I started dealing with this issue in October 2017. My research at that time ended up with a post I called
“CONSCIOUSNESS, MULTIVERSE AND NIRVANA”
That work is still useful for me despite the new knowledge I have now and share here on this page.
Quran 17/85 says about Ruh/the spirit: “And (ed. if) they ask you, [O Muhammad], about the Ruh. Say, “The Ruh is of the affair of my Lord. And mankind has not been given of knowledge except a little.“
Year 500 we knew very little compared to what we know today.“NDE experiences challenge the idea that our consciousness, our minds are created by the brain”
Bruce Greyson, prof emeritus, Division at perceptual studies, Psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences, in “Surviving death” (Netflix)
it looks like Consciousness can be something separated from the brain. People during NDE and a clinically dead brain can make observations and even met and talk with others, like dead relatives.
read more in www.kinberg.net/wordpress/stellan/nde-afterlife/
I documented my neuroscience knowledge in www.kinberg.net/wordpress/stellan/neuroscience/I use some of these facts in my comments and conclusions. After a long trip that started in 2017, I am back to the issue consciousness.
What is consciousness? Consciousness is the second most difficult issue that I ever met. The most difficult has so far been the Quantum math language (Riemann math etc). You find this math in the main menu above under learning-math.
I looked at a great Youtube with Anil Seth who is a Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience University of Sussex. His speech is available also at https://soundcloud.com/royal-institution/sets/ri-science-podcast. His lesson was difficult to follow but it was worth it.
I discovered then Dan Bennett, a philosopher that has access and studied the latest neuroscience, Something Descartes, Kant, Locke, and others never could. You find my notes from his lessons under Philosopher view of consciousness
I was not so satisfied with Dan Bennet’s seminar. So I continued my search and found a seminar with Tony Nader. Tony Nader defines Consciousness in a very detailed way.
He connects nicely the issue of Consciousness to the implications of scientific discoveries like the heliocentric worldview and the quantum particle discoveries. He uses his impressing knowledge in physics, philosophy (Descartes) religion, and physiology describing Consciousness and the problems and solutions we see and have with its research.
The last video I saw was “Surviving death” in Netflix. a documentary announced by med.virginia.edu
writing this page, helped me to To digest the information Anil Seth, Susan Greenfield, and Daniel Bennett gave. hope that my screenshots and notes will be useful for you too.
- Previous articles
- etymology and definitions
- Soul and consciousness
- Philosophers view of consciousness
- Scientists about consciousness
- neuroscience (opens in a separate page)
- Physicists about consciousness
- chimpanzees and men
- Artificial intelligence
- Consciousness without brain
- consciousness in the human brain
- can survive death
- can return to the body
- can enter a new body
- a higher state of consciousness during meditation
I wrote about consciousness, “Faith and “Science”, body, soul and spirit” and then about neurotheology and neuroscience. This is a list with links to the pages I have written so far.
- 2017/10/22/consciousness-multiverse and Nirvana
Etymology and definitions
Let us look at the etymology of the word consciousness. The abstract noun consciousness is formed with the adjective conscious (that is related to conscience) and the element -ness.
“conscious” is like “with knowing”)
So let us now abandon etymology and continue with…
the definition of conscience
Conscience, a personal sense of the moral content of one’s own conduct, intentions, or character with regard to a feeling of obligation to do right or be good. Conscience, usually informed by acculturation and instruction, is thus generally understood to give intuitively authoritative judgments regarding the moral quality of single actions.
As Susan Greenfield says “consciousness can not be formally defined as it can not be referred to a higher set (like love is an emotion)” But if you search for a definition you find online. Let me start with a selection of some available definitions of consciousness.
the definition of consciousness
- the quality or state of being aware especially of something within oneself
- the state or fact of being conscious of an external object, state, or fact
“Consciousness is everything you experience. It is the tune stuck in your head, the sweetness of chocolate mousse, the throbbing pain of a toothache, the fierce love for your child, and the bitter knowledge that eventually all feelings will end.” Read more at www.scientificamerican.com
National Library of Medicine
In the Journal of Medicine and life, I found this text:
Conscience and Consciousness: a definition” written by Vithoulkas and Moresany. They write in their abstract “Conscience and consciousness are part of a system of information that governs our experience and decision-making process.” (read more at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov )
Soul and consciousness
It is important to distinguish between soul and consciousness. I wrote about “BODY, SOUL AND SPIRIT” in a separate page.
