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Consciousness Research

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posted on Feb, 16 2007 @ 11:22 AM
We have all heard of this grop from Princeton University

Global Consciousness

My main question is, what relation does consciousness directly have to world events? I mean, I know that consciousness is affected by events that take place around the world, but to such an extent that it is actually monitorable is pretty extraoridinary, in my honest opinion.

All of these little dots are called "eggs."

Here is a simple but beautiful rendition of the tapestry idea, programmed by Greg Nelson. It shows a recent five minute period of data, with the newest data on the right. The egg scores are shown as warm color dots (reds, yellows) for positive deviations and cool colors (blues, greens) for negative deviations. Horizontal rows (like the warp of a carpet) are the individual egg sequences, and successive vertical columns of color (the weft) are seconds. The egg array is mirrored around the horizontal centerline, which emphasizes patterns that may appear.

Explanation of "Eggs"

posted on Feb, 21 2007 @ 11:43 AM

Latest research shows fully human status can only be achieved after learning manual dexterity (hand/body work), initiating cause & effect networking in the new-brain. ref-75 Perhaps explaining incompetence (and inhumanity) of `men in suits', who've rarely had to do manual work.

On the surface, the above statement may not seem strange. However, stop and consider the real implications of what is being suggested here. It is basically re-defining what it is to be a human. It, in at least a subjective stance, stating that those who do not have "manual dexterity" are not human..

This may not seem very imprtant in relation to consciousness but is indeed very imprtant. Why? Such aspects of "being human" are products of consciousness.

The article certainly seems to differentiate between the idea of a "new brain" concept and the "old brain" concept.

OLD BRAIN - brain-stem and cerebellum: where reflex responses arise, where repetitive routines are stored, and animalistic attributes remembered. A necessary basic mechanism for competing ref-74 primitive animals, maybe at the time of dinosaurs or even much earlier.

Old-brain is sometimes called "reptile brain" / "lizard brain".

Old Brain

It seems that the main difference is a difference in processing. So, the question really lies in the ideology of whether consciousness is evolving.

CONTRAST - between `new brain' cerebrum and `old brain' cerebellum is even greater when sensation & reaction timings are measured.

Conscious sensation and reaction - by the cerebrum or new brain - can take about 1.5 to 2 seconds.

Therefore we are not `human-thinking' when fast re-acting - i.e. sport, walking, running, working etc. We're only human-thinking if we have time to consider.

Unconscious sensation and reaction - by the cerebellum or old brain - is around 10 times faster.

mod edit, very large image

[edit on 27-3-2007 by DontTreadOnMe]

posted on Mar, 27 2007 @ 04:46 PM

The original champions of distributed processing, the connectionists, have faced just this issue. Many connectionist models feature hidden layers in which localist interpretation breaks down. (Whence all the bruhaha about distributed processing.) When localism fails, connectionists turn to multivariate statistics for help. A variety of analytical techniques all work to reduce the dimensionality of a target domain. Suppose, for example, we want to understand the various patterns of activation of a hidden layer of eighty units. Multivariate thinking begins with a simple conceptual shift: Regard each activation value as a magnitude along an axis or "dimension." Eighty units, in this way of thinking, represent a space of eighty dimensions, and the eighty activation values are interpreted as coordinates in that space. In other words, the pattern of activation with its eighty coordinates is reconceived as a single point in 80-d space. This 80-d space is thus a handy container for many patterns of activation -- each reappears as a specific point in a high-dimensional map.

At this point the analysis proper begins: An 80-d map is not something we can look at, but it is definitely something whose geometry we can measure. No matter how high the dimensionality, the notion of distance between points can retain its usual non-boggling one-dimensional sense. Euclidean (linear) distance between any two points is easy to calculate, or one may calculate similarity between points with many other algorithms. The result is a matrix of distances (or dissimilarities), not unlike a matrix of mileages between cities. Having extracted the distance matrix from the 80-d mapping, it is now possible to survey and interpret the activation space via several different techniques, each of which can reveal aspects of the structure of the galaxy of points in activation space. One appealing analysis of this type is multidimensional scaling (MDS). MDS uses the distance matrix from points in a high-d space to build a new mapping in a space of fewer dimensions. The MDS condensate can be of arbitrary dimensionality. In choosing the degree of shrinkage, one faces a tradeoff between accessibility and accuracy of the resulting low-d map. More dimensions afford a better fit between the new map and the actual distances, but remain hard to interpret, while fewer dimensions (two or three) are easy to visualize but, depending on the data, could be too procrustean, yielding a new map that wildly misplaces points. One sets the balance of accessibility and accuracy according to taste.

