How do you explain consciousness? | David Chalmers



Our consciousness is a fundamental aspect of our existence, says philosopher David Chalmers: “There’s nothing we know about more directly…. but at the same …

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33 Comments

  1. Consciousness is in our genetic code, not created in each child through conception. The mans sperm contains the genes that hold consciousness. So at what date in the past did our genetic code come into existence? That will be when consciousness came into existence.

  2. 2:40 "science by nature is objective" …is it so or we have defined science so .
    We have defined science as something which could be put inside a box of measurement , perception , and assessment .
    But , the next question can our mind perceive analyze , everything ?
    You say yes right?
    Then why is the word infinity ?
    May be we have to redefine science the way it observe things ??
    Science is just not objective …

  3. Look at how close computers are to appearing conscious. Still miles from us but they've been around for a minute fraction of the time conscious organisms have. When they cannot be differentiated from us, will we still say we don't know what consciousness is?

  4. I think I can watch what Chalmers call "the inner subjective movie" directly, however I called it — in my 'peer-reviewed' abstracts to the international academic conferences (on consciousness) — "The Heavenly Screen (HS). So far I couldn't self fund ( afford conference fees, travel expenses, … accommodation). Even TED did not allow me or give me an opportunity to demonstrate an extraordinary experiment on its stage. It needs famous scientists to recommend a man of know fame like me. Nobody, no entity, all the world over has offered any kind of help to enable me to perform a unique practical demonstration/ experiment that is strongly related to consciousness. Are you ready to watch it ? I don't think the world is ready to watch and know. With all due RESPECT to all scientists and philosophers (including you Chalmers, Penrose, Hameroff, and Atmanspacher .. etc.). I claim that You are not ready yet to hear/ watch what you should. Good luck for waiting and carrying out the game, leaving no room for me to join in. It's your responsibility (being the representatives of all people) to give them a chance to know some important piece of information of the Hard Problem of Consciousness. Who would support me?

  5. I suppose that it takes some sort of brilliance to acknowledge that we know virtually nothing about something we all experience, and Chalmers is indeed brilliant. Many years ago, I came to the view that consciousness is an irreducible, fundamental given that cannot be explained by reference to even more fundamental givens. It simply . . . . . . "is." It seems to me that the "science" of "universal consciousness" follows from the foregoing premise, but is, itself, reductionist. Thus, the important realization is the first premise–that consciousness is a rock-bottom fundamental and irreducible fact of existence. I am not a religious person, but I believe that the idea of "universal consciousness" is coming very close to the idea of God. Hmmm. Perhaps, after all, there has been an evolutionary reason for the pervasiveness of belief in the "supernatural" ever since our brains got big. Indeed, there is nothing "supernatural," but merely our interpretation of purely natural phenomena which have hitherto been impossible to incorporate into our understanding of reality.

  6. He fails to mention that there are two types of consciousness, a physical one and a spiritual one. Consciousness may seem subjective from a physical consciousness perspective but from an spiritual perspective it's not. Panpsychism is right but needs to go further. Everything in the universe, from atoms to higher beings are conscious, that is, have a soul, i.e., are animated. But only higher beings have a spiritual consciousness. Further details here:https://www.amazon.com/Hello-Earth-This-Earth-Help-ebook/dp/B0723G6W7S

  7. Consciousness consists of sensations, thoughts, and emotions – each of which consist of electro-chemical events. These are proper for science to study. If you want to say that from these events a metaphysical mysterious sort of "Consciousness" emerges, or the reverse, that "Consciousness" gives rise to the electro-chemical events – all well and good. But that has squat to do with science. I think it is more the province of the folks who actually have studied the very subtle aspects of human experience for thousands of years – mainly Buddhist and Hindu teachers.

