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What is the Collective Unconscious exactly?

I read about 3/4's of Jungs collective works on this subject. I had to put it down. I was left baffled. While reading the book I got the impression the Collective Unconscious was some sort of reservoir of ancient myths and memories we all carry in our deep subconscious, which historically repeat themselves, in the forms of stories, and people. I understand the bare bones interpretation and applicable theory: that all our psyches are molded from a sort of blueprint, a psychological structure if you will, which everyone is born with. This blueprint being separate from our personal psyches which develop with experience, but just as pervasive in our everyday experience. Am I getting close to the mark here?

I would also like to discuss Jung's beliefs and interpretations, as well as anyone elses.

- Individuation.
- Archetypes.
- Synchronicity.
- The unconscious. Is it something we all have in common or something we all share? As in one collective unconscious, as opposed to many of the same unconsciouses.

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    Jul 9 2013: Jung was fantastically intuitive, however was very confused in categorizing his experience and ideas. I would not bother to interpret his labeling… He was absolutely outstanding in describing his intuitive mind and the facts when he was true to his own experience.

    I trust that whatever we imagine as "collective" we believe that it is floating somewhere outside our personal minds...

    These presumable states are simply presumable ideas and can exist only as ideas in each of our mind - they do not really exist "out there" on their own.

    Symbols as we interpret them cannot exist anywhere but in our imagination. We use symbols, language, special terminology, numbers, for sharing our personal imagination and experience with others by abstracting that personal experience. Categories, symbols, languages or numbers is not real experience.

    When we manufacture shoes almost none of them can perfectly feet a real person. So are our categorizations and ideas. They must be interpreted and adjusted to one's reality, or they mean nothing. Jung, when he writes honestly about his very personal self he is a genius psychologist.
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    Jul 14 2013: I his book "Memories, Dreams, Reflections", Jung expresses great difficulty he had in reconciling his scientific work with the vital personal and experiential work necessary in studying the unconscious. This concentrated study of the personal and the collective unconscious subsequently led to him to be:

    "...utterly incapable of reading a scientific book. This went on for three years. I felt I could no longer keep up with the world of the intellect..."

    This is perhaps indicative of the gulf of understanding that exists between what can be obviously and scientifically evidenced, and that which can only be experienced - and that therefore, attempting a scientific understanding of the collective unconscious is impossible.

    Some of Jung's theories are difficult to grasp, and if it what he says doesn't respond to the scientific method, it gets dismissed as rubbish.

    Despite seeming unreal, I think Jung is right about the collective unconscious being inherited, ancestral, and full of archetypes and instinct. How else do we instinctively know how to do things and respond appropriately to external stimuli without being taught by anyone at all?
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      Jul 15 2013: re: "which can only be experienced "

      Might it be just as impossible to experience it?
      If we are to speculate about Jung's ideas let's do so with respect to how it might have benefit of recent revelations in science.

      re: "if it what he says doesn't respond to the scientific method, it gets dismissed as rubbish."

      Not "rubbish" just unsubtantiated conjectures. Who ever said "rubbish?"

      re: "How else do we instinctively know how to do things and respond appropriately to external stimuli without being taught by anyone at all?"

      Example please?
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        Jul 15 2013: "Not "rubbish" just unsubtantiated conjectures. Who ever said "rubbish?"

        Scroll down five or six comments.

        "If we are to speculate about Jung's ideas let's do so with respect to how it might have benefit of recent revelations in science."

        Experience is not science.

        "Example please?"

        We are full of instincts, as are all other animals. An infant instinctively knows how to suckle a breast, and a mother has "built in" maternal instincts. A bird instinctively knows how to fly...

        These things are not taught. They are buried deep inside in the unconscious as collective knowledge, completely removed from the intellect.
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          Jul 15 2013: re: They are buried deep inside in the unconscious as collective knowledge, completely removed from the intellect.

          Metaphorical sounding but nothing is "buried deep inside" It must reside somewhere, perhaps in the brain.
          In Information Behavior: An Evolutionary Instinct (2010, pp. 35–42), Amanda Spink notes that "currently in the behavioral sciences instinct is generally understood as the innate part of behavior that emerges without any training or education in humans." She claims that the viewpoint that information behavior has an instinctive basis is grounded in the latest thinking on human behavior. Furthermore, she notes that "behaviors such as cooperation, sexual behavior, child rearing and aesthetics are [also] seen as 'evolved psychological mechanisms' with an instinctive basis (Buss, 2008; Dickens & Cohen, 2003; Geary, 2004)." Spink adds that Stephen Pinker similarly asserts that language is instinctive in humans in his book, The Language Instinct, How the mind creates language, (1994).
        • Jul 19 2013: Allan,
          you said : " Science is not experience "
          That's maybe true, but science is not standing apart from experience.
          " A particle, we were told, is also a wave "
          It's your comment, remember ? :) And probably 'Jung's ideas might have benefit of recent revelations in science' I am not talking about proofs, have never heard of those, but ' matches' , correspondences in different domains, i think, can be found.

