Consciousness, New Thinking About

PF fell_spamtrap_in at ozemail.com.au
Thu Jun 20 08:32:16 EST 2002


Posts to this NG from a couple of people with rational attitudes and
repertoires of
knowledge/insight roughly similar to mine has attracted my attention. Hence
I
shall again try to target this NG with my usually ill received
(though far from inEPTly conceived) concEPTs of _marginally my own_ making.

Now a shallow introduction of these concepts follows:

The concEPTs are uniquely revealing, complementary (in relation to any
relevant conventional views). And they are conservative or at least
carefully science-aligned, but only _under their surface_.

The concepts (or "concEPTs", as they may be better identified as) can
be characterized (more metaphorically) as flexible, telescopic, long-handled
precision tools, for grasping and holding-on to and at least
'umbrella understand' -- or IOW as corrective and protective multifocal
lenses for focusing
the mind's eye to view, or as a *homeopathically* protective memetic means
and method for dealing with (of coming to terms with) -- a certain
"difficult"
(i.e., both complex and at least potentially off-puttingly unpleasant)
aspect/matter of Reality.

In either case the viewing, grasping, understanding and 'dealing' will be
done with appropriate "Tolerance".

[The "Tolerance" I am referring to is an intellectual-attitudinal
application
of the (by the Uncertainty Principle as if precipitated) "Principle of
Tolerance;" as
coined and 'implicitly instructed' by J. Bronkowski in his book "The Ascent
Of Man".]

[But regardless of the degree of Tolerance Principled acceptance that YOU
are
capable of,  I prefer that you don't read 99% of all the stuff I have
already posted to various NGs since a kind of 'computer associated dyslexia'
usually has rather consistently turn my posts into serious self-slander!
%-}]


My kit of concEPTs covers and links-together animal related (though
unashamedly mainly *human animal* related) evolutionary
(phylogenetic/evolution theoretical), neurological and behavioural *aspects*
of why we and how we are the ways we are.

By these concEPTs (some of which are acronyms, and of those most are aptly,
if in one case very crudely, allusive), and by their mutually overlapping
definitions, and by having contrived it all in the first place, I have tried
to define, and tried to achieve a "cognitively more tangible", more
reliable and repeatable, grasp; and an overarching anthropocentric (even
self-centered to a justifiable extent) rational understanding (and an
eagle-eyed but hopefully _not_ eagle minded view) of "What Is going on"
especially in
the realm of human affairs (IOW, how "the human condition" was caused
and is conserved).
--

The 'biggest' concEPTs (i.e., at least in order of 'semantic size' or
compositeness)
are: "AEVASIVE" [~ acronym for encapsulating the evolutionary origin,
function, and individual/social/cultural consequences of >= "neurosis"];

"CURSES" (the short version of, approximately, "CCKHHURSES") is another
self-definition containing acronymal allusion, one by which I can achieve a
tolerably steady *complementary* cognitive grasp of a fairly specific - but
to any cognitive grasping effort especially slippery - range (or subset) of
'brain-recorded experiences' (IOW, of memories). Approximately the
conditioned-in, dynamic but subconscious, neural imprints left behind by
"traumatic" experiences.

Specific CURSES are inevitably *caused* by (are the inevitable result of)
correspondingly specific "life-situations" (i.e., environmentally forced
"individually lived" interactivity -- not environmental situations "lived
inconsequentially within").

More precisely, CURSES are caused by any "traumatically" impinging and/or
engaging part or aspect of a mileu. I am re-conceptualizing any truly in and
of itself traumatic (trauma-causing) aspect of an environment by way of an
acronym that *can* be defined and spellt as to make it appear crudely
alluding. Namely, "SHITS" (my personally preferred *alternative* spelling of
this complementary concEPT).

For you to see how I understand and have tolerably stretched (in what sense
I tolerably use) the word "Hibernation" -- note that my more flexible use
and more thoroughly defined meaning of this word is flagged with a
capitalized H (and if needed also with a tagged on T) -- this post (to
"sci.bio.evolution") of mine might help(?):

-----
Subject: A tolerably defined spectrum of an "Hibernatory mode
self-regulation".

