Home Discussion Forum What is the biological basis for consciousness?

What is the biological basis for consciousness?

When does something question it’s own exsistence?
This is gonna be a toughie!

50 COMMENTS

  1. Does a dog have Buddha nature? Mu!
    Science can only describe consciousness. It can’t yet define it or delineate the difference between a self-conscious entity and one that is not self-conscious.

  2. We have absolutely no idea what the biological mechanism is, where the seat of conciousness is, not what other animals may or may not possess it. If anyone tells you otherwise, they are lying-We don’t even understand the biological basis of simple learning and behaviour, and cannot, from a complete three dimensional diagram of a 1000-neuron worm brain, tell you anything about it’s behaviour. We are as close to understanding the most profound and complex functions of the brain as a monkey is to learning computer programming. I both teach and research in this area, and I guarantee you that we are still at the most basic level of understanding brain function.

  3. neurobilogical processes are responsible for consciousnes:
    Conscious states are caused by lower level neurobiological processes in the brain and are themselves higher level features of the brain. The key notions here are those of cause and feature. As far as we know anything about how the world works, variable rates of neuron firings in different neuronal architectures cause all the enormous variety of our conscious life. All the stimuli we receive from the external world are converted by the nervous system into one medium, namely, variable rates of neuron firings at synapses. And equally remarkably, these variable rates of neuron firings cause all of the colour and variety of our conscious life. The smell of the flower, the sound of the symphony, the thoughts of theorems in Euclidian geometry — all are caused by lower level biological processes in the brain; and as far as we know, the crucial functional elements are neurons and synapses.

  4. Great Question! …I especially liked how you used the word “something” as opposed to “someone” – I think it is the more appropriate way to ask the question, indeed. We (i.e. human beings) usually/erroneously assume that we are the only creatures on this planet with “consciousness” – which today we know for a fact NOT to be the case. …Anyway, I can attempt to give you a rather complex and long-winded bio-molecular/chemical explanation, involving neural pathways, interconnections, etc., etc.; or just be honest and say: we are not as of yet 100% sure.

  5. The multiparametric processing of nerve impulses into a cohesive symbiotic awareness of self. The stimulation of multiple neuronal pathways that coalesce with the signals coming from the senses. This allows for realization of time, spatial awareness, object differentiation and hence ultimately self or consciousness.

  6. Since it’s conception, the living creature has only the instinct encrusted in its genes. After it leaves whatever place where it matured, the brain itself start interacting with the enviroment through it’s senses and record the success and failures of the experiences lived. Then, it builds an pattern in the brain, in which all the parts of nerve systems inform the mainframe of what’s happening. But beyond that, there’s a kind of wireless, invisible connection with all elements of the enviroment and also other living creatures.

  7. Dust. Read Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy. Golden Compass, Subtle knife, Amber spyglass. seriously, it will explain everything. Its awes

  8. For WHAT IS THE BIOLOGICAL BASIS FOR CONSCIOUSNESS? The answer is there is no answer! Don’t associate consiousness to anything!
    For WHEN DOES SOMETHING QUESTION IT’S OWN EXISTENCE?
    The answer is when the individual starts asking questions about the reality itself. The reality that you believe in and know what is true. You have so many questions about you and life ha. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, drop it. You will never know.

  9. Innovation. When a being realizes that he/she can change the environment around it to it’s benefit, it is above most animals. Planning for the far future beyond it’s ‘biological programming’. When a wolf pack hunts, it does anticipate the hopefully successful outcome of its actions. If it suddenly decided to not hunt certain animals at certain times of year in order to hunt the greater number of young that would be born to that animal at a later date, that would be a more abstract thinking. That would be one indicater of awareness of one’s impact on the world around it. A change in diet, environment, and/or environmental pressures could force a creature to change its behavior in order to take advantage of new prospects, protect itself from new dangers, or re-invent something that is ‘old bag’ to it. I think that this kind of stimulation could help lead to greater awareness. It has to do with the number of details involved in its successful survival. Cows need to recognize what is edible, when something is hunting it, mating stuff, and social heiarchy. Things that hunt have alot more details involved like recognizing evidence of nearby prey, predicting the prey-herds mood, movement, and possible defensive behavior, as well as the best times and places to catch something tasty. I think that if you can train a creature, then it might just be aware of the impact of its actions, beyond simple rewarded repetition. This could be hard to differentiate, however. I also wonder if environmental adaptation has anything to do with it. If a species has been bumped from this environment to that environment over a relatively short time, wouldnt being able to catch on quickly be a trait that the survivors would have to some degree? Maybe the stimulation of surviving in diverse conditions could improve a creature’s species awareness of its place, or lack of one, in the natural world.

  10. I believe that the saying goes… “I think therefore I am”. You can only think in your brain and your brain is biological. “When does something question it’s own existence? When it has to get up at 3 am to go to work everyday… yep that does it.

  11. It is spiritual growth,inspiration,dreaming,creativity,and inner self-a wareness. It is a bility to relate oneself and one’s environment and also a basic of personal identity.

