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The Implications of Materialist Consciousness on Telepathy

  1. Sep 12, 2003 #1
    This is something I've been struggling with. You see, in the materialistic framework (which I've gone through great pains to explain in previous threads) there is no real "narrative" of consciousness, merely the different processings and re-processings that occur in different parts of the brain.

    So, if there is no real "stream" of consciousness, and there is no internal (physical or non-physical) mind (other than the whole brain, that is), then can telepathy still occur?

    Any ideas on this are appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 12, 2003 #2
    Sorta simple problem arises from the idea that, just because you cannot prove the 'non-materialist' brain, doesn't actually prove it, either right, or wrong, it simple tells of our collective inability to prove it/something.
  4. Sep 12, 2003 #3
  5. Sep 12, 2003 #4
    Ummm, turtle, can you prove that??
  6. Sep 12, 2003 #5
    The internal mind; the subconscious, therefore he is wrong.
  7. Sep 12, 2003 #6
    Sorry but that does NOT constitute a proof of anything, more then the simplicity of fact, that you just typed it, nothing more!
  8. Sep 12, 2003 #7


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    Does not compute. Explain how our (still primitive) ability to describe consciousness in terms of physical brain function implies that there is no internal mind maybe? Define mind and stream of consciousness?
  9. Sep 13, 2003 #8
    Re: Re: The Implications of Materialist Consciousness on Telepathy

    But I'm not denying it's existence just because I can't prove it. I'm denying it's existence because the very concept is logically flawed (in more than one way).

    I had intended this post to be in the Philosophy Forum, but sometimes my multi-tasking catches up with me . Anyway, if it were on the Philosophy Forum, then those that were up on the more recent threads would know what logical flaws I was talking about.

    As it is, I will explain one of them here (and hope that this thread gets moved soon):

    If consciousness (or "the mind") is non-physical, then it would have no way of interacting with the physical brain/body. There would need to be an intermediary "channel" - that was somehow both physical and metaphysical (which is not possible, even in principle, since anything that is not physical is metaphysical) - in order for the "mind" to communicate with the brain...ergo, logically flawed.
  10. Sep 13, 2003 #9
    The subconscious is as much a function of the brain as the conscious. Even most Idealists will accept that "knee-jerk" reactions are not conscious, but subconscious, and these can all be shown to occur in the spinal cord - which means that there needn't be any "internal mind" (an illogical concept ITFP, IMHO) to explain the subconscious.
  11. Sep 13, 2003 #10
    Re: Re: The Implications of Materialist Consciousness on Telepathy

    See my first response to Mr. Robin Parsons. It isn't just unscientific, it also seems to be logically impossible (even in principle).

    I have posited that these do not even exist. A "stream of consciousness" is, by Idealists, considered to be an on-going "stream" of consciously processed information. A sort of "narrative", if you will, of what a person is "thinking about".

    The mind is, AFAIC, the brain. However, the Idealist will have you believe that the mind is non-physical and is what "controls the brain.
  12. Sep 13, 2003 #11
    Turtle is correct if that is the presumption. The second question is would the universe be possible under such a presumption?
  13. Sep 13, 2003 #12
    Yes, the subconscious is a function of the brain, ergo, interaction between the physical (Brain) and non-physical (conscious and subconscious)
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2003
  14. Sep 13, 2003 #13
    I was replying on could telpathy occur if the universe was discret, like I said if it is discret is it possible? The question is for you.
  15. Sep 13, 2003 #14


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    Re: Re: Re: The Implications of Materialist Consciousness on Telepathy

    You are critiquing a dualist philosophy. We can equate the mind with brain processes without sacrificing the existence of the mind. If anything, denying the existence of the mind is the most supremely logically flawed argument you can make, since the mind is really the only thing whose existence we can be absolutely sure of! All of your beliefs of existence, whatever they might be, are by definition only made possible in the first place by the existence of your mind.

    So? How is this inconsistent with a physical theory of mind? In this view a stream of consciousness would simply be the subjective interpretation and awareness of ongoing physical activities in the brain. There need not be a contradiction.

