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I is Not Me, The Persistent Illusion of Consciousness Options
Epiphileon
Posted: Saturday, November 16, 2019 5:09:33 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/22/2009
Posts: 4,200
Neurons: 164,996
I have been looking into a natural science explanation of consciousness for over 30 years, and if I include my earlier metaphysical investigations it has been a question that has occupied the top of the list of things I am curious about since my early teens.

There have been a number of, what at first, were objectionable even vehemently rejected discoveries like the fact that consciousness is a product of a living brain and will cease to exist upon death, and that freewill is a myth. The first of these notions, that we are mortal beings was, for all practical intents and purposes inarguable from a natural science perspective, the second, however, took a number of years to finally settle, maybe.

The most recent conclusion that seems inevitable is one, that like those above, I initially rejected out of hand as obvious nonsense i.e. consciousness is an illusion. What I find really odd, although not completely surprising, is that the seeming accuracy of this assertion has been inherent in everything I've thought about the nature of consciousness for quite a few years now and yet I persisted in thinking the idea had no merit.

Of course, subjectively it is a given that consciousness would consider itself a thing that exists, and in a sense of course it does, but then illusions are real things as well. They are not real in the sense that they do not reflect reality accurately. The notion of consciousness existing as an independent aspect of mind in the same way that personality, intelligence, or emotion, exist is the illusion of consciousness. The fact of consciousness is that it is an ongoing process that is only happening now. The "me" that is comprised of the construct of my personality, intelligence, and emotion, is not the "I" of mind. That "I" is the awareness of me being the individual that I is aware of as a result of my personality, intelligence, and emotions.

It seems like a subtle distinction but nevertheless seems to be accurate and necessary to the understanding of consciousness.




Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
FounDit
Posted: Saturday, November 16, 2019 11:34:43 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/2011
Posts: 12,221
Neurons: 60,666
Epiphileon wrote:
I have been looking into a natural science explanation of consciousness for over 30 years, and if I include my earlier metaphysical investigations it has been a question that has occupied the top of the list of things I am curious about since my early teens.

There have been a number of, what at first, were objectionable even vehemently rejected discoveries like the fact that consciousness is a product of a living brain and will cease to exist upon death, and that freewill is a myth. The first of these notions, that we are mortal beings was, for all practical intents and purposes inarguable from a natural science perspective, the second, however, took a number of years to finally settle, maybe.

The most recent conclusion that seems inevitable is one, that like those above, I initially rejected out of hand as obvious nonsense i.e. consciousness is an illusion. What I find really odd, although not completely surprising, is that the seeming accuracy of this assertion has been inherent in everything I've thought about the nature of consciousness for quite a few years now and yet I persisted in thinking the idea had no merit.

Of course, subjectively it is a given that consciousness would consider itself a thing that exists, and in a sense of course it does, but then illusions are real things as well. To whom?

They are not real in the sense that they do not reflect reality accurately. Do not reflect reality to whom? What reality?

The notion of consciousness existing as an independent aspect of mind in the same way that personality, intelligence, or emotion, exist is the illusion of consciousness. How do you know that personality, intelligence, and emotional reactions are not all part of consciousness; that consciousness could not exist without them?

The fact of consciousness is that it is an ongoing process that is only happening now. The "me" that is comprised of the construct of my personality, intelligence, and emotion, is not the "I" of mind. That "I" is the awareness of me being the individual that I is aware of as a result of my personality, intelligence, and emotions. It seems to me that "I" is the cumulative result of personality, intelligence, and emotional reactions. [I highlight emotional reactions, because I argue that we do not possess "emotions" per se, but simply have reactions to perceived circumstances, or thoughts, that we express in socially approved manners.]

It seems like a subtle distinction but nevertheless seems to be accurate and necessary to the understanding of consciousness.

Going back to this statement: Of course, subjectively it is a given that consciousness would consider itself a thing that exists, and in a sense of course it does, but then illusions are real things as well. If consciousness is an illusion, and illusions are real, then the idea of consciousness as a real thing is an illusion as well. But to whom is it real, or an illusion?

This seems to become a dog chasing its own tail. Since we have no reality other than that perceived by our minds, consciousness must be real. We have no choice but to accept this. If nothing is real, there would be no point in examining any of it for the simple reason we cannot know anything other than this experience.



We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Saturday, November 16, 2019 11:43:32 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 33,153
Neurons: 207,936
Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
How I understand this - the delusory (or illusory) "I" feels that the illusion that "I" exists is real.
This is not the same as me believing that I exist - that's a different illusion.

I think, therefore I am . . . at least, I think I am. Think

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
FounDit
Posted: Saturday, November 16, 2019 4:55:23 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/2011
Posts: 12,221
Neurons: 60,666
Drag0nspeaker wrote:
How I understand this - the delusory (or illusory) "I" feels that the illusion that "I" exists is real.
This is not the same as me believing that I exist - that's a different illusion.

I think, therefore I am . . . at least, I think I am. Think
But the idea you think may be an illusion, no?...Think

If the illusory "I" within you believes the illusion is real, who is the "me" that believes the "I" exists? And how is that a different illusion? Wouldn't "I" and "me" be the same illusion?


