Perception, Inception and the Trojan Horse Money Meme - Part One of Four

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Tue, 05/10/2011 - 06:02 | 1258380 tip e. canoe
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that's a very profound observation.  

"it's a wave!"  "no, it's a particle!"  

"I've got 19 PhDs that can prove it's a wave!"  "I've got a 2000 year old book that proves it's a particle."  

"I've got 3 nuclear warheads parked outside your shores, now damn it, it's a wave!"  "I've got 19 men in a sleeper cell armed with boxcutters and amateur flying lessons, so sorry but it's a fucking particle!"

...and so on and so on and so on...

Tue, 05/10/2011 - 07:49 | 1258504 Mec-sick-o
Mec-sick-o's picture

LOL, the eternal pissing contest by the small dickheads.

Tue, 05/10/2011 - 02:22 | 1258239 Libertarian777
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Einstein proved energy and matter can be created and destroyed, through the E=mc2 equivalence.

In fact that's how a nuclear weapon gets its energy... mass is destroyed and converted into energy.

The opposite is also true, through quantum theory, matter is created spontaneously (matter/anti-matter pairs are created in the quantum 'froth').

In fact Hawking radiation (which evaporates black holes) posits exactly this, spontaneous matter/anti-matter creation at the event horizon of a black hole.


Of course, the LHC has not been able to create a black hole yet, but the Bernak and the Fed have proved that you can create money out of thin air, and the EU have proved that the event horizon of insolvency can be overcome, by throwing more matter (debt) into the black hole, thus extending the event horizon, until it consumes the entire universe (or multi-verse if you follow string theory).

Tue, 05/10/2011 - 04:00 | 1258271 gangland
gangland's picture

my understanding is  that hawking has been somewhat refuted on that account pretty convnincingly by leonard susskind, specifically, the violation of the first law of thermodynamics. 

hawking himself has at least, in a general sense, retreated from that position.  I saw his "black holes and baby universes" lecture in person one time and even under those extreme conditions, according to susskind, hawking radiation makes no sense mathematically and as you noted has never been observed even as other black hole characteristics previously only theorized have been positively confirmed and new forms of matter found.

Penrose et al recently observed data towards a cyclical universe theory which would also support susskind and if proved correct could mortally refute hawking radiation.


my limited understanding is that matter/energy is never created spontaneously in quantum mechanics. 

qm does not violate the first law (or by extension the 2nd law and causality), so hawking radiation could not be a new phase/state of matter. at least not in the currently observed evidence.

so either the entire body of qm and by extension classical physics is wrong, or in this special case, hawking is off.

What appears to change spontaneously in qm, is the change in state in which different phases of matter can exist. nothing "new" is spontaneously created or added to the system.


another way to put it is that in physics there is no such thing as 'nothing', even in a vaccum, such that the idea of spontaneous creation of energy/matter (by definition, out of nothing) is moot and inconsistent with the first law. 

I think it's a matter of carefully defining the meaning of stochastic processes vs. 'spontaneous' and 'random' or acausal.

Vaccum fluctuations exist because it's not a pure vaccum. Virtual particles can exist(we can measure them indirectly so we know they exist), but that is different than hawking radiation spontaneously (due to yet unobserved gravity/energy effects at the event horizon of a black hole) adding net energy/matter to the system, as virtual particles do not violate conservation of energy/1st law and hawking radiation would.


so if penrose is right and the universe is cyclical rather than from a big bang, then, we can see the universe as a giant black hole, a giant scrambler of energy/matter/information, rather than a creator/destroyer of one (the same would go for black holes, the scramble information/matter/energy, not destroy it or create it).





Tue, 05/10/2011 - 04:01 | 1258303 RECISION
RECISION's picture


Also, read "Once Before time" by Martin Bojowald.

Loop Quantum Gravity/Cosmology.

You have to make allowances because he is German (and writes like it), but he hooks into a lot of the scholars for their poor maths and stupid mathematical-limits assumptions. I give him big respect simply for that. (eg. a simplistic example he outlines: 360 deg - Zero deg is not a transition of anything, a circle continues uninterrupted. Maths and physics is full of this sort of miss-reading and miss-application of limits)

Hawking Radiation is Bollocks.  

