14 Answers

  1. Consciousness exists only in those individuals who think before doing something, and do not commit rash actions and then do not feel remorse, there is no consciousness and there is no conscience, and even more so intelligence.

    As for the freedom of choice, this is an understanding of why in this or that case it is necessary to do exactly this, and not otherwise, i.e. awareness of your choice – this is freedom, and not in a thoughtless unbridled act.

    In short, you are either a person or not a person, a person is determined by consciousness and freedom of choice in the sense described above.

    Remember the movie “Electronik”.

  2. A person cannot consciously stop heart contractions, so he does not have the freedom to choose and dispose of his own body? No, it's just that the subconscious mind is responsible for this, not the conscious mind.

    If you want to find out exactly how and under the influence of what all sorts of impulses are generated, what they obey, how we control them and how to decipher them,then you are unlikely to succeed. The fact is that we ourselves do not know what makes neurons work, how synapses and other connections are formed, how self-awareness, emotions, pattern recognition, and much more work. You will be answered in general terms about these processes, but then this is a philosophical question.

    And then there's this theory: everything is preordained. It sounds silly, but let me explain.

    As far as we know ,there are probabilities. The probability that I will die today, for example. But these are average numbers and they depend on the circumstances — if I sit at home, the chance of dying is less than if I went somewhere by car. I mean, just because I found out the additional circumstances, the probability shifted, right? It turns out that all the probabilities are just our ignorance of the circumstances, and in fact the probability of my death is either one hundred or zero percent? So if we know everything thoroughly, every atom in the universe and its state, we can calculate what will happen and what won't?

    However, there is no answer to this question either. We know for sure that there are no probabilities in the macrocosm — we can calculate the mass of a buttered sandwich, its center of gravity shift, shape, size, volume, height of fall, air density, air flow, rotation of the Earth with the Coriolis effect (etc., etc.), and calculate with great accuracy how it will fall — butter up or butter down. I've even heard one thought, but I can't find the author, something like “if I know where every molecule in the cloud is, I can find out where every drop of rain will fall.” If you know where this is coming from, write it down in the comments.�

    But the microcosm-the world of quantum interactions-is different. Here and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, and quantum entanglement, and much more. That is, in fact, the electron is not a ball that we were drawn in physics textbooks, but a probabilistic cloud. We can only measure this cloud and, according to modern laws of physics, assume its location at certain points with some probability, and after measuring it, compare the forecasts and its real position. And it is precisely the laws of quantum mechanics that come into play when we talk about the formation of synapses and electrical impulses in the central nervous system. If the microcosm obeyed the laws of the macrocosm, we could confidently say that if we could study every atom in the human brain and every atom of the external environment that affects a person, we would be able to accurately predict both the situations that will occur and the behavior of a person in them.�

    But so far we don't know whether it is possible to predict something at the level of the quantum world, because if this is so, then we are engaged in demagogy and our arbitrary behavior is only an illusion created by the physics of interactions. Unfortunately, there are no answers to many questions, so we have to think idly and philosophically.

  3. We don't need to control our impulses. We don't think in impulses, but in images. Images are words, objects, and sensations. Just as a programmer does not need to know the “machine language” of programming, he uses a higher-order figurative language in his work. For example, to get an answer to a question on this site, you don't write a command to the processor in the form of zeros and ones, but use the ANSWER input image – the ANSWER button. Similarly, when thinking, we use images, objects, people, and ideas.

    And freedom of choice is a bit out of a different opera. I would say not freedom of choice, but independent choice. We all make independent choices, because we make them only in our strictly private inner world, which is our idea of the outside world. Everyone's inner world is strictly different because it includes their own life experience. Therefore, it is impossible to predict in advance what decision a particular individual will make, which manifests itself as freedom of choice for an external observer. The bottom line is that the individual's choice is always strictly defined, but for an external observer it is not defined.

