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Farrukh Yakubov

Student, Purdue University

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Where do you think consciousness comes from?

Science can give answers to many things, but consciousness seems to be an unsolved mystery. Why do you think people have consciousness? Where does it come from? Do you think it can be created artificially? How?
You may answer based on anything you know, it does not have to be a proven fact. Thank you.

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    Jul 8 2011: You're going to get answers on both sides of the spectrum here. Ask a neuroscientist and he'll most likely tell you its a function of your brain. Ask a theologist and he'll say it's our little piece of God.

    I have a question for you. Of what use is consciousness if the only being we can be sure is actually conscious is ourselves? see: Plato's Allegory of the Cave.

    Going further. How do we even know that we are actually conscious? (Ever had a dream that seemed so real you couldn't tell the difference?) People used to believe the earth was flat until proven otherwise. So as nice as it is to believe we are all conscious beings, it's equally possible that we may not be. For all we know, this could all be a part of the vivid dream a potato in another dimension is having.
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      Jul 8 2011: It is true that being conscious does not allow us to know wether someone else is actually conscious or not. But, If we didn't have consciousness, we wouldn't even know ourselves. As long as we know ourselves we can say that we are conscious. It does not have to be in reality as we call it. The thing with reality is no matter what it is we only feel and know it in our brain. Therefore, there is no difference between reality and a dream while they are in our brain. In other words, we know the reality only in a way our brain allows us to know; there might be things that are beyond conscious capacity of ourselves. Moreover, you a right about this all could be something's dream that exist somewhere. Entire life could be a dream, even dream within a dream. We can't tell the difference because there is no difference for us, we can't go beyond what our brain tells us.
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        Jul 8 2011: Hi Farrukh,
        To be honest, I was actually playing the devils advocate a little. I think there is proof enough for consciousness based on a combination of a need to survive and free-will. If we didn't have something to save, there would be no need for the preservation of self instinct.
      • Jul 11 2011: I like your explanations. You seem to be very brilliant! I agree when you said our entire life could be a dream, even dream within a dream. Our world is in our minds. Our mind is the world or universe. Consciousness comes from the mind through our physical and mind senses. But I think you wanted an answer more than that like, Who gave us consciousness, like a God that created it, is not what you're looking for as one would ask then who created God? It's a chicken and egg analogy.

        Could consciousness come from desire in our mind? I agree with you that consciousness is a kind of energy, a kind of cosmic energy in the universe or outside of our universe or physical world. Where is the source of this energy? I'm extremely interested to know too. :)
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          Jul 11 2011: I believe that we know very little about capabilities of our mind. Everything I know about consciousness is just what my own consciousness lets me to know, so I would really like to find answers to these questions too. For now we are logically trapped in a 'universal puzzle'. But one day we will learn to use our minds to reveal the pages of undiscovered chapter of science, and find the answers that we were looking for a long time.
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        Jul 12 2011: Farrukh,
        You say..."we know the reality only in a way our brain allows us to know". You also state..."we can't go beyond what our brain tells us". Does the brain program us as individuals? Or do we program the brain? My perception is that we program the brain. So the brain doesn't really "allow" us, but rather, it is the "hard drive" of our computer:>) We program it! It is said that we use only about 10% of our brain capacity. What do you think happens when we open the mind to the possibility of channeling more information/energy through the brain? I don't feel "trapped".:>)
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          Jul 12 2011: I think that even we learn to take 100% advantage of our brain, and find answers to all unanswered questions, there will be new questions emerging that we struggle to find answers.
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          Jul 14 2011: I think we start with the data already on our hard drives-DNA- that was passed down from our parents,and update it as we go- much the same as previous custodians of this data base have done since the beginning of this form of existance.
        • Jul 15 2011: If the brain is indeed a quantum processor, then it is the environment that programs or shapes our brain. Our survival instinct picks up and then adapts the brain to the environment that is is subjected to. We are evolutionary survival beings after all and have adapted all the way through the ice ages to be here today.

          The little gift of consciousness that we have only allows us to change a small portion of mainly mammalian brain. It allows us to exercise but a small portion of our largely uncontrollable brain. The rest is unconscious on a level that we are only beginning to understand. Within the unconscious (or what i like to call our animal/reptilian brain) we get the different impulses from our environment.

          Being social animals we also herd at a very deep and unconscious level. I have been studying this pattern and it is global and fractal like in nature. Even when we manage to grasp and learn to understand this phenomenon, it is still out of our control.

          We somehow believe that we are logical beings yet emotion usually wins out over ration for the most of us so how much conscious control do we actually exert over ourselves?

          I have studied and understand a little bit about the mind yet i am nowhere near being able to figure out what consciousness actually is for? It takes a lot of conscious effort to try and reprogram the unconscious, especially as we get older. Sure enough we may figure it out, but it may be a long long way away.
        • Jul 16 2011: Stavros, these are my thoughts let me know what you think.

          Agree that our subconscious is an underlying influence in everything - but it isn't absolute. The conscious mind reasons and puts new info into the Subconscious. Sub sends direct requests and sometimes our conscious mind has to intervene with discipline - it has to weigh up oher priorities in our subconscious - e.g. a person on a diet is told to eat a burger - they can stop, and say 'hey, I am on a diet' and then 2 different subconscious drivers are in conflict and this + outside information will be weighed up and we have change/adaption.

