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MACJR

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Solar Power
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I often ponder these things like this. Can a rock actually have consciousness? That I exist and seem to have a consciousness indicates to me that consciousness is indeed possible at least at some level… but are only humans and “higher living things” able to have a consciousness? What about non-living things? Can non-living things have, as some believe, some sort of a consciousness too?

 

What if everything that exists in this universe has some sort of consciousness… no matter how small the particle or how rudimentary that consciousness?

 

Is it possible that everything in existence, including rocks, trees, and that gas we just passed a bit ago, and everything else in this universe that exists has a consciousness, that when combined into a whole, adds up to a Great Consciousness of Everything? When I first came to ponder that last question it dawned on me that if there really is a Great Consciousness of Everything it would seem as a god to us single elements of consciousness in that greater whole. If this off-the-wall speculation is even remotely close to being true then we humans are not the highest level creatures of consciousness that many of us like to think we are. Instead we humans end up being no more than microscopic creatures that are only a small part of what makes up God.

 

Even if all the human religions are completely wrong in their ideas and concepts of what God is, and what God is like, and what God wants/expects of us, it still seems possible to me that there could be a god of some kind… even if that God is possibly completely unaware that we, the particles within itself, have a consciousness. What if God think of us as nothing more that cells in its body? Let’s just hope that if there is a Great Consciousness of Everything God that he/she/it is not into self-mutilation and decides to burn the part of itself that is the home of humanity out of existence… as if we were some sort of cancer.

 

The article below does not get into the God aspect of consciousness but if you read it you can see the potential is there.

 

 

MACJR

 

 

 

 

Mind of a Rock

 

By JIM HOLT

The New York Times
Published: November 18, 2007

Most of us have no doubt that our fellow humans are conscious. We are also pretty sure that many animals have consciousness. Some, like the great ape species, even seem to possess self-consciousness, like us. Others, like dogs and cats and pigs, may lack a sense of self, but they certainly appear to experience inner states of pain and pleasure. About smaller creatures, like mosquitoes, we are not so sure; certainly we have few compunctions about killing them. As for plants, they obviously do not have minds, except in fairy tales. Nor do nonliving things like tables and rocks.

All that is common sense. But common sense has not always proved to be such a good guide in understanding the world. And the part of our world that is most recalcitrant to our understanding at the moment is consciousness itself. How could the electrochemical processes in the lump of gray matter that is our brain give rise to — or, even more mysteriously, be — the dazzling technicolor play of consciousness, with its transports of joy, its stabs of anguish and its stretches of mild contentment alternating with boredom? This has been called “the most important problem in the biological sciences” and even “the last frontier of science.” It engrosses the intellectual energies of a worldwide community of brain scientists, psychologists, philosophers, physicists, computer scientists and even, from time to time, the Dalai Lama.

So vexing has the problem of consciousness proved that some of these thinkers have been driven to a hypothesis that sounds desperate, if not downright crazy. Perhaps, they say, mind is not limited to the brains of some animals. Perhaps it is ubiquitous, present in every bit of matter, all the way up to galaxies, all the way down to electrons and neutrinos, not excluding medium-size things like a glass of water or a potted plant. Moreover, it did not suddenly arise when some physical particles on a certain planet chanced to come into the right configuration; rather, there has been consciousness in the cosmos from the very beginning of time.

The doctrine that the stuff of the world is fundamentally mind-stuff goes by the name of panpsychism. A few decades ago, the American philosopher Thomas Nagel showed that it is an inescapable consequence of some quite reasonable premises. First, our brains consist of material particles. Second, these particles, in certain arrangements, produce subjective thoughts and feelings. Third, physical properties alone cannot account for subjectivity. (How could the ineffable experience of tasting a strawberry ever arise from the equations of physics?) Now, Nagel reasoned, the properties of a complex system like the brain don’t just pop into existence from nowhere; they must derive from the properties of that system’s ultimate constituents. Those ultimate constituents must therefore have subjective features themselves — features that, in the right combinations, add up to our inner thoughts and feelings. But the electrons, protons and neutrons making up our brains are no different from those making up the rest of the world. So the entire universe must consist of little bits of consciousness.

