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    Thread: Separate Consciousnesses

    1. #1
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      Separate Consciousnesses

      I'm rambling a bit here and don't have time to go over it and fix it. If you'd like, you can skip to the last paragraph, because that contains the main idea.

      I'd like to bring up a thought which first occurred to me when I was about 8 years old, and still comes to mind periodically. It's more of a thought experiment, and assumes a lot. While a child I believed in souls, but now I recognise that materialists (including me) will have problems with it.

      Imagine that everyone has a different consciousness. By consciousness, I mean the thing that makes you you, and not your mother nor your friend nor me, your subjective being. What if these consciousnesses were rapidly jumping from one person to the next? One second you're you, the next second you're experiencing being your friend, the next second you're experiencing being me, etc. You'd never know it, because the brain would take on all of the memories of the current person, and even though you might only be experiencing being 'you' now for the last second, you believe that you've been you for your entire life.

      But, from the materialist viewpoint, this doesn't make much sense. What is the 'you' that is switching between bodies, if not the brain? It just couldn't happen.

      It brings up, though, something important about subjective experience. There really are not different types of it. It is of the same essence. If you imagine being someone else, you're still imagining being you, but with different attributes. It's natural to think that this is my consciousness, which only I experience, and it's different somehow for everyone else. But this whole 'consciousness' thing that I feel makes me me, is really the exactly same thing that everyone else experiences. (This is one of those things that I have a feeling isn't going to make sense to anyone but me).

    2. #2
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      Have you read much of existentialism?

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      I kind of had this same thought the other day. I wondered if maybe I woke up every day as a different person, and if I did, how would I know this was going on?

      It reminds me of some other thoughts I've had that are somehow related to the anthropic principle in cosmology, but can't very well explain. Something about our tendency of "getting the cart before the horse" when contemplating consciousness... which is similar to how the anthropic principle suggests that we "get the cart before the horse" when we wonder at the unlikelyhood of a fine-tuned universe.
      Last edited by IndieAnthias; 01-15-2012 at 04:33 PM.

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      It's funny, your middle paragraph seems to describe what I view as the subjective experience of existing in a world that is really just an advanced computer simulation (given technology developed in this simulation or the future is not drastically different than our modern technology). Processors work by being so quick that each of your processes on a computer appear as though they are "sharing" the processor and running simultaneously, although that is not really the case. A single process is run and the CPU can do it so quickly that the time difference is usually intangible in terms of human perception.

      I think I understand what you mean in your last paragraph, and the conclusion I come to about it is like the conclusion I've been forced to come to about many things. Things are both the same and different, but in a way that isn't easily put into words. I guess it all depends on the specifics of what you're comparing. Yes, everyone experiences this identity with their conscious, which consists of the entirety of them and their perceptions/experiences and really their entire world. However, without being able to experience what others experience for ourselves, it's impossible to say that this consciousness is the same. There is a likeness in how we work and exist, but not in what we experience, how we experience something, what we are better at experiencing or doing, or our lives themselves. We're all the same but we're different. The multi-faceted nature of everything allows for, on some level, everything to be relevantly compared and contrasted.

      Sorry if I was totally off on what you were getting at. d:

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      The self is an illusion. We have these assumptions we'll be the same us as we are now in 10 years time, or that our self, when angry, or panicked or sad, is the same self we are now. This pushes us into constantly trying to rationalize our behavior compared with our "personality" or constructed self. The self is a fluid thing. Consciousness is the sensation of sensory reception.
      Dianeva and lidybug like this.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      Quote Originally Posted by Omnis Dei View Post
      Have you read much of existentialism?
      No.
      I'm honestly not quite sure what exastentialism is. The definition I learned in school turned out to be wrong, or maybe only one part of it.

      Quote Originally Posted by snoop View Post
      It's funny, your middle paragraph seems to describe what I view as the subjective experience of existing in a world that is really just an advanced computer simulation (given technology developed in this simulation or the future is not drastically different than our modern technology). Processors work by being so quick that each of your processes on a computer appear as though they are "sharing" the processor and running simultaneously, although that is not really the case. A single process is run and the CPU can do it so quickly that the time difference is usually intangible in terms of human perception.
      Nice analogy.

      Quote Originally Posted by snoop View Post
      I think I understand what you mean in your last paragraph, and the conclusion I come to about it is like the conclusion I've been forced to come to about many things. Things are both the same and different, but in a way that isn't easily put into words. I guess it all depends on the specifics of what you're comparing. Yes, everyone experiences this identity with their conscious, which consists of the entirety of them and their perceptions/experiences and really their entire world. However, without being able to experience what others experience for ourselves, it's impossible to say that this consciousness is the same. There is a likeness in how we work and exist, but not in what we experience, how we experience something, what we are better at experiencing or doing, or our lives themselves. We're all the same but we're different. The multi-faceted nature of everything allows for, on some level, everything to be relevantly compared and contrasted.
      What I'm trying to say is kind of fuzzy. I think you probably get it. But still, I might not even be saying much. I might compare it to the sensation of a colour like redness, assuming we all experience the colour the same. That redness sensation would be the same thing, in a sense, among all of our perceptions of it, even though it's occurring millions of times in different brains. Similarily, consciousness itself is the same thing among all of our experiences of it, even though it's occurring in different brains. That's probably a better way of explaining what I'm trying to say than above.

      It's kind of obvious, and is probably one of those things that people might finally get and react like, "okay... so?" It's just an interesting revelation to me, and makes me think of things differently. I'd also like to point out that I'm not talking about anything spiritual. I'm not trying to think highly of myself or anything, but I suspect this is one of those things that are just too abstract for most people to think or care about. Even intelligent people. You just need to have a certain mindset.

