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What is alive? What is sentient?

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posted on Oct, 11 2016 @ 06:24 PM
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Animals learn from their mistakes. They are able to make choices (even something as simple as running towards food because they calculate it is more advantageous than not). I say they have this ability to make choices and thus think. Plants have the ability to make choices, too, by turning their leaves in the direction of sunlight. They calculate where it is warmest and create a goal, which is to get in this position, and then obtain that goal. 

Does a rock learn from its mistakes? No. Does it experience time-flow? It has no idea how to experience time flow, or the rock would start long-term planning. But the rock does "feel" the flow of time through the forces of erosion and other natural laws of physics. 

Once something is alive, is that the point that it is able to start making choices and learning from its mistakes? Does this mean a bacteria, or a cell, or even a virus are self-aware? Or are they able to learn from their mistakes through evolution? How does this compare to the thinking a human does?

Bacteria have mechanisms that allow them to swim towards food and away from poisons. However, this is limited to a set of sensors that detect the surrounding chemistry and a set of appendages to allow the bacteria to swim. Things do get even more complicated, as bacteria have the ability to communicate with each other if they are in a colony. This lets them work together and solve complex problems.

Living things are able to do one thing: they have a limited temporal awareness and are able to learn from their mistakes and even have "goals" for themselves. I am in debate, but after a lot of research, I have concluded that while a bacteria has evolved and learned better ways to live, recording that in its genetics, and while a bacteria can make choices based on temporal awareness, both of which I think are essential traits of life that are not given enough credit (memory and temporal awareness)

While these traits, I know are true, I am now of the opinion that the traits of life are different than the traits of sentience, and that there can be life without sentience (bacteria) and sentience without life (a quantum AI perhaps?).






edit on 11pmTue, 11 Oct 2016 18:27:59 -0500kbpmkAmerica/Chicago by darkbake because: (no reason given)




posted on Oct, 11 2016 @ 06:51 PM
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a reply to: darkbake



While these traits, I know are true, I am now of the opinion that the traits of life are different than the traits of sentience, and that there can be life without sentience (bacteria) and sentience without life (a quantum AI perhaps?).


very true and evident!

i believe you must be malleable with what you interpret as "decision making." there are definitely degrees to what kind of decisions any organic being can make.

some decisions don't require much effort, others can be intellectually exhausting.

one entangled problem with thinking about these two concepts is that you can't really have this discussion without also considering the battle between free choice and fate.

personally, i think something greater than your consciousness is at play in order for you to experience a consciousness at all. therefore, the thoughts you either create or receive come from an existing matrix of information, both physical and theoretical.

what do you consider is the result of learning? is this a conscious process to you?



posted on Oct, 11 2016 @ 08:19 PM
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To be a living thing is to move. If the search for food is on then
it is alive. For that matter all of Nature in it's galactic splendor
is never in stasis. Is Nature alive because it is moving disregarding
the logical conclusions of static matter such as hills and mountains
that they aren't thinking because they do not move unless a storm
or earthquake makes them move. Just because something sits like
a bump on a log - doesn't imply non-sentient/

So I think it is an analysis of the perception then to deciding if
something ( an object, world, nebula, ect. ) is alive and can think.


a reply to: darkbake



posted on Oct, 11 2016 @ 09:16 PM
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Google "sapience vs sentience."



posted on Oct, 12 2016 @ 02:09 AM
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To be alive is to exist.
To be sentient is to know you exist...


originally posted by: darkbake

While these traits, I know are true, I am now of the opinion that the traits of life are different than the traits of sentience, and that there can be life without sentience (bacteria) and sentience without life (a quantum AI perhaps?).



To 1 it's based on perception of the observer.
Would the same perception apply to other sentient intelligence larger then humans in scale, who viewed human activity and behavior and seen it as bacteria like? Based off of perception.
So in some circumstances it seems the evaluation & understanding of other life or sentient intelligence is subjective based on the awareness level of the observer...



posted on Oct, 12 2016 @ 02:44 AM
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originally posted by: darkbake
Does a rock learn from its mistakes? No. Does it experience time-flow? It has no idea how to experience time flow, or the rock would start long-term planning. But the rock does "feel" the flow of time through the forces of erosion and other natural laws of physics.

Even though the rock might not move very far, it could still be a sentinel creature monitoring human movements within its proximity.

