• Lucid Dreaming - Dream Views




    Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
    Results 1 to 25 of 46
    Like Tree48Likes

    Thread: Is conciousness an illusion?

    1. #1
      Member Achievements:
      Created Dream Journal Tagger First Class Made lots of Friends on DV Referrer Bronze 5000 Hall Points Veteran Second Class
      Daredevilpwn's Avatar
      Join Date
      Oct 2011
      LD Count
      15
      Gender
      Location
      MD
      Posts
      493
      Likes
      376
      DJ Entries
      63

      Is conciousness an illusion?

      Here is my attempt at being philosophical. Is consciousness merely an illusion? If so then why do you think so? My opinion is that consciousness is not an illusion. I am not trying to prove that consciousness is independent of the brain or anything else considered "spiritual" but if you want to take it that way then so be it. I am just giving my two cents as to why (I think) consciousness is not an illusion. Well I am sure we can agree that an illusion is something that isn't real. If something isn't real then that means it cannot effect physical reality. It may look real or feel real but it isn't real and thus cannot truly manipulate physical reality an illusion cannot move or change a physical object. The human body on the other hand is NOT an illusion. We can interact with the physical world we can talk to people, move stuff around etc etc. So now the big question. Does consciousness influence physical reality? The answer is yes. How? The answer is the placebo effect. You hurt your arm and I give you a sugar pill and claim that it is a powerful pain killer and you believe it. You take the pill and your arm feels better a few minutes later. What happened here exactly? Well you (the consciousness that is aware) truly believed that this sugar pill was a pain killer and your brain reacted to this belief by releasing opiates into your blood stream which reduce or eliminate your pain. If consciousness truly was an illusion then wouldn't this be impossible? An illusion cannot manipulate a physical object but the brain IS a physical object and the only reason the brain released those opiates was not because of the sugar pill but because YOU (the conscious you that is aware) believed that you would feel better after taking this pill. Since consciousness was able to manipulate a physical object (the brain) into releasing opiates because of its belief that a useless pill could make its body feel better then it is logical to conclude that consciousness is indeed a real thing.


      Well there's my argument. Hope this is interesting for the rest of you.
      Dianeva, ajoseph11 and LouaiB like this.

    2. #2
      Member Achievements:
      Made lots of Friends on DV Created Dream Journal Tagger Second Class Populated Wall 1000 Hall Points Veteran Second Class
      dutchraptor's Avatar
      Join Date
      May 2012
      LD Count
      0 since my last
      Gender
      Location
      Tranquility
      Posts
      2,913
      Likes
      3042
      DJ Entries
      6
      Hmm I do think that the common thought of consciousness is an illusion. Generally people treat the unconscious and conscious mind as largely being unrelated, in a lot of cases almost making each seem like a separate individual, a lot of problems arise from this.
      I think the main reason why I would say your logic is faulty is because really our consciousness (as simple as possible, our pattern of reasoning) is not an entity but a collection of entities working in a system. The feeling of a consciousness in my opinion is acquired when stimuli are analyzed to such an extent that we are constantly at any given time thinking of the memories of an object and the predictions of an action. It's a very distinct feeling, which can sometimes make us feel like it is being caused by something definite. In reality consciousness is only a set of actions, nothing more than a term we use to describe the way in which a human brain works. So consciousness itself isn't affecting physical reality because it can't, it is only a term, the chemical reactions which lead to consciousness however can.
      zoth00 likes this.

    3. #3
      Member Photolysis's Avatar
      Join Date
      Dec 2007
      Gender
      Posts
      1,270
      Likes
      316
      It's not a particularly useful discussion without defining the term consciousness.

      If you define consciousness as a process which possesses several characteristics such as self-awareness and thought, then it's fairly trivial to demonstrate that it's real by watching someone react to stimuli and process information.


      What is an illusion is how much of our lives are governed by conscious behaviour. Neuroscience can see people making decisions before it reaches their consciousness (even if the behaviour is then consciously modified or suppressed), yet the idea seems absurd. Even seemingly conscious behaviours can be described mostly as due to unconscious behaviours which are then rationalised as a conscious decision.
      Neo Neo, zoth00, StephL and 1 others like this.

    4. #4
      Member Achievements:
      Created Dream Journal Referrer Bronze 5000 Hall Points Tagger First Class Populated Wall Veteran First Class
      Arra's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jan 2011
      Posts
      3,838
      Likes
      3884
      DJ Entries
      50
      This is my contribution. I'm sorry that it's so long, but I have a strong opinion about this and have put a lot of thought into it, and rarely get the opportunity to argue for it.

      This is the one issue that I've never been able to figure out. I'm not sure exactly what you mean by 'illusion', but I've always had trouble resolving why consciousness should exist at all. I define consciousness to be the sensation of awareness that we all have. The thing that makes me, me. Perhaps it's where the idea of a soul comes from. As a more specific example for clarification, think about the color blue. I'm not talking about the brain activity that's going on while you're imagining the color, but the sensation of the color itself.

