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The Brain and Consciousness

Consciousness, the ability to perceive and interpret information, is a crucial aspect of human life. It has been studied and debated by philosophers, theologians, linguists and scientists for millennia. It is also the subject of research in a wide range of fields, including psychology and neuroscience.

Some believe that consciousness is a special kind of substance, not physical in nature, and therefore separate from the brain and body. Others think of it as an attribute characterized by sensation and voluntary movement that distinguishes humans from animals and other lower forms of life.

Are You Experienced?

Role of Brain

A number of factors have been put forward to explain consciousness, from the brain's role in perception and cognition to its relation to unconsciousness and even the psychedelic experience. But the most popular theory is the idea that consciousness is a form of information processing that is uniquely related to the brain's structures and functions.

In order to find out if the brain is responsible for consciousness, researchers have been looking at patterns of brain waves recorded by electroencephalographs. Scientists have shown that wide-awake people have a pattern of rapid irregular waves of low amplitude and voltage, while those who are asleep or in a coma have slow waves of greater amplitude and frequency.

Origins of Consciousness

Whether the brain is responsible for consciousness or not, there are still important questions that remain unanswered. Among them: what are the origins of consciousness, how it is acquired and how does it work when it is lost?

Spinal Cord Illustration



There is also the question of how consciousness is generated and maintained. One way to approach this is to look at the spinal cord, a long flexible tube of nerve tissue that lies inside the backbone. It contains a billion nerve cells that send signals to and from the rest of the body.

The Spinal Cord

The spinal cord's function is crucial to conscious experience. It is where feelings, emotions and memories are stored. It is also where experiences are generated. Tetraplegics, for instance, continue to feel and experience their surroundings even after a severe neck injury that permanently paralyzes their arms and legs.

Objectivity

Another important factor in consciousness is its ability to be objective, or to have no epiphenomena. These features have been linked to the principle of causal invariance, which states that whatever rulial reference frame one uses, the causal graph that follows eventually becomes consistent.

Doctor explaining Casual Brain Graph

This is an important principle to understand because it explains why some people may have different experiences that aren't necessarily incoherently related. It's because they're using a different rulial reference frame that accesses computational reducibility in a different way.

Brain Structure

These differences might be rooted in the way people are wired to think and how they're structured to process information. For example, some people have a higher-order brain structure that enables them to think about abstract concepts like time and space. Other people have a lower-order brain structure that allows them to focus on details.

The Brain and Consciousness

The cerebellum, which carries out a lot of cognitive tasks that are not involved in the perception of reality, is an exception to this rule. It has a small number of neurons that are connected in parallel to other neurons. But it's not the cerebellum that gives rise to consciousness.
it's the cortex, which contains a high concentration of neurons in the frontal pole.

Photo 201980273 | Consciousness Neuro Science © Kriscole | Dreamstime.com

Psychedelic: Illustration 309911020 © Swee Ming Young | Dreamstime.com

Spinal Cord Illustration: Illustration 30727839 © Sebastian Kaulitzki | Dreamstime.com

Brain Casual Graph: Photo 142082375 | Brain Casual Graph © Denisismagilov | Dreamstime.com

Cerebellum Illustration 51963292 © Puwadol Jaturawutthichai | Dreamstime.com