neurotransmitter storage (all or one?)

Matt Hodgkinson matt at
Tue Aug 29 17:48:53 EST 2000

> Oh hell no, in that case why isn't the liver conscious?? I've never had a
> conversation with it, have you? There is something unique about neuron(s),
> in the way that they allows us to debate such topics.
> T.L.S.

The liver isn't conscious because there is no network of connections that
could lead to a consciousness arising.  Liver cells do not communicate
information in a complex network, neurones do.  I believe (IMHO) that *any*
sufficiently complex network of interacting units could become
conscious/capable of thought/able to act like a living brain.
Which leads on to the question below...

> PS. Another big problem with this discussion - what is consciousness? Can
> anyone define it??

I can't pretend to be able to define it, but it has something to do with
attention, and higher order processing.  Your sub-conscious mind does lots
of processing and decisions, but it is ultimately your consciousness that
decides (or thinks it does?!) upon an action.  Consciousness is the gelled
'experience' that results from all the many processing pathways finally
converging to give a (hopefully) coherent model of the world, sound, touch,
smell, taste, vision all hopefully forming a seamless whole.  Consciousness
can be directed by sub-conscious processes that are attracted towards inputs
that stand out, and your sub-conscious mind can 'know' something without
'you' (your conscious mind) knowing what that is - tip of the tongue being
one example, or suddenly putting a name to a face you knew you recognised.
This isn't a definition, but gives some idea of what (I think) consciousness
Susan Greenfield is quite a good pop scientist for this field.


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