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November 15, 2010


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Somehow Susan Blackmore became transformed into Churchland (Patricia) in your text.

Where seems to be the kind of question that ironically does not lead anywhere with respect to addressing perception. Cool...

The perception of absolutely everything is subject to this notion; the awareness of the physical brain itself is another figment of the brain's electrical activity. Trippy, man!

William, thanks for pointing out my unconscious conflating of Susan Blackmore and Patricia Churchland. I wasn't even thinking of Churchland that day, consciously, but my brain must have been working away under the surface of my awareness (which is what brains do). I've made the correction to the last two mentions of Blackmore.

body/physical brain are also just constructs within your awareness, Brian

Todd, we could also say that awareness is constructed by the body/physical brain (because the overwhelming evidence is that this is true -- anesthesia extinguishes awareness, for example).

This is the "hard problem" of consciousness. What is awareness? We have to start from the premise that it is a result of physical goings on within the brain.

Are you implying that human awareness/consciousness exists apart from the brain? This is a supernatural notion that most religions accept. But there isn't demonstrable evidence for that notion, which is why I can't accept it.

"body/physical brain are also just constructs within your awareness"

---My brain activity, through a possible consciousness/awareness can contruct a body/physical brain conceptuality. This could be a notion that one can accept and also not accept. Oh God, please let the Buddha agree with this.

Roger, here's something better than the Buddha agreeing with you: I do. The Buddha isn't alive and talking, but I am.

Yes, the brain/mind constructs an awareness that can say "Awareness constructs a concept of the physical body, including the brain." It's a devious, mysterious, strange loop.

We imagine we're something spiritual and supernatural even though the physical brain is doing the imagining. I guess this is why it's so fascinating to be human rather canine, feline, or such.

Blackmore was another scientist who had wierdarse tendencies in her youth and specifically interested in all sorts of paranormal stuff - some might say shes openminded, others that she's got a tendency for gibberish and I'm not sure is much of a scientist.

no, Brian, it is a fact of my own conscious empirical experience that I have never directly experienced my own body or brain, but only through the medium of senses/mind.

Todd, I agree. I misunderstood you as saying that awareness was something separate from the body/brain/mind. Yes, we never see things "as they are," because reality always appears through a particular screen. Animals perceive things quite differently than we do, as do any aliens who might exist, I bet.

Also, I am not so sure that anesthesia really "extinguishes" awareness.....

Everything is zero distance from Awareness

Yeah, what could you go inside of? I agree with Dogribb. No matter where you (awareness) go, there you are. What is inside or outside of awareness? Like air. Can air go inside or outside air?

Consciousness creates mind, mind creates experience, experience reveals consciousness... my head hurts, if indeed I have one. Or, if indeed I am sat here NOW on my macbook having an internal experience of an external reality, why do I keep thinking of grapefruit?

PS: I'm not in actuality sat ON my macbook – Apples' build quality is not what it used to be!

you wrote above "anesthesia extinguishes awareness, for example)."

Or, it may extinguish memory. Awareness and Memory, interesting partners.

jon, awareness and memory are indeed interesting partners. I've heard that some types of anesthesia do indeed erase the memory of pain. (My sister was told this before she had some sort of medical procedure.)

I don't like the notion that I could feel a lot of pain during an operation, but have no memory of that afterwards. So when someone asked me how the operation went, I'd say "Great, didn't feel a thing." Except I may have; in fact, I almost certainly did. I just can't remember what happened.

Yes, awareness is weird. Is pain real if there is no one around after it happened to say "it happened"?

All that is happening courtesy of my physical brain. I'm not inside another realm of reality; I'm inside my body, just as I always am. Except, to say I'm "inside" implies an "outside."

Where would that be? Where is the outside of my bodily experience as a brain-equipped human? Likewise, where is the inside?

But, if superconsciousness is possible, directional frames of reference lose meaning. Any description would immediately get shipwrecked too. A mystic might characterize trancendence as 'inside' simply to differentiate from what's perceived in ordinary sentient awareness. But, in a transcendent state, what would 'in' or 'out' really mean...

And what demonstrable evidence could be offered of an 'inside, transcendent' realm... In order to sound sane to someone who has no experience of it, any description would have to derive from what's observable 'outside'. So only vague hints or metaphors are possible. And, if you postulate that thought, awareness, whatever wellsprings of consciousness exist, are nothing but artifacts of the brain, then, like Wile C. Coyote, you'd crash and burn. On the other hand, Road Runner's consciousness, moving freely at lightening speed, easily slips 'inside' through the wall.

"It is in this very fathom-long physical frame with its perceptions and mind, that, I declare, lies the world, and the arising of the world, and the cessation of the world, and the path leading to the cessation of the world."


"The truth is innocent and cannot be held without a fair trial every moment"

"If you must hold a belief, hold it for questioning"


I've just started following this blog and I'm not clear as to the terminology used. I think of consciousness as what we call the "stream of consciousness" because I can't have a sense of myself without being constantly reminded of who and what I am if present experience is not identified in terms of past experience. I can't recognize, can't "know", can't do, anything without memory, but for experiencing life as it IS, memory is inimical, it would seem.

Perhaps I'm over-simplifying, but what I know of consciousness comes from experience and not from books or scientific studies. It seems to me a streaming phenomenon of the known, the cessation of which we call "unconsciousness".

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