But first, a word from our sponsors! Ok, that's not true... I have no sponsors. It is only this urge that I have that compels me to share my thoughts. Forgive me if I'm not wholly coherent, I've been up for quite awhile, and had a very busy past couple of days... Anyway, without further ado, here's what struck me, a week or so ago, about consciousness:
That consciousness required free will, which required choices, has seemed to make sense to me for quite some time... if you browse through the history of this journal, you will find a few entries that deal with the problem of consciousness, and what I called the free will paradox. A natural expansion of this idea has people as probability manipulators... that at a small enough level, we have to be able to slant probabilities, otherwises our choices are nothing more than random chance, or predetermined. I was recently thinking of something I thought about in high school... how probability manipulation was possible, and suddenly realized a few things about consciousness. So, for those of you who aren't aware of it, let's start with the following example:
Take 3 identical plastic cups, but a ball under one cup, and mix them up so you have no idea which cup the ball is under. Now, if you select one cup, but don't look under it, your chances of finding the ball under it are one in three. Someone then looks under the two remaining cups, and removes a cup that the ball is definitely not under, so now there are only two cups. Some people might think that the chance the cup you originally chose has the ball under it is 50%, but it is not, it is still 1/3. If you switch your answer to the other remaining cup, there is a 2/3 chance the ball is under it... because that cup represents both itself and the cup that was removed, so in essence, you're choosing 2 of the original cups. If you don't believe me on this, look it up... it is a fairly well known probability problem.
So I thought about this in high school, and realized that someone could then pretend that they didn't see the first part of the cup problem, that they just had two cups... and so could make it a 50-50 chance by picking one randomly... or they could remember what they saw, and make it a 2/3 chance they'd pick the cup with the ball. Recently, it hit me... this is how people make choices in the first place! They have access to much information, that if they kept it all in mind, they could weigh everything, and make a decision based on that... alternatively, they can intentionally forget information, slanting the probability (or their desire) to take a certain action in a certain way! For example, you can suppress the information that junk food is bad for you, thus increasing relatively speaking the balance in eating junk food's favour. I now believe this is the process that conscious entities use to make choices!
So consciousness is awareness... but it is by intentionally ignoring information that we manipulate ourselves in to doing certain actions, it is this mechanism in which free will is possible. But what if someone attained total awareness, if such a thing were possible? They would no longer have free will; in a way they would be bound by what they know. That doesn't mean they'd be unhappy, but they'd be able to see the best path (if one exists), and to take it. Thus, free will is a result of consciousness, but not necessary for consciousness... if one is able to and chooses to remain fully aware, or have a fully awakened consciousness.
However, I thought a bit more, and realized that there was still a way to have a higher consciousness than a fully aware entity. Instead of intentionally forgetting, there is intentionally creating. Perhaps some will argue that true creation is not possible. However, I believe a higher consciousness than being fully aware would not necessarily have to go down one path... they could create their own. Thus, consciousness has various levels... in the first stage of consciousness, this is determined by how much you are aware of... pretty much everything. The epitome of this is being aware of everything, and always walking the "best" path. Perhaps impossible, but it is there in concept. A higher consciousness is still aware of everything, but can also add to that everything, creating something new. People can probably be partially aware, and still create... I haven't thought through all the details, but there it is, my current picture of consciousness, what it is and how it works.
Again, I apologize for the rambling, repetition and lack of clarity this entry may exhbit... I think I should go to bed. May those who are sick be healed; good night to you all. Remember, comments of any kind are not only tolerated... they're encouraged!
Daniel Allen Nadolny