      However, I believe your reasoning is faulty. Everything you describe, like the fact that our consciousnesses can affect external things, can be explained by brain chemistry. People would likely tell you that, since all of what you've described can be explained by looking at the brain, there's no need to bring consciousness into it.

      Yet, I still have a problem with the idea that consciousness is only an illusion. I understand that the complex brain can explain everything we do, but I don't understand why we should have any subjective experience of the sensations, such as that of the color blue, or the feeling of sadness, or the sensation of pain. Usually, when I bring this up, I get the response that those sensations are really just higher levels of that low-level brain chemistry. People will often compare it to how we view things at a molecular level and then at a higher level, like water. We might analyze the water molecules themselves and understand how they interact at an individual level, and that wouldn't explain the qualities of water at a higher level, such as wetness. The water molecules are like brain chemistry. The 'wetness' and 'wave' qualities of the water at the higher level are like consciousness. There's nothing unexplained about it - it's just that when we look at all the water in large amounts, properties emerge which we couldn't see before, just like with consciousness

      Is this explanation reasonable? I personally think that it fails to address the real problem. The thing is, once we understand water at a molecular level, we actually can understand it at a higher level too. We can keep adding more molecules to the molecular view until we do understand more about how they interact in very large quantities. At that point, it will be apparent that they should produce physical wetness. That is, when another object interacts with water, some of the molecules will remain on that other object due to its molecular properties.

      If, on the other hand, it's being argued that the sensation of wetness cannot be inferred from the molecular properties of water, the argument fails even more miserably. The wetness sensation is a conscious experience, so we cannot use it as an analogy to explain why consciousness exists in the first place. It's a circular argument. Lastly, if it's being argued that the brain's judgment of wetness, even ignoring conscious awareness, cannot be inferred from the molecular properties, that is too a bad argument, again because the wetness actually can be inferred. Considering the brain to be a wetness-detecting machine, the whole process can be described entirely physically. The molecules cause other objects to react to it in certain ways, which the machine/brain detects, and it determines that there is wetness.

      If consciousness is forgotten entirely, everything can be explained physically (besides consciousness). If you know all the lower-level properties of a system, then any effect that it has on other parts can be inferred. While looking at the details of brain chemistry, we may be able to attribute certain qualities and abilities to it. But we cannot go beyond that say conscious awareness is just an emergent property, without creating a circular argument that involves the premise that consciousness is physically explainable in the first place. Someone might analyze the brain of a bat and know it entirely, but still have no idea what it feels like for the bat to use echo-location. If that feeling really is an emergent property of the bat's brain chemistry, then, like with water's wetness, we should be able to figure out what it feels like in theory from analyzing all of the components together. But we can't do that no matter how much information about the bat we have, so conscious awareness is still unexplained.
      StephL and kilham like this.

    5. #5
      Member Photolysis's Avatar
      Join Date
      Dec 2007
      Gender
      Posts
      1,270
      Likes
      316
      Quote Originally Posted by Dianeva View Post
      As a more specific example for clarification, think about the color blue. I'm not talking about the brain activity that's going on while you're imagining the color, but the sensation of the color itself.
      If we're talking about the various qualia of consciousness, again it seems fairly trivial to demonstrate that they objectively exist; they're observed in the first place, even if I can't prove it to anyone else any more than I can prove I'm not a philosophical zombie.

      Let's go with the example of blue. We perceive the sensation due to photons of certain energies interacting with the photopigment in cone cells, which is translated in the brain into 'blueness'. Even if we don't know why the sensation exists, it must nevertheless objectively exist. By virtue of the brain being a material phenomenon, there must -- in theory -- be a certain configuration of matter which I could point to and objectively say "yes, that causes qualia XYZ". The fact that it might not be possible to explain why this should be so does not in any way preclude it from being real, any more than the fact that we might not be able to explain why there is a universe in the first place; that doesn't mean that the universe is an illusion.

      It is also worth pointing out that the colour of objects is partly an illusion in that it doesn't correspond to reality at times. An obvious example is yellow on a computer screen, which is not actually yellow photons, but a bunch of red and green pixels that are close enough together that at normal magnification they are considered 'yellow'. But this is to do with the way the brain applies the label 'yellow', not that 'yellow' is actually a non-existent entity.
      StephL likes this.

    6. #6
      Member Achievements:
      Created Dream Journal Referrer Bronze 5000 Hall Points Tagger First Class Populated Wall Veteran First Class
      Arra's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jan 2011
      Posts
      3,838
      Likes
      3884
      DJ Entries
      50
      I agree with what you said, but didn't mean to say that subjective experiences aren't real - of course they are, since we experience them. I don't think anyone would argue against the existence of subjective experience, unless they were philosophical zombies themselves, or they were so used to having conscious experience that they don't understand the difference between it being there and not. Sort of like, if we only perceived a white-grey-black color spectrum, we'd have no concept of color, just light and dark. Maybe some people are so used to consciousness that they take it for granted to the point where they don't realize it's there.

