Without stimulus the mind is not alive

This is my hypothesis. The mind is not a object but a process, it takes information from the outside world and transforms it into pattern. That pattern is not the mind, it’s just the way the mind sustains itself from moment to moment. That pattern still exists when you die, albeit temporarily until decay sets in, but we aren’t alive because the mind isn’t receiving any new input.

Now that doesn’t mean a consciousness can’t be revived, the pattern is still there, and if the process can be restarted then I suspect the consciousness would continue as if nothing happen. One moment about to die, the next revived. This is essentially what proponents of cryogenics expect to occur.

Did I just contradict myself, by saying that consciousness can be revived from the pattern, even though I claimed the pattern wasn’t the mind? I don’t believe so. The pattern is the painting, the mind is painter. In humans, the painter is the physiological processes that generate the electrical signals shooting through our body and that update the neuronal structure in our brain.


#1   Zeren on 04.25.08 at 8:40 am

What is transhumanism, what is it to you, would you explain it a bit?

#2   Andrew on 04.29.08 at 1:25 pm

So are you saying that consciousness is the active change of state of our brain?
I don’t think neurons can be in a state, they can fire, and then they reset. Like a camera flash, it can’t be in more than one state, albiet very temporarily.
Also, what about sensory isolation tanks which remove people from as much stimulus as physically possible, the person is still very conscious. Or dissociative drugs like Ketamine, which achieve much the same. The brain is still very conscious.
I think consciousness is a function of upper brain function, an ability humans evolved, and a phenemenom that is not constantly occuring. I was very interested in consciousness a while back and read some introductory books (Consciousness – Susan Blackmore, highly recommended) and have come to the same conclusion as some of the experts, that most of the time we are not conscious, as in aware, most of the time we just operate like animals, yes we remember things we did and we even have thoughts, but it’s not until we back of and pay attention to our consciousness that we are conscious.
It’s truely a strange phenemenom though no matter how you look at it.

#3   Joel on 04.29.08 at 3:49 pm

Neurons have state, their state is what other neuron’s they are connected to and the weights of these connections. Neither of these are static.

Even in isolation tanks, and with disassociative drugs the brain is receiving stimulus from the external world – the conscious mind is just not always aware of it.

My argument was a bit flawed because I started crossing consciousness with general thought, and they are potentially two different although related things in my opinion. Interesting about the humans operating like animals most of the time. Self-reflection is definitely a part of consciousness.

#4   Don’t become a closed system — ferrouswheel on 07.29.10 at 8:07 pm

[…] think though, that a similar law applies to intelligent systems. Without stimulus the mind is not alive and eventually a lack of synaptic firing would lead to the neuronal weighting between neurons to […]

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