What is Consciousness?

Do you know that feeling when you know someone is watching you even without seeing anyone and when you turn, there he/she/it is? This is one the mysteries of consciousness and topics of this text. What is I, reality, subjectivity, self-awareness, is everything just matter and energy, how consciousness emerges from matter and what is it? When you think of consciousness, thinking of how you think, more questions than answers arise. Can we find out all the mysteries of consciousness with the brain that creates it, isn´t that verdict always going to be biased? Do you create the world inside your mind or is everything part of single consciousness?

I like etymology so first things first, the word consciousness in the English language goes back to 1500s. It was derived from a Latin word conscious which had different meaning, loosely translated as knowing with or having common knowledge with others, however, the Latin phrase conscious sibi (knowing with oneself) had a closer tie to the modern meaning of consciousness. Descartes in his work Search after Truth is said to be the first philosopher to use another Latin word conscientia (moral conscience) in modern concept of the word consciousness. This is only the meaning of the word, modern science still lacks the tools to penetrate deepest secrets of the mind and has no way to measure consciousness.

We all share this feeling of self and existing as an individual person, nonetheless, when asked to explain it we all have our own explanations. This sensation has many names, awareness, wakefulness, subjectivity, being able to experience of feel. Being conscious however could be defined different as self-awareness. There are only few animals besides human that have been noted to show signs of self-awareness; great apes (chimpanzees, orangutans etc.), bottlenose dolphins, killer whales, elephants and european magpies. These results came from the Mirror Test where ability of animals to recognize themselves from a mirror was observed. Still we do not know what this intuitively obvious experience is and how do we even know if other people are conscious maybe they are philosophical zombies, people who are indistinguishable from a human being in looks and behavior in every detail except they don´t have consciousness.

Cogito ergo sum, I think, therefore I am stated Descartes over 350 years ago and thought this, prove that one´s consciousness exists, is the only truth one can be sure of. I think that consciousness is flashlight in a dark room, though this room is not empty, it´s your reflection of the Universe and reflection of the Universe in you. This flashlight is in constant movement, momentarily shining light on certain things, issues, ideas and by concentrating you can stop this movement and illuminate whatever is in the focus of the beam. We humans have limited cognitive abilities, thus we can be conscious of limited amount of information, some things in the edges of this beam go to unconscious mind later to be examined when we are sleeping and not aware of outside stimulus. This inner light has individual shades and it can be altered by experiences, drugs, meditation and other stimulus arriving from inner and outer sources. The question is where does this flashlight emerge from?

One view is that in the end everything is energy and matter, quarks, atoms, molecules, organisms, consciousness are all just emergent phenomena and all of these can be scaled down to energy with the help of reductionism. Another, a bit radical view is that everything in the Universe is consciousness and consciousness is everything there is. This way all phenomena are raising from consciousness, either we all are creating our own universe or the Universe is conscious and we are just manifestation of that consciousness, a way of the Universe to figure itself out. These questions lead us to the very nature of reality or a decent into madness.

There are two main questions in the concept of consciousness, qualia and self, qualia could be a color you see in the room where you are now for example orange, physically it´s the wavelength which light is reflected from a surface to your eye and decoded to this image but the qualia of orange is something indecipherable to another person. Self is you being aware that you are experiencing orange and this something you can replicate few times without getting a headache. You can imagine yourself thinking of seeing orange and thinking that you are thinking of thinking perceiving orange and again thinking of thinking that you are thinking of looking at orange. This ability of consciousness is easily portrayed in recursion, when you point a camera which is plugged in to a computer to the monitor where it´s reflected to infinity.