Let us suppose that our 80 unit hidden layer computes 80 functions in a completely localized, modular way; that is, each unit specializes in one function, and is active only when the network computes that function, and inactive otherwise. (For this example, assume that units are either on or off, 1 or 0 in activation value.) In that case, the 80-d activation space is studded with points that lie exactly on its 80 axes, each orthogonal to all the others. If we were to attempt MDS analysis of this space, we would encounter a double disappointment. First, as we shrunk the dimensionality of the space, we would be forcing points on orthogonal axes onto single new axes, resulting in a very bad fit, ever worse as the amount of shrinkage increases. Second, the activation space would be without structure. That is, every point is equidistant from every other. Any grouping of points will be completely arbitrary, not supported by underlying order in the space.

Now let us suppose that the hidden layer is a sparsely distributed processor. In this case, a subset of units work together to compute each function, and these subsets partially overlap from function to function. If we scale this space to fewer dimensions, the overlap means that axes can coalesce without as much forcing, and that the overlaps might reveal a meaningful structure in activation space. That is, where we judge two functions to be antecedently similar, we may expect the activation space to somehow reflect that similarity, and our new MDS'd map to reveal some of that structure.

Over the last two years I've been focusing the lens of MDS on the accumulated PET studies in Brainmap and in the PET literature in general. My goal has been to use MDS as a crude probe of brain activation space. If MDS works without excessive procrustean stress, and if the structures detected by MDS are meaningful, this will offer another line of evidence that the brain is indeed a distributed processor.

As with any meta-analysis, this approach requires careful registration of the original experimental observations in a common format. The PET studies themselves already encourage comparisons in many ways. Individual brains differ strikingly in size and shape, so a routine part of PET processing is the morphing of one's personal brain into the shape of a standard brain, so that points of activation can be localized to comparable anatomical structures. In addition, PET studies always involve multiple subjects. The resulting patterns of activation are averaged (and peaks tested for significance), washing out stray activations, whether due to idiosyncrasy or to a subject's straying off the task. Beyond that, however, the studies differ from one another in one important way: As mentioned above, the reported patterns of activation are generally "difference images," created by subtracting a baseline or control pattern from the test or task pattern. These baseline controls are not uniform in the literature. For example, in a study of semantic processing, study A might image a brain during reading aloud, and subtract from that a control task consisting of reciting the alphabet. The point of this subtraction would be to isolate the subsystem involved in processing word meaning, while factoring out that involved in simple vocalizing. Study B, meanwhile, might also image a brain during reading aloud -- the same test task -- but subtract from it a control task consisting of reading silently. In this case, the function of interest is vocalizing itself. Both studies might display patterns of activation labelled "reading aloud," and indeed the underlying activation in the brains involved might be very similar, but the divergent subtracted control states would yield divergent difference images.

As a result, any PET meta-analysis must rest on a collection of experiments that share a common control state. There are a few such familiar baselines in the literature. One of the most common baselines is simple rest with closed eyes. A full review of hundreds of PET papers yielded 36 experiments where the difference image was based on a control state where subjects rested quietly with eyes closed. (Another common control condition has open-eyed subjects focus on a fixation point on a blank screen. This will be reviewed in a future study.) In these 36 experiments, points of activation were assigned using a brain atlas (as well as published anatomical assignments) to approximately 50 discrete brain areas, chosen to minimize overlaps and thereby minimize double-counting of points of activation. To wax multivariate, individual patterns of activation in the brain were conceived as points in a 50 dimensional space. From here, multi-dimensional scaling generated maps in fewer dimensions. Surprisingly, the procrustean stress, or badness of fit, was quite low even at 3 dimensions.