      Quote Originally Posted by Photolysis View Post
      By virtue of the brain being a material phenomenon, there must -- in theory -- be a certain configuration of matter which I could point to and objectively say "yes, that causes qualia XYZ".
      I don't think you read much of my post, which is fine since it's really long and I just wanted to get it out there. But I'd argue against the above point.

      Since I doubt anyone would argue against the existence of consciousness, I normally assume that when someone is addressing whether consciousness is an illusion, by illusion they really mean that it can be explained by the the brain alone. That the feeling that it's somehow separate from the brain is an illusion.
      StephL likes this.

    7. #7
      D.V. Editor-in-Chief Original Poster's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jun 2006
      LD Count
      Lucid Now
      Gender
      Location
      3D
      Posts
      8,263
      Likes
      4135
      DJ Entries
      11
      How many times have we done this thread now? Consciousness is not necessarily an illusion, just everything that we think that it is.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


    8. #8
      Member Photolysis's Avatar
      Join Date
      Dec 2007
      Gender
      Posts
      1,270
      Likes
      316
      Quote Originally Posted by Dianeva View Post
      I don't think you read much of my post, which is fine since it's really long and I just wanted to get it out there. But I'd argue against the above point.
      Oh I did, it was just something of a tangent. Fundamentally I'm not disagreeing with you; so far we can't explain why there is the sensation of consciousness, or pain, or colour in purely physical terms. Perhaps we never will. Conversely perhaps we might with sufficient understanding.

      To clarify my above point which I don't think is that contentious, I'm talking about being able to objectively state that a person is experiencing a specific qualia. If it's rooted in a purely physical process, then it must correspond to certain states that can be objectively determined. Even so, just because I might be able to objectively state that you're seeing blue and even that yes it is actually the same as my perception of blue, it doesn't have to answer the question of why such a state leads to the perception, which is what you're discussing.

      Since I doubt anyone would argue against the existence of consciousness, I normally assume that when someone is addressing whether consciousness is an illusion, by illusion they really mean that it can be explained by the the brain alone. That the feeling that it's somehow separate from the brain is an illusion.
      Again, this shows the importance of defining words properly.
      StephL likes this.

    9. #9
      Let's play. MindGames's Avatar
      Join Date
      Dec 2010
      LD Count
      Unknown
      Gender
      Location
      America
      Posts
      623
      Likes
      216
      The interesting thing about this is that even if you were a philosophical zombie, then unless there is a discontinuity in the processing in the brain that we don't understand or know about, you would still be arguing that the subjective qualia for a color exists. So we would have to understand the origins in the brain of an individual's proposition that subjective qualia exist in order to find out if it's just a result of mechanical processing encoded in our brain structures. If it's deterministic and there's no discontinuity in information processing, then we can say that we are identical to philosophical zombies.

      So either we are conscious and we actually do experience sensations, or we aren't and our consciousness and the qualia we experience really are an illusion. The answer can be deducted from physical evidence when we're able to observe brain activity with 100% accuracy.

      An interesting result of this is that if the qualia we experience really are illusions, then we can alter our brains so that we can experience an infinite amount of different primary colors. It might also work if our souls create the experience of qualia.

      My personal opinion is that at the lowest levels of brain functioning there is a soul that interacts with our brain activity and creates subjective experience. There is no other way to explain the actual sensation of blue.
      Last edited by MindGames; 04-23-2013 at 03:59 AM.

    10. #10
      Member Achievements:
      Created Dream Journal Tagger First Class Made lots of Friends on DV Referrer Bronze 5000 Hall Points Veteran Second Class
      Daredevilpwn's Avatar
      Join Date
      Oct 2011
      LD Count
      15
      Gender
      Location
      MD
      Posts
      493
      Likes
      376
      DJ Entries
      63
      Quote Originally Posted by Photolysis View Post
      It's not a particularly useful discussion without defining the term consciousness.

      If you define consciousness as a process which possesses several characteristics such as self-awareness and thought, then it's fairly trivial to demonstrate that it's real by watching someone react to stimuli and process information.



      What is an illusion is how much of our lives are governed by conscious behaviour. Neuroscience can see people making decisions before it reaches their consciousness (even if the behaviour is then consciously modified or suppressed), yet the idea seems absurd. Even seemingly conscious behaviours can be described mostly as due to unconscious behaviours which are then rationalised as a conscious decision.

      Yeah I've seen the article about that experiment but there is something I don't get. If our decisions are made before we are consciously aware of them then why do we often second guess ourselves? Furthermore couldn't the scientist be jumping the gun when they say that our decisions are made before we are consciously aware of them? Before we make a decision we have to think on it right? IIRC the experiment was about choosing which button to press the left or right one. So if the test subject thought "hmmm I will pick the left button" couldn't the scientist analyzing their brain simply see a certain brain wave pattern? Couldn't the scientist just be seeing what button the subjects are thinking about? I may be grabbing on straws but I feel like the test is flawed. IIRC the subjects only had 7 seconds to choose a button so there really wasn't enough time to really choose or second guess yourself in that experiment.

