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Author Topic: What do you think about consciousness/sentience?  (Read 799 times)
LunarLepidoptera
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« on: February 26, 2023 @946.19 »

For the purposes of this conversation, I'll describe consciousness as awareness of oneself as an entity separate from the perceived world, and sentience as the ability to have subjective experience of senses/emotions and the like.

So to me, being sentient doesn't necessarily require having a sense of self. There are plenty of people who have disruptions in their sense of self for a variety of different reasons. Temporal lobe epilepsy can cause similar experiences to what people describe as an "ego death" from psychedelics, so too can other physical causes such as strokes and lesions, and of course psychological disorders. I've experienced disruptions of my sense of self, but obviously remained sentient. Just because you aren't aware of yourself doesn't mean you can't feel the world and have emotions.

Animals too are obviously sentient, some seemingly more so than others, but that could largely be due to our personal biases. At what point is something capable of feeling enough to be worthy of the sanctity of life? Everyone swats mosquitos for instance, or takes care of an ant infestation. I'm not arguing that they are deserving of it I just want to see what ideas this conjurers up that others would like to share.

In my opinion, all flows of energy/matter is in some sense the flow of some form of thought. Not to say everything is fully sentient, because obviously there are different degrees to it, but it's the only conclusion I can draw. Some people say it's all an illusion, to which I can only think, if everything is an illusion, then isn't everything as real as anything else?

btw, you don't have to get all formal and deep and PhIloSoPHiCaL with your replies, if you wanna talk casually or just have a quick observation feel free to share, even if it's only tangentially related!  :unite:

Also here is some art by the late Peter Birkhauser which is related, feel free to share similar
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Badgermein
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« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2023 @146.93 »

Y'know, I personally think life is what you make it. Or at least, that's what we're told. I think our society has a lot of influence over aspects of self-awareness and what qualifies as sentience and what doesn't. For instance, it's hard to prove that a fish has emotions. Fish are not expressive in terms of making a face or sharing opinions. But, we know that animals can be scared or hungry. Fish flee at the sight of a predator. Many species of fish stay together in large groups because of the existence of predators. But that's only certain types of fish. Fish can have an urge to reproduce or seek a mate. Many can argue that exemplifies a fish's sentience or self-awareness, but what if the fish is simply hard-wired to do so? In many ways, humans are the same way, but the main difference between humans and other forms of life is that humans have more 'needs'. Fish can seem like a machine, something that simply exists to feed itself, reproduce, and look for more food. It can be hard to determine whether or not fish get lonely (outside of dolphins and other aquatic mammals). Maybe I'm rambling too long on this fish analogy, but meerkats have packs and lions have prides. It can be argued these species has "societal needs". It can tough to apply the society term to the animal kingdom either way.

But it has been proven that animals can mourn. Species such as elephants and gorillas are emotionally intelligent.
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« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2023 @394.54 »

One thing I have definitely learned is that the way we experience things is absolutely not set in stone. I have had horror trips on various (legal, psh) psychedelics that haunt me still; especially with time warping and object permanence.

Not being able to trust your senses or ground yourself, being taken along on a rollercoaster ride by your own brain, is incredibly terrifying.
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Badgermein
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« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2023 @13.56 »

One thing I have definitely learned is that the way we experience things is absolutely not set in stone. I have had horror trips on various (legal, psh) psychedelics that haunt me still; especially with time warping and object permanence.

Not being able to trust your senses or ground yourself, being taken along on a rollercoaster ride by your own brain, is incredibly terrifying.

Wow, yeah, that sounds INCREDIBLY terrifying. Makes me hesitant to partake in that kind of thing, to be quite honest. I've dabbled a little in that, but it must've been weak. I keep hearing about using that kind of stuff to "find yourself" but I'm not so sure how true that is, or if it's the same for everyone. They always say you have to be in the right headspace.

A little aside about my fish analogy in my last post. I just found out that a recent study has concluded that fish can recognize themselves in reflections! Interesting stuff. Here's the study.
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« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2023 @468.99 »


I keep hearing about using that kind of stuff to "find yourself" but I'm not so sure how true that is, or if it's the same for everyone. They always say you have to be in the right headspace.

Definitely correct; I know plenty of people for whom one single LSD trip solved things like a gender identity crisis, some parts of their depression or completely changed their outlook on how to conduct their life. But you definitely need to be in the right headspace, you need someone you trust and love and knows what's going on to tripsit you, and you need some guidance to guide your trip in the right direction.

For me, it wasn't LSD though that made the horror trip; it was simply weed, but too much of it. The resulting time warp and constant "refreshing" of reality is very hard to describe but it felt like if I let go, reality would just fall apart completely; and even then, sometimes I failed. I was crying and screaming for help, speedwalking through my apartment to get some semblance of coherency back because if I laid down, "moments would just stack" and overwhelm me, it's hard to describe. Strong nausea, panic attacks, the feeling of being completely vulnerable to some chemical which can just make your mind feel all kind of existential horrors. Anyone who says that THC is harmless or weed cannot seriously harm you (if you use it irresponsibly) is lying; it definitely can, mentally.
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Badgermein
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« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2023 @879.50 »

Definitely correct; I know plenty of people for whom one single LSD trip solved things like a gender identity crisis, some parts of their depression or completely changed their outlook on how to conduct their life. But you definitely need to be in the right headspace, you need someone you trust and love and knows what's going on to tripsit you, and you need some guidance to guide your trip in the right direction.

