Another look at the mystery of consciousness

Regular readers may have noticed that I have discussed human consciousness a lot in my blog posts. (May 2011- see, for instance, The reality of us- the mind and body conundrum parts 1 and 2, and A question of consciousness- the ultimate reality). This is because I think the nature of this consciousness is both unknowable and one of the great clues into the true reality of who and what we really are.

How can we define it? Consciousness is sometimes known as ” the ghost in the machine”. Our personhood, who and what we are, seem to be originating from the grey cells of our physical brain But how or why? Its elusiveness  signifies perhaps its great mystery. The brain’s mechanical workings can be imaged using MRI scans. Certain bits can be shown to light up when certain actions occur. BUT no science can yet, however, really understand why the recorded interaction of neurons and synapses and the working together of different parts of the brain can give rise to the sort of  consciousness that makes individuas who and what they are.

As Megan Erickson, in he recent  article in the web newsletter, the Big Think, states:

“If physicists can find the God Particle with a Hadron Collider, then why, given their sophisticated tools, have neuroscientists failed to unblock the black box of consciousness?”

It may be, of course, that they never will. The assumption is that all of life’s mysteries are solvable, or at least quantifiable, by science. It may be that consciousness is indeed a” ghost in the machine” in a way that is not imagined by science.

Until they can find the reason why consciousness, above and beyond that which is used to work a physical body and is evolutionary necessary exists, then other stranger possibilities cannot be ruled out.

For instance;

  • It may be an add on from an intelligent designer of some sort.
  • Our biblical God may actually exist, and this consciousness is a gift to enable us to test ourselves and chose between good and evil.
  • If, as some people believe, we live multiple lives, then it may just be the mechanism that we swap from body to body to achieve this.
  • As we are beings made basically from the vibrating energy of atoms in combination, we may be actually holograms. Our consciousness may come in from elsewhere.

All of these possibilities, whether you believe all or none of them are likely, presume that their an outside agency of some sort involved in the origins of humanity. They presume that life on Earth is not all there is. They presume we are part of a bigger, as yet unknowable, picture.

What do you think?


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