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Discussion 12 to Meditation 537
Awareness and Self-awareness

by: George Rush

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Self-awareness is not the same as basic awareness. To be aware (or sensing, perceiving) is to be aware of something. For example you might be aware of a taste, an apple, your arm, or many other things. And, you can be aware of yourself: self-awareness. So you see it's only one example of the general capability "awareness". If Ramachandran can explain self-awareness with "mirror neurons" that will be very useful, but he's not addressing awareness itself. He's attempting to answer this question: "How does the activity of neurons give rise to the sense of being a conscious human being?" (from "the Neurology of Self-Awareness"). But the question I'm asking is "How does the activity of the brain give rise to any sensing at all?"

Ramachandran admits: "Have we solved the problem of self? Obviously not — we have barely scratched the surface." As for the problem of awareness, he hasn't even noticed it; he takes this basic capability for granted.