Nagel himself stopped short of embracing panpsychism, but today it is enjoying something of a vogue. The Australian philosopher David Chalmers and the Oxford physicist Roger Penrose have spoken on its behalf. In the recent book “Consciousness and Its Place in Nature,” the British philosopher Galen Strawson defends panpsychism against numerous critics. How, the skeptics wonder, could bits of mind-dust, with their presumably simple mental states, combine to form the kinds of complicated experiences we humans have? After all, when you put a bunch of people in the same room, their individual minds do not form a single collective mind. (Or do they?) Then there is the inconvenient fact that you can’t scientifically test the claim that, say, the moon is having mental experiences. (But the same applies to people — how could you prove that your fellow office workers aren’t unconscious robots, like Commander Data on “Star Trek”?) Finally, there is the sheer loopiness of the idea that something like a photon could have proto-emotions, proto-beliefs and proto-desires. What could the content of a photon’s desire possibly be? “Perhaps it wishes it were a quark,” one anti-panpsychist cracked.

Panpsychism may be easier to parody than to refute. But even if it proves a cul-de-sac in the quest to understand consciousness, it might still help rouse us from a certain parochiality in our cosmic outlook. We are biological beings. We exist because of self-replicating chemicals. We detect and act on information from our environment so that the self-replication will continue. As a byproduct, we have developed brains that, we fondly believe, are the most intricate things in the universe. We look down our noses at brute matter.

Take that rock over there. It doesn’t seem to be doing much of anything, at least to our gross perception. But at the microlevel it consists of an unimaginable number of atoms connected by springy chemical bonds, all jiggling around at a rate that even our fastest supercomputer might envy. And they are not jiggling at random. The rock’s innards “see” the entire universe by means of the gravitational and electromagnetic signals it is continuously receiving. Such a system can be viewed as an all-purpose information processor, one whose inner dynamics mirror any sequence of mental states that our brains might run through. And where there is information, says panpsychism, there is consciousness. In David Chalmers’s slogan, “Experience is information from the inside; physics is information from the outside.”

But the rock doesn’t exert itself as a result of all this “thinking.” Why should it? Its existence, unlike ours, doesn’t depend on the struggle to survive and self-replicate. It is indifferent to the prospect of being pulverized. If you are poetically inclined, you might think of the rock as a purely contemplative being. And you might draw the moral that the universe is, and always has been, saturated with mind, even though we snobbish Darwinian-replicating latecomers are too blinkered to notice.

Jim Holt, a contributing writer, is working on a book about the puzzle of existence.

The New York Times


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cybnetic

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Reply with quote  #2 
Well I had a loooong statement to make on this but I will not. I think life here as yet to be discovered in humanity is faaaaarrrrrrrrr from being anywhere thought about correctly, of the mind and consciousness. Of course we speculate on things of our being and universe. we are too far young to know anything, cosmology or consciousness. Its nice to wonder and think about. Who said our planet or sun as a whole does not have one, we just are not advanced enough to hear it yet. I believe we are all star stuff and as a whole (of the universe) thing are far away yet.  But most humanitly is far from being NOT arrogant and mindfull of what they think it is truely the truth....
end transmission


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waltcesca

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Reply with quote  #3 

In Biology class (a couple of years ago), the question of what makes 'life', tha is what DEFINES 'life'. I was the only person to say that our planet is a living being, based on the whole, scientific definition of life:

Motion - Well the Earth IS moving around the sun, but take a closer look, this planet does seem to have moved around it's orbit is NOT perfect, but is eliptical! Since we cannot SEE how it moves on it's own, perhaps in ITS time consiousness, WE are still just a 'blink' in time!

Reproduction - Well, SINCE we now know the MOON did NOT rend itself from our planet, I guess the Earth doesn't reproduce, however, if on (or all) of those volcanoes erupt at the same time, who knows? Again, planetary time is NOT the same as HUMAN time!

Consumption - Well, again, as far as we know, this planet NEEDS the cosmic rays to survive. Oh wait, it DOES! 
 
Growth - Well, the more space dust hits the surface, the larger the planet gets. Additionally, this planet also grows from the inside outward! (see Volcanoes).
 
Response to stimuli - Hasn't this planet responed quit violently over the millinia to various stimuli, both natural AND man-made? Is there any doubt at ALL that when Earth is tired of something, it makes changes to effect it? Again, though, the timelines are mostly incongruent so we would have to take a VERY long view just to see a reaction! Besides, we do know that the Earth tends to 'lean' towards the Sun, it wants the heat just like we do!
 
And THAT definition is what got me MY 'A' in that particular project!


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cybnetic

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Reply with quote  #4 
yummmmmmm cosmic rays!

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13.0.0.0.0 1.618 (solstice)2012
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