          Here are some 'matches' that might serve the purpose :

          Mandelbrot set . Fractals.

          QM in D. Bohm interpretation ( it's important, because he built non locality in it )

          The holonomic brain theory ( Karl Primbram )

          Morphic Resonance. ( Rupert Sheldrake )

          On your consideration : )
        • Jul 21 2013: Hi , Allan !
          Yes, i agree with what you say ! The main problem is that Science has become the source of Truth ... eternal Platonic Truth ! And even more so , the only source of Truth. What is not scientific is naive and not true.
          But may i try to describe the picture as i see it in the context of Jung's unconscious ?
          You say "... cognition follows a distinct path, or hierarchy, beginning at the experiential (full of doubt) and ending at what we like to see as 'certain'. "
          Yes, but let's continue ... later in XX th century it came to Uncertainty Principle. The Doctrine of objectivity which was so holy in this enterprise became redundant. And here a new science starts to emerge. What now is called 'pseudoscience' is what science becomes. It needs time to establish itself. I've studied the history of science and my impression is that it fallows the script, sometimes the fingers of the editors are clearly seen. I kid you not ! :) And what is the play ?
          " Prodigal Son " ( Collective unconscious ? I tend to think , yes )

          "It is indeed interesting that QM is accepted as real science"

          It's the script, it leaves no choice.
          QM description of reality is the most accurate description of the world, we can test it against our own experience and it is in congruence with ancient ( intuitive ) science. It spells death to Cartesian mindset, Amen :)
          Wave/particle duality has a lot to do with not less than everything. It's a pattern, which reveals itself on different scales. ( It's the nature of fractals )When i said , that science is not standing apart form experience, i meant experience as a ' non algorithmic state of mind ' A kind of momentarily ' knowing' that is translated later into a lower dimensional ' knowledge '. I meant, scientific breakthroughs.
          I would say, that science is not experience, but what is left after... It's what generally geniuses do , they translate their experience into music, poetry, paintings ...equations, theories.
        • Jul 21 2013: cont.
          This grasping after is never perfect. Because mind is in the business of creating ' a particle', but there is a bright side, a particle never leaves the domain of a wave where it is embedded, they are entangled.
          Just to illustrate my point :
          Beethoven once said : if you can hear what I can hear, you wouldn't bother with what I've written.
          He 'tapped' into the wave, his music what was left. With science it is not so obvious, but it is relevant to scientific revelations too . It's attention to attention that helps a scientist to make a leap. Look at Mandelbrot set ,it's magic !

          Sorry for being too wordy ! :)
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          Jul 23 2013: "We are shaped by the definition and expectations of our surroundings"
          Robert Kegan's theory of adult meaning-making has influenced theory and practice internationally across multiple disciplines. In a special RSA event, he considers: is it really possible to grow beyond the psychological independence of the "self-authoring mind," so often seen as the zenith of adult development?


          "the both/and perceptive, not an either/or perceptive."
      • Jul 19 2013: Theodore,
        probably, Pribram's theory is what are you searching for, it's a scientific research.
        It suggests, that your brain acts like a self-contained hologram, the reasoning goes, then isn't it possible your consciousness is actually a piece of a much larger hologram of overall human consciousness; that is, of the collective unconscious?

        And maybe you should check out 'Morphic Resonance', Rupert Sheldrake insists that memory is not stored in the brain, inside neural cells, but transduces to some field medium external to the brain.

        You said : "... nothing is "buried deep inside" It must reside somewhere, perhaps in the brain."

        Information is not physical until it is made such by mind, and it does not reside in the brain. Brain is a biological hardware and by itself is a condensed information ; to seek " It " in the brain is like to seek a little man in the radio :)
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          Jul 20 2013: Hi Natasha,

          "science is not standing apart from experience"

          I think it does stand apart, at least in the initial stages of human cognition of phenomena that have hitherto been inconceivable. I think cognition follows a distinct path, or hierarchy, beginning at the experiential (full of doubt) and ending at what we like to see as 'certain'. This is a reductionist process which seems always to end in the type of science that becomes increasingly blind to related phenomena and context. The scientists occupying the latter end of that spectrum therefore see the former as 'pseudoscience'. The progression of reductionism being a form of blindness to all except that which their own specialism already knows, or that which can be evidenced using similar 'reduced knowledge' from other science disciplines.

