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October 17, 2018

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When you are conscious of anything, whether external or internal, one must ask, "Who is it that is conscious? Where is the "I" that is conscious?"

There is no locus of conscious thought in the brain.
There are centers for hearing, vision, taste, smell, and other centers that control autonomic functions, level of wakefulness.

But where is the center for thought, where all the senses report to?

Where is the observer, the "I" that sees, hears and thinks about all this?

Not found in the brain.

Then there are the other interesting findings....That what triggers the firing of brain neurons while affecting the synaptic connections, can be the influence, not of other neurons firing, but of the much finer and much more prevalant dendrites. And then there are the synaptic firings that seem to be "caused" by radio waves generated in the brain!

As Pribram discovered, the brain doesn't operate in one direction. The brain stem can influence the higher brain functions. But those very functions can influence the brain stem, and even how all the senses operate.

If you know your friend is touching you, even the sensory nerves in your hand alter their response pattern.

Causality in brain functioning is not entirely predictable or understood.

That's why we have yet to re-create a truly functioning human mind, even in the largest of computers.

We don't really fully understand thought or "consciousness".

Therefore conclusive statements are conjecture, not science.

Is the center of conscious thought actually in the human brain?
It hasn't been found yet.

I've always been suspicious of the "pure consciousness event" or consciousness without an object. Sam Harris is describing an experience. This is what consciousness apprehends—experience. Objects, sensations, emotions, moods, thoughts, dreams, inclinations, intentions, instincts, and cognitive faculties (analytical thought, logic, reason) are all particular experiences.

Thus, I would argue that there is no consciousness without experience; no experience without consciousness. Consciousness and experience are inextricable. They are, at minimum, co-arising and coexisting.

That being said, I also realize that appearances can be deceiving with topics like this.

Eyesight and light have traditionally been used as metaphors for consciousness. In a pitch black room, there is no content for my eyes to see. My eyesight hasn't been rendered nonexistent, but with nothing to see there is no sight. So, in that moment sight is functionally absent but not nonexistent. My eyesight will reemerge with the reappearance of light.

Hi JB
You wrote
"So, in that moment sight is functionally absent but not nonexistent. My eyesight will reemerge with the reappearance of light."

Sitting in the dark in meditation it is interesting to watch thoughts subside.
In the dark, with sensory stimuli gradually subsiding, and thoughts lessening we are very much aware of being there in the dark. Our awareness is actually heightened as sensation and distracting thoughts abate. It's very pleasant. When a thought enters it is with perfect clarity we see it, understand it as completely separate from ourselves, and watch it evaporate.

@ Spencer - the day scientists find out that consciousness is generated by the brain - I will drink a few pints of beer!

They don’t know - FACT!!!!

“New Scientist” really lol????

We can rest in peace - Love is that way forward!!!


Eyesight and light have traditionally been used as metaphors for consciousness. In a pitch black room, there is no content for my eyes to see. My eyesight hasn't been rendered nonexistent, but with nothing to see there is no sight. So, in that moment sight is functionally absent but not nonexistent. My eyesight will reemerge with the reappearance of light.

We dream in the absence of light too. Vivid dreams. We're also
conscious of a sense of "self" which intensifies in the presence
of other characters in the dream. We converse with them.
We run away from monsters. Sometimes we think we know
it's a dream and we shout it to the other dream creatures.

It all happens with a sense of self. That sense persists even as
the dream fades. It's the same self again that's relieved when
we escape the monster or wake up. It happens in the dark
even when dream scenes evaporate, before opening our
eyes or hearing a sound.

Arjuna, start buying beer! Science does know that consciousness is generated by the brain. Modern medicine provides plenty of evidence of this. For example...

-- People with brain damage, in a coma, aren't conscious
-- Anesthesia renders people unconscious
-- Being hit on the head often leads to unconsciousness
-- Cutting the connection between the two halves of the brain leaves people with a "split consciousness," where the left side of their body/brain doesn't communicate with the right side

All of these facts, and there are many more, wouldn't be the case if consciousness was non-physical. So there's plenty of evidence that the brain produces consciousness, and extremely little evidence (I'd say zero) that consciousness exists without a brain.