We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
Epiphileon
Posted: Sunday, November 17, 2019 5:14:26 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/22/2009
Posts: 4,200
Neurons: 164,996
FounDit wrote:
Epiphileon wrote:


Quote:
Of course, subjectively it is a given that consciousness would consider itself a thing that exists, and in a sense of course it does, but then illusions are real things as well.
To whom?
To the perceiver.

Quote:
They are not real in the sense that they do not reflect reality accurately.
Do not reflect reality to whom? What reality?
Again, to the one who perceives them and the model of reality that is built by the combined activity of the entire perceptual system including that of consciousness.

Quote:
The notion of consciousness existing as an independent aspect of mind in the same way that personality, intelligence, or emotion, exist is the illusion of consciousness.
How do you know that personality, intelligence, and emotional reactions are not all part of consciousness; that consciousness could not exist without them?
Because of the definitions of the first three, their evolutionary history, and as well as the numerous examples of those three operating in the absence of consciousness as was extensively discussed in the discussion of Julian Jaynes' book, although he is by far not the only source for that information.

How do you know that...consciousness could not exist without them?
It is extremely unlikely that human consciousness would exist without them as they are integral to the evolution of the structure of the brain, and the nature of mind. At the moment I do not seem to be able to imagine how consciousness would evolve in any entity that did not possess some sort of highly evolved and intensely complex central nervous system and that such a system would possess something analogous to those three characteristics of mind; however, that by no means indicates it is impossible particularly if at some point any conscious entities succeed in creating consciousness in a technology they develop.
I would agree however that some sort of intelligence would be a necessary condition for consciousness; however, that does not make it part of consciousness. Consciousness is a perception.

Quote:
Quote:
The fact of consciousness is that it is an ongoing process that is only happening now. The "me" that is comprised of the construct of my personality, intelligence, and emotion, is not the "I" of mind. That "I" is the awareness of me being the individual that I is aware of as a result of my personality, intelligence, and emotions.
It seems to me that "I" is the cumulative result of personality, intelligence, and emotional reactions. [I highlight emotional reactions, because I argue that we do not possess "emotions" per se, but simply have reactions to perceived circumstances, or thoughts, that we express in socially approved manners.]
Emotions whatever we choose to call them exist as a distinct function of the mind/brain. They stem from ancient nuclei of the brain that first existed in reptiles.
Personality, intelligence, and emotions are behavioral processes of the brain/mind, consciousness is a perception.

Quote:
It seems like a subtle distinction but nevertheless seems to be accurate and necessary to the understanding of consciousness.

Going back to this statement: Of course, subjectively it is a given that consciousness would consider itself a thing that exists, and in a sense of course it does, but then illusions are real things as well. If consciousness is an illusion, and illusions are real, then the idea of consciousness as a real thing is an illusion as well. But to whom is it real, or an illusion?

This seems to become a dog chasing its own tail. Since we have no reality other than that perceived by our minds, consciousness must be real. We have no choice but to accept this. If nothing is real, there would be no point in examining any of it for the simple reason we cannot know anything other than this experience.


I did not say that consciousness was unreal, I said that the notion that it is permanently generated behavior of the brain like other aspects of mentality is an illusion. Consciousness is only happening now, just like the act of hearing or seeing is only happening now. It is a perception existing only moment to moment as it happens.

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
Epiphileon
Posted: Sunday, November 17, 2019 5:29:20 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/22/2009
Posts: 4,200
Neurons: 164,996
Drag0nspeaker wrote:
How I understand this - the delusory (or illusory) "I" feels that the illusion that "I" exists is real.
This is not the same as me believing that I exist - that's a different illusion.

I think, therefore I am . . . at least, I think I am. Think

You know Drag0, I'm not sure whether you're being serious or not, I find both equally possible.

I do not think personal existence is an illusion at all, everything beyond the fundamental of I exist is, of course, to some extent debatable although I do not think practically so.

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
FounDit
Posted: Sunday, November 17, 2019 10:41:01 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/2011
Posts: 12,221
Neurons: 60,666
Epiphileon wrote:
FounDit wrote:
Epiphileon wrote:


Quote:
Of course, subjectively it is a given that consciousness would consider itself a thing that exists, and in a sense of course it does, but then illusions are real things as well.
To whom?
To the perceiver.

Quote:
They are not real in the sense that they do not reflect reality accurately.
Do not reflect reality to whom? What reality?
Again, to the one who perceives them and the model of reality that is built by the combined activity of the entire perceptual system including that of consciousness.

Quote:
The notion of consciousness existing as an independent aspect of mind in the same way that personality, intelligence, or emotion, exist is the illusion of consciousness.
How do you know that personality, intelligence, and emotional reactions are not all part of consciousness; that consciousness could not exist without them?
Because of the definitions of the first three, their evolutionary history, and as well as the numerous examples of those three operating in the absence of consciousness as was extensively discussed in the discussion of Julian Jaynes' book, although he is by far not the only source for that information.

