On Consciousness

What is Consciousness and why does it exist? This question is what scientists and philosophers refer to as “The Hard Problem.”

Humans have been pondering what it means “to be” seemingly since we developed written language—which means we likely started asking the question long before. Does consciousness set us apart from other animals? From plants? A famous question posed by 
David Chalmers, one of the leaders in the field of neuroscience is, “Why are we aware that we are aware?” In other words, why did we evolve into conscious beings, rather than robots or mindless zombies? Why do we consider what it means to be human, rather than simply going about our business eating and procreating, the way other animals do? And importantly, if we are more than automatons—fleshy machines, can a machine become conscious? Humans have certainly evolved consciousness, yet we too were once simply self-replicating machines.

Rene DescartesModern philosophers began seriously chewing on this question in the 1600s, when 
Rene Descartes concluded that humans are undeniably conscious. Yet, this fact is different from other scientific facts, which rely on physical proofs. Consciousness is not physical, yet we are indeed conscious. This led Descartes to the dualistic conclusion that our minds, where he decided consciousness resides, must be made of something other than physical matter. Therefore, consciousness for Descartes was a gift from God. The mistake Descartes made, and that many philosophers continue to make, is separating physicality from consciousness. Although scientists disagree (for now), I believe that consciousness is the creative force of all physicality. Consciousness is our postmodern, post-religious name for God.

There are subtle differences between the ancient idea of a meddling God and our modern idea of consciousness. Yet, the idea that there is a universal force of awareness that somehow creates the physical world aligns with ideas we find everywhere from the oldest books of the Bible, through ancient Greek philosophy (before it became completely dualistic in nature), and to the most modern work of neuroscientists. If God is consciousness, and consciousness is the underlying ground of all physical reality, then we too are consciousness. Humans aren’t simply conscious—the question of why we are conscious when nothing else seemingly is might be the wrong question. The deeper issue is what it means to be if in fact everything that is, is consciousness—is God.

The inevitable conclusion we are being drawn to is that our physical world, and all the laws we attribute to it, is substantially more intricate than our science is capable of describing at this time. While gravity, magnetism, electricity, planetary movement and biological evolution are undeniable; they ignore the question about what is actually driving those physical laws. Einstein nearly drove himself crazy looking for a unified theory that would tie all the laws of physics together. Modern quantum physicists are having the same issue. I suggest that the missing link is consciousness, which is the universal force, the glue, the God that simply is all physical reality.

Our worldview needs to change, and that will only happen as we begin to become consciously aware of consciousness not only as a force in the universe, but as the force in the universe. It is not something physical, yet it is everything physical. It is an awareness, an awakening to a higher level of being clearly represented by Jesus, even though the people around him—and Jesus himself, really had no way to clearly express this.

Our advantage is our scientific worldview, because we have new language with which to describe and relate to God. Yet our disadvantage is also our scientific worldview. It’s demand that all things are physical holds us back from imagining more. Science has cemented our dual mindset and forced us into a world of illusory conscious thought. We are sidetracked with figuring out why we think, when the question we should really be asking is, can thinking change the world?

Prayer: I think, therefore I AM. Amen.

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