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MisterSwig

Alex Jones: Prophet of the Machine Elves

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4 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

I was trying to clarify the concepts of subconscious and nonconscious, and in particular the distinction between them and whether any other categories needed to be added, by asking which category the subliminal effect fit under. 

To me nonconscious refers to an absence of being conscious, like nonexistence refers to an absence of existence. A real subliminal effect should fit under a category of something that actually exists, such as the subconscious, which Peikoff defined as "the content of your mind that you are not focused on at any given moment."

Now, Eiuol uses nonconscious to refer to processes beyond our conscious control. 

On 3/5/2019 at 5:15 PM, Eiuol said:

I used the word nonconscious in a probably confusing way. I was thinking of things like processes like tracking objects with your eyes, habituation, being reminded of something. These processes are not accessible by conscious control. We are aware that they happen, sometimes, but they play no direct role for your psychological identity

I still find this confusing. Don't we gain conscious control over tracking objects with our eyes at a very young age? I do it all the time when I'm checking out the ladies. I'm conscious of willing my eye to move. I can also take control of recollection and remind myself to do something. And I can choose to do something repeatedly until it becomes a habit. These are all behaviors over which I can exert conscious control. So I'm not clear on how they are nonconscious, unless the word is synonymous for automatic or maybe reflexive, in the case of automatic motor processes.

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4 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

But one is fully conscious when experiencing the arousal so the question is "what causes one experience to be considered as conscious, but another as subconscious"? What is the key difference?

I don't think there is such a thing as a subconscious experience. You can shift your focus to content that was subconscious, but as soon as you pay attention to it, it becomes part of your conscious experience. And whatever you ignored then goes into the subconscious. The closest I've come to a subconscious experience is when I have that nagging feeling that I've forgotten something, or when I'm trying to remember something that's on the tip of my tongue, so to speak. There is also a version related to imagination, when I feel like I'm on the cusp of an epiphany, or trying to retain the contents of a dream after waking up.

4 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

Another complication is: One could say sleepwalking is subconscious. But one is not conscious of doing it. So is that an unconscious or nonconscious experience?

There are different aspects involved, namely the walking bit and the sleeping bit. I don't know if sleepwalkers experience themselves walking around. Maybe they dream about walking around. But they certainly experience the sleeping part, just like everyone else. So I'd say that much at least is a type of unconscious experience.

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1 hour ago, MisterSwig said:

Now, Eiuol uses nonconscious to refer to processes beyond our conscious control. 

You're right, I should've said that I was thinking in the context of psychological processes. "Nonconscious psychological processes" would have been more accurate.

I looked up unconscious in Wikipedia, and in the entry I saw this about a passage by Searle:

"John Searle has offered a critique of the Freudian unconscious. He argues that the Freudian cases of shallow, consciously held mental states would be best characterized as 'repressed consciousness,' while the idea of more deeply unconscious mental states is more problematic. He contends that the very notion of a collection of "thoughts" that exist in a privileged region of the mind such that they are in principle never accessible to conscious awareness, is incoherent. This is not to imply that there are not "nonconscious" processes that form the basis of much of conscious life. Rather, Searle simply claims that to posit the existence of something that is like a "thought" in every way except for the fact that no one can ever be aware of it (can never, indeed, "think" it) is an incoherent concept. To speak of "something" as a "thought" either implies that it is being thought by a thinker or that it could be thought by a thinker. Processes that are not causally related to the phenomenon called thinking are more appropriately called the nonconscious processes of the brain."

As far as I see, this is exactly my position. He even speaks of the nonconscious distinction that I made.

1 hour ago, MisterSwig said:

I'm conscious of willing my eye to move.

Not tracking the object. You can learn to focus your eyes on an object, and do that consciously. But you aren't in conscious control of keeping your eye on an object as it moves. You can decide that you want to focus on an object that is moving, but anything involved in successfully tracking the object is beyond conscious control and there is no possible method to gain control. People with certain kinds of brain damage, who are still perfectly fine about controlling their eyes, have a terrible time tracking anything with their eyes. They can try, but it won't be very effective or efficient. Look up smooth pursuit.

1 hour ago, MisterSwig said:

I can also take control of recollection and remind myself to do something.

You can control recollection and reminders indirectly by using specific cues and imagination. Still, you don't have conscious control over "reaching in" and pulling out the memory. It will kind of... Appear out of nowhere. You would know that a cue like the smell of spaghetti sauce in your house triggered a memory of when you were a kid making spaghetti sauce with your grandma. But you wouldn't see the "gears" moving. All you get is the result, nothing in between. Memory is a very peculiar thing, and part of the reason is that there are a number of pieces that we can't control in the process.

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On 3/6/2019 at 10:29 PM, EC said:

I think this association jumping of memories shows directly how the brain organizes information. I'll admit I don't quite understand it, but I find it very intriguing. 

I wanted to add onto this.

There's a lot of imagining going on when we retrieve memories. It's an important part of the process. The content of the memory is something like a visual image. That's why the movie metaphors work pretty well. In a loose way, we can see how different memories relate to one another. Part of my own psychology research as a student actually is looking into how memories are organized, and how we can retrieve them. We can't access or control the retrieval step, sort of like how you know how to open a text document, and read what the computer retrieves, yet you aren't aware of any of the programming or algorithmic details that go on under the hood. You could change the file path, you can sort through different files, but you don't need to do any of the complicated processing.

How we imagine things might influence memories, especially changes influenced by psychedelic drugs. That's how I got into of this discussion the first place - there's all kind of insanity about accessing alternative awareness with alternative content, but altering our imagination can help us think and remember differently

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6 hours ago, Eiuol said:

"Nonconscious psychological processes" would have been more accurate...

That's helpful. So, we don't have direct control over things like recall. But would you agree that we have indirect control by choosing to focus on particular thoughts which triggers associated memories? After all, isn't focusing on particular thoughts part of the recollection process? So the entire process would entail both conscious and nonconscious steps.

Edited by MisterSwig

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9 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

But would you agree that we have indirect control by choosing to focus on particular thoughts which triggers associated memories?

Yes, I explained that in the very last paragraph.

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