Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Origin of Consciousness ( ± )

The Rule of Thumb Theory.

Wm Jaz was telling me a few days ago how one theory of how consciousness developed after early sapiens began talking, and the brain began listening in on what others were saying,
And the brain was also began listening in on what their own brain's were generating.
That is; brains at that time were generating speech as a complex behavioral function, but was not connected to higher order thinking or sentience in any way.
It was a purely reactive behaviour to various stimuli, And then the brain was able to listen in to this speech that it was itself creating and consciousness somehow developed out of that...

This Theory/Model however requires that consciousness didn't develop until humanimals began speaking, which denies any animals prior to this invention to have self awareness, consciousness or dreaming ( ? ) ... which is in direct conflict with the observed & believed behaviour of non-humanimal automatons.

An Alternative Model is The Rule of Thumb, Or Attentive Trail & Error Conjecture;
Which suggests that A Very Primitive form of Consciousness may have begun with Amoebae.
It still requires a PreMagickal Step of The Amoebae Developing The -Need- or -Desire- to Accomplish Something, which may have taken the form of -Hunger- - But this is Still a Big Step for A Preconscious Robot to take on it's own.
A Wind Up Toy should ( expectantly ) just sit there.
The Suggestion that it do anything for it's own benefit requires a huge leap of Self Motivation.

Of course; This is what Evolution is all About. These Wind Up Toys that are able to wind themselves up, Survive and Reproduce,
While those that don't, are discarded.
At some point in The Development of Wind Up Toys that are able to Wind themselves up in a chaotic &/or haphazard manner—
They take the radical step of Evolving;
A Desire to Wind Themselves Up,
And a Method by Which They Recognize Which Random Behaviours Satisfy This Desire in a Piecemeal Manner.
Some given Behaviour may not satisfy the desire itself, But this Near Miss Evolutionary Development recognizes that they are acting in a manner which is approaching the goal.
This may not be so difficult to imagine. If The Desired Objective ( Still a huge leap ) is accompanied by a set of sensory responses, The Wind Up Toy merely has to Quantify These Stimulations and Recognize that if The Goal to Winding Ones Self Up is =10=,
Any Random Behaviour that Results in a Sensory Stimulation of -8- is Better than -6-.

This Thesis of Early Conscious, Claims that this Ability to Write their Own Programs by Attentive Trail & Error was able to Work Around The Problem of any given organism having an absurdly gigantic library of programming behaviours to deal with the impossibly infinite possible situations that they may be exposed to.

This Rule of Thumb Development allowed The Early Wind Up Toys to include only the barest prewritten behaviours, while improvising nearly all other behaviours, with the agenda of merely accomplishing something.

The Toy needn't even be aware of what they are trying to accomplish, But merely have Sensory Sets that are Activated when (-x-) is Activated.
[ e.g.; The Toy's sugar level drops to a critical level, which causes an enzyme, which is suppressed when sugar levels are high, to become more plentiful, which releases a Sensory Set to The Behaviour Activation Units...
Which Then Picks off a Best Guess Behaviour which has been previously associated with The Given Sensor Set.
Then It acts SemiRandomly, Based on The Best Guess Template, Using The Attentive Trail & Error Routines to Close in On The Desired Goal,
Which is Never Explicitly Stated.

In Higher Order Animals that have yet to attach Linguistic Tags to their own Behaviours,
This would mean that a Fish or Hamster, Seeks Food & Eats, to Satisfy an Active Enzyme Imbalance, Without Ever Experiencing Anything Like Hunger.
This behaviour may appear very complex, even Solve Original Intermediate Problems, without having any desire to solve a known goal.

While this description may seem to Directly Contradict The Consciousness Model,
It does seem to me to accurately Describe The Behaviour of Many Observed Human Activities.
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This; In turn, seems to support my developing postulation that Real Consciousness, Sentience &/or Self Awareness— May not be present in all Higher Order Animals that are Behaving in Pretty Much the Same Way as Animals that Do have Real Sentience.
And Furthermore; The Animals with Real Self Awareness may be distributed throughout the Animal Kingdom, While Those WithOut, may be equally apportioned.
It has long been my opinion that many humans are Not Genuinely Conscious,
While many Cats, Marmots, Crows & Fish Are Conscious.
Small Digression:
Isn't it extremely remarkable that while there are numerous anecdotes of small mammals, fish & even protozoae acting in presumably intelligent or cooperative manners, There are few, if any, Such anecdotes involving reptiles & fewer yet for amphibians...???
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But how does this Answer The Question of How Consciousness first appeared?
It doesn't.
Despite these speculations; i remain a believer in epiphenomenalism,
Which states that consciousness is a passive phenomena, in which these beings are able to watch what their robot shells are doing, but completely unable to control their own vehicles.
Such Control requires a mechanism for which no testable subsystem presently exists.
- - -
It also occurred to me while thinking about this ( some more ) that i am coming closer and closer to the absolutely abhorrent philosophy of René Descartes, when he insisted the squealing of pigs at the slaughterhouse, was merely the sounds of machinery breaking.

At least i have the good sense to suggest that while the evidence and authoritative reasoning suggest that this may in fact be true, it applies with the same validity to humanimals as well.
The screaming is coming from machinery breaking, and the tiny homoculii inside is experiencing that terror as if it were something more profound,
But of course; It is merely being seduced by a clever misapplication of faux-logic.

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