New theory of consciousness

The origins of the imperative, "know thyself", are lost in the sands of time, but the age-old examination of human consciousness continues here.

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Re: New theory of consciousness

Postby Tab » Fri Aug 12, 2016 10:50 pm

Nah, I'm still left, rather bleakly, with none. Still, no need to pass it on, if I can make my family happy, for no reason other than I can, I can chisel 'win' on the gravestone.
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Re: New theory of consciousness

Postby One Liner » Sat Aug 13, 2016 12:08 am

Your children cannot inherit a meaningful life from you if you yourself do not possess one.
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Re: New theory of consciousness

Postby Tab » Sat Aug 13, 2016 10:28 am

Nope but they can inherit a bunch of money. Every Parsifal needs a horse.
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Re: New theory of consciousness

Postby One Liner » Sat Aug 13, 2016 10:39 am

Teachers do tend to focus on money a lot and, more often than not, cry poor.
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Re: New theory of consciousness

Postby Tab » Sat Aug 13, 2016 10:43 am

Generalisations are generalisations.
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Re: New theory of consciousness

Postby One Liner » Sat Aug 13, 2016 10:53 am

There was a thread on ILP several years ago on Michael Graziano's Attention Schema Theory and it died a miserable death much like this thread (very unfortunate in my opinion).
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Re: New theory of consciousness

Postby Tab » Sat Aug 13, 2016 12:36 pm

Meh, I had fun while it lasted. :D If some people read the article that wouldn't have otherwise, then, time well spent.
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Re: New theory of consciousness

Postby One Liner » Sat Aug 13, 2016 6:40 pm

So what do you know about the theory?
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Re: New theory of consciousness

Postby Tab » Sat Aug 13, 2016 7:52 pm

Bsc. Applied and human biology (circa a long time ago) and I try to keep up with the brain stuff.

Anyway, enough one liners, I think we're done here. :D
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Re: New theory of consciousness

Postby Meno_ » Sat Aug 13, 2016 8:19 pm

Very simply, and troll like, consciousness is a tool of adapting. A basic survival mechanism. As survival becomes more pernicious and complex, the modes of survival have to become more complex as well. The central nervous system becomes less automatic, and memory continuously re-integrates into the system.
More and more memory creates more complex circuitry.

However, LIFE it's self has ALWAYS been complex, but the lower brain functions could not perceive it. It preferred simplicity.

Since LIFE as perceived, is always the function of capacity, it negates the idea of a complex, super intelligent universe. So it creates the false impression of invention, even that of inventing, willing , creating it's self, by choosing evolutionary types, most capable of adaptation.

The hit and miss nature of natural evolution, left to Nature's own designs, lead men to denigrate Life, as an intelligent entity. They dismiss the idea of natural intelligence, as much as possible to further the idea of preference to learning.

That the intelligence of nature, need not develop a consciousness becomes foreign to them. It has been done by the likes of Asimov, that consciousness is not developmental qua species, but it is more a foundation, which needs no more elaborate evolution.

Absolute concepts like life, beauty, soul, love, the world, need no evolution conceptually, because they are formal, unlimited attributes. Lower primates also, have some inkling as to what some of these things mean, albeit in limited senses. Perhaps consciousness is more then an adaptive tool, perhaps it is a way to appreciate the given.
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Re: New theory of consciousness

Postby One Liner » Sun Aug 14, 2016 1:23 am

Tab wrote:Bsc. Applied and human biology (circa a long time ago) and I try to keep up with the brain stuff.

Anyway, enough one liners, I think we're done here. :D

Your teacher side coming out again (too many words bad and too few words bad).
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Re: New theory of consciousness

Postby WendyDarling » Sun Aug 14, 2016 1:38 am

Jerkey,

How does one appreciate eternity unless the hard drive is reformatted? Eternal soul, endless life cycles, semi-fresh do overs. Does adaptation mean perceivable change? If so, to whose perception? We as beings are lead to believe a great many things, but life is faith-based, not fact-based.
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Re: New theory of consciousness

Postby One Liner » Sun Aug 14, 2016 1:39 am

Michael Graziano's Attention Schema Theory is highly controversial in the neuroscience/neuropsychology fields as it very much resembles Madhyamaka Prasangika Buddhist schools of thought; which he is trying to distance himself from via the use of semantics (caricature not illusory view of self).
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Re: New theory of consciousness

Postby Tab » Sun Aug 14, 2016 1:47 am

Thanks for the heads up, I'll check it out.
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Re: New theory of consciousness

Postby One Liner » Sun Aug 14, 2016 2:04 am

Tab wrote:Thanks for the heads up, I'll check it out.

