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Consciousness and the Paranormal — Part 13

Constance

Paranormal Adept
Having said that, I still believe however that whatever sets consciousness neural processes apart from non-conscious neural processes won’t be observable/measurable.

So two observably/measurably identical (this includes identical situations - i.e. where they are located and how they are connected to the rest of the network) "neural processes" could exist and one would be conscious and the other not ... determined strictly by subjective requirements (which are determined by what?)

It will be something subjective; internal to the system. It will have something to do with the role that particular neural process plays in implementing the organisms world model.

So what subjectively determines the role that a particular neural process plays in implementing the organism's world model? and how does this interact with the physical aspects of the process... i.e. what is the mechanism of causality here?
Not to mention, as we usually don't here, that the subconscious and the collective unconscious must be recognized to impinge upon and influence that which we consciously feel and therefore think.
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
"ooo oo...Mr Kotter! Mr Kotter! Pick me!!"

View attachment 7866

"Yes, Horseshack?"

"K. Ok. So ... PHENOMENOLOGY Mr. Kotter!"

"Right, Arnold, that reminds me of my Uncle Louis ..."

I’ve asked more than once in this discussion—and I’ll ask again—is there any other way to understand how our “lived” reality relates to objective reality?

I understand we may not like the terms representation, model, simulation, umwelt, interface, etc.

What other term or better yet, concepts, do we have?


That's exactly what we do... we look at our experience - but not "in terms of" ... By setting aside presumptions, we see exactly what experience tells us. Merleau Ponty did this with perception and had also begun working with war injuries in terms of things like "phantom limb pain" etc. By looking at the phenomena and how it shows up for the patient, this pointed to a lot of things medically and physiologically and helped inform medical theories of these syndromes.

Look at Dreyfus lectures on Heidegger and also on Phenomenology of Perception, they are comprehensive and freely available. Phenomena like constancy of perception - things appear to be the same size as you move away from them ... you aren't fooled at all that your couch has suddenly become the size of your hand as you leave the room (the old joke of "pinching someone's head with your fingers a la forced perspective) or more interestingly, if you see colors, color constancy as the light changes throughout the day - the rose is the same color at 8a.m. as 7p.m. Artists in fact, have to learn how to see what their eyes see, instead of their brain...

"I'm soooo confused!"

View attachment 7867

What is it like to be Vinnie Barbarino?
Brilliant. Thank you.
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
Pardon the incredibly primitive terms, but I think it will have to do with the relationships of the neural processes—a type of signaling. It *may* be that certain relationships of signaling implement phenomenology, but I think it will be opaque to objective measure. Ie two different patterns of signaling both give rise to phenomenology.
So maybe this is where you have to give up the expectation or demand for objective descriptions of what subjectivity brings into the world?
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
First lol

second yes, we can’t explain consciousness using its own language yada yada yada.

anything concepts or imagery we use to talk about consciousness will ultimately come up short. We know this. We can’t get behind consciousness.

still to say consciousness has nothing to do with representation is utter bullshit. The individual may not know much about perception and self regulation nor that a vast majority of consciousness experience is related to both.

again we may not like the term representation. Re presentation. Not ideal.

interface is probably ideal. Again tho a language of consciousness so will fail to explain consciousness.
Who has provided us with the dictionary of 'the language of consciousness'? I want to order a copy. Consciousness is not a language, but it does enable the development of all the various and varying languages we have encountered among the human populations of earth.

Yes, we traffic in 'representations', but we fail to address and comprehend their origins, the ways in which, the places and times in which, they have arrived in, bubbled up in, human societies and cultures, accumulating prodigiously in our present-day discourse about the world [depending on how well-informed we are]. Insight into how representational thinking has been embedded in the history of painting and how some artists in the modern period have broken that habit see Merleau-Ponty's last essay "Eye and Mind."

http://www.biolinguagem.com/ling_cog_cult/merleauponty_1964_eyeandmind.pdf
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
That article suggests"

"SED is based on the conception that the universe is imbued with an all-pervasive electromagnetic background field, called zero-point field (ZPF), implying that the fundamental mechanism underlying conscious systems rests upon the access to information available in the ZPF.​

This is very similar to the NFH, but at present I wouldn't go so far as to be specific about a ZPF. At present I'm viewing what the others are calling a field as something else analogous to another thread that makes up the fabric of the universe, e.g. height, width, length, time, and whatever this other thing is. It isn't consciousness in and of itself. In the NFH, consciousness happens as a byproduct of our brains filtering this other thing ( it still needs a name ).
It sounds to me like it needs a lot more than a name.
 
