The Consciousness Conundrum

The life of the mind | Inside Story.

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An excellent article on the philosopher David Chalmers and his take on the vexed issue of consciousness.  Here’s an excerpt that summarizes the problem, especially as they relate to the ‘hard questions’ of consciousness and hints at a potential solution:

“We’ve got this great chain of explanation,” Chalmers says. “Physics explains chemistry, chemistry explains biology, biology explains some aspects of psychology, but then where does consciousness fit in? There’s this big gap between all that physical stuff and consciousness. So one of the things I’ve tried to argue – in principle – is that all that physical stuff doesn’t add up to an explanation of consciousness. So you’ve got your physical fundamentals – space, and time, and mass, and charge. They explain a lot of stuff, but they don’t explain consciousness.”

Ultimately his argument leads Chalmers to believe that consciousness may itself be a fundamental in the universe, just like mass or time.

Maybe, Chalmers conjectures, consciousness should be thought of in the same way. And maybe, therefore, it’s more widespread than we think. It could be in many things: apes, dogs, butterflies’.

If Chalmers is correct, then the implications are wide-ranging and profound, especially in terms of how we relate to wider creation.  Perhaps the proponents of what could loosely be called ‘animal theology’ are on the right track after all?

One response to “The Consciousness Conundrum”

  1. But what are their relationships to Spirit?

    In my free ebook on comparative mysticism, “the greatest achievement in life,” is a quote by Albert Einstein: “…most beautiful and profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and most radiant beauty – which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive form – this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of all religion.”

    E=mc², Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity, is probably the best known scientific equation. I revised it to help better understand the relationship between divine Essence (Love, Grace, Spirit), matter (mass/energy: visible/dark) and consciousness (f(x) raised to its greatest power). Unlike the speed of light, which is a constant, there are no exact measurements for consciousness. In this hypothetical formula, basic consciousness may be of insects, to the second power of animals and to the third power the rational mind of humans. The fourth power is suprarational consciousness of mystics, when they intuit the divine essence in perceived matter. This was a convenient analogy, but there cannot be a divine formula.


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