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    Thread: Is conciousness an illusion?

    1. #26
      Consciousness in the Void Universal Mind's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Sageous View Post
      ^^ Neurons. Lots of them.
      So the neurons are not producing consciousness? They are just giving themselves the impression that they are? I think it would take consciousness to even have such an impression.
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      Quote Originally Posted by really View Post
      God cannot destroy himself because He is Omnipotent.


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      Okay... I wasn't making an argument; just offering up what might be physically doing the perceiving, regardless of the presence of consciousness.

      And yes, I believe that those neurons are indeed producing consciousness; I was simply making a point. Snarkiness never pays, I guess!
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      Quote Originally Posted by Sageous View Post
      Okay... I wasn't making an argument; just offering up what might be physically doing the perceiving, regardless of the presence of consciousness.

      And yes, I believe that those neurons are indeed producing consciousness; I was simply making a point. Snarkiness never pays, I guess!
      Ha ha, I was just giving my perspective. I appreciate yours.
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      Quote Originally Posted by really View Post
      God cannot destroy himself because He is Omnipotent.


    4. #29
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      It seems that you have been trapped in the common social conception of understanding the meaning the word - consciouness, which is of course I think a little wrong. What if I told you, that the term consciousness means only knowing your possibilities?. Knowing your possibilities is based on memory brain experience. No consciousness, just memory now and memory from now that happened before. Let's apply this on lucid dreaming. When you go lucid, you just remember possibilities of what is actually possible from your ''memory before now''.
      Last edited by Nfri; 03-01-2014 at 10:03 PM.
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      Yeah - them neurons deluding themselves - we will never be able to truly wrap our minds around that.
      The concept, that the mind itself is a conceptual model, being produced for the betterment of interaction with the real world and thus survival. See "transparency" last post..

      And we even have it without the real world!

      Once you lucid dream - there you are with all your conscious self-model - down to a representation of the usual body, if you don't do away with it on purpose.
      This makes it clear, that what we perceive as a complete world and us in it - is exactly so (and beyond it) also possible in our dreams.
      The crucial difference is, that we are not constrained in real time by the real world outside of our heads.

      So how it looks to me - all that we are ever able to access is a simulation, working with certain models, that have been proven useful over evolution. We use filtermechanisms and some external stimuli completely pass us by.
      We "choose" to see light between so and so many nm wavelength - and then we switch to experiencing heat for example.


      I really, really recommend clicking and reading - it's easy going: Getting Lucid About Consciousness

      I suppose, I overburdened most with reading my last post and watching stuff - so I try to hold it back a bit this time.
      But I hope somebody is interested and might even enjoy!
      I certainly do! wink.gif

    6. #31
      Hungry Dannon Oneironaut's Avatar
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      What do we mean by real? Existent?
      Well the one thing that you know is that you are aware. The contents of that awareness might be hallucination, dream, hologram in the brain, or reality itself, we cannot know for certain. But the one thing that you can know without a doubt whatsoever is that you are aware. To entertain ideas otherwise is just playing with concepts. Don't mistake concepts for reality.

      Yet what is this awareness that is undeniable? Is it existent? Does it have a shape or a color or location? Can it even be found? I would say that No, it cannot be found, it can only be inferred based on the presence of sensory phenomena. We know that we are aware because we can see, hear, touch, taste, think, things.... These sensory phenomena, and mental phenomena, are the only things we can point to, the only things we can grasp, yet we cannot be 100% certain that these phenomena are dream or hallucination or reality, etc... But we do know that we are aware of them. But we cannot find a reference as to what awareness is in our direct experience. Sure we can believe in theories, religious theories, scientific theories, philosophical theories, about what awareness is... but in our direct experience awareness is unfindable, yet undeniable.

      And another funny thing is, that every single experience we have ever had, that makes up who we are, that by which we know all that we come to know, and to believe all that we come to believe, has all happened within this awareness. We have never known anything that exists outside of our mind. Therefore there is no direct hard evidence for noumena, only phenomena.

      So what is real? What is existent? What is illusion, what is not illusion?

      Have you heard of the concept of emptiness? That means that everything is dependent on everything else and has no independent eternal existence in itself. Can you conceive of experience without awareness? Can you conceive of awareness without phenomena? Can you conceive of awareness without experience? What color does a blind man see? Blackness? Whiteness? Or does he not even have visual awareness?