MDS did reveal the crude outlines of the structure of brain activation space. The largest regional affinities in brain space were determined by the modality of input. Tactile, visual, auditory, and no input conditions tended to group. The groupings were not compact clusters, however, but rather rough ellipsoids. In other words, in many cases similarity of input modality leads to collinearity of resulting points in brain activation space. Within the modalities, there is some indication of further structure, and this seems to be in part a reflection of the response made to the various tasks in the map.

The figures below reveal this collinearity and internal structure. Each is a view through a 3-dimensional MDS space, based on the 36 experimental points in 110 dimensions. The figures are paired, showing two views of the same set of points. The first view rotates the space so that the ellipsoid space of points is seen from the end -- what appears to be a tight cluster is in fact points deployed along an axis through brain space. Then in a companion figure the space is rotated to look at the point set from the side, displaying its internal structure. Each pair labels a different set of points. All 36 task points appear in each of the figures. However, a different subset is labelled in each pair, for ease of interpretation.

Only the relative position of points is meaningful; The XYZ axes are arbitrary. Nor do the positions of points bear any one-to-one relationship with anatomical or physical points in the brain. Each point represents an activation pattern of ten or more anatomical components, and point proximity indicates similarity among patterns. In short, the images that follow condense a large quantity of data -- many experiments, many subjects. Here then is a first multivariate survey of "brain activation space," and a brain-based window into the mind.


Tasks With No Stimuli

posted on Apr, 1 2007 @ 03:54 PM

[The Inner Light Theory
of Consciousness
by Steven W. Smith, Ph.D.
California Technical Publishing

ISBN 0-9660176-1-7 (2001)


A Brief Overview

Look around and concentrate on what you experience. Perhaps it is a warm summer day and you are sitting on an outdoor patio. You see a deep blue sky and smell the fragrance of the flowers in bloom. Wind blowing through the branches of a nearby tree provides a soothing melody. You feel the texture of these papers in your hands, and can still taste the last sip of your beverage. Of course, your experience will be different; you may be in a university library, at your desk at work, or relaxing on the couch in your home. You may be smelling the fragrance of flowers, the sweetness of newly baked cookies, or the lingering odor of disinfectant. You undoubtedly will be experiencing many things from your five senses, plus an introspective view of your mind's operation. These are the things you perceive, and are therefore the things that define your reality.
But now imagine that you suddenly awake and realize it was only a dream. The things you had been experiencing can now be seen from an enlightened perspective. Before you awoke, you justifiably believed that the sights and sounds you experienced were genuine, originating in an external physical universe. The tree, papers, and patio seemed more that just your perception of them; they were real objects with an independent existence. Or so you thought. But now that you are awake you have gained a greater knowledge, the knowledge that your previous reality was not genuine. The things that you had been perceiving exist only in your mind, and nowhere else.

The lesson here is extraordinary: the low-level activity of the brain is capable of placing its high-level activity into an artificial reality. We know this for a fact; it is clearly demonstrated to us each night as we dream. It is undeniable that the machinery to accomplish this feat is present in each and every human brain. The nature and extent of this "subreality machine" remains for us to determine; but one fact is indisputable, it is there.

The Inner Light theory takes this a step farther, asserting that this "subreality machine" is also activated during our waking hours, just as during our dreams. The unconscious processes that create our dream reality, also create our waking reality. This is not to suggest that the external physical world is an illusion. On the contrary, when we are awake and perceive an apple, we have every reason to believe that the universe contains such an object. However, we do not, and cannot, experience the physical apple directly. The best we can do is to capture clues about the object's nature. These clues come in the form of light photons, sound waves, molecules of various chemicals, and mechanical interactions. These are the physical principles that underlie our five senses, resulting in neural signals being sent to our brains. These indirect clues are all we know about the physical universe, and the only things we can know about it.

But of course, our conscious perception of an apple is nothing like photons, sound waves, or neural activity. We see an apple as red, feel it as smooth, and taste it as sweet. This is our introspective experience, because this is the representation that the subreality machine has created for us. Our unconscious mental processes fused the multitude of sensory data into the thing we recognize as an apple. Everything that we are conscious of has been created in this way. Our consciousness exists in this inner reality, not the physical world. When we are awake, the inner reality is constructed to mimic our external surroundings. When we dream, the inner reality exists on its own, without regard for anything outside of our brains. But either way, all we can consciously experience is the inner reality created for us by the subreality machine in the brain.