Secondly, via erosion it can expand its area of monitoring in the form of dust and sand.

The rock could also be part of a bigger entity called Mother Gaia and function as Gateway Portals or monolithic standing stones.



posted on Oct, 12 2016 @ 05:54 AM
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Bacteria Lives Matter



posted on Oct, 12 2016 @ 06:55 AM
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a reply to: Aleister

Viral lives matter



posted on Oct, 12 2016 @ 07:35 AM
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I'm sure most of you have seen the female robot interview on 60 Minutes.
The fact that she would hesitant and "think" before answering questions, I found to be very intriguing.
A new generation of slaves is in the making.
We are a non-evolving species.

Buck

edit on 12-10-2016 by flatbush71 because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 12 2016 @ 11:11 AM
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originally posted by: facedye
a reply to: darkbake

what do you consider is the result of learning? is this a conscious process to you?



I had to do research on this because bacteria learn (for example they become resistant to antibiotics). But the way this happens is as follows. The bacteria that are susceptible to the antibiotics are killed off while the bacteria that are resistant live and then reproduce. In this sense, learning was done without conscious thought. The memory is stored in the surviving bacteria genes.

I am also interested in how bacteria learned to reproduce. I am still researching whether or not bacteria might be conscious. But if we assume they aren't, they can still learn.

So learning came before consciousness.

Somehow, we ended up with a brain that is able to produce consciousness. I am in favor of a quantum theory of mind following the ORCH OR model of consciousness. This theory would explain how free will works.

Humans produce culture, which is largely a result of free will. I'm still trying to figure out what is aware and what isn't and other boundaries like that.



posted on Oct, 12 2016 @ 11:16 AM
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originally posted by: 4003fireglo
Google "sapience vs sentience."



Some people contend- sometimes with some arrogance, in my opinion- that humans are the only sapient species on Earth. This does make sense to some degree, because we are the most intelligent, we are the only ones to use "high" technology, have a complex language, etc. However, if we define sapience this way, then there's no reason a more intelligent alien race (or, more likely, a machine intelligence we create ourselves) could come along and tell us that we are not sapient, and that only it and beings more intelligent than it are sapient.


Sentience vs. Sapience

In a lot of ways, this thread is determining the definition of sapient. I would heavily argue that even bugs are sapient. Bacteria may not be. Sapient is the ability to reason.

For some reason, a lot of people think that animals cannot reason even though there is a lot of evidence to the contrary - a crow, for example, has the reasoning of a seven-year-old human.

Crow's Reasoning Ability Rivals Seven-Year-Old Humans

Does this mean that humans under seven aren't sapient?
edit on 12amWed, 12 Oct 2016 11:19:16 -0500kbamkAmerica/Chicago by darkbake because: (no reason given)

edit on 12amWed, 12 Oct 2016 11:19:40 -0500kbamkAmerica/Chicago by darkbake because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 12 2016 @ 06:44 PM
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a reply to: darkbake

I think you need to remove some of the constraints in your argument.

First of all, it seems that you make movement a factor in determining whether something is alive or not. Take a rock, for example. You seem to give it a non-living status.

Then , you appear to class a moving thing (plant , animal , man ..)as either sentient or just living. You then move one step further and are now considering a new kind of being : sentient but not living (your quantum AI example).

I realise that this post is your continuing research following your earlier thread "What Thinks....?". In fact you have reproduced some paragraphs to retain continuity.

My personal viewpoint is quite different. There are two ways of looking at it. One is the scientific way ; where atoms are the basis of everything that exists. Therefore a rock has a lot of movement inside and is constantly moving. The alternative way to look at it is to consider that everything (including the rock) is animated by something and let's call it Nature Spirits rather than atoms.

Both the scientific way and the New Age way come to the same conclusion : something animates matter. Unfortunately, the scientific way does not go into whether the atoms have intelligence (sentient) or not. The new age/spiritual way does go into it; a rock is considered to have some intelligence in the same way that a pond of water has some intelligence.

The Spiritual way goes even further. The rock actually moves because its spirit steps in and out of it. Some will refer to that spirit as a gnome ; others will use different words.Same happens with water, where the nature spirit or elemental is called undine or Nymph, and so on

Hopefully, you are still reading and not discarding this as "fairy" stuff. We now come to your latest conclusion/speculation : the quantum AI thing . Something which you consider would have no life but be sentient nonetheless). Have you accidentally been asserting the notion that nature is animated by intelligent beings that are sentient and yet not alive (in the physical sense).

