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Man vs. Consciousness

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posted on Aug, 4 2013 @ 03:19 PM
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Man vs. Consciousness




“His was a great sin who first invented consciousness. Let us lose it for a few hours.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald



I believe that 'consciousness,' when once it has evaporated to this estate of pure diaphaneity, is on the point of disappearing altogether. It is the name of a nonentity, and has no right to a place among first principles. Those who still cling to it are clinging to a mere echo, the faint rumor left behind by the disappearing 'soul' upon the air of philosophy. During the past year, I have read a number of articles whose authors seemed just on the point of abandoning the notion of consciousness, and substituting for it that of an absolute experience not due to two factors. But they were not quite radical enough, not quite daring enough in their negations. For twenty years past I have mistrusted 'consciousness' as an entity; for seven or eight years past I have suggested its non-existence to my students, and tried to give them its pragmatic equivalent in realities of experience. It seems to me that the hour is ripe for it to be openly and universally discarded.

Does 'Consciousness' Exist?
William James (1904)



My own belief -- for which the reasons will appear in subsequent lectures -- is that James is right in rejecting consciousness as an entity, and that the American realists are partly right, though not wholly, in considering that both mind and matter are composed of a neutral-stuff which, in isolation is neither mental nor material

The Analysis of Mind
Bertrand Russell


A growing superstition, one that may once again satisfy man's religious needs. Notice the effect "consciousness" has on David Lynch and the listeners to his talk.



To create a god, one must misunderstand a natural occurrence, give that misunderstanding a name, dress it up in empty words and euphemisms, and deify that misunderstanding as more fundamental than that which misunderstands. Furthermore, in order to disguise our misunderstanding from our ever watchful reason, the facts of the matter must remain hidden where our senses can not reach, within something, how the ancients hid God in the clouds when they could not yet see above them. Gods forever hide where we cannot see. I say kill it before it festers.

One such misunderstanding, surrounded by its ever-pious protectors and benefactors, is “consciousness”, a term that has done nothing but confuse since its inception. In the philosophy of mind it remains a “the hard problem of consciousness”, where dualists and materialists wage intellectual war over the nature of it, qualia, sensation, mental states and brain states. To the ever faithful and those who enjoy the convenience of believing, consciousness can range from an ever-growing medley of tastes and flavours, from an immaterial force, to God, to the unified field, to some primordial wave or substance, and even all that is. Ask anyone what consciousness is, and watch as every answer differs, every assumption a misunderstanding made by a member of a species that is unable to observe inside of themselves as they do the things they do, but nonetheless pretend they know.

However, one thing is for certain, my curious friends: when one says she knows what consciousness is or how it works, we are seeing human ignorance at its best. I accept my own ignorance on the topic, so am free to discuss the topic without pretending I know what I'm talking about, but some things are quite clear even to us ignorant ones: there is no consensus on the what, how and why of consciousness, nor will there likely ever be. Take a look around. Every claim is a speculation, a hypothesis and theory of something they do not, nor can not, understand. “Consciousness” is merely another ghost in the shell concept, not so different than that of psyche, soul, mind, anima, spirit—all instances of humans thinking they are peering inside themselves, as if they were blessed with eyes that faced inwards, but fail to explain anything but what’s in their imagination, or what they’ve cherry picked from the imaginings of others. Such are gods.


Consciousness—The having of perceptions, thoughts, and feelings; awareness. The term is impossible to define except in terms that are unintelligible without a grasp of what consciousness means. Many fall into the trap of equating consciousness with self-consciousness—to be conscious it is only necessary to be aware of the external world. Consciousness is a fascinating but elusive phenomenon: it is impossible to specify what it is, what it does, or why it has evolved. Nothing worth reading has been written on it.

Stuart Sutherland Macmillan - Dictionary of Psychology (yoinked from wikipedia)

Even so, volumes of books have been written on it. What is it they search for? and what, without failure, don’t they find? What is it they talk about and why—despite not knowing a thing about it—do they often posit it as something fundamental?

