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Rafael Perez

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is consciousness a brain chemical reaction?

as in the genome is found that all nature comes from the same organism (LUCA) is it possible that what is inside us may be acquired from other elements of nature, and it is disturbing that the neurones connectors have an important similitude in chemical composition of psilocybin, is it possible that generations of psilocibin use have generated these connections as we know them? is it consciousness a brain chemical reaction??

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    Dec 26 2011: It is always possible to allow or disallow certain perspectives when doing scientific research or contemplation. Our own preset beliefs will be the strongest form to shape our thoughts. Supernatural or metaphysical explanations only mean that we do not yet have a scientific explanation or theory for some phenomenon. That still does not mean that everything is definitely explainable. There is no such thing as fact or proof but only the plausibility of being probably approximately correct. Some science has very accurate predictability but only in the very near future at very close range i.e. Feynman's Quantum Electrodynamics. More time and space bring about the effects of resonant interaction between observers and observed systems and we lose that ability, causing many of the paradoxes. The LHC might show a probable Higgs particle because it was built to show it. We don't know what it really shows. It can only show things that conform to a mathematical model language we know. We can not know things we do not have a language for. We could consider it wrong, spurious or irrelevant. Random Monte Carlo walks are therefore used to find areas of probable particle signatures which conform to the model.

    Applying those thoughts to a scientific model of mind and brain we run into the same situation. We can not measure thoughts or picture mental images much as we can not see a Higgs particle. We can create a model (which we do not yet have) to describe mind and try to map it into the brain. But the brain is just a carrier and it is extremely complex due to its bio-chemical nature. The bio-electrical part in itself is utterly dysfunctional without the biochemistry.

    It is impossible to build a human-like artificial intelligence because it will not possess a human-like experience of self and it will lack the hormonal drives. I wrote a novel on the subject in 2003 (Deity - http://www.amazon.com/Deity-Max-J-Pucher/dp/0974100633/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1324896043&sr=8-1 )
    • Jan 3 2012: not human, but do you think consciousnes can be replicated?? thank you
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        Jan 3 2012: No I don't think that consciousness can be replicated in the human sense, because consciousness is defined by what it feels like to have a brain inside a body. You can give it some other definition but then it is not human. We can make a machine behave as if it would have consciousness, but that does not mean it has it. In all effect, consciousness is an illusion that each person has about itself. It is strongly connected to feelings, which means the biochemical reactions of the body to its surroundings. The medula old-center brain has two parts and one passes bodily feelings to the brain and the other passes brain signals to create the sensation of being self-aware. So consciousness is not a higher-order functionality as it is really easy to lose it. The brain could still be connected to the universe in a larger energetic sense and handle the input intuitively.

        Joll Bolte reports on the amazing sensation of losing your rational self-image due to a stroke.
        • Jan 3 2012: im sorry, i did not say human sense, i think human most replicate it, thats the evolve reason to us like we are evolve pieces
        • Jan 14 2012: what u think max?
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    Dec 24 2011: Just because we are conscious, doesn't mean we are "conscious."

    Yes, we are conscious because we can examine the mind create a memory (and other cognitive functions), so yeah it is a chemical-energy reaction.

    But what is "consciousness" is still open to debate.

    I enjoy Socrates idea of intellectualism - Confucius would agree in the sense of becoming sagely.
    http://www.thedivineconspiracy.org/Z5255G.pdf (Socratic Moral Psychology)

    Intelligence, awareness, adaptability, critical-analytical skills, and/or overall cognitive functions - are apart of the consciousness debate.

    How "conscious" is someone proves just as much of a concern as the question "Are we conscious," no?

    So, yes to your question, but it is also more - it is "supernatural" in the sense sciences do not know at present time the entirety of the human "mind." To what extent is their a metaphysical connection between people - earth - universe? To what extent do our known body energies affect/effect one another without our brain consciously knowing, but just body?

    I mind you, we do not just think with our brain; our stomachs and spines also have neural control over our systems.
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    Dec 22 2011: I would go with John Searle on that: Consciousness being an emergent quality of a certain number of interconnected neurons. Like liquidity is an emergent quality of molecules under certain conditions.
    Of course that is only what it is and not an answer to questions like what it means or how it works.
    And I found this one (http://www.ted.com/talks/daniel_wolpert_the_real_reason_for_brains.html) very interesting to answer the question how we got enough neurons for this emergent movement anyhow.
    Which in turn might suggest that furthe advancements in human consciousness might be attained rather dancing than playing chess... don't you agree?
  • Dec 21 2011: electro-chemical reactions.

    Consciousness is the perception that emerges from massively parallel iterative electro-chemical neural processing. That is - lots of different parts of the brain, processing lots of different information, doing it all very very quickly, all at once, and repeatedly feeding processed information back into other parts of the brain... all operating on the electro-chemical substrate of neural interaction. When your visual center is working in concert with your memory, audio, emotions, etc, etc... the real time, iterative concert of all these disparate pieces causes the sensation of consciousness.

    But that's really as helpful as telling you that the functions of computer programs emerges from massively parallel iterative electro-mechanical transistor operations.

    It's accurate, and captures some of the spirit of how complexity emerges... but at the same time, leaves out significant portions of the intricacies and details of how these complex emergent phenomena comes to be.

    As far as psylocibin goes... that can chemically affect portions of the brain - specific neurotransmitters that perform certain tasks - which in turn would alter the way consciousness is percieved or works for the period in which the drug is active - but would have nothing to do with been the cause of consciousness.
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      Dec 21 2011: "Consciousness is the perception that emerges ..." What's "perception," then? Consciousness?

      "... causes the sensation of consciousness." And what's "sensation," then? Consciousness?

