I would like to shift the discussion of consciousness and physics to a discussion of the consciousness-brain connection.
This post started when a friend referenced an article (URL and directions given below) about the brains function in producing specific moral behavior and wondered how that squared with moral behavior being the result of consciousness quality evolution.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/22/scien ... in.html?hp
Also follow the link at the bottom of the above page for 3 more pages titled:
Scientist Finds the Beginnings of Morality in Primate Behavior
Since my reply (given below) appeared to be a continuation of the “Consciousness and Physics “ thread under the “Physics“ topic, I though I would share it here.
The brain is merely a container of consciousness, like a DVD is a container of a movie with a plot and message (at least if it is an old movie). The brain and DVD represent the media and the coded content. The content itself, the meaning and significance of the message, the information (as opposed to the coded symbols like ink on a page, 1s and 0s on a disk or patterns of neurons and synapses in a brain), is understood, or exists, only within consciousness. Media and code symbols can be physical while information/content is nonphysical. Assimilating, understanding, or operating upon the content of information requires a consciousness. Computers will begin to think only as they begin to form consciousness. Information, like consciousness, is nonphysical. As the content changes, the brain and DVD (encoded physical media) must change to represent the new content. Brain structure does not cause consciousness of a particular quality (i.e., level of morality) -- consciousness of a particular quality causes a specific brain structure to develop which represents a PMR expression (media and code) of that consciousness that is in consonance with the appropriate PMR rule-set.
Specific brain structure is not the cause of morality, rather it is the result of morality. Morality does evolve but the evolution takes place within the non physical consciousness system and then is expressed in various virtual PMRs according to their Rule-sets. All sentient beings are conscious; all have the ability to evolve their consciousness (change their content); consequently, all sentient beings that project existence into a virtual PMR reflect the nature of their consciousness and evolutionary goals in their PMR structure (body). Yes, even clams. People, bumblebees, dogs, monkeys, chimps, and goats all work the same way. All learn from the experience of their consciousness and as they learn (modify their content by decreasing or increasing their entropy, store facts, process information) they cause their biochemistry and structure (e.g., brains) to be modified.
In a real sense, negative or horrible experiences like seeing a horror movie, beating your wife in a fit of ego rage, and stealing candy from a baby all cause physical brain damage to oneself and perhaps to others as well. “Damage“ because the change in the brain’s biochemistry and structure is dysfunctional. It is also permanent unless it is one day intentionally overcome by positive experiences. Soldiers who come home with a combat stress disorder are physically brain damaged as are abused children and people who witness or take part in horrific events. Such “damage“ from a single event may be very mild and subtle to the point of being undetectable but the effect is cumulative.
In general, the more personally powerful (usually emotional) the experience, the more strongly it imprints the individual for better or for worse. For example, video games that are negative and encourage low quality (perhaps even “evil“) behavior produce brain damage in the player in proportion to how personal, abstract, or concrete the experience is — in other words the affects are personal, all individuals will not be affected the same way by the same experience. If one is detached both emotionally and intellectually from the game play, the negative affect (damage) is very slight, though still finite. All experiences, from drug addiction to falling in love do, in some way, change our consciousness, our being, and our physical brains. If brain modification represents a negative or dysfunctional change (mirrors an increases in consciousness entropy), I refer to the result as brain “damage“ because the brain now represents a being with less immediate potential. Fewer productive choices are now available to the free will. Spiritual growth becomes more difficult, and requires more effort. There is now something new on the path to personal growth and progress that must be overcome.
Because we PMR beings tend to assume that the physical (body) is primary while consciousness is a derived effect of the brain, we tend to think in terms of brain structure as the evolved biological cause of our behavior, not the resultant image (media and code) of our consciousness and its quality. Behavior that is not yet attributable to our brains we believe to be a psychological reaction to our environment. In fact, our brains encode all that we are -- psychology is no more than a study of how our consciousness can be affected by our experience. It takes a consciousness to have an experience. How our consciousness (intent, love, ego, and fear) interacts, of its own free will, with that experience causes a self-modifiable consciousness to change. Our moral behavior is the result of the quality of our consciousness.
The perspective of our science (trapped by the belief that all reality is derived from the physical) is, as usual, just backwards. The brain doesn't produce morality, it simply reflects the morality of the consciousness it represents in terms of the media and code supported by PMR physics/biology. The body (brain) also represents the constraints of our biology — it limits our response, it defines and limits the choices we can implement — it forces our consciousness to work within a constrained simplified environment that facilitates our growth process. Just as one can tear a page from a book or scratch a DVD, one can render the grey matter of a brain or upset the balance of its biochemistry. Content and capability may be modified, lost, or scrambled. Though we physical beings physically modify our brains to represent our changing consciousness, we must live within the rule-set that defines our virtual physical reality — our body, the container of our consciousness in this virtual physical reality, is subject to the laws of physics and biology because that is the nature of existence within physical reality. Stuff happens and we must deal with it — that generates growth opportunity.
The point is that this brain damage I am talking about is an accumulating impediment to your personal growth, to the evolution of your consciousness, to your spiritual development. It attaches to ego and gets in the way of your being love. An individual experiences the results of these cumulative physical brain changes as an attitude, a compulsion, a proclivity, an urge, a feeling that nudges one toward a particular interpretation of reality, an innate drive or imperative, a desire, need, want, or expectation that has its origins beneath the rational intellect. If the change is negative these urgings are reactive, ego based, and cause your decision space and reality to shrink. You may feel arrogant or superior, lash out in anger, need a hit of your favorite drug, or perhaps you have a proclivity to forcefully take whatever you want at the expense of others. On the other hand, if the physical brain changes are positive, you intuitively see things from the perspective of a bigger picture, have an enlarged decision space and live in a larger reality. Perhaps you are a person or chimp with an innate sense of morality that has a natural inhibition toward hurting others. And perhaps this innate urging toward moral behavior that you display will be mapped to some specific portion of the brain and discussed by confused biologists and philosophers in an article like the ones referenced by the above URL.
Your brain represents you -- it is a model of you, a template that you follow, the driver, energizer, and animator of your physical being. You act, think, feel and emote the way your brain compels you. To act, think, feel and emote differently, your intent and free will must grow the quality of your being, reduce the entropy of your consciousness — learn, grow, evolve, pull yourself up by your bootstraps. As you do, your physical brain, along with the drives, urges, attitudes, and behaviors it generates, will change to reflect the new you living in a larger more productive reality.
Physical evolution and consciousness evolution both follow the possibilities and constraints of their interactive existence. Our (consciousness) involvement with a virtual PMR creates unique opportunities for personal growth. Physical reality and physical evolution set the stage and supporting props for consciousness evolution by providing a highly constrained and simplified interactive learning experience with immediate feedback. The connection between brains and consciousness reflect that arrangement.