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Panpsychism
Posted: 12 July 2008 01:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 496 ]  
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Salt Creek - 11 July 2008 07:51 PM

You can’t explain to me what the functionality of “self-awareness” really is, yet every bit of human culture is an indirect product of it. What you are calling “experience” (the part you don’t attempt utterly to mystify) is nothing more than the absence of equilbrium between the organism’s state and what it would find “comfortable”.

Can you prove this, or is it just a guess?  Does a ball falling off a roof having an “experience” of the lack of equilibrium between its current state and the comfortable state of resting on the ground.  If you were that ball, would you be able to stop yourself rolling toward the edge of the roof without self-awareness?  (You never told us you were this much of an Aristotelian!)

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Posted: 12 July 2008 01:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 497 ]  
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Thanks for checking my math, Burt. I guess I meant “blissful” rather than “comfortable”. Now take your blissful balls and your patchouli stick and get outta here. You still haven’t made a stab at explaining the functionality of “self-awareness” other than knowing somehow that you’re different from the surrounds. This has to do with not eating your foot for lunch.

Interesting analogy about rolling. Some ballsy people apparently cannot stop themselves from rolling off a roof. Even if you did stop yourself, you’d still be on the roof. The point is that self-awareness does not solve all your problems. Does it solve any?

The sense of being perched on a roof or rolling off a roof is not the same as self-awareness, unless you want to define it that way, and then we can see where that leads us. The sense of being aware of being aware of being perched on a roof is not much use. You’re still asking what it “is”. Set that aside for a minute and see if you have anything to talk about.

We already know plenty of differences between you and a rubber ball. For one thing, your cells divide, and later die. But you both have a “smiley face” painted on the front.

[ Edited: 12 July 2008 02:10 PM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 12 July 2008 02:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 498 ]  
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Salt Creek - 12 July 2008 05:56 PM

The point is that self-awareness does not solve all your problems. Does it solve any?

Don’t know if it “solves” any problems, but you wouldn’t have any problems at all were it not for self-awareness. Neither would you have any joys or pleasures. It’s just a wonderful gift that we have, and is, in many ways, the essence of what it means to be human.

Which brings me to the subject of beer. Just as beer is proof positive that God loves us and wants us to be happy, so is self-awareness, for without self-awareness, there would be no consciousness of beer. In view of this incontestable fact, I would like to revisit Salt Creek’s avatar.  I interpret it as follows: there is a large glass of beer, and the Bible is arising out of the glass of beer into the man’s hand. This shows us how to “save the planet.” As we imbibe (prudently, of course) we receive revelation that comes into our possession (just as the Bible arises from the glass) and this leads to salvation.

Without the inestimable gift of self-awareness, this revelation would not be possible. Hallelujah!

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Posted: 12 July 2008 02:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 499 ]  
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Bruce Burleson - 12 July 2008 06:35 PM

Which brings me to the subject of beer. Just as beer is proof positive that God loves us and wants us to be happy, so is self-awareness, for without self-awareness, there would be no consciousness of beer. In view of this incontestable fact, I would like to revisit Salt Creek’s avatar.  I interpret it as follows: there is a large glass of beer, and the Bible is arising out of the glass of beer into the man’s hand. This shows us how to “save the planet.” As we imbibe (prudently, of course) we receive revelation that comes into our possession (just as the Bible arises from the glass) and this leads to salvation.

Without the inestimable gift of self-awareness, this revelation would not be possible. Hallelujah!

LOL! Not only damn funny, but a damn good argument!

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Posted: 12 July 2008 02:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 500 ]  
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Bruce Burleson - 12 July 2008 06:35 PM

Don’t know if it “solves” any problems, but you wouldn’t have any problems at all were it not for self-awareness.

So that’s what I tell people: “I’m living with self-awareness”. Sort of like some people say “I’m living with diabetes”.

I’ll tell you what I think. Self-awareness is not nearly as bad as diabetes.

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Posted: 12 July 2008 03:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 501 ]  
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Salt Creek - 12 July 2008 05:56 PM

Thanks for checking my math, Burt. I guess I meant “blissful” rather than “comfortable”. Now take your blissful balls and your patchouli stick and get outta here. You still haven’t made a stab at explaining the functionality of “self-awareness” other than knowing somehow that you’re different from the surrounds. This has to do with not eating your foot for lunch.