If the “what” question has not been answered in regards to consciousness, we can wager that nothing has been observed enough to receive the label. We cannot point to something and say “that is consciousness”. There is no such thing or substance present in our sensual lives we can call “consciousness” or “mind” or “spirit” or “soul”. There is no property that emerges from these so called systems, but perhaps what emerges from human expression. James, Russell, Spinoza, Hume and other neutral monists might feel such concepts are misleading to human understanding.

If there is no entity or substance called consciousness to ponder, what is it we are talking about when we use the word “consciousness”? If we work with what we do have, what we can think about, using entities that actually exist, we are left with two things: the physical word “consciousness”, and the being or entity that is conscious.

If we look first at the word, it becomes apparent that language once again seduces where she always has, for the words commonly used to articulate this phenomenon are ingredients in a stew of nominalisations and abstractions, which do nothing but promote more misunderstanding, more gods, by pretending that what they are talking about is somehow concrete. Such methodology has its use in writing, but in matters of philosophy, nominalization obfuscates and leads us further from intelligibility.

Cont.


edit on 4-8-2013 by LesMisanthrope because: (no reason given)




posted on Aug, 4 2013 @ 03:19 PM
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Consciousness is commonly defined as “the state of being conscious”, which I feel, despite being guilty of raising nothing but more questions, is the most honest and simple definition out there. It implies that something is “being” conscious, and nowhere does it imply that “consciousness” itself is being. Although “consciousness” is a noun, implying that it is a person, place or thing, the common definition lets us know that consciousness is a “state” that something is in, and not a something itself. “Consciousness” is incapable of being in any other state than a word.

Of course, this begs the question, many questions, leading us through a vicious minefield of fallacy which must be crossed before we get anywhere—what is a “state”? A “state” is “the particular condition that someone or something is in at a specific time”. What is a “condition”? “the state of something, esp. with regard to its appearance, quality, or working order”. When the dictionary says consciousness is the state of being conscious, it means, quite elegantly and simply, that something appears to be conscious to us.

To illustrate— When a child is conscious, what exists: child or consciousness? We see a child. We see a conscious child. Does the child exist? Or does its “state of being” (namely, whatever condition we conceive it in) exist? No where does something called consciousness arise. Every time one describes consciousness, they are describing the word “consciousness”, or that which is conscious.

What is it that is conscious? A functioning human organism. How is it conscious? It is a human organism that functions. Why is it conscious? It is an organism functioning as a human. It’s somewhat arrogant of me to answer these questions so simply, but perhaps these answers are fairly intuitive. One cannot tear the whole apart and expect to find something he can call “consciousness”, when the whole is the source—indeed, its entirety—of the consciousness he is talking about.

Losing “consciousness”, losing the appearance of being conscious, involves the loss or alteration of certain bodily functions through injury, poison, exhaustion, disease and drugs. There is no “awareness” when one has no way to feel, perceive, or be conscious. There is no “consciousness” when one is asleep. To be able to feel, perceive or be conscious, one must first be a functioning human organism that appears to be conscious.

Why does one have altered states of consciousness? Because something in the body is affected. Why does one sleep? Because the body sleeps. Why does one think? Because the body thinks. Why does one perceives? Because the body perceives. What is it that experiences? What is it that is affected? Not something called “consciousness”, but every single time, the organism.

Unintelligibly, as some of our materialist friends suppose, reducing “consciousness” to states of the brain is to say the brain is what is conscious; but by doing so, we imply that the brain itself can be conscious, as if we could conceive a brain in a jar still being aware. Do eyes detached from the body still see? Not likely. What sees and what is aware is still only one thing: a functioning human organism. Are they searching for consciousness in the wrong place? Doesn’t perceiving require skin, eyes, the nose, the brain and the required systems of the entire body? To leave out a single cell of the organism sounds like a mistake.

Our consciousness, our ego, our mind, our emotions—nothing but words and gods for our misunderstandings and obfuscations—all of these are abstractions of that which does consciousness, does ego, does mind, does emotions.