  12. When someone talks about things i dont remember i did and the memory is gone.
    How did i get home ?
    Who are you ?
    I did what ?

  13. Crazy theroy #1
    When a human dies, they loose 21 grams of weight.
    We could test everything else, when it dies, to find otu if it has a soul?

  14. the dna. because all things living are conscious in one way or another, and all living things come from a basic biological map, and consciousness is ingrained in that map. to be alive is to be conscious.

  15. When we’re realize that we can do anything at one day, like to eat,drink, watch TV, work, do some activities. I think the point is that we’re in good shape / health condition, i mean we know what we must done or want to do.

  16. For a human being, It consists three main part. The physical, mental, and soul. When a person is in consciousness it has all the three part working together. If a person is in a coma state, therefore he’s mental and physical are still working but it is slow and his soul is traveling from his physical

  17. When we realize that we are all a part of a whole and can detach ourselves from basic primal instincts, which still obstructs most humans behavior. It is a shameless world generated by selfishness that both we nor the animals have found a considerable solution.

  18. I read this when it first came out. Francis Crick shared the Nobel prize for DNA double helix structure.
    The key seems to be there is no output like a printer from a computer. There is a lighting up of many parts of the brain at the same time. The idea exists in different forms in different parts of the brain. Ex: the picture from the occipital lobe, name words from language center, uses, edible?,
    Probably why it feels like a light bulb when you realize something.

  19. Jonathan, what is the biological basis for asking the question?
    Why and When did the question exist in your mind?
    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
    It’s interesting that all of us who respond have biologically saw your question and gave a response, which is very biological to our conscious. And it is a fact, that WORDS do make a difference in our conscience because they are common in the language of the mind, although we have to clearly identify what each word means (in our consciousness).
    Just a thought, Jesus Christ said, “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4) These words indicate that not only biology comprises the conscience, but the unmeasured spirit as well.

  20. electrical impulses stimulate thou gt activity. Left UN-focused, creates boredom that gives into attention to basic animal needs. Independent thought manifests into self-awareness.

  21. While it’s pretty well established that the brain is the seat of consciousness, we are a long way from understanding exactly how something as complex and seemingly ephemeral as “mind” can arise from the physical interactions of brain cells. Many aspects of the mind’s functioning, e.g. memory, emotion, logical reasoning, sense perception, etc. have been at least vaguely localized in regions of the brain; but what the “code” is, the “programming language,” that gives rise to consciousness is not at all clear.
    A current principle which has many psychologists and artificial-intelligence experts excited is that of “emergent behavior” or “emergence,” which is another way of referring to the whole exceeding the sum of the parts. Specifically, emergence is when a collection of units, each relatively simple in itself, has behavior and/or properties that cannot be found in any single unit.
    A flock of birds is a popular example. It turns out that when birds flock, each bird is behaving according to a very simple set of “rules,” so simple in fact that they can easily be coded into a computer program. Collectively, the flock exhibits behavior that makes it seem almost like a living thing in its own right. There’s no one bird that you can point to and say “that’s the leader;” it’s the actions of all of them that leads to the way a flock behaves. In the same way, many believe, there’s no one cell or “circuit” in the brain that you can point to and say, “that’s the consciousness.” Rather, it’s the collective activity of all the cells that makes up the complexities of the mind.

  22. When does something question it’s own exsistence?
    * when He/she/it is ready to know and learn or elevate into a higher form of consciousness …

  23. From my many years in the Emergency Medical Services, I will try to give my spin on this question. In very simple terms, as it applies to adult humans, a person’s consciousness can evaluated based on a minimum three tier criteria. A person that is fully conscious is able to answer these 3 questions as to; Person, Place, Time. Addition question related to an incident, would be Events. So, if a person can tell you who they are (name or birthday), where they are (or where they live), what time it is (or morning/evening, Day/Night), then they are fully conscious. Otherwise, they are would be considered having an altered level of consciousness. An example would be a traumatic injury, an underlying medical problem, neurological or metabolic situation that can cause a decrease in consciousness. I hope this helps.

  24. when it conciously recognises the possibility of existance. when something has evolved enough to think intelectually and thought petterns move away from purely survival instinct. to a much greater degree than learning to use tools etc. The only certain indicator there is that we actually do exist is the fact that we are able to think about it. consider this.
    “i think therefore i am”
    the fact that we are able to think must mean that we are REAL in some form or other. were we not real then we would not be able to think independantly. i am not giving suggestions as to how this works but merely pointing out that it is the truth. it is a certainty and something you and i are doing right now. you are Real as i am “real”. you are not “real” to me but you are Real to yourself, as i am to myself. You can say with certainty “i exist” which its self shows that you do actually exist, as you are able to say this to youeself.
    nothing else in the physical or spiritual universe is certain to us, and may never be (putting belief aside and considering all possibilities about what happens after “death”.
    Wow, deep!
    this is not my own idea, some french artist said it first (forgot his name)
    hope this helps