According to the definitions of soul, the soul and consciousness share many properties.
|embodied in human beings||X||X|
|confers individuality and humanity||X||X|
|subject of emotional states and that is responsible for planning and practical thinking||X|
|bearer of such virtues as courage and justice.
philosophers view of consciousness
A philosopher who thought about consciousness is René Descartes. He wrote in his Cartesian ontology about:
- Res Extensa (“extended and unthinking thing”) is one of the two substances described by (often referred to as “radical dualism”), alongside res cogitans “a thinking and unextended thing”
- Res cogitans is also referred to as the soul “
He thought that: “Res Extensa and res cogitans are mutually exclusive and this makes it possible to conceptualize the complete intellectual independence from the body. ( Source: Wiki )
Translating Descartes “Cogito, ergo sum” with modern neurology conclusions we could say “I predict myself, therefore I am”
Daniel Bennett gives a philosophical view that integrates modern neuroscience. in his youtube lecture “What is consciousness?” he said a definition that I liked
“Consciousness is the brain’s interface for itself (ed. not for us). It’s the simplification that is most useful for the control of the body. My consciousness is … your user interface to my mind. If you want to know my mind, ask me. I can talk to you about it, what sensation I have. It is a fractional edited summary of every human going on in my brain.”
The images we see are sent from retina flipped upside- down. As I remember from physiology University courses about the retina, the retina sends also information about lines and movement of these, as photoreceptor cells in the retina are interconnected in different cell lines. A preprocessing of visual information is made in the retina.
consciousness is real magic
Daniel has read “Net of magic” written by an Indian magician and philosopher Lee Siegel he uses to explain the magic of Conscience he means
is out of and beyond the limit of scientific study.
Lee Siegel said:
“Real magic in other words, refers to the magic that’s not real,
while the magic that is real that can actually be done is not real magic.“
Daniel Bennet says then “the same thing is true for consciousness”
Real consciousness is impossible to explain.
Consciousness defies explanation because consciousness is real magic.
The American flag illusion
Dan asks to stare at the cross in the flag. When the flag disappears red stripes appear.
As I remember from courses about the eye retina, it is the retina that creates these red stripe signals. The green light photoreceptors become inactivated a few seconds after having been stimulated. The red photoreceptors, having not been stimulated, continue to send signals, creating the image of red stripes. Maybe I have misinterpreted the lesson I attended or Dan does not know about the retina preprocessing work.
He goes into a much more complicated explanation.
How to address and circumvent this problem
Maximal bland computationalism and diffusive computation
the brain is a computational system consisting of trillions of registers in a 3d parallel array, registers where you can store a value, a magnitude of something. In this image, the green dots represent trillions of registers in our brains.
The values in each register can changes as a function of another register if connected with axons. The registers can include:
- subcellular activity
- neuro modular activity
The brain is a control system
You see what you expect to see.
If a brain gets a suggestion of something in a picture, the brain forms a set of expectations by seemingly painting a picture for itself to look at. How the brain does that is not understood. An example of this is the illusion of a cube in this picture. You can see the cube in four ways (ed. As I see it),
- from the top,
- from under,
- through black holes,
- with black circles behind. (min 34:50)
One of these phenomena/views is called modal completion
Get rid of the Cartesian theater
Consciousness is just machinery like in a factory where nobody is home.
“The clothes have no emperor” (As Voorhees describes Bennetts theory, 2000). To have a theory of consciousness you must get rid of the emperor. Bennetts’s theory is counterintuitive.
The tuned deck made by Ralph Hull explained
The trick lies in the “the”
Daniel Bennetts conclusion that I have difficulties to understand is
“the magic of consciousness, like stage magic, defies explanation only so long we take it at face value. Once we appreciate all the non-mysterious ways in which the brain can create benign user illusions “we can begin to imagine how the brain creates consciousness.”