How do you know that...consciousness could not exist without them?
It is extremely unlikely that human consciousness would exist without them as they are integral to the evolution of the structure of the brain, and the nature of mind. At the moment I do not seem to be able to imagine how consciousness would evolve in any entity that did not possess some sort of highly evolved and intensely complex central nervous system and that such a system would possess something analogous to those three characteristics of mind; however, that by no means indicates it is impossible particularly if at some point any conscious entities succeed in creating consciousness in a technology they develop.
I would agree however that some sort of intelligence would be a necessary condition for consciousness; however, that does not make it part of consciousness. Consciousness is a perception.

Quote:
Quote:
The fact of consciousness is that it is an ongoing process that is only happening now. The "me" that is comprised of the construct of my personality, intelligence, and emotion, is not the "I" of mind. That "I" is the awareness of me being the individual that I is aware of as a result of my personality, intelligence, and emotions.
It seems to me that "I" is the cumulative result of personality, intelligence, and emotional reactions. [I highlight emotional reactions, because I argue that we do not possess "emotions" per se, but simply have reactions to perceived circumstances, or thoughts, that we express in socially approved manners.]
Emotions whatever we choose to call them exist as a distinct function of the mind/brain. They stem from ancient nuclei of the brain that first existed in reptiles.
Personality, intelligence, and emotions are behavioral processes of the brain/mind, consciousness is a perception.

Quote:
It seems like a subtle distinction but nevertheless seems to be accurate and necessary to the understanding of consciousness.

Going back to this statement: Of course, subjectively it is a given that consciousness would consider itself a thing that exists, and in a sense of course it does, but then illusions are real things as well. If consciousness is an illusion, and illusions are real, then the idea of consciousness as a real thing is an illusion as well. But to whom is it real, or an illusion?

This seems to become a dog chasing its own tail. Since we have no reality other than that perceived by our minds, consciousness must be real. We have no choice but to accept this. If nothing is real, there would be no point in examining any of it for the simple reason we cannot know anything other than this experience.


I did not say that consciousness was unreal, I said that the notion that it is permanently generated behavior of the brain like other aspects of mentality is an illusion. Consciousness is only happening now, just like the act of hearing or seeing is only happening now. It is a perception existing only moment to moment as it happens.

If consciousness is only happening now, how to explain memory, or the emotional reactions to events or thoughts that occur at any given moment? It seems to me that consciousness must be an on-going experience that is permanently generated - continuously generated - in order for us to have personality, intelligence, and trained emotional responses, making each human unique. Otherwise, we would be simply like other animals, responding to, and behaving in accord with, environmental stimuli and instinct.


We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Sunday, November 17, 2019 11:11:30 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 33,153
Neurons: 207,936
Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Epiphileon wrote:
You know Drag0, I'm not sure whether you're being serious or not, I find both equally possible.

I do not think personal existence is an illusion at all, everything beyond the fundamental of I exist is, of course, to some extent debatable although I do not think practically so.

It was light-hearted - but 'with some truth'.

I really can't see that ME existing can be an illusion.

If personal existence is an illusion . . .
Someone has to experience that illusion - and that someone is me.
Therefore, I'm really existing and experiencing the illusion.
Therefore I really exist.
Therefore it's not an illusion.

A logical fallacy.

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Sarrriesfan
Posted: Sunday, November 17, 2019 5:47:17 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/30/2016
Posts: 1,551
Neurons: 9,915
Location: Luton, England, United Kingdom
FounDit wrote:
Epiphileon wrote:
FounDit wrote:
Epiphileon wrote:


Quote:
Of course, subjectively it is a given that consciousness would consider itself a thing that exists, and in a sense of course it does, but then illusions are real things as well.
To whom?
To the perceiver.

Quote:
They are not real in the sense that they do not reflect reality accurately.
Do not reflect reality to whom? What reality?
Again, to the one who perceives them and the model of reality that is built by the combined activity of the entire perceptual system including that of consciousness.

Quote:
The notion of consciousness existing as an independent aspect of mind in the same way that personality, intelligence, or emotion, exist is the illusion of consciousness.
How do you know that personality, intelligence, and emotional reactions are not all part of consciousness; that consciousness could not exist without them?
Because of the definitions of the first three, their evolutionary history, and as well as the numerous examples of those three operating in the absence of consciousness as was extensively discussed in the discussion of Julian Jaynes' book, although he is by far not the only source for that information.

How do you know that...consciousness could not exist without them?
It is extremely unlikely that human consciousness would exist without them as they are integral to the evolution of the structure of the brain, and the nature of mind. At the moment I do not seem to be able to imagine how consciousness would evolve in any entity that did not possess some sort of highly evolved and intensely complex central nervous system and that such a system would possess something analogous to those three characteristics of mind; however, that by no means indicates it is impossible particularly if at some point any conscious entities succeed in creating consciousness in a technology they develop.
I would agree however that some sort of intelligence would be a necessary condition for consciousness; however, that does not make it part of consciousness. Consciousness is a perception.