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Constance

Paranormal Adept
Yes, but how does our ( lower case ) phenomenology relate to ( upper case ) reality.
The answer can be found by reading the phenomenological philosophers we have linked here. Phenomenology does not begin by denying the reality of objective things and processes in the world/universe as we understand it by this time in our history.

What is behind this funhouse we call conscious experience, and how does it relate to this objective reality we infer?
Again I refer you to phenomenological analyses. But you won't find 'a funhouse' there. If you do actually experience your own consciousness as a 'funhouse', you might want to consult a specialist in another field. But I think what you mean by 'funhouse' is the range of conflicting presuppositions, hypotheses, and theories constituting the interdisciplinary field of Consciousness Studies.



I think what a lot of people may miss when thinking about this and Bach’s contention that organisms aren’t conscious but only models are conscious—is that as you sit in front of your phone, tablet, or computer right now, you are ( in ) the model, right now.

You and everything you’re experiencing right now ( look around, introspect ) *are* the “model” being implementing [-ed] by your body/organism that is outside the window of its subjective model/umwelt (ie you).
If so, then the present moments in my consciousness [blind to me, you say, but being enjoyed and contemplated by firings in my neural nets] are modeling <for themselves? or projecting into my, what, consciousness?!!> my currently seeing the twilight just falling beyond my window, checking to see if the cats have finished their dinner, enjoying a bottle of Corona beer, typing a response to you, and holding in the background my awareness of the present state of political and viral catastrophes taking place in America today. If my neurons can react all on their own to what I currently have in consciousness and in mind, I would like to know how they know what they know in full technicolor detail. {eta: or do they instead react and interact continually to what I and you see in our quarantined lives today, the presence and sounds and scents of your children and my cats, our concerns for their well-being, our attention here to what interests us about consciousness and mind as well as body, and know day after day to be occurring in our blighted country?}

ps: are you adopting Jacob von Uexkull's term and concept of the 'Umwelt' to a different meaning than he proposed?
 
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Soupie

Paranormal Adept
The answer can be found by reading the phenomenological philosophers we have linked here. Phenomenology does not begin by denying the reality of objective things and processes in the world/universe as we understand it by this time in our history.



Again I refer you to phenomenological analyses. But you won't find 'a funhouse' there. If you do actually experience your own consciousness as a 'funhouse', you might want to consult a specialist in another field. But I think what you mean by 'funhouse' is the range of conflicting presuppositions, hypotheses, and theories constituting the interdisciplinary field of Consciousness Studies.





If so, then the present moments in my consciousness [blind to me, you say, but being enjoyed and contemplated by firings in my neural nets] are modeling <for themselves? or projecting into my, what, consciousness?!!> my currently seeing the twilight just falling beyond my window, checking to see if the cats have finished their dinner, enjoying a bottle of Corona beer, typing a response to you, and holding in the background my awareness of the present state of political and viral catastrophes taking place in America today. If my neurons can react all on their own to what I currently have in consciousness and in mind, I would like to know how they know what they know in full technicolor detail. {eta: or do they instead react and interact continually to what I and you see in our quarantined lives today, the presence and sounds and scents of your children and my cats, our concerns for their well-being, our attention here to what interests us about consciousness and mind as well as body, and know day after day to be occurring in our blighted country?}

ps: are you adopting Jacob von Uexkull's term and concept of the 'Umwelt' to a different meaning than he proposed?
How do you see the twilight, taste your beer, and contemplate political goings on? Do you conceive of your conscious mind as some entity that just happens to be attached to your body, a body that... does what exactly? Moves around for your consciousness riding around inside like a little humunculus?

I always get so confused when you start talking about your neurons having thoughts, as if it’s any different to suppose it may be your BODY having thoughts.

Ive been able to gather that you seem to subscribe to a notion of consciousness in which is it somehow created by the body or biological processes and then, well, has a mind of its own. As if your body and your mind are two separate things.

If it’s not your body enjoying the view, or the beer, or the cats, then what is?

When I’m suggesting is that your body is enjoying those things by way of the consciousness mind. That is, it’s not your consciousness that is enjoying those things; your conscious experience IS the enjoyment of those things.