      Quote Originally Posted by dutchraptor View Post
      Hmm I do think that the common thought of consciousness is an illusion. Generally people treat the unconscious and conscious mind as largely being unrelated, in a lot of cases almost making each seem like a separate individual, a lot of problems arise from this.
      I think the main reason why I would say your logic is faulty is because really our consciousness (as simple as possible, our pattern of reasoning) is not an entity but a collection of entities working in a system. The feeling of a consciousness in my opinion is acquired when stimuli are analyzed to such an extent that we are constantly at any given time thinking of the memories of an object and the predictions of an action. It's a very distinct feeling, which can sometimes make us feel like it is being caused by something definite. In reality consciousness is only a set of actions, nothing more than a term we use to describe the way in which a human brain works. So consciousness itself isn't affecting physical reality because it can't, it is only a term, the chemical reactions which lead to consciousness however can.
      So you say consciousness is the result of the complexity of the brain. What I don't understand is that if consciousness was not a real thing then how can it literally manipulate what the brain does? Lets go back to the placebo example. A sugar pill by its self does not cause the brain to release opiates into the blood stream but a sugar pill combined with BELIEF that it is a painkiller somehow causes the brain to release opiates into the bloodstream. How is this possible? How can something as intangible as a belief literally change how the brain operates? Thats what I don't understand.
      Last edited by anderj101; 05-01-2013 at 03:42 AM. Reason: Merged

    11. #11
      Member Achievements:
      Created Dream Journal Referrer Bronze 5000 Hall Points Tagger First Class Populated Wall Veteran First Class
      Arra's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jan 2011
      Posts
      3,838
      Likes
      3884
      DJ Entries
      50
      Quote Originally Posted by Daredevilpwn View Post
      So you say consciousness is the result of the complexity of the brain. What I don't understand is that if consciousness was not a real thing then how can it literally manipulate what the brain does? Lets go back to the placebo example. A sugar pill by its self does not cause the brain to release opiates into the blood stream but a sugar pill combined with BELIEF that it is a painkiller somehow causes the brain to release opiates into the bloodstream. How is this possible? How can something as intangible as a belief literally change how the brain operates? Thats what I don't understand.
      Beliefs aren't intangible though. They can be described in terms of the brain. Beliefs are memories which are formed with connections between neurons. However, the subjective experience of having a belief is different, and that's what I and some others have been discussing.

      Quote Originally Posted by MindGames View Post
      The interesting thing about this is that even if you were a philosophical zombie, then unless there is a discontinuity in the processing in the brain that we don't understand or know about, you would still be arguing that the subjective qualia for a color exists.
      That is an interesting point and I think it's the one thing we obviously wouldn't share with philosophical zombies or machines that weren't conscious. Which suggests there may be other things we wouldn't share, perhaps that conscious awareness is necessary for our brains to operate as well as they do. Perhaps we will never be able to create a robot that simulates a real human brain, or even an animal brain, for this reason.

      Quote Originally Posted by MindGames View Post
      My personal opinion is that at the lowest levels of brain functioning there is a soul that interacts with our brain activity and creates subjective experience. There is no other way to explain the actual sensation of blue.
      I'll admit that there's a possibility I just don't understand why consciousness can arise from physical components. But in general, I agree, it seems to be the case. But I wouldn't call it a 'soul' because that has too many spiritual implications. It would have to be a real thing, perhaps a form of energy, 'consciousness' that hasn't been discovered yet. Or maybe it is something spiritual. Perhaps subjectivity is some force, like the gravitational attraction between objects, that just exists because it has to. Perhaps nothing can exist without an observer. I have no idea and won't jump to a specific belief in any of the possibilities. I'm just forced to conclude that something like that must exist, some 'awareness' substance or energy form which we don't know anything about yet, because it makes no sense at all that subjective experience can arise from physical properties.

      I'm in general a materialist, atheist and scientifically minded. I don't believe in any supernatural stuff. So my mind really wants to fight against the conclusion as it's world-altering and doesn't fit into my view of reality so far. It's uncomfortable. But I'm forced to keep to the conclusion until I can be shown otherwise.
      StephL and kilham like this.

    12. #12
      Member Achievements:
      Created Dream Journal Tagger First Class Made lots of Friends on DV Referrer Bronze 5000 Hall Points Veteran Second Class
      Daredevilpwn's Avatar
      Join Date
      Oct 2011
      LD Count
      15
      Gender
      Location
      MD
      Posts
      493
      Likes
      376
      DJ Entries
      63
      Another thing I have been wondering about. People say we are nothing but machines but if that were true then we wouldn't be conscious at all. Machines do not need consciousness in order to function. I have heard people say that consciousness is an "epiphenomenon" I looked it up and it is defined as "An epiphenomenon can be an effect of primary phenomena, but cannot affect a primary phenomenon. In philosophy of mind, epiphenomenalism is the view that mental phenomena are epiphenomena in that they can be caused by physical phenomena, but cannot cause physical phenomena. " There are two definitions in here. One sentence explains what an epiphenomenon is and the other explains the philosophy of epiphenomenalism. This says that the ephiphenomenon produced by the brain CANNOT influence the thing that is causing it in the first place (the brain). But the placebo effect clearly contradicts this theory because it clearly shows that consciousness does indeed effect the physical brain therefore consciousness is not an ephipenomena at all therefore it is not an illusion but a real thing. To summarize epiphenomenalism just in case you may get confused ( I was for a second) basically it is saying that mental phemonena such as thinking is caused by physical phenomena (brain activity) but it is also saying that mental activity cannot cause physical phemonena. This in my opinion is not true because things such as the placebo effect exist. What is very significant about the placebo effect is that it REQUIRES consciousness in order for it to work. If we were philosophical zombies or if we were nothing but machines responding to certain stimulus then consciousness would not be needed in order for the placebo effect to work but it does. Therefore consciousness must not be an illusion at all but a real thing.