Quote:
Quote:
The fact of consciousness is that it is an ongoing process that is only happening now. The "me" that is comprised of the construct of my personality, intelligence, and emotion, is not the "I" of mind. That "I" is the awareness of me being the individual that I is aware of as a result of my personality, intelligence, and emotions.
It seems to me that "I" is the cumulative result of personality, intelligence, and emotional reactions. [I highlight emotional reactions, because I argue that we do not possess "emotions" per se, but simply have reactions to perceived circumstances, or thoughts, that we express in socially approved manners.]
Emotions whatever we choose to call them exist as a distinct function of the mind/brain. They stem from ancient nuclei of the brain that first existed in reptiles.
Personality, intelligence, and emotions are behavioral processes of the brain/mind, consciousness is a perception.

Quote:
It seems like a subtle distinction but nevertheless seems to be accurate and necessary to the understanding of consciousness.

Going back to this statement: Of course, subjectively it is a given that consciousness would consider itself a thing that exists, and in a sense of course it does, but then illusions are real things as well. If consciousness is an illusion, and illusions are real, then the idea of consciousness as a real thing is an illusion as well. But to whom is it real, or an illusion?

This seems to become a dog chasing its own tail. Since we have no reality other than that perceived by our minds, consciousness must be real. We have no choice but to accept this. If nothing is real, there would be no point in examining any of it for the simple reason we cannot know anything other than this experience.


I did not say that consciousness was unreal, I said that the notion that it is permanently generated behavior of the brain like other aspects of mentality is an illusion. Consciousness is only happening now, just like the act of hearing or seeing is only happening now. It is a perception existing only moment to moment as it happens.

If consciousness is only happening now, how to explain memory, or the emotional reactions to events or thoughts that occur at any given moment? It seems to me that consciousness must be an on-going experience that is permanently generated - continuously generated - in order for us to have personality, intelligence, and trained emotional responses, making each human unique. Otherwise, we would be simply like other animals, responding to, and behaving in accord with, environmental stimuli and instinct.


FD I know we disagree on a few things, but here I agree with you.

I lack the imagination for a witty signature.
Epiphileon
Posted: Monday, November 18, 2019 3:59:54 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/22/2009
Posts: 4,200
Neurons: 164,996
FounDit wrote:

If consciousness is only happening now, how to explain memory, or the emotional reactions to events or thoughts that occur at any given moment? It seems to me that consciousness must be an on-going experience that is permanently generated - continuously generated - in order for us to have personality, intelligence, and trained emotional responses, making each human unique. Otherwise, we would be simply like other animals, responding to, and behaving in accord with, environmental stimuli and instinct.

We have personality, intelligence, and emotions, independent of consciousness as I said we discussed that extensively in the discussion of Jaynes' book on the origin of consciousness.
Consciousness is our moment to moment experience of the awareness of experience; it is a perception and it is not continuous even throughout one day. This was an observation extensively discussed here in the past. It is a perception and as we move through time consciousness is there in the moment. Consciousness can be aware of things like memory, but consciousness is an incredibly small part of the mental activity that leads to behavior, in fact in the moment it is nearly certain that consciousness plays no part in immediate behavior. How could it? How could it be aware of what you do before you do it? If consciousness plays a role in determining behavior, or to put it in the philosophy of free will terms, if it imparts any agency to us it is in its, perhaps, ability to guide attention towards learning new strategies that are then employed by the brain/mind in determining future behavior.

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
Epiphileon
Posted: Monday, November 18, 2019 4:04:32 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/22/2009
Posts: 4,200
Neurons: 164,996
Drag0nspeaker wrote:


I really can't see that ME existing can be an illusion.

Yes absolutely I agree, what I am saying is an illusion is that consciousness is who we are. Consciousness is only the awareness of who we are. Who we are is a construct of the interplay of our personality, intelligence, and emotions.

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
FounDit
Posted: Monday, November 18, 2019 10:03:28 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/2011
Posts: 12,221
Neurons: 60,666



In our discussion on the Origin of Consciousness, I first thought that before we could examine its origin, we first had to define what consciousness is.

I defined it like this on Oct. 19, 2011:
FounDit wrote:
“Consciousness is the property of the imagination that conveys a sense of an awareness of a "self" within a body, a self-aware life force. Consciousness = "I" = "Will" = "Decision Making".

The difference between what others see of us and our sense of our inner selves is a result of all that we have experienced since the womb. Every sound, light, touch, smell, etc. has influenced us, shaped us, molded us into the unique individual we are today. No two of us are identical because of this. This is because no two of us would respond in exactly the same way to an identical stimulus. Reactions, or responses if you like, are the "deep feelings" that imprint upon the brain and cause it to retain the memories.

All of this molding has been cumulatively fashioning a creature that understands the idea of self inside a body. We then look out at other bodies and understand that they, too, possess a self inside that body, that while similar, is unique also.”


I question your idea that

“The notion of consciousness existing as an independent aspect of mind in the same way that personality, intelligence, or emotion, exist is the illusion of consciousness.

The fact of consciousness is that it is an ongoing process that is only happening now. The "me" that is comprised of the construct of my personality, intelligence, and emotion, is not the "I" of mind. That "I" is the awareness of me being the individual that I is aware of as a result of my personality, intelligence, and emotions.”