Inner Light Consciousness

posted on May, 17 2007 @ 03:57 PM
I actually found a site that talked about the Kundalini in relation to consciousness research. It looks like it may be a fairly interesting site.

Institute for Consciousness Research

posted on May, 30 2007 @ 02:06 PM
Here s a great video that I found....

posted on Jun, 28 2007 @ 10:18 AM

Found an interesting site concerning consciousness and the influence of the internet.

posted on Aug, 24 2007 @ 12:02 AM
Quantum Consciousness

Here is a good site that I came across earlier today in regards to consciousness.

posted on Oct, 16 2007 @ 06:12 PM

Are life and consciousness connected to the funda-mental level of reality?

Quantum Mind 2007
July 16-20, 2007
Salzburg, Austria
Toward a Science of Consciousness 2007,
July 23-26, 2007
Budapest, Hungary

Toward a Science of Consciousness 2006

Consciousness defines our existence and reality, but the mechanism by which

the brain generates thoughts and feelings remains unknown.

Most explanations portray the brain as a computer, with nerve cells ("neurons") and their synaptic connections acting as simple switches. However computation alone cannot explain why we have feelings and awareness, an "inner life."

We also don't know if our conscious perceptions accurately portray the external world. At its base, the universe follows the seemingly bizarre and paradoxical laws of quantum mechanics, with particles being in multiple places simultaneously, connected over distance, and with time not existing. But the “classical” world we perceive is definite, with a flow of time. The boundary or edge (quantum state reduction, or ‘collapse of the wave function”) between the quantum and classical worlds somehow involves consciousness.
Consciousness research continues

posted on Nov, 13 2007 @ 05:33 PM

Ever since Emil Du Bois-Reymond demonstrated in 1843 that electricity and not some supernatural life force travels through the nervous system, scientists have tried to explain mental life biologically. It's been a long, slow haul. An important step was taken in the early 1940's when the neurologist-philosopher Warren McCulloch and the teen-age prodigy Walter Pitts showed how webs of neurons exchanging electrical signals could work like little computers, picking out patterns from the confusion buzzing at our senses. Inspired by this metaphor, neuroscientists have been making the case that memories are laid when the brain forms new connections, linking up patterns of neurons that stand for things in the outside world.

But who, or what, is reading these neurological archives? The self? The ego? The soul? For want of a theory of consciousness, it is easy to fall back on the image of a little person -- a homunculus, the philosophers call it -- who sits in the cranial control room monitoring a console of gauges and pulling the right strings. But then, of course, we're stuck with explaining the inner workings of this engineer-marionette. Does it too have a little creature inside it? If so, we fall into an infinite regress, with homunculi embedded in homunculi like an image ricocheting between mirrors.

"Consciousness Explained?"

posted on Jul, 18 2008 @ 08:38 AM
Time magazine actually did an article in January of 2007 on consciousness that some may find of interest. Here is a link to the article. It is very long, so you may want to read it in segments. Enjoy.

Mystery of consciousness

posted on May, 18 2009 @ 11:53 PM
The main contributors have ably outlined the scope of the problem.

But there are other resources on this topic that should be mentioned.

1) The texts, teachings and lore of the traditional religions. In particular, the older religions. These, of course, do not qualify as research in themselves. And though many have tried, tracing down the true origins of religious lore through the multitude of translations and re-writes is in most cases impossible using traditional research techniques.

There is a pervasive theme in these teachings, though, that cannot be overlooked: the being is seen as essentially spiritual in nature. There must be a reason why this viewpoint endures.

2) The lectures and writings of L. Ron Hubbard. I have studied many of these. They date from about 1951 on up to the 1970's. Hubbard claims that his research totally supports the religious idea that the source of human consciousness is an intangible spirit-like entity. He spent most of his life developing technologies based on this primary assumption. Many of these technologies are reported to be quite workable.

One very interesting offshoot of Hubbard's work that relates to research is the possibility that human memory (which exists as part of the mind and is definitely NOT limited to things contained in the brain) could become a valid source for data of an historical nature. In order to test this, one would need to learn the basics of his research technique. I am not aware of any serious scientist to date who has taken on that challenge.

