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  1. #1
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    Default Three stages to consciousness

    Three stages to consciousness

    Suppose something happens that frightens me. My blood pressure goes up, my heart starts beating very fast, the release of adrenalin creates a great burst of energy, I may even jump or start to run. All of the feelings that are a result of these biological happenings reach my consciousness and I now know that I am afraid.

    Many non human creatures have emotions—“human emotions however have evolved to making connections to complex ideas, values, principles, and judgments”—thus human emotion is special—the impact of feelings on humans is the result of consciousness—a distinct difference between feeling and knowing a feeling—“neither the emotion or the feeling caused by the emotion is conscious”—these things happen in a biological state—there are three stages here; emotion, feeling, and consciousness of feeling—consciousness must be present if feelings have an influence beyond the here and the now.

    We need not be conscious of the emotion or the inducer of the emotion—we are about as effective in stopping an emotion as in stopping a sneeze.

    “Emotions are about the life of an organism, its body to be precise, and their role is to assist the organism in maintaining life…emotions are biologically determined processes, depending upon innately set brain devices, laid down by long evolutionary history…The devices that produce emotions…are part of a set of structures that both regulate and represent body states…All devices can be engaged automatically, without conscious deliberation…The variety of the emotional responses is responsible for profound changes in both the body landscape and the brain landscape. The collection of these changes constitutes the substrate for the neural patterns which eventually become feelings of emotion.”


    The biological function of emotions is to produce an automatic action in certain situations and to regulate the internal processes so that the creature is able to support the action dictated by the situation. The biological purpose of emotions are clear, they are not a luxury but a necessity for survival.

    “It is through feelings, which are inwardly directed and private, that emotions, which are outwardly directed and public, begin their impact on the mind; but the full and lasting impact of feelings requires consciousness, because only along with the advent of a sense of self do feelings become known to the individual having them.”

    Damasio proposes “that the term feeling should be reserve for the private, mental experience of an emotion, while the term emotion should be used to designate the collection of responses, many of which are publicly observable.” This means that while we can observe our own private feelings we cannot observe these same feelings in others.

    Core consciousness—“occurs when the brain’s representation devices generate an imaged, nonverbal account of how the organism’s own state is affected by the organism’s processing of an object, and when this process enhances the image of the causative object, thus placing it saliently in a spatial and temporal context”

    First, there is emotion, then comes feeling, then comes consciousness of feeling. There is no evidence that we are conscious of all our feelings, in fact evidence indicates that we are not conscious of all feelings.

    Quotes from The Feeling of What Happens by Antonio Damasio

  2. #2
    Riva
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst View Post
    First, there is emotion, then comes feeling, then comes consciousness of feeling. There is no evidence that we are conscious of all our feelings, in fact evidence indicates that we are not conscious of all feelings.

    Quotes from The Feeling of What Happens by Antonio Damasio
    But we can learn to be aware of our feelings, emotions, thoughts etc

    we can actually witness out feelings, emotions etc without reacting to them.

    feelings beget more feelings, and thoughts and thoughts beget emotions and it gos on and on.

    And the core goal of Buddhism is total awareness of your feelings without actually reacting to them.

    That is done by a meditation called vippassana, taught by Buddha.

  3. #3
    Riva
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    When you learn to witness your feelings without actually reacting to them (vippassana meditation) you slowly learn to become unmoved/ unattached by them.

    This happens when you begin to realize that no thought, no feeling, no emotion is permanent. that they are all temporary things which governs you.

    Blah blah blah

    edit -

    Once you realize that non of those feelings, emotions etc are permanent your emotions or feelings will stop controlling you.

    You will control your emotions and feelings..

    = Nirvana.

  4. #4
    Occasional Member Evan's Avatar
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    ^The whole point is that you can't control your emotions or feelings because those are stages before conscious awareness. You can only "control" your conscious reaction to emotions and feelings.

    Emotions and feelings are hardwired into our bodies...short of a lobotomy, they are impossible to fully suppress.

    You can't, by definition, not react to emotions. You can not react to your conscious awareness, but that's not close to the same thing.

  5. #5
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    1. I cannot stop the urge to sneeze, but I can stop a sneeze quite effectively by blocking my nasal passages.

    This methodology also applies to emotions and the unconscious, automatic, primal urgers that arise out of the primitive brain areas around the brain stem and in the midbrain. These areas of the brain relate to basic urges and bodily functions that keep us alive. They must be automated in order to keep things running smoothly. However, the human brain and all of our special cognitive abilities gives us unique "administrative" abilities within the brain and mind. Our highly developed forebrain and ability of metacognition are tools of consciousness that we can use to take conscious control of many brain functions. Control is often not achieved directly at the micro level (such as controling a neuron or directly controling a specific part of an organ), but rather exercising control at a macro system wide level. Consciously, one can do many things within the mind, and sub-sequentially the brain and body.

