What came first?
the questions of where consciousness comes from and its effect of the material world is a big unknown.. but still gives me no reason to believe that something like an atom, a piece of rock or even a planet for that case can be conscious.
“Quantum physics implies that atoms are probabilistic wave functions until the point they are observed or measured then the function collapses and at this point we have matter. Once collapsed, does matter return to a wave function if left unobserved? Or does consciousness leave a trail of matter wherever it goes?”
@devon I am familiar with this experiment.. but it was observation and the lack there of that created the wave-particle duality not consciousness (They used cameras)
No physical entity(matter) exists before the idea of it existing(consciousness). Thats as logical as say,”What came first – the first flying machine or the idea that we can create a device that can fly?”
If matter was there before consciousness,who/what created it ? Would it have ever expanded into the universe..ur consciousness determines your expanse.The consciousness contains all that ever was and will ever be.How much we are aware of it is a different question altogether
I’m with anon on this one.
I think we need to separate the a priori description of “matter” from “matter” as a label. I think that those arguing for consciousness are arguing against the label of matter, not matter itself. Manimal asked, “if there was no conciousness, how would matter be matter? If a tree falls when no one can hear it, does it make a sound? Does it even fall?” Yes it makes a noise; yes it falls. Gravity causes the tree to fall and make compression waves through the tree’s respective medium (ie. Air). Does the mere fact that humans have evolved to be receptive to these waves (via eardrums) create the sound? The fact that we label something does not mean we created it; we label things so as to interconnect ideas in our brain and make sense of them… did Galileo create gravity?
so manimal, I guess I can agree to a certain extent that we existentially create the idea of matter, but to make the causal inference that we created the matter itself seems a stretch. At an infinitesimal level of explanation, electricity is the essence of consciousness. Consciousness is an impressive evolutionary creation that did not used to exist. You asked, “How could it be true if nothing validated it?” Can you explain what you mean by validation? Does a rock need to know it’s a rock to exist? A label doesn’t validate anything, it comes after the fact… I’m obviously not grasping the entirety of your argument, or any of the arguments defending the consciousness-first debate.
So did the chicken come first or the egg? I would say neither, a human came along and put a label on both of them. Both existed completely fine without knowing that a human added them to a lexicon.
“But what I’m really saying is this, matter and conciousness are not separate. They are one whole thing.” How do you know this? I don’t mean this sarcastically, I’m just curious what the defense is for this statement.
“I believe that if there were no conscious beings, nothing would exist.” In earth’s history, conscious beings did not exist 99% of the time… everything still existed… are you arguing for an intangible God-like consciousness before humans?
@dustin How do you know the tree falls or makes a noise? That’s just an assumption. Sure, it’s quite logical from a certain perspective, but what if that logic was based on a misunderstanding or an incorrect perspective? I’m not just talking about labels either, I’m talking about matter. If matter wasn’t known, it wouldn’t be, if it wasn’t created or altered it wouldn’t be.
About the electricity thing. Science shows that electricity is the essence of everything, so your argument isn’t solid from a scientific perspective. Also, how do you know electricity doesn’t consist of conciousness? An assumption, based on a single viewpoint.
How do I know matter and conciousness is one? Well, just take a look at yourself. Hurt your body, your mind feels pain. Strengthen your mind, your body gets stronger. What you tell your mind to do, your body also does and vice versa. Just like the skin and the bones of an animal aren’t separate animals.
So you say that for 99% of earth’s history there was no conciousness? Well how could you possibly know this? You saying that you know what happened is a direct contradiction to what you claim happened, because if it’s known there is conciousness. If you were there and thereby know what happened, there was conciousness. If there was no conciousness, you wouldn’t know. You stumble over your own logic, now I pointed it out to you so you’re now aware of it, that should be enough to make you start questioning whether you’re basing your logic on the right notions.
Sure, you can ask me how I come to my conclusions. But you should ask yourself first, try to see how others come to their conclusions and you will make great discoveries. If you can’t see how they did it, that means you’re missing a key point from their logic. Whether that key point is valid or not is not what’s important, the more you can understand others’ logic the more you will understand your own and expand your mind. Linear thinking is only as good as the nodes it follows.
@manimal.. if he doesn’t know (which he doesn’t but doesn’t mean hes wrong) you also don’t know according to your own logic.. Your argument ploys are weak and desperate.
To counter someones argument with “well you couldn’t know for sure so your argument is invalid.” then go on to say something as if you know it is beyond irony.
@anon Where did I say his arguments are invalid? And where did I say I know stuff I don’t? See, you’re making things up just to have a “reason” to attack me. It’s lame, snap out of it. You don’t get this, and this isn’t about you, get over yourself. I’m discussing with Dustin, stop interrupting with your immature butthurt nonsense.
Why you mad though?
“How do you know the tree falls or makes a noise? That’s just an assumption.”
“how do you know electricity doesn’t consist of conciousness? An assumption, based on a single viewpoint.”