What is the nature of reality? Now you might be holding a mouse in your hand while you scroll down these black symbols on a white background, in the end everything you perceive is the creation of your mind. Surely laws of physics define what things are tangible but your mind creates meaning to these symbols and objects that you are aware of. An example of this is an apple, when you take a bite from it is it still an apple, when does it stop being an apple and becomes something else? The quantum world is weird, what you think of as matter is atoms but really it´s not, they are quarks but really it´s energy that is interconnected, it is a world of probabilities and it´s the world we inhabit. Closer you look at reality more particles and their anti-counterparts you see, this symmetrical perfection reminds me of fractals.

This can lead you to wonder is there such thing as global consciousness? The Institute of Noetic Sciences is studies the powers of consciousness with an open mind with scientific principles. This institution has also a spiritual aspect but in such concept as consciousness which cannot be measured in any traditional way they are doing important research. In one  of the documentaries IONS researchers were studying the aspects of the mind, interesting things were that in a way we can predict the future and what we think affects matter on a small scale (global change in random number generator for example on 9/11). Another fascinating study was about testing if people can sense if they are stared at. In the combined results of over 33 000 trials people and people were aware of staring 54% at the time, this might not sound much but statistically it is important and proves that there is tiny but undeniable conscious connection between people. This ability might have evolved in our evolutionary history to help us sense impending danger but it could also be a key to understanding the mysteries of consciousness. I think that when you open your mind to possibility of these ideas you might be able to unlock those abilities. The mind is no doubt a powerful tool, this can be seen in the placebo effect, it´s a mystery and yet so familiar to all of us. We are all connected to the Universe, in fact we are the Universe, it´s only the mind that creates this separation. In the beginning of the Universe all the energy was in one, tiny, dense state, everything that is in this expanding Universe now is connected. All is one.

Illusions created by your mind:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/07/Motion_illusion_in_star_arrangement.png

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Revolving_circles.svg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/dc/Grid_illusion.svg/500px-Grid_illusion.svg.png

Here is the freakiest illusion I found.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/2/28/Illusion_movie.ogg

To see the illusion, do this: Play the movie (which lasts 1 minute) full screen and stare to the center of the image. After the movie finishes, look away (for example look to a face or to your hands). For few seconds everything you see will appear to distort. Have a nice trip!

Short videos about consciousness:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjfaoe847qQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTWmTJALe1w

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JF61lhEeGng&feature=fvwrel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9bVd3BspIQ

http://vimeo.com/2726955

Documentaries about consciousness:

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-primacy-of-consciousness/

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/reality-extended-mind/

Links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cogito_ergo_sum

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consciousness

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30 thoughts on “What is Consciousness?

  1. Peter Russell’s lecture ”The Primacy of consciousness” is a comprehensive analysis of the dilemma of consciousness and its relationship to the matter as we see it. Good points are for example the scientifically proven fact that the matter as we know it is ultimately only an empty space (structure of atoms). If the nucleus would be golf ball sized then the electrons would circle it in 300 meters distance. So the observed objects like cars, tables and fishes are only the creations of mind of the conscious living creatures. But in reality as far as we have observed, those objects are actually mostly an empty space. So the fact is that the material reality is different from our experience about it. It raises a question that if our beloved cosmos is only an illusion. I experimented that freakiest illusion test and it really worked 

    Results of the quantum mechanics give room to the speculation because they are against common sense: the particles can be in many locations in the same time and they can have an instant reciprocal effect even though their location would be billions of light years away from each other, and this contradicts the general relativity. String theory is one option to solve the problem between quantum mechanics and general relativity, but as far as I know, there is no empirical evidence about it correctness. Quantum mechanics gives also the result that particles behavior is dependent on human observation which gives the possibility to assume that consciousness drives the universe and is its ultimate form.

