What is Consciousness

 

 

 

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What is Consciousness


We are not capable of defining
this familiar and profoundly mysterious entity.
      
Could it (the Soul) be a constituent of our universe, ignored by the
physicist, but infinetely more important than light?
Alexis Carrel - Man, the Unknown



God is The absolute No-thing 
which is above all existence 
Pseudo-Dionysius 345 - 407 AD

The first knock on Heavens Door
 
What is 'redness'?
 
And what is behind that door of perception?
 
As far as I am able to see there are endless doors of Pandora.
 
Forty-three years ago, as a young student I closed my eyes with a self-invented mantra after reading briefly in an Indian book about Meditation I had borrowed from the library. I disappeared into a black void with no time and no space. When I again opened my eyes, everything was radiating the most beautiful white light. I went out of my room. White light was coming out of the floor and out of the ceiling. I went outside. It was raining from dark clouds, but to my utter amazement, light was emanating from them as well. For one year, I became a university drop out. Instead of books, I was studying unknown worlds inside myself. Sometimes, when I walked in nature, each step I took sent waves of love, happiness and wellbeing through my body.
  
One of the many insights I still carry with me today is that Consciousness is the most mysterious 'phenomenon' that 'exist'. In fact, the following will try to show that consciousness does not exist in the normal sense of the word.
 
Noone has since the Greek times of antiquity been able to give a satisfying answer to what redness is. What inside of us is conscious of redness is even more mysterious.

   
In spite of these facts we use the word 'consciousness' in our daily language as the most natural thing in the world, as we all know exactly what it is. Furthermore, we use words as race consciousness, class consciousness, gender consciousness, and so on.
 
To get a glimpse of the inner worlds is to discover that we almost know nothing.
 
I love words. At the same time, I agree with what mystics have said repeatedly through time: words can only cover a fragment of a fragment of the mysteries that unfolds within a singular introverted mind.
 
SCIENCE AND CONSCIOUSNESS
For many years I have almost not been able to read what main stream science had to say about Consciousness. It was too naive. The following scientific description from Wikipedia illustrates this by science itself not recognized folly. Here Consciousness is reduced to primitive neurophysiological processes in the brain:
 

The illustration is named Neural Correlates OF Consciousness. First of all I would like to rephrase the above sentence to Neural Correlates IN Consciousness. To describe Consciousness as a product of neural correlates is like describing a mirror through the content reflected in it.
 

When science thinks it can explain everything within the paradigms of old school positivism, it in fact, has replaced the storytelling of religions with new fairy tales. The scientist has in fact, become a priest. A primordial fact is that no human, and therefore no scientist can remove himself as a digesting, burping and emotionally fragile human observer from the scientific equation. He will like anybody else be genetically engineered to interpret facts, so they are in sync with his own or his clans survival.
 
To know not knowing
Hence for me, it is more important to know what I don't know than to know what I know. In this movement, I make myself consciously aware of the boundaries of my knowledge in any given subject I choose to concentrate on. This clarity is a byproduct of an expanded consciousness when we view consciousness as a function of the ability to 'aware' data. When consciousness 'grows' as a consequence of its ability to experience larger and larger amounts of data, we/it become(s) aware of the darkness and the grey zones between darkness and light.
 
One can be a Nobel scientist and yet have low developed brain faculties for harbouring consciousness. At the other end of the spectrum, we can imagine a highly conscious person not being able to score above average in an IQ test. As far as consciousness has something to do with the brain activity, it most probably is wired differently and seated in different areas of the brain than the case is with the phenomenon of traditional Western conditioned intelligence. In fact some of the most succesful persons I have encountered in my life had a high IQ, even a high EQ, but not much CQ. CQ is my improvised scale for 'quantified' Consciousness, as far as this phenomenon is related brain activity.
 
Seen from an evolutionary perspective consciousness is a mystery. World history is full of examples of Saints living as beggars on the fringe of society. People who cultivated Consciousnss were not valuable seen with Darwins eyes. The Hindu God of meditation, Shiva has no children. Sages are not known for being successful in passing their genes. In this context I would even go so far than to say that it gives an evolutionary advantage to overestimate what we know, which is what we tend to do when we are less awake. Winston Churchshill said: Never underestimate a man who over estimates himself.
 
