A New Theory of Consciousness

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Re: A New Theory of Consciousness

Postby Steve James on Fri Oct 28, 2022 3:14 pm

Um, afa the article, my understanding is that we make decisions a split second before we are consciously aware of making them. So, the authors say the decisions are done unconsciously. For ex., my decision to pick up the beer bottle is made before I pick it up (and I'm only conscious of it while I'm doing it). I agree with the conclusion, but I don't think that supports the idea that I had no choice or that it was inevitable.

Music is a great analogy, specifically when it comes to improvisation. I think of Coltrane's "Giant Steps." The changes are just too fast to "consciously" keep up an improvisation.
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Re: A New Theory of Consciousness

Postby Dmitri on Fri Oct 28, 2022 5:05 pm

Steve James wrote:Dmitri, are you really a fatalist in terms of philosophy? or a super determinist in terms of physics/chemistry?

Don't like labels, but yeah those are probably the most accurate descriptors.
It's really weird to continually reconcile that notion with the incessant illusion of conscious choices/activities, but it's gradually getting better and better. It might be similar to how a high-functioning schizophrenic works out hallucinations from reality, that was depicted so artfully in that excellent movie 'A Beautiful Mind'.

thoughts are the products of brain chemistry over which individuals have no control

Exactly; yes. It's the inevitable conclusion, given the above belief system. :)
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Re: A New Theory of Consciousness

Postby Steve James on Sun Oct 30, 2022 9:15 am

There are problems with (philosophical) fatalism -in part because the conclusion can be that nothing matters or that morality is irrelevant. Well, it's not a problem for the fatalist, who will rarely say that they and theirs don't matter.

Afa super-determinism, it's a theory that suggests a hidden variable that accounts for the strangeness of quantum mechanics. But, quantum mechanics -even though it is counter-intuitive- has been shown to be true. The most recent Nobel physics prizes went to physicists who addressed this issue (Bell's inequality).

Hey, it doesn't matter either way when it comes to super-determinism. Imo, "unconscious" thought may not be chemically different from "conscious" thought. (By thought, I mean communication/transfer of information from the brain to the body). We know that the introduction of chemicals into the system changes that process. What I don't accept is that it's inevitable that someone will take meth and steal a particular tv set. They might argue that they couldn't help it, but it wouldn't make any difference. Um... depending on the lawyers, judge, jury and public opinion variables. :)
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Re: A New Theory of Consciousness

Postby Dmitri on Sun Oct 30, 2022 8:36 pm

Morality matters to all humans because it's a product of our evolutionary development. Morality not only doesn't matter on the universal scale -- it doesn't exist outside of a human brain. It's an artificial construct, like "crime", "duty" and countless others that our complex brains came up with over the last few millennia.

For the other two paragraphs -- Sabine Hossenfelder is much more (than me) qualified to speak on that subject matter, given her background: https://youtu.be/ytyjgIyegDI
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Re: A New Theory of Consciousness

Postby Quigga on Mon Oct 31, 2022 4:02 am

Isn't it a bit like the hen and egg situation? Was my conclusion that everything is predetermined already predetermined itself? Or if say - free will is paramount and the Highest - is that conclusion the most important? You could argue that both attempts to grasp the jello sausage fail and make the slippery mess fall out of your hands.

Is my ability to say I have a free will predetermined? Is me feeling free and in control a God given right? How do you feel as if you're absolutely in control of everything and yet experience utmost freedom?

Are you in control when you let everything go since that is a conscious action itself? Or is that letting go in fact the only option there actually is?

Or is my capacity of expressing my freedom determined by my capacity of controlling myself?

Or do I experience a higher degree of freedom when I can let go of myself and make sure I'm so pure as to not cause harm to others when doing so?

For sure - when you go down the route of 'I couldn't help myself to make better choices' you enable a lot of dicks and pussies. But maybe after messing up, you can infact help yourself better to avoid similar shortcomings in the future? Maybe some messing up is needed to learn? Though it would be better to avoid the bigger mistakes, if possible...

Human brain matter matters lol. Morality? 'Try to be a bit kinder.' And don't fall for either extreme. Being extremely good or extremely bad always calls for extremely being rebalanced -> you lost your balance somewhere along the way.

Humans themselves don't matter on a universal scale. We don't even matter on a solar system scale. We barely matter on a global scale. The rocky planet Earth - rock star lol - will easily survive us. Or do we have enough nukes and hydro bombs to literally blow Earth out of existence?

We matter to other life forms on this planet, sorta kinda.
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Re: A New Theory of Consciousness

Postby origami_itto on Mon Oct 31, 2022 5:25 am

We can accurately predict the behavior of a volume of gas in a space. We cannot in any way predict the behavior of a single molecule of that gas in that space.