    There is many alternatives to make a research but you can discern at least two basic ways to solve the mystery of the cosmos and consciousness: Platonic and Aristotelian thought. According to Plato “the particular phenomena we perceive in our lives are shadows of their ideal ‘Forms’, which represent truer and higher versions of reality than the ones which can readily know. We should not be content with the shadows. An individual human soul should do its best to find its way back to the Forms which lie behind the world of our clouded senses, there we may find arête – excellence or virtue. The path is through the intellect. ‘Excellence of soul is our chief purpose or direction, because beyond even the Forms is the Supreme Soul, who is God and who is ultimate arête.” (A history of Christianity, Diarmaid MacCulloch 2009, p. 31.) I understand this this way that according to Plato the keys to the mystery of the cosmos are concealed in one’s consciousness. Instead Aristotle sought for reality in individual and observable objects. He thought that true wisdom lay in searching the information about the objects and forms which exist and can be described in the world of human senses (A history of Christianity, Diarmaid MacCulloch 2009, p. 33.) Western civilization’s modern science is the heir of Aristotle.

    So now we live in the situation in which modern science can’t explain the consciousness but it assume that the consciousness is a derivative of the matter. Where that comes from? Why people want to explain that human’s consciousness is the result of the random functioning of the matter? Are they scared of the idea of human as a spiritual being? Time has passed only few hundred years since the inquisition, maybe that’s the reason. But the fear is not a good reason to blind your eyes from the truth. Let’s listen to Albert Einstein what he has to say to our problem: “The eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility … The fact that it is comprehensible is a miracle.” (Albert Einstein). I agree but maybe we have used a wrong method to solve the mystery of the cosmos maybe Plato was right?

    Really hard question is that how consciousness could emerge from unconscious matter. If you see a car you assume that it is designed by intelligent engineer. Human is much more highly developed and sophisticated entity than a car, that’s why in my understanding there should be some kind of intelligence beyond the human evolution. Now I sound like a creationist but my agenda is totally different. I believe there is a big problem for example in evolution theory. It doesn’t give me a satisfactory explanation how fishes could rose from the sea to the dry land. I think it could be better if Dawkins “Selfish Gene” would be “Intelligent Gene”.

    • Hello Alejandro! First of all thank you for your thorough and insightful reply. I also enjoyed Russell´s lecture, it gave an alternative perspective on what is consciousness. I am familiar with the quantum mechanical affects you mentioned and one thing which could explain them is quantum decoherence. Quantum world is a world of probabilities and decoherence “gives the appearance of wave function collapse (the reduction of the physical possibilities into a single possibility as seen by an observer) and justifies the framework and intuition of classical physics as an acceptable approximation: decoherence is the mechanism by which the classical limit emerges out of a quantum starting point”. We lose information when we observer reality as we see it, it has been theorized that even vacuum and the space within an atom is not empty but still consist from small particles of energy, one version of this is the String theory.

      I think Plato was right at something, the path to truth is trough intellect and first step is to admit that you don´t know something. I´m quite happy to admit that I don´t have the answers but the spark of my life the journey of searching knowledge and understanding the Universe better. Like it is with travelling, it´s not the destination that is so important but the way you arrived there. There is a famous analogy between computer hardware and software, brain and mind. For me consciousness is this flashlight which is turned on by combination of brain areas working together, an emergent phenomenon. I could be wrong but it´s my theory.

      Tools of evolution are time and death, it´s the best theory we have for now on how life evolved to this point from the Big Bang. Now we are limited to one laboratory, Earth. What will be interesting is when we have the chance to explore other planets and see if life has evolved same way there. After that we will have a better idea on how life evolves from simple chemical reactions to a sentient being.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_decoherence

  2. Hey, I think theoretical physics is about trying to find and understand the true nature of the cosmos. What is the fundamental form of matter and the universe? As you said earlier everything in the universe is energy because E=MC2 means more than mass equals energy, it means that mass is energy. You could ask your self do you need more information or understanding about the cosmos. I say yes i do, because i don’t know yet who am I. And now we are confronted in our exploration the string theory. The question is what is the true nature of string level? There should not be a matter in a form as we know it. According to professor of physics John Hagelin that is the wonderland what we are looking for.