      Quote Originally Posted by Dianeva View Post
      Beliefs aren't intangible though. They can be described in terms of the brain. Beliefs are memories which are formed with connections between neurons. However, the subjective experience of having a belief is different, and that's what I and some others have been discussing.

      You are correct. But what is required for these neurons to connect in the first place? Again with the placebo effect. Someone tells me this sugar pill is a powerful pain medication and it works. You conclude that it was because my neurons in my brain connected somehow to make it so that the sugar pill causes the brain to release opiates. But what if I DON'T believe the doctor that the sugar pill is a powerful pain medication. What then? You say that beliefs are memories that form between connections between neurons. Even if I don't believe the doctor about the sugar pill that doesn't mean that I didn't form a memory. If what you say is true then the placebo effect should work whether or not I believe it will work or not. But this is not the case. By choosing to believe the doctor about the pill, my brain reacted by forming specific connections that allow the placebo effect to work. By choosing to NOT believe in the pill my brain rearranges its self so that the sugar pill doesn't do anything for me. How do you explain this. I am not disagreeing with you that beliefs are memories formed through connections of neurons but these connections won't take place without consciousness There is something about consciousness that changes how the brain operates.
      Last edited by anderj101; 05-01-2013 at 03:42 AM. Reason: Merged

    13. #13
      Member Achievements:
      Created Dream Journal Referrer Bronze 5000 Hall Points Tagger First Class Populated Wall Veteran First Class
      Arra's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jan 2011
      Posts
      3,838
      Likes
      3884
      DJ Entries
      50
      Quote Originally Posted by Daredevilpwn View Post
      But what if I DON'T believe the doctor that the sugar pill is a powerful pain medication. What then? You say that beliefs are memories that form between connections between neurons. Even if I don't believe the doctor about the sugar pill that doesn't mean that I didn't form a memory. If what you say is true then the placebo effect should work whether or not I believe it will work or not. But this is not the case. By choosing to believe the doctor about the pill, my brain reacted by forming specific connections that allow the placebo effect to work. By choosing to NOT believe in the pill my brain rearranges its self so that the sugar pill doesn't do anything for me. How do you explain this. I am not disagreeing with you that beliefs are memories formed through connections of neurons but these connections won't take place without consciousness There is something about consciousness that changes how the brain operates.
      If I'm understanding correctly, you think that conscious decisions come before the brain activity. That your consciousness decides something, and only then your brain will form the appropriate connections.

      But this is just a feeling, although I know it's a strong one. If consciousness is an epiphenomenon, then it is merely experiencing stuff that happens in the brain, as it happens, not before or after. When you're making decisions which you strongly feel aren't influenced by your brain, that's an illusion. They really are only being influenced by your brain. If the epiphenomenon idea is true, while your brain is searching through your memories and releasing chemicals, your consciousness is the thing that experiences it all. The result is that you (your consciousness) experience the sensation of the thinking that is physically happening in the brain.

    14. #14
      Member Achievements:
      Created Dream Journal Tagger First Class Made lots of Friends on DV Referrer Bronze 5000 Hall Points Veteran Second Class
      Daredevilpwn's Avatar
      Join Date
      Oct 2011
      LD Count
      15
      Gender
      Location
      MD
      Posts
      493
      Likes
      376
      DJ Entries
      63
      Quote Originally Posted by Dianeva View Post
      If I'm understanding correctly, you think that conscious decisions come before the brain activity. That your consciousness decides something, and only then your brain will form the appropriate connections.

      But this is just a feeling, although I know it's a strong one. If consciousness is an epiphenomenon, then it is merely experiencing stuff that happens in the brain, as it happens, not before or after. When you're making decisions which you strongly feel aren't influenced by your brain, that's an illusion. They really are only being influenced by your brain. If the epiphenomenon idea is true, while your brain is searching through your memories and releasing chemicals, your consciousness is the thing that experiences it all. The result is that you (your consciousness) experience the sensation of the thinking that is physically happening in the brain.