Hi Dungeness,

I do enjoy my vivid dreams and also what about seeing ghostlike figures in a half dream state! I've experienced this a couple of times in the past and they are fond memories because they were friendly ghosts! I remember this friendly guy who was just breezing through and walked past me sleeping in my bed and said a cheerful "morning" and in my half asleep state I mumbled "morning" back and then woke up. lol

I do enjoy my ESP, even though science does not agree.

@ Brian - I can reassure you that you are only scratching at the very tip of an iceberg.

There are case studies of case studies of people showing consciousness without body! If you use an unbiased mind - you would credit that there may be way that consciousness derives from somewhere else. You know this already in your heart of hearts but for you to admit it - would nullify your blog.

I like these scientists and others you quite often quite to - imagine you are actually inside a balloon. They describe the inside of the balloon but have not the foggiest of what what exists outside it.

The points you raise above are all correct at the physical level but there are people who have been in a coma and come out to describe what their families where doing at the hospital and at home. Yet they were dead to the worl.

I won’t share my experiences on here - but sometimes it pays to hold an open mind.

No beers for me yet Brian - I’m afraid. I’m not convinced - in the slightest. Sorry.

But then I’m not here to convince you either car what I say to everyone - keep an open mind!

All the very best

Hi Jen,

Who needs alarm clocks if you've got Casper... :)

Correction below:

The scientists and others you quite often quote remind me of the following. Imagine - you are actually inside a balloon. They describe the inside of the balloon but have not the foggiest of what what exists outside it”

I grabbed a couple of books from my shelves to remind me of what some modern researchers in the brain sciences are discovering :-

“The brainstem acts as a primal wellspring of human consciousness. Its pathways carry nerve processes upward from the feet, the heart, the whole body, to activate the thalamus and cerebral cortex. No brainstem, no consciousness. You may not be dead, but if not, you will be in an irreversible coma”. Kevin Nelson – The God Impulse.

“All recent research suggests that the joint activity of enormous numbers of neurons in communication with a number of brain areas provide the foundation for consciousness”. Dick Swaab – We Are Our Brains.

And Paul Singh – The Great Illusion. It's so easy to convert being 'conscious' into 'consciousness' just by adding the suffix 'ness' to that word. The suffix 'ness' can get attached to many things in order to make a new thing pop into its own existence. He describes the redness of an apple becoming its own sort of entity, quite apart from red things like apples: and he goes on to say :- “After this linguistic magic philosophers can say things like, “I see the red apple in front of me, but I can also be conscious of that redness as well, and that redness is something else besides any apple's colour”. So being conscious becomes a separate entity called consciousness.

Basically we want to be more special than the rest of nature, we want to survive death. It may well be that our desire to want things to have a non-physical cause reflects the very human desire to want there to be 'something else', something that indicates that we (life) are not just a temporary phenomenon. -


Turan:"So being conscious becomes a separate entity called consciousness."

And nobody has put forth the notion that there is a separate entity called consciousness.

When one is being conscious, consciousness occurs; when one is not being conscious, consciousness does not occur. There is no consciousness apart from the state of being conscious and state of being conscious is conditional, relative, and intermittent, and temporary.

The rest is a semantic argument.

When consciousness contemplates on itself, it is called Samadhi in India/Trance in Christinaity/Jazb in Sufism. My counter question what does the energy do when it is not manifesting in bulb, fridge, freezer, computer and so on

Can there be consciousness without conscious content?

Yes. It's called deep meditation.
Well researched.

Do we know where in the brain consciousness exists? No. No center for conscious thought has been found, despite decades of efforts to do so.

Can consciousness exist outside of the body?

All we can currently test is the body. So this question cannot be answered by science.

@ Spencer - scientists know they can never know but they are highly unlikely to admit it.

A vast majority of the papers published are their Micky mouse thoughts only - no evidence whatsover. Brian quoted a few examples at a very basic level . There are instances where there are cases which make you think - hang on!

