TED Conversations

Anuraag Reddy

AIESEC India

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The experience of consciousness is the stream of observation, where an organism perceives its environment with reference to itself.

In evolution it must be essential for a self replicating, self preserving organism to have an internalized model of itself in reference to its environment.

The primary experience of consciousness is in the stream of observation, where the organism perceives itself as separate from its environment by constantly referencing a model of itself as an existential entity in relation to external, and internal stimuli.

"If you are not subconsciously referencing yourself as separate from everything else then, do you really exist?"

Just like information contained within DNA is expressed as the emergent property of self replication and life. Information managed by the neural networks in our brain is expressed as the mind, and consciousness. It is purely physical neural networks which have evolved to add meaning to such information, and create the illusion of an observer dependent reality.

The illusion of free will and being an observer are as real as the fact that we materially exist, and in the human condition of being, there is nothing more real than free will, and being an observer. We are a temporary state of matter, a state which has evolved to be authentic in its perception.

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  • Nov 19 2013: Cute, but proves nothing. Where is the evidence that demonstrates your explanation is both sufficient and necessary? Sufficiency I can see, but necessity still is lacking.
    • Nov 20 2013: What do you mean by necessary?
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      Nov 20 2013: I think you need to define necessity and sufficiency in this context.
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        Nov 20 2013: I expect Bryan will come back to define these, but the usual uses of these terms in the context of logic are these. "Sufficient" means the conditions would be enough. "Necessary" means that without the condition holding, the result would not follow.

        For example, being born in the United States is "sufficient" to qualify to be a United States citizen. But it is not a "necessary" condition, because you can also qualify for citizenship by being born to a United States citizen abroad or by passing a citizenship examination.
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          Nov 20 2013: Thank you! :) that helps me distinguish between the two properties.
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      Nov 20 2013: Going by the definition offered by fritzie, I would say that my theory offers both sufficiency, as well as necessity unless you're semantics of the concept are different.

      If I have convinced you, that my theory sufficiently explains how consciousness might work, then the necessity is self evident. It is absolutely necessary for a life form to perceive its existence, when survival depends on more than reflexes as it is in simpler organisms, instincts in most complex organisms.

      You must feel like you are observing reality, and that you have free will, to feel, think, and act on it. Would you take your perceived reality seriously, if this illusion weren't primed up by evolution to feel that real.

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