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Thread: The Illusion of Self

  1. Top | #71
    Super Moderator ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
    What I find misleading about this "illusion of self" is that it is not really a conventional interpretation of sensory input. Rather, it is a report of an imagined location of a poorly defined "self" that could be conceived differently by different people. If what is being reported is a focus point for senses, then it would be natural to associate it with visual perception or the eyes. However, one can subjectively manipulate that focus of attention elsewhere in the body by associating it with touch, hearing, or some other peripheral sensor.
    Ok.

    And of course, the supposed location is only one issue.

    As to whether self should properly be called an illusion, or an delusion, or partly both, or something else, I don't know. It's an interesting question. I would guess it's possible to argue about which word is best, and now that we know that perception is a mixed process and is apparently as much do do with internal (brain) processes as with external input (from other parts of the body or from outside it), it may be that the conventional distinctions between illusion & delusion are somewhat blurred, or that there's room for overlap, or maybe it's a false dichotomy to think it either one or the other in all ways. To what end or how much it's really worth detouring into it here, I'm not sure. On the one hand, it could be fun to toss around and useful to clear it up, assuming that were possible. On the other hand, we might never move on to discussing the topic further.

    Or we could merely say instead that we think we have a self, and we generally think it's located in our head behind the eyes (when our brains aren't 'projecting' it elsewhere) as if it was, or we had, a little homunculi in us, and we generally tend to think it's in charge or has agency and perhaps even free will, and that it's stable over time, and possibly other beliefs, and all of these appear to be at least dubious. We could say they are "subjective experiences that are not, in some ways, what they seem to be" (that's Bruce Hood's definition of illusion, he's the author of the book, 'The Self Illusion') or maybe we could call them apparently false beliefs.

    I'm not against doing definitions though, with the above caveats, so fire away. I know it's your thing and your area of much expertise.
    Last edited by ruby sparks; 02-26-2020 at 10:26 AM.
    "Let us hope that it is not so. Or if it is, let us pray that the fact does not become generally known."

  2. Top | #72
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    The one thing that cannot be doubted is the self experiencing.

    I cannot rationally doubt I am experiencing myself type these words.

    Where this self is is not apparent at all. We can make subjective guesses only.

    Not knowing where the self is does not mean it does not exist.

    It just means the self is that which experiences all that can be experienced. But it does not experience itself.

  3. Top | #73
    Elder Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    The brain gathers information and generates conscious experience.

  4. Top | #74
    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    This thread reminds much of the argument some of us have been carrying on since the late nineties., the discussion about consciousness and free will at the crossroads of philosophy and neuroscience.

    I'm posting pretty extensive paper on the rise of consciousness.

    The evolutionary and genetic origins of consciousness in the Cambrian Period over 500 million years ago https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/art...0/#!po=25.4717


    Abstract
    Vertebrates evolved in the Cambrian Period before 520 million years ago, but we do not know when or how consciousness arose in the history of the vertebrate brain. Here we propose multiple levels of isomorphic or somatotopic neural representations as an objective marker for sensory consciousness. All extant vertebrates have these, so we deduce that consciousness extends back to the group's origin. The first conscious sense may have been vision. Then vision, coupled with additional sensory systems derived from ectodermal placodes and neural crest, transformed primitive reflexive systems into image forming brains that map and perceive the external world and the body's interior. We posit that the minimum requirement for sensory consciousness and qualia is a brain including a forebrain (but not necessarily a developed cerebral cortex/pallium), midbrain, and hindbrain. This brain must also have (1) hierarchical systems of intercommunicating, isomorphically organized, processing nuclei that extensively integrate the different senses into representations that emerge in upper levels of the neural hierarchy; and (2) a widespread reticular formation that integrates the sensory inputs and contributes to attention, awareness, and neural synchronization. We propose a two-step evolutionary history, in which the optic tectum was the original center of multi-sensory conscious perception (as in fish and amphibians: step 1), followed by a gradual shift of this center to the dorsal pallium or its cerebral cortex (in mammals, reptiles, birds: step 2). We address objections to the hypothesis and call for more studies of fish and amphibians. In our view, the lamprey has all the neural requisites and is likely the simplest extant vertebrate with sensory consciousness and qualia. Genes that pattern the proposed elements of consciousness (isomorphism, neural crest, placodes) have been identified in all vertebrates. Thus, consciousness is in the genes, some of which are already known.
    Don't get wrapped up in the the details since they are just observations for the most part. Life seems to have provided means for distinguishing self from other quite early in the vertebrate line, maybe in other genetic lines as well.

    enjoy.

  5. Top | #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    The brain gathers information and generates conscious experience.
    And a conscious mind is what experiences these experiences.

    To have experience you need both that which can have experiences and the things it can experience.

    You need both or you do not have experience.

    The self is that which is able to have experiences. It s not the experiences although it is changed by the experiences.

  6. Top | #76
    Elder Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by untermensche View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    The brain gathers information and generates conscious experience.
    And a conscious mind is what experiences these experiences.

    To have experience you need both that which can experiences and the things it can experience.

    You need both or you do not have experience.
    Conscious mind is the experience.

  7. Top | #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by untermensche View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    The brain gathers information and generates conscious experience.
    And a conscious mind is what experiences these experiences.

    To have experience you need both that which can experiences and the things it can experience.

    You need both or you do not have experience.
    Conscious mind is the experience.
    No, the conscious mind is aware of color and sound and touch and taste.

    The experiences are not the thing that experiences.

  8. Top | #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by fromderinside View Post
    ...Don't get wrapped up in the the details since they are just observations for the most part. Life seems to have provided means for distinguishing self from other quite early in the vertebrate line, maybe in other genetic lines as well.

    enjoy.
    In all of that the self and subjective knowledge about the self is assumed.

    Nowhere is there an explanation of the self or an understanding of how such a thing could arise.

    To be aware of red is not merely to react to the energy.

    The self is wrapped around all experience.

    The self has a subjective individual way in which it experiences.

    I certainly do not experience a person like Trump the way some other people experience him.

    Our "selves" are very different.

  9. Top | #79
    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure the appearance of self-other predated the rise of vision. I'm pinning my wagers on chemical processes such as detecting useful and harmful molecules. That opens the door to across membrane transport and differentiation. There needs to be some sort of distinguisher of what is me and what is other. Once that marker has been established it is a simple matter to apply it to whatever is sensed. The code could be as simple as evidence from which cell accompanying the message outside to the information being processed.

    The majestic orchestration of self-other follows in due course out of necessity for surviving without consuming oneself.

  10. Top | #80
    Elder Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by untermensche View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post

    Conscious mind is the experience.
    No, the conscious mind is aware of color and sound and touch and taste.

    The experiences are not the thing that experiences.
    That makes no sense.

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