Consciousness - the elephant in the room

What is a human being? What is life? Can science give us reliable answers to such questions? The electricity of life. The meaning of human consciousness. Are we alone? Are the traditional contests between science and religion still relevant? Does the word "spirit" still hold meaning today?

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Re: Consciousness - the elephant in the room

Unread postby True North » Wed Dec 12, 2012 5:50 am

What are the limits of science in determining or defining consciousness? Clearly there is matter, substances if you will, that remain imperceptible to science. Gurdjieff says as much in his presentation of the hydrogens, as well as being borne out in the history of science. And how might this relate to Gurdjieff's insistence that one can only know consciousness in oneself? How are we to understand consciousness in others?
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Re: Consciousness - the elephant in the room

Unread postby CTJG 1986 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:01 pm

True North wrote:What are the limits of science in determining or defining consciousness? Clearly there is matter, substances if you will, that remain imperceptible to science. Gurdjieff says as much in his presentation of the hydrogens, as well as being borne out in the history of science. And how might this relate to Gurdjieff's insistence that one can only know consciousness in oneself? How are we to understand consciousness in others?


One may only be able to know one's own consciousness but in my personal view all consciousness results from constant field/energy interactions involving our brain waves and pulses and such communicating bi-directionally with the "aether" or 'energy field" or whatever you want to call it.

Thus to my view there is a "universal consciousness", but in line with Gurdjieff's views I feel we can only personally understand our own interactions with it.

But scientifically we can understand that all sentient/conscious beings have the same type of interactions, and although there may be minor differences due to variables in human anatomy/brain function and such ultimately to understand your own consciousness is to understand the consciousness of all such beings, to an extent.

On a side note anyone familiar with Gurdjieff's works may be interested in recurring weekly online study groups reviewing some of his works available through the Theosophical Society in America, provided there is any room left for the next one December 21.

Fridays, weekly 10:00-11:15 AM (Central Time) ongoing

The practical teaching of G.I. Gurdjieff (1866-1949) requires ongoing self-observation over many years. The purpose of such self-observation while making the effort to self-remember is to gradually free us from our identifications with fears and desires in their many forms. This helps us to realize that we are not the body-brain-ego organism that we have been mistakenly taught to believe is our true identity.

For this purpose pupils typically organize themselves into ongoing groups that meet regularly in order to share their self-observations, and in support of their ongoing efforts to remember themselves. “Remember yourself always and everywhere” is the aphorism expressing the central teaching that Gurdjieff brought. This online Gurdjieff Study group has been meeting weekly since the beginning of 2011. Participants bring their self-observations to share at the beginning of each meeting. Afterward, there takes place a reading from the course textbook, Nicoll, Psychological Commentaries on the Teaching of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky, Vol. 1, and from which a psychological exercise is selected for participants to work on in between the group meetings.

This is not an introductory group, so you need to be familiar with Gurdjieff’s concepts and terminology in order to participate. If you are not, please download the introductory book Ginsburg, Gurdjieff Unveiled (Lighthouse, 2001) which is now offered as a free Ebook on the Theosophical Society website. After reading this book, if you would like to participate, please email syginsburg@aol.com for further information. Because of the interactive nature of this Study Group, participation is necessarily limited.

The facilitator of this Study Group is Seymour (Sy) Ginsburg. Sy studied Gurdjieff’s teaching for nineteen years under the tutelage of Sri Madhava Ashish and has co-facilitated the ongoing Gurdjieff Study Group at the Theosophical Society in Miami (Deerfield Beach) since 1993.


http://www.theosophical.org/national-ce ... tudy-group

Cheers,
Jonny
The difference between a Creationist and a believer in the Big Bang is that the Creationists admit they are operating on blind faith... Big Bang believers call their blind faith "theoretical mathematical variables" and claim to be scientists rather than the theologists they really are.
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Re: Consciousness - the elephant in the room

Unread postby Vasa » Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:15 pm

I've been thinking about the Vedantic literature lately and how it is described that there is more "consciousness" in matter than there is matter itself. I used to think that they were talking about "space" because of mainstream physics and the "vacuum." It is now clear to me that they are speaking of the aether, "the all pervading." Is the aether the seat of consciousness? Moreso, is the aether the sum total of the consciousness of God in his all pervading aspect?

It kind of blows my mind to think about it.
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Re: Consciousness - the elephant in the room

Unread postby marg36 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:29 pm

The crux of this whole issue, in my view, lies in the boundary between the scientific domain and the experential.
Science represents man's best attempt to attain objectivity. Hard science (physics, chemistry, etc) is based on measurement, logic, and mathematics. Experience is purely subjective. Science regards "subjective" as a pejorative. Thinking itself is known only subjectively. A bit of a sticky wicket.

In my own opinion, science is not in a position to define or do meaningful research on consciousness, awareness, etc. Nor will doing statistical studies on the responses of a group of individuals will not increase our understanding of the subject.