Please do.
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Re: New theory of consciousness

Postby surreptitious57 » Sun Aug 14, 2016 3:35 am

Interesting and informative article. I like its explanation of consciousness from an evolutionary perspective
And not just human consciousness but animal consciousness also. I am bookmarking it for future reference
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Re: New theory of consciousness

Postby One Liner » Sun Aug 14, 2016 7:15 am

surreptitious57 wrote:Interesting and informative article. I like its explanation of consciousness from an evolutionary perspective
And not just human consciousness but animal consciousness also. I am bookmarking it for future reference

The author expands further in this video (worth the watch)

http://youtu.be/peHcu8LEgEE
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Re: New theory of consciousness

Postby Tab » Sun Aug 14, 2016 12:07 pm

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4407481/ attention schema theory.

Ok, I read a couple of articles and watched the YouTube clips. Nice. Using an awareness map/schema not unlike the ones used to coordination movement alongside proprioception, but in this case to coordinate both our own awareness/attention and predict/assign/judge awareness in others.

The vagueness of position ties in with some weird 'body-swap' experiments done in the past. The default position being what the brain judges to be the locus of multi-sensory information it's receiving at any given time. Also explains the slight lag between the brain getting ready to do something and the actual awareness of 'making a decision to do it' kicking in.

I'm sold.

I like that the explaination is simple, and bootstrapped almost as a side effect from modelling other things present in the enviroment, that sounds a lot more 'like' evolution at work, rather than suddenly, and for no apparant reason, 'gifting' or 'pimpin-out' humanity with a superfluous (but inarguably cool) function like high level consciousness. :D

Add in complex language, and in-species competition, via lying/lie-detection wars, and suddenly the level and resolution of our theories of mind, both our own and our targets, seem inevitable, rather than fortunate.

Nice finds one-liner. I apologise for being a bit snotty. As you observe, English teacher instincts sometimes get their wires crossed.


This kinda puts the boot into free will (yet again) demoting classical 'ghost in the machine' views to, 'commentator reporting on the match'.
Last edited by Tab on Mon Aug 15, 2016 9:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New theory of consciousness

Postby One Liner » Sun Aug 14, 2016 10:47 pm

Yes, I was sold five years ago too and, by the way, I am a teacher too but I seem to have less available time than you do.
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Re: New theory of consciousness

Postby Tab » Sun Aug 14, 2016 11:08 pm

My university doesn't open for another month so, oodles of time. :D
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Re: New theory of consciousness

Postby Mictlantecuhtli » Mon Aug 15, 2016 2:55 am

If consciousness is a reflex I think it is because of culture as clearly it is a product thereof.

So much of what is discussed as consciousness is purely cultural.
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Re: New theory of consciousness

Postby Mictlantecuhtli » Mon Aug 15, 2016 3:02 am



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In this unique exploration of the mysteries of the human brain, Roger Bartra shows that consciousness is a phenomenon that occurs not only in the mind but also in an external network, a symbolic system. He argues that the symbolic systems created by humans in art, language, in cooking or in dress, are the key to understanding human consciousness. Placing culture at the centre of his analysis, Bartra brings together findings from anthropology and cognitive science and offers an original vision of the continuity between the brain and its symbolic environment. The book is essential reading for neurologists, cognitive scientists and anthropologists alike.

