1 2 > 
 
   
 

Where consciousness is located

 
coto
 
Avatar
 
 
coto
Total Posts:  4
Joined  22-08-2020
 
 
 
22 August 2020 19:49
 

After reading book “Waking Up”, signing up to “Waking Up” program on my phone, reviewing available articles and videos on the web I still cannot figure out what is Sam’s view about location of the consciousness. It seems to me that he evades direct answer, claiming that our subjective perception can be scientifically investigated, like for example it is evident that when we get lost in our anger we only escalate the feeling but when we watch ourselves being angry the anger dissipates. He also claims that consciousness is not a feature of the brain because, as I understood, consciousness is not physical. I don’t want to cite many of his statements. Some I consider vague and inconclusive. He also says that science does not take the issue seriously because it is very subjective and appears only in the person’s mind. I believe that the issue is considered seriously by psychology regardless of the subjectivity of the person’s perception.

In his meditations he specifically suggests that consciousness is not present behind our face, not in the head. He asks where thoughts come from but never answers the question. He only claims that the thoughts are part of the consciousness.

Can someone explain in explicit language where consciousness is located, according to Sam Harris. The more I listen to his meditations, the more I am confused and doubtful about his concept.

 
Jb8989
 
Avatar
 
 
Jb8989
Total Posts:  6645
Joined  31-01-2012
 
 
 
23 August 2020 06:57
 

Having it and locating it are two different things. You obviously have it because we’re chatting. How it gets turned on would be its location, but I don’t think science figured that out yet; other than knowing that it’s some combination of everything your important internal systems are doing. I think that because our minds come mainly from our brains, and because our brains are in our heads, most people walk around thinking that thier head is the command center where consciousness must call home.

[ Edited: 23 August 2020 07:00 by Jb8989]
 
 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
Avatar
 
 
Antisocialdarwinist
Total Posts:  7197
Joined  08-12-2006
 
 
 
23 August 2020 10:23
 

The best definition of consciousness I’ve found describes it as a process rather than a state. That process absolutely takes place in the brain. It probably isn’t located in any specific location in the brain, but seems to be a function of the prefrontal cortex, which—as I understand it—is the most “connected” part of the brain. I.e., it’s connected to more other locations of the brain than any of those other locations are.

But in general, I think the “hard” problem of consciousness is agreeing on a definition. If you subscribe to panpsychism then consciousness is located everywhere. Etc. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard Harris offer a definition for whatever he means by consciousness. So first pick your favorite definition, then ask “where.”

 
 
burt
 
Avatar
 
 
burt
Total Posts:  16192
Joined  17-12-2006
 
 
 
23 August 2020 10:45
 
coto - 22 August 2020 07:49 PM

After reading book “Waking Up”, signing up to “Waking Up” program on my phone, reviewing available articles and videos on the web I still cannot figure out what is Sam’s view about location of the consciousness. It seems to me that he evades direct answer, claiming that our subjective perception can be scientifically investigated, like for example it is evident that when we get lost in our anger we only escalate the feeling but when we watch ourselves being angry the anger dissipates. He also claims that consciousness is not a feature of the brain because, as I understood, consciousness is not physical. I don’t want to cite many of his statements. Some I consider vague and inconclusive. He also says that science does not take the issue seriously because it is very subjective and appears only in the person’s mind. I believe that the issue is considered seriously by psychology regardless of the subjectivity of the person’s perception.

In his meditations he specifically suggests that consciousness is not present behind our face, not in the head. He asks where thoughts come from but never answers the question. He only claims that the thoughts are part of the consciousness.

Can someone explain in explicit language where consciousness is located, according to Sam Harris. The more I listen to his meditations, the more I am confused and doubtful about his concept.

