Re: consciousness and self-awareness

From: John Mikes <>
Date: Sat, 7 Feb 2009 15:56:30 -0500


this reply of mine may be out of line usually followed on this list. I have
had discussions on a dozen closely and remotely concerned lists over the
past 17 years about the "thing?" called consciousness, following the yearly
international conferences in Tucson AZ without a universally reached
agreement WHAT to call so. Philosophers, neuroscientists, linguists, you
name it, even physicists apply the 'name' to whatever fits their domains. It
is a historically composed U-F-O - one variant being "awareness" another one
"human". I settled with the 'functional' view, an activity? of relationships
not restricted, so I was looking for the generalization of the many
desultory phenomena coming up under this title.

What boiled down to not finding a limit in 'human', not even in 'living'
(what is hard to identify to begin with) but a functional relationship all
over. The early generalized ID came up as 'response to information'
requiring a pointer to resonse: 'acknowledgement of and...' identifying at
that time the 'information' concept as an 'acknowledged change...' (not
specified TO... and WHAT KIND OF...). I know: it needs further work in
With such openness of conceptualization it seems far fetched to put it into
a definitive mathematical framework.
Even in the case of a precise ID it may include non-mathematical domains
(non physical as well: of course).
The 'cutest' reply I received to my frequent inquery "what is Ccness?" was
"Everybody knows what it is!" - Yes, but everybody knows it differently.

I have no answers and am far away from fundamental understanding, (as an
example: the 'numbers' are discontinuous entities and most processes are
part of a continuum. Especially the mental ones (awareness).) - we don't
know the first thing of this world (Ccnss) we so precisely describe.
How does A "turn" INTO B (smoothly!) if there is a gap in between? (The
infinitesimals are still separate and calculus was the artifact to escape
from this dilemma - a belief, not a real case indeed).

And please, save me from ancient sophistication, millennia ago the (Greek
etc.) epistemic cognitive inventory of humanity was much much meagerer and
'smart' thinking was easier. In David Bohm's principles: beyond increasing
our 'explicate' world from the (unknown) 'implicate' we did a lot (what he
did not include!) in Nicolas de Cusa's 3rd principle: to 'complicate' our
world (at least our views about it). The ancients had is 'simplicate'-ly.
Oriental philosophy acknowledged our ignorance and blurrly built upon it.
(so do Zadeh and the 'fuzzy' scientists nowadays).

Best regards

John Mikes

On Sat, Feb 7, 2009 at 1:57 PM, Brian Tenneson <> wrote:

> Dear Everything List,
> Tegmark mentioned in an article the idea of self-aware structures, SAS.
> He wrote that the search for such structures is ongoing, i.e., he
> postulated the existence of such structures without giving examples.
> I'm wondering if consciousness and self-awareness has been
> "mathematized" somewhere, preferably in documents I can download without
> academic affiliation / subscription.
> I'm inclined to thing agents might be a pathway to this end, as well as
> what David Wolpert is calling a device.
> Do any of the formalizations come close to being reflective of human
> consciousness? In other words a mathematical model of human consciousness?
> Thank you.

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Received on Sat Feb 07 2009 - 15:56:34 PST

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