Anthropologist by training, and today a leading public intellectual and social theorist in Latin America, Roger Bartra here dextrously argues that the plasticity of cultural and social networks facilitate a 'prosthetic' connection to the brain and consciousness.' Matthew Gutmann, Brown University

'A daring and brilliant hypothesis, and yet another intellectual debt we owe to one of the premier thinkers of our time.' James D. Faubion, Rice University

'… this ground-breaking anthropological study reveals the brain as an external - social - organ.' John Kraniauskas, Birkbeck, University of London

'… a thorough and provocative analysis of the nature of consciousness and free will from the perspective of an anthropologist with a deep knowledge of neuroscience, sociology and philosophy. The author challenges reductionist views on these perennial themes, while highlighting the importance of cultural and social networks in the definition and in the genesis of consciousness. This must-read authoritative work is a valuable reference source for neuroscientists, philosophers, as well as social and cultural anthropologists. No doubt this book will stir up a much needed debate, particularly within the neuroscience community; neurobiologists in general consider consciousness exclusively as a phenomenon that takes place inside the brain of the subject, producing awareness of the self, but largely ignoring 'culture' and 'the other'.' F. Javier Alvarez-Leefmans, Wright State University, Boonshoft School of Medicine



http://www.cambridge.org/ae/academic/su ... -free-will
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Re: New theory of consciousness

Postby Tab » Mon Aug 15, 2016 10:26 am

I think it's important to not mix things up.

Consciousness seems to be an ability, mechanistic, and essentially neutral. Everybody has one, and It's perhaps best to think of it, with respect to self, as a librarian, in a dark library, with a torch. The self being the library of course.

This self, the 'I', in whatever language has been loaded into the system, is a conclusion that consciousness forces the brain to draw in order to make reports about itself, and the effects of its commands to the vehicle carrying it on the great 'not self' surrounding it.

When we are faced with a situation, real and present or imaginary, consciousness walks the stacks in the library asking the question "what would this "I" do in a situation like this..? What has this "I" done before in a situation like this..? What has this 'I' heard about what other 'I's have done in situations like this..?"

And that's all it does.

The self, the library, has a huge cultural component, the consciousness, the librarian, well, he just works there.

To elaborate the metaphor, we must remember that the consciousness, the librarian, can only walk so far in a given time. And that the librarian's starting position is not fixed.

There are many things in the physical and social/socially constructed world, that bias the librarian's starting point. Something as simple as sitting on a hard chair, or carrying a heavy object, can and do bias people's decision making processes.

An everyday example from my own life. Being at work. Being a teacher or I guess, any profession, involves a transition of self. When I am in the workplace, in the classroom, a whole range of behavior, of meh, 'ways of being' inappropriate to the home, become appropriate. Before I step into the classroom, I don't duck into a phone box, or shout 'shazzam' and suddenly become TEACHERMAN, the destroyer of ignorance !!!, simple sensory cues all around me in the workplace, are enough to initiate the change.

These cues change the starting position of the librarian, shifting him into the 'teacher' part of the library by default. Now when a situation (in the classroom) arises, the librarian walks, and the question is again "what would this 'I' do" but the part of the library he can cover in the given timeframe, will most usually supply teacher anecdotes, rather than less appropriate strategies of action.

However, say prior to coming to work, I've had an unresolved fight with my wife. A big emotional mushroom cloud hanging over me. The usual work cues try to shift the librarian's starting position into the teaching stacks, but the mushroom cloud runs interference, and keeps plonking the librarian down in the war zone.

On those days, students get sent out more often, get shouted at, cellphones get confiscated and etc. justifiably or no. And all because sometimes, the librarian simply can't quite run fast enough to get from the war zone into the more reasonable teacher stacks in time to find a non-mutually assured destruction strategy to work with.

Between people I think at most consciousness varies only in the speed at which the librarian can walk, and possibly how many books he can hold at once. The libraries, the selves of the people he walks through, differ immensely.

I live a bog-standard, fairly stress-free life, surrounded by the trappings of a long and reasonably reasonable existence. The 'here the 'I' undertook a reasonable response' part of my library is huge. If I had lived in circumstances full of cues toward violence, or situations rewarding aggressive, selfish action, then the part of the library containing references to "here the 'I' resolved the situation by repeatedly punching it in the gonads" section would be enormous, and very hard for the librarian to walk out of in time to find anything else to consider.

In short, the consciousness is not a cultural artifact, the 'I', the self, however, is massively so.
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