    Flashlight theory is a good analogy about consciousness. For example I’m too well aware of my limited cognitive abilities, because this bloody body computer doesn’t work the way I wanted.

    It is also essential that we understand DNA better. We have to turn over every rock.

    • This Unified field theory has many forms but the idea is essentially same, to connect all the laws of nature to one source. Common sense and intuition can sometimes trick you for example to think that everything revolves around the Earth, however, there seems to be unbroken symmetry in nature at all levels. Nothing can exist without an opposite and all the particles of nature have positive and negative counterparts. Even energy and matter, cosmologists are oblivious to 95% of the Universe which consists from 23% dark matter and 72% dark energy. In terms of a pint of beer, all the stars, planets, gasses and organic material in the Universe are just the foam on the top of that pint. We have barely scraped the understanding of the Cosmos. I have thought and felt intuitively, countless times, that there is some type of oneness in nature. When that is combined to the scientific knowledge I have acquired, it could be thought that in the unified level, at Planck scale, everything is information squeezed to the smallest level possible. This information could be called by name names e.g. consciousness.

      It is quite annoying to understand that no matter how much and hard I would study during my lifetime, I can never understand as much as I would like to understand.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_matter

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck_scale

      • That dualism in the universe is weird. A man and a woman, life and death are also dimensions of that unbroken symmetry. Why there has to be always the male and female? One sex would be far more simple. When you are aware of the conservation of energy, in my opinion living creatures in the globe who must die are quite a weird beings in the context of the law of physics.

        Astronomers at the University of Zürich and the ETH Zürich are quite confident that they have found dark matter near the sun.

        http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120809090423.htm

      • It seems that this duality is a fundamental part of nature of the Universe. First I thought it might be created by our minds but it really seems to exist at all levels. This leads me to ponder if there are always two opposites, is true unity/energy created when those two come together sexually, in connection of consciousness or in particles collisions of matter. Does nothing and everything exist at the same time?

        I read about that finding from another source, people have found dark matter before but to understand what it is would change our view of the Cosmos fundamentally.

  3. What is time? Is it only a human’n or animal’s or vegetable’s experience, or is it a fourth dimension, or is it both?

    “In cosmology, the concept of spacetime combines space and time to a single abstract universe.” (Wikipedia) That means that time is as real element of the universe as all the matter and energy universe consist of. According to special relativity time is dependent on observer’s speed. This phenomenon is called time dilation and it is an empirical fact. At the speed of light there should be no time at all which means that if you travel at speed of light you don’t experience any time at all. If you started to travel towards earth billions of years ago from the remote galaxy, in your perspective you reached our blue ball immediately after the take of. I don’t understand this unless time is not explained the way that it is only an illusion. It is also good to remember that electromagnetic field extents the entire universe. That means that there is some kind of field in our known universe where is no time at all.

    So does nothing and everything exist at same time? My answer is that if the time is only an illusion and ultimately there is no time at all then nothing and everything exist at the same time. But I’m not absolutely certain what did you mean by that question.Interesting, nothing and everything are also the opposites of each other.

    One theory is that the whole universe is like a DVD: it consist of all the information at the same time and it is only an observes own will what part of the movie he choose to watch. Sequential pictures create the experience of time to the observer of the movie of the universe.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_field

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spacetime

    • Time is relative, that was the revelation of Einstein. Think about a photon, particle of light, from the perspective of a photon there is no time. Light is everywhere at the same time. I have also heard about the theory that everything that has and will happen, is in the Universe and we experience around 80 years piece of it and perceive that as time. My question was about what we experience, is the Big bang and Universe something that happened in an instant in a collission of matter and antimatter? What we perceive as 13,7 billion years is just an instant in another dimension? Nothing and everything annihilating each other.

      • I’m sorry, I didn’t give you a good answer. One reason is that I don’t have any experience about another dimensions.