Interesting analogy about rolling. Some ballsy people apparently cannot stop themselves from rolling off a roof. Even if you did stop yourself, you’d still be on the roof. The point is that self-awareness does not solve all your problems. Does it solve any?

The sense of being perched on a roof or rolling off a roof is not the same as self-awareness, unless you want to define it that way, and then we can see where that leads us. The sense of being aware of being aware of being perched on a roof is not much use. You’re still asking what it “is”. Set that aside for a minute and see if you have anything to talk about.

We already know plenty of differences between you and a rubber ball. For one thing, your cells divide, and later die. But you both have a “smiley face” painted on the front.

Enough of this fiddling on the roof, let’s get down to brass tacks, or to be less tacky, brass balls and brass monkeys.  Why does self-awareness have to have an evolutionary function?  Are you taking an adaptationist view that every characteristic we find in a living species has to be adaptive in some way?  If not, then you might treat self-awareness as a spandral.  On the other hand, could we ever have the possibility of breaking a habit without self-awareness?  And breaking habits is sometimes a good thing from a survival perspective.  Of course, self-awareness brings along recognition that soon there will be non-self-awareness leading some to religion; others to eating, drinking, and general merrymaking; and yet others to nihilism.  Of course, these are not mutually exclusive, as Bruce’s revelation of the true message Salt Creek is conveying with his avatar clearly indicates.

“Indeed, it takes a great intellect to withdraw the mind from the senses and divert thought from habit.  So, for my part, I believe that there were also others in so many centuries, but as far as the literary records go, Pherekydes of Syros first said that the souls of men are eternal.”  Cicero

“I shall possess myself of a great goblet
With pipes of wine for its replenishment
Annulling former ties to Faith and Reason
By marriage with this Daughter of the Vine.”

[ Edited: 12 July 2008 03:09 PM by burt]
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Posted: 12 July 2008 03:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 502 ]  
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burt - 12 July 2008 07:04 PM
Salt Creek - 12 July 2008 05:56 PM

You’re still asking what it “is”. Set that aside for a minute and see if you have anything to talk about.

On the other hand, could we ever have the possibility of breaking a habit without self-awareness?

Nun of that. You would never have that kind of habit in the first place without the self-awareness that led you to develop the habit in the first place. For organisms without so-called self-awareness, habits are usually referred to as instincts.

Salt Creek - 12 July 2008 05:56 PM

You’re still asking what it “is”. Set that aside for a minute and see if you have anything to talk about.

So far, the relationship between “habit” and “self-awareness” is not a draw, because it involves a lot of wasted effort. I think talking to you about self-awareness will be like talking to John Brand about “wisdom”. You will continue to introduce new concepts to try to demonstrate its significance. Just point out to me what it does, and you might be done. I mean, I guess you’re already onto that, but self-awareness so far seems like pretty much a wash, aside from you telling yourself what a wonderful thing it is to be self-aware. This is rather like a fetish. You know just what it is about self-awareness that really turns you on. Wave that wisp of silk and lace at me, and I’ll probably tell you it’s intended to decorate the wrong body part.

[ Edited: 12 July 2008 03:21 PM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 12 July 2008 04:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 503 ]  
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Salt Creek - 12 July 2008 07:12 PM
burt - 12 July 2008 07:04 PM
Salt Creek - 12 July 2008 05:56 PM

You’re still asking what it “is”. Set that aside for a minute and see if you have anything to talk about.

On the other hand, could we ever have the possibility of breaking a habit without self-awareness?

Nun of that. You would never have that kind of habit in the first place without the self-awareness that led you to develop the habit in the first place. For organisms without so-called self-awareness, habits are usually referred to as instincts.

Not so, instincts are genetic, habits are conditioned.  In the first case the knee jerks for all members of the species, in the second the primed pigeon precisely pecks particular places on the map where the bomb is suppose to hit because it has been fed lots of kernels of corn at that spot.  But beer is an acquired taste so the habit of indulgence sometimes does require self-awareness.  We don’t see bugs brewing beer but birds be batty ‘bout berries bearing booze.

