Consciousness ~=~ self-referentiality' (was Re: Consciousness, New Thinking About

tony.jeffs tonyjeffs2 at
Mon Jun 3 13:51:03 EST 2002

Well I just wrote a long reply and pushed the wrong button, so start

Yes  Continuum of consciousness sounds plausible.

A constant level of consciousness in the universe in the universe sounds
less plausible, though;
If I go to sleep, I think my contribution to the sum total of consciousness
ceases to be.
If not, where does it go?


"Matt Jones" <jonesmat at> wrote in message
news:b86268d4.0206021600.443e6f7e at
> "PF" <fell_spamtrap_in at> wrote in message
news:<hUfK8.3668$3t6.159759 at>...
> > "mat" <mats_trash at> wrote in message
> > news:43525ce3.0205251658.4279be21 at
> >
> > Might there be some virtue thinking in terms of "degrees of
consciousness" ~
> > 'degrees of selfreferentiality' (or self-referential discriminatory
> > responses)?
> >
> > %-|
> >
> > P
> Seems to me that "degrees" is the -only- sensible way to think about
> it. Another way to put it might be "a continuum of consciousness".  If
> one believes in evolution, then at one level, there really is no
> difference between a person and a rock. We're all made essentially of
> the same stuff anyway, and at one time there were no people, only
> rocks.
> As the story of evolution goes, life evolved from the stuff that came
> out of the rocks (i.e., carbon, nitrogen, phopshporus, sulfur, oxygen
> etc were largely released into the atmposphere by the process of
> "outgassing" - from the original rocks), combined with water that may
> have come from comets and stuff that crashed into the earth.
> To make a long story short, after a few billion years, some of the
> descendants of those original lifeforms are now able to engage in
> debate over what separates them from the original rocks from which
> they came. In these debates, this word "consciousness" keeps coming up
> over and over again.
> Whatever it is that separates them, it's not mere chemistry or
> physics, because those are the processes responsible for turning the
> original rocks into people. That is,  the current "conscious"
> organisms result from the same rules governing matter, energy and
> information that produced the original rocks, and arose in fact by a
> sort of repeated iteration of those rules over a long period of time.
> To me, it seems reasonable that "consciousness" therefore also arose
> from those original rocks by iteration of these same rules.
> So what's consciousness?   I don't know exactly, but whatever it is,
> it's made of the same stuff that rocks are made of, and it follows the
> same rules that rocks follow.
> Lying along the same -physical- continuum as people and rocks are lots
> of other animals, plants, bacteria, etc. I suggest that all of these
> things ought to also be considered to lie along the same -behavioral-
> continuum as well (and for that matter, along the same -cognitive-
> continuum). I don't see the value of trying to draw sharp boundaries
> between people and apes, apes and dogs, dogs and rats, rats and
> snails, snails and bacteria, bacteria and viruses, or viruses and
> rocks.
> Cheers,
> Matt

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