New Civilization News: Consciousness is Reality    
 Consciousness is Reality
7 May 2002 @ 13:00, by sharie

Does Consciousness have a dark side?

If so, what is the Dark Side of Consciousness?

Anyone know?

To look deeper, I'm looking more closely at Consciousness:

" ... beneath all our scientific paradigms lies an even deeper and more pervasive assumption. It is the belief in the primacy of the material world...

When Newton proposed his laws of motion, he turned the problem of what made things move into the foundation stone of his new paradigm; objects continued to move unless acted upon by some external force....

When I look at a tree, light reflected from its leaves is focused onto cells in the retina of my eye, where it triggers a cascading chemical reaction releasing a flow of electrons. Neurons connected to the cells convey these electrical impulses to the brain’s visual cortex, where the raw data is processed and integrated. Then—in ways that are still a complete mystery—an image of the tree appears in my consciousness. It may seem that I am directly perceiving the tree in the physical world, but what I am actually experiencing is an image generated in my mind. The same is true of every other experience. All that I see, hear, taste, touch, smell and feel has been created from the data received by my sensory organs. All I ever know of the world around are the mental images constructed from that data. However real and external they may seem, they are all phenomena within my mind...

This simple fact is very hard to grasp; it goes against all our experience. If there is anything about which we feel sure, it is that the world we experience is real. We can see, touch and hear it. We can lift heavy and solid objects; hurt ourselves, if we're not careful, against their unyielding immobility. It seems undeniable that out there, around us, independent and apart from us, stands a physical world, utterly real, solid and tangible.

But the world of our experience is no more "out there" than are our dreams... But when we awaken we realize everything in the dream was actually a creation of our own mind...

This same process of reality generation occurs in waking consciousness. The difference is that now the reality that is created is based on sensory data and bears a closer relationship to what is taking place in the real world. Nevertheless, however real it may seem, it is not actually "the real world". It is still an image of that world created in the mind.

When, two centuries ago, Bishop Berkeley proposed that we know only what we perceive, his contemporaries debated whether or not a tree falling in a forest made a sound if no one was there to hear it. From what we now know of the psychophysiology of perception, we can say the answer is "No". Sound is not a quality of the underlying reality. There may be movements in the air, but the interpretation of those movements as sound is something that happens in the mind—whether it be the mind of a human being, a dog or a woodpecker.

Similarly with light. Whatever the tree is in physical reality, it is not green. Light of various frequencies is reflected from the tree to the retina of the eye, where cells respond to the amount of light in three frequency ranges (the three primary colors). But all that is passed back to the brain are electro-chemical impulses; there is no color here. The green I see is a quality created in consciousness. It exists only in the mind.

The same is true of our perception of distance. The pattern of light that falls on the retina creates a two-dimensional image of the world. The brain estimates distance by detecting slight differences between data from the left and right eyes, the focus of the eyes, relative movement, and past experience as to the likely size of a tree. From this data it calculates that the tree is fifty feet away. A three-dimensional image of the world is then created with the tree placed "out there" in that world, fifty feet away. Yet, however real it may seem, the quality of space and distance that we experience is created in the mind."

Could everything be here now in the hologram of the one mind
I am?

"It seems absolutely obvious to us that time and space are real and fundamental qualities of the physical world, entirely independent of my, or your, consciousness—as obvious as it seemed to people five hundred years ago that the sun moves round the earth. This, said Kant, is only because we cannot see the world any other way. The human mind is so constituted that it is forced to impose the framework of space and time on the raw sensory data in order to make any sense of it all."

But are perceptions created because we *cannot* see the world any other way, or because we *choose* to perceive time, space, dimension?

Clearly we are choosing to perceive everything we perceive.

Are there two people who completely agree on even one little detail?

"Space and time, and hence speed, are aspects of the phenomenal world; they have no meaning, it turns out, for light itself."

If space and time are aspects of the phenomenal world, and light is not subjected to the phenomenal world...

"To speak of light as pure action is both appropriate and strange..."

This is going to take some more looking into.

It's a continuation of my very first News Log Entry titled "What is Reality?"


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30 Nov 2008 @ 10:59: The Hard Problem of Conscious Experience



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