          Conscious mind is also a conduit for new info. One silly example is things like changing a password on your computer - my job forces me to do this every 8 weeks - for the first week after changing it, my subconscious automatically types in my old password, because it is still firm in my subconscious. Then I have to delete it and (consciously) put in the new one. Then by the second week the new password has replaced the old one in my subconscious.

          I feel the conscious mind allows us to make optimal decisions, and form new habits (good or bad - the subcon doesn't discriminate, once it's in, it's in) - However the conscious mind does discriminate, and sometimes if we have a bad habit in our subconscious, our conscious mind will notice, and it will look for other info in our subconscious related to that bad thing, and sometimes some info in our subconscious will be in conflict with other info, and we now have a decision point - We will think about it, and we will look for outside info to help make the decision (e.g research google).

          I feel what I'm saying is that the subconscious is a store full of ingredients, and the conscious mind is the chef who will put all the ingredients together and try to make something nice. Some chefs are better than others, so of course some people will eat a McDonalds 5 nights per week and others will eat like Gordon Ramsay all day.
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          Jul 18 2011: The idea that we only use 10% of our brain capacity is a "myth." We use it all.

          Do we "live up to its potential?"

          Probably not. But there are no untapped or latent bits that, if we brought them "online," would give us a cognitive boost.

          The myth is attributable to an erroneous - quantified - reference to William James' work and was cited (I think) in the introduction to Dale Carnegie's book "How to Win Friends and Influence People."
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          Jul 18 2011: I think we only use 10% of our hearts. ;)
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          Jul 19 2011: QUOTE: "I think we only use 10% of our hearts. ;)"

          True enough ... but then 10% of an infinite quantity is ... carry the one ... um ... a lot.
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          Jul 19 2011: Hi Thomas,

          The 10% of our hearts line is from the movie Wedding Crashers. ...if you haven't seen it, I reccomend giving it a shot. Good entertainment.
        • Jul 21 2011: I hate to sound disrespectful, but I feel strongly about the misconception that we only "use" 10% of our brains... Do an MRI, and you will see that this is untrue. There is definitely unused parts, but it's definitely not as large a number as most people think...

          I think it stems from the fact that we can only recall a small amount of what we know, or that our capability for intelligence (organization of data, recall of data, speed of recall) is much higher than our actual intelligence...

          No offense again, I just get ridiculously, pointlessly over-upset about the "we only use 2 of our brain cells!" idea.
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          Jul 21 2011: QUOTE: The 10% of our hearts line is from the movie Wedding Crashers. ...if you haven't seen it, I reccomend giving it a shot. Good entertainment.

          I did see the movie and enjoyed it but don't recall the line ... it sounds like a line Vince Vaughn's character would use.

          [And you've gotten three thumbs up for it ... not bad!]
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        Jul 12 2011: Thanks Lindsay:>)

        I agree Farrukh that there may always be unanswered questions as long as we are on this earth school. If we had all the answers, we wouldn't need to participate in the human exploration. We don't need to "struggle" when we are open to possibilities and willing to say/think/feel... "I don't know for sure". I believe that as we expand our exploration, the capacity of the brain expands with a higher energy vibration, to facilitate more information.
      • Jul 14 2011: The difference between reality and dreaming is clear. Reality is continuous, whereas dreams are not. Today will continue from where yesterday left off. Granted we can only distinguish reality from dream in hindsight, but still the distinction is clear.
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        Jul 14 2011: Shawki,
        I agree that we start with some data/programming in the brain when we come to this earth school... maybe from past lives or universal information. Then we update it, or maybe reprogram some things based on information we get from the life experience...parents, society, various individuals, groups, study, research, etc. Thanks for clarifying my incomplete statement:>)

        I believe that by living mindfully, we can consciously reprogram the brain, and/or we can repeat the same patterns of the old programming. Just as there are various levels of programming with computers, there are various levels of data and programming with the brain. What do you think?
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          Jul 15 2011: Thanks Colleen
          I totally agree.
          Our scientist believe that the gene portion of our DNA-That we got from our parents,who got it from their parents, who got it....contain the blueprint for building every tissue in the body, these genes also describe how to operate and maintain the whole organism,control it's development and stably operates the activities of the brain.
          We, however get to put our body through its paces, much the same as an R&D engineer puts an improved computer or airplane through its paces.
          Consciousness then, is not a thing , but the process of monitoring or experiencing the interaction between our body and the universe as we put it through various configurations relative to other bodies.
      • Jul 16 2011: Farrukh: continue with your research...I am somewhat "jealous" pertaining to your intellect...
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        Jul 17 2011: Shawki,
        I've heard about the DNA theory, and agree that we recieve data/information from that source. I also agree that we "update" the data as we live our lives. I also think there is more on another level. How do we explain, for example, the fact that children born of the same parents are often very different?
        They would obviously have the same DNA and similar life experiences as children? I believed that children born of the the same parents would be similar...until I had 2 children who are very different! Then I started evaluating myself and 7 brothers and sisters! There are obviously similarities, and many differences. Do you think/feel that the differences are reflected in us as individuals with different choices as to how we "put our body through its paces"? I agree that consciousness is partly the process of monitoring/experiencing.

