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What is consciousness






world-understanding / necessary + properties + consciousness + Penrose, stw5417NEBP





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Contribution 0-266
How Roger Penrose characterizes consciousness

 
 

 
Necessary qualities of consciousness

(after Roger Penrose)

 
 
The British mathematician Roger Penrose tries to define exactly how consciousness differs from mechanisms that only simulate consciousness (e.g. AI).
 
What distinguishes objects with consciousness, he argues, are
     
  • common sense
     
  • to distinguish between TRUE and FALSE,
     
  • Understand
     
  • and artistic evaluation.

I, Gebhard Greiter, would at least accept:
     
  • Abstraction ability

 
Many unconscious factors go into conscious judgments, says Penrose: experience, intuition, prejudice, and often even the wrong use of logic. And so the result of such judgments by third parties can never be predicted with certainty.


Penrose (on p. 401 of his book Computer thinking):
 
I mean because of that
     
  • that only unconscious brain activity takes place in accordance with algorithmic processes,
     
  • while conscious thinking is quite different from this and proceeds in a way that cannot be described by any algorithm.

Oddly enough, the views I express here are almost an inversion of other often-heard opinions.
 
It is often argued that the conscious mind behaves in a rational and understandable way, while the unconscious is enigmatic.
 
AI researchers often claim that any train of thought that can be consciously understood can be automated by AI. Only in unconscious processes do you have - still! - no idea how to automate them.
 
 
However, I am of the opinion that unconscious processes can very well be algorithmic, but only on an extremely complicated level, the details of which are immensely difficult for us to disentangle.
 
The fully conscious, completely logically and rationally explainable thinking can also often be formulated algorithmically, but always only on a completely different level: Not on the level of rule-based processes (the firing of neurons, etc.), but the processing of entire thoughts.
 
Sometimes this thought manipulation has an algorithmic character (think of arithmetic), but sometimes not (such as when finding a proof for Kurt Gödel's incompleteness theorem).
 
The formation of judgments - which I consider to be an essential feature of consciousness - can only ever be partially formulated using algorithms.
 


 
Even the judiciary recognizes that Penrose is right with his last statement: Supreme appeal courts - the German Federal Constitutional Court, for example - often decide with a majority, so they recognize that even judges can consciously disagree.
 
It is assumed that they do not disagree, i.e. that they remain objective.
 
The fact that people can come to different judgments in the same situation could be due to the fact that they always think on slightly different levels of abstraction. Algorithms, however, have no continuum of levels of abstraction.
 
 

 
 
What does awareness have to do with aesthetics?

 
How did Penrose come up with the idea that (see above) the ability to "artistically evaluate" is also an important property of consciousness?


Penrose (on p. 411 of his book Computer thinking):
 
For me there is little doubt that the importance of aesthetic criteria applies not only to lightning-fast judgments of inspiration, but also to the much more frequent judgments that we constantly form ourselves in mathematical or scientific work:
 
Strict evidence is usually only that latest Step. Before doing this, one has to make a lot of assumptions, and for this purpose, aesthetic beliefs are extremely important - always constrained, of course, by known facts and logical inference.
 
Paul Dirac, for example, was firmly convinced that it was only his lively sense of mathematical beauty that gave him an idea of ​​his equation for the electron, while others searched in vain for it. [Dirac: Pretty Mathematics, in: Int. J. Theor. Physics, 21, pp. 603-605 (1982)].
 


Physically self-contained systems clearly have the urge to develop towards stable states of equilibrium. Since they are usually particularly symmetrical, one might wonder whether nature and our consciousness might not classify as particularly aesthetic and desirable all that - under given boundary conditions - has the maximum possible symmetry.
 
Could emergence not then arise so often - and again and again with very similar results - simply because there is an inherent urge in nature to strive for as much symmetry and balance as possible?

 

Contribution 0-71
What physicists - Lee Smolin, for example - tell us about the nature of consciousness

 
 

 
What Lee Smolin Says About Consciousness

 


Lee Smolin (quoted from page 270 of his book TIME REBORN, 2013):
 

The problem ofconsciousness is an aspect of the question of what the world really is:
 
We don't know what a rock really is, or an atom, or an electron. We can only observe how they interact with other things and thereby describe their relational properties. Perhaps everything has external and internal aspects:
  • The e x t e r n a l properties are those that science can capture and describe - through interactions, in terms of relationships.
     