You say consciousness existing as an independent aspect, in the same way as personality, intelligence, or emotion exist, is an illusion, yet you then say the “I” that is the awareness of yourself is a result of your personality, intelligence, and emotions – that the “I” that is aware, is not the “me” that is made up of those very things. That’s a bit confusing to my mind. [Emphasis mine]

I don’t see how the “I” and the “me” can be two separate things. In fact, all of these things, personality, intelligence, and emotions, exist because of one feature of a human being – Imagination.

This was the target I was aiming for when I ask you the “to whom” and “what reality” questions early on. What, and who is doing the perceiving? How is it possible to engage in the kind of perception we are capable of?

Many creatures can perceive things such as food, danger/threats, and similar creatures. They are capable of memory, of storing images and experiences in their minds and recalling those images and experiences. But none we are aware of can manipulate those images; create new images from them based on desires projected into the short and long-term future.

So it seems to me that this special feature of humans, imagination, is the sole repository of consciousness. In fact, imagination may be consciousness . I tend to think so. Only with imagination can we conceive of, or perceive ourselves to be, an entity inside a body looking outward. And it is imagination that permits us to have intelligence, a unique personality, and emotional reactions.

Where that resides is the question that seems to be paramount. And the prefrontal cortex seems to be the logical site. But it seemingly draws its abilities from every other part of the brain, along with some mysterious and not readily understood function no other creature is capable of.

That it is tied to the brain is without doubt since if the brain is injured, particularly the prefrontal cortex, and the ability to imagine is damaged, the intelligence, personality, and emotional responses are altered also.

This being the case, it seems to me that personality, intelligence and emotional responses are all part of imagination, and imagination is all of those together. And all of those are also what we call consciousness. Imagination is consciousness. Consciousness is imagination.








We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
Epiphileon
Posted: Sunday, November 24, 2019 3:34:02 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/22/2009
Posts: 4,200
Neurons: 164,996
FounDit wrote:



In our discussion on the Origin of Consciousness, I first thought that before we could examine its origin, we first had to define what consciousness is.

I defined it like this on Oct. 19, 2011:
FounDit wrote:
“Consciousness is the property of the imagination that conveys a sense of an awareness of a "self" within a body, a self-aware life force. Consciousness = "I" = "Will" = "Decision Making".

I'm a bit surprised I let this pass without comment, at the time I was probably more concerned with getting the discussion going. There are a number of problems with this definition.
One of the things that was clearly established in Jaynes' book is that consciousness is not necessary for decision making so it cannot be the agent of decision making. To what degree consciousness may affect decision making is an entirely different conversation.
You can if you wish arbitrarily define consciousness anyway you want to; however, if you wish to discuss it in any kind of productive manner it is necessary that discussion participants share the same definition. I do not know on what basis you make the claim that imagination is the cause of consciousness but it does have major problems it would seem to me circularity being the foremost. Awareness cannot be "conveyed" awareness is or isn't and while we are aware of imagination if imagination is consciousness, what is aware of it?
Imagination is a cognitive ability related to problem-solving and you can see it at work in other animals that are not considered to have human-level consciousness.

FounDit wrote:
The difference between what others see of us and our sense of our inner selves is a result of all that we have experienced since the womb. Every sound, light, touch, smell, etc. has influenced us, shaped us, molded us into the unique individual we are today. No two of us are identical because of this.

This is not accurate as it is only half the story, the other half is the individual differences in personality, intelligence, and limbic system response mechanisms(emotions) that were genetically imbued to us by or progenitors.
FounDit wrote:
I question your idea that
“The notion of consciousness existing as an independent aspect of mind in the same way that personality, intelligence, or emotion, exist is the illusion of consciousness.

The fact of consciousness is that it is an ongoing process that is only happening now. The "me" that is comprised of the construct of my personality, intelligence, and emotion, is not the "I" of mind. That "I" is the awareness of me being the individual that I is aware of as a result of my personality, intelligence, and emotions.”

You say consciousness existing as an independent aspect, in the same way as personality, intelligence, or emotion exist, is an illusion, yet you then say the “I” that is the awareness of yourself is a result of your personality, intelligence, and emotions – that the “I” that is aware, is not the “me” that is made up of those very things. That’s a bit confusing to my mind. [Emphasis mine]

No, I said that the individual that the I is aware of is the me which is composed of personality, intelligence, and emotions.
FounDit wrote:
I don’t see how the “I” and the “me” can be two separate things. In fact, all of these things, personality, intelligence, and emotions, exist because of one feature of a human being – Imagination.



This was the target I was aiming for when I ask you the “to whom” and “what reality” questions early on. What, and who is doing the perceiving? How is it possible to engage in the kind of perception we are capable of?

Many creatures can perceive things such as food, danger/threats, and similar creatures. They are capable of memory, of storing images and experiences in their minds and recalling those images and experiences. But none we are aware of can manipulate those images; create new images from them based on desires projected into the short and long-term future.
Apes and even crows have demonstrated problem-solving abilities that require the ability to anticipate an outcome.
So it seems to me that this special feature of humans, imagination, is the sole repository of consciousness. In fact, imagination may be consciousness . I tend to think so. Only with imagination can we conceive of, or perceive ourselves to be, an entity inside a body looking outward. And it is imagination that permits us to have intelligence, a unique personality, and emotional reactions.