This "spectrum" (the phylogenetic background to which, or "naturally
selective" cause of which, can be considered a subset of *adversity type
selection pressures*) can be
described (e.g. distilled into a suitably 'sounding' acronym) and defined as
follows:-

>From a relatively "mild SHITS" where the acronym might best be derived from
"selective habituation instilling type stimulation", through either mild or
severe but most of all *regularly eventuating* SHITS where the acronym might
best be derived from "seasonal Hibernation inviting type situation", to any
severe and irregularly occurring SHITS where the acronym would best be
derived from "*_selective Hibernation_ imploring* type situation").

The unifying functional/adaptive feature of "Hibernatory" (with a capital H
to illustrate the concept's expanded meaning in this context)
self-regulation, is a suppression of cell metabolism (e.g. by a mechanism
even as precisely targeted, or as "selective", as one that can prevent the
burning of energy specific to sustaining the firing of a particular neuron)
in the service
of conserving vital (potentially reproductive) resources.


[My main focus is and will always
remain on the last listed kind of SHITS, because this area of the spectrum
of Hibernatory self-regulatory states tends to be concealed from us at any
level of our capacity for being or becoming "conscious" (as defined by me),
as a consequence
of the AEVASIVE aspect of our psychophysiology and evolution.

N.B.
That the acronym "SHITS" is only a deceptively inept concept, is a
conclusion that logically flows from the fact that every relevant
*science-aligned* manner of reasoning suggest *a definitional overlap*
between states of "selective" (as in functionally discrete or localized)
"Hibernation", and states of "selective" UNCONSCIOUSNESS.]
------------End of Post-----------


CCKHHURSES or CURSES - the long and short version of the 'CURSES concEPT' -
can be derived from (from within, respectively) a defining statement along
the lines of:
"Conditioned (or "conditioned in") [and as if] Chronically Kept "Hibernated"
[here primarily a more or less efficient local "gating" or inhibition of
potentially distress-motivating firing of excitatory neurons of "actention
modules" within an "actention (selection) system" (~= a brain/NS/or even
'brain-body system')], Hence Unconsciously [since the fundamental and most
simply defining *physiological* component of any kind (intensity, specific
feature-content, and "level") of a state of Consciousness is here most
simply defined as a "sufficient" level of firing (within actention modules)
of "Reticular Activating Type" neurons] Remembered Stressors [stored but no
longer environmentally current or present life-situational/environmental
causes of stress] Effecting (nevertheless) Symptoms [i.e. "stressors",
specifically of 'SHITS type', and their subsequent internally stored and
insidiously reverberating residues,  must be dealt with by inhibitory
self-regulatory means, otherwise they will quickly motivate seriously
self-defeating behavioural, and internal hormonal, flight-fight type
responses].

SHITS ["selective Hibernation imploring type situations" ~= traumatic
experiences] by definition inevitably tend to become CURSES (the
"reverberating" internally retained core-residue of past traumatic
experiences] within the "Actention (Selection) System" of individuals that
survived having gotten into *such* situations.

[Yes, SHITS, and my entire 'platform-terminology', is part of an AEVASIVE
conceptualization that is co-motivated by frustrated and consequently
potentially very distressing needs - i.e. by SHITS I personally once was in,
and that automatically turned into my own 'CURSES type' memories. On the
other hand
it is a uniquely EPT "AEVASIVEness"; and AEVASIVEness co-motivated by the
'fuzzsilly', sEPTic-humored, logic in which I like to
cynically stoop to steap my otherwise too brief and flimsy insights.]


----- Original Message -----
From: "John H." <John at overhere>
Newsgroups: alt.consciousness,bionet.neuroscience
Sent: Thursday, June 13, 2002 6:57 PM
Subject: Re: Consciousness, New Thinking About