  25. At the moment there is not a complete biological basis for consciousness. However, neuroscientists such as Antonio Damasio are trying to tackle this queestion in a biological manner. His book “Descartes’ Error” is based on these sort of ideas; as are “Searching for Spinoza” and “The feeling of What Happens”. The latter book, in particular, is an attempt to explain why the human brain has managed to develop consciousness. Damasio’s books border on the idea that it is not “I think therefore I am”, but rather “I am therefore I think”. Damasio believes that consciousness is an evolutionary process like any other that the complex human brain has created in order to better survive. In his book “Searching for Spinoza”, Damasio explains the different ways in which the human brain acts as opposed to other animals. His belief is that while other mammals may have emotions and are capable of emoting, human beings are the only ones that have feelings. He describes feelings as the complete collection of body states that are associated with the emotions that we feel. It is because of these feelings, that we are able to behave better in society. Therefore, the sense of the self exists, but the human brain has developed this complex network of feelings in order to better behave in society. Damasio brilliantly backs up all of his information by observing and describing what parts of the brain are associated with the appropriate actions. From an evolutionary standpoint (therefore, a biological one), consciousness exists in order to better support the organism. I strongly suggest you look into Damasio’s “the feeling of what happens” for a very scientific explanation of your question.

  26. First I want to say, Hats Off! to “nuroProf” for his honesty and integrity
    regarding this subject, Biology.
    And also, very well done, to “richardlaffe” for observing that the dynamic principle of existence is “SURVIVE” and that this priciple monitors and changes the function and structure of ALL life and living organisms.
    Biology is a science that studies the function and structure of living organisms in the physival universe. This includes the brain, which is just another part of a body’s nervous system that receives and sends impulses from and to the various parts of the body (this includes all organisms not just the human body ).
    The source of consciousness, thought, and awareness in a living organism and its degree or amount, is an entirely different subject
    and is not “unknowable”, but cannot be scientifically discovered through any science that only researches and observes function and structure. Not to invalidate this science in anyway since discoveries
    in this field have been benificial to some degree in assisting the dynamic principle…. survive.
    Extensive scientific research into the source of consciousness, and it’s affects on the mind and body , was done in the last century from around 1930 to 1986. As a result of this research provable discoveries were made and effective technology was fully developed to rehabilitate the deterioration of this source. This technology has, as one of it’s more minor results, the eradication of the negative or “Non-Survival” effects of this consciousness or, awareness of awareness unit, on the organism or physical body.
    For more info about this particular research and technology, I recommend reading the following basic books:
    1.Dianetics The Modern Science of Mental Health. (first published 1n May 1950)
    2. Scientology The Fundemantals of Thought ( first published in 1951 )
    ( Both books by same author , L.Ron Hubbard, and written for the purpose of making the results of his research and discoveries available to the general public, so he could answer their many questions and inquiries at that time, and free himself up to continue with his research. He completed his research before he died in 1986,
    and provided many additional books and articles and recorded lectures on the rest of his discoveries and results.)

  27. When they are old enough to understand how they were created and when they are interested enough to ponder the creation of the world.

  28. I think something begins to answer its own exsistence when they see that they aren’t accomplishing anthing in their lives and are simply living from day to day. That’s why I think everyone should come to know Jesus and then they could spread His light throughout the world.

  29. The Human Factor! Since the very beginning/s of “Man & Woman” there has been (Distinctive Differences) between Man & Woman. We as Humans have Evolved into this, “Thinking & Walking Machine” from the very first time that a Human Being (Noticed His/Her Image) for the first time in it’s life there was something different that caught us unguard about our True Image of oneself. I believe that since that no two people are alike physcically,physcoligically,biologically,& chemically.what I’am trying to get through is that, not everyone has to agree to act or do something that everyone else does to realize their existance. I think that it is a Healthy Process for an individual to question their existance.If I never Questioned my existance than that would in some sense make me an (Ignorant Individual) I would feel as if like Stagnet Water w/no channel to free myself of being Stagnet. I believe that if I did not Question myself than what good would it do to move-on if I could not? I hope that I answered atleast a portion of your question! Best Wishes & Good Luck!

  30. depends which consciousness you are referring too, as there are three levels. The first two we are consciously aware of, while the other is deeper than the subliminal consciousness which is still being researched.
    A global scientific study, is currently trying to understand and identify the third level of consciousness, which does not require full body functionality. It apparently exists even in the so called clinical dead state.
    An understanding of basis on how the brain functions is in its infancy. Science is still stabbing in the dark, as they have no real understanding on the full functionality of the brain, let alone consciousness

  31. The various views on consciousness may all be true, however if we cannot open the brain and explore (while subject is alive) then consciousness is nothing but an undiscovered dimension fuelled by electricity, energy and the unfathomable factor.

  32. Oxygen. Enzymes. Neurotransmitters. But consciousness, with or without a capital “c,” is more than biology. Read Chaos Theory and books on Consciousness. If you really want to “be” conscious, go help someone today. Your consciousness in being helpful will make you feel good and make you start envisioning your life in a more positive way! Blessings to you!

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