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    Jeff Lieberman's Evolution And Future Of Consciousness
    By Samuel Kenyon | October 20th 2011 12:31 AM | 23 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
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    Software engineer, AI researcher, interaction designer (IxD), actor, writer, atheist transhumanist. My blog will attempt to synthesize concepts...

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    Recently I attended a presentation at MIT by Jeff Lieberman called "It's Not What You Think: An Evolutionary Theory of Spiritual Enlightenment."

    Lieberman is a science-educated artist and host of a TV show called Time Warp. He's a relatively good presenter, and given his credentials, one would expect him to juxtapose disparate fields of science and art. However, the downside is that one is not left with a single solid believable conclusion or theory--or at least I wasn't. Of course, this was also the first time Lieberman gave this talk, so he might improve it in the future.

    I think that there are really four different themes woven in his presentation:

    1. Evolution of consciousness.
    2. Future directions of human consciousness.
    3. The concept of consciousness having existed for billions of years in all things, and that human-level consciousness is simply a more complicated construction (this is the weakest point).
    4. The common psychological goal of faiths underlying the world's popular religions.

    I will attempt to describe the first three themes below. I won't say anything about the fourth--it's a neat concept in which Lieberman interprets religious stories to have themes about human consciousness. For instance, human thinking we have compared to our animal relatives, however I am not well read in mythology / religious texts.

    Please note that I'm leaving out a lot of his talk...he covered a lot of ground.

    1. Evolution Of Consciousness

    The premise is that human consciousness evolves--and that seems to be a sound statement given animal evolution thus far.

    Lieberman gives us a 15-minute compressed history of the universe relevant to consciousness. Our universe starts with undifferentiated energy, then we end up with these various layers of organization emerging from previous layers: energy->particles->atoms->molecules->cells->animals.

    Human perception does not by default work so well for layers that are smaller/larger than our little world. We can't even perceive these other worlds without the help of technology. The perception we have is the result of evolution, as Lieberman puts it:

    What we take for granted as real on a day to day basis is completely determined by what was functional for our evolutionary past.

    This means not only are we not able to observe outside our small window of perception (unless we use technology), our brain is actually "creating a lie" to operate with. The brain constructs patterns. Lieberman shows some examples, such as a visual illusion and how viewing a symbol in slow motion shows the waves which we can't see with normal vision.

    Lieberman didn't mention this, but he gets into some subjects I'm very interested in, such as affordability and perception as an interface. I am also reminded of the excellent book Visual Intelligence by Donald D. Hoffman, which describes the rules our vision systems use to construct reality. And, as Hoffman himself suggests in that book (and expounds in his paper "The Interface Theory of Perception"), the construction of reality may not actually be a reconstruction. The phenomenal sense of something need not resemble the relational sense. Our perception builds fictions that are useful for the organism to survive.

    Anyway, Lieberman goes on to talk about consciousness in evolutionarily older organisms, especially cavemen, and that we should not assume that we are the apex of consciousness. I.e., who knows what potentially better (depending on the context of "better") consciousness will become widespread in the future.

    2. Future Directions Of Human Consciousness

    Lieberman has a concept called the "new mutation," which would operate at a social level, not just at an individual level. Certainly speculation about the future of consciousness should include this possibility of going to the level of the nesting of organizations.

    Lieberman mentioned a lot of the old-fashioned mind hackers such as Buddhist monks, etc. He mentioned a world full of Ghandis or something like that. There's a premise that these kinds of self applied brain wetware changes are a way to achieve "true" consciousness, if there is a such thing. However, I'm not sure if that kind of consciousness leads to future pathways. Let's take a monk who is selfless and full of compassion--that's great, and maybe there is some game model in which all or a certain percentage of the world's inhabitants could operate like that for a better all around experience for humankind, but is it a method that will work as the basis for the "new mutation"...or is there some much better way? Or are existing meditative states not even scratching the surface of useful consciousness modifications?