What we misunderstood about this particular god, what is actually fundamental when it comes to consciousness, is ourselves.

Thank you for reading,



The Coming Cult of Consciousness









edit on 4-8-2013 by LesMisanthrope because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 4 2013 @ 04:00 PM
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this thread is the finest trap you have thusfar set.

it sounds as though you claim that "consciousness", whatever the definition, is unworthy of investigation. yet hidden in your pontification, I read a subtext that perhaps it is the only question worth answering.

so, which is it?

where do your condemnations end and adulations begin?

are you willing to fall into your own trap?



posted on Aug, 4 2013 @ 04:47 PM
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reply to post by tgidkp
 





it sounds as though you claim that "consciousness", whatever the definition, is unworthy of investigation. yet hidden in your pontification, I read a subtext that perhaps it is the only question worth answering.

so, which is it?


I would say it is neither. I would argue we must first decide and be clear about what we are actually investigating. How can we know what we are investigating if we are not sure what we are looking for? To think something called "consciousness" is going to fall into our laps while arbitrarily investigating a word is a laughable notion.

I think a good question worth answering is "What are we investigating when we we are looking for consciousness?"



posted on Aug, 4 2013 @ 06:31 PM
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Consciousness is just a word, a label and does not really describe accurately the different meaning it holds for each person. If an individual wanted to change their outlook on life or "alchemise" their mental focus, then they would need a really elevated mother label, something that encompasses everything to fit under. What better label than an imaginary as yet undetected field that governs the nature of everything. Some of this consciousness is aware, some self aware and some in a state of non awareness.

What i am trying to say is that man does benefit from exploring consciousness even if it is just made up because like science, i think it allows for different avenues of critical thought and attitude adjustments. It can do amazing things on the individual level regarding the life lenses used to perceive reality. It is like if you were to use your influence to influence others, you could either know how your doing this or not. Maybe in the future the scientific instruments will detect and categorize new labels to describe much of today's mysteries, but then there will just be more made up labels to fill in the unknowns and this cycle will continue.

Consciousness wins...TKO, fifth round



posted on Aug, 4 2013 @ 06:50 PM
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Consciousness can be seen two ways, the one is the body awake and the other is the I inside it. The I inside the body, is often quite aware even when body is shutting down and you lie near sleep, heart skipping and feeling near death your so tired and not well. But the I inside is still going steady aware of the misery all around it and if you fall asleep dreams awake. One is the body suit and the other part is You. That is the only consciousness that matters, and often sleep is really nice here in this world.



posted on Aug, 4 2013 @ 06:52 PM
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reply to post by TheomExperience
 


I can accept that outlook. It is true that exploring such matters could lead to different discoveries.

But if exploring consciousness amounts to no more than exploring the processes of the body, maybe its time to renounce our explanations of "consciousness" and refine our descriptions of the body. If I was to predict the outcome, I would argue biologists might have the final say.
edit on 4-8-2013 by LesMisanthrope because: spelling



posted on Aug, 4 2013 @ 06:55 PM
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reply to post by Unity_99
 




One is the body suit and the other part is You.


I don't think they can be separated. I have argued that there is no "you", what you might call consciousness, unless the body is also included. There simply isn't any way to separate the two being that they are one and the same.



posted on Aug, 4 2013 @ 07:33 PM
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Originally posted by LesMisanthrope
reply to post by TheomExperience
 


I can accept that outlook. It is true that exploring such matters could lead to different discoveries.

But if exploring consciousness amounts to no more than exploring the processes of the body, maybe its time to renounce our explanations of "consciousness" and refine our descriptions of the body. If I was to predict the outcome, I would argue biologists might have the final say.
edit on 4-8-2013 by LesMisanthrope because: spelling


I hear what you are saying. It comes down to choice here. If i did not care for science as i thought it so far behind in where i would like it to be, i would want to see peoples ideas and thought about "consciousness". There is just so many people "cashing in" on different philosophies it is frustrating but essential, at least from perspective of a seeker i can assume.