3) Finally, on my short list, are materials that appear to have an extraterrestrial origin that have been provided by the well-known contactee Billy Meier. I would normally not take such material seriously, but Billy was given extensive data that could be used to validate the credibility of his contacts, which makes the material hard to dismiss. It is very extensive and unlike any other body of contact data I have ever heard about.

Interestingly, this data also backs up the ancient idea that a person is essentially an immortal spiritual being.

Traditional science does not want to touch this subject. The whys and wherefores of that are best left for other topics on this site. But the result has been that this traditional spiritual idea of consciousness has been left out in the cold. And this in spite of new data that supports it!

Further posts will go over some of the more important details from these sources.

posted on May, 22 2009 @ 03:16 AM
...I found some links recently that were extremely compelling. I will only mention one of them here.

The last thing I thought I would ever do is refer someone to the work of a psychiatrist! But there it is. He was, by his own words, a maverick; he took the true humanitarian purpose of his profession seriously!

What scientific evidence, if any, would you accept as proof of the existence of an immortal spirit that carries life forward in a sequence of different identities?

If a person could remember exact, vivid details of a "past life", details that he(she) could not possibly know without himself(herself) having lived that life, and those details were found to be accurate in every way, would you accept that as evidence that the true consciousness of that person existed as an immortal spirit traveling through life from body to body?

And if it really is true that people are immortal spirits who can, under favorable conditions, remember past lives in other bodies, or even experiences of acting without a body, what does that say about memory and the mind?

I have been taught that the mind is essentially an electronic contraption created by the being that owns it. It is invisible, but contains data, in a similar way to how a radio broadcast is invisible yet contains data. As such, it is susceptible to electrical and electronic interference. Though it is ruggedly designed and contains huge volumes of data, it can be harmed. It is theoretically possible to operate without it, simply by considering that one can. This is not, however, a consideration that is easy to put into effect. Vast areas of the mind are concerned with the problem of experiencing existence through a body. Though the being once decided that this might be fun, most of us at this point feel we went a little overboard with it. And it does make for a lot of excess mental baggage.

I will mention two books that go over this, but they are only training manuals, so are not particularly thorough or rigorous. There are lectures that can be listened to that fill in some gaps, but their purpose was also to train people in the application of this theory to help others. So we will have to rely on people like Doctor Stevenson to validate this theory as science. It has proven workable in the spheres that it has been applied to.

The books are: "Scientology A History of Man" written in 1952, and "Scientology 8-80" also written in 1952. The publishers are Bridge Publications in the Americas and New Era Publications in most of the rest of the world. The 2007 editions are the most accurate (the manuscripts were typed from dictation).

Dr. Stevenson has also written several books. So you have a choice: read books by a maverick psychiatrist, read books by a maverick opponent of psychiatry, read them all, or don't read any of them.

Next post: the mind-body interface.

posted on May, 23 2009 @ 05:50 AM
Well, I'm tired - I spent hours looking for links that would have good images relating to the problem of controlling a machine.

That's all the mind-body connection really amounts to. It's a design for the intelligent control of a body, which is a biological machine.

I chose the subject of robotics to illustrate this problem. A variety of related links are below.

In human-controlled, or human-programmed robotics, which is used in nuclear waste disposal and all sorts of other applications, you have several parts that all interact. You have the human controller, which represents the spiritual being in this analogy, then you have his set of controls, which is sort of a virtual, or "astral" body which basically amounts to part of his mind, then you have a communication link to the body which is basically electronic, then in the body (machine in our analogy) you have another control interface, which in most robots consists of a computer and software, and in our bodies is mostly the brain, and then you have the rest of the machine, the body, which moves around and does things.

In the case of humans, the situation is complicated by the fact that most beings consider themselves blind without their body's eyes, etc. In other words, they totally rely on the body for all their present time external data. This isn't necessary, it's just normal. So full waking operation involves this constant two-way interaction between the being, his mind, the brain, and the body. Anything the body senses is reported back to the brain, where the being then picks it up through his mind. It is a very complex, multilevel servo mechanism. On the body side of things, the whole endocrine system monitors all manner of efforts and emotional responses. It's very busy. This is what most of us think of as consciousness. But at that level it's basically all automatic - software, you know. Very little free will is expressed by the body itself.