  8. I believe in numerology and the theory of life paths. I think consciousness never goes away and is ever expanding and with each conscious life we learn new things and overcome new challenges with each life. I like to think of the universe like a university or school you’re either going to fail or pass; and once you go through all of life’s different paths and obstacle you obtain you’re masters, which would be a master path; ultimately leading to a Christ conscious sort of speak. I’m a master path 11 and I’ve often wondered why things come easy to me, but are so hard for others? When I started researching numerology, it kind of made sense; having lived so many life’s to reach a master path I’ve experienced a lot of different activities and learned a lot of different skills; and somehow I’ve carried them with me from one life to the next; and all it takes to relearn that past skill is attempting it. Just think about the significance of the number 3 and how much you see it or multiples of it throughout life. 3 trimesters in a pregnancy which equal out to approximately 9 months. 11 vital systems in your body , 22 bones that form your skull, 33 vertebrae’s in your spine. Numbers are the only thing that don’t lie. And are the foundation to everything that we know today. It’s better to believe in something than nothing. I was religious all my life forced to go to church and always questioned it because Christ never went to churches he didn’t claim a religion and the Bible clearly states your body is thy temple which means is your place of worship. You don’t need a church or anyone to tell you if you’re living your life right only you can determine that. So I live life with an open mind never shooting down anyone’s beliefs because there is no right belief.

  9. I want people who reading this comment to understand this (please correct me if i am wrong)

    What is an intelligent being?
    A being that has a certian type of behaviour towards an external stimuli can be considered as an intelligent being. Because it knows how to and in what way to react. So the basic definition of an intelligence can be associated with behaviour and patterns.
    So a human knows how to react when when he sees a fire. So it is and intelligent entity with a sense of being
    A plant knows where its roots should go in order to find water. It is a certain type of behaviour so we can say that even plant is an intelligent being
    A fish knows where it should live, in salt water or in sweet water. So you can say that fish is also an intelligent being
    A white blood cell knows that it should attack the viruses or bacteria without taking advice from your brain its an involuntary process. So you can say that a white blood cell is also an intelligent entity.
    A light can travel into waves or in particles. So even light has a certain kind of behaviour or pattern to it. Hence it has a sense of intelligence to it.
    In quantum super position a particle can exist here and there at the same time. And it has a certain kind of behaviour. Hence we can conclude that it has an essence of intelligence to it.
    If the quantum world can be intelligent then i can conclude that even the non physical universe is intelligent. Because of that universe all these things are taking place and are existing in perfect harmony with each other. So here we can see a behaviour and patterns relationship.
    So from human scale to quantum scale everything has a behaviour. And everything has an essence of intelligence to it. So the question here is to what extent a thing is intelligent. You cannot differentiate between the humans intelligence and dogs intelligence, both are same kind of intelligence just the thing they both have different bodies to be aware of it. So one thing is more aware of the intelligence and the other thing is less aware of that intelligence.
    So what i think that intelligence is the product of conciousness. And awareness is the product of intelligence. So basically awareness and intelligence are not conciousness, they are the product of conciousness. To understand awareness is to understand intelligence and to understand intelligence is to understand conciousness. So awareness and intelligence can vary in terms of quantity but not in terms of quality. The only way to be aware of that intelligence is to realise it, that way you will understand what conciousness is. Because intellect can only gather and know things it can never understand things. It only knows how to dissect everything.
    So we can conclude that universe is aware, concious and intelligent. And we are the universe from the point of big bang. Now the only difficult problem of conciousness is to be aware of the solution

  10. I think that qualia can be duplicated in a machine, but how about free will? It's been said that computers can't generate random numbers because their behavior is completely determined. If we could show that humans can generate random numbers – or say something else – would that be evidence of free will, and therefore support for consciousness as non-material? Could some such experiment also be done at the group level to test Chalmer's assertion of group consciousness?

