perhaps not. Either way a thought is not physical in the sense that we can cut open your brain to see it. But we have thoughts, right? So we've come up with the concept of mind to be the seat of our thoughts.

I know we've talked about this in another thread before, but I still don't understand what you believe a thought is, or how we can, "see" and "hear" (in our head) without using our eyes and ears.

Perhaps I'll go back and re-read your OP a 2nd time to see if I can glean what you are saying. But only after dinner, once my brain has received enough energy to do so.

Cheers.
edit on 13-10-2014 by PhotonEffect because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 14 2014 @ 12:18 AM
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a reply to: 3NL1GHT3N3D1


I had a feeling you'd be the author here.


It does seem I stand alone on this issue.


In your opinion what is the difference between a robot and a human? If we are nothing but a body then there is nothing to separate us from robots or inanimate objects.


The difference is in physiological makeup. We are physically different than robots and trees.


What is a thought? Not the process within the physical brain that leads to it but the end result. What is happiness? Not the process within the physical brain that helps the emotion to be formed but the emotion itself.


A thought is the body thinking or performing the act of thinking, like a handstand is the body standing on its hands. Actions are not things, but things acting. Thinking is an action.


Are thoughts and emotions physical? Or are they just the end result of a physical process? Imagine a pink butterfly, is that butterfly real or just a non-physical image within your mind?


They are physical, though they are not images. Neural recruitment can account for how we can combine certain properties to other properties. In order to conceive of a pink butterfly, we must first experience the color pink and a butterfly. The neural activity associated with pink and the neural activity associated with butterflies recruit each other to form the pink butterfly you think about. Obviously much more is occurring, and truth is in the vast details, but I believe this is the gist. No mind is required in this process.


How about intelligence? Can you hold it with your hands or touch it? If not then we are more than just a physical body. I assume you believe there is only one side to a coin? Because that's what your thought process infers. If there is a visible side then there must be an invisible side as well, just as there is hot/cold, up/down, big/small, etc.


Intelligence is an action of the body, not a thing. Unfortunately, coins are not a sufficient analogy to what we are talking about here.

If you put a warm hand in lukewarm water, the water will feel cool. If you put a cool hand in the same lukewarm water, the water will feel warm. These notions are not mental, but bodily. The sort of dualism you are proposing here does not account for other factors, nor for the almost infinite gradation between the two extremes.



posted on Oct, 14 2014 @ 12:21 AM
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a reply to: tridentblue


No, you are wrong on that part. Do you think that's your hand you're experiencing as you type? Do you think you would actually directly experience an ice cube on your hand? You wouldn't, and we can prove it! It two methods: First is we block off the signals for the nerve that goes to your hand to your brain. You wouldn't feel it. Second is we give you an anesthetic that effects your pain receptors in your brain, you wouldn't feel it. You ONLY experience physical reality through your brain/nervous system, that's a fact provable in many ways. And you only experience your brain through the phenomenon of mind. Mind is the most direct experience of reality for all things.


Do you think it is not your hand you are experiencing?

You are basically saying we are not our nerves, hands, chemical reactions, circulation, skin etc. All of these are connected fundamentally, all of them required to experience anything, and I cannot agree with your assertion. If we are experiencing our nervous system (which is still a part of the body), what is the “we” that is experiencing the nervous system? The nervous system? If so, how does the nervous system experience itself? Does the nervous system have a nervous system?

You have submitted yourself to the homunculus fallacy.

Anesthesia in the hand does limit our experience of it, yet we can still see the hand, move it, smell it and hear it when we clap. We can still see, hear, smell and move whatever is in our hand, despite not being able to feel it. This is still experience, and requires not only the nervous system, but eyes, ears, skin, nose, lungs, bones, a heart, etc. The entire body.



posted on Oct, 14 2014 @ 12:47 AM
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a reply to: PhotonEffect

Photon, I’m glad you decided to play. Word games is indeed what the “study” of mind amounts to.