        Stavros,
        I agree with you that the environment, survival instinct and adaptation contribute to information that is in the brain. If these were the only factors shaping or programming the brain, wouldn't we all be thinking the same way?

        I also agree that we are "social animals" and can, at times be "herded", as when we accept the "mob mentality" for example. I do not agree that the brain is "largely uncontrolable"...mine isn't anyway!!! LOL !!! I think, as individuals, we are the ONLY entity that has control of our brain. We can make choices to open the mind to information, and we have the choice as to how we will use the information
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          Jul 17 2011: ditto all acoss the board on this post Colleen

          ..I think what we see first see in infants is that true self", before the brain strats to build other guidance and information from interaction with others..parents, family, child minders and just the content of environment around them..including the "mood" of people around them.

          Lucky those who get to emanante and unflod from this "true self"..who never lose contact with that self and who listen to it and takes its guidance all their lives And I agree with your sense that we add to that "true self" over the course of or lives..for better or for worse.

          ..I love this quote of Antonio t. de Nicolas, which underacores and beautifully expand that we always have the freedom to shape our own thoughts and create our own lives

          ."A person's life consists not so much in what happens to him or her but of the means he or she uses to gather that life, and the particular inner faculties to which those memories, images and facts are surrendered so that they not only make their lives through those acts, but make them knowingly."St. John of the Cross Alchemist of the Soul P.16 "
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        Jul 20 2011: You're right when you say that the outside reality is only as real as we are. So the only solution is to think in terms of the individual.

        I know that I exist, regardless of what mental or cognitive activities I do. I am not defined by my relations to external objects, but by my awareness of myself through various activities and states. So I am the only reality. Because in dreams my relations are with a different set of objects than during waking. How are we to judge which of the two states is real? Therefore, relations to "worlds" is not real.

        Now, beyond myself, I can check with you to see if you have similar notions about what is reality. The commonality of experience suggests that the reality of me is the same as the reality of you. That does not mean that we both are simultaneously real, because for me, you are part of the world that is not real. I am part of the world that is not real for you. But each of us is an independent reality. That very fact gives us both commonality. It eliminates the possibility of more than one reality or "consciousness" because if there are two ultimate realities then the process of comparison of our experiences would be impossible.
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      Jul 9 2011: Great points, Corey. I appreciate your sharp comment " Ask a neuroscientist and he'll most likely tell you its a function of your brain. Ask a theologist and he'll say it's our little piece of God."

      Unfortunately many researchers are possessed by brains while looking for some philosophical answers regarding our existence.... Fancy tools! but This kind of mentality goes back to the era of René Descartes. No butcher, surgeon or researcher discovered any image or thought in brains.

      I do understand that Consciousness is impossible without its Observer, which is a playful mind itself, who observes its own spectacles.

      Thank you for vivid thinking! A rare treat.
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        Jul 10 2011: Hi Simone,

        Thank you for the kudos. I'm definitely not saying one answer is better than another but, I think there is a definite distinction between individual and social consciousness. I also think that our brains are far from a perfect recording device so, we can never really be sure about anything we believe to be real. (including consciousness.)

        At best, we can make an educated guess. I liken it to looking at a tree through a dirty window. We can make out the general shape and say, "that's a tree." But, we can't really see the leaves in detail.

        Consciousness could just be a small part of a bigger picture and in my opinion it probably is.

        Anyway, thanks again :)
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          Jul 14 2011: Hi Corey. "a bigger picture" I believe, is our subconscious minds.

          And you've said "I think there is a definite distinction between individual and social consciousness."

          I have been thinking about this for years, especially when people barely understand each other but say that they believe in some "universal consciousness".... I trust that there is no way that any universal consciousness can ever exist. It can be only imagined in one's mind as a hope.
          My explanation? Nature does not allow any minds to exchange their images, sensations or thoughts Directly. "Things in themselves" as great I.Kant said.
          Even telepathy is not really an open door into someone's mind, but just a special massage.

          Consciousness is a unique "production" of one's mind, it is a privately owned domain, where each mind brews its own identity.
          I have my theory that perceptions play a tremendous role in our existence. As an artist I've discovered (for myself) that our perceptions are governed by the same classical artist rules as those we follow while painting in traditional style.
          Each mind must constantly Compare (sensations, images, sounds...), create a Composition from whatever it randomly selects. It has to Focus on something that seems more noticeable, and Frame its Composition for its observations, separating it from the rest "of the world". Corey, as you have already noticed - our minds have difficulties in "recording", "reprinting" anything perfectly. How true. It happens because any mental process
          is based on constant change - change is the only universal law that we can prove within our minds (and do not need any labs). Instability, imperfectness, imbalance and uniqueness - are characteristics of this mighty change responsible for our existence.

          I see our minds as primordial art, sound recording and animation studios.
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          Jul 14 2011: Corey and Simone,
          I agree that several levels of consciousness are all parts of the big picture.

          Simone,
          You believe that consciousness is a "production" of one's mind...the brain? I agree that we may "brew" our own identity, based on information we get from many levels of consciousness, so I don't agree that it is all simply a production of the mind/brain.

          I agree with your theory that perceptions play a role in our life experience, and LOVE your comparison to art. I also had the wonderful experience as a performing artist to create my "scene" with sensations, images, sound, light, actions and reactions...all the different "colors" of life:>)
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      Jul 14 2011: QUOTE: "For all we know, this could all be a part of the vivid dream a potato in another dimension is having."

