The Nature of Consciousness

Piero Scaruffi

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These are excerpts and elaborations from my book "The Nature of Consciousness"

The Deception of Consciousness

The Danish mathematician Tor Norretranders pointed out that the mind is more than what we feel.

The senses process huge amounts of information, but consciousness contains almost no information at all.  Most “mental” life never becomes conscious: it is lost in the processing.  Large quantities of information are discarded before consciousness occurs.  The discarded information, nonetheless, has an influence on our behavior.  There is a non-conscious aspect of the human experience that we are not familiar with because we cannot "feel" it.

But this also means that consciousness is mostly about what happens inside us, not what happens outside.  Sense data are processed according to our brain structure and matched with data in memory, and processed again, and then a conscious feeling arises.  Very little of the original sense data is present when the feeling arises.

Sense data are filtered by countless neural processes in the brain before they become conscious sensations: we cannot experience the sense data, the original. We can only experience the finished product, never the raw material.  We only experience a bit of what our body experiences and even that "bit" is not exactly what the body experienced but a "doctored" version of it.

The paradox is that our brain knows more than our consciousness does.

There is self-deception on the part of consciousness: before we experience it, the content of consciousness has been processed and transformed from its original format.  Consciousness presents us with an altered, subjective, tampered with view of reality but doesn't tell us so.

Norretranders separates the conscious (thinking) "i" from the acting (instinctive) "me". The "i" is held responsible for the actions of the "me", although the "i" is often not aware (literally) of what the "me" is doing.


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