Tue, 05/10/2011 - 04:09 | 1258309 gangland
gangland's picture

sweet, just downloaded :

Canonical Gravity and Applications: Cosmology, Black Holes, and Quantum Gravity by Martin Bojowald

thanks for the recommend.

Tue, 05/10/2011 - 02:02 | 1258228 williambanzai7
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We would all be better off if we reserved a minuscule portion of our daily existence considering what the he'll we are thinking and why.

Tue, 05/10/2011 - 06:12 | 1258393 Cognitive Dissonance
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We would all be better off if we reserved a minuscule portion of our daily existence considering what the he'll we are thinking and why.

I make the same observation in Chapter Two though not nearly as eloquently.

In my limited study of indigenous cultures I have found that the shaman/healer was so much more than a person who dispensed healing for the physical body. He taught his fellow people how to think and live in harmony with the natural world, how to be independent and yet part of the whole. He helped his fellow community members expand their conscious universe well beyond the here and now.

Of course this made him or her the most dangerous person in the community to the European conquerors and a primary target. Kill the teachers and consciousness expanders. The community will soon become compliant and stunted. 

Tue, 05/10/2011 - 02:19 | 1258240 gangland
gangland's picture

it's kind of a fun game :)

Tue, 05/10/2011 - 02:25 | 1258243 williambanzai7
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Consciousness by Hasbro!

Tue, 05/10/2011 - 05:44 | 1258363 CPL
CPL's picture

I can imagine the aisle at Walmart.  Completely empty shelves with price tags neatly organised with random bits of information of them of no discernible value.

Tue, 05/10/2011 - 09:55 | 1258931 tip e. canoe
tip e. canoe's picture

don't worry, there will be an app for that.

Tue, 05/10/2011 - 01:56 | 1258225 DonutBoy
DonutBoy's picture

Stop smoking dope

Tue, 05/10/2011 - 00:56 | 1258158 JustinObodie
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Reality is the cutting edge of awareness. All else is nothing but memories of the past (your living death) or speculation about the future.

Enjoy the "moment" because in reality that is all that exists.

Tue, 05/10/2011 - 01:02 | 1258123 forexskin
forexskin's picture

hi CD,

please satisfy my curosity, but do i read some joseph chilton pearce or perhaps carlos casteneda here? i'd imagine you've read fritjof capra or steven pinker maybe?

We do not know what we do not know and once we accept this basic premise, to then make sweeping statements of absolute truth and clearly defined boundary is hubris, arrogance and self deception to the nth degree.

sweet humility.

nice bit of reflection, thx.

Tue, 05/10/2011 - 06:28 | 1258405 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I have read very little on this subject. While I will never claim my thinking is original or unique, I am where I am today based upon my own journey, not that outlined by those who have gone before. Very recently I bought a few volumes of Casteneda and I'm halfway through one of his early works. I do not know any of the others you mention.

For myself personally and without pointing any fingers, I find so many people do not hold their own worldview, but rather adopt transplanted concepts they read in a book or heard in a school lecture or that their friends and family hold. This is what I talk about when I constantly mention indoctrination and training.

I try to follow a few guiding principals. The more I think I know, the more I know that I don't know. The danger is in believing the opposite, I place I occupied for a long time. I talk more about this in Chapters 2 and 3.

Oh, and I reserve the right to be wrong 100% of the time. And half wrong the other 100% of the time. The benefit is derived from doing the thinking, not in reaching any conclusions.

Fri, 05/13/2011 - 10:57 | 1271740 forexskin
forexskin's picture

While I will never claim my thinking is original or unique, I am where I am today based upon my own journey, not that outlined by those who have gone before.

much respect. original thinking takes guts. but i think you're right to guess that this ground has been covered. if you strip away the cultural artifacts, especially the ones in place for indoctrination and control, you find a handful of archetypes, that in various proportions, appear in most of humanity. you might also realize that human sentience is more complex and has more depth than is commonly appreciated.

sometimes its good to read in a book that someone else before has had a similar experience, or that its possible to extend our own experience in heretofor unexpected ways. krishnamurti and gurdjieff come to mind. both original thinkers with a huge base of acquired learning. there are good teachers in books; the best respond to students with good original questions of their own.

i reserve the right to get smarter, wiser, or any damn thing circumstances suggest.

keep up the good work.