Google http://www.consciousness.arizona.edu. There is a virtual conference on consciousness going on in mid September. You might find it interesting. (It is something like the 20th Tucson Conference on Consciousness, going back to 1994).

 
coto
 
Avatar
 
 
coto
Total Posts:  4
Joined  22-08-2020
 
 
 
23 August 2020 10:57
 

My point in asking where the consciousness is located, was whether this is a phenomena that exists outside any brain and is specific to living creatures that experience it regardless whether they are aware of it or not, or it is a product of human mind. How scientists can explore it if it is not even defined. I think these are just speculations based on Sam Harris’s personal experience, as he himself frequently emphasizes. I like his meditations program but I take his comments with the grain of salt. I was hoping that because he is an atheist, I am too, his meditation course would be less esoteric and metaphysical than religious versions of meditation.

 
coto
 
Avatar
 
 
coto
Total Posts:  4
Joined  22-08-2020
 
 
 
23 August 2020 12:28
 

There is a link in this thread to the International Conference of Consciousness on which scientists debate annually the science of consciousness. I was not aware of this conference and that so many scientists make it a subject of their research. I will listen to past conferences on YouTube and maybe sign up to the one in September. After this I might have more educated opinion on the subject that is really fascinating to me. I am glad that I posted my question. Thank you everyone for your responses.

 
Cheshire Cat
 
Avatar
 
 
Cheshire Cat
Total Posts:  1670
Joined  01-11-2014
 
 
 
23 August 2020 14:00
 

If you want to find where your consciousness resides, I suggest you turn to Richard Lang and the teachings of Douglas Harding. Richard Lang is very good at pointing out exactly where your consciousness is located with his “headless” exercises. Sam has interviewed Lang recently on podcast #181, and he thought it was so important that he dropped his pay wall limitation and posted the entire interview. I suggest you listen to that podcast.

When you listen to it, you will probably have one of two reactions: either you will “see” it immediately and get it, or you will shrug your shoulders and say “so what?”

Your core consciousness is not some esoteric, mystical experience, but a very obvious and mundane part of your existence that people constantly overlook. People chase their tails looking for some lightning bolt experience of enlightenment. And sometimes, rarely, it does happen that way. I think Eckhart Tolle had such an experience:

“I cannot live with myself any longer.” This was the thought that kept repeating itself in my mind. Then suddenly, I became aware of what a peculiar thought it was. “Am I one or two? If I cannot live with my self, there must be two of me: the ‘I’ and the ‘self’ that ‘I’ cannot live with.” “Maybe,” I thought, “only one of them is real.”

So there are two aspects to ourselves; the “I” and the “self.”

The “I” is your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, opinions, judgments, and your own idea and image of yourself — everything in the world that you experience, basically.

What is the other aspect, the “self”? I like Richard Lang’s definition:

“Who are you really? What are you at no distance from yourself? Our hypothesis claims that you are not what you look like. In other words, though you appear to others (at a distance) as a unique person, to yourself (at no distance), you are boundless and timeless emptiness — awake space that is capacity for the world.”

Awake space that is capacity for the world. That is your consciousness.

You have to separate the clutter of the “I” to glimpse it.

 
 
unsmoked
 
Avatar
 
 
unsmoked
Total Posts:  9520
Joined  20-02-2006
 
 
 
24 August 2020 11:57
 

consciousness  noun

the state of being awake and aware of one’s surroundings.

(Used in a sentence)  “She failed to regain consciousness and died two days later”

Is it reasonable to say that the universe is conscious?  Aren’t we all the eyes, ears and other senses of the universe?  Can the OP question be answered by saying that consciousness is located in the universe - that it’s a characteristic of the universe?

characteristic  noun

1.  a feature or quality belonging typically to a person, place, or thing and serving to identify it.

According to Zen, another characteristic of the universe, or reality, is that it has no explanation.

 
 
coto
 
Avatar
 
 
coto
Total Posts:  4
Joined  22-08-2020
 
 
 
23 September 2020 14:01
 

This is strictly my personal point of view and I have no desire to debate the subject with people that might be more experienced, more intelligent, or more knowledgeable than me.

I did some thinking on the subject of consciousness presented by Richard Lang and Douglass Harding and came to the following conclusion.
It became totally irrelevant to me where the consciousness is located because it does not advance my state of awareness and emotional well being.

I have read publications of Anthony De Mello that I consider my spiritual guide. In his recorded retreat titled “Awareness” he underlines the need to reject any dogmas, doctrines, rules, and ideas because they cloud our mind with mental programming that obstructs ability to be fully aware of reality. He claimed that most of the people due to social upbringing that stuffed our minds with tones of rules, opinions, and judgments might cause that all we do, is to toss around thoughts imprinted in our mind by our family and people we encountered in the course of our life, leaving no room for our own thoughts or feelings. Anthony de Mello suggested only one thing to do. Focus on awareness to see reality as it is. I don’t want to elaborate on details of his teaching but it made me really look at my own state of mind and to strive to remove my own programming as much as I can.

