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Where is consciousness located?

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posted on Feb, 2 2017 @ 07:02 AM
a reply to: WhyDidIJoin

Thanks buddy,
To be honest the OP isnt even half of what I wanted to try to convey.
Like I mentioned the original interview I was listening to, really got me thinking.
I had so much to write about, but being able to adequately represent what I thinking was a different story.

Have you ever get really excited about something, then tried to explain it to someone and their like "What did you just say?" lol
Thats how I was feeling. Its just such a vast subject.
The amount of different responses to this thread alone goes to show, that we are all so different, yet alike at the same time.
We all have different beliefs in the origins behind our conscientiousness. Some slight, others miles apart.
But when it comes down to it, they are all just theories because none of it has been proven.

Im glad you enjoyed this topic, I can see others are as well

posted on Feb, 2 2017 @ 07:12 AM
a reply to: LuXTeN

Oh for sure lol.

But isnt amazing, how many different theories ATS has come up with in this thread?

We each have our own truths and beliefs, none of which are more likely than the other because the question at hand is still yet to be proven.

posted on Feb, 2 2017 @ 08:34 AM
a reply to: Macenroe82

precisely my Canadian friend! YES!

See that's what people aren't getting. It's all subjective!

No one has all the answers, only speculation.

But that's half the fun, talking about it.

: )

posted on Feb, 2 2017 @ 12:17 PM

originally posted by: Macenroe82
a reply to: LuXTeN

Oh for sure lol.

But isnt amazing, how many different theories ATS has come up with in this thread?

We each have our own truths and beliefs, none of which are more likely than the other because the question at hand is still yet to be proven.

True, but so very interesting to ponder. Thanks for a fascinating thread!

posted on Feb, 2 2017 @ 12:24 PM
a reply to: Thunderroad56

Nice to see you join us! Hello and welcome! That was quite an interesting experience. I won't share my experience in here, though I have shared on this site before. Life is so fascinating and profound yet leaves us with more questions than answers when it comes to certain subjects.

posted on Feb, 2 2017 @ 12:27 PM
a reply to: Macenroe82

I disagree with that because we have several things coalescing here:

None of those fields are very subjective, even philosophy.

Logic and Math is obviously highly objective but the real problem comes with the Philosophical aspects of this conundrum. Most people believe (incorrectly) that philosophy consists of just fabricating some gibberish and calling it philosophical deliberation, but that is not what philosophy actually is. Good philosophy is highly objective and leads to highly probable conclusions rather than open ended 'believe whatever you want' options.

Here's a good explanation:

Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument and systematic presentation.

Philosophy and Science are deeply intertwined.

One major problem here is that people wholeheartedly commit to the simplistic and out-of-context view that "Well we are all entitled to our beliefs", and this is simply an obstacle to the proper formulation of a consistent ideology.

Combine this with the fact that we are generally so uneducated and unwilling to admit the flaws of our own thought processes, and we end up lacking the capacity to form consensus or finding anything solid to form that consensus around.

How many people have studied the works of at least 100 major philosophers? It's so unbelievably time consuming and mind bending, and people have bills to pay and things to do, so it's unlikely more than 1% can achieve that in an entire lifetime unless they become a philosophy professor at a university or focus their life towards it as a hobby.

Now include into that 250 major players in the history of science and their writings, the study of language itself, math and physics and astronomy, biology and chemistry, or even offshoot things like robotics and AI, computer programming, law and civics, economics, religions, etc.

So what is really going on here is that there are objective solutions to many of our ideological qualms and misgivings, but that we simply don't live long enough nor have the proper backgrounds in stringent study to even begin to really develop holistic views of our reality that even come close to anything near a valid solution.

Even (by my assessment as a result of contextual clues) your own definition of the words "proven, proof, evidence" are not accurate. I think you are under a false assumption of what constitutes proof in terms of the discussion ongoing in this thread.

Proof is:

sufficient evidence or a sufficient argument for the truth of a proposition

Evidence is:

Evidence, broadly construed, is anything presented in support of an assertion. This support may be strong or weak. The strongest type of evidence is that which provides direct proof of the truth of an assertion. At the other extreme is evidence that is merely consistent with an assertion but does not rule out other, contradictory assertions, as in circumstantial evidence.

