Any insights into the 'hard problem of consciousness'? Options
#1 Posted : 11/21/2020 10:14:36 PM
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Hi folks!

Just curious for anyone who is aware of this philosophical problem, basically, how does our first-person, inner-theater type of subjective experience and feelings emerge from our physical meat brain? There are better summaries of this problem on Wikipedia and such.

To find this problem interesting or relevant you really need to believe (as I do) that consciousness arises purely from the brain and not a soul or other realm.

So has anyone experienced insight into this problem while on DMT or other psychedelics? I think it might be possible to have insights here. Perhaps as our normal consciousness breaks down it reveals clues as to how it is constructed?

Let me know!

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#2 Posted : 11/22/2020 1:01:38 AM


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I tend to take the opposite point of view.

Rather than the generator of consciousness, I take the brain to be a receiver of consciousness. Just because you turn off the radio doesn't mean the station is not still broadcasting.

Where psychedelics (and meditation and other techniques of consciousness alteration) come into play, is that they let you fiddle with the tuner and explore different frequencies.

Just my take on things fwiw.
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#3 Posted : 11/22/2020 4:01:25 AM


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How are you so sure that it arises purely from the brain? Since it is something we don't understand, I think it makes more sense to keep our options open, including the possibility that we will not able to understand the source.

Psychodelics didn't give me an insight into how our subjective experience arises. However, they helped me see how beautiful of a mystery it is to be conscious. I've also had the strong feeling that concioussness is universal and we are connected to a unified concioussness "field". It's hard to explain, one explicit thing I remember telling myself in this state was "as long as a human being is alive somewhere at sometime, 'my' conscious patterns exist, and they can feel the same way about me participating in our shared (one) concioussness here and now".
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#4 Posted : 11/22/2020 5:11:36 PM

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I don't have an answer, but can share some thoughts on consciousness.

I used to think consciousness was essentially a mental process. Then I saw a video (Kurzgesagt?) that made me realize how much it was about sensory perception: sight, hearing, etc.

Our senses, which may have been precursors of consciousness, evolved to protect us from danger and help us survive. This would seem to lend support to the idea that the emergence of consciousness is an evolutionary phenomenon.

Still, perception is not enough. A camera can 'see' and a microphone can 'hear', but they don't seem to be conscious, not in the same way as us anyway.

Perhaps consciousness is something that's non-physical (whatever that may mean), but needs some physical complexity (such as a brain) to hold on to and work in tandem with to be meaningful; just like radio waves need an antenna to receive them and some electronics to process them.

It may permeate all space, but only spark where it encounters something like a brain that can translate it, process sensory signals, store memories in physical storage etc.
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#5 Posted : 11/29/2020 1:39:04 PM
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Great topic! Consciousness has always been a fascination for me. I believe that in part consciousness is the totality of experiences we gradually build upon.
#6 Posted : 11/29/2020 1:55:26 PM

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How do you feel about this theory? All life is intentional. All life forms aim to preserve and multiple, but also seek satisfaction and novelty. This intentionality reaches beyond cellular life and is manifest also in the way galaxies and planets form, how the chaos matter becomes more and more organized up until the point it collapses. This same intentionality that exists on all levels of universe is the soul that sees and feels and directs your intentions. This is the "God within", the universal principle. Your brains are essential to receive sensory input and process ideas, but it's just a manifestation of the universal intentionality. So, consciousness is like a wave that permeates everything where there are processes that increase cohesion. When people work together in unison, they create a shared consciousness, they begin to feel for their family or organization and share these feelings.

This view is somewhat similar to the idea of panpsychism, but it doesn't place consciousness on matter but on action. Consciousness exists only in time and processes, like music.
#7 Posted : 11/29/2020 7:40:24 PM

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I honestly had no intention to replying to a thread about, "What is God?" essentially, but the replies from others are top tier, and I really want to give my own opinion on those.

dreamer042, I think you and I have a similar point of view. Not just in the DMT space, but in my own personal opinion, the soul/mind is "tethered" to the madness that is reality. Reality finds its way into every niche of being including "human". Thrashing about nothing to create everything is what life really is. Extremophiles exist to fill in a niche that can be filled as do we, and that's what the "Source", whatever that is, is filling in with the human body. Maybe just on this little planet, or many others, the madness of living is finding its ground and THRIVING! Reality is non-stop and revolving in the infinite.