And a small minority of papers are vested interests or simply fraud.

Most people writing on mind and consciousness are armchair critics or trying to sell books. Nothing relevationary whatsover!

Evidence ! Evidence ! Evidence we want - we want!!!! Is all they rant about on here. Like Osho!!! For example! Have these people thought that they (like myself) may NOT be worthy to have it! Period!!!

Their karma is that heavy it prevents them from seeing that there may be a way! The very intellectual they are so proud off is helping them to squander a star gate out off here!!!

Love is the answer😀

Spence: "Can there be consciousness without conscious content? Yes. It's called deep meditation. Well researched."

Meditation induces an experience and that experience is the content.

I agree with JB.

Spence, how could anyone know that deep meditation produces a state of consciousness without conscious content unless they had an experience of that state? An experience always has some content to it even if it is "I'm experiencing only consciousness, nothing else." That's an experience with some content to it.

Arjuna, so to paraphrase your comment, you can't find any evidence that consciousness exists without a brain, but you wish this was true, so you chose to ignore reality and facts. That's fine. Just know that reality is stronger than you, me, or anyone else. Why? Because it is REAL.

JB
Your argument is merely circular.
You can define anything as experience. Therefore it is a false claim.
Because by that very argument there is never a state of no content.

You have proved nothing, and provided only false logic.

Brian
Deep meditation science shows that cognitive awareness increases even as sensory input centers shut down.

Heightened consciousness when there is less and less content.

Zero content can only be zero measurable content.

If I had no means to measure electricity I might think the switch alone caused the light to Turn on.

That would be wrong.

And the test would be to give you, Brian, a thousand switches and bulbs and ask you to illuminate even one bulb without this mysterious electricity.

And watch your waste your time trying to do so.

Spence, scientists know what electricity consists of. Moving charged particles, usually electrons. There are devices that let you detect electricity without turning a switch on. I have one in my toolbox. So what is the device that detects consciousness without a brain? Your analogy seems to have undermined the point you're trying to make.

Spence: "Your argument is merely circular. You can define anything as experience. Therefore it is a false claim."

I do not define anything as experience.

The following conditions result in no experience: Deep dreamless sleep, coma, anesthesia, and anything else that renders one unconscious such as a skillet to the head.

So, do you experience "heightened consciousness" in deep meditation or not? If you don't, then what exactly are you describing as "heightened consciousness"?

If you do, then the "heightened consciousness" is the experience.

Brian, you make my point for me.

You are only willing to define reality by the known world.

All scientists spend their days in the unknown, transforming the greater mystery of the unknown into the smaller world of the known.

We didn't always know about electricity.

It was still there. Since the beginning of time.

But like a 14th century "scientist" you would claim all the history of known "science" has no known evidence of such a thing, at that time.

Whatever is discovered tomorrow, whatever forces we don't know about today, will make your thinking obsolete.

Your reasoning that all that is real has already been measured is disproven by science hourly.

... And so your argument that no evidence up to today means it doesn't exist is woefully unscientific.

I'm not making claims about the unknown. But neither should you.

JB
You wrote
"The following conditions result in no experience: Deep dreamless sleep, coma, anesthesia, and anything else that renders one unconscious such as a skillet to the head."

That's quite a loose statement. Patients have awoken from anesthesia and coma to report conscious awareness of what was going on while" unconscious ".

And those who don't remember might have experienced anything.

Dreams are also a state of conscious awareness.

So you can define each of that an" experience " and even some level of conscious awareness.

What we can measure is not the same as reality. Nor is all reality constrained to what currently can be measured.

You share this blind spot with Brian.

Have you done any science?

Spence, are you claiming that unconsciousness doesn't occur?

Hi JB
Before marching into a discussion of levels of consciousness, can you please answer my question?

Have you done any science?

It will help me avoid making assumptions.

Not professionally, no. Since I've helped you avoid making assumptions, would you be so kind as to answer the questions I have posed?

Incidentally, it's increasingly dawning on me that a message board populated mostly by current and former cult members is probably not the place for me. This doesn't apply to me as I found Brian through his work on Plotinus and had never had any association with cults or cult-think.