  11. All in all I liked the talk. I fully subscribe to the idea that consciousness cannot be explained by reductionist means. However, a few contemplations. First, consciousness cannot be a phenomenon, it is part of the possibility of phenomena itself. It exists "before", or beyond phenomena. Without consciousness, no distinctions can be made, and also the notion "phenomenon" would simply dissolve. Another remarkable statement that I often hear, also in this lecture, is: "consciousness is a remarkable/mysterious thing". However, if there were no consciousness, the whole notion of "remarkable" or "not remarkable" would also dissolve. Consciousness is prior to notions such as remarkable or not remarkable. So, it is not remarkable, nor is it remarkable. That many say it is remarkable perhaps says something about our currently collective state of mind (in the West). I often hear in these kinds of talks that "we do not know" – yes, mainstream Western science and philosophy do not know – partially caused by the framework of truth finding in which many of us are stuck. There are other cultures that are far more advanced in this respect. It may be attributed to an over-projection of the technological prowess of the West, that "we" think that we are the most advanced in all respects, so if we do not know, know one knows. If it comes to inquiries into consciousness and awareness, however, I think that the West is in a quite primitive stage of development, at the least in the mainstream – with exception of some individual philosophers and mystics of course. I'm happy that in recent years slowly things like pan psychism start to become more mainstream (Nagel etc, and also mentioned in this talk). What I see is a culture slowly liberating itself from the reductionist straitjacket it has imprisoned itself in for too many years, with people like Nagel and Chalmers at the forefront, perhaps to come to the discovery that there is bigger world out there, with other cultures and deeper insights into these matters.

  12. How is intrinsic and fundamental consciousness different from "universal" consciousness. Are those not the same theories? As I study these theories more and more, I am realizing that perhaps consciousness is more pervasive than atoms, and smaller than quarks, as in it permeates all that exists physically, which is perhaps why we can't see it. Without the fundamental building block "consciousness", there could not exist a single thing in the universe. "This time we haven't been able to see any evidence at all that there's anything inside quarks," said physicist Andy Parker. "Have we reached the most fundamental layer of matter?" In my humble opinion, which truly lacks any significant knowledge on the topic, in my gut, I believe that when physicists break down the atom, into proton, electron and neutrons, and then discover quarks, but can't see beyond that, that's possibly consciousness at it's most basic pervasive level. If all in the universe tends to self organize, then maybe consciousness self organizes as well into a more complex consciousness system. The saying "as above so below" can be seen here. If we think of consciousness as the highest state of being, then it must begin with a most basic level. Perhaps when we break down life into it's most fundamental level, we will see a mind staring back at us. Like a reflection. A human being is made of of his parent's genetic codes, his parent's pass on all the building blocks from themselves and their relatives onto the next generation. So each individual's complexity is the sum of his parental dominant DNA encoding and their life experiences. So too, the consciousness we experience is the summation of the consciousness that existed before us, plus the consciousness we currently experience. And it can potentially grow and evolve exponentially. My personal theory is that consciousness is not just a static building block, but that it can and does evolve like an organism.

  13. I eventually became a panpsychist via my philosophy of the mind I call "necessitism". I applied modality to the world of color, light, space, sound, smell, etc and solved the problem of other minds and external world skepticism. However it requires that outside your "private world" that there must(necessitation) be other events with their own properties outside your experience where they're correlated with your subjective experiences of the external world.

  14. the hard problem really isn't "why is there consciousness". you aren't a human being experiencing consciousness. you are consciousness experiencing being a human. consciousness is fundamental. it's the only thing that really exists. it's existence itself. the real hard problem is explaining how there can be multiple consciousnesses. how there can be more than one subjective experiencer is mind boggling.

  15. My consciousness is a movie screen that may or may not be able to affect events OUTSIDE of me. That's always been my feeling.
    Whether the conscious movie screen affects the INNER movie is
    A – highly debatable
    B- probably neither provable nor falsifiable.
    Why? Because that conscious awareness can neither be described ( in material terms ) nor can it be measured ( if indeed it is material ).
    Religion and philosophy own conscious QUALIA until those two problems are rectified.
    Before you respond, keep in mind that neurology cannot solve that problem at this time – maybe later.

