YOU CANNOT POST. OUR WEB HOSTING COMPANY DECIDED TO MOVE THE SERVER TO ANOTHER LOCATION. IN THE MEANTIME, YOU CAN VIEW THIS VERSION WHICH DOES NOT ALLOW POSTING AND WILL NOT SAVE ANYTHING YOU DO ONCE THE OTHER SERVER GOES ONLINE.

The mystery of consciousness: Sam Harris - Page 2 - Dhamma Wheel

The mystery of consciousness: Sam Harris

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.
User avatar
Alex123
Posts: 3476
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: The mystery of consciousness: Sam Harris

Postby Alex123 » Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:02 pm

"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

chownah
Posts: 6161
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: The mystery of consciousness: Sam Harris

Postby chownah » Fri Oct 28, 2011 2:27 am

It seems that this sort of discussion dwells mostly on experiences of other people......we have seen or heard of people with damaged or diseasesed brain tissue and have seen or heard of how their behavior changed and then we have jumped to the conclusion that we know something about their consciousness. I am not trying to exactly negate this sort of concept or procedure but I do want to point out that it seems to be an indulging in a doctrine of self.....which as you probably know the Buddha suggests that we avoid. I think that the Buddha taught that if we want to know about consciousness then the way to do it is to calm the mind and then experience conscousness first hand...........speculating on the consciousness of other "selves" will probably not in and of itself lead to the kind of knowledge which the Buddha urges us to pursue......I guess...........
chownah

User avatar
Alex123
Posts: 3476
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: The mystery of consciousness: Sam Harris

Postby Alex123 » Fri Oct 28, 2011 5:38 pm

"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

chownah
Posts: 6161
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: The mystery of consciousness: Sam Harris

Postby chownah » Sat Oct 29, 2011 3:50 am

Alex123,
Good post.
In my previous post the main point I wanted to make was:
" I think that the Buddha taught that if we want to know about consciousness then the way to do it is to calm the mind and then experience conscousness first hand.." Do you think that this is a appropriate description of what the Buddha taught?
chownah

User avatar
Ben
Posts: 18442
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: kanamaluka

Re: The mystery of consciousness: Sam Harris

Postby Ben » Sat Oct 29, 2011 3:57 am

Hi Chownah,

I posted the article from Sam Harris and articles like this by Harris and others because I think that being aware of developments in consciousness research and neuroscience has the potential to offer insights. Insights not just into how the brain works or developments in the field, but also to complement, and at times challenge, our own understanding. If you havent already done so I recommend you click on the links i provided in the opening post and read what he has got to say.
kind regards,

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

User avatar
manas
Posts: 2251
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:04 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: The mystery of consciousness: Sam Harris

Postby manas » Sat Oct 29, 2011 4:47 am

Hi all,
a physicist by the name of Peter Russel has this fascinating series of youtube vids about what he calls, "the primacy of consciousness". Despite there being a few words like 'self and 'god' etc that many will object to, it is still quite a ride, as Russel quite convincingly (imo) proves that the current meta-paradigm of Western Culture - that consciousness somehow could arise out of inert matter - is incorrect. I encourage even just a viewing of the first vid, it's an eye-opener).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... pfKuUxa8fM

:namaste:
Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."

chownah
Posts: 6161
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: The mystery of consciousness: Sam Harris

Postby chownah » Sat Oct 29, 2011 4:54 am


User avatar
Ben
Posts: 18442
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: kanamaluka

Re: The mystery of consciousness: Sam Harris

Postby Ben » Sat Oct 29, 2011 4:57 am

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

User avatar
manas
Posts: 2251
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:04 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: The mystery of consciousness: Sam Harris

Postby manas » Sat Oct 29, 2011 5:43 am

Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."

User avatar
BubbaBuddhist
Posts: 640
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:55 am
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
Contact:

Re: The mystery of consciousness: Sam Harris

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Sun Oct 30, 2011 4:00 pm

Author of Redneck Buddhism: or Will You Reincarnate as Your Own Cousin?