Spence, JB's comment bothers me, because I find him to be an interesting commenter, who is getting turned off by what he appropriately sees as cult-like behavior by you and others.

I want this blog to be a welcoming place for everybody -- especially religious skeptics. Why can't you simply engage in an honest and direct exchange with JB, rather than being so defensive about simple questions?

Like, "are you claiming that unconsciousness doesn't exist?" Obviously it does.

Once you admit that, you and JB can go on to discuss what that means. (For one thing, it means that consciousness is related to the brain, since unconsciousness wouldn't occur if there was an immaterial source of consciousness that couldn't be turned off.)

I like it when people come to this blog looking for churchless inspiration and discussion. When a comment conversation devolves into religious commenters vehemently defending supernaturalism at all costs, refusing to engage in polite interchanges with skeptics like me and JB, I feel bad, because this isn't my goal for this blog.

My rule of thumb is to try to act as if I'm talking with someone face to face, as much as this is possible in writing.

I doubt you would ask someone for their scientific credentials who simply asks you if you believe in unconsciousness. If you've ever had anesthesia, or known someone who has, you'd simply say "Yes." But since you appear to be trying to defend supernaturalism at all costs, you're not acting like a normal person having a face to face conversation.

Great post Brian - cuts right to the crux of the matter in my view - the question of what consciousness is, and is there anything else?

Enjoying the exchange of views. My question to JB - is what you say the result of your own meditation experience and exploration of various meditational methods/teachings; a philosophical/scientific analysis of your life experience thus far, or a combo of both? I notice that in your recent post you consider other posters here are mostly existing or x cult members - putting the cult reference aside, what is true, is that many posters here have spent years meditating (including myself) - are you a meditator?

How many scientists/philosphers (who meditate) have really delved deep into this? One who comes to mind is Francis Evans who I think leaves the door open to consciousness existing outside of our brains. The information he presents (in the book I read), in regard to Thukdam and how Tibetan Lamas remain alive while essentially dead, alludes to ‘something else’ in my view. But as Sam Harris points out that to recognise thoughts as transient appearances in consciousness [and obviously gain insight into the illusion of self etc], ‘is not the work that the Western intellectual tradition knows much about’ (Waking Up p. 93).

I remain of the view that meditation is an essential part of any investigation into the question presented by Brian’s post. What has become of great interest to me are issues such as whether ‘awareness’ is different to consciousness, or something inherent to the ‘totality of consciousness’.

When I talk of awareness I’m talking of ‘that’ that seems to remain when as Spencer pointed out - thoughts have subsided, or the so called self is no longer there. It’s my view that consciousness is responsible for both creating and dismantling this self. In the latter case it can take the form of loss of separation as described by Sam Harris when he was at the Sea of Galilee: ‘In an instant, the sense of being a separate self-an “I” or a “me”-vanished (Waking Up p.81). I can attest to having a very similar experience in the Australian desert - something other than the ‘I’ bears witness to this.

In the absence of the thinker, the ‘I’, J. Krishnamurti talks about ‘Choiceless Awareness’, and Rodney Smith ‘Formless Awareness’. Nisargadatta talks about how we are unconscious when in deep sleep - however we remain alive. What is this aliveness?? As I understand it, He (Nis) talks of the stage where the totality of consciousness (I Am), is with ‘itself’ sufficiently to become the Absolute. I very much enjoy his take on things.

Hi Brian and JB
I appreciate your request for civility, but your comments to the effect of cult member in reference to me hardly lives up to that standard.

My interest in JBs scientific background was not as an insult.
It was to ascertain if he understands, in reference to his question, levels of conscious brain activity, or whether it would be helpful for me to go into some detail on the context that in terms of experimentation.

To be precise, the term unconscious has two connotations, neither of which are, scientifically, no brain activity, or no higher brain activity. The term, clinically and scientifically, has to do with level of wakeful awareness of one's surroundings. That can vary.

But even when that is minimal, the individual can be having internal experiences.

