Human consciousness is much more than mere brain activity

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posted on Jun, 19 2011 @ 09:25 PM
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reply to post by EthanT
 


The amazing self-aware neural network of our mind. Its crazy, the only thing that gives me hope for divinity in universe is sciences complete lack if being able to consistently explain anything than the obvious.




posted on Jun, 19 2011 @ 09:34 PM
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reply to post by TupacShakur
 


I think you might've typoed. When you wrote:


Human consciousness is nothing more than mere brain activity.


I'm sure you meant to say either:


In my opinion, human consciousness is nothing more...


or


From my extensive research, human consciousness is nothing more...


I'm pretty sure it's a safe bet to say it's the former. And while you're welcome to your opinion, I respectfully disagree. I find it impossible to believe that the entirety of a human experience - emotional, spiritual, psychological, social, sexual - and so on - can be created by and contained within a a few kilos of flesh.

There is a reasonable amount of evidence for this theory, a lot of it contained within the Holographic Universe which was posted above, but just in terms of my general impression of the world it just doesn't make sense to me.

But very glad to see mainstream discussion of this question. Perhaps there is a place for philosophers and metaphysicists in the world!



posted on Jun, 19 2011 @ 09:44 PM
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reply to post by TheStev
 


Good points.

There is only one real good reason to state: "Human consciousness is nothing more than mere brain activity."

A biased way of thinking based on the materialistic paradgim we find ourselves in and that cannot see any other options.

There is no definitive (or even close to definitive) scientific reason for concluding that.

edit on 19-6-2011 by EthanT because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 19 2011 @ 10:04 PM
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Answer to "the hard problem": We're spiritual beings duh.



"Humans are amphibians - half spirit and half animal. As spirits they belong to the eternal world, but as animals they inhabit time." - C. S. Lewis



posted on Jun, 19 2011 @ 10:30 PM
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Really interesting topic.

I have to agree though, there is no possible way that we are just a cluster of flesh and neurons. I'm not a scientist, i'm only entitled to my opinion. But it just does not make sense. No one personality is the same, sure there are people with similar personalities, but no one personality is the exact same as another. If there were no conciousness, wouldn't a lot of us be the exact same? The brain is a wonderful thing, and i already made the conclusion between brain damage and conciousness. Doesnt make sense that brain damage alters conciousness, how do we know that mentally disabled kid isn't seeing the world the exact same, just not able to express it the same because of a physical malfunction in his/her brain. We have science, but it cannot explain everything. Not yet, not anytime soon i don't think.

I was talking to my friend about this a few minutes ago, and he put it into a good perspective for me (not that i needed it, but it definatly catered to my inner geek). "Our bodies are like a videocard in a computer, our conciousness is like Direct X."



posted on Jun, 19 2011 @ 10:38 PM
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Another fairly recent peice on this topic, which has some good points.

Does Our Brain Really Create Consciousness?


Western science has had remarkable success in explaining the functioning of the material world, but when it comes to the inner world of the mind, it has very little to say. And when it comes to consciousness itself, science falls curiously silent. There is nothing in physics, chemistry, biology, or any other science that can account for our having an interior world. In a strange way, scientists would be much happier if minds did not exist. Yet without minds there would be no science.
This ever-present paradox may be pushing Western science into what Thomas Kuhn called a paradigm shift--a fundamental change in worldview.


I thought this was fairly well said, and it really does seem like this is the time when a possible paradigm shift could happen. I suspect it will happen slowly over a period of decades though and not overnight. Perhaps it has already started.

And, the following statement right here is astounding when you stop and think about it:


It is easier to explain how the universe evolved from the Big Bang to human beings than it is to explain why any of us should ever have a single inner experience. How does all that electro-chemical activity in the physical matter of the brain ever give rise to conscious experience


edit on 19-6-2011 by EthanT because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 19 2011 @ 10:59 PM
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And here is an article on research done at Harvard, which can point towards consciousness being more fundamental than grey matter.

Meditation found to increase brain size


People who meditate grow bigger brains than those who don't.

Researchers at Harvard, Yale, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have found the first evidence that meditation can alter the physical structure of our brains. Brain scans they conducted reveal that experienced meditators boasted increased thickness in parts of the brain that deal with attention and processing sensory input.

In one area of gray matter, the thickening turns out to be more pronounced in older than in younger people. That's intriguing because those sections of the human cortex, or thinking cap, normally get thinner as we age.


This sounds like one case where consciousness is having a direct physical impact on the brain, and maybe not so much vice versa.

