Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Thoughts on Consciousness

The Conscious Mind...

We're all conscious right? You think you're conscious, I think I'm conscious, I even think monkeys are conscious. 

First mental exercise - Where do you draw the line on consciousness?
In order to believe we are conscious, we must understand that something allows us to be conscious. •Whether it be a soul, or some spiritual element - or be it some physical part of the brain that somehow creates our experiences.

If you believe we have souls, then you obviously must believe that there is definite "line" in which you draw and give things souls or not souls. Does your pet dog have a soul? How about a snail? A fish? A plant? You must define a line, somehow to classify "souled" or soulless, or else accept that everything or nothing has souls (or some spiritual element).

If you believe that consciousness is directly attributed to the brain, then, again, you must draw a line where consciousness arises. You may draw the line at people, you may draw it at primates, maybe animals, maybe all living things, maybe everything. But you have to define it.

As neurology and psychology become more advanced and we are able to probe the brain deeper and deeper, we continually come up with results that show the brain is attributed to consciousness. Removing or damaging parts of the brain result in people unable to form coherent pictures of reality, thus probably meaning consciousness is affected.

Interestingly as well, we are conscious that we are conscious, which has real implications on how we perceive and act. Hence I am writing this article - I know I am consciousness, and that is directly tied to the brain, meaning consciousness (where ever it is) communicates directly to our neurons.

Although this may be obvious, this falsifies the idea that maybe consciousness is simply an observatory mechanism - unable to have any input on the brain.

However this interaction between consciousness and the brain does not mean that consciousness is in control of our body's actions. That is, we believe we have control, the "we" or "me" being the conscious experience. But within the past decade, studies are continually showing that this is incorrect - our brains make decisions before we are conscious of them! 

So what can we extrapolate from this? Well it would seem that our consciousness is some kind of illusion that "we" are in control - for example the illusion that we have free-will and "we" decide things consciously for our body to act out. In fact, it seems our unconscious brain makes decisions, followed by a conscious interpretation of this action - and reinforces that consciousness was in control the whole time.

What we experience in consciousness, almost seems to be a lag time or delay after our actual decisions are made... but also seems to correlate exactly with our actual actions, which seem to be odd as well. Its almost as if our brain makes decisions, orders them, categorizes and evaluates them, then, all at once, sends out the actions and the conscious experience of the decision at the same time.

So is there any room for "magic" here - that is, is consciousness really special? Does it have some kind of spiritual connection or meaning? How the hell can this actually work? If consciousness is in fact, just some by-product of evolution, and some nearly pointless ability to experience life (in a biological context) where the fuck is the color red located?

That is all.

See you!

No comments:

Post a Comment