Sigh. Let’s agree to disagree, Constance.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
It sounds to me like it needs a lot more than a name.
The concept is very simple as already outlined, but I suppose that like any other philosophical musing, it could be expanded into a paper of some length explaining the way it relates to other theories. Perhaps if these initial attempts to find out whether or not somebody else has already done it don't yield results, I'll consider something more in-depth. In the meantime, I don't want to be presumptuous. There have been minds far greater than mine come along on this subject. I'll probably find out that some philosopher had the same idea 2000 years ago.
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
How do you see the twilight, taste your beer, and contemplate political goings on? Do you conceive of your conscious mind as some entity that just happens to be attached to your body, a body that... does what exactly? Moves around for your consciousness riding around inside like a little humunculus?
I don't experience my consciousness as a little humunculus. I, and I think all of us, experience our consciousness as a continuous meeting ground for numerous senses, impressions, thoughts, desires, etc., that we have in all waking states. I don't think we can compartmentalize our consciousness. It is like the sea we swim in when awake, and even in dream states. And as MP said, "the fish is in the water and the water is in the fish." As I experience my own consciousness it does not divide me from the world but joins me with it, or with whatever aspects of the world are near at hand or close enough for observation. Concentrating on reading a paper in philosophy, for example, I might focus so much that many aspects of my present being fade at the edges of my reading and thinking, but when I put the paper down my general accustomed mileau of feeling and thinking immediately comes back 'online'. Also, I enjoy my consciousness almost always, except when my attention falls on miseries experienced by others, reported online or in my immediate experience. And my consciousness can become primarily depressed or angry or both when I behold the atrocities and idiocies performed by the current US president and others in this country and beyond. Doesn't everyone experience consciousness the way I do? If not, please tell me, anyone who is willing to tell me, how you experience your consciousness.

I always get so confused when you start talking about your neurons having thoughts, as if it’s any different to suppose it may be your BODY having thoughts.
I never talk about my neurons having thoughts. That's what you seem to be doing much of the time. And my body is intrinsically part of my consciousness, sometimes at the edges, sometimes in the foreground. Isn't everyone's?

Ive been able to gather that you seem to subscribe to a notion of consciousness in which is it somehow created by the body or biological processes and then, well, has a mind of its own. As if your body and your mind are two separate things.
They are not two separate things. I follow the phenomenologists, including Evan Thompson and Francisco Varela, in seeing my consciousness and my mind as embodied, embedded in the tangible world, and enactive in it. As I've said for a long time now in this forum, I think it's obvious that consciousness has evolved and developed over the history, so far, of species of life on this planet, and no doubt elsewhere. And I think the most helpful scientist, after Varela and Thompson, who has explored the sources and developments of consciousness in animals, including ourselves, is the late Jaak Panksepp who established the field of Affective Neuroscience.

If it’s not your body enjoying the view, or the beer, or the cats, then what is?
It's my fortuitous luck in being an ordinary human person, an embodied consciousness as much body as mind, living in a local world filled with natural beauty (when I'm near it, almost always) and with numberless others like myself and unlike myself (I mean to include the animals, the birds, their calls and their songs, their own celebrations of existence in a local world in which their needs (for food, attention etc) and for aesthetic satisfactions and comfort, are satisfied. I guess I can say, and I think everyone would say, that I enjoy my life -- which I could not do if I were not conscious. The snake in the garden I exist in is Mr. Trump and his agents and followers [and others like them elsewhere] who don't understand what life is and who suppress the rights of others and deny their needs for the basic conditions of lives that can and should be fulfilling.

When I’m suggesting is that your body is enjoying those things by way of the consciousness mind. That is, it’s not your consciousness that is enjoying those things; your conscious experience IS the enjoyment of those things.
I guess I could go along with your first sentence. Beyond that you lose me in trying to separate consciousness from experience. And I wonder if you don't actually mean that it's not me who possesses consciousness and sorts out a picture of the world but rather my neurons that do it, out of my hearing and beyond my seeing of anything at all. I certainly do not understand the motivations of the researchers you follow who seem to me to be trying to cut the cords between phenomenologically lived experience and the neurons and neural nets that form to enable lived experience and the thinking that arises out of it.


Sigh. Let’s agree to disagree, Constance.
It seems we've long had to do that, and yet I remain hopeful that perhaps through studying various theories of panpsychism we'll meet in the middle.
 
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Constance

Paranormal Adept
The concept is very simple as already outlined, but I suppose that like any other philosophical musing, it could be expanded into a paper of some length explaining the way it relates to other theories. Perhaps if these initial attempts to find out whether or not somebody else has already done it don't yield results, I'll consider something more in-depth. In the meantime, I don't want to be presumptuous. There have been minds far greater than mine come along on this subject. I'll probably find out that some philosopher had the same idea 2000 years ago.
I think we all have that recognition at one time or another.

What I meant by suggesting that the 'it' you refer to needs more than a name is that it seems to me that the theory you contemplate would need to be fleshed out in terms of many systems interacting in the universe we know -- (to the extent that we know it) -- in order to be fully explained.
 
