Seth and I went to a “consciousness” talk the other night that explored the topic and panpsychism.
Really I think asking if things or life forms are conscious or not is the wrong question.
I’m inclined to believe an interior conscious experience is like a hologram or a shadow produced by a flame elsewhere. Consciousness is an illusion, and I think more of a byproduct of language.
Language creates awareness of self which is how we more or less identify consciousness. Is there self awareness. Beyond that, having an experience is really not a helpful way of defining consciousness. Everything and anything can have an experience. The quality of that experience is determined by degrees of complexity, which is facilitated by the hardware (brain/neural net complexity), but also the software (culture/language capacity).
Consciousness is this weird slippery slope. Too anthropomorphized.
Everything is indeed one and connected. There is an energy pulsating and vibrating throughout the universe. The ecology of the earth has a harmonic energy that creates interdependent ecosystems that support and build on each other. All matter and energy is recycled after death and chaos and created into new life and order.
I don’t know if it matters if a creature is conscious or not. It’s almost the wrong question. Maybe asking is a neuron is conscious has the same implications as asking if a person is conscious. It doesn’t matter so long as we don’t see how it all fits into the big picture.
What is the whole?
In regards to asking the experience is of other organisms or objects, I think it’s worth exploring and studying.
I just think we can study it without asking if there is a comparable “inner state”
I feel like studying Consciousness leads us to mystical and spiritual and pseudoscientific conclusions that cannot be measured or quantified, anymore than astrology or notions of God can be made scientific.
The concept of consciousness is just as specious as the concept of god.
It doesn’t mean anything specific. It’s a placeholder for our ignorance. It’s too broad.
I think studying the brain is important. Neuroscience. And information processing. Semantic processing. Computational processing. Genetic expression. Information storage and retrieval. I think being able to quantify signal/sensory processing and response behaviors is critical.
The whole paradigm of consciousness is prohibitive, I think.
We need a different word or a different paradigm.
Inputs go into a complex convoluted neural net with various encoded biases which process that information in the context of environment which includes cultural structures and programming, and then storage and outputs.
It’s weird to think that all [sensory] input data is structured before it enters the brain. That there is a habitus that filters sense data before we can perceive it and process it.
Then there are all these levels of information processing. The triune Brain. Then separate faculties, different brain regions that constantly are parallel processing with the rest. Then the integration of all these into some background operating system, which is beyond our notion of consciousness, existing in the subconscious, and it goes even deeper. Do individual neurons process and store information at a genetic level? How many iterations of information processing occur? Then there’s storage. The ability to store information seems critical to an experience. Memory. Epigenetics. All condition an experience, and give rise to it. Is memory critical to experience? What types of memory? Implicit? Explicit? Can we have experience without the other? Then there is retrieval. Storage is typically not the issue. It’s the ability to retrieve information. Most of which occurs unconsciously. But how crucial is retrieval?
This all occurs in the brain and body. But what about on a cellular level? Do cells process and store and retrieve information? Yes. Do they have senses? Sure, very simple keys and locks etc, little communication and signaling mechanisms.
But does it matter? Does it actually matter “what it’s like” to be a bat or human or cell? Or does all that matter is how it can adapt and survive?