    Lieberman seems to that existing methods for "enlightenment" are:

    1. A way to access the "lower levels of the self" and that this is in fact the primitive consciousness that he thinks is really interesting and useful to experience.
    2. The side effects of that particular method are also desirable.

    I, however, would not assume such things. The way Lieberman describes this more basic consciousness makes me think of a metaphor of a computer program which can look at its own execution and data (introspection) but normally does not.

    This metaphor might also let me describe a potential danger: imagine the program completely abandons its normal operation and spends all its time doing introspection. The first question is...does motivation change? Can it change its own motivation? And is it in jeopardy of dying because it's no longer paying attention to the outside world?

    Lieberman said how the self disappears when we are in dreamless sleep. So "you" as you think of yourself are essentially nonexistent quite often. One way to look at this state of mind of awareness of lower consciousness is to think of it as being aware of yourself in deep sleep. You would be disconnected from the interfaces to the real world, and, as I said previously with the computer metaphor, be in an introspection mode.

    Something Lieberman omitted to mention is the overlap with mindfulness, such as described by Ellen Langer in her various books on the subject.

    Lieberman did mention Flow, however I am not convinced by his interpretation that true flow means that the self is not existent. And it doesn't really sync up with his descriptions of being aware of oneself. It seems, in fact, to be two opposite states of mind...one of being completely immersed in an interactive cycle with the real world, and the other an internal inspection that is not synced to real world events.

    3. The Concept Of Consciousness Having Existed For Billions Of Years In All Things

    According to Lieberman:

    And consciousness is not something that comes out of the human; it starts at the bottom and is built into the complexity and form of a human.

    Now, I totally understand the strategy of trying to turn a concept on its head in order to find a new path for investigation and/or new theories. So when he says this, I am still on board with the general strategy, especially since I'm very interested system-oriented explanations for consciousness and cognition.

    Lieberman tells us that this view somehow makes subjective experience much easier to explain. I suppose his talking about perception and whatnot was supposed to support that claim, but I am not grokking it. He could be on the right track, or the presentation may be a shell without enough data and/or theories to fill it in.

    He tries briefly to explain this by saying consciousness is composed of "attraction and repulsion." He gives an example of electrons having attraction and repulsion via fields. But I am not sure how that is equivalent to consciousness at any level. He says that at the higher, more complicated, levels of human emotions and thought that, "it's still attraction and repulsion to different informational structures."

    Well, that's a nice start, but it's not even close to a real theory. Perhaps Lieberman got this from some other source and/or decided to cut out elaboration in this beta version of his presentation. He seems to have included it as a basic assumption though, weaving it into the presentation at various points. Perhaps he is attached to it because it lets him link every human's mind all the way back to the big bang.

    Whatever the case, he could cut this theme out or isolate it, and his historical view of evolution of consciousness is still valuable (and entertaining), and his speculations on the future of consciousness is still reasonable and thought-provoking. Likewise with his suggestions for what religious faiths are about at their unadulterated core.

    Conclusion


    Hopefully Lieberman isn't gunning to be the next pseudo-scientific spiritual guru. At the very least, talking about future directions of consciousness, especially where we might want to go as a social system, is fruit-worthy.


    Image credits:
    [1] Discovery Channel
    [2] RambergMediaImages

    Comments

    vongehr
    Nice - thanks for introducing this.

    I agree with your position, also with that Jeff Lieberman is not necessarily already pseudo-science by stating that "consciousness is not something that comes out of the human". In a sense, via the modal realism seen in quantum mechanics for example, consciousness may be held as the basis. However, this does not indicate that there are somehow lower (let alone higher) forms of what animals appreciate as consciousness (subjective redness of the rose), rather than a lot of blind-sight in a more directly real description (world evolving animals in its belly). Sometimes we try to get a taste of higher consciousness via meditation and medication, but it is flawed (for several reasons). Those who claim such are indeed "gunning to be the next pseudo-scientific spiritual guru" as you eloquently put it.