      In which case, the potato might profit from asking (and answering) the question.

      These kinds of discussions can become a bit self referential - we talk "about" something; and then we talk about "talking about" something, and so on. [I am doing it now.]

      When we talk about consciousness (and where it comes from) more often than not, we are actually talking about "the idea of consciousness."

      And when we are talking about the idea (of anything) - well, anything goes because we can say anything we want about an idea.
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        Jul 15 2011: It definitely makes for good conversation but, the same could be said for quantum physics or religious dogmas. When you can't prove something, all you have to go on are theories. What you have to decide on is which theory works for you.
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          Jul 15 2011: QUOTE: "It definitely makes for good conversation but, the same could be said for quantum physics or religious dogmas."

          Yes, it is a good topic for conversation. One question we might ask is: "Is consciousness a "hard topic" like physics or a "soft topic" like religious dogma and philosophy?

          Not that being dogmatic is a soft topic - it can be studied and the appropriate neurophysiological processes mapped, measured and described. But what we are dogmatic about ... well, that's another story.

          I think we humans are prone to making assumptions. One of them is: If we know a word that describes something, we assume we know what the something is.

          We have a word "consciousness" - it is fair to think we assume we know what that word means - we "invented it" after all.

          I don't think we do.

          Conversations about things we actually know are, usually, very short.

          Conversations about things we think we know, are endless.

          I think knowing what consciousness is would be a good first step in streamlining any conversations we might want to have "about" it.

          There are some lovely simple tales that illustrate my point quite well - a well know one is about a group of people who had read about mangoes and they were discussing what they might taste like. The debate went around and around ... until a fruit seller overheard them and offered them a mango to taste. The discussion ended.

          How many of us can say, "I know what consciousness is?"

          I have found that those of us who (we might assume) could say such a thing (and I have met a few) are extremely unlikely to make such a comment. Those of us who (we might assume) could not make such an assertion are much more likely to talk about it with comments ranging from, "It does not exist," to "It is the foundation of all that there is," and so on.

          Know consciousness.

          Know thyself.
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        Jul 16 2011: QUOTE: "One question we might ask is: "Is consciousness a "hard topic" like physics or a "soft topic" like religious dogma and philosophy?"

        Can you please clarify? I want to make sure I understand you correctly.

        Also, the Mango parable is great!
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          Jul 16 2011: QUOTE: "... is: "Is consciousness a "hard topic" like physics or a "soft topic" like religious dogma and philosophy?"

          Can you please clarify?"

          Sure. Is consciousness "real" ... that is, would it exist, could it exist, does it exist, independently of the mind of human beings (or some such entity?)

          Or is consciousness a pure abstraction with which we can only play "word games?"

          Examples of hard topics might include: chemistry, physics (to a point), marketing, carpentry, emotions, etc.

          Examples of soft topics might include: God (but not religion), Truth (but not truth), philosophy, some theoretical physics (but not for lack of trying to become "hard") and so on.

          Of course, you can see the problem with the question (and the topic) - unless one has tasted the mango, one cannot know what it tastes like; and even if one has tasted the mango (if it were possible,) one cannot tell anyone else what it tastes like. That is the nature of experience.

          Let us assume there is consciousness and that it is real and independent (not, for example, an emergent property of the human brain.)

          Let us assume that human beings can experience it (not simply think about it) ... what would someone who had had such an experience say to someone who hadn't?

          What would someone who had not had such an experience talk about?

          It's an interesting dilemma, isn't it?

          If consciousness exists, and it is possible for a human being to experience it, then, if one wishes to talk about it authoritatively, one would want to pursue such an experience (by what ever means necessary;) and if consciousness does not exist - except as a hypothetical - there is not much point talking about it.

          Unless, of course, we like talking about hypotheticals.

          And apparently we do because we do it a lot.
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        Jul 18 2011: Thank you for the clarification. I agree. There comes a point when the discussion becomes silly and like you said, it's fun to talk about.
    • Jul 17 2011: I havnt actually read the whole conversation but I do want to add this. If beng dead can be defined as not being concious (which it is...when you are dead, you have no conciousness) then we are "dead" for most of our sleep (sleep cycle 1, 2, 3, etc) and even when we are unconcious, we can be thought of as being dead. However, when dreaming lucidly, we are concious of our existence.

      "When you're in bed, you're dead."
      Tuesdays with Morrie

      As for the question in particular, I believe in a more holistic view of conciousness in that it is rooted from a field of sorts as many have described here. However, this is not a scientific view, only philospohical and pseudoscientific at that for I have not done any scientific studies nor do I know enough of nueroscience to actually make a conclusive theory about this question.

      However, I do know of the Global Conciousness Project and how it is allowing for the study of conciousness at a grander scale to help elucidate the effects of our conciousness. This study measures the deviations of random number generator machines used for the lottery and such when large "conciousness events" occur like the Presidential election (2008) and the terrorist attacks of September 11th. This scientific study spanning more than 30 years is using Scientific and Statistical analysis to actually map how our global conciousness behaves. It is very interesting and if we want to actually talk about this topic in a scientific light we should refer to this project as a reference frame.
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        Jul 17 2011: QUOTE: "As for the question in particular, I believe in a more holistic view of conciousness...However, this is not a scientific view, only philospohical and pseudoscientific at that for I have not done any scientific studies nor do I know enough of nueroscience to actually make a conclusive theory about this question.

