Home > computation, consciousness, cosmology, Perception, philosophy > Lucid Thinking Video Notes

Lucid Thinking Video Notes

December 20, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

 

I like this video from Lucid Thinking, “What is Consciousness?” and I think that he mostly gets it right. The video does a great job of illustrating how we get to the Explanatory Gap and Hard Problem by examining the absence of experiences in material forms and logical functions.

Here are some suggestions to go farther and deeper in explaining consciousness, and/or for a more complete explanation:

  1. A minor note about the storage of information in computer systems as binary code (“a long number consisting of the digits 0 and 1”). If we are being completely literal about it, and I think that we must be, there are no numbers inside a computer either. “Codes” are also not objective phenomena but rather ordinary positions of off/on or stop/go switches. The enumeration of those switches is our semantic projection on them, and the decoding of codes is a communication between one who intends to send an encoded message and one who intends to receive it.
  2. There is a point made that ‘experience requires an experiencer’. I would challenge that. Even though human experience typically includes the sense of being an experiencer, it is not clear that all types of experience require this kind of bifurcated relation. An experiencer is after all, like a body or a number, only another experience…maybe only a key part of zoological kinds of experience.
  3. There is a point made that consciousness cannot see itself in the sense that we cannot see our own eyes. I suggest that this is an intellectual perspective which may conflate two very different levels of experience. Just as we can see our own eyes in a mirror, we may be able to see our own seeing, and we call that mirroring of visual sense “light” or “brightness”. The eye is only a conduit for our visual sense to localize itself in public facing optical conditions, not necessarily the only source of sight. It’s true that human seeing must be initialized by seeing through eyes (unless we consider NDEs where congenitally blind people report seeing), however that may also be a prejudiced expectation of animal life rather than awareness itself.
  4. “Consciousness is nothing that can become everything” is proposed as a way to understand what consciousness is. I propose the opposite. Consciousness need not be assumed to manifest as a phenomenon in isolation which transforms itself – not a blank, empty void upon which non-voids are projected. Instead I would say that consciousness is everything that can become almost nothing. Consciousness may look like nothing from our perspective, but that may be due to the nature of the typical range of consciousness within a human lifetime. Our waking consciousness is constrained to an ‘almost nothing’ scope, so that scope’s idea of consciousness is approximated by the intellect as ‘nothing’. In fact, I think that self-transparency is a necessary property of consciousness, as is self-opacity, and the capacity to oscillate between those extremes. Think of it like a meta-semiconductor…modulating or permitting permeability between more and less ranges of permeability. In this way, human consciousness is not only constructed from meaningless biochemical codes, but subtracted from a totality of experience beyond personal subjectivities. This is the transpersonal range of archetypal or ‘mytho-poetic’ awareness referred to by Jung as the collective unconscious, and it is experienced by ‘time’ itself rather than an individual subject. Time in this sense is not a dimension of timing on clocks, or a memory of the past combined with an anticipation of the future, but rather the collection of all experiences. Terms like the Absolute, totality, Akashic Records, and Morphic Resonance may be helpful in conceptualizing this.
  5. The point is made that we don’t directly experience other people’s thoughts, and that our experience is limited to our own inner world. Again I think that seems true under ordinary conditions of human consciousness, but there is no need to jump to the conclusion that it is always true in all experience. Indeed there are many experiments in remote viewing and telepathy, as well as ordinary empathy (twins complete each others’ thoughts and brain conjoined twins may share some thinking). We should assume that our true ‘body’ is a human lifetime rather than physical structures and functions, and we share our experience with all other experiences to the extent that our lifetime overlaps with them.

 

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  1. December 20, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    I want to thank the guy who published this article.
    It is very detailed.
    As the creator of the video I feel he managed to highlight many things I agree with but could not enter in the video in order not over complicate it.

    let me refer the various comments:

    1) Absolutely right. There are no numbers inside a computer. numbers are our interpretation to the arrangement of the magnetic medium. But I didn’t want to over-complicate it.

