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Thread: Of all the lives that have been and are being lived, why do you happen to be living this life right now?

  1. #1 Of all the lives that have been and are being lived, why do you happen to be living this life right now? 
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    Who experiences your life? - YouTube

    Fascinating video on what neuroscientific evidence suggests about selfhood.


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    Forum Masters Degree LuciDreaming's Avatar
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    I don't know if it exactly explains neuroscientific ideas of self hood - in fact as far as I am aware neuroscientists are quite keen to stay away from issues concerning the self and identity and "seats of consciousness" unless they find something interesting.

    The man has a nice idea about how we should all behave towards each other - the premise of his argument is noble and well-intentioned. I don't think there is evidence here of why we should be that way though and I don't think a universal consciousness that we all share will convince most people to start loving each other unconditionally. Its little more than the soul taken out of individuals and joined together to make a universal soul...


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    "And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh" Nietzsche.
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    I think the evidence goes like this: Consciousness arises due to physical interactions of the type seen in brains. Therefore, it isn't a property that is unique to each of us; instead, it is a universal possibility which our brains engage- every brain taps into the same Universal potential, and it is this Universal potential for experience to happen which actually does the experiencing. For this reason, we have an incentive to minimize pain and maximize pleasure not just for ourselves, but for all conscious beings, because the only self which does any experiencing at all, this universal potential, is shared by all of us.

    I agree that it won't convince most people, in fact, if it convinces a small fraction of people we'll be on the right track. After all, the vast majority of people aren't convinced of something as straightforward and evident as evolution by natural selection, so there isn't much hope for such an abstract, tradition-defying idea as this.
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    Northern Horse Whisperer Moderator scheherazade's Avatar
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    I await with interest our discovery of precisely when in fetal development that neural activity actually begins, to learn of what sensory perception the fetus may actual experience while still in the womb.

    Likewise, I am equally interested in where that neural platform goes upon death, whether it ebbs slowly, winks out suddenly or just returns to the 'background' from which it arose.

    I hypothesize that consciousness is 'the something' that arises from the apparent 'nothing'.
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    Forum Masters Degree LuciDreaming's Avatar
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    Babies are most definitely hearing at about the 6 month mark in the womb and they can distinguish voices from birth and have specific memory of noises heard in the womb. I think that would be considered within the realms of consciousness.

    I rather like the idea consciousness is an emergent property of neural activity but who knows. Daniel Dennett wrote an interesting book called Consciousness Explained which actually stops short of doing that but it has some very interesting ideas.
    "And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh" Nietzsche.
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    Babies are most definitely hearing at about the 6 month mark in the womb and they can distinguish voices from birth and have specific memory of noises heard in the womb. I think that would be considered within the realms of consciousness.
    Just barely. Perception at that level isn't really consciousness in any real sense of the word, it certainly is neurological function but that's not the same thing. A foetus just doesn't get enough oxygen to get near what we think of as consciousness.

    I've come round to the view that it's very much like coma in a breathing adult or child. If you've done the sit beside the bed and talk, read aloud or play favourite music thing you can see the comatose person change their facial "expression" or relax their limbs. It's hard to say what they do because they do nothing you can describe precisely but it's obvious when they're "pleased" or satisfied with a loved person's voice or a particular piece of music.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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    I've read Consciousness Explained, and I agree with his critics that it is better called "Consciousness Explained Away". Dennett, being a hard materialist, is forced to dismiss the existence of consciousness because it does not fit that constrained paradigm. I find it quite a silly proposition, that consciousness does not exist, because one must have conscious awareness of holding that belief in order to express it!
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    Forum Masters Degree LuciDreaming's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    Babies are most definitely hearing at about the 6 month mark in the womb and they can distinguish voices from birth and have specific memory of noises heard in the womb. I think that would be considered within the realms of consciousness.
    Just barely. Perception at that level isn't really consciousness in any real sense of the word, it certainly is neurological function but that's not the same thing. A foetus just doesn't get enough oxygen to get near what we think of as consciousness.

    I've come round to the view that it's very much like coma in a breathing adult or child. If you've done the sit beside the bed and talk, read aloud or play favourite music thing you can see the comatose person change their facial "expression" or relax their limbs. It's hard to say what they do because they do nothing you can describe precisely but it's obvious when they're "pleased" or satisfied with a loved person's voice or a particular piece of music.
    I'll dig the research out - it could have been Alison Gopnik but whoever it was did a very elegant experiment showing new born infants responding to certain sounds played to them previously in the womb. I agree totally that its not consciousness as we would consider it when they are in the womb but memory for auditory stimuli starts pre-birth.
    "And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh" Nietzsche.
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