World Science Scholars

2.6 Modern Understanding of Consciousness

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    • Dr. Koch lays out all of the mental processes that are not consciousness. How do you personally define consciousness? Does your definition include emotion, learning, or other mental functions that have been apparently ruled out as part of consciousness?

    • I do agree with the given definition.I have often observed myself – upon retrospect – doing things without giving much thought to it. But it is quite hard to imagine being concious without actually thinking about something. For me, though conciousness can exist without emotion, learning or other functions I believe meaningful consciousness requires some amount of self-awareness .

    • I disagree. ALL these things are rightly consciousness.

    • La conciencia es parte de uno , con la misma naturaleza impredecible que es uno mismo , es tan nuestra a la ves tan autónoma puesto que nos damos cuenta que existe en nuestras acciones o comportamientos .

    • Todos os processos tem um pouco de autoconsciência. A consciência pode existir sem ambas as ter mas requer autoconsciência

    • La conciencia es estar consciente de ser, no hay más explicación, solo se que estoy y que soy

    • I do not have a definition of what consciousness is. Probably something to do with a sense of experiencing.

    • I believe self-awareness and consciousness to be equivalent. I think both are present from birth, they’re just manifested differently and grow over time. I think that the learned, “zombie” behaviors rely on top-down processing, but I think you are still self-aware – I know I exist and I know who I am. When yogis reach a state of emptying their thoughts or when someone experiences void or depression from PTSD, there is still conscious self-awareness. I believe in those moments it relies heavily on precedence, all of the accumulated bottom-up and top-down wirings that exist *because* of consciousness, and there is still a functioning consciousness, albeit if very little.

      As far as emotions go, I can definitely see how emotions are not necessarily the root or cause of consciousness, but I do think they are a result. Broadly speaking, due to hormones, men typically favor analyzing objects (how things work, cars) and women like to analyze subjects (people; they talk sooner and are more expressive when they do). Objects require logic and subjects require emotion. That said, emotion either only tells a part of the story of consciousness or it is simply a by-product.

    • Consciousness means feeling the ghost in your own machine…

    • yes that’s the way we do , and I too observed it

    • Consiousness is connecting to the information, realying it, examining it, processing it…etc. I still receive and send morse code. I don’t think individual dots and dashes as the rhythm of the symbol is in my head. When learning back in the early 1980’s, at very early stages I had to concentrate in every dot, dash and space length. Suddenly I managed to copy complete symbols or even whole words into the “internal buffer” in my head and from there to paper. This of course requires some consciousness despite some operators could copy messages just before falling sleep. In their message form they usually miss spaces between words. When some skill is learnt better and better the level of consciousness is lower than at the initial phases of learning. In my opinion solving equation problems is in fact this connection. Consiousness #1 can set a problem, #2 can solve first part, #3 can solve the rest of the problem and #4 reads the phases from paper. Inormation is passed between the consiousnesses. So, I think information has crucial role in consiousness.

    • From a perspective of the human-animal systems as algorithms, I think that consciousness is only a passive observer of inputs and outputs to/from our brains. External stimulus is interpreted, then we aware of it or them (conscious experience of “reality”), after that some underlying mechanism makes a decision that is informed to the conscious layer (conscious experience of making decisions), and, finally, we act. Sometimes we are not aware of any of these three steps, as in the zombie behavior, for instance.

    • How do you personally define consciousness?
      I know it when I feel it.

    • I would define conscious as the mental sensing of all things of which I am currently aware. This can include emotions of which I may be intensely aware of such as love, hate, fear, etc. Included in this set of items is subjective consciousness. So, I am conscious of the things which I am objectively sensing as well as those things which make up the internal dialog of my thoughts. I am aware of a deeper level of my psyche which contains a vast amount of data that I am currently unaware of which still influences my behavior and decisions. This I would refer to as my subconscious or unconscious mind.

    • I would define conscious as the mental sensing of all things of which I am currently aware. This can include emotions of which I may be intensely aware of such as love, hate, fear, etc. Included in this set of items is subjective consciousness. So, I am conscious of the things which I am objectively sensing as well as those things which make up the internal dialog of my thoughts. I am aware of a deeper level of my psyche which contains a vast amount of data that I am currently unaware of which still influences my behavior and decisions. This I would refer to as my subconscious or unconscious mind.

    • being aware

    • Consciousness is something that when we are little we do not know that we have it, but as we mature, we see that only we can know our own conscience, and it may be similar to other people, but each one has his own, and we know by example, differentiate the good from the bad, if something is going to hurt us, if we need something …

    • Consciousness is the processing of input and the generation of an output.

    • Reply to 2.6 MODERN UNDERSTANDING OF CONSCIOUSNESS

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    • For all practical purposes, consciousness does seem to equate fairly closely to “state of awareness,” in terms of nailing down a simple, straightforward, workable definition. To be more precise, however, we should necessarily incorporate the act of perceiving from a first-person subjective perspective as a critical filter — allowing us to separate what qualifies as consciousness from that which does not.

      Of course, there are various states of consciousness and different levels of arousal, as crucially explained in this module. I also agree with the presented position that — while certain behaviors often accompany consciousness — they do not need to be present in order for something to be defined as “conscious.” It’s quite important to keep the definition of “consciousness” clearly delineated in this way for the purpose of study.