      To say that something is inherently real means that it is absolutely the case no matter what, so it would be independent of conditions and causes.... etc...
      The doctrine of emptiness declares that this whole line of reasoning of what is real and what isn't real is meaningless.

      The four possibilities are that:

      1. Awareness exists
      2. Awareness does not exist
      3. Awareness both exists and doesn't exist
      4. Awareness neither exists nor doesn't exist

      The doctrine of emptiness says that all of these are meaningless and any of those conclusions can be disproven.
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    7. #32
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      Quote Originally Posted by Dannon Oneironaut View Post
      What do we mean by real? Existent?
      Well the one thing that you know is that you are aware. The contents of that awareness might be hallucination, dream, hologram in the brain, or reality itself, we cannot know for certain. But the one thing that you can know without a doubt whatsoever is that you are aware. To entertain ideas otherwise is just playing with concepts. Don't mistake concepts for reality.
      We can know one thing here, and that is that what we are aware of consciously is definitively not reality itself.
      That's what Metzinger calls naive realism - the feeling of being in direct contact and having direct insight into the world beyond our brains.
      We have this window of consciousness between what we perceive as internal agent - our self-model - and the phenomenological external world. The window itself, while necessarily "bending/filtering reality" according to evolutionarily useful patterns - stays invisible to us.

      Quote Originally Posted by Dannon Oneironaut View Post
      Yet what is this awareness that is undeniable? Is it existent? Does it have a shape or a color or location? Can it even be found? I would say that No, it cannot be found, it can only be inferred based on the presence of sensory phenomena. We know that we are aware because we can see, hear, touch, taste, think, things.... These sensory phenomena, and mental phenomena, are the only things we can point to, the only things we can grasp, yet we cannot be 100% certain that these phenomena are dream or hallucination or reality, etc... But we do know that we are aware of them. But we cannot find a reference as to what awareness is in our direct experience. Sure we can believe in theories, religious theories, scientific theories, philosophical theories, about what awareness is... but in our direct experience awareness is unfindable, yet undeniable.
      The colour of consciousness - I find it very compelling to say it's transparent, like Metzinger says.
      What do you think of his ideas?

      Quote Originally Posted by Dannon Oneironaut View Post
      And another funny thing is, that every single experience we have ever had, that makes up who we are, that by which we know all that we come to know, and to believe all that we come to believe, has all happened within this awareness. We have never known anything that exists outside of our mind. Therefore there is no direct hard evidence for noumena, only phenomena.

      So what is real? What is existent? What is illusion, what is not illusion?
      We are also not directly aware of what happens inside our mind-brains - we can't watch it - a thing can't grasp itself with itself - can't step outside of itself and know it's own workings.

      For example it is not so, that what we decide is being decided at the very moment, we seem to consciously decide it.
      The unconscious part of our mind does a lot of work beforehand, and what seems a completely conscious decision is in fact following from these workings, into which we don't have an insight.
      Again we have to look through this weird glass of consciousness to perceive a self - and what has been thrown up by computations, which we have no knowing of - gets integrated into our self-model - creating the phenomenological impression of a free and completely conscious will standing behind, what we actually do.
      Illusion - must be - we would be over-tasked with doing even the simplest things, if we had to think them through every time and in all detail.

      Quote Originally Posted by Dannon Oneironaut View Post
      Have you heard of the concept of emptiness? That means that everything is dependent on everything else and has no independent eternal existence in itself. Can you conceive of experience without awareness? Can you conceive of awareness without phenomena? Can you conceive of awareness without experience? What color does a blind man see? Blackness? Whiteness? Or does he not even have visual awareness?

      To say that something is inherently real means that it is absolutely the case no matter what, so it would be independent of conditions and causes.... etc...
      It can well exist without experience of the outside world - as it does in lucid dreams.

      I've been coming across something about dreams of blind people - born blind - who later come to see - if only I knew now, what was the case there - I believe to remember, that they do have some sort of visual experiences in dreams, which are similar to the ones, they later have irl - but this I have to look up - maybe it's wrong - but maybe there is something innate in us concerning experiential qualities.

      Quote Originally Posted by Dannon Oneironaut View Post
      The doctrine of emptiness declares that this whole line of reasoning of what is real and what isn't real is meaningless.