> Having read, Crick (1984 searchlight hypothesis), Edelman (Bright Air,
> Brilliant Fire ...), Damasio (The Feeling for What Happens), Rosenfield
(The
> Strange, The Familiar and the Forgotten - brilliant), Dennett
(Consciousness
> Explained), Pinker (How the Mind Works), that Hofstadter jazz, Penrose
> (both, and dreadful they were), and I really should read Churchland, Fodor
> (The Language of Thought), Cotterill(Cooperation of the basal ganglia,
> cerebellum, sensory cerebrum and hippocampus: possible implications for
> cognition,
> consciousness, intelligence and creativity), I find your above statement
to
> be something of a generalisation.
>
> I'm not aware of a 'conventional view', rather enjoying the pleasure of
> reading some brilliant and insightful minds addressing this distressing
> question through a variety of approaches. In Rosenfield and Edelman memory
> is essential, in the others it is assumed. Something in Damasio's ideas
> interested me though and has for me at least cast the question of
> consciousness in a rather new light.
>
> Many Buddhists would certainly think that consciousness is possible
without
> memory and as I like the Buddhists I'll rely on Damasio's idea of "primary
> consciousness" to argue the case. Damasio states that our experience of
> consciousness arises from two primary types: primary and extended. He
> 'locates' the primary consciousness in the cingulate, hypothalamus, basal
> forebrain, and brainstem nuclei (p 193 my ed). This he calls a 'proto
self'.
> When I first read it I was reminded me of a quote from Helen Keller,
>
> "Before my teacher came to me, I did not know that I am. I lived in a
world
> that was a no-world. I cannot hope to describe adequately that
unconscious,
> yet conscious time of nothingness. ... Since I had no power of thought, I
> did not compare one mental state with another."
>
>  Helen Keller, 1908. (From Consciousness Explained)
>
> Damasio's approach suggests that while memory is required for the creation
> of this primary consciousness it is naturally not conscious memory but
> rather that memory that goes in creating the way a particular CNS deals
with
> its world in the first place. Alternatively primary consciousness is
simply
> those 'remembered' experiences that have shaped those structures. He goes
on
> to argue that extended consciousness arises through the accumulation of
> memories that allows autobiographical referencing of present experiences
> with those of the past. As Edelman notes memory without time keeping isn't
> much good. Time keeping allows the organism to compare present
circumstances
> with a 'recreation' of a similiar past experience. (Interestingly the
first
> form of memory may have been circadian rhythms significant that SCN lies
> deep down there but anyway ...) Our experience of consciousness is very
much
> that autobiographical referencing. We may all have a primary
> consciousness-self but that is not within our conscious experience. Not
most
> of the time anyway. Rereading Edelman recently he also noted that we
appear
> to have a primary consciousness; but he's just so damn clever it doesn't
> surprise me he thought of it 15 years ago. Nothing compared to the
> Buddhists, they've known this for centuries.
>
> Why must consciousness be a single phenomena? That may be our experience
or
> is it? In schizophrenia psychosis is often paralleled by significant cell
> loss in the temporal and prefrontals, as if the CNS is now recreating
> conscious experience with what equipment is still working. Under the chaos
a
> proto self survives, the person is conscious but now through a different
> extended consciousness. Another perspective on this is that of split brain
> patient studies, these ideas wonderfully developed by Gazziniga. It does
> seem as if the two hemispheres approach the world in significantly
different
> ways and the very greater part of our conscious experience is mediated via
> left hemispheric function. Over recent years studies on animals indicate
> that they are much more conscious than we were inclined to believe. It
> doesn't require that much neocortex to create autobiographical
referencing.
>
> The views of Damasio, Edelman, Rosenfield (possibly, can't remember
enough),
> and the Buddhists suggest that underneath all those autobiographical
> referencing there exists a primary consciousness that is the root from
which
> our conscious experience emerges. Split brain studies suggest there is
more
> than one way to have consciousness of the world, we just are not conscious
> of that. Gazziniga's extends his ideas to the point of suggesting the our
> brains 'blindly weave false beliefs" in us because it suits its own
> purposes. As I used to say, brains are smarter than us, they created us,
we
> should not assume they are telling us the whole truth and nothing but the
> truth. Aint that an epistemological hassle?
>