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USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
I think we all have that recognition at one time or another.
I wouldn't be the least bit surprised. Maybe somebody had the answer come to them in a dream that they thought was too weird to tell anybody about. Maybe a thousand other philosophers had it cross their minds, but because they couldn't find any references to it by other philosophers, they thought it must not be worthy of serious consideration. Who knows for sure? That's what I'm trying to determine.
What I meant by suggesting that the 'it' you refer to needs more than a name is that it seems to me that the theory you contemplate would need to be fleshed out in terms of many systems interacting in the universe we know -- (to the extent that we know it) -- in order to be fully explained.
In terms of many systems interacting in the universe we know, the explanations the NFH offers are largely obvious. Beyond that, it depends on what you mean by a "full explanation". I covered this issue to some extent in my "Meaningful Questions" post on the Philosophy, Science, and The Unexplained thread.

Another example of this issue is when children are going through their curiosity phase by asking questions like "Why is the sky blue?". No matter what answer anyone can give, another "why type question" can be asked about the answer, ad infinitum. Therefore I would never pretend to be able to "fully explain" anything. I would only pretend to be able to provide a more or less complete description than someone else ;)
 

Soupie

Paranormal Adept
And I wonder if you don't actually mean that it's not me who possesses consciousness and sorts out a picture of the world but rather my neurons that do it, out of my hearing and beyond my seeing of anything at all.
This is where I get confused. It seems to me that you have identified 3 things:

1. The “me” who possesses consciousness

2. Consciousness

3. Your neurons

What is the nature of the “me” who possesses consciousness? Is it akin to a soul?

I think there are two things: the mind and body.

For example, we may fall and scrape our knee. If there were no conscious mind, there would be no pain. Just the physical damage to the knee.

The brain has evolved a capacity for tracking damage to the body; this is conscious experience. The brain models this damage to the knee as pain.

However, the brain can’t just model pain bc who or what is experiencing the pain? The knee itself? The elbow? The neurons? No.

The brain has also evolved a capacity for tracking the body as a whole; this is the experience of being a unified self. And it is this self that experiences the pain.

Now, it may seem like I’ve created a humunculus. We may want to say the body experiences the pain. But how? As we said, how does the body experience the pain? Does the elbow experience it? Does a part of the brain?

No, the experience of pain is a model of the damage, and the sense of self is likewise a model of the organism. So a physical organism that takes damage to its body tracks it ( experiences it ) via a conscious experience of itself feeling knee pain. The sense of being a unified self experiencing pain is all conscious experience, lived experience, and is a world model implemented by the physical organism transcending the world model its implementing.

And this may also sound like dualism; but the pain and the self are constituted ( implemented ) via physiological processes. ( So far as we model them in our world models. )
 
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Constance

Paranormal Adept
I wouldn't be the least bit surprised. Maybe somebody had the answer come to them in a dream that they thought was too weird to tell anybody about. Maybe a thousand other philosophers had it cross their minds, but because they couldn't find any references to it by other philosophers, they thought it must not be worthy of serious consideration. Who knows for sure? That's what I'm trying to determine.
I think the major problems come up for us in consciousness studies when ontological presuppositions, stated or unstated, become the issue as they do in approaches such as we have been discussing in recent works. I find it difficult to accept various matrix-like ontologies in which it is postulated, one way or another, that our bodies, consciousnesses, and minds are not actually our own but remotely engineered parts of an informational machine or system of some kind. If so, I want to know in some detail what kind of machine or system we are parts and expressions of. Obviously no one in our zone of spacetime reality on earth is able to diagram for us the interactions of the multiple forms, fields, and levels of 'information' that must be passed through to reach and manipulate our very neurons with the illusion that we are alive and responsible for what we do with our lives. That's kind of where my comment/question was coming from.

In terms of many systems interacting in the universe we know, the explanations the NFH offers are largely obvious. Beyond that, it depends on what you mean by a "full explanation". I covered this issue to some extent in my "Meaningful Questions" post on the Philosophy, Science, and The Unexplained thread.
Can you link it so I can read it?

Another example of this issue is when children are going through their curiosity phase by asking questions like "Why is the sky blue?". No matter what answer anyone can give, another "why type question" can be asked about the answer, ad infinitum. Therefore I would never pretend to be able to "fully explain" anything. I would only pretend to be able to provide a more or less complete description than someone else ;)
We'll probably never know why the universe and its inhabitants are the way they are in our experience. But I want to ask people like Hoffman, Bach, and the others cited by @Soupie to present detailed descriptions and graphs to at least begin to persuade me of the validity of their claims. This is probably not well-expressed, but I think you follow what I'm saying.


