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Can we think of consciousness as a force of nature?

 
 
Cyracuz
 
Reply Tue 29 Mar, 2011 07:45 pm
If it has been proven that matter needs a relationship to an observer to exist. Without it, there would be no reality, just the potential of one.
I believe that is how it goes.

But how can that be, if observers only came into existence when matter had already existed for a long time? Or in other words, how can observer capable beings evolve from physical matter if there were no observers in the first place to make physical matter happen?

Observer indicates consciousness. That is how we tend to think, and further, consciousness indicates a being to be conscious. So in the end we are left with two choices, accept a paradox or accept some deity theory.

But what if consciousness didn't indicate some entity to be it's master? Does it make sense to talk of consciousness without a conscious entity?
It would perhaps be like speaking of a flame without something burning. But it could be that that metaphor is just misleading.

What if we think of consciousness as "reaction to information" rather than the more traditional definitions?
In that sense we could speak of "conscious events" where consciousness happens but there is no supervising entity. One such event would be the creation of matter on the quantum level.
Physical reality happens in that moment, but also consciousness. Enough of it a least that there is an observer function to make matter happen. Quantum probabilities fill the required roles as they happen, as reality happens.

I like to think of it like a film that no one is watching. Just a series of conscious moments in no particular order or direction, some natural function of the fabric of reality itself. Experience that is being built upon but not recorded. At least not in the way they are recorded in the physical memory of the human consciousness.

All very speculative and intuitive, I know, but when I think about it this way, consciousness no longer has to be the result of physical existence. And that single troublesome detail may be why we require some fantastical force to be behind everything.
But if consciousness is as fundamental to the universe as physical matter itself, the whole thing seems a bit more logical. We see how truly unique the phenomenon of life is. It is conscious matter. A combination of fundamental, universal attributes to give the outcome we know as human or tree or animal.
In us consciousness is continuous. That is entirely due to physical memory. If we weren't able to remember, to store information about previous conscious events, we would have no continuity.

But for all this to work we would have redefine consciousness, and that's sort of a big deal. But in the end we derive explanations from what we know, by experiments or by intuition, and then we proceed to measure these explanations against eachother, and somewhere in all that they take on the qualities of "real". Some chose one, some another, but we all have an explanation that we think of as reality.
So the question is if the idea of consciousness being a fundamental quality of the universe itself, like a natural force, really does fit with what we know.
If it does I would say that it is perhaps "better" than our traditional explanations, since it eliminates the paradox of life coming from "dead" matter. And there is no need for a god in any of this. Instead we think of the universe as potential. Something in which everything happens. What we percieve is merely what works, what endures. But everything has been tried, or it is being tried or it will be. It is a matter of potential and probability, and everything that can happen will happen.

In this perspective, the creation of life was some event that enabled matter to consciously react to it's environment, crudely in the simplest life forms, more detailed and complex in other forms of life.
And it happened because it could.

This turned into quite a rant, and if you are still reading I guess I should thank you for it. I don't claim that this is truth or fact or anything that you must adopt as your own belief. It's just another explanation, and if it doesn't fit the facts that are being put under it I guess it fails. But if it does fit the facts, I'd say its a good way to see it, if we need to see it at all.

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Type: Question • Score: 3 • Views: 15,680 • Replies: 201
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JLNobody
 
  2  
Reply Wed 30 Mar, 2011 05:30 pm
@Cyracuz,
Cryacuz, admirably bold speculations. I suspect that the chicken and egg evolved simultaneously in some kind of parallel pattern, not one before the other. The arrows of causation in such a process point in both directions. I don't feel that the observed is created by the observer's capacity in a strict literal sense. The notion that falling trees make the human experience of sound even in the absence of ears was explained by the Absolute Idealist, Berkeley, by the deux ex machina of God's ear. I don't buy that even though I feel that sensory appearances require the sensory mechanisms of observers. The world existed before perceivers evolved, but this was not a world of the kinds of images our sensory organs help produce. The thesis that it was is Naive Realism. It was a world consisting of the physical sine qua non (the potential stimuli) of sensory experiences but without the eyes and ears needed to generate images and sounds. Not until human sense organs evolved were these stimuli used for the generation of experience. In other words, the so-called sine qua non of rainbows and coldness have to interact with human nervous systems for there to exist the world that WE perceive.
By the way, isn't it also likely that consciousness, as humans experience it, results in good part from our circumstance of living in societies requiring the tools of language and ego oriented dispositions?
Notice that I avoid the distinction between "objective" and "subjective". It's all objective and subjective at the same time. What is it that Searle said, human life is a subjective experience and that's an objective fact?
existential potential
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Mar, 2011 07:35 pm
@Cyracuz,

I didn't read all of what you said, as interesting as is was, but there are some who think that matter, or the universe itself, could not be "complete" without consciousness. Because consciousness is evidently part of the universe, to speak of the universe as possibly being "without consciousness" can only take place with consciousness, and that possibility is determined by consciousness, and so there is a sense in which consciousness is an inevitable part of the cosmos. On one level that is trivial, but on another level, that appears to make sense.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Mar, 2011 10:09 pm
@existential potential,
Well put, EP.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Mar, 2011 10:09 pm
@existential potential,
Well put, EP.
0 Replies
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2011 03:36 am
@JLNobody,
I for one rather prefer your not so bold approach while engaging this matter...Consciousness is a dangerous word and can come in several layers...actually to know that for a fact one just needs to look around and contemplate the sheer madness the world has become lately...

