Saturday, May 3, 2008

A model for human consciousness experience

I wondered if there is a crude way of representing human experience, once we accept physical qualia as something as they were. Of course, the human state of mind at any instant is more than just an instantaneous physical qualia state. Or so it seems.

The most common objection to representing the human experience as just the sum of physical qualia states has to do with emotional qualia. But as in the previous post, I am less inclined to believe that there exist the so-called emotional qualia which cannot be seen as just constructs of physical qualia. In fact, now I see no convincing reason as to why the concept of emotional qualia cannot be fully abandoned in describing human experience completely.

My model of human experience consists of three different entities -

1. The universal or mother consciousness that is ultimately the experiencer of all qualia of all conscious entities in a given physical universe. (Arguably, the title of the post is unnecessarily restrictive since it implies only human consciousness.) See this post for a discussion on universal consciousness.

2. A functional block which I call the "Dennettian complex" which basically embodies the various functional blocks which would seemingly explain human behavior completely (although not quite true) .

3. The forward communication link between the Dennettian complex and the universal consciousness, which reside in eigenhue recognition units (ERUs).

The Dennettian complex is not a monolithic block (and that's the reason why I call it a complex). It has many functions -
a. converting sensory inputs from the various sense organs into a form that interface with the ERUs, so that the universal consciousness experiences sensory qualia (in the associated 3-dimensional space called the CBS).
b. Perform many logical and housekeeping activities that can be reduced to pure functionalism. The "Multiple Drafts Model" deals with this aspect.
c. Also interface with ERUs (the same as in a. or different) to allow the universal consciousness to experience simultaneous imagination states in the same CBS as in a.
d. It is very likely that the universal consciousness, instead of just being a passive observer of both real and imagination states, also influences the functional aspect given in c. This would be the equivalent of the exercise of "free will", and the presence of this would preclude the existence of true zombies. From an evolutionary standpoint, this makes sense since if qualia cannot influence behavior, they would be useless from a natural selection point of view. Also this would imply that the inverse of ERUs exists, since the universal consciousness has to communicate back to the Dennettian complex somehow.

Please note that the real qualia states do not always have to correspond to reality. Examples are dream and hallucination states.

Also one wonders what are the ERUs and their inverses. Could QM provide the link in both cases?

The imagination states are very important in human experience. As argued in the previous post, the whole thought process can be seen as an imagined conversation orchestrated by the Dennettian complex that is "heard" by the universal consciousness. Of course, the universal consciousness is not a passive audience member (like the homunculus in the Cartesian theater), but actually controls the script (through the inverse ERUs).

I also wonder how temporal pattern recognition of qualia (such as recognizing and enjoying music) is achieved. Is the above model adequate in explaining the same? Or do we have to bring in other constructs that cannot be adequately explained by the above model?

And what about the general state of the mind itself? Can the action of mood elevators or even alcohol be explained by physical qualia alone? I raised this issue in the previous post, and am now inclined to believe that the answer is yes.