  • The i n t e r n a l aspect is the intrinsic essence; it is the reality that is not expressible in the language of interactions and relationships.

Consciousness, whatever it is, is an aspect of the intrinsic essence of brains.
 


If Smolin is right about this, we will never be able to understand how consciousness comes about.
 
See how Kant and Bohr describe the limits of physics:
 
 
We only know things how they affect us.
 
Physics cannot fathom how nature works.

 
 
Nevertheless, it makes sense to think about how consciousness - according to its effect and its essence - can best be characterized:

 

Contribution 0-103
As a biologist defines consciousness and subconscious: Both go seamlessly into one another

 
 

 
Conscious and subconscious

 
 
Ulrich Warnke - a biologist and inventor of alternative medical treatment methods - understands the consciousness of biological beings as an extension of their subconscious:


 

awareness is the driving force and ability of a being
 
To recognize information as such and to process it in a targeted - intelligent way.

 
Consciousness is therefore a p r o c e s. But doesn't every computer have a consciousness according to this definition? No, not at all, because:
 
Just looking at the conscious mind means not adequately appreciating the role of the subconscious.
 
 
The Subconscious man enables him
 
To receive information about feelings and to process it intelligently:

 
 
Well over 95% of all information processing that takes place in a person is provided by the subconscious. It takes about 109 Information units per second. Hardly 1% of it gets over the consciousness threshold.
 
Even more important: Our reason, which is controlled by the conscious mind, has no control over the automatically running emotional activities of the subconscious, and that is a good thing, because the automatic of the subconscious reacts highly intelligently and orders of magnitude faster than our consciously working mind. This serves our protection, and in addition, we get the opportunity to concentrate in our conscious thinking on the respective essentials, so that we are not inhibited by a compulsion to completely process all information that is constantly flooding us: We can make our own decisions Set priorities.
 


 
How good our extremely fast one Subconscious our rather slow one awareness supports,
 
make the following examples clear:

 
 
Spectators at Formula 1 races can see the exact position of the racing car, even if it is traveling at 320 km / h (i.e. 83 meters / sec).
That should actually be impossible, because our brain has a detection delay of 100 ms, which corresponds to 8.3 meters at this speed.
 
So we have a preview mechanism, an anticipatory recognition of moving stimuli by the retina. It has been proven that the visual apparatus, controlled by our subconscious, runs ahead of the object, so that we are not aware of what our eye is seeing, but instead an extrapolation from it, which exactly compensates for the necessary delay in recognition.
 
 
Derek H. Fender (California Institute of Technology) was able to prove in an experiment: The eye looks a full 6 ms before a light beam staggering on a random path reaches any point on the wall, at precisely that point.
 
 
Once the eye has captured an object, it takes 30 ms for the light-sensitive nerves to be stimulated. Another 5 ms are required to transmit the information to the brain. And another 100 ms pass until the event is associated with a corresponding experience.
 
It therefore takes 135 ms from the perception of an object to its conscious recognition. Taking into account the 6 ms advance autofocus, one arrives at 141 ms, which our visual apparatus leads ahead of the conscious recognition of the object.
 
 
As early as the 1980s, Benjamin Libet was able to demonstrate through experiments that our brain can target something in a targeted manner before our consciousness knows about it (see here). In his experiments, the awareness of wanting to move a finger was only present 200 ms before the movement. Even 550 ms before the movement, however, there was evidence of brain activity in preparation for this movement.
 
Libet was not believed at the time, because after all that could mean that humans have no free will. But Libet himself saw no contradiction to free will in the results of his experiments. He was even able to show that his test subjects prepared the movement unconsciously, but were then quite able to willingly refrain from doing it up to 100 ms before the planned execution time.
 
If one adds more recent test results, one thing is certain:
 
The subjective experience of an act of will only occurs on average 200 ms after the start of the brain activity that prepares its implementation.

 
 
 
Source: Ulrich Warnke: Quantum philosophy, Scorpio 2011, chapter 4


 

Contribution 0-236
The essence of consciousness

 
 

 
The essence of consciousness

(to Görnitz)

 


Brigitte and Thomas Görnitz (2002):
 

A person is aware when he can become aware of it.

