OK, then. I have decided to continue with this line here, because of the number of those on the forum who can relate to the experience, or who have had the experience of, or similar too, samadhi--a very intently focused state of conscious which obviously falls into a level just above that of slow wave sleep
Yes, what you have provided there, memester, is what I had been pointing to in the section that you have quoted. Sensory input is gated, but if there is a large enough increment in signal to recieve attention (which is what Dennett was touching on . . . which is factual), there is a strong chance that it will get through to cognitive acknowledgement. (and the ANS is a different 'circuit' than the CNS, so those signals will come through much easier--though practice can be seen to have some degree of control over even that
Points 1, 2, and 4, salima, are related to social adherence pressures of evolution, and are all related to emotion structures. One factor of evolutionary processes that many seem to forget about is that of social in-group bonding pressures (besides and in tandem with individual species selection pressure). Nature teaches us that while the primates, other than us, do demonstrate reciprocal altruism just as we do, the lesser degree of conscious that their brains evidence, more obviously do not allow the degree that has naturally emerged in the human brain.
Killing the physically weaker members of a species, in and of itself, will not necessarily provide that particular gene pool anything that it wouldn't have already have, although, more logically so, simply the fact that the weaker were killed, the members which killed, were physically stronger (or intellectually stronger). Within some number (will have to check for precise details) of generations of simply removing any puppy which displayed a less aggresive attitude from among wild wolves, a domesticated, human-friendly wolf was obtained. This is how evolution works.
We must not forget, also, that there is a natural pressure to survive with our off-spring and then, by extention, our extended family members. This more logically sound understanding would of course be necessary for social animals--and the primates are. This is where reciprocal altrusim and extended altruism come from, and for in-group survival, and thus individual member survival, it is only obvious--the female doesn't eat her mate, after having mated, like a species of spider does [or do they? hee, hee, hee....JOKE girls, only a joke !!]
So for point number one, here, yes, the brain has developed among (especially) the primates for sympathy--through the emotion and natural need for survival in groups, through what is altruism
. Of couse, there will be our usual bell curve of differences in degree between species, social groups, and individuals. (For example pigmy chimpanzees display much more altrusitic tendencies than their larger cousins...the regular chimpanzees.)
Also, with my desire in continuing with this thread, I'd like to work on pulling out some basic data on the idea itself, and the matter of why some appear to disbelieve solid data provided by the sciences--especially that of our understanding of what is happening in the brain. (this is not to insinuate that ALL is known, no, not at all, but to point out that there is a bulk of data which is very solid--for example, that a memory is an actual physical thing, there in our brains...a trace drawn up by synaptic formation)
Also, the definition/description that both LWSleeth and jeeprs have provided for their usage of the word consciousness, most definitely appears to be another thing altogether--so perhaps a different sense that should be hammered out more. I'll touch on your other points, there salima, as time allows. Thanks for being patient. KJ