X-Message-Number: 11815
Date: Mon, 24 May 1999 17:11:12 -0400
From: Brook Norton <>
Subject: time-binding self circuit

In response to Ettingers comment:  

>I postulate (for fairly obvious reasons) that the anatomy/physiology of

"self circuit" that underlies consciousness (feeling, qualia, capacity for

subjective experiences) must extend over some non-zero volume of the brain

and also encompass some non-zero interval of time.<  

I used to agree about the necessity to "bind time" because it takes some
fraction of a second to assimilate information from the environment into
an awareness of the situation.  A mind, existing for just an instant,
could not be conscious.  

But then I lost the feeling that this must be correct.  I think it is
doubtful that our brain, by virtue of its consciousness, has some
non-classical effect on the fabric of space-time, or even some classical
effect not shared by inanimate matter.  

It seems that consciousness is a dynamic property, like oscillation for
example.  It has meaning only in the context of passing time.  An
oscillating rod "frozen in time" somehow would not oscillate because it
would lack motion.  And a brain "frozen in time" would likewise not be
conscious.  But an oscillating rod doesn't "bind time".  It just depends
on the passage of time to take on meaning.  Thats the definition of a
dynamic process.  So now I simply think of consciousness as an ordinary
dynamic process.  

The quality of "space-binding", or simply taking up finite space is quite
a common requirement for most (all?) physical processes and I have no
problem with it.  I think the only significance of it is to discriminate
consciousness from some purely symbolic processes that perhaps do not
require physical space to operate.  

Brook Norton  

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