[ExI] Bringing new life to dead matter

david pizer pizerdavid at yahoo.com
Mon May 28 19:11:38 UTC 2012

Explaining consciousness in 3 minutes or less.
Regarding the ongoing discussions in this magnificent chat room of what things are "living" entities and what things are not, which bleeds into discussions of what is consciousness - I think some opinions of what is the physical basis of consciousness must first be agreed on in order to proceed to any useful new thinking.   If two people agree on that then they they have a chance of agreeing on what entities are consciousness.  (We don't really care what is living, we want to know what is at least as conscious as we superior humans are - right).   Further, since we living and consciousness humans are merely formed from nonliving atoms etc. that opens the possibility that some other objects made of nonliving atoms etc are also living things like us and conscious things like us  - for  instance take the Universe as maybe being conscious - as one person mentioned earlier in this chat room, and as  I feel confident that most contributors to this
 forum are open to speculation about.  (At this point we ALL agree that is is not the stuff that brains are made of that is special it is the arrangement of that stuff that makes the difference.  Everything in the Universes it made of similar stuff - no two things are arranged exactly alike so duh what makes the things different??)
Consciousness arises from the human brain's ability to make maps of things using neural pathways.
It all started, as you know, from neural pathways being formed  that allowed memories to be formed and then hunks of various brain meat to be able to call up those maps and (in the early days of course) "read" the maps and  make decisions that aided survival, allowed good feelings, and avoided bad ones from happening.
But these early decisions were not "felt" consciously as they are now.  (The brain does not know things directly it can only feel things.  This way of indirectly knowing things evolved from the original 5 senses of feeling the exterior world to an ability of feeling the maps of things the brain had created inside itself).
But in these early stages we still do not have the brain aware of the self or consciousness.  And many lessor animals that can think may not be consciousness of their acts of thinking.
What happened is that the brain kept making maps of everything it was involved with and in one mutation of a brain, somewhere sometime ago, that brain made a map of itself making maps, and making maps of itself "feeling itself feeling its maps".  It was at that point when the brain mapped itself reading its  maps that the brain became aware of its self and consciousness in humans was born.
Is there some reason why other things might not have gone through the same process?  Does the Universe think?  It has been around for a lot longer time than me and you.  It is made of the same stuff we are.  It has complicated arrangements of its stuff.    For happy speculation we can make comparisons of atoms to stars, neurons to galaxies, neuron pathways or clusters to galaxy clusters and so on and so forth with all the various chemical and electrical activity going on inside a brain and the Universes but at different sizes.
I speculate here but hesitate to insist on a conclusion.  Like all the other philosophers on this site we want to become great ones don't we??
But why do we want that  because as my late good friend Robert Ettinger once said:  "Most great philosophers in history were wrong."

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