    Again, let us identify consciousness with a certain level of organization of brain processes. This level of brain processes is physically based and thus can interact with other levels of brain processes. It just so happens that this level of organization has the added property of subjective awareness. Thus, it is not incorrect to say that conscious thoughts can influence or "control" other brain processes.
  16. Sep 13, 2003 #15
    No, telepathy would not occur.
  17. Sep 13, 2003 #16
    i can sometimes finish peoples sentences even after just one or two words. a form of telepathy? just intuition? who knows.

    the telepathy i've encountered did not occur on the level of thoughts, images, emotions, or sensations. yet there was this sense that there was an understanding without a formulation into the concrete, the measurable, the observable. thus a scientific quandry; it appears that the tool called science will be of no help in this area of thought.

    i'm reading "zen and the art of motorcycle mainenence" and in it, poincare is spoken about. he's a scientist, philosopher, and mathematician. he notices that ideas that are solutions to outstanding questions occur to him at the oddest times, like when stepping onto the bus, without direction from the "consciousness" in the usual sense. without application of focus or concentration; only in a state of relaxation to the most brilliant insights occur. others simply labeled him a genius but he was evidently unsatisfied with this explanation. kaku says that there are people who are occasionally lucky (in research) and those who are CONSISTANTLY "lucky." poincare identifies a part of consciousness as being responsible for the insights and calls it something like subliminal consciousness. phaedrus, the main character in the book, calls it preintellectual awareness. i've called it my higher self. the higher self is the bridge between the soul and the body (including the brain). the direction my research is going is this: rather than just be satisfied with the higher self randomly leaking information to your little self's brain, why not seek to TAP INTO IT all the time??

    i think it's possible that the higher self indeed has a physical form but that it lives in higher dimensional space. from higher dimensional space, 3D things appear to all be connected, living in the same flat world. the powers of a four (or more) dimensional being apply.

    sorry for not having crystallized my theory much before presenting it though i suspect this is just the tip of the iceburg; i suspect that everyone has a higher self, an inner being that from a 3D perspective is a genius that can be tapped into directly rather than just accidentally.

    may your journey be graceful,
  18. Sep 14, 2003 #17
    A materialistic View does not rule out flow of consciousness (as hypnagogue has rightly pointed out) as far as a materialistic repercussion on telepathy goes, it is a slightly harder questions. If you were talking about the kind of "energy imprint" that is supposedly left on an object or a space where an act has occurred, this would be rather hard to explain materialistically. Is this the kind of telepathy you would include into your definition, or is this kind entirely limited to psychics?

    As far as two peoples energies converging, reading into each others minds, there may be explanations on a materialistic level that do not conclude that you have in fact somehow converged minds as it were. Finishing each other’s sentences, for instance, could simply be in virtue of the same paths being activated with your semantic memory links. This doesn’t imply some breaching of one mind with another.

    I cannot comment on a 'higher self' present in another dimension, it is not something that can really be shown to or not to exist (though maybe with help of a more developed science scope then we currently have, unless there is something of which I am not aware, we might be able to ask and test questions such as these).

    phoenixthoth, out of curiosity, are you a believer in a priori knowledge?

    I do not believe that there is anything that some form of science will not be able to at least inquire into, even if it is in a more non-material realm. For the things that you are talking to actually be, even if you claim they are non-material, from your position it seems they still have an effect on the material world. this is something in which science can measure.

    As far as I am aware, there are studies being done on telepathy, mainly on the reliability of the people who claim to hold telepathic ability compared to those who purport to have none. if these results find no greater ability in the telepathic to the control, one could argue that all have telepathic ability and just are unaware of it even when they are using it. But I would imagine (and correct me if I am miss representing telepathy here) that a phenomenon like telepathy is a skill that grows with time and practice, if this is indeed the case then you would expect the telepathist’s, who regularly practice their skill (I would imagine) would still be more accurate than the control. Is anyone aware of such studies, or know of any to discuss? if there are, and the results are positive, then science can help you in this field, its just not very advanced in methodology yet.

    If there is nothing outside the material, there will be a materialistic answer to telepathy. it won’t rule it out, it will just explain why we think it exists. Even if there is something outside the materialistic world, it is obviously having an effect on the material world (how is quite another, complex question) and therefore can still be studied by 'materialistic' science.
  19. Sep 14, 2003 #18
    Ok three strikes and out, guess the bad was on me for not being clear. If the universe is of the discret telepathy would be imppossible. Agreed.

    The question is would the universe be possible if matter is discret.

    Darkwing, if you were born into darkness or you were born into light when would you know the difference? Did you know part of your prremise of what you spoke is actually the opposite of the king with no cloths. The (kings) say all you people, you have no cloths on, and all the people agree. If the people acknowlged the cloths what else would they acknolege and if they did would it be a great enough force to change that which is comming.
  20. Sep 14, 2003 #19
    I am not too sure what you are getting at here. Do you mean that we only know what we are exposed to, and that once we start questioning outside our terrain of what we have been told/ think to be true/can actually see we are entering unstable ground?

