An Experiment For Consciousness?

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An Experiment For Consciousness? Scientists And Philosophers Across Three Countries Debate It

Andrea Morris


Quote:Carlson admits he’s not caught up on the growing body of evidence that organisms without neurons (like plants and slime molds) are capable of memory, thinking, problem-solving and learning — or that it’s getting harder for researchers to explain away these behaviors as purely nonconscious and mechanical. Consciousness in brainless organisms undermines the claim that consciousness is an action of the brain. While the brain is undoubtedly involved in human and animal consciousness, if beings without brains can be conscious, then what consciousness is must have another explanation.

“I don't know how you test for [Strong Emergence]. I don't think consciousness is in essence, an emergent property, which means that it emerges at a higher level of complexity,” says Stuart Hameroff, anesthesiologist and professor at University of Arizona. “Actually, I think it's a basic fundamental property of the universe. Every time there's a collapse, there's a little blip of experience.” ...



Quote:Another critical test in proving Orch OR is the actual manipulation of consciousness, turning consciousness on and off through anesthesia. 

“General anesthesia basically affects consciousness and very little else in the body,” says Hameroff, who points out that the brain is still active under anesthesia even though you are not conscious. Anesthesia seems to target consciousness. And anesthetic gases work by a quantum interaction. “We have shown quantum effects in microtubules and are attempting to prove their relevance to consciousness by testing for sensitivity to anesthetics proportional to anesthetic potency,” says Hameroff. “We should know within a year.”
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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Quote:“General anesthesia basically affects consciousness and very little else in the body,” says Hameroff, who points out that the brain is still active under anesthesia even though you are not conscious. Anesthesia seems to target consciousness. And anesthetic gases work by a quantum interaction. “We have shown quantum effects in microtubules and are attempting to prove their relevance to consciousness by testing for sensitivity to anesthetics proportional to anesthetic potency,” says Hameroff. “We should know within a year.”

What an strange take.

General anesthesia affects and targets the central nervous system by suppressing its activity. Which then, by virtue of consciousness being so strongly connected to perceiving through the physical form, causes consciousness to be suppressed in turn.

This can't explain how people who are under anesthesia have had an OBE NDE, which should be impossible.

Pamela Reynolds' case again comes to mind... burst suppression via a very strong amount of barbiturates surely counts as a form of anesthesia. And in spite of that, she went on to have a clear, lucid OBE NDE...

Almost like once the mind is no longer attached to the brain and body, it ceases to be affected by drugs of any kind.

Until it reattaches, of course... in which case the anesthesia can have a ruinous affect on memory recall. Even of an OBE NDE in many case, probably.

Which makes me wonder... how many NDErs may well have had a clear, lucid OBE NDE during anesthesia, only to reenter the body, and subsequently have their memory recall messed with by the drug, leading to a total lack of recall of their experience?
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”
~ Carl Jung


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(2021-11-15, 09:30 AM)Valmar Wrote: What an strange take.

General anesthesia affects and targets the central nervous system by suppressing its activity. Which then, by virtue of consciousness being so strongly connected to perceiving through the physical form, causes consciousness to be suppressed in turn.

This can't explain how people who are under anesthesia have had an OBE NDE, which should be impossible.

Pamela Reynolds' case again comes to mind... burst suppression via a very strong amount of barbiturates surely counts as a form of anesthesia. And in spite of that, she went on to have a clear, lucid OBE NDE...

Almost like once the mind is no longer attached to the brain and body, it ceases to be affected by drugs of any kind.
That reminds me of a strange experience I had during a late night drinking session in the pub. I knew I'd reached my limit and should not drink any more that night, but just sat quietly with a small group of people. I was somehow inactive, not participating, but immensely calm and clear-headed. As these things go, it rates quite low down on my list of profound experiences, but I was definitely in some sort of altered-state. One curious thing is that a couple sitting at the table with us, were discussing reincarnation, something that is almost never talked about in the places and social gatherings where I go. I didn't say anything, because as I mentioned, I was somehow detached from things.


Quote:Until it reattaches, of course... in which case the anesthesia can have a ruinous affect on memory recall. Even of an OBE NDE in many case, probably.

Which makes me wonder... how many NDErs may well have had a clear, lucid OBE NDE during anesthesia, only to reenter the body, and subsequently have their memory recall messed with by the drug, leading to a total lack of recall of their experience?
Yes, there are different circumstances in which NDEs occur, in some the brain itself is somewhat damaged after a cardiac arrest, and takes some time (days usually) to recover. Anaesthesia is supposed not to inflict that kind of harm, but it surely interferes with normal memory-formation processes. How short-term memory becomes long-term memory is something I don't understand, but it is not going to work well under those circumstances.

A curious thing of course is that sometimes weeks or months later memories may return, and an NDE or OBE may be recalled, after a long interlude where it was completely lost from view. That's something which doesn't get discussed enough I think, how memories can re-emerge after a long time has passed. But this is what happens with some types of amnesia, perhaps where some shock or disturbing occurrence can cause the blocking out of some period of memory, which may or may not return.

In terms of NDEs, memory-loss is actually one of the common features, just as a person may meet other beings and visit other realms, often they are given access to a lot of knowledge and insights, so that for a brief period, they 'understand everything' and all questions may be answered. But often as the person is ushered back towards this body, they are reminded that they won't be able to bring that knowledge back with them, memory-loss is part of the process. We try to understand it from our physical-world descriptions, and those beings in the other-world environment may explain it in different terms.

