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Thread: The Illusion of Self

  1. Top | #241
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    The materialist answers so far look like evasions of a problem - that science can only describe what's measurable. A "thing" has to have "extension in space" or science isn't able to know it's there. According to Philip Goff in Galileo's Error, the science innovators of Galileo's day decided on this (that science would study only the measurable aspects of the world) to make things easier. A necessary move, to achieve the aim of controlling the world. But now many scientists and philosophers just say that consciousness is electrochemical activity, or even it's an illusion. Not measurable = not really even there, a "meatbag" is just having an illusion (an illusion that registers on.... um, what?).

    Alternatives to materialism include panpsychism, property dualism and substance dualism. Of those, only substance dualism has anything to do with gods or spirits. Panpsychism is interesting, IMV, for being the only actual monism (as opposed to dualism) that combines matter and mind into one without invoking a mysterious and dismissive "illusion".

    Anyway the self isn't a localizable "it". Depending on how people define the term, it either 1) doesn't exist - if it's defined as a unitary static something that should be localizable inside a brain. Or 2) it's the general process that, phenomenologically, is felt to be the process (whatever the overall process is) upon which the contents of consciousness are being registered - if it's defined as the interior subject (regardless whatever it is "made of") that's conscious.

    There, my attempt at a little 'philosophy of mind'. The only thing I'd want anyone to take from it is: Go look at the alternatives and don't decide too quickly on "the answer".

  2. Top | #242
    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    Ah. But scientists have faith that the subjective can be connected, reduced, to objective as can any derivative of objective, read material, thing. For instance, if there are sensors then what via them is deemed subjective is actually objective looking for a way home.

  3. Top | #243
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    Quote Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
    The materialist answers so far look like evasions of a problem - that science can only describe what's measurable. A "thing" has to have "extension in space" or science isn't able to know it's there. According to Philip Goff in Galileo's Error, the science innovators of Galileo's day decided on this (that science would study only the measurable aspects of the world) to make things easier. A necessary move, to achieve the aim of controlling the world. But now many scientists and philosophers just say that consciousness is electrochemical activity, or even it's an illusion. Not measurable = not really even there, a "meatbag" is just having an illusion (an illusion that registers on.... um, what?).

    Alternatives to materialism include panpsychism, property dualism and substance dualism. Of those, only substance dualism has anything to do with gods or spirits. Panpsychism is interesting, IMV, for being the only actual monism (as opposed to dualism) that combines matter and mind into one without invoking a mysterious and dismissive "illusion".

    Anyway the self isn't a localizable "it". Depending on how people define the term, it either 1) doesn't exist - if it's defined as a unitary static something that should be localizable inside a brain. Or 2) it's the general process that, phenomenologically, is felt to be the process (whatever the overall process is) upon which the contents of consciousness are being registered - if it's defined as the interior subject (regardless whatever it is "made of") that's conscious.

    There, my attempt at a little 'philosophy of mind'. The only thing I'd want anyone to take from it is: Go look at the alternatives and don't decide too quickly on "the answer".
    What are the alternatives to brain generated mind? A universal background mind that each brain taps into and receives a specific frequency, here a mouse mind, there a human mind tuned specifically for the individual?

  4. Top | #244
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    Quote Originally Posted by untermensche View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    If not the brain, as all the evidence suggests, what is generating consciousness?

    God? The spirit world? The twilight zone? The Astral plane? The Angels?

    What are the options?
    I don't include the gods in any of my thinking ever.

    They are not something I would ever consider part of the universe without evidence.

    But until something is known all we can do is keep looking.

    But we have to know what we are looking for.

    We are looking for some "thing" capable of being aware of all the experiences humans have. And also looking for the way that thing is made aware of experiences. A thing that grows as the person grows and experiences. A thing that ages and degrades as the person ages and degrades.
    The thing most capable of generating consciousness appears to be the brain. Where else to look for the source of mind? The Astral plane?

  5. Top | #245
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    The thing most capable of generating consciousness appears to be the brain. Where else to look for the source of mind? The Astral plane?
    Discovering how a brain creates consciousness may never be understood.

    It may be something beyond the human capacity to understand.

    All biological systems have limitations.

  6. Top | #246
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    What are the alternatives to brain generated mind? A universal background mind that each brain taps into and receives a specific frequency, here a mouse mind, there a human mind tuned specifically for the individual?
    The architecture of the brain itself might interact in some way with something in the universe to produce the mind.

    Like a whip interacting with air to make a loud snap.

    We are moving very fast through space.

    We are also moving through time.

    I am not the best person to speculate about this.

    What I know however is that the mind is not an illusion.

    When I see the white horse there is no doubt I am experiencing a white horse.

    No illusion.