For me, it wasn't LSD though that made the horror trip; it was simply weed, but too much of it. The resulting time warp and constant "refreshing" of reality is very hard to describe but it felt like if I let go, reality would just fall apart completely; and even then, sometimes I failed. I was crying and screaming for help, speedwalking through my apartment to get some semblance of coherency back because if I laid down, "moments would just stack" and overwhelm me, it's hard to describe. Strong nausea, panic attacks, the feeling of being completely vulnerable to some chemical which can just make your mind feel all kind of existential horrors. Anyone who says that THC is harmless or weed cannot seriously harm you (if you use it irresponsibly) is lying; it definitely can, mentally.

That's incredible. Hopefully one day I can do that. I feel like I barely have enough courage for it.

That is so horrible, I'm sorry that happened to you. I was thinking about our conversation on this today, and I suddenly remembered that I had a similar experience with THC. It was the first time I tried it, and it was horrible. I don't even think I had very much of it, but I believe it was laced. It was kind of the opposite effect for me. My head hurt so much, and time felt like it was flowing so slowly. I had to take a nap once or twice, but even into the evening the pain in my head was still so unbearable. Everything was so much harder to comprehend, reality didn't make sense in some moments. And I agree with you, I've known multiple people who have struggled with THC addiction. Just like anything, too much is bad. People that say THC isn't addictive or "harmless" are wrong. I have concerns for people that start smoking at such a young age like a lot of my friends did.   
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« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2023 @26.57 »

something i've been thinking about lately is the idea of plant (and also fungi) consciousness...i don't believe that these organisms "think" the same way humans do, like, when you search for reading about plant consciousness there seems to be an assumption that you're conceptualizing it as if plants form thoughts and feelings exactly like the human brain, and i don't believe that. but i do believe that they "think" in their own ways, which is honestly more wild and interesting to me than the idea that they have humanlike thoughts. the idea that these organisms are alive and exist and make decisions in a way that my mammal brain could never comprehend is so crazy and i think about it every time i'm out for a walk and pass by a tree, lol. like, that's a living thing, stuck in a little fenced-off planter on a sidewalk, and it's just vibing and doing its thing and Existing in a way that i, as a human, never could. i wonder if the tree knows it's a tree, but i also wonder if that actually matters as far as classifying it as a conscious being? i guess if you hold it to the standards of human consciousness, it would be disqualified...but what are the standards of tree consciousness...

i have no idea if any of this post makes sense :ha: basically sometimes i'm just like woooaahhh
trees, man...
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« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2023 @130.65 »

I’m not sure what I make of consciousness, but I know who I am, I see, touch, feel, etc.

The scariest part is how, as far as we know, it’s all done simply by electrical signals going through our brains and body, and one day it will all just be… gone. That terrifies me.

something i've been thinking about lately is the idea of plant (and also fungi) consciousness...i don't believe that these organisms "think" the same way humans do, like, when you search for reading about plant consciousness there seems to be an assumption that you're conceptualizing it as if plants form thoughts and feelings exactly like the human brain, and i don't believe that. but i do believe that they "think" in their own ways, which is honestly more wild and interesting to me than the idea that they have humanlike thoughts. the idea that these organisms are alive and exist and make decisions in a way that my mammal brain could never comprehend is so crazy and i think about it every time i'm out for a walk and pass by a tree, lol. like, that's a living thing, stuck in a little fenced-off planter on a sidewalk, and it's just vibing and doing its thing and Existing in a way that i, as a human, never could. i wonder if the tree knows it's a tree, but i also wonder if that actually matters as far as classifying it as a conscious being? i guess if you hold it to the standards of human consciousness, it would be disqualified...but what are the standards of tree consciousness...

i have no idea if any of this post makes sense :ha: basically sometimes i'm just like woooaahhh
trees, man...


One fact I learned a while back that I’m obsessed with is about how plants communicate with one another.

Their roots interconnect to one another, and send messages to each other. So like a flower you plant will connect to a nearby tree or bush, and basically anything on the ground that’s nearby.

Some researchers have said it’s like the early internet, meaning humans weren’t the first species to invent something of the sort. Maybe I’ll make a dedicated thread to this one day and link some articles I’ve been reading, but it’s so cool!
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« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2023 @187.09 »

One fact I learned a while back that I’m obsessed with is about how plants communicate with one another.

Their roots interconnect to one another, and send messages to each other. So like a flower you plant will connect to a nearby tree or bush, and basically anything on the ground that’s nearby.

Some researchers have said it’s like the early internet, meaning humans weren’t the first species to invent something of the sort. Maybe I’ll make a dedicated thread to this one day and link some articles I’ve been reading, but it’s so cool!

yes, this exactly!! the way plants communicate with each other in a way that is completely alien to our human brains is WILD. i picture it like two different web protocols: the human brain is a client that can only access HTTP (Human Thought Transfer Protocol, and plants run a client that can only access PTTP (Plant Thought Transfer Protocol)  :grin:
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