Welcome to the real world !








edit on 12-10-2016 by crowdedskies because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 12 2016 @ 06:54 PM
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I think that at some point, sentience arises when a creature makes a decision that could cause them damage or harm or even death, but they do it for a bigger reason than their own personal feelings.



posted on Oct, 12 2016 @ 08:35 PM
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a reply to: Blue Shift

Bacteria have the ability display altruism even though they are not sentient. However, this altruistic trait is known by scientists to be favored by the gene pool because altruism makes the whole society stronger.



posted on Oct, 12 2016 @ 08:49 PM
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originally posted by: crowdedskies
a reply to: darkbake

Have you accidentally been asserting the notion that nature is animated by intelligent beings that are sentient and yet not alive (in the physical sense).

Welcome to the real world !



Interesting, I have thought about this before. Two points of interest here. How do we know a rock does not have a life force. Another point of interest - could our spirits be sentient but not alive? Or another sentient force out there that is not alive has something to do with evolution?
edit on 12pmWed, 12 Oct 2016 20:52:51 -0500kbpmkAmerica/Chicago by darkbake because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 12 2016 @ 08:52 PM
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originally posted by: facedye
a reply to: darkbake



While these traits, I know are true, I am now of the opinion that the traits of life are different than the traits of sentience, and that there can be life without sentience (bacteria) and sentience without life (a quantum AI perhaps?).


very true and evident!

i believe you must be malleable with what you interpret as "decision making." there are definitely degrees to what kind of decisions any organic being can make.

some decisions don't require much effort, others can be intellectually exhausting.

one entangled problem with thinking about these two concepts is that you can't really have this discussion without also considering the battle between free choice and fate.

personally, i think something greater than your consciousness is at play in order for you to experience a consciousness at all. therefore, the thoughts you either create or receive come from an existing matrix of information, both physical and theoretical.

what do you consider is the result of learning? is this a conscious process to you?

Subconscious



posted on Oct, 13 2016 @ 04:43 PM
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originally posted by: darkbake
. Another point of interest - could our spirits be sentient but not alive? Or another sentient force out there that is not alive has something to do with evolution?


If you take the esoteric viewpoint , "yes !" is the answer to both questions.

To draw parallels , the rock is a domain/house/receptacle/host. It houses the nature spirit connected to the element of Earth. Our physical body houses our individual spirit; the sentient force out there is the driving force behind everything and manifests at different levels "inhabiting" hosts.

Therefore there is a recurring theme : Spirit and Housing. The Body that house the spirit. Here , we seem to have the ultimate symbol that permeates everything from the the Catholic teachings right through to our daily life.

Could we stretch this concept and argue that the spirit (or sentient without body) ultimately seeks to manifest. For that it needs a body or host.

This takes me to the nightmare scenario of AI. I have always argued that real AI can only be achieved by "ensouling " a machine. However, what I have said so far in this post suggests that a sentient non-lving (meaning non-physical) being could take over a machine. We may see it as malfunction when, in fact, the machine has become 'possessed' as it were.

A spirit does not need to breath. If in a human body, it will. If in a machine , it will not. Since a machine has the capacity to take an action dependent on a condition (for example the simple formulas of excel such as IF, OR , etc), then such a machine can be a good host to a spirit.

Have you noticed how two identical cars can behave very differently . There seems to be an element of temperament.










edit on 13-10-2016 by crowdedskies because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 14 2016 @ 12:34 PM
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originally posted by: Drawsoho
To be a living thing is to move. If the search for food is on then
it is alive. For that matter all of Nature in it's galactic splendor
is never in stasis. Is Nature alive because it is moving disregarding
the logical conclusions of static matter such as hills and mountains
that they aren't thinking because they do not move unless a storm
or earthquake makes them move. Just because something sits like
a bump on a log - doesn't imply non-sentient/

So I think it is an analysis of the perception then to deciding if
something ( an object, world, nebula, ect. ) is alive and can think.


a reply to: darkbake



Very good an addition it is the 3 choices of cause and effect that is the differentiation; to do, not to do, or to do something else that is the divide when sentience has form as an intelligence... of course the forces of nature are also present that make up the constituents of the form itself. The old Earth, Fire, Wind, and Water that make up all the matter and forms...

