TED Conversations

Rafael Perez

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

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??

+4
Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • 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?

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.