...one should rather question, to what exactly, consists an observation ?
Awareness of our surroundings ? What type of awareness ? does it matter ? I believe it does as the Earth and the Moon are both aware of each other´s gravitational pull for instance...is it all then just information conversion ? Strings inside bigger strings ? Are we all, rocks, animals, and people, nothing other, but ultimately just pure processors of info divided in several levels and layers of complexity in relation to the way we convert that info in yet more info ? I find it all intriguing and worth to think about...

Best regards>FILIPE DE ALBUQUERQUE
0 Replies
 
existential potential
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2011 06:50 am
@JLNobody,
however, I'm not sure how much it makes sense to talk of the universe being "complete".
0 Replies
 
existential potential
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2011 07:14 am
@Cyracuz,

That paradox you describe, about how matter seems to have existed before observers, and yet matter requires an observer to exist at all, is not correct. The idea that matter requires to be perceived in order to exist intuitively seems incorrect; when I close the door to my room, it doesn't cease to exist. It exists independent of my perception of it, and thus matter does not require observers for it to exist.

Observation does not cause things to exist-things existence, therefore there are observations.

It’s safe to say that our perceptions of the world are partly constructed by us, but those constructions are based on the external reality, independent of our perception, that we lay our perceptual constructions on to.
JLNobody
 
  2  
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2011 10:05 am
@existential potential,
I agree, when I close the door to my room MATTER does not cease to exist in that room, but "my room"--as "room", not a cluster of matter--cannot exist if there were no humans who exercise the notion of room-ness.
I assume that this perspective is nihilistic. The meaning, "room," does not exist of itself, only as a human creation.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2011 01:01 pm
@JLNobody,
not quite...if the very concept of room is possible then it exists even before you think of it !
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2011 02:07 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
That's too deep for me.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2011 02:59 pm
@JLNobody,
...and then that in turn only means it is not possible for you to grasp it ...consequently it is not real... Wink

See you around JL !

FILIPE DE ALBUQUERQUE

JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2011 03:02 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
I look forward to it, FA.
0 Replies
 
existential potential
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2011 03:14 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
what exactly do you mean by this? just because something is possible, does not ential that it exists.
existential potential
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2011 03:21 pm
@JLNobody,
precisely, things like "rooms", "TV's", "shoes" etc do not actually exist, but we impose those labels onto those objects. the matter that makes such things up exists, but the name is just a human creation.

although, "matter" is also a label that humans have created. the difference is that matter existed before humans did, and before anything humans created.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2011 03:39 pm
@existential potential,
To conceive off something is to simulate it...and that specially apply´s in the case, to concepts that is...besides I hardly would be able to tell the difference between the simulation and the real thing, except of course if the simulation was a lousy one...(but that hardly counts for the purpose, so lets assume the simulation was perfect)

...So, that all, is not to say that I myself make reality no more then reality makes me...chicken or the egg stuff...

We all have a real problem with the damn word "Real"...hack what is it that it is not real after all ?
...oh, and the bloody old intuitive approach towards the notion of "solid", "material" is far outdated in the computer age...so to those naive realists out there ready to jump on the table, don´t even bother...

I rather look at things as, adequate or inadequate, but they all are real in their own layer...real as real gets to be...
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2011 04:55 pm
@existential potential,
Although it may be counter-intuitive , even "matter" has dubious ontological status without an observer. Assuming for example that you will go along with "matter" being equivalent to "mass", then you must also go along with it being equivalent to "energy" (from E=MCsqd).. And since "energy" is defined as "capacity to do work" it is difficult to see how such "work" cannot be relative to some conscious observer. In short, it is the idea of interaction of our "body matter" including our "perceptual system" with "non-body matter" from which our sensual concept of "mass" (or "energy") arises. .This is why I adopt the view that existence is always relative and never absolute.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2011 05:17 pm
@fresco,
You still have a problem with a decent broad definition of "observer" and "Counscience"...dangerous terrain ahead sailor! Wink
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2011 05:31 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
I don't need one ! You are the one who wants "closure". I can merely fall back on ineffable nested transcendence.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2011 05:43 pm
@fresco,
Yes, but remenber...that in itself sets the background to your conter's validity, even from your point of view...the advantage of not denying reallity therefore is self evident...
0 Replies
 
 

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