Also, from wikipedia, which again shows consciousness having a willful effect on grey matter, and the human body, in general.

Research on Meditation


Studies done by Yale, Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital have shown that meditation increases gray matter in the brain and slows down the deterioration of the brain as a part of the natural aging process.

The experiment included 20 individuals with intensive Buddhist "insight meditation" training and 15 who did not meditate. The brain scan revealed that those who meditated have an increased thickness of gray matter in parts of the brain that are responsible for attention and processing sensory input. The increase in thickness ranged between .004 and .008 inches (3.175 x 10−6m - 6.35 x 10 −6m) and was proportional to the amount of meditation. The study also showed that meditation helps slow down brain deterioration due to aging.[18][19]



According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), "Practicing meditation has been shown to induce some changes in the body...Some types of meditation might work by affecting the autonomic (involuntary) nervous system."


None of this is conclusive on determing if consciousness can exist independent of the body, but it does at least show that the common myth that says consciousness cannot have a direct impact on the brain and body is wrong.

edit on 19-6-2011 by EthanT because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 19 2011 @ 11:22 PM
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You're providing some extremely good information on the topic.

I really like to believe that we are much more than what we seem to be. The mind(conciousness) can alter almost anything in the physical world, if you're willing to believe. Example: Buddhist monks can lower their metabolism by 64% (General populace 10 - 15% while we sleep), as well as increase the temperature of their extremeties by up to 17 degrees. Unnatural by our standards, but what are the monks in pursuit of? Higher Conciousness.

I myself believe in this, before i was depressed, on the verge of suicide. And one day (after a stint of doing lots of psychoactive substances) it all kind of hit me. And without any real help other than my fingers and a keyboard, i figured how to make myself happy, to make things better for myself as a whole. Think positive. And to be honest, it has changed me for the better.

For the last little while i have been experimenting with binaural beats, mediation. And it seems to be working, i feel much more 'refreshed' after a nice meditation than i do from a 3 or 4 hour nap.

And in reference to it being a 'global conciousness', and talking about telepathy. My and my best friend have had many many experiences with telepathy. We'll be talking about one thing, and ill say something in the exact words he was going to use a second before, and vice versa. There have been many times like this, and it could be on any topic. I'm sure one could argue 'You just know eachother really well", i've known the man for a year, hardly enough time for us to become close enough to start saying things we're thinking before we actually say them.

Sorry if it seems off topic, but it all seems connected in my mind.
edit on 19/6/11 by AzureSky because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 19 2011 @ 11:27 PM
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Originally posted by AzureSky
You're providing some extremely good information on the topic.

I really like to believe that we are much more than what we seem to be. The mind(conciousness) can alter almost anything in the physical world, if you're willing to believe. Example: Buddhist monks can lower their metabolism by 64% (General populace 10 - 15% while we sleep), as well as increase the temperature of their extremeties by up to 17 degrees. Unnatural by our standards, but what are the monks in pursuit of? Higher Conciousness.



Thanks, glad you're finding the info interesting.

You just reminded me of something I always found amazing. I will have to try and find a link for it.

Somewhere in the Himalaya, a group of monks go up to a pass at 19,000 feet in sub zero temperatures wearing nothing but a skimpy shall. They spend the night there and stay alive by keeping themselves warm via meditation!!

I'd be dead.



Originally posted by AzureSky

I myself believe in this, before i was depressed, on the verge of suicide. And one day (after a stint of doing lots of psychoactive substances) it all kind of hit me. And without any real help other than my fingers and a keyboard, i figured how to make myself happy, to make things better for myself as a whole. Think positive. And to be honest, it has changed me for the better.

For the last little while i have been experimenting with binaural beats, mediation. And it seems to be working, i feel much more 'refreshed' after a nice meditation than i do from a 3 or 4 hour nap.

And in reference to it being a 'global conciousness', and talking about telepathy. My and my best friend have had many many experiences with telepathy. We'll be talking about one thing, and ill say something in the exact words he was going to use a second before, and vice versa. There have been many times like this, and it could be on any topic. I'm sure one could argue 'You just know eachother really well", i've known the man for a year, hardly enough time for us to become close enough to start saying things we're thinking before we actually say them.

