Notes on Consciousness- Draft

Posted by on July 18, 2016 12:29 pm
Categories: Mind

  • Vaighenger?
  • Damasio
  • Graziano


Graziano, Michael S. A. (2013-08-01). Consciousness and the Social Brain (p. 51). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Awareness is a description of attention.

Graziano, Michael S. A. (2013-08-01). Consciousness and the Social Brain (p. 23). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.
awareness is a schematized, descriptive model of attention.

Graziano, Michael S. A. (2013-08-01). Consciousness and the Social Brain (p. 59). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Attention is not data encoded in the brain; it is a data-handling method. It is an act. It is something the brain does, a procedure, an emergent process.

Graziano, Michael S. A. (2013-08-01). Consciousness and the Social Brain (p. 25). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

then awareness is a description, a representation, constructed in the brain. The thing being represented is attention.

Graziano, Michael S. A. (2013-08-01). Consciousness and the Social Brain (p. 36). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Thus far, in summarizing the theory, I have tended to emphasize the distinction between awareness and attention. Attention is an active process, a data-handling style that

Graziano, Michael S. A. (2013-08-01). Consciousness and the Social Brain (p. 36). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.
Generally, when the brain constructs an informational representation of something, the adaptive advantage is obvious. The brain constructs informational models of entities in the real world. Those models can be manipulated or consulted in order to plan actions or make predictions. In this sense one’s cognitive processes are like generals in a war room pushing models of soldiers and tanks around a map. Obviously, a green plastic army man is different from an actual human soldier; but for the purpose of planning strategy, it can do very well. Similarly, the purpose of a
model in the brain is to be useful in interacting with the world, not to be accurate.

Graziano, Michael S. A. (2013-08-01). Consciousness and the Social Brain (p. 59). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

awareness is a model of attention.

That awareness might itself be descriptive information has generally not been considered.

Graziano, Michael S. A. (2013-08-01). Consciousness and the Social Brain (p. 70). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

The above examples are rather specialized. I suggest that, in general, to predict and therefore effectively interact with an intelligent brain-controlled agent, it is useful to construct and constantly update a model of the shifting state of that agent’s attention. Just as much, in planning your own behavior, it is critical to have a good predictive model of your own likely actions; therefore, it is useful to construct a model that represents your own attention. In the attention schema theory, awareness serves this function. It is a vast, rich, constantly updated informational model whose purpose is to usefully describe the constantly

Graziano, Michael S. A. (2013-08-01). Consciousness and the Social Brain (p. 62). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition. Graziano, Michael S. A. (2013-08-01). Consciousness and the Social Brain (p. 60). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

The illusion helps to demonstrate that when computing someone else’s attentional state, we do not merely construct the abstract proposition “Person X is attending to thing Y.” It is not solely higher-order cognition or higher-order thought. We construct a rich perception-like model that includes a spatial embodiment.

Graziano, Michael S. A. (2013-08-01). Consciousness and the Social Brain (p. 73). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Consciousness is composed of information that says, in effect, “This information is not information.” In describing itself as something else, as a fluidic substance, as an experience, as sentience, it is declaring itself not to be information. It is self-contradictory information. It says, “I am not me,” or, “P is not P.” No wonder so much logical confusion ensues. On introspection, that is to say on scanning the relevant internal data, the brain finds no basis whatsoever for concluding that awareness is merely information because the information does not describe itself that way.

Graziano, Michael S. A. (2013-08-01). Consciousness and the Social Brain (p. 80). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

When your attention is not focused on the apple, the features are not bound in that manner. The system can even become confused, and you may accidentally attribute the wrong color to an object. One of the properties of attention, therefore, is that it glues together disparate computed features. In the present theory, awareness is a computed feature. To bind it to another chunk of information requires attention. It may be possible outside of attention, at the fringes of attention, or close to sleep to be aware, simply aware, without being aware of something, and without processing that you are the being who is aware. (One is reminded of some of the goal states of Buddhist meditation. Clear your mind of all thought. Achieve a pure awareness.) Note that for such a state to occur, in the present theory, your brain must construct an attention schema, a model of attention, even though no focused attention is actually present. The model is incorrect. Certainly the brain can produce incorrect perceptual models.