Daniela Lucangeli holds a degree in Philosophy from Padua University and a Ph.D. in Developmental Sciences from Leiden University. She is a tenured professor at the Education, Psychology and Medicine department of Padua University.
Daniela Lucangeli talks about this issue in TedXMilano
I listened to psychologist Tart, emeritus professor of psychology at the University of California and his colleague about Gurdjieff’s theory about how to become more conscious. Tart says among others:
“Gurdjieff shared a method on how to become more aware or awake.
The essence of the method is that ordinarily our attention gets totally absorbed in whatever we are perceiving. So if I were listening or talking to you, I would be totally absorbed by what you are saying. But Gurdjieff said that you have to split your attention so you also pay attention back to how you are reacting and what you are doing, as well as taking in from outside.”
If you have been with a therapist you may for sure have been asked “What are you feeling now?”
Know more by listening to this youtube:
I wrote about biocentrism January 2018 in www.kinberg.net/wordpress/stellan/2018/01/21/biocentrism-shoot-yourself/
I think that Biocentrism and what it says, is interesting for the issue of consciousness.
The seven principles of biocentrism are:
- The first principle of biocentrism is based on
- the premise that what we observe is dependent on the observer,
- and says that what we perceive as reality is “a process that involves our consciousness.”
- The second and third principles state that “our external and internal perceptions are intertwined”
- and that the behavior of particles “is inextricably linked to the presence of an observer,” respectively.
- The fourth principle suggests that consciousness must exist and that without it “matter dwells in an undetermined state of probability
- The fifth principle points to the structure of the universe itself, and that the laws, forces, and constants of the universe appear to be fine-tuned for life.
- Finally, the sixth and seventh principles state that space
- and time are not objects or things, but rather tools of our animal understanding.
Lanza says that we carry space and time around with us “like turtles with shells.”
Biocentrism does not answer what consciousness is but emphasizes the limits of our consciousness.
- We know that about 99.9% of all material, in reality, is not material but empty space.
- With the help of Einstein, we also know that space is curved by gravitation.
- and that light from our sun distant stars takes time, 8 min up to billions of years to reach our eyes.
Our brain or “predicting machine” as Helmholtz called it, is not able to see this emptiness as our eyes are not able to see it with the retina sensitivity we have.
We are neither able to see the slight curvature of space on Earth so what we believe is a straight line is in reality curved.
Because of the time, it takes for light to reach earth from distant stars and galaxies, these stars like our sun are not where they seem to be.
But to conclude that the things we see are an illusion or image created by our brain is to go too far. That’s the reason I write in my biocentrism page “Do not shoot yourself”.
In other words “when someone throws stones on you, do not think that stones don’t exist as it is an image of your brain.
neuro-scientists about consciousness
Tony Nader about Consciousness and physiology
Tony Nader is a Lebanese neuro-scientist, researcher, university president, author and leader of the Transcendental Meditation movement. He has a medical degree in internal medicine, received his Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and worked as a clinical and research fellow at a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. ( Wiki )
I looked at this video with him. He defines consciousness and explains the different levels of consciousness in this video. I added screenshots and notes from his seminar, below
Despite Nader talk about this issue late in his seminar, I add to start with this:
There are in Science a hard problem and an easy problem. Bot Nader and Greenfield talk about it (read my neuroscience page. )
The hard problem for science
- the hard problem for Science:
how do I subjectively experience the redness of a flower?
How do I become conscious of what I am doing?
- the hard problem for Science:
Which are the grandmother cell that finally tells the red flower is a rose?
- How can you ever tell that someone has consciousness?
- I may be the only one who has consciousness and you are zombies. Consciousness is one of the most intimate aspects of our lives.
- Do animals and trees have consciousness?
The easy problem for science
however difficult it is, we will one day be able to grasp one aspect of consciousness.
The scientists want to solve this problem looking at the neural correlates of consciousness, thinking, etc, and brain injuries with different techniques, EEG, and others… With these techniques, we can say today what a patient is thinking about. Or we can see if a patient e.g. in a coma and vegetative states respond to an invite to think about something.
- the intimate relationship between consciousness and physiology
if something happens in your physiology consciousness is involved
If something happens in your consciousness, physiology is involved.