I consider the concept of having no head and the idea that thoughts and feelings float in the infinite space of consciousness is just another doctrine to add to our already existing programming. When I feel sad or angry or fearful I will never see reality by assuming that my feeling appear in the space of consciousness and they will disappear the same way as they appeared. It will just sidetrack me from being fully aware what is going on. Whether my thoughts and feelings are expression of automatic, routine unconscious reaction in order to conceal reality of the situation, or manifestation of full awareness of it.

I still participate in the Sam Harris “Waking Up” program because it motivates me to meditate but I just ignore his comments on unity of consciousness and suggestions to focus where thoughts or feeling come from and where they dissipate.

Anthony the Mello copy of “Awareness” is available on the web for free in the PDF format, if anybody is interested.

 
SpaceofAwareness
 
Avatar
 
 
SpaceofAwareness
Total Posts:  10
Joined  22-02-2020
 
 
 
04 October 2020 01:20
 

The question, where is consciousness located, seems a little nonsensical, when you think about it. Location is derived from relative position, and everything is relative to our locus or central point, which is where we feel we are, and the world seems presented around us. So the question, where is consciousness located, could be answered by, everywhere, as every location in your own consciousness is an instance OF consciousness. Or you could also say that, location is irrelevant in reference to consciousness, because location is something which occurs IN consciousness, not the other way around.

Any attempt to locate consciousness is an instance of us believing the world which occurs in consciousness is being DIRECTLY apprehended, but the reality is, the world we perceive is constructed IN our consciousness, so location is also constructed. That’s not to say that there is not something to which our conscious construction of the world is associated or correlated with in structure and form, but everything we ever perceive is a symbol or referent.

 
unsmoked
 
Avatar
 
 
unsmoked
Total Posts:  9520
Joined  20-02-2006
 
 
 
04 October 2020 13:28
 
SpaceofAwareness - 04 October 2020 01:20 AM

The question, where is consciousness located, seems a little nonsensical, when you think about it. Location is derived from relative position, and everything is relative to our locus or central point, which is where we feel we are, and the world seems presented around us. So the question, where is consciousness located, could be answered by, everywhere, as every location in your own consciousness is an instance OF consciousness. Or you could also say that, location is irrelevant in reference to consciousness, because location is something which occurs IN consciousness, not the other way around.

Any attempt to locate consciousness is an instance of us believing the world which occurs in consciousness is being DIRECTLY apprehended, but the reality is, the world we perceive is constructed IN our consciousness, so location is also constructed. That’s not to say that there is not something to which our conscious construction of the world is associated or correlated with in structure and form, but everything we ever perceive is a symbol or referent.

Suppose there was an observer who could ‘see’ us at the quantum level - see the ‘galaxy’ of atoms and particles that make up our physical body (not that there would be any distinct boundary between our body and environment considering our inhalations and exhalations, and not that we could exist for a second without our surroundings, the planet, the sun, the galaxy etc.  At this level, where would consciousness be?  Probably most people would say it would be located in the synapse of the brain cells, but they still wouldn’t be at the quantum level of existence.

Besides, it’s annoying that a machine can beat us at Jeopardy.  Where is its consciousness? 

Beluga depicts ‘Mu’.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mu_(negative)

depict  verb
show or represent by a drawing, painting, or other art form.

Image Attachments
 
Bubblering.JPG
 
 
 
SpaceofAwareness
 
Avatar
 
 
SpaceofAwareness
Total Posts:  10
Joined  22-02-2020
 
 
 
04 October 2020 15:40
 

Where in a stadium is a Mexican wave located?

 
unsmoked
 
Avatar
 
 
unsmoked
Total Posts:  9520
Joined  20-02-2006
 
 
 
05 October 2020 12:48
 
SpaceofAwareness - 04 October 2020 03:40 PM

Where in a stadium is a Mexican wave located?

