By Nicholas HUMPHREY
"Consciousness concerns. Arguably it concerns greater than something. the aim of this booklet is to construct in the direction of an evidence of simply what the problem is." Nicholas Humphrey starts off this compelling exploration of the most important of massive questions with a problem to the reader, and himself. what is focused on "seeing red"? what's it like for us to work out another individual seeing whatever crimson? Seeing a crimson reveal tells us a truth approximately anything on the planet. however it additionally creates a brand new fact--a sensation in every one of our minds, the sensation of redness. and that is the secret. traditional technological know-how up to now hasn't instructed us what awake sensations are made from, or how we get entry to them, or why we have now them in any respect. From an evolutionary viewpoint, what is the element of realization? Humphrey deals a bold and novel resolution, arguing that sensations are usually not issues that ensue to us, they're issues we do--originating in our primordial ancestors' expressions of liking or disgust. Tracing the evolutionary trajectory via to humans, he exhibits how this has resulted in sensations enjoying the main function within the human experience of Self. The Self, as we now realize it from inside of, turns out to have attention-grabbing other-worldly homes. It leads us to think in mind-body duality and the lifestyles of a soul. And such beliefs--even if mistaken--can be hugely adaptive, simply because they elevate the worth we position on our personal and others' lives. "Consciousness matters," Humphrey concludes with remarkable paradox, "because it really is its functionality to subject. it's been designed to create in people a Self whose existence is worthy pursuing." (20060315)
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Additional info for Seeing Red: A Study in Consciousness
It affects the mind in a certain way; and this affection of the mind may be conceived, without a thought of the rose or any other object. This sensation can be nothing else than it is felt to be. Its very essence consists in being felt; and when it is not felt it is not . . ”4 In the terms we have established in the previous chapter, when S smells a rose [Figure 4], • S gets to have an olfactory rosy sensation, s • S gets to feel his having of this rosy sensation, p(s) • S gets to perceive the rose has a rosy smell, p(r) The question is how these three things are connected.
It’s your mind. You might, as we said, even have been born that way. My monkeys all had astonishingly similar attitudes toward color. In straight preference tests, all ten animals I studied preferred blue to green to yellow to red—which strongly suggests a species-wide genetic basis for it. Most human beings have similar preferences if tested under standard conditions. And yet not all do. 15 Although we should not make too much of this, let’s allow that it is thought-provoking. 31 I hasten to point out that even if S and you agree on everything there is to say about what it is like to be having the sensation—modality, affect, whatever—this will still not be a guarantee that his and your phenomenal experiences are the same in all respects.
Figure 9 (top) would be the case of blindsight, with b and consequently p(b) destroyed but p(a) left intact. Figure 9 (middle) would 52 9 be the case of metamorphopsia, with b and consequently p(b) playing up but p(a) again intact. 15 And there is one other set of phenomena to which the model seems especially applicable, namely, the findings of new experiments on sensory substitution. 16 Bach y Rita fitted subjects up with a device which took the image from a television camera mounted on the head and transposed it into a pattern of tactile vibration in a flat array of mechanical vibrators in contact with the skin of the trunk.