It's strange that you would insist on repeatedly injecting the soul and spirit into a conversation that supposed to be about the mind. These concepts are not at all interchangeable and deal with completely different subject matter.


Care to explain how? Perhaps you can explain the differences in their properties. How do the properties of the soul differ from the properties of the mind?

As I see it, mind, soul, psych, etc. are all the same insofar as they are metaphors for the same thing, the same subject matter, the body, and their historic use as metaphors are in direct proportion to how we have misunderstood the workings of the human body, and were developed in parallel to the historical periods where physiological dissection was illegal. With so much use—rather, misuse—of the metaphors they have become habitual rather than factual. Nonetheless, if the soul, the psych, the mind possess no qualities other than words, and have served the same function throughout history, then besides the relation of its linguistic contents to itself, they are essentially the same. They are synonymous.


Both mind, and consciousness, while we may not fully understand them, can at least be tied to brain function and are studied at length by neuroscientists and psychologists.


Neuroscientists and psychologists, though they may grapple with the concept of consciousness and mind, actually study the human body. There is no extant entity called the mind they are able to study, but limit their studies to sets of particular bodily faculties as defined by their field. A psychologist studies language in speech and body, demeanor, behavior both social and individual, and basically, human bodily activity. No mind as such is ever studied. Neuroscience studies the nervous system. This might be nitpicky on my part, but is required to make this point.


Mind and consciousness can at least be considered as emergent properties of a physical substrate.


If this is the case, I am curious as to what property emerges in this respect.


Now, is your problem more with the language thats serves as the basis for the concepts we use to describe things like mind and consciousness within the context of our physical selves? I know these are not at all easy concepts to grasp. However your misunderstanding of these ideas seems to have lead you to just handwave them away by equating them with the soul or spirit. I think that's the wrong approach here, or more likely I've completely misunderstood your view of things.


I do not think I have misunderstood these ideas. I have studied them at great length. I think the assumption is on your part. I admit that the soul and mind are different in their denotation, but what do they denote? The body or nothing. I stated explicitly that they are metaphors for one thing, the body, and not anything else. Is there anything other than the body these ideas represent? If they are different metaphors for the same object, then that is all they are. If they do not have any other ontological properties, they are the same—nothing.


Thinking ,as a mentalistic process of the brain, is physical in nature. If we are playing chess I can see when you are thinking about your next move, however I can not see what the results "inside of your head" of your thinking were. You harbor those thoughts inside you body somewhere, sure. Most think it's in your brain somewhere. But a thought is not physical in the sense that we can cut open your brain to see them.

I know we've talked about this another thread before but I still don't understand what you believe a thought is, or how we can see and hear without using our eyes and ears.


Of course, I can only offer the opinion of a layman in biology. But I have examined the details. The devil is in the details, which would be too time consuming to express here.

I believe a thought is a series of bodily events. It isn’t a thing, but a conceptual set of bodily actions. In other words, thought is not mental state, but a body state.

Something like 98% of thinking we are unaware of, and are thus unaware of most of the series of events that occur within the body at the moment of impression to perception to conception to expression.

A thought is really nothing until it is expressed. Thinking does not end, and therefor there is no boundary between one thought and another when we are thinking. Where does one thought end another begin? A “stream of consciousness” is an apt metaphor for this. There is no barrier separating one part of the stream and another. There is no transition where thinking stops between thoughts unless inhibited through outside forces.

As for the chess, you will see my thought on my next move, when my thinking is expressed into concrete form. This expression of my body is what my thought amounts to, a series of concrete bodily events leading to its concrete conclusion, where it is now outside of my body and no longer a part of my cognitive processes. It is finally visible, finally manifested, as a thought.

You are correct, when I think of a horse, you will not find a horse, nor an image of a horse inside my body, but we can see the neural connections and circuitry, which have ever been forming in unique structure since even before birth. When we say someone cannot see the thoughts in our head, that isn't quite true. Since our eyes do not peer inward, it is actually we who are unable to view what our thoughts actually are, as say a brain imaging expert can, or perhaps more invasive techniques in the future can. But because they are not us, they are unable to think them, or in other words, perceive them from our perspective.


edit on 14-10-2014 by Aphorism because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 14 2014 @ 12:52 AM
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originally posted by: PhotonEffect
playing word games again?


