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Orbit

The Importance of the "Hard Problem of Consciousness"

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6 hours ago, florduh said:

 

Is there any evidence to support that claim? Can I claim that plants and even rocks have consciousness as well?

Of course they do!! It even says so in the bible. ''Even the rocks will cry out''!! Rocks are just slowed down molecules into a total solid state so they're really stuck.   Although I swear the rock outside my house told me to fuck off the other day when I walked past it.😲

 

And I danced naked past my plants today and they laughed at me by wilting!! 😜

 

OK. Just trying' to be funny here today.......🙃

 

You gotta believe in panpsychism ("mind is everywhere") 

https://boingboing.net/2017/08/23/everything-even-a-rock-has-s.html

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Levity aside, the question of where "consciousness" begins is an interesting one. If it's the simple ability to react and respond to environment, plants have consciousness. But that kind of consciousness isn't very advanced. Animals are self-aware, which is consciousness--chimps are at the mental level approximating a two-year old. But two year olds can be pretty impressive. But does a two year old engage in any kind of reasoning that we would say counts--most of us would call it rudimentary. I think it makes the most sense to say that consciousness is a spectrum. Humans probably think we're the pinnacle of consciousness but we probably aren't. I could talk about some DMT-induced forays into the perception of consciousness itself, but that probably wouldn't be helpful. Nevertheless, I find it a fascinating topic.

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6 minutes ago, Orbit said:

I think it makes the most sense to say that consciousness is a spectrum. Humans probably think we're the pinnacle of consciousness but we probably aren't.

 

This summarizes the thrust of all the points made in the video interviews. Very interesting stuff. 

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10 hours ago, Orbit said:

 I think it makes the most sense to say that consciousness is a spectrum. 

I agree completely. For instance I have read articles that plants and trees do not have a 'brain' as such.. but get their signals  from the roots of the earth, so the earth itself is acting as 'the brain'. If it's got a brain and blood you can be sure that there is a consciousness within.. but to different degrees. Everything is made up of the elements of the stars. Most of the elements that everything is made from, (blood and rock) comes from the evolution of billions of years of stars living and dying and passing the elements for life on to everything including the earth itself. The elements are alive. So is the earth itself conscious because the earth itself is made up from dying stars? Some say yes.

 

I also find this topic fascinating. And no, for those who are looking for hard core evidence, you won't find it because the study of consciousnesses will go on for a long, long time. It is a completely complex topic and study. Lots of things including science are still speculations until they are 100% proven and that hasn't happened yet.

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To take all of the content of the thread so far into consideration: 

 

It looks to me like the "consciousness spectrum" seems to be the frontier ahead for science. With Hoffman working on mathematically precise formula's, Radin running all variety of tests, and Surprise working out the animal sense of awareness could have informed the human evolutionary process and early man, they are making it a scientific issue.

 

The "consciousness spectrum" suggests that primitive forms of awareness (which are increasingly simple as you down scale) can be recognized down to sub atomic particle levels. Something like the awareness of distance and location between particles in space through energy / wave based interaction between particles - would be an example of how something like this would work that far down scale. No thoughts by particles. No thinking by particles. But an awareness in existence at every possible level of any experience of any type. I don't know where this will go for the scientists working on the "consciousness spectrum" front, but it's as interesting to me as the frontier of cosmology or any other big scientific issue. 

 

If this is correct, then we exist in a universe that for all intensive purposes has no beginning, so to speak. We have threads in the Den about that. Cataloging the details that go into the issue. Those who have tried to fix a beginning have failed, been falsified. Apologist's who have tried to use science to try and fix a beginning have failed in like fashion. Instead we're facing an existence in a universe where existence itself can not be alleged any fixed beginning. There's a very literal, eternal aspect to existence itself which is not easily hand wave dismissed or refuted, by any one. Scientist, philosopher, theologian or otherwise. That all ties in to this business about awareness in very obvious ways. 

 

Because if existence itself is eternal, and awareness is something which is inherent within the scheme of mere existence, then an inherent awareness factor interconnected with existence itself would be necessarily eternal in scope - in the exact way that existence itself is eternal in scope and depth. The two, mere existence and inherent spectral awareness (shall we say) come as an interconnected unity existing hand in hand.

 

Years ago I was starting to get a glimpse of this possibility from reading Joseph Campbell and Alan Watts. But the content was never taken down to these levels of consideration. Nonetheless, the over all situation is the same. When Campbell was noticing how raw protoplasm behaves, his thoughts were that energy and consciousness may be two aspects of the same thing. And in this focus, that would be correct. Because energy and awareness would be interconnected aspects of existence itself. He would have been noticing something fundamental about existence itself, through the satori concerning how raw protoplasm behaves. Alan Watts often pointed out that we are merely the fabric and structure of existence itself, as our deepest identity. These two thoughts run parallel and are interconnected according to this line of reasoning and focus. 