  4. The person doesn't think about it. Of course, everyone has consciousness. By default, that's what it says. But freedom of choice does not always happen. Sometimes it all depends on the circumstances. For example, I choose to go camping today. I have the day off. But suddenly a child got sick, or was called to work, or an accident, or, or, or… There are a lot of them-these or! And here, if you are a responsible, conscientious and just a good person, then you will not choose rest, but sacrifice it. Although this is also a choice. Only in spite of freedom. There is such an expression-A rule does not happen without an exception-it is a rule. But there is no rule without an exception… Puzzle.

  5. It is believed that nerve impulses are purely electromagnetic in nature. With the help of microelectrodes, indeed, a nerve impulse is recorded in the form of a local redistribution of electric charges moving along the nerve, due to the diffusion of certain types of ions through the nerve walls. But if the essence of the nerve impulse consists only in this redistribution of charges, then the conclusion is inevitable: the nervous system works, ignoring the laws of electrodynamics!

    First of all, the mechanism of generating nerve impulses remains a mystery. It would seem that they should be generated by starting charge redistribution, i.e. by creating a starting potential difference. Sometimes this happens: if you bring an electrode with sufficient potential closer to an undisturbed nerve, two nerve impulses will appear, which will run in different directions from the electrode. But in none of the places where nerve impulses are naturally generated – neither at the ends of peripheral nerves, nor in neurons, nor in synapses-are any organoids found that generate starting potential differences. The situation becomes even more mysterious if we take into account the total electrical energy of nerve impulses over a certain period of time. The electrical energy of a single pulse can be roughly estimated based on the electrical voltage (about a hundred millivolts) at the capacity of the corresponding nerve fiber segment (at a characteristic length of 1 cm – about a dozen nanofarads); then this estimate is 5-10-11 joules. In the Homo sapiens brain, there are about one hundred billion neurons, each of which has connections with “colleagues”, up to ten thousand in number. Even with a deliberately underestimated estimate of the intensity of nervous activity (one pulse per second per fiber), it turns out that the energy of electrical activity of the brain alone exceeds the caloric content of food consumed by several orders of magnitude (for an adult, the daily “scientifically based norm” is 12,000 J). Note that in these calculations, the energies of each pulse were summed up, without taking into account that the energy of the received pulse by the neuron can be used to generate a new pulse, i.e. that the same portion of electrical energy can be used repeatedly. The fact is that no organoids accumulating the energy of incoming nerve impulses are also detected. Energy appears “out of nowhere” and goes “nowhere”! And that's not all. Even the longest nerve fibers transmit electrical impulses without distortion of shape (!) and without weakening (!!) – for electrical cables created by humans, such characteristics are unattainable fiction. The difference between a nerve fiber and a cable is not quantitative, but qualitative: why the initial charge redistribution moves in its original form along the nerve fiber, without blurring or decreasing in amplitude, is not clear to science. Finally, if the nerve impulses are purely electrical in nature, then the immunity of the nervous system to powerful pulsed sources of electromagnetic radiation – for example, lightning discharges-is incomprehensible. It is well known how painfully electronics react to lightning discharges, especially precision ones – it can be “knocked out” even if there is protective shielding. The nervous system, on the other hand, does not have electromagnetic shielding, but only malfunctions – stuns, concussions – in cases of almost direct lightning strikes (we do not consider direct hits). Consider this: is it reasonable to populate a world where thunderstorms are commonplace with creatures with a “purely electric” and unshielded nervous system? You can imagine how animals would react to the approach of a thunderstorm, if lightning throughout the area caused even short-term numbness of the limbs or, say, visual disturbances!

  6. I believe that it is precisely consciousness that can learn to control impulses. But consciousness can not always correctly translate into human language what the brain signals to us. Sometimes the processes that occur in our brain and in the body as a whole are beyond explanation and require careful study. But also in addition to this, a person has a soul and intuition, which in a moment of doubt will always prompt and lead you to the right road and help you make the right choice. You will not confuse the choice made by yourself or it was imposed on you.

