RE: consciousness, self, awareness....again.

Cameron Reilly (
Thu, 19 Aug 1999 22:34:39 +1000

Clint O'Dell wrote:

>First I created a thought. I controlled what thoughts ran through my head
and noticed that the thoughts
>were created by me. They were not created by responses to events. So I
must have some free will there.

I'm fascinated by your comments because this totally contradicts my own experience. How did you create a thought? Are you claiming this to be a conscious process? What was the process you followed? How did you initiate the process? How did you control the thoughts? By what process did you control the thoughts? If you want take the discussion off-list, please feel free to mail me directly.

Cameron Reilly

-----Original Message-----
From: []On Behalf Of Clint O'Dell
Sent: Thursday, August 19, 1999 4:44 AM
Subject: RE: consciousness, self, awareness....again.

I have made some changes in the original body that I posted earlier. I noticed after printing it out and taking it home I defined the term 'self awareness' with the same term. I've also fixed several spelling mistakes. The explanations are more complete as well.

>>(When I talk of 'consciousness', I am referring to the "here I am"
>>sensation, the source of sensations, the "soul" if you like, and nothing

When I speak of consciousness, I'm talking about the thoughts that develop in your brain. When I say a person is self aware, I'm talking about the acknowledgment of himself. His thoughts focused on his consciousness and realizing he is developing these thoughts. I'm also talking about his recognizing that he exist. When he looks into a mirror and notices that it is himself he is looking at. All these things together make up varies degrees of self awareness.

There is no physical soul. No specific area that you can pin point and say, "This is you". Instead, I believe, consciousness is the exchange of information between brain functions.

>>So you're saying that perhaps the distributed nature of brain function may
>>in part contribute to the platform upon which consciousness stands?
>> did you arrive at this idea? (expand)?

That is years of thought based on my observations and limited knowledge of brain functions. I'll sum up my observations and conclusions here. I'm sure you'll let me know where I'll need to expand.

When I think about how I think, this is what I find. If I think "raise my left arm" nothing happens; yet, if I will my arm to raise, then it does. 'I' (the conscious self) have done two things. First I created a thought. I controlled what thoughts ran through my head and noticed that the thoughts were created by me. They were not created by responses to events. So I must have some free will there. Next I created an action. I moved my arm. I noticed that my arm didn't move when I created the thought command for it to move. I also noticed that I move my arm all the time without first thinking to move my arm. In conclusion 'I' (the conscious self) must be made up of at least two parts.

To expand even further, I noticed that I have different types of thoughts. Sometimes I think in pictures, or, to explain more thoroughly, I see my memories. I also think in words. English to be precise. Other thoughts I have are remembering tastes, sounds, and textures. So I've come to the conclusion that thought must come through memory. Because I think in different images, sounds (such as language), tastes, and smells, and these senses have been shown to be controlled by different parts of the brain, then my thoughts must also be developed from different parts of the brain. Also different body functions have been shown to be controlled by different parts of the brain.

I can go even a step further. Because English is a spoken language it must be recognized through the part of the brain that interprets sound. Traveling via echoic memory. Because english is also a symbolic language when written, it must be recognized through the part of the brain that interprets images. Traveling via iconic memory. When I read a word, my brain probably matches up the lines in the letters, to a part of iconic memory that recognizes those letters. Echoic memory probably has something written at the same place because when I learned the alphabet I associated it with sounds. Or to be more clear, when someone showed me the letter 'A' I heard immediately the word 'A'. What must happen in the brain to allow these associations is that memory from all parts of the body are written at the same time. Some parts of the body must be more sensitive than others, otherwise we would associate the movement of an arm with a word, along with a sound, etc. In martial arts you develop muscle memory by repeating body movements over and over again while imagining reactions to events. Eventually it makes a lasting impression on the brain and you can react automatically.

To sum up, because all parts of thought and action is controlled by different parts of the brain, and you control all action freely without intervention from outside events and then again recognize this in echoic memory (the sound recognition part of consciousness), then the conscious self ('I') must be made up of many parts of the brain. Brain functions exchange information via memory.
So you see, memory is actually a very stable base for consciousness.

>>So what is this original "self", disregarding the closed pointer loop
>>there be a "self" without this pointer in your model?
>>How do you view the "self" in relation to your awareness and

This requires an explanation to my view of personality. Personality is the way memory is associated with one another and what is planned in future situations that would hopefully bring the body to a more comfortable state. I ifeden.comfort as lack of pain/fear. I have a primitive formula for establishing personality and even life as a conscious/self aware object. I'm not talking about the ability to reproduce itself but the difference between a living man and a dead one. past memories + current memory stimulation = personality and life Think about how an object makes assumptions about the future. It takes past experiences and matches them with noticed patterned outcomes. It's all memory. So where does current memory stimulation come in? A persons current mood, or state of mind, is a result of current happenings and matching patterns of past responses. A person is alive because he can make predictions based on matching memory patterns to the point where it at least affects his current personality/thought. Some parts of memory travel via echoic memory as I've mentioned above. The sounds residing in a part of echoic memory is matched with other parts of memory that give you an understanding of language. This is your consciousness. A part of memory helping make decisions based on recognition. (When I first thought of this I was in total ah..!) Of course self awareness then arrives. You can't help but notice the pattern you are making all the decisions! Wow!

>>I would offer that nobody I've ever read or talked to on this subject
>>(knows) what causes consciousness.

Not everyone is as bold as I am to state their observations when they're out numbered by opinion. Most people believe, to the point of ridicule, that the 'self' is controlled by a single "something" a spirit perhaps. I can't rely a non-self supporting system. Even the universe must be held by something. It probably holds itself.

>>What hierarchy? What about the "self" present in each human?

It seems that the simpler things are, the more chaotic they are too. The more complex the system, the more orderly things seem to be. Atoms by themselves travel in random directions, right? Yet bunch them up with other atoms and they behave differently. We humans are a perfect example of order from chaos. We are all made of simple atoms governed by relatively simple laws, that when combined form more and more complex laws that restricts freedom and forces order.

Two or more minds connected together to the point where they are thinking the same thoughts at the same time would be far more complex than the individual minds.

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