Posts Tagged ‘consciousness’

“And tickling, Provine says, has a profound lesson to teach us. “When you look at the evolution of the development of tickle, you’re also looking at the evolution of the development of self,” he says. What’s at work in tickling, he argues, is the neurological basis for the separation of self from other. After all, as Provine noted so indelicately, you can’t tickle yourself. Your body knows that you are you; you can’t fool it. “Otherwise you’d go through life in a giant chain reaction of goosiness,” Provine says. “You’d be afraid of your own clothing if you could never distinguish between touching and being touched.”

When a baby senses a foreign hand lightly brushing his bare feet, he’s experiencing something that is recognizably other—which means that there’s something that isn’t other, too: There’s himself. Tickling is central to who we are, because it is part of how we establish that there’s a we there. (This may why too much or unwanted tickling is so viscerally frightening and overwhelming: There’s the sense that someone is invading your body and you can’t stop it.)”

via Tickling and science: How tickling a child connects parents and kids. – Slate Magazine.


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“It is easy to view consciousness as a kind of magic. In religion it is represented by the mysterious soul, and in science the concept of consciousness at first appears quite alien. But many fields, such as the study of what distinguishes l

ife from nonlife, had their earlier magical states eroded by careful scientific study. Consciousness is in the midst of a similar revolution.

“…how we are closing in on establishing a consciousness meter—a way to measure levels of awareness in any being that may be able to experience the world. Consciousness is in many ways the most important question remaining for science.

via Consciousness science and ethics: Abortion, animal rights, and vegetative-state debates. – Slate Magazine.

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When 25 of the top minds in the world met earlier this year to discuss non-human animal consciousness, they were compelled to issue a declaration regarding their momentous conclusions. They, as a scientific body of experts, declared to the world “Non-human animals are conscious creatures”. 

Their “Declaration of Animal Consciousness” is a simple document laying out the facts and points of their findings. 

Humans, being conscious and intelligent creatures, will now begin a (likely) slow process of redefining our relationships to, and our treatment of, the other other animals with which we share this planet. 

We are moving fast in the direction of major scientific discoveries and breakthroughs. Technology gives us an edge not previously known to mankind. What will we do when the first robot passes the Turing Test? What if we make “first contact” with beings not of our own kind? What kind of protocol will advanced beings have regarding us? What kind of protocol would we like them to have? 

We are learning more and more about our own cosmos. Each discovery moves us in the direction of understanding more, and requiring large shifts, at times, of our current view of ourselves and the cosmos which we inhabit. How do we better implement these new pieces of knowledge and understanding? How can we streamline the process to make the understanding known to all humans faster, quicker and with efficiency?

via Non-Human Consciousness Exists Say Experts. Now What? – Forbes.

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he behavior of harvester ants as they forage for food mirrors the protocols that control traffic on the Internet.


via Stanford biologist, computer scientist team up to discover the ‘anternet’.

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On the morning of May 24, 1987, sometime after 1:30 A.M., a 23-year-old Canadian named Kenneth Parks drove 14 miles to his in-laws’ home, strangled his father-in-law to the point of unconsciousness, and beat and stabbed his mother-in-law to death. A year later he was acquitted of both assault and murder. After a careful investigation, specialists reached the astonishing conclusion that Parks had been sleepwalking—and sleep driving and sleep attacking—during the incident.

Neuroscience will inform our justice system in the very near future. It is already having an impact. Does this defense qualify? or is it just another cop-out murder defense?

via Are Sleepwalking Killers Conscious?: Scientific American.

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Ayahuasca is a psychedelic plant tea made from the bark of a vine mixed with (usually) the leaf of a certain tree found in the Amazon basin. It is cooked up with water over an open fire and simmered for 2-3 days while a shaman or curandera sings over it.

At this point, a small amount of the resulting “tea”, usually 1-2 ounces, is drunk in a “ceremony”. Those who imbibe experience a strong and thorough purging of their insides. Within about 30-40 minutes, vomiting ensues for most, sometimes followed by bouts of diarrhea. For an unfortunate few, extreme nausea goes on for a length of time, followed by several bouts of explosive diarrhea. In any case, eventually for all, the brain is flooded with serotonin, which stays at higher than normal levels for a period of about 24 hours.

The experience often involves hallucinations of seeing spirit guides, talking trees and occasionally a snake (said to be the spirit of the plant, itself). For those who take it seriously, it has been a life changing experience. For others, it is a horrible way to get high.

During that 24 hour period of “coming down”, the ayahuasca drinker seems to be extremely susceptible to suggestion, which tend to linger long after the effects of the tea has worn off.

This study on the neurotoxicity of the ayahuasca tea is flawed, although I don’t doubt there may well be lasting negative neuro effects for those who imbibe with any regularity. What those neuro effects are, remains unknown at this point.

This particular study was flawed in a number of ways — most glaringly by the mixture of the tea. Who mixed it? from whose recipe? what was the admixture used? What amounts of each and what preparation method?

via Is Ayahuasca Neurotoxic? | Singing to the Plants.

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Bottlenose dolphins that have learnt to use sea sponges as hunting tools form cliques with others that do the same — the first evidence of animal grouping based on mutual interest, a study said Tuesday.

via Dolphins sponge up culture: study.

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