  7. Electrical impulses in the brain, or more precisely, nerve impulses, are signals transmitted from one nerve cell to another. Therefore, a person does not control impulses, but the states of nerve cells, which communicate a change in state to other cells through nerve impulses.�

    If a person decides to raise his hand, this free choice leads to the activation of nerve cells that send impulse signals to the corresponding muscles of the hand. So, a person easily and with full consciousness controls his nerve cells, while making a free choice. Another thing is that many processes in the brain occur automatically, that is, without awareness of these processes. For example, the work of the liver, spleen, heart and other organs is not subject to free choice. But we don't need to, we don't know how to manage our liver. If there was such an opportunity — our choice would only disrupt the correct course of physiological and biochemical processes. At the same time, there are processes that have the possibility of dual control: automatic and volitional, for example, walking movements. When we think about it, we may not notice that we will walk more than a dozen meters, but we can easily control every step.

  8. Because the illusion of free will is a useful adaptation.

    Many decisions that we make supposedly of our own free will, in fact, the brain makes for us without our conscious participation. I.e., for example, before you announce your decision, what you decided to eat, the brain already knew everything and decided for you in a split second (confirmed by studies on a tomograph). Many of the processes that take place in our brain are hidden from our conscious observation: you never notice how the brain stabilizes and completes the image that you supposedly see with your eyes. In fact, we do not perceive the world directly, we see it as our brain presents it to us, processing and often simplifying signals from the senses.

    So what happens? It is as if we do not belong to ourselves, the brain does most of the work without our knowledge, invents something for itself. Do you like the idea that little really depends on you? That's why we have the illusion of free will.

    For more detailed explanations and descriptions of scientific research, please refer to the book “Brain and Soul”by neuroscientist Chris Frith.

    PS Well, to everything else, it would be possible to tell that all the past-present-future is in superposition, i.e. it was, will be and always happens, and therefore everything that happens is predetermined, and it happens constantly an infinite number of times.

    But, as Stephen Hawking said, ” because we don't know what is preordained, we can assume that it is not preordained.”

  9. Because consciousness is an emergent property of a biological system, yes, it appears in this system and is based on electrical impulses. However, just like in your laptop, you can't control p-n-p junctions in the processor's semiconductors, but you can access the Internet, and with consciousness, control appears at +X level. Hofstadter wrote about this quite well in “I'm strange loop”

    I was recently absolutely shocked by the report of Mark Solms, who explained, supplemented, and in some ways exposed Freud with the help of the latest neurophysical experiments. In particular, he very elegantly proved that what we thought was the subconscious mind is actually consciousness (!).:


  10. We control our behavior, and how the brain executes our commands is not important to us, since it is incomprehensible to the human mind. Moreover, there is no theory on how to “correct” the signals. You need to manage your animal instincts, guided by moral principles. And the brain itself will activate the hands, feet, and tongue.

  11. Regarding consciousness and subconsciousness, you should listen to the lectures of Tatyana Vladimirovna Chernigovskaya (Professor, Honored Scientist of the Russian Federation, specialist in the field of the brain). In particular, she says that the subconscious mind does not exist, or at least no one has been able to detect it in any material way. Since the postulate of the subconscious mind is being questioned, it is exactly the same thing with consciousness. Most likely, all these terms are all inventions of our brain.

    As for the “freedom of choice”, there are some doubts on this issue. A person can control their organs. He can feel them, direct energy into them, if necessary. Probably, a person can also stop his heart. There are examples of the lives of monks who passed away not when they were physiologically unable to continue their lives, but when they considered it necessary for them to do so. It's a bit like a fairy tale, but nevertheless there is such evidence. Of course, without a deep study of one's own “I”, it is unlikely that anyone will be able to do this, but human capabilities are not really fully understood, so you should not rule it out.

  12. Because consciousness and freedom of choice are not the sum of electrical impulses but a complex behavior the unit of which is a social subject…

  13. No separate impulses (just all studies of brain activity with color pictures-about how a certain mental volitional activity is implemented in the brain of a particular region of the brain). Similarly, a motorist cannot drive a single wheel or spark plug, which does not mean that they do not drive the car as a whole.

  14. I am afraid that here we will face a dilemma no less fundamental than “chicken and egg”.:)

    A person has some freedom of choice, but to a much lesser extent than the naive majority believes.

    You can control “electrical impulses” in many ways, but with poorly predictable results. 8)

    I think that a person can influence no more than 1% of brain activity.

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