Sat, 05/14/2011 - 03:43 | 1273885 gangland
gangland's picture

+ infinity

krishnamurti-bohm conversations are interesting.

you brought up archtypes, what's your take on jung. what do you think of 'iron john' by robert bly?

gurdjieff, what is your take on him? what was he all about? cultish?

thanks in advance for your thoughts.


Tue, 05/10/2011 - 13:49 | 1259752 Tenma13
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Interesting point.

Just came out of a linguistics lecture on assessing second language materials, and the criteria for assessment. Lots of wonderful diagrams with inputs and outputs etc (love how the social science has to justify itself as a 'science' and thus serious, by adopting 'scientific' terminology). I asked what the relevance was of standardising materials when one considers varying contextual considerations and individual learners needs. Silence. The the lecture replied: 'How can we have a curriculum and who would make the materials?' 

 Guess he had a point, how can people learn what others want to teach them without a curriculum with all the 'relevnet' information? and Who cares what someone might want to learn, when those in authority know what needs to be learnt'.

 What was fascinating was other student reactions: after a couple questions relating to complex systems theory and second language acquisition, and how this pretty much says standardised learning is impossible, people were visibly trying to to get me to STFU. My questions occurred within the context of being invited by the lecture to ask questions and allowed time for other to go first... Forgot my job was to receive knowledge, rather than interact with it, or heaven forbid,  question it.... Silly rabbit. :P

Tue, 05/10/2011 - 14:02 | 1259779 Cognitive Dissonance
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.....people were visibly trying to to get me to STFU.

You were the black swan and they were desperately trying to silence you so they could get back to 'see no, hear no, speak no'. Don't you know you're not supposed to actually think?

The only reason we are educated as cogs is because cogs are what the machine wants. Conform to the machine or STFU.

Tue, 05/10/2011 - 14:35 | 1259910 Tenma13
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ya, as heartbreaking as it is, to get my Masters I will have to do this. 

There I was thinking this would be my opportunity to further my understanding, rather than limit it, but this is a 'good' school, so, of course they know the correct way of thinking, behaving, and being. Silly me.

Really odd, as some of  those who publicly move away from me in conversation, rehash and repeat the lectures recent papers in class, have privately via email or random conversation in the street (away from others) expressed similar opinions. Wish I had studied social psychology now....

I was thinking of trying for a PhD but that has a huge vetting filter. Basically you need the support from the faculty as they must decided that your research area is relevant. This is never explicitly stated, but I have had my ideas on learner autonomy constantly met with 'What a wonderful idea, unfortunately no one here specialises in that field'. 


Fri, 05/13/2011 - 11:09 | 1271793 forexskin
forexskin's picture

very simple. the credentials you seek are not yours, but theirs. they want to make sure the recommendation implied by their credentials, which you will carry, will not be used counter to the purposes of those on the outside who will pay for the credentials.

secret handshake and all...

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 04:10 | 1262024 JB
JB's picture

ya, as heartbreaking as it is, to get my Masters I will have to do this. 

then why on earth are you doing it? you are, in effect, selling your soul for something temporal.

"what profit has a man made, if he gains the whole world, and loses his soul?" 

Thu, 05/12/2011 - 04:39 | 1266857 gangland
gangland's picture


Thank you very much for your input.  Took me a few days to figure out what you meant.  I respect your view very much.

Tue, 05/10/2011 - 15:42 | 1260114 gangland
gangland's picture

nice job.  i loved asking full stop questions like that, inevitably, most professors would be intimidated and the others in class would look at me to stfu already.  it was boring.  I always said and still say political science should just be called politics, don't call it a science.  It's forensic at best and has exactly zero predictive ability other than maybe one cycle with less than 4 variables. about the only thing that has any merit is arrow's impossibility.


true story, i actually had a black princeton educated phd pull me physically out of class and berate me and call me racist because I had the temerity to challenge him in class when he said that ralph nader was a demagogue.   He said he agreed with obama on fat man russert's show, when barry said that nader was a demagogue, to which i responded that I thought barry's comments were asinine.

