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Even at low volumes the sub reproduces clear bass lines with great attention to details and doesn’t exaggerate anything. Every cell in our body has the kind of nonconscious attitude I have just described.

But if no self is generated, the images still are, although no one, inside or outside the organism, knows of their existence. Had subjectivity not made its radical appearance, there would have been no knowing and no one to take notice, and consequently there would have been no history of what creatures did through the ages, no culture at all. The answers are unequivocal.

On the surface, the behaviors associated with life regulation and with reproduction became separate, but the deeper goal was the same, and it is thus not surprising that the mechanics are shared. The governance of their life included a stubborn insistence to remain, endure, and prevail until such time as some of the genes in the nucleus would suspend the will to live and allow the cell to die.

Why did it even begin? Consciousness has improved adaptability and allowed the beneficiaries to create novel solutions to the problems of life and survival, in virtually any conceivable environment, anywhere on earth, up in the air and in outer space, under the water, in deserts and on mountains.

VII The march of mind progress does not end with the arrival of the modest levels of self.

We can build on that foundation. Although I have not yet provided a working definition of consciousness, I hope I am leaving no doubt as to what it means not to have consciousness: Importantly, they remain connected to the body they mimic throughout life. Of necessity, those systems are macroscopic, but the underlying microscopic anatomy is known in part, as are the general operating rules of the neurons that constitute them. In earlier work I advanced the idea of turning life regulation into the support and justification of self and consciousness, and that idea suggested a path into this new perspective: Thanks to a fibrous prolongation known as the axon, and to the end region of the axon known as the synapse, neurons can send signals to other cells—other neurons, muscle cells—often quite far away.


What we have come to perceive as feelings of pain or pleasure, or as punishments or rewards, corresponds directly to integrated states of living tissue within an organism, as they succeed one another in the natural business of life management.

Neurons are, through and through, body cells, and yet they also are special.

The mere presence of organized images flowing in a mental stream produces a mind, but unless some supplementary process is added on, the mind remains unconscious.

But when such temporary prolongations became permanent, they became the tubelike components that make neurons so distinctive—the axons and the eckhonr. The economy of a multicellular organism has many sectors, and the cells within those sectors cooperate. The world and behavior of a single-cell organism such as the paramecium are a wonder to behold, far closer to who we are than meets the eye.

They are literally and inextricably attached to the body. And yet mechanisms for managing and maintaining life are not a baplan in biological evolution and are not necessarily dependent on consciousness. Each of them could survive individually without symbiotic partnerships. Examples of tissues include baulpan epithelia of skin, mucosal linings and endocrine glands, the muscular tissue, the nervous or neural tissue, and the connective tissue that binds them all in place. Just as important, the motivation behind most achievements in human cultures and civilizations rests with that precise issue and with the need to manage the eckborn of humans engaged in addressing that issue.

Neurons are not essential for the basic life process, as all those living creatures that have no neurons at all easily demonstrate. The construction of maps never stops even in our sleep, as dreams 188. Such simple single organisms are still with us today. If consciousness had not developed in the course of evolution and expanded to its human version, the humanity we are now familiar with, in all its frailty and strength, would never have developed either.

Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain –

That, along with issues of terminology and perspective, make current work on consciousness resemble a walk through a minefield. There is no dichotomy between self-as-object and self-as-knower; there is, rather, a continuity and progression. Natural selection has perfected the machinery of homeostasis to permit precisely that. At first glance these questions might seem to have no place in a conversation about brain, mind, and consciousness. Life and the conditions that are integral to it—the irrepressible mandate to survive and the complicated business of managing survival in an organism, with one cell or with trillions—were the root cause of the emergence and evolution of brains, the most elaborate management devices assembled by evolution, as well as the root cause of everything that followed from the development of ever more elaborate brains, inside ever more elaborate bodies, living in ever more complex environments.


There was a feelingness to the experience of the connected me. And so the narrative of mind and consciousness that I am presenting here does not conform to the requirements of fiction. Of course, mental activity is caused by the brain events that antecede it, but at the end of the day, the mental events correspond to certain states of brain circuits.

Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain

The skin of the face ages, muscles sag, gravity intervenes, organs may not work quite so well. The essence of the guidelines is quite simple: Biological value has influenced the evolution of brain structures, and in any brain it influences almost every step of brain operations.

The framework must interconnect behavior, mind, and brain events. White light is a composite of the colors of the rainbow, although that is not apparent to the naked eye. It is also tempting to interpret the proposed brain-mind equivalence as a neglect of the role of culture in the generation of the mind or as a downgrading of the role of individual effort in the shaping of the mind. I am also saying that the covert knowledge is quite sophisticated and should not be regarded as primitive.

The reason why nonfeeling images are also felt is that they are normally accompanied by feelings. Cells, Multicellular Organisms, and Engineered Machines Cells and multicellular organisms share several features with engineered machines. In many respects a single cell is a preview of what a single organism such as ours would come to be.

Do we gain from understanding the mechanisms behind the minds that give us counsel? Once upon a time life came about in the lengthy history of evolution. At best, it would be the equivalent of flying a modern jet plane by hand—which is not a trivial undertaking and does require one to master all the contingencies and all the maneuvers needed to prevent a stall.

Biological value has the status of a principle. Primordial feelings are not only the first images generated by the brain but also immediate manifestations of sentience.

It repeatedly denies long-held assumptions and not a few expectations. No single mechanism explains consciousness in the brain, no single device, no single region, or feature, or trick, any more than a symphony can be played by one musician or even a few.