Graziano, Michael S. A. (2013-08-01). Consciousness and the Social Brain (p. 115). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

The first half of this book explained the basic concepts of the attention schema theory. The theory is easily summarized. The brain uses a data-handling method, a common way in which signals interact, a process that neuroscientists call attention. The brain also constructs a constantly updated sketch, a schema, a rough model to describe that process of attention. That model is awareness. Because it is information, it is reportable. We can say that we have it. We can introspect and decide that we have it. The theory is rational, mechanistic, straightforward. Yet it also has emergent complexities. I’ve briefly outlined some of these complexities, including strange loops, resonance, and a great variety of altered states of consciousness. The underlying concepts may be simple, but the theory is not simplistic. The consciousness described by the theory sounds a great deal like the real thing. So far I’ve said very little about how

Graziano, Michael S. A. (2013-08-01). Consciousness and the Social Brain (p. 116). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

the puppet isn’t really conscious. But in the present theory, all consciousness is a “mere” computed model attributed to an object. That is what consciousness is made out of. One’s brain can attribute it to oneself or to something else. Consciousness is an attribution. Indeed, we

Graziano, Michael S. A. (2013-08-01). Consciousness and the Social Brain (pp. 206-207). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

this hypothesis the human brain contains machinery for detecting agency, such as detecting a predator that might be sneaking up on you. It is advantageous to tune that detector to a state of hyperactivity. It is better to be jumpy, to detect agency where it does not exist and remain safe than to make the opposite error and get eaten. Because of the hyperactivity of this device, humans are prone to believe in spirits and ghosts. The cost is smaller than the benefit. While I appreciate the idea

Graziano, Michael S. A. (2013-08-01). Consciousness and the Social Brain (pp. 212-213). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

be the same general type of data run in the same general manner on the same general hardware architecture as my own conscious mind. It will be a copy, at low resolution, of my consciousness. In effect, I will have been copied over from one computer to another. I have in my brain a rich, detailed, working model of my grandmother, who has been dead for twenty years now. I can run that model and imagine her voice, her body language, her probable reactions in this or that situation, her emotional tone. She comes to life again in my inner experience. That informational model of a mind, run in my brain, is a low-resolution copy of the model that existed in her brain and that she considered to be her consciousness. It is trite to say that we live on in the people who remember us. But the theory of consciousness described in this book suggests that there is some literal truth to the idea. Fuzzy copies of our conscious minds exist in all the people who knew us. This realization leads

Graziano, Michael S. A. (2013-08-01). Consciousness and the Social Brain (p. 221). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

If the attention schema theory is correct, then human consciousness is information processed in a specific manner. Don’t want to die? Download your consciousness onto a central server and live in a simulated world with all the other downloaded souls. When your body dies, the copy of your mind will persist. You need not know the difference. If the simulation is good, you should feel as though you are in a realistic universe. You can possess what seems to be a human body and can walk and live and eat and sleep on the familiar Earth, all simulated, all in the form of information manipulated on computer hardware. At the rate technology is advancing, give it a few centuries. (Alas, I’ll be gone by then.) One of the more intriguing

Graziano, Michael S. A. (2013-08-01). Consciousness and the Social Brain (p. 222). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

consciousness is made of the same stuff as our own consciousness— information instantiated in the hardware platform of the brain. The universe is conscious in the same sense that it is beautiful. It is conscious because brains attribute consciousness to it, and that is the only way that anything is ever conscious. The universe almost certainly lacks consciousness type A. It lacks any mechanism to construct its own informational models of minds and attribute them to others or to itself. Does God exist? In the attention schema theory the question is moot. Or at least, the answer is more no than yes, but not entirely one or the other. In the present theory of consciousness, no conscious intentionality preceded the universe. Consciousness is a construct of the brain and thus emerged only with the evolution of the brain. Consciousness

Graziano, Michael S. A. (2013-08-01). Consciousness and the Social Brain (p. 226). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

The Ecstasy of Influence
A plagiarism
By Jonathan Lethem
All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated. . . .—John Donne
love and theft
Consider this tale: a cultivated man of middle age looks back on the story of an amour fou, one beginning when, traveling abroad, he takes a room as a lodger. The moment he sees the daughter of the house, he is lost. She is a preteen, whose charms instantly enslave him. Heedless of her age, he becomes intimate with her. In the end she dies, and the narrator — marked by her forever — remains alone. The name of the girl supplies the title of the story: Lolita.
The author of the story I’ve described, Heinz von Lichberg, published his tale of Lolita in 1916, forty years before Vladimir Nabokov’s novel. Lichberg later became a prominent journalist in the Nazi era, and his youthful works faded from view. Did Nabokov, who remained in Berlin until 1937, adopt Lichberg’s tale consciously? Or did the earlier tale exist for Nabokov as a hidden, unacknowledged memory? The history of literature is not without examples of this phenomenon, called cryptomnesia. Another hypothesis is that Nabokov, knowing Lichberg’s tale perfectly well, had set himself to that art of quotation that Thomas Mann, himself a master of it, called “higher cribbing.” Literature has always been a crucible in which familiar themes are continually recast. Little of what we admire in Nabokov’s Lolita is to be found in its predecessor; the former is in no way deducible from the latter. Still: did Nabokov consciously borrow and quote?