    My argument was simply that if this thing called telepathy is in fact a non-material thing, a function of the brain or 'spirit' that brain science/biology cannot explain as something else, then we still have access to it via scientific inquiry as it seems to have an effect on the materialistic world. At what point would I know darkness if I was born into light? when I experienced darkness, or had found a way to inquire into it even if I could not see it. how do we know we are looking for even if we came up next to it when we knew nothing about it? we test it. we observe it. lets see the effects, and infer what we can from them. yes, go question everything, and only believe in the things that you have justified reasoning to believe in. telepathy either exists as an extra sensory phenomenon that lies outside of the material world, or it is a folk explanation for a complex physical phenomena. if the latter, then telepathy and materialism are not incompatible. this is all.

    If I have completely misread you I apologize.
  21. Sep 14, 2003 #20
    Humm, without sidetracking the arguements, nothing about it can be proven, thus; you are entitled to admiting that you think (a belief) it is a "real, and existent phenomenon", or professing a belief (you think) that it is NOT a "real, and existent phenomenon".
    Those being the options, choose for yourself whatever you believe, or think you have experienced..............(but cannot prove! to anyone, other then yourself)
  22. Sep 14, 2003 #21
    No apologies needed either way. The point of being born into total darkness or into total light is that you do no know the difference until you step out of it. Until that moment you would think that all that you are is normal and everyone is like you. Only when you step out of your circle and see different people, cultures etc... Do you see that what you realize is true, but that some people do not know it exists withing themselves even if they perform it unconciously and mark it as something else or just write it off.

    The king(s) in mmy viewpoint is not so much so called science(is controled by the following), but big business, goverentments and those who look to profit from human kind and ravage the planet. You see if the the truth is known suddenly you must project out ward fromt that truth conciously or unconciously. In that moment and in that moment alone will the world be able to bear such a truth.
  23. Sep 14, 2003 #22
    Humm, you are born into a place of BOTH "Light" and "Darkness", isn't that obvious(?), for that is how/why you can know the difference.
    After that, "all" is simply discourse upon concordant/discordant expression of relative Truths.
  24. Sep 14, 2003 #23
    If what is the assumption?
  25. Sep 14, 2003 #24
    Re: Re: Re: Re: The Implications of Materialist Consciousness on Telepathy

    Sure enough, and I don't doubt the existence of my mind, I just completely equate it with my brain. There is no difference (such is my current opinion).

    Yes there is a contradiction, if any of it is "subjective". You cannot be "aware of ongoing processes in the brain", there's no way for you to "see" your brain! Thus, if you posit that consciousness is the subjective experience of what goes on in the brain, then it is something other than the brain itself that is "conscious" of this "experience".

    Not in the purely materialistic PoV. I want this to be absolutely clear (though I have made the same point in another thread): in the purely materialistic paradigm, there is nothing that isn't physical. There are no "emergent properties" (which are subjectively experienced as a "result of physical processes), since there is nothing but the physical.

    A conscious though doesn't exist, in the materialistic paradigm. The idea of a "conscious thought" is an illusion, a "trick" that the brain plays on itself. Much of this has already been covered, and is being discussed in this thread.
  26. Sep 14, 2003 #25


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    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Implications of Materialist Consciousness on Telepathy

    The brain produces consciousness. Hence, activity in the brain is not being observed by a detached awareness; rather, activity in the brain is the subjective awareness itself. There is no contradiction.

    And yet we know that subjective experience exists. How to reconcile the apparent duality between material existence and mental existence? Simple: reconceive our notion of the nature of material existence itself. Namely, it appears as if "material" and "mental" are really two sides of the same coin.

    Well, then either you are redefining what a "conscious thought" is, or the materialist paradigm is wrong. Simple as that. Conscious thoughts exist axiomatically; we cannot reason our way out of it. It doesn't matter if you call consciousness a trick or illusion, the fact of the matter is that it still exists. Calling consciousness an illusion really does not change the issue at hand; trying to describe how material reality can create the "illusion" of consciousness is every bit as problematic as trying to describe how it can create "actual" consciousness, whatever that might be and however it might be different from "illusory" consciousness. In either situation, we still have the problem of how to explain the absolutely undeniable existence of qualia.
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