      It's not easy for the working mind to examine the working mind. We seem to run into conceptual and linguistic black holes.
      • Dec 22 2011: It's not easy for the working mind to examine the working mind. But that doesn't mean it's impossible.

        And flippant linguistic observations aside - the points made still hold; this thing that we feel that we call consciousness, is the feeling/perception/sensation that arises from the 'massively parallel, iterative, processing' of many smaller elements of the brain.

        Without the context of the rest of massively parallel iterative experience... electrical signals from the skin indicating pressure and temperature (among other things) mean little. In the context of visual, auditory feedback, of temporal delays, as well as the context of thousands of other memory cues - the small parts of the experience of consciousness ties into and makes sense with the overall experience.
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          Dec 22 2011: Nothing flippant in my reply, George, and no criticism intended. I'm just pointing out the difficulty of explaining consciousness without resorting to near-equivalent terms, like feeling/perception/sensation, all of which are aspects of consciousness. One unavoidably gets into a tautological spiral because the mind can only grasp its own function by reference to its own function.

          I have no quibble with your mechanistic explanation of nerve nets in the brain. As a biologist myself I think you said it as well as can be said in a paragraph or two.
        • Jan 13 2012: Mr. K. From what you are saying, it would appear to be very likely that conscious robot brains could be developed(?)
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          Jan 13 2012: shawn,

          I don't know if that's what Mr K said, but I am pretty sure that sometime humans will develop conscious "robot brains." I don't see why not.
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        Dec 22 2011: You men are ridiculous
      • Dec 22 2011: Sorry Paul. Flippant wasn't the best word choice. Clever wordplay better resembles the connotations I was trying to impart.
    • Jan 13 2012: george: do you think the bacteria are there without knowing what to do? do you think functions of computer programs emerges from massively parallel iterative electro-mechanical transistor operations, well i dont, i see the simple, im not talking here about psilocibin, im talking about passion and evolution, and about a passion that makes us evolve, cientifics can say you where starts complexity, im talking about where is it driving us
  • Jan 2 2012: You can be pretty sure that consciousness is going to be more complex than mere chemical reactions , which are most likely a necessary but not sufficient condition. Perhaps analogous to electric devices ,like motors:complex switches, relays, coils of wire, etc. are required, but knowing, as we do , a great deal about all this, even on an atomic level, but . we still would not have found out what electricity "IS", because it is in the class of axioms of science: elements so basic that they can only be assumed, undefined, as part of a coherent scientific theory . That's what science is supposed to do: find out how it works, on the basis of testable assumptions. I would personally be surprised if it turned out the "Consciousness" were not some kind of energy Field, analogous to electricity. That assumption disposes of a great many intractiable "contradiictions", and might lead to some new discoverires as well. At least it would get rid of a lot of teenage angst about "not knowing who we are".
    • Jan 3 2012: that is the why of this question... keep looking, keep seeking, tuning new memes... thank you
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    Dec 25 2011: If someone listed to you the exact percentages of every existing molecule within a car what would you know about a car? If you knew about cars, would you understand what he is about? If he told you, would you agree to his description?
    Sometimes I feel like chemists or quantum phisicists are trying to pose as mechanics. That's the beautiful thing about the definition of emergence, isn't it: you can look at the parts a thousand times and you will still have to remain a stranger to the whole. Thank immanent omnipresent underlying complexity! Or something.
    • Jan 13 2012: Good analogy about the car parts. How about a simpler one that is similar: Electric motors. Prior to the age of Faraday, someone seeing the parts of a motor,assembled. would probably not be able to guess its function. But if a Martian with a battery came along, and gave it a spin, we would see an "emergent" property. To call it "electricity" would not explain it, its too basic; it would be , and has been, relegated to the status of Primitive Term , in Logic. and Science. But that doesn not make it "complex", quite the contrary, it is so "simple" it can't be further defined. Consciousness may be like that, not to say that it can't have properties, like lack of "borders", etc.
  • Dec 24 2011: Because humans evolved on a planet with a set amount of elements, everything that we and all other organisms are made of and function metabolically with are chemicals that are conducive to being stable in our environment. Hydrogen will always bind to oxygen when the correct environment is available much like how our brains have to use whatever chemicals are available in our internal environment to translate information into functions to allow us to interact properly with the circumstances we are confronted with. The only reason psilocybin ,or any other drug for that matter, effect us is because they are chemicals that are already existing in our brains used in much smaller amounts to produce emotional and logical triggers that signal threats or rewards in our environment. Consciousness is simply our ability as humans to interpret our sensory input beyond instinctual reaction and actually link new experiences to old memories as well as predict future outcomes or simulate experiences that haven't actually taken place. That is the main adaptation the frontal lobe gives us. If our brains used riboflavin in chemical reactions to interpret pleasure, many fruits and vegetable would synthesize effects similar to opium and would be consider drugs but our brains just don't happen to have receptors for that chemical.
    Much like how catnip works on cats but not humans.
    Consciousness is a chemical and electrical process. Drugs are like software for our minds. Our minds read the chemical data and try to interpret it but it's simply in the wrong format to be understood properly and is displayed in a distorted fashion upon our mental screen.
    • Dec 24 2011: Without doing an in depth (or even cursory) research into every psychoactive drug out there, it would seem that the idea that all drugs affect our brains because it already exists in our brains in minute quantities is intuitively untrue. After all, it's possible to conceive of manufactured chemical particles that nonetheless are able to entangle themselves with our neurotransmitters.

      Similarly, it doesn't seem like a huge stretch to think that some of these chemicals might occur naturally externally in the world, without formation or development within our own brains.

      Also, I tend to shy away from the notion that consciousness itself is a thing which has a purpose - the implication is that consciousness is a part of the brain that can be located within the brain much like the visual cortex.