          That hierarchy, I surmise, is reflected in similar progression from the unconscious to consciousness. It seems that all we have been able to conceive and all we are ever likely to conceive, has its birthplace in the unconscious, yet modern science dismisses the manifestations of the unconscious as bogus pseudoscience - which is the area occupied by the likes of Rupert Sheldrake and Karl H Pribram.

          It is indeed interesting that QM is accepted as real science, yet something like morphic resonance is not. Both were probably conceived in the light of similar levels of doubt.
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          Jul 23 2013: In this TEDTalk Antonio Damasio discusses a part of the brain that he proposes contribute to the emergence of consciousness.

          He say, "There is the brain stem in between the cerebral cortex and the spinal cord. And it is within that region that I'm going to highlight now that we have this housing of all the life-regulation devices of the body. This is so specific that, for example, if you look at the part that is covered in red in the upper part of the brain stem, if you damage that as a result of a stroke, for example, what you get is coma or vegetative state, which is a state, of course, in which your mind disappears, your consciousness disappears. What happens then actually is that you lose the grounding of the self, you have no longer access to any feeling of your own existence, and, in fact, there can be images going on, being formed in the cerebral cortex, except you don't know they're there. You have, in effect, lost consciousness when you have damage to that red section of the brain stem.

          But if you consider the green part of the brain stem, nothing like that happens. It is that specific. So in that green component of the brain stem, if you damage it, and often it happens, what you get is complete paralysis, but your conscious mind is maintained. You feel, you know, you have a fully conscious mind that you can report very indirectly. This is a horrific condition. You don't want to see it. And people are, in fact, imprisoned within their own bodies, but they do have a mind. "

          The red brain part that he is referring to is the "Tectum."

          see the illustration here @ 11:46 http://www.ted.com/talks/antonio_damasio_the_quest_to_understand_consciousness.html

          Now the reason for bringing this up is that any other alternative explanation for consciousness would be to include an explanation of this brain component since without in we lose our consciousness.
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          Jul 23 2013: re: "check out 'Morphic Resonance', Rupert Sheldrake insists that memory is not stored in the brain"

          Memory is not "stored" in the brain, it is deconstructed and reconstructed in the brain. Information about an experience is broken down into it essential bits, this is how a memory can be retrieved in many different ways.
          There are several types of memory; short-term memory, long term memory, and others. Research demonstrates that even when the brain is unable to make new memory due to disease or damage, the brain can still form procedural memory, meaning we can still learn new tasks.

          Alternative explanation would still need to provide a framework that informs us how the physical components of the brain plays a role in memory, what parts retrieves the from the field. We are physical beings and there needs to be a physical explanation. Obviously humans brains are different in some ways from those of other animals. These brain difference allow us the experience we have and they do not have.

          There currently is no such framework that I am aware of.
      • Jul 24 2013: Theodore,
        you say : alternative explanation for consciousness would be to include an explanation of this brain component since without in we lose our consciousness.

        We loose the sense of self, what consciousness does in this situation nobody can tell, because nobody's home to watch . Consciousness and Self are not disconnected , but they are not identical either.

        May i invite you to the thought experiment ?

        We both look at the same object, let it be the chair. We don't have any doubts that we see the same object, but to be sure we can test our certainty through detailed description, measurement, touch...and so on. We can invite a couple of thousands more people and have the same results. Right ?
        But how to reconcile it with a scientific fact, that our chair is 9.999999....% empty space ??? ( Nobody knows how particles get their masses hence what matter is). Literally the chair does not exist !
        So...how do we do that ???
        The only plausible answer , to my mind, is that we share collective image, illusion. Wouldn't be reasonable to suggest that ' image' goes through your mind and your brain delivers... make it physical to you, my brain to me ?
        Who/what is you/me , in this fine situation ?
        It's more or less clear for me, that it's not me who have consciousness, it's consciousness, whatever it is, has me, goes through me.
        Age-old question arises " Who am I ?" If we can answer this question, no questions would be left, i guess :)

        Re : There currently is no such framework that I am aware of.

        Neither am i .
        Could it be that matter emerges from mind, and not the other way around?
        Can Cartesian dualism be solved?
        Double slit experiment shows that mind of the observer is the major player.
        Could it be that Consciousness is the Game ?

        Thanks for responding !
        I do appreciate it !
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          Jul 24 2013: I appreciate your analogy here and can provide another one to consider.

          " The number of bacteria living within the body of the average healthy adult human are estimated to outnumber human cells 10 to 1.

          To use the chair comparison, are you really "you?"
      • Jul 24 2013: Probably, " Coincidentia Oppositorum" is the only safe ground.

