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Universal consciousness

The contrast between the numbers on a CD and the experience of a Bach Sonata could not be more dramatic. The numbers are ultimately meaningless. The experience is its own meaning. The assumption that consciousness is universal is the assumption that all of existence has intrinsic meaning and value. Instead of existing as isolated souls in a sea of empty matter we exist as focal points of intense consciousness in an ocean of universal consciousness.

My conscious experience is affected by the internal structure of my brain and by external events. Where do my senses begin and the external world end? We can see the issue most clearly in how we experience time. Each moment is unique and specific yet each flows into the next with no boundary. We can understand how this happens structurally. Our brain state changes in an almost continuous way because the firing of neurons that give rise to that change are numerous and weakly coordinated. They are like an unruly crowd and nothing like a marching band where everyone is in step. Just as there are no clear boundaries between experiences in time there is no clear boundary between a sense organ and the external world it senses. By doing away with a bit of soul stuff unique to each person we destroy any absolute boundary between the individual and the wider world. There are only the vague and shifting boundaries like those in our experience of time.


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