Dude actually called me a racist and told me to get the fuck out of his class, then he called the campus police on me.  I pulled him in front of the department chair and won.

shit like that happens when you think for yourself and have the gall to speak out against the establishment.

what i'm doing now is trying to develop a fractal algorithm to predict voting behavior.

Tue, 05/10/2011 - 19:23 | 1260964 Landrew
Landrew's picture

Think you would be better off using the first and second laws of thermodynamics.

Tue, 05/10/2011 - 07:06 | 1258444 gangland
gangland's picture

"I reserve the right to be wrong 100% of the time. And half wrong the other 100% of the time. The benefit is derived from doing the thinking, not in reaching any conclusions."


well stated sir and also big ups on your comment above on the priesthood and your contributions on the margins where they count ; )

Mon, 05/09/2011 - 23:38 | 1258002 nomadhotel
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CD, I'd like your opinion on this digest of the first chapter. Reliance on sensory input to define yourself and your environment is a form of logical positivism, and the demand for verifiability places sharp boundaries on those constructions. Empirical observations in the form of sensory input should contribute to theories of self and environment through criticism rather than delineation, and allow for those constructions of the mind to be regarded as falsifiable.

I enjoyed the chapter. Still catching up on your articles.

Tue, 05/10/2011 - 00:30 | 1258049 gangland
gangland's picture



consider the folowing statement:


"this statement is false"


is the statement above true or false?


notice that if the above statment is true, then it is false. and note also that if the statement is false, then it is true.


which is it? what is reality with regards to that statement. it's just a simple sentence.  but what does it represent conceptually. just a very simple example of the dual nature of reality. its recursive nature.


I Am a Strange Loop  Douglas R. Hofstadter

Stanford Singularity Summit


what is the point of perception if we did not have memory?


in that case, if memory is necessary for cognition of perception, then, is consciousnesses/awareness a function of memory and thus the physical nature?

it's tempting, but in that case both kurzweil and turing should have by now been proven correct.

I don't believe they will be because I don't believe conciousness, and thus reality, is purely a function of the physical architecture or the threshold of some minimum number of neurons or processing speed.

I believe it is more fundamental than that (a bit of a platonist that way, but not all the way, not a full determinist, more a limited one, in that I believe there is a basic, fundamental reality, but that it may not be fully acessible to us. thankfully. I'm actually very much good with that, to me that seems to be the entire point).

Tue, 05/10/2011 - 08:22 | 1258601 Ruffcut
Ruffcut's picture

"this statement is false"


"is the statement above true or false?"

It is not a statement and it is plain stoopid. IT is merely words that make no sense. The reality is that you are confusing yourself with pure bullshit.

Tue, 05/10/2011 - 09:52 | 1258755 gangland
gangland's picture

"It is not a statement and it is plain stoopid. IT is merely words that make no sense."

I personally believe that stoopid is as stoopid duz, because some US Americans in our nation, don't have words and make no sense, and i believe that our education, like such as everywhere are confused by plain statements and I believe that they should our education over here in the US should help the US help The South Africa and everywhere like such as, and The Iraq and The Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future for our children.  ;)

Tue, 05/10/2011 - 13:28 | 1259680 Tenma13
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When you running for office? :P

Tue, 05/10/2011 - 15:38 | 1260084 gangland
gangland's picture

im not but she will someday xD

Tue, 05/10/2011 - 00:46 | 1258127 nomadhotel
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"This statement is false", is fittingly, a falsifiable statement. The statement, p, declares itself to be false, ~p.

"This statement is false" <-> p=~p

Substitute equivalent values for p and ~p, such as 1, gives you 1=1, which is true. Substitute differing values, such 1 and 2, gives you 1=2, which is mostly false. The statement is a gruesome car wreck between semantics and teleology. I get what you're saying though.

