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Author Topic:   Brain Evolution
Fosdick 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3579 days)
Posts: 1793
From: Upper Slobovia
Joined: 12-11-2006


Message 16 of 43 (480680)
09-05-2008 3:17 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by onifre
09-05-2008 1:15 PM


Re: Consciousness and the brain
onfire writes:

So if the brain evolved, so did the levels of consciousness. Perhaps a primitive self/environmental awareness localized to a small area slowly increasing as more is perceived and understood.


Perhaps the kind of consciousness you're talking about is carried through our symbolic language. I am suspicious of that. Now, perhaps the parts of brains that engage symbolic language are where consciousness manifests logistically. And perhaps symbolic language is just another tool for survival, which may also be what consciousness is.

If this is germane: A walk with my dog through the woods is all I need to show me that his "consciousness" and mine are two different things, and that his may be a whole lot more perceptive than mine in that environment.

—HM


This message is a reply to:
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onifre
Member (Idle past 1030 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 17 of 43 (480697)
09-05-2008 3:48 PM
Reply to: Message 15 by Straggler
09-05-2008 2:12 PM


Re: Evolving Consciousness
Hi Straggler,

I mean is it conceivable that humans (or other creatures) could evolve greater intelligence, greater sapience and greater consciousness than we currently possess?

I would not tend to agree with any other 'creature' on Earth surpassing us in those 3 catagories. However, I would say that perhaps on another planet a 'creature' can posses a much greater level of consciousness. And/or humans 1 million years from now.

What would such a creature be able to do that we are not capable of?

I would tend to side with Michio Kaku here in saying that the greater the level of consciousness,(or awareness), becomes, the further into space we(or other creatures) will go. Slowly becoming Type I, Type II, and Type III civilizations.

This is something i've noticed, perhaps you have as well, but it seems that the greater the increase in consciousness becomes, the further we try to get from this planet?


"All great truths begin as blasphemies"

"I smoke pot. If this bothers anyone, I suggest you look around at the world in which we live and shut your mouth."--Bill Hicks

"I never knew there was another option other than to question everything"--Noam Chomsky


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onifre
Member (Idle past 1030 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 18 of 43 (480703)
09-05-2008 4:01 PM
Reply to: Message 16 by Fosdick
09-05-2008 3:17 PM


Re: Consciousness and the brain
Hi Hoot Mon,

Now, perhaps the parts of brains that engage symbolic language are where consciousness manifests logistically.

If by consciousness we mean awareness then I would say that language only helps in the spreading of it(awareness of self/environment) throught communities, families etc. etc.

But at the fundamental level I would think that all species are conscious, at the very least of their immediate surroundings(as with your example of a dog in the woods). The greater the level of consciousness that each species posses, the greater the awareness of their surroundings become, IMO.

Language just takes our consciousness to a much more refined level because, well, currently there are 6 billion of us thinking and communicating. Some with amazing ideas, and some, like say Einstein, or Darwin, or Keppler, take us to new, much more complex, levels of consciousness.

Edited by onifre, : spelling


"All great truths begin as blasphemies"

"I smoke pot. If this bothers anyone, I suggest you look around at the world in which we live and shut your mouth."--Bill Hicks

"I never knew there was another option other than to question everything"--Noam Chomsky


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 Message 16 by Fosdick, posted 09-05-2008 3:17 PM Fosdick has not yet responded