Back to Proof:

The concept applies in a variety of disciplines,[5] with both the nature of the evidence or justification and the criteria for sufficiency being area-dependent. In the area of oral and written communication such as conversation, dialog, rhetoric, etc., a proof is a persuasive perlocutionary speech act, which demonstrates the truth of a proposition.[6] In any area of mathematics defined by its assumptions or axioms, a proof is an argument establishing a theorem of that area via accepted rules of inference starting from those axioms and from other previously established theorems.[7] The subject of logic, in particular proof theory, formalizes and studies the notion of formal proof.[8] In some areas of epistemology and theology, the notion of justification plays approximately the role of proof,[9] while in jurisprudence the corresponding term is evidence,[10] with "burden of proof" as a concept common to both philosophy and law.

And to figure things out, we must ask questions and seek honest answers that resolve them (and at the least, demand further questioning):

A question is a linguistic expression used to make a request for information, or the request made using such an expression. The information requested is provided in the form of an answer.

So to sit there and state authoritatively that

We each have our own truths and beliefs, none of which are more likely than the other because the question at hand is still yet to be proven.

it patently ridiculous, absurd, and wholly incorrect.

"Having our own truths" doesn't even make sense, it's an abuse of the terminology and the concept of Truth itself becomes Untruthful when used in this manner.


Truth is most often used to mean being in accord with fact or reality,[1] or fidelity to an original or standard.[1] Truth may also often be used in modern contexts to refer to an idea of "truth to self," or authenticity.

The commonly understood opposite of truth is falsehood, which, correspondingly, can also take on a logical, factual, or ethical meaning. The concept of truth is discussed and debated in several contexts, including philosophy, art, and religion. Many human activities depend upon the concept, where its nature as a concept is assumed rather than being a subject of discussion; these include most (but not all) of the sciences, law, journalism, and everyday life.

Some philosophers view the concept of truth as basic, and unable to be explained in any terms that are more easily understood than the concept of truth itself. Commonly, truth is viewed as the correspondence of language or thought to an independent reality, in what is sometimes called the correspondence theory of truth.

Although you should be reading in depth about all of these topics and investigating them thoroughly, this part is very important:

Language and words are a means by which humans convey information to one another and the method used to determine what is a "truth" is termed a criterion of truth.

And as someone I knew once told me,
"When I word begins to mean nothing, it can mean anything."

And when a word means anything, it becomes useless because I have no idea what you're talking about. That's not a fun discussion...
edit on 2/2/2017 by muzzleflash because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 2 2017 @ 12:37 PM

originally posted by: LuXTeN
a reply to: Macenroe82

See that's what people aren't getting. It's all subjective!

No one has all the answers, only speculation.

I disagree with you here as well, read my above post and think deeply upon it.

I am NOT saying my answers are correct per se, but instead what I am suggesting is that each proposed answer should be questioned thoroughly and systematically in a highly academic fashion.

It is very possible my proposed solutions could turn out to have major flaws within them, but what exactly are those flaws? I didn't just invent my proposals out of thin air because they sounded neat, but rather they were developed as a result of significant examination and time invested pondering many aspects of the subjects involved.

My proposals were offered without having to go through and critically examine everyone else's posts (which is very time consuming and frustrating). I was just merely presenting a few solutions with a little explanation and hoping those posts would be taken seriously.

The reason I was rejecting other suggestions like "It's in the DNA," was because those types of solutions might give a satisfactory explanation in one or two contexts, but in other contexts it begins to break down and fail to explain other concepts or it can even fail to define a term properly like "consciousness".

How can we ask or even find out "where consciousness is located" when we are not even operating on a proper definition of "what consciousness is"? If we cannot even agree on what a word means and what constitutes it's limitations, we are going to have substantial difficulties getting anywhere reasonable.

posted on Feb, 2 2017 @ 12:43 PM

originally posted by: EasyPleaseMe
a reply to: muzzleflash
What led you to your conclusion about the universe and consciousness?

A lifetime of investigation combined with what we could call 'mystical experiences'.

I would prefer that people question specific aspects of it and challenge them with reasoning so that we could all either eliminate them as possibilities or further develop the concepts into something more refined.

I would also hope that no one decides upon a final position until we deeply analyze those positions. Two or more minds is usually better than one so I welcome anyone's ideas and would enjoy wrestling with them.

posted on Feb, 2 2017 @ 03:13 PM
a reply to: muzzleflash

I asked because i have come to a very similar conclusion independently and wondered if I had actually read the idea somewhere because I am struggling to articulate my reasoning at the moment. It will take me much more thought.