I have worn copies of Hoftstadter's Gödel, Escher and Bach, and Metamagical Themas. It's been a long time since I've read through his expansion of Zeno's Paradox. Not in need of mental calisthenics right now.


Addressing perception from a purely sensory standpoint, perceived changes in the environment and in ourselves can trigger autonomic responses, and need not depend on cognition or memory to function. I am not prepared to debate the origins of self-awareness tonight, but it is my opinion that the senses inform and shape conciousness, and that we are genetically predisposed to be self-aware and have initially dim notions of causality. I do not think that self-awareness is a binary state; I believe that there are varying degrees of conciousness among people, and that those degrees of conciousness can fluctuate.

Tue, 05/10/2011 - 01:11 | 1258145 gangland
gangland's picture

Thank you very much for that great response. I have to read it a few times to understand it. I'm not sure about genetic pre-disposition to consciousness because it then becomes sort of functionalist for me (it's not a function of a genetic algorithm). But, thanks again for your thoughts and explanation, I completely agree with your last sentence, including what you said about the cognition of causality.

"I do not think that self-awareness is a binary state; I believe that there are varying degrees of consciousness among people, and that those degrees of consciousness can fluctuate."

What if logic is invalid?


Thu, 05/12/2011 - 01:09 | 1266637 delacroix
delacroix's picture

logic is a tool

Tue, 05/10/2011 - 01:59 | 1258229 nomadhotel
nomadhotel's picture

I think that the link between memory and cognition is important. The senses do not provide information about the present, only the immediate past. The powers of cognition can interpolate gaps in sensory data, e.g., blinking while observing an object in motion and filling in the missing data. Cognition can also extrapolate based on a series of sensory data, e.g., estimating the trajectory and speed of an object already observed in motion. Yet this means of sensory analysis and behavioral adjustment can operate in the absence of self-awareness. A fish has a sensory suite similar to our own, it can collect data over time, and change its' behavior to increase survival, as any fly-fisherman can attest to. The fish does not need to be self-aware to survive, it does not seem to refer to itself when altering its' behavior based on sensory input and cognition. The fish seems to rely on pure induction to survive changes in environment. We, on the other hand, seem to be dependent on self-awareness to survive. We have complicated our environment by not only processing and analyzing sensory input, but by synthesizing entire sets of sensory data to model changes in our environment that our senses have yet to observe. We hold in our consciousness multiple, often contradictory potential responses to changes in our environment, and learn to do so without being crippled these contradictions, or we do not survive.

I leave this question on the table: What gives rise to the need for the construct of consciousness?


As for Bell's Inequality, all I can say is that correlation does not imply causation. I'll let Donald Rumsfeld muddy things up a bit, "There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know."

Tue, 05/10/2011 - 06:07 | 1258387 tip e. canoe
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always loved that rummy quote.   just remember : he never mentioned the 'unknown knowns' - those things that we don't know we know.   and therein lies the key to the castle that holds the golden chalice, somewhere inside.

Wed, 05/11/2011 - 06:58 | 1262153 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Who or what is it that KNOWS?

Tue, 05/10/2011 - 02:13 | 1258234 gangland
gangland's picture

that's the crux isn't it? your question. The why? Excellent stuff.

Mon, 05/09/2011 - 23:30 | 1257975 cranky-old-geezer
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Another waste of ZH bandwidth with CD's mental masturbation.

No donation till TD cleans house, getting rid of dead weight like GW, Leo K, CD, etc.

Junk away, I couldn't care less.

Tue, 05/10/2011 - 13:08 | 1259635 Tenma13
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@ Geezer Would it not be more useful to say why you think so, rather than just that you think so?

Tue, 05/10/2011 - 08:53 | 1258688 Cognitive Dissonance
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At least I pay for the bandwidth I waste with regular donations.

You on the other hand are just a useless eater of bandwidth. 