There is simply too much randomness for any attempt to model the variables. There is no way the finishing configuration of the gas molecules can be predicted from the start conditions.

That's just a dumb molecule floating through space bumping into things with no thoughts or opinions about the experience or its meaning. Its fate cannot be pre-determined.

How then can we say that our fate, being tied to our rationalization engine and self-awareness and desire and honor, is predetermined? Is our behavior less complex than a gas molecule? How can you say our choices aren't free when we can make conscious choices that we know don't serve our biological imperative?
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Re: A New Theory of Consciousness

Postby Steve James on Mon Oct 31, 2022 5:36 am

Yes. Morality doesn't exist. Or, it exists as much as consciousness. It's as real as choosing a favorite color or any other decision.

I know Sabine's view on super determism. No one can say she's wrong. But, it's just a theory. The hidden variables needed have not been found. No one can say she's right. Her view is not the mainstream.

As I said, it doesn't matter if she's right. The illusion of free will and free will are indistinguishable. Morality as a social function will continue.
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Re: A New Theory of Consciousness

Postby Steve James on Mon Oct 31, 2022 6:53 am

A super-determinist and a quantum theorist walk into a casino to play dice. They'll both say they decided to go and play dice. The die throws by each will be governed by Newtonian mechanics. But, neither one of them will be able to predict how the dice will fall or who will come out the winner. The results -to the super-determinist- were predetermined from the moment the first hydrogen atom was created. The quantum theorist will say that the result was one of a possible number of results. (Afa who takes home the chips, it doesn't matter; though, if you're the loser, you might want to change strategies (evolve).

Afa free-will, I don't know how it's different from consciousness. But, I don't really think "will" is even a valid term to use in a discussion of the science. All thought is the product of chemical reactions. What stumps me is whether the results of those reactions (thoughts) are forms of information. If they are (matter/energy), then the super-determinist idea makes for interesting conclusions. Otoh, if they aren't forms of information, then they don't exist to be affected.

It's a bit like asking "what is qi?" Or, what is spirit? And, "Do dogs have Buddha nature?" Or, "What is the unconscious?" So, if someone asks me whether free will exists, they don't know my answer. That's what matters. I (and we) can only deal with probabilities, whether they were pre-determined or not. (Jmo, of course, those who believe in a omnipresent, omniscient God are determinists, too. Though, human "free will" in theology, explains why humans have problems, and determines salvation. But, the belief in a God-determined universe is way older than science, and evolved with our consciousness.
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Re: A New Theory of Consciousness

Postby Quigga on Mon Oct 31, 2022 8:57 am

But do you choose a favorite color or food? Maybe you weigh your options and go meeeh, this one seems kinda right? Maybe beliefs can align as a part of the rest of the whole?

Can we actually make choices that are outside of our biological imperative? If it's imperative, then that means imo it's the river bed or frame where every other decision is embedded in. So either way, all one does points towards re-creating yourself ie producing offspring. Whether that offspring is future you in a changed version of your self or a future you in another body doesn't matter so much. We're all having intercourse with ourselves.

The hen is in the egg and the egg is in the hen. How can both parts be inside of each other? - Could be a running gag among gays :D Distinct yet integrated.

Is the questioning of fate also fate?

Everyone has a moral compass. Morality does exist. The closer you look, the more layers of black and white you find that appear to be grey when zooming out far enough. Even socio and psychopaths have morality. Morality is a cluster of beliefs that form an internal structures or web. Structure can imply rigidity, that's not what I want here. Soldiers have morale that can be high or low.

So a good morality should allow you to go as worry-free through life as possible imo, with no disastrous consequences.

Imo both the Super D and the Quantum T try to approach acceptance of the outcome of dice as well as they can.

Free will operates inside of consciousness imo. It's not interchangeable, but rather a sub-function.

Isn't it still up to debate whether all thought is just a chemical reaction? Obviously a connection exists, but a purely materialistic view points fails to capture beauty, appreciation, adoration, subjective experience. When you operate your self, do you think of sending X amount of chemicals to Y location in Z packets? Why is there even a sense of self? And do all animals have the same one? Or do people have vastly different selfs or is it the same self that's merely colored in different shades?

I mean yeah, medical parameters to assess functions of consciousness exist. But does anyone want to be boiled down to a machine? Why do we think of ourselves to be special at all? Why is there so much variance inside of humanity?

'So if someone asks me if free will exists, they don't know my answer. That's what matters.'

I don't get that part. Do you know your answer?

Internal rebellion and struggle certainly is a choice to various degrees.

How did our belief in a God determined universe evolve with our consciousness?

My guess is we always had a outside world that was bigger and stronger than us in some ways. While the individual can exert some amount of control and dominance over the environment, in the end one always has to bow to external influences outside of one's control. We all grow old, no one can escape time, as far as I know. And a multitude of other factors, but one's societal status, access to money and tools, connections to other people can make things easier.