      It's more that - having the brain able to cross-communicate between different regions of information processing is a fundamental part to having a brain that is able to specialize parts of itself in information processing. And that things that we call consciousness can only naturally emerge as the outcome of all that processing and cross communication.

      In that sense, consciousness exists more along the axons and dendrites of the brain then in any particular part of the brain itself - but it's not something that could exist simply through the function of any particular sets of axons or dendrites or neurons.
      • Jan 4 2012: so do you say that a virus dont have know what is it doing?
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    Dec 23 2011: The answer must be "Yes" for someone who rejects the existence of the supernatural. They must say that consciousnes is caused by chemical processes.
    For someone who believes natural law cannot explain life, being, consciousness, etc. the answer must be "No". They must say that chemical processes are an effect of a supernatural cause.
    • Jan 2 2012: A distinction like "supernatural" really has very little use in science. We all know a lot, and know that there still a vast number of things we DON'T know. That doesn't require that we have to assume Causality by chemical processes. In fact, its a very good bet that Consciousness is not caused by ANYTHING: would you say that Electricity is "caused" by something? I doubt you would. In other words, as a process, yes, but as to its existence, no.
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        Jan 2 2012: Excuse me, but a distinction like "supernatural" does not have "very little use in science" as you say. . . .It has absolutely no use in science!
        Either consciousness is chemistry, or it is not. If it is not then either: 1) it is uncaused (violating the law of causality), or 2) it is an effect of a cause which is not observable in the natural realm.
        Is electricity caused you ask? Yes, The Law of Causality has not been repealed. Thanks Shawn.
        • Jan 3 2012: hi, edward, what i think is that if we can scatter seeds of life that be able to replicate to find an environment and have the ability to form a conscious being to replicate then we realized that we are eternal, the most probable is that we will not see as the salmon, but we will have fulfilled our passion... what you think ed??
        • Jan 5 2012: Edward : I agree with you that "supernatural" is a useless term , meaning, really, things we don't understand yet.
          But "Consciousness Is either Chemistry " or not? I have never heard of any Law of
          Causality" in the sense that you are using it, except in Theology , where it was used to attempt a proof of the existence of "God". As such, what it actually becomes is in the form of an Axiom : assumed as basic, but not having the ability, or the need, to be "proved" itself. Right out of Euclidean Geometry. Useful, but maybe not absolutely necessary.
          I'm assuming, as I believe sciences still do, the basic terms of the discussion are going to be energy, waves, cycles, and correlations. with a big helping of constructed Theories to make sense of it all. "Chemistry" is not basic at all, since the components of the Periodic Table are no longer the "atoms" they once were considered to be , and Causality is more a Rule of Thumb than a "Law". I'm merely assuming , for the sake of theorizing, that Consciousness is going to turn out to be a more basic element than Westerners usually do; we are still hung up on this idea of a Newtonian particle Universe, which leads to a lot of confusion.
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          Jan 11 2012: Causality is a metaphysical theory which has not been proved or disproved. It ties in with the concept of determinism versus chaos theory. According to the standard model there is a range of certainty that can be achieved when making predictions due to the Heisenberg uncertainty principal therefore stating the universe is less than deterministic but not completely chaotic on the average.
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      Jan 3 2012: Edward, the most amazing thing is that people who believe in the supernatural are not willing to reconsider, while the majority of people who don't tend to continuously accept that they are learning something new. What makes someone believe that there is a supernatural phenomenon? As they experience that arrogance in their brain, it clearly is an illusion of that brain because without it they would not even be talking about it or communicating.

      Scientist talk about theory despite some plausibility, while supernaturalists who have not done anything to add to human knowledge are certain that they know it all. Absolutely amazing, or what else is the explanation?
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        Jan 3 2012: Sorry Max, I am not familiar with the term "supernaturalist." If by it you mean someone who rejects,denies, and opposes natural science, I am not that, and I don't know anyone who would be so arrogant, as you say. Science has taught us everything we know about the observable world around us. The scientific method is one of man's most beneficial tools.
        Your logic has a Fallacy of Composition. You claim that what is true of some ("are unwilling to reconsider') is true of all (who believe in the supernatural). I believe in the supernatural and I spend much of my time reconsidering what I believe. If I discover an error in my treasury of truth, I discard it.
        I guess your questions about the supernatural are rhetorical, but if you do want answers you will need to look beyond the natural, observable world. Science cannot, and should not try to, explain the supernatural. Be cool, Max, allow for the possibility that you are wrong about the supernatural, be willing to reconsider. Thanks.
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          Jan 3 2012: Edward, thanks for the reply. I think it is quite obvious what is meant by a 'supernaturalist' and they come in many flavours. I have no problem with such opinion as long as they have no problem with mine.

          I have made no such assertion that something would apply to everyone but yes, I did not explicitly allow for it. But I think there is little point in splitting hairs. My question was quite clear about the supernatural it is not fundamental because the supernatural only means that we have not yet a scientific explanation for it. I find a lot of plausibility in timeless actions at a distance in quantum physics, allowing many natural explanations for the supernatural. But the phenomenon as such are at a level that might stay out of reach of our certainty. It seems in fact that the essence of thus universe is about uncertainty. Many scientists take those thoughts as esoteric rubbish. That is their choice.

          if science can not explain the supernatural I wonder what means you use to 'look beyond'. If it is a purely mental exercise that can't be replicated it is an illusion of our brain that produces a huge amount of practical illusions each day. You treasury of truth is such an illusion. We know nothing. Exactly my point.

          So In everything I think and do I leave room for having a perception that is purely mine and possible not real and possibly not true at all. The supernatural would be inaccessible in this universe and thus not explainable but utterly irrelevant at the same time.

          A belief in the supernatural that is 'beyond science' is just that and nothing else. If science shouldn't look it means you want it to be mystical and unexplained for some personal reason. It would be pity to find out it is not supernatural.