What other games would be played on a message board?



Aph, I think it is important to establish the 'mind' (or as some call it, the soul) is derived from our body. We can know this, but still not experience it and I think that is a large component of the topic. That said, I think the 'experiential duality' between the sensation of mind and body lays a foundation for a spectrum of experience. Its a balance between jumping head first into what our brain can conjure and the stimulus actually being received. Both have relevance and presence in a material sense, but that certainly doesn't mean we are aware of it at any given point in time.

At least in my experience, that spectrum is something that is ultimately under our control. It took quite some time of focus and dedication before I stumbled upon what could fit the concept of 'spirit' though. At this point, I am relatively convinced its source exists within both our bodies and the environment simultaneously. Stating it like that just doesn't quite sound right, but if its something beyond the body (and the mind derived from it) that would happen regardless. I may not agree with a lot of the surrounding dogma, but there is something to it. Something more to our experience that has yet to arise coherently in our culture.



posted on Oct, 14 2014 @ 01:08 AM
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a reply to: Serdgiam

Wise words and I couldn't agree more.

I too see the concept as spirit in the same vein, namely, the relationship between the self and the rest of the world. This concept has a special place in my heart and I cannot let it go. But I cannot deny that it is a metaphor for something I am unable to articulate. There is something to it.



posted on Oct, 14 2014 @ 05:40 PM
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a reply to: Aphorism

The homunculus fallacy is irrelevant here. That's why I used a robot as an example, a real robot that could be built or programmed. Again, the structure is:

1) The OS, which is analogous to the nervous system brain
2) The programs/processes, which are analogous to unconscious neurological processes, like processing vision into a 3D scene you experience, or audio into voices and words.
3) A program, that combines the processed outputs of these sensory programs, plus takes information on the running of the programs itself, which I called "experimind". (The "mind" part of it would just be introspective: the program that watches the other programs run, like Windows Task Manager).
4) The experimind puts together the final outputs for the final program, called InnerSelf. InnerSelf observes it all and makes final decisions, and has the incredibly important quality that it can't observe itself working

So do you see? Just programs, no little man inside. You can process video streams to look for things using computer programs without needing to design little video cameras inside the software for instance.

The homunculus fallacy does play in to this though, its the reason why the InnerSelf cannot be allowed to observe itself.

So long as the InnerSelf is watching and gathering data on the variables and processes of the experimind, its fine. But as soon as the InnerSelf turns within to observe the InnerSelf, it will crash the computer through infinite expansion. The reason is, as the Innerself creates variables and a process to observe and describe what its doing, the variables and processes it created must also be described, with new variables and new processes, ad infinitum. Put really simply, if the state of program a consists of the string "hello" and program b is making constant observations of how many letters are in a's state, then you have: a="hello", b=5 with b changing as a changes in size, and its all fine. But once a observes itself, it starts as 5, records its length to become "51", records its length again to become "512", "5123", "51234" and on and on, infinitely growing as it observes itself. So the InnerSelf can never know the Innerself, without growing infinitely beyond the capacity of its vessel, the computer. You can see the relation of this to the homunculus fallacy: Each homunculus represents a new process/observation variable added on to the space.

So the paradox of having a self, is you can never really understand it without it growing out of control and becoming infinite. In other words, yourself as you are cannot continue to exist if you really know yourself as you are.

There is where my computer analogy breaks, because all it would result in is a computer crash, but I think for us it would be transcendent, we would possibly become one with the universe.

