Thursday, March 22, 2012
Some Thoughts on Consciousness
Tomorrow I'll be co-presenting a talk on consciousness to the Philosophy Club at Texas A&M. This is a rich subject, with thousands of years of argumentation on just about every side imaginable. To say that consciousness is poorly understood would be a bit of an understatement. I'm not an expert in philosophy, neuroscience, or metaphysics, so my opinions and their divergences from mainstream theories of consciousness aren't of any great import. In my mind, though, this is one of the most interesting subjects to examine, and I can't help but try to synthesize something out of the mountains of thoughts that have been composed over the years. In my introduction, I plan to say something along these lines:
"Consciousness is that aspect of your mind that’s left undescribed when you say your brain is like a computer. It’s the inner world of color and sound, of pain and euphoria, of presence and awareness, that exists for you alone. Like a machine intelligence we sense, remember, and act, but more than that, we perceive, believe, and yearn, and that explosive wondrous world that it is to be human is what consciousness is. Reconciling the dazzling warm world of sensation with the cold dispassionate world of material things around us is the challenge of understanding what consciousness is."
In an unrelated issue, I should probably post pictures of something other than sunsets at some point.