    That "
    true flow means that the self is not existent" may indicate the opposite of what Lieberman perhaps wants it to show (not clear from your article here what he wants it to show). We are happy when flowing. Flow is one way in which we commit suicide to stop suffering from forms of 'higher consciousness'. Flow is part of how 'suicidal philosophy' argues that "higher consciousness" is unstable. If some sort of "higher consciousness" should evolve, it may be the endpoint of evolution by committing global suicide, switching off all consciousness.
    SynapticNulship
    Flow is part of how 'suicidal philosophy' argues that "higher consciousness" is unstable. If some sort of "higher consciousness" should evolve, it may be the endpoint of evolution by committing global suicide, switching off all consciousness.

    Right, we should be careful about wanting more flow. Perhaps what would be more useful is to enhance flow that happens simultaneously with self-awareness / cognition, or selective quick start/stop flow, or something along those lines.
    UvaE
    He tries briefly to explain this by saying consciousness is composed of "attraction and repulsion." He gives an example of electrons having attraction and repulsion via fields. But I am not sure how that is equivalent to consciousness at any level.
    I am not sure either. It sounds like hocus-pocus veneered with scientific vocabulary.
    Gerhard Adam
    The premise is that human consciousness evolves--and that seems to be a sound statement given animal evolution thus far.
    I'm not clear on what this means.  Why separate out human from consciousness as a general concept?  What seems special about humans in this sense?  I'm not even clear on what consciousness means in this context ... are we talking about sensory awareness?  are we talking about more simultaneous events being brought to our awareness? 
    Lieberman said how the self disappears when we are in dreamless sleep.
    This just seems like a silly interpretation.  It is obvious that the "self" can't disappear, since it couldn't ever reappear if that were true.  The only thing that happens is that our sense of "self" isn't at the level of awareness that we presume exists.  However, I would argue that that sense of "self" isn't nearly as dominant as people assume, since a significant number of our actions are engaged in dealing with outside events, to where we never really consider the "self" until our attention is drawn to it. 
    Lieberman did mention Flow, however I am not convinced by his interpretation that true flow means that the self is not existent.
    The same problem occurs here, where there is no reason to believe that "self" has to rise to a level of awareness when we are engaged in some activity.  In fact, a strong argument can be made, that the awareness of "self" becomes an inhibiting characteristic that stifles our ability to engage.  I don't believe it's a coincidence that martial artists, musicians, etc. all want to be able to respond unconsciously to their activities, precisely so that they aren't inhibited by the act of "thinking" about what they are doing. 

    I certainly think its reasonable and required that we consider that all life is "conscious".  However, this should be separated from the notion that all life must necessarily be "aware of being conscious".  This may sound a bit strange, but consider that it makes no sense to discuss things like quorum sensing in bacteria, without acknowledging that they are capable of recognizing themselves, members of their own species, and members of other species.  That this sensing occurs through molecules, is irrelevant.  It clearly indicates that there is a sense in these organisms to recognize themselves as separate and distinct from others.  This is also obvious, from the point of view of recognizing what organisms represent a source of food.  It doesn't make much sense to expend the energy to reproduce and then fail to recognize that your offspring aren't your next meal. 

    Certainly we can quibble over terminology, as to whether "awareness" is one level, and "consciousness" represents another, and perhaps even something like "conscious awareness" at another. 

    An excellent book that really discusses some of these problems and issues is "Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain" by Antonio Damasio
    Mundus vult decipi
    vongehr
    It is obvious that the "self" can't disappear, since it couldn't ever reappear if that were true.
    Is this due to some elaborate definition of "self" or are you getting religious on your old days and crave a soul?
    self, awareness, consciousness, self-consciousness, conscious awareness, first person subjective phenomenal consciousness, ... there is really no point at all in discussing before agreeing on what means what. I could 100% agree with every single one of your sentences here, or completely disagree, depending on what is supposed to mean what.
    Gerhard Adam
    Not religious.  "Self" in this context simply means that "map" that my brain constructs to identify the organism whose body is being managed, and the focal point of the sensory data arriving in the brain.  As a result, in my view, "self" is little more than a construct that is used to provide a reference point against which the brain evaluates input and produces output.  As a result, it makes no sense to consider that the "self" goes away, or goes anywhere for that matter.