However, what if the controlling being gets distracted or knocked out? This is a big problem in remote robotics, and it is with bodies, too. The body has to have some capability to take over and keep things going until the being snaps out of it (assuming it does). That system comes complete with its own memory mechanisms and training patterns, but it's quite moronic compared to your average spiritual being. Sometimes it can cause problems.

The being, unfortunately, has a tendency to run on automatic, too. This is a variable characteristic from being to being and from moment to moment. What most people mean when they refer to spiritual development is coming up out of that and taking some responsibility for being more causative.

That's basically it. Here are a bunch of engineering and robotics-related links. The more fascinating ones are towards the bottom.

posted on May, 23 2009 @ 10:07 AM
Cox, thank you for your contribution.

I agree, many of the world's religions also seemed to imply that there is an intangible aspect to consciousness. I think that intangible is the "breath of life" or spirit, whichever you desire to call it.

I will check out your links. Once again, thank you for your contribution.

posted on May, 28 2009 @ 07:01 PM
I wanted to do a post on energy creation, but my original post was too long. Here is a shortened version:

Consciousness involves perception - a way to become aware of one's environment - and perception involves the creation of energy. In any system that has consciousness, it takes some energy to receive, store and process data from the environment.

In "Scientology 8-80" L. Ron Hubbard offers a theory of spiritual energy production. As this book is basically just a training manual for his students, he does not get highly technical or try to prove his points with science. He's just trying to provide a model that is relevant to the problems of rehabilitating spiritual abilities. His material on this is concentrated in Chapters 12 and 17. In brief, it presents a model of energy production that requires 2 terminals held apart in space. He also briefly discusses the ramifications of the possibility that the law of conservation of energy does not hold for this system.

Similar concepts appear in scientific thinking about matter and energy. This scientific work is motivated by the need for a "unified field theory" which would link together all known energy phenomena. In the West gravitational energy has been a problem in attempts to construct such a theory, but recent work has found ways to include it.

This "recent" work (it really started around 1950 in Russia) discovered that Maxwell's work had been imperfectly interpreted by more modern mathematicians. For the sake of "simplicity" they had decided to ignore a "scalar" component that was part of Maxwell's original equations.

The Russians, and others, added this component back in and came up with what is, essentially, the unified field theory that science had been looking for. They re-named this subject "energetics."

Western scientists and engineers finally caught on to what the Russians had done. They are currently a small group and their principal spokesman is Tom Bearden. For better or worse, Mr. Bearden is impatient with those who are unable or unwilling to acquire an understanding of the 4- and 5- dimensional mathematics used to express these ideas and so his write-ups can be a bit difficult to follow.

A reference site much used by ATS members contains links and explanatory material on energetics.

Bearden started out by calling this subject "scalar electromagnetics" but also uses the Russian term "energetics."

The point I want to make is that both theoretical physics and spiritual research have arrived at similar results for this problem.

Per energetics, you create a "dipole" - a system with two terminals held apart, you provide a potential difference between the two terminals, and you then control the resulting flows in a way that permits continued oscillation without additional energy input.

The only major difference between this and Hubbard's idea is that energetics uses "curved spacetime" as a way to understand where the extra energy comes from, whereas Hubbard simply gives a spiritual being the ability to turn an idea into energy.

It should be noted that the extraterrestrial understanding of physics as given by Billy Meier also assumes that the ultimate source of energy is spiritual.

The implications of these discoveries and the technologies that follow from them are seriously discussed in all these sources. In particular, what the Russians, and now Americans also, have done with energetics-based weapons is still a secret in the west.

What this post attempts to establish is that creation of energy in ways that violate traditional thermodynamic laws is possible and would, among other things, allow for a spiritual model of consciousness.

posted on Jun, 26 2010 @ 01:06 PM
I would like to announce that addition of Thegreatestone to our discussion.

posted on Jun, 26 2010 @ 01:09 PM
reply to post by l_e_cox

Well, it goes without saying, that I personally believe that consciousness does have a spiritual basis. However, I think to really understand consciousness, it is important that ALL possibilities be evaluated.

Thank you for your contribution.

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