Who are we reading to?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by 103734, Dec 3, 2009.

  1. 103734 Guest

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    #1
    Let me start by saying I have been researching consciousness heavily for the last few months. I think I was driving home one day when I thought "what if our consciousness dies every night and a new one is created when we wake up", this thought somewhat freaked me out because we could be fading into oblivion every night without knowing it, and every morning a new consciousness would be created with all our memories and everything that makes us us.

    So anyways I went on and after watching tons of videos looking through hundreds of Wikipedia pages I find that nobody really knows, so i started thinking, and started to try to explain it myself.

    Could it be that our brains are not where our consciousness lies? Are our brains just projectors that relays information, senses, and feelings from the physical world to our consciousness, or minds eye? For example while reading this post you read each word aloud in your head, why do we do this? Who are we reading too? What do you think?
     
  2. Unspoken Demise macrumors 68040

    Unspoken Demise

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    #2
    Well thats depends highly on which of my personalities is "in" today. :)
     
  3. bobfitz14 macrumors 65816

    bobfitz14

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    #3
    though i honestly have nothing to contribute i like this topic and i wanna see where it ends up.
     
  4. 103734 thread starter Guest

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    #4
    Thanks, I just wanted to say that I don't want this to turn into a religious debate, consciousness outside of the physical brain does not have to imply religion.
     
  5. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #5
    I don't read to myself when I read.
     
  6. 103734 thread starter Guest

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    #6
    When you are reading you don't hear the words in your head?
     
  7. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #7
    No, thats kind of weird that you do that.
     
  8. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #8
    i don't "hear" them in the sense that i would with my ears, but its almost the same thing going on internally.
     
  9. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #9
    I only do this if I am reading something from another language.
     
  10. Rampant.A.I. macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    I do this a lot when I'm reading fiction. For some books it's just more pleasurable to read if you "hear" the words being narrated as you read.

    A lot of times, if what I'm reading is written well, I develop a distinct impression of what a character's voice would sound like. Usually when I read a series of books, I'll "hear" a pretty distinct voice for each different character.

    It may just be a personality type, or the way certain people process information. I'm a very visual thinker, so it's comfortable for me to process information in this way.
     
  11. mscriv macrumors 601

    mscriv

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    #11
    OK, take a deep breath.... Now, slowly, put... down... the... pipe.... I promise everything is going to be okay, but we've got to start here.

    "Researching consciousness", that's genius, I've never heard it called that. :D
     
  12. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #12
    Thats exactly what I told my mom when I got caught :p

    That or "exploring other states of consciousness" I can't remember, my memory is a little hazy....
     
  13. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

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    I'll be researching consciousness this weekend and get back to ya. :cool:
     
  14. floyde macrumors 6502a

    floyde

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    #14
    OP you might want to check out this interesting book about consciousness. The theory is pretty much unverifiable but it's still a pretty interesting and creative approach to the origin of consciousness. It's probably wrong, but very entertaining nonetheless.

    As for your question, I don't see why that feeling of consciousness being elsewhere couldn't be just a side effect of the brain's evolution. Our brain is just a sort of reality-modeling machine. Its interpretation of the senses is not an accurate depiction of reality. The brain isn't perfect and its defects can often lead to errors in perception such as optical illusions. Dualism to me is just another example of the brain's shortcomings.
     
  15. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    #15
    I would also recommend Consciousness Explained by Dan Dennett. The title is intentionally audacious, and the position he takes will be very uncomfortable, even outrageous, to anyone mired in the sort of intuitive dualism that leads us to view ourselves as passengers in our own bodies.

    In very brief summary that is no excuse for not reading the book, asking whether consciousness takes place outside the brain is like asking whether an engine's "running" is an abstract entity that exists outside of the engine. "Mind," Dennett argues, is erroneously a noun. It should be a verb. "Mind" is what brains do. That sense of perspective, of being a unified entity inside your own body, is actually a concrete function of the brain, and one which can be (and has been) experimentally disrupted by interfering with the normal operation of parts of the brain.

    A much more technically-oriented theory of the structure of minds along similar lines can be found in Marvin Minsky's classic Society of Mind.

    I certainly do not want to suggest this is the definitive word on the subject. You will likely get a sense that Dennett is dismissing rather than addressing the subject. Much of his time is spent answering the question by trying to persuade you you're asking the wrong question. You may find support for this intuition in David Chalmers' The Conscious Mind.

    Chalmers and Dennett are counterpoints of a very active debate over whether the notion of subjectivity really makes much sense at all, by which we mean, whether we can explain it without in the process explaining it away.

    Actually, a great many people not only do this, but do it so thoroughly that the muscles of their throats subtly twitch as if speaking the words. Cultivating the ability not to do this is a feature of many "speed reading" approaches, and is a generally advantageous thing to do. Reading silently was not always considered normal. I believe it was in the most recent series of QI I first heard about how, in Augustine's Confessions he remarked of Saint Ambrose, "his eyes scanned the page and his heart sought out the meaning, but his voice was silent and his tongue was still. Anyone could approach him freely and guests were not commonly announced, so that often, when we came to visit him, we found him reading like this in silence, for he never read aloud." In the late fourth century this was apparently a remarkable ability.
     
  16. 103734 thread starter Guest

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    #16
    Well what I am trying to get at is if the brain is like a computer then we can treat it like a math function, with inputs and outputs, but with the brain there are outputs (at least some of them) are projected onto our consciousness, and some of the inputs are introduced into the brain by our consciousness.

    I mean how could a function be aware of itself?
     
  17. Rampant.A.I. macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    I tend to agree with Hegel in that consciousness starts to fall apart unless it has something to compare itself to. Without anything to observe, does anything really separate the observer?

    None of our inputs are direct ports in. Everything we experience is filtered at most through the lens of our past experiences, and at least through mechanisms. There are very very few (if any) instances where we directly experience the outside world. More often than not we are experiencing an augmented reality of our own preconceptions about what we are experiencing empirically.

    It's nearly impossible to have a sense experience without categorizing and explaining it to ourselves, and fitting it in to othe rest of our worldview.

    Hegel introduced some very strange ideas, but I think he was right in his concept of conciousness. It's in the movement, it's a forever changing, transitive experience that loses meaning if you try to take a snapshot of it or define what it is in linear terms, because your terms aren't accurately describing the motion.
     
  18. 103734 thread starter Guest

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    I remember reading about that, very interesting, brings to mind "Mary's Room" also.
     
  19. Rt&Dzine macrumors 6502a

    Rt&Dzine

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    #19
    Interesting. Haven't thought about it recently, but I used to be intrigued by split personalities. Some people had very complex systems where certain personalities were aware of other personalities and others weren't aware of any of the other personalities.
     

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