On 10 Aug 2012, at 14:04, Russell Standish wrote:

On Fri, Aug 10, 2012 at 12:10:43PM +0200, Bruno Marchal wrote:

On 10 Aug 2012, at 00:23, Russell Standish wrote:

It is plain to me that thoughts can be either conscious or
unconscious, and the conscious component is a strict minority of the

This is not obvious for me, and I have to say that it is a point
which is put in doubt by the salvia divinorum reports (including
mine). When you dissociate the brain in parts, perhaps many parts,
you realise that they might all be conscious. In fact the very idea
of non-consciousness might be a construct of consciousness, and be
realized by partial amnesia. I dunno. For the same reason I have
stopped to believe that we can be unconscious during sleep. I think
that we can only be amnesic-of-'previous-consciousness'.

With due respect to your salvia experiences, which I dare not follow,
I'm still more presuaded by the likes of Daniel Dennett, and his
"pandemonia" theory of the mind. In that idea, many subconscious
process, working disparately, solve different aspects of the problems
at hand, or provide different courses of action. The purpose of
consciousness is to select from among the course of action
presented by the pandemonium of subconscious processes - admittedly
consciousness per se may not be necessary for this role - any unifying
(aka reductive) process may be sufficient.

The reason I like this, is that it echoes an essentially Darwinian
process of random variation that is selected upon. Dawinian evolution
is the key to any form of creative process.

The brain parts I was talking about must be enough big and integrated, like an half hemisphere, or the limbic system, etc. What I said should not contradict Daniel Dennett "pandemonia" or Fodor modularity theory, which are very natural in a computationalist perspective. Only sufficiently "big" part of the brain can have their own consciousness as dissociation suggests, but also other experience, like splitting the brain, or the removing of half brain operation(*) suggest. The sleeping or paralysis of the corpus callosum can also leads to a splitting consciousness, and people can awake in the middle of doing two dreams at once. This consciousness multiplication does echoed Darwinian evolution as well, I think. Yet, I am not sure that Darwin evolution is a key to creativity. It might be a key to the apparition of creativity on earth, but creativity is a direct consequence of Turing universality. Emil Post called creative his set theoretical notion of universal probably for that reason: the fact that universal machine can somehow contradict any theories done about them, and transform itself transfinitely often. Or look at the Mandelbrot set. The formal description is very simple (less than 1K), yet its deployment is very rich and grandiose. It might be creative in Post sense, and most natural form, including biological, seem to appear in it. So very simple iteration can lead to creative process, and this echoes the fact that consciousness and creativity might appear more early than we usually thought.

I was of course *not* saying that all parts of the brain are conscious, to be clear, only big one and structurally connected.


(*) See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSu9HGnlMV0


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