Consciousness begins with feeling, not thinking

A new theory of embodied consciousness has been described by Antonio Damasio and Hanna Damasio  in Consciousness begins with feeling, not thinking.

Forget ‘I think therefore I am’. 

feelings are the source of consciousness.
Long dismissed as secondary to reason, feelings are where consciousness begins. Without them, consciousness is impossible – with radical implications for the ‘hard problem’ of consciousness and the future of AI.

Feelings carry spontaneously conscious knowledge concerning the current state of the organism as a result of which you can act to save your life, such as when you respond to pain or thirst appropriately.
The continued presence of feelings provides a continued perspective over the ongoing body processes; the presence of feelings lets the mind experience the life process along with other contents present in your mind, namely, the relentless perceptions that collect knowledge about the world along with reasonings, calculations, moral judgments, and the translation of all these contents in language form.
By providing the mind with a ‘felt point of view’, feelings generate an ‘experiencer’, usually known as a self. The great mystery of consciousness in fact is the mystery behind the biological construction of this experiencer-self.

Feelings carry spontaneously conscious knowledge concerning the current state of the organism as a result of which you can act to save your life

How do we know?
Thanks to ‘interoception’, the hidden sense that allows us to glean, via bodily feelings, a picture of our interior. It is the important and commonly overlooked department of our organisms charged with both sensing the process of life regulation and adjusting it as needed for life to continue. Exteroception, which includes vision, hearing, touch, taste and smell and is charged with bringing into our minds the entire world that surrounds us, tends to dominate the world of the senses.
Proprioception, the sense which allow us to become aware of our bodies in space, and of the movement of our muscles, bones and joints, attracts plenty of attention as well.
But interoception is the seemingly modest but real magician, hiding in plain sight. The machinery of interoception is less sophisticated than that of exteroception and proprioception. It is made of simpler neurons … and make use of chemical molecules such as dopamine and serotonin whose chemical actions are slow by comparison with the lightning speed of glutamate or GABA. The good side of all this simplicity is, of course, the intimate contact that interoception allows between the neural elements and the non-neural flesh, a contact so close, in fact, that the two partners, both entirely inside the body, seem to fuse with each other to produce the most intimate of feelings: the feeling of life itself.

Are artificial intelligent devices conscious in some way? Not at all!

Feelings produced by interoception were foundational to consciousness and changed the destiny of evolution by allowing the deliberate governance of life.

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