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THE NATURE OF CONSCIOUSNESS

 
 
Reply Mon 3 Feb, 2014 09:06 am
After hearing several programs this week Im a bit more open to the discussion of this.
1. Some kids(all over the world) seem to have past life memories that are lost within a few years after birth.

2.We DO NOT know how anesthesias actually work

3. NDE's are getting more and more believable as our abilities to determine and follow brain activities (and lack there of) get more sophisticated. We cannot toss off NDEs as merely stray synapsing in a brain that is "on an anoxic break". We can track synapses now.

Im not asking for support for or against anything that smacks of a worldview. Im just curious.
I was one of those kids who had pre-life memories and I still hve recall of some of the points I would ask my folks. (My paternal grandmother, from the "old" country,(the Pani schwinka/BabaYaga) was certain that I was possessed and consequently, she had little to do with me until the day she died). So I suppose I have soe bit of a dog in the fight but Ill try to remain objective and even will push back.
Im not asking for support for or against anything that smacks of a worldview. Im just curious.
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Type: Question • Score: 9 • Views: 4,370 • Replies: 82
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Feb, 2014 09:22 am
I looked it up - nde = near death experience.

As for pre-life memories, I doubt those are woo-woo as the fetus has a brain and can see, at least light, far as I've read, which is not much.

On near death stuff, I think it isbrain activity going on, taken as entry to the pearly beyond by the person who experienced it.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Feb, 2014 09:31 am
@ossobuco,
I guess the question I have is that
1Is consciousness an actual physical state? like plasma? is it unique and isolte to an organism?
If so, whatabout genetic memory or "instinct"
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Feb, 2014 09:35 am
@ossobuco,
Pre-life accounts from children often relate to lives many centuuries before the parents.
In my pre life memories, I (As of this date) recall me having recounted stuff about being someone who was always along a river and was in small boats. That's all I can even put together now but my mom chronicled some of these tales and then disussed em with me. My grndma just did rosaries and some family Jewish bullshit
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Feb, 2014 09:39 am
@farmerman,
http://consc.net/online
Have fun !
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Feb, 2014 09:50 am
@fresco,
right now I have no idea of my path, so a "link" will do me no good until I have some facts from which to proceed.
A link is alwys an "inside" route for those whose minds are already made up. Ive not found any "Consciouness for dummies" sites , mostly because anyone who takes the time to write a blog is only dealing with those who are so inclined to believe as he(or she).
SO, Ill pass for now.
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Feb, 2014 10:03 am
@farmerman,
The problem is (as the link reveals) that the term "consciousness" is ill defined.
Meanings can range anywhere from "general awareness of the world" to "thinking", and this dimension is further complicated by such concepts as "the unconscious mind" , "holistic consciousness", and "self awareness",etc. Then your particular bent seems to be towards "possible transfer of consciousness" which carries with it all the traditional issues of the mind-body problem.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Feb, 2014 11:20 am
@fresco,
I guess I have to reject all the terminology until I can better understand the state.
Is consciousness separate from the entity that carries it at any particular point in time? Can consciousness be recycled?

0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Feb, 2014 11:54 am
@farmerman,
Oh, then I misunderstood. I thought you were talking about something like a visual seen in the womb by the eyes and thus a flicker in the brain as it gets further along in development. I've not heard of that, and rather doubt a toddler would remember. We don't usually remember much from the very first years anyway.

Interesting about your memories.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Feb, 2014 12:00 pm
@ossobuco,
Theres a controlled study going on at Princeton now that is trying to "mine" some of these pre-natal memories.
Are they real or re they just mental ephemora?

Is there any epigenetics involved?
0 Replies
 
gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Feb, 2014 12:15 pm
@farmerman,
Any real understanding of consciousness has to start with Julian Jaynes and it has to start with being open to the possibility that not everything Jaynes was writing about were "hallucinations", auditory or otherwise.

Consciousness as we understand it probably did not exist 4000 years ago or even at a time just prior to the Trojan war, Jaynes seems to have been right about that. It mostly amounts to an ability to narrate and some sort of a modeling ability. Psychopaths appear to be throwbacks to a time when those things weren't there. Robert Hare notes that psychopaths lack the ability to model other people (empathy) in their minds and also an ability which most of us have to model sequences of events and consequences, i.e. they typically go on doing stupid **** after one of us would have had second thoughts and stopped doing whatever it was.