So I agree with you in a sense, consciousness/the self isn't some local part of the brain, and science backs that up strongly, with people with brain parts missing bring truly full humans. But it can be viewed as a part of you, you can see yourself as having a mind or a self. The way I see it consciousness is fundamental, its the fundamental building blocks of things. Having a self is like a drop that breaks off from the sea, and then has the power to return through self knowledge.
www.youtube.com...


edit on 14-10-2014 by tridentblue because: Video and additional thoughts.



posted on Oct, 14 2014 @ 08:16 PM
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a reply to: Aphorism


Care to explain how? Perhaps you can explain the differences in their properties. How do the properties of the soul differ from the properties of the mind?

I consider the mind to be the "theatre of our thinking", where we "experience" that which our body is interacting with. If thinking is a steady stream of thought much like a reel of film, then the mind is the screen that it plays on.

As you already know, all information collected by our bodies via the senses are processed in the brain. It's true, all parts of the body are involved in the data collection, and in the raw physical sense this data is in the form of electrical, biochemical impulses. But we don't "see" the raw data as such do we? No, that raw information our brain manufactures into an experience- of seeing, smelling, hearing, what have you. The brain is the physical processor - but where are you "experiencing" everything? To state that it's just [in] the body is equivocation on your part, if not entirely evasive.



With so much use—rather, misuse—of the metaphors they have become habitual rather than factual. Nonetheless, if the soul, the psych, the mind possess no qualities other than words, and have served the same function throughout history, then besides the relation of its linguistic contents to itself, they are essentially the same. They are synonymous.

The soul and spirit are metaphorically representative of the body as a whole, yes. There is no specific part of the body that we would associate those concepts with, so I can see your point re: their [mis]usage . But I have to disagree about consciousness and mind being thrown in with this same group. It's only your opinion that the mind possesses no qualities.

You say that we use these metaphors to fill a gap for what we don't yet understand. Just because we don't understand something, or can't see something, doesn't mean there isn't something there. What is air? Radiowaves? Soundwaves? Can you see any of these things? No, but they are there and can be detected. You, thinking of a tree in the physical sense can be detected as well. But we as outsiders can't actually see the substance of your thought. It would only look like electrical impulses in the brain, not a tree. It's the experience of those physical impulses by you the insider that reveals a tree "in your mind".


I admit that the soul and mind are different in their denotation, but what do they denote? The body or nothing. I stated explicitly that they are metaphors for one thing, the body, and not anything else. Is there anything other than the body these ideas represent? If they are different metaphors for the same object, then that is all they are. If they do not have any other ontological properties, they are the same—nothing.

Equivocation. Just because you state the mind is only a metaphor for the body doesn't make it so. I'm not sure you get to change the meanings of concepts to suit your own argument. When one speaks of mind it more specifically denotes mental faculty- i.e of the part of the body that thinks- THE BRAIN. It's an abstraction and sometimes difficult to define, but I don't think it's incorrect as a denotation of our overall mental construct.


I believe a thought is a series of bodily events. It isn’t a thing, but a conceptual set of bodily actions. In other words, thought is not mental state, but a body state.

A thought is a singular thing though - not a series of events. You're forcing yourself to redefine these terms. What is a mental state to you? Or do we just throw away that concept too? I'm confused by your refusal to accept higher brain function. You know, the 2% that we are aware of.


A thought is really nothing until it is expressed. Thinking does not end, and therefor there is no boundary between one thought and another when we are thinking. Where does one thought end another begin? A “stream of consciousness” is an apt metaphor for this. There is no barrier separating one part of the stream and another. There is no transition where thinking stops between thoughts unless inhibited through outside forces.

I'm okay with a continuous stream of thought- this is what thinking is, I think. Why though, should this mean that a thought doesn't exist unless it is expressed? Of course it exists.

I find your use of "stream of consciousness" as a metaphor a bit ironic, if not totally hypocritical, given that you've been claiming this entire time that "consciousness" is a metaphor for nothing. I'm confused by this- Er, no, I mean my body is confused..



Since our eyes do not peer inward, it is actually we who are unable to view what our thoughts actually are, as say a brain imaging expert can, or perhaps more invasive techniques in the future can. But because they are not us, they are unable to think them, or in other words, perceive them from our perspective.