        According to Teal Scott transition to other dimensions is possible by using your spiritual potentiality and she tells the way how to do it. She’s very convincing. She says that human exists on multiple dimensions simultaneously so it’s very important when we talk about out of body experience to get rid of our notion of distance – here or there. Dimensions are separated by the frequency and density of the energy of these dimensions. Frequency is an expression. So each dimension is a different expression of an universal energy (from that kind of thinking comes my speculations about the music as an echo of the universe which we can’t see – the rhythm, the heart beat). To experience those other dimensions you have to change your own frequency to the corresponding dimensions and keep your mind away from your body because energy is thought responsive.

        Teal Scott says that out of body experience is exploring the totality of our universe and subjective and objective reality. It transcends space, time, lifetime, all of it and helps you to understand the dimensions of the universe. I think what that girl is talking about is exactly the same what Plato meant.

        According to my judgment the girl is also serious and she talks about her own experience and she believes what she says. I could be wrong but let’s assume that I’m right. Is Teal Scott only hallucinating? Does she has so powerful and creative imagination that she has started to believe her own fantasies?

        Best way to find out the answer is start practicing in order to have your own experience. Or is it so that truth is subjective? Quid est veritas?

      • I think I can sum up everything that girl was talking about with one quote from Mr.Buddha: “The mind is everything. What you think you become.” We have a quantum computer between our shoulders and the human mind is a powerful tool but it is also easily deceived. I just read an article from Helsingin Sanomat which talked about people suffering from BIID syndrome (bo­dy in­teg­ri­ty iden­ti­ty di­sor­der) where they think they have an extra hand or leg and try to take it out. The article mentioned a bodymap we have in our brains which can be easily manipulated with stimulus of our vision and touch senses. People can be manipulated to think that rubber hand is their own and with the help virtual goggles and video camera people had out of the body experiences, thought they had three hands and thought they were the size of a doll. If these kind of illusions can be achieved this way so easily it is not far-fetched to think these experiences can be achieved with meditation and training of the mind. The mind is key to the reality we pereceive and create at the same time.

        http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/b/buddha378282.html

        http://www.hs.fi/digilehti/#tiede/K%C3%A4teni+ei+ole+minun/a1346041043134

  4. It is still an open question if there is an equal amount of matter and antimatter in the cosmos but for scientists there is a every reason to believe so due to the latest knowledge of fundamental physics. So if there would antimatter as much as matter it would be possible to think that there is also an antiuniverse. The collusion of the universe and antiuniverse would lead to an annihilation of both universes and in this transformation pure energy would be released according to Einstein’s E=MC2 relation. That release of pure energy makes it possible to speculate that if our whole universe is the result of matter and antimatter annihilation. If it was so then at that instant moment everything cease to exist and everything started all over again in the Big Bang. And this expansion of the known universe would probably lead to an eventual annihilation of this universe and so on and so on…

    In the singularity there is no three-dimensionality and time as fas as I know. So if everything started from nothing and everything and everything will lead to the state of nothing and everything where is no time, it is very reasonable to question the experience of time and if there is no time at all. But still I’ve got the feeling that now i’m missing something?

    “What we perceive as 13,7 billion years is just an instant in another dimension?”

    If you remember John Hagelin’s vision of the unified field as a vast ocean of pure consciousness then it’s easy to imagine experiencing of time to be different in another dimensions. It seems to me that unified field is like an another dimension. For example according to my understanding there is no three-dimensionality and time in the unified field??? Of course it’s good to remember that It’s still only a theory which is changing all the time.

    One inseparable part of this subject of the consciousness and its relation to the matter, antimatter, dark matter, dark energy, electromagnetic radiation, the universe and multiverse, is the free will of the individual. If everything exist all the time then there should not be an free will. If you think logically human as a result of random encounters and merges of matter and chemical reactions, is it possible that you would have your own free will. That’s quite an idea. If you don’t have your own free will then you are basically a philosophical zombie 🙂

    http://csep10.phys.utk.edu/astr162/lect/cosmology/antimatter.html

    • Here is three interesting articles I found concerning antimatter and anti-universe:

      “Apparent asymmetry of matter and antimatter in the visible universe is one of the greatest unsolved problems in physics.”

