Consciousness – Searle

John Searle: our shared condition — consciousness

Agree with a lot of what Searle says, but not the idea of unified conscious fields. It seems that the effect is the result of a predictive model of reality created in our brains by the pattern recognition systems of our neocortex.

I have been interested in the topic for almost 50 years, particularly since doing undergrad work on the biochemistry of neurons and some basic neurophysiology. I have also spent over 40 years designing and programming computer systems.

My own experiments with my own consciousness have been extensive.
I have experienced general anaesthesia several times, and it has included a complete cessation of the the sense of the passage of time.
I have trained myself to meditative states where I could reduce my respiration rate to 30 breaths per hour, and my heart rate to 18 beats per minute; and in such a state there is very little consciousness available. About all I could manage was counting breaths, so that I knew when my hour was up.

These, and thousands of other personal tests, combined with reading thousands of articles and books (including Ray’s latest) on brain science and neurophysiology, convince me beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt, that consciousness is a very complex emergent property of the very complex set of hardware and software systems that are present in the brain.

It seems that there are many levels of consciousness, perhaps a potentially infinite array of levels.

I made a post recently on my blog about the nature of consciousness:
https://tedhowardnz.wordpress.com/2013/07/28/nature-of-consciousness/
if anyone is interested in reading further.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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