Of course these all have their own attractions in the natural order; so what is it that separates them as sentient? The positive? The negative? Or the attachments in form not natural? But then again what isn't natural?

The experience of such a thing as all inclusive? Is the All or oneness of not only all that is in form but formlessness... the two are always in balance. So what is unbalanced? The attachments of the ego self the bias that becomes something other than the whole.

So what we choose to inhabit or choose to possess can come in the form of greed, hate or delusional ignorance to the entire process.

So all is all and are one... concepts clouds in the sky, ripples on water or just a wrinkle in time the mind wants to iron out.

Of course, in relativistic ego there is unawareness of such a connectivity simply try to maintain the awareness of all is connected and no one or no-thing is ever separate from it except in the flow in which it unfolds in the perceiving awareness as it occurs... 100% different to each perceiving consciousness; yet 100% the same. The one mind sounds like a swarm of bees; the hive mind or consciousness of all life, the forces at work natural and not just conceptual sounds as humming and grinding, drums similar to shoes in a dryer at a distance all of this in various pitches or wavelengths like guitar strings or vocal chords.

Body speech and mind... tune them all if the mind feels the body is out of tune... ask the guitar why it has a neck.



posted on Oct, 14 2016 @ 01:21 PM
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originally posted by: darkbake
Bacteria have the ability display altruism even though they are not sentient. However, this altruistic trait is known by scientists to be favored by the gene pool because altruism makes the whole society stronger.

Certainly, being aware of one's own existence and place in the overall environment (social and emotional as well as physical) would be a possible dividing line between a creature doing something (by "instinct") that just happens to benefit its fellow creatures, and a creature that knows full well that what they're doing is harmful to themselves but then do it anyway for reasons that make sense in their own brains -- like a soldier diving on a grenade to save their buddies in the platoon.

But maybe there are different levels. You can be alive, then you can be sentient (like a cat or something), and then you can be self-aware.

I recently read not too long ago that human children don't really become self-aware until they're around three years old. I recall a Louis CK comedy bit where his youngest daughter is sitting at the kitchen table screaming "I'm alive! I'm alive!" That's some good, solid self-awareness right there.



posted on Oct, 14 2016 @ 08:26 PM
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a reply to: Blue Shift

In a hive mentality where is the sentience? It is a herding instinct used to group together in strength instead of as an individual. This hive mind is not a singular mind of sentience, so killing an insect is not seen as wrong but one tries not to harm it anyway out of anger. Jainism tries to not kill even the insect which goes on down to the very bacteria the more one dives into it.

We are all part of the food chain from smallest to largest of course the is one difference between humane and human and that E usually is given for a failure so looking at how humanity become not only inhuman it humanity itself but inhuman to animals then we can see the difference in intelligence when it inhabits a sentient being.

Hive mind will sting everything to death in preservation and such a mentality when exhibited in humanity shows little to no human characteristics in it's action... a family can seem as a couple of ants trying to build it's own mound in disregard to the entire country or world of ants doing the same thing... of course when the idea of scarcity and value become warped or fed on with fears then it can poke the hive that is just wanting to live no matter the size of their grasping.

Tolerance and understanding comes with wisdom knowing there are differences but each and individual all with basic human needs... if fish thought the same way then those leaving the water for fun would be mauled and killed upon re-entry as heritics and blasphemers by those saying no fish should ever be out of water because those hook gods will destroy you and know we are down here.

So how simple we are and how complex as a species at the same time... fortunately we can choose our mind of mentality or attitude and that becomes the greater gate to understanding life itself, if an ant is crawling on a mirror does it see itself, follow itself, or think it a shadow or just another ant knowing nothing else different than itself always on the march for food as it is programmed to do as it's species?

We can break our programming that harms us and others... and that is why the human form is one of the most precious ones of all to be born into and inhabit as life in cyclic existence in this never ending chain or cycle of life... now becoming this now becoming that... which can occur in awareness or unawareness, objective yet not subjected or slave to it. Trying to not subject or enslave others helps break the cycle and bring about peace and balance, unfortunately the only thing one can do is point the way in mode of expression via the body, the speech or the mind.

If someone says who cares? Consider that an echo to oneself as any question needs a resolution not from another but oneself, and if oneself does not care then why make any expression at all?



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