Where that resides is the question that seems to be paramount. And the prefrontal cortex seems to be the logical site. But it seemingly draws its abilities from every other part of the brain, along with some mysterious and not readily understood function no other creature is capable of.

That it is tied to the brain is without doubt since if the brain is injured, particularly the prefrontal cortex, and the ability to imagine is damaged, the intelligence, personality, and emotional responses are altered also.

This being the case, it seems to me that personality, intelligence and emotional responses are all part of imagination, and imagination is all of those together. And all of those are also what we call consciousness. Imagination is consciousness. Consciousness is imagination. [/color]


We have personality, intelligence, and emotions because they are evolutionarily developed characteristics of the brain/mind of modern humans some of which have their origins over 500 million years ago. There is not a single mammal that does not possess these three characteristics to some level.

FounDit wrote:
This was the target I was aiming for when I ask you the “to whom” and “what reality” questions early on. What, and who is doing the perceiving? How is it possible to engage in the kind of perception we are capable of?

No one, there is no circularity, there is me and only me, what I'm saying is that the "I" we refer to is the awareness of that me. Like I said the distinction is subtle and completely counter-intuitive but nevertheless given the nature of mind evolutionarily, physiologically, and behaviorally, the conclusion is, it seems, inevitable.



Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
FounDit
Posted: Sunday, November 24, 2019 11:04:37 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/2011
Posts: 12,221
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Epiphileon wrote:
FounDit wrote:



In our discussion on the Origin of Consciousness, I first thought that before we could examine its origin, we first had to define what consciousness is.

I defined it like this on Oct. 19, 2011:
FounDit wrote:
“Consciousness is the property of the imagination that conveys a sense of an awareness of a "self" within a body, a self-aware life force. Consciousness = "I" = "Will" = "Decision Making".

I'm a bit surprised I let this pass without comment, at the time I was probably more concerned with getting the discussion going. There are a number of problems with this definition.
One of the things that was clearly established in Jaynes' book is that consciousness is not necessary for decision making so it cannot be the agent of decision making. To what degree consciousness may affect decision making is an entirely different conversation.
You can if you wish arbitrarily define consciousness anyway you want to; however, if you wish to discuss it in any kind of productive manner it is necessary that discussion participants share the same definition. Well, we have in our discussions, always defined it as the sense of being aware of an "I" within a body that understands that condition.
I do not know on what basis you make the claim that imagination is the cause of consciousness but it does have major problems it would seem to me circularity being the foremost. I don't say imagination is the cause of consciousness. It seems to me that imagination is consciousness. Imagination is the ability to see the "I" looking out from inside a body and being aware of itself.
Awareness cannot be "conveyed" awareness is or isn't and while we are aware of imagination if imagination is consciousness, what is aware of it?
Itself. I and Me are the same awareness. There can not be two.

Imagination is a cognitive ability related to problem-solving and you can see it at work in other animals that are not considered to have human-level consciousness.
Not at the same level as is demonstrated in humans, unless you say they have the same awareness of an "I" within a body as we have.

FounDit wrote:
The difference between what others see of us and our sense of our inner selves is a result of all that we have experienced since the womb. Every sound, light, touch, smell, etc. has influenced us, shaped us, molded us into the unique individual we are today. No two of us are identical because of this.

This is not accurate as it is only half the story, the other half is the individual differences in personality, intelligence, and limbic system response mechanisms(emotions) that were genetically imbued to us by or progenitors.You just repeated what I stated. The differences between us are those very things both of us just mentioned, just in different words.

FounDit wrote:
I question your idea that
“The notion of consciousness existing as an independent aspect of mind in the same way that personality, intelligence, or emotion, exist is the illusion of consciousness.

The fact of consciousness is that it is an ongoing process that is only happening now. The "me" that is comprised of the construct of my personality, intelligence, and emotion, is not the "I" of mind. That "I" is the awareness of me being the individual that I is aware of as a result of my personality, intelligence, and emotions.”

You say consciousness existing as an independent aspect, in the same way as personality, intelligence, or emotion exist, is an illusion, yet you then say the “I” that is the awareness of yourself is a result of your personality, intelligence, and emotions – that the “I” that is aware, is not the “me” that is made up of those very things. That’s a bit confusing to my mind. [Emphasis mine]

No, I said that the individual that the I is aware of is the me which is composed of personality, intelligence, and emotions.Not quite true. Just above you said, "The "me" that is comprised of the construct of my personality, intelligence, and emotion, is not the "I" of mind. I and Me are the same person. What defines "I" is the same qualities that defines "Me". How can they be different? "I" cannot be a different entity from "Me".

FounDit wrote:
I don’t see how the “I” and the “me” can be two separate things. In fact, all of these things, personality, intelligence, and emotions, exist because of one feature of a human being – Imagination.