 
One recognizes from this: beings with consciousness must be able to reflect on themselves. As will be shown in the following, this is only possible if the concrete information that represents your knowledge of yourself is given by a quantum physical state of your memory:
 
 
The essence of consciousness becomes recognizable at its highest level, the reflective consciousness: It must be able to develop up to self-consciousness.
 
Even humans only acquire the ability to become self-conscious after they are born.
 
Reflected awareness is information that knows itself. Consciousness in itself must therefore have the potential to know itself.
 
 
Self-reflecting consciousness must be able to map concrete information about itself to a real subset of this information, quasi "isomorphically". This can only succeed - for mathematical reasons alone - if the state space of the memory available to consciousness has an infinitely large cardinality, i.e. if it is a quantum-theoretical state space.
 
Because: Classical structures are unambiguous, so they can only have finite state space.
 
Proof: If a state space could be mapped isomporphously onto a subset of itself, it would not be unique.
 


From what has been said here it follows in particular that
 
 
AI implemented on classic computers cannot have any consciousness whatsoever.


 
 
Source: Thomas & Brigitte Görnitz: The creative cosmos, Spektrum-Verlag (2002), chap. 12.4, pp. 314-320


 

Contribution 0-270
Do consciousness and matter also interact through resonance in a wide variety of fields?

 
 

 
How do consciousness and matter interact?

 
 
It is obvious that our consciousness - our will - can cause the body's own matter to react clearly: nobody else could move at will or even raise their arm.
 
As experiments by Jahn and Dunne have shown for the first time in a well reproducible manner, the will of biological organisms (of humans, but - as has been shown - e.g. also of chicken chicks) can at least to a lesser extent influence the behavior of humans:
 
 
Since all known physical processes can ultimately be traced back to field excitations (waves and wave packets), Jahn and Dunne think that this could also apply to consciousness:
 
Just as an electron is most likely to be "strong" in the vicinity of an atomic nucleus, our consciousness seems to be localized in our head, but could ultimately - as a wave packet - only have significant "strength" there, but otherwise - like all field excitations - produce effects from a distance practically everywhere, even if only extremely weak.
 
Psychokinesis (PK) - so Jahn and Dunne believe - can be traced back to such action at a distance.
 
Like the physicist David Bohm, however, they do not believe
     
  • that consciousness and matter can become productive in isolation from one another
     
  • or that psychokinesis can be traced back to the transfer of some as yet unknown force.

The message is probably more subtle, says Jahn: It may be that it makes no sense to consider matter and consciousness separately from one another. The only thing we can perceive - so he says - is the fact that in some way both penetrate each other.
 
But if power transmission is not involved, what can the interaction of matter and consciousness be traced back to?
 
Bohm, Jahn and Dunne suspect that psychokinesis can be traced back to an exchange of information between consciousness and matter, which one should not imagine as a flow between the mental and the material, but rather as a resonance between the two wave packages that represent it.
 
It is interesting that some of the test persons even felt it this way:
 
The most frequently cited factor that was associated with a successful conduct of the experiment was the desire to create a "harmony" with the device to be influenced.
 
One subject described this feeling as being immersed in the process leading to a loss of self-awareness:
    "I do not feel any direct influence on the apparatus, but rather an imperceptible influence when I am in harmony with it. It is as if I were sitting in a canoe: if it swims where I want to, I let myself drift, but it takes one other course, I try to stop it and give it the opportunity to re-establish harmony with me. "
[Jahn and Dunne: Margins of Reality, P. 142]
 
 
Some of the experiments by Jahn & Dunne:
 
 
Robert C. Jahn, professor of space science and part-time dean of the engineering department at Princeton University, became a PK researcher by chance: he was a specialist in rocket propulsion in deep space and the author of the authoritative handbook Physics of electric propulsion for his area of ​​expertise. He didn't believe in paranormal phenomena when a student turned to him with a request to monitor a PK experiment that she was planning to conduct as an independent study project.
 
Jahn reluctantly agreed, but found the test results so exciting that he founded the institute in 1979 Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) has been. Since then, PEAR researchers have
     
  • not only provided convincing evidence for the existence of telekinesis,
     
  • but also gathered more data on this topic than anyone else in the USA.

Together with a close colleague - the clinical psychologist Brenda Dunne - Jahn spent a lot of time and effort researching a phenomenon that in the eyes of orthodox experts does not even exist. Jahn said: I think this area is far more important than anything else I've ever worked on.
     
