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Your self, your soul, is merely a story you tell yourself

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Duke of York, Nov 21, 2016.

  1. racroesus

    racroesus Star commenter

    That's why I have no sense of self: I'm a remote appendage of Maleficent.
    Didactylos4 likes this.
  2. Didactylos4

    Didactylos4 Star commenter

    I'm just not going to ask :D
    delnon and racroesus like this.
  3. Eureka!

    Eureka! Lead commenter

    Oh it's good. She is a very good science writer indeed, even if a little middle class culturally, she can be forgiven. In particular her way of explaining consciousness and other psychological phenomena - e.g mania. depression, schizophrenia, drug use whatever through short lived assemblies of neurons pulsing away in tandem is very exciting and convincing.
    lexus300 likes this.
  4. lexus300

    lexus300 Star commenter

    Without reading her I should not ask but I will just to see if you have an answer:)
    What makes the neutrons assemble and pulse, the driving force to initiate??
  5. Eureka!

    Eureka! Lead commenter

    There is much that is as yet unknown. And even if it was, there is the chasm existing between how matter behaves to create feelings that is simply unknown. Neuron assemblies (not neutrons BTW!) appear to be a correlate of consciousness - in other words they are present whenever consciousness is present and vice versa. But how consciousness is the magical thing it is to us brain owners is still a fundamental mystery.
  6. lexus300

    lexus300 Star commenter

    I typed neurons but this pesky predictive text slipped the 't' in without my permission, chastisement will ensue if only I knew how to switch it off!!
    An interesting thing this consciousness..
  7. Eureka!

    Eureka! Lead commenter

    Yes indeed. Get the book for Christmas though :)
  8. delnon

    delnon Lead commenter

    So: does the "I" command the assemblies of neurones, or vice versa?
  9. Eureka!

    Eureka! Lead commenter

    "I" emerges out of it all, and is smoke and mirrors, I would say. This "I" would love to be able to watch his assemblies somehow - what a feedback loop that would make! Maybe for Xmas 2050 ... Nbox live.
  10. cuteinpuce

    cuteinpuce Star commenter

    Would it be that exciting? No more than looking at your eye in a mirror...
  11. lexus300

    lexus300 Star commenter

    When you look into someones eyes (I have a habit of doing that) you receive all sorts of beautiful and sometimes 'not so' messages. The interpretation of which comes from inside (somewhere). Perhaps the 'I' comes from inside?
  12. Nanook_rubs_it

    Nanook_rubs_it Star commenter

    It certainly is. I also find the idea of consciousness in other species both surprising and totally expected at the same time:

    How, why, and when consciousness evolved remain hotly debated topics. Addressing these issues requires considering the distribution of consciousness across the animal phylogenetic tree. Here we propose that at least one invertebrate clade, the insects, has a capacity for the most basic aspect of consciousness: subjective experience. In vertebrates the capacity for subjective experience is supported by integrated structures in the midbrain that create a neural simulation of the state of the mobile animal in space. This integrated and egocentric representation of the world from the animal’s perspective is sufficient for subjective experience. Structures in the insect brain perform analogous functions. Therefore, we argue the insect brain also supports a capacity for subjective experience. In both vertebrates and insects this form of behavioral control system evolved as an efficient solution to basic problems of sensory reafference and true navigation. The brain structures that support subjective experience in vertebrates and insects are very different from each other, but in both cases they are basal to each clade. Hence we propose the origins of subjective experience can be traced to the Cambrian.

  13. Eureka!

    Eureka! Lead commenter

    With a feedback loop one has the possibility of learning to control the output. The possibilities are staggering if you think about it. Dangerous even.
  14. Didactylos4

    Didactylos4 Star commenter

    Most feedback loops are dangerous
    And, at best, tend to lead nowhere
  15. Nanook_rubs_it

    Nanook_rubs_it Star commenter

    Have you been at the Carlos Castaneda again?
    racroesus and cuteinpuce like this.
  16. Eureka!

    Eureka! Lead commenter

  17. lexus300

    lexus300 Star commenter

    Evolution of consciousness, how is that possible? The knowledge of Identity, in particular.
  18. lexus300

    lexus300 Star commenter

    One very sexy lady:D
  19. Nanook_rubs_it

    Nanook_rubs_it Star commenter

    That it is evident in varying degrees throughout nature (see my link above) means it must convey an evolutionary advantage.

    Or do you think consciousness is the sole preserve of Homo sapiens?
  20. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    One of the most amazing things I've seen was at the John Gurdon Institute in Cambridge while on a trip with 6th formers.

    We were being shown round and briefly told what was going on. One researcher looked up from her station and showed us what her microscope was focussed on, on a computer screen (no-one hardly looks down an eyepiece these days it seems).

    There were the ghostly outlines of spidery cells and every now and then one would flash green showing where it was linked to the others (maybe 20 cells in total?).

    Starting with skin cells, they had been taken back to being stem cells and allowed to develop into nerve cells (switching them on as nerve cells is relatively easy apparently). They had been treated with a jellyfish fluorescent protein that emits light in the presence of released ions (presumably K+ or Na+).

    So what we were looking at was self organizing nerve cells that had grown towards each other and formed synapses and had now begun to start firing impulses. It looked to me to be a step on the road to complex organization and it required nothing more than living cells, the right conditions and the right chemicals to make things go in the right direction.

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