 
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Constance

Paranormal Adept
This is where I get confused. It seems to me that you have identified 3 things:

1. The “me” who possesses consciousness

2. Consciousness

3. Your neurons

What is the nature of the “me” who possesses consciousness? Is it akin to a soul?
I'd have to say 1. and 2. with the acknowledgement that my neurons perform an essential service in enabling me to get around, interact with others, feel my feelings, think my thoughts, etc.

I think there are two things: the mind and body.

For example, we may fall and scrape our knee. If there were no conscious mind, there would be no pain. Just the physical damage to the knee.

The brain has evolved a capacity for tracking damage to the body; this is conscious experience. The brain models this damage to the knee as pain.

However, the brain can’t just model pain bc who or what is experiencing the pain? The knee itself? The elbow? The neurons? No.

The brain has also evolved a capacity for tracking the body as a whole; this is the experience of being a unified self. And it is this self that experiences the pain.

Now, it may seem like I’ve created a humunculus. We may want to say the body experiences the pain. But how? As we said, how does the body experience the pain? Does the elbow experience it? Does a part of the brain?

No, the experience of pain is a model of the damage, and the sense of self is likewise a model of the organism. So a physical organism that takes damage to its body tracks it ( experiences it ) via a conscious experience of itself feeling knee pain. The sense of being a unified self experiencing pain is all conscious experience, lived experience, and is a world model implemented by the physical organism transcending the world model its implementing.
I'm not getting that summary sentence. I'm sorry I can't. I can't tell whether lived consciousness is there in any real sense or if it's generated and described but not given to experience bodily or mentally, or somehow experienced in the neurons themselves, snuggled together there in the skull beyond appeal or desire, pain or joy. If consciousness is 'modeled' by the neurons and kept secret from the individual whose neurons they are, except for providing us with the 'illusion' of being consciousness to point out blows to the knee or elsewhere, how can 'mind' [long supposed to be our species' austere and exceptional accomplishment] have been developed out of consciousness experience and thought? Or do the neurons do all our thinking for us too? Write philosophy and argue about it inside the skull?

And this may also sound like dualism; but the pain and the self are constituted ( implemented ) via physiological processes. ( So far as we model them in our world models. )
I think 'constituted' is the wrong word, but perhaps that's because the word has a specific meaning in phenomenology.

My responses may be vague. I drank too much coffee today.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
I think the major problems come up for us in consciousness studies when ontological presuppositions, stated or unstated, become the issue as they do in approaches such as we have been discussing in recent works. I find it difficult to accept various matrix-like ontologies in which it is postulated, one way or another, that our bodies, consciousnesses, and minds are not actually our own but remotely engineered parts of an informational machine or system of some kind. If so, I want to know in some detail what kind of machine or system we are parts and expressions of.
It might help to have some familiarity with the plot and philosophy of The Matrix, but essentially, the idea behind The Matrix isn't that our consciousness and minds aren't our own ( they are ). This remains the same either inside or outside The Matrix. The difference is that inside The Matrix, signals that would normally arrive from what we think of as the natural ( real ) world, are replaced by signals sent from an alternate source.

The upshot is that it would seem that unless a person is aware that they are receiving signals from an alternate source rather than the natural ( real ) world, there is no way that they can be sure that the world they are experiencing isn't the natural ( real ) world. Only after being freed from the illusion created by the alternate source can a person who has been born into The Matrix recognize that there is a natural ( real ) world.

This seems to all be covered in most Philosophy 101 level courses ( Brain In a Vat, Allegory of The Cave, Descartes Evil Genius ). So far, no philosopher I'm aware of accepts that there is a way for a person to determine whether or not we are in a similar situation, and the idea of whether we accept that or not is touched on in the movie as well. These scratch the surface of why The Matrix is hailed as one of the greatest movies of all time.

However the idea I'm presently looking into, which I've dubbed the Neuro-Filtering Hypothesis ( NFH ) doesn't depend upon a Matrix like situation. The source of the universe isn't what's in question. The NFH postulates that whatever the situation might be, there is a factor that exists along with other fundamental factors such as spatial dimensions and time, that brains like ours filter, resulting in our experience of the world.

While the idea seems fairly straightforward to me, I can see how it might take someone else a little time to get the perspective. As an analogy, we might use the idea of fish that use gills to filter oxygen. The sea can be seen as this "factor" or "layer" not of consciousness itself, but of something that when filtered through our brains, becomes our conscious experience of the world.