    
Agobot
Member (Idle past 3609 days)
Posts: 786
Joined: 12-16-2007


Message 19 of 43 (480719)
09-05-2008 6:14 PM


The path to consciousness
Yesterday evening i stumbled on a very fascinating "event" - on the street of a local resort i saw a man carrying a small monkey, playing on his back. 5 min later another man came carrying a python. The monkey got soo scared at the sight of the snake, it started screeming in horror. It was unbelievable that an animal can get that scared.
This occurence reminded me why scientists nowadays think that our human language started off in Tanzania around 200 000 years ago in the form of ticking. Scientists think that homosapiens started ticking(and later developed other sounds) as way to warn other homo sapiens about an approaching... snake. Kenya and Tanzania are world famous for their diviersity of snakes and our ancestors had come into contct with deadly snakes all too often. That's when nature gave us the upper hand and homo sapiens developed ticking with their tounges, then more diverse ticking, then short sounds untill full language appeared. It's amazing how pressure from within the environment makes for the emergence of such new useful traits, that we utilised to the fullest. We built upon this new found weapon for survival and developed it into full language that facilitated the spread of knowledge and led to the rise of intelligence and consiousness in homo sapiens.
Anyway, it's funny to see this scene taking place now in the street, 200 000 years later. The occurence was so profoundly remarkable to me, that I plunged into thoughts for more than 30 minutes. It was almost like I travelled back in time 200 000 years and saw my grand parents in their own environment. Pure bliss.

Edited by Agobot, : No reason given.

Edited by Agobot, : No reason given.

Edited by Agobot, : No reason given.

Edited by Agobot, : No reason given.


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onifre
Member (Idle past 1030 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 20 of 43 (480721)
09-05-2008 6:59 PM
Reply to: Message 19 by Agobot
09-05-2008 6:14 PM


Re: The path to consciousness
Hi Agobot,

This occurence reminded me why scientists nowadays think that our human language started off in Tanzania around 200 000 years ago in the form of ticking. Scientists think that homosapiens started ticking(and later developed other sounds) as way to warn other homo sapiens about an approaching... snake. Kenya and Tanzania are world famous for their diviersity of snakes and our ancestors had come into contct with deadly snakes all too often. That's when nature gave us the upper hand and homo sapiens developed ticking with their tounges, then more diverse ticking, then short sounds untill full language appeared

Does sound very interesting and very logical. You wouldn't happen to have a link where I can read about this would you?


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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10284
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 21 of 43 (480723)
09-05-2008 7:11 PM
Reply to: Message 17 by onifre
09-05-2008 3:48 PM


Re: Evolving Consciousness
I would tend to side with Michio Kaku here in saying that the greater the level of consciousness,(or awareness), becomes, the further into space we(or other creatures) will go. Slowly becoming Type I, Type II, and Type III civilizations.

I am a big fan of Kaku :)
Does this require increased consciousness or increased knowledge? You seem to be saying that they are the same thing? I don't think I agree.
I honestly don't think I am any more "conscious" than my ancestors of a few hundred years ago because my level of scientific knowledge is that much greater than theirs could possibly be. Not in the sense that we are "more conscious" than a dog or an insect at any rate.

If we could bring a newborn human baby from 10,000 years ago and raise it in the modern world I have little doubt it would be as "conscious" as you me.

When I asked this -

I mean is it conceivable that humans (or other creatures) could evolve greater intelligence, greater sapience and greater consciousness than we currently possess?

I was more thinking of humans (or other beings) that have evolved a level of consciousness that we are currently incapable of. Something beyond knowledge perhaps? What would such a creature be capable of that we are not? Would their language necesarily be sophisticated? Would their braisn nevessarily be physiologically different to ours?

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


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Agobot
Member (Idle past 3609 days)
Posts: 786
Joined: 12-16-2007


Message 22 of 43 (480726)
09-05-2008 7:34 PM
Reply to: Message 20 by onifre
09-05-2008 6:59 PM


Re: The path to consciousness
Agobot writes:

This occurence reminded me why scientists nowadays think that our human language started off in Tanzania around 200 000 years ago in the form of ticking. Scientists think that homosapiens started ticking(and later developed other sounds) as way to warn other homo sapiens about an approaching... snake. Kenya and Tanzania are world famous for their diviersity of snakes and our ancestors had come into contct with deadly snakes all too often. That's when nature gave us the upper hand and homo sapiens developed ticking with their tounges, then more diverse ticking, then short sounds untill full language appeared

Onifre writes:

Does sound very interesting and very logical. You wouldn't happen to have a link where I can read about this would you?

I don't have a direct link,sorry, it's from a book in Bulgarian. The book is French and is called "Historie universelle".
But I can give you links to other similar content(bear in mind I made a translation mistake - the sounds that early homo sapiens made were not "ticking" but "clicking", sorry about the mix up):

African click language 'holds key to origins of earliest human speech'

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/african-click-language-holds-key-to-origins-of-earliest-human-speech-591505.html

Generally speaking, just search for "click language", i think there is tons of info on that on the internet

Edited by Agobot, : No reason given.