      The four possibilities are that:

      1. Awareness exists
      2. Awareness does not exist
      3. Awareness both exists and doesn't exist
      4. Awareness neither exists nor doesn't exist

      The doctrine of emptiness says that all of these are meaningless and any of those conclusions can be disproven.
      While I do very much think along the same lines you do - I can't see the point in this doctrine - seems itself meaningless - what does it help us to understand?
      Besides - you yourself - and me too - we are convinced that awareness is real.
      And I guess, we are on pretty solid ground there - at least concerning our very own awareness.
      So not #2 - and #3 and #4 appear meaningless in this light.
      Makes more sense to go about such reasoning on the existence of a real world - as opposed for example by a simulation Matrix-style.

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      I am not familiar with Metzinger, I will check him out. I wouldn't say that awareness is transparent. That is because I don't think that there is actually something called "awareness" that exists. Hence the 4-fold refutation posted at the end of my post makes perfect sense to me.

      Using conventional language, I say that I am "aware".... But actually, seeing is seeing, hearing is hearing... It is hard to put into words: an object is made of color and shape. That color and shape appears not through some substance called "awareness" but just because it is red it is vividly red and it appears. The color red IS the awareness of the color red. The sound of a bell ringing IS the awareness of the sound of a bell ringing. To say that "I am aware" is redundant. There is only sensory phenomena happening here. Yet conventionally I say "I am aware..."
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    9. #34
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      Quote Originally Posted by StephL View Post
      We are also not directly aware of what happens inside our mind-brains - we can't watch it - a thing can't grasp itself with itself - can't step outside of itself and know it's own workings.
      I used to think exactly the same as you, and it helped me to reach the feeling of what we "truly" are, just awareness.

      But recently I've been asking myself about something that makes my brain overwork, I can almost feel my neurons melting , what if it is possible to "grasp itself with itself?", what if it's just another property -of the whole- that can actually grasp itself, like a hand of the body grasping another hand??? the hand would think that therefore it's separated from the whole, but it wouldn't, what if what we "truly" are it's not awareness, but awareness and phenomena, sound, and taste, I mean, what if we are subject and object at the same time???.

      This made me remember of a time (like two years ago) when I was meditating, a "thought" crossed my mind, it was this: "To know itself, the one split into two", I've been thinking about the meaning of that, and I got to that conclusion, that we are the one experiencing itself because of this division of subject and object, but we could probably be both at the same time.
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    10. #35
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      Kilham,

      I used to identify with awareness itself since the awakening. But that has since unfolded into deeper realizations. I began observing this awareness as much as possible. Then i realized that I wasn't actually observing awareness itself! But I was observing subtle formless thoughts of awareness! I was tricking myself. There were certain subtle sensations that I was fabricating and I was unknowingly reifying them as some cosmic background or subjectivity that was experiencing the other sensations that make up experience... Once I realized this, then I was amazed because something popped, the penny dropped....
      There was no such thing as awareness! Or rather, awareness is merely the radiance of the vividness of appearances themselves! There is no experiencer! It is just the nature of an appearance to be known just as water is wet.

      There is no such thing as awareness that is the experiencer of appearances just as there is no such thing as wetness that wets water. Water is just naturally wet. Appearances are just naturally vivid.
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    11. #36
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      Oh lord... are we ever gonna get out of the matrix??

      Quote Originally Posted by Dannon Oneironaut View Post
      Kilham,

      I used to identify with awareness itself since the awakening. But that has since unfolded into deeper realizations. I began observing this awareness as much as possible. Then i realized that I wasn't actually observing awareness itself! But I was observing subtle formless thoughts of awareness! I was tricking myself. There were certain subtle sensations that I was fabricating and I was unknowingly reifying them as some cosmic background or subjectivity that was experiencing the other sensations that make up experience... Once I realized this, then I was amazed because something popped, the penny dropped....
      There was no such thing as awareness! Or rather, awareness is merely the radiance of the vividness of appearances themselves! There is no experiencer! It is just the nature of an appearance to be known just as water is wet.

      There is no such thing as awareness that is the experiencer of appearances just as there is no such thing as wetness that wets water. Water is just naturally wet. Appearances are just naturally vivid.
      i love your answers and your examples Dannon I used to think that also, that we are just awareness, but then... it's another identification, we're still in the matrix, another layer of it, but still in it.

      And then... there are these things I've experienced which I believe are really true and have formed my present -beliefs- (I wouldn't like to call them like that but I have no better word to describe it). Before I knew anything about the ego, consciousness, awareness, and all that, I had a profound experience that changed my life, it was the starting point to this journey, I'll describe it as summarized as posible, since I could speak for hours about what happened in probably a couple of minutes.