I think Biologists working in their box will always be stumped on the relationship between thought and cellular behavior. It is possible eventually they will map all the electrical transmissions through the brain and body to have a full understanding of how mechanically humans respond to stimuli. Then they will surmise there is an "unknown" stimuli effecting us lol



posted on Aug, 4 2013 @ 07:50 PM
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I have always question, if one is conscious then what happens in the case of insanity or Alzheimer's? where does the awareness and consciousness goes??



posted on Aug, 4 2013 @ 08:16 PM
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Originally posted by toktaylor
I have always question, if one is conscious then what happens in the case of insanity or Alzheimer's? where does the awareness and consciousness goes??


I see everything as conscious there are just different states of awareness. All the rules and beliefs that are available are like anchors. They would keep awareness firmly grounded to a support system. For whatever reason people can release too many "anchors" but are not ready to fly metaphorically speaking, so they end up appearing insane to the majority of observers. As long as their is no paranoia, insane people are just "flying solo" without using filters.

Alzheimer's is memory related. I have no personal experience in the matter but from what i have seen the patients do not appear to be suffering. I could be wrong, my data sample is quite small to be making such a general statement.



posted on Aug, 4 2013 @ 08:58 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


What is mankind without his or her consciousness, an animal?

Any thoughts?



posted on Aug, 4 2013 @ 09:09 PM
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reply to post by Kashai
 


How do you know that they are without something when you don't know what that something is?



posted on Aug, 4 2013 @ 09:18 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


If a person sticks a knife into another person what something is becomes apparent.

If a cat eats a lizard then something provided nutritional balance in the cat.




edit on 4-8-2013 by Kashai because: Added content



posted on Aug, 4 2013 @ 10:28 PM
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reply to post by Kashai
 


I'm not sure I understand your argument.



posted on Aug, 4 2013 @ 10:37 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


Something is and object that energy can be derived from. I mean given one can generate fusion from hydrogen that is something.

Energy can be extracted from any element that makes it something.

You are implying that one should ignore the standard model, why???

Any thoughts?




edit on 4-8-2013 by Kashai because: modifed content



posted on Aug, 5 2013 @ 12:09 AM
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Originally posted by Kashai
reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


If a person sticks a knife into another person what something is becomes apparent.

If a cat eats a lizard then something provided nutritional balance in the cat.




edit on 4-8-2013 by Kashai because: Added content


If i throw a rock at someone and it hits them, it was actually the rock that did it. Granted my influence helped the rock along the way but since the rock and myself both exist as energy in some form, the rock must be conscious on some level for this transference of energy to occur. Like someone being on the receiving end of the rock and feeling perhaps pain or discomfort and attributing it to me and not the rock. It is all conscious but i think it is the awareness of how to allocate it into ones own understanding. Sort of like i am aware of the rock and can manipulate its behavior but the rock is not aware of me to stop this occurring.



posted on Aug, 5 2013 @ 12:14 AM
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reply to post by TheomExperience
 


That is a bunch of baloney if you throw a rock at someone you are guilty of assault. So feel free to express to a judge that the rock had something to do with it.


That is like suggesting a bullet can be found guilty of murder


Any thoughts?
edit on 5-8-2013 by Kashai because: added content



posted on Aug, 5 2013 @ 12:24 AM
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Originally posted by Kashai
reply to post by TheomExperience
 


That is a bunch of baloney if you throw a rock at someone you are guilty of assault. So feel free to express to a judge that the rock had something to do with it.


That is like suggesting a bullet can be found guilty of murder


Any thoughts?
edit on 5-8-2013 by Kashai because: added content


It was actually more metaphorical with regard to an inanimate object being conscious with respect to an observer. It was probably a bit to deep.



posted on Aug, 5 2013 @ 12:27 AM
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reply to post by TheomExperience
 


How deep would a bullet go?

I seems obvious that is to deep for you.

In relation to an object being inanimate how do you define it is animate???

Or are you implying that at some level inanimate objects are somehow also animate??

Ok perhaps you would like to explain that, or is that to deep for you?


edit on 5-8-2013 by Kashai because: Added content




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