Edited by Agobot, : No reason given.


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onifre
Member (Idle past 1030 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 23 of 43 (480730)
09-05-2008 8:45 PM
Reply to: Message 21 by Straggler
09-05-2008 7:11 PM


Re: Evolving Consciousness
Hi Straggler,

Does this require increased consciousness or increased knowledge?

For the functioning aspects of space travel, obviously knowledge is key.

Consciousness, or being conscious, as defined by the Oxford Dictionary,

quote:
Oxford Dictionary defines conscious as: 1. awake and aware of one's surroundings and identity.

With that definition you are 'conscious' of space, where as your newly arrived friend from 10,000 years ago would most certainly NOT be as aware(or conscious) as you, I, or Mr. Kaku of space.

So, IMO knowledge is a by-product of being conscious of things in your surroundings(I also assume it to be a tool for survival). Your friend 10,000 years ago looked up at a star and could only imagine wtf it was. Today, since our consciousness was raised about stars 200,000 years ago(assumed time), we know what they are made of, how long the last, how old they are etc, etc. But had we never looked up and made ourselves conscious(aware) of those stars, we would still have no idea what they are, and therefore we would have no knowledge of them.

Example: As a child you are conscious(aware) of your neighborhood, but you are completely unaware of anything else. Your neighborhood is the BIGGEST thing you're conscious of, and since you are not conscious of any other part of the world, you have no knowledge about it. As you get older your consciousness gets raised to the rest of the world and now you are aware of a much BIGGER world, therefore now that you are conscious of the larger world you can begin to gain knowledge about it.

Which is what I meant by people like Einstein or Darwin. They raised our consciousness about the world we live in. The same as someone like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did for civil rights in the US(sorry I don't know who the Euro version of Dr.King is to give you a better reference;)). People such as these folks raise our consciousness about our world. Then the process of learning can begin. But if you're not conscious(aware) of, lets say, a microscopic world, how would anyone have knowledge about atoms?

Its that raise in consciousness that drives the need for the knowledge about that which you have just become conscious of.

I hope im making sense LOL.

If we could bring a newborn human baby from 10,000 years ago and raise it in the modern world I have little doubt it would be as "conscious" as you me.

A baby, yes, a full grown adult, no. Don't misunderstand me here, im not saying that the ability to become MORE conscious isn't there, its just that consciousness(awareness) increases gradually within cultures and societies. Would a person 10,000years ago have the capacity to be as conscious as us YES(assuming a normal sized brain)...but they weren't, thats why they were superstitious.;)

I was more thinking of humans (or other beings) that have evolved a level of consciousness that we are currently incapable of. Something beyond knowledge perhaps? What would such a creature be capable of that we are not? Would their language necesarily be sophisticated? Would their braisn nevessarily be physiologically different to ours?

You know I have no idea LOL. But man would it be fuckin cool to find out.:)

Edited by onifre, : none


"All great truths begin as blasphemies"

"I smoke pot. If this bothers anyone, I suggest you look around at the world in which we live and shut your mouth."--Bill Hicks

"I never knew there was another option other than to question everything"--Noam Chomsky


This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by Straggler, posted 09-05-2008 7:11 PM Straggler has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
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New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 24 of 43 (480740)
09-06-2008 2:14 AM
Reply to: Message 23 by onifre
09-05-2008 8:45 PM


Re: Evolving Consciousness
A very quick reply, onifre

With that definition you are 'conscious' of space, where as your newly arrived friend from 10,000 years ago would most certainly NOT be as aware(or conscious) as you, I, or Mr. Kaku of space.

I'd say that you are talking about intelligence, instead of consciousness, in this whole post.

Replace every "consciousness" with "intelligence" and I agree.

As Anatomically Modern Humans we're all at the same level of consciousness as those 10,000 years ago but not the same intelligence.