    After all, asleep or not ... if not the "self", then what wakes us up when something draws our attention?
    Mundus vult decipi
    Gerhard Adam
    Another quick set of definitions (realizing they are not exhaustive and likely quite disputable).

    Awareness:  Is the ability for an organism to process sensory input data and respond appropriately.  It also provides a means of minimally being able to identify oneself and others.  No nervous system is required.

    Consciousness:  Is the mechanism whereby a brain is capable of managing sensory input and responding appropriately from a mapping of the body and the environment.  In short, it is identifiable in any animal species that is capable of being rendered "unconscious". 

    Conscious Awareness:  Represents a level of consciousness that assigns a "point of view" for the brain's mapping functions, that allows us to specifically engage in maintaining a history (i.e. memory) and abstractions.  In other words, this is where the "self" originates as a product of our history (real or imagined), brain mapping of our physical body, and as the agent of action for any analytical process raised to conscious processing (versus unconscious or "background").

    While these are certainly not formal definitions, if anyone is familiar with my ideas, then it should be easier to assess what I mean in the previous statements.
    Mundus vult decipi
    SynapticNulship

     I don't believe it's a coincidence that martial artists, musicians, etc. all want to be able to respond unconsciously to their activities, precisely so that they aren't inhibited by the act of "thinking" about what they are doing.

    I get that, and I feel it myself frequently in the various activities in which I can achieve flow.  Also this is probably part of the problem with experts not being able to explain exactly how they do something. But it seems to me that I can think about something during a flow activity, as long as it's not about the activity. In other words, you can have a conversation while dancing as long as you don't focus on the dance moves themselves. The instant you focus on the activity it goes to hell. You might argue that the sense of self is still diminished, however, and I don't have evidence either way.

    An excellent book that really discusses some of these problems and issues is "Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain" by Antonio Damasio

    I read his previous three books; thanks for reminding me about his new one. I'll have to get that soon.
    Gerhard Adam
    The instant you focus on the activity it goes to hell. You might argue that the sense of self is still diminished, however, and I don't have evidence either way.
    Isn't that precisely why we have a phrase that describes that phenomenon:  "self-consciousness"?
    Mundus vult decipi
    Quentin Rowe

    According to Lieberman:

    And consciousness is not something that comes out of the human; it starts at the bottom and is built into the complexity and form of a human.



    He may be turning the concept on it's head, but inside-out leads to a more fruitful view.

    If we look at physical entities as systems with arbitrary boundaries, this is where conscious 'selfs' can be defined. As most life forms spend a great deal of energy defining physical boundaries (skin), and forming groups, (tribes) etc, it is no surprise we have formed a boundary biased view.

    So I would agree with Lieberman that the concept of consciousness can extend down to the micro-components of a system. It's the 'in' word I disagree with. There is nothing conscious 'in' matter, as it is simply pure expression of energy. It is with the action or dynamics of matter where consciousness can be found. His 'attraction and repulsion' is still rooted in a matter-centric mindset - as if consciousness has to have a place to live, like a hermit crab always looking for a home.

    But this would not answer what is self-awareness. To me, a self-aware entity, or system, has to be able to make an observation. It would make sense then to define exactly what an observation is. For any system to become aware of an event, it has to undergo a change via an internal interaction with itself or an external interaction with another system. The Schrodinger's Cat thought experiment is an excellent way of exploring these ideas.

    At it's most fundamental definition, consciousness can be defined simply as change. This is not too far off a fundamental description of the nature of energy, which at it's most basic, is about change also.
    --
    Sasha's comments about flow bring to mind the lyrics from a Beatles song, 'Tomorrow Never Knows'
    Turn off your mind, relax
    and float down stream
    It is not dying
    It is not dying
    It strikes me, that life has a complimentary choice at any given moment: "Flow vs Look" which can also be stated as 'Be or Observe'. You can never do both simultaneously, so we are forever alternating between the two. Looked at this way, together the two create our sense of time, related by the pattern of alternation.

