About consciousness

This posting is a kind of a New Year's resolution -- I promised myself that I would, this year, explain this thing called consciousness to my satisfaction -- not necessarily THE explanation but one that I could live with. So far I am working with the explanation by Antonio Damasio that the 'self' is a brain stem mapping function. He posed the question -- how does the 'self' reset itself after a dreamless sleep or coming out of anesthesia? The reset comes from our brain stem. The brain stem maps and controls all the physiological functions of the body -- temperature, heart beat, breathing, etc -- so our body becomes a reference point for the 'self'.

So far this works for me me since I know that if I change the physiological state of my body, I get an altered 'self'.  The brain stem is present in almost all living creatures and certainly in cats, dogs and elephants. This means that they also have a sense of "self" and have a consciousness. Therefore consciousness is extended beyond humans and it is a brain stem activity and not a function of the cerebral cortex of so-called 'higher animals'.

For more, watch the TED presentation by Antonio Damasio .......

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