    Our ability to exercise conscious control is through smoke and mirrors generated in the mind that can work to trigger the desired response in the brain/body. This is most evident with many buddhist monk meditation techniques where one may visualize in the mind something that is completely unrealistic, but it serves the purpose of generating real conscious control over certain brain/body processes indirectly. Much of this is not completely understood in psychology or neurology, but the mechanism is there. Our consciousness works as an interplay between conscious and automatic processes. On the continuum of states of consciousness it swings between the extremes conscious and unconscious/automatic.

    Think of the brain as a windows computer with all of its hardware. The mind functions like computer programs, and the most "aware" aspects of our consciousness are analogous to the computer programmer. Only problem with this analogy is that the programmer is actually an integrated part of the computer itself, and the computer hardware can physically change from the actions of the computer programs and the programmer. But basically, the programmer uses programs on the computer that have already been set up and that keep the system running. When the programmer sees fit, he has the ability to create new programs that he can use or have run automatically in the background. The programmer uses his computer and all the programs on it to generate all sorts of new experiences, and essentially live life.

    Again, let me state that urges cannot be controled. Urges can only be satisfied to remove the urge at the momment, or ignored through any number of means. Depending how you ignore an urge, it essentially ceases to exist (out of sight, out of mind). However, the parts of the brain that generate that urge will not stop putting out that signal (as far as I know, this process isn't scientifically proven, so I can only speak from an anecdotal perspective). The signal simply ceases to reach up to the level of conscious awareness. Thus, that urge and all of its related systems may continue running in the background, though you are not consciously aware of it.

    For instance, you may be hungry/starving without any hope of getting food. Eventually you learn to ignore it (to an extent) because the sensation of it becomes old and is hindering you from working to go find more food. You keep yourself well distracted so that you neither think nor feel the hunger sensations. However, while you are busy ignoring the signals your hindbrain is trying to send to your conscious mind, it is sending signals to other parts of your brain that cannot ignore it, and is starting a cascade of events within the body that alter your hormone levels. This leads to you becoming tired, weak, and even alters your mood and ability to think. And thus, your state of hunger is brought back to your conscious awareness because the internal effects of your hunger are again altering your consciousness.

    Consciously, you have little control over this except to focus on one aspect of your body if you know how, but it can't stop the entire process. But I am reminded of buddhist monks who are able to put their bodies into stasis and go without food for exceedingly longer than normal people would be able to without dying by consciously controlling the state of their mind and body, so it stands to reason that through learning one can control the system process by exercising control in the early stages/center of that process.

    [YOUTUBE="R-wuOYlxMSY"]monks[/YOUTUBE]

    But much of this ability of conscious control is obtained, again, through not just indirect control methods, but also a process of biofeedback which has been studied and applied in many related fields. There all all sorts of subtle feedback mechanisms that the mind can use to gain conscious control and awareness of neurological/bodily functions.

  6. #6
    Occasional Member Evan's Avatar
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    I hear what you're saying, I just think your computer analogy needs to be slightly revised. The computer programmer does not at all have access to the code running in most of the programs on the computer itself. So he can't see the code itself, he can only see the input/output relations and make inferences about what the code might look like. He can write all sorts of programs to automatically deal with hypotheses about what all the other programs do, but he has nowhere near enough information to do the inverse of what certain programs are doing (to cancel it out).

    All of the programs on the computer all interacting with each other forms an extremely complex system -- trying to infer the code is an incredibly underconstrained inverse problem. Not only that, but we have a finite amount of processing power to even write new programs, and we might have to spend years and years of effort everyday to even begin to get accurate about what the other programs do. In fact, most people have no idea what the fuck is going on inside themselves.

    I do think some monks are among the best self-programmers in the world, but think about how much effort that has taken them. And was it really worth it? To write programs to suppress the body's natural response to all sorts of emotional urges? Being able to choose which impulses to act on has a lagtime, which itself has a cost. I don't know if that's a goal I would ever want to define for myself.

    I do think it's important to write your own code -- I do it all the time. But each moment you spend on writing code to counteract emotional responses has the opportunity cost of writing code for something else.

    My philosophy is to go about life coding myself, but constantly reassessing the marginal utility of the programming project I'm working on in comparison to other possible projects.