Sorry if it seems off topic, but it all seems connected in my mind.
edit on 19/6/11 by AzureSky because: (no reason given)


Not offtopic at all. Thanks for sharing!



posted on Jun, 19 2011 @ 11:37 PM
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Found it!! Although, looks like I exaggerated the details a little


Meditation changes temperatures:Mind controls body in extreme experiments


They also documented monks spending a winter night on a rocky ledge 15,000 feet high in the Himalayas. The sleep-out took place in February on the night of the winter full moon when temperatures reached zero degrees F. Wearing only woolen or cotton shawls, the monks promptly fell asleep on the rocky ledge, They did not huddle together and the video shows no evidence of shivering. They slept until dawn then walked back to their monastery.


Still, pretty impressive. It's c-c-c-c-c-cold at 15,000 feet!

This isn't too bad either:


In a monastery in northern India, thinly clad Tibetan monks sat quietly in a room where the temperature was a chilly 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Using a yoga technique known as g Tum-mo, they entered a state of deep meditation. Other monks soaked 3-by-6-foot sheets in cold water (49 degrees) and placed them over the meditators' shoulders. For untrained people, such frigid wrappings would produce uncontrolled shivering.

If body temperatures continue to drop under these conditions, death can result. But it was not long before steam began rising from the sheets. As a result of body heat produced by the monks during meditation, the sheets dried in about an hour.

Attendants removed the sheets, then covered the meditators with a second chilled, wet wrapping. Each monk was required to dry three sheets over a period of several hours.


edit on 19-6-2011 by EthanT because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 19 2011 @ 11:42 PM
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reply to post by hawkiye
 



Of course it does those are physical aspects of the the brain it is a mechanism of expression if it is damaged then then the consciousness cannot use it to perceive or express. It does not effect the consciousness itself just the ability to express through the brain. If the consciousness was dependant on the brain then it could not become many different personalities over many life times as proven by reincarnation which Dr Ian Stevenson has proven.


I still disagree with the analogy; we're talking about human consciousness and consensus is liable to be absent. It's my opinion. Regarding Stevenson's work? It's interesting stuff; I've read papers, but no books. Of the papers, some of the evidence is suggestive of reincarnation or at least the transference of memories to a separate entity. *Proven* is too strong a word, but certainly interesting.


reply to post by EthanT
 
Thanks for the article, I've read about a similar study earlier in the year, perhaps it was the same one? The MRI and imagery study is quite interesting. I can't help but empathise when reading this point...


Thus, in a minority of cases, patients who meet the behavioral criteria for a vegetative state have residual cognitive function and even conscious awareness.


In the closing thoughts of the discussion, this passage also stood out. The costs and procedures would be prohibitive and yet with developing technology, it bodes well for future patients in similar vegetative states. Maybe?


In addition, this study showed that in one patient with severe impairment of consciousness, functional MRI established the patient's ability to communicate solely by modulating brain activity, whereas this ability could not be established at the bedside. In the future, this approach could be used to address important clinical questions. For example, patients could be asked if they are feeling any pain, and this information could be useful in determining whether analgesic agents should be administered. With further development, this technique could be used by some patients to express their thoughts, control their environment, and increase their quality of life.





I think the consiousness that we see everyday in the world exhibited by humans is an amalgamation of both brain AND mind. It's the middle ground between those two camps. Consciousness needs the brain to function in the physical world. (The brain provides the signals from the 5 senses, and so much more)

When you die, I believe consciousness survives, but it will be different than what you are experiencing now. The brain is an instrument that focuses your consciousness into the subjective experience of an individual that we all have and this is relayed and referenced via the signals sent to you by the five senses.


Binary oppositions do seem to be a core expression of our perceptions of life: on/off, black/white, I/O etc. I've no idea what occurs after death and my speculations aren't as concrete as my posts would appear. The idea can't be ruled out emphatically, but as it stands, I go off the science and it has not yet confirmed the existence of consciousness after death. It doesn't mean it won't, or can't and I suspect it's a matter of time.

The literature of NDEs is persuasive, or at least fascinating. Studies in that direction could be the 'left-field' proof of concept. In the UK a Dr Parnia has been attempting to catch evidence of NDEs expressed as OBEs although his methodology and intent has been questioned by peer-review.


edit on 19-6-2011 by Kandinsky because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 19 2011 @ 11:50 PM
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Originally posted by laiguana
If consciousness is the soul, then what is a soul? What is it made of? Why is it we can't seem to ever have evidence of the soul after a person has passed? I'm not saying it's not there...it could be tha we are so limited in our abilities and our awareness that we may not even know how to approach this.


I'd start by the 5g's of weight we lose at the moment of death
edit on 19/6/11 by Imhotepsol because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 12:03 AM
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Originally posted by TupacShakur
Human consciousness is nothing more than mere brain activity. Everything we do can be explained by a certain part of the brain having a different function than the next one, which in combination makes us the people we are, who think what we think, do what we do, say what we say, see what we see, etc.