Knowing your limitations is called wisdom. Wisdom is, in this sense, opposite to knowledge. A wise and knowing person will try to objectify his subjectivity in a kind of expanded astronaut overview where he can see his own and others subjectivity as a part of the whole picture. This objectification is, of course, in its nature also subjective but still an essential movement in the eternal search, not for absolute truth, but for, with inspiration from Wittgenstein's search for what is true enough. We will never hold Ding an sich in our hands, but we can always come closer to something that is more true than the truth of yesterday.
 
NEW SCIENTIFIC PARADIGMES AND ENTHEOGENS
In recent years, science has, as far as I can see become surprisingly better in showing humbleness in the search for consciousness. With great pleasure, I have read Annaka Harris book, Conscious. It seems that almost suddenly, there is a general tendency of modern science being more consciously aware of its own limitations and Annaka Harris presentation of these thoughts is both wise and informative.
 
I will here present a controversial explanation of this for me highly positive development. I guess that this new oasis of insights has emerged as a result of the use of entheogens. There is nothing in this existence you can do that can make you more abruptly aware of your limitations than when you after taking a brainmodulation pychedelic substance suddenly find yourself surfing tsunamis of big data in elevated states of ever morphing expanded consciousness.
 
In the 60'ties, thanks to Timothy Leary, it became a mass movement within academia to experiment with psychedelics. This was, in many ways a hazardous pilgrimage into unknowingness. However, quite a few of these first surviving pioneers today hold key posisitions within a variety of scientific institutions. Due to the still demonized status of psychedelics, I will not mention names here. This, together with the emerging ayahuasca scene in South America has led to a psychedelic renaissance both in culture and science.
 
Sam Harris is a good example of this journey into humbleness. What his meditation and visit to gurus in the far East could not do has, to some extent, been done through his experience with 'heroic' doses of magic mushrooms. I am talking about his typically New Yorker Jewish academic arrogance. In his book Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion, I find that my own Scandinavian ego is less projective provocated to overwrite my brain circuits with amygdala derived chemicals.

Consciousness and rational argument and thinking
Let me here make an important time out and go to a meta perspective. What have I just done? I have been 'personal' and critiziced Sam Harris for being arrogant. In the same movement I have pointed out my own arrogance and an important part of the whole picture.

For me, being spiritual does not imply that I am beyond critizicing other people. I dont believe in a spiritual über-ich all the time on a cognitive level evaluating if what I say or do is spiritual or not. I don't give a fuck about that. This spiritual über-ich is the reason for the rampant hypocrazy in so called spiritual people. When consciousness as far as it is confined to a phenomenon in the brain, intensifies, expands and becomes clearer as a a bulb where you turn up the light the fist thing you aware in a dialogue with another person is that you cannot stay confined to the ancient Greek setting. In a Greek dialogue, the mutual horisontal exchange of valid arguments are setting the stage. The focus is on  the rational argument, where I in princip should be able to sum up my oponents argument and get his aproval for having understod it correct before I procede with my own argument. In this sense the Greek argumentation style is beautiful. However, in an expanded awareness it become painstakingly clear that there is no objectivity that can be isolated from the two subjects in the discussion. Hence every dialogue should be parallel processed with the question: Why do you and I say what we do?

A dialogue has to be consciously subjective. Otherwise the subjectivity will be there as a demonic presence. Let me give an example. Here in Denmark we have a professor, that a bit like Jordan Peterson has got a cult status. Both of them are psychologist. Both say no to certain kinds of new trends. Jordan Peterson opposes what he calls the new radical left and my danish professor opposes the trend of ever ongoing personal self devellopment, which he sees as an oppressing tool optimizing pacing the work force beyond its limits.

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Both have, as far as I can see valid arguments for their say no-cases. However, when I look at their faces, for me it becomes obvious what is the engine beyond all the rational arguments. It is fear.


 
 
 
 

 










 








Theologicans
may quarrel,
but the Mystics
of the world speak
the same language.
Meister Eckhart 1260-1328

It is not possible to
write about something
as abstract
and intangible as
consciousness
with a 'precise'
terminology.

Hence I will
use words like
God,
Soul &
Consciousness

as floating clouds,
sometimes appart,
sometimes merged.

If it at all
should be meaningful
to try to describe
Consciousness it
must be in a
language that
stands appart
from other forms
of language, that
has been
develloped to
describe other
phenomenons.