  • In a series of experiments, Jahn and Dunne used a so-called Random Event Generator (REG): a device that uses a purely random natural process, such as radioactive decay, to determine random sequences of binary values ​​0 or 1. It can be interpreted as an automatic coin thrower that performs a huge number of coin tosses in a very short time. As everyone knows, statistically the ratio of heads and tails should converge to 1: 1.
     
    Jahn and Dunne put volunteer test subjects in front of the REG, who were supposed to concentrate on achieving a large number of heads or tails that deviated from the norm. In the course of several hundred thousand tests, it turned out that the test subjects actually had a small but statistically significant influence on the output of the REG. In addition, it was discovered:
       
    • The ability to produce PK effects was not limited to a few gifted individuals, but was present in most of the test subjects.
       
    • Furthermore, different people achieved different and consistently clear results that were so characteristic that Jahn and Dunne referred to them as "signatures".

     
  • In another series of experiments, Jahn and Dunne use a kind of slot machine in which 900 balls, each 1.5 cm in diameter, circled around 330 nylon pegs and then finally distributed among 19 collecting containers at the lower end of the "Spielatomat". The device consisted of a 3 meter high and 1.8 meter wide frame with a clear front pane so that the test subjects could watch the balls fall down between the obstacles and finally collect in the containers. Usually more balls fall into the middle containers than into the outer ones, and in the end the distribution resembles a bell-shaped, symmetrical curve.
       
    • As with the REG, Jahn and Dunne worked with volunteer test persons who - sitting in front of the apparatus - were supposed to try to "maneuver" more balls into the outer than the inner container through their willpower alone.
       
    • Here, too, it was possible to change the "landing behavior" of the balls slightly, but significantly, in the course of numerous rounds.

      Jahn and Dunne think they have proven that our consciousness can influence not only microscopic processes, such as the decay of a radioactive substance, but even the behavior of macroscopic objects, the path of the spheres.
       
      Even more: The "signatures" of individual people who had already participated in the REG experiment were also found again in the slot machine experiment - with individual fluctuations, as also occur with other talents.

 
In summary, Jahn and Dunne state:
    "Small partial results of this kind can of course be assigned to the range of random behavior and therefore do not justify a revision of conventional scientific assumptions. The overall result, however, undeniably shows a deviation of considerable extent."

It is interesting that the same was true when one worked with chicken chicks instead of test persons:
 
Separated by a fence, there was a group of chicks in this experiment and - on the other side of the fence - a machine made as similar as possible to a chicken, which carried out typical movements for chickens in random directions, so that - as long as no chicks were present - this artificial chicken was on average always the same distance from the fence.
 
If a larger number of chicks was then placed across from the fence - Jahn and his student were able to observe how the focus of the places where the artificial chicken was located was barely noticeable, but reproducibly significant over certain periods of time Zaun moved, ie to the chicks, which could have seen their mother in that artificial hen.
 
 
Note: It should be clear to everyone that these are experiments, the results of which a majority of established scientists are rather skeptical. Nevertheless: They seem well documented, so should be repeatable at any time - by whoever.

 
 
Swell:
     
  • Michael Talbot: The holographic universe (1992), pp. 134-138.
     
    But be careful: This book is cited from chap. 6 also to sources that certainly cannot be classified as serious.
    Even when Talbot, for once, reports on his own experiences, I cannot believe him. At the latest when writing this book, he seems to have become an esoteric to me.
     
    In the first part of the book, however, there are opinions and theories discussed by scientists who deserve to be taken seriously. But it is better to study their own writings to be sure that Talbot does not distort them inappropriately.
     
    Talbot makes several references to the work of professors in the field of psychology (e.g. Kenneth Ring, [1], [2]). But I don't know what status they are. Are or were they recognized scientists? If so, were they still the same as authors of their later works? How should Stanislav Grof be classified? It seems reasonable to me what he wrote here about the relationship between religion - more generally: spirituality - and science.
     
    Talbot's book can be viewed completely online.
     
  • Lynn McTaggart: The Field (2001)
    Again, caution is advised: Lynn McTaggart is a journalist, not a scientist. Their sources are not very precise either.
     
  • Robert G. Jahn, Brenda J. Dunne: Margins of Reality - The Role of Consciousness in the Physical World (2009)
     
  • Jahn's Bio and Selected Publications on his Engineering Anomalies Research (1987-1996)


 

Contribution 0-277
Where does consciousness end? Does it even end anywhere?

