The Secret You: What Drives Our Consciousness?

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consciousness.jpgAs human beings, we take for granted our sense of being, our personality, what makes us, well, us! We don't wake up every day asking ourselves, "How did I just wake up?" "What is guiding me?" "What drives me to do the things I do?" But the BBC video with Marcus de Sautoy gave me a new, unique view on our own consciousness. Whenever we do something, our brain is acting in coordinance with our sense of self... our "consciousness." But where exactly does this consciousness come from? And who is in charge of it?
The right button/left button test that Sautoy underwent fascinated me. The fact that scientists could predict which button Sautoy pressed 6 seconds before he actually did it was astounding. It made me wonder though, how could this happen? It is kind of scary to think about this concept of how someone could consciously know what we are going to do without us being aware of it. It brought me to a much larger epistemological question of "How do we know what we think we know?" The entire video tries to answer this question, but in my mind, I don't think we will ever discover the true mysteries of our consciousness. How can we solve our own inner mechanisms, our beliefs, our desires? The very thought of all this burns out my brain and makes me want to just not think about it because it is so unbelievably mystifying.
Furthermore, the red dot test that Sautoy surveyed also led me to an interesting question. If the little girl doesn't pass the consciousness test, who is she as a person? Is she conscious? Is she aimlessly viewing the world as a completely different individual? Is there a "switch" that at some age we turn on and then we are conscious? This video led me to so many abstract questions about our internal "self." We as humans strive to solve so many problems in our external world, but have we even decoded our very own being? Do we even know who we are?

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I am in complete agreement with you. The question of who we are, is so very simple, yet the intricacies involved are largely overwhelming. Trying to fully decipher what consciousness is is nigh impossible, in my opinion. You raise many interesting questions that are quite mind boggling; unfortunately, your questions only lead me to pose more questions, thus, complicating matters even more. Nonetheless, this opens up more opportunities for us to discover who we are as people, granted, it may take an eternity to define.

Your post is very interesting and very true. We never really think about all of the things that go on inside our minds without us even realizing it. With the button test, a certain side of the brain gets more active depending on which button we're going to push, but is that true in everything we do? Does a certain part of the brain get more active if someone decides to open a window? And what makes us think the way we do? Why do certain characteristics bother us more than others? We try to define things and other people by their brain activities or the way they behave, but how can we do that when we can't even explain half of the things we do? It's very interesting to think that we don't necessary what our "consciousness" is yet.

This thought process brings back the topic of free will vs. determinism. Are we programed a certain way that makes us who we are, or is it something that changes constantly that we have control over. "Who are we?" is one question but a bigger question is "Who runs us?" Everyone is comletely different from one another and yet still considered the same species. But if you think about it, if we got all the questions answered then what would be the point in living we would have no life. So these questions that we are asking is what keeps us going and makes us human. We do not become robot drones.

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This page contains a single entry by gaust024 published on February 19, 2012 10:23 PM.

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