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  1. #1
    Senior Member Argus's Avatar
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    Default Sensory input and the mind

    Can you have a mind without sensory input? Is consciousness possible without sensory input?

    Let's imagine a mind or a brain that has come into being/born completely disconnected from all sensory input. No sight, no sound, taste, touch. Nothing. What would that mind think? could it think? It has no sensory experiance to draw on. No images, symbols, or representations. Not having seen or heard a language, what kind of internal dialogue (the only one it could have) would it have? could it have an internal dialogue? How can it articulate any thought with out sensory experiance. What would it imagine without any sensory experiance to reference. What would things like loud, red, beautiful, hot, cold, or alone mean to it?

    Applying this to God... if nothing else existed for him to sense, God's mind would have made some shit up... BANG! ;-).

    The problem is; if there was no previouse experiance to draw from what could god have made up? Hallucinations and dreams are possible because there is stored sensory information (i.e. memory) to draw from. What if that was not there to begin with?Sensory input is nothing but physical interaction with the world. And it is with sensory input and stimulus that our mind develops.

    When you are thinking to yourself, how do you articulate your thoughts? With words / language? With images? With sounds? and sensations? What if you did not have any experiance of that to draw on? How could you articulate a thought? What would you think about? How could you think?

    This would be the dilemma a pre-existing god would have. That is unless God came with pre-existing experiance. But experiance of what?
    This would also be the dilemma with a disembodied mind (i.e. spirit) Sensory input is something associated with the physical realm. Unless there is some sort of mechinisim inwhich for the spirit or disembodied mind to sense. But again, what would it sense?
    Last edited by Argus; 09-08-2009 at 03:31 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Argus's Avatar
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    Also, some stuff about sensory deprivation tanks. There have been experiments using both nerve blockers and normal blinders, ear plugs, 98.6 degree water, etc. It turns out if the mind has no sensory input, it simply starts making some up (perhaps what dreams are... created input when the normal inputs are ignored?). Most people start hallucinating and are very unsettled by the experience. Minds cannot develop without sensory input, but they can survive without it once developed. Consciousness certainly can survive times with no input. See lucid dreaming.

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    Senior Member Sacrator's Avatar
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    interesting but im confused with lucid dreaming at the end. Lucid dreaming is usually more sensual for me than even waking reality usually.
    [SIGPIC]http://www.derekrhode.com/MiscHosting/Pics/151645.png[/SIGPIC]

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    desert pelican Owl's Avatar
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    It's possible that a human mind would need experience to form even a priori ideas. That is, the a priori can be defined as those ideas that don't explicity refer to experience, but this definition says nothing about how those ideas came to be formed in the human mind. For example, 1+1=2 doesn't refer to anything given in experience, but the mind may need to experience numbers of... say... apples in order to form the abstract mathematical concepts that are not identical to the apples themselves.

    I dunno. We might just have to stick a baby in a sensory deprivation tank in order to find out. Alas, methinks that'd be a tad unethical.

    I'm a big fan of innate ideas. Thus, I think if you were to stick a baby in a blacked-out, lukewarm bathtub, it's going to have some mental activity, but I doubt that baby would have the resources to educate itself to the point where it could start systematizing a prioi concepts formed from its own, limited self-experience into more complex, meaningful systems such as arithmetic before it died of boredom. For instance, the baby would experience the passage of time, if nothing else, and, using its innate ideas, it could divide this experience of time into segments. It could then realize that time is successive, and it could abstract the successor function. (How long did it take humanity to incorporate the concept of zero into mathematics?)

    However, the baby would almost certainly die before it could do this. Wasn't there an experiment done on orphans or whatnot that tried to measure the effect of adult interaction with infants, and the infants that received zero attention died, even thought they were fed, etc.?

    edit: As for God, he's supposed to have eternal, infinite knowledge. Thus, he wouldn't need to ride a bicycle in order to know how it felt to ride a bicycle.

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    HAHHAHHAH! INTJ123's Avatar
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    this is overly complex, if you never had sensory input you were never born into the physical world. ask yourself if it's even possible to exist in that manner, I think therefor I am.

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    Senior Member Argus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by INTJ123 View Post
    this is overly complex, if you never had sensory input you were never born into the physical world. ask yourself if it's even possible to exist in that manner, I think therefor I am.



    You're a realist and an atheist.



    Another interesting thing to take into account - single cell organisms. Serious WTF at those things.

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    Senior Member alcea rosea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Argus2968 View Post
    Can you have a mind without sensory input? Is consciousness possible without sensory input?

    Let's imagine a mind or a brain that has come into being/born completely disconnected from all sensory input. No sight, no sound, taste, touch. Nothing. What would that mind think? could it think? It has no sensory experiance to draw on. No images, symbols, or representations. Not having seen or heard a language, what kind of internal dialogue (the only one it could have) would it have? could it have an internal dialogue? How can it articulate any thought with out sensory experiance. What would it imagine without any sensory experiance to reference. What would things like loud, red, beautiful, hot, cold, or alone mean to it?
    I saw a document of how normal people react to the situation where there are no sensory input whatsoever. People don't hande it too well.

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    Senior Member Argus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alcea rosea View Post
    I saw a document of how normal people react to the situation where there are no sensory input whatsoever. People don't hande it too well.
    I volunteer myself and twenty the > 1 week old babies I'm going to steal



    Though short periods of sensory deprivation can be relaxing, extended deprivation can result in extreme anxiety, hallucinations, bizarre thoughts, depression, antisocial behavior and death



    http://www.prisoncommission.org/stat...tuart_long.pdf

    Ding, info.

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    HAHHAHHAH! INTJ123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Argus2968 View Post
    You're a realist and an atheist.



    Another interesting thing to take into account - single cell organisms. Serious WTF at those things.
    LOL... I'm a realist, but definitely NOT an ATHEIST, that was an insult.... I'm the same thing as the guy in my avatar...a modern version though.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Argus's Avatar
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    I'm sorry if you took offense to what I said.

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