Originally posted by Spiramirabilis
I think it's still a good idea to discuss whether or not conciousness is separate from personality - ego
I agree, but if Toromos has another idea in mind, we could end up derailing his thread.
Originally posted by Spiramirabilis
Toromos posted earlier on:
I was hoping for a more operational definition of consciousness for this discussion, since there are so many presuppositions about the nature of
which makes sense - the original question is really interesting - but we need to agree on what we're talking about first
no clue how we do that -
I have also been kind of hoping Toromos would return and give us the definition he wishes to use, without it, we are sort of left talking about apples
and oranges and not really being sure who means what in relation to his original question.
I am in the camp that defines consciousness more as "Consciousness itself" the awareness that perceives thoughts, sensory input, and emotional
reactions, but itself is not the originator of any of the above. I define it as that thing which, exists separately from the thinking mind, but is
the precursor to it, can perceive emotions, but which is not disturbed by them, and can take in sensory input of whatever sort without judgment of it.
The non-judgmental Awareness.
I am guessing, but guessing only, that in light of his clarification Toromos meant "personal identity" which I would call Mind or Ego, when he used
the term "consciousness." Clarifying this for the original question is pretty important.
If the question is, "how does identity adapt to vastly changed circumstances" I find that question less problematic, in general, but still
interesting, because we can actually see how an "identity" responds to a vastly changed body or life. Someone who has become suddenly a paraplegic,
or quadriplegic, would have that same "different car" feeling physically. A stranger in ones own "home" so to speak. And someone who was used to
living a certain way that suddenly lost everything, friends, family, means, etc., would have the psychological sensation of "whole new ballgame"
with their habits, etc., being one way, and none of their current circumstances fitting their habits.
We pretty much know what happens. Either the identity adapts, and integrates its current circumstances into its "story of who I am" or it rebels
and refuses to accept the changes, with the ultimate rejection or refusal to change being suicide, either actively taking ones life, or passive,
failure to thrive.
We can even sort of see how an identity stripped of its sense of "me" reacts when we look at people with full and permanent amnesia. The
consciousness suddenly seems to "arrive" in a body with a past, a history, ties, etc., and sometimes even with "working memories" such as
language, math, what things are, but the identity portion of the mind has been "reset" and all of a sudden the story "begins" in the middle of the
novel in a sense.
It is a very valid question, "what is Consciousness" and some of the studies on memory show that it ISN'T our self story, our autobiographical
Milner, a neuropsychologist who was studying the effects of temporal lobe lesions on memory, examined HM, testing his memory, perception,
intelligence, and visual-motor skills. Her careful testing of this patient with a known, specific, surgical MTL lesion brought out these important
* Memory is a neurological function.
* Memory is distinct from perception and intelligence.
* MTL memory loss is a pure amnesia--no other deficits are present.
* MTL structures surrounding and including the hippocampus have a narrow and specific role in memory.
A person who is unable to form new memories, or to continue the "story of me" is still conscious, and intelligent. AND a person who loses the
entire "history of me" (past memories) but retains the ability to make new ones, is still conscious and intelligent, they simply have no identity.
For these reasons, I personally feel Consciousness itself, is not related to memories, or autobiographical story lines, but instead is a wholly
Whether or not Consciousness itself survives the body is a good question, an interesting question, but it is wholly untestable in a factually
meaningful way. (At the present time) We have no way of communicating with even creatures who ARE embodied but who have different means of
communication than our own. Attempting to communicate with something disembodied entirely, with no "tie" to the brain and the language our brains
have created seems to me to be an impossible task. The human mind may be a lot of things, but it seems as if it has a very hard time seeing past
itself and its own biases, even in recognizing or communicating with an intelligence different from its own here on Earth.