What mystical events can you (or others) relay that lead to a belief in a single consciousness? Can you describe what consciousness actually is?

posted on Feb, 2 2017 @ 03:22 PM

originally posted by: Deaf Alien
a reply to: Bedlam

"Personal identity" is not religious.

"Personality Identity" as you describe it sounds as if it could simply be an emergent product of a brain and brain chemistry.

I don't understand why some people feel that humans are so special that they become a receptacle for some mysterious force called "consciousness" that can float around the universe and then finds its way into us (or is accessed through us). It seems much less clunky to just say that there is no such thing as consciousness (i.e., "consciousness" as a distinct and separate thing from our bodies), but that what we perceive as a separable consciousness is actually just our brain doing its thing.

I suppose people are free to believe that their consciousness somehow can exist separate from their brains (i.e., a "soul" that can reside outside our body once our body dies or before we are born), but I see no evidence that would lead me to believe it necessarily needs to be the case. It seems more likely that what we call consciousness is just brain chemistry, and when the brain dies, the thing we think is consciousness just stops being, because it was a product of a process involving neurons, synapses, and assorted chemicals -- albeit a complex process.

There are several complex-brained animals who display a sense of self to some extent. There are primates who show signs of a "personal identity", albeit not to the extent of humans. However, that could just be that the human brain is more advanced in that respect, an that sense of identity is something that helps us with our more complex thought and our complex socialization that led us to create our complex civilization....

...but I think it's still all brain chemistry. No magical soul or separable consciousness required.

posted on Feb, 2 2017 @ 05:21 PM
a reply to: Soylent Green Is People

Studies like this smithsonian point to something beyond the brain storing memory, whatever it may be.

Maybe 'consciousness' is a property experienced by any sufficiently complex matter, in a degree proportional to its complexity?

posted on Feb, 2 2017 @ 06:19 PM
Where does consciousness reside?? Well, these guys at Harvard think they have found out that it is distributed among 3 specific regions of the brain. - Harvard Researchers Have Found the Source of Human Consciousness.

And although I disagree with the guy and gave up on buying/reading his books, I would be remiss in not mentioning him. Here is what Daniel Dennett thinks (I think it may be the articles author’s view of Dennett’s book but he is summarizing the ideas)

Consciousness is a system property, and is not reducible: he takes issue with those hard-line molecular biologists… who seek to locate consciousness in particular ensembles of neurons in specific brain regions. Such ensembles, Dennett argues, are mini-robots, competent in their functions, but only their interactions within the totality of the brain enable comprehension, and with it the “user illusion” that we all share, of being a person in charge of these processes. I like the competence/comprehension distinction, though I doubt if Dennett thought he was merely an illusion when he wrote this book, any more than I believe I am when reading it.

The Guardian - From Bacteria to Bach and Back by Daniel C Dennett review – consciousness explained?.

Score tied! One point for "wired in the wet work". One point for "emergent".

But that is not quite fair since the Harvard team needs to have their work validated. My take is partial to the idea that like a “fist” or “a lap” they are terms that exist in a time reference: open your fist and you have a hand but the capability of “fist” is there if need be; stand up and your legs do not go away! You still have them but they are not in use of the “lap” function; so with consciousness. It is part of time restricted or non-drug induced state. Explains the “time slows down” that people report in accidents. We all know time is constant; it is our consciousness changing while we are awake and aware! At least that seams to be one aspect. Which leans towards brain chemistry and the wet works crowd I guess.

Ahhhh, what the heck!

Here is good read! Great terms defined and spoken in a language easily understood with examples from a children’s book. Terms like: “hypnagogic imagery” and “secondary representation” which are complex terms for complex brain functions but make sense in this context! (And it looks like Mr. Barrie would have been at home posting on ATS!)

