Documentary looks at old and new models of human consciousness |305|

#21
Oh boy. As an adult I have experienced at least one incident of time standing still for about five to ten minutes. I have had several experiences of telepathy with animals. I had one experience where I felt a force reaching through my arms, taking charge of the steering wheel and pulling my car onto the shoulder of the highway. A few moments later a car was passing the oncoming traffic on my lane, completely oblivious to what he or she was doing and continuing to pass that traffic at an obscene speed. I can make the weather change, if it is important enough… Do I come across as crazy enough yet?

I have always had access to knowledge I could not possibly have know. Now I understand that this is called claircognizant channeling, but as a little three year old that caused a lot of problems. I am also an empath, meaning I can tune into someone else’s body and experience what they are experiencing.

There are many experiences I had as a child and brushed off at that point because it could not have possibly been real. But they have stayed with me and now I realize that the emotions attached to those events are so strong that there must be an element of reality to it. At this point I can only guess what might have happened, but would probably qualify as entering a parallel reality, seeing a flying object that does not even fit the description of a UFO and more.

There was one particular incident where my mother was cooking lunch and doing laundry at the same time. She turned the frying pan on while going downstairs to hang up the laundry. All I know is that I was possessed by the urge to go outside and play. She tried to forbid it so close to lunch. I threw a temper tantrum and got my way. Once outside, the neighborhood kids pointed out the black smoke coming from my family’s kitchen window.

As you asked, this is only the tip of the iceberg, and if I was not still half asleep, I probably would not have had the courage to even mention half of this.
Thanks for your response Nicole - as Michael said this is the place to discuss these things.

I'll open up a little in appreciation of you doing the same. I have a fear of dying, and I'm looking for proof that there is something more, that there is something after. So your post had made me feel slightly better - thank you for that.

We're all here to listen and discuss with each other and as Michael said if you want to make it private you should do so.

And you're not crazy - just because Scientists can't explain this stuff so they wave it away doesn't make you crazy, you're probably the sane one.
 
#22
The scientific method is great for what it does however it does depend on the repeat ability of events whereas the so-called paranormal ones don't behave that way. I'm thinking that, for example an apple falling from a tree to the ground, will pretty much take place 100% of the time thus it can be studied and some sort of equation can be derived from that behavior that describes it.

As far as we know, this 'paranormal' does not allow for that. This has me thinking that maybe the difference is a matter of there being a 'dumb' vs 'intelligent' agency involved.
What I mean is that structurally the universe does behave a a sort of machine in that its basic functioning obeys a certain set of repeatable parameters that can be studied and applied.

Then there is us.... 'intelligent' creatures. Chaotic behaviorists if you will. Barring any debate over whether or not there is free will, can anyone predict what someone will do next? Likewise, perhaps science can't deal with the 'paranormal' because its causes do not stem from the 'dumb' behavior of the mechanical portions of the universe but from the random (to us) chaotic behavior of an outside intelligent agency. One that can also manipulate the dumb bits of the universe as we do... electromagnetism, gravity, quantum states, etc etc, into an event that is fleetingly and randomly experienced by us.
 
#23
Thank you Michael and Roberta for your kind words, and everyone else who is supporting this conversation. I did not know about the ability to start a private conversation and will follow this suggestion. I don't even need it to be private, I just want to remain on topic and think I am getting a bit off now.
I am happy to talk about being an empath or having claircognicent abilities. As for fear of dying I have two suggestions: I had a past life regression done once where the counselor took me through the dying experience and I experienced myself leaving my body of that existence. This was illuminating and maybe worth looking into.
The other one was experiencing my cat dying at home. She was a tiny little thing at the best of times, but what I saw at that moment and for a few minutes after that was a golden light illuminating half of my living room. I guess what I saw is what most people would call a soul. What remains baffling to me is how such a large field of energy managed to fit in such a tiny body.
 
#24
Thank you Michael and Roberta for your kind words, and everyone else who is supporting this conversation. I did not know about the ability to start a private conversation and will follow this suggestion. I don't even need it to be private, I just want to remain on topic and think I am getting a bit off now.
I am happy to talk about being an empath or having claircognicent abilities. As for fear of dying I have two suggestions: I had a past life regression done once where the counselor took me through the dying experience and I experienced myself leaving my body of that existence. This was illuminating and maybe worth looking into
The other one was experiencing my cat dying at home. She was a tiny little thing at the best of times, but what I saw at that moment and for a few minutes after that was a golden light illuminating half of my living room. I guess what I saw is what most people would call a soul. What remains baffling to me is how such a large field of energy managed to fit in such a tiny body.
Hi Nicole, another option for you to consider is starting a discussion thread in the Extended Consciousness & Spirituality sub-forum. That way anyone who is interested can join and it is supposed to be a user-friendly sub-forum.
 