When you think of a horse, do you not "see" a horse? You've had a dream, right? How are you seeing? What are you seeing?
/sigh



posted on Oct, 14 2014 @ 08:22 PM
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a reply to: tridentblue




The way I see it consciousness is fundamental, its the fundamental building blocks of things.



This is an important idea.



posted on Oct, 14 2014 @ 08:26 PM
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a reply to: Aphorism
Very interesting post, indeed. But I have two observances to add: First, my body, and yours as well, runs on an electrical stimulus that causes the autonomic parts of our nervous system to continue to keep us alive. Such started our hearts at the beginning of this life in this current body, and such will leave us, or stop operating upon the same's death.

Second: You assume here that we do not transcend the electrically informed and transmitted data that our body perceives of this reality and sends to our brain, for one reason, for our survival, as well as many other reasons. Our minds, can in fact, do just that. Meditation is one such example, where the information of the body going to the mind is perhaps transcended. Anytime we override or master what our body is telling us to push it forward, against environmental conditions that go against our survival, we are showing that our mind is present and transcendent.

Anyway, I very much enjoy reading your well crafted thoughts and musings.
tetra50



posted on Oct, 14 2014 @ 09:23 PM
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a reply to: PhotonEffect

I just read your reply to aphorism, and also tetra's post below that, and I think the idea of "information" is the 900 pound gorilla in this room: Think of the number 50. Where is it? Its represented in many computers at this second, its in the air in WIFI radio waves, its written on a piece of paper somewhere near me if I dug around, and its in my mind as I think about it. Yet bits in memory are stored electrons, in the air they are electromagnetic waves, and a paper they are a configuration of ink molecules, and in my mind its something like firing neurons. Yet 50 exists as a single idea entity, and it exists in the same way as all the thoughts in my mind exist, and it exists in the same way my mind itself exists.

So what is information really? If we can answer that, I feel like we'd be getting somewhere.



posted on Oct, 14 2014 @ 09:48 PM
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a reply to: tridentblue

It's an interesting point you bring up.
I think information in some sense is fundamental to this universe. Everything interacts with with everything else- and it's through these interactions that information is exchanged and new phenomena arise. But what is information without meaning? And what is meaning? How do we, or anything else, extract meaning out of anything? Where do the laws of interaction reside or originate from?

Single celled organisms interact with each other and their environments, showing clear and absolute awareness of their surroundings. Behaviors emerge. This is somehow possible without a brain. So there must be something else at play. Or at least I think so.



posted on Oct, 14 2014 @ 10:53 PM
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a reply to: PhotonEffect

Well sure, behaviors emerge without brains, in computer programs too. And we can give a limited description of information without meaning, as Shannon information entropy does: Basically information is a move from uncertainty to certainty. A binary channel with all 1's or all 0's carries no information, but a channel with an unpredictable mix of 1's and 0's does carry information, (in the Shannon sense, because you don't know what the next bit will be till you get it) though that information may have no meaning.

Its when we get down to the idea of information being fundamentally real, not some abstract derived thing that I have a tough time with it.



posted on Oct, 15 2014 @ 02:13 AM
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a reply to: PhotonEffect
To both you and Trident, hello:
and:


Single celled organisms interact with each other and their environments, showing clear and absolute awareness of their surroundings. Behaviors emerge. This is somehow possible without a brain. So there must be something else at play. Or at least I think so.



I am not sure consciousness lives where we think it does, or believe it is functionally evidenced. And I'm talking about Penrose's latest studies involving photosynthesis making a quantum walk, if necessary, to find the path of least resistance, which implies consciousness. But it would be a consciousness through the microtubules found in all structures, including our brain…..

Then there is your point about information. We could honestly make a case that matter is information, data, at this point. But that's within our observable system, which may even be a simulation, a collection of nothing but data, information, projected….

Anyway, and either way, I think both are a case that mind is real, unique to bodies, and essential to any kind of existence.

That's my take, anyway. I know my mind is unique, and mine, and quite necessary, as is unique identity, contained in this uniquely orchestrated container for it, called a body.
tetra




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