If that were the case, than life would be nothing more than bs...What would the point be? I think we exist and will persist outside of this flesh and blood body we have been given. Just an opinion.


Deebo



posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 12:13 AM
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Science is not a cure all. It does not have the answer to everything. Has science proven the existence of Spirits? Not that i'm aware of. OOBEs? NDEs? Astral Projection? I'm sure in some vault somewhere there are hordes of files on failed experiments. But who knows.

I believe the spirit/soul/conciousness is there. I am aware of my surroundings, of my emotions. I am not a husk of a man with no personality. But, one will never truly know until we're a) dead, or b) accelerating into a higher state of conciousness (as mentioned before, supernatural powers such as telepathy and remote healing).
edit on 20/6/11 by AzureSky because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 12:32 AM
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The list of "it's all in the brain: Wrong!" people continues to grow.

Some of you are only interested in the scientists who have joined this group.
Like Dr. Melvin Morse or Bruce H. Lipton.

You will be missing all the Dianeticists and Scientologists who have been operating successfully on this principle since the 1950s. Or the mystics and teachers down through history who have likewise been applying similar ideas.
But of course, none of those people "count" because they aren't scientists.

So take it from the scientists: All those other guys are right!

Let's get past this one. We have a lot of more important things to worry about. This is a 'fait accompli' at this point.

We aren't our brains. Let's start finding out who we really are!



posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 12:33 AM
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reply to post by EthanT
 


Ethan. I've just gotten back from checking out this GCP. Thanks so much. .



posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 12:46 AM
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Not that many here would care, but describing they psyche as existing outside of one's body is a red flag for a personality disorder of some sort. It points to a wide range of things, such of megalomania, pathological narcissism, infantilism, and the like...

Not that I think personality disorders really exist. I think that we're constantly seeking new ways to order our psyche, which other people may choose to see as a disorder.

Still, I think that every phenomena the psyche can experience has a rational explanation, even if we can grasp at only mere intuitive hunches as of yet. Just give our species some more time. I think much of what's posited in the watered down, cultural fads surround quantum physics is way, way off the mark.

I see no reason to think that human consciousness exists outside the body.

None, whatsoever.



posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 01:30 AM
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Thanks for this thread. I have an uncle who has Dementia. He smiles everywhere he goes and he talks to his dog like it is a human. He also enjoys sweeping the floor and has no problem walking up to a stranger and talking with them like he has known them forever.

I think this is very odd for someone the doctors call sick. He may be different and his brain may be changing but the sick part is just a word to explain the decline of the human body or shell. The man is not sick or he would not smile constantly. If he is sick I want to be where he is when it is my time to travel to places of unknown.

Peace to you.



posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 02:05 AM
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Originally posted by TupacShakur
Human consciousness is nothing more than mere brain activity. Everything we do can be explained by a certain part of the brain having a different function than the next one, which in combination makes us the people we are, who think what we think, do what we do, say what we say, see what we see, etc.


Why are we any different than a computer. That's where the big problem comes a long, why do we experience, why are we conscious, but computers are not.

That is why the author asked, "how do we experience".

I experience the cyber world through my PC, that could solve the problem partially hence a being(?) is experiencing this universe through the Human Body.



posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 02:18 AM
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reply to post by Kandinsky
 





I still disagree with the analogy; we're talking about human consciousness and consensus is liable to be absent. It's my opinion. Regarding Stevenson's work? It's interesting stuff; I've read papers, but no books. Of the papers, some of the evidence is suggestive of reincarnation or at least the transference of memories to a separate entity. *Proven* is too strong a word, but certainly interesting.


Well we can agree to disagree that is fine. As for Dr. Stevenson's work I'd say 3000+ cases over a 40 year period scientifically documented is pretty conclusive proof. It is more then just memories but birth marks scars wounds etc.


Dr. Ian Stevenson uses this approach because spontaneous past life memories in a child can be investigated using strict scientific protocols. Hypnosis, while useful in researching into past lives, is less reliable from a purely scientific perspective. In order to collect his data, Dr. Stevenson methodically documents the child's statements of a previous life. Then he identifies the deceased person the child remembers being, and verifies the facts of the deceased person's life that match the child's memory. He even matches birthmarks and birth defects to wounds and scars on the deceased, verified by medical records. His strict methods systematically rule out all possible "normal" explanations for the child’s memories. reluctant-messenger.com...





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