Real memories from a previous life probably means that a person didn't pick up everything he needed for the next life in one go round in this one, and got sent back, sort of like repeating a grade in school....
gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Feb, 2014 12:19 pm
@farmerman,
I'd be real curious to hear what you remember from a past life.....
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Feb, 2014 02:19 pm
@gungasnake,
As I say, Im not sure its even from a past life(I gave it that title to ease into a discussion). I haven't looked at any of my moms journals on this since we packed all her and my dads WWII stuff away in the attic. I guess Ill have to reopen the notebooks (As I recall, they were these marble covered theme books)

Theres a new Journal "Consciousness and Cognition which is a multidisciplinary look at the subject and a clearing house on te subject from various research elements.

Im not sure I understand how consciousness was NOT manifest until some date ibout 4K BCE. I hope youre not selling some Creationist view on this subject. Even if you are, as I learn more, I will review your post content and see whether it holds water.


0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Feb, 2014 02:21 pm
@gungasnake,
Quote:

Consciousness as we understand it probably did not exist 4000 years ago or even at a time just prior to the Trojan war, Jaynes seems to have been right about that.


And why is he right? Are you saying that people were walking around subconsciously before the Trojan War?

How did they manage to go from copper to bronze or grow an agricultural based civilization?
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Feb, 2014 02:33 pm
@gungasnake,
you would be dancing closely to evolutionary adaptation via Jaynes stuff. We are able to "wire up" the brin to look at how synapses do travel in minute foci.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Feb, 2014 02:35 pm
@farmerman,
In response to Gunga Dim's latest nonsense, Jaynes has contributed a lot to modern philosophy. Unfortunately, very little of The Origins of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind is useful for an understanding of consciousness. His basoc thesis is that people prior to the period after the Trojan War, were not aware of themselves or others as individual, conscious entities. It's an interesting read but it reminds me of something Carl Sagan once related. He was at a faculty party when he heard some people discussing Velikovsky. Sagan said that he, of course, knew that Velikovsky's astronomy was a load of old horse manure, but that he had always been impressed by his knowledge of ancient literature. As he approached the group, he heard a man saying that he was impressed with Velikosky's knowledge of astronomy, but that he didn't know a damned thing about ancient literature. Not long after i had read Jaynes, i was working closely with a professor of philosophy for several weeks, and i once asked him what he thought of Jaynes. He said that his thesis in Origins was unconvincing, but that he was impressed with his knowledge of ancient literature and history. I refrained from telling him that Jaysnes "knowledge" of ancient history and literature was for sh*t.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Feb, 2014 03:03 pm
@Setanta,
As Dawkins said, but in terms more ready for prime time.
"Its either all rubbish or the work of genius, theres no in- between"
0 Replies
 
Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Feb, 2014 03:10 pm
@farmerman,
Quote:
Is consciousness an actual physical state? like plasma?

Evidently, consciousness exists and is therefore something like a physical state, or perhaps better defined as a space.

Quote:
is it unique and isolte [isolated?] to an organism?

Apparently yes. We all have one such space and we can't share it with others.

Quote:
If so, whatabout genetic memory or "instinct"

There is apparently a way to code genetically mental attractions and repulsions like the fear of snakes, and simple behaviors such as sucking tits. Doesn't mean that more complex memories (like the memory of, say, a complete story) can be coded genetically.
gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Feb, 2014 03:20 pm
@farmerman,
The way Jaynes would interpret his own findings and the way I would interpret them aree different. Jaynes was a total 100% evolutionist who made a huge discovery which would have led him away from evolution had he allowed it to, at least that would be my take on it. The Julian Jaynes Society would never hear of that, they are all evolutionists just like Jaynes.

The whole thing started with a study of classical literature, particularly the Illiad. Jaynes noticed that, at every turn and at every point at which you or I would have to stop and make some sort of a decision, those people were being told what to do by inner voices which they denoted as gods and goddesses. From that, Jaynes arrived at the conclusion that those societies were being organized and controlled by systems of what he called "auditory hallucinations".

Again the story is bigger than that and my own interpretation is substantially different from the normal one (as usual) but the starting point is that you have to buy a copy of Jaynes book (Origin of Consciousness) and read it to get started. It's about a $12 item on Amazon.com.

gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Feb, 2014 04:04 pm
@Setanta,
Carl Sagan was a super jerk and the theory he devised to explain the 900F surface temperature of Venus was beyond idiotic. If you want to talk about Sagan, Gould, and Velikovsky, you might want to read up on it a bit.

http://www.immanuelvelikovsky.com
 

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