This was the target I was aiming for when I ask you the “to whom” and “what reality” questions early on. What, and who is doing the perceiving? How is it possible to engage in the kind of perception we are capable of?

Many creatures can perceive things such as food, danger/threats, and similar creatures. They are capable of memory, of storing images and experiences in their minds and recalling those images and experiences. But none we are aware of can manipulate those images; create new images from them based on desires projected into the short and long-term future.
Apes and even crows have demonstrated problem-solving abilities that require the ability to anticipate an outcome.But rudimentary problem solving isn't the same thing as being aware of an "I" inside a body. I grant that other animals have memory and can learn from experience and watching others, but that is not the same thing as what a human is capable of doing. We have an ability no other can match.

So it seems to me that this special feature of humans, imagination, is the sole repository of consciousness. In fact, imagination may be consciousness . I tend to think so. Only with imagination can we conceive of, or perceive ourselves to be, an entity inside a body looking outward. And it is imagination that permits us to have intelligence, a unique personality, and emotional reactions.

Where that resides is the question that seems to be paramount. And the prefrontal cortex seems to be the logical site. But it seemingly draws its abilities from every other part of the brain, along with some mysterious and not readily understood function no other creature is capable of.

That it is tied to the brain is without doubt since if the brain is injured, particularly the prefrontal cortex, and the ability to imagine is damaged, the intelligence, personality, and emotional responses are altered also.

This being the case, it seems to me that personality, intelligence and emotional responses are all part of imagination, and imagination is all of those together. And all of those are also what we call consciousness. Imagination is consciousness. Consciousness is imagination. [/color]


We have personality, intelligence, and emotions because they are evolutionarily developed characteristics of the brain/mind of modern humans some of which have their origins over 500 million years ago. There is not a single mammal that does not possess these three characteristics to some level.But not to the level we have them. That is the point, and the difference between us and them. We see no evidence they have the capacity for an "I" or "Me" awareness such as we have. Therefore, they do not have consciousness as we have it. They show neither the ability to communicate, nor the ability to construct as we can using imagination/consciousness.


FounDit wrote:
This was the target I was aiming for when I ask you the “to whom” and “what reality” questions early on. What, and who is doing the perceiving? How is it possible to engage in the kind of perception we are capable of?

No one, there is no circularity, there is me and only me, what I'm saying is that the "I" we refer to is the awareness of that me. "I" is awareness of a "self", of "Me", different and separate from others who are also aware of their own "self". And "I" being aware of "me" is the same person. "Me" is just another name for "I". Neither can be an illusion since both are the same awareness of existence.
Like I said the distinction is subtle and completely counter-intuitive but nevertheless given the nature of mind evolutionarily, physiologically, and behaviorally, the conclusion is, it seems, inevitable.
What is inevitable, that "I" and "Me" are different? I don't see how that is possible.



We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
Epiphileon
Posted: Monday, November 25, 2019 3:52:29 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/22/2009
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FounDit wrote:
What is inevitable, that "I" and "Me" are different? I don't see how that is possible.


Awareness is just that awareness, it is a perception. When we are aware of something we do not become the thing, nor do we have to be the thing in order to be aware of it. Look at the screen that you're reading this message on. You are aware of it, you are not it.

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
FounDit
Posted: Monday, November 25, 2019 11:42:21 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/2011
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Epiphileon wrote:
FounDit wrote:
What is inevitable, that "I" and "Me" are different? I don't see how that is possible.


Awareness is just that awareness, it is a perception. When we are aware of something we do not become the thing, nor do we have to be the thing in order to be aware of it. Look at the screen that you're reading this message on. You are aware of it, you are not it.


But the screen can not perceive. I can. So what, or who, is doing the perceiving? I am...me. I perceive that "I" am an entity within a body.

The entity that is this mind is capable of perceiving itself and calling itself "me" or "I". I am both the perceiver and the perceived. I recognize myself, the "me" inside this body - Self-recognition.

Since the perceiver and the perceived are both inside the same body, both must be the same thing. I perceive no other entity inside this mind.




We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
Epiphileon
Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2019 4:01:28 AM

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Joined: 3/22/2009
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FounDit wrote:
Epiphileon wrote:
FounDit wrote:
What is inevitable, that "I" and "Me" are different? I don't see how that is possible.


Awareness is just that awareness, it is a perception. When we are aware of something we do not become the thing, nor do we have to be the thing in order to be aware of it. Look at the screen that you're reading this message on. You are aware of it, you are not it.


But the screen can not perceive. I can. So what, or who, is doing the perceiving? I am...me. I perceive that "I" am an entity within a body.

The entity that is this mind is capable of perceiving itself and calling itself "me" or "I". I am both the perceiver and the perceived. I recognize myself, the "me" inside this body - Self-recognition.

Since the perceiver and the perceived are both inside the same body, both must be the same thing. I perceive no other entity inside this mind.


The language is definitely problematic, of course, I and me refer to the same person; however, there doesn't seem to be any way around that. No there is no one else in your head, there is only you and the awareness of you.

If you want to examine the nature of consciousness you must leave common usage of the language behind and realize that without coming up with obtuse neologisms we are stuck with what we have.

