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Farrukh Yakubov

Student, Purdue University

TEDCRED 50+

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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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    Aug 3 2011: Re: Christopher Cop's three points --
    1) Consciousness is not external to our brain (no living brain, no consciousness measurable)
    2) Consciousness did not arise sudden (it evolved)
    3) Consciousness is not either/or (there are multiple levels, gradations of consciousness)
    I strongly disagree with all 3. Re point #1: Plants have no brain and yet they are clearly conscious: http://tiny.cc/vuw02 Likewise, cells in the body make choices and know an enemy from a friend, so to speak.
    Re point #2: The interesting thing about consciousness is that it does NOT evolve. It does not change at all. What changes is the sophistication of the nervous system housing the consciousness. Consciousness works in a nervous system like electricity works on appliances, depending how they are built you get its distinct flavor. Electricity in the refrigerator makes things cold, electricity in a toaster makes things hot. But it is the SAME electricity doing it. Likewise with consciousness, the consciousness of a frog can only work from the degree of sophistication of a frog's nervous system. A human nervous system is far more refined. Re #3: It is due to the nervous system and not the consciousness that we see gradations and differences. The consciousness itself never changes. Consciousness permeates all living things, probably at the quantum level.
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      Aug 3 2011: Susan Sayler says, "Plants have no brain and yet they are clearly conscious..."

      Christophe Cop says, "no living brain, no consciousness measurable."

      Regular readers will probably notice a pattern here (any second now.)

      Do either of you KNOW what consciousness is?

      Do you know if the person you are talking to knows what consciousness is?

      Do you know if you are describing "different things" when you use the word "consciousness?"
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      Aug 3 2011: Hi Susan,

      You say,

      QUOTE: "...Plants have no brain and yet they are clearly conscious..."

      It sort of depends on how we use the word consciousness but putting that aside for a moment, I think you will like the story of the acacia tree.

      Giraffes eat acacia tree leaves. Some folks who had a lot of time on their hands noticed that they would eat "a lot of leaves" in a particular location and almost none in others. There were lots of possible explanations but they decided to "figure out why." (Don't ask me how but eventually they did.)

      It turns out that when the giraffe start eating the leaves of a particular tree, it "reacts;" it starts to produce a "pheromone" which is carried on the wind to other acacia trees. They react to the pheromone and start to produce something that makes their leaves taste bitter and the giraffe don't like them.

      Cool, huh?
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        Aug 4 2011: Very cool Thomas...that is proof!!!

        Here's another interesting thing I've noticed in the gardens over the years...
        Certain kinds of weeds will grow next to perrenials that look very similar. Is this a conscious effort to survive? Do they "know" that I may not recognize them because they are so much like the plants I want to keep and nurture?
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          Aug 4 2011: Well, it is proof of "something."

          The phenomenon could be explained (quite well) by evolution ... and, in theory, something similar could be happening in a parallel universe with no "sentient" beings in it to be aware of it on any level.

          It could also be explained by postulating a degree (either high or low) of consciousness.
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        Aug 4 2011: very very cool!!!!!
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        Aug 4 2011: HI Thomas,
        I agree, semantics is an issue. The word comes from the Greek: con=with scious=knowledge; and its earliest use was to imply self-referential consciousness: "to know that you know".
        From metaphysics, consciousness is the animating principle of life and this is the way I use the word (separate from perception, awareness, mind, attention, thinking) so "life" and "consciousness" are interchangeable. The reason I believe this is so is because in order for life to remain alive, every part of that life form has to be making conscious decisions. By conscious decisions it is choosing in the moment "this and not that". Furthermore, I believe this is the definition of evolution; the choosing of this and not that.
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          Aug 4 2011: In haste:

          A few weeks ago, I coined a word for this: "to know that you know:"

          It's: "gnovidya." From Proto-Indo-Euopean, "gno," from which we get "gnosis;" and the Sanskrit, "vidya" meaning knowledge, learning and science.

          So, gnovidya: knowing that you know or the state of knowing.
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          Aug 4 2011: Any shamanic practitioners anybody knows? I believe it is true what Thomas implies, we all mean something different and we mean a collection of 'thoughts' when we talk about ourselves.

          Edmund Husserl was in search his whole life to the essence of thought, in the end - he had more time than me to contemplate on it - he had to make a closing statement he will not KNOW the answer as he, as long as he lives, is within thought/consciousness.

          I enjoy the word 'gnovidya', it has a sparkle in 'consciousness' ;).

          Maybe we do need a word for our 'new understanding of our part/anchor in 'unity consciousness'.

          Where did you coin it Thomas, did it land?
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      Aug 4 2011: I think saying a plant has consciousness implies that consciousness is a very primitive and makes it almost equal to "whenever an organism responds to a changing environment, it is conscious".

      I think that limits the idea of consciousness somewhat, though it can be seen as the thing that eventually led to more and more responsiveness, which finally turns out to be what we can call consciousness...

      So I clearly see you use another definition of consciousness... as such you say that other things evolve, not the consciousness as such... I take the evolving part as part of what consciousness is.

      About the quantum level: suddenly I have the feeling you stepped into the quantum-quackery trap.
      Your claim about the permeation of consciousness, to me, seems like total bullocks. There is no evidence for it whatsoever...
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        Aug 4 2011: Christophe,
        YOUR theory that consciousness is ONLY produced by the brain from birth to death is the limiting one! Remember how you said consciousness has many different levels? And above, you say "I take the evolving part as part of what consciousness is"....YES!!!

        I agree that consciousness is "primitive"...original...primary...elemental...natural...belonging to or characteristic of an early stage of development...YES!!!

        And in my humble opinion...connects everything that is:>)

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