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Whence the Unconscious?

tunnel

    Flooding through our minds is our life, our conscious experiences.  Yet as we have learned through time, consciousness not only mysteriously appears out of the unconscious only to disappear back into it again after a brief animated period, consciousness also "floats" on a substrate of the unconscious.  Much of the brain's functions never becomes directly conscious, while in other areas the conscious and the unconscious appear to co-exist and to interact compatibly and even harmoniously.
    One can never explain consciousness without being able to suggest, and eventually show, how and why both the conscious and the unconscious exist in the brain.  Some do actually claim that everything is conscious, which presumably is possible in the barest sense, but clearly some information in the brain is not consciously connected with the waking consciousness, and much information is being processed below waking consciousness only to appear briefly as conscious.  At the least, our consciousness, or our consciousnesses, are indeed separate, and almost certainly special in comparison with the pre-conscious and the unconscious.  Even if muscles, bones, and floors were conscious in some way, we have little cause to credit their consciousness as being comparable with our waking or even our dreaming consciousness, and thus we may as well label them as "unconscious".
    The preceding paragraph is written in part to state that I am not claiming too much regarding the distinction between the conscious and the unconscious, but primarily I am noting that the difference is of a sort that demands explanation.  And that difference is probably coherence, the ability of signals to arise, harmonize, and sometimes synchronize, enough to produce a meaningful signal.  It must be noted that too much synchronization provides no scope for producing a register and impact in consciousness, such as would appear to be the case with brain waves (they may have some dull impact  beyond themselves where they are making their presence "felt", however they are far too information-poor to produce our typical high-definition conscious experience).  The signal must be strong and coherent enough to do work and to create a significant impact in the electric fields, while it is still operating according to differences in potential that maintain the flow of energy/information in order to effect a high-level, defined conscious field of electric interaction.
    White noise is not the only, or even the best, method used by the brain to prevent unhelpful effects of field interactions.  Myelination, for instance, not only speeds impulses along nerves, but may very well prevent undesirable cross-talk in the typically myelinated fibers carrying information between sections of the brain.  Myelination, and the avoidance of parallel nerve fibers in areas where cross-talk would effect meaningless correlations, would probably be used by the brain to reduce cross-talk, and thus consciousness.  Nevertheless, cross-talk via electric fields is almost certainly going to happen in dendrites and unmyelinated axons which exist in close proximity, and it is there that configurations of the nerves need to produce noise instead of signals unless these signals are beneficial to humans.  Timing , minimized parallelism, and probably even some randomization, would be needed to make any cross-talk of virtually no effect on average, thus avoiding useless correlations and consciousness as a side-effect of this prevention of extraneous self-organizing signals.
    Consciousness is probably an unavoidable consequence of signal strengthening used by the "conscious areas of the brain".  Unconsciousness is probably the natural state of nerves which do not react with other nerves, as well as those which interact randomly with other nerves, or nearly completely synchronously with nerves in their proximate area.  Only the electric nerve fields that produce a directional unbalanced force, that is to say, those doing work within the field, are going to be able to strengthen and correlate nerve impulses through electric fields which are themselves necessarily "feeling" the biasing effect of fields acting upon other fields.  The register of consciousness is the medium through which the biasing force works upon the nerves to coordinate them in this manner (synapses play a huge role, but themselves are lacking in the connections that could produce connected consciousness).    Unconsciousness occurs (or, "consciousness does not occur") when the electric fields are not transmitting a biasing force within a complex electric field of the kind that we find (exclusively?) in the brain.





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