    That the physical universe is within, or at the very least, an instant&exact reflection of consciousness, can be supported by the multiverse models, or even Sasha's modal realism ideas more to do with real and unrealized potentials. From a
    consciousness point of view they are indistinguishable anyhow. A conscious entity has no way of distinguishing between an identical event or situation that is at an arbitrarily large distance away or an arbitrarily improbable potential away. It is by definition in both 'places' at once - that is, from it's own internal point of view.

    This makes a mockery of distance and probability, supporting the premise that all of physicality, and by this way of thinking, conscious existence, is just one simultaneous superposition, with no inherent order. If this is so, then evolution and even the thermodynamic 'arrow of time' are a conscious construct, existing, perhaps, to make life more bearable.






    Gerhard Adam
    But this would not answer what is self-awareness.
    I think we have to be careful here, because I can't imagine any organism that isn't "self-aware".  Every organism is capable of recognizing itself, it's own kind, and others.  However, most are incapable of seeing themselves as an "agent" of their brain mapping (obviously those that lack a nervous system can't even approach that point).  It is for this reason that I try to differentiate being "self-aware" and being "consciously aware".
    Mundus vult decipi
    Quentin Rowe
    It is for this reason that I try to differentiate being "self-aware" and being "consciously aware".

    You make a good point here. At the best of times, I'm prone to looseness with terminology. What I'm attempting to develop into some coherent ideas are the most basic definitions of awareness and consciousness. It seems to me the two become more distinct as the level of complexity arises, which allows more internal 'self' interaction with a particular system.

    As for when a system becomes an organism, this is where it gets interesting. The life spectrum of mineral/virus/bacterium/jellyfish/fruit tree/human offers no distinct boundaries of self-awareness to my view. The chain of 'observations' in the Schrodinger's Cat thought experiment has a similar spectrum all the way to a human consciousness becoming aware of the state of the cat/switch/decay. Where do you see the crossover to 'organism' or conscious awareness?

    This is why you won't find me arguing for the existence of a soul, but still believing in a non-physical realm deeply connected with physics, whilst also believing that neuroscience studies will yet reveal some of the deeper aspects of consciousness.
    Gerhard Adam
    Where do you see the crossover to 'organism' or conscious awareness?
    I think in the simplest sense, the crossover first occurs with the existence of a nervous system and brain.

    Self-awareness can exist without a nervous system, because any method of sensory detection and response would work.  Bacteria employing quorum sensing, do precisely that where they can detect the presence of others of their own species, as well as detect other species.  Clearly they are "self-aware" in being able to differentiate the two states. 

    In approaching the issue of consciousness, it seems that it is easiest to envision it by considering what animal species are capable of being render unconscious.  While "conscious awareness" is where we are capable of considering the existence of a self-referential construct call the "self".
    Mundus vult decipi
    Gerhard Adam
    I'm curious about what you mean regarding a "non-physical realm", unless you're simply referring to the thoughts, etc. that are generated within a brain.

    The reason I ask, is that I've often heard people talk about non-material or non-physical type of phenomenon, but invariably it collapses into all manner of silliness because such a concept is (in my view) impossible to examine.  The difficulty occurs because in order for such a realm to have any influence it must be capable of interacting with a physical/material realm to be noticed.  So, how such an interaction would occur (or more importantly why we don't seem to have any indications that it has ever occurred) is problematic.  Certainly some people try to invoke mysticism via quantum mechanics, but that's no good, because we ultimately expect somewhat deterministic behaviors and not simply random or probability based interactions.  So, once again, we're at a loss to explain how something that is immaterial can interact with something that is material and yet not require a material existence in order for the interaction to occur.  After all, a fundamental principle in physics is that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  It never says, that there may be actions without reactions because the "force" may be immaterial.