#25
Thank you Michael and Roberta for your kind words, and everyone else who is supporting this conversation. I did not know about the ability to start a private conversation and will follow this suggestion. I don't even need it to be private, I just want to remain on topic and think I am getting a bit off now.
I am happy to talk about being an empath or having claircognicent abilities. As for fear of dying I have two suggestions: I had a past life regression done once where the counselor took me through the dying experience and I experienced myself leaving my body of that existence. This was illuminating and maybe worth looking into.
The other one was experiencing my cat dying at home. She was a tiny little thing at the best of times, but what I saw at that moment and for a few minutes after that was a golden light illuminating half of my living room. I guess what I saw is what most people would call a soul. What remains baffling to me is how such a large field of energy managed to fit in such a tiny body.
Thanks again - where can I get past life regression done?
 

Alex

Administrator
#28
Hi Alex, I wonder if you could clarify this. I've just watched the video and was looking for instances of those individuals saying "consciousness is an illusion." I couldn't find any.

What I heard was:
  • Dennett: refers to the hard problem as being a cognitive illusion (around 5:00)
  • Blackmore: talking of the sense of freewill being an illusion (around 11:00)
  • Churchland: Free will is an illusion (around 13:40)
  • Chopra: accurately describes Dennett as saying that Dennett considers the observer (ie: the self) to be an illusion (around 19:00).
  • Blackmore refers to the self as an illusion. the also refers to the problem of consciousness (ie: the hard problem) disappears. (around 22:00).
So we've got the hard problem, free will, and the sense of self - but not consciousness itself.

I think it makes a difference.
Hi Arouet... thx for the detailed summary :)

I don't think it makes a difference.
 

Alex

Administrator
#29
Also I'm amazed that certain others as well as Blackmore keep on saying that NDEs are hallucinations. It has been stated over and over again that these are very different from hallucinations, but here we are, in the very latest video, listening to the same old nonsense. It's like watching sports pundits in 2016 talking about black & white tv matches of years gone by!
great analogy. I always liked Marshall McLuhan's quote, "people don't read the Sunday Times, they get into it like a warm bath." I think it's a perfect fit for the sports analogy... we don't watch the game, we slip into it like a warm bath. I think the same is going on here, Blackmore et al aren't really interested in thinking about this stuff, they just want to slip into the warm bath of their simplification, old, comfortable beliefs.
 

Alex

Administrator
#30
(To be clear I do have great respect for Searle, who has continually shown the fantasy that a computer is conscious is not even wrong.)
I don't totally get Searle... he seems smart about the little stuff then flubs the big stuff. His comment in the film about science proving Deepak wrong about the observer is just kinda goofy. Science has ignored the observer by fiat... we just work around it. I'm just dumbfounded that he could sound so confident while saying such a silly thing.
 

Alex

Administrator
#31
Ah, I don't think there are any natural laws...I actually think the idea of laws in incoherent. (See Do Physical Laws Make Things Happen?)
nice: In "The Limits of Predictability" I tried to show the great distance between understanding a certain lawfulness inherent in events and predicting or explaining the events themselves. Contrary to all current thinking within science, the more uncompromisingly we formulate the precise and determining action of a physical law, the less it tells us about the events it governs. We gain more and more exactness about less and less of the world's concrete expression.
 

Alex

Administrator
#34
I fully agree with the last two posters. I have been looking to science to find a language I can express my strange every day experiences with, but so far had little luck. One of the few things that has become clear, is that I see or create what I focus on. If I listen to podcasts on chemtrails, I see contrail markings in the sky that cannot be explained by regular air traffic. But as I move on to the next subject of interest, the sky turns normal again. Not the slightest hint of anything 'abnormal' in the sky since.
I get some of this, but (at least for me) there's a realness (or maybe the illusion of realness :)) as well... and this predominates.

so I can set up a camera pointed at the sky and record con/chem-trails all day then load them up to youtube and discuss them with 100s of people around the world. there's a realness to this that's hard to get away from. conversely, there's a materialistic kinda feel to this as well. not sure how I feel about that.
 
#35
Lora and I appreciate Alex and this community for all the time, comments and critiques of our short documentary project! Many of you are already familiar with the information and cast and have strong opinions on the subject. We hope this short documentary will add to the overall discussion on the science of consciousness. Please visit our website http://TheDeeperYouGo.com as we have more videos and information including those that did not make the film. Julia Mossbridge, Anirban Bandyopadhyay and other "MindBytes."

