A Basis of Consciousness
Copyright 2003, James Michael Howard, Fayetteville, Arkansas, U.S.A.
I define "consciousness" as one brain mechanism having to inhibit or enhance
another. This makes one mechanism "aware" of the other. Now this may be
magnified into any level of complexity of "on off" mechanisms monitored by other
"on off" mechanisms. This is a form of "consciousness."
However, I suggest the real key to "consciousness" is awareness of "need." When
the above scenario is connected with a mechanism which generates "need," the
interaction reaches the level of self awareness. Hence, hunger, thirst, etc. and
sex produce "self awareness" in their satisfaction or deferral. (The memories of
how these needs were met are stored in the association areas which refine the
opportunity for satisfaction and increase awareness.)
The third part is "drive." "Need" generates drive. This is the area which
machines, at least at this time, may not be able to mimic. A machine that must
seek and find energy, for example, is simply using "on off" mechanisms. I
suggest the "drive" of animals results from the characteristic of nerves which
differentiates them from other tissues. I think our drive comes from the
"addiction" mechanism. That is, our nerves evolved the ability to increase
receptors in response to the stimulus of entering molecules which trigger the
addiction mechanism. Therefore, an accumulation of nerves, the brain, becomes a
site which is constantly increasing its "need" for various molecules by
constantly increasing receptors for these molecules. This is the basis of our
I suggest "consciousness" consists of these mechanisms: control of one mechanism
over another, especially involving mechanisms that are identified as "needs,"
and the addiction mechanism which constantly renews "needs."
(This is from www.anthropogeny.com/research.html )