      “Dirac himself was the first to consider the existence of antimatter in an astronomical scale. But it was only after the confirmation of his theory, with the discovery of the positron, antiproton and antineutron that real speculation began on the possible existence of an antiuniverse.”

      http://www.exploratorium.edu/origins/cern/ideas/antimatter.html

      http://www.crystalinks.com/antimatter.html

      http://www.universetoday.com/20506/chandra-telescope-searches-for-antimatter/

      • It seems that due to random change in evolution of matter and antimatter, more matter prevailed in the early Universe thus galaxies, stars and life can exist. Interesting point in one of the articles wast this: “photons (being their own antiparticle) are the same whether they are in a universe or an ‘antiuniverse”. Here is some answers I found to why photon is its own antiparticle.

        “Quantum field theory requires for consistency reasons that every charged particle has its antiparticle. It also tells you what properties will the anti-particle have: it will have the same characteristic from the point of view of space-time (i.e. Poincaré group) which means equal mass and spin. And it will have all charges of opposite sign than a matter particle.”

        “If the particle is not charged then QFT doesn’t impose any other constraint and so you don’t need antiparticles for photons (since they are not charged). But you can still consider the same operation of keeping mass and spin and swapping charges and since this does nothing to photon, you can decide to identify it with an antiphoton. Your call.”

        http://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/13654/do-anti-photons-exist

        There is so much we don´t understand and know about the Universe but it is fun to think and speculate on different ideas. I wish more people would think about the mysteries of the Universe and be as excited as we are to find out more about these subjects.

    • I found a good talk about this subject. There the Arrow of Time was mentioned with entropy as the key in understanding how we perceive time.
      It is clear that the Universe had a smooth and warm beginning.

      Sean Carroll: Distant time and the hint of a multiverse

      Cosmologist Sean Carroll attacks — in an entertaining and thought-provoking tour through the nature of time and the universe — a deceptively simple question: Why does time exist at all? The potential answers point to a surprising view of the nature of the universe, and our place in it.

      • I haven’t yet watched that film and now I have a difficult mission to analyse the concept of the emperor of the world. But I just saw that rubber hand illusion and that was amazing. I also read that article about BIID syndrome. In that article was also mentioned how swedish scientist had invented the way how the out of body experience can be tricked out.

        Many person thinks that for example rubber hand illusion proves that the consciousness is only an illusion. It is interesting because scientist fact is that every image created by our brain is an illusion including that rubber hand. You must newer forget the the real essence of the cosmos.

      • Here philosophers tell that time is not a real physical phenomenon. Instead there has to be something in us which creates the experience of time. This conclusion comes from the logic of distinction of past, present and future. What we experience is only now. On the other hand the past and future are not real. So if the past and future are not real physical phenomenons how could be the present because only thing it does is that it distinct the past and future from each other. If now would be real how could it be possible that after the instant moment it would turned out to be unreal? This was how I understood those philosophers ponderings.

      • Ok, photons do not have antiparticles but how about timesymmetry, does antitime exist?

        Here is a comprehensive analysis about the possibility of the antitime. According to this article time might run backwards in the antiuniverse.

        “If space, time and mass-energy expand outward from the Big Bang along the time axis equally in the (+) and (-) directions, then time is symmetric by Weyl’s definition. In the Feynman-Stueckelberg Interpretation, antimatter is identical to matter but moves backward in time.”