Dean Radin echoed some of the sentiments in this thread and also touched on our overall objective of the film. "This is a short, wonderful introduction to the many complexities associated with the academic study of consciousness. None of it was news to me, but as a general introduction to folks who haven't thought much about consciousness, it provides a good overview. I very much enjoyed the original song."

Lora and I are excited to be presenting where we started at TSC 2016 Tucson Science of Consciousness conference this April on "Consciousness and the Arts." It's been a great ride! Currently reading: Beyond Physicalism: Toward Reconciliation of Science and Spirituality

Back to my day job :) Peace, Kevin.
 
#36
I don't totally get Searle... he seems smart about the little stuff then flubs the big stuff. His comment in the film about science proving Deepak wrong about the observer is just kinda goofy. Science has ignored the observer by fiat... we just work around it. I'm just dumbfounded that he could sound so confident while saying such a silly thing.
This made me think about the copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics where, iirc, an observer collapses waves of probability into the most probable outcome (my paraphrasing here of the 'collapsing wave function') if the 'observer' in our heads is illusory. Then again, the copenhagen interpretation has been argued as to what exactly does one need to 'be' to collapse a wave function.... a cat, an insect, non alive measuring machinery, intelligent 'conscious' creature such as a human, etc?
 
#37
Hi Arouet... thx for the detailed summary :)

I don't think it makes a difference.
If by that you mean that they are all functionally equivalent, I will respectfully disagree. I'll tell you where I see the difference and hopefully you can elaborate on your view.

Although I tend to express myself more diplomatically, I would agree with you in principle that the phrase "Consciousness is an illusion" is moronic. This assumes that we're using consciousness in the broad sense of "to have subjective experience" and similar definitions. As is often noted on this forum, the fact that I am conscious is one of the only things I can be absolutely sure of. I have experiences. That is undeniable. Further, consciousness means "to have subjective experience", an illusion is a type of subjective experience. Consciousness is the set, illusion a subset. The set must by definition be greater than the subset.

So the phrase "consciousness is an illusion" is simply nonsensical and denies the undeniable. It is bad reasoning plain and simple and does not reflect well on the person who utters it. It merits criticism in those who advance it.

I hope we can both, agree, that the criticism is only merited if the person actually made the argument. Time and time again I see the accusation made, but it never seems to be accompanied by a direct quote. The closest we see to a citation is a general reference to Dennett's "Consciousness Explained" or the title of Dennett's Ted talk "the Illusion of Consciousness". I've posted about this before: I have looked through those and many other sources. I have yet to find a single quote (with a small caveat, I've seen it once or twice uttered but the accompanying explanation makes it clear that the author really meant something different).

Of course, I could have missed it - after all I can't read and listen to everything! So if you (or anyone) can point out some direct quotes, that might change my opinion and I will stand to be corrected. But if there are none, then I would submit that the allegation should be retracted as it turns from legitimate criticism to misleading rhetoric.

Now, we have plenty of examples of these folk making comments along the lines I quoted above in terms of free will, the hard problem and the sense of self being illusory. If they are functionally equivalent to "consciousness is an illusion" then they would equally paint an unflattering picture of the reasoning skills of these thinkers. The thing is, I can't think of how they can possibly be considered equivalent.

Free will refers to how certain conscious experiences come about. The allegation of illusion refers to the proposition that the feeling (ie: a subjective experience) of our will being free is an illusion. That is, we make choices, we have intention, but they are as a result of either determined or random processes. (There are more nuances of course but I think we can keep it simple for our purposes). The argument may ultimately be demonstrated to be incorrect, but not for the manifestly terrible reasoning set out above. This is a debate that has raged for centuries and probably mellenia. There are detailed, nuanced, often imaginative and carefully reasoned arguments on both sides. Whichever side is correct, I don't think either side can be dismissed out of hand in the way that Consciousness is Illusion can be.

How about the sense of self? This is another one. First of all, it is clear that the sense of self is another subset of the set of conscious experience. There is no logical flaw there. Descartes' "I think, therefore I am" lets us have no doubt as to the fact of our existence, but it gives us no help as to what "I" actually is. I think we probably agree that the nature of the self is currently unsolved. Hypotheses abound, with many conflicting. The illusion being desribed here is the proposition that our sense of self as a single, unitary "thing" is what is illusory. The argument is that the self is not what many people think it is. Right or wrong, we can't figure this out just by thinking about it. The arguments depend on confirming the premises - they can't be discarded out of hand as terribly reasoning in the way that Consc=Illusion can. Great thinkers have wrestled with it and continue to.