    Anyway, I doubt you disagree with me much. I just wanted to add to your metaphor.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    I hear what you're saying, I just think your computer analogy needs to be slightly revised. The computer programmer does not at all have access to the code running in most of the programs on the computer itself. So he can't see the code itself, he can only see the input/output relations and make inferences about what the code might look like. He can write all sorts of programs to automatically deal with hypotheses about what all the other programs do, but he has nowhere near enough information to do the inverse of what certain programs are doing (to cancel it out).
    Yes, and the programmers limitations is directly analogous to how the conscious mind's ability to interact with and manipulate the whole system is limited. He can't see the workings of his brain, but he can infer through various feedback mechanisms and exercise control in an indirect manner. I believe that scientifically defining how the system works may also open a door to another method of conscious control mainly through imagining the system as it is scientifically defined and manipulating it in your mind's eye. Same methodology a monk would use in meditation with visualization, but from a different angle/perspective.

    All of the programs on the computer all interacting with each other forms an extremely complex system -- trying to infer the code is an incredibly underconstrained inverse problem. Not only that, but we have a finite amount of processing power to even write new programs, and we might have to spend years and years of effort everyday to even begin to get accurate about what the other programs do. In fact, most people have no idea what the fuck is going on inside themselves.

    I do think some monks are among the best self-programmers in the world, but think about how much effort that has taken them. And was it really worth it? To write programs to suppress the body's natural response to all sorts of emotional urges? Being able to choose which impulses to act on has a lagtime, which itself has a cost. I don't know if that's a goal I would ever want to define for myself.

    I do think it's important to write your own code -- I do it all the time. But each moment you spend on writing code to counteract emotional responses has the opportunity cost of writing code for something else.

    My philosophy is to go about life coding myself, but constantly reassessing the marginal utility of the programming project I'm working on in comparison to other possible projects.

    Anyway, I doubt you disagree with me much. I just wanted to add to your metaphor.
    Yea, well the big issue here is that most people simply don't care to tap into this potential. To me, it is fascinating. the idea that, with all of the insight that science has given us, it shows us that the reality we experience reality is largely seated within our brain, for without it, there is no consciousness or perception of anything. To scientists, there is no soul, only our flesh and living consciousness. By looking at what we can do with our own conscious abilities, it fascinates me to no end how we can nearly act as God over the core of our very own existence (from the science perspective).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    I hear what you're saying, I just think your computer analogy needs to be slightly revised. The computer programmer does not at all have access to the code running in most of the programs on the computer itself. So he can't see the code itself, he can only see the input/output relations and make inferences about what the code might look like. He can write all sorts of programs to automatically deal with hypotheses about what all the other programs do, but he has nowhere near enough information to do the inverse of what certain programs are doing (to cancel it out).
    You have yet to meet an ISTp computer programmer I have reverse engineered programs so I can either imitate, intercept and redirect, or modify it.

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    Occasional Member Evan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Risen View Post
    Yes, and the programmers limitations is directly analogous to how the conscious mind's ability to interact with and manipulate the whole system is limited. He can't see the workings of his brain, but he can infer through various feedback mechanisms and exercise control in an indirect manner. I believe that scientifically defining how the system works may also open a door to another method of conscious control mainly through imagining the system as it is scientifically defined and manipulating it in your mind's eye. Same methodology a monk would use in meditation with visualization, but from a different angle/perspective.



    Yea, well the big issue here is that most people simply don't care to tap into this potential. To me, it is fascinating. the idea that, with all of the insight that science has given us, it shows us that the reality we experience reality is largely seated within our brain, for without it, there is no consciousness or perception of anything. To scientists, there is no soul, only our flesh and living consciousness. By looking at what we can do with our own conscious abilities, it fascinates me to no end how we can nearly act as God over the core of our very own existence (from the science perspective).
    Agreed.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Risen View Post
    Yes, and the programmers limitations is directly analogous to how the conscious mind's ability to interact with and manipulate the whole system is limited. He can't see the workings of his brain, but he can infer through various feedback mechanisms and exercise control in an indirect manner. I believe that scientifically defining how the system works may also open a door to another method of conscious control mainly through imagining the system as it is scientifically defined and manipulating it in your mind's eye. Same methodology a monk would use in meditation with visualization, but from a different angle/perspective.



    Yea, well the big issue here is that most people simply don't care to tap into this potential. To me, it is fascinating. the idea that, with all of the insight that science has given us, it shows us that the reality we experience reality is largely seated within our brain, for without it, there is no consciousness or perception of anything. To scientists, there is no soul, only our flesh and living consciousness. By looking at what we can do with our own conscious abilities, it fascinates me to no end how we can nearly act as God over the core of our very own existence (from the science perspective).
    You sitting here in your own body, figure out what it can do. Leave it to an INTP to wait for a manual or someone else to tell them how they work.

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