        There is no 'me' and i do really exist . Simultaneously.
        So do the bacterias which i host or vice versa :)

        Quanta M.... fluctuates between the state of existence and non existence 3 billions times per second. So, it exists and does not exist simultaneously.
        So do " I "
        I'll try to find the link, if you are interested. The quanta in question has the name started with M
    • Jul 15 2013: ".... I felt I could no longer keep up with the world of the intellect..."

      Apparently, not only geniuses face this problem :)
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        Jul 24 2013: You added an "a" to my statement. Just a small semantic change altered its meaning completely.

        What I said was: "Experience is not science" - meaning many feelings and perceptions cannot be directly ascribed to scientific process.

        Jung had a scientific grounding upon which he built his own experiences, feelings and perceptions. This is the way of psychology and psychoanalysis - a study of what we are as well as who we are. So yes it had occurred to me for quite some time that many of Jung's writings were not scientific at all. And furthermore, they didn't have to be.

        What is your interpretation of Jung's works?
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        Jul 25 2013: Yes thank you XYZ, I'm aware of the differences between psychology and psychoanalysis. Perhaps more than you think.

        XYZ sounds very formal. May I call you abc?

        You ask for my interpretation of Jung's works, yet refuse to give yours? This is shaping up to be a non-argument. Not very scientific, and certainly not balanced.

        You seem to want to want to turn the disciplines of psychology and psychoanalysis into science-only certainties, full of metarules, functions and laws. That's a bit like turning a human brain into a computer; it can't be done.

        The thing about psychoanalysis, is that it is interpretive - you are correct. What makes it so interesting is that it will always be so. It will always be apart from science, yet will always act as a 'feeder' for the scientific study of human behaviour. That's a good representation of the hierarchy of understanding things generally - interpretation first, followed by science.
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        Jul 25 2013: You're not hearing what I'm saying Mr XYZ. Not only are you abc, you also appear to be def.

        You seem to be fixed on the idea that scientific and interpretive disciplines should be kept apart from each other in the study of human behaviour. It is in fact crucial that the two work together.

        As you are studiously unwilling to discuss Jungian methodology (which is the main thrust of the original question), here's a few simpler thoughts about human behaviour you might be interested in:



        (Looking in the mirror might help)
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      Jul 26 2013: "How else do we instinctively know how to do things and respond appropriately to external stimuli without being taught by anyone at all?"

      Because we lived before? Reincarnated?
  • Jul 13 2013: Short answer: It's mumbo-jumbo rubbish.
    Longer answer: It's actually a misunderstanding of cultural trends, shared experiences, and institutions. If one is prone to making up rubbish, one calls it a "collective unconscious" like it's some kind of mystical oogabooga with a "real" existence. If one is not prone to making up rubbish, one realizes that people from similar societies, with similar education, similar popular culture, etc. can come up with similar tastes and ideas. Likewise, "similar" DOES NOT HAVE TO MEAN UTTERLY IDENTICAL.
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      Jul 13 2013: Jaen,
      I really love your simple comment, because in my perception, collective unconscious seems like a pretty simple idea that is sometimes made to appear way overcomplicated.

      I believe that we have energy running through our body/minds (scientifically proven), and the energy is a carrier for information that has probably been recycled many times. I believe one manifestation or recognition of collective unconscious is intuition or instinct.

      So Sean, I read Jung's studies regarding this topic years ago, and I believe you are indeed close to the mark with your perception that collective unconscious includes a reservoir of information, and the collective unconscious may be something that we all share.

      I equate it to an electric energy system. Energy comes from a generating plant, moves along lines to individual homes into the breaker box (imagine that our body is the home with a breaker box -the brain), and from there can be used for various purposes. One person may be using the electricity for cooking, another person may be using it for a lamp, etc. When you think of energy coming into our body/mind, we can also imagine it being used for different purposes? It might be the same purpose as many others are using it, and it might be a different purpose? We are all interconnected with energy.....seems simple doesn't it?

      You've heard the saying..."there is power in numbers"? This theory can be applied to the "mob mentality", it can be applied when we hear about groups of people meditating for a certain purpose, it can be applied when groups of people come together to help after a tragedy.....get the picture?
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          Jul 13 2013: I agree again Jaen:>)

          It is the use of technology and science which helped us understand the energy connection, even though ancient cultures understood this concept without advanced technology! And like you say, our advanced communication systems bring us SO much more information, which facilitates more connections:>)
  • Aug 1 2013: Here's my opinion: consciousness is something born out of physical states, and thus relies on a specific structure of the brain leading to it's development and existence. But from there I think the mind is something linked to but separate from the physical brain, as they both seem to influence each other, the brain through physical states, and the mind through mental states, both effecting chemical and mental changes in each other. So the physical structure of the brain allowed for the existence of the mind, but did not directly create it, hence my view could be described as Strong Emergentism, which is a subset of [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_of_mind] Property Dualism. [/url]

    Thus, my belief is that physical events can bear non-physical events (which are called mental properties in Property Dualism) not fully explainable by their physical origin, hence consciousness, and a collective unconscious, existing alongside our known physical structures.
  • Aug 1 2013: Well here's my 2 cents.. It seems Jung's collective unconscious is one of those "not even false" things, as we can't prove it directly by current means, but at the same time can't disprove it as there is no method allowing it's testability in its theory. So I guess it comes down to something completely related to it: the nature of consciousness.

