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Archive for July, 2014

ConsciousnessMatrixBy Tanya Lewis, Staff Writer

Probably for as long as humans have been able to grasp the concept of consciousness, they have sought to understand the phenomenon.

Studying the mind was once the province of philosophers, some of whom still believe the subject is inherently unknowable. But neuroscientists are making strides in developing a true science of the self.

Here are some of the best contenders for a theory of consciousness.

Cogito ergo sum

Not an easy concept to define, consciousness has been described as the state of being awake and aware of what is happening around you, and of having a sense of self. [Top 10 Mysteries of the Mind]

The 17th century French philosopher René Descartes proposed the notion of “cogito ergo sum” (“I think, therefore I am”), the idea that the mere act of thinking about one’s existence proves there is someone there to do the thinking.

Descartes also believed the mind was separate from the material body — a concept known as mind-body duality — and that these realms interact in the brain’s pineal gland. Scientists now reject the latter idea, but some thinkers still support the notion that the mind is somehow removed from the physical world.

But while philosophical approaches can be useful, they do not constitute testable theories of consciousness, scientists say.

“The only thing you know is, ‘I am conscious.’ Any theory has to start with that,” said Christof Koch, a neuroscientist and the chief scientific officer at the Allen Institute for Neuroscience in Seattle.

Correlates of consciousness

In the last few decades, neuroscientists have begun to attack the problem of understanding consciousness from an evidence-based perspective. Many researchers have sought to discover specific neurons or behaviors that are linked to conscious experiences.

Recently, researchers discovered a brain area that acts as a kind of on-off switch for the brain. When they electrically stimulated this region, called the claustrum, the patient became unconscious instantly. In fact, Koch and Francis Crick, the molecular biologist who famously helped discover the double-helix structure of DNA, had previously hypothesized that this region might integrate information across different parts of the brain, like the conductor of a symphony.

But looking for neural or behavioral connections to consciousness isn’t enough, Koch said. For example, such connections don’t explain why the cerebellum, the part of the brain at the back of the skull that coordinates muscle activity, doesn’t give rise to consciousness, while the cerebral cortex (the brain’s outermost layer) does. This is the case even though the cerebellum contains more neurons than the cerebral cortex.

Nor do these studies explain how to tell whether consciousness is present, such as in brain-damaged patients, other animals or even computers. [Super-Intelligent Machines: 7 Robotic Futures]

Neuroscience needs a theory of consciousness that explains what the phenomenon is and what kinds of entities possess it, Koch said. And currently, only two theories exist that the neuroscience community takes seriously, he said.

Integrated information

Neuroscientist Giulio Tononi of the University of Wisconsin-Madison developed one of the most promising theories for consciousness, known as integrated information theory.

Understanding how the material brain produces subjective experiences, such as the color green or the sound of ocean waves, is what Australian philosopher David Chalmers calls the “hard problem” of consciousness. Traditionally, scientists have tried to solve this problem with a bottom-up approach. As Koch put it, “You take a piece of the brain and try to press the juice of consciousness out of [it].” But this is almost impossible, he said.

In contrast, integrated information theory starts with consciousness itself, and tries to work backward to understand the physical processes that give rise to the phenomenon, said Koch, who has worked with Tononi on the theory.

The basic idea is that conscious experience represents the integration of a wide variety of information, and that this experience is irreducible. This means that when you open your eyes (assuming you have normal vision), you can’t simply choose to see everything in black and white, or to see only the left side of your field of view.

Instead, your brain seamlessly weaves together a complex web of information from sensory systems and cognitive processes. Several studies have shown that you can measure the extent of integration using brain stimulation and recording techniques.

The integrated information theory assigns a numerical value, “phi,” to the degree of irreducibility. If phi is zero, the system is reducible to its individual parts, but if phi is large, the system is more than just the sum of its parts.

This system explains how consciousness can exist to varying degrees among humans and other animals. The theory incorporates some elements of panpsychism, the philosophy that the mind is not only present in humans, but in all things.

An interesting corollary of integrated information theory is that no computer simulation, no matter how faithfully it replicates a human mind, could ever become conscious. Koch put it this way: “You can simulate weather in a computer, but it will never be ‘wet.'”

Global Workspace

Another promising theory suggests that consciousness works a bit like computer memory, which can call up and retain an experience even after it has passed.

Bernard Baars, a neuroscientist at the Neurosciences Institute in La Jolla, California, developed the theory, which is known as the global workspace theory. This idea is based on an old concept from artificial intelligence called the blackboard, a memory bank that different computer programs could access.

Anything from the appearance of a person’s face to a memory of childhood can be loaded into the brain’s blackboard, where it can be sent to other brain areas that will process it. According to Baars’ theory, the act of broadcasting information around the brain from this memory bank is what represents consciousness.

The global workspace theory and integrated information theories are not mutually exclusive, Koch said. The first tries to explain in practical terms whether something is conscious or not, while the latter seeks to explain how consciousness works more broadly.

“At this point, both could be true,” Koch said.

Source: LiveScience

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geometry

 We acknowledge and affirm with the following declarations:
The Architecture of Your SOVEREIGN OVERSOUL

Your divine SELF has emerged into the physical world as a human being.