          This is not meant as something personal. Just a discussion ... I would love to be convinced. So give it a try.
        • Jan 13 2012: the supernatural is a characteristic implemented in the genetics that for that purpose the human being development in the search for a spreading and evolving into life, is bigger than us, but easier than we can understand in our complexity

          lo sobrenatural es una caracteristica implantada en la genetica para que con ese fin el humano se desarrolle en la busqueda de un porque y evolucione hacia esparcir la vida, es mas grande que nosotros, pero mas sencillo de lo que podemos entender en nuestra complejidad
  • Dec 23 2011: the question is: is it possible that all in human body, as we know is made of the intermolecular changes, the similitude of these components is too close, is it possible that the inner impulse of 25% of human kind for smoking tobacco... is human kind creating a string capable of withstandind the high level of carbon monoxide in the future of the planet without knowledge of it?? thanks...
    • Jan 12 2012: Of course it is! :)
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      Jan 12 2012: What? ¿Qué demonios es lo que quisiste decir?
      • Jan 13 2012: Hola, Gabo, lo que quiero decir es que la inteligencia genetica es mayor a la humana, de hecho es la genetica quien nos hace sobrevivir, cambiar y evolucionar y creo que el impulso humano es genetico, marcado por las probabilidades del error, la supervivencia en fin de la diversidad y que segun esas reglas puedo pensar que el deseo de tantas personas por añadir kilometros cubicos de humo de tabaco a lo largo de generaciones en los pulmones podria crear una cepa, capaz de sobrevivir a los altos niveles de monoxido de carbono ( o cualquier otro elemento que no se le parezca) que se hace cada vez mas denso en el ambiente terrestre, no creo en un fin siniestro, creo en un futuro ajustado a los rangos de especie y creo que podemos replicar la vida porque para ello vivimos, tanto individual como a nivel grupal, esto tiene sentido para ti Gabo?

        what I mean is that genetic intelligence is greater than the human intelligence... genetics is in fact who makes us survive, change and evolve and I think the human impulse is genetic, marked by the probability of error, to survival in the diversity and that according to these rules I can think of so many people desire to add cubic kilometers snuff smoke over generations in the lungs could create a strain capable of surviving the high levels of carbon monoxide (or any other element that does not like it) that is becoming more dense in the terrestrial environment, I do not believe in a sinister ends, I believe in a future set to the ranges of species and I think we can replicate it for this life we live, both individually as at the group level, this makes sense for you Gabo?
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          Jan 13 2012: Rafa,

          ¿Te refieres a que quizá los fumadores estén seleccionando (evolucionando) en sus pulmones bichos (bacterias por ejemplo) capaces de resistir los altos niveles de CO2 que estamos lanzando hacia la atmósfera?

          (Miré tu perfil prediciendo que serías español o al menos vivirías en España, porque por acá los fumadores no son precisamente abundantes, o no se notan tanto como por allá. He estado en España, Barcelona precisamente, y me impresionó lo notable que es el tabaquismo.)
          I think I got it. You mean smokers might be selecting for microbes (evolving them) of some sort within their lungs that might resist the high levels of CO2 that might accumulate with time in the atmosphere. Well, sure. Resistant or even feeding on whatever the many components of the smoke.

          But I can't understand the relationship with consciousness. Maybe you just sent a random comment?
      • Jan 13 2012: I can not dare to formulate that we work for bacteria although it is not a position that I reject, but the diversity I see makes me think that every part of human development creates diversity and that diversity is what keeps life
        the relationship i see is that consciousness is the way to replicate life
  • Jan 13 2012: Good discussion, Rafael. As we know, the more we discover in science, the more we know about "Magic". A great many things which formerly were magic, like lightning , are now still awe-inspiring, but no longer Magic. I don't see any good reason why the process should stop. As I said before, my own personal theory is that Consciousness is a basic Field in the Universe, like electric fields are. Therefore it could be expected to be pervasive, infinite in extent, but irregularly concentrated, also timeless and "conserved" It would almost seem not to exist is some places, like perhaps outer Space, but be very concentrated in places where there are suitable tubes, wiring, programs, energy etc. such as animal bodies. And as you suggest, maybe micro organisms as well. This is actually a very cheery thought, I would say; it would mean that you no longer have to worry about death, or alienation.
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    Jan 4 2012: I would just change the idea into "physical-chemical" rather than only "chemical." But sure, consciousness is the result of physical-chemical reactions. An emergent property as some have advanced.

    Yet, I would like to add that we define consciousness in many ways, and in our arrogance forget that many "primitive" reactions are also consciousness, whether we like it or not, just as many "mechanical" responses are also "logic."

    A bacterium swimming towards or against a chemical gradient is using both fuzzy logic, and being "conscious" of the chemical gradient. Only we do those thing(s) in a much more complicated way. Because the "mechanics" are hidden from us under loads of complexity, we tend to think that our logics and consciousnesses are different. I tend to disagree.

    I know, I know, I am oversimplifying ... but am I? Self-awareness might look as "another" thing, but come to think of it, it might not. After all, if the bacterium is swimming towards food, it is itself swimming, not something else. There seems to be no real boundary other than by our biased perception of each of these "human features."

    Note that I am thinking these thoughts quite freshly. Not finished ideas at all.

    I think I rather leave you alone and come later after chewing on these ideas a bit more. :)
    • Jan 4 2012: chewing... thank you
    • Jan 5 2012: Gabo: Good post. As for chewing on the ideas, do you know the Buddhists and Hindus have been chewing for a long time? Their terminology is ancient, but the scheme is very "scientific-ly" coherent, I would say. See Alan Watts' "The Book" for a clear exposition of this.
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        Jan 12 2012: Thanks Shawn,

        During my early years of exploration I kinda flirted with some kinda Buddhism, and it felt great. I still do a bit of meditation, but without the mumbo-jumbo. I took the benefits of learning to still the mind to give myself a rest.