There is no explaining "how" or "why" it works this way any more than we can explain other "how" or "why" type questions, so there is no "full explanation" for the situation. There is however a description of the situation, and this description fits nicely with the issues raised so far. For example, it describes:
  1. A way for the brain not to be the cause of consciousness while always correlating with it.
  2. A way for consciousness to be fundamentally possible without everything like rocks or atoms experiencing it.
  3. An alternative to any sort of cartesian theatre type model
  4. A way for consciousness to represent the unique perspective of each experiencer
  5. A way around the combination problem and other issues with panpsychism
  6. A reason we might expect to find such things as EM fields associated with consciousness
  7. A reason why information processing alone may not sufficient for the emergence of consciousness
There's more, but I'm not into writing a paper on it until I've explored more of the sources @Soupie offered. Personally, I don't know that I like the hypothesis, but the more I reflect on how it can be applied to various problems we've encountered, the more problems it seems to alleviate. So although I'm not really comfortable with the NFH, I don't think that my uncomfortableness should be sufficient reason for me to dismiss it.

Obviously no one in our zone of spacetime reality on earth is able to diagram for us the interactions of the multiple forms, fields, and levels of 'information' that must be passed through to reach and manipulate our very neurons with the illusion that we are alive and responsible for what we do with our lives. That's kind of where my comment/question was coming from.
It may be possible to diagram the NFH as simply as we can diagram a sponge filter moving through water. We even use the analogy of sponges when describing brains, e.g. "She soaks up everything like a sponge". The sponge itself doesn't cause wetness, but a sponge in water always correlates with wetness. A dry sponge is markedly different than a wet one, but no matter how closely we look at only the materials that makeup the sponge, we will never see the water. Yet the water still affects the sponge.
We'll probably never know why the universe and its inhabitants are the way they are in our experience.
We might be able to answer part of that in a superficial way. If for example our brains are filters that extract consciousness out of the environment, then that process can be seen as one which has proven advantageous for our survival in this environment. Pain helps protect us from physical damage. Fear helps keep us avoid danger. Attraction and love help us mate and reproduce, and so on.
But I want to ask people like Hoffman, Bach, and the others cited by @Soupie to present detailed descriptions and graphs to at least begin to persuade me of the validity of their claims. This is probably not well-expressed, but I think you follow what I'm saying.
This is very good communication. Unfortunately however, the video you posted would not play for me. I will look it up outside the forum to see if it will play there.
 
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Constance

Paranormal Adept
It might help to have some familiarity with the plot and philosophy of The Matrix, but essentially, the idea behind The Matrix isn't that our consciousness and minds aren't our own ( they are ). This remains the same either inside or outside The Matrix. The difference is that inside The Matrix, signals that would normally arrive from what we think of as the natural ( real ) world, are replaced by signals sent from an alternate source.
As you know, I haven't seen the film 'The Matrix' and I looked for another way to express what I find questionable or objectionable in the hypotheses @Soupie favors. But that film and its box-office success have made the notion of an informational matrix in which we are acted upon but not acting an influential meme in our technological culture, a meme that I think has seeded the ideas of some of the 'theorists' {I'd rather say 'hypothecators'} we've seen discussed here. I don't want to, and can't (since I haven't seen the film), provide a reading/interpretation of what gets expressed in the film, or whether it's internally and philosophically consistent. Literary and cinematic criticism always involve different 'takes' on the works treated, and it's long been recognized in both fields that even the author's intent, much less the critics' intents, can be taken to provide a single valid key to all of what gets expressed in the work. Thus the need for and value of the 'hermeneutic circle of interpretation' I referred to recently. How many vague gestures toward defensible theories have emerged in the sources we've been reading lately; where do they agree and disagree; and how do they persuade us that their hypotheses are valid and demonstrable?

The upshot is that it would seem that unless a person is aware that they are receiving signals from an alternate source rather than the natural ( real ) world, there is no way that they can be sure that the world they are experiencing isn't the natural ( real ) world. Only after being freed from the illusion created by the alternate source can a person who has been born into The Matrix recognize that there is a natural ( real ) world.
Almost equally fascinating as the 'matrix' idea has been in popular culture in our time is the decades-long intrigue exercised in the subject of 'mind control' in various forms supposed to have been achieved by secret agencies seeking to manipulate individuals and even whole societies. You seem to be suggesting that 'alternate signals' in 'The Matrix' produce illusions that block natural consciousness in its inhabitants, but that they can recognize the situation and escape it. If so, the film seems to me to present a cautionary tale concerning the over-technologization of our society and culture. Or perhaps another illustration, like Plato's cave, of how easily people can be brain-washed by restricting what they are able to sense and see in and of their actual environing world.