      Quote Originally Posted by Omnis Dei View Post
      The self is an illusion. We have these assumptions we'll be the same us as we are now in 10 years time, or that our self, when angry, or panicked or sad, is the same self we are now. This pushes us into constantly trying to rationalize our behavior compared with our "personality" or constructed self. The self is a fluid thing. Consciousness is the sensation of sensory reception.
      I find I'm finally making sense of your posts lately. I agree with what you're saying. It is true - from a completely non-spiritual standpoint.

    7. #7
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      What is spiritual?

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      What I meant was, the belief that we have some 'spirit' that is separate from the brain.

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      Oh. Yeah I don't believe in Dualism.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      if your name is legion you are one being many still remaining one aren't you ? all i can say is that dualism would be hard to prove scientifically
      alyhough i've already thought of making a robot using my brain as his but only for logic and calculations but he would have his own memory thus we being one are two still remaining one
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      I don't believe that spirit is separate from the brain and uses the pineal gland to interact with the brain. I believe it's all spirit, and it's all matter, too. It's all just constructs of information interacting with each other. The idea that something lives on after your body loses its functional capacity is inherently dualist, I understand, but only if you're still hung up on materialism.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      do you believe that a robot that has its own memory but uses my brain to process information would in your description have its own spirit or be dumb as all robots are today ?
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      Here's a thought that I had (similar to yours, a childhood curiosity); what if all people's minds are actually just our own; instead of jumping around through a one-way stream of time, time isn't a one-way street, and you're simply talking to another incarnation of yourself right now?

      Perhaps I'm talking to an incarnation of myself right now, who calls herself Dianeva online... (And neither of us would know that we are actually the same consciousness, since we assume we cannot be more than our "self" at once.)

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      Another perfect place to post The Egg: The Egg

      Amazing story, amazingly cool idea!

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      Quote Originally Posted by Darkmatters View Post
      Another perfect place to post The Egg: The Egg

      Amazing story, amazingly cool idea!
      That's pretty much exactly what I'm talking about! It's a great way to apply morality, the ultimate "Golden Rule."
      Darkmatters likes this.

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      Yeah, it really makes you think things through. Lol, reminds me of the Megadeth video for Sweating Bullets:


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      In taoism we have a parable.

      A great sage spoke, "I dreamt a dream the other day, where I was a butterfly. I watched myself sleep underneath the tree, and flew up as high as I could. I contemplated what I was thinking under the tree but realized that I could never know, just like if I was currently still myself I would not know what the butterfly was experiencing, since I could not be the butterfly."

      Best I can remember it. Also, do not mistake empathy for separate consciousness. and if anything, we are all tied to the same collective, experiencing everything different.

    18. #18
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      Quote Originally Posted by Dianeva View Post
      I'm rambling a bit here and don't have time to go over it and fix it. If you'd like, you can skip to the last paragraph, because that contains the main idea.

      I'd like to bring up a thought which first occurred to me when I was about 8 years old, and still comes to mind periodically. It's more of a thought experiment, and assumes a lot. While a child I believed in souls, but now I recognise that materialists (including me) will have problems with it.

      Imagine that everyone has a different consciousness. By consciousness, I mean the thing that makes you you, and not your mother nor your friend nor me, your subjective being. What if these consciousnesses were rapidly jumping from one person to the next? One second you're you, the next second you're experiencing being your friend, the next second you're experiencing being me, etc. You'd never know it, because the brain would take on all of the memories of the current person, and even though you might only be experiencing being 'you' now for the last second, you believe that you've been you for your entire life.

      But, from the materialist viewpoint, this doesn't make much sense. What is the 'you' that is switching between bodies, if not the brain? It just couldn't happen.

      It brings up, though, something important about subjective experience. There really are not different types of it. It is of the same essence. If you imagine being someone else, you're still imagining being you, but with different attributes. It's natural to think that this is my consciousness, which only I experience, and it's different somehow for everyone else. But this whole 'consciousness' thing that I feel makes me me, is really the exactly same thing that everyone else experiences. (This is one of those things that I have a feeling isn't going to make sense to anyone but me).
      I understand what you speak of. I too have had thoughts like that since I was around 8ish. I always wondered why I wasnt born as my friend and my friend as me. I often wonder why the body I am in has my conciousness in it even tho other peoples bodys didn't have mine in it. The body I am in could have been a different conciousness.

      I think we are all a part of the obstract thing called the universe. We are in a sense all individuals and yet we all are one and the same thing. I say why not. After all the universe can be cold and hot and light and dark. Why not seperate and together at the same time?

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      It seems this thread is inspiring a lot of what-if talk like that which would normally belong in BD or IS. I'd like to clarify that I was not implying anything spiritual and hardly know what I was talking about anymore. The OP was simply the expression of a thought which I now regret creating a thread for because there really wasn't much of a point. Sorry everyone.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Dianeva View Post
      It brings up, though, something important about subjective experience. There really are not different types of it. It is of the same essence. If you imagine being someone else, you're still imagining being you, but with different attributes. It's natural to think that this is my consciousness, which only I experience, and it's different somehow for everyone else. But this whole 'consciousness' thing that I feel makes me me, is really the exactly same thing that everyone else experiences. (This is one of those things that I have a feeling isn't going to make sense to anyone but me).
      You can use that perspective to your advantage. You recognize you aren't just your attributes, and you could just as easily take on someone else's attributes instead of your own. Remember that when you are feeling sad, angry, judgmental, etc. Those are just attributes and need not be clung to; you can drop them at any time. Furthermore, you can easily empathize with and understand others as you could easily cloth yourself in their perspective.

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