        Anyway, I am not talking magic in here. I am talking actual physical-chemical stuff going on that can easily be catalogued as consciousness and logic once we pass the anthropocentric barrier. I am making the point that we imagine our perceptions to be very different, but that I doubt they are. There is much more complexity for sure, but building upon simpler principles we have been able to explain a bit of a lot. Which is my way of saying that it is only our imagination that makes us think that we are the only conscious thing. The message is not thus about magic consciousness in Bacteria, but about the lack of magic in consciousness. Or perhaps the magic is that we are bound to be able to understand how these things work at our level and notice the continuum from what we perceive as "purely mechanic" (Chemotaxis in Bacteria), to what we perceive as some kind of mysterious and spiritual (human mind stuff).

        • Jan 13 2012: bacteria containing the genetic information but also contains information on the environment in which it develops, in this sense the universe of this bacterium is what he knows and what not, so to us the universe as we know or do not. . I see what's interesting is that the evolution of humans has been found that as conciousness top of eukaryotic life, needs for living prokaryotes, but both come from a common ancestor with only 900.000.000 to 4,000,000,000 of years, I mean is that the bacteria can not leave earth without humans, so the human is the middle for bacteria to can spread it to her that it resists million years in space being able to replicate in the universe as surely as she has done before... is the fungus, which is capable of creating the zeta... and the zeta is the human kind
          una bacteria contiene su informacion genetica pero tambien contiene informacion del medio en que se desarrolla, en ese sentido el universo de esa bacteria es lo que conoce y lo que no, asi como para nosotros el universo lo forma lo que conocemos o lo que no.. lo que yo veo interesante es que la evolucion del humano lo ha llevado a encontrar que como top de concienciaa de la vida eucariota, necesita a las procariotas para vivir, pero ambas vienen de un antepasado comun con solo 900 a 4000 millones de años, lo que quiero decir es que la bacteria no puede salir de la tierra sin el humano, por eso el humano es el medio de la bacteria capaz de esparcirla para que ella que si resiste millones de años en el espacio poderse replicar en el universo como seguramente ya lo ha hecho antes ella es el hongo, que esta creando la zeta capaz de esparcirla y la zeta es la raza humana... peace and wonder...
    • Jan 13 2012: Gabo:Re Your idea about consciousness being "caused" by electro-chemical processes: by analogy, wouldn't you have to say then that , when considering an electric motor creating "power" that what is happening is that the wires , switches, etc. of the motor is "causing" electricity?! That is true in some practical sense, but I'm sure you would agree that as far a science theory is concerned, it is hopeless. When Lightning strikes a tree, the tree is not really "causing" the electricity. Not to say they aren't correlated. It would really simplify a great many peoples' lives if they thought of Consciousness in the same sort of way. I believe that Buddhists do, or al least that would be the implication.
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        Jan 13 2012: Physical-chemical processes shawn.

        Your last analogy is far off the mark. A tree struck by thunder is not producing but a burned tree. But sure in the first the wires, et cetera are "causing" electricity if that's how you want to phrase it.

        Our mind is the results of physical-chemical processes. No way around. What else do you think I might be missing? This includes the positions, the shapes, the electricity, the gating, the proteins finding each other, the ion channels, the biochemical reactions, et cetera. So, what if not the result of all this would our consciousness be? I don't see any hopelessness in the science. I was once struck by the realization that a lot about how the mind works was been discovered by working on slugs. Not very hard experiments to perform by the way. I was disillusioned that there seemed not to be any need for a mayor technological break through. Just the finding of the proper experimental models, and there you go. Undeniably making molecular sense of what seems, at first glance, so complex and out of reach. But, if we think much more carefully about it, we might perceive our consciousness as "separate" from whatever we understand as "mechanics" in such living forms as Bacteria. But how can we be sure of that? There is a point of interpretation in the working of our minds that gives us the illusion of something else, but mechanics are there, and our perception might very well be the emergence of, perhaps very complex yet understandable, mechanics. I can't see why not.

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    Jan 3 2012: Hi Rafael Perez
    Check out TEDster Eve Ensler on this page

    She refers to a book by Philip Sheperd called New Self, New World. It is quite appropriate to use that book in order to see our almost universal bias towards intelligence/consciousness as only a head thing. Intelligence/consciousness is not just a head thing, it is a body thing too. I'm convinced, though there's no way to confirm this yet, that we are connections on an integrated system and that the consciousness we experience is a characteristic aspect of the relationships and connections on that integrated complex adaptive system. In other words we are not individual things unto ourselves located somewhere in the skull. It is my guess that there will never be an awake brain in a jar nor will there ever be an awake AI system without a system of relationships as rich as what we experience with each breath, heartbeat, sight, sound, and smell. (Add memory and forecasting prefrontal lobes for good measure.) The point is we exist in a context of experience and much of that experience is processed in our gut, and in an immediate context of emotion that, like the sounds we hear, can be dimmed and ignored, but not turned off.