        Hi Raj,

        Well the guys who know a LOT about neuroscience - V. S. Ramachandran, Gerald Edelman, Edward de Bono et al - can't provide a more definitive (scientific) answer than the one you have.

        Personally, I think we often confuse "awareness" for "consciousness." They are NOT the same thing.
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          Jul 18 2011: Thomas,
          WOW...did Webster's get it wrong?
          Definition of consciousness: "The quality or state of being aware esp. of something within oneself".
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          Jul 18 2011: I love the way you think, Thomas. Unlike the rest of the deeply intuitive living world around us, we learn to communicate through our man-made language. None of our human words/terms can make sense on their own, unless we are explained and agreed upon what they "mean". Otherwise, we would not need any Webster, or even any grammar.... just like other living forms. I'd like to make some workable sense of "consciousness" for the obvious reason that we commonly use this word in different ways. Consciousness is presumably a state of Human mind, where we so desperately want to put things that we experience in our own man-made order. It's possible that our brains are growing into a such large development just because of lots of extra thinking activities. No other living creature even nearly needs this type of mental activity - it uses its instant intuition, and therefore it needs neither a compass, nor an Internet.

          What strange playhouses our minds are!

          As I understand, we are not born with a "consciousness" state of mind. We are born with blessed Awareness - super sensitivity and fantastic alertness. These abilities are getting suppressed as we age by our "consciousness", developed based on our human conventional thinking.

          The universe of subconsciousness is magnificent and ultimately intuitive. I'd call it Awareness. Well, my Out-of-body experience has proved it 100%.
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        Jul 18 2011: QUOTE: "... WOW...did Webster's get it wrong?
        Definition of consciousness: "The quality or state of being aware esp. of something within oneself".

        Hi Colleen,

        Did Webster's get it wrong?

        It depends on whether we are getting "technical" or "colloquial."

        My guess is that with Webster's ... they got it right as far as the "common parlance" is concerned.

        But we are not "common" ... are we?

        Our bodies are, at this moment regulating our heart rate, metabolism, temperature, and so on.

        Do you think "consciousness" has anything to do with that?

        Are we "aware" of it happening?

        Assuming consciousness is playing some role in the maintenance of homeostasis (and it is a debatable point) - do you think - if consciousness took a little break - we could take over using our awareness?
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          Jul 18 2011: Yes...consciousness has something to do with that, and yes, I am aware of it happening.Consciousness and awareness are intertwined according to me and Webster's:>)

          Perhaps that is not true for you, but it is for many of us. To make a broad statement like that is not accurate for some of us:>)
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        Jul 18 2011: QUOTE: "Consciousness and awareness are intertwined according to me and Webster's:>)

        Perhaps that is not true for you, but it is for many of us. To make a broad statement like that is not accurate for some of us:>)

        Well, colloquially, it is true for me too but now we are getting into two different topics: semantics and "authority" for lack a of a better word. (Can someone think of a better word than "authority" for the concept I am conveying?)

        Certainly, there is a relationship between consciousness and awareness but that does not mean the words mean the same thing. Especially when we are engaging in a discussion about where "consciousness comes from." That's the semantics bit.

        Computers can be "aware" of certain things - what you are looking at, for example - there's a TED talk on that - does that mean the computer is "conscious?"

        The "authority" bit rests on the question I have asked a couple of times: "Does anyone know what consciousness is?"

        If some of us "know" what consciousness is, we would have a distinct advantage over those of us who do not. Such people would be "authorities."

        Of course, for those of us who do not know what consciousness is these "authorities" would be unrecognizable.

        I haven't read all the posts ... so maybe someone has said, "Yes, I know what consciousness is."

        But, if no one has, then "anything goes" consciousness MIGHT be the same as awareness; it MIGHT not exist at all; it MIGHT be an illusion resulting from a complex biological process that accidentally resulted in a differential feedback mechanism in the brain; it MIGHT be the Mind of God, and so on.

        Do you know what consciousness is?
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          Jul 18 2011: Thomas,
          You really like to complicate things and talk in circles huh?

          Your statement is "we often confuse "awareness" for "consciousness". They are NOT the same thing".

          The only point I'm making is that I, and many others DO NOT confuse awareness for consciousness. Consciousness is part of awareness and awareness is part of consciousness, in my humble opinion. Perhaps it might help if you read all the posts.
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        Jul 18 2011: Hi Colleen,

        You say, "many others DO NOT confuse awareness for consciousness."

        Yes, perhaps I could have been more clear and said: "Some of us confuse "awareness" for "consciousness, some of the time..."

        In terms of making a distinction between "awareness" and "consciousness, "I'm not sure where this falls: "Consciousness and awareness are intertwined according to me and Webster's"

        Do I like to "complicate things and talk in circles?"

        Not really. I prefer simplicity.

        Circles I kind of like as T.S. Elliot put it: "And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."

