kewp's development

illusion of consciousness.txt

there is a series on youtube which is investigating questions
i never really expected people to discuss properly but it's
doing so. here is the closest so far to what i consider the
real problem
although i'm not 100% sure they are interpreting the word
'illusion' the same way i am ...

sam harris reckons consciousness is the only real fact, sort of
like what descartes said about knowing at least that he exists.
but there is so much to unpack - harris says that even if all
of reality is an illusion, including our conscious experience,
it still means that something is happening - an experience is
being had. there really is blue over there, or rather the
experience of the colour blue is happening. something is
happening. (which interestingly comes back to what the guy
who started the above channel says is the question he's
trying to solve: why is there something rather than nothing).

so perhaps i am not using the word illusion like the interviewee
above. but he does say that the only possible solution to
there being consciousness and matter is that "consciousness
is an illusion", which i am starting to agree with. but again
i feel like these terms need to be defined and divided very
carefully, much more carefully than currently. at base, for me
at least, this is about a seeming deep mystery about how
something is happening, how is there brown, how is there a
sensation, what does it mean to have an experience; surely
the couch is not having an experience. why am i? if we come up
with a mechanism to tie neural activity to conscious experiences
that encompass everything we can describe subjectively will
that be it - will there be no more to discuss or question?
if we then construct a device which mimicks these activities,
duplicates their functioning, will it be inevitable to say
then that this device is equally conscious in every way to
us? surely so, but there is this gap - this strange and
pervasive sense of the specialness, the centralness and
irreducibility of our internalality.

which brings us again to sam harris who insists repeatedly
in the vein of so much of buddhism that the self is an
illusion, something i've spent years now trying to see for
myself through his app and lectures. i am starting to be
able to identify the mental events which constitute my
sense of being a self, impossibly broad and
subtle flashes creating an image of the experiencer, the
subject. and i see how one must agree with harris' assertion
that everything, even whatever it is that makes one feel
as though there is a subject in the centre of everthing,
must simply be appearing in consciousness somehow, that
consciousness is truly all that can be objectively known
and all else is interpretive. but does that solve the
mystery, do we no longer have this remarkable fact to
explain, that the fact that any kind of experience is
being had is uncanny in the extreme, that it somehow gives
one a feeling of profound unexplainability, of impossibility.
why is it so hard to believe that a chair or a computer
could have a qualitative experience? surely the word
'experience' is incorrect, though, if we accept that
subjectivity is an illusion? i guess my primary question
for this whole endevour really is to re-iterate: does
accepting the self as an illusion, in the buddhist vein,
solve the supposed profound mystery of consciousness? is there
anything mystery left after having connected neural
activity to things like colour, shape, thoughts and
sensations? if we created a theory for how the colour
blue is generated by our brain, will we still be left
wondering why we can see the colour instead of just
react to it as we imagine a mindless machine might?