    Philosophy of mind has been debated by scientists and philosophers alike for centuries. Due to the nature of consciousness, it has no definite physical blueprint yet. We can only link some some mental processes to physical processes; we have yet to come even close to mapping the whole spectrum of mental states and processes to physical states/processes. It seems that the complexity of consciousness will be out of reach for many years, if not indefinitely, as some speculate it can never be known by science due to its subjective nature.

    It can't be denied that all our conscious experiences are unique. We all feel and see things differently, this is very true, but what we can't prove yet is a physical cause to this mental state. It is a very difficult thing to measure: how pain feels to one person from another, how we see color, etc. So this current state of affairs certainly does leave enough room for speculation as to the nature of consciousness and its relation to physical states.

    So in light of what I've seen, here and there, It really does come down to personal philosophy. A lot of scientists think consciousness is just like many things in history that for years were thought to be untouchable by science, like aether being the material which makes up the space above our atmosphere until we figured out how light travels in space (as it was presumed light needed a substance to travel through), and the shift from Ptolemaic to Copernican models of the universe. Others propose the true nature of consciousness can never be known to man, so it becomes a semantic matter of understanding.
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    Jul 24 2013: "What is the Collective Unconscious exactly?"

    It's the metaconsciousness that envelops the planet, shifting as our collective thoughts shift, but which, for better or worse, influences human thinking, and human beliefs--with the majority opinion and belief usually winning out over the individual--and accounting for world-wide calamities, natural and otherwise.

    The individual thought can override the collective thought and belief, but it requires the developing of a sense that many neither acknowledge nor accept.
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    Jul 23 2013: Antonio Damasio states the following, " The things that have to do with what is known as our internal milieu -- for example, the whole management of the chemistries within our body are, in fact, extremely maintained day after day for one very good reason. If you deviate too much in the parameters that are close to the midline of that life-permitting survival range, you go into disease or death. So we have an in-built system within our own lives that ensures some kind of continuity. I like to call it an almost infinite sameness from day to day. Because if you don't have that sameness, physiologically, you're going to be sick or you're going to die."

    What is this process, unconsciousness, non consciousness?
  • Jul 17 2013: All of this has been very informative. I think the "collective" is definitely real, and that it does represent a part of our minds that is completely separate and hidden from normal unconscious activity. So I feel confident that it is real and its effects can be felt. Whether or not it is something genetic or biological, or something outside of science*, I am still unsure. No one can convince me either way. I am going to have to reread Jung's works carefully sometime. I am not really a spiritual person... but I like the idea; kind of like telepathic twins. There is actually evidence for that. That kind of stuff is cool.

    *outside of current science
  • Jul 14 2013: "Synchronicity is a concept that formulates a point of view diametrically opposed to that of causality. Since the latter is a merely statistical truth and not absolute, it is a sort of working hypothesis of how events evolve one out of another, whereas synchronicity takes the coincidence of events in space and time as meaning something more than mere chance, namely, a peculiar interdependence of objective events among themselves as well as with the subjective (psychic) states of the observer or observers."
    Carl Gustav Jung.

    That's it ! :)
  • Jul 14 2013: The history of humanity that we don't know is what our collective unconscious is made out of. Just as the history of yourself that you don't know is what your personal unconscious is made of.
    Collective unconscious is a sort of resonant relationship ...all inclusive consciousness we are not conscious of.
  • Jul 14 2013: Good debating:).China's cultural revolution is one of an examples'The Collective Unconscious'.It is one of brutal tyrants catastrophe for people.So teach people to be conscious are the most important in educaiton.
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    Jul 12 2013: Re: unconsciousness

    Individually we all exhibit unconscious actions. Antonio Damasio also uses the term "non-conscious."
    Daniel Kahneman in his book "Thinking Fast and Slow" suggests that it is not the conscious part of our brains that serves as the executive function, but the unconscious.

    "The book's central thesis is a dichotomy between two modes of thought: System 1 is fast, instinctive and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical.
    In the book's first section, Kahneman describes the two different ways the brain forms thoughts:
    System 1: Fast, automatic, frequent, emotional, stereotypic, subconscious
    System 2: Slow, effortful, infrequent, logical, calculating, conscious
    Kahneman covers a number of experiments which purport to highlight the differences between these two thought processes, and how they arrive at different results even given the same inputs. Terms and concepts include coherence, attention, laziness, association, jumping to conclusions and how one forms judgements."