This seems to all be covered in most Philosophy 101 level courses ( Brain In a Vat, Allegory of The Cave, Descartes Evil Genius ). So far, no philosopher I'm aware of accepts that there is a way for a person to determine whether or not we are in a similar situation, and the idea of whether we accept that or not is touched on in the movie as well. These scratch the surface of why The Matrix is hailed as one of the greatest movies of all time.
Re your reference to 'most Philosophy 101 courses', such introductory courses would probably discuss the issue of 'Appearance' vis a vis 'Reality', but they would not explore this topic thoroughly or exclusively since there is so much more to present in an introductory philosophy course. The underscored statement is a broad and rather fuzzy claim, one which Consciousness Studies has engaged prodigiously in the last three decades in terms of differences between Analytical and Phenomenological philosophies of mind.

However the idea I'm presently looking into, which I've dubbed the Neuro-Filtering Hypothesis ( NFH ) doesn't depend upon a Matrix like situation. The source of the universe isn't what's in question. The NFH postulates that whatever the situation might be, there is a factor that exists along with other fundamental factors such as spatial dimensions and time, that brains like ours filter, resulting in our experience of the world.
The 'source [better: 'ontology'] of the universe' is always in question in these latter-day attempts to reduce or deny that we possess our lived consciousnesses as active experiential capabilities in discerning the nature of that which we encounter in the tangible world and what we can ultimately understand and define as 'reality'. Can you clarify what you mean by a 'factor' [in nature?] that produces a filter in human brains that conditions or limits our 'experience of the world' and thus our interpretations of our experience?

While the idea seems fairly straightforward to me, I can see how it might take someone else a little time to get the perspective. As an analogy, we might use the idea of fish that use gills to filter oxygen. The sea can be seen as this "factor" or "layer" not of consciousness itself, but of something that when filtered through our brains, becomes our conscious experience of the world.
I can get a vague sense of what you're saying here, but it seems to amount to saying that we living creatures on this planet have been fitted by evolution and adaptation to physically survive as best possible in the natural environments we exist in. Are you also saying that our natural dispensations of awareness, consciousness, and mind might be somehow 'filtered' in our neurons, neural nets, and brains to produce false impressions of what-is?

There is no explaining "how" or "why" it works this way any more than we can explain other "how" or "why" type questions, so there is no "full explanation" for the situation. There is however a description of the situation, and this description fits nicely with the issues raised so far. For example, it describes:
  1. A way for the brain not to be the cause of consciousness while always correlating with it.
  2. A way for consciousness to be fundamentally possible without everything like rocks or atoms experiencing it.
  3. An alternative to any sort of cartesian theatre type model
  4. A way for consciousness to represent the unique perspective of each experiencer
  5. A way around the combination problem and other issues with panpsychism
  6. A reason we might expect to find such things as EM fields associated with consciousness
  7. A reason why information processing alone may not sufficient for the emergence of consciousness.
Those are interesting questions we could pursue, and I imagine that each of them would produce a range of responses. Too much for me alone to respond to right now, or perhaps ever.

There's more, but I'm not into writing a paper on it until I've explored more of the sources @Soupie offered. Personally, I don't know that I like the hypothesis, but the more I reflect on how it can be applied to various problems we've encountered, the more problems it seems to alleviate. So although I'm not really comfortable with the NFH, I don't think that my uncomfortableness should be sufficient reason for me to dismiss it.

It may be possible to diagram the NFH as simply as we can diagram a sponge filter moving through water. We even use the analogy of sponges when describing brains, e.g. "She soaks up everything like a sponge". The sponge itself doesn't cause wetness, but a sponge in water always correlates with wetness. A dry sponge is markedly different than a wet one, but no matter how closely we look at only the materials that makeup the sponge, we will never see the water. Yet the water still affects the sponge.
I asked my Microsoft Edge search tool to answer my question 'are sponges a form of life?'. The answer is yes, and I like your sentence "Yet the water still affects the sponge" because affectivity consequent to awareness are the very origins of proto-consciousness and consciousness according to Jaak Panksepp, whose book on Affective Neuroscience I wish everyone would read. I'll link it below, and here I'll link the search results re the living sponge:

are sponges forms of life? - Bing

We might be able to answer part of that in a superficial way. If for example our brains are filters that extract consciousness out of the environment, then that process can be seen as one which has proven advantageous for our survival in this environment. Pain helps protect us from physical damage. Fear helps keep us avoid danger. Attraction and love help us mate and reproduce, and so on.

This is very good communication. Unfortunately however, the video you posted would not play for me. I will look it up outside the forum to see if it will play there.
I would have thought that most of us would like the panpsychism of Christian de Quency, which we referred to around the end of Part 12 and into Part 13. The direction of your thought in this post reminds of his attempt to locate and identify physical fields, forces, and processes in the quantum substrate and their merging into the world as 'classically' described in physics as affecting us at subtle and deeper levels of our physical and mental experiences.

