A Challenge To The Current Theory Of Consciousness

haidut

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I remember Ray wrote about a chess champion in England who had such large ventricles that his brain looked like the inside rind of a coconut. Despite this "handicap", the chess guy was not only conscious but obviously had a pretty high IQ. The current theory on memory formation and brain development cannot really explain a case like that.
This more recent case study involved a man with more than 90% of his brain missing due to the chronic hydrocephalos. According to neuroscience currently taught in school, that man should not even be conscious because not only was most of his brain missing but his brainstem was also affected and partially atrophied. And yet, the man is conscious and well and has a decent IQ of 75 allowing him to have a family and function socially.
It seems that we still don't know much about how the brain functions, and that brain size and number of neurons is really not the determining factor of consciousness (and maybe even intelligence). Judging by the this man's brain size, organisms with much smaller brain than ours are probably just as intelligent and conscious as we are. This is something people like Noam Chomsky (and most neurosurgeons) would rather not think about.

A civil servant missing most of his brain challenges our most basic theories of consciousness

"...“Any theory of consciousness has to be able to explain why a person like that, who’s missing 90% of his neurons, still exhibits normal behavior,” says Cleeremans. A theory of consciousness that depends on “specific neuroanatomical features” (the physical make-up of the brain) would have trouble explaining such cases.
 

Mjhl85

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May be the 10% of neurons that he does have are the most important or most common that convey normal, common or decent enough intelligence.
Seems talk is always about numbers rather than which neurons.
This would explain why most encephalitic arent intelligent, can't live normal lives.
This guy seems like an exception and may be this really doesn't challenge anything but
our outlook on quality rather than quantity.
 

haidut

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May be the 10% of neurons that he does have are the most important or most common that convey normal, common or decent enough intelligence.
Seems talk is always about numbers rather than which neurons.
This would explain why most encephalitic arent intelligent, can't live normal lives.
This guy seems like an exception and may be this really doesn't challenge anything but
our outlook on quality rather than quantity.

There are plenty of cases where people had severe damages to various brain regions, so that by now cases with damage to every region of the brain are known. If there was a "vital" brain region this would not have happened. I suspect it is a systemic effect, where consciousness depends on electron flow through the entire organism and not just brain cells. You can kill people easily by damaging the vagus nerve during surgery as well as some parts of the spinal chord (not the brain stem). So, consciousness is not only in the brain.
 
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Mjhl85

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There plenty of cases where people had severe damages to various brain regions, so that by now cases with damage to every region of the brain are known. If there was a "vital" brain region this would not have happened. I suspect it is a systemic effect, where consciousness depends n electron flow through the entire organism and not just brain cells. You can kill people easily by damaging the vagus nerve during surgery as well as some parts of the spinal chord (not the brain stem). So, consciousness is not only in the brain.
The systemic idea is definitely good. In that respect we are saying the same thing. I still think even in those plenty cases of damage to various parts,
there are probably critical areas of those various parts each that as you said allow electron flow.
 

Pointless

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Is a baby conscious? We have very little memory of when we were babies. Some people remember bits and pieces, but mostly nothing. Without memory, we assume that we had no consciousness. Memory = consciousness. This leads people to believe that less-developed species are not conscious. They have the minds of babies or even less. I believe some mammals have rudimentary consciousness, though, like dogs, because of their emotion and intelligence. The truth is that we can't really know or prove whether anyone or anything is conscious because consciousness is a completely internal, private thing. Some people believe that they're the only conscious being in the universe (narcissistic, yes).
 

Peata

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We've been taught that the brain can make new connections and some parts of brain can take over functions of those that are lost.
 

lexis

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E=mc2

Perhaps what matters is the energetic field,not the material body
 

Brother John

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There plenty of cases where people had severe damages to various brain regions, so that by now cases with damage to every region of the brain are known. If there was a "vital" brain region this would not have happened. I suspect it is a systemic effect, where consciousness depends n electron flow through the entire organism and not just brain cells. You can kill people easily by damaging the vagus nerve during surgery as well as some parts of the spinal chord (not the brain stem). So, consciousness is not only in the brain.
I suspect it is a systemic effect, where consciousness depends n electron flow through the entire organism and not just brain cells.
Yes Haidut!
Brother John
 

Interactome

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It seems that we still don't know much about how the brain functions, and that brain size and number of neurons is really not the determining factor of consciousness (and maybe even intelligence). Judging by the this man's brain size, organisms with much smaller brain than ours are probably just as intelligent and conscious as we are. This is something people like Noam Chomsky (and most neurosurgeons) would rather not think about.

One thing that bothers me about human consciousness is, why did we evolve an integrated human consciousness if, as some say, the conscious experience of our actions happens after the decision to act a certain way has been made by the "unconscious" parts of our brain? I.e. what's the use of human consciousness? Why didn't we evolve into mindless (qualia-less) robots/zombies, like the type of machines that people like Kurtzweil are trying to design?