Tue, 05/10/2011 - 00:58 | 1258140 forexskin
forexskin's picture

free will? self ownership?

i'm pursuaded these things are real; and that ideas from the heights are the foundation for that real.

ideas are tools, but also illustrate, sometimes in metaphors, sometimes in metaphysics, the right and the just.

seems our turning is outlining the next civilization battle, and damn straight its better to have a map than travel blindly.

Mon, 05/09/2011 - 23:28 | 1257974 blindman
blindman's picture

this might just blow your mind?
Nassim Haramein 1/45

Tue, 05/10/2011 - 06:00 | 1258377 Cognitive Dissonance
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Unfortunately Nassim Haramein, a free and unique thinker, is not well received among the high priests of physics. He has a few white knights in the community that help him tailor his presentation, both oral and written, more to the 'style' the priests like. But he remains an outsider and a heretic. The priesthood hates those who have not risen within the ranks and received all the proper indoctrination.

I went to one of Nassim's all day lectures two years ago and sat next to someone who held a PhD and was quite dismissive. Most of his complaint was that Nassim was not an official high priest, so what could he possibly know. Thus this PhD would simply dismiss much of what he heard as garbage without spending any time listening and absorbing. It really irritated him that Nassim wouldn't think in a 'structured' manner. I've been told many of the other high priests are just as dismissive.

I regularly donate money to Haramein's non profit and hope to visit him in Hawaii next year.

Tue, 05/10/2011 - 08:36 | 1258636 purplefrog
purplefrog's picture

Show me a man who can accept truth as authority.  Most are unconscious and require authority for truth, and even then they don't know what it means.


Mon, 05/09/2011 - 23:40 | 1257999 gangland
gangland's picture

+1 Bell's Theorem

Tue, 05/10/2011 - 00:31 | 1257914 gangland
gangland's picture


the hard problem rorty's demons and putnam's aliens.


so much to say on this subject, cognition and perception, qualia, searle, descartes, David chalmers I would highly recommend to you mr. cog diss...


for the purposes of this essay, let me say a few words on the placebo effect, since i skimmed your article.  the most recent study i read re the placebo effect had to do with subjects who were actually told before hand that they were receiving a placebo, in the form of a pill, sugar or whatever, and then were asked how they felt.  Most said they felt better even after fully being aware of taking a placebo (this doesnt necessarily mean 'mind-over-matter' however, it could be explained solely on the basis of cognitive or selective bias, so we have to be careful).



I would highly suggest david chalmers on the science of consciousness, you can see him on youtube he is a phd philosopher on the leading edge of this stuff.  he is trying to actually quantify consciousness. 


A book called cognition and perception mentions the neurological basis of cognition and perception, in that prior to performing every action, we actually visualize the action in some part of the cortex. we go through the action in our mind before performing it physically. but more than that, it's like a 3rd person view of ourselves performing the action, we see ourselves going through it in the visual cortex prior to performing the action(according to the author's lit review). 

does this mean we become conscious of an act before perceiving it? or vise versa? (beyond merely philosophical implications there are practical applications to consider in law, applied modeling etc).

In other words, the visual cortex is stimulated prior to the engagement of the motor cortex, when we perform physical actions (and we can become cognizant of this process in itself).  The sequence seems to be visual, pre-motor, then motor cortex. all the while we are conscious or not of all this activity going on? when does actual perception begin? when does consciousness begin?

is perception a function of what then? the visual cortex? the pre-motor? the motor? the muscles of the eye are controlled by motor functions. 

and still, besides that, what about consciousness? when do we become aware of what we are perceiving and what is that a function of? the neurons?

is perception just a function of the physical then? or their interplay? what about cognition/awareness?

how do you explain the color red to a blind person who has been blind from birth? a qualia.

last, for those interested in the mind-body-consciousness/perception puzzle, checkout the japanimation ghost in the shell, the first one only.   is consciousness necessary for perception? no. or is it?


Cognition and Perception: How Do Psychology and Neural Science Inform Philosophy? Athanassios Raftopoulos


David Chalmers


Extrasensory Perception and Quantum Models of Cognition





Mon, 05/09/2011 - 23:00 | 1257888 afriend2u
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"Reality is an illusion that occurs due to the lack of alcohol."

Homer Simpson

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