View Full Version : The Creeping Mundane
05-16-2011, 10:06 PM
I've gathered pretty thoroughly by now that the running consensus on this board places the origin of human consciousness within the supernatural realm. While this may be correct, how much is riding on this idea? It's a pretty well-established pattern in human history that people will ascribe some complex, mysterious phenomenon (such as lightning, or the difference between living and dead flesh) to the direct operation of god(s) or some supernatural force, only to have some studious spoilsport work out (and prove) a perfectly mundane explanation that pushes the threshold of the divine world back a little bit more.
Just hypothetically, how would the discovery of a purely physical source of consciousness (such as the creation of a synthetic brain functionally indistinguishable from the natural kind) affect the idea that the mind and soul are identical? Would the researchers be the first humans to create a soul de novo, or would this artificial being become the first known example of a soulless consciousness, or what?
05-17-2011, 06:49 AM
hi Cromulent :) I would just like to say that the "supernatural realm" is only supernatural because at this stage of our spiritual evolution we are only beginning to know what is out there. Its only been recently that due to technological advances we've had the time to explore more spiritual questions. We are freed up of many mundane tasks now and can take a look at all this. And whatever we focus on we'll learn more about. One day it won't be considered supernatural at all but just another layer of human life.
Very true that mysterious things have been later found to have explanations. And thats important too. As far as what is riding on it...many don't believe it now so they have nothing riding on it. Others are not content with the insights they've had and are pushing the boundaries to learn even more. I think its an exciting time to be here.
I don't the answer to your last question.
05-17-2011, 08:43 PM
Interesting question, Cromulent! I don't know that there is any difference between human consciousness and the human soul - I used to think there was a difference, but they are so closely bound up that I am coming to believe that they are two ways of looking at the same phenomenon.
And consciousness in general is what it is. We know so much about it now that I can't think of any experiment which could adversely affect our understanding of it. For people to be able to build a synthetic brain which could attract consciousness would be neat-o! But it is unlikely. The consciousness that inhabits our bodies isn't centered in our brains, apparently, but rather it occupies our whole astral body; and I had thought that it tied in to our brains in particular, but there is evidence now that it ties in to our heart and to other bodily energy centers as well. We are extremely complex, and made harder to understand by the fact that mainstream scientists persist in believing things about consciousness, mattergy, and reality which are demonstrably not true. But they will come around!
05-19-2011, 12:08 PM
Um... did you just "disprove" my hypothetical by reaffirming the very assertion that it called into question? Or is it actually your intention to respond to such a situation by declaring that the hypothetical synthetic brain had actually attracted a conscious spiritual entity, not generated it?
05-19-2011, 08:58 PM
Dear Cromulent, the evidence is clear that our brains do not generate our consciousness. The implications of this fact are so troubling to many mainstream scientists, especially those concentrating in neuroscience and consciousness research, that they continue to look with increasing desperation for some alternative explanation for our awareness and our ability to think - but to date they have not been able to figure out how consciousness might arise in the brain. And the evidence that it doesn't arise in the brain is so strong that I am confident they never will! It is theoretically possible that if scientists more clearly understood the way in which the brain attracts and maintains its consciousness connection, they might be able to build an artificial brain that could "become" conscious. But I consider it to be extremely unlikely. As I said just above, there is a lot of evidence that what we think of as "consciousness" is part of a whole life-force package which attaches to our material bodies at a number of points, so for scientists to be successful in generating a duplicate of the meat-machine (body) which is built around our whole life-force template in utero, is probably a close to impossible task. Can't rule it out, however!
No, dear friend, I don't propose to declare that consciousness actually generated by an artificial brain is only "attracted" to it. I propose instead to say that no natural brain generates consciousness. Until mainstream science can show how consciousness arises in the brain and explain all the evidence we have that this is not what happens, the most likely explanation for an artificial brain that becomes conscious will be that consciousness was attracted and not generated.
05-27-2011, 09:00 PM
Been a while since I've visited here, and WOW are there a lot of new people. Hello, everyone!
Anyway: I can go along with the idea that science will have to uncover exactly how consciousness arises before it can be definitively assigned to the functioning of the brain. That's not hard to justify, since it's the scientists' job to figure out that sort of thing. What seems to be bothering Cromulent up above is the insistence that, until another explanation comes along, yours has to be the right one. That is, unless I'm reading him wrong. Feel free to correct me, Crom.
Scientists haven't proven that the brain generates consciousness, but they've gotten as close as they deem necessary for shutting out other explanations by correlating damage to sections of the brain with a loss of corresponding functions. On top of that, so far we don't have any well-documented (outside of anecdotes) examples of a person being functional and "conscious" in the absence of a brain. You gotta admit, scientists freely acknowledge that our study of the brain is just beginning to come together. I don't really think they have a reason to be desperate yet.
Now, if they finish a cell-by-cell mapping and replication of a living brain inside a computer simulation (in, say, 50 years or so) and it just doesn't work no matter how they set up the variables, then it'll be time to descend upon their laboratories with a copy of your book shouting "told ya so! Told ya so!"
Let me know when you plan to show up, because I'll definitely want to be there to watch :D
05-29-2011, 01:22 PM
Welcome back, dear OldManRobot! One happy thing that I didn't anticipate when I first joined these forums was how much fun it was going to be to make and grow with so many new friends!
Dear friend, the brain is essentially a receiver and transmitter of the energy frequency which is your mind. They can damage sections of the brain (or chart damage that happened accidentally), and thereby either affect or not affect the way the mind associated with that brain seems to function, but they are dealing with just your mind's receiver and transmitter. If the mind seems to be affected or not affected, that means only that certain parts of the brain are either essential or not essential to the brain's work as a receiver and transmitter. And I don't think that any honest scientist ever would be "desperate" if he had ruled out the possibility that the brain generates consciousness! Each theory which is tested and which fails its tests is one step closer to figuring out what actually is going on.
And in fact there are many well-documented cases of a person being "functional and 'conscious' in the absence of a brain"! Here are two primary kinds of such cases:
1) Near-Death Experiences (NDEs). There are many NDEs in which brains were flat-lined during the time that a person was in some other part of a hospital and could later report conversations in detail; there are instances where a person during an NDE accessed distant or inaccessible information (including at least two "shoe-on-the-roof" stories); and there is one remarkable case where a woman whose body had been therapeutically chilled (heart stopped; brain flat-lined) observed her whole operation from above, and later described it in detail. Even one such instance is enough to show that the mind is able to function outside the brain, and in fact there are many!
2) Out-of-Body Experiences (OBEs). There are so many well-document cases of OBE research which involve detailed and well-verified long-distance validation that the fact that it is possible for our minds to travel free of our physical bodies cannot be doubted by anyone with an open mind.
- And I smile at your "Told ya so!" suggestion, dear friend! But the real experts in this field - the unsung heroes who actually did all this research - are the ones who really deserve their told-ya-so moment. I'd like to nominate Raymond Moody and Robert Monroe to share that honor!
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