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It seems to me that the structure of the conscious mind has some strong similarities to the way our visual field functions. The visual field has a strong and detailed focus at the center, and this is what generally commands our attention, while at the same time the visual resolution decreases outward from that center and its content occupies less of our attention, to the point that our peripheral vision will alert us to movements but has little to do with what we are recognizing consciously.

This is similar to the way we think. We have a central focus, which is the conscious thought, but that object of thought has many associations or links to other thought objects, and they form a ring around the focus, just out of view (ie. in the immediate unconscious zone). Those primary associations also have their own associations that form a secondary ring, deeper into the unconscious, with further rings extending outward representing decreasing levels of action potential.

It makes sense to me that the conscious mind would be patterned on the functional model of the visual field which is much older and more fundamental.

Thus, my question: Does the structure of consciousness mimic that of the visual process?

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You are describing an observation as old as Freud, where he divided human's experience into three levels, roughly along the same lines as you. The conscious as that clear and ill-defined concept that gives you the feeling of attention, awareness, and self. The preconscious as the level just outside of your current awareness but that could easily spring to your consciousness. Finally, the unconscious, which is a level that doesn't have an analogy in vision: it corresponds to experiences that cannot come to your consciousness but that still affect your behavior.

Unfortunately, this correspondence does not extend beyond analogy, for several reasons. From the point of view of introspection -- the oldest and arguably still only reliable method for studying consciousness -- it is not clear how you would distinguish the visual sensation of attending stimuli from the conscious. In particular, it is not at all clear that the experience you describe as visual is an artefact of the visual system and not consciousness itself. The reason to believe that this is a feature of consciousness and not the visual system is because you experience the same things for hearing, touch, and to-a-lesser-extent smell.

Moving onto the scientific basis is much more difficult, in particular, you write:

It makes sense to me that the conscious mind would be patterned on the functional model of the visual field which is much older and more fundamental.

This to me seems like an unjustified assertion. Although we have some neurological models of consciousness, none of them are at the level where where we can start to date them on an evolutionary scale.

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