Creuset of Ideas
» Consciousness



2006-01-13 @ 12:39 » Français

At a certain stage of our evolution (Homo Habilis?), a rudimentary structured language developed. Probably holophrastic (i.e. one-word sentences) to begin with, then with two-word sentences. This contributed greatly to an increase in communication, and a perpetuating memory.

This created an all new type of information network. This network is a complex system, which often means emergent features. In this case, it could be conscience. Another aspect of complex systems with emergent features is feedback, in this case, the development of cerebral capacity and the ability to communicate, in a back-and-forth that lead to the development of language as we know it now (probably ca. 40,000 B.C.).

This consciousness, resulting from, and partly developed by, the information network, has similar characteristics as those ascribed by Jung to the collective unconscious, but also, by some, to a higher being/intelligence/entity (which, for the sake of brevity, I will call “God”). So we have the Homo genus creating God, who in turn creates Homo Sapiens Sapiens.

This could be one way of accounting the Jesus’ alleged statement about being the “son of Man”, the child of the entity which is the unification of human networks.

What of the soul (or spirit) then? It would be a network, originally neural, but probably spreading to the whole body and beyond. With death, it loses the physical support that gave birth to it, thus probably losing part of its characteristics. On the other hand, it is freed from some of its limitations and acquires the ability to spread, an ability to be in many of us, according to affinities (without us knowing it). Could this be the difference between Heaven and Hell? Could it be that the good ones come to those who loved then, sharing in their well-being; the evildoers finding themselves in the sufferings of those they have hurt, or in a scarcity of nice contacts?

4 comments to “Consciousness”

  1. It would be hard to find any evidence of a spirit/soul anywhere in the machine, I guess, but it seems interesting to say, as Sartre, hell can be other people ;-)

    Being spread across a network of mind reminds me of memetic. According to this theory we are mere vehicule for ideas (meme) that uses us to spread, grow, transmute to better “parasite” other minds…

    Our spirit/soul must loose a great deal of its characteristics with death, as what spread in many of us, are words, not the spirit/soul itself…

    Which isn’t as foolish at it sounds. One of the Monotheist religion that evolved from the fertile croissant does start its holy book with “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”.

    Soul may be an invention, but it seems memetic isn’t a recent invention ;-)

  2. Yes, it would be hard to find any objective evidence of the spirit/soul. Then again, there are many things our senses, or instruments, can’t pick up.

    “What spread in many of us, are words, not the spirit/soul itself” I don’t agree. The influence we have on each other go way beyond words, as when we speak of somebody’s “presence”. There is more than meets the hear.

    In a way, words are like the photograph of ideas, influences, information that spreads. SO memes would be more than just the organization of word.
    For that matter, there is a school of thoughts in physics that views information are a crucial part of the physical world.

  3. What about brain electric activities?

    Aren’t they information bits, isn’t it?. Or to be more precise, signs?

    I can’t talk for the Quantic Information Theory, but the classical one says “words” come from bits becoming bytes. What meet the hear? the idea of someone or the sounds of a voice, that is, audio signs?

    Theory of reception seams to teach we are free to understand the signs as we like: as the idea of someone, as a cloud or an bomb alert. Depending on the code used to translate the message. Idea of someone isn’t the message, it is the output of the message.

    What if the communication channel does spread more than signs or the sign don’t needs code to be understood? The theory must be adapted, I guess. But be warned it isn’t a small deal.

  4. Are our thoughts solely brain impulses? These impulses may be information bits, but they are not signs.

    As for what meets the hear, the obvious answer would be sound waves ;-)
    Which can be seen as signs that can be interpreted. Signs that are not necessarily codified. But our thoughts are not limited to words. We most often think in other ways than words.

    You seem to focus on information being transmitted solely as code, information as a function of communication. It is not so. Most of the information “out there” is free from any communication channel. Code (or established signs, since in my view language is more than a code, but that is another story) is used to bound our communication (through words, body language, etc.) consciously or not. But it is not the essence of what is transmitted.

    I agree, the idea of someone isn’t the message, but neither is it the output of a message. It is a form of information which goes beyond code or message.

    Yep, making head or tale of it all is no small endeavour. But isn’t it half the fun of it?

What do you think?