Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The T=0 Complexity Theory of Consciousness (p. 7)

subject or subjects. We sought to determine what was Consciousness by observing how it manifest itself in a person or in people.

The most famous of the researchers who proceeded in this fashion can only be Sigmund Freud and it is to Freud’s model of Consciousness that we will turn in order to unwind our term “not-conscious” such that we arrive at a far more expansive and properly descriptive one. In particular, we will henceforth refer to the paleo-mammalian brain as “subconscious” rather than the transitional “not-conscious”. As for the proto-consciousness of the reptilian brain (or r-complex), it clearly equates with Freud’s description of the Id.

The seat of unmediated emotion, volition, senses, qualia, etc., can only be the paleo-mammalian and reptilian brains, both of which compose Freud’s subconscious mind and the latter which is more specifically referred to as the Id. The localization of the unmediated senses, in the physical brain, is entirely in the deep brain at or near the juncture of the paleo-mammalian and reptilian brains. This is also the locus of the unmediated emotions (fight or flight response, mating drives, hunger). Only the most archaic levels of mediation exist within the r-complex the which are enhanced in the white matter of the paleo-mammalian brain. As for emotions, they would hardly be called emotions at all, but instinctual reactions, drives or proto-emotions, until the advent of the paleo-mammalian brain.

To be clear, then, the emotions and the senses express themselves immediately only and entirely in the subconscious. At the t=0 we have posited, the Consciousness exists but all emotion and sensation remain entirely in the subconscious as the Consciousness is only a biological structure. At t=t’ (we will designate “the present” as t’), as we all feel, Consciousness expresses itself as far more than “only a biological structure”.

By t=t’, the Consciousness has long formed stable areas of specialization. These areas are generally located in the neo-cortical area immediately adjacent to the white matter areas assigned the archaic expression of the same function because they depend upon the same long white matter nerve processes to interconnect various brain regions for coordinated function.

Nevertheless, even at t=t’ the Consciousness is the locus of no inherent emotion or sensation. All immediate emotion and sensation are physically localized in the subconscious mind. Many of the profoundly surprising experimental results relating to the brain and Consciousness make these facts clear.

Two examples are widely known and can help us begin to grasp the nature of the relationship of the senses and emotions to the Consciousness and the subconscious mind. The first is the phenomenon of “blindsight”. When the visual center of the neo-cortex (the locus, that is to say, of the mediation of sight by the Consciousness) is damaged in certain areas, the associated field of vision upon which the damage was afflicted becomes blind. Or so it would seem, for it has been discovered that, if the associated visual center, in the subconscious, is intact, the sub-conscious continues to see! Throw a ball at a person thus afflicted, from his or her blind side, and he or she may react to avoid being hit, or to otherwise reduce the impact of it, even though they can not consciously see it. Shown an object in the blinded visual field and they can correctly “guess” details of shape or color.

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