        So ... Do you know what consciousness is?
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          Jul 18 2011: Thomas,
          I know what my own experience of consciousness is, which I have expressed.
          As you insightfully say in another comment "know thyself".
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        Jul 18 2011: QUOTE: "I know what my own experience of consciousness is, which I have expressed.
        As you insightfully say in another comment "know thyself"."

        Where did the experience come from?

        Do you think that anyone who has not experienced what you have experienced could understand "where it came from?"
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          Jul 18 2011: Thomas,
          I experienced several levels of consciousness after a near fatal head/brain injury, craniotomy, and NDE/OBE 21 years ago. That was my frist big "lesson" in consciousness/awareness. I have lived my life as an exploration, being an observer, while fully participating in every moment, so the experience was the catalyst for more exploration into religious beliefs, philosophy, psychology, shamanism, science, and many various aspects of life and death.

          I do not believe we need to experience trauma to understand. I believe that in living a mindful, consciously aware life, we can learn, grow, and expand our understanding of anything:>)
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          Jul 18 2011: To quote myself: "At a certain point. It becomes silly."
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        Jul 19 2011: Hi Colleen,

        Yes, I gathered from some of your other posts (in other threads, I think) that you have suffered a serious injury.

        I find language somewhat limiting ... even though we all try to use it well.

        I didn't mean what triggered your experience; I meant, "Where" did you experience consciousness?"

        Where was the consciousness when you experienced it?

        Where were "you?"

        And, regardless of the triggering mechanism - trauma, meditation, mindfulness, revelation, ergot, peyote - do you think someone else who has not had your experience could understand what you are talking about when, for example, you use the word "consciousness?"
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          Jul 20 2011: Dear Thomas,
          First of all, I did not "suffer" anything. To suffer, means to endure, put up with distress, loss, etc. My perception of the experience is that I learned many things I probably would not have learned in any other way, so it was/is an opportunity. Suffering, is holding onto the pain of the challenge, which I do not choose to do. I agree...language is limiting.

          To ask "where did you experience consciousness", is like asking, where do you experience energy? I've said several times on this thread that I experience consciousness as energy. It is everywhere. Can you tell me where electric energy is? It is in lightening...at the generating plant...it runs through electrical lines...into homes, business, recreation areas, etc., does it not? It is 110 volts, 220 volts, and probably many "forms" in between. Electric energy is everywhere and yet you cannot specifically say "where" it is can you? That is how I percieve the energy that is consciousness. It comes into our homes (the body), into a breaker box (the brain) and then is seperated, and it also remains part of the source. When I experience consciousness, it is everywhere...in and around everything that is, and yet I cannot pinpoint it because it is everything and nothing. I am part of the whole...part of the energy of the generating station if you will, and yet I am also a tiny little shining night light, and it is all interconnected.

          I don't honestly know what another person can understand. That part is up to him/her.
          We can only share information and each individual will accept it...or not:>)
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          Jul 20 2011: Some of my experience of consciousness:
          When the body was being loaded into the ambulance, I'm told that I kept saying..."I don't have time for this...I have company coming for dinner, and I have to go home and cook...I don't have time.."
          According to the medical records, I was unconscious, but responding on some level. I don't remember any of this, but apparently, the brain was still connecting with something it knew to be true on a human level...the fact that I was having company for dinner, and didn't want to take time for this other "activity".

          The next conscious state I am aware of is observing the body from another place. I was in ICU after the surgery, and the body (according to the medical records) was hovering between life and death, kept alive with life support systems.
          At that point, apparently there was a small amount of energy running through the body and keeping it barely alive. The rest of "me", or the energy that is my consciousness, was in an expanded state, which was a higher vibration than the body can hold. At that point, the consciousness was aware of a much bigger picture, and there was a sense of all knowing...an expanded sense of something like intuition, or ESP.

          When the energy/consciousness came back into the body, the body stabalized (according to medical records). At that point, I was aware of being in the body, and was aware of what was going on around me to a lesser extent, and I could not communicate. Except...I'm told that I was smiling and giving my visitors a thumbs up:>)

          I experienced another level of consciousness 10 days later, when I was labeled "conscious" according to the medical model, and could communicate on some level. I was in a child like state emotionally and physically at that point.

          After that, there were continually changing levels of consciousness/awareness as the energy began again to function within the body/mind/heart:>)
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        Jul 20 2011: Hi Colleen,

        I was using "suffer" as an intransitive verb, in which case it means: "to be affected by or subject to [something.]"

        QUOTE: To ask "where did you experience consciousness", is like asking, where do you experience energy?

        I can tell you where I experience energy. And, I am sure you can tell us where you experience it too ... if you put you mind to it.

        Where do you experience the taste of an apple? In the apple? On your tongue?

        QUOTE: When I experience consciousness, it is everywhere...in and around everything that is, and yet I cannot pinpoint it because it is everything and nothing. I am part of the whole...part of the energy of the generating station if you will, and yet I am also a tiny little shining night light, and it is all interconnected.

        So, to answer the question, "Where do you think consciousness comes from, might you answer: "Consciousness is an emergent property of consciousness-as-energy (or energy-as-consciousness) interacting with and between a sentient organism and all of creation?"

        Or would you say, "Consciousness just "is" - it doesn't come from anywhere - and we simply experience it as a result of our existence within an infinite field of conscious energy?"

        Or ... something else?