In deep meditation, for example, entire centers of sensory functioning shut down. The mediator may report feeling like they are floating as their proprioception subsides. They are fully aware of this activity while it is happening.

Scientifically, it is impossible to state what the actual internal experience of the individual is, except by their own reports. And like a dream state, much can be forgotten. Those reports have limited accuracy.

So, a state of no content = no consciousness actually finds contradictory evidence.

What you both claim as obvious and self - evident only has face validity, not scientific validation.

When I restate for you that what we don't know we shouldn't conjecture about, that isn't as a "cult member" but as an experimental psychologist.

All that aside, scientific fact is not a matter of who you quote who happens to support your opinion.

It's a matter of the evidence, and whether your opinion that extends those results beyond their scope of validity has any experimental support.

If you take a position, be willing to defend it. Please attack my view with reason, and not my person with demeaning characterisations.

I thank that would be a good minimal standard, the golden rule actually, for all of us.


Spence: "In deep meditation...the mediator may report feeling like they are floating as their proprioception subsides. They are fully aware of this activity while it is happening...
So, a state of no content = no consciousness actually finds contradictory evidence."

So how do internal experiences—of which one is "fully aware"—such as feeling of floating not qualify as content? You said one is fully aware of this activity. You are describing being fully aware of content.

Hi JB

You wrote
"So how do internal experiences—of which one is "fully aware"—such as feeling of floating not qualify as content? You said one is fully aware of this activity. You are describing being fully aware of content."

Yes I see now where we may have been talking over each other. I apologize.

As long as the brain functions even when it appears higher brain centers have been shut down we have evidence of awareness. Even heightened awareness of internal background stimuli.

Therefore a state of no content is really a conjecture. It's hasn't been tested experimentally. So long as the brain functions, there is some level of consciousness. And what evidence we do have suggests that as brain centers shut down, as their stimuli subsides, the individual may become more conscious of their own thoughts and other internal stimuli. That means that there is not a direct correlation to level of content and level of consciousness.

A no content state hasn't been tested in a living human being so at can't support the claim of no content =no consciousness.

Anecdotally it makes sense that we may become more aware when we have fewer distractions.

From that perspective less content = greater focus and greater conscious awareness. But again, this is just conjecture.

Consciousness is the content, now atheist would say can there be water without content? Water is the content, what other content you are looking for. When water is mixed with tea ingredients it becomes tea, when water is mixed with flavors it becomes beverage, when water is not mixed with anything it remains pure water. Pure water in itself is the content, what other content atheist is looking for????

Vinny, they is an excellent metaphor.
Physiologically, there is no center for conscious thought. It's got to be the whole package, or, like quantum physics, something else we can only conjecture because we have no hard evidence for its location.

--

It's that simple

One has only to see the Matrix Movies an Inception
to see how this can work out !
Avatar does a nice job too

Simran and the Sweet Sound are just cleaning the bugs and the hacks
around the Love that we are , in us

777

-

@ Spencer - Brian has allowed vile comments to posted on here by a few others! I stand by you! Photos of pigs etc. That’s civil!

Let me repeat - consciousness is not limited to the brain!!!!

Let him prove to you it doesn’t!!!!!

You have not insulted anyone- no one on this thread has said anting remotely interesting or new!!!

And insulting cults ! He left one - so leave it as that!!! He is Masters greatest disciple - even to this day

Amen

Turan:"So being conscious becomes a separate entity called consciousness."
JB. “And nobody has put forth the notion that there is a separate entity called consciousness.”

JB. My quote I posted from Paul Singh's book is that there is a whole raft of thinking that promotes the idea of consciousness existing outside of brain activity. Some physicists postulate that matter is derivative from consciousness. Also, there is a idea popular amongst some people that the brain is just a receiver for consciousness.

My own understanding is that the conscious experience emanates from the brain as does P. Singh which is why he criticised those who use the 'ness' of consciousness “ . . . in order to make a new thing pop into its own existence.”