      I was having a "bad" time in my life, just wanted to disappear from this world. I exiled myself to a natural reserve where there's no civilization in like ...about 3 hours from distance. For two weeks there was nothing but being with myself. One day I was watching the sea and two birds crossed my field vision. I began watching them, because it was incredible for me how fast they coordinated, one made a U-turn and the other followed less than a second later, almost at the same time, as if they were telepathically connected, I don't how it happened, but I was so immersed watching them that suddenly I became them, and also became the flight itself, and the -thing- that connected them, I was the movement of their wings, the air, I looked at the sand and I was also the sand, and basically everything... I was the energy that connected everything, and I couldn't give another word for this energy but "love". Everything was life, love, and I was that, because everything was one, the same thing.

      Well, that's the summarized version. Later I began searching for information about all of it, learned about the ego, how I was living through the false image I had created of myself, etc. I believe that's when I started to identify with awareness, being the observer of thoughts, which really helped me a lot since it's an awakening as you call it. But then... isn't it another identification?, subtle, but there it is. You're right when you describe awareness as the radiance of the vividness of appearances. It relates in certain way to the feeling I've described on the mentioned experience, there was no experiencer, or maybe there was, but it was experiencer and experience at the same time, from what I can remember: I was the "awareness" watching the birds, but I was also the flight itself. I could describe it as different cameras, like when you are watching a movie or a t.v program in different angles and from different positions. I was in every place and in every thing at the same time.

      I'm telling this because this is not merely an intellectual thought of what the nature of things probably is. I "believe" this from direct "experience".
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      Wow Kilham, that story of yours are very interesting indeed! I love to read these kind of discussions when people get engaged togheter, rather than aginst eachother.

      Well since awareness is what we call our experience of all this movement of this world, our self, well basically all there is. Then I would like to state that there is awareness in living beings. there is probably awareness in everything, but I stick with the kind of level of awareness as we perceive the world thru right now. So to the question: Is consciousness an illusion? My first thought about this question is that to begin with. There is no Yes or No answear to this. Consciousness is our way to perceive what is happening. And what we call illusion is our expression for someting that is false basically. Let's take an example of a child that is afraid of ghosts. Is this child living in a illusion or not? The child are not living in an illusion because the child is percieving this "ghost" in what ever the imagination will bring forth as a ghost. So the experience the child have is real. But to the more experienced adult, this might be many other things rather then a ghost. So from a adult perspective, we would say that the child is just living in an illusion. So illusions is merely different perspectives out of our lifes, as long as we are stuck with a limited awareness from all there is. So to summarize this, I would like to say that illusion is probably what we are. And what we call our consciousness could probably be one of various variation of all consciousness there might be. Because how would we ever know how life and consciousness would be percieved thru any thing or being that is not one self?
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      Oh - what a beautiful story, kilham!!

      I wish I had made such a profound experience of really expanding awareness like that myself!
      There is a thread somewhere - maybe I find it - in which a woman, I believe it was, describes her awareness-practice - also with the goal of fostering lucidity.
      She talks about taking on the perspective of other beings, but also things, like a carrot, with which she was doing something in the kitchen.
      I've been trying that out and really liked it.

      I have a cuddly toy dinosaur and used it for that - it worked so well, that his huge green nose shortly blotted out my view.
      But I hadn't consciously taken into account, that his nose really should keep him from seeing anything - I should have - it's glaringly obvious - but I was honestly surprised at the "green-out".
      He does have huge eyes - but here is a perfect demonstration of his visual impairment - he is called "Nichtlustig" - "Notfunny":


    14. #39
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      Quote Originally Posted by StephL View Post
      There is a thread somewhere - maybe I find it - in which a woman, I believe it was, describes her awareness-practice - also with the goal of fostering lucidity.
      She talks about taking on the perspective of other beings, but also things, like a carrot, with which she was doing something in the kitchen.
      I've been trying that out and really liked it.
      I think the thread to which you are referring is Lidybug's Clear Light Perspective thread. I believe Lidybug is long gone, but happily her thread remains, as it is indeed a gem.

      As long as I'm here: I've been enjoying this thread, but I suddenly became confused. Are you guys discussing consciousness or self-awareness? There is a difference, as consciousness is a definite function of pretty much every living thing -- which sort of makes it "real," and not an illusion by default -- but self-awareness is that higher level of consciousness potentially enjoyed by sentient species only.

      If it's self-awareness you're discussing, then I think consciousness (in self-awareness trim) is not at first an illusion but a decision, and a decision that is made quite rarely at that. So, given that being self-aware is then just a potential and not a given, I could see how practicing it might just be a construct, or illusion.

