If you consider consciousness to be a field of energy (or logos or whatever) that concentrates under certain conditions (brains, for instance) then you can both keep the idea that consciousness arises from a single substratum, the whole universe round, while also asserting that the self arises wholly from the body/brain and is coincident with the body.  Iow, you get to keep the insights of dualism that there is something unique about consciousness that is different than the mechanism of the world we see around us, while also keeping the insights of the monists that everything, even the material world, is in fact of one “substance”.  Iow, basically, the dualists are wrong, but understandably so, because, just as the sun appears to move around the earth, so too can thoughts and awareness appear to be distinct from the body and trees and the sky.  Just as it can be difficult to distinguish between the influence of gravity and static electricity and aerodynamics in the free fall of a feather near a wool sweater in which all three forces are at play.  Ultimately, the substratum of reality, focused intently upon itself, alienates itself, under certain conditions, from its own emergent resonances (like how even the sharpest usable blade at our scale of existence is a blunt edged storm cloud at subatomic scale).

In this view, when the body dies the conditions that concentrated the “consciousness field” go away and thus the consciousness itself goes away.  There is no ego because that was basically the history of the aches and pains and joys of a life written on a body that is now decomposing.  What remains, however, is the potential, in atoms, in the quantum substratum of the material expression of energy, for self-referential energic fields – fields that hold themselves together.

And there’s consciousness.  The will/ability/tendency of things to stitch things together, at a tiny, tiny scale that emerges up through scale after scale, characteristically, to express at the scale of galaxies etc as well.

Well, I’m waxing a little poetic at the end there, because I have no direct evidence that there exists consciousness at galactic scales.  Call it a hunch: that for existence to exist at all, for everything to be stitched together, as it self-evidently is, is the same as to say that consciousness exists at every scale.  But I don’t have the axiomatic infrastructure to support that statement as of yet.  It’s based on the insight that what we experience as conscious awareness is coincident with the tendency of energy to cohere and is the basic ingredient for self-organizing cascades.  My intuition is that qualia is the fundamental feeling of distinction expressing at a quantum scale and cohering in “shapes” via the brain at an appreciable scale for our own self (yes, it bothers me to use words that have precise scientific definitions when I don’t know those definitions to any degree of exactitude, but the word still seems best to describe what I want to describe).

Obviously, you should come to your own conclusions, and we should all keep an eye on the scientists’ experiments and hypotheses.

Last hypothesis: we can find this “tendency” as I’ve called it, in mathematics itself, seen from enough of a distance.  My guess is that mathematics is consciousness tracing its own contours out in the energy field which comprises it.  Again, this energy field is the tendency of energy to cohere, and thus, the foundation of matter, as well as that of consciousness and the physical universe (as container) as we know it.  Thus mathematics is the logic of combination or association and the emergent properties thereof (geometry)- the very sorts of things that energy would need to exist.

One thought on “Consciousness

  1. […] been saying similar things in my posts (Yoga Sutras 1.2, Yoga Sutras 1.4, Consciousness, and probably elsewhere), but this is all a lot clearer than my […]

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