    I'm sorry. To answer your question: Yes, consciousness is a brain chemical reaction, but it's also a whole lot more. Do you feel me Rafa? [:-) Thank you so much for the question.
    • Jan 3 2012: that is axactly what im talking abuot... but i think that now we are in top of development and we got to make a change, because we need to survive for the future... i think that is not easy finally get here, and we need to be responsible for our acts and develop a new organisn capable for travel in space for millions of years and be able to replicate in a new order of conscious life and I continue to evolve as they have done with us...
      i fell you totally here with me... that is the why of this question
      what do you think about this mark?

      excuses for my bad english, here with my words...
      exactamente a eso me refiero, es mas que nosotros, es una carrera eterna por el espacio y la luz es eterna... y dejamos la estela de luz que no es vista por nosotros pero que ya ha sido alumbrada como la vida la razon de esa pasion por seguir adelante es el sentido de todo y es lo que nos mueve en cualquier direccion y tenemos el compromiso de replicarnos en vida que talvez no sea ni parecida al orden actual pero que tendra esa misma pasion por seguir adelante, para mi, somos el hongo y nos falta construir la zeta, de la cual saldra la semilla para esparcir la vida, como ya antes ha pasado con nosotros the theory of passion
  • Jan 3 2012: Hi Frans: your explanation made a lot of sense, but when you consider the evolution of the "organisms", which involve a whole gamut of creatures from amoebae to people , it appears that , although they may all share the same Buddhist "Consciousness", they don't necessarily share ideas about the Self, which I can tell you from my own experience, say at the age of 3, were not very focussed. . There doesn't seem any reason to distinguish personal consciousness from the "Self" except in the sense that Self is a complicated artifact, and perhaps C. iis the Raw material, or Background , or "Energy Field" to the artifact. You seem to require some sharp divide between "organisms" and machines, but that may not be true. The natural world is made up of elements, etc. "Organic" doesn't mean that they aren't constructed of the same kind of material. It may turn out that if "it quacks like at duck", etc. is they way it works; we don't know yet. Although it should be noted that to distinguiish "Living" from "Non-Living" thingsscientificallly is not as simple as some people would prefer.
  • Jan 2 2012: What else could consciousness be?

    Wherever we go there we are: our 'consciousness' follows along without any effort on our part.

    If there is any evidence that consciousness has immaterial (or incorporeal) properties, all or part, I am unaware
    of that evidence.

    My experience suggests that consciousness arises from biochemical processes and biophysical processes in our brains.

    I will recount that experience, via email, to interested parties. (I will need your email address to respond. I don't want my
    description limited by text area size restrictions.)


    My email for correspondence is: sresartus@yahoo.com
  • Jan 2 2012: In severe irreversible brain injury, there is no brain activity and therefore no *life* per se.....i.e. consciousness-awareness or awareness of consciousness.

    Whether there is awareness that precedes or continues after the brain-death of the entity/person, I don't know. How could I? I can, however, point to the fact that we all are conscious of the same things, dependent on our abilities to perceive, cognize. So I can deduce from this that the map of consciousness is the same for everyone though the content and description is highly individual, based on many factors. .

    Awareness seems to be what the universe is all about...from the smallest living thing, all creatures great and small are endowed with the rudiments of self-awareness: the will to survive. So we ARE our chemicals and much more.

    Consciousness is highly individual.
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    Dec 27 2011: It is so simple, see the deference between sleeping body and Coma body in his brain reaction nothing strange happened but the sleeping body wake up but the coma body not wake up that a proof there is something in a body controlling the brain, what is it? answer me?
    • Jan 3 2012: it is chemical reactions, but it is not what im talking about, im talking about evolve, a person with half brain can be able to survive because of the capable that is in the genetic passion... thank you
  • Dec 25 2011: Hi Rafael, I understand the question. I just do not understand, all the words? Okay, from what I have learned. No human, knows the brain. I think, we can continue, to drive ourselves, nuts, over your question! :)
    • Dec 26 2011: El eterno viaje de la vida por los distintos momentos del tiempo y su continua evolución presentan con la tecnología actual una posible visión, permite pensar en un eterno avance que no termina como se cree en un Apocalipsis catastrófico, sino a uno en que tenemos tiempo suficiente de entender la forma de esparcir la vida. La ingeniería genetica ha avanzado y pronto podremos generar los organismos que puedan incubarse en un viaje espacial de miles o millones de años y luego evolucionar en las diferentes formas de vida, cuando haya un ambiente propicio y esa es la carrera actual de la tecnología humana y por eso se ha movido en esa direccion y es que ahora la verdadera prueba esta en simplificar el adn para que en un solo microorganismo capaz de sobrevivir a un viaje interestelar insertar la información para que pueda replicar en seres de todo tipo, los que según los calculos geneticos puedan llevar a construir civilizaciones como la actual que consideramos unica, pero que al saber que la naturaleza y el entorno es tan difícil lo mas probable es que hagamos una gran dispersión, lo que va a llevar a que esas nuevas civilizaciones no siempre esten cerca ni lleguen a niveles de tecnología parecidos en parecidos tiempos lo que por momentos nos hace sentir solos pero hay un pequeño detalle, lo mas probable es que en ese trabajo genetico se pueda incluir flashes de memoria que impliquen la necesidad de esos seres de continuar con la vida, de manera inconsciente, esos flashes que todos tenemos por igual, una galaxia o 100 trillones d celulas como un humano nos empujan con una fuerza incontrolable lo que nos hace simples juguetes geneticos.. como la union de dos celulas que jamas estuvieron conectadas se conectan de una forma que produce 100 trillones de diferentes celulas que no estan conectadas por nada aparentemente pero que pueden crecer, formar un organismo (ademas muy parecido a los donantes) que es capaz de conectarse con otros y escribir musica viajar a la luna
      • Dec 27 2011: Hi Rafael, umm, how do I get your comment translated? Anyone? ( apologies)
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          Jan 2 2012: Hopefully with Duolingo once it gets out of beta.
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    Dec 24 2011: Thanks for ask this question !
    I believe that it's somehow impossible to answer this question.
    But I think the science could "justify" brain's reactions with chemical materials etc.
    And we can predict most of the human's reactions and design a system like brain with reverse engineering.
    I believe that metaphysics is still a possible.
    As possible as a car has a ghost.
  • Dec 24 2011: I should ad that I find it strange that mechanistically speaking nobody has mentioned glial cells; the larger operating portion of the brain.
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    Dec 24 2011: http://mitworld.mit.edu/video/342