    2) At this point, I believe you missed something important. What I call “the experiencer” is not “the sense of being an experiencer” which is indeed, another experience composed from certain thoughts and emotions. I explain more deeply the nature of the experiencer in the
    video “who am I?” https://youtu.be/6L0Ta8wwKqA.
    In this video, you will find a simple exercise (at 5:47) that will enable you to see that there is an experiencer which is separate from the experience. The experiencer is
    not an experience (like a thought, emotion or sensation), but it is the container allowing the experience to happen. It is a pure consciousness – that is, what is left of consciousness if you empty it from its content (thoughts, emotions, sensations).

    3) If you would understand the nature of the experiencer, as I mentioned above, you would understand why consciousness cannot see itself. The common usage of the word consciousness doesn’t distinguish between the two elements composing it: the experiencer and the experience. I use a special terminology calling the first
    “consciousness” and the second “mind” or “psyche.
    This is not an intellectual perspective. It is achieved through a meditative introspective research.
    You can find the same distinction in several eastern philosophic traditions like “jnana yoga”, “Advaita Vedanta”.
    Maybe the most known figure talking about this distinction is Ramana Maharshi.
    Consciousness cannot see itself because it is the observer. Its mirror is the mind. I can experience thoughts about consciousness or emotions describing consciousness (Like the emotion of being – described with the words “I am”). This is the only way it can know itself.
    Try to observe the observer inside of you and you’ll find that you can’t. Even when you think you did you’ll find eventually that you saw a thought or an emotion describing the observer.

    4) I, like you, tend to believe that “consciousness is everything that can become almost nothing”, but the evidence we have at the moment
    cannot prove so yet. Let me give you an example.
    The relation between consciousness and the mind may be like the relation between the sea and its waves.
    While the sea has the potential ability to create every form of waves, in its essence it is waveless water.
    Yet waves can only be created in the presence of wind – meaning an external force acting upon it.
    As much as we know today, an experience is also triggered in the consciousness only as a result of a physical stimulus wich is “brain activity”.
    There are many claims of conscious activity occurring in patients being clinically dead or that their brain stopped functioning.
    here is one example: http://www.ebenalexander.com/books/proof-of-heaven/
    If found true those could indicate that consciousness is independent of the known physical world and contain in itself all the possible
    experiences. But, at the moment, this is not proven yet.

    5) You are right, and I mentioned it in the video. Consciousness is limited only to our personal inner world in the experience of the ordinary person.
    There are many claims about telepathy and other supernatural phenomena that suggest that at certain conditions we may surpass the mentioned limitation.
    furthermore, my personal experiments lead me to believe that many of our thoughts or emotions do not originate in us, but in someone’s else mind.
    We perceive them as ours because we do not know how to distinguish between what is ours and what isn’t.

    • December 20, 2015 at 6:58 pm

      Thank you! I can appreciate not wanting to complicate it. Most of these would be addressed to the more advanced student of philosophy of mind rather than those who have just begun to think about these issues.

      As far as the experiencer goes, I agree that *we* experience being an experiencer, however I’m not sure that logically compelled to extend that container of our experiences beyond the world of self-directed organisms. Our emptying of conscious contents may not be bringing us to a level of pure consciousness so much as pure solitude…an awareness of nothing but containment within a personal lifetime. This may be as close as we can get to pure consciousness in our lifetime, but I suspect that the experiencer is, like the body and the ego, ultimately still only a reflection of a particular quality of consciousness rather than absolute consciousness (which would be all experiences…simultaneous eternity).

      “3) If you would understand the nature of the experiencer, as I mentioned above, you would understand why consciousness cannot see itself.”

      Sure, but that effect may also be local to the condition of animal mortality. Absolute consciousness would not need to see itself, as all that can be seen would be experienced directly with no distance at all. Seeing is a way of indirectly reconnecting with branches of experience which are no longer part of the local experience, but with absolute awareness, all branches would be transparent.

      “but the evidence we have at the moment cannot prove so yet”
      I’m not sure that it will be possible to prove it, however it may be possible to prove that the inability to prove it is due to the nature of mortality and what I call the “Law of Conservation of Mystery”. The universe seems to need to strike a balance between reaffirming the veil of physicality and hinting at something beyond. That which can be proved may be impossible to separate from the veil, so that it can only be about understanding what makes the most sense rather than being forced to submit to an objective form of evidence.

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