Information can be processed at different levels of consciousness. Not all that you learn is conscious.
Information can be stored at lower levels, like e.g how to drive a car.
We learn a lot of things subconsciously without being conscious
Information processing levels
consciousness can be in
- relative state
consciousness changes, it is object referral. it refers itself to some thoughts or activity or functioning
- absolute state
Is consciousness something or just a product of language?
These are aspects of consciousness:
This word is used in some countries instead of consciousness. But it has an ethical value.
consciousness is to be awake and conscious of something and the ability to evaluate ourselves and our environment. But
Consciousness and awareness are different things
- Consciousness is a state of being a conscious individual.
- Awareness is the ability to be aware of something.
The brain and its Physiology can be aware of something (like light signals). The brain can react but the individual may not be conscious about it.
I have had the feeling on the street that someone is looking at me. My physiology reacted probably because my eyes saw someone’s eyes e.g. in a window while I was not aware about it. Only looking around I could see that in fact, someone was looking at me from a window. Can it have been that my amygdala signaled my cortex about it?
different levels or quality of Consciousness
- Locked-in state
You are conscious but in a paralyzed body
- Minimal conscious states
you go through states of dreaming – waking -sleeping while being minimally responsive. It is a sort of vegetative state.
No dreaming – wake -sleeping cycles
- vegetative state
can have some consciousness but
the brain is sleeping but the body is walking with violent expressions
consciousness about only its own consciousness. Shows different physiology, physiology goes in deep rest, a rest bigger that is deeper than in deep sleep while the individual is keeping a high awareness.
A comment of mine: I think that I have experienced a Locked-in State having Sleep_paralysis experience a few times. My body was paralyzed but I heared voices in my apartment. I tried to turn around to see who was there but couldn’t. It was a scaring experience the first time. Then i recognized it the second time.
I have also experienced hypnosis where my friend who hypnotized me took over my will controlling my hand over the table. I came out of the hypnosis when it started raining outside and raindrops hit the windows.
We are the observer that may have as object of our observation, the consciousness. Consciousness is also the process of observation.
Types of consciousness
is the sense of self you have an identity
Tells you or others about your intentions, wishes, etc.
The nervous system
Nader shares in his seminar a view of the nervous system important for understanding how we get awake and conscious about our world. I share his slides in my neuroscience page.
Like the material world is described by a unified field of all the laws of Nature starting from a singularity
so the assumption is that consciousness
- is both singularity (one reality) and a plurality
- at the same time it is unity and diversity and
- manifest and nonmanifest
We are deceived by our senses.
This theory has led to a lot of stupid conclusions like “orch OR being the proof of the existence of the soul “and similar. I copy here some info from Wikipedia: explaining what Orch OR really is:
Orchestrated objective reduction (Orch OR) is a biological theory of mind that postulates that consciousness originates at the quantum level inside neurons, rather than the conventional view that it is a product of connections between neurons. The mechanism is held to be a quantum process called objective reduction that is orchestrated by cellular structures called microtubules. It is proposed that the theory may answer the hard problem of consciousness and provide a mechanism for free will . The hypothesis was first put forward in the early 1990s by Nobel laureate for physics, Roger Penrose, and anaesthesiologist and psychologist Stuart Hameroff. The hypothesis combines approaches from molecular biology, neuroscience, pharmacology, philosophy, quantum information theory, and quantum gravity.
While mainstream theories assert that consciousness emerges as the complexity of the computations performed by cerebral neurons increases, Orch OR posits that consciousness is based on non-computable quantum processing performed by qubits formed collectively on cellular microtubules, a process significantly amplified in the neurons. The qubits are based on oscillating dipoles forming superposed resonance rings in helical pathways throughout lattices of microtubules. The oscillations are either electric, due to charge separation from London forces, or magnetic, due to electron spin—and possibly also due to nuclear spins (that can remain isolated for longer periods) that occur in gigahertz, megahertz, and kilohertz frequency ranges. Orchestration refers to the hypothetical process by which connective proteins, such as microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs), influence or orchestrate qubit state reduction by modifying the spacetime-separation of their superimposed states. The latter is based on Penrose’s objective-collapse theory for interpreting quantum mechanics, which postulates the existence of an objective threshold governing the collapse of quantum-states, related to the difference of the space-time curvature of these states in the universe’s fine-scale structure.
