Consciousness and Everything Else

Several underlying themes evolve through ARTology entries. They inform my art and writing, as they are the themes that nourish my life. First of all, I am interested in the nature of consciousness. This has always seemed the place to start. Information and awareness of the actual instrument used to assess one’s situation has always fascinated and inspired me and does appear to increase success in navigating those situations in more tenable ways.

Even though the experience of consciousness is straightforward, coming to a thorough comprehension and exposition of the nature of consciousness seems to depend most of all on the particular discipline one brings to the subject. Human history is replete with existential, spiritual, philosophical, scientific, and aesthetic approaches to the subject of consciousness. Developed over millennia, many of these views have become ossified into systems of belief. And as such, they lose their interconnectedness. They become mutually exclusive – incompatible one with another – especially as they generate various explanations of the world and our experience.

Explanations of the world or statements concerning the nature of reality are often considered as the primary truths of human experience and the universe at large. As such, they deal with the subject of consciousness as a secondary subject or phenomenon. This is true of the rationalist and scientific tradition as it has developed in the West. This approach has become known as “material realism” and, as such, it treats consciousness as a sort of epiphenomenon – a byproduct of material processes and not an essential property of the universe.

We are fortunate, however, to live in a time in which the frontiers of scientific research are indicating a far more central position for consciousness than has been permitted in the past. The postulates of quantum physics are crucial to this new paradigm:

– A quantum object (for example, an electron) can be at more than one place at the same time (the wave property).

– A quantum object cannot be said to manifest in ordinary space-time reality until we observe it as a particle (collapse of the wave).

– A quantum object ceases to exist here and simultaneously appears in existence over there; we cannot say it went through the intervening space (the quantum jump).

– A manifestation of one quantum object, caused by our observation, simultaneously influences its correlated twin object – no matter how far apart they are (quantum action-at-a-distance).

The list above appears in “The Self-Aware Universe,” by Amit Goswami, Ph.D., Professor of Physics at the Institute of Theoretical Sciences at the University of Oregon.

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It is becoming increasingly clear that in our incessant pursuit to control our circumstances, manage our environment, provide for our physical needs, vanquish our threats, conquer our enemies, and construct our civilizations, we are in danger of losing sight of the fact that there is more to us, our world, and our universe than spinning aggregates of matter, energy, and empty space.

There is a mind here. And it is at the very center of each and every one of us. It is at the center of our experience and, as such, it is at the center of the universe. There is much still to learn – especially about the relationship between consciousness and everything else.

Now, at last, we know where to begin.

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You Tube Video: “Consciousness Drives The Universe,” posted by knowthelies

 

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