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Passive consciousness

  1. Mar 14, 2007 #1
    Here's a brief explanation of the paradox between consciousness and laws of physics: Suppose there is a consciousness in a human's brains, that makes decisions about what the human does. Since muscles are controlled merely by nervous system, this means that the consciousness must somehow send messages to the muscles through the neurons. But the neurons instead function according to the laws of physics, and everything that happens in the neurons is a consequence of some previous physical events. Ultimately nothing spiritual should be able to affect neurons.

    I think there is two directions about how this paradox could be solved. The easier one is this: The physical world actually is not closed, but spiritual things can affect it. And these non-physical interactions are so weak, that they are not detectable directly, but only indirectly in brains, from which very small things can cumulate to become quite macroscopic effects on our muscles.

    Personally, I don't like this solution. It is unpleasantly mystical.

    The solution attempt I like more, is on the other hand also more difficult. As the topic says, it is about passive consciousness. I'm not sure how to explain it the best, and since people usually don't want to read too lenghty stories, I'll just try to put this briefly: Idea is that the consciousness is not making any decisions, but the decisions are made in the brains in computer like manner. The consciousness instead is something that merely observes this passively.

    You might think that this is in contradiction with our experience. You don't feel like you are passively observing your brains making decisions. You feel like making decisions your self. But this is not like looking a television. Just suppose your consciousness is passively observing computer like thinking in the brains. If your consciousness does not observe anything else, shouldn't it gain an illusion of actually performing the thinking?

    Does this make sense to anyone? :smile:
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2007
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 28, 2007 #2
    Hey there ...

    Interesting theory but wouldn't you still need a consciousness to passively observe it and run into the same problem again?

    I'm not a trained scientist by any stretch but I'd think that your theory has little on the dualist one and vice versa.

    In fact, I thought the way you laid out that "mystical" hypothesis was very convincing!

    Marco :-)
  4. Sep 28, 2007 #3
    Could it be that consciouness is result of a physical process within the neurons or to turn it around the physical process within the neurons give us a "sense" of consciouness.
  5. Sep 28, 2007 #4
    What if the decisions we make are made physically by the brain first and then we sense this consciously and become aware of it?
    There's no reason to believe that we can think about something before our brain thinks it.
  6. Sep 28, 2007 #5
    I think that that is what the majority believes in, although they probably find it insulting, that I call it mystical.

    I have difficulty seeing the message behind this. To me the consciousness and physical processes sound like different things. But that could be true, if the "physical processes" mean something more than what they mean to me now.

    This sounds like we are on the same track with this thing.
  7. Oct 5, 2007 #6
    You might do some reading on the cerebellum. Generally, we think of conciousness as residing more in the cerebrum. Yet we perform many tasks without bothering the cerebrum (some have even suggested that certain tasks can be performed locally without bothering the brain at all).
  8. Mar 25, 2008 #7
  9. Mar 25, 2008 #8
    The brain can be fooled easily. In fact, 100 years ago and even before that, people made a living traveling from town to town deceiving the mind. Optical illusions, stories that spark the imagination and all the way up to today, where TV fools the mind every day. If these are not questioned… then your mind changes it’s perception of reality.
    In my personal opinion you need 2 things in order to experience reality; Intelligence and experience.

    Intelligence: Understanding of physics and how the rules apply to the world.

    Experience: Without it, your imagination fills the gap for you and your subconscious. Leaving more possibilities to misinterpret reality.
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