Those ultra-vivid images on the edge of sleep are now known as “hypnagogic imagery”, and they may be the result of a spike in brain regions responsible for visual processing as the brain shuts down for sleep.
Many of the children’s experiences may have been inspired by Barrie’s own sleep disorders. He intermittently suffered from “sleep paralysis”, in which you feel yourself to be awake in bed but unable to move. Often this can be accompanied by strange hallucinations, with Barrie describing the presence of a suffocating shapeless mass pinning him down. - What Peter Pan teaches us about memory and consciousness.

posted on Feb, 2 2017 @ 07:33 PM
Well, there has been some pretty intriguing answers to this thread so far. I'm fairly impressed with some of the answers and the hypotheses behind them.
I have one last question for everyone still following here;

Why is consciousness even apart of the universe at all?

posted on Feb, 2 2017 @ 07:35 PM
a reply to: Macenroe82

I once got hit in the testicles with a slap-shot and lost consciousness. True story!

I think it's subjective.

edit on 2-2-2017 by Realtruth because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 2 2017 @ 07:39 PM
At the end of a hot poker and underneath a bucket of ice water while hanging off a rope bridge over a dry riverbed populated with lions and poison sumac in North Korea.

posted on Feb, 2 2017 @ 08:46 PM
a reply to: EasyPleaseMe

Thank you for the response.

I think the wiki on "Consciousness" does a decent brief on it:

Consciousness is difficult to define, though many people seem to think they know intuitively what it is. Attempts at definition have included: sentience, awareness, subjectivity, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood or soul, the fact that there is something "that it is like" to "have" or "be" it, and the executive control system of the mind,[1] or the state or quality of awareness, or, of being aware of an external object or something within oneself.[2][3]

In contemporary philosophy its definition is often hinted at via the logical possibility of its absence, the philosophical zombie, which is defined as a being whose behavior and function are identical to one's own yet there is "no-one in there" experiencing it. Despite the difficulty in definition, many philosophers believe that there is a broadly shared underlying intuition about what consciousness is.[4]

As Max Velmans and Susan Schneider wrote in The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness: "Anything that we are aware of at a given moment forms part of our consciousness, making conscious experience at once the most familiar and most mysterious aspect of our lives."[5]

Ok and this part is interesting because it explains the difficulty involved here:

Western philosophers, since the time of Descartes and Locke, have struggled to comprehend the nature of consciousness and identify its essential properties. Issues of concern in the philosophy of consciousness include whether the concept is fundamentally coherent; whether consciousness can ever be explained mechanistically; whether non-human consciousness exists and if so how can it be recognized; how consciousness relates to language; whether consciousness can be understood in a way that does not require a dualistic distinction between mental and physical states or properties; and whether it may ever be possible for computing machines like computers or robots to be conscious, a topic studied in the field of artificial intelligence.

Ok so let's consider the "it's in the brain" solution.
Why do I view this as unsatisfactory?

Think of a plant, does it have consciousness?
I would argue Yes, but it clearly does not posses a brain.

It responds to stimuli like sunlight and it's incoming direction.
Does it have a choice on if it should respond? Although we might say "no, it's automatic," the real issue is would a plant ever choose not to respond to sunlight and if so why? And how rare of a decision would that be among plants? Have we studied every plant, how many plants are there to study, etc, are important factors of consideration to reveal how difficult it might be to actually figure this out. Plants might have chosen not to respond right in front of us, but since almost no one is studying this phenomena it was likely overlooked.

Two more quotes here, first Webster's definition of consciousness:

Webster's Third New International Dictionary stating that consciousness is:
"(1) a. awareness or perception of an inward psychological or spiritual fact: intuitively perceived knowledge of something in one's inner self.
b. inward awareness of an external object, state, or fact.
c. concerned awareness: INTEREST, CONCERN -- often used with an attributive noun.

(2): the state or activity that is characterized by sensation, emotion, volition, or thought: mind in the broadest possible sense: something in nature that is distinguished from the physical.

(3): the totality in psychology of sensations, perceptions, ideas, attitudes and feelings of which an individual or a group is aware at any given time or within a particular time span -- compare STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS."

Let's go with a very broad sense of the terminology here.

Ok now here's a link to an article on Plant intelligence

The new research, he says, is in a field called plant neurobiology — which is something of a misnomer, because even scientists in the field don't argue that plants have neurons or brains. "They have analagous structures," Pollan explains. "They have ways of taking all the sensory data they gather in their everyday lives ... integrate it and then behave in an appropriate way in response. And they do this without brains, which, in a way, is what's incredible about it, because we automatically assume you need a brain to process information."

Now check this out:

Pollan says plants have all the same senses as humans, and then some. In addition to hearing, taste, for example, they can sense gravity, the presence of water, or even feel that an obstruction is in the way of its roots, before coming into contact with it. Plant roots will shift direction, he says, to avoid obstacles.