  16. What we experience as reality is a projection of our consciousness within consciousness. Consciousness is not a part of us, located somewhere and somehow in the brain, nor is it the result of complex physiological processes in our body, reaching somehow a ‘critical threshold’ on the way to self-awareness. We are a ‘physicalized’ fragment of our Higher Mind, the size of a fingernail (Bashar), sent out to go to sleep and dream a reality dream in a projected 3-D reality environment which we take for real as long as we are ‘in life’. We chose to have an incarnation inside the projection room of the 3-D reality cinema as the limitations of linear space-time allow us to have specific experiences when exploring our theme in life, thus discovering a new aspect of us while struggling with self-imposed tasks and challenges. On our ‘physical plane’, we are constantly shifting through an infinite number of static virtual reality frames, billions of times per second, thus creating the illusion of time, movement, and continuity, similar to the projection of a film strip to a wall or in 3-D in a cinema.
    For a successful projection of what we think is ‘our incarnation’ various levels of consciousness have to work together. Starting from the level of the oversoul, which is on top and thus No. 1 in Bashar’s nomenclature, it is the individual soul or spirit, which comes second (2), then the Higher Mind (3), the template reality level (4), the collective automatic mind (5), the individual automatic mind (6), and further down the beliefs (unconscious physical mind) (7), the emotions (subconscious physical mind) (8), and finally our thoughts at the lowest level (conscious physical mind) (9). In this context it is important to understand that with regard to our physical mind, which is composed of beliefs, emotions and thoughts, it is the beliefs which are on top, followed by emotions. Thoughts (and the resulting acts and behavior) are the lowest level in the hierarchy of the physical mind. All levels are required for the successful projection of a single life incarnation and all levels are expected to work hand in hand in a concerted way.
    The structure of existence, however, already exists. It never changes. What ‘changes’ is the experiences we have when living the physical life in the 3-D projection room, immersed in the illusion of time and space while shifting through an infinite number of static virtual reality frames. Every possible aspect of ‘reality’, every action, every idea, every thought, every combination of colour, every invention, every piece of music already exists. We cannot change or create it. And we never do. By using the tools and requisites offered by the pre-existing reality structure we are given the chance to experience our own action, create our own version of (pre-existing) timeless ideas, having our own version of a thought which has been already thought by an infinite number of persons, play with colours in a specific way which is uniquely ours (and thus new), make inventions anew, which have been invented over and over and over before, etc.
    Thus, by the specific way we go about in experiencing the structures of existence which are already there, (have been and will be forever) we are creating experiences which are new and unique. And they are eternal. This is our specific contribution to the creation of All-that-Is, of which we are an integral part and which we are made out of. On the way down from the top level (oversoul) the soul can be compared to raw, unfashioned clay, which is then formed and burnt in 3-D (inside the matrix), endowed with a new and unique set of experiences which are ingrained and imprinted forever. The specific experiences constitute the ‘added value’ the single incarnation on the ground is ultimately sending and communicating back to the higher levels as spirit (formed, burned, and finalized clay as opposed to the raw, unburned clay of the soul) up to the level of the oversoul and beyond to All-that-is. Our life experiences are our specific, unique and eternal contribution to creation, which can never be erased or annihilated. Nor can our ‘I’-identity. http://www.sethforum.de/phpBB3/viewforum.php?f=17.

  17. There are at least 2 levels of consciousness. Individual and World Collective…. This is clear. Yet we must also have a universal level and perhaps a galactic level too. Biological, Chemistry and Physics Geometry clearly explains this, As stated by Phi. So it seems to me this video falls well short of what it could have been I guess it is a good start. Mentions the collective consciousness as says he has no knowledge of it yet the experiments are our there. The monkeys washing their food etc, no?

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