    Anyway ... you get the idea, so I really am curious as to how you rationalize this particular viewpoint and what your thoughts are regarding some of these difficulties.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Quentin Rowe
    Ok, let me start with the first law of thermo... in essence it states that energy is conserved, no matter the form it takes. This is drawn upon to construct the second law of thermo, with it's inbuilt arrow-of-time which describes why we arrange, in a certain order, those different forms of energy as alluded to in the first law. What it leads to is a density order which means a temporal spectrum from high energy density to low energy density. We extrapolate this model to derive the big-bang model, and observe this to be so when we look out into the wider space-time universe.

    What has this to do with the non-physical realm? The 1st and 2nd laws are assumed to only apply to a physical, volumetric universe. But there is nothing about these laws that ban the notion of non-volumetric energy expression. Non-volumetric, in my mind, is non-physical. Standard physics implicitly assumes that zero volume equates to no physics. I don't agree with this view. To me there is nothing mystical or spooky about this whatsoever - it is a fact allowed by very well established principles.

    Is the non-volumetric realm, whatever its nature, coupled in any way with the volumetric? I don't believe for a moment it makes sense to give it an independent uncoupled existence, which would indeed lead to all manner of silliness with regard to any supposed interaction with physicality.

    Further, for the non-physical to have some occasional, random and otherwise arbitrary interaction with physicality, as via ghosts, spirits, or even consciousness makes no sense either. It must be integrated as a whole, because going back to the 1st law, it is one law, without by-laws or exceptions.
    So, once again, we're at a loss to explain how something that is immaterial can interact with something that is material and yet not require a material existence in order for the interaction to occur.
    The point of my approach, is that the interaction of non-physical is necessary and constant at every point of space-time. So far, my description of non-physical is bland and not particularly informative. To explore it, you need to go to the gate, which is Planck level physics, which is of course quantum in nature. It suggests to me, that non-physicality is quantum in nature.
    Gerhard Adam
    It suggests to me, that non-physicality is quantum in nature.
    OK, but without being flip, that leads me to a big "so what"?  Whether such a thing exists or not still hasn't rung any bells for me.  What is this "non-physical" realm supposed to contribute?  What role, if any, does it play?
    But there is nothing about these laws that ban the notion of non-volumetric energy expression.
    There's also nothing about these laws to suggest such a thing either.  I'm not sure where you're going with this.  It sounds similar to arguing that Newton's laws don't prohibit creationism.  While I'm not suggesting that that's the path you're following, you get my meaning.

    Failure to prohibit is not the same as inferring.
    I don't believe for a moment it makes sense to give it an independent uncoupled existence...
    Does the mere fact of arguing existence already make non-physical problematic?  After all, what sense does it make to talk about something that is non-volumetric, or non-physical as having an existence?
    Mundus vult decipi
    Quentin Rowe
    OK, but without being flip, that leads me to a big "so what"?  Whether such a thing exists or not still hasn't rung any bells for me.  What is this "non-physical" realm supposed to contribute?  What role, if any, does it play?
    The main idea it conveys is an interconnected field throughout physicality, which is nothing new. It's just that to me, the 'field' is obvious and right under our noses. Witness all the brain-squeezing going on during the twentieth century physics that arrives essentially at the same conclusion. In a world of ideas pervaded by isolation and separateness, I find the implication of a deeper connection to all of the universe, demonstrated in such a simple and obvious manner, very useful.

    And it is significant, because non-physicality can be restated as pure, unexpressed, physical potential. I could flip the question too - what are we missing out on by not including non-volumetric energy expression in our explorations? Well, I can answer that in part. We are exploring non-physicality when we explore potentials and probabilities in quantum physics - we already use the idea. What we tend to do is dismiss potential as unreal.
    There's also nothing about these laws to suggest such a thing either.  I'm not sure where you're going with this.  It sounds similar to arguing that Newton's laws don't prohibit creationism.  While I'm not suggesting that that's the path you're following, you get my meaning.
    'It's' not a 'thing' - that's my point. It's very subtle, so it's significance is easily missed. Non-volumetric energy expression is suggested. Where does all the energy go? Simply saying it doesn't exist, does not offer me a structured argument against it, so it remains suggested to me.