“So you say that for 99% of earth’s history there was no conciousness? Well how could you possibly know this? You saying that you know what happened is a direct contradiction to what you claim happened, because if it’s known there is conciousness. ”
you countered everything he said with “How do you know.” and then say this “How do I know matter and conciousness is one? Well, just take a look at yourself.”
We all know nothing, to think otherwise is to prove the point.
I thought the topic itself made it apparent that any discussion would be on that of possibilities not absolutes.
So back on that track, this is what I’m thinking…. Systems. We are systems built on systems built on systems. Coming from an inertly biological background this is evident; we have our nervous system, digestive system, lymphatic system, etc. Our earth is comprised of ecological systems and our universe of solar systems. Systems of incomprehensible complexity and unknowable interconnectedness in a continuous state of flux. But there are constants, or at least we believe there are, that are setting the parameters of existence. In a universe of possibility these constants allow for the initial formation and maintenance of said systems.
Imagine then… a time before matter. There might be a field of sorts, comprised of energy or energies. Electrical or something completely different; a force. Couldn’t this force/forces evolve systems over an infinite amount of time that achieved complexity similar to that of our physical systems? Wouldn’t it be possible that the force-equivalent of consciousness could arise just like a lot of people claim our human form of consciousness arose by biological means through physical systems? This first consciousness… well this was the first observer. But it would have been less of an observation and more of an awareness; I can’t begin to imagine the senses that this energy-field-consciousness would have. But alas, we have the first collapse of probabilistic energy field into mass, BANG. big bang
I am electrical impulses firing around in my head. A synaptic clusterfuck of energy. Just because brain matter is the conduit of this energy… well why should I assume that it has to be like this, or that it always has been?? I can imagine my brain(matter) as a way to experience this energy, this consciousness. The material form of consciousness would be a shadow per-say; extremely limited relative to an energy consciousness but the trade offs might be the illusion of time, the ability to forget, or simply the chance to learn. I have never believed in a soul, at least I didn’t think I did… but now I don’t know
I don’t want to get too involved until I know your definition of ‘consciousness.’ Otherwise, we may waste our time arguing different things.
You asked, “How do you know the tree falls or makes a noise?” I’ll refrain from arguing that a ‘noise’ is made; but, unless we ignore physics, we know that compression waves are a result of an impact between matter (if a medium exists to travel through). Are you debating that the compression waves do not exist, or just that our subjective interpretation is unreliable? I understand that “logic based on misunderstanding” is a realistic possibility, but faulty logic rarely yields consistent results… and every tree that has ever fallen has led humans to interpret the causal reaction as noise. Sure, our interpretation may be wrong, it may be an assumption, but the neural association is based on a 100% consistency rate. We ‘hear’ the tree fall every time. You asked, ‘what if that logic was based on a misunderstanding or an incorrect perspective?” what reason do you have to believe it’s not?
You claimed that, “Science shows that electricity is the essence of everything, so your argument isn’t solid from a scientific perspective.” That was in response to me writing, “At an infinitesimal level of explanation, electricity is the essence of consciousness.” You changed ‘consciousness’ to ‘everything’ and then claimed your statement to be scientifically grounded?
As for the rest of your comments, I would like to know your definition of ‘consciousness’ before responding… I’ll leave you with my explanation: I think of consciousness as mental awareness in the brain, even of the brain itself. On a micro level I believe that neurons operate electro-chemically and with no external influence except for a constant source of fuel/vitamins (via food intake). Through the brain’s network of axons and neurons, a complex neural highway is formed which creates the illusion of holism. Like a pointillism painting, the brain creates shortcuts via association so as to make sense, and store, massive amounts of information… I think consciousness is similar to a pointillism image—both made up of billions of logical dots that, when combined, form an image. So, in summary, I think consciousness is a result of neural association and thus requires a biological brain for its construction.
I think the tree falling was supposed to be a rhetorical question. Does something exist if no one ever discovers it? Maybe the tree does not exist at all until someone arrives, then it spawns fallen? Like GTA. But other life has senses even if that life is not, conscious as we know it, sentient so if they perceive it, though they do not understand it, perhaps it does make a sound.
Okay, this seems like the thread to post this in. I thought about making it into a topic one day, but it really can’t get more relative than this!
I have a memory prior to thought, one that I remember quite clearly, the first thing I’ve ever experienced. I remember it so well that it’s boggled my mind for almost 2 decades… perhaps less, I’m really not sure when I realized it should be something to be pondered upon.
The first thing I can recall experiencing. Here goes:
There was absolutely other than solid black. Nothing else, no other color, no shapes, just blank. Black.
There was no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no time, no space, no light, no indifference of anything whatsoever. Most importantly, there was no *thought*. any inkling of a thought was completely absent, maybe that *was* the thought. It was pure nothingness… pure experience… pure consciousness. I was definitely conscious, though there certainly wasn’t an I. It just was.