So if we ask what is it that composes each of us as an individual? The answer is the interplay of personality, intelligence, and emotions, and how they have been shaped by life's experiences. There is no need for consciousness in that description. Does it affect the operation of those three? Well offhand I would say most likely yes but, that is an entirely different discussion that could only be had once this point is settled.

To reiterate I and me absolutely refer to the same person, so in that sense, the percieved is the perceiver and it is as intimate of a perception that is possible; however, that does not make them the same thing, that would be an impossibility. That's why there are two words.

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
GregoryV
Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2019 9:38:57 AM
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Joined: 10/8/2019
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Neurons: 25
Very useful. Thanks.
FounDit
Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2019 3:29:26 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/2011
Posts: 12,221
Neurons: 60,666
Epiphileon wrote:
FounDit wrote:
Epiphileon wrote:
FounDit wrote:
What is inevitable, that "I" and "Me" are different? I don't see how that is possible.


Awareness is just that awareness, it is a perception. When we are aware of something we do not become the thing, nor do we have to be the thing in order to be aware of it. Look at the screen that you're reading this message on. You are aware of it, you are not it.


But the screen can not perceive. I can. So what, or who, is doing the perceiving? I am...me. I perceive that "I" am an entity within a body.

The entity that is this mind is capable of perceiving itself and calling itself "me" or "I". I am both the perceiver and the perceived. I recognize myself, the "me" inside this body - Self-recognition.

Since the perceiver and the perceived are both inside the same body, both must be the same thing. I perceive no other entity inside this mind.


The language is definitely problematic, of course, I and me refer to the same person; however, there doesn't seem to be any way around that. No there is no one else in your head, there is only you and the awareness of you.

If you want to examine the nature of consciousness you must leave common usage of the language behind and realize that without coming up with obtuse neologisms we are stuck with what we have.

So if we ask what is it that composes each of us as an individual? The answer is the interplay of personality, intelligence, and emotions, and how they have been shaped by life's experiences. There is no need for consciousness in that description.

That makes no sense to me. You said in your OP that
” The "me" that is comprised of the construct of my personality, intelligence, and emotion, is not the "I" of mind. That "I" is the awareness of me being the individual that I is aware of as a result of my personality, intelligence, and emotions. “
This seems to say that the “I” of the mind doesn’t exist until personality, intelligence and emotions have all been established. But since that is illogical, then the “I” of the mind must have been present and developing all along that journey, being created and shaped as the personality, intelligence and the emotions were experienced and developed.

For that to have happened, there had to be an ability to conceive, to perceive, and to “see” the self as it was developing. In other words, we are able to “see” the “I/Me” of the mind as it grows throughout life.

My argument is that the ability that permitted that to happen is imagination; the ability to hold images in our minds, to manipulate those images, and form/create an image of self. Without the “I”, there can be no personality. Without the “I”, there can not be intelligence, and without the “I”, there could be no emotional responses to stimuli.

Does it affect the operation of those three? Well offhand I would say most likely yes but, that is an entirely different discussion that could only be had once this point is settled. I would argue that “I” doesn’t affect all three, but in point of fact, “I” is an amalgam of all three.


To reiterate I and me absolutely refer to the same person, so in that sense, the percieved is the perceiver and it is as intimate of a perception that is possible; however, that does not make them the same thing, that would be an impossibility. That's why there are two words.
That seems like a contradiction to me. If “I” and “Me” are the same person and the perceived is the perceiver, then saying they are not the same thing makes no logical sense.

The two words, “I” and “Me” simply refer to actions relative to the self. “I” initiate actions upon my body and upon the external world around it, but actions initiated towards my body, and those that affect the internal self, are actions that affect “Me”. Two words that refer to the same entity.

“I” IS “Me”, and that entity is the image I hold in my mind, created by the quality and activity of, the characteristic trait we call imagination, and IS an amalgam of everything I have experienced since my brain was capable of receiving input via my senses.



We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
FounDit
Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2019 3:00:03 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/2011
Posts: 12,221
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I found this interesting.

As I ponder consciousness and the imagination that makes it possible, I wonder if this parallel processing and “deep learning” is how the brain creates these two abilities. I still find it fascinating to contemplate the idea that a group of biological units (neuronal cells) can form an image in the mind.

Since everything in the brain/mind is made up of chemicals, it is beyond understanding how these can accomplish the things they do, yet here we are, confronted with that fact every minute of existence. Fascinating.

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/why-is-the-human-brain-so-efficient

Quote from the article:

“The principles of parallel processing and use-dependent modification of connection strength have both been incorporated into modern computers. For example, increased parallelism, such as the use of multiple processors (cores) in a single computer, is a current trend in computer design. As another example, “deep learning” in the discipline of machine learning and artificial intelligence, which has enjoyed great success in recent years and accounts for rapid advances in object and speech recognition in computers and mobile devices, was inspired by findings of the mammalian visual system.8 As in the mammalian visual system, deep learning employs multiple layers to represent increasingly abstract features (e.g., of visual object or speech), and the weights of connections between different layers are adjusted through learning rather than designed by engineers.”



We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
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