        “R. P. Feynman (3, 4, 5) developed earlier work by Stueckelberg (6) to produce the Feynman-Stueckelberg Interpretation of antimatter. This interpretation states that all the properties of antimatter are consistent with the view that antimatter and matter are identical except that their particles move in opposite directions in time”

        “As late as 1985, three years before his death, in his book “QED” (9) he stated that “every particle in Nature has an amplitude to move backwards in time, and therefore has an antiparticle”. On the same page, in a footnote he says that antiparticles can be easily made and kept for weeks, so he had no problem with antiparticles moving backwards in time indefinitely.”

        “Feynman’s view derived from Einstein’s version of Lorentz invariant symmetry, together with Feynman’s contention that the final probability of some quantum event was the square of the sum of the amplitudes of all possible paths to the result. Such paths included backward in time and faster than light paths.”

  5. Hi Alejandro Magno! I will comment more in-depth when I have checked out the links and videos you pasted. Consciousness is a brain stimulating subject and we have had a good discussion on this subject, I hope it continues. In the meanwhile I can recommend you (and others) to check out TED talks, there one can find many interesting talks about various subjects. Here is a link to talks about consciousness, I watched the top two and they were good.

    http://www.ted.com/search?q=consciousness

    • Hello Alternus! I watched also the top two films and they were interesting. Dan Dennet concentrated on the delusions produced by the brain cells and he thinks that it points out that consciousness is only an illusion. There were interesting examples how our brains produce pictures which contradicts the physical reality. I liked that painting example where all the people on the bridge turned out to be only oil colour smutches.

      Antonio Damasio represented his understanding of the brain functioning in the context of consciousness. In his opinion the vital part of the human consciousness lies in the brain stem instead of cerebral cortex. If the vital parts of the brain like red area of the brain stem is damaged human will fall into a coma and bye bye. If the other part of brain stem is damaged then one will remain conscious but he’ll be a prisoner of his body because he is totally paralysed. Antonia Damasio took for granted that consciousness is the result of the human body. He didn’t even consider the option that it would be other way.

      If your brain is damaged then your body becomes a mindless peace of meat, isn’t that a proof that consciousness is a product of the electrochemical reactions of the brain? How could it be other way? It depends on the perspective. If the physical reality is the result of the consciousness, then mallfunctioning of the brain stem doesn’t prove anything. Think about the cycle of the day and night. without basic knowledge one could think that it’s the sun which decents under the horizon. But through the fundamental research one is able to find out that it is the result from our planets spinning. So could it be with consciousness.

      I think investigating the out of body- and near death experiences could be the way how to find a final answer to the problem of the human consciousness. Science do not deny those experiences because they are very common and they have been reported through the ages. But common explanation has been the malfunctioning of the human brain. Science has also tracked the way how out of body experience could be tricked out. Some people think that it shows out of body experience to be only an illusion of the brain. How is that? If I have understood everything correctly then Teal Scott spoke basically about the same technique than the scientist did in their experiment. You just have to focus your attention out of your body and forget its existense completely.

      There is many fundamental questions concerning the out of body experience. Does Teal Scott experience something which increases her understanding of the universe? If her constant travels out of her body really expands her mind the way which is not possible without those trips then she should be taken seriously.

      At least life would be much more easy if you could get out of your body and have real trips. For example, it would be easier to find a boy- or girlfriend if you could check out before hand in other dimensions what they think about you.

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/8327304/AAAS-Out-of-body-experiences-are-just-the-product-of-a-confused-mind.html

      http://io9.com/5872468/what-causes-out+of+body-experiences

      • I read one book about neurosciene and one of the main ideas was that information is as vital part of the Universe as energy and mass. The amount of information we can process defines our reality but there are many source where one can acquire information. Main categories are internal and external sources, internal information can be acquired by pondering and meditating on various subjects and with the help of imagination one can create new ideas, external information is something that others have created with objective scientfic methods or subjective internal resources. There are many paths to the top of the mountain and enlightenment can be achieved in various ways.

  6. You seem to be interested in eastern religions especially buddhism. Some people say that buddhism is not a religion, do you think that is correct? Are you serious that even I am able to have an enlightenment experience and what does it mean? Can you give me any advice how should I start my own path. Should I just start meditating by my own every day for example 30 minutes?

