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Copyright © 2009 Ray Dickenson
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"Consciousness"

Consciousness Examined

"Consciousness itself is not explicable from brain activity"

Taylor / Gregory


Roger Penrose - "A scientific world view which does not profoundly come to terms with the problem of conscious minds can have no serious pretensions of completeness." - `Shadows of the Mind' p. 8

V.A. Firsoff - "Somewhere at that indeterminate quantal level strange, unmapped forces seem to be at work and the ultimate control of life processes and of the processes of our minds may be vested in these forces - perhaps these forces are the mind" - [Preface "Life Among the Stars" V.A. Firsoff - London 1974]

Duggins et al - "... Visual consciousness must then be considered non-local and inseparable: the microconsciousness does not exist." - ["Is the Bell Inequality Violated in Visual Perception?"]


brain cross-section
Brain Diagram template from "Going Inside" John McCrone 1999 Faber and Faber ISBN 0-571-20101-6


NEW BRAIN - cerebrum, frontal lobes and cortex: where logic, conscious thought, empathy and art are created.  New-brain is a modern development of humans and other advanced mammals.

New-brain is sometimes called the 'fore brain'.


Modern designers would say 'new brain' possesses superb damage-limitation, safety / survival and redundancy / recovery features.  I.e. its sensing and control crosses over laterally - each side of brain controls opposite side of body - and vertically - top of brain controls feet & legs, mid-side of brain controls upper body and arms, lower-side of brain controls head, speech, hearing. etc

Indications are that the more `human' thought processes - consciousness, valuing beauty, art, emotions and relating to others - are unique to the `new brain' and tend to be performed on its right-hand side, free from the rigidity and selfishness imposed by our primitive `old brain'.  You can see that formalizing or `professionalizing' any of these abilities will immediately put them under the control of the old brain's cerebellum - hence the coldness & dogmatism of professional arts critics, counselors, advisors or `managers' ref-73  of all kinds - see below.

N.b. - already have evidence that dogmatic or skeptic types cannot "see" an unexpected event, i.e. that their `consciousness' is severely restricted. ref-73a

Research shows fully human status can only be achieved after learning manual dexterity (hand/body work), initiating cause & effect networking in the new-brain. ref-74  Additional reason for incompetence (and inhumanity) of `men in suits', who've rarely had to learn to do manual tasks.




OLD BRAIN - brain-stem and cerebellum: where reflex responses arise, where repetitive routines are stored, and animalistic attributes remembered.  A basic mechanism for our primitive ref-75 ancestors, before the dinosaurs' era or even much earlier.

Old-brain is sometimes called "reptile brain" / "lizard brain".


Old-brain is extra-primitive in that it is directly coupled to the body's sensing and motor sites:  e.g.  right side to right side and so on.  It therefore lacks all of the damage limitation & redundancy / safety features of the 'new' brain'.

Indications are that `rote-learning' processes like reading, calculation (math) and even speaking a language (especially formally), although they're performed in the new brain's left-hand side, puts them under the control of the old brain's cerebellum - which then handles learned routines like spelling, pronunciation, grammar, basic arithmetic etc.  This might be responsible for colder, more selfish & dogmatic attitudes ref-73  displayed by `professionals' and `academics' of all kinds - see above.

N.b. - there's already evidence that dogmatic or skeptic types cannot `see' an unexpected event, i.e. that their `consciousness' is severely restricted. ref-73a





CONTRAST - between `new brain' cerebrum and `old brain' cerebellum is even greater when sensation & reaction timings are measured.

Conscious sensation and reaction - by the cerebrum or new brain - can take about 2 seconds. ref-700

Therefore we are not `human-thinking' when fast re-acting - i.e. sport, walking, running, working etc.  We only get a chance of human-thinking if we take time to consciously consider.

Unconscious sensation and reaction - by the cerebellum or old brain - is around 10 times faster.

This means that while speedy reactions from `fast-talkers' / `quick thinkers' may be learned or rehearsed, they are unconsidered reactions that come from the cerebellum and therefore are ruled by the old brain.

Which could explain many un-human ref-701 primitive & corrupt types predominating in politics, media and the court-room.

This, after all, is the reason why soldiers are `drilled' (intensively practised) until they respond to orders `without thinking'.

WARNING
1 - When driving, forcing use of cerebrum for phone conversations is inviting disaster.  Attention is distracted, and, much more important - reaction-time slows by a factor of maybe ten times, or more.


'04 -'05 part confirmation of `Perceptions' warning.
'06 - more complete confirmation of `Perceptions' warning.
'11 - more recent confirmation of `Perceptions' warning.
'14 - most recent confirmation of `Perceptions' warning.

If you're wondering when `Perceptions' editor's warning was first printed:-  In early '90's, as email / letter to BBC's Peter Allen, who'd questioned the link between cell-phones and accidents.  Two decades of warning for our cowardly `scientists' (who seem to be pretending ignorance - for commercialism?).