For those interested in this question at a deeper level, I would recommend the works of Dr. David R. Hawkins - available in a variety of formats from www.veritaspub.com. You can also find him on Youtube as well as the satsangs with Mooji.
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Re: Consciousness - the elephant in the room

Unread postby VelisEtRemis » Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:06 am

Consciousness is the awareness of yourself as an independent, limited, entity in space, and the attempt to organize this identiy with your environment.
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Re: Consciousness - the elephant in the room

Unread postby tayga » Thu Feb 07, 2013 4:51 am

VelisEtRemis wrote:Consciousness is the awareness of yourself as an independent, limited, entity in space, and the attempt to organize this identiy with your environment.


I think that's a particular level of consciousness you are talking about. There is plenty of argument that animals, and even human infants, are conscious but not self aware. In consciousness philosophy, awareness of oneself as a limited entity is often described as the egoic state. Many would argue that it is an illusion and that higher levels of consciousness include awareness (not just the intellectual idea) of connection with the rest of the universe.
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It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong.

- Richard P. Feynman

Normal science does not aim at novelties of fact or theory and, when successful, finds none.
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Re: Consciousness - the elephant in the room

Unread postby VelisEtRemis » Thu Feb 07, 2013 6:48 am

All life, demonstrates self awareness and organizes in its environment, otherwise this organization would not be possible... It is critical for survival.
And the more one understands his environment, the higher is the level of consciousness.
When you speak of universal consciousness, I am inclined to believe you are speaking about top down causation from a creator entity that oversees the bottom up causation we experience as the coherence of the world. I do not see that as being clearly demonstrated by phenomena around us and it is likely just a fanciful conjecture.
We ourselves are creators and understand some of bottom up causation and can conceive of no other arrangement to explain what we see. The world may be self assembled from bottom up, and universal consciousness a myth to anthropocentrize things yet again?

:|
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Re: Consciousness - the elephant in the room

Unread postby tayga » Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:03 pm

VelisEtRemis wrote:All life, demonstrates self awareness


That's a view at variance with psychology. I'm not about to get into an argument to justify the consensus in psychology but if you think that all life is self aware you should check that you are using the term in the same sense that everyone else is. Definitions in this field are notoriously tricky.
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It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong.

- Richard P. Feynman

Normal science does not aim at novelties of fact or theory and, when successful, finds none.
- Thomas Kuhn
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Re: Consciousness - the elephant in the room

Unread postby VelisEtRemis » Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:39 pm

When a baby, or a frog, or a cell touches a hot plate, they all three know to pull away from it?

:|
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Re: Consciousness - the elephant in the room

Unread postby Scott MC » Thu Feb 07, 2013 6:46 pm

tayga wrote:
VelisEtRemis wrote:All life, demonstrates self awareness


That's a view at variance with psychology. I'm not about to get into an argument to justify the consensus in psychology but if you think that all life is self aware you should check that you are using the term in the same sense that everyone else is. Definitions in this field are notoriously tricky.


But 'everyone else' has no conclusive idea...

as with 'mass' and 'charge' and 'energy' and so many other things it's incredible. We see these pillars of existence and definitely have them 'all measured up' but cannot comprehend a coherent structure at all.

Obviously its reckless to seek advancement of external discoveries when so many fundamental facts are unknown.
99.999+% of everything can't be that simple, can it?
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Re: Consciousness - the elephant in the room

Unread postby VelisEtRemis » Thu Feb 07, 2013 7:22 pm

Self awareness is the knowledge of what you are in a fundamental way. Baby pigs root, baby foxes play predatory games, baby children revel in the features of their mothers features and get an erection. It's the inherent recognition of yourself that makes you self aware and it is natural and complete to every living creature.

:|
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Re: Consciousness - the elephant in the room

Unread postby VelisEtRemis » Thu Feb 07, 2013 7:32 pm

Scott

It seems obvious that there are two fundamental qualities, and only two, energy and space. The greatest impediment to our understanding of everything is the lack of recognition to the fact that space is an entity to itself.

:|
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Re: Consciousness - the elephant in the room

Unread postby tayga » Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:52 am

VelisEtRemis wrote:When a baby, or a frog, or a cell touches a hot plate, they all three know to pull away from it


And you think that is evidence of self awareness? I think you should check your definitions. Google self awareness mirror test.
tayga


It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong.

- Richard P. Feynman

Normal science does not aim at novelties of fact or theory and, when successful, finds none.
- Thomas Kuhn
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Re: Consciousness - the elephant in the room

Unread postby tayga » Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:58 am

VelisEtRemis wrote:It seems obvious that there are two fundamental qualities, and only two, energy and space. The greatest impediment to our understanding of everything is the lack of recognition to the fact that space is an entity to itself.



That's a different thread. However, if you can define charge in terms of energy and space you're a better man than me.
tayga


It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong.

- Richard P. Feynman

Normal science does not aim at novelties of fact or theory and, when successful, finds none.
- Thomas Kuhn
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Re: Consciousness - the elephant in the room

Unread postby VelisEtRemis » Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:10 pm

I think learning that the image of yourself in a mirror, is the result of learning and memory and association, and enhances the self awareness that already had to exist. Perhaps I am naive, perhaps I just do not obfuscate the simple truths?

:|
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