    • Jul 14 2013: Unconscious is not a thought process, but something that makes thought process possible.
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        Jul 14 2013: You would have to support this statement with some research.
        Thought can occur in the brain without it rising up into awareness. Our brain is capable of processing several thoughts at once but we hardly notice this since we become accustom to whichever thought we focus our attention on.
        See the research of Bemjamin Libet, " his most famous experiment was meant to demonstrate that the unconscious electrical processes in the brain called Bereitschaftspotential (or readiness potential) discovered by Lüder Deecke and Hans Helmut Kornhuber in 1964 precede conscious decisions to perform volitional, spontaneous acts, implying that unconscious neuronal processes precede and potentially cause volitional acts which are retrospectively felt to be consciously motivated by the subject. The experiment has caused controversy not only because it challenges the belief in free will, but because it relies on questionable methods and rather narrow assumptions regarding how free decisions occur. It has also inspired further study of the neuroscience of free will."
        • Jul 14 2013: I am not ready to support my statement (if it is a statement :) ) with any research at the moment . I need time to google a bit.
          But think, does meditation obliterate consciousness ? No way, it highlights it !
          Though no thinking process is involved.
          I'll be back.
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        Jul 14 2013: Again, see the work of Daniel Kahneman, There is conscious thought, thoughts we are aware of, non conscious thought, mental activity that never flow up to a conscious level, and unconscious or sub conscious thought, which is mental activity below a conscious level.,
  • Jul 11 2013: I like hearing evidence from both sides. Both Modern Science and the more controversial Gnostic side. They both hold meaning to me, as I am hesitant to be totally atheist towards our existence. I feel slightly compromised, as I would really like to believe there is something "special" about me, or us. I find it better not to indulge in this wishful thinking however. As it IS, just that.
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        Jul 23 2013: Whether we consciously evolve ourselves is open to debate.
        We also evolve in spite of ourselves.
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        Jul 23 2013: When and how do we choice to evolve? Would it fly in the face of nature selection?
        See Stuart Kaufman's lecture which I had the privilege to attend. http://vimeo.com/30875984

        Here is the problem. " Our consciousness is not in control."
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        Jul 24 2013: When others offer up the work of the people that have conducted research you back away, because an uninformed opinion cannot stand up to research. Evidence is required to support any claims, where is yours?
        My comments here are not intended to debate any points you make it is to provide a record for others to read and learn from.
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        Jul 24 2013: Re; I'm still not interested in having this conversation with you.

        I have watched all the links that I have posted. They are posted as a resource so that others that would like to assess addition information about a topic can do so. When other post a link I do watch them even when I disagree with the content. It is important to understand opposing points of view.

        When posting in these discussions I try to avoid attacking people personally. It's about the conversation not the people conversing.
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    Jul 8 2013: Jung's concept seems pretty straight forward.

    "Jung distinguished the collective unconscious from the personal unconscious, in that the personal unconscious is a personal reservoir of experience unique to each individual, while the collective unconscious collects and organizes those personal experiences in a similar way with each member of a particular species."

    However measured against the curent ideas about what the "collective consciousness" is, we might seek to expand Jung's concept. Jung explains that the collective unconscious does not develop individually but is inherited. I would disagree, we have learned too much about about the brain and mind via neuroscience to Jung's concept as it is presented.
    Much of what we passed on culturally from parent to child, including language and how language creates frames in the mind, both logos and mythos, is arguable a part of this social psychology that is, in a way, "inherited."

    See http://www.ted.com/talks/devdutt_pattanaik.html

    Or better yet, watch this TEDx talk that asks, because toward the end of the talk Wheatley encounters the problem of who is a part of the "collective."

    Additionally, social networks are demonstrating that the collective has the ability to act unconsciously. Mobs rioting and standing ovations are examples of this.

    If we think of a group as having a "collective intelligence", when does this collective brain gain a mind, if ever? The term "collective consciousness" seems to be a misnomer. Without a collective frontal cortex there is only a "collective unconsciousness."
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        Jul 11 2013: Oh?


        Which model of mind-body consciousness can you point to?
        I subscribe to Antonio Damasio's which is spelled out in his book "Self Comes To Mind."


        Mind is an evolutionary feature of the brain. Other animals have brains but there is no indication that they have a mind.

        The Theory of Mind (ToM) says that we know that we have a mind but cannot be sure that others have a mind. ToM is an aspect of the brain that doesn't develop in a human until about 4 years old.