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Replies to this message:
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Agobot
Member (Idle past 3609 days)
Posts: 786
Joined: 12-16-2007


Message 25 of 43 (480754)
09-06-2008 5:37 AM


I'd have to agree with Onifre, people from 10 000 years ago were not aware of their surroundings to the extent that we are(as per the Oxford definition of conscious being equal to aware). There is no question about it. Just like we are currently unaware of what dark matter is, however, give it a few decades and we'll likely be. Knowledge and intelligence are both survival tools that give us the edge to survive for longer and to replicate in greater numbers(and still have the desire to live because of our discoveries and inventions that stem from our intelligence and knowledge).

Edited by Agobot, : No reason given.


    
Phat
Member
Posts: 12177
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.2


Message 26 of 43 (480758)
09-06-2008 6:57 AM
Reply to: Message 23 by onifre
09-05-2008 8:45 PM


Re: Evolving Consciousness
onifre writes:

Today, since our consciousness was raised about stars 200,000 years ago(assumed time), we know what they are made of, how long the last, how old they are etc, etc. But had we never looked up and made ourselves conscious(aware) of those stars, we would still have no idea what they are, and therefore we would have no knowledge of them.

200,000 years ago? :eek: All I know is that I was born in 1959 and was taught about stars in school. I think that the actual time when we really began to understand stars happened around then when they first began building telescopes that could observe the stars and when they first began studying matter from space that either crashed onto earth or was brought back by the Apollo astronauts. My consciousness about these matters is also limited by my interests...which do not include Astronomy, Cosmology, or Geology.

I gather much of my information through second hand accounts by folks such as yourselves (contributors to this forum) who explain to me the evolving mysteries of space, time, and reality as we humans perceive it. :)


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onifre
Member (Idle past 1030 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 27 of 43 (480841)
09-06-2008 8:24 PM
Reply to: Message 24 by New Cat's Eye
09-06-2008 2:14 AM


Re: Evolving Consciousness
I'd say that you are talking about intelligence, instead of consciousness, in this whole post.

Replace every "consciousness" with "intelligence" and I agree.

I wouldn't doubt that you could switch consciousness with intelligence since it's a very gray area which people can confuse, (and because both intelligence and consciousness increase almost together). I meant consciousness though because my point was that you can't become intelligent or knowledgeable about something, untill you are conscious of it's existance. Meaning that you are aware of it. Monkey's are not aware of space, nor do they lack the brain capacity to understand it. We however, have a large enough brain to understand it and are aware of its existance.

So since we can't be intelligent on a subject until we become conscious of it, its safe to assume that consciousness came before intelligence. And I would add that we became conscious of our environment long before we became conscious of our selves. So I would then conclude that it was self consciousness that gave rise to a species that became highly intelligent about himself and his environment.

And to go back to Stragglers OP here, we as humans with our level of consciousness(or awareness of ourselves and our environment), and at this level of our intelligence, have only been able to close in on the HOW of our Universe, but we are no where near, or even come close to, understanding the WHY of our Universe. So perhaps a species that has raised his consciousness(awareness) to a far greater level than ours has completely understood the HOW of our universe(ie. becoming a Type III civilization), and is now starting to close in on understanding the WHY of our univere. Perhaps far greater than that is a species who has understood both how our universe works, and why does it exist.

Im not religious but do feel some spirituality can be incorporated into this perhaps, if one wishes. But for now, until we fully understand how our universe works, thats up to the individual to decide for himself. I think that the answer(s) to why our universe exists is going to be far far far beyond any answer that any human can conceive at this point due to our current level of intelligence and understanding.

But we'll need a rise in consciousness beyond what we have now to do so IMO. We only became conscious of a microscopic world recently for our time as homo-sapiens and we are now starting to understand how it works. Maybe once we understand it we'll become conscious of something else, that will need an explanation also. Perhaps once we understand it we'll understand how our universe works completely from 'start' to 'finish' and become conscious of the fact that there is no why, or perhaps not a why like we define it. Who knows...


