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The State of Consciousness: Meeting the Philosophers of Artificial Intelligence

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Consciousness is our state of awareness and has been debated among theologians for a long time. John Locke discussed consciousness as perception that passes through the mind while Rene Descartes followed Cartesian Dualism when pondering the differences between physical and mental matter. No one has every truly defined, empirically broke down, or proven the existence of consciousness. I had the pleasure of meeting a group of philosophers to discuss the nature of consciousness in today’s world. Of course I am not talking about sandal wearing theologians coming out from some past century to share their Socratic wisdom. Instead of unemployed philosophers the group was made of psychologists, computer engineers, and even a mathematician. They are an eclectic crew that ranged from individuals who wore t-shirts with formulas to those with proper business attire. Each attended with their own interest in the topic from a professional and hobbyist point of view. The meeting was fas

Carl Jung, The Self, and Archetypes

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Stages of Life by Carl Jung delve into the nature of human existence. We are led by our archetypes that are designed to develop our personality and behavior.   They are created to equip us with skills in our efforts for survival based within our ancient hunter-gatherer societies. These include parenting, exploring, distinguishing friend from foe, language, values, rule adherence, reproduction, economic contribution, ceremony and responsibility. The archetype is a psychological nucleus that coordinates the workings of our lives.  The self is an archetype made up of the ego, personal unconscious, and the collective unconscious. The self is the unification of the conscious and the unconscious and the integration of personality factors.   It is a concept of wholeness. The process of differentiation through trials and tribulations occurs over the first half of someone’s lifetime while later stages are often marked by greater wholeness.  When Jung speaks of the self, he thinks

Is Consciousness a Factor of Electrical Activity?

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Nature Researchers have found that consciousness is likely a function of electrical brain activity. A team of neurophysiologists at Milan University in Italy discovered through magnetic imaging that consciousness is a level of electrical brain activity that creates cohesive patterns of rippling activity. It is a process of neural firings where individual neurons act individually but within a collective sequence that creates what we call experience.  The activity has been described as an echo whereby an electroencephalography can measure and create a score between 0 and 1 based upon this pattern. The research has some implications that include the ability to determine if a person is aware but not responsive to the outside world or if they are unconscious.  The researchers developed a baseline between .33 for unconscious and .44 for a low conscious score. The results help medical practitioners understand at what level people are aware of their surroundings and the activit

States of Conscious Awareness-Internal and External

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People constantly seek to create higher levels of understanding and depth of thought. One of the purposes of higher education is to help people understand their world and encourage ways to critically think about it. A method of doing this is to become more aware of yourself and the world in which you live. This requires the ability to think about your premises and understand the way you think in order to remove as many fallacies as possible. More accurate thinking comes with higher levels of conscious awareness and is a sign of a person’s reflective intelligence. The ability to understand one’s environment by being able to focus attention outward (consciousness) or inward toward oneself (self-consciousness) creates a higher form of understanding (Mead, 1934). As one becomes more aware of the environmental information and internal information they contain about themselves they move up in progression of understanding. This creates higher levels of accurate thinking that can be

Book Review: A Universe of Consciousness

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The connections between matter and thought has been a debate for hundreds of years. Thought is a higher level of conscious form grown out of the natural development of human beings and their interaction with the environment. Matter is that which physically creates the biological structure by which thought can develop. Such matter developed out of our physical and historical existence in a need to create higher probabilities of survival. According to Darwinian perception, our very experience is constantly seeking advantages and adaptations to our environment.  The book A Universe of Consciousness: How Matter becomes Imagination by Gerald Edelman and Giulio Tononi delves into this matter and consciousness connection. Like similar subject experts, they believe that neural connections in the neocortex create pathways by which we take individual images and connect them to develop consistent stories that both explain and predict our environments.   Those with higher levels of neoc