      You make good points and I appreciate you for giving your opinions. But there is something else that needs to be explained. If I am given a real drug then it does not matter whether or not if I believe the drug will work. It WILL work. But if I am given a mere sugar pill and Conscious and am told that this sugar pill is a pain killer and believe it to be so, this conscious attention makes me feel better but you say that my decision to believe that the pill is a pain killer is entirely influenced by the brain. I am well aware of the study about the test subjects and the two buttons and how scientist were able to predict what buttons they would push in a seven second time limit. This test does not necessarily prove that our decisions are made in the brain. Yes. Scientist concluded that to be the case but it could just as easily be the process of thinking which button to push that the scientist saw and not the final outcome. The article did not explain if their predictions were right all the time so idk. Instead let me move on to something else. If consciousness does not effect the brain as you say and is entirely driven by the brain then explain to me why self directed neuroplasticity occurs? There was a study done on people who meditate alot. It turns out that those that routinely meditate, their brains become thicker. Specifically in the pre-frontal cortex which seems responsible for paying attention and the second part is the insula which keeps track of the interior state of the body and the feelings of others. You said that the brain is constantly analyzing information and is making our decisions for us and you use this to refute my argument by saying that when the brain decides to believe that the sugar pill is beneficial it will release the chemicals to help the body feel better. This does not explain why frequent practitioners of meditation have a change in their brain. The brain is not analyzing any external stimuli to make a decision. The brain is not rewiring its self because of some "choice" it made. Why does the brain change in such a drastic manner when conscious attention is placed on your self during meditation? Self directed neuro plasticity in this case does not occur unless consciousness is focused during meditation. You cannot meditate without awareness because it does nothing but when the mind changes the brain reacts to this change and forms a new connection. This cannot occur without a conscious awareness. And here is the article about self directed neuro plasticity.

    15. #15
      Consciousness in the Void Universal Mind's Avatar
      Join Date
      Apr 2004
      Gender
      Location
      The Eternal Paradox
      Posts
      12,853
      Likes
      1031
      If consciousness is an illusion, something has to be experiencing the illusion. That which would be experiencing the illusion is what I call consciousness.
      kilham likes this.
      Quote Originally Posted by really View Post
      God cannot destroy himself because He is Omnipotent.


    16. #16
      Haunted by entropy. Achievements:
      1 year registered Made lots of Friends on DV Populated Wall Veteran First Class 5000 Hall Points
      sloth's Avatar
      Join Date
      Apr 2006
      LD Count
      20 years worth
      Gender
      Location
      Deep in the woods
      Posts
      2,122
      Likes
      573
      I think that one would need to fully define 'illusion' as well. By dictionary definitions, my computer monitor is an illusion machine, but the images on it are a physical reality, in a coded sort of way.
      ---o--- my DCs say I'm dreamy.

    17. #17
      Member Achievements:
      Created Dream Journal Referrer Bronze 5000 Hall Points Tagger First Class Populated Wall Veteran First Class
      Arra's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jan 2011
      Posts
      3,838
      Likes
      3884
      DJ Entries
      50
      When it's said consciousness is an illusion, I think what's normally meant is that the feeling that it's a separate entity from the brain is an illusion. If it's an illusion, that means it can be created physically and we only feel that it's something special. If it's not an illusion, then there's some separate 'consciousness' entity which can't be explained by the brain alone.
      StephL likes this.

    18. #18
      Member Achievements:
      Created Dream Journal Tagger First Class Made lots of Friends on DV Referrer Bronze 5000 Hall Points Veteran Second Class
      Daredevilpwn's Avatar
      Join Date
      Oct 2011
      LD Count
      15
      Gender
      Location
      MD
      Posts
      493
      Likes
      376
      DJ Entries
      63
      If consciousness isn't an illusion it doesn't really mean that it is separate from the brain. (if it is then sweet!). My argument was that consciousness isn't an illusion because it can influence how the brain operates to an extent so I used example like the placebo and self directed neuroplasticity to explain. My argument was against those that believe consciousness was an epiphenomenon. I know an epiphenomenon can't effect what is causing it which is the brain in this case. But the placebo effect and self directed neuroplasticity in my opinion contradict this belief. My argument was that consciousness is "something" and whatever that something could be dependent on the brain or independent of the brain. I tried to not make it seem spiritual. I know some don't agree with my examples and may think of another explanation for them and thats fine. All we can do is ponder.

    19. #19
      Member petersonad's Avatar
      Join Date
      Mar 2007
      Gender
      Location
      USA
      Posts
      110
      Likes
      4
      I was once told that reality is not illusion.

      They're are five senses: hearing, seeing, touching, etc. which is a form of knowledge or a knowing sense.

      What we experience in the physical with our senses is concrete knowledge, not imagination or illusion.

    20. #20
      I am become fish pear Abra's Avatar
      Join Date
      Mar 2007
      Location
      Doncha Know, Murka
      Posts
      3,816
      Likes
      540
      DJ Entries
      17
      So now the big question. Does consciousness influence physical reality? The answer is yes. How? The answer is the placebo effect. You hurt your arm and I give you a sugar pill and claim that it is a powerful pain killer and you believe it.
      Hnnnnnggggg stopped there. (Then kept reading). Any voluntary physical movement says the same thing you say for the same reasons.