Obviously, the lack of thought makes sense, since the time would be before I had anything to have a thought about. The easy assumption is that I must have been developing in the womb, maybe I just developed vision, instilling the first memory, I don’t know. I can’t place a time on how long it was there, all I know is that it was there and it was constant and then it wasn’t. My next memory in chronological order is of a dream I had when I was a baby, and the next memory that I actually think about after thinking about the nothingness is when I was somewhere between 3 and 5.
Just strange is all.
It was so distinct at the time. The memory itself is very much there… When I was a kid I asked pretty much everyone if they had that memory, I’d either get strange looks or really good discussions with other kids about dreams! :) When I got older, I got more strange looks, so I stopped xD. And it’s not an easy google search…
So has anyone else experienced this or anything similar at least? Or anyone wanna try to make more sense of it? Have fun with it? …Something with it? Lol.
Alex; dude I have had what I believe was a pre-memory, pre-human, the creation of my consciousness. It was similar to what you describe. The nothingness then all of a sudden there was space and time, though it was still pitch dark.
Where mine differs, however, is when I came into existence I heard a voice that felt familiar and it said “Remain neutral”, I am not completely sure what that means.
I have never told anyone that, because I know how it sounds. Wack-job.
Strange! :D How did you perceive space? What told you, err, what made it seem like space and time?
I’m all for it being pre memory and pre human and such, that’s what I assumed until a few years ago when I decided to put a little logic to it. I really have no idea when and what it could be. But again, logically it was probably in the womb. But potentially could have been pre-womb, but we know nothing of that.
I see there are a number of different interpretations of the word ‘consciousness’ going on here, which makes it hard to have a good discussion. Perhaps we should all clearly define what we mean by ‘consciousness’ before we have our word.
What I mean with consciousness is something different from being self-aware, like us humans (and some animals). What I mean is kind of hard to describe, I think I’ll describe as sort of judgmentlessly experiencing the existing of the universe… just ‘being’. Just like Alex described.
So for example, a rock is not really aware it’s a rock, but it is part of the complete experience that is the universe. It’s quite funny actually how close it comes to just ‘nothingness’ and at the same time is the complete opposite of ‘nothingness’.
But to get to the point, I think consciousness is the canvas that the universe is painted on, and increases as matter becomes more complex. I can’t imagine matter without consciousness, because I think when something exists it is the same as being an experience…
I have no idea what I’m saying any more, stuff like this is too complex for the human brain
Matter implies consciousness.
Consciousness implies matter.
They are two aspects of the same thing.
Well, of course this depends on what you mean by first.
Consciousness I believe. Consciousness is primordial. In my mind however all matter is intrinsically conscious in one way or another, but that’s a matter of definition. Hm, perhaps both, as they are so intimately connected. Now I’m not sure haha.
Edit: Ah, I believe I agree with Jarno’s comment on the previous page :]
Alex; There was no sense of nothingness, it was not until I was in that time and space that I realised it was nothingness. It was the lack of time and space and thought and once that was gone I only feared going back to it. I only had an impression of the nothingness.
So how did I know I was in time and space though it was pitch dark, because I was existing whereas in the nothingness I was not.
What reason I have to believe it’s faulty? Or correct? What reason do you have? See, reason isn’t what it’s about, it’s about perception. Sure, I have my reasons and you have yours, but those aren’t all there is. And before you ask others what their reasons are you should always ask yourself what yours are. In fact, I do not believe it makes a noise, or that it doesn’t. You believe it does, right? That’s why I’m asking you on what you base that belief.
Scientifically grounded in the sense that most people use the word. Everything is made out of electromagnetic waves, this is proven according to organized science. I didn’t make any claims of being correct, though, I was simply pointing out a hole in your logic. This is about your belief/opinion and what you base it on, not how scientifically correct I am. I am not trying to get on top or whatever, I’m simply questioning your belief.
My definition of conciousness? Take your painting analogy, then what’s watching the painting is conciousness. What’s concious is conciousness, the painting isn’t concious, it’s just a bunch of paint on a canvas. It wouldn’t be a painting unless it was percieved as one, neither would the paint be paint or the canvas a canvas. It takes conciousness to percieve, and mind to label, a panting is just a material object. Conciousness is conciousness, not an object. It’s what’s percieving the object. The painting could be a mental database, but not conciousness, conciousness is what sees the painting (memory database/subconcious mind.)
Of course there is a neurological explanation, but is that all there is to it? Is it the whole thing, or just one of many layers?
Well what is matter? Isn’t it just energy consolidated into density that it’s mass attracts and electromagnetism repels? Everything, including matter, is fundamentally energy except time and space and constructs of consciousness (ie; thoughts, ideas).
@ray How are space and time not energy? Are they separate from the physical universe? How is conciousness not energy? And how do we know this?
How do we know energy isn’t concious? How do we know that not every piece of matter is just solid concious energy? If everything is created out of conciousness, then wouldn’t conciousness be inside everything and in between and around everything? If conciousness is where everything came from, logically everything must be conciouness?
I love question bombs.