Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Monday, June 9, 2003day link 

 Consciousness
picture I think I've been spending too little time recently in the field of consciousness. I've been busy with life, with work, family, with preparing for moving. All of which is good, but typically what really keeps me going in life is something more - an exploration of what it is all about, how the universe works, and what I am, and what my limits are. And usually things work best if I start with my own consciousness, as opposed to taking the material universe too seriously.

In having that kind of discussion, there's the fundamental problem that people have very different world views about consciousness, which some times makes it difficult to have the same conversation. Well, those world views do divide up into certain main categories, such as:

1. Consciousness is something fundamental and eternal, and the material universe as we see it, as well as our own existence, is all some kind of special case of that consciousness.

2. The universe is fundamentally material and non-sentient. A long series of coincidences between random non-sentient material components have surprisingly produced organic machines that are capable of self-reflective thinking.

and, for the sake of people who sort of might fit in number 1, but who don't feel they're allowed to think about it:

3. God created the universe and it is none of your damn business. Your only hope is to understand and obey God's commands.

#1 would mostly be new age people, buddhists, hindus, other religious people who feel safe to think for themselves, plus an assortment of different philosophers.

#2 would be many scientifically oriented people, as well as atheists.

#3 would be fundamentalist religious people of various kinds.

Now, I would personally go with #1. But I get along fine with science people. And there's nothing particularly un-scientific about #1. These are all theories, and science is about coming up with the theories that best will predict things, and to test how well you succeed.

In general I can have a perfectly enjoyable discussion with anybody who will grant that their world view is just that - a world view. A model, a theory of how things work. But to the degree that we take our models for Truth, for The Way Things Really Are, then communication starts being a bit difficult.

For somebody who belongs firmly in #2, consciousness is maybe an interesting subject, but in a very different way than for a #1 person. The #2 person might be very interested in how to construct intelligence artificially, and in how to preserve consciousness, dreaming maybe of downloading consciousness to a computer. Which I'd have rather little interest in. I'd rather figure out how to stay in touch with the aspect of my consciousness that exists eternally and isn't limited by my current physical existence. It is not a matter of preserving it in a test tube, but rather of helping it shine through.

I'd expect that science and spirituality will meet, and it won't be a matter of two totally different worlds any longer. Quantum physics, evolutionary biology and systems thinking might very well solidify principles that otherwise were presented in metaphorical form in spiritual traditions. They already have, to a large extent, but it hasn't quite sunk in for many believers in science.
[ | 2003-06-09 18:46 | 11 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Understanding Cosmic Creativity
Elisabet Sahtouris on shifts in humanity's collective consciousness:
We must collectively recognize what western science is only now discovering: that humanity and the rest of our living world are embedded within a far greater and fundamentally different reality than is encompassed by our current scientific worldview or paradigm. We are replacing the view of a non-living material/ electromagnetic universe with a greater non-physical reality of conscious intelligence as the never-ending source of scientifically known energy and matter—a cosmic source that has been known in many human cultures from ancient times. It is fundamentally conscious and creative, transforming or transmuting into material universes and other creative ventures. As Nobel laureate biologist George Wald of Harvard put it, "The stuff of the universe is mind stuff." Once this greater, consciously intelligent reality is acknowledged as existing both within and around us, we will recognize that we collectively co-create our experienced daily reality from our individual consciousness fields, from our collective beliefs about reality, including the belief that what we see or measure with instruments is all there is.

[ | 2003-06-09 23:26 | 3 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

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