      I hope this statement had something to do with the conversation. If not, feel free to ignore me!
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      Quote Originally Posted by Sageous View Post
      I think the thread to which you are referring is Lidybug's Clear Light Perspective thread. I believe Lidybug is long gone, but happily her thread remains, as it is indeed a gem.

      As long as I'm here: I've been enjoying this thread, but I suddenly became confused. Are you guys discussing consciousness or self-awareness? There is a difference, as consciousness is a definite function of pretty much every living thing -- which sort of makes it "real," and not an illusion by default -- but self-awareness is that higher level of consciousness potentially enjoyed by sentient species only.

      If it's self-awareness you're discussing, then I think consciousness (in self-awareness trim) is not at first an illusion but a decision, and a decision that is made quite rarely at that. So, given that being self-aware is then just a potential and not a given, I could see how practicing it might just be a construct, or illusion.

      I hope this statement had something to do with the conversation. If not, feel free to ignore me!
      That Lidybug's thread is awesome!!. Sorry if I got out of topic, but I'm bad when it comes to definitions. Consciousness?? hmmm, it depends so much on the different definitions there are. For me, I couldn't decide if it's real or an illusion, or both. I guess it's difficult to tell because we're trying to classify it in terms of our human understanding. Until now, we can't scientifically verify if a stone has consciousness or not.
      I believe is Robert Waggoner who mentions about having a LD where he became a cloud, *or maybe it was Robert Monroe during an OBE*, anyway, the story is how he became a cloud, then an animal, and so on on many things, all of them having consciousness.

      I agree with Sageous about being a definite function of living things. What I do believe is that there is one consciousness, like being the same consciousness for everything, just kind of encapsulated in things... and we could be able to shift the focus, like Lidybug describes. However, I know this is my very subjective opinion.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Sageous View Post
      I think the thread to which you are referring is Lidybug's Clear Light Perspective thread. I believe Lidybug is long gone, but happily her thread remains, as it is indeed a gem.
      Yes - that's the one!
      Thank you!
      smile.gif

      Quote Originally Posted by Sageous
      As long as I'm here: I've been enjoying this thread, but I suddenly became confused. Are you guys discussing consciousness or self-awareness? There is a difference, as consciousness is a definite function of pretty much every living thing -- which sort of makes it "real," and not an illusion by default -- but self-awareness is that higher level of consciousness potentially enjoyed by sentient species only.


      If it's self-awareness you're discussing, then I think consciousness (in self-awareness trim) is not at first an illusion but a decision, and a decision that is made quite rarely at that. So, given that being self-aware is then just a potential and not a given, I could see how practicing it might just be a construct, or illusion.

      I hope this statement had something to do with the conversation. If not, feel free to ignore me!
      Yes - thank you for pointing this out.
      I have a very interesting link - I might try to bring some of it across for discussion later:
      Neural Correlates of Consciousness: Empirical and Conceptual Questions

      The concept of an individual "self" is in question here, too.
      Concerning what he perceives as incentive to adopt dualistic positions:
      "The most challenging phenomenon in this context is, that we perceive ourselves as agents endowed with free will to decide, implying that we control, by will, processes in the brain."
      Following Singer, the self is a phenomenon emerging not within a single brain, directly from the neuronal structure, but by interactions between brains.

      And other interesting stuff - gets pretty much into neuroscience details later on - but the beginning has some good thinking just on it's own.