Your divine SELF is known as an OVERSOUL, commonly referred to as a “soul”.

Your OVERSOUL exists outside the parameters of the space-time continuum.

Your OVERSOUL is an exact, individual fractal of SOVEREIGN god consciousness.
We interchangeably refer to god consciousness as omniscient SOURCE ENERGY.

We define SOVEREIGNTY as that essential quality of SOURCE ENERGY that is invincible, immutable, omniscient, eternal, and entirely whole unto itself.

As an exact fractal of SOVEREIGN god consciousness, your divine SELF is endowed with all the same essential qualities of god consciousness, also known as the ONE omniscient SOURCE ENERGY.

Your OVERSOUL has been “made in the image and exact likeness of its original creator, the ONE SOURCE THAT CREATED YOUR SOUL AND ALL THAT IS.

Therefore, your OVERSOUL is also a SOVEREIGN CREATOR OF SOURCE ENERGY, endowed with the same power and FREE WILL of the original creator. As such, your OVERSOUL is capable of creating anything you desire.

starburst

Your FREE WILL and SOVEREIGN DIVINE NATURE are immutable and can never be taken from you. Your OVERSOUL is an unconditional and eternal divine inheritance given from the ONE SOURCE.

The divine nature of your OVERSOUL is SOVEREIGN unto itself. There is no force of nature or god consciousness above or beneath your OVERSOUL’S autonomous FREE WILL. There is no force of nature or god consciousness that may overpower the invincible divine will of your OVERSOUL.

As such, it is your own omniscient OVERSOUL that is the sole operating consciousness directing the details of your current incarnation and destiny.

Your OVERSOUL was designed for the ONE SOURCE to KNOW ITSELF through the expression and expansion of ITSELF as many. For the ONE SOURCE to KNOW ITSELF, it could only replicate ITSELF, for a perfect reflection of SELF-KNOWING.

Your many incarnations in the world of form serve as a parallel reflection of this original design of an “OTHER” to know and expand upon the ONE.

The omniscience of your OVERSOUL is orchestrating all of your incarnations simultaneously across the fabric of quantum reality. As such, your human awareness is capable of effecting change upon all your incarnations through the intentional SELF-MASTERY of this lifetime.

With every incarnation, your OVERSOUL is reflected back the truth of its absolute divinity within a quantum ocean of relativity, chaos, and infinite potential for seeming risk, failure, and success. Your OVERSOUL considers every physical experience, regardless of a desired outcome, as a spiritual success that expands its field of consciousness.

Your OVERSOUL is the omniscient, unconditionally loving and accepting GODSELF at the still center of your human awareness. Its active state is the HIGHER SELF, sometimes referred to as your “Holy Spirit”, which emerges from the space of NO-THING, into the light of creation to birth your human body into form. Read more…

Source: The Sophia Code

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When I was a child about nine years old or so, I embarked on a mission to discover the barrier between waking and sleeping. I believed that if I concentrated each night before falling asleep, I would recognize the moment I slipped out of consciousness and into dream. I never found the precise line — although I did, unintentionally, teach myself to lucid dream.

But now there is research showing that the brain does have an on/off switch that triggers unconsciousness. Mohamad Koubeissi at the George Washington University in Washington DC and his colleagues describe for the first time a way to switch off consciousness by electrically stimulating a part of the brain called the claustrum.

Simulating The Human Brain

Their accidental discovery could lead to a deeper understanding of a fundamental mystery of the human brain; that is, how conscious awareness arises.

The discovery came while the researchers were studying a woman who has epilepsy. During a procedure, they used deep brain electrodes to record signals from different parts of her brain in order to determine where here seizures were originating. One electrode was place next to the claustrum, a thin, sheet-like structure underneath the neocortex. Although this area has never been electrically stimulated before, it had been implicated in the past as a possible control center for consciousness by neuroscientist Francis Crick, who identified the structure of DNA, and his colleague Christof Koch of the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle.

Koubeissi and his team found that Crick and Koch might have been on to something. When they stimulated the area with electrical impulses from the brain electrodes, the woman stopped reading, stared blankly into space and didn’t respond to auditory or visual commands. Her breathing slowed as well. She had lost consciousness. When the scientists turned off the electrical stimuli, she immediately regained consciousness with no memory of blanking out. Additional attempts were tried over two days and each time, the same thing happened.

New Scientist reported on the results and in the article Koubeissi says he thinks the claustrum indeed plays a vital role in triggering conscious. “I would liken it to a car,” he told New Scientist reporter Helen Thompson.

“A car on the road has many parts that facilitate its movement – the gas, the transmission, the engine – but there’s only one spot where you turn the key and it all switches on and works together. So while consciousness is a complicated process created via many structures and networks – we may have found the key.”

Project To Map The Human Brain

One researcher, Anil Seth, who studies consciousness at the University of Sussex, UK, pointed out that the woman in the study had had part of her hippocampus removed earlier as a way to treat her epilepsy, so she doesn’t represent a “normal” brain.

Additional research is needed. But the results could open wide a door on one of the most mysterious aspects of existence. We could determine once and for all what living creatures are aware of themselves and the world around them.

Source: Discovery

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