Turan, thanks for the mention of Paul Singh's book, "The Great Illusion: The Myth of Free Will, Consciousness, and the Self."

https://www.amazon.com/Great-Illusion-Myth-Free-Consciousness/dp/0997054107/

I just ordered it, since it sounds like a book I'd enjoy. Here's the Amazon description:

"This book presents research that supports the naturalistic stance that the mind is identical to the brain. The author argues that if one were to look at the idea that the mind is the brain then it follows logically that free will must be an illusion, that there can be no consciousness separate from the brain, and that there can be no substantial self that exists independently from the brain. He further argues that there can be no such thing as absolute moral responsibility and provides readers with the overall sense that the survival of the human species will depend on a scientific understanding of the human brain."

I'll take a look at this book.

The arguments that consciousness or "being conscious" (if you prefer) is a myth because it is insubstantial doesn't seem to hold up. After all, matter is insubstantial. Everything natural is insubstantial.

Furthermore, if the mind is identical to the brain and the brain isn't a myth, then it follows that the mind isn't a myth.

From Singh's Amazon biography: "His lifelong passion is bringing scientific literacy to the public for the benefit of humanity and alleviating suffering caused by poverty, disease, and incurable illnesses."

I wonder why such a passion exists because suffering is an experience and if one is not conscious then there is no suffering. If there is no experience, then there is no suffering. He is battling something that does not exist. The myth of suffering should be included in the subtitle.

JB, since Singh is a physician, I'm confident that he recognizes the reality of suffering, and doesn't deny that humans have conscious experiences. I could be wrong about this (an ever-present possibility), but I suspect that what Singh takes issue with is the "ness" part of consciousness.

Namely, that in addition to conscious experiences, there is something extra called "consciousness." It's sort of like saying that in addition to the movement of charged particles, there is something extra called "electricity." There's no electricity without the movement of charged particles. Likewise, the mind is the brain in motion, and the brain produces conscious awareness.

Which to me is a verb -- conscious awareness. Consciousness is a thing. So maybe Singh talks like Alan Watts in his book, critiquing our tendency to make things out processes, something static out of something that is always changing. I'll let you know after I get the book next week.

Brian: "brain produces conscious awareness."

There is aware-ness but not conscious-ness?

By saying that the brain produces consciousness awareness undercuts the argument that the brain is identical to the mind. Something produced by the brain would be something other than, or in addition to, the brain. Otherwise the cause is the effect which is illogical.

There is a great deal of effort to dustinguish the brain from consciousness. Certainly the brain has many parts to it.

But even the word consciousness is merely a concept.

The only necessity to focus on it outside of clinical use here seems to be an effort to build a case for Atheism.

But when you use something that is merely a conceptual tool to make your point that its not an actual physical thing, that's really stretching, and it's circular.

So much for objectivity among atheists.

Here are a few other things that don't actually exist but which we use concepts to describe their physical corollates.

Straight
Equalateral triangle
90 degree angle
Gravity
Light intensity
Circle
Perfect
Kindness
Love
Voltage

Try understanding the world without concept.

Or accept concept as a necessary tool to help understand the world.

Spence, what makes you think consciousness isn't an "actual physical thing"? Are you saying that our dog, or the deer who pass through our yard, both of whom appear to be conscious beings, possess something within them that isn't physical?

If so, how do you know that?

And as I've asked numerous times before, without getting a straight answer from anybody who comments on this blog and believes in immaterial consciousness, how is it that physical actions such as administering anesthesia or getting into an accident that produces a coma lead to loss of consciousness, if consciousness isn't an actual physical thing?

Hi Brian
Are you claiming that the deer you see is the deer?
Or the dog you pet is your dog?
Or that even your biotin of who you are is really you?

Sorry, auto spell.
Or the notion of who you are is really you?

Or just your notion.

I never cease to be amazed at the lack of a true Atheist perspective here.

Consciousness is an invented set of different concepts to describe something of which we have limited physical evidence about.

That's a true Atheist perspective.

There isn't enough evidence to point to a real "consciousness" either physical or spiritual.

It is just a term used to explain either the behavior of individuals or their reported experience.

Are you claiming to have evidence of anything more?


