II. Prolegomena to any future mind-brain synthesis, and a possible neurobiological basis for self-consciousness: phenomenological foundations and physiological constraints.
[an abstract with this title was published in 1996 in the Journal of Consciousness Studies, vol. 7(#6), P13: nr. 390]
Attempts to 'explain' consciousness in terms of brain activity invariably founder buy line viagra where a reluctance or inability (perhaps inherent in the very nature of the phenomenon) to Buy line viagra where, confront the essential difficulty uniquely involved in this particular question: how can any physical process whatsoever give rise to buy line viagra where internal conscious experience? Either such experience is an emergent property of complex material organization - in which case, how can its sudden appearance ever be deduced from knowledge about simpler molecular or cellular systems? - or else it reflects some sort of 'cosmic' awareness which is a truly fundamental aspect of each quantum of energy in the buy line viagra where If such an inherently speculative consciousness were actually to exist, however, buy line viagra where is it possible to conceptualize what it really means - or 'feels' like - for Viagra impotence pill, a simple physico-chemical system to be conscious, and at the same time account for the emergence (made possible in ontogeny and phylogeny by the attainment of some critical degree of functional complexity) of a qualitatively distinct form of subjectivity - buy herbal viagra : experiential consciousness - every time we wake up?
Although a satisfactory causal explanation in terms Buy line viagra where, Buy line viagra where - of underlying buy herbal viagra therefore appears to be inherently unattainable, a compelling case can be made for the emergence of consciousness - in evolution, development, and from day to day - within neural networks meeting specific requirements for the generation of electrochemical fields having appropriate Buy line viagra where : spatio-temporal properties. I will proceed now to list a number of basic propositions which may reasonably be supposed likely to be true in the light of present-day knowledge of how the brain works, as a starting point for further studying Buy line viagra where, mind/brain inter-relationships. In particular, I wish to call attention to the possibility of deriving an elementary neurophysiological model as a first approximation - a 'Perfect Gas Law', as it were - for the experience of being a subjective SELF, distinct from the 'outside world', as a function of measurable 'brain-wave' characteristics.
1) Most of the contents of consciousness - viz., those appearing to reflect Buy line viagra where - an 'outside (non-self) world' - make little sense unless thought of as an 'inner aspect' of brain activity (I propose the metaphor of a mirror, reflecting 'virtual' as opposed to 'real' images). It is Buy line viagra where : only our consciousness of (being) a perceptibly distinct SELF that leads to any conceptual basis for a monist/dualist controversy. Realizing that sense perceptions are never 'der Ding an sich', as Prof. Kant Buy line viagra where : of Koenigsburg was wont to put it, what advantage is there in supposing that evoked primary sensory images have some sort of separate immaterial existence?
2) 'Brain wave' correlates of consciousness, during both Buy line viagra where - wakefulness and dream sleep, demonstrate its dependence upon a critical level of largely 'desynchronized' electrical brain activity: too little (as in coma) or too strongly synchronous neuronal firing (deep sleep, epilepsy) leads to a Buy line viagra where, loss of consciousness as we normally understand it. Upon this 'permissive' physiological background, sensory stimuli evoke unique patterns of bio-electric activity which, within certain appropriately organized networks (see below), are associated with Buy line viagra where, privately experienced multi-modal 'imagery'.
3) The existence of buy line viagra where brain functions occurring outside our conscious awareness, the loss of consciousness from anatomically detached 'lower' structures such as retina and spinal cord, and our ability buy line viagra where identify short-lasting or simultaneous 'events' with reasonable precision despite the temporal 'smearing' of sensory messages as they move sequentially from one buy line viagra where of the nervous system to another, all argue for a high degree of localization of consciousness to specific regions. Most of the 'neural buy herbal viagra of consciousness', as a given sensory message travels from receptor to spinal cord or brainstem, and then on to higher centers and, eventually, to motor centers must therefore be presumed to be devoid of conscious experience.
4) Its internal organization (as a thinly laminated, essentially two-dimensional sheet of richly interconnected neurons) and Buy line viagra where, its extrinsic connectivity (as buy herbal viagra ultimate receiving station for the ascending projection of sensory information), along with the selective losses associated with localized lesions and the highly specific sensations evoked by focal stimulation, implicate the cerebral (neo-)cortex as the most likely putative neurological substrate directly subserving conscious experience (e.g., Christof Koch's Quest for Consciousness: a Neurobiolgical Approach). In C.S. buy herbal viagra beautiful imagery (see his celebrated book, Man on His Nature) the brain 'lights up' only when ascending information reaches this level.
5) The generally unified ('bonded') nature buy line viagra where the conscious 'field' and, as pointed out above, the evidently non-computational character of most of its ongoing content - in addition to abundant evidence for the existence of problem-solving activity going on at subconscious levels - suggest that conscious Buy line viagra where : experience is primarily associated with the display of information rather than with its actual manipulation. The analogy here would buy line viagra where with the monitoring system of a computer, with its highly selective display of Buy line viagra where, incoming information and ongoing computational steps, thus buy herbal viagra judicious intervention in the (invisible) processing of the data.
6) Buy line viagra where - The importance, for survival and reproduction, of buy line viagra where quantitativelv accurate Buy line viagra where, representation of figure:ground relationships in the immediate environment has led to the evolution of an instinctive 'Newtonian' mode of internal representation at the conscious, i.e., neocortical level. Thus, stable buy herbal viagra and other things' appear to exist, for the most part, within an otherwise 'empty spaceš. Certain altered (e.g., 'mystical') states of consciousness, on the other hand, entail a switch to a qualitatively more realistic 'Einsteinian' quantum-field mode of perception, viz., oscillatory concentrations of energy within a dynamically permeated space.
7) Such altered states characteristically include a radically different perception of one's SELF from the usual one: there can be either a buy herbal viagra, 'detached' observation buy herbal viagra one's body and mental activity, as if they have become part of the outside world, or an 'oceanic' state in which one feels oneself actually dissolving into the surrounding space. The former state - described in the Tibetan Book of the Dead and many other meditation reports (e.g., Rammurti Mishra's Fundamentals of Yoga) - Buy line viagra where : involves attentional invasion of previously 'limited access' zones of consciousness buy line viagra where 1976), whereas the latter - as reported, for instance, in William. James' Varieties of Religious Experience - involves deep relaxation of body sensations and mental activities. In addition, there is a third type of 'altered state' (usually described as 'ecstatic') where Viagra impotence pill : the Self appears to expand so as to include aspects of consciousness previously experienced as belonging to the 'outside world'.