Which video did I post that you cannot link?
 
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smcder

Paranormal Adept
As you know, I haven't seen the film 'The Matrix' and I looked for another way to express what I find questionable or objectionable in the hypotheses @Soupie favors. But that film and its box-office success have made the notion of an informational matrix in which we are acted upon but not acting an influential meme in our technological culture, a meme that I think has seeded the ideas of some of the 'theorists' {I'd rather say 'hypothecators'} we've seen discussed here. I don't want to, and can't (since I haven't seen the film), provide a reading/interpretation of what gets expressed in the film, or whether it's internally and philosophically consistent. Literary and cinematic criticism always involve different 'takes' on the works treated, and it's long been recognized in both fields that even the author's intent, much less the critics' intents, can be taken to provide a single valid key to all of what gets expressed in the work. Thus the need for and value of the 'hermeneutic circle of interpretation' I referred to recently. How many vague gestures toward defensible theories have emerged in the sources we've been reading lately; where do they agree and disagree; and how do they persuade us that their hypotheses are valid and demonstrable?



Almost equally fascinating as the 'matrix' idea has been in popular culture in our time is the decades-long intrigue exercised in the subject of 'mind control' in various forms supposed to have been achieved by secret agencies seeking to manipulate individuals and even whole societies. You seem to be suggesting that 'alternate signals' in 'The Matrix' produce illusions that block natural consciousness in its inhabitants, but that they can recognize the situation and escape it. If so, the film seems to me to present a cautionary tale concerning the over-technologization of our society and culture. Or perhaps another illustration, like Plato's cave, of how easily people can be brain-washed by restricting what they are able to sense and see in and of their actual environing world.



Re your reference to 'most Philosophy 101 courses', such introductory courses would probably discuss the issue of 'Appearance' vis a vis 'Reality', but they would not explore this topic thoroughly or exclusively since there is so much more to present in an introductory philosophy course. The underscored statement is a broad and rather fuzzy claim, one which Consciousness Studies has engaged prodigiously in the last three decades in terms of differences between Analytical and Phenomenological philosophies of mind.



The 'source [better: 'ontology'] of the universe' is always in question in these latter-day attempts to reduce or deny that we possess our lived consciousnesses as active experiential capabilities in discerning the nature of that which we encounter in the tangible world and what we can ultimately understand and define as 'reality'. Can you clarify what you mean by a 'factor' [in nature?] that produces a filter in human brains that conditions or limits our 'experience of the world' and thus our interpretations of our experience?



I can get a vague sense of what you're saying here, but it seems to amount to saying that we living creatures on this planet have been fitted by evolution and adaptation to physically survive as best possible in the natural environments we exist in. Are you also saying that our natural dispensations of awareness, consciousness, and mind might be somehow 'filtered' in our neurons, neural nets, and brains to produce false impressions of what-is?



Those are interesting questions we could pursue, and I imagine that each of them would produce a range of responses. Too much for me alone to respond to right now, or perhaps ever.



I asked my Microsoft Edge search tool to answer my question 'are sponges a form of life?'. The answer is yes, and I like your sentence "Yet the water still affects the sponge" because affectivity consequent to awareness are the very origins of proto-consciousness and consciousness according to Jaak Panksepp, whose book on Affective Neuroscience I wish everyone would read. I'll link it below, and here I'll link the search results re the living sponge:

are sponges forms of life? - Bing



I would have thought that most of us would like the panpsychism of Christian de Quency, which we referred to around the end of Part 12 and into Part 13. The direction of your thought in this post reminds of his attempt to locate and identify physical fields, forces, and processes in the quantum substrate and their merging into the world as 'classically' described in physics as affecting us at subtle and deeper levels of our physical and mental experiences.

Which video did I post that you cannot link?
I've seen the Matrix - and a couple of sequels. One way to think about it - is how much philosophy can you read in a couple of hours? Or how much can you learn about philosophy from the first lecture of your first philosophy class in college? Not much.

Now, take out all the time for the movie to do everything else it does ... and how much philosophy could be conveyed? Even allowing for a picture to be worth a thousand words. In terms of its being a great movie ... I wouldn't push anything off the top 100 lists to make room for it and strictly in terms of being a film you wouldn't be at a loss if you'd never seen compared to say something by Kurosawa or Tarkovsky or Bergman. Tarkovsky's Solaris and Stalker are both ostensibly science fiction films and both are great films. The Matrix, however, is an influential film.

Better still, watch The Animatrix a series of short animated films that explore the universe of The Matrix.
 


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