The Mystery of Consciousness | Sam Harris
Just like the failed Big Bang Theory, the idea of consciousness emerging from or being identical to unconscious physical events sounds far fetched and hard to conceive.
The fact that this universe is illuminated by sentience is something to ponder, and we might be groping in the dark all this time because we have deliberately closed our eyes.
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Though the subject of consciousness is hard to define and varies from individual to individual, at the base level it can be termed as ‘sentience’.
To say that a person or creature is conscious is something to do with the present moment being complete, even if we disregard all memory, behaviour, sights, sounds and experiences. It is the one thing that cannot be an illusion.
Quantum mechanics and modern physics (like string theory) has made the concept of physical reality and the tangible, solid universe a fluid and slippery concept.
Those who are trying to find consciousness in the physical world are stuck in the past, as consciousness may have nothing to do with the brain or the subjective reality.
The idea that about 13 billion years ago, everything including time, matter, space, laws, gravity, cause and effect, simply sprang out of nothing in a loud bang, seems to be a foolish thing to believe.
Nothing cannot suddenly give rise to everything. The very act of the big bang requires time and space as a prerequisite to even occur.
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For a long time, the question of consciousness itself has been kept off the table, and cannot be ignored any longer, as any breakthrough in science points to reality being subjective.
The very things that are taken for granted or are overlooked hold the key to the understanding of life and consciousness. The things we find in nature cannot be imagined by us by any stretch of the imagination.
Example: A delicate, complex living organism, which can reproduce itself indefinitely.
Conceiving life while not being alive seems inconceivable, but as an analogy, how can vision be created from processes that are themselves blind?
The complicated chain of processes does point out that there is some higher intelligence/consciousness that operates on a different level, which may be out of our reach.
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Consciousness could be described as the feeling of being inside your head, looking out, or of having a soul.
How we learn, store memories, or perceive things, are easy prob...
The problems of consciousness straddle the border between science and philosophy.
Science has been trying to ignore the problem of consciousness for a long time.
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Understanding consciousness and how it fits in the universe is a perennial puzzle for decades. Some call it the holy grail of science.
Quantum physics is able to describe the atomic and...
Modern science is hesitant to talk about consciousness due to it opening a pandora’s box, putting their previously ‘bulletproof’ theories under suspicion.
Quantum Theory had a similar ‘uh oh’ moment when it was found that the behaviour of atomic level particles changes when we (a conscious observer) are looking at it, or not. This is known as the Observer Effect.
Physicists argue that objectivity might as well be an illusion, and consciousness has to be put in the picture of its worldview.
The two puzzles of Science, Consciousness and Quantum Mechanics, might as well be closely related, with one arising because of the other.
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