Is human consciousness all about our brain and neurons? Or could there be something deeper to it?
There is no evidence existing which necessarily proves neural activities are the CAUSE of consciousness. Though they indicate CORRELATIONS only, in fact perceptual studies have accumulated plenty of evidences which disproves CAUSATION by brain.
Take for instance, the famous claim by John Searle, Slusser Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley: that neural activity and conscious experience stand in the same relationship as molecules of H2O to water, with its properties of wetness, coldness, shininess and so on. The analogy fails as the level at which water can be seen as molecules, on the one hand, and as wet, shiny, cold stuff on the other, are intended to correspond to different “levels” at which we are conscious of it. But the existence of levels of experience or of description presupposes consciousness. Water does not intrinsically have these levels. We cannot therefore conclude that when we see what seem to be neural correlates of consciousness that we are seeing consciousness itself.
While neural activity of a certain kind is a necessary condition for every manifestation of consciousness, from the lightest sensation to the most exquisitely constructed sense of self, it is neither a sufficient condition of it, nor, still less, is it identical with it. If it were identical, then we would be left with the insuperable problem of explaining how intracranial nerve impulses, which are material events, could “reach out” to extra-cranial objects in order to be “of” or “about” them. Straightforward physical causation explains how light from an object brings about events in the visual cortex. No such explanation is available as to how those neural events are “about” the physical object. Biophysical science explains how the light gets in but not how the gaze looks out.
Many features of ordinary consciousness also resist neurological explanation. Take the unity of consciousness. I can relate things I experience at a given time (the pressure of the seat on my bottom, the sound of traffic, my thoughts) to one another as elements of a single moment. Researchers have attempted to explain this unity by invoking Quantum coherence however this fails because they assume that an objective unity or uniformity of nerve impulses would be subjectively available, which, of course, it won’t be. Even less would this explain the unification of entities that are, at the same time, experienced as distinct. My sensory field is a many-layered whole that also maintains its multiplicity. There is nothing in the convergence or coherence of neural pathways that gives us this “merging without mushing”, this ability to see things as both whole and separate.
Here are also problems with notions of the self, with the initiation of action, and with free will. Science begins when we escape our first-person subjective experience. Thus, measurement takes us further from experience and the phenomena of subjective consciousness to a realm where things are described in abstract but quantitative terms. To do its work, physical science has to discard “secondary qualities”, such as color, warmth or cold, taste – in short, the basic contents of consciousness. For the physicist then, light is not in itself bright or colorful, it is a mixture of vibrations in an electromagnetic field of different frequencies. The material world, far from being the noisy, colorful, smelly place we live in, is colorless, silent, full of odorless molecules, atoms, particles, whose nature and behavior is best described mathematically. In short, physical science is about the marginalization, or even the disappearance, of phenomenal appearance, the redness of red wine or the smell of a smelly dog.
Consciousness, on the other hand, is all about phenomenal appearances. As science moves from appearances and toward quantities that do not themselves have the kinds of manifestation that make up our experiences, an account of consciousness in terms of nerve impulses must be a contradiction in terms. There is nothing in physical science that can explain why a physical object such as a brain should ascribe appearances to material objects that do not intrinsically have them.
Our failure to explain consciousness in terms of neural activity inside the brain inside the skull is not due to technical limitations which can be overcome. It is due to the self-contradictory nature of the task, of which the failure to explain “aboutness”, the unity and multiplicity of our awareness, the explicit presence of the past, the initiation of actions, the construction of self are just symptoms. We cannot explain “appearings” using an objective approach that has set aside appearing as unreal and which seeks a reality in mass/energy that neither appears in itself nor has the means to make other items appear. The brain, seen as a physical object, no more has a world of things appearing to it than does any other physical object.
From the Vedic literature, we learn that there is a conscious self that is separate from the body. Obviously, we are conscious of every single impulse that the senses of our body deals with. There is perfect interaction. So science will question how the self can interact so well with the body if it is not part of the body. And why is consciousness affected when changes are made to the brain? If the self is separate, then consciousness should not be affected. These are the arguments of science, and the Vedic literature offers some very interesting answers. If these arguments are answered, then why not consider an alternative viewpoint, as described in the Vedic literature?
There have been top scientists at such places as the University of Virginia using the strictest standards for documenting and researching particular phenomena. They have been able to demonstrate conclusive findings in over hundreds of test cases with patients who were, according to all known laws of physics, technically in a state of unconsciousness, or in a coma due to a heart attack or accident. The patients, after being brought back to consciousness, explained in detail what procedures had been performed to revive them. They described themselves as floating out of their body, up into the room, looking down and watching the medical procedures the doctors were performing on them. There was no possibility that they could have dreamed this as subsequent tests have shown. This shows that there is a difference between the brain and the mind, and that the mind or consciousness can continue working even though the brain is impaired and hardly functioning at all, as in a comatose state.
In the near-death experience we have the description of what happened to the individuals when they were revived, but what if they had not re-entered their body? What if the patients could not be revived? If they had died, where would they have gone? Or is death simply the end of everything? When someone dies, the relatives may cry and exclaim, “Oh, he is gone, he has left us.” But what is gone? He is lying there, or at least the body is. So if he is gone, then it is that part you have not seen that is gone. So what is it?
WHAT IS IT ?
What is it , which is so difficult to figure out with the help of mere intellect of academic studies? however it has become one of the major topics of curiosity in the field of modern science today. Is it worth knowing anything else without knowing the knower itself?
Since the beginning of life wisest men have always realized that knowing the knower is the highest form of knowledge in fact the ultimate purpose..let us be conscious about the consciousness itself, let us be on the path of knowing the knower ..Let us REALIZE SELF…