Saturday, January 10, 2009

Domes: Hippie Quaker Kids' Names, Consciousness, Watsu

Hippie Quaker kids' names I found recently (2009): QUAKER HIPPIE QUEEN, Definitely Does Not Play Dungeons & Dragons, Moon Flower Fairy Child, Communist Whore No. 2, Extreme Egghead Feminist..., Friend, The Krishna Kid, Bomb the Bourgeoisie, Hippy Hippy Shake, Timothy Leary, Sunshine Friend, Sunbeam, Quaker Flower, Barefoot Cannabis, Peace Bringer, Quaker Dove of Light, Crazy Treehugger, Natural Womyn, The Treehugger, Child of Light, Treehugging DirtWorshipper, Sends a Good Vibe, Eyes of the World, Bohemian Babe


Hippies continue to create and explore . . . :)


Conversation about Consciousness

How do billions of cells firing together in the brain give rise to subjective experience?


brains and subjective experience
Thursday, November 1, 2007 at 6:21am | Edit Note | Delete

How do billions of cells firing together in the brain give rise to subjective experience?

How can they?

How dare they?

Why was this selected for, evolutionarily?

David Chalmers and consciousness:

Questions about consciousness are wild and amazing. :)

What do you think?

Written over a year ago - Add Comment - 8 Comments

Bos at 8:41am November 1
I think experience existed before neurons evolved. Neurons may be be needed to make the experience "subjective." Without feedback, there's no subject.

Scott MacLeod at 12:04pm November 1
How to characterize the experience of a nematode or sea slugs, which have neurons, and, perhaps, non-subjective experience, although presumable they respond to feedback? So, for you, experience (amoebae), then neurons (nematodes), then subjective experience (bats?). How far down the phylogenetic tree does subjective experience extend, do you think?

Bos at 2:23pm November 1
Good question(s). In my opinion, experience is a characteristic of matter, not just of life. I think one could use information theory to measure the computations of an amoeba or a nematode. I don't think there's a qualitative difference between lower forms of life and higher, except that computational complexity facilitates more interesting computation, and thus the ability to solve complex problems. I would suggest that one becomes a "subject," by acting, receiving feedback from the environment and acting again on that feedback. At some level, one develops an awareness of self as distinct from the world (yes, bats probably), and at some higher level one develops a computational model that facilitates recognition of that self. Humans, dolphins, and (I think) many primates recognize themselves in a mirror.

Scott MacLeod at 12:26pm November 2
I wonder if you think that Thomas Nagel in "What is it like to be a bat?" - - doesn't engage the question of experience fully enough, and that therefore a computational model will eventually help us understand how consciousness works. His point seems to be that consciousness, and subjectivity - the taste of chocolate to someone else, the first person singular - is irreducible, and that other organisms' (and species') consciousnesses are fundamentally other; to understand a bat's consciousness subjectively is and always will be impossible. As one of the "new mysterions," (along with Colin McGinn, another interesting philosopher of mind), perhaps Nagel is putting forth a straw man.

(Part 1 of reply)
Scott MacLeod at 12:27pm November 2
Here's a TED Talk by Sue Savage-Rumbaugh on Bonobos - Apes that write, start fires and play Pac-Man - -

which suggests that pygmy chimps are not very different from us. Perhaps we/they are only significantly different in the degree of ability to symbolize, and the amount of sexual behavior (although that seems to be culturally constructed in humans:), which, by implication, might suggest similarities in consciousness.

(Part 2 of reply)
Scott MacLeod at 3:19pm November 2
Curiously fascinating:)

Here Colin McGinn works toward a definition of consciousness,
the 1st chapter from his book "The Mysterious Flame: Conscious Minds in a Material World" -

Scott MacLeod at 4:47pm November 3
In reading "Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion," many of the folks in the 60s who were also thinking about consciousness - writers like Huxley and psychologists like Perls - shaped a nondualistic view of consciousness, where brain and 'what it's like to be a bat' are expressions of the same thing, but which doesn't explain how consciousness works, in the sense of Chalmers' 'hard problem.' Maybe questions concerning consciousness which unite the first and third person singular viewpoints - how meat/gray matter gives rise to the taste of mango - are best re-framed as temporary limitations in conceptuaization/language.

Scott MacLeod at 12:27pm November 5
Here's the link to David Chalmers' far-reaching resource on consciousness, including links to multiple papers -

and including his philosophical humor web page:)



Watsu at the Domes

The buildings above {click on title} were built as a Watsu School at Harbin. Back to Harbin soon for Watsu {Water Shiatsu - a harmonizing practice} ...

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