Imagine just being a tool evolved from the idea of life to feel the colors of infinity. Literally the evolution of life created for the sole purpose of creating a vessel capable of eventually harboring a purpose. Artificially created, they say, but what other thing can create artificial thoughts? We're spilling at the brim with potential for the infinite.

Loveall brings up the point of why I did not want to respond to this post: you're speaking from a point of somehow knowing, and yet unable to prove anything (unless you can, at which point I will lose my gorram mind). Show me your proof of claims that consciousness arises from purely the mind where only them that believe so find it interesting.

Tomtegubbe, I've actually read almost all of the works by Richard Dawkins, and I really appreciate the spin you put me through thinking about how it could also apply to the cosmos. Life does not seek novelty and satisfaction, however. Life is liquid: evolving and filling in the cracks wherever the heck it can (from the evolutionary perspective). There are many upsets, but even more cracks. I don't subscribe to the rest of your views, but I do respect them. After all, I can no more disprove them than I can prove my own.
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#8 Posted : 11/29/2020 8:12:53 PM

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Hahahaha, I forgot to mention Jagube:

As I described in my previous post, I do believe that consciousness evolved, but not from just the "bottom-up" view you postulate; created, and then just coincidentally able to harbor "reality" as we know it that can feel/fear the infinite.

This is 100% a matter of spiritualism though.

Spending what felt like hundreds of hours within the DMT space (even though I've only spent ~13 hours there), I can't help but *feel* like there could be no other reason for life than the manifestation of Madness.

It's purely emotional, but Madness is what Life is. Fighting, screaming, loving, smiling, LIVING, is not all it is.

It's also dissociation, turning, gripping, and really seeing. How could you understand something without losing it; including reality.

Why did this evolve? Is the real question. I still see snakes in my dreams, and yet I cannot stop
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#9 Posted : 12/12/2020 11:31:04 AM
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"EVERYTHING is subjective" is a thought I had on a trip before.

It's not only the redness of red for example but there are overlooked elements regarding time and space. Think the distance of 30cm. Say you measure from your hand to your wall, reach out and touch it and it's where you expect it. But on some psychedelics the same 30cm could appear and feel like 10 or 50cm.

You can still reach out and feel the wall where you expect it, but the subjective experience of that distance is altered.

On a tangent, I saw before someone brush off the idea of the brain as a receiver of consciousness by saying the amount of information would be so vast as to be measurable scientifically. This is not true the way he presented it, it conflates conscious experience with awareness. Awareness is as basic as basic gets. But I think without psychedelic experience that thought style is default.

Also the idea of "MY" consciousness. Leading to Abrahamic ideas of the afterlife or reincarnation ideas where it's actually you the personality in a cat, rather than the you part being destroyed. The you part is illusory. The real thing people refer to as "I" is their awareness, and they're scared that thing will shut off. But conflate it and their conscious experience as being identical things.
#10 Posted : 12/12/2020 9:41:52 PM
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If my experience with ketamine has provided me any truth, it's that the closest thing that describes our "base reality" would be a super-advanced Sims-type game, and that the points of light we refer to as "individual consciousness" all serve a larger purpose within a cosmic machine that we will never truly have the capacity to understand. It would be like teaching a cat Portuguese. Maybe it would understand basic words and phrases like "hungry," "food," or "dinner," but it doesn't have the capacity to speak the language or understand full sentences, let alone postcolonial poetry of Brazil and Mozambique.

I'm not sure if that's real or not. I don't really do K anymore either. But it makes just as much sense as anything else I've heard and this is the only explanation I've seen myself.

On a more serious note - I think it's possible that people approach this question all wrong. No matter what your belief is regarding consciousness and afterlife, you have a one-in-an-infinite chance of actually being right. Maybe it's not healthy to worry so much about the mechanics of the ride itself - just enjoy it while it lasts and do what you can to make it enjoyable for others on the ride as well.
#11 Posted : 12/13/2020 4:58:47 PM

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The fact that life itself is real and there is a plane of actual existance that we have to in some way relate to, and also the fact that the brain generates feedback loops all of the time.

Our brain is made to constantly distinguish real from unreal, and the realisation of realness is constantly being transfered onto another layer of information or "reality". Feedbackloops cause the generation of these layers of reality to go on infinitely.

That's part of it anyway.

Most likely not all of it though.
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