Memory loss is also par for the course in past-life recall, certainly among children. Sometimes one hears of small children, perhaps four or six years old, sadly telling their parents "I'm beginning to forget what God looks like"  - apologies for using god in that example, there are other things which small children forget too, and the forgetting is often tinged with regret.
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I suppose the primary aim of anaesthesia is to suppress pain. It isn't really intended to target consciousness.

In fact, there are other effects of anaesthesia, one being paralysis. There are the horrific accounts where the anaesthetic has not suppressed either pain or consciousness. But the patient is under a drug-induced state of paralysis. There, they experience and feel the pain, but are unable to scream, or even to raise a finger. The idea that it targets consciousness is clearly not correct, it seems to be an accepted side-effect.
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Quote:Consciousness in brainless organisms undermines the claim that consciousness is an action of the brain. While the brain is undoubtedly involved in human and animal consciousness, if beings without brains can be conscious, then what consciousness is must have another explanation.

I've long had my doubts about the weight and emphasis given to the brain in consciousness. For example, in an NDE, a person returning to the body sometimes describes the difficulty in squeezing their much larger real self into the confines of such a small body. But they don't talk about squeezing themselves inside a skull. The person occupies the body, all of it.

There are so many activities, from sports to arts, music and dance, which seem to involve our whole physical being, that brain-based descriptions seem inadequate. I know from my amateur attempts at both art and music that it is something felt deep inside, and arms and legs are involved as much as anything. The only understanding I can have of consciousness is of something whole, not just a bit that engages with the spleen or something.
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(2021-11-14, 10:00 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: An Experiment For Consciousness? Scientists And Philosophers Across Three Countries Debate It

Andrea Morris
From S. Hammeroff, in explanation of his theory of consciousness: 
Quote:     
What’s a quantum wave function collapse? “Einstein demonstrated with his theory of general relativity that large objects cause big curvatures in spacetime,” says Hameroff. “Penrose applied this on a microscale saying tiny particles cause tiny curvatures in spacetime. A single particle in quantum superposition of two locations would have opposing curvatures, a separation in the structure of spacetime. These separations are unstable, and self-collapse, causing consciousness. That is the origin of qualia and phenomenal experience.”

Quite the claim.
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Quote:“Penrose applied this on a microscale saying tiny particles cause tiny curvatures in spacetime. A single particle in quantum superposition of two locations would have opposing curvatures, a separation in the structure of spacetime. These separations are unstable, and self-collapse, causing consciousness. That is the origin of qualia and phenomenal experience.”

That's quite some magical bullshit thinking indeed... seems to require quite the imagination... and no science...

Quantum superposition -> two undetectable curvatures that somehow "self-collapse" -> singularity magic -> ??? -> consciousness
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”
~ Carl Jung


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(2021-11-16, 04:52 AM)Valmar Wrote: That's quite some magical bullshit thinking indeed... seems to require quite the imagination... and no science...

Quantum superposition -> two undetectable curvatures that somehow "self-collapse" -> singularity magic -> ??? -> consciousness

Whatever convoluted description is given, the collapse of a quantum superposition relates to a shift from indeterminacy to determinacy - for that particle at that point in its existence.

It seems like a way of looking at quantum-level events. One point of view suggests that the act of conscious observation causes collapse. This proposed version seems to operate in the reverse direction, implying that the collapse causes the conscious observer.
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(2021-11-16, 04:52 AM)Valmar Wrote: That's quite some magical bullshit thinking indeed... seems to require quite the imagination... and no science...

Quantum superposition -> two undetectable curvatures that somehow "self-collapse" -> singularity magic -> ??? -> consciousness 
It does takes imagination, especially when taking an "out of the box" idea - and have it make sense in a new context.  In making a theory and in having it be understood academically and assimilated by the public -- a lot of cogitation needs to take place.
 
I would disagree that the "leap" doesn't come from sound science as starting points.  Penrose and Hameroff are not alone in focusing in the boundary layer where probabilities turn into actual reality for mind.  It is the point where all current outcomes are 100% probable.

They express a pattern in quantum events that is established from test results.  But the matching process to the description is not a physical outcome as much as it is an exact model of mental outcomes.

The superposition example better models vectors, such as a choice of which bridge to cross.  Bridge x or bridge y.  Each with a chance to be crossed and one must be crossed.  All choices a have a chance during the process of organizing a walk.

One bridge gets crossed.  The moment/action of mind is when the chance becomes determined.  The structural fabric of realty is changed, in the view of Hammeroff.
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(2021-11-16, 12:14 PM)Typoz Wrote: Whatever convoluted description is given, the collapse of a quantum superposition relates to a shift from indeterminacy to determinacy - for that particle at that point in its existence.

It seems like a way of looking at quantum-level events. One point of view suggests that the act of conscious observation causes collapse. This proposed version seems to operate in the reverse direction, implying that the collapse causes the conscious observer.

Quote:One point of view suggests that the act of conscious observation causes collapse.

This makes the most sense to me, as it appears to fit with what the founders of Quantum Mechanics believed about consciousness ~ that conscious observation causes an undefined superposition to shift to a state that is defined.

Of course, the Physicalist is uncomfortable with the primacy of consciousness in Quantum terms, so what better, to their thinking, than to reverse the relationship to one where the physical to primary.
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”
~ Carl Jung


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