Oh, I see. So you're taking a behaviorist perspective. I was a Psychology major in the late 60's when B.F. Skinner was still taken more seriously than he should have been. Kind of weird that you're bringing up that outdated perspective.

Is the deer I see the deer? Yes. Is our dog that I see the dog? Yes. Is the notion of who I am really me? Yes. I see the deer and dog from the outside, which is a real way of seeing. I see me from the inside (unless I look in a mirror), and that also is a real way of seeing.

All we have are perceptions. There's no absolutely Really Real way of knowing anything. There just are different ways of knowing and perceiving.

I'm not about to say that our dog doesn't really smell a blade of grass just because I don't have her sense of smell. And you can't say that the notion I have of myself isn't genuine just because you lack it. That said, we need to keep in mind the difference between subjective and objective ways of knowing. A scale objectively reports how much I weigh. Ask me, and I might give you a considerably different number.

What's interesting to me is that we wouldn't be arguing over ideas if we didn't know that ideas have consequences. We have ideas regarding free will vs determinism, naturalism vs supernaturalism, atheism vs theism, consciousness-as-real vs consciousness-as-myth, etc.

But in the final analysis, what does it really matter?

Do ideas alter behavior and if so, how does this happen? Like anesthesia, I know that the introduction of a foreign chemical (drug) can directly alter behavior because a drug is a substance that is introduced into the body via the bloodstream and acts directly on the brain chemistry in a purely mechanical way.

But how does the introduction of an idea alter behavior?

How does an introduced idea act on brain chemistry? Furthermore, can it do so without conscious engagement? Can thought that is not thought-of act on the brain?

Hi Brian
You wrote
"Is the deer I see the deer? Yes."
Sorry but all of neurology says you are looking at an image constructed in your brain.
It's a copy.

The deer you see is a photo. And that photo isn't the deer.

It might not be a good photo, in proportion.

It's just a copy.

That's the best your brain can do.

Over time, even mere seconds, that photo becomes faded, pieces disappear, and your brain constructs the missing pieces. It fabricates before you see it.

A copy. Not even a copy, because parts have been altered. Your brain drops items it thinks you don't need to see.

Not the real thing.

So if you think these mental images are the objects, that's not actually true.

How accurate is your photo?

That's a good question.

But that photo will never be a perfect copy.

And it will never be the deer.

And there 's a lot of selective filtering, selective seeing and hearing, selective understanding you aren't aware of.

You accept the whole thing as real.

It's just a copy, Brian.

And this consciousness discussed here, it is a victim of all that. It is a pauper getting handouts from the brain second, even third hand, tattered and painted over, pieces sown sloppily together.

To you its a royal robe and scepter, "the real world."

Hardly.


I'm not about to say that our dog doesn't really smell a blade of grass just because I don't have her sense of smell. And you can't say that the notion I have of myself isn't genuine just because you lack it. That said, we need to keep in mind the difference between subjective and objective ways of knowing.

Exactly. You wake up from a dream, It's totally dark, silent, and
you haven't even opened your eyes but you know you're awake.
There is an ineffable sense of "self", of being, of consciousness even
with "no content".

Then you remember the operation, the anaesthesia, falling asleep.
Suddenly voices. Somber, white-coated figures look at charts very
carefully, objectively, They shake their heads, and sadly whisper
"he's brain dead". You ponder for a moment, and then smile... half
agreeing.

"Awake but unconscious
Counter-intuitively, Koubeissi’s team found that the woman’s loss of consciousness was associated with increased synchrony of electrical activity, or brainwaves, in the frontal and parietal regions of the brain that participate in conscious awareness. Although different areas of the brain are thought to synchronise activity to bind different aspects of an experience together, too much synchronisation seems to be bad. The brain can’t distinguish one aspect from another, stopping a cohesive experience emerging."

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22329762-700-consciousness-on-off-switch-discovered-deep-in-brain/

This is a short excerpt from a talk by Tom Campbell. I do think that our own individual consciousness has an effect on our destiny...

"You create your own reality, intentions manifest themselves" (6:32)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSrjSRiMvM0

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