      Also nobody has defined any terminology in here. Throwing around "illusion" with whatever unsaid definition is convenient at the time. Feh.
      Abraxas

      Quote Originally Posted by OldSparta
      I murdered someone, there was bloody everywhere. On the walls, on my hands. The air smelled metallic, like iron. My mouth... tasted metallic, like iron. The floor was metallic, probably iron

    21. #21
      Please, call me Louai <span class='glow_008000'>LouaiB</span>'s Avatar
      Join Date
      Dec 2013
      LD Count
      82
      Gender
      Location
      Mount Lebanon
      Posts
      1,693
      Likes
      1213
      DJ Entries
      13
      Quote Originally Posted by dutchraptor View Post
      Hmm I do think that the common thought of consciousness is an illusion. Generally people treat the unconscious and conscious mind as largely being unrelated, in a lot of cases almost making each seem like a separate individual, a lot of problems arise from this.
      I think the main reason why I would say your logic is faulty is because really our consciousness (as simple as possible, our pattern of reasoning) is not an entity but a collection of entities working in a system. The feeling of a consciousness in my opinion is acquired when stimuli are analyzed to such an extent that we are constantly at any given time thinking of the memories of an object and the predictions of an action. It's a very distinct feeling, which can sometimes make us feel like it is being caused by something definite. In reality consciousness is only a set of actions, nothing more than a term we use to describe the way in which a human brain works. So consciousness itself isn't affecting physical reality because it can't, it is only a term, the chemical reactions which lead to consciousness however can.
      gotta agree with that!
      I fill my heart with fire, with passion, passion for what makes me nostalgic. A unique perspective fuels my fire, makes me discover new passions, more nostalgia. I love it.

      "People tell dreamers to reality check and realize this is the real world and not one of fantasies, but little do they know that for us Lucid Dreamers, it all starts when the RC fails"
      Add me as a friend!!!

    22. #22
      Member Eesiel's Avatar
      Join Date
      Aug 2013
      LD Count
      1
      Gender
      Posts
      12
      Likes
      4
      Well heres my take on the issue that I have been pondering at great psychological cost for about 1 to 2 years now. The term Conciousness is super vague and can relate to a number of things. First there is wake sleep conciousness this is a number of things in my oppinion one of which is working memory. This basically means that our brains produce meamory loops that relate and connect the endless bits of information we get through the day into a single entity. This makes sence think about it why do you pass out when you get hit on the head? your working meamory is impared. Why do you pass out when you get really drunk or high? Cause its no secret that those things impare meamory and if you impare it enough you cannot retain and connect the stream of information that you are receiving and therefore appear to experience nothing. In reality your brain is still active and is processing all types of things you just lack the meamory capacity to retain it. I mean whats the difference between when you were born and you cant remember it and when you pass out. Not much at all is that different. Now the second deffinition of consiousness which always confuses me is brain function which you describe when you mention the placebo. Technically we could not need consiousness to get a placebo. This goes into the free will argument. Is it you having a belief causing an effect or are you experiencing rather than generating a belief having an effect. No easy argument to answer which is what bring me to the third supper difficult controversial deffinition. Sigh... This will be really hard to get down in writing let alone speech but here goes. Conciousness is kind of the way that a reality manifests from an individual perspective if that makes any sense. It is the existence of red insinde of the self which has no practicall reality. A stone dosn't need to be consious to fall does it? Idk maybe but my point is our brains process signals that trigger muscle movements and that there is no need for reality to manifest around us for this. At the same time my fingers are moving to type this so there is some relation to the brain. I dont think consiousness exists in the brain though. I dont nesissarilly mean this in a spiritual or religious way i mean this in a philosophical way it makes no sense I think that it is beyond our scope of understanding because it is the root of so much of our existence. Our brains may occur in consiousness as well as the other way around. There is no point to us understanding this for survival in fact it drives one insane. So why should we be able to grasp it.

    23. #23
      Member StephL's Avatar
      Join Date
      Oct 2013
      LD Count
      84
      Gender
      Posts
      2,423
      Likes
      3291
      DJ Entries
      117
      Quote Originally Posted by Dianeva View Post
      I'm in general a materialist, atheist and scientifically minded. I don't believe in any supernatural stuff. So my mind really wants to fight against the conclusion as it's world-altering and doesn't fit into my view of reality so far. It's uncomfortable. But I'm forced to keep to the conclusion until I can be shown otherwise.
      I could imagine, you'd enjoy this - and it's directly relevant - a talk from German philosopher Thomas Metzinger.



      He starts out with explaining, what he means by the notion of the phenomenal self-model, and how it can be manipulated, and then goes on to the topic of the metaphorical transparency of consciousness.
      He compares it to a "(highdimensional) window", through which our self experiences perception - inwards and outwards.
      Why subjectivity or the first person perspective are so hard to grasp lies in this phenomenon.

      We are not aware of a "medium", in which information flows through our brains, through this transparency, we experience being in direct contact with our inner and outer reality (we have a "naive" direct realism, which proved to be evolutionary useful).
      Maybe in meditation, you can be the glass..