 
 

 
Heisenberg's question:

Where does consciousness end?



 
Is it completely pointless to think of a "consciousness" behind the ordering structures of the world on a large scale, whose "intention" they are?

 
Of course this is a humanization of the problem, because the word "consciousness" is formed from human experience. So one shouldn't actually use this term outside of the human realm.
 
If one restricts so much, it would no longer be allowed to speak of the consciousness of an animal. But one has the feeling that such a way of speaking contains a certain sense.
 
You can feel that the term "consciousness" becomes wider and more nebulous when we try to apply it outside of the human realm.
 


 
Source: Werner Heisenberg: The part and the whole (1969), p. 290.


 

Post 949-16
About the concepts of consciousness and reality

 
 
 
why does man often try that real To capture something ??? What is "really"?


Hi H...,

if your question was meant as

Why do people often try to grasp the real something?


The answer seems clear to me: He is simply curious and therefore wonders whether what he previously thought was unfounded might not have a reason after all.

Whether what he then finds is of a greater or lesser reality than what he already knew is a completely different matter (and could differ from case to case).

From the point of view of quantum physics, the state into which a quantum jumps when you observe it is certainly more concrete than the superimposed state in which it was previously. But is it also more real because of that? Both appear to me to be equally real (they are just states of different kinds).

But if I can shake hands with a person, they will surely be more real to me than if I only know them through a photo (even if I can be sure that it has not been manipulated).

 
 
What is actually consciousness and perception ???


I define:

A thing has consciousness when it can distinguish itself from others.


The fact, however, that the philosophers have not yet come up with this simple explanation leaves me speechless.

That one thing D1 can perceive another thing D2 means in my eyes
  • that D1 receives signals coming from D2
  • and who can use it to form a self-aware image (model) of D2.
It is irrelevant whether the signals coming from D2 are generated by D2 or (think of a mirror) were only deflected by it in the direction of D1.

Best regards,
grtgrt
 

Post 949-30
How could one imagine cosmic consciousness?

 
 
 
... again the question of what is "conscious". Well, we have a lot of matter that has somehow been meaningfully linked.
Then there flow elect. Currents. And as long as they are flowing, this matter can react to other matter in a secret way.
There is more to come here ...
 

Hi H ...,

It seems to me that when one speaks of physical objects having a "consciousness" one should not take this word too literally - it seems to me the one that fits best among all the available terms. Perhaps the right word for it has yet to be found.

An example of physical consciousness (as I will say in the future) speaks to me from pictures that show how electrons arrange themselves in the orbitals of an atom (or how atoms in molecules arrange themselves according to a certain pattern). You about

You can't help but get the impression that electrons or molecules meet like people when they come to a meeting and then arrange themselves appropriately around a table (since they are aware of each other).

This conceptual approach seems to me the rail on which one has to imagine physical consciousness: as a kind of equilibrium that adjusts itself. Disturbances occur where such a balance is violently disturbed or prevented, and disturbances in this sense could well be comparable to disturbances in society that occur when, for example, murderers murder, thieves steal, or dictators rule as Stalin ruled.

In one case as in the other, the laws of nature guarantee that such disturbances will disappear again (the equilibrium will therefore level out again). Cosmic consciousness could simply consist in the urge of nature to repeatedly establish equilibrium following mathematical laws (something like what happens when you stir water in a bucket: if you stop stirring, the surface of the water quickly becomes smooth again).

Best regards,
grtgrt
 

Contribution 1730-54
What is (human) consciousness?

 
Before we can find a common denominator, we should first compare what we mean by consciousness.

For me, consciousness is what we consciously perceive.
So everything that we can grasp with our senses.
Hearing seeing, feeling tasting, etc. we experience all of this consciously. Our brain perceives it and we know about it.
Beknow comes from Knowledge.

What we do not know does not take place in our consciousness either.

For example, we don't know what happened before we existed. one can only infer what happened there through physical knowledge. But deliberately nobody experienced that.

Thus everything that happens beyond our horizon of perception, be it spatially or temporally, is not an event of consciousness.

Therefore can dead matter also have no consciousness

Let us assume that the universe existed exactly as it is.
Only there would be no people and no animals with consciousness. Or maybe there would be no living beings at all.

Then where would the consciousness be?