So what about pain? Do plants feel? Pollan says they do respond to anesthetics. "You can put a plant out with a human anesthetic. ... And not only that, plants produce their own compounds that are anesthetic to us." But scientists are reluctant to go as far as to say they are responding to pain.

So experimentally it is shown that Plants respond to anesthetics???!!!
This is incredible and compelling, and I'll continue in the next post.

posted on Feb, 2 2017 @ 09:00 PM
a reply to: EasyPleaseMe

How plants sense and react is still somewhat unknown. They don't have nerve cells like humans, but they do have a system for sending electrical signals and even produce neurotransmitters, like dopamine, serotonin and other chemicals the human brain uses to send signals.

"We don't know why they have them, whether this was just conserved through evolution or if it performs some sort of information processing function. We don't know. There's a lot we don't know," Pollan says.

And chalk up another human-like ability — memory.

Pollan describes an experiment done by animal biologist Monica Gagliano. She presented research that suggests the mimosa pudica plant can learn from experience. And, Pollan says, merely suggesting a plant could learn was so controversial that her paper was rejected by 10 scientific journals before it was finally published.

Think about this. These are groundbreaking discoveries and will revolutionize the entire subject (and already are).

Ok here's the wiki on Electromagnetic theories of consciousness

Further down into the article it links us to Quantum Mind

The quantum mind or quantum consciousness[1] group of hypotheses propose that classical mechanics cannot explain consciousness. It posits that quantum mechanical phenomena, such as quantum entanglement and superposition, may play an important part in the brain's function and could form the basis of an explanation of consciousness.

So this is where it gets interesting because now we are talking about entanglement and superposition.

That is where the proposal (as a solution) was that there is only 1 location available - that everywhere is 1 singular spot condensed infinitely inwards (*therefore paradoxically it can be viewed as expanding infinitely outwards and giving the illusion of distance).

Quantum superposition is a fundamental principle of quantum mechanics. It states that, much like waves in classical physics, any two (or more) quantum states can be added together ("superposed") and the result will be another valid quantum state; and conversely, that every quantum state can be represented as a sum of two or more other distinct states.

Combine that with:

Quantum entanglement is a physical phenomenon that occurs when pairs or groups of particles are generated or interact in ways such that the quantum state of each particle cannot be described independently of the others, even when the particles are separated by a large distance—instead, a quantum state must be described for the system as a whole.

and of course:

A black hole is a region of spacetime exhibiting such strong gravitational effects that nothing—not even particles and electromagnetic radiation such as light—can escape from inside it.[1] The theory of general relativity predicts that a sufficiently compact mass can deform spacetime to form a black hole.[2][3

A supermassive black hole (SMBH) is the largest type of black hole, on the order of hundreds of thousands to billions of solar masses (M☉), and is found in the centre of almost all currently known massive galaxies.[1][2]

So what I'm proposing here is the possibility of the ultra-massive infinite magnitude black hole.
Where the entire mass of the universe (which might be infinite) is considered - such as in the 'big bang theory' of the origin of the universe itself.

If the known laws of physics are extrapolated to the highest density regime, the result is a singularity which is typically associated with the Big Bang.

Keyword here being "Singularity":

A gravitational singularity or space-time singularity is a location in space-time where the gravitational field of a celestial body becomes infinite in a way that does not depend on the coordinate system.

This "Singularity" concept 'might be' able to explain everything. It could explain God, miracles, ghosts, quantum entanglement and superposition, everything.

posted on Feb, 2 2017 @ 09:02 PM
a reply to: muzzleflash

I liked you many years ago. I think we were friends.

Now you talk a lot.

posted on Feb, 2 2017 @ 09:21 PM
a reply to: TarzanBeta

If we were really friends than we should still be.
Real friends stay friends despite who says what or if mistakes are made or how many disagreements might be had.

"As long as a relationship lives in the Heart, true friends never part."

posted on Feb, 2 2017 @ 09:30 PM

originally posted by: muzzleflash
a reply to: TarzanBeta

If we were really friends than we should still be.
Real friends stay friends despite who says what or if mistakes are made or how many disagreements might be had.

"As long as a relationship lives in the Heart, true friends never part."

Well, I didn't say we're not now. Just that you say more.

But you're right. My dad used to tell me the same thing.

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