[ Edited: 12 July 2008 04:18 PM by burt]
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Posted: 12 July 2008 04:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 504 ]  
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burt - 12 July 2008 08:15 PM

Not so, instincts are genetic, habits are conditioned.  In the first case the knee jerks for all members of the species, in the second the primed pigeon precisely pecks particular places on the map where the bomb is suppose to hit because it has been fed lots of kernels of corn at that spot.  But beer is an acquired taste so the habit of indulgence sometimes does require self-awareness.  We don’t see bugs brewing beer but birds be batty ‘bout berries bearing booze.

Big Burt still not seem interest what consciousness do. Only what is. Big Burt think he big brain. SC say “get second opinion”.

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Posted: 13 July 2008 11:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 505 ]  
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Salt Creek - 12 July 2008 08:40 PM
burt - 12 July 2008 08:15 PM

Not so, instincts are genetic, habits are conditioned.  In the first case the knee jerks for all members of the species, in the second the primed pigeon precisely pecks particular places on the map where the bomb is suppose to hit because it has been fed lots of kernels of corn at that spot.  But beer is an acquired taste so the habit of indulgence sometimes does require self-awareness.  We don’t see bugs brewing beer but birds be batty ‘bout berries bearing booze.

Big Burt still not seem interest what consciousness do. Only what is. Big Burt think he big brain. SC say “get second opinion”.

Maybe consciousness is feminine in nature.  You know, “Men do, Women are.” (and I expect something from that straight line)  Maybe it don’t “do” anything.

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Posted: 13 July 2008 02:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 506 ]  
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Just writing out loud here:

Maybe consciousness isn’t anything, maybe we just made it up, A sum of common references. Could you describe blue skies or green green grass to someone who is blind, go ahead try and explain blue or green without using a set of common references (no, wavelength doesn’t count).

If I took a bar of iron and magnetized it, I have not added anything to it, it is still the exact iron atoms. Yet it now has a magnetic field, I can measure it and effect other things with. Have I created a new property of the iron atoms, have I uncovered a hidden property, no, the magnetic field arises out of the electron configuration of the atoms, break it up into atoms (or change the configuration) and it is no where to be found.

Why would consciousness, or it’s description be any different then the above.

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Posted: 17 July 2008 06:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 507 ]  
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Yes, but a magnetic field has properties and they can be measured. What are the properties of consciousness and how do you detect and measure them?

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“Every minute we spend oblivious to the value of a minute is a minute of unconsciousness. This isn’t some screwball scheme to latch onto the present moment in time, it’s simply what it means to be awake.”

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Posted: 17 July 2008 07:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 508 ]  
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JustThis - 17 July 2008 10:08 PM

Yes, but a magnetic field has properties and they can be measured. What are the properties of consciousness and how do you detect and measure them?

Well, there is a definition of consciousness and it’s properties, debatable perhaps, but people know what it is your talking about when you talk about it.

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Posted: 18 July 2008 07:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 509 ]  
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“but people know what it is your talking about when you talk about it.”


I disagree, people think that they know what it is, but, without investigating it on a personal basis they are clueless. Sure, it is easy to have thoughts and opinions about consciousness but thoughts and opinions are useless. Have you ever taken the time to sit and examine consciousness as it exists right now? I doubt it. It is much easier to speculate than put to effort into firsthand investigation.

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“Every minute we spend oblivious to the value of a minute is a minute of unconsciousness. This isn’t some screwball scheme to latch onto the present moment in time, it’s simply what it means to be awake.”

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Posted: 19 July 2008 11:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 510 ]  
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JustThis - 18 July 2008 11:32 PM

“but people know what it is your talking about when you talk about it.”


I disagree, people think that they know what it is, but, without investigating it on a personal basis they are clueless. Sure, it is easy to have thoughts and opinions about consciousness but thoughts and opinions are useless. Have you ever taken the time to sit and examine consciousness as it exists right now? I doubt it. It is much easier to speculate than put to effort into firsthand investigation.

Have had trouble doing this: the closer I get to consciousness, as it is in the moment, the less of me there is to observe it.  wink  (But see the article On Having No Head in the Dennett/Hofstader collection The Minds I.)

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