Roger Pensrose talks about ORCH in the Youtube below.
I pasted in part of the manuscript below the video.
Roger Pennrose says from min 1:25:
“I think there is a lot of computational activity going on in the brain but this is basically unconscious.
So consciousness seems to me to be something quite different. What we do when we understand something is not computing.
There’s something else going on. And at the same time I’m a great believer in science and what’s going on in our heads is still the same laws that are going on in the universe outside us.
However, those laws are not things that we necessarily fully understand today. To be understanding something, you need to be aware of it. And to be aware of it, you’re conscious of it. And so you are invoking your consciousness. So to me there is something outside the computational laws of physics.
And when I wrote my book, “The Emperor’s New Mind” I was trying to develop this idea, and I was trying to say, well, there is something else out there.
What could it be?
Where is the biggest gap in our understanding of physics?
- the Schrödinger equation
- and the making of the measurement,
and they’re inconsistent. I say it quite strongly, it’s not just that we haven’t got the right interpretation of quantum mechanics, they’re just inconsistent. Now that’s interesting.
When we look back
- quantum mechanics on the one hand
- Einstein’s theory of general relativity
Microtubules are composed of alpha- and beta-tubulin subunits assembled into linear protofilaments. A single microtubule contains 10 to 15 protofilaments (13 in mammalian cells) that wind together to form a 24 nm wide hollow cylinder. Microtubules are structures that can rapidly grow (via polymerization) or shrink (via depolymerization) in size, depending on how many tubulin molecules they contain. (nature.com )
A string theorist about Consciousness
John Hagelin is a string theorist. “During his time at CERN, SLAC and MUM, Hagelin worked on supersymmetric extensions of the standard model and grand unification theories. His work on the flipped SU(5) heterotic superstring theory is considered one of the more successful unified field theories, or “theories of everything”, and was highlighted in 1991 in a cover story in Discover magazine.” ( Wiki )
shares a rather curious view of Consciousness that i personally do not understand so well. But as Nader said (see video above) there is a state of consciousness where you observe your own consciousness. You reach it with meditation and for John Hagelin with TM.
In 1987 and 1989 JohnHagelin, graduated in physics published two papers in the Maharishi University of Management’s Journal of Modern Science and Vedic Science in which he claimed that superstring theory’s “unified field” was identical to what Maharishi Mahesh Yogi called the “unified field of consciousness”. (Read more in Wiki )
Here is the article called “Is Consciousness the Unified Field? A Field Theorist’s Perspective” in www.miu.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2014/07/hagelin.pdf
Anil Seth about consciousness
Anil Seth isAnil K Seth is a professor in cognitive and computational neuroscience at the Sussex University.
Here are few screenshots of his video with some comments of mine. He refers to a previous lecture about the “beast machine” See www.youtube.com/watch?v=1syDjtlMGbo )
Anil made me remember when I was operated here on Lipari a few years ago. I wake up maybe 30 minutes later but it was like only a second passed. My conscious was deactivated. No dreams, just nothing.
We are the beast machines.
Anil Seth says: “Our conscious sense of self arises because of and not despite of the fact that we too (ed. like animals) are beast machines.”
1998 Sutherland, Sussex University, wroteThings have however changed a lot since 1998. Crick and Koch wrote 1990 this article:
- From studies in physiology, we know that “Life is a constellation of partially separable processes, metabolism, homeostasis, reproduction” In the same way we can maybe learn what consciousness is by breaking down the study to three parts (taken from different parts of the lecture:
- levels: the different aspects and dimensions of consciousness levels, e.g. the difference between being in dreamless sleep, coma, under general anesthesia, or being awake. conscious experiences are highly informative and integrated. Depends on a complex balance of differentiation and integration
- contents: what you are conscious about, e.g. sights, emotions, feelings, believes. We are conscious of something. These are the brain’s best “guesses” of the causes of its sensory inputs.