> I have great difficulty understanding words like "memory".
>
> Memories are not individual items retrieved in response to a stimulus. By
> the views above memories are recreated within a context of meaning
relating
> to the self, extended and primary. Consider flashing lights and epilepsy.
It
> may be the case the stimulation caused by the lights stimulates the
primary
> visual cortex to establish a meaning for these stimuli, to 'make sense' of
> the same. I vaguely remember reading some PET studies wherein it was
> suggested that when individuals were searching for a solution or memory
> there was a generalised activation of the relevant cortical area that
> rapidly narrowed when the individual reported a solution. Failure to find
a
> solution keeps the activity going. This reminds of a recent fMRI study on
> depressives, where showed lowered frontal lobe function but an over
> activated hippocampus. Other studies have demonstrated significant
> hippocampal atrophy relative to circulating cortisol levels and depressive
> state, depression often being associated with a dysfunctional HPA axis.
>
> The stress response can have the effect of increasing nore activity in the
> prefrontal cortex this in turn will upregulate glutaminergic afferents
which
> may explain the tendency for the hippocampus to be over activated in
> depressive states. In a good review though (Sapolsky: et al, Endocrine
> Reviews, 21(1): 55-89 argue that a chronically over activated hippocampus
> arises principally via amygdala activation, this structure being a key
> player in the stress response.
>
> So chronic stress can mediate an increase not only towards seizures but
> generally a rather deleterious state for the CNS, resulting in significant
> cell death in the hippocampus(also mediated via high GC transcription) and
> other regions. Hence my previous interest in the idea of preferential
damage
> to hippocampal inhibitory neurons. Stress will also induce expression of
> circulating il1 and tnfa, proinflammatory 'immune' cytokines that can have
> significant impacts on cognition. For example, il1 is essential for the
> maintenance of LTP in the hippocampus but not its induction. Higher levels
> of il1(prior to its cell killing effects) may have the effect of
increasing
> the excitatory potential of hippocampal neurons, this possibly mediated
via
> its ability to upregulate nfkb which in turns stimulates cox 2 prodn, both
> of which have been shown involved in glutaminergic activity. As
circulating
> il1 will impact on CNS endothelial cells it does have the capacity to
cause
> blood brain barrier 'leakage' (the word 'barrier' is very misleading) but
> more importantly both microglia and astrocytes can produce il1 and tnfa
and
> microglia particularly will undergo activation via il1. Subsequent nitric
> oxide (NO) production may begin the deleterious cycle in the hippocampal
> neurons towards cell death, generally it seems that NO producing cells
have
> good resistance to its potential toxic effects whereas non-NO cells are
> vulnerable. I don't know if Gaba cells produce NO but I'll bet no. These
> cells the first to suffer because the plentiful NMDA glutamate neurons
> produce NO but there's more than one way to kill a cell there turn comes
> with the gradual loss of inhibition.
>
> Additionally, these cytokines inhibit Gaba activity in the hippocampus,
> establishing a scenario for positive feedback via stress, particularly as
> the last reference indicates that increasing GABA (C)(GABA(A) also
> upregulated in this study) helps prevent seizures.
>
> J Pharmacol Exp Ther 2000 Feb;292(2):497-504,
>
> Interleukin-1beta inhibits gamma-aminobutyric acid type A (GABA(A))
receptor
> current in cultured hippocampal neurons.
>  Neuroreport 1995 Aug 21;6(12):1689-92
> Wang S, Cheng Q, Malik S, Yang J.
>
> Effects of interleukin-1 beta and interleukin-2 on amino acids levels in
> mouse cortex and hippocampus.
> Bianchi M, Ferrario P, Zonta N, Panerai AE.
> J Neurosci 2001 May 15;21(10):3419-
>
> Suppression of neuronal hyperexcitability and associated delayed neuronal
> death by adenoviral expression of GABA(C) receptors.
> Cheng Q, Kulli JC, Yang J.
>
> So the problem has some complexity to it, it is not enough to simply look
at
> neurons and the CNS, some types of seizures are in part at least mediated
> via immunological effects. That's what I hate about Neuroscience, there
are
> so many ways to come at a problem.
>
> Problem is this is a possible explanation, there are probably others and
my
> knowledge of this is scant, it would take much more to flesh this out. It
> is, however, clearly evident that seizure activity is going to affect
memory
> retrieval. I don't have any formal training in this so if any of the bods
> out there can enlighten me on these ideas please feel free.
>
>
> John H.
>
>
>







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