    "In his day, Alexander Shulgin explored consciousness through “the art of chemistry.” He synthesized a version of mescaline and invented other psychedelic drugs, experimenting on himself, before the era of government and university regulations. “Each material had to be learned, as a new meeting…. The beauty of the final results, finding out what the effects were, was that you couldn’t be wrong.” If he reported visual enhancements, and recall of memories, his data was “always a winner,” because it was mostly a matter of subjective experience. Shulgin rues the laws and propaganda against psychedelic drugs, because he believes these drugs would serve as a useful “probe to look at the function of mind.”
  • Dec 23 2011: Yes, conciousness are electro-chemical reactions. Those that have occurred only in one place in the known universe. What could have caused it? Have we already. or could we even imagine a way to replicate it? What conditions could have caused these specific reactions to occur? Could it be that the whole universe had to be there in the way it is, just to give way to these specific reactions?
    • Dec 23 2011: The theory of passion ...
      The eternal life journey through the different moments of time and evolving with today's technology presents a prospective view, suggests an eternal progress that does not end as it believes in an apocalyptic catastrophe, but one that we have enough time to understand how life spread. Genetic engineering has advanced and will soon be generating the organisms that can incubate in a space voyage of thousands or millions of years and then evolve in different ways of life, when they have an environment and that is the current race of human technology and why has moved in that direction... and now the real test is to simplify the DNA so that one organism can survive interstellar travel insert the information so you can replicate in humans and all kind of organisms that will help between to evolve, which to the genetic load may lead to build civilizations as we consider only the present, but knowing the nature and the environment is as difficult as most likely to do a great dispersion, which will carry these new civilizations are not always near or reach similar levels of technology in times like that, that times we feel alone but there is a small detail, the most likely genetic in that work can be included flashes of memory that involves the need for such things to continue life, unconsciously, we all have those flashes equally, a galaxy or 100 trillion human cells as a push us to an uncontrollable force that makes us .. Genetic simple toys as the union of two connected cells that were never connected in a way that produces 100 trillion different cells that are not connected by anything apparently but can grow into an organism (in addition to much like the donor) that is capable of connecting with others and write music, paint and travel to a moon... I call it passion and it is what is made all
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    Dec 22 2011: Nice thought but I don't think there is any association between the two.
    The way humans became self aware is due to the development of spoken language.
    In communicating the self is separated from the other.
    • Dec 25 2011: my question is trying to establish as a previous consciousness has put the points to form lines, as well as we are doing us forward with our development of genetic engineering ...
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        Jan 3 2012: Rafael do you mean that consciousness is built upon information?
        • Jan 3 2012: Yes... I mean consciousness is built upon consciousness... like now We have decoded the genome of living beings on earth evolved, we found that living things on earth come from a single kind of organism (LUCA) ... indicating that if we make a wide dispersion of this type of element is very likely that life can be replicated elsewhere ... Now, genetic manipulation... that is the route and get to know what kind of element can travel through space thousands or millions of years to find an environment capable of hosting, which means that hardly have a similar evolution of technology and similar levels in the same time, and unless they are close to each other, so as we are today, and of course we will not survive that lot, yes, i think it is all genetic information, and i think is balanced as the cycle of salmon, that we have time enought to expand consciousness again.. as our ancestors done
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        Jan 6 2012: I believe all organic life contains the element Carbon. Carbon, I believe it is found in many inorganic matter here on Earth as well as stars, other planets and thruout the observable universe. Is carbon the key element to unlocking the consciousness experience? or does consciousness have to be developed or evolved to be pondered as we humans are doing now? Does the omniverse have consciousness? Does consciousness evolve from our symmetrical anti-matter self in the 5th and 7th dimension? Do mathmatical equations arise from consciousness? Is consciousness beyond the descriptive labels language places on it? Whatever you believe, it's absolutely true for you.
    • Dec 25 2011: the development of the evolution of life is surrounded by suitable combinations and consume sugar as well as to energize the body and for that we should introduce large amounts of water to break down the sugar, I think the connection of the cells may be a small-synthesis or long form of other elements that are learned from the environment and the end of the discussion is to get more ideas for my theory, the passion theory thank you
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        Dec 25 2011: That sounds interesting Rafael, the passion theory... When you feel good about it, please tell us all about it.
        Are you currently thinking about preadaptive advancements? You got me all intrigued. :)
        • Dec 26 2011: my idea posting this here is that, i have time because that is my way to see the world i will be honored answering all your questions about...
    • Jan 2 2012: Interesting that you propose that a "human like experience" is absolutely essential for AI. Why is that? If you believe in Evolution, the same processes that enable a sense of Self in humans might very well work out for "artificial" creatures, i.e. trial and error experiences, perceiving relationships with other objects, etc. Its the Turing problem in another dimension.
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        Jan 2 2012: To develop a sense of self you first need to share in consciousness which robots will never be part of.
        To explain: Every living creature shares the same consciousness which is a product of the dynamics of the non living universe. There is no personal consciousness only a sense of self for which all non self is the mirror to see it in. If scientists arrive at this notion things will start to progress in all sort of ways.
        Organisms aren't machines, robots are.
        • Jan 3 2012: Hmmm. A bit too human chauvnisitic. The more correct statement is that; human like characteristics is absolutely essential for human like experience.

