Notes – What is consciousness?

Immediate thoughts after meditation session:

For a brief time I was able to invert the common experience of consciousness being located behind the face and in the middle of the head. I was able to expand the location of consciousness to fill the four walls within which I was seated. I am still pondering this phenomenon. I wonder, if consciousness is a type of software running on the hardware of the brain, a software that models reality, incorporating images and concepts and relations. Does it make sense to assume it must exist somewhere? Sure, consciousness depends on the brain, but it is composed of non-material entities and categories (or so it seems – a claim very difficult for a materialist such as myself to digest), and as such, does not from necessity need to reside anywhere. If consciousness is not a material thing, it cannot be located anywhere. Is consciousness a realm of reality unto itself? And if not, how could the material realm produce such an illusion?

I opened my eyes at the end of the session and looked at my field of vision (a brown leather couch, a bookshelf to my left, a world map directly ahead, lamp and black side table), and was able to understand that this view was being created in my mind, and I was aware of it in the arena of consciousness. Though the software seamlessly makes me think those things which I see are out there in front of my eyes, and I am here, at a node where light waves reflected from those objects converge (which indeed, I think is safe to say, is an accurate description of the physics involved), I was able to grasp the experience of conscious awareness of this field of vision more fully, more accurately. That is, the images ARE NOT OUT THERE, but are in my mind, and I am consciously aware of those images. This deceptively simple realization was hard to achieve, and lasted only moments, but it was real and, I believe, accurate.

2 responses to “Notes – What is consciousness?”

  1. Yes, as with the brown couch appearing beyond one’s self, apart from one’s self, this ‘image’ out there is absolutely within self, on a screen, if you will, in your head, in your consciousness. The material couch does exist beyond you, apart from you, but ‘its appearance’, its image is not also out there; it is in here. Smell, taste, sound and feel are also in here, the consequence of a medium from the object out there to its realization in here. In the normal course of interacting with the world, we by some habit place all images out there, and this works well and is a constant deception from the actual mechanism of conscious perception. At a set of traffic lights, my red could be your experienced green, your green my experienced red, and traffic flows only as we have applied an agreed label ‘red and ‘green’ to our conscious experience, and that we actually have different experiences does not confuse the flow of traffic. Perhaps technology will one day prove is my ‘red’ identical to your ‘red’. For now, we cannot know, only our behaviour co-operates and that is all that matters.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes!
    And to not only know this with the intellect, as a matter of logical deduction, as it were, but as a matter of experience, as afforded by focused awareness of the objects of consciousness themselves, is extremely, wondrously, enlightening.


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