Reflex, fast, and/or routine actions, like driving, are (normally) handled by the cerebellum (old brain).  Which is the reason for:-

i) - `forgetting' details of a routine commute as soon as the car door is slammed - we were never really `conscious' of it;

ii) - why learner drivers seem so slow: they're still using the cerebrum (new brain); ref-702

iii) - finding yourself by an open refrigerator holding a `non-fridge' item, pair of pliers or a shoe; because the cerebrum (cortex), during some repetitive scraping or polishing, handed control to the cerebellum, which easily lapses into a more familiar routine:  going to the fridge. ref-701a


2 - Simply driving causes temporary and maybe even long-term mental harm, since driving and all fast-reflex activities use `animal-thinking' cerebellum - which accounts for addictiveness of arcade games and fast driving.  Both seem to result in anti-social, abusive behavior, especially in males. ref-703 & 704
UPDATE Dec. 2011 - `Violent video-games make young males "more callous" in a week'

We speculate - at "time" - that physiological differences between species of organic life - differing composition of their cells - give them radically different reaction-times and time perceptions.
I.e. it is possible that the strangely dense composition of the primitive cerebellum's cells is responsible for its faster perceptions of `now' - rather as the small primitive virus has a much sharper `now' than a human cell.


3 - The contrast - between reactions of cerebrum and cerebellum - can lead to a clash ref-705 of personal perceptions.

A common - but rarely discussed * - example is seeing an indicator light-up an instant before pressing the button.
The considered action by the hand is only slowly perceived (by cerebrum) as being completed, while the unconsidered perception of the light (by cerebellum) is primitive - and much faster.
Repeating the action gets rid of the effect: repetition gives control to cerebellum - then both perceptions take equal time.

[ * In fact it's never discussed, so far as is known; probably for an obvious reason:  most folk, including `scientists', are afraid of ridicule.]

These `time-reversals' can be more noticeable in fast, significant events, like road-accidents or other `action', where timing will be misperceived by the brain and the apparent sequence of events disturbed or even reversed.  Phrases like "it came from nowhere" & "he caught it before he saw it" are not exaggerations.
-
references
Libet et al 1979 - (conscious `awareness delay' of ~ 0.5 sec.)
Deeke, Grötzinger, and Kornhuber 1976 - (conscious `response delay' of ~ 1.5 sec.)




LATER - 2005 - Dyslexic folk probably more "humane", but likely slower drivers.





All creative and constructive thought processes involving logic, empathy, inventiveness or art, are traceable to the cerebrum, the frontal lobes and cortex - the 'new brain'.  This might explain why using and practising one's intelligence - rather than cunning - protects against dementia, disease and damage. ref-706

UPDATE - MAY 2007 - "Science Daily"
`Uniquely human' - "prefrontal cortex key mediator of altruistic behavior"


The 'new brain' is the site of both "quantum consciousness" ref-707 and of the "consciousness" ref-708 that defines the Altruist Survivor

Possibilities of Consciousness




"Consciousness"

2 - Effect : On People and in Organizations


brain cross-section


  Attributes needing Consciousness  

`common sense'
`judgement of truth'
`understanding'
`artistic appraisal'


Roger Penrose

From `The Emperor's New Mind
Chap. 10
`Where Lies the Physics of the Mind'
Page 531

  Attributes not needing Consciousness  

`automatic'
`following rules mindlessly'
`programmed'
`algorithmic'




That difference has had a deep effect on us and on our efficiency - and maybe that of all mediumly advanced animals - as well as pretty obviously affecting human organizations.

We most of us know the feeble-minded & the callous - somewhat lacking in `consciousness' - can be dangerous when they attempt to implement `rules' inappropriately, especially if they have power over animals or children.



Unfortunately it's a sad truth that most of the types wanting authority over others:- magistrates, judges, police-chiefs, politicos etc,  also have very little `consciousness' - or they wouldn't want or need power so much. ref-80

Additionally, the `hard-line' types found in petty authority are also most likely to ignore changing facts and to be in denial of reality - check recent `perceptions' experiments.

Which is why we always see those (often effete & cowardly) `men-in-suits' ref-81 acting as draconian bullies - hurting the weakest and most vulnerable in society:  women, ref-82 children, ref-73 the uneducated and the poor (most over-taxed - in UK). ref-84

And, of course, oppressing or `eliminating' those folk investigating corruption or speaking out against abuses.

[Despite decades of UK official lip-service, it remains true today that the easiest way to make a bullying policeman run away, is to say you want to report fraud or corruption in local or national gov't.]

Why?  Those who want the protection & the power of a bureaucracy or hierarchy are the same types who want to `follow rules mindlessly'!  Especially if it seems to serve their own selfish interests.

Check Penrose's definitions above.  Those people are lacking in `consciousness'.



If we step back and look at the big historical picture, we can also see why small egalitarian groups of `conscious' thinkers - republics* like early Rome ref-85 - can so easily defeat and take over huge empires of hierarchical, time-serving agents & officials, and privileged inbred aristocrats.

And, of course, why those same republics themselves eventually become corrupt empires, with power and wealth concentrated in an elite*, huge wasteful ref-86 and ineffective hierarchies, and no-one fit to make effective `conscious' decisions.

