General Question

kawaii_ninja's avatar

What is a human 'consciousness' made of?

Asked by kawaii_ninja (402points) March 8th, 2008

Is it a chemical reaction? Or merely electrical signals from the brain?
Another thing;
How can we see things in our mind withought using our eyes?
How can we hear inside our heads withought using our ears?
How can we speak to ourselves inside our own heads?
I’ve been pondering these questions for a while now, and would just liketo hear everyone’s opinions on it.

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11 Answers

oneye36's avatar

I beleive we are mad up of 3parts body soul and spirit maybe that has somthing to do with it

Riser's avatar

The human consciousness is full of a whole lotta sh!t. Just ask my shrink.

I would advise you to explore how the sub conscious communicates to the conscience. It might shed light on some of your questions. I am looking for a feasible link for you, I’ll post it as soon as I find it.

gooch's avatar

I think it’s God

Zaku's avatar

Awesome question. I think what you are really asking is more like “who are the ‘we’ that we experience life as”? Because, it’s theoretically possible to design a machine that does everything a human brain does, and “consciousness” would not be required at all except as an artificial logical structure.

nikipedia's avatar

Depends on who you ask. I suspect “consciousness” is an artifact of our brain doing other stuff, the same way that “pleasure” is really an artifact of dopamine (and other neurotransmitters) being released. Daniel Dennett has a much more compelling explanation in his book, Consciousness Explained.

If you are asking about the mechanics of how those things happen, the short answer is that it’s a combination of chemical and electrical signals propagating.

susanc's avatar

Green cheese.
Try reading a wonderful book called (this may almost be the best part) The Origins
of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind,
by Julian Jaynes. The theory may not be “right”, but it’ll make you work the questions in good ways.

Arglebargle_IV's avatar

Ooo Ooo
Let me second The Origins of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. Then, come to think of it, Godel, Escher, Bach may have had mathematics, music, and spatial art as themes, but the author was really toying with consciousness.
Jayne’s theory broke down for me in the latter part of the volume. Nonetheless I found his ideas audacious and engaging.

bennetttomato's avatar

We can see things in our minds because our brains are able to store images that touch us in short-term (what I call RAM) memory, and long-term (hard disk) memory. We can hear things in our minds much the same way. We have the ability to speak to ourselves because everyone has varying degrees of insanity. For the record these are opinions based on several minutes of learning about this subject many moons ago… please don’t be mean.

steelmarket's avatar

Some scientists even speculate that part of our thinking process occurs at the quantum level. If so, this brings up all the weird science of quantum mechanics, entanglement, etc. Part of our consciousness could be operating, or at least communicating, via other dimensions.
Hey, I’m not making this stuff up!

Zaku's avatar

@steelmarket – Do you have some links or references on that?

LexWordsmith's avatar

@nikipedia : another book to read is Douglas Hofstadter’s “I Am a Strange Loop”, which pushes the question of consciousness back to the concept of recursiveness—this is the culmination (so far, to my knowledge) of DH’s personal fascination with consciousness, first reported widely in GEB.

@susanc , @Arglebargle_IV : i was taken at first with the Jaynes book, but it has inspired no intellectual progeny and no energetic rebuttals, so it seems to me that professional philosophers must think that there’s not much in it.

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