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        Jul 12 2013: Re: The brain isn't even a generator, it's a processor, like a radio - it receives and transmits

        I've debate others about this crazy "radio receiver model with others and you have a lot to explain and I'll venture to guess that you do not know all that much about it. You did provide any information here.
        But that leads me to the question, "Why are you here at TED if you don't like the talks and have little or nothing to say about the the "collective unconsciousness."

        TRY "IONS"

        Added: @ TF Who attacked whom? I called the radio theory "crazy." (" this crazy "radio receiver model )
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        Jul 12 2013: Let's consider this for a minute while we are on the topic.

        The parasite, which is excreted by cats in their feces, is called Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii or Toxo for short) and is the microbe that causes toxoplasmosis—the reason pregnant women are told to avoid cats’ litter boxes. Since the 1920s, doctors have recognized that a woman who becomes infected during pregnancy can transmit the disease to the fetus, in some cases resulting in severe brain damage or death. T. gondii is also a major threat to people with weakened immunity: in the early days of the AIDS epidemic, before good antiretroviral drugs were developed, it was to blame for the dementia that afflicted many patients at the disease’s end stage. Healthy children and adults, however, usually experience nothing worse than brief flu-like symptoms before quickly fighting off the protozoan, which thereafter lies dormant inside brain cells—or at least that’s the standard medical wisdom.


        Can the "radio theory on mind" effort an explanation for this? Damage to the signal receiver merely limits the ability to receive a signal. Is the parasite altering the "signal" for its own purpose.
        No, its co-opting parts of the brain.
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        Jul 16 2013: Can you point out any books in the topic that provides as much information as say, "Self Comes To Mind." by Antonio Damasio. His presents a theory also, since any discussion of consciousness is theory and hypothesis, but Damasio explains his theory based on research evidence and a lifetime in the experience.

        Please respond to the question of the parasite, Toxoplasma gondii

        Its far to easy to state an opinion without much to back it up. You have provided no evidence. Zero.

        In "Self Come to Mind," Damasio makes a claim that the brain stem is one of the component that help the brain form mind. He writes, "The idea that mind processing begins at the brain-stem level is so unconventional that it is not even unpopular."
        Damasio credits Jack Pankseep's research here.

        "Two brain-stem nuclei, the nucleus tractus solitarius and the parabrachial nucleus are involved in generating basic aspects of the mind, namely the feelings generated by ongoing life events, which include thos described as pain and pleasure.

        While the maps generated by these structures may be relatively simple and without much if any spatial detail they still result in feeling, and in all likelihood "the primordial constituents of mind."
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        Jul 16 2013: (Personal attacks are the sign of a weak argument or lack of knowledge.) The links are for those interested in science's perceptive.

        Science's understanding of the term consciousness:

        * The etymology and meaning of the term ‘consciousness’
        The word ‘consciousness’ is derived from Latin, having its roots in conscio formed by the coalescence of cum meaning ‘with’ and scio meaning ‘know’. In its original sense, to be conscious of something was to share the knowledge of it with someone else or with oneself (Zeman, 2001, Koch, 2012). All three senses, that is, knowledge shared with others, knowledge shared with the self and simply knowledge entered the English language as ‘conscience’, the first equivalent of conscientia (Zeeman, 2001). The words conscious and consciousness first appeared in the seventeenth century followed by the term self-conscious and self-consciousness (Lewis, 1960).
        (Demasio adds a term, "non consciousness," as opposed to unconsciousness)
        The next section is of some length and those interested can simply use the link. 1.2 How to define consciousness."

        The brain is an entity that exists, while the mind is a concept that we have formulated to understand the functions of the brain. The brain is the producer, while the mind is its product. Without the brain there is no mind (Singh and Singh, 2009; Singh and Singh, 2011
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        Jul 16 2013: One researcher also entirely accepts the existence of phenomenal consciousness (with its special properties). However, he argues that there is another kind of consciousness, which he terms ‘access consciousness’ that enables ‘information access’ in the central nervous system, thereby giving consciousness a major role to play in the brain's activities (Block, 1995)

        Even as this avoids reducing phenomenal consciousness to a function of the brain, this redefinition of information access as ‘access consciousness’ risks inflating a brain function to a conscious status that it does not possess. Information access and information availability have been widely recognised aspects of human information processing and it is true that information that enters phenomenal consciousness can be accessed, rehearsed, entered into long-term memory, used for the guidance of action and so on (Block, 2011)

        There is a good selection of short interviews regarding consciousness by Ned Block here:

        I also came across these paper of his which I'll read:
        Some Concepts of Consciousness