        (As you may have guessed, I am trying to help our good friend Farrukh Yakubov with his original question: Where do you think consciousness comes from?)

        QUOTE: I don't honestly know what another person can understand.

        Probably anything you or I can understand - and through the same process (not circumstance.)

        And I agree with you that "that part is up to him/her."
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          Jul 20 2011: Thomas,
          If you can tell us where and how you experience energy, why don't you do that, rather than asking the same questions over and over again? Please don't tell me what I "might answer". I've answered your questions in a way that I am willing and capable of doing, and you continue to ask the same questions and try to put words in my mouth.

          I experience an apple in much the same way I experience consciousness...with awareness of all that it is...with all my senses...appreciation for the whole apple...the growth...the gift it gives me on so many levels...the beauty...deliciousness...nurturing qualities...the wonder of how it is produced...etc. etc. How do YOU experience an apple?
          How do you experience consciousness? Energy? Awareness?

          No, I did not guess that you are trying to "help our good friend Farrukh". He did a great job with his question, and in my perception does not need help getting answers. It's good to know what you are trying to do though, because it was previously unclear to me.

          You have answered your own question regarding "what another person can understand"..."probably anything you or I can understand" - and through some of the same processes or circumstances. What information a person is willing and able to assimilate is his/her choice. There have been quite a few interesting, informative perceptions put forth on this thread, so again, I don't percieve Farrukh as being in need of help moderating this discussion. He asked a question and is looking for different perspectives, and, quite frankly, I find your comments repetitive, so it would be wonderful if you would present some of your own opinions/perceptions regarding the topic, which I'm sure you are capable of doing:>)
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        Jul 20 2011: QUOTE: "Some of my experience of consciousness..."

        Thank you for sharing that.

        It sounds like a beautifully transforming experience.
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          Jul 20 2011: You are welcome Thomas:>) It was indeed a beautiful experience, and continues to be such.

          I would not say that it was "transforming"...perhaps we are facing another difference in word usage/interpretation? Transform, to me and Webster's, means to change in composition or structure; to change the outward form or appearance; change in character or condition; to cause to undergo genetic transformation...etc." I am still the same "character" with the same physical composition, structure and outward form, appearance and genetics.

          The experience caused me to be more aware of the energy of consciousness on many more levels. It opened channels/programs in the heart, mind and body, that I was previously not aware of on a human conscious level, and connected other channels/programs that I was aware of, but not realizing the interconnections.
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        Jul 20 2011: Hi Colleen,

        I haven't answered the question where I experience energy because no one asked and, even if they had, it is not particularly relevant to the topic. I do not equate "energy" with "consciousness."

        You raise some interesting points.

        Why do I ask the same question over and over?

        Because I have not received an adequate answer.

        With topics like this one, it is often assumed that "opinion" is good enough. The assumption is that the topic is essentially "unknowable" so we might as well just throw around some ideas. Ideas are great. Opinions are fine. But perhaps it is possible to actually know consciousness. Not know about it. Not know what we can do with it. Know consciousness.

        And if one knew consciousness, one might be able to provide Farrukh a definitive answer, or a definitive method of finding an answer for himself (rather than a collection of anecdotes and opinions - which are fine too.)

        You provided an experiential basis in your response so I pursued it.

        This discussion is not actually about you, you know?

        It's about seeing if we can come up with an answer to where consciousness comes from.

        Have you considered that I - or someone else responding - might actually know?

        Have you considered that a "direct answer" might not be possible; and the only way Farrukh will find a meaningful response will be self-discovery?

        I have.

        I have also considered that someone might be able to provide him with an answer that I am unaware of.

        Hence my questions. And I will probably continue to ask them.

        This is not a "social interaction" this is an exploration.

        Make sense?

        ----------------
        EDIT: How do YOU experience an apple?

        I eat it.

        But that wasn't my question. My question was, "Where do you experience it?"

        [There's no need to answer.]

        --------------
        EDIT: "Please don't tell me what I 'might answer' ... and ... put words in my mouth."

        Colleen, if you read the post again and I think you will see they were questions.
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          Jul 20 2011: Dear Thomas,
          If you "have not recieved an adequate answer", then I understand why you keep asking:>)
          I'm wondering if any answer will be "adequate" in your perception.

          I "know consciousness" as it impacts me, and can only explain my perception with the information that is in my own heart and mind.

          I know this discussion is not about me Thomas, and it is only my thoughts, feelings, ideas, opinions and perceptions that I can share about the topic. You ask me questions about my experiences, then tell me the discussion is not actually about me?

          I already told you about my perception that many people "know", and have expressed themselves very well on this thread. Are you listening? Hearing? I also expressed my belief that each and every one may have different perceptions/beliefs about the topic. Of course this is an exploration, and it makes a lot of sense to me in the many ways I have expressed:>)

          I already answered your question regarding the apple to the best of my ability.

          I read your post several times, while "listening" and being aware on several different levels, which is how I read and reply to all comments:>)
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        Jul 20 2011: QUOTE: "The experience caused me to be more aware of the energy of consciousness on many more levels. It opened channels/programs in the heart, mind and body, that I was previously not aware of on a human conscious level, and connected other channels/programs that I was aware of, but not realizing the interconnections."

