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awareness

natoast
Posts: 204
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1/17/2013 4:49:58 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I was thinking about this earlier, and I wondered if anyone had any clue. Where does human self-awareness come from? Our brains are just a bunch of neurons that send signals to each other at different times, so how from this does a sentient mind arise? And if all a mind need to exist is signals being sent to each other, why couldn't a mind exist in other places? hell, what if the ecosphere is one massive mind that uses genetic information instead of electricity, taking generations to complete a single thought?! Alright, maybe I creeping out of science and into crazy, but I still wonder.
FREEDO
Posts: 21,057
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1/17/2013 5:18:51 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Most answers range from "idk, god did it" to "idk, neurons do it".

Personally, I don't claim to know but my favorite idea is The Primacy of Consciousness argument. It is said that the neurons in the brain do not predict consciousness. Only what actions our body will take. Science can predict why we do the things we do--enough to strip us of our free will--but it never predicts why we really feel it, as opposed to just going about as numb robots.

The Primacy of Consciousness suggests that consciousness is a fundamental force in the universe, much like gravity, which arises out of complexity. The more complex a system is, the more conscious it is. This would mean that individual atoms would have some level of consciousness but, of course, nowhere near anything coherent enough degree to be self-aware. Plants and fish have a further amount of consciousness. Humans have a heightened degree of consciousness primarily because we have a mental apparatus complex enough to utilize language to organize our thoughts.

This hypothesis would also suggest that, just as our cells and atoms make up a larger consciousness within us, we too are apart of a larger consciousness in the universe. Essentially Pantheistic. Not to say that the universe has thoughts or that something like the internet would have that's--at least in the way we understand them. It would be impossible for us to exactly relate to such different manifestations of consciousness.

Of all seemingly religious jargon, it seems to be the most practical to me. But I remain in my expansive agnosticism.
GRAND POOBAH OF DDO

fnord
natoast
Posts: 204
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1/17/2013 5:44:21 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/17/2013 5:18:51 PM, FREEDO wrote:
Most answers range from "idk, god did it" to "idk, neurons do it".

Personally, I don't claim to know but my favorite idea is The Primacy of Consciousness argument. It is said that the neurons in the brain do not predict consciousness. Only what actions our body will take. Science can predict why we do the things we do--enough to strip us of our free will--but it never predicts why we really feel it, as opposed to just going about as numb robots.

The Primacy of Consciousness suggests that consciousness is a fundamental force in the universe, much like gravity, which arises out of complexity. The more complex a system is, the more conscious it is. This would mean that individual atoms would have some level of consciousness but, of course, nowhere near anything coherent enough degree to be self-aware. Plants and fish have a further amount of consciousness. Humans have a heightened degree of consciousness primarily because we have a mental apparatus complex enough to utilize language to organize our thoughts.

This hypothesis would also suggest that, just as our cells and atoms make up a larger consciousness within us, we too are apart of a larger consciousness in the universe. Essentially Pantheistic. Not to say that the universe has thoughts or that something like the Internet would have that's--at least in the way we understand them. It would be impossible for us to exactly relate to such different manifestations of consciousness.

Of all seemingly religious jargon, it seems to be the most practical to me. But I remain in my expansive agnosticism.

This seems like an interesting idea, but then why are our brains conscious but not the rest of our bodies? if all it need is complexity, it seems like our mind would lie equally in all parts of our bodies. But maybe it's the complexity of the computations that our brains perform that leads to awareness, and not it's physical complexity. If our brains are like computers, then maybe the calculation that take ourselves into account combine with the evolutionary ability to remember and to reflect, and a few hormones, is enough to produce the accidental by product of a sentient mind. And holy crap, a sentient Internet? That seems entirely possible sort of! We can show we're aware because evolution (or god or whatever) gave us the ability to interact with our environment. but the Internet was created by us, and is fundamentally incapable with doing anything outside of what is commanded by people. So we would have to make some kind of database that's constantly connected, and can be edited by it's own programming. hm. Sorry if it seems rant-ish, I'm just thinking in type.