        On A Confusion About A Function Of Consciousness
  • Jul 8 2013: Jung is often called a gnostic.
    Also Jung like Einstein doesn't reject religion as Freud did.
    Finally, this may be a little extreme but do read Armand McGill's books about mysticism magic and hypnotism in India
    This isn't just Eastern Reread the last of the five good Emperors Marcus Aurieleus Think Stoic and Epicurean. Why Paul mentions these two beliefs in his trip to Athens I can only speculate - but various groups might not like what I say.
    Jung is interesting and complicated and the original is in German of course. Joseph Campbell just runs with a small part of Jung's writings.
    Me I do wonder if we can completely be alone. Weird Maybe.
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      Jul 8 2013: Albert Einstein, in his letter to philosopher Eric Gutkind, in response to his receiving the book "Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt" states pretty clearly that he was by no means a religious person - in fact, the great physicist saw religion as no more than a "childish superstition". "The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this", Einstein wrote."
      • Jul 9 2013: Okay but Jung is different to me.
        I don't read German but Runes Treasury of Philosophy translates.
        On the other hand. I maintain that cosmic religious feeling is the strongest and noblest incitement to scientific research.
        Okay you say "How can cosmic religious feeling be communicated....."
        " The religious geniuses of all ages have been distinguished......
        ...regarded by their contemporaries as Atheists, sometimes aolso as saints..........
        ........Democritis,Francis of Assisi, and Spinoza are closely akin to one another.
        Obviously I don't understand cosmic religious feeling That didn't sound like a complete rejection of anything other than conventional relegion. Maybe
        I went to far but I didn't think Einstein could be compared to Freud that's all. Also, I was under the impression that he avoided the Presidency of Israel because that was not his kind of thing not for religious reasons. Maybe we are not disagreeing when we talk of cosmic religious feeling.
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    Jul 7 2013: The collective unconscious is inherited through genes.

    It defines charateristic of species and genus.
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      Jul 8 2013: .

      The genes are our ancestors' successful experiences formed 10,000 years ago.
    • Jul 10 2013: it seems more probable to me that central nervous system, our brain, is radically complex and capable,which allows it to learn and reprogram itself through gaining information from subconscious interrelations and connections among individuals, by making mutations to its circuits,rather than to its genetic structure -which is alot more risky and less cost-effective than more cautiously conducted changes in brain circuits, where you have patterns of mind and ideas formed by previous generations to follow- as an attempt for coping with the concepts and the ways of the people surrounding it and more....
      therefore what it seems to be is that brain has gained the ability to collect information inherited subconsciously from previous generations living at the time, and applying it into its neuronal circuits through changes in them circuits...
      hypothetically considering this image, you could hypothetically say that after thousands of years of information piling into the brain dramatically,the brain had the chance to learn to make some elastic room for that information which it takes them as its own history,collective identity,a scheme, to give the community of beings a ground to step on,a thread to follow....and can be modified through generations due to the changing nature of environments and the beings themselves...
  • Jul 7 2013: Yesterday I put on a t-shirt I have not worn in more than 10 years. The words on the shirt were "San Francisco WEST COAST". I live on the EAST COAST. While I was out wearing that shirt and riding on Route 214, that Asianna plane crash in San Francisco happened. Maybe that is an example of "collective unconsciousness" or maybe that is just a "coincidence."
    • Jul 7 2013: That answers my question about synchronicity. The mind sees what it wants to.
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          Jul 12 2013: This is confusing because the writer BELIEVES the mind works like a radio; it "receives" a non-local signal from a "field."
          This presents many questions that need an explanation. The one we might start with is, "Why does the field "broadcast" an "ego" for us to overcome." We might also ask why we all don't all receive the same channel. But this would bring us to the next question "Since this is a material existence that we inhabit, what it is that receive the "signal" in out brain? There must be a physical element for this but neither science or anyone else has answered this.
        • Jul 14 2013: "All life is synchronistic. Everything is connected."

          Indeed ! If we are truly paying attention.
          Probably Synchronicity is a not scientific proof for some scientific quantum 'weird' stuff like non locality, quantum entanglement,quantum superposition... these kind of things.
          At least, i see it this way :)

          Thanks for your comments, Chris !
        • Jul 26 2013: Hi, Chris !
          What you try to explain is not so difficult to grasp, but it requires a shift in Paradigm. 'Paradigm shift' has become a media cliche, but it's real and not strongly enough put. Paradigm is like a lens through which you see the world. This relativistic notion, that we perceive reality differently and it's OK, doesn't work in our today's context.
          You simply can't bridge the vertical gap... and as a result , yes, "all falling on deaf ears". Debates are totally useless.
          How to explain that Mysticism is just tomorrow’s science dreamed today ?

          Do you have deja-vu much ? :)

          I'll go to your profile to read your comments, i am very interested !

          Thank you !

          As you can guess , there is no reply option on your last post :)