    If you are able to become enlightened what would be more important than try to become one? In the link below Sadhguru tells about enlightenment in his own words.

    • Yes, those religions have some good ideas worth pondering. I think Buddhism is more a way of life and philosophy rather than religion but when I worked in Thailand people referred Buddha as the lord. All things can be interpreted in any way one wants to see them. I think the potential of enlightenment is within all of us. I see enlightenment not as the end goal but as an abstract concept, it is a state of mind where one works towards understanding of everything and this is of course not possible for a human mind, however, it is a goal worth trying to achieve. We all have our own paths to the top of the mountain but I can tell you what works for me.

      1. Gathering information. Everyday I try to learn something by reading, doing or watching documentaries. Studying all kind of things, scientific or fictional, with an open mind one is able to stimulate the brain. This creates a base of information and gives birth to new ideas in the mind.

      2. Process the information. After and while I am receiving information, new thoughts emerge and I ponder these and what I have just learned. These new ideas usually becomes the topics of my posts here in Huuhaa blog.

      3. Be aware. Observing people, nature and everything around me helps me on my path to enlightenment. Connecting the information to things you observe will helps to reach a deeper understanding of things.

      For example when I am walking on the street and look up to the sky, I see the Moon and think about photons travelling from the sun and reflecting from the surface of the Moon to my eye thus creating the image I have. Moon in itself might be pretty but understanding nature makes it beautiful. Being aware of how all things are connected makes an ordinary walk through the city interesting and delightful.

      All is one, one is all.

      • Hello Alternus. Gathering and processing information is essential in the path to the enlightenment and then of course you have to try to raise your state of awareness. You can’t tress enough the importance of the processing of information that has been loaded into your computing system. It doesn’t matter if you read all the books of the library and even more if you don’t try to process that information thoroughly. The path to the real understanding is not reading contest, it demands more. Read, think and put your knowledge into a practice that’s the way I see it should be. I should probably start meditating but it seems to me that it is always tomorrow.

        Life is funny, because even watching the movies can be very useful. For example The Matrix movies have made a great impact to my thinking.

        http://thematrix101.com/contrib/myoung_aitptm.php

      • As they say, there are many ways to the top of the mountain of enlightenment, some are slow, some are dead ends, some go only half way and some stay at the plains beneath the mountain. Meditation is one way to go but it is more important to find your own path.

        I also like the Matrix movies, especially the first one. They introduced philosophical topics to the masses in a new way and maybe got some people to question their believes.

  7. This thought crossed my mind: Is there any connection between the ancient adoration of the sun and the near neath experience? Is it the eternal sun what the one see in her near death experience?

    “Recognizing the sun as the supreme benefactor of the material world, Hermetists believed that there was a spiritual sun which ministered to the needs of the invisible and divine part of Nature – human and universal. Anent this subject, the great Paracelsus wrote:

    “There is an earthly sun, which is the cause of all heat, and all who are able
    to see may see the sun; and those who are blind and cannot see him may feel his
    heat. There is an Eternal Sun, which is the source of all wisdom, and those whose
    spiritual senses have awakened to life will see that sun and be conscious of His
    existence; but those who have not attained spiritual consciousness may yet feel His
    power by an inner faculty which is called Intuition.””

    – Manly P. Hall: The secret teachings of all ages p. 140

  8. I guess I had found my soul and soul mates. That is enough. Currently, it is too painful for me to open and touch and be touched with such full “consciousness” at this time. It is good for people to realize their own electricity and light bulb. Fearless with Jeff Bridges in the airplane scene is kind what its like.

  9. I was having days where I would feel “earthquakes” of time. I think sometimes we are in the inner core of the sun but don’t know it. It’s all illusion. Especially, the “dense” ones…which lines up with physics.

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