We never left the jungle lol. The jungle or forest or environment is in us, and we are inside out of it. Radical acceptance and the associated gradual insight may lead to a feeling of peace with increased competence.
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Re: A New Theory of Consciousness

Postby Steve James on Mon Oct 31, 2022 9:41 am

Free will operates inside of consciousness imo. It's not interchangeable, but rather a sub-function.


The super-determinist argument is that free will doesn't exist. I agree -in that there is no difference between a "free" will and any other type of "will." Yes, consciousness (imo) is all forms of thought, even unconscious thought. Yes, we can measure electro-chemical brain activity, and that can't be equivalent to thought. The brain is working 24/7, most of which is independent of thought and determined by evolution.

Evolution, at least in the Darwinian sense, is random. Nature tries many variations; some work, some don't. The organisms best able to adapt to those random variations survive.
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Re: A New Theory of Consciousness

Postby Dmitri on Mon Oct 31, 2022 5:37 pm

Steve James wrote:What stumps me is whether the results of those reactions (thoughts) are forms of information. If they are (matter/energy), then the super-determinist idea makes for interesting conclusions. Otoh, if they aren't forms of information, then they don't exist to be affected.

Yeah this discussion definitely precludes materialist outlook on things. The moment someone says "thoughts have no substance", then that's a whole 'nother kind of discussion which I wouldn't know how, or want, to have. :)


origami_itto wrote:There is no way the finishing configuration of the gas molecules can be predicted from the start conditions.

That's just a dumb molecule floating through space bumping into things

That we can't compute it has no relevance to the universe and how things are. Every one of those bumps of that molecule obeys the laws of physics, and it can't help but interact with its immediate surroundings according to those laws. As are all those other molecules around it, and others around them, and so on, ad infinitum. (I'm leaving out what all those molecules consist of, the "quantum field", etc., etc., etc.)
Everything, everything is interconnected and interdependent.
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Re: A New Theory of Consciousness

Postby Dmitri on Tue Nov 01, 2022 4:02 am

Quigga wrote:Was my conclusion that everything is predetermined already predetermined itself?

Yes. The word "everything" is to be taken literally here, not in the sense of "with everything on it" at a bagel shop.

Or if say - free will is paramount and the Highest - is that conclusion the most important?

"Importance" is another human construct that is completely irrelevant here. It might help if you remove humans completely when thinking about this, and just focus on inanimate objects or simpler life forms like bacteria. It's very hard to take the word "everything" literally (see above) when anthropomorphic thinking takes over -- which it naturally does all the time, unless you make a specific conscious effort to suppress it.
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Re: A New Theory of Consciousness

Postby Quigga on Tue Nov 01, 2022 9:39 am

Well you could say that a human is just a bunch of accumulated microscopic life forms that communicate to each other in a skin bag. The relationship to the life within you, whether loving or hating, could be interesting to investigate. And if you follow their collective voice across time, you may live more harmoniously.

Why would I suppress human centered thinking when I'm human? How to make sense of the world around me then? I'm certainly not a rock, a horse, a cloud,... Besides rocks in various forms, what inanimate matter actually is there on Earth when not taking into account man made things (those things could be said to have some form of animation in them)??? Burned wood? But that's also a form of rock hmmm...

The first of my questions you answered in your post Dimitri - I already knew that, but thanks anyways :-).

How can you even think in a non-human way if you're human? :O
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Re: A New Theory of Consciousness

Postby Quigga on Tue Nov 01, 2022 9:54 am

Steve - can't people be happy with various degrees of perceived freedom? Or that maybe some parts of will are free and some aren't? Asking myself as much as others - why is the discussion about having a free will or not even important? Maybe by accepting that it's not completely free I actually find more freedom? Dunno.

Why can we talk to ourselves? Why do we have a voice in our head?

Maybe it would be less confusing if we replace consciousness with the word thought - thought (or maybe mind) is made up of consciousness and unconsciousness then?

All of our organs etc are working 24/7...

I'm fine with not everything being measurable by scientists - even more inhumane fuckery would transpire if that were the case. So, me personally, I refuse to be boiled down to electro-chemical stuff. Way to take the magic outta life... Doesn't make me happy or content at all to think of me that way.

Re evolution being random - since there are only so many environmental stressors existing, can't it be said to be streamlined in some way? The lifeform that's best at changing / adapting to unforseen circumstances thrives.
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Re: A New Theory of Consciousness

Postby Quigga on Tue Nov 01, 2022 9:58 am

And if everything is in fact predetermined, so is every struggle between good/bad in an individual or between groups. Either way, sit back and relax, enjoy the show for what it is.

How can you do nothing??? It's impossible. Or not?
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