"All great truths begin as blasphemies"

"I smoke pot. If this bothers anyone, I suggest you look around at the world in which we live and shut your mouth."--Bill Hicks

"I never knew there was another option other than to question everything"--Noam Chomsky


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onifre
Member (Idle past 1030 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 28 of 43 (480885)
09-07-2008 1:00 PM
Reply to: Message 16 by Fosdick
09-05-2008 3:17 PM


Re: Consciousness and the brain
Hi Hootmon,

Perhaps the kind of consciousness you're talking about is carried through our symbolic language.

In the book 'Conversations on Consciousness' the author, who is doing a series of interviews with everyone from Neuroscentist to Philosophers to Spiritual Seekers, asks Vilayanur Ramachandran(Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at University of California), "What brings about consciousness is humans?", he seems to agree with what you are suggesting about where consciousness manifests.

Here's his response,

quote:
RAMA: There is something very unique and special about humans, not in a theological or mystical sense, but just in terms of funtions.

AUTHOR: You mean it's not because they have a soul, but it's something to do with a funtion. But what funtion? Some people would say language, some a sense of self; where would you put that special leap?

RAMA: I think those two are related, by the way. But let me first assert, and then I'll give you the evidence as we go along, that lower animals--I'm not supposed to call them lower animals, but animals in general, even higher primates, excluding humans--have only a raw background awareness. But they're lacking extra stuff which I have called meta-awareness.
Now, this could be another parasitic brain, to put it crudely, that uses the output of the 'first' brain as it's input. In other words you first have processing of information, and various automatisms of the kind done by the dorsal stream, and then some stage in evolution created a representation of the representation for other purposes. The question is, what are those purposes?
You could say, isn't it redundant; why create another representation of the representation? The answer is, it isn't redundant; your doing it to fulfil a new computational need, namely open-ended symbol manipulation in your head. This is what we call thinking: coming up with outlandish conjectures which are made by the imagination, by juggling these symbols in you head. And closely linked to that is the emergence of language: being able to communicate these ideas, intentions, and thoughts with other people; and constructing a theory of other minds. All of this happened more or less simultaneously in evolution, and it was a quantum jump in the mind of an ape.

--End.


He seems to suggest that the emergence of 'becoming aware', or conscious of one self, and the need to communitcate these experiences, brings about language and that the 2 are closely related, so that both probably manifest from the same place.

Edited by onifre, : No reason given.


"All great truths begin as blasphemies"

"I smoke pot. If this bothers anyone, I suggest you look around at the world in which we live and shut your mouth."--Bill Hicks

"I never knew there was another option other than to question everything"--Noam Chomsky


This message is a reply to:
 Message 16 by Fosdick, posted 09-05-2008 3:17 PM Fosdick has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 29 by Fosdick, posted 09-07-2008 1:13 PM onifre has responded

    
Fosdick 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3579 days)
Posts: 1793
From: Upper Slobovia
Joined: 12-11-2006


Message 29 of 43 (480890)
09-07-2008 1:13 PM
Reply to: Message 28 by onifre
09-07-2008 1:00 PM


Re: Consciousness and the brain
Hi, onfire. A question: Do you think Helen Keller gained more consciousness after she was trained to use a symbolic language? Or was her human consciousness innate to her and fixed from birth?

—HM


This message is a reply to:
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onifre
Member (Idle past 1030 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 30 of 43 (480892)
09-07-2008 1:36 PM
Reply to: Message 29 by Fosdick
09-07-2008 1:13 PM


Re: Consciousness and the brain
Hi HM,

Hi, onfire. A question: Do you think Helen Keller gained more consciousness after she was trained to use a symbolic language? Or was her human consciousness innate to her and fixed from birth

Consciouness is innate in all primates, to include Helen Keller. I would say that there are different levels of consciousness though for each of the different stages of our evolution from our homonid ancestors. As humans our last true leap to the next level IMO was the discovery of a micro-scopic world, which is now leading us to understand how our Universe came to be.

So language, I would say, is the tool used to convay the information of that which we became conscious of. And without it I would imagine that we would never understand anything. Which is where I would place the Great Apes, like chimps and gorillas. They are conscious of alot of things but don't understand any of it.

*Note: I use consciousness as equal to awareness in my posts, so we may be defining consciousness differently.

Edited by onifre, : No reason given.


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