RE: longevity vs singularity/Question

Rob Harris Cen-IT (
Mon, 2 Aug 1999 13:36:58 +0100

Gina Miller wrote: "what is the definition of
> > consciousness", until that is clear this kind of question is limited in
> > answer. Any idea's?
Yes! This is THE question. Contrary to the tripe that is so often posted about consciousness, nobody knows squat about it. The real questions like What IS consciousness ?, Why is it necessary , what role does it play among the other processes of the brain. etc.... are the ones to ask. Far too many people shit themselves at the very weird sight of consciousness and so make transparent and cretinous attempts to "explain it away" without any evidence to go on whatsoever, indeed, many that express "opinions" on consciousness don't even have the concept isolated from other things such as learning, response to stimuli, individuality or thought. As I always recommend to people interested in this most interesting of subjects, read "The Conscious Mind" by David Chalmers. It spends a great deal of time carefully clarifying just the issue you raised above.
A quick explanation of what most people mean when they refer to consciousness is "the bit that feels.....not that thinks, or that decides, it's the bit, that strange efffect that experiences those thoughts, feels that it is in control, is "actually there". Chalmers refers to this as "phenomenological consciousness"......the weird as hell "real experience/actually there/field thingy in some weird dimension or something" that we're all interested in.

Then get back to me and tell me your thoughts. Of all unexplained phenomena, consciousness is by a league the weirdest, an explanation of which would undoubtedly open up a whole new branch of science. See, it's not good enough just to explain the physical process by which consciousness arises - we want to know what the hell it IS, where does it come from ? Are there more effects like it that could be utilised by humans? We probably couldn't get our heads around it without some major enhancements. Cool stuff.


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