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Biology's Grasp Over Conciousness.


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#1 CaelesMessorem

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Posted 14 June 2015 - 07:35 PM

Humans are beings that were fortunate enough to develop a mind and the ability to think. Unlike other creatures, we have the capability to rely on thought and deduction rather than instinct to champion any situation. Be that as it may, I still find that much of what we do is entirely dictated by biological needs. (Reproduction being the biggest factor, others being food, shelter and stability). My question is, with how complex our consciousness is, and how influential our thoughts can be, why are we unable to make decisions based on pure choice rather than choices given through biological dictation? By biological dictation, take, for example, our preferences in what we find attractive in the the opposite (or same should that be the case) sex. Why do our bodies determine our preferences rather than personal choice?

#2 Moontanman

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Posted 18 June 2015 - 10:33 AM

Humans are beings that were fortunate enough to develop a mind and the ability to think. Unlike other creatures, we have the capability to rely on thought and deduction rather than instinct to champion any situation. Be that as it may, I still find that much of what we do is entirely dictated by biological needs. (Reproduction being the biggest factor, others being food, shelter and stability). My question is, with how complex our consciousness is, and how influential our thoughts can be, why are we unable to make decisions based on pure choice rather than choices given through biological dictation? By biological dictation, take, for example, our preferences in what we find attractive in the the opposite (or same should that be the case) sex. Why do our bodies determine our preferences rather than personal choice?

 

 

I am curious as to how you arrived at the conclusion that other animals cannot think and rely on thought and deduction? 


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#3 CaelesMessorem

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Posted 18 June 2015 - 12:43 PM

I am curious as to how you arrived at the conclusion that other animals cannot think and rely on thought and deduction? 

 

   Mind the term "rely", which in this context I used to represent "primary method". It's not to say that they cannot, so much as deduction based on conscious thought isn't their primary method of threat assessment and situational resolution. Thought, in whatever magnitude it is available depending on the animal, is secondary to instinct, body memory and sensory acuity, while humans generally exhibit the opposite.



#4 pgrmdave

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Posted 18 June 2015 - 01:03 PM

Why do our bodies determine our preferences rather than personal choice?

Simple answer - in either a deterministic or an indeterministic universe, choice is an illusion that does not exist.  Our minds are simple outgrowths of our bodies, nothing more and nothing less.  The myth that we have cartesian duality is just that - a comforting myth.



#5 CaelesMessorem

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Posted 18 June 2015 - 01:44 PM

Simple answer - in either a deterministic or an indeterministic universe, choice is an illusion that does not exist.  Our minds are simple outgrowths of our bodies, nothing more and nothing less.  The myth that we have cartesian duality is just that - a comforting myth.

 

   So through this example, choice in any form doesn't exist, and that's the reason we are unable to overcome our biological dictations through thought? Wouldn't that also imply that thought is an illusion as well since we think in order to decide?



#6 Moontanman

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Posted 19 June 2015 - 10:30 AM

   Mind the term "rely", which in this context I used to represent "primary method". It's not to say that they cannot, so much as deduction based on conscious thought isn't their primary method of threat assessment and situational resolution. Thought, in whatever magnitude it is available depending on the animal, is secondary to instinct, body memory and sensory acuity, while humans generally exhibit the opposite.

 

 

Again, many animals can be demonstrated to have conscious thought and rely on learned behaviors, from crows to elephants to apes to whales this has been demonstrated to be true. If you have ever raised dogs you know they do not operate as mindless automatons.  



#7 pgrmdave

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Posted 19 June 2015 - 11:53 AM

   So through this example, choice in any form doesn't exist, and that's the reason we are unable to overcome our biological dictations through thought? Wouldn't that also imply that thought is an illusion as well since we think in order to decide?

Implicit in your question is a dichotomy of "we" and "our biological dictations".  "We" exist as a body. That body has a brain, which is self-configuring and self-aware.  Our "biology" and "us" are one and the same.


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#8 CaelesMessorem

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Posted 19 June 2015 - 10:31 PM

   Allow me to curb the semantic dispute by attempting to rephrase and clarify:

 

Again, many animals can be demonstrated to have conscious thought and rely on learned behaviors, from crows to elephants to apes to whales this has been demonstrated to be true. If you have ever raised dogs you know they do not operate as mindless automatons.  

 

   When I refer to animals as "they", I do not mean to imply all animals, but those that are less intellectually aware.

 

 

Implicit in your question is a dichotomy of "we" and "our biological dictations".  "We" exist as a body. That body has a brain, which is self-configuring and self-aware.  Our "biology" and "us" are one and the same.

 

   So from what I can interperate, the notion that consciousness/ mind are entities seperate from the brain is a fabrication, and the brain is in fact the corporeal form of consciousness/ mind, which are figments of the brain's function.

Biological dictation is our brain, and our brain is thought, so biological dictation is thought, with the purpose of continued existence. Is that more or less correct?



#9 Moontanman

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Posted 20 June 2015 - 08:01 AM

   Allow me to curb the semantic dispute by attempting to rephrase and clarify:

 

 

   When I refer to animals as "they", I do not mean to imply all animals, but those that are less intellectually aware.

 

 

 

   So from what I can interperate, the notion that consciousness/ mind are entities seperate from the brain is a fabrication, and the brain is in fact the corporeal form of consciousness/ mind, which are figments of the brain's function.

Biological dictation is our brain, and our brain is thought, so biological dictation is thought, with the purpose of continued existence. Is that more or less correct?