  7. Top | #247
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    Quote Originally Posted by untermensche View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    What are the alternatives to brain generated mind? A universal background mind that each brain taps into and receives a specific frequency, here a mouse mind, there a human mind tuned specifically for the individual?
    The architecture of the brain itself might interact in some way with something in the universe to produce the mind.

    Like a whip interacting with air to make a loud snap.

    We are moving very fast through space.

    We are also moving through time.

    I am not the best person to speculate about this.

    What I know however is that the mind is not an illusion.

    When I see the white horse there is no doubt I am experiencing a white horse.

    No illusion.
    Pure speculation. Meanwhile we know that the brain acquires information from the senses, processes and integrates it with memory and constructs mental imagery of that information in the form of sight, sound, smell, thoughts, feelings, etc...which is directly related to the information input.

  8. Top | #248
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    Quote Originally Posted by untermensche View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    The thing most capable of generating consciousness appears to be the brain. Where else to look for the source of mind? The Astral plane?
    Discovering how a brain creates consciousness may never be understood.

    It may be something beyond the human capacity to understand.

    All biological systems have limitations.
    Ask yourself: "What does consciousness perform that makes it worthwhile?"

    My view is that with the ability to create language comes the ability to tell stories. Since the mechanism for saying language also provides the ability to use language to explain what one is doing. Since the mechanism of reading language shows that we subvocalize to initially hear language we are creating perhaps that same mechanism can be the source of vocal, then spatial, and extended learning and observation.

    In fact I think its possible the ability to spatially visualize sequences, rehearse hunting things, arose before we used our voices to communicate. It is in these abilities that our awareness became consciousness and experience. Saying that we used these things does not make conscious a reflection of reality it makes what we can visualizes and say mean we can set how we want to be seen.

    This makes sense since we were obviously on our own for long stretches of time since we came to ground. We are the world's most competent explorers and hermits. With this ability to hold long sessions comes a whole suite of abilities that can be utilized other than as first developed.

    I wonder if dolphins and whales also can use such added capabilities since their evolution too favored brain over strength and stealth and it seems the have excellent memories and ability to vocally communicate quite a few things.

    Hello. Mr. Nobel ...

  9. Top | #249
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    Quote Originally Posted by fromderinside View Post
    Ask yourself: "What does consciousness perform that makes it worthwhile?"
    Some think humans arrived first and then later the language capacity arose in humans. So the first humans may not have had the language capacity.

    Either way I would think human consciousness as it first appeared was more like a chimps consciousness than a modern human consciousness.

    It took thousands and thousands of years of human cultural evolution to create a consciousness much more than a chimp's consciousness.

    We are incredibly lucky to be born at a stage of human cultural evolution where our consciousness is shaped into something truly human and unique in the animal kingdom.

    My view is that with the ability to create language comes the ability to tell stories.
    Eventually as cultural evolution advanced.

    But language is part of what has allowed for human cultural evolution. Language, especially in written form, combined with the human intellectual capacity has allowed for modern cultural evolution and modern human consciousness.

    Since the mechanism for saying language also provides the ability to use language to explain what one is doing. Since the mechanism of reading language shows that we subvocalize to initially hear language we are creating perhaps that same mechanism can be the source of vocal, then spatial, and extended learning and observation.

    In fact I think its possible the ability to spatially visualize sequences, rehearse hunting things, arose before we used our voices to communicate. It is in these abilities that our awareness became consciousness and experience. Saying that we used these things does not make conscious a reflection of reality it makes what we can visualizes and say mean we can set how we want to be seen.

    This makes sense since we were obviously on our own for long stretches of time since we came to ground. We are the world's most competent explorers and hermits. With this ability to hold long sessions comes a whole suite of abilities that can be utilized other than as first developed.

    I wonder if dolphins and whales also can use such added capabilities since their evolution too favored brain over strength and stealth and it seems the have excellent memories and ability to vocally communicate quite a few things.

    Hello. Mr. Nobel ...
    Reading does not arise until very far along the path. Until it arises cultural evolution is hindered by the imprecise and limited features of human memory.

    No human can live on their own at birth.

    If your culture has given you a spear you have a better chance on your own.

    If your culture tells you which plants not to eat you have a better chance on your own.

    But I agree somewhat.

    It is the language capacity that makes humans special and makes the modern human consciousness possible. There is the belief in some that a few whales and humans are the only mammals with the language capacity.

    But it is the language capacity combined with the intellectual capacity. They are not the same thing. Dolphins have an intellectual capacity but no language capacity. Gorillas have an intellectual capacity. They can learn to associate hand gestures with something else. But gorillas don't have the language capacity.

    Chomsky sees language as at first merely an aid to thinking. Something to help the intellectual capacity that arose in human ancestors.

    The best thinkers had the best chance to survive.

    Eventually the use of language for communication arose which helped the chances to survive even more.

  10. Top | #250
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    It remains, that to be conscious of the world and self relates directly to sensory input...the information that the brain acquires from the senses.

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