There are many speculations on consciousness. But as you know, consciousness is so much more than it seems.
Is it truly derived from matter, or rather the firing neurons within our brains, or is it the entirety of the universe?
Without matter, there is no consciousness, right? Does consciousness even exist anymore? When you subtract matter from this idea, you recognize limitations. Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, or realization of the chasm between relativity and quantum mechanics, shows us the clear inconsistencies in materialism. But consciousness from matter just makes sense to most people.
Then there is the spiritual view. Here is where the separation between mind and body makes perfect sense. In religions or spirituality, the mind is a separate being from the body, located within what’s called the soul. The consciousness, therefore, resides within the soul, within the body, until it is set free through death.
This is rather a popular theory, as you can see this belief in millions of people who believe in a God. But there are just as many people who have a different view on consciousness.
Panpsychism is the belief that everything in the universe has consciousness. This thought is remarkably similar to the Buddhist’s and Hindu’s belief in “Brahman” or the universal Godhead. According to Buddhism, the consciousness of the universe is the only thing that truly exists.
Since everything we experience must be filtered through our minds, this means that nothing exists until we sense it, except for the consciousness. This consciousness governs us all, aside from any deity image we have learned to understand and worship.
This theory is observed in the same manner in quantum physics when particles have no sure shape or size until they are measured – proto-consciousness maybe.
A neuroscientist at the Allen Institute for Brain Science, Christof Koch is actively attempting to measure the consciousness of organisms, such as mice. He plans to wire the brains of two mice in order to see if they will work together. If the experiments are a success, the next step will be with two human beings.
John Archibald Wheeler, late scientist, and philosopher called this theory “participatory anthropic principle” and speaks of basics of this belief:
“We are participators in bringing into being not only the near and here, but the far away and long ago”.
But in the grander scale of things, take the actions of the stars for example. Cooler stars revolve much faster around the Milky Way than the hotter ones. Scientists believe this is due to their interaction with gas clouds. Physicist, Gregory Matloff, of the New York City College of Technology says that cooler stars move faster because they emit an Uni-directional jet which could mean they are consciously manipulating their own speed.
The European Space Agency’s Telescope, Gaia, when on a mission to map the stars, will provide data to support or discount this view.
The integrated information theory
Another interesting view on consciousness comes from Giulio Tononi, Neuroscientist, and psychiatrist at the University of Wisconsin. He claims that consciousness comes from a physical location within the universe, perhaps some star which radiates consciousness much like heat from our sun.
Neuroscientists, cognitive scientists, and physicists have all tackled this realm with various theories about the substance of consciousness. Whether it derives from matter or some deity, it’s truly an integral part of human beings. In fact, it’s everything, it’s life and it’s who we are.
Knowing this just makes life that much more intriguing and wonderful, doesn’t it?
(Featured image: Shuttershock)