User avatar
Alex123
Posts: 3476
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: The mystery of consciousness: Sam Harris

Postby Alex123 » Sun Oct 30, 2011 7:46 pm

"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

User avatar
BubbaBuddhist
Posts: 640
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:55 am
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
Contact:

Re: The mystery of consciousness: Sam Harris

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Sun Oct 30, 2011 8:42 pm

Agreed, being under anesthesia is like dropping into a black hole--total loss of time. If you want a dhammic explanation I would suggest the anesthesia shuts down the sense-gates. if the sense-gate is shut down, no accompanying citta arises. An interruption in any part of the causal chainaffects the experience. Like when the eyes are closed, blindfolded or in utter darkness, there is no sight-sense-consciousness. No sense object, or no sense gate--no sense consciousness. If the brain is anesthetized, there is no mind-consciousness. What takes over during this period to maintain continuity of consciousness during 'un-counsciousness' is called bvangha-citta, and this is the topic of another thread/conversation altogether. I think several threads have already unreeled on the topic of bvanga.

M4
Author of Redneck Buddhism: or Will You Reincarnate as Your Own Cousin?

User avatar
Alex123
Posts: 3476
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: The mystery of consciousness: Sam Harris

Postby Alex123 » Sun Oct 30, 2011 8:52 pm

"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

User avatar
BubbaBuddhist
Posts: 640
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:55 am
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
Contact:

Re: The mystery of consciousness: Sam Harris

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Mon Oct 31, 2011 2:38 am

I really don't know where you're going with this alex. Consciousness NEVER ceases. Even when mind-consciousness pauses bvangha continues. And so since, as the Buddha commented, "since beginningless time." I think you need to bone up on basic Buddhist theory.

M4
Author of Redneck Buddhism: or Will You Reincarnate as Your Own Cousin?

chownah
Posts: 6161
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: The mystery of consciousness: Sam Harris

Postby chownah » Mon Oct 31, 2011 2:42 am


pegembara
Posts: 1140
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:39 am

Re: The mystery of consciousness: Sam Harris

Postby pegembara » Mon Oct 31, 2011 3:21 am

Consciousness is aware of mind going to sleep and waking up. If consciousness is the mind, it cannot be aware of these things. Whatever consciousness is aware of isn't consciousness itself.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

User avatar
gavesako
Posts: 1720
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:16 pm

Re: The mystery of consciousness: Sam Harris

Postby gavesako » Fri Nov 02, 2012 6:17 pm

Interesting article on NDE and the issue of "where is consciousness":

http://www.skeptiko.com/pim-van-lommel- ... -research/


Dr. Van Lommel: It’s a special interest in the relationship between consciousness and the function of the brain because as I have learned always and accepted the hypothesis. They haven’t proven the hypothesis that consciousness is a product of the brain. This topic should be discussed again because people experience an enhanced consciousness, the paradoxical occurrence of an enhanced consciousness during the period of a nonfunctioning brain.

So I’ve been seeing also in the literature about what we know about what happens in the brain when the heart stops. We know also the chemical features of such a patient. He loses consciousness within seconds all of his body reflexes are gone which is a product of the cortex of the brain. But also the brain stem reflexes are gone, the gag reflex, the corneal reflex or the wide pupils are clinical findings in those patients. And also the breathing stops. So the breathing center close to the brain stem stops functioning.

The clinical findings are there is no function of the brain anymore and the electrical activity where you measure it in the EEG is. In an average of 15 seconds there’s a flat-line. And the average period you need in a coronary care unit to resuscitate the patient is at least one to two minutes or more. So there are all those patients who have a cardiac arrest in the hospital and out of hospital arrests that flat-line on an EEG and they have about 20% of having a near-death experience, which is an enhanced consciousness in combination with emotions and memories from early childhood. Also sometimes with future events, with the meeting of deceased relatives, and also at the end of the experience is the consciousness returning to the body.

