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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #53)

Tue May 13, 2014, 02:10 PM

54. Since consciousness is extremely difficult for science to study

 

Last edited Tue May 27, 2014, 08:44 AM - Edit history (1)

that leaves a lot of room for laymen to speculate. It's all in good fun.

If I understand what you mean by "construct", then I guessing you are using a different definition of consciousness than me. Since it is consciousness itself that assists our brains in their activities, then any brain activities that create consciousness can't be created with the assistance of consciousness itself. That's almost like saying consciousness creates itself. So consciousness has to be made totally by the unconscious brain.

If you mean that consciousness is made in the brain, regardless of whether consciousness assists, then that has to be correct.

Yes, it is a big mystery how our consciousness can operate with the modular nature of our brains, even though consciousness doesn't seem to be modular. Probably consciousness is created in multiple locations throughout the brain, but they somehow communicate, such that your brain has one goal at a time.

In addition to making it possible for us to think, do, and learn, I think consciousness forces the complex brain to act as one. This is important, of course, since we only have one body so the brain needs to have only one self.

I think you understood much of what I wrote. I think that the unavoidable force from the feelings experienced in our consciousness is what drives the whole operation of our brains. That is why we are conscious, in my opinion.

When you touch something hot with your finger, the pain you experience has an obvious purpose. That is an extreme example, but when you come right down to it, every moment of your waking life your are experiencing positive and negative feelings (usually very subtle feelings from emotions and related feelings, and these feelings are created from your brain's pattern recognition of your thoughts and senses) while you are reacting to your environment and your thoughts. These feelings are an unavoidable force that cannot be avoided by your brain. The strength of the feelings forces you to choose (the stronger feeling at the moment gets the attention, automatically), and the same feelings drive your thoughts and actions. And the strength of the feelings determines what you learn and remember. The whole process forces the brain to act as one.

It's probably impossible to know exactly how the brain makes consciousness and how all of this works, but in my opinion, consciousness and its feelings kills multiple birds with one stone. So evolution found consciousness very useful in order to create complex animated life.

So consciousness seems to be a trick evolution found to create complex animated life. Consciousness is a way the brain can force itself to act. But almost everything that happens in the brain happens outside of consciousness. The brain is a black box and we as individuals have almost no idea how our brains work and really how our decisions are reached. When we talk, words flow out and we have no idea where they come from in the brain.

But we do have this profound experience of consciousness; and consciousness is a witness to some thoughts, our environment through our senses, and our positive and negative feelings. But we are really not the author of any of it:
We may be the conscious witness of these thoughts, but we are not their authors. Thoughts just arrive....

There has been a long controversy as to whether subjectively ‘free’ decisions are determined by brain activity ahead of time. We found that the outcome of a decision can be encoded in brain activity of prefrontal and parietal cortex up to 10 s before it enters awareness. This delay presumably reflects the operation of a network of high-level control areas that begin to prepare an upcoming decision long before it enters awareness.

http://fieldlines.org/2012/04/21/free-will-the-local-miracle/

So we really have no conscious free will. Our conscious-selve are along for the ride. We just have to hope that our brains, with the critical feedback from our consciousness, make the right decisions.

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