      Intriguingly, I have noticed a difference between the way that “consciousness” has been defined by world-renowned neuroscientists such as Christof Koch and Giulio Tononi versus the way I’ve traditionally thought about it. Giulio Tononi is recognized as the chief developer of Integrated Information Theory — widely considered to be the leading explanation in terms of closing the gap between the subjective experience of consciousness and the objective hardware found within the brain. In an interview with To The Best of Our Knowledge, Giulio gave the following response when asked: “What exactly is consciousness?”

      “[Consciousness] is what goes away when you fall into dreamless sleep or … when you become anesthetized, or when somebody hits you on the head. So we know what goes away then. The world goes away with all its shapes and colors and sounds and fury, if you wish. Ourselves go away; we are not there anymore. Our friends are not there anymore. Nothing is there anymore. And then it comes back, hopefully, when we wake up in the morning or even when we dream.”

      Coming from a spiritual perspective, I’m realizing that I do have a noticeably different conception of “consciousness.” In short, I don’t see this “state of awareness” — distinguished by first-person perception — necessarily being confined to the physical plane? Is it conceivable that — instead of “going away” during the dreamless state or anesthetization, for example, and then miraculously reappearing when we wake up — first-person perception continues unabated during that time, albeit in a different form?

      For example, the Mandukya Upanishad outlines four possible states of consciousness:

      1. Wakefulness (Jagrat)
      2. Dreaming (Svapna)
      3. Deep Dreamless Sleep (Sushupti)
      4. Transcendence / Superconsciousness (Turiya)

      I see my own view aligning with this type of model — with more of a continuum to the transition from one state to another. (From my standpoint, “consciousness” is not restricted to wakefulness and dreaming alone.)

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    • [CONTINUED FROM THE FIRST POST….]

      Interestingly, the pineal gland could be responsible for regulating our participation in all four of these states — not just wakefulness, dreaming, and dreamless sleep (which makes sense, given its well-documented role in regulating our sleep-wake cycle — converting serotonin into melatonin and vice versa in response to the amount of darkness registered by the retina) — but also in the type of transcendental state implied by “turiya.” Dimethyltryptamine — a powerful hallucinogen commonly abbreviated as “DMT” — has been found in trace amounts in the pineal gland of mice, raising questions about the role that it might play in altered states of consciousness for humans.

      Granted, I recognize that expanding the definition of “consciousness” in this way would potentially make it a heck of a lot more difficult for neuroscientists to study from an objective standpoint — which is, at the end of the day, precisely their job description. “The hard problem of consciousness” has been challenging enough to solve, without throwing an additional wrench into the cogs.

      Still … I wonder whether the present definition of “consciousness” is truly accurate, for the purpose of understanding the full extent of it? Does first-person perception suddenly disappear when we drift off into dreamless sleep every night and randomly reemerge in the morning — or does it merely change forms during the period in between?

      Clearly, none of these are easy questions to address. Yet, at the very least, they’re fascinating food for thought….

    • Hello again for past 4 years a been taken ayahuasca and Yopo , Dmt and other traditional medicines , and yes You feel a change in your perception, the natural state of human being is to be happy , I understand something I am my own teacher , I am everything I am this earth I am connected whit everyone and everything

    • La consciencia es estar presente

    • I have always understood consciousness as a state of being in its most simplified definition. Being aware of the present moment and having the knowledge that you are indeed existing is what it means to me.

    • I think CONSCIOUSNESS is total area of experience an organism can have in a limited lifetime.Also it varies from species to species. For example an ant CONSCIOUSNESS is fraction of human being CONSCIOUSNESS. Usually senses and brain work together to give rise to this conscious feeling and mind is continually analyzing memory and building all sorts of hypothesis.

    • I think consciousness is the awareness and potential self-awareness. There would not necessarily have to be self-awareness or self-consciousness but a potential. Children have consciousness and only little of self-consciousness, but they are still conscious beings.

    • I would define consciousness as the actions that keep you alive, functioning, executing, processing; and self-awareness elements as a product of this. The steps involved in breathing for example are not something emotional. Meaning you don’t have an emotion-related experience to the actions related to breathing. You have an emotion-related experience to awareness (learning) of what breathing does for your body. You just do it as Dr. Koch outlined. Self-awareness is different than consciousness in that it is something processed. It is the product of consciousness actions. Breathing gives you oxygen which in turn is delivered to your blood cells which in turn gives your body energy. I am self-aware of this because I can feel my breath and take in oxygen and because I am aware of what oxygen does the by-product of consciousness action of breathing brings me self-awareness of the energy level I am experiencing.

    • Dr. Koch lays out all of the mental processes that are not consciousness. How do you personally define consciousness? Does your definition include emotion, learning, or other mental functions that have been apparently ruled out as part of consciousness?

      To me consciousness is one’s state of being aware of one’s surroundings, and it definitely doesn’t include emotion, learning, and other mental functions. I think mental functions are product of consciousness, and they also eventually give rise to self-awareness which is a higher degree of consciousness. If you think about it, the brain can still process data from the outside world regardless of you being aware of it, you might not feel anything, but the fact that you’re still able to process the infromation you get from the outside world tells us something about your possession of consciousness.

    • creo que la consciencia es esa facultad que tenemos para manejar y usar distintas herramientas como el aprendizaje, el lenguaje y demás facultades que no están directamente relacionadas con la consciencia, pero que le sirven a ella para cumplir con sus funciones normales

    • I think being concious its related with attention, when you are in an attentive state you can learn new things, get involve in projects, maintein a close relationship. Consciousness is like being mindful of yourself, the world and the others.

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