 

The scientific, theoretical and philosophical issue here is when did existence begin? Did it just pop up out of non-existence? There are deep problems involved in the non-existence route. I've watched people fail one after the next while trying to argue it. Hawking was falsified along the way while trying to fix a beginning to the universe. Everything tends to point towards an unbroken, past eternal (pardon my terminology) type of existence that can likely never be fixed an absolute beginning. 

 

The same issue is before us concerning spectral awareness. Did it just pop into existence all of a sudden without any previous existence? That summarizes the opening post and the questions posed. And these two questions about existence and awareness seem to run together. If existence can not be fixed a firm beginning, then I don't see how awareness taking place within the scheme of existence can be fixed a firm beginning either. Both seem necessarily past eternal , and interconnected from this angle. As in existence will always exist in one form or another, and awareness will always exist in one form or another as long as existence itself, exists. This seems to be where philosophy, spirituality and science all intersect and merge. Maybe I'm dead wrong. But this seems much more likely than just fanciful speculation in my opinion. It seems like the simplest explanation is that awareness in it's various, spectral oriented forms, has always been and will always be. And that's why it becomes nonsensical to look at conscious as something magically appeared out of nowhere, with no prior basis for it's existence. 

 

 

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This book talks about precisely how a universe could arise from nothing: https://www.amazon.com/Universe-Nothing-There-Something-Rather/dp/1451624468/ref=sr_1_1?crid=139BNFA18ZVI1&keywords=a+universe+from+nothing+by+lawrence+krauss&qid=1571586707&sprefix=a+universe%2Caps%2C196&sr=8-1

 

You might find it interesting. He does it from the perspective of physics; not much about consciousness in there but a good read on how the universe could have sprung from nothing.

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6 hours ago, Orbit said:

This book talks about precisely how a universe could arise from nothing: https://www.amazon.com/Universe-Nothing-There-Something-Rather/dp/1451624468/ref=sr_1_1?crid=139BNFA18ZVI1&keywords=a+universe+from+nothing+by+lawrence+krauss&qid=1571586707&sprefix=a+universe%2Caps%2C196&sr=8-1

 

You might find it interesting. He does it from the perspective of physics; not much about consciousness in there but a good read on how the universe could have sprung from nothing.

 

I'll have to check it out because we have a topic about this going at the moment in the debate section: 

 

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Oh, I see it's Krauss. We did cover that. When most physicist's refer to something coming from nothing, the term nothing is just a figure of speech. The formula's they are proposing turn out to be something coming from something after all. Like sub atomic particles bursting into existence. They didn't come from a literal, or absolute nothing. There's a few pages about this in the other thread. 

 

So what we wind up with is a situation where the source material is eternal. Or some factor involved is necessarily eternal. The something, which is referred to as nothing, goes back. Roger Penrose, in debate with William Lane Craig proposed that the big bang is likely a recurring event, one that had a previous existence behind it and one which will likely occur again in the distant future. 

 

 

I'm going leave citation to both of these debate topics here, because both are relevant to the thoughts that I was having previously and tying it all together. I'm taking the main content of these two issues and then applying the content to this thread on the importance of the hard problem and the idea of a "spectrum of consciousness." Because as I was saying earlier, they all seem to meet and merge. 

 

Basically, we have a situation where (1) something comes from something and (2) Hawking and Penrose's fixed beginning of the universe proposal has been falsified by confirmation of a positive cosmological constant. Penrose now thinks that the big bang is not a one off event, but something that naturally happens in series (that's in the video debate in the above citation). Basically, this is where I get the ideas behind my last big post. 

 

If I add the content of Hoffman, Radin and Surprise to this, the situation opens up into how fundamental consciousness or awareness is to existence itself. I've heard these claims and allegations from way back but never understood how it would all work. But it seems very clear now. It's not exactly what the Hindu's have been saying all along, but it's close. Very close. There seems to be awareness inherent in all aspects of existence. It's not Brahman, not literally a deity, but there does seem to be a fundamental level awareness interconnected into the existence of anything. So it looks to me as though Hindu mythology is at least partially right. 

 

I had a PM going with Deepok Chopra years ago and I was using the handle, "tat tvam asi." He really liked the handle due it's meaning in Advaita Vedanta. It's states, "you are that." You are existence - consciousness itself. You are consciousness, you are the transcendent. How that may be correct eluded me at the time. But to Chopra it was just a given. I understood how it applied to existence, but I had yet to figure out how or why it also applies to the spectrum of consciousness. It wasn't clear how existence and awareness could be necessarily interconnected and inseparable. But now I'm beginning to see it. It requires moving away from thinking in terms of human consciousness and seeing a spectrum of awareness.

 

I don't see how human memories or experience would survive the grave. But I do see how the universe can function with a spectrum of awareness inherent in the existence of anything. Human consciousness, thoughts, feelings, ego, etc., etc., is merely one variety of awareness in a huge spectrum of interactions taking place throughout existence. And I wouldn't expect the universe as a whole to be something akin to a human mind. As in Pansychism. But these other alternatives may turn out to be true. 

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