    I confess, I have a less than clear idea where I'm going with it. I sometimes feel foolish exploring these ideas in an open forum, but if I find them undefendable, I'll let them go. However, to elaborate more, I link the idea with the newer multiverse models which offer mechanisms to connect consciousness with physicality in a simple and direct manner.
    SynapticNulship
    which offer mechanisms to connect consciousness with physicality in a simple and direct manner.

    It's statements like that which make me wonder about other people's notions of the mind. Why does consciousness have to be something more than information and systems interaction (and that covers both internalist and externalist viewpoints).
    Quentin Rowe
    Samuel, I think you will be surprised to know that I can hold my stated views, and agree with you about a conscious entity being about information and systems interaction.

    The 'mechanisms' I talk about are misleading. The real question to be explored for a fundamental view of consciousness is, if all possible states are existing simultaneously, either 'realized' as in a Tegmark Class 1 multiverse, or as potential as with modal realism, then how are conscious choices made as to where to be, how to set system boundaries, etc,  from an internal conscious point of view.

    My (developing) view makes no real distinction between internalist and externalist viewpoints. Therefore, as I have stated earlier in these comments, you will find me agreeing that it will be fruitful to explore ideas from a materialist point of view, such as systems, and particularly nervous systems. They are one and the same in the end.

    This neutral view does not negate material science, but fully endorses it. So when I point out the possibility of non-volumetric physics as a potential tool in exploring consciousness, which is fairly viewed as possessing non-materialistic qualities, it seems a fair reason to point to a possible connection between matter&consciousness. And we all know, as living, conscious entities, that our conscious point of view is the one we live by. We use science & technology to extend our experience, but it is our experience which is the more primal, from our conscious point of view, which is the only view we can possibly take.

    I note that Gerhard studies my argument, and concludes not so much that it's a silly idea, but that:
    There's also nothing about these laws to suggest such a thing either.
    I was of the understanding in science, that if there is a road open, it can be taken, albeit with the caveat of caution. So both options remain up for grabs, at least in this thread.
    Gerhard Adam
    Quentin;

    In fairness, you haven't actually articulated much of a perspective, although you certainly haven't gone down the rabbit-hole and gone all "New Age", so I'm certainly prepared to listen regarding what direction you want to take it in.  My sense of this, is that you don't actually know yet (from what you've said), so while you may be entertaining the possibilities of a non-material realm, you haven't actually formulated anything that presents anything that can be examined and/or even hypothesized about.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Quentin Rowe
    Gerhard, you are always fair in your comments... I'm just getting a bit carried away. :-)

    Indeed, the Rabbit hole is what I wish to avoid. You are of course correct to say I've yet to articulate clearly anything practical or useful, but I do believe I'm skirting the edge of something useful.

    I've confused myself&my readers because I'm mixing two ideas: That of the 1st law of thermo hinting at a non-volumetric realm, and the second that the multiverse offers a key to eliminating the perceived rift or disconnect of the conscious experience from the material world.

    I'm going to address that in answer to Samuel's comment below, as he is offering an approach on how to clarify what I'm formulating.

    Now, as I'm off to watch the Rugby Worldcup final, you won't get any replies from me till tomorrow.

    Cheers...
    SynapticNulship
    Perhaps we should take a step back. I think I might be able to categorize your approach in a class of approaches of this nature:
    Given a certain premise of a relational world (e.g. a certain type of multiverse), what are the interfaces to the phenomenal world (what humans can perceive and be conscious of) and how do those interfaces work.
    Quentin Rowe
    Thanks Samuel, you've framed the question better than I.

    I'll answer this tomorrow, as I'm off to watch the Rugby World-cup final.