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Super Consciousness

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Posted by Paul R. Martin on November 22, 2001 05:11:14 UTC

Hi Mark,

Thank you for your post; this is delightful fun for me.

Take a look at my response to Phillip at

In that post I described my views on the possibility of a super consciousness.

I think you and I have a basic disagreement, Mark, on what might be possible in this respect. I am not impressed by arguments that claim that consciousness can arise from aggregations of matter. In particular, I don't believe that consciousness resulted from the evolution of life from inorganic chemicals; I don't believe that such a thing as a "collective consciousness" can arise in a population of people; I don't believe that consciousness can arise from the ants in an anthill (As in Hofstadter's Ant Hillary in "Goedel, Escher, Bach"); and I don't believe that the consciousness that we experience is the result of the aggregation of consciousnesses present in individual brain cells.

My belief is that consciousness is primary and is the first cause of everything else. Moreover, I believe that this primordial consciousness does not "fractionate" in order to produce what appears to us to be the 6 billion or so individual consciousnesses in the human population.

I see it happening differently. Here's an analogy I used in the Counterbalance forum some time ago to try to explain how I see it.

Imagine that JPL made some sophisticated remote-controled Martian rovers and sent them to Mars. Just to make it easier to think about, imagine that they also figured out some instantaneous communication capability so we don't have to deal with the delay.

Now, the rovers have sophisticated on-board computers on them so they can do a lot of things autonomously, such as moving about, exploring and seeking certain targets, gathering samples, and conducting experiments. But they also have the capability of being driven and controlled directly by a scientist back at JPL.

Let's say that on a holiday, JPL was short staffed and there was only one scientist on duty to operate ten rovers. The scientist might monitor ten screens relaying what each of the ten rovers was up to. At particular points in time when a particular rover needed some direct control, the scientist would sit down at that rover's control console and make some immediate, deliberate moves that would change what the rover was doing. Once the rover was re-programmed and in a position to resume autonomous operation, the scientist would leave that control console and move to that of another rover which needed intervention.

Now, suppose that there were real Martians watching these things work. Would they think they were alive? Would they think they were conscious?

If they were to capture one of the rovers, "kill" and dissect it, they may not discover that the electronics on board was in communication with some conscious "driver" on planet Earth. They would assume that the "brain" in the rover had consciousness and the capability of free will.

That's what I think is going on with humans. I can only guess how many "drivers" are on duty driving the 6 billion of us. My guess would be that it is a number greater than 1 and less than 6 billion. I think there is a hierarchy such that the "drivers" of humans are 5-dimensional beings, which themselves are remote controlled "rovers" being driven by 7-dimensional beings. And so on up the hierarchy, with fewer beings occupying each step, until at the top level, there is nothing but the one primordial consciousness driving those at the next lower level.

So, in my scheme, our consciousness is no more a result of the aggregation of simpler consciousnesses present in each brain cell, than the music coming from my radio is a result of the aggregation of fainter, shorter songs emanating from each of the transistors making up the radio circuitry. I see our brain as a combination of a computer capable of a certain amount of autonomous function, and a cell phone connecting the primordial consciousness to the information being processed by the computer.

Now, as to how many angels can dance on... Just kidding. But my point is that all of this is simply idle speculation that of course I cannot defend. I simply throw it back at ya so you can get an idea of what I have arrived at after a lifetime of thinking about these things.

Concerning your thoughts about super, extended senses, I haven't given that much thought. I have thought about and wondered what it is like to be an animal with vastly different sense perception from us. For example what must it be like to be a bat, avoiding obstacles and zeroing in on prey using echolocation. I recently read about a device that presents visual images as small electrical pulses to the tastebuds on the tongue. Blind people have actually been able to see and read words using this method.

I think there are many interesting ideas along these lines that would be fun to think about. But I don't share your apparent enthusiasm that these ideas might provide some insight into what is going on in the big picture. Maybe I'm missing something.

Oh, one more thing. Even though I believe consciousness is the result of the super consciousness being in direct communication with brain function, I think there is probably a lot more information available to the super consciousness. I think the super consciousness is probably aware of the evolution and interactions of all the elementary particles in the universe. This is an enormous amount of extremely detailed information. It is a large step back from this to the specific subset of information that is processed by a human brain as the owner gazes at a spectacular sunset. The beauty of the sunset is no doubt present in the overwhelming information of the positions and momenta of all the elementary particles involved, but it might be difficult to perceive in the same way the human brain percieves it.

Probably enough for now.

Warm regards,


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