      Oh - and - stop apologizing for your thoughtful posts, Sageous!! gaah.gif

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      Quote Originally Posted by StephL View Post
      Oh - and - stop apologizing for your thoughtful posts, Sageous!!
      Yeah, I'm working on that ...
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      Consciousness is an illusion of the consciousness that is an illusion of the consciousness that is an illusion of the consciousness that is an illusion of the consciousness that is an illusion of the consciousness that is an illusion of the consciousness that is an illusion of the consciousness that is an illusion of the consciousness that is an illusion of the consciousness that is an illusion of the consciousness that is an illusion of the consciousness that is an illusion of the consciousness that is an illusion of the consciousness that is an illusion of the. . .
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      Reality as it is perceived I think can easily be labeled as an illusion, but consciousness is a more difficult question to answer. If a being is pre-programmed to be self-aware and so are all of its actions, reactions, feelings, instincts, functions (of survival and otherwise), etc., would you call the resulting experience it has a result of this complex programming an illusion? One could both say it has free will by its nature of being self-aware (and therefore conscious) and that it doesn't because the scope of its experience and reaction to its reality is governed by its programming, something that was there before it became self-aware and that is capable of building upon itself. Instead, this being is a machine made by man, but it is our most perfect replication of what nature has created with human beings. First you have to decide if you want to decide if you can qualify that "being" as even having the capability of being conscious. It isn't any different than us really, just we are made of naturally occurring proteins and amino acids and cells, things we call living organisms. The robot may also utilize these things to sustain itself, but it also may use other things, it shouldn't really matter. What I'm saying is, can we say that being is conscious or not, even if it stands there and tells us in 50 different languages and in very unorthodox and convoluted ways (using those means to try and prove it ever more), or in any of the other ways it can possibly "think" of to prove it is indeed conscious? Or is it merely under the false impression that it is conscious, that it has free will... the ability to choose. Just because it thinks it can feel pain, feel emotion, solve problems, perform calculations, does that mean those feelings are real?

      Personally I say that the answer is yes, but only real to the robot or human being experiencing those things. But, since it isn't real to anybody else, is it an illusion? Is it merely the appearance of consciousness? Again with the robot, is it safer to call it a simulation? For a person, is it safer to call it a simulation? The artificial byproducts of a chain of reactions that never stop setting themselves off?

      I mean it's fairly important to bring up the importance of memory in the function of consciousness. If anyone has ever been too drunk, taken too many benzos or drowsy antihistamines, or barbiturates, or depressants like ambien or muscle relaxants like carisoprodol, you know that you can easily black out and do all kinds of stuff but it may as well have not even happened at all. It was like someone else was controlling your body. So simulated consciousness is possible because if your mind can't form new memories then you seemingly act autonomously, but something is controlling your body despite consciousness being gone. You talk to people like you would otherwise, you think and do like you would otherwise too, but without a functioning memory it is not, the consciousness does not exist. I suppose you could argue that it's still there but you just can't remember the experience or simply don't experience it at that time, but you can't ignore the fact that if you don't remember anything that the consciousness seemingly shuts off. Maybe since it has the ability to turn on and off and it is so subjective it is fair to call at an illusion, but I think in the sense of this argument, illusion implies that it doesn't actually exist, but rather only appears to exist. Is that what you are really asking? Or do you mean that it is the result of another physiological function, and nothing that can be measured? The latter is certainly untrue, especially these days. The former, I could see making an argument for.

    20. #45
      contemporary stardust... Achievements:
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      I think the OP asks a very good, yet very old question. I not sure about the answer myself (yet) but I have lately been reading alot of arthur schopenhauer who was a german philosopher influenced by hinduism and it's concept of the maya(basically saying the wolrd is a dream or a illusion).

      But i'm not really doing justice to indian philosophy or schopenhauer, so I suggest everybody really read his magnum opus: the world as will and representation.
      LouaiB likes this.
      My(long term) lucid dreaming goals!
      []Break my dryspell []Telekenesis []"Know" Scarlett Johannsen
      []Visit ancient rome(preferably as a jewish migrant\trader)
      []Destroy rome as a germanic barbarian invader
      []Talk to Gandalf about lucid dreaming and philosophy
      []Talk to my subconsious about improving dream recall and getting more lucids!!!!

    21. #46
      Member StephL's Avatar
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      While I've been hunting after Nietzsche's supposed advocacy of eugenics, I found that he had explicitly denied, that that would be, what he has in mind for the quest for the Übermensch, and he generally distanced himself from taking a Darwinistic approach to human betterment.
      He also distanced himself from Schopenhauer, who had influenced his philosophy earlier, not sure, why.

      Buut - Schopenhauer very much did think in terms of eugenics:

      With our knowledge of the complete unalterability both of character and of mental faculties, we are led to the view that a real and thorough improvement of the human race might be reached not so much from outside as from within, not so much by theory and instruction as rather by the path of generation. Plato had something of the kind in mind when, in the fifth book of his Republic, he explained his plan for increasing and improving his warrior caste. If we could castrate all scoundrels and stick all stupid geese in a convent, and give men of noble character a whole harem, and procure men, and indeed thorough men, for all girls of intellect and understanding, then a generation would soon arise which would produce a better age than that of Pericles.
      Now that's completely off topic, just throwing it in since you mention him, HWS!
      And still it's always Nietzsche who gets the stick, Hitler was a big Schopenhauer fan as well.

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