I saw somewhere that Ray said something about focusing on the conscious experience of a body part or a visual aspect may cause some sort of regeneration in that area...

With respect to its location, I think the brain can adapt if damage happens slowly over time. Our integrated consciousness can migrate and spread to new locations.
 

lvysaur

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I believe some mammals have rudimentary consciousness, though, like dogs, because of their emotion and intelligence.

I don't believe there's anything particularly special about dogs, other than that they were a happy accident, and happened to be chosen for advanced breeding in the past couple of centuries.

Domesticates of multiple species show low cortisol and adrenaline levels both at baseline and under stress.
 

yomama

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why did we evolve an integrated human consciousness if, as some say, the conscious experience of our actions happens after the decision to act a certain way has been made by the "unconscious" parts of our brain? I.e. what's the use of human consciousness? Why didn't we evolve into mindless (qualia-less) robots/zombies, like the type of machines that people like Kurtzweil are trying to design?

Have you ever read "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind" by Julian Jaynes? He gives an alternative and congruent answer to questions like the above.
 

Brother John

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Have you ever read "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind" by Julian Jaynes? He gives an alternative and congruent answer to questions like the above.
It has been years since I read it. Great read and the picture he presented of human history was amazing and daunting. But he raised as many questions as he answered imho.
Brother John
 

Interactome

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Have you ever read "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind" by Julian Jaynes? He gives an alternative and congruent answer to questions like the above.
Not yet. I'll look into it.

I do think there's a difference between human consciousness, which is a thing that can evolve, and experience/qualia which is something fundamental about reality/the universe.

Domesticates of multiple species show low cortisol and adrenaline levels both at baseline and under stress.
I wonder why that is... Is it because of their physiology/genetics or because of their mental development and perception of various situations?
 

Peatit

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E=mc2

Perhaps what matters is the energetic field,not the material body
I could speculate even more saying that our brain may just be a kind of antenna or receptor tuned to our own consciousness which isn't inside our brain or body but rather a kind of field (probably electric) around us similar to those about whom Ray often speaks.
And the high metabolic activity of the brain could be used to maintain a coherence in this field while accessing it and using it.
That could account for the "aura" that some people claim to see and for telepathic feats achieved by people who might be able to tune to other's field of consciousness.
When death comes, the field is dissolved and return to the pool, available for another conscious being.
Pure speculation though, but I like the idea, I might have read it somewhere once but I can't remember!
Namaste ;)
 

Interactome

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could speculate even more saying that our brain may just be a kind of antenna or receptor tuned to our own consciousness which isn't inside our brain or body but rather a kind of field (probably electric) around us similar to those about whom Ray often speaks.
And the high metabolic activity of the brain could be used to maintain a coherence in this field while accessing it and using it.
That could account for the "aura" that some people claim to see and for telepathic feats achieved by people who might be able to tune to other's field of consciousness.
When death comes, the field is dissolved and return to the pool, available for another conscious being.
Pure speculation though, but I like the idea, I might have read it somewhere once but I can't remember!
Namaste ;)

I believe that the field and the antenna could be different aspects of the same underlying thing. When our metabolism breaks down, we cannot maintain our structure and hence loose our integrated human consciousness. But qualia still exists since it's part of reality.
 

yomama

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It has been years since I read it. Great read and the picture he presented of human history was amazing and daunting. But he raised as many questions as he answered imho.
Brother John

I tried to contact him many years ago, with no success. The person who answered told me he retired pretty disgusted about how the "scientific" community considered his work. Implications of "bicameralism" and "voices" in mental illness and pathologies as schizophrenia is still one of the most interesting point for me, it would be interesting to revisit his theory under the light of the current status of knowledge of the physiology of the brain etc.
 

Brother John

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I tried to contact him many years ago, with no success. The person who answered told me he retired pretty disgusted about how the "scientific" community considered his work. Implications of "bicameralism" and "voices" in mental illness and pathologies as schizophrenia is still one of the most interesting point for me, it would be interesting to revisit his theory under the light of the current status of knowledge of the physiology of the brain etc.
Yes it would be interesting to revisit his theories for sure. His statements about schizophrenics having unusual powers of needing less sleep and having incredible stamina and earlier humans being connected by a different action of the mind is very provocative. His descriptions of early humans being "plugged into group consciousness" reminds me of animal "pack" behavior and of flocks of birds that can turn on a dime. The evolutionary connection that he made with the characters in the Iliad was so interesting. I theorize that the development of the frontal cortex with all it's benefits also unplugged humans from something they need. I think we are not fully evolved in the areas of biological structure and functions.
Brother John
 
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