          It's a bit of a tautology of course; but it does point out pithily that; while machines may not concievably experience things the same way as people do, it doesn't mean that they'll never be able to experience... and more to the point, it'll be difficult for us to be able to empathize with machine experiences (it's already difficult enough for us to empathize with each other).
        • Jan 5 2012: Frans: If this consciousness "is a product of the dynamics of the non-living universe" as you say, why can't the non-living universe (which created US) ,also create a non-living being of some sort which can perform the same functions? In other words, the ability to do work, like lifting weights, is easy for us to do, because of our evolutionary history, but there is nothing in that situation which implies that robots can't lift weights. How can we be so sure that "emergence" may not reveal a propensiity for some kind of self-consciousness in robots, for their own survival.? Feedback loops do it already for steam engines, and we have to design it into robots as well. As we get into more complex creations, won't we be faced with the same kind of problem we have with figuring out other people's , and animals, "feelings"?. It is only an assumption, but a plausible one , that other people feel the same way as I do., and probably animals as well, though lthat is not well established. But it isn't necessary in science to get into all that: As per the Turing problem: it's all about definitions by context and behovior. So , in other words , if" others" behave as if they were human beings, whether they are robots or foreigners , or even aliens, we are sort of rquired to go along with it. You're saying its impossible; perhaps as a Christian, that is required, although I don't why God need be constrained in such a way.
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          Jan 6 2012: To Frans, I believe consciousness, if it's as great and wonderful as we all hope, it is probably not exclusive to humans, probably not prejudice to robots or stars or animals or the Higgs boson. It's probably not the result of any dynamic human wishful thinking. It probably will remain elusive to most who try to apply complex theories to the most simple of questions.
          Also, when people use the science and language of physics, versus the faith and language of any religion it's opposite sides of the same coin, both of which are incomplete at best.Peace
      • Jan 3 2012: i propose exactly the opposite, i suggest that like we could be humans we could be any other creatuire, but we can be conscious of our existence that is what make us special, we can replicate conscious life, because we are in that top of evolve, thank you
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        Jan 5 2012: Shawn, I'm not a Christian or anything but to address your question it looks like you gave the answer yourself.

        The "electric field" you say is one field, I look at being itself as being one. What is, is. There's nothing else.
        Consciousness is the property that with intelligence creates all that exist.

        We only mirror that consciousness to see (each a part of) it from a perspective within space/time.

        So before all and everything there is the will to exist which can only be kept (alive) in a continuing exchange (energy) within the field of existence (matter) that becomes self-aware and reacts (intelligence) extracting information (creativity) to evolve in ever more complexity (creation).

        Human intelligence which mirrors cosmic intelligence on a local scale extends further with aid of robots but then as extended body parts like we are now putting on Mars. We can’t give them the will to exist but they expand our locality and by that consciousness becomes aware of more of itself.

        So in my view there’s only one consciousness we all share and which creates one reality. Another consciousness would create another reality which we aren’t aware of like in a dream we have an altered consciousness that creates an altered reality.
        • Jan 13 2012: Frans, we seem to agree on a great deal, about Consciousness. That there is only "One" which we all share as though we were waves in the Ocean. But why this requirement that only humans can participate? Not animals, on perhaps a less intensive level? And finally you veto robots, why?" Waves in the Ocean do have common patterns, and most of them are similar but if you drop a large rock into the water, will it not form a type of wave which is quite different in appearance? So what?
        • Jan 13 2012: what i say is that if we can build a Luca, a being that can evolve... if we can simplify an earlier stage of eukaryotic, prokaryotic and bows and put them to fly through the universe, we will probably not see it become men, but we will have managed to recreate the seed to plant life
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      Jan 3 2012: There are many people who lose the ability to speak or understand sentences due to brain damage but they are still self-aware. But yes. language allows us to form a model of our world that we can rationally process and communicate about. Without it this contemplation between people would not be happening. People and animals are still self-aware and animals do not use the same kind of language that we have.
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        Jan 3 2012: Only a small part of the animal kingdom is self aware. Only those that have a mind of thought which allows them to memorize experience and by that small difference becoming individuals. Communication starts with differentiation. Within a school of fish there is no individual.

        In my view sub consciousness is consciousness as well. As an organism has the "knowing" to sustain life it is conscious of many things without knowing anything.
        • Jan 5 2012: Frans, Yes, I like that idea; it fits in well with the Consciousness-as-energy Field theory. Metals, clouds, etc. can have electric charges without being nearly as complex as a motor, for example, but the "electric field" is not only similiar, it is the "same" Field.
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    Dec 22 2011: We don't know. It appears to have something to do with the complexity of the brain and the kinds, forms and detail level of the inputs for that brain.

    But we don't know.
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    Jan 16 2012: As I said elsewhere, in order to see our spiritual reality (or consciousness) we have to think outside the box of space and time. Or neurons and chemicals.

    Would this title help? It is called The Human Mind..
  • Jan 13 2012: Okay, I am lost. I apologize. Sooo, out of my league! ( Maybe! ) :)
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    Jan 3 2012: Somebody will say Yes but other will say No. But it doesn't matter at all. It's always been happened in our world.

    1.You are hungry, your brain will say: I'm hungry? No. It will give us a lots of signal and we recognize through our....stomach with a series of ..ou..ou..sounds. Yes or No?
    2. The FIB hires a lot of people who have ability to solve criminals (hidden corpse, defining future ..) (real or unreal, I don't know) Yes or No?
  • Jan 3 2012: Well, thank you Mr. Bennett, that is help. :)
  • Dec 27 2011: That question was very difficult to understand. Please try to make questions simple and to the point. Make it something that a person can actually answer. Please use proper punctuation and grammar if you can. I understand that it can be difficult if you are not native to the language. But that's all the more reason to be clear and concise.
    Thank you.
    • Jan 3 2012: yes, it is so difficult for me, thats why i write it in spanish, my native language, but the question is simple to the point, is consciousness replicable?? thank you
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      Jan 3 2012: Bla Blabla: Your criticism is kind of ignorant. There is no such thing as proper spelling or punctuation. it is nothing but a convention. Language is much more defined by context than by its sentence structure. I feel that the question was clear enough.