Bristol Tennessee?  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0K2dvB-7WY

 
 
SpaceofAwareness
 
Avatar
 
 
SpaceofAwareness
Total Posts:  10
Joined  22-02-2020
 
 
 
06 October 2020 14:24
 
unsmoked - 05 October 2020 12:48 PM
SpaceofAwareness - 04 October 2020 03:40 PM

Where in a stadium is a Mexican wave located?

Bristol Tennessee?  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0K2dvB-7WY

Nice one. Although that is where the stadium is located, not where IN the stadium the wave is located, because it is a collective action it is spread across a large area. If you could stand inside the brain and slow things down a bit, it might be a bit like that, though a bit more chaotic.

 
unsmoked
 
Avatar
 
 
unsmoked
Total Posts:  9520
Joined  20-02-2006
 
 
 
07 October 2020 11:57
 
SpaceofAwareness - 06 October 2020 02:24 PM
unsmoked - 05 October 2020 12:48 PM
SpaceofAwareness - 04 October 2020 03:40 PM

Where in a stadium is a Mexican wave located?

Bristol Tennessee?  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0K2dvB-7WY

Nice one. Although that is where the stadium is located, not where IN the stadium the wave is located, because it is a collective action it is spread across a large area. If you could stand inside the brain and slow things down a bit, it might be a bit like that, though a bit more chaotic.

Right.  Here for example is a depiction of someone’s consciousness as they wait for the traffic light to change and decide to go anyway since it’s 2:30 A.M. and no one is coming.  The next image shows their consciousness when, mid-intersection, they realize a police car is behind them flashing its light.  https://www.shutterstock.com/video/clip-12907916-animation-illustrating-thought-processes-brain-seamless-looping

The next image illustrates their consciousness when they decide to floor the gas pedal and have a late night adventure.

This one shows how IBM’s Watson comes up with an answer before Ken Jennings on Jeopardy.  https://www.shutterstock.com/video/clip-1042598767-concept-virtual-cyber-brain-consisting-code-numbers

.

[ Edited: 07 October 2020 12:21 by unsmoked]
 
 
Nhoj Morley
 
Avatar
 
 
Nhoj Morley
Total Posts:  6723
Joined  22-02-2005
 
 
 
16 October 2020 00:17
 

If losing your head leaves behind or reveals an awareness that is more in touch with reality or however headless folks describe it, doesn’t that suggest any unity or locatable point is unnecessary? What is our untrue awareness (that is out of touch with reality) in touch with? What could be the source of its untrue reality other than what the so-called true self provides it? It is a huge metaphysical problem. Instead of asking who the untrue self is we should be asking what it’s for.

Owning a locatable Unity of Consciousness is a necessary first presumption or starting point for having a soul, being a vessel of panpsychism or vacationing on the astral plain.  Religion and most notions of god depend on it. God is granted the same unity of consciousness that we figure we got. If God’s unity of consciousness has somewhere to be, then we can go there and have an afterlife. I suggest that we have not completely let go of that idea.

Those who no longer believe in souls or an afterlife or the tradition gods have no reason to believe in a unity a consciousness. The presumption leads to further strange conclusions like the self is an undesirable illusion or that consciousness occupies a singularity of time or that we may be better off or somehow truer to ourselves without a head. Any philosophy that employs a unity of consciousness can only lead to a church or an eternity of hotel bookings in Tucson.

What if consciousness and the self-issue arise from a disunity of awareness? What if a duration is a fundamental necessity of any kind of living awareness? If so, there is no reason to presume that living beings, especially complex beings like us, must be limited to just one seat of awareness. We can have two or more chairs that simply do not fit in the same time frame. Mr. Harding’s notion of layers is spot on. No Self should give way to No Zeroes.

Self-awareness is merely chair-awareness and nothing to punish ourselves about. Calling one truer than the other is silly.

Learning how to tune-out or shut down the seat in your head is a fine thing. A regular practice will avoid swelling of the upper appendage. Experiencing our shortest seat alone without the longer awareness focused in our head requires an imaginative explanation when forced into a unity-of-consciousness framework. Use a pry-bar or discard U of C as a fossilized relic of a religious reality. Meditation and such will still be healthy and easier to explain.

 
 
 1 2 >