Consciousness

For Starters…

This topic contains 21 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  daughterofkarl 4 months, 2 weeks ago.

Viewing 7 posts - 16 through 22 (of 22 total)
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  • #10251

    _Robert_
    Participant

    The question that intrigues me…is consciousness just a byproduct of intelligence or did (does?) it serve a purpose for the species that appear to possess it? A computer chock full of AI doesn’t need consciousness yet I see no purpose to it for biologics other than it may facilitate a higher level of cooperation.

    #10254

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator

    I’m personally not ready to completely define “consciousness”, or for that matter not even “intelligence”. I’m more comfortable breaking them down into components, most of which we can agree on. Also, like @toms, I’ll avoid the word “purpose” just like Reg cautions against use of the word “forward” in the context of evolution; i.e. maybe I’m just practicing my writing skills, but at the moment I want to avoid terms that imply any “agency” exists in paths forged by evolution. (Such a pia! Even the term “paths forged” implies agency intention to some people.)

    is consciousness just a byproduct of intelligence or did (does?) it serve a purpose for the species that appear to possess it?

    So, components of intelligence and/or consciousness that enhance survival (off the top of my head, i.e. without research):

    • Social Skills
      • Learning by imitation
        • How to make and use tools, hunt, find food, make fire, make clothing and shelter
      •  Empathy
        • Ability to learn the emotional state of others, and guess as to why they feel that way
        • Ability and willingness to communicate one’s own emotional state to others
        • Ability to adjust behavior according to the group’s needs
      • Sound utterances and body language
        • Pointing (e.g. with hands or fingers) at something important or interesting
        • Ditto for eye gazing (that’s more evolved than other animals)
        • Sounds like laughter, of pain or pleasure, surprise, attention seeking
        • Development of sophisticated language
      • Raising children with band/tribe/community support, and focusing on teaching methods
    • Intelligence
      • Curiosity and discovery, part accidental but still remembered, and part intentional
      • Associating various memories of past discoveries, to make mental connections and extrapolations
      • Experimenting just for fun; Making new sounds; Playing; Singing
      • Note that pursuing these activities in depth are only possible when one has “time to spare”, i.e. when other survival priorities are taken care of… i.e. when generations of humans have been flourishing
    • Cultural Inheritance
      • “True story” and tale telling, perhaps with song
      • Passing on all of the above to future generations
      • Cultivation of respect for elders and their wisdom

    I’m sure that’s an incomplete and imperfect list, but I think they make good examples of evolutionary components of consciousness, and important forms of intelligence.

    P.S. I would be remiss to not point out that all of the above neurological & cultural evolution must also have happened mostly concurrent with components of physical evolution, such as bipedalism, manual dexterity for toolmaking and use and for making fires for warmth and cooking), long distance (savanna style) running while hunting (e.g. while also sweating to stay cool, and being able to hold a gourd full of water for drinking)… off the top of my head, again.

    #10255

    tom sarbeck
    Participant

    PB, your analysis merits some thinking.

    But those cotton-picking habits of speech….

    ”…is consciousness just a byproduct of intelligence or did (does?) it serve a purpose for the species that appear to possess it?”

    I would write “…is consciousness just a byproduct of intelligence or did (does?) it have a use for the species that appear to possess it?

    That might be said as “…did the species that appear to possess consciousness have uses for it? What were those uses?”

     

    #10256

    tom sarbeck
    Participant

    Yeah, what if consciousness DOES HAVE A USE FOR the species that appear to possess it?

    Oh, HORRORS! And we heard that genes are selfish ! ! !

     

    #10258

    _Robert_
    Participant

    If consciousness has a use for the species that appear to possess it then maybe consciousness is actually a distributed god. Now I am sure we are not the first one to think of this. I am sure deepak chopra has been all over this already.

     

    #10259

    daughterofkarl
    Participant

    The question that intrigues me…is consciousness just a byproduct of intelligence or did (does?) it serve a purpose for the species that appear to possess it? A computer chock full of AI doesn’t need consciousness yet I see no purpose to it for biologics other than it may facilitate a higher level of cooperation.

    I think it is probably the other way around.  I don’t think consciousness is a byproduct of intelligence, but rather intelligence is a byproduct of consciousness.

    #10261

    daughterofkarl
    Participant

    I’m personally not ready to completely define “consciousness”, or for that matter not even “intelligence”. I’m more comfortable breaking them down into components, most of which we can agree on. Also, like @toms, I’ll avoid the word “purpose” just like Reg cautions against use of the word “forward” in the context of evolution; i.e. maybe I’m just practicing my writing skills, but at the moment I want to avoid terms that imply any “agency” exists in paths forged by evolution. (Such a pia! Even the term “paths forged” implies agency intention to some people.)

    is consciousness just a byproduct of intelligence or did (does?) it serve a purpose for the species that appear to possess it?

    So, components of intelligence and/or consciousness that enhance survival (off the top of my head, i.e. without research):

    • Social Skills
      • Learning by imitation
        • How to make and use tools, hunt, find food, make fire, make clothing and shelter
      • Empathy
        • Ability to learn the emotional state of others, and guess as to why they feel that way
        • Ability and willingness to communicate one’s own emotional state to others
        • Ability to adjust behavior according to the group’s needs
      • Sound utterances and body language
        • Pointing (e.g. with hands or fingers) at something important or interesting
        • Ditto for eye gazing (that’s more evolved than other animals)
        • Sounds like laughter, of pain or pleasure, surprise, attention seeking
        • Development of sophisticated language
      • Raising children with band/tribe/community support, and focusing on teaching methods
    • Intelligence
      • Curiosity and discovery, part accidental but still remembered, and part intentional
      • Associating various memories of past discoveries, to make mental connections and extrapolations
      • Experimenting just for fun; Making new sounds; Playing; Singing
      • Note that pursuing these activities in depth are only possible when one has “time to spare”, i.e. when other survival priorities are taken care of… i.e. when generations of humans have been flourishing
    • Cultural Inheritance
      • “True story” and tale telling, perhaps with song
      • Passing on all of the above to future generations
      • Cultivation of respect for elders and their wisdom

    I’m sure that’s an incomplete and imperfect list, but I think they make good examples of evolutionary components of consciousness, and important forms of intelligence. P.S. I would be remiss to not point out that all of the above neurological & cultural evolution must also have happened mostly concurrent with components of physical evolution, such as bipedalism, manual dexterity for toolmaking and use and for making fires for warmth and cooking), long distance (savanna style) running while hunting (e.g. while also sweating to stay cool, and being able to hold a gourd full of water for drinking)… off the top of my head, again.

    Nice list! I like it.

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