* A `republic' is a group of equals.  Because all are equal, each is `conscious' of the abilities of the others.  So suitable leaders are chosen for each (temporary) need, and therefore the group can achieve what the whole republic really wants.  In such a society `justice' is a natural outcome, regardless of any need for the making of "laws". ref-87

* An `elite' is modern name for an always-ruling group - say `royalty', or `aristocracy', or today, a `political class'.  By definition their `leadership' is ineffective, or corrupt & abusive, because they have no consciousness of physical or social realities.] ref-81





brain cross-section

"... either our current understanding of the material world is woefully incomplete because we still don't know how to explain mental powers purely in physical terms, or else there is far more to reality than just the material world - a cosmic consciousness, for example"
Richard A. Shweder (Professor) University of Chicago


"People identify themselves almost exclusively with their consciousness and imagine they are only what they know about themselves.  How limited this knowledge is. 712 Rationalism and doctrinairism are the diseases of our time; they pretend to have all the answers.  But a great deal will yet be discovered which our present limited view 713 would have ruled out as impossible." - Carl Jung

`Alien Senses'
Summary

"No doubt many new senses remain to be discovered;
there is no reason whatsoever to imagine that we have discovered all the possibilities"

(text)


`Perceptions, not Reality'

"We think we know what's out there in the physical world, but it's all interpreted by our brains.
Everything we sense is an illusion to a degree."

(text)




Women : WARNING



"Consciousness"

3 - Lack : Zero conscience & 'Posers'



We are all 'posers' as adolescents - it's true - mainly because we don't yet know who we are.

For a short while - while childhood mental habits are flushed out by the hormone catastrophe and the teen-brain-surge - we have no identity and no conscience.

[That's why we each spent a lot of time checking ourselves in mirrors and not cleaning house]

But then, using the maybe quantum consciousness of the 'new brain' we interact with others around us and learn / find what personality suits us.

This process is variously called 'finding our identity', 'getting in touch with our real self', 'growing up' and lots of other things and - in a wide-minded person - can actually continue throughout our lives.

Once this identity process is underway we can begin to really understand other people's motives, using our new-found imagination.

Then we're able to consider their feelings, so we now have a conscience.



However, some mainly but not exclusively, among elites ref-91 are strongly motivated to pose earlier, pose harder, and continue posing. ref-92

Indeed, abused kids reared harshly are forced to do this, ref-93 while those in elites are trained to believe their future careers and lifestyles depend on their 'posing' abilities. ref-94

Either way, they don't much use their 'new' brain because they tend to access only `posing' or 'control' and `dominance' routines.  Yes, you're right - those are all in the 'reptile brain'.

Hence those driven by "control" and "success" must aim at belonging to power hierarchies.  They have to be top thugs, or boss lawyers, politicians, media, bureaucrats etc.  For the power they think they must have - at all costs.

For the most part they are engaged in 'reptile brain' maneuvers, and probably don't want true social interaction. ref-95  So they never get a real 'identity'.





ANTHROPOLOGY & ARCHEOLOGY says - ruling elites - many now extinct - had overdeveloped cerebellum (`old brain') and underdeveloped or atrophied cerebrum (frontal lobes and cortex - the 'new brain') ref-76

This does not seem to be an inherited trait but a development; happening to ruling elites as a consequence - not as cause - of privileged rule, in that we think it can be seen occurring in modern elites and aristocracies.



BIOLOGY, & SOCIOLOGY says - authoritarian elites start with or develop a need for rules, controls, and power mechanisms of all kinds.

It is likely that development of damage to elites' brains can start in infancy. ref-77 & ref-78 & ref-79

The brain circuitry dedicated to rules, control habits etc. exists in the cerebellum - in the 'old brain' - which is not used for "consciousness": conclusion from Penrose and others.




That is unfortunate - for them and for us
Because along with identity comes imagination
and conscience.
As we've seen, these are lacking, in some criminals and most members of ref-95 Elites;

which is also why elites are more racist ref-96 sexist & abusive ref-97 and more xenophobic ref-98 than the wider evolving population.




(Sept.2000) A dusty, coffee-stained note of a listened-to radio program was just found in/on floor.
Dating from up to a year or more ago it gives gist of a discussion between Deborah ? of Harvard / someone else? of US Inst. of Mental Health / Elizabeth Searl? of UCA? Subject - adolescent process of "Brain Pruning" which starts around 11 for girls, 12 for boys (maybe USA results ?)

In the discussion someone said (roughly) -
"Adolescence is a modern phenomenon, probably only gone thru by animals needing to inform themselves of properties of the new brain.  Early teenage responses do not come from frontal lobes, ie. no conscience, no sociability rules"

That obviously explains some inspiration in latter half of this page.  Thanks a lot to whoever said those words.  However, responsibility is accepted for any conclusions liable to anger politicians etc.

Personal Rule of thumb:-  "If a conclusion offends elite, politicians etc, it is very likely true".
ref-95



Possibilities

of

Consciousness




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Journal of Consciousness Studies   Journal of Conscousness Studies





Mind Papers


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