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Consciousness: how can I experience things that aren't 'real'?

Consciousness

... is beyond matter and beyond all scientific mathematics. The euphoria of love and many such wonderful feelings cannot be captured by the quantitative methods adopted by science.

The reality of consciousness is qualitative, and the materialist and dualist theories seem inadequate.

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Consciousness: how can I experience things that aren't 'real'?

Consciousness: how can I experience things that aren't 'real'?

https://theconversation.com/consciousness-how-can-i-experience-things-that-arent-real-139600

theconversation.com

6

Key Ideas

The Mind And The Body

Neuroscience says our brain has 86 billion neurons, linked in various ways, making trillions of connections. These neuron connections are getting converted into electrical signals, making a network of electro-chemical communication inside us.

This communication is providing us with a life experience of something that may not be there at all.

Dualism: Ghost In The Machine

The mind-body paradox, also called the mind-body problem by philosophers, can be understood if we take our human mind as a non-physical entity, outside the physical world of the body and the brain itself.

The mind, with all its feelings and experiences, exists as a spiritual phenomenon and controls the body like a drone pilot controls the drone. This view is known as Dualism.

The Materialist Way

Science has done a great job observing, dissecting and manipulating physical materials (matter) and seems to think the materialist method is the best way to go for the mysteries of the brain. It does not take a good view of the dualism theory, where the soul (residing in our brain) controls the body.

The problem is that by only studying the matter, science has always excluded and neglected consciousness.

Consciousness

... is beyond matter and beyond all scientific mathematics. The euphoria of love and many such wonderful feelings cannot be captured by the quantitative methods adopted by science.

The reality of consciousness is qualitative, and the materialist and dualist theories seem inadequate.

Idealism

Idealism states that consciousness is all that exists in reality, and the physical world is nothing but an illusion, a construct generated from our own minds.

This is also discussed as The Simulation Theory, where the laws of physics and reality are nothing but rules in a simulation, like a computer game.

Panpsychism

One of the approaches of idealists, called panpsychism, claims that both physical matter and consciousness are fundamental, and particles, energies and fields are simply forms of consciousness.

This approach tries to bridge the gaps left by dualism and materialism in our mind-boggling journey to understand consciousness and the universe.

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For much of the 20th century, consciousness was not a serious topic for "serious science." That has changed. The problem of consciousness is a scientific dilemma.

For one, consciousness is unobservable. We know consciousness exists through our immediate awareness of our own feelings and experiences. But you can't look in the head of someone else to see their feelings and experiences.

Using observation for an unobservable issue

When we are dealing with data, we can do experiments to test whether what we observe matches the hypothesis. But we are dealing with the unobservable data of consciousness.

The best scientists can do is to correlate unobservable experiences with observable processes. For example, the feeling of hunger is associated with visible activity in the brain's hypothalamus.

But collecting correlations does not explain why conscious experiences correspond with brain activity.

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Qualia: Experiencing Sensations

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The Observer Effect

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.

Objectivity Vs Consciousness

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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