Scientific Understanding of Consciousness
Consciousness as an Emergent Property of Thalamocortical Activity

Qualia as a Master Organ

Qualia as a sort of master organ, one that allows for the individual senses to operate or co-mingle in an ensemble fashion.  (Llinás; I of the Vortex, 221)

We cannot experience everything all at once, all the time, so qualia provide a construct based on what the thalamocortical system deems worthy on a moment-to-moment basis of focus/attention/significance. (Llinás; I of the Vortex, 215)

It is assumed that the brain attempts at all times to decrease the functional overhead of motor control. Further, it is assumed that the brain also attempts to decrease the functional overhead of sensory systems. (Llinás; I of the Vortex, 215)

Functional organization of sensory systems, translation of the geometry of the properties of the external world into the geometry of the internal functional space, reality is that all times simplified. The brain functions as a reality emulator.  (Llinás; I of the Vortex, 220)

In the motor system, the brain uses Central Pattern Generators (CPGs) (fixed action patterns, FAPs) to generate stereotyped patterns rapidly and efficiently for detailed movements.  Generated from the internal functional geometry within the basal ganglia is a translation into expression through the functional geometry of how the body can and needs to move, given the momentary (internal and/or external) context. (Llinás; I of the Vortex, 220)

Weber-Fechner logarithmic law governing the relationship between the intensity of sensory activation and perception: s = k * ln A/A0  (e.g. soft sounds carry as much perceptual significance as blasting sounds; the human brain can detect very small differences in musical pitch, etc.)  (Llinás; I of the Vortex, 215)

Think of qualia -- sensations or sensory experience -- as the brain's innate drive toward reducing overhead.  For an ensemble of multimodal sensory inputs, each element of input carries its own significance and the whole is amalgamated by perceptual categorization into preexisting categories of significant activity and the absence of other significant activity in inappropriate categories. (Llinás; I of the Vortex, 220)



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