        Sounds lovely.
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        Jul 20 2011: Hi Colleen,

        Yes, there are answers that would satisfy my very particular questions. On July 8, Ed Shulte provided a very succinct response that I find adequate.

        I have not confirmed with him whether his answer is "a guess" based on applied logic or whether he "knows" his answer to be true but, as it stands, it is probably the best answer so far. It's not much use to Farruhk ... unless he can arrive at the same answer by independent means but it is a good answer.

        And I agree with you there are many other wonderful responses in the thread. Most of the ones I have read would fall under the category of conjecture (and there's nothing wrong with that - the question is, "Where do YOU THINK consciousness comes from?")

        I do not equate our experiences or our cognition with the self but, if you would like to have questions about your experiences and about your ideas be "about you," we can do that. In that capacity let me make a recommendation: If you have answered my question, about the apple, to the best of your ability; and if you have "listened" to my post on several different levels before you replied, then I recommend that you subtract some of the filters you apply to your "listening." They are distorting what you hear. Let me rephrase that, they are distorting what I say.

        For instance, you did not answer MY question about the apple at all. You answered YOUR question about the apple. It was an excellent answer but not to my question.

        This is tangential to the discussion but perhaps useful. Perhaps not.
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          Jul 20 2011: Thomas,
          I am glad you found something "adequate" in this discussion.
          You say..."It's not much use to Farruhk...unless he can arrive at the same answer by independent means...".
          That does not seem consistent with one of your previous statements, which I agree with..."In the end, I come to the same conclusion we are all the same. We just describe our "sameness" differently". In my perception, we don't have to have the same answer, if/when we can find common ground, even if the wording is not the same.

          I percieve several of the comments on this thread to express similar answers to the question, and I also feel that we are all much the same, and describe our experiences of "sameness" differently.

          You have questioned my experiences, and I respected your questioning with honest replies. Interesting statement Thomas..."...if you would like to have questions about your experiences and about your ideas be "about you", we can do that". LOL!
          Who else do you think/feel statements about MY experiences and ideas might be about?
          If you don't honestly want to hear about my experiences...don't ask:>)

          Re: Who did, or did not answer the question about the apple.
          You say in previous statements..." We can describe our own experience and if another person's account matches our own (even remotely) assume we may have a shared foundation". "I had to learn to listen to the message "behind" the "words".
          I agree with these insightful comments Thomas.

          I have considered your recommendations, and percieve them as not very useful. You are the only one who can do anything about the distortions in what you say:>) I have no desire to go round in circles with words that contradict.
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        Jul 21 2011: Hi Colleen,

        I suspect on some level you are doing this intentionally but allow me to point out the application of a filter that is distorting what I am saying, what you are hearing, and, as a result, how you reply.

        You open with the line, "I am glad you found something "adequate" in this discussion."

        Colleen, you know that is not what I said. The subtlety is evident and the statement must serve some purpose - it could be an "idle" mistake - but you have said you are very careful in your replies, so I think not.

        QUOTE: "You are the only one who can do anything about the distortions in what you say:>)"

        I agree but, as you can see, I must also take responsibility for the distortions that others, including yourself, hear. That is, if it is important to me that "others" hear and understand me. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it is not.

        QUOTE: "I have no desire to go round in circles with words that contradict."

        Then stop doing it. The words that "contradict" are, I suggest, the editorial comments, appended by your inner narrative to my own.

        You have skillfully extracted excerpts from my posts and constructed them so as to support your own conclusion [very well done, I might add.]

        I share you opinion: "I have no desire to go round in circles with words that contradict." So I will not address them further. For one thing, it would not advance the topic of the thread.
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          Jul 21 2011: Thomas,
          I repeated EXACTLY what you wrote...word for word....of your own construct:>)
          I have made no conclusions, but rather reflected back to you, your own words. Thank you for saying it is well done:>)

          The only way it may advance the topic of this thread is to demonstrate how consciously aware we are of the words we use and how we communicate...or not:>) My mind and heart are always open to commonalities. It feels like you do not percieve very many of other people's ideas (mine included) to be "adequate".
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        Jul 21 2011: QUOTE: "I repeated EXACTLY what you wrote...word for word....of your own construct:>)"

        Well you did use my words but you did not repeat them "EXACTLY" the way I used them. (You know this ... so why you did it might be useful to contemplate just a bit.)

        QUOTE: It feels like you do not percieve very many of other people's ideas (mine included) to be "adequate"."

        Thank you for using the qualifier "it feels like." That has not been my intention (and, again, I suspect you actually know this on one of your levels of consciousness.)

        Allow me to clarify: What I said was I had not received adequate replies to "my question." That was not meant to imply there are no adequate replies to Farruhk's question. Or that there were no adequate replies at all.

        I actually like many of your replies. You are speaking sincerely from personal experience. That's as good as it gets.
    • Jul 21 2011: I'm actually both thiest and neurology (not a neurologist :P). I propose the idea that God made the brain. I'm actually averse to the general idea that "science is the devil." So, God made the brain, and the brain makes consciousness. Take away the brain, no consciousness... Like a veggie.

      I've already replied, but I figured i'd troll. I don't think it's anything mystical, or anything to hypothesize about. It's brain capacity. Whether you're a theist or not, that's what it scientifically is. And plants are green because of chlorophyll... (dear god, I hope I'm right about that plant thing :S)

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