- self: the experience of being you. There are many aspects of self (min 42):
- bodily self, identifying with and owning a particular body
- perspectival self, perceiving the world from a specific perspective
- volitional self, a concept of will the perspective of making thing happen (at min 42.50)
- narrative self
- social self
- there are different levels of consciousness and wakefullness, like it is illustrated in this image:
Understanding the underlying mechanisms
Anil Seth said about this:
- the number of neurons does not matter. there are 4 times more neurons in our cerebellum than in our cortex and you do not lose consciousness with damages in cerebellum
- thalamus and underlying brain regions are more like on-off switches.
- The brain is very active during sleep
- consciousness depends on how to different regions and talk to each other”.
transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and EEG to see how brain regions talk with each other in specific ways
Massimini et al in Italy used 2005 transcranial magnetic stimulation TMS and listened to echoes in the brain with electroencephalography EEG. he found that, when we are awake, echoes bounce around all over the cortex. Different regions of the cortex talk with each other.
This happens also with TMS during sleep but during sleep, the echoes stay more localized to the point of stimulation and the echoes do not last very long.
The complexity of these echoes can be quantified as illustrated in the graph below with the Perturbation complexity index (PCI) as one scale.
There is a huge amount of information in all kind of conscious experiences
the brain – a prediction machine
- Herman Helmholtz, a German physicist physiologist proposed the idea that the brain is a kind of prediction machine.
- What we see and feel is the brain’s best guess about the causes of sensory inputs.
- The brain is locked into the skull and has indirect access to the external existing objects. All it receives are ambiguous and noisy sensory signals.
- Examples of this is shown from minute 24.
This reminds me about an experiment where you remove vowels from a text (disemvoweling a text) Your brain is still able to predict and read texts like reading this “Th qck brwn fx jmps vr th lzy dg”
We have different kind of prediction (at min 44:44)
- proprioceptive predictions based on proprioceptive signals that inform the brain about the body’s configuration and position in space
- interoceptive predictions from signals that originate from within the body,
I wonder if this could be the limbic system, that warns about a danger
- exteroceptive predictions
The body is always making inferences about what is part of the body and what is not.
Top-down, inside out connections
To down, connections are important for perception.
Top-down connections convey predictions from high levels to lower levels back out to the sensory surfaces like in this image:
“normal perception is a fantasy that is constrained by reality.”
The historian of art F.H. Gombrich said:
this has much in commons with neuroscience, that perception is largely an act of imagination and creation. Perception is hypothesis testing. (min 52:29)
Visual and tactile signals to convince your brain that a fake hand is part of your body
Anil shows a fantastic experiment where a volunteer think that a fake hand is his own hand. This has to be seen in ANil Seth’s youtube. (min 47:52)
, I listened to an interview in a Swedish television documentary about the brain “Din hjärna”. Michael Gazzaniga, psychologist and neuroscientist, talks about multiple consciousnesses and the interpreter. His conclusions are based on split-brain research. He said among others:
“Maybe all of the specialized systems in the brain have their own engines for consciousness, have their own capacity to take a skill and generate for it this felt sense of something.
Consciousness is the feeling about a capacity you have a feeling about.
A thing you’re doing, feeling about, you’re seeing or hearing feeling about. A skill so maybe it’s in terms of thinking of left brain hemisphere conscious, right brain hemisphere conscious. You talk about a highly distributed conscious system that comes with each skill that we possess as a species and there’s a lot of them.
So then all of a sudden you don’t think in terms of just, “we turn one conscious system into two”. There’s all these systems distributed throughout this specialized brain.”
About the interpreter
if I understand it correctly, is that the left hemisphere is constantly post-hoc giving explanations, rationalizing.
The left brain hemisphere knows what is going on in the right brain hemisphere thanks to millions of connections between these halves in the “corpus callosum”
The left half is the one that can talk.
i the right half is cut out, the left brain makes its own conclusions in “the “interpreter”
Michael Gazzaniga talks about the interpreter in this youtube:
This is the second youtube that talks about neuroscientific studies of consciousness. It is a brainstorm experience to follow her so I had to look at this lecture twice. I found her lecture very interesting,
She starts with the first assumption:
1 that consciousness can not be formally defined as it can not be referred to a higher set (like love is an emotion).
