Scientific materialists claim that consciousness presents a ‘hard problem’ that will ultimately be solved by science demonstrating how consciousness is created by brain activity. Personally I think this is nonsense – consciousness lies outside the domain of science. In this post I explore what consciousness is through the lens of the philosophy of panpsychism, as presented in philosopher Christian de Quincey’s book Blind Spots.
Consciousness (or mind) is subjective, it is undetectable, is not measurable, and is not located in space.
Physical entities have extension in space, consist of matter-energy and can be measured by science.
Consciousness and matter/energy are the inner and outer of existence. They always go together. Consciousness is the capacity for knowing, feeling, being aware, making choices. It needs energy to act. Consciousness is pervasive throughout the universe, and goes ‘all the way down’ to the smallest components.
Consciousness gives meaning to the universe, gives an order that would otherwise dissipate through entropy, according to the laws of thermodynamics.
Consciousness provides a potential explanatory ‘mechanism’ for phenomena of action at a distance, such as intentional healing, remote communication, quantum interconnections and other well-documented phenomena – which provide great difficulty for science.
To me, this all seems rather more plausible than scientific materialism, and seems consistent with the world as I see it, and as it is reported by others.
Does this matter? Well yes, it is crucial. Scientific materialism and the relentless focus of materialist economics and everyday life on the outer, as opposed to the inner, is actually in the process of destroying the world it has created, through a lack of the wisdom that comes from inner focus. Do I need to mention the evident lack of sustainability again: global warming, pollution, wars, inequality, lack of concern for the poor etc.?
Do read Blind Spots or another of de Quincey’s books.
Featured image entitled ‘The path to consciousness’ is by Sar Maroof, via Wikimedia Commons
5 thoughts on “Consciousness”
Not sure I agree with your conclusion. I look around at the vast number of faith-based groups who deny global warming and support the destruction of the protective measures of the US EPA. These are people ignoring science entirely. Every scientist I know is trying to save this poor planet. Technology can be a balm as much as a bane. I think neither science nor religion are at fault for what is happening but greed, on the other hand is the root of this destruction. Both science and religion, however, have been used to further greed. I do agree that there is more to our consciousness than ones and zeroes or chemicals and electrical potential. At least, my gut sense is that is true. I have no proof of that from my limited reading so I will check out that book.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks for your comment. I would not wish to denigrate science or the efforts of many scientists, and as enamoured by technology as most of us. But the denial of the interior is pervasive in economics and science, and I suspect this is at the root of the evident lack of wisdom in business and political affairs.
Thank you Barry for a short but very plausible effort to explain consciousness,
LikeLiked by 1 person
Reblogged this on Musings and Wonderings and commented:
Thanks Barry for a concise essay on consciousness.