Regarding the hard problem, I'm not sure I get what he's saying in that clip. I've heard Dennett talk about the hard problem not really being a problem - maybe that's what he means. Unfortunately the clip doesn't give a lot of context. So maybe we should put this one aside. I think the above makes my point.

The reason it matters is because of its affect on the debate. Lumping them all in serves to lead people to approach these very difficult issues emotionally rather than with careful thought. It convinces people through peer pressure. It's the same tactic used by people like Randi: tainting a valid line of exploration as "woo" which serves to discourage people from looking at it more closely for fear of looking stupid by even engaging it. Sure, it'll influence people's thinking but do we really want to reach our conclusions that way? It doesn't just peer pressure others, it has a similar effect on oneself.

It's important because it serves to increase bias and ingrain US/Them divisions. It reduces open mindedness and limits our thinking. It's important as a case study of a widespread practice. This isn't a partisan issue: other examples are skeptics using 'woo' or dismissing all arguments in favour of the paranormal as being due to "fear of death", or on the other side the use of "pseudoskeptic" or "biological robot".

It's important because it hurts our ability to give ourselves our best chance of figuring all this stuff out. It leads us to reject or accept ideas for the wrong reasons.

That's how I see it. Happy to elaborate further. I'm quite interested in your view.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#38
Although it just shows you that most of these interviewees really don't have any better idea of what is going on than the man in the street.
Heh, I'd even suggest the man in the street might have a better idea. As a psychologist friend of mine once said, no undergrad really believed in behaviorism - you had to get to the graduate level to embrace such stupidity. :)

There's probably one not too far from you, if you search here. I've not done it yet , but I'm going to this year. I've no association with any of them, but I would choose a Newton trained one given the choice.

http://newtoninstitute.org/locate-a-therapist/
Ah, if you're willing to share would love to hear your results. A friend of mine got it done and said it was incredibly vivid, switching from who he was in the present - black guy who works at a comic store - to a European bricklayer in medieval times.

My sister and I are also thinking of trying this separately, then coming to share the results. Want to see if we end up with at least one common past life. :)
 
#39
I get some of this, but (at least for me) there's a realness (or maybe the illusion of realness :)) as well... and this predominates.

so I can set up a camera pointed at the sky and record con/chem-trails all day then load them up to youtube and discuss them with 100s of people around the world. there's a realness to this that's hard to get away from. conversely, there's a materialistic kinda feel to this as well. not sure how I feel about that.

Yes I hear you, but what if you help create that reality by spending time on it and buy into it? With other words, by adding your energy to a subject you help give it life? At least this is the impression I am starting to get from reality.

I am making this statement based on a number of experiences that have one thing in common: I did not like a situation and resented or resisted it. Eventually I got tired of my own negativity and found a way to make peace with it. Within a month or so the person I had a problem with got fired or moved out, a politician got voted out of office, or laws changed, etc.

How I think about something and how I focus my energy does seem to directly affect my environment. I cannot will it to change, nor can I decide on an outcome I want to achieve. However, supporting or resisting it seems to affect its course.

I guess what I am suggesting is that it comes down to lobbying. If you get enough people to agree with an idea it becomes real in our consensus reality.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#40
I don't totally get Searle... he seems smart about the little stuff then flubs the big stuff. His comment in the film about science proving Deepak wrong about the observer is just kinda goofy. Science has ignored the observer by fiat... we just work around it. I'm just dumbfounded that he could sound so confident while saying such a silly thing.
This made me think about the copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics where, iirc, an observer collapses waves of probability into the most probable outcome (my paraphrasing here of the 'collapsing wave function') if the 'observer' in our heads is illusory. Then again, the copenhagen interpretation has been argued as to what exactly does one need to 'be' to collapse a wave function.... a cat, an insect, non alive measuring machinery, intelligent 'conscious' creature such as a human, etc?
Henry Stapp and Von Neumann wrote a lot about this, there's an ongoing debate in this thread about observer's collapsing the wave function right now.

Actually if he's willing Stapp might be a good guy to try and have on the show, he's not sold on parapsychology but he did write a chapter for Beyond Physicalism wherein he said that it was possible to bring in both Psi and Post-mortem survival into our current physics just by accepting the observer having the power to collapse wave functions.

Sadly me, Neil, and possibly other forum members have tried to get in touch with him via email to clarify points but don't think anyone has ever gotten a response?
 
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