Nor can we define its functional property as consciousness is “when you do what you are”.
The second assumption is
2. The hard problem is the difference between consciousness and unconsciousness
“is an addon luxury on normal consciousness” and meta representation that children get after one and 1½ years.
a rat never looks at the windows and says “Ia am a rat” but they could be conscious.
where you are conscious but you are not conscious of a particular thing even though it may inform that current state
3. Consciousness is created by, for and for the brain.
4. Any scientific explanation must include the quintessential feature of consciousness: subjectivity.
Susan said: There is no singular center for consciousness
I moved her cortex slice image to my neuroscience page at www.kinberg.net/wordpress/stellan/neuroscience/#brainbasics
We think that an adult can be more or less conscious and that an adult normally is more conscious than a child and a child is more conscious than a fetus.
We also think that a human is more conscious than a chimp that is more conscious than a dog that is more conscious than a rat etc.
Consciousness is like a dimmer switch
Neuroscience is searching for a process where Consciousness is a variable.
They think that large scale groups of neurons (>10 million) (assembly of neurons) that are not defined by anatomical brain regions/systems could be a candidate for such a process.
They have studied how stimuli engage in different assemblies. She compares this with a stone (stimuli) thrown in the water and the number of waves that are produced (the assembly activated)
The assemblies engaged after stimuli depends on several factors: neurotransmitters and other activities going on (like distractions or dreams that may not allow a clock alarm to wake you up.)
These are the main neurotransmitters in the brain. They go everywhere in the brain but acetylcholine seems to work as a modulator. As a modulator, it makes a cell more or less sensitive to a response opening or closing K+ channels according to this picture:
- 8minNeuroepinephrine (upper left)
- Serotonin, Dopamine
Pain is correlated with the size of Neuron assembly (56:32)
Modulators fluctuate on diurnal bases., so we have diurnal pain thresholds. (min 56:24)
Less is known how they work.
possible (min: 59:29 )
Here are the possible relations between neuronal activity and physiology
(min: 59:37 )
So meditation could have a very distracting/reducing effect on pain?
The power of the mind
I think this video is interesting.
My hippocampus works
The images in this section are taken from the RI video with Eleanore Maguire RI seminar 2014 )
(Source: Eleanore MAguire RI seminar 2014 )
Behind the Amygdala and above the parahippocampal gyrus. The hippocampus was damaged in Henry Molaison when operated 1957 to help him get rid of Epilepsia.
Hippocampus memory function is confirmed by functional studies with mri (FMRI). “Place cells” in the hippocampus embody memories for particular place memories.
Hippocampus is engaged in these functions:
Said during an interview at the end of the seminar:
- People with hippocampus damages can not visualize stories in books.
The hippocampus talks to the frontal cortex in autobiographical memories but the frontal cortex is more active in creating a sense of self.
Physicists about Consciousness
“Consciousness the new State of Matter”
Copied from my post “Consciousness, Multiverse and Nirvana”:
proof of consciousness
Giulio Tononi from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, who proposed in 2008 that if you wanted to prove that something had consciousness, you had to demonstrate two specific traits.
- According to his integrated information theory (IIT), the first of these traits is that a conscious being must be capable of storing, processing, and recalling large amounts of information.
- And second,” explains the arXiv.org blog,“this information must be integrated in a unified whole, (ed. Like seeing ice cubes in water as icewater) so that it is impossible to divide into independent parts.”. Read more in www.sciencealert.com
1. IIT about consciousness
“Integrated information theory (IIT) does so (ed. help to understand why the cerebral cortex gives rise to consciousness) by starting from experience itself via five phenomenological axioms/properties required of physical mechanisms to support consciousness:
- intrinsic existence,
that my experience here and now exists (it is real) is the only fact I can be sure of immediately and absolutely
Consciousness is structured. Within one experience I may distinguish a book, a blue color, a blue book, the left side, a blue book on the left, and so on
Consciousness is specific. An experience may include phenomenal distinctions specifying a large number of spatial locations, several positive concepts, such as a bedroom (as opposed to no bedroom), a bed (as opposed to no bed), a book (as opposed to no book), a blue color (as opposed to no blue)
Consciousness is unified. Seeing a blue book is not reducible to seeing a book without the color blue, plus the color blue without the book.