Literature has been in a plundered, fragmentary state for a long time. When I was thirteen I purchased an anthology of Beat writing. Immediately, and to my very great excitement, I discovered one William S. Burroughs, author of something called Naked Lunch, excerpted there in all its coruscating brilliance. Burroughs was then as radical a literary man as the world had to offer. Nothing, in all my experience of literature since, has ever had as strong an effect on my sense of the sheer possibilities of writing. Later, attempting to understand this impact, I discovered that Burroughs had incorporated snippets of other writers’ texts into his work, an action I knew my teachers would have called plagiarism. Some of these borrowings had been lifted from American science fiction of the Forties and Fifties, adding a secondary shock of recognition for me. By then I knew that this “cut-up method,” as Burroughs called it, was central to whatever he thought he was doing, and that he quite literally believed it to be akin to magic. When he wrote about his process, the hairs on my neck stood up, so palpable was the excitement. Burroughs was interrogating the universe with scissors and a paste pot, and the least imitative of authors was no plagiarist at all.

[]Death Is Optional

A Conversation: Yuval Noah Harari, Daniel Kahneman 3.4.15

Once you really solve a problem like direct brain-computer interface … when brains and computers can interact directly, that’s it, that’s the end of history, that’s the end of biology as we know it. Nobody has a clue what will happen once you solve this. If life can break out of the organic realm into the vastness of the inorganic realm, you cannot even begin to imagine what the consequences will be, because your imagination at present is organic. So if there is a point of Singularity, by definition, we have no way of even starting to imagine what’s happening beyond that.

The third Mind

Third Eye

The third eye (also known as the inner eye ) is a mystical and esoteric concept referring in part to the ajna (brow) chakra in certain eastern spiritual traditions. It is also spoken of as the gate that leads within to inner realms and spaces of higher consciousness .

In New Age spirituality, the third eye may alternately symbolize a state of enlightenment or the evocation of mental images having deeply personal spiritual or psychological significance. The third eye is often associated with visions , clairvoyance (which includes the ability to observe chakras and auras ), [1] precognition , and out-of-body experiences . People who have allegedly developed the capacity to utilize their third eyes are sometimes known as seers .

In Hinduism and Buddhism , the third eye is a symbol of enlightenment (see moksha and nirvana ). In the Indian tradition, it is referred to as the gyananakashu , “the eye of knowledge”, which is the seat of the “teacher inside” or antar-guru . The third eye is the ajna chakra (sixth chakra) also known as brow chakra or brow center. This is commonly denoted in Indian and East Asian iconography with a dot, eye or mark on the forehead of deities or enlightened beings, such as Shiva , the Buddha , or any number of yogis , sages and bodhisattvas . This symbol is called the “Third Eye” or “Eye of Wisdom”, or, in Buddhism, the urna . In Hinduism, it is believed that the opening of Shiva’s third eye causes the eventual destruction of the physical universe.
Many Hindus wear a tilaka between the eyebrows to represent the third eye.
In the Upanishads , a human being is likened to a city with ten gates. Nine gates (eyes, nostrils, ears, mouth, urethra, anus) lead outside to the sensory world. The third eye is the tenth gate and leads to inner realms housing myriad spaces of consciousness .

an teachings
According to the teaching of Fr. Richard Rohr the concept of the ‘third eye’ is a metaphor for non-dualistic thinking–the way the mystics see. In Rhohr’s concept, mystics employ the ‘first eye’ (sensory input such as sight) and the second eye (the eye of reason, meditation, and reflection), “but they know not to confuse knowledge with depth, or mere correct information with the transformation of consciousness itself. The mystical gaze builds upon the first two eyes—and yet goes further.”
“It happens whenever, by some wondrous “coincidence,” our heart space, our mind space, and our body awareness are all simultaneously open and nonresistant. I like to call it presence. It is experienced as a moment of deep inner connection, and it always pulls you, intensely satisfied, into the naked and undefended now, which can involve both profound joy and profound sadness at the very same time.” Rohr refers to this level of awareness as “having the mind of Christ”. [2]

According to the gnostic teachings of Samael Aun Weor , the third eye is referenced symbolically and functionally several times in the Book of Revelation , [ which? ] which as a whole is seen as a work describing Kundalini and its progression upwards through three and a half turns and seven chakras. This interpretation equates the third eye with the sixth of the seven churches of Asia detailed therein, the Church of Philadelphia. [3]

In terms of Kabbalah , the Ajna chakra is attributed to the sphere of Chokmah, [4] or Wisdom, although others regard the third eye as corresponding to the non-emanated sephirah of da’ath (knowledge).

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