So all these aspects of consciousness that the people tell you, and there are so many who have told me or written me. It’s not possible that the current medical concepts that the brain product makes the consciousness, that consciousness is a product of the brain, that is impossible. So the brain function for me, it’s not producing consciousness but it is facilitating. That means it makes it more possible to experience your waking consciousness and doesn’t produce it.

Alex Tsakiris: One of the terms you kept using over and over again that I think is key is this idea of an enhanced consciousness. For me that’s one of the things I really don’t understand from the folks who are familiar with the research and yet they gloss over this. I mean, we’re not talking about even the same level of consciousness. We’re talking about almost uniformly people reporting an enhanced-a hyper, a super-consciousness at a time when at the very least the brain is severely compromised if not completely off-line. And I just don’t understand how there can be a complete denial of this basic fact.

Dr. Van Lommel: Because it doesn’t fit in their concepts. They have to change their own paradigm if they accept it so they close the door. This enhanced consciousness which I also call the non-local consciousness, there is no time and no distance. Everything is there at the same time and you have a life review during cardiac arrest for two minutes. You can talk for days about what happened to you but everything is there at the same time.

And the past and the future is there as well, so your consciousness is in a dimension where there’s no time and no space, which is totally different from the consciousness we have here. They are united in this physical world. You are the subject and the object. But in the other dimension there is only subject. You’re one with everything.

:reading:
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

- Theravada texts
- Translations and history of Pali texts
- Sutta translations

User avatar
gavesako
Posts: 1720
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:16 pm

Re: The mystery of consciousness: Sam Harris

Postby gavesako » Wed Dec 19, 2012 3:52 pm

Define neuroethics.

It’s a kind of subspecialty of bioethics. Until very recently, the human mind was a black box. But here we are in the 21st century, and now we have all these new technologies with opportunities to look inside that black box — a little.

With functional magnetic imaging, f.M.R.I., you can get pictures of what the brain is doing during cognition. You see which parts light up during brain activity. Scientists are trying to match those lights with specific behaviors.

At the same time this is moving forward, there are all kinds of drugs being developed and tested to modify behavior and the mind. So the question is: Are these new technologies ethical?


So what would be an issue you might look at through a neuroethics lens?

New drugs to alter memory. Right now, the government is quite interested in propranolol. They are testing it on soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder. The good part is that the drug helps traumatized veterans by removing the bad memories causing them such distress. A neuroethicist must ask, “Is this good for society, to have warriors have their memories wiped out chemically? Will we start getting conscienceless soldiers?”


What do you think?

It is a serious business removing memories, because memories can affect your personal identity. They can impact who you think you are. I’d differentiate between offering such a drug to every distressed soldier and giving it only to certain individuals with a specific need.

Let’s say you have a situation like that in “Sophie’s Choice,” where the memories are so bad that the person is suicidal. Even if the drug causes them to live in falsehood, that would have been preferable to suicide.

But should we give it to every soldier who goes into battle? No! You need memory for a conscience. Doing this routinely might create super-immoral soldiers. As humans we have natural moral reactions to the beings around us — sympathy for other people and animals. When you start to tinker with those neurosystems, we’re not going to react to our fellow humans in the right way anymore. One wonders about the wrong people giving propranolol routinely to genocidal gangs in places like Rwanda or Syria.


Some researchers claim to be near to using f.M.R.I.’s to read thoughts. Is this really happening?

The technology, though still crude, appears to be getting closer. For instance, there’s one research group that asks subjects to watch movies. When they look at the subject’s visual cortex while the subject is watching, they can sort of recreate what they are seeing — or a semblance of it.

Similarly, there’s another experiment where they can tell in advance whether you’re going to push the right or the left button. On the basis of these experiments some people claim they’ll soon be able to read minds. Before we go further with this, I’d like to think more about what it could mean. The technology has the potential to destroy any concept of inner privacy.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/18/scien ... brain.html

:thinking:
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

- Theravada texts
- Translations and history of Pali texts
- Sutta translations


Return to “Lounge”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 13 guests

Google Saffron, Theravada Search Engine