- and exclusion.
Consciousness is definite, in content and spatio-temporal grain.
the experience I am having is of seeing a bookcase with books, one of which is a blue book.
the consciousness of chimps
Can a robot have consciousness? According to the definition of Tononi, these could.
I wonder if AI research will help us understand consciousness. They could maybe develop a robot that has the same problem as we have, understanding their own consciousness and code.
Can a robot ever be able to understand its programmer’s code and algorithms?
What importance has quantum physics to make this happen? This question will maybe answer my question “Has our consciousness something to do with Quantum physics phenomena.
Consciousness without a brain
It is very difficult to find information about NDE in Swedish psychiatric literature. “Brain materialism” seems to be religion in Sweden and many seem to seek explanations like NDE= hallucinations and are satisfied with death= end of everything. I find only one article that deals with it seriously.
consciousness in a human brain
That kind of consciousness is pretty well described by Tony Nader and John Hagelin (see http://www.kinberg.net/wordpress/stellan/consciousness/ ).
Consciousness does not depend on a brain
We have a mind or consciousness that seems to survive death.
I saw two doc in Netflix:
- Surviving death S1.E1 Near-death experiences (NDE)
- Surviving death S1.E6 Reincarnation
I have dealt with NDE and reincarnation since the time of Kubler Ross.
See my latest pages and articles:
Our consciousness continues to exist without the brain. Many who had NDE (near death experiences) have witnessed this (Eben Alexander and others).
consciousness continues like a larger reality making it possible to see and hear things we could not when it is hosted in our brain. We can observe our own body, what healthcare personnel are doing with it.
I recommend all who are interested in consciousness to read about NDE (near-death experiences.).
As I wrote in my introduction, Bruce Greyson, prof emeritus, Division at perceptual studies, Psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences, in “Surviving death” (Netflix) said:
“NDE experiences challenges the idea that our consciousness, our minds are created by the brain”
Read more in med.virginia.edu
consciousness can return to the body it left
If our consciousness regains the brain, the survivor remembers those NDE.
consciousness can get a new body (reincarnation)
If our consciousness is getting a new body (as in reincarnation) the memories of its previous earthly life is remembered as dreams (or nightmares) in children up to a few years age (1 to 5-6). With the development of speech, children can give more detailed information with articulate words, about its previous life.
Many childhood memories of a previous life “will fade with time. That in no way diminishes the strength in the child’s original experience.”
Ian Stephenson says: “the assumption is that when your brain dies, your brain perishes also. That is so deeply believed that scientists fail to understand that it is in the end an assumption only. And there is no reason why aspects of the mind wouldn’t survive the death of the brain.
Jim Tucker, University of Virginia: “While we will never fully solve the greatest of all mysteries, what happens after death, the evidence is starting to suggest that we might be part of a grander existence that we can’t fully fathom.”
Cases documented in the S1.E6:
- Gitxsan Alex Stoney/ Albert Tate case
- Atlas//Jaylen Robinson case
Atlas is born 2014 Jaylen died 2005,
- Ryan Hammons/Marty Martyn case
50+ of Ryan’s statements about Marty were correct.
- James Leninger/James Huston Jr case
Photo: James Leninger with James Huston Jr’s sister
James Leniner as an adult said: “I think that the soul, whatever’s there carries on. I think especially James Huston’s case. I think that there was something he hadn’t accomplished. there was something he was meant to do, that he hadn’t done. And this was the second chance for his legacy to live on.”
a higher state of consciousness during meditation
If a person during NDE can see health care personnel working with their body and even talk with other dead relatives and experience feelings then it is maybe possible to reach a higher state of consciousness during meditation like Buddhists and Hindu claims that Siddharta had entering the so called Nirvana.
Jesus maybe had such a consciousness being able to see what happened in the town as it was out of sight (see the donkey story)
We can not look at ourselves without a mirror except when we have NDE.
We will probably never know what consciousness really is.
I think we must create our own visions and believes.