      This one is more extensive - directly on topic - as conclusion, he answers literally our question here.
      Less neuroscientificly put - "more philosophically":





      Quote Originally Posted by Dianeva View Post
      .. If consciousness is an epiphenomenon, then it is merely experiencing stuff that happens in the brain, as it happens, not before or after.

      When you're making decisions which you strongly feel aren't influenced by your brain, that's an illusion.

      They really are only being influenced by your brain. If the epiphenomenon idea is true, while your brain is searching through your memories and releasing chemicals, your consciousness is the thing that experiences it all. The result is that you (your consciousness) experience the sensation of the thinking that is physically happening in the brain.
      Not really - these experiments with pressing buttons, where the conscious decisions were lagging behind clearly initiated first actions towards actual movement suggest to me, that we have a clear lag, when it comes to our internal perception concerning agency, perceiving outer reality also comes with a little lag, though.

      Then there is the transparency problem - I think, we are so clueless, because we can't measure/watch our brain at work, while it is also doing that work. And with having as the only tool itself.

      You had to be in some sort of meta-position, a third person perspective, to watch it - not least for it's being too fast.
      Bleeding for example can be "understood" on a much different level.

      Quote Originally Posted by Dianeva View Post
      When it's said consciousness is an illusion, I think what's normally meant is that the feeling that it's a separate entity from the brain is an illusion. If it's an illusion, that means it can be created physically and we only feel that it's something special. If it's not an illusion, then there's some separate 'consciousness' entity which can't be explained by the brain alone.
      Yes - that is where the confusion comes from.
      Daredevilpwn for example only considers the possibility, that the mind is something other than the brain.
      A separate entity - and he believes, that they interact.
      But he anyway also holds, that mind springs from brain, if I understand it correctly.

      No - the brain does not inter-act with a mind, it only "intro-acts" (spontaneous neologism).

      I can understand the bafflement, how a blob of cells could possibly not only bring forth the you but be the you.

      What if I were to say, that mind is our most wonderful cells, evolved over millions and millions of years, chiming in to a perpetual chorus, a song of rhythmic, resonating flows of energy - a three dimensional waveform propagating through time and space..*

      I find this romantic enough!! wink.gif
      I can't see, how finding a "consciousness-substance/energy/force" would solve anything - what then?
      Would we be able to make any more sense out of that?





      Another one with a German accent - also a philosopher, but primarily neurophysiologist - a shame, I can't post one of his German lectures..
      Naja - better than nothing, I hope:



      *Took that from this man - maybe a bit more neuroscience, than fits into this forum - but hey - ignore it, if you think so!
      Quote Originally Posted by Wolf Singer
      Information processing systems need to be able to identify and encode relations.
      Relations can be defined in space and time.
      Nervous systems exploit both dimensions for the handling of relations.
      Their anatomical layout is characterized by selective convergence of connections on target cells,
      allowing the establishment of relations among signals of different origin.
      In addition, relations can be expressed more dynamically by adjusting the temporal rather than the spatial continuity of signals.
      It is proposed that this is achieved by rhythmic modulation of neuronal activity and context as well as task dependent modulation of oscillation frequencies and phases.
      The brain is self-active and generates highly structured, high dimensional, spatio-temporal activity patterns, that evolve close to self-organized criticality.
      That's him:


    24. #24
      Consciousness in the Void Universal Mind's Avatar
      Join Date
      Apr 2004
      Gender
      Location
      The Eternal Paradox
      Posts
      12,853
      Likes
      1031
      If consciousness is an illusion, what is experiencing the illusion?
      Quote Originally Posted by really View Post
      God cannot destroy himself because He is Omnipotent.


    25. #25
      high mileage oneironaut Achievements:
      Made lots of Friends on DV 1000 Hall Points Stickie King Populated Wall Referrer Silver 10000 Hall Points Referrer Bronze Veteran First Class
      Sageous's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jun 2011
      LD Count
      35+ Yrs' Worth
      Gender
      Location
      any quiet place
      Posts
      4,881
      Likes
      6846
      ^^ Neurons. Lots of them.
      StephL and LouaiB like this.

    Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

    Similar Threads

    1. slipping in and out of conciousness
      By Duffles22 in forum General Lucid Discussion
      Replies: 0
      Last Post: 02-01-2012, 03:21 AM
    2. conciousness
      By charlieboy24 in forum Inner Sanctum
      Replies: 4
      Last Post: 04-20-2010, 11:16 PM
    3. Need Help Conciousness
      By cherry in forum General Lucid Discussion
      Replies: 1
      Last Post: 02-04-2007, 09:58 PM
    4. The Problem Of Conciousness
      By bradybaker in forum Philosophy
      Replies: 12
      Last Post: 10-22-2006, 04:05 AM
    5. Amount of conciousness during LDs??
      By regetsref in forum Introduction Zone
      Replies: 1
      Last Post: 11-19-2004, 11:00 AM

    Bookmarks

    Posting Permissions

    • You may not post new threads
    • You may not post replies
    • You may not post attachments
    • You may not edit your posts
    •