 

 

It sounds like you have the right idea but the difference between the thought processes and minds of various animals is a spectrum rather than a cut off point. I've had fish that displayed some very unusual behaviors that at least seemed to be more than a little outside the bounds of instinctive behavior and octopus are very interesting in their behavior plasticity. I know that mormyrids have a brain to body mass ratio that is higher than humans and they communicate with electric fields and show some interesting social and individual behaviors.

 

I hope i am reading you correctly, it almost seems as though you are trying to separate the mind from the brain no such separation has ever been evidenced.  



#10 CaelesMessorem

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Posted 20 June 2015 - 10:46 AM

It sounds like you have the right idea but the difference between the thought processes and minds of various animals is a spectrum rather than a cut off point. I've had fish that displayed some very unusual behaviors that at least seemed to be more than a little outside the bounds of instinctive behavior and octopus are very interesting in their behavior plasticity. I know that mormyrids have a brain to body mass ratio that is higher than humans and they communicate with electric fields and show some interesting social and individual behaviors.

 

I hope i am reading you correctly, it almost seems as though you are trying to separate the mind from the brain no such separation has ever been evidenced.  

 

   That's an intriguing point, that there are degrees of intelligence rather than those that are intelligent and those that are not. However, part of me is still tempted to believe that the "spectrum" you mentioned is only applicable to a small portion of animals. I suppose I would need to look into the percentage of animals that have intelligence to those that do not, and if there is such a distinction, how the intelligence varries among those that exhibit it.

 

And you are correct in your inferrence that my initial question was asked under the belief that mind and brain are seperate, with the impression that the mind is a form of immaterial entity residing in the brain as a result of the brain's function. Given the feedback though, I think my question might be shifted to something more along the lines of this:

 

   If our thoughts and "decisions" are simply a method of continued existence, why, then, are we able to carry out actions that do not benefit our existence directly? Take for example playing a video game or watching a movie. If our biological purpose for thought is to live, why do we carry out seemingly arbitrary actions that waste time we know to be finite?



#11 Moontanman

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Posted 20 June 2015 - 12:06 PM

   That's an intriguing point, that there are degrees of intelligence rather than those that are intelligent and those that are not. However, part of me is still tempted to believe that the "spectrum" you mentioned is only applicable to a small portion of animals. I suppose I would need to look into the percentage of animals that have intelligence to those that do not, and if there is such a distinction, how the intelligence varries among those that exhibit it.

 

And you are correct in your inferrence that my initial question was asked under the belief that mind and brain are seperate, with the impression that the mind is a form of immaterial entity residing in the brain as a result of the brain's function. Given the feedback though, I think my question might be shifted to something more along the lines of this:

 

   If our thoughts and "decisions" are simply a method of continued existence, why, then, are we able to carry out actions that do not benefit our existence directly? Take for example playing a video game or watching a movie. If our biological purpose for thought is to live, why do we carry out seemingly arbitrary actions that waste time we know to be finite?

 

 

Why do otters play in the snow by sliding down hill over and over? Play is an important part of the development of the behaviors of animals, the more advanced the more likely play is to be observed. 

 

If the Mind is separate from the brain then why do changes in the brain change our minds or consciousness? Brain injury can turn you into a completely different person...


Edited by Moontanman, 24 June 2015 - 09:38 AM.


#12 pgrmdave

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Posted 22 June 2015 - 09:18 AM

So from what I can interperate, the notion that consciousness/ mind are entities seperate from the brain is a fabrication, and the brain is in fact the corporeal form of consciousness/ mind, which are figments of the brain's function.

Biological dictation is our brain, and our brain is thought, so biological dictation is thought, with the purpose of continued existence. Is that more or less correct?

Pretty much.



#13 layman

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Posted 23 June 2015 - 08:21 AM

   So through this example, choice in any form doesn't exist, and that's the reason we are unable to overcome our biological dictations through thought? Wouldn't that also imply that thought is an illusion as well since we think in order to decide?

 

that's a very perceptive thought IMO. and I think the answer is yes, thought is an illusion.

if you answer this post and how you answer is already determined at the beginning of time.



#14 pgrmdave

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Posted 23 June 2015 - 09:22 AM

if you answer this post and how you answer is already determined at the beginning of time.

Well, that's only if you're a determinist. But thought is still an illusion if you're an indeterminist.



#15 CaelesMessorem

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Posted 23 June 2015 - 10:38 AM

If it's true that thought is an illusion, how, then, can we comprehend the notion of choice and act based on the assumption that we have such a capability? It seems strange that humans would trick themselves into believing we make our own choices on a day-to-day basis through a method we do not truly posses, when it's simply biological direction leading the way. If our brain's primary function is continued existence and longevity, the ideas of thought and choice almost seem redundant.



#16 pgrmdave

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 09:55 AM

If it's true that thought is an illusion, how, then, can we comprehend the notion of choice and act based on the assumption that we have such a capability? It seems strange that humans would trick themselves into believing we make our own choices on a day-to-day basis through a method we do not truly posses, when it's simply biological direction leading the way. If our brain's primary function is continued existence and longevity, the ideas of thought and choice almost seem redundant.

Thought is an emergent property of neural activity.  Choice is an illusion based on the way that our brains work - we can replay memories we have but with changes, we can picture and plan for future events, et cetera.  Thought has played a large part in our continued existence and longevity, as has imagination - without them we wouldn't have buildings, we wouldn't have crops, we wouldn't have medicine.  But that doesn't necessitate free will.


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#17 CaelesMessorem

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Posted 29 June 2015 - 02:06 PM

How are we able to comprehend free will then if true freedom of choice isn't possible, and what benefits does this existential ideology provide for humans? Does our brain create these illusions in an effort to nurture our self-awareness that also stems from brain function?